Archive for July, 2015

Brian Landrus – The Deep Below

Low-end instruments don’t get much exposure. Brian Landrus aims to bring them some with The Deep Below (Blueland Records, 2015).

Landrus plays baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass saxophone and bass flute. He’s accompanied by Lonnie Plaxico, acoustic bass; and Billy Hart, drums.

“Fly” opens the set. It’s a heady, steady piece. Landrus plays without boundaries, no desire to conform. He pushes the baritone to some low-end buzz and then to the extreme upper range. Plaxico and Hart mix up their rhythm lines, stretching out just a tad while providing the foundation upon which Landrus builds.

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Nils – Alley Cat

Alley CatNils new album Alley Cat has been a year in the making, not that Nils isn’t very prolific and can write, produce, arrange and perform radio friendly hits at the drop of a guitar pick. It’s just that he has been a man demand. Keeping busy with writing and performing on the current chart hit ‘Harmony Park’ by Nate Harrison which features Nils & Dave Koz or being featured on Brian Simpson’s latest album or having produced three upcoming albums for various new artists. All this plus the release of his ‘Best of Nils’ album and numerous club and festival performances yet he has still managed to produce what should be another chart topper, Alley Cat.

The album will be released August 21, 2015. Pre-order it now at Amazon.com.

Bob James and Nathan East – The New Cool

TheNewCoolAlbums just aren’t made like the way The New Cool was made. Yamaha Entertainment Group label president Chris Gero put legendary keyboardist Bob James and master bassist Nathan East in the recording studio, equipped them with state-of-the-art Yamaha gear and gave them free reign to create. Recorded entirely in Nashville, the long-time collaborators emerged with an unexpected and audacious collection of original compositions plus a few handpicked classics, an acoustic jazz outing that will make you forget everything you thought you knew about these GRAMMY®-recognized artists best known as contemporary jazz luminaries. The disc produced by Gero, James and East will be released September 18.

The New Cool unfolds much in the way the meticulously-crafted project was conceived. The germ begins organically with a couple of intimate James and East duets. Pastoral piano wanderings explore the outer perimeter of straight-ahead jazz where they peruse, mirror and engage with meandering bass lines. In fact, more than half of the record’s compositions written by James and/or East are sparsely-produced, probing piano and bass sojourns. As the seed sprouts, dramatic orchestral accoutrements added by the Nashville Recording Orchestra illuminate the piano, keyboard and bass explorations, contributing hues that are warmly rustic and autumnal or whimsically vibrant.

James challenges with deftly inventive arrangements on complex pieces like “All Will Be Revealed” while East counts off supple rhythms that are astutely measured and metered. Fluid melodies and harmonies ranging from subtle, serene and meditative to lush, exquisite and cascading blossom throughout, whether emoted by a dexterous piano, keyboard or bass or East’s celestial vocalese. An imaginatively-arranged version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” bops and swings in sublimely surprising style before the ultimate surprise is revealed: a serendipitous vocal from Vince Gill. The proceedings flourish in a gust of breezy Brazilian jazz when percussionist Rafael Padilla and drummer Scott Williamson appear on “Canto Y La Danza” and climax in a crashing crescendo on the explosive and intricately orchestrated “Turbulence.”
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Four80East – Positraction

Toronto based musicians Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace are Four80East. They started with The Album in 1997, followed by Nocturnal (2001), Round Three (2002), En Route (2007), Roll On (2009), Off Duty (2012) and Biblotheca (2013). Their newest album Positraction will be released July 17th, 2015.

From the musical style the formation offers many possibilities of assignment. Soul music, acid jazz, smooth jazz, electro-jazz. There are diverse elements of style in a large mixer. Originally a studio project the band already presents since some years a high-energy live show with supporting stage musicians.

On the new album both musicians are joined by Jon Stewart (sax), Bill McBirnie (flute), Alexis Baro (trumpet) and a horn section with Bob Rice (trumpet), Gene Hardy (tenor sax) and Gord Myers (trombone). All songs are written, recorded and produced by Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace.

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Oleg Frish – Duets with My American Idols

One way to stand out when doing vocal renditions of songs that have been sung six ways ’til Sunday is to add another voice. Or in the case of Oleg Frish, several voices. Duets with My American Idols (Time Out Media, 2015) features Frish with 10 crooners.

Each song is accompanied by a variable lineup of musicians. Frish sings a few tracks without a partner, but the duets make his renditions of these classics unique.

After an introduction by Connie Francis, Frish begins the set, joined by Gary U.S. Bonds for “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.” The pair are a throwback to the Rat Pack duets of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., or Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. The band is solid behind the two leads.

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Ro-65 – True

TrueA DFW-based band formed by Lowell and Sal in 2008, Ro-65 began as an experiment to write and record original music. The basic idea was to infuse many styles. The exact musical genre of our material is somewhat hard to label, but perhaps is best categorized as Smooth Jazz. Melody takes a front seat, highlighting electric lead guitar and acoustic piano surrounded by a tight rhythm.

Utilizing the wealth of local professional musical talent available in the greater Metroplex area, we try and give all contributing musicians the opportunity to collaborate on each track, adding their own unique style and “musical fingerprint” to the mix. Our recording sessions are a blast! The result is music you can enjoy at home, in your car, at the office, whenever and wherever, again and again.

Let it become True at CDBaby.

Dave Koz – Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection

Collaborations9x GRAMMY® nominee Dave Koz has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and established himself as a platinum-selling artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate. He is marking the 25th Anniversary of his recording career with this collection of musical collaborations throughout his career (Concord and Capitol), along with three new songs: “Good Foot” featuring Jeff Lorber; “Game of Thrones Theme” (Scott Bradlee) and the hit theme song from Disney’s movie: Frozen, “Let It Go.”

Over the span of nearly 20 albums and an ambitious international touring schedule, Dave Koz has forged a distinctive sound that merges the best elements of jazz, pop R&B, soul and funk. In the 25 years since the release of his self-titled solo debut album, the acclaimed saxophonist has received nine GRAMMY® nominations, had seven albums top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Along the way, he’s established an impressive body of work and built a fan base that stretches around the globe. But Koz would be the first to tell you that he hasn’t done it all by himself.

“How did I get here? I can tell you it was not entirely my doing,” says Koz. “You’ve heard the phrase, ‘It takes a village.’ That’s really what my career has been about. It’s been about really talented people – fellow musicians, managers, agents, producers, engineers, radio people, retailers and others – who have supported me along the way. I’m so proud of that, and so blown away by it. In this milestone year, I want to say thank you to all of them for helping me along this road. And I especially want to thank the fans who’ve been with me since day one. Every single one has been a collaborator with me.” Continue reading

The B. Christopher Band – High Tide

Guitarist and composer B. Christopher has written more than 8000 placements on various TV channels. He describes his debut album High Tide (2015)꞉ “With one foot in modern jazz, the other in the blues and an innate sense of melody, this instrumental offering is sure to please even the most discerning pallet.″

Musicians like Nathan East, Anton Fig and Kenny Aronoff have all lent their talents to this debut. Other artists are Steve Carter (drums), Lucas Wolk (percussion), Eric Collier, Nick Douglas and Frankie Gibson (bass).

The starter Best Laid Plans offers mellow guitar harmonies with a splash of country touch. The focus is on a catchy melody that reveals itself through perfect playing.

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Luis Perdomo & Controlling Ear Unit – Twenty-Two

Original music, combined with three players who bring their own passions. That’s what you get on Twenty-Two by Luis Perdomo & Controlling Ear Unit (Hot Tone Music, 2015).

Accompanying pianist Luis Perdomo are Mimi Jones, bass; and Rudy Royston, drums.

“Love Tone Poem” begins softly, as in a classical, solo piano interlude. Then, the mood sweels as the accompaniment enters. The swell is brief, as the song reverts to a more tranquil vibe, the difference being that other instruments are now involved. It gradually evolves into something more melodic, more contemporary, but never losing its haunting, classical quality.

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Rob Arthur – The Journey

The JourneyThe Journey is a collection of compositions that Rob Arthur has written over the past few years. You’ll find that each tune has a different stylistic vibe to it. Each was written during important parts of his life when he experienced joy, excitement, hardship, sadness, etc. These important times from his life have helped him understand the meaning of love more and more.

The Journey is his debut album and now on sale at CDBaby.