Peak Records/Entertainment One U.S., 2012
Album Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Artwork: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
For any romantic guy who will set up a nice Valentine’s Day dinner for your special someone, please take my advice: Pair up the candle-lit table and wine with the sound track of It’s Love by Eric Marienthal.
Marienthal’s record from 2012 sets the mood perfectly for a special meal between lovers. Throughout the record, you will hear the recurring expressions of love. The Grammy-award-winning sax player wrote about the expression of love in the opening statement of the CD’s liner notes. “Making music is all about expressing emotion and to me nothing creates more emotion than love,” he wrote.
I first heard It’s Love, on Spotify, the year it came out, which also was my junior year in college. One of the first songs I remember hearing from this record is “Costa Del Sol.” Listening to the upbeat tune, I envisioned myself sitting in an urban jazz club. I described my imaginary experience in my weekly column I wrote for the student newspaper that year:
… I’ve never been in a jazz club, but my idea is that the experience is pretty relaxing. People are decked out in some relaxing formal clothing. Guys are treating their significant others on dates. People are enjoying wine and some pretty upscale cuisine. Whether people are in big or small groups, they’re with their friends putting aside their troubles and are in a laid-back, social mood. And Marienthal is cocking his sax, blowing out beautifully inspired notes with the house band center stage …
You’ll also hear Marienthal perform a few covers like “In A Sentimental Mood” (originally by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills) and “Can’t Be Me Love” (originally by Paul McCartney and John Lennon). On these covers, you’ll hear how the original composers have influenced Marienthal’s modern-day, old-school style of play.
A really cool story lies within the making of the record’s final track, “When I Found You.” On video, Marienthal describes that he and Brian Culbertson co-wrote the track as a sequel to “Lost Without You,” a sad-sounding track written five years earlier. “Lost Without You” is the final track on Marienthal’s record Just Around The Corner. When Culbertson and Marienthal were playing around to make a new song for It’s Love, the two created the sounds for what seemed like a happy ending to “Lost Without You.” In the end, the duo named the newer song “When I Found You.”
Other jazz artists who lent their expertise on Marienthal’s record include Chuck Loeb and Jeff Lorber.
Possibly driven by the help of these other said artists, It’s Love reached No. 14 on Billboard’s “Jazz Albums” chart in Feb. 2012. Two months later, in April of that year, the record’s track “Get Here” reached No. 11 on Billboard’s “Smooth Jazz Songs” chart.
The record earns my top rating for artwork due its clean and simple design, by Sean Marlowe, and photography, by Joaquin Palting.
On the front cover, you’ll see Marienthal’s name arranged as a top banner in a sleek sans serif font. His name sits above a superimposed image of two of his saxes forming a heart shape with a few rose pedals scattered against a white background. As you fold out the CD booklet, you find a similar font style and rose pedal design with a partial close-up snapshot of Marienthal’s sax.
In photographs of Marienthal (one found on the back of the CD booklet and another on the backside of the jewel case), he is dressed sharply in such formal attire I described in my imaginary jazz club scene above.
Marienthal celebrated the record by writing the following in the liner notes:
“This record is dedicated to Lee Ann, Katie and Robert who inspire me in everything I do and who teach me the meaning of love everyday.”