One of the brightest young stars to rise from the Kansas City, Missouri, scene in the past few years is Ernest Melton, a saxophonist with loads of talent, a probing mind and a compulsion to push the music forward. A largely self-taught musician, he is in many ways a torchbearer of the K.C. style — swinging hard and using rhythm as a springboard for musical ideas. But at the same time, his music strives toward the cutting edge, blending sounds from contemporary genres and drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Pharoah Sanders and Igor Stravinsky.
His unique soundprint — as you’ll hear on today’s Song of the Day, “P.B.S.,” a hip and pummeling track from his CD The Time of the Slave Is Over — is spacious enough to comprise muscular funk lines, rippling bebop licks, avant-garde wails and so much else. Ernest currently lends his talents to multiple groups of different genres (including his own). And while he’s featured more often as a soloist, he has become well known for adding that “special something” to live performances and recorded works. This young cat is someone to keep an eye and ear on.