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Monday, August 29, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 8/30/05

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Abbey Lincoln - Abbey is Blue (Concord)
Charlie Haden - Not in Our Name (Verve)
Dave Holland/Barre Phillips - Music from Two Basses (ECM) - Reissue
David Gordon - Angel Feet (Guild)
Euge Groove - Just Feels Right (Narada)
George Gruntz - Piano Works 2: Ringing the Luminator (Highnote)
Gilberto Gil - Electroacustico (WEA International) - DVD-Video
Gregg Karukas - Looking Up (Trippin' In Rhythm)
Herbie Hancock - Possibilities (Vector Records)
Jamie Oldaker - Maddogs & Okies (Concord)
Joachim Kuhn - Allegro Vivace (High Note)
Julian Priester - Love, Love (ECM) - Reissue
Kenny Drew Trio - Kenny Drew Trio (Concord)
Lee Ritenour - World of Brazil (GRP)
Les Paul & Friends - American Made World Played (Capitol/EMI)
Mary Lou Williams - My Mamma Pinned a Rose (Concord)
Michaƫl Attias - Renku (Playscape Recordings)
Moutin Reunion Quartet - Something Like Now (Lightyear)
Nancy Wilson - Save Your Love for Me: Nancy Wilson Sings the Great Blues Ballads (Blue Note)
Peter Apfelbaum - It is Written (High Note)
Robert Walker - Super Heavy Organ (Magna Carta)
Sonny Rollins - Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert) (Milestone)
Soulive - Breakout (Universal)
Steve Kuhn - Trance (ECM) - Reissue

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Brubeck's New Work 60 Years in the Making

Jazz great pianist Dave Brubeck performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, in this May 1, 2004, (AP file photo.)Dave Brubeck can finally cross something off that's been on his "to-do" list for nearly 60 years: The legendary jazz pianist will unveil a new six-minute choral work called "The Commandments" Sept. 14 at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, as part of the second annual Jewish Music Heritage Festival in New York.

"It has taken me almost 60 years finally to compose something I wanted to write when I was a young soldier in Europe," the 84-year-old Brubeck said in a statement.

"The Commandments," to be sung by the 90-member Providence Singers, follows the ten Biblical rules. The pianist says the inspiration came during World War II when he saw most of the commandments broken.

Brubeck spent four years in the Army after graduating college in 1942. His long career includes the classic album, "Time Out," which featured the surprise hit "Take Five."

Associated Press

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 8/26/05

The Top Ten from
LW - TW - Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
3 - 2 - Steve Cole - Thursday
6 - 3 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
4 - 4 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
2 - 5 - Paul Taylor Nightlife
5 - 6 - Nils - Pacific Coast Highway
7 - 7 - Kenny G. - The Way You Move
8 - 8 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much
10 - 9 - Dave Koz - Love Changes Everything
9 - 10 - Brian Culbertson - Hookin' Up

[Click on title to view the entire list at]

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An acclaimed singer switches gears

Lizz Wright goes from jazzy to more folk-oriented sound - Even curled up in a chair wearing sweats, Lizz Wright exudes an almost regal elegance that distinguishes her from the crowd.

Lizz Wright | Dreaming Wide AwakeThat same vibe defined her stunning debut, 2003's "Salt." That album established the singer, who has a husky voice with a heavenly sound, as one of the jazz world's brightest new talents with its mixture of jazz, dreamy R&B and a dash of gospel thrown in for good measure.

Her sophomore set, "Dreaming Wide Awake," has also won raves, but fans of her first record might be surprised: It takes a markedly different approach, with a more rootsy, folky sound -- a couple of songs even sound a bit country.

Wright in concert. She's classified as 'jazz,' but her range is actually much broader.But the artistic change-up doesn't seem to have cost her any fans -- the singer's album has been at or near the top of the contemporary jazz chart since its release earlier this summer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Wright, 25, talks about storytelling, why she's not a big belter, and being at peace with herself, artistically and spiritually.

[Click on the article title to read the interview at]

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Digital music king may lose crown

Today, Apple commands 80 percent of the MP3 player market and 75 percent of online music sales. But even as analysts predict another massive holiday sales season for the company this year, many believe Apple's reign will last only another 12-18 months before the playing field levels out.

"It's inevitable that over time their market share declines," Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster says. "It's safe to say that nobody can sustain an 80 percent market share in a consumer electronics business for more than two or three years. It's pretty much impossible."

[Click item title to read the full article at]
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Upcoming Jazz Releases - 8/23/05

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Anne Cochran - All My Best (A&E) - Reissue
Anthony Braxton - 20 Standards 2003 (Leo) - 2+ CDs
Artie Shaw - Summitt Ridge Drive (Living Era) - Reissue
Artie Shaw - Complete Rhythm Makers Sessions 1937-1938 3 (RM) - Reissue
Benny Bailey - Big Brass (Candid)
Benny Goodman - Journey to the Stars (Sounds of Yesteryear) - Reissue
Bill Coleman - 1952-53 (City Hall) - Reissue
Billy Taylor - 1952-53 (Classics) - Reissue
Bob Berg - Remembering (Savoy) - Reissue
Bob James - Three (Koch) - Reissue
Bob James - Touchdown (Koch) - Reissue
Bradley Leighton - Groove Yard (Pacific Coast Jazz)
Buddy Emmons with Lenny Breau - Minors Aloud (Art of Life)
Cab Calloway - Hep Cat & Cool Jive (Fuel 2000) - Reissue
Charles Mingus - A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music & Poetry (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Charles Mingus - Mysterious Blues (Candid) - Reissue
Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra - Dance Date (Sounds of Yesteryear) - Reissue
Charlie Shavers - The Everest Years (VI) - Reissue - Book
Chicago - Live at Carnegie Hall (Rhino) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Chuck Leavell - Southscape (Red Distribution)
Clairdee - Music Moves (Sin-drome)
Clayton Brothers - Back in the Swing of Things (Sindrome Records)
Cracow Klezmer Band/John Zorn - Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (Tzadik)
Dexter Gordon - Daddy Plays the Horn (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Dick Haymes & Harry James and His Orchestra - Live 1940-41 (Ballad) - Reissue
Dicky Betts & Great Southern - Back Where It All Began: Live at the Rock (RED) - DVD-Video
Dizzy Gillespie - 1953 (City Hall) - Reissue
Django Reinhardt - Complete Django Reinhardt 20: Pour Que Ma Vie (Fremaux) - Reissue
Don Ellis - at Fillmore (Wounded Bird) - Reissue
Don Ellis - Essence (Wounded Bird) - Reissue
Eddie Duchin - 1933-37, vol 2 (City Hall) - Reissue
Eddie Lockjaw Davis - 1948-52 (City Hall) - Reissue
Ella Fitzgerald - Jukebox Hits 1943-53 (Acrobat) - Reissue
Fredrik Soergaard & Hasse Poulson - & We Also Caught A Fish (Leo)
Gloria Lynn - Love Songs The Singles Collection (Acrobat) - Reissue
Greg Burk Trio (w/ Steve Swallow and Bob Moses) - Nothing, Knowing (482 Music)
Hardnox - Garage Sale (Hardnox Productions)
Hendrik Meurkens - Amazon River (Red Distribution)
Howard Riley - Live at Lincoln Cathedral (Voiceprint)
Hubert Laws - Plays Bach (Denon)
Irving Fields - Bages & Bongos (33rd Street)
Isham Jones - Swingin' Down the Lane (Koch)
Jennifer Leitham - Two for the Road (Azica)
Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate - Vienna Nights (Navarre) - 2+ CDs
John Klemmer - Finesse / Mag. Madness (Wounded Bird) - Reissue
John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom (Pazzazz)
John Zorn - Best of Filmworks: 20 Years of Soundtrack Music (Tzadik)
Jose Galvez/Nacionel Orchestra of Nowheristan - Jgnom (Wea)
Julia Lee - 1947 (Classics) - Reissue
Kay Kaiser - The Kollege of Musical Knowledge (Koch)
Kelley Johnson - Music is the Magic (City Hall)
Kelsey - Something Starting To Happen (Brown Bear)
Kevin Toney - 100 Degrees and Rising (Shanachie)
Lalo Schifrin - Jazz Meets the Symphony 6 (Aleph)
Larry Coryell - Electric (Chesky)
Les Paul - Crazy Rhythm (Varese) - Reissue
Marcus Miller - Marcus Miller (Koch) - Reissue
Mel Torme - The Complete Porgy and Bess (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Mike Gibbs - Just Ahead (BGO) - Reissue
Miles Davis - Complete Jack Johnson (Legacy) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Misha Mengelberg - Senne Sing Song (Tzadik)
Najee - My Point of View (Heads Up)
Najee - My Point of View (Heads Up) - SACD
Nnenna Freelon - Blueprint of a Lady (Concord)
Otis Taylor - Below the Fold (Telarc)
Paris Combo - Live (DRG) - Reissue - Book
Peter Bernstein Trio - Live at Smoke (Mel Bay) - DVD-Video
Phil Harris - Echos From The Cocoanut Grove 1932-33 (Test of Time) - Reissue
PJ Newman - Hand of Dog (Origin)
Red Nichols - Thats a Bargain (Living Era) - Reissue
Richard Galliano/Larry Grenadier/Clarence Penn - Ruby, My Dear (Dreyfus)
Roger Eno - At Lincoln Cathedral (United States of Distribution)
Sara Gazarek - Yours (Navarre)
Sidney Bechet - 1952 (City Hall) - Reissue
Slog - Drew Field 45 (NCM East)
Sophie Tucker - Jazz Age Hot Mamma (Take Two) - Reissue
Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band - In Santa Lucia (Image) - DVD-Video
Terry Adams - Ten by Two (Edisun)
The Great Jazz Trio - At the Village Vanguard Again (Test of Time) - Reissue
Tierney Sutton - I'm With the Band (Telarc)
Van der Graaf Generator - Inside Van der Graaf Generator (Music Video Distributors) - DVD-Video
Various - Jazz and the 80's (DM) - Reissue
Various - Newport Rebels (Candid) - Reissue
Various - Yesterday's Dreams (Living Era) - Reissue
Various - Atlanta Blues (JSP) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Various - Mountain Gospel (JSP) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Wadada Leo Smith - Snakish (Leo)
Warren Hill - Warren Hill (Navarre)
Woody Herman - Juke Box (Sounds of Yesteryear) - Reissue
Yes - 9012 Live (Image)

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

David Pack | The Secret of Movin' On

David Pack | The Secret Of Movin' OnFor more than 30 years, David Pack has enjoyed great success as a songwriter, vocalist, musician, and producer. His years with progressive rock/soft rock stalwarts Ambrosia produced four huge hits (that Pack either wrote or co-wrote) that still enjoy frequent airplay on adult contemporary and oldies radio.

Pack has written big hits for others, too, including the mega-hit (and unfortunate) “All I Need” as sung by the one-hit-wonder Jack Wagner. On top of that, he’s produced many of the biggest artists of the past two decades like Faith Hill, Phil Collins, Brian McKnight, Amy Grant, and Michael McDonald, just to name a few.

David Pack’s third solo album, The Secret of Movin’ On, proves that he can belt it out just as well as he did in Ambrosia’s prime. In this release, Pack proudly carries the soft rock banner, infusing the sound Ambrosia perfected with smooth jazz influences. Pack’s smooth tenor delivery fits the adult contemporary sound of this album perfectly. You really get a sense of sincerity in Pack’s voice.

The production quality of each song is top-notch, as is the CD packaging. The CD sleeve incorporates some of Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin’s abstract paintings, which are a nice touch to an already smart design.

Pack received some help on this album by some particularly talented artists, including “The Secret of Movin’ On (Travelin’ Light)” with Ann Wilson of Heart, “A Brand New Start” with Steve Perry of Journey fame, “Tell Her Goodbye” with Dewey Bunnell of America and “Where We Started From” with Timothy B. Schmidt of The Eagles.

My personal favorite from this album is the blues-tinged “Tell Her Goodbye,” which is also the most simple of the CD’s 11 tracks. This tune features dual acoustic guitars with Pack on lead vocals and Dewey Bunnell backing him up. Other highlights include “The Secret of Movin’ On (Travelin’ Light),” “Vertical Disbelief (That’s Not Me),” “A Brand New Start,” and the somewhat over-sentimental, but beautiful nonetheless “When Your Love Was Almost Mine.”

The only major flaw of this album is the inclusion of new versions of the classic Ambrosia hits “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman.” Sure, these songs were great when they first appeared on One Eighty in 1980. And, in fact, the original recordings still sound good today. They don’t have that “dated” quality that much of the music of that era has.

So why the remakes? Maybe a marketing-minded associate of Pack’s pointed out that these songs are tailor-made for smooth jazz radio, with a few modifications, of course. It’s just a theory, but there’s something just a little odd about re-recording your own songs. mentions that these covers were originally meant to be “bonus tracks.” Putting them at the end of the CD as bonus tracks would have been a good idea. I’m just glad Pack didn’t remake the great hit “Holdin’ on to Yesterday.” That’s far and away my favorite Ambrosia song, and I really didn’t need another version of it floating around in my head.

I will say this, though. The remakes prove that Pack’s voice has lost nothing since 1980. His voice quality remains unchanged after 25 years. This 50-something year old man has a gift and it’s good to see he’s taken care of it through the years.

Though this album has flaws like the afore mentioned remakes, its strength lies in Pack’s strong songwriting, well written melodies, sharp arrangements, and smooth voice. Oh, and the album’s guests aren’t too shabby either. If you enjoy bands like Ambrosia, Air Supply, Player, and Little River Band, there’s a good chance you’ll like The Secret of Movin’ On.

Joe Battista
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Hancock goes beyond jazz on new album

Lately Herbie Hancock has been popping up in the strangest places: Internet chat rooms about Christina Aguilera and on John Mayer's Web site; at Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., as the music and arts festival's first artist in residence; in Japan with Carlos Santana at a series of concerts commemorating the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hancock has a long history of exploring beyond jazz boundaries, beginning with his 1973 electric-funk album "Head Hunters" and his 1983 MTV-friendly, techno-funk single "Rockit" from "Future Shock." Additionally, hip-hop DJs have liberally sampled his material, including his tune "Cantaloupe Island," recorded during his early solo years while still a member of Miles Davis' classic '60s quintet.


But with the release of his new album, "Possibilities," Hancock ups the crossover ante. The 10-track set features the 65-year-old pianist collaborating with young stars (Mayer, Aguilera, Raul Midon and Joss Stone) and veterans (Sting, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox and Santana). The gear-shifting collection of pop tunes is undergirded by a jazz sensibility that cultivates music free of genre borders.

"They brought what they do to the table, and I brought what I do to the table," Hancock says. "The result is a music that allows us to all go outside the pigeonholes the music business forces us to stay in. We're breaking down expectations, walking the tightrope while not scaring our fan bases away."

Case in point: Aguilera's show-stopping cover of Leon Russell's balladic gem, "Song for You," which sheds a new light on her vocal prowess. Hancock, who dreamily accompanies, says, "Christina's delivery is stellar."

The CD, jointly issued by Hear Music, Vector Recordings and Hancock Music, will go on sale August 30 in retail outlets and Starbucks locations. It comes one year after Concord Records and the coffee chain's Hear imprint issued Ray Charles' posthumous "Genius Loves Company." But unlike "Genius," which was sold only in North American stores, "Possibilities" will be sold at Starbucks outlets worldwide, According to Nielsen SoundScan, Starbucks' North American stores have sold 775,000 copies of the triple-platinum disc, which debuted August 31, 2004.


Hancock is fully aware of the comparisons likely to be made between the two albums, especially with the Starbucks connection and the duets.

"But this represents a different way of collaboration than Ray's album," he says. "We were composing on the fly in many instances, improvising new songs and coming up with different arrangements of other songs. We pretty much recorded all the sessions with the artists and a full rhythm section and did only a minimum of overdubs. We played together with a spirit of 'anything is possible."'

On the album Hancock works with Sting to reimagine the latter's "Sister Moon" with African flavors arranged by Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, and with Simon to re-envision his "I Do It for Your Love" with subtly layered percussion.

As for new tunes, Hancock and guitarist Trey Anastasio cook up the instrumental "Gelo No Montana," while the pianist and Mayer spontaneously combust on the highlight of the CD, the catchy, uptempo leadoff number "Stitched Up."

"I was interested in John's music, and I liked his voice," says Hancock, who had never met Mayer -- or, for that matter, many of the artists with whom he worked. "He came to the studio with a fragment. We played around with it and structured it at the tracking session, and on the spot he sang scratch vocals, some of which are in the final mix."

So impressed was Hancock with the creative alchemy, he enlisted Mayer to join the latest incarnation of his Headhunters band that played Bonnaroo.

Hancock, who approached this project with a wish list of artists, says the experience was such a treat that he is already compiling a list for another collaborative disc.

"At the beginning we were looking at this not as a record but a project," he says. "A lot of people expressed interest but because of scheduling conflicts couldn't participate. So, there's a lot more to explore."

Dan Ouellette

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 8/19/05

The Top Ten from
LW -TW - Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
2 - 2 - Paul Taylor -Nightlife
5 - 3 - Steve Cole - Thursday
4 - 4 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
3 - 5 - Nils - Pacific Coast Highway
6 - 6 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
7 - 7 - Kenny G. - The Way You Move
8 - 8 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much
11 - 9 - Brian Culbertson - Hookin' Up
10 - 10 - Dave Koz - Love Changes Everything

[Click on title for the entire list at]
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pictorial Map of the Harlem Renaissance: Second Printing Now Available

Back in stock! Ephemera Press' popular Pictorial Map of the Harlem Renaissance is now available in its second printing. Carefully researched by a team of scholars, the map features the homes of Harlem's leading musicians, writers and artists, the neighborhood's legendary nightclubs and its civil rights sites. Since it was published a little over three years ago, the map has been featured in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles. It is a must have for tourists, scholars, students, Harlem residents and anyone interested in African American culture or New York City history.

Visit Ephemera at: Ephemera Press
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Earl Klugh | Naked Guitar

Earl Klugh | Naked GuitarBack in the '70s, when Earl Klugh was launching his career with easy grooving, melodic solo albums like Finger Painting and his Grammy winning One on One collaboration with Bob James, he probably had no idea he was helping lay the foundations for the later smooth jazz phenomenon. Throughout the '80s and '90s, tracks by the 13-time Grammy nominated Detroit-born composer and acoustic guitarist became staples of that format — but he took a sudden leave of absence after his single Windham Hill Jazz date, Peculiar Situation, in 1999. Emerging in sweetly eloquent style from a six-year studio hiatus, he gets back to his warm-toned basics on his Koch Records debut — which will easily remind longtime fans of his one previous stripped down, standards-heavy gem, 1989's Solo Guitar. Another masterpiece of fingerstyle jazz guitar, the new collection features intimate solo interpretations of 13 standards and pop classics, as well as "Angelina," a beloved tune from Klugh's self-titled 1976 solo debut that he wrote in 1971 — a fitting closing track that in many ways brings his career full circle. Although fans of his more pop-oriented material may grow impatient, Klugh explores a deeper artistry putting his indelible stamp on well-known tunes ("The Summer Knows," "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead," "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Moon River") as well as slightly more obscure pieces. He also puts a uniquely Latin twist on a lesser-known song by film composer John Williams, "In the Moonlight." Overall, this is a welcome return from a true master of his instrument.

Jonathan Widran -
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Marc Antoine | Modern Times

Marc Antoine | Modern TimesHow smooth jazz artists sound on-stage and how they sound in the studio can be two very different things. In the studio, many of them dumb themselves down as much as possible in order to get played on American smooth jazz/NAC radio stations; on-stage, however, they don't have to worry about pleasing program directors — so they are free to stretch, blow, and improvise all they want in front of a live audience. All too often, studio recordings don't begin to reflect what smooth jazz artists are actually capable of — and in the '90s, guitarist Marc Antoine wasn't above recording schlock, drivel, and elevator music in order to appeal to smooth jazz/NAC stations (1998's Madrid on GRP was perhaps the worst offender). But Modern Times is one of Antoine's better, more substantial studio efforts; the material is surprisingly decent. This time, Antoine (who is heard on both acoustic and electric guitar) gambles with inspiration instead of resorting to cheap formulas — and while the tunes (which combine jazz, pop, funk, and world music) are melodic and accessible, they aren't Muzak. This 2005 release is fairly unpredictable, drawing on everything from Brazilian music ("Samba Hood") to African pop ("Antilles"). While Modern Times is dominated by instrumentals, one of the best things on the disc is "Cantar Al Amor" — a vocal offering with an appealing Spanish/Arabic flavor. Also vocal-oriented is Antoine's arrangement of Sting's "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets," which is in French but includes a reggaeton section (how often do listeners hear reggaeton in French?). As far as melodic guitar albums go, Modern Times isn't in a class with, say, George Benson's Breezin'. But it isn't bad, and those who equate the name Marc Antoine with schlock will be pleasantly surprised by how decent he sounds this time around.
Alex Henderson -
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 8/16/05

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Ahmad Jamal - The Legacy and Okeh Recordings (Legacy) - Reissue
Art Blakey - Drum Suite (Legacy) - Reissue
Artie Shaw - The Essential (Bluebird) - Reissue
Bart Millard - Hymned No. 1 (Epic)
Bill Mays - Live at Jazz Standard (Palmetto)
Bob Bookmeyer - Bob Bookmeyer & Friends (Legacy) - Reissue
Cannonball Adderley - Domination (Blue Note) - Reissue
Cannonball Adderley - Money in the Pocket (Blue Note) - Reissue
Capitol Jazz - Junes Got Rhythm (Blue Note)
David Benoit - Orchestral Stories (Universal)
Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie (Legacy) - Reissue
Eric Alexander/Vincent Herring - The Battle - Live at Smoke (Highnote)
Eric Van Aro - Friends (The Orchard)
Frank Zappa - Lather (Rykodisc) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Frank Zappa - Shut Up and PLay Your Guitar (Rykodisc) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Gerry Mulligan - Jeru (Legacy) - Reissue
Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Giraldilla (Piementia) - Reissue
Gregg Karukas - Looking Up (BMG)
Herb Alpert - Sounds Like (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Herb Alpert - The Beat of the Brass (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - Alpert's Ninth (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Horace Silver - Silver's Blue (Legacy) - Reissue
Jimmy Webb - Twilight of the Renegades (Sanctuary) - Reissue
Johnny Cash - The Legend (Legacy) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Kenny Ellis - Hannukah Swings! (Favored Nations)
Loren Gold - Keys (MRI Associates)
Lou Rawls - Live! (Blue Note) - Reissue
Marc Antoine - Modern Times (Rendezvous)
Montreal Jazz Club - Montreal Jazz Club: Sesson 2 (Analekta)
Positive Knowledge - First Ones (The Orchard)
Rex Allen - Arizona Cowboy (Madacy)
Sean Hargreaves Trio - Rush Hour (Temple)
Sheila Jordan - Celebration: Live at the Triad (High Note)
Smith/Liebman/Esen/Jackson - Flashpoint (Tone Center)
Stan Getz - The Best of Two Worlds (Legacy) - Reissue
Stan Kenton - The Stage Door Swings (Blue Note) - Reissue
The Ramones - Wierd Tales of (Rhino) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Tito Puente - The Essential (Bluebird) - Reissue
Unstable Ensemble - Embers (Family Vineyard)
Various - Best of Smooth Jazz I (Clear Channel) - Reissue
Various - Classic Picante Original Grooves (Concord) - Reissue
Various - Explorations: Classic Picante Regrooved (Concord) - Reissue
Woody Shaw - Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard (Legacy) - Reissue

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Belgian jazz composer and pianist Francy Boland dies

Belgian jazz pianist and composer Francy Boland died in Geneva, aged 75, a statement from the Jazz Labo society of Fribourg said.

Born in Namur on November 6, 1929, Boland began learning piano at the age of eight and studied at the Music Conservatory in Liege. He began his jazz career in 1949 and joined Chet Baker's quintet in 1955.

Moving to the United States, Boland wrote arrangements for Count Basie and Benny Goodman and formed an octet with drummer Kenny Clarke.

Back in Europe, he teamed up with Clarke again in 1962 to form the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland big band, which lasted for 11 years and included top European musicians like Ronnie Scott and Tony Coe, plus a number of Americans living in Europe such as Art Farmer and Herb Geller.

Some of Boland's compositions became jazz standard, notably "Sax no End".

In 1984 he was commissioned to set poems written by the late pope John Paul II to music for a television program.

"Jazz has lost one of the most prestigious arrangers and band leaders in its history, to be ranked with the geniuses Duke Ellington and Woody Herman," Jazz Labo enthused

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Mike Phillips | Uncommon Denominator

Saxophonist Mike Phillips takes his game to the next level on his sophomore album statement, Uncommon Denominator. The Harlem horn star's got it right, because there's nothing common about how he brings it on this album, melding hip-hop, jazz, groove, funk, and rhythm into a soul flow that excites the mind as well as it delights the ears and moves the feet. Much like the venerated Tina Turner, Mike Phillips never does anything nice and easy -- on each track his harmonic invention, sheer energy, and versatility will simply blow you away. At the same time, the integrity of the music and the unforgettable melodies are an unbeatable combination sure to garner Phillips even more accolades and fans.

The power of Phillip's saxophone style is ably demonstrated on the title track, "Uncommon Denominator." Phillips says that title represents two levels: the fact that he's the uncommon link between an unlikely and diverse array of fans and demos. And second, because the dynamic player is not your average instrumental artist. "I don't want to be that individual who looks at the industry and says, ‘my God where am I going to fit in?’" Phillips explains. "The uncommon denominator is the vision of being different but still being able to bring together people who vibe to all types of music, be it Hip Hop, R&B, Latin, straight ahead jazz, and so on.”

Mike Phillips' Tour Dates:
8/20 Wilson Creek Sunset Jazz Festival – Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula, CA
8/23 WGN Performance- Chicago
8/23 Visit to Johnson Publishing – Chicago
8/25 J& R In- Store at 12:30PM
8/26 WHUR Radio Performance Request – 6-9PM with Alison Williams
8/26 Red Cat Jazz Club Performance - Houston, TX
9/1 Carolina Panthers National Anthem – Bank America Stadium Charlotte, NC
9/15 Promo Performance for the Black Culinary Alliance
9/21 Bennett College Performance – Former President Clinton in attendance, Greensboro, NC
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Turning Point | Matador

Turning Point - MatadorWhile smooth jazz has evolved into a kind of horrifying “S” word for a lot of jazz fans, it grew out of a kind of contemporary post-fusion sensibility that, at least in its earliest days, still valued strong playing and enough diversity to keep things interesting. Matador—Phoenix-based Turning Point's sixth release and first for the Native Language imprint—harkens back to a time when it was more than programmed grooves and saccharine solos, when groups like the Crusaders and guitarists like Larry Carlton and Robben Ford were putting out records that, despite their easygoing veneer, still had some substance underneath the cover...
[Click article title to read the entire revue by John Kelman at]
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beasley admits it's good to be King of Smooth Jazz

Walter BeasleySaxophonist and singer Walter Beasley is Boston's King of Smooth Jazz.

Beasley, who plays tonight through Friday at Scullers, has taught at Berklee College of Music for more than two decades. He's also been turning out one chart-climbing r & b-tinged smooth jazz album after another during the past 10 years. The latest, ``For Her'' (Heads Up), hit No. 4 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart last week.

Herald: What does it feel like being the main smooth jazz guy in Boston?

Beasley: It feels good and bad. I'm proud that people still come out to hear me play, and that I've established a reputation and done it from Boston. At the same time I find it frustrating that opportunities are shrinking for instrumentalists, not just in the city, but within the industry as a whole. I'm kind of disheartened because the record industry has turned its back on instrumentalists.

Herald: Has smooth jazz peaked?

Beasley: It probably has. When (Smooth Jazz) 96.9 disappeared here, it just so happened that my career was advancing. People didn't even know that things were picking up for me because we had no smooth jazz station to chronicle it. I think we're ripe for some kind of instrumental station. It doesn't have to be a smooth jazz station. We need to hear instruments.

Herald: How do you answer when someone says that you're only a smooth jazz guy and that isn't real jazz?

Beasley: I ask them to take out their horn and play and I'll take out mine and we'll play whatever they want. I'm quite proficient in traditional jazz. I love it. I come from Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Dexter Gordon. Those saxophonists are my roots.

It just so happens that I came up in an era where Grover Washington Jr., David Sanborn and Ronnie Laws were hitting on all cylinders. I'm a product of that environment, too. When you put 'em all together, that's who I am.

I went to school with Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby and others. I can hold my own in any form of African-American music. I'm thankful for being fundamentally trained and being diverse.

Herald: And what do you say if someone raises the commercial aspect of the music?

Beasley: It doesn't really bother me. The people who invest in my records are the people who I support at this point. They help me invest in my family and in the bank where I have a mortgage.

At the same time, I can play what I want to play and teach how I want to teach.

I teach students to be not only productive and innovative, but business-savvy. It's important that they realize that this market today is very different than the one that existed in the 1950s and 1960s. We have to be capable of reinventing ourselves as instrumentalists and professional musicians.

By Bob Young Wednesday, August 10, 2005
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Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 8/12/05

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

[Click on title for the entire list at]
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 8/9/05

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Bill Frisell - East/West (Nonesuch) - 2+ CDs
Bob Florence - Friends, Treasures, Heroes (Summit)
Cracow Klezmer Band/John Zorn - Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (Tzadik)
Dan Moretti - Passing Place (Whaling City)
Dave Liebman - Lieb Plays Wilder (Challenge)
David Pack - The Secret of Moving On (Peak)
Derek Bailey - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Tzadik)
Dylan van der Schyff - Definition of a Toy (Songlines)
Earl Klugh - Naked Guitar (Koch)
Epstein/Kilmer/Shepik - Lingua Franca (Songline)
Helen Forrest - Help Yourself to My Heart (Allegro)
Iraida Nonega - Viaje de Mar (Opcion)
J.C. Hopkins - Underneath a Brooklyn Moon (Tigerlily)
Jesper Thilo - Jesper Thilo and the American Stars Vol. 2 (Storville)
Jessie Allen Cooper - Pacific Lounge (Cooper Sound Waves)
John Sheridan's Dream Band - Easy as it Gets (Arbors)
Johnny Rodgers - Box Of Photographs (PS Classics)
M.O.B. Trio - Quite Live in Brooklyn (Omnitond)
Marcel Azzola - 3 Temps Pour Bien Faire (Le Chant du Monde)
Melodye - Nocturnal Velvet (SMS)
Pat Metheny - Song X: Twentieth Anniversary (Nonesuch) - Reissue
Phoenix Rising - Whisper (Delvian)
Poncho Sanchez with Tower of Power - Do It (Concord Picante)
Sara Caswell - But Beautiful (Arbors)
Shawn Ryan - Blue Skies (Lml Music)
Solar - Sons of Cosmic Consciousness (Burnside)
Steve Winwood - Soundstage - DVD-Video
Tim Ries - Rolling Stones Project (Concord)
Tony Overwater - Ellington Suites (Challenge)
Yes - 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs from Tsongas (Image Entertainment) - DVD-Video

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

An Urgent Plea On Behalf Of Michael Brecker

Michael BreckerIt is critical that Michael Brecker, who has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), undergo a stem cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's siblings and children) has not resulted in a suitable match. His doctors say that all possible options must be explored immediately, which involves finding as many people of a similar genetic background to be tested. There are some important points to understand concerning this process:

1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a local lab. The cost is $40-$75, and insurance may cover it. (In New York, call Frazier at the New York Blood Bank at 212-570-3441 for an appointment for HLA typing. It costs $40.) Alternately, check with your local blood bank, or go to to find the donor center nearest you.

2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in need of a transplant. Being on the registry doesn't mean you have to donate, only that you may be asked to do so. You can take your name off the registry at any time.

3. Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael, please understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow transplants, and the term itself can be misleading. Bone marrow donation is no more invasive than giving blood. Stem cells are simply harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.

4. A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category, please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar situation. Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a large group, like a synagogue, to sponsor it. Should you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Michael's management office at 212-302-9200 or
Carol Archer -
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Lucky Thompson, Jazz Saxophonist, Is Dead at 81

Lucky ThompsonLucky Thompson, a legendary tenor and soprano saxophonist who took his place among the elite improvisers of jazz from the 1940's to the 1960's and then quit music, roamed the country and ended up homeless or hospitalized for more than a decade, died on Saturday in Seattle. He was 81.

Ben Ratliff []
Click title bar to read the entire article
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Friday, August 05, 2005

Conversation with Gerald Veasley

Gerald VeasleyHaving witnessed the development of Gerald Veasley's home away from home at the Jazz Base in the Sheraton Hotel, Reading, Pennsylvania, the energy of the live CD recording and CD release party, it's time to recap a treasured moment: a long talk with this nearly always smiling, easy going, among the most masterful bass guitarists in jazzdom.

The CD, appropriately titled Gerald Veasley: At the Jazz Base! was officially released last week (July 26th) by Heads Up International. Hopefully you have your copy and now you can just 'sit...back...and relax,' Gerald Veasley style, and listen to what he has to say about the events of the past year when I spoke with him in June.

Included are pictures from the CD recording session itself, the CD release party, and the 50th birthday party celebration.

Click on the title bar to read the entire interview at by Beverly Packard
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council

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Smooth Jazz Top Ten Week Ended 8/5/05

The Top Ten from
LW - TW - Artist - Title
1 - 1 - Richard Elliot - People Make The World Go Round
2 - 2 - Paul Taylor - Nightlife
3 - 3 - Nils Pacific Coast Highway
4 - 4 - Chuck Loeb - Tropical
5 - 5 - Steve Cole - Thursday
6 - 6 - Paul Hardcastle - Serene
7 - 7 - Kenny G. f/Earth, Wind & Fire - The Way You Move
10 - 8 - Paul Jackson, Jr. - Never Too Much
8 - 9 - Norman Brown - West Coast Coolin'
11- 10 - Dave Koz - Love Changes Everything
Click article title bar to view the entire list.
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Greg Osby | Channel Three

“Constantly surrounding himself with the best young musicians you’ve never heard of, refining a small-group sound that in performance is truly thrilling
in its pursuit of the unbroken shape-shifting set, Mr. Osby, on alto saxophone, is at the top of his game.” New York Times

"I refrained from doing a project like this for a long time," says Greg Osby of Channel Three, his 16th album for Blue Note since he signed with the label in 1990, and his first trio recital.

On Channel Three, Osby unveils his latest discovery, 21-year-old Matthew Brewer, his bassist of choice since 2002. On drums is Jeff "Tain" Watts, one of this era's most prominent drummers, and Osby's friend since both attended Berklee School of Music a quarter century ago. Osby opens the program with a soulful flight through Ornette Coleman's “Mob Job,” and closes with a crisp soprano saxophone reading of Eric Dolphy's “Miss Ann.” The bookends sandwich seven idiosyncratic Osby originals.

On Channel Three, Osby and his partners channel the spirit of wonderment and limitless possibility that characterized the '60s and '70s culture of radical improvising in which their role models flourished. Yet again, Osby makes it his business, as he once put it, "to affirm my foothold in the realm of unpredictability."
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Music History: Charlie Parker Took Jazz in a New Direction

People in America - Download MP3
People in America - Download RealAudio
Listen to People in America

Written by Vivian Bournazian

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Gillespie estate to be auctioned

Dizzy GillespieThe contents of the estate of Dizzy Gillespie are to be sold at auction, 12 years after the death of the renowned jazz trumpeter.
His wife of 53 years, Lorraine, is putting hundreds of items up for sale in New Jersey, where the couple made their home.

His iconic bent trumpet will be among the lots, along with a piano and his record collection.

The sale is being held on 14 September by auctioneers Dawson and Nye.

Among the other items going up for sale are many of Gillespie's signature hats, handwritten sheet music, photographs and personal correspondence.

Born John Birks Gillespie, he was seen as being at the forefront of the development of modern jazz and bepop, along with Charlie Parker.

One of Gillespie's trumpets will be sold at the auctionHe got the nickname Dizzy because of his frantic on-stage performances.

During his career, he led small and big bands, pushing the boundaries of jazz music.

He famously played a bent trumpet. He was said to have discovered he liked the sound after accidentally damaging one.

Gillespie died of pancreatic cancer in 1993 at the age of 75.

A preview of the auction will be held on 11 September, and will include a tribute performance by the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band formed after his death to continue his legacy.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Upcoming Jazz Releases - 8/2/05

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Alan Silva - Hero's Welcome: Pieces for Rare Occasions (Eremite)
Amanda Tree - My Only Own (Tomato)
Bill Bruford - The Bruford Tapes (Winterfold)
Brian Auger - Closer To It (Castle) - Reissue
Charles MIngus - East Coasting (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Clairdee - Music Moves (Sin-drome)
Clayton Brothers - Back in the Swing of Things (Sindrome Records)
Clockwork - Tesseract (Primarily Acapella)
Cole Porter - Very Best of (Greatest Hits) - Reissue
Conspire - Passing Time (Lap)
Cook Dixon & Young - Volume One (RCA)
Craig Heesch - From Out of the Wings (American Jazz)
Diggin in the Crate - Diggin in the Crate (Hi & Fly)
Don Friedman VIP Trio - Timeless (FFO)
Duke Ellington - Presents (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
Elaine Dame - Comes Love (Blu Jazz)
Fred Anderson - Blue Winter (Eremite)
Gerry Beaudoin Trio - Swing Cafe (North Star)
Greg Osby - Channel Three (Blue Note)
Janis Joplin - Box of Pearls (Legacy) - Reissue - Boxed Set
Jemeel Moondoc - New World Pygmies (Eremite)
Jetro da Silva - Jetro da Silva Live (The Orchard)
John Coltrane - Bethlehem Years (Shout! Factory) - Reissue
King Crimson - Inside King Crimson 1972-1975 (Navarre) - DVD-Video
Marilyn Scott - Handpicked (Prana)
Marion Brown - Marion Brown Quartet (ESP-DISK)
Nick Bisesi - Gemini (Blu Jazz)
Noah Howard - Patterns (Eremite)
Reuben Wilson - Fun House (Savant)
Roger Davison - Rodgers in Rio (Soundbrush)
Roy Merriwether - Twilight Blues (Bennu Multimedia)
Royal Crown Review - Walk on Fire (Kufala)
Scott Joplin - Original Rags (Fruit Tree) - Reissue
Stan Hope - Put on a Happy Face (Savant)
Steve Howe - Steve Howe's Remedy (Ventura) - DVD-Video
Turning Point - Matador (NLM)
Various Artists - Fusion For Miles: A Tribute In Guitar A Bitchin' Brew (Tone Center)
Westbrook Trio - L'Ascenseur (The Lift) (Voiceprint)
William Parker - Rauncoat in the River (Eremite)

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Tierney Sutton | I'm With The Band

I'm With The BandReviewers tend to spend a good amount of time talking about technique and other matters while bypassing the simple question of whether a voice or instrument sounds good. But the sound of vocalist Tierney Sutton's wonderful, supple voice is hard to get around; it's just a pleasure to hear. Pairing her with a talented, sympathetic band, I’m With The Band is an appealing effort.

Recorded live at Birdland on March 29-30, 2005, Sutton and company tackle sixteen standards with class and sensitivity. “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise” opens with some lovely, wordless, abstract vocalizing before launching into the familiar body of the song. As on most of the uptempo numbers featured here, Sutton skillfully bends and shapes the lyrics with rapid-fire precision. She takes liberties with her phrasing, obviously caught up in the moment, but never becomes grating or self-indulgent.

Of course, such a pure voice is made to sing ballads, and Sutton dazzles on a haunting version of “If I Loved You.” She performs the song with such apparent ease and grace that one can only bask in the hush and hit the replay button when it’s over. Although it does not hit the same peak, “Blue Skies” is also given a fine reading with a gentle but insistent pulse from drummer Ray Brinker.

I’m With The Band is a real charmer: an assured and lyrical exhibition of classic songs by musicians of impeccable taste.

Stephen Latessa -
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