Jeff Logan - Black Tie Affair

Jeff Logan

Jeff Logan Black Tie Affair.jpg

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A self-taught musician hailing from Washington DC, Jeff Logan paid  dues while still a teenager, opening with his high school band for the likes of Jr. Walker & The All-Stars and Martha & The Vandellas. Even as an administrator for Prince George’s County Detention center, Mr. Logan explored his urbanized, gospel-inflected jazz stylings with a series of independent releases on his own label (launched in 2002) before putting together Black Tie Affair, a sprightly and sophisticated collection of original tracks and time-tested covers that demonstrate range and versatility.

A self-taught musician hailing from Washington DC, Jeff Logan paid  dues while still a teenager, opening with his high school band for the likes of Jr. Walker & The All-Stars and Martha & The Vandellas. Even as an administrator for Prince George’s County Detention center, Mr. Logan explored his urbanized, gospel-inflected jazz stylings with a series of independent releases on his own label (launched in 2002) before putting together Black Tie Affair, a sprightly and sophisticated collection of original tracks and time-tested covers that demonstrate range and versatility.

As an arranger, writer, performer and producer, Mr. Logan shows verve and polish throughout, “Improvise” has a brisk, busy “sunny afternoon in the big city” vibe, “Noteworthy” is a glittering mid-tempo and “Water to Wine” is a buoyant groove that incorporates seamless touches of hip-hop. An unexpected treat given how heavily anchored the numbers are by the piano. “Sunbreeze,” a snappy opener, is the flip-side of a slower-cooked, yet saucier “Sand ‘N Between,” and “Elevator Up,” the synth-laden, pop-flavored final track, is its most modern offering and closes the CD with a flourish.

Ironically, given how nimble he is with instrumentation and arranging, Mr. Logan’s reimagining of the classics aren’t as inspired: his slower take on “Favorite Things,” for example, is languid nearly to the point of laziness, and his version of “Sweet Sticky Thing” replaces its expect funk base with a decidedly glib, but more frenetic vibe. Also, “Smoothology 101” and “Stratosphere,” the tracks that include vocals, unintentionally highlight how meandering and under-developed they are, detracting from the otherwise well-executed compositions that they’re super-imposed upon.

Like the title indicates, Mr. Logan’s first foray into the mainstream is cool, classy and collected, with a few loose ends here and there that distract from the presentation but don’t obliterate its overall potential and polish. For contemporary jazz fans, it’s a worthwhile endeavor and an ….Affair that few will regret after taking it home.

By Melody Charles

 
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