Archive for February, 2019

Daniel Bondaczuk – One Name

Musician, composer, arranger, and producer Daniel Bondaczuk has built a career navigating between utterly diverse musical spheres. Classically trained, Daniel has been into music for most of his life: whether touring with the legends of the radio era Cauby Peixoto and Angela Maria in Brazil, directing orchestras in classical performances, programming EDM tracks played in clubs around the world, or arranging and performing contemporary Christian music in churches in the United States.

One Name, Daniel’s debut solo project, showcases the artist’s true creativity and musicianship, and displays contemporary virtuosity on a variety of keyboard instruments. All tracks are based on traditional gospel hymns, and while a frequent churchgoer might recognize the tunes without much introduction, an oblivious listener might as much enjoy them for the overall vibe. From the high energy of the first songs “Rock Steady” and “Revival”, to the evocative nuances of “Streams” and “Tremble”, the album is a well seasoned blend between gospel, jazz, latin, and R&B. A record of real substance, One Name is off to please, entice, and inspire anyone who appreciates instrumental music.

Buy this album on CDBaby.

Thom Rotella – Story Line

The title of guitarist Thom Rotella’s new CD Story Line is apt indeed, as it reflects his approach in both composition and playing. As talented and experienced a player as he is, Rotella is, above all, a musician who tells stories. It’s never just about technical prowess with flashy pyrotechnics, but more about communication with audiences and fellow musicians. On this CD the incredible lineup of musicians is Bob Sheppard: bass clarinet; Tierney Sutton: vocals, Mitchel Forman: Rhodes; Nick Mancini: vibraphone; Trey Henry: bass; Jimmy Branly: drums; Dan Higgins:bass clarinet;

Rotella presents a beautiful mix of jazz and popular chestnuts and striking originals. With a carefully chosen group of musicians, the group offers appealing and gorgeously atmospheric versions of; the Beatles’ “Come Together”; Thelonious Monk’s“ ’Round Midnight”; Wes Montgomery’s “Four On Six”; Duke Pearson’s “Cristo Redentor”; the standards “When I Fall In Love” and “Besame Mucho”; and Rotella’s soulful and lovely originals – “Oddball”, “Monkey Bizness”, “Storyline”, “Dawn is Here”,”Nuze Bluze” and “Take It With You.” All of these tunes defy category except the one important one – they all make for terrific music and rewarding listening.

Thom Rotella has been a vital musician for many years with experience as a best-selling recording artist, an in-demand player for film and television. Above all he’s been a creative performing jazz musician, whose talents have led him to work with Stanley Turrentine, Tom Scott, Gerald Albright, Plas Johnson and musicians as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti, Cher, Donna Summer, Norah Jones and many, many others. All this great history beautifully informs this special new recording. Continue reading

Marcus Adams – Dream Again

A thrilling performer and one on the rise, vocalist and multi-instrumental soul/jazz artist Marcus Adams is a sign that the new crop of smooth jazz artists can certainly carry the torch. Working on his sophomore studio album, he combines R&B, Soul, and Jazz to create songs that takes the listeners on a musical ride of the highs of love and depths of pain in life. His friendship with Grammy nominated producer Demonte Posey led to the release of his heralded freshman release entitled Suddenly. The project propelled Adams into the national spotlight. The jump from a beloved local act in Milwaukee, WI to a favorite performer in jazz venues across the nation proved to be the right path for Adams to establish his unique sound and brand. Following the release, Adams toured the nation and created an avid and loyal following.

In a recent radio interview, Adams said he believes that the idea of winning a Grammy is a great honor by one’s peers, but the most important thing to him is seeing the way his music can inspire people and change their ways of understanding. The six infectious tracks on his sophomore release Dream Again have the power to do just that, starting with the perfectly titled “Heartbeat,” which begins the journey with a vibrant soulful melody sang by him, a thumping groove and rich soaring sax textures. Adams is all about love and passion on “Tonight”, a sizzling r&b influenced ballad featuring an emotional trumpet accompaniment by Lin Rountree and subtle guitar nuances by guitarist Nils. “Leave it Alone” is a peek into the ups and downs of love as Adams and jazz artist “Angela Rene” sings to a grooving beat featuring hypnotic piano textures provided by Nate Harasim and rocking guitar riffs by Nils. Named after a jam session with a friend, “Tj’s Groove” is an inviting soprano-driven melody enhanced by a grooving bass line and subtle trippy synth effects. Adams explains the romantic tribute ‘My Everything’ is to be viewed this way: “There is a single woman that can please you in every way. The challenge is finding her. The joy is in living life with her.” Dream Again wraps with the project title tune, a story of Adams’ personal struggles with mental health and a tribute to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Adams is currently preparing to tour in the fall of 2019.

Get the album on iTunes.

Norman Brown – The Highest Act of Love

Louisiana born guitar star Norman Brown has very successfully established himself in the smooth jazz genre. His numerous albums and appearances as well as his popular collaboration in the super group BWB with Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun have contributed to this.

His new album The Highest Act Of Love (2019) was just released on Shanachie Entertainment. Beside guitarist Norman Brown the promotion mentions guitarist and producer Paul Brown and singer Deniece Williams. But this album has some more musical supporters such as Chris “Big Dog” Davis (keyboards, bass, drum programming), Roberto Vally, Emanuel Wells, Tres Gilbert (bass), Lew Laing (keyboards), Gordon Campbell, Lil John Roberts (drums), Kim Waters (various instruments), and Phil Davis (keyboards and drum programming).

Love is the focus of this album. On Inside the Garden of Peace and Love, recorded in Paul’s studio The Funky Joint, the guitar sounds of Paul and Norman merge in a marvelous way to a smooth duet. The King Is Here is created by Chris “Big Dog” Davis and Norman. While Norman indulges in his well-known diversity of guitar riffs, Chris provides the remaining infrastructure with variations of luscious sounds and grooves.

Read more …

Eugen Botos Finally – Final Definition

Eugen Botos Finally are a trio of outstanding Slovak musicians, comprising of keyboardist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Eugen Botos, bass guitarist Robert Vizvari and guitarist Martin Koleda playing under the name Finally.

Their album Final Definition, however crosses miles away from their homeland and features a host of well known artists such as Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Dave Weckl, Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber and Maysa Leak amongst others. Final Definition is a recording full of original compositions delivering an excellent blend of fusion, jazz and soul to the listener. Eugen Botos Finally will be a name that will stay in your memory banks and Final Definition will most definitely be an album that you will play on repeat.

Get the album on CDBaby.

The Allen Carman Project – Carmanology

It started out as just a few friends having fun making music together but grew into a recording project that to date has placed three singles on the Billboard chart with a fourth, “State of Mine,” certain to follow suit, in part due to the distinctive rhythmic riffing of Grammy-winning guitar legend Nile Rodgers. Bassist Allen Carman shelved his music aspirations twenty years ago only to rekindle them after reconnecting with percussionist Gumbi Ortiz and keyboardist Philippe Saisse a couple years ago. Joined by drummer Luis Alicea, the quartet became The Allen Carman Project, a band scrapbooking contemporary jazz, R&B, Latin, Afro Cuban, funk and fusion with a bolt of added star power from prominent soloists: Rodgers, saxophonist Andy Snitzer, trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Marc Antoine. In the process, the “Carmanology” album, produced by Ortiz and Saisse and featuring eight original songs, introduces the sound of an exciting and creative collaborative that will drop their debut disc April 5 on the ACP Music label.

When Ortiz convinced Carman to work on some new tracks with him and Saisse, expectations were modest. Saisse penned the premiere single “Groove Salad,” a nourishing blend of contemporary jazz tossed with generous servings of Snitzer’s zesty sax. The title track dropped next, defining the outfit’s sound palette as an inventive mix of future meets familiar on a cut that portrays a vividly-realized fantasy where kinetic go-go beats and horn-powered funk coexist with vibrant jazz piano and sax theatrics. On the third single, Snitzer rampages through “Hearsay,” stirring a maelstrom amidst taunting bass, cascading rhythms and exuberant harmonies. Fourth up, Braun’s muted trumpet lends atmospheric elements to “Morning After” while Snitzer’s bellowing saxophone testifies in emphatic support of Carman’s elastic basslines and Saisse’s rapturous keyboard vocalizations. Other highlights on the “Carmanology” collection include the breezy Latin-jazz oeuvre “Carisma” on which Antoine’s nylon guitar leads the exotic exploration; a sprawling aural adventure through “El Fanfaron” boosted by Carman’s boundless bass, Ortiz’s exhilarating percussion attack and the combustive horns of Don Harris and Bill Harris; and just when you think you’ve got the band’s sonic trajectory figured out, they augment “Bodega” with Evan Garr’s mind-blowing electric violin.

“When Gumbi and I started talking about making a record, I was super excited. My only expectation was to make a great record with great musicians. This album has far exceeded those expectations. It has always been a dream of mine to make a record with top-quality musicians and good songs. I put that dream on hold many moons ago when I joined the ‘civilian’ world and became a lawyer. However, I always felt like a musician first and a lawyer second. I never gave up on my passion to play,” said Carman, a South Jersey native who first met Ortiz in the mid-80s on the Tampa music scene when they played in local bands. Continue reading

Reza Khan – Next Train Home

Severely dehydrated from the oppressive heat during his travels from Mali to Uganda, Reza Khan was hospitalized after collapsing in a United Nations office. To avoid the lengthy hospitalization prescribed by doctors, he convinced them that he would recover faster if he was ensconced in a hotel room instead. During that five-day stay, he broke out his portable guitar and wrote the title track for his fifth album, “Next Train Home,” which drops April 5.

The New York City-based, Bangladesh-born Khan serves as program manager for the UN, contributing to peace and conflict operations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. During the six-week trek abroad, he wrote the twelve songs for the album, recording the conceptual ideas on his laptop using a folding guitar and a simple keyboard that he travels with in his backpack. After experimenting with rock, pop, world music and soul-jazz over the course of his first four albums, Khan believes that composing the music for “Next Train Home” took him in a creative direction that led to his self-discovery as an artist in search of a “home.”

“The title ‘Next Train Home’ represents a destination where I feel totally comfortable and at ease surrounded by familiar sounds, emotions and conviction as an artist. The ‘Home’ is testament of a destination as an artist looking for a signature in recognition, style and branding. After a long soul-searching exercise moving from genre to genre, I feel like I am finally settled as a writer, composer and stylist. Artistic direction found, the destination is identified thus I am ready to take the next train home,” said Khan, who produced the record. Continue reading