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  • Bryon Harris

Alex Otey Trio – ‘Love Matters Now’

The Alex Otey Trio is a dynamic jazz trio with a killer sound. Otey, a Grammy nominated artist, began his musical journey with classical training on trumpet and percussion, later adding piano and singing to his skillset. His influences are drawn from artist such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Harry Connick Jr., and artist from the swing era. Through his teen and adult years, Otey performed with numerous jazz bands and orchestras and has performed in the Philadelphia area. The album features guests: Amy Otey-Backup Vocals, Richie Cole-Alto Sax, James Popik-Guitar, Lars Wendt-Trombone, Dom DeFranco-Tenor Sax, Darrell Soltesz-Drums and Ryan Ross-Drums. Whether your a fan of jazz or new to the genre, “Love Matters Now” is full of rich, accessible tunes that are sure to get you hooked.

Starting off the album is “Happy Days.” This upbeat track kicks off the album with high energy as we are greeted with a grooving, moving bass line, smooth piano chords and light percussion. The vocals are bright and forward matching the timbre of the instrumentals and grabbing your attention the moment he enters with clear diction and memorable melodies. Highlights includes a a change-up in texture displayed on bass solo. “Happy Days” starts the album off strong with a tune that is sure to stick in your memory. Alex follows the track with the title track off the album, “Love Matters Now.” This sultry track is sure to be a fan favorite with its warm, unforgettable vocal melodies. On top of that, the Otey Trio is sure to impress you with the engaging instrumental sections and beautiful transitions from fast pace to slower grooves. Songs like "Love Matters Now" can easily earn a place at the table in the contemporary-adult jazz scene. Mid-way a gorgeous bridge slows the tempo down with lush harmonies that wash over you.

The Love Matters Now album features numerous up-tempo tunes, from the melodious, legato sax solos in “Richie’s Bop” to the more rocking song like “Living for the Moment,” with wailing guitar licks. Of note, Richie's Bop swings it nodding to Charlie Parker in the lyrics. Alex captures the Bop style vocally using great articulation and guest artist, Richie Cole, delivers a stand-out alto sax solo complimented by smooth guitar motifs while the piano glues it all together. "When We're Together" has a nice way of musically painting the mood with a smooth piano solo with great transitional sections. "When I See Your Face" offers up a more straight-forward and dance-able rhythm pattern with some old-school jazz-rock vibes. The walking bass lines in "Making a Dream" keep the energy intense providing a foundation for some great solo playing and harmonic interest. "Living for the Moment" opens up with the lyrics Been so long since I rocked n' roll" delivery a bluesy-rock vibe that's fun and addictive complete with a rockin' guitar solo. These songs show off Otey’s versatility as a pianist and vocalist and leave you with a variety of songs to fall in love with on the album.

“After All This Time” slows down the tempo with a sweet piano ballad that melts the heart. This song showcases Alex’s voice with memorable vocal melodies accompanied by a beautiful piano arrangement. The song already sounds like a standard. The fun up-tempo song “Different Man” entertains with humorous lyrics that you can snap along with and talks about "walking the line" as the lyrics walk in step with the punchy arrangement. The track “Days Go By” features unique vocal effects making it an unforgettable addition to Love Matters Now. "Days Go By" has a R & B groove feel to it with elements of pop thrown in. “You’re The One” spices things up with high flying vocal melodies and engaging harmonies. This song has a strong chorus.

The album ends with a bang featuring all the artists who helped on previous tracks; Amy Otey, Kevin Kuchinsky, Lars Wendt, Dom DeFranco, and Ryan Ross. “Cliché” is one of the most memorable tracks off the album with compelling instrumentals and vocals as he sings “I don’t want to sound cliché, I want you to hear my thought and nothing else.” There is nothing "cliché" about the Alex Otey Trio and he "doesn't sound like anyone else" - musically. Alex has found a way to tap into the side of jazz that the everyday people, who may not know a lot about jazz, will love with songs that are fun, warm, entertaining and inviting; at the same time the musicianship is above par and will engage those who love smooth jazz with vocals.

The Alex Otey Trio delivers a high quality vocal jazz style album that is easy for everyone to love with 'Love Matters Now.' The album is available on iTunes and all other major digital music retailers. For more information on the music, visit their website.

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