Neo Classic Jazz
The heart of the music is rooted in a tangy fusion of raw funk and relentlessly swingin’ jazz (“Lids and Squares” and “Kings”), but there are also songs of melodic beauty and radio-friendly panache (“Everytime I See U” and “In Your Eyes”). There are blazin’ jazz-rock fusion workouts (“Coffee” and “Folake'”) that will have aspiring drummers getting out there notepads. There is also a dynamic straight-ahead number (“Jazzi Ray”) that recalls the aural signature of big band great, Neil Hefti.
Two pieces that feature Rayford singing lead are richly harmonic surprises. First is the title track, “Rebirth of the Cool,” which sounds like a late night meeting of Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye over which Rayford reminisces on the cult of jazz cool. Then there is “All That,” a flirtatious mack track crooned to a sexy lady who has captivated Rayford with her bewitching layers of allure. “I worked with Manhattan Transfer for a week or so at one point,” Rayford states. “Their sound was in my head when I wrote that one.”
MUSICIANS: percussionist Munyungo Jackson, guitarists Dwight Sills, Jamie Glaser and his brother Reggie Griffin, bassists Sekou Bunch, Larry Kimpell and Keith Jones, keyboardists Nick Smith, Deron Johnson and Rob Mullins, violinist Karen Briggs, and horn players Branford Marsalis, Everette Harp, “Patches” Stewart, Walt Fowler and Brandon Fields, among others.