Gerald Albright -
Sax For Stax
Los Angeles-born Gerald Albright is a
sax player of his own class. Alone in the U.S. he sold more than one
millions copies of his albums and is an international star. He
performed with musical legends like Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr., The
Temptations, Olivia Newton-John, Patrice Rushen, Jeff Lorber, Teena
Marie, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, and many others.
Sax For Stax is Gerald twelfth
album and the second one on the Peak Records label after New
Beginnings (2006). The album comprises eight covers of Stax
classics and three original compositions. It's a tribute to the
legendary Memphis-based record label with artists like Wilson Pickett,
Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG's, Isaac Hayes
and many more. Concord Records reactivated the Stax label in 2006 with
artists like Angie Stone, Soulive, Lalah Hathaway and Nikka Costa. The
album was produced and arranged in parts by Gerald and by Rex Rideout.
The recording was teamed by Teddy Cambell (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion),
Melvin Davis (bass), Errol Cooney (guitar), Tracy Carter (keyboards),
Mark Cargill (strings), Rex Rideout (keyboards) with guest appearances
of Will Downing, Ledisi, Kirk Whalum, Philip Bailey and more.
Isaac Hayes, "The Black Moses of Soul"
composed the Theme from "The Men" for the short-lived
television serial "The Men" (1973). Gerald overtrumps the original
with a remarkable sax solo.
Eddie Floyd wrote the song Knock On
Wood 1966 for his single, released on Stax. One year later label
mate Otis Redding released a cover version, also Ike and Tina Turner
and David Bowie did, but the most popular cover version was Ami
Stewart reaching the top of the charts in U.S. 1978. Gerald performs
the tune with a maximum of energy.
Never Can Say Goodbye is another
eternal hit written by Clifton Davis and performed by the Jackson 5
(1971) featuring Michael Jackson. Later the song was covered by Gloria
Gaynor, The Communards, Joey Summerville, Isaac Hayes, Cal Tjader and
many more. Gerald's version features singer Will Downing, with
whom he released the album Pleasures Of The Night (1998).
Memphis Passion is Gerald's own
composition and tribute to Memphis, Tennessee. "Memphis is a great
city from which many great musicians have made tremendous
contributions to music," comments Gerald. An emotional tune with a
Respect Yourself, a
self-empowerment for African-Americans during the 70's, was written by
Luther Ingram and Mack Rice for the Staples Singers (Be Altitude,
1972), one of their biggest hit. If you disrespect anybody that you
run in to how in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect
you? The part of Mavis Staples, who had the strongest voice of the
Staples Singers, is taken over by Ledisi. Her voice is husky with
I Stand Accused is one of coroner
Jerry Butler's early masterpieces of the '60's. Isaac Hayes released a
cover in 1973 on his album Black Moses Of Soul and on numerous
compilations. Gerald's rendition epitomizes the essence of the song
Sir Mack Rice was a Detroit based
vocalist who wrote Cheaper to Keep Her. The song got popular
with the version of the Blues Brothers. Gerald's rendition is very
special because he presents a fantastic horn arrangement and levels
the tune to a Big Band presentation.
Walkin' Down Beale Street is
Gerald's second composition on this album devoted to Memphis, where
this street is situated. B.B. Kings, Pat O'Brien's, Silky Sullivan's,
and the Hard Rock Cafe are locations you shouldn't miss. Gerald's bass
driven song smells the atmosphere of these bubbling venues. Awesome
his duet with Kirk Whalum.
What You See is What You Get was
Tony Hester's first great hit. The Dramatics got a number three
position on the R&B charts in 1971 with this song. Gerald's version is
featuring singer Philip Bailey while the main part of the melody is
performed by Gerald's formidable sax.
Johnnie Taylor, The Philosopher of
Soul, had during his period on Stax the smash hit Who's Making
Love (1968). This ultra funky tune get its fine finish with
Gerald's rendition. Funky horns at its best.
W.C. Handy is known as the "Father of
the Blues". This blues composer and musician (Memphis Blues,
Beale Street Blues, St. Louis Blues and Yellow Dog Blues)
was one of the most famous exponents of the blues. W.C. Handy Hop
is dedicated to this legend.
Sax For Stax is a retrospective
to the blossoming time of the Stax label but also a return to the past
values of blues, soul and funk. Gerald's rear view clarifies the roots
of the past success and inflames with his own mastership the
enthusiasm for these styles.