Dynamic organist David Ellington teams up with powerhouse drummer Chris Burroughs to form Duo Elevation with the release of their debut album, "Omar's Lament". Although a Duo, Duo Elevation is far from sparse; using multi-layered tracking to give listeners a look inside the brilliant arranging and production capabilities of these two masters. The result is a high energy journey of funky exploration into the powerful psychedelia of the early 1970's.
David Ellington studied the traditional classical fare that kids typically learn. But as adolescence hit he became attracted to the many burgeoning styles available to him on the FM airways. Garage bands to church musicals gave way to study at Berklee College of Music and eventually the musical gumbo in the city of New Orleans. Mr. Ellington has taken full advantage of the diverse musical culture and studied with jazz statesman Ellis Marsalis all while playing in stylistically varied bands including leader of Chevere who played the NOLA Jazz Fest each year up until the Katrina Hurricane brought David to Atlanta in 2005. Shortly after arriving in Atlanta, David connected with drummer/percussionist/educator and Duo counterpart Chris Burroughs. Mr. Burroughs has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia with artists as varied as jam-guru Col. Bruce Hampton, blues champion Chris Duarte and Broadway singer and actress Jennifer Holiday. Collectively their musical experiences and special artistic chemistry make for an exciting elevated musical duo, known as Duo Elevation.
The Duo's debut, "Omar's Lament", comes out shootin'. Opener "Slingin'" is a full-tilt, non-stop funk, jazz fusion effort that strikes right between the eyes. This song channels classic Yes songs from the early 1970's...capitalizing on straight-ahead jazz chops and drawing from the funk rock of their youth. The manic romp of Mr. Ellington's organ falls perfectly on the powerful, driving flow of Mr. Burroughs pulse. The explosion takes the listener from hectic to tight and together from second to second until the anthem crescendos, retards into Omar's Lament Pt.1, and gently fades away...where is this dynamic Duo taking us?
Duo Elevation takes the listener to an unexpected station next. The pair pay homage to pop great Prince with a cover of The Beautiful Ones from the game changing album Purple Rain. In an era where Prince covers are not uncommon, this version is a remarkable head-turner. Take a floating trip down a lazy river with an organ melody behind the beat and a back beat right in the center to create a pocket you could drive a truck through. The concluding standard results in a hummable tribute that offers fresh insight into an unforgettable artist from an era of often relatively forgettable peers.
Don't miss Duo Elevation's use of space to offer contemporary vision into funky fusion with elements of jazz, rock, soul and R&B. Featuring six originals and two covers, this psychedelia hard-hitting album keeps the spirit of the 1970’s alive, fused with a modern-day funky edgy twist. Heads are turning...
Blue Canoe Records has released “Look Beyond The Rain” from veteran piano man Bob Thompson and The Bob Thompson Band. Mr. Thompson brings the optimism in a funky way with the help of legendary producer and long-time friend, Buzz Amato (Curtis Mayfield, Ben E. King, Kriss Kross). Referring to the theme of the album, Thompson asserts, “It is going to rain sometime on your life but you have to look beyond that. This music spreads love and makes people feel good.”
Bob Thompson is a performer, band leader, and educator and is a staple in the music of West Virginia. A native of New York, Mr. Thompson came to West Virginia to study trumpet at West Virginia State University. In 1991, Bob joined the West Virginia Public Broadcasting's ground breaking "Mountain Stage", as house pianist and featured artist. He is also co-producer of Joy To The World, a Holiday Jazz Show broadcast on public radio nationwide (since 1992), heard internationally on Voice Of America and was just inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2015. He has played all over the world with diverse artists including Bunky Green, Larry Coryell and recorded with Omar Hakim, Gerald Veasley and Kevin Eubanks.
“Look Beyond The Rain” opens with “Time 2 B One” and reveals Bob Thompson dancing along an exhilarating melody. After a few bars John Inghram (bass) and Tim Courts (drums) lay down a solid funk groove cued by the piano’s opening. The opening track unfolds into a floating solo by Doug Payne (sax), a driving solo from Ryan Kennedy (guitar) and again from Mr. Thompson with a supporting solo that brings them all together. The exchange between them resolves by the end in a dreamy fade that leaves the listener wanting more.
Possibly the most notable on the compilation is “The Swamp Stomp”. This time the listener is guided through the groove by a joyous and melodic theme on the saxophone. Again the rhythm section throws down a solid, funky groove and the listener is treated to delightful lick-swapping by some of the most talented musicians that the Eastern United States has to offer. The juxtaposition of the funk groove, wafting sax, beautifully linear fender rhodes and driving rock guitar really exposes the influences of this diverse group of individuals and melds into a solid singular voice.
“Look Beyond The Rain” is a joyful experience, no doubt about it. These incredibly talented musicians have a way of delivering accessible melody, touching the heart of the listener and not overcomplicating things. Like any great artists, they make it look easy. “Look Beyond The Rain” is a must-listen for fans of jazz, rock, blues and funk. These songs will stir emotion and leave the listener...optimistic.