Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz Funk ’

Kenny Wellington – Free Spirit

Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wellington is one of the founders of the legendary British jazz funk band Light Of The World. Wellington is also a member of the offshoot band Beggar & Co. Kenny performed with Tom Browne, Tina Turner, Incognito, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, and many more.

His new solo project Free Spirit (2016) is inspired by the horn players of the past Donald Byrd, Jimmy Owens, Chuck Mangione, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and continues the tradition of British jazz funk and the acid jazz genre.

Kenny performs on the new album trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals, all the programming and bass. Further musicians are David Baptiste (sax, flute, backing vocals), Jerome Harper (trombone), Clifford Rees (strings, violin, cello), Camelle Hinds (bass, percussion), Breeze McKrieth (guitar), Toby Baker (synthesizers), Steve Salvari (keyboards), Billy Osborne (drums), Ian da Prada (vibraphone), and Augie Johnson, Bobbie Lee Anderson, Gee Morris Osborne, David Lee Andrews (vocals).

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Finally – Final Definition

fdFinally is a Slovak jazz-funk band formed in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2002, founded by Eugen Botos (piano) – leader and composer of the band, Robert Vizvari (bass guitar), Martin Koleda (guitar). Finally and guests is a project of young passionate musicians, who were brought up on jazz, jazz funk and smooth jazz music (to include Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea…).

The genre of their music could be characterized as a harder style of Chick Corea’s Electric Band or Mark King’s Level 42 influenced by smooth jazz, hip hop, modern jazz, funk and ethno. Finally and Eric Marienthal had a series of performances in Japan and peaked at Bratislava Jazz Days (one of the top jazz festivals in Europe), where they performed with great success with Eric Marienthal. They started cooperating on stage in 2008, Finally has become Eric’s band for European concerts. These performances moved them forward to finishing their CD called My Space, at least 2 songs (Manhattan, My Space) are often played in American and Japanese smooth jazz/jazz radios. This formation – Finally and Eric Marienthal is going to be further presented in Europe.

The members of the group were brought up in traditional musical families; each of them has a university degree in music. They are multi-instrumentalists and passionate performers of classical music as well. They are European top artists in their genre. Finally and their music can be definitely seen as a new fresh and innovating energy in the jazz genre. Final Definition is their second album after their debut album My Space (2010) and now available at their website. The guest musicians are Marcus Miller, Dave Weckl, Eric Marienthal, Victor Wooten, Jeff Lorber and more. Please write an email to finallycd@gmail.com Your name, quantity and an address is fine. The price is 30.-Eur + shipping!

Big Ben Hillman – The Friday Night Consortium

The Friday Night Consortium After more than five years since his last release, Boston-based funk and retro-soul musician Big Ben Hillman is finally releasing his debut full-length solo album. The Friday Night Consortium, a collection of a dozen all new original Hillman compositions, runs the gamut of soulful grooves; from the up- tempo kick off number “Let’s Get Crazy” and the smooth dance-floor grinder “Friday Night,” to melodious ballads like “Beautiful Stranger” (a duet with Boston-based songstress Lydia Harrell) or feel-good disco romps like “It’s Too Easy,” The Friday Night Consortium has something for everyone.

“I’d been recording an album in New York before I got called to go on tour with the Greg Luttrell Band,” says Hillman, who was born and raised in the Boston area. “We spent four months in Shanghai, China. When I got back to the states I was going to pick up where I left off, but instead I ended up writing a whole new album with all new songs.” Big Ben Hillman, best known for hits like “It Must Have Been The Music” featuring Nephtaliem McCrary of The Nephrok! All-Stars and the blues-flavored hip-hop number “I’m Sorry” featuring Boston emcee Fee (One-Love, Ex-Cal) and Meyer Statham (Chucklehead, John Scofield) has spent most of his career as hired freelance keyboardist, percussionist and background vocalist. He’s performed with local acts such as D-Tension, The Boston Horns and Michigan Blacksnake as well as major artists as diverse as hip-hoppers De La Soul and The Wu Tang Clan and rockers like Les Claypool and Jimmy Buffet, yet Hillman says that writing and producing music has long been his primary aim.

“I’ve always considered myself a songwriter first,” says the man known by many as The Professor of Funk. His first big break as a producer came in the form of “Lay ‘Em Down,” a heavy gangster rap cut featuring Krumb Snatcha that he co-wrote and co-produced with D- Tension on his Contacts and Contracts II album. “I was raised on hip-hop; it’s a part of my heritage,” Big Ben says of his past work with the Brick Records artist “but I always knew I had something else inside of me to share with the world.”

In 2010, the performer who had started his career as a session drummer in Lowell, MA would take his act on the road, performing in clubs in Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York City. “I got a whole lot of experience spending those days on the club circuit out there; I was really starting to find my voice as an artist,” Hillman says as he reflects on his days on the road. “Now that I am back in Boston I really feel like I have found my center and I am able make my visions come to life.”

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Arno Haas – Back To You

Black-Forest-born Arno Haas released his debut album Magic Hands in 2013 receiving high accolades by critics. His sophomore album Back To You is scheduled for release on October 22, 2015 on mochermusic.

Produced by Tom Saviano the following musicians help to create this new project Arno Haas (sax), Al Jarreau, Evelyn Kallansee, Bill Champlin (vocals), Michael O‘Neill, Ralf Gugel, Benni Freibott (guitars), Randy Waldman, Rainer Scheithauer (pianos), Joel Taylor, Stephan Schuchardt (drums), Alvin Mills (bass), Arno Lucas (percussion), Chuck Findley, Jamie Hovorka (trumpets), Reggie Young ( trombone), Tom Saviano (Fender Rhodes), Ina Veli, Kathleen Sloan, Jenny Takamatsu, Anna Kostyuchek (violins), Vanessa Fairburn Smith, Alisha Bauer (celli).

The album starts full throttle with the title song Back To You. Perfectly arranged by Tom Saviano supports the brass group saxophonist Arno Haas. A treat for fans of cultivated jazz music with the emphasis on horns. Creepin’ Shadows offers in contrast a mellow ballade with the soprano sax in the lead. He is elated accompanied on the piano by Randy Waldman. Finally, the song picks up speed to gently say goodbye.

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Beatifik – Intrigue

Roger Odell, drummer/composer is known as a member and co-founder of the famous UK-based group Shakatak. With more than 50 albums the band is one of the most productive world wide. Beside this all band members have already released own solo projects. In case of Roger Odell it’s the formation Beatifik.

In late 1999/2000 Roger recorded the first album entitled Blue Window. One can call it a family project, because his son Jamie played on keys, his wife Larraine and Jacqui Hicks were the featured vocalists, his daughter Maxine sang background. Now Roger is back with the sophomore album Intrigue (2015).

The new album features Larraine and Jacqui again. Roger plays the drums and composed most of the songs, while Jamie plays all keyboards, recorded and engineered the project. In addition perform Mornington Lockett on saxes and Keith Winter on guitar. Keith was an ex-member of Shakatak, before he had to leave the group because of a nerve disease of his fingers. After his miraculous recovery he has returned to former strength.

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Camera Soul – Dress Code

Dress CodeCamera Soul is a powerful jazz-funk ensemble, produced by Mr. Marco Rossi of Azzurra Music (Verona) and released in the Americas by Kathryn Ballard Shut of TIMKAT Entertainment (Denver, Colorado). Inspired by legendary horn line, soul, R&B, and jazz-fusion artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores, Tower of Power, and Stevie Wonder, as well as neo-soul grooves by Erykah Badu and Jamiroquai, the group is based out of southern Italy (Bari), and led by veteran composer-arranger brothers Piero and Pippo Lombardo.

Camera Soul’s distinctive sound is further defined by the smoky and soulful voice of lead vocalist, Serena Brancale on the group’s first two albums (2011-2013), and Maria Enrica Lotesoriere (2014).

The group features a world-class lineup of studio and live performance musicians, including Pippo Lombardo (piano), Beppe Sequestro (bass), Francesco Palmitessa (lead guitar), Gianluca Cardellicchio (rhythm guitar), Liviana Ferri (percussion), Mimmo Campanale (drums, 2011-2013), Daniele Scannapieco and Bruno Tassone (saxes), Gianfranco Campagnoli (trumpet and flugelhorn), and Piero Dotti (background vocals). On Not For Ordinary People, the Brothers Lombardo also led a stellar global songwriting team. Together with their compositions, they also welcomed original music and lyrics from Serena Brancale and Denver-based jazz pianist and ASCAP composer, Kathryn Ballard Shut.

The group has released third albums – Words Don’t Speak (2011) and Not For Ordinary People (2013). Whereas Words Don’t Speak reached previous critical acclaim as a “chill” or “smooth” effort, Not For Ordinary People counts on powerful horn lines, deep funk, complex arranging, impassioned writing, and superb engineering, culminating in a stronger effort than the debut. Their newest album is entitled Dress Code and available now. For more information read this.

Rico Belled – XR7

XR7 is an album about the relationship between man and machine. In a time where most music is so computerized and emotion is not easily found, Rico Belled takes a bold approach: to try to truly integrate the computer into the traditionally non-electronic musical style of Jazz. When most musicians ‘fix’ their mistakes during the recording process, Belled instead celebrates the imperfections, seamlessly blending acoustic instruments with virtual ones, never quantizing anything. Featuring 4 songs done entirely without a click-track, even the 6 that did start life on a grid, never sound metronomic, bursting with life from the many layers.

Named after his beloved 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7, a car which Rico has driven around L.A. for almost 15 years, this CD is built to last. Blending elements of the past and the now, more than anything it’s a hint at the future of music, where anything goes. Stylistic walls are crumbling, with everyone exposed to all kinds of music and sounds from all over the world. Fearlessly breaking down the walls so carefully built up by purists, it is Jazz in its truest sense, where improvisation rules, but composition matters and is not just an obstacle on the way to showing off chops. Drawing from a deep well of years as one of L.A.’s top session musicians, Grammy nominated Belled pulls out all the stops.

Rico chooses to use the computer as a kind of ‘multiplication machine’ allowing him not to sterilize his performance, but instead create densely layered music inspired by Phil Spector’s famous “Wall Of Sound” style of production. The possibilities are endless and he explores many: from complex odd-meter jazz, to sexy R&B, from Smooth Jazz to soaring Fusion, XR7 is a musical journey bursting with originality, while never sounding contrived or forced. Featuring 10 original songs, and some of the best musicians in the world, Rico showcases his versatility as a multi-instrumentalist, playing bass on 7, keys on 8, and guitar on 9 of the tunes, in addition to producing, engineering, mixing and mastering the record. In keeping with the spirit, Belled has tried to find exactly how much one man can do with the help of the machine of machines: the computer.

Instead of focusing on expensive equipment, everything recorded at Back Scratch Studios and Mad Meece Audio was done on literally the cheapest equipment money can buy. Running on a $500 computer Rico built, Sonar X1 was used in combination with a $200 Motu 2408 MKII and Behringer Mic Pres, with inexpensive mics, for everything but Karasony’s drums and Buckingham’s and Kashiwa’s solos. The entire rig used costs less than $2000, including the mics. Mixed and mastered in his apartment, Belled has shown that a great sounding record can now be made at bargain prices, IF the human in charge knows what he’s doing!

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