James Saxsmo Gates -- Gates Wide Open

WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE!

James Saxsmo Gates — Gates Wide Open

Jan. 7, 2013

Gates Wide Open, the third solo release from Berklee grad and accomplished saxman James Saxsmo Gates, is a refreshingly energetic production consisting of colorful originals and creative covers.

With a portfolio that includes performances and stints with the likes of the Art Blakey Quintet, Larry Carlton, Alex Bugnon, Jeff Lorber, Terrence Blanchard, and countless others, Gates has managed to transcend the various styles of jazz and place his own brand on jazz in general.

On this CD, he invites saxman Walter Beasley and trombonist Fred Wesley to do some real justice to Chick Corea’s “Spain” and tackles a couple of Michael Jackson tracks, including a rousing version of “Remember the Time” and “Unbreakable,” along with offering a seductive “I Remember” and a cool cover of the Motown classic by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

While there is so much to like here, one of my faves is the saxman’s interpretation of the always-delicious Van Morrison-penned “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” sung here by the very capable former Main Ingredient lead vocalist Carlton Blount. It has such body and presence and carries itself on wings of melody that fit so right on this album.

Moving comfortably from style to style here, the eclecticism and diversity of this artist is much more than a little noteworthy.  The expression and crispness of his sax, the solid arrangements and phrasings, and the fullness of the rhythm section exhibit professionalism and soul-deep emotion. Just what I seek in a well-produced album of encompassing jazz. – Ronald Jackson

Share in top social networks!