Confining oneself to the musical boundaries of one particular genre has its perks in terms of marketability. From record label types to online music retailers, one of the first questions asked of an artist is, “What kind of music do you play?” For some, this question elicits more than a one-word answer. Such is the case with Times 4.

A San Francisco-based jazz/funk fusion quartet, Times 4 doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre and that’s the way the band likes it.

“We don’t focus our music to be commercially viable,” says soprano and tenor saxophonist Lincoln Adler, who peforms with Times 4 at the Hedley Club on January 7. “We play more for how we feel.”

The band has the makings of a jazz four-piece with Kevin Lofton on bass, Maurice Miles on drums, Greg Sankovich on keyboards and Adler on sax, and it is firmly planted in jazz territory with smooth grooves, plenty of solos and a focus on improvisation. But from that foundation, Times 4 expands into territory where genres fall away.

“It’s hard to explain to people what they’re going to get when they come see [us],” Adler says. “It’s high-energy music played with a lot of heart and feeling.”

Comprised of four innovative and expressive musicians, Times 4 plays what Sankovich has described as “funk meets jazz, peppered with hip-hop and soul.” Lofton’s basslines are deep and funky; Miles drums in, on and around the beat with creativity and precision; Sankovich plays the keys with an all-consuming passion, energy and technicality; and Adler brings melodies that range from smooth and sexy to fiery and euphoric.

The strength of Times 4 lies in the unified sound these guys make when they are locked into the groove. Formed in 2003, the band had great musical chemistry from the start. Over the years, the connection has only grown stronger.

“Back when we started, we had more of an individual approach,” Adler says. “Not we’re more like a married couple that finishes each other’s sentences. We can guess where the other guys are going to take things. Sometimes we surprise each other.”

All of Times 4’s original material springs from improvisations, either in rehearsal or on stage.

“It all starts off with improv,” Adler says. “Even within a gig, we’ll just start a song that we’ve never played before. If someone has their iphone recorder going, that could turn into a song on the next album.”

With three albums to its name, Times 4 is gearing up to record another one and the band working on getting a tour together.

“We’re always trying to create new music,” says Adler. “That’s the most exciting part to us. There are the people who play jazz for the intellectual side of it and I love that, but I also love getting into the energy of the moment, not thinking about how to cover the chord changes and just putting my heart into it.”