Robert Jospé Express – Just Lookin’ Review
By Griff Stevens
If you listen to fusion, there might just be a name that pops out in your mind in the modern era. The Robert Jospé Express is one such group that might come to the tip of your tongue. Throughout Jospé’s career he has played with a myriad of groups ranging in style and lineup. From jazz stalwarts, John D’earth Quartet, pianists the late Hod O’Brien and Cyrus Chestnut, guitarist Stanley Jordan, vocalist Bobby McFerrin to Tim Reynolds and TR3, (rock/reggae/fusion), and even John McCutcheon (folk rock). Jospé is as versatile in his playing, as he is tasty.
Just Lookin’ with the Robert Jospé Express featuring John D’earth on trumpet was recorded and mixed by Mark Graham at The Sound in Charlottesville, Virginia and mastered by Dave Darlington in NYC. The album is adorned with five original compositions and “The One Step” by Chick Corea. Jospé’s originals lay nicely against the one Corea cover.
The album ranges from an up-tempo title track, which swings with a fury. The tune is illuminated by trumpeter John D’Earth. “Expressway,” gets down with a driving 6/8 feel that cooks throughout.
A highlight track for me is “Round Seven,” it sonically offers a blue tinged fusion aesthetic set once again to an interesting feel in 7/4. D’earth once again takes it up a notch with Butch Taylor on piano and B3, Dane Alderson holding it down on bass and of course Jospé on drums. His ability to create textural complexity, while still creating a cohesive driving force throughout the tunes is cornerstone to his mastery.
The one cover “The One Step” by Chick Corea is from Corea’s 78 album Friends. The guys pay it forward with justice, with shifting tempos, drum trades and free improvisation at the end of the tune. I would be remiss if I did not mention guitarist Brian Mesko who guests on the track “Snowed In.” Mesko has a masterful tough and his tone is salacious.
Its good to see the Express back at it, the group has a chemistry that is settled and allows for greater creativity. The maturity in their playing comes from time on the bandstand and the chops it builds, together they have created a lasting recording with Just Lookin’ a worthy purchase for an fusionist or jazzers that likes jazz with a bite.
Release Date: June 10, 2019
Label: Robert Jospe