Lawson Rollins – Espirito

Many believe that the arts mirror what is happening in the world and if that is the case, perhaps Lawson RollinsEspirito serves as a monumental soundtrack to the unification of our disparate cultures. The guitarist’s epic thirteen-song collection, to be released January 19th by Infinita Records, which is distributed by Baja/TSR Records, serves as the very definition of World Music with its seamless multicultural mélange of sound, style, composition and performance by musicians reflecting such culturally rich locales as Spain, Brazil, Cuba, Persia, Afghanistan, India and the U.S.

Rollins wrote the compositions for the album, his second solo release, which he produced with Shahin Shahida (of the Persian-American World Music group Shahin & Sepehr) and Dominic Camardella (3rd Force, Ottmar Liebert). Preceding the album release at radio will be “Moonlight Samba,” a sensual groove with an enchanting melody along with dexterous guitar soloing by Rollins, classy muted trumpet swatches, and dreamy vocals from Brazilian icon Flora Purim and her husband, master percussionist Airto Moreira.

Espirito evolved from Rollins’ critically-acclaimed debut disc, Infinita (2008), made by the same production trio and the same core ensemble consisting of Purim, Moreira, Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat (Shadowfax), Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan (harmonium), Jeff Elliot (trumpet), Randy Tico (bass), and Dave Bryant (drums, percussion). As grandiose as Infinita was, Rollins was determined to elevate every aspect of the 66 minutes of music on Espirito by stretching his wanderlust further outside his comfort zone, weaving a greater unifying theme throughout the compositions, assembling an even more diverse cast of players from all over the world, and utilizing a larger spectrum of sound captured in maximum fidelity.

Three of Infinita’s tracks – “Café Jobim,” “In Motion,” and the title track – scored major radioplay, and Espirito is primed with radio playlist possibilities. Songs like “Rumba del Sol” and the title track are festive, fun and celebratory. “Return to Rio” is whimsical while “Blue Mountain Bolero” is an exotic romancer. “Cape Town Sky” is constantly changing tempo while a gorgeous contemplative melody hovers radiantly above the horizon. The album concludes with “The Caravan Trilogy” – “Migration,” “Shadowland” and “Into the Light” – a poetic passage through time and geography spanning music’s migration from east to west starting in India and passing through Persia, the Middle East, Spain and onto the New World.

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I Happened To Hear 11/2009

This 5-track EP taken from the album of the same name comes from Christian singer, composer, pianist and producer Eric Copeland. It contains the lyrically very clever ‘The Jazz in Me’ which grows on me the more I hear it with a vocal delivery reminiscent of Michael Franks, and some scatting.

There’s a funkier feel on ‘My Steps are Ordered’ with some very nice piano sounds. ‘Come to Me’ is a mellow piano-led song with gospel undertones and surely has the potential to be a radio hit – I wish the guitar/vocal scat break had been a bit longer…

The Latin feel on the vocal ‘Have Thine Own Way’ is enhanced by the sweet acoustic guitar. The elegant production on this song lets the Christian lyrics speak for themselves.

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Skip Martin – Formal Dining

Skip Martin, lead vocalist and trumpeter (Dazz Band and Kool & the Gang) delivers a true master piece with Formal Dining. This 11 track CD features Skip’s soulful vocals on jazz tracks such as ‘Since I Fell For You’ and ‘Feel The Fire’ and soaring trumpet solos on ‘Around Midnight’ and ‘Send One Your Love’

What else would you expect with a production team made up of 11-time GRAMMY nominated artist Tom Schuman of Sypro Gyra and GRAMMY award winner Skip Martin (Dazz Band and Kool & the Gang). This new production team JTS Productions (Just Tom & Skip Productions) truly released at CDBaby.

Dan Reynolds – River Maiden

Dan Reynolds started his career performing regularly with DC-based jazz greats such as Marshall Keys, Ron Holloway, Keter Betts, Scott Ambush, Vinny Valentino, & Keith Killgo of the Blackbyrds. He also worked with Eddie Harris, Larry Coryell, Najee, Maysa, Ken Navarro and many more.

His first solo project Never Alone (1993) was followed by Lifeline (1994), To Be Sure (2000) and now River Maiden. Greg and Gary Grainger, Marshall Keys, Al Williams, & Scott Ambush are among the artists of this album. To classify his album just as smooth doesn’t do justice to his musical art. His work deserves a closer observation.

Last Chance is the starting point of all good. Dan’s piano and Rob Holmes’ sax introduce into the melody expanding to awesome solo performances of Dan and guitarist Dan Leonhard which bridge the fragments of the melody line. The song is closed by Rob’s final subtle sax solo.

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Melvin Pierce – Something To Remember

Melvin Pierce was born in Brooklyn, NY, but was raised in Marrero, LA, a city right outside of New Orleans. With Jazz flowing through the heart of the city, the music bee stung him at an early age. He is a self-taught trumpet player. In 2005, he debuted his first cd, The Journey, smooth jazz groove with soft lyrics that left his new fans wanting more.

His sophomore cd, Something To Remember, picks up where The Journey left off. Upbeat and flowing jazz sounds will take your musical soul on a journey that you’ll want to remember. Melvin’s new album is available at CDBaby.

George Anderson – Positivity

The bass player in Shakatak George Anderson has released his new solo project entitled Positivity. The album is available via iTunes or via George’s website. “Lay Ur Hands On Me” already playlisted on Jazz FM. The new album continues George’s love for Soul and Funk music with influences like Louis Johnson, Larry Graham, Chuck Rainey, Chris Squire and Andy Fraser.

Ronald Jackson called the album a genuine blend of smooth charisma, dirty funk, top-shelf vocals by one Debby Bracknell (a name to remember!), and instrumental mastery. Sample the album here.

Various Artists – Wavemusic Volume 14

Set to a luscious canvass of lavender skies and the dripping light of the evening sun, with the sweet smell of a hot summer’s day still lingering in the air. The Colombe d’Or hotel near the Côte d’Azur is a place to savor the beauty of the moment, enveloping its guests in an aura of clear, cloudless serenity. The result is a unique atmosphere that once provided inspiration for Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and many other pioneering painters.

This magical location provides the perfect backdrop for Wavemusic Volume 14. Artists such as Norah Jones, Maysa Leak, Rick Braun, Mark Antoine, Joyce Cooling and Peter Getz deliver a musical journey for dreamers and romantics alike. To order Wavemusic Volume 14 visit Wavemusic.de.