Fourplay, Let’s Touch the Sky [Heads Up]

Fourplay may not have invented smooth jazz, but it remains the class of the field, always pushing the idiom forward in both its jazz and pop directions.
By Chris Jisi ,

Fourplay may not have invented smooth jazz, but it remains the class of the field, always pushing the idiom forward in both its jazz and pop directions. The quartet’s fine 11th outing is sparked by new guitarist Chuck Loeb, who melds seamlessly with the group’s signature sonic pallette and superior writing and arranging. As usual, Nathan East is in the thick of things, initiating the Ruben Studdard cover of “Love TKO,” providing bubbling bass beneath “3rd Degree” and “Pineapple Getaway,” singing his chart-ready, reflective ballad, “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” and contributing the Metheny-tinged “A Night in Rio.” As a capper, he delivers a probing solo and support work on “Golden Faders” and a savory upright solo on “Gentle Giant (For Hank).”