Hailing from Springfield, MA saxophonist Charles Langford is
todays one of Boston's top player. He already performed with The
Toni Lynn Washington Blues Band, The Temptations, Mighty Sam
McClain, Melvin Sparks, Norman Connors, Solomon Burke, and Steve Turre.
His debut album was That's Wassup in 2008. Now he returns
on Blue Canoe Records with the album Powerless (2021).
Compared with his previous project Charles hasn't changed his
style, an elegant mélange of smooth and contemporary jazz. Charles
is joined by label mates like Jimmy Haslip, Jimmy Branley, Russell
Ferrante and many other notable musicians listed in the
credits. Charles has written all tracks,
cover in sight.
The first track of the album Bliss already attracts
attention because of the fact that two saxophonists, Langford and
Elan Trotman work jointly. Two individuals with different
stylistic origins come together, and the piece leaves plenty of
room for their own personal improvisations.
Feel The Light reminds me of the music of the
Motown era and it comes across authentically. Better
Days Ahead shows his optimism in these gloomy
times. With the sweetness of a soprano saxophone, he
puts us in the mood for a better future. The positive
attitude is also joined by It's A New Day with
an encouraging melody. Optimism knows no bounds with the
cheerful Feeling Nice. Guitarist Wali Ali
throws some rock into the mix.
I really like this cover of Close To You, a song
written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. You can tell
Charles has all the time in the world. This relaxation is
also fully lived out on Let's Chill. Avery Sharpe
shows us how an upright bass has to sound. That guitarist
Wali Ali can also sing, one notices at the latest when he
raises his sonorous voice on Midnight Mood.
Drive Time is often the period listening music.
What could be better to play the anthem for this great
time. Holding Back is not Charles' great talent.
He loves to play his instrument with fervor. Powerless
is a feeling that often creeps up on us in this day and
age. After all, the overall circumstances give us enough
reasons for it. Charles, however, powerfully tackles the
subject from the jazzy side.
Thinking Back shines with accurate arrangement,
especially of the wind instruments used. Some melancholy
resonates from the melody. Final tune is the exciting
up-tempo Top Secret which showcases all musicians
in full action.
Charles Langford's album Powerless is not a
common run-of-the-mine smooth jazz project. Clearly
recognizable is the creativity, passion and commitment
that all musicians have contributed.
Buy the album in all stores
Artist: Charles Langford
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Blue Canoe Records
1) "Bliss" (4:03)
2) "Feel The Light" (4:17)
Days Ahead" (3:55)
4) "It's A New Day" (4:46)
6) "Close to You" (3:23)
7) "Let's Chill"
8) "Midnight Mood" (4:30)
9) "Drive Time" (4:41)
10) "Holding Back" (4:03)
11) "Powerless" (4:52)
"Thinking Back" (3:51)
13) "Top Secret" (6:50)
Additional Keys: Charles
Tenor Sax, Keys, Percussion (track 1): Elan
Bass, Keys (tracks 1, 13): Jimmy Haslip
(tracks 7, 11): Avery Sharpe
Bass (track 3, 9): Tom Appleman
Bass (track 6): Lenny Stallworth
Drums and Percussion
(tracks 1, 3, 7, 11, 13): Jimmy Branly
Drums (track 9): Poogie
Drums (track 8): Abi Robles
Guitar (tracks 1, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12): Wali Ali
Guitar (track 2): Kasper Gali
Guitar (tracks 3, 5, 11): Randy Razz
13): Russell Ferrante
Keys, Programming (tracks 1, 2, 6, 8,
9): Mark Rassmussen
Keys, Bass, Drum Programming (tracks 2,
4, 10, 12): Brad Hatfield
Piano and Rhodes (track 3,
9): Chip Crawford
Piano (track 7, 11): Mike King
Vocals (track 2): Alvin Roberts
Vocals (track 8): Wali Ali
Recording Engineer (track 1, 13): Jimmy Branly
Mastered: Matt LaPoint (Los Angeles, CA)
Co-Produced (tracks 1, 13): Jimmy Haslip
Co-Produced (tracks 2, 10, 12): Brad Hatfield
(tracks 2, 6): Mark Rassmussen
Album Art: Thomas Heflin