Gerald Albright – Sax For Stax (CD)

Gerald Albright has sold over 1 million copies of eir albums since ey debuted all the way back in 1987. “Sax For Stax” is a collection of tracks that continue to cement eir place as an important part of current jazz history. This is due to the fact that the album consists of eight covers of Stax classics, featuring tracks such as “What You See Is What You Get”, a 1971 hit by The Dramatics and a reworking of a song in “Never Can Say Goodbye” that individuals will easily remember. By paying homage to the works of this period, Albright is first introducing listeners to some songs that may have fallen by the wayside in the decades since they have been released, and secondly, is updating them for a more contemporary sound.

Albright’s own version of smooth jazz and funk is what really lights up “Sax for Stax”, and what will ultimately ensure that listeners stick with the disc from “Theme From ‘The Men’” all the way out to the final track, the “W.C. Handy Hop”. “Never Can Say Goodbye” merits further attention through the drastic changes that Albright places on the track. The addition of vocals by Will Downing further differentiates the track from the rest of the others on “Sax For Stax”, and gives listeners the energy to continue listening to this fifty-plus minute album. Another highlight during “Sax For Stax” would have to be Albright’s cover of “Respect Yourself” by the Staple Singers. The funk comes through in a serious way during this track, getting listeners into a groove from which they may never cover.

The vocals present, laid down by Ledisi (whom individuals may know from eir performance of “Alright” from Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns”), give a vitality above and beyond what has been cultivated and presented to listeners through the whole of “Sax For Stax”. Albright is on eir 11th solo album with this release, and with each subsequent recording, it does feel as if the compositions get a little more tight and the arrangements pop a little more. If you are a fan of the music from Stax’s heyday or of the voluminous discography that Albright has created in the last twenty or so years, make it a point to pick up “Sax For Stax”.

Top Tracks: Who’s Making Love, Cheaper To Keep Her

Rating: 7.3/10

Gerald Albright – Sax For Stax / 2008 Peak / 11 Tracks / /

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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