Richard Elliot was born in Scotland and grew up in Los Angeles, where he started playing saxophone while in middle school. It was with Tower of Power that many first heard his virtuosity on tenor saxophone. He was touring with ToP for five years, but by the late ‘80s, he left them to launch his solo career. Since then, Richard has released more than 20 albums as a leader, and has also polished his chops serving as a sideman for a lot of diverse giants such as Smokey Robinson and The Temptations. One of Elliot’s favorite projects was the collaborative release “Summer Horns”, which found him teaming up with fellow sax-slingers Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Mindi Abair. The CD was nominated for a Grammy (Best Pop Instrumental Album).
His latest album, “Summer Madness”, is a new kind of Richard Elliot recording. When he began preparing it, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. First and foremost, it had to be funky, but also celebrating his R&B roots. He also knew precisely who he wanted to accompany him on the new music: “I wanted to involve my band. A lot of artists tour with a group of musicians, and when it’s time to make a record they hook up with a producer and use completely different people.” The cast also includes two other horn men: trumpeter/trombonist Rick Braun, who also produced the album, and baritone saxophonist Curt Waylee. Most importantly though, the music was created from scratch as Richard and his handpicked musicians formulated and honed their ideas in the studio. The result of these impromptu jams is an album that touches down on a variety of moods and styles along the way, from Latin- and African-inspired funk to soul jazz, even flirting with fusion.
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