Posts Tagged ‘ Tom Schuman ’

Tom Schuman – Designated Planets

By the time Tom Schuman entered his teens, he was already a finely tuned classical and jazz pianist, as well as consummate jammer. Encouraged by his jazz bassist father and jazz singing mother, he quickly developed a career playing in pop and jazz bands, and union gigs in the Buffalo, New York, area. That ultimately led to his joining a new group fronted by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Jeremy Wall. The group: Spyro Gyra.

Schuu was just 17 when he joined that band and has been its featured keyboards player since. He has also composed more than 50 songs for the group, the first being “Laser Material” for Catching the Sun. He occasionally sits in with other artists and has recorded six solo CDs. The latest, Designated Planets (JazzBridge, 2013), presents 11 new songs plus a vocal arrangement of a previously recorded instrumental.

Guitarist Steve Oliver and saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa contribute to the title song. The piece starts with an ethereal sound, like the opening credits of a spacey science fiction movie. But it quickly shifts into a rock-fusion groove. In addition to piano and keyboards, Schuu handles bass, drums and percussion programming for all tracks except where noted. And while Oliver and Kashiwa are out front most of the way, the rhythm tracks are equally engaging.

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Tom Schuman – Reflections Over Time

Tom Schuman is widely known as keyboardist of the famous group Spyro Gyra, one of the most popular contemporary jazz groups. Morning Dance, released in 1979, became a Top 40 single hit and proved to be their breakout song. With more than 26 albums on their credit this group is a constant factor in the contemporary jazz scene.

Tom has performed on all of Spyro Gyra’s albums to date and has written or co-written over thirty-five compositions for this formation. But his creativity doesn’t stop at this point. He started his solo career with his contemporary jazz debut Extremities (1990), followed by the more jazz inspired album Schuman Nature (2003), and the smooth jazz albums Into Your Heart (2003) and Deep Chill (2005). In which direction does his new album Reflections Over Time go?

Tom answers: “The best way I can describe this CD is an eclectic blend of many genres of jazz music from classic to fusion and beyond. Jay Beckenstein heard the first cut which is a tribute to the late great Joe Zawinul, “A Quote From Mr Z”, and had to have it in our current set. We now open the Spyro Gyra show with it.”

The album features Bonny B, Kevin Stixx Marshall and Ludwig Afonso on drums, Ameen Saleem (upright bass on Giant Steps), Jay Azzolina, Alvin White, David Becker and Andy Wasson on guitars, Skip Martin on trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals, Julian Tanaka on tenor and soprano sax. Tom plays keyboards and introduces his alter egos Schu Thomas on bass and Slide Funkshin on drums/percussion.

Music is a holy thing, A Quote From Mr Z. The first tune is dedicated to the grandmaster of fusion music, Joe Zawinul. Sennie “Skip” Martin (muted trumpet) and Tom Schuman (Rhodes piano) are on the path of Joe’s blessed genius and musical visionary. Hailing from fusion jazz Seven 4 You soon meanders in melodious streams.

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Tom Schuman – Reflections Over Time

Tom Schuman (keyboardist and co-founder of Spyro Gyra) has released several great CDs before, but this is arguably the best. Starting with “A Quote From Mr. Z” he channels the spirit and genius of the late Joe Zawinul. Tom’s composition and performance on this track establishes him as this era’s successor to Zawinul.

Equally impressive is Tom’s collaboration with former Dazz Band and Kool & the Gang lead vocalist, Skip Martin on “When.” Watch the video on YouTube. With a nod to Oprah and Deepak Chopra, Tom lays down the new social anthem. Other highlights include the beautiful and melodic “Sofia’s Eyes” and perhaps the fastest performance of the John Coltrane classic, “Giant Steps” ever performed on the piano. Push Play and enjoy.

Reflections Over Time is an eclectic and exciting blend of jazz styles that takes the listener on a musical journey – sure to satisfy and delight the tastes of music lovers from every genre. Tom mixes in a little R & B and pop vocals to spice it up a little bit.

Don’t miss it at CDBaby.