Kirk Whalum – The Gospel According To Jazz: Chapter III

Eight-time Grammy nominated jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum will release the long-awaited third installment in his popular genre-bridging gospel jazz series with a special package and unique online marketing campaign. The star-studded live celebration The Gospel According To Jazz: Chapter III will be available March 16, 2010, in both a two-disc CD package and a special DVD shot in hi-definition video via Whalum’s label Top Drawer Records and distributor Mack Avenue Records.The project features the gospel-targeted single “He’s Been Just That Good,”featuring vocalist Lalah Hathaway.

The Gospel According To Jazz is the brainchild of Whalum, whose dedication to his musical craft and his Christian beliefs came together to launch the live concert celebrations with the first GATJ release in 1998. A second edition, The Gospel According To Jazz II, was recorded in Los Angeles and released in 2002. The project was honored with a gospel Stellar Award for Instrumental CD of the Year and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.

The long-awaited Chapter III in the series – recorded live in 2007 at the Reid Temple AME church in Glenn Dale, Maryland – is a joyous concert of praise and worship,where Whalum takes listeners on a journey from spirituals through New Orleans jazz through modern jazz, R&B, hip-hop, reggae, blues, and gospel. “It’s kind of a mini journey through the evolution of jazz to an extent,” says Whalum. “It documents the fact that gospel is not a recent collaborator with jazz. They started out together.”

Unique to the concept of The Gospel According To Jazz is the fact that it brings jazz fans, gospel fans, and R&B fans together with those who are dedicated to Christ, and meets the listeners where they are spiritually. Including a DVD shot by noted filmmaker Jim Hanon in hi-def — the listener and the DVD viewer can truly witness the profound connections made between the audience and the musicians,between the musicians themselves, and between all present and the Holy Spirit.

“It’s a vertical and horizontal interaction,” Whalum explains, “where you see these musicians playing and expressing themselves in their adoration and wonder for the Invisible One. And when the camera pans over,across the shoulder of the artist, you focus on the audience members who are responding and taking part, that’s the horizontal aspect, resonating with each other in their own questions and struggles and affirmations of faith and appreciation of music. Then there is a vertical dimension that separates this from most just regular other jazz shows. It’s transcendent.”

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Grover Washington Jr. – Grover Live

Grover Live, a new CD documenting the late, great Saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. in a 1997 concert with his touring band to be released on G Man Productions in May 18, 2010.

The godfather of today’s urban contemporary jazz scene, Grover Washington Jr., was one of the most popular and influential saxophonists of the ’70s and ’80s. And while he may have
paved the way for such easy-listening artists as Kenny G, Najee, George Howard and Gerald Albright, none of those popular saxophonists play with the chops and sheer intensity that Grover demonstrated on the bandstand from night to night throughout his career, which spanned three decades.

And as the newly discovered Grover Live demonstrates, the man was clearly on top of his game well in to the ’90s. Recorded on June 7, 1997 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, New York, Grover Live, produced by Jason Miles (Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Sting), captures the consummate pro in concert and at the peak of his powers, blowing with unbridled conviction and a sense of risk-taking on a collection of his tunes spanning three decades.

From familiar hits like “Winelight” and “Mr. Magic” to a medley of early numbers like “Inner City Blues,” “Black Frost” and “Just the Two of Us” to more recent offerings like “Mystical Force,” the hip-hop flavored “Uptown” and a contemporary spin on the old school groover, “Soulful Strut,” Grover and his crew – Adam Holzman and Donald Robinson on keyboards and synthesizers, Gerald Veasley on electric bass, Richard Lee on guitar, Pablo Batista on percussion and Steven Wolf on drums – stretch out in dynamic fashion on this exhilarating live CD.

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Incognito – Live In London – The 30th Anniversary Concert

Nearly 3 hours of performance and bonus features… Recorded in High Definition!

Inakustik and MVD Visual are proud to announce the DVD, Blu-ray, and CD release of Incognito Live In London – The 30th Anniversary Concert on April 20, 2010.

Incognito is far more than just a band. The sound visionary Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick has been pioneering in the mercurial acid jazz scene, and as a talent factory, Incognito has rolled out the red carpet for vocal prodigies, such as Jocelyn Brown and the best musicians from the British groove community.

Short-lived musical trends have done nothing to damage the popularity of this multi-cultural band with their driving rhythms and elegant melodies and they have become a trademark all over the world, especially live. In this vein, “Bluey” Maunick celebrated Incognito’s 30th birthday on stage at the London INDIGO2 with a thrilling concert in summer 2009.

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Times 4 – Eclipse

Bay area band Times 4 is meanwhile one of California’s leading group in the contemporary jazz genre. Co-founded by Lincoln Adler, who is known by his albums The Dream and Short Stories, the group has in the intervening time released the albums Seductivity (2005) and Relations (2006). Eclipse is their third album and now on sale at CDBaby.

Further members of Times 4 are Maurice Miles (drums), Greg Sankovich (keyboards) and Kevin Lofton (bass). The ideas of the new songs were created during the numerous jazz sessions the band gave at their gigs in the San Francisco area. This time the group has self-produced the album learning more about the specific sounds of their instruments in the recording process. Widening their knowledge had certainly a leveling effect on their music.

The album introduces the band with the title song Eclipse. The melody line is airy and hold by Lincoln Adler’s soprano sax accompanied by Greg Sankovich on piano, who expands the song in meanders of sub themes.

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Alan Burroughs – Chicago Life

Embark upon the Smooth Jazz adventures of Chicago Life, where you will be transported through time with each track taking you on an excursion of multi-cultural diverse pleasures.

Your journey begins with the exciting movement of urban life. While traveling along you’ll be whisked away to far off places feeling the joy of the cool white sands of Brazil caressing your toes, then jetting off to the Islands you’ll taste the flavor of the moist salty air, the hot sun warming your skin and all the while reminiscing about life at the Dawn of your Desires and your first intimately impassioned kiss!

Through smooth as silk transitions, slick licks and an intricately edgy detailed style, the unparalleled talents of this guitar virtuoso will awaken the depths of your soul, inspire you to dance with your love and ignite a frenzy of yet untapped explosive energies!

The brilliance of the masterful techniques used by this artist will recharge your spirit with a renewed sense of devotion to uplifting your own hearts desires in life.

As with all things which give us the pleasures we crave, your travels through the awesome multi- talented musicianship of Alan Burroughs (A.B.) Chicago Life CD will fill you to capacity with satisfaction yet entice you to wait with baited breath… for more now at CDBaby!

A Conversation with dee Brown

I met with dee Brown, an inspirational guitarist, composer, producer and arranger. Hailing from Detroit he has currently released his albums No Time To Waste (2006) and A Little Elbowroom (2009).

hbh: dee, what is the history of the title of your second album?

dee: After the completion and success of my first CD “No Time To Waste,” I thought the appropriate title of my recent release should be “A Little Elbowroom” because we really had just a little “elbowroom” left over to produce this one.

When I refer to “elbowroom,” I’m simply looking for enough room to move around freely. And when I mention “freely,” I’m talking about cashing in on the opportunity to maneuver easier within the music industry. Because of Nu Groove Records’ history and reputation of supporting artists like Jay Soto, Michael Lington and Bob Baldwin, we felt more than comfortable with the elbowroom Nu Groove promised us.

We were blessed with three wonderful producers for this project. Chip Dixon, from Detroit, who has worked with William Murphy Jr., Sean “Puffy” Combs and Dark Child (Rodney Jergenson) was joined by fellow Motor City resident Valdez Brantley, who is Usher’s music director, and a producer-keyboardist, who has also worked with Sean “Puffy” Combs, plus New Kids on the Block, Mary J. Blige and Teddy Riley.

The third member of the production team is my label mate Nate Harasim, another Detroit area native whose resume highlights several CD cuts as a Smooth Jazz pianist. One of Nate’s recent projects includes a session with De’Nate, where the vocals of Deborah Connors is showcased. Darren Rahn also contributed on tenor sax. You can add Jay Soto, Nick Colionne and Norman Brown to the list of artists Nate has worked with. Our CD also features the bass of Dave “The Painter” Henderson and Valdez’s brother, Kern Grantley, who is also the music director for Neo, Dezie McCullers on sax, Frank McCullers show casing the trumpet and the vocals of Gerard Brookes.

If you listen carefully, you’ll pick up the way I express my love for the guitar, as it is carries each track’s melody, and truly provides the true essence of knowing what having “A Little Elbowroom” is really all about.

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Tour De 4Force – Quiet Moon

This 5 member group is comprised of Scherrie Payne, Joyce & Pam Vincent, Theresa Davis – all former members of well-known and highly successful singing groups (Supremes, Tony Orlando & Dawn and The Emotions, respectively) – and Jim Gilstrap, who is considered to be one of the most prolific and successful session singers in the industry.

Tour De 4Force also gathered the support of many other successful and respected artists on the Quiet Moon CD – including former Temptations lead singer, Ali Ollie Woodson. Woodson’s vocals are featured along with the groups on the Gilstrap-penned “Four Walls” and “Heaven Bound,” a song originally recorded by Chaka Khan & Rufus under the direction of Quincy Jones.

Buoyed by loyal fans who have followed the careers of these talented performers through the years, Tour De 4Force is already enjoying a favorable response to their formation, as evidenced by the multitude of hits to their music playlist on their Myspace page – over 100,000 in only 3 weeks! Check Quiet Moon at CDBaby.