Archive for the ‘ Jazz Fusion ’ Category

fo/mo/deep – Syzygy

Already the spelling of the formation reveals the elitist claim. fo/mo/deep is a band of the extraordinary. The core of the group consists of Ron “FatKat” Holmes, basses (fretted/fretless), André Scott, drums, percussion and Robert Mason, grand & electric piano, organ.

The discography includes the albums Eclecticism (2010), A Beautiful Bang (2012) and The Groovy Goodness (2014). This year Syzygy is joining them. In astronomy, a syzygy is a straight-line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system. Probably the title refers to the three members of the band who are in constant musical interaction.

Since the elitist is always in danger of self-isolation, the group has decided to open their album with a popular song. Curtis Mayfield was not only a highly talented songwriter but also the musical flagship of the African-American movement for equal rights in society and a precise observer of everyday problems. With Move On Up (1970) he spoke from the soul to the underprivileged and encouraged them not to give up. The group takes up this call because these problems still exist. If anyone is able to translate the dynamics of the piece into a piano run, it is Robert Mason.

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Monkey House – Friday

Monkey House is a band consisting of the core members singer, songwriter, keyboardist Don Breithaupt, drummer Mark Kelso, bassist Pat Kilbride, and guitarist Justin Abedin.

On their new album Friday (2019) the band is supported by the elite Toronto horn section of William Sperandei, Vern Dorge, John Johnson, William Carn and Tony Carlucci, as well as percussionist Art Avalos.

The new album is written by Breithaupt with the exception of one cover. Those who are not familiar with the music of this formation, will quickly remark by listening to 10,000 Hours that this music is neither jazz nor smooth jazz. According to my own musical experience the group is comparable to 10CC, Godley & Creme or Steely Dan.

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Eugen Botos Finally – Final Definition

Slovakia based jazz funk trio Finally was founded by Eugen Botos (piano) – leader and composer of the band, Robert Vizvari (bass guitar), Martin Koleda (guitar). In 2008 the trio became the touring band of Eric Marienthal in Europe which gave them some contact with the American contemporary jazz scene. In 2010 they released their debut album My Space.

Final Definition is their sophomore album, which was released in Japan in 2016 and this year in the rest of the world. The album features an incredible variety of top musicians. Among them are famous singers like Brian McKnight, Maysa Leak, Dionne Warwick, Angela Johnson, Sheldon Reynolds, sax player Eric Marienthal, drummers Dave Weckl, Eric Valentine, Oscar Seaton and Ronald Brunner Jr., bass players Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and many more.

Marcus Miller introduces into the theme of Love For Real with his sonorous sounding bass. Featured singer is Sheldon Reynolds, the former singer and guitarist of the groups Sun, The Commodores and Earth, Wind and Fire. The song also offers prominent solos by Marcus Miller and Jeff Lorber on Rhodes.

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Eugen Botos Finally – Final Definition

Eugen Botos Finally are a trio of outstanding Slovak musicians, comprising of keyboardist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Eugen Botos, bass guitarist Robert Vizvari and guitarist Martin Koleda playing under the name Finally.

Their album Final Definition, however crosses miles away from their homeland and features a host of well known artists such as Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Dave Weckl, Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber and Maysa Leak amongst others. Final Definition is a recording full of original compositions delivering an excellent blend of fusion, jazz and soul to the listener. Eugen Botos Finally will be a name that will stay in your memory banks and Final Definition will most definitely be an album that you will play on repeat.

Get the album on CDBaby.

Eric Essix – Moments (Anthology)

Recently I reviewed Eric Essix’s album More with a survey of his already released works. A  short time after this review he released his album Moments, an anthology of his previous albums spanning a period of three decades.

With Street Scene Eric shows his best side right away. A high infectious melody taken from the album Small Talk (2012). Greg Manning on piano adds a joyful groove and Melvin Butler on sax a mellow note. Steel is from Eric’s album Birmingham (2009), the ode to his hometown. Birmingham was a great iron and steel producer in the decades after the civil war.

On Drive Time from Somewhere In Alabama (2004) Eric shines with a sing along guitar playing in the style of George Benson. The Distance is from Eric’s self titled album (2012), which presents a special blues-rock attitude. Southbound is the title song of the album, which was released in 2000. Kelvin Wooten delivers a phenomenal accompaniment on piano and Hammond B3.

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Valeriy Stepanov – Album №1

No matter how far away his musical kernel might be considered by the geographical standpoint. Lastly, the internet of things represents a fusion of the physical and digital, the real and virtual worlds. If an historical constant is to be defined in the relationship between Russia and the West, then it is the central role that the West, in all its many musical forms, plays in Russian view. Moscow based multi-instrumentalist Valeriy Stepanov is going West.

After New Beginnings (2017) his sophomore project was Valeriy Stepanov (Live) with songs from his debut album in live atmosphere.  Now he returns with a jazz fusion album as Valeriy Stepanov Fusion Project aptly titled Album №1. Valeriy had the privilege to record his new tunes with such incredible musicians as Martin Miller, Sebastian Lanser, Steven Williams, Steve Tavaglione, Альберт Степанов, Alex Hutchings, Marcus Thomas, Jerohn Garnett, and Johannes Zetterberg.

Get the album on Amazon.com.

Jazz Funk Soul – Life and Times

Contemporary jazz supergroup Jazz Funk Soul was originally founded by keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Chuck Loeb and sax player Everette Harp. Their same titled debut album unites their skills to create something that is greater than the sum of its participants. Making some impact on fellow musicians and audience is all the group want to do. Life and Times is the much anticipated sequel to More Serious Business (2016) – which included two # 1 Smooth Jazz radio hit singles! With three of today’s top hit makers: Jeff Lorber, Everett Harp, and Paul Jackson, Jr. – artists and producers responsible for selling millions of albums and achieving nearly 50 # 1 jazz radio hits!

Grammy winner Jeff Lorber is famed for launching the career of Kenny G and his productions and collaborations with the greats Dave Koz, Janet Jackson, Lalah Hathaway and Miles Davis. He is one of the most sought after producers and musicians in jazz! The Grammy nominated Paul Jackson, Jr. Is one of the most sought after guitarists in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, several Whitney Houston hits, and many more. Everette Harp has shared the stage with music giants Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Billy Joel and Patti LaBelle. A real hit maker, Jazziz magazine praises his “incredible virtuosity”, the Jazz Times calls him “a rare talent”.

Highlights of the album include “Ready Freddi”, the super funky “Where You’re At” and the spirited “Exotic”. Scheduled for release January 25, 2019 on Shanachie Entertainment Group.

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