Richard Elliot: Ricochet

While R&B has long been a prominent element in Richard Elliot’s sound, the veteran smooth-jazz saxophonist says on Ricochet (GRP) he decided to explore his R&B roots further, wrapping his supple tenor around a variety of grooves. Elliot’s sax turns smoky on “Corner Pocket,” and muscular on two infectiously funky numbers, the title track and “Slam,” both of which were cowritten and produced by noted keyboardist-producer Jeff Lorber. The soulful, gospel-inflected “So Good” features a sung hook, horn accents and a rousing performance by Elliot, while “Sly,” which was named for and clearly inspired by Sly Stone, features a ’70s retro-funk feel. Elliot waxes lyrical on “Rendezvous,” and his saxophone soars over a pulsing groove on his version of the Stylistics’ classic “You Make Me Feel Brand New.” Ricochet is an engaging album that undoubtedly will ensure Elliot’s continued residence at the top of the smooth-jazz charts.