Archive for November, 2009

I Happened To Hear 12/2009

At Bass Day 2009 in Manchester I met Polish guitar wizard Adam Palma. He has worked with many of the top pop and jazz artists in Poland and with international names including Chris de Burgh and the Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart.

This is a startling album of solo acoustic guitar played fingerstyle with no overdubs or studio tricks – I say startling because at times you would think there were two or even three guitars. Many of the songs are originals, such as the bluesy opener ‘Rocky Mountains’ which displays dexterity I’ve only heard on records by the world’s finest players. I also love the chord changes in his gorgeous ‘When Tommy meets Chet’ and here Palma’s sense of humour is in evidence.

That same sense of humour surfaces on his rendition of the ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme. And it’s impossible not to smile during his staccato version of ‘Love and Marriage’. I’d love to hear this as part of a movie soundtrack – it really does bring something new, warm and endearing to an old song.

Continue reading I Happened To Hear 12/2009

Jamie Bonk – St. Joseph Street

Canadian guitarist Jamie Bonk studied his instrument over a long period and was an associate guitar instructor at the Toronto Guitar Institute in 1990-97. He started his career with his self-titled debut album (1997), followed by A Perfect Tomorrow (2000), My World (2004) and 5 (2007).

His new album St. Joseph Street (2009) is conceived as EP presenting a bouquet of four exclusive songs. Jamie Bonk is joined by bassist Henrik Bridger, drummers Dave Patel and Peter Zakarow, vocalist Wendy Irvine and flutist Bill McBirnie.

Summer In The Round let you feel the vibe of a splendid summer day. There is so much joy in this song. Bill McBirnie’s flute is rejoicing like a lark in the clear summer light. Elevating, stirring, moving!

Continue reading Jamie Bonk –  St. Joseph Street

Nestor Torres – Nouveau Latino

Nouveau Latino is about the groove and the dancer, about romance and seduction through melody”. It is also a testament to Torres’ impeccable credentials as the pre-eminent Latin Jazz flautist of his generation.

In his brand new CD, Nouveau Latino, Nestor Torres returns to his Latin roots with a fresh approach, impeccable musicianship, and irresistible improvisations. Featuring songs from stars like Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades, Torres’ interpretations of these great Latin hits appeal to those discovering the songs for the first time as much as those who remember them.

11 hits from the 60s through the 80s, plus a couple of Latin Jazz Standards, makes this a great collection of songs that helped shape an era. “The blessing of having been part of the New York Salsa scene at its hottest cannot be expressed in words. Finally, the time is right for me to celebrate and share with my fans – and the world – at least part of a legacy I owe so much to”.

Nestor Torres pays homage to some of Salsa’s greatest stars, from the beginning of the genre to its heyday. Mon Rivera & Joe Cuba; Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, Cheo Feliciano & Ruben Blades. The Fania All Stars and Omar Alfanno. These artists are part of a dynasty responsible for creating a sound that transcended the Latino experience and went on to become an integral part of the mainstream. With Cuban music as the backbone and NYC’s El Barrio as the breeding ground, Salsa music came about as artists and musicians from different parts of the Caribbean and Latin America came together, bringing their own music and traditions to the mix: Puerto Rican Bomba & Plena, Brazil’s Samba, Dominican Republic’s Merengue, Colombia’s Cumbia, and Panama’s take on it all through the compositions of Blades and Alfanno.

For more information about Nestor Torres and his new album visit his website.

Michael Houston – Turn It Up

“You can drive to this, chill to this, step to this whatever you desire” quotes Michael. And that is the truth….”it’s romantic, sophisticated, and just plain inspiring” he adds….. It’s Inspirational Jazz!

“Melodies are what we sing. When we can’t remember words or the beat, the melody is what we all draw upon to reflect the songs that inspire us all,” confides Michael Houston, the catalyst behind this blend of melodic soulful but rhythmic collaboration of artists and some of music’s greatest moments.

This formula is what makes the Michael Houston Group, (producer/composer/ artist Michael Houston, vocalist Tonya Martin, saxophonist Adam Thompson, bassist Jeremy Taylor, drummer Josh Humphrey) so infectious to listen to!

Michael Houston’s latest release Turn It Up marks a milestone in his musical journey as a producer/ instrumentalist. “Houston is going his own way in Jazz; his crystalline keyboard sound recalls the Fender Rhodes style in the eighties.” quotes Chuck Workman- writer for Nuvo Magazine. Houston’s music combines a mixture funk grooves, retro sounds, infectious melodies and fiery improvisations.

A potent blend which will make you want to Turn It Up at CDBaby!

Cindy Bradley – Bloom

Cindy Bradley is one of the blessed women showered with presents like beauty and a great musical talent. The decision in young years to choose the trumpet now bears fruits. She toured with Pieces of a Dream and performed on events like the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, the River Raisin Jazz Festival or the Woodbridge Summer Festival.

She started her career with the self-produced debut album Just A Little Bit (2007). Although she is often compared with Chris Botti and Rick Braun, she claims to have an own style: “I haven’t modeled myself after Rick or Chris, though I think they’re great.”

Her new album Bloom (2009) was released by the label Trippin ‘n’ Rhythm. Respect for Les Cutmore and Jeff Lunt to support a rather unknown talent. All tracks were written, performed, mixed, produced and engineered by Grammy award winning producer Michael Broening.

Cindy comments: “Michael just did such an incredible job with this project. He is not only super talented and good at what he does, but he is one of the coolest, most down-to-earth, humble guys I have met in this business – and that is really key to getting the best out of any artist. He also chose a really great group of musicians to play on the recording”.

Continue reading Cindy Bradley – Bloom

Sam McNally interviews Bob James

Pianist, composer, arranger, producer Bob James is a musician of enormous talent whose credits include Ron Carter, Hank Crawford, Eric Gale, Johnny Hammond, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Grover Washington, Jr., Earl Klugh and Fourplay. He has recorded over 15 albums of his own and 4 with ‘Fourplay’ (also comprising Larry Carlton, Nathan East and Harvey Mason).

Notable awards include the 1996 Soul Train Awards “Jazz Album Of The Year”, ‘Cashbox’ “Jazz Artist Of The Year” and “Jazz Producer of the Decade”, Jazziz magazine’s “#1 Best Acoustic Pianist”, “#1 Best Jazz Composer”, “#2 Best Jazz Producer”, “#2 Best Electronic Keyboardist” and “#3 Best Overall Jazz Musician”. Sam McNally managed to interview Bob during his first Australian tour in November 2001.

SM: A great pleasure and an honour to meet you, it’s wonderful to see you here in Sydney.. and we met briefly in Tokyo in January!

I mentioned to you there that you were one of only a handful of powerful, formative influences on my piano playing style in the 70’s. Funny story: on January 21, I was crossing an intersection in Shinjuku, Tokyo and I noticed a guy who looked “quite like Bob James”. I so nearly said “you wouldn’t be Bob James would you?” but I backed off thinking “don’t be stupid, Bob James ain’t gonna be walking around Shinjuku”. Next day I spotted the same guy in the foyer of the Hilton, I enquired, it was you, we had a nice chat.

A very long and rich career, Bob. Just for the record, when did you begin and doing what?

BJ: I started piano lessons at the ripe old age of 4!

Continue reading Sam McNally interviews Bob James

Robin Duhe – Life

If you look in your music collection and pull out a Maze album, listen to it and let the groove take you over. In the middle of that groove you’ll hear the funky and very soulful bass playing of Robin Duhe.

After three decades of recording and touring with Maze, Robin stepped out in 2004 to embark on a solo career. This is his second solo album, following Do it Duhe and it really is a labour of love as he fell dangerously ill while recording it. The title has taken on a deep significance.

So what’s Robin’s sound like in 2009?

Continue reading Robin Duhe – Life