Archive for October, 2012

Randy Hoexter Group – Fromage

An album of covers in smooth or contemporary jazz has the potential for boredom. But when the arrangements are distinct and the songs aren’t your typical remakes, the results can be fun and exciting. So enters the Randy Hoexter Group with Fromage (Rhombic Records, 2012).

For one thing, pianist Hoexter took on some “cheesy” pop songs, a challenge within itself. And what he and his supporting cast do with this cheese is deliciously nutritious. Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, guitarist Trey Wright, saxophonist Sam Skelton, trombonist Eric Alexander and percussionists Kit Chatham (congas, djembe and cajon) and Eric Sanders (triangle and shaker) are part of the ensemble. Drum duties are split by Tom Knight and Dave Weckl. Mike Barry and Gordon Vernick split the load on trumpet. And vocalist Angie Driscoll appears on two tracks.

Driscoll sings the chorus on the highly energetic adaptation of the sappy Debby Boone hit, “You Light Up My Life.” Instead of a sugary, romantic ballad, this arrangement is heavy on percussion, with a little soulful sass thrown in, aided by Skelton’s soprano sax solo.


Larry Lehmann – “Jazzman”

Legendary guitarist Larry Lehmann continues to expand on his studio skills to produce more powerful easy listening tunes. He has incorporated more polyphonic digital synthesizes and Akai MPC generated percussion to his skills guitar techniques. His music can be envisioned as background for motion pictures and high end car commercials. Larry has recently introduced a line arch top high end electronic pickups for Gibson guitars. These new pickup sounds are used on the majority of his 13 compositions. He plays all parts on each track except for some limited backing tracks.

This CD will put you into a self-induced relaxed state. Echo guitar mood and smooth syn sound will take you to a whole new level. A good album to be heard in front of your fireplace with you favorite someone at your side. Total playing time for this album is 51 minutes A wise choice for all! Listen now to “Jazzman” at CDBaby.

Keith McKelley – Keith McKelley

Inspired by musicians like David Sanborn, John Coltrane, and Kirk Whalum the young Keith McKelley chose the saxophone as his favorite instrument. He has worked with Micki Howard, Marcus Johnson and Bob James among many others.

In 2010 Keith released his self-titled debut album supported by musicians like Joe McBride, Steve Fowler, Eric Selner, Dan Wilson, Theron Brown & Jacob Wynn, Mark Gesiewski and Camille Garcia. Admittedly, a young saxophonist has to struggle despite the fact that many saxophonists are to find in the smooth jazz genre.

Of course you want to know Keith’s recipe to get popular, least known. Needless to say it is helpful to invite already acknowledged musicians to the first production. That said the fast paced On The Run features Joe McBride, a longtime vocalist/keyboardist of the Heads Up label. Keith’s virtuosity is so impressive that you get almost a hiccup. There comes Joe just in time on the Hammond B3 to serve a fast bridge. Both thumbs up!

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Robert Lee Revue – City of Smooth Jazz

Robert Lee Balderrama, aka Bobby Balderrama, renowned guitarist of Question Mark and the Mysterians has delivered yet again – an original and imaginative work . . . a passionate and highly-flavored Smooth Jazz album entitled For The Love of Smooth Jazz from his new band Robert Lee Revue. Each track has its very own unique vibe, setting that ‘smooth’ mood, which leaves you feeling kissed by a warm ray of sunshine and cooled by a wet splash of salty-air breeze from the seashore. Featuring a precise blend of fluid guitar riffs, with complementary elements of keyboard and saxophone, leaves listeners wanting more.

Robert Lee Revue’s album titled City of Smooth Jazz, captures the styles of Latin, R&B, and soft romantic songs.
all original songs written by Robert Lee Balderrama/guitarist, and Frank Rodriguez/keybds, two original members from a famous 60’s band, Question Mark and the Mysterians, hit song 1967 titled “96 Tears” .

City of Smooth Jazz is now available at CDBaby.

Mekiel Reuben – If You Were Here Tonight

If You Were Here Tonight is one of Mekiel Reuben greatest recording. This is his 7th recording and the 6th for MekMuse Records and it is loaded with so many great covers tunes At Seventeen, Lovely Day, Moondance, and the title track “If You Were Here Tonight” really explore some of the depth of the explosive sound of Mekiel Reuben.

If You Were Here Tonight is now available at CDBaby.

Euge Groove – House Of Groove

Saxophone star Euge Groove presents with House Of Groove his eighth album overall and his third album for Shanachie Entertainment. Behind these bare facts stands a long distance with hard training, diverse exposure but also ample reward through recognition of his audience.

After his engagement with Tower of Power over a period of four years he worked for the stars like Joe Cocker, Eurythmics, the Gap Band, Huey Lewis & the News, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville, Eros Ramazotti, and Richard Marx.

On his new album Euge is accompanied by pianist and keyboardist Tracy Carter, bassist Cornelius Mims, guitarists Paul Brown and John “Jubu” Smith, drummers Trevor Lawrence and Dan Needham, percussionist Lenny Castro and trumpeter Lee Thornberg.

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Steven Manikowski – Feelin’ Fine

With the release of Feelin’ Fine, Steven Manikowski elicits exactly what the album title suggests. The album flows effortlessly from one track to the next in a smooth and natural rhythm. The end result is a listening experience that is both relaxing and positive. Dynamics of the album range from the easygoing opening number ‘Taylor Made’ (think James Taylor meets smooth jazz) to the driving rhythm of ‘Lakeshore Drive’ through to the caribbean influenced ‘Coconut Grove’ and ends with a melodic intertwining produced by two complementary acoustic guitars on ‘Joshua Steven’.

This is an instrumental album that blurs the lines between jazz, pop, and rock, creating a fresh new sound that should be awarded its own genre. Feelin’ Fine is now on sale at CDBaby.

Ed Stone – King of Hearts

As a youth, Ed Stone played guitar in numerous soul, orchestra and jazz bands. As an adult he studied and became a medical doctor then returned to his first love, music. Now, Ed offers smooth jazz fans 2 CDs and 1 DVD. These musical collections demonstrate Ed’s belief in developing your God given talents, dreaming big, making plans and working hard to achieve your goals. Explore this music and dicover his passion.

Also look for Ed’s new CD King of Hearts at CDBaby.

Don Grusin & Bill Sharpe – Geography

American composer, producer, arranger and pianist Don Grusin along with composer and pianist Bill Sharpe have recently released a new album called Trans Atlántica (2012). This album is available in Europe as a double-pack with Geography, which both recorded in 2006.

The duo invited to their first project musicians of the new and the old world: Till Brönner (trumpet, flugelhorn), Fridrick Karlson (guitar), Mornington Lockett (sax), Jill Saward (vocals), Nelson Rangell (flute), Natalie Rene (vocals) Charlie Bisharat (violin), Nick Cohen (bass), and Jamie Odell (programming).

The title Heat includes everything the first song has to offer. Brönner on trumpet and Don and Bill let it burn on this fast paced tune. Sunny Rainy has much of the character Shakatak is so popular for, but here and there sets Grusin his marks.

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Bucky Barrett – You Make Me Smile

Bucky Barrett is best known as an acoustic and electric guitarist. He has performed on more than 1600 albums and CDs with acclaimed artists such as Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Chet Atkins, k.d. lang, Willie Nelson, Dottie West, Charlie Daniels, Nicolette Larson and countless others. He was lead guitarist for Roy Orbison, has toured all over the world, and continues to make music his life’s ambition. His authentic style ranges from playing Delta blues with Muddy Waters in a dirt floor club in Chicago to the velvet touch of his smooth jazz contemporary CD, Long Time Coming.

Bucky’s studio experience is bluegrass and jazz to metal, pop and rock…from traditional country to new country… from traditional gospel to new contemporary Christian… all the way to the smooth jazz styling and improvisation on a gut string classical guitar. Today Bucky is the driving force behind Majic Music, a creative music production company based in Nashville, Tennessee.

It all began a lifetime ago in rural Canton, Mississippi. As Bucky felt more and more passion to play the guitar, he began to live his life around learning to play. He took a menial job in high school at a gas station, which fortuitously changed his life. He washed chicken trucks there with two Black dudes, Bo Peep and Git Loo. They introduced him to the great Black players of that time who would come through town to get gasoline. He met Elmore James, B.B. King, Albert King. Bobby Blue Bland and countless others, most of whom would stop at the station and show this white kid with a dream the guitar licks that made them famous. These legends in the business only made this small-town kid from rural Mississippi more sure of his destiny to play.
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