Archive for March, 2013

Ken Hatfield Sextet – For Langston

Ken Hatfield takes the relationship between jazz and poetry to a different level. For Langston (Arthur Circle Music, 2012) by the Ken Hatfield Sextet pays tribute to American poet Langston Hughes.

Poetry readings are often accompanied by jazz, whether as a soundtrack in the background or paired as separate parts of an evening program. Hatfield, a guitarist and composer who has a deep love for literature, is always on the lookout for text that’s ripe for musical interpretation.

Released on February 1, the anniversary of Hughes’ birth, For Langston has a lineup of Hatfield on guitar, Hilary Gardner on vocals, Jamie Baum on alto flute, Hans Glawischnig on bass, Jeff Hirshfield on drums and Steven Kroon on percussion.

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Phil Perry – Say Yes

One wonders why a singer like Phil Perry is assigned to general jazz. For me, he is the embodiment of classic R&B. At festivals and also in recordings he worked often with representatives of smooth jazz. So you can listen to this singer on Najee’s The Smooth Side Of Soul or Rising Sun, Alexander Boynton Jr.’s Doo Bee Doo Bop or A. Ray Fuller’s The Weeper.

Phil has already recorded numerous solo projects. Since 2006 he is connected with Shanachie Entertainment. His newest album Say Yes was released Mar 12, 2013 and produced by Chris “Big Dog” Davis, who collaborated with Phil on all five Shanachie releases. “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.”

Sam Cooke wrote You Send Me in the prime of his youth. Perry shows just what you can get out of such a piece. Starting in a classic approach, he continues the song in a Marvin Gaye way. With the enchanting Chanté Moore he pairs on Where Is The Love? Originally recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway carries this version also the splendor of immortality.

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Boney James – The Beat

TheBeatThree-time GRAMMY nominee Boney James has returned to former label Concord Records with a dynamic, genre-busting album The Beat. One of the most successful instrumental artists of our time with sales totaling over 3 million records, James’ new project fuses his R&B/Jazz roots with Latin rhythm and percussion.

“This record was born of my love for both Latin and R&B music and became a mash-up of the two genres. The initial inspiration for the record was Sergio Mendes’ “Batucada (The Beat),” which I re-imagined as a funk tune.” “Batucada (The Beat)” reunites Boney with trumpet great Rick Braun. “Rick and I have a wonderful history. There is a certain edge and energy that comes out when we play together that creates a really cool vibe.”

Other special guests on the project include eclectic R&B soul singer Raheem DeVaughn and spoken word phenom The Floacist. The first Urban AC single, going for adds in mid-February, is “Maker of Love,” a sexy, soulful song featuring DeVaughn. “Rahmee is anartist I’ve wanted to work with for a long time and we actually met by following each other on Twitter! I sent him the track and he came back with an incredible lyric and finished vocal,” says James. Continue reading

Byron Counts – Songs in the Key of Love

Songs in the Key of LoveReflect on a pure and simple sound, but yet the mere presence of his voice and the whisper of his melodica is enough to tantalize emotions deep within the soul of the listener. Byron’s sound is a mixture of jazz, soul, pop, rhythm and blues flavors that combine together to have a starving audience begging for more. Born and raised in South Carolina, Byron began his long musical tract as a church musician. Through his formative years, Byron excelled as a well known pianist in church and different bands. It was in his teens that he began his career as a song writer. After growing impatient waiting for local singers to demo his ideas, Byron began exploring his vocal prowess ness. Influenced by artist such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sarah Vaughn, and Quincy Jones his quest for musical knowledge led him to numerous summer trips to New York.

It was there he would hook up with producer/song writer John Barber, known for his work with Mariah Carey and Taylor Dane. It was at this juncture that Byron developed as a vocalist and began performing at The Apollo Theatre and embarked on a production deal at Cove City Studio, known for there work with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. It was also at this time that Byron hooked up with singing diva CeCe Peniston and platinum producer Devante Swing of “Jodeci” to chart “I See Love” which is on her platinum selling cd “Finally”.

Byron returned to South Carolina and joined with local jazz artist Karen Alexander ( to form the internationally acclaimed jazz band Straight Ahead. It was the straight ahead years that he explored the creativity of jazz vocals and song writing and also produced the bands international CD “Into The Light”. Byron went on to start “Sounds Of The City” records and in 2009 released his first solo CD entitled “What-Evah” Soon afterwards he followed with his holiday project “It Christmas”. He just released his third project smooth jazz project “Songs In The Key Of Love”, which is now available at CDBaby.

Tom Schuman – Designated Planets

By the time Tom Schuman entered his teens, he was already a finely tuned classical and jazz pianist, as well as consummate jammer. Encouraged by his jazz bassist father and jazz singing mother, he quickly developed a career playing in pop and jazz bands, and union gigs in the Buffalo, New York, area. That ultimately led to his joining a new group fronted by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Jeremy Wall. The group: Spyro Gyra.

Schuu was just 17 when he joined that band and has been its featured keyboards player since. He has also composed more than 50 songs for the group, the first being “Laser Material” for Catching the Sun. He occasionally sits in with other artists and has recorded six solo CDs. The latest, Designated Planets (JazzBridge, 2013), presents 11 new songs plus a vocal arrangement of a previously recorded instrumental.

Guitarist Steve Oliver and saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa contribute to the title song. The piece starts with an ethereal sound, like the opening credits of a spacey science fiction movie. But it quickly shifts into a rock-fusion groove. In addition to piano and keyboards, Schuu handles bass, drums and percussion programming for all tracks except where noted. And while Oliver and Kashiwa are out front most of the way, the rhythm tracks are equally engaging.

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Magdalena Chovancova – Moving Up Quickly

Saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova is a member of the Bavarian group Threestyle together with Robert Fertl (guitars, bass trumpet, flugelhorn) and her sister Gabriela Chovancova (drums and vibraphone).

Her releases are presented by the German label Welovemusic Records. Her newest album is entitled Moving Up Quickly (2012), certainly a motto for her solo career. This project was performed by the above mentioned group members and in addition Thomas Tiefenbacher (drums), Manfred Feneberg (percussion and drums), Markus Wohner (drums and percussion) and Tormenta Jobarteh (kora) on selected tracks.

The market for smooth jazz is strongly held among female saxophonists with Candy Dulfer, Mindi Abair, Jessy J or Pamela Williams. As a newcomer, it’s hard to claim here. With Moving Up Quickly Magdalena seems to succeed.

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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.