The consistency & glow of Urban, Contemporary & Smooth Jazz saxman Gerald Albright effects every stage presence he brings to his listeners from around the world! As always, we are excited to have Gerald join Terrill for an interview on The Urban Music Scene.com!! He speaks to us about his performance to come at the Playboy Jazz Festival (2008), his upcoming new release “Sax For Stax” & more!
TERRILL: The Urban Music Scene.com is elated to have with us the one and only Contemporary Jazz sax man, Gerald Albright. He’s in the house!! What’s up Gerald?
GERALD: Hi Terrill, how are you doing?
TERRILL: I’m doing good man. I’m doing real good. What’s happening with you and the Playboy Jazz this year?
GERALD: Well, I’m real excited about being a part of the Playboy Jazz Festival this year. I’m going to be touring with a bunch of guys I know and love and have known for many, many years – Jeff Lorber, Jeff Golub and Peter White. It’s called the “Guitars and Saxes Tour” and we’re coming to the festival. It’s just one of the greatest festivals to play man. Darlene Chan is a great friend of mine and I’ve known her a for long time and it’s always a pleasure to collaborate with her on such fine festivals.
TERRILL: Absolutely! I’ve gone to the Festival for the last three or four years and you know Gerald? Whenever you perform brother, you put it down!!
GERALD: Thank you very much! We have a party out there! We like to get the audience involved and it’s more than jus
TERRILL: Cool! What type of music you plan to get into at the Playboy?
GERALD: Well, the one thing about this particular year of Guitars and Saxes is that we kind of touch on everything. In our full show, we normally do contemporary jazz, smooth jazz & blues. We have some straight-ahead stuff. It’s jus
TERRILL: Oh absolutely..
GERALD: And just different flavors of things happen. No two shows are alike, because jazz is infinite and improvisation is infinite and so it comes out different every time we approach it.
TERRILL: Cool! And for your music. All that flavor you drop on there man is… as it relates to a lot of R&B too.
GERALD: I’m one of James Brown’s biggest fans. A
TERRILL: That’s sweet. And you came a long way brother.
GERALD: Thank you man.
TERRILL: You had released some seriously great projects. In fact by popularity, we had a video on the Jazz page of The Urban Music Scene.com recently – “My My My.” Your cover of Johnny Gill’s classic title cut received playback! It’s just something about the way you touch some of those covers man. Speaking of covers, you got this big Stax tribute project coming up. What’s happening with that?
GERALD: Yes, June 24th of 2008, we have our release date for a project called, “Sax For Stax.” . We’re celebrating 50 years for Stax being in business. It’s the 50th anniversary and that’s quite an accomplishment. So, we’re going to mirror some of the arrangements of Issac Hayes, The Staple Singers, The Dramatics, Johnny Taylor. Then we have some instrumental originals within those list of songs that kind of round out the project. I have Will Downing as a featured artist on there, along with Ledisi, and Kirk Whalum. My touring band is also my recording band. So we went into the studio and did the whole project live and we have live strings. It’s jus
TERRILL: Cool! Right on! Basically with the recording artists you’ve mentioned, you have a stellar lineup! You couldn’
GERALD: Yes. I’m real excited for him, he’s had quite a year-and-a-half. For him to be able to travel and go and speak on what he went through in terms of his muscular disorder that he’s been down with the past year-and-a-half. I mean that’s such an accomplishmen
TERRILL: Absolutely, we’re very excited for him! And definitely excited for you and artists like yourself who have been consistent in the game. You’ve been in the game for quite a while and you’re still hanging in there man. In fact, how is the industry treating you? How’s contemporary/smooth jazz doing?
GERALD: Well, It pretty much parallels the economy and right now smooth jazz is just doing okay. It’s not doing great. It’s widely known tha
TERRILL: There you go. That’s right!
TERRILL: That’s righ
TERRILL: People who do dig the genre, dig the music, they will pay to come see you and I think that’s probably one of the greatest influences that help to promote the artist(s).
TERRILL: And it resonates.
GERALD: I take it humbly. I don’t take it for granted man. For me to, like you mentioned earlier, be in the game – I mean, I’ve been doing it since 1987 as a recording artis
GERALD: I’m elated about that.
TERRILL: Man, right on! One of our guest writers, Shelly A. wanted to ask this – she goes, ‘Ask Gerald if he and Will Downing are going to put ou
GERALD: Well, it could happen. It very well could happen. In fact, it may be more easier these days than before, because now we’re label mates. He’s also on Peak Records. And we find each other these days doing like, features on one another’s projects respectively. We’ve been asked that question a lot over the years and hopefully it’ll come to fruition. I mean, I think it would be a great idea for us to do Volume 2 of what we did back in 1998 with “Pleasures of the Night” and that record is still selling and I’m very happy.
TERRILL: Oh absolutely.
GERALD: In fact, it turned out to be a kind of category item. I mean, it just keeps selling like a, like a Nat King Cole Christmas record. You know it just keeps coming, keeps coming…
GERALD: That’s a blessing in itself. So maybe Volume 2 will come along in the next several months or so.
TERRILL: Cool. Then going back to your “Stax for Sax” Tribute, are you going to tour, promote the CD after the Playboy Jazz Festival?
GERALD: Absolutely. I’m already performing a couple of songs off that very project in the new Guitars and Saxes Tour. We just started this past weekend in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but once the record comes out, we’re going to do a full press promotion and marketing of i
TERRILL: Good! I can’t wait to hear it man. I know it’s going to be ho
GERALD: Well, there’s a lot of guys tha
TERRILL: Going back to what you just stated about that niche sound and knowing who’s coming in as soon as you hear a sound…you know who it is, you know. It’s like hearing the base pluck and you know it’s Marcus Miller. I know when I hear your stuff, man it’s automatically you! Right on the track! I mean, you can be anywhere – in the mall, at Kmart, I don’t care. You could be in the elevator, you could be anywhere. As soon as I hear that music come on, as soon as that sax whales out, ‘man that is Gerald Albright!’
GERALD: That’s nice of you to say, I appreciate that.
TERRILL: That’s real man! Like I said, we really appreciate the time you’re spending with us today for the interview and hey, going back to the Sax for Stax project. Are you dabbling into some other music genres by chance? You said about the project tha
GERALD: I have. I have done some gospel-flavored songs on particular records in the pas
TERRILL: The last couple of tracks off your previous ones that you indicated was awesome man. In some ways unexpected. When you had covered that one track, I believe it’s off the “Grooveology”…..
GERALD: Yeah, actually Donnie McClurkin’s “We Fall Down.”
TERRILL: That’s right.
GERALD: Yes. I know when I first heard that song, it just immediately hit me man. I was like ‘Oh My God’ it’s such a simple song. I mean the concept of a simple lyric – “We fall down, We get up,” It’s like, this is the kind of stuff people need to hear because people are always living volatile lives. Sometimes you just need that song to just kind of lift you up. That song has been really positive in my life so I wanted to do an instrumental version of i
TERRILL: Oh yeah! We look forward to it. In fact, we encourage you to do it. I know the fans can’t wait to see that definitely. It just goes to show how deep you are about your music, how well textured you are. In any event, we look forward to seeing you at the Playboy Jazz.
TERRILL: And I hope you go in there and turn them out!! I know you will man!
GERALD: Thank you. We’re going to have some fun and we want everybody to come out to share the moment with us.
TERRILL: Cool, cool. And will look forward to “Sax for Stax” come June 24th, 2008.
GERALD: And people can find some information about it on my website, www.geraldalbright.com
TERRILL: I’m looking righ
GERALD: All right.
TERRILL: Brother, thank you so much for your time.
GERALD: My pleasure.
TERRILL: And God bless you man and we hope that – would you like to do a part two down the road?
TERRILL: Let’s do it for the “Sax for Stax.”
GERALD: You got it. I’ll look forward to that.
TERRILL: You got it man, take care…
GERALD: All right, all the best.
(Check Amazon for the discography of Gerald Albright! Cheers!)