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  • Jonathan Widran

ELLIS WHITE, "Keeping It Real"

Fans of Ellis White’s longtime Jacksonville, FL based ensemble Catch The Groove will vibe instantly with the veteran guitarist’s long awaited debut solo single, “Keeping It Real,” an instantly infectious, buoyant and freewheeling track that captures all the playful, funky and furious energy the hard-working seven piece ensemble was famous for, but with more emphasis on White’s hypnotic, ultra-melodic and crackling electric guitar.

Although ace producer Trammell Starks’ arrangement of the snazzy summery tune artfully showcases White’s powerful jazz-blues-rock fired vibe, the track also harkens back to one of the elements that made CTG so appealing – the guitarist’s crackling interaction with the other musicians. Most notably, White creates a fascinating call and response type “dialogue” throughout with saxophonist Sam Skelton.

As the track pops and sizzles along, Starks opens a bit of room for his own tropical flavored keyboard solo and a snappy, funked out several bar bass solo by Sam Sims. Equally important is the nonstop rhythmic energy of drummer Louis Newsom and percussionist Barbara Martin.

Though White has been one of the genre’s most dynamic band leaders over the last decade – ask any urban jazz fan who caught one of the group’s hundreds of live shows – the dynamic “Keeping It Real” makes it clear that he’s now got an incredibly bright future ahead of him as a solo artist. Keep catching the groove!

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