Archive for the ‘ CD Reviews ’ Category


BWBBWB is named after the musicians Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown. Their first co-operation Groovin’ was released in 2002 on Warner Brothers. With their sophomore effort Human Nature (2013) they reunited on Heads Up Music to do a Michael Jackson songbook. Their third strike is aptly entitled BWB and released in 2016 on Mack Avenue Records.

The formation is joined on selected tracks by Hamilton Hardin and Herman Jackson (keyboards), Braylon Lacey and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. (bass), Third Richardson and Gordon Campbell (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Demille Cole-Heard (vocals) and Ralph Lofton (Hammond B3). The new album is the result of exercises in Braun’s suburban Los Angeles-area home studio where the band moved in with their families and lived together for an entire week.

The recorded songs are without any exception own creations, masterly produced by Rick Braun. Triple Dare starts the album with an horn arrangement inspired by The Crusader’s Streetlife. Bust A Move brings the funky vibe into the session. Instead of covers like on the trio’s debut album, they showcase their personal prowess on this party burner.

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Darren Rahn – Sonic Boom

Canadian born and Denver resident smooth jazz saxophonist and producer Darren Rahn started his solo career with Soulful (2004), followed by Once In A Lifetime (2007), Talk of the Town (2009), Speechless (2012) and this year Sonic Boom.

On his new album he assembled premium musicians like Mel Brown and Julian Vaughn (bass), Tarell Martin, Anthony Jones and Anthony Steele (drums), Jason Rahn (trumpet, flugelhorn), Allen Hinds, Frank Selman and Matt Godina (guitar), Rick Braun (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Jonathan Fritzén (piano), Rico Wint (vocals), Priscilla Rahn (flute), Michael Williams (Hammond organ), Morris Alan, Ronda Wilson, Yvonne Brown, Ian Pitter, Cha’Rel Ji’Cole (vocals).

The album starts with the stunning D-Luxe, which mirrors in several respects the multi-talent of this saxophonist. A perfect arrangement pairs with the mastery of several instruments. Not to forget the meticulous tuning while recording.

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Love Suggestions – Piano Night

Konstantin Klashtorni created this series for lovers to spend nice evenings together. Sax Night is the next to come out, probably this year. This collection is more R&B orientated. The first album of this series Piano Night was released in 2013.

Konstantin comments꞉ “I had in mind just a simple instrumental R&B style with nice melodies on it instead of repetitive, closer to rap melodies, R&B artists use to lay down. Smooth Jazz by itself is an instrumental R&B, but with much more elements of Funk, unlike straight SJ. I eliminate that “Funk” element, and instead I incorporate a nice romantic, melodious approach.″

Keeping that in mind the introducing Hey Girl enjoys with a mellifluous and fluid sound pitching the rhythm through a suburban undertone. Treasure comes with a whirring hum preparing the magic of the song marching to your ears.

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The JT Project – Moments of Change

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.

Both have previously performed with an array of known artists. The JT Project has already released the four albums Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 1 (2009), Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 2 (2012), Love Passion Correspondence Vol. 3 (2013), and Under The Covers (2014).

For their fifth album Moments Of Change (2016) the group has partnered with record label Trippin N’ Rhythm. The duo is supported on selected tracks by guitarist Sony Dumarsais, drummer Nathan Webb and Kevin Bowden, bassist Mo “The Show” and flugelhorn player/vocalist S.O.A.R..

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Brandee Younger – Wax & Wane

Continuing her tributes to the sounds created by icons Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, harpist Brandee Younger makes her own mark in the jazz world with Wax & Wane (2016).

Younger is accompanied by Anne Drummond, concert and alto flutes; Chelsea Baratz, tenor sax; Mark Whitfield, guitar; Dezron Douglas, electric bass; and Dana Hawkins, drums and percussion.

“Soul Vibrations” has a 1970s, disco/funk vibe, influenced mostly by the rhythm guitar effects. However, the song takes on more of a classical feel with the harp and flute melody. After a few passes on the main theme, Younger stretches out for a moment. The music reverts to the theme. Then on the fade, Younger and Drummond step back and let the rhythm section ride it out.

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Chillaxing Jazz KolleKtion – Groove Jazz N Chill #3

Releasing so many records I wonder from where Konstantin Klashtorni get all these inspirations for new songs. What is his working receipt? Konstantin comments꞉ “I listen a lot of different music, I like country music, many pop songs (not all) are of great inspiration. Latin music I like a lot, there is a special drive in it, which helps my grooves to sound a bit distinctive. And of course there is a bunch of Smooth Jazz music where i get my inspiration from. I just need a small idea, usually harmonic, some chords progression or sounds.

Further laying down grooves and the rest is more mechanical process, everything after flows by itself. Specially melody, I’ve been through all these years wherever I lived, famous for playing short 8, 16 bars sax solos being able to tell a story, so, for me to create a nice melody is much easier and naturally than for overwhelming amount of mates. I’ve been accumulating for many years ideas and experience, and now is the moment to “write all this in stone” and I like it much more than just playing saxophone.″

Klashtorni opens the album with Have Your Way, a reverie with crystal clear sounds and acoustic guitar in the lead. When the sun rays of the new day are warming up nature, then we are greeting with Good Morning. Konstantin catches the loveliness of the moment with sweet tones.

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Jackie Gage – Siren Songs

It can’t be said often enough. A jazz vocalist who thinks outside the proverbial box stands apart from those who simply cover the standards. Jackie Gage uses a mix of styles as well as fresh arrangements, a few lesser-known songs and new compositions to establish herself as one who stands apart with, Siren Songs (First Orbit Sounds, 2016).

Gage is accompanied by Timothy Wat, piano; Dillon Vado, marimba; John Shifflett, bass; and Jason Lewis, drums.

Gage enjoys an a cappella scat to introduce the classic, “That Old Black Magic.” When the instruments join in, the song takes on a soulful groove. Gage’s vocal straddles the line between Ella Fitzgerald and Natalie Cole. She sings with joy and verve. The string quartet, The Juxtapositions Chamber Ensemble, assist on selected tracks. They are Ilana Thomas and Kristina Dutton, violins; Su Buchignani, viola; and Freya Seeburger, cello.

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