Ricardo Bacelar – Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio)

The discography of Brazilian composer and pianist Ricardo Bacelar is still manageable. After his debut album In Natura (2001), followed Concerto para Moviola (Concerto for Moviola),  a live album, recorded in 2015 during the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival at the Via Sul Theater, Fortalezea, Ceara, Brazil, and Sebastiana (2018). Now he returns with his second live album recorded in May 2018 at The Blue Note in Rio, Brazil aptly titled Ao Vivo No Rio (Live In Rio).

Ricardo was accompanied by guitarist João Castilho, saxophonist and flutist Danilo Sina, double bassist Alexandre Katatau, drummer Renato Endrigo and percussionist André Siqueira. Most of the repertoire of the live album covers compositions of the groundbreaking Brazilian musicians Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

Ricardo considers his album, which was recorded in the intimate circle of the 300-seat Blue Note, an incentive to return to live performances after the end of the pandemic. Ricardo comments: “People need the warm sound and feelings of live music as opposed to the electronic stuff we hear on studio recordings. By listening to this live album, you can embrace the warm sound from the safety and comfort of your home.”

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Jef Kearns – Jazzy AF

Amazon best-selling Canadian solo artist Jef Kearns is transforming the flute from a background instrument to a serious soul voice in R&B and hip-hop. His goal, even from an early age, was to create a distinct and instantly identifiable flute sound with enough presence to command attention—just like an R&B singer’s voice. Jef’s cover of Warren G‘s “Regulate” was featured in XXL Magazine’s “20 Covers of Hip-Hop Songs Using Instruments” and his cover of Kanye West‘s “Slow Jamz” in Mashable’s “14 Bizzarly Awesome Rap Cover Videos.”

Over his two decades as a professional musician, Jef has built what would be considered an impressive online following for any independent artist. His YouTube channel has exceeded 1.3 million views. For a solo flute player it’s unprecedented. Kearns’ professionally produced discography includes two full albums, On the Level ( 2009), and Soulfisticated (2013), and an EP called The Flute (2016), and eight stand-alone singles.

His follow up album, Jazzy AF is a modern pop instrumental album layered with jazzy melodic phrasings. All songs are written by Jef Kearns and Douglas Romanow, except Reverie (written by Jef Kearns) and Axel F (written by Harold Faltermeyer.) The album will be released August 28th, 2020.

Andrey Chmut – Soulmate

Starting a career as a saxophonist in the smooth jazz genre is a courageous undertaking these days. Ukraine born saxophonist Andrey Chmut didn’t hesitate to long to build his own solo career. He joined the touring band of highly rated Ukrainian bass player Artem Lebedev. He also contributed to Valeriy Stepanov’s first CD New Beginnings. From there it was no time-consuming way to his first very own debut album Smoothability (2018) on Skytown Records.

Two years later he is back with his sophomore album Soulmate (2020) on the same label. You can already pre-order the album on Amazon.com.

 

Wade C. Long – Nostalgia

It is amazing how many great singers come out of the quiet city of Cleveland, Ohio. The town on the North Coast has been the home of many memorable vocalists. Add to that list singer-keyboardist Wade C. Long, who grew up in Believeland and is now based in L.A. The former church musician has made a career as a producer for several artists and groups over the years, and in 2014 years ago he released is debut EP, Love Is. After releasing the soulful Rise in 2018, Wade had the pleasure of co-writing and co-producing the new single “When I Think of You” for his cousin and Grammy Award winner Joe Little III, of The Rude Boys.

Wade is now coming back in early 2020 with 3 brand new singles of his own. “Bulljivin'” is a throwback to early 80s Funk and Soul, reminiscent of bands like Cameo and Con Funk Shun. “Norm’s Place” is a sensational Smooth Jazz track, perfectly fit for your Sunday afternoon drive. The lone new vocal piece is “Since I’ve Found You”, a ballad that celebrates falling and staying in love. Now he tops the whole with his new album Nostalgia (2020).

Buy the new album (mp3) on Amazon.com.

David Bach – Fierce Heart

From my recent review of David Bach’s collection album Perficiendi I quote the following overview of David’s solo albums: Window On The West (1998), 5Thousand Words (2001), A Deep Breath (2005), Live at Baker Park (2008), Otherworld (2013) and Perficiendi (2020). His newest album Fierce Heart is already available on bandcamp, the official release date is July 17, 2020.

The album contains seven originals written by David and three covers. The album involves a large number of musicians, who are listed in detail below in the album information. Fierce Heart puts the listener in the right mood for David Bach’s new album, with slow tempo he wins the hearts of the fans. The piece has the impression of the soundtrack of a film with historical references.

Gymnopedie is the name for a nude dance or festival in ancient Greek. French composer and pianist Erik Satie has written three compositions of this theme. David Bach has chosen Gymnopedie No. 1, but makes out of more tranquil piece a vivid lively cover featuring Brian Falkowski on flute given the tune a Latin touch to the end.

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Ricardo Bacelar – Ricardo Bacelar: Live in Rio (Ao Vivo No Rio)

Like here in the US, Brazil is being ravaged by coronavirus, making it impossible for people to go out to hear live jazz. Early on in quarantine, Brazilian jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar (http://ricardobacelar.com.br) realized that it would be quite some time before clubs and concert venues would reopen so he decided to release a concert recording of his band performing at The Blue Note in Rio to remind music fans what live jazz sounds like. Filled with the unique energy, warmth and ambiance that is live jazz, “Ricardo Bacelar: Live in Rio (Ao Vivo No Rio)” drops August 21 as a digital-only release.

During this period of dramatic change impacting the world, Bacelar chose to release a version of the Milton Nascimento classic “Nothing Will Be As It Was (Nada Sera Como Antes)” as the first single from “Live in Rio.” The duet sung in Portuguese by Bacelar and Brazilian vocalist-pianist Delia Fischer will begin collecting playlist adds this month.

The “Live in Rio” album was recorded two years ago while Bacelar was celebrating the release of his “Sebastiana” album. The set-list consists of songs written by Brazilian icons Nascimento, Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil and Flora Purim along with American greats Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. Also included is a composition that Bacelar wrote with producer Cesar Lemos (Ricky Martin, Paulina Rubio) titled “Sernambetiba, 1992” from “Sebastiana.”

Source: Great Scott Productions

Jacob Webb – All In The Details

Coming from Kansas keyboardist Jacob Webb now lives in New York, where he joined Philadelphia native saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Todd Schefflin. Together with Todd Schefflin (saxophone) he formed the group JT Project with already six released albums. Jacob has been fortunate in his career as a performer sharing the stage with artists such as Chrisette Michelle, Cheryl “Pepsi” Riley, Bill Cosby, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller, and several other well-known artists.

The year 2018 marked a new chapter as Jacob pursued his debut Solo Album titled I’m Coming Home. This full length masterpiece showcases Jacob’s talents as a premier bassist in the Contemporary Jazz world. The album features a plethora of heavy hitter NYC based musicians! His sophomore album is All In The Details. It has taken over 2 years to complete but it’s finally here set to be released August 7th, 2020. Musicians on this album are including Judah Sealy, Vandell Andrew, Phillip Doc Martin, Jazmin Deborah Ghent, Adam Omar Hawley, Stantawn Kendrick, Sounds of A&R and many more.

You can already pre-order a physical CD here.

Paul Brown – Ones Upon A Time

Along with our friends at Woodward Avenue Records, we are excited to announce the release of double Grammy winner Paul Brown‘s new album, Ones Upon A Time, as well as the project’s first single, “Notorious”! Ones Upon A Time will be available worldwide on Friday, August 14.

Over the years since Paul Brown became one of contemporary urban jazz’s premiere hit makers as a producer and artist, it’s become harder to keep track of how many Billboard #1 smashes he has amassed since breaking through producing Boney James in the early 90s. Is it 60? 70? 75? The two-time Grammy winner makes it slightly (and soulfully, seductively and delightfully easier by gathering a batch of his favorite chart-toppers produced for himself and other artists (Boney, Bob James, Larry Carlton, Kirk Whalum, George Benson) and re-imagining them for his cleverly titled upcoming collection “Ones Upon a Time” – his tenth album as a solo artist.

If the sensual atmospheres and deeply inviting, seductive groove at the start of the set’s lead single “Notorious” sound familiar, it’s because it was not only a smash for Rick Braun 23 years ago (from his 1997 album Body and Soul), but has been a staple at hundreds of the trumpet great’s live shows during that time. And for good reason. In its initial iteration, it offered the perfect combination of sexy and invigorating, a showcase of Braun’s bright and sultry energy, combined with Boney’s sweet coolness. Brown’s new twist, where he carries the moody, slow burning melody on his 1963 Gibson Johnny Smith L5 guitar, takes the song multiple shades deeper both tonally and emotionally than the original version, arriving at a perfect blend of urban jazz and blues.

After building momentum over a simmering, funky groove by bassist Roberto Vally and drummer Gorden Campbell, Brown is joined by the steamy, edgy sax of Richard Elliot. Brown had seen Elliot play the Boney part numerous times live with Braun, and knew he was the perfect foil for this slower burning version. Not surprisingly, considering their decades long friendship and working relationship, the two work a symbiotic magic (with Elliot harmonizing off the guitarist’s steady flow) on their way to the glorious hook, It’s one that smooth jazz fans have heard a million times, yet it sounds completely fresh with this new rendering, which also features Lenny Castro on percussion and a shimmering key solo by Gregg Karukas. If you’ve been a fan of Brown’s productions and heart-tugging melodic guitar vibe over the years, “Notorious” will allow you to experience his vast artistry from an exciting new perspective. Once you hear it, it’s likely that you, like me, will be chomping at the bit for the release of the entire album.

– Jonathan Widran

Marcus Adams – Love Letters

A thrilling performer and one on the rise, vocalist and multi-instrumental soul/jazz artist Marcus Adams is a sign that the new crop of smooth jazz artists can certainly carry the torch. Working on his sophomore studio album, he combines R&B, Soul, and Jazz to create songs that takes the listeners on a musical ride of the highs of love and depths of pain in life. His friendship with Grammy nominated producer Demonte Posey led to the release of his heralded freshman release entitled Suddenly. The project propelled Adams into the national spotlight. The jump from a beloved local act in Milwaukee, WI to a favorite performer in jazz venues across the nation proved to be the right path for Adams to establish his unique sound and brand. Following the release, Adams toured the nation and created an avid and loyal following.

Now he opens the next chapter with Love Letters (2020).  Appearing on the CD are the artists Selina Albright, Marqueal Jordan, Ragan Whiteside, Merlon Devine, and Smooth Jazz producer Lew Laing. CD’s are on sale for $10. Inbox Marcus on Facebook for your personal copy.

David Boswell – The Story Behind The Story

I received my first impression of guitarist David Boswell‘s music with his album I Like That in 2009. That was his third album after Hold Tight To Your Dreams (2004), and Bridge Of Art (2006). Then his albums Windows (2012) and his trio Storyboard project Hello (2014) followed. Now he returns with his album The Story Behind The Story (2020).

David gathers on his new album again an excellent crew of first-class musicians,  Scott Kinsey, Mitchel Forman and Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards, Bart Samolis and Jimmy Haslip  on bass, MB Gordy and Gary Novak on drums, and guest tenor-saxophonist Andy Snitzer.

The album begins with Miraculous, an overall harmonic tune which is influenced like his previous works by the guitar style of Pat Metheny. A Los Angeles Minute takes up this stylistic direction and mood, with Andy Snitzer picking up and continuing the melody on his saxophone.

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