Archive for the ‘ Jazz ’ Category

BT ALC Big Band – The Search For Peace

Reaching back to the past in order to move a musical artform forward, the BT ALC Big Band turns loose the might and muscle of a 13-piece horn section to huff and puff and blow down any previously held conceptions of what a big band could be. The mission of the 19-piece Boston big band’s forthcoming album, “The Search For Peace,” is part passion, part music education and anything but peaceful. The bombardment of funk and jazz, written by trombonist Brian Thomas and trumpeter Alex Lee-Clark and produced by Alan Evans (Soulive), drops May 17 on Ropeadope.

After researching big band recordings of the 1960s and 70s, Evans decided on an old-school approach to capture the high-volt energy of BT ALC Big Band’s live performance. He propped up one omnidirectional microphone in front of each of the three horn sections – five saxophonists, four trumpeters and four trombonists – in the same studio as the rhythm and melody players, letting them rip through the seven compositions that comprise “The Search For Peace.” The result is an organic sound that jukes and jives, harnessing the vim and vigor of the powerful posse. The album encapsulates the group’s vintage brand of rhythms and grooves they call “big band funk,” an explosive mashup of Duke Ellington and Count Basie meets James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. Listen closely and you’ll detect some African funk and reggae inflections on this set as well.

“In recent years, the music that most big bands play, either professional or student, falls into two categories: tributes to the music of the past or new art music meant for the concert hall. We want to play music that’s new, accessible and culturally relevant; music that reflects the music we put on in the car when we’re zooming around in our day-to-day lives. We want to take the great art form of the big band and breathe new life into it,” said Thomas.
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Branly, Ruiz, Haslip – Elemental

Top musicians have a certain resemblance to star chefs. Their outstanding position is based on talent and a lot of passion. When three musical greats come together, then we experience an event of a special kind, fusion jazz in the truest sense of the word. Otmaro Ruiz, Jimmy Branly, and Jimmy Haslip form Elemental.

On the new album Otmaro Ruiz performs piano, Fender Rhodes and synths, Jimmy Branly drums, and Jimmy Haslip electric bass. Ruiz has written all tracks with the exception of Boomtown, which is from the Yellowjackets album Mint Jam (2001).

The aptly titled introduction A Good Start presents three of the most talented contemporary jazz players on the scene in a breathtaking action. Otmar Ruiz keeps the music flowing on synth and keys while Branly and Haslip provide the right rhythmic frame for it.

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Slim Man – Young at Heart

Slim Man is singer, songwriter, bassist and a man, who isn’t in the constant pursuit of perhaps unattainable material goals, but takes life as it is and receives solely from the existing beautiful things personal satisfaction. Reading his diaries, enjoying his receipts of belle cuisine and listening to his beautiful music is like Yin and Yang. Before I fall into raptures here some facts of his musical career. Songwriter for Angela Bofill, Brian Jack, the Temptations, Carl Anderson and finally creator of his debut album End of The Rainbow (1995). He really found the golden pot and continued with Closer To Paradise (1996), Secret Rendezvous (1997), Jazzified (1999), All I Want For Christmas (2000), For Now And Forever (2003), Bella Mia (2004), Solstice (2006), Christmas Eve (2008), and Thousand Miles Away (2010).

Also to mention is his side project Bona Fide. In 1998 Carl Griffin needed a funky jazz group for his new label. So Slim Man gathered some of his buddies to record the first album Royal Function (1999), followed by The Poe House (2001) and Soul Lounge (2005).

Slim Man has just released his 12th CD, a stellar collection of swinging standards titled Young at Heart. Mixed by chart-topper Marc Antoine, this CD is a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’, Rat Packin’ compilation of feel-good songs that takes you back to the Sands in Vegas in the 1960s.

Get this album here.

Larry Carlton – The Jazz King: The Musical Compositions Of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is world renowned and has a distinction of being the youngest and first Asian to be named an Honorary Member of The Vienna Academy for Music And Performing Arts. The King was lauded for the quality of his musical compositions and especially for having helped build a bridge of music tradition between east and west. I was honored to create East and West as well as to create my interpretation of this most influential music.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the most wonderful King, has shown to the world that leadership is based on example. Most men follow the path of others, but the King took his machete and cut a path for others to follow him I am most honored and grateful to have been granted such an opportunity to be a small part of this historic event. Thanks to all of the STAR musicians and engineers that joined me in this endeavor. I so appreciate what each of you gave in spirit and in the music. I am honored to do this Unique, Once in a Lifetime Project. I felt a great responsibility to interpret these wonderful and diverse melodies in my own way. May all who listen Be Pleased. (Larry Carlton)

This album featuring Nathan East, Harvey Mason, Greg Mathieson, Abraham Laboriel Sr, Earl Klugh, Tom Scott and many more great musicians is available on Amazon.com.

Kandace Springs – Indigo

Singer and pianist Kandace Springs has announced a September 7 release date for her remarkable second album Indigo, a 13-track LP of originals and choice covers that showcases the full breadth of Kandace’s artistry from smoldering R&B (“Piece of Me”) to gorgeous jazz ballads (“Unsophisticated” featuring Roy Hargrove) to the pop songcraft of “Breakdown” and “Don’t Need The Real Thing,” the album’s lead single which is out today. All but two tracks are produced by drummer/producer Karriem Riggins (Common, Erykah Badu) with additional production by Jamie Hartman (Rag’n’Bone Man), Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae), Jimmy Harry (Madonna, P!nk) and Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken (Rihanna). Indigo is available to pre-order now on vinyl, CD or download.

For Kandace it boils down to a question that connects past to present: “What would Nina Simone do if she had the technology of today? You could never put Nina in a box—she would do a blues followed a classical piece, a jazz standard and then a Beatles cover. This LP took a lot of inspiration from that—it’s a mix of everything that I am.” Indigo offers a fairly plausible answer to that impossible query: songs that swirl classical composition with quiet-storm cool, jazz poise with hip-hop swing, tropical warmth with soulful depth, and earthen groove with airy psych.

Given that diverse palette, Karriem was exactly the right person to work with Kandace to catalyze the best parts of various interests into something new. “I love crossing genres and the direction on Indigo was to marry all the different things to tell her story,” says Karriem, who tracked his drums at various studios while on the road with Diana Krall, and chopped and reassembled his and Kandace’s recordings into what you hear. “It sounds organic because everything was built around the songwriting. She says so much on the piano, and her voice is amazing—it’s the focal point of the whole sound.” Continue reading

Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Sheldon Zandboer – Tipping Velvet

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, a student at the University of Calgary and at the Humber College of the Applied Arts in Toronto Sheldon Zandboer became a respected music director, staff arranger and keyboardist at numerous musicals and shows.

He was member of the bands the Soul Providers and YoMoZo. In 1999 he became jazz piano/arranging/ensemble instructor on the faculty of jazz at Mount Royal University. He also worked as audio designer for some famous clients. He is currently working as a vocal coach/music director at Central Memorial High School of Arts.

Tipping Velvet (2018) is Sheldon’s first solo project. The album was recorded live off the floor at OCL Studios, Calgary, AB. Keyboardist Sheldon Zandboer is joined by George Koller on acoustic bass, Bob Tildesley on trumpet/flugelhorn, Andy Ericson on drums and singer Johanna Sillanpaa featured on I Will Wait. Sheldon has composed all tunes.

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