Archive for April 18th, 2010

Gerald Albright – Pushing The Envelope

Jazz and R&B icon Gerald Albright is considered to be one of the most innovative and successful artists of the last twenty-five years. With the June 15, 2010, release of Pushing The Envelope on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, Albright’s super cool side is back. With its polished soul/jazz vibe, Pushing The Envelope is a showcase for Albright’s remarkably fine balance of songcraft and musicianship, and features special guest appearances by Fred Wesley on trombone, Earl Klugh on acoustic guitar and George Duke on acoustic piano.

Produced and arranged by Albright, Pushing The Envelope provides the perfect opportunity for this master musician/saxophonist/songwriter to exhibit his skills. He plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flutes, bass guitar, and keyboards, and also handles synthesizer, EWI and drum programming. Albright’s band on most of the album includes keyboardists Tracy Carter and Luther “Mano” Hanes, guitarist Ricky Watford and drummer Ricky Lawson.

The set opens with “What Would James Do?” an irresistibly soulful Albright original and a celebration of the legacy of “The Godfather of Soul.” The track spotlights Albright’s trademark strong chops on saxophones and bass, alongside the distinctive sound of Fred Wesley of the original J.B.’s on trombone.

Albright’s choice of Wesley is part of a natural progression since Maceo Parker and Julian “Cannonball” Adderly were two of his early influences. “I came up with this tune as a tribute to James Brown.” Albright says. “His music was a direct influence on me, and Fred was the obvious choice for a duet on the project.”

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Jeff Lorber – Now Is The Time

By the late 1970s, keyboardist and composer Jeff Lorber had become a prominent figure in the new movement known as jazz fusion – a marriage of traditional jazz with elements of rock, R&B, funk and other electrified sounds. Lorber and his band, the Jeff Lorber Fusion, first honed their craft in the Portland, Oregon, club scene and rapidly expanded their reach to a national and international audience via a combination of complex harmonies, unconventional time signatures and compelling rhythms.

In subsequent years, Lorber dropped the term “fusion” from his billing as the movement evolved into what is currently known as contemporary jazz. Still, he continued to explore the innovative, improvisational potential of grafting other musical forms to the jazz idiom.

More than three decades after his earliest recordings, Lorber has come full circle. His new recording, Now Is The Time, is set for release on June 1, 2010, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. The album delves back into his early catalog and reinvents some of the most compelling compositions from the Jeff Lorber Fusion heyday. As a result, the artist once again makes a bold statement in the evolution of jazz.

This new incarnation of the Jeff Lorber Fusion includes luminaries like bassist Jimmy Haslip (who co-produced with Lorber and Bobby Colomby), saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl.

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Travis Rogers – For Your Love

Travis Rogers, the man behind the scenes for all of Stanley Clark’s performances and studio work, has worked and performed with some of Gospel’s greatest artists, such as The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Shirley Caesar, Canton Spirituals. Travis spent ten years as a member of The Starlights. He is currently the CEO of Godspoke Records.

In addition to Stanley Clarke, Travis has also worked with Lady Gaga, Brandy, Brian McKnight, Montell Jordan, Tamia, Kelly Price, Kiley Dean, Tank, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, comedian Tommy Davidson, George Duke, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Patrice Rushen, Lenny White, Bela Fleck, Jean Luc Ponty, Al Di Meola, Chaka Khan and Philip Bailey.

Stanley Clarke says of Rogers, “I can’t think of an engineer more qualified than Travis – he’s like having a whole staff in one person. Not only is he a proficient engineer and mixer with many albums to his credit, he’s been extremely successful on the business side of the industry as well. On top of that, he’s a good friend.”

For more information about Travis Rogers visit his website. Travis comments his new album: “Featured musicians are Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Chick Corea, Lenny White, Patrice Rushen, and Victor Wooten. I am truly blessed to have these legendary musicians! For Your Love is now on sale at CDBaby.