Shenole Latimer
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Shenole Latimer

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz


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"Shenole Latimer: Front And Center"

This year, we've received just a handful of Long Island-based albums that are major league in stature - even if they haven't received recognition as of yet. Acts such as Off Peak Fare and Lisa Palleschi have knocked our socks off with albums that are simply perfect. Now, Mastic's Shenole Latimer joins that short list with Front And Center, a gorgeous jazz record in every sense of the word.

Latimer was featured in our last issue's Jazz & Blues column, so suffice to say he's made his mark performing with artists both local and national during the past several years. Now, he steps out in front with this sublime effort that's sure to catch the eyes and ears of major jazz labels nationwide. Trust us, the only reason this album is being reviewed in this particular column is because it's locally produced. Other that that, this is great jazz that's simply waiting to be discovered on a nationwide level.

Packed in a gorgeous open-fold Digipak cover, saxophonist Latimer offers nine tracks of serious jazz, both covers and originals. He's brave enough to tackle George Gershwin's "Summertime" and not make the arrangement jejune; he transforms Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and makes the tune entirely his own. And what a band: Latimer is backed by bassists Mark Verdino and Steve Kaell, pianists Sean Fitzpatrick and Gabe Shuford, and drummers Nameer Shukri and Kyle Struve, who all are superb. The album was recorded and mixed by John Zych at North Amityville's Earth Tone Studios, and it's a sonic marvel; you'd be hardpressed to believe this wasn't recorded at any of the country's fine jazz recording studios.

To put it succinctly: Wow - hot stuff. If you have a serious musical ear, don't miss this one. For more information or to purchase Front And Center, log on to,, or pick up a copy of this new disc at - EJazz News - Syl Nathan (2006)

"Latimer's Jazz is Spreading: Musician Celebrates Headline Performance"

Shenole Latimer of Greenlawn has been playing the saxophone since he was 9 years old. when he first saw one, he thought the instrument looked and sounded cool.

Earlier this month Latimer played his first gig as a headliner at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and, according to Latimer, the show was a three-fold success. "It was a personal, musical and business victory, " Latimer said.

Aside fromt he look of the saxophone, Todd Coolman aided in Latimer's love for music, especially jazz. Coolman is jazz director at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from which Latimer graduated in 2001.

"He was so enthusiastic about young people getting into jazz, " Latimer said. "He impressed me with his love for music. It rubbed off on me. He made you want to do more."

Latimer plays both alto and soprano saxophones. He grew up in Huntington and moved to Greenlawn when he was in high school. He has performed professionally since he was 20 years old and has seen the lights in venues as diverse as bars, restaurants, and jazz clubs. According to Latimer, he wants to move away from playing at bars and restaurants because he only serves as background music at those venues. He said he wants to perform concerts and does not want performing in restaurants or bars to leave him being typecast, musically speaking.

I don't want to be background music," Latimer said. "I want to entertain. I want to engage people on different levels. I want to put on a show." And put on a show he did at Patchogue. According to Latimer, audience members left the theater on September 9 with smiles on their faces. Latimer was invited back to perform again at that theater and officials are working with Latimer to negotiate a date.

"I am trying to use the momentum and the success from this concert to move forward," he said. He also said he hoped this performance will help him get into other venues.

Latimer performed with a quartet, but all four musicians were unable to practice together before the show. The three who did practice together only did so once. There was a special guest appearance by tenor saxophone player, Dan Faulk, whom Latimer considers a mentor. "Teachers spend time with you, Dan invests time in me," Latimer said of his friend.

Latimer was not only the star musician a the performance, he was the event's promoter and he designed the playbill for the performance. And he books all his own gigs. He said he hopes to find a manager so he can spend more time practicing and less time working out all the logistics of his concerts.

Musically, Latimer's first love is jazz. "Jazz doesn't pay as well as rock, but with jazz the big thing is improvisation. You are constantly improvising. It keeps you on your toes and it allows for more self-expression. With rock, everything is very arranged. You might have a guitar solo, but it would be the same each time. Jazz is constantly changing. You can see the same people play the same song and it will be different each time."

In general Latimer said he likes to perform songs that are not performed that often. He said although people enjoy hearing a familiar song, he enjoys playing music that people haven't heard before. He played one song that he wrote himself and said he is working on more complicated compositions.

According to Latimer, one of the areas he needs to work on is his commanc of the bebop language, which Latimer says is the fundamental groundwork for jazz. "English eveolved from Latin and modern jazz evolved from bebop," Latimer said. He also said he can sometimes be overcritical of his work, but thinks it's better to be overcritical than under-critical.

Latimer's next goal is to perform at the Staller Center Recital hall on the campus of Stony Brook University. He will be performing October 9 on the Chapin Rainbow Stage at Heckscher Park in Huntington as part of the Huntington Fall Festival. He also performs every summer as part of Happenings on Main Street in Northport as a member of the Northport Arts Council. - Long Islander News - Eileen Brino (2004)

"The Sax is Soaring: A young Jazz Star on the Rise"

Shenole Latimer is probably the best young jazz saxophone player you've never heard of. Then again, if you're up on the Long Island music scene, you may remember the progressive jazz fusion band known as Tempus Fugit (Time Flies) of which Latimer was a co-founder, keyboardist and composer.

The widespread success of Tempus Fugit notwithstanding, Latimer is focusing on a second career goal these days to break out as a solo horn player that can blow with the best of them, no matter the musical idiom: jazz, funk, bebop, soul or blues. In 1999 the Long Island Voice crowned the 6'3" Huntington native with a Best Horn Player Award. Clearly, someone at that now defunct tabloid understood a thing or two about what defines a great jazz saxophonist.

Sitting in recently at a Shenole Latimer show at 69 Wall Street, where he performed with his able crew otherwise known as the Shenole Latimer Quartet, this listener was impressed by the range, inventiveness and maturity of a jazz musician who has yet to reach 30. Confidently running through a set that included tunes by Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea, along with a moody yet coy and sexy version of the George Gershwin classic "Summertime." The theme from "Porgy and Bess" never sounded quite like this.

Between sets (he performed three) Latimer made every effort to chat up those in the crowded upstairs audience who obviously had come to hear the music rather than rest their elbow at the bar all night.

Refreshingly self-effacing and friendly, with a wide-as-a-mile grin, Latimer is honest and forthright about the difficulties he faces as a young black musician trying to carve out a musical niche for himself on an island that too often turns a deaf ear to exceptional talent precisely because they're local. Fortunately for Latimer, he owns enough ambition to see beyond Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

"We really are in a cultural void out here," Latimer says of Long Island. "People don't often want to embrace local talent, even though Long Island has a rich history of artists and musicians who have lived and performed here. It all seems backwards, turned around."

"Of course, for me, New York is the next step. But right now, 69 Wall Street is an important place for me since it's become a kind of home base. When I play there I always make sure to talk to people in the audience, especially those who I've not seen before. Most jazz musicians don't talk to their audiences enough. I like to personally thank people for coming out to hear me. I have a responsibility to the venue to give people a reason to keep coming back."

Hearing Latimer play a single bar is reason enough. He credits two of his professors at Stony Brook University, where he graduated last year with a degree in music, with fanning his musical desires beyond being that of just another band member.

"Nobody ever sat me down when I was a kid and said, 'do it like this'," Latimer recalls. "My biggest weakness early on was a lack of a solid music foundation. But Dan Faulk became my biggest mentor. He's an incredible tenor and soprano saxophone player who also happens to be intelligent and articulate."

Faulk, who is Director of Jazz Studies at the State University at Stony Brook, helped Latimer in correcting his "foundation" weaknesses, especially with regard to bebop, which can be decidedly complicated, technically, for a young jazz student. Says Latimer: "I loved his ideas, his sense of phrasing. by listening to him play I learned where the holes were in my own playing. He showed me that I had a lot of things missing and that I had to step backward before I could move forward."

Latimer adds that he was also duly impressed by how relaxed Faulk was whenever he played: "The music poured out like flowing water. I began to understand what it was like to have full control of your instrument."

Another college mentor for Latimer was Todd Coolman, a SBU icon and accomplished upright jazz bassist who has played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie. Latimer credits his experience with the Stony Brook University Jazz Big Band, under the tutelage of Coolman and Faulk, with helping to shape his own identity as a musician.

As we are going to press, Latimer is in the final stages of preparing a self produced, full length eponymously titled CD that was recorded live at 69 Wall Street with his quartet consisting of stand-up bassist, drummer and keyboard player. He also has a live three-song EP where he does a remarkable job covering Pat Metheny's exotic and moody "Song for Bilbao."

Currently sans record company, personal management or booking agent, Latimer has had to don a number of hats to stay in the public eye and move his career forward. While he has played often at live Long island venues such as Chesterfield's, Da Funky Phish, Bootlegger's Bistro, and new York City rooms like CBGB Gallery and The Elbow Room; Latimer could be gigging a whole lot more if - Improper Hamptonian - By R. Ronald Johns (2003)


As A Bandleader:

CD (LP): "Front And Center"
Released by Tierra Records, October 17, 2006.

Heavy online streaming and national/international radio airplay has been given to the opening track "The T.L. Special", as well as "Hope", "I'm Just Fine", "Always (You Will be the One)", "Footprints", and "Invitation".


As A Sideman:

CD (LP): "Solid" by Christina Gaudet
Gaudet Records, October 10, 2010
Genre: Rock/Soul

CD (LP): "Express" by Jack's Waterfall
Self Records, Dec 8, 2009.
Genre: Modern Folk

CD (EP): "Duets" by Gail Storm
Independent Release, Nov 24, 2009.
Genre: Blues/Jazz

CD (LP): "Soul Ties" by Janira
Independent Release, Sept 1, 2009.
Genre: Adult Contemporary Rock

CD (LP): "Oasis" by Christina Gaudet
Gaudet Records, November 11, 2008
Genre: Rock/Soul

CD (LP): "Tom Osborn" by Tom Osborn
Independent Release, July 2, 2008
Genre: Adult Contemporary Rock

CD (LP): "Where Truth Lies" by Christina Gaudet
Gaudet Records, June 5, 2007.
Genre: Pop/R&B

CD (LP): "Essentially Me" by Giovanni von Essen
Released by Tierra Records, February 22, 2007.
Genre: Neo-Soul

CD (LP): "Closer to the Day" by Kenny MacKenzie Trio
Released by KMT Music, September 14, 2007.
Genre: Jazz



He strides on stage with the energy of a rock star and brings his saxophone to his lips. Suddenly you feel an incredible force pulling you towards him and the stage.

Such is the seemingly magnetic ability of award winning saxophonist Shenole Latimer to draw in his audience with his glowing stage persona and impassioned playing. Latimer's playing style shows influences drawn from the likes of Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis, and Dexter Gordon. However, he exhibits the gift of being able to effectively communicate with and affect his audiences through a voice that is uniquely his own.

Shenole Latimer decided to pursue music professionally in 1998 and within just one year of his entering the scene, he had gained an endorsement from the woodwind instrument accessory giant known as Vandoren and had handily won the 1999 Best Horn Player Award, which was a prestigious reader's poll from the now defunct Long Island Voice. These initial accomplishments helped to fuel Latimer's ambition of becoming a respected headliner on the big stage.

On September 9, 2004 Shenole's ambition would become a reality when he was asked to headline a concert performance on the main stage of the 1,164 seat Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts in Patchogue, New York. Latimer's concert far exceeded his critics' expectations for ticket sales, and even ended up outselling a Chuck Mangione concert that took place at the Patchogue Theatre just two weeks later.

Using the lessons that he learned from his first headlining performance, Shenole formed his artist management and booking company Rici Music, Inc. and by 2006 he had self produced several very successful concerts for his quartet in small to medium sized concert halls that he rented using both his own money and the money of corporate sponsors such as Coldwell Banker and Washington Mutual.

In 2006, during what turned out to be a fateful train ride, Shenole unknowingly found himself seated next to an executive for an independent record label. The executive could hear Latimer's music seeping through the headphones he was wearing and was inspired to sign him to the Dortmund, Germany based label known as Tierra Records.

Shenole Latimer's 2006 debut CD, appropriately entitled "Front and Center", continues to enjoy strong sales both domestically and internationally.

Shenole Latimer currently performs in venues through out the east coast of the United States. Additionally, he continues to be a highly sought after lecturer and clinician, and enjoys several sideman projects from artists who thrive in the blues, neo-soul, rhythm and blues, adult contemporary rock, and pop music scenes.