You're only as good as your last record.
Well, I guess my unease with that is... I'm always a little uneasy with that phrase - smooth jazz, as opposed to what?
Instrumental music is increasingly marginalized and there's just no outlet, there's no venue for it, in terms of media.
Its all about finding the right note at the right place and knowing when to leave well enough alone. And that's a lifelong quest.
When you have an acoustic bass in the ensemble it really changes the dynamic of the record because it kind of forces everybody to play with a greater degree of sensitivity and nuance because it just has a different kind of tone and spectrum than the electric bass.