Brad Turner, Mike Murley, Chris Tarry, and Ian Froman (or Metalwood) definitely have a love of the past. Just like the Soulive crew, these gentlemen want to put the boogaloo back in your bones. Emulating the likes of Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Smith, and Richard “Groove” Holmes, Metalwood’s jazz is of the jook joint variety. And, much like Soulive, they perform this dance hall time warp to mixed results.
One can see, listening to this disc, how this high-octane quartet (like Karl Denson or Maceo Parker) could really set a club on fire. However, The Recline feels watered-down by too much reverence for a groovy past. These guys are definitely musicians (check out Murley’s sax on “Mr. Mike” and Turner’s keys all throughout). It’s just that they’re wallowing in a funk that stopped reeking some 20 years ago. Unlike Erik Truffaz or Medeski, Martin, and Wood, this wood has not added a modern-day varnish to their sound (and the token scratchings of DJ Logic don’t really help the cause). While one can easily acknowledge their skills and even enjoy the album, their sound does ring a little hollow and even the contributions of Mino Cinelu and John Scofield cannot drown out the echoes of past, greater musicians who succeeded decades ago in doing what these four guys are trying to do today.