Higher Calling

Higher Calling

by Dwayne KerrDwayne Kerr


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Somewhere in the mid-'90s, the narrow-minded geniuses who program smooth jazz stations took a look at some market research and decided that the flute was an annoying instrument that had no place on commercial radio. Out went brilliant R&B fusion flutists like Tim Weisberg, Hubert Laws and Alexander Zonjic and in came more safe sax. No matter how brilliant an artist may be (as Kerr truly is on this inspired collection mixing neo-soul, thumping funk and hard bottomed R&B), they've been shut out from commercial playlists since. Fortunately, for indie artists like Kerr (a member of Erykah Badu's band for ten years whose résumé is a mile long), there were other potential outlets for his flavorful flow in 2007. In addition to clubby pop-jazz originals like "Smooth" and "Being with You," featuring sizzling melodic conversations with Kirk Whalum's always urgent tenor, Kerr tries to appease modern radio sensibilities with a couple of cool covers. While he brings fresh, soulful emotion and groove to John Mayer's tender classic "Daughters" -- which is later given an unplugged guitar-flute reworking -- the standout track is one of the most intensely percussive versions of "Ain't No Sunshine" ever. The joy of this cut is not just in the heavy bass and in Badu's soothing wordless guest vocals, but also in the way Kerr mixes smooth with staccato in his playing. The vocal hiccups are another irresistible touch. Overall, the track -- like much of the collection -- isn't simply pleasant lifestyle music (well, the title track is pretty sweet and pleasant), but that's part of Kerr's charm: taking risks. Indie artists could do that in 2007, but the struggle to become commercially viable was still there. Fortunately, smarter booking agents understanding the flutist's strong crossover appeal had him play with or open for people like Marion Meadows and Roy Hargrove -- so there was hope that someday the flute would rule again. Even if it wasn't on the commercial smooth jazz airwaves.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/21/2012
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0837101388689
catalogNumber: 5637283799
Rank: 206341

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dwayne Kerr   Primary Artist,Flute,Alto Flute,Tambourine,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Beat Box
Tony Allen   Drums
Hubert Eaves   Bass,Keyboards,Vocals
Eric O'Neal   Drums
Kirk Whalum   Tenor Saxophone
Erykah Badu   Vocals
Matt Marshak   Guitar,Keyboards,Rhythm,Sampling,wah wah guitar
Roger Williams His Piano and Orchestra   Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Soloist
Bryant Siono   Bass,Percussion,Conga

Technical Credits

Bill Withers   Composer
Herbie Hancock   Composer
Hubert Eaves   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Kevin "D.J. Battlecat" Gilliam   Composer
Danyle Robinson   Composer
Shaun Martin   Producer,drum programming
Jared Bryans   Engineer
Dwayne Kerr   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming
Matt Marshak   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Roger Williams His Piano and Orchestra   Producer,drum programming
Chris Bell   Engineer

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