Archive for the ‘ Jazz Rock ’ Category

Robert Christa / Tom Reif – Free As A Bird

freeasabirdGerman pianist and composer Robert Christa is best known in the smooth jazz genre by his solo projects Nightflight To Rio (2015), City Lights (2017) and Smooth World (2019). His new album is a collaboration with the multi-instrumentalist Tom Reif entitled Free As A Bird (2021).

Robert Christa has written all tracks and plays Rhodes, piano and keys. Tom Reif has arranged, mixed and produced the tracks and performs guitars, guitar synth, fretless bass, keyboards, loops, percussion, programming and was co-composer on three tracks. Additional artists are Herb Berger (harp) and Tommy Eberhardt (drums).

The album opens with the sun-drenched Sunset Boulevard, from which Christa and Reif can definitely derive romantic aspects. Christa follows with the opening track to the familiar smooth jazz style of his previous album.

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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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Bill DiCosimo and Edgar Pagán – Con Moto

Bill DiCosimo and Edgar Pagán have been performing music together for over 20 years, including backing GRAMMY-winning jazz flutist Dave Valentin. They have shared the stage with varied world-class artists Spyro Gyra, Xtreme, Ismael Miranda, Andy Montanez, Lou Gramm, Bela Fleck, Bernie Williams, Wayne Newton, The Average White Band, Tom Scott, Ambrosia, Earl Slick, Joey Molland, Mary Fahl, Bernard Fowler, Stanley Turrentine, and Charo to name a few.

As founding members of central New York SAMMY winners and standouts ‘Grupo Pagán’, Bill and Edgar felt it was time to record a solo project.

To capture the feeling of DiCosimo and Pagán’s music, an All-Star lineup was enlisted featuring Jimmy Haslip (additional bass, keys, cuatro, ancillary percussion, and background vocals), Jeff Lorber (keyboards), Karma Auger (drums, percussion), Gary Novak (drums), Jimmy Branly (percussion), Jeff Richman (guitar), Paulie Cerra (horns), Nick Kellie (guitar) and Jose Varona (percussion). All world-renowned artists in their own right. The bonus track “Show the World” featuring ‘Ceili Rain’ frontman Bob Halligan Jr. is inspired and dedicated to Peace, Love, and Unity in the world. Bob has written hit songs for Cher, Judas Priest, Michael Bolton, Kiss, and Blue Oyster Cult.

The album is produced and titled by 3-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Haslip. He felt ‘CON MOTO,’ a classical term describing forward movement, was a fitting description of the music. Haslip is no stranger in the producer role. He has worked with Jeff Lorber, Bruce Hornsby, Yellowjackets, Gino Vannelli, Kiss, Tommy Bolin, Allan Holdsworth, Marilyn Scott, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Donald Fagen, Anita Baker, Robben Ford, Mike Stern, Selena, Diana Ross, Elemental and more. Haslip found the music to be positive, uplifting and inspiring. As a producer, he is a perfect fit. We found him to be very connected with our diverse music style and desire to meld world sounds and rhythms to create something fresh.

The recording contains 5 originals that take you on a journey encompassing Funk, Blues, Jazz, and Timba flavored Latin rhythms, plus two clever arrangements of “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Cisco Kid.” The album will be released January 8, 2020.

The Lao Tizer Band – Songs From The Swinghouse

“Jazz Group of the Year” nominee, The Lao Tizer Band, present their long-awaited new album & film (CD & DVD combo-pack)! This epic project was recorded all “Live in the Studio” at famed Conway Studios in Hollywood, CA with an all-star cast of musicians! Produced by former “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee keyboardist, composer and bandleader, Lao Tizer, the project includes 11 breathtaking Jazz-Rock-Fusion tracks featuring 7 new original instrumentals, and for the first time, 3 vocal covers (CD only) of Led Zeppelin, U2 & Cat Stevens, all documented in simultaneous 8-camera array of HD video under the direction of acclaimed music film director, Andy LaViolette (Snarky Puppy, David Crosby). Recorded, mixed and mastered by Grammy nominated engineer, Paul Wickliffe (Kevin Eubanks, Special EFX), the recording captures the dynamic range and energy of this touring juggernaut.

The band features a cast of all-star musicians on the forthcoming album & film:

– Karen Briggs – violin (Yanni, Diana Ross)
– Eric Marienthal – sax (Grammy winner, Chick Corea, Rippingtons)
– Chieli Minucci – guitar (Grammy nominee & Emmy winner, Special EFX)
– Munyungo Jackson – percussion (Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis)
– Ric Fierabracci – bass (Grammy nominee, Bill Cobham, Blood Sweat & Tears)
– Tita Hutchison – vocals (Foreigner, Rick Rubin)
– Jeff Marshall – guitar (Bo Bice)
– Gene Coye – drums (Grammy nominee, Larry Carlton, Terrence Blanchard)
– Steve Nieves – sax (Loggins & Messina, Olivia Newton-John)
– Cheikh N’Doye – bass (Mike Stern, Baaba Maal)
– Lao Tizer – piano & keys, bandleader-composer, producer (former “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee, Down To The Bone)

This project will be released March 16, 2018.

Cody Carpenter – Cody Carpenter’s Interdependence

Cody Carpenter, the son of movie genius John Carpenter, steps out the huge shadow of his father. In addition to contributing music for two of his father’s films, Vampires (1998) and Ghosts of Mars (2001), Carpenter composed and performed the full-length score for “Cigarette Burns” and “Pro-Life” in Showtime’s Masters of Horror (2005) movie series.  Cody co-wrote, co-produced, and performed on the acclaimed Lost Themes (2015) and Lost Themes II (2016) with his father and Daniel Davies.

One can meet Cody under his alter ego “Ludrium”. Infiltrate The Mother Ship for example offers progressive rock, game music, fusion, and synth stylings. His newest solo project is Cody Carpenter’s Interdependence, released in 2018 on Blue Canon Records.

Cody planed to create this time music in the jazz rock realm. So he first contacted bass player Jimmy Haslip, with whom he already worked some years ago. Influenced by the early Genesis and keyboardist Keith Emmerson he wanted to try something in that direction. While on the albums by Ludrium are mostly vocal tracks, Cody decided to make a pure instrumental album this time.

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Michael Schmidt – Life

Composer and keyboardist Michael Schmidt longs for the golden era of fusion jazz, dominated by such groups as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever and Weather Report. Famous names like Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Jimmy Haslip or Jeff Lorber have inspired this musician. Although he does not reach the level of popularity of these music titans, he has made a name in the field of fusion jazz through a variety of high-quality record releases.

With every release, he manages to gather around an illustrious band of top musicians who perfectly realize his idea of fusion jazz. On his new album Life (2017) are to find Dave Weckl, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Kinsey, Jimmy Haslip, Katisse Buckingham, Gary Novak, Andy Snitzer, Scott Kinsey, Mike Miller, Ruslan Sirota, Virgil Donati, John Daversa, Andy Milne, Jost Nickel, Mike Miller, Steve Tavaglione, Jerry Goodman, Oz Noy, Jost Nickel, Mitch Forman, Brandon Fields, Bob Mintzer, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Charlie Bisharat, MonoNeon, Larry Koonse, and Sophia Wackermann. Michael Schmidt performs on all tracks synths and sequencing.

The album was produced by bassist Jimmy Haslip, who was also involved in Michael’s previous projects. Michael chooses the quick start with the virtuoso piece Trance, which gives the participating musicians the opportunity to fully unfold their potential. With drummer Dave Weckl, late guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Haslip and saxophonist Katisse Buckingham has this formation the firepower of the above-cited jazz fusion groups.

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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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Kenny Wright Experience – Jazz Expressions

Bass player Kenny Wright is one of the underestimated icons of the contemporary jazz genre. Performing with legends such as Stevie Wonder, The Whispers, Michael White, The Temptation’s Review, The Supremes, Bobbi Humphrey and others should be award enough.

He also excelled with his solo albums Fresh Focus (1993), Comin’ at Ya (1995), Bottle of Wine (1998), Herbie, Miles and Me (2006) and My Roots (2010).

After a long hiatus he returns with his new album Jazz Expressions (2016). He performs on this album with proven players like Charles Etzel, Camarra Kambron (piano), Wendall Shepherd (trumpet), Eric Kennedy, Bobby Ward, Larry Bright, Steve Onheiser (drums), Jacob Yoffee, David Smith, Kelly Shepherd, Steve Carrington (sax), Seitu (piano and keyboards), Kevin Porter, Carl Filipiak, David Cosby (guitar) and George Spika (celeste). Kenny plays on this album six string bass, guitar, and drum programming.

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Lenny Mac Dowell – Locomotive Breath

German flutist Lenny Mac Dowell cannot be reduced to a style or genre. His musical roots go back to the time of progressive rock. In the 70’s he was playing in groups like Hölderlin and Birth Control under his real name Friedemann Leinert. His solo career started with Flute Power (1978), followed by Flexible (1979), Airplay (1980), Bird Watching (1982), Magic Flute (1983), Balance of Power and Live Tapes in 1984, Autumn Break (1986), Radioactive (1988). Later preceded by The Farthest Shore (1989), Flying Torso (1995), Launch Control (2003), Echnaton’s Return with Krell (2006), Get Ready (2009), Retrospective (2011), Meditation Following the Inspiration (2012) and this year Locomotive Breath.

With keyboardist Christoph Spendel he released the albums Autumn Breath (1989) and Landscapes (2015), in addition Deep House Project Ibiza, Vol. 1 (2014). Pete York, Lenny Mac Dowell & Wolfgang Schmidt released the albums Wireless and Once Upon a Time (2007).

His discographies on the Internet are partly incomplete, partly the albums are mentioned with different release dates, probably reissues. Lenny Mac Dowell is tagged as a smooth jazz and new age artist or as a jazz rock and fusion jazz musician. He also founded together with his wife in 1987 the label Blue Flame Records still releasing albums of numerous artists of many genres. He was also music editor at the German radio station SDR 3 and moderated the program Treff nach Zwei. Furthermore he has been and is producing several mainly documentary films.

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