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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Real Deal: Elan Trotman is the very best of Boston

Boston's Trotman Making Quite a Name For Himself:

I've had the great pleasure of watching a talented young artist emerge in Boston. His name is Elan Trotman and I am proud to call him a friend. We have been working together to help Elan launch his new album (for us old guys) - CD (for some) - Itunes collection (for everyone else) and help him book appearances in the Hub. Trotman played a private gig for Ray Allen last week and we have him booked for House of Blues-Boston, in the Foundation Room and at Johnnie's on the Side. Tonight, it's at Slade's and the Boston Herald printed this feature:

If you’re a sports fan, a wedding guest, a late-night clubgoer or a Sunday church attendee in Chestnut Hill, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Elan Trotman.

If you’re a close friend of Celtics [team stats] star Ray Allen or a parent at Mozart Elementary School, you’ve definitely seen him.

Boston saxophonist Trotman seems to be everywhere these days. And if all goes according to plan, Trotman will soon be a smooth-jazz operator known not just in the Hub, but beyond.

“I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together so that ultimately people will see me as a Grover Washington Jr. or a Walter Beasley,” the 30-year-old saxman said while traveling to Cape Cod to play at a pair of weddings. “That’s always been my dream ever since I was growing up in Barbados seeing music videos of Grover Washington on television. I’ve wanted to have my records sold globally.”

Trotman, who appears at Slade’s Bar & Grill tonight, is trying to concentrate on promoting “This Time Around,” a new CD of r & b-tinged smooth-jazz originals that’s starting to get airplay on contemporary jazz stations around the country.

But first he has to find time in his schedule.

“I wear a lot of different hats,” he said. “It’s all music, so I love it, but it can be a distraction at times.”

Not only does the tenor and soprano saxophonist play 40 to 50 weddings a year, he regularly jets to Cincinnati to perform in ex-Red Sox [team stats] pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s rock band. He’s also part of Sox GM Theo Epstein’s Hot Stove, Cool Music concerts, and performs locally at Slade’s, the Beehive and Wally’s Cafe with his own ensemble.

That’s not all. Trotman is a member of the Boston College gospel chorus. He recently performed at a private party at the home of Celtic Ray Allen and his wife, Shannon. This past weekend he backed r & b singer Link at a Jordan Hall benefit concert starring Patti LaBelle.

And he has a full-time job as a music teacher at Roslindale’s Mozart Elementary School.

“I’m still paying my dues,” said Trotman, who moved to the United States after attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship from the Barbados government. “I’ve got time. Grover (Washington) didn’t get his first Grammy until he was about 35. I’m going to keep chugging away and do what I do.” Trotman calls his sound “groove-oriented.”

“Growing up on the islands I played gospel music in church, and also reggae and calypso,” he said. “My mentor, Arturo Tappin, also went to Berklee and showed me how to fuse those sounds with jazz. Then when I came to the United States, I was exposed to music I didn’t have access to on the islands, like Motown and people like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. They all influenced me.”

Now Trotman is one of Boston’s go-to instrumentalists. He has performed the national anthem for both the Red Sox and the Celtics and has recorded with Roberta Flack, Don Grusin and Brian McKnight; he also accompanied McKnight at the Allens’ wedding on a Martha’s Vineyard beach last year.

“What I’m doing now is all part of the journey,” he said. “Eventually I’m going to end up fulfilling the dream I’ve had since I was a little kid.”

Elan Trotman, at Slade’s Bar & Grill in Boston tonight... 958 Tremont St., tonight. Cover charge: $5; 617-442-4600.

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