Top Ad

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Guitarist Lawson Rollins returns with the familiar yet noticeably different “True North” #jazz

His tenth album drops January 17 preceded by the single, “Bluewave Bossanova.”

Lawson Rollins’ recordings have always possessed a grand sense of travel, exoticism and adventure, narrated by the global guitarist’s prodigious and alacritous classical fingerstyle play that Guitar Player magazine recently spotlighted by selecting Rollins as one of the “50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists” of all-time. After embarking upon a creative departure on a few recent projects, the chart-topping composer-producer-musician, best known for crafting lush amalgams of contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age over the past twenty years, charts a more familiar course on his tenth solo album, “True North,” dropping January 17, 2020 on Infinita Records. Yet there is a marked difference in his approach.  

The prolific Rollins spent the last couple of years exploring vast horizons. Last year, he assembled “Airwaves: The Greatest Hits,” which includes the Billboard top 10 hit “World of Wonder” featuring 3rd Force and earlier this year, he released the experimental “Dark Matter: Music for Film.” Rollins also scored his first feature film, “Stay Out Stay Alive,” a multiple award-winning movie opening November 26 for which he served as executive producer of the film festival favorite. These diverse projects broadened the scope of his artistic muse, now budding in entirely new and different dimensions. Culling elements from each one, Rollins picked up his trusty acoustic nylon string guitar and utilized a fresh approach to write and produce “True North,” the first album that he produced entirely on his own. The wide array of projects also impacts the way he plays guitar, which exhibits a keener focus, discipline and restraint.                 

“The past couple of years have really expanded my musical horizons through my work on film music and also the single, ‘And If You Will Come With Me’ by Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Those experiences forced me to hone down my quite often exuberant nylon string guitar style to suit the needs of the particular projects and also to delve more seriously into other instruments like the electric guitar, synthesizers and electronic percussion programming. With ‘True North,’ I was able to bring that new knowledge and perspective back home, in a sense, to the type of nylon string guitar-centered music that has been my true calling as an artist over the past 20 years,” said the San Francisco-based Rollins who hails from Durham, North Carolina.

“This is the first album I solely produced and also recorded all my guitars myself. I was able to take my time to capture performances that felt natural and unhurried to me, and I'm also really pleased with the warmth and purity of the acoustic guitar tone."

Change is also evident on the album cover and in the accompanying booklet, which are bright with pastoral colors and sunlight in photos taken on the Outer Banks, North Carolina, where Rollins spends a lot of time each year. Before the holidays next month, radio outlets will get to experience the first single from “Truth North” when “Bluewave Bossanova,” a sultry dance of textured world beat rhythms and an impassioned surge of guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies, goes for playlist adds. The radio edit includes the addition of a sensitive soprano sax played by Mary Fettig.

Rollins thrives on the collection, stretching out by playing nylon string guitar, slide guitar and electric guitar along with keyboards and drum programming. He’s accompanied by drummer and percussionist Dave Bryant, bassist Dan Feiszli, violinist Mads Tolling and Stephen Duros who plays additional keyboards and electric guitar on “With the Wind,” an eclectic and imaginative album highlight destined to blow to the top of the radio charts.

“Many of the tracks, such as the title track as well as ‘With the Wind’ and ‘Dead Ahead,’ are unlike anything I've ever done, with new textures augmenting the familiar sound of my main instrument, the acoustic nylon string guitar. There's a more intense focus on melodic expression on this album and less on long improvisational flights of fancy. It's all about staying firmly on course - true north, as it were - and doing what serves the songs best."

Rollins’ unique brand defies simple categorization and has proven crossover appeal. He has placed albums in the top ten of Billboard’s World Music chart and his singles have conquered the contemporary jazz charts as well as garnered an abundance of airplay from world music and New Age outlets. Videos showcasing his lightning speed, extraordinary dexterity and mesmerizing guitar technique have received over 10 million YouTube views. After debuting in 2000 as a member of Young & Rollins, a duo that dropped four albums, Rollins premiered as a solo artist in 2008 with “Infinita.” His albums serve collaborations with an assorted mix of GRAMMY® winners and nominees that spans Tolling, guitar eccentric Buckethead, Flora PurimAirto MoreiraBig Bad Voodoo Daddy and Charlie Bisharat.      
Rollins’ “True North” album contains the following songs:

“True North”
“With the Wind”
“Perpetual Motion”
“Bluewave Bossanova”
“South Beach”
“Full Sail”
“Dead Ahead”
“Yearning to Know”
“Year Abroad”
“In the Shadows”
“The Winding Road”

For more information, please visit

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 11, 2019

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - November 11, 2019 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Rick Braun - "Crossroads" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 3 - Eric Darius - "Breakin' Thru" - (SagiDarius Music)
3 - 2 - David Benoit - "David Benoit and Friends" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
4 - 4 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns II: From A to Z" - (Concord)
5 - 13 - Lisa Addeo - "Listen To This" - (Little Black Dress)
6 - 12 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VIII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
7 - 7 - U-Nam - "The Love Vault (Future Love Part 2)" - (Skytown)
8 - 8 - Adam Hawley - "Double Vision" - (Kalimba)
9 - 10 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
10 - 6 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
11 - 15 - Blake Aaron - "Color And Passion" - (Innervision)
12 - 9 - Nelson Rangell - "By Light" - (Independent)
13 - 5 - FOUR80EAST - "Four On The Floor" - (Boomtang)
14 - 22 - Cindy Bradley - "I'm All Ears" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 11 - Joyce Cooling - "Living Out Loud" - (Funky Kitchen)
16 - 18 - Jeff Ryan - "Embrace" - (Woodward Avenue)
17 - 19 - Chris Standring - "Best Of Chris Standring Remixed" - (Ultimate Vibe)
18 - 34 - Chris Walker - "We're In This Love Together" - (CCW Global)
19 - 26 - Julian Vaughn - "Supreme" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythem)
20 - 17 - Brendan Rothwell - "Sentiment" - (Independent)

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

Best selling smooth jazz at Jazz from
Bookmark and Share

In Honor Of Our Veterans

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Simply Red Release New Album Blue Eyed Soul on BMG

Simply Red released their 12th studio album yesterday, Blue Eyed Soul, a ten track masterclass in funky, brassy soul music and emotionally charged ballads. Written by singer and band leader Mick Hucknall and produced by long time collaborator Andy Wright, the results are simply sensational. Recorded live, with few overdubs, Blue Eyed Soul draws on inspiration from classic funk and soul: Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Tower of Power. The album is available for purchase or download HERE.

Blue Eyed Soul is the sound of Simply Red firing on all cylinders. "This record is a bit more raw and a bit more rough n' ready," Hucknall told Billboard in a recent interview“At this stage of my career, I could do one of those dark reflective albums looking back on my life and all that kind of stuff that people tend to do at a certain age,” Mick Hucknall admits. “But I thought sod that! I wanted to make something punchy. I want to have a good time.” 
Simply Red also recently released a lyric video for the single "Thinking of You." Watch it HERE.

After 40 years of making records (with punk band The Frantic Elevators, solo and various line ups of Simply Red) Hucknall wanted to create something tailored to the core strength of his fantastic band. “I asked myself, what would these guys really like to play, night after night? I want them to enjoy playing, for crowds to get up and move around, and everybody to put their heart into it. It’s all about capturing the groove.”

Simply Red have over a billion hits on YouTube, have sold over 60 million albums worldwide, 5 going to number one in the UK. Their 1991 classic Stars was the best-selling album for two years running in Britain and Europe. They have had two US Billboard chart toppers with classic singles "Holding Back The Years" and "If You Don’t Know Me By Now." Every Simply Red studio album has been a UK top ten (with previous release Big Love reaching number 4 in 2015). Hucknall has been the songwriter and bandleader since the beginning in 1985, aided since 1986 by long-serving saxophonist Ian Kirkham.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 08, 2019

Brian Culbertson’s 2020 vision: Drop his 20th album, “XX,” and launch The XX Tour #jazz

As chart-topping multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Brian Culbertson crafts his 20th album, the aptly titled “XX” – Roman numerals representing twenty – he revealed plans for the extensive US concert tour that will support the record release. Beginning April 1 in Louisville, Kentucky, Culbertson will take an elaborately designed concert production, The XX Tour, on the road for three consecutive months, playing more than 70 shows, an extremely rare feat for a contemporary jazz artist.

Culbertson’s catalogue includes recordings of jazz – contemporary and straight ahead - as well as R&B, funk, instrumental pop and New Age. “XX,” which drops April 10, reflects his remarkable diversity.

“It’s a mix of things that I’ve done throughout my twenty records. There’s a lot of funky instrumentals, some pop-sounding tracks, a couple slow jams, straight-ahead jazz, gospel, some vocals, lots of horns and some straight-up FUNK! The album is very much a mixture of some modern sounding programming along with live instruments, too. Real drums on almost everything mixed with programming. Definitely a cool sound,” said Culbertson, who invites fans to get involved with the making of “XX” via an Indiegogo campaign that launched this week (

Recreating that cool sound live for The XX Tour is Culbertson’s favorite part. Like his massive Colors of Love Tour that played 77 shows in three months and was captured for “Brian Culbertson’s Colors of Love Tour: Live in Las Vegas” Blu-ray disc and two-disc CD that dropped last Valentine’s Day, Culbertson is creating the sound and look for The XX Tour as a sensory experience. The exuberant performer spends months in preproduction meticulously conceiving stunning visuals - staging, lighting, wardrobe and effects – in order to put on a mesmerizing show each time he takes the stage. In addition to spotlighting the new album, the setlist will include cuts from Culbertson’s hit-filled songbook that has amassed 32 Billboard No. 1 singles. There will also be a segment showcasing songs from “Winter Stories,” an album released last month that placed him in an acoustic jazz trio setting for the first time.   

Culbertson, who founded and curates the annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway and Chicago Jazz Getaway music and lifestyle festivals, is offering two tiers of VIP ticket experiences during The XX Tour. The Ultra VIP package includes front row center seats; an intimate pre-show champagne toast backstage with Culbertson; pre-show meet & greet, photo opportunity and performance; exclusive tour merchandise gift; autographed tour poster; commemorative The XX Tour VIP laminate; and early access to the venue for crowd-free merchandise shopping.  

The Meet & Greet VIP package consists of premium seats; pre-show meet & greet, photo opportunity and performance; exclusive tour merchandise gift; autographed tour poster; commemorative The XX Tour VIP laminate; and early access to the venue for crowd-free merchandise shopping.  
Tickets for The XX Tour go on sale on Wednesday, November 13 at 10am local time exclusively for American Express cardholders and those connected to Culbertson’s social media and fan email lists as well as subscribers to the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway and Chicago Jazz Getaway email lists. On Thursday, November 14 at 10am local time, presales begin for Ticketmaster and the venues’ email lists. The public on-sale starts on Friday, November 15 at 10am local time.

Below is The XX Tour itinerary (more dates will be added to the itinerary when confirmed):

April 1              Louisville, KY                          Bomhard Theater
April 3              New Haven, CT                        Lyman Center for Performing Arts **
April 4              Cranston, RI                             Park Theater
April 5              Reading, PA                             Scottish Rite Cathedral **
April 7              Morristown, NJ                         Mayo Performing Arts Center
April 8              Collingswood, NJ                      Scottish Rite Auditorium
April 9              Buffalo, NY                              Buffalo State Performing Arts Center **
April 10            Pittsburgh, PA                           Roxian Theatre
April 11            Columbus, OH                          Southern Theatre **
April 14            Detroit, MI                               MotorCity Casino Hotel
April 15            Ft. Wayne, IN                           The Clyde Theatre
April 16            Indianapolis, IN                        Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
April 17            Akron, OH                                Akron Civic Theater
April 18            Washington, DC                       Warner Theatre
April 19            Richmond, VA                          The National
April 21            Clearwater, FL                          Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
April 22            Orlando, FL                              Plaza Live
April 23            Sarasota, FL                              Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall *
April 24            Panama City, FL                       Seabreeze Jazz Festival *
April 26            Jacksonville, FL                        Florida Theatre *
April 27            Newberry, SC                           Newberry Opera House *
April 29            Nashville, TN                           Marathon Music Works
May 1               Atlanta, GA                              Atlanta Symphony Hall
May 2               St. Louis, MO                           The Pageant
May 3               Minneapolis, MN                      Fitzgerald Theater
May 5               Joliet, IL                                   Rialto Square Theatre
May 6               Kansas City, MO                      Arvest Back Theatre at The Midland
May 7               Tulsa, OK                                 Cain’s Ballroom
May 8               San Antonio, TX                       Empire Theatre
May 9               Dallas, TX                                Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center Dallas
May 10             Houston, TX                             Cullen Performance Hall
May 14             Ft. Collins, CO                          The Armory
May 15             Denver, CO                              Paramount Theatre
May 19 & 20    Mesa, AZ                                 Mesa Arts Center
May 21             Tucson, AZ                               Rialto Theatre
May 22 & 23    Las Vegas, NV                          Aliante Casino
May 24             Lake Tahoe, NV                        Montbleau Resort Casino & Spa
May 27             Santa Barbara, CA                    Lobero Theatre
May 28             Fresno, CA                               Tower Theatre
May 30             San Diego, CA                          Humphreys                  
June 3               Bend, OR                                 Tower Theater
June 4               Spokane, WA                           Bing Crosby Theatre
June 5               Seattle, WA                              The Moore Theatre
June 6               Boise, ID                                  The Egyptian Theatre
June 7               Portland, OR                             Revolution Hall
June 12             Yountville, CA                         Napa Valley Jazz Getaway *
June 14             Los Angeles, CA                       The Wiltern
June 17             New Orleans, LA                      The Civic Theatre
June 19             Memphis, TN                            Minglewood Hall
June 21             Charlotte, NC                           Knight Theater
June 24             Durham, NC                             The Carolina Theatre
June 25             Birmingham, AL                       Lyric Theatre

*Denotes tickets are already on sale
** Denotes tickets will go on sale at a later date

For more information, please visit

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 04, 2019

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - November 4, 2019 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Rick Braun - "Crossroads" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 2 - David Benoit - "David Benoit and Friends" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
3 - 3 - Eric Darius - "Breakin' Thru" - (SagiDarius Music)
4 - 4 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns II: From A to Z" - (Concord)
5 - 5 - FOUR80EAST - "Four On The Floor" - (Boomtang)
6 - 7 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
7 - 6 - U-Nam - "The Love Vault (Future Love Part 2)" - (Skytown)
8 - 10 - Adam Hawley - "Double Vision" - (Kalimba)
9 - 12 - Nelson Rangell - "By Light" - (Independent)
10 - 9 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
11 - 8 - Joyce Cooling - "Living Out Loud" - (Funky Kitchen)
12 - 20 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VIII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 17 - Lisa Addeo - "Listen To This" - (Little Black Dress)
14 - 13 - Nicholas Cole - "The Weekend" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 15 - Blake Aaron - "Color And Passion" - (Innervision)
16 - 14 - Althea Rene - "Flawsome" - (Althea Rene Productions)
17 - 11 - Brendan Rothwell - "Sentiment" - (Independent)
18 - 23 - Jeff Ryan - "Embrace" - (Woodward Avenue)
19 - 19 - Chris Standring - "Best Of Chris Standring Remixed" - (Ultimate Vibe)
20 - 21 - Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band - "Midnight Daydream" - (Hatherill)

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

Best selling smooth jazz at Jazz from
Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 01, 2019

Spyro Gyra's "Vinyl Tap" selected as one of the 10 Albums You Need To Know #jazz

They have sold more than ten million records, received four GRAMMY® nominations, and are recognized as an esteemed musical institution. It’s been six years since contemporary jazz icons Spyro Gyra ( released a record and for their 31st album, they decided to do something they’ve never done before: record a collection of covers. Each member of the quintet selected rock and pop classics that they had listened to on vinyl while growing up. Imaginatively they rearranged and expanded the nine songs into entirely new songs in a process they called “warping.” Jazziz magazine named the newly released “Vinyl Tap” one of the “10 Albums You Need To Know” for October.  

Used to composing all their own music, Spyro Gyra felt free of the pressure to write great material, which fueled their creativity when it came to the audacious arrangements they came up with for “Vinyl Tap.” They completely dismantled and rebuilt hits from Cream (“Sunshine Of Your Love”), The Doobie Brothers (“What A Fool Believes”), War (“The Cisco Kid”), The Beatles (“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”), Squeeze (“Tempted”) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (“Carry On”) as well as Oliver Nelson’s jazz standard “Stolen Moments” and a wild mashup of “Secret Agent Man” and “Alfie’s Theme” that opens the set. The first single that has begun its chart ascent is an Americana exploration of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” The style of the record is as eclectic as the song choice: straight-ahead, contemporary and fusion jazz along with R&B, pop, rock, Latin and country music. “Vinyl Tap” is available as a limited-edition clear vinyl disc as well as digitally and on CD.   

As popular of a live draw as ever, Spyro Gyra - saxophonist Jay Beckenstein,  keyboardist Tom Schuman, guitarist Julio Fernandez, bassist Scott Ambush and drummer Lionel Cordew – 
is in the midst of a monthlong global concert tour to launch “Vinyl Tap” with shows in Ireland, England, Netherlands, Bahrain, Italy, Germany and Israel before playing a run of U.S. dates starting on November 15 in Newark, NJ.

Bookmark and Share