Paul Randolph’s Melodic Grooves Transcend Genres

Listen to 5 essential tracks from bass player and eclectic funk man Paul Randolph.

Photo of musician Paul Randolph performing on stage.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a musically minded mother and trombonist father, Paul Randolph began studying music, including guitar and piano, at age 7. After his family moved to Brazil during his childhood, Randolph was exposed to a variety of genres including bossa nova, Afro Cuban, afrobeat, rock, blues, slow drag (doo wop) and R&B, all of which informed his style later in life. His family moved from Brazil to Detroit where Randolph would study and master bass.

Randolph joined the Detroit-based New Orleans-style funk and blues band Mudpuppy as lead vocalist and bassist, along with fellow Detroit musician Amp Fiddler.

Today, Randolph continues to add layers to his artistry and transcend musical genres, offering a template for modern soul, jazz, house and funk. He has proven to be one of music’s premier sonic adventurers while presenting Motown flavor as one of Detroit’s most important cultural emissaries.

Listen to 5 essential tracks from Paul Randolph:

1. “Idle Time”

In 2004, Randolph released his first solo album, This Is … What It Is, via Moodymann’s Mahogani Music label. With its liquid deep, understated vocals and fluid basslines, the release married the genres of jazz and house music and signaled that Randolph was an emerging artist to watch.

2. “Lucky Girl” – Jazzanova feat. Paul Randolph

Randolph became an in-demand session musician with the ability to play a wide array of music ranging from jazz and rock to funk and folk and everything else in between. He continued his musical evolution on his sophomore release Indigo Eden, while also forging a musical kinship with noted German-based collective Jazzanova. Randolph recorded several tracks with them and become one of their signature vocalists on many of their noteworthy tracks.

3. “Could You Be Me” – Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins

With frequent collaborations with Jazzanova under his belt, Randolph’s name became world-renowned incorporating a very distinctive and distinguished vibe on wax that would raise the curiosity and anticipation of music heads around the globe. This unmistakable “vibe” was evident on his collaboration with legendary jazz singer Kathy Kosins from her Uncovered Soul release.

4. “Shake House” – Paul Randolph

With his many collaborations fueling his creativity and artistry, Randolph crafted what many consider his magnum opus album, In The Company of Others. The release proved to be an amazing showcase of his uncanny ability to fluidly merge numerous genres into a distinctive sound all its own. It would have all the hallmarks of Randolph’s signature sound – complex chord structures, great melodies and unique chord progressions with arrangements colored by the emotive honesty of his rich baritone voice.

5. “Fancy Free” – Paul Randolph

Randolph’s most recent release is a contemporary jazz instrumental interpretation of a tune by the late jazz/fusion artist Donald Byrd. “Fancy Free” features legendary flutist Hubert Laws and finds the production colored by a beautiful, yet rhythmic urgency infused with Brazilian and Latin dance vibes.

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