Russ Hewitt – Cielo Nocturno

Guitar virtuoso Russ Hewitt describes his style as smooth jazz, Nuevo Flamenco and Latin World music. He counts the albums Bajo el Sol (2008) and Alma Vieja (2011) to his credits. His new album Cielo Nocturno (2016) already garnered rave reviews.

Guest musicians on this album are Larry Carlton, Ardeshir Farah and Alfredo Caceres (guitars), Bob Parr (bass, keyboards), Raphael Padilla (percussion), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (drums) and Wladimir Kaliazine (accordion).

A colorful bunch of musicians, a motley crew of styles. All songs are composed by Russ, no cover in sight. The album starts with Presidio, a Latin tinged song with a strong shot of joie de vivre. A catchy melody brilliantly presented.

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Freeman L. Semons, Jr – Free

freeFreeman L. Semons, Jr is a published fiction author, a songwriter, a smooth jazz keyboardist, a graphic artist/designer and a book publisher. He started drawing things around age 5. He studied Commercial Art in high school at Milwaukee Tech and Graphic Design at MATC. He graduated from MATC in May 2013. earning an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design. He has been writing fiction since age 10. He released his first novel The Oracle Book through Stonegarden.net Publishing (an independent book publisher) in 2008. His current novel Archangel (as well as the re-release of Oracle Book) were self-published under his own Morning Breeze Publications imprint August 2015 via Amazon.

In 2011, Christopher’s Project (a renowned jazz group in the greater Milwaukee area) covered four of Freeman’s songs for their CD release entitled “Givin’ It To You”. Freeman has been writing and composing music under his own Morning Breeze Music imprint since age 20. To date, he has produced over 30 CD albums ranging from R&B and Gospel to Smooth Jazz and New Age Soundscapes. His current album is entitled Free. Free is a new collection of sophisticated smooth jazz grooves and up-tempo vibes highlighting Freeman’s unique songwriting style.

Get Free at CDBaby.

Jazmin Ghent – Chocolate Sunshine

jazmin_ghent_chocolate_sunshineJazmin Deborah Ghent is a new contemporary jazz artist with a passion for music. Born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, she became interested in music at age 5 when she began taking piano lessons. She became the Sunday School pianist at the age of 8 and often practiced with the adult musicians and church choir members. After being introduced to the saxophone in Middle School, she progressed to becoming the church pianist and saxophonist. She is a recent graduate from Florida State University (bachelors) and Tennessee State University (masters). Jazmin majored in music education and is an accomplished musician in contemporary jazz, standard jazz and gospel.

Her album Boss combines smooth, soulful jazz saxophone stylings reflecting a wide range of eclectic jazz phrases that makes the head bob and the body move. Now she returns with her album Chocolate Sunshine.

Get the album at CDBaby.

Kim Scott – Southern Heat

Birmingham, Alabama based flutist Kim Scott has already released the albums Crossing Over (2011) and Rite of Passage (2013). Her third album Southern Heat (2016) does not only show the flutist but increasingly more the vocalist.

Kim performs on the new album with James “PJ” Spraggins, Ron Otis (drums), Sean Michael Ray (bass), Eric Essix, Michael “Big Mike” Hart (guitar), Kelvin Wooten (rhythm guitar, keyboards, synth bass, programming), Lin Rountree (trumpet), Jim Lowe III (programming, horn arrangement), Darryl Tibbs (percussion) and more.

The starter Billie Jean is best known as one of the musical diamonds by the late king of Pop Michael Jackson. Kim Scott serves a pristine rendition of this popular song with a tasty flute. Fantastic Voyage surprises with heavy funk, a genre already adapted to smooth jazz namely by Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer and Wayman Tisdale.

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Ricky Rodriguez Group – Looking Beyond

Some artists write music based on their inspirations, and typically feature their own instrument, be it piano, guitar, trumpet or saxophone. However, bassist Ricky Rodriguez composes with the other musicians in mind. In this case, Looking Beyond (Destiny Records, 2016) is a collection of songs that feature the sidemen chosen for the project.

Musicians performing with Rodriguez are Adam Rogers, guitar; Luis Perdomo, piano and Fender Rhodes; Obed Calvaire, drums; Myron Walden, alto saxophone and bass clarinet; with special guests, David Sanchez, tenor saxophone; Pete Rodriguez, trumpet and Obanilu Allende, barril de bomba, a hand drum similar to the conga.

“Living” is an easygoing, walk in the park. With the piano and bass setting the pace, the horns blend for the all’s well-inspired melody. After the opening sequence, Sanchez goes on a leisurely stroll with sidekicks Rodriguez and Calvaire in tow. As the determination of his strides become more pronounced, Perdomo joins in. With the tenor emoting, the others stretch out a bit underneath. The full ensemble is engaged for a brief transition, leading to Walden’s turn out front. A highlight is when the alto builds to climax while repeating the same, two-note wail – like something out of Kenny Garrett’s trick bag. The song reverts to the melody and closes with the two saxophones ad libbing until a full stop.

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Jessy J – California Christmas

ccWith her sizzling mix of hot beats, Latin and samba rhythms and sensuous, captivating melodies, Mexican American saxophonist and singer Jessy J shares the joys of the season “California”style, spending Christmas at the beach, enjoying the unique opportunity for some fun in the sun that many folks only dream about. This is her first holiday Album with classics like Little Drummer Boy, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night, The First Noel and more! Guest artist include Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Maurice Smith, and Steve Oliver.

Jessy, who has performed on “American Idol” “The Voice” “Dancing With the Stars.” and invited by Steven Tyler to play on Aerosmith’s 2012 album Music From Another Dimension has put together some great limited merchandise and experiences in the store below. Additionally, a percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, CA.

You can order your personal copy here.

 

Peter White – Groovin’

groovinLike so many millions of us, guitarist Peter White still feels closest to the music he absorbed while growing up. As a British teen in the ’60s, he kept his ears glued to the radio—soaking up the exciting new sounds of rock bands like the Beatles and soul giants like Stevie Wonder—and tried to learn how to play those songs on the acoustic guitar his dad had given him. It didn’t take him long to get the hang of it, and now, after more than four decades as both a leader and sideman, he’s returning to those tunes that impacted him so forcefully in his youth.

Groovin’, set for release on October 28, 2016 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is White’s third collection of guitar-centric interpretations of timeless compositions from those halcyon years of the 1950s to the ’80s. Taking up where his previous all-covers albums Reflections (1994) and Playin’ Favorites (2006) left off, Groovin’ finds White not only nostalgic but adventurous and playful, injecting vocal shadings and bold horn charts into the mix, and even some tougher guitar sounds than he’s generally known for.

“I always gravitate toward this era,” says White about the songs he chooses to cover. “At that time the music meant more to me than at any other time in my life.” Continue reading