Heavyshift

The Conversation

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

William South and John Wallace, aka Heavyshift, began working together 12 years ago. Their debut album, Unchain Your Mind, featured the hit single "90 Degrees in the Shade" and went to the Top Five on the NAC and Billboard jazz charts and was also named "Album of the Year" by Jazz FM. The Conversation is a return to the template that was set down on their debut album and boasts 11 tracks of both the smooth and the groove. The pair combine a heady mix of smooth and acid jazz on such memorable songs as "Oxo Cubed" and the funky opener "Bird Meets Norm," where punchy horns give way to jazz guitar licks. A presumed jam by sax legend Charlie Bird Parker and contemporary jazz guitarist Norman Brown is the inspiration for this piece and it's a keeper. The centerpiece of the CD, "The Conversation" and "Mix 'n' Go" (both of which did not appear on the Jazz FM album Say Hello to Teddy) are real burners . With Wallace's smoothed-out sax grooves and Smith's steady rhythm logic on bass, these two songs definitely make the CD worth owning. Horace Silver's jazz standard, "Song for My Father" gets a contemporary jazz update with beautiful melancholy trip-hop tones combined with an earthy soulful feeling. This is a very cool CD and should keep Heavyshift in the realm of contemporary jazz heavyweights.

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