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Lance Ellis

Lance Ellis

Lance Ellis

What do you see as the biggest challenges to the growth of Smooth Jazz in the future?

I feel that the biggest challenge to growing Smooth Jazz music is exposure. If the music were more accessible to a broader audience, appreciation would naturally grow. Not having Smooth Jazz records in rotation on more radio stations hinders exposure and growth. Even here in New Orleans itís a challenge to get my music played on urban radio stations. New Orleans is known as ďThe Birthplace of JazzĒ but we donít even have a station dedicated to any form of jazz music. My personal challenge is to get local program directors to first give local smooth jazz artists air time.

What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?

I am happy to be alive and proud that I have the ability to share my talents and be a blessing to others. Iím also proud to be a part of a legacy by playing with the original members of the group War. Iím proud to be a member of the Smooth Jazz family and have the opportunity to share my music with the smooth jazz lovers of the world.

How would you finish this sentence? ďI donít like to go a day without_________________Ē.

I donít like to go a day without giving God honor and praise. I like to do something creative everyday whether itís practicing the guitar, saxophone or keyboard. I also like to go on walks with my dog, Bruno. I donít like to go a day without blessing someone in my life.

At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and record your own album?

After working for 13 years at the Post Office and pursuing music only on a part-time basis, I was ďJust CuriousĒ to see how far music could take me. So I took a leap of faith quit my day job and delved into performing, writing and recording music full time.

Who are some of your current favorite artists, smooth jazz or otherwise?

Some of the greats like Charlie Parker and Coltrane have always inspired me. I also like Najee and Ronnie Laws. Kidd Jordan, a New Orleans musician, who was one of my teachers, continues to be a mentor. Iím still in awe of the music of the late Grover Washington, Jr.

What do you find the most challenging aspect of recording an album?

Finding the right chemistry for the project in terms of material and instrumentation is challenging. I have a lot of songs that are in various stages of production but itís important to find the right mix of songs for an album. But probably the biggest challenge is getting the financing for a project.

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