Musicians: Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Paul Brown, Stephen Lu, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber (keyboards), John Fields, Michael O'Neil, Ray Parker, Jr. (guitars), Dave Weckl (drums)
Saxophonist Eric Marienthal’s ability to consistently groove with the best has never been a question mark. Since 1980 he has been at the forefront of musicality with high profile stints as a member of the Disneyland Band as well as those of The Rippingtons, Patti Austin, Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, Al Hirt, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour and a host of other notable musicians. His high-profile status as one of the finest saxophonists around today has garnered him considerable recognition as one of the most recorded artists in contemporary jazz. Eric has also participated as a sideman on more than 50 albums and has released 12 albums as a solo musician. Eric’s latest CD entitled ‘Just Around The Corner’ on the Peak Record Label is his 13th release overall. This time out he seems to have come full circle as a solo musician, which in the minds of most is Eric Marienthal’s best recording to date. Although Eric has excelled as a musician since his career began in 1980, he has often struggled to gain widespread recognition as a solo recording artist. ‘Just Around The Corner’ appears to be the vehicle that will highlight his abilities as a major force in contemporary jazz. The CD contains all original tracks and is augmented by collaborations with Brian Culbertson and Paul Brown, who by any stretch are two of the best in jazz. In addition, they are also outstanding musicians in their own right. Marienthal has also included the talents of Stephen Lu, Dave Weckl Ray Parker, Jr. and Jeff Lorber to edify ‘Just Around The Corner’ even more. For the sake of conversation, this latest release is a heart felt musical excursion into contemporary jazz. For the first time in a long overdue coming, Marienthal has finally allowed himself to be heard on a level that can be fully appreciated by both fans and critics. For the most part, Eric Marienthal’s solo career has been clouded by his inability to distinguish himself commercially. But with ‘Just Around The Corner,’ the melodies, rhythms, intuitive soulful nuances are enlightening, especially so on such tracks as “Flower Child” and “Times Square.” One of the more compelling tracks is “Blue Water,” a tune that sets the stage for everything that follows; Eric’s emotional saxophone coupled with Culbertson’s keyboard antics is aesthetically pleasing. Even in Marienthal’s more subtle moments as heard on “Lost Without You,” he sets a groove that is both hypnotic and reflective. When listening to this CD, one gets the idea that a new voice is coming in from the wilderness of obscurity.
‘Just Around The Corner” contains 10 tracks of high-end energized rhythms and melodies. For the first time in a long and very distinguished career Eric Marienthal finally speaks out loud with a voice that places him in a stand-alone category of his own. Gone are the covers of those who may have overshadowed him and out comes the musician many of his fans have already come to know. This latest recording by one of jazz’s finest musicians is definitely an Eric Marienthal original.