Archive for January, 2022

Demetrius Nabors – Perseverance

PerseverancePianist, composer, producer and arranger Demetrius “Krayon” Nabors has a reputation of being very well-known in the Detroit music sector. It is high time that his level of awareness also rises nationwide. The albums The Journey Within Part I (2011), Christmas with Krayon (2012) and The Journey Within Part II (2014) have been released by him so far. His newest project is Perseverance (2021).

It’s no coincidence that the album is titled Perseverance. Demetrius had to overcome numerous personal adversities during the pandemic, and the general living conditions such as racial oppression and police violence were not exactly conducive to his development. However, the completion of his new album illustrates his staying power.

Numerous musician friends have supported him in realizing his musical dream. The extensive list is noted in the credits. I hope the musicians involved will forgive me if I don’t mention everyone in detail. Most of the songs are penned by Demetrius, some with the participation of other musicians. The album also includes a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed.

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Len Mizzoni – I Know Who I Am

LenMizzoni_IKnowWhoIAmA singer-songwriter, producer, arranger and versatile musician who plays piano, guitar and saxophone. Len Mizzoni was born into a musical family in Toronto, Ontario Canada where music was always encouraged especially by his dad.

A veteran of many studio sessions. He also has worked with Skip Prokop of the iconic Canadian band Lighthouse. Len was a former member of the Juno Award winning band Frozen Ghost with which he toured North America extensively. As a songwriter Len has the ability to write in many genres and styles of music. His catalog of original songs includes everything from country, pop, rock, R&B, funk and smooth jazz.

Len will be releasing his 5th album on February 17, 2022 entitled “I Know Who I Am”. The album will feature 13 new original songs and will be available on Spotify & iTunes and wherever music is sold or streamed.

Artur Bayramgalin – Jazz Hop 4

jh4Russian guitarist Artur Bayramgalin has already created some gems of smooth jazz. To mention are Interro Island (2009), Electric Breezz (2010), Perfect Day (2014), and My Seasons (2015). His album Let’s Talk (2017) was released on the German Lemongrassmusic sub-label Lemon Jazz Records. On this label he has also released his albums Jazz Hop, Jazz Hop2 and Jazz Hop3.

Now Lemon Jazz Records present the 4th volume of the „Jazz Hop“ EP series by Russian musician and producer Artur Bayramgalin. A smooth, Chill instrumental EP, inspired by smooth jazz mixed with Chill Hop and Jazz Hop. This 3 tracks playlist is perfect for study, sleep or relax.

Stream it here.

Nate Myers – Soul Essentials

71O-la-5DpL._SS500_When Nate Myers picks up his saxophone, he finds his voice and becomes a master communicator, expressing his deepest emotions and passionately connecting with audiences everywhere from his adopted hometown of Atlanta to various cities throughout the U.S. and around the globe. 

After years of sharing the stage with, touring and opening for some of the biggest R&B and gospel artists in the world, the multi-talented composer and performer takes control of his artistry and musical destiny with the release of a full length album whose title reflects the drive of his longtime creative mission: Soul Essentials. The collection will include the sensual, ultra-romantic ballad “Pillow Talk,” which Myers released earlier as a digital single. 

Explaining the reason behind the project’s ultra-cool title, Myers says, “I like to think of myself as a soulful saxophonist, and when I play, I always want it to be like having a conversation with people and giving them something uplifting and inspiring and this is definitely ‘feel good’ music. The vibe draws from my passions for everything from contemporary soul, neo-soul, gospel and contemporary urban jazz, so I consider it soul music that’s essential to everyone’s soul. It’s not just for fans of one genre or another, but for music fans of all backgrounds and ages.  Continue reading

Thomas Heflin – Morning Star

Thomas-Heflin-Morning-StarThe roots of trumpeter Thomas Heflin have always been dear to him. He grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, and when he was young he took piano lessons. Thomas was listening to a wide variety of musical styles, but things changed when he took up the trumpet at the age of 11.

At the University of Tennessee, he fell in love with jazz. After that, he moved on to the William Paterson University in New Jersey, and studied there with Memphis-born pianist, James Williams. Finally after completing his doctorate at the University of Texas, Austin, he moved to New York City, where he played with a number of ensembles.

Next to that, Thomas served as Program Manager and Jazz Faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division. But in 2014, he took the job of Assistant Professor of Jazz at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Brass at the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

 

Tal Babitzky – Night Dream

a1160483591_16Tal Babitzky is a composer, pianist and singer. He is a Jazz Artist born in Vilnius, Lithuania and is now residing in Israel. Babitzky has composed hundreds of instrumental pieces and tunes. He’s released 10 albums. Tal’s music is used by the National Geographic Channel.

Night Dream is a new ethereal fusion album of 11 songs recorded with Beatskey Band during several live sessions in 2017 and 2018. Tal characterizes the album “Night Dream” as Ethereal Fusion, a unique blend of flavors/genres from all over the world, both powerful and smooth, be it Jazz, Funk, Rock or World music with elements coming from the Balkan, Ireland and the Middle East.

The album is available on bandcamp.

Christophe Goze – Soul To Soul

a3831088172_16Guitarist Christophe Goze is a world wanderer. This applies both to his changing residences, which has taken him through eight countries from his birthplace Paris to his current home, Barcelona, Spain, as well as his stylistic orientation, which has a lot to do with world music but also with his jazzy roots.

The story behind the creation of this album is explained by the basic polyglot attitude of this musician. At the outbreak of the pandemic, Christophe was staying in Morocco, which closed its borders as a result of the first wave. He had not expected that this blockade would last a year. Christophe made the best of this predicament, rented a small studio with a sea view and devoted himself to musical recordings.

The result is the album Soul To Soul (2022), with which Christophe approaches the realm of smooth jazz in his own special way. Thanks to the possibilities of the Internet, he was able to involve the following musicians in the creative process: Marc Antoine (guitar), Roberto Briot (bass), Curtis Lyons Jr., Laurent Facheux, Matthieu Rabatte (drums), Frederic Langlais (accordina), Michel Gaucher (flute), Ravi Prasad (Indian vocals), and Skeb (vocals).

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Ron Jackson – Standards and My Songs

31Gv8WYaTrLComing out of the pandemic lockdown, distinctive and versatile jazz guitarist Ron Jackson re-emerges boldly with his latest solo album, Standards and My Songs, released on his own Roni Music label. The album spotlights Jackson’s clean-burning, clean-toned guitar voice mostly in trio format with Willie Jones III and Ben Wolfe (drums and bass, respectively), and serves as a bookend sequel to his pre-pandemic 2019 outing, Standards and Other Songs, with a critical difference.

“It is a sequel,” Jackson states. “On the earlier album, I played standards, some pop songs and even a Drake song that I adapted to jazz. This one is, standards and my songs. I took a couple of hits like soft rock tune ‘Brandy’ and R&B tune ‘Secret Garden’ by Quincy Jones, and adapted them to jazz.”

Song choice is key to the success of the new album’s portrait of Jackson’s broad musical aesthetic, with a program opening with a jazz-flavored arrangement of the 1972 Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” (one of two album tracks with cameos by organist Brian Ho) and, to close, a gorgeous solo version of the standard “Time After Time.” The latter showcases Jackson’s unique skill on the 7-string guitar, which the guitarist has been focusing on for a decade and is one of the instrument’s prime jazz proponents. Between those repertoire extremes comes a menu of diverse original tunes, creative new arrangements of Charlie Parker’s “Moose the Mooche”—spiced up with a jazz/hip hop groove–and a 5/4 take on the standard “This Nearly Was Mine,” and more, adapted to and by Jackson’s special touch. Continue reading

Thomas Heflin – Morning Star

Thomas-Heflin-Morning-StarMorning Star is presented as a late-night radio show (complete with station IDs, and a radio DJ) and features songs that flow effortlessly from one to the next. The music on “Morning Star” features a traditional jazz group underpinned by layers of Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ and strings, as well as percussion and additional woodwinds to create a warm, soulful sound reminiscent of the CTI recordings of the 1970s. The music also fuses elements of modern jazz with R&B, gospel, and neo-soul.

The album was conceived around the title track “Morning Star,” and listeners may notice reworked snippets of the bassline and melody from the title track in other songs on the album. The music was recorded at the beginning of the CoVid outbreak, and the “morning star” – the last star seen at night before the new day arrives – also serves as a musical symbol of hope and optimism through these dark times. The radio DJ (Brandon Robertson) presents the tracks through poetic words of encouragement, creating the feeling of listening to an inspirational radio host during a late-night car ride.

The album features several notable musicians including world-renowned tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy (Elvin Jones), Mavis “Swan” Poole (Lauryn Hill, Prince) on vocals, Peter Stoltzman (Steve Gadd/Eddie Gomez) on piano, Steve Haines on bass, Aaron Matson on guitar, Ariel Pocock on vocals, Xavier Ware on drums, Dan Hitchcock on woodwinds and Jorge Luis Torres “Papiosco” (¡Cubanismo!) on percussion.
According to Heflin, “The music for the album is inspired things that bring me joy and hope. “Morning Star” is the Slavic translation of my wife’s first name. ‘Anna Breschine’ is my daughter’s name and ‘The Moon Singer’ is inspired by a book by Clyde Robert Bulla that I like to read to her at night. In the story, a lonely child sings beautiful, wordless melodies to himself out in the forest. Evensong, which means ‘a service of evening prayers’ is meant to evoke a late-night musical meditation. Haiku is a quirky song based on the chord changes of one of my favorite jazz standards, Benny Golson’s ‘Stablemates.'” Continue reading

Yaron Gershowsky – Transitions

transitionsThe highly accomplished and internationally recognized pianist & keyboardist, arranger, composer and producer Yaron Gershovsky started his musical career in his homeland Israel. Soon after that he emigrated to the USA, where he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. After his graduation, he toured with sax player Pharaoh Sanders and recorded with the legendary Wayne Shorter on his album ‘Atlantis’.

Since 1979, Yaron has been the Musical Director and pianist/keyboardist for the world-renowned vocal group The Manhattan Transfer. For them, he wrote instrumental and vocal arrangements, recorded and toured also with them. But that’s not all. He also recorded and performed with other greats such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Steve Gadd, Abraham Laboriel, Lew Soloff, Janis Siegel, Ray Brown, Grady Tate, Don Sebesky, The Count Basie Orchestra, Richie Havens, Take 6, and our Belgian pride Toots Thielemans.

Yaron did vocal arrangements for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical ‘City of Angels’ and for the musical ‘Swing’. And he played keyboards for the musicals ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ and ‘Les Miserables’.

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