Allison Adams Tucker – April in Paris

“April in Paris” is a tried-and-true song that has proven popular among singers and musicians. However, it takes on a different feel when the singer is actually in the city of love. That’s the approach taken by Allison Adams Tucker for her second release, April in Paris (Allegato Music, 2014).

The album was recorded at a Paris studio on April 30, 2012, the first UNESCO International Jazz Day, at the end of Tucker’s European tour. The album presents a mix of vocal jazz, Brazilian, French and other styles. Accompanying Tucker are Emmanuel Massarotti, piano and Fender Rhodes; Evona Wascinski, contrabass; and Julie Saury, drums. Appearing on selected tracks are Ze Luis Nascimento, percussion; Mirko Guerrini, saxophones and Peruvian flute; and Peter Sprague, guitar.

Tucker’s voice is rich, soothing, as she croons the delightful, “It Might as Well Be Spring.” The guitar, Rhodes and percussion complement her, along with the other instruments. Massorotti goes on a jaunt not unlike some early Bob James. The bass and drums are in tight syncopation.

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David Baroni – Once Upon a Sunset

Once Upon a SunsetThis is an album of new, fresh, creative, fun and inspiring jazz instrumental music. Artist and Composer David Baroni has been influenced by such musical greats as Bill Evans, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Pat Metheny, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Herbie Hancock and many more.

This album is joyful, inspirational, powerful, fresh and full of brand new jazz classics. From the smooth jazz opening song “Day At The Beach” to the infectious “Tea Truck,’ the soaring “Eagle Cry” and the haunting “For Love,” this project is diverse, yet with a cohesive musical excellence. No throwaway songs here! With its latin, R and B, classical, pop, and jazz tunes, Once Upon A Sunset is a must-have album for music lovers everywhere.

Once Upon a Sunset is now arrived at CDBaby.

Ed Taylor – It’s Complicated

ItsComplicatedFormer Motown session guitarist Ed Taylor performed his Wes Montgomery- and George Benson-inspired guitar licks for years at small clubs in the Pacific Northwest. Taylor began his playing at the young age of 13 – He grew up in Los Angeles and was heavily influenced by George Benson, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

After Songs From A Taylor (2007) and TaylorMade (2005) he has released his third album It’s Complicated in 2012. The album is still available in all stores.

Paul Marinaro – Without a Song

Let’s face it. There aren’t a lot of people writing jazz lyrics nowadays. So what’s a singer to do? Options are basically limited to remaking standards or covering popular music (include rock, soul, R&B, country). So what sets one new release apart from others are two factors: selection and delivery.

For Without a Song (Myrtle Records, 2014), Paul Marinaro handles the selection by giving us 14 songs, with only a few of them among those that have been recorded ad nauseam. And he handles the delivery by being himself and not trying to emulate a particular artist, like Sinatra or Torme.

Chris Sargent, Chris White, Judy Roberts and Tom Vaitsas split piano duties. Guitarist Andy Brown sits in on a few. Bassist Joe Policastro and drummer Jon Deitemyer appear on all but four tracks – two of those being previously recorded material featuring Joseph Marinaro. And guest violinist Marielle De Rocca-Serra contributes to “May the Music Never End.”

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Jay Williams – Just Because

Just BecauseJay Williams is originally from Washington, DC and still makes it his home. At three years old is when he started in on the drums, and while others sometimes say that the instrument picked them, Jay feels differently. “I think I picked the drums. I was very fascinated by the drummers I saw playing at an early age.” Like a great deal of other artists, Jay got his start at church. “My whole family at home was, and still is, involved in church. My Dad was an organist and my sister sings. I am the only musician who ventured out to different styles of music.” But unlike some artists who have a stellar reputation and made a name for themselves, Jay never forgets where he came from and loves to give back. “When I’m home, I’m always playing in church. That’s my favorite musical situation. God gave me my talent and I do all I can to give it back to him.”

Jay is in high demand these days and has travelled a long road to get where he is now. Jay notes that getting to this point in his career was sort of the trickle down effect. “From a recommendation, I got to work with Will Downing. From that, I started working with Gerald Albright. The bass player with Gerald also plays with Lee Ritenour, so he recommended me for that! I subbed for a good friend of mine, Eric Valentine, with Jonathan Butler, which gave me the opportunity to work with Dave Koz! So that’s sort of how things happened. It’s all about who you know and being in the right place at the right time.” Jay has also played with George Duke, Bob James, and many others.

Like many who start their careers as side musicians and are happy to support the headliner, Jay is breaking into the headliner spot with a CD of his own. “My CD project consists of some feel good music that the normal listener can enjoy. The project is mostly instrumental with a gospel inspirational base. The project features Gerald Albright, Kevin Whalum, bassist Melvin Davis, and many other great musicians and friends. I actually did a little singing my self. I own my recording gear, so all of the drums and some of the other tracks were recorded in my studio.” Now you can buy this album at CDBaby.

Clinton Fortson – Tonal Vizion

Tonal VizionThis music is an expression of my experiences beginning at the age of seven when I took the “dreaded” piano lessons under duress. Forced to take lessons, I hated piano until my mother allowed me to withdraw. I regained interest in music at age fifteen when I was so impressed with my friend’s father who played classical guitar- that I begged him to teach me. I quickly learned how to play guitar plucking with all my fingers. I then learned to play cello and saxophone/flute.

In my late teens I started playing with a latin (afro-cuban) band and then “re-acquired” an interest in piano, timbales and latin percussion instruments. I then played keyboards, bass, and flute with an R&B funk band. I have always liked the power of brass/strings in combination with a surging bass line and heavy bass drum. So, EWF, Chicago, Brass Construction were influential in my musical growth. I somehow retained a love for classical music and it can be detected in some of my arrangements.

Tonal Vizion is a hodgepodge of varietal music ranging from easy listening jazz, to soundtrack bits, classical- with rock guitar and funky bass lines/beats. There’s a brief excursion into an orchestral arrangement! Interesting melody lines and harmonies. Look for it at CDBaby.

Elias Haslanger – Live at the Gallery

Play loose. Play happy. Have fun. And the audience will appreciate you. That seems to be the message Elias Haslanger gave his sidemen for Live at the Gallery (Cherrywood Records, 2014), which refers to the Continental Club Gallery, where the saxophonist and his band play regularly on Mondays.

Haslanger plays tenor sax. With him are Dr. James Polk, Hammond B3 organ; Jake Langley, guitar; Scott Laningham, drums; and Daniel Durham, bass.

“One for Daddy O” starts the set. It’s gritty, soulful, no-nonsense. The tenor growls at its lowest depths, then wails at some of its highest heights. The audience responds accordingly. Langley stretches out during the middle, playing like an old-school blues artist. Polk gets his chance to shine as well.

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