Have you ever wished you could go back to a time in your life to do things differently? During COVID isolation, contemporary jazz guitarist Dr. Dave contemplated his 2014 album, “Carefree.” Something never quite sat right with him about the project. So much has changed since then and he wanted to take another crack at it, this time backed by his mighty HouseCall Band, which he had not yet formed when the original recording sessions took place. The horn-powered ensemble contributes sass, brass and a whole lotta finesse to “Carefree Revisited,” which dropped Friday on Hatherill Records.
On “Carefree Revisited,” which Dr. Dave produced, arrangements were changed, some more than others. The track list was slightly modified, and The HouseCall Band puts its unique DNA all over the five original tunes co-written by Dr. Dave and six remakes that complete the set. Saxophonist John Rekevics architects the layered horn arrangements that bring new depth, luster and richness to the tracks, surrounding, buttressing and underscoring Dr. Dave’s lyrical and impassioned electric jazz guitar licks.
An addition to the original recording, “Carefree Revisited” includes a nocturnal read on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five,” enriched with Derek Cannon’s muted trumpet and sensual vocals by Stellita Porter and Jackie Bonaparte. This time out, the album closer, “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” receives a sun-splashed reggae-jazz treatment, adding vocal adlibs and shoutouts from Ignacio “Nacho” Sobres.
Along with Rekevics, Cannon, Porter, Bonaparte and Sobres, The HouseCall Band includes keyboardists Kevin Flournoy, Larry Logan and Rob Whitlock; rhythm guitarists Hank Easton and Steve Wilcox; marimba player Bill Harris, and a rhythm section anchored by bassist Cecil McBee Jr., percussionist Tony Aros, and drummers Ronnie Stewart and Duncan Moore.
Dr. Dave formed The HouseCall Band for his 2018 “Midnight Daydream” album, from which eight singles were released. Last month, “Carefree Revisited” issued its first single to radio, “G.B. Style,” an original R&B-jazz crossover cut penned in tribute to one of Dr. Dave’s principal influences, ten-time Grammy winner George Benson, an R&B-jazz crossover icon.
Dr. Dave cites another purpose behind reinventing “Carefree” now. The album took its name from an energy and a mood that he wanted to establish. As people reemerge and reengage in life after the last two harrowing and stressful years, Dr. Dave feels that the music on “Carefree Revisited” provides a soothing escape.