Ross McHenry’s Distant Oceans (First Word) is the kind of jazz album that would have fit perfectly alongside albums by Weather Report, Stanley Clarke, Joe Zawinul, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, or something equally as adventurous in the early to mid 1970’s. It’s a jazz album played by guys who have a love for funk and fusion, where the bass riffs may border on carefully played minimalism, which is perfect for potential samples and loops. The opening song, “Intercosmos”, sounds as if it could’ve lead to five or more different songs, be it Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”, War’s “Beetles In The Bog”, or Bob James’ “Nautilus”, wherever you want it. The drum break that opens “Griffith Park” sounds ready made for a picnic, barbecue or any family gathering that will lead to people dancing, and the flute solo is gorgeous. Basically, what McHenry has done is put together an album that is well crafted from start to finish, with great album from Mark de Clive Lowe, Dylan Marshall, Jon Hunt, Luca Spiler, Myele Manzanza, Adam Page. It was interesting to note that we now live in an era of post-Dilla producers, which admits to the work and ear of the late hip-hop producer who have helped to inspire a new style of creativity that is centered on the analysis and celebration of the old and cherished, but very much alive and strong. I dig this big time.