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Andre Ward — Caution

June 14, 2013

Just as silky as you please, saxman Andre Ward pours on the saxilicious charm from the very first note of the lead track on his latest endeavor, Caution. You just know from that point, you are at the right party. Pass me a groove and let me settle back for this ride.

With some help from artists/producers like Rahni Song, Ward takes this one on another satisfying, jam-heavy journey that also sports a heavy dose of sensuality and memorable hooks.

Having been pleased with Ward’s material since 2001’s Feelin’ You, I must confess to not being in the least bit expecting less from this saxman who has obviously wrapped the contemporary jazz groove around his very soul.

Hopping with melody and drive from “Crossing the Border “(the lead track) to the stirringly sweet “I Will Love You (the wedding song)” (sung by Jamie Knight in nightingale fashion) to the jammin’ tribute to the late crooner Marvin Gaye called “Marvin’s Medley” to the tender and moving “Night Flight” (with Ward putting in a performance on flute and EWI, as well) to the catchy mid-tempo funky “Curiosity” and beyond, this album leaves no one wanting.  It is the kind of consistency yet originality that Andre Ward fans have come to know well.

Reaching out in an obvious show of eclecticism and diversity, the saxman closes out with an interesting vocal arrangement by Janice Dempsey who performs the soft piano-driven “What If,” a slight turn away from the typical contemporary jazz vibe to a much more chilled-out kind of Eartha Kitt/Nancy Wilson breathiness.  Surely, you didn’t doubt that Ward could go there. The consummate musician.

Whatever the climate, Ward can create a storm of sound that is often most tantalizing. Caution is no different. – Ronald Jackson

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