we recorded this back in 2000 with Nic Thys (b), Chris Conti (g), and Otis Brown (dr). i was playing a casio keyboard through a wawah pedal. Love this song!

From Vlerie's newest record, i mixed this track. 


This is from a January 2014 recording of Valerie live at Rockwood Music Hall in New York. Aside from me and Val you hear Rashaan Carter (b), Reggie Quinerly (dr) and Solas B. Lalgee (voc). 

My college friend Valerie Troutt has been collabing with me for a minute. She is now based in Oakland. We still work on things consistently - I end up mixing many of her Cali records; and I play keys in Val's band when she appears in New York. I am a huge Valerie Troutt fan and I worked forever on the record that is out now, i did the mix. Here are some of my favorite Troutt jams...

The keeper and expander of a rich cultural legacy in music and consciousness-raising, Troutt’s latest project, The Sound of Peace, borrows from the past and gives to the future. Half jazz standards innovatively reimagined for contemporary audiences and half truth-telling originals penned by the lady herself, the Troutt produced project is an overture to her fans for not only social change, but also their own self-acceptance. Recorded at Project West and engineered by Dion Decibal, the project was recorded with trios and quintets of musicians, including Garian Gray and Jazz Sawyer on drums, Raoul Paralez on electric bass, and David Yule on upright bass. Accordingly, this project has a live music feel absent Troutt’s more electronic 2008 debut EP, Prepare for a Future. With live studio recording also comes more of the unexpected and unplanned dynamic moments that hallmark Troutt’s signature sound. Whether Troutt is tackling an innovative arrangement of the classic “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” or sharing her own hybrid blend with “Rise,” what is consistent is a jazz vocalist’s skill with a soul stirrer’s heart, making the genre-labeling of Troutt’s music unnecessary and impossible. Like that of her equally liberated contemporaries, Lizz Wright and Gregory Porter, this is just honest music.

Thematically, Troutt’s two projects differ too, illustrating where she is now as a woman and artist in her musings and priorities. At the eve of Obama’s election, Prepare for a Future spoke of intergenerational relationships, forgiveness, shifting in and out of the illusion and reality of love, vulnerability and emergency preparedness as a way of securing one’s future. The Sound of Peace is about stepping out of cycles that fail to serve personal evolution and liberation, to embrace the self, and rise above self-pity and self-cruelty—the rich themes of a philosophically reflective artist. The common thread weaving these two sides of Troutt is an understanding of music as survival, as a spiritual and wellness tool for growth, both personal and communal. It is after all, what time and again saved her own life and gave her the faith and strength to believe in herself and persevere in an industry disdainful of difference, and everything about Valerie Troutt is wholly, unapologetically, and powerfully different. With The Sound of Peace, Valerie Troutt hopes listeners welcome their own difference, freeing it into the world as a light all their own.

By L. Michael Gipson