Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
224

Richard Elliott: Metro Blue

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Richard Elliott: Metro Blue Richard Elliott, 45, was born in Scotland and moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was a child. In his early career, he toured with Natalie Cole and the Pointer Sisters. He spent time with a fusion band, Kittyhawk, followed by recording sessions with Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, and the Temptations. After spending five years as a full-time member of Tower of Power, Elliott became a solo artist, releasing four #1 albums.

On Metro Blue, which Elliott co-produced with Rick Braun, the tenor sax specialist delivers a nice mix of smooth jazz and soulful grooves. All but one song were composed by Elliott and Braun, including several that involved other writers. The lone cover is "People Make the World Go Round, written by Thom Bell and Linda Epstein and popularized by a 1970s soul group, the Stylistics.

"Inside Out opens the album with flair, sure to get dancers on their feet. Often in smooth jazz, programming can be the difference between an exceptional album and a boring one. In this case, Braun, Rex Rideout, Greg Karukas, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson, and Phil Davis serve up programming that melds nicely with the other instruments. On "Inside Out and "Say It's So, Rideout's and Lorber's programs supplement rather than replace the drums. And on the other tracks, the drum synths are distinct enough that the listener is free to enjoy the whole song, rather than focus on how similar the program sounds to previous recordings.

In addition to flugelhorn and trumpet, Braun contributes some elegant string synths—including plucking—to give "People Make the World Go Round an orchestral feel. Nate Phillips adds a funky bass line to enhance the groove of "Say It's So. Elliott delivers his best performance on the album with the ballad "Mystique, supported by Peter White on nylon string guitar and Lenny Castro on percussion, among others.

Throughout the disc, Elliott efficiently puts his tenor through the paces, whether as lead instrument, soloist, or accompanist alongside Braun. Whether on an up-tempo groove or a tranquil ballad, Elliott, Braun, and the others have put together a fine album that will please fans of smooth jazz as well as those who prefer soulful jazz.


Track Listing: Inside Out; Camella; Coastline; People Make the World Go Round; Say Its So; Chill Bill; Mystique; Mango Tango; Maxis; Metro Blue.

Personnel: Richard Elliot: tenor sax; Dwight Sills: guitar; Lenny Castro: percussion; Nate Phillips: bass; Ronnie Garrett: bass (6); Michael White: drums; Rick Braun: trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards (10); Jeff Lorber: piano (5); Rex Rideout: piano (7); Peter White: nylon string guitar (7); Brian Culbertson: keyboards (9); Red Rideout: keyboards, programming; Jeff Lorber: keyboards, programming; Gregg Karukas: keyboards, programming; Phil Davis: keyboards, programming; Rick Braun: keyboards, programming; Brian Culbertson: keyboards, programming.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Artizen Music Group | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Metro Blue
Metro Blue
Artizen Music Group
2006
buy
Earl Klugh Earl Klugh
guitar, acoustic
Spyro Gyra Spyro Gyra
band/orchestra
Lee Ritenour Lee Ritenour
guitar
Jeff Kashiwa Jeff Kashiwa
saxophone
Wayman Tisdale Wayman Tisdale
bass, electric
The Rippingtons The Rippingtons
band/orchestra
Kirk Whalum Kirk Whalum
saxophone
Eric Marienthal Eric Marienthal
saxophone
Jeff Lorber Jeff Lorber
keyboard
Everette Harp Everette Harp
saxophone
Jeff Golub Jeff Golub
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.