Photo by Jerry Mettelus
Clint Holmes has a lot to sing about these days. And it’s all on the record – literally.
The singer/songwriter/entertainer’s new album, “Rendezvous,” which will be officially launched in New York City at Birdland Jazz Club on April 17th, already boasts a chart-climbing single. “Say Anything” entered the Billboard Smooth Jazz Charts at Number 22 and is climbing. And another song from the CD, “A Perfect Trance,” for which Holmes write the lyrics, has been turned into a dance mix in Paris, France. Holmes, the product of a marriage between a British white opera singer and a black jazz singer, also wrote the lyrics for “At the Rendevous,” which is an autobiographical account of his musical roots derived from his father, and for “What You Leave Behind” featuring Dave Koz.
“I'm hoping that this album raises my jazz profile,” he reveals. “I’d like to play jazz festivals and clubs and this CD is laying the groundwork for that. Being on the charts means getting national airplay in major cities. We’re off to a good start.”
“Rendezvous,” which is on L&L Records and distributed by Sony Red, is available on itunes, Amazon. And CD Baby. The idea for the new CD came about when Holmes met producer Gregg Field (who is married to Henry Mancini’s daughter, Monica) and arranger Shelly Berg at a music festival and sat in with them. Field asked Holmes why he didn’t do a jazz album. Field also told him that he needed to align himself with other luminaries in the field and make it a who’s who of the jazz world on the CD.
Holmes got together an investor for the album, his faithful friend, Larry Safir, as well as a patron of The Smith Center, Len Eckhaus, who wanted to handle the money for promoting it. He then flew to L.A. and recorded “Rendezvous” at Capitol Records with the best studio musicians and background singers, including Patti Austin, which Field had gotten together along with guest artists Ledisi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Dave Koz, Joey DeFrancesco, Scotty Barnhart, and The Count Basie Band.
The 11 cuts on the CD include Holmes’ renditions of “I Loves You Porgy/There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon For New York,” featuring Bridgewater and the Count Basie Orchestra, and “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” featuring Monheit,“ His R&B/Smooth Jazz rendition of “Say Something” features Ledisi. Holmes also gives his unique solo interpretations to “Maria,” “All of Me,” “Marie,” “Stop This Train,” and “My Way.”
“The idea is to get the album into as many genres as possible in terms of airplay,” he reveals. “With the ‘Porgy & Bess’ medley, I tried to do my own take on what Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong did back in the 40’s. ‘Stop This Train’ was written by John Mayer and my daughter Brittany came to me and told me that I had to hear it because it is all about families and the passage of time. If I had my way, it would be the next single released; either that, or the Dave Koz tune, for which Dave wrote the music after the loss of a friend. And we turned ‘My Way’ on its head. It’s done from the point of view of I did it my way, only my way didn’t work out. It’s dark, sad, and depressing and it makes you forget the triumphant Frank Sinatra version. Everyone loves a sad song now and then.
“The last time I was on the Billboard charts was 43 years ago with ‘My Name is Michael,’” he adds. “I’m moving more towards jazz now. I want to be a storyteller and I want to tour internationally. My goal for the rest of my career is to have an audience that wants to come hear me and not just in one or two places. I just did my first jazz cruise. I think that jazz is having a bit of a resurgence because of the movie ‘La La Land.’ Jazz has its audience. This is who I am. I may be shifting more towards jazz musically but I’m still the same guy as an entertainer. It’s really a matter of communication. No one is really doing what I’m doing – I have a niche. I have to keep reinventing and repackaging myself so I am digging deeper into my roots.”
For those who love watching Holmes perform live, starting May 9th, his 71st birthday, he will be appearing at the Golden Nugget here in Las Vegas Tuesday and Wednesday nights through August and possibly longer.
And that’s happily on the record, too.