Motown Moe – Soft Touch

Motown Moe is a Smooth Jazz artist and producer from the Metro Detroit area. Moe is currently working on final material for an upcoming CD/EP titled Seven Mile due to be released late spring or early summer of 2010. For the latest information on this artist please visit the artist’s website.

Motown Moe’s music and fan base have reached world wide status receiving airplay from England to Australia, as well as airplay on SmoothJazz.com and a host of other well known SJ net stations. Moe’s music has also received critical acclaim and plays on US Radio. This release contains tracks produced by Nate Harasim who also adds some backing keyboards, French guitarist Daniel Domenge, along with Moe’s must have guitarists James Davis and DF Michael whom he has worked with previously along with new addition guitarist Mike James.

Soft Touch is a fine recipe of smooth jazz, chill and R&B instrumentals and now available at CDBaby.

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Main Gazane – Tit for Tat

Main Gazane is a jazz term, which is so seldom used that I even couldn’t Google it. Well, Main Gazane means main man or main thing and that’s the reason why Mark Minchello and Bob Magnuson chose the name for their band.

The group had appearances in the smooth jazz world with their albums Lightening Strikes (2004), Imagine (2007) and Hip Space (2007). Already in 1985 Main Gazane signed a record contract with John Hammond Records. This was the same John Hammond who had previously signed Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Bruce Springsteen. CBS had given Mr. Hammond his own label after four decades of success.

The first album never reached daylight, because the only Contemporary Jazz radio station in New York changed to Country music overnight with no warning and the record label folded. Today’s many smooth jazz radio stations have changed their format, but musicians are still releasing music in this genre.

Probably radio stations have lost their importance for the music market or is it the courage born of desperation? Anyway, Main Gazane have just released their new album Tit for Tat (2010). The album was created by Mark Minchello (piano & Keyboards) and Bob Magnuson (sax, woodwinds & wind synth) and the additional musicians Brent Carter (vocals on Rock Steady) and Kenny Davis (bass). With the exception of three covers Mark has written all compositions.

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Alfonzo Blackwell – Quintet: Portrait of Alfonzo Blackwell

Saxman/Songwriter/Producer, Alfonzo Blackwell is busy, busy, busy working hard in the studio on his 8th CD project on Utopia Records. His current release Dance To This brought listeners to the dance floor and his approach for his next project is to bring listeners the sophistication, style, class and fire that comes from the freedom that has embodied his music for 15 years now.

The multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire reclines in his black leather console chair in his state-of-the-art digital recording studio and takes a brief moment to reflect on his studio recording process. Alfonzo says, “I’m working day in and day out to capture all parts of me, all parts of my essence and all parts of my soul. It’s almost like a 24/7 music reality show…me in the studio. I’m living in my studio now.”

So far, Alfonzo has already recorded an astounding thirty-one tracks and has no intensions on slowing down or putting a cap on that total. The consummate musician goes on to say, “I’m looking to write, produce and record at least one hundred tracks for this album to select from. This is the first concept album for me and it’s a portrait of me as an artist, entertainer and musician. It’s important for me to put forth the best original work of my career and each track must be right.”

Most noteworthy is Alfonzo’s traditional standard rendition of the late great John Coltrane’s “Impressions”, which is very impressive! Another very noteworthy and highly anticipated track is Alfonzo’s tribute to the late great and inarguably, the best entertainer in the history of mankind, The King of Pop Michael Jackson.
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Steve Cole – Moonlight

Steve Cole has five CDs in his catalog and has previously recorded for Atlantic, Warner Brothers and Narada Jazz. Recently Steve signed a multiple album deal with Mack Avenue/Artistry Music. The first project for the label entitled Moonlight is a collection of classic pop songs and standards set amidst an orchestral backdrop.

The project includes such iconic songs as the Bacharach & David penned The Look of Love, folk songs Cry Me a River, Shenandoah, The Long and Winding Road (Beatles), Undun (Guess Who) and Close Your Eyes (James Taylor) to name a few. In addition to the strings, the arrangements include tastefully placed harp, woodwinds and tempered brass.

The supporting rhythm section is comprised of Mike Logan (Will Downing) on keyboards, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) piano and Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group) on bass. With a gorgeous classically-trained tone and an ear for lyrical melody, Cole most closely resembles a vocalist, emphasizing interpretive phrasing and direct emotion.

For this new album Moonlight, Steve has found the perfect setting for this bel canto technique – a symphonic orchestra playing inspired arrangements by Michael Cunningham, making his splashy major-label debut as an orchestral arranger. At the heart of this project is the title track, which appeared in the 1995 film Sabrina. “I saw the movie a few years ago and heard that song,” Cole says, “and it was just delightful – after all, it was written by John Williams” [the legendary film composer and arranger], and I thought, ‘This has all the elements I’m looking for. So I just sort of indexed it away, and when I started thinking about this project, I was searching for music that would communicate a big warm blanket – a record that would be enveloping and that’s when I remembered this song.” (Few others did: this is its debut cover recording.)
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T.A.O. (The Anointed Ones) – Journey To The Top Begins

T.A.O. (The Anointed Ones) charms the musical world with the delightfully smooth jazz/Gospel album Journey To The Top Begins. Using the flute as the main instrument, Richard D. Hegens, Jr. skillfully complies a collection of easy listening pieces with polished maturity and grace. His talent shines on songs such as “Keeping It Real” or “Ballad” as he gives the audience a performance that captures the emotional spirit his music reveals.

His refined flute talents stir up keen interest as he leads off the album with a not-so-traditional rendition of “Amazing Grace” which conjures a slightly livelier tempo and strong and solid beat. Although most of this album is instrumental, “Safe in His Arms” and “When I Think About the Lord” present beautiful female vocals as sweet and harmonious as the lyrics they sing.

Jazz flavor at its best, “O-TULP” highlights striking piano, soft brushes, and the melodious sounds of the flute. Sounds of stunning flute blended with engaging smooth Jazz/Gospel will lift your spirits and soothe your soul when you hear the wonderful songs of T.A.O.’s Journey to the Top Begins.”

Begin this journey at CDBaby.

Lenny White – Anomaly

Following his triumphant worldwide reunion tour with Return To Forever in 2008 and separate trio tours in 2009 with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke and pianist Hiromi with Clarke, Lenny White was primed to put out his own recording, his first as a leader in ten years. With Anomaly, the pioneering jazz-rock drummer returns to his roots, blending powerhouse backbeats and improvisational abandon in a bold, unapologetically aggressive manner that characterized the early 70s fusion movement.

“We need to restart a revolution so that we can take back the music and stop the fluff,” says White. “I’m hoping that this new album is a representation of that ideal.”

Accompanied by a crew of guitar killers in Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic), Nick Moroch (a former member of White’s Astral Pirates), David Gilmore, Tom Guarna and David Bendeth, keyboardists George Colligan, Bernard Wright, Donald Blackman (another Astral Pirate ) and Vince Evans and bassists Victor Bailey, Richie Goods, Charles Fambrough and his RTF bandmate Stanley Clarke, White unleashes with Zeppelinesque fury on Anomaly, his tenth overall recording as a leader.

Largely self-taught on drums, native New Yorker White broke into the jazz world in 1968 with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. The following year he participated in Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, generally regarded as the album that birthed the fusion movement. He subsequently recorded with a Who’s Who in Jazz, including trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson, Gato Barbieri and Stan Getz and renowned composer-bandleader Gil Evans, among others.
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Rob Blaine – South Sea Princess

Rob Blaine has performed at numerous jazz venues in the Western Cape. As an accomplished pianist/keyboardist he has worked with artists Jimmy Dludlu and Judith Sepuma as well as many other local musicians and talented artists. In addition to performing, Rob is a music tutor, teaching keyboard instruments, guitar and digital recording from his own studio, Computer Music Tuition.

The Rob Blaine – Smooth Jazz quartet features some of Cape Town’s best session musicians coming together to perform Rob’s original compositions. Their sound is a combination of mellow yet up-tempo, lively and laid back, cool instrumental jazz. Rob has released two albums, Pure Intuition in 2001 and South Sea Princess in 2008.  All tracks on both albums are composed and performed by Rob and each album includes a vocal track sunk by well known Cape Town singers, Denay Willie and Abigail Petersen.

South Sea Princess is now on sale at CDBaby.