Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

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Plugged In: Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

The “Electro Sax” album is released as the tropical “Island Gal’” prepares to charm radio.

BOSTON (24 April 2017): Saxophonist Elan Trotman is unwavering in his committed to wave the flag high for Caribbean music, but after releasing six soul-jazz albums and more than ten chart-topping singles that made him a permanent fixture on radio playlists, the Barbados native is “shaking it up” by going electronic on “Electro Sax,” his seventh outing which was released last Friday (April 21) by Island Muzik Productions.

Seeking a “hip radio sound that will reach beyond the masses,” Trotman assembled a creative team of up-and-coming producers – Spardakis, P-Nut, Dr. O and Da Troof – who he met at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music and tasked them with putting a fresh, modern twist on the eleven new tracks that he wrote for the collection. With electronic elements evident in the production of Trotman’s tenor and soprano sax and the adventurous EDM sonicscapes, the result is an energizing, dance-happy mix of impromptu jazz sax licks, kinetic dance beats and festive Caribbean rhythms. Adding nuances to the audacious alchemy are guitarists Wayne Jones, Freddie Fox and JJ Sansavarino, and steel pan player Kareem Thompson. The first single set to seduce radio is the reggae-infused “Island Gal’,” which spotlights Trotman on soprano sax on the cut he describes as having “a sexy vibe to it.” Prince fans will appreciate the balladic tribute “Purple Emotion” that closes the set. The session’s lone cover is a tropical, dance hall take of Walk The Moon’s infectious pop smash “Shut Up and Dance.”

“’Electro Sax’ is a true representation of where I am at in my career. It’s modern sounding with prominent hints of the island. It’s also about branching out, reaching out by making good music for the masses. It’ll definitely ruffle feathers, but that is part of being an artist – pushing boundaries and perhaps establishing new ones,” said Trotman. “The ‘tropicality’ elements are part of who I am and I’m sticking with it. It’ll always be part of my sound and I believe in it. It is part of my brand and it’s authentic to my (Barbadian) roots.”

Trotman showcases and shares the culture of his homeland at his annual Barbados Jazz Excursion, slated to take place on the Caribbean island for the fourth time in October over Columbus Day Weekend (October 6-9, 2017). The saxman performs and hosts the music festival and golf tournament that benefits his nonprofit Never Lose Your Drive Foundation and the Head Start Music Program in Barbados. Slated to perform this year are R&B and contemporary jazz mainstays Will Downing, Norman Brown, Marion Meadows, Brian Simpson, Jeanette Harris and Julian Vaughn as well as the Queen of Soca, Alison Hinds.

Earning a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music from the government of Barbados, Trotman has lived in Boston ever since. Named the Jazz Artist of the Year on multiple occasions by the New England Urban Music Awards and the Barbados Music Awards, he debuted as a solo artist in 2009 with “This Time Around.” Subsequent albums featured collaborations with Grammy winners Kirk Whalum, Terri Lyne Carrington and Paul Brown as well as Downing, Peter White, Jeff Lorber, Cindy Bradley, Tony Terry and Simpson. Trotman has also guested on Billboard No. 1 hits by Meadows, Simpson, Vaughn, Greg Manning and Cal Harris. He’s a popular draw on the festival and club circuit. For more information, please visit www.ElanTrotman.com.

The songs on “Electro Sax” are:

“Happy Place”

“Electro Sax”

“Barbados Breeze”

“Island Gal’”

“Chill Cat”

“Shut Up and Dance”

“Up In The Clouds”

“orutrA”

“No Need For Trippin’”

“120 BPM”

“Move!”

“Purple Emotion”

 

NATHAN EAST PAYS “REVERANCE”

Throughout the illustrious career that Nathan East has had, he has remained one of the most sought after bassists in the industry. The beauty that lies within that enormous calling is that Nathan has worked with the best of the best. His career has evolved so that he gets to work with musicians that he once just admired. In honor of those who have inspired and continue to inspire him, his latest album is titled “REVERANCE.” The album was produced by Nathan and Chris Gero. Sharing the spotlight with Nathan are Philip Bailey on East’s cover of “Love’s Holiday” and Verdine White and Ralph Johnson on “Serpentine Fire.” “REVERANCE” also features Kirk Whalum, Yolanda Adams, Ruben Studdard, Chuck Loeb, Chick Corea, and Nikki Yanofsky. Nathan’s son Noah joins him once again and is featured on piano. Nathan will spend the remainder of 2017 on the road with Fourplay, Eric Clapton, and Chick Corea.

I always enjoy talking with Nathan. Listen:

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A LOOK THROUGH KELVIN WOOTEN’S “WINDOW”

There are so many thoughts that go through one’s mind when they stare out of a window. Multi-instrumentalist producer Kelvin Wooten has always been fascinated by windows. Kelvin is well known for his musical prowess on countless songs and albums in a variety of genres of music. He is artistically multi-dimensional, and that is what makes him a joy to work with for artists. Wooten has spent years growing and dedicating his gift to music. Recently, Kelvin had something to say–musically, that is. Thus, he embarked on a R&B Soul project that he had wanted to do for a while. Reflecting on his time spent viewing through a window in his home, Kelvin titled the EP “Window.” It is stirring and inspiring. “Window” features some of Wooten’s fellow musical comrades, those he also lovingly refers to as family.

Listen as Kelvin and I discuss the project:

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THE QUEEN CITY JAZZFEST

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Buy The Queen City Jazz Fest tickets at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre in Charlotte, NC for June 17, 2017 6:00PM at Ticketmaster.

http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E00528ABCFEFD18

Guitarist Blake Aaron is Sirius about making it a “VIVID” spring

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Guitarist Blake Aaron is Sirius about making it a “VIVID” spring

The vivacious third single from the forthcoming “Color and Passion” album goes for radio adds on April 24.

ALISO VIEJO (11 April 2017): Guitarist Blake Aaron has been featured multiple times on SiriusXM over the past week as part of Jazz Appreciation Month just as his vibrant new single, “VIVID,” is preparing to bloom brightly. The third single issued in advance of his upcoming “Color and Passion” album, Aaron wrote and produced the multihued bouquet of invigorating instrumental dance music, power pop horns and glossy R&B grooves that surround fragrant stems of fresh electric jazz guitar flourishes. On the way to radio stations now with an April 24 playlist add date, the perfectly-timed spring fling should happily satiate listeners until Blake’s sixth album streets this fall on Innervision Records.

Last Thursday, the national satellite radio broadcaster’s Watercolors aired a live concert performance by Aaron recorded at the SiriusXM studios in Washington, DC. On Sunday, the guitarist who hosted his own nationally syndicated radio show for seven years hung out on the “Dave Koz Lounge” with the affable sax sensation. This week, Aaron served as guest DJ on Tuesday and although he took command of the air waves, he didn’t sneak in the new single before the official add date.

“No, not yet,” he chuckled. “’VIVID’ is my feel good track of the spring/summer. With real Earth, Wind & Fire-style horns and tons of energetic, bright melodic hooks, I am proud to say that this is one of my most infectious grooves and most intense productions I’ve done to date. Vivid is how I try to live my life and it is how I try to teach my kids to live their lives. Be uniquely you – boldly and with passion. Be you – vividly.”

Aaron’s last collection, 2015’s “Soul Stories,” spawned five Billboard Top 10 singles. “Color and Passion” aims to continue his run of chart success with a chromatic and intense fusion of sounds and styles – funk, R&B, soul, jazz, rock, blues and Latin music. While the first three singles – “Summer Ride,” “Godfather Brown” and “VIVID” – are upbeat and full of life, the disc will also include intimate ballads allowing Aaron to showcase his lyrically expressive guitar on downtempo numbers.

Aaron recently plied his soulful fretwork on three songs for urban-jazz chart-topper Najee’s forthcoming set. The indemand session player, sideman, producer and songwriter will celebrate his birthday with an April 29 concert at Southern California hotspot Spaghettini in Seal Beach where he will be joined by two-time Grammy winner Bill Champlin, a singer-songwriter and keyboardist who spent 28 years as a member of the legendary band Chicago. Aaron will hit the road Memorial Day Weekend for performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in Florida (May 26), St. James Live! in Atlanta, GA on a bill shared with saxophonist Tom Braxton and vocalist Kevin Whalum (May 27), and a headline date with Braxton at The King Center in Melbourne, FL (May 28).

For additional information, please visit www.BlakeAaron.com.

“AROUND THE HORN” WITH RICK BRAUN

Rick Braun sets himself apart with his latest album “AROUND THE HORN.” This standout project is more contemporary and described by Rick as being “a musical journey around the world.” This will be Rick’s seventeenth album and debut release on Shanachie Entertainment. Braun collaborated with long time friend John Stoddart and says that “this record would not be what it is without John’s help.” Peter White and Lindsey Webster are featured artists, adding their originality. “AROUND THE HORN” is a collection of original songs and covers of songs. Braun added his genius to songs by Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Charlie Puth, and Selena Gomez, maintaining their authenticity. Rick proudly admits that his daughter was “a big inspiration for the album.” He even titled the song “Pool Dancer” for her. Braun’s friend and fellow trumpet player from Germany, Till Bronner, joins him on the title track “AROUND THE HORN.” Together, they take trumpet playing to another level.

Listen to Rick and I share conversation:

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PHIL PERRY LEAVES US “BREATHLESS”

Phil Perry has a voice that is timeless and intoxicating. For decades, the storyteller has created music and moments never to be forgotten. Phil has shared his gift with artists such as Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan. The legendary Al Jarreau fondly referred to Phil as the “real deal,” a sentiment everyone shares. “Breathless” is Perry’s 12th album, and quite honestly, it will take your breathe away. Collaborating with his long time friend and producer, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, once again proved to be a formula for success. Phil says that with them, it’s about “friendship and relationship. However, the music is paramount.” He says his music feels like home. When listening to songs like “Someday We’ll Meet Again,” “Moments In The House Of Love,” and his cover of “Loves In Need Of Love Today,” you are sure to feel the same way. On “Breathless,” Phil says: “I’m just a mouthpiece.”

Listen to my friend and I talk all things music:

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