Harvey Mason – Chameleon (2014) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Harvey Mason – Chameleon (2014) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:17 minutes | 1,18 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Concord Records

A veteran of numerous straight-ahead jazz, R&B, and pop sessions, drummer/composer Harvey Mason revisits his own fusion past on “Chameleon”. The Fourplay co-founder gathered both his peers and next-generation players for this revisitation of electric jazz classics from the ’70s. A blend of R&B, urban and cutting-edge Jazz, “Chameleon” takes its inspiration from the title track, which drummer Harvery Mason co-wrote with Herbie Hancock in 1973. Mason himself was eventually nicknamed the “Chameleon” for his ability to perform so many styles of music. This album updates classic tracks that Mason either wrote or played on, such as Hancock’s Chameleon, Grover Washington’s Black Frost, Donald Byrd’s Places And Spaces and Mason’s own Either Way.

Harvey Mason’s 2014 effort, Chameleon, is an expansive and funky album that finds the journeyman jazz drummer exploring the space between the ’70s post-bop/fusion albums that marked his early career and the contemporary smooth jazz work that has defined the latter half of his career. Having started out playing with the masterful pianist Erroll Garner, Mason eventually join Herbie Hancock’s legendary Headhunters ensemble, with whom he recorded the original version of this album’s title track. And while he went on to a successful career working with a bevy of artists including Lee Ritenour, George Benson, and others, it is primarily his work with Hancock that is Mason’s focus here. In fact, Mason has put together a group of adept musicians rivaling the original Headhunters lineup, including original Headhunters percussionist Bill Summers, trumpeter Christian Scott, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, Fender Rhodes keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams, and others. Together, Mason and his band delve deep into a batch of original songs and well-chosen covers by such similarly inclined crossover jazz giants as Bobby Hutcherson, Patrice Rushen, and the Mizell Brothers. And while Mason’s organic, chilled-out take on the title track (replete with Summers’ atmospheric vocals and Hinda Hu whistle) is a highlight, it’s merely the tip of this funk-berg. Similarly engaging are such cuts as the synth-driven, ’80s video game funk of “Mase’s Theme” and the yearning, alternative R&B-infused reworking of Leon Ware’s “If I Ever Lose This Heaven,” featuring vocalist Chris Turner. We also get the moody, sensuous “Black Frost,” with its synth-layered groove that still allows for a muscular, skronk-laden solo from Washington. Ultimately, as the title implies, Chameleon is a joyful album that combines the best aspects of Mason’s musically colorful, ever-changing career.

01 – Black Frost (feat. Kamasi Washington)
02 – Montara
03 – If I Ever Lose This Heaven (feat. Chris Turner)
04 – Looking Back
05 – Before The Dawn
06 – Studio Life (Hold It One Second)
07 – Places And Spaces (feat. Christian Scott, Corey “Ck” King)
08 – Either Way
09 – Mase’s Theme
10 – Chameleon
11 – Looking Forward (Breaking Bad) (feat. Guillaume Perret) [Bonus Track]

Produced by Harvey Mason and Chris Dunn.
Engineered and Mixed by Seth Presant.
Recorded at Mason Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Mixed at The Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Additional Recording by Andrew Hey and Rob Sizwe Price.
Mastered by Paul Blakemore at CMG Mastering.

Harvey Mason – drums, vibes, percussion, synth, piano, synth bass
Kamasi Washington – tenor sax
Corey “CK” King – synths, trombones
Matthew Stevens – guitar
Kris Bowers – fender rhodes
Ben Williams – electric bass
Bill Summers – percussion, vocals
Hinda Hu whistle; Mark de Clive-Lowe – Fender Rhodes, synths
Chris Turner – vocals
Christian Scott – trumpet
Jimmy Haslip; Paul Jackson – electric bass
Guillaume Perret – tenor sax, keyboards
John Beasley – piano