After the events that unfolded on the world stage last week, we could all use hope. Billboard chart-topping saxophonist Jeff Ryan teams with two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown on “Where There’s Hope,” a soothing and uplifting R&B/jazz single released by Woodward Avenue Records that began collecting playlist adds on Monday (October 16).
“Where There’s Hope” builds on the chemistry created between Ryan and Brown during the recording sessions for the saxman’s 2021 collection, “Duality.” From the opening notes, Ryan’s horns – he plays both tenor and soprano saxes on the single - engages in encouraging banter with Brown’s spirited electric guitar. Loosely tethered to a midtempo groove anchored by Gorden Campbell’s drums and Roberto Vally’s bass and percussion, the optimistic and impassioned sax and guitar dialogue is an equitable exchange unfolding amidst inviting melodies and warm harmonies crafted by Mark Etheredge’s keyboards and Shane Theriot’s rhythm guitar.
“Working with Paul always puts one at ease. His playing brought so much life to this track and I’m very proud of the interaction between my sax and his guitar,” said the San Francisco-based Ryan.
Ryan is a very physical sax player, bringing founts of emotion, passion and urgency to his horn work. Whether he’s belting out empowering affirmations on his tenor or dispensing compassionate caresses through his soprano sax, his play on “Where There’s Hope” is lyrically expressive.
“The title really stands for when challenges come into our lives, to look for the positives that are all around us so that we can make a better future. At this point in my career, my goal is to really show the truest image of myself. No matter all the challenges, the goal is to stay true to the exceptional vision and make that a reality,” said Ryan, who wrote “Where There’s Hope” with Brown, Etheredge and Vally.
Ryan’s 2018 debut album, “Embrace,” which paired him with hitmaking producer-songwriter-keyboardist Greg Manning, earned him JazzTrax’s Breakout Artist honors and Smooth Jazz Network’s Debut Artist of the Year title. The Bay Area musician was named Billboard’s Artist of the Year in 2020 and his 2021 single, “Sentimental Soul,” was Billboard’s Song of the Year. The “Duality” album highlights Ryan collaborating with smooth/contemporary jazz royalty - Brown, Manning, multiple Grammy nominee Darren Rahn and 13-time Billboard chart-topping guitarist Adam Hawley. In the five years since his debut, Ryan has already notched five Billboard No. 1 singles. “Where There’s Hope” bodes to continue Ryan’s hot streak.
“Here’s to a better life with a strong focus on passion, love, fitness and finesse.”