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"The Best Of...": Urban Knights
by Craig Chapman
Hey there jazz fans, veteran superband
Urban Knights brings the heat with their
brand new CD The Best Of…” on the Narada
Jazz recording label. This retrospective set
provides us with a 12-track overview of
their career, which spans 7 albums including
this release.

Ramsey Lewis is the mentor for Urban
Knights, much like Donald Byrd’s relationship with The Blackbyrds. In
fact, Ramsey’s son Frayne is one of the leaders of the group.
With Ramsey’s influence, the group has become a stalwart on the
contemporary jazz scene.

The group has a versatile sound that encompasses the various
flavors of jazz. They merge the funk with latin rhythms on “Urban
Samba” and “Brazilian Rain”. In fact, this project features their funkier
uptempo jams like “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Clubland”, and “On The
Radio”. Urban Knights all present their versions of Marvin Gaye’s “Got
To Give It Up”, Usher & Alicia’s “My Boo, along with a cool version of
the old school jam “Hi-Heel Sneakers”. They give us a glimpse of the
mellow side of the group on “The Message”,  “The Gypsy”, and “Close
Your Eyes And Remember”.

“The Best Of Urban Knights” is exactly as advertised. An entertaining
collection of songs that defines the group, and leaves you wanting a
little bit more.

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