Bruce McKenzie – After Dark Part II

Bruce McKenzie began playing the guitar in 1976 and quickly blossomed into a rhythm and lead guitarist for a southern gospel quartet. During his travels with the quartet, Bruce honed his talent and began songwriting and composing. His skill on the guitar, to include the bass guitar, took on a new level as he developed the core music foundation for the group. After graduating from high school, Bruce went on to college and continued developing his artistic skill. Bruce subsequently joined the military and put the guitar on hold, but eventually came back to his love for playing and started gigging with a group of talented guys in Dayton, Ohio. This was the beginning of Bruce’s calling to jazz!

Bruce finally shifted his musical interest to smooth jazz in 2002 while living in England. He subsequently moved to Germany and released his first major jazz project entitled, Special Moments. This CD sold out at a local CD store in Germany in an amazing 6 days! His release received major reviews from jazz portals around the world and was also reviewed by vh1.com! Bruce then released a second project entitled Aesthetic Melodology and caught the ear of hundreds of listeners around the globe! Bruce then moved to S. Korea during the beginnings of his third and eventually released Destinations upon his return to Germany! Destinations reached many smooth jazz lovers and became Bruce’s signature release! His next release entitled, After Dark is a rich blend of smooth jazz and promises to deliver smooth guitar riffs accompanied by a sensuous and emotionally-charged background of calming tracks!

Bruce has performed in many venues to include a solo concert for a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser in Brunnsum, Netherlands and has opened for major acts to include comedian, Rich Little! Bruce is a solo artist who performs all of his music! His inspiration comes from God and feels blessed to be able to perform! His favorite guitar icons are Norman Brown, Paul Jackson Jr , the late Wayman Tisdale, Marcus Miller and Fourplay!

Now he released his new album After Dark Part II. This release is his 5th release and contains a variety of smooth melodies to relax your mind, body and soul. Whether you are on the expressway coming home or relaxing in your favorite jazz bar, After Dark Part II is a must-have for your collection. After Dark Part II is an expressive reflection of different emotions that he has released through his music specifically for the taste of any jazz connoisseur! This work is a continuum of more releases to come and Bruce hopes that you take a ride and feel the “After Dark” in this project!

After Dark Part II especially for you at CDBaby.

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Jack Prybylski – Out Of The Box

Influenced by Tom Scott and David Sanborn Jack Prybylski has released seven albums with Buffalo-based jazz group Them Jazzbeards. He started his solo career with the debut album Soho Strut (2001). On his second album Window Shopping (2006) he performed with guitar-genius Ken Navarro. “It was great working with Ken on this project and drawing on his experience not only as a musician and producer, but also as a label owner and an icon in this genre for years,” says Jack.

Now Jack presents his third album Out Of The Box, which is scheduled for release 6/22 and will be available via several online retailers and earlier at Jack’s website. Jack recorded this album with Rob DeBoer (guitar, keyboards, bass, programming) and Tony Grace (drums, percussion, programming), both members of the famous acid jazz group Four 80 East.

Jack comments: “I was totally blown away by the ideas Tony and Rob (Four 80 East) brought to the table. I wanted something a little more aggressive and a little less safe than the previous releases. Sometimes it’s fun to color outside of the lines.”

We dive into Jack’s album with Head Hunter, a creation of the fab two. Driven by dynamic bass and wah-wah guitar the track walks on the line between retro quotes and contemporary jazz.

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Rohan Reid – Rifle Road

Say the name, Rohan Reid, and almost everyone in Jamaica knows his life story…….

…the third of seven children, born and raised in Kingston, Rohan was encouraged to start learning bass at the tender age of 6. His father, Nathaniel Reid, had him pick up the guitar to teach him a “few chords” to play along in church. Little did he and his wife know that this youngster would, in a short amount of time, learn and master both bass and guitar.

Everyone was astonished at his progress and would soon start asking his parents could he accompany them. Although his Mother, Leanna, reluctantly allowed Rohan to start traveling the world at such a young age, she knew his talent was a gift from above.

At age 10, Rohan was on the road touring internationally with one of Jamaica’s biggest record selling Gospel Groups, Grace Thrillers. After 5 wonderful years of this union, he moved on to become a member of Insights. It was during this time he began to develop his musical arranging skills under music director, Denis Hayes. In 1985 Rohan, along with Patrick Kitson and Henry Morrison formed Change, a new driving force in Jamaica’s Contemporary Gospel arena. The group fused gospel, jazz and reggae, revolutionizing a “new” sound. Change became the first and only Gospel aggregation to perform on the world’s largest reggae festival, Reggae Sun splash and was also featured in the Billy Graham Global Mission 1994, shown to over 300 countries worldwide via satellite.
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Xpresshunz – Euphoric

Xpresshunz is comprised of musicians who create soulful, jazzy, funky easy listening, heart felt music! Xpresshunz is part of Keyz & Stringz Productions! Members of the group are Elbert Travis (guitar), Dana Withers (synthesizer, piano and  bass), Darren Walker (drums),  Les Thomas (guitar), Rick Bruno (bass). For more information about this band visit their MySpace site.

Their debut album is entitled Euphoric. This CD is a mixture of original smooth jazz grooves with a taste of funk, and R&B! Try this emotion at CDBaby.

Gerald Albright – Pushing The Envelope

There are sax players and there is Gerald Albright. Gerald has this legendary signature sound, which contrasts him favorably from any other contemporary musician. He is Mr. Groove of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz. Since the ’80s Albright is a highly requested session musician and his busy tour schedule speaks for his unbroken popularity.

His recent albums are Groovology (2002) and Kickin’ It Up (2004) on GRP, followed by New Beginnings (2008) and Sax for Stax (2009) on Peak Records, both GRAMMY® nominated in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album. His new album Pushing The Envelope is scheduled for release June 15, 2010 on Heads Up International.

Albright arranged and produced the album and performs soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flutes, bass guitar, and keyboards, and also handles synthesizer, EWI and drum programming. But he is not a one-man-band. Albright is joined by Tracy Carter and Luther “Mano” Hanes, guitarist Ricky Watford and drummer Ricky Lawson.

Gerald starts the album with the ultra-funky What Would James Do? Albright’s personal tribute to the godfather of soul James Brown features Fred Wesley, J.B.’s trombone player. This is triple A. Finest quality music.

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Paul Hardcastle – Jazzmasters VI

Billboard Magazine’s 2008 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year, prolific producer/multi-instrumentalist Paul Hardcastle, releases the much anticipated volume VI in his immensely popular Jazzmasters series, a vehicle that helped him re-launch his career in the early ’90s, made him a household name and has garnered him legions of rabid fans worldwide.

It’s been 19 years since the release of Jazzmasters I, a pet project that became a format game changer in its initial release and one that has defined a music style that has yet to be copied. VI marks the entity’s ambitious return to the fold and continues to raise the bar with a grouping of highly charged melodic and memorable pieces that have become the Hardcastle/Jazzmasters signature over the last two decades.

Julian Vaughn – The Purpose Project

The unique stylings of solo bassist Julian Vaughn are born of a love for the smooth jazz genre. The Kansas City native takes from his historic surroundings, long known for its important contributions to jazz, and adds his youthful yet soulful style to create his debut CD entitled The Purpose Project.

Vaughn is a self-taught bass player. Born March 3, 1980 the musician grew up in the church where his grandfather pastored until turning over the reins to Vaughn’s father. Like other kids at the church, he began his music career playing the drums, but says, “Trying to play the drums at church was like ten football players going after a fumble. Everyone wanted to play.”

Years went by and the fight over the drums got old. At 15 Vaughn decided to try a different instrument. He picked up a bass guitar that another man in his church was playing and immediately fell in love. This was truly love at first sight. Vaughn was blessed with the ability to play by ear. He soon discovered how to play songs and special techniques.

One day Vaughn found his father’s Najee cassette “Tokyo Blue.” He listened, this was the first time he had heard smooth jazz, and fell in love again. He was hooked. To this day “Tokyo Blue” remains his favorite jazz recording.

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