According to the press notes, bassist/producer Richie Goods is the youngest person ever inducted into the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame. As the artist leads this jazz-fusion/funk gala that is brilliantly transferred to disc via the quartet’s 2007 performances at New York City’s Zinc Bar. First off, accolades are in order for the audio engineering team. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard such a near flawless live recording which of course, always adds a realistic coating to high-impact electric jazz.
Funk-fusion superhero and Headhunters drummer Mike Clark instills his magical polyrhythmic grooves, where the quartet covers the electric side of Herbie Hancock and an assorted bag of works steeped in funk and fusion. More importantly, Goods is musical bassist who does more than simply slap the strings or delve into guitar-like single note licks. He’s the director of operations while employing restraint and astutely-placed dynamics when required.
The band launches the fun-filled festivities with Wayne Shorter’s "Elegant People," which is culled from Weather Report’s Black Market album. On this piece, the musicians pay an upbeat homage to the original rendition, spiced up with keyboardist Helen Sung’s multihued progressions and Clark’s slippery, over-the-top pulses. Among many other highlights is the unit’s take on the Tony Williams Lifetime piece titled "Snake Oil," which was composed by Lifetime bassist Tony Newton. Here, guitarist Jeff Lockhart deals the proverbial knockout blow via his stinging crunch chords and resonating riffs.
Goods contributes two comps along with one co-written by Sung. And while the quartet’s line of attack insinuates a retro outlook, the overall sound and stylizations are uplifted with a nouveau hook, complete with toe-tapping vibes and a signature group sound. Chalk it up as a hip and supremely entertaining jaunt that is enhanced by the quartet’s energized and well-regimented live persona. (Essential listening for advocates of electric-jazz).