DJ Williams Projekt - Projekt Management CD

The bands rolls from one tableaux to another during its eleven song journey, tunes and melodies tumbling over each other and sliding in and out of focus before the next passage—like most great works you can’t hear the transitions, feel the segues or see the seams—soars into the air, lifting you towards another idea, another bowl of bottomless soul. If you’ve been lucky enough to see the Projekt live, they transcend your expectations on record. Perhaps, most importantly, the band sounds like they’ve crafted a perfect set without the usual awkward filler or ill-placed sequencing. DJ Williams effortlessly glides the direction of the sonic story unfolding with restrained confidence and experienced talent. Whereas most bands have to shove their bravado in your face every five minutes with technical gymnastics, Williams allows the music to speak without losing track of the biggest fact of all: tunes need to be memorable. And they are.
"4th Street" starts off and immediately we are into to some very cool jazzy space. The hook is pure funk and what surprised me the most was Williams allowing the groove to kick for nearly four minutes before adding his own tasty guitar solo to the mix. Gordon Jones is excellent on this opener on tenor saxophone; ditto the rhythm section of Todd Herrington on bass and Dusty Simmons. This duo is TIGHT on stage; on "Projekt Management," they lock in the studio live vibe and never stray too far from the pocket. Brian Mahne lays some serious R&B keys mixed with a little chitlin circuit grooves, rock tempos and timeless jazz shadings. Mark Ingraham is eerie Miles Davis-reincarnated on several tracks, guesting on trumpet while Daniel Clarke also guests on Rhodes, Clavinet and organ on several tracks, which add rich colors to the blend. There isn't much that needed to be edited out of these tracks, which feature very few vocals, but when the lyrical content comes it is neither significant nor intrusive. Trey (that takes guts to carry that name around) Bates is featured on vocals and guitar on track 3 while Sam Savage and Reggie Pace offer fine trombone work on tracks 10 and 11, respectively.

The sublime segue from "4th Street>Projekt Management" is unnoticeable and, in a word, breathtaking. The first few times I listened to this sequence, I had to look at my stereo (remember those things?) and see if they actually moved into another song. "Soul Sold Separately" brings the tempo down and features a trance motif that works quite well; "C.A.K.E.>"Panacea" pours out of a space vacuum and roars forward knocking on the walls of Hendrix & Band of Gypsys meets "Live Evil"-era Miles Davis. "Heavy Hands" delivers some sweet reggae but, "Day Breaks" and "For Her" capture the true soul of the band: melodic exploration while every band member seasons the pot with their own ingredients. This is music that should be listened to while doing a variety of activities--and I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks. Or not. The album is great late eve, candles lit, windows open, nothin' much goin' on, cool and rhythmic soundtrack music. It is also a perfect mosaic after that second cup of coffee in the morning (like the vibe I'm into while I write this). 24/7 riches from a band that has only just begun to find their way but, they've made a heck of a first step and this debut is evidence of that triumph.

- Randy Ray