There are probably not many jazz musicians who make Saratoga, NY, their home. But it is home to one of no small significance, Cole Broderick. His Zone follows on a quartet of releases devoted to the seasons of that area and is another set, but one of his original compositions. This time around, the pianist expands his horizons, drawing other musical forms into his work. There's a bit of hip-hop there and a tad of R&B and soul here and more than a smidgen of funk laying around, all textured with a contemporary jazz veneer. The other added feature is the debut vocalizing of Jeannie Blake who, like the lead man, indulges in a variety of styles. She shines on a funky, groovy "Accountability" with the wailing sax of Keith Pray and the backbeat of Gene Garone helping to carve out the groove. The generous amount of electrically created juice coursing through the instruments facilitates fusion of the wide variety of styles to fit, albeit it loosely sometimes, within the jazz framework. That's certainly evident in Broderick's tongue in cheek, leprechaunish paean to his ancestry, "Irish Dreams." Regardless of the style, all of these tunes have a catchy, toe-tapping ambience about them. Nothing too heavy here, just a lot of good swinging fun. Even Blake's effort to be at least semi-serious on "Out on a Limb" is disabused by the band's hip-hop beat. If one of the criteria for adding an album to your collection is jazz with a lot of other modern popular ingredients worked in, then this one is a must.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan