Archive for the ‘ World Music ’ Category

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

Kirk Whalum – Humanité

Sax legend Kirk Whalum is as I already stated in another review a wanderer between the two worlds of smooth jazz and Gospel music. With his new album Humanité he breaks through this scheme.

Humanité is an album, whose music is formed in mosaic shape by the musicians and their involved personalities they have brought in to the recording process. Among many others the following musicians are participating: Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui, the young bass phenomenon Barry Likumahuwa, gifted singer/songwriter Grace Sahertian and global pop star Indonesian singer/actor Afgansyah Reza, known to many as Afgan, vocalist/guitarist Zahara, one of South Africa’s biggest stars, Kasiva Mutwa of Nairobi, and the veteran UK jazz vocalist Liane Carroll.

Curtis Mayfield’s song Move On Up has lost none of its radiance since its inception in the ’70s. Especially in the last months you can meet his song in ever new variations. Kirk Whalum goes his own way with his interpretation which is settled near a jazzy attitude in a Weather Report way. Singer Brendan Reilly is sensationally excellent.

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Incendio – Summoning the Muse

The acclaimed Los-Angeles-based group Incendio performs original “world guitar” compositions, featuring incredible guitar-playing across a variety of genres: latin, middle-eastern, and celtic grooves. Formed in 1999, the group has 10 CD’s and 2 DVD’s available internationally, variously hitting the Billboard, CMJ, NAV, and Amazon.com charts. Averaging over 150 shows a year since 2000, INCENDIO’s live performance is an explosive improvisatory journey, garnering tremendous audience response in such diverse venues as the National Gallery of Art, Reston Town Center, Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite, the Sundance Film Festival, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, California World Festival, the Beishan World Music Festival in China, the national Levitt Pavilions and many more across the U.S. Their ninth international release, the recent Christmas-themed “O Night Divine”, came out in December 2015.

Their previous release, June 2013’s “The Shape of Dreams”, stayed at or near the top of the Amazon flamenco and world charts for the remainder of that year. They have reached over 96 million spins on Pandora alone, and can be heard on terrestrial radio as well as many other streaming services. The group will promote their new 2019 CD “Summoning the Muse”, across the USA this summer. This album settled between Flamenco and world music is recommended by smooth jazz expert Ronald Jackson (The Smooth Jazz Ride).

The album is available on Amazon.com.

Dirk K – Selfie Nation

Dirk K, guitarist with German heritage, has a strong affinity for Latin jazz and smooth jazz. More than 16 solo albums, eight CDs with band projects and over 30 albums for other performers are a vivid testimony to his productivity. His newest project Selfie Nation (2019) is however a departure to new shores.

Dirk himself settles his new music on in the area of electronic dance music, jazz and world music and uses the adjective incongruous, ambient, peculiar. So let us prepare ourselves for the special. The length of the pieces, which are not at all adapted to the radio format, is already unusual. A rebellion?

Dirk K plays on the new album all instruments and is joined by David Inamine (bass) and Michael Joy (Wurlitzer, Rhodes and Mini Moog on Nothing Personal). Special guest is King Ibu on Selfie Nation (vocals and talking drum). Dirk has written Selfie Nation, all other songs are covers.

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Adam Urban & Aficionados – Ab Origine

Hailing from Prague, Czech Republic multi-instrumentalist Adam Urban (who previously released his music under pseudonym RENK) is coming up with a new approach to creating and presents his new album in collaboration with a group of artists he called Aficionados.

This album beyond the usual genres is available on CDBaby.

Bill Leyden – Two Hearts

Bill Leyden is a prolific composer and modern-day interpreter of the Native American-style flute. For this album, Bill has used vintage guitars and world instruments to create an emotional collection of melodies ideal for relaxation and contemplation. The music seems to invite the listener to explore hidden spaces and feelings and to perhaps find … Two Hearts.

Ambient music with vintage guitars, orchestration, and piano. Ideal for relaxation and contemplation. Now on CDBaby.

Daniel Girón – Prisma

Daniel Girón was born in Bogota Colombia, and from a very early age, his interest in music was evident. At the age of 16, he began to teach himself to play guitar. By age 17, seeking a more solid foundation, he began his Classical guitar studies in the School of Music Luis A. Calvo in Bogota under the direction of Humberto Franco. Later, he commenced college studies in music at the Pedagogica Nacional University, where he took classes with the great Colombian guitarist and composer Gentil Montana. His studies there included flamenco guitar and modern harmony with Roberto Martinez. Daniel attended Great Lectures of Classical Guitar instructed by Eduardo Fernandez, Leo Brower, Tomas Patterson, and Alirio Diaz, among other great Maestros.

His new album Prisma is recommended by Ronald Jackson (Smooth Jazz Ride), a confluence of Spanish flamenco guitars with jazz Latin rhythms. It’s available under the genres world music and gypsy jazz on CDBaby.

Dimitri K. – Blue Cat

Dimitri Kovachev  a.k.a. Dimitri K. lived in Sofia, Bulgaria in the 80’s. Now he works as a music composer, producer and publisher, with a recording production studio in Orlando, Central Florida.

His smooth jazz projects are So Intensified (2016), Silence (2017) and Slim Profile (2017). His newest one is Blue Cat, also released in 2017. Dimitri has written, arranged and performed all tracks.

The starter and title song presents an intimate interplay between Dimitri and guitarist John Valeri. John’s own release Now (2015) is still available on CDBaby. Both musicians place less importance on virtuosity than on atmosphere. Harmony is the magic word.

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Jowee Omicil – Let’s BasH!

Honorably mentioned by Talking Smooth Jazz as one of their top ten albums of the year 2017 Let’s BasH! by Jowee Omicil is one of the most creative and unique albums of smooth jazz or contemporary instrumental of this year. Born in Montreal to Haitian parents, Jowee was once summoned to honor his heritage at a Haitian Flag Day observation at the Obama White House, further strengthening his resolve that his music has a higher purpose. His father Joseph Sr., a minister and college professor, who raised Jowee alone after the premature passing of his mother, deeply infused that spiritual pursuit.

Multi instrumentalist-composer-educator-producer Jowee (pron. “Joey”) Omicil brings a novel and distinctly Afro-Haitian perspective to his music. He’s part of a growing cadre of Caribbean-descended artists bringing new flavors to the creative music spectrum. Jowee possesses a distinctive, soulful and spiritual sound on saxophones and flutes that extends to his clarinet and harmonica ventures.

Give this album a try on Amazon.com.

Jesse Cook – Beyond Borders

“There are many borders in our lives. Some are built by others, some we create for ourselves. Whenever I have ventured beyond the borders in my life, I have been the better for it. Beauty, humanity, artistry, joy, wisdom, and of course love…these things don’t stop at some line on a page. If music is the universal language, maybe there is something it can teach us?”…Jesse Cook

Following on the heels of One World’s critical and commercial success, Jesse Cook is ready to launch his new album Beyond Borders. This is the most sonically diverse and distinctive disc in Jesse Cook’s vast and varied catalog. This catalog has earned Jesse 11 Juno nominations and one Juno win for 2000’s Free Fall. Beyond Borders is an in-depth musical journey exploring the exotic boundaries of World Music.

Get it on Amazon.com.