The jazz ensemble known as Aspen Groove have released their self-titled LP record album, “Aspen Groove.” The album is comprised of 10 original tracks for an approximate total of one hour’s listening time. A soothing, mellow instrumental collection of contemporary jazz numbers penned in the fusion, soul and Brazilian styles (among others) “Aspen Groove” is a warm and natural set appropriate for nearly any imaginable circumstance.
Aspen Groove is the product of keyboardist, composer and music producer, Erik Hjelt. Though Hjelt hails from Portland, OR, the selections on “Aspen Groove” bespeak an inspiration drawn from Colorado landscapes, as does the album’s cover art. This inborn fascination in and appreciation of the geography of Colorado comes from his frequent visits there to visit family, where he took advantage of every opportunity for “sightseeing, hiking and skiing in world-class scenery.” Faithfully to these sights and scenes, the jazz compositions of “Aspen Groove” paint images and conjure vignettes in the mind’s eye, many of them romantic. “Land of the Hanging Valley,” for instance, was inspired by Glacier National Park.
Hjelt cites as main artistic influences the likes of Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Fourplay, Quincy Jones, Jay Graydon, Take 6, The Yellowjackets, George Benson, The Rippingtons, and Ivan Lins. Certain attributes of these crop up in his new record from time to time (the naturalistic piano plinking of Grusin, a funky bass line in the style of Jones, etc.) yet the overarching feel of “Aspen Groove” is guided by Hjelt’s own, earthy sound. The LP is entirely produced by Hjelt, himself.
Hjelt has been writing music since the 6th grade. Studying with Portland jazz pianists George Mitchell and Randy Porter developed Erik’s keyboard skills, and he wrote the main theme for “She’s Only in My Dreams” at 14. He was heavily-lauded as a jazz pianist in high school before attending Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, where he played in jazz ensembles while studying music composition.
He was featured in a piano duo with Eric Reed performing “Night in Tunisia” at this time, and opened with his combo band for Wynton Marsalis. Recently, he has been experimenting in urban gospel music, adding more of the soul feel to his repertoire. His portfolio of compositions amounts to many LP records’ worth, “Aspen Groove” representing his favorite choices for a self-titled collection.
“Aspen Groove” by Aspen Groove is available online worldwide beginning 25 October 2013.
Staff Press Release Writer
The LP “Aspen Groove” is distributed globally by MondoTunes (www.MondoTunes.com) and is available at iTunes for convenient purchase and download
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