Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Playing For Change Live CD/DVD from Hear Music in stores now [Streams] [Trailer]

For the next chapter of Playing For Change’s improbable journey, founder and architect Mark Johnson assembled a band with musicians from around the globe, many of whom appeared in the now ubiquitous "Stand By Me" video (which has been viewed on the internet more than 30 million times). What started as a simple concept to virtually bring musicians from different cultures together via technology for the common purpose of promoting peace through music, resulted in a bonafide cultural phenomenon; but no one was quite sure what would happen when they all gathered for the first time for a special performance at Austin ’s SXSW music conference in 2009. Sure, the Playing For Change story had captured imaginations around the world and their inspiring mix of togetherness, positivity and sterling musicianship had undeniably created a movement and surprised the music industry. But what would happen when they were actually on tour together? Could the Playing For Change idea live and breathe in the here and now?

“I've Got Dreams To Remember" featuring Toots Hibbert:


The result was astonishing. After sold-out shows, critical acclaim and the smiles of thousands of new fans, the questions have been answered. On June 15th, Playing For Change Records/Concord Music Group will release Playing For Change Live – a special two-disc CD/DVD containing a ten-song audio CD and a fourteen-track DVD, documenting the Playing For Change Band’s triumphant 2009 world-tour.

On Playing For Change Live, the PFC band is captured all over the world including riveting performances from the U.K. ’s Glastonbury Festival, Vancouver , Madrid , Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Pier where the project’s extraordinary journey began. The band’s incredible energy and brilliant musicianship is evident on Bob Marley’s “One Love,” a medley of 4 Non Blondes’ and Bobby McFerrin’s ‘What’s Up”/“Don’t Worry Be Happy”, the 1959 American R&B gem “Fannie Mae (with Keb’ Mo!) and original band compositions like Titi Tsira’s “Fela ngaye” and Louis Mhlanga’s “Children Of The World” just to name a few. Guest appearances also include reggae legends, Toots Hibbert on the Otis Redding classic “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” and Ziggy Marley on his own “Love Is My Religion.”

The DVD also contains the 90-minute film “On The Road With the PFC Band” chronicling the band’s improbable story of strength, support and harmony. The video log’s remarkable backstage, behind-the-scenes, performance and interview footage includes personal insights and inspiring moments from touring members: percussionist Mohammed Alidu (Northern Ghana), vocalist Clarence Bekker (Amsterdam), drummer Peter Bunetta (Los Angeles), vocals/harmonica Grandpa Elliott (New Orleans), vocals/percussionist Mermans Kenkosenki (Kinshasa, DR Congo), guitarist Louis Mhlanga (Zimbabwe), bassist Reggie McBride (Detroit), guitarist Jason Tamba (Kinshasa, DR Congo), vocalists Tal Ben-Ari “Tula” (Israel), Titi Tsira (Gugulethu, African township in the Western Cape) and PFC founder Mark Johnson. Along the way, we get to know the musicians and discover the emotional stories of perseverance and hope that enabled them to take part in this globally celebrated effort.

With its stirring call for reconciliation and cross-cultural unification, the global music collaboration/multi-media project; Playing For Change has struck a deep and powerful chord worldwide. Founder, filmmaker, and Grammy winning producer Mark Johnson was looking for musicians for his film, Peace Through Music when he captured a mesmerizing performance of the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me” by legendary street singer, Roger Ridley in Santa Monica. Mark then took the show on the road. In New Orleans , he put headphones on beloved local street performer, Grandpa Elliott, who harmonized with Ridley’s soulful rendition of the song and he was on his way. Using innovative mobile technology and traveling the world, he filmed and recorded more than 100 musicians, largely outdoors, in parks, plazas and promenades, in doorways, on cobblestone streets and amid hilly pueblos. Each performance created a new mix in which the artists are all performing together, albeit hundreds or thousands of miles apart.

In April of 2009, Hear Music/Concord Music Group released the CD/DVD Playing For Change – Songs Around The World and shocked the music world when it debuted in Billboard’s Top 10. The accompanying documentary Playing For Change – Peace Through Music, was broadcast nationwide by PBS that summer.

Recording musicians in some of the poorest parts of the world also inspired PFC to establish the Playing For Change Foundation, which offers resources – including facilities, technology, musical instruments and education – to musicians and their communities. Currently, PFCF has constructed and opened two schools in South Africa and Ghana , as well as programs that we are developing and/or operating in Mali , Nepal , Rwanda , and Jamaica .

For more information on Playing For Change visit,, and

1. Fannie Mae
2. Don’t Worry
3. Back To Your Roots
4. I’ve Got Dreams To Remember – featuring Toots Hibbert
5. Fela Ngaye
6. Children of the World
7. Love Is My Religion – featuring Ziggy Marley
8. Mado
9. One Love
10. Stand By Me

1. Fannie Mae
2. Don’t Worry
3. Back To Your Roots
4. I’ve Got Dreams To Remember – featuring Toots Hibbert
5. Fela Ngaye
6. Sugar Sweet
7. Children of the World
8. Love Is My Religion – featuring Ziggy Marley
9. Mado
10. What’s Up/Don’t Worry Be Happy
11. One Love
12. End Credits/Stand By Me

Bonus Tracks
1. Amazing Grace
2. Imidiwan Afrik Temdam

The Film
“On The Road With the PFC Band”
Directed by Mark Johnson, Kevin Krupitzer and Jonathan Walls
Produced by Mark Johnson, Raan Williams, Joel Goulder and Jeremy Goulder
Executive Producers: Norman Lear and Whitney Kroenke
Associate Producers: Dave Bacon, Greg Johnson, Enzo Buono, Ant Rich
Music Produced and Edited by Mark Johnson and Enzo Buono
Stereo Music Mixed by Greg Morgenstein and Mark Johnson at Enormous Studios, Los Angeles , CA
Video Editing: Jonathan Walls and Kevin Krupitzer

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Legendary GRAMMY® Winning Guitarist Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory CD available today on Concord Records/Monster Music #jazz [Video]

George Benson, BB King , Steve Lukather, Slash, John Scofield, Vince Gill, Keb'Mo, Robert Cray and Joe Bonamassa Among 20 World Class Guest Guitarists From All Music Genres Joining Ritenour

It's hard to believe that 2010 marks 50 years since Lee Ritenour starting playing the guitar, setting in motion a career that legends are made of. A career that has earned him 19 GRAMMY® nominations, a GRAMMY Award, numerous #1 spots on guitar polls, A Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian SJ Awards, and the prestigious "Alumnus of the Year" award from USC. During his illustrious career, he has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs and was a founding member of the group Fourplay, considered the most successful group in contemporary jazz. As a young guitarist his diverse musical style became the foundation of over 3,000 sessions, covering a broad spectrum of artists ranging from his first session at 16 with the Mamas and Papas, to Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Simon & Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra. On his latest endeavor, 6 String Theory, Ritenour celebrates the instrument that has allowed him this blessing, the guitar; -by producing and assembling a star-studded tribute with the greatest and soon- to- be greatest guitarists of our time.

Released on Concord Records /Monster Music today, June 29, 2010, 6 String Theory, Ritenour is also among the twenty legendary world class guitarists starring on the recording, which he produced along with John Burk of the Concord Music Group. Joining him in this tribute to the guitar, the all-star line-up includes: George Benson, BB King, Slash, Steve Lukather, John Scofield, Robert Cray and Vince Gill among many other superstars. Blending rock, blues, jazz, acoustic, country and classical, they come together for a seamless project that promises to take the listener on a musical journey and exploration of the guitar. Also featured on vocals are BB King, Robert Cray, Vince Gill, Keb' Mo', Taj Majal, Joe Bonamassa and Jonny Lang.

Ritenour also had a musical mission to help launch a new star of the guitar. To do so, he partnered with Yamaha Corp., Berklee College of Music, Monster Music, D'Addario Strings, and Concord Records to hold the international talent search, The Yamaha 6 String Theory Guitar Competition. Hundreds of contestants from over 45 countries posted YouTube videos to enter the competition with six finalists from around the world (one in each musical catagory) selected at a finals competition in Los Angeles in March 2010. Winning top honors was 16-year-old classical guitarist, Shon Boublil, from Montréal, Canada, who as the winner made his debut recording performance on 6 String Theory and received a four-year full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.

Ranging from 16 year old Shon, 18 year old, Joe Robinson (winner of Australia's Got Talent) and BB King in his young 80s, 6 String Theory covers it all, from amazingly talented upcoming guitarists to the greatest guitarists of our time. It also shows the high esteem for which Ritenour is held by his peers enabling him to assemble such an awe inspiring cast of musicians to celebrate their mutual love of the guitar. Blending together styles, ages and musical colors, Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory promises to be one of the greatest guitar recordings ever made!

Lee Ritenour's

1 Lee Ritenour
2 BB King
3 George Benson
4 John Scofield.
5 Steve Lukather.
6 Vince Gill
7 Slash
8 Pat Martino
9 Mike Stern
10 Neal Schon
11 Robert Cray
12 Keb Mo
13 Taj Majal
14 Jonny Lang
15 Joe Bonamasa
16 Andy Mckee (acoustic virtuoso 30 million Youtube hits)
17 Guthrie Govan (Guitar Player Magazine New Talent of the Year 2009)
18 Joe Robinson (18 years old won Australia's Got Talent)
19 Hotei (Japan's rock guitar superstar)
20 Shon Boublil (16 year old winner of Yamaha 6 String Theory Competition)

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Charnett Moffett - "Treasure" - Motema Music - In Stores Now [Video] #jazz

Take a peek behind the scenes of the latest album from Charnett Moffett - one of the most highly regarded bassists in jazz. "Treasure" offers a thematic yang to the yin of his critically acclaimed Motema debut, "The Art of Improvisation", which came out in 2009. While "Treasure" shares the eclecticism and some of the Asian and Middle Eastern influences of "The Art of Improvisation", the newer release palpably concentrates an emphasis on the swing and pulse that has earned Moffett standing ovations throughout his career.
Moffett’s ensemble features a host of great players including Rodney Holmes, Denardo Coleman, Oran Etkin and long time collaborator and guitar icon Stanley Jordan who joins in for two swinging tracks.
More info:

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Kenny G - "Heart And Soul" - Concord Records In Stores Today! [Video] #jazz

Multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning recording artist Kenny G, will release his 13th studio album entitled Heart and Soul June 29, 2010 on Concord Records. Kenny and renowned studio master Walter Afanasieff (Christina Aguilera, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Céline Dion, Whitney Houston, Mika, Barbra Streisand) produced and arranged the album, the follow-up to 2008’s Latin jazz collection Rhythm and Romance. Heart and Soul, returns Kenny to his R&B roots including tracks with guest artists Robin Thicke and Babyface.

Fans will recognize Kenny signature style on the sensual "Fall Again," featuring R&B crooner Robin Thicke, the album's first single. Commenting on the collaboration with Thicke whom he’s known since Robin was a teenager, Kenny said, “His voice is so emotional and soulful, the combination of his voice and my saxophone really hits the perfect tones for my new album.”

“Fall Again” audio stream featuring Robin Thicke:

Track listing is as follows:
1. Heart And Soul
2. Déjà Vu
3. Fall Again – featuring Robin Thicke
4. Letters From Home
5. The Promise
6. No Place Like Home – featuring Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
7. My Devotion
8. G-Walkin’
9. Sunrise
10. One Breath
11. Encore
12. After Hours

Bonus Tracks
13. Slow Motion
14. Renaissance


Having sold an astonishing 75 million+ copies worldwide in his unparalleled career, Kenny G is easily the world’s most renowned instrumentalist. After years of playing professionally with groups like Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra and Jeff Lorber Fusion, Kenny signed with Arista Records in 1982. His big moment came in 1988 on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. A producer insisted that the artist should perform a track accompanied by a vocalist. Kenny felt it was important in this moment to establish himself with an instrumental. The debate continued up until minutes before show time when Kenny launched into “Songbird,” the landmark recording from his fourth album, Duotones and a star was born. From there Kenny went on to become a multi-platinum sensation soon collaborating with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole and Frank Sinatra. His next studio albums, Silhouette and Breathless were enormously successful. Miracles was Kenny’ first album to hit number #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and became the best selling holiday album of all-time. 2004’s all-star album entitled At Last...The Duets Album featured performances by Barbara Streisand, Burt Bacharach, and LeAnn Rimes. 2006’s I’m in the Mood for Love: The Most Romantic Melodies of All Time, the saxophonist’s unique take on some of the greatest love songs ever written including standards such as Dorothy Fields’ “The Way You Look Tonight,” right up through modern hits such as Alicia Keys’ “I Ain’t Got You,” and James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.” An avid aviator and golfer, Kenny G resides in California .

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - June 28, 2010

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
2 - 1 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
1 - 2 - Peter White - "Good Day" - (Peak/Concord)
3 - 3 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
5 - 4 - Sade - "Soldier Of Love" - (Epic)
7 - 5 - Chris Standring - "Blue Bolero" - (Ultimate Vibe)
6 - 6 - Rick Braun - "All It Takes" - (Artistry)
4 - 7 - Jackiem Joyner - "Lil' Man Soul - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
8 - 8 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" - (NuGroove)
9 - 9 - Kim Waters - "Love Stories" - (Shanachie)
23 - 10 - Richard Elliot - "Rock Steady" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
11 - 11 - Jonathan Butler - "So Strong" - (Rendezvous/Mack Avenue")
16 - 12 - Jazzmasters - "Jazzmasters 6" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
10 - 13 - Jessy J - "True Love" - (Peak)
13 - 14 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
12 - 15 - Maysa - "A Woman In Love" - (Shanachie)
34 - 16 - Norman Brown - "Send My Love" (Peak/Concord)
26 - 17 - Euge Groove - "Sunday Morning" (Shanachie)
32 - 18 - Kenny G - "Heart & Soul" - (Concord)
18 - 19 - David Benoit - "Earthglow" - (Heads Up)
27 - 20 - Gregg Karukas - "GK" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)

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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Esperanza Spalding Honors Prince at the 10th Annual BET Awards

Last night Esperanza Spalding performed as a featured artist at the 10th annual BET Music Awards hosted by Queen Latifah at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Esperanza paid tribute to Prince who received a lifetime achievement award. She accompanied herself on standup bass for "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and also sang with Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle and Alicia keys.

The BET AWARDS’10 recognized the achievements of artists, entertainers and athletes in 19 different categories. Look for Esperanza’s new release, Chamber Music Society, August 17, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - June 29, 2010

Ahmad Jamal - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Anouar Brahem - Vague (Phantom )
Antoine Silverman - Gypsy Swing (Green Hill Productions )
Atomic - Theater Tilters (Phantom )
Audrey Morris - Afterthoughts (Indies Japan/Zoom )
Benita Washington - Word Remains (Shanachie )
Billy Cobham - Palindrome (Varese Fontana )
Bireli Lagrene - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Bongo Sketches Express - Bongo Sketches Express (Family Affair Distribution SRL )
Cannonball Adderley - Things Are Getting Better (Pid )
Charlie Mariano / Martin Sasse - Good Times ( )
Claudio Villa - Tutto Dixieland (Phantom )
Contact Five On One - Contact 5 On One ( )
Denis Chang - Deeper Than You Think ( )
Didier Lockwood - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Discotheque Ideale - Discotheque Ideale: 25 Original Jazz Albums (Phantom )
Domenic Landolf - New Brighton ( )
Eiji Taniguchi - Sweet Sound Of Bossa Nova (Indies Japan/Zoom )
Eileen Hunter - Eileen Hunter (Phantom )
Eric Darius - On A Mission (Shanachie )
Grant Stewart - St. Thomas Plays Sonny Rollins (Indies Japan/Zoom )
James Newton Howard - Last Airbender (Lakeshore )
Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra - Vitoria Suite (Phantom )
John Coltrane - Bags & Trane (Essential Jazz )
Kenny Burrell - Be Yourself (Highnote Records, Inc. )
Kenny G - Heart & Soul ( )
Klaus Ignatzek - Trio Songs We Dig 2 ( )
Klaus Ignatzek Trio - Songs We Dig Vol 2 (Indie Europe/Zoom )
Larry Coryell - Prime Picks (Highnote Records, Inc. )
Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory - 6 String Theory (Concord )
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra - Vitoria Suite (Decca )
Michel Petrucciani - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Nat "King" Cole - Riffin': The Decca, Jatp, Keynote And Mercury Recordings (Hip-o Select )
Pinky Winters - Pinky (Indies Japan/Zoom )
Rafi Malkiel - Water (Tzadik )
Ricardo Scales - For The Love In You (Bay Sound )
Richard Galliano - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Rick Hollander - What A Time It Was (Indie Europe/Zoom )
Steve Grossman - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Sylvain Luc - 3 Original Album Classics (Dreyfus )
Urs Bollhalder Trio - Portkey (Cam Jazz )

Astrud Gilberto - Shadow of Your Smile (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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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Herbie Hancock: After 54 Albums, Still Making Beautiful Music [Video] #jazz

By Denise Quan, CNN
Herbie Hancock has forgotten his glasses at home in Beverly Hills, and is waiting for his publicist to bring them to his rehearsal studio. "I had surgery and I don't really need them," he confides. "But nobody recognizes me without them."

The legendary jazz pianist was wearing his trademark spectacles when he stepped up to the podium at the 2008 Grammys to collect his "Album of the Year" trophy for "River: The Joni Letters" -- his homage to Joni Mitchell. But even then, things went awry. "I lost my speech. It fell out of my pocket. And then Quincy Jones reached down, and he grabbed it, and tried to slip it back under my coat." He cracks up at the memory.

Hancock turned 70 in April, and he's taking his birthday celebration on the road through the end of the summer. Thursday, he'll headline a concert at Carnegie Hall, playing fan favorites, as well as selections from his 54th album, "The Imagine Project." The disc includes collaborations with such pop stars as Pink, John Legend, Indie.Arie, Seal and Dave Matthews. Well-known world artists like sitarist Anoushka Shankar and Brazilian singer Ceu give an international twist to classic songs by John Lennon, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Peter Gabriel.

"Seven different languages are on here, because I started thinking, 'Okay, if I'm going to make a global record, it has to be about honoring cultures outside of our own," says Hancock.

The Chicago-born musician was able to immerse himself in local musical flavor by recording "The Imagine Project" in India, Ireland, England, Brazil and the United States. "This record right here is really about peace through global collaboration," he says. "It's time to stop complaining and start acting."

CNN caught up with the 12-time Grammy winner as he rehearsed new songs for his summer tour.

CNN: This is called "The Imagine Project." What does that mean to you?

Herbie Hancock: It means a lot of things. There's hope attached to that. There's adventure attached to it. Creativity.

CNN: Of course, all the songs are Herbie-ized. They don't sound the way the originals sound.

Hancock: You know why? They already have the originals. You can play them on your CD player. If I didn't do something special in some way, then why should I do it in the first place?

CNN: How did it feel to win the Grammy for "Album of the Year" at age 68?

Hancock: At the time that my name was called, I wasn't actually thinking about my age at the time! As a matter of fact, when [presenter] Quincy Jones said my name, it didn't even register. I didn't hear it because I was so dumbfounded and shocked.

CNN: Who did you think was going to win?

Hancock: Well, conventional thinking is that it would've been Kanye West, you know -- or Amy Winehouse.

CNN: Kanye probably thought he should have won.

Hancock: (Laughs) Kanye says a lot of things. That's kind of his persona as Kanye. In real life, he's not always like that. He's a nice guy. I hate to say that! Kanye, actually -- he's a nice guy.

CNN: Does his ego get the best of him sometimes? He once told us the reason he overreacts is because deep, down inside, he's insecure.

Hancock: I absolutely believe that.

CNN: Do you think most stars are?

Hancock: I think they are. They really are.

CNN: Do you still have insecurities after all this time?

Hancock: I do, but I think I have a better way of dealing with it.

CNN: What were you most insecure about? About your playing? Your composing?

Hancock: Well, when you get ready to walk out on that stage, and there are people out there who paid their hard-earned money to see you, you want to be able to give them something that they will be happy about having spent their money for. You want to give them something of yourself. Fortunately, I had great teachers like Miles Davis, who said he'd pay us to think outside the box.

CNN: You were one of the first to use the Vocoder (a vocal synthesizer that creates an effect similar to the Auto-Tune used today by artists like T-Pain, Rihanna, and Kanye West), and you got a lot of flack for that back in the day.

Hancock: (Laughs) I'm guessing I was either the second person or the third person, period, to use the Vocoder. I did an album called "Sunlight" (in 1977). It didn't really catch with the public at all, and it kind of died -- but then some years later, all of a sudden, everybody starts using the Vocoder, or Auto-Tune, the new type of Vocoder.

CNN: Don't you think it's a fad that maybe needs to go away?

Hancock: Talking about fitting into a box -- that has become part of the new box to fit into. That's kind of silly. We need to get past that. It's a great effect until it's overused, and then you don't want to hear it anymore. There's always so much more, you know. Let's keep looking to create much more.

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Kenny G - "Heart And Soul" - Concord Records In Stores June 29th. [Video] #jazz

Concord Records is proud to present multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning recording artist Kenny G's 13th studio album entitled Heart and Soul. Kenny and renowned studio master Walter Afanasieff (Christina Aguilera Michael Bolton Mariah Carey, Céline Dion, Whitney Houston, Mika, Barbra Streisand) produced and arranged the album, the follow-up to 2008's Latin jazz collection Rhythm and Romance. Heart and Soul, returns Kenny to his R&B roots including tracks with guest artists Robin Thicke and Babyface.

Fans will recognize Kenny signature style on the sensual "Fall Again," featuring R&B crooner Robin Thicke, the album's first single. Commenting on the collaboration with Thicke whom he's known since Robin was a teenager, Kenny said, "His voice is so emotional and soulful, the combination of his voice and my saxophone really hits the perfect tones for my new album."

1. Heart And Soul 4:35
2. Déjà Vu 5:01
3. Fall Again 4:15
4. Letters From Home 3:56
5. The Promise 5:13
6. No Place Like Home 3:56
7. My Devotion 5:17
8. G-Walkin’ 6:10
9. Sunrise 5:26
10. One Breath 3:32
11. Encore 3:46
12. After Hours 5:21

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Bob Baldwin - "Never Can Say Goodbye" - Out Today On Trippin 'n Rhythm #jazz

June 25th, the day that rocked the music world with the tragic death of the King Of Pop, will mark a day of celebration of the life of Michael Jackson with the release of “Never Can Say Goodbye”, a fitting title of this thoughtful collection of past to present Jackson hits from contemporary jazz pioneer, Pianist/Arranger Bob Baldwin and speaks of the sentiment felt by millions of fans worldwide. A special radio tribute and promotion will be made available for broadcast, June 25th across the terrestrial, satellite, internet jazz radio spectrum, including his own "NewUrbanJazz Lounge" program.

Having received the blessing of the Jackson estate, and as a followup to previous Jackson hits on previous discs, “Goodbye” is the first jazz record to pay homage to MJ and boasts a sterling handpicked collection of Jackson classics served up Baldwin style. This stirring and feel good tribute to all the man was and the influence he had across the musical spectrum, features original Baldwin reads on the early Jackson 5 hits, the organic “I’ll Be There”, Jackson/McCartney hit “This Girl Is Mine” with a lovely Steve Oliver guitar/scat solo (the first on record) as well as the laid back and soul drenched Temperton classic, “Lady In My Life” (from the "Thriller" vaults) to the funky side with unique touches on “Bad” and the Gamble and Huff classic “Let Me Show You The Way Go”, as well as the highly infectious title track, featuring a cameo appearance from new Fourplay guitarist Chuck Loeb. "She's Out of My Life" gets the Nashville treatment, with the soulful guitar riffs ushered in by Special Efx staple Chieli Minucci. The personal Baldwin tribute "Prodigious" is soulful and sensitive, much like his approach to the entire project, while "Don't Say Goodbye" is haunting and reflective.

Baldwin was not a late-comer to the fanfare of Michael Jackson. "In 2000, it was time to give MJ his kudos", says the NY native. "I grew up listening to 'Never Can Say Goodbye' as a kid and watching the J5 on the Ed Sullivan Show, so he was in the fabric of my musical pop life, in between listening to Duke Ellington and Miles. Quincy really elevated his sense of harmony and you heard it in his later work". Baldwin also released "I Wanna Be Where You Are" in 2004 after recorded the song in Ipanema with some of his Brazilian compadres, so in many ways, the seed was already planted. A week or so following his death, my associate Brenda Hazel suggested I just finish the MJ thought and go full circle. We had to get the business straight, however, so getting the Jackson estate blessing was a real honor". Collaborating with Trippin' N Rhythm will bring this project full circle, which is also an honor.

Baldwin is no stranger to tributes and kudo efforts as his 2nd Haiti effort, the "2010 Jazz For Haiti" benefit concert has led to a worldwide collaboration with the American Red Cross to further assist that tragedy.

“Goodbye”, should do well to invigorate Baldwin’s massive legion of fans across the world as he continues to look forward, but not without keeping an eye on and honoring those who influenced his past. It's the "Feelgood" album of 2010 indeed.

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Lorber Revisits Fusion Moniker on 'Now Is The Time' #jazz

The name says it all - Jeff Lorber Fusion. Keyboardist and composer Jeff Lorber brings back his old Fusion moniker for an album reminiscent of his very first band
For the past 20 years, he's been known simply as Jeff Lorber, so it was just a matter of time before the Jeff Lorber Fusion made its return. And, as the title of their new album suggests, Now Is The Time.

Lorber has not only returned to the name that made him famous, but he's brought back his original blend of jazz, rock, funk and R&B that put him at the forefront of the fusion scene more than 30 years ago. Lorber says, at the time, fusion was a label given to groups that defied the usual musical categories.

"When I started my band I was just working in the club scene in Portland, Oregon where I used to live," explains Lorber. "And, they used to have a lot of rock bands and country rock bands and stuff like that up there in Portland. So, I called my band the Jeff Lorber Fusion just to let people know what they were in for if they're going to come down and hear us play."

Some of the tunes on Now Is The Time were updated from the Jeff Lorber Fusion catalogue. One exception is "Mysterious Traveler" by the groundbreaking jazz fusion group Weather Report.

"When I first heard it I was so taken with it," he says. "And, you listen to it now and it's still a pretty astounding level of creativity between [Weather Report's] Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter in terms of their approach to harmony and melody, besides the orchestration and studio techniques, they really, really were pushing the boundaries in a way that still sounds amazingly fresh."

The latest incarnation of the Jeff Lorber Fusion features a handful of today's best and brightest jazz players, including trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, bassist Jimmy Haslip, guitarist Paul Jackson, Junior, and drummers Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta. Vocalist Irene B appears on four selections.

Although Jeff Lorber's forte in recent years has been producing and performing "smooth" jazz, his latest album stands to draw new fans.

"It represents a real musical shift toward something a little jazzier and a little more exciting," he says.

Originally posted by Doug Levine

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Paul Hardcastle - "Jazzmasters VI" Release On Trippin 'n Rhythm - July 20th

BILLBOARD Magazine's 2008 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year, prolific producer/multi-instrumentalist, Paul Hardcastle releases the much anticipated volume VI in his immensely popular Jazzmasters series, a vehicle that helped him re-launch his career in the early '90s, made him a household name and has garnered him legions of rabid fans worldwide.

It's been 19 years since the release of Jazzmasters I a pet project that became a format game changer in its initial release and one that has defined a music style that has yet to be copied. VI mark the entity's ambitious return to the fold and continues to raise the bar with a grouping of highly charged melodic and memorable pieces that have become the Hardcastle/Jazzmasters signature over the last two decades.

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