It’s always fascinating when an artist you know and love in an established vibe shifts creative gears and takes flight in a whole new way – especially if there’s an inspirational story behind it. I’ve been a huge fan of Cleveland saxophonist Andre Cavor since his 2017 debut release Road Trip, which established him as a formidable force on in contemporary urban jazz scene.
Produced by hit maker and fellow saxman Darren Rahn, the album – featuring the Billboard charting title track - established him as a versatile alto and tenor player while tapping into his passions for pop, jazz, R&B and gospel music. With his 2019 follow up single “Stay With Me Tonight,” Andre continued to amaze on both lower toned saxes, tapping into a sensual Spanish flow while creating what I called “easily one of the sexiest, most sensual genre offerings of the year.”
My first reactions to his fresh, passionate re-imagining of the Bette Midler inspirational pop classic “Wind Beneath My Wings” were “very powerful,” “instant hit” and “heart-tugging.” One of the greatest surprises, considering his recent history on the horn, was that he built this powerful track on the strength of his intensely emotional soprano sax – perhaps a longtime part of his musical arsenal, but a whole new, dynamic core sound for him commercially. Another striking element is the marching drum groove, which increases in volume and thrust as the track moves on and amps up towards its final powerhouse chorus.
Turns out there’s a great reason for these compelling creative choices. He chose the soprano as his mode of expression because he wanted to showcase a different side of his artistry, creating more of an “instrumental pop” flavor than his previously established urban jazz sound. Rather than typically “soulful” in a musical sense, it touches the soul in a different, but no less impacful way.
As for the hypnotic, military styled drum line, Andre is an Army vet, who served as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant during his time in the service (1993-2012, on active reserve from 2005-12). His beautiful rendering of the song isn’t dedicated to a single person, but a colorful musical way to honor our veterans and those on active duty, who deserve our appreciation every day. As the saxophonist says, “Being a soldier is as much a part of my identity as being an artist. The tempo we created with that percussive line seemed fit for these two unique aspects of my life. It also helps give the song a unique identity.”
Even if you think you’ve heard this song before, or like some, too many times, you’ll experience it like never before through this great emerging artist. Andre, we salute you!