Segueing from the breezy, optimistic flavor of the title cut to the hip-hop feel of "Aftermath," the set finds Jordan exploring new musical terrain. Special guests are Ron Ayers, Stefon harris, DJ Sppinna and more.
On his fourth recording--his first for Blue Note Records-- guitarist Ronny Jordan moves in a more mainstream direction. He minimizes the hip-hop and rap elements in his mix to favor a more subdued, straightforward jazz approach that brings to mind one of Jordan's role models, Wes Montgomery
. While this may furrow the brows of some acid-jazz fans, the results heard on this 73-minute excursion are largely positive and quietly appealing. The London-born Jordan reveals himself as thoughtful and expressive player, notably on self-composed, Pat Metheny
-like, pop-jazz cruisers ("Two Worlds," "Rio," "Seeing Is Believing") and in a more mainstream vein, "5/8 in Flow." For some listeners, A Brighter Day
may at times stray uncomfortably close to smooth-jazz innocuousness, but Jordan's prevailing inventiveness makes the overall package a pleasant one. Highlights are the soft-but-sweet grooves found on "Aftermath" and "Mackin'," the animated playing from vibraphonist Roy Ayers
on "Mystic Voyage," and the nimble finger work heard on "New Delhi." --Terry Wood