Archive for January, 2013

Drew Davidsen – True Drew

TrueDrewA slick, cosmopolitan showcase of a dozen contemporary jazz instrumentals, cool-toned guitarist Drew Davidsen elevates his technical prowess and creative muse while contemplatively chronicling his journey through life on “TRUE DREW,” his fifth album that will be released March 5th on Oznot Records.  In addition to his impassioned, fanciful fretwork on electric, acoustic and nylon-stringed guitars, Davidsen wrote or co-wrote seven original tunes for the disc that he produced with Eric Copeland, Preston Glass and Norman Connors.  Setting the stage at radio is “Hi5,” which adeptly bridges the sensibilities of a hip L.A. rooftop hang and sultry songo rhythms.

The material that makes up “TRUE DREW” mirrors the mission of the man.  Beginning with the infectious “My Guitar” that is ignited by a spirit-raising guitar and celestial vocal hook, Davidsen ventures onto “95 South” in search of an energetic exploration, brazenly allowing the music – jazz, R&B, blues and adult pop – to be his guide.  Riffing adventurously throughout, he gives a “Hi5” to his traveling companions on the album, an accomplished lot that boasts Bobby Lyle, Eric Marienthal, Bob Baldwin, Gerald Veasley, and the Temptations’ Ron Tyson.

When life forces him to take risks (“Double or Nothin’”), he pauses for reflection (“All Night and Forever” and a brooding, New Age-y take on the classic hymnal “All Creatures”) before arriving at the “Sweet Spot” where he encounters love (“I’m Into You,” “I Can’t Help It” and “Give Me Your Heart”).  A man of faith who devotes his time and a portion of the proceeds from all music sales to charitable endeavors such as Ghanaian Mother’s Hope (, Davidsen ultimately remains true to the path to “Do Right” and “Change The World.”  In fact, he’s currently encouraging people to make healthier choices in the New Year via The 30-Day Wellness Challenge (

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Jamie Bonk – Necessity

Canadian guitarist Jamie Bonk is a constant distributor to the music world. After his self-titled debut album (1997), followed A Perfect Tomorrow (2000), My World (2004), 5 (2007), St. Joseph Street (2009), Side B (2010) and last year Necessity.

Known by his performance on acoustic guitar he surprises his fan base on his new album as electric guitar player. Jamie was supported by Sonya Mitlewski (keyboards), Henrik Bridger (bass), and Dave Patel (drums).

Jamie expands on the starting Backbone all his guitar skills in a captivating melody. Compare him with Fleetwood Mac and you know his direction. One Foot Forward doubles the effect of melodious attraction. The beauty of fine guitar art shines on I Promise To.

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Letizia Gambi – Introducing Letizia Gambi

Drummer Lenny White, a legend in his own right, sets things in motion for a legend to be born. “I’m always looking for new artists who have knowledge and respect of tradition but free spirited enough not to look at me crazy when I ask them to change it,” he says of his discovery. Introducing Letizia Gambi (Jando Music, 2012) is the U.S. debut of an Italian-born songstress and student of White.

Among the plethora of musicians who help make this debut recording work are several jazz heavyweights, including White, bassist Ron Carter, pianist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Gato Barbieri, pianist Gil Goldstein and trumpeter Wallace Roney. Chick Corea, White’s partner with Return to Forever, also makes an appearance.

Gambi’s rich, earthy voice soothes on the ballad, “Secret Tears (Una Furtiva Lagrima),” an aria from the Italian opera L’eslir d’amore. She’s accompanied by White, Max Ionata on soprano sax, Antonio Farao on piano and Dario Rosciglione on bass. Though it’s from an opera, this arrangement is old-school jazz.

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Bruce Riley – Essence of Smooth Jazz

Saxophonist Bruce Riley offers his own version of Smooth Jazz. His skills are musical composition, audio engineering and the sax. He is currently affiliated with Broadcast Music Inc.  After Rhythm Impressions in Jazz (2011), Smooth Jazz and Smooth Jazz 2 (2012) his new offer is Essence of Smooth Jazz.

You get this album at CDBaby.

Caleb Brinkley – Closer

Closer is an E.P. project of orginal works created as a musical expression of a man journeying closer towards God. All tracks composed, arranged, recorded, performed, digitally programmed, produced, mixed, and mastered by Caleb Brinkley at Caleb Brinkley Studios.

Closer contains smooth, soothing sounds of the soprano sax over deep and meaningful writing. Come Closer at CDBaby.

Phil Casagrande – Manhattan Vibe

Music has been the guiding force flowing through Phil’s soul since he was a small child while time has allowed his musical talents to flourish into beautiful creations. His music isn’t about listening to the spoken words but rather the music that makes your body move to the beat while it speaks to your heart. To truly know who Phil is and what his passion is then you truly have to hear his music.

Phil started playing at a very young age, and at age 8, he wanted to learn the accordion. Despite his obvious musical talents, his love of sports caused him to never take music seriously even though he loved spending time with his friends having jam sessions and played for the fun of it. He graduated High School where he got accepted to a Music Conservatory through a performance on the organ-he played a song that he improvised. At age 17, he really started to play the piano, at age 20 he started professionally composing music, at age 21 he graduated from the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and had his first record out at age 25.

Being a writer, composer and producer Phil Casagrande shows great talent in all genres. From original solo piano performances, to pop music, to an amazing smooth-jazz original of “Let’s Groove”, he truly shows his range. In 1982, Phil worked for Atlantic records as a writer, and has also worked for Starlight Records where many songs he worked on ranked high on the Billboard charts.

Phil has worked with Jessica Cleeves from P-funk, he played keyboards, bass, synth, and even did some production on the Rap smash-hit “Inspector Gadget” (Bad Boys), he wrote and co-produced Paula Anderson’s song “Four Year Battle”-which made it to number 32 on the Billboard Chart with a bullet, and was picked up by Atlantic Records, he has also worked with Jeannine Carter, and has worked with songwriter and producer Dennis Johnson.

About his new album: “My second Album out entitled Manhattan Vibe was truly a pleasure to do. I decided to give a relaxed feel to this Album. Many just love to relax to music so that was the approach on doing this project.”

Manhattan Vibe is available at CDBaby.

Ivan Boyarkin – Sensation

Russian songwriter and saxophonist Ivan Boyarkin has released in 2012 his debut album Sensation. Although Ivan lives in Moscow, he inhaled the spirit of American smooth jazz so perfectly that his music is a real recommendation for all smooth jazz lovers.

When an artist calls his opening theme Sensation, you can expect great things. The title track keeps this announcement. With utmost care Ivan creates an intimate atmosphere on the saxophone. The velvety voice of the singer Rona Ray is convincing on No Better. The young singer Stas Markevich carries on Midnight Love to the success of the CD. The combination of modern rhythm with the mellifluous sound of Ivan’s sax is the main feature of True.

Whatever You Want presents A. Chevajevskaya and S. Velichko in a heartfelt duet. If you love the piano play of Brian Culbertson or Nate Harasim, you should definitely listen to Love Just Wants. Ivan is like Culbertson a brilliant multi-instrumentalist. Last Time comes with great nonchalance. Your Love Will Always Belong To Me showcases a romantic ballade of Galliano and Gayana.

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Avery Sharpe – Sojourner Truth Ain’t I a Woman?

Part musical journey, part history lesson and part tribute, Avery Sharpe’s Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I a Woman?” (JKNM Records, 2012) does several things well. It entertains, informs and honors.

The liner notes give a brief history of Sojourner Truth’s life and explains Sharpe’s inspiration for this project. Sharpe plays acoustic bass and six-string electric bass. The rest of the ensemble consists of Onaje Allan Gumbs on piano, Yoron Israel on drums, Craig Handy on soprano and tenor saxophones, Duane Eubanks on trumpet and flugelhorn and vocalist Jeri Brown.

“Isabella’s Wakening” is inspired by Truth’s original name, Isabella. It’s Sharpe’s acknowledgement of her decision to put her life as a slave behind her and become. Handy’s tenor carries much of the tune, but Sharpe also thrills with the six-string, which he plays like a guitar. Eubanks, Gumbs and Israel stretch out quite well in the background.

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Soultry Sound – Tonite

ToniteFor several years now Brian Jones, Michael Fields Jr., and Elijah Hill Jr. have created an unusually intimate blend of keys, bass, & drums that transport their audiences past listening pleasure to a new level of indulgence. Soultry Sound brings a touch of class to every stage, exuding confidence with every chord.

Once single members of multiple local bands, these three have played with artists:Marcus Miller, Peabo Brison, Eldrege Jackson, Sarah Nicole, & Angela Winbush, just to name a few. After years of accompaniment they’ve joined their musical forces to produce a sound of genius all their own. Experience Soultry Sound-A musical climax for your ears.

Their new album Tonite is now available at CDBaby.

Gil Benman – City Lights

City LightsThe joy of jazz music is what this CD is about. There are songs that will make you tap your foot, and songs that you can sing along with. There are songs that are mellow and relaxing, and songs that are romantic. In other words, something for every jazz lover.

City Lights is available at CDBaby.