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Marc Cary: Rhodes Ahead, Vol. 2

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Marc Cary’s Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 will do things to you. This is not a record that lives in a separate world from the listener. The leader’s Fender Rhodes electric piano will soothe you. Tarus Mateen’s deep electric bass will seduce you. And Terreon “Tank” Gully’s drums will excite you. Though by no means an unintelligent date, Rhodes is not a cerebral experience. It’s a physical one.

But that’s not what Cary and company are going for. It’s merely what happens when you put great instruments into great hands. The actual concept is about as simple: Set up a variety of funk grooves, add guests like trumpeter Igmar Thomas or tabla player Sameer Gupta, and go. There’s a Gnawa piece. A disco moment. And neo-soul. The neo-soul stuff is especially powerful and convincing; on “You Can’t Stop Us Now,” for instance, you might expect Common to start rhyming or Erykah Badu to start singing. The way in which the band handles these various ideas is so well done that one is only reminded of the similarities between the styles, not the differences.

Of all the fantastic moments on this album-and there are many-the disco passage from “Below the Equator” stands out. It only lasts half a minute, but it’s just so fun and spontaneous-seeming, and you can tell it’s the product of the chemistry between the players. It tells you everything you need to know about Cary and his band and Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2.

Originally Published