Rebecca DuMaine accompanied by her father’s trio, The Dave Miller Trio, on March 12th released the album Someday, Someday. The title definitely reflects how we are all feeling about the disruption to our lives that has been caused by the pandemic. Many of the songs on this album are standards that fit the current pandemic situation. Two of the songs are Rebecca DuMaine originals. One of the two songs is the title track to Someday, Someday. I am by no means qualified to be a music critic, but It seemed to me that DuMaine’s beautiful voice just sounded too happy to fit the melancholy lyrics of this song that discuss the current situation and look towards a future when the world will wake up again. So I chose to play for you the other DuMaine original song that better fits her cheerful voice. That song is Time To Get Unstuck-Happy Little New song which is about getting out of a rut and making the best of the new normal. Rebecca DuMaine accompanied by her father’s group, The Dave Miller Trio play Time To Get Unstuck.
Perhaps the most successful and long lasting group in Smooth Jazz is Fourplay. In 1990 Music icon keyboardist Bob James was working on an album titled Grand Piano Canyon. This work marked the genesis of the group that eventually came to be known as Fourplay. Joining James keys was an all-star quartet composed of guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Harvey Mason.
Their self-titled debut album, Fourplay was released in 1991. There were no plans at that time to continue as a group. However that debut album titled Four play went platinum and charted at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts for an unprecedented 33 weeks. As a result more albums followed. 1993's Between The Sheets, reached number one, went gold, and received a Grammy nomination. In 1995, Fourplay’s third album, Elixir, achieved gold status and also reached the number one position. It remained on the chart for more than 90 weeks.
As musicians, this group really clicked and have continued to do so with much artistic and commercial success. They are considered to be the most intuitive, forward-thinking and focused groups in modern jazz. Amazingly three members of the original four are still with the group. The only change has been the guitarist. In 1997, Lee Ritenour left the group to pursue his solo career and Fourplay chose Larry Carleton as his replacement. In 2010, Larry Carlton left and was replaced by Chuck Loeb. Fourplay celebrated its 25th anniversary with the release of the album Silver in 2015, which featured former members Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton as guest artists.
Fourplay is the only musical group in history to be recognized by the U.S. Congress, having received a Congressional Record from the United States Congress & House of Representatives.
Following Chuck Loeb’s death in 2017, Fourplay has been largely on hiatus. There were plans to return this year with a new guitarist for a final album. It looks like the pandemic has delayed those plans until 2022. This may be the most widely anticipated album ever from this format.
I am playing some great music from Fourplay including Esprit De Four, Max-O-Man, The Yes Club, and Still The One.
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