Posts Tagged ‘ Vocal Jazz ’

Beatifik – The Long Drive Home

Drummer and composer Roger Odell is founder and longtime member of the famous British group Shakatak. Like the other musicians of the group Roger has established his own solo projects. Roger calls it Beatifik.

In late 1999/2000 Roger recorded the first album entitled Blue Window. One can call it a family project, because his son Jamie played on keys, his wife Larraine and Jacqui Hicks were the featured vocalists, his daughter Maxine sang background. On the second album Intrigue (2015) performed beside Roger, Larraine, Jacqui, Jamie and in addition Mornington Lockett on saxes and Keith Winter on guitar.

Now Roger returns with the third solo project The Long Drive Home (2019). The cast is the same as on the second album. Bass guitarist Simon Goulding from the Snake Davis Band joins the formation. Guest appearances by vocalist Liane Carroll, trumpet and flugelhorn player Paul Higgs and percussionist Snowboy round off the whole thing.

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Gary Dean Smith – Awakening

Malibu Films and MF Recordz present Awakening the new 5 song EP from Gary Dean Smith as front man of XPANSION OF A SUM.  Awakening was produced by legendary bassist and founding member of The Yellowjackets, Jimmy Haslip. Along with Smith, the players in this aptly named ensemble are keyboardist Donald Young, bassist Spencer Pyne, vocalist Mer Sal, multi-instrumentalist Phil Reyes and drummer Steve Fitzgerald.

Also appearing on the record is heavyweight fusion pianist Jeff Lorber, who collaborated with Smith and Mer Sal on a new tune entitled Lucky, written expressly for this project. Mer Sal’s dynamic vocals fit well with Smith’s guitar playing and the rest of the guest players on the track who, along with Lorber, include Haslip and drummer Gary Novak. This is a very positive, upbeat album with masterful performances from start to finish.

Awakening is on sale at CDBaby.

Slim Man – Young at Heart

Slim Man is singer, songwriter, bassist and a man, who isn’t in the constant pursuit of perhaps unattainable material goals, but takes life as it is and receives solely from the existing beautiful things personal satisfaction. Reading his diaries, enjoying his receipts of belle cuisine and listening to his beautiful music is like Yin and Yang. Before I fall into raptures here some facts of his musical career. Songwriter for Angela Bofill, Brian Jack, the Temptations, Carl Anderson and finally creator of his debut album End of The Rainbow (1995). He really found the golden pot and continued with Closer To Paradise (1996), Secret Rendezvous (1997), Jazzified (1999), All I Want For Christmas (2000), For Now And Forever (2003), Bella Mia (2004), Solstice (2006), Christmas Eve (2008), and Thousand Miles Away (2010).

Also to mention is his side project Bona Fide. In 1998 Carl Griffin needed a funky jazz group for his new label. So Slim Man gathered some of his buddies to record the first album Royal Function (1999), followed by The Poe House (2001) and Soul Lounge (2005).

Slim Man has just released his 12th CD, a stellar collection of swinging standards titled Young at Heart. Mixed by chart-topper Marc Antoine, this CD is a finger-snappin’, toe-tappin’, Rat Packin’ compilation of feel-good songs that takes you back to the Sands in Vegas in the 1960s.

Get this album here.

Kandace Springs – Indigo

Singer and pianist Kandace Springs has announced a September 7 release date for her remarkable second album Indigo, a 13-track LP of originals and choice covers that showcases the full breadth of Kandace’s artistry from smoldering R&B (“Piece of Me”) to gorgeous jazz ballads (“Unsophisticated” featuring Roy Hargrove) to the pop songcraft of “Breakdown” and “Don’t Need The Real Thing,” the album’s lead single which is out today. All but two tracks are produced by drummer/producer Karriem Riggins (Common, Erykah Badu) with additional production by Jamie Hartman (Rag’n’Bone Man), Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae), Jimmy Harry (Madonna, P!nk) and Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken (Rihanna). Indigo is available to pre-order now on vinyl, CD or download.

For Kandace it boils down to a question that connects past to present: “What would Nina Simone do if she had the technology of today? You could never put Nina in a box—she would do a blues followed a classical piece, a jazz standard and then a Beatles cover. This LP took a lot of inspiration from that—it’s a mix of everything that I am.” Indigo offers a fairly plausible answer to that impossible query: songs that swirl classical composition with quiet-storm cool, jazz poise with hip-hop swing, tropical warmth with soulful depth, and earthen groove with airy psych.

Given that diverse palette, Karriem was exactly the right person to work with Kandace to catalyze the best parts of various interests into something new. “I love crossing genres and the direction on Indigo was to marry all the different things to tell her story,” says Karriem, who tracked his drums at various studios while on the road with Diana Krall, and chopped and reassembled his and Kandace’s recordings into what you hear. “It sounds organic because everything was built around the songwriting. She says so much on the piano, and her voice is amazing—it’s the focal point of the whole sound.” Continue reading

Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Michael Franks – The Music In My Head

The common denominator of singer/songwriter Michael Franks is not a style but his characteristic voice. He has always been a wanderer between the worlds of Pop, Jazz, Brazilian, New Age and film music.

His multitude of albums have given him a wide following, even among numerous musicians such as Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, The Carpenters, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Al Jarreau, Carmen McRae, The Manhattan Transfer and Patti LaBelle.

The Music In My Head (2018) is Michael’s 18th album and his first after a hiatus of seven years. His previous album was Time Together on Shanachie Entertainment. Joining Michael on his new project are producers/arrangers Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig and former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, along with stellar guest musicians such as guitarist David Spinozza, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Eric Marienthal and Gary Meek, late guitarist Chuck Loeb (Fourplay), and for the first-time pianist Rachel Z.

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Rebecca Angel – What We Had

NYC based jazz vocalist Rebecca Angel releases the EP What We Had in June 2018, her debut album. The album is produced and arranged by Jason Miles, who also performs keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Moog bass, percussion and pads.

Stand By Me is arranged by Jason with Rebecca and What We Had by Jason, Gottfried Stoger and Rebecca. Further artists on this album are Dennis Angel (flugelhorn), Gottfried Stoger (flute), Hailey Niswanger (soprano sax), Sebastian Stoger (cello), Jonah Miles Prendergast, Christian Ver Halen (guitar), Ricardo Silviera (acoustic rhythm guitar), James Genus (acoustic bass), Reggie Washington, Adam Dorn (bass), Mino Cinelu, Cyro Baptista (percussion) and Brian Dunne (drums).

The album starts with Winter Moon, a song by Hoagy Carmichael, he recorded for his album Hoagy Sings Carmichael (1956). Rebecca’s interpretation shares lyrics and melody but delivers a completely redesigned version of a dark, mysterious atmosphere.

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