Los Angeles native Gerald Albright ranks among the most revered performers in jazz and R&B instrumental music. The saxophone master became a highly requested studio musician during the 1980s, assisting noted artists ranging from Anita Baker to Whitney Houston, and he toured with Phil Collins and Quincy Jones. When he wasn’t maintaining a busy schedule as a session player, he recorded numerous successful solo albums; his versatility resulted in a stellar reputation for improvisational skills and soulful creativity.
Since 2005, Albright has lived in Castle Pines, Colorado.
“It was a step out in faith,” Albright said. “Up until the move I’d always lived in California—born in Hollywood, raised in South Central L.A.—but a lot of negatives were developing. In our travels my wife and I finally came to Colorado. I was performing a benefit fundraiser, and one of the perks was staying a couple of extra days. A realtor took us around; we saw 25 homes and some golf courses in two days. Before we flew back to L.A., we saw the house we’re in now. We walked in and it felt so good, we moved 45 days later.”
Inspired by his relocation, Albright’s New Beginnings reached the Top 5 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart, topped Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and received a Grammy Award nomination. Photographer Carl Studna captured the mountains of Colorado on the CD cover artwork.
“I’m one of those transparent guys—I try to make the music mirror where I am in my life at that given point in time, and New Beginnings was reflective directly of my move to Colorado,” Albright said. “It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I do know I had a different feeling living here, and when I started to create the music, it came out with a different flavor, a different overtone to it, than the CDs I recorded and released in California. Even though I’m known to be a high-energy player, even the funkier stuff came out with a more relaxed, smoother overtone to it.”
Albright continued to self-produce tracks in his home studio, and his solo recordings Sax for Stax, Pushing the Envelope and Slam Dunk also received Grammy Award nominations.
“Living in Colorado is conducive to songwriting,” Albright said. “The pace is a little slower, the air’s a little cleaner. Everybody’s happy to be here, closer to nature, and you never get tired of the scenery. You wake up in the morning and you look out the window and you go, ‘Wow, man—God really knows how to put it together!’”