A Connecticut resident since the age of six, West Virginia-born Marion began his musical odyssey playing classical clarinet at the age of nine. He started exploring jazz after he acquired his first sax during his teens, playing, studying arranging and composition at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, and studying orchestration at the New York State University for the Arts at Purchase. Marion's musical resume includes work with a diversity of artists including James "Blood" Ulmer, Angela Bofill, Bob James, the Aboriginal Music Society, Jean Carne, Phyliss Hyman, The Temptations, and the late Brook Benton. He had a long-standing gig with Norman Connors' Starship Orchestra, co-producing the musician's well-known Passion album. Marion's recording career with RCA began with FOR LOVERS ONLY and continued with KEEP IT RIGHT THERE. His 1994 set, FORBIDDEN FRUIT, follows. Marion has toured extensively throughout the U.S. A popular performer in the U.K. and Japan, Marion added Brazil to his growing list of international touring stops in 1994 .
With each of his three previous albums for RCA Records, acclaimed saxophonist Marion Meadows has been building a strong and loyal audience among music lovers both at home and abroad. Destined to take the popular musician to a new level of recognition and success, Marion's album, BODY RHYTHM, reflects his development as a creative and multifaceted artist. "I don't take a contrived approach to recording" says the genial Meadows. "There has been a progression with each album. I've acquired a certain audience that likes what I do: I'm always searching for compositions that will be pleasing to them. This record has a lot of what I'm known for, and I'd say it's more accessible. It was certainly a great album to record...effortless and a lot of fun." Certainly, BODY RHYTHM exudes energy and excitement, from Marion's finger-snappin', exuberant take on Stevie Wonder's 1969 classic, My Cherie Amour, through the groove-oriented Get Involved (featuring Marion's wife Asha on lead vocals) to the Latin funk of Marion's Theme. In a more reflective vein, the mellow ballad Be With You, One More Chance (a quiet storm-flavored duet featuring Asha and vocalist Blacke), the hypnotic Deep Waters and the album's sensuous title track all showcase the talented saxman's versatility. Comments Marion, who co-wrote eight of the album's thirteen cuts and served as the set's co-executive producer with keyboard/musician Yasha, "I've always loved My Cherie Amour. I did some research and found that not many jazz players had covered the song, so I was able to pull it off without worrying if someone else had done it recently. Then, Get Involved is pretty funky - it's a tune that I created on the spot in the studio and that was a lot of fun. Like Marion's Theme, the track South Beach has a Latin feel: Bobby Allende played percussion on both tunes and it has a very infectious melody."
Soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows pays tribute to the New York night life with his new urban-tinged, contemporary jazz recording Another Side of Midnight (HUCD 3050). Meadows co-wrote and co-produced the project with keyboardists Michael Bearden, Bob Baldwin and Johnny Britt (who contributed to the album's title track). Other key musicians included guitarist Rohn Lawrence, drummer Fred "Catfish" Alias, and bassist Chip Shearin, with assistance from guitarists Marc Antoine and Norman Brown, vibesman Dave Samuels, percussionists Emedin Rivera and Bashiri Johnson, drummer Omar Hakim, and trumpeter Tom Browne.
Another Side of Midnight kicks off with a romantic title track, a seductive groove that interweaves its graceful sax line with Johnny Britt's dreamy vocals. Meadows employs an explosive horn doubling effect on the bouncy energy of "Last Call," lets his horn float gently over Marc Antoine's silky acoustic guitar harmonies and Maria Meadows' spirited vocals on "Sunset Moon," and then trades percussive and melodic riffs with trumpeter Tom Browne on the retro soul-flavored "Club Life."
Norman Brown adds a spunky electric guitar harmony line to the lilting "A Secret Place" before "The Chase" cruises south for a tropical treat with the help of Dave Samuels's colorful vibes solo. Suddenly, Meadows realizes it's "4:00 a.m.," but he and Bearden are still grooving heavy, swinging with abandon until they relax on the smoky "Longing Hearts." Antoine and Bob Baldwin trade off tender solos around Marion's emotional, horn-doubled melody and some hypnotic soundscaping on "Esta Noche," which naturally leads to an eloquent and picturesque "Sunrise."
Meadows, a native of Connecticut who now makes his home in Phoenix, says he reached into his past to create the "live, organic feel" of the new album. "Like the New York scene itself, it's all about being sensual yet hard-hitting and conveys the great electricity of the music there."
Another Side of Midnight is the sixth solo project for Meadows, who got his first career break in the late '80s when TV composer Jay Chattaway overheard him playing his horn while waiting for a train at Grand Central Station. He subsequently recorded four albums for RCA (1991-96) and one for Sire/Discovery (1997) and has contributed to numerous recordings and/or tours with The Fantasy Band, Norman Connors, Eartha Kitt, Michael Bolton, Will Downing and many others.
It's been a few years since Marion Meadows
moved from New York City to Phoenix. Yet on the musical side, the saxman's heart
has never strayed far from the Big Apple. His two previous Heads Up recordings,
Another Side of Midnight (1999) and Next To You (2000), reflected different
aspects of his experiences in the city, from the uptown R&B to the Latin
rhythms. On his latest release, In Deep, he blends elements of those vibes with
a mix of retro-soul and modern hip-hop influences.