New York, NY (USA) – Saxman/Songwriter/Producer, Alfonzo Blackwell is busy, busy, busy working hard in the studio on his 8th CD project on Utopia Records. His current release “Dance To This” brought listeners to the dance floor and his approach for his next project is to bring listeners the sophistication, style, class and fire that comes from the freedom that has embodied his music for 15 years now. The multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire reclines in his black leather console chair in his state-of-the-art digital recording studio and takes a brief moment to reflect on his studio recording process. Alfonzo says, “I’m working day in and day out to capture all parts of me, all parts of my essence and all parts of my soul. It’s almost like a 24/7 music reality show…me in the studio. I’m living in my studio now.” So far, Alfonzo has already recorded an astounding thirty-one tracks and has no intensions on slowing down or putting a cap on that total. The consummate musician goes on to say, “I’m looking to write, produce and record at least one hundred tracks for this album to select from. This is the first concept album for me and it’s a portrait of me as an artist, entertainer and musician. It’s important for me to put forth the best original work of my career and each track must be right.” Most noteworthy is Alfonzo’s traditional standard rendition of the late great John Coltrane’s “Impressions”, which is very impressive! Another very noteworthy and highly anticipated track is Alfonzo’s tribute to the late great and inarguably, the best entertainer in the history of mankind, The King of Pop Michael Jackson.
The impressive “Impressions” is a very progressive take on the John Coltrane classic jazz standard. Mr. Blackwell plays the all the live instruments on this piece and in addition to that, he also arranged, produced, engineered and mixed the groundbreaking track as well. It takes soul and masterful improvisation to pull this off with a bundle of God given gifts of talent. “When you give your complete heart and soul to your music, the rest is already written. It’s a spiritual thing so I let the music drive my ambition, at that point.” Alfonzo states in response to the acknowledged complexity of taking on this musical odyssey. “Coltrane’s spiritual and musical tour de force will always live inside of me and inspire future generations to come. His legacy will remain strong and vital. His raw genius is truly one of a kind. Coltrane is JAZZ.”
The epic, "MJ" is an original heart-wrenching tribute song and power-ballad that Alfonzo penned in the wake of the unfortunate and untimely death of music legend and icon, Michael Jackson. This song is a flawless performance that will leave the listener wanting more. A part of MJ was channeled in the making of this brilliant piece. Alfonzo says, "Michael Jackson used his voice in so many ways as an instrument like that of a saxophone, bass, guitar and even a percussion drum when the music called him to do so. He had the unmatched ability to pull from his plentiful vocal range to capture sounds that brought out the many emotions of the human soul across the entire world whether you spoke the English language or any foreign language for that matter. The language of music communicates through the hearts of all of us. I had to pay tribute to his gift of music. His genius was a major music influence to me, thus his music is a part of my musical development." Blackwell takes an instrumental approach to capture the sounds of the human voice that is reverent to Miles Davis’ approach to the legend’s “Human Nature” classic masterpiece.
Jazz Maverick Alfonzo Blackwell’s 8th CD project is appropriately titled, “Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell”. He displays the many gifts of his musical genius while ushering a new era of jazz excellence with his new project in the works. Alfonzo is not only a superb saxophonist…mastering the alto, soprano and tenor saxophones; he is an accomplished pianist, guitarist, bassist and drummer. He is not only prolific on these 5 instruments; hence the CD title “Quintet…” he is a seasoned songwriter and producer. He is also a bebop jazz master performer and on the flip side, a soulful R&B instrumental entertainer. His live performances are infamous with fusing contemporary jazz, funk, classic soul, R&B, hip-hop, pop and burning traditional straight-ahead jazz. Put all of the many sides of Alfonzo Blackwell, the Artist, Musician, Songwriter, Producer, Performer and Entertainer and you are witnessing and listening to history in the making with this ground-breaking project (Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell). The pioneer of the 21st century modern contemporary jazz renaissance, Alfonzo Blackwell introduces the “Re-rebirth of Cool” with a soulful twist of rhythm. Mr. Blackwell’s main influences are John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Grover Washington Jr. and Michael Jackson.
“This is a concept project that must embody my entire body of soul. Music, notes, chord progressions and melodies are organically flowing through me throughout this process and I must capture it all and then go back and decipher the final song picks for the album.” he says about the huge undertaking of writing, performing and executive producing this new project. The album is scheduled for release in mid 2010. Utopia Records is celebrating Alfonzo’s fifteenth year in the recording industry this year and Mr. Blackwell has much to be grateful for. His new project will be the 4th CD recorded on his founded label, Utopia Records. Mr. Blackwell says, “It’s humbling to look back on all the many years that I’ve been recording, writing, producing, performing and delivering my brand of music. I played with just about all the best of the best in the business and traveled over the world with my music. My music is my passion and I will continue to evolve with it and always keep it fresh, new, exciting and hot!”
Listening to a few pre-selected tracks that were graciously revealed would undoubtedly be the highlight of all music listeners’ pleasures. There’s a certain purity and haunting beauty that gives off a sense of vulnerability which breaks through all of the complexities of Mr. Blackwell’s progressive music. “This project is the concept album that I’ve waited a long time to do. It is finally the right time for me to embark on this musical path…” Alfonzo explains with a focused but free spirited tone. The rhythm sections in every tune come out in full force from the heart and soul of this electrifying musical virtuoso. All of the instrumentation showcased on each track resonates as the sleek and sophistication evolution of the founder of ‘Rhythm & Cool’. When asked what his inspiration for this project is, Alfonzo leans over the side of his chair and says, “Simply, the love of music is all the inspiration that I need to create but this project is especially dear to me because I finally get a chance to pull from every instrument that I play and give a ‘live concert’ performance approach inside of each and every groove.”
Throughout his career, Alfonzo Blackwell has worked with and developed great relationships with many leaders and experts in the music and entertainment world. Grammy winner and music legend James Mtume stated, “The truth needs to be told, just as this CD is needed to be heard” about his previous released, “Sax You Down” album. Alfonzo was featured playing the theme song at the end of each episode alongside of David Hasselhoff for the Baywatch Nights TV Series which was also featured on his self-titled sophomore project. In between tapings, David Hasselhoff requested to hear Alfonzo play accapella on the set. Hasselhoff said, "There's so much sweet soul coming out of your horn, you can really play that thing..." Alfonzo has been counseled by legendary Business Manager, Bert Padell and Entertainment Attorney L. Londell McMillan who among many others have praised Alfonzo’s artistry to name a few.
Alfonzo Blackwell is sure to please with writing, performing and producing the instant-classic and soulful soundtrack for the new decade 2010 that’s here upon us now. Which cuts will make it on the final pressed CD? You can rest assure that the final selected tracks will be jam-packed, new modern contemporary soul from Alfonzo Blackwell’s heart to all the hearts around the world. “Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell” will be an artistic and beautiful portrait of a music renaissance man and a jazz master. “In the near future, I plan to resume my work on a full tribute album to Michael Jackson and his musical genius that I started 2 years ago, prior to his devastating passing. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. His music will live on forever. John Coltrane’s genius and music has always been in my musical path of study and homage. I plan to continue paying tribute to his work on future projects. A traditional jazz standards project is also in the works.” Alfonzo says respectfully of two of his greatest musical influences, Jackson and Coltrane.
Alfonzo Blackwell Discography
“Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell” (2010)
“Dance To This” (2008)
“Sax You Down” (2004)
“The Time Is Now” (2000)
“Body of Soul” (1998)
“Alfonzo Blackwell” (1996)
“Let’s Imagine” (1995)
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