Saxophonist Danny Lerman has hit the ground running with his latest release entitled Meow Baby, which by most estimates is one of the best albums of 2008. Quiet as has been kept, this CD is most assuredly a sleeper; having received limited notoriety, but has garnered considerable achievement as an exceptionally produced recording. By most standards and under current guidelines for acceptance, Meow Baby is in a stand-alone category for excellence, especially so after Lerman’s ten year hiatus from recording and a very busy touring schedule. Since his debut release in 1998 entitled Danny’s Island, he was busy traveling and performing throughout South Africa, Turkey, Israel, Holland Venezuela and Mexico performing with David Garfield, Fareed Haque, Dave Valentine and a host of other notable musicians. Danny’s latest effort has seemingly brought him full-circle with a montage of contemporary jazz and R&B influences.
Released in February 2008, Meow Baby contains 15 tracks of absolute gems, all of which serve as a platform for some of the finest musicians in jazz. Strategic melodic interludes and funky rhythms are woven around keyboardist Bobby Lyle, flutist Hubert Laws, vocalist Howard Hewitt, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., trumpeter Randy Brecker and percussionist Munyungo Jackson to name a few. Their combined energy coupled with Lerman’s qualitative saxophone dynamics drives Meow Baby, while setting the standard for a very pleasing jazz activated experience. From beginning to end, Danny delivers a positive musical message with such tracks as Sade’s No Ordinary Love, John Lennon’s Imagine and any number of specialized ballads that includes tunes such as The First Time, that are tied to this titillating foray into jazz.
Experiencing Danny Lerman for the very first time has an unexpected impact on the listening palate. With limited knowledge of Danny’s expertise as a jazz artist, the unofficial radar of skepticism was placed on alert. In recent years, the Kenny G formula to success runs rampant amongst numerous wannabe saxophonists. But Danny’s sensibilities are far from the norm and he is definitely a solid artist when examining ‘Meow Baby’ in great detail. The overall impact of Danny Lerman’s presence is the impulse to play this release over and over again because the CD commands attention and repeated visitation.Meow Baby is by far one of the most notable releases of 2008 and the only regret observed is the deprivation experienced while Danny was touring for ten years. Whatever he was waiting for before returning to recording studio was far too long. But in coming back with this latest recording and having such a renewed sense of presence, Meow Baby was well-worth the wait. Either way, another ten years should not have to pass before another CD is released. In the mean time, we will let this one soak in while we wait. Kudos to saxophonist Danny Lerman and his cast of merry men, their combined elemental contributions has made Meow Baby a release worth waiting for.