Archive for August, 2017

Chris Guthrie Project – Gaining Altitude

Gaining Altitude is a new release from Seattle’s Chris Guthrie Project. The album features 10 original tunes co-written by keyboardist Chris Guthrie and contemporary jazz hit maker Steve Oliver (who also produced the record). It’s a fresh point of interest on the contemporary jazz landscape.

The album is a mix of pastoral ballads and up tempo numbers featuring both piano and guitar, blurring the line between traditional and contemporary. Recommended by DJ Norrie Lynch to the smooth jazz community, you find it at CDBaby.

Ken Ford – Eleven

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Ken Ford grew up with the diverse sounds of jazz, blues, and R&B. His family moved to Detroit before settling down permanently in Atlanta. Electric. A word that describes not only Ken Ford’s violin but aptly describes the man himself. With his infectious energy, electric violinist Ken Ford has audiences up on their feet and into the aisles, taking the violin center stage as he rocks out with an inspired creativity and fervor that rivals the biggest and baddest guitar solos.

After the release of his fourth album State of Mind, taking listeners on a roller-coaster ride with songs that embody sexy, electrifying allure flavored with his compelling twists on R&B, hip-hop and jazz, Ford returns with his new album Eleven. Listen to the album at

Yoko Miwa Trio – Pathways

After almost half a decade absence, pianist Yoko Miwa is back in the studio. Pathways (Ocean Blue Tear Music, 2017) exhibits the cohesion of her long-standing trio.

Miwa is accompanied by Will Slater, acoustic bass; and her husband Scott Goulding, drums. Brad Barrett handles acoustic bass on “Dear Prudence.”

A balancing act of four original songs and four covers, Pathways is a stand-out for piano trio music. Instead of revisiting the same standards many other trios have covered, Miwa opts for jazz improvisations of two pop/rock songs, two Marc Johnson compositions and her originals. The result is a sound that’s fresh, exciting and full of vigor.

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Patrick Yandall – A Journey Home

He is at home in many genres. He lives his love of music in blues, rock, smooth jazz, contemporary jazz and more. You never know in advance what direction his next album goes. A Journey Home (2017) is Patrick Yandall‘s return to his roots.

Patrick has written and produced all songs of the new project. The uplifting A Journey Home has the flavor of a sunny summer day. A hip melody with various instruments involved from guitar, horns to vintage organ. You never get a Second Chance for a first impression, but a musician always get the chance by writing new music. This song offers soul music with a retro savor.

Route 56, also known as Kuhio Highway, is the main highway on the north and east shore of Kauai island. Cruising Kuhio Hwy is the aptly hymn for your next drive on this beautiful island. Intimate Request holds your attention for longer with alluring sounds. My Ride has a subtle blues infusion with the ideal connection of horns and guitar.

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Tim Watson – Up & At ‘Em

2015 is already proving to be another break out year for the talented writer and Keyboardist Tim Watson. “When Marie Smiles” from the album “Up & At’em” Co-Written and produced by fellow Smooth Jazz Keyboardist Oli Silk featuring saxophonist ‘Jeanette Harris’ is a hot rhythmic lead off groove.

Up & At’em packs a heavy hitting line up including performances by Grammy award winning producer Keyboardist Phil Davis on “Evolution,” and Saxophonist Pamela Williams on the sensuous ballad “Reminiscing.” Phil Denny blows Sax on the upbeat title track “Up & At’em.” Kim Scott’s vocals and flute, along with Percussionist PJ Spraggins, and Bassist Tim Raynor III all convey the heart of its message on the deep and thought provoking tune “Ancestors.” Ragan Whiteside lends a funky flute presence on “Making Moves.” Dwayne Kerr on flute and Bassist Hubert Eaves IV bring the groove to another level on the hand clapping, finger snapping tune “The Good Life.”

While International fans have labeled his style “addictive and honest…” (Japan Smooth Jazz Magazine 2007) one thing is certain. Tim Watson seems to have found his way into the ears and hearts of music lovers all around the world. Get the album at CDBaby.

H Allan – Stiletto Heels

Like most guitar players who came of age in the 80s, H Allan was an Eddie Van Halen disciple and he loved to shred. The wannabe rocker never would have imagined that one day he would release a cover version of a tune by smooth jazz sax star Richard Elliot as his debut single, but that’s what will happen on Monday when his version of “Stiletto Heels” goes for radio adds.

Allan’s first job out of college was with the LA Sax Company, the maker of color-coated saxes used by an array of artists in all genres of music, including Elliot. His duties required that he attend shows whenever the musicians played Chicago thus Allan attended all of Elliot’s local gigs in the early 90s. A dynamic, high-energy performer, Elliot plays sax aggressively with power, passion and pyrotechnics much like the way Van Halen plays guitar, which quickly impressed Allan and won his respect and admiration. One song in Elliot’s set, the funky “Stiletto Heels” from the 1991 album “On The Town,” never fails to whip audiences into a boisterous frenzy. The tune and the way Elliot attacks it – well, simply put, it’s got balls – the kind that would make a lasting impression on Allan, who had the privilege of working with the saxman for nearly a decade.

A few years ago, long after he moved on from the LA Sax Company, Allan’s own dream of being a recording artist was rekindled. He recorded a few original demos and decided to convert “Stiletto Heels” from a powerhouse sax joint into a raucous guitar-led number. Continue reading

Joris Teepe and Don Braden – Conversations

It took about seven years to complete, but Conversations by Joris Teepe and Don Braden (Creative Perspective Music, 2017) is worth the wait. A project that began in 2009 with the recording completed in 2016 mixes old and new, classics and originals.

Personnel are Teepe, bass; Braden, tenor saxophone and flute; with drum duties split by Gene Jackson and Matt Wilson.

Three classics open the set in stellar fashion. Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty,” Elvin Jones’ “Three Card Molly” and Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat” showcase the partners’ complementary styles. The last of that trilogy is done sans drums. Braden (“Eddieish”), Wilson (“Stolen Time”) and Teepe (“We Take No Prisoners”) each penned one track.

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Jeff Kashiwa – Fly Away

Saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa will be always connected with the Rippingtons, although he already left the group in 1999 to concentrate on a solo career. This decision bore plenty of fruit with nine albums before he reunited with the Rippingtons in 2006 again. In 2004 he founded together with Steve Cole and Kim Waters The Sax Pack, a trio of saxophone headliners.

This month his tenth album Fly Away has been released. Jeff describes the new album as “a collection of songs that express the bittersweet awareness of how quickly time passes and in the same breath the excitement of what is to come as we travel the long road ahead.”

The project features the Coastal Access Band; Melvin Davis (bass), Allen Hinds (guitar), Dave Hooper (drums) and Mark Ellis Stephens and Dave Kochanski (keyboards). Furthermore friends/musicians are Marc Antoine (guitar), Tom Schuman (keys), Ricky Peterson on Hammond B3 Organ, guitarist Miles Gilderdale, Steve Reid, Ronnie Gutierrez, Ray Ysles and Brad Dutz (percussion) along with the late great Ricky Lawson on drums and many others. Jeff performs alto and tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet and EWI.

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Chris Standring – Live In London

Hot on the heels of his smash hit album Ten, Chris Standring presents Live In London featuring special guest star Mica Paris. Recorded live at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea on March 5th 2017, this 14 track album (+ bonus track) beautifully captures the energy, edge and finesse from that one night in London.

“What a fantastic night this was. We had soul superstar Mica Paris guest with us, along with an eight piece string orchestra and a world class London rhythm section. We did it right. I was quite nervous about the idea of recording a live album in one sitting. After all, most artists usually record over several nights and pick the best tracks. We didn’t have that luxury but we did make this concert the last night of the tour so the band were ON! We also had four amazing dancers which put the icing on the cake. So here is the good stuff….

The official release is September 15th, but the album is now available to pre order. You can pre order it from fine retailers now, however, if you order if from me, I can personally sign it for you. But also, I promise to ship the album to you one week ahead of street date, so you will be sure to get it before any other store, if you want the CD. On street date you can also order a digital download.
I’m very proud of this album, it came out just great and everyone really stepped up to the plate and delivered above and beyond.
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Marvin Thompson Jr. – Kind Words

Keyboardist, songwriter and producer Marvin Thompson Jr. has been creating music for the better part of his lifetime. His release, In Focus on the December Sky music label, featured his brand of jazz-infused instrumental music. His catalog also includes his EP Piano Reflective, highlighting Marvin’s ability to convey messages of love and life through simple piano melodies. Marvin’s work includes scoring for the independent film, Guilty Innocence for Swift Winds Media. He is the recipient of the Billboard Songwriting Award, and the John Lennon Songwriting Award.

Kind Words is produced by Marvin Thompson Jr. All songs by Marvin Thompson Jr. except Just The Two Of Us.  Kind Words is available at CDBaby.