On the Fast Track
The driving, rhythmic walks and expansive, bubbling foundations of '70s-era, rootsy funk are a perfect fit for bassist Gerald Veasley, who offers some of his most exciting work on On the Fast Track. The tunes are infectious and fun, from a strutting, lean-and-mean arrangement highlighting Hammond organ on "The In Crowd" to the fiery, horn-lit layers of "Kickin' 22 Express." Veasley and the band revel in fine funk craftsmanship on the album's frisky title track, which sets a bold sax section, vibes and needling guitar to complement the bass foundation. They also push the edges of this retro concept with some interesting experimentation. A sweeping, laid-back cover of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do," for example, is driven by congas as well as Will Brock's sparkling piano. "Deep Blue Samba" is a dark, urbane take on the classic Latin format, with Veasley and John Swana (on flugelhorn) painting a dusky atmosphere. The performances throughout complement the bandleader's considerable chops, giving him a natural opportunity to stretch out and enjoy the ride.