Without so much as looking at the liner notes, a trained ear for jazz music would have picked up Brand New Heavies' co-founder/member Jim Wellman's involvement on the latest Post Modern Jazz CD. It's easy to think that stalwart jazz vibesman Roy Ayers is the bait to get this CD moving off the shelves, but even without him, it would still catch attention. In a world where people have grown appreciative to neo-soul, this CD marries that genre and jazz funk, the perfect ingredients for earning listeners of varied eras and tastes. The CD cover itself packs in an interesting visual bow: a sheriff atop a vibraphone. It seems to connote the message that there is a new sheriff in town and perhaps this could be in reference to the new sound of "postmodernism," which is described by Wellman as rhythms and harmonies integrated in complex arrangements.
Musicians on this CD all have musical backgrounds and associations with well-known artists. Lascelles Gordon, guitarist and percussionist is also the co-founder of Brand New Heavies while saxman Mike Smith's work has graced the music of Jamiroquai and Gorillaz. Twelve tracks make up this jazz-funk infused set and Ayers lends his talent both on the vibes and vocals on a few tracks. Roy Ayers' vibe somersaults further enhances the engaging and chipper groove that is "Sun Theme." Be sure to catch Ayers solo work within the of the track. Ayers signature smooth vocals is basking in the melodic sunshine of "Love Not Truth," a track that is reminiscent of Incognito back in the day.
There is truly never a dull moment on this CD; so much is its consistency. For instance "Lucy" is one of those head bopping songs that is likely to be etched into your head long after you've switched off your CD player. Hear vocalist Judy La Rose on this track and you won't believe that her musical never went beyond being a session/backing vocalist before now. Her sultry, ethereal vocals are again showcased on the highly contagious "Darkness Into Light" and "Another Kind of Culture," the latter pairing her with Ayers also on vocals. Other notable tracks include "Good Vibrations," "Crazy Love Song" and "Undecided".
Visit the groups’ website at www.postmodernjazz.com for an animated story featuring a solo from Ayers.