Archive for the ‘ New Age ’ Category

Brian Culbertson – Soundscapes

In Brian’s own words: “This project is a journey into film music, something I’ve always been fascinated with. It is also meant to calm and help reconnect with nature.

NOTE: Total length is exactly 25 minutes. However, the last track (“Silence”) is 2:19 of nothing, total silence. This is of course on purpose. After listening to the first 5 tracks (which all meld into one another), I did not want it to either immediately start over from the beginning, nor did I want another random song to start playing as that would have ruined the ‘total relaxation’ that you’re feeling. I find it similar to the end of a yoga session when you’re lying in corpse pose for a few minutes before getting up.”

Get the album here.

Gregg Karukas – Serenata

Great melodies; the essential quality that has defined Grammy winning keyboardist/composer/producer Gregg Karukas’ 12 solo CD’s over a three decade career, with many #1 radio hits, both sophisticated and accessible. Serenata, his first ever solo piano project, offers romantic impressions of classic songs from iconic Brazilian artists Milton Nascimento and Dori Caymmi as well as new and re-imagined Karukas originals.

Gregg looks back on his years touring with Brazilian artists Sergio Mendes, Dori Caymmi and Ricardo Silveira in the 1990’s as some of his favorite musical experiences. As producer, pianist, composer and arranger, Gregg won the New Age Grammy in 2013 (Echoes of Love), and has also worked with pianist David Lanz, arranging and producing two successful crossover CDs. A versatile, founding member of the Los Angeles smooth jazz community, Gregg contributed to many seminal projects (The Rippingtons, Dave Koz, Peter White, Boney James).

After a recent move, Gregg discovered a dusty box of cassettes of his live shows in the 1990’s with Dori Caymmi and Ricardo Silveira and was curious to check out one particular tape marked “Dori – Le Cafe” with a star! Gregg says, “Those Dori shows at that tiny Los Angeles music room were legendary, with everyone from Michel LeGrand, Dave Grusin, Quincy Jones to Wayne Shorter in the audience. I had to buy a used cassette deck to play it, and it was one of our magical nights. I sat down at the piano and recalled many of the Dori Caymmi songs as best as I could and got very emotional. That evening pulled me out of my comfort zone and set me on a surprising new adventure, a solo piano project that I hope will bring some peace and joy to all who are suffering during this challenging time.” Continue reading

David Lanz – Water Sign

“Most of my life, I have lived near bodies of water. Small lakes, the Great Lakes, streams, canals, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and now the Mediterranean Sea. I grew up in Seattle, which has quite a reputation for it’s rainfall and I was born under the astrological sign of Cancer, which is of course known as one of the water signs. I’ve written songs with titles like Rain Forest, Behind The Waterfall, Desert Rain, Water from the Moon, Norwegian Rain and here, the six pieces from the Water Sign Suite: Wonder Wave, Rain Dancer Returns, As Rivers Flow, The Water Bearer, Moonlight Lake, and Neptune Dancing.

Living now on the island of Cyprus, the sun plays a role in my musical life as a source of inspiration. But water and the flow of life speaks to me at the deepest level. I am truly all about flow. So with that in mind, I offer the WATER SIGN album…inspired by the sun, the moon, family, romantic love and of course water.”

The new album Water Sign is available for pre-order on David’s website.

Michael Whalen – Sacred Spaces

Michael Whalen is an internationally known recording artist. His soaring melodies and beautiful ambient spaces are beloved by fans throughout the world. From New Age/ambient to classical to pop to jazz/fusion to his many soundtrack recordings, Michael’s catalog of music is deep, rich and filled with beauty. As a producer, Michael has worked with over a hundred artists creating gorgeous projects for: Stephen Sondheim, The Bala Brothers, Jim Brickman, Andiamo, Mary McLaughlin, Chris Botti and many others. Explore Michael’s vast collection and fall in love with the perfect soundtrack for your life.

2020 release. Sacred Spaces has been an album many years in the making. First, it started as a classical project in the late 2000s. Michael thought that he would write a “string symphony” based on his search for spiritual path. A three-movement piece was plotted and a number of musical themes were developed… and then nothing for years. In 2018, Michael picked-up the project again but decided to put the classical treatment aside in favor of a large scale electronic project. He picked some of the existing melodic material to work on for the recording. He then started to create sounds for the project. Over three months, he created over 800 sounds, textures, loops and timbres. “After working on thousands commercials for over 30 years” Michael says, “I am not sure how many of my listeners know how much sound design work I have done. Honestly, sound design is a skill that is at the same level as my melodic skills – I think. I am surprised how many new timbres I made that I had never created before. A whole new palette. Once I had the sounds all set, the album happened very quickly.”

Get this album at Amazon.com.

David Bach – Perficiendi

Keyboardist David Bach will not be known to most readers. With his official biography, which is peppered with many references to awards and recognitions like 2016 Maryland Music Awards Best Jazz Artist, Maryland State Art Performance Award and a Maryland State Art Composition Award he does not make it easier to come across his real career.

However, I like him already by the fact that he worked with Crystal Waters, the Basement Boys, Exodus Quartet, Thievery Corporation, Everything but the Girl, Fishbelly Black and Enrique Eglesias.  This musician therefore disposes of a healthy mixture of intuition for the elitist and financial stability. The one does not always exclude the other.

More about his releases is to find in his discography. Window On The West (1998), 5Thousand Words (2001), A Deep Breath (2005), Live at Baker Park (2008), Otherworld (2013) are listed as his solo records. His newest project Perficiendi (2020) is just released on Polyphemus Records.

Read more …

John Gregorius – Full Of Life

Full Of Life, the third album on the Spotted Peccary label from composer and guitarist John Gregorius, is a free flowing, sincere set of compositions brought to life by the time-honored ensemble of guitar, bass, and drums, all richly augmented by synth ambiances, electronic beats, and ambient guitar atmospheres. Moody and elegant, the album’s melodic passages and tonal textures guide the listener on a delightful discovery of painted vistas and unfolding beauty.

Imbued with a sense of freedom, the music on Full Of Life remains unified and cohesive while at the same time not confined to the boundaries of one sound as it moves effortlessly through styles ranging from ambient to melodic to post rock. Uninhibited and natural, the ten guitar-centric tracks feel honest and pure with an emotional blend of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, and percussion. Tensions build and release creating a sense of drama as the music eases through moments of lush orchestration, gentle melodies, mysterious ambiances, and memorable cinematic peaks. Echoes of Gregorius’ earlier works are prevalent, and on Full Of Life he successfully weaves his love of acoustic finger-style guitar, ambient electric guitar, thoughtful orchestrated leads, and in-the-pocket rhythmic grooves into a free and easy blend of music that is both accessible and meaningful.

Full Of Life represents a natural progression and growth for John Gregorius. A change of scenery resulted in a shift of inspiration and a renewal of his creative energy when, after finishing his last album (2016’s Still Voice), John pulled up stakes from Southern California and relocated inland to the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, Arizona. Surrounded by majestic saguaro cactus, mesquite brush, and palo verde trees, Gregorius instantly felt at home immersed in the mountainous desert landscape. “I have found the desert to be a deeply spiritual place” Gregorius explains. “The solitude, openness, resilience, mystery and life in spite of the sometimes harsh and difficult landscape, leads one to contemplation of a bigger meaning and understanding our true selves. This meditation of creation and Creator is the unifying color and design of this recording. My hope is that it brings a sense of being awake and alive…Full of Life.”

While, for Gregorius, Full Of Life embodies the deep spirit of renewal brought about by his new life in the Sonoran desert, the simple beauty realized in the album’s wide open sonic vistas and captivating spaces lifts all listeners to a place of joy and wonder as the music flows through each mood and moment like vital water through a desert arroyo; fluid, graceful, inviting, and refreshing.

Get the album here.

Robert Christa – Smooth World

German pianist and composer Robert Christa is a musician you really should have on the radar. Since his debut Nightflight To Rio (2015) and his sophomore project City Lights in 2017 he has come out as an insider tip in the smooth jazz genre. This impression is convincingly confirmed by his third album Smooth World (2019).

Robert Christa performs on his new album keys, backing vocals and programming. He is joined on selected tracks by Robert Friedl (sax), Tom Reif (guitar), Bernd Hemminger (bass), Josiah Ruff, Stephanie Forryan, Mel Kamper (vocals), Mattias Hase (acoustic guitar), Llioba Bruns (cello), Natascha Weber, Lyn Conary, Daniana (backing vocals).

The album opens with Rise & Shine which reveals Christa’s penchant for perfect construction with a great opening. Saxophonist Robert Friedl and guitarist Tom Reif get plenty of opportunity to bring their own ideas to the play.

Read more …

Gina Leneé – Revealed

Revealed is pianist Gina Leneé‘s second album produced by Grammy-winner Will Ackerman and co-produced, engineered, and mastered by Tom Eaton. All but one track was composed by the artist (the exception being her cover of the famous romantic ballad “On the Wings of Love’). As would be expected of an Imaginary Road Studio effort, many of the IR’s usual suspects are present in varying roles: Charlie Bisharat (violin), Premik Russell Tubbs (soprano sax and EWI), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Eugene Friesen (cello) Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) as well as Ackerman (acoustic guitar) and Eaton (electric bass). As she showed on Red Diamonds, Leneé displays a deft touch and superb control of nuance and tone, and never allowing her playing to exhibit meaningless artifice or unnecessary pyrotechnics. The guest artists are used sparingly, but as one would expect, their talents contribute to the overall aesthetic of the album whenever they do appear on a song.

Whereas Red Diamonds focused on melodies glowing with soft shadings of romance, Revealed‘s sound tends to evoke a more pensive, somber mood on most tracks, making the album more reflective and even, perhaps, meditative. Leneé’s playing style is not truly minimalist, but tends to be more sparse than some of her contemporaries. And boy, does she make every note count. The prevailing mood of introspection is immediately discerned on the opening “Undeniable” on which Leneé is joined by Oster who colors the tune with a soft glow of jazz/blues. “Finding Me Again” continues the reflective aspect of the first song, albeit with a slightly warmer melodic approach. Leneé’s playing on this song flows nicely, as if a river wending its way through the countryside under a twilight’s amber-shaded sky.

Before delving into a few more of the songs, it’s important to quote some of the artist’s liner notes, which go a long way to explain the overall tone and mood of Revealed. “Revealed is a musical dedication to empower YOU, the listener, in the darkest moments when pain, rejection, self-doubt and isolation weakens your spirit and leaves you the most vulnerable.” You can understand, now, why the main thrust of the album is a musical portrait of self-exploration and a balancing act of somber melancholy as well as a show of subtle strength. “I Want to Get Closer” exemplifies this duality as the song traverses the opening somberness with a palpable climb to subtle drama, characterized by not just Leneé’s piano but Tubbs’ softly soaring sax playing. On “Over,” Bisharat’s violin embellishes the piano melody with just the right amount of tenderness without injecting any sense of the maudlin or faux sentimentality. “Run Away With Me” is a lighter, cheerier tune, with a slightly sped-up tempo (in comparison to most of the songs on the album). Oster’s horn work adds just the right amount of something extra, an element of romance to fuse with Leneé’s piano lead.

Throughout the entirety of Revealed, what stands out to me is the depth of feeling and sincerity of emotion that Leneé brings to the fore. This is the work of a mature artist, someone who is quite comfortable in opening her soul to the listener, pouring out her memories as notes on the keyboard. As the winter approaches (for us in the northern climes, at least), here is an album that almost begs to be listened to as the days grow shorter, the nights grow colder, and the outside world slowly goes to sleep. So, set a fire in the hearth, pour yourself a glass of wine, dim the lights, and indulge in the richness that is Revealed.

You can buy the album on CDBaby.

Brian Culbertson – XX

As chart-topping multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Brian Culbertson crafts his 20th album, the aptly titled “XX” – Roman numerals representing twenty – he revealed plans for the extensive US concert tour that will support the record release. Beginning April 1 in Louisville, Kentucky, Culbertson will take an elaborately designed concert production, The XX Tour, on the road for three consecutive months, playing more than 70 shows, an extremely rare feat for a contemporary jazz artist.

Culbertson’s catalogue includes recordings of jazz – contemporary and straight ahead – as well as R&B, funk, instrumental pop and New Age. “XX,” which drops April 10, reflects his remarkable diversity.

“It’s a mix of things that I’ve done throughout my twenty records. There’s a lot of funky instrumentals, some pop-sounding tracks, a couple slow jams, straight-ahead jazz, gospel, some vocals, lots of horns and some straight-up FUNK! The album is very much a mixture of some modern sounding programming along with live instruments, too. Real drums on almost everything mixed with programming. Definitely a cool sound,” said Culbertson, who invites fans to get involved with the making of “XX” via an Indiegogo campaign that launched this week (https://igg.me/at/BCXX).

Recreating that cool sound live for The XX Tour is Culbertson’s favorite part. Like his massive Colors of Love Tour that played 77 shows in three months and was captured for “Brian Culbertson’s Colors of Love Tour: Live in Las Vegas” Blu-ray disc and two-disc CD that dropped last Valentine’s Day, Culbertson is creating the sound and look for The XX Tour as a sensory experience. The exuberant performer spends months in preproduction meticulously conceiving stunning visuals – staging, lighting, wardrobe and effects – in order to put on a mesmerizing show each time he takes the stage. In addition to spotlighting the new album, the setlist will include cuts from Culbertson’s hit-filled songbook that has amassed 32 Billboard No. 1 singles. There will also be a segment showcasing songs from “Winter Stories,” an album released last month that placed him in an acoustic jazz trio setting for the first time.
Continue reading

Walter Beasley – Bedtime

Bed Time is composed by Walter Beasley to help us cope with the daily struggles of life. Simply hit play and float away.

Get this album on CDBaby.