Archive for February, 2012

Chris Standring – Electric Wonderland

The success of Chris Standring’s groundbreaking 2010 CD Blue Bolero, which topped several year-end lists and produced a No. 1 single, made it a tough act for the guitarist to follow. But Standring has managed quite nicely with Electric Wonderland, his brand new 10-song CD of original songs that fuses elements of Blue Bolero’s orchestral touches with a deft jazz-pop touch that’s been a hallmark of Standring’s stellar career.

“I feel like it’s an extension of Blue Bolero, but a bit more playful and upbeat,” says Standring. “It also came out much dreamier. And of course I’m playing electric guitar, so I wanted to merge the two when naming the CD.”

On Electric Wonderland, Standring’s longtime fans, as well as guitar aficionados, may recognize that he’s doing two new things here. The first is that, in keeping with the CD’s title, he’s traded his archtop jazz guitar — which imparts a much more acoustic sound — for a Fender Stratocaster, whose strings and solid-body infuses his music with a more expressive sound. “The Fender Strat guitar gives you an electric quality,” Standring says. “Because I’m a jazz player, I wanted to get a jazz sound out of that instrument, but to be expressive in the way a rock guitarist might, such as with bending the strings.”

The other thing Standring did on Electric Wonderland was to throw away his pick, for the most part. This leads to a difference in tone and an enhanced personal and intimate experience for the listener. “I went through a phase where I didn’t enjoy hearing myself play with a pick. It got in the way in what I was trying to express. When I put it down and played with my fingers and listened back to it, it felt more musical, much more intimate. I found myself gravitating more to that sound. It’s also how I’m playing live now.”

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James ‘PJ’ Spraggins – Pure Logic

Fresh for 2012 and beyond is James ‘PJ’ Spraggins‘ brand new release, Pure Logic. Pure Logic is guaranteed to be his most progressive effort yet with new artist collaborations representing several different genres and a musical appearance by legendary jazz saxophonist, Gerald Albright, playing bass guitar on the foot-stomping track ‘Grandma’s Groove’ dedicated to the memory of PJ’s late grandmother.

PJ also steps from behind the drums to deliver his debut vocal performance on the spiritually calming track ‘Come to Jesus’. From jazz to hip hop, from R&B to gospel, Pure Logic has something for everyone. And you can get it now at CDBaby.

Terence Young – The Guitar Diary

Terence Young has earned the reputation of one of the most talented guitarist in the world. He has released 7cds to date with his latest CD The Guitar Diary. The CDs have an inspirational variety songs that display his original compositions as a songwriter.

He has shared the stage with Envogue, Morris Day and the Time, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, George Duke, Rachelle Ferrell, Gerald Albright, Clarence Carter and Joe Sample. He has also played guitar for R&B singers such as Ashford and Simpson, Lenny Williams, Aaron Hall and Angie Stone just to name a few. One of his biggest accomplishments is that he’s featured playing guitar on the EWF Tribute CD with R&B Queen Angie Stone.

Terence is a native of Elko S.C. He now resides in Columbia S.C. where he manages the Southeast Top party Band Finesse. The Guitar Diary offers finest smooth jazz guitar music for a cool prize at CDBaby.

Robert Davi – On the Road to Romance

When an actor not known for his singing produces an album, the results can be unpredictable. One might score a solitary hit, like Jack Wagner, Patrick Swayze or Don Johnson. Or one can be like Eddie Murphy. His “Party All the Time” was popular when it was new. However, once the novelty faded, the song provoked thoughts of, “What was he thinking?”

So when I received Davi Sings Sinatra’s – On the Road to Romance (Sun Lion Records, 2011), I was initially apprehensive. Please, no more standards! But then I remembered. Robert Davi gave us a hint of his vocal skills as a member of the notorious Fratelli family in The Goonies.

Davi takes on 12 standards, including “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and “Best Is Yet to Come.” He croons easily in the style of Frank Sinatra. His voice fits comfortably in the upper baritone range, though he could easily shift to second tenor. The listener can feel the enthusiasm for this project.


Lloyd Gregory – Gentle Warrior

San Francisco-based guitarist Lloyd Gregory is influenced by artists like Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Earl Klugh and Larry Carlton.

“Music is comprised of traditions, even when mixed with innovations,” Gregory says, “so, of course, every musician is building upon sounds that came before. I admire and respect those jazz guitarists and I learned a lot from them.”

Serving as the musical director for The Ballads, Natural Four and Jesse James he also recorded with Martha Reeves, MC Smoothe and Freddie Stewart and has performed onstage with Rodney Franklin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Gerald Albright, Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), Freda Payne, The Dells, and Lowell Fulsom.

Lloyd started his solo career with the smooth jazz albums Wonderful in 1992 and Only For You in 1999. The third album Solo Guitar (2001) presented his acoustic guitar side performing jazz standards. With Free Fallin (2003) he returned to the smooth jazz style. Gentle Warrior (2011) is Lloyd’s fifth album and the first on Stanley Clarke’s label Roxboro Entertainment Group.


Nadav Haber – Beautiful

Nadav Haber started to learn the clarinet at the age of 10. In 1988-89 he lead a qaurtet in the Tel-Aviv clubs in Israel, and played in a blues duo. In the 90’s nadav has switched to the tenor sax, and began to explore Ethiopian music. He played in Ethiopian dance bands all over Israel, in Ethiopian clubs and weddings. This has lead to the issue of Ethiopian Blues, and other smaller productions that were aimed at the Ethiopian Israeli market.

In recent years Nadav moved back to playing jazz, and in 2003 led a hard bop quintet in Jerusalem. He is currently working on two projects – an Ethiopian Jazz program and a “Favorite ballads” program. The result is just Beautiful.

We found the album at CDBaby.

Kool&Klean – Volume III

Smooth Jazz Saxophonist Konstantin Klashtorni known by his earlier albums Downtown, Led By You, Smoothing and Let’s Get It On. The Volume I has started a new series of easy and commercial attractive music. This is the crossover between Smooth Jazz and Electronica with some elements of Chill Out music.

After his CD Kool & Klean – Volume I and II he presents now Kool & Klean – Volume III. Music in the style of Paul Hardcastle is awaiting you at CDBaby.

Marlon Branch – Playground

Marlon Branch, guitarist and educator from Memphis Tennessee. Marlon has been around the Memphis music scene for a few years now and he retains his reputation as an in-demand guitarist, as a sideman, session man, whatever it takes. Marlon has also been a music educator in the Memphis school district for some 20 + years and to his delight has played gigs with his former students.

Marlon’s band, MONDAY’Z CHILD has been featured as the opening act for famous Smooth Jazz groups in the area and they always deliver. Playground is Marlon’s 3rd CD. You should also check out his 1st CD Down Time and his 2nd CD MONDAY’z CHILD all of which are available on CDBaby. Marlon’s performances are considered a musical treat and right now most of his performances are in and around the southeast.

I Happened To Hear 02/2012

If you look back at the October 2011 ‘I Happened to Hear’, you’ll see how much I enjoyed Scott Martin Band’s last studio outing.

The blazing ‘Manteca’ will please fans of really energetic Latin music. The piano and percussion are sizzling, but the sax is positively burning. You’ll hear the same lightning-fast runs on the groovy ‘Watusi Boogaloo’ too. That’s not to say that pianist Mark Massey gets left behind – his solos on both these songs are very satisfying. They’re very soulful and a touch of humour creeps in. Great, great stuff!! I loved the version of ‘Gregory is Here’ from the preceding studio release and it’s my favourite track here too. At eight minutes, you can get seriously drawn in.

The mood is sexy for ‘A Night in Rio’ and also for the beautiful ‘Only Trust Your Heart’. Reach for that cocktail or that chilled chardonnay…

Fans of music that brings a smile to your face will lap up the party tune ‘Mardi Gras Mambo’. Likewise, the more, ahem, mature fusion fans will love this band’s take on the Crusaders’ timeless ‘Keep that Same Old Feeling’. They deliver a respectful and true rendition which must have had a whole theatre-full of heads nodding. I wish I’d been there…


Jeremy Scott & Higher Groove – Alive

Born in 1982, saxophonist Jeremy Scott has become one of the most talented and well-known Milwaukee area musicians at his age. He has been playing Jazz and Gospel music regularly in the Milwaukee area for the past 12 years. After encouragement from his father, Jeremy picked up the saxophone at the age of 8 and has never looked back. At the young age of 22 Jeremy has already made a name for himself having traveled across the United States as well as Europe performing on the saxophone.
He currently is studying to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since picking up the saxophone in 1990 he has been studying with well known Milwaukee saxophonist and educator Curt Hanrahan. He has also studied with local Milwaukee jazz legend saxophonist Berkeley Fudge. He has also been a saxophone instructor for 3 years.

Jeremy’s extensive musical achievements are very impressive for someone at such a young age. Jeremy has performed at “Taste of Chicago”, Milwaukee’s “Summer Fest”, “Jazz in the Park”, “Summer Sizzle” and the 1998 W.A.M.I. awards show, numerous Milwaukee Brewers, Bucks and Admirals games (playing the national anthem). He has also opened up for renowned artists, Smokey Robinson and Tuck & Patty. One of Jeremy’s performance highlights came on August 14, 2002 when he performed for President George W. Bush at a speech he gave on the UW-Milwaukee campus.

Jeremy’s musical carrier does not only involve performing but recording as well. In 1995 at the age of 15 Jeremy recorded is first demo entitled, “15 & Movin’ On”. Two years later he wrote his first big band chart called Intensity (which was the titled track of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Youth Jazz Band ensemble CD that year). In 2004 Jeremy produced his first CD called Movin’ On (Named after his 1995 demo 15 & Movin’ On). Jeremy not only produced and played sax on his CD, he also wrote 90% of the music and played the keyboard on 8 of the ten tracks. Also, in 2004, Jeremy recorded a CD with the smooth jazz group called Emerge, where he wrote the title track called Inspiration. That same year Jeremy played on the movie sound track “Yes Men”. “Yes Men”, produced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be seen in movie theaters nationwide.

His newest lifesign is his album Alive,  which is now available at CDBaby.