Lou Guldemond – In Time

LOUGULDEMOND_IN TIME_DIGIPACK.inddDutch jazz guitarist Lou Guldemond plays currently with his own band and the band Licks And Brains. His debut album That’s It! was released in 2012. His new album In Time was released in May, 2022.

Lou is accompanied by Arjen Mooijer (piano, synthesizer), Boudewijn Lucas (bass), Rolf Delfos (sax), Karel Boehlee (piano), Jel Jongen (trumpet, trombone), Jim Guldemond (guitar), and Michel Van Schie (drum programming, additional keyboards).

Lou has written and arranged all songs. Additional arranging are created by Michel Van Schie and Arjen Mooijer. The title song opens the album with popular riffs giving signs to welcome the smooth jazz audience.

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Sam Levine – Best of Sam Levine: Hymns & Gospel Favorites

BestofSamLevineSam Levine is known for his tender and heartfelt renditions of contemporary hits. Sam has been featured in live performances with such superstars as Whitney Houston and Al Jarreau, has recorded with Michael McDonald, The Neville Brothers, and Amy Grant, and has contributed musically to such motion picture soundtracks as Honeymoon in Vegas and Sweet Dreams.

He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Lee, and their children, Sybil and Reed.  His newest album is called Best of Sam Levine: Hymns & Gospel Favorites (2022).

Buy this CD at Barnes & Noble.

WaKaNa – A Sunny Day

asunnydayFuttsu City, Chiba, Japan born saxophonist WaKaNa succeeded with her first solo project Saxcess Story (2018). The album was produced by keyboardist Greg Manning, who also performs on six of the eight tracks. Her newest album is A Sunny Day (2022).

WaKaNa invited to the project a great amount of musicians, which are listed in the credits. The album opens with the 2022 version of Dance with Sea Firefly. The uplifting single has already made a good impression on the radio stations last year.

The upbeat mood continues with Just You, a piece penned by Italian saxophonist Rocco Ventrella. Both perfectly interact in this buoyant tune that brightens the day like the sun at the beach of Bari.

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Ricardo Martinez – 143rd. Street

143rdStreetRicardo Martinez has been in the music business for 30+ years, working in every imaginable situation. From touring the world with pop sensation Chayanne to playing Jazz gigs at local clubs, from writing songs to playing banjo at the opera and everything in between. This also includes recording sessions from jingles to big-budget projects with different artists, playing in diverse showcases all over the country, performing at the most famous venues in the world, arranging music for different bands, producing demos and tracking final basses at his home studio, as well as commercial studios. Ricardo has 9 Grammy participation credits (7 nominations and 2 wins) and is the first-call bassist for many national and international artists.

Now he is releasing his debut album 143rd. Street (2022). After 15 years in the making, it is a collection of 11 songs (9 originals and 2 covers arranged and adapted by the artist) and a gathering of great musicians, including world-renowned musicians such as trumpet player Jose Sibaja, among others, and a host of amazing musicians from different parts of the world, as well. All songs were written by Ricardo Martinez, except Tell me by Ilan Chester and Red Baron by Billy Cobham.

Stream or download the album at Amazon.

Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous8 – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

LightAtTheEndOfTheTunnelAmerican singer Angela O’Neill is always swinging and founded the octet Outrageous8 in 2015. That band consists of top studio musicians, who really know what swing is.

This is also their third release, which shows them in an adventurous, ambitious mood after 2 years of isolation due to Covid-19. The members of Outrageous8 are all veterans of the Los Angeles jazz and big band scene.

O’Neill says she wanted to capture the pent-up emotions and frustrations of the pandemic on this album. The title refers to the recordings of the music in the garden of singer Al Timss. That music and the vaccinations were the green light to be optimistic about the future.

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Nick Stefanacci – Nú FNK

image001After having released seven solo albums constructed of sophisticated pop, funk and jazz fusion featuring guest vocalists, saxophonist Nick Stefanacci decided to throw a changeup by crafting a buoyant smooth/contemporary jazz instrumental, “Dance Until Dawn,” which drops May 24 on the Sweet Lion Music Group label. Stefanacci wrote the single with Billboard hitmaker Adam Hawley, who produced the vibrant, melody-rich sax-led tune.

As a saxophonist, Stefanacci is driven by timbre and rhythm. “Dance Until Dawn” illumines his soulful alto horn harmonies and deep connection to groove. Multi-instrumentalist Hawley adds guitar, keyboards, strings and programming while Carnell Harrell makes the track more robust by adding synths to the rhythms created by drummer Eric Valentine and bassist Mel Brown.

“As a young saxophonist, I was enamored with David Sanborn so releasing a contemporary jazz single has been a long time coming. I wanted to give my fans something different than what they are accustomed to hearing from me. My albums are kind of a Steely Dan meets Maceo Parker mashup, a more funk fusion groove with vocals, horns and jazz harmony,” said Stefanacci, who is also a philanthropist that founded and curated The Promise Music Festival to benefit local children’s hospitals.

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Christophe Goze – Slow

slowGuitarist, writer and producer Christophe Goze can already look back on twelve solo albums and his thirst is far from quenched. Only recently I reviewed his album Soul To Soul, released this year, and already he surprises us with a new album.

The album is called Slow and this title is also the program. Stylistically the album can be classified in many areas, lounge, chill, smooth jazz & even pop. All fourteen pieces have one thing in common, they are slow and relaxing. Predominantly songs there are also instrumental interludes, more about that later.

The album opens with the areal Dreams & Promises featuring singer Cathy Battistessa. A dreamy song that makes you forget the worries of everyday life and takes you to the dreamscape of oblivion. The melancholic ballad She Said presents vocalist Odis Palmer. Actually a voice you’d expect to hear in R&B or hip hop, Odis believably brings emotion across.

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Chicago Soul Jazz Collective – On the Way to Be Free

ChicagoSoulJazzCollective_OnTheWaytoBeFreecoverThe name of this band tells you what you need to know about its purpose and history. Chicago, where Louis Armstrong moved to make his first records, is also the birthplace of gospel music, which gave rise to its secular cousin, soul; and few cities grooved harder to the post-bop soul-jazz revolution of the 1950s and ‘60s than Chicago. Decades later, here comes the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, co-led by saxophonist John Fournier and trumpeter Marques Carroll, doubling down on this storied jazz idiom and hitting pay dirt for a new century.

For their CSJC’s third album, On the Way to Be Free, the group raises the ante by inviting Dee Alexander to join in. Chicago’s grand dame of jazz vocals (as well as a syndicated broadcaster), the internationally acclaimed Alexander elevates every project she undertakes. She’s a shape-shifter who ranges far and wide, from her groundbreaking work with Chicago’s famed AACM, to her own strikingly original compositions, to her celebrations of the music’s great divas, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holiday (as on Alexander’s guest appearance with the Metropolitan Jazz Octet on its 2019 album, It’s Too Hot for Words). And as she proves here, she can sass and strut with the best. Just listen as she levitates the bandstand on the fiery protest “The Man Is Coming Back,” and then she settles into the soulful ballad “So Alive” and drapes it in all the plummy finery it deserves.

The CSJC repertoire effortlessly captures the early funk of such pioneers as Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley, but also encompasses rhythm-and-blues, classic ‘60s soul, and even neo soul, which Alexander also handles with experiential aplomb. All but one of the new album’s nine tracks were written by Fournier, whose songwriting has evolved to include evocative lyrics and memorable narratives – without abandoning the irresistible swagger that characterized the soul jazz heyday, neatly encompassed in “Behind the Crusaders.” (The title nods to one of the idiom’s most popular bands). Continue reading

Rique Pantoja – Live In Los Angeles

liveinlaMulti-talented jazz pianist and keyboardist Rique Pantoja performed a concert at the Gallery Theater, Hollywood, Los Angeles together with Steve Tavaglione (sax, flute), Jimmy Earl (bass), Joel Taylor (drums), Ricardo Silveira (guitar), Cassio Duarte (percussion). This live event was recorded by Geoff Gillette and initial released in 2001.

Moondo Music has re-issued this recordings in a re-mastered version in April, 2022. The repertoire of this concert is based on Pantoja’s original compositions from his previous releases. The album opens with Arpoador. In Portuguese that means harpooner. It’s also the name of a small peninsula in Rio de Janeiro, where Pantoja grew up.

Pantoja develops a great Brazilian sound painting from a small motif. A concept, by the way, that he took from his mentor, legendary trumpeter Chat Baker. On the synthesizer, his virtuosity explodes into incredible cascades of sound comparable to Joe Zawinul’s jazz fusion excursions. Ricardo Silveira takes the brilliant solo on the electric guitar, as it is hard to beat. This is followed by an ecstatic drum and percussion solo.

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Canelita Sabrosa – Canelita Sabrosa

SabrosaSerial entrepreneur Chris Nettuno isn’t merely a music patron; he’s a member of the band. And when the COVID-19 lockdown threatened the livelihood of his group of full-time studio musicians and sidemen, the conga player found a way to keep the music playing. Those weekly porch concerts not only kept the musicians afloat but became the lifeblood of the debut album from the multicultural band Canelita Sabrosa. The Atlanta-based unit’s self-titled set, produced by five-time Grammy winner Dru Castro (India.Aire, Usher, Childish Gambino) along with the band’s two-time Grammy-winning guitarist Julio Miranda and drummer Chunky Sounds, drops May 20 on the band’s Canelita Sabrosa Records label.

During the first few months of the pandemic, Nettuno invited the band over to play in his family room. After a few songs, they heard applause coming from outside the house. Neighbors had gathered and asked the group to perform outside. The eight-piece outfit that blends Latin, jazz, R&B, funk and rock was happy to oblige the following week. Word spread quickly and soon hundreds of people began flocking to the weekly Friday night shows. A local television reporter was in the audience, which led to a segment on Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. The grassroots buzz inspired Canelita Sabrosa to record an album featuring a mix of the popular cover tunes that populate their live setlist along with five original songs composed by Miranda and a pair of songs written by vocalist-rhythm guitarist Kenny Nettuno and his son, KJ Nettuno.

Canelita Sabrosa, which means tasty cinnamon in Spanish, is a name selected to reflect the group’s multiethnic makeup as well as the multicultural stylings they incorporate into their world music amalgam. Colorful Puerto Rican, Afro Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean nuances intermingle with improvised jazz explorations and rock god guitar pyrotechnics. Anchored by thick percussive salsa, samba and bossa nova beats constructed by Sounds, Chris Nettuno and percussionist Frankie Quinones, Miranda issues piercing lead guitar riffs and scorching solos seasoned by Kenny Nettuno’s spicy rhythms and sweet melodies. As bassist Matt Stallard carves deep-pocketed grooves, the dynamic three-man horn section – trumpeter Justin Powell, saxophonist EJ Hughes and sax/flutist Mac Isseks – douses the tracks with fire and fervor. Adding to the project’s pedigree is four-time Grammy-winning engineer Ralph Cacciurri (Coldplay, OutKast, P!nk).

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