Friday, September 20, 2013

Richard Elliot Number Ones Artistry 2013

Number Ones
From Tower of Power to critically acclaimed smooth jazz legend, Richard Elliot's Number Ones is a well packaged feast for the discriminating contemporary fan of today.

Rumors of my disdain for smooth jazz have been greatly exaggerated, often by yours truly. While I do find a handful of artists rather dated and predictable with music better served being run behind school closings then enjoyed in a typical concert setting, Richard Elliot is the exception to the rule. After cutting his musical teeth with the legendary Tower of Power, Elliot has gone on to become one of the most successful contemporary instrumental recording acts over the last fifteen years. While I have been bagging elephants as of late let me tackle one here, smooth jazz number ones are for the most part based on number of radio spins as per www.smoothjazz.com. Does that take away from the magnitude of Elliot's success or his well known high octane performances? Not one bit...

Number Ones is a well packaged retrospective look at the growth and development of Elliot's artistic prowess starting with the Paul Brown produced Luther Vandross cover of "Here and Now." While radio has beaten both the original and this contemporary instrumental cover to death there is still a strange freshness to the sound but great melodies have a way of doing that. Other notable highlights include "RnR" from his highly acclaimed duet release with Rick Braun. "Boom Town" is but another winner here as this co produced number with Jeff Lorber is for the most part the culmination of Elliot's musical journey up to this point and certainly makes one excited about the possibilities that are ahead. Two bonus live tracks are included here, "Island Style" and "Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) and these are indeed treats for fans everywhere and hopefully signal a subsequent live release that may be in the works.

Rating a retrospective number one collection is a bit redundant. If you are a fan of contemporary instrumental with tastes that run outside of the somewhat predictable ear candy laid down by other artists then this release is a must for any library.

Tracks: Here and Now; Moomba; People Make The World Go Round; Mystery; RnR; Move On Up; Retro Boy: Island Style; Boom Town; Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler); Island Style (Live); Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) Live.

***********UPDATE**********

The Obama Administration has not made me an official Government journalist so my source is still my own but Richard Elliot is out at Mack Avenue. No details. It would be irresponsible to speculate or offer up conjecture but...smooth jazz artists don't seem to last long there for whatever reason. I had the real pleasure of interviewing Richard who is a class act and phenomenal talent. One of the few smooth jazz saxophone players that did not immediately induce vomiting on my part. He will be missed and his work with one of the best labels in the business will continue to sell incredibly well I am sure! We wish Richard the best and hope to connect with him soon!