Posts Tagged ‘ Smooth Jazz ’

Louie Shelton – Higher Ground

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, the legendary guitarist Louie Shelton has released a musically invigorating album titled Higher Ground. Shelton is a prominent musician whose ‘signature guitar riffs and solos are featured on more hit records than any other session guitarist in history,’ as mentioned on his website. Higher Ground is a spirited album of smooth jazz that consists of nine tracks. It’s a very festive offering by Louie Shelton, which possesses some deep moods and sonic landscapes. The album covers some of Stevie Wonder’s greatest songs in a new and exhilarating way.

The album begins with an epic undertaking of Stevie Wonder’s classic hit Higher Ground. Shelton’s inventive guitar riffs over a nocturnal groove. Shelton display’s a charismatic approach to the track that is refreshing, as he is able to creatively make this composition his own. Too High – This animated upbeat performance by Shelton is heavenly. The track is woven into rhythmic layers that create a free-flowing composition that is memorable and rewarding.

Golden Lady – A well-versed dialogue of guitar play. The track has a lively instrumental conversation filled a moving bassline and stunning drumming in the background, all of which plays a supportive role in measure for Shelton’s brilliant electric guitar lead. You Ain’t Done Nothin’ Yet – A masterful cover of this legendary tune, Shelton’s enchanting riffs are complemented with a backing brass section that is totally electrifying.
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Mariea Antoinette – All My Strings

Mariea Antoinette is upping the ante. Her previous albums have been designed to place the classical harp in surprising, unimagined contexts: R&B, jazz and hip hop. The motif expands on her third outing, “All My Strings,” which drops April 24 from Infinity/Maasai Productions. Teaming with producer Allan Phillips, who wrote four songs for the album, Antoinette’s focus is vibrational, celebrating the progress and unique contributions made by stringed instruments in music.

“The idea was to create an organic sound where most of the instrumentation of the album is propelled by vibrating strings – harp, violins, violas, cellos, guitars and bass guitar. ‘All My Strings’ is a tribute to the evolution and the magic that strings bring to music,” said Antoinette, a San Diego native. “I wanted the album to unfold as a beautiful, unexpected story.”

Antoinette began telling the story a couple years ago when she released the album opener, “Overture,” as a single, which went Top 5 on the Billboard chart and was named Best Jazz Single by the Black Women in Jazz & the Arts Association. With sweeping strings that build to a dramatic crescendo over funky beats, the track provided an exciting preview of what was to come on “All My Strings.” Last fall, Antoinette provided a second glimpse with the release of “That Thing (Doo Woop),” a reinvention of the Lauryn Hill hit. A third sampling came when “Loving You” began collecting airplay and playlist adds last week. The single earned Most Added status at Billboard. Antoinette tells the story behind why she elected to record the Minnie Riperton signature tune. Continue reading

Jim Richter – Mr. Kool

The “Mr. Kool” album represents a continuation of the type of music that Jim Richter has been writing for several years. Jim’s last album, “Breezy Day,” made it into the Top 100 on the Smooth Jazz Album and Smooth Jazz “Indie” charts in 2019. Jim’s latest, “Mr. Kool,” isn’t traditional jazz, nor is it purely smooth jazz. There are even a few hints of instrumental rock in the style of Steely Dan. The album features jazzy guitar, keyboard, and sax solos. The music is in Jim’s original style based on his background in classical music, jazz, and rock. Listeners will be able to hear echoes of Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Bob James, and Dave Grusin, among others.

Buy this album on CDBaby.

Today is the last day of the CDBaby shop! 

Nils – Caught In The Groove

LA based jazz guitarist Nils belongs to the first guard of top guitarists of the smooth jazz genre with albums like Blue Planet (1998), Pacific Coast Highway (2005), Ready To Play (2007), Up Close And Personal (2009), What The Funk (2010), City Groove (2012),  Alley Cat (2015), and Play (2018). His new album Caught In The Groove (2020) meets an audience in difficult times.

Nils plays on the album guitars, synths, Rhodes and programming. He is supported on selected tracks by Oliver C. Brown (percussion), Johnny Britt (organ, vocals and horns), Mitch Forman (piano), Derrick Dmar Martin, Tony Moore, Gorden Cambell (drums), Darryl Williams, Reggie McBride, Darryl Jones, Carsten Schmelzer (bass), Clydene Jackson (Rhodes), and Dov and the LoveStar Strings (live string section).

The album is started by the title track, a dynamic rollover in soft rock infused style of the 80’s pushing you to the next level of groove. Mitch Forman on piano and Johnny Britt on horns add some special glam up to the sonic hit train. The uplifting Good Times are Better brings back the Pacific Coast feeling, which makes smooth jazz so great.

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Gerry Smoot – My Philosophy

Born in Owensboro, the industrial, medical, retail and cultural hub of western Kentucky; Gerry Smoot let the elements of his surroundings birth a multi-instrumentalist musician. The dedication and passion for music was a born identity. This vision manifested itself when at the age of 15, Gerry accompanied gospel jazz keyboard producer Ben Tankard on the organ. He set his sights high on international exposure with his keyboard accompaniment behind international jazz saxophonist Rob White.

My Philosophy is the 4th album that has been released following up with “The Inquirer”. If you love smooth jazz, then this album is also for you.

You can download this album until end of March at CDBaby.

Rod Best – Fascination

Hailing from Gayndah, Queensland in Australia multi-instrumentalist Rod Best is an unknown factor for most smooth jazz fans. On the other hand, there are an enormous number of musical albums waiting to be discovered.

Listed on CDBaby are among others Best Of Smooth (2015), The Best of Christmas (2015), The Best of Rod Best (2016), A Peaceful Place (2018), The Next Level and Soul Soothing (2019). In addition you find on his website the album Groove On (2018). His new album is Fascination (2020). This instrumental album includes tracks in the Smooth Jazz, Latin and Easy Listening genres and features piano, electric piano, drums, percussion, bass, organ, saxophones, flute, guitars and pads.

Get it on CDBaby before they close the shop.

Pierre Bensusan – Azwan

Best laid plans, right? After spending the last few years off the concert trail in order to meticulously craft a new album, “Azwan,” preceded by an accompanying book, “Pierre Bensusan Guitar Collection,” and the unveiling of a handmade Lowden Guitars signature model, all of which were to be supported by an extensive 110-date US and Canadian concert tour running from March 7 into July, world music fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan suddenly finds himself back home on French soil after having to pull the plug one week into the concert trek due to the Coronavirus outbreak. While the entire tour is being rebooked for 2021, until then, listeners will have to discover the magic and masterful musicianship showcased on the 12-track digital and CD release composed and coproduced by Bensusan for his 3DADGAD Vision label, which is distributed by MVD Entertainment Group.

The COVID-19 global pandemic that has ensnared humanity underscores the oneness of our world and our interlocked connectivity. That’s Bensusan’s message and the meaning behind “Azwan,” the award-winning artist’s 15th album that dropped March 13. The French-Algerian guitarist-vocalist said, “Along my life’s journey, I have experienced unity off and on, being more or less aware of the impact and influence of every action upon the entire universe. As time goes on, the more I feel connected to all people, animals and universally to the whole of nature. Being that we are all connected, my intention is that every action and behavior contributes, supports and adds value to our interconnectivity, especially through my music. It feels like a nurturing or even a healing process for me and those with whom I share the music.”

Voted by Guitar Player magazine readers as Best World Music Guitarist, Bensusan’s music is contemplative, wistful, sublime and prodigiously performed with inspiration rooted in nature. “The concept of ‘Azwan’ came from observing bees, those solar insects working in the darkness together as one, and by observing flocks of birds flying and dancing together as one. It has been an inspiring symbolic representation of the continuum of music. When seeing ‘Azwan’ written, it can evoke a place, a city or a mood, but when hearing it said out loud, it sounds like ‘as one.’ I’ve been contemplating all the music from ‘Azwan’ for years before actually recording it, taking time to allow all the notes to come together as one.” Continue reading