Archive for the ‘ Soul Jazz ’ Category

Grover Washington Jr. – In The Name Of Love – The Elektra Years 1979 to 1984

GROVER WASHINGTON JR ELEKTRAA great run of music from Grover Washington Jr – five full albums, plus lots of bonus tracks too! First up is Paradise – one of those records you see so much it’s easy to forget how great it is! Grover’s a real genius with the sax on this record – taking a “less is more” cue from Stanley Turrentine’s 70s work, and toning down his playing to an even tighter style than on the Kudu albums of earlier years, to a level of ultimate economy that really leaves us breathless. Grover hits a rarified level here that we’d only reserve for a small few – like Steely Dan or The Crusaders, both groups who teeter on the same brink, and make it work perfectly. Titles include “Asia’s Theme”, “Tell Me About It Now”, “Feel It Comin”, “Icey”, and “The Answer In Your Eyes”. 

Winelight is a smooth smooth classic from Grover Washington Jr – a set that has a classy image on the cover, and a classic groove within – a completely sublime blend of jazz, soul, and funk, all given the sort of masterful finish that you might have found on the best records by The Crusaders at the time! The difference, though, is that Washington’s the lead soloist throughout – crafting some especially nice lines on his trademark soprano sax – which he used in ways that made him one of the most important mainstream jazz artists of his time – and one of the few to really open the doors of the music to folks who might not have been listening otherwise. Grover’s sense of space and timing is wonderful throughout – and titles include the classic debut with Bill Withers on “Just The Two Of Us” –plus “Winelight”, “Let It Flow”, “In The Name Of Love”, “Take Me There”, and “Make Me A Memory (Sad Samba)”. 

On Come Morning, Grover Washington blows over some great arrangements from William Eaton – full, but lean too – and with the same sort of slinky groove that always worked best for Grover back at Kudu Records! The sound is tight, but never too slick – that magically soulful approach that always made Grover a real standout from his contemporaries – one of the few cats who could smooth out jazz without ever losing its soul – thanks to lots of well-crafted lead lines on soprano sax! Titles include “East River Drive”, “Jamming”, “Little Black Samba”, “Be Mine”, and “Reaching Out”. Continue reading

Elena Maque – Feel Again

Elena Maque - CD CoverWhen an outstanding talent, an extraordinary voice and an engaging exterior enter into a glorious fusion, it is time to point out this exceptional entity. Russian born vocalist and saxophonist Elena Maque has honed her polished skills in Russia, Europe and America.

Her debut album Feel Again was born out of a collaboration with Los Angeles-based legendary keyboardist and producer Scott Kinsey. The recordings were made in Seattle and Los Angeles. Among them are established session players such as drummer Gary Novak, bass players Hadrien Feraud and Logan Kane, saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev and guitarist Leonardo Amuedo.

The starting track Hey Friend rises all triggers. Trenchantly to the point, Elena gets her message across with an incredible timbre. She skillfully adapts the vocal style of earlier jazz female vocalists such as Billie Holiday. Scott Kinsey on Rhodes and Alexey on sax give the whole thing a perfect setting.

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Camera Soul – Esagerato

esageratoItalian brothers Piero and Pippo Lombardo founded in 2011 the group Camera Soul. This formation is specialized on jazz, funk and soul especially in the style of Earth, Wind & Fire, George Duke or Stevie Wonder. Their first album was Words Don’t Speak (2011), followed by Not For Ordinary People (2013), Dress Code (2015), Connections (2017), and Existence (2019).

Their newest project is Esagerato (2021). The title means in Italian “exaggerated”. The new album is created by Pippo Lombardo (music, keyboards and arrangements), Piero Lombardo (music and lyrics), Maria Enrica Lotesoriere (lyrics, voice and choirs), Alex Milella (guitars), Beppe Sequestro (bass), Fabio Delle Foglia (drums), Piero Dotti and Elio Arcieri (background vocals), Leo Gadaleta (strings and string arrangements), Daniele Scannapieco (tenor sax). The brass session consists of Alberto Di Leone (trumpet), Gianni Binetti (alto sax), Bruno Tassone (tenor sax) and Antonio Fallacara (trombone). The lyrics of Dancing in the dark are by Kathryn Ballard Shut.

Opener of the album is the title song. A piece in which the group shows everything it has in it. A stirring melody, virtuoso mastery of the instruments and a voice that makes you sit up and take notice.

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Thomas Motter – Time

timeGerman keyboard genius Thomas Motter has made the music world blissful with the albums No Return (2005), Nite Angel (2006), High (2012), Lost & Loved (2013) and Somewhere Out There (2016). After personal strokes of fate, he has again found the strength for a new album in pandemic. His answer is Time (2021).

For Thomas, time is one of the most precious resources because it is limited and melts away so quickly. Conceptually, Thomas emphasizes many vocal contributions, juxtaposing singers with different timbres and performance styles. All tracks are written by Thomas often in cooperation with the relevant interpret.

The album opens with Closer 2U featuring highly expressive singer/songwriter LeNora Jaye. The energetic piece is powerfully supported by a strong brass trio consisting of Arno Haas (sax), Fred Birt (trombone) and Igor Rudytskyy (trumpet). Thomas Motter underlines everything with brilliant keyboard runs.

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Michael Mayo – Bones

BonesThe singer Michael Mayo has an interesting vita. Michael’s dad Scott Mayo was a saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, his mother Valerie Pinkston, now a back-up vocalist for Diana Ross, also sang with Beyoncé, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, and Whitney Houston. Among his teachers at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz was Herbie himself.

Michael considers his voice to be a musical instrument like Bobby McFerrin, whom Michael counts among his influences. Stylistically, his music is difficult to classify. This is primarily because Michael doesn’t want to be tied down to a particular genre. His range is between R&B, soul and jazz, although the term soul jazz does him the most justice.

Michael performs on his debut album Bones (2021) everything his body can give. Vocals, handclaps, beatboxing, vocal percussion and whistle. He is backed up by the musicians Andrew Freedman (keyboards, synthesizers, piano, electric guitar, handclaps), Nick Campbell (electric bass, synth bass, electric guitar, handclaps), Robin Baytas (drums, handclaps), Eli Wolf (programming) and his parents Scott Mayo and Valerie Pinkston (vocals).

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Michael Mayo – Bones

BonesBorn and raised in L.A., but a diehard New Yorker for the past five years (drawn by “the music, art and energy, its motivating factor”), 28-year-old Michael Mayo finished work on his debut solo album Bones, on the Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, just before COVID hit. The tracks were cut live with his band — keyboardist Andrew Freedman, bassist Nick Campbell and drummer Robin Baytas, all of whom he’s played with since high school or college — at Figure8 Recordings in Brooklyn. Eli Wolf, a veteran Grammy®-winning producer of albums by Al Green, Norah Jones and The Roots, did the honors behind the board. “Being from L.A., I really know how to chill, but coming to New York has really kicked me into gear,” says Mayo.

The son of “first-call” session and touring musicians, Michael’s dad Scott Mayo was a saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, among many others, and is currently the musical director for Sergio Mendes, while his mom Valerie Pinkston, now a back-up vocalist for Diana Ross, also sang with Beyoncé, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and even alt icon Morrissey.

Bones is Mayo’s first full-length album under his own name after studying at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute — now named after Herbie Hancock, who mentored Mayo, helping him discover the link between sound and technology through a looper pedal, and showcased him as a featured vocalist on a tour of South America in 2018. Continue reading

Stephanie Lottermoser – Hamburg

61Bf9HOaDOL._SL1200_The saxophonist and singer Stephanie Lottermoser, who comes from Munich and now lives in Hamburg, moves stylistically between jazz, soul, funk and pop. In the combination of playing the saxophone and singing, she has found her very own musical language. In 2013 Stephanie Lottermoser received a Bavarian Art Prize in the form of a scholarship for a six-month stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, where she wrote the music for her third album, Paris Songbook.

She completed her studies at the HMTM Munich, she was also a long member of the Bavarian State Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Harald Rüschenbaum and is now herself a lecturer for the Ljjb in the Jazz Juniors course, which takes place four times a year in changing music academies in Bavaria. She has released five solo albums to date – Second Glance (2009), Good Soul (2013), Paris Songbook (2015/Downhill Records), This Time (2018/Motor Music) and this year Hamburg (Leopard Records/2021).

This album is available on Amazon.

Ricky Peterson And The Peterson Brothers – Under The Radar

4049774770791The Peterson Brothers – keyboardist Ricky Peterson, bassist Billy Peterson, drummer / guitarist Paul Peterson and their nephew, saxophonist Jason Peterson DeLaire – are musical high-profile institutions in Minneapolis, members and survivors of the musical revolution that brought the city of Minneapolis in the late 1970s and 80s learned. The brothers shaped and still shape the urban sound in the heart of Minnesota – and we all know that musical heartbeat. This is music that everyone can relate to, because it is characterized by a strong groove. Add to this the natural talent of these musicians and years of playing with the best of the best – from Prince to Bonnie Raitt, from Eddie Harris to Mose Allison, from Dave Sanborn to Boz Scaggs, from Fleetwood Mac to Bob Dylan, to name but a few .

On Under The Radar, the Peterson Brothers present new pieces based on the soul jazz of the 60s and 70s. It’s about groove! The fact that it took a couple of decades to get these world travelers together in the same room for a few days to record Under The Radar was worth it. On Under The Radar the Peterson Brothers present, for the first time together, new pieces based on the soul jazz of the 60s and 70s. A real groove highlight!

Buy the album on Amazon.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – I Told You So

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio—or as it is sometimes referred to, DLO3—specialize in the lost art of “feel good music.” The ingredients of this intoxicating cocktail include a big helping of the 1960s organ jazz stylings of Jimmy Smith and Baby Face Willette; a pinch of the snappy soul strut of Booker T. The M.G.’s and The Meters; and sprinkles Motown, Stax Records, blues, and cosmic Jimi Hendrix-style guitar. It’s a soul-jazz concoction that goes straight to your heart and head makes your body break out in a sweat.

The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuosic musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is drummer Dan Weiss (also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones). Dan’s smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry.

Founded by Lamarr’s wife and manager Amy Novo, the trio started from humble beginnings in 2015, but since then has released two Billboard charting albums and toured the world to sold out venues. The trio returns now with their second studio album, I Told You So, with even heavier grooves and more confidence. It may have been several years since their most recent studio effort, but they haven’t missed a beat. The album is scheduled for release January 29, 2021.

You can pre-order the album at bandcamp.

 

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Close But No Cigar

81rP6CHVlGL._SL1200_Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio was founded in 2015 and originally consisted of keyboardist Delvon Lamarr Dumas on Hammond B-3, guitarist Colin Higgins and drummer David McGraw. Soon after guitarist Jimmy James replaced Higgins. All members had been active instrumentalists in the Seattle music scene. With the help of Lamarr’s wife, Amy Novo, acting as manager and booking agent, the group was solidified. Originally a drummer and trumpet player, Lamarr switched to organ at age twenty-two. He said he picked up the instrument naturally by observing organist/keyboardist Joe Doria. James and McGraw had previously co-founded ‘The True Loves’, a Seattle-based 9-piece soul band.

The trio’s debut album Close But No Cigar was originally released in 2016 (on CD), and was re-released in March 2018 (on both LP and CD) by Colemine Records. The album reached number one on the U.S. Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and number three on the U.S. Jazz Albums chart.

The debut album is still available on bandcamp.