Eddie Bullen & Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo – Havana Nights

Smooth Jazz with a Latin vibe. This collaborative album highlights the best of artists, smooth jazz pianist, Eddie Bullen and Cuban/Canadian percussionist, Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo. The pair have created an evocative, smooth collection of music that brings the listener all the way to Cuba and the Caribbean leaving the listener mesmerized.

This smooth collection of tunes creates a vibe of “romance mixed with sunsets and harmonies on the rocks”. Destined to become a smooth jazz classic both in Canada and internationally, this collection is a must have for all smooth jazz fans. A real offer for you at CDBaby.

Alex Bugnon – Going Home

Alex Bugnon turns his head to jazz. His long-awaited, funky new release  this time in a traditional Jazz Sextet format of piano, bass, drums and three horns, featuring Poogie Bell, Victor Bailey, Vincent Henry, Greg Boyer and Barry Danielian is entitled Going Home.

Alex Bugnon comments his new album: “I really liked that idea of doing a a ‘60s inspired record, with a Les McCann/Eddie Harris or Jazz Crusaders vibe , but I wanted to include a little more jazz than that, more towards a Herbie Hancock/Blue Note era Quintet or Sextet kind of vibe. You know, with two horns or three horns. That’s what I was going for.

At first, I really wasn’t sure what to write. The first three months of 2009 found me home practicing every day, anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a day, which is something that I haven’t done since I was at Berklee. The rest of the time I was listening to Ahmad Jamal, especially the album The Awakening, one of my favorites. I was listening to Herbie’s whole Blue Note catalog, Les McCann, Miles piano players like Horace Silver, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans and Miles Davis himself, Dave Brubeck – I realized that in the sixties, this music was the popular, commercial music of the time.

Back then, this sound was really hip and underground…and very commercial, especially the music of Miles and certain tunes of Herbie. You don’t need synthesizers, drum machines and nursery rhymes. You don’t need all that to be marketable. Watermelon Man and Cantaloupe Island were huge hits. Guys were really playing on those records. So, you can see the concept for Going Home came from a lot of listening and practicing.

At a certain time in April, I started to come up with new material. Something unlocked in me, because of all that listening and practicing that I did. the writing for the new record came from that. It was totally natural. I didn’t have to sit down and scratch my head for hours. The tunes just came in minutes. That’s how this record came about.”

Going Home is released at CDBaby.

Nate Najar – Until Now

Florida guitarist Nate Najar blends his classical background with funky, hot groovin’ licks born out of his passion for all music. Nate considers himself a product of classical, R&B, Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Latin and many other styles. Says Najar, “I’m trying to use all of my musical experiences to create my sound.”

Considered one of the most interesting and stylish young guitarists on the jazz scene, Nate Najar has finally arrived as a legitimate Smooth Jazz solo artist. He has performed with traditional jazz artists like, Clark Terry, Ken Peplowski Ray Kennedy, and many others. A personal and professional achievement, Nate has also shared the stage numerous times with the Joe Byrd Trio, to pay tribute to the late Charlie Byrd, who has been one of the biggest influences on Nate’s style.

Nate Najar performs regularly with a growing list of Smooth Jazz artists including Eric Darius, Jackiem Joyner, Brian Simpson and Marion Meadows, just to name a few. Musicians love Nate’s ability to take the lead as a soloist, and at the same time be a strong accompanist.

In fall 2009, Nate debuted his first Smooth Jazz CD, Until Now. The new CD features a jazzy, yet classical version of the Michael Jackson classic, Human Nature. Until Now has a blend of Smooth Jazz cuts that mix the many styles that have shaped Nate Najar as a solo artist.

Until Now is Nate’s fourth solo CD. Other recordings include, Live At the Side Door, Christmas with the Nate Najar Trio and The Nate Najar Trio – I’m All Smiles. Nate proudly plays Buscarino Guitars. For more information about Nate Najar or booking, visit www.natenajar.com. The album just arrived at CDBaby.

Jeff Golub – Six String Santa

Jeff Golub is offering his first holiday CD, Six String Santa, which he is releasing independently through his Metro Café Records. On the CD, Golub offers his own smooth and funky interpretations of holiday classics like Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, Oh Christmas Tree and The First Noel. In addition, saxophonist Warren Hill is featured on We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Golub’s band consists of Chris Palmaro on keyboards, Lincoln Goines on bass, Stephen Ferrone and Shawn Pelton on drums, and Roger Squitero on percussion. Jeff Golub comments: “I’ve always wanted to do a record of Christmas music, but this year it just happened. I went in the studio, and I think we came up with some very spirited arrangements of these classic songs that I love so much. I hope you like this music enough that you ll play it at your Christmas party this year.”

Six String Santa is now on sale at CDBaby.

Rob Tardik – The Right Time

Toronto native Rob Tardik is since two decades an in-demand guitarist of the Canadian music scene. He started his solo career with the self-produced album Without Words (2006), which garnered rave reviews of Internet critics and radiomen. Now Rob returns with his sophomore album The Right Time (2009) presenting new compositions and three highlights of his previous album.

Guest musicians on this album are Davor Jordanovski (piano, keyboards and Hammond), Curtis Freeman ( bass guitar), Jess Salem (drums and percussion), Carson Freeman (saxes, flute), and Mike Petkovski on piano on That’s a Strut.

Cruisin’ brings you right into good mood. A bit syncopation is irritating the flow, but Rob showcases with his swaying solo that he is the announced master of guitar.

Continue reading Rob Tardik – The Right Time

Chris Standring – Blue Bolero

Chris Standring will release his forthcoming album Blue Bolero March 2nd 2010. Chris recorded this ambitious album with orchestral sounds. He wanted to take a major left turn musically on this album and as soon as he started messing around with orchestral samples, the drive to realize this project became much bigger than him.

The entire album is extremely cinematic and represents, in a somewhat vague fashion, the journey he took as a musically driven youngster to the person he is today, still musically driven but just that little bit older. From his upbringing on a farm outside Aylesbury in England, making the move to London and finally the big move to Los Angeles, California, Blue Bolero is kind of the movie of his life so far.

Chris comments:  “Not wishing to make myself sound too dark, windswept and let’s face it, infernally annoying, the concept of this somewhat autobiographical project certainly was meant to be fun, but with musical elements that reflect my musical training, influences and cultural surroundings. This is something I have certainly not entertained on previous albums. The music here is based around several themes and represents a very reflective mood throughout. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.”

Chris Standring calls this album his masterpiece.  Fans of Chris Standring can subscribe to his newsletter at his website and will receive a very exclusive offer!

A Conversation with Eric Copeland

I met Eric Copeland, producer, arranger, songwriter, singer, keyboardist. I recently reviewed his album The Jazz In Me and Drew Davidsen’s new album Around (Again), which was produced by Eric.

hbh: Eric, is that a complete description of your professional work?

EC: Yes, I wear many hats (laughs). Actually this all started with songwriting, which led to being an artist and then making recordings of my music. Then when folks found out I did that kind of thing, they began to have me do arranging and production for them as far back as high school.

hbh: I visited your website Creative Soul Online on which you offer artists across the nation and the world the opportunity for true artist development and full studio production in Nashville, TN using the top players and producers in Christian music today, and the opportunity to associate with a strong independent Christian label that is helping artists reach a national and international audience. How do I have to understand that offer of music consulting?

EC: Yes exactly. I have always felt that the best way for artists to truly grow is to go through the consulting and development process. In the old days, to learn any craft, you used to have to sit at the feet of a master and be an apprentice, sometimes for years. I think you truly learn best when you work with those who are more experienced that you are. The musicians, engineers, and producers here in Nashville have been working with the best in Christian music for 20+ years, and have so much experience, wisdom, and mastery of craft to learn from.

Then, we take the artist into a phase of identity development, crafting an image and design that gives them a totally new look and feel. Add these amazing processes together and you have a completely new professional musical and graphic identity. This helps immensely whether you’re selling CDs out of your trunk, or to a worldwide audience.

Continue reading A Conversation with Eric Copeland