Archive for July, 2012

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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Kent Z – Moonlight Romance

Smooth Jazz music driven from an inspired young saxophone artist. The mellow tones were inspired by artist such as Dave Koz, Sam Levine, Kenny G, John Coltrane, Kirk Whalum, Johannes Linstead, Wayman Tisdale, and many other. Kent Z grew up playing the saxophone in churches with big choirs that thrived on southern gospel music. His Jazz roots come from the deep soul that most of the gospel hyms and worship songs were created around.

As music changed to a more digital age changing Jazz big bands into more pop with a little blues intertwined. He thrives on making music that soothes the soul. Music that helps relax and calm the nerves. Music that can be felt from the depth of the soul. So sit back, relax, and slow down to the sound of smooth, easy listening Jazz music. Enjoy!

Moonlight Romance is available at CDBaby.

Tossup – Contents Under Pressure

When we went our separate ways after a successful stint in a college rock band there was no thought of when or where Chris and I would meet again. No inkling that we’d each go on to develop a love of all things jazz, or collaborate in the future. Serendipity, though, brought us back to our hometown in Nebraska, reunited us, and revealed that we had independently developed a common musical language. The musical relationship that had ended so long ago resumed, but on a whole new level.

Even at that, little could we have known as we squeezed jam sessions into little nooks and crannies of time that it would blossom as it did. Our intent, after all, was only to keep ourselves from going crazy! You know, musical therapy for the trials, tragedies, and grind of daily life. But a drum groove would evoke a bass line; the bass line would expose chordal relationships; forms would emerge; melodies appeared; and tapestries of sound took shape. It was as if, out of the dry, hardscrabble ground that we were scratching..and to our surprise…this creation called Tossup came into being.
The addition of wonderful collaborators enriched it in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Chris was excited to ask his friend Perrin, from their New Orleans days, to lay down some guitar tracks We sent him a stereo mix, exchanged a few emails, and before long he sent back the tracks for Time Apart and Romance. His ideas were full, rich, and a pleasure to lay into the mix. I have yet to meet him in person, and we’ve never even spoken on the phone. Modern technology is awesome : )

My friend, high school classmate, and former bandmate Camille came to mind as an ideal pick for lead vocals. Though studying in New York at the time, we were tremendously pleased when she agreed to contribute. With little direction from us and only a bare rhythm section recording as a starting point, the depth of her creative talent shone forth in the rich harmonies she created. And just as in her own recordings, her vocal skill is undeniable through the rhythm and passion of her expression. How magical to experience the uniqueness of her creation.

You know that rock band Chris and I played in? Guess who the lead guitarist was? Tim! Now a professor of music and consummate musician, writer, performer, and producer, by good fortune and his visits to his folks here in town, were able to wrangle him in. You see, during one of his visits he graciously chipped in. How can you not love his playing? Whether leaning toward avant garde improvisation or a straight lead, he’s excellent in every style.

And then the coup de grace: Matt. He was Maynard Ferguson’s right hand man for 11 years. When Maynard wanted a small group he picked Matt to join him with just a rhythm section. I can still remember the pain in my cheeks from smiling after our first recording session. The tune was Nawlins. He had laid down the melody. It was awesome, and I figured he was done. Then came his legendary line “gimme another track!”. I listened as he laid down harmony, unrehearsed. Then a 3-piece alto section, same way. Then the baritone punches, all on the fly, and all on his tenor. The dixieland solo section in Nawlins is 3 takes of Matt. I mean, I smiled so much it hurt! And the magic just continued. Most of the sax you hear on the CD followed Matt saying “gimme another track!”. After that I learned to prep a good 20 tracks for his sax on each tune before each session began.

Can we take the pressure out of this album? Try it at CDBaby.

Partners In Time – Partners In Time

Partners in Time are guitarist Phillip Siadi and keyboardist Lenore Paxton. Both are Detroit area musicians who have been long-time collaborators on diverse musical projects including pop and dance music productions. They are also founders of a children’s music and film company, Worldkids Press.

Since several years the artists worked together as band Lightfall releasing a number of CDs in the New Age genre. Detroit-born Phillip Siadi is influenced by a broad range of guitarists from Al DiMeola and George Benson to Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Van Halen. Pianist/keyboardist/arranger Lenore Paxton counts to her influences artists from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to the Crusaders and Weather Report.

Their newest project is entitled Partners in Time (2012). All songs are written by Siadi except Joy Ride and Dream Cruise, which are composed by both musicians. Joy Ride is a prolific smooth jazz production. The cheerful melody benefits from the jubilant effect, intonated by Siadi on guitar and absorbed by Paxton on flute and keyboard.


Gerald Albright and Norman Brown – 24/7

Two heavy hitters in contemporary jazz come together in celebration of music lovers’ all-day, all-night passion. Saxophonist Gerald Albright and guitarist Norman Brown present 24/7 (Concord, 2012).

Albright, a Grammy nominee, is a native of Los Angeles. His career is marked by associations with Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, Maurice White and many others. New Beginnings (Peak, 2008) and Sax for Stax (Peak, 2009) both received Grammy nominations for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Brown was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. His 2002 release, Just Chillin’, received the Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Wes Montgomery, Brown has often been compared to George Benson, both in his style of playing guitar and his vocal scat. During the waning years of Warner Bros. Jazz, Brown also collaborated on several projects with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun. The trio, backed by several other musicians, was known as BWB.

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