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Sam Rucker — Redemption

July 28, 2018

When I last offered a review of Sam Rucker, the illustrious saxman who has that special mesmerizing style we all look for in our sax players to help them stand out in a sea of saxophonists, I said then that here was a huge prospective headliner and that his sophomore album Tell You Something was loaded from beginning to end with killer tracks. Well, here again, the suave saxman offers his third album Redemption with his own form of greased lightning and charm just as effective as before, if not more.

Providing a pure, unadulterated collection of original pleasantries that are simply inundated with magnetic melodies, hooks, and sweet, stirring vocals (offered by Joselyn Best, Wanda Jay, and J. Regina Blackwell), Rucker has shown musical consistency, if nothing else. He’s truly nailed the groove, the stride, and the swag needed to rise on the radar of anyone who’s anyone in this c-jazz business.

As noted in the last release, this one charms throughout — from the lead, sexy track “Down On The Inside” featuring the alluring vocals of Ms. Jay to the head-boppin’ “True Love” to the equally infectious “Overcomer” to “Nothing’s Too Hard” with its confident sway reminiscent of the Euge Groove style (Euge was very instrumental – pardon the pun – in the making of Rucker’s last album, having mixed and mastered the project in his Groove House) to the sultry mid-tempo title track to the gleamingly beautiful and inspirational “Forever Forgiven,” again featuring the vocals of Ms. Jay, to the riveting, soulfully sweet “Follow Me,” and other gems.

The Williamsburg, VA, Rucker is obviously a spiritual man whose faith and inspiration shines through in his top-tier compositions. He suffered a pair of tragedies that could have completely turned another man’s world on its head – the sudden deaths of two of the two guitarists featured on this album, his nephew Justin Taylor and John Calisto, within three days of each other. Needless to say, TSJR’s sincere condolences go out the families and friends of both of those fine musicians, including Rucker. I’m sure that Rucker’s faith has kept him strong and focused.

This album is chock full of c-jazz goodness and laced with the faith and spirituality that Rucker has kept near and dear to his heart and very being. Grab this one and let its pure satisfaction wash over you. AA++ effort. – Ronald Jackson