Review: Metro – Express

I’ve listened to Metro’s latest release a half dozen times over the last week – and I’ve probably read and re-read the ContemporaryJazz.com Forum thread regarding Express just as many times. I’m not sure if I get it or I’m missing something – yes, this release is not as rocking and balls to the wall as MetroLive was, but after all, that was probably their most rock like recording to date. Express is more melodic, employs some wordless and background vocals, and Chuck Loeb does mix it up guitar – but this release also wails. Just listen to “Tell Me A Thousand Times,” “Absynth Blues,” or “Express.” Looking back, I’m not sure that this disc is that far a departure from Grapevine or Metrocafe. It’s definitely smoother, in a polished, production kind of way, than Tree People, Metro, or Petite Blonde were, which is not a bad thing. In my mind, it’s more evolutionary than anything. Considering how busy and in demand Mitchel Forman and Chuck Loeb are, I’m grateful that this group of musicians has been able to find the time to come together and collaborate – as fans, we’re better off for it. Judging from the buzz on the ContemporaryJazz.com Forum, there are quite a few fans out there. Oh, by the way, for those of you who think Express is a smooth jazz sellout – put your headphones on and turn up the volume while listening to “Up Above The Stars.”

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