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4 by Fourplay

A new release by Fourplay is a no-brainer. It's going to be good, no doubt in my mind. However, Fourplay now has a new twist. That new twist is the well-known jazz guitarist, Larry Carlton. Furthermore, this album is not only good; but in the words of Tony the Tiger, "It's Great!". With Fourplay's founding guitarist Lee Ritenour starting his own recording label, I.E. Music, he found himself with a conflicting schedule and decided to step away from the band. With the three other original members, Bob James, Nathan East and Harvey Mason still in tack they began searching for this missing link. Not looking to replace the sound of Ritenour, but looking for a musician to add to the synergy already present in the group; they selected the ever so brilliant guitarist, Larry Carlton. I could not have picked a better addition myself.

With three highly notable releases under their belts (two gold certified and one on it way) this new release was fittingly titled, "4". Four musicians successful on their own merits, come together to originate music that is much greater than the sum of the four individuals. Smooth jazz quartets are not an everyday occurrence but for Fourplay it is a natural. These musicians play with such harmony and well-defined direction that it proves they were truly meant to play together giving to the world their blessed contribution to great music. For the 17th week on Billboard's music chart of Contemporary Albums, Fourplay makes it to #4 this week with "4".

I could barely get past the first song on the CD, "Still the One". This track eases in with such grace and smooth passion that I had to listen to it as least five times before I could go on to the next track. It's quite captivating. Fourplay is known for their heart throbbing jazzy ballads that brings out the lover in all of us. "Still the One" is delighting jazz fans all over the country being played on smooth jazz radio stations with request after request. Also known for their renditions of great R & B favorites, Fourplay along with vocals by El DeBarge, remakes the classic Marvin Gaye hit, "Sexual Healing". Marvin would be proud of the groove and feeling that Fourplay mixes into this memorable track. "Rio Rush" has a Brazilian flavor with its off-tempo drum beats and galloping rhythmic pace pulling you into a storm shower of methodical melodies and alluring background chants.

They have done it again, bringing joy to our hearts and souls with what they do best, make great music. Experience and savor the intimacy of Fourplay in their latest release, "4".

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Fourplay
  • CD Title: 4
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Record Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Musicians: Bob James (keyboards); Larry Carlton (guitar); Nathan East (bass, vocals); Harvey Mason (drums). Additional personnel: El DeBarge, Shanice Wilson, Kevyn Lettau, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Heather Mason, Michelle Pillar-Carlton, James DeBarge (vocals).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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