What better way to start the new year than with a review of an album that created lots of excitement when its singles entered the charts in 2018/2019.
Newcomer saxophonist, Jeff Ryan, has released an amazing debut album with its smooth tunes and an energy that rivals that created by some of the best in the biz - Eric Darius, Darren Rahn and of course, Dave Koz. And The Tower Of Power influence is scattered throughout Jeff’s 10 compositions! Is it a Bay area thing that makes everything coming out of San Francisco so uplifting and soulful, including Jeff's lead off single ‘Up And Up’- a groovin’ track that demands that you take notice of Jeff’s craft? It’s got soul and is reminiscent of the great Richard Elliot - an ex-Tower Of Power player. Keyboardist Greg Manning, who was brought in as producer, co-wrote seven tracks including the beautiful and captivating ‘Blue Wave’. Maybe an ode to Jeff’s upbringing on the West Coast! Coming from a musical family (dad - classical concert pianist, mom - organ, grandfather - music teacher) he got started playing sax at the age of 10, after violin lessons suggested by his gramps didn’t fare well. Jeff knew sax was it and it shows. ‘Sweet Spot’ is another uplifting song in the style of Earth, Wind and Fire. It really showcases his style - it’s jazzy, it’s bluesy and above all, it's funky! All songs are original except Bruno Mars' 2016 hit, ‘Versace On The Floor’, which Jeff transforms into a smooth masterpiece. His tenor sax really makes that melody work with some impressive help from guitarist, Adam Hawley. ‘J-Factor’ is just plain fun with its deep bass and funkiness, reminding us of Sly Stone, another San Fran star, ‘Matter Of Fact’ is a gospel-inspired groove that will have you swaying to its hand claps and invigorating rhythm. It all wraps up with the acoustic guitar of Terry Wollman on the slow and romantic ‘Tenderly’ - a very nice way to close the party. Embrace the talent of Jeff Ryan - he’s going places.
Host of ‘The Night Show’