Featured Alumni

StarCentral Magazine‘s Musician Of The Month For September 2012

by Jenny Aluning on September 20th, 2012

Steve FertilMany believe that one’s childhood defines the rest of one’s life. For Steve Fertil, aka Steve Reason, it is the fuel that drives his passion, creativity and ambition. Coming from a “very underprivileged background”, Steve believes that “you have no other choice but to work hard to make yourself something or someone and stop the cycle.” It is a belief that has transformed him into a multi-talented artist, a decorated US Marine and StarCentral Magazine’s Musician of the Month for September 2012.

The 29-year old saxophonist, singer, songwriter, dancer and performer started his foray into music at 10 years old as he sang in church. Exposed to a myriad of musical genres, he debuted as a saxophone player when he was 13, at a performance he remembers fondly at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Miami, Florida. “It was the first time my parents had seen me perform as a sax player.” It was a defining moment for the young musician but Steve now credits another, more recent performance as a “pivotal point to lead me to a better understanding of what’s to come…” Last month, he was honoured to perform alongside Mia Martina, a CP Records Platinum-selling international recording artist during a “live televised show in front of 10,000 people in Canada”. “That day will be forever remembered for the rest of my life…”

For Steve Reason, performing is all about the audience. “They make every moment of a show overwhelmingly worth it… I love to see people smiling and having a good time…” To this end, he constantly pushes himself to create “something fresh and new.” He graduated from Florida Memorial University with a degree in Jazz Studies. There he studied under renowned jazz trumpet player, Melton Mustafa Sr, absorbing the knowledge necessary to create a sound uniquely his. Reason has finally achieved that with the release of his first single titled, “Take Your Body” from his debut album, “Love & Conversation.” “The album will be a dual album where my fans will get to hear my vocals and will get a sax version of each song.” Working with multiple marketing and production companies, Reason also hints at a “little twist to the album” that could be a game changer for the music industry.

With his family, especially his cousin, Pierre, supporting him, Steve certainly has the talent, ambition and versatility to be a truly outstanding entertainer. “All I can say is I’m here to work hard, help others, and create music for the rest of my life.”

» Click Here to view article on www.starcentralmagazine.com

 


ALBUM REVIEW: Leon Foster Thomas is Up to Some ‘Brand New Mischief’ on the Steel Pan

Written by Ms. Raine

Leon Foster ThomasNothing says U.S. of A. like Jazz – it’s got a ballsy, bad-ass attitude, an overly inflated ego, and it just doesn’t follow any of the rules reserved for ‘standard’ music.  It’s just plain ol’ American stank in all its obnoxious glory. Leave it to a  Trinidadian to go and ‘fass’ and add their own brand  of  Caribbean color to Jazz’s funky attitude, via the steel pan. Brand New Mischief, the second album from pannist Leon Foster Thomas is a multi-dimensional jazz album with his amazing pan interpretations as the focal point.

Foster’s heartfelt performance on the track “Annecy” is one of the albums stand outs. Named for his baby daughter, “Annecy” is a beautifully crafted piece that starts off with the steel pan almost singing a lullaby at the beginning, complimented by a smooth piano and bass rift and very light percussion, that gradually gaining a joyful momentum and intensity toward the end.

The bass-heavy low down groove of the title track infuses a bit of American Funk and Rhythm and Blues, which contrasts beautifully with high-pitched clinking of the steel pan. It’s fascinating how much Foster’s steel pan on this track sounds like a lead singer, with Allen Paul’s piano performance serving as back-up vocals.

Foster’s Caribbean roots come out on “Baby Blue,” a fusion of Latin Jazz and Caribbean folk that is one of the album’s more colorful and upbeat compositions.

Another one of Brand New Mischief‘s best tracks, the popular “Soul Window” is very new age,with mellow instrumentation. The high pitched steel pan that sounds like neat little ice chips falling over the ultra-smooth melody.

Brand New Mischief is stellar, but brief. The albums seven tracks are slightly over a half-hour long in total. But there is something to be said about being short and to the point, no long talking – it’s very American, in a bluntly Caribbean way.

» Click Here to view article on www.jayblessed.com