Archive for April, 2013

Bradley Joseph – Paint the Sky

Paint the SkyProfessional keyboardist/composer Bradley Joseph performed with multi-platinum artists Yanni and Sheena Easton for over a decade. Bradley was a featured keyboardist on Yanni’s Ethnicity 2003 World Tour, which was ranked the fourth largest tour of the year by Billboard Magazine. He has worked alongside Yanni for over six years and performed on the platinum selling CD, Yanni – Live At The Acropolis. It’s follow up video (titled the same) is the second best-selling music video of all time, behind Michael Jackson’s video for Thriller.

Bradley also worked with various artists under RCA, Epic, Warner Brothers, and Polygram. He toured with Sheena Easton for five years as her co-music director and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Several of Bradley’s compositions and complete CD Rapture, are published and distributed by Narada Records. His CD One Deep Breath held a position in NAV’s Top 100 radio chart for over six months. His song Fridays Child was included on the CD The Weather Channel: Smooth Jazz II, and appeared on Billboards Smooth Jazz Charts for 25 weeks.

Bradley owns Robbins Island Music. He produces, performs and distributes his own compositions including numerous CDs and piano books, worldwide. In 2005, he was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans. For more information go to: His new album Paint the Sky is now available at CDBaby.

Tony Exum Jr. – The One

The OneColorado’s shining star and saxman, Tony Exum Jr., celebrated the release of his second album The One on July 20, 2012. Stargazer’s Theater, in his hometown of Colorado Springs, hosted the party. It was a packed house with friends, family and fans showing their support and loyalty. Tony proudly shared his special moment with his daughter Lalah by his side.

The One doesn’t disappoint with 14 tracks written mostly by Tony himself and close friend Tarell Martin. The album also features Tarell Martin on drums and special guests: saxophonist/producer Marcus Anderson, bassist Julian Vaughn, guitarist Tim Bowman, and R&B vocalist Tarrell Paul aka Rellion. Other artists on the album include: Keith Askins on bass, Frank Selman and Kirby Velarde on guitars, Ronneka Cox, Brandon Young, Andrae Hazard, Anthony Cowan, and James Roberson on keyboards, Neo-Soul/R&B/Gospel vocalists Olivia Robinson, Elice Zoe and Sonia Hardy, and Hip Hop/Rap artist DK.

The One is to find under Crossover Jazz at CDBaby.

New York Voices – Live with the WDR Big Band Cologne

It’s not often that a vocal jazz group puts out an album where nearly every song is longer than five minutes. However, when that group is teamed with a fabulous orchestra, extended songs are what you get. New York Voices Live with the WDR Big Band Cologne (Palmetto Records, 2013) presents 10 songs that balance lyrics with instruments.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the Grammy-winning New York Voices are Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader and Peter Eldridge. The WDR Big Band is an 18-piece orchestra based in Cologne, Germany. Over the years, the band has participated in several stunning live performances with such jazz heavyweights as Randy and Michael Brecker and Josef Zawinul.

The set kicks off with a swinging rendition of Paul Simon’s “Baby Driver.” The Voices blend seamlessly as a unit, and even meld with the horns. Guitarist Paul Shigihara plays his middle solo like a rock star. Karolina Strassmayer adds an alto sax highlight. Eldridge provides the lead voice.

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Mister Myth – Bamboo

BambooMister Myth Bamboo brings you a special variety of styles from smooth jazz, fusion, contemporary jazz, blues, and funk.  The opener titled Funky See Funky Do, offers just that, it’s funky and fun, receiving great reviews and features a sizzling guitar solo by Ricky Z.  Just A Reminder brings a beautiful smooth jazz performance on the soprano sax, full of colors reminding us of the celebration of life.

Last Exit came to him while driving home late one night, giving you the feeling of reflective lights and the contemplation of thoughts. This is one story everyone will want to hear. For What Goes Up (must come down) a straight-ahead Jazz style tune with a surprise rhythmic kick in the bridge, supports a beautiful performance by Harold Zinno on Flugelhorn and a wonderful accompaniment by Michael Cammarata on Piano.

The track titled Colors Of Seasons gives an ongoing commitment to development as an artist and composer, with a powerful tune that kicks up into high gear, delivering a energetic emotional tenor sax solo. Island Sands, let’s you dance on the sands of Jamaica, with this fun Caribbean song. You’ll hear a full arrangement of saxophones, trumpets, flutes, clarinets and even a recorder is added for color. Smoke Filled features Joel Peskin on a smooth sub-tone blues tune that has a sound out of the 1930’s. If you want to go back in time to pay tribute to the fathers of early jazz, this is the track. Continue reading

Chris McNulty – The Song That Sings You Here

The Song That Sings You Here (Challenge Records, 2012) is a bittersweet assembly of music by vocalist Chris McNulty. The song selections and two original compositions were developed before the death of her son, Sam. The artist says the album sounds like it was conceived after her son died on July 16, 2011. “I have no explanation for this except to say that every song I sing, I sing for him. I sing him here, always.”

The core group accompanying McNulty are bassist Ugonna Okegwo, drummer Marcus Gilmore and guitarist Paul Bollenbock. Piano duties are split by Graham Wood and Andrei Kondokov.

Starting out with a little scat, McNulty charms and swings on “How Little We Know.” The rhythm section backs her up admirably, assisted by Igor Butman’s tenor sax. Butman lets the instrument fly freely during the middle break. Bollenback also gets his moment to shine.

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J. Laroi – West End of the Sky

West End of the SkyJ. Laroi was born Jeffrey LaRoi Smith on August 19, 1964 in the Bronx, New York. He comes from a musical family, some of his relatives include the late Grover Washington Jr., and Roger “Zapp” Troutman. He plays several instruments which include guitar, bass,and keyboards. J.LaRoi plays smooth jazz infused with rock, Latin, R&B & world influences.

J.LaRoi started playing guitar at the age of 12 after watching his grandfather Newman Williams ( a blues guitar player) play guitar. While attending high school in Yorktown Heights, NY, He worked part time as a guitar instructor at the Carrozza Music school headed by world-renowned accordionist Carmen Carrozza. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in college at Morgan State University where he was a Biology,pre-Med major. During this time, J.LaRoi played with several local bands, one of which included Incognito vocalist Maysa Leak.

After graduating from college, he continued playing music and started honing his skills as a recording & mix engineer. During this time, he married his wife Romona, and the couple had 5 children. While working as a medical technologist in Maryland, J.LaRoi took a job with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. He would tour with the group for the next 7 years.
After his stint with Maze was over, he started recording and producing local acts and has worked with such acts as Groove Stu, RuScola, Dru Hill, Lenny Williams, Lonnie Liston Smith, Kut Klose to name a few.

At the urging of his father, J.LaRoi started & completed what is now the CD entitled  West End of the Sky which is now released at CDBaby.

Terri Lyne Carrington – Money Jungle

Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington has been haunted by Duke Ellington. More to the point, she’s been haunted since first hearing a recording she picked up in a discount bin around 2003. It was a trio recording featuring Ellington with bassist Charlie Mingus and drummer Max Roach: Money Jungle. That recording was a commentary on the ongoing battle between art and profit.

Carrington decided to bring in keyboardist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride to recapture the spirit of that recording, while making it fresh with her own interpretations. Money Jungle (Concord Jazz, 2013) features the trio with eight arrangements of Ellington’s music, plus two originals by Carrington and one by Clayton. Others who contribute here and there are Robin Eubanks, trombone; Tia Fuller, alto flute; Antonio Hart, flute; Nir Felder, guitar; Arturo Stable, percussion; Shea Rose and Lizz Wright, voice tracks; Herbie Hancock, the voice of Ellington on “Rem Blues/Music”; and Clark Terry, voice and trumpet on “Fleurette Africain.”

The title track’s opening voice-over paints a vivid picture: It’s all about money, set to the backdrop of Carrington’s toms. Then the band kicks in, with McBride’s snapping bass licks helping set the tone and Clayton taking point. The song, as stated by the voice-over, is a dark look at the world and the cynical view that people only exist to make money – not for their material gains but to keep the machine going. The closing sequence of the song is overlaid with actual sound bites of political figures speaking about current economic issues, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

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Anthony Crawford – Urban Jazz / My Story

UrbanJazzMyStoryOne might easily contend that bassist Anthony Crawford has music flowing through his veins instead of blood.  When you take into consideration that his dad is the noted funk and rock drummer Hubert “H bomb” Crawford, who has played with greats like James Brown, Cyndi Lauper and Mother’s Finest, and his uncle is the legendary jazz saxophonist Hank Crawford, the evidence becomes even more convincing.   Now factor in the knowledge that he picked up his first instrument at age two, began visualizing his musical destiny at age 6, started teaching himself the bass at age 12, and was performing on stage with Bette Midler at 14, the evidence is enough to make you really wonder.

One listen to his latest release however, and one just might be totally convinced.  With his new effort, Crawford amazingly mixes, meshes and mingles musical genres in a lusciously seductive terrain he calls “Urban Jazz / My Story.”  “Urban Jazz / My Story,” on Hydro 6 Records, sweeps across the textures of  jazz, funk, R&B, pop and hip hop and morphs into a musical collage of enchanting innovation and interpretation.

Crawford’s intricate bass styling grounds and centers the listener through 14 tracks of mellow melodious adventure.  With contributions from a variety of artists, including Eric Darius, Frank McComb and Dave Weckl; song, harmony and rhythm wondrously whirl together in artistic free flight.  “Only You,” the single release from the project, features  McComb on vocals and is a determined declaration that rocks with commitment.   “Bass Guitar” another track from the project, singularly swirls and twirls the flavors of hip hop, pop and contemporary jazz into one delicious treat.  Continue reading

Polarity – King Of Hearts

Colorado-based saxophonists Pete Lewis and Clare Church have unleashed a new project, Polarity, an ensemble of six that includes the two leaders and their son, drummer Patrick Lewis. King of Hearts (Tapestry Records, 2012) presents 10 original compositions that are engaging, fresh and all-around fun.

Completing the ensemble are pianist Ben Markley, guitarist Eric Wiggs and bassist Ron Bland. The group’s inspirations are drawn heavily from the writings of Don Grolnick and the Yellowjackets. The concept is that the rhythm section provides an integral part of the orchestration rather than just serving as background for the leads.

“Jackets” is a lively groove that gets the set going. A nod to the Yellowjackets, this piece features some of the ’Jackets’ signature stop-time syncopation, often with two or more instruments blending on the melody. Lewis stretches out during the middle solo, leading the way with plenty of help from keys, drums, guitar and bass. Wiggs follows and then the keyboard.

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The KM Project – Slices

SlicesThe KM Project is the brainchild of trumpet master Steve Madaio and flute wizard Tom Keenlyside. After meeting by chance in Palm Desert in 2010, they compared notes on their perspective careers and found they had many things in common…long and productive recording and performing careers, eclectic musical tastes and a deep love of playing music. After playing a few gigs together, they realized how closely their phrasing matched and how compatible their musical visions were.

It seemed obvious… record an album together. Deciding what to play was another matter. After throwing around a few ideas, the “Slices” concept popped out… warm-hearted jazzy takes on some classic tunes in the Great American pop songbook.

Steve and Tom have performed and recorded with some of the biggest artists around, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Natalie Cole, Earth Wind and Fire, Bob Dylan, Diana Krall, Van Halen, Tom Jones, and many, many more. Slices presents some of the great music of the sixties in a modern musical setting, and still retains the exciting feeling of the originals.

Go for the album to CDBaby.