This is a very, very fine album indeed. A summery album (released a fraction too late perhaps, or at just the right time to help recall sun-soaked, blissed-out holidays?) A very grown up album, full of soul, fine musicianship and interesting diversions. It showcases a group of musicians sounding comfortable with what they do and with each other, producing the sort of music that sounds so relaxed and easy although we know it must be anything but.
The sound of the album reminds me of the phrase "copies without originals". It has a seventies feel to it and names like Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington Jr, Jim Mullen, The Crusaders, Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang spring to mind, although it doesn't quite sound like any of them. Of all JTQ's previous work, it has the big, jazzy Hammond organ sound of "Get Organized", the lush production and mix of styles of "Room at the Top" and the inventive, accomplished jamming of "The Oscillator".
The album starts with the house-style, rhythmic piano of "Joe's Diversion" which later dissolves in to a dreamy synthesiser interlude before picking up the pace again for a dance-able finish. "Opening Our Eyes" and the title track both start out in deceptively laid-back style before picking up into a healthy groove, with the former, in particular, featuring some blistering Latin workouts. A high tempo is maintained by "Kick It" which, with its funky bassline and chunky Hammond intro, is probably the most archetypal JTQ track on the album.
The next track is the first to feature Yvonne Yanney's vocals and is suitably soulful. It is followed by the slow, beautiful "Dreaming of You", which manages to be lush and affecting without lapsing into naff cocktail-jazz schmaltz. "Summer Song" is appropriately named and is followed by "Equinox" and "The In-Between" - two more head-nodding, toe-tapping, groove-along sorts of tunes that will be familiar to many from live performances. "Dr. Grits" is another apposite title for a gritty, bluesy, funky instrumental and the final song is another live favourite: the Clavinet-driven, disco-stomper "It's All Over".
If you don't like jazz-funk, the chances are that you won't enjoy this album much. If you do, you'll probably have to wait a very long time before a better one comes along.
The solos on the title track is what this album is all about, great technique, very cool musicianship and some subllime grooves. This is a very understated album which the more you listen to, the more it captures the senses. Some very classic sounds but also some very cool grooves... Such a great album and should be in the top Jazz albums of all time! Absolutely superb.