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

Elan

 

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”

 

JULIAN VAUGHN’S FUTURE IS “LIMITLESS”

He is never complacent but rather, just the opposite. He is always striving to be better, realizing that he has embarked upon a journey–one that has been promising thus far. I offer that after the release of his latest album “Limitless,” there is no doubt that Julian Vaughn is on this journey to stay. He understands the highs and lows of the business; embracing every opportunity to make his mark. Vaughn has persevered, even after almost giving up his musical dream. Having become fond of the bass at age 14 and after hearing “Power Forward” by Wayman Tisdale, Julian knew he was on to something promising. “Limitless” is a comprised of all original songs. Julian is joined by a few of his friends and fellow musicians on the album. They include: Nicholas Cole, Elan Trotman, Lebron Dennis, Marcus Anderson, Darren Rahn, and Althea Rene. “Limitless” also features two great vocalists, Anthony Saunders and Kim Griddine. The first single, “Ride Along,” features saxophonist, Elan Trotman. It is a funky, melodic dance between the two. “Limitless” also has a few love songs that are on their way to becoming fan favorites. Julian admits that he is a “hopeless romantic” and that “love songs reflect his personality.” While fans feast on “Limitless,” they can rest assured that Vaughn is still making new music and can anticipate a new album in the summer of next year.

Julian and I discuss music, life, and reality:

Julian Vaughn

DW3 pays “Tribute” to their late drummer-mentor Ricky Lawson‏

DW3

DW3 pays “Tribute” to their late drummer-mentor Ricky Lawson

 

R&B vocal band goes retro on their sophomore album, “Vintage Truth,” due March 17, with assistance from contemporary jazz luminaries Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson,

Paul Brown, Greg Adams and Elan Trotman.

Los Angeles, California (12 February 2015): At the untimely passing of the drummer Steely Dan’s Walter Becker described as having perfect timing, Ricky Lawson was only four songs into producing the sophomore album by R&B vocal group DW3. Lawson, who had an extraordinary GRAMMY®-winning career collaborating with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and Steely Dan, had been a member of the band for more than two years and the tracks are his last recordings. Over a year later, DW3’s “Vintage Truth,” dedicated to Lawson, is finally finished and scheduled for release March 17 on the Woodward Avenue Records label.

Despite being rocked by the unexpected loss that occurred two days before Christmas 2013, DW3 knew that Lawson would want the groove to continue. He not only was a member of the outfit fronted by brothers Billy & Eric Mondragon and Damon Reel, but he mentored them as well. He believed that the GRAMMY®-nominated vocalists who are a perennial draw on the jazz festival and cruise circuit is at their dynamic best in live settings thus the record’s core tracks were laid down in the studio live. DW3 maintained that template when finishing the album, which they produced themselves with one cut, the collection’s first single – a seductively soulful take on The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” – produced by hit-maker Paul Brown.

“We titled the album ‘Vintage Truth’ because of the way we approached the recording process, like a live jam session where the core musicians – the guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer – were in the room playing at the same time. We rehearsed each song twice, then went in the studio and pressed record. Our previous recordings featured a lot of drum programming, but this project has all live drums,” said Eric Mondragon. “Another vintage element we added that we absolutely love is the live horns – so much so that we recently added a horn section to our lineup so that we could perform these songs properly onstage.”

The twelve-tracker “Vintage Truth” offers a blend of originals and fan favorites that the group has performed on stage for years such as Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing” and The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” the last of which won the California Lottery Powerball song contest for their trademark three-part harmonies spawning a popular video (http://bit.ly/1vDOe1D). Making instrumental contributions to the disc were contemporary jazz chart-toppers Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Greg Adams, Elan Trotman and Brown.

Four years ago, the Los Angeles born and raised DW3 issued its debut set, “On The Floor,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard contemporary jazz albums chart in the U.S. while it went all the way to No. 1 on the United Kingdom’s soul chart driven by the sophisticated neo soul single “I Got You” highlighted by a sultry sax solo from multiple GRAMMY® nominee Gerald Albright. DW3’s three vocalists were 2014 GRAMMY® nominees for singing background on the Summer Horns album, an ensemble comprised of saxophone superstars Koz, Albright, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot. Ever since DW3 served as the resident party band on the inaugural sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise in 2004, they’ve been part of the sold-out cruise. In addition to performing at premier festivals across the nation, the funksters maintain a long-running weekly residency at SoCal hotspot Spaghettini and serve as the house band for L.A. radio station 94.7 The Wave’s Sunday Brunch held at the same venue. Further information about DW3 is available at www.DW3music.com.

“Vintage Truth” contains the following songs:

“Let The Music” (featuring Brian Culbertson)

“Tribute (Right On)”

“I Can’t Tell You Why”

“Hold Me” (featuring Greg Adams)

“Dance With Me”

“Overjoyed”

“California Dreamin’”

“When You Cry” (featuring Dave Koz)

“She Keeps Running”

“Square One”

“So Amazing”

“At The Club” (featuring Elan Trotman)

MARION MEADOWS: THE “SOUL TRAVELER”

Marion Meadows is eclectic. In his own words, “he’s always been a Gypsy and a daredevil.” His latest album, “Soul Traveler,” is truly symbolic as the soundtrack to his life. Meadows worked with Carlo Pennisi to write all original songs–albeit, with a little resistance. Although thinking outside the box is how Marion usually operates, it took a little more urging on behalf of Pennisi to bring “Soul Traveler” into existence. He describes the evolution of “Soul Traveler” much like a blooming flower. Meadows amorously says that “he loves the people he works with.” Graciously, he was joined by longtime friend and fellow saxophonist, Najee, Elan Trotman, Vincent Ingala, Juan Benevides, Phil MacArthur, Joey Sommerville, Kyle Turner, Ragan Whiteside, Toni Bias, and Lamar Gaines. Unwittingly, unknowingly, and with all of himself, Marion created a record that his fans will relish.

Listen as Marion and I talk all things “Soul Traveler”:

marion meadows 2

JOEY SOMMERVILLE: EVERYTHING BUT AN “OVERNIGHT SENSATION”

What do you get when you release an album enriched with songs–some of which were written over a decade ago? You get Joey Sommerville’s latest album, “Overnight Sensation.” With over 20 years of experience, Joey is still motivated to pour his heart and soul into every song because he is keenly aware that he has a gift that is meant to be shared through music. Although the industry has changed significantly over the years, Sommerville remains comfortable in his skin and true to his craft. Joey brings his music to life when performing, fueled by energy from the crowd. It helps that he is not a shy kind of guy. He shares the sentiment of most musicians that music is meant to be felt. From start to finish, “Overnight Sensation” is a powerhouse of music that can be overwhelmingly felt. Each song, leading with the title track and first single, “Overnight Sensation” sends the listener on a whimsical journey amassed with emotional twists and turns. The album was produced by Joey along with Jeff Lorber on a couple of songs–definitely a match made in heaven. Also lending their talents to the album are Earl Klugh, Jeff Bradshaw, Elan Trotman, and Eric Essix. Each collaboration enhances the treasure trove of songs in Joey’s vault. You will be spell bound after listening to “Overnight Sensation” and taking the heartfelt musical journey led by Joey.

I had an awesome interview with Joey:

 

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“LIVING MY DREAM” STORYTELLING BY JONATHAN BUTLER

With every season, there is change. For Jonathan Butler, that change was embraced, and a body of work was subsequently created. “Living My Dream” was born out of a time of transition for Butler while he held on to his faith in God to see him through trying times. At this appointed time in his life, he is well rounded and very seasoned. He is enjoying making life changes, new hobbies, and new passions. Jonathan wholeheartedly knows that this is divinely the right time and right season for him as a man, husband, father, grandfather, and artist. He says his inspiration for making “Living My Dream” is his daughter, Jodie. Jodie–an artist in her own right–collaborated with her father on the romantic and healthily risqué “Night To Remember.” Additionally, he also shares collaborations with Marcus Miller, Elan Trotman, Davy Nathan, and the late George Duke. This album is all about Butler’s identity and storytelling that crosses multiple genres of music and is easily identifiable. The first radio single and first song on the album, “African Breeze,” is one that was written many years ago, and he felt it was time to retrieve it out of the archives. When I spoke with Jonathan, like always, it was like talking to an old friend. He makes such an indelible impression and is always honest. He wants everyone to know that he is a real man with real issues and not just an artist to be admired. That is what “Living My Dream” expresses to the world. Sitting at #1 on iTunes and on Billboard, Butler says, “I’m a granddad who’s kicking butt, taking no prisoners, and “Living My Dream.” I love it!

Jonathan speaks from the heart and very candidly with me:

Jonathan Butler "Living My Dream"

Jonathan Butler “Living My Dream”

 

 

Jonathan Butler