Holly Hofmann and Bill Cunliffe – Three’s Company

Flutist Holly Hofmann and Grammy-nominated pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe come through with a charming release, Three’s Company on Capri Records.

The duet is accompanied, selectively, by guests Regina Carter on violin, Terell Stafford on trumpet, Ken Peplowski on clarinet and Alvester Garnett on drums. On four tracks, it’s Hofmann and Cunliffe. On the other four, one of the guests joins them.

“Dalto” is a lively piece that has a mild Latin flavor. The two counter well off each other. Stafford joins on the upbeat title song. Flute and muted trumpet blend on the melody, with the piano providing background and fills. Stafford performs a bouncy solo, backed by the piano. Cunliffe solos as well. A highlight of the song is when all three take off on separate, yet related flights.

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John Reed Austin – Feeling Your Presence

John Reed Austin’s first exposure to jazz was when he was in the 8th grade playing the bariton sax. The following year, he took up tenor after he was inspired by a Chuck Mangione album called, “Feels So Good” when he heard the clean altissimo false fingerings of Chris Vadala. That same year, he would be selected to play in the Citywide Jazz Ensemble.

John’s jazz interests would expand from the influences of Cannonball Aderly, Charley Parker, John Coletrane and Stan Getz. Other sax greats would include Phil Woods, Tom Scott, and a little known jazz flute prodegy named Nelson Rangel. In the 80’s, he added to his lists Gerald Albright, Kenny G, Dave Koz, David Sanborn and many others.

John comments his new album: “This CD is a testimony of my journeys that began when I first decided to go to Colorado Christian University for my degree in Music Ministry. From there, my motto in life would be, “Have Sax Will Travel.” As I would become a missionary, and minister to churches nationally and internationally, I have learned to endure tragedies physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually by not laying to die, but to Get Up and Praise!”

Feeling Your Presence is for those who love a wide variety of jazz, this would be the perfect addition to those who love David Sanborn, Kenny G, Dave Koz, Nelson Rangel, and Eric Darius. Genres include Latin, Modern, Smooth with a spiritual and encouraging message. This heartfelt album is on sale at CDBaby.

Ken Navarro – Dreaming of Trains

Ken Navarro is a lover. A lover of intensely colored, great and detailed music, a lover of musical dreams, realized in all their attractiveness and breathtaking perfection, a musician is competent and capable to. Dreaming of Trains is Ken’s newest opus, his 19th album and according to Navarro’s comment his best so far. The title stands for change, journey and movement, all attributes which influence Ken’s musical development.

Featured musicians include Jay Rowe (keyboards), Tom Kennedy (bass) and Joel Rosenblatt (drums). The album starts with the introduction Dream So Real, which Ken understands as a gateway to his album. The sound is swelling softly like a perfume, melting seamlessly Ann Sacks’ classical vocals with Ken’s guitar chords.

The driving tune Self Propelled has a specific groove which you certainly experienced in Pat Metheny’s music. While Ken leads on guitars, Jay Rowe answers on acoustic piano and keyboards creating the fine finish.

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Bickley Rivera – Chillin’ After Five

Emerging smooth jazz & chillout artist Bickley Rivera releases Chillin’ After Five. She calls upon semi-national and international recording artists (Praful, Magrus Borges, Ed Calle and more) to shape the album, but has that unique chill style of her own that is captivating. Few steel pan artists have developed the Nujazz & Chillout genre with this instrumentation wrapping soothing velvet vocals. The compilation captures the “Chill” concept, taking you through several “suites” of music featuring smooth jazz, dance and ambient downtempo styles. The album is produced by Greg Minnick of Levelblu Music Productions and mastered by world-renowned engineer Bob Katz.

Bickley Rivera showcases her tenor steel pan (steel drum) abilities along with guest appearances from saxaphone, flute and guitar soloists. Most recently, one of her pre-release singles “Groovin’ In Rio” has been featured regularly on CBS’s WRCH 100.5FM radio in Southern New England. She has captured the interest of many overseas radio DJ and producers who awaited this final release of Chillin’ After Five.

Chillin’ After Five is now available at CDBaby.

Times 4 – Eclipse

With their third album release, Eclipse, San Francisco-based contemporary jazz quartet Times 4 puts forth a fresh Bay Area blend of uplifting modern jazz with urban flavor. Along with six new original songs collectively composed for the project, Eclipse also features fresh interpretations of classic tunes by John Coltrane and Ron Carter/Miles Davis.

Seven years of collaboration has culminated in this new release showcasing Times 4’s strength in melding its individual voices into a dynamic and balanced ensemble. With their joyful musical interplay, driving grooves, captivating melodies and dynamic improvisations, Times 4 continues to inspire audiences to tap their feet and feel dance in their bones.

Recorded and mixed at legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, the tracks combine high energy live ensemble performances with the stellar sonic quality that has become a trademark of Fantasy. Times 4 features Lincoln Adler (saxophones), Greg Sankovich (keyboards), Kevin Lofton (bass), and Maurice Miles (drums). Their artful and intense musical conversation is steeped in the history of friendship and common roots. Miles and Lofton have been friends and musical collaborators since high school; likewise, Adler and Sankovich continue a musical dialogue that also dates back to their teen years.

Times 4 has shared the stage with many esteemed artists including Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, Bob James and Fourplay, Chris Botti, Dave Koz, Patrice Rushen, Patti Austin, Boney James and Jonathan Butler. The group has performed at many fine venues, including the JVC Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s, Mountain Winery, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Fillmore Jazz Festival, North Beach Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, and the Boom Boom Room.

Various Artists – moreorlessJazz 7

Architects aspire to create conducive living and working environments, while we conjure up dreamlike structures made of Jazz music. Our quality building material of choice comprises songs with the clarity and space to encourage improvisation: free-flowing vocals and liberated melodies.

This floating principle is embodied by an icon of modern architecture: the German Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe for the 1929 International Expo. The steel, glass, concrete, marble and golden onyx employed provide a discreet setting – as well as space for contemplation and reflection.

Our interior is adorned by the mellow sounds of Vocal Jazz, a highlight being Sophie Milman and the enticing song ”Beautiful Love” that provides the foundation for moreorlessJazz 7. Jacqui Naylor performs some fine sculpture work on rolling stones with her rendering of ”Miss You”, before Jeb Loy Nichols sends a distinctly laid-back finale through our hall of sound.

moreorlessJazz 7: An environment to savor thoughts – and enjoy life. For more information visit wavemusic.de.

Le Kat – Boudoir Rouge

A glamor girl enchanted by vintage Hollywood and Paris of the 1930s, chanteuse Le Kat is poised to pounce on the music scene with a theatrical debut album, Boudoir Rouge, brimful of elegant jazz and moody pop songs that ooze alluring sensuality. In addition to purring seductively throughout the collection, the platinum blond vixen wrote nine songs and produced thirteen tracks with William Tabanou. The CD will be released February 16th.

Boudoir Rouge is an intimate glimpse behind the closed doors of a woman’s bedroom. It is a place where she is free to fully explore her amorous passions. She is safe, in control and in love. The protagonist isn’t shy about satisfying her lustful desires, but above all she longs for love and romance. Although strong, sometimes her delicate heart aches. Yet she is always a classy lady.

She’s fun, confident and loves dressing up, using her sex appeal to entice and tantalize. That woman is Le Kat, a torch singer, seductress and playful party girl. Evoking the image and celebrating the glamor of a bygone era that spawned the birth of jazz, Le Kat was inspired by the likes of Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Cole Porter and Marlene Dietrich. She describes her style as being “a musical fusion of the past and present that takes you on a dream-like journey back to another time. Call it nouveau glamor of old Hollywood.”

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