T.A.O. (The Anointed Ones) – Journey To The Top Begins

T.A.O. (The Anointed Ones) charms the musical world with the delightfully smooth jazz/Gospel album Journey To The Top Begins. Using the flute as the main instrument, Richard D. Hegens, Jr. skillfully complies a collection of easy listening pieces with polished maturity and grace. His talent shines on songs such as “Keeping It Real” or “Ballad” as he gives the audience a performance that captures the emotional spirit his music reveals.

His refined flute talents stir up keen interest as he leads off the album with a not-so-traditional rendition of “Amazing Grace” which conjures a slightly livelier tempo and strong and solid beat. Although most of this album is instrumental, “Safe in His Arms” and “When I Think About the Lord” present beautiful female vocals as sweet and harmonious as the lyrics they sing.

Jazz flavor at its best, “O-TULP” highlights striking piano, soft brushes, and the melodious sounds of the flute. Sounds of stunning flute blended with engaging smooth Jazz/Gospel will lift your spirits and soothe your soul when you hear the wonderful songs of T.A.O.’s Journey to the Top Begins.”

Begin this journey at CDBaby.

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Lenny White – Anomaly

Following his triumphant worldwide reunion tour with Return To Forever in 2008 and separate trio tours in 2009 with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke and pianist Hiromi with Clarke, Lenny White was primed to put out his own recording, his first as a leader in ten years. With Anomaly, the pioneering jazz-rock drummer returns to his roots, blending powerhouse backbeats and improvisational abandon in a bold, unapologetically aggressive manner that characterized the early 70s fusion movement.

“We need to restart a revolution so that we can take back the music and stop the fluff,” says White. “I’m hoping that this new album is a representation of that ideal.”

Accompanied by a crew of guitar killers in Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic), Nick Moroch (a former member of White’s Astral Pirates), David Gilmore, Tom Guarna and David Bendeth, keyboardists George Colligan, Bernard Wright, Donald Blackman (another Astral Pirate ) and Vince Evans and bassists Victor Bailey, Richie Goods, Charles Fambrough and his RTF bandmate Stanley Clarke, White unleashes with Zeppelinesque fury on Anomaly, his tenth overall recording as a leader.

Largely self-taught on drums, native New Yorker White broke into the jazz world in 1968 with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. The following year he participated in Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, generally regarded as the album that birthed the fusion movement. He subsequently recorded with a Who’s Who in Jazz, including trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson, Gato Barbieri and Stan Getz and renowned composer-bandleader Gil Evans, among others.
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Rob Blaine – South Sea Princess

Rob Blaine has performed at numerous jazz venues in the Western Cape. As an accomplished pianist/keyboardist he has worked with artists Jimmy Dludlu and Judith Sepuma as well as many other local musicians and talented artists. In addition to performing, Rob is a music tutor, teaching keyboard instruments, guitar and digital recording from his own studio, Computer Music Tuition.

The Rob Blaine – Smooth Jazz quartet features some of Cape Town’s best session musicians coming together to perform Rob’s original compositions. Their sound is a combination of mellow yet up-tempo, lively and laid back, cool instrumental jazz. Rob has released two albums, Pure Intuition in 2001 and South Sea Princess in 2008.  All tracks on both albums are composed and performed by Rob and each album includes a vocal track sunk by well known Cape Town singers, Denay Willie and Abigail Petersen.

South Sea Princess is now on sale at CDBaby.

Elan Trotman – This Time Around

Born and raised in Barbados, now a Boston resident Elan Trotman is working as a teacher in the Boston public school system shortly after he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Music Education at Berklee.

Besides this day job Elan succeeded in building up his career as solo-interpret. His first album Memories – The Debut (2001) is strongly influenced by Caribbean music, his sophomore album Let’s Have A Good Old Time (2005) is a gospel jazz album, his third album A Reggae Christmas (2007) features popular Christmas carols in a jammin’ reggae style.

With his fourth album This Time Around (2009) Elan explores the smooth jazz genre. After the demise of most smooth jazz radio stations is no need for any artist to stay “radio friendly”.

Elan comments his new album consequently: “The music is radio friendly, but I did not want to limit myself to the usual format. I stretch out, take chances, and add an edge to my solos. I enjoy the genre and the concept but I also break some of the rules because this is how I play live, bringing all of my different influences into the music.”

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Snake Davis – Live

Simply called Live this album hits all the right buttons. The band line up is Snake Davis (saxes, flute, whistle, shakuhachi), Paul Birchall (keys), Bryan Hargreaves (drums) and Neil Fairclough (bass).

The album is particularly poignant and personal. On the cover, Snake writes “Recorded on January 24th 2009. My father died that day.” The performance was at Durham Town Hall. It was the first time he had played in a city that he’s always been fond of. The whole evening was surreal with only the band and crew knowing the events of the day.

They played their hearts out that night, underneath the gentle illumination of the stained glass windows in the impressive hall, watched over by portraits of past Mayors of the Cathedral City.

The album is magical. It truly captures the life and soul that was heard that night. Somehow it has that extra special something that’s so hard to describe. However you describe it, the album is a joy to hear and a must for any Snake music fan. Ending with Snakes rendition of the John Lennon classic “Imagine”, one fan commented “we should really all light a candle, it’s so moving”. Music from the soul now at CDBaby.

Hulon – First Impressions

A new fresh breeze hails in from Florida’s beaches. The album gives listeners a wide array of sounds to captivate the heart, get the body in motion. Rhythmic to soulful-funk or unwind with the a martini to the contemporary sounds of smooth jazz.

The co-producer of the album, Jeff Kashiwa, is a smooth jazz saxophonist native to Seattle who made his start as a member of popular smooth jazz group The Rippingtons. He later continued work as a solo artist, prior to joining the Sax Pack (featuring Steve Cole and Kim Waters). In addition to Jeff and Hulon’s compositions, the First Impressions album also features the artists Andre Berry, Ricky Lawson, Dave Kochanski, Dave Hooper, Melvin Davis, Allen Hinds and Bill Heller. First Impressions is available at CDBaby.

Le Kat – Boudoir Rouge

…And God Created Woman.

Glamorous chanteuse Le Kat likes the lascivious pose. Pleasurably she lays in her Boudoir Rouge. Is the alluring sensuality of a platinum blond siren a deciding factor to listen to an album?

Le Kat opens the room to her intimate red-colored bedroom. Are we curious? Le Kat’s idols are the likes of Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Cole Porter and Marlene Dietrich.

Le Kat’s debut album is entitled Boudoir Rouge. She wrote several of the songs. Supported by the musicians Tabanou on guitar and keyboards, Aaron Kaplan on guitar, banjo and mandolin, bassist Brett Simons, Doug Webb on saxophone and clarinet, trumpeter Larry Williams, David Langlois on percussion and washboard, pianist Jimmy Levine and drummer Mark David she performs on a high level of professionalism.

With the charming voice in the style of Marilyn Monroe presents Le Kat Best That I Ever Had, a song penned by guitarist and composer Aaron Kaplan. The French flair is nicely added by Cisco Deluna’s accordion.

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