Saxman Mike MacArthur has experienced a special something in the making of his latest release Feels Like Home, a fine mix of strong contemporary jazz, jazz fusion, blues, and a layer of straight-ahead tossed in for good measure. That “something” is the coming together of a lot of his friends to help with this recording. Not just any friends. Jazz heavyweights. Friends like Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Ron Reinhardt, Jeff Golub, and Brian Bromberg for starters. With such a stellar lineup, can any record’s success be far behind?
Rolling through a set of tracks as diverse as any jazz enthusiast could hope for, MacArthur puts both feet into this project, offering appealing sax runs while his pals mix up a batch of riveting acoustic bass runs, soul-wrenching guitar riffs, tantalizing piano/keys action, and solid drums and percussions. The material includes tastefully done covers and meticulous arrangements, as well. Practically, a soup-to-nuts project.
Tracks of note include the upbeat bluesy lead track “Filthy McNasty,” Alec Milstein’s “Sanctified,” the title track, the bluesy “Around the Corner” with Golub’s sizzling guitar work, Miles Davis’ “Jean Pierre” with Bromberg supplying his signature authoritative acoustic bass walking and talking, the swinging “Sydney Style” with Lorber and Reinhardt making the ivories dance one helluva jig and Frank “Third” Richardson tearing the hide off his drums, the ultra-cool cover of Sonny Rollins’ “Blue Seven,” and Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” for the jazz purist in you.
Each of these tracks reflects the commitment to laying down solid, potent, muscular jazz in its many forms. Using that as a starting point, what’s not to like? – Ronald Jackson