Turn Up the Heat

Saxophonist Eric Marienthal utilizes many of the well-worn urban grooves that are de rigueur in contemporary jazz, but his gritty, honest tone and insistence on adding a hefty dose of improvisation to

Saxophonist Eric Marienthal utilizes many of the well-worn urban grooves that are de rigueur in contemporary jazz, but his gritty, honest tone and insistence on adding a hefty dose of improvisation to his radio-friendly fare positions him above the smooth jazz pack. By focusing more on improvisation and less on keeping every hair in place, Marienthal's playing is consistently satisfying and inventive, as he tastefully winds his way around this contemporary set with the conviction of a seasoned post-bopper. Such guests as guitarist Robben Ford, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, and producer/guitarist Russ Freeman subtly reference the music's fusion roots, providing additional, if occasionally restrained, musical enticement. The first single, "One Day in Venice," is pleasantly melodic, but it is on such cuts as the funk/rock workout of the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets" where Marienthal truly turns up the heat.—SG