Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year

A very Happy New Year year to all the 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.






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Oli Silk live with Jimi King. Sky.fm Smooth Jazz



Oli Silk talks with Jimi King on Sky.fm Smooth Jazz. Sunday 3rd December 2006.


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Smooth Jazz 2006 Year-End Chart












RANK SONG ARTIST LABEL
1 WINELITE Paul Brown GRP/Verve
2 LET'S GET STARTED Brian Culbertson GRP/Verve
3 TRUE BLUE Mindi Abair GRP/Verve
4 SUMMER NIGHTS Nils Baja/TSR
5 MYSTIQUE Richard Elliot ARTizen
6 DO IT AGAIN Philippe Saisse Trio G&N/Rendezvous
7 WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Peter White Legacy/Columbia
8 CHILLAXIN Euge Groove Narada Jazz/BLG
9 ALWAYS THINKING OF YOU Nick Colionne Narada Jazz/BLG
10 2ND 2 NONE Najee Heads Up
11 GET DOWN ON IT Wayman Tisdale Rendezvous
12 MISMALOYA BEACH Ray Parker Jr. Raydio
13 IT'S ALL GOOD Brian Simpson Rendezvous
14 SHINING STAR Rick Braun ARTizen
15 STEPPIN' OUT Kim Waters Shanachie
16 OH HAPPY DAY (LIVE) Ramsey Lewis Narada Jazz/BLG
17 YOU GOT IT 3rd Force With Brian Hughes Higher Octave/BLG
18 FREE AS THE WIND Jazzmasters Trippin 'n' Rhythm
19 FORWARD EMOTION Pieces Of A Dream Heads Up
20 SUEDE Marion Meadows Heads Up
21 GET EM GOIN' Euge Groove Narada Jazz/BLG
22 PACIFICA Michael Lington Rendezvous
23 MY LOVE'S LEAVIN' Fourplay Featuring Michael McDonald Bluebird/RCA Victor
24 COOLNESS Walter Beasley Heads Up
25 GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE Chris Botti Featuring Jill Scott Columbia
26 THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE Boney James Featuring George Duke Concord
27 BEAT STREET David Benoit Peak/Concord
28 I CALL IT LOVE Lionel Richie Island/IDJMG
29 PUT YOUR RECORDS ON Corinne Bailey Rae Capitol
30 HOOKIN' UP Brian Culbertson GRP/Verve
31 IF I AIN'T GOT YOU Eric Darius Narada Jazz/BLG
32 STITCHED UP Herbie Hancock Featuring John Mayer Hear/Hancock/Vector
33 HOLDING BACK THE YEARS (2005) Simply Red simplyred.com/Verve Forecast/Verve
34 A SONG FOR YOU Herbie Hancock Featuring Christina Aguilera Hear/Hancock/Vector
35 MORNIN' George Benson & Al Jarreau Monster/Concord
36 DRESSED TO CHILL Marion Meadows Heads Up
37 SAY IT'S SO Richard Elliot ARTizen
38 BIGGEST PART OF ME David Pack Peak/Concord
39 SERENE Paul Hardcastle Trippin 'n' Rhythm
40 WHIP APPEAL Kirk Whalum Rendezvous
41 SATURDAY COOL Brian Simpson Rendezvous
42 IF YOU'RE GONNA LEAVE Raul Midon Manhattan/BLG
43 I CAN'T HELP MYSELF Chris Standring Trippin 'n' Rhythm
44 YOU'RE THE ONLY WOMAN David Pack Peak/Concord
45 LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING Dave Koz Featuring Brian McKnight Capitol
46 WE GOT THE GROOVE Gerald Albright Peak/Concord
47 THE JUICE Chieli Minucci Shanachie
48 YOU ARE EVERYTHING Ken Navarro Positive
49 HEART OF THE MATTER India.Arie Universal Motown
50 SHOW ME THE WAY Gregg Karukas With Michael O'Neill & Andy Suzuki Trippin 'n' Rhythm
51 GROOVE IS IN THE HEART Rick Braun ARTizen
52 LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED Shilts ARTizen
53 SEXUAL HEALING Jason Miles Narada Jazz/BLG
54 LOWDOWN (UNPLUGGED) Boz Scaggs Virgin
55 WE BELONG TOGETHER Mariah Carey Island/IDJMG
55 HEY YOUNG WORLD Gerald Albright With Kevin Toney GRP/Verve
57 POSITIVE VIBE Pamela Williams Shanachie
58 EASY DOES IT Oli Silk Trippin 'n' Rhythm
59 IT'S ALL RIGHT Aaron Neville Burgundy
60 EAST BAY BOUNCE Paul Taylor Peak/Concord
61 STEPPIN' UP Eric Darius Narada Jazz/BLG
62 DON'T YOU WORRY 'BOUT A THING Nelson Rangell Koch
63 HOME Michael Buble 143/Reprise
64 CREAM Soul Ballet 215 Entertainment
65 GIRL IN THE RED DRESS Gregg Karukas Trippin 'n' Rhythm
66 DAY DREAMING Natalie Cole Verve
67 MONDAY SPEAKS Everette Harp Shanachie
68 PEOPLE MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND Richard Elliot ARTizen
69 TO YOU Earth, Wind & Fire Featuring Brian McKnight Sanctuary
70 GYPSY EYES The Rippingtons Featuring Russ Freeman Peak/Concord
71 H GANG Donald Fagen Reprise
72 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY Nils Baja/TSR
73 SHINE Luther Vandross J/RMG
74 IT'S TOO LATE Michael Lington Rendezvous
75 CHILLIN' OUT Eric Darius Narada Jazz/BLG
76 STREET TALK Dan Siegel Native Language
77 BACK INTO MY HEART Chris Botti Columbia
78 IT'S BEEN TOO LONG Nick Colionne Three Keys/Lightyear
79 NIGHTLIFE Paul Taylor Peak/Concord
80 SUMMER GROOVE Tim Bowman Liquid 8
81 AIN'T NO STOPPIN' US NOW Wayman Tisdale Rendezvous
82 THURSDAY Steve Cole Narada Jazz/BLG
83 TROPICAL Chuck Loeb Shanachie
84 PICK UP THE PIECES Kenny G Featuring David Benoit Arista/RMG
85 NEVER TOO MUCH Paul Jackson, Jr. GRP/Verve
86 RIO Jonathan Butler Rendezvous
87 2:01 AM Boney James Warner Bros.
88 I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU Kem Universal Motown
89 OYE COMO VA Fattburger Shanachie
90 NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Vanessa Williams Featuring George Benson Lava/Atlantic
91 EVIL WAYS Fattburger Shanachie
92 LEAVING YOU Lina Epic/Hidden Beach
93 ESCAPE Jim Brickman Featuring Marc Antoine SLG
94 UNDER THE SUN Michael Franks Koch
95 KNIKKI'S SMILE Pieces Of A Dream Blue Note/BLG
96 CRAZY Gnarls Barkley Downtown/Atlantic
97 TWICE IN A LIFETIME Michael Lington Native Language
98 WAY UP! Wayman Tisdale Rendezvous
99 ENJOY THE SILENCE Janita Ofir/Lightyear
100 MAKE A WISH Mindi Abair GRP/Verve

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

2G iPod Nano stylish, scratch-resistant

Just about a year after Apple's CEO Steve Jobs first wowed the tech world with the ultrathin sleekness of the first iPod Nano, Apple has unleashed Nano number two into the world.

Aside from a drastically different, iPod Mini-like casing and much-improved battery life, the new Nano isn't much altered from its predecessor.

Apple has done away with the 1GB version in favor of a $249 8GB model and adjusted the pricing on the 2GB and 4GB capacities down to $149 and $199, respectively. With prices like these, SanDisk--maker of the video-playing, 8GB e280 ($250) -- had better watch its back.

The second-generation (2G) Nano shuns simple white and steps out in a metallic color parade, with shiny silver available in the 2GB and 4GB flavors; bright pink, green, and blue offered in 4GB; and somber black taking the 8GB version.

The body casing itself is rather like a minified Mini shell: it's seamless anodized aluminum, which means the 2G Nano is not only less scratch-prone than its predecessor, but also more durable in general.

As with the old Nano (Read review), the 2G features the much praised iPod Clickwheel, which serves as the player's only controls (other than the hold switch on the top).

Above the Clickwheel is the rather small (1.5-inch) color display, which is 40 percent brighter than that of its predecessor, and the bottom edge of the player houses the headphone jack and proprietary dock connector.

A larger screen would have been a welcome improvement, but the benefit is the uniformity of screen size and overall dimensions (the 2G is just a hair thinner and taller than the previous Nano: 3.56 by 1.6 by 0.26 inches): all the made-for-Nano accessories should work fine with the new model.

As with other iPods, the 2G Nano is a snap to navigate, though the Clickwheel may take a little getting used to for first-time users, especially those used to other MP3 player controls. The Main Menu includes selections for Music, Photos, Extras, Settings, and Shuffle Songs -- this last is particularly handy.

Music is conveniently sorted by Playlists, Artists, Albums, and so on. And if you can't remember who a particular song or album falls under, you can use the new Search function (found in the Music submenu).

The 2G Nano is light on extras, though its small, excellently designed packaging includes all that you might need for basic use: a dock adapter, a USB cable for syncing/charging, a pair of white earbuds, and a quick-start guide.

You'll have to download iTunes from the Web, since Apple doesn't include a disc in the box--a forgivable omission, considering that it cuts down on use of materials for packaging.

If you want to listen to FM radio on the Nano, you'll need to pick up Apple's $49 Radio Remote (Read review) or buy similar accessory. Similarly, recording features require a separate accessory, such as Belkin's TuneTalk (Read review).

It'd be a nice surprise if Apple would include such features in an iPod, but at least it's nice that you have the option to add them. Features the Nano does have built in are photo viewing (with a neat 3x3 thumbnail preview grid) and album art support.

Video playback is conspicuously absent, as many Nano competitors have it (the Creative Zen V Plus, iRiver Clix, and SanDisk Sansa e200 series, to name a few). But we're not sure we'd want to watch video on the tiny screen anyway. The 2G Nano is capable of gapless playback (finally!), but that must be designated in iTunes 7.

The latest version of iTunes is a nice improvement over version 6, and you can read more about it in the CNET review (Read review). As far as the 2G Nano is concerned, iTunes continues to make iPod's usability excellent. As long as the software is installed, all you need to do is connect the Nano to your computer, and you're ready to roll.

You can then choose whether you want automatic or manual syncing, the latter of which is necessary if you intend to sync with more than one library. Naturally, the Nano is compatible with protected AAC files purchased from the iTunes Music Store; it also plays MP3, AAC lossless, AIFF, WAV, and Audible files.

We're pleased to note that Apple had a stab at the original Nano's rather paltry 12-hour battery life, doubling that rating to a respectable 24 hours. Turns out Apple was right on the money: CNET Labs coaxed 24.5 hours out of the player.

As far as sound quality is concerned, we couldn't notice a difference between the old Nano and the 2G: it still sounds excellent across nearly all genres of music. Bass response could be tighter, and we didn't think the included earbuds sounded that great, but they're certainly passable (the design seems a bit more ergonomic than earlier ones).

We had some mixed results with gapless playback -- albums transferred from a Windows machine still had hiccups, while those from a Mac were seamless --but this is likely an iTunes issue, rather than a Nano one. Navigation was superspeedy, thanks to a fast processor, and photos loaded quickly.

The 2G Nano doesn't really bring anything new to the table in the fast-advancing world of MP3 players, but the improvements over the original are certainly welcome.

This player is sure to be a top choice among a wide range of users, and it's a stellar option for first-timers. Just make sure you're aware that the same $249 for an 8GB Nano will get you a larger but video-capable 30GB iPod.

By Jasmine France
CNET.com

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An unadventurous year for mainstream jazz

Judging by the stasis on the jazz charts from year to year, one would think jazz was in need of resuscitation, a sentiment echoed by the well-intentioned rallying cry "Keep Jazz Alive" that spearheads jazz public-radio fund drives.

But for jazz aficionados who like their music melodically sublime, harmonically sophisticated and rhythmically alert and jarring, the death knell for the idiom rings prematurely. There's still vibrancy in a feast of 2006's forward-looking jazz projects -- none of which charted. As for Billboard's year-end recaps, its deja vu all over again when comparing 2005's rundown with this year.

At No. 1 on this year's Top Jazz Albums chart is "It's Time" by crooner Michael Buble. And the chart-topper in 2005? Buble, of course, with his now-platinum CD.

Jazz players in the trenches could very well be salivating over his sales.

Then again, given the singer's straight-down-the-middle fare, they're probably happy to be right where they are -- even if they sell CDs in the hundreds or thousands versus hundreds of thousands.

Runners-up on this year's recap are, again, familiar names from 2005.

Vocalist/pianist Diana Krall is No. 2 on the Top Jazz Artists recap while three of her albums -- "Christmas Songs," "From This Moment On" and "The Girl in the Other Room" -- rank respectively at No. 2, No. 5 and No. 21 on the Top Jazz Albums recap.

Chris Botti ranks at No. 3 on the Top Jazz Artists tally on the strength of three titles on the year-end Top Jazz Albums recap: "To Love Again: The Duets" at No. 3, "When I Fall in Love" at No. 10 and "Live: With Orchestra and Special Guests" at No. 22.

A significant newcomer to the upper reaches of the year-end roll call is vocalist Madeleine Peyroux, whose new album "Half the Perfect World" winds up at No. 7 on the Top Jazz Albums tally while her 2004 release "Careless Love" is No. 12.

Like last year, jazz titans Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane continue to find strong footing this year with two historic live CDs released in 2005.

"At Carnegie Hall" by the Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane ranks at No. 6 on the albums recap, and Trane's own "One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note" is No. 24 for.

On the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums recap, there's more monotony. Once again, Kenny G holds down the No. 1 spot, this time with "The Greatest Holiday Classics," and commands three of the top 10: "At Last... The Duets Album" at No. 8 and "The Essential Kenny G" at No. 9.

Significant charting titles that offer considerably more musical depth: Herbie Hancock's jazz-flavored "Possibilities" at No. 2, Kirk Whalum's smart "Performs the Babyface Songbook" at No. 7 and the Rippingtons' "20th Anniversary" at No. 20.

By Dan Ouellette
Reuters/Billboard

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'Voice' Jazz Critics' Circle Poll

First Annual Jazz Poll Winners
From Ornette Coleman to Esperanza Spalding, it's the music you need to hear

Best Album
1. Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar) 189 (24)
2. Andrew Hill, Time Lines (Blue Note) 89 (13)
3. Sonny Rollins, Sonny, Please (Doxy) 81.5 (11)
4. Nels Cline, New Monastery (Cryptogramophone) 46 (7)
5. Muhal Richard Abrams–George Lewis–Roscoe Mitchell, Streaming (Pi) 41 (6)
6. Paul Motian, Garden of Eden (ECM) 36 (5)
7. Keith Jarrett, The Carnegie Hall Concert (ECM) 32 (6)
8. Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, Memories of T (Concord) 30 (5)
9. Bennie Maupin, Penumbra(Cryptogramophone) 29.5 (5)
10. Joe Lovano, Streams of Expression (Blue Note) 25 (7)
11. Bill Frisell–Ron Carter–Paul Motian, (Nonesuch) 25 (5)
12. Lee Konitz, New Nonet (OmniTone) 23.5 (4)
13. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside) 19.5 (4)
13. Dave Holland, Critical Mass (Dare2/Sunnyside) 19.5 (4)
15. Trio Beyond, Saudades(ECM) 19 (3)
16. Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, Locked & Loaded—Live at the Blue Note (Half Note) 18 (4)
17. Kidd Jordan–Hamid Drake–William Parker, Palm of Soul (AUM Fidelity)17.5 (3)
18.Billy Hart, Quartet (HighNote) 16 (2)
19. Kenny Garrett, Beyond the Wall (Nonesuch) 15.5 (3)
19. Francisco Mela, Melao (Ayva) 15.5 (3)
21. Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Solo (Blue Note) 15.5 (2)
22. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Codebook (Pi) 15 (3)
23. Dave Burrell, Momentum (High Two) 15 (2)
24. John McNeil, East Coast Cool (OmniTone) 15 (2)
24. Houston Person & Bill Charlap, You Taught My Heart to Sing (HighNote) 14.5 (3)
26. David S. Ware, BalladWare (Thirsty Ear) 14.5 (2)
26. Cassandra Wilson, Thunderbird (Blue Note) 14.5 (2)
28. 28 Fred Anderson, Timeless—Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark) 14 (4)
29. Matthew Shipp, One (Thirsty Ear) 14 (2)
30. Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra, Boulevard de l'Indépendance (World Circuit) 13.5 (2)
30. Stefon Harris, African Tarantella (Blue Note) 13.5 (2)
30.Luis Perdomo, Awareness (RKM) 13.5 (2)
30.World Saxophone Quartet, Political Blues (Justin Time) 13.5 (2)
34. Jon Faddis, Teranga (Koch) 12 (3)
34. Vijay Iyer & Rudresh Mahanthappa, Raw Materials (Savoy Jazz) 12 (3)
35. Branford Marsalis, Braggtown (Marsalis Music) 12 (3)
37. Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf) 12 (2)
37. Evan Parker, Time Lapse (Tzadik) 12 (2)
39. Odyssey the Band, Back in Time (Pi) 11 (2)
40. Jason Moran, Artist in Residence (Blue Note) 10.5 (3)

Critics were asked to list 10 albums in descending order, with 10 points awarded for their 1, 9 for 2, etc. (On ballots where choices were listed alphabetically, each received 5.5 points.) The first bold number indicates total points; the number in parentheses is the tally of ballots on which a CD appeared, which was used as a tiebreaker.

Best Reissue

1. Charles Mingus, At UCLA 1965 (CME/Sunnyside) 18 (7)
2. Fats Waller, If You've Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It! (Bluebird/Legacy) 15 (7)
3. Miles Davis Quintet Featuring John Coltrane, The Legendary Quintet Sessions, 1956 (Prestige) 14 (7)
4. Weather Report, Forecast Tomorrow (Columbia/Legacy) 13 (7)
5. Sonny Stitt, Stitt's Bits: The Bebop Recordings, 1949-1953 (Prestige) 11 (5)
6.Dizzy Gillespie, The Verve/Phillips Small Group Sessions (Mosaic) 8 (3)
7. John Coltrane, Fearless Leader (Prestige) 7 (4)
8. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (Riverside) 7 (3)
9. Andrew Hill, Pax (Blue Note) 5 (4)
10. Microscopic Septet, Seven Men in Neckties/Surrealistic Swing: The History of the Micros, Vols. 1 & 2(Cuneiform) 5 (3)
11. Evan Parker, The Topography of the Lungs (Psi) 5 (2)
12. Andrew Hill, Solo (Mosaic Select) 4 (2)
13. Stan Tracey, The Return of Captain Adventure (Steam/Tentoten) 4 (2)

Critics were asked to list three reissues in descending order, with 3 points awarded for 1, 2 for 2, and 1 for 3. The first bold number indicates total points; the number in parentheses tallies ballots on which a CD appeared, which was used as a tiebreaker.

Best Vocal

1.Nancy King, Live at Jazz Standard with Fred Hersch (MaxJazz) 4
2. Roberta Gambarini, Easy to Love (Groovin' High) 3
2. Cassandra Wilson, Thunderbird (Blue Note) 3
4. Freddy Cole, Because of You—Freddy Cole Sings Tony Bennett (HighNote) 2
4. Conjure, Bad Mouth (American Clavé) 2

Best Debut

1. Francisco Mela, Melao (Ayva) 6
2. Curtis Hasselbring, The New Mellow Edwards (Skirl) 2
3. Gianluca Petrella, Indigo4 (Blue Note) 2
3. Shot x Shot (High Two) 2
3. Esperanza Spalding, Junju (Ayva) 2

For both Best Vocal and Best Debut, critics were asked to name one album apiece, with no point system.

Thanks to the participants: David R. Adler, Larry Blumenfeld, Nate Chinen, Francis Davis, Steve Dollar, Laurence Donahue-Greene, Phil Freeman, David Fricke, Will Friedwald, David Hajdu, Andrey Henken, Tom Hull, Williard Jenkins, Martin Johnson, Fred Kaplan, Chris Kelsey, Jim Macnie, Howard Mandel, Bill Milkowski, Tom Moon, Dan Morgenstern, Russ Musto, Dan Ouellette, Ted Panken, Derk Richardson, Gene Seymour, Bill Shoemaker, Zan Stewart, John F. Szwed, and K. Leander Williams.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Philippe Saisse To Be Honored

France will confer upon keyboardist and producer Philippe Saisse the insignia of Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Arts et des Letters at a ceremony at the French Embassy in New York on Jan. 11, 2007.

The honor is the French equivalent of English knighthood, or O.B.E., the Order of the British Empire, with which Elton John and Paul McCartney have been honored in their native country.




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Jazz notables who passed away this year

Roland Alexander, Don Alias, Lew Anderson, Derek Bailey, Ray Barretto, Aaron Bell, Dave Black, John Blair, Johnny Blowers, Walter Booker, Stan Bronstein, Stella Brooks, Ruth Brown, Don Butterfield, Sonny Cohn, Kenny Davern, Elton Dean, Tony DeNicola, Bill DeArango, Liz Diamond, Manny Duran, Philip Elwood, Ahmet Ertegun, Sid Feller, Sherman Ferguson, Maynard Ferguson, Burt Goldblatt, William Gottlieb, Dodo Green, Ian Hammer, Rufus Harley, Walt Harper, Jessie Mae Hemphill, John Hicks, Duke Jordan, Irv Kluger, Cal Lampley, Don Lusher, Claude Luter, Jackie McLean, Jay McShann, Raphe Malik, Arif Mardin, Sheldon Meyer, Bill Miller, Jack Montrose, Dennis Moorman, Romano Mussolini, Fayard Nicholas, Anita O'Day, Johnny Parker, Aladar Pege, Lou Rawls, Dewey Redman, Beatrice Rivers, Hilton Ruiz, Moacir Santos, Charles Stephens, Andrei Strobert, Ed Summerlin, Malachi Thompson, Ross Tompkins, Tower Records, Henry Townsend, Oscar Treadwell, Jimmy Vass, Frank Vicari, Harriet Wasser, Bob Weinstock, Clarence Wheeler, and Putte Wickman.

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Upcoming Jazz Releases | December

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Tue 26-Dec-2006

Allaway / Evans / Howles / Tomalin - Catch the Wind - Songs of Bill Evans: Triessence (Guild)
Anita O'Day - Live at Ronnie Scott's (Image) - DVD-Video
Billie Holiday - God Bless the Child (Australia) - Reissue
Dinah Washington - Teach Me Tonight (Australia) (Jazz) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - I Got It Bad (Australia) - Reissue
Ella Fitzgerald - A-Tisket, A-Tasket (Australia) - Reissue
Erik Kleven - Erik Kleven (Dig)
Gilbert Sigrist - Jazz Loves Paris (Canada) (XXI-21)
Gong - Montserrat 1973 and Other Stories (Voiceprint) - DVD-Video
Hubert Laws - The Laws of Jazz / Flute By-Laws (Collectables) - Reissue
Incognito - Bee & Things & Flowers (Narada)
Jack Sheldon - Quartet & Quintet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Jeri Southern - Coffee Cigarettes & The Memories (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - About the Blues (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - At Home (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
June Christy - Duet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Kenny Drew - Talkin' & Walkin' (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Ketil Bjornstad - Rainbow Sessions (England) (Universal) - 2+ CDs
Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World (Australia) - Reissue
Memphis Slim - Live at Ronnie Scott's London (Image) - DVD-Video
Nat King Cole - Vocal Classics and Instrumental Classics (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Nina Simone - Live - Reissue
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Revelation (Holland) - Reissue
Sonny Criss - Plays Cole Porter (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Sonny Stitt - Sonny Stitt & The New Yorkers (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Stan Getz - At Storyville (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Tito Puente - Puente's Beat and Herman's Heat (Collectables) - Reissue



Wed 27-Dec-2006

Izumi Kato - Kotoba (Japan) (LDC) - Reissue




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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas























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Brian McKnight Named New Morning Host For KTWV/Los Angeles

In a groundbreaking move, CBS KTWV(the Wave)/Los Angeles names Grammy winning Warner Bros. recording artist Brian McKnight host of its morning show; McKnight will be joined by veteran morning personality Pat Prescott and producer Rosemary Jimenez.

KTWV VP GM and CBS Los Angeles director of sales Dan Weiner says, "Brian McKnight is an amazing superstar whose mass appeal casts a really wide net for the Wave. His week of guest hosting was all we needed to know that his talent would not only super-serve our core but also help draw in an entirely new audience who follow his music across many different formats than just smooth jazz. He and Pa will make this a seamless transition from five years-plus of success with Dave Koz in the morning."

Koz, who plans to embark on world tour in support of his forthcoming "At The Movies" CD, will sit in with McKnight for his first few shows.

McKnight comments, "The Wave is one of my favorite radio stations, so to be joining the station is incredibly exciting. Pat and I have a lot of exciting things planned, and I can't wait to get started."

"Brian is a world-class entertainer with the charisma and class our listeners have come to expect from the Wave's air talent," says VP of programming Paul Goldstein. "He's a natural for radio, a compelling communicator who knows how to draw listeners in and make them feel comfortable."

McKnight has sold more than 16 million albums since his self-titled debut in 1991.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best CDs of 2006

By Gary Walker, Rhonda Hamilton & Michael Bourne - The Best of the Year in Jazz, from WBGO

Hear the entire program

There's no sense in asking for them to agree on 2006's best jazz album: It was hard enough for WBGO hosts Gary Walker, Rhonda Hamilton and Michael Bourne to pick their top five. But they did just that, and sat down to discuss the music and what it means to them. The list they assembled was extensive: industry stalwarts who continue to produce great music, such as Jimmy Heath (who recently celebrated his 80th birthday) and his Big Band, as well as younger musicians exploring new directions in jazz, including Steven Bernstein and his Millennial Territory Orchestra. For good measure, the list includes some vocalists (including Karrin Allyson and the up-and-coming Cat Russell), and some blues, too.

New York-based NPR station WBGO has been broadcasting some of the best jazz music in the world since 1979.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Smooth Jazz Chart | Week Ended 12/18/06







LW TW Artist Album (Label)
1 - 1 - George Benson & Al Jarreau - "Givin' It Up" (Concord)
2 - 2 - Boney James - "Shine" - (Concord)
3 - 3 - Paul Hardcastle - "Jazzmasters V" (Trippin n' Rhythm)
6 - 4 - Kirk Whalum - "Give Me The Reason" - VA - Forever, For Always, For Luther II (Rendezvous)
4 - 5 - Pieces Of A Dream "Pillow Talk" - (Heads Up)
5 - 6 - Wayman Tisdale - "Way Up" (Rendezvous)
9 - 7 - Peter White - "Playin' Favorites" (Columbia)
7 - 8 - Marion Meadows - "Dressed To Chill" - (Heads Up)
10 - 9 - Eric Darius - "Just Getting Started" (Narada Jazz)
8 - 10 - David Benoit - "Full Circle" - (Peak)



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Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Upcoming Jazz Releases | December

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Tue 19-Dec-2006

Bobby Hutcherson Quartet - Little B's Poem (PID) - Reissue
Celso Fonseca / Ronaldo Bastos - Slow Motion Bossa Nova (Limited Edition + 1 Bonus Track) (Japan) (Bomba) - Reissue
Charlie Parker - Bird's the Word (PID) - Reissue
Chet Baker / Lighthouse All-Stars - Hot & Cool (PID) - Reissue
Count Basie - Basie Swing (PID) - Reissue
Dexter Gordon - Dexterity (PID) - Reissue
Dinah Washington - Mad About the Boy: 18 Great Songs (PID) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - How Do You Duke (PID) - Reissue
Eartha Kitt - Lovin' Spree (PID) - Reissue
Glenn Miller - Essential (PID) - Reissue
Grover Washington - Platinum Collection (England) (WEA) - Reissue
Joao Gilberto - Ele E Carioca (Limited Edition) (Japan) (Bomba) - Reissue
Lionel Hampton - Good Vibes (PID) - Reissue
Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World (PID) - Reissue
Paul WIlliamson Quintet - Far Away Here (Australia) (Jazzhead)
Sarah Vaughan - Divine Miss V (PID) - Reissue - 2+ CDs
Sarah Vaughan - Sinner of Saint (PID) - Reissue
Stan Getz - Live in Europe (PID) - Reissue
William Parker / Little Huey Creative Orchestra - For Percy Heath (Victo)
Wynton Marsalis - Live at Bubba's (PID) - Reissue



Mon 25-Dec-2006

Emily Remler - This is Me (Justice) - Reissue
Herb Ellis - Roll Call (Justice) - Reissue
Indo British Ensemble - Curried Jazz (England) (Harkit)
Kellye Gray - Standards in Gray (Justice) - Reissue
Kemit Ruffins - World on a String (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Cliff Dance (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Impending Bloom (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Potato Radio (Justice) - Reissue
Various Artists - Just Friends: A Gathering in Tribute to Emily Remler (Justice) - Reissue



Tue 26-Dec-2006

Anita O'Day - Live at Ronnie Scott's (Image) - DVD-Video
Dinah Washington - Teach Me Tonight (Australia) (Jazz) - Reissue
Gilbert Sigrist - Jazz Loves Paris (Canada) (XXI-21)
Incognito - Bee & Things & Flowers (Narada)
Jack Sheldon - Quartet & Quintet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Jeri Southern - Coffee Cigarettes & The Memories (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - About the Blues (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - At Home (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
June Christy - Duet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Kenny Drew - Talkin' & Walkin' (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Memphis Slim - Live at Ronnie Scott's London (Image) - DVD-Video
Nat King Cole - Vocal Classics and Instrumental Classics (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Sonny Criss - Plays Cole Porter (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Sonny Stitt - Sonny Stitt & The New Yorkers (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Stan Getz - At Storyville (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue



Wed 27-Dec-2006

Izumi Kato - Kotoba (Japan) (LDC) - Reissue



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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ahmet Ertegun Passes Away

Ahmet Ertegun, the legendary record man and founder of Atlantic Records, died today in New York City, from the head injury he suffered while attending a Rolling Stones concert in October at the Beacon Theatre. He was 83.

Ertegun suffered a severe brain injury and was in a coma. He passed away with his family at his bedside, according to a statement put out by the Warner Music Group.

"All of us at Atlantic Records are profoundly saddened by the loss of our founder and mentor," said Atlantic chairman/CEO Craig Kallman said in a statment. "The music community has lost a pioneer and an icon, and we have lost our father. Ahmet changed the course of modern music and culture, and he will live on through the timeless legacy of work that was created under his direction and care."

Warner Music Group chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said in a statement, "Ahmet's visionary talents as a businessman and as a recording industry pioneer are the stuff of legend, but it is his lifelong pursuit of truth -- as distilled into music -- that I find most inspiring. For all of us at Warner Music, it has been an honor to work with Ahmet. He showed us all how to live life with passion, integrity, generosity, and joy, and we will miss him deeply."

Ertegun co-founded Atlantic Records in 1947 with friend Herb Abramson and built the independent label into an R&B powerhouse that released records by Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker and the Drifters among others.

In the 1960's Atlantic continued to dominate the genre with artists like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge as well as a deal to distributed the Stax label and its roster of stars that included Otis Redding and Booker T. During that decade the label also moved into pop and rock by signing such artists as Sony & Cher in the mid-1960's and later, Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Crosby Stills & Nash.

The label was eventually sold to Steven Ross' Warner-Seven Arts, but Ertegun retained creative control for decades more and was still closely associated with the label, through mentoring the current management team at the label and in the corporate ranks of the Warner Music Group, at the time of his death.

"Yes, the business has changed," Ertegun told Billboard in January 1998. "We're expected to do 15% better than the previous year, every year, and entertainment is not the kind of business where you can predict any outcome. So we can budget that we're going to do 15% or 20% better than last year, but it all depends on how well the records come out. And we have very little control any more over that, because we are not producing the records; we're just signing up the talent."

Ertegun will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey. A memorial service will be conducted in New York after the New Year.

Billboard

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

North Sea Jazz Cruise

World-class talent has teamed up with a world-class cruise for the inaugural sailing of the North Sea Jazz Cruise Hosted By Marcus Miller. The dazzling array of performers features the most celebrated and legendary jazz musicians, composers and vocalists of our time. They include: vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and her trio, saxophonist James Carter, trumpeter Roy Hargrove and his quintet, the Roberta Gambarini Quartet, guitarist Lionel Loueke, The McCoy Tyner Trio, Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood and saxophonists David Sanborn and Kirk Whalum.

They will join cruise guests aboard Holland America's m/s Rotterdam, named "2006 Ship of the Year" by the World Ocean and Cruise Line Society, departing from Copenhagen July 5, 2007. Following a seven day voyage with ports-of-call in Warnemunde/Berlin, Germany; Gotenburg, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Hamburg-Elbe River/Germany, the ship will dock in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and serve as a "floating hotel" for the North Sea Jazz Festival July 13 – 15, stay in port in the Netherlands and conclude on July 17.

Known as the innovators of the ultimate, only full-charter jazz cruises, the North Sea Jazz Cruise Hosted by Marcus Miller is a natural extension for Jazz Cruises, LLC. As creators of the original Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise hosted by Wayman Tisdale, The Latin Music Cruise hosted by Arturo Sandoval and Dave Koz & Friends at Sea, they continue to set higher standards by offering unique opportunities that go above and beyond the ordinary.

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Austrian-born jazz legend Oscar Klein dead at 76

Austrian-born jazz legend Oscar Klein, who fled when the Nazis took power and recorded with Lionel Hampton and other greats during a career that spanned four decades, has died, local media reported Wednesday. He was 76.

Klein was not ill and his death Tuesday in Germany came as a surprise, the Austria Press Agency reported, saying a sister of the musician had confirmed his passing. He had lived with his wife in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Born Jan. 5, 1930, to a Jewish family in the southern Austrian city of Graz, Klein and his family fled the country after the Nazi regime annexed Austria just before World War II and settled in Switzerland. He had planned to celebrate his 77th birthday next month with a concert in the alpine city of Innsbruck, APA said.

Best known for his aggressive and expressive Chicago-style trumpeting, which made him a fixture on the European club and festival scene, Klein also played clarinet, guitar and harmonica and began his career when the jazz boom was just taking hold in Vienna in the 1950s.

He teamed up with Joe Zawinul in the band Fatty George, later moved to the Tremble Kids and the Dutch Swing College Orchestra, and went on to play with Hampton, Wild Bill Davison, Bill Coleman, Dexter Gordon and other jazz greats.

Completely self-taught, Klein never learned to read music, but he made nearly 200 recordings during his 40-year career, during which he specialized in "old" jazz, Dixieland, swing and blues.

Trained as a graphic artist, he spoke seven languages and worked as an art teacher in Florence, Italy, when he was just 18.

In 1996, the late Austrian President Thomas Klestil presented Klein with the nation's silver Medal of Honor, one of Austria's highest decorations.

Details on survivors and funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

AP

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Smooth Jazz Chart | Week Ended 12/11/06







LW TW Artist Album (Label)
1 - 1 - George Benson & Al Jarreau - "Givin' It Up" (Concord)
2 - 2 - Boney James - "Shine" - (Concord)
4 - 3 - Paul Hardcastle - "Jazzmasters V" (Trippin n' Rhythm)
3 - 4 - Pieces Of A Dream "Pillow Talk" - (Heads Up)
10 - 5 - Wayman Tisdale - "Way Up" (Rendezvous)
9 - 6 - Kirk Whalum - "Give Me The Reason" - VA - Forever, For Always, For Luther II (Rendezvous)
6 - 7 - Marion Meadows - "Dressed To Chill" - (Heads Up)
8 - 8 - David Benoit - "Full Circle" - (Peak)
7 - 9 - Peter White - "Playin' Favorites" (Columbia)
5 - 10 - Eric Darius - "Just Getting Started" (Narada Jazz)



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Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Costello, Krall have twins

Elvis Costello and wife Diana Krall are the parents of twin boys.

The new arrivals -- named Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James -- were born on Wednesday, according to a statement from the couple. "We are ecstatic!" the statement continued, going on to add that "mother and sons are doing splendidly."

The births came on the couple's third wedding anniversary. The statement provided no other details on the twins.

Costello, 52, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer known for songs like "Veronica," "Pump It Up" and "Alison." He most recently collaborated with Allen Toussaint on the album "The River in Reverse." The 42-year-old Krall, a jazz singer, released her latest album, "From This Moment On," in September.

The couple live in New York. This is Costello's third marriage, and Krall's first.

CNN - AP

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Upcoming Jazz Releases | December

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Tue 12-Dec-2006

Annisteen Allen - About to Blow My Top (England) (Revola)
Aretha Franklin - Love Songs (England) (WEA) - Reissue
Art Tatum - Album (+ 5 Bonus Tracks) (England) (MSI) - Reissue
Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (England) (Brook) - Reissue
Baby Face Willete - Behind the 8 Ball (Spain) (Groove Hut) - Reissue
Dave Pike - Jazz for the Jet Set (Wounded Bird) - Reissue
Herbie Hancock - Voyager (England) (Sanctuary) - Reissue
John Lewis - Evening with Two Pianos (Collectables) - Reissue
John McLaughlin - Marbles (England) (Brook) - Reissue
Jon Butcher - American Dreams (England) (Sanctuary)
Kahil El'Zabar - Deeper Soul Remix Project (Deeper Soul)
Kenny Drew - Trippin' (Remastered) (Japan) (BMG) - Reissue
Ketil Bjornstad - Rainbow Sessions (England) (Universal) - 2+ CDs
Larry Nozelo - Kaleidoscopin' (Dominic)
Lucky Millinder - Let it Roll Again (England) (MSI) - Reissue
Miles Davis - Trio with Paul Chambers & Art Taylor (MSI) - Reissue
Music Company - Rubber Soul Jazz (BGP)
Nat Adderley - Hummin' (Collectables) - Reissue
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - In Concert (NTSC/R0) (Immortal) - DVD-Video
Ruby Braff - Complete Original Quartet/Quintet Sessions (Spain) (Gambit) - Reissue
Ruby Braff - Complete Recordings Featuring Jim Hall (Spain) (Gambit) - Reissue
Sonny Clark - Complete Studio Recordings (Spain) (Gambit) - Reissue
Stephen Sondheim - Stephen Sondheim's Putting it Together (Image) - Reissue - DVD-Video
Various Artists - Masterworks Reworked (Groove Gravy)
Various Artists - Nu Jazz Sessions (Groove Gravy)
Various Artists - Ramsey Lewis' Legends of Jazz Season 1 Volume 3 (Weasel Disc) - DVD-Video
Various Artists/Ramsey Lewis - Legends of Jazz Season 1: Vol. 3 (Weasel Disc) - DVD-Video



Fri 15-Dec-2006

Neil Alexander & NAIL - Tugging At The Infinite (Pdog Records)



Tue 19-Dec-2006

Bobby Hutcherson Quartet - Little B's Poem (PID) - Reissue
Celso Fonseca / Ronaldo Bastos - Slow Motion Bossa Nova (Limited Edition + 1 Bonus Track) (Japan) (Bomba) - Reissue
Charlie Parker - Bird's the Word (PID) - Reissue
Chet Baker / Lighthouse All-Stars - Hot & Cool (PID) - Reissue
Count Basie - Basie Swing (PID) - Reissue
Dexter Gordon - Dexterity (PID) - Reissue
Dinah Washington - Mad About the Boy: 18 Great Songs (PID) - Reissue
Duke Ellington - How Do You Duke (PID) - Reissue
Eartha Kitt - Lovin' Spree (PID) - Reissue
Glenn Miller - Essential (PID) - Reissue
Grover Washington - Platinum Collection (England) (WEA) - Reissue
Joao Gilberto - Ele E Carioca (Limited Edition) (Japan) (Bomba) - Reissue
Lionel Hampton - Good Vibes (PID) - Reissue
Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World (PID) - Reissue
Paul WIlliamson Quintet - Far Away Here (Australia) (Jazzhead)
Sarah Vaughan - Divine Miss V (PID) - Reissue - 2+ CDs
Sarah Vaughan - Sinner of Saint (PID) - Reissue
Stan Getz - Live in Europe (PID) - Reissue
William Parker / Little Huey Creative Orchestra - For Percy Heath (Victo)
Wynton Marsalis - Live at Bubba's (PID) - Reissue



Mon 25-Dec-2006

Emily Remler - This is Me (Justice) - Reissue
Herb Ellis - Roll Call (Justice) - Reissue
Indo British Ensemble - Curried Jazz (England) (Harkit)
Kellye Gray - Standards in Gray (Justice) - Reissue
Kemit Ruffins - World on a String (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Cliff Dance (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Impending Bloom (Justice) - Reissue
Nancy King / Glenn Moore - Potato Radio (Justice) - Reissue
Various Artists - Just Friends: A Gathering in Tribute to Emily Remler (Justice) - Reissue



Tue 26-Dec-2006

Anita O'Day - Live at Ronnie Scott's (Image) - DVD-Video
Dinah Washington - Teach Me Tonight (Australia) (Jazz) - Reissue
Gilbert Sigrist - Jazz Loves Paris (Canada) (XXI-21)
Incognito - Bee & Things & Flowers (Narada)
Jack Sheldon - Quartet & Quintet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Jeri Southern - Coffee Cigarettes & The Memories (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - About the Blues (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Julie London - At Home (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
June Christy - Duet (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Kenny Drew - Talkin' & Walkin' (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Memphis Slim - Live at Ronnie Scott's London (Image) - DVD-Video
Nat King Cole - Vocal Classics and Instrumental Classics (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Sonny Criss - Plays Cole Porter (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Sonny Stitt - Sonny Stitt & The New Yorkers (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue
Stan Getz - At Storyville (Japan) (Virgin) - Reissue



Wed 27-Dec-2006

Izumi Kato - Kotoba (Japan) (LDC) - Reissue



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Friday, December 08, 2006

Grammy Nominations

NARAS announced Grammy nominations this morning, Dec. 7, appropriately enough on Pearl Bailey Day, for recordings released during the eligibility year spanning Oct. 1, 2005, through Sept. 30, 2006. Highlights of particular interest to the smooth jazz and jazz communities follow.

Breakthrough artist embraced by smooth jazz, Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On" (Capitol) is nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.

Pop Instrumental Performance for solo, duo, group or collaborative performances: George Benson and Al Jarreau's "Mornin'" (Concord/Monster).

Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Gerald Albright "New Beginnings" (Peak); Larry Carlton "Fire Wire" (Bluebird/RCA Victor); Fourplay "X" (Bluebird/RCA Victor); Peter Frampton "Fingerprints" (A&M Records/New Door); Spyro Gyra "Wrapped In A Dream" (Heads Up International).

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: Lionel Richie "I Call It Love" (IDMG).

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: George Benson & Al Jarreau "Breezin'" (Concord/Monster).

Best Contemporary Jazz Album: Béla Fleck & The Flecktones "The Hidden Land" (Columbia); Groove Collective "People People Music Music" (Savoy Jazz Worldwide); Christian Scott "Rewind That" (Concord Jazz); Sex Mob "Sexotica" (Thirsty Ear); Mike Stern "Who Let The Cats Out?" (Heads Up International).

Best Jazz Vocal Album: Karrin Allyson "Footprints" (Concord Jazz); Roberta Gamberini "Easy To Love" (Groovin' High/Kindred Rhythm); Nancy King "Live At Jazz Standard With Fred Hersch" (Maxjazz); Diana Krall "From This Moment On" (Verve); Nancy Wilson "Turned To Blue" (MCG Jazz).

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo: Michael Brecker "Some Skunk Funk" (Telearc Jazz/BHM); Pacquito D'Rivera "Pac man" (Alma); Taylor Eigsti "Freedom Jazz Dance (Concord Jazz); Roy Haynes "Hippidy Hop (Drum Solo)" (Dreyfus Jazz); Branford Marsalis "Hope" (Marsalis Music/Rounder).

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: Ornette Coleman "Sound Grammar" (Sound Grammar); Chick Corea "The Ultimate Adventure" (Stretch); Trio Beyond "Saudades: Jack DeJohnette, Larry Goldings & John Scofield" (ECM); Kenny Garrett "Beyond The Wall" (Nonesuch); Sonny Rollins "Sonny, Please" (Doxy).

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Randy Brecker With Michael Brecker, Jim Beard, Will Lee, Peter Erskine, Marcio Doctor & Vince Mendoza conducting The WDR Big Band Köln "Some Skunk Funk" (Telarc/BHM); Bob Brookmeyer, New Art Orchestra "Spirit Music" (Artist Share); Joe Lovano Ensemble "Streams Of Expression" (Blue Note); Mingus Big Band "Live In Tokyo At The Blue Note" (Sunnyside/Sue Mingus Music); The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra "Up From The Skies: Music Of Jim McNeely" (Planet Arts).

Best Latin Jazz Album: Ignacio Berroa "Codes" (Blue Note); Edsel Gomez "Cubist Music" (Zoho); The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project "Simpático" (ArtistShare); Dafnis Prieto "Absolute Quintet" (Zoho); Diego Urcola, Edward Simon, Avishai Cohen, Antonio Sanchez & Pernell Saturnino "Viva (CAM).

Congratulations to Concord, which snares a total of 29 Grammy nominations.

By Carol Archer - radioandrecords.com

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Can Zune catch iPod?

Microsoft Corp. says it expects to sell 1 million of its new Zune music players through the first half of 2007. That figure would pale in comparison to Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iPod, but Microsoft contends it would be a good start.

"We think that's actually pretty awesome," said Bryan Lee, corporate vice president for Microsoft's entertainment group.

The $250 Zune, whose 30 gigabyte hard drive can hold 7,500 songs, debuted in mid-November to mixed reviews.

One unique aspect of the Zune, its ability to let users wirelessly send songs to each other, has been panned for allowing shared music to be played only three times in three days before expiring.

Microsoft executives have played down any suggestions that the Zune is an attempt to quickly steal enormous chunks of market share from Apple, the Silicon Valley-based rival that says it sold 39 million iPods of various sizes in the 12 months ended September 30.

Microsoft has mainly cast the Zune as a first step that would be successful even if it remains a small No. 2 to iPod in the category of higher-end music players.

However, Lee said Wednesday that Microsoft expects to eventually "be the leader" in the category, especially once Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft rolls out more models of Zunes and starts selling them internationally.

For now Zune is available only in the United States. No overseas sales plans have been disclosed.

If initial sales figures are any indication, the Zune is far from being a blockbuster.

Unit sales in the Zune's first two weeks were roughly the same, according to The NPD Group, which tracks the market. It ranked Zune No. 2 among all MP3 portable music players in its first week of availability, but promotions for rival devices -- including much cheaper players -- during the "Black Friday" week of Thanksgiving had Zune slipping to No. 5.

At Amazon.com on Wednesday, the black Zune was the 55th-best selling item in electronics, well behind competing music players from Apple, SanDisk Corp. and Creative Technology Ltd.

But NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker said it is far too early to draw conclusions about Zune's fate.

"From a purely sales performance, I think it's done fine," Baker said. "I didn't expect it to sell zillions of units out of the gate."

CNN - AP

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"Sirius" Problems for Satellite Radio

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (SIRI) isn't growing quite as fast as it thought just a month ago. In fact, it's 200,000 subscribers short of an estimate it gave a few weeks ago. It announced that by the year end 5.9 million to 6.1 million listeners would be tuning in. That was down from 6.3 million forecasted in August of this year. Three weeks ago, the company said it was on track to hit that number. But it won't. Growth isn't happening as quickly as anticipated.

It's not like listeners are going to the competition. XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) revised its subscriber forecast down several times this year. It's looking for year end subscribers to be between 7.7 million and 7.9 million. That's down from the 9 million it expected at the beginning of the year. Both companies agree there's a softness in the retail market.

That's because listeners have more options than they did even 2 years ago. Now they can plug in their iPods or listen to HD [High Definition] Radio while they're driving. Of course, it doesn't help that complaints of transmission problems have increased, as well as others. New subscribers don't see those as selling points.

What seems to be happening here is a limited universe for a market, one that only has so many subscribers. While Satellite and XM are battling it out for those listeners, neither is making money, and both are spending freely for new content or stealing content from the other. As an example, Sirius recently signed Nascar which will move from XM in January. That's not new content.

Howard Stern was signed last year with a lot of fanfare. Sirius hoped it would make all the difference. There's no question many new listeners signed up to hear an unfettered Howard Stern titillate his followers. But that wasn't enough to put profits on the bottom line. And unless these two giants merge [which would have real anti-trust problems], the promise to investors
of profits within some reasonable time frame seems more and more remote. And if the two were to merge, beware of the cost of a subscription because there would be no competition.

Sirius and XM have serious problems, and Howard Stern, NASCAR and college football aren't the fix. It looks like a lot of money was spent wooing a market that is now showing itself to be relatively small. Unless the universe of listeners expands, these two radio giants will continue to battle over the subscribers who are simply looking to get the best deal for listening to commercial free radio.

Ted Allrich - seekingalpha.com

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Record Industry Slowly Embraces MP3

The tune seems to be changing ever so slowly at some record labels when it comes to DRM. Both out of consumer demand and to some extent necessity, some have begun to offer digital downloads in the unprotected MP3 format.

Record labels have so far resisted offering popular artists in the format, citing piracy concerns. But with the iPod and its closed DRM ecosystem becoming ever more prevalent, industry executives are looking for ways to continue the growth of digital music.

The market does need some help - for the last two quarters digital music sales have stalled, even dropping from the first quarter of the year. This is the first time that has happened since 2003, when Apple first debuted the iTunes Music Store.

What has resulted is a debate among music executives, with those who still support using DRM butting heads with those who see MP3 as a way to expand the nascent market.

On Tuesday, Blue Note Records, a division of EMI, announced it would offer the latest single titled "Thinking About You" from jazz-pop artist Norah Jones as an unprotected MP3 download through Yahoo. In addition, Christian rock band Relient K would also offer two of its songs in MP3.

These artists are not the only popular acts who have done so; they follow several others including Panic! At The Disco, Jessica Simpson, and Jesse McCartney, which all at one time have offered MP3s to consumers.

In addition, AOL Music has been offering MP3 downloads since July of last year from both mainstream and independent artists.

MP3 downloads also solve another conundrum for music labels: allowing more of the industry to participate in the rapid success of Apple's iPod. With songs available in the open format, consumers could use other services than iTunes, possibly loosening Apple's tight grip on the industry.

Getting rid of DRM has been somewhat of an expressed goal of some executives at Yahoo. David Goldberg, vice president of the company's music unit, has argued that DRM has done nothing to help the industry, and is in fact hurting it.

He argues that consumers find DRM to be a hindrance, and those who have a large catalog of protected music are much less likely to switch to a device that does not support the technology.

Goldberg hopes to have a large catalog of MP3 content on Yahoo! Music by next year, and is talking to independent labels about offering their content on the service. Many do already in the MP3 format through eMusic, which has grown to become the second largest digital music service in the US.

By Ed Oswald, BetaNews

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EMI hopes online music trials will jazz up sales

EMI Group, the world's third-largest music company, is piloting a new email service offering free trial plays of music in an attempt to lift digital revenue as piracy erodes sales of CDs.

eListeningPost starts today

eListeningPost, which starts today, would provide artists with a secure version of their track or video that could be e-mailed to fans, said co-founder Greg Holloway. Fans could listen to a track as many as five times, with options to buy it or email it to friends.

EMI, Warner Music, Vivendi's Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment are counting on sales of downloaded music as they battle with piracy.

Music sector sales fell 4 percent in the first half as digital revenue only partly made up for a 10 percent drop in physical sales, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in October.

"Our business is viral"

"Our business is viral," Holloway said. "We provide... music in a way that you can share it with all your friends. The unsigned artists can benefit and the biggest band in the world can benefit as well."

After a one-time $45 (R328) set-up fee, artists could send unlimited video or audio e-previews to fans for $9 a month, eListeningPost said. Artists would then receive all the proceeds from download sales.

Artists could also combine previews with relevant advertising, getting 60 percent of any ad revenue their previews generated, Holloway said.

eListeningPost was in talks with Warner Music and Sony BMG about testing the service, he said.

Holloway set up eListeningPost with Keith Harris, the chairman of MusicTank, who has represented Stevie Wonder for almost 30 years.

"Record sales are just as important now as they were before, but there are a lot more ways to generate revenue," Holloway said. "You are getting rid of the middle men. It's a natural evolution."

Artists could use their own email service to send epreviews to fans or they could use eListeningPost's bulk email and address the management system for an additional monthly fee, eListeningPost said.

The service used digital rights management from RealNetworks and Microsoft and could be branded "in-house" with artist or label designs.

"I see this as a way that artists can communicate directly with their fans, and also get paid for the use of their music on their own terms," Harris said. - Bloomberg


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In the Blogosphere, an Evolving Movement Brings Life to a Lost Era of Jazz

“Jazz just kind of died,” said the saxophonist Branford Marsalis. “It just kind of went away for a while.” He was looking back to the 1970s, an uncertain era when some jazz musicians turned to rock or funk, and others pushed deeper into heady abstraction. His assessment, conveyed in the final episode of “Jazz,” the influential Ken Burns film, seemed as definitive as a coffin nail.
But over the last six months, a far-flung contingent of musicians and aficionados has made an effort to upend that prevailing notion, armed with stacks of vinyl, high-speed Internet and a shared conviction that things back then were really far from moribund. Along the way, they touched off the year’s most animated public discourse on jazz, a democratic exchange that culminated last weekend in the debut of behearer.com, an interactive database devoted to the music’s most conflicted period.

.....continue article at nytimes.com

By NATE CHINEN - nytimes.com


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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Smooth Jazz Chart | Week Ended 12/4/06







LW TW Artist Album (Label)
2 - 1 - George Benson & Al Jarreau - "Givin' It Up" (Concord)
1 - 2 - Boney James - "Shine" - (Concord)
3 - 3 - Pieces Of A Dream "Pillow Talk" - (Heads Up)
4 - 4 - Paul Hardcastle - "Jazzmasters V" (Trippin n' Rhythm)
8 - 5 - Eric Darius - "Just Getting Started" (Narada Jazz)
5 - 6 - Marion Meadows - "Dressed To Chill" - (Heads Up)
6 - 7 - Peter White - "Playin' Favorites" (Columbia)
9 - 8 - David Benoit - "Full Circle" - (Peak)
12 - 9 - Kirk Whalum - "Give Me The Reason" - VA - Forever, For Always, For Luther II (Rendezvous)
7 - 10 - Wayman Tisdale - "Way Up" (Rendezvous)



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Monday, December 04, 2006

Upcoming Jazz Releases | December

Upcoming Jazz Releases

Tue 05-Dec-2006

Ella Fitzgerald - Very Best of the Songbooks: Golden Anniversary (Verve) - Reissue
Loreena McKennitt - No Journey's Son (Verve) - Reissue - DVD-Video
Ornette Coleman - To Whom Who Keeps a Record (Italy) (Water) - Reissue
Sheryl Crow - Wildflower Tour; Live in New York (Universal) - DVD-Video


Tue 12-Dec-2006

Music Company - Rubber Soul Jazz (BGP)
Stephen Sondheim - Stephen Sondheim's Putting it Together (Image) - Reissue - DVD-Video
Various Artists/Ramsey Lewis - Legends of Jazz Season 1: Vol. 3 (Weasel Disc) - DVD-Video


Fri 15-Dec-2006

Neil Alexander & NAIL - Tugging At The Infinite (Pdog Records)


Tue 26-Dec-2006

Anita O'Day - Live at Ronnie Scott's (Image) - DVD-Video
Memphis Slim - Live at Ronnie Scott's London (Image) - DVD-Video


Information provided by allaboutjazz.com

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