Archive for March, 2013

The David Wells & Chris Geith Project – No Side Effects

No Side EffectsTrumpet player David Wells and keyboardist Chris Geith are no strangers in the field of contemporary Jazz, with the new album entitled No Side Effects the duo has joined forces to bring to the market one of the most exciting new musical collaborations. The result is a project that combines funky grooves, catchy melodies, and sophisticated chord progressions for a collection of tunes that feature the flugelhorn and acoustic piano as the main lead instruments.

With this project the duo has teamed up to bring you one of the most exciting new musical collaboration at CDBaby.

Craig Sharmat – Bleu Horizons

Bleu HorizonsI started this album with the song “A Day in Paris”. I had not heard a “groove jazz” single use a traditional Gypsy Jazz combo and thought while being a novel idea it might fit the “Contemporary Jazz” format. As I watched the song race up the charts (#5 on billboard), I was working on the concept for the full album. In the day of the downloadable single I decided on going against the flow and went forward creating a concept album. In doing so I chose to have an international travelogue with a contemporary jazz flair. I wanted this to be a vehicle for my guitar playing, composing and arranging skills. It is also meant to sound fun and loose, I did not wish to be bound by traditional approaches.

Guitarist Craig Sharmat takes you on a trip around the world with his smooth grooves, contemporary jazz and world flavors. CDBaby presents Bleu Horizons.

Threestyle – Feel The Vibe

Smooth Jazz from Germany? Probably you remember groups such as Dancing Fantasy, Freeze Frame and Blue Knights. Now this country offers an alternative with Threestyle. A group from Bavaria featuring Magdalena Chovancova (sax), Robert Fertl (guitars, bass trumpet, flugelhorn) and Gabriela Chovancova (drums and vibraphone).

A short visit on their label Welovemusic Records reveals a numerous list of releases. So this formation comprises of experienced professionals. The introducing piece Chilling Mr. Benson is a banquet for all lovers of the music of George Benson. When Fertl leaves space for his guitar playing, it comes to the right feeling.

Nice To Be There makes for serene mood with relaxing music. Stratospheric Flight helps to pending exemption with graceful inconspicuousness. The title Now promises a great leap. But it drifts more towards Lounge. You Made It would I like to say. Unfortunately not the resounding melody.

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Mel Davis – It’s About Time!

It's About Time!A musician has got to hear the music. If it’s going to be good, his bones ought to feel it. If it’s going to make sense and take listeners to a higher level, then his brain must process the keys, chords, and arrangements. However, his hands…well, nothing can happen between what he hears, feels, and understands without his hands.

Mel Davis, Hammond B3 Organist Extraordinaire, has understood the power of his hands to transport the sound of instruments from his imagination to a concert hall or nightclub full of eager twitching bodies for all of his life, dating back to childhood.

The Hammond’s big band grooves, thanks to masters and club mentors such as George Benson, Larry Young, Jr., Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Dr. Lonnie Smith, worked their way into Davis’ DNA. Eventually his hands were walking and talking good music. But 24 years ago, Davis lost the ability to play with his hands. Caught in the motorized belt of a fast-moving container-making machine where he worked to supplement his music income, a finger was ripped from his left hand, which was also split diagonally.

Eight painful years and seven grueling operations was what it took for Davis to rehabilitate that hand and those fingers before he could play again. Even his brain underwent reconstruction. It had to adjust to Davis now playing bass with his left, chords and melodies with his right; the opposite way he learned and opposite the way most musicians play.

Immediately following his complete recovery, Davis has played, worked and recorded with the legendary jazz guitarist George Benson. During the 1998 and 1999 Newark Jazz Festival organ jams, Davis headlined with Benson, Charles Earland, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Joey DeFrancesco, Rhoda Scott and Seleno Clark with a guest appearance by Youngblood; and currently, travels the globe…England, Italy, Japan, Spain the Netherlands and more with jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan.

CDBaby presents his album It’s About Time!

Lou Marini – Starmaker

StarmakerStarmaker is the latest solo release by legendary session saxophonist “Blue” Lou Marini. The CD includes 8 originals and features Jeff Mironov, George Wadenius, Gil Golstein, Leon Pendarvis, Alan Rubin, Danny Gottlieb, Chris Parker, Manolo Bandrena, Sammy Figueroa, Bob Cranshaw, Tom Barney, Birch Johnson, Lawrence Feldman and Tommy McDonnell and others.

“The focal point of the group is Lou Marini…he gives the band most of its colors and shadings, and provides it with a strongly melodic lead voice…Marini moves through these various settings with chameleon-like adaptability, playing with a strong, full projection and rich perceptive shading in whatever style he happens to find himself.”
John Simon, New York Times

Are you interested? Then listen to Starmaker at CDBaby.

Sax O’Groove – Sax O’Groove

During the Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg 2010 I had the opportunity to attend a concert of the group Akusticos. Their fresh smooth jazz performance received great applause of the audience and all listeners trust in the splendid future of these young musicians. Akusticos are John Odio (sax) and Walter Chepe Blanco (guitar). This band from San Jose, Costa Rica plays together since more than ten years and shows top-quality music.

Promoted was this group by the German publisher Andreas Buechel, who also released their album Lluvia (2010) on his label Print Sound UG. Andreas’ secret passion is the sax. With the release of Sax O’Groove (2013) is this passion an open secret. Sax O’Groove is a cooperation of Andreas Buechel and John Odio. Both recorded, mixed and produced all songs.

Andreas is performing sax, keyboard and additional programming, John drums, additional saxes and keyboard. Both are joined by Walter Chepe Blanco (guitar), Andreas Jimenez (bass), Isaac Quiros (trombone), Dirk Steinberg (sax) and many more.

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Phil Perry – Say Yes

SayYesA great vocalist has a way of inhabiting a song, living it and making it their own. It takes especially great powers of interpretation for a singer to take a song definitively recorded by a legendary artist and give it new life with a fresh interpretation. Phil Perry takes on the ultimate challenge with the opening track of his new album, the indelible “You Send Me,” recorded in classic style by the peerless Sam Cooke, whose own unique phrasing style actually shapes the melody of the tune, which he wrote. Yet Phil Perry transforms the song while still retaining its essence, opening in “old school” style and then transmuting it into contemporary soul music. Few singers around today could have done it but those who have experienced the magic of Phil Perry’s talent will not be surprised.

On March 12, 2013, Shanachie Entertainment will release SAY YES, Phil Perry’s latest—and quite possibly, greatest—album. With special guests Chanté Moore and Najee, Phil delivers a splendid mix of originals and notable covers in a style befitting the man James Ingram who calls Perry “the most powerful singer I have ever heard.”

“As always, when working with Big Dog (Davis), we try to address all the relevant directions relating to the material,” explains Perry. “We try to keep the classic essence while allowing me to be the artist that I am. What that means is singing the melody without it being sterile, inserting new background ideas and different instrumentation to contemporize the sound without removing the essence of classic R & B.”

Produced by the multi-talented Chris “Big Dog” Davis, who has produced the likes of Will Downing, Maysa, and Kim Burrell, SAY YES, is a beautiful collection of original compositions co-written by Phil Perry and Davis, as well as reinventions of signature hits by such icons as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Michael McDonald & Carly Simon and Sam Cooke. The CD features classic songs such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “You Belong To Me” and the aforementioned “You Send Me.” On “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Davis gives the track a subtle groove which takes the song out of pure balladry and Phil subtly gospelizes it, in short, a fresh approach to a song that has been recorded many times by other artists. Continue reading

Vennie Palmer – My Element

My ElementThe title My Element was conceived from a central idea, that Vennie Palmer is more than what most have conceptualized him to be. As a musician, most people who know me, know me in the context of a specific setting like church or with a specific artist or group. Once that perception is burned into the mind it is hard to break. I wanted to contribute more to my craft and ministry than just playing in church or with an artist. I wanted people to see me in “my element”. That meant doing something that redefines, reinvents, and overall helps me rediscover myself in the process. This album reflects these 3 events. And without over committing to any one style of music, it helps to show the variety of artistry that has influenced my growth and development as an artist, musician, and producer.

The album “My Element” started out completely different from the current product that is available now. I began work on the project in August of 2010 with the first song “Lord I Lift Your Name On High” (not on the album). The original title of the project was “Not Just A Church Boy”. Although from conception to completion the idea was the same, I originally set out to show versatility by putting new and different “spins” on popular Christians songs. About half way through, I decided to go a different route. I wanted this album to be an album that more than just Christians or “church folk” could appreciate. And that was because I wanted my music to be heard and felt in other settings than the church. Being from Miami, Florida, I have been exposed to a wide variety of music, from rock to jazz, reggae to afro-cuban, classical to celtic. I wanted this project to reflect at least some of that exposure.

The goal of “My Element” in short is to create music that is as interesting and innovative as it is inviting. In other words, I didn’t want to produce music that was so complex that people couldn’t enjoy it. On the other hand, I wanted a product that was interesting from the perspective of musicianship as well as diversity of musical styles. The other secondary goal was to create something that I as an artist and musician could be proud of. I had been use to producing music for others. This time I wanted something that features and represents my creativity and thought process that is not in the context of someone else’s work. I also wanted something that I could pass down to my children as something that “daddy” worked hard at completing.

Test My Element at CDBaby.

Ron Hutchens – After Eight

After EightHere is a case of a somewhat unheralded artist, Ron Hutchens, with more than a bit of talent. Quite a bit more than a bit, in fact. This artist, primarily a pianist/keyboardist who plays all of the instruments on this self-produced recording, may well be one of the better kept secrets in the world of smooth jazz, especially where incorporating a bit of electronica is concerned. One listen to the level of skill, the appealing phrasing, and the full grasp and insight of what works in this particulare arena of smooth jazz, and you are confronted with the realization that Hutchens just may know more than a little something about this genre.

After Eight is his  latest collection of music. The cover was painted by Pam Poe Myers. You can get this album at CDBaby.

Sax O’Groove – Sax O’Groove (1)

saxogrooveThe first CD by Sax O’Groove is a cross-section through almost four years of musical creativity, a stroll through a host of musical styles: reggae, blues, disco, pop, smooth jazz, flamenco, funk, rock and classical. The tracks and compositions are autobiographical, mirroring the ups and downs of life.

Guest musicians in the studio were: Walter “Chepe“ Blanco, Silvia Blanco, Andres Jimenez, Daniel Bissinger, Isaac Quiros, Ricardo Ramirez, Sara Lauhoff, Lumpi Lauhoff, Gustavo Ortega and Dirk Steinberg.

The Latin American musicians involved in the project are among the top names on the Latino scene. Take violinist Ricardo Ramirez: a band member on Ruben Blades’ CD “Mundo“ that scooped the 2003 Grammy as Best World Music Album and Best Contemporary Tropical Album.

Sax O’groove is to find at CDBaby.