Archive for the ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’ Category

Tiktaalik – Tiktaalik

Playful, down-to-earth, unpretentious: Tiktaalik tears down the boundaries of traditional genres and develops a mutual understanding for the strengths of each musician during their collective creative process. Tiktaalik embarks on a spirited journey outlined by highly energetic and intriguing melodies and rhythms as well as soft-spoken, delicate passages. Their elaborate compositional work leaves room for a common effort in arranging their pieces and combining uneven rhythms with complex harmonious structures in order to highlight the sound language of the quartet. This combination of varied musical stylistics and improvisational freedom defines Tiktaalik.

The band is composed of Oliver Marec playing the saxophone, Clemens Rofner on double bass, drummer Simon Springer and pianist Luca Zambito. Every member of Tiktaalik finds his place in the multi-layered identity of the band as they create a play that ties a knot with the name of the band. Tiktaalik is the Inuit word for freshwater fish. The Tiktaalik played a big role in evolution, as it represented the transition of the animal from the water on to land. In 2015 the saxophone player Oliver Marec founded Tiktaalik with the goal to combine traditional and modern elements of Jazz. Inspired by the onomatopoetic sound of the name, the band also represents the basic idea of the evolution – one cannot come to a standstill while seeking new melodic and rhythmic ideas.

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Randy McGill – Eclectic

Born in Houston, Texas, now a South Florida resident multi-instrumentalist Randy McGill covers a broad range of styles. Inspired by artists such as Robert Glasper and Snarky Puppy, he is a musician always pushing for greatness.

His debut album is the EP Eclectic, released in November 2017. Randy has written and mixed all songs and invited an elite circle of top musicians to his project. Neeeooooohhhhhhh follows a completely different approach to traditional smooth jazz. Instead of a sonic melody, McGill chooses a collage of voice messages, sound sequences, and gospel-like vocal chords.

That it also works differently, he demonstrates with the following Your Eyes. Extraordinary in the length of the song fascinating solos on piano and keyboards evolves from a very groovy piece. Responsible for this musical listening pleasure is blessed pianist Randy McGill and Dre Synth, who played the outstanding synth solo.

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Takaaki – New Kid in Town

Composer Bernard Hoffer first heard jazz pianist Takaaki Otomo at a restaurant in New York and was impressed by his musicality, dynamic sensitivity, and beautiful harmonic sense. With bass player Noriko Ueda and drummer Jared Schonig, Takaaki selected five originals, four jazz standards plus one Broadway show tune and two novelties from Gustav Holst’s The Planets for this recording.

Beginning his training as a classical pianist Takaaki switched to jazz when he was a teenager and won first prize in a jazz competition in Japan in 2007. He moved to New York City in 2014. Originally from Japan Noriko Ueda began playing the electric bass, then switching to upright bass at age 18. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music where she majored in jazz composition. She has her own trio and quartet and has performed at the Blue Note Jazz Club. She won the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize in 2002. Hailing from Los Angeles, drummer Jared Schonig studied at Eastman where he won seven Downbeat Student Music Awards. A favorite among vocalists, Schonig tours with Grammy Award-winners Kurt Elling and The New York Voices. He is in demand as a drummer for studio recordings and session work.

New Kid in Town is on sale on Amazon.com.

Michael Schmidt – Life

Composer and keyboardist Michael Schmidt longs for the golden era of fusion jazz, dominated by such groups as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever and Weather Report. Famous names like Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Jimmy Haslip or Jeff Lorber have inspired this musician. Although he does not reach the level of popularity of these music titans, he has made a name in the field of fusion jazz through a variety of high-quality record releases.

With every release, he manages to gather around an illustrious band of top musicians who perfectly realize his idea of fusion jazz. On his new album Life (2017) are to find Dave Weckl, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Kinsey, Jimmy Haslip, Katisse Buckingham, Gary Novak, Andy Snitzer, Scott Kinsey, Mike Miller, Ruslan Sirota, Virgil Donati, John Daversa, Andy Milne, Jost Nickel, Mike Miller, Steve Tavaglione, Jerry Goodman, Oz Noy, Jost Nickel, Mitch Forman, Brandon Fields, Bob Mintzer, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Charlie Bisharat, MonoNeon, Larry Koonse, and Sophia Wackermann. Michael Schmidt performs on all tracks synths and sequencing.

The album was produced by bassist Jimmy Haslip, who was also involved in Michael’s previous projects. Michael chooses the quick start with the virtuoso piece Trance, which gives the participating musicians the opportunity to fully unfold their potential. With drummer Dave Weckl, late guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Haslip and saxophonist Katisse Buckingham has this formation the firepower of the above-cited jazz fusion groups.

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Reunion4 – Reunion4

Reunion4, whose members are Mitch Holder/Guitar, Eddie Arkin/Guitar, Abraham Laboriel/Bass, and Paul Leim/Drums, started playing all original material written by Eddie and Mitch at the renowned Donte’s Supper Club in L.A. from 1977 to approximately 1982. During that time, the group never recorded.

“We all went forward with our individual careers and now, after all these years, we’ve gone back and recorded several of the original songs dating from 1977 to tunes written over the course of thirty plus years. That’s the theme of this project and as we started the first of two days recording”, Paul said, “It’s like we never stopped playing; we’re just picking right up right from where we left off.The four of us are very excited about this project and we hope all of you will like hearing a span of music that covers all these years between our last live gig as a quartet right up to the present.”

Reunion4, a gem of contemporary jazz also favorable for smooth jazz fans, is now arrived at CDBaby.

Ralf Gustke – Flying Days

Drummer Ralf Gustke has already performed with Chaka Khan, Wolf Maahn, Edo Zanki, Gianna Nannini, Georg Danzer, Nena, Schiller, Daniel Wirtz, Söhne Mannheims and Xavier Naidoo, for many of them also as a musical director. His credits are in the liner notes of more than 150 CDs and DVDs. He has played a key role in shaping the style of contemporary jazz, especially in Germany.

Flying Days (2017) is his debut album. Ralf performs on his album drums, congas & percussion, samples, loops & beats. Additional musicians are Joo Kraus (trumpet and flugelhorn), Jesse Milliner (synthesizers, Rhodes, and piano),  Claus Fischer (bass and guitar solo on Little Things). Guest musician is Joerg Dudys on guitar.

Gustke introduces in his project with Indian Summer, a piece of music in which he lives out his creative spectrum as a drummer. The tune has various facets of contemporary jazz with elements comparable to Pat Metheny’s early period, improvisations beyond the border to free jazz and quiet melodious phases.

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Reggie Young – Young Street

New York has always been the platform of bass player Reggie Young. He is at home in clubs, theaters, and churches. He debuted in 1997 with his album Among Friends, followed in 2002 by a self-titled album with John Patitucci and Steppin’ Up in 2011 featuring saxophonist Darren Rahn.

His new album Young Street was released in July 2017. Reggie attaches importance to the statement that it is not smooth jazz. Beyond the meaning of genres, a classification in contemporary jazz describes his music with the typical uncertainty, which the listener has to accept.

On the new project are performing beside Reggie (bass), Garnett Walters (b3 organ), Paul John Jr., Daiquan Davis, James Rouse (drums), Darwin Noguera, Yeisson Villamar (piano, keyboards), Pablo Batista, Miguel Ayala (percussion), Bill Holloman (horns), Marissa Licata (strings), Andrew Swift (guitar), Onree Gill (Rhodes), James Cage (trumpet), James Hall (vocals), and John Peters (keyboards).

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