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Cass' review of Player's Club

Cass' review of
Player's Club
Marion Meadows
Player's Club (2004)
Running time: 50 minutes
Artist: Marion Meadows
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Heads Up International -- http://www.headsup.com
Artist site: http://www.marionmeadows.com

Review Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2004


James Hillman said, "The way to true success is to honor your calling." [See his book, The Soul's Code]. I only mention this because Marion Meadows actually dreamed of being either a veterinarian or zoologist, and playing the sax was merely a hobby. Sometimes, a hobby is really your calling in disguise, but success enters the picture when your hobby collides with fate and destiny somehow alters your path. Meadows' road to success came one day while he was waiting for a train at New York's Grand Central Station. He simply took out his sax and started playing it. One of the travelers who heard Meadows' impromptu Grand Central Station gig just happened to be TV composer, Jay Chattaway. Chattaway hooked Meadows up with legendary keyboardist, Bob James, and as a result of that fateful day, Meadows has been riding on the soul train of success ever since. Meadows has performed with well-known artists such as the late Phyllis Hyman and Brook Benton, Eartha Kitt, The Temptations, Angela Bofill, Michael Bolton, Will Downing, plus countless others.

Here's the kicker. I knew two loyal Marion Meadows fans, but didn't discover this until after I received Marion's latest CD, Player's Club. First, my brother, who recently saw Meadows perform in Scottsdale, Arizona, said, "Marion's performance was off-da-hook." However, "the best part of the evening" was when he met Meadows and his wife after the show. My brother said that "Marion's music is truly an extension of one really down-2-earth brotha." He told Marion that he played clarinet in the Marine Corp Band, and the fact that Meadows studied with his idol, clarinetist, Eddie Daniels, made him appreciate his musicianship even as far back as his 1999 CD, Another Side of Midnight. Second, when I picked up my best friend for our monthly outing, the moment she got into the car she said, "Hey, that sounds like Marion Meadows playing." Naturally, I immediately asked her how she knew it was Mr. Meadows because I certainly didn't recall seeing any of music in her CD collection. She said that ever since she first heard Marion's music through Angela Bofill and Will Downing, she's been a loyal fan.

When I hear the phrase Player's Club, it immediately makes me think of a bunch of brothas runnin' game on sistahs. Ya feel me? In this instance, however, Player's Club is really a fraternity of musicians, and Meadows dedicates this CD to his fellow "saxophonists and musicians who go out there every night and give it their all." Meadows majored in arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music and it is clearly evident because he co-produced nine of the 11 cuts on this very personal CD. From beginning to end, Player's Club will instantly put you in the mood to enjoy something invitingly fresh. Before you know it, you'll be bopping your head and tapping your foot to a smooth blend of neo-soul, hip-hop and R&B rhythms.

Each song flows effortlessly into the next track, which enhances your listening pleasure. For example, you'll really enjoy Douglas Myers' [who co-produced this track with Chip Shearin] vocal styling with Meadows' sultry and playful tone on "The First Time". Meadows also adds a snappy twist to Rose Royce's 1977 hit, "Wishing On A Star". But, if you're in a more sensual vibe, Meadows will positively enhance the atmosphere and put you in the mood for love with "Romantic" and "Deska". ["Deska" is his wife, Desi's, nickname]. If you're throwing a dinner party, Player's Club is the perfect CD to have playing in the background because it creates an uplifting ambiance while at the same time entertaining your guests. They'll be asking you, "Who is that playing?", especially on unique songs like "Noche Privada" (you'll love the Spanish guitar performance by Chieli Minucci); or "After 6:00," which is the perfect upbeat song to end this CD on. [Can somebody PLEASE hit the REPEAT button AGAIN!]

Player's Club is Marion's ninth album overall, but his fourth with Heads Up International. But, I must also give credit where credit is due. The Club Players combining their unique style with Meadows' flawless sound are: bassists, Chip Shearin and Mel Brown; guitarists, Chieli Minucci, Freddie Fox, Wayne Cotton and Darnel Taylor; keyboardists, Michael Broening [co-produced seven of the tracks with Meadows], Mike Beardon, LeRoix Hampton III and Wirlie Morris; saxophonist, Matt King; drummer, Jabari; and, vocalist, Douglas Myers.


For uninterrupted pleasure, you MUST include Marion Meadows' Player's Club in your CD collection!!! To find out more about Marion Meadows, please visit his web site at http://www.marionmeadows.com. THANKS to Mike Wilpizeski at Heads Up International for hooking me up with Marion's CD.


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Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2004
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