Music Reviews

Review – ‘Authentic Life’ by Richard Elliot

 January 30, 2021

By  ExoticDJ

Richard Elliot has been in the game for quite some time. Each release is guaranteed to have an iconic track, as he knows how to create some great music.

Authentic Life is Elliot's first release in five years, and  whether you are the casual smooth jazz listener, or a die-hard fan, you will find something here to enjoy. 

Elliot has brought some friends along for the ride, which includes Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Jeff Lorber, and Chris "Big Dog" Davis, just to name a few.

Let's check out the ten track effort by the veteran saxman.

Review - 'Authentic Life' by Richard Elliot

We kick it off with Snapshot. This track encapsulates the feel of the entire album - or, dare I say, gives you a snapshot of the entire album? Groovy is the term we will use, as it is a little funky, and you can just groove in your seat. We have a little southern soul here, and it really feels good. Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun, Dave Koz and David Mann play on the track.

Walk With Me is up next. Let's call this R & B and Blues. The organ fills give us some of those bluesy notes, and that gritty bassline is all that and then some. Rick Braun Co-wrote and he plays five instruments on the track.

The perfect song for a lazy Sunday would be Right On Time. The horn arrangement here is incredible, almost like a singing group. Pay attention to the hook and you will know what I am talking about. The guitar work is tight, and don't sleep on that breakdown at the end. It is all brought together by the production of Chris "Big Dog" Davis

The title track, Authentic Life is next. When you have a Dave Koz/Rick Braun/Richard Elliot trio, you will have a sound that is not only authentic, but you will have a technically sound horn arrangement. As mid-tempo songs go, this might be at the top spot in 2021.

We get some uptempo licks with Move Ahead. Elliot can sure ride a groove, right? You can hear those Tower of Power influences in this track. You know he used to play with them, right? Phillipe Sais is on the keyboards and Adam Hawley is on guitar.

Up next is the lone remake on the album. Gino Vanelli's Living Inside Myself is a slow jam's slow jam. Vanelli is a great songwriter, and Elliot does the damn thing on this one. Whether it is the original or the 2021 jazz version, a great song never gets old.

Elegant People is vintage Richard Elliot. The nonchalant tempo of the sax, yet extremely satisfying. The ones who do their thing the best are the ones that make it look like they aren't even trying. Just like the title states, this track will fit nicely in your (virtual) cocktail party playlist.

Moon Gazer is a track for the soul. Just pay attention, and in addition to the horns, you will hear those keyboards - the chords and that organ. The bass is working that groove, and last but not least, that shaker really completes the song.

Let's do some smooth funk with Secrets. Eric Valentine is on the drums, Lenny Castro on percussion, Rick Braun on trumpet, and Chris "Big Dog" Davis is on keyboards. This sounds like a jam session that evolved into a refined track. Even though you have an all-star lineup on this recording, Elliot still drives that groove. 

The set concludes with Boogie. This is definitely a "last song" type of track. You know, the song that is played at the end of a show. It has a free-wheeling type of attitude, one that will make you call for an encore after it is finished. Well, there's no encore here, so just enjoy the bounce of the track, as Elliot leaves you on a high note.

Authentic Life is an enjoyable album from start to finish. Elliot once again shows that he is one of the top 'funk' horn players in the game.  Take a listen to all of the tracks, and you will find a few to add to your favorite playlists.

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