Archive for the ‘ Pop ’ Category

Rob Tardik – Synergy

SynergyToronto based guitar virtuoso Rob Tardik is a regular contributor to the smooth jazz world. Without Words (2006), followed by The Right Time (2009), Balance.Energy.Laughter.Love (B.E.L.L) in 2011, Limitless (2013), and Moments (2015) are landmarks in music history. The new album Synergy (2017) exploits Tardik’s full potential, who focuses this time on teamwork and diversity.

Synergy starts with Rob’s powerful and funky guitar chords in remarkable mastery and conviction. Carson Freeman adds his colorful signature tenor sax sound. Vincent Ingala does not appear as a well-known saxophonist but shows his talents as bassist, pianist and drum programmer.

Once in a Lifetime turns the pointer on soft rock music featuring Mark Masri as lead vocalist in the style of Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. The uplifting Hope is an entertaining mood-setter with the flair of Rocco Granata’s huge hit Marina.

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Michael J Thomas – Driven

Saxophonist Michael J. Thomas earned his first merits as a member of the Jive Rockets. In 2010 he debuted his solo career with the album City Beat. The song Amante Del Vino taken from this album is weaved into the plot of the movie Contagion, starring Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet.

Driven is his sophomore album and was just released on Harbor Breeze Records. Michael has written all the tracks, in part with other musicians. “I decided that this would be a passion project for me more than trying to write music that fits the traditional model,” explains Destin, Florida-based Thomas.

Michael performs on this album soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, and vocals. Additional supporting musicians are Shannon Wallace (guitar, percussion, horn arrangement), Oli Silk (keys/synths, strings, percussion, bass programming), Eric Lampley (bass, horn arrangements), Omari Williams and Frank “Third” Richardson (drums), Trammel Starks (keys/synths, strings, percussion), Gino Rosaria (keys/synths), Andre Forbes (keys/synths, strings, horn arrangements), Paul Scurto (trumpet), Mark James and Chris Blackwell (guitar) and Joseph Patrick Moore (bass).

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Peet Project – The Bad Boys of Budapest

Hungary has a lot to offer, its specialties, its nature, the beautiful capital. However its famous export is music. In the smooth jazz genre a new Hungarian group has established, Peet Project. The group comprised currently of violinist, composer, producer Peter “Peet” Ferencz, saxophonist Attila Závodi, keyboardist Olivér Magán, bassist Martin Gudics, and drummer Marcell Gudics.

Everything started with their debut Pink Spirit, released in 2010. Their sophomore album Turn You On already followed in 2011, then Overseas (2013) and Love (2015). Their newest endeavor is entitled The Bad Boys Of Budapest (2017) and offers guest appearances by keyboardist Jonathan Fritzén, saxophonist Dave Koz, bassist and singer Gáspár Laci and singer James Copley from the band Electro Deluxe.

Downtown Therapy is the music the community need, crisp like a freshly laid egg, with the dynamic of the youth and the violin in the lead, a rare sound in the world of smooth jazz. The group has no reservations to pop music as it provides with Don’t Wanna Know, which could easily make the jump into the charts with intelligent instrumentation and astounding energy.

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Organissimo – B3tles: A Soulful Tribute to the Fab Four

It’s difficult to imagine any mainstream pop or rock band covered more than The Beatles. And jazz musicians are like pirates finding buried treasure as they peruse the Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Star songbook. Organissimo takes the music to a different arena with B3tles: A Soulful Tribute to the Fab Four (Big O Records, 2017).

Alfredson plays the Hammond B3 organ, Wurlitzer electric piano and synthesizers. His accompanists are Lawrence Barris, guitar; and Randy Marsh, drums. Percussionist Bill Vits joins for a few tracks, and Mike List plays tabla on “Within You Without You.”

“Taxman” enters a new world at the fingers of Alfredson. The beat starts with a funky groove. The verses and choruses are relatively straightforward. Then the organ goes on an excursion, making good on the 19-to-1 offer, stated in George Harrison’s lyrics. After the middle solo, the call-and-response interlude repeats, leading to a phrase where the base rhythm continues, with Barris stretching out. The song closes with the main theme.

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Bruce Blackman – Is That Your Yacht?

Bruce Blackman aims to please. He rarely, if ever, misses his mark. And he scores again with Is That Your Yacht? (Starbuck Music, 2017).

The musicians are Blackman, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion and bass; other vocals: Jerome Olds, Jim Tice, Lina Kawar-Machaelides, Sarah Blackman, Meeko, and Cheryl Wilson; Randy Hoexter, keyboards and strings; Bo Wagner, percussion and vibes; Larry Cianelli, percussion and bass; James Cobb, bass; Atlanta Symphony, strings; Robert Taylor, guitar and violin; and the Bentley Brass, horns.

A coastal location in Spain, the Caribbean or South America may be the setting for the opening track, “Luz De Luna,” or “light of the moon.” It’s a tropical ballad that’s accented by Taylor’s guitar. Blackman sings of a midnight rendezvous with his lover – sneaking away while everyone else is asleep.

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The James Kōb Experience – So Right

American composer, lyricist, arranger and producer James Kōb introduces himself to the smooth jazz genre with a personal mixture of Pop, Jazz, Bossa Nova and a little cinematic music. It’s the James Kōb experience and the musical brain wave is entitled So Right.

His paradigm is, smooth jazz has to break out of a special instrumental formula. Mix-up the jazz genres a little bit to stay relevant in both instrumental, vocal and style to avoid to get homogenized. One can add to this, you should also go out of your own warm nest cave.

The participants James involved in his music are Maria Schafer, Danielle Field (vocals), Bobby Cruz (piano, strings), Tripp Sprague, Adam Schroeder and Alex Budman (sax), Ian Francisco (piano, strings), Dan Hall, John Leftwich (bass), Mark Haley (drums, bongos), Michael Smith (percussion), Eric Hughes, Steve Hughes (trombone), Jamie Hovorka, Kyle Palmer (trumpet), Rick Schimdt (guitar), and Lara Wickes (oboe).

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Sam Curo – Every Day

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, that are the professions of South Los Angeles native Sam Curo. His seasoned baritone voice recalls the singer and front man Mark King from the group Level 42.

In 2014 he released his album Everyday. All songs are written and produced by Sam Curo and Albert Lucero. Guest musicians are Danny Clay Williams on bass and George Quirin on guitar.

The title songs offers a wide harmonic approach. A fundamental basic for Sam Curo to express his vocal virtuosity and intensity. The muted trumpet underlines this melancholic impression. Fundamental topic of his songs like Then There Was You is the dual relationship with all its implications and conflicts. Vocal intonation, resonance and phrasings are amazingly versatile and adapted to the mood.

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