CD'S PAGES: DOUBLECD - SINGLES - ONECD
|Larry Carlton & Robben Ford - Unpluggged (2014) "The history of jazz includes unlikely but successful collaborations as well as examples of people who should have gotten along but didn't. Miles Davis' economy, restraint and understatement were quite a contrast to John Coltrane's lengthy, stream of consciousness solos, and yet, they made great jazz together. Stan Getz and Chet Baker had a lot in common musically and should have collaborated time and time again; however, they couldn't stand one another. And then there are musicians who know they have a lot of musical common ground and act on that knowledge, which is what guitarist Larry Carlton and singer/guitarist Robben Ford do on this live disc (which was recorded in Tokyo, Japan in September 2006). The fact that Carlton and Ford (who knew each other from Tom Scott's L.A. Express back in the mid-'70s) have a lot of common ground does not mean that their guitar playing is identical; Carlton is essentially a jazzman who has been greatly influenced by rock, soul, funk, and blues, while Ford is essentially a bluesman who has been greatly influenced by jazz, rock, soul, and funk. " ~ Alex Henderson - Allmusic.com, Wikipedia - Larry Carlton, Website - Larry Carlton, Wikipedia - Robben Ford and Website - Robben Ford|
|Bill Evans - Escape (1996) "From Miles Davis' Doo-Bop to albums by Greg Osby and Steve Coleman, much of the "jazz/rap fusion" released has been more hip-hop than jazz -- essentially, hip-hop with jazz overtones. Bill Evans, however, has featured rappers in much the way a hard bopper would feature a singer -- on "Reality" and the poignant, reggae-influenced "La Di Da," rapper Ahmed Best successfully interacts with an actual, spontaneous, improvisatory band instead of merely pre-recorded tracks." ~ Alex Henderson - Allmusic.com, Website and Wikipedia.|
Helen Sung - Helenistique (2006)
"New York-based pianist Helen Sung's debut as a leader, Push (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2003), featured mostly original tunes.
For her sophomore effort, Sung has chosen some jazz standards, a Prince tune, and one from her own pen, "H*Town," an homage to
her hometown of Houston, Texas. In covering jazz standards, one measure of success is how well the artist makes them his or her
own. In this very engaging and successful piano trio effort, Sung does just that, breathing life into Rodgers & Hart's "Lover,"
one of Thelonous Monk's favorites, "Sweet and Lovely," Joe Henderson's classic "Black Narcissus," and Ellington's "Cottontail."
She also includes an effervescent take on James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout" and a quite original and energetic reading of Monk's "Bye Ya.""
~ DAN MCCLENAGHAN - AllAboutJazz.com
Idris Muhammed - The Power of Soul (1974)
"No doubt, Muhammad is one of the most influential jazz/funk and R&B drummers on the planet. Known for his infusions of hip, snazzy grooves into
jazz-based formats and other genres, Power Of Soul signifies his first solo effort. Clocking in at a mere thirty-four minutes in length, Muhammad and
then prominent “CTI” recording artists, keyboardist/arranger, Bob James, and the late saxophonist, Grover Washington Jr. render some truly inspiring
performances. However, this date denotes a team effort, where everyone plays a vital role, witnessed from the onset of the musicians’ forceful and
brassy rendition of Jimi Hendrix’ “Power Of Love.” Consequently, electric guitarist, Joe Beck adds a bit of psychedelia to this Hendrix classic, largely
due to his quasi, jazz-fusion Hendrix-like distortion drenched solo."
~ GLENN ASTARITA - AllAboutJazz.com,
New York Times and
Hiromi - Move (2012)
"Keyboardist Hiromi once again reaps the benefits of her superstar rhythmic section, drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Toto, David Gilmour) and contrabassist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, Chick Corea, Steely Dan). A largely acoustic set, she yields an action-packed schema, teeming with intricately designed arrangements while zooming in for the kill on many occasions. However, Hiromi's breadth of scope is rather monolithic, since her arrangements are of the whirlwind variety, where nuance, tonal shadings and ballad-like intricacies complement and contrast her perpetual motion. ."
~ GLENN ASTARITA - AllAboutJazz.com,
CD Discography and
Brandee Younger - Soul Awakening (2019)
"Younger, 35, has spent much of the last dozen years in a state of arrival, or maybe a process of emergence. Recent events suggest
that she's now fully emerged. She was a winning feature of the most stylish jazz album from 2018, Makaya McCraven's Universal Beings.
Like McCraven, she contributed a track to the all-star Beatles tribute A Day in the Life: Impressions of Pepper. A generous taste of her music,
from a 2013 Field Recording filmed by NPR Music in an oddities museum, can be heard during a touching scene in Homecoming, Beyoncé's documentary film. "
~ Nate Chinen - NPR First Listen,
Najee - Poetry in Motion (2017) "The multiple Grammy-Award nominated
instrumentalist, composer and quadruple threat who is equally adept on soprano, tenor and alto saxophones
and flute, recently celebrated his 30th anniversary as a recording artist. Najee, who has collaborated with
iconic figures Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and George Duke, has just released his seventeenth
album as a leader, the stunning Poetry In Motion. The CD is dedicated to two ground-breaking musicians with
whom Najee has had the distinction of working - Prince and Al Jarreau. "Both artists in their own way have
changed the culture of music forever," shares the saxophonist. "Whenever I have worked with people of their
caliber of artistry, I have always walked away with something that helps to shape my musical conversation." "
~ Soul Tracks,
Connie Han - Crime Zone (2018) "Twenty-two year old pianist Connie Han comes at you flashy,
fast, and furious on her Mack Avenue debut Crime Zone. But it's flashy and fast with more than enough sense of history and creative
curiosity to keep your ear pinned to whatever device you're listening on... Han has no trouble letting all her musical gifts hold
centerstage at appropriate times throughout Crime Zone, and her interpretive strengths prove formidable. "
~ MIKE JURKOVIC - AllAboutJazz.com,
Pharoah Sanders - Tauhid (1967) "Here's Pharoah Sandres' legendary "Tauhid" featuring
the great late Sonny Sharrock (see previous post). Although introduced as a protege of John Coltrane and touted by many as his heir
apparent, reedman Pharoah Sanders quickly proved his own man. His shared interest in the "cosmic" music of Coltrane's final period
belies the fact that Sanders frequently plays with an unhurried sense of peace and satisfaction rarely found in his mentor's music.
His use of space, African and Asian motifs and instruments, and simple, repetitive melodies also pointed the way for jazz, rock, and
new age musicians in the '70s and '80s, while his sometimes raucous use of harsh, shrieking runs influenced many of jazz's most
Keiko Matsui - The Road (2015) "Keiko Matsui is a master on the piano or the keytar, and she’s demonstrated her technical skills both on record and onstage-especially during her remarkable four-hand piano gigs with Bob James. But throughout her distinguished career, Matsui hasn’t been overly concerned with garnering recognition for her virtuosity. The Tokyo-born artist, although often placed in the contemporary-jazz category, has always been more about inspiration and hope. Her lovely runs on the ivories have shuttled her to the top of the new-age charts."
~ Brian Soergel - JazzTimes.com,
Nick Biello "Vagabond Soul" (2018)
"Alto and soprano saxophonist Nick Biello has been gaining momentum as an artist on the New York scene in the late 2010s, culminating in this recording for Truth Revolution Records, Vagabond Soul. His prodigious talent as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger is plainly on display on this significant offering, as it is on the myriad of recordings he has made as a side musician. His partnership for this recording with pianist Phil Markowitz is a true sign of the respect he is earning from veteran and young players alike. Markowitz has spent the past 16 years playing, touring, and recording with saxophone master Dave Liebman, as well as performing with saxophone icons Ravi Coltrane, and Joe Lovano. "
~ Paul Rauch - All About Jazz,
Truth Revolution Recording Collective.
Melissa Morgan - Until I Met You (2009)
"For her debut release, Melissa Morgan wanted a gritty, retro vibe evocative of classic jazz vocal albums of the 1950s and '60s. She
also wanted to pay tribute to such heroines of that era as Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. On both
counts she succeeds admirably, , thanks not only to her own mellifluous richness but also to a formidable rhythm section led by pianist
Gerald Clayton and various assemblages of horns, including trumpeter Christian Scott on three tracks."
~ Christopher Loudon - Jazz Times,
DC Bebop page.
Joshua Bruneau - Bright Idea (2015) "he set list is a mixture of originals from Bruneau, plus a couple of numbers from several well-known jazz musicians, and one American popular standard all of which are played with fluent expertise. A Bruneau original “Fuller’s Blues” dedicated to trombonist Curtis Fuller, leads off and demonstrates the band’s good intentions. There is a brisk opening theme with the horns in unison, followed by Bruneau showing his chops in the upper register. Steve Davis’ effort is well-constructed and guitarist Andrew Renfroe demonstrates some tasty riffs. A solid opening."
~ John Sunier - Audiophile Audition,
Smalls Live Profile and
GEORGIA STRAIGHT Article
Gabriela Anders - Wanting (1998) "Gabriela Anders is Argentinean, and comes from Buenos Aires.
This young lady delivers us a SUPERB and CONSISTENT Latin tinged "smooth jazz" set and has the production talents of George Duke,
Paul Brown and Matt Pearson to lean on. The end result is a soul/jazz lovers dream. Vocally she comes to us in an extremely sensual
and sexy way indeed. Imagine a vocal fusion of Astrud Gilberto and Chante Moore. Interested? Some of her vocal phrasing echoes of
Sade, but this lady is far superior and has a much wider, varied and more interesting vocal range."
Tia Fuller - Diamond Cut (2018) "Alto saxophonist and composer Tia Fuller is a veteran jazz player with five dates as a leader under her belt. The latest, Diamond Cut, is a heavyweight session featuring two super-A-list rhythm sections and the brilliant Adam Rogers on guitar. With half the tunes propelled by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette and the other half by the bass/drums team of James Genus and Bill Stewart, well, you know that Fuller is a serious player.""
~ Will Layman - popmatters.com,
Brian Bromberg - In The Spirit of Jobim Artistry
(2012) "A former editor once cautioned me on "gratuitous self
reference" when it came to critical review. While the point is well taken, how
can you not be passionate about music that exudes passion from its cultural
core. Perhaps the editor struggled with the difference between honesty, personal
opinion and perspective as opposed to arbitrary stylistic guidelines. In short;
you can not arbitrarily stylize passion and anyone that travels in my cultural
inner circle knows Brazilian music and especially the music of Jobim is my
musical sweet spot and if you are of the same inclination then In The Spirit Of
Jobim is guaranteed to make your musical back leg shake!"
~ Brent Black - CriticalJazz.com
Basia - London Warsaw New York (1990)
"Basia's tantalizing Brazilian breeze and "Basia-nova" is a sheer delight to listen to. She keeps the same sweet infectiousness which made her debut Time and Tide a platinum stroke of genius. This time she's infused '60s soul and some heartfelt, sparkling ballads, like "Brave New Hope." Her voice is distinctive and lilting, her lyrics interesting, and her production frisky, employing such oddities as accordion and bass sax. Other top cuts include "Best Friends" and a rousing cover of "Until You Come Back to Me." Her disappearance from regular recordings after the mid-'90s (she made a few guest appearances on instrumental albums) was a great loss for adult contemporary music."
~ Jonathan Widran - Allmusic.com,
Santana - Shape Shifter (2012) "If
you've been yearning for some classic Carlos Santana, "Shape
Shifter," the guitarist's first album on his new Starfaith Records
label, is just the ticket. Santana's 36th album is dedicated to
Native American Indians and features 13 mostly original songs he has
been saving for a special release. Only one song, the Latin-flavored
"Eres La Luz," features vocals (singers Andy Vargas and Tony
Lindsay). The remaining instrumental tracks showcase Santana's
virtuoso guitar playing in a beautifully arranged and carefully
~ Gene Stout, Special to The Seattle Times, CD
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio - Close But No Cigar (2018) "Lamarr and company are very good at imitating the grooves of famous musicians,
but the group has more than imitative works up its collective sleeves. Each tune on this record is drenched in hot buttered soul, as culinary-themed groovers like “Between
the Mayo and the Mustard” and “Raymond Brings the Greens” would suggest. These tracks are riff-based organ jams that feature not only Lamarr’s skillful mastery of the
percussive qualities of his instrument, but also skillful manipulation of two chord vamps by James and McGraw and some downright delicious soloing by James (including
what sounds like a quote from David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” on the latter)."
~ Black Grooves,
Jessy J - Second Chances (2013) "On September 10, 2013, saxophonist Jessy J released Second Chances on Shanachie Entertainment. The album features an all-star cast of musicians including Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Joe Sample, Jimmy Haslip and Johnny Britt. Second Chances is Jessy"™s fourth release as a solo artist, but her first as a producer, and as part of this new role, she sought to fuse her love for and influences in the jazz, Latin jazz and R&B styles. "Listen 2 the Groove," the first single from the album features Lorber on keys and Jimmy Haslip on bass. The title track, "Second Chances," showcases Norman Brown and Johnny Britt. Joe Sample lends his both his writing talents and playing on "Mambo Gumbo." "
~ Review - TeenJazz.com
Regina Carter - Reverse Threads (2010) "From the hinterlands in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, this is modern folk music that is global, traditional, and full of soul. It's a communion of sounds, articulated by Carter's resonating violin, along with a fine ensemble of noted jazz artists and brilliant additions including the old-world timbre of accordionists Will Holshouser and Gary Versace, and Kora (21-string West African harp) master, Yacouba Sissoko.""
~ MARK F. TURNER - AllAboutJazz.com,
Eric Gale - Part of You (1979)
"Beat Goes On offers two albums on one disc by guitarist Eric Gale, from 1979 and 1980, respectively. Both are notable but for separate reasons. The first record up, Part of You, extrapolates on the template of the CTI sound. Given that it was produced by Ralph MacDonald and arranged by William Eaton and Bernadette Randle, this should come as no surprise. It was recorded in a series of sessions with crack studio players that alternately include drummers Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd, and Idris Muhammad, bassists Anthony Jackson and Neil Jason, large horn and string sections, and guest appearances from Grover Washington, Jr. ("Lookin' Good") and Charles Earland ("Trio"). The set is a balance of polished jazz-funk numbers and beautifully orchestrated ballads."
~ Thom Jurek - Allmusic.com,
Maysa - Sweet Classic Soul (2005) "In the last year, the world of music has rediscovered 70s soul in a big way, with classic soul cover albums of varying quality by Freddie Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle and Jeffrey Osborne, among others. So, I was a little leery of hearing yet another one - Maysa's new release, Sweet Classic Soul. However, happily, it is the best of the bunch, an album that avoids being overly nostalgic and instead moves classic material into Maysa's adult soul/smooth jazz world, taking a batch of 10 great songs in a fresh, different direction. ""
~ Smooth Jazz Therapy,
Terell Stafford - Forgive and Forget (2016) "Veteran trumpeter Terell
Stafford delivers the second installment of saxophonist Herb Harris's dynamic "Jazz Masters Unlimited" series
production, with the unveiling of Forgive and Forget, providing a forum for Stafford's talents and improvisational
skills. Showcasing a repertoire penned and arranged by Harris, the trumpeter surrounds himself with a formidable
quintet that makes his performance here much easier to appreciate."
~ EDWARD BLANCO - AllAboutJazz.com,
Ashleigh Smith - Sunkissed (2016)
"The 27-year-old Dallas-based singer/songwriter effortlessly blends soul, jazz and pop on her debut album. Smith's "Best Friends" is radio-friendly and serves as an nice introduction to what she brings to the party. There's a breezy bossa nova groove to the tune as Smith references her fondness for Stevie Wonder courtesy of Kevin Wyatt's nifty harmonica work. Smith's skill set includes songwriting as she co-wrote five of the album's 10 compositions. The other half includes covers of The Beatles "Blackbird' and Hall & Oates' 1975 hit, "Sara Smile" and they work best as showpieces for Smith's comfort with lighter fare without really moving the needle as game-changing interpretations. "
~ Jeff Wimbush - AllAboutJazz.com,
Marquis Hill - The Way We Play (2016) "Marquis Hill, not yet 30 and based in both his hometown of Chicago
and in New York, is one of the most promising jazz musicians to gain a national reputation in recent memory. He’s a remarkably gifted trumpeter,
with a technical command that can evoke heroes like Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard without getting too close to the source, and a composer-bandleader
whose music and working group, the Blacktet, boast a comprehensive vision. Hill received first place at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz
Trumpet Competition, and this Concord Jazz debut is the result of a generous prize package. And although it follows a few fine if modestly distributed
recordings, it comes off like a definitive introduction."
~ Evan Haga - JazzTimes.com,
Lynne Fiddmont - FLOW (2007) "During the 2008 Smooth Jazz Cruise stars emerged in the
most unexpected of places. Indeed this is exactly what happened in the M/S Westerdam’s Ocean Bar when session singer extraordinaire
Lynne Fiddmont took the stage. Of course Fiddmont is far from simply being a backing musician. Her 2006 solo release ‘Flow’ was an
absolute revelation and despite being full of the shimmering soul sophistication that was a hallmark of that melodic accessible
music of the eighties there is not one thing about it that is dated. To the contrary, this wonderful collection of jazz infused
soul songs for grown ups has struck an immediate chord with fans of vocally driven smooth R & B and, here in the Ocean Bar, they
were out in force to show appreciation for one of the most gifted artists around."
~ Smooth Jazz Therapy,
Russ Hewitt - Cielo Nocturno (2016) ""Local Texan rumba flamenco guitarist Russ Hewitt impressed us with his recording debut Bajo El Sol eight years ago and has been patience and particular with his steps since. Waiting three years to record his equally strong follow up Alma Vieja Hewitt avoided the sophomore slump and now it has been over 5 years for him to finally release his latest recording Cielo Nocturno. Keeping a creative streak is a difficult task for even the best of musicians and streaks are made to be broken. Clearly this is the case with Cielo Nocturno which is not of equal strength of his prior recordings but frankly exceeds all expectations from this artist that grows in his compositional capabilities."
~ Michael Debbage- MainlyPiano.com,
Jazz Network and
Elaine Elias - Light My Fire (2011)
"In a career that spans around 30 years and over 20 albums, singer and pianist
Eliane Elias has come to epitomize a cool, sophisticated jazz sensibility,
especially on the bossa nova songs of her native Brazil. On Light My Fire, she
set out to extend the range of styles and grooves in her music and, in so doing,
mixes Brazilian music with a couple of jazz standards and one or two famous pop
and rock songs."
~ BRUCE LINDSAY - AllAboutJazz.com
Grace Kelly - Mood Changes (2008) "Grace Kelly has surprised the jazz world with her immense talent, even though she is still only in her teens. She has already received high praise from Phil Woods and Lee Konitz (the latter of whom appeared on her last CD). Kelly's fifth CD under her own name features her on alto, tenor, and soprano saxophone plus vocals, while she composed four songs and wrote all of the arrangements. Her enticing approach to the standard "Comes Love" utilizes a catchy vamp with overdubbed alto and soprano, producing a fresh approach to a standard that is often played with little imagination."
Takuya Kuroda - Zigzagger (2016)
"Takuya Kuroda makes funky jazz for the 22nd century. The Japanese trumpeter's multiethnic, genre-crossing music knows
no bounds, bringing together elements of fusion, funk, acid jazz, electronica, neo-soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat and anything else
he can think of. Zigzagger is the follow-up to his 2014 breakout on Blue Note, Rising Son, and it continues in much the same
vein. Kuroda and trombonist Corey King etch memorable themes into layers of Takeshi Ohbayashi's slippery keyboards, Rashaan
Carter's funky bass and the get-up-and-dance beats laid down by drummer Adam Jackson, after which Kuroda lets loose with
~ Steve Greenlee - JazzTimes.com,
Bob Baldwin - Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson (2007) "Baldwin interprets Jackson in a pretty straightforward and direct manner, with few frills or unnecessary flourishes. Another artist might have overly embellished the material with strings, horns, a battery of overdubbed keyboards, vocalists and other trappings; instead, Baldwin lets the music do the talking, and guest appearances by guitarists Steve Oliver, Chieli Minnucci and Chuck Loeb, along with trumpeter Joey Sommerville, add subtle but not showy contributions. Loeb—the newly recruited replacement for Larry Carlton in Fourplay —shines especially on "Never Can Say Goodbye.""
~ Jeff Wimbush - AllAboutJazz.com,
DC Bebop page
Duane Eubanks Quintet - Things Of That Particular Nature (2015) "Things Of That Particular Nature is the record that the jazz world has been waiting for from trumpeter Duane Eubanks. My Shining Hour (TCB Records, 1999) and Second Take (TCB Records, 2001) put Eubanks on the map as a leader, positioning him as a purveyor of all manner of bop-derived music. He instantly came off as one to watch, but his voice was tied to the past on those releases, both through the material he covered and the debts that his sound betrayed. Now, with more than a decade of experience under his belt since those albums were released, Eubanks is speaking with a voice that's all his own. ""
~ DAN BILAWSKY - AllAboutJazz.com,
BWB - Groovin' (2002) "Combine smooth-jazz stalwarts Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown,
call the CD Groovin’ and picture a woman in apparent ecstasy on the cover and you might think you’re in for a fairly run-of-the-mill NAC experience. But there’s
something deeper going on. Although the setting is modern, the influences are late-’60s and early-’70s soul-jazz plucked from the CTI catalog, and the crack
trio of keyboardist Ricky Peterson, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Gregory Hutchinson keeps the music honest."
~ Brian Soergel - JazzTimes.com,
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971) "What's Going On is not only Marvin Gaye's
masterpiece, it's the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one
of its finest voices, a man finally free to speak his mind and so move from R&B sex symbol to true
recording artist. With What's Going On, Gaye meditated on what had happened to the American dream of
the past -- as it related to urban decay, environmental woes, military turbulence, police brutality,
unemployment, and poverty... Besides cementing Marvin Gaye as one of the most important artists in
pop music, What's Going On was far and away the best full-length to issue from the singles-dominated
Motown factory, and arguably the best soul album of all time."
~ AllMusic.com and
Chelsey Green and The Green Project - The Green Room (2014)
"Violinist, viola player, and vocalist Chelsey Green bounces from funky dance tracks with R&B seasonings and bopping grooves to classically-twined silhouettes on her full-length debut album The Green Project. The collaboration of chamber strings and guitars are trellised in the twinkling notes of the piano and keyboards as horns flare vibrantly with a rhythm section that supports the free flowing ruminations."
~ By susanfrancesny, BLOGCRITICS.ORG,
Melvin Taylor - Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band (1995) This review first appeared December 8, 1995 "Melvin Taylor may be the best guitarist you've never heard of. He's in his mid-30s, but this is only his third album – and the first he's recorded in a decade. What sets Taylor apart isn't his ability to play blistering fast solos – although he can do that with the best – nor to bend notes a la Hendrix (even though his cover of "Voodoo Chile" is every bit as good as Stevie Ray Vaughan's). No, what sets Taylor apart is that he can do both of those and more. His Wes Montgomery-esque version of the old surf rock classic "Tequila" shows versatility, imagination and taste in equal helpings. And how many guitarists can play hard blues and sophisticated jazz in equal measure?"
~ Jim Trageser - http://trageser.com,
Arno Haas - Back to You (2016) "Saxman Arno Haas is quite the seasoned musician, having
an international reputation as one who graces the stage up to 250 times a year with various formations. Here on Arno HaasBack
to You, his sophomore release (his debut recording, Magic Hands, was released three years ago), Haas works what he terms as the
current fusion jazz styles relentlessly and with precision. There’s a bit of something for every jazz lover here as the saxman
strolls and bounces about from the light & airy to the R&B/jazz slow jam to the hot & funky stuff c-jazzers so love. He demonstrates
his in-depth feel for all things jazz via a crystal clear and definitive sax style and great vision, and you can hear the fun he has
with this material."
||Sharon Robinson - Caffeine (2015) "Several years in the making, Robinson released her second outing Caffeine, a beautiful soul album full of smooth grooves and melodies. Blessed with a great voice—husky yet smooth, distinctive, beautiful and wise, she imbues her songs with a deeply resonant soulfulness. Caffeine is an album that demands attention because it offers so much. It's a meticulously crafted release that explores diverse settings from upbeat songs to shimmering sentimental nocturnal ballads." ~ Leicester Bangs, Facebook, YouTube and Website|
|BWB - BWB (2016) "The trio’s playing is expressive throughout, with many songs being characterized by the three soloists playing intertwined melodies ("BWB"). They also play compelling solos, often trading improvisations that feed off of the members' stellar interplay with one another ("Bolly Bop"). Braun makes great use of double time in his fluglehorn solo on “I Want You Girl,” Brown gets the opportunity to really take the band for a walk on "Memphis Steppin'," and Whalum gets saxy on "Hey Baby." If you want to give smooth jazz a shot, BWB is a great place to start. This album proves that the sub-genre isn’t all cheesy synthesizers and triangles dinging off in the distance, but that really gifted players like to get down on the light-funk side of things." ~ http://blackgrooves.org, Rick Brawn FB, Rick Braun and Website|
|Etienne Charles - Ceole Soul (2013) "With his simple declaration, "sound is my art...I just try to create," Trinidadian jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles puts into context his role of creator and producer in relation to his latest recording. This new album, previewed earlier this year in Tobago at Jazz on the Beach at Mt Irvine, reveals an evolution of his art that parallels the jazz idiom's most eclectic trumpeter and influence. The fourth studio album from this US-based musician and teacher bristles with a kind of energy that comes from the realization that one has gone beyond; beyond the usual expectations of a Caribbean existence, beyond the boundary of the usual sonic influences that have paved the way for this jazz lion." ~ Leicester Bangs, Facebook, YouTube and Website|
|Kent Miller - Contributions (2016) "Kent Miller’s upcoming release is a kind of big band, straight-ahead jazz throwback — but in the best way. The D.C.-based acoustic bassist draws together his crew — tenor saxophonist Benny Russell, pianist Darius Scott, and percussionist Greg Holloway — to own the traditional genre, with a few delightful detours along the way. The July 29, 2016 release of Contributions (TNEK Jazz) features nine original, swinging instrumentals that will instantly become standards. All four members of the band contributed — hence, the album title — with Miller composing four of the tracks (“West End Carnival,” “A DC Waltz,” “One For Two Blues,” and “Grace”). " ~ Carol Banks Weber - AXS.com, Facebook, YouTube and Website|
|Kenny Neal - What You Got (2000) "This is Neal's third album for Telarc and it's definitely one of his best releases to date. He's long been known for his Louisiana blues groove, but this CD will force critics and fans to reassess their take on Neal's sound. Tracks like "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right," "Little Brother (Make a Way)," "I'm The Man Your Mama Told You About," "Loving on Borrowed Time," and "Deja Vu" are robust numbers that variously evince Chicago and Memphis influences, while the title track is a gorgeous bit of soul music that showcases Neal's mature voice." ~ Website, Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia|
|Chamber 3 - Grassroots (2015) "presenting the album Grassroots, is Jorgensen's international small group, teaming the Seattle-based drummer with German saxophonist Steffen Weber and German guitarist Christian Eckert, with, this time out, the very welcome addition of bassist Phil Sparks to the mix. The sound is "chamber-like," with a equality of input. Eckert, like all the "chording guys" Jorgensen works with, can play tight, tasteful lines and also take things into adventurous harmonic territory. Weber plays with restraint, subtlety and precision, riding the waves of the groove." ~ DAN MCCLENAGHAN - AllAboutJazz.com, Facebook - Matt Jorgensen, Videos and Website|
|Nicholas Payton - Bitches (2011) "Here’s one out of left field. Despite his occasional flirtations with fusion, Nicholas Payton has hitherto been known as somewhat of a traditionalist, one of New Orleans’ best young straight-ahead trumpet players of the last 20 years or so. But now he’s produced the uncompromising Bitches, essentially a one-man-band concept album with special guest vocalists including Cassandra Wilson and Esperanza Spalding. The rather un-PC title may or may not allude to Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, but the two albums definitely share a willingness to explore the outer limits of jazz, taking in contemporary soul and R’n’B influences. " ~ Matt P. - SoundsofSurprise.com, Facebook, YouTube and Website|
|Bill McGee - Still Bill (2016) "Back in 2007, when reviewing the CD ‘Chase The Sunset’, I described trumpeter Bill McGee as a special kind of guy with a biography just waiting to be written. More of that in a moment but for now the hot news is that after a nine-year absence Bill is back with the appropriately titled ‘Still Bill’. Many of the eleven choice tracks are a reflection on his early life as a young trumpet player and the time he spent learning songs such as ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Cantaloupe Island’. Consequently it is no surprise that the latest single from the album is ‘Cantaloupe and Watermelon’, Bill’s tribute to Herbie Hancock and a well crafted ‘mash-up’ of these two classic tunes." ~ SmoothJazzTherapy, Website, Facebook, Reverbnation and DC Bebop page.|
|Al Di Meola "Elegant Gypsy" (1977) " Elegant Gypsy is unique because, while it features heavily di Meola's furious fretwork, the solos compliment the compositions instead of the other way around. At six songs, some of the sweeping, epic tracks may sound a bit dated today, but their unfolding majesty cannot be denied, like on the Santana-esque “Flight Over Rio” or the frantic closer, “Elegant Gypsy Suite”. The showstopping track, though, is the one prominent acoustic song (yet another element that sets di Meola apart from many of his peers). “Mediterranean Sundance”, an acoustic guitar duel between di Meola and guest musician Lucia, is absolutely breathtaking. " ~ Andy - Favorite10.com, CD Discography, Website.|
|Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (2014) “It will hit you right between the ears, there is an unmistakable Sonny Rollins influence to the artistry of Melissa Aldana. This is not a riff on the legend, this is the next generation taking the zen like approach of textured phrasing that has been the Rollins lyrical calling card and simply putting a fresh spin on the effort. The self titled release is not due to street till June 14th but this is a release you should calendar / pre-order. A rare collective ensemble that includes the lyrical in the pocket finesse of Cuban born drummer Francisco Mela and the swing sensation and polyrhythmic dynamo Chilean Pablo Menares. ” ~ Brent Black - www.criticaljazz.com, Discography, Facebook, YouTube and Website.|
Dr. Lonnie Smith
- The Healer (2012)
“Dr. Lonnie Smith has always addressed organ traditions on his own terms. He seems to intentionally avoid clichés and marketplace
trends, preferring instead to chart his own course, so it's beautifully ironic that he's become something of a trendy
figure-to-follow for the jazz-meets-jam crowd. While Smith recently attained septuagenarian status, he shows no signs of developing a
conservative crust or going musically gentle into that good night. The Healer, culled from material recorded at the 2011 Lamantin Jazz
Festival in Hungary and a date at New York's Jazz Standard in early 2012, is brimming with the bold, bizarre and beautiful.”
~ Dan Bilawsky - All About Jazz,
MySpace page and
Sylvia Bennett - Sonrie (2011)
"Italian born, raised in America. Sylvia Bennett worked with jazz legend Lionel Hampton and recorded two albums with him. The first one Sentimental Journey was nominated for a Grammy in 1987. Bennett is sings with conviction in english, spanish and french. Sonrie, her fourth solo album, is a spanish version of her album Smile." Links:
~ Wilbert Sostre - JazzTimes,
Phil Denny - Upswing (2015)
"When Lansing jazz saxophonist Phil Denny recorded his first album, “Crossover,” in 2012, he was plowing new ground as a songwriter after spending years performing mostly cover tunes. Even so, the album generated three Billboard charted hits and put Denny on the smooth jazz map, spawning a new audience for his music as far away as Dubai and Kenya, where he ended up performing for enthused crowds. For his brand new smooth jazz album, “Upswing,” Denny has upped the ante and honed his sound with an air of confidence, taking some “creative liberty” with his music." Links:
~ John Sinkevics - localspins.com,
Jens Haack - Smokers Lounge (2011)
"Smoking cigars is sometimes isolating people. On the other hand Jens Haack's music is so irresistible that I couldn't withstand to review this fashionable album. Jens is from Denmark, that Scandinavian region, where musicians like Soren Reiff, Jakob Elvstrom, Chris Minh Doky and Bobby Rickets are coming from. So trust me, when I recommend you this fine album.
Jens recorded Smokers Lounge with his old friends, guitarist Mikkel Nordsø, and pianist Ben Besiakow. The last-named facilitated the participation of The Danish Nation Chamber Orchestra."
Mimi Fox - Perpetually Hip (2008)
"With the release of her latest double CD “Perpetually Hip”, Mimi Fox raises the bar yet again with a set of tunes, three original compositions and ten standards, that feature her dedication and passion towards the art form that is Jazz. Not content to rest on her past laurels, Mimi Fox continues to develop her command of single line improvisation and chord soloing in a style that is singularly unique and utterly refreshing."
~ Lyle Robinson - Jazz Guitar Life,
Ritenour - Rit's House (2002)
"This 2002 release has a soul-jazz/post-bop outlook that often
recalls the late '60s and early '70s; for the most part, it is the
sort of album that guitarist Grant Green would have been comfortable
recording during that era. Arguably, 1992's Wes Bound is still
Ritenour's best studio album -- certainly from a jazz perspective.
But this CD is also respectable, and those who enjoyed hearing the
guitarist stretching out on that mostly straightahead disc will also
find a lot to enjoy about Rit's House."
Alex Henderson, All Music Guide, CD
Dave Stryker - Messin' with Mr. T (2015)
"On Messin' with Mister T, guitarist Dave Stryker could have enlisted only his organ trio to salute friend, mentor and musical hero Stanley Turrentine; instead, he chose to step back and let other voices do most of the talking. The encomiums are thus provided by ten of the world's most accomplished tenor saxophonists, making this one of the most unique and impressive testimonials ever recorded. Turrentine would no doubt have been pleased to see such heavyweights as Houston Person, Jimmy Heath, Don Braden, Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Eric Alexander and others lining up to pay homage to his artistry, and even more pleased that every one of them, in Stryker's words, "came immediately on board" when asked to take part in the enterprise."
~ JACK BOWERS - AllAboutJazz.com,
Nils - Alley Cat (2015)
"Never one to shy away from creating a monster groove, guitarist/keyboardist/compose/producer Nils is back at it again with his latest Nils CDrelease Alley Cat, a funky dance-friendly groovester with polish and definition. His compositional and production prowess has already been well established, having created and produced hits for such artists as Al DeGregoris, Nate Harasim, and Brian Simpson. Now, he again turns his focus toward cranking out his own vibrant project."
Mindi Abair - Wild Heart (2014)
"Seems like Mindi Abair has been on the scene forever yet Wild Heart is just the eight solo release in a most distinguished career. Like so many artists, Mindi found herself quietly pushed into the smooth jazz genre which is nothing more than a dead radio format. Mindi Abair is a multi-faceted contemporary instrumental artist that can hold her own with anyone from touring as Aerosmith's saxophonist to pulling in a Grammy nomination for her stellar work on Summer Horns featuring Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot."
~ Brent Black - criticaljazz.com,
Jeanette Harris - Saxified (2010)
"2010's Saxified finds the undisputedly talented musician (who plays soprano and alto saxophones,
flute, and piano onthis effort) showing off her consummate talents over fourteen rock-solid cuts.
She may not be synonymous with Grover Washington,Jr., but she certainly channels his tone,
sensibilities, and energy throughout this superb affair"
~ Urban Music Scene,
Dave Carter - Commitment and Change (2008)
"Want a great slice of modern, smoky jazz with a touch of the 'classy elegance' of vintage Miles Davis? Then make
sure to check out this debut solo album Commitment and Change from trumpet player Dave Carter. This guy has been around
the scene a while, recording with folks such as Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Skerik, Robin Holcomb, and many others, but
he finally found the time to put this first solo release together, and it's a good one. "
~ seaoftranquility.org and
All About Jazz.
Terri Lyne Carrington
- Moasaic (2011)
“For her fifth album as a leader, Carrington calls on the talents of
20 musical sisters, both instrumentalists and vocalists. From the
liner notes: “As with mosaic artwork, the goal for this project is
to vibrantly connect colorful pieces together to create something
integral, using thoroughly composed song forms, some abstract
improvising, and also the human voice – to create sharp shapes, with
blurred edges.” Seldom does a recording meet such a goal so
effectively, diversely and beautifully. From Carrington's
arrangements of the Beatles' “Michelle” and Al Green's “Simply
Beautiful,” to the originals, “Wistful” and “Crayola,” penned by
Carrington and Esperanza Spalding, respectively, this set is as good
as it gets, giving the listener some straight jazz instrumentals as
well charming vocals.”
~ Woodrow Wilkins -Smooth-Jazz.de.
Heads of State - Search For Peace (2015)
"Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, Buster Williams and Al Foster–four of today's most important and influential
jazz artists–have joined forces as a collaborative group for the first time in their storied careers and the
result is a quartet for the ages.
Somewhat surprisingly after a half-century of working together in various combinations, these four masters
had never performed together as a quartet until last fall at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in New York City. They
electrified the packed house during that run and knew immediately that they had something special. As Williams
remembers, “Larry called me the next week, and said, ‘What do you think about us keeping this band together?'
I said, ‘I like the idea; let me talk to Al and Gary.'” They agreed and the rest was history in the making."
CD on Amazon and
Hiromi - Voice (2011)
"It seems improbable that a classical pianist's chance meeting with Chick Corea could start a young musician on a musical journey that
leads to true innovation in Jazz. The latest offering from Hiromi Uehara, ‘Voice', featuring Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon
Phillips on drums proves that this chance meeting was in fact destiny. With the notable exception of “Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.
8, Pathetique”, the album exclusively features original compositions by Hiromi; and opens with a deceptive dirge in title track “Voice”
before exploding into an energized frenzy of syncopated drumming and deft bass counterpoint. The focus required to keep track of this
frenzy almost acts a prepatation guide for the rest of the album as Hiromi believes focus is required to “hear someone's inner voice”.
David La Rosa - thejazzline.com.
Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband (2014)
"With the release of their fourth album, Nabuma Rubberband, Little Dragon has completed a slow but striking transformation. They're still the playful synth-pop auteurs they established themselves as on their self-titled debut, showing as much penchant for irreverent humor as they do for catchy, elastic rhythms. But with each new album, the Swedish group seems to discover a larger font of power within their songwriting while simultaneously losing interest in sounding merely like a bunch of disaffected trip-hoppers. Nabuma Rubberband's tracks are explosive and engaged in ways that the soul diversions of Ritual Union weren't, abandoning the latter's downtempo cool for muscular bouts of energy. The band has rarely achieved this sense of dynamism; in fact, the only thing in their catalogue that comes close is "Runabout" from 2009's Machine Dreams."
~ Kevin Liedel - slantmagazine.com,
SoundCloud page and
Jazmin Ghent - Boss (2014)
"When I first experienced this young lady's considerable prowess on tenor sax, I was aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014 (which I covered here on the Jazmine Ghentsite, leaving the review posted for about a year). I predicted then that we'd hear more from this saxtress who won the SJC 2014 amateur artist contest. I believe she then went by the pseudonym Jazmin J, offering a most convincing and stirring arrangement of the classic “Summertime.” After just a little over a year later, she has reemerged, this time as Jazmin Ghent, with her debut release Boss.
The album is a tasteful, well-produced one where she has penned all but two tracks and easily convinces listeners that her freshness and clean, solid style are just what we jazzers are looking for in the effort to regularly breath happy, new life into this genre we so love."
Gavin Templeton - Some Spinning, Some At Rest (2014)
"LA alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton's sophomore release as a leader, Some Spinning, Some At Rest represents the values of composition and free-improvising with equal fervor and expertise, and alongside double-bassist Richard Giddens and drummer Gene Coye, Mr. Templeton has documented one of the finest saxophone trio recordings in recent memory.
Templeton's soulful, yearning vibrato opens "Exit Row," teasing a raw, primal groove from Giddens' groaning pizzicato and the fulsome architecture of Coye's sticks-on-skins. These two mesh like the gears of a fine Swiss watch, and the leader rides their interlocking motion with a controlled abandon that sends chills down the spine."
~ ROBERT BUSH - AllAboutJazz.com,
Albare - The Road Ahead (2013)
"guitarist Albert Dadon, playing under the stage name Albare, is a musician that seems to defy easy classification. Listening to his latest album, appropriately titled The Road Ahead, it is clear that in many respects his music is a blend of the many influences engendered by his life experience. He is clearly looking to the musical road before him, but he doesn't fear turning into a pillar of salt if he does his share of looking back. The music he composes for The Road Ahead is at times quite exotic, at times quite traditional, if it makes sense to talk about contemporary jazz ideas as traditional. What seems clear is that Albare is consciously interested in expanding the idiom."|
~ Christopher Loudon - JazzTimes.com, Facebook, YouTube and Website.
Champian Fulton - Changing Partners (2014)
"Savoring this tight, satisfying hour-long live session, it seems remarkable how briefly vocalist and pianist Champian Fulton had been acquainted with her accompanying trio. As Canadian saxophonist Cory Weeds explains in the liner notes, in 2013 he invited Fulton for a two-night appearance at his now-defunct Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, where she was teamed with local players Jodi Proznick (bass), Julian MacDonough (drums) and Weeds himself on tenor. A year later, Fulton accepted a gig at Edmonton's Yardbird Suite. When costs prohibited traveling with her regular U.S. quartet, she called Weeds and asked if her “Vancouver band” might be available. It was, and the results are sublime."
~ Christopher Loudon - JazzTimes.com,
Tim Warfield - Gentle Warrior (2004)
"Only a thoroughly assured tenor player would lead off a set with a
hokey ballad like "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," as Tim
Warfield does on Gentle Warrior. It is something that only a handful
of greats like Rollins and Gordon can do without risk. Warfield's
nailing such a daring gambit on just his third outing as a leader
shows how he has grown since first gaining notice on Tough Young
Tenors, the '91 Antilles young lions showcase."|
- Bill Shoemaker - JazzTimes, Website page, Discography, MySpace and DC Bebop.
Thomas Marriott - Urban Folklore (2014)
"Nothing has hit quite as hard as recent music from the trio of pianist Orrin Evans,
bassist Eric Revis and Drummer Donald Edwards. The three musicians seek out (or probably
re sought by) collaborators of equal weight and energy. It is not surprising that this
recording of nine compositions, led by trumpeter and Seattle native Thomas Marriott, is
a knockout from the opening number. Urban Folklore is Marriott's ninth as leader, and
follows Dialogue (Origin Records, 2012) a live date in which Evans was a guest artist."
~ MARK CORROTO - AllAboutJazz.com,
Carol Duboc - With All That I Am (2001) "Her writing and arranging success has included, among other things,
the song “This Word is All” on Patti LaBelle's Gems CD, which went Gold, as well as the title cut, “Precious”, on Chante Moore's Gold
CD. Carol also penned the hit single “Never Do You Wrong” for Stephanie Mills, and the song “That Boy” on Jade's Jade To The Max
CD, which attained Platinum status. Carol Duboc first stepped out as a solo artist with her debut album With All That I Am in 2001. She
immediately began earning critical acclaim as one of the top new jazz singers on the music scene. Sandy Shore of smoothjazz.com
announced “Smooth Jazz has a new poster girl!” Following her auspicious debut, Carol's second full release was simply titled
Duboc in 2003. Carol's 2005 release, entitled All Of You, is another extension of her tremendous talent. She was also featured on NBC and
SmoothJazz TV. Christopher Loudon of Jazz Times Magazine writes that Carol “has cleverly shaped an evocative excavation of love in all
its forms." ~
All About Jazz
Akua Dixon - Akua Dixon (2015)
"Virtuoso cellist Akua Dixon is one of the few exclusive practitioners of the instrument in jazz. Whether in a supportive role or leading her Quartette Indigo she deftly fuses intimate chamber decorum and spontaneous ingenuity for an elegant and vibrant style that is hard to pigeonhole. She spices her eponymous release with Latin passion and an understated, earthy groove making it uniformly fresh and delightful."|
~ HRAYR ATTARIAN - AllAboutJazz.com, Website, Facebook, YouTube.
Mark Rapp's Melting Pot - Good Eats (2011)
"Legendary saxophonist Lou Donaldson doesn't subscribe to a one-size-fits-all approach in his own music making. His oeuvre, which spans more than half a century, touches on bop, hard bop, soul-jazz, and funk, with each setting allowing for a different aspect of his musical personality to shine. In crafting a tribute to Donaldson, trumpeter Mark Rapp honors this diversity and organic amalgam of music by touching on various styles, as he works his way through Donaldson's catalog.
Rapp's band is appropriately called Melting Pot, and they certainly know how to blend genres and cross stylistic lines. The band is comfortable dealing with Donaldson's legacy in a fairly straightforward fashion, but also revels in updating a few of his pieces. The funky blues strut of "Alligator Boogaloo" and the James Brown-ish funk of "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)" fall under the first heading, as does the joyous and churchy "Love Power."
~ DAN BILAWSKY - AllAboutJazz.com,
The Song Project,
Mark Rapp store,
Brian Bromberg - Metal (2005)
"Brian Bromberg's latest spotlights his prodigious ability in the world
of rock/fusion. He tunes his piccolo bass an octave and a fourth above conventional
basses, and he overdubs it like a lead instrument over electric bass parts,
successfully creating the impression that a full band is performing these songs.
In fact, with the exception of a couple of tracks with pianist Dan Siegel,
Bromberg's joined only by drummer Joel Taylor."
~ Ron Wynn - JazzTimes.com,
Hilary Kole - A Self-Portrait (2014)
"A perennially popular presence on the NYC jazz scene and a world renowned concert hall
and symphony performer, Hilary Kole has wowed us before with her dynamic recordings
Haunted Hart (produced by fellow jazz great John Pizzarelli) and the ambitious concept
album You Are There, featuring vocal-piano duets with legends like the late Dave Brubeck,
Michel Legrand, Cedar Walton, etc. With her intimate, intensely personal and cleverly
autobiographical new collection A Self Portrait, she shares her truest musical heart
that is as tethered to classic 70s pop as it is to pure jazz and which expands beyond
the confines of her roots as a Great American Songbook stylist."|
~ Jonathan Widran - JazzMonthly.com, Website and Facebook.
Carmen Lundy - Soul To Soul (2014)
"Carmen Lundy began her professional career in Miami, FL as
a jazz vocalist and composer when there were very few young, gifted and aspiring jazz
vocalists on the horizon. Over four decades later, Ms. Lundy is celebrated throughout
the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Her
latest 13 Track release is entitled “Soul to Soul” and was released in 2014. She has
several albums to her credit and has had several Top Ten albums on JazzWeek (“Jazz and
the New Songbook-Live at The Madrid”, “Come Home”, and “Changes”) and a #3 spot on
Billboard's Jazz Chart for 23 weeks with her debut album “Good Morning Kiss”. Among
her other awards and recognitions, especially rewarding was Miami-Dade's County Office
of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaiming January 25th "Carmen Lundy Day”,
along with handing Ms. Lundy the keys to the City of Miami."
~ Cyrus Rhodes - indiemusicdigest.com and
Gerry Gibbs/Ron Carter/Kenny Barron - Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio (2014)
"For his seventh album as a leader, relatively unsung drummer Gerry “The Thrasher”
Gibbs enlists two revered jazz veterans as rhythm-section partners, bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny
Barron. Both were childhood heroes to Gibbs; he was 10, in 1974, when he first heard Carter, and 11 when
he heard Barron, courtesy of albums bought at a used-records store in California. So why not call the
group his dream trio? Fortunately, the session isn't merely a document of hero worship. Instead, the
three connect as equal partners, with Barron and Carter, who figure heavily in each other's discographies,
livening Gibbs' compositions."
~ Jazz Times and
Sal La Rocca - It
Could Be The End (2012)
"I was already aware of Sal's remarkable talent
on bass. I also got to enjoy his qualities as a human being during our
conversations. But this recording session was the opportunity for me to discover
the composer and exceptional leader that he is. He has his own style of writing
and chose musicians capable of following his vision on these recordings. The
experience was a pure joy for me. It's one of the records I'm most proud of."
-Line up: Jacques Schwartz-Bart” ~
- Rise Again (2014)
&qout;Now it is our turn. America gets to witness the vocal charms of yet another African songstress
who has chosen to impart her aural wares upon us. Her name is Lira and, in the styles of similar
Lira CDvocal seductresses Sade and Douyé, her silky voice calls to us in a way that is irresistible.
Already having wowed European and South African audiences, she now releases her debut release Rise
Again (scheduled to hit the streets on April 29) to the American masses for their take on her. No
doubt, she will not be disappointed. The same can be said of you. Blending R&B, jazz, reggae,
African, and a touch of Latin influence, the album was almost entirely written by the songstress
except for “Something Inside So Strong,” written by Labi Siffre. Lira sang this one for the late
great Nelson Madela at his 90th birthday celebration."
- Warriors (2010)
“David Weiss' most important contributions to jazz have been the
projects he conceives and coordinates. His latest undertaking is the
Cookers, whose members have 250 years of collective experience and
more than 1,000 recording credits. Weiss plays trumpet and Craig
Handy plays alto saxophone and flute. Then there are five major but
somewhat overlooked heavy hitters, best known from the 1960s and
'70s, who can still play their butts off: Billy Harper (tenor
saxophone), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), George Cables (piano), Cecil
McBee (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). The Cookers is not a typical
all-star group but a tight working band. They have been together
since June 2007 and play 20 to 30 gigs a year. Warriors is their
first recording.” By
Thomas Conrad - JazzTimes.com.
Joe Bonamassa - Live From Nowhere In Particular (2009) "Blues rocker has finally satisfied
the desires of his long time fan base in releasing the double live cd Live From Nowhere In Particular. Bonamassa
was born in 1977. It was the era that classic rock artists like Led Zeppelin, Yes, ZZ Top, Robin Trower and many
others dominated FM radio stations. This was before VH-1 and MTV came along. Through touring the stadium and
arena circuit, these bands built a reputation as performers who took no prisoners with their volcanic riffs
and building a wall of sound that was thrilling on every audio and visual level. Joe seems to understand this.
Working endlessly all over America and Europe, he has acquired monster sized chops sputtering out blues notes
that appeal to the youngsters and middle-aged adults who came of age during the golden age of rock. "
~ Gary Weeks - Blues on Stage,
Bradley - Bloom (2009) "New-York based trumpet player Cindy Bradley released
her self-produced debut album “Just A Little Bit” in 2007. This album blended groovy tracks to nicely
arranged soft sentimental tunes. And the recipe worked quite well, as this talented stage-oriented trumpet
player made her way through the trumpet stage, mainly dominated by male performers. This young artist holds a
Bachelor degree in jazz studies and a Master degree in jazz performance. She has studied and worked with top
jazz musicians such as John McNeil, Cecil McBee and Jerry Bergonzi. Since 2007 Cindy Bradley's career has
blossomed. James Lloyd, the keyboardist in the famous R&B/jazz fusion band Pieces of a Dream, and the band's
manager Dan Harmon gave the young trumpet player the opportunity to tour with them. Later another piece of
her dream came true. "
~ Akbar Nour - SmoothJazzNow.com,
Ragan Whiteside Quantum Drive (2014)
“Ragan Whiteside is best known to the smooth jazz community by her albums Class Axe (2007) and Evolve (2012). Now she takes off with her new album Quantum Drive (2014) in warp speed. The album features on selected tracks Bob Baldwin, Althea Rene, Bo Valentine, Patrice Rushen, Dennis Johnson and Frank McComb. This is the first album she made after her move from New York to Georgia. Releasing albums on her own label gives Ragan the artistic freedom to express herself in her music. Nevertheless it's the right music people can enjoy... Ragan Whiteside creates with Quantum Drive an enchanting and vibrant album, which can defy any competition with other flutists of smooth jazz. Respect for such a development.”
~ Han-Bernd Hulsmann - smooth-jazz.de,
Yoko Miwa Trio Live at Scullers Jazz Club (2011)
“Is live always better? Does the no second takes, out-on-a-limb aspect of playing in front of a live audience, and feeding off its energy result in the best recordings? It seems to work that way for Boston-based pianist Yoko Miwa on Live At Scullers Jazz Club, a mix of tunes from The Great American Songbook and the world of rock, shuffled in with her own outstanding compositions. An original pressing of a hundred copies of the show—done as a memento for the audience members this particular night—garnered such a positive response that Miwa decided to have the music remixed and mastered for a general release.”
DAN MCCLENAGHAN - allaboutjazz.com,
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (2014)
“It will hit you right between the ears, there is an unmistakable Sonny Rollins influence to the artistry of Melissa Aldana. This is not a riff on the legend, this is the next generation taking the zen like approach of textured phrasing that has been the Rollins lyrical calling card and simply putting a fresh spin on the effort. The self titled release is not due to street till June 14th but this is a release you should calendar / pre-order. A rare collective ensemble that includes the lyrical in the pocket finesse of Cuban born drummer Francisco Mela and the swing sensation and polyrhythmic dynamo Chilean Pablo Menares. ”
~ Brent Black - www.criticaljazz.com,
Kim Scott - Rite of Passage (2013)
“Flautist Kim Scott has just released her sophomore project, Rite of Passage, and it is as impactful – if not more so– as her most appealing debut. Here is truly a young lady born to create this kind of vibe, this kind of all-enveloping touch. With a style so sweet and alluring, Scott takes it where she says her band and producers challenged her to take it – to the next level. She also believes that this CD will hold its own. Well, I'll go one better and predict that it will surpass the expectations of her and her comrades. This is about as tight and solid a recording as you could want, and it never misses a step in maintaining that tender airiness that makes it so well-rounded.”
~ Ronald Jackson - thesmoothjazzride.com,
Toots and the Maytalls - True Love (2004)
“Some regard Toots and the Maytal's 1968 single "Do The Reggay" as Reggae's year zero, a track which coined the phrase that went on to define a whole new genre. Rumour has it that Chris Blackwell only signed The Wailers because he couldn't get The Maytals. Whatever, the band are reggae royalty and are justifiably celebrated on this new 'Best Of' compilation. But it's a compilation with a twist, Toots Hibbert and the boys are joined by a diverse host of talent intent on celebrating the band's rich musicalheritage. ”
~ Jack Smith - BBC Review/font>,
- Rising Son (2014)
“Not only are the melodies and rhythms addictive, but the tune also
features a hypnotic solo by famed African Guitarist Lionel Loueke.
Kuroda also pays homage to Roy Ayers with a sultry rendition of
“Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” which features Jose James adding his
vocal touch. In addition to the eclectic musical choices, Kuroda has
an interesting choice of instruments. He uses the trombone in his
charts that give the music a strong punchy feeling. Even though this
is not typically straight-ahead jazz, Kuroda's musicianship is
prevalent in such a way that the tunes rise above the typical smooth
jazz clichés. If you are a fan of groove-laden music or the CTI
recordings from the 1970's, you will like Rising Son."”
~ Steve Bryant - iRock Jazz,
- Flash Mob (2014)
“ Out of the twelve tracks on "Flash Mob," Schwartz composed ten of
them. He explained the vibe of some of those tunes. "'Flash Mob' is
bold and fast, lots of attitude," Schwartz said. "'Alleybird' is
lazy, swampy blues, 'Panguar Ban' is a quirky New Orleans groove
with Celtic harmony, 'Dawn Song' I'd describe as a stirring ballad,
and 'The Contender' is hard-swinging, à la Art Blakey & the Jazz
Messengers." "What unites them is the strong sense of melody,"
Schwartz went on to say. "I like to write the kind of music I'd want
to listen to — music that grabs a listener and that grooves,
regardless of whether the music fits squarely in the classical jazz
tradition or pushes it in new directions."”
~ Jean Bartlett - MercuryNews.com,
Brian Culbertson - Modern Life (1995)
"The jazz world keeps so busy talking about the young lions on the
straight-ahead side, it's easy to overlook the enormous potential of
contemporary wunderkinds like keyboard whiz Brian Culbertson. The
Chicago native's Long Night Out was one of last year's radio
smashes, but he reaches even deeper into his vast melodic artistry
for a unique perspective on Modern Life."
Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals -
"On one hand, it doesn't seem right to hear a band with a
flute-and-vibes instrumentation and immediately compare it to the
collaborations of Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson. The latter two
are great artists to evoke, but it feels like it goes for the easy
description. Then again, Aquarius does just that on the back cover,
amending it by saying the album gives the reference "a Chicago
twist." So it's not just me. Flutist Nicole Mitchell has written for
a number of bands over the last several years, including a string
quartet, a project inspired by modern science fiction with intense
vocals (that worked where others failed) and smaller groups.
Aquarius, she says, is the first album in a while where she simply
wrote tunes without an overarching concept, and as such it comes off
like more of a straight ahead band with themes and solos - albeit
ones that avoid anything standard in that situation."
Frank Piombo - The Night Speaks (A
Smooth Jazz Journey)
"If Frank Piombo's guitar could be described in a simple sentence,
it would be cabernet-worthy. You know very well the sort of music
that you want to have with a glass of fine wine and dimmed lights,
in an upscale restaurant or a dark-wood-paneled intimate club.
Piombo, whose career spans three decades and whose guitar has made
waves across the world's jazz stations, delivers that ambiance and
more in a direct, engaging tone and a recognizable and relatable
~ Detroit Jazz Magazine,
Lin Rountree - Sumthin' Good (2008)
"Trumpeter Lin Rountree recently revealed in a Jazzreview.com
feature article that the kids in his high school class often called
him "a sax man" and by the way, he moves his trumpet's notes, you
would swear that he is a skilled saxophone player. But Rountree's
instrument of choice is the trumpet and/or flugelhorn and he plays
them with the gracefulness of Tim Cunningham, the cruising smooth
dynamics of Jack Prybylski and the sultry R&B piping associated with
Kirk Whalum, all of whom are saxophone players. Rountree's playing
has been compared to acclaimed trumpeters like Chris Botti and Kenny
G., but once you hear Rountree play, you'll never confuse him for
someone else. Produced by Billy Meadows and Dana Davis, Sumthin'
Good delivers on its promise to offer audiences something that is
~ Susan Frances - JazzReview.com,
Otis Taylor -
Recapturing the Banjo (2008)
"Thanks to films like Deliverance and the rise
of bluegrass since the mid-'50s, the banjo has come to be associated with white
Appalachia in most people's minds, but the instrument actually has its origins
in West Africa, arriving in the New World via the slave trade, and consequently
became a dominant factor in early African-American song styles. A simple
instrument with tremendous modal possibilities, the banjo, particularly in its
five-string version, also has a much wider range of tones, approaches, and
styles in its repertoire than most people only familiar with the slash-and-burn
speed style of modern bluegrass are likely to realize. In this regard, the title
of Otis Taylor's ninth album, Recapturing the Banjo, is quite literally a
~ Steve Leggett - AllMusic,
Christian McBride Trio
- Out Here (2013)
"With 'Out Here', premier bassist Christian
McBride introduces his latest working group, a trio completed by two younger,
emerging artists - pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. - both
members of McBride's Inside Straight group. "It's a pretty diversified trio,"
says McBride, "The real core foundation is hardcore swingin', blues and the
American songbook." 'Out Here' is McBride's 11th recording as a leader. The trio
play two original compositions, alongside standards and songs by Oscar Peterson,
Dr. Billy Taylor and the Johnnie Taylor hit "Who's Making Love". Considering the
tendency of many young players to focus on complex rhythms, baroque technique,
and being different for the sake of difference, hearing these three gentlemen
explore jazz fundamentals with such wonder, drive and sensitivity serves as a
~ propermusic.com, CD Discography, Facebook, Reverbnation and Website.
Zachary Breaux -
"With a prickly, doodling jazz chorusey style,
the late guitarist Zachary Breaux could fit comfortably into the Earl Klugh
light-and-breezy smooth jazz mold-but his willingness to experiment on his
strong recording, Uptown Groove (Zebra ZD 44002; 64:40) set him apart. Breaux, a
well-traveled sideman whose touring credits included a stint with Roy Ayers, is
all over his instrument, hitting light, high-toned chords on "Cafe Reggio" and
trading soulful licks with flutist Hubert Laws on "I Told You."
Hilarie Grey - Jazz Times,
Shoshana Bean -
O'Farrell Street (2013)
"Wicked' and 'Hairspray' alum Shoshana Bean
recently released her sophomore record O' Farrell Street. Bean produced the
album with the help of Kickstarter, a website that funds independent projects.
After an album release concert and party at the Sayers Club in LA, O' Farrell
Street was made available February 12. Thanks to Kickstarter, Bean earned 430
backers and raised $28,700 for the production of the album. If her first solo
album Superhero blew you away, you should prepare for a tornado after you hear
O' Farrell Street. Like Superhero, Beans new album is full of powerhouse songs
that will make you want to belt with Bean."
Brittany Goldfield Rodrigues - BWW CD Review,
Patrick Yandall - Samoa Soul (2006)
"Smooth jazz has many complexions and one particularly distinctive
hue is that which shines back from the laid back music confines of
San Diego. Maybe this is due in part to the now legendary winery
events that populate the musical calendar of the area. Perhaps it's
simply the routinely wonderful weather that gives the plethora of
great open air shows at hotels and resorts their own special
feeling. Whatever the reason, a sure thing is that if one musician
epitomizes that San Diego vibe it is guitarist Patrick Yandall."
~ Smooth Jazz Therapy.
Gretchen Parlato -
Live in NYC (2013)
"Subscribers to the thesis that a great jazz
singer uses her voice in much the same way a horn player uses her instrument
looking for evidence can point with assurance to the vocals of Gretchen Parlato.
The pixie with the subdued breathy style is a singer who thinks like an
instrumentalist. Live in NYC, her latest album, a set of nine previously
recorded tunes revamped and recreated over the years, makes the point
emphatically. The set is testimony to both Parlato's musicianship and her
Jack Goodstein - Blogcritics.Org,
Fourplay - Energy (2008) "Energy: a
word that means power or force. It's appropriate that Energy is also the title
of Fourplay's debut with Heads Up. Fourplay, a double entendre, is the quartet
of Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason and Larry Carlton. Each, an individual
band leader or session sideman in his own right, the four spend part of their
time as a supergroup. Collectively, they've appeared on numerous recordings and
gained widespread appeal. Among their associations are Tom Scott & The L.A.
Express, Crusaders, Steely Dan, Mike Post, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Kirk
Whalum, Maynard Ferguson and George Duke. The band mixes contemporary jazz with
a variety of other styles, including blues, R&B, and African music."
~ Woodrow Wilkins - All About Jazz
Gerald Clayton - Life
"In a celebration of creative freedom, pianist
and composer Gerald Clayton is out with his latest album Life Forum. Straying
away from the trio sound that we heard on his last album Bond: The Paris
Sessions, this new release features a full ensemble. Resting the tradition of
classic swing aside, Life Forum takes ownership of an original sound that does
not feel like just another fusion album. With trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire,
saxophonists Dayna Stephens and Logan Richardson, bassist Joe Sanders, drummer
Justin Brown, and vocalists Gretchen Parlato and Sachal Vasandani, this 12-track
album is filled with New York's finest."
~ Zeb Stern - iRockJazz,
Kirk Whalum - Forever,
For Always, For Luther (2004)
"Luther Vandross has the distinction of being
the most recognized voice of any singer in his generation. For more than 20
years, he has been on the Top 10 charts in both the pop and R&B categories. His
signature style has mesmerized audiences the world over with charisma and tonal
perfection. Luther's songs have been recorded numerous times by artists in both
categories and he is considered by many to be one of the most prolific singers
around today. Unfortunately, in recent years his voice has been all but silenced
by a debilitating illness, yet the legacy of his numerous recordings remains
firmly intact as a result of his years as an icon. Luther's reputation is the
stuff of legend. Since his debut in the early eighties, he has garnered numerous
accolades and a number of Grammy awards. Due to his illness, Luther has not been
recording for the most part, much to the dismay of his many fans. But in honor
of the contributions he has made to contemporary music, a group of star-studded
jazz artists have gotten together to record a very endearing CD entitled
'Forever, For Always, For Luther.'"
Sheldon T. Nunn - JazzReview.com,
Luther Vandross Discography.
Hiromi - SPIRAL (2006) |
"It's exciting to see an artist develop. It's thrilling to hear how self-assured and confident a group of musicians can become when they learn, grow and develop their talents together. It's a joyous and satisfying experience when it all comes together in an burst of aesthetic brilliance. And that is exactly what Spiral is. This is the album that Hiromi Uehara, the piano prodigy from Japan, has been building to. In 65 minutes and 40 seconds of flawless playing and bold conceptualizing, Hiromi, along with her fellow Berklee-bred musicians, Tony Grey on bass and Martin Valihora on drums charge through what she describes as "three-piece orchestral music." Whatever you want to call it, you'll find this to be astonishingly graceful, driving and accomplished music." - Jeff Winbush - JazzReview.com.
New Gary Burton Quartet
- Guided Tour (2013)
"‘From the first recording of this band,
everything just clicked perfectly' is Gary Burton's reaction to the tightness,
cohesion and brisk inventiveness of his New Quartet, which is completed by
guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. This is
the band's second album (Common Ground was their 2012 debut), and it is indeed,
as Burton points out, notable for ‘the richness of the content, the range of the
compositions, and how well the group captured each piece'. In addition to the
elegant, assured vibes soloing of Burton himself, this richly varied and
unfussily musicianly album also features another in the line of superb
guitarists championed by him (Pat Metheny and Larry Coryell got their first
breaks in his band).” ~
Chris Parker - LondonJazz CD Review,
Ragan Whiteside -
"With a magical combination of neo soul and
urban jazz, Smooth Jazz Therapy favorite and flautist extraordinaire Ragan
Whiteside is back on the scene with her brand new project ‘Evolve'. It follows
her 2007 recording ‘Class Axe', which at the time I described as finding the
sweet spot where contemporary jazz meets smooth R & B, and in common with this
previous release benefits hugely from the input of Bob Baldwin and Dennis
Johnson. Perfectly demonstrating the talents of Whiteside, not only as a sublime
flute player, but also as a songwriter and vocalist, ‘Evolve' is right up there
with the best contemporary jazz albums of 2012.” ~
Smooth Jazz Therapy,
Drew Davidsen - True Drew (2013)
“The material that makes up “TRUE DREW” mirrors the mission of the
man. Beginning with the infectious “My Guitar” that is ignited by a
spirit-raising guitar and celestial vocal hook, Davidsen ventures onto “95
South” in search of an energetic exploration, brazenly allowing the music –
jazz, R&B, blues and adult pop – to be his guide. Riffing adventurously
throughout, he gives a “Hi5” to his traveling companions on the album, an
accomplished lot that boasts Bobby Lyle, Eric Marienthal, Bob Baldwin, Gerald
Veasley, and the Temptations' Ron Tyson.”
Alicia Keys "Elements of Freedeom" (2009) "Alicia Keys is the real deal. In the increasngly prefabricated world of contemporary R&B, she is a fresh alternative. She can sing. She can play the piano. She can write. She's elegant yet sexy. And she strategically strikes that difficult balance between art and commerce. The Element of Freedom, her anticipated fourth collection of new tunes, merits repeated listens." ~ MARIO TARRADELL - DallasNews.com, CD Discography, Website and Facebook.
- So Far From Home (2009)
“by guitarist Torcuato Mariano is as surprising as it is delightful.
Given his South American heritage one might have expected Mariano to
use this release as his homage to the music of bossa nova that
celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Instead, as if from
no-where and under the good guidance of nuGroove Records, he has
delivered ten original smooth jazz stunners that look likely to
instantly catapult him into the upper echelons of the genre.”
Yellow Jackets - Club Nocturne (1998) "For their fourteenth album as a band, the Yellowjackets announced the desire to go in a different direction from their previous outings. The difference on Club Nocturne is the inclusion of four vocal tracks. Fortunately, there is no difference here in the high level of musicianship and compositional quality long associated with this quartet. In fact, Club Nocturne is very much of a piece with its immediate predecessors, Dreamland and Blue Hats. "Spirit of the West" and "Stick_to_it_ive_ness" kick the CD off in a buoyant mood, emphasizing Russell Ferrante's inventive songwriting, Jimmy Haslip's nimble-fingered, melodic basswork, and Bob Mintzer's soprano saxophone mastery. The groove is solid, unmistakably Yellowjackets. " ~ Jim Newsom - AllMusic.com, CD Discography, Wikipedia, Website and Facebook.
Elias - Dreamer (2004) "Brazilian-born pianist and
singer Eliane Elias has now spent half her life in Brazil and half in the United
States. For this release, her second Bluebird Jazz recording, Elias selected the
repertoire carefully, choosing meaningful songs that would work in a bossa nova
setting, by both American and Brazilian composers, most of the latter of which
already had lyrics in English. (Two, "Movin' Me On and "Time Alone, are original
songs, her first in English.) In addition to the predominantly English lyrics,
two other characteristics set this album apart from her prior efforts: she is
backed throughout by the lush sounds of an orchestra, and here Elias the singer
is front and center, accompanied by Elias the exquisite pianist. ”
~ J. Robert Bragonier - AllAboutJazz.com,
Jill Scott - Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds
Vol. 1 (2000) "By sharing her innermost sensibilities and
emotions Scott ensures that by the time you have listened to Who Is Jill Scott?,
your questions will have been more than answered. Operating on so many levels
beyond mere words and sounds, this album is a veritable window into her soul.
Indeed, there is no mystery. Working in combination with the exceptional
production skills of Jazzy Jeff's Touch of Jazz collective this extremely
talented poet/singer/songwriter has produced an album that clearly defines who
she is. Make no mistake this is a bona fide contemporary classic that will be
listened to for many years to come." - Colin
Ross - PopMatters.com”
- Eurolines (2000)
"So I can't pronounce the cat's name. It matters not.
That's what makes Jazz — almost any music, for that matter — so singularly
inspiring. It transcends such narrow boundaries as name, rank, serial number,
age, ethnicity or other specious considerations. The only question that must be
answered is, “Can he (or she) play?” Guitarist Johan Leijonhufvud and his
hard–working associates (bassist Christian Spering, drummer Peter Nilsson)
respond musically with an emphatic “yes” on Eurolines, recorded in concert last
October at the Cosmopolitan Café in Malmö, Sweden." ~
Jack Bowers - AllAboutJazz.com,
- No Beginning No End (2013)
"No Beginning and No End puts everything together for the
35 year-old James—a recording that is sexy, hip, engrossing, and eclectic
without being unfocused. Jazz may be there in some of the singer's phrasing and
tonal control, in the slick piano work by Robert Glasper or Kris Bowers, or in
the pocket-funky horn parts, but mainly this is a set that hits you square in
gut or the ass or the heart. It's slippery and funky and ready to move you
several ways." ~
Will Layman - PopMatters,
Patrick Yandall - The
Window (2010) "Bringing the same kind of emotional depth and
stylistic diversity to contemporary jazz as his heroes and chief influences Lee
Ritenour and Larry Carlton, guitarist/composer Patrick Yandall has blazed
creative and commercial trails that have inspired a new generation of
independent instrumental musicians to pursue their dreams without compromise.
Sixteen years after breaking onto the scene with his first national recording
That Feels Nice—a sentiment shared by thousands of fans who still have that
seminal work in their collections—the multi-talented San Diego based performer
is as dynamic, passionate and inventive as ever on his Innervisions Records
debut The Window, which marks his incredible 11th release to date."
~ Jonathan Widran - smoothjazzdaily,
CD Discography and
Unzueta - Thoughts Revealed (2012) "Frank Unzueta (2012)
- Thoughts Revealed - The music on Thoughts Revealed is not really a new sound
in jazz, as pianist/composer Frank Unzueta considers it to be. It is, in fact,
rather determinedly old-fashioned in a good sense. The CD mainly focuses on
Unzueta not surprisingly, since he produced it and wrote all the music but also
showcases the talents of Gordon Peeke on drums and percussion, Larry Steen on
acoustic and electric bass, and Eric Marienthal on soprano saxophone. The
performers play well together and, just as importantly, play well off each
other, handing tunes and themes among themselves neatly and pleasantly. The nine
tracks on the disc meander through most of the moods that jazz conveys.”
Feist - The Reminder (2007) |
"On The Reminder, Feist (with some help from Gonzales) continues in the same vein, producing a stunning and unique album of songs that manage to bridge the sizable gap adult contemportary and indie. Recorded in a manor house in rural France in just a few short weeks, this album is destined to be one of the best of the year... By the time The Reminder closes with the album highlight “How My Heart Behaves,” a mesmerizing duet Eirik Glambek Boe of the Kings of Convenience, it's clear that Feist is a rare commodity in the world of indie music; an artist whose talent matches her ambition." - ~ Matt Henderson - relevantmagazine.com.
- 21 (2011) What a difference two years makes. "Adele underscores the
point right in the titles of her CDs. She named her first "19," after her age
when she recorded it. Twenty-four months later, she has dubbed the new one "21,"
but the growth spurt it measures suggests a span of decades. Make no mistake,
"19" was no novice leap. It showed a young singer blessed with a handsome tone,
ample lung power and an enviable ability to negotiate a tune. It fully deserved
its platinum sales and Best New Artist Grammy."
~ J. Farber - nydailynews.com, CD
Alice Coltrane - Impulse Story (2006)
"Alice Coltrane has always had a raw deal from the jazz world. Either patronized or dismissed out of hand, she's suffered the
double whammy of one, being a woman in what (until very recently) was overwhelmingly a man's world, and two, being John Coltrane's
widow""and therefore, by some strange logic, not a serious artist in her own right. ".
~ Chris Mayall - aboutjazz.com,
CD Discography, and
Yoko Miwa Trio
- Live at Scullers Jazz Club (2011)
"Is live always better? Does the no second takes,
out-on-a-limb aspect of playing in front of a live audience, and feeding off its
energy result in the best recordings? It seems to work that way for Boston-based
pianist Yoko Miwa on Live At Scullers Jazz Club, a mix of tunes from The Great
American Songbook and the world of rock, shuffled in with her own outstanding
compositions. An original pressing of a hundred copies of the show—done as a
memento for the audience members this particular night—garnered such a positive
response that Miwa decided to have the music remixed and mastered for a general
by DAN MCCLENAGHAN - All About Jazz,
Henry - So Good So Right (2013) "Similar to singers such
as Nancy Wilson, Henry brings a jazz sense of timing and phrasing to her vocals.
That is heard in the swaying version of “Waiting in Vain” featured on So Good So
Right (Henry fans might recall that she included a version of the Bob Marley
classic on her studio album Embraceable). Like Aretha Franklin, Henry can speak
a variety of musical languages, and this allows her to shift genres. ”
~ Howard Dukes - SoulTracks,
U-NAM - Back From The 80's (2007)
"His new album "Back From the 80's" offers songs from the 80's and
new compositions. After the first tones one immediately remarks the
high professionalism of the album. That's no wonder because U-Nam is
supported by the Merkevah Orchestra and the M.A. strings section
conducted by Raymond Gimenes, furthermore by the Paris horns
(Thierry Farrugia, Christian Martinez and Bernard Camoin). With such
a fuliminant sound in the background every track gets its own
noblesse... U-NAM shares so much memories with us. It's fantastic.
This album is one of the best smooth jazz albums I heard since
several years. Without exception strong songs, no filler. The UK
Version features a bonus disc of great vocal tracks including
Rahsaan Patterson and Phil Perry. My favorite track of this R&B side
project is Blue Mood featuring singer Leeda and Gary Meek on sax."
~ HBH - Smooth-Jazz.de.
Moulder - The Eleventh Hour (2012) "Whereas many of
Chicago's jazz and blues guitar icons seem to channel the dark alleys and the
bar sign neon of the city through their instruments, John Moulder's sound is
more akin to a synthesis of the lakefront—a beauty and serenity that is just as
likely to show a face of fury and cold precision. For some time now, Moulder has
quietly been developing his sound into something quite unique. The Eleventh Hour
provides the opportunity to hear it in a live setting.”
~ Dave Summer - All About Jazz,
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters (1973) "One of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time, 'Head Hunters' challenged musical boundaries, and produced jazz-funk classic 'Chameleon'... Head Hunters was for over twenty years the biggest-selling album in jazz history, and its influence was heard throughout the fusion movement and beyond, its tracks being sampled on numerous hip-hop records. Its mixture of funk, rock, electronic and jazz music blended in hitherto unheard ways, and gave Hancock the licence to follow his muse through numerous genres in the near-four decades since." - Karl Keely - jazz.suite101.com.
Patrick Lamb - It's All Right Now (2011)
“What is more comforting than pop music of the '70s? Maybe it's the
round sounds of those early keyboards or the soul choruses that
makes that era so warm. Whatever it is, just when you think they
don't make 'em like that anymore comes Portland jazz saxophonist
Patrick Lamb with 20/20 hindsight and Rhodes-wielding producer (and
one-time Kenny G collaborator) Jeff Lorber on "It's All Right Now."
In the tradition of Maceo Parker, saxophonist for everyone from
James Brown and Parliament to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lamb celebrates
upbeat, melody-driven funk with a wholesome feel.”
~ Jason Simms, Special to The Oregonian ,
Dr. Lonnie Smith
- Rise Up! (2009)
“When the Hammond B-3 organ enjoyed a revival several years ago, few
came out the better for it. The old guys either repeated or tried to
recapture what they'd done before and too few of the new guys had
anything new to say. But then there was Lonnie Smith. This veteran
of '60s organ combos, the genre's golden age, quietly returned to
the scene in the early '90s, sporting a turban and a new prefix to
his name. He seemed reborn, he wasn't regurgitating what he'd done
like so many of the others. He was working a whole new groove and
making some of the best music of his career.”
~ Douglas Payne - All About Jazz,
MySpace page and
- Standard Domain (2012)
"On his latest release, Carr argues for the continued
importance of a standard repertoire. It's not a groundbreaking statement by
anyone's count, but maybe it seems at least a little bit meaningful today, when
jazz means so many things to so many people. Characteristically, his statement
is pro-tradition but anti-dogma; he's not sticking to any routine playbook. On
Standard Domain, Carr delves into a handful of lesser-heard but still immortal
by Giovanni Russonello - CapitalBop,
Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and
Dulfer - Funked Up (Heads Up) (2009)
“Dutch sax superstar Candy Dulfer was grooving heavily along, making
the funkiest recording of her life when an interesting and
ultimately irresistible job came up for her and her sizzling band.
They were asked by Dutch filmmaker Fred van Dijk to record the
soundtrack for “Kissed By A Grape,” a documentary exploring the
world of organic winemaking. Musically, that's a world away from
Dulfer's wild touring experiences and sessions for Prince, but she
took the gig and created what are decidedly ambient vibes for the
— Jonathan Widran - JazzMonthly.com
Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A.
- Area 52 (2012)
“Rodrigo y Gabriela are one of those rare acts who can leave you
open-mouthed in awe when witnessed live. There's something mesmerising about
watching the Dublin-based Mexican duo thrashing seven shades of salsa-flavoured
jazz-metal fusion out of their long-suffering acoustic guitars on stage. Much of
their appeal lies in this exceptional playing: the pair can often resemble a
couple of demonically possessed Hispanic street urchins caught just after
trading their souls to el Diablo at a crossroads somewhere near Guadalajara.”
Johnny Sharp - bbc.co.uk.
Robert Glasper - Double Booked (2009)
“Robert Glasper is one of the most promising jazz pianists of his
generation. Alongside the likes of Taylor Eigsti and Vijay Iyer, he is part of
the chasing pack likely to break through into the lead. In his jazz trio,
Glasper combines a sharp brain with nimble-fingered technique, taste with
restraint. Beyond this trio, Glasper has eclectic tastes and regularly works
alongside hip hop artists such as Q-Tip, Bilal, Mos Def and The Roots. He leads
the Robert Glasper Experiment, an outlet for his hip hop-flavoured music. On
Double Booked, his third Blue Note, he showcases both aspects of his music.”
John Eyles - BBC Music,
Lee Ritenour - Rhythm Sessions (2012)
“Ritenour does a combination of an all star rhythm section featuring such talent
as Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Dave Grusin and combines the prolific genius
of these giants of jazz with Winners of his Annual Six String Theory
International Competition. Rhythm Sessions is a slightly unique conceptual idea
in that it celebrates the net worth and vital place held by the rhythm section
in any musical endeavor of substance. What makes this release so special and in
some cases the proverbial critics worst nightmare is not from a performance but
from a compositional perspective. While the improvisational jazz root is firmly
fixed, the genre and in some cases soundscapes created move in layers of funk,
Latin and even what I would refer to as neo-classical world music. ” ~
Sever - Danger Girl (2012) "You know when you hear
one of Prince's funk songs, for example ‘Musicology', and wish that all of his
songs were like that? In fact you wish they were instrumentals with cool guitar
melodies and solos playing over the top? In that case may I recommend to you
Aleks Sever's album ‘Danger Girl‘!. This album is full of the funkiest
instrumental guitar music I've heard in a long, long time. If Larry Carlton,
Prince and Robben Ford were to somehow conceive a child together Aleks would be
that Telecaster weilding woman. The last time I got so excited about a funk
album was when I heard Quantic Soul Orchestra's ‘Pushin On' back in 2005.”
~ Jon - GuitarNoize.com,
Ojeda - Space Bar Love (2012) "Ojeda's album Space
Bar Love shows what an immensely gifted talent she is when it comes to just
that: writing and performing an album that transcends genres. This singer from
Los Angeles has a laidback, jazzy vocal style that's a throwback to the jazz
singers of yore and goes best with only an acoustic guitar or a lonely piano as
an accompaniment. Her voice is a dependable soundtrack for a cozy romantic
~ Vish Iyer - The Daily Vault, CD
Nat Janoff - Come Together Move Apart
“Listening to guitarist Nat Janoff 's latest album reminded me of
what makes the indie jazz scene alternately exhilarating and depressing. The
exhilaration comes in discovering absolutely wonderful music that few people
have heard. The depression comes from the realization that true talent, at least
in this genre, too often languishes in obscurity. Janoff has a half-dozen albums
to his name. His latest, "Come Together Move Apart," is a strong effort in every
~ Tony Rogers - Jazz CD Reviews, Website, discography and MySpace.
The Archives - Archives (2012)
“When my editor asked me to review the debut album by DC-based group
The Archives, I was going to reply politely, “I don't do reggae.” I mean, I
enjoy reggae — who doesn't, right? Bob Marley and Gregory Isaacs seemed to
possess the remarkable ability to make people unwittingly bob their heads, like
something out of Beetlejuice. (I know the song was Harry Belafonte and calypso,
but just go with it.) Nonetheless, I decided to give the album a listen, and I'm
glad I did. The Archives are definitely onto something, and their lyrics are
refreshingly perceptive. Before I go any further, don't get it twisted. The
beats, produced by famed Thievery Corporation DJ Eric Hilton, are ear honey — at
times, reminiscent of all the classic reggae jams produced by Tuff Gong himself;
at other times, a mixture of soul and jazz. But I'm a lyrics lover, first and
foremost, and the lyrics and themes on this album are socially provocative from
the moment you press play.” ~
Hector Luis Alamo, Jr. - Gozamos.com,
Bromberg - In The Spirit of Jobim Artistry (2012) "A
former editor once cautioned me on "gratuitous self reference" when it came to
critical review. While the point is well taken, how can you not be passionate
about music that exudes passion from its cultural core. Perhaps the editor
struggled with the difference between honesty, personal opinion and perspective
as opposed to arbitrary stylistic guidelines. In short; you can not arbitrarily
stylize passion and anyone that travels in my cultural inner circle knows
Brazilian music and especially the music of Jobim is my musical sweet spot and
if you are of the same inclination then In The Spirit Of Jobim is guaranteed to
make your musical back leg shake!”
~ Brent Black - CriticalJazz.com, CD
- Distraction (2012) "here are a lot of artists that play the
eclectic field well, so well, that being classified in a specific genre is
almost a thing of the past, but what is the difference with Orly? Her voice.
It's a crisp n' clear vocal that has impeccable and controlled diction and
really suits each of these tunes with the utmost class. The best example of that
is on track "Beautiful Disguise". You can hear every word, every emotion drip
from that voice. We've been so used to hearing voices that creak and moan,
applauding the rawness, that hearing Orly reminds one that simple can be just as
effective. Even when she's doing my much abhorred 2012 gamut of Motown baiting
("Get Together With The One You Love"), she is so spunky and pure, that the
vintage sound is dressed up in fresh and modish flair. Yes, this is how you
capture the Motown spirit and ward off sounding like a Amy Winehouse rip-off.""
~ Audio Diva Blog,
Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
“The love song is the most written and performed of all songs, a
fact that encompasses most genres. It's arguably the most popular with
audiences. But it's also a punching bag, often disparaged by critics and laymen
alike for being an outpost of cheap sentiment, hackneyed emotionalism and just
plain bad lyric writing. A quick look at current music charts reinforces that
perspective. Artists like 22-year-old Lianne La Havas, whose sublime debut CD,
"Is Your Love Big Enough?," was released Tuesday, remind us of the power of the
artful lyric, the soulful (nonhistrionic) reading of said lyric, and the
importance of smart, understated production. London-based La Havas wrote or
cowrote all the songs on the album except for her cover of Scott Matthews'
Ernest Hardy, Special to the Los Angeles Times,
Yandall - A New Day (2009)
"If there is one musician whose style typifies the sun soaked vibe
synonymous with the city of San Diego it is guitarist Patrick
Yandall. When in 2006 I reviewed his album ‘Samoa Soul' I described
him as having rhythm and melody pumping through every vein of his
body and his 2008 follow-up ‘Laws Of Groovity' provided further
evidence of his distinct southern Californian groove. Now, with his
latest project, ‘A New Day', he has surpassed himself with a
wonderful collection of eleven self penned tracks that is jam packed
with some of the best contemporary jazz you will hear this year."
~ Smooth Jazz Therapy,
CD Discography and
Rhonda Smith - RS2 (2006)
“RS2 has it's own distinctive sound - or make that sounds. The album
crosses various music genres, from Funk to Soul to R&B, to Jazz. There's even a
Blues song called - get this - "Country Music." "It has elements of everything,"
Smith said of RS2. "But it's more Funk, Rock, R&B. It has a little bit of
everything. regarding the "Country Music" song, which features Marcus Waller,
she said the track wasn't originally meant to be a full song. "There were four
songs that were meant to be interludes," she reveals. "And we just loved it so
much, ("Country Music") became a full song."” ~
Mark Edward Nero - About.com R&B Soul,
- Live at Birdland West (1991)
favorites are the two selections from Live at Birdland West,
“Georgia On My Mind” and “Boss of Nova” – not just because these
songs benefit from the talents of Joe Sample and Harvey Mason (on
“Boss”) and Patrick Moten (a scorching organ solo on “Georgia” which
lights Albright on fire), but also because the energy of the
audience pushes Albright to dig deeper and the tunes provide nice
counterpoint to the hit-oriented material. Albright's collaboration