Posts Tagged ‘ Fusion Jazz ’

The Lao Tizer Band – Songs From The Swinghouse

“Jazz Group of the Year” nominee, The Lao Tizer Band, present their long-awaited new album & film (CD & DVD combo-pack)! This epic project was recorded all “Live in the Studio” at famed Conway Studios in Hollywood, CA with an all-star cast of musicians! Produced by former “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee keyboardist, composer and bandleader, Lao Tizer, the project includes 11 breathtaking Jazz-Rock-Fusion tracks featuring 7 new original instrumentals, and for the first time, 3 vocal covers (CD only) of Led Zeppelin, U2 & Cat Stevens, all documented in simultaneous 8-camera array of HD video under the direction of acclaimed music film director, Andy LaViolette (Snarky Puppy, David Crosby). Recorded, mixed and mastered by Grammy nominated engineer, Paul Wickliffe (Kevin Eubanks, Special EFX), the recording captures the dynamic range and energy of this touring juggernaut.

The band features a cast of all-star musicians on the forthcoming album & film:

– Karen Briggs – violin (Yanni, Diana Ross)
– Eric Marienthal – sax (Grammy winner, Chick Corea, Rippingtons)
– Chieli Minucci – guitar (Grammy nominee & Emmy winner, Special EFX)
– Munyungo Jackson – percussion (Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis)
– Ric Fierabracci – bass (Grammy nominee, Bill Cobham, Blood Sweat & Tears)
– Tita Hutchison – vocals (Foreigner, Rick Rubin)
– Jeff Marshall – guitar (Bo Bice)
– Gene Coye – drums (Grammy nominee, Larry Carlton, Terrence Blanchard)
– Steve Nieves – sax (Loggins & Messina, Olivia Newton-John)
– Cheikh N’Doye – bass (Mike Stern, Baaba Maal)
– Lao Tizer – piano & keys, bandleader-composer, producer (former “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee, Down To The Bone)

This project will be released March 16, 2018.

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Cody Carpenter – Cody Carpenter’s Interdependence

Cody Carpenter, the son of movie genius John Carpenter, steps out the huge shadow of his father. In addition to contributing music for two of his father’s films, Vampires (1998) and Ghosts of Mars (2001), Carpenter composed and performed the full-length score for “Cigarette Burns” and “Pro-Life” in Showtime’s Masters of Horror (2005) movie series.  Cody co-wrote, co-produced, and performed on the acclaimed Lost Themes (2015) and Lost Themes II (2016) with his father and Daniel Davies.

One can meet Cody under his alter ego “Ludrium”. Infiltrate The Mother Ship for example offers progressive rock, game music, fusion, and synth stylings. His newest solo project is Cody Carpenter’s Interdependence, released in 2018 on Blue Canon Records.

Cody planed to create this time music in the jazz rock realm. So he first contacted bass player Jimmy Haslip, with whom he already worked some years ago. Influenced by the early Genesis and keyboardist Keith Emmerson he wanted to try something in that direction. While on the albums by Ludrium are mostly vocal tracks, Cody decided to make a pure instrumental album this time.

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SWR Big Band – A Cool Breeze

Led by Sammy Nestico, the SWR Big Band delivers big time with A Cool Breeze (SWR Music, 2017). Nestico brings elements of fusion, swing and orchestral sounds with a mix of original songs and classics.

The saxophones: Klaus Graf, Matthias Erlewein, Axel Kuhn, Andreas Maile and Pierre Paquette; trumpets: Nemanja Jovanovic, Felice Civitaraele, Karl Farrent, Claus Reichstaller and Rudolf Reindl; trombones: music director Marc Godfroid, Ernst Hutter, Ian Cumming and Georg Maus; Klaus Wagenleiter, piano and keys; Klaus-Peter Schopfer, guitar; Decebal Badila, bass; and Guido Joris, drums, percussion, mallets and Celtic dulcimer.

“Along Came Betty” is given a pop slash groove treatment, noted especially by the rhythm guitar, drums and laid-back mood of the entire piece. Soloists are Wagenleiter (keyboard), Godfroid and Maile (tenor). The beauty of big band music comes through on this and other tracks, and that’s when different sections of instruments carry the melody at one point with others as background or counter-melody, and then another family steps up. Here, all three groups – trumpets, trombones and saxophones – take a turn.

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Michael Schmidt – Life

Composer and keyboardist Michael Schmidt longs for the golden era of fusion jazz, dominated by such groups as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever and Weather Report. Famous names like Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Jimmy Haslip or Jeff Lorber have inspired this musician. Although he does not reach the level of popularity of these music titans, he has made a name in the field of fusion jazz through a variety of high-quality record releases.

With every release, he manages to gather around an illustrious band of top musicians who perfectly realize his idea of fusion jazz. On his new album Life (2017) are to find Dave Weckl, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Kinsey, Jimmy Haslip, Katisse Buckingham, Gary Novak, Andy Snitzer, Scott Kinsey, Mike Miller, Ruslan Sirota, Virgil Donati, John Daversa, Andy Milne, Jost Nickel, Mike Miller, Steve Tavaglione, Jerry Goodman, Oz Noy, Jost Nickel, Mitch Forman, Brandon Fields, Bob Mintzer, Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Charlie Bisharat, MonoNeon, Larry Koonse, and Sophia Wackermann. Michael Schmidt performs on all tracks synths and sequencing.

The album was produced by bassist Jimmy Haslip, who was also involved in Michael’s previous projects. Michael chooses the quick start with the virtuoso piece Trance, which gives the participating musicians the opportunity to fully unfold their potential. With drummer Dave Weckl, late guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Haslip and saxophonist Katisse Buckingham has this formation the firepower of the above-cited jazz fusion groups.

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Ilya Netkach – I Am

Kharkov, Ukraine born violinist Ilya Netkach’s love is music. More likely love at second sight, because of the decision to follow the call of music, matured only after he had studied in other subjects. His first project Page Not Found arrived in stores in 2015. During his period in Qatar and Bahrain he composed new songs, which he has released under the title I AM in October 2017.

Ilya performs violin, piano, and keyboards and is accompanied on his new project by Alina Kharchenko on piano (tracks 1, 2 and 4). Not the numerous attempts during the long period of creation of this album are of interest, but the result. On Burned Bridges Ilya performs the violin with burning fervor. Every chord contributes to the emotional character of the piece, whose soul finds itself on string and body with each vibrating tone. Alina Kharchenko leaves it at an indication of the melody frame without interfering Ilya’s inspired play.

Fiasco is usually the most unsuitable title for a piece of music unless you’re talking about Stockhausen’s 12-tone music. On the other hand, the violin virtuoso himself is in search of the overall-looking melody between structure and improvisation. Infamy may be influenced by Alan Parson’s Project in terms of the configuration of the synth music, that serves as a base. The treat of the violin frees from the anarchic character by following chromatic structures.

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Jentsch Group Quartet – Fractured Pop

What happens when you do a lot of things well but don’t want to focus on just one or two? One possible result is a sample of each, mixed, matched, melded and blended with various combinations of the others. In other words, Fractured Pop (2017) by the Jentsch Group Quartet.

The band features Chris Jentsch, guitars; Matt Renzi, tenor saxophone, clarinet and alto flute; Jim Whitney, double bass; and John Mettam, drums.

The music moves from jazz fusion to rock instrumental, from ambient jazz to something bordering on electronica, from structured to free-form. Each musician is solid in his performance. Jentsch spices things up by playing more than one guitar on some tracks and adding some distortion effects here and there. Highlights include “Fractured Pop,” “Route 666” and “Meeting at Surratt’s.”

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Jeff Lorber Fusion – Prototype

Trailblazing pianist, composer, producer and bandleader Jeff Lorber is a consummate artist who continues to push himself to new plateaus. A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber has triumphed as one of the most innovative musical minds in contemporary jazz. The multi Grammy-nominated pianist’s newest CD is a sterling example of his expansive musical roots, masterfully crafted harmonic and melodic sophistication, irresistible finger-poppin’ grooves and intricate rhythmic sense. “I came up with the name Prototype because we are always trying to up our game and come up with new exciting music that could be a prototype or innovative harbinger for the future of our musical style,” says the LA based pianist. Lorber, a Berklee College of Music alum who formerly majored in Chemistry at Boston College goes full throttle on Prototype, orchestrating like an alchemist in the lab concocting a majestic elixir of jazz, soul, funk, pop, R&B and gospel.

Prototype features longtime collaborators – bassist Jimmy Haslip (founding member of The Yellowjackets) and drummer Gary Novak. “From a production standpoint Jimmy adds a ‘big picture’ element. He contributes a lot with his warm bass sound and on the road he is without a doubt one of the finest soloists out there on his instrument.” Lorber adds, “Gary’s very versatile, imaginative, super solid and gets a great sound. He really shines playing over the funky polyrhythmic grooves we record.” The newest member to the all-star unit is saxophonist Andy Snitzer, who like Lorber (and the Brecker Brothers) hails from Cheltenham, PA. Lorber states, “Andy’s got a perfect approach. It’s soulful and melodic and he is not afraid of taking the music outside a bit.” Prototype also features special guests bassist Nathan East, guitarists Chuck Loeb, Larry Koonse and Paul Jackson, Jr. and saxophonist Dave Mann, among others.

“Writing is something that I really enjoy and I’m always coming up with ideas to work on,” states Jeff Lorber, who penned nine of the tracks on Prototype and co-wrote one with Jimmy Haslip. “We put a lot of work, love and care into this record. I hope that everyone who hears it enjoys listening to it as much as we enjoyed writing and recording it. I think it’s the kind of record that will reap dividends by repeated listening because there’s a lot of great playing that you can only appreciate by really getting into it and checking out all the details.” Prototype opens with the spunky and electrifying “Hyperdrive” hinting to the euphoric musical excursion that lies ahead. The track features guitarist and Jazz Funk Soul collaborator Chuck Loeb who calls Jeff “an amazing guy and talent.” Lorber says of bassist Nathan East, who also appears on the track, “Nathan played on ‘Hyperdrive’ because I originally wrote that for his project. He played great on it so we kept it. I have to thank him for not using the track because it’s one of my favorites and the first single!” The album’s title track is a spirited and pulsating mid-tempo blues. Lorber explains, “Blues is a huge part of our music and I think Andy really brings it home with his approach to the melodies and his solos.” Saxophonist Dave Mann offers a vibrant, smoothly executed and feel-good horn arrangement on this track as well as six others. “The shout chorus on ‘Prototype’ is great,” comments Lorber. “I’m glad to also feature guitarist Michael Thompson who plays a stellar solo on the end of the song.” Continue reading

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