Frank McComb - A Tribute to the Masters (2007)

Frank McComb
FrankMcComb-Tribute.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Frank McComb's career has been one tumultuous ride, but after the decade-long battle this extremely talented singer/songwriter/keyboardist had in simply getting his music out to his adoring fanbase, his movement to independence earlier this decade ultimately resulted in a place for him in modern soul music that is both satisfying and artistically meritorious.  His last two discs, Straight from the Vault and The 1995 Bootleg (which were both home-recorded and home-pressed) found huge audiences around the world, and helped proved the validity of the alternate path that many of the most gifted modern soul artists are taking -- a self-directed path in which they control their careers as well as their music.  It is a route that has provided McComb with both greater financial success and music freedom.  The freedom to release limited edition albums, "vault" albums and, now, a daring all-instrumental album that pays homage to his musical

Frank McComb's career has been one tumultuous ride, but after the decade-long battle this extremely talented singer/songwriter/keyboardist had in simply getting his music out to his adoring fanbase, his movement to independence earlier this decade ultimately resulted in a place for him in modern soul music that is both satisfying and artistically meritorious.  His last two discs, Straight from the Vault and The 1995 Bootleg (which were both home-recorded and home-pressed) found huge audiences around the world, and helped proved the validity of the alternate path that many of the most gifted modern soul artists are taking -- a self-directed path in which they control their careers as well as their music.  It is a route that has provided McComb with both greater financial success and music freedom.  The freedom to release limited edition albums, "vault" albums and, now, a daring all-instrumental album that pays homage to his musical influences, A Tribute to the Masters.

It is extremely unlikely that an emerging artist such as McComb could have released Tribute on a major label.  It would be considered a "career killer."  The conventional wisdom would be that an album that ignores his most memorable asset -- that voice -- for jazzy instrumentals couldn't get airplay and simply wouldn't satisfy his newer fans.  But that is precisely the beauty of the road less traveled on which McComb has walked: it has given him the ability to challenge both his audience and his creative spirit, here resulting in a marvelous album that effectively shows the musical world a different side of Frank McComb's art.  It should be noted here that "different" isn't a code word for "inaccessible."  Nor is it an indication that McComb has released a (yawn) typical smooth jazz album.  As always, McComb's melodies are strong and his playing is marvelous, resulting in engaging, memorable tributes to such legendary artists as Patrice Rushen, George Duke, Chick Corea and Ramsey Lewis.  Both McComb's loyal legion of fans and soul/jazz enthusiasts who do not realize the musicianship he brings may be surprised by the strength of Tribute.  And they'll be even more pleased with the fact that there simply isn't a bad cut on the disc.  A Tribute to the Masters is another fine addition to a discography that is as strong as any artist's this decade.  Highly recommended.

by Chris Rizik

 
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"
Featured Album - Jeffrey Dennis - "Lovin On You"
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"

Leave a comment!