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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Swayyvo performs "America the Beautiful" during the One Chattanooga inauguration ceremony at the Tivoli Theatre on Monday, April 19, 2021 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Tim Kelly was sworn in as the 66th mayor of Chattanooga.

Over the past decade or so, Jerod "Swayyvo" Morton has become a well-known figure in Chattanooga thanks to his distinctive dreadlocks, easy-going nature and smooth sound on the saxophone.

Whether he is performing with members of The Flock, a collective of talented local musicians, or as a solo artist performing in local venues or busking on downtown sidewalks, he tends to make an impression on all who hear and meet him.

Having his music used in an NBA.com video for LeBron James' return to Cleveland in 2018 helped raise his profile, as did being featured in ads on TV for Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union.

Swayyvo has released his first solo instrumental album, "Sounds in My Own Words," and will debut it on Thursday at Wanderlinger Brewing Co. The work is a collection of originals featuring a number of guest artists.

"It's my very first instrumental project," he said. "People have been wondering why I haven't done it before, but I wanted to do it in my own way. I don't want to be compared to anyone else.

If you go

What: “Sound in My Own Words” debut party

Where: Wanderlinger Brewing Company, 1208 King St.

When: 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4

More info: $15 in advance, $20 day of

 

 

"I'm not as technical as some and I use the saxophone as an accent or a rhythm instrument. I don't lead with the saxophone. It's just something I do."

Swayyvo has collaborated with numerous local artists such as Johnny Balik and written and recorded his own original hip-hop songs. His two previous albums, "Riverside Drive" and "Trunk Therapy," represented the diversity of his musical talents and interests. "Sounds in My Own Words" is more focused and personal, he said.

Joining him on the project are people like Ryan Long, Josh McCausland, J White, Brian Clay, Taylor Freeman and Canadian rapper and Jessie Reyez collaborator Junia T.

Swayyvo produced or co-produced about half of the eight tracks.

"It's always a pleasure working with Swayyvo," McCausland said. "He's such a professional in every project he does, plus his passion is pretty much unmatched. He's a real inspiration as an artist to me, and I was honored he wanted me to be a part of the release."

Swayyvo said he was going for a hip-hop sound using trap drums and lots of different solos on piano, guitar and, of course, sax. Some of the songs also include some choruses that Swayyvo said are there so "people can sing along."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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Photo courtesy of Kendra Simons with The SimonWest Agency / Local musician Sayyvo Morton recently released his first solo instrumental album of original music.
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