Eclectic Excursions is a classical triumph of overlapping odes and melodious notes, leaving listeners with a jovial and rhythmic experience of Hip Hop, Neo Soul and Jazz morsels.
Nabaté Isles, a modern musician who shies away from primitive sonatas. He’s always switching things up, just to show the true art of musicianship.
The native of New York, New York composed a double bass album called, “Lessons. World-renowned double bassist, James VanDemark premiered the feature at at Louisiana State University. He instructed actor Rob Brown as trumpeter, Delmond Lambreaux, on HBO series, Treme. He was also part of Christian McBride Big Band’s Grammy-winning albums, ‘The Good Feeling (2012)’ and ‘Bringin It '(2018), in addition to the bands performance at the White House for Barak Obama’s last concert from his administration.
“It was surreal to be there [at the White House], at such a historic place, and also to know that it was President Obama's last year in office. That’s when I knew we wouldn’t have any type of leadership like that for a long time. Not Just leadership, but the essence of the man,” Isles reflected eloquently.
“Every President is different. I’m not saying every President is bad. Each President has their own vibe. We won’t have the vibe of President Obama—He would bring so many different types of music into the White House, to be exposed to [all]. It was really surreal, and the energy in the place. When we rehearsed with the great artist that we worked with like Yolanda Adams and Sam Moore, and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. Just on-and-on like Usher, Anthony Hamilton, and artist like that. When we worked with them, they were so appreciative of us. You know how some major artist are like to themselves and don’t relate to their band? They wanted to relate to us. They really respected what we brought to the table. That was a family bond that was really creative. It made me feel relaxed, and it made me forget about what was going on. It made me feel really inspired overall and artistically. That was memorable about the White house experience. It made my mind at ease. It was a nice period of 5 days. It was really wonderful.”
Isles is a mystifying sports trivia expert, and a proficient producer, as well as a host for SirusXM NBA Radio. He has his own weekly talk show called “Something to Talk About on MNN (Manhattan cable)." Isles made appearances on TV game shows, ESPN’s Stumb the Schwab and Crackle/ NBC Sport’ Sports Jeopardy.
It’s an enigma of how he makes the time to do everything. There is no such thing as one talent, at least not in the curious case of Nabaté Isles.
Finding his gift.. “The trumpet became my unicorn when I was 12 or 13 years old. The trumpet was something that I was blessed [to do]. I started playing at 8 years old,” says Isles. “It was the last instrument left at my elementary school band, where we were all able to select an instrument. I wanted the bassoon, but the trumpet was leftover. I took that and then by the time I was 12 or 13 years old, I knew it was the instrument for me. It reflected my personality of being very forward and outgoing, and that’s what the instrument is about."
The 40 year old musician is able to captivate the younger audience with his divine styles.
“I would say my music is very eclectic. There are a lot of elements to my latest album, Eclectic Excursions. There’s a lot of influence of jazz, hip hop, R&B, soul, funk—A lot of that influence, it’s a lot of groove music on this album. It definitely caters to a younger generation from that standpoint. It’s funny, I’m quoting Stacy Dillard, who is om my album from my documentary. He said, “It’s a little something for the head-boppers. It’s a little something for everybody.”
Behind the scenes of Eclectic Excursions
Listen here for Eclectic Excursions.
His ear quenching piece called, Laid Back, is hip hop commingling with jazz, a dedication for music elopers who prefer to be lost within the airy transitions of sound.
Eclectic Excursions is produced by multi-platinum winning songwriter and producer/ keyboardist, Sam Barsh. Along with wide-ranging chords, it’s undeniable that the two would create beautiful tunes together.
It was important for Isles to use all components of music, especially while creating the single, Laid Back .
“I made the beat a while back. It’s the only tune [from the album] that’s a little older. It was something that I wanted to record. Whenever I did my debut album, I wanted to record this tune. It also transferred into live instrumentation. I wanted to implement that with live instruments, with instrumentalist like Nate Smith—Johnathan Blake had two drums and it sound like one, you know how united they sound. Also, Ben Williams and Sam Barsh—That’s the prime rhythm section to have, to be able to make something really knock, groove, and really have that pocket. It was perfect for those guys to play it."
Isles confirmed that it challenged him to do the album independently, but he pulled it off.
“I didn’t want to wait on a label. I would have to wait until 2019 to have this released via label. I didn’t want to do that. All the logistics of everything, I had to do myself and everything like that, [and] just making sure everything is right. I did distribution myself. There are many things that I have to do myself, which makes it difficult; but it’s so worth it at the end of the day, because it’s a project I have control over. I think the support from a few investors and contributors really helped to make this dream come true. I’m indebted to them. They are all so supportive. That’s the great thing too, [they are] very supportive. They are behind me and behind the music, which is really good. They respect what I bring to the table."
No musician or artist for that matter, wants to find themselves in a situation like Bird Man and Lil Wayne, where Wayne still hasn’t released Tha Carter V , because Cash Money Records shelved the album about 4 years ago.
With financial backing, Isles released Eclectic Excursions on his timeline, while still having creative control.
According to the musician, it’s imperative to acquire supportive investors when working on a project of this magnitude.
“It’s very important. I was able to pay my musicians right. Another thing with that, all the musicians I work with, they’ve been ultra-supportive. I’ve worked with them for 10,15, or 20 years. I’ve worked with them for a long time. It was great, because I was able to pay them fairly. They still gave me a discount. They understood that the project was independent. I wanted to make sure that I paid them at a good level, even though they looked out for me,” Isles remarked humbly. “It was great. Also, I was able to pay for the recording studio, a great engineer, who could mix and master the album. I was able to pay everyone that needed to be paid like the publicist as well. It’s really good to have people behind you so that you can do that.”
The album was released on July 20, 2018. Though it’s a finished masterwork, Isles is still meek when conversating about it. He asks for honest feedback from listeners so that he can refashion something for his next magnum opus.
Isles said that he’s still learning. “The thing that is [important is] continuing to be honest. We act in life. We are all actors. Some of us are on the level of Jack Nicolson, Denzel Washington, Sydney Poitier and Gregory Peck. Some of us are on that level, like Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, Cicely Tyson or Angela Basset—When you think of actors like that, there are people on that level, then there’s soap opera acting. I think what it is, it’s being honest and not having to act when you’re on artist. That’s the thing. Find a balance between being able to have people attracted to what you do, without dumbing it down. Still being honest, and have people feel what you’re doing. It’s like a “Mo Better Blues” film, when Wesley Snipes said, ‘If you playing things people wanna hear, people will come. If you play things people don’t want to hear, people won’t come.’
You want to play things and [let] people come to hear you, but be honest with yourself. I think people overall feel that honesty [when you play] and they go for it. Not everybody will do it. As an artist, I need to be able to grow and have a clarity in my message, [and] a clarity in my voice that people get right then. When you’re a great communicator, people follow. When you’re a great leader and you have great communication, people will follow. That’s the same [similarity] as a musician is to an artist. That’s something I still need to work on. I will work on that till the Lord calls me to move on to another world,” laughed Isles.
While we’re on the subject of mystical musicianship, Isles said that he’d like to work with Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones [his all-time-idol], Herbie Hancock and Nas.
“Nas is a complete artist. He’s not just a rapper. He’s someone who speaks the truth in his lyrics. It’s very rare. Not everybody works with Nas, and that’s the really interesting thing about him. Stevie Wonder is an iconic songwriter and musician. Just working with him would be great. Quincy Jones, is the ultimate composer, arranger and producer. Working with him, I would learn from him too. He could give me composition and arranging lessons while I’m writing something,” Isles chuckled almost elatedly. “He’s someone that could critique it to the fullest.
‘Herbie Hancock, legendary jazz musician, who’s the most versatile musician that you can ever hear, he’s someone that’s an improviser. The composition would metamorphose into something else when you’re with Herbie. He can stretch things and take it to another place, so that’s what makes him great. Those are four that I can think of now. I’m sure there are 10 other names that I’m not thinking about, that I’ll end up thinking about tomorrow. Right now, those four are it.”
Though Nabaté Isles is grossly involved with his music, he still finds time to bestow gifts in other areas of the arts. He’s sharpening his acting chops, so followers will get to see him in a film this fall.
"I produce for SirusXM Radio, and I host a show called "So Much to Talk About." I've been heavily involved in Sports Media for about 12 years now. Thats what helped me do this album. Sports helped me manage my time from the standpoint of producing—Producing, you have to be organized. That helped me with my organization of producing the album, and also with connections as well, because sports people were able to be investors on the project. They are also supportive of the CD, the album. They are supportive of the digital aspects. Sports people didn't realize— Sports media folks and athletes didn't know I was a musician. That really helped me to cultivate relationships outside of music, and that's important. I want to be able to communicate and bounce ideas off people who aren't just in music. I want to be able to talk to people in film. I have filmmakers that I'm friends with till this day. There are a lot of filmmakers that I met at NYU, New York University, where I got my masters at. I feel like it's important to me to have eclectic relationships, which reflects the music of this album, "Eclectic.” I don't believe in being in one lane. I believe in being in all the lanes when I'm running. I want to be crossing every lane."
Find Your Light (feat. Alita Moses)
Laid Back (feat. Elzhi & Jrdn)
Follow Nabate Isles for more eclectic selections:
iTunes: Apple Music
Google Play: Eclectic Excursions
Amazon: Eclectic Excursions