Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Elan Trotman - This Time Around - 2009 - E.T. Muzik

This album is Elan's fourth CD and fans of vibrant, upbeat and soulful sax will love this. If you've been happy purchasing sets by the likes of Kenny Blake then this album is for you. This set features a wide variety of styles and we are not at all bogged down in the bland, featureless world of smooth jazz lift muzak. Though some tracks will appeal to fans of this genre, there is a lot more spine, imagination and rough edges on these tunes to elicit a nod from the likes of I who have more than grown to reject smooth jazz. Take, for example the SUPERB "This Time Around" - an energetic, lively and courageous slice of saxy jazz with plenty of jaunty keys and funky guitar licks. This is the sort of Jazz I would really like to see performed live. This gets the old feet tapping, and you can imagine the effort that is going into this - it's a wonderful piece of interplay. The French horns and James Brown samples on the rollicking "Me N' My 22's" keep the bouncy groove going and "Nu Skool 2 Kool" is more laid back with a Paul Brown flavour, the wah wah guitar subdued yet very much in the forefront. The sax rasping away in a great Tom Scott fashion - reminds me a bit, actually, of his "Mazin'" track from 1995's "Night Creatures" GRP set.

A vocal cut beckons with Ahmir featuring on the downtempo "Oh How We Were Meant To Be". Not a full-blown vocal, unfortunately and more's the pity yet this cut, again, helps throw some light and shade on this CD which is very welcome. Fans of Eddie M will lap up the excellent semi-vocal cut "With You". Eddie M's aborted MoJazz set, "Ward Street", finally saw the light of day in 1998, and should that album be to your liking then the style of sax and beats here will definitely meet your approval. Again, "4:05 PM" should sate your appetite. There are some great soulful vocalising a la Genobia Jeter through this, but what I crave are fully-blown vocal cuts. If you LOVED the North "2Unes" Woodall set as much as I did, then you will more than link into "Crusin'" easily. With guitar and flute sharing the spotlight with Elan's capable reeds the scene is more than set for QUALITY. This is as good as it gets. A really lovely slice of instrumental jazz. Nice to hear a bit of slap bass a la Rhon Lawrence to boot. We have another Eddie M moment with "As Long As I Got You" - I really love this kind of groove, jazz with a hint of soul and a Hip Hop flavour to boot. The trombone adds another nice twist too. This is a set with groove, soul, jazz and TEETH! It also has a backbone and that is something I like very much! Recommended.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe