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Mel Holder — Magnificent

Jan. 19, 2019

A sweet balance of soul-stirring gospel music intermixed with the funk and groove of c-jazz marks this latest release from saxman Mel Holder, offering up a spectacular array of satisfying gems, good for whatever ails you and guaranteed to uplift and inspire on his latest release Music Book Vol. III — Magnificent.

With a host of solid musicians backing him – and featuring jazz/gospel keyboardist/producer Ben Tankard and keyboardist/producer Bob Baldwin on select tracks – Holder firms up this project nicely with rich, flavorful, and full-bodied melodies and hooks that will surely stay with you long after you’ve stopped playing the album.

Opening with the riveting, soul-deep lead and title track, the mood is set for a joy-filled ride through this colorful collage of musical charm. From that point through the single “Crossroads” featuring Tankard and the funky mid-tempo “Let’s Take It Back” featuring Baldwin (a track that does, in fact, take one back to that soul-drenched yesteryear of Memphis and more) and beyond, Holder always grabs hold of some moment, including a cool reggae-tinged one with “Eden,” the bouncy, dance-ready “Somewhere In Between,” and the sweet and melodic final track “Worth.” In a word, the album is refreshingly eclectic.

Magnificent is a very apropos title for this project, from its structure to its feel to its various styles to its ability to capture and move one. The one downside here might be the horribly small print of the liner notes. So, don’t plan to engage in a lot of reading here – just listen. That will prove to be more than enough. – Ronald Jackson