Archive for June, 2017

Tom Kennedy – Points of View

“Behold. The master at work,” says Ben Vereen of bassist/composer Tom Kennedy. He’s not exaggerating, as Kennedy exhibits his mastery of the instrument and of composition with Points of View (2017).

Kennedy plays electric bass, acoustic bass and keyboards. Personnel are Dave Weckl, drums; Bill Evans, soprano sax; Charles Blenzig, piano; Karla Harris, vocal on “New July”; Wes Ritenour, drums; Chuck Loeb, guitar; Bob Fanceschini, soprano sax, tenor sax; Lee Ritenour, guitar; Obed Calvaire, drums; Nick Marcione, trumpet; Randy Brecker, trumpet; Mike Stern, guitar; Richie Morales, drums; and Bob Malack, tenor sax.

Weckl and Kennedy begin “The Dark” in emphatic fashion, injecting a slight Weather Report touch. After the intro, the mood changes to something more mellow. Evans takes lead, setting the mood for an evening of romance. The tenor expresses freely, with Weckl and Blenzig offering support. Kennedy evokes memories of Jaco Pastorius when playing in the background. During his middle solo, he makes the instrument talk, much like a suitor saying sweet nothings to his darling. At just above eight and a half minutes, it’s the second-longest track in the set. That gives the listener ample time to enjoy each musician individually, and the quartet as a whole.

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Konstantin Klashtorni – Smooth Jazz IV

Multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Klashtorni is known by his projects Kool & Klean, Chillaxing Jazz Kollektion, Love Suggestions and Smooth Jazz. His newest album of the latter is Smooth Jazz IV (2017).

The front photo indicates Konstantin’s musical main weight, the saxophone. In order to avoid a false impression, Konstantin plays all his instruments himself, composes all the pieces and produces them. Releasing more than 30 tracks each year makes him to the most productive artist of the smooth jazz scene.

Listening to the first track If I Told You immediately comes Grover Washington’s The Two Of Us into mind. The soul searing beauty of the melody can compete with the great inspiration. With Hills and Valleys Konstantin not only presents a catchy melody but also invests time and efforts in a sophisticated rhythmic background.

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Bob Dowell – Mississippi Slide!

After years recording and performing in large ensembles, or as a sideman for an array of artists in various genres, trombonist Bob Dowell celebrates his new home and the inspirations it provides with Mississippi Slide! (2017).

Accompanying musicians are Art Edmaiston, tenor sax; Tony Thomas, Hammond B3 organ; Tim Goodwin, bass; and Tom Lonardo, drums.

The title song has a cool blues vibe. The organ introduces the piece, followed by a brief melody by trombone and tenor. Dowell quickly gives way to a tenor solo that’s right out of the 1950s or ‘60s. Edmaiston plays clean, bright and – cool. Dowell follows with a smooth solo of his own. Thomas, Goodwin and Lonardo stretch out plenty in the background. After Thomas’ brief stint, Dowell and Edmaiston blend for the closing melody and fade.

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Jaee Logan – Sun Rider

Smooth jazz multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer Jaee Logan‘s new album Sun Rider is featuring Verdine White (Earth Wind & Fire), Bill Summers and more. Recommended if you like Earth Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis, Norman Connors.

This album is on sale at iTunes.

David T Shamley – The Transition

David T Shamley comments his new album The Transition: This music is what you want to hear when problems is in your life and you don’t know which way to to turn, this music will give that direction to take that step toward God and understanding his love and power that he has waiting on you. If you trust God, and believe that he can make a way for you, then you just picked up the right album.

The Transition is available at CDBaby.

Mattias Roos – Movin’ Up

Swedish musician, songwriter and producer Mattias Roos is a founding member of the band Soweco that he formed with drummer Peter Gustavsson in 2011. He started his solo career with the album My Story (2016). His second project Movin’ Up (2017) is destined to make a breakthrough on the American music market.

Mattias Roos performs on the new album piano, Rhodes, keyboards, synth bass, programming & editing. He is accompanied on selected tracks by U-Nam (lead guitar), Elan Trotman (tenor sax), Dwayne «Smitty» Smith, Jonatan Lundin (bass), Wictor Persson (drums), Samuel Olofsson, Johan Björklund (guitar), Markus Asplund (trumpet), David Ehrlin (sax) and Greger Hillman (sax section).

Central theme of the new album is the title song Movin’ Up. The uplifting melody is the right stuff to bring you on the next level and U-Nam on guitar is now launching the second stage of joy. Take It Higher shows a giant step forward in artistic weight class with a simple melody which is transposed by a perfect arrangement to a catchy unforgettable something.

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Bruce Blackman – Is That Your Yacht?

Bruce Blackman aims to please. He rarely, if ever, misses his mark. And he scores again with Is That Your Yacht? (Starbuck Music, 2017).

The musicians are Blackman, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion and bass; other vocals: Jerome Olds, Jim Tice, Lina Kawar-Machaelides, Sarah Blackman, Meeko, and Cheryl Wilson; Randy Hoexter, keyboards and strings; Bo Wagner, percussion and vibes; Larry Cianelli, percussion and bass; James Cobb, bass; Atlanta Symphony, strings; Robert Taylor, guitar and violin; and the Bentley Brass, horns.

A coastal location in Spain, the Caribbean or South America may be the setting for the opening track, “Luz De Luna,” or “light of the moon.” It’s a tropical ballad that’s accented by Taylor’s guitar. Blackman sings of a midnight rendezvous with his lover – sneaking away while everyone else is asleep.

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