Archive for December, 2009

Kyle Wolverton – Soul Groove

Kyle was born in Seattle, Washington to Lee and Cherry Wolverton, an extremely musical family. Kyle’s Father, Lee as well as Kyle’s younger brother Joel, are also sax players. With Mom acting as the family manager and booking agent, the “Wolverton Family Sax Trio” was a very hot ticket throughout the greater Northwest. Much of their repertoire consisted of traditional gospel selections.

Growing up in the cozy, damp, environment of Seattle, Kyle had many hours to listen, learn, and play while watching the rain fall. With his early musical taste firmly rooted in gospel, Kyle found himself drawn toward influences such as Grover Washington Jr., Maceo Parker and David Sanborn. His love of fusion jazz combined with R&B influences such as Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, and Keith Sweat soon melded together to create a very unique sound.

Kyle studied music at Pacific Union College. While in school, Kyle founded the Smooth Jazz -Fusion band “Similar Differences”, who featured members of Taj Mahal. Similar Differences played throughout the Napa Valley and San Francisco Area. After college, Kyle traveled throughout the South Pacific playing with many native acts which broadened his musical horizons even further. Upon returning to the states, Kyle joined forces with Northern California’s premier blues band, “Marshall Law”.

In 2001, Kyle relocated to Los Angeles and has since performed with a countless list of fantastic recording artists of all styles. It is with much excitement and anticipation that Kyle Wolverton‘s debut solo project, Soul Groove is being released on CDBaby.

Hiromi – Place To Be

If all the world is indeed a stage, pianist-composer Hiromi Uehara has played on just about every corner of it. Since the beginning of the decade, she has supported her impressive body of studio work with an ambitious tour schedule that has electrified audiences throughout the U.S. , Europe, Asia and elsewhere with performances that have pushed the limits of piano jazz to new frontiers of compositional and technical skills.

Each stop on her journey – be it the world-class metropolis, the quiet college town or something in between – has introduced her to a new and singular vibe that has left an indelible impression on her creative sensibilities. Indeed, she has come away from every new place with just as much as she has brought to it, and perhaps even more.

Hiromi chronicles just a few of the many places and moments where she has experienced the almost mystical exchange between performer and audience on Place To Be, her new CD on Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group. The album, her first solo piano recording, is set for release on September 2, 2009, in Japan, and January 26, 2010, in the U.S..

“I really wanted the record to be a kind of travel journal,” she says. “I’ve traveled so much in the last few years that I’ve started to wonder exactly where is the place that I’m supposed to be. Traveling takes so much out of you. It can be exhausting. But as soon as I go on the stage and I see people who are very happy because of what I’m doing, it just erases all of the struggles and the craziness that can come with all the traveling, and it really fulfills me.”

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Stephan Earl – Origins

Somewhere between the atmospheric soundscapes of New Age, the hypnotic grooves of Chill, and the harmonic textures of Jazz, flows the music of Stephan Earl. His melodic focus is reminiscent of Classical composers with a unique and modern edge, while his rhythms and grooves paint with a distinctive pallet that is both enchanting and thought provoking.

Stephan’s debut album Origins is the culmination of years of passion and love for music. Inspired by music from across the globe and throughout time, the music is truly a work that defines the artist in this moment in time. Listen to his album at CDBaby.

Rocco Ventrella – Where Were You

When Rocco was 14 years old, he began to study clarinet at the Conservatory of Music of Bari and after four years Rocco got his first gig with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Petruzzelli’s Theatre of Bari, playing with great artists like Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Josè Carreras, Katia Ricciarelli. After graduating Rocco began to study saxophone as self-taught and in meantime he participated to some “clinics” with David Liebman, Michael Brecker, Eric Marienthal, Lee Konitz.

From the 1985 to the 2005 Rocco played with great musicians like Dizzie Gillespie, Tony Scott, Eddie Davis, Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Lilian Terry, Bob Mintzer, Paolo Fresu, Tullio De Piscopo, Ernie Wilkins, Dusko Goykovic, Enrico Pieranunzi, Giorgio Gaslini,Bob Mintzer and more. In 2007, Rocco’s album Give Me The Groove received a Pre-Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Rocco’s new album is entitled Where Were You and is available at his website. Rocco is supported by the musicians Renato Falaschi (Rhodes), Sergio Bellotti (drums), Stefano Arcieri (acoustic accomp. and “wha” efx gtr.),  Ron Smith (acoustic guitar) and Dwayne “Smitty” Smith (bass).

Stan Barnes – The Way You Make Me Feel

Stan Barnes‘ new CD  The Way You Make Me Feel has music lovers once again excited. His approach to this compilation offers the hope that the Music Industry has long awaited. Stan is a highly energetic performer and entertainer that is not afraid to mix genres and styles to deliver great music to his listeners. His interpretation of the different styles of music through the years has grown into a respected artistic expression of sound and styles all of his own. You are absolutely going to love this CD.

A reader comments: “I was skeptical at first but then when I put it in and listened to the entire CD, I was blown away! Song after Song offered a different sound that touched me in a different way. As soon as I heard the song entitled Just Can’t Stay Away I was taken away, that song builds and builds into a very excited climax.

The title track The Way You Make Me Feel is all that and more. The sax flows through a melody that rides on top of a background line that pushes the song deeper and deeper into the palate of your ear. It is extraordinary. Stan is also a great cover artist.  I really enjoyed his remake of the track Don’t Change I can listen to that song all day. His ability to cover a song and give it a new identity while still staying true to the original expression and intention of the artist’s statement is astounding. This is never more seen than when listening to Baby Be Mine.  Over all this is a great project that will add to your musical appreciation and repertoire of good musical selections to choose from.”

The Way You Make Me Feel is now on sale at CDBaby.

Chris Standring – Blue Bolero

Thanks to the benefit of a subscription to Chris Standring‘s newsletter I can announce glad tidings about the nearly arrival of his new album Blue Bolero, which will be released on his label Ultimate Vibe Records on March 2nd 2010. The first single will be out in February.

According to Chris Standring’s liner notes he wanted to make a project with musical elements that reflect his musical training, influences and cultural surroundings. The music here is based around several themes and represents a very reflective mood throughout. Chris adapted structures and themes of classic masterworks and brilliantly melted them into his own song literature and melodies.

Orchestral samples are the magic word and the devoted support of musicians like Dave Karasony (drums), Larry Steen (acoustic bass), Barbara Porter (violin), and guest musicians like Rodney Lee (Fender Rhodes), Eric Valentine (drums), Katisse Buckingham (flute), Andre Berry (bass), Dewayne “Smitty” Smith (bass), Tim Landers (bass), Rico Belled (bass), and Mitch Forman (Fender Rhodes).

Following the structure of a symphony Chris Standring starts the album with Overture. In the style of Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony pizzicato violin chords are introducing into Chris Standring’s guitar performance. Then the strings are coming in. After this classical introduction the guitar play transforms to a jazzy escapade. Rodney Lee brings in a great solo on Fender Rhodes accompanied by Dave Karasony on drums. Since George Duke’s Muir Woods Suite is this a very innovative and outstanding project melting jazz with symphonic elements.

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David Sanborn – Only Everything

The genius is back with his new album Only Everything, scheduled for release on Decca, on January 26, 2010. “Among the great saxophonists of the past four decades,” says one Rolling Stone writer, “David Sanborn has earned an identity all his own. He’s jazz, he’s funk, he’s soul, he’s pop, he’s blues, he’s rock. Most remarkably, he excels in each of these genres with a voice that is both forceful and tender, sensuous and subtle.”

With Only Everything, the second of Sanborn’s homage to the aesthetic of Ray Charles, he revisits his roots with fresh perspective. The New York Times called David’s 2008 Here and Gone, the first of his tribute series, “a disarming delight.” He returns to this territory with renewed passion.

“If anyone would ask me what Ray—or Ray’s musicians—meant to me, my answer might be, `only everything,” says David. “As a concept, Only Everything, is about gratitude. I’m grateful not only for the musical life I’ve been able to live, but the original sources of inspiration that continue to inform and excite me fifty years after encountering them.”

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Dave Koz – Memories Of A Winter’s Night

Memories Of A Winter’s Night features the Koz-penned title track plus 12 holiday standards. Highlights include two brand new duets: first single White Christmas with Kelly Sweet, who scored a Top Ten hit at both Adult Contemporary and Smooth Jazz radio with Raincoat the first single from her debut album and Please Come Home For Christmas with Christmas tour mate Kimberley Locke, who has topped the AC charts for the past two holiday seasons with singles Up on the Housetop and Jingle Bells.

Dave Koz picked up the saxophone in order to play with his brother’s band and although he already played the piano and the drums, it is with the saxophone that he made his name. Since those early days playing with his brother, his smooth jazz style has resulted in collaborations with many of the big names in the field including Burt Bacharach, Celine Dion and Luther Vandross. Now he was on tour again with the Smooth Jazz Christmas Show featuring Peter White, Brenda Russell, Rick Braun and David Benoit. Make yourself a Christmas present with Memories Of A Winter’s Night available at

Various Artists – Soul of the Holidays

WHUR 96.3 is very proud to present its inaugural Soul of the Holidays, direct-to-DVD/CD holiday musical extravaganza. This DVD/CD music compilation truly defines the sound and “soul” of classic holiday favorites featuring the vocals and music stylings of Spur of the Moment, Angie Stone, Joe, Phil Perry, Maysa, Brian Culbertson, Plunky, Vanessa Renee Williams, Tony Rich and Mike Phillips.

These “soulful” and contemporary renditions and performances are sure to inspire and ignite the spirit of the holiday season in its listeners and supporters. Soul of the Holidays was recorded live at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts. Proceeds from the Soul of the Holidays DVD/CD sales will benefit and support WHUR’s nonprofit organization, “FOOD2FEED”.

Soul of the Holidays is exclusively available at

Tom Braxton – Endless Highway

After Imagine This Tom Braxton returns with his second album for Pacific Coast Jazz entitled Endless Highway. Tom Braxton regards his own life as highway with many obstacles and odds.

Tom comments: “We are all on this road of life, moving at our own pace, experiencing the smooth places where you can relax and the rough roads that can challenge and discourage you. But we must never forget how important it is to enjoy the ride!”

In this spirit starts the title song Endless Highway. All is in the groove and Tom Braxton blows the sax with a dynamic range and perfectly timed. Outstanding are the horn arrangement and Tom’s fellow musicians Larry Spencer (trumpet), Pete Branham (alto sax), and Don Bozman (trombone). I also like the keyboard chords which remind of George Benson’s Give Me The Night.

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