STR4TA – Aspects

Gilles Peterson has partnered with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick to reinvigorate the loose, protean energy of the early-80s Brit-funk scene on forthcoming album ‘Aspects’. Long-time friends and collaborators, STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities out of that shared formative era.

Alongside announcing the full album project comes the release of the second single ‘Rhythm In Your Mind.’ STR4TA showcase another masterclass in wrapping a track tightly around the groove, showing off the taut musicianship of Francis Hylton, on bass, and Matt Cooper, on keys and drums.

‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ is the second single from the newly announced STR4TA album entitled ‘Aspects’ (officially announced January 11th 2021) released on Brownswood Recordings in 12” LP, CD & DD formats on March 26th 2021.

Pre-order the album now on bandcamp.

Duffmusiq – Sidewalk Sequel

International guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and award-winning producer Duffmusiq is poised to release his much-anticipated second solo album, Sidewalk Sequel, this coming Fall 2021. For this dynamic new recording, Duffmusiq has produced music imbedded with his trademark smooth, vintage and authentic soul and rhythm and blues motifs. This album also features dynamic jazz melodies as well as infectious musical themes that have been inspired by Duffmusiq’s everyday experiences.  For this project, Duffmusiq has assembled a cast that includes some of the most sought after international musicians.  “I had the idea of doing the album  by having different guest musicians on every track, and also incorporating small vocal parts here and there,  so that it’s not an entirely instrumental album.”, Duffmusiq explains.

In 2002, he graduated with Honors in both Music Production and Studio Engineering.  Shortly thereafter, he formed the band “Jamesking” featuring vocalist Gyles.  Duff was so impressed with this talented singer/musician, that he began focusing on her as a solo artist, as well as producing and co-writing new material with her. Together, they won 2nd place at both the 2008 and 2010 “Radio Star National Songwriter’s Competition”, and with the release of Gyles’ 2013 EP Love and Denial, Duffmusiq also received the award as “Best Urban EP Production” at The American Indie Music Awards.

In 2012, Duffmusiq signed with the Los Angeles based “Rip Tide Music” for co-publishing and licensing.  This association led to Duff’s music being placed on TV’s “Psych” (USA Network) and “Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce” (Bravo) and in the films “Shark City” (Warner Brothers) and “Alles Is Liebe” (Universal Studios Germany).  Black Lightning ( Warner Brothers  2020 ), Duffmusiq is both honored and excited to have just positioned an original composition (which he also produced and composed) in an upcoming Lion’s Gate production about the life and career of the talented multiple award-winning pop and R & B vocalist, Toni Braxton. With the Fall  release of Sidewalk Sequel, Duffmusiq plans to perform and tour in support of the new recording, as well as to continue to compose for television and film, and also continue to develop, write for (and with) and produce many more talented international artists.

Download the album here.

Stefania Tallini – Matteo Bortone – Gregory Hutchinson – Uneven

Stefania Tallini was a teacher of jazz piano for several years at the Conservatory of Pesaro, and she is currently a professor at the Conservatory of Benevento. Her artistic activity spans collaborations with numerous musicians, film music, abundant performances in both jazz and classical music, creations for theater, television and radio.

Her creative power is also reflected in countless record releases. Uneven (2020) is her tenth album as a leader. Pianist Stefania Tallini works on her new album with drummer Gregory Hutchinson and double bass player Matteo Bortone. A formation that is not born of necessity, but an expression of her advanced experience and the result of a lengthy selection process.

The title of the album is the demand that Stefania makes on herself and her music, and at the same time the listeners can expect from her. In her own words: “The feeling of unpredictability and surprise at setting off upon new pathways together, the exploration of various different possible solutions through a total freedom in thinking about music, and the sense of play combined with lively fantasy”.

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Dave Dunlop – Midnight Gamble

Dave Dunlop is originally from London Ontario and moved to Toronto to attend Humber College in the mid 70’s. He has had a successful career in studios, theatre, and live shows throughout the world and has played on Juno & Grammy award winning albums. “I’ve been fortunate to back up many great artists, Gino Vannelli, Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, Roger Daltrey, & Aaron Neville have been a few of my favorites”. Some of the Jazz greats he has played with are Tito Puente, Maynard Ferguson, John Pizzarelli, & Diana Krall. He has recorded with Holly Cole, Alan Jackson, The Boss Brass, Memo Acevedo, a cast recording for “Fame” & the iconic “Hockey Night in Canada” theme.

“Becoming the Lead trumpet in Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass has been a highlight of many years of big band playing”. Dave has played in the pits for well over 100 shows. “Fosse” “Dirty Dancing” & “Chicago” to name a few. His first solo album was The Hang (2006), now followed by his sophomore album Midnight Gamble (2020).

The new album is available at bandcamp.

Richard Elliot – Authentic Life

“There are absolute parallels between jazz and flying,” confesses Grammy-nominated tenor titan Richard Elliot who has been flying airplanes for the past three decades. The Renaissance man, who is currently engrossed in the colossal project of building his own airplane, adds “When you are performing and flying you are 100 percent consumed and focused on that experience from a technical perspective, emotional and aesthetic perspective, taking in everything around you.”

Elliot, who has also successfully moonlighted as a software engineer, has a laser-like focus and creative vision that knows no bounds. The chart-topping saxophonist and pioneering Contemporary Jazz musician’s instantly recognizable trademark tenor has afforded him the opportunity to work with everyone from Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt and The Temptations to Dave Koz, Tower of Power and Gerald Albright, to name a few. On January 29, 2021, Richard Elliot offers the perfect antidote to a year wrought with challenges and setbacks.

Authentic Life is the Scottish-born, LA-raised saxophonist’s Shanachie debut – his first new album in five years. It’s an inspiring collection comprised mostly of originals that speak to Elliot’s optimistic outlook on life. “The recording has a positive and uplifting feel which is what we all need right now,” reflects the San Diego resident. “A lot of the inspiration is based on the idea of living life in a mindful way, with focus and in the truest way possible that allows you to be sincere in your actions and intentions with other human beings.”

Danny Weiss, Shanachie VP of Jazz A&R states, “Richard Elliot has an uncanny ability to combine precision and technical mastery with passion and excitement. As a result, whether you’re a casual listener or a jazz fanatic (like me), Richard Elliot’s music is richly rewarding – and a real home run for Shanachie!”

The past year has changed the world immeasurably affecting how we live, love, communicate, interact and work. Elliot recounts a new form of inspiration that grew out of the forced circumstances. “One of the things I love about recording is the collaborative aspect of being in the studio. Unfortunately in the last year I’ve had to forgo this,” he shares. “It’s amazing that sometimes out of challenging times you glean positive experiences. We were able to take the positive experience of collaborating remotely while finding the inspiration – albeit virtually.” Continue reading

Karén Devroop – Ancestral Home

Karén Devroop is South Africa’s leading saxophonist who has performed with most of South Africa’s leading jazz artists. As a lead alto saxophonist, Devroop has performed/recorded with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Carroll Bailey Big Band, Marcus Wolfe Big Band and Unisa Big Band. He has appeared as a side stage act for Cedar Walton, Earth Wind and Fire, Jill Scott, Chicago and Queen Latifah. He recently completed the Battle of the Saxes tour, which included jazz saxophone, classical saxophone, jazz rhythm section and string quartet and the New York Round Midnight (SA) tour, which is a jazz theatre production for nine piece jazz ensemble, video, narration and set.

His debut solo recording titled “Reminiscing” was released in 2010. In 2018 he released his second recording titled “The South African Jazz Songbook” with full orchestra and rhythm section. In March 2020, Devroop released his new album “Ancestral Home” (DMP Label). You can listen to his album on Amazon.

Dino & Franco Piana Ensemble – Open Spaces

Dino and Franco Piana founded the formation Dino & Franco Piana Ensemble. Dino is the father of Franco, both are living and working in Rome. Since more than 10  years they are working with AlfaMusic and have already released three albums on this label. As Dino and Franco Piana Sextet they released Seven in 2012, followed by Seasons (2015) and Open Spaces (2020).

One can classify their style as progressive Big Band sound and by reading the credits one quickly recognizes that the brass element plays a major role in their music. Spiritus rector of this formation is Franco Piana, who also wrote all the compositions for the new album.

The structure of the album is reminiscent of classical works, although musically there are no references to classical music. The title project splits into four sections, Opening and Variations I-III. The first intonation suggests an opening in the usual Big Band style. Dino’s trombone, Franco’s flugelhorn and Lorenzo Corsi’s flute alternate in small solo interludes before the full harmonic unison of all instruments spreads pleasant goose bumps.

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Stan Sargeant – String Theory

Stan Sargeant’s musical beginnings can be traced back to Howard University where he was told that he’d never make it in the music industry. He was advised to take another major and as a result, earned a degree in molecular biology. However, this didn’t discourage him from pursuing his musical passion. Stan was able to pay for his degree by playing the D.C. club scene at night and on weekends with vocalist Julia Nixon, who later joined “Dreamgirls” on Broadway. Stan relocated to Los Angeles in 1991 with only a bass, an amplifier, an old Chevy and $500. It was there that he met famed blues artist, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson. It was then that the realization of his dream had begun.

Though well known as a bassist in the Los Angeles area, Stan’s reputation spans both U.S. and international markets. In 1998, Stan worked as the in – house bassist on the Howie Mandel Show. It was there that he met Kevin Eubanks of the Tonight Show. Stan was asked to join the Tonight Show Band in 2002, and continued to work there until the end of 2006. Stan rejoined Barry Manilow, and continued to work with him until 2014, when he then joined famed Blues artist, Keb Mo. Stan released his first recording project, “Connection,” in 2014, which featured many of his colleagues. “Connection” can be found on iTunes and Amazon.

When asked about his life and career so far, he responded: “I have played behind many of my heroes, I have travelled the world, I dined with the Prince of Whales, conversed with Presidents, and met a vast number of international celebrities and dignitaries. I have performed in front of millions of people. All this, because I pluck on a piece of wood with wires on it. Now that’s what I call a blessing!”

His newest album entitled String Theory is available at Amazon.com.

Julian Vaughn – Chapters Of Love

Hailing from Kansas City bass player Julian Vaughn has reached after The Purpose Project (2010), Breakthrough (2012), Limitless (2015) and Bona Fide (2017) with Supreme (2019) number 5 of his solo projects. Not just a handful but a 5 stars career. Now he will add his sixth star with the album Chapters Of Love.

The album will be released February 12th, 2021 on all platforms.

Greg Manning – Between The Sun and The Moon

Swiss-American keyboardist Greg Manning is perfectly at home in the Smooth Jazz scene. He worked as musical director with Jonathan Butler and also performed with Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, Chante Moore, Mindi Abair and many more.

His debut album Soulciety was released in 1999, followed by his sophomore album The Calling in 2010 and Dance With You on Kalimba Music in 2014. His next album was entitled Sugar & Spice (2016). His newest album will be released in January 2021 and takes the orchestral approach. It’s entitled Between The Sun and The Moon.

This album will be available on all major platforms.