The pandemic and post-lockdown restrictions created opportunities for some and provided a swift kick in the butt for others. In the case of the “little big band” The Jones Factor, it provided both. Typically, it’s a monumental challenge for the ten-piece ensemble of first-call studio musicians and in-demand live performers to synchronize their schedules in order to work on their own records, which is why they were three years into recording their first album in thirteen years when the pandemic hit. Unable to tour for an extended period of time, as soon as it was permitted for them to return to the studio, the contemporary jazz collective gathered with a renewed determination to complete and release their third album. “The Time Is Now – out now.
Produced by the group’s Dave Anderson and John Fumasoli utilizing an unusual production approach for a jazz ensemble, “The Time Is Now” is a horn-powered session that serves up an expansive assortment of jazz – contemporary, fusion, bop and hard bop – along with swatches of blues, funk, Latin and pop nuances. Showcasing the pedigree of performers who have accompanied jazz, pop and R&B legends and luminaries (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Diana Ross, Elton John, Steely Dan, and Smokey Robinson among many others), the musicianship throughout the nine-song mix of original compositions and covers given a big band makeover is scholarly and dynamic. Adding the firepower of six special guest musicians, the project is truly collaborative with each player given free rein to improvise, experiment and uniquely texturize the sonic amalgams.
To get a sense of the magnitude of “The Time Is Now,” check out this studio performance video of the album’s “Hall of Mirrors,” a Bela Fleck tune to which multiple Grammy nominee and three-time Emmy winner Chieli Minucci (Special EFX) plies his agile and intricate guitar work:
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