"WALK ANOTHER MILE" Liner Notes by Randy Brecker
Laurence Elder’s new CD: “Walk Another Mile” could also be sub-titled: Songs of Love, Loss, Life and Light. Laurence is indeed a bright presence on the Pop-Jazz Crossover scene as a singer, songwriter, lyricist, pianist, keyboard artist, and producer with a unique gimmick: He’s a Musician! I was first introduced to his music by the great pianist/composer Kenny Werner, who raved about his first release “Surrounded,” and on this album Laurence continues his journey with songs that draw you in with their imagery, melodicism and wonderful harmonic motion. The first track “Before The Sunrise” will captivate your own imagination immediately, and you’ll be hooked.
All the cuts are original Elder compositions with the exception of “Summer Breeze,” which you’ll recognize as written by Seals and Crofts, but this version has a subtle hint of Jazz in the mix, with special guest Mike Stern’s immediately identifiable signature guitar sound singing through the track. There’s still a backbeat, but Laurence’s Jazz roots are evident, and so fitting for this song. I also had the pleasure of plugging in my trusty Harmon Mute on “Someone I Once Knew” and I riffed off a down-home funky rhythmic track and vocal, which felt like it was meant to be. Laurence was here in our studio, so I also got to view a bit of his creative process, as he gently guided me through the song. The man knows what he wants, and how to get it, the mark of a great producer.
All of the tunes feature his husky, yet soothing voice, and are perfect for a late night romantic tryst. There’s sadness, sarcasm, a lot of contemplation, but also a note of positivity in his lyrics, which will energize your spirit in these trying times… The musicians, backing vocals, arrangements, and performances are all right in the pocket, first rate, and frame his songs with color, intensity, and musicality.
So welcome to the further adventures and misadventures of Laurence Elder with all the attendant emotions you’ll feel throughout this recording, and as the last song states so eloquently, in spite of it all: “Morning Comes” always… the “Morning Comes…”
It was a pleasure to meet Laurence in person and view first-hand the many hats he’s capable of wearing to bring a project like this to fruition… Well done!
Randy Brecker 4/21/21
"WALK ANOTHER MILE" Liner Notes by Michael Fagien
The ‘90s were my record company years when I spent a lot of time in New York City. Despite my jazz jones, I took a leave from my Editor-In-Chief role at JAZZIZ magazine to focus on a label I launched in the Verve Group with jazz guitar legend Lee Ritenour and venerable label exec Mark Wexler. Our label mission was to present jazz that would reach a larger audience and our first release, A Twist of Jobim became one of Verve’s best-sellers. There were several cross-over or “jazz-stylized” vocalists and singer/songwriters with a penchant for jazz that we were keenly interested in signing. One of them was Al Jarreau (who we did sign); but there were a lot more artists that – for a variety of reasons – we didn’t sign.
Two that immediately come to mind were Bill Cantos (who submitted his demo along with a singing telegram instead of a written cover letter) and Gino Vannelli (who our parent company at the time, PolyGram, snagged from me). Back then, I’d spend a lot of time talking with some of my favorite obscure acts from my college years, and artists with whom I came in contact through the magazine, like Norah Jones. I was having discussions with Norah’s family about signing her to a record deal (before she became a household name); but, as fate would have it, when PolyGram sold to Universal (and bought-out my partners and me from our joint venture), I recommended that Norah reach out to my friend Bruce Lundvall at Blue Note.
After my record company days, I opened a few jazz clubs in South Florida and by that time I was again looking for cross-over acts that would bring in a larger audience (jazz and beyond) to experience shows on our state-of-the-art soundstages. That’s when I met pianist singer/songwriter Laurence Elder who was then living in Miami. Had I known Laurence in the ‘90s, I would have signed him in a New York minute. Like Donald Fagen, Bruce Hornsby, Sting and some of the aforementioned recording artists, and partly due to Elder’s University of Miami music degree, he possesses a magical jazz vocabulary even when his music is not overtly or recognizably jazz. Elder’s first solo album, Surrounded, garnered praise from artists and critics alike, and served up the perfect cocktail for thirsty Steely Dan, Doobie Bros. and Seal fans perched for new music from these iconic yacht-rockers.
Fifteen years since his debut album, and now living in New York—writing, playing and teaching—Laurence Elder offers up his second collection of music on Walk Another Mile. It’s an album reflecting Elder’s winding road of artist maturation and conveys his love for composing and delivering original songs that come from the heart.