D Rolark released an album that I will certainly be playing on multiple occasions due to how riveting each track is. The soothing album begins with “Key Logical”, a jazz-like masterpiece that shows off great instrumentation with a funky rhythm that complements the jazzy atmosphere. “Key Logical” had me moving along to the rhythm while still feeling charismatically absorbed within the song. The next song that transitioned in on this album was “Brighter Nights”. Brighter Nights had a more delightful aura but it still kept the powerful instrumentation intact while showing a new dimension to the rhythmic Jazz that D Rolark presented to us in “Key Logical”. After “Brighter Nights”, “Autumn Afternoon” transitioned in and we fell more in love with D Rolark Artistry. For some magical reason, the entire arrangement of “Autumn Afternoon” felt as if it was a musical representation of the season “Fall”.
This was a super cool element knowing the title of the song was “Autumn Afternoon”. This showed us that D Rolark knows exactly how to create meaning through his music. “Encountered” was a detailed record that felt like you were embarking on a super cool journey. The song was very exploratory, enhancing your nomadic characteristic and evoking a sense of curiosity into the listener.
“Love Eternal” showed a nice transitional side to D Rolark skills. The smooth-suave vibe complemented the title of the track effortlessly well. D Rolark was able to prove that he can switch the atmosphere up and showcase multiple ranges through his multi-faceted instrumentalism. D Rolark shows us what else he’s capable of with “Rhythm Essence”. “Rhythm Essence” was super dope. This song had a fusion of old school hip-hop combined with his raw jazz skills and it created a super nice blend. “Rhythm Essence” is exactly what feel-good music sounds like and I’ll listen to it over and over again. “Blessed Evening” is the type of song you can dedicate to a significant other. It’s romantic, sensual, and poetic through arrangement without any lyrics or vocals presented. “Blessed Evening” had this smooth vibe that I know will help the moment feel more right! If you’re looking for a song to enhance a connection between you and that special someone, “Blessed Evening” is the song from this album to complete that goal! D Rolark closes the album off with “D’s Groove”.
“D’s Groove” was a perfect closing to the album because it takes you back to the introduction of the entire project. It reminds you of D Rolark’s style, sound, and the way he conducts his songs. All in all, “This Moment” was an amazing album well crafted and finely calibrated with diverse dimensions that showcase the versatility that D Rolark is equipped with.
You can listen to “This Moment” by D Rolark here!
Welcome to BuzzMusic D Rolark! What got you into Jazz music initially? Thank you very much for having me here, and I'd like to say it is both an honor and privilege to be in company with a lot of up and coming artists of diverse talent and honorable merit. My father was an avid jazz fan. This was the music that was played in our home. All of the greats such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Oscar Peterson greatly influenced me, as well as grabbed my attention. Also, all of the greats from classic jazz labels such as Blue Note, Prestige, Impulse, and Verve whose rosters contained a massive list of artists signed to the label at the time. My father's jazz record collection was one of the largest collections that I knew of at the time; he had over 1700 albums (which I now have). Growing up, jazz was forming into what's now known as Smooth Jazz. Artists such as Bob James, Stanley Clarke, Return to Forever, Jeff Lorber, Herbie Hancock, and others have had a big influence on me. I started out on rhythm guitar at the age of 11. The switch to keyboards came years later when I saw Herbie Hancock, Spyro Gyra, and George Duke in concert. This is where my love for music turned into a passion. After switching to keyboards, I picked up on Bass Guitar, then other instruments came along to where I now play 12 instruments.
Tell us about your album “This Moment”. What inspired the title of this project? "This Moment" was a project that I originally conceptualized back in 1995 under the title, "In This Moment". My primary inspiration was my wife, Dawn, who was my fiancee at the time. The objective was blending Contemporary Jazz with Soul/R&B. The songs on the project changed over time. My mission was to bring love, happiness, and dance from a Smooth Jazz perspective. The first time I recorded it in 1995, I achieved the effort, but I felt it sounded kind of dated, plus it sounded too synthetic. I recorded the project again in 2003, though it was solely done on a keyboard workstation. Some of the songs from that version appeared on my 2015 CD "Smooth Elegance". When I decided to bring that project back to the light, I shortened the title to "This Moment" and removed the "in" from it. Two of the songs that I originally recorded in 2003 were re-recorded and updated; "the title track and "Blessed Evening". In addition, I wanted to put my multi-instrumentalist talents to use playing all of the instruments: Keys, Rhythm Guitar, 5-String and Piccolo Basses, and Drums.
How would you describe the major theme in “This Moment”? The major theme of this album is "happiness expressed instrumentally". "This Moment" is an album with a mission to bring love and happiness from a Smooth Jazz perspective. I could have easily recorded an album with a collection of songs with no thematic element, but that wasn't what I was feeling at the time. All of the songs are based on the joys of life, such as the essence of autumn, love conquering all negativity, and dance as a method of expression. It's been said that "Where words fail, music speaks". This quotation couldn't be any truer. As an instrumentalist, I express myself at best that way; plus inspiring others as well. That is my mission and that is my goal, and I am so thankful and grateful for the talents that the Lord has blessed me with.
What was the most challenging aspect for you with creating “This Moment” and why? The most challenging thing for me was coming up with song titles that fit the album. There were songs on this album that I've written many years ago, but I couldn't find the right title that fits perfectly. For example, "Laying It Down" was written in 1994, but it has always remained untitled until recently. I felt that if I had forced myself to come up with a title rather than letting it come naturally, it wouldn't fit. The song, "Brighter Nights" was almost called "Meant To Be", but at the time when I recorded it, thoughts of a positive nightlife came to mind. I'm glad it worked out that way. There is such thing as writer's block; for me, it's "title block". As a composer, I can come up with a song easily and record it, but the appropriate title wouldn't come until later. I'm glad that I use the natural approach to making music. Another challenging thing was making the music sound as authentic as possible. Any novice musician can purchase a keyboard workstation or software and make it work, but there's something about that approach that doesn't seem natural. This is why I wanted to make use of playing multiple instruments; something that I love doing.
What song from “This Moment” was your personal favorite and why?
If I had to pick one song that is my absolute favorite, it's "Meant To Be"; a duet that I've done with my wife, Dawn, on Electric/Synth Violin. As stated earlier, Dawn was the sole inspiration of me recording this project. In addition, this is one of the few collaborations that I have done with another instrumentalist, who happens to be my beautiful bride of 23 years. My wife got into playing violin years ago and I have encouraged her to pursue that passion into purpose and let the power of music inspire others. I introduced her to violin greats such as Jean-Luc Ponty, Karen Briggs, Regina Carter, Noel Pointer, and Damien Escobar. This marks the second time we've recorded together as husband and wife. The first time was a year ago on my Gospel Jazz album entitled "Make A Joyful Noise" on the song "Manifested Blessings". Together we're known as the D & D Connection. The title of the song was inspired by a quotation about married couples that we taught in a Marriage Ministry. "The couples that are meant to be are the ones who have been through everything that was designed to tear them apart, and came out stronger than before". We are that couple' We have been through so much and we are still here by the grace of God. Our love stands the test of time.
What’s next for you D Rolark in 2020? My plans for 2020 will be prosperous. Aside from recording two more projects slated for that year (a Smooth Jazz album and my very first Christmas album), I will be doing local shows and private events to promote the album. For years, I have toured with my band, Da Fellas Band, (a band that I co-founded), and we still do many shows of cover material, I will be doing shows that features my wife and me together. Since the beginning, I have always believed in doing music outside of major labels. As an independent artist, I have the freedom to express myself without limitations. Every artist has a voice that is meant to be heard. As such, my level of creativity is only as good as the One who blessed me with it and to use it as a method to inspire others.