Gerald Veasley

On the Fast Track

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For his fifth album as a leader (not counting the many he recorded as part of the Joe Zawinul Syndicate and as a member of Grover Washington, Jr.'s backing band), six-string bassist Gerald Veasley pushes the smooth jazz envelope a bit. Those who like their grooves gentle and their textures lush will still find plenty to like here -- the rich strings on his cover of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do," for instance, or the sweet and lovely "Goodnight Moon," written in honor of Washington. But there's a certain toughness at the center of the music this time out, and a greater willingness to let loose. The massed horns of "Kickin' 22 Express," the driving mid-tempo funk of his arrangement of the Ramsey Lewis classic "The In Crowd," the snaky and virtuosic unison lines on "You Asked for It" -- all of these point to someone who is not ultimately satisfied with just creating pleasantly swinging background music. More power to him.

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