Posts Tagged ‘ R&B ’

Tracey Eileen – It’s Time

Chicago born R&B/jazz singer Tracey Eileen is since eleven years in the music business and developed from a local player to an internationally known soul/R&B artist. Starting with her debut album Love’s Journey in 2012 she arrived to her second album Why Did I Say Yes (2018). Her third project is the EP It’s Time, which appears delayed by the pandemic in June 12, 2020.

Opener of the album is the single Somehow Someway, which like most of her songs deals with interpersonal relationships and also contains biographical elements. The song was produced by Kendall Duffie (Cloud 9), who also performs synthesizer, drum programming and synth bass on it.

Now That We’re Here is also a commitment to togetherness. Donald Hayes underlines the tenderness in Tracey’s voice on saxophone. Sweeter With Time is a love ballad which focuses on the growth of love in a community. The special feature of Tracey’s performance is not only her voice but also the ingenious use of her vocals in the arrangement, for which she constantly finds new approaches.

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Marcus Anderson – Hero

Marcus Anderson stands for variety, inventiveness and creativity. Be it smooth jazz, funk or gospel music, the combination of coffee and music or the connection of music with comic characters, he always delivers new surprises.

His new album Hero takes borrowings from the popular world of comic heroes as well as urban R&B. Due to the network he has built up in the meantime, Marcus can fall back on a large number of musical collages for the recording of his album. First to mention is keyboardist Nicholas Cole, with whom he has already worked on the albums “TLC” Tender Loving ChristmasNow, And Coffee, Limited Edition, and My Inspiration Vol.2. A further producer/programmer is keyboardist Derrick Adams, who also worked with Marcus on various projects. Furthermore involved are Doc Jr., Michael Fields and Demetrice Everett. Now to name the other musicians in detail would go beyond the scope of this review.

The album opens with the title song, that starts where New Edition or Johnny Gill left off. At this point Marcus Anderson steps in as one of the coolest saxmen with that extra punch that makes him so popular.

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Brian Culbertson – XX

Jazz/R&B keyboardist Brian Culbertson is not only successful in the area of smooth jazz. But he unfolds his primordial power when he pushes into the fields of Funk. With Bringing Back The Funk, released in 2008 on GRP Records, and Funk! on his own label in 2016 he has already set two milestones. His new album XX, so named because it’s his twentieth album, extends the spectrum in the spirit of his diversity.

A large number of musicians have participated in this very elaborate production. Bootsy Collins, Ray Parker Jr., Avery* Sunshine, Maze’s Jubu Smith, Everette Harp, Marcus Anderson, DW3, Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers, Noel Gourdin, Patches Stewart, Paul Jackson Jr., Nicholas Cole, Eric Marienthal, Ricky Peterson, Alex Al, Michael Thompson, Khari Parker, Lenny Castro, Gerey Johnson, Chance Howard, Ouiwey Collins, Candice Cheatham and Derek “D.O.A.” Allen. Furthermore singer Micaela Haley (aka Michelle Culbertson, Brian’s wife) and a gospel choir.

The opener Get Up! is the right advice in our crisis-ridden time, an energy booster with strong horn insert (Michael Stever (trumpet), Marqueal Jordan (saxes), Brian Culbertson (trombone), Marcus Anderson (saxes)) is the best rocket fuel for Brian’s funk explosion.

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Warren Wolf – Reincarnation

Since graduating from Berklee, Warren Wolf has taken the jazz world by storm, first as a sideman in Christian McBride’s Inside Straight quintet, then with his self-titled Mack Avenue debut in 2011 and Wolfgang in 2013. Now the vibraphonist-composer and multi-instrumentalist takes things up another notch on his excellent all-star outing, Convergence.

On his latest album, Warren Wolf reveals an entirely different side to his multi-faceted talents. As the title implies, Reincarnation (2020) represents a rebirth of sorts for the Baltimore vibesman. In part, it frees Wolf to indulge his love for the R&B and soul hits that served as the soundtrack to his formative years in the 1990s. It’s also a celebration of a new lease on life, a happiness and contentment that he’s discovered through a new marriage and his five beloved children.

Pre-order the album here.

Simply United – Love Will Make a Way

A stylistically unique band from day one, the members of Simply United have been singing, performing, and playing in sync as if they’d been together their entire musical careers. Throughout the course of the band’s union, they have won over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life; performing at a variety of venues, making loads of public appearances, all the while recording new music. Learn more by exploring the site, and feel free to get in touch with any of your comments and questions. Visit their website to find out more about members of the band.

The up and coming group, Simply United, is back with their sophomore album Love Will Make A Way. This collection of all original smooth jazz and funky rhythmic vibes will take you from the party floor to the wedding chapel, and beyond.

Available for download only at CDBaby.

Ty Causey – Hypnotic

The music style of Ty Causey is a nice blend of soulful smooth R&b with a smooth jazz flow. The production of the music is creative and the lyrics are classy and very pleasant to listen to. His smooth lead vocal is the highlight of each song complimented by harmonic background vocal arrangements. Ty’s music has earned him the name “Mr. Consistent” in the music business. His music is best described as “Feel Good Music”.

Hypnotic is a nice blend of soulful R&b and smooth jazz with poetic lyrics that compliments the smooth vocal delivery! The songs can best be described as “Feel Good Music” from beginning to end. Just put it in and let if play!

Get the album on CDBaby.

Rainforest Band – Peace To The Planet

Thirty years before the devastating Amazon rainforest fire and decades before the global climate crisis was one of the crucial issues facing the survival of life on earth, keyboardist Merl Saunders forecasted the future after witnessing the destruction occurring in the Amazon. Teaming with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, Saunders brought the need to preserve rainforests into pop consciousness by creating an album, “Blues From The Rainforest – A Musical Suite,” featuring Garcia that they described as “environmental earth music.” Merl’s son, bassist Tony Saunders, is continuing his late father’s mission with the October 25 release of “Peace To The Planet” by Rainforest Band, which drops on San Francisco Records with a portion of the proceeds going to The Jerry Garcia Foundation and Rainforest Action Network.

“The rainforests around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. This band has three strong souls as leaders and our mission is to bring awareness with our music to a cause that needs vigilant attention – long before the Amazon fires put the issue back in the news. To honor the history of the music Jerry and Merl made and to do something to help save the planet is why we made this album now,” said Tony Saunders, who is based in the Bay Area along with his Rainforest Band mates, guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black and keyboardist Sylvester Burks.

“Peace To The Planet” was produced by Black and San Francisco Records chief Ron Umile with social activism at the fore. Umile said, “The band and I have been concerned about the rainforest, climate change and all the related issues. We are also concerned about senseless gun violence in America, the rise of bigotry in our country, the extinction of animals and plants, and the lack of acknowledgement and action from the present administration and general government to address these issues and seek real solutions. The music on ‘Peace To The Planet’ tries to instill calmness for a minute to allow reflection on how we can do our part to be part of the solution. If we can visualize a peaceful planet, we could possibly inspire our audience to take action to save the planet.” Continue reading

The Justus Brothers – Chinese Checkers

The roots of The Justus Brothers date back forty years, in the birthplace of soul, blues and rock ‘n’ roll: Memphis. The musicians who comprise the band dropping the eponymous debut album on October 11 on the iconic Memphis International Records/Select-O-Hits labels met long ago in the sweaty blues and smoky jazz clubs on Beale Street. Together, they electrified Memphis churches with rousing musical sermons and tracked in fabled Memphis recording studios alongside an incomparable list of hall of famers, Grammy winners and chart-topping legends. Before they backed a galaxy of stars in sold-out arenas, the members of The Justus Brothers paid dues playing long hours, night after night, sharpening their chops and earning virtuosity while forming a brotherhood built upon rhythm and groove.

Guitarist Niko Lyras and The Justus Brothers produced the ten songs on their self-titled set, a balance of original tunes and choice covers given the full Memphis makeover. Already garnering playlist adds is their soul-powered jam session workout “Chinese Checkers,” a revival originally recorded by Memphis’s Booker T. & the M.G.’s (https://youtu.be/ArzJIfJI8Zo). Several members of The Justus Brothers have ties to Booker T. & the M.G.’s, including drummer Steve Potts, who was a longtime member of the outfit.

The chemistry between the five “brothers” sizzles throughout the collection. Lyras, Potts and bassist Dave Smith have been playing together the longest. Thirty years ago, hornman Pat Register (tenor, alto and soprano sax and flute) and keyboardist Jason Clark completed the family. Continue reading

Roger Smith – Just Another Day

Most people interested in music will only know keyboardist Roger Smith as a member of the world-famous formation Tower Of Power. Thereby he can look back on a veritable discography of solo albums. My Colors (1996), Both Sides (1999), Consider This (2000), Just Enough (2004) and Sittin’ In (2008) are his smooth jazz albums, while his side projects Rosco’s Place I and II cultivate the field of jazz.

This month Roger releases his new album Just Another Day, again a successful blend of R&B and smooth jazz. Roger plays on the album on different tracks among others piano, bass, drums, organ, Fender Rhodes, synth bass and keyboards. He receives musical backing from singers Rachel Santos, Julie “Julu” Morris, Tony Lindsay, Kumandae Miller, Jazz Rosco, Terrell Carter, Mark D. Scott and the instrumentalists Derek “DOA” Allen (bass, keyboards, guitar, string arrangement, Moog), Jeff Tamelier, Andrew Fowler, Michael “Big Mike” Hart Jr. (guitar), Tito Abraham (congas), Darius “DaBaBa” Babazadeh (alto saxophone), Robbie Kwock (trumpet), Jim Morris (bass, guitar, lead vocals), Kyron Kerby, David Garibaldi (drums), Mic Gillette (trombone and trumpet), Tom E. Politzer (alto, tenor and baritone saxophones), and Bill Ortiz (flugelhorn).

The group is waiting in the wings with the title song. A jazzy ballad, which not only gives the enchanting singer Rachel Santos the opportunity to reveal the innermost part of her soul, but also to intonate jazzy tones with the finest instrumental accompaniment.

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Urban Jazz Coalition – Covers

Columbus, Ohio very finest contemporary jazz band Urban Jazz Coalition has now released Covers (2019), their 23rd album. The group consists of bassist and founder Phil Raney, percussionist Hector Maldonado, keyboardist Brendon Howard, saxophonist Richard Randolph, drummer Rich “Rico” Adams and guitarist Duane Tribune.

The group is accompanied on selected tracks by their friends Joe Gothard (guitar and vocals), Lee Savory (trumpet and flugelhorn), Keith Newton (saxophone and flute), Ben Sherburne (sax), Brian Skeel (keyboards), Jim Bridges (drums), and special guests lead vocalists Jamar Ward, Quan Howell, Janeen Holmes and background vocalists Andrea Jackson, Nikia Humphrey, Brian McKnee & Electa Dawn Lee.

Motto of this album is “Learning From The Greats”. Some of the cover songs were already recorded by the group over the years, others are part of their live repertoire or the band just like them to do.

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