Archive for July, 2016

Myriad3 – Moons

A trio that sounds like something bigger. That’s Myriad3. And the group continues to impress with Moons (Alma Records, 2016).

The players are Chris Donnelly, piano and synth; Dan Fortin, upright bass, fretless and synth; and Ernesto Cervini, drums and Glockenspiel.

Highlights include the opening track, “Skeleton Key,” “Unnamed Cells” and the one cover song, “Counter of the Cumulus.” When one thinks of the piano-bass-drum lineup, the music usually covers jazz standards or is confined to the acoustic sounds of those instruments, often both. But the inclusion of synths and the Glockenspiel immediately gives these songs more depth and diversity. The electronic element adds a contemporary, or modern, feel. And the compositions range from the simple melody to the complex symphony, a soundtrack of life.

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Euge Groove – Still Euge

still eugeEuge Groove is back with his tenth album and his fifth for Shanachie Entertainment. His new album Still Euge (2016) is a commitment to his musical roots, the genre with which he is grown and his own person as professional musician.

His album is among the elaborately produced. Under the surrounding countless musicians are Tracey Carter and Cassandra O’Neal (Rhodes, piano), Cornelius “Corny” Mims (bass), Chuck Loeb, Peter White, Paul Jackson Jr., John “Jubu” Smith and Adam Hawley (guitars), Trevor Lawrence and Dan Needham (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Rahsan Patterson and Oleta Adams (vocals), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, French horn), Nick Lane (trombone), Phillipe Saisse (strings).

When spiritual loveliness is a tone, then Euge Groove hits it right on the opening Twelfth Night. His soprano sax sounds like a joyful singing bird, completely unbridled, no compromising, but exuberant in its transgression. The title song takes off with a jamming B3 before Euge blows his tenor sax. Making old school to something new or carrying the flame of jam into the future is his intention.

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Darren Barrett – The Music of Amy Winehouse

WinehouseTrumpeter Darren Barrett, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, was flipping through cable television channels while taking a break from a recording session when he stumbled upon a live concert by Amy Winehouse. He had heard the buzz about the unconventional British artist, but hadn’t heard any of her music until that moment. The musician of Jamaican descent with a proclivity for incorporating reggae into his neo-bop jazz recordings was instantly struck by the way the rhythm & soul singer-songwriter infused reggae into her throwback tracks.

“I was surprised to discover that the majority of her concert consisted of performing music mirroring the spirit-liberating sound of reggae music. Damn! Amy was laying the music down like one of the ‘old heads.’ She immediately gained much respect from me and I soon became a fan and a loyal follower of her fast-moving musical career,” Barrett recalled about his 2008 discovery and the inspiration for his eighth album, “The Music of Amy Winehouse,” which will be released August 26 on the dB Music label.

Barrett and his Trumpet Vibes band, a jazz and reggae group, selected nine songs from the late artist’s songbook and spent over a year working on the arrangements and rehearsing before entering the studio. To recreate Winehouse’s high voltage, multi-tiered sound, Barrett augmented his band by adding guitars, keyboards, saxophone and percussion to the Trumpet Vibes lineup that consists of the trumpeter-producer, bassist Alexander Toth, drummer Anthony Toth and vibraphonist Simon Moullier (noted vibraphonist Warren Wolf is featured on “Our Day Will Come”). Naturally, the toughest part was casting a female vocalist capable of capturing Winehouse’s uniquely soulful and charismatic spirit on hallmark hits such as “Tears Dry On Their Own,” “Rehab,” “Back To Black” and “Just Friends.” Enter Joanna Teters.
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David P Stevens – Love City

Love CityPhiladelphia based guitarist, producer and songwriter David P. Stevens has definitely established himself in the smooth jazz scene. This is not difficult to prove with the cast list of his fourth album Epiphany. After Timeless (2005), The Shedd (2008), later repacked as Uptown (2011) this album is the fourth smooth jazz CD in row. It is distributed by Steven’s own label Sanctifly Music Group, on which David already released his first Gospel album From Thoughts to Actions.

Love City, is the 5th full album release for David P Stevens! Check out this powerful lineup! Najee, Pamela Williams, Jackiem Joyner, Frank McComb, Selina Albright, Chelsey Green, Dezzy, Isaac Byrd, Vandell Andrew, Lin Rountree and Tracey Preston! Fans of David’s work, will not be disappointed by his evolution as an artist, writer and producer! Get ready to LOVE now at CDBaby!

Grupo X – Songs from Our Latin Soul: The Best of Grupo X

Grupo X were formed in London in 1997 by trombonist and composer Jonny Enright. Their style is defined as Latin Soul Jazz developed in the sizzling brew at London’s Jazz Cafe. X-Posure (2001), Food For Your Latin Soul (2006), Grupo X Remixed (2008) and As Hills Go By (2011) are their first releases.

Current members of the group are Lisa Millett (vocals), Jonny Enright (trombone), Finn Peters (sax/flute), Sean Corby (trumpet/flugelhorn), Simon Edwards (bass), Al MacSween (piano), Olly Drew (guitar), Jim Le Messurier (drums/timbales), Pete Eckford (congas), Dave Pattman (bongos/percussion).

Their new album Songs from Our Latin Soul: The Best of Grupo X is a collection of their writing and recording from the start to present day. The album kicks off with Brand New Love, a song released in 2001 on the debut album X-Posure. Combine the best of Incognito and Brand New Heavies and you get the direction this album is going. In earlier time this sound was called acid jazz but with a Latin percussion approach in the style of Snowboy. With three members in the percussion corner the group has a dominant rhythm part, the horn section is also distinctive with excellent solo players.

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Charlie Ballantine – Providence

Guitarist Charlie Ballantine aims to step out in a way that he never has before. Providence (2016), his second release, captures his goal by combining his jazz training with his non-jazz influences.

The core ensemble includes Josh Espinosa, organ; Conner Green, bass; and Josh Roberts, drums. Saxophonist Amanda Gardier appears on selected tracks. All are Indiana University classmates.

The scratch and pop of the needle hitting the record on an old turntable accompanies the introduction to “Old Hammer.” This track is an easygoing groove conjures the image of a country spread, where a working man isn’t laboring so much as he’s taking in the scenery around him while doing a little bit of work. He and his colleagues might break out into song to pass the time. Ballantine runs through his middle solo, mixing single notes with chords, throwing in some twang in key moments. His bandmates crank up the heat underneath. Then, just when you think the sound will draw the attention of the foreman, Espinoza hushes them. Relaxed, they continue to groove at will. But even the organist can’t contain himself. Before long, he’s just as intense as the guitarist before him. But when the boss looks over, they revert to what they were doing, working steadily while continuing to enjoy their song.

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Bobby Wells – Back in the Day

Back in the DaySmooth, like a great cup of Java, yet exhilarating, foot tapping, neck will remain in a groove-lockdown-motion. Bobby’s best CD ever and it features Grammy Nominated artist you’ll know. An instrumental record with vocals makes it a superb blend. Enjoy. Bobby comments:”I’m accompanied by some of the most amazing National/International Grammy Nominated artist and musicians. Feel free to visit their Homepage’s for a lot more information. The “Back In The Day” recording project is smooth, yet exhilarating, foot tapping, neck will remain in a groove-lockdown-motion whether your coming or going.

I’m a “giggler” so allow me to define in my own way: Whenever someone plays an instrument and kills it…I giggle. And I can assure you that there was a lot of giggling going on while producing this project. My man guitarist/composer Michael O’Neill, most of you have heard him with George Benson, the (late) Natalie Cole and countless others. Michael is an amazing artist/writer and producer himself, do check out his music. He always knows just what a song needs. He played on my “Bayside” CD and I couldn’t imagine doing another project without him. Incomparable in his guitar stylings and imagination, he drops a pocket of bass & solo guitar as he turns up the heat on “She’s Playful, Bella’s Pier and My Sweet Butterfly.” Well done Mike.

Gerald Albright (I call him G.)…doesn’t just play sax, he knows his way around a bass. He’s playing lead bass on “Bella’s Pier” and bottom on “Tee It Up” (yep, we love golf). G. is Internationally renowned, he has numerous #1 Hits, TV appearances and is a Grammy Nominated Artist many times for his great music and sax playing. His credits go way beyond what I could list here. Thanks G. for kickin the bass man…awesome! Continue reading

Ken Navarro – Bonfire

Bonfire Over the past 25 years, Ken Navarro has performed in every major US city and had numerous Top 5 hits at national radio. His music is distributed throughout the world from Japan to Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Britain, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and even in China. Navarro’s 2010 release Dreaming of Trains was pre-nominated for the 2011 Grammy awards in 2 categories and his 2014 album Ruby Lane spent 4 months in the Top 10 at contemporary/smooth jazz radio, iTunes and Amazon. His impressive discography of 22 top charting albums showcase his appeal to a wide range of listeners with inspiring compositions and superb guitar performances.

“I believe that if you dedicate your life’s work to something you love, you can accomplish what you once thought was impossible. My 23rd album is finally finished and it’s called “Bonfire“. I think it is my greatest accomplishment so far.” Ken Navarro offers his new album at his website for pre-order.

Will Downing – Black Pearls

Soul and R&B legend Will Downing can look back on 19 albums and 28 years of recording. During his severe life period. while he was suffering under Polymyositis, he learned to appreciate his life. Since 2009 after complete recovery he released several further albums to satisfy his fan community.

Black Pearls (2016) is a new interpretation of chart-topping hits of female voices of the R&B genre. The immaculate sound is produced by the musicians Mike Logan II (drums), Dwayne “Smitty” Smith, Al Turner, Kenny Davis, Gerald Veasley and Melvin Davis (bass), Randy Bowland (guitar), Pablo Batista (percussion), Mike Logan Sr. (keyboards), Najee (sax), Kirk Whalum (flute), and many more.

Everything I Miss At Home opens the bouquet. The song was originally created by the famous Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis team and released by Cherelle in 1988. Downing shows in which direction his voice is heading.

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Daniel Meron – Sky Begins

How do you make a piano-led trio sound like something other than a piano-led trio? Give it a voice. That’s one way of looking at pianist Daniel Meron’s Sky Begins (Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit Records, 2016.)

Maia Karo, Meron’s wife, is the featured vocalist. The other musicians are Noam Wiesenberg, bass; and Jimmy MacBride, drums.

“Sleepless Nights” opens the set. The music is tranquil, haunting. Karo’s voice and the piano complement each other in charming fashion. An updated version of a tune from Meron’s Directions album, it also has a subtle groove that might generate some dance floor activity. Wiesenberg gets a moment to stretch out, followed by Karo in a wordless chant. Meron’s middle solo is accented by Macbride, with Karo injecting a brief scat.

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