Here’s a brow-raising meld of jazz styles that clearly spells fusion in a most interesting manner. In some places resembling the stylings of Craig Chaquico and rocker Neil Schon (on the couple of fusion projects that Schon produced, that is), I Like That, is also very close to the tight fusion triumphs of the Mike Sterns and Yellowjackets of the world (Jimmy Haslip sits in here, as well, btw). David Boswell has a good grip on, as he deems it, “coloring outside the lines.” Crisp, skilled, and well composed pieces easily elevate this offering as one to be taken seriously. Having studied under the likes of Pat Metheny, you’ll have no trouble identifying the innovativeness of his music.
There are enough intricacies to easily impress and convince the true “at the edge” fusion fan (the melodies and riffs can get a bit complex and involved), but the “meat & potatoes” smooth jazzer who prefers to keep it simple and close to the ground should find some satisfaction in this finely tuned production, as well. Boswell’s nifty hooks (check out “It’s Possible” and “Did I Tell You” for great examples) will appeal to anyone who truly appreciates good jazz, and Haslip’s expressive bass is, well, as usual, expressive. Nelson Rangell offers his tell-tale sax work, and it fits in here perfectly like that hard-to-find note in a five-part harmony vocal group.
This album possesses so many pieces that are just very there. To put it another way, I Like That is like one long but entertaining story told without a lot of words but with all the expression in the world needed to get the point across. That story is nowhere better represented than on cuts like “Shake and Bake” a potpourri of sound, and the very electric title track (both the opener and the “radio edit” versions—but especially the latter!). All in all, the mood, the aura, and the phrasing all place this piece of work in that special category with many of the great fusion pieces.
Not to be confused with conventional smooth jazz as many of us know it, I Like That carries its own smoothness and character with it. While some may choose to pass on it, many more will love its daring and its pure freshness. It’s got clear definition and direction, and I like that.Posted by Ronald Jackson at February 16, 2009 3:55 PM