Player_A90The A team strikes! This time it's Player A – Nashville's finest session men together in one studio, left to their own devices. An instrumental feast for the ears.....


Our Own Devices
Artist: Player A
lABEL: Creative Soul Jazz
lENGTH: 12 tracks / 47 Minutes

You say you've never heard Player A? Well, you're probably wrong since Player A is a group of Nashville's finest, most prolific studio session players: the 'A list' – hence, (in the spirit of First Call) the name. And a fitting name it is, with such spectacular instrumentalists as Mark Baldwin, Scott Dente, Dave Cleveland and Tom Hemby on guitars, Matt Pierson, Denny O'Lannerty and Gary Lunn on Bass, John Hammond, Scott Williamson, Brian Fullen, Ken Lewis and Dan Needham on drums, and Eric Copeland on keyboards: a super-group of musicians, more-or-less faceless to the public, who provide the musical condiments that flavor the sounds of so many of Nashville's greats.

The smooth, cool jazz of these twelve tracks (produced by Copeland) highlights the capabilities of these players not only as amazing soloists but as a sometimes funky, sometimes smooth rhythm section. Everyone shines on this engaging collection that is both 'hot' enough to dig into and smooth enough to create a nice groove in the background. One can only imagine how wonderful it would be to hear this band in a live context, where things could become a bit more spontaneous and (hopefully) even get a bit out of hand. These guys have got the goods – of course, years of supporting the 'main event' has taught these musicians the art of restraint and respect for the 'space' of the guys playing next to them. In this case 'guys' like sax legend Sam Levine or Marcus Anderson (who each do guest shots on this project).

The instrumental songs are all written by Copeland except for the two covers: "Staying Alive," (a somewhat perplexing choice which works but also makes you wonder, 'why?') and the sixties hit, "Windy," which cleverly starts off sounding like a vintage video game before getting into the meat of the piece: funk meets technology, meets jazz.

Our Own Devices does indeed leave these musicians, who usually are supporting other well-known artists, to their own devices, and the result is an album of well-constructed songs featuring the best players around finally getting to stretch out and do what they want to do.

It sounds like they had fun – so will you.

-Bert Saraco