The multifaceted Whitfield has long delivered on the promise he showed ten years ago, when his chief inspiration, George Benson, helped bring him to national attention. Equally versed in commercial soul-jazz and straight-ahead, he has always moved effortlessly back and forth between subgenres. The perfectly titled Raw leans hardcore towards the latter; it's a live five song recording featuring Whitfield and his longtime quartet of pianist Robert Glasper, bassist Brandon Owens, and drummer Donald Edwards. The date was recorded at the world famous Iridium on Manhattan's Upper West Side and tiny Zinc bar on the Greenwich Village/Soho border, and follows on the successful heels of Soul Conversation, Whitfield's first recording for the label. An R&B/smooth jazz oriented duet project with fellow guitarist JK, Soul Conversation was released this past June and met with extraordinary results at smooth jazz radio. While Soul Conversation drew upon Whitfield's love for classic and modern R&B grooves, the freewheeling, high energy of Raw allows him to explore his lifelong love of uncompromising, fearless jazz improvisation. Fans of his live experience will recognize the five pieces on Raw (all of which extend beyond ten minutes): "Ducktones" and "A Beautiful Intuition" (written by Donald Edwards); the jazz standard "Alone Together"; the lush ballad "A Brooklyn Love" (written by Whitfield); and Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story," which Whitfield originally recorded on Fingerpainting, a 1998 recording with Nicholas Payton and Christian McBride.
|Ducktones / Donald Edwards||Mark Whitfield||12:57|
|A Beautiful Intuition / Donald Edwards||Mark Whitfield||15:37|
|Alone Together / Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz||Mark Whitfield||11:54|
|A Brooklyn Love / Mark Whitfield||Mark Whitfield||15:04|
|Tell Me a Bedtime Story / Herbie Hancock||Mark Whitfield||10:27|