Lansing’s Gallery Suite Jazz Series, spearheaded by Lansing saxophone great Phil Denny, just finished up its 18th consecutive sold out performance, and the next show is shaping up to be equally successful.
Oli Silk is one of the most talented jazz keyboardists and producers coming out of the U.K. right now, and today, he will bring his music to the Gallery Suite Jazz Series at the La Fille Gallery in Lansing.
Silk spoke with us about his love for jazz music, the U.K. jazz community and his latest album, “Razor Sharp Bit.”
Q: When did you first get into jazz music, and what drew you to the genre?
A: I was exposed to jazz, funk and soul music from a very young age through my older brother in particular, who was a huge vinyl collector. It was the first time I got to hear artists like Jeff Lorber, George Duke and The Crusaders.
Q: You’re based in the U.K. What is the jazz community like there?
A: The scene over here is quite thriving actually, we have a cool club in London called Pizza Express Jazz Club which hosts many of the big U.S. contemporary jazz artists every year. We also have several other satellite venues around the South which is exciting.
Q: You recently released a new album, “Razor Sharp Bit.” Tell me about the writing and recording process for this album.
A: Razor Sharp is my fourth solo studio album for Trippin’ Records.
It’s a project I was really psyched about as I managed to write and feature some great guest artists like Chuck Loeb, Paul Brown and Elan Trotman. The first single “At Your Service” featuring bassist Julian Vaughn went all the way to the top of the Billboard Radio Top 30, which was just fantastic.
Q: How did you end up booking the Lansing show? Do you know Phil Denny, who organizes the event?
A: I sure do! Phil and I had a blast playing together in Dubai a couple of years ago and really hit it off. We’ve stayed in touch ever since and now we’re due to share the stage again in Lansing.
Q: What should fans expect from your Lansing gig?
A: They should expect a cool mix of smooth down tempo piano-led melodies and some funky grooves that’ll get you out of your seat!
Mr. Denny will be showing what he can do on the sax and we’re also hoping for a special guest vocalist too which will really complement my vibe.
Q: Tell me about your radio show.
A: I host a really cool internet radio show for two hours every Monday evening at 7 p.m., playing a mix of brand new hot-of-the-press smooth jazz and classic vocal and instrumental music. It airs at www.smoothjazz247.com. Tune in!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Well, after the Lansing show, Phil and I have a cool festival show in Muskegon on Aug. 24, and then I’m off down to the Carolinas for a couple of shows.
The rest of this year is busy for me playing with Peter White, Dave Koz and Euge Groove and also starting work on album No. 5.
• Show details: Lansing’s Gallery Suite Jazz Series with Oli Silk, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m today, La Fille Gallery, 336 E Michigan Ave., Lansing, tickets $25 plug charges via http://olisilk.brown papertickets.com.