Thursday, July 28, 2005

Brian Culbertson | It's On Tonight

Brian Culbertson 'It's On TonightMany smooth jazz artists are leading double lives. On-stage, they conduct themselves like real improvisers; they stretch out, they blow, and they savor the joys of interacting with real musicians in real time. But their studio recordings are another matter. In the studio, they go out of their way to avoid the slightest hints of spontaneity and carefully avoid doing anything that might jeopardize their exposure on NAC/smooth jazz radio stations. Clearly, the play-for-radio approach prevails on this 2005 release, which has "commercial NAC radio" written all over it. Pianist/keyboardist Brian Culbertson (who also plays trumpet, trombone, and percussion) is by no means a bad musician; he definitely has chops, and he has the potential to provide a killer soul-jazz album in the tradition of Gene Harris and Joe Sample (two of his influences). But It's On Tonight, like much of Culbertson's work, favors a very innocuous, totally predictable blend of jazz, R&B, and pop. The material is pleasant background music -- nothing horrible, but far from an adequate reflection of Culbertson's skills as an improviser. Singer Patti Austin has a likable spot on the urban/adult contemporary item "Love Will Never Let You Down" (one of the few vocal offerings on a mostly instrumental CD), and trumpeter Chris Botti's appearance on "Secret Affair" gives that track a bit of Miles Davis-influenced mystery. Botti, for all his commercialism, has more integrity than most people in the smooth jazz/NAC field (which isn't saying much given how appallingly low the genre's standards have generally been since the '80s -- at least when it comes to studio recordings). It's On Tonight does have its moments, but Culbertson is capable of much more.
Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
Technorati tag:

Gerald Veasley | At the Jazz Base!

Gerald Veasley 'At The Jazz Base'Make it funky! That’s the first impression you get on “Shango,” the opening track of Gerald Veasley’s new recording, which sets the tone for an enjoyable hour of music that’s a little bit smooth, a little bit funk, and a lot of groove. With a supporting cast that includes saxophonist Chris Farr, drummer Eric Greene, and conguero/percussionist Pablo Batista, Veasley is clearly in the zone.

All but one of the ten songs on At the Jazz Base! are Veasley originals, including two that he co-wrote with members of the band. The second track, “Valdez in the Country,” was penned by Donny Hathaway. Supplemented by Peter Kuzma’s organ play and Farr’s soprano sax, this upbeat selection has the potential to get the listener to applaud along with the audience. Despite a stellar career that has included six studio recordings, Veasley had never done a live album before now. Eight of the songs were recorded at the accomplished bassist’s own club, Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Recorded over the course of two nights, each before an audience of about 150 patrons, this collection has the look and feel of nightclub jazz—lively and intimate.

“Songs evolve over time,” Veasley says. “The songs are different now, and a lot of that is the result of taking them on the road over the years and playing them for people. The energy you get from the audiences allows you to experiment with the songs, and that experimentation leads to new arrangements.”

Whether new or original, these arrangements are classic Veasley. The fourth track, “Sugar Time,” is one of two new songs done in the studio. Steered by Veasley’s deep bass lines, it’s as much blues as it is jazz. In creating—and performing—it, Veasley acknowledges the blues as the “mother” of all American music. Whether it’s jazz or uplifting gospel (and certainly rock, R&B, and hip-hop), most forms of popular music were inspired by the blues. With co-writer Farr on tenor sax, “Sugar Time” rocks and jams as a playful meld of genres.

The funk returns on the easygoing and aptly named “Deeper,” which exhibits a taste of the Parliament/Funkadelic inspiration that helped start Veasley’s career. The song ends with a series of stop/start lines that show the band’s tightness in a live setting. On the blues-filled “Forever,” a nearly nine-minute track that allows plenty of room for stretching out, Kuzma shines with an impressive organ solo. Greene gets his moment—and quite a moment, at that—on the sassy “Bread Puddin’.”

The other studio offering is “Celebrating Sipho,” co-written by Veasley, Farr, and keyboardist Will Brock. A tribute to Sipho Gumede, a South African bassist who died of cancer in 2004, the song is played in a style typical of Cape Town-inspired jazz tunes. It features Farr again on soprano and slick fingering by Veasley—and, fittingly, excellent percussion play by Batista. It’s the perfect closer to an already superb album.

By Woodrow Wilkins Jr.
Technorati tag:

Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 7/29/05

The Top Ten from
LW - TW - Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
3 - 2 - Paul Taylor - Nightlife
2 - 3 - Nils - Pacific Coast Highway
5 - 4 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
4 - 5 - Steve Cole - Thursday
7 - 6 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
8 - 7 - Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire - The Way You Move
9 - 8 - Norman Brown - West Coast Coolin'
6 - 9 - Michael Lington - Two Of A Kind
10 - 10 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much

Information provided by
Click on title for complete list
Technorati tag:

Monday, July 25, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 7/26/05

Ahmad Alaadeen - New Africa Suite ('ASR RECORDS - Kansas City USA)
Ahmad Jamal - Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings (Sony) - Reissue
Art Blakey - Drum Suite (Sony) - Reissue
Bar Kokhba Sextet - 50th Birthday Celebration (Tzadik) - 2+ CDs
Billie Holiday - Best of (Intersound) - Reissue
Bireli Lagrene - Django: A Jazz Tribute (V.I.E.W. Video) - DVD-Video
Brian Culbertson - It's On Tonight (GRP)
Brian Simpson - It's All Good (Rendezvous)
Bruce Cale Quartet - In Memory of Roger Frampton (Albany Records)
Buster Williams - Dreams Come True (Unidisc)
Cha - Entre Salsa Y Son (Albatross)
Charles Lazarus - Solo Settings (The Orchard)
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra - Live at MCG (MCG Jazz)
Danny Federici - Out of a Dream (V2)
Dave McMurray - My Brother & Me (Koch)
Dee Dee Bridgewater - Just Family (Collectables) - Reissue
Derek Bailey - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Tzadik)
Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie (Sony) - Reissue
Dinah Washington - I Wanna Be Loved (Verve) - Reissue - Book
Dizzy Gillespie - Closer to the Source (Collectables) - Reissue
Esther Phillips - Best of (Collectables) - Reissue
Garage a Trois - Outre Mer (Telarc)
Gene Dunlap - Peaceful Days (215 Records)
Gerald Veasley - At the Jazz Base! (Heads Up)
Hank Garland - Subtle Swing (Sundazed) - Reissue
Horace Silver - Silver's Blue (Sony) - Reissue
Jim Yoshii Pile-Up - Picks Up Apart (Fontana)
Jimmy Witherspoon - The Blues is Now (Verve) - Reissue
Karel Ruzicka Jr. - Brooklyn Moods (Cube Bohemia)
Level 42 - Live at Wembley (Universal) - DVD-Video
Lu Watters - Good Time Music San Francisco Style (Koch)
Lucky Millinder - Best of (Intersound) - Reissue
Mike Phillips - Uncommon Denominator (Red Urban)
Paquito D'Rivera - Jazz Chamber Trio (Chesky)
Pieces of a Dream - Pieces of a Dream (Collectables) - Reissue
Rashanim - Rashanim Plays the Unknown Masada: Masada Rock (Tzadik)
Richard "Groove" Holmes - Dancing in the Sun (Unidisc)
Sam Levine - Play It Again (Word Entertainment)
Sarah Vaughan - After Hours (Verve) - Reissue
Stan Getz - Best of Both Worlds (Sony) - Reissue
Teresa Brewer - Music! Music! Music! (Living Era) - Reissue
Tom Braxton - Bounce (Rendezvous)
Various - Honey Love: Smooth Jazz Plays R. Kelly (Shanachie) - Reissue
Various - Sirens of Swing: Great Songs of the 30's and 40's (Intersound) - Reissue
Walter Lang - Softly as in a Morning Sunrise (Nagel Heyer)
Woody Shaw - Stepping Stones (Sony) - Reissue

Information provided by
Technorati tag:

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michael Brecker In Hospital With Serious Illness

Michael BreckerGrammy Award-winning saxophonist Michael Brecker, who has played on many popular smooth jazz recordings, has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, known as MDS. It’s a blood disorder that can lead to leukemia. Brecker, who is 56, is said to be seriously ill and has cancelled all of his scheduled concerts for the time being. He is now undergoing chemotherapy at the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York City and is scheduled to undergo a bone-marrow transplant.

Brecker has had a storied career, and has collaborated in the studio with artists such as David Benoit, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Bob James, Earl Klugh, Chuck Loeb, David Sanborn, Diana Krall and many others. Recently, Brecker performed on the album by Jason Miles' Maximum Grooves called Coast to Coast and was a special guest on an album by steel pan player Andy Narell called The Passage.

In May 2004, Michael signed with the Heads Up recording label – home to Spyro Gyra, Marion Meadows, Pieces of a Dream, Nestor Torres and others – and was due to release a new album sometime in 2006. If you would like to send Brecker a get-well message, you can e-mail

You can also send a letter to:

Michael Brecker
Room 1137
Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Brian Soergel []
Technorati tag:

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Paul Hardcastle Album Debuts at Number One on Billboard Contemporary-Jazz Chart

Hardcastle 4Hardcastle 4, the latest album from electronic-music producer Paul Hardcastle, debuted on the contemporary jazz chart this week at number one.

Also new to the chart was guitarist and producer Paul Brown's The City, at number eight.

Vocalist Lizz Wright's Dreaming Wide Awake, which topped the contemporary chart for the last two weeks, moved down to number two.

On the jazz chart, vocalist Michael Bublé's It's Time held the number-one spot for the 22nd week, with Paul Anka's Rock Swings at number two and Madeleine Peyroux's Careless Love at number three.

A recording of an appearance by pop star and composer Elvis Costello on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio show debuted on the chart at number 16.
Technorati tag:

Friday, July 22, 2005

Jazz great Sonny Rollins -- 9/11 survivor

American jazz legend Sonny Rollins, seen here in 2001, survived 9/11 but cannot forget it,...American jazz legend Sonny Rollins survived 9/11 but cannot forget it, the septuagenarian told a press conference ahead of his sole European concert this summer.

"I was in my rehearsal studio six blocks away from the World Trade Center when the explosions occurred," said Rollins, who turns 75 in September and dedicated his latest album to the day in 2001 that changed the world.

"The whole area was evacuated. I left my studio with my horn under my arm," he said, adding he could now "reckon the horror of war. I can imagine being in a war seeing people who ... kill other people."

Rollins, whose age has brought a limp and trouble walking, had to rush down 40 flights of stairs in his apartment building on Chambers Street, six blocks north of the World Trade Center, sources in his entourage here said.

The result was what Rollins called "a very personal record", music he was working on when the terror attacks hit then recorded live that same week, in the heat of emotion, to try to forget. He has since gotten rid of the lower Manhattan flat.

"My wife convinced me to do the concert in Boston, four days after the explosions," Rollins said, referring to his long-time spouse and agent Lucille who died in November last year.

The sources here said Rollins had planned to do a studio album with another name, but used the live Boston gig instead, in memory of Lucille, calling it "Without a Song (the 9/11 Concert)".

A jazz great for six decades, Rollins' white hair and beard now give a patriarchal look to the man known for his powerful on-stage improvisations that won him the 2004 Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

His performance Friday night at the 45th edition of one of the French Riviera's biggest summer jazz festivals, "Jazz at Juan" at Antibes and Juan-les-Pins is his only stop in Europe this summer.

A regular in years past, he said this trip had not been easy.

"It's the first time I come back here since I lost my wife Lucille.

"I try not to think about it. We have to live and keep surviving as best as we can," he said.

AFP/Yahoo! News
Technorati tag:

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 7/22/05

The Top Ten from
LW -TW -Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
2 - 2 - Nils - Pacific Coast Highway
3 - 3 - Paul Taylor - Nightlife
4 - 4 - Steve Cole - Thursday
5 - 5 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
6 - 6 - Michael Lington - Two Of A Kind
9 - 7 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
7 - 8 - Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire - The Way You Move
8 - 9 - Norman Brown - West Coast Coolin'
10 - 10 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much
Technorati tag:

Euge Groove - 'Just Feels Right'

Just Feels RightEuge Groove, born Steven Eugene Grove, is out to get Smooth Jazz goin' with "Get 'Em Goin'," the lead single from his upcoming CD Just Feels Right. The album, which is slated for release in stores on Aug. 30, is Groove's fourth solo album and second with Narada. After graduating from the University of Miami in 1984 as a classical saxophone major, Groove had his first big break as the sax player on Expose's huge '80s hit "Seasons Change." From there, he had a stint with Tower Of Power and as saxophonist for Richard Marx. But his solo career really got goin' through, where within six weeks of posting on the site when it was in its early days, Groove's music went to No. 1 on its jazz chart and was the No. 6 most-listened-to artist overall. By the way, Euge is short for Eugene (his mother-in-law called him Euge), and Groove is a common pronunciation of his last name, Grove, especially in Europe.
Technorati tag:

Springsteen keyboardist releases smooth jazz record

The man responsible for the defiant piano lines on Bruce Springsteen's "Born In the U.S.A." is breaking with rock anthems for a taste of smooth jazz.

Danny Federici, Springsteen's long-time keyboardist in the E Street Band, will release an instrumental album titled "Out Of A Dream" next Tuesday via V2 Records.

"Back in the ("Born In The U.S.A.") days I used to go to bed a lot later and sleep a lot longer," Federici, 55, told Reuters in a recent interview.

But he said he had a soft spot for smooth jazz long before his lifestyle started to mellow out.

"I've loved this kind of music for a long time," he said. "We get such a little window to express ourselves with so many members in the E Street Band. Now I get to show people what I can really do."

The album features eight original Federici compositions, as well as covers of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and The Rolling Stones' "Miss You."

Although the music is radically different than Federici's work with the Boss, he hopes the E Street fans will warm up to it.

"I hope that this is the music that they're listening to in their cars on their way to work or that they put on when they make love at night," he said. "When we play it live, it's not going to put them to sleep, it will have a little edge to it."

With Springsteen out on a solo tour, his sidekick for more than 30 years has put together his own six-piece band and plans to hit the road.

"I'll have a chance to stand in front of the band for a change and talk to the audience and play my music," he said. "I could play this music till I was 75."
Technorati tag:

Monday, July 18, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 7/19/05

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra - Trumpet Madness (Leo)
Anthony Braxton - Duets 2004 (Leo)
Atharwan - Adventueres of Evolution (Disky)
Bucky Pizzarelli - Moonglow (Sindrome)
Bud Shank/Phil Woods - Bouncing with Bud & Phil (Capri)
Clairdee - Music Moves (Sin-drome)
Clayton Brothers - Back in the Swing of Things (Sindrome Records)
Club D'Elf - Gravity All Nonsense Now: 05/08/03 (Kufala) - 2+ CDs
Dalley Young - Never Say Die (Urban Life Music)
Eddie Burns - Second Degree Burns (Blue Suit)
Erik Truffaz - Saloua (Blue Note)
Fieldwork - Simulated Progress (PI)
Fred Rich - 1926-38 (Vintage) - Reissue
Funk De Nite - 3-5 (Laroo)
Gerald Cannon - Geraldf Cannon (Woodneck)
Hank Marr - Bluesin & Cruisin (Double Time Jazz)
Ilona Knopfler - Live the Life (Mack Avenue)
Jeremy Pelt - Identity (MaxJazz)
Jerry Bergonzi - Live Gonzi II (Double Time Jazz)
Jessica Williams - Live at Yoshi's Volume Two (MaxJazz)
Johnny Cash - Ultimate Christmas Collection (Madacy) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Knuckles O'Toole - Billy Rowland is Knuckles O'Toole (Vintage) - Reissue
Knuckles O'Toole - Billy Rowland is Knuckles O'Toole (Vintage Music Productions)
LaToya London - TBD (Peak)
Liam Sillery Quintet - Minor Changes (OA2 Records)
Louis Armstrong - Great American Songbook (SMD) - Reissue
Louis Jordan - #1s (MCA) - Reissue
Manny Albam - Blues is Everybody's (Gambit)
Mound City Blue Blowers - Hot Comb & Tin Can (Vintage Music Productions)
Ozomatli - Live at the Fillmore (Concord) - 2+ CDs
Royal Crown Revue - Passport to Australia (Kufala)
Sam Lanin - 1923-32 (Vintage) - Reissue
Sammy Davis Jr - Boy Meets Girl (Universal) - Reissue
Sammy Kaye - Kaye's Melody (City Hall) - Reissue
Sherman Irby - Faith (Black Warrior)
Stan Kenton - At the Hollywood Bowl 1948 (City Hall) - Reissue
Tommy Dorsey - Centennial Album (City Hall) - Reissue
Wanda Robinson - Black Ivory (Breathless)
Ximo Tebar - Goes Blue (Sunnyside)

Information provided by
Technorati tag:

Saturday, July 16, 2005

NPR : Jazz Guitarist Paul Brown and 'The City'

Paul BrownEd Gordon speaks with guitarist Paul Brown, who's moved from behind the mixing board as producer to center stage as a smooth jazz front man. Brown's latest CD The City hit record stores Tuesday 7/12. []

In 2004, when longtime smooth jazz producer Paul Brown unleashed his more personal guitar artistry via his solo debut, Up Front, and its hit airplay track "24/7," he created an interesting future dilemma for himself: he might someday be competing for radio time and sales against some of the superstars he'd helped to the top.

The oft-imitated but never equaled producer, composer, and arranger has been the primary architect of the genre's urban sound for close to 15 years, scoring over 40 number one airplay hits for genre stars like Boney James (who duets with Brown on "Old Friends" and the title track), Rick Braun, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove, Norman Brown, Patti Austin, Larry Carlton, and legendary labelmates Al Jarreau and, in a cool full-circle career twist, Brown's chief jazz guitar influence, George Benson. Opening with the quirky and infectious "Cosmic Monkey," which features wordless vocals by Jeffrey Osborne, Brown gets even looser and funkier on this brilliant follow-up, inviting you into a whole new type of grooving playground.

It's refreshing to hear tunes in this genre that sound so organic and uncontrived; the strutting, jamming, and funk-drenched "Las Vegas," written with guitarist Chuck Loeb and featuring the blistering sax of Michael Paulo, was created specifically for a New Year's Eve gig he did in Sin City.

The collection also features some immediately identifiable crowd-pleasers — a moody, retro chill-flavored cover of Grover Washington, Jr.'s trademark classic "Winelight" — and other tracks that draw on Brown's deeper rock, soul, and jazz influences. The gentle, bossa nova-flavored "Hello Again" will bring to mind the Benson influence, while the thumpin' and crunchin' "Jumpin' Uptown," featuring some of Brown's most intense guitar licks — textured with cool chill effects — is the guitarist's throwback to the classic "Bumpin' on Sunset" by another chief inspiration, the legendary Wes Montgomery. He also adds a blast of Tower of Power-flavored brass intensity to "Reel Mutha for Ya," a classic '70s guitar rock-funk tune by Johnny "Guitar" Watson. One of the best smooth jazz dates of 2005.
[Jonathan Widran]

Technorati tag:
Tracks/Personnel: The City

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Chet Baker | Career 1952-1988

This Chet Baker collection begins and ends, appropriately enough, with two different versions of “My Funny Valentine.” One is from the pioneering Gerry Mulligan Quartet at the early part of Baker’s career; the other comes from a live performance two weeks before his untimely death. The critics hated his version of the song, as did many of his peers. But it’s the song most associated with Baker, and one that always brought out his fragile and melancholy side, regardless of whether he sang it or played it.

[Click the title to read the entire review by David Rickert at]
Technorati tag:

Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 7/15/05

The Top Ten from
LW - TW - Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
2 - 2 - Nils - Pacific Coast Highway
3 - 3 - Paul Taylor - Nightlife
4 - 4 - Steve Cole - Thursday
6 - 5 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
5 - 6 - Michael Lington - Two Of A Kind
7 - 7 - Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire - The Way You Move
8 - 8 - Norman Brown - West Coast Coolin'
9 - 9 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
11 - 10 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much

Information provided by
Technorati tag:

Newly Discovered Monk-Coltrane Recording Will Have September Release

John ColtraneBlue Note Records will release a newly discovered live recording of the Thelonious Monk Quartet with saxophonist John Coltrane on September 27.

The recording, of a concert at Carnegie Hall on November 29, 1957, was made by the Voice of America for radio broadcast. A 55-minute tape of the concert, labeled "sp. Event 11/29/57 Carnegie jazz concert," was discovered at the Library of Congress in January.

Thelonius MonkThere is little previous documentation of Coltrane's brief stay in Monk's group. The 1957 album titled Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane includes just three tracks featuring the two; in 1993, Blue Note released a live recording of the group made with a handheld tape recorder, under the name Live at the Five Spot—Discovery!.

The new recording includes the Monk compositions "Monk's Mood," "Evidence," "Crepuscule With Nellie," "Nutt," "Epistrophy," "Bye-Ya," and "Blue Monk," as well as the standard "Sweet and Lovely" and an incomplete second performance of "Epistrophy."

Technorati tag:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 7/12/05

Al Hirt - King of Bourbon Street (Tomato) - Reissue
Amanda Tree - My Only Own (Tomato)
Andrew Hill - Nefertiti (Tot)
Angelo Debarre - Entre Amis (Harmonia Mundi)
Ben Webster - Warm & Mighty Ben 1944-53 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Benny Carter - Master Lessons 1952 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Bill Frisell - East/West (Nonesuch) - 2+ CDs
Bill Laswell/Yashuhiro/Otomo Yoshihide - Soup Live (P-Vine)
Bireli LaGrene - Django - A Jazz Tribute (View, Inc) - DVD-Video
Björn Wennås - Static (Beartones)
Bob James - Essential Collection: 24 Smooth Jazz Classics (Koch) - Reissue
Brian Swartz - Live at the Jazz Bakery (Summit)
C.H.A. Group - Entre Salsa Y Son (Albany Records)
Charlie Barnet - Everest Years: Cherokee (1958)/More Charlie Barnet (1959) (Empire) - Reissue - Book
Chicago Blues Reunion - Buried Alive in the Blues (33rd Street)
Chris McNulty - Dance Delicio (Burnside)
Chubby Jackson - Chubby Takes Over (Empire Music Works) - Reissue - Book
Chuco Valdes - Latin Jazz Founders featuring Irakere (Music Video Distributors) - DVD-Video
Classic Piquante Ori - Classic Piquante Orig (Concord)
Count Basie - At Last Swing 1937-53 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Count Basie - Away from Base (JSP) - Reissue - Boxed Set
D>Tour - Leave a Message (Templar)
Danny Federici - Out of a Dream (V2)
Dave Liebman/Phil Markowitz - Manhattan Dialogues (Zoho)
Dave Peck - 3 & 1 (Let's Play Stella)
David Weckl - Multiplicity (Universal)
Don Ellis - At the Fillmore (Wounded Bird) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - Good Old Vintage 1940-53 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Ella Fitzgerald - Hello Dolly! (Verve) - Reissue - Book
Elvis Costello - Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (Concord)
Ernie Andrews - This is Ernie Andrews (Verve) - Reissue - Book
Eubie Blake - That's Ragtime (AEI) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Explorations - Class - Explorations - Class (Concord)
Fidel Morales - Salsa Son Timba (Fonosound)
Florin Niculescu - Djangophonie (Harmonia Mundi)
Glenn Miller - String of Hits 1939-42 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Groundtruther (Charlie Hunter/Bobby Previte) - Longitude (Thirsty Ear)
Henry Brun and the Latin Jazz Playerz - Spiritual Awakenings (Mambo Maniacs)
J.P. Torres - Life in Music (Universal Music Latino)
Jamie Saft Trio - Masada Book Two: Astaroth: Book of Angels (Tzadik)
Jimmy Smith - Stay Loose (Verve) - Reissue - Book
John Lindberg - Winter Birds (Between the Lines)
Johnny Hodges - Gentle Breeze 1938-54 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Karel Ruzicka Jr. - Brooklyn Moods (Albany)
Last Exit - Koln (Atavistic)
Lee Lessack - In Good Company (LmL Music)
Linda Purl - Out of This World (LML)
Marian McPartland - Piano Jazz with Elvis Costello (Concord)
Marko Lackner - Awakening (Between the Lines)
Michelle Nixon - What More Should I Say? (Pinecastle)
Milton Nascimento - Courage (Verve) - Reissue - Book
Mod Jazz 5 - Return of Mod Jazz (Kent)
Niou Bardophones - Air de Rien (Buda)
Oscar Peterson - Piano Supreme 1946-53 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Paul Brown - City (GRP)
Paul Hardcastle - Hardcastle 4 (Trippin)
Philip Catherine - Meeting Colors (Koch)
Sarah Morrow - Sarah Morrow & The American All-Stars (Harmonia Mundi)
Sirone - Sirone Live (Atavistic)
Soft Machine and Heavy Friends - BBC In Concert 1971 (Hux)
Spike Robinson - The CTS Session (Hep)
Stan Getz - Lets Getz 1949-52 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Stephane Grappelli - Violin Jazz Master (Tomato) - Reissue
Stochelo Rosenberg - Ready 'N Able (Harmonia Mundi)
Stone Alliance - Live in Bremen (Mambo Maniacs)
Tommy Dorsey - That Elegant Sound 1935-53 (Hep Cat) - Reissue
Various - Original Cast: Sunny (AEI) - Reissue
Various - Return Of Mod Jazz: Mod Jazz 5 (Kent) - Reissue
Various - Legends of Modern Music 2 (Musicarama) - Reissue
Zucchero - Zucchero & Co. (Concord)

Information provided by
Technorati tag:

John Stubblefield, 60, Saxophonist Who Worked With Jazz's Best, Dies

John StubblefieldJohn Stubblefield, a tenor saxophonist who worked with Mary Lou Williams, Charles Mingus, Tito Puente, Miles Davis, Anthony Braxton and Abdullah Ibrahim, among other jazz musicians, died last Monday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 60 and lived in Manhattan.

He had been hospitalized since April 2004 and died of prostate cancer, his family said.

Mr. Stubblefield learned to play piano and saxophone as a child in his home state, Arkansas. Like the jazz and blues music he loved, he moved up the Mississippi River to Chicago, where he studied at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians with its co-founder, Muhal Richard Abrams.

Described by his fellow saxophonist Steve Slagle as a soulful "preacher" of jazz and blues, Mr. Stubblefield finally settled in New York City in 1971 and played and recorded with well-known artists for more than three decades.
Technorati tag:

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bill Charlap Album Debuts on Billboard Jazz Chart

Bill CharlapPianist Bill Charlap's new collection of Gershwin made its first appearance on the Billboard jazz chart this week at number 12.

Bill Charlap Plays Gershwin: The American Soul features such standards as "A Foggy Day," "'S Wonderful," “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” "Nice Work if You Can Get It," “Somebody Loves Me,” and "How Long Has This Been Going On?" The personnel includes trumpeter Nicholas Payton, trombonist Slide Hampton, alto saxophonist Phil Woods, and tenor saxophonist Frank Wess along with Charlap's usual bandmates, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington.

Michael BubleMichael Bublé's It's Time topped the chart for the 20th week, with Madeleine Peyroux's Careless Love moving up to number two and Paul Anka's Rock Swing down to number three.

Also new to the chart were singer Rita Coolidge's And So Is Love at number 22 and Out of Nowhere, an organ trio album from saxophonist James Carter, at number 24.

Lizz WrightOn the contemporary-jazz chart, vocalist Lizz Wright's Dreaming Wide Awake remained at number one for the third straight week. Saxophonist Richard Elliot's Metro Blue debuted at number two.

Technorati tag:

Friday, July 08, 2005

Smooth Jazz Top Ten 7/8/05

The Top Ten from
LW TW Artist Title (Label) Total Plays
2 1 Richard Elliot People Make The World Go Round (Artizen) 811
1 2 Nils Pacific Coast Highway (Baja/TSR) 801
4 3 Paul Taylor Nightlife (Peak) 730
5 4 Steve Cole Thursday (Narada Jazz) 726
3 5 Michael Lington Two Of A Kind (Rendezvous) 697
6 6 Chuck Loeb Tropical (Shanachie) 600
8 7 Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire The Way You Move (Arista/RMG) 429
9 8 Norman Brown West Coast Coolin' (Warner Bros.) 396
17 9 Paul Hardcastle Serene (Trippin' 'N' Rhythm) 348
11 10 Vanessa Williams You Are Everything (Lava) 346

[Click title bar for the entire list at]

Technorati tag:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London - July 7, 2005

"We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks. We send our profound condolences to the victims and their families.
All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism. Those responsible have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but all nations and on civilized people everywhere.
We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values, nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit. We will continue our deliberations in the interest of a better world.
Here at the summit, the world's leaders are striving to combat world poverty and save and improve human life.
The perpetrators of today's attacks are intent on destroying human life. The terrorists will not succeed. Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us.
We shall prevail and they shall not."
--Tony Blair

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 7/05/05

2004 Jazzpar Project - Lady With a Secret (Stunt)
Affinity - Route 66 (Rhombus Records)
Beaux J Poo Boo - All Things are New (Summit)
Bob Rockwell - Bob's Ben (Stunt)
D'Breeon - Fantasy (Artist One Stop)
Harry Beckett - Flare Up (Voiceprint)
Jam Session 13 - Jam Session 13 (Steeplechase)
Jam Session 14 - Jam Session 14 (Steeplechase)
Jelly Roll Morton - WIld Man Blues (Fruit Tree) - Reissue
John Lindner - Winter Birds (Between the Lines)
Malene Mortensen - Date with a Dream (Stunt)
Marko Lackner - Awakening (Between the Lines)
Phil Ranelin - Close Encounters of the Very Best Kind (Rhombus)
Raggi-Brillante Quartet - Attitude (The Orchard)
Rich Perry Quartet - You're My Everything (Steeplechase)
Sonny Sharrock - Black Woman (Water) - Reissue
Tom Guarna - Get Together (Steeplechase)
Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio - Midnight Sugar (Three Blind Mice)
Various - War of the Worlds (Legacy) - Reissue - Boxed Set

Information provided by

Technorati tag:

Jazz bassist Michelot dies at 77

Jazz musician Pierre Michelot, who was widely regarded as Europe's best jazz bassist in the 1950s, has died aged 77.

Michelot, who performed with jazz stars such as Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, died on Sunday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Luther Vandross, Dies at 54

Luther Vandross at the 1992 Grammy Awards show.Grammy award winner Luther Vandross, whose deep, lush voice on such hits as "Here and Now" and "Any Love" sold more than 25 million albums while providing the romantic backdrop for millions of couples worldwide, died Friday. He was 54.

Vandross died at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, N.J., said hospital spokesman Rob Cavanaugh. He did not release the cause of death.

Since suffering a stroke in his Manhattan home on April 16, 2003, the R&B crooner stopped making public appearances -- but amazingly managed to continue his recording career. In 2004, he captured four Grammys as a sentimental favorite, including best song for the bittersweet "Dance With My Father."

Smooth Jazz Top Ten

The Top Ten from
Nils “Pacific Coast Highway” (Baja/TSR)
Richard Elliot “People Make The World Go Round” (Artizen)
Michael Lington “Two Of A Kind” (Rendezvous)
Paul Taylor “Nightlife” (Peak)
Steve Cole “Thursday” (Narada Jazz)
Chuck Loeb “Tropical” (Shanachie)
Euge Groove “XXL” (Narada Jazz)
Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire “The Way You Move” (Arista/RMG)
Norman Brown “West Coast Coolin'” (Warner Bros.)
Boney James f/Joe Sample “Stone Groove” (Warner Bros.)

Week ended 7/1/05
[Click title to view entire list at]

MS Band of Hope raising "aWEARness"

National Multiple Sclerosis SocietyThe National Multiple Sclerosis Society launched its red MS Band of Hope in response to chapter, client, and volunteer desires to have a unifying, easily identifiable symbol for the MS cause and the Society. The National MS Society is all about hope for people with MS, so "hope" on the band was a natural message, and as the Society's colors are red and slate gray, red was the logical color for the bracelet. The Society also offers an iridescent ribbon of hope pin, which represents the unpredictable multi-changing facets of the disease, and a car magnet, so that people allied with the MS cause and the Society have a variety of means to express their support.

People who want to raise awareness and make a difference in the fight against MS can purchase the Society's red MS Band of Hope online at MS Band Of Hope. Bands are $1 each and are sold in packs of 10. Supporters can also check with their area chapter to find out where the MS Band of Hope is available locally. To find a nearby chapter call 1-800-FIGHT-MS.

Jazz goes pop

Who took the jazz out of jazz singing?

Is jazz singing dead? Considering the way Diana Krall rules and Norah Jones has been accepted into the fold, it almost looks that way.

Think of a dinner party: the music barely audible, champagne glasses clinking, little black dresses.

Any one of these images may be called to mind when you hear the words "vocal jazz," along with the idea that jazz lovers lately are more interested in easy listening than in cutting-edge creativity.

Sheila Jordan has been singing since the days of Charlie Parker, and studied with Charles Mingus. She doesn't seem concerned about lazy audiences.

"I haven't had that problem," she says. "They know I'm dead serious. I don't work for audiences that aren't into what I'm gonna do. I'd be wasting their time and wasting my time."

Jordan fears vocal jazz has become too competitive through courses offered at colleges. She says the form wasn't nearly as popular when she was starting out, and she'd hate to have to put up with the pressure faced by the younger generation of women performers.

"You get these girls and they're young, they're naive, they're talented, and their manager pushes them: 'You have to look this way.... '"

Still Jordan has faith in these younger women.

"With young people it depends on their attitude," she says. "For me, it's a matter of life or death. Some of these girls may start to find the life too hard and say, 'Forget this!' and give up. And I don't blame them. You're not going to get rich doing this."

She adds with true hope and wonder, "I've got some kids coming up who are going to be killers. Someone's gonna change everything around."

"I try not to get bogged down in what you call it," says local singer Emilie-Claire Barlow , who admits that definitions of what jazz is are blurring. "I want people to listen to my music. If the smooth jazz trend has opened people's ears and minds to more kinds of music, I think that's great."

Another local jazz singing sensation, Melissa Stylianou , agrees that there's a popular image of vocal jazz as just one thing. But she says that whether a singer is performing original material or interpreting standards, a lot of individual expression is involved, and a variety of styles ranging from popular crooning to bebop to new music works for voice.

"Learning and continuing to sing the standards is completely essential to the future of jazz," says Stylianou. "But it's important to bring your own voice to it. It's a risk that has to be taken."

That risk is paying off in the wealth of vocal talent at this year's Downtown Jazz Festival. The variety of singers over the course of the festival should convince anyone with ears that the world of jazz extends beyond Diana Krall.

Leah State (singing with Runcible Spoon) says she's happy about the new popularity of vocal jazz and enjoys its broad modern interpretation.

"The definition of jazz seems to be expanding to include the Norah Joneses, which isn't a bad thing," she says. "Then you have free improvisers, and some audiences wouldn't consider them jazz. Far from being a shrinking world, I think it is growing."

State agrees that communication is crucial. "I think people connect to voice", State says. "They want to hear stories. People crave voice. They crave stories. And they crave good music."

But is it possible to make this connection with an audience accustomed to consuming and disposing of its culture and that more and more seems to use this music as background noise?

Stylianou admits, "I know sometimes when I'm performing that what they want is an aural wash."

Popular songstress Madeleine Peyroux comments on this trend with an existential shrug. "There must be a need for that. It's not what I'm going for. But I can't tell somebody what they should or should not be doing."

The problem lies in a culture that's not open-minded, she says. "I hear people talk about how jazz is dead, and I find it frustrating."