Archive for October, 2015

Gail Jhonson – New Beginnings

Philadelphia native Gail Jhonson is the heart of the all star female ensemble, Jazz in Pink, and produced their debut CD, 1st Collection in 2014. She started her solo career with the album Keep The Music Playing (2004), followed by Pearls (2008) on nuGroove Records, HerStory on 111 East Music (2011) and this year New Beginnings on Philly the Kid Records.

After the loss of her son, her daughter off to Berklee College of Music, an unexpected surgery the recordings of her new album were like a deeply liberating breath. Gail is supported by prolific musicians like multi-instrumentalist Hamilton Hardin, saxophonists Marion Meadows and Mike Parlett, bassist Jimmy Haslip and many more.

The album introduces into Gail’s new creation with the title song. Tailored to win, this elegant tune is the ideal platform for Gail’s keyboard talent extraordinaire. Uptown Philly is the first single of the album and Gail’s tribute to her birth town. She touches our ears easily and fluffy with her divine style.

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Ochion Jewell Quartet – Volk

No frills. Off the beaten path. Interesting. That is the blend of jazz with world folk music presented by the Ochion Jewell Quartet on Volk (2015).

Saxophonist and composer Jewell, whose first name is pronounced “Ocean,” has a compelling story to tell in the months that preceded this recording. He overcame a brutal beating at the hands of New York City police in a wrongful arrest. Using the resources acquired in an out-of-court settlement, he produced Volk. Accompanying him on this journey are Amino Belyamani, piano; Sam Minaie, bass; and Qasim Naqvi, drums. Guitarist Lionel Loueke sits in on two tracks.

The songs are grouped into four suites. “Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi” opens the second grouping. Jewell’s tenor begins with a gray, mournful melody. As the other musicians come in, the tone becomes stronger, more dramatic though a bit brighter. About halfway through, the others stop, and Jewell expresses softly, freely. Keyed by the drum rolls, the next stage is like an adventure, a trek through unknown territory wherein the music reacts to whatever the travelers encounter.

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Darrius Jamar – Bounce Back

Bounce BackThis debut EP from bassist Darrius Jamar wonderfully blends r&b and jazz melodies over smooth grooves. From the up tempo hit single “Bounce Back” to the laid back vibe of “Missing You” This collection of tunes has something for everyone.

This EP is available at CDBaby.

Dancing Fantasy – Back Home

Back HomeAfter a longer break the European smooth jazz/new age-project Dancing Fantasy returns with the 10th album in the 25th year of their musical career. The popular German producers and composers Chris W. Williams and Curtis McLaw have worked for more than 12 months in their studios on new material and thus have completed a new chapter in the synth-duos history. All based on their unique sound: smooth pads, irresistibly chilly grooves with mild synth-generated atmospheres, creating a warm soundtrack for the many moods of day and night – surrounded by small, catchy melodies by guitar, trumpet or saxophone.

Title track “Back Home” opens with a dreamy, mystique soundscape – featuring brilliant Cat Smith on tenor saxophone. Followed by “Again and Again” and later “Deep Sea Diver” which take you on a trip to the roots of the band, sequencer based synth lines and new agey textures. “Mother Earth” and “The Secret Island” speak with the mystic voice of nature, while “Girl From China” and “Sawadee” show finest world music impressions from Asia. “Funky Beach Shack” and “Take The Night Train” show the smooth jazz qualities of Dancing Fantasy, powered by Jan Behrens´ virtuosic piano solo.

Back Home is a well rounded multifaceted album that is composed of hip hop, new age, jazz and contemporary synth pop. Beautiful music which is relaxing, which grooves and which above all is full of life, full of enthusiasm and the joy of living. Get Back Home now at CDBaby.

Buff Dillard – Mr. Bonejazz

Trombonist Buff Dillard attended the Philadelphia All-City Jazz Academy, performed with the Philadelphia All-City Jazz Band, jazz sensation Pieces of a Dream, and the legendary Count Basie Band. During his solo career he has released the albums Jazzful Hymms (2008), Genesis (2009), Awaken (2010), Christmas Moments with Buff Dillard (2011), Against All Odds (2012), and Mr. Bonejazz (2015).

On his new album he is accompanied by Shableek Richardson and Derwin Friday (sax), Melvin Gray and John Dillard (bass), Calvin Naper, Brian Houze and Clayton Turnage (drums), Paul Dozier (lead), Howard McNair (organ), Donald Dean (lead fill), Sai dha Harley (violin), Jeremy Kox (keys) and more.

The Intro is heating up the mood with some radio voices announcing the brilliant trombonist called Mr. Bonejazz. With the funky Step Buff brings his trombone in full harmony giving it a good overdub. Stylistically he can be compared with trombonists like Jeff Bradshaw, Trombone Shorty or Steve Baxter.

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Josh Maxey – Celebration of Soul

Guitarist Josh Maxey covers an array of moods and textures with Celebration of Soul (Miles High Records, 2015).

He’s accompanied by organist Brian Charette, organ; Chase Baird, saxophones; Jeremy Noller, drums; Rodney Jones, guitar on “Light & Shade,” “Cycles of Sound” and “Blues for Page”; David Parnell, acoustic guitar on “Brooklyn Sunrise” and “Colorado Sunset”; Michael Cioffero, guitar on “Brooklyn Sunrise” and “Colorado Sunset”; and Bret Parnell, lap steel guitar on “Brooklyn Sunrise” and “Colorado Sunset.”

The ethereal “Brooklyn Sunrise” opens the set. It’s a tranquil soundscape that provides foundation for the overall project.

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Ron Hurak – Chillin’

Chillin'Ron Hurak is a from Sarnia Ontario Canada and has been playing guitar off and on since a teenager. Ron’s earlier influences were Spanish music, blues, jazz and Bossa nova. Over the years Ron has developed his own unique style that allows his listeners to enjoy relaxed rhythms to soothe their soul. Often referred to as a lounge player, Ron prefers his music to be enjoyed as background music and his album is ideal for social gatherings, working at home or the office or just chilling out when driving. Sit back, close your eyes and feel Ron take you into a quiet place to rest your mind.

Ron’s music is the ultimate sound for sitting back, relaxing and chilling! Smooth jazz, easy listening blues, sweet Bossa nova and a touch of Spanish themes to make your day go easier. Get his new album Chillin’ at CDBaby.

F. Gregory Holland – Enchantment

EnchantmentThis project, presented as the 9th digital album by Composer and Guitarist Musician, F. Gregory Holland features beautifully calming and sensual contemporary smooth jazz. Several of the tracks included on this album have been featured on Swiss Groove Radio, one of the world’s exceptional web radio platforms, providing streaming services with an emphasis in the contemporary jazz, funk fusion and R&B space. This is such an intriguing album. F. Gregory put together wonderful deep melodies, which include a variety of instruments, complimented by his guitar work. It’s likely that any music lover could appreciate having this album as a part of their music library. Of course if your listening preference happens to be the sounds of contemporary jazz, you will certainly appreciate the inclusion of this album within your music library.

Enchantment is an array of exceptional contemporary smooth jazz featuring guitar. Feel free to take just a moment and listen at CDBaby.

Lenny Mac Dowell – Locomotive Breath

German flutist Lenny Mac Dowell cannot be reduced to a style or genre. His musical roots go back to the time of progressive rock. In the 70’s he was playing in groups like Hölderlin and Birth Control under his real name Friedemann Leinert. His solo career started with Flute Power (1978), followed by Flexible (1979), Airplay (1980), Bird Watching (1982), Magic Flute (1983), Balance of Power and Live Tapes in 1984, Autumn Break (1986), Radioactive (1988). Later preceded by The Farthest Shore (1989), Flying Torso (1995), Launch Control (2003), Echnaton’s Return with Krell (2006), Get Ready (2009), Retrospective (2011), Meditation Following the Inspiration (2012) and this year Locomotive Breath.

With keyboardist Christoph Spendel he released the albums Autumn Breath (1989) and Landscapes (2015), in addition Deep House Project Ibiza, Vol. 1 (2014). Pete York, Lenny Mac Dowell & Wolfgang Schmidt released the albums Wireless and Once Upon a Time (2007).

His discographies on the Internet are partly incomplete, partly the albums are mentioned with different release dates, probably reissues. Lenny Mac Dowell is tagged as a smooth jazz and new age artist or as a jazz rock and fusion jazz musician. He also founded together with his wife in 1987 the label Blue Flame Records still releasing albums of numerous artists of many genres. He was also music editor at the German radio station SDR 3 and moderated the program Treff nach Zwei. Furthermore he has been and is producing several mainly documentary films.

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Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers – Live in Seattle

A desire to deviate from contemporary jazz – or pop instrumental, for the technical – and do something edgier, saxophonist Mindi Abair called upon a friend, Randy Jacobs, to join her live band. Jacobs’ band, the Boneshakers, was playing the Newport Beach Jazz Festival on the same bill as Abair’s band. Abair sat in with that group. And with some members of Abair’s band performing with the Boneshakers, the combination became the natural next step. The result, Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers’ Live in Seattle (Heads Up, 2015).

The event was captured over Valentine’s Day weekend at Jazz Alley. The set includes a mix of original songs, some culled from Abair’s previous seven recordings, and two covers.

After the introduction, Abair and company perform the title song of her previous release, Wild Heart. It’s a moderately paced track that has a rock/funk edge. After going through the main theme and a middle break that includes some guitar magic, Abair lets loose, cranking up the intensity as she works up to the ending.

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