This smooth jazz veteran releases twelve new tracks that have really been a pleasure to listen to. They do anything but “whisper.” He keeps his soprano in mid range though most of these while being surrounded by some really great production and musicians.
The opening track hooks you in the first few seconds as it sweeps you away and is joined right away by Meadows on “The Visitor.” It has mystic passages that are later syncopated allowing his sax to soar. I like this one a lot and it pulled me in right away. The title track slows things down a little and features Michael Broening on keys. The haunting melody later gives way to the acoustic guitar of Carlo Pennisi. “Black Pearl” is one that I liked right away. Not sure if it was named for the boat in the movie or a little beauty from the sea, but this is one you’ll be hearing a lot this spring. The chorded majestic keys serve as the back drop for Marion’s sax as it continues to grow until the very end.
Things get funky on “Curves” as the band takes it up a bit. The edge continues and he plays off the band with some of his best soprano on the record. “Magic Life” is fun and lively. It moves along at a nice pace and features Marion on both soprano and tenor sax. “Bottoms Up” features Bob Baldwin on the keys and Ragan Whiteside on flute as they all team up with Pennisi for a very enjoyable track. He brings it back up with “Marcosinho.” The soprano sounds much cleaner here than on previous tracks. Baldwin is back on board for some nice keyboards. Add in the trumpet of Joey Summerville and you have a really good mix. They both stick around for the Freddie Hubbard classic, “Sky Dive.” I really enjoy “Wild Thing” as the band adds a little toe tapper at the end that is both straight ahead and intense to the end. Baldwin comes back for the closer “Turn Up The Quiet.”
It has been four years since his last release. Marion Meadows has been touring with a lot of different people over the past few years and I think some of those influences are reflective on Whisper. I really enjoyed this one. The production quality and over all sound are really something. Be sure to check it out soon.