Elan Trotman - Tropicality (2013)

Elan Trotman
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Some folks don't have the good fortune to discover and develop their natural giftsat an early age, but that never seemed to be a problem for saxophonist and composer Elan Trotman. A Barbados native who took music lessons from the age of seven, his skills were guided under the tutelage of esteemed local sax man, Arturo Tappin, and fleshed out in a series of groups and even his own band all before graduating high school. In the years since graduation and his fruitful period at Berklee, Mr. Troutman put his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education to practical use as an instructor and a musician, performing with the biggest and brightest names in jazz and soul (Brian McKnight, Jamie Foxx,Raul Midon, etc.) before embarking on his own career as a full-fledged composer and saxophone soloist. His childhood memories of reggae and calypso rhythms always found their way into his albums, but none are as replete with island-influenced grooves as his sixth CD, Tropicality.
Some folks don't have the good fortune to discover and develop their natural giftsat an early age, but that never seemed to be a problem for saxophonist and composer Elan Trotman. A Barbados native who took music lessons from the age of seven, his skills were guided under the tutelage of esteemed local sax man, Arturo Tappin, and fleshed out in a series of groups and even his own band all before graduating high school. In the years since graduation and his fruitful period at Berklee, Mr. Troutman put his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education to practical use as an instructor and a musician, performing with the biggest and brightest names in jazz and soul (Brian McKnight, Jamie Foxx,Raul Midon, etc.) before embarking on his own career as a full-fledged composer and saxophone soloist. His childhood memories of reggae and calypso rhythms always found their way into his albums, but none are as replete with island-influenced grooves as his sixth CD, Tropicality.
 
Boasting of famous collaborators (Jeff Lorber, Teri Lynn Carrington, Nick Colionne), self-composed tracks and a few well-crafted remakes, Tropicality has a buoyant feel and modernized approaches to traditional island-esque grooves: the title track, featuring Colionne, offers up an enchanted, come-hither vibe, while "Funkalypso" is brash and saucy thanks to the dab of Carrington in the mix.  It would be tempting for a novice to leave the melody of Bob Marley's often-covered "Wait In Vain" as is, but Troutman's  scintillating sax technique injects enough attitude and optimism to make his approach to the lovelorn classic less bitter and more sweet.
 
Vocals: 2 stars 
Lyrics: 2 stars 
Music: 3.5 stars 
Production: 4 stars
SoulTracks Call: Recommended
 
By Melody Charles
 
Choice Cut - Maysa - "Lovin' You Is Easy"

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