Archive for August, 2009

Jason Peterson Delaire – In My Life

This is rather curious. Jason Peterson Delaire, a member of the Peterson family of Minneapolis, is known as a prolific saxophonist, keyboardist and singer. He toured with such artists as Oleta Adams, Prince, Alexander O\’Neal, Richard Marx, Solo, Donny Osmond, and Cherrelle and recorded with Michael Bolton, Alexander O’Neal, Prince, Donny Osmond, as well as Bobby Brown, Ben Sidran and Flyte Time Productions.

Designated as a smooth jazz musician his solo project In My Life is although pure R&B. Well, the influence of Prince on DeLaire’s music is undisputable. It was DeLaire’s top hit In My Life, which allured my attention. And indeed the video of this song was one of the most viewed in 2008 on YouTube.

The album attracts with wonderful ballads like Never Enough or Prodigal Sun presenting DeLaire as splendid R&B singer. The groovy I Need Your Love is flirting with vocoderized vocals.

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Walter Duda – Notes From The Coast

Walter Duda is a self-taught musician with a rich musical experience. Walter has performed in many legendary New York City clubs including Catch A Rising Star, The Bitter End, Mikell\’s and Seventh Avenue South. He has appeared on Manhattan Cable, Cablevision of Connecticut and Century Cable in Los Angeles.

He started his solo career with Daylight Again (2000) presenting himself as a splendid piano man. In 2005 followed Sole Intention and in 2008 Notes From The Coast. All albums are released on Walter’s record label World Alert Records.

Walter’s third project is joined by Tim DeHuff (guitar), John Tropea (guitar), Steve Clarke (bass), Scott Spray (bass), Will Lee (bass), Bill Harris (sax), Chris Herbert (sax), Thierry Arpino (drums), Glenn Mariconda (drums) and Chris Parker (drums, drum programming). All songs are written by Walter Duda which is certainly an indicator for originality.

Walter Duda introduces in his work with Rapless Rhapsody, a seemingly performed tune with ease and graced by Tim DeHuff’s guitar riffs. Tim performed and recorded with Main Ingredient, Alfonse Mouzon, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, George Duke, David Benoit, John Klemmer and Victor Feldman to name a few. So you get an imagination of the top quality of this guitarist.

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Jakob Elvstrøm – SaxClub vol.1

Hailing from Denmark Jakob Elvstrøm is influenced by David Sanborn, Lou Donaldson and Candy Dulfer. He earned his first merits as sax player with his first self-titled band the “Jakob Elvstrøm Quartet” which played a lot of gigs in the late 90’s.

SaxClub vol.1 is Jakob’s first album as solo artist. Although oriented to American smooth jazz Jakob’s project surprises with an innovative and unique approach to the old style.

The album starts with the stomping Make It Flow. The funky song features Danish singer and rapper Karen Mukupa. Her new album Dreamer is a unique mix of reggae, Afro, Latin, a hint of hip-hop, and last but not least RnB. So await music in the style of Candy Dulfer with some African and European flavor.

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Jonathan Fritzén – VIP

Hailing from Stockholm Jonathan Fritzén excels as the new smooth jazz piano star. With his debut album Love Birds he already twittered lovely tones in our ears. Now he is back with his sophomore album VIP. His extraordinary cover and the title signals: Jonathan is reaching for the crown.

To level the acceptance on the American music market is Jonathan’s impetus. So he is joined by guest musicians like Jay Soto (guitar), Michael Lington (sax), Laila Adéle (vocals), and Greger Hillman (sax). Jonathan produced and composed the complete album and also performed most of the instruments (piano, keyboards, drum programming and more).

To give you a first imagination of his music I would compare him with pianists like Brian Culbertson, Alex Bugnon, Nate Harasim and Rick Kelly (Soul Ballet). The album opens with VIP following the concept of the above mentioned artists. Jonathan serves the melody with ease and conjures an uplifting summer mood. Jay Soto defines the melody with precise guitar riffs answered by Jonathan on piano. Superb!

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Dima Geller – Walking Through The Digeltown

Dima Geller is a young trumpet player hailing from Mogilev, a small town in eastern Belarus, near the Russian border. After his family immigrated to Israel he studied music at the academy of Jerusalem and later in Germany. Dima is an ambivalent musician performing Pop, Soul, R&B, Fusion, Jazz Lounge and Smooth Jazz.

Dima played with Kent Nagano, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Placido Domingo, Ramon Vargas, Rolando Villazon and many more. Since 2004 he gigs with the music-acrobatic-show Balagan and the Balagan band. His music is comparable with Chris Botti, Till Broenner or Rick Braun.

His debut album is entitled Walking Through The Digeltown (2008). Dima composed, arranged and produced all tunes with the exception of My Funny Valentine. He is joined by Viktoria Smotkin (vocals), Anke Lucks (trombone/brass section), Paul Milmeister (bass), Michael Joch (drums) and others.

Dima’s fresh and edgy approach to smooth jazz is obvious. Walking Through The Digeltown sounds like a refurbished and unfamiliar mixture of disco beat, electronic synth in the style of Jan Hammer and smooth jazz. I must admit his trumpet performance is surprisingly brilliant and energetic.

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Boney James – Send One Your Love

Boney James has a great fan community. His new album Send One Your Love claimed the top spot on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart in its first week. What makes this musician so popular?

No, it’s not his hat. Although he’s his trademark. Maybe his early fusion of R&B and hip-hop with smooth jazz, we could observe in his albums Trust (1992), Backbone (1994), Seduction (1995), Sweet Thing/It’s All Good (1998), Body Language (1999), Shake It Up w/Rick Braun (2000), Ride (2001), Pure (2004), and Shine (2006). Let’s call it Urban Jazz. He also offered some Christmas albums like Boney’s Funky Christmas (1996) and Christmas Present (2007).

On his new album Send One Your Love (2009) Boney offers a splendid mix of own compositions and covers, all produced and recorded by himself in various studios in and around L.A. and New York. The formula is recognized and so await nothing new, but much long-standing and well-tried.

Boney makes us curious with Wanna Show U Sumthin‘. It’s the flowing rhythm which makes this tune so appealing. Especially I like the turntable scratch as rhythm element. Boney perfectly adapts the rhythm for the smooth sax sound.

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Jamhunters – Music Speaks Louder Than Words

A fresh wind is blowing from Scandinavia. Jamhunters are on the run. Coming from Denmark Lars Fabiansen (guitar) and Peter Michael (keyboards) define smooth jazz in a new way. Both are experienced and acclaimed musicians. The first product of their collaboration was in 2006 the debut album Jamhunters followed by their new album Music Speaks Louder Than Words (2008).

Participating musicians on the new album are Hans Ulrik (sax), Klaus Menzer (drums), Christina Boelskifte (vocals), André Sørensen (bass), Bo Fabiansen (drums), Claus Suhr (percussion) and Moussa Diallo (bass). Further guest musicians are Chris Minh Doky (bass) and Frank Senior (vocals), both from New York. “We ran into Frank in New York last autumn. We were there to play a few club gigs and accidentally heard Frank humming to a live band. We simply had to persuade him to work with us on our next album”, says Lars from Jamhunters.

The smooth jazz cruise arrives at The Pier. The fluffy stomping tune reveals uplifting mood and sunshine moments. Get on the dance floor.

Continue reading  Jamhunters – Music Speaks Louder Than Words