April 7, 2005

Quintin Gerard W - Fonky Or Not?

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on all that’s good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. This time we look at a new and exciting CD release that promises to make saxophonist Quintin Gerard W one of the sensations of 2005.

Fnkysax is, for Gerard, more than an album. It is a new expression of music terminology, an abbreviation of ‘fonkysax’ that carries with it his trademarked tag line of ‘So you like a little fonk with your Jazz uh? He also provides his own pseudo dictionary definition of the word ‘Fnkysax’ as “the method of playing saxophone characterized by incorporating elements of Funk, R & B, Gospel, Blues and Jazz supported by the underlying foundation of the urban culture and experience.” It’s a catchy marketing trick but it’s backed up by the substance of his music, an urban slant that Boney James would be proud of and a sensuality that makes more than a nod in the direction of Kenny G. The result is a powerful combination that instantly grabs the listener.

QuintinGerard_bw.jpgQuintin Gerard W grew up in Norco, Louisiana and attended Destrehan High School. His early days with the District VI Honor Jazz and Concert Bands of New Orleans found him performing with, now local legend, Harry Connick Jr. When he was awarded a scholarship in music at Loyola University in New Orleans it offered the opportunity to study under noted jazz master Ellis Marsalis. It was when Quinton relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1989 that he began to meet and play with many of the top names in Smooth Jazz.

He has performed live with the likes of Jeff Lorber (on the Worth Waiting For tour), Kenny Garrett, Najee, Dave Koz, Ron Brown, and Hollis Gentry III. Quintin Gerard W.'s other saxophone friends include Jay Beckenstein from Spyro Gyra, Jeff Kashiwa of The Rippingtons and Kirk Whalum. Also, as a member of the San Diego based fusion jazz group Under The Lake, he has opened for Joe Sample at the Maui Cultural and Performing Arts Center in Hawaii, and Stanley Jordan at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California.

Quintin’s recording credits include work with Charlie Wilson, the late Rick James and a long list of major commercial recording sessions. These include the opening theme for B.E.T.'s Comic View plus MCI, Levi Strauss, Estee Lauder, and Sears Kenmore television commercials.

quintingerardw.jpgNow, with his debut CD, Quentin has taken all of those experiences and influences and added to them his own undeniable talents as writer performer and producer. The result is sensational. Right from the first track the album is up and running with ‘Smooth Jazz Flavor’, a sweet smooth urban tune with great sax playing and a compelling catchy vocal hook. It is already lined up for radio exposure and the radio edit is included as a bonus track. With a title like ‘Fnkysax’, fonky sax, the listener is expecting a fair measure of funk and it is first found on the title track that delivers just what its name promises with subliminal urban vocals and stand out playing from Gerard. ‘Opportunity’ offers a cool rap introduction over a terrific underlying beat, excellent sax playing and haunting background vocals. It’s a track that, as they say, has got the lot and when Gerard reprises it in radio edit format its different but just as good.

‘The Weekend’s Here’, with its very effective use of backing vocals, keeps the funky urban vibe going but, despite Quintin Gerard W’s obvious flair for the urban groove, he is perhaps at his best with smooth sensuous tunes like ‘Elnora’, the sexy late night smooth jazz tune ‘Now and Forever’ and ‘Days We Remembered’ with its delightful interplay between sax and keyboards that just longs to be part of a movie score.

Fnkysax is an album crammed full of stand outs. On ‘Hipnotized’ Gerard manages to generate a real Euge Groove feel while ‘Flute Fnk’ is just that, a breezy funky flute number played over a beat that simply rolls along. It’s inconceivable that a collection of the quality of Fnkysax will not make Quintin Gerard W an overnight smooth jazz sensation.

Check out more on Quintin via his website at www.quintingerardw.com

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please contact the Smooth Jazz Vibes Guest Book or e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at April 7, 2005 5:43 PM