Archive for July, 2018

Groovexpress – Amsterdaam

Groovexpress is a collaborative music Smooth Jazz project, formed in 2010 by composer, arranger & producer, Mykeljon. 2017 saw the Recording Academy place Groovexpress and Mykeljon Winckel on the Official Ballot for the 59th Annual Grammys. A group of players of a caliber found only in those at the top of their game, Groovexpress masterfully fuse elements from the ‘jazz standard’ days to the fresh melodic sounds in the smooth jazz format. Groovexpress has been compared with such masters as Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power and even that of the funk delicious grooves of James Brown. Groovexpress manages to keep each album fresh with contemporary flavors, creating “upbeat, fun, sensual jazz” that is “ageless and timeless.

The 11 track Album Amsterdaam is a superb collection of strong compositions by band leader Mykeljon. It’s a wonderful celebration of smooth jazz derived grooves that pack a real punch. The blistering musical performances take the listener on a journey from start to finish. The title track ‘Amsterdaam!’ was written in a café in the heart of the canals in Situ!

Buy your album on CDBaby.

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Sam Rucker – Redemption

Virginia-based former Hip-Hop producer and saxophonist Sam Rucker started his solo career with Heat from the Heavens in 2011, followed by Tell You Something (2014) and now Redemption, which will be released August, 2018.

Sam has written, produced and arranged all songs and performs alto, soprano and tenor sax. He is joined on selected tracks by Lucy Kilpatrick (piano and strings), Carlton Savage, John Callisto (guitar), Steven Kroon (percussions), Donnell Smith (bass), Wanda Jay, Sheila J. Madanat, Joselyn Best. J. Regina Blackwell (vocals). J.P. Lilliston (drums), and Justin Taylor (acoustic guitar).

Down On The Inside introduces into the album with a programmatic launch connecting smooth jazz with a wonderful R&B flavor. The conscious renunciation of professional programmers, the reflection on his own style and the restriction to a small circle of musicians from his personal environment are the three pillars on which Sam’s album is based.

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PJ Morgan – The Transparency Project

Paul Lawrence Morgan – “PJ Morgan” is best known as the Organist’s organist.  The Washington, DC native grew up in a musical family, getting his exposure to the Hammond organ in a small Pentecostal church where his family served.  After years of performing and playing in church, his big break into the music industry came when he was asked to fill in for a keyboardist who was unable to play for multiple award-winning Jazz musician Ben Tankard.  Impressed with PJ’s creativity and productivity both on and off the instrument, Tankard moved PJ to Nashville to be his Music Director and to assist in building his record company.  Since then, PJ has been on a blazing trail, playing in Gospel and mainstream genres, and earning well deserved accolades as a performer, producer, and teacher.

In his career span, PJ has become a renowned musician and producer sought after by some of the most recognizable artists in the music industry. He has appeared on almost twenty albums by artists Bishop Paul Morton, Dorothy Norwood, Ben Tankard, Tramaine Hawkins, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Maurette Brown-Clark as a producer, songwriter, arranger, programmer, or musician.  He has toured with Najee, Bobby Jones, Karen Clark Sheared, Ben Tankard, Yolanda Adams and William Becton.

The new endeavor for PJ is to record his own album – The Transparency Project.   As a solo debut project, The Transparency Project boasts PJ’s original Smooth Jazz compositions “Hit The Floor” and “Closer” and allows his church influence to flow through his dynamic organ arrangements of classic hymns “Yes God Is Real” and “As The Deer”.  Vocalist Antonio Mclendon joins PJ on the beautifully orchestrated ballad “How”, while singer John Stoddart exudes all passion and heart on “All Out Of Tears”.

The Transparency Project is available on Amazon.com.

G-Sax – G-Collection

Switzerland’s saxophone-player legend G-SAX presents G-Collection; an up, close and personal roundup of his previous works spiced up with three new productions (w/ Slow Jams) and exclusive edits only available on this album. A wonderful compilation from the CDs Color Of Passion and White and 4 new songs. Remastered by Solution of Sounds Group.

The album is available on iTunes.

Mark Etheredge – Love Planet

Taking his concept of connectivity one step further as a follow up to his first contemporary jazz instrumental album, “Connected,” keyboardist Mark Etheredge plans to enter the recording studio this fall to bring his optimistic vision for the world to life musically. Reteaming with two-time Grammy winning producer-guitarist Paul Brown, “Love Planet” is a thematic endeavor espousing kindness, respect, compassion, justice and the power of love. To help bring the project to fruition, one that is expected to include guest appearances by several luminaries along with an ensemble of first-call session players, Etheredge launched an Indiegogo campaign offering a bevy of enticing premiums.

Like 2016’s “Connected,” which was powered by the title track that peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard chart, the pianist-keyboardist has composed an album worth of new material comprised exclusively of originals that he depicts as smooth, funky, jazzy and will even have a touch of gospel. Etheredge’s utopian world view spins on the axis of peace, where inclusion and hope reign.

“Growing up, my parents would tell me that basically, everyone is born good. I heard opposing viewpoints on that message over time, but I still believe it’s true. And it’s totally inclusive: we are all part of the ‘Love Planet,’” said Etheredge about the inspiration behind the title track of the collection he plans to drop in February preceded by a radio single the month before.
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Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Denny Jiosa – Mueve Tu Cuerpo

Four-time Grammy nominee Denny Jiosa sees parallels between the curvaceous body of the guitar and the human body. Indulging his passion for “sexy” Latin music, the jazz guitar slinger uses his electric and nylon-string guitar bodies to get people to move their body as well as expressively stir emotions on his eighth album, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo,” which drops July 27 on the Sonic Canvas Records/BFD imprint. Radio is already getting a taste with the evocative first single, “Missing You,” one of eleven songs Jiosa penned and produced for the collection.

Jiosa endeavored to craft an upbeat Latin-influenced, jazz-rooted album that would get people to move and grab attention via an exciting blend of musical styles. But he also wanted to go deeper, “shy away from the norm” and touch people emotionally. Beneath the energizing layers of exotic Latin percussion that create lusty rhythms and sensual grooves emerge moving harmonies and rousing melodies that resonate. Whether he’s furiously strumming impassioned nylon-string guitar rhythms, precisely picking lyrical phrases and bending extended notes, or intensely issuing scorched earth electric guitar pyrotechnics, Jiosa’s deft fretwork establishes and maintains a commanding presence throughout the recording.

Mueve Tu Cuerpo is about what music does to get people to move. I wanted this to be an exciting, compelling and expressive blend, tapping into my huge passion for Latin music. I love the sounds, rhythms and sexiness of Latin music, which I blended with jazz rhythms, lines and harmonies. My intention from the outset was to reach a broad scope of listeners with this album. Guitar is one of the most expressive and sexy instruments. Whether I’m playing nylon string to electric guitar with an edge, it’s about moving people emotionally. If you can move people emotionally with an instrumental, then you’ve accomplished something,” said the Nashville-based Jiosa. Continue reading

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