Archive for the ‘ New Age ’ Category

Jeff Oster – Next

Jeff Oster Next FAWith his newest album, Next (2015), Jeff Oster brings his horn front and center – you’ll hear his unmistakable tone floating over these 12 new tracks like never before. For Jeff, this album is about rebirth and change, and tells the story of what’s next for him, both as a musician and in his life.

“next is about claiming who I am, and who I’ve always wanted to be,” says Jeff. “It’s why I live. It takes strength and power to step out into the unknown. Not everyone opens the door and takes the risk to try something new, something you’ve dreamed of for years. And with uncertainty comes the joy of freedom. This album represents my moment to truly make a statement…to claim my place as a musician with something important to share.”

With “next”, Jeff creates a new genre – New Age Ambient Funk – and along for the ride are guitarist Nile Rodgers (Chic, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Madonna) on the title track, and five songs created during a legendary session with the duo of drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and bassist Chuck Rainey – musicians that he has respected and admired for his entire musical career.

Jeff Oster has always amazed me. Anyone who sounds like no one else amazes me, but a guy who grows so stunningly as a composer and player in the space of a few years inspires nothing but awe. NEXT is a step in musical evolution from where we last heard from Jeff… rather like the apes harnessing fire and inventing French cuisine. It’s a joy as his friend and co-producer to watch someone you love and respect grow into an artist of true importance and significance in a world of background noise.

Listen to this. It matters. Available here.

Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton – Brothers

a2849930055_16A quiet acoustic album that will remind you of the finest of the Windham Hill releases. It comes by its pedigree rightly, as Will Ackerman is the founder of Windham Hill Records. It combines Will Ackerman’s Grammy® Award winning acoustic guitar, Jeff Oster’s signature and soulful flugelhorn and trumpet, with Tom Eaton’s textural artistry on piano, keyboards, percussion and electric, acoustic and bass guitars.

A perfect addition to your acoustic, New Age, and early morning and late evening chill personal playlists.

Buy the album at bandcamp.

Trevor Gordon Hall – This Beautiful Chaos

ALBUM ART Trevor Gordon Hall - This Beautfiul ChaosTrevor Gordon Hall is a unique and pioneering voice on the international stage; a musical journeyman who speaks through his guitar and every sound that it’s capable of, rather than words. On top of a touring calendar that’s taken him through 17 countries and counting, his growing discography has amassed millions of listens and views through Spotify and YouTube, allowing his music to connect across borders and languages.

Rated a top 30 under 30 guitarist by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, he is widely recognized for his invention of the “kalimbatar” — a guitar that combines a customized African finger piano, called the kalimba — and has shared the stage with or drawn admiration from peers and guitar legends ranging from John Mayer and Steve Miller to Will Ackerman and Phil Keaggy. Whether it’s through his solo work, international touring, new collaborations or teaching students, he thrives on the discovery and lives for the possibility, and that’s what makes him such a thrilling artist to follow and grow old with in the years to come.

The album This Beautiful Chaos features 6 different guitars (Standard Acoustic, Baritone Acoustic, Nylon String, High Strung Guitar, Electric Guitar and Portuguese instrument named Viola Amarantina). This music is the culmination of so many experiences around the globe with concerts Trevor has played, people he has met, relationships he has forged, places he has visited, cultures he has explored, food he has eaten, and even more food that he has eaten, lessons he had learned, ideas he has read, music he has heard, and hours of solitude corralling them all into notes, chords and rhythms. Life is crazy and chaotic, but it is beautiful. We all need to be reminded of that from time to time.

The album is available is on all digital platforms. Physical copies are available at Trevor’s website.

Harley Cortez – An Inventory of Memory: Volume II

AnInventoryIf we were only to focus on Harley Cortez’s forthcoming second chapter in his four-album “An Inventory of Memory” recording series, it would be like having a phone conversation with someone with spotty cell service that allows you to hear every fourth word. The Los Angeles-based musician turned painter, filmmaker and writer utilizes the full scope of his artistic gifts to communicate his messages and themes. Set to release “An Inventory of Memory: Vol. II” on August 13, Cortez’s examination of genetic memory has been the muse of his multidisciplinary art for several years, but this musical exploration delves deeply into loss and how to process it after the passing of his mother and nephew with the goal of turning loss into beauty.      

The evocative, cinematic music Cortez composed for “An Inventory of Memory: Vol. II” is indeed beautiful. He wrote and performed the eight Avant-classical tracks that he brought to life with the aid of accompaniment by Modeste Colban on flute and saxophone, violinist Andy Baldwin and Nancy Kuo’s (Janelle Monae) strings.

The album opens with the minimalist “Metaphors,” a soothing, electronic vibrational mantra. The gentle piano cadence on “Y” and its gorgeous melody intimately convey raw emotion, planting the seed of renewal and the blossoming of hope in its radiance and simplicity. “How We Become Butterflies” is transcendental, nurtured by airy piano passages, a plunging upright bass line, and gentle dancing upon a ride cymbal. A string quartet illumines “Be Still,” turning it into a sweeping, emotionally poignant meditation. A somber majesty reigns on the contemplative “Seven Mountains” while “After the Tz’utujil Ceremony in Atitlan” includes an audio sample from a Mayan tribe recorded in Cortez’s mother’s native Guatemala. A serene interlude, “Selected Memories” feels transitional, offering comfort and optimism. The recording closes with a “How We Become Butterflies” (Reprise) on which Colban’s moody saxophone plunges to vaster depths than on the original.    

“After a hard year of many losses, I decided to resume finishing these albums. The thing I realized is that we all experience loss in some form, but it’s a whole other thing to create beauty from it. I suppose the job of the artist is to be the vessel, one that the traumatic experience can filter beauty from,” said Cortez, who has exhibitions of his paintings and sculptures opening in Mexico City at the Museo Tamayo in October and at another venue (to be announced) in the same city in November.

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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.