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Marion Meadows

Idioma disponível: inglês
Marion Meadows is an American saxophonist and composer whose sound is rooted in contemporary jazz and adult contemporary R&B. Originally a tenor player, he migrated to the soprano horn before leaving high school and has played it almost exclusively since. He developed a trademark sharp-edged yet warm, sweet tone with a consummate sense of lyricism. After working with Norman Connors for several years, Meadows became a session player and live musician. He made his leader debut with 1990's For Lovers Only and almost immediately became a staple on smooth jazz radio. 1994's Forbidden Fruit placed inside the Top Ten on the jazz and contemporary jazz charts simultaneously. His success continued with 2000's Next to You and 2002's Player's Club, while 2004's Dressed to Chill placed six singles inside the Top 20. 2015's best-selling Soul Traveler peaked at ten on the contemporary jazz list. In 2021, Meadows returned with Twice as Nice. Meadows was born in West Virginia and raised primarily in Connecticut. After adopting the classical clarinet at age nine, he moved to the tenor saxophone as a teen and later migrated to the soprano horn. He studied composition and arranging at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Sonny Fortune, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, and Eddie Daniels while playing in a pickup bands and working sideman jobs with R&B and jazz performers in order to develop his commercial chops. Not long after graduation, he got work as a studio arranger, composer, and session player. Norman Connors recorded Meadows' "Invitation," then recruited him for his Starship Orchestra. Meadows co-produced Connors' Passion album with Jacques Burvick (of Aquarium Dream). In the late 1980s, Meadows was waiting for a train at New York’s Grand Central Station. He pulled out his horn and began playing. His trademark soprano sound caught the ear of producer and TV composer Jay Chattaway, who was also waiting for a train. Chattaway was so impressed with Meadows' tone and phrasing, he hooked him up with keyboardist/producer Bob James. The pair collaborated on a recording, but it was never released. Nonetheless, the experience confirmed Meadows that he needed to go out on his own. He became a first-call sideman, recording and/or performing with a multitude of artists ranging from Brook Benton, Eartha Kitt, and Phyllis Hyman to Ray Charles, the Temptations, and Angela Bofill, among many others. Further, in 1988, Meadows stretched his musical boundaries by joining the short-lived avant-garde ensemble Aboriginal Music Society. In 1990 Meadows submitted a solo project to Steve Backer at Novus/RCA and was signed to a recording contract. He made his solo debut that year with the RCA release For Lovers Only, followed in 1992 by Keep It Right There. After touring he resurfaced two years later with Forbidden Fruit, which placed inside the Top Ten on the jazz and contemporary jazz charts simultaneously, while 1995's Body Rhythm placed just outside them. Meadows switched to the Discovery label for 1997's Pleasure, which went Top 20 on the jazz charts. His subsequent deal with Heads Up netted 1999's Another Side of Midnight 2000's Next to You, and 2002's In Deep -- all charted. His music remained a staple of smooth jazz radio until the format died out in the 21st century, but his releases for Heads Up and international touring kept him busy, as did other his activities as a semi-pro cyclist and a graphic artist/designer. In 2004, Meadows issued the charting Player's Club with assistance from a handful of co-producers. It peaked at 14 on the jazz albums chart. 2006's Dressed to Chill offered its title track as a single. It peaked at number three on the smooth jazz songs chart and remained on the list for over 40 weeks; Meadows placed five more singles from the set on various charts. 2009's Secrets, cut with the same production team, peaked at number 11 on the jazz albums list and marked Meadows' final album for Heads Up. All of its tracks were composed by the saxophonist save for a lithe, closing cover of Pat Metheny's "Here to Stay." The saxophonist/composer spent time touring the U.S, Japan, and the Caribbean over the next several years. He signed with Shanachie in 2012 and released his debut for the label in the winter of 2013. Entitled Whisper, the only remaining member of Meadows' veteran production team was Mike Broening; he was joined by newcomers Rahni Song and guitarist Carlos Pennisi. The set peaked at nine at jazz albums. After a successful tour, Meadows re-entered the studio for 2015's Soul Traveler, co-produced with Pennisi. The album hit number five on the Jazz Albums chart and remained there for eight weeks. The following year, the saxophonist received a doctorate in music from Wilberforce University. His 2018 release, Soul City, was issued in the spring, and co-produced with Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Rahni Song, and Dave Love. Its star-studded cast included Norman Brown and Joey Sommerville on the title track, Maysa & Peter White on ""Dreamin'," and Will Gaines on "You." Released in January, it reached number two on the jazz albums chart, and also registered prominently at streaming. Meadows issued his first holiday album with 2019's Christmas with You and sat out the pandemic composing and demo'ing tracks. In April 2021, he released Twice as Nice on Shanachie, utilizing a slew of first-call collaborators including Paul Brown, Jeff Lorber, Dave Mann, Steve Oliver, and Sommerville. In May he appeared as a guest on labelmate Marc Antoine's Groovy Sunday.
© Jason Ankeny & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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