Monday, May 18, 2015

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - May 18, 2015 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Brian Simpson - "Out Of A Dream" - (Shanachie)
3 - 6 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
4 - 4 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
5 - 12 - James Lloyd - "Here We Go" - (Shanachie)
6 - 7 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
7 - 11 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
8 - 3 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Fritzenized" - (Nordic Night Records)
9 - 9 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (
10 - 15 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' (Shanachie)
11 - 14 - Cindy Bradley - "Bliss" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
12 - 10 - Nelson Rangell - "Red" - (Independent)
13 - 5 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Walking in Rome (Soul Italiano) - (Next Age Music)
14 - 29 - Bluey - "Life Between The Notes" - (Shanachie)
15 - 8 - Marion Meadows - "Soul Traveler" - (Shanachie)
16 - 24 - Diana Krall - "Wallflower" - (Verve/UMG)
17 - 17 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
18 - 16 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
19 - 13 - Jazz Funk Soul - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Heads Up)
20 - 21 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

B. B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His death was reported early Friday by The Associated Press, citing his lawyer, Brent Bryson, and by CNN, citing his daughter, Patty King.

Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to 
millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.

“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” Mr. King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.

In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang — like his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone” (“I’ll still live on/But so lonely I’ll be”) — were poems of pain and perseverance.

The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that Mr. King helped expand the audience for the blues through “the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.”

B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a sharecropper’s shack surrounded by dirt-poor laborers and wealthy landowners.

Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.
He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s, who remained loyal as they grew older together. His playing influenced many of the most successful rock guitarists of the era, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Mr. King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003. A few years earlier, he recalled, an M.C. in an elegant Chicago club had introduced him thus: “O.K., folks, time to pull out your chitlins and your collard greens, your pigs’ feet and your watermelons, because here is B. B. King.” It had infuriated him.

When he saw “long-haired white people” lining up outside the Fillmore, he said, he told his road manager, “I think they booked us in the wrong place.” Then the promoter Bill Graham introduced him to the sold-out crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the chairman of the board, B. B. King.”
“Everybody stood up, and I cried,” Mr. King said. “That was the beginning of it.”
By his 80th birthday he was a millionaire many times over. He owned a mansion in Las Vegas, a closet full of embroidered tuxedoes and smoking jackets, a chain of nightclubs bearing his name (including a popular room on West 42nd Street in Manhattan) and the personal and professional satisfaction of having endured.

Through it all he remained with the great love of his life, his guitar. He told the tale a thousand times: He was playing a dance hall in Twist, Ark., in the early 1950s when two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove. Mr. King fled the blaze — and then remembered his $30 guitar. He ran into the burning building to rescue it.

He learned thereafter that the fight had been about a woman named Lucille. For the rest of his life, Mr. King addressed his guitars — big Gibsons, curved like a woman’s hips — as Lucille.
He married twice, unsuccessfully, and was legally single from 1966 onward; by his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women. But a Lucille was always at his side.

Riley B. King (the middle initial apparently did not stand for anything) was born on Sept. 16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, both sharecroppers, in Berclair, a Mississippi hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78-r.p.m. blues records, the sweat of dawn-to-dusk work and the sight of a black man lynched by a white mob.

By early 1940 Mr. King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar. “When the crop was harvested, Riley ended his first year of independence owing his landlord $7.54.”

In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Ark. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air.

The King Biscuit show featured Rice Miller, a primeval bluesman and one of two performers who worked under the name Sonny Boy Williamson. After serving in the Army and marrying his first wife, Martha Denton, Mr. King, then 22, went to seek him out in Memphis, looking for work. Memphis and its musical hub, Beale Street, lay 130 miles north of his birthplace, and it looked like a world capital to him.

Mr. Miller had two performances booked that night, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. He handed the lower-paying nightclub job to Mr. King. It paid $12.50.

Mr. King was making about $5 a day on the plantation. He never returned to his tractor.

He was a hit, and quickly became a popular disc jockey playing the blues on a Memphis radio station, WDIA. “Before Memphis,” he wrote in his autobiography, “I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.”

Memphis had heard five decades of the blues: country sounds from the Delta, barrelhouse boogie-woogie, jumps and shuffles and gospel shouts. He made it all his own. From records he absorbed the big-band sounds of Count Basie, the rollicking jump blues of Louis Jordan, the electric-guitar styles of the jazzman Charlie Christian and the bluesman T-Bone Walker.

On the air in Memphis, Mr. King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. That became Blues Boy, which became B. B. In December 1951, two years after arriving in Memphis, Mr. King released a single, “Three O’Clock Blues,” which reached No. 1 on the rhythm-and-blues charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.

He began a tour of the biggest stages a bluesman could play: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Howard Theater in Washington, the Royal Theater in Baltimore. By the time his wife divorced him after eight years, he was playing 275 one-night stands a year on the so-called chitlin’ circuit.
There were hard times when the blues fell out of fashion with young black audiences in the early 1960s. Mr. King never forgot being booed at the Royal by teenagers who cheered the sweeter sounds of Sam Cooke.

“They didn’t know about the blues,” he said 40 years after the fact. “They had been taught that the blues was the bottom of the totem pole, done by slaves, and they didn’t want to think along those lines.”

Mr. King’s second marriage, to Sue Hall, also lasted eight years, ending in divorce in 1966. He responded in 1969 with his best-known recording, “The Thrill Is Gone,” a minor-key blues about having loved and lost. It was co-written and originally recorded in 1951 by another blues singer, Roy Hawkins, but Mr. King made it his own.

The success of “The Thrill Is Gone” coincided with a surge in the popularity of the blues with a young white audience. Mr. King began playing folk festivals and college auditoriums, rock shows and resort clubs, and appearing on “The Tonight Show.”

Though he never had another hit that big, he had more than four decades of the road before him. He eventually played the world — Russia and China as well as Europe and Japan. His schedule around his 81st birthday, in September 2006, included nine cities over two weeks in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg. Despite health problems, he maintained a busy touring schedule until 2014.

In addition to winning more than a dozen Grammy Awards (including a lifetime achievement award), having a star on Hollywood Boulevard and being inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame, Mr. King was among the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995 and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, awards rarely associated with the blues. In 1999, in a public conversation with William Ferris, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mr. King recounted how he came to sing the blues.

“Growing up on the plantation there in Mississippi, I would work Monday through Saturday noon,” he said. “I’d go to town on Saturday afternoons, sit on the street corner, and I’d sing and play.
“I’d have me a hat or box or something in front of me. People that would request a gospel song would always be very polite to me, and they’d say: ‘Son, you’re mighty good. Keep it up. You’re going to be great one day.’ But they never put anything in the hat.

“But people that would ask me to sing a blues song would always tip me and maybe give me a beer. They always would do something of that kind. Sometimes I’d make 50 or 60 dollars one Saturday afternoon. Now you know why I’m a blues singer.”

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jessy J - "My One And Only One" - Release on Shanachie May 26th - #jazz

'My One And Only One’ Is Cross-Cultural Journey of Melody and Emotion
Lead Single “The Tango Boy” Features Special Guests Paul Brown and Gregg Karukas
Album Includes Covers of Toni Braxton, Shuggie Otis and “Lovesong” by The Cure
Record Release Tour In June & July With Fall Festival Dates To Follow

On May 26, Shanachie Entertainment will release the highly-anticipated new album from Internationally renowned saxophonist Jessy J. Dubbed “Sexy…Soulful…Irresistible…Incredible” by Smooth Jazz MonthlyMy One And Only One seamlessly melds Latin Jazz, Soul, Smooth Grooves and Funk with alluring melodies, both musically and vocally.

Written, arranged and produced by Jessy J, My One And Only One is her fifth studio album (and second for Shanachie, who also released 2013’s Second Chances). With 10 songs that ebb and flow between the heat of the midday sun and the resplendent glow of a starry-filled night, Only One has the feel of an instant classic, for life’s journeys, both in the physical and spiritual worlds.

Dedicated to all of her teachers, past and present, Jessy showcases her inimitable musical ability to set the mood for any occasion, none more so than on the album’s rousing lead single “The Tango Boy”. From there, she keeps the festive vibes in overdrive with “Paraíso Mágico,” a Latin-flavored jam, in which she sings in Spanish and showcases her agility as a gregarious flautist. Paraíso echoes vintage Santana, with its evocative shuffle, and Jethro Tull, with its resolute flute. Elsewhere, she unfurls a sultry daydream on “Una Mas,” busts out the funk on “Back To The Basics” and adds mellifluous bi-lingual vocals to “Siempre”.

Among the stand-outs on the album are gorgeous arrangements of time-tested classics, “You’re Makin’ Me High" (written by Toni Braxton & Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds), “Strawberry Letter 23” (written by Shuggie Otis and made famous by The Brothers Johnson) and the eternally beautiful ”Lovesong,” originally made famous by dour English rockers The Cure and most recently by British singer Adele.

Special guests on Only One include Gregg Karukas who adds his deft mastery of keys/strings and Paul Brown, who plays guitar on five of the songs, while co-writing the title track, "Una Mas" and “The Tango Boy”.

Jessy will tour throughout 2015, starting with record release shows at Spaghettinis in Orange County and Beverly Hills, before embarking on a cross country summer tour dotted by festival appearances in Detroit (Dearborn Jazz on the Avenue), Palm Springs (Women’s Jazz Fest), and Mission Viejo (JazzFest). Her International schedule includes Jazz Fests in Cancun, Mexico and the Caribbean, on the tropical island of Aruba, and a two-night stand in London.

Tour Dates
Jun 06 - Spaghettini Jazz Club, Seal Beach, CA
Jun 12 - Diaz Music Institue, Houston, TX
Jun 13 - Jazz at the Creek, San Diego, CA
Jun 20 - Spaghettini Jazz Club, Beverly Hills, CA
Jun 24 - Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
Jul 18 - Freedom Park, Charlotte, NC
Jul 22 - Dearborn Jazz on the Avenue, Detroit, MI
Jul 23 -  River Raisin Nights, Monroe, MI
Jul 24 - The Jazz Kitchen, Indianapolis, IN
Jul 31 - Balcones Heights, San Antonio, TX
Sep 3-6 - Cancun Jazz Festival, Cancun, MX
Sep 19 - JazzFest, Mission Viejo, CA 
Sep 26 - Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival, Aruba
Oct 10 - Women’s Jazz Fest, Palm Springs, CA
Dec 03 - San Antonio, TX
Dec 04 - Gem Theater, Kansas City, MO
Dec 05 - Bishop Arts Theater, Dallas, TX
Dec 10 - Pizza Express, London, UK
Dec 11 - Pizza Express, London, UK

Jessy J
My One And Only One
1. Una Mas
2. My One and Only One
3. Lovesong
4. The Tango Boy
5. Paraíso Mágico
6. Back To The Basics
7. You're Making Me High
8. Siempre
9. Cuba
10. Strawberry Letter 23

“The Tango Boy”


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Monday, May 11, 2015

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - May 11, 2015 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
2 - 3 - Brian Simpson - "Out Of A Dream" - (Shanachie)
3 - 2 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Fritzenized" - (Nordic Night Records)
4 - 4 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
5 - 6 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Walking in Rome (Soul Italiano) - (Next Age Music)
6 - 7 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
7 - 8 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
8 - 5 - Marion Meadows - "Soul Traveler" - (Shanachie)
9 - 13 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (
10 - 9 - Nelson Rangell - "Red" - (Independent)
11 - 22 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
12 - 15 - James Lloyd - "Here We Go" - (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Jazz Funk Soul - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Heads Up)
14 - 10 - Cindy Bradley - "Bliss" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 17 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' (Shanachie)
16 - 20 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
17 - 11 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
18 - 16 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank 2.0" - (ben-jammin')
19 - 25 - DW3 - "Vintage Truth" - (Woodward Avenue)
20 - 14 - Brian Culbertson - "Live-20th Anniversary Tour" - (BCM Entertainment)

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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Friday, May 08, 2015

Steven Davis - "What Happened To Romance" - Release on First Second Records #jazz

“Perfectly Perfect” soundtrack for summer love
Jazz crooner Steven Davis ponders “What Happened To Romance,” his first big band album due June 23, led by the original song featured in an international television commercial.

Bolstering the belief that romance is always en vogue, crooner Steven Davis plies his big voice backed by a big band on the swinging set “What Happened To Romance,” a charming meditation on love marrying timeless traits from another era to today’s passionate demand for originality. The 14-track disc comprised of a dozen original songs penned by Davis and The 88s’ Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno – the duo that produced the outing – will be released June 23 by the vocalist’s First Second Records and serviced to jazz radio for airplay.
The Nashville-based Davis trekked to New York City to record “What Happened To Romance” with The After Midnight Orchestra featuring original members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands. Fully ensconced in the retro spirit, Davis belts out amorous overtures and enchanting dreams with debonair elegance amidst cascading melodies and groovy rhythms punctuated by the lush horns arranged and conducted by Andy Farber. Completing the collection are faithful interpretations of Johnny Mercer’s swooning “Day In, Day Out” and Irving Berlin’s rousing “All By Myself.”
The album’s playful escapade “Perfectly Perfect” is the sublime soundtrack to a television commercial for Centralway Numbrs, a mobile banking application in Germany and is viewable online globally (

“We are using the template of the Great American Songbook writers to create new music that hopefully will stand the test of time. I love this music because it allows us to tell these stories and I like the nuances of this style. There is a certain sense of altruism that appeals to me,” said Davis, who will introduce his throwback sound to new audiences by playing unexpected places for a big band jazz singer such as a June 19 gig at the popular singer-songwriters’ haunt Molly Malone’s Irish Pub in Los Angeles. “Maybe I’m old fashioned when it comes to romance, but it will always be there even though the world has changed so much and is so different now. What happened to romance? It’s the same question we keep asking ourselves. The answer is different for each one of us.”

The charismatic Davis was invited to perform at the prestigious I Create Music ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles on May 1 and at the Durango Songwriters Film/TV Expo on May 15 in Ventura, California.

The songs contained on “What Happened To Romance” are:

“Love Comes Right On Time”
“You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me”
“What Happened To Romance”
“This Time”
“Perfectly Perfect”
“I Found Love”
“Let’s Keep It A Secret”
“Day In, Day Out”
“If You Were Mine”
“Close Your Eyes”
“If I Could Give You More”
“All By Myself”
“Sometime Soon”
“Young Love”

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

Trains Keep A Rolling - A documentary about the life and legacy of rock, blues, and jazz guitarist Jeff Golub. #jazz #kickstarter

Click here for the Jeff Golub "Trains Keep A Rolling" - Kickstarter Project

About this project

During his illustrious career, Jeff Golub was Rod Stewart's front man, he played with Billy Squier and other legends, and recorded 11 solo albums, plus three more as the leader of Avenue Blue. Inspired by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and BB King, among others, Jeff began playing guitar when he was 12. Playing rock, blues, and jazz guitar, Jeff became a world renowned performer, playing in stadiums, concert halls, and clubs around the world. On January 1, 2015, Jeff passed away from a rare brain disorder, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).
This documentary takes you behind-the-scenes into the life of an extraordinary artist, from his greatest stage and studio performances, to his family life. Most importantly, the film is an intimate portrait of his last years, during which his family and the music community rally around him and, in return, are inspired by Jeff's unflagging optimism and generous spirit.

The Impact

Your contribution will ensure that the film is completed. In addition to telling Jeff's story and providing an inside look at the tight-knit jazz community, this film will help get the word out about PSP, a little-known neurological illness, which shares many similarities with other diseases, such as CBD, MSA, and Parkinson's.
This film will serve to inspire support for research for a cure for these diseases, and also provide comfort and understanding to all families dealing with a terminally ill member, no matter what the disease.

We Need Your Help

We have three years of incredible documentary footage, from 2012 all the way to the tribute concert in Jeff's memory in January, 2015. We also have amazing archival performance footage of Jeff on stage, and in the recording studio. You can help us get this entertaining, emotional, and important story crafted with the care that it deserves. Any amount you can provide helps us through the filmmaking process: editing the story, composing the score, purchasing rights to music and performances, having the highest quality color correction, and sound mix. The entire process will cost more than the $25,000 goal, so any amount you provide will be immensely valuable to making the sure the film is completed and released to the world. We thank you.


Kyle I. KelleyProducer, Director & Cinematographer

A seasoned cinematographer and owner of BullMoose Pictures, this is Kyle’s documentary directorial debut. After graduating with a degree in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College, Kyle began working at Insignia Films, a Manhattan-based documentary production company. While at Insignia, Kyle worked under Director Stephen Ives, who has produced over 20 feature length documentaries. Kyle also had the opportunity to learn from one of the best documentary cinematographers in the country, Buddy Squires, ASC.
Some highlights of his freelance work include:
  • Director of Photography on several pieces for Retro Report (short documentary series produced in association with the New York Times)
  • Director of Photography & Co-Producer on The Sound One Project (feature length documentary currently in production)
  • Co-Director, Director of Photography, & Co-Editor on They Might Be Giants(feature length independent documentary)
  • Director of Photography on Maggie Black (fiction feature currently in post-production)
  • 2nd Camera Operator & Additional Cinematographer on Constitution USA with Peter Sagal (4-part series for PBS)
  • Numerous short films, both fiction and documentary

Philip Shane Producer & Editor

Philip Shane is documentary filmmaker with over 25 years of experience, most recently as Editor of Dancing in Jaffa, which had it's World Premiere at the 2013 TriBeCaFilm Festival, and for which he and fellow editor Bob Eisenhardt won the Best Editing Award at Israel's prestigious DocAviv Film Festival. He was Co-Director & Editor of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival), and Producer & Editor of EINSTEIN: The Real Story Of The Man Behind The Theory (2008, History Channel).
At ABC News for nearly a decade, Shane edited many distinguished programs including Ted Kopple's Iraq War documentary, Tip of the Spear, which won the 2004 DuPont Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism, and Martin Luther King: Searching For The Promised Land (1999) which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program. A short film he made with Peter Jennings and Senior Producer Richard Gerdau, Witness to History, preserved Jennings' personal memories of 9/11 and has been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
In addition to Dancing In Jaffa and Being Elmo, Shane has edited many films about performing artists. With Paul McCartney, his daughter Mary, and director Alistair Donald, he made the film Wingspan (2001), about the McCartney family's life after The Beatles. His previous project, The Beatles Revolution (2000) told the story of the band through the memories of musicians, artists, politicians, writers, and other celebrities. Other artists he's worked with include Carly Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and The Boston Symphony.


Risks and challenges

Documentary filmmaking is a challenging process. Additional interviews might be required, purchasing archival footage and music rights may take longer and cost more than forseen, and other technical or creative challenges may arise. It’s possible that additional time and/or funding would be needed to complete the film in it’s later stages. We are devoted to making sure this film is completed, and with your help, we will get there.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Blake Aaron - "Soul Stories" - Released today - #jazz

Like a collection of short stories, guitarist Blake Aaron’s ( “Soul Stories” is a diverse set of colorfully compelling compositions. Themes, moods and rhythms vary just as the instrumental “voice” Aaron uses to tell the ten tales – eight of which were authored or co-penned by the artist - differs yet a common thread emerges from the blend of improvisational jazz, soul-infused R&B, exotic Latin nuances and shimmering pop sensibilities. Aaron produced the disc, his fifth solo effort, which will be released today.   
Early reviews have been terrific and Aaron was recently interviewed for a feature in Vintage Guitar magazine. Fervent radio support has been abundant as Aaron has already gone Top 5 on the Billboard singles chart with the retro disco pop energizer “Groove-O-Matic,” which is animated by cool electric jazz guitar soloing. The current single pays homage to seminal guitarist Wes Montgomery, the aptly titled “Wes Side Story,” a brisk-paced straight-ahead jazz foray. Aaron’s nylon string guitar lilts while illuminating the festive Latin dancer “Sol Amor.” Clocking in at over seven minutes, the sprawling “Europa” provides Aaron the platform to use his electric guitar to serenade, scream and seduce simultaneously. Spiked by Aaron’s searing electric guitar riffs, jazz crooner Spencer Day guests on the head-bobbing hipster “You’re the One for Me.” Up and down in tempo, impassioned electric guitar makes “Story of the Blues” a rousing anthem. Aaron slows the Hall & Oates gem “Sara Smile” a tad, adding sultriness to the soulful song that erupts into an incendiary electric guitar overture. The wistful seduction continues on the stunning “Story of My Life,” an elegant Brazilian jazz outing courted by Aaron’s gentle nylon sting instrument and graced by Rob Mullins’ plaintively longing piano. R&B vocalist Derek Bordeaux teams with Aaron to celebrate on the charming romancer “You’re My Miracle.” Another Billboard singles charter, “Encantadora” closes the album with a percussive Latin flair sparked by Aaron’s electric guitar and Najee’s soaring flute flourishes.                     
Aaron’s own story to get to this point in his accomplished career mirrors the ethos of “Soul Stories.” Chapters include a wide array of television and film soundtrack and score work that boasts a 14-year stint as the guitarist and co-theme song writer on FOX’s “MadTV”; a lengthy list of studio and concert sideman credits as a first-call session player; tour dates with his own band at nightclubs and festivals across the nation; and creating and hosting a nationally syndicated radio show, “Blake Aaron Live with Tina Anderson,” which has been airing weekly since 2008 providing Aaron the opportunity to interview and jam on the program with contemporary jazz, adult contemporary and rock stars. 

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