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Release Date:
February 19, 2013

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

There’s nothing like sitting back on a cold winter’s day and getting a new CD in the mail called Tropicalityto take you far away to the islands where it’s warm and sunny. Saxophonist Elan Trotman follows up his highly successful Love and Sax album with his sixth solo release. Produced by both Trotman and Peter White, this twelve track ray of warmth features some of the best artists in smooth jazz today. Says Trotman, “This album is very special to me as I’ve wanted to showcase my Caribbean heritage through my music. We “islanders” are happy people by nature and that quality has always been evident by the way our music grooves.” This happiness transpires through the music here and gives you something new to enjoy.

The first track is a Stevie Wonder song that plays off the island theme beautifully. “Masterblaster” is a great one to kick off the project as the island feel is set early, and Trotman’s tenor shines throughout. Add in some great guitar riffs from U-Nam and you have a real winner. The pace picks up a little in “Tradewinds” as the driving back beat is syncopated by the acoustic guitar of Peter White. Elan’s soprano flows smoothly like the winds, and is a nice complement to White’s guitar. I think you’ll like this one a lot as it soars to emphatic ending. There’s a little more of a straight ahead sound on the insightful “Bridgetown to Beantown” that was written about leaving the islands for school in Boston. Trotman is featured both on tenor and flute, and is graced by the keys and production talent of Jeff Lorber. Alex Al adds some nice back beats on bass and the island influence is added by the percussion of Luis Conte. White joins in again on the slower but multi layered “Always With You.” His is acoustic and piano sets the mood for Elan’s tenor.

Guitarist Paul Brown is featured on “A Time and Place” as the slow deliberate pace of the tenor moves on with accents from Brown’s strings.  “Sunset In Paradise” is one that you want to crank up this time of year. The island theme takes you there and makes you feel great. It’s also a great showcase for Elan’s soprano and some fine bass work from Nicholas Brancker. “Funkalypso” keeps the warmth flowing as it picks up the pace and features the trumpet of Lin Rountree in a fun number that is sure to be a real hit on the concert tour. I love how they take this one out to a climatic ending. The title track brings in Lorber, U-Nam, Al, and Conte once more along with guitarist Nick Colionne. He adds in a great solo that plays well off the soprano sax. This one never gets in a hurry, and is more serious than most of the previous tracks.

The final two tracks kick it back up and are fun ones to close with. “Island Groove” begins soft and airy before launching into the infectious beat that features the seductive vocals of Chantel Hampton and acoustic guitar of Peter White once again Elan’s tenor is strong here and stands out with all that’s going on around him. I like this one a lot. The finale features Lorber again as the pace stays upbeat and features Trotman on flute. They take this out to a nice ending.

Be sure to pick up a copy of this one real soon. Elan Trotman continues to shine on sax and includes a lot of talent here to do it with. The twelve tracks here are strong and stand on their own. Looking for a mental destination from the cold right now? Then Tropicalityis a place you will want to visit real soon.