Archive for March, 2015

DW3 – Vintage Truth

Core members of jazz powerhouse DW3 are Eric and Billy Mondragon and Damon Reel. They are regularly performing in the Los Angeles area, especially in Seal Beach’s Spaghettini. But also already graced several festivals and cruises.

Dw3 Live @ Spaghettinis was their first album in 2006, followed by Life, Love & Music (2008), On the Floor (2013) and Vintage Truth (2015). They describe themselves as a R&B Jazz and Latin Soul band. They are nevertheless welcomed with open arms by the smooth jazz community.

Technically perfect they play skillfully their musical strength, incredible vocal harmonies. With a variety of known guest stars is the new album current coronation of their career. It is noteworthy that their own songs from the level catch up easily with the covers. A further great advantage of this album is the playing of late drummer Ricky Lawson, the best alternative to a drum machine.

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Charles McPherson – The Journey

Straight, no chaser. Charles McPherson goes old school with The Journey (Capri Records, 2015). Recognized as one of the last authentic practitioners of bebop sax, McPherson would make some of his pioneering brethren proud.

McPherson plays the alto sax. With him are Keith Oxman, tenor sax; Chip Stephens, piano; Ken Walker, bass; and Todd Reid, drums.

The sassy opener, “The Decathexis from Youth (for Cole),” features the duet of McPherson and Oxman in harmonious lead. The song begins in moderate, swing. Then it shifts into high gear as the leader takes off on a spirited jaunt. Composer Stephens stretches out in blues style.

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Paul Whitley – Come Groove With Me

Come Groove With MeThis is a very versatile album that can be listened to from start to finish, it has something for all ages and races. It displays musicianship to the highest degree by having some of the world’s top players featured on it, and it is fresh and original.

Paul Whitley invites you with Come Groove With Me, a blend of almost every genre from gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, rock made to be easy to listen to, now at CDBaby.

Greg Adams – That’s Life

ThatsLifeIn his new musical pursuit trumpeter Greg Adams continues his artistic evolution alongside East Bay Soul with the dynamic That’s Life – A collection of eleven songs that fuses his love for vintage soul music, pop, with powerful horns and gorgeous orchestration.

“The spark that struck the chord for the creative process” say’s Adams ”hit me when I heard in my head a bombastic themed song with an orchestra and a big horn section that reminded me of the iconic “That’s Life” recorded by Frank Sinatra. I wrote the song with Nick Milo and sent it to lyricist Rocky Maffit. Rocky had it for a while and nothing was coming to him, until one day he said “Damned If I Do” out loud. Now we had the title and lyric for the song. The recording was almost done and I thought to myself what do I call the album and there it is was staring at me “That’s’ Life”.

The sound of Greg Adams is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. Adams has recorded six solo albums, three releases with East Bay Soul and fourteen recordings as a founding member of Tower of Power, legendary for his arrangements that made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all its own. His 1995 debut Hidden Agenda went all the way to #1 on Billboard and stayed there for five weeks… He hasn’t looked back since. With countless collaborations in the studio and live on stage, Adams has made his mark on a broad stretch of today’s music landscape that includes jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, and funk. Continue reading

Joel Katz – Adventures in Hawaiian Steel Guitar

Adventures in Hawaiian Steel GuitarThis project highlights songs that Joel Katz simply enjoys playing—some originals, some covers. He hopes that lovers of Hawaiian Steel Guitar will appreciate the diverse range of musical genres, and recognize the evocative, expressive Hawaiian style of playing at the heart of each recording. All songs feature the Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar, with dobro resonator guitar on Miloli‘i and About Last Night.

Adventures in Hawaiian Steel Guitar is on sale at CDBaby.

John Mills – Invisible Designs

Classic literature finds its way into modern music. That’s part of the idea behind John MillsInvisible Designs (Fable Records, 2015).

The players are Carmen Bradford, vocals; Mills, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and bass clarinet; Jeff Hellmer, keys on all but three songs; Jim Beard, keys on “Invisible Designs,” “My Disagreeable Attitude” and “Darwin”; Eric Johnson, guitar on “Invisible Designs”; Mitch Watkins, guitar on “Banana King,” “Tidewater” and “Everything I Learned”; Jake Langley, guitar on “Lady Vain,” “My Disagreeable Attitude,” “Four Directions” and “Strictly Business”; Carter Arrington, guitar on “Napoleon” and “Let Your Brother Go”; Spencer Starnes, acoustic bass; and David Sierra, drums.

This is that rare commentary about a jazz recording that says little about the music and a lot about the words. Mills changed his approach to the project. Instead of composing music and creating lyrics to match, he wrote the words first. More than that, the songs originated with phrases borrowed from classic, public-domain novels. The lines evolve into ideas that may or may not have any connection to the stories from which they were adapted.

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Chillaxing Jazz Kollektion – Groove Jazz N Chill #4

Groove JazzThe mastermind of Kool&Klean series, producer and contemporary saxophonist Konstantin Klashtorni keeps producing smooth tracks for Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion. His newest album is a special blend of chill out, electro jazz, relaxing grooves and sweet melodies, – relaxing and soothing to your heart and mind.

Start with a sonic atmosphere… then layer it with textures of jazz and electronica… throw in some cool beats, erotic grooves – this what Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion is about. This album is the Volume #4 of bestselling Smooth Jazz on Amazon Mp3. Get your music at CDBaby.

Jeff Golub – The Vault

The VaultOn New Year’s Day 2015, the music world mourned the death of Jeff Golub. After suffering the loss of his eyesight 3 years earlier, Jeff was diagnosed with PSP, a rare brain disease which rapidly debilitated his entire body and ultimately robbed him of the ability to play guitar. Knowing that Jeff’s playing days were over, three of his closest friends and musical collaborators, Steven Miller, Rick Braun and Bud Harner dug deep into the Golub vault and uncovered some rare gems – radically different versions of some of Jeff’s early tunes along with 2 songs that were never released.

From there, Jeff handpicked a number of musical friends to add to the recordings and give each song a modern twist and unique flavor. The Vault was completed just days before Jeff’s death and provides a passionate and soulful overview of one of the music community’s most beloved figures.

The Vault has become an All Star Tribute to the genius that was Jeff Golub. The guests represent the very top echelon of the Smooth Jazz music community. Included in the collection of unreleased music are such stars as: Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Philippe Saisse, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber, Bill Evans, Gerald Albright, Peter White, Richard Elliot and Steve Ferrone. Pre-order this memorable CD at Amazon.com.

Sax O’Groove – Together

German publisher and saxophonist Andreas Buechel entered the musical stage 2013 with the album Sax O’Groove. Sax O’Groove was a cooperation of Andreas Buechel and John Odio. His sophomore project Together (2015) is beyond the scope of the first work and exceptionally well in the smooth jazz genre with a huge number of musicians involved.

All songs were recorded, mixed and produced by Andreas Büchel, Nils Jiptner, Paul Weimar, Darren Rahn and John Odio in studios in Arnsberg (Germany), Heredia (Costa Rica), Los Angeles, Chicago and Playa Del Rey. Truly international, as it is only possible in the Internet age.

The album starts the journey with the uplifting Together, that knows to convince with a sophisticated horn arrangement decorated with professional saxophone interludes. The heartfelt ballade Love You More is crowned by a solo of famous trumpeter Rick Braun. Also remarkable the keyboard support of studio musician Hans Zermuehlen.

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John Petruccelli Quintet – The Way

Sometimes, it’s good to just play. Forget theme. Forget format. Just pick a song, or write a new one, and play your heart out. That appears to be approach of the John Petruccelli Quintet with The Way (2015), a two-disc set.

Petrucelli plays tenor saxophone. The rest of the ensemble are Peter Park, guitar; Victor Gould, piano; Alex Claffy, bass; and Gusten Rudolph, drums. Drummer Victor Lewis appears on three tracks.

“Prism,” one of eight originals among the 11 tracks, is a mellow, moderate-tempo piece. The opening sequence is highlighted by some cool, guitar/sax banter and a series of tightly choreographed, stop-time phrases. The bass and drums are deeply engaged when the guitar is out front, and the piano comes forward a bit more during the sax lead. As Petrucelli heats up, he makes the tenor grind and wail during key passages.

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