Paul Taylor – Burnin’

The summer is not hot enough. Paul Taylor lets it burn with his new album scheduled for release July 21, 2009 on Peak Records. It’s Paul fifth release on this label and it looks like Paul keeps the standard high. After the tremendous success of his previous album Ladies Choice Paul teamed up again with the producers Barry Eastmond and Rex Rideout following the chart-topping concept.

But there is a change in the instruments. Paul plays instead of soprano and alto sax the tenor sax on nine of the ten tracks. Playing the tenor sax requires more physical strength. “The focus on the tenor happened by very happy accident,” Paul comments. “I thought it would be cool to bring my tenor along with my soprano and alto to the sessions which kicked off the project. When I got to the studio and opened up my cases, I saw that the soprano was damaged. It made sense to use both alto and tenor to start writing, and I really started liking the way the lower tones of the tenor sounded.

One of Barry’s strengths in jazz is producing the tenor, so we just kept rolling with it. It’s got a gutsier sound and as things turned out, lent itself to the retro ’70s soul sounds that naturally emerged from our writing and recording sessions. I always think back to that Junior Walker Shotgun blast and this was just my time to go in this direction.”

Back in the Day awakes memories of wonderful summer days full of emotion and joy. Grover Washington Jr. is in the air. Balladeer Billy Cliff shines with a charisma like Michael McDonald. The similarity is undeniable.

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U-NAM – Unanimity

Hailing from Paris U-NAM aka Emmanuel Abiteboul recently moved to USA, where he is performing with the cream of contemporary jazz. Working for artists such as Barry White, Honeyz, Luis Fonsi, Alsou, Kool & the Gang, Billy Paul, Cindy Daniel and CNote motivated him to release after his debut The Past Builds The Future (2005) his sophomore solo album Back From The 80’s (2007). This album received high acclaims because of its originality, freshness and rich proficiency. This album was one of the best smooth jazz albums I heard since several years. Without exception strong songs, no filler.

Will U-NAM continue his previous success with his follow-up Unanimity (2009)? This question can be answered with a clear and astounding YES. The title of the new album is explained by U-NAM with his move to L.A. leaving his family especially his four years old son Melvin behind. The concept of “Humanity” should be able to do the “Unanimity”. The album was recorded in parts in his studio in France and in his new studio in Rancho Cucamonga called Studio II. As on his previous album U-Nam is supported by the Merkevah Orchestra and the M.A. strings section conducted by Raymond Gimenes, furthermore by the Paris horns (Thierry Farrugia, Christian Martinez and Bernard Camoin). Further musicians on his new album are Denis Bennarosh (percussion), Mike White (drums), Franck Sitbon (clavinet, Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano, organ and background vocals) and some special guest musicians.

U-Nam surprises with his unusual introduction Viva La Revolucion. A movie score of the Mexican revolution with the blowing trumpet, revolting people and the whole body of sound of this ancient period. When you search after the contemporary funk, your quest is over. Funk-4-U-Nity has it all. U-NAM’s dynamic guitar performance takes the audience by storm.

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Jason Weber- Five

Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1994 Jason Weber is since a long time an integral part of the San Diego jazz scene. He started his solo career with 1st AVENUE in 1997, followed by Leap of Faith (1999), Something Blue (2002), Can U Feel Me Now? (2005) and this year Five.

On his new album Jason is supported by drummers Steve Ferrone and Duncan Moore, keyboardists Michael Leroy & Tad Sisler, bassists Nathan Brown & Chris Kringel, & guitarist Mike DeRose. Jason wrote most of the compositions in part with producer Marcel East. Guitarist/songwriter/producer Marcel East is Nathan East younger brother, working with Nathan on numerous projects including Fourplay, Al Jarreau, David Benoit and more.

The album starts with the apodictic U Know U Like It. Indeed this compelling tune offers an addictive melody which let’s you prick up your ears. Jason and Marcel East composed For The Children for those who will follow us and will hopefully have a better childhood than Michael Jackson.

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Scott Wilkie – Home Again: The Solo Piano Sessions

First time I met Scott Wilkie in Duesseldorf-Kaiserwerth during the Wave Music Festival in August 2000. It was a lucky time. The summer was warm, people full of hope and nobody thought about recession and economic crisis. Scott and his group were the first highlight of the festival. Oh yes, we all had a great time. What remains? The impression, memories and Scott’s music.

Most of you will be familiar with his debut album Boundless, released in 1999 on Narada Records and his sophomore album More Than You Know (2000). Today’s you have a good chance to see Scott and his friends on tour or at Spaghettini Jazz Grill. His band Nathan Brown (bass), Dave Hill (guitars) and David Anderson (drums) will be on his next project which is currently in the making.

Home Again: The Solo Piano Sessions was recorded in Scott’s home studio on his Yamaha C7 concert grand piano in 2007.

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Patrick Yandall – A New Day

Patrick Yandall is a jazz guitarist with a constant contribution to the music scene. Born in Bay City, Michigan, he found his luck in San Diego and L.A., where he has established himself as session musician. Besides performing on sessions Patrick is recording tracks for the Weather Channel and jazz Muzak that you hear in malls and other places.

Patrick started his solo career with That Feels Nice (1994), followed by A Lasting Embrace (1997), Of Two Cities (2000), Back To The Groove (2001), From The Ashes (2003), Eyes Of Mars (2005), Samoa Soul (2006), New York Blues (2007), Laws Of Groovity (2008) and this year A New Day (2009).

His new album is devoted to the smooth jazz genre and features besides multi-instrumentalist Yandell himself Marc Pierucci (keyboards, percussion, bass and drum programming) and Jeff Laakso (sax). Patrick wrote all songs on this album, which is today’s by no means common practice.

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Zap Mama – ReCreation

Zap Mama, African queen, creator of African European music, exotic pop wonder. Marie Daulne created the project “Zap Mama” during the beginning of the 90’s with an a capella group of Afro-European women. Born in the Congo to an Belgian father and an African mother Marie Daulne brings together natural beauty and music, the music of two continents and the hearts of thousands of fans. Daulne specializes in polyphonic, harmonic music with a mixture of heavily infused African instruments, R&B, and Hip-hop.

With this concept she recorded the World Music releases Adventures in Afropea (1991/1993), and Sabsylma (1994). While the first albums were a capella, Marie Daulne changed her style with the third album Seven (1997) to a more instrumental profile. Next albums were the experimental A Ma Zone (1999), and after her move to New York Ancestry in Progress (2000). In 2004 she moved back to Belgium. Her debut on Heads Up International was Supermoon (2007) now followed by ReCreation worldwide released on May 26, 2009.

Marie explains the title: “That moment when you are relaxing and enjoying yourself, is the perfect moment to create a new person within yourself – to heal yourself and let go of all the negative aspects of your life. In those times when you relax, you recreate yourself.”

We immerse in the magical world of Zap Mama with ReCreation preparing for the musical miracles. Do you hear the heartbeat of Africa? Then listen to Vibrations. The pulsing bass, the dark drums, Marie’s luscious vocals carving lines into the wooden tree of life. Marie is back in the heart of Congo’s jungle.

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Alexander Zonjic – Doin’ The D

Five years after his previous album Seldom Blues (2004) is Alexander Zonjic back with his new album Doin’ The D. The title bases on a catchphrase, which means spending the weekend in Detroit and enjoying the rich cultural activity of the city. In a time of economic decline especially in the city of General Motors and Chrysler people need some cheering up and what can be a better medium than music.

So Alexander Zonjic assembled the who-is-who of contemporary jazz on his new album: Bob James, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G, Rick Braun, Chieli Minucci, Maysa Leak, Lenny Castro, Dwight Sills. These artists and many more followed Alexander’s call.

“Detroit and its people embraced me on a profound level many, many years ago, and they’re the main reason that I’ve had such a great career,” says Zonjic. “It’s one of the greatest music cities in the world. All you need to do is consider that Aretha Franklin still lives here after so many years. Eminem is here, Bob Seger is here, Mitch Ryder is here, Anita Baker, Kid Rock, and the list goes on. Obviously, the city is going through its share of tough times right now – like so many other cities. But I continue to appreciate everything “The D” has done for my career, and I will always support it.”

Top Down starts the album featuring master of the keys Jeff Lorber. Alexander comments: “I love how exposed the flute is on this track, as well as the classic Lorber vibe that comes through. This was one of the songs on this record that took me out of my comfort zone and into a new direction in terms of what I’m used to playing.”

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