Archive for August, 2010

Mike Sedmak – Guitars & Axes

While living in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1990′s, Mike Sedmak was introduced to the Smooth Jazz genre and was immediately captivated by the instrumental melody and improvisation.

After his children were grown and his career established, he found more time to devote to music. He  now enjoyed playing the Classic Rock songs he grew up listening to and performing in his youth, as well as many of the Smooth Jazz songs that have been recorded over the past decades.

Guitars & Axes is the result and you should give it a listen at CDBaby.

Rob Keiter – The Glory of Love

As Rob Keiter stood at the microphone to record his vocals for “This Nearly Was Mine,” the opening track of his The Glory of Love album, a torrential flood of tears burst forth unexpectedly. Although he could not contain his raw emotions while singing the heartfelt words about love lost, he sang anyway. What was captured on the recording was something special and it established the tone for the entire collection of classic love songs in jazz settings, which will be released by Sketchin Records on October 26th.

“When I finished singing, I went into the control room to try to explain what happened. Everyone was silent. They felt it. The song (“This Nearly Was Mine”) was recorded in one take. We agreed not to record it again, that what we got was genuine and could not be duplicated,” revealed Keiter.

When Keiter began the recording sessions with producers Amber and Rob Whitlock for The Glory of Love, he was in the midst of a dark period following the breakup of a twenty-three year marriage. Singing the songs that comprise the collection enabled him to grieve as well as to find new hope. “Even though I had lost love, I wanted to sing love songs because I still believe in love. Having sung my entire life, I would say that I truly found my voice as a result of that experience (in the studio),” he explained.

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Various Artists – Brazilian Night

Songwriter Tom Hansen is based in the city Tønsberg located 10 miles south of the Norwegian capital city Oslo.

On his debut album “Brazilian Night” Tom Hansen has been working with 6 different arrangers, all with inspiration from artists like David Foster, Jay Graydon, Chaka Khan, Mezzoforte, Larry Carlton, Shakatak, as Tom are saying “all arrangers has been raised up with David Foster and has been playing Through The Fire many times”, so you can really hear this at the album.

Brazilian Night is available at CDBaby.

Les Sabler – Crescent Shores

Hailing from Montreal, Canada guitarist Les Sabler has constantly build his reputation as top musician with his albums Hidden Treasure (1990), Time For Love (1994), Bridge The Gap (2003) and Sweet Drive (2007). The new album Crescent Shores (2010) is a logical continuation of his artistic work.

In 1991 Les Sabler and his group often opened shows for Richard Elliot. That led to the opportunity to record some tracks in Richard’s studio. Some of these tracks were published on his second album Time For Love but according to the liner notes of his new album most of the tapes were stored.

Recently Les Sabler went into the studio again and completed with the support of keyboardist Allon Sams his studio work from 1991. The new album contains some tracks of the old recording and several new compositions.

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Jeff Richman – Like That

It’s Like That when guitarist Jeff Richman fuses jazz and rock into a new recording.

Richman’s extensive professional background includes performing on guitar, composing, arranging and recording music in many genres, and teaching in academic and private settings. He has produced 16 solo albums and toured worldwide with notable musicians over a 35-year career. Among those he has performed with are Ray Barretto, Flora Purim, Airto Moreiro, Eumir Deodato, Blood Sweat and Tears and Gerry Mulligan.

For his 15th album as a leader, Richman is accompanied by a variable lineup of all-star session players: Will Kennedy, Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Hass on drums; Dean Taba and Neil Stubenhaus on bass; Deron Johnson on Fender Rhodes; Mitchel Forman on keyboards; and Larry Goldings on organ. Percussionist Alex Acuna appears on all but “Touch and Go.”

The title song is a moderate groove, featuring Kennedy, Taba and Johnson. Acuna’s congas give it an extra punch. Richman’s lead is smooth. Kennedy rolls through the toms to set up Johnson’s solo. Taba holds his own, but it’s Forman and Kennedy who have the most to say about this track.

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Nils – What the Funk?

Nils fourth album on Baja/TSR, What the Funk? expands on his already successful jazz base and incorporates dance and R&B into the mix.

His impressive list of accolades includes most played song of the year at jazz radio in 2005 with Pacific Coast Highway, a nomination as best Jazz Guitarist for the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010, musical director for the Independent Spirit Awards Show and numerous #1 hits from his previous three albums.

What the Funk? lives up to its title with groove filled tracks and soulful riffs that Nils delivers with his renowned guitar skills. The lineup of musicians features stalwarts Rickie Lawson (drums), Alex Al (bass), Oliver Brown (percussion) and Avatar choir vocalist Clydene Jackson (background vocals/ keyboards).

The JT Jazz Project – Good Times (limited edition)

Because of an exceptionally creative home environment, JT‘s interest in music began at a very early age. He began playing the saxophone in the fourth grade and continued to play through elementary school, high-school and college, accumulating several awards and accolades. Throughout his music education, JT studied under some of Chicago-land’s most renowned musicians.

JT’s interest in writing and production began at age sixteen, when he (and his soul band) stepped into a recording studio for the first time. In JT’s late-teen years, his affinity and talent for music production developed tremendously. He and a close friend built a 5′ x 5′ closet-like “studio,” equipped with an old Roland keyboard and a four-track cassette recorder. JT would spend hours upon hours in this studio creating hip-hop, RnB, pop, rock, funk, gospel, and all types of grooves.

After high-school, JT chose practicality over ambition and attended the local community college as a pre-vet major. That path was short-lived however. Because JT’s heart just wasn’t in it, his academic performance left much to be desired. Then, the inevitable happened… JT decided to pursue a musical career. He went on to receive a BS in Music Performance with a minor in Business Administration from Millikin University.

During his last year in college, JT interned at the Chicago Recording Company (CRC), Chicago’s premiere recording studio. At CRC, JT honed his production and technical audio skills while working with high-profile clients like R. Kelly, Three 6 Mafia, Phil Collins, Liz Phair, and countless movie and commercial projects. One year later, JT accepted a position at Streeterville Recording Studios, which was at one time the premiere recording studio in Chicago. JT continued to work at Streeterville with clients like Kanye West, Marvin Sapp, Tori Amos, Melissa Ethridge, Orbert Davis, and John Madden, until the studio went out of business.

These days, JT keeps busy by producing projects for Jevon Music Group (JMG) and by performing with his band, The JT Jazz Project. The latest album from The JT Jazz Project, titled Good Times,  is a sexy fusion of neo-soul and jazz (in the vein of Maxwell or Sade) and features Chicago-land’s most talented musicians and vocalists.

Good Times now at CDBaby.

Susie Hansen – Representante de la Salsa

For 20 years, violinist Susie Hansen has led one of Southern California’s more popular Latin bands. She and the gang “aim for the feet” with Representante de la Salsa on Jazz Caliente.

The band consists of Hansen on electric violin and vocals; George Balmaseda and Kaspar Abbo on vocals; David Stout on trombone; Tim Messina on tenor sax and flute; Joe Rotondi on piano; Rene Camacho on bass and background vocal; Jimmy Branly on timbales; Joe De Leon on congas; and Ricardo “Tiki” Pasillas on bongo and hand percussion. Co-producer Erich Bulling also appears as background vocalist.

The title song starts things off. Balmaseda sings lead, with ample backing by Hansen, Camacho and Bulling. After a few rounds of the voices, Hansen solos on the electric violin. She then blends with the horn section on the middle break. The percussionists contribute to the Latin flavor.

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Tom Grant – Delicioso

Nu-Wrinkle Records is proud to announce the CD release of Delicioso (“Dee-lish-e-oso”) by pianist Tom Grant. The single, “Cute New Car,” will be going for adds to radio on August 30, 2010.

Since 1983, Tom’s records have repeatedly topped the contemporary jazz charts. Radio fans will remember his previous releases with labels like Windam Hill, Verve, Shanachie. Keyboard Magazine declared, ” he dishes out a pop-flavored jazz that goes down easy and gives discerning listeners plenty to chew on.”

Through the years, several of his songs, including the popular “Mango Tango,” “Night Charade,” “In My Wildest Dreams,” and “The View from Here,” enjoyed lengthy stays at number one. “We now add to our list of all-time favourites one of Tom’s finest selections ever – the aptly named Morning Glorious and the Café Jazz absolute #1 most played selection for 2009!! (sic),” said JazzLynx.com in a review about his 2008 release, “Life is Good.”

Tom Grant also made a name for himself early on with his road band as a darling of the critics. The Express News said, “As jazz pianists go, Grant’s style is boldly and uncommonly melodic In short, the man can play.” The San Antonio Light would also add, ” definitely striking the right chord with the record buying public, and at just the right moment.”

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Brian Simpson – South Beach

Keyboard players are often the musical center of a group. Many keyboardists are musical directors of touring stars. Brian Simpson is best known as musical director of Janet Jackson and Dave Koz. He also performed with other musicians like Michael White, Everette Harp, Michael Paulo, Freddie Fox, Teena Marie, Warren Hill, Sheena Easton, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, and Allan Sams.

His solo albums are Closer Still (1995), It’s All Good (2005) and Above The Clouds (2007). His newest album is entitled South Beach and is scheduled for release August 31, 2010. Brian allured some of the finest contemporary jazz artists for his new project. George Duke, Peter White and Euge Groove are the featured guest-musicians. A lot more musicians participate in Brian’s recording such as Tony Moore, Michael White, Oscar Seaton (drums), Alex Al, Smitty Smith, Larry Kimpel, Ian Martin (bass), Agape Jerry, Darrell Crooks, Yarone Levy (guitars), Brian Kilgore, Lenny Castro (percussion), Ron King (flugelhorn), Steve Alaniz (sax) and Brenda Kay Pierce (vocals).

Expensive in the makings, valuable in the final result the album is a labor of love. Brian comments: “While working on South Beach in my studio I often stepped back to a corner of the room and closed my eyes, as if listening for the first time, to see if the music compelled an emotion. I truly hope the listener can feel the love and care that all of the musicians contributed to the recording.”

The first song of an album is often the most important, because many listeners decide after the first track, if they listen further or not. Keeping that in mind the starting South Beach is the strongest and most catchy track on this album. Brian takes his fans with this uplifting, easygoing tune by storm.

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