June 30, 2005

“People” make Richard Elliot’s world go round

Single Top 5 as the R&B saxophonist’s new "Metro Blue" album hits record stores; album Top 10 at iTunes

The reign of King Richard continues.  Already ruling radio with a hot Top 5 single, “People Make The World Go Round,” R&B saxophonist Richard Elliot is prepared to conquer the album charts with yesterday’s launch of Metro Blue, his fourteenth solo disc.  Made available on iTunes two weeks in advance of the album’s street date, download sales have already placed the CD in the Top 10 on the Jazz Albums chart.  The record holds the distinction of being the debut release from the ARTizen Music Group record label, which Elliot is a partner of.  The single was made available for a limited time as a free download on a number of online portals resulting in the track’s Top 10 position on Billboards Online Download chart.  For those who purchase the album, the CD contains a link to download a free bonus track, “Mystery,” which isn’t available elsewhere.

Elliot produced Metro Blue with Rick Braun and the two collaborated on nine new songs for the collection.  Joining them in the studio were Jeff Lorber, Peter White, Brian Culbertson, Dwight Sills, Gregg Karukas, Lenny Castro, Rex Rideout, Ronnie Garrett, Nate Philips and Phil Davis.

The moody album reveals a different persona than on previous Elliot recordings.  The best new school and old school stylings meet in distinctly modern urban settings with retro horn sections and vintage keyboards flourishes.  Throughout his career, Elliot has been known for delivering knockout covers of R&B classics.  For years, he’s wanted to redo The Stylistics’ haunting “People Make The World Go Round.”  “I’ve always loved this song.  It doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio.  I’m glad that I waited to do the song with Rick (Braun).  He added a hypnotic chill rhythm underneath a more traditional arrangement.  It came out sounding really different,” said Elliot.        

While his impressive collection of #1 albums and radio singles has made him an icon in the contemporary jazz radio and recording worlds, another component to Elliot’s enduring and expanding popularity is his reputation as a dynamic concert performer.  To support the release of Metro Blue, Elliot has teamed with Braun, White and Jonathan Butler for the stellar Jazz Attack U.S. concert tour, which began in May with dates that run throughout the summer. 

Having already demonstrated his business acumen a decade ago by co-founding a cutting-edge Internet multimedia company, Elliot is now partnered with Braun, their long-time manager Steve Chapman, and industry veteran Al Evers to create the ARTizen Music Group.  The missions of the label are to explore unique and innovative ways to market music to the smooth jazz lifestyle and to embrace and exploit the Internet and the digital delivery of music.  Although the initial releases will be new product from Elliot and Braun, who is in the midst of recording his first set for the label, other artists will be signed to the label for new releases and ARTizen will release catalogue pieces from veteran artists.  The Sherman Oaks, California-based record company is distributed in the United States by Ryko Distribution.  Visit the label online at www.ARTizenmusic.com.

Although he’s been a seminal voice on the instrumental music scene for almost two decades and his music helped spawn the evolution of a new radio format, Elliot is excited about the now.  “This (Metro Blue) is a very important record for me.  There’s a lot of newness, both in the music creatively and on the business side of things with our new label venture.”

Posted by Peter Böhi at June 30, 2005 5:47 AM