Cover Story

RICHARD ELLIOT

On the road this spring and summer for an encore tour with Jazz Attack!

By Jonathan Widran
& Melanie Maxwell

In early April, less than two weeks before the launch of the Jazz Attack tour, Richard Elliot was at his family-vacation log home in chilly Dunville, Newfoundland, enjoying a little R&R with his wife Camella, their five kids (ages 2 to 16), and Camella’s extended family.

After a week of fishing and chilling in what he calls an “unspoiled and untouched natural environment” in Canada, he returned stateside to join his other beloved “family” - longtime friends and musical cohorts Rick Braun, Peter White and Jonathan Butler - for two days of rehearsal before an encore whirlwind with Jazz Attack, one of the most exciting and popular smooth jazz tours of 2005.

The tour got started in April with headlining appearances at the Seabreeze 106.3 Jazz Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and at the Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and Rhythm & Blues Festival. The schedule picks up this month as the four genre superstars hit the stage at Thornton Winery (May 12), the 32nd Annual Harrah’s Rincon Smooth Jazz 98.1 Gaslamp Festival (May 26) and the Merriweather Post Pavilion for the 15th Annual Capital Jazz Fest (May 31).  In the midst of that,  Elliot is performing a solo show on opening night of The Lexus Jazz Festival at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach (May 18).

While Elliot is excited about playing a mix of his many big radio hits and a few sneak-preview songs from his upcoming dual album with Rick Braun (on ARTizen Music Group, the label they co-own), he insists that the key to making Jazz Attack unique and exciting will once again be a looseness and spontaneity with the guys.  “Even after a year off, we’re all so in sync musically that I’m always in favor of not rehearsing too much,” Elliot says.

“We have a good idea of the flow of each show when we get on stage, but I don’t like it being overly structured.  The fans really enjoy it most when we let spontaneous things happen and feed off that unexpected energy.  That makes the shows much more interesting.  I think towards the end of the tour, you start to see more polish, and I think the real secret to creating a great show is finding this balance between spontaneity and polish.  

“Aside from the four of us getting along so well on stage and off, one of the reasons we did well on the first tour was that we all bring something different to the table.  As you’ll see on our new album, Rick and I come from a similar place musically, but have very distinctive sounds.  Peter and Jonathan are both incredible guitarists, but their styles are on opposite ends of the spectrum. That’s what people are responding to.”

The complete story can be found in the May edition of Smooth Jazz News.  Click here to subscrbe today. Receive an issue monthly, February through December, for $29.

For more information on Elliot, including his complete tour schedule, visit his website, www.richardelliot.com.

Elliot is scheduled to perform at the following events this month:

May 12
Thornton Winery Champagne Jazz Series
32575 Rancho California Road
Temecula, California
www.jazzconcerts.com
(951) 699-3021

May 18
Lexus Jazz Festival
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Road
Newport Beach, California
www.summerjazzseries.com
(949) 729-6400

May 31
15th Annual Capital Jazz Fest
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy.
Columbia, Maryland
www.capitaljazz.com