Playing the saxophone has always been emotionally intense for Erly Thornton. Each performance is a connection this artist and his audience mutually enjoy! Born in Nashville into a family that had artistic talent on both sides, mother being a painter and father being a trumpet player, he had no choice but to experience a double doses of creativity from birth.
Starting on the sax in the 5th grade, Erly was asked to play in front of “the boys”, his father’s musician friends, every weekend to the music of Ray Charles. His improvisational talent began there.
Erly began taking the music into his room to learn every lick he could from Jazz artists such as Herb Alpert, Grover, Sanborn, Najee, George Howard, Brecker Brother Band, and others, learning their works by memory. But he also “felt” the R&B and Funk of groups like Cameo, EWF, Zapp, Stevie Wonder, Prince, and The Time contributing to his multi-faceted style.
During the late 80’s Erly started college and began playing professionally for the first time. In addition to Nashville, Erly performed in the cities and surrounding areas of Knoxville, Chattanooga and even spent some time on World Famous Beale Street in Memphis. Graduating from Tennessee State University in Electrical Engineering, in the 90’s Erly moved to Orlando where he began working in his field.
However, leaving music behind turned out to be impossible. Very soon Erly was performing in Central Florida with several groups as well as a solo act.
The unexpected breakup of one of the most successful of his Jazz groups thus far, B.One, prompted him to pursue a solo career in earnest.
Erly began writing in 2004 composing many of the songs on his current CD. Drawing from his past he initially decided to create music using the strong Bass and Drums of the R&B of his youth, creating funky Jazz licks over the top. The effort was initially titled ""The Old School Beat"" with the songs “Call It A Day”, “JJ’s Bounce” and “Grooveelatious”. Later Erly realized that his music needed to encompass the present as well as the future and included Latin Flavored tracks such as “Mura De Cozumel” and in collaboration with Veit Renn of Renn Music Productions created songs such as “Free”, “Embarkation” and others. “The Old School Beat” became “My Life” detailing the emotional experiences that we ALL have on a daily basis.
Erly performed with original Jazz groups like Jerry Wilborn and Limited Access in Knoxville, and in Nashville with AyreTyte, a contemporary Jazz cover band. Erly also performed with R&B artists Phil Perry, Glenn Jones and Howard Hewitt as a member of their show bands during performances in Nashville in the 90’s. In Orlando, he became a key member and lead voice of B.One an all original Jazz band that quickly became one of the hottest groups in Central Florida, recording 2 CDs, opening for the Clearwater Jazz Festival, with Mindi Abair, and opening for Spyro Gyra at the House of Blues in Orlando.
Earlier this year, Erly debuted his solo career opening for The Rippingtons in Orlando in July 2007 and finishing with one of the first standing ovations an opening act has received in Orlando recent memory.
Now that the CD “My Life” has been released, Erly expects to become a regular on the Jazz Festival and Concert circuit. Expect much from this artist as he is sure to impress!
If you like Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Marion Meadows, Cannonball Adderly, and Marcus Miller then you'll love Erly Thornton! Visit Erly's MySpace page and get a FREE download of the song "Free" from his new album "My Life"... Check out http://www.myspace.com/erlythorntonjazz for more details.
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