Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category

Pelle Fridell – Soul Go Jaz

Born in Stockholm, Sweden and since 1993 resident in Copenhagen, Denmark,  saxophonist Pelle Fridell can look back on an exquisite list of top musicians with whom he has already performed together. Among them are Toots Thielemans, Randy Brecker, Sir Charlie Watts, Tom Waits, Ivan Lins, Angelique Kidjo, Georgie Fame, Geir Lysne, Chris Potter, Michael Mantler and more.

Pelle has already released five solo albums. Soul Go Jaz (2018) is the latest release in the Go Jaz series with Go Jaz (2002) and More Go Jaz (2011). Pelle performs on his album sax, flutes, bass-clarinet, keys, programming. Additional artists are Tim Lutte, Niclas Campagnol (drums), Søren Reiff (guitar), Lars Danielsson ( bass), Mads Storm (Rhodes, piano), Jesper Christenson (Wurlitzer, piano), and Michael Mølhede (trumpet).

The starter of the album, For The Ladies, presents Fridell in the best light. He performs the sax with great passion and emotion. Marvin Gaye could be the inspiration for his saxual approach. On Johanna he hits the sweet spot with his graceful flute in combination with sax burning the notes in a fast run.

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Steve Oliver – Illuminate

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Steve Oliver is known for his distinctive style, which results from three components. Foremost a jazz guitarist, he follows his guitar performance with his voice. This jazz singing wherein words are sung note for note to melodies is called vocalese. Steve Oliver’s trademark is the wordless vocalese. The third component is the Roland (Boss) GR-33 guitar synthesizer which bases on the Roland JV-1080 sounds and is triggered by his guitars.

His album Illuminate is now available, his 11th career album. Steve has written and produced all songs. He plays all guitars, guitar synth, vocal sounds, bass, keyboards, drums, sound design. On selected tracks he is joined by Joel Taylor (drums), Cory de Brake, Jimmy Haslip, KT Tylor (bass), Walle Larsson, Chase Huna, Nelson Rangell, BillyRay Sheppard (saxophone), Tateng Katindig (piano), and Craig Chessnut (percussion).

The best way to get started on a new project is to get going at full steam. The aptly titled Full Tilt features Steve Oliver as master at work in the style he is known for and loved by his audience. The Game Is On serves syncopated thrill with exciting freshness.

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Brian Simpson – Something About You

Hailing from Gurnee, Illinois keyboard wizard Brian Simpson combines a masterful control of his instrument with a keen sense of the catchy melody. As popular musician at countless festivals and also very welcomed accompanist he will not be forgotten.

Your personal every day Brian Simpson is now available with Something About You, released July 27, 2018 on Shanachie Entertainment. Brian performs piano and keyboards. In addition he is supported by Alex All (bass), Darrell Crooks (guitar), Ramon Yslas (percussion) and guest musicians Ron King (trumpet), Andre Berry (bass), Oliver Wendell (keyboards, producer) and Yarone Levy (guitar). Steve Oliver created the programming and also produced the album.

Brian enters the album with the title song. The decisive sound moment that drives you addicted unfolds without much difficulty. Morning Samba runs on the same principle. In quick succession the notes of the piano overtake you and leave you no chance to escape the hooky pull.

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David Garfield – Jammin’ – Outside The Box

Every musician strives for immortal fame. This can hardly be achieved with public appearances, as the moments are too short. An album is more suitable as a building block. But keyboard player David Garfield thinks ahead. He has already recorded music for four albums for his Outside The Box Project and they will all be released.

We are currently in a phase of transition to the tetralogy of his creative urge. After the release of his first album Jazz – Outside The Box, David Garfield’s vision of straight-ahead jazz, now follows Jammin’ – Outside The Box, a collection of popular songs performed by an army of noteworthy soloists including George Benson, Ray Parker Jr., Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Marcus Miller, Paul Jackson Jr., Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, Vinnie Colaiuta, Greg Phillinganes, Smokey Robinson, Greg Adams, David Sanborn, Bill Champlin, Phil Perry, Oleta Adams, John Klemmer, Michael McDonald, Kenya Hathaway, Steve Jordan, Freddie Washington, Will Lee, Tony Maiden, Rickey Minor and Lenny Castro. Everyone will know one or the other, but rarely do you experience such a number of exceptional artists on a single album.

The horn powered Go Home, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit single from his album Square Circle (1985), is dedicated to late drummer Ricky Lawson. Nick Lane has created the superb horn arrangement staring featured soloist Kirk Whalum on tenor sax. Chasing Pavements is a single by Adele from her debut album Hometown Glory. The vocal part of the cover is substituted by Rick Braun on flugelhorn and John Klemmer on sax.

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Sam Rucker – Redemption

Virginia-based former Hip-Hop producer and saxophonist Sam Rucker started his solo career with Heat from the Heavens in 2011, followed by Tell You Something (2014) and now Redemption, which will be released August, 2018.

Sam has written, produced and arranged all songs and performs alto, soprano and tenor sax. He is joined on selected tracks by Lucy Kilpatrick (piano and strings), Carlton Savage, John Callisto (guitar), Steven Kroon (percussions), Donnell Smith (bass), Wanda Jay, Sheila J. Madanat, Joselyn Best. J. Regina Blackwell (vocals). J.P. Lilliston (drums), and Justin Taylor (acoustic guitar).

Down On The Inside introduces into the album with a programmatic launch connecting smooth jazz with a wonderful R&B flavor. The conscious renunciation of professional programmers, the reflection on his own style and the restriction to a small circle of musicians from his personal environment are the three pillars on which Sam’s album is based.

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Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Circles And Spirals – Gaia Vol. 2 Twilight

Born in France and living in Cologne, Germany saxophonist Ismael Diallo has a strong connection to smooth jazz. During the legendary wave music concert series featuring Rick Braun, Peter White, Slim Man, Richard Elliot and many more he belonged to the well-known backing group under the musical direction of keyboardist Lutz Deterra. Twenty years later he can already look back on a rich artistic life that has always brought him in contact with smooth jazz.

Since 2004 he is regularly releasing groove-oriented lounge music under the label Circles and Spirals. To mention are Colours (2007), and Space Grooves (2009). With Gaia Vol.1 – Sunlight (2011) he started a trilogy presenting soft down-tempo music and a pinch of world beat. Next album of this series is Gaia Vol. 2 Twilight, already available as download and scheduled for CD release August 20, 2018.

Ismael Diallo has written and produced all tracks. He performs saxophones, keyboards and Vocoder on track 10. He is accompanied by Juan Restrepo (guitars), Knuth Jerxsen (percussion), Christoph Titz (trumpet on #7) and Nini Rider (vocals on #1).

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