Dwayne Kerr - Higher Calling


We should not underestimate the role of the flute in smooth jazz. Beside so prominent musicians like Alexander Zonjic, Nestor Torres, James Moody or Hubert Laws we can listen to numerous artists like Tim Weisberg, Praful, Darren Motamedy, Paul Rozmus and more. Today I write about a special flutist, the young Dwayne Kerr. Dwayne is since 1998 a member of Eryka Badu's band and toured with her throughout the whole world.

Although the collaboration with such a great star like Eryka Badu might be satisfying and stimulating, the sideman is always standing in the shadow. Kerr played on Eryka's latest CD, Worldwide Underground, and her previous CD, Mama's Gun, on Motown Records. A starting point for his debut album Flutation (2003) and his newest album Higher Calling is Eryka's support by contributing as special guest musician.

I use my flute as a vehicle for my musical expression without regard of the usual limitations expected from a flutist, Kerr said about his debut album. 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.

Following the signs of time his newest effort Higher Calling presents an artist who is familiar with popular contemporary jazz and the strong influence of R&B.

It's no wonder that Kerr selected as first track Bill Wither's mega hit Ain't No Sunshine from 1971. Kerr performs the song with tremendous feeling and vibration. He is using the multilayer technique with a rhythm part similar to beat boxing and a melody line. Eryka Badu adds her popular vocals while the flute remains the lead instrument.

On Smooth the main melody is repeated in many variations. In contrast to the stomping beat flow Kerr's up-tempo flute loops. Special accents are set by keyboardist RC Williams who co-produced the track with Kerr.

The H-Factor on Kerr's album is certainly bass player Hubert Eavas IV. Hubert, like Dwayne member of Eryka Badu's band, has also performed with Will Downing, Alex Bugnon, Glenn Jones and Barry Danielian. Hubert creates with H-Factor a hypnotic twist.

The mid-tempo Daughters has a fascinating potential as a hit. The captivating power finds its fountain in Kerr's magic flute, the fine timbre of Daryl Grone's guitar and Carmeasha Williams' spell bounding vocals.

Yeah follows the classic melody line splitting in diverse ramifications. Based on  popular hip hop rhythms pushed by Shaun Martin's drum programming and Hubert Eaves IV's bass loops the flute always keeps contour.

Being With You is a special track on Kerr's album. The uplifting song is featuring Kirk Whalum on tenor sax, Kerr and Whalum are devout Christians and their strong spirit finds its equivalent in their inspired music.

The term Chillin' is very popular nowadays. Originally created in Italy, Germany, UK and Japan the wave has reached the States. Guitarist Matt Marshak, who also plays keyboards on this track, has co-produced the song with Kerr. Matt's latest album Groovosphere (2006) received high acclaims.

It was a good decision that Kerr worked with renowned producers like Hubert Eaves IV, Jeff Feinstein, Daryl Grone, Matt Marshak, Shaun Martin and RC Williams. Most of them created the songs together with Kerr and performed their own parts. On the title song Higher Calling it's keyboardist Jeff Feinstein who has a good hand for blessed and splendid melodies.

So we can only say: Keep It Right There. This song is featuring Daryl Grone and Matt Marshak on their Wah Wah guitars. A truly relaxed song with a high appeal.

If you like Daughters you will love Daughters (Unplugged). This is double fun.

Some of you will certainly seen the Beat Box flutists on You Tube. Dwayne Kerr delivers with Chameleon (Beat box Style) his own showpiece.

Dwayne Kerr's sophomore album Higher Calling surpasses all expectations. A surprise attack on brain, heart and ears. Well Done!




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  • Title: Higher Calling
    Artist: Dwayne Kerr
    Year: 2007
    Length: 0:45:29
    Genre: General R&B/Smooth Jazz
    Label: DManns Music Group

    01 Ain't No Sunshine [3:55]
    02 Smooth [4:20]
    03 The H-Factor [4:18]
    04 Daughters [4:38]
    05 Yeah [3:50]
    06 Being With You [3:55]
    07 Chillin' [3:14]
    08 Higher Calling [3:55]
    09 Keep It Right There [5:19]
    10 Daughters (Unplugged) [5:49]
    11 Chameleon (Beat Box) Style [2:17]