Kickin' It Up

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - David Jeffries
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - David Jeffries
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: 6/8/2004
  • Label: Grp Records
  • UPC: 602498612736
  • Catalog Number: 000163102
  • Sales rank: 5,719

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
Steve Hall Mastering
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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