CD Review | Chance Hayden's "Get Somethin'" by Alex W. Rodriguez

 

Portland-based guitarist Chance Hayden’s sophomore studio venture, this recording gathers some of the city’s most adept jazz-funkateers to both reinterpret 70s soul classics and present new material by Hayden. The result is a cohesive testament to this rich musical lineage—these guys have clearly done their homework. 
Bassist Damian Erskine and drummer Michael Raynor anchor a solid groove throughout, usually in a half-time funk pocket tinged with swing by Raynor’s ride cymbal. Saxophonist John Nastos and trumpeter Farnell Newton add punchy horn lines and solo choruses on three tracks; Nastos’s honking on “Take the Call” is one of the album’s highlights. The pieces also showcase Hayden’s skills as an improviser, whose melodic vocabulary adds colorful extensions to the vamp-based grooves. He is also a soulful interpreter of the melodic material on the song’s four covers, drawing from 70s hits by Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, and Donny Hathaway. 
Portland’s own blue-eyed-soul wunderkind, Jarrod Lawson, makes a guest appearance on the final track, bringing a yearning sincerity to Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Hayden’s own compositions complement these skillful versions of soul classics, but the energy does take a notable uptick when they are interpreting these classic melodies—with the opening title track, “Get Somethin’” serving as an inspired exception. Still, the whole recording hangs together nicely, offering an uplifted, skillfully executed tribute to one of American music’s golden ages.