Out Of The Box is the name of the alluring contemporary jazz release on Innervision Records from adroit saxophone artist Jack Prybylski. It proves to be an absorbing disc with a profusion of retro R&B inspired grooves blended with current fashionable approaches to deliver instrumental music which is consistently smart and in good taste. For Out Of The Box he has enlisted the creative Canadian duo of Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace, better known collectively as Four80East. DeBoer and Grace provide the pristine production, play various instruments, and additionally have a hand in writing half of the CD’s ten tracks. The talented pair from Toronto adds a sense of exploration and unpredictability; much as they do in Four80East projects.
Prybylski (pronounced purr-bill-ski) comes out of the starting gate smoking on tenor saxophone on "Headhunter," a mid-tempo song that grooves with an urban texture. Guest guitarist Andy Scott perfectly complements J.P.’s robustly commanding saxophone and Grace’s wood block rhythm accents. An inspired rolling and tumbling cover of Rod Stewart’s audacious "Do Ya Think I’m Sexy," is generous danceable fun as a dialogue between Prybylski’s sax and Rob DeBoer on guitar resides at the center of the action. It’s a feel-good tune with the steady rhythm section of Tony Grace on drums and Deboer, who doubles as bassist, contributing generously.
The choice for the first radio release, "Ice Cream," is cool and satisfying with Prybylski exhibiting his tasteful flair on alto saxophone. In the shadowy style of the quiet storm masterpieces of old, the tune locks into a chilled unrushed groove that it never relinquishes. Prybylski romantically resonates through his instrument revealing a well-defined elegance that is lovely and totally pleasing.
The title cut, "Out of the Box," is a retro nasty funky sensation. Vintage wah-wah guitar, snug Hammond organ phrasing, snappy bass, and Jack’s wailing tenor sax combine for a resoundingly rich return to the past. The song has a soulful sway and swagger that harkens back to the days of Motown’s Junior Walker with his dynamic impassioned tenor saxophone, as well as echoing Memphis’s storied Stax and Hi Records. "Hoodoo" features an oozing percolating rhythm which allows Prybylski the ripened opportunity to amplify the memorable melody with soaring saxophone flights.
Violinist Michael Miskuly, a fellow member of Jack Prybylski’s diverse prior band, Them Jazzbeards, appears on a re-make of Duran Duran’s "Save A Prayer." Miskuly’s and Prybylski’s seductive synergy is palpable. Together, they passionately carve a lush, soft, stylistic song that flourishes over a steady subdued beat.
Another retro soul song, "Down to It," brims with attitude and a stance similar to the earlier presented song "Out of the Box." Deeply reminiscent of such soul/R&B icons as Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes, it struts along with an unyieldingly strong and consuming power. The exquisite "Valley of the Dry Bones" displays certain characteristics not unlike a cinematic score theme. Beautifully bittersweet sax and piano mold to decorate this magnificent composition via a relaxed and haunting melody realized with sweeping dramatic ebb and flow achieving vivid thematic tone.
Resolute retro-style hand claps and a joyous Gospel atmosphere color the song "Saints and Sinners." A soul-shakin’ guitar lead shines brightly alongside testifying tenor sax, constructing a tune that’s guaranteed to make you bob your head and feel oh so good. A take-off of the sexy baritone of Barry White introduces the final song entitled "Sax In A Box." The song smolders with a steady beat, wah-wah guitar, and a supple warm tenor sax lead.
Out Of The Box is Prybylski’s third solo release, and Jack springs out of the box in spontaneous directions along with his clever collaborators Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace. The unique approaches and sounds they devise are consistently enjoyable and take the music to an elevated refreshing level. This winning blend of smooth, dance, retro, and chill presented with sophisticated savvy places Out Of The Box in prominent standing in the contemporary jazz domain.