Monday, September 26, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 26, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 3 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
4 - 9 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
5 - 8 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
6 - 4 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
7 - 7 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
8 - 12 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
9 - 5 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
10 - 10 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
11 - 11 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
12 - 20 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 19 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
14 - 6 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
15 - 14 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
16 - 16 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
17 - 18 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Fritzenized" - (Nordic Night Records)
18 - 17 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)
19 - 22 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
20 - 13 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)

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"Expansions Live" The Dave Liebman Group - October 14th Whaling City Sound Release #jazz

Going Their Way?
The Dave Liebman Group’s Expansions Live journeys to parts unknown

It is a work in progress in the very best sense. It is music in progress. Performance in progress. Musicians moving music forward, making things happen, responding to the actions and reactions of their bandmates. Making their own way, then joining hands for a while. Expansions Live, the Dave Liebman Group’s brand new recording, is a thrill ride and a joy ride both.

Those that know jazz know Liebman, and those that know Liebman know he is a master improviser. His latest band, Expansions, is an ambitious project designed to disassemble and reassemble the language of jazz. At their core, Expansions is an adventurous ensemble, eager to invent and constantly in search of new terrain to explore. Their debut album, Samsara, skirted the outer edges of new jazz interpolation, with a profoundly intellectual approach to composing. A follow up project, The Puzzle, found the band delving even deeper into the headier aspects of improvising, daring each other to unearth brave new compositions. Expansions Live finds the band snapping an aural photograph, capturing a time and a place, as if to say, “This is us right here, right now. Check it!”

Expansions centers on the generous skills of five extraordinary musicians—Liebman (soprano sax and flute), Matt Vashlishan (reeds), Bobby Avey (keys), Tony Marino (bass), and Alex Ritz (drums). Each one of is a heavy lifter, with the capacity (and tendency) for extraordinary adventure. Together, they embark on a bristling night of discovery, traipsing through a set consisting of songs from The Puzzle and Samsara. It is a pleasure to hear tracks like the eerie “Vendetta,” a cracking go at Basie’s “Good Bait,” and the bruising “Danse De La Fureur,” a Liebman-adapted track excerpted from a Messiaen composition, which closes the show. The material is rough-hewn and organic, much the way Liebman and company have designed them, with many gratifying moving parts and just as many blind alley ways leading to who knows where. That is why Expansions Live is such a gas. It’s a masterful exercise from a band that is never content to merely play great. They would much rather make something happen, and in the process, take their open-minded listeners to, well, destination unknown.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

International jazz guitarist Marc Antoine returns to health and California with a diverse outing at “Laguna Beach” with friends #jazz

The title track continues its chart-toping trajectory on the Billboard songs chart as the album is released Friday.

The four-year gap between albums for global guitarist Marc Antoine was spent fighting for his life and career as well as moving his family from their longtime home in Spain to the Southern California coast. Having conquered two major health challenges – one life-threatening and one career-threatening – and resettled into the placid enclave of Laguna Beach, the Paris-born, classically-trained hit-maker resumes his recording career Friday with the release of his Woodward Avenue Records debut, “Laguna Beach.” The title cut, which preceded the celebratory set of Antoine’s signature classical acoustic and nylon-string guitar melodies, quixotic gypsy jazz forays, brassy funk grooves and sultry Latin, Brazilian and Cuban rhythms, is already No. 5 on the Billboard songs chart, offering a last gasp of summer.
His thirteenth album, Antoine produced “Laguna Beach,” wrote eight of the nine songs and called upon some of his accomplished friends to collaborate with him, something he couldn’t do easily when he lived abroad for twelve years.
“When you live near LA, you can call anyone to come and work with you. Once I built my new studio over here, fired it up and began working on new material, I knew I just had to make a few phone calls to get the right guys to play on it,” said Antoine, who reached out to soloists Philippe Saisse (keyboards), Rick Braun (trumpet), Greg Vail (saxes), Armand Sabal-Lecco (bass), Tim Welvaars (harmonica) and two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown (electric guitar), who mixed the album. Anchoring the tracks were drummer Gorden Campbell, upright bassist Roberto Vally, keyboardist Marco Basci, and percussionists Gumbi Ortiz and Richie Gajate Garcia.
Incorporating an interesting variety of sounds, tapestries, moods and styles remains the guitar alchemist’s forte. Antoine’s compositions on “Laguna Beach” are enriched with his spirited sense of joy and gratitude after enduring major heart surgery in 2012 to repair an incapacitating atrial fibrillation problem only to be followed by hand surgery two years later to relieve the crippling pain and permanent nerve damage he endured while playing the guitar that locked the fingers on his left hand in odd positions.

After “pretty much hitting rock bottom” in 2014, Antoine and his wife, Rebeca, decided to make the move back to California where they resided prior to Spain. It turns out playing the guitar is ideal physical therapy, enabling Antoine to work through the scar tissue in his hand. 
“I remember vividly what a hand therapist from LA told me, that the only way to fix this is to change my ways,” Antoine recalled. “I have a deep relationship with my guitar. It's a little bit like a marriage: if you don't put effort into it, there is no life in it. So playing, and most importantly, playing with joy, love and respect is the key. I am so grateful for what is going on in my life right now and I am back enjoying my instrument, which fixes all problems. It is for real: life through guitar therapy.”

Rejuvenated, re-inspired and restored to full health, Antoine anticipates a busy concert itinerary of festival, theater and club dates to support the album release across the U.S. where he has been a popular entertainer ever since he toured globally with Basia in 1988. He’s also shared the stage with superstars Sting, Queen Latifah and Selena prior to launching his solo career with the album “Classical Soul,” which spawned the first of a library of radio hits that have made Antoine one of the mainstays at contemporary/smooth jazz radio since 1994. He’s played in pop, rock, jazz, world music, hip-hop and acid jazz settings, each of which have informed his multicultural sonicscapes and furthered his international appeal.  For more information, please visit
Antoine’s “Laguna Beach” album contains the following songs:

“Why Not”
“This and That”
“Laguna Beach”
“High Five”
“New Morning”
“Twice Upon a Time”

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 19, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 3 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 5 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
5 - 8 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 4 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
7 - 6 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
8 - 13 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
9 - 7 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
10 - 18 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
11 - 9 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
12 - 16 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
13 - 11 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
14 - 16 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
15 - 10 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
16 - 15 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
17 - 20 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)
18 - 26 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
19 - 12 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 17 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Bob Baldwin's alluring sounds of Rio #jazz

As recollections of Olympian accomplishments fade into our memories, the music of Rio via Grammy-nominated keyboardist Bob Baldwin’s ( Brazilian-American Soundtrack” continues to thrive, casting a vibrant and soulful spell of urban-jazz bliss. The critically-acclaimed, 26-song double CD is riding a wave of critical acclaim and multi-format radio spins. Multi-instrumentalist Baldwin meticulously produced and arranged the collection of twenty of his original songs along with a selection of seminal Brazilian jazz classics and R&B hits. Clocking in at more than two hours of sophisticated music, Baldwin’s lavish opus debuted as one of Billboard’s Top 20 Contemporary Jazz Albums and is capable of having the staying power to soar through 2017.
The new disc reignites Baldwin’s affair with the seductive and sensual sounds of Brazil, which first served as his muse on his 2004 love letter, “Brazil Chill.” Three years in the making and recorded on two continents, “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” is presented in two movements: Rio-Ipanema and New York. Baldwin employed an accomplished cast of Brazilian and Latin musicians – percussionists CafĂ© Da Silva, Rafael Pereira and Armando Marcal, and guitarist Torcuato Mariano - to construct the exotic rhythms on tunes such as the energizing first single, “Ipanema Fusion,” “Funky Rio,” “Teardrop” and “Oasis Of Love,” and when reimaging music from masters Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Corcovado”), Ivan Lins (“Anjo De Mim,” “The Island” and “Love Dance”) and Djavan (“Eu Te Devoro”). Baldwin uses first-call session players, vocalists and prominent soloists - Marion Meadows (sax), Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (trumpet) and Marlon McClain (guitar) to name a few - to craft soul-soaked, funk-flavored urban grooves including a pair of tunes (“Maurice” and “The Message”) that pay tribute to Maurice White, the influential creator and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, who passed away as Baldwin was finishing the record.   
On “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack,” melody-rich explorations abound anchored by Baldwin’s agile keyboard, Rhodes and piano artistry. The date, which became Baldwin’s ninth album to hit the Billboard Top 20, also benefits from his soothing tenor voice, bass, drums, percussion, Moog bass, Melodica, strings and clave contributions.

Beyond his 23-album recording career, Baldwin produces, hosts and nationally syndicates ”The NewUrbanJazz Lounge” radio show, leads a production and event planning company, designs and markets a line of men’s hats and has authored two informational books about the music industry.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Songbird of New Orleans Robin Barnes #jazz

The Songbird of New OrleansRobin Barnes ( flight to spread her soulful traditional jazz meditations across the nation is in full flight after the No. 5 Billboard Current Traditional Jazz Albums chart debut of her just-released “Songbird Sessions” EP. Along with landing a national piece in the coming issue of Food & Wine magazine, her charm continues to allure back home where Gambit Weekly’s Best of Poll selected the radiant twenty-something chanteuse the No. 2 Best Local Music Artist behind Trombone Shorty. In conjunction with the record release and a jam-packed hometown album release concert date, Barnes was featured on the iheartNOLA website and performed a pair of acoustic jazz tunes from the disc on the locally televised “News With A Twist.”
Over the past few years where she maintains a busy concert schedule in the Big Easy, Barnes has become the voice and face of the music of New Orleans, which is how she earned the trademarked moniker “The Songbird of New Orleans.” Performing on “NCIS: New Orleans” plus a bevy of appearances in the pages of national magazines while maintaining a constant presence in local media – newspapers, magazines and television – has enabled Barnes’ robust, exposed and lusty-voiced “Songbird Sessions” to waft near and far, connecting with and delighting listeners fond of her intimate versions of jazz standards and gems made famous by two of her iconic New Orleans role models, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas.          
Winner of Offbeat magazine’s Outstanding Millennial in Music Award, Barnes has received accolades from Forbes, Ebony, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, ESPN and Southwest Magazine. Thriving on the national scene with the new collection is her top priority, which is why she was in New York City last week to meet with managers, agents and venues excited to showcase the siren that brings freshness, authenticity, passion and enthusiasm to her vintage jazz repertoire.
On top of her weekend residencies at the Hotel Monteleone and Windsor Court Hotel Polo Club Lounge in the Crescent City, Barnes will launch a four-week Wednesday night residency at the Maple Leaf Bar next month and will tackle the National Anthem at the Superdome prior to the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers contest on October 16.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 12, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 3 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 8 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
5 - 7 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
6 - 6 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
7 - 9 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
8 - 4 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
9 - 10 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
10 - 11 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
11 - 5 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
12 - 15 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 21 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
14 - 16 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
15 - 13 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
16 - 19 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
17 - 12 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
18 - 28 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
19 - 14 - Pieces Of A Dream - "All In" - (Shanachie)
20 - 36 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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