The New Album –
Eric Valentine & Velvet Groove’s “Velvet Groove” is the debut album from Matcha Entertainment. This is a full-length set and a true all-star collaboration featuring over 40 artists. It also includes over ten original songs certain to inspire.
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Eric Valentine & Velvet Groove
Stepping out from behind his drum kit, Valentine thrives plying his skills as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist on “Velvet Groove,” playing keyboards, synths, bass, vocals, percussion and drums on the disc comprised of ten full songs – nine of which he penned or co-penned – along with three reprises. The star power illuminating the high-level session of deft rhythms and grooves include Grammy winner Kirk Whalum, multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright and chart-toppers Elliot, Braun, Adam Hawley, Elan Trotman, Brian Simpson and Greg Manning. Pianist Wayne Linsey, jazz fusion guitarist Alex Machacek, and percussionists Lenny Castro, Munyungo Jackson and Ramon Islas are among those who texturize the lush tracks.
A vital element to Valentine’s vibrant melodies and “sing-able” harmonies, and an important contributor to what he calls “my Velvet Groove community” is R&B vocalist B. Valentine (formerly known as Baskerville Jones), Eric’s wife, who can be heard cooing soulfully throughout the album and sings lead on “Back in the Day.” Her upcoming solo release is one of several projects currently under construction by the Velvet Groove collective that they aim to release in 2018.
“Through the Velvet Groove platform, I’m really striving to push the idea of community. We’re trying to get all the musicians recording at the same time, vibing off of one another. People have become so socially compartmentalized these days that they don’t know how to communicate anymore. The positivity and good vibes we’re creating within the Velvet Groove community can be heard and felt in the music. It’s about giving back and being helpful. We’re trying to live the example we want people to embrace. We want our music to make people feel love, joy and happiness, using our musical gifts to inspire and uplift people to a better place, and to choose kindness rather than conflict,” said the hopeful Valentine.
A Washington, DC native who released his debut album, “Eric Valentine’s Jazz Impressions,” in 2003, the longtime Los Angeles-area resident has toured and recorded globally with smooth/contemporary jazz stalwarts Braun, Elliot, Peter White, Euge Groove and the Dave Koz Cruise as well as rock guitar giants Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather and Steve Vai on the G3 World Tour. An artist who had a significant impact on Valentine was late bassist Wayman Tisdale for whom Valentine wrote “‘Tis So Sweet” for “Velvet Groove.”
“The sounds and grooves on Wayman’s early recordings made me study and practice to his music, not knowing that I would go on to perform shows on a couple of tours with him. His melodies are always sing-able and his grooves are strong. He’s definitely still one of my musical influences.”
“Velvet Groove’s” lone reboot is a fresh take on Stevie Wonder’s “Joy Inside My Tears,” which includes members of Wonder’s horn section on the track. “I always thought it was one of Stevie’s underappreciated songs that never really got its due. We came up with a fresh arrangement for it, giving it a celebratory feel. To me, it’s a song about anyone you hold in high regard, someone who stood in the gap for you and really had your back through a difficult time.”