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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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