Marion Meadows – In Deep
(Heads up – 2002)
by Raymond Redmond
I felt that Marion was at a crossroads with his last CD, fated to go the way of other saxmen who fell into routine recording ruts, or not. Fortunately his collaboration with Heads Up has produced a cool new success for the hot Phoenix resident.
Known as one of smooth jazz’s most distinctive soprano sax voices, Meadows changes it up a bit on this CD by taking up the tenor sax, which he played all through his formative high school years. Meadows smokes that tenor on the trip-hop flavored “Show Me, Show Me,” which features sensual sax lines breezing over a thumping, house beat; the intense, percussive and brassy title track “In Deep”; and the bluesy, old school soul-inspired “Slow Motion,” which features both Fender Rhodes and Hammond B-3.
“South Chicago” is a light and rolling track produced by longtime Meadows collaborator (and Madonna’s musical director) Michael Bearden (who also plays keyboards), while Bob Baldwin produced the cool, gently throbbing track “Don’t Wanna Know,” featuring background vocals by Will Downing. In Deep also features guitarists Ray Obiedo (one of the producers of Next To You), Thano Sahnas, from the popular Phoenix smooth jazz band Turning Point (on a hip-hop shuffle flavored cover of Dido’s “Thank You”), and Rohn Lawrence, as well as drummer “Little John” Roberts.