Dwayne Kerr


His masterful mix of sounds and grooves is the memorable variable that makes flutist Dwayne Kerr, of the Erykah Badu Band (Neda Stela), a rising figure in contemporary music today. Playing an instrument that traditionally has been heard more often than seen, Kerr has put the flute up front on display with his unique playing style in his soon-to-be released debut CD, “Flutation.”

While touring and recording with Erykah Badu for the last five years, Dwayne added his sound to recordings including Ms. Badu’s version of the Chaka Khan hit, “Hollywood,” which is on the soundtrack/CD to the Spike Lee movie “Bamboozled,” on Motown Records and Erykah’s song, “Today,” which is on the Red Star Sounds compilation CD on Epic Records. Kerr also played on four songs of Erykah’s latest CD, “Mama’s Gun,” on Motown Records.

Reaping the benefits of the invaluable experience and insight he acquired while working with Erykah, Dwayne recently completed his debut CD, “Flutation,” which is being released on DManns Records. “Flutation” is flirtation for the mind.

“My CD is a collection of short, lingering melodies, with underlining funky, yet smooth grooves,” Kerr explains. “I wanted to record songs that would leave you grooving, while the melodies remain entrenched in your mind.”

On “Flutation,” Kerr blends contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and dance rhythms to create a sound he calls SoulJazz. Kerr shows his versatility at the CD’s outset as he rides the pulse-driven dance cut, “Street Jazz,” into the next song, “Flutation,” a smooth, yet funky groove. As Kerr settles down into some soulful R&B tracks such as Janice Love Theme and Strollin’, the richness of his tone comes alive as his flute fills your speakers with silky long runs and his signature technique?the staccato, double-tongued riff.

“I use my flute as a vehicle for my musical expression without regard of the usual limitations expected from a flutist,” Kerr said. “I wanted this CD to take the flute through a range of musical expression. The listener gets an emotional experience that goes beyond me playing the flute.”

Kerr is a brilliant flutist who is moving the flute into other genres of music not often explored. Raised and still residing on Long Island, New York, Kerr attended New York colleges Nassau Community College, SUNY-Stony Brook and SUNY-Old Westbury, where he was trained classically and in jazz.

A solo performing artist since making music his business several years ago, Kerr so much impressed Erykah that he was hired to play in the Grammy Award-winning vocalist’s band in 1998.While touring with Erykah, Dwayne has played in Africa, Italy, Japan, throughout Europe and Scandinavia, on the all-female artists Lilith Fair Tour and television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MTV’s Real World, The Oprah Show, Live! With Regis and BET Live.

“As I watch my friend in amazement,” Erykah said of Dwayne, “the high tones and the trills become part of me, helping me to grow on stage. I don’t know which is sweeter, his tone or his soul.”

A by-product of his ascending career, Kerr signed a deal with AKG Acoustics in 2001 to endorse an AKG wireless headset system. When not touring with Ms. Badu, Kerr is active in his venture as a solo artist, most notable having performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Jazz & Broadway Concert at the United Nations and at halftime of several National Basketball Association games. Dwayne has performed on shows with or opened shows for Regina Belle, Roy Hargrove, Marion Meadows, Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Rubin and other noted artists.

The culmination of Dwayne’s musical experiences and expressions makes “Flutation” different from your common flute CD. If you’re looking for a non-traditional flute CD with funky yet smooth grooves, “Flutation” has got what you’re looking for!