Sound — 7
Guitarist Tom Hemby is heavy on jazz fusion and light on funk and R&B/soul on his latest recording In The Moment from EMG Music Group. Tracks are fitted with glossy riffs and ambient tones emblematic of easy listening tunage as Hemby works in coasting glides and finely threaded raptures along the sleekly groomed rhythmic beats. The silky wails of Schemes & Dreams have a smooth stylized riffing on a canvass of glinting synths, while the romping jaunts in Hemby's chord series through Man That's Crazy induce a funky stride in the pulsating rhythm. Hemby showers Here & There with a cooling spritz of ambient tones and glistening strands whipping across The Necessary Blonde. The crux of the album is cobbled in cruising riffs peaking with the smooth jazz tune Third World Man supplemented by traces of R&B/soul-inspired motifs in a handful a tracks like Twisted Traffic and Sub Aqua. The stretch of whispery bossa nova sweeps in Seventh Heaven have an elegant stride, countered by the pivoting dance beats of Robbie Nevils tune Can I Count On You with a tinge of gospel in the chorus parts and jutting twists in Hemby's guitar.
Lyrics — 7
Most of the album is instrumental with the exception of the modern R&B/dance tune Can I Count On You which features Vince Gill, his wife Amy Grant, Ron Hemby, Christopher Cross, Melinda Doolittle, Bill Champlin, and American Idol finalist Mandisa sharing vocal duties. The verses heightened the gospel feel of the track, Can I count on you / You're the only one / Who can break my fall / When I can't hold on / Nobody else can break my fall.
Overall Impression — 7
In The Moment demonstrates Tom Hemby's strength to fuse modern pop with factions of smooth jazz, R&B/soul, funk, and gospel. Joining Hemby on his solo recording are Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Mark Douthil on saxophone, Pat Coll and Michael Omartian on piano, and Nathan East, Gary Lunn, and Craig Nelson on bass. Hemby has traveled along a blessed road having recorded with a dossier of luminaries that include: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Peter Cetera, Faith Hill, Rob Thomas, and a number of others. In The Moment is a culmination of all these experiences for Hemby whose well-groomed tracks have an easy listening stride and middle-of-the-road appeal.