Archive for November, 2010

Marcus Miller – A Night In Monte-Carlo

Marcus Miller captures a once in a lifetime evening on new live recording. Known For His Captivating Live Shows, Bassist/Producer/Composer Triumphs On A Night In Monte-Carlo – Features Special Guests Roy Hargrove and Raul Midón

Bassist, producer, composer, and all-around musician Marcus Miller has been a student and a leader, a creator and an interpreter, a master and a mentor in the art form of music – from his teen years to the present – with many more miles to go before he sleeps…a profound past paving the way to an as yet unfathomable future. Marcus continues this legacy with A Night in Monte-Carlo, a live audio document of an amazing concert he was commissioned to perform on November 29, 2008 in the “rich man’s playground” of Monaco – a performance of music of his choice, much of it from his pen, featuring his arrangements for symphony orchestra.

A Night In Monte-Carlo (CJA-32660-02) will be released February 1, 2011 on Concord Jazz, a division of the Concord Music Group. It features Marcus leading both his quartet and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, with special guests: trumpeter Roy Hargrove as well as singer, songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón. “I was invited by Jean-René Palacio, the Artistic Director for the principality of Monaco to present some of my music with the orchestra on the French Riviera,” Marcus recalls.

No stranger to the area, as he has performed there many times and played there on his downtime as a race car buff during the Grand Prix, Marcus relished the opportunity of sharing his music in the breathtaking and intimate 600-seat Monte-Carlo Opera House. Continue reading


Brian Hobbs – Second Glances

Brian Hobbs is an Elizabeth City native who now resides in Stockholm, Sweden. As a songwriter, he has had songs recorded by artists in Japan, Sweden, China, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Australia, the Phillipines, Iceland and Great Britain. He is the president and owner of Eidolon Productions, an independent record label in Stockholm, Sweden. This is his third solo album. He is also currently working on a musical based on the life and writings of Elizabeth City newspaper editor, W.O. Saunders.

Brian Hobbs’ new album, Second Glances was released on Saturday October 9.  For more information about Brian visit his website. His album is now available at CDBaby.

Steve Sacks – Christmas Presence

“Steve’s playing is thoughtful, soulful and inspired. Great listening for Christmas time or any other time of the year.” (Tommy James, piano and musical director, Duke Ellington Orchestra)
“Above and beyond what one expects from a Christmas album, this music resounds in the heart. “ (Carlos Kanno, leader, Tropical Jazz Orchestra, Japan’s leading Latin jazz band)
“Steve’s sax is a breath of fresh air! The smooth sound of “Christmas Presence” doesn’t require that one be a jazz aficionado to enjoy it! ‘He that has an ear, let him hear…’” (Ronnie Rucker, gospel musician and educator)

These are just a few of the glowing reviews of Steve Sacks’ third solo CD, “Christmas Presence”. Steve’s unique arrangements and passionate performances of Christmas favorites draw on his years of experience as a leader and sideman on the New York music scene, performing in over 40 nations around the world, and recording on well over 100 albums. His professional credits as performer, arranger and producer include the likes of David Byrne (Talking Heads), Paquito d’Rivera, Earl Klugh, Astrud Gilberto, Toninho Horta, Paul Simon, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and many others.

About his new album, Steve comments, “I chose the Christmas carols which move me the most, reshaped them to fit my own playing style, and added some of my favorite jazz players to the mix. What came out is a Christmas CD which jazz and Latin music fans can enjoy all year round!” For more information visit Steve at www.

Prepare yourself  for Christmas and buy this album at CDBaby.

Lynne Fiddmont – Lady

Lynne Fiddmont may be an unfamiliar name to some, but in music circles frequented by the elite creators of Pop, R&B and Contemporary Jazz – she’s a “go to” Professional Singer that you hire if you want to get it right the first time. After years of session and background work and a career that by any yardstick would be considered extraordinary, Lynne launched the imprint MidLife Records to release her own musical explorations. 2006 saw the highly regarded set Flow– and this summer came the release of Lady, a stellar collection of Contemporary Jazz interpretations of the Billie Holiday songbook.

Lady, co-produced with Andrew Ford, draws upon Lynne Fiddmont’s extensive relationships in the music business. Having collaborated with a who’s who of superstars including Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, and Barbra Streisand, she is joined on this project by the finest in Contemporary Jazz including multiple Grammy® Award nominees and winners George Duke, Billy Childs, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, and Christian McBride who shares that Lynne is “Not just a fabulous vocalist, she’s a complete and total musician.” This, no doubt, reflecting her time spent at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Fiddmont became a fan of Holiday during her college days at Boston University and had the chance to explore her artistry while playing ‘Lady Day” in a Los Angeles production of “Dark Legends in Blood.” Fiddmont shares, “This CD is not an attempt to copy Billie Holiday. It is however an attempt to introduce a new day and bridge the gap between past and the future and usher Miss Billie Holiday into the 21st century.” She adds, “Most singers have tried to imitate her, but few have even come close.”

Lynne Fiddmont’s Lady has been submitted for Grammy® consideration in a diverse number of categories reflecting the project’s depth of Quality. With Fiddmont under consideration as Best New Artist, the album as Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album – Non Classical, and it’s musicianship for Best Jazz Improvised Solo, and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals as well as the wild-card category Best Urban Alternative Performance – Perhaps this year at the Grammys® this lady will finally have her day!

Lady is available now at iTunes,, and CD Baby.

Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg 2010

The third Annual German Smooth Jazz Festival took place in the Kurhaus Göggingen in Augsburg. A venue of timeless beauty build in the years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany. It is the work of famous architect Jean Keller, who constructed the building in 1886. The dreamy impression of this building is captured in the title photo, which was made last year by Andreas Lutz (Fotostudio Xanderhof).

Augsburg is the home town of Christian Bößner, who promoted this event for the third time. He already announced that the next festival in 2011 will be again in the same location. Those who are interested to know more about the ambiance I recommend to look at the numerous photos, which are published by friends of this event on Facebook.

The festival was opened by piano wizard David Benoit, who pleased the audience with several songs of his new album Earthglow. David Benoit is like Dave Grusin one of the big names of contemporary jazz. Always looking after new sides of music, he created with Earthglow anew gripping melodies with addictive potential. From his great repertoire we listened to Kei’s Song, Letter To Heaven, Blue Rondo a la Turque and Freedom at Midnight. The latest mentioned song is now often played on his tours. Originally recorded for his same-titled album (1990), the reaction on all his concert was so overwhelming, that he decided to re-release the popular song and mix it with musical quotations of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

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Johnny Holliday – In the Light

Johnny Holliday recently moved to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, where he is member of the 482nd Security Forces Squadron. No matter where he is stationed, he will continue playing music wherever he goes. Whenever a door opens up for him to encourage someone, he will step on through it. If you are ever down in Florida, you might see him and his wife, Denise, along with their children playing at one of Miami’s beautiful beaches or anywhere else people might be gathered together who love playing music or enjoying some good ol’ jazz.

His album In The Light has the sounds of Smooth Jazz, Salsa, Contemporary Jazz with a touch of Irish Celtic. Part of the proceeds go to the Fisher House Foundation for Soldiers Injured in Combat.

So give his album a try at CDBaby.

SounDoctrine – Inspire

Anyone who has read my reviews of Perseverance and Endurance will know how deeply I appreciate SounDoctrine’s ‘Alternative Christian Funk’.

With the release of 2010’s ‘Inspire’, we have a new set of positive messages to groove to – it will be my pleasure to take you through them…

The opener ‘Just Think’ features the fabulous vocals of Marlon Saunders and is a midtempo tune which enjoys a stripped-down production. The offbeat time signature could make the song tricky to get into on first hearing but stick with it – those vocals and some very nice keyboard touches will reward you. I like the way this song runs into ‘Brother’s Keeper’- another example of leader Jere B’s ability to wed a meaningful lyric with a head-noddin’ beat. It’s far from being a basic 4/4 dance beat but you’ll be drawn in. Enjoy the vocals and some nice percussive accents. I’d love to hear this with live horns – one day soon, Jere.

Now, now ‘Marriage’ is right up my alley. A slinky funk groove with Incognito-style keyboards and Ragan Whiteside’s lovely flute carrying the melody. The immaculate layering of a sax, flute and keyboard line reminds me of Jeff Lorber’s sound too – and that is one of the highest compliments I can offer. This song is outstanding!! We swing into another instrumental – ‘Sacred Place’ – and there is a lovely vibes sound courtesy of Cliff Barnes (no, not the dude from Dallas) and some lovely ‘clicky’ rhythm guitar from Paul Douds. The lazy Latin feeling makes me imagine recording sessions running late into the summer night – ok that’s just me romanticising but the music takes me there. Take a listen and see what I mean…

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