Fourplay attempted to break new ground with with 2002's Heartfelt, which was their debut album for RCA's Bluebird imprint. The album consisted of live studio jamming that was heavily edited and assembled using Pro Tools. In 2004 they issued Journey, more a return to their earlier, smoother form than a building-block progression from Heartfelt. In 2006, Fourplay released X, a final album for RCA/Bluebird. The set featured a guest vocal from Michael McDonald on a reading of Steve Winwood's "My Love's Leavin'."
The group signed with Heads Up International for 2008's Energy, which was notable for a pair of excellent Carlton compositions and a vocal appearance by Esperanza Spalding on "Prelude for Lovers." Fourplay -- now featuring new guitarist Chuck Loeb replacing Carlton -- assembled again for the label on 2010's Let's Touch the Sky, which included guest appearances by Ruben Studdard and Anita Baker. In 2012, Fourplay released Esprit de Four, with guest appearances by Kenny Mason & the Voices of Praise Choir and Japanese singer Seiko Matsuda. ~ Scott Yanow & Thom Jurek, Rovi