Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saxophonist Mindi Abair releases "In Hi-Fi Stereo" on May 18

After more than a decade of performing, songwriting and recording, saxophonist/singer Mindi Abair takes a step back from the more polished sensibilities of contemporary jazz and embraces the sounds of past decades – specifically the ‘60s and early ‘70s, a period widely regarded as the golden age of R&B, soul and funk. The result is In Hi-Fi Stereo, her new album on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

“This album is a reflection of some of the older, more soulful records I’ve been listening to in the last couple years,” says Abair, firing off a list of favorites that include Al Green, Alain Toussaint, Junior Walker, King Curtis, Archie Bell and the Drells, and many others.

Co-produced by Abair and R&B mainstay Rex Rideout, In Hi-Fi Stereo includes a roster of players representing the old school as well as the new. In addition to Abair’s touring band, the album is seasoned with a number of guest players: veteran drummer James Gadson, bassist Reggie McBride, Mindi's Berklee classmate and friend Lalah Hathaway, Ryan Collins and David Ryan Harris.

Pre-order at In Hi-Fi Stereo

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Lee Ritenour Announces Six String Theory Guitar Competition Grand Prize Winner

Sixteen year old guitarist Shon Boublil of Montreal, Canada, was named the grand prize winner of Lee Ritenour's Yamaha Six String Theory Guitar Competition at the final competition held recently at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA. Thirteen aspiring guitarists from all over the world were selected to compete in the finals which awarded six top prizes, including the grand prize--a full scholarship to Boston's renowned Berklee School of Music, a guest star performance on the all-star guitar CD SIX STRING THEORY being released on Concord Records, a Yamaha guitar endorsement and more. Scheduled for release June 2010, the SIX STRING THEORY CD features along with Ritenour: B. B. King, George Benson, Steve Lukather, John Scofield, Pat Martino, Mike Stern, Neal Schon, Slash, Vince Gill, Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Andy McKee, Guthrie Govan, Joe Robinson and Kazumi Watanable.

Sponsors for the LEE RITENOUR YAMAHA SIX STRING THEORY GUITAR COMPETITION include: Yamaha Corporation, Monster Cable, Concord Records, Berklee School of Music, The Broad Stage, D’Addario Strings, Jazziz Magazine, Music Connection Magazine.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 29, 2010

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
2 - 1 - Peter White - "Good Day" - (Peak/Concord)
1 - 2 - Jackiem Joyner - "Lil' Man Soul - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
3 - 3 - Richard Elliot - "Rock Steady" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
5 - 4 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
7 - 5 - George Benson - "Songs And Stories" - (Concord)
4 - 6 - Sade - "Soldier Of Love" - (Epic)
9 - 7 - Chris Standring - "Blue Bolero" - (Ultimate Vibe)
8 - 8 - Najee - "Mind Over Matter" - (Heads Up)
10 - 9 - Paul Brown & Marc Antoine - "Foreign Exchange" - (Peak)
11 - 10 - Maysa - "A Woman In Love" - (Shanachie)
15 - 11 - Rick Braun - "All It Takes" - (Artistry)
6 - 12 - Euge Groove - "Sunday Morning" - (Shanachie)
14 - 13 - David Sanborn - "Only Everything" - (Decca/Universal)
19 - 14 - Kim Waters - "Love Stories" - (Shanachie)
12 - 15 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" - (NuGroove)
17 - 16 - Gregg Karukas - "GK" - (Trippin 'n' Rhythm)
16 - 17 - Lawson Rollins - "Espirito" - (Infinita/Baja/TSR)
13 - 18 - Boney James - "Send One Your Love" - (Concord)
25 - 19 - David Wells - "Skyline" - (Nuance)
20 - 20 - Greg Adams - "East Bay Soul" - (Ripa)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit to view the latest complete top 50 chart.
Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wife of Latin-Jazz Great Eddie Palmieri Shot in Queens Condo Building

By Aubrey Everett
The wife of legendary Latin-jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Eddie Palmieri was treated and released from a New York hospital Tuesday, March 23, after she was shot by her neighbor in the lobby of their Forest Hills condo building, according to the Associated Press.

Maria Cartagena, 81, has been charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and assault for firing one shot at Iraida Palmieri, 73. On Wednesday she pleaded not guilty to all charges and was being held on $25,000 bail.According to the criminal complaint, Palmieri was in the building’s elevator when it stopped on the fourth floor. Cartagena was standing outside of the elevator, drew a revolver from her purse and fired one shot. The shot grazed the woman’s head and she was treated and released from the hospital. The women lived one floor apart and both had filed complaints to the city’s complaint hot line regarding noise.

The New York Post and the New York Daily News have more.

Eddie Palmieri’s performance originally scheduled for tonight at the Tarrytown Music Hall in New York’s Hudson Valley has been rescheduled for April 9. Palmieri’s composition “Iraida,” which he included on his 1996 release Vortex, continues to appear in the pianist’s live repertoire.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - March 30, 2010

Alex Welsh & His Ba - Wild Bill Davidson With Alex Welsh (Phantom )
Alexis Cole - Someday My Prince Will Come (Venus )
Anita O'Day - Cool Heat (Disconforme )
Anton Quart Delecca - Lost City (Phantom )
Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Go Home / Chi Congo ( )
Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Go Home/Chi-Congo (Free Factory )
Art Pepper - Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section ( )
Art Pepper - Among Friends (Disconforme )
Bamboos - 4 (Tru Thoughts )
Benny Carter / Roy Eldridge - Urbane Jazz ( )
Bill Evans - Live At Lulu White's (Disconforme )
Bill Evans (Trio) - Live At Lulu White's ( )
Bloosom Dearie - Once Upon A Summertime / My Gentleman Friend ( )
Blossom Dearie - Once Upon A Summertime/My Gentleman Friend (Disconforme )
Bobby Caldwell (Singer / guitari - Consummate Bobby Caldwell (Big Deal )
Brad Treeby & The S - Wake Your Soul (Phantom )
Brian Lynch - Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra (Disconforme )
Brian Smith - Rendezvous (Fone )
Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (Sony Legacy )
Chet Baker - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Chet Baker (Trumpet / Com / Vocals - Playboys ( )
Christian Scott - Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Concord Jazz )
Cobblestone Jazz - Modern Deep Left Quartet (K7 )
Coleman Hawkins - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Count Basie - One More Time (Disconforme )
Dave Brubeck - Jazz At Oberlin ( )
Dave Brubeck - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Dave Brubeck - Absolutely Essential 3 CD Collection (Phantom )
David Grisman - Live (Wounded Bird )
Dexter Gordon - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Dizzy Gillespie - Complete Studio Recordings (Disconforme )
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet - Complete Studio Recordings ( )
Django Reinhardt - Plays The Music Of Porter & Kern (Disconforme )
Django Reinhardt - Complete Solo Guitar & Duet Recordings (Disconforme )
Don Rendell & Ian Carr Quintet - Live At The Union 1966 (Phantom )
Duke Ellington - Side By Side (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Duke Ellington - Brunswick Sessions, Vol. 1 (Jazz Information )
Duke Ellington / Johnny Hodges - Side By Side ( )
Eddie Higgins - Portraits Of Love (Venus Jap/Zoom )
Eddie Higgins - Essential Ballads Best (Phantom )
Eddie Higgins - Essential Standards Best (Phantom )
Edward Gordon Larry - Soul Jazz Records Presents Celestial (Indies Asia/Zoom )
Ella Fitzgerald - Best Of Irving Berlin (Indie Europe/Zoom )
Ellington Men - Big Sound (Ais )
Ellington Men / Johnny Hodges - Big Sound ( )
Emil Viklicky - Sinfonietta: Janacek Of Jazz ( )
Eric Alexander - Lazy Afternoon:Gentle Ballads IV (Phantom )
Eric Alexander - Lazy Afternoon: Gentle Ballads IV ( )
Eric Dolphy - Complete Bremen Concert (Jazz Lips )
Eric Dolphy / Charles Mingus - Complete Bremen Concert ( )
Francois Couturier - Un Jour Si Blanc (Universal )
Frank Kimbrough - Rumors (Palmetto)
Froy Aagre - Cycle Of Silence (Metropolitan Groove Merchants )
Fyer-Barnhart Intern - Break In The Lakes (Phantom )
Gerald Albright - Sax For Stacks (Universal )
Gerry Mulligan - In Sweden (Jazz Information )
Glenn Miller - Glenn Miller In Hollywood (Pickwick )
Graeme Bell & His D - 1947 & 1948 (Phantom )
Helen Humes - New Million Dollar Secret ( )
Helge Ensembl Sunde - Finding Nymo (Phantom )
Hiriam Bullock - Late Night Talk ( )
Jaared - Manhattan Nights (Trippin & Rhythm )
Jay-Jay Johanson - Original Album Classics ( )
Jazz Crusaders - Live At The Lighthouse (Phantom )
John Coltrane - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
John Coltrane - Absolutely Essential 3 CD Collection (Phantom )
John Coltrane / Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane ( )
John Dankworth & Cleo Laine - Jazz Matters (Phantom )
John di Martino - Romantic Jazz Trio: Moliendo Cafe ( )
Jon Secada - Clasico (Big3 )
Ken Vandermark - Chicago Volume (Smalltown Superjazz/Carrot Top )
Ken Vandermark - Milwaukee Volume (Smalltown Superjazz/Carrot Top )
Kenny Rankin - After The Roses (Sly Dog )
Laraaji / Edward Gordon Larry - Soul Jazz Records Presents Celestial Vibration (Phantom )
Louis Armstrong - In Sweden ( )
Lucky Millinder - Shorty's Got To Go ( )
Marc Mommaas - Landmarc (Sunny Side )
Martial Solal - Complete Recordings (Essential Jazz )
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue (Sony BMG )
Miles Davis - Round About Midnight (Jazz Track )
Miles Davis - Walkin' (Original Jazz Classics )
Miles Davis - Live In Berlin 1969 (Disconforme )
Miles Davis - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight (Ais )
Miles Davis Quintet - Live In Berlin 1969 ( )
Nikki Parrott - Fly Me To The Moon (Disconforme )
Oscar Peterson - Oscar Peterson Plays The Cole Porter Songbook ( )
Peter Brotzmann - Woodcuts (Smalltown Superjazz/Carrot Top )
Pop A La Catalana: Jazz Bossa & Groovy Sounds From - Pop A La Catalana: Jazz Bossa & Groovy Sounds From (Vadim Music )
Ralph Marterie - Into The 1950'S (Phantom )
Red Garland Trio - Groovy (Jazz Wax Records )
Renato Sellani - O Sole Mio (Disconforme )
Roy Eldridge - Urbane Jazz Of Roy Eldridge (Ais )
Samuel Hallkvist - Center (Caprice )
Sarah Vaughan - Featuring Clifford Brown (Jazz Track )
Sarah Vaughan - Masters Of American Music: Divine One 6 ( ) - DVD-Video
Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown (Ais )
Savannah Churchill - Time Out For Tears (Jukebox Lil )
Sidney Bechet / Martial Solal - Complete Recordings ( )
Sonny Rolllins - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Stacey Kent - Raconte Moi ( )
Stan Getz - Mellow Jazz (Phantom )
Stefano Battaglia - Pastorale (ECM (Label) )
Stefano Battaglia & Michele - Pastorale (Ecm )
Steve Waddells - Steve Waddells Creole Bells 1979 & 19 (Phantom )
Tiny Grimes - Loch Lomond (WHISKEY, WOMEN, AND ... )
Tomasz Stanko - Dark Eyes (ECM )

Joe Pass - Virtuoso (Universal Japan )
Miles Davis - Cookin' (Universal)
Miles Davis - Cookin With The Miles Davis Quintet (Universal Japan )
Red Garland - Groovy (JVC XRCD )
Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness (Fantasy)
Sonny Rollins - Way Out West (Universal)

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, March 24, 2010

Guitarist Peter White Bids Fans Good Day On New Album Of All-Original Songs [Telarc Video]

For nearly twenty years, Peter White has made the acoustic guitar a dynamic and expressive voice in the overall soundscape of contemporary jazz. Since his first recordings in the early 1990s, he has infused pop standards and his own original material with a sense of innovation and energy that rivals the abilities of many of his electric guitar counterparts. In a career that spans two decades and a dozen solo recordings, he continues to surprise seasoned fans and newcomers alike with his willingness to push the preconceived parameters of his instrument to new places.

But Whites musicianship is only part of the story. While his more recent recordings have primarily consisted of cover material, a collection of original songs had been simmering and taking shape for several years. It all comes to the surface on Good Day.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raul Midón - "Synthesis" - Release On April 13, 2010 On Decca [Video]

The New Mexico native funnels his creativity and fiery passion into a third album, Synthesis, which will be released by Universal in fall ’09 in Europe and Japan and in Spring ’10 in the United States.

Synthesis was recorded in Los Angeles in June 2009 with legendary producer and bassist Larry Klein, most noted for his work with luminaries such as Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, and Peter Gabriel. According to Raul, “Larry is the kind of producer who is coming from where I’m coming from.” In the studio, Raul is joined by session vets Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Dean Parks (guitar), and Jamie Muhoberac (keyboards), as well as Klein on bass.

What sets Synthesis apart is Midón’s hands-on involvement in the recording process. Raul was able to sidestep his blindness, using a voice-driven software called Sonar, to demo songs in his home studio. Raul explains, ”the program allows you to edit audio and have access to the things that everyone uses in recording, like compressors, reverb, effects, MIDI — all on a professional level. So each demo I recorded served as a way to figure out how to do something else in my studio.”

Raul Midón - The Making of "Synthesis"

All in all, Synthesis’ genre-defying blend of soul, pop, jazz, folk, and Latin elements showcases Midón’s evolution as an artist as he sets some of his more biting insights about betrayal, fear, loss, and the American Dream to deceptively up-tempo swinging rhythms and deliriously catchy melodies. While “Never Really Gave,” “Don’t Take It That Way,” and “Invisible Chains” crackle with tart observation, songs like “Next Generation,” “Call My Name,” and “Moment to Moment” strike a more uplifting tone. Raul reflected on the songwriting process by saying, “[Synthesis] about trying to go deep into just how it is to live life and all the different things you feel…I’m talking about how I feel about the world and how I fit into it.” The result is an intimate, classic-sounding album that is sure to delight newcomers to Midón’s music and those who’ve been following his remarkable talent for years.

Larry encouraged me to write from a different perspective than I have in the past,” Midón says of the lyrics on Synthesis. “I’ve written a lot of songs about hope and inspiration and that sort of thing, which is cool, but there are other aspects to life. I’ve tried to expand my repertoire a bit. This is not a record about trying to enhance somebody’s understanding of my woes. It’s more about trying to go deep into just how it is to live life and all the different things you feel. Like how you can be very angry at somebody and still love them, or how you meet people who teach you things, but you don’t want to be like them. I’m talking about how I feel about the world and how I fit into it.”

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David Benoit - "Earthglow" - Release Date April 20, 2010 On Heads Up

In October 2008, David Benoit took a much needed breather from the frenetic pace of life in Los Angeles and headed up to the mountains near Saratoga to become an artist in residence at Villa Montalvo. Finding peaceful solitude and discovering fresh inspiration in a small cabin near the non-profit Montalvo Arts Center, the five time GRAMMY® nominated veteran composer and pianist—one of contemporary jazz’s most acclaimed artists for over two decades—wrote “Botswana Bossa Nova” and “Will’s Chill,” two unique pieces unlike any he had done before. These became the foundation for the overall global music concept behind Benoit’s stirring and provocative new CD Earthglow, his first set of original material in four years. The title track was inspired by the stunning NASA photo of our planet which graces the cover.

In an age where many listeners prefer the instant gratification of purchasing individual tracks on iTunes, Benoit takes the bold step of writing good old fashioned liner notes to explain the way the eclectic 11-track collection developed. After mentioning that the great from Black Eyed Peas was an influence on “Will’s Chill,” the multi-talented performer says, “I was interested in experimenting with some of the new ‘jazz-lounge-Euro-chill’ music I was hearing at upscale boutique hotels and chic Japanese sake bars.”

Focusing on the high energy hybrid of old school soul-jazz and infectious world beat textures and rhythms of “Botswana Bossa Nova,” he adds, “I loved the world mix of exotic ethnic percussion, African voices along with Brazilian beats. With the aid of the computer sequencing program Logic Pro I came up with some of these new ideas. To give the instruments a more realistic sound, I played everything in real time as opposed to step timing. Months later, with the same format, I came up with ‘Straightaway,’ ‘Unbelievable,’ ‘New Creation’ and ‘Sneaky As A Cat’ at my home studio in Palos Verdes, California.”

Benoit credits Clark Germain, his longtime engineer and co-producer on Earthglow, with reining in his off the beaten path impulses and blending them with the identifiable sound that mark his repertoire of over 30 recordings since the late ‘70s. “I really loved the vibe of ‘Will’s Chill,’” he says, “and when I started recording, I wanted the whole album to have that edgy, chill sound, with long loops and lots of samples, with a little piano in the mix. For obvious and very good reasons, Clark brought me back to myself and took these new, exciting ideas I had and put them in perspective as part of a recognizable David Benoit record. It’s got a lot of energy, but he smoothed it out and kept me in check. I think the intimacy of writing and recording in house, so to speak, without outside writers and producers as I had done in recent years, ensured that every note I intended actually appears on the album. Everyone involved had a blast recording Earthglow and exploring this new territory.”

Since launching his recording career in 1977, David Benoit’s expansive career as a contemporary jazz pianist has included over 25 solo recordings. His ‘80s releases This Side Up, Freedom at Midnight and the GRAMMY nominated Every Step of the Way are considered influential genre classics. Among his other Grammy nominations are those for Best Instrumental Composition (for “Dad’s Room,” from 1999’s Professional Dreamer) and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance (for the GRP All-Star Big Band). His prolific output since 2000 includes several prominent Charlie Brown related projects (including Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years and the star-studded 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas) that reflect his lifelong passion for the music of original Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi and solidify Benoit’s role as his musical heir. Benoit has also released the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charting albums Fuzzy Logic, Right Here, Right Now, Full Circle and Heroes, which paid homage to the pianist’s top jazz and pop influences.

Benoit’s ever expanding slate of orchestral music endeavors include his ongoing role as conductor of the Asia America Symphony Orchestra and leading such eminent orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphonies of London, Nuremberg, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Antonio and San Jose. Concurrent with his burgeoning career as a conductor, he recorded 1996’s American Landscape with The London Symphony Orchestra and 2005’s Orchestral Stories with members of the Asia America Symphony Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Orchestral Stories featured his first piano concerto “The Centaur and the Sphinx” and his acclaimed symphonic piece “Kobe,” both of which he has performed in live settings across the country. In 2009, Benoit performed and conducted Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” with the Asia America Symphony Orchestra in a show that included Broadway great Lea Salonga; he later conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the same orchestra in his critically acclaimed debut at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall.

Benoit’s notable film scores include The Stars Fell on Henrietta, produced by Clint Eastwood and starring Robert Duvall; and The Christmas Tree, produced by Sally Field, voted Best Score of 1996 by Film Score Magazine. Benoit has also been a longtime guest educator with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, winning the organization’s “excellence in music education” award in 2001.

While many instrumental artists slap easy, throwaway titles on their projects, with Earthglow, Benoit put a lot of effort into finding the perfect title that would convey his musical and cultural intentions: “The task of finding a title to best represent the music contained herein was challenging at best. I started with ‘Frozen Music,’ a term to describe architecture, but with the exception of a few of my notable architect friends, nobody really got it. Then ‘New Creation’ was suggested but as we began to discuss artwork and concept, the title seemed uninspired and lacking a theme. I went back and reviewed all the song titles and ‘Earthglow’ jumped out at me. I believe it was the best word to illustrate the spirit of the project.”

For David Benoit fans old and new, basking in the Earthglow is bound to be a transcendent experience as well as an invitation to explore exciting new frontiers in jazz.

1. Botswana Bossa Nova 3:55
2. Will’s Chill 4:34
3. Unbelievable 4:08
4. Easy Day 4:41
5. Straightaway 4:14
6. New Creation 3:26
7. Earthglow 4:25
8. Sneaky As A Cat 4:06
9. Downtime 4:13
10. Brownie’s Gone 4:36
11. Freedom At Midnight (The Sch

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 22, 2010

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
3 - 1 - Jackiem Joyner - "Lil' Man Soul - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
2 - 2 - Peter White - "Good Day" - (Peak/Concord)
1 - 3 - Richard Elliot - "Rock Steady" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
4 - 4 - Sade - "Soldier Of Love" - (Epic)
7 - 5 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
5 - 6 - Euge Groove - "Sunday Morning" - (Shanachie)
6 - 7 - George Benson - "Songs And Stories" - (Concord)
8 - 8 - Najee - "Mind Over Matter" - (Heads Up)
14 - 9 - Chris Standring - "Blue Bolero" - (Ultimate Vibe)
9 - 10 - Paul Brown & Marc Antoine - "Foreign Exchange" - (Peak)
10 - 11 - Maysa - "A Woman In Love" - (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" - (NuGroove)
12 - 13 - Boney James - "Send One Your Love" - (Concord)
11 - 14 - David Sanborn - "Only Everything" - (Decca/Universal)
18 - 15 - Rick Braun - "All It Takes" - (Artistry)
15 - 16 - Lawson Rollins - "Espirito" - (Infinita/Baja/TSR)
16 - 17 - Gregg Karukas - "GK" - (Trippin 'n' Rhythm)
21 - 18 - Marion Meadows - "Secrets" (Heads Up)
19 - 19 - Kim Waters - "Love Stories" - (Shanachie)
20 - 20 - Greg Adams - "East Bay Soul" - (Ripa)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit to view the latest complete top 50 chart.
Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.

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Andy McKee - "Joyland" CD/DVD Release Date March 30th, 2010 [Video]

Andy McKee is considered one of the world’s finest acoustic guitar soloists. His dedicated online community has raised his YouTube video views in excess of 78 million plays and at one point he held the #1, #2 and #3 positions for Top-Rated Videos of All Time on YouTube. McKee’s online media success has impacted both album and ticket sales allowing him to tour internationally with over 200 live shows a year.

Hailing from Topeka Kansas, the self-taught McKee, first garnered international attention as one of the top finalists at the prestigious National Finger Style Guitar Championships in Windfield, Kansas. Since 2001, McKee has released five albums independently selling upwards of 50,000. Andy also had the honor of playing guitar on Josh Groban’s Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum Christmas album, NOEL.

Andy s new album Joyland includes 8 new original compositions, as well as an inspired take on Tears For Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World and a cover of acoustic guitar virtuoso Michael Hedges Layover. Additionally, Joyland includes a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes interviews with Andy, performances, and instructional segments this marks the first time visual content has every been packaged with one of McKee s albums, and is sure to be a must-have for his massive online fan base!

McKee’s live shows are a true testament to his art of stringsmanship and engaging repartee. He manages to capture both the every day music fan and guitar aficionados with his expertise and down to earth wit and humor. Whether it be explaining how his harp guitar tunes or why his frets are backward, Andy maintains his love for both fan and guitar player.

McKee’s unique skill allows him to transform the guitar from a simple stringed instrument to a dynamic calliope of sound. Andy’s deft talents give his music life through altered tunings, syncopated rhythm guitar taps, and his textural use of polyphonic tones and drones. All of these are played on both standard sized acoustic guitars and a hand-built 12 string harp-guitar. His highly-developed two handed technique is reminiscent of some of Andy’s cherished guitar mentors and heroes: Preston Reed, Don Ross, Billy McLaughlin, and Michael Hedges. He honors the path blazed by these pioneers with his unique multi-layering approach as he alone plucks, strums, taps the strings and body to provide the illusion of a full band accompaniment.

Andy was awarded the Acoustic Guitar Magazine worldwide silver medal award for fingerstyle in December 2008.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Blue Bolero" - Chris Standring | Ultimate Vibe

Playing jazz in America would serve as a great cover for someone in the witness protection program. A musician can labor at jazz for years and put together a nice body of work, but the music industry, the media, and the public may barely notice in their search for the next teenage pop star. Chris Standring has never made an album quite like Blue Bolero. Standring could have stayed in a smooth jazz comfort zone of safe and innocuous music. Low risk can mean high reward, but Standring chose to go a different, riskier and far more ambitious route. The result is an album he should be both pleased with and proud of.
Standring doesn't abandon his pop proclivities as much as expand upon them. His guitar playing is fluid and expressive and he's never sounded better or played with more confidence. The term “labor of love” defines Blue Bolero as he plays off against Barbara Porter's robust violin, Dave Karsony's subtly restrained drumming and several other guest musicians providing ample support. What's different is while Standring has always been a professional, he imparts a greater degree of both joy and passion here. He raises the bar from competency to mastery and nails it on each and every minute of Blue Bolero.
The eight-minute 'Overture” that opens the album is a gorgeously lush piece of music as the interplay between Standring's guitar and Porter's violin is dazzling. The album drifts seamlessly between the quiet (”Contemplation”), the busy (”Fast Train to Everywhere”), and the romantic (”Sensual Overload”).
There are signature moments in a musician's career when they make an album that both defines them and sets the course for their future. Herbie Hancock had his with Head Hunters (Columbia, 1973), Weather Report reached their summit with Heavy Weather (Columbia, 1977), and George Benson took off with Breezin' (Warner Brothers, 1976). Whether or not Blue Bolero belongs in that kind of distinguished company is a judgment call, but it is the best album Chris Standring has made yet.
(An additional Web page has been created for this release, at

Track Listing: Overture; Blue Bolero; Please Mind the Gap; Contemplation; Sensual Overload; Regarding Tetchwick; Fast Train to Everywhere; On Second Thoughts; Sunrise; Bossa Blue; Lost In Angels; March of the Bowler Hats; At the End of the Day; Finale (Bolero Reprise).
Personnel: Chris Standring: keyboards, programming, vocals, guitars; Dave Karsony: drums (1, 9, 11, 13, 14); Rodney Lee: Fender Rhodes solo (1); Larry Steen : acoustic bass (1, 2, 4, 9, 13, 14); Barbara Porter: violin (1-3, 5-7, 9, 11-14); Eric Valentine: drums (3, 12); Andre Berry: bass (3, 12); Katisse Buckingham: alto flute (3); Dewayne 'Smitty' Smith: bass (5); Tim Landers: bass (7); Rico Belled: bass (10); Mitch Forman: Fender Rhodes (12). 
By Jeff Winbush
CD Review Center | Upcoming Release Center

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Gerry Gibbs Electric Thrasher Orchestra Play the Music of Miles Davis 1967-1975

If you're a Miles Davis fan, and in particular, a fan of the music he played in the '67-'75 time frame, this is a release custom tailored to you. Gerry Gibbs and his Electric Thrasher Orchestra tear through 26 selections culled from 16 live Miles Davis classic recordings. All the spontaneity, energy and improvisation of the original performances are present here. Music from Bitches Brew, Nefertiti, Sorcerer, Live Evil, Dark Magus, Big Fun, several live Fillmore recordings and others grace this 2 CD set which includes commentary from Miles' alumni Bernie Maupin, Gary Bartz, Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, among others...

Here's one from Airto Moreira, who played with Miles from 1970-1972

"This is something I know is a very hard task for any musician: a tribute to Miles Davis. The hardest part is to duplicate the sound and the energy of the group in which I played with Miles for 2.5 years, and it's almost impossible to achieve. But to my surprise when I finished listening to what Gerry Gibbs created, I realized that it is very close to what we were doing at that time, which is going to make a lot of people feel good. Congratulations!" - Airto Moreira

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Christian Scott Live Chat on March 21st

Join Concord Jazz star trumpeter Christian Scott for a live online chat this Sunday, March 21st at Christian will be taking questions live online from 1pm EST on his channel about his upcoming new album and 4th full-length for Concord Jazz, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, which hits stores March 30th and features the single, a cover of Thom Yorke's (Radiohead) 'The Eraser'.
Tune in and watch it here: Or, live on Christian's Facebook page at:

Christian will kick off his nationwide tour in support of the new album on March 23rd at the Berklee School of Music, MA. The tour includes a performance at the Nokia Theater New York, NY with Al Jarreau, and an appearance with Marcus Miller for the opening of the Miles Davis exhibit in Montreal on April 28th.

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow will be available to stream in full during release week at AOL Music from March 30th.

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