Archive for July, 2014

Rob Mullins – Soulful

SoulfulSoulful is a collection of fresh tracks showing yet another side of producer/keyboardist Rob Mullins’ music. Earlier albums by Mullins such as “Music for Lovers’ and “Dance for the New World” previously established Rob as a bona fide R&B force in the 90’s. These albums led to his long time tenure as keyboardist for Hubert Laws, as well as his becoming a songwriter for Ronnie Laws, Eric Marienthal, and R&B Sax Legend Wilton Felder from The Crusaders.

With the “Soulful” project, Rob brings his musical vision for 2014 into reality with likable, danceable R&B and Neo Soul tracks that mark his signature sound on his 28th album. For more info on Rob, please visit his website http://www.planetmullins and his Youtube channel. Now get Soulful at CDBaby.

The Blu J’z – Feeling the Moment

Feeling the MomentWithin a year of continued promotion, The Blu J’z has already “created a buzz” in the Smooth Jazz media circuit by means of airplay, recognition on magazines, and was recently asked to open up for Paul Taylor and Marion Meadows at the Tower Theater in Fresno, California (July 12, 2014). For the past 2 years they have been given the opportunity to open up for other renowned smooth jazz/ jazz artists like Boney James (2012), David Sanborn, Bob James, Brian Culbertson, Fredric Yonnet, and Patrick Lamb (2013).

The Blu J’z specialize in performing originals from their album Feelin the Moment along with other smooth jazz cover tunes. What sparks the DJ’s, promoters, and listeners is our hooky melodies and diverse styles that intermingle with funk , pop, rock, jazz, Latin and rhythm and blues. Just like the great sounds of the Rippingtons, Sypro Gyra, Fourplay, and other great bands, The Blu J’z are ready to showcase their unique sound and to do what they love while giving the audience an entertaining experience. In other words, to hear The Blu J’z is like a breath of fresh air.

Feeling the Moment is available in all stores. We recommend you CDBaby.

Manuel Valera – Self Portrait

Reviewing instrumental music is always a challenge. Finding a way to express in words what a song or album concept sounds like, and doing it in a manner that helps the reader make a decision on whether to buy a recording, all without being redundant or using clichés is not an easy task.

The challenge is even greater when it comes to solo piano. So you can rest assured that if a writer does review such a work, the recording more than warrants it. Such is the case with Manuel Valera’s Self Portrait (Mavo Records, 2014).

Valera decided to focus on four elements in creating this work. He wanted to present his jazz influence, covering songs by Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk; his Cuban roots with two Latin jazz pieces; his classical influence, with the “Impromptu” selections; and his own compositions. For this date, Valera plays a restored 1918 Steinway D.

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Paul Hardcastle – The Jazzmasters VII

Paul Hardcastle is the living prove that a studio musician can reach the # 1 on the US Billboard Contemporary album ”sales” chart without any live concert. Not that it would be a problem, to implement the recording one to one into live music.

Paul also hasn’t changed his style in all the years of his success. After the first few bars one immediately recognizes that is a Paul Hardcastle. Especially his Jazzmasters Series shows a distinctive elegance.

The Jazzmasters VII (2014) is no exception. According to the liner notes the album is purely instrumental just with some vocal drops here and there. Paul Hardcastle Jr. (sax), Maxine Hardcastle (vocals) and Rock Hendricks (sax) added their natural input, where it was required.

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Bill Heller – Find the Way

Find the WayBill Heller met Russ Freeman while recording the Brian Moore Custom Guitars Artist Collection” CD. Russ asked Bill if he would play on a few tracks that he was producing for his and Craig Chaquico’s Redwoods to the Rockies. His first Rippingtons recording was Topaz back in 1998, and he has been performing live with the band since March of 2001.

After many years of working and performing with other people, Bill has worked on his own music project. It is a contemporary oriented piano album. “It features some of my friends who happen to be some of the finest musicians that I have ever had the pleasure to work with, such as Eric Marienthal and Jeff Kashiwa. I am going to have three different rhythm sections: Dave Karasony & Rico Belled from the Ripps, Joel Rosenblatt & Dave Anderson, and Frank Bellucci & Jim Cammack.

This album Find the Way to CDBaby.

E-Von and the Time Minister – Dually Noted

Dually NotedE-Von is the pseudonym for Ivan Rafowitz, a multi-keyboardist musician, composer and producer of contemporary music. His son Adam (The Time Minister) began expressing interest in music and showed talent on the guitar at a very early age. Adam started private guitar lessons at age 7 and quickly began developing his skills. Frequently jamming with his Dad and other accomplished musicians, he early on showed a natural ability for improve and an excellent sense of time.

Passionate about his music, Adam decided to pursue it as a career and in his junior year of high school auditioned for entrance into the prestigious Berklee College of Music. One of a select few, he was given early acceptance to the college and began his first semester at Berklee in the fall of 2011. Adam is currently a guitar performance major at Berklee and plays in 2 bands performing in the Boston area. He plans to graduate in spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

Inspired by his son’s talent and his own continued love and passion for music, E-Von felt it was time to refocus on his music. In the spring of 2012 with Adam on guitar and E-Von on keys this father and son duo began recording Dually Noted, a mixture of blues, funk and smooth groove jazz with memorable hooks and melodies and soaring tasteful solos. Now this album arrived at CDBaby.

The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra – Strength in Numbers

Following up his brilliant Voice Like a Horn, trombonist, vocalist and band leader Pete McGuinness is back, leading a full orchestra with Strength in Numbers (Summit Records, 2014).

McGuinness arranged all 10 tracks and composed six. The orchestra is comprised of a five-piece saxophone section with some players doubling on flute and others on clarinet, a four-piece trombone section, a four-piece trumpet section and three-piece rhythm section.

The horns, with emphasis on the woodwinds, flutter like birds flitting about the landscape during “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” It’s a tranquil, charming piece, accented by an easygoing pace and overlapping phrases by the different sections.

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