epkFrom: Atlanta, GA

Genre: Jazz, Blues, Bebop, Swing, Soul, Gospel

Members: “Sweet Lu” Olutosin – Vocals

Bio: (Vocalist, lyricist, composer)

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Listen  

You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)

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  Performance Calendar

Past Performances

  • November 19, 2016
    Atlanta, GA, Kat’s Café
    Annual Jazz Gives Back Fundraiser Concert
  • September 3, 2016
    Atlanta, GA, Wolf Creek Amphitheater
    Wolf Creek Jazz Festival
  • September 25, 2016
    Decatur, GA, Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center
    ASA Music Production,Inc Presents
  • May 14, 2016
    First Congregational Church
    Atlanta Jazz Festival’s - JAZZ VESPERS
  • June 10, 2016
    National Sculpture Gardens
    Washington, DC Jazz Festival

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING  

“Sweet Lu” Olutosin is one of the most promising male jazz singers around… He has mixed together aspects of jazz, r&b and such musical role models as Oscar Brown Jr. and Eddie Jefferson to form his own style…”

~ Scott Yanow,
Jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers

” To call Sweet Lu a griot is an understatement. He is a wise sage imparting age old lessons by deftly infusing our cultural history and family values utilizing a tapestry of blues, gospel and jazz that are pure entertainment from beginning to end…”

~ Carl Anthony, 
Jazz historian & curator, Notorious Jazz.com

“…Lu cites the Kevin Mahogany-penned opener, “Still Swingin’”, where he successfully endeavors to “tell the story of how jazz has been beaten up, changed up, and we end it by giving a gospel flavor to inject the feeling of origin in the song,” neatly referencing the “Cross-Roads” theme of this release…”

~ Willard Jenkins
DC-area based journalist, broadcaster, and concerts/festivals curator

 

  “…after the first part in a trio, the pianist presented the special guest, for the first time in Italy, the vocalist Sweet Lu Olutosin. One approach explosives, a mix of soul, blues, mainstream, soloing style vocalese – then added with original (Lyrics) texts – a stage presence that can warm up the audience, a display of medium and low register but then able to surprise with successful forays in the tall one with a clear timbre that recalled the teaching of soul singer James Ingram”.

Napoli da Vivere

 “Olutosin’s voice is deeply rooted and tinged with just enough blues overtone, to make Sweet Lou’s Blues, an engaging offering, for both the jazz aficionado and newcomer. Filled with bursting melodies and topped with Olutosin’s distinctively impassioned voice, he may have just paved the way to new standards in the vocal jazz idiom”.

~ Geannine Reid,

Allaboutjazz.com

 “Olutosin is masterful, filled with ideas within his phrasing, and deeply rooted in blues. The soulfulness of his well-rounded masculine voice is a beacon in the male jazz vocal idiom. One voice I hope to hear for many years to come“.

~ H. Allen Williams,

JazzTimes

Buy  

 


 

“Sweet Lu’ Olutosin 

Meet Me at the Crossroads

Liner notes by Willard Jenkins

 

Vocalist “Sweet” Lu Olutosin proudly bears the honorific nickname of an honored of sweet bat swinging and basketball shooting sports heroes named Lou; from a jazz perspective he keeps good company in the sweetness department with the great saxophonist Lou Donaldson.  Meet Me at the Crossroads is Lu’s third outing as a leader, and a honeyed follow-up indeed to his last date, Sweet Lou’s Blues from 2014.

 

Born in Gary, Indiana, raised primarily in Jackson, MS, and currently based in the Atlanta area, retired military Colonel Lu Olutosin has adopted a deeply ingrained familial immersion in gospel music to develop a most soulful approach to jazz song.  Though anything other than gospel music was frowned upon in his upbringing, a chance aural encounter with Al Jarreau set Lu on the path to musical independence as he assertively responded to the irresistible call of the art of the improvisers.

 

For this latest outing Sweet Lu has enlisted the assured hand of pianist-composer Donald Brown in the producer chair.  The two met on the strength of Brown’s thumbs up to Lu’s lyric to Brown’s magnetic “Theme for Malcolm”.  “Donald heard my lyric,” Lu reveals, and “he loved it,” said “it was very creative the way you told the story.”

 

For this crossroads meeting Lu has enlisted additional jazz classics to lyricize, including Billy Strayhorn’s sophisticated line “Intimacy of the Blues,” which Lu christens “Sister Sadie’s Blues.”  For the album’s closer Lu wrote lyrics to Joe Henderson’s indelible Brazilian flavor “Recorda Me,” which in Lu’s context becomes “Don’t Forget to Remember.”  “I wanted to express in a relatable way that the cycle of life is unending,” Lu says of his investment in the Henderson classic.

 

Lu’s original songs for this date include “Skin Game,” a particularly resonant lyric in the wake of the troubling racial chasm in this country.  In his assertive, though lighthearted way, Lu decries the ludicrous nature of our historic skin game divide, dismissing this artificial separation of the human race just as his granny admonished him.  “I intentionally, but playfully, poke the big bear called racism with an implied question: “what if we didn’t have skin color to cloud our judgments,” he asks.

 

Another of Lu’s originals, “Tunji Baby” details a particularly appealing set of feminine wiles, a tune whose flavor neatly straddles the invisible line of demarcation between R&B and jazz.  “I just wanted to pay homage to all the beautiful, smart, fine women who are just outside the grasp of the man who’s hot on their trail.  Maybe if the guy comes correct he can get Tunji,” Lu declares.

 

With “How You Do That,” in this world of seeming insurmountable hurdles, Lu sings of folks achieving the unexpected in a world of “haters,” delivered in an eminently radio-friendly manner.  Clearly our leader has developed musical platforms that neatly balance originals and classics.  In the case of the classics, dig how Lu re-harmonizes the timeless Gamble & Huff line “You’ll Never Find,” bringing that chestnut into the realm of jazz interpretation.

 

Achieving such a finely balanced program of material is no small task, but Lu Olutosin aces that mission.  “I wanted to show the relevance of jazz music in today’s society; although there are considerable stylistic differences between today’s popular music and jazz, the roots of both come directly from African-American gospel music,” he asserts.  Exemplifying this approach he cites the Kevin Mahogany-penned opener, “Still Swingin’”, where he successfully endeavors to “tell the story of how jazz has been beaten up, changed up, and we end it by giving a gospel flavor to inject the feeling of origin in the song,”  neatly referencing the “Cross-Roads” theme of this release.

 

Of equal importance with his careful program selection, Lu has chosen his compadres well, accompanied throughout by the rhythm section of his arranging partner Tyrone Jackson on piano, bassist Kevin Smith, and drummer Henry Conerway 111.  For certain selections he broadens the instrumental palate with trumpeter Lester Walker, and tenor saxophonist Mace Hibbard, employing some of the Southeast’s finest practitioners to give wing to this balanced program.

 

“I believe jazz is, was, and will forever be the music of the struggle for freedom.  I think the players who realize this point are the ones we feel and connect with on a spiritual level,” is how Lu sums up his approach here.  Open up those ears and that sensibility and “Meet Lu Olutosin at the Cross Roads.”

 

Willard Jenkins is a DC-area based journalist, broadcaster, and concerts/festivals curator who can be found at www.openskyjazz.com. 

      Pre-Order the CD from Bandcamp.com

21 APRIL 2015 – RELEASE DATE 

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