Entering his third decade immersed in jazz music’s topiary, contemporary jazz saxophonist and R&B vocalist Walter Beasley has released his second album on Headsup Records entitled Ready For Love. Produced by Beasley, James Lloyd, Phil Davis, Lil’ John Roberts, Quim Quer, Paul Miner, Milton Smith, and Lenny Harris, the album displays Beasley’s penchant for classic easy listening jazz arrangements and sentimental melodies. Beasley has been recording albums since 1987 on both Mercury and Shanachie Records and augmenting his studio albums and live performances by teaching at his alma mater the Berklee College of Music. His 2005 disc For Her is the prelude to Ready For Love on Headsup Records. His current outing showcases some original material by Beasley as well as some interpretation of classic material like "Free" penned by Deniece Williams and "Be Thankful For What You Got" by William DeVaughan. Walter Beasley’s music is family friendly with romantic cameos, melodic vibes, and gentle nexuses.
The gorgeous tones on the opening track "Free" are cushioned by the silky vocals of Tiffany Davis. The lounging rhythms and complementing harmonies are a trademark of Beasley’s music with saxophone lines twirling into incredible acrobatic somersaults in the outro, creating an exalting lift in the composition. The warm, mellow beats of "La Nina" are romantically hued as the succor sax rises escalate into an exciting crescendo at the cusp of the smooth outro. The number stimulates the juices using pontoons of easy listening jazz movements. Beasley’s R&B/smooth soul vocals are exposed on "Be Thankful For What You’ve Got" which are liken to Gladys Knight. Like Gladys, his vocals give the melody refinery with smooth indentations that cradle the music in warm resonating waves. The tuneful smooth blues textures of "Rhea’s Song" emit soft fluttering movements and gentle saxophone riffs. This number has an inner strength coming through its melodic lines with inspirational transitions and solid grips.
The tender reggae beats of "She Moves Me" undertone the emotive sax pulses. The percussive beats feel starchy as the sax lines organically move through the melodic fills. The reggae accent is a good complement to the saxophone, but a bit robotic. The creamy textures on "Miss You" recline along lounging rhythms and easy listening vibes. "Land Of The Sun" is unique demonstrating island beasts with exotic tribal accents. The movements show a free spirit and a harmonic prowess along the breezy, luxuriating, and cooling motions. The gentle drift of "Sugar Puddin’" has a flirtatious vibe in the coasting sax lines and comfy bass clips. The uptempo grooves on "Why Not You" are garbed in vibrant dance beats and jubilant fluctuations seaming the transitions and enriching the dynamics. The final track "Willa Mae’s Place" is a tribute, Beasley says, to Willa Mae Brothers who gave him direction when he was a student at Berklee College of Music. The song’s tender jazz warmth is plush and reposes along inspiring sax fills.
Walter Beasley’s latest release Ready For Love is a fusion of classic and contemporary jazz elements enriched by uplifting crescendos, gorgeous tones, and somersaulting sax lines. His easy listening arrangements boast melodic grooves and swanky R&B sprees liken to Gladys Knight and Al Jarreau. The music coaxes feelings out of the listener from nostalgic tales to romantic interludes and celebratory affairs. The album exudes good vibes and inspires the listener to feel free.