Archive for March, 2016

Sam Hankins – Do That Thang

DothatthangSam Hankins graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance and a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree in music education. He performed in the Glenn Miller big band and with artists such as The O’Jays, Aretha Franklin, Kool and the Gang, The Temptations, and The Dells.

Sam has more than one iron in the fire. Dream Catcher (2011) might find your attention at CDBaby. His smooth jazz CD Nothing Between Us was released in 2012. The latter is available via his website. Sam returned to Chicago in the fall of 2010 and was hired as Band Director at Christ Our Savior Catholic School, where he is still teaching his students.

His brand new project called Do That Thang drop March 10th, 2016. Artists on this album are Sam Hankins- Trumpet & Flugelhorn, Julz Prescott- Lyrics & Vocals, Demetrice Everett- Drums, Tim Gant- Keyboards, Terry Tuck- Bass Guitar, Joel Del Rosario- Guitar, Marcellus Hankins- Lyrics & Vocal, Audley Reid ll- Tenor Saxophone, Chris Godber- Tenor Saxophone, and Symon (Simon Ayantola)- Lyrics & Vocals. This album is available at CDBaby.

Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion – Groove Jazz N Chill #2

Multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni is known to have released two series. Kool&Klean and Chillaxing Jazz Kollektion. I asked him to describe the difference between both series from his personal sight as artist.

Konstantin explains꞉ “Kool&Klean is more groovy, trendy and experimental. I try to open another sound dimension still staying within SJ genre. Chillaxing Jazz Collection is more chill out orientated, with ballad and romantic feel to it. And style wise it’s on edge with New Age, at least I approach it this way. Although it’s about an idea I had before creating both series, some songs can be slightly in the different vein (nobody is perfect).″

Keeping that in mind Happiness outshines the audience mood in the true sense of word with the utmost relaxation and peaceful contemplation. Touch is a physical mode of interaction between two human beings. In a pure mental sphere music can touch in a spiritual moving. This is the intention of the second tune.

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Susie Arioli – Spring

Emerging jazz vocalists typically fall into one of two camps. One attempts to freshen up standards, with a session drawn entirely from the American Songbook. The other brings something new, either in the approach to how the songs are arranged or with new material. Susie Arioli gives us a taste of both with Spring (Spectra Musique, 2016).

The singer-songwriter is accompanied by Don Thompson, piano and vibraphone; Terry Clarke, drums; Neil Swainson, bass; Reg Schwager, drums; Phil Dwyer, tenor saxophone; Kevin Turcotte, trumpet; Andy Ballantyne, alto saxophone; Shirantha Beddage, baritone saxophone; and Kelsley Grant, trombone.

The set opens with one of four Arioli originals, the delightful, upbeat “Loverboy.” A bright, sunny horn section riff begins the song. Arioli’s voice charms the spirit. The pace is moderate and snappy. Turcotte stretches out during the middle break, with ample assistance from Clark, Swainson, Thompson and Schwager.

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Roland Gresham – Pillow Talk

Pillow TalkJazz Guitarist Roland Gresham has been playing guitar since the age of six. He has performed at venues throughout the United States and abroad for the past thirty years. His earliest influence in jazz guitar was Wes Montgomery. In the late 1970’s, Roland heard the music of George Benson, and immediately became a fan of Mr. Benson’s style. Even though Roland has had no formal training, his music sounds like one who has studied at the great schools of music. Many who have heard him play have compared his playing to that of George Benson, Norman Brown, Earl Klugh, and Peter White.

Listening to the CD Pillow Talk will put you in several moods: relaxation, dancing, romance, etc. This is the first in a series of smooth jazz/romance cds to come. Five of the songs are original compositions which are: Take Your Time; Are You Ready; In The Mood; Midnight Seduction; and So Many Ways (To Say I Love You). Roland also included five cover songs that are all-time favorites. Roland has performed these songs and others for jazz festivals, banquets, receptions, and private parties from coast to coast. Get this album at CDBaby.


BWBYou can almost smell the tangy barbecue sauce dripping from the forthcoming third album “BWB” by chart-topping trio BWB, who throw down like a sweaty garage band at a Memphis backyard house party on their debut for the Artistry Music label arriving April 22. It’s the first time the band made up of GRAMMY® winners Norman Brown (guitar, vocals) and Kirk Whalum (saxophone, flute, vocals) and Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, vocals) cooked up a festive, sticky-fingered feast of ten new contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and funk joints. Braun produced the session in his suburban Los Angeles-area home studio where the band moved in with their families and lived together for an entire week. The result is a collaborative disc celebrating brotherhood and live music. The tantalizing title track is the first radio cut, which enters Billboard’s Top 10 on next week’s singles chart and appears to be ticketed for the top spot.

Anytime the three solo stars get together to record, it’s an instant candidate for event album of the year in the contemporary jazz world. BWB has been itching to record original material ever since they first recorded as a high-wattage trio in 2002 when they released a collection of covers entitled “Groovin’.” Over a decade later, they reunited as a combo in 2013 with “Human Nature,” paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s songbook and scoring their first No 1 hit with “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).” This time around, they decided to compose the material entirely on their own, creating party jams specifically with their spirited live shows in mind.

As Braun tells it, “A long time ago in a faraway galaxy, three brothers dreamed of recording a CD of all original material as a band. Although the evil forces of time and geography stood in their way for many years, a dream is a powerful idea and ultimately the collective, creative force will prevail. And in that spirit, Norman and Kirk moved into my house for a short week with their loved ones. We played our horns, sang, drank wine, wrote, laughed and lived together. Thus it began!” Continue reading

Nick Colionne – The Journey

Chicago’s best dressed jazz guitarist Nick Colionne released his first albums It’s My Turn (1994), Arrival (1996) and The Seduction (1999) on the Lake Shore Jazz label followed by Just Come On In (2003), Keepin’ It Cool (2006), and No Limits (2008). Feel The Heat (2011) and Influences (2014) are released on Trippin & Rhythm. Now he is back with The Journey (2016) on the same label.

Among the big names on this album are saxophonists Najee and Darren Rahn, keyboardist/producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis, keyboardists Nicholas Cole and James Lloyd.

The album starts in full swing with the title song. Nick brings his Epiphone The Broadway in the forefront and raises a cool melody even with some improvisation on top. Buckle Up shines with a great horn section and outstanding sax and the rhythm is a funky addition. Nick gets from the horn players the tendency to tell a story like a vocalist and that makes his songs so full of tension.

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Katherine Farnham – Vintage

She answers to Kool Kat. Pianist and vocalist Katherine Farnham breaks out the cool, the groove, the funky and the ethereal with Vintage (2016).

The music melds several genres, incorporating pop, funk, R&B, spiritual and a hint of easy listening, employing a few jazz musicians to help deliver her messages. The variable lineup of session players consists of Dan Warner, guitar; Dan Feizli, bass; Jason Furman, drums; Akil Thompson, guitar; Roy Vogt, bass; Marcus Finnie, drums and percussion; Jorge Costa, drum programming and background vocals; Kirk Whalum, saxophone on “Star Reacher”; Juancho Herrera, guitars; Nestor Torres, flute on “Mermaid” and “Eternidad (Eternity)”; Andres Canola, guitar and percussion; Danny Jiosa, guitar; additional vocals on “Zip, Zad, Zowee”: Thompson, Finnie and Dave Hagen.

In the “Prelude,” Katherine speaks over an electronic soundscape, asking the question, “How far would you go for love?” It’s an appropriate setup for what’s to come, songs of relationships, romance and pursuit of dreams.

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Eden Perez – Just In Time

Just in TimeJust In Time is a very innovative smooth jazz album that brings a refreshing feel to the genre. This stunning album is pure musical magic that will inspire and motivate the listeners for many years to come. It was produced with an amazing personnel that has taken the smooth jazz industry by storm. Be ready to indulge in some breath taking performances from saxophonist Eden Perez.

An amazing euphoric journey of music boundaries, that will lift your spirits and bring a sense of calmness to your ears. Just In Time now at CDBaby.

Michael Walker – A Smoother You

ASmootherYouDallas guitarist Michael Walker releases new CD entitled A Smoother You on Spectra Music Group. The CD is co-produced and written by Quentin Moore (also of Dallas, Texas), and exhibits a style that infuses Smooth Jazz and “Southern Soul”. Walker began his musical career as a blues guitarist influenced by the legendary B.B. King.

During the year 2000, he switched to R&B and became leader of a local cover band known as“Chill Factor” playing mostly throughout Texas and Tennessee. After 12 years with the group, he turned his interests towards Smooth Jazz, leaving the band to create the “A Smoother You” project. After sending a few preview tracks to producer/guitarist Paul Brown, Michael forged ahead with his project and has recently released his latest CD in available world wide in stores and online.

Get the new album at

Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion – Groove Jazz N Chill #1

Multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni has traveled the world and joined many groups in the past. Now he is recording his music as a one man band. Asked why he doesn’t perform with other musicians anymore, he has a simple answer.

“The reason I’m not touring is that the planes and hotels is not exactly my thing, I can’t get used easily to time zone change, to different food, etc. Playing live is not bringing me that joy as it was before, although I still play live and have my chops in place, – on the other side producing DOES. Since some time I stopped looking for legacy in music that many SJ artists are after, instead have chosen for comfortable life style.″

Konstantin serves the aptly melody to the breezy Summer Wind. Gentle guitar sounds are underpinned with supreme keyboard sounds. Colors allures with a soulful bounce and impressive melody. Sigh is an emotional human expression, a sigh of relief, compassion or caressing. All this speaks through Konstantin’s music.

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