Behind every musical overnight sensation are years of toiling away in rehearsal halls, recording studios and sweaty nightclubs meticulously honing one’s craft. In trumpeter Joey Sommerville’s case, it’s more than two decades of writing, recording and touring to cultivate his following and establish his presence on the national scene. On October 28, the award-winning soul-jazz musician, songwriter and producer will release a new collection of songs that he’s been working on as far back as 1993 that will comprise his fifth album, “Overnight Sensation,” slated for release on his Jayvox imprint. The title track will crank up the party when it is serviced to radio stations for airplay at the end of this month.
Sommerville’s forte is serving as an impresario of fun and funky frolics and pretty harmonies that touch the heart. He wrote or co-wrote nine of the disc’s ten tracks and produced the entire session sharing production duties on two cuts with fusion icon Jeff Lorber. Like a ringmaster who skillfully unifies the eclectic acts of a three-ring circus, the trumpeter who also plays flugelhorn, piano, keyboards, synth bass and drum programming on the record has scripted a colorful collection of short stories with his horn serving as the common thread binding gripping chapters in contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, R&B, hip hop and rock.
“In this era of singles downloads, I still believe in the concept of albums and a cohesive body of music,” said the Atlanta, Georgia-based Sommerville, who will perform at an album launch gig there on October 30 at the Suite Food Lounge. “I’ve always wanted to record these songs and I really like them, but they didn’t fit on previous projects. They were all inspired by real life experiences thus they have meaning. The long journey that is a music career is a marathon, not a sprint, and the timing finally came around for these songs to be recorded for the first time. Surprisingly, they fit together despite being written over a long period of time and the variety in their sound and style.”
Sommerville’s trumpet seduces on the sensuous “Desire” highlighted by gossamer guitar from legend Earl Klugh. Venturing in a divergent tangent, Sommerville tosses a bone to Jeff Bradshaw on a raucous and imaginative take on “Caravan,” a scintillating thrill ride that Duke Ellington never would have seen coming. “Red Cups Up” is a playful party anthem while Sommerville surprises when he steps to the mic on the stunner “I Just Wanna Be With You” on which his husky voice quivers and cracks with raw emotion while crooning an autobiographic story of romance to his wife. A spiraling Lorber groove, “The Next Big Thing” is a tightly-wound R&B-jazz-funk mélange illumined by Sommerville’s trumpet and quirky synth along with a touch of sax from Elan Trotman. The elegiac “Rebecca of Birmingham” was penned years ago after Sommerville’s grandmother passed and is graced by a stirring blues-jazz guitar eulogy from Eric Essix. “Karma” induces reflection during the straight-ahead jazz exercise after which Sommerville closes the album with the throwback R&B instrumental “Forever” followed by the boisterous “The Passport Life.”
A spotlight soloist on the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning album “Alegria” by Cirque du Soleil, Sommerville’s 2007 release “Like You Mean It” won the American Society of Young Musician’s All That Jazz Award in 2009. His trumpet artistry was featured on Hidden Beach Recordings’ “Unwrapped Volume 4” and he’s written and produced a Top 20 single for Bob Baldwin and an album by Rhonda Smith that features performances by Prince, Sheila E. and gospel icon Fred Hammond. Sommerville is a high-octane performer who is a regular at festivals and on music cruises. Outside of music, he can be heard voicing spots for BMW, Coke, Ford, the U.S. Army and more.
The songs contained on the “Overnight Sensation” album are:
“Red Cups Up”
“I Just Wanna Be With You”
“The Next Big Thing”
“Rebecca of Birmingham”
“The Passport Life”