Combining their extensive and diverse musical backgrounds to create a fresh new sound and vision for contemporary urban jazz, keyboardist/producer Darren Horn and saxophonist Dr. Sean Holland – recording and performing under the catchy moniker Horn & Holland - are bringing the genre a major step forward with the release of their infectious, easy grooving, soulful debut single “Steps of a Good Man”. The track, dynamically blends jazz, gospel ad R&B with a steady groove, powerful horn textures and cool, choir-like backing vocals. In addition to showcasing Holland’s passionate alto sax, it’s the perfect, dynamic embodiment of Horn’s longtime credo as a songwriter.
The tale of how these two major musical talents met and formed their unique partnership is an exciting narrative in itself. The two met at a National Day of Prayer in their hometown of Lansing, MI, in 2014. Holland, Senior Pastor at the Epicenter of Worship Church, was a keynote speaker, and Horn was there performing with other recording artist. Their faith and love for music began to forge a unique relationship of creativity and collaboration. As their friendship grew dreams began to take shape and the rest is history. Their goal is to bring a new vibe to urban jazz. Their vibe mixes gospel, jazz and R&B in a new way that bridges the old and the new eras.”
Beyond blending jazz, R&B and gospel, another of Horn & Holland’s trademarks is to create music that’s intensely grooving and uplifting – and turning Holland’s dynamic alto melody into a true voice, creating a rich emotional palette as if it were a human voice singing. The track “Steps of a Good Man” starts out easy and laid back before evolving into a soaring groove and sax explosion, complete with rich horn textures and gospel-driven vocals. Faith informs everything the duo does, so it’s not surprising that Holland notes that the song has Hebraic roots in both time and meter. The spirit and title of the song were inspired by the Book of Exodus and the escape of Ancient Israelites from captivity in Egypt. Holland says, “In a universal sense, it’s about the idea that we’re all headed somewhere, moving forward, and that our steps are ordered. All of the songs on the album will have a deeper meaning beyond just great sax driven tracks.”
“While many independent, emerging urban jazz artists just throw some fun, funky tunes together and hope something big happens, Horn & Holland bring true inspiration and a higher purpose of bringing light and joy to people with their music. Beautifully integrating their love for jazz, R&B and gospel as per their mission statement, the duo’s debut single is soulful, exciting and in the pocket, and is a powerful opening showcase for Horn’s sonic textures and Holland’s edgy, heart-tugging sax. Their story so far is fascinating – and this track will make a lot of urban jazz fans eager for the next chapters!” – Jonathan Widran