I will preface this review by saying that while yes, Marqueal is a longtime friend thanks to Capital Jazz Cruises, you guys should know by now that knowing me doesn’t give anyone any special perks. In fact, if I know someone, then they’ll have double the pressure to prove their moxie and merit. I do not do favors for folks I know; I double down on them more than I would on complete strangers. If they’re friends of mine, they know they need to stand to merit.
Marqueal Jordan’s debut album is interesting, and titled quite aptly. The definition of the term is agent of change, and if you’ve ever taken chemistry, then you can apply this to music. Indeed, Catalyst is an album that will change the way you see a person.
Chicago local sax slinger and vocalist Marqueal Jordan is no stranger to changes, and nor is he a stranger to versatility. You see him on the tenor sax, and you hear him sing, and usually you catch him on tour with Brian Culbertson. But pop this CD into your audio device of choice and you suddenly see him in a new light. The tenor sax takes on a whole variety of flavors between 2am and Maracas Beach, which push at a more straight-ahead flavor, and Chillin’ with MJ, in which Jordan calls on Chris “Big Dog” Davis and stews the same tenor sax in a sauceful of R&B. Between the Sheets is an immediate introduction to Marqueal as a vocalist independent of anyone else’s show, and while I know his voice well, something about the way he sounds is interesting. Engaging, easygoing. Somewhat reminiscent of Dwele. Featuring Brian Culbertson on When You Smile, Jordan firmly crosses into the R&B boundary, and does so in such a way in conjunction with the rest of the tracks on the album that you will not only not notice the shift but want more of it.
Whether or not the listener gets that, I won’t tell you. You just have to find out on your own.
A catalyst indeed: a catalyst for mixing genres, lyrical style on both vocals and tenor saxophone, a catalyst for propelling Marqueal Jordan out of the sidelines and firmly into a spotlight all his own – any way you slice it this album is something you need to hear if . If you like your Euge Groove, if you like your Dwele, if you like Brian Culbertson, and don’t mind a Stanley Turrentine-gone-modern flavor to your instrumentals, then you need to pick up a copy of Catalyst by Marqueal Jordan. Right away, if not yesterday.
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1bx4SAW
Also on iTunes and CD Baby.