Steppin' Up

Steppin' Up

by André Ward


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Steppin' Up

The challenge any new young smooth jazz saxman undertakes is trying to compete for airplay on radio stations that are more inclined to play discs by veterans that genre fans know and love. On his second release, Andre Ward makes a solid case for being a passionate and sometimes inventive, lyrical player, scoring winsome, easy-grooving gems like the first single "Every Time I Open My Eyes," the cool hip-hop-oriented "Warm Passion" (which includes the musician's propensity for potent horn harmonies behind the melody line), and harder-edged funk of "City Vibe." He balances this sort of pocket grooving with the sweet soprano ballad for his daughter, "Heaven in My Life." No doubt for commercial reasons, he includes a small handful of cover tunes, with mixed success. His energetic take on R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love" would no doubt sound fresher had more popular sax god Kim Waters not just done it (it's a popular tune this year in smooth jazz, with Bobby Lyle also offering a take). Maurice Jacobs' vocal on "Holding Back the Years" is nice, but Ward really stumbles with his spacy, EWI-led version of "If You Leave Me Now," which should probably have been played on soprano. Ward's definitely got some good material to offer the genre, and time will tell if he can rise from the ranks of new independent to the A list.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/20/2006
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0802469093421
catalogNumber: 5637206174
Rank: 81942

Album Credits

Performance Credits

André Ward   Primary Artist,Flute,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,EWI
Dow Brain   Multi Instruments
Michael J. Powell   Guitar,Percussion
Turner   Bass
Gordon Worthy   Bass,Piano,Keyboards,Multi Instruments
Andrew Sherman   Bass,Piano,Keyboards,Synthesizer Bass
Rohn Lawrence   Guitar
Devora Johnson   Background Vocals
LeRoix Hampton   drum overdubs
Ronnie Drayton   Guitar
Yasha Barjona   Multi Instruments
Derrick Jacobs   Background Vocals
Tyrone Chase   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Chris Parks   Bass
Maurice Jacobs   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

R. Kelly   Composer
Dow Brain   Composer,Producer
Peter Cetera   Composer
Mick Hucknall   Composer
Beau Huggins   Executive Producer
Joshua Kadison   Composer
Michael J. Powell   Producer
Gordon Worthy   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Andrew Sherman   Arranger,Composer,Producer,drum programming
André Ward   Arranger,Composer,Producer
LeRoix Hampton   Post Editing,Vocal Producer,Mixing Editor,Pro-Tools
Michelle Perry   Contributor
Brad Young   Composer
Yasha Barjona   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Post Editing,Mixing Editor,Pro-Tools
Lynne Butkiewicz   Art Direction
Charli Huggins   Executive Producer
Neil Moss   Composer

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