William Staggers – Nostalgia

61MuwU8xAUL._SS500_Gifted with the ability of an artist, musician and songwriter, William Staggers evokes the days of “Real Music.” This passionate musician is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. William began playing piano at age 5 and by the time he was 12, he got his first job playing the piano for his church choir. By the time William entered junior high school, he joined the school’s band where he learned to play saxophone.

Though William’s first love is the piano, he is also an exceptional saxophonist today. William’s velvety smooth voice and playing abilities have enabled him to perform for many distinguished audiences. On several occasions. Despite his many accomplishments in music entertainment, William remains devoted to composing music with his own creative efforts and as a service for other artists as well. One of William’s greatest joys is helping young aspiring musicians and vocalists develop to their full potential.

William’s catalog of music has a smooth jazz influence, but he enjoys and draws from an array of musical genres. His passion for music leads him to many avenues of musical expression; including covers of classic hits. Such a precious album is Nostalgia (2020).

This album is available on all major digital platforms.

Brian Simpson – All That Matters

193746406_3833975360034816_5705152487936156656_n“It’s Brian’s incredibly memorable and infectious melodies that truly set him apart. I am a huge fan!” – Dave Koz

“The title of my new recording was purely inspired by the events of the past year and half,” reflects acclaimed pianist, composer and producer Brian Simpson. “My family and loved ones became more important than ever and all that matters became more apparent after witnessing the tragic loss of others.”

On June 25, 2021, Shanachie Entertainment will release a milestone recording from Simpson, who will commemorate his tenth recording as a leader. Revered for his ability to sculpt timeless love songs, soulful party anthems and breath-taking melodies that stay on your mind, Simpson delivers all this and more on his new recording All That Matters. From penning the #1 pop hit “The First Time” for R&B group Surface to touring and or recording with Janet Jackson, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, Simpson’s golden touch, has long made him one of the go-to guys in the industry. Continue reading

Dave McMurray – Grateful Deadication

Dave-McMurray-Greatful-DeadicationSaxophonist Dave McMurray has announced a July 16 release date for Grateful Deadication, his sophomore release for Blue Note Records. On the new full-length, McMurray takes his gritty, soulful Detroit sound and reimagines the flower empowered songs of San Francisco icons the Grateful Dead with an album as vibrant as it is unexpected. The announcement comes with the video for a transcendent version of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “Loser,” featuring Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir, alongside Bettye LaVette and Weir’s Wolf Bros bandmates Don Was, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti, and Greg Leisz.

During the heyday of the Dead’s tireless touring, McMurray was on the road himself, joining now-Blue Note president Don Was in the uncategorizable Was (Not Was) beginning in 1981. McMurray has performed with a stunning roster of legendary musicians, including B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, KEM, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen and Bob James.

In 2018 McMurray joined Don Was for an all-star set at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. The performance featured a surprise appearance by Bob Weir, who had recently enlisted Was and drummer Jay Lane for his new band Wolf Bros, including a rendition of Dead classic “Days Between.” Continue reading

André Kunz – Sweet Soul

sweetsoulWell-known in Swiss music circles as a guitarist in various formations, André Kunz‘s aim is to make his name heard around the world. Although stylistically his home is jazz, he feels comfortable in other musical art forms as well.

What better way to express that than with your own solo album. Produced over three years, he expressed his ideas in fourteen compositions. In the process, he has invited musicians from all over the world to his recordings. The names of the musicians are listed in the credits. This impressive number of musicians is possible only because of the Internet, especially in the conditions of the currently existing pandemic.

Opener of the album is Mallorca, a piece about the Spanish dream island of many Europeans. A fresh sea breeze of unadulterated music, with the central theme interpreted by Dan Boissy on saxophone and beautifully underpinned by Kriz Flew on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Read more …

Dean Grech – Back In Time

CS5119886-02A-BIGDean Grech has played guitar from the age of 8, and became a professional musician at age 11. Dean’s guitar playing is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Johnny Smith, blended with the more modern sounds of Peter White and Norman Brown. Vocally, he has captured the essence of Kenny Rankin, with a taste of Michael Buble, and the soulfulness of Bill Withers.

Chris Mann wrote about his debut album Look Out: “What have we heard then? A great guitar tone, turned to blues, funk and varying shades of jazz. We’ve heard some clever songwriting and some confident and hip-sounding vocals. The production is classy too – there is no point where it feels like “hey, I’m gonna make a guitar-players album”. This record is for everybody – it’s going to make a lot of friends.”

With his latest album “Back in Time”, Dean Grech has rendered the sounds and styles we’ve come to know since the genre of smooth jazz evolved from the school of “cool jazz” of the 1950s. With a host of LA’s best session players, Grech provides his audience with a variety of arrangements that speak of their own story.  Grech has crafted all his major influences into one album. Grech has also included a Bob Dylan tune, “All Along the Watchtower” and a John Lennon / Paul McCartney tune “All my Loving,” that was released as a single in April by Innervision Records and has received recognition worldwide (The Sundial Agency).

Back In Time is available here.

Ryan Montano – Truth Journey

193709377_3830322820400070_7511540012675647514_nRyan Montano is a nationally recognized trumpeter, songwriter, bandleader and recording artist. His beautiful tone, sophisticated and memorable compositions, impactful live performances and precise technique have garnered him national radio airplay and festival performances across the nation.

His music is a captivating fusion of Jazz, Soul and Latin stylings. His live performances are elegant, refined and powerful. His distinctive sound has become a steady fixture on Sirius Satellite Radio and at radio stations the world over. His previous release “Soulfully” was in the top 30 on the Billboard National Jazz Airplay chart.

His new album was released June, 3, 2021. Now on sale at Apple Music.

Evan Carydakis – Groove House

groove-house-album-cover-web-1536x1536Evan Carydakis is an acclaimed Jazz saxophonist, residing in Tasmania. Born in Melbourne Victoria, Evan first picked up the saxophone at the age of 15. Initially inspired by Branford Marsalis’s ‘Royal garden Blues’, it was his family’s influence and love of all music that set Evan on his stylistic journey. And along the way, Evan has been lucky enough to learn from some of the greats including Joe Viola, Jerry Bergonzi and Lee Konitz, but above all else Evan holds his time with legendary jazz educator Charlie Banacos as “the most influential” on his instrumental ability.

A five-time grant recipient and sought-after festival performer, Evan continues to share his love for Jazz with the greater community. His new album Groove House (2021) is a fiery, funky, hard-edged yet ultra-melodic and at times balmy and exotic romp that celebrates his family in a variety of ways. Co-written and produced by Evan’s twin brother Stephan and co-produced by long time friend Peter Kechayas, the collection is an homage to the work ethic and selfless love of their parents, who made their successful careers possible.

This EP is available on all digital platforms.

Dan Siegel – Faraway Place

Dan-Siegel-Faraway-PlaceWhile the coronavirus wreaked havoc to a deadly extreme, the pandemic era with its heightened quarantine measures proved to swing a double-edge sword for musicians. Many were silenced, suffering the liability of limited-to-no opportunities to perform. But on the other hand, the disease aroused many to be creative in their artistic expression. Veteran contemporary jazz pianist/keyboardist Dan Siegel took that difficult challenge during the social distancing desert to remotely assemble a group to deliver his eclectic album Faraway Place on his DSM label. It’s comprised of 11 originals that range from straight-up lyrical beauties to accordion-tinged grooves, to a baroque-like number with strings and horns. Remarkably, this is Siegel’s 22nd recording as a leader.

“This is a different kind of album because of the pandemic,” says the Irvine, California-based composer and bandleader. “After writing the music in isolation, everything, with a few exceptions, was recorded separately by musicians in their home studios.” says Siegel. All of the tracks were demoed and developed rhythmically by drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd at East West Studios in LA. “Those were the only sessions that I was present at,” Siegel says. “They set the music into motion with their drums. Then I sent what they did to the musicians I wanted to use and asked them to lay their parts down. What they sent back was so musical and really well-played. It only required a few modifications. I also went into the studio to record piano, and I rented an accordion for four tunes. I used contrast on the arrangements. They started sparse but then built with layers in the mix, always keeping in mind the song underneath it all. The way I see it is that I’m a composer first and I perform piano second” says Siegel.

Also joining Siegel on the album are saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter/trombonist Lee Thornburg, guitarist Allen Hinds, acoustic bassist Brian Bromberg, electric bassists Abraham Laboriel and Dwyane “Smitty” Smith, percussionist Lenny Castro, and on two tracks Brazilian vocalist Rogerio Jardim. Continue reading

Gabriel Mark Hasselbach – Tongue & Groove

179573600_4297130203644445_6071229986243017233_nWhile Denver Colorado born trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach‘s album Open Invitation (2014) is settled in the smooth jazz genre, his albums MidCentury Modern Volume 1 (2018) and MidCentury Modern Volume 2 (2019) are walking the jazz way. With Tongue & Groove (2021) Gabriel Mark returns to the smooth jazz realm again.

He explains the title as follows: “The title is at minimum a double entendre. In woodworking, tongue and groove refers to interlocking, smooth and seamless assembly or construction, and trumpeters tongue their notes, and in my case, also nail the groove.”

Gabriel performs on the new album flugelhorn, trumpet, flutes, and percussion. Mainstay are Daniel Seguin (alto and tenor sax, keys, bass, drum programming), Tony Moore (drums) and Tony Seville (percussion). Further guest musicians on selected tracks are Bob Baldwin (keys, programming), Paul Brown (guitar), Brian Hughes (guitar), Chris Standring (guitar), Grant Geissman (guitar), Miles Black (piano, organ, bass), Rossi Tzonkov (electric bass), Kat Hendricks (drums), and Jeffrey Holl (guitar, keys).

Read more …

Peter Bleakney & Greg Kavanagh – Wolfen 2

Wolfen2Greg Kavanagh (guitar) and Peter Bleakney (bass) grew up together in Wolfville NS, started their first band in high school, moved to LA, then Detroit and ended up in Toronto to seek fame and fortune. At that point their careers took divergent paths, but with all the 2020 lockdown time on their hands the two reconnected.

Greg said, “Send me some grooves and chords and let’s see what happens.” Peter’s funk and R&B influences meld with Greg’s melodic guitar and production chops (he’s got a Juno under his belt) to create hooky and dancy instrumental music – with real players playing real instruments. Rounding out the core of Wolfen are Gary Craig on drums and B3-whisperer Rob Gusevs. Special guests include Wilson Laurencin (drums), Dave Dunlop (trumpets) and Ross Woolridge (clarinet).

It’s all about creative fun – the reason they got into this nutty business in the first place! After Wolfen both return with their second offer Wolfen 2. You can stream this album on all major platforms.