Archive for October, 2010

Walter Beasley – Backatcha!

According to his website Walter Beasley is the highest selling full-time Professor/Recording Artist in modern history. He describes himself as musical “Renaissance Man” for the modern generation or the heir to Grover Washington Jr.’s throne. Now we should be impressed.

Behind these titles you find a man, who has devoted his life to music. A man, who walked through ups and downs and has found his inner peace. Beasley’s success as an educator is his seven-day a week work ethic. “I’m in love with my work and this wonderfully crazy work ethic.” No wonder, that he surprises us with a new album nearly every year.

His new album is entitled Backatcha! and will be available Oct. 28, 2010. Walter comments: “There are no words to express how I feel about the new album. This in my opinion is my best studio project ever. Thanks to all for everything.”

Walter Beasley is joined on this project by multi-instrumentalist Chris Davis, who produced and performed on most of the tracks, further musicians are Phil Davis (keys), Sonny Emory (drums), Sam Sims (bass), Sean Michael Ray (bass), Derrick Cummings (guitar), Carl Carter (bass), Wayne Bruce (guitar), Tommy Copeland (guitar) and Tiffany Davis (background vocals).

The album could be entitled Under The Covers, because Beasley like Peter White has made the covers quasi to an art form. So he starts the album with Bill Withers’s megahit Lovely Day. A high appealing song showcasing Walter Beasley in his best role as singer. As Walter says, the melody speaks to you. Remember his early success as singer with Don’t Say Goodbye and he never loose this gift.

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Wayman Tisdale – The Fonk Record

After a stellar career that produced eight top-selling jazz CDs and one gospel project, prepare yourself for a different side of Wayman Tisdale—one that was 12 years in the making!

It’s The Fonk Record featuring 11 original songs, Tisdale’s own funky vocals and a crew of down-and-dirty musicians, The Fonk Record also boasts three guest stars with extensive funk résumés—George Clinton, George Duke and Ali Woodson.

To those who knew him best, it seemed only natural that Tisdale would craft a funk project. “He always wanted to make funk music,” says Derek (DOA) Allen, who produced The Fonk Record and was one of Tisdale’s closest friends. “People are going to see a whole ‘nother side of Wayman on this record—he was on a mission to play as hard and funky as he could.”

Tisdale confided in Allen that a funk project was something he always wanted to do. At first it was a playful joke with a few demos here and there. Inspired by great funk artists like Bootsy Collins and Robert Wilson of the Gap Band, Tisdale created his own funky moniker: Tiz and named his band The Fonkie Planetarians. His power source came from Stinky the Sock! Those who were lucky enough to catch Tisdale in concert got a glimpse of his alter ego when he’d perform 20 to 30-minute funk-filled interludes during his jazz shows. “If you saw it, you knew it was the most explosive part of his show,” Allen says. “That’s when the party got started!” Continue reading

Marc Antoine – My Classical Way

It starts with toe tapping… By the second chart, your fingers will likely join your tapping toes. Marc Antoine‘s recent CD release, My Classical Way on Frazzy Frog Music, draws in the listener irresistibly. He quickly transports you to the warm sensual breezes of his smooth jazz renditions. These tracks are familiar melodies of classical heavy hitters like Bach, Debussy, Paganini and Vivaldi.

A whimsical and joyful, Paris born Antoine draws heavily on his traditional classical background at Conservatoire de Paris for a solid understanding and delivery of each composer’s intention and personality, deftly translated to the lilting language of 2010 smooth jazz.

The unmistakable, sonorous influence of classical guitarist and mentor, Andres Segovia, winds subtly in and out of the charts, particularly through his rendition of Paganini’s Caprice #24.

The call and response pattern using the initial phrase of Pachelbel’s Canon in a traditional sounding orchestration allows Antoine to use the “straight” version as a counterpoint for his interpretive creativity. Listen closely as it fades in and out of the background seamlessly and perfectly yet surprisingly timed.

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B.D. Lenz – Five & Live

Mix together the styles of Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, and Stevie Ray Vaughn and you have the recipe for one of the hottest new contempo-jazz guitarists on the scene. B.D. Lenz has played guitar since his early teens and has studied with such masters as Mike Stern, Vic Juris, and Charlie Banacos along the way. He has released 7 highly-acclaimed recordings featuring greats such as Randy Brecker, Will Lee, Joel Rosenblatt, & Mark Egan.

With music featured in over 100 TV shows globally, the Godin-endorsed guitarist has performed 1,000 shows internationally, keeping the audience on their feet whether playing jazz, fusion, or jam.  Now he has released the album Five & Live balancing between smooth and fusion jazz.

Taste the album at CDBaby.

Dave Koz – Hello Tomorrow

Dave Koz is the charming prince of smooth jazz. After his self-titled solo debut in 1990 he dominated the charts with Lucky Man (1993), Off the Beaten Path (1996) and three holiday albums – December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), Dave Koz & Friends: A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001) and Memories of a Winter’s Night (2007), furthermore The Dance (1999), Saxophonic (2003), At the Movies (2007), followed by Dave Koz at the Movies Double Feature CD + DVD, and Dave Koz: Greatest Hits (2008).

Since 2005 he is the front man of Dave Koz & Friends Jazz Cruises and since 2006 he is also host of a syndicated afternoon show for Broadcast Architecture’s new Smooth Jazz Network. This 4 times Grammy nominated musical artist is in addition host of a weekly half-hour television series named Frequency put on by Fast Focus. His career was crowned in 2009 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Looks like all is running well for this lucky man, who is an in demand musician on many concerts and festivals. But then he comments thoughtfully: “In many ways, I feel like this is the beginning of my career. That may sound strange, because I’ve enjoyed a wonderful and blessed career up until now, but I feel like my best days are still ahead of me. I’ve made a Dave Koz record that fans of my earlier work will be able to connect to. It’s still me. It’s not too foreign, but it’s me in 2010, coming from a different perspective that’s reflective of the times we’re living in and the changes that continue to define this new era.”

Dave Koz is a perfectionist. When he records a new album, you can await finest quality in music and to assure it, Dave assembled the who-is-who of music business like Lee Ritenour, Brian Culbertson, Marcus Miller, Sheila E., Jonathan Butler, Boney James, Paul Jackson Jr., Lenny Castro, Omar Hakim, Herb Alpert, Keb’ Mo’ and many more. “Make the most out of your life”, is Dave’s motto.

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Fourplay – Let’s Touch the Sky

What is Fourplay? A supergroup of individual artists who came together 20 years ago, collaborating just about every other year for a collection of songs that combine their talents.

The original group consisted of composer/pianist Bob James, guitarist Lee Ritenour, drummer Harvey Mason and bassist Nathan East. James and Ritenour had enjoyed much success as session artists as well as instrumentalists. East and Mason mostly served as sidemen or guest soloists.

Over the two decades of Fourplay’s existence, the individuals – Larry Carlton replaced Ritenour in 1998. Now with Carlton gone, the guitar seat is filled by another prominent solo artist: Chuck Loeb.

The transition goes smoothly as Loeb makes his Fourplay debut with Let’s Touch the Sky.

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Eli Degibri – Israeli Song

“Living the dream” is an inside joke among saxophonist Eli Degibri and his bandmates. It’s also an inspiration for Israeli Song (Anzic Records).

Born in Jaffa, Israel in 1978, Degibri says the story of a boy who dreamed of being in the shoes of some of his jazz heroes, like Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson. A student of the Berklee College of Music in his teens, Degibri also studied at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. To help realize his dream, Degibri employed the talents of pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster.

“Unrequited” begins as a tranquil, ambient piece with the soprano sax and piano. Bass and drums come in, but are barely noticeable at first. As the piano takes point, the other instruments become more involved. The pace and intensity pick up. Mehldau, who composed this piece, shows his dexterity and speed — centerpieces of his middle solo. Degibri puts the soprano through some powerful phrases during the high point of his solo. The instrument wails at all the right moments.

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