Archive for August, 2014

Kiki Ebsen – Scarecrow Sessions

ScarecrowSessionsSinger-songwriter Kiki Ebsen stubbornly refused her famous father’s repeated suggestions to learn how to sing jazz standards. Rebelliously she insisted upon forging her own path as a solo artist and accompanying keyboardist-vocalist with a bevy of A-list pop stars. Eleven years after the passing of her dad, actor Buddy Ebsen, Kiki will pay tribute by releasing exactly the type of collection he fervently urged her to record, “Scarecrow Sessions” on September 30 on the Painted Pony Media label. The material comes from The Great American Songbook, a stunning original (“Missing You”) penned by the song and dance man turned movie and television star, and songs associated with his career, including an ill-fated starring role in “The Wizard Of Oz.” The first single prefacing the acoustic jazz set produced by David Mann, “If I Only Had A Brain,” is the No. 2 most added radio single this week.

“We are losing the iconic talents many of us grew up with. By recording these songs, I hope not only to honor my father’s memory and his love of jazz, but to create a musical statement that is truly my own. I’m connecting his past to my present in a way that will no doubt leave me forever changed,” said Ebsen, who completed the album as a Father’s Day offering after a successful Kickstarter campaign. “Through this journey I have discovered my voice. A simple yet beautiful tone that emanates from a true place in my heart; a place of lightness and ease.”

Front and center throughout the collection is Ebsen’s classically-trained voice that sounds like it was born to sing jazz – warm, elegant, supple, pretty and passionate. She recorded in New York City finding inspiration while strolling the same streets that her father roamed during his Vaudeville days. Ebsen is accompanied by a first-rate ensemble featuring some of the Big Apple’s best players such as Chuck Loeb (electric and acoustic guitars), John Patitucci (acoustic and electric bass), Henry Hey (piano and organ), Clint de Ganon (drums) and Mann on saxophone and flute. Live strings add grace and emotional depth to the proceedings. Continue reading

Patrick Bradley – Can You Hear Me

CanYouHearMeTo bolster his effort to be heard above the incessant din cluttering our world, keyboardist Patrick Bradley called upon a few high-profile friends on his third album, “Can You Hear Me,” produced by jazz fusion icon Jeff Lorber, which is slated for release September 23 on the Patrick’s Music Factory label. Boil it down further and the desire to be heard by our parents is inherent in all of us, which is the genesis of the title track and first radio single, a plaintive piano lullaby graced with the serene soprano sax presence of Dave Koz on the song inspired by Bradley’s late mother.

Collaborating on their second album together, Bradley and Lorber composed and arranged all ten songs on “Can You Hear Me.” Bradley nimbly emotes graceful harmonies on piano, adds depth and texture via gurgling Moog synthesizer embellishments and uncorks feverish organ blasts with reckless abandon when the mood to pontificate strikes. A variety of jazz visages – fusion, contemporary and smooth – emerge from tracks rooted in R&B that reflect prisms of funk, soul and blues with the deep-pocketed grooves stitched by bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak. David Mann’s fiery horns and crisp horn arrangements fatten the sound on “Blue Skies,” “Daylight,” “For Her” and “Voyage” with hitman Rick Braun captured blowing away on trumpet on a pair of cuts (“Blue Skies” and “Voyage”) and Eric Marienthal chiming in some swinging sax on a few numbers (“Blue Skies,” “Shoreline” and “Catalan”). Lorber’s keyboard and Dwight Sills’ guitar riff rhythmically throughout the session with Sills and guitarist Michael Thompson dousing kerosene before slash and burn solos. Both Bradley and Lorber solo on the blistering progressive rock thrill ride “North Of Evermore.”

“I’ve been playing my whole life and I’m trying to be heard in this noisy world as a musician. My mom passed before hearing my last album (“Under The Sun”) including the song I wrote for my (late) father (“Tears From The Sky”). I wonder if she can hear me and my music. I wrote ‘Can You Hear Me’ with her in mind, but it is also a question I ask God as well,” said Bradley, a man of faith who hails from Southern California. “The original album title was ‘All In’ (the first song on the record) because I wanted to dig deeper than ever before. The whole purpose of the album was to make sure that I got all of my musical chops into it and I think we did it.” Continue reading

Brenda Earle Stokes – Right About Now

Newlywed Brenda Earle Stokes has undergone some changes over the past few years. But now that she’s somewhat settled, she’s back in business as a pianist, composer and vocalist. Right About Now (2014) captures seven original songs and a few remakes.

Stokes also plays Rhodes and triangle. Accompanists are Matt Aronoff, bass; Jordan Perlson, drums; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Joel Frahm, saxophone.

“It’s High Time,” one of Stokes’ original compositions, has an upbeat, 3/4 tempo. Stokes’ inflections add emphasis on key beats. The band solidly supports the voice. One gets the sense the singer has reached the limits of patience and is ready for the object of her affections to act. This song is right at home in a smoky jazz club where most of the patrons opt for hard liquor on the rocks rather than wine, beer or cocktails. The way Frahm and Stokes play their instruments contributes to that vision. As if the song weren’t enjoyable enough already, Stokes injects some Fitzgeraldesque scatting toward the end.

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Euge Groove – Got 2 Be Groovin

For the log꞉ Euge Groove has just released a total of nine albums and his fourth for Shanachie Entertainment. The amount of publications is of course not a crucial factor for the quality of a musician. However, it casts a revealing light on his popularity.

The list of accompanying musicians is overwhelming long, the core musicians are Tracy Carter (Rhodes, piano), Cornelius Mims (bass), John “Jubu” Smith (guitar), Trevor Lawrence (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion). In addition, Euge adorns himself with Peter White, Althea Rene, Paul Brown, Elliot Yamin and Chanel Haynes, notably mentioned as featured artists.

Forever And A Day can be summed up under the heading of “sweet romance″. With the duet of Euge’s soprano saxophone and Althea Rene’s flute loveliness has already done enough.

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Peter White – Smile

SmileIn the era ruled by the electric guitar, British-born, LA-based Peter White reigns supreme as one the world’s greatest masters of the nylon-string acoustic guitar. From the time he burst on the scene with rock legend Al Stewart in the seventies and singer Basia in the eighties to his session work with Richard Elliot, Jeff Golub, Lee Ritenour, Kirk Whalum and Boney James, White’s fabulous fingers continue to showcase the timeless tones and timbres that come from wood, skin and an expansive musical imagination.

Smile, set for release October 7, 2014 on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is White’s fourteenth recording as a leader, and his scintillating, contemporary jazz sound is buttressed by his equally-impressive command of several instruments and augmented by an impressive array of special guests, including vocalist Mindi Abair, trumpeter Rick Braun, soprano saxophonist Euge Groove, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, bassist Nate Phillips, violinist (and daughter) Charlotte White, Ramon Yslas on bongos and vocalist Stevo Theard. (International release dates may vary)

“This CD is my third recording for Concord of all original songs,” White says. “It started with Good Day (2009) and continued with Here We Go (2012). What I try to do on every single album is produce a story that has adventures; that has different styles that take you to different places.” Continue reading

Crayge W. Lindesay – Just Me

JustMeSong titles were inspired as follows: “Warmup” is me just doin’ that on each instrument. If you listen closely on the beginning you can hear me tryin’ to play the guitar as a child…lol… “Llobro” is a screen name for my little brother Lloyd who is real smooth and laid back. “Bread Of Life” is a song originally written for Norman Brown but became a theme song for my pastor friend Otis Cobbins radio show. “Yammy’s G” (G is for Groove) is named after a good friend Sylvia (her nickname is Yammy Yam) kind of has her vibe.

“Daught Tenaz” after my sister Stevyn (my mother called her Stawdaught) who has always been a tenatious warrior in her beliefs and goals. “Leedee” is the nickname growin’ up of my good friend Lisa. “Biggo” is the name of my son Craig’s entertainment company who’s a true hustle in life for his family. “Yehyee’s Passion” is inspired by my big sister Leslie who told me I couldn’t pronounce her name as a kid and she has always been very fiery and passionate about things, life and people in her life.

“Tamst Meshé” inspired by my best friend DeTania Meshé (a classical violinist) who I first called Tandriod (cuz she reminded me of an android when we met) then I morphed her with a hamster creating a Tamster…lol.. “Keen” inspired by my big brother James (a nickname my mother transformed from another nickname Kippy to) who loves old school funk and to dance. “Rudy’s Room” inspired by my cousin Rudy (sax and keyboard player for The Five Scamps). “Just Me” well that’s obvious…

Just Me
is on sale at CDBaby.

Russell E. Lyles – Sax Life

Sax LifeRussell E. Lyles, an alto saxophonist, is a musician who strives for excellence, and yet makes his music accessible without compromising his art. Whether it be jazz, pop, fusion, r&b, hip hop, or African rhythm, he brings his unique style to the music and makes it a memorable experience for the listener. He has performed on CDs of numerous artists and adapts his style to each project with sincerity and a practiced knowledge.

In June 2009 he received the honor of performing with the legendary group Earth Wind & Fire. He has worked with numerous national artists. Russell Lyles is music instructor. His passion leads him always to new endeavors. His newest is Sax Life and now at CDBaby.