Karen Briggs – Soulchestral Groove

Soulchestral Groove is Karen Briggs’ first, long awaited independent release since the grand exposure of PBS Special, Yanni: Live At The Acropolis! Sum up the equation of soul plus orchestral plus groove and this CD exudes it all!

The opening Title Track, Soulchestral Groove delivers an obvious orchestral connection with a ‘sure-to-make-your head-bop’ groove. Arranged by neo-soul crooner/keyboardist extraordinaire, Frank McComb, this track is sure to grab the listener. Acropolis fans will not be disappointed as Triumph and Scheherazade’s Groove (Tracks 8 & 9) remenisce the fire-driven violin ‘soul-o’s’ that the violinist is most recognized for.

Little Sunflower (Track 2) pays homage to late-great artists Freddie Hubbard and Curtis Mayfield, by elegantly joining the late trumpeter‘s Little Sunflower melody with the groove of Curtis Mayfield’s I’m Your Pusherman. Minnie Riperton’s popular classic, Loving You (Track 5) sounds like a natural vehicle for violin.

The Lady in Red has recorded extensively as featured soloist with a host of notable artists, including Ledisi (Lost & Found), Stanley Clarke (Vertu/Sony 550, Night School DVD), Hidden Beach’s Unwrapped Volumes 1-5, Wu Tang Clan (Reunited), Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin & Donnie McClurkin (Hopeville DVD). The music also exposes heart generated emotion through a soulful fiddler whose unique, melissmatic tonal expressions are likened to ‘violin ear candy!’ She improvises through the colors with pizzicato, harmonics, orchestral layers and fire with a ‘funky’ elegance and an exotic attitude. Her violin distinction flows throughout each genre, as Karen’s writer/arranger skills are uniquely tailored to her violin gifts on this easy to listen to CD.

Other standouts participants include Cameroonian bassist, composer and producer, André Manga (Manu DiBango, Josh Groban, Angelique Kidjo) and keyboardist/arranger, Brandon Coleman among the excellent accompaniment.

Enjoy this expression of improvised soul, attitude, culture and passion in Karen Briggs’s newest endeavor now available at CDBaby.

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Lawson Rollins – Espirito

With a vibrant Hispanic community of more than 5 million people, the city of Los Angeles boasts many ways to celebrate Latin American music. No wonder that San Francisco based Lawson Rollins is infected by this type of music. He consequently started his career last year with the Latin guitar fusion album Infinita.

His sophomore album Espirito he produced with Shahin Shahida (of the Persian-American World Music group Shahin & Sepehr) and Dominic Camardella (3rd Force, Ottmar Liebert). Lawson is supported by singer Flora Purim, percussionist Airto Moreira, violinist Charlie Bisharat, Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan (harmonium), Jeff Elliot (trumpet), Randy Tico (bass), and Dave Bryant (drums, percussion).

“I love the hybrid quality of World Music and how it allows for cross-cultural communication and exchange. The Spanish guitar is a true manifestation of the commingling of cultures with its ties to the Arabic oud, the Persian tar, even the Indian sitar, so drawing on those connections seems natural to me,” Rollins explains his new album. “We took a far-ranging musical journey with the players on Espirito. Near the end (of the record), we slide into the ether. The notes slow down and evaporate into silence, a prayerful conclusion to the album, a moment of thankfulness for the alchemy that took place between the musicians.”

On Rumba del Sol Lawson Rollins and Charlie Bisharat fight a strong Flamenco battle. I will never find out who is playing the notes quicker, anyway really impressing. Moonlight Samba presents a modest attitude and let the lovely melody flow. Flora Purim and Flora’s daughter Diana Booker refine the song with breathed words, although Lawson’s powerful acoustic guitar takes the lead.

Continue reading Lawson Rollins – Espirito

Various Artists – MoreorlessChristmas5

Most of us associate the excitement over the Christmas season with personal memories from childhood. For some it’s the sight of drifting snowflakes or candles and Christmas tree decorations. Others might be thinking of the scent of baked apples – or even mulled wine. But there’s one memory that everyone has in common: the sound of rustling wrapping paper as you excitedly unpacked your gift-laden stocking.

The latter tradition is the legacy of Nicholas of Myra aka Saint Nicholas, the historical 4th century figure behind Santa Claus. The legends surrounding his deeds as a patron of sailors, merchants and children made him a highly revered saint among Catholics and in general made him one of the world’s most famous gift givers.

So with the advent of Advent we once more wonder what would make the ideal present for a cherished friend or family member. Look no further for the ideal solution than California Sunset Records and moreorlessCHRISTMAS 5. Artists including Till Brönner, Norah Jones and Laura Fygi provide the perfect mood for cosy evenings in by the fireplace. Their enchanting versions of familiar Christmas classics (incl. ”Winter Wonderland”, ”White Christmas”) revive all those childhood memories and nostalgia and help roll back the years. Click here to order your copy now.

Andrea Razzauti – Painting The Music

Popular Smooth Jazz guitarist and producer Paul Brown joined forces with multi-talented Andrea Razzauti, artist, composer, and guitarist, on the album, White Sands. Now it’s time for Paul Brown to pay back Andrea’s contribution. Paul produced Andrea Razzauti’s new album Painting The Music.

A man with an artistic quest, Razzauti is on a continual path to discovery when it comes to painting and music. He has always demonstrated a remarkable artistic ability expressed in particular through his steady emphasis on dazzling colors and an infinite explosion of shades which create a universe of living things. His quest is continual, intent on giving life to mages which are more personal and coherent, more significant and unitary.

Painting The Music is an eclectic blend of smooth jazz, classical and Brazilian. Featured on this album is Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist, the legendary, Patti Austin. Be impressed by Painting The Music at CDBaby.

Marco Marzola – A Jazz Christmas Celebration

On this album Marco Marzola wanted to invite the musicians who work with him from years, to make a Christmas gift to all the people who followed the band during the tour and also to make known his project and music to all those who have not had the opportunity to hear them.

It ‘was very difficult to make this album for the commitments of all professional musicians, but eventually they made beautiful music with different sounds and colors due to the combination of different instruments and the background of each musician and by very special arrangements. A Jazz Christmas Celebration performed by magnificent musicians like Steve Turre, Sherman Irby, Akua Dixon, Nico Menci,  Marco Marzola, Dion Parson, and Darrell Green is presented at CDBaby.

I Happened To Hear 12/2009

At Bass Day 2009 in Manchester I met Polish guitar wizard Adam Palma. He has worked with many of the top pop and jazz artists in Poland and with international names including Chris de Burgh and the Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart.

This is a startling album of solo acoustic guitar played fingerstyle with no overdubs or studio tricks – I say startling because at times you would think there were two or even three guitars. Many of the songs are originals, such as the bluesy opener ‘Rocky Mountains’ which displays dexterity I’ve only heard on records by the world’s finest players. I also love the chord changes in his gorgeous ‘When Tommy meets Chet’ and here Palma’s sense of humour is in evidence.

That same sense of humour surfaces on his rendition of the ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme. And it’s impossible not to smile during his staccato version of ‘Love and Marriage’. I’d love to hear this as part of a movie soundtrack – it really does bring something new, warm and endearing to an old song.

Continue reading I Happened To Hear 12/2009

Jamie Bonk – St. Joseph Street

Canadian guitarist Jamie Bonk studied his instrument over a long period and was an associate guitar instructor at the Toronto Guitar Institute in 1990-97. He started his career with his self-titled debut album (1997), followed by A Perfect Tomorrow (2000), My World (2004) and 5 (2007).

His new album St. Joseph Street (2009) is conceived as EP presenting a bouquet of four exclusive songs. Jamie Bonk is joined by bassist Henrik Bridger, drummers Dave Patel and Peter Zakarow, vocalist Wendy Irvine and flutist Bill McBirnie.

Summer In The Round let you feel the vibe of a splendid summer day. There is so much joy in this song. Bill McBirnie’s flute is rejoicing like a lark in the clear summer light. Elevating, stirring, moving!

Continue reading Jamie Bonk –  St. Joseph Street

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