Looking for a rather special soul and soul/jazz album… one with a stellar line up? Then look no further that David Garfield’s ‘Jammin’ Outside The Box’. Assiduous sleeve readers will recognize Garfield’s name straight away… well he’s been in the business for 50 years! The keyboardist, you see, began way back working with jazz icon Freddie Hubbard; he then worked on numerous projects that took him deep into other musical genres. More recently he’s been the faithful MD for George Benson while he’s also collaborated with Smokey Robinson. Clearly jazz and soul has always been where David’s most comfortable and earlier this year we spotlighted his ‘Jazz Outside The Box’ album. He now follows that up with this ‘Jammin’ Outside The Box’… a soul, soul/jazz set which brings us to that stellar line up. For the 14 tracker Mr G has drafted in, wait for it…. amongst others – Kirk Whalum, George Benson, Smokey Robinson, Michael McDonald, Eric Marienthal, Marcus Miller, Oleta Adams, Phil Perry, Rick Braun, John Klemmer, Kenya Hathaway, Bill Champlin, David Sanborn, Ray Parker Jr and Tower of Power’s Doc Kupka!
With such a line up, it’s difficult to know where to start. Maybe we should begin with something that might be familiar – a version of Rufus’ ‘Stay’. This new take, which features sometime Rufus drummer and the song’s writer, Moon Calhoun on vocals, won plenty of airplay when released as a single earlier this year. Easy to hear why. It’s incendiary! George Benson and David Sanborn trade solos, by the way.
Other vocal highlights include Smokey Robinson on his own song, ‘One Like You’ which, I think, was originally recorded by George Benson. Smokey’s voice is as sweet as ever… c’mon Bill… what about a new album of your own!!! Then there’s a duet between Oleta Adams and Phil Perry on the Isleys’ ‘Highways Of My Life’ which features a surprising mood change mid way through. The Lilliana de los Reyes vocalised version of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Lovin’ You’ offers a similar surprise as does a cover of Bobby Caldwell’s ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’. Vocalist on this, by the way, is someone called Lamont Dozier. Amongst the instrumentals are inspired versions of Stevie’s ‘Go Home’, Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’ and Sting’s ‘Fragile’. All are delivered with the professionalism and perfection you’d expect…. but also expect a few surprises!