The Jazz Project


Crickets •••
Phil Madeira, singer, instrumentalist
A Nashville mainstay, Phil Madeira, the award-winning Americana singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer indulges his passion for a retro straight-ahead jazz quintet collection, his first instrumental album, Crickets, comprised of ten new songs that he wrote and produced. The album featured Aaron Smith (drums), James Hollihan (guitar), Rahsaan Barber (saxophone) and Chris Donohue (bass). “It’s slightly sophisticated blues, right out of the 50s and 60s playbook,” said Mr. Madeira. “I can hear bits and pieces of what turned me on as a kid ­ Ramsey Lewis and Herbie Hancock, and of course, Monk, whom I later discovered,” he added.

Throughout the album the music swings with a cool vintage swagger as rendered by the breezy grace of the free-spirited quintet. Mr. Madeira’s piano skips with lilting joy through a panorama of melodies and grooves. The acoustic instrumentation makes it sound live ­ organic, spacious and unpretentious. The players weave in and out of the spotlight without ever infringing upon each other’s turf, taking equitable turns to solo. There’s a palpable lightness of being throughout the album, mirroring Mr. Maderia’s own grounded persona. Crickets contains the following songs: “Sirkka’s Dream,” “Cut It Out,” “Cricket,” (title track), “Teamwork Salad,” “Rollin’ With Oti,” “Last Call At Bovi’s,” “Swingset,” “In Walked Willis,” “Jazz Hands,” and “Coming Home.”

Dear Marvin •••
Elan Trotman, saxophone
Sax salutes sexy soul on Elan Trotman’s Dear Marvin, and co-produced with Chartles Haynes, is a collection of ten of Marvin Gaye’s best-loved songs. First up is “Got To Give It Up,” a vibrant reboot of one of Mr. Gaye’s funky dance tracks. In reimagining Mr. Gaye’s catalogue in instrumental form, Mr. Trotman shares the spotlight on Dear Marvin, with premier soloists, including Grammy-winning keyboardist Jeff Lorber, seminal urban-jazz flautist Najee, esteemed trumpeter Patches Stewart, soul-jazz-hip hop-funk trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and veteran guitarist Sherrod Barnes. The trumpeter strategically deploys vocals to illumine a few key tracks. Ray Greene begs on “Mercy Me”; rapper Obadele Thompson plies his come-on skills to “I Want You”; and Tim “Smithsoneon” Smith provides the cure through “Sexual Healing.” Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra enhance a pair of tracks with strings. Including Mr. Haynes, Mr. Trotman’s core collaborators are his former colleagues from Berklee College of Music: keyboardist Mitch Henry (Marsha Ambrosius), bassists Kyle Miles and Keithen Foster (H.E.R.), and percussionist Atticus Cole. “It’s been an honor to be able to share my interpretations of some of Marvin’s classics,” said the Boston-based Mr. Trotman. Dear Marvin, is Mr. Trotman’s eighth album and second on the Woodward Avenue Records imprint. The album contains the following songs: “Inner City Blues,” featuring Sherrod Barnes, “Got To Give It Up,” “Distant Lover,” featuring Patches Stewart, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing,” “Mercy Mercy Me” featuring Ray Greene, “I Want You” featuring Obadele Thompson, “Sexual Healing,” featuring “Smithsoneon,” “After The Dance,” featuring Najee, “Trouble Man” featuring Jeff Lorber, and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” featuring Jeff Bradshaw.