Kickin' It Up

Kickin' It Up

by Gerald Albright
     
 

It's hard to deny that saxophonist Gerald Albright often gave up playing "jazz" -- at least the snob definition -- in favor of urban radio and smooth jazz radio acceptance. During his years on the Atlantic label (1987-1997), his full-lengths contained big hits surrounded by lackluster songs. The exception was the "real jazz" album (snob definition again) Live at…  See more details below

Overview

It's hard to deny that saxophonist Gerald Albright often gave up playing "jazz" -- at least the snob definition -- in favor of urban radio and smooth jazz radio acceptance. During his years on the Atlantic label (1987-1997), his full-lengths contained big hits surrounded by lackluster songs. The exception was the "real jazz" album (snob definition again) Live at Birdland West, which kicked up the excitement a notch. After leaving Atlantic his first record for GRP, Groovology, was freer and more fun. Maybe it wasn't "real jazz", but it was really good. Nothing was so sweet and staid that it made you wince and the excitement was certainly back. Kickin' It Up continues along these lines, and if it isn't as well constructed as Groovology, it will at least keep the Albright faithful coming back. Albright still plays the jazz-pop that's kept him in the money, but once again he adds little flourishes and playful embellishments that are the textbook definition of jazz. A rotating group of musicians keeps the album from having any honest live feeling (no one ever "responds" to any of the other musicians), and there's almost as much drum programming as there is real drumming. The various groupings at least sound tight, and whenever Albright is coupled with Jeff Lorber he's extra effervescent. Former Boyz II Men vocalist Shawn Stockman pillow talks his way through the Brian McKnight-penned "Condition of My Heart" better than Justin Guarini did, and Albright's inspired arrangement and performance of John Mayer's "Why Georgia" captures the wistful, wandering spirit of the original. A couple formulaic numbers keep the record from being a total success, but there's less of it than during his worst Atlantic days and every song has at least one eyebrow-raising passage. The jazz elite will refuse to recognize him until he delivers another Birdland West, but they're missing his new voice, and judging by how comfy he sounds here, he probably shouldn't go back. Since going with GRP Albright finally added comfortable and freewheeling to amiable, smooth, and relaxed. A fair album -- like this one -- from the new Albright beats a very good one from the old, controlled Albright.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/08/2004
Label:
Grp Records
UPC:
0602498612736
catalogNumber:
000163102

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gerald Albright   Primary Artist,Flute,Alto Flute,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
George Duke   Piano,Guest Appearance
Dwight Sills   Acoustic Guitar
Peter White   Acoustic Guitar,12-string Guitar
Jeff Lorber   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Chuckii Booker   Keyboards
Nick Lane   Trombone,Horn Section
Wayne Linsey   Keyboards
Tony Maiden   Guitar
Kevin Ricard   Percussion
Rex Rideout   Keyboards
Lil John Roberts   Drums
John Jubu Smith   Guitar
Shawn Stockman   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Lee Thornburg   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Horn Section
Ricky Rouse   Guitar
Luther "Mano" Hanes   Keyboards
Teddy Campbell   Drums
Errol Cooney   Guitar
Terry Campbell   Drums

Technical Credits

Gerald Albright   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Jeff Lorber   Composer,Producer,drum sequencing
Brian McKnight   Composer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Mark Green   Engineer
Bud Harner   Executive Producer
Leon Huff   Composer
Nick Lane   Horn Arrangements
Rex Rideout   Producer,Engineer
Steve Sykes   Engineer
Anthony Jeffries   Engineer
Hollis King   Art Direction
John Mayer   Composer
Luther "Mano" Hanes   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Dora Salgado   Groomer
Hector el Father   Engineer

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