Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Marcus Miller – Laid Black

LaidBlackBass great Marcus Miller brings the influence of modern urban music to his trademark sound on his highly-anticipated, genre-defying new album Laid Black, which will be released June 1 on Blue Note Records. The album pre-order is already launched along with the lead single “Untamed” which is available to stream or download now.

It’s been three years since Miller’s last album, Afrodeezia, which The New York Times called “vibrant and expressive… music that frames his playing beautifully.” Miller says: “Afrodeezia was like a musical voyage through my history. I followed the journey of my ancestors by collaborating with musicians along the African Slave route – musicians from West Africa, North Africa, South America and the Caribbean. With Laid Black, I decided to bring the music right up to the present – using elements from what’s happening in urban music today. So you’ll hear hip-hop, trap, soul, funk, R&B and jazz on this album. The music is calm but also powerful and funky, drawing on the black musical experience. Laid Black.”

Miller recorded most of the nine tracks on Laid Black with his band in a New York studio and also recruited guest artists Trombone Shorty, Kirk Whalum, Take Six, Jonathan Butler, and Belgian singer Selah Sue. Of his band, Miller says: “My guys are incredibly talented. They play everything from bebop to hip-hop. All of the special guests I called have the same vision about jazz, which made it possible to create this mix of music. Oh and if you like bass, there’s plenty of serious bass work on this album too! Continue reading

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Gabriel Mark Hasselbach – MidCentury Modern Vol. 1

Denver Colorado born trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach was last time in our focus with his album Open Invitation (2014). His new album MidCentury Modern Volume 1 (2018) is of a special peculiarity. Although a guarantor of smooth jazz Gabriel now delivers a jazz album.

Gabriel comments: “This is an exciting project for me because I was finally able to assemble my dream team. Besides the recognizable and prolific talents of saxophonists Ernie Watts and Cory Weeds, I was able to gather my longtime friends and world-class musicians Miles Black (piano), Laurence Mollerup (bass), and Joel Fountain (drums). Adding to the proceedings are Mike Taylor (vocals) and Olaf deShield (guitar) on a couple of tunes.”

The album starts with Mississippi Jump presenting Hasselbach in best form on trumpet, apparently fluent in style. Miles Black adds on piano a perfect accompaniment and a shining solo work. Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard released the track Gibraltar as part of his album Born To Be Blue in 1981. Hasselbach delivers a compact version without missing important elements of the original.

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Dave Koz and Friends – Summer Horns II From A To Z

Overcoming massive scheduling problems, saxophonist and entertainer Dave Koz has again managed to win some of the best musicians for his Summer Horns project. His new dream team consists of trumpet player Rick Braun, saxophonists Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot as well as trombonist and singer Aubrey Logan, a featured artist for Postmodern Jukebox.

Greg Adams, Tom Scott and Gordon Goodwin, who also arranged the previous album, are on this recordings again. Featured artists are singer Kenny Lattimore and Sheléa Frazier, Jonathan Butler and Gloria Estefan. The press release also mentions a rhythm arrangement by Chris “Big Dog” Davis.

Summer Horns II From A To Z is based on the same principle as the previous album. Selected songs that have passed the test of time and yet remain in lasting memory. The common denominator of all songs is a horn arrangement that qualified the piece for inclusion on the album. Cross-genre, dynamic and with a certain pep.

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Gabriel Mark Hasselbach – Mid Century Modern, Vol. 1

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, jazz trumpet player Gabriel Hasselbach lives and works out of Vancouver, Phoenix, and New Orleans. His musical style is comparable with Rick Braun and Chris Botti.

Even though his fame still has room for improvement, he has played with a large number of smooth jazz musicians and in particular with the famous singer Michael Bublé. Although with several solo albums on his belt, his hunger for more is far from satisfied.

His new album Mid Century Modern, Vol. 1 is just released in April 2018. You can buy the album at Amazon.com.

Dave McMurray – Music Is Life

Dave McMurray’s Blue Note Records debut, Music Is Life (out May 18), is a reunion of sorts, given the long history the saxophonist shares with the label’s president, and fellow Detroit native, Don Was. McMurray was a member of Was’ genre-defying unit Was (Not Was), first working together on the band’s self-titled 1981 debut. He’s played on all of the band’s albums and many other Was produced projects in the years since. Hear the lead track “Naked Walk” on the Jazz Now! playlist.

When Was signed McMurray to Blue Note, the saxophonist says that he gave him no imperatives as to which artistic paths to take. “It was one of those situations in which he just said, ‘Do it,’” McMurray explains.

“I know Dave’s playing really well. He doesn’t bullshit,” Was praises. “He’s never playing licks for the sake of playing licks. He’s not trying to impress people with what all he knows about music or about his dexterity over the instrument. It’s all about honest expressions.” Continue reading

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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David Garfield – Jazz Outside the Box

Keyboardist David Garfield was nineteen when he got his start playing alongside influential bebop jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. But opportunities came quickly for him in contemporary jazz as well as in R&B and pop, which guided the direction of his now five-decade career away from his roots. Straight-ahead jazz has remained in his core and he’s longed to return “home” thus to launch his prolific multi-volume, multi-genre “Outside the Box” collection, Garfield will drop his first straight-ahead jazz album, “Jazz Outside the Box,” on March 23 via his Creatchy Records label.

In addition to playing piano, Fender Rhodes and synthesizers, Garfield produced and arranged the 15-track jazz set that revisits Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Joe Sample, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Oliver Nelson and Joe Zawinul classics, applies an imaginative jazz varnish to a pair of Sting songs, and presents four of his own compositions. To materialize his vision, Garfield rounded up a massive ensemble that boasts several accomplished musicians he’s never worked with before but have long been on his wish list of collaborators such as trumpeter Wallace Roney, percussionist Poncho Sanchez and drummer Steve Jordan. Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Pete Christlieb, Bennie Maupin, Brian Auger, Will Lee, Airto Moreira along with dozens of other prominent players guest on the record, which includes Charlie Bisharat’s String Quartet and an orchestra conducted by John Clayton. “Jazz Outside the Box” contains among the final performances by a pair of recently-departed guitar greats, Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell. Perhaps the most unusual contribution comes from The Doors’ John Densmore, who plays drums and orates on a spoken word segment on the full-length version of Silver’s “Song For My Father.”

“I recruited a unique grouping of players to render each song. It was like casting for a movie. For example, ‘Song For My Father’ is rich with meaning, history and personal connections, which is a major component and an underlying purpose behind the entire ‘Outside the Box’ project. On that tune, I pay tribute to its author, Horace Silver, who was my mentor and like an adopted father to me. It also pays homage to The Doors and Steely Dan. A lot of people don’t know that Horace originally wrote lyrics to the song, so I had John (Densmore) speak Horace’s words. Another cool thing is that Steely Dan borrowed the opening bass riff from ‘Song for My Father’ for ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’ so I often quoted ‘Rikki’ whenever I played ‘Song for My Father’ at my gigs. I included that quote at the beginning of this recording, which features guitarist Denny Dias, a founding member of Steely Dan who played on the original ‘Rikki.’ There’s also a part of the track where I have (former Chicago lead singer) Jason Scheff sing ‘If you have a change of heart’ as another nod to ‘Rikki,’” said Garfield. Continue reading

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