Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

The JT Project – Another Chance

Jacob Webb (keyboards/bass) and Todd Schefflin (saxophone) are The JT Project. Coming from Kansas keyboardist Webb now lives in New York, where he joined Philadelphia native saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Todd Schefflin.

The JT Project has already released the five albums Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 1 (2009), Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 2 (2012), Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 3 (2013), Under The Covers (2014), and Moments Of Change (2016).

For their sixth album Another Chance (2017) the group has partnered again with record label Trippin N’ Rhythm. Todd Schefflin (saxophone), Jacob Webb (keyboards), Nathan Webb (drums), Ross Alston (bass), Randall Haywood (flugelhorn), and vocalist April May are the creators of this album.

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Euge Groove – Groove On

They belong to the elite circle of best entertainers in the field of smooth jazz. At larger festivals, they are among the first cast. Saxophonist Euge Groove is one of these acts on top of the game.

On his new album Groove On Euge performs soprano and tenor saxophone, Wurlitzer piano, Fender Rhodes and Hammond B3. He is accompanied on selected tracks by Tracy Carter (piano, Fender Rhodes), Jubu Smith (guitars), Cornelius Mims (bass), Trevor Lawrence Jr., Dan Needham (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Tim Heinz (Hammond B3), Philipp Saisse (string arrangement), Austin Creek (string programming), Peter White (guitar), Lindsey Webster (vocals).

A sonnet is a poem in a specific form which originated in Italy. The term sonnet is derived from the Italian word “sonetto”. On Sonnet Xl Euge performs a soprano sax with dreamlike security although it’s tricky to ensure a perfect intonation. The pitch conveys the impression of smallness, which explains the title.

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Ray Anthony and Powerslyde – Have Fun

Duke City, New Mexico native Ray Anthony founded the project Powerslyde in 2007. The debut album is entitled Have Fun (2017). Ray Anthony performs on this album trombone, piano, keyboards, vocals, Ken Mathis drums, Enrique Mendoza guitars and Steve Oliver guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals.

All music was written & produced by Ray Anthony and Steve Oliver. Lead instrument of this album is the trombone comparable in style with artists like Jeff Bradshaw, Buff Dillard, Brian Culbertson, Trombone Shorty or Steve Baxter. Mr. Sauce brings this dominant instrument to full advantage. The arrangement is tighter than tight and the eclectic flow is spot on.

Do 4 U offers a compact melody with a strong dynamic even hypnotic twist. After a short piano introduction Ray Anthony turns on the slide again. Night Abraxas intermingles vigorous brass with fine-tuned piano. Slydeways reveals a deep unbinding love for harmony and the melody has that catchy something.

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Ilya Netkach – I Am

Kharkov, Ukraine born violinist Ilya Netkach’s love is music. More likely love at second sight, because of the decision to follow the call of music, matured only after he had studied in other subjects. His first project Page Not Found arrived in stores in 2015. During his period in Qatar and Bahrain he composed new songs, which he has released under the title I AM in October 2017.

Ilya performs violin, piano, and keyboards and is accompanied on his new project by Alina Kharchenko on piano (tracks 1, 2 and 4). Not the numerous attempts during the long period of creation of this album are of interest, but the result. On Burned Bridges Ilya performs the violin with burning fervor. Every chord contributes to the emotional character of the piece, whose soul finds itself on string and body with each vibrating tone. Alina Kharchenko leaves it at an indication of the melody frame without interfering Ilya’s inspired play.

Fiasco is usually the most unsuitable title for a piece of music unless you’re talking about Stockhausen’s 12-tone music. On the other hand, the violin virtuoso himself is in search of the overall-looking melody between structure and improvisation. Infamy may be influenced by Alan Parson’s Project in terms of the configuration of the synth music, that serves as a base. The treat of the violin frees from the anarchic character by following chromatic structures.

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Philippe Saisse Trio – On The Level!

Several years ago I was attracted by excellent music in a hi-fi demonstration room of a large specialist chain. My question about the title of the reference CD the seller answered with the words: “That is The Body and Soul Sessions by the Philippe Saisse Trio”.

Since this magic moment, I am avidly following Philippe’s musical activities with great interest. The mention of his numerous releases as a soloist and a sideman would be beyond the scope of this review. Predecessor of the Philippe Saisse Trio was the Philippe Saisse Acoustique Trio. First releases of this formation were the albums My Favorite Songs: Contemporary Mood and My Favorite Songs: Classic Mood (2000 in Japan and 2003 in USA), and Ready to Go feat. Kelly Sae (2003). The Philippe Saisse Trio followed with The Body and Soul Sessions (2006) and this year with On The Level!

The Philippe Saisse Trio consists of Philippe Saisse (piano, keyboards, vibraphone, marimba), Skoota Warner (drums), David Finck (acoustic bass) and Gumbi Ortiz (percussion and vocals). Guest musicians are guitarist Marc Antoine, vocalists Vanessa Falabella, Rhett George, Kelli Sae, Larry Braggs, keyboardist Tim Akers and his band the Smoking Section.

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Reggie Young – Young Street

New York has always been the platform of bass player Reggie Young. He is at home in clubs, theaters, and churches. He debuted in 1997 with his album Among Friends, followed in 2002 by a self-titled album with John Patitucci and Steppin’ Up in 2011 featuring saxophonist Darren Rahn.

His new album Young Street was released in July 2017. Reggie attaches importance to the statement that it is not smooth jazz. Beyond the meaning of genres, a classification in contemporary jazz describes his music with the typical uncertainty, which the listener has to accept.

On the new project are performing beside Reggie (bass), Garnett Walters (b3 organ), Paul John Jr., Daiquan Davis, James Rouse (drums), Darwin Noguera, Yeisson Villamar (piano, keyboards), Pablo Batista, Miguel Ayala (percussion), Bill Holloman (horns), Marissa Licata (strings), Andrew Swift (guitar), Onree Gill (Rhodes), James Cage (trumpet), James Hall (vocals), and John Peters (keyboards).

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Harold Little – Akoben

DC area trumpet player, songwriter, and producer Harold Little debuted in 2009 with the EP Daddy’s Groove. Harold incorporates on this album Funk undertones with a hint of Go-Go Swing. His sophomore album Akoben (2017) is a testimony of his African roots in a multicultural diversity.

Akoben is the title of an African war horn, a symbol of vigilance and wariness. Harold performs on this album trumpet and flugelhorn. He is joined by Bruce Williams (alto saxophone), Jamal Brown, Y. C. Laws (flute), vocalists Heidi Martin, Karen Linette, the choir: Keena Chew, Brittney Ford, Brandon Ford, Angela Ford, Kristin Johnson, keyboardists Keith Exum, Vince Evans, Leroy “Scooter” Taylor, guitarist Tony Cothran, bassists Adrian “Egg” Norton, Kris Funn, Rodney “LRod” Lewis, drummers Arvell “Cloudy” McLeod, Dwayne “KIGGO” Wellman, Mark Steward and percussion players Milton “GoGo Mickey” Freeman, Leroy “Boogie” Greer, Danar “Nicky Barnes” Gorham.

With the exception of two covers, Harold Little has written, arranged and produced all songs. East Of The River starts with a heavy bass handing over to Harold on muted trumpet who’s finding a funky outlet for his inner voice. You Don’t Know What Love Is is a jazz standard written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul for the Abbott and Costello picture Keep ‘Em Flying (1941). This song was covered by all great jazz artists, the world knows, from George Benson to Ella Fitzgerald. Featured vocalist on this interpretation is Heidi Martin, who embraces the song with great empathy.

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