Monday, April 21, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 21st, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 2 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
3 - 3 - Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
4 - 8 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
5 - 4 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
6 - 6 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
7 - 7 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
8 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
9 - 9 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Hacienda" - (Heads Up)
10 - 10 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
11 - 12 - Dianne Reeves - "Beautiful LIfe" - (Concord)
12 - 13 - Jumaane Smith - "I Only Have Eyes For You" - (Jumaane Smith Music)
13 - 14 - Jessy J - "Second Chances" - (Shanachie)
14 - 22 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (
15 - 11 - Andre Delano - "9 Mile Road" - (Woodward Avenue)
16 - 32 - Ken Navarro - "Ruby Lane" - (Positive Music Records)
17 - 16 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
18 - 19 - Citrus Sun - "People of Tomorrow" - (Dome)
19 - 25 - Down To The Bone - "Dig It" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 20 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

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Jackie Allen - "My Favorite Color" - Releases May 13th, 2014 #jazz #video

 “Her gift is utterly distinctive and even innovative … a masterpiece. It’s revelatory and sounds effortless.” (Billboard)

Long known for the enticing smoky quality of her voice and the natural sincerity of her interpretations, My Favorite Color is Jackie’s long anticipated follow-up studio release to her 2006 Blue Note recording Tangled.

My Favorite Color features two originals and eight standards, reaching from the thirties into the seventies. Harold Arlen and Truman Capote’s “Sleepin’ Bee” swings on tiptoe, replete with its verse and a perfectly melodic Ben Lewis piano solo. An organ and horn infused romp propels Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” into a hip soul frenzy. Jackie’s arrangement of Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now” is reimagined as a dramatic modal voyage, featuring an eloquent bowed bass solo by Hans Sturm and a stirring John Moulder electric guitar solo. In classic ballad style, Oscar Levant and Mark Heyman’s “Blame It On My Youth” opens with a goregous extended acoustic guitar introduction that folds gently into Jackie’s profoundly sincere and wistful reading. Hendrix’ “Manic Depression” conjures up Bitches Brew with a Miles-esque muted horn solo by Tito Carillo jousting with Ben Lewis’ organ jabs and Jackie’s Dante’s Inferno scatting.

Steeler’s Wheel 1972 hit “Stuck In The Middle With You” (Rafferty/Egan) is treated to a groove influenced by Horace Silver’s funky hard-bop masterpiece Jody Grind. Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s poignant “A House Is Not A Home” is transformed into a nuanced waltz and re-harmonized by pianist Ben Lewis. Diana (Allen/Schiffman) is an original sweeping waltz, expressing the regrets of trading a free spirited bohemian life for corporate security. Stripping down the harmony of Mel Torme and Robert Well’s “Born To Be Blue,” Jackie’s bareboned arrangement magnifies the despair of the lyric. The disc closes with Jackie’s “Call Me Winter.” The beautiful abstract lyrics were composed with lines shared by the late Illinois Poet Laureate, GE Murray. “If you don’t know where you are, you’ve arrived.”

Allen’s voice is both crystalline and soulful. This is four-hundred-dollar-a-bottle jazz, no cheap imitation. (Rolling Stone)

In the late 80s, Jackie lived in Milwaukee where she worked with organist Melvin Rhyne (Wes Montgomery Trio) for four years before moving to Chicago. There her career blossomed and she released CDs for independent and major labels including Lake Shore Jazz, Naxos Jazz, A440, Red Mark, and Blue Note Records. Jackie recorded three critically acclaimed CDs for A440 and Blue Note: The Men In My Life (2003), Love Is Blue (2004) and Tangled (2006). Her last release, Starry Night (2009), was recorded live with chamber orchestra and features star-themed songs penned by arrangers who have written for such legends and noted artists as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Doc Severinsen, and Bobby McFerrin.

My Favorite Color was originally intended to be a live recording, but the day before the concert Jackie came down with a rare case of laryngitis. “Fortunately the band and recording engineer were already in town and we decided to record all the instrumental tracks live on stage during our sound check just in case my voice didn’t improve. I managed to get through the concert but the concert recording was useless since my voice was a mess.” The instrumental tracks were left untouched for several years until they were discovered on a hard drive after a move. There were multiple takes of each song beautifully recorded by Steve Weeder and Jackie began working with Tom Larson to lay down the vocal tracks over the best of the instrumental tracks. “I had to anticipate the band, when normally we interact live in the moment, which was a real challenge.” Upon hearing Jackie’s version of “Blame It On My Youth” for the first time, multiple Grammy winning mastering engineer Alan Silverman remarked, “That was the most beautiful recording of that tune I’ve ever heard – and I recorded Dory Previn singing that in the 60′s.”

It may not be easy bein’ green, but Jackie makes the wait well worth it.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Harvey Mason - "Chameleon" - Releases on Concord April 29th, 2014 #jazz

 Harvey Mason, the GRAMMY-nominated drummer of Fourplay, was one of the cornerstones of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters ensemble. Chameleon also features some of the brightest young jazz talents on the scene today, including several NEXT Collective alumni: trumpeter Christian Scott, bassist Ben Williams, pianist/keyboardist Kris Bowers, and guitarist Matthew Stevens.
“..a gem that reminds us why we loved Harvey in the first place!”
“Co-produced by Chris Dunn, Chameleon showcases some of the most talented young musicians in jazz today…Chameleon features seven of the era’s most enduring classics infused with modern day shine, including an imaginative new arrangement of Mason’s signature song and title track. For this new version of ‘Chameleon,’ Mason invited Bill Summers to reprise his famous hinedewho intro to ‘Watermelon Man,’ a song from Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters LP which Mason played on and arranged.”
“A blend of R&B, urban and cutting-edge jazz, Chameleon takes its inspiration from the title track, which Mason co-wrote with Herbie Hancock. It is a knowing nod to Mason himself, aptly dubbed the ‘Chameleon’ for his uncanny ability to perform so many styles of music.”
“While the personnel includes a handful of the drummers’ contemporaries (Jimmy Haslip, Bill Summers, John Beasley and Jackson), the fresh twist on these tunes is that Mason is playing with some of today’s brightest young jazz stars, some of whom he had not met before the live in the studio recording began.”
“Sophisticated, funky, and polished…Mason adds his own exclamation point with this solo effort that demonstrates his musical genius not only as a member of Fourplay but singularly as a bonafide legend”
Smooth Jazz Ride
“The sound is crisp, the funk is fresh and the lyrical sense of purpose never waivers. Harvey Mason opens a new chapter in his prolific career with arguably his best solo release yet. Still a member of Fourplay, Mason never misses a beat. While the year is still young, Chameleon is one of finest releases across any genre for 2014. You can go home again!” *****

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 14th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 2 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
3 - 3 - Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
4 - 5 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
5 - 6 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
6 - 4 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
7 - 7 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
8 - 10 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 8 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Hacienda" - (Heads Up)
10 - 9 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
11 - 13 - Andre Delano - "9 Mile Road" - (Woodward Avenue)
12 - 14 - Dianne Reeves - "Beautiful LIfe" - (Concord)
13 - 15 - Jumaane Smith - "I Only Have Eyes For You" - (Jumaane Smith Music)
14 - 16 - Jessy J - "Second Chances" - (Shanachie)
15 - 11 - Bob Baldwin - "Twenty" - (City Sketches)
16 - 25 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
17 - 19 - Herb Albert - "Steppin' Out" - (Shout Factory)
18 - 17 - Kim Scott - "Rite of Passage" - (Independent)
19 - 18 - Citrus Sun - "People of Tomorrow" - (Dome)
20 - 23 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jackiem Joyner - "Evolve" Releases April 29th on Artizen #jazz

Genre-blurring saxophonist Jackiem Joyner ( takes his R&B, jazz, hip-hop, gospel and rock alchemy to imaginative new places on “Evolve,” his fifth album that will be released April 29. With his sweet and sticky sax melodies and impassioned horn play front and center, Joyner’s intricate rhythms and audacious soundscapes are equally present day and futuristic. Case in point: the album opener and first single, “Generation Next,” performed live in this clip with his band. Joyner and company rip through an edgy funk rock groove adorned with soulful horn harmonies. Pre-order "Evolve" from

“Evolve” is the first album that Joyner, a Billboard chart-topping award-winner, wrote and produced entirely on his own. The experimental second cut, “Europa,” showcases Joyner trekking the outer edge on soprano sax with a gentle assist from keyboard artist Keiko Matsui. Prominent often intertwined bass grooves play a leading role on “Double Bass.” Joyner’s sax unlocks a wealth of emotion on the majestic “Breathe.” The title track rockets through the stratosphere free to fly fueled by a vital sax lifeline. “Born To Fly” continues the adventurous exploration propelled by an aggressive attack replete with distorted electric guitar and shrill turntable scratches.

On the second act of the album with the mood shift signaled by “Interlude,” Joyner mines his R&B roots beginning with “Later Tonight,” a sensual Quiet Storm serenade. Tension builds on “See Through Me” providing a revealing look into the artist’s soul as the layers are slowly and deliberately stripped away.  Grammy-nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright, Joyner’s idol while growing up, duets with the young protégé on “Big Step.” The closing number, “A Gentle Walk On Water,” sets Joyner’s sax amidst a barren yet beautiful piano and string backdrop.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 7th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 3 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
3 - 2 - Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
4 - 5 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
5 - 6 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
6 - 4 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
7 - 16 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
8 - 9 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Hacienda" - (Heads Up)
9 - 13 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
10 - 11 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
11 - 8 - Bob Baldwin - "Twenty" - (City Sketches)
12 - 7 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Soul Italiano" (Med Groove) - (Next Age Music)
13 - 14 - Andre Delano - "9 Mile Road" - (Woodward Avenue)
14 - 10 - Dianne Reeves - "Beautiful LIfe" - (Concord)
15 - 17 - Jumaane Smith - "I Only Have Eyes For You" - (Jumaane Smith Music)
16 - 19 - Jessy J - "Second Chances" - (Shanachie)
17 - 12 - Kim Scott - "Rite of Passage" - (Independent)
18 - 25 - Citrus Sun - "People of Tomorrow" - (Dome)
19 - 23 - Herb Albert - "Steppin' Out" - (Shout Factory)
20 - 20 - Cal Harris Jr. - "Remix: Shelter Island f. Euge Groove" - (CHI Int'l Music)

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Les Sabler - "Jobim Tribute - Releases April 8th on New Vista Records #jazz

 A meditation on Jobim in the key of jazz
Guitarist Les Sabler pays homage to the Brazilian legend on “Jobim Tribute” due April 8
Before Les Sabler began recording “Jobim Tribute,” which will be released April 8 on New Vista Records, the jazz guitarist-vocalist walked a mile in the shoes of the iconic Brazilian composer known for writing exquisitely poetic romantic standards that popularized bossa nova. An inspired Sabler trekked to Brazil, visited the places Jobim frequented and absorbed the native culture and sounds. He voraciously studied recordings and read stacks of books about Jobim’s life. Sagely he knew that fostering authenticity on a collection of twelve Jobim songs involved more than just playing the right notes on his nylon string guitar or mastering the pronunciation of the Portuguese lyrics. Sabler, who produced the album, recognized that the most important ingredient was to capture the soulful passion inherent in the author’s touching melodies and sensually exotic rhythms. Pre-order "Jobim Tribute" on
The timing of Sabler’s record correlates to two milestones: the 50th anniversary of the classic “Getz/Gilberto” that spawned Jobim’s No. 1 hit “The Girl from Ipanema,” which helped weave bossa nova permanently into the fabric of American music; and the 20th anniversary of Jobim’s passing. When selecting material for “Jobim Tribute,” which is comprised of seven vocal tunes and five instrumentals, Sabler challenged himself by recording some of Jobim’s lesser known gems (“Esquecendo Voce” and “Janelas Abertas”) as well as popular favorites such as “Corcovado,” “Bonita” and “Fotografia.” The first single that was just shipped to radio stations for airplay is Sabler’s rendition of “A Felicidade,” a sweeping wave of joyous melody, nifty guitar fingerplay and an ethereal vocal chorus.        
Produced, arranged and performed in acoustic jazz settings, Sabler was accompanied by keyboardist Clay Perry (Julio Iglesias), acoustic bassist Byron House (Robert Plant’s Band of Joy), Brazilian drummer-percussionist Celso Alberti (Flora Purim, Stevie Winwood) and the late percussionist Joe Lala (CSNY, Bee Gees). Allon Sams scripted string arrangements as did Grammy-nominated arranger Tom Zink, who orchestrated a 4-piece string section that added emotional depth on three selections. 
Sabler explained that “My first trip to Brazil guided me to a deeper understanding of Jobim’s music from the places I visited followed by an immersion of his music, videos and books. During my trip, I was able to learn a lot more about the history of Brazilian music. I explored some of the places where Jobim used to hangout, including the restaurant where Heloisa Pinhiro walked by, who was the inspiration for ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ I am passionate about this music and made it a goal to master and record it. After working on this project for several years, I am pleased to finally share it.”   
“Jobim Tribute” is Sabler’s seventh album. The Montreal native who studied music at Canada’s Concordia University and at the University of Miami, has created a catalogue of finely-crafted contemporary jazz recordings that summited sales and airplay charts in the U.S. and Canada while garnering award nominations, No. 1 most-played Canadian artist airplay honors and international acclaim. Most often playing electric guitar on earlier works, “Jobim Tribute” is his second consecutive record on which he exclusively plays nylon string acoustic guitar following 2010’s “Crescent Shores.”      
Earlier this week, the Tampa, Florida-based sports fan performed the American and Canadian National Anthems with Marshall Gillon on Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Rays followed the next night by performing the anthems prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning game. With the eyes of the world turning to Brazil for this year’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Sabler’s elegant “Jobim Tribute” is a perfectly timed soundtrack. For more information, please visit
Sabler’s “Jobim Tribute” contains the following songs:
“A Felicidade”
“Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)”
“Esquecendo Voce”
“Brigas Niunca Mais/Discussao”
“Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Voce”
“Por Causa De Voce”
“Janelas Abertas”
“Chega De Saudade”

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