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Shannon Kennedy – Back Again

May 25, 2019

Here’s a remarkably refreshing jazz/pop groove-laden release from saxophonist Shannon Kennedy.

In case you’re wondering just who Shannon Kennedy is, she has been primarily recognized as a ‘powerhouse saxophonist’ throughout Southern California.

She recently worked as 1/2 of the smooth jazz groups Groove LTD and Nivo Deux, recording a fusion of contemporary jazz and RnB. Groove LTD made their debut on the Billboard Most Added and Chartbound Charts with “It’s Only Love,“ #13 on The Smooth Jazz Top 20 with Allen Kepler, and #34 on the SmoothJazz.com Charts.

Her debut album, Angel Eyes (2005), was released while Kennedy was in high school and was recorded live in a basement recording studio along with three of her classmates. Following Angel Eyes, she released two albums in 2007, Steppin’ Up and Never My Love, featuring her as a composer and producer as well as performer and with an impressive line-up of guest artists including Peter White and Kirk Whalum.

Her latest release, Back Again, is top quality c-jazz with a lot of snap and such magnetic character, loaded with tons of rich, colorful melodies and catchy hooks. Let me add here that the horn arrangements are killer.

A few tunes of particular note here are the lead track — a great cover of the Girl’s Day recording and featuring English guitar icon Peter White – the infectious and full-bodied “Midnight Express,” the commanding title track with its clever timing, twist of Latin rhythm, and intense sax delivery, a cover of Charlie Puth’s 2018 pop single “Attention,” and the heavy, mid-tempo “Letting Me Go,” the poppin’ “Mad, Crazy Love” featuring renowned guitarist and Special EFX co-founder Chieli Minucci, and much more. In fact, there’s not a throw-away track on this well-done production. Each song, original or cover, carries a Shannon Kennedy standalone identity with much presence and, as I mentioned earlier, melody—lots of melody.

If this is your first introduction to Shannon Kennedy, you’ll be back. I am sure of it. A++ effort. – Ronald Jackson