“Runaway” with the third album from the critically-praised jazzman
Emerging as the Pied Piper of jazz-funk, alto flutist Bradley Leighton’s third album, Back To The Funk, will be released by the Pacific Coast Jazz record label on January 17th. Leighton co-wrote five songs for the collection of R&B, funk, jazz and pop jams, which were produced and arranged by Allan Phillips. Heading to radio first will be “Runaway,” a vintage blast from the past with a modern twist that takes flight with an aggressive rhythmic groove, a cinematic chorus, and fierce alto flute and sweltering sax soloing. The radio add date for the smooth jazz format will be January 9th.
After releasing two critically acclaimed albums that veered from traditional and Latin jazz to a flirtation with R&B, Leighton decided to fully explore his passion for jazz-funk. His early influences - the Brecker Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower Of Power – are apparent on Back To The Funk’s robust horn arrangements that ricochet off of slamming funk beats while his alto flute angelically rises above the gritty grooves on tracks like “Runaway,” “Clear Blue Skies” and the title cut. Leighton chills on sensual mid-tempo trysts such as “Midnight Affairs” and “Soul Moon.” Strolling back in time, Leighton dusted off three gems to revisit: Stevie Wonder’s “Love Light In Flight,” Ray, Goodman & Brown’s “Special Lady” and Bread’s soulful “Make It With You,” which were deep fried in a vat of funk. Real guitar, bass, drums, and plenty of sax, trumpet and trombone help give the record an authentic, warm feel.
“With today’s contemporary jazz scene dominated by guitars and saxes, this (album) was sort of a proof of concept project in that I wanted to integrate the flute into the (contemporary jazz) format and make it funky. One of the key elements was to play the seldom used alto flute, which sounds larger, richer and mellower in tone,” explained the Seattle native who presently resides in the San Diego area. “Simple, catchy melodies, hip urban grooves, and a full horn section resulted in an album that will hopefully prove pleasing to fans and open the minds of those who have been resistant to music that features the flute.”
To help whet the public’s thirst for the new album, those traveling on United Airlines in November and December can preview a couple tracks from Back To The Funk as part of the in-flight music programming. Meanwhile, Leighton won the opportunity to perform live with his band at the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica at the end of January.
Leighton debuted in 2003 with Groove Yard, a beautiful collection of jazz standards. Released earlier this year, Doin’ Our Own Thang is comprised of inventive arrangements of standards and four original compositions in a traditional jazz setting that finds Leighton backed by a Hammond B3 organ trio. The album has received critical praise from such respected outlets as JazzTimes, Audiophile, All About Jazz, All Music Guide, L.A. Jazz Scene, and the San Diego Reader, and it was recently nominated for “Best Jazz Album of the Year” by the San Diego Music Awards.
Pacific Coast Jazz is distributed in the U.S. by Big Daddy Music and in the United Kingdom by The Woods.
Back To The Funk contains the following tracks:
“Back To The Funk”
“Clear Blue Skies”
“Sunday In San Diego”
“Make It With You”
“Ready For You”
“Love Light In Flight”