Kenny Wellington – Free Spirit

Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wellington is one of the founders of the legendary British jazz funk band Light Of The World. Wellington is also a member of the offshoot band Beggar & Co. Kenny performed with Tom Browne, Tina Turner, Incognito, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, and many more.

His new solo project Free Spirit (2016) is inspired by the horn players of the past Donald Byrd, Jimmy Owens, Chuck Mangione, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and continues the tradition of British jazz funk and the acid jazz genre.

Kenny performs on the new album trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals, all the programming and bass. Further musicians are David Baptiste (sax, flute, backing vocals), Jerome Harper (trombone), Clifford Rees (strings, violin, cello), Camelle Hinds (bass, percussion), Breeze McKrieth (guitar), Toby Baker (synthesizers), Steve Salvari (keyboards), Billy Osborne (drums), Ian da Prada (vibraphone), and Augie Johnson, Bobbie Lee Anderson, Gee Morris Osborne, David Lee Andrews (vocals).

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E-Life 7 – Miked Up

e-life-7-miked-upThree 2 Go Music introduces E-Life 7(EL7) featuring Michael Pennick with his debut CD Miked Up. EL7 unites some of Western NY’s finest musicians including; keyboardists Rodney Spears & Charlie Crymes Jr., guitarist Ron Walker, drummer and percussionist Tim Webb and bassist Mike Pennick. Special appearance by Ken Whitman (tenor sax), Walter Kemp III, Van Taylor (keyboards), Joey Diggs and Dee Osbourne (vocals). EL7 is the brain child of Ron Walker & Mike Pennick long time members of Buffalo Music Hall of Fame R&B recording artists The Exoutics. EL7 acknowledges the musical and spiritual influence of past and present members of The Exoutics.

While contemplating their musical future longtime friends Ron and Mike decided it was time to explore their Jazz alter egos and discover what lies beneath the tender ballads and funky R&B grooves they’ve been writing for years. After a brief discussion it was agreed that their next project would highlight the talent of bassist Mike Pennick. Eventually this led to the formation of EL7. With extraordinary creativity and collaboration the 5 member group conceived and recorded “Miked Up”. Rodney’s unique keyboard accents perfectly complement the keyboard foundations played by Charlie. Tim’s intricate drum touch reinforces rhythmic, melodic bass lines and spicy guitar licks. When blended together, what a unique sound. The project began in summer of 2012 and completed in late spring 2013 taking several interesting twists and turns as each member shared creative ideas and opinions to help shape this outstanding project. The resulting CD captures the flavor and passion of each musician. Hopefully audiences will enjoy and appreciate this special blend of jazz and R&B. “Miked Up” covers the gamut of emotions from the rhythm shifting jazz, funk of “Chaos” to the fun filled upbeat playful “Sunday Night”. The remake of Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl”, intimate revelations of “Inner Beauty” and “Before the Storm” make this CD a pleasure to listen to and sure to appeal to the most demanding pallet. Life is short, enjoy it! So what does EL7 stand for? Enjoy Life 7 days a week (Exoutics for life).

Miked Up is scheduled for release worldwide on March 24, 2017.

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Prototype

Trailblazing pianist, composer, producer and bandleader Jeff Lorber is a consummate artist who continues to push himself to new plateaus. A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber has triumphed as one of the most innovative musical minds in contemporary jazz. The multi Grammy-nominated pianist’s newest CD is a sterling example of his expansive musical roots, masterfully crafted harmonic and melodic sophistication, irresistible finger-poppin’ grooves and intricate rhythmic sense. “I came up with the name Prototype because we are always trying to up our game and come up with new exciting music that could be a prototype or innovative harbinger for the future of our musical style,” says the LA based pianist. Lorber, a Berklee College of Music alum who formerly majored in Chemistry at Boston College goes full throttle on Prototype, orchestrating like an alchemist in the lab concocting a majestic elixir of jazz, soul, funk, pop, R&B and gospel.

Prototype features longtime collaborators – bassist Jimmy Haslip (founding member of The Yellowjackets) and drummer Gary Novak. “From a production standpoint Jimmy adds a ‘big picture’ element. He contributes a lot with his warm bass sound and on the road he is without a doubt one of the finest soloists out there on his instrument.” Lorber adds, “Gary’s very versatile, imaginative, super solid and gets a great sound. He really shines playing over the funky polyrhythmic grooves we record.” The newest member to the all-star unit is saxophonist Andy Snitzer, who like Lorber (and the Brecker Brothers) hails from Cheltenham, PA. Lorber states, “Andy’s got a perfect approach. It’s soulful and melodic and he is not afraid of taking the music outside a bit.” Prototype also features special guests bassist Nathan East, guitarists Chuck Loeb, Larry Koonse and Paul Jackson, Jr. and saxophonist Dave Mann, among others.

“Writing is something that I really enjoy and I’m always coming up with ideas to work on,” states Jeff Lorber, who penned nine of the tracks on Prototype and co-wrote one with Jimmy Haslip. “We put a lot of work, love and care into this record. I hope that everyone who hears it enjoys listening to it as much as we enjoyed writing and recording it. I think it’s the kind of record that will reap dividends by repeated listening because there’s a lot of great playing that you can only appreciate by really getting into it and checking out all the details.” Prototype opens with the spunky and electrifying “Hyperdrive” hinting to the euphoric musical excursion that lies ahead. The track features guitarist and Jazz Funk Soul collaborator Chuck Loeb who calls Jeff “an amazing guy and talent.” Lorber says of bassist Nathan East, who also appears on the track, “Nathan played on ‘Hyperdrive’ because I originally wrote that for his project. He played great on it so we kept it. I have to thank him for not using the track because it’s one of my favorites and the first single!” The album’s title track is a spirited and pulsating mid-tempo blues. Lorber explains, “Blues is a huge part of our music and I think Andy really brings it home with his approach to the melodies and his solos.” Saxophonist Dave Mann offers a vibrant, smoothly executed and feel-good horn arrangement on this track as well as six others. “The shout chorus on ‘Prototype’ is great,” comments Lorber. “I’m glad to also feature guitarist Michael Thompson who plays a stellar solo on the end of the song.” Continue reading

Steve Watson – Playtime

Guitarist Steve Watson was in earlier time a member of The Bruce Hornsby Band. Currently he is an adjunct professor at Furman University. His solo projects are Watson’s Riddle (2011) and Heat Up (2015). In May 2016 he released his latest album Playtime.

Watson is joined on selected tracks by Chuck Loeb (guitar), Jeff Lorber (piano, keyboards), Jimmy Haslip, Greg Alewinne (bass), Gary Novack, Tim Blackwell (drums), Ramon Yslas, Jeff Holland (percussion), David Mann (horns), Hazen Bannister, Wendel Donald (keyboards).

With the exception of one cover song Steve has written all songs, in parts with Chuck Loeb and Jeff Lorber. The set opens with Playtime, which is in his perfection comparable to the style of Fourplay. There is an infectious and captivating spirit that springs forth from the guitar conversation between Steve and Chuck, a stunning milestone in history of contemporary jazz.

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Kenneth E. Franklin – Jus Sayin

kennethefranklin2Kenneth E. Franklin is one very dedicated professional musician who spends endless hours creating, practicing, and striving to be one of the best writers and producers around. Kenny has toured the world and worked with several known artist such as Karen White,Jesse Johnson, MC Hammer etc. Music is his outlet for many things. No matter whats going on in the world, music always has a way of keeping Mr. Franklin at peace. Born in Hammond Louisiana, raised by his Mom and Dad along with his four siblings Carol, Ronald, Cedrick and Ralph whom are his #1 fans, Kenny has remained very humble and thankful for life. Kenny continues to work hard and his music speaks to you.

Jus Sayin is his new collection of songs for download only at CDBaby.

Key J Kev – Keyz to the City

keyz-to-the-cityKeyz To The City is the third album from jazz-keyboardist/pianist) Key J Kev. This album has fused KeyOlogy and jazz passion & soul to create a sound that represents an “Urban” perspective of smooth jazz. This album have tracks for the seasoned smooth jazz listener, as well as the up and coming younger audience that can appreciate the smooth and seductive sounds of smooth jazz.

Keyz to The City is the bridge between the seasoned smooth jazz listener and the younger millennial jazz listener. This album is a fusion of jazz funk, smooth jazz, R&B and the trap music sound. Get the album at CDBaby.

Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg 2016 (A Retrospective)

The wintery Augsburg was dressed in a robe of hoarfrost, when we reached our destination on Friday after a long journey. It was for the first time that we attended the Smooth Jazz Festival in Augsburg during the New Year period. We had expected adverse weather conditions and were pleasantly surprised by the snow-free weather. Traditionally the festival took place in the Kurhaus Göggingen in Augsburg. A venue of timeless beauty build in the years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany. It is the work of famous architect Jean Keller, who constructed the building in 1886.

The festival is due to the promoter Christian Bössner, who, like every year, is passionate about the smooth running, the high-profile artists and the constancy of the festival. To him my highest appreciation and many thanks for this wonderful event.

The backing band consisted, as always, of professional studio musicians, who had been operating their music business for many years. The formation was led by musical director and gifted keyboardist Lutz Deterra, who, with his musical expertise, mastery on his instrument and tireless élan, kept the event in motion.

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