Junei’ – Junei’

Born in Gary, IN., Willie Lee Jr. A.K.A. Junei’, has contributed his expertise as a “professional stage performer, studio musician, guitar instructor, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, and engineer” to years of experience with various musical legends in the music industry. At age 14, Junei’ became one of the areas most sought after guitarists in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. While attending “Beckman Junior High school”, he auditioned & convinced the band director’s to let him become the first guitarist in his hometown of “Gary, Indiana” to play in the schools band . Later, he also became the first guitarist to play in the jazz band at “Gary West Side High School”. To date, his playing skills include R&B, Rock & Roll, Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Reggae, Easy Listening, Avante Garde, etc.

In 1999, Junei’ designed and built his first “digital audio recording studio and mastering suite” in Park Forest, IL. He went on to record his first full length self-titled “Smooth Jazz CD” and continues his career as a world class entertainer performing, recording and promoting his “GOD” given talents.

Now the debut album is available at CDBaby.

Dino Soldo – Notes from the Ground

Best known as a sideman for international superstars such as Leonard Cohen and Lionel Richie, Dino Soldo is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, CA, who released a series of stylistically wide-ranging albums beginning in 2000. Hailing from La Verne, CA, he began music lessons at age five and cites an array of influences who include Lester Young, Ben Webster, Eddie Harris, Tom Waits, and Buster Keaton. During the late ’80s and 1990s, Soldo established himself as a versatile sideman in the smooth jazz field, initially working as a saxophonist but later playing harmonica and keyboards as well on a number of sessions by guitarist Chris Standring and others.

Meanwhile, when he wasn’t in the studio he was often out on the road touring with a long list of artists, most notably Ray Charles. Soldo made his full-length solo debut with Strange and Beautiful (2000), the first in a series of stylistically diverse albums that he released independently on Tobacco Bagg Records. Successive releases on the label include Thread (2003), Balance (2008), Closer Away (2009), and The Hotel Suites (2009). The latter two albums were recorded while Soldo was out on the road with Leonard Cohen, touring around the world for months at a time during 2008-2009.

As a sideman, Soldo is featured on Cohen’s acclaimed Live in London (2009), and he’s also featured on several post-millennial live albums by Lionel Richie. By this point in his career, Soldo had broken out of the smooth jazz field and was collaborating with R&B artists like Angie Stone and Donnie as well as pop/rock artists like Rob Thomas and Rick Springfield.

With Notes from the Ground Dino Soldo continues his own way of music. Preview and download songs from Notes from the Ground by Dino Soldo on iTunes.

Paul “Shilts” Weimar – See What Happens

Paul “Shilts” Weimar debuts his solo project titled See What Happens accompanied by an array of talent from the “live” touring band known as Down to the Bone. Weimar features an assortment of influences from previous projects over the course of his musical career on 11 compositions that spotlight his funk and groove-based saxophone riffs and heavy synth programming.

Known primarily for his involvement with the U.K. soul and funk band Brand New Heavies and for forming and fronting the “live” touring band Down to the Bone, Weimar shifts the focus from the groove and acid jazz heard with those bands to more lyrical saxophone lines and phrases.

Shilts’ debut album is now for the first time available as digital download at CDBaby.


Wayman Tisdale – The Fonk Record

Wayman Tisdale was the gentle giant. Known as an American professional basketball player in the NBA, his popularity grew even more during his time as smooth jazz bass player. He launched his music career with the album Power Forward (1995), followed by In The Zone (1996), Decisions (1998), Face to Face (2001), Presents 21 Days (2003), Hang Time (2004), Way Up! (2006), and Rebound (2008).

I shared some of his worthy time during Warren Hill’s Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005, where he offered his fans the opportunity to drop some sinkers with him. His part of the show was a special highlight. He exploded on his funky bass solo. While he was releasing smooth jazz albums, everybody knew his real passion. Wayman’s funky party.

After the diagnosis of cancer in 2007 Wayman continued his life hosting jazz cruises, headlining tours, and being an active and loving husband and father. Nothing gonna stop us now was his motto. But only Wayman knew, when no one else did, that God was going to call him home.

Read more …

Bradley Leighton – Holiday of Lights

A superbly crafted CD of Christmas favorites performed in a stylish fusion of modern Latin and Brazilian rhythms. These innovative, jazzy interpretations of the holiday classics add a different twist to your holiday music mix this year. Argentine born, Emmy© Award winner and two-time Grammy© nominee, Allan Phillips creates an authentic Latin flavor with a modern twist – while Bradley supplies the timeless melodies in a beautifully pure and heartfelt manner that is truly enjoyable!

Extensive use of both the alto and bass flutes by Leighton, as well as the rich sound pallet employed by Phillips throughout, create a uniquely upbeat and harmonious collection sure to be a holiday favorite for many seasons to come. You can learn more about this release and purchase your own copy here.

Pat Murray & Mark Kieswetter – Ticket To Ride – The Beatles Book

Highlights of Ticket To Ride – The Beatles Book include a boldly Latin re-imagining of “It’s Only Love” (Rubber Soul – 1965), replete with a gymnastic trumpet solo from Bruce Cassidy and relentless percussion by Davide DiRenzo; the stark and haunting title-track, “Ticket to Ride” (Help – 1965); “Hello Goodbye” (Magical Mystery Tour – 1967), interpreted with an infusion of Pat’s innate sensuality that Lennon and McCartney could never have envisioned, or manifested.

The stunning “Across the Universe” (Let it Be – 1969), featuring Pat’s pure, pitch-perfect vocal instrument and the complex, breathtaking piano of Mark Kieswetter; the still-trippy “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (Sergeant Pepper – 1967) presented in a whimsical medley with “Dear Prudence”; “Here Comes the Sun” (Abbey Road – 1969) , featuring the awe-inspiring sitar playing of bassist George Koller; a bluesy, Carmen McCrae-tinged take on “Things We Said Today” (A Hard Days Night – 1964); a second medley comprised of arguably one of the most beautiful and evocative tunes ever written, “In My Life” (Rubber Soul – 1965) intertwined with the incredibly moving “Something” (Abbey Road – 1969); a rhythmic, contemporary and creative envisioning of “We Can Work it Out” (Rubber Soul – 1965); and the final track of this magnificent recording, a treatment of the enervating and timeless Beatles opus, “Golden Slumbers” (Abbey Road – 1969).

Pat Murray and Mark Kieswetter have distilled this soulful material into a fine creative point, where the composition and voice have become the focus, instead of the perhaps over-blown George Martin arrangement of the original track. All compositions on Ticket To Ride – The Beatles Book are by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the exceptions of “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”, which were written by George Harrison.

Listen to this album at CDBaby.

Trombone Shorty – Backatown

In 2010 alone, 24-year-old New Orleans singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and all-around musical powerhouse Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has signed with Verve Forecast Records and performed on Good Morning America and ESPN’s SportsCenter in the run-up to the Super Bowl. He has seen recordings he contributed to earn a Grammy® award (Buckwheat Zydeco’s “Lay Your Burden Down”) and an Oscar® nomination (Dr. John’s “Down In New Orleans” from the hit Disney film ‘The Princess and the Frog’). He has taped two appearances – as himself – for the upcoming HBO series ‘Treme’ from ‘The Wire’ creator David Simon, and played with his band Orleans Avenue as honored guests on Saints owner Tom Benson’s float in a victorious post-Super Bowl Mardi Gras parade.

He’s just getting started.

On April 20, Verve Forecast will release Trombone Shorty’s new album ‘Backatown,’ an explosive, homegrown combination of funk, rock, R&B and hip-hop he calls “Supafunkrock.” The album was produced by fellow New Orleanian Ben Ellman of Galactic and features fourteen songs, all but one of them written or co-written by Andrews. Guests on the album include Lenny Kravitz, Marc Broussard and Allen Toussaint, who contributes piano to a take on his own composition “On Your Way Down,” the album’s lone cover.

‘Backatown’ is a local term for an area of New Orleans that includes the historic Treme neighborhood – or 6th Ward – from which Trombone Shorty hails. Home to Congo Square, birthplace of Louis Armstrong, it has been called “the most musical neighborhood in America’s most musical city.” A virtuoso prodigy trombonist, brilliant trumpet player, and soulful, charismatic singer, Shorty has been performing with some members of Orleans Avenue – which includes Dwayne “Big D” Williams (percussion), Mike Ballard (bass), Joey Peebles (drums), Pete Murano (guitar) and Dan Oestreicher (baritone sax) – since childhood. The group taps into these roots to create a streetwise, gritty sound all its own on Backatown. Continue reading