Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Greg Adams and East Bay Soul – Conversation

Trumpet legend Greg Adams was the bedrock of the formation Tower of Powers. As a founding member of the group he has recorded fourteen albums and composed many of their hits. Nowadays his focus is  on the band East Bay Soul.

The band currently consists of Greg Adams (trumpet, flugelhorn, and background vocals), Darryl Walker (lead vocals, tenor sax), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, flugelhorn, and background vocals), Johnnie Bamont (alto, tenor and baritone saxes, flute, and background vocals), Greg Vail (alto, tenor sax, flute and background vocals), Nick Milo (keys and background vocals), Kay-Ta Matsuno (guitar), Dwayne “Smitty” Smith (bass), Herman Matthews (drums, and background vocals), and Johnny Sandoval (Latin percussion and background vocals).

The formation started in 2009 with the same named debut album. Soon followed East Bay Soul 2.0 (2012), That’s Life (2015) and this year Conversation. The album takes an overwhelming start with Look Book. The track shines with a sophisticated horn arrangement where the listener can discover many details. Dwayne’s bass plays a dominant role however.

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The Jamal Thomas Band – Funk Don’t Move

Jamal Thomas is an excellent drummer with more than 30 years performance experience. He played with Maceo Parker, the SOS Band and the producer duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

His solo debut was Family, a vocal album. His newest project is the Jamal Thomas Band, a loose formation with changing members. This band was founded in 2009. The first album was Future in 2013. Funk Don’t Move (2017) is the sophomore album.

The band consists of Jamal Thomas (drums & lead vocals), Maya Lisa (lead & backing vocals), Alex Bernath (drums & rap), Daniel Lottersberger (bass), Coen Molenaar (keys & synth bass), Frank Deruytter ( sax & backing vocals) and Guy Nikkels (guitar). Guest musicians on selected tracks are Chuck Leavell ( piano, Hammond) and Rodney “Skeet” Curtis (bass).

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Michiyo – Kool

Japanese saxophonist Michiyo Kitagawa performed in several bands like Dad Mam God and Rocket Punch. Her debut album was Theater`M in 1998. After her return to Tokyo she released her second album Tete in 2015. This album features Roberto Vally on bass. Her third album is KOOL (2018).

Michiyo performs on this album soprano and tenor sax. She is joined by Roberto Vally (bass), Jeff Carruthers (guitar), Masayuki Numai and T-wai (keyboards), Fumio “Hank” Nishiyama (guitar), Kenichiro Shinzawa and Ric Mandell (piano).

Rainy Tokyo is Michiyo’s tribute to the artistic springs of her creativity. While Michiyo’s plays her saxophone soulfully, the discoid beat stands in a certain divergence and gives the piece a modernist look. It’s probably the contrasts that make Tokyo appealing. On KOOL Roberto’s bass reminds of groups like Kool and the Gang. The main melody has that special something for listeners and radio djs.

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Bill Sharpe – Famous People Live

Keyboard virtuoso and composer Bill Sharpe is together with drummer Roger Odell, guitarist Keith Winter and producer Nigel Wright founding member of the famous British group Shakatak. With Roger Odell, singer Jill Saward and bassist George Anderson he is one of the core members of the group.

He is the composer of hits like “Night Birds”, “Invitations”, “Dark is the Night”, “Down on the Street” and “Mr. Manic and Sister Cool”, which define the style of this popular formation.

His solo career is marked by numerous releases such as Famous People (1980), State Of The Heart (1989),Close To My Heart (2006) and successful collaborations with Gary Numan under the name “Sharpe and Gary” (Automatic), Don Grusin (GeographyTransatlantica) and bass player Jah Wobble (Kingdom of Fitzrovia).

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Vincent Ingala – Personal Touch

Connecticut-born saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Ingala did everything right. Still in his twenties he has already released four albums: North End Soul (2010), Can’t Stop Now (2012), Coast To Coast (2015) and Christmas (2016). His new album Personal Touch will be released in April 2018 on the prestigious label Shanachie Entertainment.

He has already performed on a large number of albums of other smooth jazz artists like Peter White (Groovin’), Jay Rowe (Smooth Ride), Chris Geith (Well Tempered Love), Roman Street (Bohemia), Marion Meadows (Soul Traveler), Gregg Karukas (Soul Secrets), Gregg Manning (Dance With You), Nicholas Cole (Endless Possibilities), and Jonathan Fritzen (Magical).

But when it comes to his own album, he likes to keep full control. With the exception of two covers Vincent has written all songs. All instruments, vocals and programming are by Vincent Ingala. Personal Touch surprises with an excellent and innovative keyboard theme, used as platform for Ingala’s tenor saxophone profound performance in a question and answer style.

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Uncle Los Music – Black Bottom Cupcake

San Francisco/Bay Area composer, arranger and multi instrumentalist Carlos Sanders aka Uncle Los, has assembled a group of prolific musicians to create the finest smooth jazz you can imagine.

Among them are Ced Dennis (guitar), Joel Griffin and Jay Lane (drums), Vic Little and Ari Cap (bass), and Michael Spiro (percussion). The  horn section encompasses Clifford Brown III (trumpet) and Tony Peebles (sax). Together they are Uncle Los Music.

The formation started with Say Something (2013) and now returns with the delicious desert Black Bottom Cupcake (2018). The term Muse comes from Greek mythology and commonly describes a female person of divine origin, who inspires the artist to creative action. The music style of Uncle Los Music is based on an urban mix of R & B, funk and jazz rock.

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David Garfield – Jazz Outside the Box

Well known as musical director of George Benson keyboardist David Garfield pursues his own dream as a solo artist. His debut album was a homage to the late drummer Jeff Pocaro Tribute to Jeff (1997).

Next albums were I Am The Cat…Man (1997), Music From Riding Bean (2001), Giving Back (2003), Seasons Of Change, The State of Things, Tribute To Jeff Revisited (2005). His newest project is Jazz Outside The Box (2018).

Garfield performs on the new album piano, Fender Rhodes and synthesizers. Further players are trumpeter Wallace Roney, percussionist Poncho Sanchez and drummer Steve Jordan. Guest musicians are Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Pete Christlieb, Bennie Maupin, Brian Auger, Will Lee, Airto Moreira, the Charlie Bisharat String Quartet, an orchestra conducted by John Clayton, the late guitarists Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell, and John Densmore, who plays drums and orates on a spoken word segment.

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