I’m always on the lookout for good sax, and will go out of my way to find it at times. When I do, I’m usually pretty critical of tone, composition and style. That’s just who I am, and what I like. So when I put the new release from Jeanette Harris in this week, I sat up and took notice. This is her fourth album so it looks like I have some catching up to do. If you’re not familiar with her, she toured with Teena Marie before her death. She dedicated this album to Marie. Harris was classically trained on both sax and piano and wrote eleven of the twelve songs here.
You’ll be hearing “Just Keep Holding On” on the airwaves real soon. Not only is it the first cut, it is also the first single. It has a great groove and features Darrell Crooks on guitar. The keyboards of George Freeman are featured on “Passing Time” that adds a great complement to Harris’ alto. Crooks is featured once more as they slow down the pace on “Take Me There.” I like Jeanette’s phrasing here as she goes from the melody to chorus. She plays all the instruments on the cover track which is very impressive. Alto, keys and drum programming become one and the layers are presented very nicely. Her multi talents can be seen on the next track as well as she picks up the pace a little bit for “Muy Caliente” as she adds a touch of flute.
They get a little funky on “The Ride” as Crooks is featured on guitar once more and Harris takes care of the rest of the instrumentation. I really like the way she comes across on the Luther Vandross hit “Here and Now.” Harris takes her time and doesn’t muddy it up with too much instrumentation. Her alto acts as the voice and it allows her to sing as only Luther could. “Oh So Good” is a really fun one that picks up the pace and allows Jeannette to shine. She keeps it interesting till the very end. You’ll like this one. “12:57” features fellow saxophonists Marcus Anderson. The layers of intensity will make this one a favorite as well. She closes with “Thankful” that features the vocals of Joel Bowers. It really is a good one to close on as she sums up how she feels. Her keyboards play off her sax in a very special way.
Be sure to check out Summer Rain really soon. I believe it’s one that you’ll be hearing a lot as the summer months heat up. I really like what I hear here and I believe you will as well.