“It’s exciting when a player so renowned for his passionate performances with a marquee artist finally steps into a fresh creative spotlight of his own. In the case of powerhouse saxophonist and solid lead vocalist Marqueal Jordan, it’s all the more inspiring because his career extends way back to the mid-90s in Chicago, years before he would become known on a national level on tour with Brian Culbertson. Jordan worked with many different contributors and collaborators on Catalyst because he wanted to showcase his diversity as an expressive saxophonist that can thrive in edgy modern environments as well as old school settings, as well a vocalist who can hold his own. The collection took a while to come together because of the obvious demands on Jordan’s schedule, but hopefully its success will allow him more dedicated time to devote to his next projects. Rather than just a brilliant one off project from a prominent sideman, Catalyst should be, for Jordan, the start of a promising solo career in contemporary urban jazz.” – Jonathan Widran
“Marqueal (“Mar-kwell”) Jordan may not carry the same name recognition of his peers, but he’s solid in the smooth jazz world for fiery, audience-pleasing work as Brian Culbertson’s sax guy and for having played with the genre’s stars, including Larry Carlton, Phil Perry and many others. With any luck,
“Catalyst” will lift Jordan to the top of the pack.
It’s certainly not luck that makes this music so appealing. Born in L.A. but now living in and grooving on the Chicago circuit, Jordan is an appealing player with an easy confidence and assuredness in his style. He’s laid back most of the time and romantic on tunes he sings on, but ramps it up when he needs to and shows that he’s a sax guy’s guy with mad, amazing skill.
The “catalyst” for this 10-song CD (with big musical help from Culbertson, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, and Frank McComb) was about 150 friends, including Culbertson, who contributed the more than $8,000 needed for the CD through the Kickstarter program. With friends like these, Jordan’s able to share his
music vision with the world. And it’s a warm, inviting world: “Maracas Beach”, for example, is very jazzy, with Jordan’s smoky sax playing against an insistent bass line – it’s all so romantic, and Jordan flashes his chops with a riveting sax solo that segues to an equally fresh keyboard solo.
Jordan has a vibrant vocal style, reminding me of Dwele, which he shows on the startling frank and sexy “Between the Sheets” and on “When You Smile”, an old-school EWF groove showcasing a falsetto range that soars above smooth background harmonies and Culbertson’s keys. Instrumentals dominate and shine on “Chillin’ With MJ”, with its layered sax lines, high-hat drums and funky beat, and “4 Sunny”, scratching sounds and real sax playing leading to explorations that journey to wonderful places.
“We’re Getting There” and “Buttas” sound like the best of Boney James, the latter upbeat with claps on the beat, the former boasting deep and sensual grooves. The CD ends on an inspiration note with “Life So Beautiful” explaining Jordan’s life goals, with some light rapping. I hope with all my heart
Jordan succeeds with his life – and musical – goals.” – Brian Soergel
“Saxophonist Marqueal Jordan carries a really cool distinction about him. He just happens to have worked with and appeared with many of the who’s who in this biz, including keyboard wiz/producer Brian Culbertson and vocalist Jill Scott. Offering up some solid chops on this solo release, entitled Catalyst, he makes it clear why he’s appealed to Culbertson and others.
Along with silky smooth and infectious jazz/R&B melodies, the saxman brings some serious vocal chops with him, as well (check out “Between the Sheets,” “When You Smile,” and “Life So Beautiful”). There’s even a small bit of rap for flavor. A few of the romantic tracks like the sexy “Maracas Beach” can entice one to take that walk along the sands with his/her love interest or to indulge in that oh-so-heavy candlelit night. Like a strolling pied piper of jazz/soul-filled grooves, Jordan leads you down a sometimes lazy path of luscious vibes (the earlier mentioned “When You Smile” and “Between the Sheets” are wonderful examples, as is the finger-snappin’ “Chillin’ With MJ”) then hops off onto a road of kickin’ swag with tunes that play well in any environment that really knows smooth (e.g., “Buttas”).
On this album, Jordan, a humble and gracious artist, reaches out to thank over 100 believers in him who helped him get this jewel off the ground via the Kickstarter.com funding option. That’s what musical love and respect look like, my friends. His response to that effort makes this project all the
While Jordan and DJ INC released an album in 2010 called Sounds Cool, the title of the saxman’s latest, Catalyst, may well say an awful lot about what we can expect from him now that this project is making its maiden voyage. Stay tuned.” – Ronald Jackson, The Smooth Jazz Ride
“Saxophonist Marqueal Jordan has been playing with Brian Culbertson for years, with the change of the lineup, he was dismissed and now has to stand on his own. This is his first significant solo release, and it is a winner. He is a serious player and the songs have a lot of depth, still they are accessible and
groovy. Guest players include Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Frank McComb and Brian Culbertson, he does a great cover of Grover’s “Maracas Beach” and a beautiful vocal with “Between The Sheets” featuring his soulful voice. This is the release that impressed me the most in the past few weeks and I look forward to hear more from this rising star. Thumbs up!” – Peter Boehi, SmoothVibes.com
“Chicago-based, Saxophonist and Vocalist Marqueal Jordan finally took the plunge into album territory, and Catalyst is definitely a game-changer to those who know him. To those who don’t know him, they will greet this album as an example of versatility, and the easy switches between styles that are best seen on a debut. Jordan’s tenor sax is well showcased between “Maracas Beach”, which pushes at a more straight-ahead flavor, and “Chillin’ With MJ”, in which Jordan stews the same tenor sax in a sauce full of R&B.
“Between The Sheets” is an immediate introduction to Jordan as a vocalist, which will somewhat remind you of Dwele; engaging, easygoing and steeped in Soul. Featuring Brian Culbertson on “When You Smile”, Jordan firmly crosses into the R&B boundary, and does so absolutely seamlessly. Whether shuffled or straight through, this track is the one that will make someone listen twice. A great debut, and a catalyst indeed that propels Marqueal Jordan in a jazz spotlight all his own. If you like Euge Groove, if you like Dwele, if you like Brian Culbertson, and don’t mind a Stanley Turrentine-gone-modern flavor to your instrumentals, then this album will be a great addition to your music library.” – Katherine Gilraine, Detroit Jazz Magazine
Catalyst was made possible by the commitment of 149 people who backed my project through Kickstarter.com. Without them, this CD would not have been completed; or if it had been completed through other funding options, I would not have had complete creative control over the music and I could have also had a significant amount of debt. I am eternally grateful to all those who believed in me enough to pledge their hard earned money to allow me to bring Catalyst to life. I would especially like to thank these individuals who financially went above and beyond the call of duty:
Gary A. Carnow
Peggy Woods Clark
Turquoise P. Cocques
Richard & Fus’Kari Mabion
Rena Henderson Mason
Donella “D’Erania” Stampley
Frank White III