The New Year finds award winning jazz guitarist, composer Lloyd Gregory's CD, Gentle Warrior, surging up the jazz indie and radio airplay charts with its first single "Haiti." January 9, 2012, Gentle Warrior jumped from 79 to 46 on the "SmoothJazz.com Current Top 50 Indie Chart." It moved from 23 to 18 on the "SmoothJazz.com Radar Chart." The album is on jazz icon Stanley Clarke's new label, Roxboro Entertainment Group, which is distributed by Bungalo Records division of Universal Music Group. Clarke wisely selected Gregory as one of only four artists to launch his record label.
A Cleveland native, now long time San Francisco resident and popular entertainer on the Bay Area music scene, Gregory is a well-established classic jazz guitarist whose style is smooth, soulful, melodic, flowing and immediately charismatic. He is a master of both acoustic and electric guitar. His extensive R&B roots add a distinct texture to his styling. Minor 7th: Acoustic Music Review says, "Lloyd expertly fuses soul, pop and jazz, forging a hybrid that is both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating."
Recording the Gentle Warrior was a labor of love for Gregory. "As we grow in time, age, experience, knowledge and wisdom, there comes a time to put it all to music and share it with the world," he states. "For this album, it's time to make music for my friends."
Gregory effortlessly incorporates genres of African, reggae, Brazilian, R&B and smooth jazz in Gentle Warrior's making. AllMusic.com reviewer William Ruhlmann states, "Lloyd Gregory takes listeners on a musical travelogue... The album boasts more variety than the usual smooth jazz guitar collection, reflecting the musician's lengthy experience and mastery of different styles."
Gentle Warrior starts out with "Brazilian Sea," a retro fusion vibe written by Sunnie Paxton and accompanied by the soothing, subtle vocals of Jeanie Tracy.Next is "Germ," a satisfying pop-jazz piece centered over techno beat foundation. The third cut and first single to be offered to radio, "Haiti," has an appropriately warm, tropical, Caribbean rhythm track, which supports Gregory's melodic soloing. In "Slither" the artist gets his funk on and comments, "I kind of felt like a snake (guitar) swimming and slithering through the bayous playing inside the groove." The CD title song "Gentle Warrior" is a contemplative piece with thoughts of Africa in its inception. The sixth cut, "Dream of Love," displays Gregory's delightful artistry when he's into his tender, relaxed mood.
In the second half of the album "Desert Wind" features a hypnotizing duet with bassist Stanley Clarke. A SmoothJazzTherapy.com review describes this song as "tranquility personified." The song "Philly" successfully takes a daring leap at combining the feel of a 1970's Philly International soul sound with unexpected Indian percussion and sitar-like sounds. It works. The guitar artistry in "El Espiritu de Diana" evokes the feel of a laid-back version of Carlos Santana. Not by coincidence Gregory in his early days performed with some members of Santana. "Remembering Carmel" is a tender song with a jazzy twist. In the eleventh cut, "A Moment In Time," Gregory channels his best Wes Montgomery tones and styling influence. And finally "Zulu, Son of Cobra," rounds out the album will a mellow intro building into a joyous, uplifting anthem.
Bass legend Stanley Clarke, whose 40 albums and 60 film scores have made him one of the most recognized names in the annals of contemporary music,was a hands-on architect of the CD. He wrote, performed and produced various tracks on Gregory's album as well as served as Executive Producer. Other contributors are Felton Pilate, Derek McKenney and Jeanie Tracy.
Although Gregory has released five critically acclaimed albums of his own, he has also recorded with Martha Reeves, MC Smooth and Freddie Stewart (Sly & The Family Stone); and has performed onstage with Rodney Franklin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Gerald Albright, Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), Freda Payne, The Dells, and Lowell Fulsom. He spent years touring extensively while serving as the musical director for The Ballads, Natural Four and Jesse James, and performed on their albums. As a studio musician in Los Angeles, Gregory worked with producer Richard Perry and played sessions with top musicians such as Klaus Voorman (The Beatles), Arthur Adams (B.B. King, Quincy Jones), Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, George Benson) and Joe Sample (The Crusaders).
"I love Lloyd's style as a musician," Clarke says. "He is a sweet, warm guy, which comes out in his music. His music reminds me of a modern-day Wes Montgomery."
Gentle Warrior tracks are available on iTunes, Amazon.com and other Internet sources.
Lloyd Gregory – http://lloyd-gregory.com
Roxboro Entertainment Group – http://roxboroentertainment.com, 310-752-6066
*Lloyd Gregory is available for interviews alone or with Stanley Clarke.