Posts Tagged ‘ Contemporary Jazz ’

The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra – Get It How You Live

How diverse the term jazz is interpreted, is only revealed in the confrontation with the music of new artists. The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra gives us with Get It How You Live (2018) a new approach to that elitist style of music that is revitalized by renewal.

The trumpeter Russell Gunn is the spiritus rector of this formation, which has its own identity through the term Orkestra. The Atlanta Georgia based Big Band is not just a onetime project for recording but shows constancy with regular live events. Russell Gunn is producer, conductor, arranger, composer of this debut album.

A great formation deserves a pompous introduction by Dashill Smith on Get It How You Live (Intro)Sybil’s Blues is an integral part of Russell’s repertoire. The piece was originally recorded on his album Ethnomusicology Volume 1 (1999). With the four albums of this series, he showed his highly personal mixture of jazz and hip hop.

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Michael Franks – The Music In My Head

The common denominator of singer/songwriter Michael Franks is not a style but his characteristic voice. He has always been a wanderer between the worlds of Pop, Jazz, Brazilian, New Age and film music.

His multitude of albums have given him a wide following, even among numerous musicians such as Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, The Carpenters, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Al Jarreau, Carmen McRae, The Manhattan Transfer and Patti LaBelle.

The Music In My Head (2018) is Michael’s 18th album and his first after a hiatus of seven years. His previous album was Time Together on Shanachie Entertainment. Joining Michael on his new project are producers/arrangers Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig and former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, along with stellar guest musicians such as guitarist David Spinozza, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Eric Marienthal and Gary Meek, late guitarist Chuck Loeb (Fourplay), and for the first-time pianist Rachel Z.

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Michael Franks – The Music In My Head

Celebrating 45 years as a recording artist since his highly collectible self-titled debut album on the Brut/ Buddah label bowed in 1973, singer/songwriter Michael Franks hovers dragonfly-like in a sacred space all his own within his contributions to the artform of music. Liberatingly non-categorizable, Franks is in possession of unique fan bases around the world across jazz, quiet storm, adult contemporary, pop, contemporary jazz, folk and even blues styles. His songs have been lovingly covered by a wide range of artists that includes Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, The Carpenters, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Al Jarreau, Carmen McRae, The Manhattan Transfer and Patti LaBelle, to name only a few.

And some of his most well-known compositions – lyrical marvels wedded to his laidback delivery of vocalizing, produced, arranged and cast with some of the finest musicians in jazz and session lore – range from ethereal (“The Lady Wants to Know”) to sensual (“Tell Me All About It”) to playful (“Popsicle Toes”) to edgy (“The Camera Never Lies”) to evocative (“Tiger in the Rain”) to cinematic (“Nightmoves”) to seasonal (“Christmas in Kyoto”) to comforting (“Inside You”) to outrageous (“Now That Your Joystick’s Broke”) to sublime (“Still Life”) and beyond. What James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon have contributed to pop-rock music in terms of singer/songwriter excellence, Michael Franks has accomplished as their iconic equivalent in the realms of contemporary jazz and the quiet storm.

For his 18th album and first in seven years, Michael provides America and the world at large a cerebellum-massaging musical survival kit of 10 new songs…an audio travelogue that turns our attention to the wonders of Creation and Mother Nature strewn with bread crumbs that additionally lead us to lofty literature, works of art, love, divinity…and tea. Titled The Music in My Head, it is a snapshot of the artist in his autumnal here and now, lost up in the fruits of his quietly profound career success, his loving wife Claudia, seven cats and two dogs, the idyllic wooded environ in which he lives, and the blessing of still firing on all cylinders in his wondrous endeavors of expression. Joining Michael in the process are producer/arrangers Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig and former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, along with stellar guest musicians such as guitarist David Spinozza, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Eric Marienthal and Gary Meek, friend and guitarist Chuck Loeb (Fourplay), and for the first-time pianist Rachel Z (to whom Michael pays a major compliment comparing her solo on “To Spend The Day With You” to the work of Joe Sample and Joao Donato on his early classic albums.) Continue reading

Uncle Los Music – Black Bottom Cupcake

San Francisco/Bay Area composer, arranger and multi instrumentalist Carlos Sanders aka Uncle Los, has assembled a group of prolific musicians to create the finest smooth jazz you can imagine.

Among them are Ced Dennis (guitar), Joel Griffin and Jay Lane (drums), Vic Little and Ari Cap (bass), and Michael Spiro (percussion). The  horn section encompasses Clifford Brown III (trumpet) and Tony Peebles (sax). Together they are Uncle Los Music.

The formation started with Say Something (2013) and now returns with the delicious desert Black Bottom Cupcake (2018). The term Muse comes from Greek mythology and commonly describes a female person of divine origin, who inspires the artist to creative action. The music style of Uncle Los Music is based on an urban mix of R & B, funk and jazz rock.

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David Garfield – Jazz Outside the Box

Well known as musical director of George Benson keyboardist David Garfield pursues his own dream as a solo artist. His debut album was a homage to the late drummer Jeff Pocaro Tribute to Jeff (1997).

Next albums were I Am The Cat…Man (1997), Music From Riding Bean (2001), Giving Back (2003), Seasons Of Change, The State of Things, Tribute To Jeff Revisited (2005). His newest project is Jazz Outside The Box (2018).

Garfield performs on the new album piano, Fender Rhodes and synthesizers. Further players are trumpeter Wallace Roney, percussionist Poncho Sanchez and drummer Steve Jordan. Guest musicians are Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Pete Christlieb, Bennie Maupin, Brian Auger, Will Lee, Airto Moreira, the Charlie Bisharat String Quartet, an orchestra conducted by John Clayton, the late guitarists Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell, and John Densmore, who plays drums and orates on a spoken word segment.

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Tony Craddock Jr. & Cold Front – H2O

Washington, DC-based saxophonist Tony Craddock Jr. has founded his label Cold Front Music, LLC in 2011. The first album was Christmas in the Air (2011), followed by Convection (2013). His third album H20 offers uplifting contemporary jazz on the soprano and alto saxophones, with a few vocal songs too. The album features guitarist Ken Navarro, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and vocalist Ashli Rice on selected tracks.

H20, the chemical formula for water, is recommended by Ronald Jackson (Smooth Jazz Ride), who discovered “definitely an element of sophistication”.

Check it out on CDBaby.

Andreas Varady – The Quest

Resonance Records is proud to announce the release of The Quest, the third recording from twenty-year old guitar virtuoso, Andreas Varady. With the release of Questions (2010) and his eponymous CD in 2014, the native of Slovakia, and resident of Ireland, emerged from thin air and put the guitar playing world on notice that there was a new force on the instrument to be reckoned with. On The Quest, Varady’s artistry has reached new heights, and it’s staggering to behold. His unadulterated command of the guitar, his highly-developed skills as a composer, his rhythmic facility (which speaks volumes about his roots in Gypsy music), and his ability to craft an astonishing flow of single-note lines while traversing chord changes, all by ear, has attracted the attention of many legends of this music, not the least of which is Varady’s mentor, manager, producer and friend, the esteemed Quincy Jones. The Quest, available on April 6, 2018, features Varady in the company of his father Ondrej Bandi on bass, younger brother Adrian on drums, fellow Slovak Radovan Tariska on alto saxophone, and Venezuelan native (and current New York City resident) Benito Gonzalez on piano.

At just twenty, Varady has already performed at major festivals and venues around the world. The next exciting new chapter in the journey of this uber-talented musician begins with the release of The Quest. Varady has expressed that this album, comprised of all original music, feels very much like his first fully realized artistic statement, and indeed it showcases Varady’s evolution from child prodigy to consummate artist, one with an abundance of fresh, bold energy. “I feel like I’m giving you a piece of me on this album,” said Varady. The album title, which also reads like a mission statement is, “about this whole quest that I’m on in music seeking cool things, playing cool music in cool places, enjoying it all and having fun and doing what you wanna do,” said Varady. The album is also his debut release on the boutique non-profit jazz label, Resonance Records, which signals a departure from his self-titled major label debut on Verve in 2014. Two other Quincy Jones protégés, Justin Kauflin and Alfredo Rodriguez, will also be releasing new albums in 2018.

Resonance EVP/GM (and executive producer on The Quest) Zev Feldman said about first hearing Varady, “Upon first listen, I was struck by his talent and artistry. Then getting a chance to meet him in Ireland, and spending some time talking with him, he just fits the mold of what Resonance is all about in terms of promoting younger artists and sharing their music. We’re very happy to have him on the label. It’s also a great honor to work with Quincy Jones and his team, and partnering with them to get Andreas’ music out there is something we’re very proud of. Resonance believes strongly in living artists also, not just those from a bygone era, and it’s going to be very exciting to continue to watch him develop and we’re thrilled to be able to add a chapter to his legacy on our label.”
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