Monday, January 31, 2005

Caribbean Jazz Project - Here And Now ---Live In Concert

Musicians: Dave Samuels, vibes and marimba; Diego Urcola, trumpet and flugelhorn; Dario Eskenazi, piano; Oscar Stagnaro, bass; Mark Walker, drums; Roberto Quintero, congas and percussion.

Review: This 2 CD set is a memorable listening experience. It contains superb solo work and intricate Latin themes.
Disc 1 contains seven songs, among them such as "Stolen Moments," "Arthur's Dance," "The Gathering," and the delightful "Bemsha Swing." Disc 2 contains seven songs, among them such as "On The Road," "Naima," "Night In Tunisia," and "Caravan."

This is a great collection of Latin Jazz, one you will want to own and entertain with. Great production values, great sounds! Highly recommended.

Tracks: "Naima" is a showcase piece for this group, and the solo work is superb. Another fine selection is "On The Road."

Reviewed by: Lee Prosser

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Radio personality Mort Fega dies at 83

Mort Fega, the hip, mellow-voiced New York radio personality who brought the music of jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane to the masses, has died.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pat Metheny - 'The Way Up'

“The Way Up”, their first effort on new label, Nonesuch and though every release may not be groundbreaking, this one is. Startling and riveting, to say the least, in its 68 minute journey – which is all a single piece (though ID’d as four for track navigation purposes)- another groundbreaking aspect of ”The Way Up”.
Just the fact that Metheny’s now recognized by the Grammy board in more categories – nine - than any other artist ever says a lot relative to his mindset in creating music in the first place: nothing's off limits, for one. Among the adjectives that quickly come to mind are: fearless, fiercely original, exploratory, insular, expansive, lyrical and again, truly ground-breaking. With the continued blurring of stylistic boundaries, limitless energy and spirituality present, this is the record many of us have felt was always in this group, just waiting to happen. And it has; a tour-de-force if there’s ever been one....

Pamela Williams 'Sweet Saxations'

Ever since the success of her ground-breaking debut "Saxtress," Pamela Williams has toured the country with such artists as Prince, Patti Labelle, and Babyface. On "Sweet Saxations," she again collaborates with hit-making producer Dave Mann, Kim Waters, and Davy D to create eleven urban-flavored smooth jazz classics.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Chris Botti: the chops, the face, the Oprah kiss

Last year, three weeks after the Oregon native appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, his disc, "When I Fall in Love " (Columbia) outsold every other album on for six days and leapt up the Billboard charts from No. 146 to No. 37 — in one week

Thursday, January 20, 2005

'JazzTimes' Gets into the Satellite Radio Act

JazzTimes crosses over, albeit briefly, into another medium with a Year in Review show produced for Sirius satellite radio. Airing on Saturday, January 22 at 3 p.m. on Sirius’ Pure Jazz channel (#72), the special segment features JazzTimes publisher Lee Mergner, columnist Nate Chinen and guest artist Christian McBride, each weighing in on the highlights and lowlights of 2004.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Michel Camilo - 'Solo'

You get the truest measure of a pianist when s/he plays alone, completely responsible for keeping time and the listener's interest; it's the most personal, revealing canvas of all. On Solo, Michel Camilo's vibrant colors appear in new shadings, reflecting this uniquely intimate setting.

The Grammy-winning pianist's first solo album is designed as a trilogy: equal parts Brazilian tunes, jazz standards, and Camilo originals, it represents for him “the three worlds that are closest to my heart.” Heartfelt is definitely a common denominator here, whether it's in the meditative “A Dream,” the stride-flavored “Our Love is Here to Stay,” or Camilo's exquisite version of Jobim's “Luiza,” which brings out its resemblance to a classic Chopin waltz.

Of course there's passion as well—you can't have a Camilo performance without that—and this abounds in the blues-inflected “Reflections,” the surprising tango take on “'Round Midnight,” and the jubilant tribute to Cuban rhythm in “Un Son.” Camilo delivers a spare, sly version of “Frim Fram Sauce” and reminds of the harmonic beauty of “Corcovado” before it became elevator music. Two rare and gleaming Brazilian gems, a pensive “Someone to Watch Over Me” and a welcome reprise of “Suntan,” one of his most famous tunes, complete the dozen delights on this CD.

Warm, inviting, and direct—free of any overdubs—Solo is a must-hear for fans, and a beautiful introduction to Camilo's distinctive gifts for others.

Dr. Judith Schlesinger []

Monday, January 17, 2005

Global music sales slipped again in 2004

Global music sales slipped again in 2004, but after four years of declines the record publishers will see the return of growing revenues in 2005 due to online stores and music DVDs, a survey found on Monday.

Hit by piracy, Internet song swappers and saturated markets, music sales fell in 2004 by one percent to $32.1 billion. But 2005 will make up for the damage with a one percent increase, said research group Informa.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Nils - 'Pacific Coast Highway'

Nils (pronounced Neels) is a session guitarist that has worked with The Temptations, George Benson, Marcus Johnson, LA Jazz Syndicate, Paul Brown, Garbriela Anders, Rick Braun, Gerald McCauley, Dean James and Norman Connors. He has also written music for TV and film and has won various music awards. On Pacific Coast Highway Nils presents us with both original compositions as well as a few covers that are suitable for burning. The title track kicks off the CD (many people have written about this long stretch of California highway with the same name, but this is Nils own interpretation) with a up tempo, catchy beat and some interesting guitar licks. "Back Pocket" is more of a mid tempo serving of some typical Smooth Jazz tastings. "Sneakin'" is very inner soulful in melody with Nils reaching deep within on some heartfelt guitar playing. "Hey ya" would make a good radio single because it seems to have the components of songs that Smooth Jazz likes to play. "Baja California" is one of my favorite tracks on the disc. Nils is playing acoustic guitar in that west coast airy, bouncy way that I have loved through out the years. A few big name side musicians help out on various tracks on Pacific Coast Highway including Gerald Albright, Steve Reid, Rob Mullins, Abe Laboriel, Alex Al, Steve Ferrone and Gerald McCauley. I wouldn't say that this CD is a must own because it isn't. The music here isn't breaking any new ground nor is it anything that special, I just enjoyed it, pure and simple.
Review by Jeff Charney []

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The singer who disappeared

Eight years ago, Madeleine Peyroux's debut album, "Dreamland," was showered with praise.

Critics swooned over her Billie Holiday-like voice, her choice of material (though pigeonholed as a jazz vocalist, her songs included Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" and a pair of blues numbers) and her interpretive abilities. The album, despite no hits and little airplay, sold 200,000 copies, an amazing number for an unknown singer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New Jazz - January 2005

Steve Clarke, Da Bass Is Loaded (Hop-N-Bop, 1/1)
Martin Taylor, Valley (1/4)
Various, Cool Ladies Of Jazz & Blues (Liquid 8, 1/4)
David Sanborn, Closer (Verve, 1/11)
Brazilian Girls, Brazilian Girls, Verve, 1/11)
Jason Miles, "Miles to Miles" Music in the spirit of Miles Davis (Narada, 1/11)
Kazu Matsui, The Stone Monkey (Narada, 1/11)
Ken Navarro, Love Coloured Soul (Positive Music, 1/25)
Pat Metheny Group, The Way Up (Nonesuch, 1/25)
Various (Dulfer, Whte, Mann Beasley, Torres, more), Smooth Jazz Plays Your Favorite Hits (Shanachie, 1/25)
Pamela Williams, Sweet Saxations (Shanachie, 1/25)
Adani & Wolf, Les Seigneurs 1 (Rendezvous, 1/25)
Nils, Pacific Coast Highway (Baja, 1/25)
Various, Smooth Jazz Romance (Native Language, 1/25)
Ladysmith Black Mambaza, No Boundaries (Heads Up, 1/25)
Nicolas Bearde, All About Love (Phantom, 1/25)

Kazu Matsui - 'The Stone Monkey'

Usually a performer on soundtracks and a producer on wife Keiko Matsui's albums, Kazu Matsui is an able shakuhachi player in his own right. On The Stone Monkey he plays with the genres a bit, mixing his shakuhachi with breakbeats and electronic keyboards. The result is on the order of tribal beats, with some new age aspects and some worldbeat aspects. The music can verge on the trippy from time to time, but the mix is held pretty tight by Matsui, making this an interesting addition to the collection of anyone listening to worldbeat (or a Keiko Matsui fan looking for an original context for her playing). Adam Greenberg [AMG]

Friday, January 07, 2005

JazzTrax Names Top 10 Albums Of 2004

Art Good, creator/host of the syndicated radio show JazzTrax, has announced The Benoit Freeman Project 2 album of the year in his top 10 countdown of the best smooth jazz albums of 2004. Concurrently, he announces the launch of the JazzTrax's weekly top 10 countdown for the show beginning in the New Year. Among Good's picks for 2004's Top 10 are many of the genre's superstars, along with its rising talent and newcomers:
1. DAVID BENOIT & RUSS FREEMAN The Benoit Freeman Project 2
2. DOWN TO THE BONE Cellar Funk
3. VARIOUS Forever, For Always, For Luther
5. NORMAN BROWN West Coast Coolin'
6. MINDI ABAIR Come As You Are
7. GEORGE BENSON Irreplaceable
8. PAUL BROWN Up Front
9. JAMES VARGAS James Vargas
10. (Tie) VARIOUS Rendezvous Lounge; VARIOUS The Groove Boutique, Vol. 1

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Nominations for the 1st Annual Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards

Canadian Smooth Jazz musicians finally have an awards body to recognize their work - The Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. The event was created by Doug and Mary Kirk, owners of The Wave in Hamilton and Smooth Jazz Now creator John Beaudin. The awards will be voted on by the fans via . Voting will begin shortly. Top nominees for the inaugural ceremony include Diana Krall, Eddie Bullen, Brian Hughes, Marc Jordan and Alexander Zonjic all with three.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

David Sanborn - 'Closer'

Despite the polished orchestrations that give it an overall glossy sheen, David Sanborn's new collection, "Closer," has its share of moving moments, especially when the alto saxophonist renders ballads and plays with spice. With his stellar pop-star credits as a support instrumentalist and his deep jazz roots, the melody-bound Sanborn tries to straddle both worlds with mixed results. Even though he plays it straight with fine vocalist Lizz Wright, their rendition of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" falls flat with its no-risks blandness. But he starts the CD with a party ("Tin Tin Deo" by Gil Fuller and Chano Pozo) and buoys the proceedings with Abdullah Ibrahim's catchy "Capetown Fringe." Sanborn saves the best for the end with two heartfelt gems, Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe in Spring," a duet with guitarist Russell Malone, and the saxist's touching, melancholic original, "Sofia."—DO

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Releases from Diane Schuur, Caribbean Jazz Project

Concord Picante will release Schuur Fire, a new album from singer Diane Schuur (pictured), on April 5. Schuur collaborates with Brazilian guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, who acts as producer and arranger, on the album, as well as the Latin jazz ensemble Caribbean Jazz Project.
Shuur covers Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” on Schuur Fire, as well as Frank Sinatra’s “More Than You Know,” Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and Stevie Wonder’s “As.”

Concord Picate will also release a new album from Caribbean Jazz Project, which is led vibraphonist Dave Samuels. Here and Now- Live in Concert, a two-disc live album recorded at Pittsburgh’s Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, will be released on February 1. The album includes 14 tracks, mostly all original compositions from Caribbean Jazz Project, including “Five For Elvin,” “Arthur’s Dance and “Caravan.”

Shuur and Caribbean Jazz Project will tour the United States together later this year.
Emily Zemler []

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New YearA very Happy New Year year to all visitors of JazzHQ. It's just for fun, but I'm 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.