AAA “Fruit” (Elestial Sound)

Chris von Szombathy concocts future smooth jazz as if he were the Branford Marsalis of Vancouver. Wait, no was that Wynton? Turns out that neither brother is terribly smooth-jazz inflected, but that’s not a thing there, where Columbia House catalogs still come once a week and every penny-for-twelve deal heralds a musical Christmas morning but at much more frequent intervals. That’s right, 1990 never gave itself over to 1991, and life on the chill tip is constant and necessary. You wear colorful geometric sweaters for form and function, and the glistening colors of Miami late at night appear thousands of miles away without a hint of irony. At least that’s how it used to be. You can’t tell anymore. Here, friendly funk extends its hand for a personable interaction, and the hesitation that you feel before resigning yourself to immersion in the “true experience” is not uncommon. But it’s easy to forget once you’re under the spell of artists like von Szombathy, aka the man who made Fruit, the seventh in a series of recordings released under the moniker AAA. That’s the key – once you’re under the spell. Because once AAA casts that spell, it’s futile to escape the gravitational pull of chillaxed vibes. Stick Fruit in the player and you’re treated to an alternate reality where Steely Dan releases records on Adhesive Sounds. That’s a Venn diagram subsection you can get behind! Is any of this supposed to be taken seriously or sincerely? I’ll answer that question with another question: Who cares? It’s all labels and categories, style and surreality, and when it’s late at night and you’re a handful of cocktails in, it makes little difference. You can be the life of the party or you can dream within yourself, but, here again, you’ve still got that hand reaching out to guide you, and it turns out that the hand happens to be attached to AAA’s wrist. Don’t leave him hanging.

--Ryan Masteller