Colorado’s shining star and national saxman, Tony Exum Jr., celebrated the release of his second album The One on July 20, 2012. Stargazer’s Theater, in his hometown of Colorado Springs, hosted the party. It was a packed house with friends, family and fans showing their support and loyalty. Tony proudly shared his special moment with his daughter Lailah by his side.
The One doesn’t disappoint with 14 tracks written mostly by Tony himself and close friend Tarell Martin. The album also features Tarell Martin on drums and special guests: saxophonist/producer Marcus Anderson, bassist Julian Vaughn, guitarist Tim Bowman, and R&B vocalist Tarrell Paul aka Rellion. Other artists on the album include: Keith Askins on bass, Frank Selman and Kirby Velarde on guitars, Ronneka Cox, Brandon Young, Andrae Hazard, Anthony Cowan, and James Roberson on keyboards, Neo-Soul/R&B/Gospel vocalists Olivia Robinson, Elice Zoe and Sonia Hardy, and Hip Hop/Rap artist DK.
“T Time,” the single released exclusively to Colorado’s Smooth Channel, K-High Internet Radio earlier in June, is the track getting the most attention right now. It’s “the one” that gets everyone up and dancing every time. Tony Exum Jr. and Marcus Anderson bust out the vibe, attitude, fierceness and a whole lot of energy. Written and produced by saxophonist Marcus Anderson (The Sax Pack/Prince/Liv Warfield), “T Time” features Marcus on 1st sax along with Tony on alto sax. Marcus also plays all other instruments on this song. The end of this tune is a bit of a surprise with a quick finish that definitely leaves you saying, “Wow!” and leaves you wanting more. If this song were a movie, you’d be saying…”Sequel!” “Rite There,” is an alluring and soulful song written/produced by Nicholas Cole, Tony Exum Jr. and Tarell Martin that had me reflecting on the new sound of contemporary jazz and the new younger artists and producers who are influencing and changing the genre. This track really sticks to you as Tony reaches deep within himself. The title track, “The One,” is yet another beautiful ballad with a strong sexy bass line by Keith Askins. Clearly Tony Exum Jr. wants to put the music world on notice as he showcases his range and versatility with incredible passion. It was a special treat to see him perform it live at his CD release party. (For an exclusive sneak peek see my video below). Tony never lets up on this album as he masters a chillin’ and cool Latin vibe on ”Lovely Conversations” which features well known guitarist Tim Bowman. It has a George Howard/Grover Washington Jr. feel to it and fans are really going to enjoy it. The chemistry between Tony and Tim’s playing is spot on. This track is a huge score for jazz lovers. I can’t help but think Tony is really enjoying the ride to his stardom with this one. His take on the New Edition cover, “Can You Stand the Rain,” gives a fresh approach to the tune and comes as no surprise since anyone who knows Tony is aware of his personal connection to members of the popular 80′s R&B First Boy Band. Tony was able to snatch background vocalist Tarrell Paul aka Rellion, just long enough to have him complete the background vocals. Tarrell Paul is the backup vocalist for Bobby Brown, BBD and Heads of State. Fans were treated to a special appearance when Tarrell Paul performed with Tony at the CD release party. In addition, Tarell Martin’s younger brother, R&B and Gospel vocalist Josiah ”JoJo” Martin, joined Tarrell and Tony on stage adding a little “old school” flavor to the show. “I Found Her” features keyboardist Ronneka Cox who adds a little flare of funkiness with her synthesizer solo. “In Your Arms” and “Your Touch” show off Tony’s tantalizing romantic and laid back side. Both tunes get the juices stirring. “Love’s Alright” will have your head bopping, your fingers snapping, your hands clapping, your hips shaking and your feet steppin’. Showing that he’s a force to be reckoned with, Tony’s drive to leave his print on the music world comes out on “Movement” as evidenced by the familiar groove and sound reflecting an influence by the grammy nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright. New vocal sensations Elice Zoe, Sonia Hardy, and Olivia Robinson debut their melting and mesmerizing vocal abilities on “Your Eyes, Your Lips, Your Smile,” “You and I,” and “Should I Trust.” Finally, it’s no surprise that Tony would add a hint of Hip Hop/Rap on this album to showcase his versatility. “What’s Her Name,” featuring Hip Hop/Rap artist DK, is a shining example of Jazz meets Hip Hop/Rap. Like Tony Exum Jr.’s debut CD, Finally (2011), every track on The One exceeds expectations and is sure to please all of his fans. It screams with a sense of purpose and intensity and will instantly grab new listeners. Purchase The One on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Follow Tony Exum Jr. on his official website at http://www.tonyexumjr.net/, Facebook, Twitter, My Space, and ReverbNation.