Brian Simpson – South Beach

“Brian is the consummate musician – he can do it all. But it’s his incredibly memorable and infectious melodies that truly set him apart. He just has a knack for writing these songs that take you on a journey and truly tell a story – and then he’s able to deliver them musically with his trademark style. I am a huge fan!” – Dave Koz

“What I love about Brian’s playing is his understanding that melody and groove are important – the meat and potatoes of music. Brian has found a unique way of being musically creative while making his music accessible. My hats off to you B.”– George Duke

Celebrated keyboardist, composer and studio musician, Brian Simpson has been the ‘go-to’ man for everyone from Janet Jackson and Teena Marie to George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, for whom he has had the distinction of being musical director for the past 15 years. The chart-topping musical chameleon who wrote the #1 R&B hit “The First Time” for Surface in the 1990s confesses, “Ultimately, my listeners inspire me to make my music.” Simpson’s love for what he does is evident in every note on South Beach, his inaugural album for Shanachie Entertainment, due out August 31, 2010. Simpson surrounds himself with an A-list lineup that includes jazz icons George Duke, Peter White and Euge Groove.

Known for his ability to sculpt timeless love songs, soulful party anthems and melodies that stay on your mind, Brian Simpson is truly a master at his craft. South Beach delivers on every front. The album’s title track, with a jubilant vibe reminiscent of the Ramsey Lewis smash hit “The In Crowd,” is already top 30 on multiple jazz charts, two months prior to album release. ”I’m very happy we chose ‘South Beach’ as the first single,” confides Simpson, “because it’s probably the song that’s most indicative of my style. My travels take me to some pretty nice places, but my favorites are always the ones with beaches. In the last year I’ve been to Hawaii, Bali, Indonesia, and several beaches in Florida. I would walk along beaches listening to the rough ideas for this CD on my ipod. The wind, sea, and sand really inspired the melodies you’ll hear on South Beach.”

South Beach features a mix of breezy free-flowing numbers, funky blues-tinged romps and romantic ballads which draw you in from the first note. Songs like the George Benson-eque “Our Love,” “Can’t Tell You Why” and “All I Want Is You” show off Simpson’s knack for cooking up singable melodies and hip-swaying grooves. Brian delivers a bossa nova vibe on the sweetly romantic “Paradise Island” and the hauntingly beautiful “Summer’s End.”

Hailing from Gurnee, Illinois, Brian always knew music would play center stage in his life. “Our house was filled with music. My older brother and sister both played instruments, and my brother’s rock band rehearsed in our living room every weekend. I never really considered any other lifestyle,” shares the keyboardist. Simpson’s breakthrough as a solo artist began in 2005 with the #1 radio hit “It’s All Good.” The title track of It’s All Good proved instantly and joyfully prophetic, as it hit #1 on the Radio & Records Smooth Jazz Airplay chart and remained in the Top 5 for four months. His follow-up single “Saturday Cool” went Top 15. In 2007 Simpson released Above the Clouds, which delivered the memorable radio hits “What Cha Gonna Do?” (Top 10) and “Juicy” (Top 15).

After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Simpson relocated to Los Angeles where he quickly immersed himself in the local jazz scene. Late night jazz sessions found him playing alongside everyone from saxophonists Everette Harp and Boney James to guitarist Norman Brown. The free-spirited musician soon found himself taking a temporary leave of absence from the jazz scene, touring the world with pop divas Teena Marie, Sheena Easton and Janet Jackson. His foray into the pop world didn’t end there; in January 1991 he co-wrote the #1 Pop hit “The First Time” by Surface, which conquered both the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts.

Placing his success in pop aside, Brian Simpson has always been a working jazz musician. He has toured with some of the greats of recent jazz history, including George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, George Howard, Billy Cobham, and Gerald Albright. Brian has been the musical director for jazz saxophonist Dave Koz for the past 15 years, and for the last 7 years the Musical Director of the ambitious and highly popular “The Smooth Jazz Cruise.”

The charming and immensely talented musician concludes, “While working on South Beach in my studio I often stepped back to a corner of the room and closed my eyes, as if listening for the first time, to see if the music compelled an emotion. I truly hope the listener can feel the love and care that all of the musicians contributed to the recording.”

Source: Shanachie Entertainment

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