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Archive for the ‘ Smooth Jazz ’ Category
Which guitarist would like to be described as the best kept secret? Certainly not guitarist, songwriter, arranger, producer and vocalist dee Brown. After his debut album No Time To Waste (2006) and his sophomore album A Little Elbowroom (2009) this condition should change with his third album Brown Sugar Honey-Coated Love (2014).
With the change of the label to Innervision Records also the musicians involved are slightly different than in previous productions. Valdez Brantley (keys), Chip Dixon (keyboard programming and bass), Dave “The Painter” Henderson (bass), Kern Brantley (bass), Dezie McCullers Jr. (sax), Lin Rountree (trumpet, flugelhorn), and various singers are listed in the liner notes.
All songs with the exception of one track are composed by dee Brown and his fellow musicians Valdez Brantley, Chip Dixon, S. Edwards. My Love’s Forever is the first track after a short promotional intro. Dee Brown duets with saxophonist Dezie McCullers Jr. and the song tends more to contemporary jazz than smooth jazz. Dee adds some scat to his guitar play following his idol George Benson.
Danny Kusz – named “one of the hippest jazz cats in Minneapolis” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine while in his early 20s, had the good fortune of recording his debut EP Lost In The Groove with renowned Twin Cities keyboardist Ricky Peterson, best known as David Sanborn’s musical director for 30 years. The project scored some local airplay and earned the multi-talented horn player numerous accolades.
Despite his initial success, and a slate of headlining gigs and festival performances to support it, Kusz ultimately stepped aside for a few years. While working steadily as a sideman with some of the top musicians in the region, he began developing a fresh sound that stood apart not only from the vibe of his first album, but other indie urban jazz up and comers as well. Creating an explosive hybrid of his major alto influence, David Sanborn and his favorite funk-rocker, Minneapolis’ own legendary Prince, Kusz worked with an outside producer (Aaron Cosgrove, frontman for the longtime pop/R&B/rock band The New Congress) for the first time to create a dynamic new vibe captured by the 13-track album’s provocative title SEXY.FUNK::VELVET.JAZZ. Kusz had performed live over the years with The New Congress many times, and felt that Cosgrove and the group’s keyboardist Russ King were the perfect sonic architects to help bring his vision of a fresh, youthful approach to urban jazz/funk to life.
Kusz, whose versatility has led him to perform with everyone from Eric Leeds and Joey DeFrancesco to Root City, and Marcus Miller’s saxman Alex Han, felt that Cosgrove “has always been a musical genius when it came to writing and production and I wanted to collaborate with him to create a different sound that would stand out”. The saxophonist, whose powerful alto is the emotional centerpiece of each song, enjoyed the process of writing the melodies to the groove tracks and synth parts that Cosgrove sent him. “He took me out of my comfort zone and helped me open my mind to work with unique sounds that inspired me to dig deeper as a player and composer,” he says. “I love the way it came out, and the title really captures all the elements that make it so much fun to work on and now listen to. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing gigs under my own name again. Nothing tops being onstage performing for people who have come to hear your music live.” Get this album at Amazon.com.
When distinct modesty couples with excellent artistry, this applies absolutely to the guitarist Peter White. The uncrowned leader of the smooth jazz genre has already released his fourteenth studio album, his third for the label Heads Up International.
White is joined by vocalists Mindi Abair and Stevo Theard, trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Euge Groove, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, bassist Nate Phillips, percussionist Ramon Yslas and his daughter Charlotte White on violin.
Stylistically White remains faithful to himself. Also on this album the acoustic guitar is his favorite instrument. All tracks are written by Peter White and DC with the exception of Don Quixote’s Final Quest, which Peter composed with Freddie Ravel.
On his Innervision debut, dee Brown, whose tasty melodies, grooves, and vibe perfectly reflect its unforgettable title: Brown Sugar, Honey-Coated Love, collaborates with some of Detroit’s best loca talent, including Desi Mc Cullers Jr., The son of one of the original Motown “Funk Brothers” Valdez Brantly, longtime keyboardist and MD for Usher, his brother, bassist Kern Brandley, Music Director for Lady Gaga, Chip Dixson, a notable gospel player, “soul trumpeter” and instrumental recording artist Lin Rountree, and DJ Shannon Weiss.
Buy this album now at Amazon.com.
Soul Searching is an instrumental jazz/funk fusion collection that interweaves music inspired by his much admired influences, Coleman has fulfilled a lifelong dream of creating the music he hears in his heart and feels in his soul.
Co-penning, arranging and producing all but one of the fourteen tracks with Hollywood, and his original compositions ‘Come Up’, ‘Passport’ and ‘Secrets’ showcase his virtuosity as a bass player who’s more than capable of holding his own among his idols.
Buy this album at i-Tunes.