Posts Tagged ‘ Smooth Jazz ’

Christophe Goze – Soul To Soul

a3831088172_16Guitarist Christophe Goze is a world wanderer. This applies both to his changing residences, which has taken him through eight countries from his birthplace Paris to his current home, Barcelona, Spain, as well as his stylistic orientation, which has a lot to do with world music but also with his jazzy roots.

The story behind the creation of this album is explained by the basic polyglot attitude of this musician. At the outbreak of the pandemic, Christophe was staying in Morocco, which closed its borders as a result of the first wave. He had not expected that this blockade would last a year. Christophe made the best of this predicament, rented a small studio with a sea view and devoted himself to musical recordings.

The result is the album Soul To Soul (2022), with which Christophe approaches the realm of smooth jazz in his own special way. Thanks to the possibilities of the Internet, he was able to involve the following musicians in the creative process: Marc Antoine (guitar), Roberto Briot (bass), Curtis Lyons Jr., Laurent Facheux, Matthieu Rabatte (drums), Frederic Langlais (accordina), Michel Gaucher (flute), Ravi Prasad (Indian vocals), and Skeb (vocals).

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Ron Jackson – Standards and My Songs

31Gv8WYaTrLComing out of the pandemic lockdown, distinctive and versatile jazz guitarist Ron Jackson re-emerges boldly with his latest solo album, Standards and My Songs, released on his own Roni Music label. The album spotlights Jackson’s clean-burning, clean-toned guitar voice mostly in trio format with Willie Jones III and Ben Wolfe (drums and bass, respectively), and serves as a bookend sequel to his pre-pandemic 2019 outing, Standards and Other Songs, with a critical difference.

“It is a sequel,” Jackson states. “On the earlier album, I played standards, some pop songs and even a Drake song that I adapted to jazz. This one is, standards and my songs. I took a couple of hits like soft rock tune ‘Brandy’ and R&B tune ‘Secret Garden’ by Quincy Jones, and adapted them to jazz.”

Song choice is key to the success of the new album’s portrait of Jackson’s broad musical aesthetic, with a program opening with a jazz-flavored arrangement of the 1972 Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” (one of two album tracks with cameos by organist Brian Ho) and, to close, a gorgeous solo version of the standard “Time After Time.” The latter showcases Jackson’s unique skill on the 7-string guitar, which the guitarist has been focusing on for a decade and is one of the instrument’s prime jazz proponents. Between those repertoire extremes comes a menu of diverse original tunes, creative new arrangements of Charlie Parker’s “Moose the Mooche”—spiced up with a jazz/hip hop groove–and a 5/4 take on the standard “This Nearly Was Mine,” and more, adapted to and by Jackson’s special touch. Continue reading

Chieli Minucci – Someone’s Singing

Someones-Singing-Cover-600-1When the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020, Chieli Minucci had his wings clipped, abruptly pulling the plug amidst the three-time Emmy-winning and GRAMMY nominated musician-composer’s concert tour in support of his band Special EFX’s newly released album “All Stars.” As stress and uncertainty mounted, Minucci, like the rest of us, yearned for escape, peace and tranquility. His mind drifted back to when he was a teenager watching local talent play folk and classical guitar-based music in Greenwich Village’s legendary Folk City nightclub. He found the music performed at those shows to be soothing and mesmerizing. Those cherished recollections inspired Minucci to write and record his first acoustic guitar-based album, “Someone’s Singing,” which receives its official release on Friday.

Recording most of the twelve-track set in his New York City home studio proved to be calming and healing for Minucci, who wrote or co-wrote ten songs for the collection, some culled from his songbook from decades ago. Minucci produced, arranged and performed using his collection of acoustic guitars in addition to playing percussion, including a kalimba (African thumb piano). His nimble fretwork throughout is heartfelt, meditative, communicative, somber and sublime.

“I’ve been eager to share some of my more-gentle, understated playing and writing for some time now. For me, this project has a ‘spiritual’ quality: quite peaceful and even a bit folky. The concept for ‘Someone’s Singing’ was simple: keep it pristine and placid. I’ve been a longtime fan of acoustic guitar music, particularly folk and classical pieces,” said Minucci who took the album title from the lyrics of the opening track, an instrumental variation of the traditional “Kumbaya.” Continue reading

Christophe Goze – Soul To Soul

a3831088172_16Few names have established themselves so firmly into the world of lounge / world fusion music like Christophe Goze. He is a multi-talented composer, producer and guitarist Known for his brilliant ability to blend world music with jazz and downtempo. Christophe has lived in no less than 8 countries and considers himself as a citizen of the world. His music has been inspired from his travels & takes listeners on an exotic journey of thoughts and emotions mixing both east & west worlds with quite a unique sound.

“The orient and occident have always been influencing each others since the beginning of times. Exposing and the mixing of music, cultures, people and even religions is positive for building a better world. Through music, I’m trying to build a bridge between the people and culture of west and east and participate to the development of tomorrow′s world” says Christophe.

His talent stretches beyond his own albums, as Christophe has also collaborated with Cirque Du Soleil, Café del Mar, Buddha Bar, the fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent, Ikea, BBC, Channel 4, MTV, National Geographic, France Television, Canal +, Arte, Disney Group and others. He has also received a prestigious nomination for ‘TV Advert -Best Music ’ in the United Kingdom for his work on the Lynx / Axe advert. Christophe is in essence a work-driven producer, priding himself on being versatile, allowing his travels and experiences to influence his style, with open mind and heart. He is ever ready for the next challenge, constantly exploring for new inspiration, and keeping an eye firmly on his roots as well as the future.

His new album Soul to Soul (2022) is now available on bandcamp.

Noteworthy Band – Sweet Breeze

814ms8XKn9L._SS500_As the house band for the Napa Blue Note, these 4 Stellar musicians were bought together to play behind all the local acts that showed up to play at the Napa Blue Note. They developed a love for one another and their jams turned into songs. After a while they realized they couldn’t survive without any music. And so started getting together to jam (socially distanced of course). These sessions evolved into song writing sessions and before long they had a collection of great tunes.

The result is an eclectic group of songs featuring smooth jazz, fusion and even some good ole rock and roll. The Noteworthy Band and their new CD came out in 2021. These 4 musician have a love and respect for one another that translates into great music.

Ask the band for a physical copy here.

Aaron Aranita Eastbound – Connection

ConnectionIf, remarkably, there may still be a few astute listeners around the world who, when told of the leader of this project, still ask the question: “Aaron who…?” the answer becomes eminently clear in the fine music of this double disc package. Truth be told, the discerning cognoscenti of fine musical art and to the really knowledgeable and worldly-wise musician, Aaron Aranita has been recognized as an artist of the first order for more than three decades – a virtuoso on an array of saxophones – from his principal melodic instrument, the soprano to the gravitas of the baritone [and everything in between]; and like the saxophone, a master of the bass clarinet, a range of flutes and an authentic multi-instrumentalist who plays piano, bass guitar and percussion.

But thus halo that surrounds his instrumental capability obscures a greater truth and this is that Aranita is one of the finest revolutionaries of orchestral music, making huge advances in structure, harmony, melody and – most dramatically – in rhythm, investing every form with inexhaustible potential for expression. In fact he has – using uncommon ingenuity – refined the orchestral sound of Latin Jazz with the unique blend of deep feeling and elegance manifesting a perfect, Clare Fischeresque synthesis of form and substance.

The Eastbound double-CD project – entitled Connection  (2022) – has come an opportune moment in time, which marks a reunion with Aranita together with Anthony King and Tim Gutierrez, original alumni of the Eastbound band from 30 years ago, plus a stellar cast of other musicians. The music here is more ambitious in its orchestration than may have heard from Aranita before and really allows this sterling ensemble to show off their skills. The result is that you get performances of real character and bite, with Aranita’s innovative orchestral timbres emphasized to occasionally startling extremes sustained by a masterful phraseology; sometimes by deepening mystery and often lifted by rhapsodic dénouements. Continue reading

Ev Sharp – Playgrounds

a0939199818_16Ev Sharp first became interested in music at a young age, and soon wanted to try his hand at mixing tracks and sounds. He began producing remixes for popular video games for fun after realizing that they were able to envision the final musical results other musicians could not. He has since been expanding his services producing for other talented-upcoming artists and producers.

Ev Sharp is also making a name for himself in the local music scene playing trumpet, piano, and drums. Apart from music production he also gives lessons in trumpet, drums, and voice. He has spent many years teaching and directing multiple choirs. Whether he’s arranging music, producing it, or teaching it, you can count on him to make any music track he touches sound spectacular. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a personal meeting with Ev Sharp, feel free to get in touch.

His newest project is called Playgrounds (2020) and available on bandcamp.

Dr. Dave & The HouseCall Band – Carefree Revisited

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One could debate whether to call it a do-over or a mulligan, but contemporary jazz guitarist Dr. Dave calls it a revisit. The musician took his 2014 album, “Carefree,” and added his HouseCall Band to the tracks to reimagine the collection, which drops March 4 on Hatherill Records.

Dr. Dave felt that “Carefree” was missing something although he couldn’t quite put his finger on what that was until he recorded “Midnight Daydream” as a group project in 2018. Forming The HouseCall Band and adding the gifted ensemble’s unique skillsets and creative contributions to illumine the tracks, eight singles were successfully issued from “Midnight Daydream.”

“For the first time in my career, there was a newness and excitement that paved the way for me to further develop the concept of The HouseCall Band. It dawned on me that it was that dynamic full-band vibe that was missing from ‘Carefree’ – especially that full-bodied horn section energy. By altering the arrangements – some subtly, some more dramatically, we added the vibrant HouseCall Band aesthetic to the mix,” said Dr. Dave, the project’s producer and co-writer of five songs on the album. Continue reading

David Benoit – A Midnight Rendezvous

AMidnightRendezvousHave you ever met an artist whose craft is merely an extension of who they are? The iconic pianist, composer, arranger, producer, film and TV scorer David Benoit, embodies this archetype. He is as cool, measured, engaging, soulful and sophisticated as one of his mellifluous solos in a flight of fancy. A Founding Father of Contemporary Jazz, rooted in the tradition of Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans, David Benoit started playing the piano as a child and has never looked back. “As long as I’m alive and well,” declares the Grammy nominated pianist, “I hope to write and perform as long as possible.” Unbound by categories and rules, the trailblazer has built an enviable four-decade career drawing inspiration from his vast influences which have included jazz, comics, film, Broadway, symphonies and more. From endearing fans with his magical soundtracks for the Peanuts television movies, to garnering over 20 chart-topping radio hits and scoring music for films produced by Clint Eastwood and Sally Field and soap opera themes like “All My Children,” David Benoit IS music.

His free-spirited approach has allowed him to collaborate with such diverse artists as The Rippingtons, Faith Hill, David Sanborn and CeCe Winans, among numerous others. Benoit, who leads his own Pacific Vision Youth Symphony (the orchestra he founded in 2001) and who has collaborated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Philippine Philharmonic, among others, fulfills a long-time dream on his new and highly anticipated new recording, A Midnight Rendezvous (February 18, 2022). Benoit records for the first time with a big band under his own leadership and is joined by numerous special guests including label-mates pianist Jeff Lorber and saxophonist Eric Marienthal. “The idea began when I was an artist in residence in Saratoga, CA and I was looking for something unique to do,” reflects Benoit who hosts the morning show on KKJZ in Long Beach, CA. “I decided to write a big band arrangement for my ‘Cabin Fever’ on the record. I initially started arranging on my computer but the greatest thrill was hearing the playback with the real players in the big band when the project progressed. Wow! It was one of the most exciting sessions I’ve done in many years.”

A Midnight Rendezvous is a stellar ten-track foray into known and uncharted territory. In addition to Benoit’s first recording as a leader with a big band, he also reinvents Maren Morris’ smash hit “The Bones,” transports us to a California desert with Jeff Lorber, records for the first time with prolific bassist Roberto Valley (Peter White, Patti Austin, Boney James, Euge Groove, Kirk Whalum) and does a dazzling solo take on a Dave Koz gem. Continue reading

Jim Allchin – Costa Azul

91Dtg-5es0L._SX522_Jim Allchin is an American guitarist and computer scientist. He grew up on a farm in the deep South, left to earn Masters/Doctorate degrees from Stanford University and Georgia Institute of Technology, and went on to become a world-recognized leader in Computer Science and software. While growing up in the south, he fell in love with Blues and Latin music. He has played it ever since. He has written, performed, and recorded throughout his life.

Costa Azul features 11 new stunning tracks performed by an all-star group of musicians well-known for their 100s of Jazz, Pop, and Latin albums. Musicians include Jim Allchin: All Guitars, Richard Boulger: Trumpet & Flugelhorn (Saturday Night Live), Jack Daley: Bass, Andy Ezrin: Piano, Alex Foster: Alto & Tenor Sax (Saturday Night Live), Adan Perez: Piano, Danny Sadownick: Percussion, Etienne Stadwijk: Piano & Synths, Walter White: Trumpet & Trombone, and Steve Wolf: Drums. Jim takes us on a tour through the world of Smooth Latin Jazz guitar music with this album. Produced by Grammy-nominee Yaron Fuchs. Mastered by Grammy-nominee Michael Romanowski.

The album will be released February 10, 2022. Pre-order it now on Amazon.com.