Archive for December 1st, 2017

Eric Valentine & Velvet Groove – Velvet Groove

When he isn’t anchoring the beats as a first-call drummer for a virtual who’s who list of contemporary jazz stars, Eric “Mr. Chocolate” Valentine has been locked away in his Chocolate Cave studios near Los Angeles conceiving and crafting Velvet Groove, the first of what he envisions to be a movement of urban and jazz “music you can feel.” With the title track enriched by hypnotic trumpet forays from Rick Braun and sultry sax embellishments by Richard Elliot already in the Billboard Top 20, Matcha Entertainment will issue the album produced by Valentine on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Stepping out from behind his drum kit, Valentine thrives plying his skills as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist on “Velvet Groove,” playing keyboards, synths, bass, vocals, percussion and drums on the disc comprised of ten full songs – nine of which he penned or co-penned – along with three reprises. The star power illuminating the high-level session of deft rhythms and grooves include Grammy winner Kirk Whalum, multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright and chart-toppers Elliot, Braun, Adam Hawley, Elan Trotman, Brian Simpson and Greg Manning. Pianist Wayne Linsey, jazz fusion guitarist Alex Machacek, and percussionists Lenny Castro, Munyungo Jackson and Ramon Islas are among those who texturize the lush tracks.

A vital element to Valentine’s vibrant melodies and “sing-able” harmonies, and an important contributor to what he calls “my Velvet Groove community” is R&B vocalist B. Valentine (formerly known as Baskerville Jones), Eric’s wife, who can be heard cooing soulfully throughout the album and sings lead on “Back in the Day.” Her upcoming solo release is one of several projects currently under construction by the Velvet Groove collective that they aim to release in 2018. Continue reading