Monday, March 11, 2013

Jeanette Harris Summer Rain J&M 2013

( This is a jpeg and NOT a link to a web site of any kind. Please do not click on the photo or it will come down and stay down and your i.p. address will be sent to google so you can go play somewhere else).

 "Saxtress"...Not real sure just how comfortable I am with that description of a female sax player. Saxophonist has worked well for years and to try and induce a vibe that may or may not be there merely based on the sex of the artist is a bit demeaning on closer examination.

I am however very comfortable with the talent of Jeanette Harris and have a feeling this may well be a name  you will be hearing frequently for years to come. In regards to the smoother side of jazz, I have made a concerted effort to look for those artists that are running just below the surface, not necessarily second tier but not receiving the attention they deserve from the labels or fans of what is essentially a radio format on life support these days.  Summer Rain is somewhat personal in nature. The jazz version of the sexy little black dress. Love at first sight and the excitement and wonder that comes along for the ride. "Just Keep Holding On" will be the first radio single which is an R&B Sax /Guitar joint that is not a sound that anyone other artist is touching today. Think of it as instrumental Motown meets early smooth jazz but better, more fluid. Harris is far more than just a pretty face with exquisite phrasing, tone, and intonation Harris hits all her marks with virtual flawless precision.

The pet peeve with a great many fan of jazz that walks on the smoother side would have to be vocals specifically designed for radio play. While all the tunes were written and or produced by Harris who posses Paul Brown or Nate Harasim-like ability, the vocals are certainly solid but somewhat forgettable as they seem like more of an after thought, coming at the end of the release. I've do not review "vibe" and "chill music" is listening to my mp3 player at the bus stop when it is below freezing however Harris covers these slightly pretentious labels nicely. In terms of musical pedigree she gigged with Teena Marie's band for year before her passing. Harris has collaborated with such luminaries as Norman Brown on 24/7. In short...Harris is the real deal. The issue here is not "if" Harris lands a major label shot but "when."

A positive vibe, gritty determination and the chops to pull it all together...4.5 stars. As close to perfect as you can get.

Tracks: Just Keep Holding On; Passing Time; Take Me There; Summer Rain; Muy Caliente; The Ride; Chillin; Here & Now; Oh So Good; 12:57; Ja'licious; Thankful; Bonus - Summer Rain

Personnel: Jeanette Harris: alto sax; flute, keyboards, drum programming: George Freeman; keyboards, drum programming; Guitar: Darrell Crooks; Keyboards: Andrew Dorsette; Drum Programming: Andrew Dorsette; Keyboards: Chuck Cymone; Tenor & Soprano Sax, Drum Programming: Marcus Anderson; Joel Bowers: vocals.