is the story about lost and found. In 1997 American composer,
keyboardist and bassist Mike McEvoy and guitarist Bobby Blackston
recorded the album Elevations. Among other musicians drummers
Chris Taylor (Roachford), Crispin Taylor (Galliano, Push),
Walfredo Reyes jr. (Santana, Joe Sample), bass players Gary
Brown, Scott Firth plus horn players Iain Dixon (Mike Walker), Jacko
Peake (Push, Paul Weller), Gerard Presencer (US3, Herbie Hancock) and
Chris Margery (Incognito) joined this project. Soon after the mixing
sessions ended, the tapes went missing while in transit to the USA,
and were undiscovered for almost 10 years. They mysteriously appeared
in a New York City basement last year. The album is available now at
CDBaby. When critics write, the album will stand the test of
time, they don't know how right they are.
Who is this mysterious Bobby Blackston? He was born
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). He cut his teeth playing with
covers bands in R n' B clubs across the states during the 1970s and
80s. Made his way to Europe in 1991 where he spent a 10 year period
busking in Paris, jamming with African drummers in Senegal and finally
made this album. Although this project was recorded by the band named
after Bobby Blackston, it's the brainchild of Mike McElvoy who penned
The music of the album reminds me on many acid jazz
projects I listened in the past years (Chris Bangs, Duncan Millar,
Nite Flyte, Duboniks). The album developed in this music soundscape
and was inarguably influenced by the nu jazz scene. Fly Into The
Rainbow has this unbelievable ease of guitar sound presenting a
sultry melody with sparkles of improvisation framed by a constant
bongo beat and Chris Taylor's driving drums.
On Groove Into The Dawn Bobby Blackston is
supported by Chris Margery (sax), Damon Brown (trumpet) and Neil
Sidwell (trombone) in the style of Incognito. The horns are
transporting the melody, while Bobby Blackston is garnishing the main
theme with more expressions.
Freedom Wave has the original beat we find
today's on many chill-out albums. Bobby Blackston is interacting with
this beat before he starts new improvisations.
Pacific Reflections is featuring the second
horn section encompassing Ed Jones (sax), Gerard Presencer (trumpet)
and Neil Seidwell (trombone). The tune has some acid jazz and Latin
flavor seamlessly melted to a great sound.
Something In The Past, a slow melody in the
quality of a classic guitar tune sets new marks. Mike McEvoy is an
excellent composer. Awesome!
Ripples Of Summer is a romantic duet between
Bobby Blackston's guitar and Iain Dixon's sax. A mellow and sultry
Grey Noon is a further slow tune featuring
Iain Dixon on soprano sax. Somehow in a melodramatic mood.
The funky jam starts with Midnight Shaker
featuring Randall Bramblett on sax. Randall toured and recorded with
Steve Winwood, Greg Allman, Roger Glover and many more. He has also
released some solo albums (That Other Mile, Light of the Night, See
Through Me, No More Mr. Lucky and Thin Places).
More funky stuff runs on Keep It On with a
dynamic bass line and anew Bobby Blackston in best form.
Chicken Lickin' finishes the funky section of
the album with a furious show-down.
The final tunes are an acoustic guitar version of
Fly Into The Rainbow and the Junction 7 version of Freedom Wave.
This album is like an excavated treasure. A real
enrichment for the acid and smooth jazz scene. Dig it!
- Mike McEvoy - Website
- Buy the album at
- Title: Elevations
Artist: Bobby Blackston Band
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Rezzonator Music
01 Fly into the Rainbow [3:48]
02 Groove into the Dawn [4:23]
03 Freedom Wave [4:36]
04 Pacific Reflections [4:48]
05 Something in the Past [4:11]
06 Ripples of Summer [4:45]
07 Grey Noon [4:20]
08 Midnight Shaker [4:04]
09 Keep It On [4:08]
10 Chicken Lickin' [5:17]
11 Fly into the Rainbow (Acoustic Guitar Version) [4:10]
12 Freedom Wave (Junction 7 band version) [6:33]