Archive for July, 2012

Aleks Palmour – To Home Harbour

Raised in Russia at age 12 he began playing guitar and have been doing this for over 30 years. The best years of his life had passed during the period called “perestroika”, when “a fresh wind of change” had swept over his country, sweeping away on its way the old Soviet foundations, and inspiring people on new, noble feats. In those days (the beginning of 1990th) the “wind of change” had also filled him with a new meaning, and nice melodies.

Aleks Palmour had finished a musical school and the rest of his musical education he received by private lessons, including 2 years with professors of The Gnesins Academy of Music (on harmony and the musical form), studying the great classical composers musical thinking, and the contemporary jazz harmony. That helped him find his own musical style.

This music is instrumental, ranging from Smooth Jazz, Contemporary classical, Bossa nova, Pop etc..  His goal is to compose music that evokes a positive mindset.  So, what am I doing?… Just cultivating my bed on this big garden called “musical industry”, in the hope that someone will pick a flower from it.

To Home Harbour is downloadable at CDBaby.

Mads Tolling Quartet – Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty

A few decades ago, when I first began to grow as a jazz listener, I recall a friend saying that he likes jazz but couldn’t get used to “Jean-Luc Ponty and that violin.” At the time, I was barely aware of Ponty, but I agreed. So used to the notion that violins belonged in a symphony orchestra, it was difficult to appreciate it as a lead instrument in jazz.

That attitude changed over the years, with increased exposure to Stephane Grappelli, Karen Briggs and, of course, Mr. Ponty. So by the first time I saw the name Mads Tolling in a CD liner, I was ready to accept his violin as a key component of the music I was about to listen to. Now, when I see his name, I expect an enjoyable experience.

Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty by the Mads Tolling Quartet (Madsman Records, 2012), recorded live at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, is exactly that. From the opening notes of “Lila’s Dance” to the conclusion of “Pontyfication,” this is a fine example of the two-time Grammy winner’s expertise. Also on the recording are guitarist Mike Abraham, bassist George Ban-Weiss and drummer Eric Garland.

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496 West – 496 West

The year 2012 began with 496 West putting their fingerprints on a self-titled debut CD project that articulates contemporary jazz. The connection between popular music, the soul of jazz and feeling the notes is all a part of what listeners have come to enjoy from the instrumental side of 496 West.

496 West connects somewhere between contemporary jazz, R&B, soul, a sprinkling of the blues and of course, gospel jazz. The band’s versatility is evident in many different formations that include, trio, quintet, octet, a full dance band – up to a full compliment of (14) fourteen Musicians studying and teaching the jazz art form are often part of the performance and outstanding vocalists compliment the mood with entertaining, dynamic and soulful harmonies.

496 West comes high recommendable at CDBaby.



Edmund Simental – Midnight Rendezvous

Midnight Rendezvous blends smooth jazz/r&b with funk overtones and an exotic getaway to a tropical island of latin/jazz bliss. It is totally bliss soul meets jazz.

From the funky Mugen{Tokyo}nights to the sultry smooth vocals of Costie Payne this cd could join you for a Midnight Rendezvous. This is what music should sound like…..hit “play” and take the journey! The amazing International recording artist, Edmund Simental and his band are sure to please any jazz lover’s taste. Now get it at CDBaby.

Brian Culbertson – Dreams

Brian Culbertson is not only known as a prolific musician, but also as an artist who maintains close contact with his fans. With his heart-warming open manner he has quickly conquered the hearts of the Smooth Jazz Community.

His music is at its best, because he is not only a virtuoso on his instruments but has a rare flair for haunting melodies. In addition, he cleverly uses the cross-over effect to R&B. No wonder that his albums are always highest ranked in the charts.

His new album Dreams (2012), released on the Verve Music Group, hits #1 on Contemporary Jazz Charts while his singles Your Smile and Still Here featuring Vivian Green find themselves in the Top 5 and Top 20 on both Smooth Jazz and Urban Adult Contemporary radio.

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Lisa McClowry – Lisa McClowry Sings Acoustic Alchemy

Vocalization. The Manhattan Transfer has made a career of it – the art of taking an instrumental piece, adding lyrics and making it something singable. Lisa McClowry enters that venue with Lisa McClowry Sings Acoustic Alchemy (Big Deal Records, 2012), fresh, lyric interpretations of 10 songs recorded by the British-based guitar duo of Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale.

Jim Peterik is the driving force behind this project. Fresh of his successful Lifeforce project, Forces at Play, the Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter (“Eye of the Tiger” from the Rocky IV film) wrote the uplifting lyrics for each song. Chicago-based McClowry is touring the United States with Carmichael and Gilderdale as special guests.

The driving bass by Richard Patterson and drums by Khari Parker help propel “Got to Share This Feeling.” McClowry’s voice is rich, soothing yet powerful. The energy she brings puts a lot of sunshine in an already bright piece. The song is based on AA’s “Wish You Were Near.”

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Frank Fata – No Strings Attached

Frank Fata is a dynamic European jazz influenced artist, song writer, guitarist, who has been playing for 25 odd years. Enjoys a melodic and new jazz feel to his selections.The album No Strings Attached is a relaxing guitar charm,enjoy these tunes for almost any mood.

His romantic guitar melodies are a gem at CDBaby.

Jimmy Duran – Dreams Do Come True

Jimmy Duran is a musician without any trace in the Internet. The desire to remain anonymous is specifically in contrast to advertising for the music. We accept and recommend the album with a bow.

Dreams Do Come True at CDBaby.

Rico Belled – XR7

Born in the Netherlands Rico Belled performed since 1992 in the L.A. scene as bassist and keyboardist. Don Randi and the house band, Leslie Paula’s “Latin Soul Band”, and finally The Rippingtons are the bands he is connected with.

Rico became popular in the jazz community with his solo debut The Pursuit Of Comfort (2010) and with numerous contributions to other artists like Keiko Matsui, Marc Antoine, Chris Standring, Perla Batalla, Leslie Paula, Sound Assembly, Dino Soldo, Scott Grimes and Jeff Robinson.

Rico Belled’s newest project is called XR7 after his 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7, Rico has driven for almost 15 years. Among the musicians joining the recordings I discovered Dave Karasony (drums), Rodney Lee (Rhodes), Jeff Kashiwa (EWI, sax), Katisse Buckingham (flute, sax), Bill Heller (synth, piano) and many more.

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Jazz Soul Seven – Impressions of Curtis Mayfield

To say that Curtis Mayfield was one of the most prolific songwriters of American popular music would not be an overstatement. From his work with the impressions to his career as a solo artist, Mayfield is distinguished as one whose lyrics not only spoke to the African-American struggle for equality in society but also the realities of life as humans.

Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff, the Jazz Soul Seven release Impressions of Curtis Mayfield (BFM Jazz, 2012). The ensemble is comprised of seven jazz all-stars, musicians who have worked in a variety of settings, including a few who have been session players as well as bandleaders. They are Terri Lyne Carrington, drums; Russell Ferrante, piano; Master Henry Gibson, percussion; Bob Hurst, bass; Wallace Roney, trumpet; Phil Upchurch, guitar; and Ernie Watts, saxophone.

“Freddie’s Dead,” a dark anthem about a young man lost to the world because of drug addiction, kicks things off. Watts covers the lead, originally sung by Mayfield. The sax throws in some scat-like phrasing at the end of the second pass. He plays freely during the middle. In the background, Carrington, Gibson and Upchurch make things interesting.

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