Marion Meadows -Player's Club

 

Last year I met the well-known bass player Gerald Veasly on a cruise. Originally the cruise was announced as a smooth jazz cruise and Gerald planed to join Marion Meadows' gig on the ship. Unfortunately the promoter couldn't pay the necessary  security for the artists and so the gig burst like a soap-bubble. I thought by myself what a good sax player Marion must be that such a high qualified bassist like Gerald takes the efforts to make a cruise just to meet Marion. Listening to Marion's new album "Player's Club" I have the answer.

Don't misunderstand me. I have listened to hundreds of sax player's albums the last 5 years and it's tiresome when you always listen to tenor or soprano saxophones dominating the whole album. Marion's new one is different. "I've been involved in a lot of projects, both my own and  group efforts, and my main objective is to keep growing as an artist and engage the fans who have invested so much emotion in my music and my career," comments Marion. About the album: "It's a select group that really deserves the title, a fraternity of players who have sustained over the years - and that's saying a lot in the music business these days.

Based on a funky hip-hop rhythm Player's Club brings a live atmosphere into the studio. Although the tune is rather short with four and a half minutes Matt King on baritone sax, Mike Broening on keyboards, Freddie Fox on guitar have some solo parts besides the running melody.

On Sweet Grapes Marion plays soprano, tenor and bari saxes with some overdubs. Mike B's drum programming with hip-hop elements has a very important place in this production.

Wishing On A Star composed by Calvin Billie Rae was a chart hitter of the group Rose Royce ("Rose Royce II: In Full Bloom", 1977) already covered by stars like Randy Crawford, Will Downing and Jaared. Marion defines a new contemporary version.

The First Time features the vocalist Douglas Myers. A R&B or neo-soul located song with Chip Shearin's pulsing bass. Chip and Douglas composed this piece. Currently, Chip is completing a solo project that will not only feature his incredible bass playing and composing talents, but also a few of the national recording artists hes toured with over the years. Chip and I have been working together for over ten years", says Marion. "He helped out when we needed a sound reminiscent of Sly Stone or Al Green."

Chieli Minucci's Spanish Guitar is introducing into Noche Privada, a Spanish flavored tune, a magic dialogue between Chieli's guitar and Marion's sax. Marion comments: "Chieli Minucci is a phenomenal player and he did a great job for us." 

Suede is a good opportunity to expose Mike Broening who is standing a bit in Marion's shadow. Mike B 's performance as a piano and keyboards player is superb. He already played on Marion's album "In Deep" (2002)  and Gerald Veasley's "In The Zone"(1996). He  wrote songs for Kani Cole ("Places") as her longtime keyboardist. He also played with the highly-acclaimed group "Turning Point" ("Together")  and with artists as diverse as the Rippingtons and Glen Campbell. Mike should do his own solo project.

LeRoix Hampton III is a further gifted keyboardist who wrote together with Marion the awesome piece Romantica. LeRoix produced and co-wrote Alphonso Thomas' album "While We still Can", he played steel-drums (!) on John Amato's "Masters Peace" and was singer and arranger on Allen & Allen's "A-Blazing Grace". Slow tempo with much reverb Marion steps into New Age terrain.

Diggable has a strong jazz lounge character showcasing Marion's open mind for all musical directions. Mike Broening has styled this song which also features a stunning solo of the guitarist Freddie Fox whose self titled debut project "Freddie Fox" was already presented on this website.

Step A Little Closer is very radio-like and contemporary. I have always the deja-vue feeling listening to this song.

The ballade Deska, called after the nickname of Marion's new bride, is certainly a proof for Marion's devotion. Nicely garnished by Chieli Minucci's and Freddie Fox's guitars its a real heartbreaker.

What are you doing After 6:00? Perhaps going into a jazz club. This urban jazz is not only the final but also the summit of fine art and collaboration between all musicians. Michael states: "I tried to bring the feel of this recording closer to a live show, closer to the listener. As artists, it's time for us to kick it up to the next level - because we need to make it more interesting for the fans. And my tastes (like my record collection) have always been eclectic, so it all works out." 

Marion did it well and the listeners certainly will honored it.