Marion Meadows Biography

West Virginia, USA. Raised in Connecticut, Meadows began playing clarinet and studying classical music at the age of eight. He heard numerous jazz artists on record, including Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Hodges, Coleman Hawkins and Sidney Bechet. The impression made by his hearing the last named, prompted him to settle on the soprano saxophone as his principal instrument. He attended the Berklee College Of Music where he studied arranging and composing. He also studied saxophone with Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, Eddie Daniels and others. He also gained professional experience as a sideman with a wide range of jazz artists, including drummer Norman Connors for whom Meadows co-produced 1988’s Passion. He also worked in bands backing various artists, including Brook Benton, Eartha Kitt, Phyllis Hyman, Jean Carne, the Temptations, Michael Bolton, Angela Bofill and Will Downing.

In New York in the late 80s, Meadows was a member of the avant garde group, Aboriginal Music Society before stepping sideways into the more audience friendly field of smooth jazz. Reportedly, while waiting for a train in Grand Central Station he began playing in order to exploit the unusual acoustics of the building. It was here that he was heard by composer Jay Chattaway who introduced him to Bob James. This resulted in Meadows being signed to James’ label. Although this came to nothing, Meadows was soon recording and his 1991 debut attracted considerable attention and extensive airplay. A masterly technician, Meadows has shown himself to be rather more adventurous than many smooth jazz players. He has incorporated Latin sounds alongside more traditional African American forms and has also displayed interest in Eastern and other ethnic music. Among sidemen with whom he has played and recorded, are guitarist Norman Brown, Omar Hakim, Victor Bailey, and percussionist Pete Escovedo.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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