Posts Tagged ‘ Richard Elliot ’

Richard Elliot – Authentic Life

San Diego resident saxophonist Richard Elliot has already had an exemplary musical career that is second to none. Tower of Powers, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson and the Temptations were already on his agenda at a young age. In 1986 he released his debut album Trolltown. Since this time he has recorded more than twenty albums. His new album Authentic Life (2021) is the current gauge of his development as a person and artist.

From the list of musicians involved, it’s easy to see that a heavyweight of smooth jazz has been invited to record. Richard has rightly recognized that in today’s music market you don’t have to spill the beans, you have to make a killing if you want to play a significant role in the charts. From the current pandemic, Richard has learned a lesson that mutual inspiration is not only possible in the context of a studio recording, rather an interaction can also take place virtually.

After all, the musicians involved are all professionals and are very familiar and equipped with music production via the Internet. Anyone who uses the title Snapshot has to compete with George Duke. With Rick Braun and David Mann, Richard builds a strong horn trio reminiscent of the old days of Tower Of Power. Add to that Jeff Lorber’s staccato synth bass and you’re set.

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Richard Elliot – Authentic Life

“There are absolute parallels between jazz and flying,” confesses Grammy-nominated tenor titan Richard Elliot who has been flying airplanes for the past three decades. The Renaissance man, who is currently engrossed in the colossal project of building his own airplane, adds “When you are performing and flying you are 100 percent consumed and focused on that experience from a technical perspective, emotional and aesthetic perspective, taking in everything around you.”

Elliot, who has also successfully moonlighted as a software engineer, has a laser-like focus and creative vision that knows no bounds. The chart-topping saxophonist and pioneering Contemporary Jazz musician’s instantly recognizable trademark tenor has afforded him the opportunity to work with everyone from Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt and The Temptations to Dave Koz, Tower of Power and Gerald Albright, to name a few. On January 29, 2021, Richard Elliot offers the perfect antidote to a year wrought with challenges and setbacks.

Authentic Life is the Scottish-born, LA-raised saxophonist’s Shanachie debut – his first new album in five years. It’s an inspiring collection comprised mostly of originals that speak to Elliot’s optimistic outlook on life. “The recording has a positive and uplifting feel which is what we all need right now,” reflects the San Diego resident. “A lot of the inspiration is based on the idea of living life in a mindful way, with focus and in the truest way possible that allows you to be sincere in your actions and intentions with other human beings.”

Danny Weiss, Shanachie VP of Jazz A&R states, “Richard Elliot has an uncanny ability to combine precision and technical mastery with passion and excitement. As a result, whether you’re a casual listener or a jazz fanatic (like me), Richard Elliot’s music is richly rewarding – and a real home run for Shanachie!”

The past year has changed the world immeasurably affecting how we live, love, communicate, interact and work. Elliot recounts a new form of inspiration that grew out of the forced circumstances. “One of the things I love about recording is the collaborative aspect of being in the studio. Unfortunately in the last year I’ve had to forgo this,” he shares. “It’s amazing that sometimes out of challenging times you glean positive experiences. We were able to take the positive experience of collaborating remotely while finding the inspiration – albeit virtually.” Continue reading

Dave Koz and Friends – Summer Horns II From A To Z

Five years ago, after Dave Koz and Friends released Summer Horns—the GRAMMY-nominated album that paid tribute to classic songs featuring killer horn sections—all that the musicians could think about was how much fun they’d just had. They toured behind the album during the summer of 2013, then vowed to spend the following summer doing it all over again.

“The second tour was even better than the first,” says Koz, the world-class saxophonist who piloted the release, which rocketed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. “We had a total blast and the fans really gravitated toward it.”

There was no question in Koz’s mind that a sequel was in the stars, but getting everyone’s schedules to align was never going to be easy, each participant being a headliner with bookings well into the future. It took a few years but finally, says Koz, through “divine intervention,” a window of time opened up so that everyone could be in the same place at the same time.

Summer Horns II From A To Z, scheduled for release on June 22, 2018 via Concord Records, is the result, a stunning set of 11 more timeless tunes re-imagined by Koz (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes), joined by alto saxophonist Gerald Albright and tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot—both returnees from the earlier session—with new additions Rick Braun (trumpet) and Aubrey Logan (trombone and vocals). A crew of ace rhythm players collaborates with the Summer Horns lineup along with a who’s who of arrangers: Tom Scott (who’s worked with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin to Steely Dan), Greg Adams (best known for Tower of Power, but also Santana and Elton John) and GRAMMY-winning arranger Gordon Goodwin. Braun, himself a legend of contemporary jazz, produced the album, with co-production by Koz. Continue reading

Richard Elliot – Summer Madness

Scottish-born Saxophonist Richard Elliot reflects with Summer Madness (2016) on his musical roots. “When I was growing up in the ’70s and first learning to play the saxophone,” he comments, “I was mostly attracted to instrumentally based R&B and to jazz that had R&B roots. This record definitely goes down that path, leaning more on the funk side.”

Beside Rick Braun, who also produced the album, Richard is joined by baritone saxophonist Curt Waylee, Ron Reinhardt on keys, Randy Jacobs on guitar, Nate Phillips on bass, Third Richardson on drums, and Lenny Castro on percussion.

Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice. The fiery Latin-American force inspired the interplay of these top notch musicians. With a minimal concept Richard let the participating artists create the powerful excellency in all levels.

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Richard Elliot – Summer Madness

SummerMadnessWhen tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot began preparing Summer Madness, his follow-up to 2014’s critically acclaimed Lip Service, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. First and foremost, it had to be funky. “When I was growing up in the ’70s and first learning to play the saxophone,” he says, “I was mostly attracted to instrumentally based R&B and to jazz that had R&B roots. This record definitely goes down that path, leaning more on the funk side.”

He also knew precisely who he wanted to accompany him on the new music. “I wanted to involve my band,” Elliot says. “A lot of artists tour with a group of musicians, and then when it’s time to make a record they hook up with a producer and go into the studio and use completely different people that maybe they’ve never even met before. I feel that if you’re lucky enough to have a regular group of musicians that you work with, and you don’t draw on their talent and their inspirations, you’re short-changing yourself.”

Summer Madness, set for release on September 9, 2016 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is a new kind of Richard Elliot recording. For one thing, the cast includes two other horn men augmenting Elliot’s signature sax work: trumpeter/trombonist Rick Braun, who also produced the album and, on several tracks, baritone saxophonist Curt Waylee. Most importantly though, the music was created from scratch as Elliot and his handpicked musicians formulated and honed their ideas in the studio, with Braun’s ultra-capable guidance. For Elliot, recruiting the additional players and having the entire band—plus a well-respected veteran producer help him shape the music—was integral to the project’s success. Continue reading

Richard Elliot – Lip Service

lip serviceRichard Elliot closes with Lip Service, the circle as a representative of the ruling Smooth Jazz and thus cementes his role as one of the great contemporary saxophonists. During the summer Horns Tour 2013 with Dave Koz, Mindi Abair and Gerald Albright he had the opportunity to re-seize his roots as one of the founding members of Tower of Power by performing So Very Hard To Go and working again with arranger Greg Adams.

This led to Greg Adams’ package for the GRAMMY-nominated Earth, Wind & Fire song Shining Star, which is included on Lip Service. This title will be released on July 15, 2014.

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Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca 2014

The smooth jazz community is international. One likes to travel to faraway places to meet with like-minded people. So you can enjoy not only the concerts of popular artists but exchanges views among themselves. Many have formed friendships with each other and are also linked via Facebook or other platforms. This multiplies the impressions gained for all the senses, especially when one meets in such illustrious climes as the 5-star Protur Biomar Hotel in Sa Coma.

Concert promoter Christian Bößner had invited for the third time and they came to this outstanding event from many countries. We were particularly pleased to see so many American friends who had after all to cope with a wide approach path. And there were very prominent among them such as Melody Warren, who is very active with her JAZZ IN M.E.E. magazine. She equipped many artists with her t-shirts which maps the logo of her magazine. We could also welcome Sandy Shore known by her website and radio station SmoothJazz.com.

Regulars at this festival include Jaume Nebot from Spain, the competent general manager for the Protur Hotels, Peter Boehi from Suisse, who has already written his personal impressions on his website Smooth Vibes, Sascha Brezina from Austria, who always comes closest to the artists with his camera, Michel Mathieu from France, Len Seward and his wife from London, UK, Hilde Jervsjø and husband from Norway, Andreas Büchel, Germany, who is responsible for all prints of this festival, and the list goes on and on.

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Richard Elliot – Number Ones

1069c1c785994b1b2ca7f7d323f39445‘Number Ones‘ features twelve tracks, taken from six top-selling albums, by the smooth jazz saxophonist Richard Elliot, who first made his name with the powerhouse soul funk band Tower of Power.

Making his solo debut in 1986, the Scottish born saxophonist blew into the 1990s with several releases that sold over 100,000 copies and he landed his fourth #1 album with 1997’s ‘Jumpin’ Off.’ In addition to the studio recordings of “Island Style” and “Inner City Blues”, ‘Number Ones‘ includes live versions of both tracks.

Richard Elliot – In The Zone

Richard Elliot had the great fortune to start his career during a period, when people still estimated music by supporting the artists with their purchase of new albums. After his work as leader of The Jeff Lorber Fusion in the late ‘70s and as member of the group Tower of Power he released his solo debut Trolltown (1986). The smooth jazz format was flourishing and Richard could release a new album nearly every year.

Initial Approach (1987), Power of Suggestion (1988), Take to the Skies (1989), What’s Inside (1990), On the Town (1991), Soul Embrace (1993), After Dark (1994), City Speak (1996), Jumpin’ Off (1997), Chill Factor (1999), The Best of Richard Elliot (2000), Ballads (2001), Crush (2001), Ricochet (2003), Forever, For Always, For Luther (compilation with various artists) (2004), Metro Blue (2005), R n R (with Rick Braun) (2007), Rock Steady (2009) and this year In the Zone followed.

Like many other artists Richard is returning to his past values and pays homage to the time of R&B and jazz he grew up with. Elliot’s associates Nate Phillips (bass), Tony Moore and Lil’ John Roberts (drums), Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson (guitar), and percussionist Lenny Castro are among the artists on the new album. Most songs were written by Richard and Jeff Lorber, who also participated on this album as keyboardist.

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I Happened To Hear 10/2011

This straight-ahead piano jazz CD comes from Niayana Recordings, the label that gave you (and me) SoundDoctrine. The opener ‘When Morning Gilds the Skies’ has clever excerpts from ‘America the Beautiful’. Similarly ‘Doxology’ has refrains recognisable to me as ‘All People That on Earth do Dwell’.

The lovely waltz time of ‘O How I Love Jesus’ marks a change of pace from the first two frenetic numbers. The tempo is back up for the sax-led ‘The Church is One Foundation’, one of several gospel staples which receives a storming jazz treatment on this album. I particularly enjoyed ‘Our Great Savior’ with its Latin flavour and nice, warm jazz guitar sound.

Let’s not forget that Phillip, as well as being a talented and fiery pianist, brings bass, organ and drum playing skills to the project. On ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’ the organ is to the fore and the bass moves around energetically. I like the Harvey Mason-esque vibes sound on ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’ and I’ve got to tell you – if you are a fan of jazz trios which can bring something new to gospel standards, you’re going to find some inventive, sometimes challenging, music here. Fans of more traditional gospel – or even people who think they know what gospel should sound like – will revel in the party-like atmosphere of the closer ‘Down by the Riverside’.

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