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Marion Meadows at Sandoval's this Weekend

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The West Virginia-born saxophonist Marion Meadows first appeared locally at Arturo Sandoval's Jazz Club last fall. For this time around, he plans to stick with what worked last time. “It will be the same formula, the same kind of thing that worked last time,” he says by phone. “Not many smooth jazz artists perform at that club, and it's an honor to have been invited to do another show. Last time around, the reaction was fantastic, we actually had a wonderful experience – they gave us a 'thumbs up,' and Arturo [Sandoval] told me that the band had done a great job.”

Meadows recognizes the importance of this support, especially at a time when many jazz venues are disappearing. “There aren't many clubs around anymore, and it's important that people support [live music] – that's the most important element.”

Meadows began his career studying classical music as a youngster, later performing more avant-garde material with drummer Norman Connors. Smooth jazz came into his life after a chance encounter in the late Eighties with TV composer Jay Chattaway, who later hooked him up with keyboardist Bob James. He hasn't looked back since, believing in the genre as a gateway for new jazz fans. “It does seem to draw on new ideas, and it gets people to later dig harder material," he explains.

His debut album, Dressed to Chill was released on Heads Up in 2006. As a follow-up, Meadows says he is heading into the studio soon with some of his New York-based touring band, with a sophomore effort due for release later this year. -- Ernest Barteldes

Marion Meadows performs Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12 at the Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club, 6701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Set times are 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. both nights, and tickets are $35. Call 305-403-7565, or visit www.arturosandovaljazz.com.

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