Gerald Albright Comes Out in A Fast Break on 'Slam Dunk' but Cools Down Early
Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.
Week of 08/15/2014
WHO: Gerald Albright
WHAT: Slam Dunk
Gerald Albright has made a name for himself by being a multi-instrumentalist—primarily a saxophonist (of all keys), but the musician has been known to provide his own flute, bass, keyboards, drums and even vocals. This—along with the photo of the performer with a saxophone AND bass on the cover of Slam Dunk—sets the listener up for major experimentation and hybrid rock.
The album comes out of the gate with the kind of sound we were hoping for, a funky saxophone line featuring hip-hop beats cut in like an entry to the Jock Jams series. Albright ultimately earns a career label as a jazz man and the title track reflects a tasteful shuffle of modern influences and his base craft.
The rest of Slam Dunk, alas, would be more accurately described as Free Throws however, shots uncontested by the potential for failure that lie in an experimental piece such as the opener. "True Colors," "A Sparkle In Your Eyes" and a majority of the tracks settle boringly into the "smooth jazz" category. Although "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" is an engaging instrumental play on James Brown's classic track, the aforementioned Cyndi Lauper mockup ("True Colors") is one cover too many.
Our advice is to check out Albright's previous album 24/7, a collaboration with guitarist Norman Brown, for a more interesting taste of Albright's offerings.