Elan Trotman – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

For urban jazz instrumental artists, mining the sacred gold of Motown – and especially Marvin Gaye – can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Do it right, put your own pizzazz on it, and you’re honoring carrying on one of music’s most cherished legacies. Fall short in your re-imaginings, or sound too much like previous tributes, and it’s a misstep that will take a while to recover from. Immersing in dapper style, searing emotion and deep groovability, the resounding transcendence saxophonist Elan Trotman brings to Gaye’s legacy with his latest album Dear Marvin is best summed up by a fan posting on Amazon, all in caps: “This is the best Marvin Gaye tribute ever. Hats off, my man killed it.” To paraphrase a classic 70’s funk tune, saxophonist Elan Trotman blew the roof off the sucka!

Following up the Billboard charting success of the project’s first single “Got To Give It Up,” Trotman has a blast rolling, darting and powering through “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” bringing freshness to the familiar with vibrant new blues-soul energy and heartrending potency. For Trotman, the key to revamping it and taking it to a higher, unexpected level is turning it into a playful, high-spirited duet with veteran trombonist Jeff Bradshaw. Bradshaw simmers along in harmony role adding sizzle and heft (in a horn section with trumpeter Alex Lee Clark) to Trotman’s melody before emerging as a powerful voice center stage on the second verse.

After riffing off each other for a few bars over the non-stop blues drenched simmering organ of Mitch Henry, Trotman and Bradshaw take us to the most ear-popping spot in the track. It’s a festive celebratory breakdown,- a free for all, hard grooving jam that allows the two to break loose, trade fours and improvise with abandon over wild, sizzling brass harmonies. Nothing happens without these poppin’ killer grooves created by Sherrod Barnes (guitar), Keithen Foster (bass), Atticus Cole (percussion) and Charles Haynes (drums). The urban jazz genre is sometimes accused of being too “cover-happy,” but Trotman and Bradshaw’s adventure-filled “Grapevine” is a worthwhile exception that demands repeated, volume all the way up listening.

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Written by Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield

Elan Trotman – Saxes and Flute
Jeff Bradshaw – Trombone
Alex Lee Clark – Trumpet
Sherrod Barnes – Guitar
Keithen Foster – Bass
Mitch Henry – Keyboards/ Organ
Atticus Cole – Percussion
Charles Haynes – Drums

Listen to I Heard It Through The Grapevine on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/4).

 

Advertisements

Brian Lenair – Silky Soul

Having performed with the likes of Will Downing, Maysa, Jean Carne, Billy Paul, Angela Bolfill, Christopher Williams, Miki Howard, Glenn Jones, Al Jarreau, Vesta, Tony Terry, the late Phyllis Hyman, Pieces of a Dream, Miles Jay, Grover Washington, Jr., Peabo Bryson, George Benson, Spur of the Moment and others, saxman Brian Lenair has established himself as a talent to be recognized.

Lenair’s new single “Silky Soul” is written and produced by Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis.

Music is not just my vocation, it is my passion and it is my calling. No matter how intimate or large the settings, I always play with the same energy” – Brian Lenair

Listen to Silky Soul on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/4).

Will Downing – Déjà Vu

Legendary vocalist Will Downing delivers a clever duet-styled version of the Grammy Award winning Dionne Warwick hit “Déjà Vu.” Although recorded originally in 1977 by Warwick alone, Will Downing was instead inspired by video of a rare 1990 Warwick tour performance with the song’s author, Isaac Hayes and called upon the incredible talents of Avery Sunshine to re-interpret the special moment these two giants blessed the stage together. A tall order for sure…too tall for most, but not this pair!

The signature opening keyboard chords get a thumping boost from bassist Al Turner, percussionist Pablo Batista and drummer Mike Logan, Jr., who set the mood for the sublime vocal blend of Downing and Sunshine. Their voices complement and blend to each other’s perfectly as Downing takes the production helm on this radio-friendly track.

Listen to Déjà Vu on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/4).

Bob Baldwin – Long Weekend (See You On Tuesday)

Bob Baldwin presents his new single, “Long Weekend (See You On Tuesday)”! It’s the first single from Baldwin’s new CD Henna, set for release in January 2020.

Baldwin’s good friend, flautist Ragan Whiteside is a featured guest artist on “Long Weekend”; Whiteside and Baldwin co-wrote the new single together.

Bob Baldwin grew up in a musical environment. His father, Robert Baldwin, Sr., (1926-2008) was a Jazz pianist who worked with bass legends Keter Betts and Art Davis. He’s also a fan of his elder cousin, legendary jazz pianist Larry Willis (Blood, Sweat and Tears/Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache Band).

Listen to Long Weekend on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/4).

Sherry Winston – Regatta

Flutist Sherry Winston has performed with Stevie Wonder and has shared the stage with John Legend, Gregory Porter, Vanessa Williams, Maxwell, Sinbad, Fourplay, Chaka Kahn & many more.

Her TV appearances include Emeril Live, The Today Show, BET, and she has been featured in the New York Times, Ebony, Essence, Black Enterprise, and many other national magazines and newspapers.

Sherry’s client list includes many of the top Fortune 500 companies and she has worked as National Director of Jazz Promotion at Columbia, Arista, GRP and Elektra-Asylum Records in New York.

Listen to Regatta on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 10/4).

Ron King – Mellow Out

Ron King is one of the finest trumpet / composer / arranger artists in the world today. A Grammy nominated soloist, he is also one of L.A.’s top studio lead / jazz / improvisational trumpet players. He has received many awards, from the IAJE, NAJE, ASCAP, and the RMA. He has attained Gold Records, for working with such artists as George Benson, Ricki Lee Jones, and Marvin Gaye.

In addition to these artists, he has also performed and recorded with: The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra , Frank Sinatra, Keely Smith, Jimmy Kimmel Live, ABC-TV’s, The Next Best Thing, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and featured on The Grammy Awards.

Listen to Mellow Out on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 10/4).

Mark Etheredge – Resonance

Mark Etheredge teamed up again with Two-time Grammy® winning producer and guitarist Paul Brown along with bassist Roberto Vally, drummer Gorden Campbell and percussionist Richie Gajate Garcia. The contemporary instrumental jazz track, written by Etheredge, was recorded at Carmen Grillo’s Big Surprise Music in Los Angeles, mixed by Paul Brown, and mastered by Rainer Gembalczyk of Sienna Digital.

Etheredge’s first radio single “Connected” ranked No. 31 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz 2016 Year End Chart and ranked No. 2 on the Groove Jazz Music Top 100 for 2016. On January 3, 2017 the second radio single “Roger That” debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Most Added Smooth Jazz Songs Chart.

In physics, resonance is a phenomenon in which a vibrating system or external force drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at specific frequencies. (Source: Wikipedia) “I think as humans, we all have opportunities to resonate with each other–to be in tune and find peace with each other – if we want it enough,” says Etheredge. “Resonance flirts with that possibility.”

Listen to Resonance on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 10/4).