The Thrilling Elan Trotman

Elan Trotman is not only a brilliant recording artist, he’s a composer and performer. Coming from the beautiful island of Barbados, Elan knows how to infuse the sounds of calypso and reggae into his music. Yet, his music is also sexy and full of edgy melodies. He shows this side of himself on the “Love and Sax” CD. His collaboration with Brian Simpson on “Heaven In Your Eyes” climbed the charts, and quickly paved the way for all that was to come for Elan. His latest release “Tropicality” features Peter White among other jazz artists, and embodies his native Barbadian culture.

More from Elan himself.

Elan Trotman

Elan Trotman

Elan Trotman

Elan Trotman

Jazzfest Performances

June 21st at the Time Warner Cable Uptown Ampitheatre the line-up for a night a smooth jazz was stellar. The sky was blue and sun was bright. Local group 5th and York kicked the show off. Peter White and Euge Groove took to the stage and grooved us into the sunset. Peter played a couple of his songs as Euge grooved with him. Then the “House of Groove”, Euge that is, played his saxophone and drew the crowd in with hand clapping high energy. Peter and Euge complimented one another extremely well. Their chemistry was outstanding. They sent the crowd into a “chillaxin” mood perfectly indicative of the sun setting overhead. Night fell, darkness filled the sky, and the Charlotte sky line was beautifully lit up as Brian Culbertson graced the stage. He did so in classic Brian Culbertson style. He jammed with his new band from start to finish. His incredible vocalists Selina Albright and Jason Morales showed off their skills with duet’s and solo’s. WHEW!! The sound coming form the speakers kept the energy high and the crowd grooving. He slowed us down with “It’s On Tonight.” Then the unexpected as well as my favorite moment of the night happened. He took us down memory lane in Brian style and performed “Secret Garden.” It was for me the highlight of his show. He took his time and played his keyboard with pure passion.

June 22nd, night 2 under the sun, the moon, and the stars was jumpstarted by Gregg Karukas. He started the show off nice and easy. He opened with “Wild Wood” from his latest CD. Vincent Ingala joined him on stage and accompanied him on a few songs. Gregg’s working on his 12th CD. He played a few of the songs and asked the crowd to help him come up with a title. Guests were able to write down their suggestions and give them to him during the meet and greet session. That was pretty cool. Marion Meadows, Paul Taylor, and Vincent Ingala came to the stage playing 3 saxophones and heated things up a bit. They each shared music from their individual projects, and of course they jammed as a trio. Joe McBride wooed the crowd with his amazing vocals while playing the keyboard. During which, Vincent put his saxophone down and picked up a guitar and started playing. The entire band was electrifying and energizing. Ending the evening for us was Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka as BWB. What a combination they are. They grooved, they sang, and engaged the crowd from start to finish. Each artist played individually taking us down memory lane with some of their songs. When they began to play songs from their new release “Human Nature”, all everyone could do is sing along. That was quite amazing being that it was a couple of days away from the 4 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. What a beautiful tribute to an unforgettable legend.

Peter White

Peter White


Euge Groove

Euge Groove


Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson


Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson


Selina Albright and Brian Culbertson

Selina Albright and Brian Culbertson


Peter White and Euge Groove

Peter White and Euge Groove


Gregg Karukas

Gregg Karukas


Gregg Karukas

Gregg Karukas


Vincent Ingala and Gregg Karukas

Vincent Ingala and Gregg Karukas


Vincent Ingala, Marion Meadows, and Paul Taylor

Vincent Ingala, Marion Meadows, and Paul Taylor


Marion Meadows

Marion Meadows


Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor


Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor

Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor


Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka BWB

Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka BWB


Norman Brown

Norman Brown


Kirk Whalum

Kirk Whalum


Rick Braun

Rick Braun


BWB

BWB

Mike MacArthur “Feels Like Home”

Mike McArthur

Mike McArthur

Moving away from the kids’ table

In the company of prominent friends, saxophonist Mike MacArthur releases a sterling jazz album,

“Feels Like Home,” his first major release as a frontman.

Tampa, Florida (4 June 2013): In the midst of graduation season, it seems like the ideal time for the release of long-time sideman Mike MacArthur’s first major recording on center stage. The saxophonist’s 10-song “Feels Like Home” was released today by Paradise Point Music. On the collection produced by Grammy-nominee Brian Bromberg, MacArthur graduates surrounded by his scholarly musician friends on the set comprised of soulfully performed jazz standards and alluring originals.

When asked to describe how he felt after recording the album at Bromberg’s suburban Los Angeles home, MacArthur said “It felt like the beginning of a lot of things to come – like I’ve finally moved away from the kids’ table with my own (musical) offering. It confirms that I can stand alone as a frontman.”

“Feels Like Home” sounds live. MacArthur describes it as “real players making real music on real acoustic instruments.” Playing the music of the masters such as Duke Ellington (“In A Sentimental Mood”), Miles Davis (“Jean Pierre”), Sonny Rollins (“Blue Seven”) and Joe Zawinul (“Birdland”), MacArthur, bass prodigy Bromberg, Ron Reinhardt (piano, B-3 organ) and Frank “Third” Richardson (drums) formed the core quartet that features spotlight soloing from contemporary jazz maverick Jeff Lorber on piano, Rick Braun on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Jeff Golub on guitar. Journeyman percussionist Alex Acuna decorates and texturizes the tracks. MacArthur graciously gives his friends permission to uncork their finest vintage of improvisational jazz.

Radio stations have been playing the gospel soul cut “Sanctified,” which was christened as the first single and includes a vocal hook belted out by the almighty Alva Copeland. MacArthur wrote the three other original tunes on the disc, including the title track, a heartfelt ballad with a gorgeous melody gracefully emoted from his tenor sax. He penned the boisterous blues joint “Around The Corner” specifically with Golub’s gritty guitar in mind. Written on piano in his daughter Sydney’s playroom while the then 5-year-old was gleefully dancing, MacArthur refers to the frenetic “Sydney Style” as the “up tune on the album.”

Throughout the album, MacArthur’s sax play is dexterous, precise and efficient. He plays just enough notes to convey the song and solos with just enough pizazz to get his point across. Having performed with a bevy of marquee musicians as a sideman throughout his career, including with Bromberg, Braun and Golub, he wants the release of “Feels Like Home” to signal the start of a new chapter. Setting the bar high in terms of performance, production, and composition, MacArthur’s stride into the spotlight is smartly executed with confidence, poise and a whole lot of soul.

After recently opening for superstar Queen Latifah, MacArthur will lead his own band at Uptown Altamonte near Orlando, Florida on June 15th sharing the bill with guitarist Nils and will open for guitarist Peter White on July 21st at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee, New York.

A clip of MacArthur discussing “Feels Like Home” can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LmHusgBHR4. Highlights from some of the album reviews appear below:

“One of the best for 2013 no matter what flavor jazz you may be into. That nice fat tenor sound with chops to match, if ‘Feels Like Home’ doesn’t move you then you must be waiting on your autopsy report.” – Critical Jazz

“This album has no safety zone. It is entertaining, listenable, and catchy but it is not safe. Some of these guys have made a name for themselves in smooth but this is a jazz album. It is not an academic, archival, or intimidating jazz album. It’s a jazz album because there is a lot of improvisation and about half of the songs on here are benchmark songs in the history of contemporary jazz, and beyond…This is an album that will lead even the most skeptical pop/smooth listener deeper into the world of jazz.” – SmoothViews

“He (MacArthur) has surrounded himself with some pretty fine players and has made an album which is simply terrific…Of the album’s ten tracks, three are MacArthur originals and it’s a testament to his skills that you can’t differentiate them from the standards…this is a warm and enjoyable album that is a treat for the ears.” – Bass Players United

“’Feels Like Home’ is superior jazz made among friends. From the first track ‘Filthy McNasty’ by Horace Silver to the 10th and final cut ‘Mo Better Blues’, music enthusiasts will know that this one belongs on the top shelf.” – The Entertainment Bank

“Rolling through a set of tracks as diverse as any jazz enthusiast could hope for, MacArthur puts both feet into this project, offering appealing sax runs while his pals mix up a batch of riveting acoustic bass runs, soul-wrenching guitar riffs, tantalizing piano/keys action, and solid drums and percussions.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“He (MacArthur) comes out firing – surrounding himself with some of the very best players on the circuit and wisely mixing the repertoire between tried and tested jazz standards and quality originals.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

“The result is a predictably eclectic and jazzy mix with which jazz lovers of all persuasions will find favor.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy

Additional information about MacArthur is available at http://www.mikemacarthur.com.

A talk with Norman Brown

Grammy Award Winner Norman Brown talks to me about his love for music and the guitar. From those who inspired him, to his huge decision to move to LA after High School to pursue his dream, Norman reveals how it all came together. He quickly established himself as one of the best guitar players. From his debut album in 1992 “Just Between Us” to his collaboration with Gerald Albright in 2012 “24/7”, Brown has continuously given us great music. He shows off his vocal skills on his project “West Coast Coolin”, and then again on his R&B hit “Stay With Me.” Finally, Norman can add Broadcaster to the list of his accomplishments. He once hosted his own weekend radio show on the Smooth Jazz Network.

In his own words.

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

BWB

BWB

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Jonathan Butler

Soul of Summer a multicultural affair

U.S. concert tour featuring Jonathan Butler, Sheila E. and Elan Trotman launches May 25th in San Diego

Los Angeles, CA (14 May 2013): The spirit of spring is followed by the Soul of Summer, which this year will take on an international flair. The third edition of South African singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler’s summer concert trek will feature multi-talented Latina Sheila E. and Barbadian saxophonist Elan Trotman. Backed by a 3-piece band and Butler’s daughter Jodie Butler on background vocals, the set list will showcase the artists’ hits along with a few cover tunes. The Soul of Summer 2013 will debut at the San Diego Jazz Festival on May 25th with dates booked across the U.S. into August.

“I’m excited to get on the road with Soul of Summer 2013. This year, we have the Latin flavor of Sheila E., the Caribbean flavor of Elan Trotman, and with my South African roots, it creates a great world music experience. Music can be a unifying force and unity is the spirit of Soul of Summer,” said Butler after the outfit’s first rehearsal at which they created the 14-song set list.

Butler’s Soul of Summer excursions are collaborative by nature. Each artist will have time during the show to perform individually, but the magic comes from the pairings when Butler, E. and Trotman will share the stage in various combinations to play their chart-toppers, fan favorites and Grammy-nominated singles, including Butler’s “Sara Sara” and “Lies” and E.’s “Glamorous Life.”

A two-time Grammy nominee, Butler became a child star while growing up under Apartheid and was the first black artist to be played on radio stations in South Africa. His 17-deep album catalogue is a study in diversity as Butler refuses to limit the scope of his musical vision that spans contemporary jazz instrumentals, soulful R&B, sophisticated pop and stirring gospel. Blessed with an impassioned voice that cries for justice, romantic pleas for love, and worshipful praise, Butler is dually noted for his nifty guitar-play on both nylon string and electric. Whether in a full band setting or stripped down to his roots as a spellbinding singer-songwriter, Butler pours his heart and soul into his live shows that uplift, enlighten and inspire. His latest recording, the gospel offering “Grace and Mercy,” was released last fall and continues to spread the word at radio. Butler will release a Christmas album this fall.

The daughter of Latin jazz patriarch Pete Escovedo, E. is a dynamic drummer, percussionist and vocalist who had her commercial breakthrough as a protégé of Prince with whom she still occasionally collaborates. Proudly braiding elements of her Hispanic heritage to funk, jazz, soul, fusion and gospel, she captivates with her high-energy performances and rhythmically-astute beats that have enabled her to play with some of the biggest names in popular music while collecting her own #1 Billboard hits and multiple Grammy and American Music Awards nominations along with an MTV Best Video Award win. The stunning beauty, a multimedia star that has graced the silver screen and small screen, released a concert DVD, “Sheila E. Summer Tour 2012 – LIVE in Lugano, Switzerland” last December.

Trotman is a feted newcomer winning fans and plaudits for the good-natured spirit of the Caribbean that he brings to R&B and contemporary jazz grooves. The saxman who attended the Berklee College of Music on a scholarship from the government of Barbados released his sixth album, “Tropicality,” earlier this year, which he wrote and produced with guitar star Peter White. The disc containing performances by an array of accomplished musicians is a celebration of island life that also chronicles Trotman’s journey from Barbados to Boston.

The Soul of Summer 2013 band is comprised of bassist and musical director Dan Lutz, drummer Jay Williams, and keyboardist Dennis Hamm.

The 2013 itinerary for Soul of Summer featuring Butler, E. and Trotman is:

May 25 Carlsbad, CA San Diego Jazz Festival

July 10 Detroit, MI Chene Park

July 17 New York, NY Spirit Cruise Ship

July 20 Norfolk, VA Norfolk Jazz Festival

July 27 Temecula, CA Thornton Winery

August 2 Austin, TX One World Theatre

August 3 Houston, TX Houston International Jazz Festival

August 10 Kettering, OH Festival of the Vine

August 11 Richmond, VA Richmond Jazz Festival

Additional dates will be added, which will be posted at http://www.jonathanbutler.com.

Picture Gallery