Longevity among jazz groups is a surprisingly rare commodity. With relatively few exceptions, a run of a few years, at most, is standard; for a collective of jazz musicians to stick together for a decade or more is almost unheard of. That puts Fourplay, who celebrates their 25th anniversary this year, in a league of their own. Since 1990, bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Bob James, guitarist Chuck Loeb (who joined five years ago) and drummer Harvey Mason have continued to explore together, their efforts resulting in what All Music Guide called one of “the most intuitive, forward-thinking and focused groups in modern jazz.
I always feel a special energy coming from all four corners of this group," says James, who originally came up with the album title. "This combination of passion and intensity is what keeps me coming back for more. The energy is multiplied by a factor of four. The title is a reflection of the various moods captured in the tracks," East adds. "Whether romantic or sophisticated, upbeat or mellow, each player brings his own unique energy to the music. That combination of energies reflects what this album is all about.
Los Angeles melodic hard rock rockers TALON have just completed work on their 2nd release for Escape Music and the CD titled “Fourplay” is tentatively scheduled for a March release. It was produced again by their long-time collaborator Ty Sims at The Recovery Room and proudly and defiantly presents the return of original lead vocalist Michael O’Mara and has already been praised as their best release to date!
This all-star group comprised of keyboardist Bob James, guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Harvey Mason was formed in 1991 after the quartet came together on part of James' Grand Piano Canyon album. They have since recorded a number of CDs for Warner Bros. that have all been big sellers, not surprising considering the popularity of James and Ritenour. Larry Carlton took over the guitarist's spot in the late '90s, first appearing in Fourplay on the band's successful 1998 album, 4. The seasonal Snowbound was released in 1999. It featured traditional and modern holiday songs, all played in the quartet's increasingly slick style. The band ended its tenure with Warner Bros. with 2000's soft babymaker album Yes, Please.