Fourplay: Journey

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Lucy Tauss

Fourplay

To paraphrase the Eagles, you’ll get a peaceful, easy feeling when you listen to Fourplay’s Journey (Bluebird). The veteran smooth-jazz act has created a collection of easygoing tunes that demonstrate that laid-back is not synonymous with simple; there’s plenty of singular soloing, adept group interplay and interesting compositional ideas going on here. On “From Day One,” keyboardist Bob James states the charming main theme, and then guitarist Larry Carlton steps in to take it in a soulful, bluesy direction, while “Play Around It” finds bassist Nathan East whispering playful lyrics about his bandmates as the funky rhythm grooves along. James and Carlton gracefully trade off the melody on their delicate cover of Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” and then the band travels to Brazil for the bossa nova tune “Rozil.” East’s vocals have long been part of the Fourplay sound, and he’s particularly expressive on the title track, a love ballad that would fit well on adult-contemporary radio.