Archive for October, 2021

Marcus H. Mitchell – You

youMulti-instrumentalist Marcus H. Mitchell celebrated last year the 20th anniversary of his musical career with his album 20. This year, with his album You, he presents a monumental tribute to the fair femininities.

With astonishing consistency, he places the female counterpart at the center of his musical contemplation. Marcus has written, produced, mixed and mastered all songs by himself for MHM Music Works.

The album starts with You. A melancholic ballad where the gentle saxophone wraps itself in a billowing sonic envelope of keyboard sounds.

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Herb Alpert – Catch The Wind

HerbAlpert_CatchTheWind_Cover_3000pxls-scaledIn the 2010s, Herb Alpert released a prolific run of 8 new studio albums. This year, the iconic leader of the Tijuana Brass shows no signs of slowing down with his latest effort, Catch The Wind. This new collection features 9 original compositions, covers of beloved Beatles hits “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yesterday”, and American classics “Smile”, “America The Beautiful”, and “Summertime.” So, charge up your iPhone, dust off your Hi-Fi, put batteries in your boombox, plug the headphones into your Walkman, and get ready to listen to Herb Alpert Catch The Wind.

Buy the album on iTunes.

George Shaw – Encounters

a2836757417_16After spending the bulk of the ’70s as a hired gun for David Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations, George Shaw got a call from Palo Alto’s TBA label. The fledgling smooth jazz imprint was desperate to fill the void left by their golden child George Howard, who had just jumped ship for MCA Records.

On the heels of his debut’s success, TBA kept George Shaw on an aggressive pace, recording and releasing two albums in 1986, including the sci-fi-inspired Encounters. Stacked with synths, drum machines, and Shaw’s trademark flugelhorn, the album evokes the sinister undercurrent of America in the ’80s.

Now you can buy this smooth jazz jewel again at bandcamp.

Paul Messina – Return To Sanity

meta_eyJzcmNCdWNrZXQiOiJiemdsZmlsZXMifQ==Paul Messina is an accomplished musician who has experienced the full spectrum of the musical realm, from playing with a variety of bands and working with a wide range of musicians, in both the recording and producing capacity, to composing and arranging music, as well as playing an assortment of instruments. Paul’s quest for musical knowledge has lead him to study under the tutelage of some jazz greats in addition to his worldly experience. He is presently the lead arranger for producer Gary M. Vandy, and the bandleader for the Contemporary Jazz group “Flashpoint”.

After nearly 40 years as a Flautist, Paul began playing the saxophone as his main instrument in 2005. His release is a collaboration with Bassist Mark R. Harris “The Bigger Picture, released in June 2019.  His has released two albums as a solo artist (Musical Bridges 2014 and Gratitude 2018). Gary M. Vandy co-produced and mixed/mastered the albums. Paul Messina’s and Mark R. Harris’ second collaboration album was released in 2021 entitled Return To Sanity.

Buy his albums here.

Christoph Spendel Group – Avenue E

avenueeJazz piano virtuoso Christoph Spendel has developed a multitude of projects in his remarkable decades-long creative period, which would require a professional biographer to document. Despite his now advanced age, his creative energy is still brimming with new ideas, which are reflected in numerous releases and formations.

Among these countless projects, the Christoph Spendel Group stands out. It consists of the musicians Peter Klohmann (flute, saxes), Thomas Heidepriem (bass), Martin Standke (drums) as well as founder and name-giver Christoph Spendel (piano, keyboards). The formation as such already exists since the 80s in changing line-ups. Christoph has a long-standing friendship with the bassist Thomas Heidepriem, who comes from Freiburg. The other two musicians, presenting the young generation, recommended themselves through different projects.

The album starts with the title song, which brings all the tonal power of the well-tempered piano into the melodic harmony. Peter Klohman shares the melody accompanying on soprano saxophone. Behind the title  Avenue E lies the “Eschersheimer Landstraße”, Frankfurt’s lifeline, a vivid street in Christoph Spendel’s adopted home city.

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Paul Taylor – And Now This

And-Now-ThisOver 25 years into a stellar, multi-faceted career that’s found him continually pushing the sonic boundaries of what’s possible in contemporary urban jazz, saxophonist Paul Taylor brings us his highly-anticipated new recording AND NOW THIS on Peak Records.

AND NOW THIS, fully created via the exchange of digital files between the Las Vegas based Taylor and his longtime musical compadre, collaborator, co-writer and producer Dino Esposito, features the saxman’s ongoing exploration of an expansive range of dynamic danceable grooves and intricate pop/electronica vibes. The ten tracks fully reflect the way Taylor began moving forward in his personal and creative life, as if to say, in his words, “we’re coming out of the pandemic, this is what I’ve been creating, we’re kicking it back into high gear and we are more open-minded in our approach to music than ever.”

From the atmospheric soul and fast paced funk of the title track (featuring the guitar of Brian Monroney) through the sultry flow of the closing track “Good Night,” AND NOW THIS also celebrates the decades long friendship and intuitive, forward thinking musical chemistry between Taylor and Esposito. Their dynamic history dates back to when they played in the same band as students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas – and includes Taylor touring in Esposito’s band when he was a pop star in the late 80s touring with New Kids on the Block. Esposito has been Taylor’s chief sonic co-architect since the saxophonist’s 1995 debut On The Horn and subsequently collaborated on Pleasure Seeker (1997), Undercover (2000), his Peak Records debut Hypnotic (2001), Nightlife (2005), Prime Time (2011), Tenacity (2014) and Countdown (2016). Continue reading

James Bowman III – A Brighter Day – Chapter 1

james_bowman_brighter_dayJames Bowmann is a true “overcomer” who as a jazz and gospel musician has drummed for the likes of Brian McKnight, Mervyn Warren and Eric Essix. James Bowman III uses his other great gift – his silky, soothing crooner voice – to point us to better times ahead on A Brighter Day, Chapter 1, an impactful, deeply spiritual EP which by its very title promises more to come. Drawing on his passions for both genres, he wrote these three tracks as thoughtful reflections in response to the sociopolitical divisions and illness in the world. Bowman’s choice to think and sing positivity offers hope and musical healing.

Get this EP on James Bowman’s website.

Hidden Symetry – Some Days

61YZUKWJnqL._SS500_Hidden Symmetry is a crossover mix of smooth jazz, jazz-rock-fusion & symphonic music written, produced by Carl Eichman. Carl hails from St. Clair Shores, MI, studied guitar & French horn along with composition, scoring & big band jazz performance.

At 18 he started performing professionally at clubs around the Detroit area later touring as guitarist & arranger in top booked acts around the U.S. & Canada.

‘Some Days’ features internet collaborations recorded by Maurizio Antonini: drums, Gernot Dechert: sax, Bill Lawrence, Melisa Dopazo, Brandon Meeks: bass, Kyle Whitlock, Luca Cacucciolo: keyboards, Daniele Raciti, Marco Piazzolla, Álvaro Soto Gutiérrez: guitar and Luckers: trumpet

The album is available on Amazon.com.

Johannes Wamberg – Tabloid

Tabloid‘Scandinavian jazz’ may conjure up an expectation of moody soundscapes and melancholic sounds, but there is a new wave of musicians, in Denmark at least, forging ahead with something rather more extroverted. With the self-titled debut Tabloid, Danish guitarist & bandleader Johannes Wamberg presents his modern jazz twist on that classic American funk/soul sound.

It just takes one look at the retro stylings of the artwork – vinyl, of course – to get a sense of the unabashed passion for the 70s & 80s. But this isn’t a nostalgic rehash of music from the past. Wamberg has assembled a group of young musicians from Copenhagen’s vibrant scene whose background in everything from classic Jazz and Hip Hop to Gospel and Danish Pop help present a fresh twist on the disco spirit.

Wamberg himself studied with the legendary guitarist Doug Raney, who he went on to perform with. Alongside him, Jonathan Bremer (bassist of Bremer/McCoy who are signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label), award-winning saxophonist Oily Wallace, in-demand session drummer Felix Ewert and pianist/producer Malthe Rostrump on keys.

And, whilst the self-titled Tabloid is their debut release, the musicians have already recorded together in various constellations and have built a solid foundation in Copenhagen for this group thanks to their hard-grooving and virtuosic live show. Now, in collaboration with prolific Danish label April Records, they are ready to reach out and entertain fans of crossover jazz. The future of jazz has always been shaped by young musicians transforming the best elements of yesteryear into new modes of expression and this group proves that shows no signs of stopping!

Tabloid is available on all digital platforms.

Yancyy – Sax Chronicles II

SaxChronicles2Soulful jazz saxophonist Yancyy has released Sax Chronicles I in 2010. This album reflects his 25 years of playing know-how and shows what working with Grammy Award-winning producer Phil Davis can accomplish. City to City, State by State, this album generates excitement, uplifts its listeners and receives a standing ovation. The resulting style is authentic, rich, highly polished, melodic, and a great addition to the libraries of jazz aficionados.

Now Yancyy presents the follow-up, Sax Chronicles II (2021). Get the new album here.