Mike MacArthur

CD Release - Great Scott Productions:
Moving away from the kids’ table
 
In the company of prominent friends, saxophonist Mike MacArthur releases a sterling jazz album,
“Feels Like Home,” his first major release as a frontman.
 
Tampa, Florida (4 June 2013): In the midst of graduation season, it seems like the ideal time for the release of long-time sideman Mike MacArthur’s first major recording on center stage. The saxophonist’s 10-song “Feels Like Home” was released today by Paradise Point Music. On the collection produced by Grammy-nominee Brian Bromberg, MacArthur graduates surrounded by his scholarly musician friends on the set comprised of soulfully performed jazz standards and alluring originals.
 
When asked to describe how he felt after recording the album at Bromberg’s suburban Los Angeles home, MacArthur said “It felt like the beginning of a lot of things to come - like I’ve finally moved away from the kids’ table with my own (musical) offering. It confirms that I can stand alone as a frontman.”
 
“Feels Like Home” sounds live. MacArthur describes it as “real players making real music on real acoustic instruments.” Playing the music of the masters such as
Duke Ellington (“In A Sentimental Mood”), Miles Davis (“Jean Pierre”), Sonny Rollins (“Blue Seven”) and Joe Zawinul (“Birdland”), MacArthur, bass prodigy Bromberg, Ron Reinhardt (piano, B-3 organ) and Frank “Third” Richardson (drums) formed the core quartet that features spotlight soloing from contemporary jazz maverick Jeff Lorber on piano, Rick Braun on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Jeff Golub on guitar. Journeyman percussionist Alex Acuna decorates and texturizes the tracks. MacArthur graciously gives his friends permission to uncork their finest vintage of improvisational jazz.
 
Radio stations have been playing the gospel soul cut “Sanctified,” which was christened as the first single and includes a vocal hook belted out by the almighty
Alva Copeland. MacArthur wrote the three other original tunes on the disc, including the title track, a heartfelt ballad with a gorgeous melody gracefully emoted from his tenor sax. He penned the boisterous blues joint “Around The Corner” specifically with Golub’s gritty guitar in mind. Written on piano in his daughter Sydney’s playroom while the then 5-year-old was gleefully dancing, MacArthur refers to the frenetic “Sydney Style” as the “up tune on the album.”
 
Throughout the album, MacArthur’s sax play is dexterous, precise and efficient. He plays just enough notes to convey the song and solos with just enough pizazz to get his point across. Having performed with a bevy of marquee musicians as a sideman throughout his career, including with Bromberg, Braun and Golub, he wants the release of “Feels Like Home” to signal the start of a new chapter. Setting the bar high in terms of performance, production, and composition, MacArthur’s stride into the spotlight is smartly executed with confidence, poise and a whole lot of soul.
 
After recently opening for superstar
Queen Latifah, MacArthur will lead his own band at Uptown Altamonte near Orlando, Florida on June 15th sharing the bill with guitarist Nils and will open for guitarist Peter White on July 21st at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee, New York.
 
A clip of MacArthur discussing “Feels Like Home” can be viewed at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LmHusgBHR4. Highlights from some of the album reviews appear below:
 
“One of the best for 2013 no matter what flavor jazz you may be into. That nice fat tenor sound with chops to match, if ‘Feels Like Home’ doesn't move you then you must be waiting on your autopsy report.” –
Critical Jazz
 
“This album has no safety zone. It is entertaining, listenable, and catchy but it is not safe. Some of these guys have made a name for themselves in smooth but this is a jazz album. It is not an academic, archival, or intimidating jazz album. It's a jazz album because there is a lot of improvisation and about half of the songs on here are benchmark songs in the history of contemporary jazz, and beyond…This is an album that will lead even the most skeptical pop/smooth listener deeper into the world of jazz.” -
SmoothViews
 
“He (MacArthur) has surrounded himself with some pretty fine players and has made an album which is simply terrific…Of the album’s ten tracks, three are MacArthur originals and it’s a testament to his skills that you can’t differentiate them from the standards…this is a warm and enjoyable album that is a treat for the ears.” –
Bass Players United
 
“’Feels Like Home’ is superior jazz made among friends. From the first track ‘Filthy McNasty’ by Horace Silver to the 10th and final cut ‘Mo Better Blues’, music enthusiasts will know that this one belongs on the top shelf.” –
The Entertainment Bank
 
“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 Smooth Jazz Ride
 
“He (MacArthur) comes out firing – surrounding himself with some of the very best players on the circuit and wisely mixing the repertoire between tried and tested jazz standards and quality originals.” –
Soul and Jazz and Funk
 
“The result is a predictably eclectic and jazzy mix with which jazz lovers of all persuasions will find favor.” –
Smooth Jazz Therapy
 
 
Additional information about MacArthur is available at
www.mikemacarthur.com.


PRESS RELEASE - GREAT SCOTT PRODUCTIONS:
“Feels Like Home” thanks to saxman MacArthur’s friends

Album “Sanctified” by the appearance of Bromberg, Braun, Lorber and Golub

Tampa, FL (25 March 2013): “When are you going to let me make a record with you?” For years, Grammy-nominated bassist Brian Bromberg posed this question to saxophonist Mike MacArthur. Finally the saxman acquiesced. He grabbed his tenor horn, hopped a jet and camped out in Bromberg’s Los Angeles-area home studio until the record was complete. The two musicians invited a handful of their high-profile friends over to play on the album, “Feels Like Home,” which will be released June 4th by Paradise Point Music. Bromberg produced and plays acoustic bass on the 10-song multihued mix of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz and blues that features contributions from trumpeter Rick Braun, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and guitarist Jeff Golub. The tabernacle temblor “Sanctified,” the disc’s gospel-inspired first single, is already gracing radio playlists and ascending the charts.

“’Sanctified’ is kind of the mack daddy track on the album because everyone is on it. It was the most labor-intensive tune to record,” said MacArthur, who will open for Grammy-winner Queen Latifah on Tuesday (March 26) at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. “The whole album, which began with Brian (Bromberg), is simply friends making music because they want to. These guys are friends and family who I’ve worked with over the years and it felt like home hanging out playing what we wanted to play. Working with players like this just makes you a better player. It was a fun and enjoyable hang.”

The circle of friends was completed by noted percussionist Alex Acuna, Ron Reinhardt (piano/B3 organ), Gannin Arnold (guitar), Frank “Third” Richardson (drums), and vocalists Janelle Sadler and Alva Copeland.
With MacArthur’s impassioned and skilled sax anchoring the album along with plenty of walking bass deftly deployed by Bromberg, each guest is given ample room to dazzle on extended improvisational solos and generous track lengths. Bromberg’s productions sound live and as one would expect from this list of friends, the level of musicianship is scholarly.

Typical of when jazz musicians gather to jam, most of the songs on “Feels Like Home” are standards culled from legends and masters such as Miles Davis (“Jean Pierre”), Duke Ellington (“In A Sentimental Mood”), Sonny Rollins (“Blue Seven”), Joe Zawinul (“Birdland”) and Horace Silver (“Filthy McNasty”). MacArthur authored a trio of new compositions for the set, including the warm and cozy title track, “Around The Corner,” a shuffling blues cut penned with Golub’s gritty blues guitar chops in mind, and the swinging “Sydney Style.”

Raised in Rochester, NY and currently residing in Tampa, FL, MacArthur toured the U.S., Asia and Europe backing Maynard Ferguson followed by a road stint with Grammy-winner Diane Schuur. Over the years, he’s worked with Braun, Bromberg, Golub, Roger Waters, Franki Valli, Peter White, Craig Chaquico, Rick Derringer, Chieli Minucci and Jeff Kashiwa. MacArthur released his solo debut, “Paradise Point,” in 2000, which was followed by “Deal Me In” (2002), “That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout” (2006) and “Live ‘N Kickin’” (2009). “Feels Like Home” is his first collection backed by the muscle of radio promotions, marketing and publicity campaigns. For more information, please visit
www.mikemacarthur.com.

The songs contained on MacArthur’s “Feels Like Home” album are:

“Filthy McNasty”
“Birdland”
“Sanctified”
“Feels Like Home”
“Around The Corner”
“Jean Pierre”
“Sydney Style”
“Blue Seven”
“In A Sentimental Mood”
“Mo Better Blues”

# # #


SmoothJazzNow.com review - Mike MacArthur – Feels Like Home (4 out of 5 Stars)

I think the reputation of a music reviewer is that of a bitter and jaded curmudgeon living in a van down by the river. Years ago after writing a blistering review of a project that sounded half finished the artist approached me at a club and screamed, “You must spend a lot of time looking for things to hate?” “Actually it's the opposite, I answered, “I use my hours looking for the good stuff, 3/4 of the trip, however, is filled cliched blah!”

I get a feeling Mike MacArthur also has a thirst for the good stuff. Here's a guy who worked Maynard Ferguson, he also toured with Diane Schuur and had stints with Rick Braun, Jeff Golub, Peter White, Frankie Valli, Craig Chaquico, Chieli Minucci, Rick Derringer, Roger Waters, Blake Aaron, Jeff Kashiwa, Roger Smith and many more. On 'Feels Like Home' MacArthur recruits old friend Brian Bromberg as producer and he's featured prominently throughout the album on acoustic bass.

The CD kicks off with a firm reminder of his days with, the late great, Ferguson. It's tight, lively and more traditional than smooth. Featuring Rick Braun on trumpet and Jeff Lorber on piano, 'Filthy McNasty,' written by Horace Silver, who was famous for juggling many Jazz styles, is dusted off and revitalized from it's original 1961 version. Hearing MacArthur and Braun together is as tasty as it gets.

Next MacArthur tackles, arguable, a bigger Jazz classic with Weather Report's immortal 'Birdland.' It flirts with big band leanings and stays away from direct fusion comparisons to the original which was a smart move because Weather Report, like the Beatles, seldom deal with covers better than their originals. In the end I’m left quoting Paula Abdul, You made it your own.” Also kudos to drummer Frank 'Third' Richardson and the original Weather Report drummer, on the track, Alex Acuña. As a drummer this made me salivate!

MacArthur only wrote three original tunes on the album but they're all winners. The first is the title track which takes a slow, almost lazy, trip to a gorgeous melody. The second original, 'Around the Corner' leans to the Blues with splendid toe-tapping flavor. The third 'Sydney Style,' the fastest tune on the whole project. It comes at you like a freight-train gliding on greased rails. It's one of those fun pieces and probably even better in concert. Other highlights include a cover on Miles Davis' 'Jean Pierre,' Sonny Rollins 'Blue Seven and 'In a Sentimental Mood' by Duke Ellington.

This album has enough to easily satisfy the traditional Jazz dudes but also the Smoothers who are digging for a little bit more. I'm a music reviewer and I spend my days looking for albums like this one.
by
John Beaudin
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Jazz saxophonist Mike MacArthur made a CD with a few of his good friends, one whom happens to be the Grammy nominated bassist Brian Bromberg. So off he goes to Bromberg's home studio to record a CD that Bromberg has been dying to play on and produce. But what's a party with just one friend? Enter Rick Braun (trumpet), Jeff Lorber (keyboards), Jeff Golub (guitar), Alex Acuna (percussion), Ron Reinhardt (piano/83 organ), Gannin Arnold (guitar), Frank "Third" Richardson (drums), and Janelle Sadler and Alva Copeland on vocals. Together, they made some really classy jazz music. The result is "Feels Like Home", and home, at least on this CD, feels great!

With a powerful sway and strong sound, MacArthur gives a consistently outstanding performance in the company of good friends and mean jazz players of the highest standards who are  playing not because they have to, but because they want to. Jazz fans know what that means -- they let loose. "Around the Corner", written by MacArthur, is a sultry jazz piece full of solos and jazz that makes the fat man get on the dance floor. They cook, swing, and shake the ear drums out of your ears with this great music. MacArthur leaves plenty of room for the masters playing with him on this one, making it a treat for numerous musical reasons. 

"Jean Pierre" (Miles Davis) has a wonderful Rhodes display by Jeff Lorber followed by some great sax from MacArthur and wonderful bass Bromberg, which, fortunately for listeners, happens often on this exemplary jazz CD. Throughout the play is great another original by MacArthur, a track entitled "Sydney Style" that's a fast paced Art Blakey type set that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sonny Rollins' "Blue Seven" is handled with a great deal of respect and passion MacArthur pays and plays homage to a great sax man. He does a wonderful job, as does Bromberg who is a world-class performer all day long. The drumming by "Third" Richardson puts down is riveting on this classic. 

"Feels Like Home" is superior jazz made among friends. From the first track "Filthy McNasty" by Horace Silver to the 10th and final cut "Mo Better Blues", music enthusiasts will know that this is one belongs on the top shelf. Job well done!! Highly recommend "Feels Like Home" for your home.     


PRESS COVERAGE
http://smoothjazzdaily.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/mike-macarthur-feels-like-home/
 
http://www.jazzcorner.com/news/display.php?news=3532
 
http://news.allaboutjazz.com/news.php?id=103431