Archive for January, 2014

Marty Williams – The Hidden Treasures

Hidden TreasuresBay Area jazz pianist and vocalist, Marty Williams, was called “The Catalyst” by San Francisco Chronicle critic Phil Elwood. Anna DeLeon of Anna’s Jazz Island said: “Marty Williams is one of the Bay Area’s treasures. His piano playing and singing are passionate, humorous, and unique. Think Oscar Brown Jr. plus Mose Allison plus Monk with just a dash of Redd Foxx! Yes, unique!”

Throughout his career Marty has played at numerous venues and with many other notable musicians in the US and abroad. He has been part of the San Francisco jazz scene well over 25 years and plays regularly with world-class musicians, guitarist Eric Swinderman, bassist, Ruth Davies and drummer, Ranzel Merritt. His most significant influences include Hampton Hawes, Les McCann, Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Miles Davis, Junior Mance, and Carmen McRae just to name a few…

Marty’s most recent CD, soon to be released, “The Hidden Treasures” showcases his incredible talent. He invites us to listen closely to his voice on the piano and in his interpretation of some of his most favorite tunes. He tells us there’s a story there that just might give us some insight into the life of a very talented musician who has spent his life in pursuit of his own voice and style of his dream.

Where do we find these treasures? At CDBaby.

Chris Standring – Don’t Talk, Dance!

When Chris Standring records a new album, you have to expect the unexpected. His upcoming album don’t talk, Dance! is a departure from his earlier style, as we know it from his albums Velvet (1998), Hip Sway (2000), Groovalicious (2003), Soul Express (2006), Love and Paragraphs (2008), Blue Bolero (2010) or Electric Wonderland (2012).

Although he recorded the album with known jazz musicians such as bassists Andre Berry and Neil Stubenhaus, and drummers Dave Salinas, Guy Richman, Dave Karasony, Sergio Gonzales, Eric Valentine, Joey Heredia, Chris Blondal and keyboardist Rodney Lee, he surprises us with some Euro-styled electronic dance music.

Chris explains this decision: “… I have to do something fresh every time out. On most tracks artists record in my genre, there’s a melody, chorus and solo and essentially their featured instrument is the lead voice throughout. On don’t talk, Dance! I didn’t want to play that game, putting my guitar up front every minute. Because when I listen to all the crazy European music that’s been inspiring me lately, I’m finding a lot of it is more about vibe than melody and I didn’t want to change that too much. I chose to keep the ‘danciness’ part of that intact’ but put my own spin on it …”

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Justin Morell Dectet – Subjects and Compliments

Normally, an ensemble of this size is referred to as a band, group or even orchestra. The term “dectet,” which is to 10 what quartet is to four, is not mainstream. That hardly matters, as the Justin Morell Dectet delivers with Subjects and Compliments (Sonic Frenzy Records, 2013).

This set of all-original music features guitarist Justin Morell with 10 other players. They are Bob Sheppard, alto and soprano saxophones; Ben Wendel, tenor saxophone and bassoon; Matt Otto, tenor saxophone; Phil O’Connor, bass clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophones; John Daversa, trumpet and flugelhorn; Alan Ferber, trombone; George Thatcher, bass trombone; Leonard Thompson, piano; Damian Erskine, bass; and Mark Ferber, drums.

“The Wobbler” is underscored by a nearly monotonous but playful piano beat. The horns blend for the quirky melody, punctuated by clever stick work by Mark Ferber. As things settle down, Erskine takes the bass out for a “let’s see where the wind takes us” jaunt, followed by Daversa’s own excursion. After the solos, bass and trombone unit for an alternate take on the melody. The piano reintroduces its original beat, setting up the song’s ending.

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Will Donato – Universal Groove

Universal GrooveWill Donato has performed with some of the best known musicians of the genre, namely Al McKay of Earth, Wind and Fire, Bruce Conte of Tower of Power and Steve Reid of The Rippingtons; Donato also fronted Reid’s Bamboo Forest for four years. He has worked outside the smooth jazz genre as well, most notably with Gerald Levert and Richard Marx. In addition, Donato frequently tours with his own band, The Art of Sax.

CDBaby presents his newest release Universal Groove.

Rudy Rodriguez – Memorias Del Alma

Memorias Del AlmaRudy Rodriguez plays with such and anointing and much emotion that he fills every song with the presence of God.
Every song is detailed with precise instrumentation and arrangements with very talented musicians.

Memorias Del Alma offers soulful and Inspirational melodies laced with an expressive saxophone now at CDBaby.

Douyé – So Much Love

Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based singer Douyé (pronounced Doe-Yay) is influenced by Sade, Dianne Reeves, Chanté Moore, Regina Belle, and Rachelle Ferrell. A high measuring pole and at the same time commitment, which Zouyé wants to achieve.

Douyé started her career in 2007 with her debut album Journey now followed by her sophomore album So Much Love (2013). Douyé has written all songs together with British songwriter Terry Shaddick. She is supported by some known musicians such as the late Ricky Lawson, bassist Ron Jenkins, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpet player Rick Braun, keyboardist Phillip Saisse and more.

The album opens with Til Morning Comes, you can say all great theater. Not only that she is amazingly close to Sade’s style, even the instrumentation is finest. Love Rules excels through subtle chorus with impressing harmony. Most of the instruments of this song are performed by JR Hutson, who also recorded with Jill Scott.

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Various Artists – Salsa De La Bahia Vol. 1 – A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin Jazz

A man once told me his favorite instrumental music involved horns and percussion. While that can apply to jazz performed by a mid-size combo, it didn’t occur to me in the moment that he might be referring to Latin jazz, salsa or similar styles. I can only imagine the joy in his eyes if he could hear Salsa De La Bahia Vol. 1 – A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin Jazz (Patois Records, 2013).

This two-disc assembly of festive music features a variety of artists in a snapshot of the San Francisco area’s scene, that also serves as homage to musicians and dancers “whose vision, energy and talent still resound to inspire us all,” writes Wayne Wallace, head of the Patois label.

Wallace, who fronts the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, partnered with filmmaker Rita Hargrave. Salsa De La Bahia is a companion piece to The Last Mambo, which traces the evolution of the Bay Area’s Latin music scene from Cal Tjader, Benny Velarde and the Escovedo Brothers to contemporary masters such as John Santos, Jesus Diaz and Anthony Blea.

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