I Love your music & your ‘Tude’...big-time Props.
Roger Glenn is ingredient X. The secret sauce. The cat behind the cat. Now, after decades of elevating the music of bona fide legends in jazz, Latin jazz, blues, and funk, the most versatile, singular multi-instrumental master is stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight with his first new album in four decades. With credits on more than 40 albums he hasn’t been hiding, but his new release My Latin Heart features a program of his enthralling original compositions, offering the most revealing glimpse yet of a jazz giant hiding in plain sight.
Known among his peers as a supremely talented improviser, Glenn has played flute with vibraphonist Cal Tjader, vibes with flautist Herbie Mann, and both flute and vibes with Dizzy Gillespie. He made his recording debut with legendary pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams and contributed to classic albums with Cuban percussion maestro Mongo Santamaria (Mongo´70, Atlantic Records), pioneering funk/jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd (Black Byrd, Blue Note Records), and Latin jazz star Cal Tjader (Grammy Award-winning La Onda Va Bien, Concord Picante Label).
No one project or recording could possibly capture every facet of this kaleidoscopically creative musician. But with Glenn playing vibes, flute, alto sax, marimba, and also contributing vocals, My Latin Heart showcases his dazzling multi-instrumental prowess via his abiding passion for Afro-Caribbean (and Afro-Brazilian) rhythms.
“I’ve been playing with numerous icons of jazz and Latin jazz for years,” says Glenn, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1970s. “I love all of
these various musical exchanges. They’ve all led me to this moment, knowing it's the right time to make my own musical statement. These original tunes are truly coming from my heart.”
His versatility has kept him busy. In the past few years he’s done a series of runs with blues great Taj Mahal, playing vibes, flute, sax, clarinet, and even piccolo and triangle. He’s featured on the Hoku Award-winning CD Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band: Live from Kauai. Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Kurt Elling featured him as a soloist on flute and vibes, and Glenn took his whole bag of tricks on the road to lead an organ trio that toured the West Coast opening for Steely Dan. Another tour took him to New Zealand and Australia playing baritone sax with the Count Basie Orchestra.
Music has marked Glenn’s family for generations. His father, the great trombonist and vibraphonist Tyree Glenn, most notably played with Cab Calloway, Don Redman, Duke Ellington, and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, including the classic recording “What a Wonderful World.”
With My Latin Heart, Roger Glenn steps into the spotlight as bandleader, composer, and jazz giant with a unique story to tell. “I’ve always seen myself as a musician rather than a flutist or vibraphonist or saxophonist,” Glenn says. “I treasure and value all the instruments I play. My father always told me to ‘create your own sound.’ Playing 18-plus instruments allows me to express myself, selecting the best instrument for each song I play.”
– Quincy Jones