Archive for May 28th, 2010

Tom Schuman – Reflections Over Time

Tom Schuman (keyboardist and co-founder of Spyro Gyra) has released several great CDs before, but this is arguably the best. Starting with “A Quote From Mr. Z” he channels the spirit and genius of the late Joe Zawinul. Tom’s composition and performance on this track establishes him as this era’s successor to Zawinul.

Equally impressive is Tom’s collaboration with former Dazz Band and Kool & the Gang lead vocalist, Skip Martin on “When.” Watch the video on YouTube. With a nod to Oprah and Deepak Chopra, Tom lays down the new social anthem. Other highlights include the beautiful and melodic “Sofia’s Eyes” and perhaps the fastest performance of the John Coltrane classic, “Giant Steps” ever performed on the piano. Push Play and enjoy.

Reflections Over Time is an eclectic and exciting blend of jazz styles that takes the listener on a musical journey – sure to satisfy and delight the tastes of music lovers from every genre. Tom mixes in a little R & B and pop vocals to spice it up a little bit.

Don’t miss it at CDBaby.

Jonathan Fritzén – Diamonds

The key attribute of any truly successful artist is the ability to consistently write music of the quality that can shape a career. This doesn’t always come easy but in the case of writer, producer and keyboard player Jonathan Fritzén he really has hit the ground running. His 2008 debut Love Birds announced him as a performer of tremendous promise and every one of it’s eleven original compositions reached to the very core of what great smooth jazz should be. Nevertheless it seemed incredible when less than a year later he returned with the equally impressive VIP.

But that is far from the whole story. Brand new for 2010, and with a street date of June 19 comes the highly anticipated and delightfully accessible Diamonds. Fritzén’s musical evolution has been a learning experience and although with Love Birds he handled the entire project himself, (including writing, producing and playing all eight instruments) by the time VIP came along he had gained both the contacts and the confidence to include several guest artists. Not least in this respect was sax-man Michael Lington and, most notably, Jay Soto who added a typically tight guitar solo to the totally ‘in the pocket’ title cut. When released as a single this infectious tune hurried to a top-10 placing on the Billboard charts and in total the album spent 40 weeks on the SmoothJazz.com Top 50.

Now, with Diamonds Fritzén is continuing his exciting musical journey. Described as his most personal project yet, he has composed all ten tracks, produced throughout and in common with VIP engaged the services of some really outstanding guest artists. Laila Adéle, who featured on VIP, makes a welcome return while both Alex Al and Mel Brown contribute on bass. Sax duties are shared between Koh (aka Mr. Saxman, with whom Fritzén recently worked in Thailand), the ubiquitous Darren Rahn and rising smooth jazz starlet Jessy J.

Indeed her performance on the sultry ‘Fly Away’ is something to savor while a special mention must go to the soul drenched ‘You’ll Be My Mine’ where not for the first time Adéle steals the show. Rahn, who also mixed the album, provides an input to the mid tempo ‘This Way That Way’ that is sure to make it a favorite of the airwaves but that said the first single to be serviced to radio is ‘Dance With Me’ which finds Fritzén at his rhythmic best.

Jonathan Fritzén was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and an American father. He grew up in a musical family and as a young child started playing drums. He later added piano, bass, guitar, flute and vocals, whilst during his formal training at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm he became one of the first students to receive a Masters degree in jazz. By the age of 22 Jonathan had performed on national Swedish television several times and toured with some of the countries most respected jazz musicians. Three years later he recorded Love Birds and in so doing made his mark as the first Swedish pianist to release a smooth jazz CD. The rest, as they say, his history and with Diamonds he is all set to write a new chapter. It is a further manifestation of the innate ability Fritzén has to weave rhythm and melody into everything he does and is sure to be one of the albums of the year.

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