Scott Wilkie – Home Again: The Solo Piano Sessions

First time I met Scott Wilkie in Duesseldorf-Kaiserwerth during the Wave Music Festival in August 2000. It was a lucky time. The summer was warm, people full of hope and nobody thought about recession and economic crisis. Scott and his group were the first highlight of the festival. Oh yes, we all had a great time. What remains? The impression, memories and Scott’s music.

Most of you will be familiar with his debut album Boundless, released in 1999 on Narada Records and his sophomore album More Than You Know (2000). Today’s you have a good chance to see Scott and his friends on tour or at Spaghettini Jazz Grill. His band Nathan Brown (bass), Dave Hill (guitars) and David Anderson (drums) will be on his next project which is currently in the making.

Home Again: The Solo Piano Sessions was recorded in Scott’s home studio on his Yamaha C7 concert grand piano in 2007.

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Patrick Yandall – A New Day

Patrick Yandall is a jazz guitarist with a constant contribution to the music scene. Born in Bay City, Michigan, he found his luck in San Diego and L.A., where he has established himself as session musician. Besides performing on sessions Patrick is recording tracks for the Weather Channel and jazz Muzak that you hear in malls and other places.

Patrick started his solo career with That Feels Nice (1994), followed by A Lasting Embrace (1997), Of Two Cities (2000), Back To The Groove (2001), From The Ashes (2003), Eyes Of Mars (2005), Samoa Soul (2006), New York Blues (2007), Laws Of Groovity (2008) and this year A New Day (2009).

His new album is devoted to the smooth jazz genre and features besides multi-instrumentalist Yandell himself Marc Pierucci (keyboards, percussion, bass and drum programming) and Jeff Laakso (sax). Patrick wrote all songs on this album, which is today’s by no means common practice.

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Zap Mama – ReCreation

Zap Mama, African queen, creator of African European music, exotic pop wonder. Marie Daulne created the project “Zap Mama” during the beginning of the 90’s with an a capella group of Afro-European women. Born in the Congo to an Belgian father and an African mother Marie Daulne brings together natural beauty and music, the music of two continents and the hearts of thousands of fans. Daulne specializes in polyphonic, harmonic music with a mixture of heavily infused African instruments, R&B, and Hip-hop.

With this concept she recorded the World Music releases Adventures in Afropea (1991/1993), and Sabsylma (1994). While the first albums were a capella, Marie Daulne changed her style with the third album Seven (1997) to a more instrumental profile. Next albums were the experimental A Ma Zone (1999), and after her move to New York Ancestry in Progress (2000). In 2004 she moved back to Belgium. Her debut on Heads Up International was Supermoon (2007) now followed by ReCreation worldwide released on May 26, 2009.

Marie explains the title: “That moment when you are relaxing and enjoying yourself, is the perfect moment to create a new person within yourself – to heal yourself and let go of all the negative aspects of your life. In those times when you relax, you recreate yourself.”

We immerse in the magical world of Zap Mama with ReCreation preparing for the musical miracles. Do you hear the heartbeat of Africa? Then listen to Vibrations. The pulsing bass, the dark drums, Marie’s luscious vocals carving lines into the wooden tree of life. Marie is back in the heart of Congo’s jungle.

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Alexander Zonjic – Doin’ The D

Five years after his previous album Seldom Blues (2004) is Alexander Zonjic back with his new album Doin’ The D. The title bases on a catchphrase, which means spending the weekend in Detroit and enjoying the rich cultural activity of the city. In a time of economic decline especially in the city of General Motors and Chrysler people need some cheering up and what can be a better medium than music.

So Alexander Zonjic assembled the who-is-who of contemporary jazz on his new album: Bob James, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G, Rick Braun, Chieli Minucci, Maysa Leak, Lenny Castro, Dwight Sills. These artists and many more followed Alexander’s call.

“Detroit and its people embraced me on a profound level many, many years ago, and they’re the main reason that I’ve had such a great career,” says Zonjic. “It’s one of the greatest music cities in the world. All you need to do is consider that Aretha Franklin still lives here after so many years. Eminem is here, Bob Seger is here, Mitch Ryder is here, Anita Baker, Kid Rock, and the list goes on. Obviously, the city is going through its share of tough times right now – like so many other cities. But I continue to appreciate everything “The D” has done for my career, and I will always support it.”

Top Down starts the album featuring master of the keys Jeff Lorber. Alexander comments: “I love how exposed the flute is on this track, as well as the classic Lorber vibe that comes through. This was one of the songs on this record that took me out of my comfort zone and into a new direction in terms of what I’m used to playing.”

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A Conversation with Zap Mama

Zap Mama, African Queen, creator of African European music, exotic pop wonder performed on May 2nd, 2009 in Mulheim, Germany. The concert was the start of Zap Mama’s worldwide promotion tour for her new album ReCreation. After the rehearsal and before the opening of the concert I had the chance to talk with her.

hbh: First of all I want to express my gratitude that you give me the opportunity to interview you.

zap mama: I thank you too to accept to interview me.

hbh: You had some trouble during the flight?

zap mama: Yes. I missed the flight. Clearly. I missed it. I was late. When we arrived, I didn’t think that traffic is so busy in New York City. I forgot that I was in New York City. And when we take the bus, we stuck on the traffic, we stuck, stuck, stuck. The length was not enough that I jam on the subway, because the line will be direct. I said to the taxi, let’s try the subway, the subway stuck also. It’s ok. Finished.

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Chuck Loeb – Between 2 Worlds

OK, does Chuck Loeb need an introduction? I thought not. This is his second release as a leader for Heads Up International. Both the title and the music reflect the way Chuck’s time is split between the USA and Europe and the influences that this lifestyle has on his writing and playing.

The bright and breezy opener Let’s Go is propelled by the tight drumming of Dave Weckl and features some sizzling guitar work. It’s adventurous and soulful at the same time. The horns are superb on this track and Brian Culbertson even shows up to deliver a trombone solo. The energy in this recording is incredible – who calls this ‘smooth jazz’? Fans of this music will know and appreciate the immense contribution of the late Hiram Bullock. This tribute to him, ‘Hiram’, drips with sadness and beauty, much of that beauty encapsulated by Will Lee’s fretless bass work. In a recent interview, Chuck told me Will was playing a bass owned by another sadly missed musical friend, Jaco Pastorius. This is a masterpiece.

Mittens is a showcase for that delicious, warm semi-acoustic sound I have long associated with Chuck Loeb. Horns and a great rhythm section play a perfect supporting role on a song that’s catchy and accessible, and always jazz. Exquisite – to my mind this is how a modern guitar jazz album should sound. Reinforcing the reason for the title of this album, Between 2 Worlds co-written with Chuck’s wife Carmen, is a sexy Latin number featuring Carmen’s breathy vocals. Carmen has plans to release a strongly Latin-orientated album before long and if husband and wife create this type of musical chemistry, I for one will be looking forward to hearing it.

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Phillip Martin – Realization

Phillip Martin is back and better than ever in his latest effort Realization. No labels, no strings attached, just 100 percent pure Phillip Martin. Below is what Phillip Martin says Realization is about:

“As I was finishing dental school at Howard University, I thought back on my undergraduate and graduate studies. Since day one, my professors told me to pick a career–music or dentistry. Pick one, not both. As I traveled across the country, flying from gig to gig and studying at 30,000 feet, I recognized that my professors had a point–a point I was determined to prove wrong. Despite the inherent challenge, I wanted to make an album while finishing dental school, and I wanted to do it on my own.

Record labels and management did not fund or write this record. Every penny was earned playing gigs and doing studio work. Every note was written while reading books and pulling teeth. In May of 2008, I did two things: graduate from dental school and record the last notes of this album. In the months that followed, I continued to mix and master this album while practicing dentistry professionally on Capitol Hill. Thus, realization. The realization that I can do both, and I did.

On this album you won’t hear fancy licks or overproduced tracks. You will hear music from my heart, music from my sweat, music from my soul. I hope you enjoy this record as much as I enjoyed creating it.”

Enjoy Realization at CDBaby.