Official Biography (courtesy of Utopia Records)
SOULFUL, COOL & SAXY are just some of the beginning adjectives that one may use to describe music veteran and record label executive, Alfonzo Blackwell. From his striking looks and funky-edge style to his sexy saxophone tones and riffs, Alfonzo Blackwell has been pioneering his own trail for the past fifteen years now. Alfonzo Blackwell blazed onto the urban contemporary jazz scene with his chart-busting debut album "Let's Imagine" in 1995. He has been following Billboard© hits after hits from album to album with such songs as "Alfonzo's Love Theme", "Hermina" (the ever-sentimental tribute to his mother), "Passion", "Funky Shuffle", "Take One", "Dance To This" and his current hot single, "Talkin' Saxy" from his current CD, "Dance To This", to list a few. In conjunction with his 15th Anniversary in the music business, Alfonzo Blackwell is working on new music, set for release late 2010, titled "Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell". The new CD will be his 8th album career release and his 4th release on his own founded label imprint, Utopia Records USA, Inc. It will feature a tribute to the late great jazz legend John Coltrane and an originally power-ballad tribute to the late, King of Pop Michael Jackson, penned by Blackwell. This is his first concept album and the most highly anticipated release of his career that will feature Alfonzo Blackwell on all 5 instruments (saxophones, piano/keyboards, bass, guitar and drums); hence the title "Quintet..."
Twice nominated for Billboard© Best Jazz Video ("Love No Limit"and "A Little Bit of Sax"), this virtuoso not only masters the alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, but he also is a well accomplished pianist, guitarist, bassist and drummer. His "Funky Shuffle" and "Take One (Remix)" music videos also generated a lot of heat. Listeners can hear his soulfully original artistry on all of his compositions. He hones his songwriting, producing, arranging, composing, lyrical and band leader skills and craft by combining an infectious blend of Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop and straight-up SOUL. Blackwell's chief musical influences are John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson.
Alfonzo Blackwell, with the soulful ease on his saxophones, has created an unmatched sound. His sound, his music and powerful punch-delivery sax tones, lines, riffs and melodic phrasing are instantly identifiable. His songwriting, lush harmonies, arrangements, compositions and top-notch productions and keen sense of phrasing and drama, is what has and will continue to set him apart. He tells a compelling story with his music and it's a great story the world will always want to hear about. Throughout his career, Alfonzo Blackwell has worked with and developed great relationships with many leaders and experts in the music and entertainment world. Grammy Award© winner and music legend James Mtume stated, "The truth needs to be told, just as this CD is needed to be heard" about his previous released, "Sax You Down" album. The Smooth Jazz Network (The #1 Nationally Syndicated Smooth Jazz Radio Broadcasting Network),stated about Alfonzo's current release "Dance To This", "This could quite possibly be the year of a new jazz order, if so, that order is being led by Alfonzo Blackwell. A musician who is taking the music he loves to a whole new level with an exciting and provocative approach. Since his debut Blackwell has pursued a goal of bridging the gap between Contemporary Smooth Jazz and soulful R&B/Hip-Hop Funk. At the rate he is going, there won't be a gap for much longer." Alfonzo has been counseled by legendary Business Manager, Bert Padell and Entertainment Attorney L. Londell McMillan who among many others have praised Alfonzo's artistry to name a few.
Born and raised in Queens , NY as a child he taught himself to play the piano by ear at the tender age of six. He then went on to pick up the saxophone at age eleven. Alfonzo instantly fell in love with the sax and then began his intense musical journey. He started writing his original music compositions in middle school. Destined for greatness, this New York native was accepted at the prestigious (Fame) Performing Arts High School in NYC and then continued his advance studies at Queens College and Five Towns College in Long Island , NY . During and after his classical and jazz studies, Blackwell performed at all the hottest and legendary jazz clubs throughout the tri-state area and earned a weekly residency at a popular Manhattan music hotspot. "Back in the day, I was playing everywhere, writing music, jamming since I was a youth in middle school until my first record deal at age 23. My mom drove me everywhere, until I was old enough to travel alone or drive myself to play." says the consummate musician. "I did it all, played in big bands, jazz ensembles, funk bands, etc...I always showcased my original material to my growing audiences and I also played traditional jazz standards as well as I also added a few cover tunes that I was grooving to at that moment in my shows. My passion for performing live was sparked so many years ago. So I'm so excited to get out there and take all of my musical experiences and tour with my music and amazing musicians. 2010 will be a career highlight for me." Alfonzo says with enthusiasm. The forth coming new CD, "Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell" is befitting for his fifteenth year career retrospection.
Alfonzo Blackwell has graced the stage with numerous R&B legends from Gladys Knight, The Whispers, Roy Ayers and Freddie Jackson to the R&B giants of today such as Brian McKnight, Mary J Blige and Faith Evans. Within the course of two years since his debut, he scored deals in Hollywood and was featured on two theme tracks for separate projects. The first was his song "Love Sick" which landed on the soundtrack for the suspense thriller-movie, "Never Talk to Strangers", which starred Antonio Banderas and Rebecca DeMornay. The second was "The Nights Will Never Be The Same" from the internationally syndicated and popular television show "Baywatch Nights", which starred David Hasselhoff and Angie Harmon. (Alfonzo was featured playing the theme song at the end of each episode alongside of David Hasselhoff.) In between tapings, David Hasselhoff requested to hear Alfonzo play accapella on the set. Hasselhoff said, "There's so much sweet soul coming out of your horn, you can really play that thing..." Blackwell also wrote and composed music, lyrics; vocal arranged and produced tracks for various soul-singers such as Jean Norris from the classic-soul duo, Zhané. In addition to that, he has collaborated with top-industry producers such as veteran super-producers, Yasha Barjona (Kenny G, Najee, Freddie Jackson) and Preston Glass (Kenny G, George Benson, Natalie Cole) and recorded with top-rated musicians such as renowned Jazz/Rock Drummer Omar Hakim (Madonna, Sting), master pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs,veteran Smooth Jazz Guitarist Chuck Loeb and legendary R&B singer Freddie Jackson,to list just a few. Alfonzo Blackwell is a seasoned entertainer and has performed as a headliner with just about all of the top contemporary, urban and smooth jazz artists in the nation over the past 15 years of his career. He is well respected within the music industry.
Aside from being a recording artist and the CEO/President of Utopia Records , Alfonzo Blackwell is a fitness expert who is a former bodybuilder. In fact, after he won first place awards and prizes in numerous bodybuilding competitions in his early years, he considered a professional career in bodybuilding. In recent years, he has competed in both regional and city-wide competitions, which has garnered him additional first place trophies. He is also a competitive Jiu-Jitsu martial arts practitioner and uses meditation to focus on his inner-self after his busy schedule of operating both, a full-service record label company and production/recording studio businesses, songwriting, composing, producing and band leading.
Fifteen years now in the music industry and Alfonzo Blackwell is just getting started. His mission has always been to bridge the musical gap between adult contemporary music such as Jazz and youth driven music such as Hip-Hop; and to promote unity in our living generations, cultures and communities. Alfonzo sums it up best, "It's not the type or style of music, but good music, is good music, is good music. Period!"
Alfonzo Blackwell is an Artist, Musician, Entertainer, Entrepreneur, Fitness Expert and Motivational Speaker who lends his time and support to various global charitable causes and organizations. He also serves as a Board Member of the Artist Empowerment Coalition (AEC) and is a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association (AHA) and their Power To End Stroke (PTES) campaign initiative.