Archive for November, 2021

Raul Midón – The Mirror

6162Ld6AQWL._SX522_Singer/songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón is on an undeniable roll. After GRAMMY® Award nominations for his two previous Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group releases – Bad Ass & Blind and If You Really Want, each for Best Jazz Vocal Album – he returns with his 11th studio album and fourth for the label: The Mirror, to be released March 13, 2020. The Mirror finds 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.”

About The Mirror, Midón says: “I produced and pored over this album like I do all my records – they really are me in that sense. So it’s important that I surprise myself and my listeners. Take the spoken-word pieces, for instance. I grew up listening to artists who were rappers before rap, like Gil Scott-Heron, so I’ve always wanted to take that sort of approach to something. I think hearing me speak the words over the music makes it especially personal – which is particularly true with ‘If I Could See,’ where I’m talking about something very intimate for me.” On that lyrical theme, one of the album’s vocal gems is “Disguise,” a cleverly romantic number that finds Midón singing about his powers of perception: “I know you see things a different way / But for me it’s not the way you look / But what you have to say… Don’t stare at my eyes / There’s nothing there to surmise / You know that I’m wise / Because I can hear through you.”

About the ace musicians who join him on The Mirror, Midón says: “The song ‘A Certain Café’ is about how time can seem to stop in certain moments and you never forget it. Because I’ve worked with Joe Locke live and in the studio a few times, I knew his vibes would be ideal for giving the track that nostalgic shimmer. I’ve loved Joe’s sound since I first heard him in the 1970s. I also loved the virtuoso Manhattan Transfer since I was a kid and having that group’s Janis Siegel add her backing vocals to ‘I Love the Afternoon’ – along with Lauren Kinhan, another one of the world’s great harmony singers, who’s from New York Voices – was a real treat for me.” Midón discovered the talents of trumpeter Gary Alesbrook via Instagram, when the young English musician posted his transcription of one of the singer’s trademark virtual “mouth trumpet” solos. “When I heard Gary do that on Instagram, I thought it was cool – but I also realized that he is a wonderful trumpet player,” Midón says. “I’m so glad that I could get his horn for this record, on ‘Disguise’.” Continue reading

Edison Herbert – Time For Love

a1179371636_16Edison Herbert is a gifted and melodic guitarist. Born in Leeds, he started playing the piano as a young boy encouraged by his parents. While studying classical piano at Yorkshire College of Music, he began teaching himself to play guitar. He gained valuable experience performing at church with small gospel groups and choirs.

This passion for the guitar resulted in further studies at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he performed with The Guildhall Big Band featuring Randy Brecker at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.​ Musician, composer, arranger and bandleader. Edison was musical arranger for the West End musical “Unforgettable and was musical director on the international tour. He has composed music for BBC Radio 4 and performed with The Jazz Warriors, Rose Royce and Kim Burrell and various other artists.

Edison heads up a trio featuring Neville Malcom on double bass and drummer Winston Clifford. In 2015 Edison was sponsored by the Arts Council to tour with their first album “My Favourite Tunes”. A second album “All I Need” was recorded in 2019 and release dates are still to be finalized.

Edison has been hard at work throughout 2020. His new album project “Time for Love” was funded by The Arts Council. It’s a change of direction with an exciting new band line up and an eclectic mix of original compositions and popular covers. After much uncertainty and many twists and turns “Time for Love” is recorded and ready to go. 2021 is here and things are going in the right direction. Edison will be posting regular updates over the coming weeks. As winter turns to spring, come with him on a journey of joy, hope and togetherness.  Now is the time for love.

Get this album on bandcamp.

Nate Najar – Under Paris Skies

Under Paris SkiesGuitarist Nate Najar is emerging as one of this decade’s finest modern jazz exponents. He is a player who uses a distinctive technique to convey his artistic prowess- not many artists play acoustic classical guitar with right hand classical technique, yet it is the perfect choice for Najar’s comprehensive approach. Not restricted to single notes or chords, Nate seamlessly weaves melody, harmony and rhythmic freedom. The result is music that is swinging, emotional, inventive and interesting.

Continuing to perform at major venues and festivals across the entire globe, Nate’s latest album, Under Paris Skies was released in 2018 on Woodward Avenue Records. Rick Andersen of the All Music Guide called Nate “one of the most consistently interesting and stylish young guitarists on the jazz scene….” Becky Byrd, wife of the late guitarist Charlie Byrd says it best: “There is no doubt that there is a piece of Charlie’s soul in Nate’s mind, heart and fingers.

Get this album at Apple Music.

Palomino Duck – Smooth Flight

SmoothFlightWhat an interesting name! Where did it come from? What is a Palomino Duck?

The musical idea was conceived by Atlanta composer and producer Tim McCabe. With over 25 years of music production experience, McCabe put out the word to other composer/ producers that he had a new concept. His parameters were quite clear “Give me the best song you’ve ever written …strong melody … well structured . .. one with radio, TV & film potential as well as something the everyday person would enjoy listening to. McCabe coined the phrase “cinemusic” as the one word that best describes the compositions he has assembled.

He, and his engineer/ co-producer Ron Cristopher, listened to over a hundred original songs before settling on the final selections. “First Flight” focuses on the songs. “There is a tremendous void in the music of today” says McCabe. “Where are the great and lasting songs going to come from?” The initial acceptance of Palomino Duck would indicate that McCabe has found the answer. He has already begun work on follow-up albums “Classical Flight”, “Jazz Flight” and “Free Flight.” Meanwhile, McCabe and the rest of the performing group are currently rehearsing for their forthcoming concert tour.
Continue reading

Robert Christa / Tom Reif – Free As A Bird

freeasabirdGerman pianist and composer Robert Christa is best known in the smooth jazz genre by his solo projects Nightflight To Rio (2015), City Lights (2017) and Smooth World (2019). His new album is a collaboration with the multi-instrumentalist Tom Reif entitled Free As A Bird (2021).

Robert Christa has written all tracks and plays Rhodes, piano and keys. Tom Reif has arranged, mixed and produced the tracks and performs guitars, guitar synth, fretless bass, keyboards, loops, percussion, programming and was co-composer on three tracks. Additional artists are Herb Berger (harp) and Tommy Eberhardt (drums).

The album opens with the sun-drenched Sunset Boulevard, from which Christa and Reif can definitely derive romantic aspects. Christa follows with the opening track to the familiar smooth jazz style of his previous album.

Read more …

Brian Culbertson – The Trilogy Part II – Blue

BlueJazz/R&B keyboardist Brian Culbertson is not only successful in the area of smooth jazz. But he unfolds his primordial power when he pushes into the fields of Funk. With Bringing Back The Funk, released in 2008 on GRP Records, and Funk! on his own label in 2016 he has already set two milestones. His next album XX, so named because it’s his twentieth album, extended the spectrum in the spirit of his diversity.

Further releases are Music From The Hang (2020) and Soundscapes (2021). His newest project is The Trilogy, Part 1 – Red (2021). The Trilogy consists of Part 1: red = passion (coming 9.24.21), Part 2: blue = melancholy (coming 1.14.22), and Part 3: white = hope (coming 5.6.22). All songs are written, arranged, and produced by Brian Culbertson.

The second album Blue will be released January 14, 2022. However Brian sells the first badge of signed pre-ordered copies now! Get your copy here.

Jeff Oster – Next

Jeff Oster Next FAWith his newest album, Next (2015), Jeff Oster brings his horn front and center – you’ll hear his unmistakable tone floating over these 12 new tracks like never before. For Jeff, this album is about rebirth and change, and tells the story of what’s next for him, both as a musician and in his life.

“next is about claiming who I am, and who I’ve always wanted to be,” says Jeff. “It’s why I live. It takes strength and power to step out into the unknown. Not everyone opens the door and takes the risk to try something new, something you’ve dreamed of for years. And with uncertainty comes the joy of freedom. This album represents my moment to truly make a statement…to claim my place as a musician with something important to share.”

With “next”, Jeff creates a new genre – New Age Ambient Funk – and along for the ride are guitarist Nile Rodgers (Chic, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Madonna) on the title track, and five songs created during a legendary session with the duo of drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and bassist Chuck Rainey – musicians that he has respected and admired for his entire musical career.

Jeff Oster has always amazed me. Anyone who sounds like no one else amazes me, but a guy who grows so stunningly as a composer and player in the space of a few years inspires nothing but awe. NEXT is a step in musical evolution from where we last heard from Jeff… rather like the apes harnessing fire and inventing French cuisine. It’s a joy as his friend and co-producer to watch someone you love and respect grow into an artist of true importance and significance in a world of background noise.

Listen to this. It matters. Available here.

Carlos Camilo – Sahara

SaharaCarlos 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. “Love is a key player in my songs,” he said. “I’m forever intrigued and passionate about its power and how influential it is to all of us. Without love, we’re simply mechanical beings.”

Today, Carlos Camilo mainly creates Smooth Jazz, R&B, and POP. He’s released 8 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 next album is Sahara (2021). Get the album on Qobus.

Daryl Beebe – Better Together

251985803_281199060677157_6468073602445579093_nDaryl Beebe grew up with a musical pedigree. His father was a musician and composer who earned a degree in music and taught music in the Detroit Public Schools. He exposed Daryl to several instruments but the saxophone drew his interest the most. At age 16, Daryl and his friends formed a band called “Jelly” and performed in school talent shows, coffee houses and local parties. It was great stage training for him. In high school, Daryl played in the Marching Band, Symphony Band and Jazz Band and studied Music Theory. It all paid off as he earned a full music scholarship to Kentucky State University where he participated in the Marching, Concert and Jazz bands and developed skills as a musician, songwriter and producer.

Daryl next moved on to The University of Cincinnati where he earned Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees. In his first effort as a professional music producer in 2002, Daryl joined a longtime music friend to release a Gospel album entitled, “The Covenant Project.” He followed that up in 2010 with a second album entitled, “Called.”

In 2016, Daryl released his first solo project called “Sonny Side Up” This were followed up by “The Daryl Beebe Project’ in 2018 and “Breathe” in 2020. While his recordings have primarily focused on Gospel music, Daryl’s live stage performances have flourished in the Jazz realm where he has built a strong brand for himself. His new album is Better Together (2021).

Available on all digital platforms.

JC Smith – Smooth Nights

255972513_4299879143444433_7325493500995721758_nJohnathan “JC” Smith is strongly influenced by the culture and sounds of his community.  Even as a youngster he was drawn to music and the musicians that played it. And now, JC tries to perform music that speaks to fans across the musical spectrum.  With real instruments, real voices…

With the November 11, 2021 release on all streaming platforms of JC Smith’s debut album: “Smooth Nights”,  his music career is at an important crossroads of discovery.

Download the album here.