Archive for January, 2015

Steve Oliver – Best Of So Far

BestOfSoFarCelebrate a milestone in the musical career of Steve Oliver. With eight albums over the last 15 years, Steve’s Best Of so far gathers multiple #1 Billboard hits and fan favorites including 2 brand new songs.

From 1999’s First View, Oliver recaptures the magic of that first album by re-recording ‘West End’ and ‘I Know’ for this compilation. Concert and radio favorites like ‘High Noon’, ‘Chips and Salsa’ and ‘Fun in the Sun’ will keep listeners on their feet. ‘Calling You’ and ‘Hello Mornin’ are wonderful new songs that feel right at home among this collection of hits.

The title suggests these are the best so far, and as a collection, it definitely reflects the consistent energy and great songwriting skills that has kept Steve Oliver a chart topping name, a great guitarist/vocalist and producer. Here’s to the next 15 Steve at Amazon.com.

ShaShaty – Brighter Day

BrighterDayIt’s a new dawn for veteran contemporary jazz saxophonist ShaShaty, who will release his sixth album entitled Brighter Day, on March 3 on the newly formed A.H.I. Records. His first collection comprised entirely of original songs in more than a decade, the set showcases the artist who had a hand in writing seven of the disc’s eleven songs that were produced by guitarist-vocalist Steve Oliver, writer or co-writer of ten songs for the record. The energizing excursion “Dream Ride” bodes to illuminate radio playlists ahead of the album’s street date when the single is serviced to stations for airplay early next month. The video for the single will premiere at Universal CityWalk in Universal City, California where ShaShaty has been a featured performer over the past decade.

Instead of limiting himself to a singular sax voice, ShaShaty’s dynamic multihued approach places him front and center on the melody-rich jazz, pop and R&B outing playing tenor, alto and soprano sax. Fellow sax player Will Donato bolsters the horn section parts on “Dream Ride” and Spyro Gyra drummer Bonny B dispenses deft beats on four cuts. Taiwanese vocalist Usay Chu makes her U.S. recording debut by gracing a pair of tunes – “Song Of Hope” and “A Million Miles” – with her ethereal wordless vocalizations. Making “Brighter Day” a standout session is the chemistry between ShaShaty and Oliver. The hornman’s impassioned and emotive play flourishes in the company of the guitarist who has a masterful command of buoyant harmony.

Tracks have a robustly full sound from which potent hooks connect and enveloping melodies leave a lasting impression. The power-packed pop gems that comprise “Brighter Day” also have depth and provide a varied listening experience that audaciously ventures into funky trip hop territory (“Let’s Go!”), explores an off-kilter staccato rhythm (“Late On 91”), mines an Indian motif (“Mumbai”), serves a sublime sax and guitar call-and-response chorus (“August”), romances on amorous overtures (“My Heart Yours” and “I’m Always Near”), takes off on a whimsical flight of fancy (“Brighter Days”) and closes with a blissful meditation (“Float Away”).

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Marion Meadows – Soul Traveler

Marion Meadows is surrounded by an aura of mystery. His style is unmistakable and distinguishes him from other saxophonists of his profession. After Whisper (2013) is Soul Traveler (2015) his second album for Shanachie Entertainment.

The album is co-produced by Marion’s long time collaborator Carlo Panisi, who also produced Marion’s album, Whisper. The album is featuring guest performances by Najee, Joey Sommerville, Vincent Ingala, Elan Trotman, Ragan Whiteside, Chip Shearin, Will Gaines, Mel Brown, Lamar Gaines, and more.

Starter of the album is the exotic Celebration Road featuring Najee on magical flute. The song is picturesquely, atmospheric and invites you to dream. On Magic Men Meadows shares the sax play with Elan Trotman. While Meadows takes the smooth part, Elan is responsible for the energetic overdub and a solo excursion.

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Miho Nobuzane – Jazz Loves Brazil

Jazz Loves Brazil (Miho Nobuzane Music, 2014) seems like stating the obvious. For several decades, jazz musicians have incorporated traditional Brazilian sounds into their music. And Brazilian songwriters have created music that easily translates into jazz. Pianist Miho Nobuzane follows in their footsteps.

The ensemble is primarily the duo of Nobuzane and bassist Tetsuya Sato, with a parade of drummers completing the trio. Mauricio Zottarelli handles the sticks on 11 of the 15 tracks. Other contributes are Bernard Purdie and Adriano Santos. Filo Machado sings and plays guitar on four tracks. Percussionist Dende sits in on three tracks. Singer Carla Cook and flutist Oriente Lopez perform on one track each. For her part, Nobuzane plays piano on most tracks, keyboards on one and melodica on another, she sings lead on four and backs up Cook on one.

“Avenida Atlantica” features Michado on vocal and guitar. Zottarelli has drum duties on this one. It’s a delightful, celebratory tune, highlighted by Michado’s scatting. During one series, he mixes in a bit of yodel. A radio edit of the song appears at the end of the set.

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Charlie H Russell – The Smile Collection

The Smile CollectionSongwriter/Producer Charlie H Russell with infectious melodies and inventive arrangements makes radio friendly and artistically intriguing smooth jazz feel will go alone ways towards establishing this sound.

There are moments of cool soulful grooves, with hip rides in jazz improvisation, and the ripping funk bass, Sax and Horn lines are both the hot and cool. The Smile Collection now at CDBaby.

Jeff Bradshaw – Home

HomeOnce upon a time R&B was known for great live performances marked by passion, spontaneity and even transcendence through the great soul revues at such storied venues as The Apollo Theater, The Howard Theater and The Uptown. The musicians playing behind the singers were often the finest players from the realms of R&B jazz and gospel, who delivered intricate arrangements, electrifying solos and undeniable groove. In recent times, such performances have been rare but the hunger for that special sort of musical experience is still there and maybe it just takes someone with great determination and vision to bring it back. Jeff Bradshaw, a key player in Philadelphia’s influential neo-soul scene is the man with such vision.

As a boy in Philadelphia Bradshaw performed with brass bands on Broad Street, just a stone’s throw from the spot where Philadelphia¹s most prestigious performing arts center, The Kimmel Center, stands today; he dreamed: why not bring the crème-de-la-crème of singers and players to The Kimmel for a genre-crossing one-night-only musical event that would replicate the excitement of the classic R&B revues for this generation of fans? Since Bradshaw¹s trombone has propelled horn-sections for everyone from Jill Scott to Jay Z and Erykah Badu to Kirk Franklin, this was an easy sell.

The respect accorded Jeff Bradshaw by his peers is shown by the impressive list of artists who wanted to be a part of the concert: Marsha Ambrosius, Will Downing, Black Thought of The Roots, Kim Burrell, Take 6, Najee, Bilal, Eric Roberson, Tweet, Kenny Lattimore, Trombone Shorty and Executive Producer and Grammy-winning pianist Robert Glasper, whose recent BLACK RADIO albums have been innovative fusions of jazz and R&B, becoming some of the biggest-selling jazz releases of the past decade–ironically scoring big with a concept Jeff Bradshaw had been presenting for years. Bradshaw’s Kimmel Center dream came to fruition on May 28, 2014 and the result was a sold-out success in front of a rapturous, wildly appreciative audience. HOME will be released on March 31, 2015 by Shanachie Entertainment, enabling those who were not there to enjoy the magical experience. Continue reading

Yonrico Scott – Only A Smile

Yonrico Scott is one of Atlanta’s most sought-after studio drummers. As a member of the Derek Trucks Band he released with this group seven recordings. Their album Already Free received a Grammy. Yonrico also collaborates & tours internationally with Grammy Award Winner, Earl Klugh, and his own band, the Yonrico Scott Band (YSB), together with Kofi Burbridge, keys/flute, and Todd Smallie, bass. YSB’s debut release, Turning the Corner, was released in 2004.

His solo album Be In My World was released in 2012 on the Blue Canoe label. Quest Of The Big Drum followed in 2014. Only A Smile is his third solo project on this label. The album features Ronda Scott (vocals), Kofi Burbridge (keys/flute), Todd Smallie (bass), Joseph Patrick Moore (bass), Larry Jackson (alto/tenor sax), Mace Hibbard (alto/tenor sax), YS Jr. (hand percussion), Lebron Scott (bass), Randy Honea (guitar), Buzz Amato (keys), Rick Hinkel (guitar), Count Mubutu (congas), Grant Green Jr. (guitar), Bruno Spreight (guitar), Oliver Wells (keys, bass, string arr.), Tiffany Jackson (bgv) and Minnie Orr (bgv).

The album starts with a funky attitude. Swish offers a savvy horn arrangement decorated with vintage organ and Rhodes piano. Dance Of Life follows this style, however, presents more vigorous saxophone performance. The rockish guitar-driven Them Changes cites Jimi Hendrix in play.

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