Marc Seales’ melancholic astral odyssey through the heartland of the country is a hybrid of dance-friendly funk grooves and reflective musings. In this third leg of musical travels, we follow Seales and “American Blues” through the midwestern cities of Chicago and Detroit, through Kansas and the plains, west to the beaches of L.A., and finally back home to Seattle.
Greeted at the door by a sparse funk bass line, the even-tempered guitar solos take our coats as we take our places at the table. Suddenly, guitar solos and padded synths permeate the ether and send sonic vibrations throughout the place, transporting us into the realm of astral jazz, and then back towards the funky jams of earth again.
Back and forth we travel in this fashion, with Seales infusing synth magic into Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusher Man” and “Freddie’s Dead,” while Fred Hamilton’s guitar bends brilliantly over introspective piano riffs in “Wichita Lineman.” “Looking For Another Pure Love” may incite nostalgia, while “Maddie At The Getty” gives us a personal view of Seales’ relationship with his daughter – a tinge of angst and trepidation melding with a serene acceptance. Jeff Johnson’s tasteful basslines guide the poignant descents in “Remember Why.” The album ends with a sublimely heartfelt track called “Love’s Question,” which is my favorite of Seales’ solos – sometimes exasperated, sometimes keen, but always musing.
Drummer Gary Hobbs particularly deserves a nod. With elegant reserve, he connects the free-wheeling solos with penetrating fills, and masterfully rides the backbeat, his rhythms transforming the group into a cohesive cosmic whole.
–Edan Krolewicz, Earshot Jazz magazine, April 2015