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Player's Club

Marion Meadows

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Album Review

This ultracool saxman has some of the sexiest moves in smooth jazz and a dreadlock-based look that drives female genre fans wild. He's always focused on passionate, soprano-based tunes to express this sexuality in musical terms, so it's no surprise that one of the best tracks here is the power-passion ballad "Romantica." He's always been successful at adapting his lyrical sound and melodic sense to easy funk tunes, and here plays that middle of the road well on tracks like "Deska" (dedicated to his new bride Desi) and the soul classic "Wishing on a Star." But because we're so familiar with this side of his personality, it's always more fun to hear him fulfill a deeper potential, a bit outside the box. The ultragrooving, hip, and brassy title track, on which he blends soprano with tenor and slides over the baritone edges of Matt King, leads us to expect a slightly more swinging affair, but "Sweet Grapes" reminds us that Meadows is more about sensuality and cool soul vibes than the thumpy stuff. Another standout track that goes beyond his usual boundaries is the jamming R&B/Latin funk tune "Noche Privada," which combines a hefty urban groove and his sweet soprano lines with the intimate harmonics of Chieli Minucci's gorgeous Spanish guitar. These outside-the-box efforts have always hinted at a deeper artistry behind Meadows' straightforward approach to R&B-influenced smooth jazz, and he should keep expanding upon them. Overall, this is one of his most appealing efforts, and a club every smooth jazz listener will gleefully join.

Biography

Born: West Virginia

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Smooth jazz-styled soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows was born in West Virginia and raised primarily in Connecticut; after adopting the classical clarinet at age nine, he moved to the saxophone as a teen, later studying composition and arranging at Boston's Berklee College of Music. A protege of Joe Henderson and Eddie Daniels, Meadows later served a long stint as a member of Norman Connors' Starship Orchestra; after a series of session dates and sideman gigs, he made his solo debut in 1990 with...
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Player's Club, Marion Meadows
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