Jef Kearns - The Flute (2016)

Jef Kearns
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Jef Kearns - The Flute

Jef Kearns has been on a lifelong mission to showcase his chosen instrument – the flute – as a viable lead instrument in R&B music. Flutes have had a long presence in R&B from the psychedelic pastoralism of “Spill The Wine,” and the instrument often turned up in funk music and the fusion of Hubert Laws. But that was the 70s and 80s when R&B bands ruled the earth and it was possible to hear the jazz fusion of artists like Hubert Laws and his sax playing brother Ronnie on commercial radio – albeit late at night. Radio and the music industry as a whole have changed a great deal since then.

Jef Kearns - The Flute

Jef Kearns has been on a lifelong mission to showcase his chosen instrument – the flute – as a viable lead instrument in R&B music. Flutes have had a long presence in R&B from the psychedelic pastoralism of “Spill The Wine,” and the instrument often turned up in funk music and the fusion of Hubert Laws. But that was the 70s and 80s when R&B bands ruled the earth and it was possible to hear the jazz fusion of artists like Hubert Laws and his sax playing brother Ronnie on commercial radio – albeit late at night. Radio and the music industry as a whole have changed a great deal since then.

However, Kearns wanted to show that the flute could have the same impact in R&B music as its woodwind cousin – the saxophone. It helped that Kearns grew up on a steady diet of 90s hip-hop and R&B as a youngster, and by the time he started making music in the first decade of the 21st Century, Kearns knew how to marry the pastoral sound of the flute to modern production techniques of contemporary R&B.

He showcased that talent on his debut CD, 2009’s On The Level, and its follow-up Soufisticated in 2013. Kearns returns in 2016 with the EP, The Flute, providing a hint of what he is up to now along with a flashback to tunes featured on those earlier full-length projects. The five track project includes remixes of the romantic instrumental ballad “Lavender” from On The Level and an extended version of hauntingly funky title cut from Soulfisticated.

The EP includes instrumental and vocal versions of a new number – a breezy mid-tempo tune titled “Hazy,” with the vocal version, combining Kearns melodic playing with Karen Jewels’ attractive singing, being a real winner.

Could The Flute be advanced advertising for a full-length album that may soon be coming down the pike?  While two tunes appeared on previous album, Kearns provides enough new material to whet the appetite of R&B fans and to show the power that the flute has as a primary instrument.

By Howard Dukes

 
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