Posts Tagged ‘ Pieces Of A Dream ’

Pieces Of A Dream – Just Funkin’ Around

The story of Pieces Of A Dream is a tale of destiny and brotherhood. Picture three starry-eyed fanatical teen musicians who manage to get discovered by Mister Magic (Grover Washington, Jr.), become teen sensations and go on to join the pantheon of musical wonders from the “City Of Brotherly Love” that includes Gamble and Huff, Patti Labelle, McCoy Tyner, and The Roots. Dubbed “the Steely Dan of Smooth Jazz” by Allaboutjazz.com and heralded by the legendary Count Basie as “a tough act to follow” Pieces Of A Dream, remains one of the most satisfying, exhilarating and sought-after bands in Contemporary Jazz. They have toured the world, sold over one million albums, and scored both Smooth Jazz and R&B radio hits along the way. Crowned “Pioneers of Smooth Jazz” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pieces Of A Dream has long been revered for their signature fusion of Jazz, R&B, Funk, Pop and Blues.

Their sweet and soulful grooves, energized solos and organic compositions have made them a favorite on the touring circuit and on the airwaves.  Last year, founding members, keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon celebrated the milestone of their 40th anniversary and their feet are still on the accelerator as they power forward to the release of their new CD Just Funkin’ Around (May 26, 2017).  On their newest effort, the band continues to prove that they are still at the top of their game and as inspired as ever. Curtis Harmon says, “Lasting forty years in this business confirms the fact that we are truly blessed. When you have fans that support you for as many years as our fans have, you can’t help but want to give them the best you’ve got and that’s what we’ve tried to do.” James Lloyd adds, “There is no stopping us now! In addition to the responsibility we feel towards our fans, Curtis and I also feel a duty to help the younger and future generations of Jazz to reach and exceed their goals the way the late, great Grover Washington Jr. did for us.”

Just Funkin’ Around highlights ten tracks of new and original music that build upon the soulful and rich legacy of Pieces Of A Dream’s trademark sounds. “When our fans hear Just Funkin’ Around, I hope that it inspires them to do what makes them happy; dance, sing, hum, or even just smile,” shares Harmon. “These songs are our gift to be shared from one ear to another.”  Just Funkin’ Around ceremoniously opens with the album’s first single “Right Back Atcha’” an in-the-pocket ear-catching tune.  Lloyd’s crisp piano licks dance atop Harmon’s mean drum groove and together they convey the message  ‘we came to get down!” Lloyd shares, “Some of the best things happen in the strangest ways. Curt and I wrote this in an artist tent minutes before a Pieces show and sang it into his phone. I had almost forgotten about it when he suggested it for the album.” Continue reading

Pieces Of A Dream – Just Funkin’ Around

The legendary group Pieces Of A Dream is an original Philadelphian smooth jazz formation. Keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon, became popular under the patronage of Grover Washington Jr. Later Cedric left the group, what their success did not diminish. After Soul Intent, Pieces of a Dream’s latest effort on Heads Up, the group now sails under the flag of Shanachie Entertainment.

Just Funkin’ Around is a funky, joyful musical celebration, filled with melodic grooves that have made Pieces Of A Dream fan favorites. The ten brilliant originals that run the gamut from ‘in the pocket’ R&B to sensuous Smooth Jazz jams show Pieces Of A Dream are at the top of their game!! Lead producer and founding member James Lloyd, who has been a go-to hit maker and accompanist for such artists as Mary J. Blige, BB King, Najee, Wayman Tisdale and others, shines here with such highlights as the funky “Right Back Atcha’” and the romantic ballad “Sensuosity.” Additionally, co-founder Curtis Harmon’s composition, the hard grooving “Shaken, Not Stirred,” demonstrates why the ”Pieces” sound is a unique crowd pleaser!

Just Funkin’ Around is available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Pieces of a Dream – All In

All In is Pieces Of A Dream‘s sophomore album on Shanachie Entertainment. The group consists of keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon. Their overall 21st album features their longtime live crew, guitarist Rhon Lawrence and bassist David Dyson.

The recording is joined in addition by keyboardists Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Herman Jackson, Robert Pickard, guitarist Rob Bacon, drummer Teddy Cambell, saxophonists Tony Watson Jr., James Cunningham and bassist Byron Miller.

The album has an overall uplifting start with Turn It Up. And that’s to be taken literally. James Lloyd expands his talent on the keys enjoying with a sparkle of tones.

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Pieces Of A Dream – All In

AllInOnce upon a time, a trio of teenage jazz prodigies began turning heads in Philadelphia. Hailing from the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ the all-star unit Pieces Of A Dream stands alongside an impressive lineage of musical wonders who have made Philly proud including Gamble and Huff, Patti Labelle, Grover Washington Jr. Jill Scott and The Roots.

Proclaimed a “tough act to follow” by the iconic Count Basie, Pieces Of A Dream was discovered while in High School and was mentored by Mr. Magic, pioneering saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. 2016 marks a milestone for Pieces Of A Dream as they will celebrate their 40th Anniversary. The all-star band has built an impressive legacy of their own with their melting pot of influences that have catapulted them to the top of the charts more than a few times. November 6, 2015 Shanachie Entertainment will release their 21st recording, All In, which beautifully illustrates why the band has stood the test of time.

Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz A&R for Shanachie states, “What really amazes me about Pieces Of A Dream is how fresh they are. They’ve been an iconic group for decades, yet this album has them at the very top of their game!” Founding members, keyboardist and producer James Lloyd (whose produced #1 hits for the likes of Walter Beasley, Najee and Eric Darius) and drummer Curtis Harmon (Ronny Jordan, Alex Bugnon, Sherry Winston), both use words like “thankful,” “blessed” and “grateful” to describe how they feel about their work and their fans, who have continued to make it all possible. Harmon shares, “We are grateful to our fans who give so much meaning to do what we are blessed to do.” Continue reading

Pieces Of A Dream – In The Moment

The legendary group Pieces Of A Dream is an original Philadelphian smooth jazz formation. Keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon, became popular under the patronage of Grover Washington Jr. Later Cedric left the group, what their success did not diminish. After Soul Intent, Pieces of a Dream’s latest effort on Heads Up, the group now sails under the flag of Shanachie Entertainment.

Their 20th album In The Moment is just released and is so fresh that POAD hasn’t even updated their new website. The album features superstar guitarist Rhon Lawrence, up and coming saxophonist Tony Watson, Jr. and bassist David Dyson. Shanachie label stalwart Chris “Big Dog” Davis joins these longtime friends.

In The Moment is a instantaneous inventory of where the band currently stands. The group shows itself in the formation, in which they also frequently occurs as a live act. It is also the style that represents the group. Tony Watson Jr. leaves it all on the stage and also on this recording. No overdub but pure sax. Tony is no unknown, he also performed on CDs of Walter Beasley, Najee and previous albums of POAD.

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Pieces Of A Dream – In The Moment

InTheMomentPieces Of A Dream are set to release their 20th album entitled In The Moment on August 27, 2013 via Shanachie Records. The Philadelphia based band got its start in 1976 as founding members keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon formed the group while they were still in high school. The band caught the attention of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. who signed them to his label and nurtured their career.

Pieces Of A Dream have gone on to work with a variety of artists over the years including Mary J. Blige, B.B. King and Wayman Tisdale, among others. In The Moment features superstar guitarist Rhon Lawrence and up and coming saxophonist Tony Watson, Jr. Look for the band on tour this month with stops in Cincinnati, OH, Philadelphia, PA and Springfield, MA.

This title will be released on August 27, 2013. Pre-order now at Amazon.com.

Pieces of a Dream – Soul Intent

God bless America, God bless Pieces of a Dream. Really, did they already release 17 albums? Time flies and seldom is a group so productive like POAD. I remember, when I bought their first album Pieces Of A Dream in 1981. Followed by We Are One (1982), Imagine This (1983), Joyride (1986), Makes You Wanna (1988), their Disco-styled album Bout Dat Time (1989), In Flight (1993), Goodbye Manhattan (1995), The Best Of Pieces of a Dream (1996), Pieces (1997), Ahead to the Past (1999), Acquainted With The Night (2001), Sensual Embrace (2001), Love’s Silhouette (2002), No Assembly Required (2004), Pillow Talk (2006) and now Soul Intent (2009) – a huge collection.

Time for keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon, the founding duo and driving force behind the enduring contemporary jazz collective, to remember the past and a look back. “One of my main goals was to go back to the original approach to making a Pieces record,” says Lloyd. “The idea was to bring everyone into the studio at the same time so we could all work together in real time. A lot of people really get into that vintage sound from our first three albums, that period from ’81 to ’83. I figured if we went back to those old-style methods of recording and writing, then that element of vintage Pieces might show up in the music itself. It was an opportunity to bounce ideas off each other in a way that we could never have done had we recorded it separately. Five heads are definitely better than one.”

Beside James and Curtis was the studio filled with Tony Watson, Jr. (saxophone), Martin Walters (programming), Randy Bowland (guitar), Bennie Sims (keyboards, programming, bass), Eddie Baccus, Jr. (saxophone), Rohn Lawrence (guitar), David Dyson (bass), Joe Cunningham (saxophone). I assume the musicians had several sessions to avoid an overcrowded studio.

The first tune Sway sounds familiar. On a relaxed sax background James Lloyd develops his elegant piano style. The combination of sax and piano is obviously the Pieces\’ trademark, shown in Vision Accomplished. While Tony Watson delivers the sweet melody James deliciously improvised on his keys.

Continue reading Pieces of a Dream – Soul Intent