Saturday, March 07, 2009

Marion Meadows Reveals Secrets on New Release

Saxophonist Marion Meadows is hiding something. Like a deft sleight-of-hand artist, there’s always something up his sleeve – something he’s not showing you outright – that ultimately reveals itself when the music starts. Somewhere in those mysterious spaces between the notes – at the convergence of melody, harmony and rhythm – the simple treasures and universal truths are laid bare for those whose ears and minds and hearts are open to discover them.

Meadows uncovers some of these hidden mysteries on Secrets (HUCD 3150), his new recording on Heads Up International.

For Meadows, the secrets within the music reveal themselves on a subconscious level – a place where higher reasoning takes a back seat to instinct and intuition. And for as much as Meadows may be the keeper of the secrets, they are often just as much a revelation to him as they are to the listener. “Secrets are things that are kept hidden beneath the surface of our own intellect, our own decision-making,” he says. “They’re these treasures that are often right in front of our eyes and yet we don’t even see them or know they’re there.”

Discovering these unseen treasures requires a more organic approach to the music, says Meadows. “I wanted to incorporate a more live sensibility into the recording process in the making of this record,” he explains. “I wanted to use musicians who have also been part of my live performances. Contemporary jazz artists can get a little caught up in the more stylish side of the recording process, with computers and drum machines and other cutting-edge technology. For as good as all that stuff can sound, there’s an organic element that gets lost. If you move too far in that direction, I think people start to take musicians in this genre – and the genre in general – less seriously as a result.”

For all of the capable hands on deck, Secrets is ultimately about the army of ears on the other side of the musical equation, says Meadows. “When we put these records out, we tend to forget about the fans’ initial response to them,” he says. “We live with these projects from their conception and birth all the way up to the final details of post-production and pressing. In a lot of cases, once it’s done and out the door, we need some distance from it for a few weeks. But at that same time, it’s a fresh new experience for the fans who buy it. They’re saying, ‘What’s this thing going to sound like?’ For them, it’s still a secret. It’s something that has yet to be discovered and explored.”

Listen closely and catch the wisdom in the whisper of Secrets.

CAT # HUCD3150
1. Secrets 4:18
2. Let the Top Down 4:02
3. You Lift My Heart 5:54
4. Soul Sugar 4:02
5. The Child in Me 4:07
6. Sand Dancers 4:52
7. Playtime 5:05
8. Flirt 4:20
9. Friends 4:54
10. Urban Angels 5:13
11. The Shade Tree 5:57
12. Here To Stay 6:32

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