Soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows pays tribute to the New York night life with his new urban-tinged, contemporary jazz recording Another Side of Midnight (HUCD 3050). Meadows co-wrote and co-produced the project with keyboardists Michael Bearden, Bob Baldwin and Johnny Britt (who contributed to the album's title track). Other key musicians included guitarist Rohn Lawrence, drummer Fred "Catfish" Alias, and bassist Chip Shearin, with assistance from guitarists Marc Antoine and Norman Brown, vibesman Dave Samuels, percussionists Emedin Rivera and Bashiri Johnson, drummer Omar Hakim, and trumpeter Tom Browne.
Another Side of Midnight kicks off with a romantic title track, a seductive groove that interweaves its graceful sax line with Johnny Britt's dreamy vocals. Meadows employs an explosive horn doubling effect on the bouncy energy of "Last Call," lets his horn float gently over Marc Antoine's silky acoustic guitar harmonies and Maria Meadows' spirited vocals on "Sunset Moon," and then trades percussive and melodic riffs with trumpeter Tom Browne on the retro soul-flavored "Club Life."
Norman Brown adds a spunky electric guitar harmony line to the lilting "A Secret Place" before "The Chase" cruises south for a tropical treat with the help of Dave Samuels's colorful vibes solo.
Suddenly, Meadows realizes it's "4:00 a.m.," but he and Bearden are still grooving heavy, swinging with abandon until they relax on the smoky "Longing Hearts." Antoine and Bob Baldwin trade off tender solos around Marion's emotional, horn-doubled melody and some hypnotic soundscaping on "Esta Noche," which naturally leads to an eloquent and picturesque "Sunrise."
Meadows, a native of Connecticut who now makes his home in Phoenix, says he reached into his past to create the "live, organic feel" of the new album. "Like the New York scene itself, it's all about being sensual yet hard-hitting and conveys the great electricity of the music there."
Another Side of Midnight is the sixth solo project for Meadows, who got his first career break in the late '80s when TV composer Jay Chattaway overheard him playing his horn while waiting for a train at Grand Central Station. He subsequently recorded four albums for RCA (1991-96) and one for Sire/Discovery (1997) and has contributed to numerous recordings and/or tours with The Fantasy Band, Norman Connors, Eartha Kitt, Michael Bolton, Will Downing and many others.