Posts Tagged ‘ Fusion Jazz ’

Brian Grace – Long Beach

longbeachSaxophonist, jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Grace began his musical career as a professional musician at a young age of 19. He spent a large part of his following years in various Army Bands before moving into the field of contemporary jazz.

Brian counts ten solo albums among his original body of work. The three latest are The Streets of San Francisco (2015), Stratosphere (2017) and his newest project Long Beach (2022). Brian considers his musical focus to be fusion jazz. He himself describes his stylistic home as progressive jazz.

Brian performs on his new album tenor & alto saxophones, piano, organs, guitars, strings, vibes, tubular bells, triangle, sound effects. As can be seen from the credits, Brian has been able to attract some big names in contemporary jazz to his EP. On all tracks you can hear the well-known bass player Jimmy Haslip, who has already proved to be a valuable support for many fusion jazz players.

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Special EFX – Twenty Twenty 2

275042008_381756920618322_4477729908728617706_nGuitarist Chieli Minucci is since 1982 the musical heart of the formation Special EFX. With the new album Twenty Twenty 2 (2022) new times are dawning for him. Most of the music was written and recorded during the first years of the enduring pandemic. Now what has been recorded is brought to the stage.

Chieli Minucci plays on this album acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, synth kalimba, arrangements and vocals. From his large circle of friends, the following musicians have joined the recordings: Lionell Cordew (drums), Jerry Brooks (bass), Jay Rowe (organ), Richie Cannata (flute, saxophone), Mino Cinélu (pecussion), John Favicchia (drums), Joel Rosenblatt (drums), Lao Tizer (Hammond organ, electric and acoustic piano), Gianlucca Minucci (bass), Ric Fierabracci (bass), Nelson Rangell (flute), Antoine Silverman (violin), Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Dave Anderson (fretless bass), Lin Rountree (trumpet), and Oli Silk (piano). Enough musicians for a complete festival.

The album opens with the longest tune of the album, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. This instrumental composition was originally created by The Allman Brothers Band and appeared on their second studio album, Idlewild South (1970). More information about the original and about Elizabeth Reed is to find here. Chieli was infected by this classic Southern Rock song and just slightly altered the guitar sound.

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Micah Graves – Pawns

pawnsThe 23-year old American pianist Micah Graves began his tutelage taking classical piano lessons when he was 13. Two years later, he switched to jazz piano, studying at the Philadelphia Clef of Jazz.

After a scholarship at Berklee, he attended Temple University. Micah stayed 6 months in Amsterdam as an exchange student. When he returned home in Philadelphia, he wanted to start writing music.

He now teaches 45+ students at the Settlement Music School and ensembles there. Due to the pandemic, he has released three projects in less than a year, ‘Med Nama’ and ‘In My Fairytale’ , plus this one.

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Thomas Heflin – Morning Star

Thomas-Heflin-Morning-StarMorning Star is presented as a late-night radio show (complete with station IDs, and a radio DJ) and features songs that flow effortlessly from one to the next. The music on “Morning Star” features a traditional jazz group underpinned by layers of Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ and strings, as well as percussion and additional woodwinds to create a warm, soulful sound reminiscent of the CTI recordings of the 1970s. The music also fuses elements of modern jazz with R&B, gospel, and neo-soul.

The album was conceived around the title track “Morning Star,” and listeners may notice reworked snippets of the bassline and melody from the title track in other songs on the album. The music was recorded at the beginning of the CoVid outbreak, and the “morning star” – the last star seen at night before the new day arrives – also serves as a musical symbol of hope and optimism through these dark times. The radio DJ (Brandon Robertson) presents the tracks through poetic words of encouragement, creating the feeling of listening to an inspirational radio host during a late-night car ride.

The album features several notable musicians including world-renowned tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy (Elvin Jones), Mavis “Swan” Poole (Lauryn Hill, Prince) on vocals, Peter Stoltzman (Steve Gadd/Eddie Gomez) on piano, Steve Haines on bass, Aaron Matson on guitar, Ariel Pocock on vocals, Xavier Ware on drums, Dan Hitchcock on woodwinds and Jorge Luis Torres “Papiosco” (¡Cubanismo!) on percussion.
According to Heflin, “The music for the album is inspired things that bring me joy and hope. “Morning Star” is the Slavic translation of my wife’s first name. ‘Anna Breschine’ is my daughter’s name and ‘The Moon Singer’ is inspired by a book by Clyde Robert Bulla that I like to read to her at night. In the story, a lonely child sings beautiful, wordless melodies to himself out in the forest. Evensong, which means ‘a service of evening prayers’ is meant to evoke a late-night musical meditation. Haiku is a quirky song based on the chord changes of one of my favorite jazz standards, Benny Golson’s ‘Stablemates.'” Continue reading

Robert Christa / Tom Reif – Free As A Bird

freeasabirdGerman pianist and composer Robert Christa is best known in the smooth jazz genre by his solo projects Nightflight To Rio (2015), City Lights (2017) and Smooth World (2019). His new album is a collaboration with the multi-instrumentalist Tom Reif entitled Free As A Bird (2021).

Robert Christa has written all tracks and plays Rhodes, piano and keys. Tom Reif has arranged, mixed and produced the tracks and performs guitars, guitar synth, fretless bass, keyboards, loops, percussion, programming and was co-composer on three tracks. Additional artists are Herb Berger (harp) and Tommy Eberhardt (drums).

The album opens with the sun-drenched Sunset Boulevard, from which Christa and Reif can definitely derive romantic aspects. Christa follows with the opening track to the familiar smooth jazz style of his previous album.

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Christoph Spendel Group – Avenue E

avenueeJazz piano virtuoso Christoph Spendel has developed a multitude of projects in his remarkable decades-long creative period, which would require a professional biographer to document. Despite his now advanced age, his creative energy is still brimming with new ideas, which are reflected in numerous releases and formations.

Among these countless projects, the Christoph Spendel Group stands out. It consists of the musicians Peter Klohmann (flute, saxes), Thomas Heidepriem (bass), Martin Standke (drums) as well as founder and name-giver Christoph Spendel (piano, keyboards). The formation as such already exists since the 80s in changing line-ups. Christoph has a long-standing friendship with the bassist Thomas Heidepriem, who comes from Freiburg. The other two musicians, presenting the young generation, recommended themselves through different projects.

The album starts with the title song, which brings all the tonal power of the well-tempered piano into the melodic harmony. Peter Klohman shares the melody accompanying on soprano saxophone. Behind the title  Avenue E lies the “Eschersheimer Landstraße”, Frankfurt’s lifeline, a vivid street in Christoph Spendel’s adopted home city.

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Anastasio – Through The Sky

Flutist and saxophonist Enzo Anastasio graduated in saxophone at the conservatory Guiseppe Martucci in Salerno, where he got a degree of second level with the best grade. With the Neapolitan band Midi Funk he published the album Finalmente Funky (2005). In November 2015 he released his debut solo album Che Soddisfazione. His second album is Through The Sky, released on AlfaMusic in 2018.

This album features Vincenzo Anastasio on sax, Gregg Bissonnette on drums, Jimmy Earl on bass and David Garfield on piano and keyboard furthermore guitarist Federico Luongo, pianist and keyboardist Mario Nappi, trumpeter Gianfranco Campagnoli, keyboardist and synthbassist Paolo Sessa, trombonist Alessandro Tedesco and vocalists Cheryl Porter, Kalind Haynes and Kaita Kerr.

The cartoonistic design of the record cover promises cheerful and relaxed music. The opener Cycling in Venice Beach can be understood in the literal sense. The driving of the bicycle pedals are the first acoustic sounds that make it clear that your music system is still working. But then orderly saxophone harmonies announce the coming happiness.

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Jules Hay – From London to Little London

British jazz fusion guitarist Jules Hay follows his passion for Brazilian music from his home in London, UK, to the Brazilian city of Londrina – aka ‘Little London.’ Immersing himself in the local music scene, his collaboration with the musicians there was captured across several days at 3 em 1 studios and is released on the 17th July. The set of 10 original compositions bring together infectious Brazilian rhythms and grooves with a modern jazz fusion sensibility.

In Thiago Ueda (keys), Diogo Burka (Bass), Roger Aleixo, Elthon Dias (drums) and Duda de Souza (percussion), Jules has brought together 5 in-demand musicians from the Londrina scene who add their own joyful playing and improvisations to the proceedings. Originally slated for March 2020 as an 8-track release, Jules took the opportunity of being locked down in the city to compose and record 2 bonus tracks for the album. From London to Little London is an uplifting journey for fans of fusion and Brazilian music alike.

Get this percussive album at Bandcamp.

Lou Guldemond – That’s It!

Dutch jazz guitarist Lou Guldemond already performed with various groups such as Pasadena Dreamband, Top Secret, Batida, Big Black & Beautiful, and Sister Sledge. He also produced the debut album It’s Happening by jazz guitarist Martijn van Itserson. Currently he plays with the jazz big band Licks & Brains.

On his album That’s It! (2020) he is joined by Karel Boehlee (piano), Arjen Mooijer (keyboards), Michel van Schie, Boudewijn Lucas, Paddy van Rijswijk, Lene teVoortwis  (bass), Danny Sahupala (drums), Martin Verdonk, Sandra Sahupala (percussion), Tom Beek (sax), Ruud Breuls (trumpet), Peter Tiedhuis (guitar) Gregor Hamilton (keyboards), Tollak Ollestad (harmonica), Lo van Gorp and Diana Rosendal (vocals).

The album opens with Boom!, the affirmative expression of a loud, deep and resonant sound. Lou on the other hand takes it nice and easy in a wonderful flow. Son Carrio starts with an outburst of Samba and this rhythmic form is lived out to the full in this piece. The rest is pure ecstasy in virtuoso musicality.

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The Clusters – The Clusters

The Clusters is an Argentinian band hailing from Ramos Mejía. They leave you a record of what was the last date of the Year! A different space with lots of music of jazz fusion. With their debut album The Clusters the band reaches out to the world.

This album is available for download only at CDBaby.