Jonathan Fritzén – Ballads

Over the past ten years, Smooth Jazz fans who like to get a groove on with infectious keyboard melodies have enjoyed being “Fritzenized,” that is, having their hearts, souls and dancing shoes infused with Jonathan Fritzén’s blend of lush ballads and all-out party jams.

The multi-faceted, Swedish American composer and keyboardist’s sixth album Ballads showcases the gentle, graceful side of his musical personality. On a mission to “bring calm, clarity and the rejuvenation of both mind and soul,” to a challenged world, he complements his gorgeous piano and keyboard melodies with artful touches of electric guitar, exotic percussion, sweeping synth textures and violin. Fritzen’s original Ballads will bring peace to your days and love to your nights!

This album is available at Amazon.com.

Peet Project – The Bad Boys of Budapest

Hungary has a lot to offer, its specialties, its nature, the beautiful capital. However its famous export is music. In the smooth jazz genre a new Hungarian group has established, Peet Project. The group comprised currently of violinist, composer, producer Peter “Peet” Ferencz, saxophonist Attila Závodi, keyboardist Olivér Magán, bassist Martin Gudics, and drummer Marcell Gudics.

Everything started with their debut Pink Spirit, released in 2010. Their sophomore album Turn You On already followed in 2011, then Overseas (2013) and Love (2015). Their newest endeavor is entitled The Bad Boys Of Budapest (2017) and offers guest appearances by keyboardist Jonathan Fritzén, saxophonist Dave Koz, bassist and singer Gáspár Laci and singer James Copley from the band Electro Deluxe.

Downtown Therapy is the music the community need, crisp like a freshly laid egg, with the dynamic of the youth and the violin in the lead, a rare sound in the world of smooth jazz. The group has no reservations to pop music as it provides with Don’t Wanna Know, which could easily make the jump into the charts with intelligent instrumentation and astounding energy.

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Ted Chubb – Gratified Never Satisfied

One can be pleased without being ecstatic. But one might find it difficult to separate the two when listening to trumpeter Ted Chubb’s Gratified Never Satisfied (Unit Records, 2017).

In assigning that title to his third album, Chubb acknowledges that life, like jazz, is handed down, absorbed and practiced daily. Though you may achieve goals, tomorrow is a new day and may present new challenges. It’s also an idea brought to him by trumpet player and teacher, William B. Fielder, who inspired him to maintain curiosity and continue to grow.

Accompanying Chubb are Bruce Williams, alto sax on several tracks; Seth Johnson, guitar; Oscar Perez, piano and Fender Rhodes; Tom DiCarlo, bass; and Jerome Jennings, drums.

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Will P Lyte – Lyte EFX

Willie Polite aka Will P Lyte is a passionate musician performing music since his youth, during his military service and later in the creative arts ministry at Right Direction Church.

Lyte EFX is his debut album offering a variety of grooves and rhythms (smooth jazz, latin groove, West Indies rhythm, Funk and Go Go) from the heart of a percussionist. Get this album at CDBaby.

Buff Dillard – Feel My Passion

Buff Dillard has just released his ninth album Feel My Passion (2017). Jazzful Hymms (2008), Genesis (2009), Awaken (2010), Christmas Moments with Buff Dillard (2011), Against All Odds (2012), and Mr. Bonejazz (2015) are some of the others.

In the smooth jazz domain are the saxophonists the kings. Trombonists have to struggle for acknowledgement, even those who have like Buff an academic qualification. So bringing his instrument to the front of the stage, was his premier impetus. With much energy and pleasure he is pushing forward his life target.

Feel My Passion is the aptly title of his new effort. Buff is supported by his friends like Davien Bailey (trumpet), Nicci Canada, Ryan B. (vocals), Derek Harling, Tony “Teaspoon” Witherspoon (keyboards), Paul Dozier (guitar), Clayton Turnage, Calvin Napper, Brian Houze (drums), and Melvin E. Gray (bass). Buff has written and produced all tracks with the exception of three covers.

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Marc Copland – Better By Far

Sometimes, a jazz artist just wants to play good music – feel-good music. No crossing over to attract a diverse, or younger, audience. No enhancements or gimmicks to pick up on contemporary trends. Just the musicians, their instruments, quality songwriting and an hour of your time. That’s what you get with Marc Copland’s Better By Far (Innervoice Jazz Records, 2017).

The players are Copland, piano; Ralph Alessi, trumpet; Drew Gress, double bass; and Joey Baron, drums.

“Day and Night” opens the set. It’s a bright, warm piece that features some crisp stick work by Baron. Bass and trumpet share the lead when the melody begins. Alessi takes the first solo, taking the trumpet on an easygoing jaunt, a stroll in the park that’s occasionally broken up by a few hops and skips. Copland takes it to another level. With Gress and Baron firmly engaged, the pianist takes the baton and turns the jaunt into a sprint. Gress downshifts a bit when it’s his turn, slowing down to enjoy the scenery.

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Brendan Christopher – Four From The Sun

B. Christopher, like most composers, is not a household name. However, if you own a television, you have probably heard his music. With over 3,000 placements annually on virtually every channel, it would be difficult not to hear his work.

The balance between melody, technique, composition and improvisation is not an easy one to strike. But when listening to Christopher, one would think otherwise. With one foot in modern jazz, the other in the blues and an innate sense of melody, his instrumental offerings are sure to please even the most discerning pallet. It is these qualities that helped attract some of the biggest studio musicians in the business to this project. Names like Nathan East, Anton Fig, Gerald Albright, Shawn Pelton, Andy Snitzer, Stu Hamm and Kenny Aronoff have all lent their talents to his recordings.

It’s been a steady evolution from the smoky blues clubs that shaped the soul of an extraordinary player into the polished session musician we hear today. In a world filled with talented musicians, there are a rare few that stand apart from the rest. For an artist to honestly tell their story, technical prowess is not enough. The real story is in the soul and conviction with which one tells it with. Christopher is one of the rare few that delivers the complete package.

The new album Four From The Sun by The B. Christopher Band with special guests include Nathan East (bass), Stu Hamm (bass), Anton Fig (drums), Shawn Pelton (drums), Andy Snitzer (tenor sax) is now available at his website.