Archive for the ‘ Soul ’ Category

Jazz Funk Soul – Jazz Funk Soul

Three heavyweights of contemporary jazz joined to form the supergroup Jazz Funk Soul, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Chuck Loeb and sax player Everette Harp. Chuck Loeb has an affinity for collaborations such as Metro and Fourplay. He comments this new formation꞉ “Making this album seemed like a natural extension of the fun and high level of creativity that was taking place on stage each night.” We will see concerts of this group in September, 2014.

On selected tracks the group is joined by Gary Nowak, Lionel Cordew and Brian Dunne (drums), Dave Mann (horns), Lenny Castro (percussion), James Genus and John Patitucci (bass), A. Ray Fuller (rhythm guitar), Till Brönner (trumpet), and Mark Hollingsworth (flutes).

The album starts with Speed Of Light designed by Jeff Lorber to bring the skills of the trio in the foreground. Jeff Lorber gives his Rhodes a lead, while Harp adds the alto sax accentuated horn segment, finally Choeb decorates it with quick chords in the style of Benson. If it ain’t got that swing, it don’t mean a thing. That’s the simple reason, why Chuck serves Swingette. A piece with that jazzy extra꞉ Combine that heart swinging groove with a sophisticated harmonic palette (Loeb).

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Slim Man – Sweet Sixteen

Musician and bon vivant Slim Man has just released his new project Bona Fide (2014). Together with his new album he sent me the compilation Sweet Sixteen, which isn’t listed on his website and isn’t available in online stores.

Last year he sent out an email to his fan community Slim People. He asked them to name their favorite Slim Man songs. Slim put as many as he could fit on Sweet Sixteen. There are actually 17 songs on Sweet Sixteen.

The CD is only available for purchase at Slim Man shows. But anyone who orders the new Bona Fide CD gets a free Sweet Sixteen CD as a gift. All songs are the original recordings from the original masters, except for Now And Forever, which is from the Slim Man Live album and Secret Rendezvous, which is from Bella Mia.

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Jeff Golub – Train Keeps A Rolling

TrainIt’s been a helluva two years since guitarist Jeff Golub released his last album, “Three Kings,” which paid tribute to blues legends B.B., Freddie & Albert King. As the record was released, the optic nerves in Golub’s eyes inexplicably collapsed leaving him blind. Adjusting to his new life meant adopting Luke, a guide dog. While attempting to catch a New York City subway last September, Golub fell onto the tracks as a train rapidly approached. He was clipped and dragged by the train as Luke and bystanders frantically attempted to help. Miraculously Golub escaped the harrowing and what could have been a fatal ordeal with only minor scrapes and bruises. Undaunted and as boisterous as ever, Golub stands defiantly, toting his guitar with Luke perched at his feet, at the crossroads of train tracks on the cover of his aptly titled new album, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” which will be released August 13th by Entertainment One Music.

Golub’s 12th solo album had to be something special and have a lot of soul. At the suggestion of his manager, Bud Harner, he teamed with British keyboard great Brian Auger for a rollicking 11-song collection of soul, jazz, blues and rock combining Golub’s raw bluesy guitar licks with Auger’s hallmark Hammond B-3 organ. Golub produced the set with Harner, a Grammy-nominated producer who shared production duties with Golub on the guitarist’s five most recent records. Anchoring the grooves were steady-as-a-rock drummer Steve Ferrone, who was an original member of the acclaimed jazz-rock ensemble Brian Auger & The Oblivion Express, and bassist Derek Frank, who also had a history playing with Auger. Augmenting the tracks were percussionist Luis Conte and a lively horn section comprised of Mindi Abair (alto sax), Nick Lane (trombone), Dave Woodford (baritone sax, flute) and Steve Madaio (trumpet). Making guest appearances on the vocal selections were Christopher Cross, Ambrosia’s David Pack and Alex Ligertwood, who was also an original member of The Oblivion Express.

“When I was about 15 years-old, I picked up a copy of ‘Closer To It’ by Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express and it changed my life. That is why I was looking forward to doing this record. It was the first time I heard rock musicians playing jazz and it was the first time I knew you didn’t have to be a jazz musician to play jazz,” explained Golub. “The vibe of the new record is soul-jazz. It has a lot of Latin grooves – a lot of grooves period. My last couple of records have been blues records, especially the last record was straight ahead blues, but now I’m kind of going back to what I did before that with soul-jazz. No matter what I do is blues-oriented guitar, but the record itself is music that is more jazz oriented.”

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Maysa – Blue Velvet Soul

The outstanding singer Maysa writes music history since many years. Famous as lead-vocalist of the British Jazz-Funk band Incognito she constantly continues her own projects.

For collectors of her music her discography: Maysa (1995), All My Life (2000), Out Of The Blue (2002), Smooth Sailing (2004), Sweet Classic Soul (2006), Feel The Fire (2007), Metamorphosis (2008), A Woman in Love (2010), Motions Of Love (2011) and this year Blue Velvet Soul.

This album is stylistically a change compared to her previous records. Maysa explains: “Well, this record is not jazz-influenced at all. I do a little bit of scatting here and there. Most of my records have had a jazz influence. But I find myself leaning more towards R&B music right now and doing it the old school way. R&B, soul music and funk music is in my spirit, it’s in my soul, in my DNA.”

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Global Noize – Sly Reimagined

global_noize_sly_reimagined_coverWhen Sly and The Family Stone hit the scene back in the late ‘60s, the world – socially, culturally and politically – was in a state of upheaval. And their music perfectly evangelized the moment. Today, we stand dangerously at the edge of a similar precipice – and that message of celebratory potential and jubilant clarity is sorely needed. With that concept squarely implanted in his mind’s eye, visionary conceptualist, producer, arranger, composer and keyboard wizard Jason Miles has created the extraordinary Sly Reimagined on the Zoho Roots label. With his groundbreaking, genre-defying borderless mothership Global Noize providing the vehicle, Miles takes on eight classic Sly Stone journeys into the wilds of a reality nearly half a century beyond their point of inception.

Nobody is more capable or qualified to take on a project like this than the Grammy-winning Miles. His
groundbreaking synth programming for Miles Davis’ ‘80s masterpieces Tutu, Music from Siesta and Amandla; along
with his contributions to a genre-crossing array of artists – including Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Michael
Jackson, Ruben Blades, David Sanborn, Whitney Houston, Grover Washington Jr., The Crusaders, Chaka Khan and so
many others – have led to a variety of legacy-based dedications to Marvin Gaye, Ivan Lins, Vandross, Grover…and
now Sly.

Reimagined is the ideal description as the music on this CD doesn’t simply pay homage, but also defines the
timelessness of the music by translating it to the forefront of musical thinking here in 2013. Global Noize – with its
triumvirate of Miles, turntable master DJ Logic and vocalist Falu – is accompanied on this recording by an astonishing
array of nearly two dozen musical powerhouses, including Nona Hendryx, Roberta Flack, Jay Rodriguez, Amanda
Ruzza and the original Family Stone drummer Greg Errico.
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George Duke – Dreamweaver

The true greatness of a man shows up in hard times in managing personal problems. George Duke created DreamWeaver after his beloved wife, Corine, passed away. In light of this event, he found his inner balance during the recordings. The epic Onomatopoeia of the introductory piece is reminiscent of the legendary Genesis on Illusions.

Stanley Clarke’s intimate playing style on the upright bass harmonizes excellently with Duke’s piano improvisation on Stones of Orion. The gentleness with which both masters of jazz outline the notes of the melodious episode, unparalleled. With Trippin’ George Duke takes a look back into his own youth, when he had the first contact to jazz, especially to Julian Cannonball Adderley.

With a strong horn section, a funky guitar and the well-known keyboard George Duke succeeds the great appearance on the impressive AshTray. Of course, George Duke is also a master of the ballad, as he shows with Missing You. A piece that seems to be recorded with such ease and yet in view of the tragic event receives a bitter aftertaste.

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Akua Allrich – Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live!

Akua Allrich, a native of the District of Columbia, taps into a variety of musical styles as her influences. She has roots in blues, soul, R&B and jazz. Hints of each can be heard in Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live! (2012).

The disc was recorded in two sessions. Eight songs were done at the Bohemian Caverns on February 14, 2012. The other three were recorded at THEARC Theater. Accompany Allrich in both sessions are Kris Funn on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. Janelle Gill handled piano duties at the Bohemian Caverns performance. At THEARC, Warren Wolf plays piano, and Samir Moulay plays guitar. Agyei Osei Akoto contributes congas on one selection in the latter performance.

“My Baby Just Cares for Me” starts things off in a lively fashion. Allrich’s voice is rich, charming. Fun stretches out a bit during the middle break, much to the delight of some in the audience. One of the fun things about a live recording is hearing the audience respond to excellent play, as happens several times during this piece.

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Phil Perry – Say Yes

One wonders why a singer like Phil Perry is assigned to general jazz. For me, he is the embodiment of classic R&B. At festivals and also in recordings he worked often with representatives of smooth jazz. So you can listen to this singer on Najee’s The Smooth Side Of Soul or Rising Sun, Alexander Boynton Jr.’s Doo Bee Doo Bop or A. Ray Fuller’s The Weeper.

Phil has already recorded numerous solo projects. Since 2006 he is connected with Shanachie Entertainment. His newest album Say Yes was released Mar 12, 2013 and produced by Chris “Big Dog” Davis, who collaborated with Phil on all five Shanachie releases. “As always, when working with Big Dog (Davis), we try to address all the relevant directions relating to the material,” explains Perry. “We try to keep the classic essence while allowing me to be the artist that I am. What that means is singing the melody without it being sterile, inserting new background ideas and different instrumentation to contemporize the sound without removing the essence of classic R & B.”

Sam Cooke wrote You Send Me in the prime of his youth. Perry shows just what you can get out of such a piece. Starting in a classic approach, he continues the song in a Marvin Gaye way. With the enchanting Chanté Moore he pairs on Where Is The Love? Originally recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway carries this version also the splendor of immortality.

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Phil Perry – Say Yes

SayYesA great vocalist has a way of inhabiting a song, living it and making it their own. It takes especially great powers of interpretation for a singer to take a song definitively recorded by a legendary artist and give it new life with a fresh interpretation. Phil Perry takes on the ultimate challenge with the opening track of his new album, the indelible “You Send Me,” recorded in classic style by the peerless Sam Cooke, whose own unique phrasing style actually shapes the melody of the tune, which he wrote. Yet Phil Perry transforms the song while still retaining its essence, opening in “old school” style and then transmuting it into contemporary soul music. Few singers around today could have done it but those who have experienced the magic of Phil Perry’s talent will not be surprised.

On March 12, 2013, Shanachie Entertainment will release SAY YES, Phil Perry’s latest—and quite possibly, greatest—album. With special guests Chanté Moore and Najee, Phil delivers a splendid mix of originals and notable covers in a style befitting the man James Ingram who calls Perry “the most powerful singer I have ever heard.”

“As always, when working with Big Dog (Davis), we try to address all the relevant directions relating to the material,” explains Perry. “We try to keep the classic essence while allowing me to be the artist that I am. What that means is singing the melody without it being sterile, inserting new background ideas and different instrumentation to contemporize the sound without removing the essence of classic R & B.”

Produced by the multi-talented Chris “Big Dog” Davis, who has produced the likes of Will Downing, Maysa, and Kim Burrell, SAY YES, is a beautiful collection of original compositions co-written by Phil Perry and Davis, as well as reinventions of signature hits by such icons as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Michael McDonald & Carly Simon and Sam Cooke. The CD features classic songs such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “You Belong To Me” and the aforementioned “You Send Me.” On “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Davis gives the track a subtle groove which takes the song out of pure balladry and Phil subtly gospelizes it, in short, a fresh approach to a song that has been recorded many times by other artists. Continue reading

Mike MacArthur – Feels Like Home

Mike MacArthur

“When are you going to let me make a record with you?” For years, Grammy-nominated bassist Brian Bromberg posed this question to saxophonist Mike MacArthur. Finally the saxman acquiesced. He grabbed his tenor horn, hopped a jet and camped out in Bromberg’s Los Angeles-area home studio until the record was complete. The two musicians invited a handful of their high-profile friends over to play on the album, “Feels Like Home,” which will be released June 4th by Paradise Point Music. Bromberg produced and plays acoustic bass on the 10-song multihued mix of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz and blues that features contributions from trumpeter Rick Braun, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and guitarist Jeff Golub. The tabernacle temblor “Sanctified,” the disc’s gospel-inspired first single, is already gracing radio playlists and ascending the charts.

“’Sanctified’ is kind of the mack daddy track on the album because everyone is on it. It was the most labor-intensive tune to record,” said MacArthur, who will open for Grammy-winner Queen Latifah on Tuesday (March 26) at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. “The whole album, which began with Brian (Bromberg), is simply friends making music because they want to. These guys are friends and family who I’ve worked with over the years and it felt like home hanging out playing what we wanted to play. Working with players like this just makes you a better player. It was a fun and enjoyable hang.” Continue reading

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