CD Reviews


Jazz at a Glance

It's a KNOWN FACT that Cornelius Bumpus has great tenor & soprano sax chops, but his flute playing, vocals and composing skills are no laughing matter. His latest release on Palmetto Jazz, KNOWN FACT is a cool, laid-back set that features Rob Aries on keyboards, Paul Adamy on bass, Clint de Ganon on drums, Gilad on percussion, Matt Balitsaris on guitars, Aaron Bumpus and Gary Sieger on electric guitar and background vocals by Maydie Myles, Reja Steigmeyer, Pat Rustici, and the man himself, Cornelius Bumpus. Ten songs give the "jazz shout out" to the Bumpus fan base with the radio active "Dig You" kicking off the set. Cornelius wrote three songs for the set, including the solid hit, "Jupiter Spin." "Abundare," holds you under Bumpus' flute spell with its merry rhythms and happy feelings. His original, "Meganita," is truly memorable because of his smooth, mellow mood and tones that he weaves so artfully through the Adamy bass line.

The group also covers "Takin' It To The Streets," the Staples' "I'll Take You There," and "Chain Lighting" putting a jazz spin on the improvisational freedom the structure of these compositions offer. Cornelius Bumpus is a solid, funky and soulful player and composer who has yielded true well-defined songs from his jazz repertoire and to his audiences over the years. But it's his bluesy, gospel rendition of "Drown In My Own My Tears," that sets the groove on this CD apart from the other songs. Bumpus has a funky, soulful voice that deserves more exposure and the way he sings the Henry Glover tune you can be assured that he'll get it. This song is the prime example of how the blues influenced jazz and after listening to Bumpus' rendition, you'll understand why he deserves these props. The song ends the set but the feeling goes on. This millennium may just be Cornelius Bumpus' turn to provide what many eager fans have been waiting to hear. Check him out and make it a KNOWN FACT to your jazz buddies!

Rating: Five Stars
Reviewed by: Paula Edelstein for Jazz at a Glance Reviews

Jazz Newsletter O's Place

Performance: 4 
Sound: 4

O's Notes: The sax (tenor & soprano) of Cornelius is smooth and rich. He's a player you've probably heard without knowing it. He played with Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, and Steely Dan in the 1990's and has been a strong side man in NYC lately. He's jumped into the mix as a prominent contemporary sax player with his Palmetto debut, with both cool originals and covers.

OAMG All-Media Guide

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Cornelius Bumpus' lifelong pursuit of the saxophone and his eagerness for diversity have found him sharing worldwide stages and studio time with some of the greatest names in pop/rock history -- the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Boz Scaggs -- as well as top names in jazz fusion (Jeff Lorber) and country music (Lacy Jay Dalton). While he made a few solo albums when the Doobies broke up in the early 1980s, Bumpus' Palmetto Records debut, KNOWN FACT, marks his first splash into smooth-jazz waters. . . . it must have been hard to resist including a Doobies tune, but his "Takin' It to the Streets" is pretty straightforward and doesn't venture from what listeners already know (though it's certainly fun to hear). He has better luck with the original samba, "Abundare," when he raises a percussive flute melody over a wash of soundscaping, whistle-blowing, and an aggressively rolling bass groove, stopping on occasion to make emphatic points with percussionist Gilad. His choice and arrangement of the Steely Dan tune "Chain Lightning" is creative, too; it's a hypnotic, slow blues simmer featuring Bumpus' richest tenor work amidst a bed of Aries' punchy organ harmonies and solo.

By: Jonathan Widran

Jazz USA

With the recent passing of saxophone great Grover Washington, the jazz-pop world will have to turn elsewhere for that soulful sound that Grover gave us for many wonderful years. Cornelius Bumpus is certainly a contender for that honor. His new CD KNOWN FACT is warm and melodic the way that Grover's tunes were. With a sprinkling of background vocals and the occasional blues influence, Bumpus' saxophone sings to the listeners in sweet, sensuous tones.

Bumpus' own "Jupiter Spin" gives the sax man a chance to swing over a gentle funk groove, double his own horns and improvise brilliantly. After a smoky gospel-flavored reading of The Staples Singers gem "I'll Take You There," Bumpus once again hits the romantic trail with the graceful tenor-led title track; the tune features an orchestral flavored atmosphere and an elegant jazz piano solo by Aries. "Abundare" is Bumpus' tribute to Brazilian music, with a hypnotic, rolling samba rhythm, a breezy flute melody and exotic percussion fills and soundscaping.

Bumpus has toured as a member of Steely Dan since the band's mid-90's reunion, and gives the Donald Fagen/Walter Becker classic "Chain Lightning" a burning blues twist with the help of Aries' punchy organ harmonies and solo. Bumpus once again contemplates gentle, loving thoughts on the soprano ballad "Meganita," then leads a slamming gospel blues jam on "Stand Up and Be Counted" with hot horn soloing over crisp electric guitar lines. Bumpus' love for the blues continues on the closing cut, a mournful tune of longing featuring his own soulful vocals.

By: Ray Redmond

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