First View


Several months ago I met Michael Manson on Warren Hill's Smooth Jazz Cruise. He is playing bass as sideman for Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, George Duke or Oletta Adams. Now his new album is available on his website and it's time to inform you about it. The album is called "Just Feelin' It". For further information about it consult his website or read this review. Michael has collected the who-is-who of Smooth Jazz. Paul Jackson Jr., Lenny Castro, Brian Culbertson, Kirk Whalum, Oscar Seaton, Alex Al, George Duke among others are playing on his new album. Hopefully a label will take the chance to publish this piece of mastership.

The album starts with Coming Right At Ya. Curiously Michael is playing the lead melody on bass while Alex Al is accompanying him on his bass. This song was recorded at Dave Kochanski's sound design studios. There is a great horn passage played by Stephen Berry (trombone), Kirk Whalum (sax), Larry Bowen (trumpet), Pharrez Whitted (trumpet), Ted Hosarth, Jerry Di Muzio (sax) and Jeff Lorbers' piano part is superfinished.

On It's The Way She Moves Mike is performing the melody again while Kirk is playing a short sax solo. Superior the bass/ acoustic guitar duet. Michel Ripoll whose performance I could observe on Warren Hill's cruise is a great talent. I suggest to sample his solo album "Discovery Anew". The song is enriched with a great brass background somehow reaching the power of a swing orchestra.

Whatever you await of a good smooth jazz song you find it on Just Feelin' It. It sounds like Warren Hill meets Dave Koz meets Kirk Whalum meets Euge Groove. Nelson Rangell is such a class-A-sax player who refines this brilliant tune. Above all is Mike's stomping funky bass. 

There's Nothing Better Than Love is a song suitable for singers like Luther Vandross or Teddy Pendergrass. And exactly Luther performed that song on his album "Give Me A Reason" (1986). 
This time
Amiris Palmore, Trina Davis, Felicia Coleman are the awesome singers in the background. Michael Logan who is often performing with Mike shows his great potential as keyboardist and piano player.

On the laid-back Way Back When Jeff Lorber excels with his superior qualities. When quickness is not the quality factor a special exquisiteness in performance reveals musical maturity. Rick Braun gives a shot on his trumpet.

In the center of Another Chance is Kirk Whalum's sax.This gospel like tune could be on one of his own albums. Remarkable when Mike and Kirk are soloing together. Amiris Palmore is a background singer with an exceptional vocal performance besides the wonderful female choir. 

Dave Kochanski is a long time keyboardist in the Rippingtons. He also played with Eric Marienthal, Jeff Kashiwa, A. Ray Fuller, George Duke to give you a slight idea of his importance. In Flight is his tune and Michael is his companion. A very dynamic bass oriented and rhythmical piece. 

Still Thinking About You is featuring Norman Brown on guitar and Ray Fuller on rhythm guitar. Great guitar riffs with an awesome orchestra of horns. A first choice for smooth jazz friends.

The Bassment is frankly the bomb. What starts as a show-piece for bassplayers with fuliminant brass support explodes in the middle of the tune when George Duke tickles ebonies and ivories in his matchless way. A retro look in good old funky time. 

Michael couldn't resist to cover Lovely Day, Bill Withers' smashing super hit from the album Menagerie (1977). This song is one of my eternal favorites, another one is "Lean On Me" and I am glad that Michael produced such a brilliant rendition. I have also to thank Kevin Whalum for his excellent vocal input.

The gospel tune Tis So Sweet was re-arranged by John Stoddart ("Wings to Walk This Road"). A semi-acoustical version of this traditional classic with much soulful character featuring Michael on bass, Michael Logan on piano and Ernie Adams on jazz brushes..

A reprise of The Bassment finalizes this mesmerizing album.

It's very easy for me to recommend this album which is all what smooth jazz is about. You have now the chance to buy the album at Michael Manson's website and you won't regret it.





  • Michael Manson's bio
  • Michael Manson's website
  • Buy the album here
  • Review about his album "The Bottom Line"
  • Title: Just Feelin' It
    Artist: Mike Manson
    Year: 2005
    Length: 0:59:29
    Genre: Smooth Jazz


    01 Just Comin' At Ya [5:20]
    02 It's The Way She Moves [5:23]
    03 Just Feelin' It [3:54]
    04 There's Nothing Better Than Love [6:10]
    05 Way Back When [4:40]
    06 Another Chance [6:19]
    07 In Flight [4:47]
    08 Still Thinking About You [5:29]
    09 The Bassment [5:57]
    10 Lovely Day [5:04]
    11 Tis So Sweet [4:50]
    12 The Basement Reprise [1:35]