The JT Jazz Project – Good Times (limited edition)

Because of an exceptionally creative home environment, JT‘s interest in music began at a very early age. He began playing the saxophone in the fourth grade and continued to play through elementary school, high-school and college, accumulating several awards and accolades. Throughout his music education, JT studied under some of Chicago-land’s most renowned musicians.

JT’s interest in writing and production began at age sixteen, when he (and his soul band) stepped into a recording studio for the first time. In JT’s late-teen years, his affinity and talent for music production developed tremendously. He and a close friend built a 5′ x 5’ closet-like “studio,” equipped with an old Roland keyboard and a four-track cassette recorder. JT would spend hours upon hours in this studio creating hip-hop, RnB, pop, rock, funk, gospel, and all types of grooves.

After high-school, JT chose practicality over ambition and attended the local community college as a pre-vet major. That path was short-lived however. Because JT’s heart just wasn’t in it, his academic performance left much to be desired. Then, the inevitable happened… JT decided to pursue a musical career. He went on to receive a BS in Music Performance with a minor in Business Administration from Millikin University.

During his last year in college, JT interned at the Chicago Recording Company (CRC), Chicago’s premiere recording studio. At CRC, JT honed his production and technical audio skills while working with high-profile clients like R. Kelly, Three 6 Mafia, Phil Collins, Liz Phair, and countless movie and commercial projects. One year later, JT accepted a position at Streeterville Recording Studios, which was at one time the premiere recording studio in Chicago. JT continued to work at Streeterville with clients like Kanye West, Marvin Sapp, Tori Amos, Melissa Ethridge, Orbert Davis, and John Madden, until the studio went out of business.

These days, JT keeps busy by producing projects for Jevon Music Group (JMG) and by performing with his band, The JT Jazz Project. The latest album from The JT Jazz Project, titled Good Times,  is a sexy fusion of neo-soul and jazz (in the vein of Maxwell or Sade) and features Chicago-land’s most talented musicians and vocalists.

Good Times now at CDBaby.

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Susie Hansen – Representante de la Salsa

For 20 years, violinist Susie Hansen has led one of Southern California’s more popular Latin bands. She and the gang “aim for the feet” with Representante de la Salsa on Jazz Caliente.

The band consists of Hansen on electric violin and vocals; George Balmaseda and Kaspar Abbo on vocals; David Stout on trombone; Tim Messina on tenor sax and flute; Joe Rotondi on piano; Rene Camacho on bass and background vocal; Jimmy Branly on timbales; Joe De Leon on congas; and Ricardo “Tiki” Pasillas on bongo and hand percussion. Co-producer Erich Bulling also appears as background vocalist.

The title song starts things off. Balmaseda sings lead, with ample backing by Hansen, Camacho and Bulling. After a few rounds of the voices, Hansen solos on the electric violin. She then blends with the horn section on the middle break. The percussionists contribute to the Latin flavor.

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Tom Grant – Delicioso

Nu-Wrinkle Records is proud to announce the CD release of Delicioso (“Dee-lish-e-oso”) by pianist Tom Grant. The single, “Cute New Car,” will be going for adds to radio on August 30, 2010.

Since 1983, Tom’s records have repeatedly topped the contemporary jazz charts. Radio fans will remember his previous releases with labels like Windam Hill, Verve, Shanachie. Keyboard Magazine declared, ” he dishes out a pop-flavored jazz that goes down easy and gives discerning listeners plenty to chew on.”

Through the years, several of his songs, including the popular “Mango Tango,” “Night Charade,” “In My Wildest Dreams,” and “The View from Here,” enjoyed lengthy stays at number one. “We now add to our list of all-time favourites one of Tom’s finest selections ever – the aptly named Morning Glorious and the Café Jazz absolute #1 most played selection for 2009!! (sic),” said JazzLynx.com in a review about his 2008 release, “Life is Good.”

Tom Grant also made a name for himself early on with his road band as a darling of the critics. The Express News said, “As jazz pianists go, Grant’s style is boldly and uncommonly melodic In short, the man can play.” The San Antonio Light would also add, ” definitely striking the right chord with the record buying public, and at just the right moment.”

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Brian Simpson – South Beach

Keyboard players are often the musical center of a group. Many keyboardists are musical directors of touring stars. Brian Simpson is best known as musical director of Janet Jackson and Dave Koz. He also performed with other musicians like Michael White, Everette Harp, Michael Paulo, Freddie Fox, Teena Marie, Warren Hill, Sheena Easton, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, and Allan Sams.

His solo albums are Closer Still (1995), It’s All Good (2005) and Above The Clouds (2007). His newest album is entitled South Beach and is scheduled for release August 31, 2010. Brian allured some of the finest contemporary jazz artists for his new project. George Duke, Peter White and Euge Groove are the featured guest-musicians. A lot more musicians participate in Brian’s recording such as Tony Moore, Michael White, Oscar Seaton (drums), Alex Al, Smitty Smith, Larry Kimpel, Ian Martin (bass), Agape Jerry, Darrell Crooks, Yarone Levy (guitars), Brian Kilgore, Lenny Castro (percussion), Ron King (flugelhorn), Steve Alaniz (sax) and Brenda Kay Pierce (vocals).

Expensive in the makings, valuable in the final result the album is a labor of love. Brian comments: “While working on South Beach in my studio I often stepped back to a corner of the room and closed my eyes, as if listening for the first time, to see if the music compelled an emotion. I truly hope the listener can feel the love and care that all of the musicians contributed to the recording.”

The first song of an album is often the most important, because many listeners decide after the first track, if they listen further or not. Keeping that in mind the starting South Beach is the strongest and most catchy track on this album. Brian takes his fans with this uplifting, easygoing tune by storm.

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Will Harlan – Another Harlan Nite

Will Harlan’s first live performance with the legendary Dramatics was a huge success, which lead to more recording sessions. Always dedicated to school, maintaining honor status, after high school, he went on to pursue Electronics Engineering Technology, graduating at the top of his class. It was during this time, that he came to realize that his true gift was both playing and producing music.

Will has made appearances with national artists such as the Temptations, Trumpeter -Tom Brown, One Way, Chapter 8, Bassist – James Jamison Jr., Trumpeter – Marcus Belgrave, Jazz Guitarist – Earl Klugh, Teddy Harris Jr., Blues Singers – Robert Penn and Chicago Pete, The Dramatics, Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, and many others. One of his most enjoyable times was spent hosting Sunday evening Jam sessions at the legendary Bakers Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, and later hosting Thursday’s Night dates there for nearly a year.

Will’s true love for music not only shows in the musical magic he produces, but also in the eyes of his listening audience. His Band has performed and delighted audiences almost everywhere. Will’s Another Harlan Nite Cd, has received TV endorsements, international airplay, rave reviews, and great sales since its original release.

His diversity and love for music gave him a vision of creating a fresh new sound titled “Mo-Jazz Swing Music” is founder and CEO, and currently produces several up and coming projects. Will’s many years as an engineer, performing artist, music producer, and outstanding leadership has enhanced him as a musician, producer/ songwriter that promises great things to come, keep up cause he’s on the move.

Get this rare CD at CDBaby.

Barbara Jones & Henrik Bridger – This Side Up

With its lyrical melodies, rhythmic grooves, and lush harmonies, This Side Up takes the listener on a journey through the varied musical soundscape that is contemporary jazz. Pianist Barbara Jones and bassist Henrik Bridger seamlessly explore styles that include elements of upbeat pop, driving funk, sultry mood music, and samba, approaching each of these genres with a keen jazz sensibility.

Barbara’s expressive piano and Henrik’s in-the-pocket bass make this album a satisfying listening experience. Their performances are complemented by a stellar group of musicians including saxophonist Eric Marienthal, guitarists Jamie Bonk, Vince Mellone, and Stefan Rosqvist, drummer Daria Johnson, and percussionist Omar Ledezma.

This Side Up just arrived at CDBaby.

Slim Man – Thousand Miles Away

Slim Man is singer, songwriter, bassist and a man, who isn’t in the constant pursuit of perhaps unattainable material goals, but takes life as it is and receives solely from the existing beautiful things personal satisfaction. Reading his diaries, enjoying his receipts of belle cuisine and listening to his beautiful music is like Yin and Yang.

Before I fall into raptures here some facts of his musical career. Songwriter for Angela Bofill, Brian Jack, the Temptations, Carl Anderson and finally creator of his debut album End of The Rainbow (1995). He really found the golden pot and continued with Closer To Paradise (1996), Secret Rendezvous (1997), Jazzified (1999), All I Want For Christmas (2000), For Now And Forever (2003), Bella Mia (2004), Solstice (2006), Christmas Eve (2008), and this year Thousand Miles Away.

Also to mention is his side project Bona Fide. In 1998 Carl Griffin needed a funky jazz group for his new label. So Slim Man gathered some of his buddies to record the first album Royal Function (1999), followed by The Poe House (2001) and Soul Lounge (2005).

On his new album Slim Man gathered again some of his good old friends like Mark Antoine (guitars), George Hazelrigg (Rhodes, Hammond b3, mini-moog), John Coale (drums), Eric Hastings (drums), Robert Fiester (guitar), Hit man Howie Z (percussion), Eric Casillas (percussion) and Rebeca Vega (backing vocals). Slim wrote all songs except One By One, and One Of These Days, which he co-wrote with Marc Antoine.

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