Caleb Quaye was a respected session player known for his work with Elton John and Hall & Oates. Then the rock and roll lifestyle caught up with him and “a conversation with God after a night of partying” led him in a new direction. He embraced Christianity and became a musician/evangelist.
Today, Quaye serves as adjunct faculty at Life Pacific College, and on Out of the Blue, his tasteful playing (in a quartet that includes drums, keyboards, and bass) shines mostly in the form of jazz. Many of these tunes would fit well on a smooth-jazz station, with their funky feel and lovely, hummable melodies. And though he’s got chops to spare, Quaye’s soloing is not standard jazz; the tone is a bit overdriven. He also uses a light chorus effect that gives a nebulous, floating feel and allows an expressive percussive element. The closest he gets to blues or rock is “Ask and You Shall Receive,” which still has a jazzy head that leads to a swinging solo by Quaye and Charles Williams on piano.
Mellow, but full of fire, maybe this is a reflection of Quaye’s life. Whatever the case, it’s nice to have him back in the studio adding to his legacy.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Jul. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.