Archive for the ‘ Country ’ Category

Rob Tardik – Synergy

SynergyToronto based guitar virtuoso Rob Tardik is a regular contributor to the smooth jazz world. Without Words (2006), followed by The Right Time (2009), Balance.Energy.Laughter.Love (B.E.L.L) in 2011, Limitless (2013), and Moments (2015) are landmarks in music history. The new album Synergy (2017) exploits Tardik’s full potential, who focuses this time on teamwork and diversity.

Synergy starts with Rob’s powerful and funky guitar chords in remarkable mastery and conviction. Carson Freeman adds his colorful signature tenor sax sound. Vincent Ingala does not appear as a well-known saxophonist but shows his talents as bassist, pianist and drum programmer.

Once in a Lifetime turns the pointer on soft rock music featuring Mark Masri as lead vocalist in the style of Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. The uplifting Hope is an entertaining mood-setter with the flair of Rocco Granata’s huge hit Marina.

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Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers – The EastWest Sessions

I saw it coming. Smooth jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair joined Aerosmith for their 2012 Summer Tour and Bruce Springsteen and Max Weinberg for a night at the Beacon Theater. Infected by the Rock music virus her music became edgier. Mindi comments: “From touring with Aerosmith to getting to sit in with Bruce Springsteen for a song, those experiences gave me the permission to go a little more rootsy, and I’m going to run with it!″

The EastWest Sessions is her second album with the group The Boneshakers. The first one was Live In Seattle (2015). Mindi already worked with Boneshakers’ founder Randy Jacobs on his albums From Me To You (2005) and Rhythm And The Beat (2013). The Boneshakers are Randy Jacobs (guitar, vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (vocals), Rodney Lee (keys), Derek Frank (bass, vocals), and Third Richardson (drums, vocals). Featured guest musicians on the new album are iconic Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa and Grammy awarded singer Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz better known under his stage name Fantastic Negrito.

The album starts with Vinyl, a powerful rock-fueled song showcasing Mindi in the double feature as singer and saxophonist. Forgotten is the sweetness of former records. This Mindi is sharp like a steel needle. Not That Kind of Girl is not just a title, it’s a statement. Third Richardson treats his drums with mighty beats and guitar and sax crank up the volume to the max. With a lot of party noise, Mindi pushes her rock heart to the limit.

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Special EFX – Deep As The Night

A formation with long-lasting tradition. Special EFX was founded by drummer and percussionist George Jinda and guitarist Chieli Minucci in 1982. The musical concept of the group changed from world fusion to contemporary jazz and smooth jazz. Body Language (1995) was the last album Jinda and Minucci recorded together. In 1997, Jinda had just completed the album Here to Stay, he suffered a massive stroke, from which he never recovered until he died in 2001.

Chieli Minucci continues the project in memory of his former teammate with the 22nd Special EFX album Deep As The Night (2017), which will be released on the Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm record label. The new album features a cast of musicians, who are sharing Chieli’s musical activities, like bassist Jerry Brooks, drummer Lionel Cordew, keyboardists Jay Rowe, Nicholas Cole and Lao Tizer, percussionist Mino Cinelu, violinist Antoine Silverman, saxophonists Elan Trotman and David Mann.

The title song starts the set with guitarist Minucci and saxophonist Mann united in the creation of an eclectic work of harmony. Another Day, Another Smile shines with a wonderful sonic bliss of acoustic structure. The special nearness between Chieli’s guitar and Antoine’s violin is somewhat rare in the more traditional world of smooth jazz. A combination, aficionados of such music tend to expect in the music of Django Reinhardt.

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The James Kōb Experience – So Right

American composer, lyricist, arranger and producer James Kōb introduces himself to the smooth jazz genre with a personal mixture of Pop, Jazz, Bossa Nova and a little cinematic music. It’s the James Kōb experience and the musical brain wave is entitled So Right.

His paradigm is, smooth jazz has to break out of a special instrumental formula. Mix-up the jazz genres a little bit to stay relevant in both instrumental, vocal and style to avoid to get homogenized. One can add to this, you should also go out of your own warm nest cave.

The participants James involved in his music are Maria Schafer, Danielle Field (vocals), Bobby Cruz (piano, strings), Tripp Sprague, Adam Schroeder and Alex Budman (sax), Ian Francisco (piano, strings), Dan Hall, John Leftwich (bass), Mark Haley (drums, bongos), Michael Smith (percussion), Eric Hughes, Steve Hughes (trombone), Jamie Hovorka, Kyle Palmer (trumpet), Rick Schimdt (guitar), and Lara Wickes (oboe).

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Arthur Vint & His Associates – Through the Badlands

Take a journey, a trip through time, to the Old West. And inject a bit of jazz fusion. You might come up with something like Arthur Vint & His AssociatesThrough the Badlands (Vintage Modern Music, 2016).

The band consists of Vint, drums; Ian Stapp, bass; Jon Cowherd, piano; Tony Scherr, guitar; Andrew Halchah, bass clarinet; Rich Perry, tenor sax; Yvonnich Prene, harmonica; and Blanca Cecilia Gonzales, violin.

The title song captures the theme perfectly. One can almost hear Johnny Cash crooning one of his country western songs to this soundtrack. The atmosphere has the ambient presence of southwestern landscapes of Utah, Arizona or Nevada. Then the tempo kicks in, and that scenery of sagebrush, distant mountains and the occasional cow skull is broken up by modern conveniences, like paved roads, motor cars and electric guitars. The guitar, harmonica and violin harmonize well. All other instruments play their roles, too.

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