Archive for the ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’ Category

Brian Culbertson – XX

As chart-topping multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Brian Culbertson crafts his 20th album, the aptly titled “XX” – Roman numerals representing twenty – he revealed plans for the extensive US concert tour that will support the record release. Beginning April 1 in Louisville, Kentucky, Culbertson will take an elaborately designed concert production, The XX Tour, on the road for three consecutive months, playing more than 70 shows, an extremely rare feat for a contemporary jazz artist.

Culbertson’s catalogue includes recordings of jazz – contemporary and straight ahead – as well as R&B, funk, instrumental pop and New Age. “XX,” which drops April 10, reflects his remarkable diversity.

“It’s a mix of things that I’ve done throughout my twenty records. There’s a lot of funky instrumentals, some pop-sounding tracks, a couple slow jams, straight-ahead jazz, gospel, some vocals, lots of horns and some straight-up FUNK! The album is very much a mixture of some modern sounding programming along with live instruments, too. Real drums on almost everything mixed with programming. Definitely a cool sound,” said Culbertson, who invites fans to get involved with the making of “XX” via an Indiegogo campaign that launched this week (https://igg.me/at/BCXX).

Recreating that cool sound live for The XX Tour is Culbertson’s favorite part. Like his massive Colors of Love Tour that played 77 shows in three months and was captured for “Brian Culbertson’s Colors of Love Tour: Live in Las Vegas” Blu-ray disc and two-disc CD that dropped last Valentine’s Day, Culbertson is creating the sound and look for The XX Tour as a sensory experience. The exuberant performer spends months in preproduction meticulously conceiving stunning visuals – staging, lighting, wardrobe and effects – in order to put on a mesmerizing show each time he takes the stage. In addition to spotlighting the new album, the setlist will include cuts from Culbertson’s hit-filled songbook that has amassed 32 Billboard No. 1 singles. There will also be a segment showcasing songs from “Winter Stories,” an album released last month that placed him in an acoustic jazz trio setting for the first time.
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Chester Thompson – Steppin’

Chester Thompson is a renowned drummer/percussionist, highly regarded for his ability to move seamlessly between multiple genres. Thompson’s known best for his work with Genesis and Phil Collins, with whom he shared the worldwide stage, as well as time in the studio, for over 30 years.  Other notable legends Chester performed or recorded with include Frank Zappa, Weather Report, John Fogerty, Santana, Michael McDonald, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal, Kirk Whalum, Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’. He had the privilege recently of recording on the 2018 Grammy Award winning CD called TajMo.

In 2015, The Chester Thompson Trio released their second album, Simpler Times, which rose to #4 on the JazzWeek Charts. Their first CD, Approved (2013), made a memorable first impression rising to #6 on the JazzWeek Charts. It exemplifies Thompson’s creative direction as bandleader and prompted a successful European tour. The originally trio formed after being hired as the rhythm section for the International Trombone Festival.

His newest album Steppin’ is available on CDBaby.

Quinn Sternberg – Mind Beach

Mind Beach is New Orleans bassist Quinn Sternberg‘s second album. The songs combine folk-inspired melodies, hard-hitting grooves, and modern harmonies into a unique Contemporary Jazz sound. All of the music is originally composed by Quinn with the exception of his new take on the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Scarborough Fair.” The music was recorded in New Orleans at The Parlor Studio, and is brought to life by some of the city’s most creative young players.

This album offers contemporary Jazz from New Orleans inspired by Folk melodies, deep grooves, and modern harmony. Get it for download only at CDBaby.

Adan Hagley – Insomnia

Adan Hagley is a pianist, arranger, composer, producer and educator from Trinidad and Tobago. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2013 with a Bachelors of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production. Since returning to Trinidad, Adan has been freelancing as a pianist with many of the country’s top acts including Vaughnette Bigford, Carlton Zanda, Andy Narell, Relator, Ella Andall and The Mighty Shadow to name a few. As a composer and arranger he has also been freelancing for a variety of mediums. As a film composer his work on “Flying The Coup” a short film by Ryan Lee, helped win the People’s Choice Award at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.

Adan has recently taken up the role of bandleader to perform his original compositions and arrangements. The band is made up of some of Trinidad and Tobago’s finest musicians. In 2017 he accepted the position of Music Teacher at Holy Name Convent Point Fortin where he hopes to make an impact with youths who have a keen interest in music. 

Insomnia is Adan’s contemporary jazz project with a fusion of Jazz, Latin, Calypso and Funk that is groovy, melody driven and fun. Buy this album on CDBaby.

Thanny and Tracyne – Back on the Map

Jethaniel Nixon and Tracyne Hines-Nixon wrote these original contemporary jazz compositions from their hearts. It has a refreshing natural vibe and the music is timeless. This project will take you for a ride. Great music to travel and listen to.

Back on the Map is for download only at CDBaby.

Spyro Gyra – Vinyl Tap

Free of the tension of having to write great songs, the five members of Spyro Gyra were laughing and having fun in the recording studio. Creativity flowed as the venerable contemporary jazz band revisited the songs that inspired them from their youth when they were listening to music on vinyl. That artistic fount was spun into “Vinyl Tap,” Spyro Gyra’s first album in six years, which drops October 11 on the Amherst Records label.

“It was tensionless as we ‘warped’ the tunes. We had a world of brilliant music to choose from and we didn’t have to worry about writing brilliant music. It was a really fun project to make,” said saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, who will lead Spyro Gyra on tour to support “Vinyl Tap” with a string of US concert dates beginning November 15 in Newark, NJ after a three-week international trek that begins at the Cancun Jazz Festival on October 23.

When Spyro Gyra manager Phil Brennan proposed the album’s concept a few years ago to bandleader Beckenstein for their 31st album, he knew that it might take some convincing, so he came prepared with an intriguing concept. Brennan suggested that the band use their arrangement talents to transform the originals into something brand new. The challenge appealed to Beckenstein, who soon overcame any misgivings. Continue reading

Rainforest Band – Peace To The Planet

Thirty years before the devastating Amazon rainforest fire and decades before the global climate crisis was one of the crucial issues facing the survival of life on earth, keyboardist Merl Saunders forecasted the future after witnessing the destruction occurring in the Amazon. Teaming with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, Saunders brought the need to preserve rainforests into pop consciousness by creating an album, “Blues From The Rainforest – A Musical Suite,” featuring Garcia that they described as “environmental earth music.” Merl’s son, bassist Tony Saunders, is continuing his late father’s mission with the October 25 release of “Peace To The Planet” by Rainforest Band, which drops on San Francisco Records with a portion of the proceeds going to The Jerry Garcia Foundation and Rainforest Action Network.

“The rainforests around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. This band has three strong souls as leaders and our mission is to bring awareness with our music to a cause that needs vigilant attention – long before the Amazon fires put the issue back in the news. To honor the history of the music Jerry and Merl made and to do something to help save the planet is why we made this album now,” said Tony Saunders, who is based in the Bay Area along with his Rainforest Band mates, guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black and keyboardist Sylvester Burks.

“Peace To The Planet” was produced by Black and San Francisco Records chief Ron Umile with social activism at the fore. Umile said, “The band and I have been concerned about the rainforest, climate change and all the related issues. We are also concerned about senseless gun violence in America, the rise of bigotry in our country, the extinction of animals and plants, and the lack of acknowledgement and action from the present administration and general government to address these issues and seek real solutions. The music on ‘Peace To The Planet’ tries to instill calmness for a minute to allow reflection on how we can do our part to be part of the solution. If we can visualize a peaceful planet, we could possibly inspire our audience to take action to save the planet.” Continue reading