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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The reality of the smooth jazz business in the 2000s has been that great genre veterans and solid emerging artists alike can bounce from label to label as indies open up and are shuttered no matter the number of radio hits. After a number of years as a monster sideman, inventive Chicago bassist Michael Manson struck gold in 2002 with his hit "Outer Drive"; despite solid output since then, he was on his third indie label (Nu Groove) by the time he released the solid Up Front collection in 2008. For fans who have never bought a Manson CD, it serves as a great primer for his strikingly melodic, hard-grooving, and brass-drenched funk style that allows for a lot of virtuoso ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The reality of the smooth jazz business in the 2000s has been that great genre veterans and solid emerging artists alike can bounce from label to label as indies open up and are shuttered no matter the number of radio hits. After a number of years as a monster sideman, inventive Chicago bassist Michael Manson struck gold in 2002 with his hit "Outer Drive"; despite solid output since then, he was on his third indie label (Nu Groove) by the time he released the solid Up Front collection in 2008. For fans who have never bought a Manson CD, it serves as a great primer for his strikingly melodic, hard-grooving, and brass-drenched funk style that allows for a lot of virtuoso playing. The opening track and first single -- helmed by genre hitmaker and saxman Darren Rahn -- is loaded with vibrant horns, a plucky, infectious, and singable bass melody, and crisp guest shots by George Duke, Lenny Castro, and Paul Jackson, Jr. How could it not be the ultimate in percussive funk? Likewise, the easy-grooving, laid-back, retro-soul vibin' "Steppin' Out" and the sensuous tribute to Manson's wife, Lana ("She's Always There"), featuring Najee, are picture-perfect urban jazz. A fine-print sticker adorning the jewel box explains away the odd mix of the other 12 tracks and addresses the unfortunate realities of the business: because 215 Records folded and his 2006 gem Just Feelin' It hadn't been available for over a year, Manson remastered five tracks from that album just so they wouldn't be forgotten. You can't beat the playful light funk spirit of "Coming Right at Ya" and easy breeze of "It's the Way That She Moves" -- but still, if you are a fan waiting for a full-scale project, this isn't quite it. Manson follows the lead of many other genre artists in the 2000s by covering a well-known pop-soul song (a nicely rendered "End of the Road") and then reminds his fans where his solo journey began with a laid-back "Chicago-style" take on his biggest hit, "Outer Drive," featuring another Chicago-based smooth jazz great, guitarist Nick Colionne. So, in essence, this label debut is something of a cool "greatest-hits" package with a bunch of kickin' new songs. With any luck -- and Manson surely deserves a few breaks with his new label -- Nu Groove might stick around long enough for him to follow this with a completely new collection the next time out.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/22/2008
  • Label: Nu Groove Records
  • UPC: 026656300424
  • Catalog Number: 3004
  • Sales rank: 92,361

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Manson Primary Artist, Bass, Piccolo Bass, Tenor Bass
George Duke Piano
Najee Flute
Jeff Lorber Piano, Keyboards
Mel Brown Bass
Norman Brown Guitar
Alex Al Bass
Stephen Berry Trombone
Larry Bowen Trumpet
Rick Braun Trumpet
Tom Braxton Saxophone
Lenny Castro Percussion
Jerry DiMuzio Saxophone
Ray Fuller Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Tim Gant Keyboards
Keith Henderson Guitar
Paul Jackson Jr. Guitar, Electric Guitar
Michael Logan Piano, Keyboards, fender rhodes
Kirk Whalum Saxophone
Michael White Drums
Pharez Whitted Trumpet
Steve Cole Saxophone
Dave Kochanski Keyboards
Cynthia Jernigan Vocals
Al Willis Guitar
Michael White Drums
Nick Colionne Guitar, Soloist
Paul Mertens Saxophone
Joey Woolfalk Guitar
Kevin Whalum Vocals
Gerey Johnson Guitar
Armirris Palmore Vocals
Oscar Seaton Drums
Calvin Rodgers Drums
Roberta Thomas Vocals
Michael Ripoll Guitar
Desmond Pringle Vocals
John Blasucci Keyboards
Tina Brown Vocals
Louie Stockwell Saxophone
Graham Ferguson Lacey Vocals
Khari Parker Drums
Felicia Coleman Evans Vocals
Darren Rahn Keyboards, Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, fender rhodes, Horn Section
Robin Robinson Vocals
Chris Miskel Drums
Jason Rahn Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Horn Section
Trina Davis Vocals
Ted Hosarth Saxophone
Steve Snell Saxophone
Louie Stockwell Saxophone
John Colloso Vocals
Gus Lacey Vocals
Jason Tyson Organ, Piano, fender rhodes
Oscar Seaton Jr. Drums
Technical Credits
Bill Withers Composer
Jeff Lorber Programming, Producer, Audio Production
Mel Brown Engineer
Michael Logan Producer
Michael Manson Composer, Producer, Audio Production
L.A. Reid Composer
Skip Scarborough Composer
Daryl Simmons Composer
Dave Kochanski Programming, Producer, Audio Production
Michael White Engineer
Armirris Palmore Arranger
John Blasucci Programming, Producer, Audio Production
Darren Rahn Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Horn Arrangements, Audio Production
Chris Miskel Programming
Jason Tyson Audio Production
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