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Marion Meadows

Marion Meadows

Smooth-jazz saxophonist Marion Meadows knows all about jazz-theme cruises: he’s taken two aboard the S.S. Norway out of Miami. “You have this captive audience, and they have you captive as well,” he says. “What jazz fans look forward to these days is being up close and personal with the artist. We’re making ourselves approachable, and they really enjoy it. One day we’re doing a concert together and the next day we’re all hanging out on an island together.”

Meadows is into pleasing his fans, who have followed him since his 1991 debut, For Lovers Only. The Phoenix resident goes for sultry sounds, mostly via his soprano, over easy grooves and hummable melodies. His latest CD, Next to You (Heads Up), takes him in a slightly new direction as he and producers Yasha Barjona and Ray Obiedo help mix in Latin sounds. Along for the ride are Pete Escovedo and son Peter Michael Escovedo on percussion and drums, guitarist Julio Fernandez of Spyro Gyra and Barjona and Obiedo, who add guitar and keyboards. “I wanted to move a little of the Latin music into my music, but still keep it familiar to my smooth-jazz fans.”

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