Bill Frisell – Beautiful Dreamers

Guitarist and composer Bill Frisell has signed with Savoy Jazz and is preparing for the release of Beautiful Dreamers – a brand new recording consisting of original compositions and reinterpretations performed along with the unique talents of Eyvind Kang (viola) and Rudy Royston (drums). Produced by longtime collaborator Lee Townsend and recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, Beautiful Dreamers captures the musical magic that’s inhabited the performances of this particular ensemble since they first played live together as a trio in 2008. Frisell, a consummate artist who’s garnered respect and acclaim throughout his long career, considers this to be a particularly special project. Beautiful Dreamers will be released on the Savoy Jazz label on August 31st.

Bill Frisell’s artistry is legendary and he’s made an indelible imprint on American music. His passionate, versatile talent transcends genres while pushing musical boundaries. He’s worked comfortably within the realms of jazz, rock, progressive folk, Americana, blues and classical playing with his own hand-picked ensembles or collaborating with stellar musical peers such as Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Brian Eno, Elvis Costello, Ricky Lee Jones, Suzanne Vega and Loudon Wainwright III to name a few. With Beautiful Dreamers, Bill Frisell has created one of his most personal musical statements working with Kang and Royston who engage him in seamless and stimulating musical dialogue.

Says Frisell: “I’m so fortunate having the chance to play music with Eyvind and Rudy and having an audience willing to go along for the latest adventure. I’m the luckiest guy in the world being surrounded by all these folks who have so much faith and trust in the music, helping me to make my dreams come true. ” Notes Lee Townsend: “We are very pleased to be embarking on the next phase of Bill’s recording career with the Savoy Label Group. Bill and I appreciate their enthusiasm for the breadth of his music and the commitment they have displayed in embracing the plan for the next few records.”

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Leon Ware With Don Grusin – Candlelight

Candlelight is  a great album by soul legend Leon Ware together with well-known jazz pianist Don Grusin and other stellar jazz/smoothe jazz musicians such as Brian Bromberg and Oscar Castro-Neves. A departure for Ware who has made his career in the soul/adult r&b genre with his masterful compositions for Marvin Gaye (I Want You) and Quincy Jones (Body Heat”/”If I Ever Lose This Heaven) and the late Minnie Riperton (Inside My Love).

Inspired by these songs and the intimacy of working together with Don Grusin, a masterful keyboardist. they offer a few originals as well, the title cut Candlelight in particular which blends well in mood and content with the standards such as My Foolish Heart, Invitation and My Funny Valentine. The album sets the stage for an intimate evening of romance. Get this rare album at CDBaby.

Jaared – Manhattan Nights

Washington, D.C., born Jaared is a master of all saxes. Alto sax, soprano sax, EWI, or tenor sax, give him something to blow and you will listen the finest notes. Meanwhile Jaared is a in-demand stage-hero and especially his concerts with Peter White foster his immense popularity.

That gave him the opportunity to build up his solo career, which started with his debut album Foreward (2001), followed by Hangtime (2002), both on Marcus Johnson’s label Lightyear/Marimelj. Addiction (2003) and this year Manhattan Nights (2010) are released on Les Cutmore’s Trippin n Rhythm Records.

Grammy award winning producer Michael Broening produced the album and also performed keyboards and programming. Jaared comments: “It was a blast and amazing working with Michael. His approach, his vision, everything is so on point. He is truly the best producer I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with and I look forward to many more albums together with him in the future.”

Further musicians on Jaared’s album are Mel Brown (bass), Freddie Fox (guitar), Thano Sahnas (guitar), Michael White (drums), Jay Soto (guitar), Greg Adams (trumpet), Tim Bowman (guitar), and many more.

Jaared draws on unlimited resources with the starting If You Know What I Mean. Gregg Adams, Bill Churchville (trumpet, trombone), and Nick Lane (trombone) team up to a splendid horn arrangement. The best backbone for Jaared first brilliant performance on alto and tenor sax.

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Brian Culbertson – XII

On July 20, 2010, chart-topping musician Brian Culbertson will release the twelfth album of his multi-faceted career, simply titled XII, on GRP Records.

Culbertson commemorates his twelfth release with 12 new songs that continue to reflect his broad-ranging musicality and mastery of intimate moods. The titles swing from the rapturous metaphorically rich love ballad “Skies Wide Open” (featuring R&B singing star Avant), the sexy bedroom baby-maker “I Wanna Love You” (featuring singer/guitarist Ray Parker Jr.), the strings-kissed dance jam “Another Love” (featuring 21st century soul man Kenny Lattimore) and the cool club persuader “Out On the Floor” (featuring balladeer supreme Brian McKnight) to the slammin’ attitude jam “Don’t U Know Me By Now” (featuring powerhouse Faith Evans), a journey through the many moods of being entitled “That’s Life” (featuring Earl Klugh who co-penned it along with fellow Detroit native Parker and Culbertson), a think piece on the meaning of it all titled “I Don’t Know” (featuring spoken word enchantress Natalie Stewart of Floetry), and an all-out Go-Go party jam titled “Feelin’ It” (featuring the man who put Washington, D.C. Go-Go Music on the map, Chuck Brown in addition to a comedic appearance by Sinbad).

Four more instrumentals round out the album, including the lovely dreamscape “Waiting for You” and the incredibly funky “Stay Wit It” on which he takes a rippin’ Moog solo. It was while in the act of Twittering about the making of his latest creation that Culbertson decided to simply title the project XII (Twelve). “I was just noticing that there are a lot of ’12s’ in my life,” Brian muses … “I was born on January 12, I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 12 years now and have been married to my beautiful wife Michelle for 12 years. There are 12 notes on the piano … and it was at the age of 12 that I knew I was going to be a professional musician.”

As he started work on the album, Brian thought of yet another way to make his fans a part of the creative process in a brilliant extension of the DVD he created last year, Live From The Inside. “I decided to create a video blog to give fans a chance to watch me make the album from start to finish. Almost daily, they could watch me execute and explain every step of the process, plus see me in sessions with all of my amazingly talented friends. The response has been phenomenal with many people tuning in every day to see what I’m up to. To ‘Twitter’ about the project, I labeled the topic #BCXII. Someone said that would be a great title for the album, so it stuck.”

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Eric Darius – On A Mission

Saxophonist and composer Eric Darius is on a mission. “I want my music to be a vehicle for change and to transcend boundaries from age to race. I believe my music can make a difference in the world,” states the commanding and strikingly handsome 20-something musician, composer, and performer, known for his dynamic and exhilarating live shows. Darius’ explosive arrival on the contemporary jazz scene at age 17 caused a frenzy.

This was not a surprise as the ambitious saxophonist, who has shared the stage with everyone from Prince and Wynton Marsalis, to George Benson and Brian McKnight, had just released an auspicious recording debut and several years prior had already made an appearance at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Garnering accolades from critics, musicians and fans alike, there seemed to be a consensus that this young man was bringing a sense of history but yet a youthful and forward-thinking approach to the genre.

Eric Darius, who has scored a #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts and several top ten hits, has steadily proven to be anything but your typical ‘smooth jazz guy.’ The savvy business school grad, whose ipod features a mix of everyone from John Coltrane and Bob Marley to Jay-Z, The Rolling Stones and Alicia Keys, confesses, “Contemporary jazz is the genre that has embraced my music, but I see myself as a musician first. I play every style of music from Jazz, R&B, Pop and Reggae to Hip-hop, Rock and Gospel. As I continue to evolve and grow musically, it’s the journey to explore new things that keeps me excited and hungry to do what I do.”

On June 29, 2010, Eric Darius will release his Shanachie Entertainment debut, On A Mission. Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz A&R for Shanachie states, “If you think of jazz as a wonderful tree whose trunk is its great tradition and whose branches are the never ending innovations of its young disciples, then Eric Darius is the newest branch of that tree. He can swing like the masters and funk like a hip-hopper; truly the blossoming of tomorrow’s jazz.” The seeds have been sown and Eric Darius unearths his talents not only as a saxophonist, but equally important, as a composer and co-producer on On A Mission. His fifth album as a leader features all originals with the exception of Herbie Hancock’s classic Headhunters tune “Butterfly” and a new original from Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd.

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Milton Ruffin – Bassic Principal

Milton Ruffin presents his debut album Bassic Principal. This recording is a blend of smooth jazz, instrumental gospel and traditional jazz with a unique flavor of inspiration that will make it difficult to stop listening. The compositions are pleasing, and clever for a bass solo project.

Milton Ruffin, a Youngstown, Ohio native, comes from a family of talented musicians, notably his cousin, the late David Ruffin, of the world famous Temptations. As an accomplished performer, composer and arranger, Ruffin has worked with such famous musicians as Lou Rawls, Jennifer Holiday, Rusty Bryant, Eric Gale, Keith Pringle, Keith Dobbins, Cameo, Rick James, Melvin Williams and many more. He has produced arrangements for the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Enough said? Then listen to his album at CDBaby.

Lelah Simon – Third Week of April

Lelah Simon was recently noted for her performance with The Dominant 7 on Fourteen Channels, a release featuring two ensembles of students and alums from the Colorado Conservatory of Jazz. A Denver-based bassist, Simon studied at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Third Week of April is Simon’s nod toward one of two times of year when New York weather is perfect. Her band is comprised of Paul Romaine on drums; Chris Mosley on acoustic and electric guitars, and vocals on “151”; Carmen Sandim on keyboards; Danny Mayer on tenor sax; and Julia Brochey, vocals on “Others’ Eyes.”

The electric bass opens “To Be Oblique,” underscored by subtle cymbals and keyboards work. After the introduction, the soft tenor and electric guitar take the lead. The music conjures a scene of a city park, with a gentle breeze blowing the newly sprouted leaves and a few tweeting birds. Mosley’s middle solo is freely expressive.

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