Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Lindsey Webster – A Woman Like Me

Hardly any other singer has established herself so quickly in the smooth jazz scene as the vocalist Lindsey Webster. After her self-titled debut album (2013), followed You Change (2015), Back To Your Heart (2016) and Love Inside (2018). The latest one was released on Shanachie Entertainment. Just scheduled for release on the same label is A Woman Like Me (2020).

Singer Lindsey is accompanied by her former husband Keith Slattery (keyboards), with whom she still has an intense friendship and artistic common ground. Joining the duo is drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Nathan East and percussionist Luis Conte. Further musicians are guitarists Mike Demicco, Chris Harris, Tommy DePaolo, bassist Fred Doumbe, drummer Isaac Civitello and saxophonist Ken Gioffre.

The album starts with Feels Like Forever, the first single of the album. The song focuses to a nascent love relationship in which one partner chases the dream of prolonging this moment of happiness as if it would last forever. From the timbre, Lindsey approaches Sade again, while the instrumental background is at its best. Keith on keyboards and Mike Demicco loosen up the song with concise solos.

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Roberto Vally – Tranquila

L.A. based bass player Roberto Vally is famous in the music scene like a colorful dog. The list of musicians he played with is endless and reads like a who’s who of the jazz, smooth jazz and R&B scene.

Relatively late he started his solo career with the album Boom Boom Boom (2013), followed by Pure Lines (2017). Tranquila (2020) is his third project. Roberto performs on his new album bass and programming.

He is supported by Jeff Carruthers (keyboards, guitars, programming), Michiyo Kitagawa, Andrew Neu (sax), Tom Schuman (keyboards, synths, piano, Moog),  Carlyle Barriteau (guitars),  Saskia Mount Zion, Daniela Soledade, Caro Pierotto (vocals), Ron King, Rob Zinn, Chris Todesco (trumpet), David Benoit (piano), Tim Redfield (additional sound design), Peter White (acoustic guitar, piano), and Rob Mullins (piano).

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Nils – Caught In The Groove

LA based jazz guitarist Nils belongs to the first guard of top guitarists of the smooth jazz genre with albums like Blue Planet (1998), Pacific Coast Highway (2005), Ready To Play (2007), Up Close And Personal (2009), What The Funk (2010), City Groove (2012),  Alley Cat (2015), and Play (2018). His new album Caught In The Groove (2020) meets an audience in difficult times.

Nils plays on the album guitars, synths, Rhodes and programming. He is supported on selected tracks by Oliver C. Brown (percussion), Johnny Britt (organ, vocals and horns), Mitch Forman (piano), Derrick Dmar Martin, Tony Moore, Gorden Cambell (drums), Darryl Williams, Reggie McBride, Darryl Jones, Carsten Schmelzer (bass), Clydene Jackson (Rhodes), and Dov and the LoveStar Strings (live string section).

The album is started by the title track, a dynamic rollover in soft rock infused style of the 80’s pushing you to the next level of groove. Mitch Forman on piano and Johnny Britt on horns add some special glam up to the sonic hit train. The uplifting Good Times are Better brings back the Pacific Coast feeling, which makes smooth jazz so great.

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U-Nam – U-Nam Goes Big Band

Guitarist U-Nam is commonly known for his skillful reinterpretation of the style of George Benson and Nile Rodgers, which runs through many of his albums. His recourse to the funky music of the 70s and 80s is also popular. But with his new album U-Nam Goes Big Band (2020) he now falls back on the traditional big band music as known from Duke Ellington or Glen Miller.

The album is based on a collaboration between U-Nam and the Lutz Krajenski Big Band. The band leader Lutz Krajenski has already performed with Tom Jones, Ulrich Tukur, Roachford, Inga Rumpf, Udo Jürgens, Randy Crawford, Jasmin Tabatabai, Mousse T and more. One can therefore speak of a pronounced tendency towards popular music, which has been translated into the language of jazz.

U-Nam performs on this album lead and whawha guitar, Lutz “Hammond” Krajenski acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes keyboards and band leader, Thorten Benkenstein, Phillip Kacza & Nicolas Boysen trumpet and flugelhorn, Gunter Bollmann & Andreas Barkhoff trombone, Sebastian Hoffmann bass trombone, Bjorne Berger & Fiete Felsh alto sax, Gabriel Coburger & Ben Kraef tenor sax, Bjorne Berger, Fiete Felsh, Gabriel Coburger & Edgar Herzog flute, Bjorne Berger clarinet, Edgar Herzog bass clarinet,  and baritone sax, Sandra Hempel rhythm guitar, Peter Gall drums, Herve Jeanne double bass & electric bass, Rainer V. Egestoff mouth harp & vibes, Ricardo Padilla & Denis Benarrosh percussion,  Susanna Aleksandra & Steve Brookstein vocals.

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Frank Piombo – Family Concept

New York based guitarist Frank Piombo reached with eight the American shores. Today he is a mainstay in the New York Metropolitan Area, where he has built a solid fan basis.

He started his solo career with Smooth Reminiscence (2010), followed by Sleepwalk (2011) and The Night Speaks – A Smooth Jazz Journey, which was awarded as the best jazz/ambient album for Jan, 2016 by The Academia Music Awards.

His newest project is entitled Family Concept (2020). This album is dedicated to and inspired by Frank’s great family encompassing three generations.

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Earnest Walker Jr. – IFATOBA

Saxophonist Earnest Walker Jr. earned his first merits as performer in young age. During his stay in Philadelphia he was member of the group Blind Date. After his move to Miami he is a mainstay in the city of South Beach.

His debut album is Raindrops In The Sun (1998), followed by Variations On A Groove (2006) and this year IFATOBA. In the ancient West African language, the title means “the king has arrived”. Earnest has put much love into his new project, which is dedicated to his late mother. This already begins with the cover, which was created as part of a design competition.

All songs on the new album with the exception of one cover are written by Earnest himself. He also performed most of the instruments with some help here and there.

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Under The Lake – Your Horizon Too

Under The Lake is a project by Jayson Tipp (keyboardist, songwriter and producer). The debut album was Dive In (1993), followed by Up For Air (1995), People Together (2007) and Jazz, Groove & Attitude (2018).

On his new album Your Horizon Too (2020) Jayson is supported by sax player Quintin Gerard W., bassist Nathan Brown, guitarist Patrick Yandall and drummer Richard Sellers. The album contains two covers, most of the songs however are originals written by Jayson and in part together with Quintin.

Opener of the album is the title song It’s Your Horizon Too. The songs on this album are not a one-man-show but a band at work. That said, the theme is multiplied and performed by all band members, which is the charm of a live band.

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