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Jeanette Harris – Summer Rain

Mar. 31, 2013

Saxtress/multi-instrumentalist Jeanette Harris is just no ordinary sax player who also plays other instruments. When you listen to the solid grooves she’s penned here on her new Jeanette Harris Summer Rain release (to be available on April 2), you quickly hear and know that this is a woman who not only knows her instruments but just how big a part catchy and attractive melodies play in any really decent recording. So, her writing deserves as much credit as her talent in playing various instruments.

This lovely noteplayer who was a member of the late Teena Marie’s band in the final year before the singer’s death provides just the smoothness one needs to make a romantic night one to surely remember with adorable tracks like  “Chillin’” and a wonderful interpretation of the late Luther Vandross’ “Here & Now.” Then, there are the infectious mid-to-up-tempo grooves like the lead track “Just Keep Holding On,” “Passing Time,” “Take Me There,” the title track, and the Latin groove “Muy Caliente” (and it is), just name a few.

With help from the likes of saxman Marcus Anderson, vocalist Joel Bowers, guitarist Darrell Crooks, keyboardists/drum programmers George Freeman and Andrew Dorsette, keyboardist/composer/producer Chuck Cymone, and her brother Michael who contributed some production and songwriting assistance, Harris and Summer Rain come fully loaded and ready to charm.

In addition to an album full of wonderfully palatable tunes, a few on which Harris plays all of the instruments, the comely saxtress is rolling out her own Summer Rain perfume shortly after the CD is released. Says Harris, “I’ve been working on this project for a few months and finally came up with a scent that I’m digging. I love perfume and I think people of all ages will enjoy my smooth, sensual perfume, which adds another dimension to the love story.” And what a story it all is.

There is no outrageous flash or “overkill” here – just great, smooth, soul-filling melodies and snappy rhythms along with well-phrased instrumentation. With a sound that is as fresh as summer rain, this is certainly one for your collection of outstanding contemporary jazz. – Ronald Jackson