The Time Is Now
Upon chatting with smooth soprano saxophonist Dee Lucas, he suggested that his latest project may also be his greatest project. Quite an admission for a seasoned veteran who emerged in 2004, already has 7 other highly enjoyable studio albums on his resume, and has become a mainstay not only on the charts and airwaves, but on the touring stage as well. But according to the Atlanta-based saxman, it was the lack of tour opportunities once the pandemic took hold that brought this album to another level. As he points out, "It took place during a period when touring came to a screeching halt but it enabled me total focus on the creative end"
Now, add a group of immensely talented and renowned musicians into the mix and The Time Is Now easily becomes a candidate for one of the finest albums of the year. Lucas assembles a collection of collaborating artists who lend many a talented hand as not only co-performers but also co-writers and co-producers. Lucas' sax work is truly one of diversity, with melodies that are extremely infectious, whether he's funky and energetic one moment or winding through an easy, stylish laid back ride. Paired up with the likes of guitarists Adam Hawley, Blake Aaron, David P. Stevens, bassist Darryl Williams, pianist George Freeman. and even producer and musician-of-all trades, Lew Laing Jr, The Time Is Now is pure pleasure for the musical sensibilities.
"Full Tilt", the current hit single and recent addition to our Wave Top 10, is refreshingly flowing, with upbeat positive vibes while melding Lucas' sweet notes with Blake Aaron's meticulous guitar licks and playful solo for an ultimate urban jazz experience. "All In" features pianist George Freeman in what is a highly rhythmic, fast paced groove showcasing each one's superb talent perfectly complementing the other. On the easier side, Dee Cole provides sensual and soulful backing vocals on a version of "Love Saw It", a late 80s duet by Karyn White and Babyface. Along with Cole's vocals, this chilled quiet storm offering has Lucas' easy sax notes telling a story of romance on their own. "Feeling You" is another thoughtful, reflective and gently performed track, this time with bassist Darryl Wiliams' exceptional work adding to the musical dimensionality.
The Time Is Now is not without a title song, and in this case, it's one that is the perfect signature stamp on Lucas' 7 song offering. Fast paced and funk infused, Lucas' addictive sax gets an electrifying jolt with Adam Hawley's slick and searing guitar solo, making this one a potential future single.
So much smoothness, so much star power. I asked the saxophonist about the assembly of some of the finest and well known talent in the jazz music industry. Yes, talent plays a big role but so do their personal relationships. Lucas says, 'All of these guys have stellar careers in their own rights with an extensive background, but more importantly are my friends'. He goes on to say 'The collaboration process is much smoother regarding what we all bring to the table"
Highly melodic and deliciously smooth are just some of the many virtues of The Time Is Now, which is unquestionably a testament to the ongoing evolution and continuous rise of saxophonist extraordinaire, Dee Lucas.
Reviewed by Stu Berketo
Wave On-Air Host