Two for Tuesday: Fourplay

When I was in college, each floor of my dorm had an intramural team. I lived on the fourth floor, and the trick was to come up with a clever name for our team. Naturally, being male college students, we came up with the name “Fourplay.” (The following year, in honor of “Star Wars,” we were “The Fource.”) So I was rather surprised to hear in 1991 that there was a new smooth jazz band that had the same idea of naming themselves “Fourplay.” In their case, it was four superstars of smooth jazz: Lee Ritenour (session man since the early Seventies) on guitar, Bob James (who among other things wrote “Angela,” the theme fronm the TV show “Taxi”) on piano and keyboards, Nathan East (played with Eric Clapton and wrote the song “Easy Lover” for Phil Collins and Philip Bailey) on bass, and Harvey Mason (who worked with all of the others at one time or another) on drums. Together, they recorded three albums, Fourplay (1991), Between the Sheets (1993), and Elixir (1994). Lee Ritenour left the band in 1997; his replacement was the equally-talented Larry Carlton. With Carlton, they recorded 4 (1998), Snowbound (1999), Yes, Please! (2000), Heartfelt (2002), Journey (2004), X (2006), and Energy (2008). Carlton left the band in 2010, and was replaced by Chuck Loeb (yet another superb smooth jazz guitar player), with whom they recorded Let’s Touch The Sky (2010) and Esprit de Four (2012). There was also a “greatest hits” album released in 1997, after Ritenour’s departure.

The two songs here are in fact the first two songs off of the first album, “Bali Run,” featuring Lee Ritenour on guitar, and “101 Eastbound,” featuring Larry Carlton. Enjoy!


By the way: This is post number 200 for this blog. Thanks for being there for me!

2 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Fourplay

  1. I’ve been avoiding these videos for a while because of time (and some trouble with my browser plug-in that plays them)…. I’m glad I came back to enjoy. When I was younger I thought I “didn’t like” jazz… Maybe I’ve matured, maybe jazz has–but we’ve found some common ground, and I really enjoyed this. Thanks for posting, John.


    1. Browser plug-ins are a pain in the neck, aren’t they?

      I’ve always been a fan of instrumental music, and for a long time very few people were recording any, so I was happy when smooth jazz became popular in the late 1980’s. It has its detractors (the “jazz nazis”), but it’s enjoyable, and the performers are talented musicians who can play just about any genre (no surprise there, many of them were session musicians). It’s music I can listen to all day and not get bored with it. Thanks for stopping by!


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