One of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary
and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a
“musician’s musician.” Born in Los Angeles, he began piano lessons at an early
age. Albright’s love of music picked up considerably when he was given a
saxophone that had belonged to his piano teacher. By the time he enrolled at the
University of Redlands, he was already a polished saxophonist. Albright decided
to switch to bass guitar after he saw Louis Johnson in concert. A few months
after graduating from college, he joined jazz pianist/R&B singer Patrice Rushen,
who was in the process of forming her own band. Later, when the bass player left
in the middle of a tour, Albright replaced him and finished the tour on bass
During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on
albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola
Folana, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, the Temptations and Maurice White.
He also toured extensively with Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, the Winans,
Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones, and Whitney Houston, among many others. Albright
also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records. Two
albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart, and
were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990. Phil Collins asked him to
front a Big Band in 1998, and they toured together. The two of them also
recorded one of Albright’s tunes, “Chips N’ Salsa” on Collins’ Big Band Project,
entitled A Hot Night In Paris. Later that year, Albright released Pleasures of
the Night with Will Downing on Verve Forecast, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s
Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart as well.
Albright moved to GRP in 2002 for the Groovology album, and continued to
maintain his busy schedule as a session man. His second GRP album, Kickin’ It
Up, followed in 2004. Two years later, he signed with Peak Records, which
released the 2008 GRAMMY® nominated New Beginnings, and the 2009 GRAMMY®
nominated, Sax for Stax; both in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Over the years, Albright has appeared on numerous TV shows such as A Different
World, Melrose Place and BET Jazz segments, as well as piloting a show in Las
Vegas with Designing Women star Meshach Taylor. Albright was selected to be one
of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. Along
the way, he has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on
nearly 200 albums by other artists.
Pushing the Envelope is easily Gerald Albright’s most rewarding session to date.
“The title reflects all the tunes on the project,” Albright says. “I didn’t want
to hold anything back. I really wanted to push the envelope and give people a
little more edge. I come from the era where we didn’t think of a formula – we
went from the gut.”