Rapturous: Jospé disc makes miles fly by

Robert Jospé and Inner Rhythm: Hands On 

Pop! That's the sound of me pulling my head out of my ass. Seems that I've been so engrossed in my own goings on that I've lost touch with the outside world. (I can, however, draw a pretty accurate sketch of my colon).

But seriously, the last six months have been a blur. Road trip after road trip. Appointments, engagements, family, friends all contribute to the little world I am tightly wrapped in. Busy, busy. This weekend was no exception.

Saturday I decided to make the trek down to Norfolk for the Seven Cities B-Boy Competition at Old Dominion University. The drive was about three hours, so I stopped in Plan 9 to grab a CD for the road. While browsing the jazz section, I noticed a Robert Jospé disc that I hadn't seen before.

Jospé has been playing around town for a while, and I've tried to keep tabs on him since I moved here four years ago. He blew my mind one night at Rapture with the ease with which he could drum the most complex rhythm. He was natural, graceful, and very attentive to the other members of his quartet. Consequently, I was not attentive to my date.

Anyway, there's his most recent disc, Hands On, sitting on the shelf. Without hesitation I scooped it up and hopped in my car. Seventy degrees and a slight breeze. Windows rolled down. Track one, the title track, comes on like spicy salsa, and I'm digging and dipping my chip deep in it.

On "The Night Before," a re-worked rendition of the Beatles tune, John D'earth enters with a perfectly phrased trumpet solo. That sets the stage for Bob Hallahan's dancing fingers on piano. Hallahan, who co-wrote three tunes on the album with Jospé, shines throughout. His keys are a graceful complement to Jospé's drums.

There's chemistry among all the players on the record that's hard to pin down. The collaborators have been playing together in different incarnations for many years, which explains the fluidity in the transitions and the feeling that they can read each other's minds.

Also present on the album are percussionist Kevin Davis, Jeff Decker on saxophone, Royce Campbell on guitar, and Elias Bailey and Pete Spaar on Bass. Spaar and Campbell also contribute original compositions to Hands On.

I was able to listen to Hands On straight through two times before I made it to Norfolk. As I was getting out of the car, I caught a glimpse of the date on the back of the CD jacket. Hands On was recorded in late August 2003.

Where have I been? I must be losing touch. Next time something this enjoyable comes out, will someone please tell me?