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Times 4 : Relations

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San Francisco-based quartet Times 4 points out what a musical melting pot modern jazz has become with its sophomore release, Relations. Essentially a funk act based on the rhythms of bassist Kevin Lofton and drummer Maurice Miles (bandmates since high school), the group also enters contemporary jazz, Latin music, hip-hop and soul territory through the playing of saxophonist Lincoln Adler and keyboardist Greg Sankovich (also friends since their teens).

The disc’s best tracks are the most funk-based, even ones in a 5/4 meter like the Miles-driven opener “M.O.” “Hericane” also features a rhythmic mix of jazz and funk by shifting between odd and even time signatures. The versatile Lofton proves capable of navigating both Marcus Miller-like slapped bass lines (“Thickness”) and Jaco Pastorius-inspired harmonics (“Enterlude”), and Sankovich’s Fender Rhodes makes “Cell Phone” approximate Steely Dan without Donald Fagen’s vocals.

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