Archive for July, 2014

Ragan Whiteside – Quantum Drive

Ragan Whiteside is best known to the smooth jazz community by her albums Class Axe (2007) and Evolve (2012). Now she takes off with her new album Quantum Drive (2014) in warp speed.

The album features on selected tracks Bob Baldwin, Althea Rene, Bo Valentine, Patrice Rushen, Dennis Johnson and Frank McComb. This is the first album she made after her move from New York to Georgia. Releasing albums on her own label gives Ragan the artistic freedom to express herself in her music. Nevertheless it’s the right music people can enjoy.

On the Latin tinged Valentin Dream Ragan takes the lead on flute in full flow. Seamlessly integrated follows an extensive solo of master of all keys Bob Baldwin. Patrice Rushen recorded in 1982 Straight From The Heart with the oft-sampled Remind Me. Ragan interprets the song as flutist and vocalist featuring Patrice Rushen in a keyboard solo. Of course, everything sounds better.

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Matt Marshak – Lifestyle

LifestyleMatt Marshak brings his strongest and most honest release to date. Lifestyle is inspired by the Golden Era of contemporary jazz and R&B (late 1970’s-80s), and artists such as George Benson, Larry Carlton, James Brown, David Sanborn, Prince, BB King to name a few. Organic production, absolutely no drum machines or drum loops, spontaneity, improvisation, and a human element all give the listener reassurance that this record is rooted in tradition of jazz and groove music.

Gerald Veasley on bass, Benjie Porecki on Keys, Carl Anderson on drums are the band on all the tracks. The whole album was recorded live at “Secret Sound” Studios in Baltimore Maryland and Nuance Studios in NY. Matt Marshak brings a unique guitar sound, 100% original material, and is putting forth music based on artistry, honesty, and expression.

Lifestyle is to find at CDBaby.

Greg Manning – Dance With Me

DanceWithYouHe is the internationality in person. Born in Nigeria Greg Manning grew up in Switzerland. In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles but still keep contact to the land of his youth. So he is a three-time certified platinum producer for Universal Music Switzerland, and has had several Swiss Chart toppers since 1996.

Greg worked as musical director with Jonathan Butler and also performed with Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, Chante Moore, Mindi Abair and Keb’ Mo’ just to mention a few.

His debut album Soulciety was released in 1999, followed by The Calling in April 2010. Now Greg is back with his new album Dance With Me released on the prestigious label Kalimba Music on July 8, 2014. Next good news the album is available again at Amazon.com.

Leslie Pintchik – In the Nature of Things

Ambient, clean and, to a degree, hypnotic. Those are the immediate thoughts that come to mind with Leslie Pintchik’s In the Nature of Things (Pintch Hard Records, 2014).

A pianist and composer, Pintchik says she chose the title to reflect the feeling she had that all the musicians honored the fundamental intent and nature of the music as she conceived it. Those musicians are Steve Wilson, alto and soprano saxophones; Ron Horton, trumpet and flugelhorn; Scott Hardy, bass; Michael Sarin, drums; and Satoshi Takeishi, percussion.

Either they’re warning you of an immediate threat, or they’re hiding something. More likely the former as Pintchik and her companions play “I’d Turn Back If I Were You.” The threat is if you keep listening, you’re going to find yourself knee deep in delight. The horns contribute a little here and there, but it’s mostly about the piano, bass, drums and percussion. Sarin and Takeishi play well off the leader, each seemingly doing his own thing while staying connected.

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Vel Lewis – Colors of Soul

You have certainly listen to the music of keyboardist Vel Lewis. TV shows such as The Sopranos, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Mad About You, and Wife Swap USA feature his compositions. In earlier time a member of the group The Futures he also followed his own path as performer with Earth, Wind, & Fire, Parliament/Funkadelic, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks.

His new EP Colors of Soul (2014) is available at CDBaby, presenting the music of this great composer. Vel is joined on the album by percussionist Lenny Castro and guitarist Kevin Chokan. The album was mixed by Greg Manning.

The title song impresses with a captivating melody transported by vintage synth to our astounded ears. The melody is consistently in an appealing flow and the guitar delivers a rhythm in the style of Maze. On Song For My Love Vel reaches out to the Hammond B3 kicking the harmonies as the instrument requires it.

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Keith Bubby Webb – Groove Station Cafe

Groove Station CafeKeith Bubby Webb — who plays drums, keyboards and bass and is learning guitar — is the son of Orange Lake Drive drummer Johnny Borders Jr., while his uncle, Larry Webb, is a percussionist active in the Detroit music scene. “Those were my two foundations on my mother’s and father’s side,” Webb says. “Everybody in the family plays or sings. My mom used to play viola. I’ve got an auntie who plays piano, another auntie who plays flute, a couple of cousins who play percussion and bass. It’s a musical family.”

Webb’s most recent album, The Journey, came out in August 2009 on his own Beat Mob Productions label. Now he offers the new album Groove Station Cafe at CDBaby.

Paul Hardcastle – Moovin And Groovin

Moovin & GroovinCutting his musical teeth beginning in the 70’s when disco, bell bottoms and Soul Train were king, super producer of sexy and syncopated sides Paul Hardcastle comes out of the woodshed with back to back new projects, the latest in the Jazzmasters series VII and this a dance down memory lane with a 21st century twist.

Moovin And Groovin is a collection of disco infused pieces that recall an era where music was all about getting your ‘move on’ with Barry White, Donna Summer and Saturday Night Fever casting their respective spells on the masses. You’ll feel instantly transported back in time with this highly infectious romp that brings to bear all of the feeling moods and vibes that made the 70’s and 80’s what they were, yet all spun with musical yarns of today.

Disco has made a bit of a resurgence since 2013 with disco styled songs released by Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, and now from a name that has been synonymous with disco infused beats.

This is Hardcastle at his absolute best, highly syncopated infectious grooves done in his own inimitable style, one that has earned him a place in musical royalty. For you lovers of his multi genre classic ‘Rainforest’, M and G is an extension of that classic sound and will be sure to energize his already rabid base and cause a seismic shift in this new century with this nod to the past but his eye solidly on the future. As the title suggests, this set will get you doing just that. Come and get your groove on.

Pre-order the album now at Amazon.com.

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