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Michael Manson / Press

“Michael Manson, from first-touch, has an uplifting spirituality to his approach, which sensitizes the temperament of the listener. Each melodic tone signifies a gentle calmness, similar to a wave�s final act of existence. This peaceable guitarist is grounded, not only in his craft�s prowess, but his life�s values. Mr. Manson, on all accounts, is that stable force one yearns to embrace. One of the many strong vibes you get with Mr. Manson is his drive for really profound music--music that shakes the memories and stimulates the senses, for the passion of his sound to communicate and celebrate life is that light at the end of his process. This theory is never so evident than with the intro spin �Bring It On,� on the current release of Up Front. For while you�re involved in the full experience of this cut, you�re in �his� groove! The bass is full of vibrant soul, as it simmers the R&B influence in the jazz mindset.”

“A native of Chicago, IL, Sharing the stage with the likes of Boney James, George Duke and Kirk Whalum, he made connections that would eventually lead to a spot performing on the Montreux Jazz tour. While a performance there alongside his idol Al Jarreau could have been seen as a career-high, Manson continued to branch out, producing and writing while on tour. In September, 1999, he co-produced Brian Culbertson's "I'm Gonna Miss You" and did the string arrangements on Blaque's debut offering. In 2002, he focused on his own work, releasing The Bottom Line on A440. While the album was the first to truly showcase his talents as a songwriter and solo performer, it also contained "Seven Whole Days," a track written by esteemed R&B artist and producer Babyface. ”

“ The songs on bassist Michael Manson’s Up Front may seem familiar, and that’s because a few also showed up on 2006’s Just Feelin’ It, a CD that didn’t make much noise since the record label it was released on folded shortly thereafter. Manson has now remastered and remixed the older songs, including his smooth-jazz hit “Outer Drive,” which is given a funkier, live-in-concert feel. “Chicago style” is how the Windy City native puts it. Manson, a longtime sideman just now getting his dues as a leader, Among the top smooth stars adding their recognizable touches, in addition to Lorber, are saxophonists Najee, Steve Cole and Kirk Whalum, guitarists Norman Brown and Nick Colionne, and trumpeter Rick Braun. ”

“Bassist Michael Manson can be heard on many bestselling CDs and onstage with the top names in smooth jazz. . Manson’s debut from 2002, The Bottom Line, introduced another stellar player in the smooth-jazz-meets-R&B groove, and his latest only reinforces Manson’s compositional skills and finely tuned sense of melody. One of the perks of touring and being a session player means having those musicians you’re backing return the favor. Contributing to Just Feelin’ It are Whalum, Culbertson, Braun, Duke, Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Nelson Rangell and Paul Jackson Jr. Oh, and smooth-jazz super-producer Paul Brown stopped by the studio for some sound mixing. The results are in-the-pocket original tunes and sparkling covers of Luther Vandross’ “There’s Nothing Better Than Love” and Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” With this CD, it’s time to consider Manson as a solo artist first and sideman second. ”

“ Bassist Michael Mason forged a solid reputation as a sought-after sideman, and he makes the transition to leader on his debut album, The Bottom Line (A440). This is a very likeable, though safe, smooth-jazz offering. Manson doesn't break any new musical ground here, but the tunes are, for the most part, interesting and appealing, and Manson demonstrates considerable skill both as rhythmic support and lead melodic voice. One of the album's strongest tunes is the rollicking, horn-accented title track, which showcases Manson's funky chops. On "Keys to My Heart" and "Angel's Serenade" Manson exhibits a flair for a big soaring ballad. He's joined on both by saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and together this well-matched pairing creates two very affecting pieces. Overall, however, The Bottom Line presents Manson as an engaging new presence on the smooth-jazz scene. ”