Posts Tagged ‘ Piano ’

Carol Albert – Stronger Now

Jazz pianist and vocalist Carol Albert has always Georgia in her mind, when she tours numerous countries worldwide. Her albums Love In Your Eyes (1992), Tides Of Change (1993), Christmas Impressions for the Piano (1995), Night Music (2006), Morning Music (2006), Christmas Mystique (2015), Fly Away Butterfly (2017) cover a broad spectrum ranging from easy listening, New Age, world music to smooth Jazz.

With her upcoming album Stronger Now (2020) she consolidates her position in the field of smooth jazz. Carol plays on this album piano, synth, keys, programming, bass, strings and more. She has written and arranged all songs. The well known guitarist and producer Paul Brown has made a significant contribution to this album as producer, arranger and mixer. He also performs guitar and percussion.

The following prolific musicians have added their personal accents: Lew Laing (drum programming, additional synths), Ben Babylon (strings and French horn arrangements), Sam Sims, Joseph Patrick Moore, Nathaniel Kearney, Roberto Vally (bass), Lil John Roberts (drums, percussion), Lee Thornberg (horn arrangement, flugel and valve trombone), Jay Williams, Gordon Campbell (drums), Curtis McCain (percussion), Ragan Whiteside (flute), Magdalena Chovancova (sax),  Dennis Johnson (drum programming), Daniel Baraszu (acoustic guitar), Raheem Amlani (electric guitar).

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Mark Adams – I Forgot to Remember to Forget

Baltimore born jazz pianist Mark Adams had the great fortune to grow up in a musical household. In earlier years he was taught by his mother, a former music instructor. A musical director, teacher, composer and foremost a musician of his own Mark debuted in 2001 with his groundbreaking album Asceticism, followed by Feel the Groove (2007), Something’s Going On (2009), Embellishments (2011), Conversations (2012) and Love and Dance (2016).

His newest project bears the strange title I Forgot to Remember to Forget (2018). Mark performs on the new album piano, keyboards, Rhodes piano and Mini Moog. Further musicians are Trevor P. Allen (bass, producer), Jason Patterson, JT Lewis, Gintas Tanusonis, Chris DeCarmine, Camile Gainer (drums), Bendji Allonce (percussion), Abdul Zuhri (guitar), Sophia Nicole, Jonathan Quash (vocals), Gerald Thomas (sax, flutes), Joe Porcelli (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andre Atkins (trombone), Ron Carter, Donald Nicks, Gerald Lindsey, Curtis Morrison, Dave Jones (bass), Waldron Ricks (trumpet), Bill White, Larry Tamanini (guitar), Robert Meeks (keys and programming), vibes & vocals Roy Ayers.

With Woke Mark builds the first musical circle of magic with a sophisticated horn arrangement and refined piano playing. Fight the Good Fight features rapper Leonard in a breathless, evocative song. I Forgot to Remember to Forget serves a sonic alternative with singer Sophia Nicole which, however, can shine more with the harmonious song structure than with detailed lyrics.

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Yoko Miwa Trio – Pathways

After almost half a decade absence, pianist Yoko Miwa is back in the studio. Pathways (Ocean Blue Tear Music, 2017) exhibits the cohesion of her long-standing trio.

Miwa is accompanied by Will Slater, acoustic bass; and her husband Scott Goulding, drums. Brad Barrett handles acoustic bass on “Dear Prudence.”

A balancing act of four original songs and four covers, Pathways is a stand-out for piano trio music. Instead of revisiting the same standards many other trios have covered, Miwa opts for jazz improvisations of two pop/rock songs, two Marc Johnson compositions and her originals. The result is a sound that’s fresh, exciting and full of vigor.

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Fred Hersch – Fred Hersch Solo

The New York Times says Fred Hersch is a master who plays it his way: “Mr. Hersch has honed a solo piano concept second to none in jazz.” That’s it. Nothing else needs to be said. End of review. A listen to Fred Hersch Solo (Palmetto Records, 2015), and one can see the Times gets it right.

The album was recorded during an August 14, 2014, performance at Windham Civic Center Concert Hall in Windham, New York.

A solitary instrumentalist playing a song that lasts more than five minutes – to say nothing of 10 – can be challenging to a listener used to pieces like that being produced by orchestras or big bands with multiple soloists. Hersch, however, makes it work with the opening track, a Jobim medley, “Olha Maria / O Grande Amor.” At more than 12 and ½ minutes, the music keeps moving, even though the mood and pace change here and there. And the style straddles that line between symphonic and jazz, similar to the sounds that come out of the Gershwin playbook.

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Keiko Matsui – Live In Tokyo

Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui is a gentle person, she grows as an artist to a radiant personality, when she performs live. Tokyo born Keiko Matsui devotes her life to her favorite instrument, the piano. Since her fifth birthday she loves and performs this piece of equipment. Classified as New Age or Smooth Jazz musician, she always expands her work to other genres. Blending Eastern and Western influences she has found her own style presented in numerous solo albums.

Understandably, have already appeared several live albums. Live In Tokyo, released on Shanachie Entertainment October 2, 2015, is something special. Recorded in a state-of-the-art theater in the TV Asahi EX Tower building in the vibrant nightlife district of Roppongi in Minato, Tokyo, this album offers stunning 74 minutes on CD and DVD.

The concert is part of Keiko’s Soul Quest World tour. Performing with Keiko are guitarist Chuck Loeb and saxophonist Kirk Whalum who also recorded with her the original Soul Quest (2013) album. The concert opens with Dream Seeker, the essence of their shared experience and knowledge. After the atmospheric intro, the song meanders in a delightful melody. Its lyrical narrative structure captures the listeners immediately.

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Bradley Joseph – Paint the Sky

Paint the SkyProfessional keyboardist/composer Bradley Joseph performed with multi-platinum artists Yanni and Sheena Easton for over a decade. Bradley was a featured keyboardist on Yanni’s Ethnicity 2003 World Tour, which was ranked the fourth largest tour of the year by Billboard Magazine. He has worked alongside Yanni for over six years and performed on the platinum selling CD, Yanni – Live At The Acropolis. It’s follow up video (titled the same) is the second best-selling music video of all time, behind Michael Jackson’s video for Thriller.

Bradley also worked with various artists under RCA, Epic, Warner Brothers, and Polygram. He toured with Sheena Easton for five years as her co-music director and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Several of Bradley’s compositions and complete CD Rapture, are published and distributed by Narada Records. His CD One Deep Breath held a position in NAV’s Top 100 radio chart for over six months. His song Fridays Child was included on the CD The Weather Channel: Smooth Jazz II, and appeared on Billboards Smooth Jazz Charts for 25 weeks.

Bradley owns Robbins Island Music. He produces, performs and distributes his own compositions including numerous CDs and piano books, worldwide. In 2005, he was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans. Paint the Sky is available at CDBaby.

Tom Grant – The Light Inside My Dream

TheLightExtending his trademark style of luscious grooves and melodies, Tom Grant has tapped into a new level of soothe with The Light Inside My Dream. Conceived and gifted as a love letter to his beloved, this breakthrough album offers both a sense of weThe Light Inside My Dreamlcome gravity and soaring lightness. A beautiful contribution to the genre of relaxation and meditation music.

Get this album at CDUniverse.

Claire Ritter – Soho Solo

It’s not often that a solo piano offering comes along that holds my attention. But when the songs are mostly original, and the music is more about the joy of playing than technique, it can be a fun and engaging experience. So it is with Claire Ritter’s Soho Solo (Zoning Recordings, 2015).

“Intergrity” opens the set. It’s a delightfully charming piece, one of 18 Ritter originals. It has a playful, walking through the neighborhood vibe. “Tar” delivers much of that same kind of vibe, though a bit more subtly. “The Brook & The Bird” is a softer, more placid piece. One can visualize a shallow, clear-running stream where a jay or mockingbird takes a drink. Ritter closes the set with her personal take on Harold Arlen’s “I’ve Got the World on a String.”

Seven of Ritter’s 18 compositions were previously recorded. In all, Soho Solo has 20 tracks, meaning the songs are short and to the point. Ritter plays for the joy of playing and sharing her different moods, stories and artistry.

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Isha Love – Jars of Waters

JarsofWaterWhen the fingers of Isha Love glide across the piano, a dazzling cascade of melody rushes forth spraying the atmosphere like the mist from a waterfall. “Jars of Waters,” her new offering, is a fluid tapestry of 14 luscious piano solos that pour sweet liquid libations for the soul. With ten gospel-tinged jazz originals and four unique interpretations of traditional spiritual hymns, Isha Love’s “Jars of Waters” is a tall refreshing glass to drink from.

A classically trained pianist, Isha Love emerges on the music scene as a source of “living water.” With “Jars of Waters,” Isha hopes to share and spread ever-abundant love. The inspirational solo performances on the CD transcend genres, riding the waves of jazz, classical, gospel, worship and pop. Whether she is surfing across the keys, like a boogie board bouncing above the ocean or rafting quietly down the river’s bank, tickling the ivories like a paddle propelling the current, her compositions shower light and shimmer with the presence of love.

Isha reveals that she only composes when she feels led by the Spirit. In fact, each track from “Jars of Waters” emerged from a series of compelling visions she believes God used to guide her musical journey. Song titles like “Rain On Me,” “I’ve Got Peace Like A River,” “There is a Fountain,” “Living Water,” and the title track “Jars of Waters” reveal her personal plunge to sacred depths. Continue reading

Manuel Valera – Self Portrait

Reviewing instrumental music is always a challenge. Finding a way to express in words what a song or album concept sounds like, and doing it in a manner that helps the reader make a decision on whether to buy a recording, all without being redundant or using clichés is not an easy task.

The challenge is even greater when it comes to solo piano. So you can rest assured that if a writer does review such a work, the recording more than warrants it. Such is the case with Manuel Valera’s Self Portrait (Mavo Records, 2014).

Valera decided to focus on four elements in creating this work. He wanted to present his jazz influence, covering songs by Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk; his Cuban roots with two Latin jazz pieces; his classical influence, with the “Impromptu” selections; and his own compositions. For this date, Valera plays a restored 1918 Steinway D.

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