Sonny Emory offers listeners “Jazz (Royal Gift)”

0 refers to Sonny Emory as “drummer to the stars.” There are several reasons for that. The performers Emory has played with include the likes of Bruce Hornsby, Bette Midler, Earth, Wind & Fire, Al Jarreau among others. Emory’s latest album finds the drummer recruiting family and friends in an ensemble called “Cachet.”

Having played with some of the best performers in contemporary times has given Emory a musical range that reaches from pop to jazz, to r&b to rock, and genres in between. Emory’s latest album, “Love is the Greatest,” contains the standout track, “Jazz (Royal Gift).” The song expresses some of Emory’s history as a drummer and demonstrates his passionate and nuanced performance style.

About Sonny Emory

Georgia native Sonny Emory began playing drums as a child. Later, according to, he attended Georgia State University and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Jazz Performance. To date, he has more than 20 years of professional experience. Emory’s abilities have made him a much-sought-after session musician, and web pages that focus on him are filled with accolades from performers that are household names.

As a testament to Emory’s style and talent, his single “Jazz (Royal Gift)” not only appears on his new album, but it has also been anthologized by Jazziz magazine. This will no doubt give Emory an even wider audience.

“Jazz (Royal Gift)” by Sonny Emory

Over a soundscape that blends r&b, jazz and a touch of hip-hop, a rapper uses a stylized voice to detail what the royal gift is. As the title indicates, that royal gift is jazz. There is a great deal going on in this song. More is going on for those who can decipher each word of the rapper’s mouthful of rapid-fire lyrics.

In “Jazz (Royal Gift)” there is a bouncy, mid-tempo organ that seems to supply most of the groove. At first, the sound is quite electronic, but it warms up with the addition of horns and drums.

The syle of the backing vocals is like that found on smooth jazz. The horns and keyboard compete harmoniously in the soundscape. Each instrument group sounds as if it could stand on its own as the supporting instrumentation. But when put together, the effect is sonically satisfying.

While the instrumentation is notable, the backing vocals are not to be overlooked. The singers, which sound like a mix of female and male voices, sing the line, “My people gave me jazz/such a royal gift.” In one line, the Black American contribution to jazz is summed up. That it is currently Black History Month, and last year, jazz celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017, make the song’s connotation of legacy all the more poignant.

While the mid-tempo good-naturedness of the song makes it inviting to hear, the reasoning behind the song gives it a larger purpose. The jazz that Emory presents here is solid and contemporary. The tradition continues.


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