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Michael Manson: Just Feelin’ It

Bassist Michael Manson can be heard on many bestselling CDs and onstage with the top names in smooth jazz. Early in his career the Chicago native performed with fellow Chicagoans Steve Cole and Brian Culbertson, which led to gigs with legendary pianist George Duke, saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Boney James, trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Larry Carlton. December finds him with R&B vocalist Oleta Adams on her Christmas tour of Holland.

So there’s no question Manson has the chops. But how do his solo CDs stack up against those of fellow bassists Wayman Tisdale and the Braxton Brothers? Just fine, as it turns out. Manson’s debut from 2002, The Bottom Line, introduced another stellar player in the smooth-jazz-meets-R&B groove, and his latest only reinforces Manson’s compositional skills and finely tuned sense of melody. One of the perks of touring and being a session player means having those musicians you’re backing return the favor. Contributing to Just Feelin’ It are Whalum, Culbertson, Braun, Duke, Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Nelson Rangell and Paul Jackson Jr. Oh, and smooth-jazz super-producer Paul Brown stopped by the studio for some sound mixing.

The results are in-the-pocket original tunes and sparkling covers of Luther Vandross’ “There’s Nothing Better Than Love” and Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” With this CD, it’s time to consider Manson as a solo artist first and sideman second.

Originally Published