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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kristine W - "Straight Up With A Twist" - Fly Again Music 9/14/10 #jazz

Kristine W's new "Straight Up With A Twist" double Jazz/Chill Cd is a blend of Straight Up Jazz, Latin Jazz, with R@B flavors. This ambitious project of 30 tracks was 4 years in the making and features world class Jazz and crossover musicians.

CD 1 was recorded In LA live sessions style, creating a very intimate dreamy sound. You will be transported by these new sexy arrangements of classic rock standards like" Stairway to Heaven "and What I Like About You . Kristine then takes some of her number one Billboard dance songs, strips them down, and puts a whole new Twist on them." Some Lovin " Is a standout with Its' naughty Blues flavor. .Look for a few new songs notably the Bossa Nova Styled "Window To Your World to make you stir your Martini faster.

CD 2 With A Twist" Is remixed by International Chilled lounge greats Emoticon and Von Schock and It's more than evident that both parties have been inspired by the renowned Buddha Bar collections. The first single from the album is Feel What You Want " and this stunner will be heard on Smooth Jazz radio first . Superstar David Paich from the legendary TOTO fame makes a cameo with his band on The First Time I ever Saw Your Face" In another gorgeous live sessions moment on CD2.

Kristine W grew up In the heart of the jazz music scene In The Northwest. Her Mother Donna Lee and musicians played clubs so Kristine clearly learned from the greats. Already a Dance Music Icon with 15 number one Dance hits, Billboard recently named Kristine W One of the Dance Artists of the decade. "Straight Up With A Twist now uncovers Kristine's Jazzy improvisational skills and silky vocal delivery. This Gemini shows us the other side Of Miss W taking us with her back to her roots. Consisting of over 2 hours of music this double CD is a must for all of those who love a great musical journey.

Disc 1 - Live Studio Sessions
• Feel What You Want Me To Feel
• Stairway to Heaven
• On the Radio
• Save My Soul
• What I Like About You
• Some Lovin'
• Window to the World
• Stronger
• Wonder of it All
• Dream On
• Take It to the Limit
• River Divides
• Who Knows
• Meet Again
• Feel What You Want Me To Feel (Instrumental)

Disc 2 - Electro-Lounge Remixes
• River Divides
• Feel What You Want
• Stairway to Heaven
• Some Lovin'
• The Boss
• Save My Soul
• Stronger
• On the Radio
• Window to your World
• Dream On
• What I Like About You
• Wonder of it All
• Who Knows
• Meet Again
• First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

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Patrick Yandall - "The Window" - Innervisions Records

Bringing the same kind of emotional depth and stylistic diversity to contemporary jazz as his heroes and chief influences Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton, guitarist/composer Patrick Yandall has blazed creative and commercial trails that have inspired a new generation of independent instrumental musicians to pursue their dreams without compromise. Sixteen years after breaking onto the scene with his first national recording That Feels Nice—a sentiment shared by thousands of fans who still have that seminal work in their collections—the multi-talented San Diego based performer is as dynamic, passionate and inventive as ever on his Innervisions Records debut The Window, which marks his incredible 11th release to date.

On the heels of Going For One and One Hour Blues, extraordinary, hard-hitting 2010 projects that explored Yandall’s lifelong loves of hard-rock and blues-rock, respectively, the artist brings a fiery edge, intense funk grooves and tastes of cool tropicality and retro jazz-soul to the self-produced 12 track collection that, true to its title, offers a unique window to Yandall’s ever-evolving musical soul. Its diversity has its roots in the Yandall’s many compositions these past years for numerous top music libraries, which license his prolific work in many genres for television, film and numerous corporations. His compositions have been heard everywhere from The Weather Channel to “War, Inc.,” the 2008 film starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff which featured “Who’s The Bossa.”

On the heels of Going For One and One Hour Blues, extraordinary, hard-hitting 2010 projects that explored Yandall’s lifelong loves of hard-rock and blues-rock, respectively, the artist brings a fiery edge, intense funk grooves and tastes of cool tropicality and retro jazz-soul to the self-produced 12 track collection that, true to its title, offers a unique window to Yandall’s ever-evolving musical soul. Its diversity has its roots in the Yandall’s many compositions these past years for numerous top music libraries, which license his prolific work in many genres for television, film and numerous corporations. His compositions have been heard everywhere from The Weather Channel to “War, Inc.,” the 2008 film starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff which featured “Who’s The Bossa.” –© Jonathan Widran

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6 String Theory - Lee Ritenour | Concord Music Group - Review #jazz

The very gift that makes a session musician great can also be a curse. Oftentimes expected to be chameleon-like, it's that very act of becoming a credible musical shape-shifter that can sometimes lead to a loss of individuality. Lee Ritenour is a consummate and complete guitarist if ever there was one; his varied discography supporting a seemingly insatiable appetite for anything to do with the six-stringed instrument and all its variations. Often (and, in many cases, unfairly) linked too heavily with a genre that he helped formulate in the mid-to-late 1970s through his own “fusion lite” albums like Captain Fingers (Epic, 1977), to call Ritenour a smooth jazz guitarist would be unfairly exclusionary, as 6 String Theory proves in spades.

Not that there's anything wrong with smooth, but there's none to be found amidst 6 String Theory's multiplicity of styles, all-star guests and a cohesion surprising for an album so eclectic. Instead, Ritenour goes for the throat with some down-and-dirty blues (”Give Me One Reason,” featuring guitar slingers/blues belters Robert Cray and Joe Bonamassa) and mainstream jazz (the incendiary “L.P.,” with Ritenour joined by straight-ahead hero Pat Martino and organist Joey DeFrancesco, and a swinging “Moon River,” with the equally mislabelled George Benson in full-out bop mode). There's some pedal-to-the-metal guitar pyrotechnics when Steve Lukather, Neal Schon and Slash get together for the high octane shuffle of “'68'”; a classier blues, “Why I Sing the Blues,” where elder statesman B.B. King is joined by relative youngsters Keb' Mo', Jonny Legend and Vince Gill, who not only turns in a searing solo, but as impassioned a vocal turn as his partners. And just to prove he still can do it, there's a nod to Jeff Beck on Max Middleton's classic boogie, “Freeway Jam,” where Ritenour tears it up with Mike Stern and Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei, supported by legendary British drummer Simon Phillips.

There are also nods to the acoustic side with guest steel-stringers Joe Robinson and Andy McKee. A guitar competition as well as a CD, 6 String Theory closes with its winner, classical guitarist Shon Boubil, performing two Legnani “Caprices.”

The entire set kicks off with Ritenour's funky “Lay It Down,” capably sharing the bill with contemporary John Scofield. As well as Ritenour plays here and throughout 6 String Theory--humbly leaving more than ample room for his guests as he appears, in fact, on only eight of the album's fifteen tracks and never dominates--it highlights the disc's one and only flaw: Ritenour plays undeniably well throughout, but it's the very strength of the voices around him that highlights his own lack of one. It's hard to criticize a player so accomplished and so diverse, but while many of his guests will be remembered for their distinctive musical personalities, it's far more likely that Ritenour's legacy will be as an exceptionally talented chameleon, capable of fitting into any context--not, by any means, a shabby accomplishment, however, and especially when the result is as thoroughly enjoyable as 6 String Theory.

Track Listing: Lay It Down; Am I Wrong; L.P. (for Les Paul); Give Me One Reason; "68"; In Your Dreams; My One and Only Love; Moon River; Why I Sing the Blues;] Daddy Longlegs; Shape of My Heart; Drifting; Freeway Jam; Fives; Caprice, Op. 20, No. 2 and 7.

Personnel: Lee Ritenour: guitar (1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13), nylon string electric guitar (11), arrangement (1-3, 6, 9, 11-13); John Scofield: guitar (1); Harvey Mason: drums (1, 2, 9); Melvin Lee Davis: bass (1, 13); Larry Goldings: organ (1, 5, 14), Fender Rhodes (2, 9), clavinet (2), Wurlitzer (4); Nathan East: bass (2, 9); Keb' Mo': guitar (2, 9), vocals (2, 9), arrangement (2, 9); Taj Mahal: guitar (2), vocals (2); Will Kennedy: drums (3, 8, 11); Pat Martino: guitar (3); Joey DeFrancesco: organ (3, 8); Joe Bonamassa: guitar (4), vocals (4), arrangement (4); Robert Cray: guitar (4), vocals (4); Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (4-6, 14); Tal Wilkenfeld: bass (4-6, 14); Steve Lukather: guitar (5, 6, 11), arrangement (5, 6, 11); Neal Schon: guitar (5, 6); Slash: guitar (5); George Benson: guitar (7, 8), arrangement (7, 8); B.B. King: guitar (9), vocals (9); Vince Gill: guitar (9), vocals (9); Jonny Lang: guitar (9), vocals (9); Joe Robinson: guitar (10), arrangement (10); Andy McKee: steel string acoustic guitar (11), guitar (12), arrangement (12); Paulinho Da Costa: percussion (11, 12); Jimmy Johnson: bass (11, 12); John Beasley: keyboards (11, 12), Fender Rhodes (13); Mike Stern: guitar (13); Simon Phillips: drums (13); Tomoyasu Hotei: guitar (13); Guthrie Govan: guitar (14), arrangement (14); Shon Boublil: guitar (15).

By John Kelman -

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - August 30, 2010

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
2 - 2 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
3 - 3 - Norman Brown - "Send My Love" (Peak/Concord)
4 - 4 - Jazzmasters - "Jazzmasters 6" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
5 - 5 - Kenny G - "Heart & Soul" - (Concord)
17 - 6 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
22 - 7 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
9 - 8 - Tim Bowman - "The Tim Bowman Collection" - (Trippin "N" Rhythm)
12 - 9 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Now Is The Time" - (Heads Up)
11 - 10 - Jonathan Butler - "So Strong" - (Rendezvous/Mack Avenue")
15 - 11 - Brian Simpson - "South Beach" - "Shanachie"
19 - 12 - Euge Groove - "Sunday Morning" - (Shanachie)
6 - 13 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
13 - 14 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" (Heads Up)
16 - 15 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" (Shanachie)
18 - 16 - David Benoit - "Earthglow" - (Heads Up)
14 - 17 - Sade - "Soldier Of Love" - (Epic)
8 - 18 - Rick Braun - "All It Takes" - (Artistry)
26 - 19 - Bob Baldwin - "Never Can Say Goodbye" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
29 - 20 - George Benson - "Songs and Stories" - (Concord/Monster Music)

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, August 28, 2010

Will Downing - "Lust, Love & Lies (An Audio Novel)" - Peak Records 9/14/10

Every story has an arc, and love stories are no different. There’s the initial encounter, the flirtation, the first date, the escalation, the passion…and then the map gets a little fuzzy. What comes next is hard to predict – rock-solid commitment and eternal devotion for some, disillusionment or even betrayal for others. Some stories end happily ever after, some not so much.

Vocalist Will Downing has a tale of love to tell. It may or may not be based on a true story, but it’s one that we’ve all lived through at one time or another. Downing’s version, Lust, Love and Lies (An Audio Novel) – which he fondly calls “an audio soap opera,” complete with intermittent vignettes of intimate conversations that help move the story along – includes elements of comedy, tragedy and all the subtle shades in between.

“This record had actually been coming together in my mind for five years,” says Downing. “I just didn’t know how to go about it at first. Then when I first started writing the songs, it started to make sense as a story. I’d never made a record like this before. I had always sort of erred on the side of caution and safety when making records. This was the first time I said, ‘You know what? Let’s just do something completely different.’”

Aided primarily by co-producers Rex Rideout and Chris “Big Dog” Davis (who also plays keyboards throughout the set), guitarist Randy Bowland and bassist Anthony Jackson – along with a number of guest players and vocalists – Downing settles into a groove that’s more straightahead R&B than any of his recordings to date.

“I think people sometime don’t know how to categorize my music,” says Downing. “It’s soulful, but it’s also slightly jazzy. It’s a blend of so many things. But I think this album solidifies what I’m doing and where I’m going. It locks into a groove and says, ‘Okay, this is an R&B record.’ It’ll be interesting to see how longtime listeners react, and whether any new folks will come on board.”

Downing’s eclecticism can be traced back to his days as a session vocalist in the early ‘80s for artists like Gerald Albright, Jennifer Holiday, Warp 9 and many others. He remembers studio calls in his native New York that assembled groups of vocalists who had no prior experience together – all of which taught him the importance of discipline and flexibility. “You didn’t want to be the one person in the session who made all the other vocalists sound bad,” he says. “When you walked into that room, you had to be on top of your game, because these were some of the finest singers in New York.”

His self-titled debut album in 1988 was the first in what has amounted to an ambitious body of work – 14 albums in 22 years. “The creative process doesn’t just start and stop when you want it too, nor should it,” says Downing. “This may sound a little grim, but I always figure that there may not be a tomorrow. Why not go ahead and do what you want to do today? Even if it doesn’t get released, record it anyway. Leave a legacy. It’s a never-ending process.”

There’s more to Lust, Love and Lies (An Audio Novel), but as with any good tale – be it a love story or otherwise – it’s best not to give away the ending. Suffice it to say that the album tells a timeless story that somehow never gets old, “from being in lust with someone from the moment you see them, to being intrigued by them, to potentially falling in love with them, to whatever comes after that,” says Downing. “Let’s face it, we’ve all been there at one time or another.”

1. Glad I Met You Tonight 3:49
2. Feelin’ Alright 4:33
3. Lust At First Sight
4. Get To Know You 4:04
5. Tell Me 3:58
6. Consensual 4:01
7. Safe In His Arms 4:18
8. Put Yo Momma On The Phone
9. Fly Higher 4:49
10. Saturday 2:48
11. Guess Who’s Back 1:58
12. Shades 4:25
13. Extra! Extra! 1:03
14. Libido Interuptus
15. Do You Know 4:15
16. You Do U
17. At This Moment 4:41
18. I Got Yo Back
19. Coulda Been/Shoulda Been 4:05
20. Déjà Vu “Glad I Met You Tonight” 1:09

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" Releases On Heads Up October 26, 2010

Sometimes you have to shake things up, push a little farther, reach a little higher – even when you’re a contemporary jazz foursome that’s been operating at the top of its collective game for two decades.

After twenty years and a dozen albums, in an industry that has undergone sweeping transformations in the past decade, Fourplay knows that the only thing that’s certain, in music or any other business, is change. The latest proof of that axiom is the new face in their lineup – that of guitarist Chuck Loeb, who makes his compelling debut with the quartet on Let’s Touch The Sky, the band’s new recording on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

Loeb completes the four-man crew that also includes the band’s founding members: keyboardist Bob James, bassist/vocalist Nathan East and drummer/percussionist Harvey Mason. Let’s Touch The Sky also includes stirring performances by guest vocalists Anita Baker and Ruben Studdard.

The infusion of new blood into the Fourplay lineup creates an opportunity to bring an even newer level of energy and inspiration into a band that is already known for taking chances and pushing the limits of contemporary jazz. “All four of us have been in this business long enough to know that there’s always pressure to compromise, and we don’t want to do that,” says James. “We don’t want to end up in the middle of the pack. We always aim to be leaders, and take the music to another level and raise the standards higher. I think the music on this new record, thanks in large part to Chuck’s early contributions – and to the ongoing team spirit of the band as a whole – is very much a reflection of that philosophy.”

Loeb, who openly admits to being a fan of Fourplay since their earliest recordings, sees his new membership status as the opportunity of a lifetime. “I want to be a part of the legacy they’ve built, going all the way back to their first recording and right up to their most recent one,” he says. “There’s been an incredible level of quality in the musicianship, the writing, the whole sonic palette that they’re famous for. I’m excited to be a part of the next step in the evolution of all that.”

Guest vocalists Ruben Studdard and Anita Baker appear on the soulful “Love TKO” and the dreamlike “You’re My Thrill,” respectively. Studdard was recruited by East, after the two had appeared together in a live performance in Washington, DC. “They were filming a television special,” East recalls. “There was a break to reload the cameras, and I just started playing the bass line of ‘Love TKO.’ Ruben stepped up to the microphone to sing, and everyone in the room just stopped. I knew right then that we needed to have him sing this song on a Fourplay record, and when we asked him, he was very much up for it. The whole thing just came together so easily.”

Mason, who has held down the groove for Fourplay since the very beginning, says time has done nothing to dull the edge. The band continues to explore new ways to reach for the next level of musicianship and creativity. “Let’s Touch The Sky is the perfect title for where we are right now,” he says. “In some ways, bringing someone new into the fold has made us a new band. It opens up new opportunities and new potential, and we want to see how high we can take it.”

1. Let's Touch The Sky 5:22
2. 3rd Degree 5:07
3. More Than A Dream 5:03
4. Pineapple Getaway 5:52
5. I'll Still Be Lovin' You 5:18
6. Gentle Giant (for Hank) 5:59
7. A Night In Rio 5:56
8. Love TKO 4:30
9. Above and Beyond 6:30
10. Golden Faders 7:08
11. You're My Thrill 5:48

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Acker Bilk - Stranger On The Shore (Castle Pulse )
Alex Tassel - Head Or Tails ( )
Antonio Sanchez - Live In New York At Jazz Standard (Phantom )
Antonio Sanchez - Live In New York (Cam Jazz )
Bill Frisell - Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy Jazz )
Bobby Bradford - One Night Stand (Soul Note )
Bodines - Played ( )
Brian Simpson - South Beach (Shanachie )
Cannonball Adderley - Jazz Manifesto (Jazz Manifesto )
Chico Pinheiro - There's A Storm Inside (Sunny Side )
Chris Standring - 21 Soul Jazz Deluxe Collection (Phantom )
Chucho Valdes - Chucho's Steps ( )
Danilo Perez - Providencia (Mack Avenue )
Dom Um Romao - Lake Of Perseverance (Joey )
Elliott Sharp - Afiadacampos (Neos )
European Jazz Trio - Best Of Chopin (M&I Japan/Zoom )
Jacques Schwarz-Bart - Rise Above (Dreyfus )
Jesus "Chucho" Valdes - Chucho's Steps (Four Quarters Entertainment )
John Coltrane - Slowtrane (Indie Europe/Zoom )
Jonathan Butler - Faith Love & Joy: Great Spiritual Inspi (N-Coded )
Jonathan Butler - Faith, Love & Joy: Great Spiritual Inspirationals (N-Coded Music )
Keith Jarrett - Still Live (Pid )
Keith Jarrett - Tribute (Pid )
Kirk Whalum - Everything Is Everything: The Music Of D (Rendezvous Ent. )
Labfield - Collab (Hubro )
Manfred Kniel Reduction & His - Low Down Music (Neos )
Marcus Miller - Original Album Classics:Sun Don't Lie (JVC Japan/Zoom )
Mats Eilertsen - Radio Yonder (Hubro )
Michel Legrand - Archi-Cordes: Di-Gue-Ding-Ding Danse (Phantom )
Michel Legrand - 50 Years Of Music & Movies (Kultur Video ) - DVD-Video
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew: Legacy Edition (Legacy )
Milton Nascimento - Clube Da Esquina ( )
Mina Agossi - Just Like A Lady (Naive )
Nils Petter Molvaer - Hamada (Emarcy )
Oli Silk - All We Need (Trippin & Rhyth )
Original Hits: Jazz - Original Hits: Jazz (Phantom )
Patricia Romania - Sou Brasileira (M&I Japan/Zoom )
Portico Quartet - Isla (Real World Records/Ra )
Rebecca Martin - When I Was Long Ago (Sunny Side )
Schwarz-Bart Jacques Featuring Stephani - Rise Above (Dreyfus )
Scott Colley - Empire (Phantom )
Simone & Her Hawaiia - Aromas Of Hawaii (Venus Jap/Zoom )
Splashgirl - Arbor (Hubro )
Stephanie McKay / Jacques Schwarz-Bart - Rise Above ( )
Valdes. Chucho - Chucho's Steps (Four Quarters )
Vijay Iyer - Solo (Amv )
Vinicius Cantuaria - Samba Carioca ( )
Wynton Marsalis - Marsalis,Wynton Vol. 1-Marsalis Standard Time (Phantom )
Yoel Diaz Cuban Jazz Session - Encuentros (Disques Artic )

Sergio Mendes - Timeless (Concord)

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, August 24, 2010

Herbie Hancock Salutes John Lennon, World Music in 70th Year: Interview

Herbie Hancock’s latest album takes its title from a John Lennon song that imagined a world with no national boundaries. Fittingly, “The Imagine Project” features an international group of musicians who recorded songs in cities around the globe.

The collection of 10 songs, released in June, pairs Hancock with a group that includes American jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, British guitarist Jeff Beck, Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar, Brazilian singer-songwriter Ceu, South African-born rocker Dave Matthews and American singers John Legend and Chaka Khan.

Artists from 11 nations recorded in six countries using seven languages.

“This CD is clearly about globalization and in a way is a call to arms,” Hancock, who turned 70 in April, said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “We need to put into practice the idea of embracing other cultures. We need to be shaping the kind of world we want to live in instead of waiting for someone else or some other entities to do it for us.”

After touring Europe in July, the Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer and bandleader is performing this month in the U.S., including a 70th-birthday celebration concert on Sept. 1 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Mumbai, Miami

Hancock, who has been a Buddhist for almost four decades, recorded the album in cities where his collaborators lived. “The Song Goes On” was taped with Shankar (along with Khan and Shorter) in Mumbai. Ceu sang the sultry ballad “Tempo de Amor” in Sao Paulo, while Colombia native Juanes recorded “La Tierra” in his adopted home of Miami.

Hancock said he hopes the album will help Americans better understand other cultures.
“We’re known for being arrogant, but some of it is through our own ignorance,” Hancock said.
While the CD isn’t a blockbuster, it has found an audience among jazz fans. “Imagine” peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s jazz charts and is currently ranked No. 6. Commercial success wasn’t Hancock’s main goal, however.

“I wanted to make a record that didn’t sound foreign to Americans, but would be foreign at the same time,” he said. “That was a challenge, but I think I achieved it.”

Child Prodigy

In his 54 recordings, the Chicago native has etched a permanent mark on jazz, funk and rhythm and blues. A child prodigy, he performed Mozart with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was 11. His first recording, “Takin’ Off” attracted the attention of trumpeter Miles Davis in 1962. Davis asked Hancock to join his band of young lions, which included Shorter, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams.

In the 1970s, Hancock branched out into a blend of jazz and funk with his groundbreaking group, the Head Hunters, which produced the hit single “Chameleon.” His Grammy-winning instrumental, “Rockit,” one of the first pop songs to incorporate turntable scratching sounds, thrust him into the mainstream in 1983.

Although he continued to record jazz records, his genre- blending collaborations have earned the most praise. His 2007 tribute to Joni Mitchell, “River: The Joni Letters,” won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Album of the Year.

When Hancock takes the stage at the Hollywood Bowl next month, he’ll reunite with Juanes, Shorter and guitarist Derek Trucks to play songs from the “Imagine” sessions.

Classical CD

Hancock’s current touring band includes Greg Phillinganes, a former music director for Michael Jackson; guitarist Lionel Loueke; bassist/vocalist Kristina Train; and Grammy-winning drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. He’ll also perform some of his signature jazz compositions with Shorter.

Inspired by his concerts last year with Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Hancock said he may record a classical CD. But music doesn’t consume all his time and energy.

“I no longer perceive myself as being just a musician,” said Hancock, who holds the creative jazz chair at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. “I perceive myself as a human being first, and being a musician is something I do. My concerns today are much larger than the field of music.”

For information on Hancock’s U.S. tour:
(Patrick Cole is a reporter for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at

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Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - On Concord October 12, 2010

In a career that spans 20 years and a dozen albums, saxophonist Dave Koz has established himself as one of the most prominent figures in contemporary jazz. Yet, as noteworthy as his body of recorded work, entertaining live performances and other past accomplishments might be, Koz finds himself in an era of dramatic and sweeping change where everything once taken for granted is suddenly up for grabs. For Koz – and for all of us in this first decade of the new century – it’s a new day, full of new challenges and opportunities, and new rules that are still being written.

"Put The Top Down" Single on iTunes

Koz embraces this era of change – and even the uncertainty that comes with it – on Hello Tomorrow, his debut on Concord Records. Produced by Grammy-winners John Burk and Marcus Miller (who also appears on several tracks), the album features a diverse army of high-profile guests: Herb Alpert, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson, Sheila E., Boney James, Jeff Lorber, Keb’ Mo’, Ray Parker, Jr., Lee Ritenour, Christian Scott and others. Each of the thirteen tracks – most of then written by Koz and his collaborators, others penned by friends and legends – focuses on being open to new beginnings, and trusting that the future is unfolding in all the right ways for all the right reasons.

“I’m excited to be with a new record label, Concord Records, after nearly 20 years,” says Koz, “but it’s been a big change for me personally, and there’s always some apprehension that comes with big changes. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that there are millions of people with a similar story. Circumstances have forced them to take a step in a different direction or reinvent themselves in some way. They’re reaching a certain point where they see a life ahead of them that they never expected. Many of us are at the beginning of a new era, and we’d be wise to embrace it.

Hello Tomorrow is the culmination of all of these past achievements and more. It’s a first step into a new creative environment, however uncharted the territory might be.

Hello Tomorrow pushes the reset button for an artist who’s been in the game for two decades, and positions him for the next chapter in a story that’s already multi-dimensional and compelling. “In many ways, I feel like this is the beginning of my career,” he says. “That may sound strange, because I’ve enjoyed a great deal of success up until now. But I feel like my best days are still ahead of me. I’ve made a Dave Koz record that fans of my earlier work will be able to connect to. It’s still me. It’s not too foreign, but it’s me in 2010, coming from a different perspective that’s reflective of the times we’re living in and the changes that continue to define this new era.”

1. Put The Top Down 4:59
2. When Will I Know For Sure 4:53
3. It’s Always Been You 3:57
4. Getaway 4:45
5. This Guy’s In Love With You 4:56
6. Anything’s Possible 4:04
7. There’s A Better Way 4:31
8. Start All Over Again 4:29
9. Think Big 4:59
10. The Journey 5:54
11. Remember Where You Came From 4:58
12. Whisper In Your Ear 4:47
13. What You Leave Behind 1:56

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Bill Frisell - "Beautiful Dreamers" - Savoy Jazz 8/31/10

Most people slow down as they get older but, in the case of musicians, there are those who seem to actually step up the pace. Bill Frisell may be approaching 60, but he's busier than ever--so much so, in fact, that the intrepid guitarist has left his record label of over twenty years (Nonesuch), because it was unprepared to keep up with his need to release more than one album per year. Beautiful Dreamers is Frisell's first Savoy Jazz release but it won't be the last, as the intrepid guitarist heads into the studio in October with his string-driven 858 Quartet, to record a follow-up to Richter 858 (Songlines, 2005), for release early in 2011.

Those who caught Frisell during the 2010 summer festival season--including TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival and Norway's Kongsberg Jazz Festival)--will be familiar with the joyful interaction of his Beautiful Dreamers trio, but there's at least one significant difference between its live shows and self-titled debut. In performance, both Frisell and longtime musical cohort/violist Eyvind Kang use a bevy of effects--distortion, pitch shifting, looping and more--to expand the range of an unorthodox trio that also includes drummer Rudy Royston. The disc, on the other hand, is a largely acoustic affair, though Frisell does use an octave divider on the quirky “Homer Blues,” and some dense overdrive on the near-rocking “Dec. 25th,” where Royston's go-go beat propels what was, in concert, a lengthy highlight, but is, here, an almost too-short miniature.

Almost, that is. Like other recent discs including Disfarmer (Nonesuch, 2009) and History, Mystery (Nonesuch, 2008), few of Beautiful Dreamers' tracks crack the six-minute mark. But Beautiful Dreamers clearly understands the difference between live performance and permanent documentation; none of the material overstays its welcome, but neither does it appear hurried, as Frisell and Kang orbit around each other with brooding introspection on “T5 Pt. 1,” a spare extension of Where in the World? (Nonesuch, 1991)--or, even better, one of Frisell's early high watermarks, This Land (Nonesuch, 1994).

Beautiful Dreamers deserts the overt Americana of Good Dog, Happy Man (Nonesuch, 1999), yet there's still something indefinably American about the guitarist's writing, which accounts for ten of the disc's sixteen tracks. His covers traverse a broad terrain of distinctly American music, ranging from the visceral blues of Blind Willie Johnson's “Nobody's Fault” and Benny Goodman's swinging “Benny's Bugle” (where Royston channels Gene Krupa, but without the bluster and bombast), to a wry take on the Little Anthony and the Imperials hit, “Goin' Out of My Head” (Kang's pizzicato the melodic front line), and the iconic title track, which coalesces from the ether, its familiar theme only emerging at the song's end.

In the most understated way possible, Beautiful Dreamers' special intimacy, quiet joy and constant sound of surprise represent a shift in Frisell's music. Moving away from project specificity and, instead, towards a consolidation of the guitarist's multifaceted interests, it's a beautiful way, indeed, to kick-start this relationship with a new label.

Track Listing: Love Sick; Winslow Homer; Beautiful Dreamer (for Karle Seydel); A Worthy Endeavor (for Cajori); It's Nobody's Fault But My Own; Baby Cry; Benny's Bugle; Tea For Two; No Time To Cry; Better Than A Machine (for Vic Chestnut); Goin' Out Of My Head; Worried Woman; Keep On The Sunny Side; Sweetie; All We Can Do; Who Was That Girl?

Personnel: Bill Frisell: guitar; Eyvind Kang: viola; Rudy Royston: drums.

By John Kelman -

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Radio Stations Propose Paying to Play Music

For more than 70 years, over-the-air radio stations have played music without paying the performers who recorded the songs.

That could be changing.

This month, the National Association of Broadcasters released what it described as a framework of a deal in which stations would pay a total of about $100 million a year in performance fees.

“It’s a crack in the dam,” said David Kaut, a regulatory analyst for the research firm Stifel Nicolaus.

The association’s outline suggests that the largest stations pay a performance fee of 1 percent of net revenue, and smaller stations a lower rate or none at all. While labels and musicians have long sought performance fees, broadcasters have argued that the stations provide important promotion for artists, and that a fee might put small stations out of business.

Even if a final compromise is reached, it would still need Congressional approval.

Monday, the broadcasting group will hold an online discussion to answer questions from its members.

“I think some people inside the industry think we should fight and fight and fight,” said Peter Smyth, a board member of the radio group and chief executive of Greater Media, which owns 23 stations. “But at the end of the day, we have to make good deals that help us move forward.”

Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group that represents record labels, said that the plan released by the broadcasters “signals a new day where two very significant sectors that should be partners ride off together in a productive way.”

Last year, after the both the House and Senate judiciary committees approved bills that would require performance fees for broadcast radio, lawmakers asked the two sides to work out a deal themselves. The groups have regularly discussed the issue since February.

Laws passed in the 1990s require fees to be paid for online radio. Last year, SoundExchange, the organization that collects performance fees, brought in more than $180 million. The money is generally split between the copyright holder, often a record label, and the artist. Under the new plan, fees for online radio would be reduced.

The record industry would welcome any additional income, as revenue from recorded music has been cut almost in half over the last 10 years.

“It took me a really long time to come to the conclusion that I would pay performance royalties,” said Mr. Smyth. “Eight months ago, I’d say it’s nuts.”

Mr. Smyth said his feelings changed when he realized the risk involved in trying to oppose the bill. Stations fear that Congress could eventually require higher fees than they are proposing.

Although the two sides appear closer than ever before to a deal, serious hurdles remain.

The framework released by the broadcasters calls for a federal mandate that every cellphone sold in the United States include a chip to allow FM radio reception — a “critically important” part of the plan, said Dennis Wharton, the group’s spokesman. Having radio available in all cellphones could help broadcasters compete with online streaming services like Pandora, which are popular on mobile devices. Mr. Wharton said the chip would help provide a public service, as information during a local emergency could be heard on a phone.

The record companies are in favor of the chip requirement, but the cellphone industry has expressed serious concerns, saying that it could make phones bulkier and shorten battery life. “We are completely, inalterably opposed to this,” said Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents some wireless companies.

Mr. Bainwol said that in the last year many potential deal-breakers had arisen, but that the two sides had so far found ways to work around them. The chip question, he said, just happens to be the “issue du jour.”

The music labels would like to put something in front of lawmakers shortly after Labor Day, in hopes that something could be passed before the end of the current Congress. Whatever the timing, Marty Machowsky, a spokesman for the MusicFirst Coalition, which represents labels and musicians, said that the outline distributed by the broadcasters’ association was an important development.

“There’s really a sense,” he said, “that this has the potential to be a significant breakthrough.”


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