Four80East: Round 3

Contemporary jazz meets electronica on Toronto-based Four80East’s third album Round 3 (Higher Octave). The group, led by producer-musicians Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace, has crafted a fine collection of intricately textured tunes by layering a variety of mood-setting melodic elements over elaborate, bass-driven grooves.

The album opens with “Shot Clock,” wherein a driving, irresistibly funky bass pattern is overlaid by ringing keyboards and miscellaneous wind instruments. On “Mint Julep,” the bass joins forces with Carlos Del Junco’s gritty harmonica, and ethereal guitar floats above it all. DeBoer describes “TKO” as “a pugilistic three-way between sax, guitar and Wurlitzer with upright bass as the referee,” and that’s exactly what it sounds like. On the atmospheric “Last Flight to LA,” doleful trumpet creates a melancholy mood until flamenco guitar comes in to shake up the vibe, while piping flute and smoky sax offset an eccentric synth groove on “Burn Down the Bayou.”