Paul Litteral, Legacy Review
A Melodious Legacy: Paul Litteral’s Triumph in Jazz
by Ferell Aubre
Paul Litteral’s debut album, Legacy, released under Outrageous8 Records, is an introduction and documentation to his expansive career, showcasing his remarkable skills as a trumpeter and his ability to blend various musical genres into a jazz atmosphere that is musical and elegant.
Having performed on over 150 albums and shared the stage with music icons such as the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, and James Brown, Litteral, also known as “Hollywood Paul,” brings his ear melody and his vast performance experiences to craft a set of eleven songs with a rotating roster of outstanding musicians.
The album opens with a captivating arrangement of David “Fathead” Newman’s “Hard Times,” a nod to Litteral’s past with the Uptown Horns. His solo in this piece illustrates his warm sound and melodic concept, rich in the jazz tradition and all shaped by his elegant and nuanced articulations. Bill Bodine’s arrangement brings new life into this pleasing composition and gives Litteral plenty of space to show his trumpet craft.
One of the album’s many standouts, a rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” features the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Angela Mae O’Neill, paired with Litteral’s evocative trumpet playing. The arrangement is imaginative and stirring; both O’Neill and Litteral find musical gems to bring out in the melody that makes this an exemplary jazz arrangement and also shows the songwriting skills of Raitt’s music in its universal appeal and construction.
A striking feature of Legacy is its inventive fusion of jazz and rock. With his lyrical playing and ability to sculpt strong jazz melodies, Litteral infuses fresh energy into various tunes, stretching the boundaries of traditional jazz. His interpretation of songs is not confined to the jazz genre; he confidently strides into the realm of rock, drawing from its energy and rhythm.
Legacy is a rich tapestry woven with threads of both old and new songs. The joyous rendition of “Accentuate The Positive” is a testament to Litteral’s penchant for the classics. Yet, he is not one to shy away from exploring beyond the familiar. His vibrant reinterpretation of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” and the Eagles’ “Desperado” illustrates his ability to serve and transform the music.
Rather than using these rock staples to flaunt his formidable trumpet skills, Litteral brilliantly intertwines them with the jazz idiom. His playing on these tracks is successful because of his musical adaptation, demonstrating how rock anthems can be reimagined within a jazz framework without losing their original spirit. In doing so, he establishes a creative dialogue between genres, confirming his reputation as a versatile musician capable of pushing the boundaries of jazz.
This fresh approach underscores the essence of Litteral’s artistry: his capability to transcend the traditional genre limitations and shape an immersive musical experience that resonates with a broad audience. This fusion of rock and jazz in Legacy is not merely a stylistic choice but a reflection of Litteral’s musical journey and his ability to innovate within the jazz landscape.
Legacy is a solid introduction to the rich anthology of Litteral’s illustrious career, weaving together standout tracks and extraordinary performances that encapsulate his enduring gift for music. With his debut as a leader, Litteral brings us a jubilant ride through a jazz landscape that’s been amplified and enlivened, offering an experience that’s as danceable as it is joyful. His talent shines through in every beat, every note, and every arrangement, illuminating the unique musical voice that sets him apart in the jazz scene.
Moreover, Legacy shows an artist stepping into the spotlight with the ability to shape and define his musical path. He’s not just a trumpeter, but uses his abilities to craft unique and evocative soundscapes that promise a continuing successful journey within the realm of collaborative musical exploration. This album shows Litteral’s musical vision, beginning an exciting new chapter in his already impressive musical journey. So, if you’re a fan of genre-bending jazz or just curious about what a fusion of jazz and rock sounds like, give Legacy a spin. It’s sure to be a rewarding listen.