Archive for the ‘ Jazz Fusion ’ Category

Jules Leyhe – Your First Rodeo

YourFirstRodeoThis ain’t your granddaddy’s blues. Heck, it ain’t even your daddy’s blues. Guitarist Jules Leyhe is on an entirely different trip. His forthcoming “Your First Rodeo” is a whimsical mashup of blues, hip hop, funk, fusion, jazz, rock and Latin music dropping September 17 on Monkey Finger Records. Producing the set with Protist, the Oakland, Calif.-based slide guitar slinger wrote the bucking bronco of an album that obstinately refuses to be categorized.

An audacious collection evading lasso, “Your First Rodeo” brilliantly juxtaposes futuristic elements with downhome “comfort” sounds. Leyhe paired inventive sonicscapes with soulful blues guitar play. Conceived and constructed using vivid fantasy, the guitarman wondered what it would sound like to pair diametrically opposed artists – or, in this case, use signature elements of the imagined artists’ unique style – on one recording. Picture Cardi B sitting in with the Buena Vista Social Club. Or Jimi Hendrix playing in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Or Duane Allan jamming with jazz pianist Gil Evans.

“I wanted to create music based off of collaborations that I’ve pictured of many of my favorite artists who never actually worked together. The clearest example is picturing Jimi Hendrix playing with the psychedelic Beatles era, a wild pairing that never actually happened but sure is fun to imagine and try to create with my own flavor. My bandmates’ fantastic playing and imaginations helped me reach for this sort of potential for pairing abstract, disparate musical ideas and getting away with it, or at least creating something unique to us. This album encapsulates so many musical idioms with a gritty, urban, fun feel of an old-soul Oakland band,” said Leyhe who was empowered by his Family Jules Band – keyboardist Ian McArdle, saxophonist Nancy Wright, bassist Murph Murphy and drummer Isaac Schwartz.

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Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time

space-timeKeyboard wizard Jeff Lorber has already pressed his idea of fusion jazz into the black grooves with his group Jeff Lorber Fusion in various lineups. With albums like the self-titled debut album (1977), followed by Soft Space (1978), Water Sign (1979), Wizard Island (1980), and Galaxian (1981) he has served the spirit of contemporary jazz for decades..

He continued this glorious period with albums such as Now Is The Time (2010), Galaxy (2011), Hacienda (2013), Step It Up (2015), the GRAMMY awarded Prototype (2017), and Impact (2018). On the new album Space-Time (2021) Jeff Lorber is joined by his longtime friends drummer Gary Novak and bassist Jimmy Haslip.

Further supporting musicians are flutist Hubert Laws, guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Landau and Robben Ford, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Dave Mann, Gary Meek and Gerald Albright (on bass). Bob Mintzer is thus back as on the previous albums, just not on all the tracks. The album opens with the title song, a sparkling up-tempo tune showcasing Lorber’s elegant keyboard play to the fullest. Lovers of Jeff’s Rhodes performance will be enchanted. Bob Mintzer on tenor sax takes over the melody line to a perfect finish.

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Chuck Loeb – Life Colors

lifecolorsIt’s been five years since I wrote the review of Chuck Loeb‘s album Unspoken (2016). Even though Chuck was marked by his illness, we all still had hope that he could continue his life’s work. It was to be his last solo album.

At the age of 61, just one year later, guitarist Chuck Loeb succumbed to cancer. We have lost a great guitarist and a truly exceptional human being. The way to review a new album by Chuck is denied us for the future.

That’s why I’m looking back, because he left us an extensive body of work. So it was very convenient for me that the German company in-akustik has reissued an album of Chuck’s from his glorious DMP period as an Ultimate High Quality CD. His album Life Colors was released in 1990.

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Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time

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“I’m incredibly lucky to spend my time doing something that I love. When you are doing things that you enjoy, it is easy to spread those good vibes around,” shares Jeff Lorber. The down to earth and humble trailblazing Grammy-winning pianist, composer and producer has built an impressive four-decade career, transcending musical boundaries and honing his own uniquely identifiable sound.

A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber is also one of the most in-demand producers in Contemporary Jazz. Maintaining a busy schedule during the pandemic this past year, Lorber worked on projects with Herb Alpert, Richard Elliot, Norman Brown and Alexander Zonjic, just to name a few.

“While working on all of these projects,” explains Jeff, “I was sending my manager Bud Harner stuff that I was writing and he was particularly enthusiastic when I sent him my now new single “Back Room” in demo form. His reaction really inspired me to want to focus on making my own record.” Continue reading

Steve Hunt – Connections

connectionsJazz pianist Steve Hunt has linked his musical agenda to jazz. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is still an instructor. He studied with concert pianist Albert Hirsh, jazz pianist Sid Davis and Lyle Mays. He performed and toured with Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, and Allan Holdsworth.

He recorded with Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke, Lucas Pickford, Gregg Bandian, Bruce Bartlett, Randy Roos and Pam Pryo. His debut solo album was From Your Heart and Soul (1997). Connections (2021) is his sophomore album. Musicians of distinction in the field of jazz have gathered on his album. More details can be found in the credits.

Starter of the album is Now’s The Time. The intense texture that percussionist Jorge Bezerra spreads out as the foundation of the piece is impressive. The structure and flow remind me strongly of the music of Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report. From the dense mesh that the musicians build together, the individual contributions are hardly to be equalized and that is obviously also intended.

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Patrick Bradley – Exhale

Patrick Bradley has always emphasized exquisite quality in his productions. This is easily recognizable by his albums Come Rain Or Shine (2006), Under The Sun (2011) and Can You Hear Me (2014). Already on his previous recordings were always big names among the studio musicians. This is no different with his new album Exhale (2021). If on his previous albums the main anchor and producer was Jeff Lorber, this time Darren Rahn is clearly at the center of the action.

Patrick understands his new project also as a way of switching off, forgetting the worries of everyday life and recognizing music as a source of comfort and inspiration. He explains: “This is a special project and I’m hoping people get that when they listen to it because it’s almost like there’s some of my DNA in there. We’ve all had a hard year – whether it’s COVID fatigue, political fatigue or whatever. I’m hoping people will listen to the album and it will give them some sort of release, a sense of hope, and that somehow it’s inspirational.”

With the opener Completely Yours Patrick and Darren address the romantic highlights of a love relationship. The song is inspired by Mort Garson’s Our Day will ComeReinvention is a collection of pure harmony. Jeff Lorber inserts his familiar bubbling synth bass, while Michael Thompson adds glittering points of guitar riffs with his distorted electric guitar.

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DiCosimo / Pagán – Con Moto

When bassist Jimmy Haslip produces an album, you know what’s going to come out: a jazz fusion album. The initiators of the same are organist Bill DiCosimo and bassist Edgar Pagán, who have been working together for more than twenty years. The album, which will be released in January 2021, is called Con Moto, which means “with movement”.

Contributors to the album are, who would be surprised, Jeff Lorber, Gary Novak, Jeff Richman, Jose Varona, Paulie Cerra and more. People know each other. For example, Edgar has already worked on Jeff Lorber’s joint album Eleven with Mike Stern or Jeff and Jimmy have played on Edgar’s album What A Feeling.

The album starts with the aptly titled So It Begins. A piece that flows along with a continuous rhythm like mercury. The piece is structured comparable a mathematical challenge and bass, rhythm guitar and keyboard complement each other seamlessly like a laying puzzle.

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ABC – Begin Again

The Italian trio ABC (Alchemy Brotherhood Cheerfulness) consists of Sebastiano Marino (piano and keyboards), Jacopo Ferrazza (electric bass) and Luca Fareri (drums). Begin Again is their debut album and was released in 2018 on AlfaMusic.

Sebastian lives in Rome as artist, piano player, composer, teacher, music lover. His newest project is the Sebastian Marino Trio with the different drummer Valerio Vantaggio, who replaced Luca.

Jacopo was born in 1989 in Frascati, a city near Rome. Jacopo is an acoustic and electric bass player and pianist as well. He’s graduated in classical bass and classical piano from the Italian conservatory of Frosinone “Licinio Refice”. Jacopo has recorded two albums as a leader for the CAM jazz label. He has also collected various experiences as composer and teacher.

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Anastasio – Through The Sky

Flutist and saxophonist Enzo Anastasio graduated in saxophone at the conservatory Guiseppe Martucci in Salerno, where he got a degree of second level with the best grade. With the Neapolitan band Midi Funk he published the album Finalmente Funky (2005). In November 2015 he released his debut solo album Che Soddisfazione. His second album is Through The Sky, released on AlfaMusic in 2018.

This album features Vincenzo Anastasio on sax, Gregg Bissonnette on drums, Jimmy Earl on bass and David Garfield on piano and keyboard furthermore guitarist Federico Luongo, pianist and keyboardist Mario Nappi, trumpeter Gianfranco Campagnoli, keyboardist and synthbassist Paolo Sessa, trombonist Alessandro Tedesco and vocalists Cheryl Porter, Kalind Haynes and Kaita Kerr.

The cartoonistic design of the record cover promises cheerful and relaxed music. The opener Cycling in Venice Beach can be understood in the literal sense. The driving of the bicycle pedals are the first acoustic sounds that make it clear that your music system is still working. But then orderly saxophone harmonies announce the coming happiness.

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Jules Hay – From London to Little London

British jazz fusion guitarist Jules Hay follows his passion for Brazilian music from his home in London, UK, to the Brazilian city of Londrina – aka ‘Little London.’ Immersing himself in the local music scene, his collaboration with the musicians there was captured across several days at 3 em 1 studios and is released on the 17th July. The set of 10 original compositions bring together infectious Brazilian rhythms and grooves with a modern jazz fusion sensibility.

In Thiago Ueda (keys), Diogo Burka (Bass), Roger Aleixo, Elthon Dias (drums) and Duda de Souza (percussion), Jules has brought together 5 in-demand musicians from the Londrina scene who add their own joyful playing and improvisations to the proceedings. Originally slated for March 2020 as an 8-track release, Jules took the opportunity of being locked down in the city to compose and record 2 bonus tracks for the album. From London to Little London is an uplifting journey for fans of fusion and Brazilian music alike.

Get this percussive album at Bandcamp.