Fourplay – Journey

(RCA – 2004)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

The opener is a cover of Sting’s fields of Gold… you can’t go wrong with that! From the first track on the CD Fourplay comes together as if they had not missed a beat in years, meshing and mingling with the ease and accuracy of old masters and old friends. Play Around It is my favorite on the CD, all bottom funky with bassist Nathan East bumping along a roadbed of smooth background vocals that set the mood… and there’s a helluva keyboard segment in this track. The title track, Journey, is smooth and measured, but not as strong as some of the material you’ll find here.

Larry Carlton‘s Cool Train is a finger-snappin, toe tappin’ romp through the coolness of life. I skipped back and played this tune again when it came in the rotation. Bassist East sings on the first five tracks of this release, including Rozil which is just the track what you want to find when you put on a Fourplay CD… mellow and skillful with a brazilian tinge. Bob James‘s Avalabop is the perfect follow as he romps on the keys with the gang in tow. This is one of those classic tracks with some good individual expression from the band members.

I also liked the last track, 147 4th St., there’s some nice guitar work from Carlton with a steady backbeat from James, and the 80-ish From Day One which is an obvious (a.k.a. good) James composition with some great James work on it. It’s sure good to see them back together again and still creating the kind of music that made their unique collaboration popular in the first place.