Jeff Hall – Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead

The week of February 22, 2010 marked the debut of the Mahogany Digital imprint, the newest label in Kevin Mahogany’s “Mahogany Jazz” family. Vocalist Jeff Hall, Kevin Mahogany’s protégé, is the first release to radio with the two singles Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead.

More about Jeff Hall:

Discovered by Kevin Mahogany, Jeff Hall has the vocal prowess reminiscent of jazz legend Mark Murphy. Hall brings a new urgency and street sense to traditional jazz, as evidenced by his vocal presentation and his on stage appearance. Hall defines a new direction for vocal jazz.

“When I heard Jeff, there was a quality in his voice there was a uniqueness to his sound,” Mahogany said with regard to his decision to introduce Jeff to the public. As a lyricist himself, Mahogany recognized Hall’s outstanding talent and assigned him the task of writing the lyrics to Cadillac Club.

Jeff Hall’s Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead singles will be the first singles to launch the new Mahogany Digital label. Don’t miss your chance to feature one of the hottest rising stars on the touring circuit today. All Jeff Hall singles will be available through various online retailers like iTunes, Amazon.mp3 and Rhapsody.

Sample and purchase the music at  reverbnation.com. Sales on Amazon begin March 8, 2010.

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Kevin Peter Jones – Magnetic Journey

Drummer Kevin Peter Jones can look back on an excellent education. During his time at Elk Grove High School he met world renowned jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Although trained as jet engine technician, flight engineer and pilot in the US Air Force his affinity for music never faded away.

He performed with The Yellowjackets, Bernard Wight, Wayman Tisdale, Will Kennedy and met the artists David Weckl, John Patitucci, Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Sado Watanabe, Chick Correa and Steve Smith.

Kevin has just finished his debut album Magnetic Journey (2009). To make it special he invited top-notch artists like Eddie Baccus, Jr., Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Eric Marienthal, Scott Ambush, and Mike Miller.

After the first notes of Modaji the listener already knows, that Kevin has created something exquisite with a great love to the detail. Dave Grusin composed this tune for Harvey Mason’s album Marching In The Street (1976) and published it one year later on his own record One Of A Kind. The rendition is a little slower than the original, but there is enough space for Eddie Baccus’ saxophone solo. Russell Ferrante delivers the retro feeling with his superb performance on Rhodes.

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Jonathan Butler – So Strong

According to Smooth Jazz Network Jonathan Butler has just recorded his album So Strong. The new album will be released on Rendezvous Records (Mack Avenue) on May 11, 2010. So Strong features 10 original songs written or co-written by Butler, and a cover of Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now.

Jonathan Butler comments his new project: “You can’t keep your head down all the time. You have to celebrate. With all that’s presently going on in the world, I felt the need to give something to the fans, to offer hope. I had to get to that fun place again. The album is a departure; it’s optimistic and positive. It’s get up-and-dance, and feel good. … It’s all about just letting go. It’s about fun with flavor and a lot of feeling. I call it the three Fs: fun, flavor and feeling.”

Guest musicians on the album, which was mainly recorded, arranged and composed by Butler are Dave Koz, Rick Braun,  Gordon Campbell, Angie Stone and Butler’s daughters Randy and Jode, which delivered background vocals.

Source: Smooth Jazz Network

Mbandi – Shades Of Pearl

Influenced by his African childhood and western upbringing, Mbandi’s music embraces gently flowing melodies as well as exotic rhythms that refresh like a tropical breeze.

Mbandi was born on May 11, 1979 in a town called Limbe (formerly Victoria), which is on the West Coast of Cameroon in West Africa. He was first introduced to the piano in his early teens when his father purchased a keyboard for his older brothers. “I still didn’t fall in love with the piano then because I thought it was for girls. It wasn’t until my dad forced me to take piano lessons at the age of 14 that I discovered the wonders of the piano”. Piano lessons might have increased his interest in the piano but the lessons lasted for two weeks only. “I was more interested in popular music but my piano teacher insisted on teaching only classical music”. As a result, Mbandi decided to teach himself how to play and compose music. He composed his first song at the age of fifteen and has composed close to a hundred songs since then.

Mbandi left his native country of Cameroon in August of 1994 at the age 15 to attend University in Pennsylvania. While in college, he formed a band and played for campus and local events. After graduating in 1998, he decided to concentrate on career in music, his first love. Mbandi now 30yrs old, lives in the Washington DC metro area. His new album Shades Of Pearl offers gentle rhythms with a foundation for harmonic textures created by the blending of acoustic instruments (piano, wooden flutes, guitars and saxophone) with rich synthesized sounds.

A subtle backdrop ambiance of lush string and non-lyrical vocal harmonies adds richness and color to this instrumental masterpiece. Sit back, relax and let Mbandi’s music take you on an a beautiful journey.

Shades Of Pearl is available now at CDBaby.

Whitney James – The Nature of Love

What can be said about an album when you love the lead but find the rest uninteresting? That’s the rare dilemma faced when hearing Whitney James’ The Nature of Love, her debut on Stir Stick Music.

It’s not that the band disappoints. The vocalist is accompanied by a talented supporting cast of Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joshua Wolff on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass and Jon Wikan on drums and percussion. For their part, the musicians do their jobs admirably and, at times, superbly.

So what’s the problem? Maybe it’s the set selection. Nine standards from the “American Songbook,” most of which have been covered and covered again, so that anything short of an off-the-beaten path presentation will leave one searching for something positive to say. Maybe it’s the arrangements. They’re all pretty straightforward, leaving James and her accompaniment to win listeners with the delicate balance of individual voice and coloring within the lines.

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Lynn Riley – Too Cool

What makes Smooth Jazz so saxy? Female Sax players like Pamela Williams, Candy Dulfer, Mindi Abair, Ada Rovatti, Jessy J are quickly coming in my mind. Now we can add a new name. Lynn Riley just released her debut album Too Cool (2008).

Lynn is joined by Rubin Edwards, who plays all sort of bass on the album and also contributes most of the compositions and arrangements. Further musicians are Kim Smith (vocals), Donna Bostock (percussion), Alex Bouno (electric Guitar), Staci Dickerson (vocals), Blaine Bostock and Russ Ferrara (acoustic guitar), who perform on parts of the album.

Following the path of Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer Lynn presents Too Cool, a funky and energetic tune with great verve. One shouldn’t underestimate that lady!

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Jack Prybylski – Out of the Box

What do you get when you combine elements of trance, steeped in a generous underlayment of rhythm with a heat-infused saxophone that is masterfully caressed by one very bad cat? You get a pass on a very trippy vibe that some might say is Out of the Box.

Produced by Four 80 East (one of the hottest bands that has existed to defy all the rules), Out of the Box (Innervision Records) is the third solo release by saxophonist Jack Prybylski. Prybylski initially caught the ear of radio with his sophomore release, Window Shopping, by garnering national praise from critics for his smooth melodic style. “Jacks instantly appealing music and strong sound make Window Shopping one of the best independent releases this year,” declared Smooth Jazz News.

However, unbeknown to smooth jazz fans, Prybylski cut his teeth on the bandstand playing with respected working bands like Them Jazzbeards, which included components of the West Coast cool sound. With a resume that includes a master’s degree in music, esteemed education credentials and having won “Saxophonist of the Year” ten times in Buffalo, Prybylski has a serious background steeped in a rich mixture of jazz, rock and blues history.

Working with Four 80 East on Out of the Box gave Prybylski the chance to materialize the artistic breadth of the bandstand to studio track without losing his established radio friendly appeal. The result was a sound that brings his contemporary jazz journey full circle.

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