ThaSaint – Touch

touchTouch is all about feeling and getting back in tune musically after losing a lot of music icons in 2016. ThaSaint music is Smooth Jazz with elements of jazz soul, adult contemporary and r&b into a pleasing instrumental sounds that really has no label but to make you feel.

Ronald Jackson from Smooth Jazz Ride describes Touch as an encompassing album of funky up-tempo grooves, soft and soulful caresses, and reflective, unspoken messages — all but one solely performed, recorded, and produced by the keyboardist. It’s a project inspired by the loss of personal and public influences, and it does often have that respectful and deep feel. Get the album here.

Althea René – Unstoppable

Althea René an impassioned flautist from Detroit, Michigan, has been known to mesmerize her audiences with her vivacious captivating performances. This unparalleled artist, born December 25, began her musical career at age four as a classical flautist. She was influenced by the rich talent in her family, among them her father Dezie McCullers, Sr., who performed with many Motown stars.

Smooth jazz flutist Althea Rene made history by becoming the first flute player in the history of Billboard Chart to reach the number one rank with her 2013 hit single “In the Flow”. In collaboration with award winning producer Lew Laing, Althea Rene delivers another solid tour de force. “Gypsy Soul” is the first single release from her powerful, scorching hot CD Unstoppable. The CD will be available at CDBaby in some weeks. Watch out!

Scott Tixier – Cosmic Adventure

It’s not often that the world of jazz welcomes a violinist. Although many have played the instrument in this genre, it still seems a rare event, relative to artists who play saxophone, trumpet, guitar, piano, drums or trombone. A few names that stand out over history are Stepane Grappelli, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ornette Coleman, Regina Carter and Mads Tolling. Scott Tixier joins that crowd, furthering his imprint with his second release, Cosmic Adventure (Sunnyside Records, 2016).

Performing with Tixier are Yvonnick Prene, harmonica; Glenn Zaleski, piano; Luques Curtis, bass; and Justin Brown, drums. Pedtrito Martinez adds congas on two tracks, and Chris Potter plays tenor saxophone on “Beam Me to Mars.”

Tixer and the gang come right out of the gate, sizzling. “Maze Walker” is a hard-charging piece, driven heavily by the congas. After a dynamic opening, Tixier takes the violin on a free-spirited jaunt, augmented superbly by the rhythm section. Prene steps up next, giving more to enjoy. The scene shifts a bit when Zaleski changes the mood, and Martinez stretches out for the next series. The song ends with the main theme repeated.

Read more …

Sean U – Electrify

electrifyContemporary jazz pianist and producer Sean Uliasz has performed with his band at numerous venues throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. Now he reaches out to a wider public with his debut album Electrify (2016).

On his album perform besides Sean (piano, keyboards, synths), Rohn Lawrence (guitar), Steve Clarke (bass), Trever Somerville (drums) and Idalberto Perdomo (percussion). All songs are composed by Sean and produced together with Warren Amerman.

Sean counts Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber and David Benoit to his influences. Listening to 60 Miles these idols are evident and striking. Is stylistic proximity a problem now? By no means! The aesthetic brilliance and emotional impact of his work is no less memorable than the music he looks up to.

Read more …

Cindy Bradley – Natural

As a female trumpeter Cindy Bradley takes an exceptional position in the smooth jazz genre. With a Bachelor degree in jazz studies and a Master degree in jazz performance she has a solid foundation. While influenced by jazz greats like Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan and Blue Mitchell she never stepped into the jazz realm. Smooth jazz is her favorite.

After her self-produced debut album Just A Little Bit (2007) she found connection with the label Trippin’n’Rhythm. Bloom (2009), Unscripted (2011) and Bliss (2014) are the results of a fruitful collaboration. This year follows Natural, available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Norman Brown – Let It Go

One can feel his vibrant energy, when Norman Brown fiercely performs onstage. Assembling a huge fan community he is one of the shining stars of this genre. All started with his debut Just Between Us (1992), followed by the albums After The Storm (1994),  Better Days Ahead (1996), Celebration (2000),  Just Chillin’ (2002), West Coast Coolin’ (2004),  Stay With Me (2007) and Sending My Love, (2010).

Let It Go, Norman’s inspired debut album for Shanachie Records, has something for everyone, whether an R&B fan or a jazz aficionado. From “Holding You,” his sensuous collaboration with R&B great Chanté Moore and Norman’s re-imagining of the Five Stairsteps classic “Ooh Child” to the smoothly grooving “Remember Who You Are” and the serenely inspired “Let It Go,” Let It Go is Norman Brown at his best.

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

Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet – Echoes of Europe

From a military-related encounter comes Echoes of Europe (Artists Recording Collective, 2017) by the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet.

The quintet consists of Massa, piano; Christopher Burnett, alto saxophone and clarinet; Charles Gatshet, guitar; Andrew W. Stinson, bass; and Clarence Smith, drums. Additional musicians are Terri Anderson Burnett and Freda Proctor, flute; Marcus Hampton, flugelhorn; and Stanton Kessler, flugelhorn and trumpet.

“Alone” betrays its title with a powerful sense of togetherness, highlighted by the blended sounds of guitar, piano and flute that respond to the calls of the sax. After the call and response introduction comes a series of phrases in which all players hit the same notes. All of the core quintet, except Stinson, take turns in solo. Christopher Burnett starts the sequence, followed by Massa, Gatschet and Smith. During Massa’s turn, bass and drums are intense. They lighten up behind the guitar, but inject a hint of a Latin rhythm. The sax resumes its initial call, this time answered only by Smith. The piece reverts to the multi-instrument series, ending with a short riff from Massa.

Read more …