Saxophonist Theresa Grayson’s “Live2Love,” a compelling mix of pop gems from past to present and soul-jazz originals, will be released November 5th.
Houston, Texas (16 September 2013): Theresa Grayson wears her passion for soulful pop music proudly. From Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oats, Sade and Tony! Toni! Toné! to Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and John Legend, the saxophonist-flutist mines hits from decades past to present on her sophomore album, “Live2Love,” which will be released November 5th by L2L Records. The disc also showcases five soul-jazz originals, four of which were penned by Grayson including the first radio single, “Afterthoughts,” an urbane track featuring soprano sax, scat-like vocalization and live instrumentation typical of the set from producer Terence Fisher.
Grayson alternates between expressive tenor and soprano sax on “Live2Love” augmented by graceful flute flourishes. She wields soprano on the lush ‘70s retro themed “More Pressure.” The frenetic pace on “Locked Out of Heaven” gushes streams of flowing melody. Grayson presents “Sarah Smile” as a soulful tenor serenade and she surprises with soothing lead and backing vocals on “Smooth Operator.” “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” soars upon a futuristic sonicscape giving flight to the saxtress’ impassioned calls. “Moves Like Jagger” prances feverishly with a sense of urgency established by a driving beat. The stately “Natural Woman” receives an anthem-like rendering. Lights dim for “Spend My Life” and “Close Your Eyes,” seductive urban adult contemporary grooves lit by Grayson’s sensual soprano and a vocal chorus. Desire permeates the ballad “Just A Little Time” while the longing continues on the classic slow jam “It Never Rains in Southern California,” which closes the collection.
Smooth Jazz Publicist , "Rick Scott"
This brings them a mix of pop songs from the past and present to original soul jazz tracks, and alternates between tenor and soprano sax. Opener ‘More Pressure’ harks back to the 70s, and the up-tempo “Locked Out of Heaven” is coming. “Sarah Smile” is a cover of Hall & Oates, but here soulfully and slowly charged. On Sade’s “Smooth Operator” she even provides vocals and background vocals. ‘Tonight (Best You Ever Had) “floats on a mid-tempo, and” Moves Like Jagger “makes for a driving beat. And “Natural Woman” is obviously a cover of Aretha Franklin’s anthem. The written self “Spend My Life ‘provides a romantic haven, after which they are on the self-penned single’ Afterthoughts’ the piano with scat. Then we close our eyes on ‘Close Your Eyes’ to join to enjoy this sensual number. The ballad “Just A Little Time ‘precedes valve” It Never Rains in Southern California “, which was a hit for Tony! Toni! Tone!, But here a sensual “slow jam”. I let Theresa still speak for herself: “Leading my own band for Several years, I have always had a set list mixes That feel good originals and cover songs with unique arrangements that get people up dancing and my goal with ‘Live2Love’ was to capture that image spirit in the studio. I’m really happy with these arrangements of songs from multiple eras, and as a songwriter and arranger, I appreciate the chance to introduce my own material. The music is a reflection of my heart and the melodies I play are the steps of my own experiences. My desire is to touch a special place in the listener’s heart and create a warm feeling of peace and happiness. I want to leave the listener smiling, knowing that this was more than just a recording, that it was a life experience that I want to share with them. “Over Theresa succeeded!
"Patrick Van de Wiele (4)", KeysandChords.com
Live2Love is a soulful and soul filled look at pop music and beyond with one of the most exciting contemporary players emerging today!
"Brent Black ", bop-n-jazz
Critical Jazz Review
I’m tough on contemporary instrumental music, they brought it on themselves. For too long the smoother side of the jazz street has been built around a pretentious self indulgent vibe offering little more than uninspired music best played behind school closings during inclement weather.
Enter Theresa Grayson.
Grayson’s Live2Love is an almost perfectly paced conceptualized look at the American pop scene from Aretha Franklin to Sade and from Hall & Oates to Maroon 5. Far more than an above average coverage artist, toss in some wildly creative originals including the first radio single “Afterthoughts” highlighting a prolific ability on soprano sax not to mention the ability to bring the long lost vocal art of scatting back to the modern audience. Who does that? While some of her contemporaries struggle with vocals that are “passable” at best, Grayson is a solid vocalist and uses her ability as flavor and texture without ever seemingly pushing the envelope in search of the elusive crossover hit despite the fact this release contains roughly a half dozen. The retro vibe of “More Pressure” is given a more post modern riff and is fast forwarded to a more modern groove making the old school new cool under the hands of one of the finest first call session players in music today. Another reason the release works is that very fact, not all session artists are leaders but Grayson makes the transition effortlessly. Having a resume that includes artists such as Peter White, Michael Bolton, and Ronnie Laws only deepens the artistry of Grayson and gives her that special edge in cutting a wide sonic path in a rather narrowly focused genre.
Covers? Tired and predictable? Usually but not here as “Smooth Operator” and “Moves Like Jagger” are reharmed, revamped and re imagined to become Grayson’s tunes if only for a brief moment in time. Calling a record “entertaining” is critic code similar to being told that fix up has a “nice personality.” Live2Love is part of the future of contemporary instrumental music and gives hope that a once maligned genre can pull out of a self induced tailspin and move back up to a level of legitimate viability in an overly crowded market. Theresa Grayson is but one of a handful of artists with the ability to lead the charge for a contemporary revitalization.
I’d buy it…