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Published August 02, 2007

Somewhere, if a line can be drawn between my early jazz years, my jazz snob years, and the present, there must have been some stretching of my musical brain parts. I'm pretty sure I know when this happened. It was a few years back while going through a jazz snob sub-phase I'll call "Exotica Erudition." Spurred on by a great Exotica show on a local college radio station, I began snapping up every oddball chunk of vinyl to be found. Martin Denny, Esquivel, Jackie Gleason, Serge Gainsbourg — you name it, I bought it.

What this huge influx of new sounds did was make me more aware of the nuances inherent in all types of music. Sure, much of the jazz I listened to had very subtle interplay between the musicians: but Esquivel had two complete orchestras playing simultaneously, Martin Denny had those bird calls, and Gainsbourg had....uhm...Brigitte Bardot. All of this made me rethink the energy I'd been wasting on generating anger toward things like "Smooth Jazz" and the like. The point is that even though something like a Candy Dulfer record did nothing for me, it does have an audience: So what is the point of my rage?

None of this is to say that Machan is a smooth jazz artist that I happen to like. In fact, her snazzy vocalizations are not smooth jazz at all. No, what got me to this point was that her music somehow reminds me of my snob-to-open-minded transformation. For instance, even in those hardcore moments, I had to admit that I loved Sade. "Smooth Operator" went against all of my pathetic rules but it still moved me.

Machan's Motion of Love is full of the type of subtleties that opened my ear as a jazz and exotica fan: the Brazilian groove of the title track (with a very cool "sax-in-warehouse" solo), the funk-laden interplay between the percussion and bass on the sultry "In Your Word" (many thanks to John Medeski for a killer B3 solo), a very different take (thanks in part to the guitar of John Scofield) on Government Mule's "Beautifully Broken."

Ah, and then there's Machan's voice. It in fact does recall Sade. Maybe it's the overall Brazilian feel of the tunes. Maybe it's that gorgeous timbre. All I know is that there's a lot of texture wrapping itself around the lyrics that deal with love, sex, loss, and wonderment: the things that, sooner or later, everybody takes a turn at. It's no accident that Machan has worked with the likes of Pink Floyd, George Benson, Sting, Pat Benetar, and Aretha Franklin. Seriously.

Now, if she would consider adding a few bird calls...

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Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. On his best day, he hopes to channel the ghosts of Lester Bangs and Jack Kerouac. He spends the hours of 9:30PM to 1:30AM carving out music reviews and essays for and other publications. - Written by Mark Saleski

"Riveting Riffs"

Reviewed August 2007

Once every few years a singer emerges whose voice is so uniquely different and of such a high quality that you immediately embrace their music. Jazz / light pop singer/songwriter Machan is such an artist. Her CD Motion Of Love has beautiful hues and textures, fronted by Machan’s very pretty vocals.

Machan’s voice may be familiar to you, but perhaps not her name. She has been singing professionally since she was sixteen, having shared the stage with Pink Floyd and George Benson. She also toured extensively with Sting. Motion Of Love is her sophomore project as a solo artist.

Motion Of Love was co-produced by Machan, and opens with the title track, a pretty song in which addition to singing, she also plays her nylon string guitar. The song features a great bass clarinet bridge by Rick Depofi, who shares production credits for this album.

“Motion of Love” (the song), is followed by the flirtatious “More,” a tune that no doubt she found even easier to sing, since her hubby Danny Louis plays synthesizer. As is the case with the entire album, the instrumentals are wonderful. William Galison lays down some sweet harmonica licks that give the song a bit of a European ambience.

What does not work for me nearly is well is the third track “Everyday,” and it has nothing to do with the quality of the music, vocals or the theme. I think it is more a matter of the wrong type of music being combined with a song that explores social issues as serious as poverty. A jazz melody has been overlaid on top of a reggae rhythm and beat. You hear in the words and mood of Machan’s vocals genuine concern and empathy for the plight of the people about whom she is singing, but running counter to that is a jovial syncopated rhythm. “Everyday,” does however contain some awesome guitar riffs from John Herington, whose playing is wonderful throughout this splendid CD.

My personal favorite on the album Motion Of Love is “Little Bird,” and no this is not the one you sang in elementary school, that was up high in the banana tree! This Little Bird is making a nest outside the singer’s window and is the object of her questions about life. This is a lighthearted song with a hooky melody, a great vocalist and absolutely stunning warm notes from saxophonist Aaron Heick. In the middle of “Little Bird,” we have what may very well be one of the best sax performances recorded this year. Machan establishes the rhythm, this time on a steel guitar, but has plenty of help from Heick Nanny Assis (congas), Shawn Pelton (drums), Tim Lefebvre (double bass) and Steve Gaboury (Fender Rhodes). Machan wrote the music and the lyrics, while being aided on the arrangements by Gaboury.

John Medeski plays a sweet Hammond B3 organ solo and throughout the song, his chops build a deep groove.

John Scofield (electric guitar) appears on “Beautifully Broken,” and Randy Brecker’s trumpet is heard on “A Broken Heart Like This.”

I could talk at length about all ten tracks on this fantastic CD, but the fun is in you discovering the music. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Machan’s Motion Of Love. I hope the tracks from this album get the airplay they richly deserve.
- Reviewed by Joe Montague


Featured Artist: Machan
CD Title: Motion of Love Year: 2007
Record Label: nuGROOVE Records
Style: Contemporary Jazz

Motion of Love is an album of some defining, crisp, and crystal clear vocals from a defined Contemporary jazz vocalist/guitarist…period. Paired with some very tight, well-defined, and masterful accompaniment, Machan sets out to make this, her second project, a continuing step up the ladder to what seems to be a sure-footed ascent in jazz. Many of the tunes (the vast majority of which are self-penned) are of the club sort at which one can feel right at home over a martini and under low lights—but certainly not limited to that venue at all.
As mentioned, the album is Machan’s second album, and it has plenty of presence and promise. Machan brings with her much experience just by association alone. She has provided her vocal talents to the likes of soul diva Aretha Franklin, rockers Pat Benatar, Government Mule, the legendary Sting and Pink Floyd, as well as jazz giants George Benson and Hiroshima. In keeping with such great associations and collaborations, this album features John Medeski, John Scofield, and Randy Brecker.
Her melodies are catchy (including her clever take on Government Mule’s “Beautifully Broken,” her own sweetly written “A Broken Heart Like This,” the lively chorded “Extraordinary Thing,” and the sassy and pointed “In Your Word” with John Medeski’s powerful keyboard presence) and offer more than a bit of insight into the colorful and vivid expression of imagination and length of reach that is solely Machan’s. As she’s stated: “I hope that people will feel like I’ve shared more of myself with them, this time out. I hope that my music will touch or inspire them in some way. After all, isn’t that what everyone wants – to contribute and make a difference?”. She will succeed in doing so with this project.
Tracks: Motion of Love, More, Everyday, Beautifully Broken, A Broken Heart Like This, Extraordinary Thing, Little Bird, In Your Word, Without Your Smile, Vulnerable
Record Label Website:
Artist's Website:
Reviewed by: Ronald Jackson
Copyright© 2007®. All Rights Reserved

- Reviewed by: Ronald Jackson


Machan has an attractive voice, writes light and catchy songs, and plays fine folksy guitar. Her original influences were Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, she was versatile enough to tour with the Glenn Miller ghost orchestra and she has performed at a variety of sessions in the New York area. The music on her debut CD, Motion Of Love, consists of ten of her originals. Although a little jazzy at times and boasting guest appearances from the likes of guitarist John Scofield, keyboardist John Medeski and trumpeter Randy Brecker, this is essentially a modern pop album by a talented singer/songwriter. The lyrics are sometimes insightful, stretch beyond the usual love songs, and include a few fresh angles on contemporary life. Motion Of Love is a fine start to Machan's solo career.

- by Scott Yanow

"Celebrity Cafe"

- Machan’s “Motion of Love” is filled with pop-like jazz tunes from an artist who has a broad background in the musical arts. This Eurasian singing sensation studied jazz and vocal performance at William Patterson College and has shared the stage with greats such as Pink Floyd and George Benson. Her soft voice will soothe listeners and allow them to just kick back and relax.

The title track has sweet vocal scatting from Machan alongside fanciful percussion play. Yet, the song talks about the two-faced conduct of Machan’s lover. “First you loved me hot and then you loved me cold. You’re beauty and the beast…One day to the next…Learning how to love…Up and down, I’m dizzy…So kiss clouds. Smiles to frowns. As we merry-go-round. So goes the motion of love.”

“Beautifully Broken” begins with acoustic guitar play that is surrounded by quiet drum work, which sinfully melds into each other. The track has a whimsical touch to it that might be aided by a synthesizer. Machan describes a certain male with lines like, “Mysterious…All this beauty captured…Physically shaken but never stirred…I see the way he plays with them and I know I got to know his name cuz he’s so beautifully broken. Shaped by the wind.” This song’s pace is so smooth that it could be featured in one of the movies featuring debonair secret agent James Bond.

On “Vulnerable” listeners will be delighted to hear more acoustic guitar strumming as Machan goes on about being emotionally exposed. “You break down the walls with no force at all. And I don’t know how you do it. You know just what to say, to melt my fears away. Rendering me silent.” It seems she is singing about a man who she has fallen in love with and who has also been able to shred the walls she placed around her heart and made her able to feel again. It’s a sweet song and one that a man can play for a woman to show how devoted he is to her.

“Motion of Love,” from Machan, is a record of gentle melodies that will stroke the souls of its listeners. Her delicate crooning is infused with a softness that listeners will be intrigued by. Each song has its own suave pace and will take in listeners with its charming tones and emotions.

Reviewer: Sari N. Kent

- Reviewer: Sari N. Kent


If you haven’t heard of Machan before, we can use a little cool namedropping to give you a sense of her rich vocal talents and versatility—over the years, she has recorded and/or toured with Sting, Pat Benatar, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Hiroshima, Government Mule and Pink Floyd. We can also drop the monikers of some innovative legendary jazz cats who stopped by to enhance the bright, lyrically smart and instantly infectious tracks on Motion Of Love, the singer’s follow-up to her self-titled 2004 debut. While Machun lays the breezy foundation of the ten songs—nine penned by the singer, one an imaginative cover of Government Mule’s “Beautifully Broken”--with her agile nylon string guitar, she gets by with more than a little harmonic help from her friends John Medeski (Rhodes, Hammond B-3), electric guitar great John Scofield and trumpet icon Randy Brecker.

Motion of Love is the kind of adult contemporary vocal project that years ago would have been played extensively on smooth jazz radio. While playlists these days seem to favor oldie pop vocals over exciting modern artists, it would be great if some of Machan’s tracks found their way to mainstream success. The seductive title track has a beautiful, samba-lite rhythm pattern behind Machan’s dreamy, often ethereal vocals (enhanced with wordless passages), while the lively, romantic gem, “More” perfectly blends old school soul-jazz sensibilities (like Medeski’s Rhodes) with the same exotic Rio vibe. She hops locales for the high spirited, lilting reggae flavored “Everyday,” which features Machan’s deep, heartbreaking social commentary set against an optimistic musical vibe. Scofield’s electric guitar is highlighted on a balmy, swaying cover of Government Mule’s “Beautifully Broken,” which features the Wurlitzer and clavinet of GM member and the song’s co-writer Danny Louis (who also happens to be Machan’s husband!). Randy Brecker’s lush muted trumpet gets us in the mood on the provocative and dramatic “A Broken Heart Like This,” which is another example of Machan’s ability to chronicle the dark side of the times. “Extraordinary Thing” and “Little Bird” (featuring the high steppin’ sax of Aaron Heick) capture the opposite idea, pure optimism for a bright future—the perfect balance of joyful light to banish the darkness Machan sings about elsewhere. She also goes deep on “In Your Word,” but the listener might be more engaged with the echoing retro soul elements, energetic horns and deep pocket R&B grooves. The bright and vibrant “Without Your Smile” is built on a foundation of the perfect duet between Machan’s energetic acoustic guitar work and Louis’ hypnotic work on B-3 and Horner Piano. “Vulnerable” closes the set in a more subtle way that touches on the classic folk music of yesteryear.

After so many years lending her vocals to the projects and live performances of so many superstars, it’s great that Machan has finally emerged as a singer-songwriter in her own right. Because of limitations on projects like these with traditional airplay, Motion of Love may take some crafty marketing to reach the masses. But once it does, the artist’s incredible vocal, instrumental and writing talents will take no more than a moment to capture people’s hearts everywhere.

- Jonathan Widran


As an artist...
"Machan"- Machan 2004
"Motion of Love"- Machan 2007

As a vocalist...
Mighty High/Gov't Mule (LP) 2007
Vol11/Hurt (LP) 2007
Motion of Love (LP) 2007
Machan (LP) 2004
East/Hiroshima (LP) 1990
The Delicate Sound of Thunder/PinkFloyd (LP) 1988
Eric Marionthal (LP)
In my Heart/Moby (Single)
Jason Becker Tribute (LP)
Late Night/Neil Schon (LP)
TheEarth,The Man/REO Speedwagon (LP)
Runaway Horses/Belinda Carlile (LP)
Tribe/Bernie Taupin (LP)
Love Signs/Morris Day (Single)
Star Trek V/Soundtrack (LP)
Secret of My Success/Soundtrack (LP)
Perfect Weapon/Soundtrack (LP)
Home Alone2 Soundtrack (LP)
Pass the Amunition/Soundtrack (LP)
TV & radio commercials (TV)
Driving Beverly Hills/Mark Portman (LP)
The Future/Leonard Cohen (LP)



Motion of Love

What do Sting, Pat Benatar, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Hiroshima, Government Mule, and Pink Floyd all have in common? In addition to the obvious fact that each has enjoyed massive commercial success, all of those artists are fortunate enough to have availed themselves of the vocal talents of singer/songwriter and guitarist Machan. Now, with the release of Motion of Love on Nu Groove Records, Machan is truly stepping out from the background with a CD that showcases the many facets of her exotic adult-pop-meets-jazz sound.

Machan’s reputation as an accomplished professional has earned her the respect of her musical peers, some of the most illustrious of which join her on Motion of Love. The CD features guest appearances by jazz greats John Medeski, John Scofield, and Randy Brecker, and Brazilian percussionist Portinho, as well as strong musical contributions from Government Mule’s Danny Louis (who also just happens to be Machan’s husband!) Not to be overlooked is Machan’s first-class guitar playing that sets the table for this feast of talent.

Motion of Love is Machan’s second CD, following her eponymous debut of a few years back (released on A440 Records.) Machan says that the new CD is evidence of a new confidence and maturity. “I think my first record was a great introduction to my abilities, but with Motion of Love, I really tried to be thoughtful about including songs with different grooves and diverse subject matter to give my audience a broader sense of what I’m about, both musically and personally.”

Machan wrote all but one of the ten songs on Motion of Love. Drawing from her own experiences and emotions, Machan tackles both the personal and the universal in her songwriting, although as she says, “It all feels personal for me, even if I’m writing from a fictional framework.” The CD kicks off with its title track, a lyrical, smooth adventure that highlights the simple purity of Machan’s voice. The smooth vibe continues with the full-bodied and tasty love song, “More,” which features John Medeski on Fender Rhodes. The light hearted Reggae-influenced lilt of “Everyday” belies the pointed social commentary of its lyrics. “As I’ve gotten older, I find I can’t ignore what’s happening in the world or the way I feel about it,” explains Machan. “In order to develop as a songwriter, I want to be a person that speaks her truth.”

The CD’s only cover is Machan’s version of Government Mule’s “Beautifully Broken,” but with significant changes that make it very much her own. “I even changed the chords to suit my arrangement, which is completely different from Government Mule’s. I also really wanted to cover a song from another idiom, from the other end of the musical spectrum, and make it work for me” Machan explains. “Of course ‘Beautifully Broken’ has a great lyric, and that’s what really turned me on.” Contributing to the song’s impact are John Scofield on guitar and Portinho on drums.

Randy Brecker’s trumpet on “A Broken Heart Like This” provides just the right mournful note to support Machan’s poignant lyrical exploration of loss and sorrow. Things take a more upbeat turn on “Extraordinary Thing,” propelled by a light, sparkling ambiance courtesy of Medeski’s Wurlitzer, and continue in a light-hearted direction with “Little Bird, “ which features a strapping alto sax solo by Aaron Heick, who’s performed with Marc Cohen, Chaka Kahn, and Grover Washington, Jr., among others.

With “In Your Word” Machan explores the importance of personal responsibility in the world today, again tapping John Medeski’s keyboard contributions to provide emphasis to the song’s strong lyrical content. In fact, the song percolates with a kind of jam band feel, as a result of the musical interplay between Medeski, Danny Louis on clavinet, and guitarist John Herington (Steely Dan.) The Brazilian vibe that subtly permeates much of Machan’s work takes center stage on the romantic “Your Smile,” which fittingly pairs the vocalist with husband Danny Louis, playing both Hammond B3 and Hohner keyboards. The CD concludes with the sincere ballad, “Vulnerable, which Machan describes as “raw and real.”

It’s no surprise that Machan has followed a musical path. Her mother was a Japanese jazz vocalist who met Machan’s father when he booked her trio, which also featured pianist Toshiko Akioshi, into a post WWII officers club in Yokohama. Raised in the US, by the age of twelve Machan had taught herself to play the guitar, emulating her early musical heroes such as Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, and had begun to perform in venues around her hometown. By the age of 16, she was supporting herself as a performer. She studied jazz theory and vocal performance at William Patterson College, and soon found herself sharing the stage with artists ranging from Pink Floyd to George Benson to Sting. The lessons she learned from her experiences in the world of pop superstardom resonate for