Trumpeter/Keyboardist Jeff Elliott has proven his musical worth for decades, playing with Les McCann for many years, as well as working with Airto and Flora Purim, the legendary fusion band Eraserheads, and others. At long last, Elliot has channeled his versatility and creative energy into his first solo album. Different Jungles is as inventive and diverse as might be expected from a naturally gifted musician who covers bebop, funk, fusion, R&B and other genres with ease. Recorded over a long, intensive period in Beagle Studio, in Elliott's hometown of Santa Barbara, Different Jungles is an apt title for an album covering multiple stylistic bases. But it's different concepts works towards a cohesive whole. The CD opens with one of several tunes graced with Elliott's dazzling, intricate brass arrangements, 'A.D.H.D.', and the program also includes the Monk-meets- Weather Report-ish funk-swing of 'Weather Monk', the colorful sonic textures of 'Elephant's Graveyard' and 'Five Cavemen... Five Trumpets'. 'Twins Tribute' pays homage to the 9/11 tragedy and 'The Resurrection of Joey Crown' is a concept piece with a film noir-like story line. 'Millennium Jazz Dance' updates Eddie Harris' 'Freedom Jazz Dance', and 'Pelican's Blues' closes the album with a soft bluesy purr. Joining Elliott are numerous fine musicians he has worked with in various settings, including bassist Randy Tico, percussionist Airto Moreira, drummer Mike Clark (Headhunters), pianist Karen Hammack, drummers Cougar Estrada (Los Lobos) and Kevin Winard (Sergio Mendez), and saxophonist Vince Denham (subject of 'Denham Blues'). As Elliott writes in his liner notes, the album has a scenic quality, related to his memories of world travels and personal visions: 'Music to me has always presented itself through pictures in my mind...' With this inspiring and wide-ranging musical adventure, Elliott's life as a leader officially begins. Stay tuned; he's got some fresh ideas about the nature, and the breadth, of the thing called Jazz. Joe Woodard.
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