Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Eli: Press

As I will occasionally do, I recently stumbled upon yet another gem caught flying below the contemporary jazz radar. This time, it was the self-titled fusion project put together by blues guitarist Mark Furman and a jazz/funk keyboardist known simply as Eli. The duo, though having been friends since high school, never had the opportunity to work together musically until a recent studio collaboration produced The Eli/Mark Furman Project just for the fun of it. Liking what they heard and had produced, the two decided to take this thing seriously and recruited drummer Vince Tamburri to complete Deez Guyz and begin work on this current project. One wise decision for sure.

Laced throughout with equal doses of bluesy undertones, solid rhythms, cozy phrasings, smooth, catchy melodies and hooks, and Eli’s animated keys filling in any crevices not already plugged by Furman’s fiery blues riffs, this album carries a lot of punch.

The spotless and sparky opening track, “Nice Weather,” speaks volumes as the album’s tone-setter as it proudly struts through with Eli’s bright and alive piano work complemented by powerful spurts from Furman’s axe. A sassy piece of work, indeed. Right on its heels is the handsomely melodic “The Journey,” a smart slow-to-slightly-mid-tempo piece featuring some potently woven fusion action. Totally refreshing.

Obviously written to stir the juices and soul, the energetic “Urban Synergy” never stops movin’ and groovin’, and drummer Tamburri seizes this moment to announce beyond any doubt his presence in the group with a most demonstrative show of skill, time, and rhythm. Not very far behind that track is another mover of note, the heavy mid-tempo blues rockin’ “Shuckin’,” one of my favs here. Furman, of course, gets to take full advantage of the mood set here.

Overall, the CD was clearly written to demonstrate the handle Deez Guyz have on the flavor of contemporary jazz in general and the beauty of fusion in particular. A wonderfully vibrant undertaking and interpretation of what this style of jazz means today. – Ronald Jackson