Saxophonist Elan Trotman has “Got To Give It Up” to Marvin Gaye
He drops a tribute album, “Dear Marvin,” on April 2, the iconic crooner’s 80th birthday. The first single, “Got To Give It Up,” is the No. 1 most-added single on the Billboard chart this week.
BOSTON (20 March 2019): Sax salutes sexy soul on Elan Trotman’s “Dear Marvin,” a collection of ten of Marvin Gaye’s best-loved songs that drops on April 2, the late legendary R&B singer’s 80th birthday. Preceding the set’s arrival is the single “Got To Give It Up,” a vibrant reboot of one of Gaye’s funky dance tracks that is the No. 1 most-added single on the Billboard chart this week as an instrumental from the Woodward Avenue Records album produced by Charles Haynes (Marcus Miller, Erykah Badu, Queen Latifah) and Trotman.
“It’s amazing how this project came about. ‘Got To Give It Up’ has been a huge part of my live show for the past two years and has always been a crowd favorite. That is just one of the many factors that inspired me to record the song and to dig deeper into Marvin’s catalogue and life story. I had no idea that his 80th birthday would be coming up around our time of completing the album, but once I found out, I knew we had to release it on April 2 to mark the occasion,” said Trotman, an award-winning saxophonist who has topped the Billboard singles chart more than ten times.
In reimagining Gaye’s catalogue in instrumental form, Trotman shares the spotlight on “Dear Marvin,” with premier soloists, including Grammy-winning keyboardist Jeff Lorber, seminal urban-jazz flautist Najee, esteemed trumpeter Patches Stewart, soul-jazz-hip hop-funk trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and veteran guitarist Sherrod Barnes. Trotman strategically deploys vocals to illumine a few key tracks. Ray Greene (Santana, Tower of Power) begs on “Mercy Mercy Me”; rapper Obadele Thompson plies his come-on skills to “I Want You”; and Tim “Smithsoneon” Smith provides the cure through “Sexual Healing.” Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra enhance a pair of tracks with strings. Including Haynes, Trotman’s core collaborators are his former colleagues from Berklee College of Music: keyboardist Mitch Henry (Marsha Ambrosius), bassists Kyle Miles and Keithen Foster (H.E.R.), and percussionist Atticus Cole.
“It’s been an honor to be able to share my interpretations of some of Marvin’s classics. As with all cover projects, I made an extra effort to learn lyrics and storylines for each composition in order to truly understand his interpretations and performances on each song,” said the Boston-based Trotman, who is planning to be in Los Angeles on April 2 for an 11am ceremony held by the United States Postal Service at The Greek Theatre to celebrate the release of the Marvin Gaye commemorative Forever stamp.
“We, Marvin’s family, heard about Elan doing a musical tribute to Marvin. We are very pleased with his album ‘Dear Marvin,’ and are so happy that it will be released on his birthday, April 2. The musicians are all incredible! Thank you, Elan Trotman. Job well done,” said Janis Gaye, Gaye’s second wife.
“Dear Marvin,” is Trotman’s eighth album and second on the Woodward Avenue Records imprint. The label issued the saxophone-flute player’s 2013 disc, “Tropicality,” an autobiographical album that colors contemporary jazz with native sounds from Trotman’s homeland, Barbados. Trotman curates, produces and hosts the Barbados Jazz Excursion and Golf Weekend annually over Columbus Day Weekend with the sixth edition taking place this October 10-14. Bringing that winning formula closer to home, he will launch the first annual Martha’s Vineyard Jazz Excursion and Golf Weekend in Oak Bluffs, MA on June 28-30. To support the album release, Trotman will perform at festivals, theaters and nightclubs through October beginning with the prestigious Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival in Reading, PA on April 5.
“Dear Marvin,” contains the following songs:
“Inner City Blues” featuring Sherrod Barnes
“Got To Give It Up”
“Distant Lover” featuring Patches Stewart
“Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”
“Mercy Mercy Me” featuring Ray Greene
“I Want You” featuring Obadele Thompson
“Sexual Healing” featuring “Smithsoneon”
“After The Dance” featuring Najee
“Trouble Man” featuring Jeff Lorber
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” featuring Jeff Bradshaw
For more information, please visit http://elantrotman.com.
Brian Culbertson’s “Colors” comes alive
The electric entertainer captured his hit-filled Colors of Love Tour in Las Vegas for his first live concert video that dropped Valentine’s Day as a stunning Blu-ray and double CD.
LOS ANGELES (15 February 2019): Fans have been asking multi-instrumentalist hitmaker Brian Culbertson for years, “When are you going to put out a concert video?” As the dynamic performer rolled out his elaborate Colors of Love Tour on a 77-show, 14-week journey last year, he knew he had to capture the magic. Filmed during his stop in the neon city, “Colors of Love Tour – Live in Las Vegas” was released by BCM Entertainment on Valentine’s Day as a Blu-ray disc and two-disc CD through Culbertson’s site (). Amazon also has the CD set available now and will soon list the Blu-ray. Digital fans can obtain the audio version now from all major digital retail outlets.
“I’ve been aspiring to finally film a concert and for this tour, I knew we had an impressive-looking show and a great-sounding band. It’s the most visual show I’ve ever created in terms of the lighting, video elements and wardrobe. It’s stunning. Once the tour started, I knew we had to film it somehow,” said Culbertson about his first live concert video.
The 2018 spring/summer trek was mounted in support of the “Colors of Love” album, a romantic release that dropped last Valentine’s Day and was inspired by Culbertson’s 20th wedding anniversary. In addition to showcasing the bouquet of love songs from the intimate collection, Culbertson constructed a generous three-act set list comprised of more than two hours of music culled from his extensive catalogue of Billboard No. 1 hits and fan favorites. With the first and third acts centered on the amorous material from “Colors of Love” along with similarly-themed library cuts, the second act is a high-energy, get-down-tonight funk set. Culbertson holds down the keyboards, grand piano, trombone and vocals, sharing the stage and spotlight with his five-piece band – Marqueal Jordan (saxophone, vocals and percussion), Eddie Miller (keyboards, organ and vocals), Tyrone Chase (guitar), Joewaun Scott (bass) and Chris Miskel (drums). They are joined by special guest vocalist Noel Gourdin along with comedic bits from Sinbad that separate each act.
Three video screens adorned the stage projecting Sinbad’s comedy sketches, a fun cartoon sequence that accompanies the performance of “Mile Sauce,” and photos of Culbertson’s wife, Michelle, and Culbertson’s collaborators, Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire) and Bootsy Collins. Helmed by award-winning television producer-director Scott Sternberg in his first full-length concert video, the production utilized ten cameras to film the concert that took place at the Aliante Casino last May. The two-and-a-half-hour performance was lensed in its entirety with the video offering 26 songs plus bonus features, including “BC Medley” from 2016’s Funk! Tour Live, an in-studio performance of “Through the Years,” a solo piano performance of “All My Heart” shot live at SiriusXM, the “Mile Sauce” cartoon, and a commentary track from Culbertson and Miskel.
“The ‘Colors of Love’ album is personal and intimate, so we set out to create a show and video that tells a more personal story. The videos and photos on stage, like the pictures of my wife who inspired the music I wrote, is part of that. Scott (Sternberg) and his crew used unique camera angles so that it feels like you’re on stage with the band when you watch the video. It’s much more up close and personal than most concert videos,” said Culbertson.
Although Culbertson knew early on that he wanted to film the production, what he didn’t know initially was the how and where. After financial backing arrived upon sharing his creative vision for the project, he looked at the itinerary and circled the two-night stand in Las Vegas.
“I earmarked the Vegas dates because I knew the venue has great in-house lighting that would look amazing on camera. We recorded the audio from both nights to have as a backup, but the film crew shot only the one show, so we had to nail it in one take,” said Culbertson.
The video opens with Culbertson walking the Vegas strip filmed overhead by a drone. “I wanted viewers to feel like they are in Las Vegas. It was important for the opening to establish that feeling and location,” said Culbertson. “After we shot the concert, I put on my silver-sequined jacket and we drove the strip at midnight to shoot additional footage for the opener. I can’t wait for people to see the video. It’s really exciting energy.”
To view the trailer for “Colors of Love Tour – Live in Las Vegas,” click.
The songs included on the Blu-ray and CD are:
“It’s On Tonight”
“I Want You”
“Wear It Out”
“You’re My Music” featuring Noel Gourdin
“I Could Get Used To This”
“All About You”
“Somethin’ Bout Love”
“Through The Years”
“Colors of Love”
Sinbad – “Kinda Pimpish”
“Funkin’ Like My Father”
“Been Around The World”
“Damn, I’m Hungry”
“Got To Give It Up”
“Play That Funky Music”
Sinbad – “I’m Black Dangit, 100%”
“On My Mind”
“Colors of Love Reprise”
For more information, please visit.
“Imagine” the Beatles in an urban-jazz context
The release of “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” marks the pianist-keyboardist’s 30th anniversary as a recording artist. The first single, “Imagine (Living As One)” featuring Euge Groove, was shipped to radio.
ATLANTA (4 December 2018): Bob Baldwin was a kid listening to pop radio in the outskirts of New York City when he fell in love with the melodies of the Beatles. For his 25th album, the pianist-keyboardist embarks upon a magical mystery tour through the hit-filled pages of the legendary group’s storied songbook, plying his trademark urban-jazz sheen to the iconic harmonies. The Red River Entertainment release that dropped last Friday (November 30), “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” was produced and arranged by Baldwin who wrote an original song in tribute to the band, “Abbey Road,” along with composing new passages that add unique elements to the eleven reimagined Beatles classics.
Having issued albums that honor the landmark works of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Thom Bell, Baldwin set his sights on the Fab Four’s influential catalogue that first captured his interest decades ago.
“My childhood listening tendencies before I was ten-years-old were quite broad, including Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, the music of Motown and Aretha Franklin. On the pop side, the catchy hooks of the Beatles crept into my ear from days of listening to pop radio. For this project, I wanted to interject my own reharmonized view of the Beatles music while keeping the original melodies pure. Doing the Beatles was a different twist for me,” said Baldwin, who plays piano, keyboards, bass, drums, melodica, vocoder and plies his soothing tenor voice to the session. “It would be cool to know if Sir Paul McCartney could hear it, and more importantly, if he digs the attempt.”
The first single recently serviced to radio is a reading of John Lennon’s signature piece that Baldwin soulfully reinvents as “Imagine (Living As One)” and adds sweet soprano sax from Euge Groove. Other prominent soloists include vocalist CeCe Peniston on “(Don’t Wanna Be) The Fool on The Hill”; flutist Ragan Whiteside serenely illuminates “Michelle (My Girl)”; and noted jazz-R&B singer Lori Williams, who brings a nuanced grace and elegance to Paul & Linda McCartney’s “My Love.” Williams also charms on the Beatles salute that she wrote with Baldwin, “Abbey Road,” which the pair perform as a vocal duet. Songs like “Come Together (Can We All Just Get Along?),” “(Mellow) Yellow Submarine,” “And I Love Her,” “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby” swing and groove like never before, rebuilt from the ground up on the back of Baldwin’s meticulous jazz and urban arrangements. Anchoring the rhythm section are drummer Tony Lewis and bassist Dave Anderson, who craft deep pockets seasoned with a smattering of percussion from Café Da Silva.
The arrival of “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” coincides with Baldwin’s 30th anniversary as a solo recording artist. The 1988 release of “A Long Way To Go” was discovered by Roberta Flack, who was a finalist judge at the time for the Sony Innovators Award, a prestigious honor bestowed upon Baldwin. The debut album was the first entry in a library consisting of jazz, R&B and gospel discs, of which over a dozen have entered the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20 sales chart. At radio, Baldwin’s track record boasts 15 Top 20 Billboard BDS hits, the most recent being this year’s “Be Blessed (No Stress).” He is the creative force behind The Groove Pact’s “Club Life,” a late summer smash from an all-star collective consisting of Baldwin, Marion Meadows, Marcus Anderson, Nils, Joey Sommerville, Oli Silk, Tom Browne, Whiteside and others. Enjoying a remarkably prolific period, Baldwin released seven full-length albums over the last twelve months.
Ten years ago, Baldwin launched his nationally-syndicated radio program, “The NewUrbanJazz Lounge,” which reaches over half-a-million listeners weekly with a mix of contemporary jazz influenced by urban and Brazilian music. A creative, Atlanta-based entrepreneur who leads a music production and event planning company, he authored “You Better Ask Somebody,” a 2012 book about his experiences in the music business. Baldwin, who also designs and markets a hat collection, has a patented invention that will soon be revealed.
“Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” contains the following songs:
“Come Together (Can We All Just Get Along?)”
“(Mellow) Yellow Submarine”
“And I Love Her (Real Talk)”
“(Don’t Wanna Be) The Fool on The Hill” featuring CeCe Peniston
“Imagine (Living As One)” featuring Euge Groove
“Michelle (My Girl)” featuring Ragan Whiteside
“Something (In The Way She Moves)”
“My Love” featuring Lori Williams
“Abbey Road” featuring Lori Williams
“Something (In The Way She Moves)” vocal version
The album is available for purchase at. For more information, please visit and .
Guitarist Denny Jiosa explores the sensuality of Latin jazz fusion on “Mueve Tu Cuerpo”
The July 27 album release moves more than just bodies with the emotional radio single, “Missing You,” serving as testament.
NASHVILLE (23 July 2018): Four-time Grammy nominee Denny Jiosa sees parallels between the curvaceous body of the guitar and the human body. Indulging his passion for “sexy” Latin music, the jazz guitar slinger uses his electric and nylon-string guitar bodies to get people to move their body as well as expressively stir emotions on his eighth album, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo,” which drops July 27 on the Sonic Canvas Records/BFD imprint. Radio is already getting a taste with the evocative first single, “Missing You,” one of eleven songs Jiosa penned and produced for the collection.
Jiosa endeavored to craft an upbeat Latin-influenced, jazz-rooted album that would get people to move and grab attention via an exciting blend of musical styles. But he also wanted to go deeper, “shy away from the norm” and touch people emotionally. Beneath the energizing layers of exotic Latin percussion that create lusty rhythms and sensual grooves emerge moving harmonies and rousing melodies that resonate. Whether he’s furiously strumming impassioned nylon-string guitar rhythms, precisely picking lyrical phrases and bending extended notes, or intensely issuing scorched earth electric guitar pyrotechnics, Jiosa’s deft fretwork establishes and maintains a commanding presence throughout the recording.
“‘Mueve Tu Cuerpo’ is about what music does to get people to move. I wanted this to be an exciting, compelling and expressive blend, tapping into my huge passion for Latin music. I love the sounds, rhythms and sexiness of Latin music, which I blended with jazz rhythms, lines and harmonies. My intention from the outset was to reach a broad scope of listeners with this album. Guitar is one of the most expressive and sexy instruments. Whether I’m playing nylon string to electric guitar with an edge, it’s about moving people emotionally. If you can move people emotionally with an instrumental, then you’ve accomplished something,” said the Nashville-based Jiosa.
More than just sultry enticements to body movement or coaxing emotional responses, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” also transmits meaningful messages. “Missing You” ruminates on the absence of Jiosa’s loved ones who have passed, such as his desire for his parents to be here to see their grandkids and hear his music. Alluring and mystical, “Dance In Heaven” contains the gut string guitarwork of multiple Grammy nominee Phil Keaggy. The festive, gospel-funk cut “Selah, Love Each Other,” featuring drummer Chester Thompson (Genesis, Frank Zappa), pays tribute to Jiosa’s late bassist, Chris Kent. John Santos contributes lead vocals to “Freedom Tower,” a song about the historic Miami structure that still stands as a landmark for Cubans who fled to the US in the 1960s and were processed at that location. The atmospheric meditation “From The Fire” appeared in the Christian film “Believe: The Misfit Pawn” a couple years ago and addresses embracing “the fire” we face in our lives.
Jiosa developed his brand of guitar play that borrows from jazz, rock, blues and R&B while living in Los Angeles where he studied under the tutelage of innovative guitarist Frank Gamble (Chick Corea). He dropped his solo debut, “Moving Pictures,” in 1995. Subsequent collections spawned a string of singles that proliferated the radio charts. Jiosa’s diverse body of work includes roles as a producer, engineer, mixer and/or guitarist for artists such as Yolanda Adams, Kirk Whalum, Take 6, Ben Tankard, Philip Bailey and Crystal Gayle. “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” is his first album in ten years. For more information, please visit.
Jiosa’s “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” contains the following songs:
“Mueve Tu Cuerpo”
“Dance In Heaven”
“Abre La Puerta”
“Selah, Love Each Other”
“From The Fire”
“Embracing The Fire” (remix)
Urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker finds solace as an “Overcomer” on the path to “Redemption”
His steadfast message of “True Love” heads to radio as a single, preceding the August 24 release of his inspired third album.
WILLIAMSBURG (2 July 2018): One of the first songs that urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker recorded for his third album, “Redemption,” was the soothing “Overcomer,” on which he emotes intimately on soprano sax during an uplifting exchange with a guitar duo comprised of his nephew, Justin Taylor, and John Calisto. Tragically, both guitarists passed away unexpectedly three days apart and the tune Rucker wrote to comfort and inspire others became his own healing grace. It is a focal point of the rousing eleven-track set penned and produced by Rucker that drops August 24 from Favor Productions.
Rucker’s life and his musical journey have evolved in recent years, growing from a gritty hip hop producer into a soul-baring R&B-contemporary jazz instrumentalist, yet his faith has never wavered. He is on a mission as an empowering evangelic emissary, using his tenor, alto and soprano sax on “Redemption” to deliver heartening orations that commiserate and console as much as persevere and conquer. His writing, production and sax play reflect a more refined, mature and sophisticated auteur who retained just enough of the raw urban grit from his edgy past to ensure that his recordings are genuine. Despite enduring pain, struggle and suffering, Rucker never loses sight of the Divine hand orchestrating it all – the victories and the losses – purposely placing his focus on the abundance of blessings and the love that cushions his every fall.
“‘Redemption’ is a feel-good album designed to touch the inner soul, to encourage and inspire the listener. It is about perseverance, keeping the faith, overcoming some of the worst that life has to offer and coming out better on the other side. Redemption of everything that was lost: the naysayers and doubters, the narrowly missed opportunities, the emotional scars and the sore spiritual muscles from years of exercised faith. Staying steadfast and seeing the gracious hand of God redeem all and make our former days greater than the latter. It’s also about making someone nod their head to the beat when they feel like hanging it during a tough time,” said Rucker.
Listeners will soon be nodding their head to the first radio single, “True Love,” when it goes for playlist adds on July 16. Rucker’s fat tenor sax packs a powerful punch on the sensually steamy mid-tempo groove graced by Calisto’s sultry nylon guitar and a celestial, gospel chorus-like affirmation that embodies the album’s 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.”
“First and foremost, the song is about the fact that despite all the mistakes I’ve made and how undeserving I am, God still loves me enough to redeem me and bless me with as much as he has. For the listener, ‘True Love’ could be about life with a special someone. For me, it is really about the love of God, the only true love that holds no records of wrongs and never fails. If you look at your life, you’ll see evidence of His love in what He has done for you. But, when you really get it and realize that it’s Him and really receive His love, then there is a change in you that people will see. Hence the song’s lyrics.”
The Williamsburg, Virginia native debuted in 2011 with “Heat from the Heavens,” introducing his formula of hip hop beats, improv jazz and stirring inspirational messages. Three years later, “Tell You Something,” upped the ante by offering collaborations with urban stalwarts Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne and Alyson Williams, boosting Rucker’s appeal at radio. His eyes averted the camera on the first album cover and were hidden behind dark glasses on the second. “Redemption” depicts a happier, lighter Rucker looking directly into the camera, eager to face and embrace what lays ahead of him with gratitude.
“When I released the last album (“Tell You Something”), it was a difficult time for me personally,” admitted Rucker. “In the last five years, my life has done a complete 180. With the release of ‘Redemption,’ I feel spiritually, physically, emotionally and materially redeemed. On this album, there are no covers, no guest producers and no big-time superstar performers. Just pure, raw and real me and those closest to me.”
“Redemption” contains the following songs:
“Down on the Inside” (intro)
“Down on the Inside”
“Nothing’s Too Hard”
“I Am with You”
For more information, please visit.
Urban-jazz guitarist dee Brown remembers his late fiancée with songs of love and joy
His fourth album is a celebration of life chronicling their time together with fun and spirited songs such as the new chart-bound single, “Pop the Question.”
SOUTHFIELD (22 June 2018): Two years ago, soul-jazz guitarist dee Brown was preparing for a summer wedding to his fiancée, gospel singer Shaunia Edwards. When her young life was tragically cut short by an unexpected illness, he was devastated, leaning on his strong faith to endure. Shifting his mindset from a mourning period during which he sought meaning by asking “Why?” to a perspective of positivity, Brown turned to writing, honoring the sweet, lasting memories of Edwards and their romance by composing lively, intimate and playful stories of love, laughter and hope. He shares his fond remembrances via the ten new songs that constitute his fourth album, “Remembering You,” his second release for Innervision Records.
Determined to make “Remembering You” a joy-filled affair, Brown imparts his charming recollections by setting his lyrically expressive, loose and improvisational cool jazz fretwork amidst ebullient pop nuances, pulsating dance beats and sensual R&B grooves. He picks, plays and scats soulfully throughout, inspired to celebrate his season with Edwards by deriving meaning from her lingering place in his heart, not in the loss of her physical presence.
“Shaunia was the reality of my dreams, a woman heaven sent to make me whole. ‘Remembering You’ celebrates her life and our life together. It’s purposely an upbeat celebration, not a mourning. The meaning that I derived from this experience and a message I think everyone can relate to is that we should exalt those in our lives as well as remember those who are no longer in our lives for whatever reason. Tomorrow is coming, but not necessarily for you. Share our love with those with us in the here and now because tomorrow is not guaranteed,” said Brown, who coproduced nine of the album’s tracks.
A loving, encouraging greeting from Edwards opens “Hey Baby,” the sweeping, feel-good first single illuminated by fervent guitar and alto sax banter on the cut that presaged the set’s arrival. Brown’s frequent writing and producing partner, pianist-keyboardist-programmer Valdez Brantley (Usher’s former music director), uses the vocoder to tantalize and tease on “Pop the Question,” the current chart-bound single that appears on the record in both album and d-Funk remix versions. Other noteworthy contributions are made by keyboardist Bob Baldwin, who also produced and cowrote the sleek and sophisticated “I Will”; Althea Rene, who adds fanciful flute flourishes to the vibrant escapade “Our Summer”; and keyboardist Nate Harasim, cowriter and producer of the sultry reflection “Beauty Within.”
A Detroit born and based guitar man who got his start in music as a vocalist, Brown launched his solo career in 2007 with “No Time To Waste.” Teaming with Valdez and Kern Brantley (Lady Gaga’s former music director and bassist who plays on “Remembering You’s” opener, “I Want You Too”) two years later for his sophomore outing, “A Little Elbowroom,” proved formative to his sound and style. Brown dropped his first recording for Innervision Records in 2014, “Brown Sugar Honey-Coated Love,” spawning the Top 15 Groove Jazz Music chart single, “Natural Love.”
Brown performs regularly on the Motor City music scene backed by Valdez Brantley, saxophonist Dezie McCullers Jr. and drummer Ron Otis, his core band that appears on the new album. Brown is looking forward to performing cuts from “Remembering You” in a big setting at the River Raisin Jazz Festival on August 11held in nearby Monroe, Michigan. One week later, his summer wedding will finally take place when he takes marriage vows with “a beautiful child of God.”
Brown’s “Remembering You” album contains the following songs:
“I Want You Too”
“Pop the Question”
“Pop the Question” (d-Funk remix)
For more information, please visit.