Archive for the ‘ Latin Jazz ’ Category

Lawson Rollins – True North

Lawson Rollins’ recordings have always possessed a grand sense of travel, exoticism and adventure, narrated by the global guitarist’s prodigious and alacritous classical finger-style play that Guitar Player magazine recently spotlighted by selecting Rollins as one of the “50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists” of all-time. After embarking upon a creative departure on a few recent projects, the chart-topping composer-producer-musician, best known for crafting lush amalgams of contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age over the past twenty years, charts a more familiar course on his tenth solo album, “True North,” dropping January 17, 2020 on Infinita Records. Yet there is a marked difference in his approach.

The prolific Rollins spent the last couple of years exploring vast horizons. Last year, he assembled “Airwaves: The Greatest Hits,” which includes the Billboard top 10 hit “World of Wonder” featuring 3rd Force and earlier this year, he released the experimental “Dark Matter: Music for Film.” Rollins also scored his first feature film, “Stay Out Stay Alive,” a multiple award-winning movie opening November 26 for which he served as executive producer of the film festival favorite. These diverse projects broadened the scope of his artistic muse, now budding in entirely new and different dimensions. Culling elements from each one, Rollins picked up his trusty acoustic nylon string guitar and utilized a fresh approach to write and produce “True North,” the first album that he produced entirely on his own. The wide array of projects also impacts the way he plays guitar, which exhibits a keener focus, discipline and restraint.

“The past couple of years have really expanded my musical horizons through my work on film music and also the single, ‘And If You Will Come With Me’ by Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Those experiences forced me to hone down my quite often exuberant nylon string guitar style to suit the needs of the particular projects and also to delve more seriously into other instruments like the electric guitar, synthesizers and electronic percussion programming. With ‘True North,’ I was able to bring that new knowledge and perspective back home, in a sense, to the type of nylon string guitar-centered music that has been my true calling as an artist over the past 20 years,” said the San Francisco-based Rollins who hails from Durham, North Carolina. Continue reading

Scott Wilkie – Brasil

Keyboardist virtuoso Scott Wilkie is intrinsically a musician of the smooth jazz genre. Boundless (1999), More Than You Know (2000), Home Again: The Solo Piano Sessions (2008), The Wonder of Christmas (2013), All In (2014), Joy (2015), StudioLIVE (2017) are his known projects.

With Brasil (2019) he now focuses on Latin Jazz. The album was recorded live in studio with Scott Wilkie (piano, Minimoog, Rhodes), Jeff Olson (drums), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and Kleber Jorge (guitar). In addition to this quartet Scott invited special guests like vocalists Diana Purim (Flora Purim’s daughter), Josie James, Diana Booker, Hammond B3 player Ronnie Foster, percussionist Gibi dos Santos, conga player Kevin Winard and cellist Erdis Maxhelaku.

The principle according to which Scott chose the songs is very simple. He chose those who already gripped the listener because of their melody. What could be more natural than to start with the showpiece of Brazilian jazz. Mais Que Nada (Mas Que Nada) was  originally written and performed by Jorge Ben in 1963, and later widely known by a cover of Sérgio Mendes. Scott Wilkie throws the full volume of his piano into the balance and pushes the melody to new heights. Kleber Jorge and Jimmy Haslip add brilliant guitar and bass flavor to the whole something.

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Monty Q Pollard – All in My Head

Monty Q Pollard is a keyboardist who experienced his early life in a musical environment. His late father, Monti was a gifted master percussionist who provided the foundation for Q to explore later on in developing the ear to continue playing and learning mostly on his own, various styles of music. Q, who originates from Washington, DC, has strong Afro-Cuban, Latin and Brazilian flavor in his music as well as a feel for contemporary jazz and gospel. Q has played with with several bands beginning with High School and into the military where he helped formed a band with several soldiers from all over the country. He has played in the church for several years and is currently playing with the Aniya Jazz Band and Spirit for Jazz, both out of Wilmington Delaware.

All in My Head (2018) is his album recommended by Ronald Jackson (The Smooth Jazz Ride) as “One classy piece of art for your musical library”.

Buy this album at CDBaby.

Tomás Martin López – Rhythm Rising

New York based percussionist Tomás Martin López started his musical career with salsa bands in his local area. He additionally performed with jazz greats such as Billy Cobham, Bill O’Connell, Mark Egan, the West Point Jazz Knights, Louie Ramirez, Ray De La Paz, Lalo Rodriguez and many more.

His solo projects are On The Beat Path (2010) and Rhythm Rising (2018). The new album was recorded by Bill O’Connell (piano), David Mann (saxes & flute), Jeff Ciampa (guitar & synth), Richie Barshay (drums), Ruben Rodriguez (bass), and Tomás Martin López (congas & percussion).

The album starts with the title song. As expected with an album by a percussionist, the song is full of various rhythm elements of Latin American provenance. Phenomenal star interpret is however Bill O’Connell on piano, who deserves his distinctive jazz style, which he has rightly earned in decades of collaboration with everything that has a name in Latin jazz.

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Denny Jiosa – Mueve Tu Cuerpo

Nashville-based guitarist Denny Jiosa is often compared with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Stylistically he cannot be fixed, his creative field lies somewhere between Rock, Smooth Jazz and Latin Music.

Moving Pictures (1995), Inner Voices (1996), Jazzberry Pie (1998), Among Friends (1999), Body 2 Body (2002), Dreams Like This (2008) are his solo albums, followed by the band album JIOSA On the Edge (2011). Now Denny Jiosa has with Mueve Tu Cuerpo (2018) Latin tinged jazz in his focus.

Denny plays guitar on all tracks and adds his vocals on selected tracks. Further lead vocalists are Janet Kenyon and John Santos. Keyboardists are Kenny Zarider and Pat Coil, bassists Keith Kenyon, Chris Kent, Gary Branchaud, drummers Raymond Massey and Chester Thompson, percussionists Glen Caruba, Eric Darken and John Santos. Hollie Farris plays the trumpet, Roy Agee trombone and Phil Keaggy guitar.

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David Garfield – Jammin’ – Outside The Box

Every musician strives for immortal fame. This can hardly be achieved with public appearances, as the moments are too short. An album is more suitable as a building block. But keyboard player David Garfield thinks ahead. He has already recorded music for four albums for his Outside The Box Project and they will all be released.

We are currently in a phase of transition to the tetralogy of his creative urge. After the release of his first album Jazz – Outside The Box, David Garfield’s vision of straight-ahead jazz, now follows Jammin’ – Outside The Box, a collection of popular songs performed by an army of noteworthy soloists including George Benson, Ray Parker Jr., Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Marcus Miller, Paul Jackson Jr., Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, Vinnie Colaiuta, Greg Phillinganes, Smokey Robinson, Greg Adams, David Sanborn, Bill Champlin, Phil Perry, Oleta Adams, John Klemmer, Michael McDonald, Kenya Hathaway, Steve Jordan, Freddie Washington, Will Lee, Tony Maiden, Rickey Minor and Lenny Castro. Everyone will know one or the other, but rarely do you experience such a number of exceptional artists on a single album.

The horn powered Go Home, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit single from his album Square Circle (1985), is dedicated to late drummer Ricky Lawson. Nick Lane has created the superb horn arrangement staring featured soloist Kirk Whalum on tenor sax. Chasing Pavements is a single by Adele from her debut album Hometown Glory. The vocal part of the cover is substituted by Rick Braun on flugelhorn and John Klemmer on sax.

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Denny Jiosa – Mueve Tu Cuerpo

Four-time Grammy nominee Denny Jiosa sees parallels between the curvaceous body of the guitar and the human body. Indulging his passion for “sexy” Latin music, the jazz guitar slinger uses his electric and nylon-string guitar bodies to get people to move their body as well as expressively stir emotions on his eighth album, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo,” which drops July 27 on the Sonic Canvas Records/BFD imprint. Radio is already getting a taste with the evocative first single, “Missing You,” one of eleven songs Jiosa penned and produced for the collection.

Jiosa endeavored to craft an upbeat Latin-influenced, jazz-rooted album that would get people to move and grab attention via an exciting blend of musical styles. But he also wanted to go deeper, “shy away from the norm” and touch people emotionally. Beneath the energizing layers of exotic Latin percussion that create lusty rhythms and sensual grooves emerge moving harmonies and rousing melodies that resonate. Whether he’s furiously strumming impassioned nylon-string guitar rhythms, precisely picking lyrical phrases and bending extended notes, or intensely issuing scorched earth electric guitar pyrotechnics, Jiosa’s deft fretwork establishes and maintains a commanding presence throughout the recording.

Mueve Tu Cuerpo is about what music does to get people to move. I wanted this to be an exciting, compelling and expressive blend, tapping into my huge passion for Latin music. I love the sounds, rhythms and sexiness of Latin music, which I blended with jazz rhythms, lines and harmonies. My intention from the outset was to reach a broad scope of listeners with this album. Guitar is one of the most expressive and sexy instruments. Whether I’m playing nylon string to electric guitar with an edge, it’s about moving people emotionally. If you can move people emotionally with an instrumental, then you’ve accomplished something,” said the Nashville-based Jiosa. Continue reading