Archive for May, 2016

Kenny Wright Experience – Jazz Expressions

Bass player Kenny Wright is one of the underestimated icons of the contemporary jazz genre. Performing with legends such as Stevie Wonder, The Whispers, Michael White, The Temptation’s Review, The Supremes, Bobbi Humphrey and others should be award enough.

He also excelled with his solo albums Fresh Focus (1993), Comin’ at Ya (1995), Bottle of Wine (1998), Herbie, Miles and Me (2006) and My Roots (2010).

After a long hiatus he returns with his new album Jazz Expressions (2016). He performs on this album with proven players like Charles Etzel, Camarra Kambron (piano), Wendall Shepherd (trumpet), Eric Kennedy, Bobby Ward, Larry Bright, Steve Onheiser (drums), Jacob Yoffee, David Smith, Kelly Shepherd, Steve Carrington (sax), Seitu (piano and keyboards), Kevin Porter, Carl Filipiak, David Cosby (guitar) and George Spika (celeste). Kenny plays on this album six string bass, guitar, and drum programming.

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Mitchell Coleman Jr. – Perception

12963863_902379359861112_7432377261375069394_nWith the release of his first solo CD effort, ‘Soul Searching’, and single ‘Genesis’, an instrumental jazz/funk fusion collection that interweaves music inspired by his much admired influences, Mitchell Coleman Jr. has fulfilled a lifelong dream of creating the music he hears in his heart and feels in his soul – and sharing it with the world.

His new album Perception has definitely a funky attitude and is now on sale at

Alvin Clayton Pope – The Good Life

The Good LifeTaking his musical “game” to the next level, Pope vibes with genre superstar and #1 hit maker Nils to create an infectious set of nine dynamic originals and powerful covers of Donnie Hathaway’s “Valdez in the Country” and the always uplifting “Amazing Grace.” The title of the album came to the keyboardist towards the end of the recording process, and it perfectly summarizes the joyful spirit of the collection and Pope’s optimism moving forward: The Good Life.

The core flow of the album is centered on Pope’s freewheeling melodic magic on piano and retro keyboards (including Hammond B-3 organ and Fender Rhodes) and Nils’ funk-driven production and acoustic and electric guitar energy. For both artists, it was truly The Good Life every day in the studio as some of contemporary jazz’s most acclaimed artists and musicians contributed to bringing Pope’s eclectic compositions to life. Pope often uses sax to create exciting horn sections and doubling for his keys. The Good Life features performances from renowned indie players Reggie Codrington (“Amazing Grace”) and Charley Langer (“Island Girl”) in addition to veteran smooth jazz chart toppers Jessy J (“Mr. Marco”) and Jeff Kashiwa (“Body Heat”). Bassists include Reggie McBride (“Body Heat,” “One More Day,” “Chillin’”), Darryl Williams (“Rio,” “Amazing Grace,” “Island Girl,” “Paraiso,” Valdez In The Country,”) and Larry Antonio (“Mr. Marco”), while Oliver Brown handles percussion and Richard Wrightman keeps the beat steady on drums. The album also includes some of the last studio sessions by legendary drummer Ricky Lawson before he passed away in late 2013; he appears on “Rio” and “Mr. Marco”. Pope, who has been a music educator to grades K-5 and a staple of the music scene around his home of Wilmington, DE for years, is excited that he and Nils were in “lockstep,” developing a solid chemistry and freewheeling energy as they went from, in his words, “the city to the coast, down to South America and back again.”

The keyboardist adds: “The title of the album reflects the fact that everything about the experience of making it is about the positive side of life. I’ve kind of gone outside the box, exploring different textures and rhythmic ideas to create a blended style. It’s not straight funk or straight Latin – and a song like ‘Paraiso’ is the perfect example of a song that fuses those two genres together. What makes this project more amazing than any other I have worked on is the combination of some of my songwriting with this solid cast of musicians and Nils’ great production skills. He and I are very likeminded, and as you can tell when you listen, both of us have a flair for the funk no matter the essential style of the track.” Continue reading

Ejazz Artistry – Smooth Pack 2

Asked after his marketing receipt Konstantin Klashtorni explains: “As I’m releasing quite a lot of music each year, so there is no budget to promote every single album. I did US nation radio promotion in the past to make a name in US, now doing only social media like Facebook and on my website. Each time a fan writes me an e-mail with compliments, I ask him to spread the word among family, friends, etc. I release also some compilations from various, which works quite well too.

I remember always the quote Derek Sivers, former CDBaby owner said: “You guys just have to write really good music, the people know to find it.” And I believe it’s the main topic musicians have to concentrate on. Like the song writers in Nashville, writing around 300 songs a year, and only the best 20 go online or get picked up by the star singers. That’s kind of my formula, put online ONLY the best tracks.″

Musical genius Konstantin Klashtorni starts his album Smooth Pack 2 with the luscious Let It Go. “The music has to speak for itself,” John Coltrane used to elucidate. “Words can’t do it.” In the case of Klashtorni it’s rather easy to describe his songs with enthusiastic attributes. He sets his arrangements to finesse and gives the listeners this certain feeling of happiness to have found the right music.

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Incognito – In Search of Better Days

InSOBDYou would think that a 37-year-old band would rest on its laurels…right? No, not Incognito! The band is as creative and full of fire as it was at its conception in 1979. A rare feat in these days and times.

Their 17th studio album, In Search of Better Days, will have Incognito fans grinning ear to ear and will be released on June 24th, 2016 on earMUSIC (Europe) and Shanachie Entertainment (US). The fresh, uncompromising, soulful, Jazz-Funk-laden songs and instrumentals that are the bones of Incognito continue to shine through . . . and there is more. The sound of Bluey’s London for over three and a half decades weaves its way throughout this album and gives it flesh, with splashes of Drum & Bass and Broken Beats, Rare Groove, Deep Soulful House, and even influences from the Rock and Blues that were at the heart of the UK scene in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

From the driving bass of featured guest Stuart Zender on the opening track, you know that this album is upping the ante and it’s going to be one hell of a good ride! Imaani, Vanessa Haynes, Tony Momrelle, Katie Leone, Vula Malinga — the UK’s finest and most soulful voices hit you relentlessly one after the other with songs that will remain with you from the first hearing. And as if that was not enough to make this one of Incognito’s best albums, in comes American chanteuse extraordinaire aka “the voice of Incognito” — Maysa, to seal the deal! Continue reading

Matt Marshak – New York

NYMatt Marshak‘s New York captures the many sides of this diverse one of a kind guitar player. He is 100% live in the studio with a great band behind him. It’s jazzy, rootsy, soulful, funky, and groovin’. Sean Michael Ray is on Bass, Carl Anderson on drums, Benjie Porecki on keys. The opening track “North Carolina” conjures up imagery of a dusty southern road with a Church house on the hill, “Real Music” (feat. Ronnie D Queen) on vocals is just that–good ol’ real music with a live band–no drum machines, samples, loops, etc. “Lookin’ Back” has a funky jazz groove reminiscent of the 1970’s.

For Matt’s European fans, you can see him performing at the Algarve Smooth Jazz Festival in Portugal from September 29th – October 2nd. Buy the CD New York by Matt Marshak on the independent record store by musicians for musicians CDBaby.

Joel Del Rosario – Past Present Future

Under the influences of George Benson, Earth Wind & Fire and Stan Getz guitarist Joel Del Rosario makes his fortune in the smooth jazz genre. All started with All Him (2005), followed by Calm In The Storm (2006), Coast To Coast (2011) and this year Past Present Future.

Guest musicians on his new album are flutist Ragan Whiteside and trumpet player Melvin Miller, who is the featured artist on the first tune Summer Song. Joel allows the summery airy melody to take flight on his guitar and Melvin adds his personal note on trumpet.

This Is How We Roll gives relaxing an acoustic facelift. The eclectic pulse comes from the flute and the guitar wraps it nicely. The title song has a Pat Metheny approach, a sign for great music. Technically proficient and sonically touching.

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Andre Ward, Rahni Song & Rob White – Jazzilicious Vol. 2


Andre Ward, Rahni Song & Rob Whitehope hope you enjoy their musical selections for Jazzilicious Vol. 2. Smooth jazz saxophonist André Ward was born and raised in Chicago. His first instrument, which he took up at age eight, was the snare drum. He later moved to trumpet and tenor saxophone before settling on alto saxophone and becoming sufficiently proficient to earn a music-performing scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Based in Boston, he played internationally and did session work for such artists as Freddie Jackson. He was signed to Orpheus Music and released his debut solo album, Feelin’ You, in October 2001. It reached number four on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and also appeared on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. His second album, Steppin’ Up, released in March 2004, was similarly successful.The new album could have just as easily been titled “Duets”. It features some of the top vocalist in the music industry today.

This album is available at CDBaby.

Kim Waters – Rhythm and Romance

RRSaxophonist Kim Waters has made a career of writing timeless anthems with insatiable grooves, undeniable hooks and memorable melodies that combine the best of jazz, R&B, funk and soul. This formula has catapulted him to the top of the charts time and time again and prompted JazzTimes Magazine to declare, “Waters is simply one of the planet’s best saxophonists.” Instantly recognizable for his keen melodic sensibilities and soulful approach to his saxophone, The Washington Post has likened Waters to, “A romantic pied piper out on a long evening stroll.” The prolific saxophonist, composer and producer has enjoyed a career longevity that is rare. Waters’ Zen-like approach to his life and artistry is simple, “My motto is to try and live in away where I am not stressing about anything. What’s going to be is going to be. I strive to be happy because life is short.” It is with this pointed and in the moment approach that Waters’ delivers his most enjoyable solo effort yet, Rhythm And Romance. The album is dedicated to his inspirations – Kayla and Kimberly. “My daughters are my everything,” beams Waters. “They are smart, talented and focused. I am proud that they see me as a role model.” Rhythm and Romance showcases Waters compositional prowess and features seven dynamic originals and three re-workings of hits by Janet Jackson, Sam Smith and DeBarge.

Through the years Kim Waters has proven he knows a thing or two about romance. Just take a look at the titles of his hit Shanachie albums over the last decade and half and you can see that love is a reoccurring theme: Love’s Melody (1998), One Special Moment (1999), From The Heart (2001), Someone To Love You (2002), In the Name of Love (2004), All For Love (2005), You Are My Lady (2007) and I Want You: Love in the Spirit of Marvin (2008), Love Stories (2010) and This Heart of Mine (2011). Kim Waters 22nd recording as a leader and twelfth CD for Shanachie, Rhythm and Romance, finds the saxophonist doing what he does best — creating dreamy melodies, crafting funky dance-inspired originals, immortalizing sultry ballads, and putting his own indelible imprint on timeless R&B hits. The charming and spiritually grounded saxophonist has proven through the years to be a master composer. “I usually start at the piano and write the song and melody and then I go in the studio and bring the song to life, he shares. “Sometimes it all comes together immediately while other times it slowly evolves.”

In typical fashion, Waters is like a one-man band playing virtually all the instruments on Rhythm And Romance. However, he does get a little help from some friends including guitarist Dave Manley. Waters shares, “Dave is a great guitarist who can play any style. He has toured with Jill Scott and a host of other great artists and he brings the flavor every time I call him. Waters is also joined by his long-time friend and collaborator, Chris “Big Dog” Davis (Kim Burrell, George Clinton, Maysa). “He is a super talented keyboard player and a master producer,” exclaims Waters. “Everything he touches turns to gold. He is truly a superstar.” Rhythm and Romance also joins Waters with up and coming vocalist Christi Jones who Waters says we will definitely be hearing more from in the future and singer Dave Manley who has toured with Jill Scott and who Waters says “brings the flavor every time I call him.” Continue reading

Ejazz Artistry – Smooth Pack 1

Multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni asked after the special feature of the eJazz Artistry series explains: “There is not much specialty in this series except the more groovy and probably funky concept. Unlike my previous albums, in eJazz series I explore new instruments, playing less saxophone, more guitar and piano. I tried to make commercial Smooth Jazz, easy to listen and understand for (specially) US residents, as I “speak” on albums “their” SJ language using my background and influence as European.″

We Belong Together sounds familiar compared to Konstantin’s other releases. Describe it as a slow jam easy listening experience with a catchy melody recited by his most popular instruments, sax and guitar. The rhythm as an important element has its place on Just Fine. Guitar, sax and keyboards are the triumvirate of overwhelming easiness.

Konstantin’s ability to shift harmonics on the fly finds its expression on the shuffle beat based Love Calls. Fine keyboard sound tapestries combined with celestial piano play are the main elements of this groove oriented tune. You’re Mine offers shimmering keyboard chords decorating a repetitive theme.

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