Archive for June, 2017

Herb Wilborn Jr. – Appreciate the Moment

Dynamic, expressive, soulful and passionate are words that best describe the unmistakable sound of flautist Herb Wilborn Jr. Dubbed “Cleveland’s Finest Jazz Flautist” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and winner of the Midwest Urban Music Awards for “Best New Artist of any Category”, Herb has earned his stripes through hard work, dedication, discipline and his overall love for playing music.

Herb’s creative instincts and high level of musical expression is complimented by his polished stage presence. Having performed in a variety of venues which have included large concert halls, music festivals, night clubs, cruise ships, country clubs, art centers and churches. Herb has shared the stage with noted jazz artist as Ramsey Lewis, Ronnie Laws, Kim Waters, Najee, Noel Pointer, Roy Ayers, Kym Pensyl, Pamela Williams, Linn Roundtree and Joe McBride.

The flute has attained a magnetic almost mythological place in music history and Herb is certainly upholding that tradition in a very contemporary manner. His warm and sure-handed sound is the direct result of his intense studies under flute master, Professor Joseph Juhos at the renowned Cleveland Institute of Music. Thus, Herb has become not only well-grounded in the improvisational arts but adept at the European classical flute tradition as well. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer continued, “Wilborn’s fine pure tone and all-around abilities indicates he’s a well-trained musician”. Herbert Wilborn Jr. is destined to be among the hierarchy of committed musicians, dedicated to clarity, color and creativity. We have found this gem here.

David T. Shamley – The Transition

Detroit born, Tulsa resident David T. Shamley has worked with HB Barnum, music director of Aretha Franklin. he performed with Lou Rawls, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green and recorded with the group Third World on their album Logos Jump.

After serving in the United States Army and performing with the Army Soldier Show he now concentrates his musical activity on his solo career. His new album The Transition is just released.

A specialty of this album is the fact that David T. Shamley has written and arranged most of the tracks of this album. However David Keys has performed most of the instruments. Further musicians mentioned in the liner notes are on selected tracks Alphaeus Washington (guitar) and Allen Brown (bass).

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Allegra Levy – Cities Between Us

It took a few years, but it’s well worth the wait. Upstart jazz vocalist Allegra Levy releases her second album, Cities Between Us (Steeple Chase Productions, 2017).

Supporting musicians are Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Stephen Riley, tenor saxophone; Carmen Staaf, piano; Jay Anderson, bass; and Billy Drummond, drums.

Levy’s acclaimed Lonely City (2014) has been billed as the darker side of Allegra. By comparison, the new release would be the lighter side. In reality, it’s a more human side. Whereas the debut album presented songs about “serious” topics, Cities Between Us delves more into emotions as they relate to personal relationships and memories.

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Jackiem Joyner – Main Street Beat

After Baby Soul (2007), Lil’ Man Soul (2008), Jackiem Joyner (2010), Church Boy (2012) and Evolve (2014) it would simply be an understatement, to describe saxophonist Jackiem Joyner as someone still in development. Jackiem Joyner has gained cult status and Main Street Beat (2017) is the exclamation point behind this statement.

The new album features besides the Yamaha performing artist Jackiem Joyner a dream cast of musicians like Timothy Bailey Jr. (multi instruments), Kyle Bolden and Darryl Williams (bass), Dee-Cole-Laing, Nikolai Egarov and Britt Frappier (trombone), Nick Colionne, Michael “Big Mike” Hart Jr., Steve Oliver, Gabe Roland and Carnell Harnell (guitar), and Raymond Johnson (tenor saxophone).

The center of a town, of urban activities and cultural diversity is often called Main Street. This song embraces the ease and grace with which city life can be approached and brings all into the musical focus of Jackiem’s saxophone.

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Manuel Valera Trio – The Seasons

Does Manuel Valera ever get tired? If the pace of his releasing new music, or joining another artist’s session, is any indication, the answer to that is an emphatic no.

Six albums of his own in just four years, not counting other projects. And he’s done them in various configurations: solo piano, his groups New Cuban Express and Groove Square. Now, in trio format, he presents The Seasons (Mavo Records, 2017).

Accompanists are Hans Glawischnig, bass; and E.J. Strickland, drums.

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Jamhunters – Nightclub

They are coming from Denmark, Jamhunters are Lars Fabiansen (guitar) and Peter Michael (keyboards). Smooth Jazz is their main style and they are professionals in serving the perfect groove. Their debut album Jamhunters (2006) was soon followed by their sophomore album Music Speaks Louder Than Words (2008). Their third project was Driftin’ (2011), followed by Colortones (2015).

After a longer hiatus they are returned with Nightclub (2017). A live in Studio recorded album of 9 original songs in the usual smooth Jamhunters style. Get the album at CDBaby.

Roberto Restuccia – When The Smoke Clears

Inspired by great contemporary jazz guitarists like George Benson, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Chuck Loeb and the late Ronnie Jordan UK based guitarist Roberto Restuccia makes after his debut album Exposure (2016) with When The Smoke Clears (2017) the second step of his solo career.

On his sophomore project guitarist Roberto is performing a PRS Hollow Body 2 and a Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster. He is supported by Roger Inniss (bass), Russ Wilson (drums), James Johnson (keyboards), and Rock Hendricks (saxophone). All tracks are written and produced by Roberto.

After this compact package of facts let’s concentrate on the album, which starts with the song Mei. This is a tribute to a beloved person, a musical dialogue between guitar and piano. The guitar sound is inspired by Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), coherent on many levels and a real soul filler.

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