Friday, July 30, 2004
Birds of a Feather - Best of Birds of a Feather
Boney James - Pure
Bud Powell - Genius of the Bebop Piano: 1944-1951
Chad Lawson Trio - Unforeseen
Dizzy Gillespie - Early Years: 1937-1951
Duke Ellington - Jaywalker: 1966-1967
Duke Ellington - Treasury Shows, Vol. 10
Earl Hines - Early Years: 1923-1942
Ernie Hines - There Is a Way
Flip Phillips - Live! At the Beowulf
Jessica Williams - Real Deal
Jim Black & Alasnoaxis - Habyor
Jimmy Deuchar - Anglo/American/Scottish Connection
Joe Farnsworth - It's Prime Time
John Sheridan - Artistry 3
Pete Mills - Art and Architecture
Ranelin, Phil - Inspiration
Rob Wasserman - Trilogy
Stuff Smith - Hot Jazz Violin: 1917-1949
The Dixieland Ramblers - On Campus
The Necks - Boys
Treble Clef - Don't Stop Dreaming
Various Artists - Giants of Boogie Woogie: 1923-1941
Various Artists - Legendary Jazz Trombonist: 1923-1946
"This record will be, ah, for certain things," says smooth jazz pianist Brian Culbertson. "You know what I’m saying."
Culbertson is known for his energetic live performances. But when he goes back into the studio this fall after his extended tour, he plans to slow things down a bit. Brian says that, for his next album, he’s planning a concept album of “slow jams.” Brian’s current album called Come On Up is mixture of uptempo songs, with a ballad or two. The current single on the charts is the title song, “Come On Up,” which features Norman Brownon guitar and vocals.
“It'll get you in the mood and stay in the mood for the whole record," Culbertson says. "No uptempo crazy funkiness."
Brian Soergel smoothjazzvibes.com
Veteran saxophonist Walter Beasley, who recently signed a contract with the Heads Up record label and is now writing songs for his first album for them, says he’s thinking of retiring after recording a few more albums. Beasley is in his 40s and has recorded 10 albums.
As you may know, he is also a full-time associate professor of music at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he teaches courses in composition and contemporary jazz. He’ll be teaching an online hip-hop course in the fall, and is soon releasing instructional DVDs on his website, walterbeasley.com. Walter admits that he has some disillusionment with the music industry, but says he also wants to focus even more of his life on teaching music.
“Whether I stay retired, you can just never tell," says Beasley. "I want to go out knowing that I made a difference and knowing that people knew that I was different type of saxophonist-slash-writer-vocalist or what have you than the rest of the bunch. And that’s the way I wanna end my musical career. I’ll teach – and that’s something that I would love to dedicate the rest of my life to. And that takes time. You can’t be in two places at one time.”
Brian Soergel smoothjazzvibes.com
Thursday, July 29, 2004
The three-day event benefits jazz/music education and features legendary performers Poncho Sanchez and Eddie Palmieri. Also scheduled to play are smooth-jazz artists Brian Culbertson and Chris Botti.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Jean Luc Ponty, In Concert (JLP, 8/3)
Dori Caymmi, Influencias (Trauma, 8/8)
George Howard, The Very Best Of George Howard (GRP, 8/10)
Larry Carlton, The Very Best Of Larry Carlton (GRP, 8/10)
Julia Fordham, That's Life (Vanguard, 8/10)
Soul Ballet, Dream Beat Dream (2CD) (215 Entertainment, 8/10)
Various, Groove Boutique:Volume One - A Seamless Blend of Smooth Jazzy Grooves (Tommy Boy, 8/10)
Incognito, Adventures In Black Sunshine (Narada Jazz, 8/10)
Marcus Johnson, Just Doing What I Do (Three Keys, 8/10)
Various, Undercover (2CD)(Hip Bop, 8/10)
Steve Smith & Vital Information, Come On In (Tone Center, 8/17)
Ed Calle, Ed Calle Plays Santana (Universal Music Latino, 8/17)
Jeff Kashiwa, Piece Of Mind (Native Language, 8/24)
Steve Oliver, 3-D (Koch, 8/24)
Geri Allen, Life Of A Song (Telarc, 8/24)
David Pack, TBA (Peak, 8/24)
Shades Of Soul featuring Jeff Lorber & Chris Botti (Narada, 8/24)
Chick Corea Elektric Band, To The Stars (Stretch,8/24)
Streetwize, The Slow Jamz Album (Shanachie, 8/24)
Michael Brecker/Joe Lovano/Dave Lieman, Saxophone Summit - Gathering Of Spirits (8/24)
Phillip Martin, 4 Point 0 (Carzino, 8/24)
Vlad, Vladosphere, (Orpheus, 8/31)
Friday, July 23, 2004
John McDonough, downbeat.com
In fact, he may never set foot inside a recording studio again because of his disdain for record companies.
"I don't want to record anymore records," said the legendary performer in a recent conversation from his New York home.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Among the stars he worked with were Liza Minelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick.
In Britain, his television shows were such a hit he performed for Queen Elizabeth on three occasions.
Project producers Rex Rideout and Bud Harner, who have worked with Vandross over the years, enlisted artists to interpret song written or co-written by Vandross for the project. Ray Bardani mixed the set, a task he has performed for almost every release of Vandross' career.
Tenor saxophonist Whalum, who has contributed to six Vandross albums, opens the disc with his rendition of the 1988 hit "Any Love." Guitarist Benson tackles "Take You Out," while James interprets the vocal sounds of "Wait for Love" on saxophone.
Vocalist Lalah Hathaway, daughter of late soul singer Donny Hathaway, performs "Forever, for Always, for Love." The title track to Vandross' 1982 sophomore Epic album inspired the compilation's name.
"For Luther" also features contributions from Mindi Abair ("Stop To Love"), Paul Jackson Jr. ("Never Too Much"), Brian Culbertson and Dave Koz ("If Only for One Night") and up-and coming vocalist Ledisi ("My Sensitivity (Gets in the Way)." Rick Braun covers the title track of Vandross' most recent album, 2003's "Dance With My Father" (J), which earned the ailing artist four Grammy Awards.
Richard Elliot's version of "Your Secret Love" -- which also boasts Vandross' longtime backup singers Lisa Fischer, Cindy Mizelle, Brenda White-King and Fonzi Thornton -- will be the set's first radio single.
In conjunction with the release, the ADA will launch the "Write a Love Letter to Luther" campaign, inviting fans to pen a note to Vandross, as well as make a contribution to the organization's Forever, For Always, For Luther Fund.
A benefit concert tied to the compilation is being planned for October, with a similar Los Angeles event also possible. Details were unavailable at deadline.
Here is the full "Forever, for Always, for Luther" track list:
"Any Love," Kirk Whalum
"Never Too Much," Paul Jackson Jr.
"Wait for Love," Boney James
"Forever, for Always, for Love," Lalah Hathaway
"Stop To Love," Mindi Abair
"If Only for One Night," Dave Koz & Brian Culbertson
"My Sensitivity (Gets in the Way)," Ledisi
"Your Secret Love," Richard Elliot
"Take You Out," George Benson
"Dance With My Father," Rick Braun
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The opening "Tell Me Something" could've come off sounding something like Kate Bush with its plaintive vocal from Dora Nicolosi and wispy string section; with Jordan on board it comes across more like a lost recording from Phil Keaggy's Glass Harp. "Flying to the Sky" and "Easy Love" are smooth jazz grooves worthy of George Benson. "Sky Flower" and "Dreams of Peace" recall Tom Coster-era Santana, the latter showing that Stanley can play the blues, too. But it should go without saying that while Jordan's playing seems to be informed by all these greats, he sounds more like himself than anything.
What's most impressive about Jordan's playing here is the way that the guitarist mixes up his trademark tapping approach with more traditional techniques. His solos and fills on "Too Close to the Sun," also featuring some fine playing from Guy Barker on Flugel horn, are proof of that and of musical growth on the part of Jordan. "Spring" is an exhibition of shredding as dexterous anything tried by Buckethead and the heavy metal legion of doom.
While Jordan plays on all nine tracks, there are cameos scattered throughout the recording by such players as Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker and Danny Gottlieb. And, of course, the show really belongs to Novecento even if Jordan does steal it as often as not. The core of the group are the four Nicolosi siblings on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. Their competently written and executed music should appeal to fans of contemporary jazz, while Stanley Jordan's return to recording makes this an event for guitar players and those who worship at that particular altar.
Ted Kane jazzreview.com
It wasn't easy being a pioneer. On Monday night, decades after the advent of Washington's music and five years after his untimely death, keyboardist Lorber and three of Washington's musical heirs came together at the Dell East to celebrate and shed light on the career of the unique Philadelphia saxophonist.
Starting a tour called Groovin' for Grover, Lorber and saxophonists Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Paul Taylor paid homage to Washington, whose widow, children and grandchild were in the house.
The first set was devoted to each musician's repertoire.
Cheltenham native Lorber contributed a quiet, stormy set. The saxophonists, all of whom play what's now called smooth jazz, displayed disparate, highly personal styles, and archival footage that ran during intermission showed that Washington could out-improvise them all.
The show didn't coalesce until the sax players attacked Washington's material.
As did Washington, Albright has proved his mainstream jazz chops, and was by far the class of the night. On alto and tenor, he was adventurous, soulful and gutsy, going so far as to chant and breathe into his horn while playing rhythms with his fingers.
Elliot was all emotion and angst, playing each note as if he would burst if he weren't allowed to blow his tiger-striped horn.
Poor Taylor, who was competent and hip throughout (dropping Prince quotes into "Let It Flow"), seemed little more than a deer in the headlights compared with Albright and Elliot.
Toward the end, after the band kicked into the Washington standard "Mr. Magic," the battles between Elliot and Albright intensified, then resolved in an amicable stalemate. The Washington canon was the better for it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
“I’m really back to doing what I do best on this record, which is take some great tunes and play to the heart of the song in the way that the song dictates, not being influenced by anything else happening in the genre,” says the saxman. “Every song doesn’t have to have a whole story behind it, but it has to touch a chord and I’ve really got to like it, whether I wrote it or not. I like to add some blowing solo sections to create more of a player’s vibe, because I didn’t get into this genre just to play nice melodies. I did it because I love jazz, and the adventurous nature of improvisation. My whole career, I’ve had a good time combining contemporary R&B with improv elements, and that’s the kind of energy I wanted on All For You.”
Monday, July 19, 2004
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
Thursday, July 15, 2004
The relative marketing costs for a jazz album mirror those of a pop album -- about 15 percent of sales. These days, however, jazz can be used to sell non-jazz albums.
"Jazz is being used as a marketing term," said Adam Sieff, Sony Music's director of jazz for UK and Europe. "An awful lot of records that aren't really jazz records are being called that because it's an opportunity to have a loose association with something that's become slightly hip again."
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Review by Thom Jurek - AMG
Often criticized by jazz purists for his smooth, R&B-influenced vibes, James keeps right on going, producing one hit album after another. The new album, due for release in August, his first as his own producer. In the process, he co-wrote every song, played a variety of instruments and chose some excellent voices to help realize his vision: Bilal, Dwele, Ledisi and newcomer Debi Nova.
Being in charge empowered James to follow his muse wherever it led - something he could never do completely, until now. As a result, this album has a few surprise, and it also reflects the more freewheeling approach he takes in his concerts.
Whether working with singers or world-class musicians, such as Joe Sample, whose solo on Stone Groove is an album highlight, James emerges as an impresario equipped to manage every element of the creative process - from concept to final mix.
Click the link above for the interview with jazzreview.com
On his debut for Dave Koz’s Rendezvous Entertainment, Tisdale shows that the chosen instrument, the bass, is just fine for the lead instrument. He plays it like a guitar – like Brian Bromberg and Nelson Braxton of the Braxton Brothers and says he wants his bass to sound like a “melodic vocalist.” He succeeds wonderfully. Hang Time features a mix of 12 funk, old-school-cool and up-to-date R&B songs that boast collaborations with Koz, producer Jeff Lorber (“Creative Juices,” “Everything in You,” “Off Into It”), longtime friend and gospel music producer Tracy Carter (vocal arranger for Oprah Winfrey talent-contest winner LaShell Griffin) and Pieces of Dream co-founder James Lloyd, who wrote and produced the title track.
Tisdale loves the great R&B songs of the ‘70s. As he did with his No. 1 song “Can’t Hide Love” from his last CD, Face to Face, Tisdale reaches back into that for two cover songs: the McFadden and Whitehead dance classic “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” and Smokey Robinson’s seminal “Crusin’,” where you can really hear how Tisdale makes his bass sing. On the Koz collaboration “Better Days,” Tisdale picks the melodic lead on the bass in time with Koz’s sax. On “My World,” a ballad featuring a charming passage mimicking a children’s playground sing-song challenge, Tisdale plays all instruments as well as the bass: acoustic guitar, keyboards and drum programming. The CD closes with “Glory Glory,” a song Tisdale originally wrote and sang on for a gospel CD he released in 2003 called 21 Days. This is a slam dunk. Smooth grade: A - smoothvibes.com
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Monday, July 12, 2004
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Benson is made over here in an urban-contemporary, R and B mould, spiced with some hip-hop grooves, covering ground already harvested by R. Kelly, Usher and Brian McKnight.
The most irreplaceable person on this CD is not Benson but songwriter-producer Joshua P. Thompson, who has crafted hits for Luther Vandross and Alicia Keys, among others. He shares writing and producing credits on seven of the 10 tunes and plays guitar and other instruments on various tracks. Many of the lush, multilayered tracks rely too much on vocal harmonies and drum programming, overshadowing Benson's vocals and guitar playing.
Benson also is saddled with overly saccharine lyrics, for example, on the opening title track: "You've got my heart banging like an 808 / More than just sensational / You are irreplaceable."
The best of these tracks include the flamenco-spiced soul ballad Strings of Love, on which Benson plays acoustic guitar, and the pop song Stairway to Love, on which Benson's singing is at its jazziest and Gregoire Maret adds a stirring harmonica solo.
Benson appears to have had second thoughts about this CD, because its U.S. release was repeatedly delayed. Three tracks were dropped from the version released in Britain and replaced with three instrumental tracks in the smooth jazz vein that Benson helped create -- Take You Out, a tribute to Vandross, Arizona Sunrise and Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise. They rate among the CD's highlights, although they don't match up to Benson's best smooth jazz jams like Breezin'.
(Reviewed by Charles J. Gans, AP)
Thursday, July 08, 2004
"Surely everyone knows about Detroit being the birthplace of the automotive industry and the Motown sound, but for some unknown reason the rest of the city's illustrious musical history still remains a bit of a mystery and best kept secret to those on the outside looking in," says festival artistic director Frank Malfitano. "Fact is, this is also one helluva jazz town."
The event will feature a tribute to legendary drummer Elvin Jones, who died in May. Other confirmed acts include saxophonist James Carter, drummers Chico Hamilton and Louis Hayes, Barbara Ware, the Brubeck Brothers Band, Larry Coryell and local high school ensembles.
Franklin will sing selections from Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, according to the Detroit Free Press. For the full lineup, visit the festival's official website
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y. billboard.com
Saxophonist Walter Beasley is label-less no more, as he's signed a deal with the Heads Up label.
Veteran saxophonist Walter Beasley has signed a contract with the Heads Up label and this month is beginning to write new songs for his first album on his new label. The new album will be the follow-up to Go With the Flow from 2003, which was on the N-Coded label and included the hit “West Hamilton Groove.”
Before that, Walter – who is a music professor at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston – recorded four albums with the Shanachie label. Walter is joining a Heads Up roster that is also home to, among others, Pieces of a Dream, Nestor Torres, Joyce Cooling, Spyro Gyra and Doc Powell.
One of the reasons Walter Beasley signed with the Heads Up label was the chance to work with someone he really admires.
“I’m looking forward to working actually with James Lloyd, the keyboardist of Pieces of a Dream," Beasley says. "His writing and his arrangement is just so beautiful and so different that I’m looking forward to working with him specifically. I’m looking to get deeper into Walter Beasley by, you know, using other people to do it.”
Ten years ago, Jeff Lorber started recording a CD by a group he called Shades of Soul. It was never released. But the group's time has come, and now it has Chris Botti.
Almost 10 years after recording began, an album by a group called Shades of Soul with Jeff Lorber will finally see the light of day. It was back in 1995 that pianist and composer Lorber got together with guitarist Marion McClain and bassist Nathaniel Phillips, who both briefly played with the Dazz Band of "Whip It" fame, and began work on an album. Guests included saxophonist Art Porter, who drowned in November 1996, vocalist Terry Stanton from the popular Hidden Beach label compilations and saxophonist Patrick Lamb.
In 2000, Lorber recruited trumpet player Chris Botti to play on several tracks, as well. Lorber says he received several offers to release the 11-song CD, a mix of old-school funk and smooth jazz that includes a cover of Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Love Come Down", but didn't feel the time was right until now. For Porter fans, the album gives them a chance to hear the saxophonist play on songs that have never been released. Shades of Soul's debut, self-titled CD will be released August 24th on the Narada Jazz label. The first single is called "Gazpacho."
Shades of Soul
1. All Night Long
2. Then and Now
3. Enjoy Yourself
5. Love Come Down
6. We Got To Live Together
7. Get Wid' It
8. San Vicente
9. Shades of Soul
10. Gangsta Jam
11. Hey Uh
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Saturday, July 03, 2004
For the past nine years, one of the most popular attractions for adult summer concert goers is the Guitars & Saxes tour, which features the collaborative efforts of four smooth jazz stars. This year's edition is certain to be a highly entertaining crowd pleaser as guitarists Marc Antoine and Jeff Golub will make the trek with saxophonists Euge Groove and Warren Hill.
Friday, July 02, 2004
U.S. album sales for the first half of 2004 are running 7 percent ahead of last year's midway point, putting the recording industry well on track to end a three-year slump, Nielsen SoundScan reported Thursday.
Album sales during the first six months of this year totaled 305.7 million units, up from 285.9 million sold from January through June of 2003, according to the retail tracking service.
With the heaviest retail period still to come in the holiday season, the music industry is expected to finish 2004 above 2003's tally, after three straight years of declining sales blamed on rampant piracy, a sluggish economy overall and competition from other media.
The best-selling albums have come from a diverse range of acts, led by Usher, whose blockbuster release "Confessions" has spent nine weeks at the top of the charts and sold 4.5 million copies, according to SoundScan. Rounding out the top five were jazz/pop vocalist Norah Jones, country star Kenny Chesney, rock band Evanescence and the hip-hop duo OutKast.
Meanwhile, growth in digital downloads has exploded, with nearly 54 million tracks purchased during the first 26 weeks of this year. At that rate, Internet song sales are on their way to crossing the 100 million threshold by year's end, Nielsen SoundScan said.
By comparison, SoundScan reported just 19.2 million paid downloads during the second half of last year -- the first six months it began tracking digital distribution. On a weekly basis, digital downloads have grown from 300,000 to an average of about 2.4 million.
OutKast led the pack for online song sales with more than 321,000 downloads of its hit single "Hey Ya!" since June 2003, followed by Maroon5's "This Love," Hoobastank's "The Reason," Britney Spears' "Toxic" and No Doubt's "It's My Life."
In terms of album sales, SoundScan said the genres showing the hottest year-to-year growth through June were classical, Latin, alternative and country.
According to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report cited in Daily Variety, growth in recorded music is projected to continue during the next several years.
Rapper Jadakiss was the latest artist to top the U.S. pop album charts, selling nearly 246,000 copies of his sophomore solo release "Kiss of Death" its first week in stores. Usher's "Confessions" held steady at No. 2
Thursday, July 01, 2004
As with Sony's other players, the NW-HD1 plays songs in the company's proprietary ATRAC format only, meaning it is not compatible with other online stores and cannot play tunes in the popular MP3 format.
It's the best and the biggest, we'll boast, as we spill into the streets around Place des Arts today to celebrate the official arrival of summer in Montreal with 12 days of intense music and partying.