Archive for July, 2011

Kenny Love – cAsE sEnSiTiVe

Kenny Love, who after having an independent music career, spent a subsequent twenty-year period as a radio/video promoter and media publicist representing fellow musicians, has now returned to his creative Jazz artistry and released cAsE sEnSiTiVe. cAsE sEnSiTiVe is a 10-song experience that engages the listener through musical peaks, lyrical valleys, and poetic arrangements.

Opening with a driving upbeat selection titled Glide, the release has been entered into the International Music Awards. It will also be entered in seven categories of the Grammy Awards this August, including a category specific to the compact disc’s humorous and visually arresting front cover.

“I am elated to return to the creative aspect of my music career,” said Love. “While I have released a number of singles in the past, this is my first opportunity to experience and enjoy releasing a complete Jazz recording.”

Although the compact disc was only released in June, several digital pre-release singles that are on the recording were picked up immediately for broadcast airplay during the preceding months of March and April by radio stations based in the United States, Brazil, France, Denmark, and Sweden. These digital pre-releases led the industry in setting the proverbial stage for radio stations to embrace the compact disc upon its official release date.

Gail Jhonson – HerStory

Philadelphia native Gail Jhonson is an in-demand keyboardist since several years. That was a natural result of her move to Los Angeles. After her work for Morris Day (The TIME) and Norman Brown she is a vivid factor in the smooth jazz scene. She started her solo career with the album Keep The Music Playing (2004), followed by Pearls (2008) on nuGroove Records. This year she makes waves with HerStory at the label 111 East Music.

Gail Johnson is supported by Lin Rountree (trumpet), Tamira Khyrah-joi (vocals), Tom Braxton (sax), Dwayne Smitty Smith (bass) and more. ”My story begins with her story…this is dedicated to you Mom!’ is the explanation of the title, a give back for her mother’s hard work.

Make It Happen is the first revelation of Gail’s mesmerizing talent as composer and performer. Especially to the end of the song, when she starts improvising is the real deal. The keytar is one of Gail’s favorite instruments. A keytar is a relatively lightweight keyboard (with or without a built-in synthesizer) that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, similar to the way a guitar is supported by a strap. That way a keyboardist can use the stage for greater moves. Electric Lady features this instrument.

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Kevin Morrissette – Conversations

Kevin’s interest in music started at a very early stage of life, and he began playing piano by ear at age 4. By seven, Kevin was performing professionally. Throughout Kevin’s music career he has warmed and shared stages with many noted performers including Ronnie Laws, B.B. King, and the Pointer Sisters to name a few. He has been retained to perform for President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Richard Daley, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and Ambassador Carol Mosley Braun; and the list goes on.

Kevin comments his new album Conversation:

“The act or an instance of talking together.” The meeting of minds, one would say. Well, throughout this CD, I’ve attempted to highlight various forms of conversation, vocally as well as musically. I’ve been so very blessed and honored, to work with such talented artists in realizing this endeavor. Consuela Ivy, Vanessa Holmes, John Harris, New Beginnings Ignited Praise, and Kevin Morrissette Jr., have wonderfully expressed themselves vocally, on the original compositions presented them by Rubynn English and me.

I chose Rubynn to be featured in this project (vocally and on his guitar), as a result of the many conversations (both musically and verbally) he and I have had over the forty some odd years of friendship we have enjoyed. Please, strap on your listening ears, and allow us to converse with you, through the sometimes whimsical, sometimes sad, yet, all times direct expressions of thought, throughout the selections on this CD. Hopefully, we’ll leave you with something to “converse” about. And as usual, thanks for your ears.”

Give this album a listen at CDBaby.

Trombone Shorty – For True

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews follows his Grammy nominated Backatown CD with For True, to be released Sept 13 on Verve Forecast. For True features Andrews’ band, Orleans Avenue, as well as a string of legendary performers with whom he recently shared the stage, including Jeff Beck, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Ledisi, Warren Haynes, Ivan and Cyril Neville, The Rebirth Brass Band and more. Troy wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks on the new album including co-writes with Ledisi, Kid Rock, the legendary Lamont Dozier and more. The CD was produced and engineered by Ben Ellman (except “The Craziest Thing” produced by George Drakoulias).

The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has earned unanimous raves on 5 continents in the past year alone with his patented high energy “SUPAFUNKROCK” sound. He was praised in the media from Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly to NPR and the New York Times following the 2010 release of ‘Backatown’, which spent 10 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and still reigns in the top 10 over a year after its release.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have been everywhere since, performing on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Austin City Limits and more. Troy has made additional appearances on Good Morning America, Tavis Smiley, NFL Kickoff (joining Dave Matthews Band), ESPN and a recurring role on the hit HBO series Tremé, on which he played himself. Continue reading

David Hughes – Hopeful Romantic

With Hopeful Romantic David Hughes makes a powerful statement as a composer and as a musician. The album exhibits the many facets of roles and sonic possibilities the bass guitar possesses . Undeterred by the risk of creating a ‘for bass players only’ album, he has succeeded in featuring the bass in both accompanying and soloistic roles while creating music that listeners with many different tastes will enjoy.

The writing spans funky, retro inspired jazz-rock to semi-symphonic modern jazz and it is apparent that Hughes has developed a sort of signature sound. Creating rich arrangements with rhythm section, string backgrounds and featured instruments the album exhibits an organic, natural quality far from the synthetic, loop-based mashups that are commonplace in contemporary jazz today.

Hopeful Romantic is a first choice at CDBaby.

Spyro Gyra – A Foreign Affair

Sometimes when you fall in love, you know it from the first embrace. A Foreign Affair is the story of five guys and their love affair with the music of the world. This album from the venerable jazz group Spyro Gyra takes you on a journey to the music closest to them from some places in some cases farthest from them. A Foreign Affair draws from the experiences of an enduring international career, one that has taken them to the far reaches of the globe. It’s no secret that Spyro Gyra started out their career with the rhythms of the world.

From the samba rhythms and Caribbean feel of their early hits to the latest album, these musicians have made it a point to embrace the music wherever they go. For instance, not long ago they played shows in New Jersey and Rochester NY but then left the U.S. to perform in Turkey, Germany, Netherlands, Israel, India, Martinique and South Africa. That’s in less than one month. That tour is something of what this new album sounds like if you just add in a few more places.

It’s a sign of how enduring this band’s career is that, thirty-five years after their first album, their four most recent albums were each nominated for a Grammy®.

“One of the benefits of being in this band is that our music is popular all over the planet. Inevitably, we experience the local culture and inevitably we absorb some of those influences,” explains leader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein. “The guys and I were talking about what we wanted to do with this record before we started. We decided to make it all about that. We’ve actually been talking about making this record for years.” Continue reading

Eumir Deodato – The Crossing

Eumir Deodato, a name like a peal of thunder. This Brazilian musician, record producer and arranger is best known by his Grammy awarded funky version of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey. With combined sales of more than 25 million records he earned 16 platinum records and worked on more than 450 albums.

With such an impressive reputation every new solo release of this blessed artist is a highlight in contemporary jazz history. On July 12, 2011 Eumir Deodato released his newest album The Crossing. This album features artists like Al Jarreau, Paco Sery, Airto Moreira, Bily Cobham, John Tropea and the groups Novecento and Londonbeat.

With his ultimate instinct for captivating hits Deodato created with Al Jarreau and Nicolisi the breathtaking song Double Face. Melting Al Jarreau scatting vocals with Deodato’s vintage Rhodes piano delivers a flabbergasting piece of music art.

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Jay-Tee – Don’t Jay Walk

Dutch Composer and bassist Jay-Tee Teterissa draws from the jazz fusion tradition, while at the same time being fully aware of the current state of affairs in this music. His list of musical collaborators includes Mike Stern, Danny Gottlieb, David Garibaldi, Tony Royster Jr, Alain Caron, Jan Akkerman and Candy Dulfer.

He brings his band Jazzm to create this, his second solo album.

I love the energy on ‘Gravity Hill Bounce’. It’s an instrumental which almost immediately goes into a thumbed (not slapped) bass solo. The fretless sound and doubled alto sax line will please Yellowjackets fans and the funky off-the-beat playing will delight fans of Joe Hubbard/Hubbard’s Cubbard. It’s a very high-tech yet soulful sound. It’s the essence of funky fusion – very Herbie Hancock! Nice – what a great start! ‘Bottom Road’ has an altogether less sunny vibe with waves of dark synthesizer, but it roars off led by Mike Stern’s guitar solo and I’m reminded of the Headhunters old ‘Descending Azzizziuh’. This is nuts! More please!

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Christian Papst Trio – Days of Infinity

Ambient sound, a touch of tradition and a sense of time and place are the ingredients for the Christian Pabst Trio’s Days of Infinity (Challenge Records, 2011).

The group consists of Pabst on piano and Rhodes, David Andres on bass and Andreas Klein on drums.

The set opens with the sweeping “Fly and Unfold,” a placid song in 3/4 time. Ably supported by Andres and Klein, Pabst lets his fingers fly. However, as charming as it is, the piece doesn’t completely satisfy. At less than two and a half minutes, it leaves something on the table.

That’s not the case with “A Poet’s Path.” Gerard Presencer joins the trio on this and other tracks, playing trumpet and flugelhorn. Horn and Rhodes stretch out individually, and the foursome complement one another well. Presencer also takes point on the lively “Tales from the City.” The upbeat mood conjures images of daytime traffic and nighttime fun.

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Patrick Cooper – The Way It Used To Be

Keyboardist Patrick Cooper is known by his songs he composed for Marcus Johnson (Just Doing What I Do) and Jaared (Let It Happen). With his Portland, Oregon based band N-Touch he performed gigs around that area before he re-located to Washington, DC. He started his solo career with the album That Day (2007) showcasing sophisticated entertainment at its best. This album was re-issued in the following year as Vibin after adding two new tracks.

Patrick now returns with his sophomore album The Way It Used To Be (2011). Like on his previous album he is joined by fellow musicians David Dyson (bass), Phillip “Doc” Martin (sax), Robert “WaWa” LeGrand (guitar), Tony Hemming (synth programming), and further artists Tommy Tordson (bass), Jay Williams (drums), Stanley Cooper (guitar), to name a few.

In view of the fact that the rate of sale in music industry is constantly tumbling down, the question arises, if one should still invest much money in the recording of an album. It’s less a question of economic reason, than the impetus to satisfy the audience, which motivated Patrick Cooper however to his second effort.

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