Archive for March, 2010

Fabio Mignola – Take Me Higher

A Swiss guitarist with Italian heritage that sounds promising. Fabio Mignola studied his instrument with professor Dante Brenna and with further virtuosos like Alberto Ponce, Alexander Rodrigues and Ralph Towner.

His solo albums mirror his diverse styles and influences. In 1999 he released Chitarra Ticinese, solo guitar arrangements of folk songs, followed by Flor de Luna (2000), a collection of auxiliary solo recordings. His first step into the contemporary jazz genre was the album Flyin’ Away (2003), which was compared with the music of Peter White and Acoustic Alchemy.

Neapolitan jazz is to hear on his album Luna Rossa (2005). His newest album Take Me Higher (2008) received high acclaims by many Internet critics of the smooth jazz realm. Fabio Mignola has written, engineered, and produced the album supported by special guest on flute Ezio Della Torre.

Take Me Higher is the title of the first track and program of this uplifting album. Brightening your mood is Fabio’s impetus and task. Appealing guitar riffs with injected horns reflect the sunshine of spring.

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Christophe De Villa – Jazz and Soulful

Christophe De Villa presents to you his latest full length album entitled Jazz and Soulful. De Villa hits his mark with a perfect shot with this 10 track long player of everything from Jazz, Funk, Drum N Bass and Soulful House. This project has taken over 2 years to complete and has been recorded with an array of Jazz musicians fused together with electronic rhythms.

With Jazz and Soul we see a perfect scan of Christophe’s musical imagination. Included in the LP is the collaboration track ‘You Are My Girl’ with the Enois Scroggins (ex-background singer for the Gap Band and Cameo) as well as a unique funk rendition of Hip – Hop artist 50 Cent’s ‘Window Shopper’.

Christophe comments: “I decided in two minutes that “Jazz and Soulful” had to be the name of this album. It was an evidence because it means exactly what is inside this CD. Jazz, Acid-Jazz, Funky-Jazz, Soul, Smooth-Jazz and House Music.”

The new CD will be out in April 2010 and is already available at Christophe’s website.

Andy McKee – Joyland

Although he’s only 30 years-old, fingerstyle guitarist Andy McKee fondly recalls the freedom of carefree youthful exuberance on Joyland, his sixth album and debut for the Razor & Tie label that will be released April 6th. McKee produced the ten-song collection of newly recorded material in his recently assembled Topeka, Kansas home studio.

While the recordings are primarily solo acoustic guitar tracks, this is the first record on which he incorporated additional instrumentation to a few cuts. In addition to the CD, the package includes a 75-minute DVD consisting of a McKee documentary, interview and performance footage, and instructional segments for the songs “Joyland” and “Never Grow Old.”

McKee composed eight songs for Joyland and recorded new versions of the Tears For Fears hit, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and the late acoustic guitar innovator Michael Hedges’ “Layover,” the later of whom remains McKee’s biggest influence. The title track, on which the guitarist also plays the glockenspiel, opens the collection with a cascading quixotic melody that establishes a wide-eyed sense of wonder. McKee taps and slaps rhythmically amidst a gently flowing melody on “Blue Liquid.”

His hand-built 12-string harp guitar leads the spiraling “Away,” a cut to which McKee added depth and emotion with a cello performance. McKee played guitar and bass, and drummer Shawn Pelton added the rollicking pitter-patter to “Never Grow Old,” another piece inspired by McKee’s desire to “remain the same ridiculous guy I’ve always been.” You can almost feel the ascension while listening to “Upward Mobility.” On “Hunter’s Moon,” potent melodic swatches intertwine with complex poly-rhythmic beats and ambient tones. “My Life As A CPA (Parallel Universe #43)” is a contemplative rumination of how different life would have been if the author hadn’t picked up the guitar as a teenager. A beautiful ballad, “For Now” closes the album with poetic eloquence.
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Jerry Peterson – Kissin’ the Wave

Jerry Peterson offers on his debut album Kissin’ the Wave a funky stew of sensuous saxophone, embracing Rhythm & Blues, hip and jazz grooves,  some of his seasoned blend of musical experience: soul, blues, rock and jazz, together with soulful saxophone, playing to give you an earful of musical enjoyment.

His debut solo album, Kissin’ the Wave is his artistic statement, after spending the last thirty years as a sideman supporting some of the best artists in the music industry.   When asked why he entitled his album, “Kissin’ the Wave” Jerry’s response was, ” My daughter listens to ‘Kiss FM’ when we ride around in the car, and I want to listen to and hear my music on the ‘Wave’.” These radio stations are two of the most popular radio stations in the Los Angeles area and are at opposite ends of the musical gambit.

Now you can to listen to this album at CDBaby.

Tia Fuller – Decisive Steps

When I saw the cover of Decisive Steps first time, I assumed to have a smooth jazz album in my hand with some urban elements. Far from it!

Although Tia Fuller is a member of the all-female band touring with R&B star, Beyoncé and a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (Me, Myself and I) and also appeared on number of major television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Good Morning America, BET Awards, American Music Awards and Total Request Live, her own music is deeply rooted in jazz.

Tia Fuller’s album party is joined by drummer Kim Thompson; bassist Miriam Sullivan; Tia’s sister, Shamie Royston on piano and Fender Rhodes; with special guests, trumpeter Sean Jones and bassist Christian McBride (both Mack Avenue label mates); vibraphonist Warren Wolf; and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut.

Starter of the album is Decisive Steps, a straight ahead jazz tune, presenting Tia’s sax performance with great verve and elegance. She clarifies her own style, grounded right between Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane.

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Jake Glasgow – Keepin’ On

Jake Glasgow is releasing his second solo CD Keepin’ On on April 9th. He performs or programs all the music on these tracks. Additional performances by the following very special guests: Matt Ramerman (drums), Brad Johnson (bass guitar), Peter Bagale (vocals), Nick Rosenthal, Matt Merritt, and Jeff Reichman (guitars).

All songs were composed by Jake Glasgow with the exception of “Ooh Child” which was composed by Stan Vincent (The Five Stairsteps) and arranged by Jake Glasgow. All songs were produced by Jake Glasgow except track 4 “Keepin’On,” which was co-produced with Matt Ramerman.

Jake comments:  “A lot of good times were had in the making of this album. I would like to thank everyone involved for lending their talents, ears, support, and antics. It’s been three years since my first solo release and I couldn’t be more excited about the second. I thank you all for your interest and continued support. Enjoy!”

Jake Glasgow graduated from the Berklee College of Music, Boston MA with a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production. While at Berklee Jake studied the saxophone with Grammy award winner Fred Lipsius of Blood Sweat and Tears. Berklee also put Jake in charge of their MIDI lab, which at the time was the largest networked MIDI facility of its kind in the world.
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David Benoit – Earthglow

In October 2008, David Benoit took a much needed breather from the frenetic pace of life in Los Angeles and headed up to the mountains near Saratoga to become an artist in residence at Villa Montalvo. Finding peaceful solitude and discovering fresh inspiration in a small cabin near the non-profit Montalvo Arts Center, the five time GRAMMY® nominated veteran composer and pianist—one of contemporary jazz’s most acclaimed artists for over two decades—wrote “Botswana Bossa Nova” and “Will’s Chill,” two unique pieces unlike any he had done before. These became the foundation for the overall global music concept behind Benoit’s stirring and provocative new CD Earthglow, his first set of original material in four years. The title track was inspired by the stunning NASA photo of our planet which graces the cover.

In an age where many listeners prefer the instant gratification of purchasing individual tracks on iTunes, Benoit takes the bold step of writing good old fashioned liner notes to explain the way the eclectic 11-track collection developed. After mentioning that the great from Black Eyed Peas was an influence on “Will’s Chill,” the multi-talented performer says, “I was interested in experimenting with some of the new ‘jazz-lounge-Euro-chill’ music I was hearing at upscale boutique hotels and chic Japanese sake bars.”

Focusing on the high energy hybrid of old school soul-jazz and infectious world beat textures and rhythms of “Botswana Bossa Nova,” he adds, “I loved the world mix of exotic ethnic percussion, African voices along with Brazilian beats. With the aid of the computer sequencing program Logic Pro I came up with some of these new ideas. To give the instruments a more realistic sound, I played everything in real time as opposed to step timing. Months later, with the same format, I came up with ‘Straightaway,’ ‘Unbelievable,’ ‘New Creation’ and ‘Sneaky As A Cat’ at my home studio in Palos Verdes, California.”

Benoit credits Clark Germain, his longtime engineer and co-producer on Earthglow, with reining in his off the beaten path impulses and blending them with the identifiable sound that mark his repertoire of over 30 recordings since the late ‘70s. “I really loved the vibe of ‘Will’s Chill,’” he says, “and when I started recording, I wanted the whole album to have that edgy, chill sound, with long loops and lots of samples, with a little piano in the mix. For obvious and very good reasons, Clark brought me back to myself and took these new, exciting ideas I had and put them in perspective as part of a recognizable David Benoit record. It’s got a lot of energy, but he smoothed it out and kept me in check. I think the intimacy of writing and recording in house, so to speak, without outside writers and producers as I had done in recent years, ensured that every note I intended actually appears on the album. Everyone involved had a blast recording Earthglow and exploring this new territory.”

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Tomazz – Lucid Dream

Tomazz is one of those self-made musicians, who neglect any promotion but only advertise by their music. This musician has released three albums, which are all available at CDBaby:  Orient Bay (2007),  Chronicles 1992 – 2008 (2008) and Lucid Dream (2010).

His style is influenced by Brian Culbertson and Paul Hardcastle. You will find his music really appealing. His new album Lucid Dream offers a melodic blend of smooth jazz and sounds from the 70s & 80s. Taste his music at CDBaby.

Ron Otis – Up Front

Drummer Ron Otis is one of those sidemen, who unpretentiously stay in the background. He performed and recorded with Bob James (Urban Flamingo), Lin Roundtree (Sumthin’ Good), Earl Klugh ( Spice of Life, Journey), Al Turner (Movin’), Brian O’Neal (Daisy), Justin Young (On The Way), Dave McMurray (My Brother and Me, Soul Searching, Nu Life Stories), Alexander Zonjic (Reach For The Sky) and a lot more.

Although his beat might be familiar to us, one has to work hard to find any biographical details about this gifted and modest musician. So let his music speak for him. Every album is a piece of personality and Ron Otis’ debut album Up Front (2009) is no exception.

Many of those musicians, who shared his musical path, gave back to him their thankfulness with their tributes. Among those artists are Tim Bowman, Darryl Wakefield, Perry Hughes, Charles Scales, Bob James, Randy Scott, Earl Klugh, Dave McMurray, Rayse Biggs, Brian O’Neal and many more.

One should Take Time, listening to this album. The beauty of this album reveals after the first notes. Although the tune is melodious, Darryl Wakefield gives it a jazzy twist on soprano sax. Honestly, who can resist Tim Bowman’s sizzling guitar performance?

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VW Brothers – Muziek

There’s nothing like a good VW to get the day going. In this case, “VW” is for the VW Brothers, drummer Paul and bassist Marc van Wageningen.

After years of sharing their talents with a wide array of talents, from Tower of Power to Sheila E., and from George Duke to Paquito D’Rivera, the brothers now emerge with their first project as leaders Muziek on Patois Records.

Accompanying them is a variable lineup of horn players, pianists, vocalists and string musicians. Among them are guitarist Ray Obiedo, trombonist Wayne Wallace and Sheila E.

“Simone” has a Latin vibe, thanks to percussionist Michael Spiro. The song also is flavored with a “Weather Report meets Yellowjackets” type of fusion, largely due to the playing of the brothers, aided by the bass clarinet of Harvey Wainapel and the keyboards of David K. Mathews.

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