Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – Intercambio

As if he knew the day would come when the United States would normalize relations with Cuba, six-time Grammy nominee Wayne Wallace celebrates the deepening cultural connection between the two nations. Intercambio (Patois Records, 2015) brings the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet together with several additional players.

Wallace is a composer, producer, arranger, trombonist and head of the Patois label. The rest of the quintet are David Belove, bass; Colin Douglas, trap drums, timbales and percussion; Murray Low, piano; and Michael Spiro, congas, bongo, percussion and arrangements. Guest artists who appear here and there are Mary Fetig, flute; Mads Tolling, Jenna Barghouti and Joy Vucekovich, violin; Benjamin Wagner, viola; Graham Cullen, cello; Joe Galvin, steel drum and percussion; Dan Coffman, Brennan Johns and Sean Weber, trombone; and Edgardo Cambon, Jesus Diaz and John Santos, vocals.

“Casa Del Sol” opens the set. With Fetig and Tolling adding some depth, it’s a stylish mambo piece, dedicated to Eddie Palmieri. As described in the liner notes, the music reflects Palmieri’s love for the cross-cultural effects of Cuban music with McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk and jazz. The rhythm section is a centerpiece throughout, but Tolling and Wallace get moments to stretch out a bit.

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Eric Marienthal & Chuck Loeb – Bridges

BridgesBridges is the sublime collaboration of 2 of the most renowned instrumentalists in Jazz! Between them, saxophonist Eric Marienthal and guitarist Chuck Loeb have either written, produced, or performed on more than 50 Top 10 Smooth Jazz radio singles. Both have thrilled audiences around the world for more than 20 years as solo artists and featured artists in various groups: Marienthal with the likes of Chick Corea, The Rippingtons, Keiko Matsui, and Jeff Lorber and Loeb as co-leader of Fourplay and Jazz Funk Soul.

Bridges represents these Smooth Jazz icons at their best, but it is more than just a Smooth Jazz album. As the title suggests, these Soundscapes bridge the gap between the commercial world of Smooth Jazz, the tranquility of New Age music, and the more artistic explorations that are at the heart of the true Jazz experience! Highlights of the 10 Marienthal/Loeb originals include “Crossings”, the haunting ballad and first single, the soulful and bluesy “Duality”, the romantic “Noir” and much more!

Pre-order this album now at Amazon.com.

Oscar Walker – Music in the Key of O

Music in the Key of OOscar “Big O” Walker is a studio owner/engineer, producer, song writer and professional bassist who loves music. So check out what he does best. Music in the Key of O is a complete mix of Smooth Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Neo Soul, and Rap all in one package.

This album is on sale at CDBaby.

Kenyon Carter – Game On

Saxophonist Kenyon Carter is influenced by Grover Washington Jr., Gerald Albright, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. He released his debut album Right By My Side in 2011, followed by Songs for My Father (2014) and in August, 2015 by his third album Game On.

Kenyon is joined on his new project by Billy Wilkie (guitar), Tyrone Jackson (keyboards), Tim Aucoin (bass), John David (drums), Brent Whiten (trumpet) and Richard Sherrington (trombone).

The album begins with the title song quasi as evidence of perfect mastery on the instrument. With Chuck Loeb on guitar as accompaniment he attains a powerful, precise, faster, more varied and at the same time considerably more relaxed way of playing.

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Jeff Lorber and Chuck Loeb – Bop

It’s an all-star cast, although it falls under the heading of two leaders: Jeff Lorber and Chuck Loeb. Bop (2015) is the junction of vintage jazz, a popular festival and charity.

The core group consists of Lorber, Rhodes; Loeb, guitar; Everette Harp, tenor saxophone; Harvey Mason, drums; Brian Bromberg, bass; Rick Braun, trumpet and flugelhorn; and Till Broenner, trumpet. Special guests appear on selected tracks.

The ensemble goes for the jugular on the opening track, a thrilling arrangement of Thelonius Monk’s “Straight No Chaser.” After the horns bring us into the mood of the piece, Loeb takes off on a jaunt worthy of Wes Montgomery. Braun and Bronner take their turns and engage in a brief call-and-response sequence, followed by Lorber. The track ends with Braun’s signature throaty wail.

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Lebron – New Era

New EraThe genre of contemporary jazz has taken many forms over the years, but its loyal fans have always stayed true to its roots. Lebron is one of those fans. It’s only appropriate then that his style as an artist showcases the facets of smooth jazz that listeners love. Lebron was born into a family of musical talent, including his father who played the saxophone professionally as a way to pay for college. In other words, it’s in his blood. Not to mention his saxophone influences, including Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Everette Harp, Grover Washington Jr, and Nelson Rangell. To date, he has shared the stage with many of musics modern icons, including Kirk Whalum, George Benson, and Grammy winning bass player Mel Brown.

Lebron’s debut record, Shades” certainly took the world by storm. In a sea of sax players, it stood out as one of the top releases of the year, yielding 3 top 10 Billboard radio singles. “Groove City” peaked in the top 3, and was named in the top 20 Contemporary Jazz songs of the year by Billboard Magazine. But Lebron is not content to stop there. On the contrary, he’s just getting started. His much anticipated sophomore album, New Era, is sure to highlight his growth as an artist and as a player. “I wanted this record to really showcase my sound, my vibe”, he explains. “I think this one just sounds more like ME, and MY voice.” It features 10 all original tracks, from sultry ballads to infectious body moving grooves. Be sure to get your copy, because Contemporary Jazz isn’t going anywhere. And neither is Lebron. Buy the new album at Amazon.com.

Lee Ritenour – A Twist of Rit

atwistofrit05GRAMMY-winning, guitarist Lee Ritenour, AKA Captain Fingers, has a wide-ranging array of material to revive, as evidenced by A Twist of Rit. 2015 commemorates 40 years since his debut recording, First Course, on Epic Records. A Twist of Rit, set for release on August 21, 2015 via Concord Records, is a magnificent follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2012 album Rhythm Sessions.

A Twist of Rit spotlights Ritenour with several long-time musical cohorts, including keyboardists John Beasley, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; saxophonist Ernie Watts; bassists Melvin Lee Davis, Tom Kennedy and Dave Weckl; and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. That core group is augmented by drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and Chris Coleman, along with Bob Sheppard on saxophone and Rashawn Ross playing flugelhorn. Joining Ritenour for the first time are guitarists Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker, plus Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone.

A Twist of Rit features Ritenour’s soaring guitar lines with 12 of his compositions ranging from the funky fusion and sophisticated jazz that he has become so well known for. All of the material was captured by his longtime GRAMMY Award-winning engineer Don Murray and the tracks were recorded with everyone performing together, old-school, but with modern, state-of-the-art recording techniques. Another album highlight will be the debut of Hungarian guitarist Tony Pusztai, Grand Prize Winner of Ritenour’s biennial, 2014 Six String Theory Competition. Pusztai was selected from over 500 entries and 72 participating countries. Continue reading

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