Berks Jazz Fest 2013: Elan Trotman

Sunday morning, we had to get up early again to be at the Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, where rising star Elan Trotman on saxophone was playing. As he later remarked during the show, three years ago, he came to the festival as a spectator, the year after that he sat in at the Midnight Jam, the next year he officially participated in the All-Star Jazz Jam, and this year he got his own show. He started it by entering the ballroom from the rear and wandering through his audience, playing his sax. He brought us in the right mood with the sultry "Rain" from his Love And Sax album, he totally blew me away with his soulful and smooth playing, this artist has the art of smooth jazz completely mastered, this song was simply outstanding and had people cry and shout of excitement, a nice extended guitar solo by Tyrone Chase was another highlight during this one. Hailing from Barbados, Elan Trotman paid homage to his heritage with "Tropicality", the title track of his new album, providing a laid back island vibe, followed by his rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster Jamming", that grooved along nicely. "Tradewinds" featured him on soprano sax, showing his versatility. Then his guest artist, bassist Gerald Veasley was invited to the stage, a musician he heard playing with Grover Washington, Jr. when he was 16 at the Barbados Jazz Festival, an experience that influenced him deeply, and now he had Gerald play with him - dreams come true after all! They did Grover's "Winelight" and Elan Trotman proved that had the Grover vibe down for sure, his smooth and sensual playing was simply mesmerizing, and Gerald's bass playing did the rest to make this a very memorable performance. The next song featured his trumpet player Eric Bloom on Chick Corea's "Spain", jazzing things up, during this one, each band member got a short solo spot. After that, a really great Earth, Wind & Fire medley followed, starting with "That's The Way Of The World", segueing into "Reasons" which featured some nice flugelhorn, then "Sun Goddess" which really evoked a classic EWF feeling and had the audience sing along, then "Can't Hide Love" and "Getaway", providing another highlight of the show. He did one encore and used this opportunity to get out into the audience once more and play close to his fans. This concert was really outstanding, I knew that Elan Trotman was good, but during this show, I learned that he is an absolute top-class artist, and with his humble and nice personality, there should nothing stand in his way to make it to the very top of the genre.