Artist profile saxophonist Rusty Crutcher
THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL LATIN LOVE SONGS ARE CELEBRATED ON “ROMANCES LATINOS” BY SAXOPHONIST RUSTY CRUTCHER, A SENSUAL NEW SMOOTH JAZZ FUSION ALBUM
New smooth jazz sax-based album shares a passion for Latin Music Circas 1940 – 1968, offering two boleros and several songs that are, surprisingly, Latin in origin including “What a Difference a Day Makes” aka “Cuandro Vuielva a tu Lado.” Romances Latinos is sensual, passionate sax as its very best!
There are two equally fascinating “origin stories” behind the inspiration and creation of Romances Latinos, a beautiful, sensual sweep through eleven of what veteran saxophonist Rusty Crutcher calls “The World’s Most Beautiful Latin Love Songs written by the Greatest South and Central American Songwriters and Composers of the Twentieth Century.” The smooth jazz album’s selections include popular Latin songs like “Without You”/ ”Sin Ti”, “What a Difference a Day Makes” / “Cuandro Vuielva A Tu Lado”, “I Miss You”/ ”Te Extrano” and “Black Orpheus (Manha Carnaval).” Romances Latinos, an instrumental recording features a strong cast of players, and releases April 1, 2015, via Crutcher’s independent record label, Emerald Green Sound Productions, and is available both physically and digitally at music stores everywhere.
Jazz aficionados are lauding both Crutcher’s unique subject matter and his musicianship. Sandy Shore, President/Founder SmoothJazz.com Global, commented “Not since Gato Barbieri’s ‘Europa’ have I heard such sensual saxophone playing! Our global audience is embracing Rusty Crutcher’s ROMANCES LATINOS. Apasionado!”
Crutcher’s reverence for Latin music is clear in his performance, as his tenor saxophone wails, cajoles, screams, cries, and caresses. The brightly-colored album art is appropriately modern, reflecting the updated Smooth Jazz grooves within the eco-pak. He is joined on Romances Latinos by a strong team of players, including David Das, David Pulkingham, John Mills, Bob Bryant and Dave Scott, with several additional performances including Joel Guzman on three row diatonic accordion. The album was recorded at Oakwood Sound Design, Smilin’ Castle Studio, and Rudy Boy Studio; associate produced by David Das, arranged by John Mills, mixed and mastered by John Howard, with engineering by John Howard, Rick del Castillo and Rusty Crutcher.
Crutcher says he is delighted to be in the Smooth Jazz/Latin Jazz arena with this album, which will be promoted to Smooth Jazz radio programmers by Gorov Music Marketing. The recording is a true labor of musical love involving fascinating cultural research and some of the most passionate playing of his nearly 30-year recording career. Crutcher says the initial spark for the project struck him when he moved from his longtime home in Santa Fe to Victoria, TX to stay with his sister, an accomplished ballroom dancer, to recover from a recent back surgery. He was asked to DJ for a competition she was starring in, and something grabbed him when he began spinning a string of boleros, rumbas, cha chas, bossas and the bolero and mariachi-inspired pop music of Luis Miguel.
“I fell in love with these songs, and began researching their origins and original recordings,” says Crutcher. The era he chose to focus on with Romances Latinos ranges from 1940 (“Without You”/”Sin Ti”) to 1968 (“I Miss You”/”Te Extrano”) and the countries he draws from include Mexico (seven tunes), Cuba, Chile and Brazil (the familiar Luis Bonfa/Antonio Maria piece “Black Orpheus (Manha Carnaval),” from the 1959 Brazilian film “Black Orpheus”).
Crutcher’s original fascination with Latin music came from his childhood growing up in a semi-rural area of Houston, where the Hispanic culture was well infused because of ranching, farming and other agricultural activities. The first band he played in at 16 was the Eugene Garcia Orchestra, a local ensemble featuring the manager/bandleader and his trumpeter son.
“The Hispanic culture has been a contributing force to Western Art for many centuries, but the great popular love songs of the 20th Century have largely stayed South of the border and are performed mainly by vocalists,” he says.
“I researched the music for over a year,” Crutcher says, “looking for songs that are part of the Latin music canon and were strongly melodically driven. As a sax player a strong melody would only allow me to soar and to best express the song. The songs I found remind me of the extended melodies of 19th Century Art Music, or classical music to the general public… long, longing, romantic, and expressive. From my deeper studies of singers who had performed these over the years, I was able to put the kind of emotional emphasis on my horn as if I were a Spanish vocalist, even approximating the rolling of the letter ‘r’ in places. The key was authenticity. As I created the original charts and Midi versions that became the foundation for the full production, I knew I wanted instruments like nylon string Spanish guitar, bandoneon (Argentinian accordion), and lot of percussion for a rhythm filled project.”
Reflecting on one of the more familiar song choices he made for the album, Crutcher adds, “Occasionally a song like ‘Cuando Vuela a tu Lado’ crosses over to become a huge American hit, with the audience not knowing it was originally a Mexican song. I’m speaking of ‘What a Difference a Day Makes.’ The American version was always recorded and performed with a faster tempo—more upbeat and ‘of the American times.’”
Asked about his musical inspirations, Crutcher offers a bit of whimsy: “It’s my music. It’s what falls into my life that is totally absorbing, that is metaphorically musical – watching a whirlwind in the desert, skiing fresh snow, listening to and studying the masters. It’s that and everything.”
Romances Latinos is Crutcher’s first independent release since 2002’s Isle of Avalon. It also marks an exciting creative Renaissance for the versatile composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and inventor, who is using it as a springboard to re-launch his label, which offers both Jazz and Sacred Music. Learn more and listen to clips at The World of Smooth Jazz.
To request copies for Radio Airplay, please contact Cliff Gorov at info(at)gorovmusic.com. For review copies or media interviews, contact Beth Ann Hilton, The B Company, bethhilton(at)theBcompany.com.
About the Album: Romances Latinos
Romances Latinos, by renowned saxophonist Rusty Crutcher, breathes an even higher level of sensuality into what the artist/producer calls The World’s Most Beautiful Latin Love Songs, written by the Greatest South and Central American Songwriters and Composers of the Twentieth Century. The romantic mix of songs is anchored by three essential boleros — Without You: Sin Ti, All and Nothing: Todo y Nada, Unforgettable: Inolvidable — and its mood lightened throughout by such favorites as Black Orpheus: Manha Carnaval and What a Difference a Day Makes: Cuando Vuelva a tu Lado. Crutcher’s reverence for Latin music is clear in his performance, as his tenor saxophone wails, cajoles, screams, cries, and caresses. The brightly-colored album art is appropriately modern, reflecting the updated Smooth Jazz grooves within the eco-pak, consciously chosen by Crutcher, a nature lover. He is joined on Romances Latinos by a strong team of players, including David Das, David Pulkingham, John Mills, Bob Bryant and Dave Scott, with several additional performances including Joel Guzman on three row diatonic accordion. The album was recorded at Oakwood Sound Design, Smilin’ Castle Studio, and Rudy Boy Studio; associate produced by David Das, arranged by John Mills, mixed and mastered by John Howard, with engineering by John Howard, Rick del Castillo and Rusty Crutcher. More info at thejazzworld.com.