Plunky & Oneness go the smooth-jazz route on Forever in a Moment (N.A.M.E. Brand), and the result isn’t entirely successful. The group’s funky, genre-spanning sound is here smoothed out into a series of mostly mellow tunes that are pleasant but feel too much like background music. There are highlights, however, like the title track, a hauntingly lovely ballad that showcases J. Plunky Branch’s eloquent saxophone. On the intimate ballad “Feels So Right,” Branch’s sax complements singer Tonya Lazenby-Jackson’s powerful voice, and on “Come With Me” an atmospheric keyboard bed cushions Branch’s lead vocals. “Brazilian Fantasy” is a blend of urban, smooth-jazz and Brazilian elements, and the band ups the tempo on “Just Up Ahead and to the Right,” a funk-fusion workout spiced with snappy sax.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.