WILLIAMSBURG (24 August 2018): The freedom of jazz, the swagger of hip hop, the faith of gospel and heart-on-your-sleeve soul inspire saxophonist Sam Rucker’s “Redemption,” his third album that drops Friday from Favor Productions. An engaging mix of triumphant light and somber vibes, the release day is bitter sweet for Rucker who endured the untimely deaths of two of the record’s guitarists, including his nephew (Justin Taylor), three days apart during the recording process. As a spiritually-rooted man, he soldiers on knowing that the disc is being well received and will be feted during an instore performance on Saturday in Virginia Beach.
Rucker previewed “Redemption” at radio with the first single, “True Love,” lensing a video for the downtempo groove rendered by an almighty tenor sax that premiered on the SoulTracks site. His resonant messages on the collection of original songs that he wrote and produced stir reflection, uplift, and proffer hope and perseverance.
“Redemption” is the next step in Rucker’s evolution from hip hop producer to urban-jazz artist. The album’s “Overcomer” is an intimate cut on which his soprano sax is buttressed by the dual guitar combo of Taylor and John Calisto. Written to comfort and encourage others to overcome rough circumstances, it provided him solace when both men passed. Rucker’s music acknowledges and confronts pain and tumult head on, seeing such challenges as Divine will, never allowing difficulties to overshadow his appreciation for compassion, forgiveness and his many blessings.
On Saturday at 12:30pm, Rucker will appear at the Virginia Beach landmark record store Birdland Music where he will perform a short set of music from “Redemption” and sign CDs.
Below is a sampling of the initial album reviews:
“Rucker has a unique musical recipe that is not just heard, but felt. This former hip-hop producer has developed a sound that is leaving a unique fingerprint on modern jazz…Reflective of its title and the individual themes driving its soulful, engaging tracks, Sam Rucker’s emotionally compelling third album Redemption is powered by a deep spiritual vision of true soul survival…An album chock full of bright melodies and tight grooves.” – Exclusive Magazine
“Interspersed with a deep spiritual vision of the survival of the soul…listen to this album and experience your salvation!” – Keys & Chords
“There’s lots here to sink your teeth into as this is music that touches the heart as well as the ears.” – Midwest Record
“A tight ten-track collection that he produces writes or co-writes throughout and which promises to be one of the urban jazz events of 2018…the first single to be serviced to radio is ‘True Love’; a sensually steamy mid-tempo tune where Rucker’s fat tenor sax sound combines with sultry nylon guitar from John Calisto to really pack a punch.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy
“The suave saxman offers his third album Redemption with his own form of greased lightning and charm…This album is chock full of c-jazz goodness and laced with the faith and spirituality that Rucker has kept near and dear to his heart and very being. Grab this one and let its pure satisfaction wash over you.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“Excellent third album by a saxophonist that is already counted among our favorite musicians.” – No Solo Smooth Jazz
“We’re particularly digging the first single from the new album. ‘True Love’ is a breezy midtempo song that features a choral chant that embodies the true message: ‘Take one look, and you will see, what true love has done for me, take one look and you will see, what true love has done in me.’” – SoulTracks