Archive for May, 2014

John Elliott – Soaring

SoaringSoaring is my first album. Although I have created and recorded many songs during the last 35 years or so, I have never released an album. It was always one of those things that I meant to do, so finally it is here!

My musical style on this album has some influences from artists like Jean-Luc Ponty, Pat Metheny, and Lyle Mays. It is instrumental mostly jazz-fusion, yet some songs are just pleasant melodies. Usually the music has a steady prevailing rhythmical element with subtle, crafty chord changes and smooth solos.

Soaring offers smooth instrumental textured melodies with driving rhythms using traditional instruments and synthesizers sculpt a blend of jazz-fusion influenced by Jean-Luc Ponty, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, and others. Get it at CDBaby.

Rick Braun – Can You Feel It

Can You Feel ItIt’s been five years since trumpeter-flugelhorn player Rick Braun released an album full of the funky R&B contemporary jazz grooves that made him one of the genre’s most consistent hitmakers over the past twenty years, but the award-winning musician, producer and songwriter returns to his signature sound July 8 with the release of his sixteenth album, Can You Feel It, which will be issued by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records. A bona fide contender as the feel good anthem for the summer of 2014, Braun’s “Get Up And Dance,” a collaboration with tenor sax sensation Dave Koz, is already collecting radio playlist adds.

After scratching a creative itch to croon jazz standards on his two most recent releases, “Sings with Strings” and the holiday-themed “Swingin’ in the Snow,” Braun had a very specific direction he wanted to pursue for “Can You Feel It” for which he wrote or co-wrote nine tunes along with helming the production.

“When I started working on this album, which was about a year in the making, there were two goals that I had in mind. I wanted it to be really organic and have a lot of my friends playing on it. Young players melding together with the old faithful,” explained Braun. Continue reading

Jonathan Butler – Living My Dream

South African icon Jonathan Butler is an elemental force of the stage. Where he performs the fire of entertainment burns. His fellow musicians love his vibrancy. They like to follow his call, when it comes to a new album.

Jonathan shouted out for support and they all came. In the liner notes are mentioned George Duke, Marcus Miller, Elan Trotman, Katisse Buckingham and a lot more.

Living My Dream (2014) is a concept album including the most important moments of his life. The journey begins with African Breeze, a soundtrack Butler recorded together with Hugh Masekela for the movie The Jewel of the Nile. A brilliant piece of South African pop jazz jive featuring Butler on nylon string guitar.

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The Puppeteers – The Puppeteers

They aren’t controlled by strings or by a hand in a sock. In fact, the Puppeteers are the ones in control. The Puppeteers (Puppet’s Records, 2014) brings together four accomplished musicians who logged many hours on stage at the former Puppet’s Jazz club in Brooklyn.

The players are Arturo O’Farrill, piano; Bill Ware, vibraphone; Alex Blake, bass; and Jaime Affoumado, drums. Collectively, their associations include The Jazz Passengers, Steely Dan, The Manhattan Transfer, Sun Ra, Stan Getz, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Jaco Pastorious and Wynton Marsalis.

Blake’s “On the Spot” has a main phrase that reminds one of the classic, “Giant Steps.” The similarities end there. Ware then goes on a jaunt worthy of Lionel Hampton, with some intense support from the other musicians. O’Farrill and Affoumado get their licks in, too.

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Xavier Scott – My Perfect Imperfections

My Perfect ImperfectionsGrowing up in Decatur,Ga. Xavier Scott knew at an early age the he wanted to be an entertainer. From the classroom, churches, clubs, restaurants, festivals and anywhere in-between, Xavier loves to give the people what they want, and that’s “pure excitement. ” This album reflects Xavier’s journey in life from his early beginnings to the present. Tracks like ” The Candy Lady” and “Freaks Like Us” will have you shaking what your mama gave you, and anything else you can think of. His tune ” We Just Do It ” has a Dirty South meets South America touch.

From the head bobbing ” Mr. Library Man ” and the title track “My Perfect Imperfections ” this CD delivers big time. ‘It Just Might Work’ is one of those tunes that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Xavier’s song ‘But Tonight I Need You” will jump start your musical libido moving. ( if it hasn’t already gotten going from all the other tracks) ” I’m Not Old “, “I’m Kinda Busy Right Now “, “Did She Ask About Me”, “Get Down Tonight ‘, and “Nice To Meet You” are all fun, yet carefully composed tunes that will suck you in and hold you until the last notes are played. “Last Time We Met We.. ” is a laid back and chill-out for a bit until the next tune gets you back into the ” I Feel So Good Mode.” If you want you to take a trip back to when music made you smile, just grab a seat and let Xavier do the rest! Enjoy the album at CDBaby!

Federico Guillermo – Yo Peace

Yo PeaceGuitarist, composer, arranger, producer Federico Guillermo was born in the Bronx, NYC. He presently lives with his wife, Helena in the Champlain Valley a mile from the Adirondack Park blue line on the Saranac River.

Growing up in NYC in the 60’s, a hotbed of rapidly transforming music scene and influenced by a multitude of music genres. Listening to Dylan, Donovan, the Doors, Love, Hendrix, the Animals, Wes Montgomery, John Hall, Cream, Segovia; just to name a few and a myriad of other artists along with pop radio was the inspiration to learn the guitar.
Beginning guitar lessons and bass guitar lessons at 16 with the goal of getting into a band started the adventure.
Federico studied multi-track recording at the Institute of Audio Research and in the early 80’s learned how to be a professional guitarist at the Guitar Study Center in NYC.

The mid 80’s with the advent of home recording, drum machines, sequencers, etc. Freddie started writing and arranging on the computer. Federico is still doing the same thing today except the gear and his chops are better. Playing guitar and guitar synthesizer along with a computer generated “band” is where the sound comes from. His new album Yo Peace offers relaxing instrumental music featuring his sweet romantic guitar; a mix and blend of new age, smooth jazz and rock now at CDBaby.

Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca 2014

The smooth jazz community is international. One likes to travel to faraway places to meet with like-minded people. So you can enjoy not only the concerts of popular artists but exchanges views among themselves. Many have formed friendships with each other and are also linked via Facebook or other platforms. This multiplies the impressions gained for all the senses, especially when one meets in such illustrious climes as the 5-star Protur Biomar Hotel in Sa Coma.

Concert promoter Christian Bößner had invited for the third time and they came to this outstanding event from many countries. We were particularly pleased to see so many American friends who had after all to cope with a wide approach path. And there were very prominent among them such as Melody Warren, who is very active with her JAZZ IN M.E.E. magazine. She equipped many artists with her t-shirts which maps the logo of her magazine. We could also welcome Sandy Shore known by her website and radio station

Regulars at this festival include Jaume Nebot from Spain, the competent general manager for the Protur Hotels, Peter Boehi from Suisse, who has already written his personal impressions on his website Smooth Vibes, Sascha Brezina from Austria, who always comes closest to the artists with his camera, Michel Mathieu from France, Len Seward and his wife from London, UK, Hilde Jervsjø and husband from Norway, Andreas Büchel, Germany, who is responsible for all prints of this festival, and the list goes on and on.

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fo/mo/deep – The Groovy Goodness

I set out my stall when I reviewed fo/mo/deep’s previous record A Beautiful Bang and I’m glad to have been able to keep up with the band between the release of that record and 2014’s deliciously titled The Groovy Goodness.

As I type this, summer seems like it’s upon us and the burst of energy that is ‘1974’ just makes it feel all the more real. The passionate sax and electric piano solos reinforce what the rhythm section has told you from minute one – it’s on! I just went back and listened to this song after drafting this first paragraph – because I can’t get that sax hook out of my head, in fact this whole song has grabbed me and won’t let go. Funk lovers are in more familiar territory with ‘Block Party’, which is a sax-led head-nodding number. There is a lot of air in Ron Holmes’ fretless bass line and André Scott’s snare drum pattern – which I always love – this must be a great jam live.

Is it a Motown track, or a big band number creepin’ up on you? Neither – it’s ‘Groidology’. It has a real swagger, helped by the loping upright bass line. I loved this song the first time I heard it and it gets better all the time. The rhythmic figure on piano and *that* trombone solo bring it on home. Mighty, mighty. Blues? Is John Lee Hooker in the house? ‘Peach Cobbler’ has an old Crusaders sound – and I mean that this sounds like Wilton Felder and Joe Sample circa 1972. The break midway through has an almost carnival vibe – it sounds like someone is having a ball in the studio!

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Ark Ovrutski – 44:33

Born in Kiev, Ark Ovrutski began playing violin at age 8 – influenced not by classical music but by his father’s love of American jazz stars Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Now, Ovrutski releases his third album as a leader, 44:33 (Zoho Records, 2014).

Ovrutski plays double bass. With him are trombonist Michael Dease, saxophonist Michael Thomas, pianist David Berkman and drummer Ulysses Owens. Benito Gonzalez plays electric piano on one track.

The set begins in Bourbon Street fashion with “New Orleans.” Owens’ gumbo drum play mixes well with Berkman’s piano. Thomas plays the soprano on this track, alternating lines with Dease. During one sequence, the two horns sound like police sirens. Then they overlap with independent melodies, like the Dixieland style. The pair then step aside for a moment, leaving things to the trio of Berkman, Owens and Ovrutski. All three stretch out plenty, complementing one another. The horns return for the finale.

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Gabriel – Selah

SelahGabriel was born in Oregon, later he went to Columbia, MO. After a rehabilitation program he decided to make music. His new album Selah showcases his great talent as pianist.

Listen to this album at CDBaby.