Archive for July, 2022

Mike Di Lorenzo – What We Need

WhatWeNeedNew York based keyboardist Mike Di Lorenzo has already performed with such artists as Whitney Houston, Gerald Alston, Regina Belle, Bo Diddley, to name only the most popular one.

He started his solo career with the highly acclaimed album Urbanized (2005). After a long hiatus Mike returned with his sophomore album Bring It Back (2011). Eleven years later he offers What We Need (2022). This project marks a significant change of pace in Mike’s predominately instrumental approach to his albums (save for the songs featuring vocalist Norman Durham on “Bring it Back”) as every track on it is vocal-based.

Stream this album on Apple Music.

California Funk Machine – Volume 2 

CFMVolume2Paris born guitar virtuoso Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul is the driving force behind the project California Funk Machine. This year he surprised the world with Volume I, a collection of selected pieces of funk history that brought it the greatest success and had a decisive impact on it. Volume 2 is is the logical continuation with new power hits.

On Volume 2 U-Nam performs lead and rhythm guitars, talk box, Vocoder, bass, Moog bass, Rhodes, clavinet, synth guitar, keyboards, drums, horn programming and editing, lead and background vocals. The hottest Funk, Disco, Soul and Jazz Funk classics of the 70’s and 80’s in Californian style are also created by Bill Steinway (keyboards), Bob Baldwin (piano), Tim Owens (background vocals), Jorel Flynn (drums), Frank Sitborn (keyboards), Kim Hansen (keyboards), Denis Benarrosh (percussion), Michael White (drums), Freddie Washington (bass), Marva King (vocals), Tony Tatum (vocals), Kim Chandler (vocals), DJ Puzzle (sound design), Maria Grig (violin, viola), Lyudmilla Kadybaeva (cello), Joabe Reis (trombone) and Christian Martinze (trumpet, flugelhorn).

The album opens with the EWF classic Let’s Groove with the typical U-Nam vocoderized exclamation mark. Second to none follows an interpretation of George Duke’s funky Reach Out. Midnight Stars’ Midas Touch experiences a revival with the lively singer Tony Tatum. Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Rockit gets a wild twin.

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Ruddy Alcantara – On The Way

On-The-WayRuddy Alcantara was born in the Dominican Republic on April 13, 1985, his musical training began at the age of 9 as a church pianist. years later he became part of recognized local and international bands. He began to study bass after having migrated from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana in 2006 where he later had the opportunity to be part of various local jazz groups.

His career as a solo bassist began some time after migrating to New York City where he composed and recorded his first album titled On The Way in 2017. In 2021 he released his second album titled The Beginning with guitarist Camilo Velandia.

Ruddy is currently a very popular and active musician in New York City and many other places within the United States where he even collaborated with artists such as Laura Pausini and American bassist Matt Garrison. Ruddy is also noted for being a great composer and arranger of popular American and Latin music.

Get the album here.

John Fumasoli & The Jones Factor – The Time Is Now

TheTimeIsNowAn album has a special meaning for a musician when, as in the case of John Fumasoli, only three are released in three decades. In 1986 he founded the formation The Jones Factor conceived as a small big band. Stylistically the formation covers a wide spectrum of bop, hard bop, Latin, blues, funk and hip hop. After Collective Jazz (1991), Blast From The Past (2007) is the third album The Time Is Now (2022).

As you can see from the credits, the current formation is strongly horn-heavy. Opener of the album is Past Ports which was written by keyboardist of Yellowjackets Russell Ferrante for the album Four Corners (1987). The interpretation shines with a stunning horn arrangement and a brilliant solo on soprano sax by Ken Gioffre.

Don Grolnick has written Pools for his album Hearts And Numbers (1985). Steps Ahead came with an earlier version in 1983. Here, too, the realization in a sophisticated horn arrangement is exceptionally pleasing.

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Edgardo Cintron – Bon Appetit

msn9aolxt5a4a_600Percussionist Edgardo Cintron is a second-generation Puerto Rican and a second generation musician. Known as much for his affable personality and generous spirit as for his tasty musicianship, Edgardo attributes his musical influences to his Father, Pablo, who played guitar in the U.S. military band and also to Charlie Parker, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana and Tito Puente. Born August 28, 1958 in Fort Riley, Kansas, Edgardo was studying French horn and guitar by the age of five, then moved on to percussion, all under his father’s direction.

Moving the Family to the East Coast in 1962, the elder Cintron formed his own band, Los Tropicales. By age twelve, Edgardo had won the percussion chair. He traveled up and down the coast with the band, playing at hotels and Latin dances, working with such notable musicians as Yomo Toro and Maso Rivera. “We used to wear the ruffled shirts, the red suits and get the people dancing” says Edgardo. “We played all the great Latin standards.” After serving in the army (1975-1977), Edgardo began studying music again. In 1988, he formed his own twelve-piece band, the Tiempo Noventa Orchestra.

In 1995, Edgardo’s self-produced debut CD was released. “Musica Caliente” was recorded with the Orchestra and featured saxophonist Mike Pedicin, Jr. and percussionist, Pablo Batista (Congas). The ten-song CD was released on the Naxos label. Two more CD’s for the DBK label followed. In 1998, Edgardo recorded Spanish Eyes with a trio and Straight No Chaser with the Tiempo Noventa Orchestra.  Currently, Edgardo fronts the Latin pop orchestra, “Cintron” . Their latest recording Cintron Live Manteca was another unqualified success for the band.

His newest project is Bon Appétit (2022). Buy this album at Qobuz.

Dana Fitzsimons – Fault Lines

faultlinesJazz trios abound, and this trio of Dana Fitzsimons (drums), Bill Graham (piano) and Brandon Boone (bass) is no exception. During the day, leader Dana is a lawyer, and here he works with 2 musicians from Atlanta.

In 2017 he already released ‘Cheap Ensemble’. The style that Dana chose for this album is free jazz. That’s not really my thing right now, because I don’t like improvisations much.

Dana said: “The music we wanted to make requires a lot of close listening and allowing the music to take you wherever it wants to go, untethered from strict ideas about time, form, and harmony. With all this freedom, it was important to me that the music still be rhythmic and lyrical so that the music invites the listener in, even for those who are not accustomed to free jazz.”

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Ronnie Foster – Reboot

Ronnie-Foster-Reboot-1024x1024Organ great Ronnie Foster returns to Blue Note Records with the July 15 release of Reboot, his first new album in 36 years which arrives 50 years after his 1972 Blue Note debut Two Headed Freap. The nine-song album was recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios and marks a fresh start for Foster, who has whipped up an omnidirectional brew of Hammond Organ Groove that pays homage to the past but more often reflects his restlessness for ushering in the new. The album’s grooving title track “Reboot” is out now featuring Foster on organ, his son Chris Foster on drums, and Michael O’Neill on guitar.

Reboot is available for pre-order now on D2C exclusive red vinyl, black vinyl, CD, and digital download. Listeners the world over have heard Foster’s soulful playing, whether from his standout performance on “Summer Soft” from Stevie Wonder’s 1976 masterwork Songs In The Key Of Life, best-selling George Benson albums including Breezin’, or A Tribe Called Quest’s classic hip-hop track “Electric Relaxation” which sampled Foster’s “Mystic Brew” from Two Headed Freap, which was reissued last week as part of Blue Note’s Classic Vinyl Reissue Series.

The Buffalo, New York born keyboardist first caught the ear of Blue Note co-founder Francis Wolff when he made his first-ever recording as a sideman on guitar legend Grant Green’s searingly funky Blue Note LP, Alive! in 1970. After Wolff passed away a few months later, Ronnie was officially signed to Blue Note by George Butler making him the next in an illustrious lineage of Hammond B3 organ artisans the label had presented which included Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Two Headed Freap was the first in a run of five stellar jazz-funk albums Foster would make for Blue Note throughout the 1970s including Sweet Revival, Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux, On the Avenue, and Cheshire Cat. Stream our playlist Ronnie Foster: The Finest featuring highlights from the organist’s Blue Note discography. Continue reading

Germano Mazzocchetti Ensemble – Muggianne

muggianneThe Italian composer Germano Mazzocchetti is best known for his film and theater compositions, but also for his scores for operas, TV, etc. He is also active in jazz with this Germano Mazzocchetti Ensemble.

In that ensemble, Germano plays the fisarmonica (a kind of accordion), Francesco Marini (soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Paolo Emanuele (viola), Marco Acquarelli (guitar), Luca Pirozzi (double bass) and Valerio Vantaggio (drums).

He has already recorded 3 CDs with this ensemble, in which he mixes jazz with folkloric references. Germano composed 9 original tracks for this album, which dates back to 2021, with of course many references to his region of Abruzzo.

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Boney James – Detour

WebBoney James is called a superstar. After George Benson gave us the night and Fourplay touched the sky, a rare term for a smooth jazz instrumentalist. In 2017 Boney James released his 16th album entitled Honestly followed by the album Solid (2020).

His newest project is called Detour (2022). Boney comments: “My brand new album ‘Detour’ is coming September 23! I can’t wait till you all can hear the whole record. We’ve all been on a detour these last few years and this new music reflects the journey. The new LP also features the incredible Lalah Hathaway on vocals and Dontae Winslow (from Kamasi Washington’s band) on trumpet.”

You can order it already on his website.

Anne Walsh – The Astrud Project

annewFor many years I have been fascinated by Brazilian music, and more specifically by Bossa nova and samba. Antonio Carlos Jobim is among my absolute favorites in this regard. The American singer Anne Walsh from Long Beach, California has now released a tribute to another icon from that genre, Astrud Gilberto.

The roots of this project are on Anne Walsh’s previous album, “Brand New,” from 2016. On it, Anne wrote a biographical text about Astrud Gilberto’s wordless scat on ‘Nao Bate O Coracao’ and titled it ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’. She also did the same with Gilberto’s scat on “Beach Samba,” which led to the recording of an entire album dedicated to her, in a production by Grammy Award nominated arranger Tom Zink.

“Looking over Astrud’s life and career in researching that song (‘Nao Bate O Coracao’) was the beginning of a deeper dive into the songs that inspired this collection. I’ve always found a kindred spirit in the vocal approach that Astrud took. Her light, straight tone is what really makes the music she sang shine. There is little doubt that Astrud’s approach set the stylistic vibe for the bossa nova movement of the 1960s.” said Anne. Along with Zink, she said Gilberto acted as a kind of poster child for innocence and the untouched musical beauty that summed up the early bossa nova movement.

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