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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Guitarist Lawson Rollins marks 20th anniversary by dropping “True North” #jazz

Jazziz names the album one of “10 Albums You Need to Know” as the first single, “Bluewave Bossanova,” is added out of the box to the SiriusXM Watercolors playlist.

Undeniably different, invitingly familiar and as masterful as ever, guitarist Lawson Rollins heads “True North” on his tenth album, a collection that commemorates the Billboard chart-topper’s 20th anniversary as a recording artist. Jazziz magazine named the Infinita Records release that dropped last Friday one of the “10 Albums You Need to Know.” With the influential SiriusXM’s Watercolors leading the charge, radio programmers are welcoming the new release by adding the first single, “Bluewave Bossanova,” to playlists out of the box, favoring a radio edit featuring Mary Fettig’s soprano sax caress. 


“True North” is the first album that Rollins composed, produced and recorded all the guitar parts on his own. He relies upon his mesmerizing classical fingerstyle guitar play to forge a unique path incorporating contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age, making records that convey exotic travel, exhilarating adventure and quixotic escape. “True North” continues the quest yet it’s easy to observe a variety of new dimensions spawned from a recent spate of assorted music and film projects.  

Named by Guitar Player magazine as one of the “50 Transcedent Acoustic Guitarists” of all-time, the San Francisco-based Rollins curated a collection of his best (“Airwaves: The Greatest Hits”), experimented on “Dark Matter: Music for Film”; scored his first film, “Stay Out Stay Alive,” a multiple award winner and consistent film festival favorite that opened last November (Rollins also served as the movie’s executive producer); and collaborated on a single (“And If You Will Come With Me”) with Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Rollins couldn’t help but be impacted artistically from this diversely prolific period when it came to crafting “True North.” The works expanded his sonic palette with Rollins adding electric and slide guitars, steel string guitar and interesting synthesizer textures alongside his signature classical Spanish nylon string acoustic guitar rhythms and rich melodic expressions.     
      
Renowned for dispensing dazzling acoustic guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies at astonishing speed (showcased in YouTube videos that have received over 10 million views), “True North” exhibits sharper focus, self-control and command as he “stays on course” instead of wandering off on prolonged improvisational excursions. The tone of the lead guitar emotes new warmth and purity. Even the album art, consisting of sundrenched images taken on the Outer Banks (North Carolina) where Rollins spends a lot of time each year, is filled with light and soft pastels unlike earlier images. 

Rollins’ “True North” traveling mates are drummer and percussionist Dave Bryant, bassist Dan Feiszli, violinist Mads Tolling and Stephen Duros who plays additional keyboards and electric guitar on the album’s “With the Wind,” an eclectic and extravagant track unlike any ever recorded by the artist.

Below is a sampling of some of the early album reviews:

The 14 original tracks on this new album find his improvisational flair in top form and showcase a wide range of emotions as well as that cross-aesthetic that has come to characterize his music since he first rose to popularity in the early 2000s.” – Jazziz

A lovely, skillful and engrossing album, Rollins is just plain a contemporary master of the art. An album acoustic guitar fans should not be without.” – Midwest Record

He plays his instrument with a soulful intensity that combines the stimulating rhythmic drive of rumba, salsa, and samba with graceful melodic finesse and free-flowing improvisational flair... On ‘True North,’ Lawson is most definitely back to doing what he is most known and admired for: staying true to the direction of his artistic inner compass and delivering the kind of inimitable guitar playing, creative instrumentation, and memorable compositions his fans have come to love.” – Exclusive Magazine

Lawson's crossover style will undoubtedly once again attract fans of all kinds. Putting him in a category is not necessary, as long as the music is beautiful!” – Keys & Chords

                                                                                                                 
For more information, please visit www.lawsonrollins.com.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 20, 2020 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 3 - Brian Bromberg - "Thicker Than Water" - (Mack Avenue Records)
2 - 6 - Lisa Addeo - "Listen To This" - (Little Black Dress)
3 - 2 - Blake Aaron - "Color And Passion" - (Innervision)
4 - 1 - Najee - "Center Of The Heart" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
5 - 4 - Mariea Antoinette - "All My Strings" - (Infinity Productions)
6 - 9 - Paul Brown - "Uptown Blues" - (Woodward Avenue)
7 - 5 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VIII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
8 - 10 - Ragan Whiteside - "Reminiscing" - (Randis Music)
9 - 13 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
10 - 14 - Julian Vaughn - "Supreme" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
11 - 7 - Kayla Waters - "Coevolve" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
12 - 16 - Will Donato - "Elevate" - (Innervision Records)
13 - 20 - Hiroshima - "J-Town Beat" - (Hiroshima Inc.)
14 - 11 - Brian Lenair - "Silky Soul" - (Grits And Gravy)
15 - 22 - Kirk Whalum - "Humanité" - (Mack Avenue Records)
16 - 17 - Sam Rucker - "Redemption" - (Favor Productions)
17 - 8 - Cindy Bradley - "I'm All Ears" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 15 - Brian Culbertson - "Winter Stories" - (BCM)
19 - 21 - George Freeman - "Limitless" - (Low Key Records)
20 - 128 - Greg Manning - "Twinkle" - (Independent)


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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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Tim Ray "Excursions and Adventures" - Release on Whaling City Sound, January 31st #jazz

It’s a delight to hear three supremely talented musicians find common ground, especially considering it’s their first recording together. As many know, Tim Ray (piano), John Patitucci(bass), and TerriLyne Carrington (drums) have diverse backgrounds, styles, and experience, but share a common connection to Berklee College. Ray, currently Tony Bennett’s musical director, is a longtime road companion to Lyle Lovett and Jane Siberry. Patitucci initially made a name for himself with the great Chick Corea and has spent the better part of the last two decades with Wayne Shorter. Carrington, also with Shorter and a myriad of other great jazz artists, is at the vanguard of today’s drum corps, with power, finesse, and a vision for the instrument that few can match. They come together on Excursions and Adventures, a powerful inaugural recording session for this trio that often transcends description with its gorgeous fidelity, colorful arrangements, and fabulous, nuanced performances. There are originals, like Patitucci’s NOLA-inspired “Messiaen’s Gumbo,” Carrington’s “Samsara,” an ode to Shorter, which previously appeared on her acclaimed Jazz Is a Spirit album, along with Ray’s “Yo 11,” which is as enjoyably rhythmic as it is whimsical. There are a few pop covers to note, as well, including Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing,” and the Stones’ rocker “Paint It Black,” both of which show remarkable and unpredictable invention. Again, much of this gorgeous session defies description, and requires your uninterrupted attention.



What happens when three masterful artists come together as a trio? The Duke did it with Mingus and Max Roach back in 1962. Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette continue to make memorable recordings. Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner put together some nice trios as well. The members of this trio, perhaps not yet the superstars of their forebears, have come together on Excursions and Adventures, with an impressive demonstration of musical skill and performance. 

As many already know, Tim Ray (piano), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), and John Patitucci (bass), have accomplished much individually, with multifaceted and diverse backgrounds, styles, and experience. They all have Berklee School of Music ties. But from there, they’ve spread themselves into very different corners of the jazz world. Ray, currently Tony Bennett’s musical director, has been a longtime road companion to Lyle Lovett and Jane Siberry. Acclaimed bassist Patitucci initially made a name for himself with Chick Corea, and has spent the better part of two decades with Wayne Shorter. Carrington, also with Shorter and a myriad of other top-flight jazz artists, is at the vanguard of today’s drum corps, with power, finesse, and a vision for the instrument that few can match. 

Considering this is the first time they’ve worked together, it’s exhilarating to hear such supreme talent find common ground on Excursions and Adventures. Together, they tackle originals, like Patitucci’s NOLA-inspired “Messiaen’s Gumbo,” Carrington’s “Samsara,” an ode to Shorter, which previously appeared on her acclaimed Jazz Is a Spirit album, and Ray’s “Yo 11,” which is as enjoyably rhythmic as it is melodic. There are a few pop covers to note, as well, including Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing,” and the Stones’ rocker “Paint It Black,” both of which show remarkable and unpredictable invention.

Like the most accomplished musicians, Ray, Patitucci, and Carrington bring out the best in each other, pushing into unpredictable areas, filling the spaces with constant surprises, and gifting the listener with the bounty of that creation. It is exhilarating, another of Whaling City Sound’s brilliant jazz releases, and a very good reason for fans of the longstanding piano-based trio tradition to get excited again.


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Friday, January 17, 2020

PUSS N BOOTS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM SISTER OUT FEBRUARY 14

TRIO FEATURING NORAH JONES, SASHA DOBSON & CATHERINE POPPER
WILL PLAY NYC ALBUM RELEASE SHOWS AT
ROUGH TRADE (FEB. 14) & BOWERY BALLROOM (FEB. 15)

Puss N Boots—the charming trio featuring Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper—have announced a February 14 release date for their second full-length album, Sister, which is available to pre-order on vinyl, CD, or download. The first single “It’s Not Easy” featuring a lead vocal by Jones is available to stream or download now. The band will also play two NYC album release shows – February 14 at Rough Trade in Brooklyn and February 15 at Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan – and appear at the 2020 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 25. Additional tour dates will be announced shortly.


Sister is a fetching collection of originals written by the band members collectively and individually, mixed with loving covers of songs by Tom Petty (“Angel Dream”), Dolly Parton (“The Grass Is Blue”), Paul Westerberg (“It’s a Wonderful Lie”), and Concrete Blonde (“Joey”). Jones, Dobson, and Popper each take turns delivering lead vocals and also pick up multiple instruments throughout the album trading off on guitar, bass, and drums.

“This band has always been a great adventure,” says Jones. “Sasha and Cat’s fearlessness eggs me on to try new things, be it playing guitar, drums, writing a new way or wearing an elf costume on stage. We feed off of each other’s eagerness to jump in, sink or swim. And singing together feels like the most natural thing in the world. It’s a real privilege to have found this space together, try different things and to watch this band grow into what is at this moment.  It is ever evolving and so fun.”
“For me this band has always been an incredible and uniquely safe outlet for trying new things,” adds Dobson. “For example, I’d been writing all year on bass but was too shy to tell anyone, but when Norah asked me if I had anything new, before I knew it we were covering those tunes and I was playin’ bass in the band!”

“We were rehearsing for something and we took a break,” recalls Popper. “I sat at the drums and started messing around, Norah came back and picked up a guitar and riffed, and Sasha picked up the bass, and in an hour we had ‘It’s Not Easy.’ My bandmates just love to make music and it’s been a great learning experience for me about setting my ego aside and taking a chance.”

The track listing for Sister is as follows:

1. Jamola (Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, Catherine Popper)
2. It’s Not Easy (Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, Catherine Popper)
3. Nothing You Can Do (Sasha Dobson)
4. Lucky (Catherine Popper)
5. You And Me (Sasha Dobson)
6. You Don’t Know (Norah Jones)
7. The Great Romancer (Sasha Dobson, Don Was)
8. It’s A Wonderful Lie (Paul Westerberg)
9. Sister (Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, Catherine Popper)
10. The Razor Song (Catherine Popper)
11. Angel Dream (Tom Petty)
12. Same Old Bullshit (Helen Rogers)
13. Joey (Johnette Napolitano) **CD & digital album only**
14. The Grass Is Blue (Dolly Parton) **CD & digital album only**


* * *
Puss N Boots first formed in 2008 as a live band performing around Brooklyn. With a repertoire anchored in Americana, country, folk, pop and rock, the band became an outlet for Jones, Dobson and Popper to switch instruments and allowed them to showcase a different side of themselves than on their various solo and side projects.

After years of live performances, the trio decided to make a full-length album which resulted in their 2014 debut No Fools, No Fun. Comprised of originals and covers, studio recordings and live performances, the album was praised by Rolling Stone, Paste, American Songwriter and led to TV performances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and CBS This Morning.
The group has opened for Neil Young and appeared at numerous festivals including the Clearwater Festival, Green River Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival. In 2019, Puss N Boots performed “The Grass Is Blue” at the GRAMMY MusiCares charity event honoring Person of the Year Award recipient Dolly Parton.

About Norah Jones (vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, pipe organ, drums)
Norah Jones first emerged with the 2002 release of Come Away With Me, her self-described “moody little record” that introduced a singular new voice and grew into a global phenomenon and swept the 2003 GRAMMY Awards. Since then, Norah has sold 50 million albums worldwide and become a nine-time GRAMMY-winner. She has released a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful solo albums—Feels Like Home (2004), Not Too Late (2007), The Fall (2009), Little Broken Hearts (2012), and Day Breaks (2016)—as well as albums with her collective bands The Little Willies, Puss N Boots, and El Madmo. The 2010 compilation …Featuring Norah Jones showcased her incredible versatility by collecting her collaborations with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Outkast, Herbie Hancock, and Foo Fighters. With Day Breaks, Norah returned to her jazz roots while also proving her to be this era’s quintessential American artist, the purveyor of an unmistakably unique sound that weaves together the threads of several bedrock styles of American music: country, folk, rock, soul, jazz. Most recently, Jones has released a series of eclectic singles including collaborations with artists and friends such as Jeff Tweedy, Thomas Bartlett, Brian Blade, Tarriona Tank Ball, Mavis Staples, and Rodrigo Amarante. The 2019 singles collection Begin Again gathered seven snapshots of creativity from one of the music world’s most versatile and consistently intriguing artists.

About Sasha Dobson (vocals, electric guitar, electric bass, drums)
Sasha Dobson is a dynamic New York jazz singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She grew up in a family of accomplished jazz musicians including her father, the great pianist Smith Dobson (Red Holloway, Bobby Hutcherson, Art Pepper); her mother, the endearing and sought-after jazz vocalist and educator, Gail Dobson; and her brother, multi-instrumentalist and prodigy of jazz drums, Smith Dobson V. At the age of 12, Sasha wowed the crowd performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival with her family and had since toured worldwide with her own band and Norah Jones, opened for Neil Young and Willie Nelson, and been a featured artist at Farm Aid. Since her debut album Modern Romance, produced by GRAMMY Award winner Jesse Harris, Sasha has collaborated with many leading musicians. She is currently working on a forthcoming EP with bassist and producer Don Was and drummer Jay Lane. She has been making NY appearances with her latest jazz project, a supergroup featuring Peter Bernstein, Neal Miner, Dred Scott, and Ian Hendrickson-Smith.

About Catherine Popper (vocals, electric guitar, electric bass, drums, Haken Continuum)
Catherine Popper is a North Carolina native who has performed and recorded with numerous artists including Hem, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Levon Helm, Karen Elson, Rhett Miller, Willie Nelson, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice, Norah Jones, Tommy Stinson, Alejandro Escovedo, She and Him, Jesse Malin, Boy George, Brian Fallon, Larry Campbell, and Jack White. She played in a pit orchestra for Head Over Heels on Broadway in 2018 and will be joining the pit for the upcoming musical, Diana in 2020. 


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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Guitarist Lawson Rollins' exotic "True North" departs this Friday #jazz

Undeniably different, invitingly familiar and as masterful as ever, guitarist Lawson Rollins (www.lawsonrollins.com) heads “True North” on his tenth album, dropping this Friday. The Billboard chart-topping musician-songwriter-producer, who relies upon his mesmerizing classical fingerstyle guitar play to forge a unique path that incorporates contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age, makes records conveying exotic travel, exhilarating adventure and quixotic escape. “True North” continues the quest yet it’s easy to observe a variety of new dimensions spawned from a recent spate of assorted music and film projects.  


Named by Guitar Player magazine as one of the “50 Transcedent Acoustic Guitarists” of all-time, the San Francisco-based Rollins curated a collection of his best (“Airwaves: The Greatest Hits”), experimented on “Dark Matter: Music for Film”; scored his first film, “Stay Out Stay Alive,” a multiple award winner and film festival favorite that opened last November (Rollins also served as the movie’s executive producer); and collaborated on a single (“And If You Will Come With Me”) with Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Rollins couldn’t help but be impacted artistically from this diversely prolific period when it came to crafting “True North.” The works expanded his sonic palette with Rollins adding electric and slide guitars, steel string guitar and interesting synthesizer textures alongside his signature classical Spanish nylon string acoustic guitar rhythms and rich melodic expressions.     
      
“True North” is the first album that Rollins produced and recorded all the guitar parts on his own. Renown for dispensing dazzling acoustic guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies at astonishing speed (showcased in YouTube videos that have received over 10 million views), this outing exhibits sharper focus, self-control and command as he “stays on course” instead of wandering off on prolonged improvisational excursions. The tone of the lead guitar emotes new warmth and purity. Even the album art, featuring sundrenched images taken on the Outer Banks (North Carolina) where Rollins spends a lot of time each year, is filled with light and soft pastels unlike earlier images. 

The collection’s first single, “Bluewave Bossanova,” has already been added to the SiriusXM playlist ahead of Friday’s album release. 


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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 13, 2020 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 0 - Najee - "Center Of The Heart" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 0 - Blake Aaron - "Color And Passion" - (Innervision)
3 - 0 - Brian Bromberg - "Thicker Than Water" - (Mack Avenue Records)
4 - 0 - Mariea Antoinette - "All My Strings" - (Infinity Productions)
5 - 0 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VIII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
6 - 0 - Lisa Addeo - "Listen To This" - (Little Black Dress)
7 - 0 - Kayla Waters - "Coevolve" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
8 - 0 - Cindy Bradley - "I'm All Ears" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 0 - Paul Brown - "Uptown Blues" - (Woodward Avenue)
10 - 0 - Ragan Whiteside - "Reminiscing" - (Randis Music)
11 - 0 - Brian Lenair - "Silky Soul" - (Grits And Gravy)
12 - 0 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
13 - 0 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
14 - 0 - Julian Vaughn - "Supreme" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 0 - Brian Culbertson - "Winter Stories" - (BCM)
16 - 0 - Will Donato - "Elevate" - (Innervision Records)
17 - 0 - Sam Rucker - "Redemption" - (Favor Productions)
18 - 0 - Walter Beasley - "Going Home" - (Affable Records)
19 - 0 - Keith Andrew - Soul Expedition - (Innervision Records)
20 - 0 - Hiroshima - "J-Town Beat" - (Hiroshima Inc.)


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.

Best selling smooth jazz at amazon.com Jazz from Amazon.com
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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year to the JazzHQ subscribers #jazz

A very Happy New Year year to all the visitors of the JazzHQ blog, Facebook and Twitter. We're pleased that you found your way here and grateful if you've done it more than once.

Best wishes to you all. Good health and peace in the new year.

The Late Show's very own Jon Batiste & Stay Human fittingly wrap up 2019 with a performance of 'Auld Lang Syne.'