Former New York City saxophonist Marion Meadows enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle now that he lives in Phoenix. Without question, that laid-back attitude permeates his latest CD, In Deep, because outside of the title track that brims with resounding tenor/soprano chants, and the funky upbeat "South Chicago," there's very little passion exhibited.
Then again, Meadows' newest recording is not his sole creation but rather that of his production team, Michael Bearden, Bob Baldwin and Michael Broening. Through their collective efforts, four tunes have a slickly produced, light R&B aura: "Yeah Baby," "Treasures," featuring Julio Fernandez playing flamenco-styled guitar, "Flava," highlighted by Blake Harris' seductive vocal treatment, and "Slow Motion," the standout of the bunch with soulful tenor. Taking things to overproduction extremes is "Don't Wanna Know," featuring normally deft vocalist Will Downing crooning salacious choruses. Additionally, "Is That You" and "Tales of a Gypsy Reprise" suffer from New Age overload.
So are there any other redeeming factors for Meadows' latest work? "Tales of a Gypsy," although it borders on being too fabricated, is sophisticatedly arranged and features impressive playing from Meadows. The tune demonstrates his potential when he decides to really get In Deep.