April 2007

Urban Jazz Coalition
Down to Get Up
Major 6th

Funky, brassy and rhythmic, the seven members of Urban Jazz Coalition hail from that funky oasis of Columbus, Ohio, and play with gusto and verve. They impart a dash of the smooth professionalism of Spyro Gyra mixed with the abandon of Incognito that makes for a great live show. That passion, thankfully, is transferred to disc. Like Spyro Grya, the Urban Jazz Coalition is more about the band’s interaction and playing, although the melody is forever lingering and making itself known. They’re a seasoned bunch of musicians: Brandon Howard on piano and synths, Keith Newton on tenor sax and flute, Lee Savory on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joe Gothard on guitar and vocals, Phil Raney on bass and synth programming, Jim Bridges on drums and Hector Maldonado on percussion and vocals. They all get plenty of solo opportunities.

Down to Get Up is flush with rhythmic grooves, funky bass lines, a smokin’ hot brass section and beautifully written songs. Smooth-jazz radio would be wise to get behind at least one tune, “True Love,” which was co-composed by hot guitarist of the moment, the single-named Nils. It’s a lazy shuffle of a song with a thick beat, and Nils offers some of the best guitar playing of the year.

Originally published in April 2007
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