Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mike MacArthur Feels Like Home AMG Group 2013

 Now I understand what a "good hang" is all about! Take one world class tenor player then add a few friends to kick it up a notch. Did I mention these friends include Brian Bromberg who produced this tasty bit of jazz nasty? Toss in the godfather of contemporary jazz in Jeff Lorber, trumpet phenom Rick Braun, and six string magic of Jeff Golub and you get a band that is tighter than tight and all done for the love of their craft. Feels Like Home manages to keep a warm open organic vibe without having the compression literally sanitize this music for your protection.

I love to review artists that are more Independent or who are perhaps flying just below your sonic radar and could be easily missed. This high octane funk fest features yet another hybrid of pure funk with some British acid jazz influenced grooves which go a long way in making old school new cool again. A few tunes that caught my ear included perhaps one of 3 best reharms of the classic "Birdland" moving directly into a lyrically layered gospel/funk tune "Sanctified" showing MacArthur is indeed the real deal and of course Rick Braun and Jeff Lorber add their talents to this jazz collective as one harmonious wheelhouse. As a tenor player myself I can tell  you some cats work an entire career and never pick up the ability to changes dynamics on a dime but Mike MacArthur makes it look oh so easy and sound oh so sweet. The flash fried funk of "Sydney Style" is on point and again includes Braun and Lorber.  The closing number "Mo Better Blues" ties everything up nicely and makes it easy to see why Brian Bromberg has been after MacArthur to record together for some time.

"Repeat"...Get ready to hit that button several times. Feels Like Home is tight and aptly titled. All the stars fell into perfect alignment on this one, from production to the last note of "Mo Better Blues" MacArthur opens his sonic home up to the listener with the ability to tug at a heart string and set your hair on fire at the same time.

One of the best for 2013 no matter what flavor jazz you may be into. That nice fat tenor sound with chops to match, if Feels Like Home doesn't move you then you must be waiting on  your autopsy report.

Tracks: Filthy McNasty; Birdland; Sanctified; Feels Like Home; Around The Corner; Jean Pierre; Sydney Style; Blue Seven; In A Sentimental Mood; Mo Better Blues.

Personnel: Mike MacArthur: tenor saxophone; Rick Braun: trumpet; Jeff Lorber: piano/rhodes; Ron Reinhardt: piano/b3; Jeff Golub: guitar; Gannin Arnold: guitar; Brian Bromberg: acoustic bass; Frank "Third" Richardson: drums; Alex Acuna: percussion; Janelle Sadler: vocals; Alva Copland: vocals.

Recorded using Firebird Saxophone
Theo Wanne Mouthpiece