The reigning merchant of Soul Jazz, Richard Elliot invites loyal fans and newcomers alike to celebrate 25 years since the release of his debut album Trolltown. Where‟s the party? Where else—In the Zone, a grooving, funked up, horn-splashed collection that finds the energized-as-ever tenor saxophonist paying homage to the pioneering instrumental artists of his formative years („70s-early „80s) whose brilliance and musical innovations inspired his own.
The Scotland-born, L.A.-raised saxman was still on the road with Tower of Power when he released his debut album Trolltown in 1986. Embarking upon one of instrumental music’s most dynamic and multifaceted careers, he has scored four #1 albums (On The Town, Soul Embrace, After Darkand Jumpin’ Off) and a growing number of #1 airplay singles. In addition to his participation in all-star tours like Groovin’ For Grover and Jazz Attack, in the mid-‘90s he helped launch another of the genre’s annual franchises, the Guitars & Saxes tours, which he has participated in on and off ever since. At his peak, Elliot was doing over 100 tour dates a year, but he has scaled it back as his family has grown to include five children over the years.
“My original motivation for doing an album like In The Zone was the opportunity to reconnect with my earlier self, the musician I was when I first started out,” Elliot explained. “The songs remind me of listening to my heroes in those days and seeing them perform live, feeling incredible joy and enthusiasm about the possibility of following in their footsteps. The wonderful thing is, so many years after I began performing professionally, I still feel that excitement. I love to play live more than anything. Under certain circumstances, the recording process can be arduous, but when you can tap into the kind on inspiration I draw from here, it’s a whole different, joyous experience. It’s all about feeling the same way I did back when I was 18 and dreaming that this could someday be my life.”
Richard Elliot published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.