Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that “Music is the universal language of mankind,” and during recent Ukrainian bombing raids, a man named Yuri found solace listening to contemporary jazz saxophonist Carl Cox’s music on an old cell phone. Through Facebook, he found and messaged Cox to tell him his story, and how he was introducing the South New Jersey-based musician’s music to others seeking safe shelter with him. The experience moved Cox to write a bonus song for his “Universal Language” album titled “In Time of Need.” The project drops on October 13.
Whereas most of the album – all originals cowritten by Cox – is an up-tempo blend of jazz, R&B and funk, “In Time of Need” reflects its origins. The heartfelt ballad offers a reassuring caress provided by an intimate soprano sax and acoustic guitar melody with soothing string accents that kindle feelings of peace and hope for the future.
Cox spent the last year working on “Universal Language,” his sophomore album. The majority of the project was produced and co-written by two-time Grammynominee Chris “Big Dog” Davis (Will Downing, Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright) with one cut, the high-energy “Get It,” produced and co-written by twelve-time Billboard chart-topping guitarist Adam Hawley. Over the last twelve months, Cox dropped three singles from the set that garnered most added status on the Billboard chart and were added to the SiriusXM Watercolors playlist - “Breakin Away,” “Stickwidit” and “Can’t Hurry Love.”
Without fanfare, Cox soft-launched “Universal Language” in April, but he feels that “In Time of Need” makes the album complete. That’s why he added the song to an updated version of the collection, which becomes available on October 13. And since he was adding more music to the bonus version of the album, Cox threw in a second brand new track, “Be Mine.” A recent collab with Davis, this one is a sensual romancer that builds in intensity.
“‘Universal Language’ was a labor of love for me and Yuri showing up in my DMs was really an unexpected gift that confirmed my intensions for this project. From the start, the concept of the album was to connect with anyone in the world. I often tell my music students that music is the universal language that can be spoken immediately through one’s instrument without having to say a spoken word. A variety of standards can be sung or played with about any musician in the world simply by quoting the melody or harmony. I have had the ability to play with a variety of groups from other countries and we always connect when our instruments are played together on stage. That’s the concept that I wanted to bring to my listeners and hopefully have anyone in the world connect through this instrumental music,” said Cox, who has concert dates booked through the end of the year with his own band and as a featured soloist alongside Maysa, Oli Silk and Gerald Veasley.
Cox, who has a master’s degree in music education and has shared the stage with Smokey Robinson, hit the Billboard top 30 with the single “Elevation” from “Thankful.” Recently, he hit one million plays on Apple Music and anticipates growing with the bonus edition of “Universal Language.”
The bonus version of “Universal Language” contains the following songs:
“Can’t Hurry Love”
“Universe of Love”
NEW BONUS TRACKS:
“In Time of Need”