Archive for February, 2014

Freeze Frame – Experience

To fill a gap in education or to give a secret tip, from which side you approach the phenomenon Freeze Frame, it’s worth to discover. I am reporting for years now about Ray Bach‘s albums, but the novelty is consistent. His relative unfamiliarity for the American listeners is explained by the few far too few live performances.

This year, he delights us again with a new release. Experience is the costliest, which Ray has ever produced. The longest album, the most musicians, the largest production expenses. That makes curious! Ray comments꞉ “It’s all about experience, it’s all about influence and inspiration.”

As dazzling as his music, so different are his idols. He counts to his influences Solar Fire, Sakamoto and Yellow Jackets. Involved in the new project, in addition to arranger, songwriter, producer and keyboardist Ray Bach are Petra Rathmann (sax), Ricky Garcia (guitars), Lisa (vocals), Nils Karsten (trumpet), Lars Slowak (bass), Andrew McGuinness (drums), Georg Hahn (vocals, guitars, bass), and Dirk Bakker (drums).

Read more …

Pete Mills – Sweet Shadow

No disrespect for other instruments in the family, but there’s really nothing like a tenor sax as lead instrument in jazz. Its flavor is rich, its range exceptional. And in the hands of Pete Mills, it can make many a listener happy. And it’s fresh with 11 original songs on Mills’ Sweet Shadow (Cellar Live Records, 2014).

The project features Mills, Pete McCann on acoustic and electric guitars, Erik Augis on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Matt Wilson on drums.

The set begins with vigor. “Shiner” opens with a bouncy lead by Mills with the accompaniment fully locked in. Mills says the song is based on the standard, “My Shining Hour.” One can almost feel the charm of a jazz diva, such as Kitty Margolis or Sara Gazarek crooning this one in front of a big band or small ensemble. Mills steps aside Augis and McCann to have a moment to shine. And they do, with plenty of action underneath by Wind and Wilson.

Read more …

Dean Grech – We Got Lost

WegotlostDean has played guitar from the age of 8, and became a professional musician at age 11. Dean’s guitar playing is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Johnny Smith, blended with the more modern sounds of Peter White and Norman Brown. Vocally, he has captured the essence of Kenny Rankin, with a taste of Michael Buble, and the soulfulness of Bill Withers.

Chris Mann wrote about his debut album Look Out: “What have we heard then? A great guitar tone, turned to blues, funk and varying shades of jazz. We’ve heard some clever songwriting and some confident and hip-sounding vocals. The production is classy too – there is no point where it feels like “hey, I’m gonna make a guitar-players album”. This record is for everybody – it’s going to make a lot of friends.”

His new album We Got Lost is now available at CDBaby.

Jon O’Bergh – Skin Deep

Skin DeepSkin Deep is pianist and keyboardist Jon O’Bergh‘s ninth studio album featuring songs influenced by such artists as Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis, Dave Brubeck and Joe Sample. Skin Deep also features a cover of Beyonce’s “Love On Top” taken from her “4” album.

Skin Deep, produced by bassist and multi-instrumentalist Andre Ajamu Akinyele (Gemini Soul), is a return to Jon O’Bergh’s Gemini Soul roots, capturing the essence of that jazz/funk/fusion vibe. On Skin Deep Jon, the “Jedi of Cool,” plays piano, Fender Rhodes, and keyboards; while Andre Akinyele lays down the bass, guitar, drums, drum programming, additional keyboards and strings. The new release also features the Nu Jazz Horns, percussionist Earl Jones, additional guitar by L. C. Bell, and scratches provided by DJ Electric Boogaloo.

Fans of Jon O’Bergh and Gemini Soul will be delighted to know that Skin Deep grooves with pure funk, fusion, smooth and cool jazz all at the same time, keeping Cyber Jazz alive! Get it now at CDBaby!

Terry Woolard – I Know It Feels Good

I Know It Feels GoodTerry Woolard comments about his album: “I released my first CD on September 7, 2001. “What’s Up Little Man” is dedicated to my Son Terry Woolard Jr. I wanted to give him a gift that he can treasure for the rest of his life. On December 19, 2005 I released my second recording “It’s All About Love”, a more lyrical CD, which brought an even greater range of music ideas and production. Since then, I landed an endorsement with Korg. On August 11, 2008 I released my third album, entitled I know it feels good, this album has more of a smooth element, contains more cover songs and some lyrical material. This CD was one of my most successful recordings and was well received by my listening audience. Again I upgraded my studio to include the Korg M3 workstation, which brought a whole new meaning to my world of music. I am currently working on my fourth album which should be completed in the Summer of 2012.”

I Know It Feels Good is now on sale at CDBaby.

Rudy Royston – 303

Just a few minutes into 303 (Greenleaf Music, 2014), it’s easy to see why Rudy Royston is an in-demand drummer. His play may bring to mind any of several masters on the sticks – a list that includes but is not limited to Lenny White, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Erskine and Harvey Mason.

From Denver, Royston has served as sideman for an array of talent such as Tia Fuller, Bill Frisell and others. His debut is named for Denver’s area code. Sidemen on this date are Sam Harris, piano; Yasushi Nakamura and Mimi Jones, bass; Jon Irabagon, saxophones; Nadje Noorhuis, trumpet; and Nir Felder, guitar.

“Mimi Sunrise” has the sound of daybreak with Royston accompanying a variety of sounds with subtle drum taps and plenty of cymbal splash. The piano adds to the mood. Ultimately, a rhythm begins to take shape, setting up the haunting guitar, trumpet and saxophone play.

Read more …

Dean Grech – We Got Lost

More than four years have passed since the release of guitarist/vocalist Dean Grech’s first album “Look Out”.

Looking at the covers of that album and the new record “We Got Lost” should have given me a clue to how much the spotlight has switched from guitar to voice.

The opening song “Shake it Around” with its irresistible groove, snazzy horns and 70’s style chants would not have given me a clue, nor would the blissful samba “Playa Rosa”. Not only is the acoustic guitar to the fore in the latter song, the flute and percussion are a jazz fans’ delight. I’m personally in familiar territory listening (and grooving) to the instrumental “Let’s Go” and I defy any jazz fan not to be drawn in by Hans Zermuehlen’s gorgeous Hammond B3 and by Greg Vail’s gutsy alto sax solo.

Read more …

Jackiem Joyner – Evolve

EvolveAs a young turk on the contemporary jazz scene, saxophonist Jackiem Joyner is far from complacent and staid in his sound and style. Not afraid to challenge the fan base that took him to No. 1 twice and Top 3 two more times on the Billboard chart, Joyner gets adventurous on his fifth album, “Evolve,” which will be released April 29th by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records. It’s his first on which he wrote and produced the entire set, including the first single going to radio in mid-March, “Generation Next,” an up-tempo urban-pop track with vibrant flashes of strings that provide a contrast to Joyner’s gentle melodic sax.

Juxtaposing invigorating otherworldly sonicscapes under tender sax melodies, “Evolve” is a dynamic, highly-rhythmic session that is unpredictable laced with traces of the familiar. Listening will take you to a different place while defining Joyner as a musician and a writer beyond what we have already heard from the chart-topping rhythm and groove guy. The imaginative new set has a greater purpose with the introductory single, “Generation Next,” serving as “a declaration that the next generation of jazz musicians is here to stay. Music evolves, including jazz. All types of sound evolve. So do people and our imaginations. That is what I tried to put on tape. ‘Evolve’ captures the changes in my musical mind and how I have evolved as an artist. Rather than fitting in with the traditional, I’m bringing the audience along with songs that unfold over different and interesting soundscapes even as I move towards a live organic sound,” explains Joyner.

In addition to playing alto and soprano sax on the record, Joyner is a multi-instrumentalist who played many of the instruments heard on the collection along with a couple of high-profile assists from Grammy-nominated sax player Gerald Albright and internationally-renowned keyboardist Keiko Matsui. The collaborations are noteworthy for different reasons. When Joyner was in high school, Albright was his idol thus dueting with him on “Big Step” was a thrill. Joyner tours in Matsui’s band when not performing his own dates and wrote “Europa” with her mind. On a few tracks, he was joined by his touring band – guitarist Kayta Matsuno, bassist Tim Bailey, keyboardist Bill Steinway and drummer Raymond Johnson – to record live in the studio. Continue reading

Lauren Kinhan – Circle In A Square

She’s one of four. And now she’s on her own. Lauren Kinhan of the New York Voices steps out with Circle in a Square (Dotted i Records, 2014). It’s her third solo album.

Kinhan has been with New York Voices for two decades. Following up on her acclaimed 2010 release, Avalon, she presents a set of 12 original songs that are as much about the instruments as they are about her voice.

Andy Ezrin provides piano or Hammond B3 organ on all but one track. David Finck and Will Lee split bass duties. Ben Wittman has drums on all tracks and percussion on most. Among the other contributors are trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonists Joel Frahm and Donny McCaslin, and guitarists Romero Lubambo and Chuck Loeb.

Read more …

James Greene – Gonna Be Alright

Gonna Be AlrightThis highly anticipated album is a perfect blend of the new sound of West Coast jazz guitar coupled with the smooth cool sound of West Coast sax that touches your very soul.

Gonna Be Alright is arrived at CDBaby.