Some successful musicians cater to their audience to keep them satisfied . Like the ever reliable saying goes: "Give the people what they want." Others prefer to tweak their musical game without particularly worrying about their commercial status -- but still somehow satisfy their core fans. Jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman fits into the latter category, having quietly gone about his business as an independent, self-contained artist since his recorded debut, Memories, in 2001. And this graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston has fully exercised his musicality -whether reaching back to his Caribbean roots, flexing funk and hip-hop or sharing his faith in Christ. Trotman's saxophone influences run deep but it is especially his appreciation for Grover Washington, Jr. and Kirk Whalum that reflects in much of his playing. The Whalum-like Let's Have a Good Old Time (2005) was an emphatic celebration of gospel engrossed in blues, be-bop, New Orleans traditions and steel pan bands of his homeland. Though Trotman prides himself as a jazzman, he flipped the script on The Reggae Christmas, his third release from 2007, which can be best described as smooth reggae. Switching gears again on his fourth disc, the 2009 release This Time Around, Trotman concentrated on a contemporary vein incorporating R&B, hip-hop and gospel.
On his latest disc, Love and Sax, Trotman stays in the contemporary jazz vein, only with a smoother, more sensual vibe. The biggest strengths throughout Love and Sax are his aesthetic saxophone tones and strong rapport with the guest musicians. "When I Fall In Love" shows how Trotman incorporates soft grooves into a popular standard. His collaboration with Cindy Bradley on Oasis impeccably blends soprano saxophone and flugelhorn. Guitarist Jeremiah McConico adds a Spanish flair to "Cancion De Amor." "Midnight Serenade" is the only vocal track on Love and Sax and Tony Terry- one of jack swing's top balladeers in the eighties and nineties - perfect matches Trotman's honey-dripped saxophone. Finally, "Can I Play For U" sparks a playful atmosphere courtesy of bass guitarist Webster Roach (who passed in late 2010). Overall, there's plenty to love about Love and Sax. The same can be said about Trotman's ingenuity and confidence to play whatever he wants without the concern of mainstream music's high expectations.
By Peggy Oliver