Jazz saxophonist Richard Elliot's new album pays tribute to some of his R&B heroes of the past. The title song honors a name synonymous with soul, Aretha Franklin.
Richard Elliot grew up listening to soul music, so it's no surprise to hear him return to his roots with a '70s-style version of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady." Elliot says, "The music that inspired the CD has an enduring quality and is part of our musical heritage."
The tenor sax star has been covering R&B classics for years, filling his repertoire with jazzy versions of hit songs by Stevie Wonder, Ashford and Simpson, and The Stylistics, as well as his most popular remake, "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge.
Elliot continues to delve into vintage soul with the music of two R&B icons, Eddie Kendricks and Curtis Mayfield.
He plays Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," on Rock Steady.
Elliot was only three years old when he moved with his family to Los Angeles, California from Glasgow, Scotland. He says, "I started to play saxophone at age 11, for no other reason than I liked the [instrument's] shape." He was still in his teens when he was asked to tour with Natalie Cole and The Pointer Sisters. Soon after, he went to work in the studio, adding tenor sax solos to recordings by Motown legends Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Tops. His five-year stint with Tower of Power in the 1980s led to his soaring solo career as one of today's best-selling smooth jazz artists.
Richard Elliot's Rock Steady features a fine cast of smooth jazz greats, including trumpeter Rick Braun, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Dwight Sills, percussionist Luis Conte, and drummer Ricky Lawson on the track "License To Chill."