copied from: Smooth Jazz Therapy
AUGUST 03, 2018
Sam Rucker - Redemption
Hip-hop producer turned sax-man Sam Rucker hails from Williamsburg, Virginia and caught some attention in 2014 with his sophomore CD ‘Tell You Something’ that was mixed and mastered by Euge Groove and included contributions from Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne and Alyson Williams. Now he is back with ‘Redemption’, a tight ten-track collection that he produces writes or co-writes throughout and which promises to be one of the urban jazz events of 2018.
‘Redemption’ opens with the soulfully heartfelt ‘Down On The Inside’ that benefits from stunning backing vocals from Wanda Jay and Sheila J Madanat. It is a fantastic way to get the project started and when Jay returns to take the lead on the captivating ‘Forever Forgiven’ it proves to be a real gem.
Elsewhere the first single to be serviced to radio is ‘True Love’; a sensually steamy mid-tempo tune where Rucker's fat tenor sax sound combines with sultry nylon guitar from John Calisto to really pack a punch.
Another highlight in an album crammed full of them is ‘I Am With You’ where piano from Lucy Kilpatrick adds to the magic and it is Kilpatrick who returns often, both as a performer and co-writer. This is particularly so with the slow burning ‘Nothing’s Too Hard’ that lays a path to a tumultuous guitar solo from Carlton Savage while later the way the understatedly streetwise title cut builds to a crescendo is real production genius.
‘Throwback’ allows Rucker to conjure up a big expansive ballad of the highest order and with the edgy ‘Please Child’ he also finds space for a second vocal number, which is superbly handled by J. Regina Blackwell.
In terms of personal favourites, ‘Overcomer’ has one of the most infectious hooks you will hear all year yet all things considered the interplay that Rucker generates with Lucy Kilpatrick for the easy grooving ‘Follow Me’ makes it the standout moment of the entire piece.
‘Redemption’ will be released August 24 and is well worth looking out for.