“Music and life are really all about the groove,” says drummer and bandleader EC3
. “You find harmony and it’s good, you get off the beat and it’s challenging. When I was recording the new CD, the foundation was rhythm heavy and we built on that. I was blessed to play with some of the best cats on the east coast. We chose some of the most incredible songs ever written and I arranged them in musical styles from Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz to straight-ahead swing. It’s All About The Rhythm describes the CD and my philosophy about life.”
EC3’s fresh approach to timeless classics and newly discovered gems infuses them with a vibrancy and new life that will appeal to veteran jazz lovers, swing fans and new audiences. Here’s a little taste of four of the ten tracks you’ll discover on It’s All About The Rhythm.
“Mambo Inn” beautifully embodies Afro-Cuban rhythms. Sensual and inviting, this lively tune by Mario Bauza, Bobby Woodlen and Grace Sampson defies listeners to sit still. “We tried this song out on a sophisticated audience in Reston, Virginia just to see what the reaction would be,” explains EC3. “They were on their feet in seconds. Afterwards an 84-year old lady came up to tell me that she had not danced like that in years!”
The timeless Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic, “Close To You,” goes beyond the expected to redefine this beautiful melody. “I had been toying with the arrangement for some time, but could not get the exact sound that I wanted,” says EC3. “I was on a plane and all of a sudden I had the idea to get Melvin Jones to play it on muted trumpet with a Miles Davis attitude. It was just what I wanted. At the end of the day, it’s my homage to Bacharach. I’d love to play it for him.”
The drum and piano intro sets the exuberant mood of “Overjoyed.” Originally a wistful ballad by Stevie Wonder, in EC3’s hands it’s a defiant declaration of love. “I knew I was taking a chance doing it in a dramatically different way,” he says. “I played a sungo pattern on the drums because I liked the way it fit the melody. Now you can salsa to it.”
“Estate” features smoldering vocals by Laura Sosa. The song by Italian composers Bruno Brighetti and Bruno Martino is a tribute to EC3’s heritage. He was born in Naples, Italy and lived there until he was in his teens. “I asked Laura to sing with us because I was just knocked out by her voice,” he enthuses. “What I didn’t know until we got into the studio was that she speaks several languages including Italian. I asked her to sing the second part of the song in Italian and it sounds fabulous.”
To celebrate the release of It’s All About The Rhythm, audiences will get a chance to hear the new material live when EC3 and his ensemble hit the stage at the famed jazz supper club, Blues Alley in Washington, DC for two shows on March 6. From the very first note, you’ll know you are in for a high-octane good time. Even the most casual jazz listener will be swaying in their seat. In the tradition of Tito Puente and Max Roach, EC3 leaves it all on the stage. Advance tickets are available at www.bluesalley.com.
Drummer and bandleader EC3 is a second generation musician whose father, a noted jazz saxophonist, taught him an appreciation for music and life-long learning. He studied at the Naval Conservatory of Music. A stint in Los Angeles playing in the orchestra for classic musicals like A Chorus Line and Ain’t Misbehavin’ led to a gig with singer Loretta Holloway in her hit Las Vegas revue, opening for acts like Jay Leno, Bill Cosby and Whoopi Goldberg. For 12 years he served as drummer and musical director for Holloway, playing Vegas as well as touring exotic locales like Brazil, Russia, and Japan. Next he joined renowned bassist Al McKibbon’s band in the famed “Bourbon Street Review” at Caesars Palace for five years. Other gigs include working with legends Diahann Carroll and Joe Williams, as well as playing with Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Orchestra and the Las Vegas Symphony. For the last four years he’s toured with his own ensemble. A favorite at festivals, he has graced the stage at The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Reston Concert Series and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
EC3’s previous two CDs, My Romance With Rhythms and Her Eyes At Sunset, received critical acclaim and have been played on stations around the globe. “He moves the notes forward with tasty, soulful, bluesy jazz standards,” said Afrikahn Jamah Dayvs of KKUP-FM 91.5, KPFA-FM 94.1 and KRML-FM 94.7 in San Jose. And Carl Anthony of Jazz 91.9 WCLK in Atlanta had this to say, “EC3 finds a carefully crafted playlist to delight the ear.”
It’s All About The Rhythm is available NOW on iTunes and CD Baby. For more information about EC3 visit his web site.