Marion Meadows,
In Deep
(Telarc, 2002)

Jazz saxophonist Marion Meadows is sure to please his fans and win many new admirers with In Deep, a smooth and soulful blend of jazz influenced by R&B, Latin, hip-hop and funk. The majority of the tracks are written in partnership with Michael Broening (keyboards) and feature Meadows' undoubted skills on soprano, tenor and alto sax.

The opener, "Tales of a Gypsy," is a richly sensual tune that lithely swirls and spins around your head. The funk-driven, pulsating "Soul Food," written by keyboardist Michael Bearden, changes the mood from ethereal to street-cool. Bearden also wrote "South Chicago" -- similar, but the beat is somewhat less demanding and Meadow's soprano sax soars above the thumping percussion like a bird above the din of city traffic.

The talented Bob Baldwin produced and played keyboards on "Don't Wanna Know" -- real chill-out music, with Will Downing's velvety vocals soothing away your cares. "Show Me, Show Me" and the title track showcase Meadows on all three saxophones, both equally tasty compositions of subtly differing flavours.

The video on the CD is a bit disappointing. Meadows is an attractive guy and his happy, handsome features on the CD cover may well persuade an impulse buy. But the video is too full of flashy camera angles that, while atmospheric, bring out the best in neither the musician nor his instrument and fail to fulfill the function of either promo snippet or full-feature! The music, however, is ideal for a classy background to a party or feet-up, eyes-closed relaxation, as this album stimulates the senses with its array of rhythms and strong energising percussion, superb keyboard sounds, brilliant guitar work and the caresses of the saxophones lifting the soul ever higher. This is the aural equivalent of snuggling into cool satin and warm velvet -- sumptuous!

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 1 February 2003

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