Archive for May 30th, 2012

Sean O’Bryan Smith – Reflection

A beatific album of hymns and inspired originals shepherded by bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith and anointed by an accomplished minion of 23 musicians, Reflection will be released July 17th on Groove Therapy Records.  Smith produced and arranged the offering of soul, contemporary jazz and gospel selections that comprise the second solo album from the in-demand bass player.  Previewing the 12-song disc, the rousing rocker “Blessed Be Your Name” featuring guitarist Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Tommy Ogle and pianist-songwriter Jeff Franzel (Taylor Swift, *NSYNC, Clay Aiken) goes for radio adds June 11th.

Three years in the making, Reflection was conceived as Smith listened to hymnals and spirituals at church while on break from touring.  After creating fresh arrangements for classics such as opener “How Great Thou Art,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” and celestial covers “Blessed Be Your Name,” “Give Me Jesus,” “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” and “Yes You Have,” he composed two originals.  “Called” is an infectious soul-jazz groove graced by Gerald Albright’s soaring sax while the record’s title track is a thought-provoking spoken word sermon delivered faithfully by Malcolm Jamal-Warner.  Franzel contributed a third original, “Me Without You,” an aching torch song blessed with Lisa Hearns’ yearning voice.

Throughout “Reflection,” Smith coaxes robust rhythms and divine melodies from his four- and five-string basses, six-string fretless bass, upright bass and piccolo bass.  Other prominent soloists on the album are Randy Brecker’s prayerful trumpet on “Give Me Jesus” and Frank Catalano’s saxophone on the New Orleans-flavored march “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and the soul-stirring “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.” Continue reading

Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca 2012

In search of the beautiful moments of life there are always opportunities to hold it for a short time. One of those moments was the Smooth Jazz Festival, which first took place in Sa Coma, on the beautiful east coast of the Spanish island Mallorca. The exclusive ambience of the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa, a 5-star hotel was the awesome venue of this remarkable event.

Despite the not to be underestimated costs by air travel, hotel stay and tickets a surprisingly large number of smooth jazz fans participated in this highlight at this breathtaking place. All brought with them a good mood because they had the occasion to see many friends from last year. With world-class artists such as Uné, David Benoit, Jeff Lorber, Marc Antoine and Warren Hill did nothing to be desired.

Whom alone the appearance of the artist was not enough, could deepen the contact in intensive talks to his idol. Even the great weather, excellent food and fine drinks rounded out the well-being. The program of Friday night opened the agile saxophonist Eric Darius with Settin’ In Off from his album On A Mission (2010). For photographers, it was a difficult task to keep him in the picture, because not only during this piece, but throughout the entire performance, he found himself in motion.

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