Thursday, April 16, 2009

Richard Elliot - "Rock Steady" 5/19

Where do you go from #1? If you’re veteran saxophonist Richard Elliot, long known as the “James Brown of Contemporary Jazz” for the intense soul inspirations of his recordings, a relentless tour schedule and joyfully exhausting onstage performances, you dig deep into your R&B/jazz roots. You keep the infectious melodies and funky grooves flowing and follow a two word mantra that says it all about where you’ve been and the places you’re headed: Rock Steady-the name of his highly anticipated debut on Artistry Music.

With a bestselling discography of over 15 recordings since 1986’s initial approach, thousands of live dates spanning over two decades and one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in contemporary urban jazz, it’s incredible to hear Elliot declare: “What I’m doing now, enjoying this upward trend in my career, is seriously the most fun I have ever had.” Then again, the multi-talented tenorman, composer and producer has been on one of the most incredible rolls of his career since the 2005 release of Metro Blue, which debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.

The album’s key single, a simmering cover of The Stylistics’ “People Make The World Go Round,” spent an unprecedented 11 weeks at #1 on Radio & Records airplay chart. In 2007, “RnR,” the title track from the dual album Elliot recorded with fellow genre superstar-and co-producer of “People”-Rick Braun, stayed at #1 on the chart for over two months. Elliot and Braun crisscrossed the U.S. as part of Jazz Attack (with Peter White and Jonathan Butler) in 2005 and 2007, and spent 2008 touring as RnR. The saxman also did media appearances and performed in South Africa for the first time, and did his first ever shows in Russia and St. Petersburg in January 2009

He and Braun are also headlining another Jazz Attack tour with Butler this year. Around that time, Elliot and Braun also teamed up with their manager Steve Chapman and industry veteran Al Evers to form ARTizen Music Group, whose roster included urban saxman Jackiem Joyner and acid jazz standout Shilts (from Down To The Bone). They later sold the label to their current recording home, Artistry Music.

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