Four Chords and Seven Notes Ago – Jason Crosby
Artists House Records
Jason Crosby's Four Chords and Seven Notes Ago is too much. The
track sprawler stretches out over 69 minutes with contributions from 22 musicians.
The results prove bloated, which is a shame because there is a fine album
smothered under the excess. Crosby is wildly talented (playing guitar,
trumpet, piano, and violin here) and seems capable of a greatness that
"Carl Find It" wades dangerously close to smooth jazz between bursts of
Latin piano, but the violin, which joins the spree in fascinating ways,
saves it. "Out of the Box," a funk-driven fusion number, incorporates
Crosby's violin so seamlessly that you almost forget that you've never heard
anything like it, and it only becomes more impressive when you realize that
he's on the keys and trumpet taboot. Still, despite such moments, there is rehash in the album's twelve instrumentals.
Four vocal numbers break things up (the best of which is easily
Susan Tedeschi's take on Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need of Love Today"),
but in the end the instrumental sprawl renders them mere blips on a too flat
line. This album announces a serious talent, one in need of focus.