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Richard Elliot – Summer Madness

Sept. 11, 2016

The master of that special sax “groan” and serious funk, household smooth jazz artist Richard Elliot, is again knocking ‘em dead with his latest release Summer Madness. The man simply never misses.
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Here on Summer Madness, after opening with a slammin’ cover of Spyro Gyra’s “Cachaca,” Elliot proceeds to coax his way into our listening sensibilities and capture our every musical sense with his classic combination of funk, soul, jazz, and just being Elliot. Tracks like the mid-tempo “Breakin’ It Down,” the killer cover of Carlos Santana’s classic “Europa” (can’t you just hear Elliot playing that even as you read this??), and the ultra-funky “West Coast Jam,” among others here, are simply the typical slayers always offered by the saxman. No one does it quite like this giant funkster.

Joined here by longtime friend and cohort trumpeter/producer Rick Braun, Elliot also recruits other familiars like Ron Reinhardt on keys, Randy Jacobs on guitar, Nate Phillips on bass, Third Richardson on drums, and Lenny Castro on percussion. He also pulls in baritone saxman Curt Waylee who proceeds to knock it out of the park. In fact, the complete horn arrangement is absolutely killer (check out “Harry The Hipster” for a great example).

Of the musicians, Elliot says, “I didn’t want to direct them. I wanted to bring them in and let them be part of the process –the writing, the arranging—and do it all together. I had a lot of confidence that these guys are mature enough musically. Everybody brought what they do to the table and we all put our heads together. We didn’t have rehearsals first, we didn’t have writing sessions first. We booked some days in the studio and the music just poured out.” Isn’t that the way it should always be?? Makes one long for the good ol’ days, right?

Undoubtedly one of the finest recordings of Elliot’s long (over three decades) solo career, it’s obvious that this “energizer bunny” has enough oomph left for many more years of this kind of electrifying stuff to continue. So, settle back (if you can), and enjoy this latest chapter in the seemingly infinite book of melodies from one who obviously enjoys writing it. – Ronald Jackson