Saxophonist Richard Elliot has arrived at a very special anniversary for blowing audiences away with his soulfully robust playing. 2014 marks 30 years since the release of his debut solo album, Initial Approach (ITI – 1984), on which he stepped out showcasing his tenor sax, soprano sax, Lyricon and writing skills. What does a red-blooded Scottish sax man raised in Los Angeles – now with a wife and five children – do for a 30-year encore? Well, this one-time member of the classic soul band Tower of Power proves he’s “not a young man” and drops the most overtly sensual, romantic and intimate album of his career in collaboration with contemporary jazz production/guitar giant Paul Brown. The title of this 17th solo project is Lip Service (the artist’s first for Heads Up/Concord Music Group).
Slow burning intensity has been Richard Elliot’s stock-in-trade since debuting as a member of the novel Chapman Stick-based quartet Kittyhawk in 1979 at the age of 19. With influences ranging from Grover Washington, Jr. to John Klemmer, his broad range of saxual expression knows no bounds. He has topped charts and toured the world as a leader as well as with the innovative groups Guitars & Saxes and Summer Horns (Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Dave Koz), the latter of whom he’ll be on the road with all summer 2014 (debuting a selection or two from Lip Service) before continuing on with his own shows in the fall. It’s the unabashed excitement from concert fans that drives him to this day.
Looking back on the 16 solo projects that led to Lip Service, Elliot concludes, “I’ve never counted my albums. I tend to do a record every year-and-a half or two. It just goes by so quickly. I still love what I do. Recording is a fun yet arduous process… but I never get tired of playing live. I always say I play my concerts for free and get paid for everything else I have to do the other 23 hours of the day! It’s a privilege to play music for a living…and I never take a gig for granted.”
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 – 8:00 pm
B B King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42 St, New York, NY 10036