DC native multi-instrumentalist Eric Valentine is
known by his performance as drummer on smooth jazz albums
such as Blue Bolero, Don't Talk, Dance!
(Chris Standring), Another Time (Rocco Ventrella),
Just Come On In (Nick Colionne), Here To Stay
(Darryl Williams), Supersonic (Will Donato),
Magical (Jonathan Fritzen), Groovin'
(Peter White) and many more.
Eric started his solo career with the album Eric
Valentine's Jazz Impressions in 2003. Now he returns
with Velvet Groove (2018) on the label Matcha
Entertainment LLC. Eric composed all songs, partly in
collaboration with other musicians of the album with the
exception of Joy Inside My Tears, which is written by Stevie Wonder.
Performing with Eric are Keith McKelley, Richard Elliot,
Kirk Whalum; Elan Trotman, Gerald Albright (sax), Adam
Hawley, Darrell Crooks; Kay-Ta Matsuno (guitar), Brian
Simpson, Allyn Johnson (piano), Benjamin J. Shepherd, Dwayne
"Smitty" Smith, Nathaniel Philips, Andre Berry, Darryl
Williams (bass), Gary Stanionis, Munyungo Jackson
(percussion), Anthony Crawford (keys), Greg Manning (synth,
vocals), Rick Braun (trumpet), B. Valentine (lead vocals),
The starting song Back to the Groove is based on a
popular shuffle rhythm. The tense melody arch discharges
between guitarist Adam Hawley and saxophonist Keith McKelley
in colorful tone patterns delicately spiced by Brian Simpson
on piano. E. Love (Everlasting Love) impresses with
a magic multitude of instrumental and human voices. Velvet
Groove shows highlights with as star-studded cast of
Rick Braun and Richard Elliot both illuminating the tune
with their outstanding performance.
Back in the Day features the golden voice of Eric's
wife B. Valentine who Kirk Whalum contrasts with an
instrumental counterweight. Mr. Z is a tune
tailored for pianist Hans Zermuehlen nicely accompanied by
Jamal Brown on flute. That Guy presents Mr. Act Now
Or Never in short MR A.N.O.N. who adds a new component to
the album with his spoken words. The short episode
Velvet Groove Reprise reveals an exquisite drum solo by
The melodious Mi Sol features guitarist Kay-ta
Matsuno on acoustic guitar. Unabashed romanticism from the
finest. 'Tis So Sweet is dedicated to the late bass
player Wayman Tisdale, who left a big gap. Bassist Anthony
Crawford perfectly matches the sound of his bass guitar and
Gerald Albright enhances the emotional intensity on the
Joy Inside My Tears is one of the songs from Stevie
Wonder's album Songs in the Key of Life (1976) who
did not find their way into the charts as singles.
Indisputable is the great influence this album has had and
has on the musical development of many artists. This also
Eric Valentine honors with a wonderful and soulful
interpretation. Passionate singer André de Priest can be
called just a stroke of luck.
Sixth Sense invites the listener to a seldom
meeting of flute (Jamal Brown) and cello (Nicole Pinnell) in
an awe-inspiring question and answer dialogue. After a short
reprise of Joy Inside My Tears the album receives a
worthy final with Reflections by saxophonist Kirk
Whalum, pianist Wayne Lindsey and Eric Valentine on keys.
Eric Valentine's album Velvet Groove is certainly
one of the years best recordings. Velvet Groove is
the music Eric Valentine stands for and is representative
for his personal life experiences. His music understands the
simple joy of beings.
Buy the album
in all stores
Title: Velvet Groove
Artist: Eric Valentine & Velvet Groove
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Matcha Entertainment LLC.
1 Back to the Groove
2 E. Love (Everlasting Love)
4 Back in the Day
5 Mr. Z
6 That Guy
7 Velvet Groove Reprise
8 Mi Sol
9 'Tis So Sweet (for
10 Joy Inside My Tears
11 Sixth Sense
12 Joy Inside My Tears (Reprise)
13 Reflections (Back in the