One of the most exciting up-and-comers among his generation of saxophonists, Elan Trotman explores the Contemporary Jazz field in his own way on This Time Around, his most impressive CD so far. "The music is radio friendly," says Elan, "but I did not want to limit myself to the usual format. I stretch out, take chances, and add an edge to my solos. I enjoy the genre and the concept but I also break some of the rules because this is how I play live, bringing all of my different influences into the music." While inspired by Arturo Tappin, Grover Washington Jr, and Kirk Whalum, Elans music is never predictable. Throughout This Time Around his playing is full of surprises.
Born and raised in Barbados Elan remembers hearing calypsos reggae and local music in his early days. He started with piano lessons when he was seven taking up the saxophone five years later. When Elan was in high school saxophonist Arturo Tappin became his mentor. "That is when I became more exposed to other genres outside of our native music. Arturo Tappin went to Berklee in the late 1980s before returning to the island bringing back a lot of information. He liked to fuse calypsos and reggae with jazz." Elan was also inspired by Grover Washington Jr. the contemporary musicians who came down for the Barbados Jazz Festival and his own roots in gospel and Caribbean music. While in high school he led his own band eventually forming his own combo Inspiration playing cover tunes at local shows and festivals.
In 1997 Elan was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee by the Barbados government earning a Bachelors degree in Music Education. "At Berklee the most beneficial thing for me was the environment since it is such a melting pot. We all learned from each other taking solos sitting in with people and interacting with each other. I learned to be a well-rounded musician." Because he has always had a passion to be an educator Elan became a teacher in the Boston public school system shortly after he graduated and it is a role that he still enjoys today.
Prior to This Time Around Elan recorded three CDs. His debut Memories has Caribbean music with steel drums a song written in tribute to Arturo Tappin a few funky tunes and some gospel music. Let’s Have A Good Old Time is a gospel jazz album that features Elan’s jazz influences and improvisations on church songs along with modern harmonies given to the often-ancient choral hymns. One special song is a two tenor feature with Kirk Whalum that is inspired by the older Sonny Stitt/Gene Ammons feature on "Blues Up And Down." For the spontaneous project The Reggae Christmas Elan recorded a set of Xmas songs for friends and family but due to the great demand he makes the music available each Christmas season.
As a performer Elan has recorded and performed with such notables as Roberta Flack Brian McKnight Nathan East Don Grusin Peter Gammons and major league baseball pitcher and guitarist Bronson Arroyo. Elan’s love for sports and his relationships with athletes and teams are reflected not only in the group with Arroyo but in him having performed the National Anthem on numerous occasions for such teams as the Boston Celtics the Boston Red Sox the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He put together a band for NBA star Ray Allen’s wedding and performs annually for Theo Epstein’s charity event "Hot Stove Cool Music." Elan has also played on a nearly weekly basis for the past five years with the wedding band Flipside in addition to leading his own group. In 2008 and 2009 Elan has been the recipient of the award for Best Jazz Male at the New England Urban Music Awards.
This Time Around features Elan Trotman at his most creative melodic and soulful. He wrote or co-composed 13 of the 15 selections which are full of catchy hooks warm melodies passionate playing danceable rhythms and inspiring moments. Among the performances are the melodic "Lil Too Late" the boppish strut of "This Time Around" the celebratory feel of "100 Degrees" the r&bish "With You" the hypnotic "4:05 p.m." and the uplifting "Don’t Stop Believing." Whether it is the joyful "Lovely Day" "Oh How We Were Meant To Be" (featuring the vocal group Ahmir) the interplay between the three horns on "It’s Alright" or the very contemporary "Oh Yeah Do It"
Elan excels in every setting. He is assisted along the way by a variety of talented vocalists musicians (including guitarist Tyrone Chase trombonists Derrick White and Andre Hayward trumpeter Patriq Moody and drummer Nikki Glaspie) and producers to create his most vital recording to date. "I hope to bring this music all over the country and overseas playing at the same festivals as many of my mentors" says Elan. "People know me for giving high energy performances. I want listeners to leave my shows with a smile on their face. And I hope that everyone including people of all ages who might listen to straight ahead jazz smooth jazz rock or gospel to enjoy the melodies and the music on my new record. It is for them."