Michigan Jazz Group 496 West releases 4th Studio Album, Rules of Engagement
Group breathes life into smooth jazz with signature sound audiences have enjoyed for more than ten years.
April 8, 2022 — Detroit, MI — The popular Michigan-based jazz group 496 West is on a mission to disprove everything you’ve heard about the decline of smooth jazz. Led by musician and producer Charlie Wilson, 496 West has become a staple at many of the Midwest’s signature music festivals and community events. The band’s latest album, Rules of Engagement, is already receiving airplay. As many jazz festivals and music events begin to come back online after a long hiatus, the energetic group is ready to break out of the woodshed and entertain with this latest project. Listeners are sure to be delighted with this evolution of the group’s sound.
Rules of Engagement combines original songs and covers that add to an already impressive music catalog. The album includes covers of Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up and Bob James & David Sandborn’s Maputo. And there are, of course, new hits like Dilla J, a song for Wilson’s grandson. The title track from the album boasts a hauntingly tuneful theme belted out by the saxophone and supported and embellished by layers of well-balanced sound. Produced in collaboration with Atlanta’s own DJ Pnut, the surprising choices in chord progression and phrasing will keep listeners on their toes as well as tapping their toes the entire ride.
Similarly, the track Soul Catcher puts the stylings of a muted trumpet front and center with the backing of a band you might find in a gospel church — piano, bass, drums, and organ. Combining these sounds provides this album with an instant feeling of familiarity but with a few surprises that keep it excitingly fresh.
Producer and bandleader Charlie Wilson had this to say about this latest release, “Two years is a long time to be away from the stage. And during that time, we had the ability to sit down and develop as artists and develop our sound. While staying true to smooth jazz, we created an album that puts a fresh spin on the sound and offers music-lovers something a little bit updated. The challenges of bringing this project together during the pandemic were tricky, but they helped us grow. We’re looking forward to bringing this sound to audiences as we get back out on the road this summer.”
The album Rules of Engagement by 496 West is out now and is available on all major streaming music platforms. Visit 496West.com for more.
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