WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE!

fo/mo/deep — Syzygy

Sept. 13, 2019

I have been following this eclectic groove machine known as fo/mo/deep since 2010, and I have to say that, with each of its colorful releases (including the current Syzygy — interesting title), the band has given me plenty of reason to continue following it.

Operating as a trio these days (Ron “FatKat” Holmes on all basses, Andre Scott on drums and percussion, and Robert Mason on piano/keys) and continuing in the vein of eclecticism (as one of its albums is titled, by the way), the group gives nods to the funk/soul groove while still holding up high the contributions of the masters of the traditional jazz persuasion.

The sound and feel here is rich, full, and speaks clearly of quality musicianship and music that was well-produced, well-selected (in the case of covers), and well-thought-out (in the case of originals).

Tracks of particular note to me are an impressive cover of the late great Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” a snappy, keys-tight “Bourbon Neat,” a funky piano-chatty cover of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” a lazy-smooth and soulful little number called simply “Paradise” that (guess what?) displays more top-tier piano work — in fact, all of these goodies highlight Mason’s marvelous piano/keys work (a huge nod to the unselfishness of bandleader Holmes who clearly knows what he has in Mason — certainly not to take a single thing from the bassist himself or his in-the-pocket drummer).

There are also superb covers of a couple of Coltrane gems “Giant Steps” and “Naima”) , as well as a very interesting take on the Rod Temperton-penned “The Lady In My Life” (recorded by Michael Jackson and, later, by Lou Rawls) and a brilliant version of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Much more here to enjoy as well.

Eclecticism personified, this highly perceptive trio of quality musicians deserves a serious listen. Two thumbs up– Ronald Jackson