One of today's leading contemporary saxophone artists, Gerald Albright has made his name with a musical voice that's lyrical, seductive, and deeply soulful. Those elements combine with funky rhythms and memorable melodies on New Beginnings, his debut album from Peak Records. Features keyboardists Jeff Lorber and Patrice Rushen, famed trumpeter Chris Botti, ace studio musician Chucki Booker, top guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., and The Whispers. Universal. 2006.
This CD finds the LA-born, smooth-jazz star Gerald Albright on a new label, with a new line of saxophones and a new home in Colorado. It's co-produced by some of his heavyweight contemporaries, including Jeff Lorber, Chuckii Booker, and Rex Rideout, and it features Albright's traveling band. All of the 12 tracks showcase Albright's assertive mix of Cannonball Adderley's bravura and Maceo Parker's funkiness--whether he's playing alto, baritone, tenor sax, or flute. His high school friend, Patrice Rushen, who let Albright steal the show with his burning solo on her 1982 single "Forget Me Nots," turns in a nice piano spotlight on the title track. The old Whispers hit "And the Beat Goes On" is reprised with that group's lead vocalists, and trumpeter Chris Botti's Milesiian trumpet leaves its footprint on "Big Shoes." Albright's rousing rendition of "Georgia on My Mind," shows why everybody, from Quincy Jones to Phil Collins, loves his sound. --Eugene Holley, Jr.