FRED RANDOLPH — Mood Walk (review)

FRED RANDOLPH — Mood Walk album cover Album · 2020 · Soul Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
Lately a lot of young people in London, LA and elsewhere are rediscovering that jazz doesn’t belong in a museum, it can be relevant, now and fun, party music with a message if you want. No doubt its great seeing this happen. Those of us who have been around for a while can recall a jazz style that was great for parties, while being socially relevant, back in the 70s. That style was called soul jazz and it fueled many a backyard gathering and late night club date back in the day. Fred Randolph’s new CD, “Mood Walk” is not retro soul jazz per se, but it does capture a similar spirit with its mix of upbeat hard bop, funk jazz, Latin grooves and laid back change ups. The CD’s appeal is pushed further by the fact that Randolph’s band is made up of musicians that know each other well and have played together often over the years, this is not of those quickly thrown together recording dates.

Fred is a multi-instrumentalist who tried his hand at guitar and saxophone before settling on the bass. In addition to his CDs as a leader, Fred works as a sideman in many different styles including, classical, rock, samba, salsa and RnB. Fred’s assembled band on “Mood Walk” is super hot with trumpeter Erik Jekabson and saxophonist Sheldon Brown leading the way with veteran confidence and youthful energy. One of the best tracks is the Congo derived driving energy of “Nouveau Monde”. When Greg Sankovitch enters with a flying B3 solo, it sounds like you are in classic Santana land. “Mr Now” mixes Coltrane inspired hard bop with more Latin flavor, while “T Bone Slide” and “Funky N.O. Thing” kick the party in high gear with the funk jazz. Life has been hard lately, let “Mood Walk”, lighten your burden.
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