Fresno, CA: Spring has just sprung yet “Summer Rain” has arrived. The soulful urban-jazz album written and produced by saxwoman Jeanette Harris was released today by J&M Records and is winning new fans through growing radio airplay, including Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and enthusiastic reviews. With a fast-filling concert calendar, the “Rain” will be flowing spring, summer and fall as Harris has gigs booked April through October’s Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival and November’s Capital Jazz Cruise.
Harris shines brightly on “Summer Rain,” the Fresno, CA-native’s fourth album that showcases her songwriting finesse and sweet saxophone skills on a dozen R&B grooves. She penned or collaborated on 11 new songs for the disc and played alto sax, flute, keyboards and drum programming on the set dedicated to her mentor, the late soul queen Teena Marie, with whom Harris toured during the last year of the singer’s life. Harris’ sunny soul-kissed sax melodies emoted passionately from her horn forecast brighter days on the horizon while her Quiet Storm ballads cuddle, caress and comfort.
The first single currently garnering radio spins, “Just Keep Holding On,” opens the album with a mid-tempo R&B joint with Darrell Crooks’ funky guitar riffs serving as an ideal counterpoint to Harris’ amorous alto sax. The beats get funkier and the melody gets bigger on the anything but idle “Passing Time.” “Take Me There” is a sultry mood-setter that ebbs and flows. Crooks erupts mid-tune with a potent electric guitar solo to which Harris’ sax response is an unadulterated climax. Appearing on the disc in both instrumental and vocal (featuring singer Joel Bowers) versions, the title track is an urban-drenched field of shuffling percussion onto which Harris pours a cascading deluge of sax melody. The danceable beat gets spicy on “Muy Caliente,” a noteworthy one-woman show. “The Ride” traverses a frenetic trance-like track energized by Harris’ horn and a cool-toned electric guitar deftly deployed by Crooks. Slow and seductive, “Chillin’” is perfect for a night of candles and incense. Harris embraces the modern romantic standard “Here & Now,” the album’s lone cover tune. A dose of R&B-pop goes down “Oh So Good” with Harris’ lilting sax leading the mellifluous fun. She teams with saxman Marcus Anderson to animate “12:57.” You know exactly what ingredients Harris serves on the custom-brewed blend of “jazz” and “delicious” she titles “Ja’licious.” Bowers testifies on the inspirational “Thankful,” a gratifying slice of gospel jazz graced with gorgeous keyboard artistry from Harris, who affirms the message with her sax.
Enhancing the sensuality of the listening experience, Harris created a “Summer Rain” perfume that will be available June 15th through her website and at merchandise tables at her concerts.
Below is a helping of highlights from early album reviews:
“Quite simply a superb example of sax driven smooth jazz at its very best.” Smooth Jazz Therapy
“An astonishing sensuality heightened by great sensitivity. Perfect mastery of the saxophone is perhaps surpassed by her compositional talent.” Smooth Jazz Daily
“I’m usually pretty critical of tone, composition and style...So when I put the new release from Jeanette Harris in this week, I sat up and took notice...I really like what I hear here and I believe you will as well.” Smooth Views
“There are an abundance of catchy riffs that make the session pop.” O’s Place Jazz Magazine