Jef Kearns is not who would typically come to mind when you think of a best seller in Soul-Jazz and Contemporary R&B (a historical mark he made for his instrument on Amazon.com with his sophomore album, Soulfisticated, and his 2016 follow-up The Flute.)
He is a flautist who, as Detroit Jazz Magazine put it, "makes the flute speak the urban language of soul" with a sound "you normally don't hear from flautists." And who, as Smooth Jazz Therapy, a go-to site for smooth jazz reviews said is "dispelling the myth that flute players can't do urban jazz."
Jef Kearns' album, Soulfisticated, sat between the #4 best seller Janelle Monáe's "The Electric Lady" and Whitney Houston's "Love, Whitney" on Amazon Japan's R&B charts.
Jef learned to speak the language in the best way possible: immersion. Growing up listening to hip hop and R&B on Detroit radio in the 1990s when the music was what many consider to be in its hey-day.
"I'd spend hours in my room playing along with whatever was playing on Hip Hop and R&B radio," Jef reveals, and when I wasn't playing I was listening intensely to what exactly was happening, musically."
Of his music, Jef says, "It is my mission to show people that flute that can be just as soulful and down-and-dirty as sax. My music sheds a whole new light on urban music and the flute's place in it. It's the flute album for people who think they don't like flute. You've never heard it like this before."
When I hear the flute, I think of meadows, flowers, ponds and trees... That perhaps explains why I still find the use of the flute in R&B and jazz to be so shocking. However, as Jef Kearns shows... this juxtaposition can be shockingly effective.- Soul Tracks.com
He has a really lyrical way of playing that instrument, not quite like anyone else.- James Tormé (Vocalist, Jazz FM radio presenter, son of Mel Tormé)
An authentic, fresh sound that brings modern R&B back to its roots.- Soul in Stereo.com
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