Archive for June, 2014

Paul Hardcastle – The Jazzmasters VII

TheJazzmasters7aWell into his third decade crafting signature songs of our time churning out chart topping mega-hits with ease, Paul Hardcastle adds another branch to his musical tree, one that is again bearing delicious fruit.

VII, while it carries all of the hallmarks that have come to define his unique style and sound, takes a decidedly different approach, with the focus on serving up compelling sonic
instrumental soundscapes and less about vocals. This is Hardcastle’s wheelhouse and nobody does it better. For those who use music as an escape from the day to day, these sides are the perfect transporting device, rich soulful atmospherics that lift you through space and time and carry you away to destinations of your choosing.

Urban substructures layered with sexy yet subtle grooves, punctuated with perfectly placed notes and vibrations create the perfect flow of ambience as you depart on this soothing musical journey, a one way ticket to pure pleasure. This is pure ear candy that will provide that rush of sweetness yet is high in nutritional content, satisfying and full flavored.

The lead radio single ‘Unlimited Love’ a tip of the hat to one of Paul’s biggest influences Barry White adds another first and features label mate and one of the genres brightest rising stars trumpeter Cindy Bradley. Daughter Maxine and son Paul Hardcastle Jr again make appearances on the record providing just the right accents in all the right places.

Pull up under the Hardcastle tree, pick a side and savor the fruits of this fabulous labor. Grab this album at Amazon.com.

Jas Miller – That’s Just Fan Funking Tastic, Vol. One

jasmiller16Smooth, grooving and new contemporary jazz from one of the genre’s most fun and funking recording artists. Jas’ excellent composition, production & guitar work are featured throughout this new exciting release, along with many stellar guest performers.

Promoted at Facebook, now available at CDBaby.

Michael Manson – Thumpin’

When you attend a concert of Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, or Oletta Adams, you have a good chance to see bass player Michael Manson in action. He was also a side man of late keyboard legend George Duke. The elemental force of this bass player comes to explosion, when he takes the lead.

This moments are captured on his new double feature live album, which was recorded Thursday, October 28, 2010 at Mayne Stage, 1328 Morse Ave., Chicago, IL. Supported by a great crew of professional musicians, which are listed in the liner notes of this album, this was a festivity of Manson’s live work.

The first CD starts with Comin’ Right at Ya from his albums Just Feelin’ It (2005) and Up Front (2008). After a glorious bombastic intro filled with a horn arrangement by Steve Berry (trombone), Chris Greene (sax), Sam Hankins (trumpet) and Marqueal Jordan (sax) Mike performs the main theme on bass. A wonderful tune on the border line of smooth jazz and funk. On this expanded version Mike has enough space to show his solo qualities.

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Mindi Abair – Wild Heart

It’s probably not fair to pigeonhole Mindi Abair’s Wild Heart (Heads Up, 2014) as a smooth jazz album. Sure, there’s a smooth or contemporary jazz element. But this album is about Abair expressing herself through a variety of moods, touching on blues, rock, funk and an all-around good time.

The core band consists of Abair, alto, tenor and baritone saxes; Adam Berg, piano and keyboards; Itai Shapira, guitar and bass; Jake Najor, drums; Todd Simon, trumpet; and Elizabeth Lea, trombone. Special guests are sprinkled throughout.

Trombone Shorty sits in on the opening track, “Amazing Game.” Co-written by Abair with Jim Peterik, who also plays percussion, this track has a party vibe throughout. Abair, Shorty and other horns finish the song with a celebratory flourish.

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JJ Sansaverino – Waiting for You

Waiting for YouGuitarist JJ Sansaverino is an absolutely incredible performer, you will love him. He has a “take no prisoners” performance style and his musical style, is a mix of R&B, smooth jazz and fusion ala Santana meets Benson. He has reached millions with his music, touring the World for the last 25 years. He has worked with the best in the business in a wide range of idioms, both live and in the studio and has appeared on hundreds of recordings.

Now, with the release of his debut album Sunshine After Midnight on Innervision Records, JJ puts forward a stunning selection of his original compositions, with the help of a stellar array of musicians, producers and special guests. His latest single “Gravy Train” has topped the radio charts climbing on Billboard, Smooth Jazz.Com and Groove Jazz. JJ continues to perform with reggae legend Maxi Priest, while simultaneously touring with his own band and recording his sophomore album “Waiting For You” which is now on sale at CDBaby.

Scott Wilkie – All In

All InMaking an explosive re-emergence onto the contemporary urban jazz scene, Scott Wilkie is truly All In, melodic and funky as ever on his highly-anticipated new album, which marks his first full ensemble recording in over ten years. It’s a dynamic and diverse collection featuring his own longtime live band which plays regularly throughout his home base of Southern California – and a true dream list of all-star guests and friends: Jay Beckenstein, Jimmy Haslip, Jeff Lorber, Jay Graydon, Paul Jackson Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Sprague and Jeff Kashiwa.

The album will be released on July 8, 2014. You can pre-order it now at Amazon.com.

Les Sabler – Jobim Tribute

Canadian guitarist Les Sabler has constantly build his fan community with his albums Hidden Treasure (1990), Time For Love (1994), Bridge The Gap (2003), Sweet Drive (2007) and Crescent Shores (2010).

His new album Jobim Tribute (2014) presents 12 compositions of this legendary Brazilian composer, songwriter and singer performed by Sabler on his nylon string guitar. The album offers seven vocal tunes and five instrumentals. Sabler was accompanied by keyboardist Clay Perry, acoustic bassist Byron House, Brazilian drummer-percussionist Celso Alberti and the late percussionist Joe Lala.

The project starts with a rendition of A Felicidade, a song popular by the movie Black Orpheus. A song about happiness and sadness, about the carnival and the great illusion. Corcovado is known in English as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”. The song refers to the same mountain in Rio de Janeiro. A gentle bossa nova, both shining through his vocal content than the instrumental presentation.

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