Jacam Manricks – Chamber Jazz

Classical music composed for a small ensemble, mixed with the improvisation of jazz might sound something like Chamber Jazz (2016) by saxophonist Jacam Manricks.

Manricks plays alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, flute, alto flute and clarinet. His accompanists are Kevin Hays, piano and Fender Rhodes; Gianluca Renzi, acoustic bass; and Ari Hoenig, drums.

Manricks unloads his arsenal on the haunting “Ecmish.” He uses the soprano for the lead, but later adds the tenor in a counter-melody, and layers the alto sax and the flute for harmony. Hays sets the tone with an ascending, four-note piano phrase that’s repeated throughout the main theme. He switches to the Rhodes for a middle solo, which is accented strongly by Renzi and Hoenig. After the trio builds to a stunning crescendo, the song downshifts to tranquility. Manricks then takes the soprano on an easygoing jaunt.

Read more …

Threestyle – Smooth Ride

Magdalena Chovancova (sax. flute), Robert Fertl (guitar, bass, drum programming, keyboards), and Gabriela Chovancova (drums and vibraphone) are the Munich based group Threestyle. Their breeding ground for artistic production is the label Welovemusic Records. In the smooth jazz section the group already released Feel The Vibe (2012), Get It (2014) and Road To Montery (2016).

On their newest project Smooth Ride (2017) they are joined by a stellar compilation of top notch musicians. Among them are Lew Laing, Paul Brown, Nils, Jeff Carruthers, Robert Vally and many more.

The album starts with A Little Longer, which the same time also represents their first single. Cuddly and lithe is the sound of Magdalena’s saxophone embedded in Paul Brown’s smooth arrangement of the highest level. Smoothjazz.com broadcasts live from Monterey, California. The broadcasting studio is just a few hundred meters from the beach. Road to Monterey is Threestyle’s tribute to this great institution featuring Nils on guitar.

Read more …

Charley Langer – Happy Hour

happy-hourA classically-trained saxophonist, Charley Langer developed his technique under such masters of the instrument as Vincent Gnojek, Douglas Masek, and Laura Hunter. His experience includes numerous live venues, television, and radio; as well as performances with notables Morton Gould, John Adams, Zita Carno, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and others. After having been a contributing performer on numerous independent recordings, Charley has released his debut solo CD, Never the Same (2009).

His new album Happy Hour (2017) was produced by Nils, who also performs on all tracks. Further known artists of the smooth jazz genre on this album are Nate Harasim, Johnny Britt, Reggie McBride, Alex Al, Darryl Williams and more. The album is available at CDBaby.

Dar’rell Green – After Party

16473890_1176295199106199_733791880768972484_nWriter. Performer. Producer. Entertainer. Saxman. From putting down his own words and sounds to developing other artists, Dar’rell Green represents the best of what is music and the music business. The smooth, strong sounds of his art embody not only his presence in this business but also in life. Dar’rell B Green brings his style of “New Jack Jazz” to main stream, so,so,so, funky and a true entertainer, Darrell B is bringing it to you like you know he would. 2017 is my year says D Green this New CD is blazing , and when he comes to your city believe me you will know that Darrell B Green is leaving his footprint on the Groove.

The new album After Party is available at CDBaby.

Felix Peikli & Joe Doubleday – It’s Showtime

A duet backed by an adept rhythm section makes the past the present, and with vigor. Clarinetist Felix Peikli and vibist Joe Doubleday present It’s Showtime! (2016).

They are accompanied by Rossano Sportiello, piano; Russell Hall, acoustic bass; and Ralph Peterson Jr., drums. Vocalist Charles Turner appears on the ballad, “La vie en Rose.”

“After You’ve Gone” opens the set. It’s a sunny, delightful take on the Turner Layton composition. Peikli leads the melody, with Doubleday offering a subtle undertone. Sportiello gets to stretch out a bit during one middle break. Then after the clarinet, the vibraphone takes a turn, rolling through an impressive, rapid fire interlude. Peikli and Doubleday then lead a sequence of unison riffs, accented with solos by Hall and Peterson. The musicians pack a lot into a piece that’s just short of five minutes running time.

Read more …

Rick Braun – Around The Horn

Trumpet player Rick Braun is one of the most popular musicians of the smooth jazz genre. After his previous escapades to Holiday Jazz (Swingin’ In The Snow) and Swing (Sings With Strings) he returned to smooth jazz with Can You Feel It. Around The Horn (2017) holds the horns tighter than tight.

Guest musicians on the new album are John Stoddart (keys, vocals, synth bass), Gerey Johnson, Peter White (guitar), Third Richardson (drums), Lindsey Webster (vocals), Til Brönner (trumpet), Ron Reinhardt (keys, bass), and Kenny Wild (bass). Rick performs trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, keys and synth bass.

The album starts with the bright and breezy So Strong. A Latin flow with some Jobim/Mendes and Herb Alpert feeling and a flavored turn around some Tower Of Power harmonies.

Read more …

PXXL – A Fine Blue Line

a-fine-blue-lineWelcome to the PXXL playground! Like any good playground, there are a variety of ways to have fun and take risks. Come joins us during our favorite time of the day — a recess where we can take risks, play, and grow. PXXL are Myrick Crampton (composer, tenor sax, alto sax, bari sax, alto flute, bass flute, and clarinet), Jacob Ungerleider (keyboards), Nate Bernard (bass) and C.J. Wolfe (percussion).

On their second CD, PXXL doubles down with still more original Jazz. Plenty of blues interspersed with dreamy ballads and post-impressionistic bebop. A Fine Blue Line is available on USA’s finest platform for independent artists and progressive labels, CDBaby.