Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Marc Antoine – Something About Her

somethingaboutherGuitarist Marc Antoine has dedicated his new album Something About Her to his wife Rebeca Vega. Both have known each other for 25 years now and boast of their unchanged love. By the way, they met for the first time during a Spanish TV show, where Marc had a guest appearance as a guitarist, while Rebeca performed as a dancer.

Since his move from Spain to California, which he addressed with his album Laguna Beach (2016), he has decisively intensified his contacts with the local music scene. As a result, his new album features a host of familiar names with a Californian focus. You can read about the densely packed collection of musicians involved in the credits.

With Still In Love Marc makes a musical confession of love to his wife Rebeca. The theme has the feel of a love ballad, which is underscored by the inclusion of strings. The Spanish guitar style of Flamenco echoes gently in the vibration of the strings.

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Threestyle – Perfect Combination

perfectcombinationMunich based formation Threestyle is one of the admirable formations that have improved from one album to the next, ultimately reaching world level. Perfect Combination is the absolutely fitting title for their latest work, which will be released at the end of April 2021.

Saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova, guitarist Robert Fertl and drummer Gabriela Chovancova are Threestyle and invite brilliant singer Damon Dae, the amazing singer Latonya Black, the wonderful vocal trio DW3 and the great singer Tim Owens, who we already had the pleasure to  present in connection to many albums of guitarist U-Nam.

The album opens with Steppin’ Up with which our protagonists Magdalena and Robert rise to true greatness. A song always lives from the timbre of its performer. On Keep It Simple vocalist Damon Dae showcases his impressive voice in a beautiful setting.

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Under The Lake – Old Friends, New Grooves

173001432_135169451947488_3670372575155240217_nCan you imagine that Old Friends, New Grooves (2021) is already the sixth album of the formation Under The Lake? The release that started it all was Dive In (1993), soon followed by Up For Air (1995). After a long hiatus the group re-established again to People Together (2017), Jazz, Groove & Attitude (2018), and Your Horizon Too (2020).

All albums are still available at bandcamp. Founder of the group is keyboard player Jayson Tipp. Further band members are like on the previous album Patrick Yandall (guitar), Quintin Gerard W (sax and flute), Nathan Brown (bass) and Richard Sellers (drums). Around the Block will be the first single of the album, which is coming in July.

If you’re a frequent flyer, what could be more obvious than to write a piece about it. 7AM Flight Home is a song whose basic melody was created during a flight and what can develop from it can now be heard. Peppered with solos from the players, the piece gains momentum.

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Roberto Restuccia – With Every Turn

WithEveryTurnUK based guitarist Roberto Restuccia always had a special affinity for the smooth jazz genre. Neither his debut album Exposure (2016) nor his sophomore album When The Smoke Clears (2017) hit exactly the decisive point that led to the initial ignition. With his third album With Every Turn (2021) Roberto fires the third rocket stage of his career in his sights the top ten of the smooth jazz charts.

The contact with keyboardist and current label mate Oli Silk turned out to be great luck. Based on many years of experience as a musician and producer in the field of smooth jazz, Oli brought exactly the perfect input to give Roberto’s music a push in the right direction.

Roberto states: “The right production makes the difference between a song that’s nice and one that can light up the charts and get people grooving when they hear it on the radio. I knew I needed to step up my production game, and once we started working together, I knew that Oli and I would have a solid partnership that could take my music to the next level.”

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Marion Meadows – Twice As Nice

3939590-2681705Whoever knows saxophonist Marion Meadows, is aware of the fact that he is a multi-faceted personality with manifold talents. His skills are not limited to music, rather he is also an excellent photographer, a blessed painter and designer. As in the field of visual arts, as a musician he strives for the greatness that makes him a dazzling celebrity for everyone.

As part of his musical career, this year we already welcome his 16th album Twice As Nice, which will be released on the label Shanachie Entertainment in April 2021. He relates this title to the great gift of having grown up with two sympathetic siblings, Otha and Barbara. Equally applicable is the title to his exuberant creativity in both music and the performing arts.

Fortunately, Marion did not fall into depression during the pandemic, but used it as a creative opportunity, a chance for self-contemplation and self-discovery. So again something has been shaped that his fans expect from each of his projects, an aura of atmospheric uniqueness. The starting tune On The Uptown was created in Paul Brown’s The Funky Joint, the ultimate hit forge, with the participation of bassist Roberto Vally, keyboardist Leon Bisquera and trumpeter Joey Sommerville. With an abundance of finest harmony Marion and these fine musicians set standards of ultrasonic flow.

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Charles Langford – Powerless

PowerlessHailing from Springfield, MA saxophonist Charles Langford is todays one of Boston’s top player. He already performed with The Toni Lynn Washington Blues Band, The Temptations, Mighty Sam McClain, Melvin Sparks, Norman Connors, Solomon Burke, and Steve Turre. His debut album was That’s Wassup in 2008. Now he returns on Blue Canoe Records with the album Powerless (2021).

Compared with his previous project Charles hasn’t changed his style, an elegant mélange of smooth and contemporary jazz. Charles is joined by label mates like Jimmy Haslip, Jimmy Branley, Russell Ferrante and many other notable musicians listed in the credits. Charles has written all tracks, one cover in sight.

The first track of the album Bliss already attracts attention because of the fact that two saxophonists, Langford and Elan Trotman work jointly. Two individuals with different stylistic origins come together, and the piece leaves plenty of room for their own personal improvisations.

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Steve Hunt – Connections

connectionsJazz pianist Steve Hunt has linked his musical agenda to jazz. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is still an instructor. He studied with concert pianist Albert Hirsh, jazz pianist Sid Davis and Lyle Mays. He performed and toured with Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, and Allan Holdsworth.

He recorded with Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke, Lucas Pickford, Gregg Bandian, Bruce Bartlett, Randy Roos and Pam Pryo. His debut solo album was From Your Heart and Soul (1997). Connections (2021) is his sophomore album. Musicians of distinction in the field of jazz have gathered on his album. More details can be found in the credits.

Starter of the album is Now’s The Time. The intense texture that percussionist Jorge Bezerra spreads out as the foundation of the piece is impressive. The structure and flow remind me strongly of the music of Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report. From the dense mesh that the musicians build together, the individual contributions are hardly to be equalized and that is obviously also intended.

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Bob Baldwin – NewUrbanJazz 3/An UrbanSmooth Suite

New Urban Jazz 3Actually, keyboardist Bob Baldwin had not planned a new album after his instrumental album Henna (2020). However, the current initial situation, which largely excludes touring, is quite fruitful for productivity. Accordingly, we can welcome the new album NewUrbanJazz 3/An UrbanSmooth Suite.

It is already his 32nd album and the third in his NewUrbanJazz series. Bob defines this term as A gumbo of contemporary jazz, Urban, R&B and Brazilian/Caribbean genres. The focus of this album is on the vocal element especially from the R&B genre. Bob places increased emphasis on high quality music and the participation of a variety of musicians, as their musical contribution beneficially broadens the creative spectrum. See credits for details.

As is well known, Bob runs his own radio station and so the first song The Urban Smoothsmith makes reference to this fact and his famous predecessors, the radio personalities Frankie Crocker and Pat Prescott. Right away with the song Funk In Da Pocket Bob pushes the funkomometer to the upper limit. Written and interpreted by La-Rita Gaskins the virtuoso singer brings so much energy that the spark literally jumps over.

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Julian Vaughn – Chapters of Love

chaptersofloveHailing from Kansas City bass player Julian Vaughn already presents with Chapters of Love his sixth album on the precious label Trippin N’ Rhythm Records. The album came out just before Valentine’s Day and how could it be otherwise, the whole album revolves around the theme of love.

Julian has written all songs with one exception and impresses again with deep inspiring grooves. Although Julian is foremost a bass player, he in in his own words takes pride in being able to write and produce most of his music. However he is joined on his new album by a large number of musicians listed in detail in the credits.

Starter of the album is the luscious single Sway. The song features saxophonist Donald Hayes who enters into an intense dialogue with Julian’s bass. Donald’s newest project is his solo album Front Ground (2016).

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Kenny Polson – Colors Of Brazil

Kenney Polson has developed a strong relationship with Brazil. After all, he lived in Rio de Janeiro for several years. Colors Of Brazil is accordingly a kind of retrospective of this period of his life and the result of the musical influences from that time. The circumstance that the relationship has not yet broken off is evident, four of the recordings on this album were made in Brazil.

Diverse as his music is also the nature of the international musical cast. With the exception of harpist Mariea Antoinette, the musicians listed are not household names from the smooth jazz scene. Please refer to the credits for more details.

The album opens with Aquarela Do Brazil (Colors of Brazil) written by Ary Barroso in 1939 which commonly became a global hit in the Western world under the title Brazil. Kenny takes the tempo out of the samba piece and lets the whole thing go very relaxed. Perhaps this is more the reflection of today’s serene lifestyle.

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