Michael Manson

 

 

The Bottom Line

Let's talk about a great bassist: Michael Manson. What is the best sign for quality? When legends like George Duke, Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, The Winans or Larry Carlton demand you as a sideman for touring and recording. I will be eternally thankful to this fan, who gave me a hint to his website. After sampling his album it was no question: This one is absolutely perfect Smooth Jazz.

One can buy his album only at his website, but don't hesitate to make the deal. It's worth. The album is a good mix between many originals and some covers reveiling Michael's great skills in writing, arranging and producing. The album is radio-friendly and without edges, but the melodies are smooth and hooking. Fans of Smooth Jazz will love it.

Outer Drive starts with a hip rhythm. Michael plays an awesome lead bass accompanied by Brian Culbertson on piano, who shares the lead melody and plays around it.  Lenny Castro refines the drum programming layer with his percussion work

Keys To My Heart is a romantic slow piece featuring the great Kirk Whalum on saxophone. His sax is partly overdubbed by a second sax. The melody is heartbreaking hooking. 

Seven Whole Days is a cover of Babyface 's tune originally interpreted by Toni Braxton (1993) and later  adapted by The Whispers (1997). Michael's version has more tempo as the previous mentioned, what is very attractive for this piece. The vocals of Nanette Frank and Steve Grisette are convincing but the star on this tune is Steve Cole and his blowing sax performance.

Angel's Serenade is another slow ingratiating tune with Kirk's shimmering sax.

Everlasting Love is presented in a vocal and a reprise. Originally a hit for Rufus with Chaka Khan in 1977, the cover is faithful to this original. 

Just One  is flowing like a river. Bass, piano, percussion, guitar, keyboards all is  perfectly harmonized on a rhythmic level. This one could be a radio hit!

When a bassist makes an album, you will await a lead bass piece. Michael couldn't resist and demonstrates his skills on the funky The Bottom Line.

Close Your Eyes is an invitation to relax and to enjoy. TJ 's voice is silky and warm. Awesome the brass arrangement by Michael Halperin's Trombone and Roy Haynes' Flugelhorn.

Goin' Home features Howard Levv on harmonica. One can compare his style with Toots Thielemans. Very atmospheric.

Final tune is a reprise of The Bottom Line. One can recognize that Michael Manson has fulfilled his life-dream with this album. The melodies, performances and arrangements are outstanding and memorable. Only one thing remains: a contract with a supporting label. Michael Manson deserves it.

 

HBH

 

 

The musicians:
  • Mike Manson - Bass , Lead Bass
  • Paul Jackson Jr. - Guitar (1, 7)
  • Brian Culbertson - Keyboards, Programming (1, 2, 4, 7), Trombone (8)
  • Steve Cole - Tenor Sax (3, 5, 8, 11)
  • Elgin Manson - Keyboards (3, 5, 10), Piano (3), Orienthal Harper-Keyboards (10)
  • Michael Logan - Keyboards (2,3, 4, 5, Piano (3, 5)
  • Tim Gant - Keyboards (5, 8)
  • Keith Henderson - Guitar (3, 5, 8)
  • Gerald Johnson - Guitar (3, 4)
  • Oscar Seaton - Drums (3, 4)
  • Lenny Castro - Percussion (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11)
  • Nanette Frank - Vocals (3, 5)
  • Steve Grisette - Vocals (3, 5)
  • Dwight Sills - Guitars (2, 10)
  • Kirk Whalum - Saxophone (2, 4)
  • Howard Levv - Harmonica (10)
  • Michael Halperin - Trombone (9)
  • Ray "the weeper" Fuller - Guitar (9)
  • TJ - Vocals (9)
  • Roy Haynes - Trumpet (1), Flugelhorn (9)
  • Paul Mertens - Saxophone (9)

 

 

Soundsamples -  listen here:
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