Universal Vibe kicks off with its first single, the easy funk and shuffle groove driven, in the pocket “Paradise Was Cool”, a whimsical showcase for Rodney Taylor’s smoky alto sax and Bauchman’s jangling guitar that also features some sizzling horn textures. The freewheeling “Switch That Groove” does just what it says, starting with a funky old school vibe (with an emotional doubled horn hook) and then evolving into a fiery rock/jazz fusion jam featuring Bauchman’s searing electric guitar. The group introduces a rich blues element into the mix on “Snap To This,” which features hypnotic Hammond B-3 riffs, synthesized electronic effects and Taylor’s squealing sax lines, all complemented by reflective jazzy trumpet parts. With its wild Middle Eastern strings under a playful Brazilian beat, the coolly hypnotic, supremely loungey “Paulo and Aziz” was inspired by a character in the film “The Fifth Element”, a favorite of Bauchman and his daughter. Bauchman’s daughter—and her penchant for interrupting her dad when he’s hard at work in the studio–also inspired the ambient, soundscape rich “Interrupted By Life…Ashley’s Song,” which features Bauchman’s snappy acoustic guitar and guest sax master, Cleto Escobeto’s playful jazzy sax melody.
“Can’t End This Love” brings a wondrously exotic flair to the set, with a keyboard and elegant piano melody drifting over throbbing electronica percussion, a samba groove and an elegant piano solo; Bauchman’s sharp jazz playing on this tune is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery. “Straighten Up Right Now” is all whimsical romantic funky sax over exotic textures that include a tropical flavored ambience and vibraphone textures. Named after a phrase used by LAPD cops in pursuit of suspects through a neighborhood, “Southbound Through The Houses” is a high-energy frenetic swirl of funk, traditional jazz, ambience over electronica beats, experimental synth sounds and an organic B-3 organ vibe. “Old Man Cool” goes to “old man old school,’ with Bauchman’s subdued electric guitar riding over an easy crunching R&B groove, with spacey synth ambiences in the distance. After the densely percussive, supremely exotic freewheeling samba “The Voyage Of…” the band wraps the set with “Whisper in My Ear”, a hybrid of lighthearted classic soul and traditional jazz, with cool interplay between guitar and vibrant horn textures.