After much success with his debut album, Man with a Horn, Raiford is on the verge of releasing his second solo project, The Next Step.
Filled with catchy originals, tight hooks, and saxophone playing that is both passionate and sensuous, this release is already making waves in the smooth jazz world, pushing the idiom towards edgier sounds that reflect Shawn’s well-attended live shows. With the release of The Next Step, Shawn Raiford is poised to make a major stir in the contemporary jazz world, performing the type of irresistible soul jazz and R&B that he loves. High-energy and naturally talented, Shawn Raiford is a very appealing, emerging alto-saxophonist who plays accessible music that always has an infectious groove.
When asked to name some of his inspirations and influences, Raiford replied, “My Mount Rushmore would be Grover Washington Jr, Gerald Albright, David Sanborn, Kenny G, and Cannonball Adderley.” To his credit, Raiford has developed his own musical identity rather than copying his idols. He’s keenly aware of how to craft his live shows as well as he crafts his recording projects, bringing all that energy to the stage each and every time.
Raiford formed the ‘Shawn Raiford Experience’ in 2011 when his band was the opening act for a comedy show each month, and that has been his main group ever since. Personnel include Ivan Johnson on double duty as Music Director & keys, additional keys by Javance Butler, Michael ‘Tiny’ Lindsey on bass, Vincent Cole Dutcher on guitar, and Jonathan Frazier on drums. Always willing to share his success, he credits his producer-manager Derrick “DOA” Allen, his early instructor Claude Roberson, and such mentors as Ron Moton, Eddie Mininfield, Andre Delano, Garrett Perkins, and Andrew Beal. “They were my heroes who helped me so much with my playing.”
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