Miguel Zenon – Tipico

Saxophonist Miguel Zenon has brought in additional instruments to augment his band’s music. However, for Tipico (Miel Music, 2017), he decided to stay “closer to home.” The goal is to highlight his personal and professional life, as well as the uniqueness of his group.

Zenon plays alto saxophone. His companions are Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawishnig, bass; and Henry Cole, drums.

“Academia,” inspired by Zenon’s teaching at the New England Conservatory, is mixed bag. The opening starts with a steady phrase repeated by the piano. Then the alto pitches in some high-speed rolls. A couple of shifts later, and we have something that more closely resembles a melody. With the others setting their own stamps, Zenon puts the sax through an intense, blistering jaunt. The horn wails at key points. Meanwhile, piano, bass and drums heat up. The energy continues to build until another shift. Things mellow considerably for Perdomo’s interlude. It begins softly, but soon kicks into overdrive. Zenon comes back in for a furious finish.

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Jackiem Joyner – Main Street Beat

Delivering on his promise to “Evolve,” the title of Jackiem Joyner’s last soul-jazz album, the saxophonist became a father since his 2014 release, an elation-inducing experience that informs the music he wrote and produced for his new Artistry Music set, “Main Street Beat,” due June 30. The first single from the funky, dance inspiring, Motown-influenced session that will be shipped to radio this month is the exultant “Trinity,” named for Joyner’s first child whose presence on the track is voiced by Steve Oliver’s incandescent acoustic guitar.

Joyner approached crafting “Main Street Beat” with a three-pronged purpose. “I wanted to create something upbeat, fun to listen to and something to dance to. ‘Main Street Beat’ originally started off as a straight funk record that eventually became some of that, but a whole lot more as I allowed the creative process to have its way with me,” said Joyner, a Billboard chart-topper who plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone on the date, often enriching the tracks by laying layer upon layer of horns to form a powerhouse sax section.

The exuberant album opener, “Main Street,” exemplifies the mighty wall-of-horns approach with Joyner playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his sax section. Instead of tracking individually, Joyner brought the band – drummer Raymond Johnson, bassist Darryl Williams, electric guitarist Kyle Bolden and piano player Carnell Harrell – into the studio to record six tracks old-school style, including “Back To Motown.” Nick Colionne guests on “When You Smile” to flash his cool electric jazz guitar on the infectious mid-tempo R&B cut. Taking his alto sax chops out for a strut, Joyner cranks up the band for a fiery funk romp down “Southside Boulevard,” one of three tunes that adds Nikolai Egorov’s trombone muscle to the horn section. On a pair of urban joints – “That Good Thing” and “Don’t Make Her Wait” – Joyner plays soprano sax. He takes full command on the stormy “Addicted,” playing every instrument heard on the moody number. “Think James Brown on tenor sax” is how Joyner describes the super funky “Get Down Street.” A pair of high-energy pop-R&B covers – Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” – complete the outing, songs Joyner elected to record based upon their buoyant, positive nature, which he says mirrors his young offspring’s personality. Continue reading

The Bahama Soul Club – The Havana Remixes

Hot on the heels of their critically praised album “Havana ’58” and with fans worldwide clamoring for more, The Bahama Soul Club has now called upon a brilliant range of producers, DJs and artists to put their own personal spin on Bahama’s latest release. Sifting through the album’s finest moments they worked their magic on selected tracks and rebooted them into pure rhythmic bliss: “The Havana Remixes” is a bright collection of Latin, House, Jazz, Funk, Soul & Disco with a thoroughly modern take on Dancefloor Jazz.

Opener “Muévelo Papi” is a stirring 60s Boogaloo-hip-twist by the mighty Club Des Belugas, while Geordie mate Smoove from Newcastle turns “No Words” into a fusion of Jazz-house and Breakbeat. Opolopo pulls “Dizzy’s Bounce” deeeep into jazzy House while Maestro&Vezzola and Chinchin’s Zouzoulectric vs. Gardener Of Delight both having a diverse view on “Tropicana Flight”, giving it a Disco-Latin-House-Funk treatment. Suonho from Italy jams a more modern Soul-Disco-Funk on “No Words” and amps up the funk quotient on “Muévelo Papi” with a touch of Jazz and a Latin Twist. Rounding off the release is an unexpected Nu-skool Brazilika-brukbeat from Positive Flow aka Jesse Reuben Wilson on “Elegguà” and some solid Latin funky breaks from Jack&Jointz on the rolling “Rumba Fugaz”.

All remixes are mastered by The Uncle and very special radio-edits were made exclusively for the beautiful 180g vinyl. Containing nine tracks, this 12″ looks like a neat introduction for newcomers and a nice round up for long-term Bahama Soul Club admirers. The full extended versions of all remixes will be released on CD and Digital formats.”

Grainger – Phase III: Lets Go Back

Whoever was waiting for a new album of the group Grainger had to bring great stamina. Brothers Gary Grainger (bass guitar, tenor bass, keyboards and vocals) and Gregory K. Grainger (drums, percussion, keyboards and vocals) have started their project with the debut album Phase I in 1998, soon followed by Phase II in 2002.

Finally, after a longer than anticipated time both show some understanding and release Phase III: Lets Go Back, an EP with the promise for more to come. This time sequence can be explained with the fact, that the brothers belong to the most active musicians in the history of music. Reading their biography is in this context very helpful.

Guest musicians on this album are saxophonist Kim Waters, vocalists Brian Fox and Freedom Imani, and keyboardist Jim Beard, who performs in John Scofield’s band.

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Carmen Lundy – Code Noir

Multimedia artist Carmen Lundy charms and pleases with her latest offering, Code Noir (Afrasia Productions, 2017).

Lundy sings, plays piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, and handles string programming and background vocals. Performing with her are Patrice Rushen, piano; Ben Williams, acoustic bass and electric bass; Kendrick Scott, drums and percussion; Jeff Parker, electric guitar; and Elisabeth Oei, background vocals on “The Island, The Sea, and You.”

“Black and Blues” is a statement against police brutality and the systemic protections of officers who kill without justification. The music has an angry quality to it, from Rushen’s piano chords to Scott’s work on the kit. “Killed another brother from – another mother,” Lundy sings.

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Andre Cavor – Road Trip

Andre Cavor comments his new album: “Mixing contemporary jazz and gospel songs on Road Trip felt like a natural extension of my many live performances over the years. Road Trip will bring balance to your listening ears.”

This new album is available at CDBaby.

The Jazz Head Collective – beijo

Jazz Head Entertainment proudly presents beijo, (bey-yo-Portuguese for Kiss). The third CD from The Jazz Head Collective continues to blend elements of Smooth Jazz, R&B, Funk, Neo Soul and hip hop. Touching your eardrums with soothing melodic, rhythmic tracks as well as tracks that are groovy and funky in their own nature. Available now on CDBaby, ITunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora and other digital music outlets.

Founded in 2013, JazzHead Entertainment, (also known as The Jazz Head Collective) is a record label, audio/video recording and photography studio. Base in Northern Virginia, the collective consist of producers, musicians and artist that work solo and as a group in crafting songs for JazzHead Entertainment as well as artist outside the label. The collective adds their own very special touch to each production by blending elements of Smooth Jazz, R&B, Funk, Neo Soul and hip hop. Touching your eardrums with soothing melodic, rhythmic tracks as well as tracks that are groovy and funky in their own nature.

This project is available at CDBaby.