Isaac Edwards finally reached a point in his life when he decided that he simply had to overcome past regrets in order pursue his dream. A newly married lawyer who litigated hundreds of cases by day during the four years he spent his nights and weekends writing, producing and recording his new album, the saxophonist will take a major step towards realizing his dream when “Begin Again” drops on February 22 on the Songs In My Pocket Music label. The disc mixed by hit saxman Darren Rahn will be preceded by the radio single, “Christina Christina,” an exotic Latin-singed seduction that goes for radio adds on January 14.
Edwards studied with revered saxophonists Eric Marienthal and Jeff Clayton, so Edwards has a bachelor’s degree in saxophone and a master’s degree in jazz. Because of this, Edwards has flirted with being a jazz musician by releasing a couple of albums in the early 2000s.
The gospel-jazz outing “Here” (2002) was nominated for a Vibe Award, the Canadian equivalent to the Dove Awards. Two years later, his sophomore release, “I’m On My Way,” featured a collaboration with Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Neither sets were promoted at radio as Edwards’ focus was on holding down his high-stress law position. But the fire inside never dimmed and in 2014, he wrote, recorded and released the new album’s title track as a single, earning most added honors at Billboard when it was serviced to radio. The theme of the song began Edwards’ creative journey that will only be complete when the album drops.
“This album is about starting over and second chances. Being a jazz artist is something I’ve dreamed about ever since I was a teenager. I’ve had some successes along the way and had some regrets as well. With this record, I’m finally putting those regrets in the rear-view mirror. My hope is that listeners will feel inspired to leave the past in the past and renew their hope for a brighter future. Just like the dawn of a new day, each moment in our lives is another chance to do that thing we’ve been dreaming of doing. The thing that keeps us up at night, that we spend our days dreaming about while we are at work. The fire that can’t be quenched; the drive we have deep inside. I believe that is what we need to be pursuing. That’s what this record is for me: it’s evidence that it’s never too late to start over, try something new or become more today than we were yesterday,” said the San Diego-based Edwards, who has opened for multiple Grammy-winning Christian pop icons Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith.
“Begin Again” is an amalgam of sounds and contemporary styles. With jazz and pop instrumentals serving as the foundation of the ten tracker, Edwards’ palette offers vibrant shades of R&B, Latin, gospel and rock. The sessions were tracked with live drums, bass, guitar, piano, violin, trumpet, trombone, clarinet and flute. In addition to showcasing his lyrical sax work and gift for crafting infectious melodies, Edwards added keyboards, synth and drum programming. A ten-time Grammy winner as a member of Take 6, Joel Kibble graces the outing with his voice in a supporting role on “Love Will Find A Way” and as the lovestruck protagonist on the urban adult contemporary romancer “Just Like the First Time.” In the company of nine Edwards originals is an instrumental reading of Monica’s hit, “Angel Of Mine,” that bodes to be a chart-topper again in its new form. While most of the album is soulful midtempo grooves and energizing exercises, “Qui Vivra Verra” stands out in striking contrast for its stark beauty and poignant simplicity – a melancholy sax, piano and violin selection about the moment you realize a relationship has no future.
“This record is the most honest work I’ve created and recorded. I drew a lot from my own personal experiences. I wrote from what was within my heart. And I’ve long been acutely aware of the burning drive I’ve had to get this record out,” Edwards said.