“When are you going to let me make a record with you?” For years, Grammy-nominated bassist Brian Bromberg posed this question to saxophonist Mike MacArthur. Finally the saxman acquiesced. He grabbed his tenor horn, hopped a jet and camped out in Bromberg’s Los Angeles-area home studio until the record was complete. The two musicians invited a handful of their high-profile friends over to play on the album, “Feels Like Home,” Bromberg produced and plays acoustic bass on the 10-song multihued mix of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz and blues that features contributions from trumpeter Rick Braun, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and guitarist Jeff Golub. The tabernacle temblor “Sanctified,” the disc’s gospel-inspired first single, is already gracing radio playlists and ascending the charts.
“’Sanctified’ is kind of the mack daddy track on the album because everyone is on it. It was the most labor-intensive tune to record,” said MacArthur. “The whole album, which began with Brian (Bromberg), is simply friends making music because they want to. These guys are friends and family who I’ve worked with over the years and it felt like home hanging out playing what we wanted to play. Working with players like this just makes you a better player. It was a fun and enjoyable hang.”
The circle of friends was completed by noted percussionist Alex Acuna, Ron Reinhardt (piano/B3 organ), Gannin Arnold (guitar), Frank “Third” Richardson (drums), and vocalists Janelle Sadler and Alva Copeland.
With MacArthur’s impassioned and skilled sax anchoring the album along with plenty of walking bass deftly deployed by Bromberg, each guest is given ample room to dazzle on extended improvisational solos and generous track lengths. Bromberg’s productions sound live and as one would expect from this list of friends, the level of musicianship is scholarly.
Typical of when jazz musicians gather to jam, most of the songs on “Feels Like Home” are standards culled from legends and masters such as Miles Davis (“Jean Pierre”), Duke Ellington (“In A Sentimental Mood”), Sonny Rollins (“Blue Seven”), Joe Zawinul (“Birdland”) and Horace Silver (“Filthy McNasty”). MacArthur authored a trio of new compositions for the set, including the warm and cozy title track, “Around The Corner,” a shuffling blues cut penned with Golub’s gritty blues guitar chops in mind, and the swinging “Sydney Style.”
Raised in Rochester, NY and currently residing in Tampa, FL, MacArthur toured the U.S., Asia and Europe backing Maynard Ferguson followed by a road stint with Grammy-winner Diane Schuur. Over the years, he’s worked with Braun, Bromberg, Golub, Roger Waters, Franki Valli, Peter White, Craig Chaquico, Rick Derringer, Chieli Minucci and Jeff Kashiwa. MacArthur released his solo debut, “Paradise Point,” in 2000, which was followed by “Deal Me In” (2002), “That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout” (2006) and “Live ‘N Kickin’” (2009). “Feels Like Home” is his first collection backed by the muscle of radio promotions, marketing and publicity campaigns. For more information, please visit www.mikemacarthur.com. The songs contained on MacArthur’s “Feels Like Home” album are: “Filthy McNasty” “Birdland” “Sanctified” “Feels Like Home” “Around The Corner” “Jean Pierre” “Sydney Style” “Blue Seven” “In A Sentimental Mood” “Mo Better Blues”
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