Archive for the ‘ Rock ’ Category

Jules Leyhe – Your First Rodeo

YourFirstRodeoThis ain’t your granddaddy’s blues. Heck, it ain’t even your daddy’s blues. Guitarist Jules Leyhe is on an entirely different trip. His forthcoming “Your First Rodeo” is a whimsical mashup of blues, hip hop, funk, fusion, jazz, rock and Latin music dropping September 17 on Monkey Finger Records. Producing the set with Protist, the Oakland, Calif.-based slide guitar slinger wrote the bucking bronco of an album that obstinately refuses to be categorized.

An audacious collection evading lasso, “Your First Rodeo” brilliantly juxtaposes futuristic elements with downhome “comfort” sounds. Leyhe paired inventive sonicscapes with soulful blues guitar play. Conceived and constructed using vivid fantasy, the guitarman wondered what it would sound like to pair diametrically opposed artists – or, in this case, use signature elements of the imagined artists’ unique style – on one recording. Picture Cardi B sitting in with the Buena Vista Social Club. Or Jimi Hendrix playing in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Or Duane Allan jamming with jazz pianist Gil Evans.

“I wanted to create music based off of collaborations that I’ve pictured of many of my favorite artists who never actually worked together. The clearest example is picturing Jimi Hendrix playing with the psychedelic Beatles era, a wild pairing that never actually happened but sure is fun to imagine and try to create with my own flavor. My bandmates’ fantastic playing and imaginations helped me reach for this sort of potential for pairing abstract, disparate musical ideas and getting away with it, or at least creating something unique to us. This album encapsulates so many musical idioms with a gritty, urban, fun feel of an old-soul Oakland band,” said Leyhe who was empowered by his Family Jules Band – keyboardist Ian McArdle, saxophonist Nancy Wright, bassist Murph Murphy and drummer Isaac Schwartz.

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Kenny Carr – Distance

Kenny Carr CD CoverDistance is Kenny Carr’s ninth album. Continuing his propensity for funk-based jazz and explorative melodic melodies, Carr has once again put together a listenable yet gritty album that goes the distance. The name Distance came from the fact that 6 of the songs on the album were written over 25 years ago, with lots of youthful exuberance. Kenny Carr is a classically trained guitar player/composer and owner of Zoozazz Music™ who lives in New York City. Kenny performs his original jazz, blues, funk, and fusion instrumental music with a trio, quartet, and other ensembles. Kenny has published nine albums recorded with NY, LA, and other musicians, including Donny McCaslin, Kenny Wollesen, Hans Glawischnig, George Laks, Andy Hess, Tony Mason, Richie Morales, Lincoln Goines, Tom Baldwin, Frank Russo, and Nashville drummer Brian Fullen.

Kenny began playing violin at age nine but by 11 realized his true passion was the guitar. Growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, with its inspiring natural beauty set the stage for Kenny’s musical career. By his early teens, he was studying jazz theory with vibraphonist Rob Lautz and renowned trumpeter Ray Brown.

Kenny was surrounded by talented aspiring musicians who became close friends. By 16, he was performing at local venues where he met drummers Kenny Wollesen, Jeff Ballard, bassist Anders Swanson, and saxophonist Donny McCaslin. In 1981, Kenny and his fellow Santa Cruz musicians were invited to open for Carmen McRae and Freddie Hubbard at the Mount Tamalpais jazz festival, a catapult inspirationally and musically. Continue reading

Patrick Bradley – Exhale

Patrick Bradley has always emphasized exquisite quality in his productions. This is easily recognizable by his albums Come Rain Or Shine (2006), Under The Sun (2011) and Can You Hear Me (2014). Already on his previous recordings were always big names among the studio musicians. This is no different with his new album Exhale (2021). If on his previous albums the main anchor and producer was Jeff Lorber, this time Darren Rahn is clearly at the center of the action.

Patrick understands his new project also as a way of switching off, forgetting the worries of everyday life and recognizing music as a source of comfort and inspiration. He explains: “This is a special project and I’m hoping people get that when they listen to it because it’s almost like there’s some of my DNA in there. We’ve all had a hard year – whether it’s COVID fatigue, political fatigue or whatever. I’m hoping people will listen to the album and it will give them some sort of release, a sense of hope, and that somehow it’s inspirational.”

With the opener Completely Yours Patrick and Darren address the romantic highlights of a love relationship. The song is inspired by Mort Garson’s Our Day will ComeReinvention is a collection of pure harmony. Jeff Lorber inserts his familiar bubbling synth bass, while Michael Thompson adds glittering points of guitar riffs with his distorted electric guitar.

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Patrick Yandall – Rouge River

Guitarist Patrick Yandall is without a doubt one of the most productive musicians under America’s sun. This year alone he has released three albums, Jazz On The Vine, Nylon Expression and now Rouge River.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Yandall now routinely records, produces and releases the entire album himself. Each album has a certain direction and purpose. Rouge River is Patrick’s homage to his roots and the beautiful state of Michigan.

Also on this album Patrick lives out his artistic freedom to record what is close to his heart. And so it starts with Zug Island, a piece Patrick has created in the energetic style of the group Tower Of Powers. Hammond B3 organ and a strong horn arrangement support his guitar performance. Instead of sterile drum programming he conveys the use of an advanced live drum kit.

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Kenny Carr – Hard Jazz

Guitarist Kenny Carr had the pleasure of touring worldwide with Ray Charles for over 10 years. He was lead guitar for the recordings Just Between Us and Live at Montreux. Since Charles’ passing, Carr performed in Maceo Parker’s Ray Charles tribute big band in addition to headlining NYC’s premier jazz clubs with his Quartet. Carr’s discography of titles including: Friday at Five (2005), Turn the Page (2006), Changing Tide (2007), Idle Talk (2015), Exit Moon (2015), Departure (2018), and Passages (2020).

His new album is Hard Jazz (June 2020), Carr’s eighth album. He takes listeners down a different path to explore his other love of music aside from blues and jazz…rock and roll. In this collection of 10 original tunes backed by acclaimed drummer Richie Morales and guest players, Carr revives a number of compositions drafted across his 40 years of playing and writing. “It was an itch I needed to scratch,” says Carr of his motivation to turn to rock after focusing on jazz and blues. “Richie and I had so much fun jamming one day, I wanted to see where it took us. The genres are cousins after all, and a lot of my past albums have a blend of jazz, blues and some rock elements. I did something similar with Exit Moon a few years ago.”

Indeed, Carr’s jazz has often leaned toward the melodic and bluesy, an influence of Ray Charles, yet Hard Jazz doesn’t abandon jazz completely, with improvised solos and fundamental jazz structures. Carr notes that many of the tunes were written years ago but had been buried, “A couple of the pieces date back to my teens, and I was definitely wearing my heart on my sleeve on a few others” Richie and I recorded these pieces just prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I decided to release the album now, much earlier than planned, because the pandemic made it feel more relevant. Everyone is grieving and going through different shocks right now, but also celebrating heroes and recoveries. I felt all of that in these tunes.”
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Felipe Barragan – Electric Acoustic

Guitarist and composer Felipe Barragan has just released his debut album Electric Acoustic with elements of Rock music and smooth jazz. He plays in local bands since the 80’s as professional guitarist. La Mafia, Sheriff, Bubble, Versus, Fantasia, Ciclopea, Antara are the names of these formations. Currently he is musical director in the band Grupo Matiz.

Download his album on Amazon.com.

Neamen – Moment Of Truth

Arizona native sax performer Neamen Lyles aka Neamen began his solo career striving to be a smooth jazz star. In this rare case, claim and reality coincide. Recordings and performances with the likes of Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun, Mel Brown, Mindi Abair and sharing events with Dave Koz, Jay Soto, Greg Karrukas and others speak a clear language.

He dispelled all doubts with his debut work So Free (2011), which was highly praised by critics. Now he continues his earlier success and has released his second album Moment Of Truth together with Jay Soto, with whom he also produced his debut album.

Neamen performs on the new album tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, Jay Soto guitars and keyboards. Jay also made mixing and engineering. Additional musicians are Austin Carthell, Rachelle Youngberg, Eric Loveres,  Erika Schiff, Steve Lane and Crystal Stark (lead vocals), Jodi Light (background vocals), Tom Gioia, Marlon McClain (guitars), Mikey B (B3), Mel Brown, Mario Mendivil (bass), Tony Mora, Yon Yokobian (drums and percussion), Rick Peron, Carlos Chavez (trumpet), Bobby Hastings, Bradon Larson (tenor sax) and Hiram Perez (baritone sax).

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Patrick Yandall – When Its Hip

To classify Patrick Yandall as a smooth jazz guitarist would not do justice to his stylistic spectrum. Smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, blues, rock, every genre is a facet of his musical personality. Patrick’s new album When Its Hip has exactly these edges that make up the whole Yandall package.

Patrick performs all instruments on the new album. With the exception of three covers he has written all songs. The album is launched with the title song. While the lead guitar is focused on chords offers the main part variations of trumpet, bass and guitar underlined by synth strings. King James is somewhat harder due to the use of distortion effects. Even a short piano solo is included.

B Boy is called a break-dancer, who follows the athletic path of street dancing. Piano and guitar alternate in the presentation of the main motif. Most friends of smooth jazz will know Who’s That Lady through guitarist Peter White, who helped the 1973 Isley Bothers song to new fame. Unlike Peter White, Patrick lets the wildness of the guitar shine in its untamed form.

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Jay Soto – On The Verge

All started in 2005 with Long Time Coming. With nuGroove Records Jay Soto had his second start with his promising album Stay Awhile followed by Mesmerized in 2009. After a long hiatus he came back with Veritas (2015). The title is the Latin word for truth and reveals Jay’s affinity for the Catholic religion.

Jay Soto’s On The Verge, is an exciting new album release filled with all new original songs in the style of the cherished 70’s and 80’s Soft Rock era. The album marks Jay’s first vocal release, giving his fans something exceptionally new while still dishing out a couple of notable Smooth Jazz guitar instrumentals, including his new hit, Got Groove. Fans of Smooth Jazz and Soft Rock icons such as Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald and Ambrosia will surely love this album.

You can pre-order this album on Amazon.com.

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers – The EastWest Sessions

I saw it coming. Smooth jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair joined Aerosmith for their 2012 Summer Tour and Bruce Springsteen and Max Weinberg for a night at the Beacon Theater. Infected by the Rock music virus her music became edgier. Mindi comments: “From touring with Aerosmith to getting to sit in with Bruce Springsteen for a song, those experiences gave me the permission to go a little more rootsy, and I’m going to run with it!″

The EastWest Sessions is her second album with the group The Boneshakers. The first one was Live In Seattle (2015). Mindi already worked with Boneshakers’ founder Randy Jacobs on his albums From Me To You (2005) and Rhythm And The Beat (2013). The Boneshakers are Randy Jacobs (guitar, vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (vocals), Rodney Lee (keys), Derek Frank (bass, vocals), and Third Richardson (drums, vocals). Featured guest musicians on the new album are iconic Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa and Grammy awarded singer Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz better known under his stage name Fantastic Negrito.

The album starts with Vinyl, a powerful rock-fueled song showcasing Mindi in the double feature as singer and saxophonist. Forgotten is the sweetness of former records. This Mindi is sharp like a steel needle. Not That Kind of Girl is not just a title, it’s a statement. Third Richardson treats his drums with mighty beats and guitar and sax crank up the volume to the max. With a lot of party noise, Mindi pushes her rock heart to the limit.

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