Archive for June, 2020

Dave Baker & Rich Kurtz – Forever New

Dave Baker studied music theory and composition at Philadelphia’s Temple University. He further studied arrangement and composition with the late pianist/composer Frank Caruso. As a student of the late guitarist Dennis Sandole, (a mentor to such greats as George Benson, James Moody and Pat Martino), Dave began to develop his personal style and talents. Baker played guitar for Sweet Rest, an originals group that toured with Darrel Hall and John Oates. He also performed with the jazz/fusion band “High Treason,” which had a successful recording for Atlantic Records in 1971. In the late 70’s, Dave founded and played for the “Dave Baker Sextet,” a jazz band regularly featured on Philadelphia’s live evening radio show, “WRTI Fridays.” Dave continued to compose, arrange and perform with the 18 piece jazz band “Northeast Extension” through the 1980s.

Dave has produced and released 7 CDs on his label, DAB Music, since 1995 and has received international airplay, critical acclaim and commercial success. Dave Baker currently performs over 100 shows annually, at corporate events, receptions, dinner performances, wedding ceremonies and private parties. His new album released in May, 2020 is a collaboration with Rich Kurtz entitled Forever New. This album is recommended by

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Jimmy Haslip – Nightfall

Bassist Jimmy Haslip has released in his solo career only three albums. His debut album Arc came out in 1993. His sophomore album Red Heat was released in 2000 on Unitone Recordings followed by Nightfall in 2010 on VIE Records. The latter two albums are now newly released on Blue Canoe Recordings.

Like its predecessor, Nightfall is a collaboration between Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Jimmy performs on his album electric and fretless bass, additional synths,  baritone guitar. Joe Vannelli plays keys, programming, Rhodes, piano, organ, orchestration.

They are supported on selected tracks by Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Katisse Buckingham (flute), Wayne Bergeron (trumpet), Steve Tavaglione (alto and soprano sax), Judd Miller (EVI), Jason Hann (percussion, congas), Jimmy Branly (timbales, bongo), Roger Burn (vibraphones), Ross Vannelli (acoustic guitar), Stella Castellucci (harp), Lori Perry (vocals), and The Perry Sisters (background vocals).

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Paul Hardcastle – IX

Paul Hardcastle will be known to most slightly older listeners for his megahits Rain Forest and 19, which have sold millions of copies. His series The Jazzmasters was a considerable success in the field of smooth jazz, which he also continues with The Chill Lounge for the chill out genre.

With his Hardcastle series he presents dance floor suitable smooth jazz. His previous album Hardcastle 8 was released in 2018. Now he will release his new album IX keeping his style in flow. The album is scheduled for July 24, 2020.

You can pre-order the album on

Michael J. Thomas – Stream’n Love

By his senior year in high school, Michael J. Thomas was performing in the All-State Jazz Band and was honored with a John Philip Sousa Award. He earned a music scholarship to the University of Kentucky, but left school early to pursue his professional career. Thomas was 19 when he joined the Jive Rockets, which opened for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, and Bill Haley’s Original Comets. While gaining a foothold in contemporary urban jazz since moving to Destin, Florida.

His debut album City Beat was released in 2010. The song Amante Del Vino taken from this album is weaved into the plot of the movie Contagion, starring Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet. Driven is his sophomore album and was released in 2017 on Harbor Breeze Records. His newest album is Stream’n Love (2020).

His new album is available on Michael’s website.


Roberto Tola – Colors

Roberto Tola was born and raised in Sardinia Island, Sassari (Italy). He began studying music when he was just six years old. In 1976 he studied Cello in the Conservatory of Music in Sassari. Four years later he continued his studies of Modern and Jazz Guitar and established the sextet named Jazzmania. For this band he composed and arranged all musics collected in the album Preludio in 1985. Since 1989 he is a member of the Italian Jazz Big Band named “Blue Note Orchestra”, and from 1991 up to 2010 he is also the official guitarist of the “Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna” (Sardinia Jazz Orchestra), also conducted by well known Carla Bley, Bob Mintzer, Colin Towns, Giorgio Gaslini, Bruno Tommaso, Giancarlo Gazzani and others more.

In 2014 Roberto collaborated for the recording of CD album On The Corner by the famous and legendary English jazz-funk band Shakatak, and also with the English singer Jill Saward on her CD Endless Summer and the single “M is for Manhattan”, both released in June 2016. In May 2017 Roberto released his debut album, titled Bein’ Green (featuring some international well known guest stars as Bob Mintzer, Najee, Bill McGee, Bill Sharpe, Jill Saward and Tim Collins. His newest project is the album Colors (2020).

Buy his new album on Roberto’s website.

Boney James – Solid

Saxophonist Boney James has released with Solid (2020) his seventeenth album as a leader. In free thought Boney links the term with his personal relationship, the groove, and also the relationship to his fans.

Boney James does not see himself as a one-man-producer and on his new album he has also recorded and processed impulses of his band members and musician friends.

Boney performs on the new album tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, flute, electric piano, keyboards, and drum programming. Additional musicians are Kendall Gilder (guitar), Carnell Harrell (acoustic piano, organ, keyboards), Michael Stever (flugelhorn, trumpet), Alex Al (bass), Omari Williams (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Smitty Smith (bass), Paul Jackson Jr. (guitar), Darrell Smith (piano, key bass, Moog, keyboards), Christian Frazier aka BeatsMadebyFresh (piano, drum programming, Jairus Mozee (guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming, Kenny Lattimore (vocals) and Jason Morales, Drak-Kar V Wesley (background vocals).

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Bradley Leighton – Every Little Bit Hurts

Good melodies are timeless. Here is a C-Jazz EP from jazz/funk flutist Bradley Leighton that will have you humming with pleasure. Every Little Bit Hurts contains six songs from the artist’s past that he has creatively updated with modern rhythms and sounds producing a very current C-Jazz feel. Solid rhythms, great sounds and Leighton’s lilting, lyrical style make this a project not to be missed.

Every Little Bit Hurts was released September 9, 2016 on Pacific Coast Records and is still on sale on

Raul Midón – The Mirror

The Mirror finds Raul Midón breaking new ground for himself, including two entrancing solo spoken-word pieces (“If I Could See” and “One Day Without War”). The album also features studio meetings with such veteran jazz colorists as vibraphonist Joe Locke (“A Certain Café”), as well as a songwriting collaboration with top pianist Gerald Clayton, “Deep Dry Ocean.”

Another highlight is the road-weary jazz ballad “Cold Cuts and Coffee,” while title track “The Mirror” beguiles with its easy tropical groove, lyrical sophistication and Midón’s flowing electric guitar. As National Public Radio set the stage before his captivating edition of its “Tiny Desk Concert” broadcast: “Raul Midón lives in a world of sound. Blind since birth, Midón’s interpretation of his surroundings is borderless. He sings with the passion of the best classic soul singers, and his instrumental chops stand alongside the most accomplished jazz musicians.”

The Mirror is available on


Greg Foat / Warren Hampshire – Galaxies Like Grains of Sand

Multi talented UK Jazz Pianist Greg Foat has teamed up with Mercury Award nominated “The Bees” member and multi instrumentalist Warren Hampshire to collaborate on a new LP drawing on their diverse musical influences. Classic British library music, 60s Italian soundtracks & lost Americana combined with touches of modern classical, minimalism, Jazz and Folk. Featuring many members of Greg and Warren’s previous bands and one of the U.Ks finest Jazz drummers, Clark Tracy, the LP also features an Edinburgh orchestra and soloists hand picked and scored by the boys.

Galaxies Like Grains of Sand was released in 2017 and is still available on bandcamp.

Jimmy Haslip – Red Heat

Bassist Jimmy Haslip is commonly known as founding member of the jazz fusion group the Yellowjackets. He mainly spreads his wings in the jazz fusion genre where he is involved as a sideman in numerous collaborative projects. He is also very popular as a bassist in the field of smooth jazz.

Compared to his frequent collaborations, his solo releases are somewhat sparse. His debut album Arc was released in 1993. His sophomore album Red Heat was released in 2000 on Unitone Recordings followed by Nightfall in 2010 on VIE Records. The latter two albums are now newly released on Blue Canoe Recordings.

Even though it is a solo album, Red Heat is a joint project of Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Jimmy performs on his album electric bass, acoustic bass guitar, synth bass, fretless bass, additional keyboards, drum and additional percussion programming, background vocals, horn arrangements. Joe Vannelli plays keyboards, synth bass, drum programming, additional percussion programming, horn and string arrangements.

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