The passionate embrace of jazz as an art form is often obscured by the inability of commercial interests to see this genre of music as an art form of immense importance. Instead, many consultants, record labels and radio stations choose to relegate artistic intent with a perceived idea of what is commercial and what is not. But every now and again, a jazz artist or group is given an opportunity to convey the intuitive creative spirit that comes from within minus the bottom line input of bean counters, many of whom could care less about artistic expression or intent. In the case of Times 4 a San Francisco based contemporary jazz quartet, they have recorded a sizzling CD with all of the bells and whistles of stylized intuitive creativity.
Times 4 latest CD entitled ‘Relations’ is a release that embraces rhythmic expression and all of the improvisational characteristics of what jazz interpretation should be about. In addition, the group has recorded 10 original tracks that criss-cross the boundaries of the so-called urban influence on jazz. The musical chemistry attached to ‘Relations’ provides a cornucopia of individual expression and talent; however, no voices are ever alike as the influences of soul, Latin, R&B hip-hop and funk music permeate each associative track. Each one of the ten tracks provides a commonality of purpose that drives the dynamic influences of interpretive melodies and syncopated rhythms. By all accounts, Times 4 explores the landscape of jazz with creative intent and a variety of musical interludes.
Collectively, Times 4 has recorded an album that is filled with a high degree of first rate enthused ideas. Seldom is there an opportunity to explore the remnants of improvised jazz with the dynamics and zeal of previous influences. Times 4’s ability to incorporate the provocative urban flavors of everyday music with jazz provides an artistic catalyst that titillates the senses. In the end, ‘Relations’ is an album that provides a backdrop for contemporary jazz as a setting for further exploration of jazz as an art form. By most standards, this CD is not one you will hear everyday; however, ‘Relations’ and Times 4 will surely open the doors for further examination as time goes by.