Archive for May, 2014

Michael Manson – Thumpin!

ThumpinAfter 5 years of working on my love project, the Musical Arts Institute, I am finally back, to release a record that I’ve always wanted to do. My 1st live record. It features some new tracks and some reworking of some other tracks. On this recording, no special guests from my friends, but just a showcase of my band and I “getting it in”.

Most importantly and personally, for me is a tribute to my friend and mentor George Duke who I dedicate this project to. This project, along with a DVD of the same name, will be release on the NuGroove 2 label. I’m looking forward to everyone hearing this music. I believe that it will be a blessing in your life and you will get to know who Michael Manson really is.

I have enjoyed my time with all the great artists that I’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with over the years. They all have encourage me to follow this path in release this, my 4th album. I want you, you, and even you to enjoy this musical experience. Listen to the music!!!


Robert Miller – Twenty

During his career, New York bassist and composer Robert Miller has been creating jazz music with a lot of different musicians for several decades. He started with solo projects and formed bands like “The Robert Miller Group” and “Project Grand Slam” with some of the best musicians of the genre. Several Grammy-nominations and Top 20 Jazz-Radio-Hits were the result of that creative process.

For his new Album Twenty, Miller has chosen sixteen tracks from his huge oeuvre, mostly taken  from the two releases Play (2007) and Spring Dance (2012) together with some older songs of Miller’s solo work.

The whole album describes the unique career of Robert Miller and is -at the same time- like a journey through the different styles of Jazz Music of the last twenty years.

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Sam Rucker – Tell You Something

Saxophonist Sam Rucker released his debut album Heat from the Heavens in 2011. This album is still available as download at or iTunes. His new album Tell You Something (2014) is supported with stronger promotion.

At the new project musicians are involved with veritable names: Norman Connors produced several songs, also credited are Carlton Savage (guitar), Brian Eubanks (bass), Greg ‘Termite’ Rich (piano), Bobby Lyle (keyboards), Duke Jones (trumpet) and many more.

Rucker starts the album with the title song showcasing a special affinity for a sophisticated horn arrangement. With a tenor saxophone in the lead he he designs his melody line with dynamic blowing.

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Ulysses Owens Jr. – Onward & Upward

Ulysses Owens Jr. is counted among the new breed of young drummers on the New York scene who are fast approaching veteran status. Onward & Upward (D-Clef Records, 2014) establishes that status.

Owens is a member of bassist Christian McBride’s trio. The Jacksonville, Florida, native and 2006 Julliard School of Music graduate brings a mix of original songs and covers on his third outing as a leader. Accompanying him are Anat Cohen, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Jason Palmer, trumpet; Michael Dease, trombone; Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Christian Sands, piano; and Reuben Rogers, bass. Appearing on selected tracks are Charles Turner, vocals; Adam Rongo, alto saxophone; Benny Benack, trumpet, vocals and percussion; and Matthew Rybicki, bass.

Onward and Upward is bookended by two drum solos, the title song in which Owens is complemented by hand claps, and “Drum Postlude,” which pays homage to Max Roach’s “The Drum Also Waltzes.”

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Yinka Sax – Limitless

yinkasaxOne of the thing we are called to do is to Worship our maker, Yinka Sax is versatile and a talented Saxophone player. Not just about his playing but the hand of God is upon him at all time, you will be inspired when listening to his music.

An inspiring praise and worship instrumental music. This is a music that will definitely bless your body, soul and spirit. Limitless are your possibilities at CDBaby.

Ron Hurak – Be Cool

Be CoolSmooth lounge tunes that will relax your senses and allow you to take a break from the outside world. Great for background listening at work, at home or in your car. This album is a soft mix of jazz, blues and bossa nova styles that you will replay over and over again. Listeners often refer to Ron Hurak‘s music as soothing, sensual, unique and hypnotic.

Check it out at CDBaby.

Duncan Millar – Fresh Air

I had the pleasure of reviewing Duncan Millar’sGood to Go” as long ago as 2002 and it was good to catch up with 2012’s “Fresh Air“.

Millar has retained his ear for strong hooks and addictive rhythms and this is abundantly clear on the breezy title track, where piano takes the lead role. He’s also comfortable with his Latin side and ‘Buenas’ is delightful – an elegant production which evokes warm sunshine, the beach, a cocktail, need I go on? The lovely samba ‘Ilhabela’ keeps that vibe going, and the trading of solos between electric piano, soprano sax and acoustic guitar certainly keeps me smiling.

The waltz ‘As Lovers Do’ is as pretty as it is moving. I hope that Mr Millar was not offended when I asked him did he write this – it has a nostalgic feel that made me believe it had been written 40, 50 or even 60 years ago, but no. It’s an original piece which has won a place in my heart. It’s just too good to analyze in detail – I just hope you hear it soon.

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Slim Man – Sweet Sixteen

Musician and bon vivant Slim Man has just released his new project Bona Fide (2014). Together with his new album he sent me the compilation Sweet Sixteen, which isn’t listed on his website and isn’t available in online stores.

Last year he sent out an email to his fan community Slim People. He asked them to name their favorite Slim Man songs. Slim put as many as he could fit on Sweet Sixteen. There are actually 17 songs on Sweet Sixteen.

The CD is only available for purchase at Slim Man shows. But anyone who orders the new Bona Fide CD gets a free Sweet Sixteen CD as a gift. All songs are the original recordings from the original masters, except for Now And Forever, which is from the Slim Man Live album and Secret Rendezvous, which is from Bella Mia.

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Ariel Alexander and Jon Bremen – Street Cries

Using a traditional song as inspiration for the title, saxophonist Ariel Alexander and guitarist Jon Bremen release Street Cries (2014), a short set of five songs that offers about 25 minutes of play.

In addition to their primary instruments, Alexander and Bremen are credited with programming. The other musicians are Louis Cole, drums; Vardan Ovsepian, keyboard and piano; Tim LeFebvre, bass; and Sara Leib, vocals.

“Street Cries of Charleston” is a bit abstract. Punctuated by the midtown rush of the drum track, it has a mix of sounds from the melodic saxophone to various electronic effects. Rather than a discernible composition of verse, chorus and middle break, it’s more a case of dropping into the inner city and letting things happen.

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The Rippingtons – Fountain Of Youth

FountainFountain of Youth album for sale by Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons  is scheduled to be released Jun 10, 2014 on the Entertainment One Music label. The album was recorded mostly by Russ Freeman.

1. Spice Route
2. Rivers Of Gold
3. North Shore
4. We Will Live Forever
5. The Sun King
6. Fountain Of Youth
7. Emerald City
8. Soul Riders
9. Waterfalls Of Bequia
10. Garden Of Gods

“North Shore” will be the first single sent to radio, with the first expected air date of May 12.

Russ Freeman has called this the “Rippingtons Guitar Heaven CD.”

A full national tour is expected to be announced very soon on The first stay will be in Las Vegas.