In an ever-evolving world of smooth jazz ideology, one constant companion who has epitomized that style of music has been saxophonist Marion Meadows. Since the onset of his career in 1991, Marion has moved and grooved audiences from all over the globe with strategic dominance and has also achieved a level of popularity that is unprecedented by any measure of critical standards.
With nine albums to his credit, Marion has released his tenth CD overall and his fifth on the Heads up International record label. His latest release entitled Dressed To Chill, which as seen previously on his previous album entitled Player’s Club, combines Meadows with keyboardist-producer Michael Broening. The two have been collectively making music together since 2002 when Marion released an album entitled In Deep. As was then and as it is now in 2006, Meadows and Broening strike a unique chord as one of the most melodically correct groove-oriented teams in smooth jazz.
Dressed To Chill has all of the associated dynamics that has kept Marion Meadows on track during the last 15 years of making melodically correct smooth jazz. He possesses a unique sound that blends the rudiments of melodic grooves with innovative harmonies that are often offset by energetic rhythms. Marion’s applied sensitivity can be extremely romantic at various times, but he can then propel his audience into a blend of R&Bish style of jazz that borders on commanding funk. This latest CD also expands upon the talents of Marion Meadows as a songwriter. Over the years, he has matured as well as perfected his skills both as a composer and a musician.
When listening to Dressed To Chill, I was truly amazed at how much growth Marion has accumulated. From the very beginning with the title track, the influence of Marion’s music can be overwhelming. His conveyance of sound is mesmerizing and infectious. Throughout 12 tracks of delightfully enjoyable melodies, Meadows’ command of his saxophone is very apparent as he weaves a web of intuitive, groove-ladened harmonies with tunes such as "I Believe I Can Fly" and "To Love Her." Another outstanding sidebar is the play of guitarist Chuck Loeb, which in his own way displays a musically superb compliment to Marion on "Remember Me."
As always, Marion Meadows has hit the ground running with a style of play that makes smooth jazz surprisingly interesting. Marion’s implementation of essential contemporary jazz ingredients, such as soul and R&B influences, makes Dressed To Chill an album that continues down a path of musical viability. In an arena where smooth jazz is often too generic, Marion Meadows has elevated himself as one of the premier saxophonists of his time.