Monday, January 14, 2013

Tropicality Elan Trotman Woodward Ave. 2013

TropicalityA few of you may be a tad surprised to see what most would consider a "smooth jazz" release on my site. Let me refresh your memory, earlier this year I stated that jazz from the smoother side of the street would be limited to those Independent artists and then a handful of major label talent offering the best of the best.  Saxophonist Elan Trotman qualifies here on just about every level imaginable. Tropicality is a somewhat conceptualized autobiography that streets on 02/19/13.

Tropicality works because while bringing the Caribbean Island vibe there is a deceptively subtle balance of flavor coming out of the land of rhythm and groove. When checking out the guest artists it all most looks like an awards show with such heavy weight talent as Grammy winners Paul Brown and Terri Lyne Carrington. Toss in British guitarist Peter White, Aruban guitarist Serghio Jansen and French guitarist U-Nam and you are building an international jazz collective rounded off with Americans Jeff Lorber and the incredibly underrated trumpet player and my buddy Lin Rountree. Co-Produced with Peter White this is certainly not Trotman's first gitty up but easily his best.

A couple of reggae infused covers include the Stevie Wonder hit "Master Blaster" and the Bob Marley classic "Wait In Vain." The Antonio Carlos Jobim cover of "Wave" featuring Jeff Lorber is another tune that is essentially vibe squared but without ever hitting that ear candy status or simply riding one riff in an effort for a quick pay day. Woodward Avenue Records is still relatively new by most standards but their standards are high and they take the time and attention to get it right the first time. The original tune "Bridgetown to Beantown" (featuring Jeff Lorber) chronicles Trotman's move to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston so you know Trotman is legit! Vocals are held to a minimum, well placed and on point every step of the way!

Elan Trotman celebrates the culture of Barbados along with a more open ended yet lyrically direct journey of just how good contemporary instrumental jazz can be. To find anything negative with this release would be taking hyper-critical to the next level and that is not how I roll!

Tracks: Master Blaster; Trade Winds; Bridgetown to Beantown; Always With You; A Time and Place; Sunset In Paradise; Danca Ku Mi; Funkalypso; Tropicality; Island Groove; Wave.

Personality: Elan Trotman:tenor sax, flute; U-Nam: guitars; Nicholas Brancker: bass; Peter White: acoustic guitar, piano, programming; Jeff Lorber: keyboards; Serghio Jansen: guitars; Alex Al: bass; Tony Moore; drums; Luis Conte: percussion; DC: programming; Fabiano Da Silva: acoustic guitar; Hudson Gloria: bass; Damon Grant: percussion; Paul Brown: guitar; Roberto Valley: bass; Lenny Castro: percussion; Ricky Lawson: drums; Nicholas Brancker: vocals; Emaniela Nadia Alves: vocals; Mark G.; Adrian Odle; Lin Rountree: trumpet; Tyrone Chase: guitar; Mark Copeland: keyboards and organ; Teri Lyne Carrington: drums, programming; Nick Colionne: guitar; Tracy Carter: keyboards; Chantel Hampton: vocals; Rahni Song.