Archive for June, 2015

Randy Scott – Serenity

Saxophonist and composer Randy Scott is since a longtime in music business. His instruments are the tenor, alto, soprano sax and the EWI. In the music scene of Detroit he is maintaining his own recording studio.

He released as solo artist the albums Randy Scott (1994), Future (1999), Words Unspoken (2002), Breathe (2007), and 90 Degrees at Midnight (2011). Serenity is his sixth album and his second on the label Trippin N Rhythm Records.

Randy is supported by a plethora of musicians like Terrance Palmer and Robert Skinner (bass), Ron Otis (drums), Gary Johnson and Darryl Dixon (guitar), Kris Johnson (trumpet), Vincent Chandler (trombone), and a lot more as listed under album information.

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Phil Maturano – At Home Everywhere

You could call it a piano trio that’s led by a drummer. That’s the configuration for Phil Maturano’s At Home Everywhere (2015).

Maturano, of course, is the drummer. His accompanists appear in three combinations. The pianists are Matthew Fries and Christian Torkewitz. The bassists are Phil Palombi, Michael O’Brien and Irio O’Farrill. O’Brien performs on only one track, with Torkewitz on piano.

Wayne Shorter’s “Fee Fi Fo Fum” opens the set in easygoing fashion. Fries carries the lead during the main body, with Palombi and Maturano laying down the head-bopping groove. The song is largely a showcase for the piano, but the bass gets its moment in the spotlight, as does the drum kit. Maturano holds back until near the end, when he mixes it up during a call and response with Fries.

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Richard Yost – Dancing On the Bed

Dancing On the BedIndependent BMI songwriter and recording artist Richard Yost is more interested in promoting other talents than his own career. His talent factory is to be found on this website. His biography is, however, sorely missed.

This philanthropist has been just released his second solo album. Dancing On the Bed is to be find at CDBaby.

John Dillard – Let’s Ride

Let's RideJohn Dillard embarks upon his journey, setting his pace on his first album as a solo artist, Let’s Ride. Many may recognize his appearance on countless stages around the country, holding down the bottom on bass with artists such as Brian Simpson, Stephanie Mills, and Matt Marshak. Let’s Ride is a project of passion, long suffering, and perseverance. John has been preparing for this his whole life unbeknown to him. All the songs were written and produced by John Dillard for J’MarDi Productions.

Let’s Ride opens with a horn-packed intro, featuring Lin Rountree on trumpet and Buff Dillard on trombone. Blending with the up-tempo groove is spoken word by Quentin Talley–setting the tone for what listeners can expect from John’s debut album and followed by the title track “Let’s Ride.” Its smooth, funk-groovy feeling will have you relaxed or wanting to ride with the top down with the wind lowing through your hair. Marcus Anderson adds his signature saxophone sound, and the background vocals by Mario Brown provide the finishing touch. “Gotta Make This Right,” laced with sax sounds by Art Sherrod. The first single, “Cruise Control,” featuring Marcus Anderson, is a funky bass groove accented with just a sprinkle of saxophone. The combination of the two perfectly demonstrates the musical chemistry they share.

The sexy, sensual “26 East” showcases Dillard’s playing skills. Joining him on guitar are Marc Antoine and Reggie Graves. Their pairing in melodic sync with John results in sultriness. Chad Lawson unleashes his piano chops and leads the mellow groove “I Need You” in conversation with John. “Window Seat” is grooviness that will have you snapping your fingers and dancing around the room or in your car and features Gabriel Bello on sax. The slow, electric, infectious, mood-altering aura of “Turbulent” has a vibe that will transport listeners into another state of mind. Lovell Bradford is featured on the Fender Rhodes and Matt Marshak on the guitar, who John also happens to accompany often on his shows. John really allows his playing skills to shine on the last song, “Forward.” He’s in unison with Oli Silk on keys and adds the perfect final touch to John’s much anticipated album.

Other artists contributing to Let’s Ride include guitarist Joe Lindsay, drummers Richard Jenkins, Calvin Napper and Quantavius Dillard. Keyboardist Paul Whitley makes an appearance on a couple tracks as well. Listen to this album at CDBaby.

Juan Carlos Mendoza – Mediterranova

Spanish bassist Juan Carlos Mendoza gained my attention through his CD Thanks To Life, an album with many musical surprises. His debut album from 2005 is entitled Mediterranova and shows the origins of this remarkable artist.

Originally from Chile he continued his musical life in Barcelona (Spain) and further on the Canary Islands, where he played with various jazz-rock groups. Then he arrived at Majorca and joined countless bands with local musicians. Further he traveled to Madrid and participated as a member of several groups. After 10 years both in the studio and live with the band Hevia he recorded his first album.

The recordings are supported by guitarists Juan Calleja, Nando Concalez, Jayme Marquez, Toni Jimeno, keyboardists Gherardo Catanzaro, Marco Rasa, Alexis Hernandez, drummers Minin Figuerola, Christian Costantini, David Hyam and many more. Although no artists from the known orbit of smooth jazz are involved, this is however an interesting work.

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Lauren Henderson – A La Madrugada (At Dawn)

Many forms of music comprise Lauren Henderson’s inspiration and vocal repertoire. And you’re likely to hear traces of all of them on A La Madrugada (At Dawn) (2015).

With Henderson are Riley Mulherkar, trumpet; Jonathan Powel, trumpet and flugelhorn; Louis Fouche, alto saxophone; Sullivan Forner, piano, Rhodes and organ; Ameen Saleem, double bass and electric bass; and Jeremy “Bean” Clemons, drums and percussion.

The set begins with a sultry rendition of “You and the Night and the Music.” Henderson’s earthy voice is complemented by a sassy horn section. The piano and percussion styling give the song a hint of flamenco, one of the styles that influenced Henderson. Saleem enjoys a tight, string-snapping solo. The highlight of the piece is the way the trumpets blare to emphasize key phrases sang by Henderson.

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Rod Tate – The Emerald Coast

The Emerald CoastThis CD was inspired by Rod’s visit to the Emerald Coast, in Destin Florida. While there performing, Rod was completely awed and inspired by the beauty along the coastline. He said, “The coastline oozes with inspiration and the awesomeness of God in creation”. His hope is that he was able to transfer musically the inspiration, the deep emotion he experienced by walking along the coastline of, “The Emerald Coast”. If you love beautiful melodies, head bobbin’ grooves, romance and soulfulness in your Smooth/Contemporary Jazz this CD was made with you in mind.

Rod Tate is a Saxophonist/Songwriter that performs smooth/contemporary jazz, gospel jazz and R&B, based out of his hometown, St. Louis, MO. Rod is a full time musician that performs primarily as a Solo act. As a performer he has opened for contemporary jazz group Spyra Gyra, Pieces of A Dream, Chuck Loeb, Bob Baldwin, Marion Meadows, Phil Perry, Ramsey Lewis, Legendary Poet Sonia Sanchez and Lonnie Liston Smith. He has opened for Gospel artist Richard Smallwood and Gospel jazz keyboardist Ben Tankard, comedian /actor Tommy Davidson, Tavis Smiley, as well as, Hall of famer, Ozzie Smith. This album is available at CDBaby.

Randy Scott – Serenity

SerenityWith gold, platinum and multi-platinum records to his credit as well as invitations to perform for two US presidents, gifted saxophonist Randy Scott emerges once again from the studio with a long awaited new project that is sure to add to his long list of musical accolades. Perfectly straddling the worlds of Gospel and Jazz, Scott has found a strong voice in both genres and with Serenity his 6th studio album, his flair for conjuring up compelling musical portraits has never been more evident.

Gracefully and effortlessly moving between the tenor, alto and soprano Scott has a complete mastery of his instrument and his flavor is robust and satisfying. Whether it s throwing down the funk on tracks like Funky Enough or gentle atmospherics like Mellow Flow this collection of musical sketches is fully satisfying, presenting a ride with great dynamic flow covering a variety of moods and vibes. Enlisting once again the supporting help of many of his long time Detroit collaborators the CD boasts a strong sense of cohesion with the interplay carrying the day. Serenity is more than the title implies, it signals that Scott has found peace in and with the gift that he has been given and presents his gratitude through this new collective inviting you to come along as his journey continues. Top notch!

Get Serenity at

Threestyle – Get It

Hailing from Germany and the Czech Republic the group Threestyle featuring Magdalena Chovancova (sax), Robert Fertl (guitars, bass trumpet, flugelhorn) and Gabriela Chovancova (drums and vibraphone) delivers constantly new releases.

In 2012 they showed with Feel The Vibe good approaches. Saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova has gone with Moving Up Quickly her own way apart fashionable trends of smooth jazz. By a plurality of performances in Germany and America the band has raised awareness of the smooth jazz community.

Their newest project is entitled Get It (2014). Beside the members of the group guest musicians such as Paul Brown, James L. Manning, Walter Barnes, Jeffrey Freeman, Mike Shapiro, Michael Ripoll, Tony Jeryek, Katja Riekermann and DeZon Dobson helped to shape the sound.

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David Berkman – Old Friends and New Friends

It’s a combination of members of a recently formed quartet and companions from years past. Pianist David Berkman brings them together for Old Friends and New Friends (Palmetto Records, 2015).

With Berkman are Dayna Stephens, soprano and tenor saxophones; Billy Drewes, alto and soprano saxophones; Adam Kolker, soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet; Linda Oh, bass; and Brian Blade, drums. Stephens and Oh are the relative newcomers, while the others have performed or recorded with Berkman in the past.

With Kolker on soprano sax and Stephens on tenor, “Tribute” is a tranquil, ocean breeze. The horns harmonize during the melody, accented by Berkman’s piano and Blade’s cymbal splashes. Tom and snare rolls, mixed with cymbal splashes accompany the soprano solo. The accompaniment softens for Berkman’s elegant passage.

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