Urban Jazz Coalition (UJC), an incredible ensemble of seven top-notch musicians out of Columbus, Ohio and their latest CD, Down To Get Up is some of the hottest contemporary jazz you’ll hear anywhere today. Their exceptional musicianship is evident throughout this hot CD. Bassist and Band Leader, Phil Raney has said he likes to call his band the "Ohio Players of Jazz." And, indeed, this is a fitting description. Down To Get Up is the fifth CD for Urban Jazz Coalition. Additionally, they have over 750 live shows to their credit having toured extensively with such greats as Spyro Gyra, The Rippingtons, Boney James, Peter White, Al Jarreau, and Rick Braun with much more on the way.
The band is tight all through this energetic CD, creating an infectious mix of jazz, funk, soul and R & B. This is rhythm at it’s best. Comprised of seven members including Lee Savory, Keith Newton, Brandon Howard, Hector Maldonado, Joe Gothard, Jimmy Bridges and of course, Raney, there is enough amped up energy here to light a stadium. The 12 tracks on this CD all shine from top to bottom. As an added bonus, guest guitarist, Nils makes an appearance on the track entitled "True Love."
Down To Get Up starts off big and sets the mood for this CD with Newton’s funky and brilliant saxophone work on "Back In The ‘Ville." This one is lively and fun. Gothard’s exceptional guitar licks are another highlight on this as well. "Accelerate" is smooth and cool. Howard on keyboards has been playing since the ripe old age of six giving you a real sense of the passion of this talented pianist.
The title track, "Down To Get Up" is another funky, rhythmic tune with a hip bass line provided by Raney. As with all their music, these guys are tight! "Georgy Porgy," with Savory’s moody trumpet and some very mellow vocals, this one is smooth and sexy. "En Mis Sueños" with its Latin flavors is rich and seductive. "Groove 4U" is energetic and funky and it surely does groove. Once again, and with emphasis, THIS BAND IS TIGHT! Seven guys all working together is not an easy thing to accomplish but these guys make it look and sound easy.
The remaining six tracks on Down To Get Up are equally superb and each one showcases the dynamic energy and camaraderie these guys all have with one another. When you’re able to do what you’re so passionate about every day it shows. With Urban Jazz Coalition, it’s probably a safe bet to say that even on a down day they are up.... up to making enormously impressive, high energy music like that on Down To Get Up, a must have for any contemporary jazz lovers collection.