Archive for the ‘ Jazz Fusion ’ Category

Kenny Wellington – Free Spirit

Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wellington is one of the founders of the legendary British jazz funk band Light Of The World. Wellington is also a member of the offshoot band Beggar & Co. Kenny performed with Tom Browne, Tina Turner, Incognito, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, and many more.

His new solo project Free Spirit (2016) is inspired by the horn players of the past Donald Byrd, Jimmy Owens, Chuck Mangione, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and continues the tradition of British jazz funk and the acid jazz genre.

Kenny performs on the new album trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals, all the programming and bass. Further musicians are David Baptiste (sax, flute, backing vocals), Jerome Harper (trombone), Clifford Rees (strings, violin, cello), Camelle Hinds (bass, percussion), Breeze McKrieth (guitar), Toby Baker (synthesizers), Steve Salvari (keyboards), Billy Osborne (drums), Ian da Prada (vibraphone), and Augie Johnson, Bobbie Lee Anderson, Gee Morris Osborne, David Lee Andrews (vocals).

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Jeff Lorber Fusion – Prototype

Trailblazing pianist, composer, producer and bandleader Jeff Lorber is a consummate artist who continues to push himself to new plateaus. A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber has triumphed as one of the most innovative musical minds in contemporary jazz. The multi Grammy-nominated pianist’s newest CD is a sterling example of his expansive musical roots, masterfully crafted harmonic and melodic sophistication, irresistible finger-poppin’ grooves and intricate rhythmic sense. “I came up with the name Prototype because we are always trying to up our game and come up with new exciting music that could be a prototype or innovative harbinger for the future of our musical style,” says the LA based pianist. Lorber, a Berklee College of Music alum who formerly majored in Chemistry at Boston College goes full throttle on Prototype, orchestrating like an alchemist in the lab concocting a majestic elixir of jazz, soul, funk, pop, R&B and gospel.

Prototype features longtime collaborators – bassist Jimmy Haslip (founding member of The Yellowjackets) and drummer Gary Novak. “From a production standpoint Jimmy adds a ‘big picture’ element. He contributes a lot with his warm bass sound and on the road he is without a doubt one of the finest soloists out there on his instrument.” Lorber adds, “Gary’s very versatile, imaginative, super solid and gets a great sound. He really shines playing over the funky polyrhythmic grooves we record.” The newest member to the all-star unit is saxophonist Andy Snitzer, who like Lorber (and the Brecker Brothers) hails from Cheltenham, PA. Lorber states, “Andy’s got a perfect approach. It’s soulful and melodic and he is not afraid of taking the music outside a bit.” Prototype also features special guests bassist Nathan East, guitarists Chuck Loeb, Larry Koonse and Paul Jackson, Jr. and saxophonist Dave Mann, among others.

“Writing is something that I really enjoy and I’m always coming up with ideas to work on,” states Jeff Lorber, who penned nine of the tracks on Prototype and co-wrote one with Jimmy Haslip. “We put a lot of work, love and care into this record. I hope that everyone who hears it enjoys listening to it as much as we enjoyed writing and recording it. I think it’s the kind of record that will reap dividends by repeated listening because there’s a lot of great playing that you can only appreciate by really getting into it and checking out all the details.” Prototype opens with the spunky and electrifying “Hyperdrive” hinting to the euphoric musical excursion that lies ahead. The track features guitarist and Jazz Funk Soul collaborator Chuck Loeb who calls Jeff “an amazing guy and talent.” Lorber says of bassist Nathan East, who also appears on the track, “Nathan played on ‘Hyperdrive’ because I originally wrote that for his project. He played great on it so we kept it. I have to thank him for not using the track because it’s one of my favorites and the first single!” The album’s title track is a spirited and pulsating mid-tempo blues. Lorber explains, “Blues is a huge part of our music and I think Andy really brings it home with his approach to the melodies and his solos.” Saxophonist Dave Mann offers a vibrant, smoothly executed and feel-good horn arrangement on this track as well as six others. “The shout chorus on ‘Prototype’ is great,” comments Lorber. “I’m glad to also feature guitarist Michael Thompson who plays a stellar solo on the end of the song.” Continue reading

Paul Victor Project – Girl from Barcelona

paulvictorproject2The name Paul Victor is synonymous with musical virtuosity. Paul has described his style as a mix of fusion, soul, rock and blues music, utilizing a loaded amount of sweeping and legato in his playing. His main influences are Al DiMeola, Jimi Hendrix, Tony MacAlpine, JJ Cale, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert. Paul was born on the Island of St Lucia. Paul completed and released his solo CD, Time Machine in 2010, a CD from the heart where Paul shows his varied influences from the Scott Henderson-esque single, “Musetta,” to the blues derived, “Dance Angel.” Paul also shows the depth of his writing with the instrumental, “Farewell Don’t Cry”. His latest CD Girl from Barcelona promises to be amazing and again eclectic, with instrumentals from smooth jazz to fusion.

Paul comments: “This CD has been a pleasure to write and record. Writing this music over the last two years has been an epic journey. It is my desire that you can feel some of the emotional journey in the tracks as the energy resonates with you. Tracked over two continents, there have been a lot of people who have had a hand in influencing the music on this project, I thank you all for the impact you have had on my journey. My daughter will be happy that this project is actually completed thank you Cate. The track I’ll fly away was written by Albert E Brumley back in 1929, it was a song my grandmother would sing often, I am happy I get to pay tribute to her with the instrumental version of this widely used song”.

Girl from Barcelona is available for download only at CDBaby.

Finally – Final Definition

fdFinally is a Slovak jazz-funk band formed in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2002, founded by Eugen Botos (piano) – leader and composer of the band, Robert Vizvari (bass guitar), Martin Koleda (guitar). Finally and guests is a project of young passionate musicians, who were brought up on jazz, jazz funk and smooth jazz music (to include Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea…).

The genre of their music could be characterized as a harder style of Chick Corea’s Electric Band or Mark King’s Level 42 influenced by smooth jazz, hip hop, modern jazz, funk and ethno. Finally and Eric Marienthal had a series of performances in Japan and peaked at Bratislava Jazz Days (one of the top jazz festivals in Europe), where they performed with great success with Eric Marienthal. They started cooperating on stage in 2008, Finally has become Eric’s band for European concerts. These performances moved them forward to finishing their CD called My Space, at least 2 songs (Manhattan, My Space) are often played in American and Japanese smooth jazz/jazz radios. This formation – Finally and Eric Marienthal is going to be further presented in Europe.

The members of the group were brought up in traditional musical families; each of them has a university degree in music. They are multi-instrumentalists and passionate performers of classical music as well. They are European top artists in their genre. Finally and their music can be definitely seen as a new fresh and innovating energy in the jazz genre. Final Definition is their second album after their debut album My Space (2010) and now available at their website. The guest musicians are Marcus Miller, Dave Weckl, Eric Marienthal, Victor Wooten, Jeff Lorber and more. Please write an email to finallycd@gmail.com Your name, quantity and an address is fine. The price is 30.-Eur + shipping!

Christoph Spendel – Jazzmatics Vol. 1 New York Sessions

Jazzmatics Vol. 1 New York Sessions is the first album in the Jazzmatics series by jazz genius Christoph Spendel. The addition New York Sessions is explained by the fact that Christoph Spendel recorded these pieces during his stay in the USA in the 90’s.

Christoph was supported by top notch musicians, with whom he performed on many events in the years 1993 – 1994. The album starts with the powerful City Life, described by Spendel with mighty keystrokes. Near the epicenter of fusion jazz he is also toying with other formats.

Backed on a precise and snappy percussion rhythm Christoph exercises on Strong People the noble art of piano driven jazz. From the Past allures with elevated pristine synth sounds in opposition to a stroke of piano genius.

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Christoph Spendel – Jazzmatics Vol. 2 New York Sessions

The Jazzmatics series is for Christoph Spendel a resume of the last 40 years. It started 1971, when Christoph watched on TV Miles Davis and his band during the Berliner Jazztage. The Miles Davis cast made it clear how interesting it is to combine different styles and cultures.

Christoph is a child of the 70’s, when fusion jazz and rock jazz were developed, later copied to a high level. The mixture between America, Africa and Europe is a huge musical treasure trove for him. He always surrounded himself with musicians, who also shared his philosophy. So with his bands in Germany and in USA as a member of Special EFX.

He had the opportunity to perform with Chuck Loeb, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, Lee Ritenour, Marion Meadows, Chieli Minucci, and more. His love for Weather Report and his longtime friendship with Joe Zawinul have also shaped him. His passion for Latin music was fueled by his numerous Cuba visits.

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lhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions – Istanbul Underground

There’s a tendency to categorize any instrumental music played by a small ensemble, that’s not chamber, as jazz. This can lead to confusion. Is it pop or R&B without lyrics? Is it jazz that’s meant to sound like pop or R&B? Is it something else? Those questions are presented in full force by Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions. Their third release, Istanbul Underground doesn’t bother trying to answer the question. The group delights in asking it as they play.

The ensemble consists of Ersahin on tenor saxophone; Alp Ersonmez, bass; Turgut Alp Bekoglu, drums; and Izzet Kizil, percussion. An uncredited electric guitar appears in some tracks, adding fills, a touch of funk or supplementing the other sounds. There also appears to be a keyboard adding some ethereal or space travel effects.

“Falling” begins with a low, brooding bass line with a percussive backdrop. The tenor comes in and warms things up a bit. The song shifts gears several times, from the moody vibe of the opening sequence, to something upbeat and rhythmic. A highlight is near the end, when Ersahin puts the tenor through a series of upper-register phrases, with an echo giving it an outer space feeling.

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