Friday, October 31, 2008

Chart Notes With Gordon Murray

In which we parse the numbers
By Gordon Murray
Dave Koz rides "Life In The Fast Lane" (Capitol) to No. 1 for a third week. Eric Darius follows his lead once again, as "Goin’ All Out" (Blue Note/Capitol) stays perched at No. 2, making this the fourth consecutive week that he & Koz have held the top two spots.

Euge Groove registers this week's Most Increased Plays, zooming into the Top 10 with "Religify" (Narada Jazz/Capitol) (11-7, +45). This marks the fifth consecutive Top 10 smash for 'Mr.' Groove on the Nielsen BDS chart, breaking him out of a tie with Richard Elliot, who has four, for most Top 10 hits. All of Groove's hits have reached No. 3 or higher, and "Religify" is likely to follow suit given such forward momentum. A brief recap of Groove's previous four Top 10s and their peaks: "Get Em Goin'" (1, 5 weeks), "Chillaxin'" (3), "Born 2 Groove" (1, 1 week), "Mr. Groove" (2).

British keyboardist Oli Silk coolly introduces us to his new album "The Limit’s The Sky," which hit retail this week, with first single "Chill Or Be Chilled" (Trippin 'N' Rhythm). The song not only ranks second on the chart’s Most Increased Plays list (+26), but is the top debut of the week, at No. 25.

Also new this week is Chris Standring "Have Your Cake & Eat It" (Ultimate Vibe), at No. 30. "Cake" serves as the follow-up to Standring's "Love & Paragraphs," which climbed all the way up to No. 2 in the spring. Both songs hail from his "Love & Paragraphs" album, which debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart on May 10.

Last week's Most Added song, "Ordinary" (Peak/CMG), is this week's Airpower honoree. Wayne Brady's song is up 17-16 (+5) on the Detections chart and 22-20 (+10%) on the Audience side, allowing for the Airpower designation. This week's Most Added title is flamenco guitar star Jesse Cook's latest, "Havana" (Coach House/Koch), with adds reported at WNWV/Cleveland and XM Watercolors. "Havana" is the follow-up to current hit, "Café Mocha," (Coach House/Koch) which hit No. 5 in early September. Cook's album "Frontiers" has spent 12 non-consecutive weeks atop Billboard's Top New Age Albums chart between the April 5 and Sept. 20 issue dates.

Recommended Listening: Hasidic Jewish reggae star (really!) Matisyahu graces us with a new release for the first time since January 2007 with his brand new "Shattered" (JDub/Or/Epic/Sony Music). This time out, Matisyahu expands beyond the vocal and musical stylings of prior efforts, incorporating elements of rock and hip-hop. It's terrific to hear Matisyahu's musical ingenuity on this less distinctly reggae yet still deliciously enjoyable EP. His experimentation is fun and sure to rouse even more conversation about such an already non-traditional artist. The digital-only four-track EP (available at iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, Zune, and serves as the pre-follow-up to his 2006 Grammy-nominated effort, "Youth," and is once again mainly produced with David Kahne. Fans will get a full-length album, "Light," early next year. Priced to sell at $3.96, (93-cents more than my venti iced Americano at Starbucks) this bridge to "Light" becomes the artist's fourth No. 1 album on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart in the November 8 issue, and his second to debut at the top. Only Bob Marley, Beenie Man, and UB40 have more No. 1s on that chart.

By Gordon Murray

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Al Jarreau Hits The Road With 'Holiday & Hits' Tour

Al Jarreau has announced tour dates to promote his first-ever holiday album, called Al Jarreau Christmas, which was released on October 14th. The Grammy-winning artist kicks off his Holiday & Hits tour on December 6th in New Haven, Connecticut.

Al Jarreau Christmas includes Jarreau's unique versions of "Winter Wonderland," "The Christmas Song," "Come All Ye Faithful," "White Christmas," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and others.

Earlier this year, Jarreau released the hits collection Al Jarreau: Love Songs, and was originally planning to have a second volume of Love Songs out before the end of the year.

Though that hasn't materialized yet, the artist also said that he's planned to record his next studio set for 2009. He explained: "New stuff is a Christmas record, and I'm just tickled to death about how we're coming along on this record. So there's that, and then there'll be another best-of collec tion coming th is year, so three projects, and before '08 I'll be starting on a regular kind of project."

Dates for the Al Jarreau Holiday & Hits tour include:
December 6 - John Lyman Center - New Haven, CT
December 7 - State Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ
December 11 - Northern Lights Theater - Milwaukee, WI
December 12 - Midland Theatre - Kansas City, MO
December 13 - The Venue - Hammond, IN

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Oli Silk Plays His Part In Bringing Smooth Jazz Back To The UK

Keyboard star Oli Silk had to journey from his home in the United Kingdom to find fame and fortune in the USA. Now he is playing his part in bringing smooth jazz back to England where from January 21st - 25th 2009 he will be part of a unique musical experience at the renowned Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, London. The shows are intended to be the first in a series of ‘SKY fm Smooth Jazz Evenings’ and Silk will be performing with sax-men Jaared and Rocco Ventrella plus keyboard player Renato Falaschi.

SKY fm, which broadcasts on digital radio and television, is one of the few regular outlets for contemporary jazz in the UK and has done a great job in capturing the interest of the Pizza Express promotions team who see great value in staging this collaboration. Of course Pizza Express regulars are already familiar with Jaared who has been a constant in Peter White’s line-up whenever he tours in the UK.

Global fans of SKY fm's Smooth Jazz format are already clamoring for tickets to see this exciting lineup and, in addition, tickets will soon be available from - Those who cannot wait until January will have an early chance to see both Oli Silk and Jaared when they appear with Peter White on his imminent UK mini tour that commences at the Cinnamon Club in Altrincham this coming Friday.

For more go to

This is an original post by Denis Poole at Smooth Jazz Therapy

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spyro Gyra Focuses On A Theme For 'A Night Before Christmas'

Spyro Gyra has released its very first holiday recording this season with A Night Before Christmas. The set finds the very original and ecelectic contemporary jazz ensemble tackling some yuletide favorites, including "O Tannenbaum," "Let It Snow," "Christmastime Is Here," "Baby It's Cold Outside," "Silent Night," and "Carol Of The Bells."

The group's leader and saxophonist, Jay Beckenstein, says that when execs at their label, Heads Up, brought them the idea of a holiday set, the band immediately took to it. Beckenstein explained: "Everybody in this band writes, so inevitably when we put together a record of original material, the material is all over the place stylistically. And it's been really difficult to zero in on a record and a style. So this Christmas thing, because ninety percent of it wasn't gonna be our own material, was an opportunity to zero in on a direction. And where we went with it was kind of a traditional, old-fashioned, acoustic jazz record. "

Spyro Gyra will perform a couple of dates Stateside this month before heading out on an international tour. Upcoming dates include:
November 6 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
November 8 - Rochester, NY Roberts Cultural Life Center
December 12 - Norfolk, CT - Infinity Hall
December 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
December 14 - Troy, NY - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
December 16 - San Diego, CA - Anthology
December 18 - San Francisco, CA - The Rrazz Room At Hotel Nikko
January 30 - Austin, TX One World Theatre

By: Janine Coveney

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Boz Scaggs - “Speak Low” (Decca)

It’s been a long stretch since “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle” and “What Can I Say?,” Scaggs’ hits of the mid-’70s, but the years have served him well. “Speak Low” is his second CD of standards. And at first glance the immediate image that came to mind was that of yet another aging rock artist seeking resuscitation in the Great American Songbook. But the first couple of tunes — “Invitation” and “She Was Too Good To Me” - quickly dissuaded me of that notion. This is a set of performances from a guy who places everything he has at the service of the music, not vice versa (as in several other CDs of standards by former rock stars). Scaggs’ vocals, the warm, reedy quality of his sound, the conversational quality of his phrasing, the innate sense of swing, have a lot more to do with Johnny Mercer than they do with Mick Jagger. Add to that the superb selection of tunes - ranging from “I’ll Remember April,” “I Wish I Knew” and Mercer’s “Skylark” to “Ballad of the Sad Young Men,” “Dindi” and “Save Your Love For Me” — the Gil Evans-inspired charts by Gil Goldstein, and Bob Sheppard’s fine saxophone work.

This is a review By Don Heckman The International Review Of Music

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Upcoming Jazz Releases | 11/4/08

100 Cool Jazz Classics - 100 Cool Jazz Classics (Pid )
Agua Marina Deluxe - Agua Marina Deluxe (Percorsi )
Alex Tassel - Movements (Pid )
American Superstars - American Superstars (Membran )
Art Farmer / Gerry Mulligan / Art Pepper - 20th Century Jazz Masters (20th Cent Jazz Mast. ) - DVD-Video
Atjazz - Full Circle (Mantis Recordings )
Azimuth - Butterfly (Pid )
Barney Wilen - Afternoon In Paris (Lonehill )
Benny Goodman - Swing Era (Music Video Distributors) - DVD-Video
Bertin Duccio Quintet - Moving Off (Pid )
Bill Evans - Koln Concert 1976 (Gambit Spain )
Bill Evans - Live In Rome 1979 (Gambit Spain )
Bing Crosby - Bign Crosby Collection (Membran )
Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby Collection (Membran )
BSTC - Music For A Saturday Evening (All Natural, Inc. )
Buddy Defranco - Complete Mr Clarinet Sessions (Jazz Factory )
Cafe Praga - Cafe Praga (Percorsi )
Charlie Parker - Complete Savoy & Dial Sessions (Definitive )
Chris Minh Doky - Jazz Life : The Very Best Of Chris Minh Doky (Pid )
Christian Scott - Live At The Newport Jazz Festival (Concord )
Christian Scott - Live At Newport (Concord Jazz)
Claude Williamson - Cleopatra's Dream (M&I Japan )
Covered In The Lounge - Covered In The Lounge (Percorsi )
Dave Bailey - Complete Gutter Session (Lonehill )
David Axelrod - Live At The Royal Festival Hall (Vampi Soul )
David Axelrod - David Axelrod:Live At The Royal Festi (Vampi Soul/Lita )
David Hazeltine - Alice In Wonderland (Venus )
Enrico Intra Trio - Jazz In Studio (Family Affair Distribution SRL )
Equipe 84 - Stereoequipe (Pid )
European Union Quartet - European Union Quartet (GLP) - Book
European Union Quartet - European Union Quartet (GLP) - Book
Firehouse Five Plus Two - Swing Era Dixielanders (Disconforme ) - DVD-Video
Generous - Generous (Avex Trax Japan )
Gil Evans & Masabumi Kikuchi - Real Birth Of The Cool (Jazz Factor )
Godskitchen The Anthems 2008 - Godskitchen The Anthems 2008 (New State Uk )
Greyboy - Greyboy: 15 Years Of West Coast Cool (Ubiquity )
Harry Connick Jr. - What A Night! A Christmas Album (Columbia )
I Love Jazz - I Love Jazz (Wagram Music S.A. )
Incognito - More Tales Remixed (Pid )
Intro Collection - Sax At Midnight (Intro )
Intro Collection - Ballroom (Intro )
Intro Collection - Kids-Favourite Nursery Rhymes Songs & Stories (Intro )
Jacqui Naylor - You Don't Know Jacq (Ruby )
Jazz Voice 1: Ladies Sing Jazz - Jazz Voice 1: Ladies Sing Jazz (Jazz Voice ) - DVD-Video
Jazzman Presents - Welcome To The Party (Pid )
John Coltrane - Four Tenors ( ) - DVD-Video
John Coltrane / B.B. King / Sonny Rollins - 20th Century Jazz Masters (20th Cent Jazz Mast. ) - DVD-Video
John Coltrane / Miles Davis - Live In Zurich (Gambit Spain )
Johnny Griffin - Lady Heavy Bottons Waltz (Pid )
Johnny Mercer - Songbook: Blues In The Night (Definitive )
K.J. Denhert - Lucky 7 (Membran )
Kora Jazz Trio - Part III (Rue Stendhal )
Late Afternoon Jazz - Late Afternoon Jazz (Pid )
Lodeck - Postcards From The Third Rock (Groove Attack )
Marx Brothers - Horse Feathers (Sound Track Factory )
Massimo / Tempia - Alter Ego 2 1 (Pid )
Matthias Schriefl - Shreefpunk Plus Strings (Pid )
Miles Davis - Out Of The Blue (Membran )
Paolo Fromage - Urban Thing (Pid )
Peter Brotzmann - Brain Of The Dog In Section (Atavistic )
Serge Chaloff - Blue Serge/Boston Blow-Up (Definitive )
Seven Steps To the Green Door - Step In 2 My World (Prog Rock )
Sidney Bechet - Petite Floor (Membran )
Simply Jazz Greats - Simply Jazz Greats (Simply )
Simply Late Night Jazz - Simply Late Night Jazz (Simply )
Stephane Wrembel - Gypsy Rumble (Amoeba )
Sun Ra - Futuristic Sound (Lonehill )
Swing Masters - Benny King Of Swing 2 (Dare )
Teddy Stauffer - Teddy Stauffer & The Original Teddies (Membran )
Thea Crudi - Star Eyes (Pid )
Tuck & Patti - A Gift of Love (33rd Street)
Tuck & Patti - Gift Of Love (Artist Garage )
Tuck & Patti - Chocolate Moment (Artist Garage )
Vigilante - 4 (Pid )

Billie Holiday - Essential Collection (West End/Cityhall)
Bud Powell - Bouncing With Bud (Dreyfus )
Charlie Christian - Complete Live Recordings (Definitive Classics)
Earl May / Billy Taylor / Ed Thigpen - With Earl May & Ed Thigpen (Lonehill Jazz Spain )
Eddie Costa - Complete RCDGS (Lonehill )
Woody Herman - Complete Capitol Sessions (Definitive (Germany) )

Our thanks to:New release information provided by
The Upcoming Release Center at is the most comprehensive new release listing for jazz music on the internet.
The information is updated biweekly by John Kelman

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

David Benoit Releases Peanuts Retrospective

Since breaking through to instrumental stardom in the mid-80s with his inimitable jazz-funk version of “Linus and Lucy,” David Benoit has regaled hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide with frequent tributes to Vince Guaraldi and the music of Peanuts.

His ongoing passion culminates with Jazz For Peanuts – A Retrospective of the Charlie Brown Television Themes, a celebration of Guaraldi’s impact on several generations of jazz musicians featuring six dynamic new tracks, three composed by Benoit and three by Guaraldi.

Complementing these fresh cuts are Guaraldi’s original classic recording of “Linus And Lucy” and themes by Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and Dave Grusin (performed by Kenny G), that appeared on the This Is America, Charlie Brown series of TV specials that aired in the late 80s.

“My original concept was more than just the latest David Benoit Peanuts album, but a spirited retrospective of some of the top TV themes from throughout the strip’s history,” states Benoit. “I went through 25 videos of television specials to find what I felt were the most compelling.”

“It’s really about the legacy Vince left us all. He was a tremendous bebop player, but these Charlie Brown specials were not just another gig for him. He believed in these projects and loved and wrote music for children and children’s choirs extensively. He found a way to capture a childlike spirit in his music, and while none of us can match his brilliance, we’ve all done our parts to keep his spirit alive through music and recording projects like this.”

In conjunction with the release of Jazz For Peanuts – A Retrospective of the Charlie Brown Television Themes, the pianist is keeping another great tradition alive with his annual holiday tour A Charlie Brown Christmas with the David Benoit Quartet. In addition to his, Benoit will be performing with various children’s choirs and selected dates with local orchestras, including the Asia America Youth Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Redding Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. The 13-date tour runs from runs from November 21st through December 23rd.

For more information on the album which was released on October 28th, you can visit For more information on David Benoit you can visit

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Dave Koz Plays Concert In Israel, Set For Cruise

Saxophonist Dave Koz performed at a concert for peace in Israel on Monday (October 27th). The Grammy nominee was featured on the lineup for a gala concert titled Believe: Celebrating a Decade of Peacebuilding Activities in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Peres Center in Tel Aviv.

Other performers at the event included American Idol finalist Elliot Yamin, Donna Summer, Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, and others.

Koz will be back in the States this weekend as the host of the annual Dave Koz & Friends At Sea Cruise, which departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday (November 2nd). The cruise, which will be crammed with top smooth jazz talent, will sail to Grand Turk in Turks & Caicos, St. Thomas and St. Barth's in the Virgin Islands, and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas before returning on November 9th.

In other Koz cruise news, the saxophonist plans to join forces with bassist Wayman Tisdale, who hosts the annual Smooth Jazz Cruise, for a mega cruise event in 2010. More details will be forthcoming.

By: Janine Coveney

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The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings - Ninth Edition

Firmly established as the world’s leading guide to jazz, this celebrated reference book is a mine of fascinating information and insightful—often wittily trenchant—criticism. For this completely revised edition, Richard Cook and Brian Morton have reassessed each artist’s entry and updated the text to incorporate thousands of additional CDs and artists. The result is an endlessly browsable companion for jazz aficionados and novices alike. Makes a great holiday gift. - Book: Paperback | 6.77 x 9.09in | 1600 pages | ISBN 9780141034010 | 02 Dec 2008 | Penguin | 18 - AND UP

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Natalie Cole: Dialysis in the day, concerts at night

Cole has been ill but is eager to get on the road behind her new collection of unforgettable songs.

Natalie Cole is sitting comfortably on the couch in her spacious 10th floor condo overlooking Westwood. She's relaxed, and at one point, before making a comment about one of the songs on her new album, she takes a deep breath. That's something she couldn't have done a month ago, when she wound up hospitalized in New York, struck down with fluid-filled lungs and rapidly deteriorating kidneys.

"I didn't realize how close I was to checking out," Cole, 58, said Thursday.

It was a dramatic downturn that Cole, her doctors and those around her didn't expected. She had been on the tail end of treatment for hepatitis C, which she learned she was suffering from last February. It was a consequence of her much-publicized drug use in the 1970s and '80s -- for years she was addicted to heroin before she successfully completed rehab in 1983.

Read the entire article by Randy Lewis at The Los Angeles Times.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John Legend Releases 'Evolver' Today

As Grammy winner John Legend's brand-new CD, Evolver, is released today (October 28th), the singer and his music will be making a few appearances on CBS-TV this week to promote the project.

First, Legend has loaned his debut single, "Green Light," to CBS for use in the network's upcoming fall lineup promotional campaign, "The Biggest November Ever is Ready to Go on CBS," which launched Monday (October 27th). Other Legend tunes will be used on the network's daytime and nighttime lineups.

"No Other Love" will be heard in tonight's (October 28th) episode of the procedural drama NCIS, while on Thursday (October 30th), the new tune "Cross the Line" will be featured on the top-rated daytime drama The Young And The Restless.

Look for Legend himself to make an appearance this morning on The CBS Early Show. He'll also visit with David Letterman on Late Night on Thursday.

On the big screen, Legend is featured as the deceased lead singer of a popular soul singing group in the upcoming film Soul Men. Legend explained: "I play the third group member that left and became a solo artist but died. And the whole movie is kind of around the other two members who are doing like a road trip on the way to a reunion concert. And Bernie Mac and Samuel Jackson play the two main characters who are going on this cross country road trip."

Legend's "Green Light" has landed at Number 22 on the urban adult charts.

By: Janine Coveney

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Keyboardist Saunders dies aged 74

Keyboardist Merl Saunders, who played with acts including Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis, has died at the age of 74.

Some of his most famous music was made in the 1960s and 1970s in his collaborations with Jerry Garcia, lead singer with US rock band Grateful Dead.

The Saunders-Garcia Band made two albums in the 1970s and played together until Garcia's death in 1995.

Saunders died on Friday in San Francisco of complications following a stroke, his son said.

A message posted by his family on his website said he "stood for music and love".

"We loved him very much and we know that you, his fans, did too," the statement added.

"Sad as we are to lose him, we're very aware of being comforted by the affection coming from all those touched by that smile and that wonderful music."

His 1990 album Blues from the Rainforest, a collaboration with Garcia and drummer Muruga Booker, sold well in new age music charts.

He collaborated with many high-profile artists including David Soul and Bonnie Raitt.

He is survived by his long-term partner, two sons and a daughter.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Smooth Jazz Chart | 10/27/08

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)

1 - 1 - Eric Darius - "Goin' All Out" - Blue Note)

2 - 2 - Dave Koz - "Greatest Hits" - (Capitol)

3 - 3 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle V" -(Trippin 'n' Rhythm)

5 - 4 - Warren Hill - "La Dolce Vita" - (Koch)

4 - 5 - Tim Bowman - "Tim Bowman" - (Trippin 'n' Rhythm)

6 - 6 - Nick Colionne - "No Limits" - (Koch)

8 - 7 - Michael Lington - "Heat" - (NuGroove)

7 - 8 - Euge Groove - "Born 2 Groove" - (Narada/BlueNote)

9 - 9 - Earl Klugh - "The Spice Of Life" - (Koch)

10 - 10 - Wayman Tisdale - "Rebound" - (Rendezvous)

11 - 11 - Fourplay - "Energy - (Heads Up)

12 - 12 - Larry Carlton - "Greatest Hits" - (Rerecorded)

16 - 13 - Gerald Albright -"Sax For Stax" - (Peak)

18 - 14 - Jeff Lorber - "Heard That" - (Peak)

17 - 15 - Najee - "Rising Sun" - (Heads Up)

14 - 16 - Kenny G - "Rhythm & Romance" - (Concord)

19 - 17 - Mindi Abair - "Stars" - (Peak)

26 - 18 - Oli Silk - "The Limit's The Sky" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

15 - 19 - The Sax Pack - "The Sax Pack" - (Shanachie)

20 - 20 - Mick Hucknall - "Tribute To Bobby" - (

Visit to view the latest complete top 50 chart.

Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.

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