New Latitude – Convergence

ConvergenceGuitarists and composers Dave Erickson and Jim Carr started New Latitude to play original music and share their passion for instrumental acoustic guitar music. Their CD Convergence is 100% original music with great synergy and acoustic guitar interplay on every song.

You find this album under Crossover Jazz at CDBaby.

Tony Saunders – Appaloosa

AppaloosaTony Saunders is an American bass player and synthesizer player in the genres of jazz, gospel, R&B, Pop and world music. He is a composer, arranger, music producer, and head of his own studio, Studio 1281.

His new CD Appaloosa was released January 22, 2014. It features Tony on Bass, Grammy winners Howard Hewett, Bill Champlin and Tony Lindsay on vocals. The CD has 7 instrumentals and 6 vocal songs. Tom Politzer from Tower of Power, Rock Hendricks from Paul Hardcastle’s Jazz master series also grace the CD with their Sax playing. Longtime friends of Tony’s, Fred Ross and Sakai, background singer with Train, also sing their hearts out on the duet “The Question Is”.

Get the album at Amazon.com.

Mark Elf – Mark Elf Returns 2014

A bit of tradition with fresh energy. That’s what the listener gets with guitarist Mark Elf’s Mark Elf Returns 2014 (Jen Bay Records, 2014).

This is Elf’s first recording in eight years. It was scheduled to be recorded in 2012 but Hurricane Sandy put things on hold, flooding Elf’s home. The set has seven original songs and three standards. Accompanying Elf are pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. Percussionist Steven Kroon appears on “Michelle’s Mambo.”

Elf’s “A Little Diddy” opens the set. The title is apt as the music represents an artist not deliberately trying to make a statement, but instead just wanting to have fun playing. The quartet is well in sync, each musician complementing the others. Elf leads most of the way, performing in a way not unlike Wes Montgomery, or perhaps Lee Ritenour honoring Wes Montgomery. Then Hazeltine tickles the ivory, accented by Nash’s staccato rolls. What follows is an alternating call and response, Elf-Nash then Hazeltine-Nash, back and forth before the group reverts to the melody. A melody without fills as the foursome stops when Elf completes the main phrase, pauses, then does it again. A very nice diddy indeed.

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Frans Heemskerk – Persona

PersonaFrench Heemskerk plays with his trio, consisting of Jeroen Vierdag, Arno Nieuwenhuize and himself, the music of his new album Persona. Jazz, funk and fusion influences melt together in an exciting way in the new, contemporary compositions. Heemskerk is already 20 years active as a composer and musician. With this new album is his music available to the general public. The repertoire comes to life through the interplay of three musicians, who master their instrument completely so that every intuition can be followed and that any inspiration in music can be translated. The music of Personais a given, but is in any action in a unique way to life.

French Heemskerk made with The French Connection ‘Live At The Duke’ in 2005, his first album with his own work. He is working as musical director for Joop van den Ende’s Stage Entertainment. He also composed two musicals, he brought with lounge group “Water” 11 compositions at the Supperclub and he won a Johnny Kraaijkamp Musical Award in 2009. Jeroen Vierdag (bass) is one of the best bassists in the Netherlands. He plays in the band of Caro Emerald and Anton Goudsmit he plays in the Ploctones. Arno Nieuwenhuize (drums) played for many years with the Metropole Orchestra. He was responsible for numerous concerts and CD recordings with the greats, including Todd Rundgren and Steve Vai.

Persona, your alternative CD at CDBaby.

Ellis Jones – Fingertalking

FingertalkingEllis Jones previously released Fingertalking in 2005 under the stage name Loranzoellis. This album is all about expression through music featuring an array of different musical instruments and sounds. Because of the diver abilities of Elli’s style, you will experience a combination of funky grooves paired with pumping bass lines that are sure to get you grooving. Last but certainly not least, Ellis used this first album release to showcase his abilities on piano. So, make sure you are buckled up because you are about to experience The Ellis Factor.

Listen to it at CDBaby.

Mario Castro Quintet – Estrella De Mar

Take two musical ensembles, a jazz band and an orchestral, give them some original songs and eclectic arrangements, and you might get something like Estrella De Mar (Interrobang Records, 2014) by the Mario Castro Quintet, accompanied by a string ensemble.

The quintet is comprised of Mario Castro, tenor sax; Josh Shpak, trumpet and flugelhorn; Tamir Shmerling, upright bass; Kyumin Shim, piano; and Jonathan Pinson, drums. A few special guests appear here and there, an eight-piece string section accompanies, and two percussionists contribute.

This is nice. That’s the first thought that comes to mind when playing “Pilares.” You’ve got easygoing jazz, augmented by a string section that gives it a chamber ensemble feel. The music can be effective simply for listening pleasure, or it could underscore the opening scene or credits of a feature film. Castro just lays it down and plays to his heart’s content, complemented by the different elements of the band, whether it’s the strings, the horns or the rhythm section. Special guest David Sanchez joins on tenor sax.

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Drivetime Uoj – Ignition

IgnitionIGNITION! Drivetime UOJ will rev you up with what the group calls Urban Organic Jazz… that is funky grooves and jazz-soaked, melodic originals, and delivers exciting new music, ranging from smooth to Latin to fusion to Tower of Power-like grooves, and even a splash of chillout! IGNITION sparks from cool collaborations including special guest appearances by saxophonist Andrew Neu, vocalists Phyllis Chapell, Justin Guarini & guitarist Vinnie Zummo.

Get this brand-new album at Amazon.com.

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