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This Time Around by Elan Trotman

Barbados born and raised, saxophonist, flutist, guitarist, vocalist, educator and composer Elan Trotman started on the piano at the age of seven and the saxophone at 12. Earning a full scholarship, given by the Barbados government, to the prestigious Berklee College of Music aided the young musician helping him to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Following graduation Trotman took a teaching position in the Boston public school system. Still doing that today, he also plays throughout New England with others and his own band. His list of previous music employers includes artists like Roberta Flack, Brian McKnight, Nathan East and Don Grusin. This Time Around is Trotman’s fourth release as a leader. In 2008 and 2009 Trotman was the recipient of the award for Best Jazz Male at the New England Urban Music Awards.

This Time is a smooth jazz disc employing the talents of various producers and artists, including Tyrone Chase and Chris Loftlin from Brian McKnight’s band, Nikki Glaspie from Beyonce’s band, Davy Nathan from Toni Braxton’s band, Aaron Bellay from Sam Kinninger’s band, Anthony Steel from Warren Hill’s band and Andre Hayward from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

If there is one thing Trotman does understand, it’s how to construct smooth jazz. Understanding that the best smooth jazz is good instrumental R&B, Trotman has crafted 17 tracks full of wonderfully breezy melodies, hip and not overcomplicated drum tracks, and some nice sweet and catchy hooks. As a soloist Trotman is not just accomplished, he is able to find the perfect notes inside of each of his harmonic grooves.

The best tracks are the ones where he brings in friends for guest vocals. Neil L’etendre’s vocals on "With You" are perfect. His voice is subtly mixed into hip medium groove, and Trotman’s tenor playing finds the perfect balance of sweet sentiment and lovely floating. "Oh How We Were Meant To Be" features Ahmir on vocals. Similar in vibe to "With You," both of these Trotman compositions find a wonderfully lush and romantic vibe. Athene Wilson and Trotman’s wordless vocalizations on "4:05 p.m." work exceptionally well above Trotman’s repeated note saxophone ostinato rhythmic dancing. There are also plenty of sweet instruments. "Crusin’," which features Tyrone Chase’s hip guitar work balanced by Trotman’s flute is charming perfect. "Lil Too Late" is sexy and very stylish.

If there is a problem with the disc it lay in the much too similar rhythmic tempos employed throughout the disc. Many of the tunes all clock in a little over one beat per second, and even though Trotman is a smooth jazz composer of the highest regard, after a while the beat becomes a little too similar. Yet all-in-all, a wonderful disc and worth checking out if you’re looking to find an artist who has not yet gained national attention, but deserves it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Elan Trotman
  • CD Title: This Time Around
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: E.T Muzik
  • Rating: Four Stars
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