Fourplay – The Best Of Fourplay (1997/2020)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,8 MHz | Time – 67:38 minutes | 2,66 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 67:38 mins | 1,49 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover
First released in 1997, “The Best Of Fourplay” showcases the smooth jazz supergroup’s signature style of indelible melodies, tasteful arrangements and addictive, toe-tapping grooves. Besides choice album cuts from Fourplay’s Warner Bros repertoire, the 13-track compilation includes the band’s hit versions of Marvin Gaye’s “After The Dance”, fronted by the silky-voiced El DeBarge, and the Isley Brothers’ “Between The Sheets”, featuring legendary soul singer, Chaka Khan. The new edition of the album includes the bonus track, “The Closer I Get To You”, a duet between Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson. The album was remastered using hi-resolution digital transfers from the original analogue master tapes.
The collection opens with ‘Max-O-Man’, a strongly melodic composition co-written by drummer Harvey Mason and taken from the group’s debut album, Fourplay, in 1991. Plucked from the same album is ‘101 Eastbound’, a jazz-funk groove propelled by Nathan East’s percussive bass. It is Fourplay’s most played song on Spotify with over five million plays and East says he wrote it with his brother, Marcel. ‘Higher Ground’, recorded in 1997, is the first of four covers on the album. It’s Fourplay’s reimagining of a Stevie Wonder tune from the Motown maestro’s Innervisions LP, though it’s much slower than the 1973 original and features the slick, soulful harmonies of US vocal sextet, Take 6. Also recorded in 1997, ‘4 Play And Pleasure’, was written by guitarist, Ritenour, who begins the song playing staccato notes as the prelude to a slick, funkified groove, where he then plays a smooth melody using octaves a la Wes Montgomery. Characterised by varieties of texture, the song is distinguished by fine musical interplay between each member of the group. ‘Chant’, is an elegant Bob James’ tune that first appeared on Fourplay’s second album, 1993’s Between The Sheets and as a single reached No. 98 in the US R&B charts. It’s propelled by a chugging funk rhythm and features Nathan East supplying soft, atmospheric vocals as well as a sinewy bass line. The new reissue of The Best Of Fourplay concludes with a bonus track in the shape of ‘The Closer I Get To You’, taken from the group’s Elixir album. R&B fans will recall that the memorable James Mtume-Reggie Lucas-penned song was a hit duet for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1977. Fourplay revamped the song in 1995 using the exquisite voices of noted soul singers Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson.
01 – Max-O-Man
02 – 101 Eastbound
03 – Higher Ground (feat. Take 6)
04 – 4 Play And Pleasure
05 – Chant
06 – After The Dance (feat. El DeBarge) [Edit]
07 – Bali Run
08 – Play Lady Play
09 – Between The Sheets (feat. Chaka Khan and Nathan East) [Edit]
10 – Amoroso
11 – Any Time Of Day
12 – Why Can’t It Wait Till Morning (feat. Phil Collins) [Remix]
13 – The Closer I Get To You (feat. Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson) [Bonus Track]
Produced by Fourplay.
Digitally remastered in 2020.
Bob James – keyboards
Lee Ritenour – guitars
Nathan East – bass
Harvey Mason – drums