Tag Archives: Jennifer Saran

US Review: Jennier Saran “Soulful Christmas”

12 Dec

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Jennifer Saran

Soulful Christmas

Review by Gary Hill
When it comes to jazzy, adult contemporary type music, Jennifer Saran’s vocals are just about the best around these days. She seems to have an affinity for Christmas music because I previously reviewed another holiday set from her (in addition to other music of hers I’ve reviewed). This is her brand new set of holiday music, and it is so strong. This will likely be part of my holiday festivities for years to come. The Temptations are featured on the opening song, Narada Michael Walden is a big part of this production, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Christmas Lover (featuring The Temptations)
This has a cool, slow soulful groove. It’s all class.
Sleigh Ride
I love the classy jazz arrangement on this tune. The holiday classic gets a great telling here, really.
Long Road Home for Christmas
This balladic number is interesting. It makes me think of some of the pop rock that was so popular in the 1960s. The harmonica adds a lot to the piece.
Swingin’ at Christmas Time
A bouncy and fun piece, this is another winner. It’s more modern in texture than a lot of the rest here.
Some Children See Him
Harp starts this cut. It works out with a slow moving and rather symphonic texture. The beautiful vocals are the real selling factor of this piece. There are mellow jazz elements at play.
Coventry Carol
Even more symphonic than the previous number, this is so pretty. It is a short instrumental.
Soulful Christmas
An old-styled soulful vibe really does shine brightly on this piece. This has a timeless, classic quality to it. It’s very effective. The horn soloing on this lends some magic to the number. It was a great move to make this the title track. It’s one of the strongest pieces here.
Soul Cake
This is so cool. It has a great Celtic folk vibe to it. Yet, it also has plenty of jazz in the mix. There are bits of traditional Christmas music added to the arrangement. This is another highlight of the set.
Where Are You Christmas
A particularly pretty song, this is another standout. It’s slow and a bit jazzy. It’s mellow and quite effective.
I Have My Own Reindeer
Jazz and adult contemporary music seem to merge on this. It’s a pretty cut that is entertaining. It’s just not on the same level of the last few.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Only a minute and a half long, this is an instrumental on classical strings. It’s a pretty interlude.
Come Home for Christmas
A piano based ballad at the start, this is another pretty song. It’s a slow moving number with a lot of jazz in mix.
Merry Christmas to You
Jazz, pop and more merge on this cut. It has a bit of an electronic edge to it, but not enough to take the more organic vibe from it. This is a fun cut with a lot of energy. It’s one of the standouts here, really.
One More Christmas Together
A pretty, jazzy piece, this is another winner. It has such a great classic vibe to it. It’s packed with emotion, too.
Christmas Delight
A bouncy and fun number, this has a great soulful vibe to it. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still very strong. There is a short rap mid-track on this.
You Are My Christmas Star
A bit more modern in texture, this has a real soaring kind of vibe to it.
Frosty the Snow Man
There is a cool haunting vibe to this short version of the holiday classic. Saran’s voice is accompanied by only the sounds of winter and some chiming bells. It is incredibly effective.



US Review: Jennifer Saran “Wake Up”

11 Dec


Saran, Jennifer: Wake Up

Jennifer Saran is a Hong Kong based singer songwriter with a new album titled Wake Up, the follow up to her holiday album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved released in 2015. First things first. If you are solely into progressive rock you might as well stop reading this immediately as this is adult contemporary pop music with the occasional nod to jazz and soul. To prove my point the first time I put this in the player my wife replied, “this is nice.” She is not the biggest prog rock fan if you get my drift although she does like the occasional helping of Floyd and Rush. The album recording is top notch with the instruments and vocals very clear. On the plus side Saran does have a beautiful voice and she also gets help from the African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on three tracks including the lead off title tune which also includes lead guitar from Carlos Santana. Here is playing is reserved and mostly set back in the mix although it is always a treat to hear the man play. The rest of the songs are mostly slow to mid-tempo balladic fair with ear candy choruses and lush strings.

My favourite song is the Billy Paul tribute “Me and Mr. Jones”, a nicely crafted soulful ballad and a real throwback to a bygone era. The synth solo in the infectious “Look At Me Fly” is also quite nice. The heartwarming “Old Cape Cod” is another nod to old time pop music.Being that I mostly listen to much heavier music I probably won’t play this much but over the holiday season this just might hit the spot when wanting something light and airy. And hey, my better half will likely appreciate it.Track Listing:
1. Wake Up (4:36)
2. Jesus To A Child Tribute to George Michael (5:11)
3. Really (4:10)
4. Me and Mr. Jones – Tribute to Billy Paul (4:50)
5. You Are My Star (4:25)
6. Too Young To Know (4:16)
7. Better Than Me – ‘for anjali’ (3:23)
8. Look At Me Fly (4:02)
9. Old Cape Cod – Tribute to Patti Page (3:30)
10. Try To Forgive (But I Cannot Forget) (4:24)
11. Lean On Me – Tribute to Bill Withers (4:42)
12. Grace Is The Champion (3:32)
13. I Will Always Be Your Home (4:16)
14. My Love and Devotion – Tribute to Doris Day (4:18)
15. Aad Guray (5:42)

Added: November 27th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist’s Official Site
Hits: 28
Language: english

US Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

1 Dec
Title – ‘Soulful Christmas’
Artist – Jennifer Saran
For those not in the know, Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Her first full-length album, Merry Christmas, You Are Loved (2015), was a worldwide smash and quickly put Saran on the map; let alone on the radar of some very big names within the business.

Indeed, that debut album was created with legendary producer Narada Michael Walden, and released through his very own uber successful label, Tarpan Records. Luckily for us all, that partnership continued onward with her sophomore album, Walk With Me (2016) and her quite stunning follow up, Wake Up.

Coming full circle on her newest release, Jennifer’s latest album is yet another Christmas collection. Featuring guests The Temptations, and yet again produced by the legendary Narada Michael Walden, Soulful Christmas is out November 24th, 2017 via Tarpan Records.

During the holiday season of 2016, Jennifer released a double-single including the tracks “Merry Christmas To You” and “Soulful Christmas”, and now that latter track has spread its wings and blossomed into an incredible, heartwarming new album of holiday tracks.

1. “Christmas Lover” – Featuring The Temptations
2. “Sleigh Ride”
3. “Long Road Home For Christmas”
4. “Swingin’ Art Christmas Time”
5. “Some Children See Him”
6. “Coventry Carol”
7. “Soulful Christmas”
8. “Soul Cake”
9. “Where Are U Christmas”
10. “I Have My Own Reindeer”
11. “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”
12. “Come Home For Christmas”
13. “Merry Christmas to You”
14. “One More Christmas Together”
15. “Christmas Delight”
16. “You Are My Christmas Star”
17. “Frosty The Snow Man”

Containing, and kicking off with, the new single “Christmas Lover” featuring The Temptations, as the sax leads us in, it’s baritone singer Dr. Otis Williams who verbally introduces the song. The trumpets sound aplenty on “Sleight Ride”, before everything is slowed down for a Jennifer Saran original, the harmonica driven “Long Road Home For Christmas”.

The finger-snappin’ “Swingin’ Art Christmas Time” is one of the highlights of this joyous album for me, and that’s backed by the lush harp flow of “Some Children See Him”, the stirring violins of “Coventry Carol”, and then the jingle bells of the title track, “Soulful Christmas”.

The funky, banjo-pickin’ vibe of “Soul Cake” is new and highly original, and that’s backed by the soulful “Where Are U Christmas” (“This is for all the people with blue lights on their Christmas tree. Always know someone is thinking of you”), the beautiful storytelling of “I Have My Own Reindeer”, and then the vibrant “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”.

Jingle bells sound once more as they introduce us to both the piano-led “Come Home For Christmas” and then the ode to children all over the world, “Merry Christmas to You”. The ballad “One More Christmas Together” is a saxophone beauty, and that’s followed by the soul funk of “Christmas Delight”. The album then rounds out with the unexpected EDM sounds of “You Are My Christmas Star”, before the Wintry “Frosty The Snow Man” is upon us.

There are 17 tracks on this holiday album and each one is delightful to hear. Indeed, even where Jennifer covers a classic, she strives to make it her own; and for the most part, does just that. Having incorporated soul, R&B, funk and even EDM into her Christmas spirit, Jennifer’s vocals are magnificent on this quite outstanding new seasonal album.

Chock full of some inspired Christmas covers, along with some aforementioned delightfully inspiring originals (which, in this business, to create just one new Christmas song of any worth from scratch is a miracle unto its own), Soulful Christmas is primed and ready to be your musical accompaniment this holiday season.

In closing, each of the 17 tracks are genuine, enduring, and as festively heartwarming as each other and even her originals sound like they’ve been around as long as the chosen classics. So once you’ve purchased this CD for your holiday celebrations, I urge you to then journey through her back catalog and take in all Jennifer’s other work. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed and for that deed alone, I’m sure Santa will add you to his Nice List!

Russell A. Trunk

Check out the music video of Jennifer and Narada doing their original holiday song “Christmas is Really My Thang,” released on her 2015 album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved:

“Christmas is Really My Thang” – Music Video

CD Purchase Link






US Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

30 Nov

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Soulful Christmas by Jennifer Saran


For my 598th music review, I am proud to present the perfect album for the Christmas season.  Soulful Christmas is the November 24, 2017, album by Jennifer Saran released on the Tarpan Records label.  This is my third review for this great artist with 17 Tracks which covers several styles such as soul, jazz, bluegrass, and disco as seen in such songs as Christmas Love (Featuring The Temptations), Swingin’ At Christmas TimeSoul CakeChristmas Delight and much more.  This the best Christmas album I have heard in some time and I am impressed on how well this a release is written, performed, recorded and produced.  You can purchase this album today from Amazon, Itunes and other places where Cd’s and digital downloads are sold.


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US Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

29 Nov

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JENNIFER SARAN is an American pop/adult, singer/songwriter who now works out of Hong Kong and in normal circumstances we probably wouldn’t feature her here in the august pages of SOULANDJAZZANDFUNK. However, her latest album, ‘Soulful Christmas’ is worth checking for a number of reasons. First, it was produced and arranged by Narada Michael Walden (it was recorded in his Tarpan studios); second, the main backing vocals are provided by our old friend Cornell CC Carter; and third, the album features a guest appearance from the mighty TEMPTATIONS!

The Emperors of Soul duet with Jennifer on the album opener ‘Christmas Lover’ and it’s a seasonal, soulful stunner. Temptations’ main man Otis Williams opens proceedings with a brief but spine-tingling spoken intro before the rest of the band (chiefly Ron Tyson) duet with Ms Saran. The harmonies, as you’d expect, are impeccable and Otis offers another monologue midway, building to a harmonic finale. In the absence of any new material from the Temptations, this is a Christmas must have!

Elsewhere on the 17 tracker, Jennifer offers her versions of Christmas favourites alongside a selection of her own songs. Standout, though, is the Temptations-featured ‘Christmas Lover’.



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US Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

27 Nov

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JENNIFER SARAN/Soulful Christmas: Saran sends us her holiday best from Hong Kong once again, but this time adding the Temptations to the mix and serving up the kind of old school soul Christmas set that makes things feel like home. Coming at us from a direction we wouldn’t expect from a white gal, she finds the blue eyed soul in the holidays and makes it all as sweet as the best cranberry, chocolate holiday bars. Tasty stuff throughout that sets some new holiday traditions quite easily.

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US Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

17 Nov


Jennifer Saran to Release New Holiday Album “Soulful Christmas” on Nov. 24th, 2017 | New Single “Christmas Lover” feat. The Temptations

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San Francisco, CA – JENNIFER SARAN is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter, and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Over the past several years this versatile artist has put out several musical releases with notable collaborators such as Narada Michael Walden, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Carlos Santana, and her original songs and conscious messages have resonated with fans and media alike. During the holiday season of 2016, she released a double-single including the tracks “Merry Christmas To You” and “Soulful Christmas.” JENNIFER SARAN continues her tradition of holiday themed releases with the 2017 album SOULFUL CHRISTMAS, which launches the new single “CHRISTMAS LOVER” FEATURING THE TEMPTATIONS. Full of great original songs along with some wonderful holiday covers, SOULFUL CHRISTMAS will be available in stores and online in time for the holiday season, releasing worldwide on November 24, 2017.

SOULFUL CHRISTMAS was recorded at Walden’s legendary Tarpan Studios, in San Rafael, CA except for the “CHRISTMAS LOVER” single, which was recorded at Capital Studios in Los Angeles, including vocal sessions with Dr. Otis Williams and The Temptations. This new holiday single will hit the airwaves in late November, just in time for the 2017 winter holidays.

The Temptations
Photo Credit: Joel Margolis

JENNIFER SARAN’S holiday-themed debut album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved was released in 2015 to many great reviews and widespread radio exposure. Shortly thereafter in 2016 she released her follow-up album Walk With Me, both of which were produced and co-written by the legendary Grammy and Emmy-winning Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Sting, George Michael) and released through his Tarpan Records label.

In the summer of 2016, Jennifer Saran teamed up with the South African Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Narada Michael Walden to create the single “Wake Up.” Jennifer traveled to South Africa to record with Ladysmith and to film scenes for the song’s music video. Also, making a special guest appearance on the track is multiple Grammy-winning legend Carlos Santana. This stunning collaboration was a heartfelt appeal to recognize and address worldwide inequality and impoverishment, a cause incredibly important to each of the amazing artists involved, and proceeds benefit the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. The “Wake Up” single and music video were released on November 11, 2016, and were featured on Saran’s third album, also titled Wake Up, produced and co-written by Narada Michael Walden and released in the early Summer of 2017.

JENNIFER SARAN’S music has had reviews pouring in from across the globe, and she has done interviews on both syndicated national radio stations in the US and on BBC 2 in the UK. The “Wake Up” single had wide reaching worldwide exposure and was reviewed and mentioned in a variety of magazines and websites including Songwriting Magazine, Women Talking, and an in-depth interview on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday hosted by Clare Balding. The “Wake Up” music video aired on over 100 broadcast video outlets across the US, including rotation on California Music Channel, PC Music Pool and The Sound Chamber, reaching millions of viewers. On social media, the video has had over 100,000 views across Facebook and YouTube.

JENNIFER SARAN is as prolific as she is profound, and she is constantly working on new music. There is already a new full-length Jazz-themed album in the works, produced by NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN and scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018. Jennifer is the mother of 3 children, Paul, Phillip, and Anjali. She continues to write new songs and travels the world, trying to uplift, engage, educate and empower our future generations.

Pre-Order or preview the album now on iTunes at http://radi.al/JSaranSoulfulChristmas

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