*“Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
I saw that quote on jazz legend Gerald Albright’s Facebook page, and instantly fell in love with it. As it had no attribution, I called Albright to get the scoop on who was behind those wondrous words.
“I’m not sure who said it,” Albright confessed with a laugh, “but that is one of the main quotes from my life right now — on a lot of different levels, musical and otherwise.”
(As it turns out, the quote is from psychotherapist and yoga instructor Augusta F. Kantra…but I’ll have to tell you about her another time! When you have a jazz legend on the phone, and he mentions his musical path, you have to ask him about that! And when I did, I found out about Albright’s upcoming album, G.)
“Top to bottom,” Albright says, “I wanted my new album to take the listener on a musical journey with different textures, rhythms, chord progressions and moods. I want people to know where I’ve been and where I’m going, and to let them hear that I’m in a really good place in my life.”
After listening to G, I’ve concluded that Albright may be in the best place he’s ever been, as G may be the best album he’s ever released. The first track and lead single, “Taking Control,” is a rhythmic romp that has special meaning for Albright.
“‘Taking Control’ is directly reflective of what I’m doing with my career,” Albright told me. “I’m self managed now, and I have my own record company. It’s also a family-based project. My son did the CD cover and all of the promo shots, and he’s going to do my video for me. He has a degree in cinematography and digital editing. My daughter is singing on the album, and my wife was the project manager. So it’s a family thing, and this is the introduction to my real legacy. It’s really about ownership now and moving to the next level.”
I don’t like to mix metaphors, but G’s scorching lead single is just the tip of the iceberg. Albright cut UP on a track he called “Funkism.” Remember the old Cosby Show theme and how you couldn’t help but move around during the opening credits? (I actually danced with the Huxtables every week. Don’t judge.) Well, I was out of my seat and dancing around my office after the first few bars of “Funkism!”
Other standouts include a killer cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day” featuring blue-eyed soul singer Michael McDonald; “G and Doug E.” with, yes, rapper Doug E. Fresh; a faithful tribute to icon Frankie Beverly called “Frankie B.”; and the almost spiritual “Closure.” At the tender age of 59, Gerald Albright is on fire!
“I was not thinking ‘smooth jazz’ when I did it,” Albright asserted. “It’s full throttle R & B, and I’m riding the wave on top. I feel real good about it. There’s really no fear in stepping out on faith, man. I claim the success of this record. I’m just praying that it reaches the heights I see for it — and supersedes them!”
“To feel like I’m in my 20s,” Albright continued, “I can’t tell you what a youthful overture music has imbedded in my life. I feel like I’m just getting started, and looking forward to the next frontier!”
So music’s the secret to eternal youth? Well if you’ll excuse me, I’m backing away from this keyboard for a minute and getting back to my dancing to Alright’s incredible new album, G.
G’s lead single “Taking Control” is available on iTunes and other digital outlets. The album will be released September 30.
This feature was written by freelance writer Michael P Coleman. In this case, the P stands for “Please-Mr-Albright-Will-You-Autograph-A-Copy-For-Me?” Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP