Concert Reviews
On The Side
Contact Us
About Us

Release Date:
June 9, 2009

Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Ware

Jason Weber is a busy guy.  In addition to his solo career, he's an in-demand session artist - appearing on numerous albums by artists including: Steve Ferrone, Morris Pleasure, Patrick Yandall, Will Sumner, Deborah Flores, Richard Samuels, and Michael Rosati & Del Bennett/Chris Kringel among others.  He has also opened for Bobby Caldwell, Boney James, Richard Elliot, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Everette Harp, Brian Auger, Alex Ligertwood, Robert & Dean Deleo (Stone Temple Pilots), Brandon Fields and Steve Ferrone.

The first time I heard Jason Weber play was sometime back in 2002 while I was working with The Jazz Nation.  Something Blue crossed my desk; I popped it in my CD player and was so impressed with it that I reviewed it right away.  I also checked out Jason's other CDs, and he became one of my favorite saxmen.  I recently reconnected with Jason on Facebook and found out about his latest project, Five – his fifth solo album – and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  I was not disappointed.

In a time when many artists are still "playing it safe" with their musical selections, Five is nothing less than bold.  Weber treats his listener to a wide range of styles – from smooth, to funky, to contemporary and straight-ahead.  Nine of the twelve tracks on Five were written or co-written by Weber.  Did I mention that this album is bold?  The three cover tracks?  "Europa" – a signature Gato Barbieri tune written by Carlos Santana – you have to be gutsy to even think about covering that.  But Weber does, and he does it well, bringing his own interpretation to it, while staying true to the original.  Then there is the pop classic "You Gotta Be," which starts out a fairly straight rendition, but ends up packing a big emotional punch.  The third cover is of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita."  Weber brings this 80s hit into the 21st Century, speeding it up a little, smoothing it out a tad – you will want to get up and dance.

Five opens up with "U Know U Like It," a smooth, but upbeat track with a nice punch at the end.  "For The Children" is a great showcase for Weber's sweet and mellow tenor sax skills.  "Snapshot" is a soulful blend of straight-ahead elements, yet remaining melodic enough not to scare away "smooth" listeners.  "Some Day" – one of my favorite tracks – is a beautiful ballad offered up as only a tenor sax can.  "Mysterious Circumstances" is another highlight of the album - contemporary jazz at its best.

The title track is a fun, funky tune, followed by a brief, ethereal "Interlude" that seamlessly leads into "Europa."  Jason gives us a touch of Eastern Indian, Native American meets contemporary jazz with "Mantra."  And closing things out is "D-Funked" – edgy, funk-jazz that breaks out into a hard rock guitar improv.  This track along with the rest of Five leaves no doubt that Jason Weber can stand up and play with the best of them.

Check out Jason's website: www.jasonweber.net