Archive for September, 2021

Soul Café – Step Aside

Step-AsideLed by guitarist/composer Ed “Mr. Ed” Starrett, the vibrant fusion ensemble known as Soul Café has been thrilling audiences in the St. Louis area for more than 20 years with their blend of complex jazz and funk, Latin accents and driving grooves. Now, with their new album Step Aside, the soulful six-piece band urges listeners to clear a path for their exhilarating, infectious sound.

Due out October 15, 2021 via Autumn Hill Records, Step Aside also serves as both reintroduction and rebirth for Starrett and Soul Café. It’s the band’s first album wholly composed of original material since their 2003 debut, Unspoken Request; the first studio session for the band’s stellar current line-up, which has honed its sound over a dozen years together; and the first outing for the band following Starrett’s nearly decade-long battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The title Step Aside has a couple of meanings for me,” Starrett explains. “We as a band are stepping aside from what we’ve done in the past a way and bringing our own identity to the forefront. On a more personal level, I was able to walk through a very dark, challenging and difficult time while keeping this band together and moving forward. So for me, Step Aside means that I can finally put that chapter behind me.” Continue reading

Trombone Shorty – Parking Lot Symphony

91VuXKEwIkL._SX522_Trombone Shorty’s album opens with a dirge, but if you think the beloved bandleader, singer, songwriter and horn-blower born Troy Andrews came here to mourn, you got it all wrong. That bit of beautiful New Orleans soul—”Laveau Dirge No. 1,” named after one of the city’s most famous voodoo queens—shows off our host’s roots before Parking Lot Symphony branches out wildly, wonderfully, funkily across 12 diverse cuts. True to its title, this album contains multitudes of sound—from brass band blare and deep-groove funk, to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger—and plenty of emotion all anchored, of course, by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Andrews says, “Music brings unity.”

As for why it’s taken Andrews so long to follow 2013’s Raphael Saadiq-produced Say That to Say This, the man simply says, “I didn’t realize so much time passed. Some artists don’t work until they put a record out but I never stopped going.” Truly. In the last four years, Andrews banked his fifth White House gig; backed Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammys; played on albums by She & Him, Zac Brown, Dierks Bentley, and Mark Ronson; opened tours for Daryl Hall & John Oates and Red Hot Chili Peppers; appeared in Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways documentary series; voiced the iconic sound of the adult characters in The Peanuts Movie; inherited the esteemed annual fest-closing set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the tradition of Crescent City greats like the Neville Brothers and Professor Longhair; and released Trombone Shorty, a children’s book about his life that was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.

Adding to that legacy, his Blue Note Records debut Parking Lot Symphony finds Andrews teamed with Grammy-nominated producer Chris Seefried (Andra Day, Fitz and the Tantrums) and an unexpected array of cowriters and players including members of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Meters, Better Than Ezra, and Dumpstaphunk. Considering Andrews’ relentless schedule, it’s all the more surprising that this LP began with him in a room, all alone, back in New Orleans. Continue reading

Ray Obiedo – Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2

ray obiedo latinRay Obiedo: Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 on Rhythmus Records, is the 10th release by the Bay Area guitarist and composer. This project is a collection of Obiedo’s original Latin Jazz compositions, including one jazz standard by composer/arranger Gerald Wilson. Obiedo enlisted some of the music industry’s top musicians and longtime cohorts for the project. Yellowjackets’ reed man Bob Mintzer, percussionist extraordinaire Sheila E., flutist Norbert Stachel, trumpeter Mike Olmos, percussionist Peter Michael Escovedo all make significant appearances. Santana members: keyboardist David K. Mathews, trombonist and arranger Jeff Cressman, and percussionist Karl Perazzo also contribute their expertise.

This collection also features Tower of Power drummer David Garibaldi, Hungarian pianist Peter Horvath, steel pan player Phil Hawkins, vocalists Lilan Kane, Sandy Cressman & Jenny Meltzer and Dutch brothers Marc and Paul van Wageningen on bass and drums. Obiedo has 5 previous releases on the Windham Hill Jazz label. Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 is the 4th release on his Oakland-based Rhythmus Records label. The music on Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2 is a highly-energized and rhythmically-hypnotic soundscape that reveals all the passion, flavor, color and style of the San Francisco Bay Area that nurtured and inspired Obiedo’s latest musical venture.

Buy the CD on

Kevin Jackson – Elevation

Baltimore’s own Kevin Jackson recorded and performed with artists Sheila E., Chico Debarge, Jennifer Holliday, Maysa, Oli Silk, and more. His potent mix of soulful R&B, rock, contemporary Christian, and contemporary jazz offers something for every taste. On stage, it’s easy to see this is where he is most comfortable. Kevin is a laid back guitar player, but don’t let that fool you. Live, he and his band sneak up on you with tight grooves and sly melodies.

Jackson’s first CD, “Stories in Color”, debuted in 2012. That same year, Jackson was a featured artist at the legendary Blues Alley in Washington, DC, and at Artscape here in Baltimore. In 2015, Jackson released “The Mirrored Truth”. The album and song “Favorite Way” was considered for a GRAMMY nomination for best traditional R&B album of the year and best traditional R&B song of the year. His next album Full Circle (2018) is still available on iTunes.

His newest album is Elevation (2021). Get the album on Apple Music.

Carlos Camilo – Brazilian Dream

242273416_4126257307473285_764631832039078171_nCarlos Camilo is a pianist, singer, composer and producer hailing from Cuba and currently based in Miami.  At just 3 years old, Carlos Camilo began playing the piano. By the time he was 11, he was composing his own music. Today, he composes anything from smooth jazz to R&B and pop. In 2012, he released his first album titled Dim the Lights, which was a smooth jazz instrumental piano album and one he says has been his most influential.

“I like to give a positive vibe with my music, making the world a better place one song at a time,” Camilo said. Growing up in Cuba, his music is inspired by traditional Cuban flavor mixed with American music. From an early age, Carlos Camilo knew he wanted to pursue music seriously, and has since been influenced by artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Earth Wind and Fire, Brian Culbertson, Brian McKnight, Michael Jackson, Hans Zimmer and countless others.

Today, Carlos Camilo mainly creates Smooth Jazz, R&B, and POP. He’s released 14 albums, and multiple singles independently and had played his music all over the globe with other artists, including Spanish Latin superstar, David Bisbal, and International Salsa Singer “India”. Currently, he’s working on his own band called Carlos Camilo and the Live Dimension. All in all, Carlos Camilo hopes to make a living doing what he loves with creating music, and completely immerse himself in it.

His newest album is Brazilian Dream (2021).

Get physical copies on his website.

Steve Trigg – Anew

AnewFrom as far back as Steve Trigg can remember, he has always had a strong connection and involvement with music. Originally from Saginaw, Michigan, he played drums in church as a young child into his teens and then from his mid teens He blessed him to gravitate to the piano/keyboards.  Steve’s mom helped create this musical monster. She saw the seed which was growing and did what she could to nurture it, care for it, and watch it grow.

God surrounded Steve with awesome people throughout his life who helped him, encouraged him, who guided him on his musical journey.  Through music, God has kept him from some of the perils of life. In some of his bad times, that musical gift kept sanity.  Through some of those rocky moments, He blessed Steve with some of the most beautiful songs and melodies.

All Steve wants to do is share this gift with all who will listen, and hope that it will bless you, and bring you as much joy as it brings him when he listens to the music He has allowed Steve to create. His newest project is aptly entitled Anew (2021). Stream it on all digital platforms.

Jordan Love – Servin’ It Up

ServinUpjpgGuitarist Jordan Love keeps a low profile when it comes to his personal biography. Nevertheless, we do not want to deprive you of his music.

Stream his album on Apple Music.

Marco Albani – Kallaama

KallaamaMarco Albani , guitarist and composer, was born and lives in Rome. Moving on the fine line between acoustic jazz and World Music, his compositions, rich in Mediterranean, African and South American sounds, communicate ideas and sensations, with a direct language that emotionally involves the listener. A personal journey of experimentation and contamination between rhythms and melodies of the world, with suggestions coming from different cultures, with great attention to the arrangements and the ambient sound.

In 2006 he published the CD Chronos(Delta-Top / Believe Digital), which receives immediate acclaim from specialized critics and is included in the programming of the American web radio Smooth Jazz, as well as in that of many Italian and foreign private radios. In 2010 the second album Encuentro (Delta-Top / Believe Digital) was released, a passionate journey into the heart of Latin American music.

His third album will be released on September 29, 2021 on Delta-Top. Kallaama means “language” in the Wolof (Senegal) idiom: the universal music that goes beyond the idioms of this collaboration album. An exciting encounter between guitar melody and vocalism with artists of international level.

Buy the album here.

Gary Meek – Monterey Groove

Monterey-GrooveGary Meek was born in 1961 in Encino, California. His father played piano recreationally. Meek attended El Camino Real High School, where he was active in the music department on clarinet, saxophones and keyboard. After high school he enrolled in the Dick Grove School of Music Professional Instrumental Program. Meek began his career in the early 1980s playing woodwinds in the big bands of the Los Angeles Jazz Workshop, and keyboards and woodwinds for local club dates, weddings and private parties. In the mid-’80s he toured with Dionne Warwick, playing keyboards.

Meek’s first album as a leader and saxophonist, 1991’s “Gary Meek,” comprises 11 songs all written or cowritten by Meek. He has released four other solo projects to date, including “Time One,” “Live at Ronnie Scott’s,” “Good Friends” and “Step 7.” In September of 2017 Meek released “Originals” – His first solo release in Fifteen years. The CD features Terri Lyne Carrington – Drums, Brian Bromberg – Acoustic Bass, Mitchel Forman – Piano, Randy Brecker – Trumpet/ Flugelhorn and Bruce Forman – Guitar, on Three songs apiece.

Monterey Groove is his newest album released in August, 2021. Jim Hynes (Making A Scene!) comments: “Meek is clearly inspired by the surroundings and atmosphere of his adopted home.  You hear it in the pulsating rhythms as well as its floating, seemingly windswept lyricism.” The project soon grew beyond his core quartet, which features guitarist/producer Michael Lent (Barry Manilow, Jeffrey Osborne). along with bassist Robert Wider and drummer Skylar Campbell.

Get the album here.

Dennis Murphy – Our Higher Selves

higherGRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist Dennis Murphy has been involved with the smooth jazz scene for over three decades. Dennis’s guitar, bass and vocal skills have earned him universal respect throughout the music industry as a first call for many diversified artists in the smooth jazz, blues, r&b, pop and straight ahead jazz genres.

On his first album Hit Me Hard, Dennis collaborated with Eric Marienthal, Jeff Golub, Will Kennedy and Tower of Power lead saxophonist Tom Politzer.

The latest Dennis Murphy album Our Higher Selves (2021) features aforementioned Tom Politzer, along with drummer Marcus Finnie and Ruben Valtierra on keyboards.

You can stream this album here.