Hot Club of Detroit – It’s About That Time

Hot Club of Detroit is inspired by the Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli. The current Hot Club of Detroit is made of guitarist Evan Perri, accordionist Julien Labro, soprano and tenor saxophonist Carl Cafagna, rhythm guitarist Paul Brady, and bassist Andrew Kratzat. Perri founded the Hot Club of Detroit in 2003 while attending Wayne State University in Detroit.

In the following years the group won several awards. Their self-titled debut album (2006) was followed by Night Town (2008). It’s About That Time is their third album (2010), released on Mack Avenue.

With On the Steps the group signals uncompromising jazz “A Grande Vitesse” in the style of Django Reinhardt presenting the members of the group in solo phases. Jazz aficionados will recognize the chord changes of Pat Martino’s On the Stairs (with a pithy quotation from John Coltrane’s Giant Steps).

Charles Mingus’ Nostalgia in Times Square finds a new face formed by this remarkable group. Still in the tradition of jazz with guitar and accordion the group also adds modern elements like hand-clapping. Django Reinhardt is the shower-head from which we all come down,” says guitarist and bandleader Evan Perri. “But if he had lived, I don’t think he would’ve been playing the same things he had in prior years. He was constantly evolving as a jazz musician.”

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George Duke – Déjà Vu

When keyboardist-composer-producer George Duke made a return trip to the heyday of funk on his 2008 recording, Dukey Treats, he reminded his fans and the music press of exactly what made the good old stuff so good. DownBeat called it “a wild and crazy album, especially if you’re nostalgic about the guitar-scratching, double-clutching rhythms of James Brown and George Clinton and the bedroom ballads of Stevie Wonder and Aaron Neville.” The Philadephia Enquirer called it simply “a valentine to funk.”

Duke returns to that same wellspring for Déjà Vu. The album revisits the synthesizer sound that characterized some of his most memorable recordings from the golden age of funk and soul.

“The whole idea behind Déjà Vu was to take a look back at some of the stuff I used to do that was a little more musically challenging,” says Duke. “In some way or another, whatever happened before always comes around again. It may be a little different, but it will resurface. That’s kind of what this album is – a resurfacing of some ideas I had back in the ‘70s when I recorded albums with a lot of synthesizers, like Feel and The Aura Will Prevail.

Still, Déjà Vu does feature a few more shades of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz than its predecessor – as evidenced by fine guest performances throughout the record by trumpeter Nicholas Payton, flutist Hubert Laws and saxophonist Bob Sheppard. “These are three very strong instrumentalists,” says Duke. “We do it here just like we did in the old days. Everybody gets a shot at playing. It’s not just me playing a solo and then we take it out. I try to keep it a little more democratic. It’s the typical jazz scenario of the old days, where everybody gets to play.”

Déjà Vu is a glance back, but with a very contemporary sensibility – a piece of work that comes together very much in the present, but also conjures up a persistent feeling of something great that came before. “I’ve always considered myself a multi-stylistic artist,” says Duke. “I try to take people on a musical journey, whether it’s on an album or in a show. I think the style of music that you choose to play is really irrelevant, as long as you’re honest about what you’re trying to present.”

Source: Concord Records

Terence Young – Love Stories

Terence Young describes himself as being one of the most talented guitarist in the world. He has four Cd projects to his credit and a live DVD. Healing for the Soul and Christmas Time were released in 2007, followed  by The Experiment in 2008. Love Stories is his fourth and newest album (2010). Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina he has performed with Phil Perry and R&B singers Angie Stone, Jesse Powell and Angela Winbush.

He serves currently as lead guitarist at the Brookland Baptist Church in West-Columbia.  There is something of George Benson and Norman Brown. Listen to his music at CDBaby.

Najite – Genesis Of Me

Kelvin Najite Ikpeni was born in his native country, Nigeria, and he goes by the stage name Najite. He is a Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Fusion and Contemporary Guitarist based in Laurel Maryland. Najite came to the United States in the summer of 2005, in pursuit of music. He started playing the Guitar as a teenager in his local church. His enthusiasm, hope, dream and desire to grow and become a professional jazz musician, was very high. He then moved from his home town to Lagos, Nigeria, there he met other fellow musicians and learned very fast as he achieved his dream.

Over the years, Najite has worked with so many churches including one of the fastest growing church in Lagos, Nigeria; House On The Rock in the A team, he has also played with well known and renown musicians, like Lionel Peterson, Ron Kenoly, Bishop TD Jakes, Donnie McClurkin, Cindy Trimm, Alvin Slaughter and Marvin L Winans. Najite has also served as a Music Director and Band Leader for the CORA Award Winner, Sammie Okposo and The X-Generation Band. He was also one of the few musicians that were selected to attend the South African Film and Television Market (Sythengi) in South Africa 2003. Najite came to the US in search of new ideas for his rhythmic, melodic and harmonic jazz phrasing.

By releasing his debut album, Genesis Of Me, Najite has also added a brand new style and genre to the music world, and it is called Neo Life. The Neo Life style of playing came from Neo soul, smooth jazz and his native high life rhythm. Najite is very talented and he is a gift from God to this generation. Najite also has a 5piece band called Exponent5 which he produces and directs. The group is committed to play all kinds of music, from jazz to Gospel, R&B, soul, fusion, Neo soul, Neo life, smooth jazz, etc.

Najite comments his new album:  “What a great moment in my life to sit down and actually do what I was born to do, after being in music for almost 2 decades. I finally had the right people to work with on this project. This was really a moment of truth for me and I express my heart. This album is a reflection of who I am, from the day I was born. The up’s and the down in my life, led me to title it: Genesis Of Me. This album is not just one of those albums that you listen to for fun, because I really took my time to fast and pray about all the songs, so, they are highly therapeutic to the mind and soul of the listener. To my countrymen, my love for you will remain steadfast; I hope I make you proud as am proud to be a son of the Land. So guys, welcome to my world of music, thank you all and May God be with you all.”

Najite has made videos of his recording-sessions, which are to find at YouTube and will be available on DVD soon. Najite Ikpeni has signed with the Spectra Jazz Label as of August 13, 2010. His CD The Genesis of Me is now located at the Spectra Jazz website for downloads, and will be re-activated for digital distribution on iTunes, Amazon, etc. within a few weeks. A physical release is planned for later this year.

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Now Is The Time

Most of the readers will know Jeff Lorber as the exponent of smooth jazz. Smooth jazz oriented releases like West Side Stories (1994), State of Grace (1996), Midnight (1998), Kickin’ It (2001), Philly Style (2003), the side project Shades Of Soul (2004), 2005’s Grammy nominated Flipside and Heard That (2008) are a strong sign for these activities.

But if you look into the past of this artist, you will find the other side of Jeff Lorber. Philly raised and Berklee educated, Jeff Lorber recorded his first two albums for Inner City records: The Jeff Lorber Fusion (1977) and Soft Space (1978), both have been re-issued. While Jeff Lorber received high accolades by his smooth jazz fans, there were still voices, who wanted the old Jeff Lorber back.

Now Is The Time (2010) is Jeff’s fulfillment of this request. The albums is set for release on June 1, 2010, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. Jeff’s new formation is build by bassist Jimmy Haslip (who co-produced with Lorber and Bobby Colomby), saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. All musicians are best known and well-respected.

“We all had a vision of what we wanted this record to be,” says Lorber. “We wanted a return to the sound of the Jeff Lorber Fusion, but informed by everything I’ve learned since then. All of a sudden, people seem to be interested in hearing that again. They’re ready to hear musicians who can really play, really stretch the envelope with their technique, with their songwriting, and with harmonic structure.”

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Lee Ritenour – 6 String Theory

It’s hard to believe that 2010 marks 50 years since Lee Ritenour starting playing the guitar, setting in motion a career that legends are made of. A career that has earned him 19 GRAMMY® nominations, a GRAMMY Award, numerous #1 spots on guitar polls, A Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian SJ Awards, and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC. During his illustrious career, he has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs and was a founding member of the group Fourplay, considered the most successful group in contemporary jazz. As a young guitarist his diverse musical style became the foundation of over 3,000 sessions, covering a broad spectrum of artists ranging from his first session at 16 with the Mamas and Papas, to Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Simon & Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra. On his latest endeavor, 6 String Theory, Ritenour celebrates the instrument that has allowed him this blessing, the guitar; -by producing and assembling a star-studded tribute with the greatest and soon- to- be greatest guitarists of our time.

For 6 String Theory, Ritenour is also among the twenty legendary world class guitarists starring on the recording, which he produced along with John Burk of the Concord Music Group. Joining him in this tribute to the guitar, the all-star line-up includes: George Benson, BB King, Slash, Steve Lukather, John Scofield, Robert Cray and Vince Gill among many other superstars. Blending rock, blues, jazz, acoustic, country and classical, they come together for a seamless project that promises to take the listener on a musical journey and exploration of the guitar. Also featured on vocals are BB King, Robert Cray, Vince Gill, Keb’ Mo’, Taj Majal, Joe Bonamassa and Jonny Lang.

Ritenour also had a musical mission to help launch a new star of the guitar. To do so, he partnered with Yamaha Corp., Berklee College of Music, Monster Music, D’Addario Strings, and Concord Records to hold the international talent search, The Yamaha 6 String Theory Guitar Competition. Hundreds of contestants from over 45 countries posted YouTube videos to enter the competition with six finalists from around the world (one in each musical catagory) selected at a finals competition in Los Angeles in March 2010. Winning top honors was 16-year-old classical guitarist, Shon Boublil, from Montréal, Canada, who as the winner made his debut recording performance on 6 String Theory and received a four-year full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.

Ranging from 16 year old Shon, 18 year old, Joe Robinson (winner of Australia’s Got Talent) and BB King in his young 80s, 6 String Theory covers it all, from amazingly talented upcoming guitarists to the greatest guitarists of our time. It also shows the high esteem for which Ritenour is held by his peers enabling him to assemble such an awe inspiring cast of musicians to celebrate their mutual love of the guitar. Blending together styles, ages and musical colors, Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory promises to be one of the greatest guitar recordings ever made!

Source: Concord Records

Rico Belled – The Pursuit Of Comfort

This is the story of the making of The Pursuit of Comfort told by Rico Belled.

The pursuit started in 1998 at Jono Brown’s original Word of Mouth studio in West Hills, CA. In three sessions, basic tracks for 7 of the songs on the record were recorded live. We just set up like a band, amps and all, and ran the tunes. Most music at this time was recorded to a click and I wanted to do it the old fashioned way! The point was to make an album with no commercial considerations, no intended ‘radio-format’. Just a group of the best musicians I knew getting together to play some tunes.

Jonathan Dresel played Drums, Jeff Babko and Jay Minor a real Fender Rhodes, Yogi played guitar, and percussion duties were handled by Mike Faue and Ronnie Gutierrez. Lots of stuff was overdubbed by Anne King, David Crozier, Robert Kyle, and Dino Soldo and when my brother visited we recorded one of his tunes with just classical guitar, bongo and baby bass.

Unfortunately, those were not good times for independent artists and when I first started getting into computer based production around 1999, I didn’t have the skills necessary to do these awesome recordings justice. Since there was no budget for mixing/mastering/marketing the project got shelved.

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