Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kim Waters celebrates 25 years of love & sax on "Silver Soul" September 2nd #jazz

Lasting romance should be celebrated, especially when it comes to monumental moments such as anniversaries. For 25 years, urban-jazz saxophonist Kim Waters (www.KimWaters.net) has ardently set the mood with musical overtures, vows and come-ons that have been embraced to the tune of four No. 1 albums, 14 No. 1 singles and 16 Top 10 singles. The September 2 release of his 20th album, “Silver Soul,” commemorates a quarter century of romance on a disc of new R&B, contemporary jazz and pop gems that he produced, wrote (ten of the twelve songs) and performed (saxes, background vocals and all the instrumentation except for guitar).
Like many writers, Waters wants his listeners to interpret his compositions rather than spell out the specific meaning behind the songs. Perhaps a hint of mystery heightens the romance although it is no mystery that the sweeping, cinematically sweet soprano sax valentine “A Song For Dana” is about his wife and collaborator, vocalist Dana Pope, who occupies the spotlight on the amorous pledge “Anything You Need.” The first single and session starter, “Dreaming Of You,” on which Waters gets an assist on piano from his daughter Kayla Waters, is an exuberant paean redolent of falling in love. Waters has long displayed a proclivity for crafting infectious hooks. “On A Mission” serves as a prime example on which the gifted technician who orates though a variety of saxophones fervently explores the full potential of the groove with his tenor horn. A pleading sax is reinforced with a beautiful piano melody and vocal chorus sung by Waters on the seductive “Stay Together.”
Originally from the Baltimore, Maryland area, Waters was mentored by and shared friendship with nearby Washington, DC go-go pioneer Chuck Brown, who receives a tribute on the bouncy energizer “Go-Go Smooth.”  Waters currently resides near Austin, Texas in the enclave of Round Rock spawning the radio-friendly excursion “Cruising Round Rock.”
Delving back into his romantic muse, Waters gives the John Legend smash “All Of Me” a stirring soprano sax treatment as arresting as the original. Perhaps the most stunning cut is “Fireflies” on which the Disney star and Hollywood Records vocalist Zendaya revisits her own illuminating recording for a breathtaking duet with Waters that soars sensually aboard a cascading track that ebbs and flows. The passion continues on the steamy “Let’s Make Love” making its intentions known on the vocal chorus. Changing the mood, “High Stride” lifts the tempo with a lilting strut led by tenor sax. Waters and R&B crooner Eric Roberson co-wrote “Laying Beside Me,” which closes the record with what bodes to become an urban AC hit. In fact, the entire album sounds like a collection of multi-formatted radio singles, something Waters deliberately set out to do when writing the music.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 28, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 2 - Mindi Abair - "Wild Heart" - (Concord)
3 - 3 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
4 - 4 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
5 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
6 - 11 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
7 - 6 - Cindy Bradley - "Bliss" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
8 - 10 - Bob Baldwin - "Twenty" - (City Sketches)
9 - 7 - The Rippingtons - "Fountain Of Youth" - (Peak/eOne)
10 - 15 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
11 - 16 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
12 - 19 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
13 - 9 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
14 - 8 - Ken Navarro - "Ruby Lane" - (Positive Music Records)
15 - 12 - Incognito - "Amplified Soul" - (Shanachie)
16 - 18 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
17 - 13 - Steve Oliver - "Best Of So Far" - (SOM)
18 - 14 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Playa Blanca (Soul Italiano) - (Next Age Music)
19 - 20 - Jazzmasters - "The Jazzmasters VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 23 - Richard Smith - "Tangos" - (Chillharmonic Music)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Unforgettable all-star lineup leads to a record sell-out and a second sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise #jazz

Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Joe Sample, Peter White and more will headline two Caribbean voyages in 2015
While sailing into placid blue-green Caribbean waters last January, The Smooth Jazz Cruise encountered a tidal wave of demand for cabins for the 2015 sailing. On just the second day of the 2014 venture, next year’s cruise sailing January 11-18, 2015 showcasing more than twenty of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz and R&B sold out. To make sure that no one would be left stranded ashore, cruise producer Entertainment Cruise Productions, working with cruise line Holland America and the enthusiastic cooperation of the artists and musicians, swiftly put together a solution to rescue the lengthy waiting list of enthusiasts from all over the world eager to be part of the luxurious musical vacation adventure. Six days later, The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.2 sailing March 1-8, 2015 was conceived. 
Spending a week at sea performing, meeting and hanging out with fans aboard Holland America’s m/s Eurodam while visiting exotic Caribbean ports during the traditional January time slot fits nicely into the musicians’ schedules because most don’t tour or release new albums immediately after the holiday season, but rounding up everyone six weeks later in March, including such Grammy winners, legends and chart-toppers as Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Joe Sample, Peter White and many others, could have been difficult.
“We called all the artists’ agents and managers and they were happy to hear about the unprecedented demand so everyone was ready and willing to sign up immediately,” said Entertainment Cruise Productions’ Executive Director Michael Lazaroff of the cruise that will depart Fort Lauderdale and visit Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Croix and the private island Half Moon Cay. “The Smooth Jazz Cruise is simply the best entertainment in the world of smooth jazz. No other festival or event can boast this level and depth of talent, fun and excitement. As it’s affectionately known, it is ‘The Greatest Party at Sea.’”
Capturing the unique spirit of the perennially sold-out cruise that many guests embark upon year after year has been a bit of a challenge as well. Offering live music plus DJ Biz Markie in six different venues large and intimate on top of informative panels, theme parties and autograph sessions with the artists, it is more than a music festival and more than backstage experiences with fan favorites. It is more than a vacation in the Caribbean with a dazzling array of amenities and delectable dining. It is more than a week of pampering during which everyone is treated first class by the Holland America staff. For the past twelve years on 17 full-ship charters, The Smooth Jazz Cruise has delivered unforgettable music and lifestyle experiences. Something special happens when passionate guests devote the entire week to being immersed in the music. A new video clip that provides a glimpse into the magic that occurs on every sailing is as close as one can get without leaving shore. It can be viewed at http://www.thesmoothjazzcruise.com/Videos/PreCruise2015.
To reserve a cabin for The Smooth Jazz Cruise, call toll-free 888.852.9987 in the U.S. and Canada and 800.852.99872 internationally. Additional information is available at www.TheSmoothJazzCruise.com.
About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC
The world leader in full-ship charter music cruises, St. Louis, Missouri-based Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (ECP) owns, produces and promotes The Smooth Jazz Cruise and The Jazz Cruise (www.thejazzcruise.com), and is proud to partner with Time Life for the Soul Train Cruise (www.soultraincruise.com), Malt Shop Memories Cruise (www.maltshopcruise.com), The Country Music Cruise (www.countrymusiccruise.com) and The Signature Jazz Cruise on Seabourn (www.signaturejazzcruise.com). Pleasing guests is Entertainment Cruise Productions’ most important goal and objective while providing luxurious vacation experiences featuring marquee stars from their respective music genres in an extraordinary setting for devoted passengers, many of whom make the fun and exciting cruises an annual affair. Additional information is available at www.ecpcruises.com

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Critical acclaim for Gerald Albright's "Slam Dunk" (release date 8/5) #jazz

“Albright’s decision to play the bass on Slam Dunk might have been the result of a fit of nostalgia, but the move added a challenge to the creative process, and Albright responds with highly competent bass playing and creative and inspired sax playing. It reminds his fans of the broad talent that this music man possesses and gives a fresh, personal sound to this solid release. Recommended.”
Soul Tracks
“Albright’s 17th project, it continues his well-developed mixture of smooth jazz, and adult contemporary music. He delivers the expected full, warm tones on his tenor and alto saxes — and also shows off his flare on bass, recalling the likes of Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller…an always solid, and often inspired, collection…”
Something Else! Reviews
“Co-produced by Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis, Slam Dunk continues Albright’s reign as one of the most compelling and consistent artists in jazz. In addition to showcasing his amazing sax prowess, Albright displays his skills as bassist and vocalist on Slam Dunk, with ebullient arrangements of classic covers as well as his own compositions.”
“[Albright’s] latest Heads Up collection Slam Dunk, in addition to featuring covers of classics by Collins and James Brown and a guest appearance by Peabo Bryson, is influenced directly by the classic R&B he grew up with – James Brown, the Philly International sound and Motown. He collaborates for the first time with top urban jazz producer Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis. The set also features Albright’s talented vocalist daughter Selina Albright”
Jazz Monthly
“Overall, Gerald Albright has assessed how to tap into the musical inspirations presented to him and has exploited that creativity. By making Slam Dunk happen today, out of that will grow his next level of aspirations. And that is how Gerald Albright has risen to great heights over the past four decades.”
“Very few artists can be proficient behind the scenes as a studio musician, and then break out with a successful career as a solo artist. Gerald Albright is one such artist.”
iRock Jazz
On August 5, 2014, the Grammy-nominated saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist/composer releases Slam Dunk and continues his reign supreme as contemporary jazz’s most compelling and consistent artist. Fans will hear his searing and soulful sax lines on this twelve-track recording. And, they’ll be in for a surprise, as Albright shows off his chops as a bassist, along with his ebullient tenor, baritone and soprano saxophone arrangements on his own compositions, and his super covers of classics by Phil Collins (“True Colors”) and James Brown (“It’s a Man’s, Man’s Man’s World”), with special guest vocalist Peabo Bryson.

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The "Heart and Soul" of Jonathan Butler #jazz

The true measure of a great song is how it sounds after the accompanying instrumentation is stripped away. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler delivered a riveting performance last week on PBS’s Tavis Smiley Show (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/jonathan-butler-3/) with just his impassioned voice and nylon-stringed guitar. He premiered his forthcoming urban adult contemporary single “Heart and Soul” with a background vocal assist from his daughter, Jodie Butler, who co-wrote the song with him for the newly released “Living My Dream,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.
The new set produced by Butler (www.JonathanButler.com) is a mix of vocal and instrumental songs that can withstand the test of being distilled to their essence just like the two-time Grammy nominee did with “Heart and Soul” on national television. His first single, “African Breeze,” a festive frolic filled with rhythms and hues from his native South Africa, is No. 4 this week on the Billboard chart. The disc constructed of R&B, jazz, world music and gospel elements was recorded with a live band in the House of Blues Studios and includes collaborations with the late George Duke, Marcus Miller and emerging saxophonist Elan Trotman
Butler’s “Love & Soul” summer concert tour with Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown and acclaimed keyboardist Alex Bugnon continues through August before Butler leads his annual South African safari in September. While in South Africa, the artist will check in on the progress of the Jonathan Butler Foundation’s effort to provide music education to children with the purpose of keeping them away from addiction. Butler’s own life was saved and rescued from a life of drugs by music thus the foundation’s mission, “Purpose kills addiction,” is quite personal.

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New edition of the Arizona Jazz Festival is packed with soul #jazz

R&B veterans Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Charlie Wilson, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Mint Condition, Kem, Fantasia and Jaheim join smooth jazz headliners
Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Mindi Abair, Peter White, Euge Groove and more

Thousands of concertgoers from all over the U.S. will be dancing in the desert October 24-26, 2014 when a stellar lineup of R&B and smooth jazz artists perform at the fall version of the Arizona Jazz Festival taking place at the posh Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. Tickets are on sale now for single-day and 3-day passes priced from $50 to $750 available at the festival’s website (www.ArizonaJazzFestival.com) and by calling event producer BTWconcerts.com at 602-244-8444.
The boys will be out to play when the Arizona Jazz Festival blasts off with perhaps the strongest opening night lineup in the semi-annual festival’s history. The cool cat in the hat, four-time Grammy nominee Boney James gets the event started with his soulful sax grooves that never fail to stir the crowd to spontaneously erupt into a fervent “Go Boney! Go Boney!” chant. Jaheim employs his distinctive husky voice to chronicle his pained upbringing and tales of ghetto life that have earned him three Grammy nominations. It is far from the end of the road for Philly’s finest Boyz II Men, a trio that harmonizes in perfect union while presenting their Grammy-winning songbook filled with R&B/pop vocal and a cappella hits. New Edition members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant, each of whom has also scored solo hits, are touring as Heads of State and you can bank on a well-choreographed, high-octane show from these R&B superstars.
It will “Be OK” on Saturday when Grammy-winning alchemist Chrisette Michele takes the stage to sing her empowering love songs blending R&B, soul, jazz and hip hop. Equally capable of seducing with her proficient saxophone skills as well as her feminine wiles, Mindi Abair has it all. She will team with Booker T and Elliot Yamin for a hot buttered soul, blues and rock jam. Fantasia’s incomparable voice reflects the real-life pain that’s she endured molding her into a mesmerizing talent. At heart, crossover crooner Brian McKnight is a singer-songwriter able to captivate with compelling lyrics, rich melodies and an emotional vocal delivery. Those in attendance at last fall’s Arizona Jazz Festival are still abuzz over the show that “Uncle” Charlie Wilson put on. The BET Lifetime Achievement Award and Soul Train Icon Award winner marched through his hits backed by a skin tight band, elaborate dance routines performed with precision by an army of performers and enough costume changes to rival BeyoncĂ©. Expect more of the same.
The energy continues on full blast Sunday with sax showman Eric Darius making sure that patrons will arrive early to catch the consistent crowd pleaser. British guitarist Peter White and sax powerhouse Euge Groove have racked up enough No. 1 hits between them to keep the festival going for days, but they’ll rip through their biggest and best in an afternoon session. Mint Condition keeps the endangered full band concept alive with a rich R&B sound spiked with funk, rock, Latin and reggae. Multi-talented keyboardist Brian Culbertson is responsible for 27 No. 1 hits and is out on his 20th anniversary tour while supporting his sixth album to debut at No. 1, “Another Long Night.” Kem’s suave and sophisticated voice melts into steamy, sensual grooves that have earned him a pair of Grammy nominations and a Billboard Music Award. The festivities conclude in old school party mode with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly who leads audiences through sing-a-long sets of the outfit’s enduring classics.
The Arizona Jazz Festival is a lifestyle experience as fans spend the weekend immersed in the music, the lavish resort’s first-class amenities and the adjacent food, fashion and crafts expo. The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa is the state’s only award-winning all-suite resort in Phoenix set amidst a challenging 18-hole golf course, spacious athletic club, luxurious spa and salon and a 7-acre water park. Six different dining options on the property enable festival goers to never have to leave the grounds during the weekend. A limited number of tickets and hotel packages are available through the festival’s website.    
About BTWconcerts.com
Phoenix, Arizona-based BTWconcerts.com is one of the preeminent concert producers in the Southwest. Among the star-studded jazz and R&B concerts and multiday music and lifestyle festivals that the company promotes at first-class resorts for adult audiences are the Arizona Jazz Festival (http://ArizonaJazzFestival.com), San Diego Jazz Festival (http://www.SanDiegoJazzFest.com) and the Las Vegas Jazz Festival (http://www.LVJazzFestival.com). BTWconcerts.com’s sister company for events at sea, BTWatsea.com will launch the maiden voyage of the Maxwell + The 7 Seas Cruise (http://www.maxwellatsea.com/) May 3-10, 2015 hosted by the Grammy-winning balladeer.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

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

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 2 - Mindi Abair - "Wild Heart" - (Concord)
3 - 3 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
4 - 8 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
5 - 4 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
6 - 11 - Cindy Bradley - "Bliss" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
7 - 6 - The Rippingtons - "Fountain Of Youth" - (Peak/eOne)
8 - 5 - Ken Navarro - "Ruby Lane" - (Positive Music Records)
9 - 12 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
10 - 9 - Bob Baldwin - "Twenty" - (City Sketches)
11 - 31 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
12 - 10 - Incognito - "Amplified Soul" - (Shanachie)
13 - 13 - Steve Oliver - "Best Of So Far" - (SOM)
14 - 15 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Playa Blanca (Soul Italiano) - (Next Age Music)
15 - 7 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
16 - 24 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
17 - 14 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
18 - 20 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
19 - 27 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
20 - 21 - Jazzmasters - "The Jazzmasters VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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