Thursday, 19 February 2009

Marz JukeBox - Marz JukeBox

I wasn't at all sure what I was expecting with this CD. Never judge the tea by the teapot. And never judge the tea pot by the tea cosy either! I was expecting something a lot more youthful and urban-edged but could not have been any further from correct. A little about dear old Marz. Marz Jukebox is influenced by some of our favourites as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Gap Band, The Dazz Band, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, DeBarge, Maxwell, Tony Toni Toné, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Musiq Soulchild, John Coltrane amongst others. Having opened for Mary J. Blige, and having worked with Carl Evans, Jr. of Fattburger fame, Marz JukeBoxJukebox now hits the streets with his début CD for O.Y.I.E. Records and it will be one that you will definitely want in your collection. If recent sets from Bennson, Glen Anthony Henry etc. have been to your liking then you will also appreciate Marz. The brief intro into “Jukebox” flows effortlessly and the vibe here is simply delicious! There are elements of so much of Marz' musical upbringing that if you try to sort it all out, strand by strand, you will end up with a headache! There's a serious Dazz Band influence, a bit of Roy Ayers and even Tower Of Power! Superb! “Muzik” is blatantly jazzy and the funky underpinning will reach out to those who love the raw flavours of Incognito, 4Hero or even Impromp2. I love this song to pieces! “Take My Hand” is a lovely warm Latin number and has elements of a mellow Santana groove which isn't too surprising as Marz has worked with Kiko Cibrian who has worked with...Santana! The female singer on here is very good indeed and adds some hot salsa sauce to this toothsome delight. I next jump to the wonderful jazz of “Marz Joint” which is very much piano led and is jointed by some tasty sax and drum accompaniment reminiscent of what Norman Connors was doing on his first MoJazz set “Remember Who You Are”. The sublime “Send Up My Smile” will pull you straight back to the 70s, and vocally I am almost reminded of a blend of Michael Jeffries and Will Young! This little number should not disappoint and has a nice roughness that tones down the smoothness – just as it did back in the 70s! Finally I recommend the short yet sweet stripped down “Live, Love, Learn” with it's simple piano and trumpet backing. Marz adds some rockier touches on this CD which I haven't gone into, but what this does is showcase how diverse the man's talents are, and you'll agree that from the songs highlighted here that Marz has taken on board all that is good and wholesome about our music and has added his own style to it which defines him as being very much of the classic mould but still very much his own man! Definitely one to grab onto!

Barry Towler