6’7” lead bass player from Kansas City, Julian Vaughn laid down a strong statement with his self-released debut entitled “The Purpose Project” in 2010, one that garnered the attention of radio and in turn the attention of record companies clamoring to sink their claws into his dynamic young talent. Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records one of the genres most active and aggressive labels knew a star when they saw one and jumped at the chance to add Vaughn to its ever growing roster of fresh and inventive young artists. “Breakthrough” marked his label debut and has already made waves across the country with a two week debut on the national Billboard chart at #24 and eventually reaching and staying at #1 for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard charts with his first hit single “On Your Feet”.
Vaughn grew up in the church where his grandfather pastored until turning over the reins to Vaughn’s father. Like other kids at the church, he began his music career playing the drums, but says, “Trying to play the drums at church was like ten football players going after a fumble. Everyone wanted to play.” Years went by and the fight over the drums got old. At 15 Vaughn decided to try a different instrument. He picked up a bass guitar that another man in his church was playing and immediately fell in love. This was truly love at first sight. Vaughn taught himself how to play and soon realized he had the ability to play by ear. He soon discovered how to play songs and special techniques.
When Vaughn was 19 his grandfather bought him a 6-string bass guitar. It was black with gold trim. He discovered the art of bass soloing and knew at that point it was more than just a hobby but was his life’s passion. “My friends use to get on me because I would stop playing the bass line and start soloing,” he remembers.
Work began on his first CD in 2009 and he knew he had to lay down a strong effort in order to help him break through the clutter and get noticed. One day upon listening to the song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, a remake by Toby Keith and Wayman Tisdale, Vaughn ‘s attention was caught not by Toby’s vocals or even Wayman’s lead bass but by the bass line laid down by Mel Brown. Vaughn immediately sought Brown out on MySpace and connected with him where upon he agreed to play on several tracks on the record. In a phone call one day about sax players the name Darren Rahn came into the conversation. It just so happened that Brown and Rahn were very closes friends. “ I knew then that something special was in the works,” said Vaughn. After a subsequent phone call with Darren he agreed to play on and mix a few tunes on the record. “It was Darren Rahn and Mel Brown who let me know that I had what it took to make it in this genre.”
“The Purpose Project.” Was released in 2010 and the CD not only put his playing in full display but also his strong song writing abilities. “I produced and wrote every song on the record which I am still proud of till this day, because it opened the right doors for me.”
Vaughn has performed at notable Jazz festivals such as the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Catalina Island Jazz Festival, Big Bear Lake Festival and the Dubai International Jazz Festival which opened the door for him to showcase his talents in front of jazz record label Trippin ’N’ Rhythm Records. Vaughn wooed the crowd and label CEO and a recording contract ensued.
His label debut “Breakthrough,” will do just that and Vaughn is prepared to be a torch bearer, ready to lead the charge of fresh and innovative young talent preparing to take C-Jazz into its new future. He has extended his hand, grabbed hold, lit the flame and is off and running with this highly infectious collection of sides that as the title suggest is ready to blow down the affore-set and established boundaries and bring again blood flow to this re-emergent genre. The album is brought to life through the hands of one of the formats pre-eminent and skilled producers Darren Rahn whose masterful touch has resulted in chart topping Billboard hits for the likes of Dave Koz, Eric Darius, and Wayman Tisdale.
Vaughn stays current on industry trends but doesn’t try to write music to fit the radio format. “ I know what flavor works in the music industry but I don’t write my material based on that. I write from my heart. Whatever is moving me at the moment is what dictates the end. I want to make music for the people not format, said Vaughn. “Music is my everything that’s why I love doing what I do,” he said.
Saxophonist Elan Trotman, quickly becoming one of jazz’s most thrilling and emotive performers, continues to stand out and push boundaries as a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist. Trotman’s playing, though inspired by Grover Washington, Jr., Kirk Whalum and Arturo Tappin (Elan’s childhood mentor), displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. So much so that the New England Urban Music Awards, and The Barbados Music Awards both named him Jazz Artist of The Year on multiple occasions. Born and raised in Barbados, the native island of pop star Rihanna, and educated at the world-renowned Berklee College Of Music in Boston,Trotman approaches jazz in his own way. Blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures, his playing is full of surprises.
Trotman has recorded and performed with a number of world-class musicians, including Michael McDonald, Roberta Flack, Jonathan Butler, Keiko Matsui, Johnny Gill, Earl Klugh, Jeff Lorber, Peter White, Brian Simpson and many others. A huge sports fan, Trotman has performed the National Anthem on numerous occasions for such teams as the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. He put together the band that performed for NBA star Ray Allen’s wedding and performs annually for Theo Epstein’s charity event “Hot Stove Cool Music,”jamming with pro pitcher Bronson Arroyo and former ESPN analyst Peter Gammons.
Trotman grew up in tropical island paradise of Barbados, (home of Pop Icon Rihanna) where he grooved to calypsos, reggae and local music. He started piano lessons at 7, picking up the saxophone five years later. Well-known local saxophonist Arturo Tappin became his mentor in high school. Tappin attended Berklee in the late 1980s and returned to the island with valuable insights into jazz, which he fused with calypso and reggae rhythms. “He helped expose me to other genres outside of our native music,” Trotman says.
In the summer of 2013, Elan was invited to be a headliner on Jonathan Butler’s Soul of Summer Tour alongside Sheila E. Later that year, he was also a featured performer on the Dave Koz Mediterranean Cruise, and the Capital Jazz Cruise. He’s also a regular sax-side man for an A-list of smooth jazz artists that include Jonathan Butler, Earl Klugh, Keiko Matsui, Peter White and Brian Simpson.
As a recording artist, Elan has already been credited with 7-top 25 Billboard Radio singles, from his own albums Love and Sax (“Heaven In Your Eyes“), Tropicality (“Tradewinds” and “Masterblaster“), and from collaborations with Brian Simpson (“Just What You Need“), Greg Manning (“Groove Me“), Cal Harris Jr (“Smooth“) and Lin Rountree (“As“). Known to compose and produce all of his projects, Trotman’s discography is currently at 7 and growing, with the success of his latest albums:”Love and Sax“,”Tropicality” and “#LiveandUncut“.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to play music for a living. After teaching for nearly 10 years, I took a chance on pursuing a full-time music career and I haven’t looked back since that day. The jazz community has welcomed me with open arms,and I feel like I’m able to be myself with my writing and my performances“. Elan
“A flurry of invention, with an equal dose of class, taste and hopefulness”~ Dave Koz
“The magic of the Caribbean, the depth of studying the giants, the hip hop sensibilities of being under 40–all present in Elan”~ Kirk Whalum
“Really Sexy – A cross between Michael Brecker and Stan Getz”~ Paul Brown
“I equate the name Elan Trotman with refreshing, exciting and one of the most unique saxophone voices of our time”~ Najee
“Elan’s sound is wonderfully soulful and rugged, reminiscent of the great players from the ‘blues belt’ ~ Terri Lynn Carrington
“Elan has a great sound, energy, and a widespread approach to his horn” ~ Gerald Albright.
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
|Songs by Julian Vaughn & Elan Trotman|