Postmodern Jazz,
featuring Roy Ayers,
Love Not Truth
(self-produced, 2005)

Postmodern this is not, at least to my ears. But it is a respectable mixture of jazz, funk and modern R&B, with a hint of electronica. The songs were written or co-written by the CD's producer, Jim Wellman.

The music is light and smoothed out by production, but avoids the "smooth jazz" sound thanks to insistent, polyrhythmic beats and solid backing that features sax, trumpet and understated guitar.

The first track, "Sun Theme," is certainly sunny, with Roy Ayers's vibes and subtle Latin beats giving it a lounge feel. The CD's other instrumental, "Undecided," also features Ayres's light touch on the vibes over a funkier beat.

The title track has laidback vocals by Ayers and a nice funk groove. He also sings on "Good Vibrations" (not the Beach Boys song). Ayers, who is a near legendary vibraphonist, turns out to have a voice that works nicely with a soul feel.

"Lucy" returns to lounge with electric piano and vocals by Judy LaRose. It is about the discovery of the skeleton of an ancient human ancestor. The lyrics are a bit silly ("We were walking on all fours ... our minds began to grow"), but you have to credit Wellman for tackling an unusual subject for a song. LaRose's melodious voice also travels smoothly through "Darkness into Light."

"Crazy Love Song," unfortunately, is not crazy but a bit mundane, with mannered soul vocals by Mel Nixon. Nixon is held back on the funkier "Love Once More" with uninteresting lyrics like, "I need your love once more," "we'll meet again in time and space" and "I wish that I could hold you." LaRose and Nixon successfully trade off vocals on "Everything" and "Another Kind of Culture," propelling both songs while keeping them on an even keel.

Love Not Truth is a hybrid of jazz and pop. Some jazz listeners might find it to be a bit light. But it is pleasant enough, and the mixture of styles makes it quite listenable, especially for those who have a taste for contemporary R&B.

by Dave Howell
9 December 2006

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