Tickets are $28 each, with a discount for seniors. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Rockwell Hall Box Office, 1300 Elmwood Ave., by calling 716-878-3005 or online at www.buffalostate.edu/pac. Box Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Like a booming metropolis, saxman Richard Elliot is a rhythmic force of funk and fire, diverse and distinctive, passionate and powerful, soulful and seductive. A consistent chart-topper, Elliot released Metro Blue on June 28th. It’s his fourteenth solo collection, yet his debut for the newly launched ARTizen Music Group record label. Elliot’s emotive sax and Rick Braun’s muted trumpet and flugelhorn help set the tone on the first track, a cover of The Stylistics’ moody classic, “People Make The World Go Round.” This single soared to number one on Radio and Records, the music industry's leading chart, making it the top Smooth Jazz track in the country.
Metro Blue was produced by Braun and Elliot, who collaborated on nine original songs. The record sounds slick and contemporary yet recalls dusty vintage funk records from the 1970s when hot horn sections and cool keyboards helped to create the vibe.
“This album release really represents a turning point for me,” said Elliot. “The creative experience of working with Rick coupled with the freedom of controlling our own destiny with the new label is pushing me into new directions creatively. I feel so lucky to be working with such inventive and creative people.”
Off stage, the Scotland-born, Los Angeles-reared Elliot speaks on how he started out, "I started to play sax at age 11 in Junior High for no other reason than I liked the shape. Saxophone was strictly recreational until high school. My high school band teacher was also a studio musician and he got me thinking about music as a career.” Although his career began in a recording studio backing Motown legends such as Smokey Robinson and The Temptations, the stage has always been a big part of Elliot’s repertoire ever since he was a teenager when he toured with Melissa Manchester. He went on to spend five formative years performing with Tower Of Power. While his highly successful solo recording career has made him an icon in the contemporary jazz radio world, Elliot has always devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy to his live performance schedule, one that helped him connect with fans across the country, forging an enduring relationship.
While still in Tower of Power, Elliot was convinced to put out a solo album in 1986 called Trolltown. He put the record out with modest expectations and harbored no grand illusions that it would lead to a solo career. But the debut was well received and encouraged Elliot to give a solo career a go.
During his marvelously prolific career as a soloist, Elliot has proved himself to be a model of consistency and growth. There aren’t many artists who can deliver fourteen albums in a twenty year span that help establish a new music genre and attain significant commercial success.
Elliot’s artistry is far more encompassing than his impressive body of studio creations. Spending about one hundred days each year playing concerts, Elliot can whip a hall into a sweaty juke joint or set the mood for romance and seduction. His performances are passionately presented, astutely executed, and compellingly entertaining. He exudes warmth and sincerity. Elliot absolutely loves to interact with crowds and thrives on the exchange.
Not content to be a maverick in one field, Elliot demonstrated his astute entrepreneurial skills teaming with his tour manager to open PacificNet, an innovative multimedia company. With over thirty full-time employees, PacificNet has flourished to become the fourth largest Internet service provider in the Los Angeles area.
In 2005, Elliot partnered with Rick Braun, their long-time manager Steve Chapman, and industry veteran Al Evers to create the ARTizen Music Group. The initial releases from the label will be new product from Elliot and Braun. Other artists will be signed to the label for new releases and ARTizen will release catalogue pieces from veteran artists. The Sherman Oaks, California-based record company is distributed in the United States by Ryko Distribution.
The 2005-2006 Great Performers Series is sponsored by M&T Bank, The Buffalo News and WBFO.