Published Aug 15, 2019Throughout his musical career, Taylor McFerrin has done a pretty good job of convincing you that he's his own person. While it's common knowledge that his father, Bobby McFerrin, is kind of a big deal in certain music circles, McFerrin has been creating, producing, DJing and performing his own music, his own way. It brings us to new studio album Love's Last Chance, his first solo outing in five years, and it's the first time he's jumped on the microphone with vocals.
Where 2014's Early Riser was primarily an instrumental effort, Love's Last Chance sees McFerrin shed his inhibitions and record vocals that capture a nervous energy for a sound that, while not sublime, are more than enough to lift the music to where he wants it to go. It's a mix of progressive sounds and riffs on traditional R&B, funk, electronic and jazz.
McFerrin's recent team-up playing synths with Robert Glasper's supergroup album R+R=NOW — a who's who of progressive jazz's new generation, including Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Justin Tyson and Terrace Martin — has largely informed his approach and style on this record. It results in an organic feel; kicking things off with a instrumental number, "Her Entrance" sets the stage for the musical vibe that is to come.
"All I See Is You" uses McFerrin's ground-level vocals to hang with an electro-soul soundscape; "Love and Distance" carries a simmering soul intensity; Anna Wise joins in with the collaborative groove that is standout "Memory Digital," as it explores the fleeting nature of love; "I Can't Give Your Time Back" dreamily speaks its truth into the world; and "So Cold In the Summer" uses guitar riffs to meditate on making life's moments last as long as they can.
Love's Last Chance is lazy summer listening. It reveals a mindful DJ/keyboardist/producer and now vocalist who has progressed from someone who, in his words, "made beats every day," to someone who's on to something good. (AWAL)