Galaxy Lounge – Welcome To The Party

welcometothepartyWelcome To The Party is a whole album of original, satisfying and luscious jazz, smooth jazz and lounge tracks with strong melodic themes, relaxed grooves and solid roots in traditional jazz that will carry you off to your own personal paradise, but without harmful side effects.

A citizen of Pennsylvania Jon Grindstaff, mastermind of Galaxy Lounge, is now returned to music with this personal project of mostly traditional and smooth jazz-based tunes with a refreshing dose of lounge sensibility – and a dash of humor – from his own uniquely colored perspective, Galaxy Lounge. Welcome To The Party is available at CDBaby.

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Marcus Johnson – Poetically Justified

poeticallyjustifiedWhen we have to define the term entrepreneur in the smooth jazz genre, comes one person immediately in mind. Marcus Johnson is the musician with the greatest need and field of activity. He founded with businessman Robert L. Johnson the label Three Keys Music signing artists like Bobby Lyle, Jaared, Michael Lington, Joey Summerville, Nick Colionne and others.

He established the full-service recording studio, Studio 8121, where he also teaches music seminars. He has been morning host on Washington, DC’s Smooth Jazz 105.9. He teaches a music business development course at Bowie State University. Beside these activities he released fifteen albums while constantly touring the States and abroad.

On his new album Poetically Justified he invited musicians like David Dyson (bass), Marcus Anderson (EWI/vocoder, synthesizers), Stanley Cooper (guitar), Maysa (lead vocals) and many more.

The European chill out-style has started its triumphal march to the States. No wonder, that Marcus begins his album with the song Chillaxin. Marcus introduces the theme with some piano notes, then Freddy “Boom Boom” Moses lets the drum programming flow with chilling bongo and Tablas beats. He takes over the theme on synthesizers, modulating it in his multiple facets.

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Don Diego – A New Beginning

anewbeginningDon Diego is a contemporary jazz fusion saxophonist, vocalist and keyboard player who mixes instrumental covers of modern and classic R&B with rap and pop vocals. His music is divinely focused and undoubtedly appeals to the tastes of smooth jazz lovers. However, the urban flavor of Don Diego’s music is unmistakable. While the Kenny G and David Sandborn will be obvious, one will discover the underlying influences of modern gospel and classic Detroit soul.

In recent years, Diego has recorded with jazz greats Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright. He reached the Billboard charts with “It Never Rains in Southern California on his “Razz” release and spent 26 weeks there. His music has been covered from various artists from pop to jazz including R&B superstar group Toni! Tony! Toné! Don has performed with Kenny G, George Howard and Najee. His versatility was on display when he toured with Vanilla Ice for three years and also played in B.B. King’s band.

His newest album A New Beginning delivers an urban fusion of smooth jazz melodies, R&B harmonies and Hip Hop rhythms. The album is available at Blue Canoe Records or other online stores.

The Sax Pack – The Pack Is Back

thepackisbackThe Sax Pack is a class act consisting of three signature sax players; Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Steve Cole. Backed by a tight rhythm section, the talented trio combine their life-long love of music and their passion for performance, to make an impact on audiences that love music as much as they do. Committed to sharing the excitement, spontaneity and creative energy that flows between them on stage, The Sax Pack inspires an audience far beyond the duration of a show.

On September 29 they will release their sophomore CD, The Pack Is Back. The 10-song CD features the first single, “Can’t Help Myself,” as well as such original tunes as “Wanna Get Closer” and “This Time Around.” There’s also as a bonus track, a remixed version of “Fallin’ For You” by Davy D.

Kashiwa says he styled the Sax Pack after the camaraderie and fun he saw with the original Rat Pack from the movies and from concerts – Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. “The whole thing started kind of as a chuckle, kind of emulating the Rat Pack. And the reason why everyone loved the Rat Pack so much – I mean, they’re all great singers and all great actors and entertainers and dancers – is because of their camaraderie. We re-created that with the Sax Pack.”

Yoshiaki Masuo – Life Is Good

lifeisgoodTo many, the word “relaxing” is interchangeable with “boring” when it comes to describing music. Guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo defies that concept on Life Is Good, an aptly named release on the Sunshine Ave. label.

The set begins pleasantly with the title song, a charming tribute to true love. Masuo then injects some traditional jazz and humor with “Wet Dog.” A dog barks periodically as Masuo and his sidemen – in this case, Larry Goldings on organ and Lenny White on drums – enjoy an all-out jam. Masuo’s play is a throwback to Wes Montgomery with a hint of George Benson. Goldings shows, during his solo, why he’s one of the most sought-after Hammond B-3 players. And White is in a zone, whether underscoring the leads with crisp cymbals play or filling the call and response with rolls on the snare and toms.

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Joe McBride – Lookin’ For A Change

In the digitally-driven 21st century, the landscape of American popular music exists in a constant state of metamorphosis. At any given moment, the lines between jazz, R&B, soul, funk, pop, hip-hop and countless other styles can become indistinguishable, and sometimes disappear altogether. Singer, pianist Joe McBride, an innovator since his first recordings in the early ’90s, understands this phenomenon on a first-hand level. And like any versatile artist who’s in it for the long haul, he’s learned to not only roll with the changes, but actively seek them out and explore their maximum artistic potential.

A longtime stalwart of the contemporary jazz scene, McBride takes a detour from his usual path for an intriguing new recording that reinterprets a dozen contemporary pop songs via straightahead jazz arrangements. His new CD, Lookin’ For A Change (HUCD 3144), was released on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, on July 28, 2009.

Fleshed out with the help of a live trio – guitarist Dan Wilson, bassist Roger Hines and drummer Elijah Gilmore – Lookin’ For A Change is a collection of songs originally written and recorded by a range of pop luminaries, including Gnarls Barkley, Coldplay, John Mayer, Seal and several others. These reinterpretations, along with three original compositions from McBride”s own inspirational well, make for an engaging juxtaposition of the best elements of contemporary pop and traditional jazz.
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Melvin Maurice Miller – In the Moment

He is as charismatic as his music is captivating. Critics have aptly named him a composer, educator, musician, conductor and performing artist. His name, Melvin Maurice Miller. Born and raised in one of the largest cities historically known for great jazz and jazz greats, Chicago, Illinois – it’s no small wonder that music would become his life’s passion.

The sound of his horn and the style with which he performs comes from a variety of influences. He has learned from listening to many of the great masters. His sound: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Morgan, Doc Severinsen, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis. His phrasing: the vocals of Sarah Vaughn , Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few.

Let’s talk about his latest project first. In the Moment comes forth as a breath of fresh air from the one who has blown his horn internationally before crowds of thousands. The great expectations fulfilled in In the Moment fall right in line with the excellence that has become synonymous with Miller. The project boasts of 11 cuts, most of which are remakes, and two originals. A proud Miller states, “In the Moment was created to take listeners on a journey that causes them to think of where they were and what they were doing when they originally heard the covers (remakes.) There’s something about being taken back in time that evokes a feeling of the overall purpose of music, which is to make you feel good, to inspire joy and happiness and to sooth the soul. I think this project does that and more.”

For more information about Melvin Maurice Miller visit his website.

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