Posts Tagged ‘ Craig Sharmat ’

Craig Sharmat – Nouveau

Guitarist Craig Sharmat is a great number in the area of film and television music. His compositional field of activity extends to trailers for films such as King Kong, Ghost Rider, Eragon, Anchorman or TV series like CSI Miami. His scoring work he is mostly known for are America’s Most Wanted, Alone, Who the Bleep Did I Marry and a host of other shows. More than his second mainstay, rather his passion is his career as a solo musician.

After his debut album So Cal Drivin (2009) he released Outside In (2010) and Blue Horizons (2013). What lasts long will finally be good with Nouveau (2019), the aptly title of his new album. While his earlier albums reflect more on smooth jazz themes, and his album Blue Horizons traveled the world, Craig now reveals his pronounced tendency for Django Reinhardt’s heritage. Django was a Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer, regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.

In creating his new album, Craig relies on the collaboration of proven professional musicians from the Californian scene, such as Greg Manning, Brian Mann (keyboards), Hussain Jiffry, Kim Collins (bass), Eric Valentine, Rayford Griffin (drums), Mark Hollingsworth (sax), Chris Tedesco (trumpet), and George Quirin (flamenco guitar). Ludovic Beier (accordina) is from France, and Christiaan Van Hemert (viola, violins) from The Netherlands, Nick Coventry (violin) lives in Tucson, AZ. Craig comments: “I wanted influence from players outside of So California as Gypsy Jazz was created in Europe and filtered back to the United States.”

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Craig Sharmat – Nouveau

Some 12 years after Craig Sharmat created his first “gypsy jazz” project for licensing purposes on assignment for what is now the Warner Chappell Productions Library, the guitarist and veteran film and TV composer’s passion for the style and desire to master gypsy guitar has evolved into a full blown creative addiction.  It’s reached such a fever pitch that instead of immediately following up his hit 2013 urban jazz album Bleu Horizons with a like-minded sequel, he immersed in the music scene of his new adopted hometown of Santa Barbara and formed The Idiomatiques – which became the first Gypsy Jazz band in history to score a hit on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart. True to its title, Sharmat’s latest collection Nouveau is a fresh, visionary work that finds the multi-talented artist in full on hybrid mode, artfully fusing the funky urban side of smooth jazz with Django Reinhardt inspired gypsy jazz guitar.

It’s a bold, dynamic approach that builds on the extraordinary critical acclaim and chart success he’s enjoyed these past years in both genres. Chosen one of the year’s Critics’ Choice Ten Best in Jazziz magazine, Bleu Horizons – designed as a spirited musical travelogue – included the Top 5 Billboard single “A Day in Paris,” the Top 10 single “Agua Do Brasil” and the Top 20 single “Surfing the Caspian Sea.” The single “C’est la Vie” from Craig Sharmat with the Idiomatiques’ second album Out on the Town also hit the Top 30 on the contemporary jazz chart.

While Bleu Horizons was filled with exotic sounds and rhythms representing various locales throughout the globe, it was in essence a groove driven, in the pocket smooth jazz experience, featuring guest appearances by genre greats like Peter White and Rick Braun. In the spirit of putting as much organic, Djangofied gypsy magic as possible into Nouveau, Sharmat surrounds his transcendent and deeply soulful guitarisma with three core members of the Idiomatiques: renowned accordionist, keyboardist and composer Brian Mann (Larry Carlton, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald), bassist, vocalist and jazz educator Kim Collins and the group’s newest member, George Quirin, who adds his flamenco guitar energy to a snappy yet sensual twist on the traditional French valse (waltz) “Indifference.” The song is a standard high in the gypsy jazz repertoire that serves as a showcase for Sharmat’s imaginative acoustic brilliance. Continue reading

Craig Sharmat – Bleu Horizons

Should the guitarist Craig Sharmat be unknown to the reader, he was the composer of trailers for movies like King Kong, Ghost Rider, Eragon, Anchorman, wrote songs for the TV series like CSI Miami, Without A Trace and many more. He also arranged songs for Rick Braun, Peter White, and Mindy Abair.

He gave his debut with the album So Cal Drivin, which was released in 2009. His sophomore album Outside In followed in 2010. With his new album Bleu Horizons Craig ensures continuity. On his new project he is supported by a variety of professional musicians. I discover in the liner notes Craig Manning (keyboards), Rayford Griffin (drums), Hussain Jiffry (bass), Peter White (accordion), Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn), Luis Conte (percussion) and several more.

With sound collages like First Stop NYC and Manhattan Morning Craig lures listeners into the magic of his new work. On A Day In Paris he captures with intense sounds the appeal of the French capital. The bring into play of Peter White on accordion is simply ingenious. In his guitar playing, he emphasizes the picturesque interpretation and not technical sophistication. This French life sense of savoir vivre also transmits Craig Sharmat on his next song La Seine Strut. Rick Braun on trumpet and Benedict Breyden on the violin are exponents of this way of life.

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Craig Sharmat – Bleu Horizons

Bleu HorizonsI started this album with the song “A Day in Paris”. I had not heard a “groove jazz” single use a traditional Gypsy Jazz combo and thought while being a novel idea it might fit the “Contemporary Jazz” format. As I watched the song race up the charts (#5 on billboard), I was working on the concept for the full album. In the day of the downloadable single I decided on going against the flow and went forward creating a concept album. In doing so I chose to have an international travelogue with a contemporary jazz flair. I wanted this to be a vehicle for my guitar playing, composing and arranging skills. It is also meant to sound fun and loose, I did not wish to be bound by traditional approaches.

Guitarist Craig Sharmat takes you on a trip around the world with his smooth grooves, contemporary jazz and world flavors. CDBaby presents Bleu Horizons.

Craig Sharmat – Outside In

Although known for his cooperation with jazz saxophonist Ronnie Laws, singer Randy Crawford and trumpet player Rick Braun Craig Sharmat earned his merits mainly as composer of trailers for movies like King Kong, Ghost Rider, Eragon, Anchorman, and songs for the TV series like CSI Miami, Without A Trace and many more.

Last year he started his solo career as a guitarist with his album So Cal Drivin receiving rave reviews of many Internet critics. The single of this album was in the Billboard charts for seventeen weeks. With his new album Outside In Craig offers proof for the persistence of his innovative career.

Craig assembled on his new project prominent musicians like Rick Braun, Rayford Griffin, Gregg Karukas, Phillipe Saisse, Luis Conte, Greg Matheison, Dan Lutz, Nate Najar, Mark Hollingsworth and many more.

With the orchestral introduction of Bossa Newva Craig showcases his heritage as film composer, but his affinity for seductive melodies is stronger, just for this time. While the jazz guitar follows the melody line, the song is brilliant with a fine arrangement of horns and strings.

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Craig Sharmat – Outside In

Craig Sharmat may be new to many as a solo jazz artist but his career as a guitarist/composer is accomplished. His debut album So Cal Drivin had the single of the same name place in the Billboard top 30 for seventeen weeks. An Impressive start out of the gate. His 2nd album Outside In will be his first on Innervision Records.

Early in Craig’s journey he found inspiration from Guitarist’s like Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny and George Benson. Assimilating some of these styles and adding his own touch Craig soon found himself touring with jazz legends Randy Crawford and Ronnie Laws. After a few years on the road it became evident to Craig that if he wanted a stable home life he needed to actually be home and pursued being a composer as his main profession. This was something he considered early on in his studies as a probability.

Craig landed his first major scoring gig which lasted 3 years as the composer for Disney’s “Kids Incorporated”. While doing this he continued doing some local session work and gigs in L.A. on guitar but his career path was now set. For the next twenty years his resume looks like a who’s who of television series with some movies sprinkled in. Some highlights include the opening for The MTV Movie Awards,14 years as composer for America’s Most Wanted (still active), Theme and background music to “The Real housewives of New Jersey”, numerous animation, many trailers include for example “Ghost Rider,King Kong, Live Free Die Hard, ads for Disney, Universal, ABC,etc etc. A full list can be found at Being an accomplished guitarist Craig took advantage of that talent, and his guitar work can he heard on thousands of TV, Movies and Ad cues on his own work and for the many other composers who recognized he not only can play well but posses a composers sensibility when recording.

Over the last few years Craig has had a renewed interest in following his original career path, that of being a pop jazz guitarist. As an arranger Craig had already placed arrangements for Rick Braun and Peter White’s Christmas album with Rick and Mindy Abair, but now it was finally time to strike out on his own. After the success of his first album Craig is anxious to share what he feels is his best cumulative work to date Outside In.

Craig’s sophomore album is now on sale at CDBaby.

Craig Sharmat – So Cal Drivin

The encounter with Craig Sharmat reveals a personality of a special kind. Influenced by artists like Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny and George Benson he soon had the lucky opportunity to share the stage with platinum selling jazz saxophonist Ronnie Laws and the not little-known jazz singer Randy Crawford. Although he arranged and programmed for chart topping trumpet player Rick Braun’s album Yours Truly and arranged strings on Peter White, Mindy Abair and Rick Braun’s 2007 Christmas Album he wasn’t caught by my smooth jazz radar screen.

The reason is simply explainable. Mainly he is fostering merits as a brilliant film composer. So he composed trailers for movies like King Kong, Ghost Rider, Eragon, Anchorman, wrote songs for the TV series like CSI Miami, Without A Trace and many more. His credits are overwhelming. Certainly enough to review his debut album So Cal Drivin, which was just released October, 2009.

The album presents his band Comfort Zone (John Balbuena, keys, Chris Mostert, sax, David Chamberlin, bass, Rich Diamond, drums) furthermore guest artists including Rick Braun, Greg Matheison, Mike White, Philippe Saisse, Dino Soldo, Billy Hulting, Steve Billman, Andy Suzuki and more. We should not forget Craig, who plays on all tracks electric guitar and in addition on some tracks keys, percussion and programming.

Blinded by such a great list of illuminates I approach Craig’s album with a certain respect. So Cal Drivin, a song about Drivin’ along the coast of Southern California, transmits the spirit of relaxed freedom, we all want to internalize, when we stuck in the middle lane of a So Cal freeway flailing our arms in frustration about the dense traffic. Turn your radio on and let Craig’s guitar music flow.

Continue reading Craig Sharmat  – So Cal Drivin