Mariah Parker - Windows Through Time (2024) "Windows Through Time is Mariah Parker’s latest exploration into the depths of Latin jazz, articulated through the lens of her unique musical vision. This album is a confluence of cultures, time periods, and musical expressions, encapsulated within seven masterfully crafted tracks. Each piece is a vignette, offering listeners a portal into varied emotional landscapes and narratives, meticulously woven together by Parker and her ensemble of accomplished musicians. The new album brings together a constellation of musicians whose contributions are cohesive and interactive. The interplay between Claudia Villela’s haunting vocals and Paul McCandless’ saxophone on the title track exemplifies the album’s synergistic spirit, creating a dialogue that is magical and transformative. Matthew Montfort, known for his pioneering work on scalloped fretboard guitar, introduces a unique timbral quality that blends seamlessly with the intricate rhythms provided by the ensemble. This collaborative approach enriches the album’s sound palette but also embodies Parker’s vision of bridging musical traditions through shared creativity and exploration." ~ Press Release -

Boney James - Detour (2022): "The thing about a new Boney James album is that it is the same old Boney James album. James has skillfully found his niche as a musician and doggone if he's going to stray far from it. Detour is the saxophonist's 18th album as a leader, but the formula (and the songs) remain the same. Start off with that buttery sweet tenor sax right upfront, add some keyboards, programmed drums, and quietly strummed guitars, throw in a vocal track or two (here provided by Lalah Hathaway), and always keep it short and to the point. The album clocks in at an economical 40 minutes and not one track hits five minutes in length. Stir, bake, and serve up piping hot, and there you have it." ~ Jeff Winbush -, Website, Discography and Facebook.

Cory Weeds -Home Cookin' (2023) "Cory Weeds, a prominent figure in the contemporary jazz scene, has made a remarkable statement with his Little Big Band's latest album Home Cookin'. The session showcases a vibrant collection of compositions/arrangements carefully curated to resonate with his personal journey, including those by Horace Silver, Thad Jones and Oliver Nelson, which are essential to him for a variety of reasons. The band comprises ten of his favorite world-class Vancouver, BC-based musicians. " ~ Pierre Giroux -, Website.

Jonathan Kreisberg - Night Songs (2009) "With six dates already as a leader under his belt, including two previous efforts for Criss Cross, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg decided to tap into the creative possibilities offered by assembling an album built almost entirely on ballads. In the process, he reveals another side of his musical personality that will be a revelation to fans only familiar with previous sets that predominantly featured his own original compositions. Nonetheless, it should be noted up front that Kreisberg was not interested in creating a novelty just for the sake of trying something different, but instead came to the concept in a very organic manner. " ~ C. Andrew Hovan -, Wikipedia, YouTube, Website.

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 Smoke Sessions.

Keiko Matsui - Journey To The Heart (2016) "Tokyo born pianist Keiko Matsui is not just a jazz player. Part of her music is emotionality but also spirituality. This is shown not only by her musical depth but also her very cordial relationship to fans and listeners. Keiko states? "Journey To The Heart is my gift to my fans. I want to deliver the most beautiful and emotional experience... Keiko Matsui initiates her great musical personality, attitude and talent in this new project. With a premier selection of musicians from outside of the known smooth jazz circle she manages to take the next step on her Journey To The Heart. Keiko has composed all songs on the new album. She is accompanied by bassist Carlitos del Puerto, who also produced and arranged this project, drummer Jimmy Branley, guitarist Ramon Stagnero, percussionist Luis Quintero, harmonica player Gregoire Maret and JP Mouran, who plays additional guitar on Carnival." ~
Sharon Robinson - Everybody Knows (2008) "Sharon Robinson is best known for her work with Leonard Cohen. Past tours (and his current one) as back-up singer for Cohen has introduced her distinctive vocals to many people and for many this debut solo album has been too long coming. But what isn’t obvious to anyone except those who scrupulously read album credits is that Sharon has been writing songs for many years for other artists and enjoying a great deal of success in doing so. Apart from a major input in Cohen’s ‘Ten New Songs’ as writer, producer, arranger and vocalist and songs dotted throughout other Cohen albums, Sharon has composed songs for Randy Crawford, Diana Ross, Aaron Neville, Roberta Flack and even contributed to Betty LaVette’s critically-acclaimed ‘I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise’ album." ~ Malcolm Carter -, website.
Lucine Fyelon - Imperfect (2023) "Lucine’s passion for creativity led her to embark on songwriting and music production as well, which quickly became an integral part of her artistic expression. As a songwriter and a producer, Lucine wrote more than two dozen original songs, including two studio albums, titled "LUCINE" and "IMPERFECT." Her breakthrough song "Poundcake" went viral on Facebook, collecting 21 million views within a few days. This online recognition captured the attention of talent scouts, who invited Lucine to participate in the renowned "Showtime at the Apollo" TV show, hosted by Steve Harvey. With a commanding stage presence, and an electrifying performance, Lucine won the hearts of the Apollo audience by taking the first-place prize. Lucine's continued showcasing her talent with the esteemed "Cirque du Soleil" show, Cristal. As a solo violinist and a singer, she graced the stage for over 100 shows across Canada and North America, with her virtuosity and emotional expressive performances." website, Amazon Music.
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque - Playing With Fire (2023) "The Toronto-based flautist and master of the skittish soprano sax has had a long-standing love affair with the music of Cuba – long enough to earn her the nickname “Havana Jane”. She has recorded with many a Cuban musician, often with her regular band Spirits of Havana, for the Canadian label Justin Time, as well as for Blue Note and others. She even sponsored a Flute Summit in Havana back in the 1990s. Appropriately enough, in this week that has seen International Women’s Day, her latest album was recorded in the company of her all-female band Maqueque, whose mission during its ten-year existence has been to elevate the profile of women musicians in Cuba."
~, Discography.
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
Black Art Jazz Collective - Ascension (2020): The name has obvious political resonance. Indeed, the raison d'être of the Black Art Jazz Collective, the sextet founded by Wayne Escoffery, Jeremy Pelt and Jonathon Blake in 2013, is to celebrate African American excellence on the one hand, and—not unrelated—to raise political consciousness on the other. The BAJC's debut album,Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club (Sunnyside Records, 2016) paid homage to W. E. B. Dubois and Barack Obama, while recalling, too, the history of slavery. Ascension plows a similar furrow, both musically and thematically, with the long shadow of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers ever present." ~ Ian Patterson -
Michael Dease - The Other Shoe: The Music of Gregg Hill (2023) "Here is a highly enjoyable album from trombonist Michael Dease, who skillfully tackles the musical universe of composer Gregg Hill. A permanent winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll, trombonist Michael Dease has embraced his role as a torchbearer for his mentors and jazz ancestors in his 15 commercially-released recordings that are deeply swinging and cutting-edge. For The Other Shoe, Dease teams up with the formidable composer Gregg Hill, expanding his rhythmic and harmonic palette with a flexible, contemporary perspective, while remaining true to the sensibilities that are at the heart of his music. With the prodigiously talented pianist Geoffrey Keezer, Dease is joined by a wide range of musicians, each recruited for their unique perspectives and talents, including clarinetist Virginia MacDonald, bassist Liany Mateo, and drummer Colleen Clark, among others. The result is a complete delight from start to finish, and as trombonists are not often album leaders, this makes for a singular creation that we love. It is not always easy to put this instrument in the spotlight unless accompanied by a virtuoso performer like Michael Dease, who manages to captivate, amuse, and enroll us in a universe tailored like a custom suit for the artist, accompanied by equally passionate musicians. "   ~ PARIS-MOVE, Website.
Steve Turre - The Bones of Art (2008) "For over 30 years Art Blakey was as influential a band leader as there was in jazz. From 1947 until his death in 1991, his group the Jazz Messengers was a university of jazz for young and talented musicians. Many of these young lions would later become some of the period’s most influential players of the genre. Steve Turre was one of the few musicians who played trombone with Blakey and can be heard on Blakey’s 1973 album Anthenaga along with then members Cedar Walton and Woody Shaw. His experience with Blakey left a lasting impression on the young trombonist and his latest album, The Bones of Art, is as much a dedication to the late band leader as it is a celebration of the diversity of expression available on his instrument, the trombone. Steve used the Blakey connection to realize his dream of fronting a band with three trombone voices leading the way. He assembled fellow Blakey trombone alumni Steve Davis, Frank Lacy and Robin Eubanks to contribute their individual signature sounds along with pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Willie Jones III."   ~ Ralph A. Miriello -
Sona Jobarteh - Fasiya (2011) "It is consistently good, and that is an achievement. It is also refreshing to hear music that does not necessarily fuse African traditional sounds with modern Western pop, but rather uses those traditions and expands on them, while still allowing for it to be accessible. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with fusion of African music and Western music, of course, but there is, comparatively, a lot of it, and so to hear Jobarteh’s take on the genre and to deliver something that is true to its roots but also forward-looking, was a lovely thing to find. " ~ Joel Dwek -, website.
Avery*Sunshine - Four Song & A Bootleg (2022) "In one sense, Four Songs & a Bootleg is two projects: The ‘first’ consists of studio recordings of four new songs, while the ‘second’ finds Sunshine performing live in Atlanta. The live tracks allow those who have never been to an Avery*Sunshine show to experience what makes this artist one of indie soul’s most popular performers – stellar vocals that are deeply influenced by her church background both in her hometown of Chester, Pa. and in Atlanta and her energetic and engaging stage presence." ~, Discography.
Wakana - A Simple Day (2022): Futtsu City, Chiba, Japan born saxophonist WaKaNa succeeded with her first solo project Saxcess Story (2018). The album was produced by keyboardist Greg Manning, who also performs on six of the eight tracks. Her newest album is A Sunny Day (2022). WaKaNa invited to the project a great amount of musicians, which are listed in the credits. The album opens with the 2022 version of Dance with Sea Firefly. The uplifting single has already made a good impression on the radio stations last year... WaKaNa had, as is well known, worked very intensively with keyboardist and producer Greg Manning on her previous album. On this album, it is limited to two tracks, the track Silk is the first, but it is exceptionally brilliantly done." ~
Norman Brown - Let's Get Away (2022) "Veteran guitarist Norman Brown has been a favorite of ours for quite some time. When it comes to R&B based jazz, he is at the top of the list. His latest effort, Let's Get Away is his 13th recording, and he describes it as “A joyful and peaceful mental state, surrounded by companionship in an atmosphere of inspiration and beauty that is illustrated by the colors of nature. There are ten tracks of Jazz, R&B, Blues, and Pop flavors for you to enjoy, and guest musicians on this project include fellow guitarist and label-mate Paul Brown, multi-instrumentalists Wirlie Morris, Shane Theriot and Jeff Carruthers, keyboardists Lew Laing and David Torkanowsky, saxophonist Greg Vail, trumpeter Ron King, drummer Gorden Campbell, bassist Jeff Wolfe, and percussionist Lenny Castro."   ~ ExoticDJ -
Keiko Matsui - Soul Quest (2013) "The Japanese princess of contemporary jazz, the lovely Keiko Matsui, is back with yet another of her mesmerizing collection of tunes on her latest project, Soul Quest, to be released on July 30. True to form, it is full of portraits of this virtuoso's magical journeKeiko's Soul Quest CD's and insights. Sandwiched between a killer lead track ("Dream Seeker") and the killer finale ("Stingo," which pays homage to one of her favorite artists, Sting) is a set of grooves as only Matsui can deliver. "Creating this album was like going on a soul quest, as I tried to figure out how to express the things I was thinking and experiencing during this past year," she states. "This music energizes me and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I listen to it. I hope people will allow themselves to go inside the music and become a part of my journey." I'm certain she will not need to convince many at all." ~ Ronald Jackson -
Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride & Brian Blade - LongGone "The second album from Joshua Redman's reunited '90s quartet, 2022's LongGone is another warmly relaxed affair showcasing the group's seasoned sophistication. When they first debuted on 1994's Moodswing, they were a cadre of up-and-coming young lions. Almost 30 years later, the lineup of saxophonist Redman, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade is essentially a supergroup of four of the most acclaimed and recognizable jazz musicians of their generation. It's not just that each of them are uber-talented improvisers, which is certainly true. It's that they've grown into four solo artists, primarily for their work as leaders, each with a distinctive and influential style of their own. All of which makes their decision to reunite (as they first did on 2020's RoundAgain) such a delightfully democratic surprise. As with RoundAgain, there's a sense of jovial familiarity about LongGone, as if the quartet just picked up where they left off with MoodSwing." ~,
Richard Elliot - Metro Blue (2005) "He was a member of the funk band Tower of Power for 5 years during the 1980s[1]. He also worked on Stacy Lattisaw's 1986 album "Take Me All The Way". His solo career took off when he remade the Percy Sledge classic "When a Man Loves a Woman" (which had also been remade by Michael Bolton). Other well-known songs include "In the Groove," "Take Your Time," "Crush," "Chill Factor," "Corner Pocket," and "Sly", as well as remakes of classic pop songs like "I'm Not in Love" and the Luther Vandross hits "Here and Now" and "Your Secret Love."" ~ Wikipedia.orgDiscography, Website, and Facebook page.
Harriet Tubman: Araminta [2018] "Named after the iconic American heroine: escaped slave, abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross circa 1822); the extraordinary New York based trio of guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis have performed together for over 20 years yet have only released three prior recordings: I am a Man (Knitting Factory, 1998), Prototype (Avant Records, 2000) and the double trio recording Ascension (Sunnyside Records, 2011) with trumpeter Ron Miles and two turntablists: DJ Logic and DJ Singe. With Araminta Tubman adds 2013 Pulitzer prize finalist, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith to create an unyielding statement of the trio's depth, cultural awareness and continued inventiveness. Ross, Gibbs, and Lewis are world-class players having performed with numerous like-minded artists who operate outside of the music mainstream—Henry Threadgill, Cassandra Wilson and Arto Lindsay—yet have created a unique group identity that challenges stereotypes. Producing more energy and emotion than ensembles twice its size, Tubman is the antithesis of a prog-rock trio and the epitome of an avant-power trio. " ~ Mark F. Turner -, Website.
Grace Fox Big Band - Eleven O' Seven "In the long history of jazz, it is rare for a teenage musician to establish a big band, let alone lead one. In fact (historians will have to verify this), it may never have happened. One thing is certain—no teenage woman has ever formed a big band and become its leader. Until now. Meet trumpeter Grace Fox, a nineteen-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music, founder and leader of the seventeen-member, all-female Grace Fox Big Band, which has recorded and released (as of March 2022) its debut album, Eleven O' Seven. To stock the band, Fox scanned social media to find musicians of various ages and backgrounds from across the USA. As role models for the ensemble's vision, she used the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and the New York-based DIVA Jazz Orchestra. As composer and arranger, she employed the services of one Grace Fox. So, how did everything work out? The answer lies somewhere between pleasing and passable." ~,
Hadley Caliman - Straight Ahead (2009) "The most appealing thing about Hadley Caliman, save for his very eloquent name, is his equally eloquent and understated tenor saxophone playing. Firmly in a post-John Coltrane context, Caliman plays a virile and muscular tenor saxophone whose tone compels because of its carefully crafted rough edges. Straight Ahead follows up his 2008 Origin release Gratitude. Caliman joins a ratified group of Left Coast jazz musicians who interrupted their careers, including Art Pepper, Frank Morgan, Ed Reed, and Dexter Gordon (if you count his expatriation), among others. Caliman was active from the late 1960s through 1980, recording with Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles as well as Bobby Hutcherson and Freddie Hubbard. Then, he dropped out of sight, resurfacing with Gratitude."   ~ C. Michael Bailey -
Dmitri Matheny- Cascadia (2022) "Cascadia is, in part, a celebration of Matheny's adopted home in the Northwest, where he has connected with Origin Records for this, his debut on the label. The music has roots in the mid-sixties Blue Note Records era. The project sounds relaxed, as if making these sounds is so easy to do. It is soulful. Saxophonist Charles McNeil gives off a Ben Webster vibe when he plays tenor, and pianist Bill Anschell—a long time Origin Records artist—has that crystalline touch and the sparkle of Red Garland. The theme—aside from the Matheny's home in the Northwest—seems to be pure beauty. His flugelhorn sound is warm and round, with a glow, like pure gold, no alloys allowed. "   ~ Dan McClenaghan -
Kim Scott - SHINE! (2022) "Over her wildly prolific past decade as a recording artist, one of Kim Scott’s greatest gifts to smooth jazz is, along with her musical sisters Althea Rene and Ragan Whiteside, bringing the soulful and ethereal vibe of the flute back to the forefront of the genre. On the heels of the trio’s hit disco jam re-imagining of “I’m Every Woman,” Kim’s in trademark dynamic form as the lead melodic voice elevating our spirits on SHINE!, the title track to her rhythmically and stylistically eclectic new album. The all-caps title is intentional, a way to emphasize the fact that while she wrote it during some of the most challenging days of the pandemic, she chose a mindset full of positive energy and thoughts for better, brighter days. "   ~ Jonathan Widran - The JW VIBE , Website , Miyazawa Artist and Discography .
Chelsea Barartz - "In Faith" (2009)  " She’s a band leader whose music follows in the footsteps of 1960’s soul jazz and the hard bop roots of her hometown. Innovative and ear-bending with a sizzling originality to her horn, Baratz’s music is heartfelt, simple in its power to bridge quiet moments with bursts of fiery improvisation. When she picks up her saxophone, the soul of her own life comes alive. It’s a reflection of the obstacles she’s overcome and provides a backbone to her music. On “In Faith”, it’s evident that she is no stranger to pain, struggle, love and loss. These experiences are gracefully embued in her music." ~, Facebook and Bandcamp.
Alvin Queen Trio - Night Train To Copenhagen (2021) "American drummer Alvin Queen has the distinction of being Oscar Peterson’s drummer on the final tours of the maestro pianists illustrious career. Having, like many of his fellow musician’s, found in Europe a more fertile market for straight ahead jazz than existed in seventies America, Queen emigrated in 1979 finding particularly appreciative audiences in cities like Copenhagen. Hence the title of his latest release as leader which combines a homage to his former employer with his veneration of the Danish capital and its vibrant scene... Some may feel that it’s unnecessary to have further versions of these familiar tunes but just as the gourmand will never pass up another tasty morsel the dedicated jazz fan never tires of a further encounter with the standard repertoire especially when it is interpreted and performed as brilliantly as it is here.”"  ~ Euan Dixon -, Website, Wikipedia, Facebook and Youtube
Sharel Cassity - Manhattan Romance (2014) "Since she relocated to New York City in 1999, the steadily building career of this Oklahoma native includes a Bachelor's from the New School and a Master's at Juilliard. Sharel Cassity studied under a number of renowned saxophonists and recorded two CDs. The second, Relentless (Jazz Legacy, 2009), received a 4-star review in Downbeat, whose Critics Poll has consistently cited her as a Rising Star on alto sax. Her career includes performances as a leader at well-known venues, as well as frequent work with the Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove, and DIVA Big Bands, among many others."  
Joe Farnsworth - City of Sounds (2021) " We are at a point in time when most new jazz releases were recorded during the pandemic. Many are direct artistic responses to the crisis. The response of drummer Joe Farnsworth is bound up with the city where he has lived for 30 years. In New York, the center of the jazz universe, the music stopped in early 2020. Farnsworth says, "I've learned so much from this city. Then New York got rocked, so I wanted to give back ... by staying here and playing whenever and wherever I could to keep the sounds alive." When he makes a rare record as a leader, Farnsworth brings in big hitters, like pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Peter Washington. The opening track, "New York Attitude," hurtles into motion. It is remarkable that Barron can connect ideas that are flying by so fast. "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" is ecstatic. Farnsworth, using brushes, could not swing harder. Another ass-kicker is Barron's "Bud-Like," a tribute to Bud Powell, who is part of New York's cultural history. "   ~, Website, Wikipedia, and YouTube
The Cookers - Look Out! (2021) "This is the most adventurous big band album I've heard in some time, combining jazz, avant-garde classical, blues, R&B, and probably other strands that I'll detect after a few more listens. Mingus is a big influence, but also Webern and Sly & the Family Stone. David Sanford, the Guggenheim Prize–winning composer and professor who wrote six of the eight tracks, has written pieces for several orchestras and chamber groups, but A Prayer for Lester Bowie—dedicated to the late trumpeter for the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a musician of a seriously playful bent—is his first album that roughly fits the jazz label."   ~ Thomas Conrad, Fred Kaplan -
The Crusaders - Chain Reaction (1975) "One of the tastiest concoctions of the mid-'70s jazz-fusion era, Chain Reaction finds the Crusaders at the top of their form. The compositions are both accessible and memorable, and the playing is uniformly excellent. Guitarist Larry Carlton delivers some of his finest licks and funkified rhythm work. Wayne Henderson shows there is a place in fusion for the trombone. Wilton Felder does double duty, delivering smoking saxophone lines and funky bass riffs. Joe Sample's Fender Rhodes piano provides a solid chordal foundation and great solos. And the stickman, Stix Hooper, keeps the groove solid. The band employs a variety of rhythms and tempos, and gives the members plenty of room to strut their individual and collective stuff. In fact, "collective" may be the key word here, for this is the sound of a band, not just a group of guys thrown together for a recording session. Chain Reaction was one of the albums that helped lure young, rock and soul-oriented listeners over to check out the jazz side, and should not be missed by those interested in the more accessible, funky side of fusion. "   ~ , Discography , Wikipedia .
Esther Phillips - From a Whisper to a Scream (1972)  "Esther Phillips unquestionably falls into the realm of great singers who never received recognition for what was a lifelong contribution to contemporary music. Born Esther Mae Jones in Galveston, Texas, she began singing in church as a young child. When her parents divorced, she divided time between her father in Houston and her mother in the Watts area of Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles, in 1949, that her sister entered her in a talent show at a nightclub belonging to blues man Johnny Otis. So impressed was Otis with the 13-year-old that he brought her into the studio for a recording session with Modern Records and added her to his live revue. Billed as Little Esther, she scored her first success when she was teamed with the vocal quartet the Robins (who later evolved into the Coasters) on the hit single “Double Crossin' Blues.” Esther Phillips was the embodiment of a soulful R&B singer; performing was the only endeavor she undertook in life, and she revealed it all in her songs."
Adam Hawley - Risin' Up (2021) "Now with the release of album #4, Risin' Up, Hawley shows us again why he is destined for even greater heights. The guitarist and composer again is brilliant on this ten song continuation of his highly noteworthy career, weaving more of the irresistible, funky RnB grooves and licks into his repertoire for a sound that is rich, lush and infused with style. Joining on the album are several key contributors, including a trifecta of sax greats, Vincent Ingala, Steve Cole, and Riley Richard, and a superb jam track with bassist, Julian Vaughn. While tempo and rhythm are key ingredients to Hawley's magnificence on Risin Up, it's important to note the work of drummer, Ramon Yslas, of the legendary brass rock and pop band, Chicago, as he also engineered the percussion tracks for the album.”"  ~ Stu Berketo -, Website, Last FM, Facebook and Youtube
Sharel Cassity - Relentless (2009) "Sharel Cassity's second release as a leader gives the alto saxophonist a bit more opportunity to show off her chops, as she adds both soprano sax and flute, while she also focuses extensively on her own compositions, something she omitted from her debut CD, Just for You. Though very youthful in appearance, she's a seasoned musician who started playing young, then detoured from her initial plan to finish her music education at Berklee by opting to play in New York City, where she earned a bachelor's degree at the New School and a master's degree at Juilliard."   ~  Ken Dryden -, Website, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Facebook, Reverbnation, YouTube, Discography.
Reza Khan - Imaginary Road (2021) "Well, the ten songs are essentially atmospheric, depicting the sort of aural landscapes that Khan obviously had in mind (he wrote and arranged every number for an ensemble that is heavy on strings and percussion with occasional incursions from David Mann on saxophone or flute and Matt King on piano). If there is a middle-to far-Eastern ambience, that is understandable, given Khan's heritage. It is especially discernible in the undulating rhythms, capably overseen for the most part by drummer Maurizio Zottarelli and percussionist Fernando Saci. Khan governs the melodies along with Mann, guitarists Sergio Pereira and Miles Gilderdale, and Philippe Saisse on mallets, melodion and Moog synthesizer. The sounds they produce, if not exceptional, are uniquely their own, as are Khan's ethereal, gently flowing compositions. "   ~ JACK BOWERS -, Facebook, All About Jazz, and Website page.
Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty - Rites of Strings (1995) "The Rite of Strings is a collaborative album by guitarist Al DiMeola, bassist Stanley Clarke and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Each musician contributes three compositions to the LP’s diverse program, some unique to the projects and others previously recorded. All three were known as virtuosi and were household names among fusion fans. DiMeola and Clarke had even been half of the best-known incarnation of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever band in the mid to late ’70s. Despite this, The Rite of Strings is a largely acoustic affair, aside from DiMeola’s occasional electronic experiment. In fact, it is known as a landmark recording of the New Acoustic genre, which mixed bluegrass and jazz and featured lead roles for folk instruments."   ~ Matt Micucci - JAZZIZ, Stanley Clarke Website, Al Di Meola Website, Jean-Luc Ponty Website, Sputnikmusic Review.
BWB - Groovin (2002) "bwb consists of contemporary jazz cats Rick Braun (trumpet), Kirk Whalum (saxophones), and Norman Brown (guitar), who collectively honor the lush jazz-pop-R&B sound of Creed Taylor’s 1970s projects with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, guitarist George Benson, and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine for Taylor’s CTI label. Nearly all of those projects included jazz translations of contemporary pop hits by Taylor, Don Sebesky, or other arrangers (Benson’s album White Rabbit, for example). “It was all about having fun and being funky,” says Whalum, who first met Braun at rehearsals for the 1999 Montreux jazz festival. “The throwback to the CTI era was an obvious thread throughout, and we really rose to the challenge.” "   ~ Chris M. Slawecki - All About Jazz/font>, Mack Avenue, Wikipedia.
Carmen Lundy - Modern Ancestors (2019) "Carmen Lundy treads her own path. Not for her the water-treading predictability of so many jazz singers, forever recycling the songs of 80 years ago. She writes her own richly textured material, and it doesn’t fit neatly into the swing/ballad/latin straitjacket. Nor does she stick with a tried and tested band: she’s kept it fresh by replacing all the musicians who played on her previous outing (the classy Code Noir, from 2017). Modern Ancestors features two young musicians of exceptional talent – Andrew Renfroe on guitar and Julius Rodriguez on piano. Lundy is also ably supported by brother Curtis Lundy and Kenny Davis, who share bass duties, plus Terreon Gully and Kassa Overall doing likewise on drums, plus Mayra Casales on percussion. Carmen herself chips in on guitar, percussion, synthesizer and Fender Rhodes, as well as providing her own backing vocals, and co-producing the album, and doing the sleeve artwork."   ~ Peter Jones - London Jazz News, SoundCloud, Wikipedia, and Website page.
Kayla Waters - Coevolve (2018)  "Under consideration in first-round GRAMMY voting for Jazz Instrumental Album and Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Waters composed the material for “Coevolve” conceptually. To tell the story of a seedling’s evolution into a blossoming plant on “Full Bloom,” she collaborated with Michael Broening. The Washington, DC-based musician-songwriter-producer jetted to Broening’s Phoenix, Arizona studio for the session. The night before meeting with Broening, Waters doodled on a baby grand piano into the wee hours of the night eager to come up with something fresh. The next day, she presented her ideas, which became the essence of the song. " ~ Jazzhq.blogspot.comwebsite and Facebook.
Cindy Bradley - Unscripted (2011) "Every now and then a musician gets bold and breaks the mold. Cindy Bradley's Unscripted is the sound of an artist just going for it. The nearly eight-minute "Prelude/Massive Transit/Interlude" suite that kicks off the album is like a rush of cool air to the face on a hot summer day. It's fast, furious and funky, with Bradley blowing the hell out of her trumpet as she dukes it out with producer Michael Broening's keyboards and Tim Veder's sax solos... The title is slightly misleading. There may not have been a script for Unscripted, but there is definitely a plan and Bradley is executing it to perfection. This is a highly rewarding sophomore effort from Bradley and establishes her as someone on the short list of jazzartists well worth following to see what comes next. " ~ Jeff Wimbush -
Gary Clark Jr. - This Land (2019)  "Clark’s third major-label LP, This Land, arrives as an ambitious corrective. This is the first time it’s felt like the singer-guitarist is embracing the possibilities of studio production as a creative asset rather than a nuisance. In place of copious guitar solos, we get bass synths, keyboards, and a series of programmed samples that add a convincing contemporary accent to the survey of genres (Eighties R&B, funk, rockabilly, punk, reggae) Clark draws from this time." ~ Jonathan Bernstein - rollingstone.comWebsite, Wikipedia and Facebook.
Lisa Addeo - Listen To This (2019)  ""Lisa Addeo is a pianist, vocalist and composer whose music is in constant rotation on such programs as Music Choice’s Smooth Jazz channel and Sirius XM’s Siriusly Sinatra and Holiday Traditions channels. She’s comfortable playing and singing many different styles, from contemporary and smooth jazz to pop and the Great American Songbook. On her new album, Listen To This, she delivers a colorful mosaic of cool jazz grooves. Produced by chart-topping Smooth Jazz guitarist Nils, the album also includes exciting contributions by Adam Hawley, Jeff Ryan, Steve Cole and Johnny Britt." ~ Brian Zimmerman - Jazziz.comWebsite, Facebook, and Listen / Download page.
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.comWikipedia - 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.comWebsite 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 -
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.comNew York Times and Wikipedia.
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.comCD Discography and Website.
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~ WikipediaFacebook and Website
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 -, Facebook, Wikipedia and Website

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 adventurous saxophonists."  ~, Facebook, Website and Wikipedia.

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 -, Discography, Website, Wikipedia and YouTube.

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 Website and 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, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, and 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 AuditionSmalls 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."   ~, Facebook, YouTube and Website

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 -, Facebook, Wikipedia and Website
Citrus Sun - Ride Like the Wind (2018) "A fantastic little record from Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick – served up by a project with a slightly different vibe than his famous group Incognito – but a sound that's every bit as soulful! There's maybe a bit more jazz in the mix here – a focus even more on the great instrumentalists that Bluey works with – with long keyboard solos from the leader himself, plus trumpet from Dominic Glover, piano from Matt Cooper, guitar from Francisco Sales and Jim Mullen, and some other great contributions too! There's definitely still some vocals on the set – work from Imaani, Joao Caetano, and Natalie Williams – but a good portion of the set is instrumental too. "   ~, Bluey of Incognito bio, Wikipedia and Facebook
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 -
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 -, Wikipedia and YouTube
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 paced album.;" ~ Gene Stout, Special to The Seattle TimesCD DiscographyWebsite and MySpace.
Champion Fulton - Speechless (2017) "Speechless is a date that may be best classified as a centrist statement, but it's far from the norm for Champian Fulton. While many have come to know and admire Fulton for her arresting vocals and piano work, both usually given in service to Great American Songbook classics, she's not conforming to those expectations here. For her eighth album in total, and her debut on the Posi-Tone imprint, Fulton is staying completely mum for the first time, putting her piano playing in the spotlight on a program of originals. " ~ DAN BILAWSKY - AllAboutJazz.comWebsiteWikipedia and Facebook
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, Website, Facebook and YouTube
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 -
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 -, Facebook, Wikipedia and Website
Philippe Saisse - At World's Edge (2009) "Philippe Saisse is an extraordinary musician with a particularly wide-ranging musical career as one of the premier multi-talented artists in contemporary jazz and popular music. He reached his undeniable apex with a highly entertaining and engaging work entitled At World’s Edge. His varied musical ventures have included duties as composer, arranger, producer, and keyboard performer extraordinaire. "   ~ Randall Parrish -, Website, Wikipedia and Facebook
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 -, Wikipedia and YouTube
Lindsey Webster - Back to Your Heart (2016) "It’s a little sad that music like Lindsey Webster’s today gets pigeon-holed as smooth jazz, when just a few decades ago it would’ve simply been called some of the best Quiet Storm R&B/soul music around. Webster’s music is the kind set in someplace dark and smoky. The kind of music where expert, live musicians play under a silken, clarion voice caressing warm lyrics about love and relationships without irony or dismissal. The kind of music you want to relax into. There is nothing cynical or hard about Webster’s third return with Back to Your Heart. This sweetheart album places its blood beat front and center and makes one wish good soul music could simply be called what it is, if only so more of its fans can find it when looking." ~ Soultracks.comWebsite and Facebook
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, Website, Facebook and YouTube.
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 -, Facebook, Wikipedia and Website
Nicki Parrott - Dear Blossom (2017) "This Arbors CD is vocalist/string bassist Nicki Parrott’s interpretation of songs associated with late vocalist/pianist Blossom Dearie. It’s interesting to compare and contrast these two talented vocalist-instrumentalists. They both have unique, clear vocal delivery and subtle tones. Both the late Ms. Dearie and Ms. Parrott have lots of YouTube presentations that are easily searchable. So, one can easily find and compare. For those not familiar with Nicki’s musical history, here’s a brief summary. She is native Australian who came to the U.S. and studied bass with Rufus Reid. Vocalization came later when she was regularly featured for about a decade with Les Paul’s Monday night sessions. Paul was intrigued with her vocalizing and encouraged her."     ~ Norman Vickers - Jazz Pensacola, Website, All About Jazz and Facebook
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 -, Facebook and Website
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 -, Website and Facebook.
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, Website, Facebook and YouTube.
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-, Website Facebook, Facebook Bandpage, SoundCloud, Jazz Network and YouTube Channel
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 - Website, Facebook and Discography
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."     ~, Website, Wikipedia and Facebook
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 fierce solos." ~ Steve Greenlee -, Wikipedia, Facebook and Website
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 -, Website, Facebook, DiscographyReverbnationand 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 -, Website, Facebook, Discography  and Whirlwind Recordings
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."     ~ and Wikipedia.

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, Facebook and Website

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 -, Facebook, YouTube and Website

Thomas Marriott - Both Side of the Fence (2007) "Thomas Marriott's second recording is a thoroughly impressive affair, recorded over two studio sessions a few months apart. With a band including pianist Marc Seales, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop, the leader kicks off the disc with "Both Sides of the Fence," a driving post-bop original that showcases his lyrical chops on flügelhorn in an uptempo setting."   ~, Website, Human Spirit Band and Facebook

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."   ~, Facebook, YouTube and Website

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."   ~, 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 -, 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 -, 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. -, 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.comCD 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.comDiscography, 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 JazzCD Discography, YouTube, MySpace page and Website.

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, Website page Facebook and Reverbnation.

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 -, Website page Facebook and Reverbnation.

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."   ~, Website, Facebook.

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, Website, Facebook, Wikipedia.

Lee 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 GuideCD Discography, Website.

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 -, Website, YouTube, Facebook and Discography.

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."   ~, Website, YouTube, Facebook and Discography.

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 -, Website, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube Discography.

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, Website, YouTube and Facebook.

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. "   ~ 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

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 -

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 -, CD Discography, Facebook, SoundCloud page and Website.

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."   ~, Facebook, YouTube and Website.

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 -, Facebook, YouTube and Website.

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 -, 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 -, Website, Facebook, YouTube and Discography.

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 -, Website, Facebook, YouTube.

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 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 CD Discography, Website, and Facebook.

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 -, 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 -, MySpace, The Song Project, website, Braden-Rapp, Mark Rapp store, DC Bebop.

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 -, Website. Wikipedia, Carvin and Discography.

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 -, 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 - and Website.

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 Website.

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”    ~ Jazz Times, Website, Reverbnation, Facebook, Discography and YouTube.

Lira - 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.", Discography and Wikipedia.

The Cookers - 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 -

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 StageDiscography, Website, Wikipedia, and Facebook.

Cindy 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.comDiscography, Website, Reverbnation, Facebook.

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.deDiscography, Facebook, Reverbnation, YouTube and Website.

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.comDiscography, Facebook, YouTube and 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.comDiscography, Facebook, YouTube and Website.

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.comFacebook, YouTube and Website.

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>Discography, Facebook, YouTube and Website. Website.

Takuya Kuroda - 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 Discography, Facebook, YouTube and Website.

Anton schwartz - 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 - Website, Facebook and YouTube.

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." ~ iTunes Discography Facebook and Website.

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals - Aquarius "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." ~ Sound Cloud Facebook and Website.

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 style. " ~ Detroit Jazz Magazine CD Discography, Reverbnation and Website, and DC Bebop.

Lin Rountree - Sumthin' Good (2008) "Trumpeter Lin Rountree recently revealed in a 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 very good.." ~ Susan Frances - CD Discography, Reverbnation and Website.

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 mission statement."    ~ Steve Leggett - AllMusic, Discography, Facebook, Reverbnation and Website.

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 welcome antidote."   
~, CD Discography, Facebook, Reverbnation and Website.

Zachary Breaux - Uptown Groove(1997) "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, Wikipedia and Discography.

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, Website, YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia.

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 creative growth."     ~ Jack Goodstein - Blogcritics.Org, Website, YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia and Discography.

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 &amp; 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&amp;B, and African music."  ~ Woodrow Wilkins - All About Jazz  Website, Discography, Reverbnation< and MySpace.

Gerald Clayton - Life Forum (2013) "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, Website, Facebook, Last.FM and Discography.

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 -, Wikipedia and 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 -

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, Website, Facebook, Discography and YouTube.

Ragan Whiteside - Evolve (2012) "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, Website, Facebook, Discography, Reverbnation, YouTube and DC Bebop.

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.”, CD Discography, Website, Facebook and DC Bebop.

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 - CD Discography, Website and Facebook.

Torcuato Mariano - 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.”    Smooth Jazz Therapy, Discography, Last.FM and Facebook.

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 - CD Discography, Wikipedia, Website and Facebook.

Eliane 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 - Website, Facebook and MySpace.

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 - ~ CD Discography, Website and MySpace.

Johan Leijonhufvud - 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 -, Discography, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

Jose James - 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, Website, Facebook, Discography, YouTube and MySpace.

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 Reverbnation.

Frank 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.” ~, Discography, and MySpace, and Facebook.

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 -

Adele - 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.comCD Discography, Website, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

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 - CD Discography, and MySpace.

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."     ~ by DAN MCCLENAGHAN - All About Jazz, Website, Facebook, Discography, YouTube and MySpace.

Nicole 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, Website, and MySpace, and Facebook.

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 -

John 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 CD Discography, Website and Facebook.

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 -

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 , Website, Facebook, Discography, MySpace and Reverbnation.

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 CD Discography, YouTube, MySpace page and Website.

Paul Carr - 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 compositions:"     ~ by Giovanni Russonello - CapitalBop, Website, Facebook, Discography, Reverbnation, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and DC Bebop.

Candy 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 film.”  — Jonathan Widran -  CD Discography, Facebook, and MySpace Music.

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 -

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, Website, discography and Facebook.

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. ”    ~, CD Discography, Website and MySpace.

Aleks 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 -, Website, and Reverbnation and Facebook.

Amber 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 evening. ” ~ Vish Iyer - The Daily VaultCD Discography, Website, and Reverbnation and DC Bebop.

Nat Janoff - Come Together Move Apart (2010) “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 respect.” 
  ~ 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. -, Facebook and Website.

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.comCD Discography, Website and MySpace.

Orly - 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 BlogFacebook, MySpace and Reverbnation.

Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough? (2012) “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' "Elusive.""”    ~ Ernest Hardy, Special to the Los Angeles Times, Website, discography and Facebook.

Patrick 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 Reverbnation.

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 - R&B Soul, Website, discography and MySpace.

Gerald Albright - Live at Birdland West (1991) ** "My 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 with Lee Ritenour's acoustic guitar on “G & Lee” is nice, too; it starts out smooth and ends up smoldering."   ~ Dave Hughes - All About Jazz **(text is an excerpt from a review for "The Very Best of Gerald Albright.

Chick Corea & Gary Burton - Native Sense - The New Duets (1997) "Pianist Chick Corea and Gary Burton (vibes and marimba) have put together a new disc of duets, Native Sense, and it can be summed up in one word: lovely. This is the fifth duet recording from these two; their interaction shows the ease and comfort of a long association, even though the last release was twelve years ago. For Native Sense, Corea tells us in his liner notes, he wrote two new melodies: "Post Script" and "Rhumbata." Three other numbers, "Love Castle," "No Mystery," and "Duende" were, says the pianist, "previously written and recorded by myself with other groups but never performed very much afterwards." "Armando's Rhumba" is a piece the two have been performing live for a few years. "Tango '92" is an unused soundtrack piece. For dessert, Corea and Burton turn in a delightful version of Thelonious Monk's "Four in One."" ~ Robert Spencer -
Chick Corea: CD Discography, Facebook and Website
Gary Burton: CD Discography, Facebook and Website.

Corinne Bailey Rae - "Corinne Bailey Rae" (2006)  "Corinne Bailey Rae was born and raised in Leeds, where she studied classical violin and started off singing in church. This led to her being given a guitar, which led to her discovering Led Zeppelin. Jump ahead about ten years and you find an amazing artist who is not what you might expect, given those beginnings. At times evoking Billie Holiday, but clearing establishing herself as an original, her debut record is a mix of jazz, R&B, soul, funk and pop that is without question one of the best records released this year."  ~ Clint DeBoer -

Billie Holiday – Songs for Distingue Lovers (Reis) (1957) “Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris[1][2] April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday "changed the art of American pop vocals forever." ”    ~ and discography.

Santana - ABRAXAS (1970)  " Aaaahh, the days when bands were so productive that you knew what to buy your loved ones each Christmas Day. Abraxas - the name was copped from Herman Hesse's Demian - was released a year after the eponymous debut and basically continues in the same vein as its predecessor. However, this impression results more from the fact that the band's sound was so unique and convincing, and not because they didn't evolve. No other band sounded like Santana at the time (and yes - no band ever sounded like them since), and no guitar player has ever succeeded in successfully imitating Carlos' stellar guitar playing. After many listens, it becomes clear that Abraxas digs deeper than Santana, offers a bit more variation and contains more substantial material, as some of the early material was obviously the result of many hours of jamming."  Guy Peters - Guy's Music Reviews.

Melvin Taylor – Beyond the Burning Guitar (2010) “This isn't just a 2-CD set of some unbelievable guitar work from a long-esteemed player of truly formidable skill but rather a treasury that proves beyond doubt that Melvin Taylor needs to be placed within the museum of the guitar greats: Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Chet Atkins, Frank Zappa, Earl Klugh, Jim Hall, Leo Kottke, Robert Fripp, Grant Green, Pat Metheny…all of 'em, regardless of style and genre. And he not only plays all the many layers of various guitars here but bass as well in a nominally foursome format. Quite a few overdubs crop up, all of which will blow you away, but the other musicians are Bernell Anderson on keyboards and Señor Jefe on drums (a pseudonym?, means 'Mr. Chief' in English……and, hmmmm……y'know, at times, like in The Hook Up, I very strongly suspect a drum machine—either that or El Jefe's exceedingly precise).”    ~ Mark S. Tucker - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange, Website, discography and Reverbnation.

Norman Brown "Stay With Me" (2007) "Brown, a guitarist and vocalist who sings as well as scats, is in that niche where smooth jazz meets R&B, old-school soul and a bit of pop. The Grammy-winning artist was born in Shreveport, La., and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. His inspirations include such guitar giants as Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and George Benson, the latter of which is closest to Brown in overall style." ~ Woodrow Wilkins - All About JazzCD Discography, Website and MySpace.

Astrud Gilberto - Astrud Gilberto the Bossa Nova Queen (2012) "Astrud Gilberto accompanied her husband, Joao Gilberto, in March of 1963 to a recording session he was having with Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim and soon found herself singing on a handful of tracks one of which, “The Girl From Ipanema”, would become a smash hit ushering in the bossa nova craze. The producer of the session was Creed Taylor who would later leave Verve Records to start his own label CTI which soon became the biggest independent label in the history of jazz. Astrud Gilberto became an international star who went on to record some excellent sides for the Verve label throughout the Sixties, but like Creed before her she decided to leave the label recording her last album for them in 1970" ~ Wally Bangs - BlogCritic CD Discography, Facebook and Website.

Terrence Brewer - The Calling: Volume Two (2006), "Alameda, Calif., fingerstyle jazz guitarist Terrence Brewer launched his own independent record label with two separate self-produced CDs, each with a different rhythm section. A naturally gifted player with a beautiful, warm tone and a melodic penchant, his playing is eminently pleasing, if a tad too mellow and deliberate for fans of unadulterated burn... Volume Two is an organ quartet date with drummer Derrek Phillips (formerly of Charlie Hunter's trio), Hammond B3 player Wil Blades and tenor saxophonist Eric Drake. But like Volume One, there's a certain mellowness and sheen cast over the proceedings (with the exception of the up-tempo burner “Sunrise Sunset”) that will appeal more to contempo fans than old-school jazz guitar aficionados." "   ~ Bill Milkowski - JazzTimes.

Fourplay - yes, please (2000)  "There are certain "givens" when purchasing a Fourplay album. Smooth, non-threatening, pop and R&B-inflected, groovy contemporary jazz. Mainly instrumentals with at least one vocal track contributed by a big-name artist and one or more other tracks with added vocal flavorings, usually in the form of rhythmic chanting. A clean, slick recording that is both polished and crisp. Bob James (piano), Nathan East (bass), Larry Carlton (guitar), and Harvey Mason (drums) have made their programmatic approach an art form, copied by countless contemporary jazz artists and envied by rival A&R types hoping to sell as many records as has this talented quartet (with either Lee Ritenour or Larry Carlton in the guitar chair).." Brian Bartolini -

Bill Evans – Dragonfly (2012) “Bill Evans, the sax player, who shares a name with one of the most influential pianists in jazz, has been on the scene since 1980, when he emerged playing in Miles Davis' group at age 22. He recorded six albums with Davis, and also worked with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishu Orchestra and Herbie Hancock, along others. Since 1990 he has been leading his own groups, drawing on a wide variety of mostly contemporary styles on his 19 solo albums. Back in 2006 he started a group he called Soulgrass, inspired by the banjo-dominated music of Bela Fleck's Flecktones. Fleck appeared on the 2006 Soulgrass album which won a Grammy nomination.”    ~ George Graham - George Graham Reviews, website, discography and reverbnation.

Emancipator - Remixes (2011) “Doug Appling, better known as Emancipator, released his third album, Remixes, in late June. This 14-track compilation album features music from his last two albums, Soon it will be Cold Enough and Safe in the Steep Cliffs, remixed by an impressive roster of artists. The album includes collaborators such as Blockhead, Ooah (of The Glitch Mob), Big Gigantic, Michal Menert, along with Emancipator himself, who have contributed their expertise and put their own spin on Emancipator's already innovative work. Working together, these artists have made Remixes a unique, multifaceted collection worthy, not only of Emancipator's catalog, but as a stand-alone compilation."”   ~ Gracie Roberts - and Discography.
Birdy - Skinny Love (2011) "The word "haunting" is common as gossip in pop criticism – wont to tag everything from Phil Collins' chocolate flogger In the Air Tonight to the Eminem murder ballad that references it, Stan. But there's really no other word to describe the record that gave Birdy wings. Released back in January, her voice-and-piano cover of Bon Iver's Skinny Love, as economical as it is evocative, became a Radio 1 favourite and unexpected top 20 hit." ~ Nick Levine - BBC Review Facebook and Website.

Four80East - "Round 3" (2002), "It says a lot about a band's creative uniqueness when the hybrid style of music they play defies easy genre categorization the way the melodies and grooves of Four80East do. In the late 90s, when veteran Toronto based remixers Tony Grace and Rob DeBoer (collectively known on their pop projects as Boomtang) recorded their first loose, improvisational jazz/dance project The Album, it fit perfectly into the then-flourishing acid jazz movement. When the duo—whose instrumental side projects were billed under the moniker Four80East—recorded Nocturnal (2001) and Round 3 (2002) for Higher Octave, the chill music phenomenon was taking off, so it seemed appropriate to put their music in that pocket. As their albums became more popular, a few new expressions were coined, “trip-jazz” and “Nu Jazz.” DeBoer responds to all those attempts to pigeonhole the Four80East vibe by saying, “the beauty of what we do is that the boundaries we've established are fairly broad. With each song, we only need to answer the question, ‘Does it sound like a Four80East song?' "   ~ Jonathan Widran - Jazz Monthly Reviews.

Ronny Smith – Just Groovin (2009) “Baltimore-born guitarist Ronny Smith is back to the Smooth Jazz stage with his brand new CD ‘Simply Groovin,' set to be released in May 2009. It's his fifth album and displays great musicianship with a fine balance between sophisticated rhythmic grooves and fluid melodies. On this one you'll find lots of original tunes and two covers. This CD, as his previous ones, has been a growing process for this talented guitarist. And this continuous quest for the best guitar sound results in a highly recommendable CD, which gets him closer to greatest jazz guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and George Benson. ”     ~ Akbar Nour -  Smooth Jazz Is Life.

Chihiro Yamanaka - Forever Begins (2011) “Much better known in her native Japan (where she regularly tops the jazz charts), pianist Chihiro Yamanaka makes a strong claim to neo-bop mastery with Forever Begins, played with her trio, also featuring Ben Williams on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Yamanaka takes a playful tone on the original opener, ironically called "So Long," establishing that she will play lightning runs, sometimes taking up the whole keyboard, to sinuous rhythms. She acknowledges a major influence with Bud Powell's 'Blue Pearl'.”   ~ William Ruhlmann - and Discography.

Curtis Salgodo - Soul Shot (2012) "Here's how my night went. I checked the mail just as I was walking out the door to head to dinner. In the mailbox was the latest release from Alligator Records and the great Curtis Salgado. Honestly, I almost skipped dinner so I could listen to it but I was starving and I figured Curtis wouldn't want me making that kind of sacrifice. So Soul Shot had to wait for a few hours. It was worth the wait. There is so much good stuff on here I don't even know where to start. To begin with, while I was listening to the CD I decided to text Curtis (yes, he's a texter). I just told him how awesome I thought Soul Shot was. A consummate gentleman always, Salgado texted back “Thank You, that means a lot, I work my ass off to get this right, so again, thank you”.
 ~ Facebook and Website.

Jeff Lorber - Flipside (2005) “The legendary keyboardist started making his unique brand of old-school soul meets modern funk back when old-school was still in session, and the title of his third Narada Jazz disc is a throwback to that era, when the 45 RPM was king. Rather than overwhelm this time with hardcore commercial funk grooves and calculated radio hooks, Jeff Lorber is more into cool vibes and soulful atmospheres.”   ~ Jonathan Widran - ALLMUSIC.COM.

Sophie Milman - In The Moonlight (2011) “Throughout In the Moonlight, Milman's voice is it‘s great asset, giving the songs a light sexy touch. She has a voice I can listen to all day, but that lets the songs shine. And while it's nothing you haven't heard before, it's one of the better examples of the vocal style. For that, the album is one of the better examples of the slow, romantic jazz style. If you're looking for romance, a background as a Prelude to a Kiss, you wouldn't be going wrong putting on Sophie Milman's In the Moonlight.”   ~ At Home in Hespeler - and Discography.

Eric Gales - Transformation (2011) "Transformation is Eric Gales' fifth studio album (not counting the compilation record Layin' Down The Blues) from Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records (Blues Bureau International). With Varney as co-songwriter and producer, this pairing has unquestionably done great things for Gale's tumultuous career. Starting out as a teen prodigy with The Eric Gales Band, Gales was destined for greatness as the new Hendrix when life happened to him. Bad decisions, drugs, personal tragedies, jail, and eventually rehab, had earned him some serious blues cred, life cred, and a new found maturity.”" ~ Oscar Jordan - Facebook and MySpace.

Peter White - Caravan Of Dreams (1996) “When guitarist Peter White released his debut album, “Reveillez-vous,” in 1990, smooth jazz simply did not exist as a distinct musical genre. Few radio stations played pioneering artists like the Rippingtons; industry insiders and audiences alike seemed to trip over such terms as “fusion” and “new age.” That uncertainty proved the ideal environment for White – having gotten in on the ground floor of the new genre, his melodic, nylon-string playing came to be identified as the sound of smooth jazz guitar. He reinforced that status through a series of popular albums, including “Promenade” (1993), “Caravan of Dreams” (1996), “Perfect Moment” (1998) and “Glow” (2001). His latest release is “Good Day” (2009).”   ~ Brian McCoy - Suite101.

Alicia Keys - As I AM (2007) "If The Diary of Alicia Keys was a skillfully balanced mix of classic and modern, Keys's third effort, As I Am, finds the singer-songwriter fully embracing bygone R&B. There are no rappers or hype men announcing the arrival of the new Alicia Keys joint. And though the beats are heavy on tracks like the covertly political "Go Ahead," which displays Keys's funky low end, whatever sweat she breaks isn't due to urban club jams but sultry mid-tempo numbers that one can imagine being pumped into hot Harlem nightclubs or humid summer block parties circa 1970. "   ~ Terry Keppard - Slant Magazine.

Hiromi - Another Mind (2003) "'Hiromi is a dazzling, slight, sprite of a lady who, on stage, dominates the instrument with a confidence-exuding, physical swagger in a manner that can only be claimed by those at the highest levels of performance in the world today. In fact, her perfect posture and barrier-free technique are reminiscent of the great Frenchman Jean-Michel Pilc, but in very different context. The music mixes dashes of nuevo samba, funk, odd-time regalia, microtonality and steroid-laced ragtime and Tin Pan Alley into a heady brew of high-energy jazz that is closest in classification to, dare I say, fusion - all of which lends itself incredibly well to the sonic pallette that Hiromi creates on electric and acoustic axes." ~ Phil DiPietro -

Jamie Broumas - Wild Is Love (2007) “Well known in the Washington area for her solo appearances and recordings, as well as her association with the innovative ensembles Rare Silk and Mad Romance, Broumas has chops and personality to spare. The notion that a great jazz vocalist doesn't perform a song so much as inhabit it may be a cliche. But it's one worth dusting off when everything clicks on "Wild Is Love," whether Broumas is casting a dreamy spell with "Last Night When We Were Young," igniting a torch on "You Won't Forget Me" or saluting the genius of Antonio Carlos Jobim with a sunny performance of "Outra Vez," rendered in Portuguese.” ~ Mike Joyce - Washington Post.

Saxophonist Bill Evans - Soulgrass (2005) “Throughout his 20-year career as a solo artist, saxophonist Bill Evans has explored a variety of musical settings that go well beyond the confines of traditional jazz, including hip-hop, fusion, reggae, Brazilian and slamming funk. Evans steps into more adventurous territory on Soulgrass, blending jazz, funk and bluegrass into a seamless and wholly unique hybrid of quintessentially American styles.”   ~ (September 6, 2008).

Cheikh Ndoye - A Child's Tale (2009) “Cheikh Ndoye's debut CD is distinctive if just for the number of “name” artists who agreed to work with the young and amazingly technically proficient bassist. With Randy Brecker, Russell Ferrante and Eric Marienthal, among others, on hand to share their talents you know Ndoye must have a garnered a great deal of respect among his fellow jazz musicians. Originally from Senegal, West Africa, Ndoye has been in the United States for about ten years. Self-taught as a youngster, he has become known as a Richard Bona protégé for the work Ndoye has done in studying with the master bassist.”
Thomas R. Erdmann - Jazz

Paul Brown  & Marc Antoine - Foreign Xchange (2009) " The Foreign Exchange begins with the seductive blend of both guitars over a laid back, easy swaying groove on the perfectly titled “Feel The Love” before the two amp up for a romp through a thumping funk groove and sweet sensual atmospheres on “Wine Night.” No Antoine project is complete without a nod to the joyful spirit of Rio, and Brown's crisp electric melody intertwines beautifully with Antoine's acoustic harmonies on the balmy samba “Flight of the Concords.” Antoine plays bass and drums in addition to his guitar on the happily jangling drive-time vibe of the title track, which features the Brown-Antoine chemistry enhanced by the always sizzling Jerry Hey horns." Jonathan Widran -

Tomasz Stanko Quartet - Soul of Things (2002) “The Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has been busy making music for many years. He began his career on the forefront of the European free jazz movement in the ‘60s. While he has made many fine albums since then, most of his notoriety has come in the past few years. Since joining ECM, Stanko has produced many fine albums. Soul of Things is the latest in his string of albums ( Litania, Leosia, and From the Green Hill ) and continues the level of excellency he has established for himself.”    ~ Geoff Barber -

Ancient Future - World Without Walls (2011) "Sona Gaia and Narada were two of the more interesting World / New Age labels to erupt as the arts scene began diversifying with a seriousness that arose following the collapse of the 60s/70s ethos. Narada was a sketchy proposition at times, tending to the New Agier side of the house, whereas Sona always held a more serious attitude, and one of their best releases—this one, Ancient Future's World without Walls—was never quite critiqued or marketed as it should have been: as a set of works in the tradition of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Between, Shakti, and other adventurous bands with almost inhuman chops. After all, the entire World gig pretty much rooted in the inestimably superlative Oregon, an ensemble that was and still is eons ahead of its time, talented beyond compare. " ~ Mark S. Tucker - Website, Facebook and MySpace.

Eddie Harris "Freedom Jazz Dance"(2009) "The title tune is Eddie Harris' most famous composition and he wails as only he can, supported by the great drumming of Billy Hart, George Mraz on bass and Jacky Terrasson on piano. Billy Hart is ferocious and drives the quartet to inspired heights... Highly recommended for fans and a great place to start for listeners new to Eddie Harris' unique contributions to jazz music." ~   Rick Bruner - All About Jazz, MySpaceWebsite and CD Discography.

Anita Baker - Rapture (1987) "Rapture, which was released in 1986, is an emotionally rich, subtly restrained suite of songs that merge elements of jazz and soul, with an emphasis on ballads like "Sweet Love," "You Bring Me Joy" and "Been So Long." It is bold in its very conservatism, and it evokes favorable comparisons to the work of some of Baker's idols, such as Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Baker says she was not concerned about how different Rapture seemed from much of the music out at the time. "It didn't cause me any apprehension," she says with a laugh, "because I didn't think anybody was gonna hear it!" "   ~

The xx - XX (2009) “Space. Everyone needs it to stay sane. In London, though, it's hard to find. Coffin-narrow streets are piled with tiny flats, subdivided into even tinier rooms, cramped and claustrophobic. No act of chance, perhaps, that it's in the capital that the most original music of recent years, dubstep, with its booming, echoing spaces, first developed. The xx, four kids from the dubstep heartland of south London, have quietly set up an emotional squat in those spaces, with bedsit-delicate love songs. It's strange that such a traditional set-up (drums, bass, keys, guitars, voices) has resulted in one of 2009's most unique debuts. The praise can be laid at the door of the band themselves: synths-and-beats man Jamie Smith produced the album himself and they draw together eclectic materials from avant-garde hip-hop to R&B to pure pop.”   ~ Emily Mackay, .

Sheryl Crow - 100 Miles From Memphis (2010) “As always, on her seventh studio album the success or failure of Sheryl Crow's recordings is centered on whether or not the listener can truly get caught up in the musical groove. Fortunately, on 100 Miles From Memphis the insistent propulsive energy rarely lets up. Her commercial power in the pop market may have faded somewhat in recent years, but Sheryl Crow remains one of the most consistent of pop and rock soloists. Long-term fans will be pleased by this album, and more casual followers should be impressed by the stylistic commitment here.”   ~ By Bill Lamb, Guide.

Coles Whalen - The Whistle Stop Road Record (2009)  - Live review (excerpt): Coles Whalen @ the Walnut Room (2009): "Quick Coles Whalen catch-up for those of you who haven't been paying attention: In 2005, she independently released her self-titled, six-song EP, bought a truck with a camper shell, loaded the bed with boxes of her CDs and hit the road. Within a year she had played more than 150 venues across the western U.S., and in February she went into the studio to record her first full-length record, “Gee Baby.” Releasing her third solo effort, “Nothing is Too Much,” in 2007, she came back to Denver and formed her present band. But it wasn't long before she parked the camper and left her hometown of Denver, moving to Nashville — though her band remains here, she said."  ~ Sean Kennedy - Links: CD Discography, Facebook and Reverbnation.

Patrick Yandall - Laws Of Groovity (2008) "In this time where smooth jazz radio is slowly disappearing, an independent artist has a really tough time. Even when smooth jazz radio was flourishing, independent artists rarely got air play. But that never deterred guitarist Patrick Yandall from putting his music out there for all to enjoy. Laws of Groovity is Patrick's ninth CD and truly one of his best... Patrick Yandall still remains somewhat under the radar, but hopefully more listeners will appreciate the depth of his abilities whether it's playing or composing. Laws of Groovity is another terrific offering from this guitarist. "   ~ Bonnie Schendell -

Richard Elliot - In The Zone (2011) “Overall, this is a CD not unlike the much earlier material from Elliot (After Hours, Chill Factor, Crush, etc.). Full of sweet grooves, spunk, and slick but not frenzied drive. By now, track 2, “Boom Town,” has climbed impressively up the charts, I'm sure. Not to be outdone, tracks like “Bring It!” and the previously mentioned Marvin Gaye cover provide the phatness we've come to expect from this saxman, while the laid-back and seductive coolness of tunes like “Just A Taste” round out the CD well. ”    Ronald Jackson -

Christian McBride - Live at Tonic (2006) “McBride played two consecutive dates at Tonic, Jan. 3 and 4. On both nights, the first set was a standard hit by the Christian McBride Band; the late sets featured some anointed interlopers. Disc two of this release documents the first guest jam—with guitarist Charlie Hunter, violinist Jenny Scheinman and pianist Jason Moran—in raw and uninterrupted form. Disc three offers the same deal with a different crew: DJ Logic, guitarist Eric Krasno, beat-box savant Scratch and trumpeter Rashawn Ross. It should come as no surprise that disc one, a sampling of the strongest CMB performances from both early sets, yields the most coherent music on the album. Straight out of the gate, the group's collective impact is clear. “Technicolor Nightmare” is an unabashed fusion anthem, and it sounds far fiercer here than on McBride's last album, 2003's Vertical Vision (Warner Bros.). This has a lot to do with the hookup between McBride and drummer Terreon Gully, whose whiplash propulsion has probably never had a better showcase. ”   ~ Nate Chinen - JazzReviews CD Discography, Website, and MySpace Music.

Pat Martino - Undeniable: Live At Blues Alley (HighNote) (2011) "Walk into a guitar shop and mention the name Pat Martino. Clerks and customers will immediately pause to hear whatever you have to say about one of the greatest practitioners to ever pick up the instrument. Martino's latest release showcases a veteran virtuoso who continues to amaze. This hourlong concert disc was recorded in June 2009 at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. Hearing it makes you wish that you had been there, and it makes you grateful that we now have this terrific CD. " ~ Bobby Reed - (review #5) CD Discography, MySpace page and Website.

Patrick Bradley - Under The Sun (2011) “Under the Sun is the title of the outstanding contemporary jazz release on Patrick's Song Factory from the masterful keyboardist/composer Patrick Bradley. His initial solo release, Come Rain or Shine, appeared four years ago serving as the artist's formal introduction. On Under the Sun the artist has emancipated all his enormous creative chops to craft a modern tour de force that provides gratifying classy excellence throughout. Bradley states that the idea lying at the root of this record, after reflection of his own life, was the philosophized principal to enjoy life during the brief time we partake of under the sun pursuing ones dreams, hopes and aspirations. ”   Randall Parrish - The Jazz Review.

Gemma Genazzano - Si Me Quieres/ If You Love Me (2009) “Unlike much of today's Latin output, Gemma Genazzano's Si Mi Quieres / If You Love Me owes less to contemporary R&B and dance music and more to '70s funk and soul. It's an important distinction to make as, in the hands of the wrong production outfit, Genazzano could have slipped into the slush pile, her sultry, playful voice wasted with cookie-cutter arrangements. But Genazzano avoids the processed cheese completely, instead singing over a classy collection of light funk and ice-cool vocal jazz, much of it enveloped in a Latin context.”   Robert M. Sutton - All About Jazz.

Shae Fiol - Catch A Ride (2009) “The first thing that listeners will notice is that Catch at Ride is an incredibly balanced record. There is a nice mix of mid-tempo tunes such as the aforementioned "Let Down," and the sensual "Embrace." Back to back ballads, pensive "A Woman's Presence" and jazzy "Lonely, Lovely," are followed by the socially relevant up-tempo song "It's Not Easy." By time the listener gets to the electronica-funk jam "King," it becomes clear that Shae Fiol is not your average singer/songwriter with a guitar. She is an artist who is equally adept at making her listeners lean in close to listen to her pained lyrics on "A Woman's Presence," and have them dancing in their seats while listening to "King." And that is quite a combination.”   Howard Dukes,

Harris, Sanchez & Scott - Ninety Miles (2011) "They're all relative youngsters in a jazz world that still finds nonagenarians like Dave Brubeck hitting the summer festival circuit. Tenor saxophonist David Sánchez may be the elder statesman on the marquis of Ninety Miles, with vibraphonist Stefon Harris in the middle position at 38 and trumpeter Christian Scott still on the shy side of 30, but each of them has already made his mark, making this an all-star in-the-making American/Cuban collaboration on an upward trajectory"... "Without compositional representation, Scott has to rely on his inestimable chops and taste to make his presence felt, but with brash solos like his searing, stratospheric work on "Congo," there's little fear of being ignored. Together with Harris, Sánchez and their Cuban friends, Ninety Miles is music that could bridge the gap if it was ninety light years. "   ~ John Kelman - WebsiteFacebook.

Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation Extras (2008)  "In a recent interview on National Public Radio's World Cafe, Garza and Hilton discuss many of their influences and play a few examples. They also explain the concept of “outernational,” a word they picked up from the Jamaican Rastafarians. Garza and Hilton refer to it as a way of thinking about the world. Being a world citizen and having a consciousness and appreciation for other cultures... Overall, Radio Retaliation gives listeners a great dance disc with strong political awareness. The guests add dimension to Garza and Hilton's compositions. Although the duo has a strong commitment to world music, the collaborators also give the recording an authenticity that makes its message all the more powerful.” ~ Noreen Mulcahy - and Website
Grant Geissman - Cool Man Cool (2009) "Guitarist Grant Geissman returns after his stellar comeback disc, Say That! (Futurism, 2006), with an album that capitalizes on its predecessor's strengths while at the same time, recruiting an even larger cast of characters. Cool Man Cool is a west coast mainstream jazz affair, celebrating Cool, but with some twists and turns thrown in to make it an eclectic mix that not only highlights Geissman's undervalued talent, but those of his sidemen as well. And with guests including original employer from the '70s, flugelhornist Chuck Mangione, piano icon Chick Corea, guitarist Jerry Hahn and saxophonist Tom Scott, there's enough star power to draw those sadly unfamiliar with Geissman himself. "   ~ John Kelman - All About Jazz.

Ben Williams - State of Art (2011) "With State of Art, Williams deftly demonstrates his musical maturity as a player, composer and arranger in this varied, yet cohesive collection of tunes. Joining Ben is a more-than-capable group of peers, including Marcus Stickland on tenor and soprano sax, Matthew Stevens on guitar, Gerald Clayton on keyboards and Jamire Williams on drums. Also making appearances on three tracks is alto and soprano saxophonist Jaleel Shaw...  Ben's choice of bandmates accentuates the fire and enthusiasm he exudes as an up-and-coming jazz lion. “I'm always looking for guys who are team players, who are great players, but know how to elevate the whole band,” Williams says. “They play in a way that makes everybody else around them sound better, but also bring their own voice to the music.” ~ Jon Liebman -

Paolo Rustichelli - Mystic Man (1996) "Paolo Rustichelli is a futuristic visionary whose music is highly distinctive. Miles Davis, when he collaborated with Rustichelli near the end of his life, called the keyboardist's music "Total Music. Carlos Santana, having signed Paolo to his Guts and Grace label, has said: "Paolo Rustichelli's music is hauntingly beautiful...a romantic, mysterious soundtrack for life. Rustichelli recently reached the first position on the Nu Jazz MySpace artist list. Rustichelli is not a jazz artist in the conventional sense of the term. He believes in making music that does not fit neatly into any one category. His creative objective entails the exploration of various genres in order to conceive something uniquely acroamatic and true to his vision." ~ Katrina-Kasey Wheeler - All About Jazz.

Carmen Cuesta - Mi Bossa Nova (2010) ""A dawn, Copacabana, a song. Through it's empty streets I hear the echo of your voice." Carmen Cuesta's composition titled, "Jobim" begins with those lyrics. We translated them here into English although she doesn't sing in English. This is one of two tracks composed by Cuesta for this album — a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim. Seven of the tracks are Jobim pieces and the set also includes two bossa nova classics: "O Barquinho" and "Manha de Carnaval". Cuesta's story is one of passion, talent, and love. This reviewer speaks neither Spanish nor Portugese and yet I appreciate Mi Bossa Nova as much as I would an aria by Kiri Te Kanawa. The artist delivers the lyrics so passionately with a voice that is soft yet strong, easy flowing yet revealing a depth of character that it affects listeners. We can feel the same emotions she feels. We appreciate her love for the genre and her tribute to Jobim is moving. ~ FC Etier - Technorati Discography, Website and MySpace.

Buena Vista Social Club - At Carnegie Hall (2008) “The first thing that strikes me about At Carnegie Hall is the sound quality. This album sounds amazing, with a power and resonance that blows the studio album away. From the opening applause and the instantly recognizable chords of “Chan Chan” you know you are in for an audiophile's treat. Live albums always have the potential to go wrong with substandard recording quality, but this album sounds better than the studio album to my ears, a testament to Cooder's meticulous mixing and mastering. And the performance itself is spectacular. Lead vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer's voice is raw and emotive; pianist Ruben Gonzalez seems to float effortlessly yet precisely over each key he touches. Standout tracks include “Chan Chan,” “Dos Gardenias,” and “Candela,” but really this whole set is phenomenal.”   Ajay Miranda ,

India Arie - Testimony: Vol. 2, Love and Politics (2009) "With an earthy, organic demeanor, a honey-coated alto and an insistence on bringing a message with her music, India Arie Simpson took the scene by storm with her 2001 debut, Acoustic Soul. Over the years, thanks to self-esteem-building songs like "Video," "Little Things" and "I Am Not My Hair," the Denver, CO native became known, even celebrated, for her introspection and honesty. While some of her peers are content to create music only from behind carefully constructed facades, Ms. Arie never hesitates to delve into her personal heartaches, expose them to the masses and evolve beyond them in the process. Her fourth CD, a follow-up to 2006's Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, continues to filter life lessons through the healing power of song, but with more texture and perspective. ~

Drew Davidsen - Spin Cycle (2011) "Without a doubt, “the journey” for guitarist Drew Davidsen from his native Maryland to the contemporary smoothness of his brand of jazz has been a most pleasant one, from the standpoint of this writer. I've written about Davidsen on a couple of other occasions, and my opinion is always the same. The guy not only plays with style and class, but he understands the nuances and sweetness of the type of melodies and hooks that reach people. His latest, Spin Cycle, is further proof of that."   ~ Ronald Jackson - and DC Bebop.

Ragan Whiteside - Class Axe (2007) "The infrequency with which the flute is heard only adds to its magic as a contemporary jazz instrument. Now, in the skilled hands of the wonderfully soulful Ragan Whiteside, its potential knows no bounds. Her 2007 CD ‘Class Axe' is an absolute revelation and, given the album features production from both Bob Baldwin and Dennis Johnson, it has all the credentials necessary to provide Whiteside with the mainstream breakthrough that, on the strength of this collection, she so richly deserves."" ~ Smooth Jazz Therapy and DC Bebop.

Les Nubians - Nü Revolution (2011)  "Since 1999, the French/African duo Les Nubians have bewitched listeners with their blend of African music, hip hop, and jazz. Their breakthrough album, Princesses Nubiennes, spawned the hypnotic track, "Makeda"—while sung entirely in French, the heavy beat as well as Helene and Celia Faussart's lovely harmonies held universal appeal. Their latest album, Nü Revolution, continues their musical journey, proving that the duo's initial success was no fluke. ~ Kit O'Toole - Blogcritics Music.

Janine Gilbert-Carter - "Inside A Silent Tear" (2009) One of the many fine singers around the Washington DC area, Janine Gilbert-Carter “lives at the intersection where jazz, blues and gospel all come together,” according to Jeff Gruber, who engineered Janine's most recording, Inside a Silent Tear. Recorded at the Historic Blair mansion, she is backed by a terrific quartet comprised of Eric Byrd on keyboards, Wes ‘Sugar' Biles on bass, Jeff Neal on drums and Brian Lee Settles on tenor sax on a set of some well known standards mixed with less familiar items to showcase her soulful singing. "   ~ In a Blue Mood -

Janita - Haunted (2010)  "On the heels of her most commercially successful release to date, Janita returns with her highly anticipated new album, Haunted. The latest in an already acclaimed discography, Haunted is helmed by an artist with the courage and determination to evolve—not only out of artistic desire, but personal necessity... At its core, Haunted embodies the journey of an artist focused not on the ghosts of her past, but on the possibilities of her future. One of her own fashioning. One that for the first time now belongs to her. A future of hope and promise, and she invites her listeners to join her." ~ Engine Company Records.

Dave Koz - Hello Tomorrow (2010) Contemporary jazz saxophone icon Dave Koz has recently released his first CD for the Concord Music Group entitled Hello Tomorrow. Two decades of recording and touring extensively (on many occasions billed as "Dave Koz and Friends") has helped lay the requisite groundwork for this superb masterpiece. Superlatively and exactingly produced by the renowned duo of Concord Music Group veteran ace producer John Burk and Grammy winner Marcus Miller, Dave follows the doctrine that he conveys in his liner notes. Said doctrine being: Music has a particular ability to awaken and stir the soul. Dave Koz has assembled a select arsenal of his many awe inspiringly talented musician friends to rally round the maestro and embrace his dream of presenting one powerhouse album that profusely awakens and stirs the soul from commencement to finish."   ~ Randall Parrish -

Bernie Williams - Moving Forward (2009) Bernie Williams certainly broke the mould in terms of his colourful career. Not only was he a baseball star for the New York Yankees, but he is also a classically trained musician whose interest in his Porto Rican heritage led to him being nominated for a Latin Grammy. More than that, he also signed a publishing deal with McCartney and this CD 'Moving Forward' - his second solo album - has already been nominated for a Latin Grammy."   ~ Pete Feenstra -

Alyssa Graham - Echo (2008)   “Jazz, by its very nature, is evolving in four dimensions. Norah Jones, for example, with a crack band and a Country and Western sensibility, has reformed the interface between jazz and popular music. Think of Jones as Josef Haydn, a musical trailblazer inventing a new way to look at an established genre, one further perfected by Mozart's inevitable invention. Norah Jones' Mozart is Alyssa Graham.” 
~ C. Michael Bailey.

Paul Carr Quintet - Straight Ahead Soul (2010) "Straight Ahead Soul, the new CD by Paul Carr, is the most personal musical statement to date from the tenor saxophonist and educator, who's been a mainstay of the Washington, DC jazz scene for the last 25 years. It's a meditation on Carr's Southern roots and “the influence a Southern upbringing has had on my musical foundation," he says. And it explores his journey from inner-city Houston to the suburbs of Washington, DC, as he pays homage to mentors (and legendary Texas tenor men) Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson."    ~ Terri Hinte - All About Jazz.

Jay Soto - Mezmerized (2009)  "The smooth jazz stylizing of guitarist Jay Soto blanket listeners in sweet atmospherics that create a personalized paradise made just for them. Soto's latest release Mesmerized is the epitome of cool elegance with a carriage of sophisticated saxophone lines and chutes of simmering grooves beefing up the guitar chords. Produced by Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Darren Rahn and Mario Mendivil, Mesmerized allows the listener to savor the uplifting feel that smooth jazz tubing offers, making every foamy kernel fume with pleasure and partner every sonic strand with a soul mate. Happiness might be in the air, but Soto knows how to lasso it and make it materialize in his music.” ~ Susan Frances -

Matt Cusson - Matt Cusson (2010)  "While studying in Boston at Berklee College of Music, Matt Cusson instinctively found his way to Harlem's Apollo stage. And in the years to follow, as a three-time winner of the venue's legendary Amateur Night, Cusson would eventually perform alongside some of the music industry's greatest contemporary voices: Babyface, Christina Aguilera, and Norah Jones, to name a few. In July 2009, Matt Cusson's jazz composition, “One of Those Nights,” was announced as the 2008 Maxell Song of the Year. (In previous months, the song was unanimously heralded as the winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest within the “Jazz” category.) Quite fittingly, the grand prize was presented to Cusson by his long-time mentor, Brian McKnight.” ~ Clayton Perry - Blogcritics Music.

Paul Brown - Love You Found Me (2010)  "This CD features some heavy hitters as contributors (Richard Elliot, the aforementioned Jessy J and Greg Adam, Euge Groove, Marc Antoine, Al Jarreau, Philippe Saisse, just to name a few), and I guess it's no surprise, considering the helping hand this great producer/guitarist has extended to probably each of them and then some. There's lots of great variety here. Cases in point would be Strollin',” the mid-tempo track with Richard Elliot, the funky, hook-tight “Let Me Love You” with Euge Groove (that Groove sax certainly works well with that Brown guitar to make for a completely hot piece, and the well-placed backing vocals add that “oomph”), the reunion with Marc Antoine and Brown on “Right Back At Ya” has a solid drive and is both sweet and natural. These guys do have that chemistry, as was clearly demonstrated in Foreign Exchange.” ~ Ronald Jackson - The Smooth Jazz Ride.

James Cotton - Giant (2010)  "There are a few rare musicians out there for whom the term Giant is most fitting and certainly James Cotton falls firmly into that category. A blues harp master whom has cultivated his trade for now going on 66 years, starting with Sonny Boy Williamson taking him under his wing at the age of age of 9, after his parents had passed. From then on both history and a legend were being made to the present when James Cotton has long achieved his legendary status as one of the greatest harmonica players of all time. ” ~ John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network).

Grant Green Jr - Jungle Strut (1997)  " -- also a guitarist -- recorded an album for the Japanese market in 1997 that Grant Green, Sr. could very well have made: a fine chitlin-circuit set of soul-jazz populated mostly by tunes from the '60s ("Walk on By," "Green Onions" "When a Man Loves a Woman"). To his credit, Jr. doesn't sound exactly like Sr.; his harder tone, solid R&B-oriented comping, and repeated stabbing riffs place him closer to Joe "Boogaloo" Jones, or George Benson in a funky mood. Green often defers to his flamboyant alternating organists Reuben Wilson and Michael Torsone, and altoman Eddie Pazant delivers a typical (for the genre) mixture of bop and soulful grandstanding. The rhythm section is a tough, kicking combination of Bill Foster (bass) and Ernest Colon (drums), laying down an especially propulsive groove on Gene Ammons' title tune that everyone from the boogalooers to the M-Basers and acid-jazzers would appreciate..” ~ Richard S. Ginell -

Gaelle - Transient (2004)  "Over the past ten years, Gaelle Adisson has secured a firm place in the fertile Atlanta music scene. With her debut full-length album "Transient," she showcases her rich talent and creativity, presenting an album of soul music with a strong sense of individuality and self-assurance. There's no question about Gaelle's talent as a singer, songwriter, and producer. With her honest, sensual and haunting style, Gaelle joins the space occupied by young female singers like Kelis and Res. She is unquestionably a soul songtress, but she's got that kind of style that moves her out of the Jill Scott/Angie Stone realm and into her own personal domain." ~ Emmerald - Dance Music.

Steve Conte & The Crazy Truth (2009)  "Conte is a musician's musician. The kind of guy who lives to play and sing. He's done projects as varied as soundtrack work for anime series such as Wolf's Rain, Cowboy Be Bop and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG with composer Yoko Kanno, worked with Paul Simon, toured with Billy Squier, played live on stage with flamenco legend Raimundo Amador and Pata Negra, oh yeah… and then there's the fact he's also the guitarist in the New York Dolls. The man's just got it in his blood. (He does, after all, come from a musical family.) When not touring with the Dolls, Conte still had the itch, the twitch, the need to get the rebel beat out of his soul and into amplified form. Finding like-minded creatures in the forms of bassist, Lee Kostrinsky and drummer Phil Stewart, over the course of two years and many continents they've managed to get 11 tracks down onto disc. The slithering blues grooves and vierbal vitriol on tracks like “Busload of Hope” and the gritty, thinly-veiled drug references on tunes like “Gypsy Cab” and “Texas T” stick to your soul like lyrical napalm.” ~ Christine Natanael -

Jack Prybylski - Out Of The Box (2010)  "What do you get when you combine elements of trance, steeped in generous portions of rhythm with a heat-infused saxophone that is masterfully caressed by one very bad cat? You get a pass on a very trippy vibe that some might say is “Out of the Box." Produced by Four 80 East (one of the hottest bands that has existed to defy all the rules), Out of the Box (Innervision Records) is the third solo release by saxophonist Jack Prybylski. Prybylski initially caught the ear of radio with his sophomore release, Window Shopping, by garnering national praise from critics for his smooth melodic style. “Jacks instantly appealing music and strong sound make Window Shopping one of the best independent releases this year," declared Smooth Jazz News.” ~ CHERYL HUGHEY PROMOTIONS - All About Jazz.

George Kahn - Secrets from the Jazz Ghetto (2010)  "West Coast jazz pianist George Kahn revisits past successes on Secrets From The Jazz Ghetto selecting some of his best compositions from five of his previous six albums for this compilation recording. This seventh outing contains 26 pieces covering a range of styles from contemporary to bebop, and from Bossa Nova to Latin and Cool jazz. Though the main repertoire on this two-disc set album reprises music recorded between 1998 to 2008, there are seven new recordings revealed here as the first of Kahn's secrets. The music is quite varied, accessible and challenging to the core, an obvious conclusion after a sampling of the album—and that's no secret.” ~ Edward Blanco - All About Jazz.

Benito Gonzalez - Circles (2010)  "Circles is the sophomore album by Benito Gonzalez, recently released by Furthermore Recordings. The Venezuelan-born jazz pianist made his debut as a leader relatively recently, with 2004's Starting Point. Shortly thereafter he won the 2005 Great American Jazz Piano Competition. As a sideman Gonzalez has played with a host of jazz luminaries, most notably touring and recording with Kenny Garrett. Gonzalez composed eight of the nine pieces on Circles. The lone non-original is lengthy take of McCoy Tyner's "Blues On the Corner." A generous leader, Gonzalez allows ample room for his musicians to solo. The Tyner tune allows the group an opportunity to relax, rare for this album. The interplay on these tunes is generally quite intense, aided by a trio of saxophone players who put a distinct stamp on most of them.” ~ By THE OTHER CHAD - BLOGCRITICS.ORG.

Jonathan Butler - So Strong (2010)  "So Strong is the essence of what Jonathan Butler is about as an artist, with a mlange of soul, jazz, contemporary gospel, and South African sounds. It's a winning formula that has evolved since he first emerged in 1985 with his debut Introducing Jonathan Butler. Today, he continues to serve as a stylistic bridge and an ongoing inspiration to all who hear him. He's particularly proud of So Strong, adding, “This CD has legs. I believe this music will stand the test of time." ” ~ All About Jazz.

Jean-Luc Ponty - The Acatama Experience (2007) "Back in January (of 2007) we covered two of JLP's albums from the early eighties at once, to examine a turning point in this French violinist's approach to jazz-rock. This time around, there's a brand new release to examine and twenty-five years later, Ponty is still effectively leveraging much of the same ideas he came up with then, and at other points of his career...the master fusion violinist from Avranches, France gives his fans from downtown Paris to Bombay to Santiago another strong set of tracks" ~ Author: Pico -

Ronny Jordan - The Antidote (1992)  "'A self-taught guitarist, Jordan first picked up the instrument at the age of four, and was playing live shows at the age of 15. He was exposed to gospel groups like the Soul Stirrers and Andrae Crouch. Jordan's first public performances were with gospel acts in and around London... The outbreak of British funk during the 1980s inspired Jordan to start exploring different types of music beyond his gospel roots. At some point, he developed a fascination with jazz... Although Jordan loved jazz, he was also fond of 1970s funk groups like Sly & The Family Stone, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Tower of Power. "I was split down the middle," he told Guitar Player. Jordan started experimenting after college and combined his two loves, jazz and funk. When hip hop began to take off, he started incorporating that into the mix as well. Jordan's experiments resulted in the song "After Hours," on which he played all of the instruments. This single was one of the first recordings of the music genre that would come to be known as "acid jazz."” ~ Guitar Player, February 1994, p.23 -

John Pondel - John Pondel (2009)  "Born in Chicago and raised in California, John Pondel began in music playing flute, accordion and clarinet. Later his older brother introduced him to the guitar at the age of 12. By the age of 20 Pondel was the first call guitarist for the Grammy winning Gerald Wilson Orchestra, playing with such legendary musicians as Harold Land, Snooky Young and Marshal Royal. As a studio musician and live jazz performer he has worked with most of the west coast luminaries including Tom Scott, Art Pepper, Al Jarreau, Warne Marsh and many others. On his new self titled CD. he is playing with Scott Colley on bass, Marivaldo Dos Santos on percussion and David Binney on sax and flute. There is a relax mood all through this album, starting with the first tune "Make it Nice," a slow bossa with nice melodies and chord harmonies. Marivaldo percussion is subtle and perfect for this piece. ” ~ Wilbert Sostre -

Joe Martin - Not By Chance (2009)  "Bassist/composer Joe Martin has assembled an all-star cast for his second release as a leader, Not By Chance. All of the tunes, with one exception, are written by Martin, and his interplay with pianist Brad Mehldau, saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Marcus Gilmore is masterful. The group explores rhythms through unending variations, creating instant responses with minute details and close attention to structure.” ~ Greg Camphire - All About Jazz.

Caleb Quaye & The Faculty - OUT OF THE BLUE (2010)  "Caleb Quaye And The Faculty decided to lay down four original tracks with all the musicians playing live in the same room at Hill's home studio in Pasadena. When those sessions went well, Hill suggested they do more tunes, so Quaye went back to “his cave” and quickly emerged with charts for five additional songs, which the band also cut live; the only overdubs were a few Hammond B-3 parts and synth strings. Of the nine tracks on Out Of The Blue, the guitarist's personal favorites are the spiritually inspired “Ask And You Shall Receive,” a sensual, hypnotic piece he dubs a “mix of mild be-bop and funk,” and “Just Passing Through,” which features a cool, melodic vibe and relaxed 7/4 time signature. It was inspired by his belief that life is a journey, that where we end up is more important than how we started, and that the earth is not our ultimate home.”

Andrew Neu - Try Something Neu (2009)  "is the current smooth contemporary jazz release on NuGroove Records from rising saxophone sensation Andrew Neu. His third solo recording once again finds him surrounded by superbly talented musicians as he delivers delightful performances on tenor, alto, and soprano sax to songs with fresh, clean, and powerful musical arrangements. The coherent production, split almost evenly between Gerald Veasley, Chuck Loeb, and Brian Bromberg, is top-notch. This talented trio also lends their superlative performing artistry, together with other gifted guests, allowing Neu to gleam his brightest glow.”

Tracy Cruz - Feel'osphy (2008)  "From San Jose, California comes singer/songwriter, Tracy Cruz. Blessed with a sultry, soulful and emotive alto, she delivers a debut project which not only captures and reflects years of vocal and artistic development, but puts her on the map of the Bay Area music scene and on industry radar. Her most commercial track, “ Nothing In This World ,” is easily the best and most complete R&B song that I've heard this year; complete as in solid music production, vocals/arrangements, and lyrics. Comparisons to Toni Braxton will be both inevitable and inaccurate; Tracy is the better singer, with greater range and vocal agility as evidenced in this masterpiece.” ~ Gian Fiero - CD Review and Website.

Terell Stafford - Taking Chances: Live At The Dakota (2005)  "I like nothing better than a live recording that allows you to sit back and enjoy as if right there in the jazz club. When I also know that the applause I hear on record includes my own—even better! In June 2005, the Terell Stafford Quintet recorded over three nights at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis, and I had the good fortune to be there through several sets. Now the best of those sessions has been cleanly engineered by MaxJazz for release as Taking Chances: Live at the Dakota. His second outing for MaxJazz finds Stafford in the very live company of his working band, tenor/soprano saxman Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Dana Hall.” ~ Andrea Canter - Jazz Police and Website Music.

Sophie Milman - Take Love Easy (2009)  " April 1, 2009 (Toronto, ON) – Fresh off sold out appearances at The Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center, and The Blue Note, jazz sensation Sophie Milman follows up her 2008 Juno Award winning Make Someone Happy with Take Love Easy—a breathtaking portrait of an artist coming of age while breaking new musical boundaries. With an inimitable instrument that has been described as “drawn butter and warm honey” (Jazz Times), her soulful renditions of modern classics are each executed with the utmost originality, all distinctively Sophie. In the words of the Los Angeles Times, “Not the next Ella or Sarah, but the first Sophie Milman. One of a kind.”” ~ Sarah French - Rock the Blues from Canada and MySpace Music.

Mem Shannon - I'm From Phunkville (2005)  "Recorded in New Orleans and produced by Mem, it has a big-time sound/feel that reminds me somewhat of Solomon Burke's best album in recent years, (Definition of Soul on Point Blank) and it's poignant to remember that Mem was driving a cab 10 years ago with a full-time music career just a dream. I like to believe that if an artist has a solid game plan, a serious spiritual/moral foundation, is driven by love of people/music and has a heaping dose of talent, then we get someone like Mem Shannon.” ~ A. Grigg - Real Blues Magazine, Issue #30 (November, 2005) and MySpace Music.

Kevin Peter Jones - Magnetic Journey (2009)  "One of Washington, D.C.'s most refreshing new talents, Kevin Peter Jones, released his long awaited debut-album, Magnetic Journey on Tuesday September 29, 2009 on Sakestyle Entertainment. It is with good reason that Kevin has been on the rise since the journey to complete this project started in 2005. Known for his ability to blend a variety of musical genres and styles, he has produced an eclectic yet cohesive sonic experience, Kevin Peter Jones meticulously hand selected each song for this album project.” ~ by smoothjazzdaily      Link: DC Bebop listing.

Andreas Öberg - Six String Evolution (2010)  "Perhaps “exemplary” is the word that describes this extraordinary young guitar player from Stockholm, Sweden named Andreas Öberg and his amazing sophomore album titled “Six String Evolution” on Resonance Records...  Andreas Öberg's – “Six String Evolution” is absolutely superb. It's like this jazz enthusiast, if you love guitar with terrific ensemble play then I'm sure this album will make a great addition to your music collection. On “Evolution,” Öberg infuses his unrivaled dexterity to these eleven attractive compositions that are played and arranged by some of the finest musicians in the industry. Öberg essentially accomplishes his mission with “Six String Evolution” he advances his unlimited voice through the sphere of this intrepid musical excursion. Recommended exclusively for jazz enthusiasts!” ~ Rob Young - The Urban Flux.

Larry Brown - Peace (2008)  "YOU CAN'T JUDGE a pianist by the tunes he covers . . . or can you? "Peace," the latest CD by the Larry Brown Trio, certainly looks appealing, particularly to fans of jazz piano, as it features pieces by Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver and Bill Evans, among others. The album lives up to its promise, too, thanks to engaging arrangements. Brown isn't interested in mimicking the pianists he admires or deconstructing their tunes. He's a melodist at heart, well-versed in swing and bop traditions and fond of unfussy arrangements.” ~ Mike Joyce - Washington Post.

Vijay Iyer - Historicity (2010)  "Never let it be said that pianist Vijay Iyer is one to shy away from a challenge. And, frankly, when you've got the chops he has, why would you? Not content to simply be regarded as one of the most promising up-and-coming jazz pianists of his generation, Iyer's latest recording's mix of audacious covers and originals should mark his group as one of the top piano trios in the game. Armed with Iyer's dense rearrangements of songs by titans from the world of avant-jazz, pop and R&B -- including Bernstein, Sondheim and Stevie Wonder -- "Historicity" is a sprawling and invigorating listen, one filled with such imagination that it can't help but be heard as something of a mission statement. ” ~ Chris Barton - The L.A. Times music blog.

Walter Beasley - Free Your Mind (2009)  "One knock on smooth jazz is that it really shouldn't be called jazz because it lacks any hint of improvisation. Another is that artists and producers take musicians out of the equation by employing programmers who replace bass and drums. Occasionally, an artist overcomes these negatives with solid songwriting or exceptional play. Walter Beasley accomplishes both on Free Your Mind. Beasley was a child when his aunt gave him a recording by Grover Washington Jr., a gift that inspired Beasley to learn the saxophone. A graduate from the Berklee College of Music, whose classmates included Branford Marsalis and Rachelle Ferrell, this recording represents Beasley's statement of personal and global reflection. ” ~ Woodrow Wilkins - All About Jazz.

Oz Noy (2009) - Schizophrenic  "While other fusion guitarists have received wider international acclaim, Israeli-born, US-resident guitarist Oz Noy has been working in the trenches, slowly amassing a discography as impressive for its writing as it is his tastefully virtuosic playing. Schizophrenic, the guitarist's fourth release since his 2005 Magnatude Records debut, Ha!, demonstrates considerable growth in both departments. Straddling the jazz-rock fusion line—sometimes leaning a little more heavily on one than the other—Noy's music has always defined by visceral groove, inventive melody, and an effervescent energy that sometimes simmers, sometimes boils. Noy's growth from Ha! to Schizophrenic is palpable; here's a guitarist who's as good as any of the larger fusion names out there and is, in many cases, a more accomplished writer. Why he's not as well-known is a mystery, but if Schizophrenic is a first-encounter, it's bound to bring the guitarist some new fans, while delivering plenty to keep his existing ones beyond happy.” ~ John Kelman - All About Jazz.

Bobby Lyle - Hands On (2007)  "With a career spanning 3 decades, pianist Bobby Lyle not only brings a wealth of experience to his Heads Up debut, he brings it Hands On.Twelve contemporary tracks, including 9 originals, celebrate life with the right mix of funk and tradition. Bobby Lyle's latest is hip, heartfelt and Hands On. Hands On is a modern celebration of life and love. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on it!” ~ D.J. Fazio - Jazz Monthly Reviews.

XIOMARA LAUGART "Xiomara" (2006)  "Xiomara's passion draws as much from Cuban folk music as the upbeat sound of her former band, Yerba Buena, or Los Van Van, several of whose songs she gives a lovely acoustic treatment to. Recorded with precision and clarity, Laugart's voice sparkles whether singing (always in Spanish) with just an acoustic guitar or rollicking over crisp percussion and a small band. "Xiomara" is a lyrical Latin gem.” ~ MICHAEL PRONKO - The Japan Times.

Keyshia Cole "Just Like You" (2007)  "Hip-hop has always been like a movie, full of stars and background actors, good guys and villains. There's the smooth leading man who always gets the girl (Usher), the intimidating mob boss (50 Cent), and the aging boxer who can't give up the spotlight (Jay-Z). And we can't forget the gangster's girlfriend. The woman who helps her man hide his stash from the feds, then finally decides she's had enough of his cheating, throws a flower vase at his head, and leaves a heartbroken but stronger woman. For years Mary J. Blige played the “married to the mob” part perfectly, watch her with Method Man in You're All I Need, but Ms. Mary's getting older. Hip-hop's been looking for a younger woman to fill the role for years. The search is finally over, Keyshia Cole is here. ” ~ Nathan S. - The DJ Booth.

Steve Wilson - "Soulful Song" (2003) "Throughout his session, Wilson's soul-stirring saxophones provide a unique form of communication, connecting with his audience on several levels. We're not expected to turn a deaf ear to musical styles that remain apart from our dear favorites. We should remain forever open to it all. In the same manner that Nat King Cole could bring everyone together, Wilson corrals a variety of specialties here under one umbrella. Along with pianist Barth, bassist Ed Howard, and drummer Adam Cruz, the leader paves a strong, straight-ahead jazz foundation. On the surface, however, he's opened up avenues through which a much larger audience can easily appreciate Steve Wilson's soulful songs. ” ~ Jim Santella -

Mike Bloomfield/Al Kooper/Steve Stills - Super Session (1968) "Every once in awhile what seems like a good idea at the time actually turns out to be a great idea. Such was the case with the concept behind what would become the Super Session album. The sixties found Al Kooper backing Bob Dylan on tour plus joining him in the studio. He provided the keyboards for “Like A Rolling Stone,” and would go on to play with The Blues Project and form Blood, Sweat, & Tears which he would leave after one album. In 1968 he came up with the idea of recording his friend Mike Bloomfield by gathering some back-up musicians and just jamming. He felt this type of recording technique would fit the style of Bloomfield well. ” ~ David Bowling -

Sacha Boutros - Simply Sacha (2008)
"released on May 28, 2008 is proving to be “Simply Marvelous.” Robb 'Jazzbro' Peterson, KTUH FM 90.3 in Honolulu. Half of the album is original and the compositions are a mix of Jazz, Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova and Pop “I am trying to create a sort of Pop-Jazz so that everyone will enjoy my music, and hopefully get more into and appreciate the art of acoustic music itself and the beauty and power of something as simple as a song.”” ~ All About Jazz.

Midnight Star - No Parking on the Dance Floor (1983)  "Putting aside previous Earth, Wind & Fire-style leanings, Midnight Star saw the emergence of the more eclectic, synthesized funk of younger artists like Prince, and, with the Calloway brothers producing, reinvented itself through the release of 1983's No Parking on the Dance Floor. The result, a computerized, infectious brand of dance/funk, took Midnight Star to the top of the R&B charts with the album's first release, "Freak-a-Zoid" as well as the follow-up singles "Wet My Whistle" and the title track. The group also proved it could still pump out a soulful ballad with "Slow Jam," an album cut that became a Quiet Storm staple.” by Chris Rizik ~

Richard "Groove" Holmes - Soul Message (1965)  "Groove" Holmes "deftly toes the line between serious jazz and soul/pop worlds on this 1965 recording, which seems targeted at a mainstream audience not in the mood for either teaching or preaching. The familiar songs are given a slight face-lift (Holmes' up-tempo treatment of Erroll Garner's "Misty" became a hit single), while a less familiar tune like Clifford Brown's "Dahoud" settles into such an easy, emphatic groove that even a first-time listener could mistake it for a comfortable old slipper. ” ~ Samuel Chell - All About Jazz.

Kruder And Dorfmeister - The K&D Sessions (1998) “After listening to the disc, several things can be ascertained about Kruder and Dorfmeister. The first of these is that their work is super-solid. Even with the varying styles and amount of work that they've included on the two discs, almost every song is very listenable and many of them completely rock the funky beat. Although they have a definite style and tend to favor that bossanova organ with funky beats with a touch of dub, they work all the tracks differently and even the one song that is contained twice sounds completely different on each version. One other cool thing about the music is that all the tracks are mixed together on the individual discs, creating a seamless flow of smooth groove for the listener. If you're not quite into kickin' it full bore and want something to lay back and chill out to, look no further.”
- !K7 - almost cool music review.

Oskar Cartaya - My Music, My Friends, My Time (2004) “ Bassist extraordinaire/bandleader Oskar Cartaya released this long-awaited solo debut recording with a little help from his friends. After a fruitful career working with the likes of Spyro Gyra, Herb Albert, Celia Cruz, Dave Valentín, Rubén Blades, Steve Winwood and Robbie Robertson, Cartaya has acted as musical director for Willie Colón, Tania Maria, Jennifer López, end more recently, for Obie Bermúdez. This disc reflects all his obvious influences from R&B, jazz, rock and pop to Latin and beyond, plus his compositional skills, arrangements and production savvy, all fused into one. Backed by a cast of luminaries, from coast to coast and from his beloved Puerto Rice, the ensemble perpetuates Latin jazz in its richest form throughout 13 original compositions from the pen of Cartaya.” 
Latin Beat Magazine, June-July, 2004 by Rudy Mangual.

Jessica Medina - Azul (2007) “ with influences from six different countries, Jessica Medina is not only well travelled but also a captivating performer who is dedicated to the art of jazz. Being able to speak Spanish, English, Italian, French, Portuguese, and German, Medina learnt the roots of music of the different cultures and includes them in her compositions... The sultry singer fell in love with jazz by coincidence and has pursued the genre ever since... Medina has been working with different musicians for the past few years before she actually had the opportunity to sit down and work on her album. ”    By DEBBIE CHAN - TheStar online.

Ledisi - Turn Me Loose (2009) “ Stand back. Ledisi is ready to knock down the microphone. Turn Me Loose, the New Orleans native's successor to 2007's Grammy-nominated breakthrough Lost & Found, sounds like a fierce, soul-fire manifesto that firmly establishes this passionate singer-songwriter as a contemporary force. In just under an hour, Ledisi Young's talents will draw comparisons to Chaka Khan with her incendiary mix of R&B, rock, hip-hop, blues and funk. ”    By MARIO TARRADELL -  Music Critic -

Bobby Ricketts - Skin To Skin (2008) “The musical integrity, artistry, heart and soul of saxophonist Bobby Ricketts can now be heard on the album Skin To Skin – his first solo recording in a number of years. “I've always been so busy fulfilling commitments to play or produce for other artists or clients, and it never entered my mind to record a solo album. I've always felt that I was expressing myself and being true to my heart musically, even in projects I've done for commercial situations. I've been quite privileged in that way. But over the past few years, the desire to express myself entirely within my own personal musical universe has inflamed into a burning passion…””   HBH, Smooth Jazz Blog.

Carol Welsman - Carol Welsman (2001) “The dynamic, multi-talented Carol Welsman may be less well-known to jazz and pop fans as her fellow Canadians Diana Krall and Michael Buble, but over the course of six genre-busting albums in the past 12 years, she's found a fascinating niche as a true global citizen of the world. Some interesting accolades should do the trick as far as introduction to her powerful impact as a recording artist and live performer. She won “Pianist/Keyboardist of the Year” at the 2006 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, and was a nominee for “Best Female Vocalist”, “Album of the Year”, and “Best Pianist/Keyboardist” in 2007. Four of her previous CDs have earned Juno Award nominations, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammy Award. Pierre Cossette, renownedproducer of the Grammy Awards, produced Carol's last project, a CD/DVD “What'cha Got Cookin', released in Japan, and Canada in 2006. It garnered a nomination for “Album of the Year.””   Jonathan Widran,®.

Idris Muhammad - Power of Soul (1974) “This album marked Idris Muhammad's debut as a leader and is described in the liner notes as " an album that should have received warmer accolades and become a classic." I would whole-heartedly agree with this summation and add that it will certainly be one of my favourite re-releases this year. The players on this disc might be termed a "super" band. Most of the musicians heard here were on the way to becoming stars in their own spheres. Muhammad himself had played for such Broadway shows as "Hair" and had, by this time, become the house drummer for the Prestige record label. Subsequently he worked with the likes of Roberta Flack, Pharoah Sanders, George Coleman and David Murray and has become one of the most respected and in demand drummers in the business.”   Dick Stafford,

Euge Groove - Born 2 Groove (2007) “Euge's idea was to take his music to church. It's not a jazz gospel album per se, but the sound is funky, transcendent and spiritual. And instead of working like everyone else with the usual smoothie sidemen, he invested a great deal of time and effort to find musicians who could convey the uplifting spiritual vibe he was after.”   Jonathan Widran -

Althea Rene~ - No Restrictions (2008) “is an instantly likeable, melodically catchy and groovingly in the pocket delight from start to finish. The opening title track sets the tone by perfectly balancing easy, seductive grooves and a catchy hook with colorful and imaginative improvisations. Besides the presence of Dulfer, Rene on “Ladies Night Out” is complemented by a subtle old school keyboard vibe. She eases along pretty effortlessly on the dreamy and soulful “Come My Way” then goes a little more progressive on the trippy, dramatic and edgy hypnosis of “Do Ya Like Dat?” which swirls her whimsical flute with hip-hop grooves and a mix of male and female rap-sing vocals. ”     Jonathan Widran - Jazz Monthly Reviews.

Jimmy Salvemini - Self Expression (2008) “Jimmy was initially pushed into the music industry by his brother and then manager Larry Salvemini when he heard that his little brother (at 12 years) was at a Barbara Mandrell concert with a sign saying, "I'm 12 years old, please fulfill my dreams to sing a duet with you." Barbara called him on stage and what started as a duet ended as a solo performance. ”     Eunice Moseley -

Blake Aaron - Desire (2007) “Smooth jazz guitarist Blake Aaron is back with his third CD Desire and for anyone familiar with his music, it was well worth the wait. This collection of mostly original music captivates the senses from the first note and never lets go. Aaron?s love for jazz is apparent in everything he does and Desire is no exception... Desire is unquestionably one of the standout smooth jazz CD's of the year, three years in the making.”   Susan Lozinak,®.

Arrival (1996) by Nick Colionne is still one of my favorite albums to revisit.  I like all of Nick's work but the licks on "Arrival" keep me coming back to listen again.  My favorite tracks are "Arrival", "Willows in the Wind" and "Brazilian Dreams". Great listening music, anytime... anyplace -  DCB.  
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