Living New Orleans covers Khris Royal

Living New Orleans covers Khris Royal

Woodwind Beneath His Wings: This musician’s motto is “I came for sax.”
Khris Royal’s resume is too long to list here. Suffice it to say that this musician, composer, producer and bandleader hasn’t needed to look for gigs since high school, when he left the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts for a full ride at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Royal’s original music for his band, Dark Matter, hints at genres ranging from blues and jazz to funk and ska — and his saxophone chops are easy evidence of a career split between practice and performance.

In addition to leading Dark Matter, Royal tours with West Coast band Rebelution, and George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners. “When I’m not on the road with Rebelution and George, I play every Sunday with Pat Casey and the New Sound, which is a modern jazz group,” he says. “I also play a lot with Gravity A, which is a funky New Orleans electronic band.” He mixes it up, playing keys in the Big Easy Bounce Band.

“My music is kind of hard to describe, because I have so many influences,” Royal says. “There are definitely a lot of jazz influences in it. I listen to a lot of Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison and Kenny Garrett.” Other influences include Prince, The Time, Parliament-Funkadelic and The Gap Band. “Mix it all up, and you get Dark Matter.”

As a composer, Royal maintains a positive outlook. “I believe in writing music with a purpose,” he says. “When I turn on the TV and see something bad happening in the world, I want to fix it. Music can heal. That’s what Dark Matter is all about: connecting every living thing in the universe and realizing we are all one.”

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