Archive for the ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’ Category

Phaze II – Backtalk

Since 1997, Phaze II has been providing Smooth and Funky Jazz sounds on the local music scene in the Washington, DC area, by honing its craft of delivering quality music to their listeners. Phaze II has embarked on a journey to show the world the many talents that this jazz band has to offer. Determined to broaden their vision, Phaze II entered the 13th Annual Capital Jazz Festival 2005 Capital Jazz Challenge Competition. This competition was sponsored by Washington DC’s Smooth Jazz 105.9 and Baltimore, Maryland’s Smooth Jazz 104.3. The final competition consisted of 6 bands chosen from 600 competition entries. Phaze II was chosen the winners of the competition received a monetary contribution and had the opportunity to open the next day on the Capital Jazz Festival’s main stage.

This jazz ensemble has also been fortunate to back up various national artists such as; Regina Belle, El DeBarge, MeL’isa Morgan, Frank McComb, Paul Taylor, Jackiem Joyner, Marcus Anderson, Ken Navarro, Lori Jenaire, Althea Renee, BK Jackson, Cindy Bradley, Bob Baldwin, Shelby Brown, Gail Jhonson, Tony Exum Jr, Lynn Fiddmont, Dee Lucas, Kevin Whalum and Lin Roundtree just to name a few. Phaze II has become a very sought after band for national artist when they come to perform in the Washington, DC area. Their newest album is entitled Backtalk (2016).

All albums are available at CDBaby.


Jamhunters – Nightclub

After their self titled debut album (2006), and follow-ups Music Speaks Louder Than Words (2008), Driftin’ (2011) and Colortones (2015) Danish group Jamhunters are back with Nightclub (2017).

Supportive members of the new project are the musicians Christina Boelskifte (vocals), Klaus Menzer (drums), and Peter Hansen (bass). All tunes are composed, arranged and produced by the creative duo Lars Fabiansen (guitars) and Peter Michael (grand piano).

Jamhunters introduce into the album with Welcome to the Nightclub, an atmospheric prologue. The Palm Tree – Part II ties up to Under The Palmtree from the album Driftin’ with a contemplative jazz excursion. A more eclectic approach compared to the mainstream of the original.

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Jentsch Group Quartet – Fractured Pop

What happens when you do a lot of things well but don’t want to focus on just one or two? One possible result is a sample of each, mixed, matched, melded and blended with various combinations of the others. In other words, Fractured Pop (2017) by the Jentsch Group Quartet.

The band features Chris Jentsch, guitars; Matt Renzi, tenor saxophone, clarinet and alto flute; Jim Whitney, double bass; and John Mettam, drums.

The music moves from jazz fusion to rock instrumental, from ambient jazz to something bordering on electronica, from structured to free-form. Each musician is solid in his performance. Jentsch spices things up by playing more than one guitar on some tracks and adding some distortion effects here and there. Highlights include “Fractured Pop,” “Route 666” and “Meeting at Surratt’s.”

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Angela Puxi – Badapapapaa

Saxophonist Angela Puxi, grew up in the Ruhr area, her origin is however Sardinia. Inspired by her aspiration for perfection and her own musical creativity, she began her studies for jazz saxophone at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem (NL), where she graduated with the Bachelor of Music (Jazz and Pop).

In summer 2012 her first EP Senza Parole was released, a rather rocky-hymnal oeuvre. Authenticity, her captivating nature and her Sardinian temperament make Puxi to a distinctive sympathizer. With Volker Dorsch as keyboarder and co-producer, she found a congenial partner for developing new songs at the beginning of 2013, and finally both released in 2015 Angela’s debut album Badapapapaa.

With Ulf Stricker on drums, Thorsten Praest on guitar, bass player Goran Vujic, a very tight and stable group joined. Further musicians on selected tracks are Dennis Legree (vocals), Sebastian Studnitzky and Hans-Peter Salentin (trumpet).

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Bruno Miranda – Chapter II

Acclaimed two time Latin-GRAMMY Nominated Artist Bruno Miranda shares his new life chapter alongside renown musicians and producers, José Valentino and Jesse Pitts. This contemporary instrumental album takes the listener into an emotional life journey. The song “Emma” is Bruno Miranda’s dedication for his first daughter. This track captures the emotional aspect of fatherhood and the joy of life, highlighting and setting the tone of the care and responsibilities that come through such a life-changing event. Set “Free”, composed by José Valentino, is a song of healing and deliverance, hence the original name “Liberar”. The listener can feel relaxation and joy through this intricate instrumental piece that features each of the components of the trio.

“Chapter II” showcases the musicianship of the core members of the Bruno Miranda Trio. A journey of happiness and peace, this work reflects a heavy Latin-American influence, marked by Bruno’s Brazilian roots and American lifestyle. “Fractal Groove”, is a fun track, where the trio showcases contemporary styles that refreshes the listeners’ ears. Bruno composed the melody of “Fractal Groove” for his recital at Indiana University while pursuing his master’s degree. This song reminds him of the importance of education and learning, which are Bruno’s passion. “Forgiven (Perdonado)”, is a song of forgiveness. This is an emotional song that has carried Bruno through the deepest situations in his life journey. The melody invites a reflection of the joy after the storm, and the celebration of good things in life. “Mi Espñola Maja,” (My Spanish Crush), composed and performed by José Valentino, is a flamenco style track which brings a nice contrast of Latin styles to the album. The flamenco art style and dance can be heard throughout this track showcasing artistry through a beautiful melody.

“Experimento (Interlude),” is a song whose main focus is the featured artist Johnathan Hulett. Johnathan has created a complex drum track by multi-tracking a tambourine and a small cymbal only. Johnathan is a master jazz drummer who was able to use the most unusual ways in experimenting with music technology, to bring this track to a whole new level. “Horizon”, is a fun track with a catchy melody, which is one of Bruno’s signature styles. This is a fun piece that brings happiness and allows listeners to pay attention to the details of each instrument. “Yo Me Rindo A El, (I surrender all)”, features guest artist Cienna Alida who sings one of the most acclaimed Christian hymns. Bruno wanted to honor his mother with this track, as this is one of her favorite songs. “Feelings” is a piano only piece recorded in one take and it is a true heart-felt expression of Bruno’s thankfulness throughout his life journey. It is a deep emotional track that resembles compositions made for picture, which paints a picture of Bruno’s new life journey, Chapter II.

Chapter II is now opened at CDBaby.

Duffmusiq – Soulleash

Serbian born and Toronto based international guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Damir Demirovic also called “Duffmusiq” has just released his solo debut album Soulleash (2017).

Duffmusiq has produced and mixed the recording and performs guitar, keyboards, saxophone and bass. Further musicians on this album are Alex Sekulovski (drums), Miki Petkovski, Vasil Hadzimanov (piano), Roger Williams, Connor Walsh (acoustic bass), Ran Caspi, Rob Brown, Milosh Angelov, Yash Presswalla (electric bass), Sam Heineman & Anthony Brancati (keyboards and Hammond B3), Gilad Jacobson, Dimitar Bodurov, Anthony Brancati (keyboards), Alexis Baro (trumpet), Gyles Natalie, Quisha Wint, Wade O. Brown, Christine Hamilton, Jin Brown and Jeff Eage (vocals), Geoff Bornes (alto sax).

The inclined jazz-interested listener is subject to the mechanism of comparing the style of an unknown musician with already known ones. Duffmusiq is stylistically similar to the guitarists Ronny Jordan, Zachary Breaux and perhaps George Benson. On Interlude Solitude Duffmusiq chooses the jazzy approach with a tendency to chords. In the middle of the piece you are torn from the dreams, when the coloratura vocals of Vania Margani breaks the course of the performance. That I call a cultural surprise.

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Jason Miles – Kind of New 2: Blue is Paris

He performed with Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross. Keyboardist Jason Miles is integral part of music history. In numerous solo albums he has realized his vision of music.

Kind of New 2: Blue Is Paris is different. Some artists realize the widest range of styles in their album. Others pursue a permanent theme. Still others create a continuum of homogeneity. Jason Miles has a completely diverse concept.

Jason visited Paris in the weeks immediately following the 2015 terror attacks. Under the impression of this voyage he composed Blue Is Paris. He had the idea to write a follow-up to his previous album Kind of New (Whaling City Sound).

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