Monday, February 28, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - February 28, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
3 - 3 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 4 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
5 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
6 - 6 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
9 - 7 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
8 - 8 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
7 - 9 - Paul Brown - "Love You Found Me" - (Shanachie)
10 - 10 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue
18 - 11 - The Rippingtons - "Cote d' Azur" - (Peak/Concord)
11 - 12 - Walter Beasley - "Backatcha! (Shanachie)
16 - 13 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
17 - 14 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
12 - 15 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" (NuGroove)
19 - 16 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" - (Shanachie)
14 - 17 - Nate Najar - "Groove Me" - (Woodward Ave.)
13 - 18 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
21 - 19 - Craig Sharmat - "Outside In" - (Innervision)
15 - 20 - Norman Brown - "Send My Love" (Peak/Concord)

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Al Di Meola - "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody" - Telarc release 3/15/11 #jazz

Following the much ballyhooed Return To Forever reunion tour of 2008, guitarist Al Di Meola began refocusing his energies on his World Sinfonia band. Live in Seattle and Elsewhere documented his tightly-knit chemistry in concert on a 2009 tour with his acoustic ensemble of accordionist Fausto Beccalossi, second guitarist Kevin Seddiki, bassist Victor Miranda, drummer Peter Kazsas and Di Meola’s longtime collaborator Gumbi Ortiz on cajon and assorted hand percussion. Di Meola’s rhythmically-charged flamenco and tango inspired originals revealed his knack for advanced harmonies along with his embracing of simple, beautiful, alluring melodies. And although he may be a romantic at heart, he showed that he is still very much capable of flashing those legendary chops that graced his ‘70s classics like Elegant Gypsy and Casino.

On Di Meola’s latest outing, Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, the guitar virtuoso and world music pioneer deals in more evocative and compelling sounds with his World Sinfonia ensemble, delivering hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving music from track to track. The collection kicks off with the entrancing, suite-like “Siberiana,” which opens with some tender call-and-response between Beccalossi’s accordion and Di Meola’s nylon string acoustic guitar before building to a turbulent section with searing electric guitar lines on top. On the affecting “Paramour’s Lullaby,” Di Meola takes a more deliberate approach on electric guitar, spinning warm, lyrical lines over the beautiful harmonies before engaging in spirited call-and-response with Beccalossi near the end of the piece. The rhythmically charged “Mawazine” (featuring percussionist Mino Cinelu) is broken up into two parts on the album and showcases some typically tasty electric guitar work by the leader.

The lushly cinematic “Michelangelo’s 7th Child” (featuring Hungary’s Sturcz String Quartet) has Di Meola utilizing subtle MIDI textures and colorations on his acoustic guitar while also showcasing some virtuosic runs. “Gumbiero” is a stirring Latin number underscored by Ortiz’s churning conga work. Sparks fly between Di Meola’s signature fretboard bravado on both acoustic and electric, Beccalossi’s facile accordion playing and Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s dazzling piano work on this spirited offering. “Full Frontal Contrapuntal” features some chops-busting unisons and intricate exchanges between Al’s MIDI-tinged acoustic guitar and Beccalossi’s accordion. The surging “This Way Before” and the evocative, flamenco inspired “Fireflies” both feature Di Meola alternating between acoustic and distortion-laced electric guitar licks. The stirring Latin flavored “Destination Gonzalo” and “Radical Rhapsody” both feature virtuosic contributions from pianist Rubalcaba and former Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine. The poignant “Bona” is a tender offering with the Sturcz String Quartet that features some of Di Meola’s most lyrical playing on the record. The leader also turns in soothing interpretations of two classic pop tunes, the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” both of which feature the great jazz bassist Charlie Haden.

1. Siberiana 8:28
2. Paramour's Lullaby 7:45
3. Mawazine Part 1 2:07
4. Michelangelo's 7th Child 7:30
5. Gumbiero 6:18
6. Brave New World 1:54
7. Full Frontal Contrapuntal 4:52
8. That Way Before 3:06
9. Fireflies 4:01
10. Destination Gonzalo 5:16
11. Bona 6:00 Preview
12. Radical Rhapsody 5:02
13. Strawberry Fields 4:09
14. Mawazine Part 2 2:54
15. Over the Rainbow 3:04

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - March 1, 2011 #jazz

Airborne - Back in the Dayz - Airborne Anthology (Tilt Records)
Annie Ross - Four Classic Albums (Phantom )
Annie Ross - Candlelight / Gypsy / A Gasser / Sings A Song ( )
Annie Ross - Four Classic Albums: Annie By Candlelight/Gypsy/A Gasser/Sings A Song With Mulligan (Avid Records )
Art Pepper - With Warne Marsh (Phantom Sound & Vision )
Art Pepper - Intensity (Analogue Prod. )
Art Pepper - Getting Together (Polydor Japan/Zoom )
Art Pepper - Meets Rhythm Section (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Art Pepper - Art Pepper & Eleven (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Artie Shaw - Ultimate Big Band Collection: Artie Shaw (Masterworks )
Austin Peralta - Endless Planets (Brainfeeder )
Baby Face Willette - Face To Face (Indies Japan/Zoom )
Barney Kessel - Poll Winners (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Bill Charlap - Stardust (Venus Jap/Zoom )
Billy Bauer - Anthology (Amj Jap/Zoom )
Buddy Sativa - Deus Ex Machina (Favorite Recordings )
Cannonball Adderley - Dis Here (Proper Box )
Cecil Taylor - Looking Ahead ( )
Charlie Byrd - Twins (Amj Jap/Zoom )
CJ Catalizer - I'll Be There (Phantom )
Count Basie - Ultimate Big Band Collection: Count Basie (Masterworks )
Cyminology - Saburi ( )
David Chesky - Urbanicity (Chesky )
Diana Krall - Doing All Right-In Concert (Phantom )
Dutch Swing College Band - Dutch Swing College Band 1958-59 (Metropolitan Groove Merchants )
Eddie Higgins - Ballad Higgins (Pid )
Edmond Hall - Four Classic Albums (Phantom )
Edmond Hall - Petite Fleur / Rumpus On Rampart St / Teddy ( )
Edmond Hall - Petite Fleur/Rumpus On Rampart St./Teddy Buckner All Stars/Jazz At (Avid Records )
Esben & Witch - Violet Cries (Hostess Japan/Zoom )
Fred Hersch - Alone At The Vanguard (Palmetto )
Gil Scott-Heron - We're New Here (Hostess Japan/Zoom )
Hampton Hawes - Trio Vol 1 (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Harry Connick Jr. - In Concert On Broadway (Sony Music )
Harry James - Ultimate Big Band Collection: Harry James (Masterworks )
Herbie Mann - New York Jazz Quartet/Music For Suburban Living (Solar )
Holly Cole - Blame It On My Youth ( )
Human Egg - Human Egg (Favorite Recordings )
Jimmy Scott - All Of Me (Phantom )
Jimmy Wyble - Diane (Amj )
John Coltrane - My Favorite Things (Phantom )
John Hicks - Moanin-Portrait Of Art Blakey (Phantom )
Jurek Lamorski - Lucky (Membran )
Keith Jarrett Trio - Somewhere Before (Warner Japan/Zoom )
Know Hope Collective - Know Hope Collective (Columbia )
Lee Konitz - Jazz (Feat.Kenny Barron) (Phantom )
Lou Donaldson - Sunny Side Up (CLASSIC )
Marc Van Roon - I Still See You ( )
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew Live (Sony Legacy )
Morgana King - Four Classic Albums (Phantom )
Morgana King - For You For Me For Evermore / Sings The Blues ( )
Morgana King - Four Classic Albums: For You, For Me, For Evermore/Sings The Blues/The Greatest Songs Ever Swung/Let Me Love You (Avid Records )
Nicki Parrott - Fly Me To The Moon (Phantom )
Nymark Collective - Bessie Smiths Revisited: Live In Concert (Milan )
Nymark Collective With Kristin Asbjornsen - Bessie Smith Revisited (Phantom )
Ornette Coleman - Something Else (Doxy )
Paolo Vinaccia - Very Much Alive (Phantom )
Peggy Lee - Hits And More, The (Jasmine )
Peggy Lee - Hits And More (Jasmine )
Phineas Newborn Jr. - World Of Piano (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band Salah - Egyptian Jazz (Forcex )
Raphael Gualazzi - Reality & Fantasy (Phantom )
Ray Crawford - It's About Time (Amj )
Romane - Swing For Ninine (Indie Europe/Zoom )
Ron Carter - Great Big Band (EMI )
Shelly Manne - West Coast Jazz In England Free Trade Hall 1960 (Solar )
Shelly Manne - Swinging Sounds (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Sun Ra - Antique Blacks (Phantom )
Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arke - Sleeping Beauty (Forcex )
Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra - On Jupiter (Forcex )
Supersilent - 10 (Rune Grammofon )
Susanne Alt - Live At Bimhuis (Venus Tunes) - 2+ CDs
Syd Orchestra Lawrence - Night At The Movies (Phantom )
Three Sounds - Introducing The 3 Sounds (Analogue Prod. )
Tommy Dorsey - Ultimate Big Band Collection: Tommy Dorsey (Masterworks Jazz )
Vintage Merseyippi Jazz Band - Vintage Merseyippi Jazz Band Vol. 1-Vintage Merseyippi Jazz Band (Metropolitan Groove Merchants )
Yosuke Yamashita - Delightful Contrast (Universal )

Barney Kessel - To Swing or Not to Swing (Victor)
Bill Evans - Alone (Pid )
Charles Mingus - Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic)
Chet Baker - Chet Baker in New York (Fantasy / Riverside) - SACD
Duke Pearson - Phantom (Blue Note)
Gerry Mulligan - Night Lights (Pid )
Hank Mobley - Dippin' (Blue Note)
Jimmy Smith - Midnight Special (Blue Note Records (USA) )
Jimmy Smith - Cat (Pid )
Keith Jarrett - Somewhere Before (Atlantic)
Modern Jazz Quartet - Plays No Sun in Venice (Atlantic)
Modern Jazz Quartet - No Sun In Venice (Wea Japan )
Ornette Coleman - Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic)
Ray Brown - Something For Lester (Universal Japan )
Shelly Manne - My Fair Lady (JVC XRCD )
Sonny Rollins - Way Out West (Universal)

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The information is updated biweekly by John Kelman

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - February 21, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
3 - 3 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
5 - 4 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
4 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
7 - 6 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
8 - 7 - Paul Brown - "Love You Found Me" - (Shanachie)
9 - 8 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
6 - 9 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
10 - 10 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue
12 - 11 - Walter Beasley - "Backatcha! (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" (NuGroove)
20 - 13 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
16 - 14 - Nate Najar - "Groove Me" - (Woodward Ave.)
11 - 15 - Norman Brown - "Send My Love" (Peak/Concord)
18 - 16 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 17 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
19 - 18 - The Rippingtons - "Cote d' Azur" - (Peak/Concord)
23 - 19 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" - (Shanachie)
14 - 20 Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

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Legendary Guitarist Lee Ritenour Announces Second Annual Yamaha 6 String Theory Guitar Competition #jazz

Back by popular demand, Lee Ritenour has announced the launch of the second annual Yamaha Six String Theory Guitar Competition, in partnership with the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation and the National Guitar Workshop. Entries will be accepted from February 15-April 30 for rock, blues, jazz/fusion, acoustic, classical/flamenco and country guitar players. Six winners from each musical genre will be invited to Montana for the finals and will receive scholarships to participate in The Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop. The final competition will take place in conjunction with the workshop’s activities and is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at the Bigfork Performing Arts Center. The event will be open to the public.

The contest is the inspiration of the legendary GRAMMY® award winning guitarist/composer and producer, Lee Ritenour, who debuted the international competition in 2010 with the release of his all-star guitar CD, 6 String Theory. The CD has been named Guitar International’s “Best Album of 2010,” Jazziz’ “Publisher’s Album of the Year – and culminated in Ritenour recently receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guitar Player Magazine. The CD features 20 world-class guitarists including George Benson, BB King, Slash, Vince Gill, Robert Cray, and the winner of the 2010 competition Shon Boublil.

Prizes for this year’s competition include a weeklong stay at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork for a family of four, a potential Concord Records recording contract, a National Guitar Workshop scholarship, as well as many other prizes from Yamaha Guitars, Monster Cable, D’Addario Strings, and others. Competitors are required to send an online video submission.

To enter and for complete contest rules and regulations, visit

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Award Winning Jazz Saxophonist Kenny G Performs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts #jazz

AEG Live and Broward Center present Grammy Award-winning saxophonist KennyKenny G on Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. in the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The contemporary jazz saxophonist infuses elements of R&B, pop and Latin with the smooth jazz genre that he has dominated for almost three decades, performing songs from his newest album “Heart and Soul,” which earned Kenny G his 17th Grammy nomination.

Since the beginning of his career in 1982, Kenny G has produced 23 albums and collaborated with iconic stars such as Aretha Franklin; Frank SinatraFrank Sinatra; Barbra Streisand; and Earth, Wind and Fire. Career highlights include the 1994 holiday album “Miracles,” his first number one album on the Billboard charts and the best-selling holiday album of all time and the 1992 studio album “Breathless” which sold more than 12 million records in the U.S. alone.

Noting his dominance of the genre, the New York Times referred to Kenny G as “the regent of the smoothiverse.” He is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era, with global sales totaling more than 75 million albums and more than a dozen number one hits on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

Tickets are $35, $45, $55 and $65 and are available through the Broward Center’s box office at 954/462-0222 or online at

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District at 201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - February 22, 2011 #jazz

Abbey Lincoln / Archie Shepp - Painted Lady ( )
Baptiste Trotignon - Suite. (Laborie )
Best Of Sweet Bands & Object Of My Affection - Best Of Sweet Bands & Object Of My Affection ( )
Brad Mehldau - Live In Marciac (Nonesuch (USA) )
Clark Terry - Sextet & Octet ( )
Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Vol. 2 (Constellation )
Colin Stetson - Stetson,Colin Vol. 2-New History Warfare: Judges (Constellation/Ada )
Conrad Gozzo - Goz The Great ( )
Country Joe Mcdonald - Dancing Monk (Ryko )
Cul-De-Sac Soundtrack - Cul-De-Sac (Cleopatra )
Daniele Di Bonaventura - Mistico Mediterraneo (Ecm )
Don Elliott - Octet And Sextette Play Jamaican Jazz/Musical Offering (Fresh )
Doug Webb - Midnight (Positone )
Earl Klugh - Dream Come True / Crazy For You ( )
Eddie Cano - Eddie Cano At PJ's ( )
Eddie Cano - On Broadway ( )
Ehud Asherie - Organic ( )
Eric Reed - Dancing Monk (Savant Records (Jazz) )
Frank Rehak - 3 Bones And A Quill (Fresh (Label) )
Freddie Gambrell - Chico Hamilton Introduces ( )
Freddie Green - Mr. Rhythm (Fresh Sound )
George Mitchell - Black & White Minstrel Show (Pickwick )
George Wallington - Complete Session 1949-1956 (Fresh )
Gutbucket - Flock (Cuneiform )
Howard Roberts - H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player (SUNDAZED )
Hugh Hopper - Stolen Hour ( )
Jack Sheldon - Quartet And The Quintet (Fresh (Label) )
Jared Gold - Out Of Line (Positone )
Jason Miles - To Grover With Love (Phantom )
Jerry Bergonzi - Convergence (Ryko )
Jerry Corbetta - Jerry Corbetta (Collectors Choice )
Jim Rotondi Quintet - 1000 Rainbows (Positone )
Laurindo Almeida - Holiday In Brazil ( )
Lennie McBrowne - And The 4 Souls/Eastern Lights (Fresh Sound )
Les McCann Ltd. - It's About Time (Fresh Sound )
Lincoln / A. Shepp - Painted Lady (Itm )
Lincoln Abbey & Archie Shepp - Painted Lady (Itm )
Lou Donaldson - Sunny Side Up (CLASSIC )
Matana Roberts - Live In London (Central Control International )
Matthew Shipp - Art Of The Improviser (Thirsty Ear )
Nancy Wilson - All In Love Is Fair / Come Get To This ( )
Nancy Wilson - All In Love Is Fair/Come Get To This (Soul Music )
Paul Bryant - Blues Message ( )
Paul Chambers - Chambers Music: A Jazz Delegation From The East ( )
Paul Siebel - Jack-Knife Gypsy (Collectors Choice )
Ricard Roda - Asteriscs ( )
Russ Freeman - Trio & Quartet ( )
Sammy Walker - Sammy Walker (Collectors Choice )
Shirley Horn - Songs Of Lost Love Sung By Shirley Horn (Fresh Sound )
Shorty Rogers - Plays Afro Cuban Influence (Fresh Sound )
Sun Ra - Mayan Temples (Black Saint )
Tacuma & Puschnig - Gemini Gemini (Itm Eur/Zoom )
Tarbaby - End Of Fear (Positone )
Teddy Edwards - Sunset Eyes ( )
Toots Thielemans - Soul Of Toots Thielemans (Essential Jazz )
Wolfgang Pushing / Jamaaladeen Tacuma - Gemini Gemini ( )
Zoot Sims - Meets Lambert Hendricks And Ross In L.A. 1959 (Fresh Sound )

Dave Brubeck - Time Out (Pid )
Hank Mobley - Dippin' (Blue Note)
Jimmy Smith - Midnight Special (Blue Note Records (USA) )

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

George Shearing, ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ Jazz Virtuoso, Dies at 91

By Peter Keepnews NY Times
George Shearing, the British piano virtuoso who overcame blindness to become a worldwide jazz star, and whose composition “Lullaby of Birdland” became an enduring jazz standard, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 91.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his manager, Dale Sheets. Mr. Shearing had homes in Manhattan and Lee, Mass.

In 1949, just two years after Mr. Shearing immigrated to the United States, his recording of “September in the Rain” became an international hit. Its success established him as a hot property on the jazz nightclub and concert circuit. It established something else as well: the signature sound of the George Shearing Quintet, which was not quite like anything listeners had heard before — or have heard since.

“When the quintet came out on 1949, it was a very placid and peaceful sound, coming on the end of a very frantic and frenetic era known as bebop,” Mr. Shearing said in a 1995 interview on the Web site What he was aiming for, he said, was “a full block sound, which, if it was scored for saxophones, would sound like the Glenn Miller sound. And coming at the end of the frenetic bebop era, the timing seemed to be right.”

The Shearing sound — which had the harmonic complexity of bebop but eschewed bebop’s ferocious energy — was built on the unusual instrumentation of vibraphone, guitar, piano, bass and drums. To get the “full block sound” he wanted, he had the vibraphone double what his right hand played and the guitar double the left. That sound came to represent the essence of sophisticated hip for countless listeners worldwide who preferred their jazz on the gentle side.

The personnel of the Shearing quintet changed many times over the years, but except for the addition of a percussionist in 1953 — the band continued to be called a quintet even after it became a sextet — the instrumentation and the sound remained the same for almost three decades.

When Mr. Shearing disbanded the group in 1978, it was less because listeners had grown tired of that instrumentation and sound (although the group’s popularity, like that of mainstream jazz in general, had declined considerably) than because Mr. Shearing himself had.

“I had an identity. I held on to it for 29 years. Eventually I held on like grim death,” he told John S. Wilson of The New York Times in 1986. “The last five years I played on automatic pilot. I could do the whole show in my sleep.”

Shortly after breaking up the group, Mr. Shearing said, “There won’t be another quintet unless Standard Oil or Frank Sinatra want it.” Standard Oil never asked, but in 1981 Mr. Shearing reassembled the quintet for a Boston engagement and a series of Carnegie Hall concerts as Mr. Sinatra’s opening act. He returned to the quintet format on occasion after that, but it was never again his primary focus.

His preferred format became the piano-bass duo, originally with Brian Torff and later with Don Thompson and Neil Swainson. He also performed with bass and drums and, on occasion, unaccompanied. In the 1980s and ’90s he had great success in concert and on record with the singer Mel Tormé.

By his own estimate Mr. Shearing wrote about 300 tunes, of which he liked to joke that roughly 295 were completely unknown.

He nevertheless contributed at least one bona fide standard to the jazz repertory: “Lullaby of Birdland,” written in 1952 and adopted as the theme song of the world-famous New York nightclub where he frequently performed. Both as an instrumental and with words by George David Weiss, it has been recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Bill Haley and His Comets, who improbably cut a version called “Lullaby of Birdland Twist” in 1962.

George Albert Shearing was born on Aug. 13, 1919, in the Battersea area of London, the youngest of nine children. His father, James Phillip Shearing, was a coal worker; his mother, the former Ellen Amelia Brightner, took care of the family during the day and cleaned trains at night.

In his autobiography, “Lullaby of Birdland” (2004), written with Alyn Shipton, Mr. Shearing recalled that his first attempts at making music involved throwing bottles from an upstairs window: milk bottles for a classical sound, beer for jazz. More conventionally, he began picking out tunes on the family piano at 3, even though it had some broken keys.

Blind from birth, Mr. Shearing attended the Shillington School for the Blind and the Linden Lodge School for the Blind, both in London. It was at Linden Lodge that Mr. Shearing, captivated by the recordings of American jazz pianists like Art Tatum and Fats Waller, began to study piano.

He was discouraged from pursuing his interest in the classics, he later recalled, by a teacher who recognized his gifts as an improviser and felt that studying classical music would be a waste of time. He nonetheless came to see the value of classical training; he later returned to the classics and eventually performed Bach and Mozart on several occasions with symphony orchestras.

Mr. Shearing began his career at 16, when another blind pianist gave up his job playing in a London pub and recommended Mr. Shearing as his replacement. He eventually had his own 15-minute show on the BBC and was voted Britain’s best jazz pianist seven consecutive years in the poll conducted by the magazine Melody Maker. He was indisputably a star at home; the next stop, clearly, was the United States.

Glenn Miller and Fats Waller, among others, encouraged Mr. Shearing to try his luck in the United States after World War II ended. But the booking agents were not especially impressed. At home he had sometimes been billed as “England’s Art Tatum” or “England’s Teddy Wilson.” But, he told The Times in 1986, when he performed for one American agent he received a curt response: “What else can you do?” It was not enough, he realized, to sound like other pianists. He needed to develop a sound of his own.

Mr. Shearing found it with the help of a fellow Englishman, the jazz critic and pianist Leonard Feather, who like him had moved to the United States, and who suggested what became his signature instrumentation. With Margie Hyams on vibraphone, Chuck Wayne on guitar, John Levy on bass and Denzil Best on drums, Mr. Shearing recorded “September in the Rain” in 1949. The distinctive sound of both the quintet and Mr. Shearing himself — he used a so-called locked-hands style in which his hands played melody and harmony in close quarters, with the melody line harmonized by the right hand and doubled by the left hand an octave below — caught listeners’ fancy, and stardom soon followed.

In the early years of Mr. Shearing’s renown he recorded for the MGM label, but his longest professional relationship was with Capitol, where he was a mainstay of the roster from 1955 to 1969. In addition to recording him with his quintet, Capitol teamed him with a number of singers, including Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson and even Nat (King) Cole, an accomplished jazz pianist in his own right, who relinquished the piano chair to Mr. Shearing on a memorable 1961 album.

With the market for jazz shrinking in the late 1960s, Capitol chose not to re-sign Mr. Shearing. He then formed his own small record company, Sheba, but that enterprise was short-lived. In 1979, a year after disbanding his quintet, he signed with Concord, a jazz label, and his career soon underwent a resurgence.

It was under Concord’s aegis that he first recorded with Mel Tormé. Their albums “An Evening With George Shearing and Mel Tormé” and “Top Drawer” won Grammys — for Mr. Tormé but not for Mr. Shearing, who despite his many other accomplishments never won one.

In his later years, Mr. Shearing also recorded unaccompanied; in duet with his fellow pianists Marian McPartland and Hank Jones; and in settings as uncharacteristic as a Dixieland band. He continued performing into his 80s and stopped only after a fall in 2004, which led to a long hospital stay.

Mr. Shearing’s marriage to Beatrice Bayes ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Ellie Geffert, and a daughter, Wendy.

Mr. Shearing was invited to perform at the White House by three presidents: Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He performed for the British royal family as well. The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters gave him the Ivor Novello Award for lifetime achievement in 1993. In 1996 he was invested as an officer in the Order of the British Empire, and 11 years later he was knighted.

“I don’t know why I’m getting this honor,” he said shortly after learning of his knighthood. “I’ve just been doing what I love to do.”

Richard Severo contributed reporting.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

53rd Grammy Award #Jazz Winners

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
The Stanley Clarke Band -- The Stanley Clarke Band

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee -- Dee Dee Bridgewater

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Change Is Gonna Come -- Herbie Hancock, soloist, off The Imagine Project

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
Moody 4B -- James Moody

Best Large Jazz Ensemble
Mingus Big Band Live At Jazz Standard -- Mingus Big Band

Best Latin Jazz Album
Chucho's Steps -- Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers

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Esperanza Spalding Wins Best New Artist Award #jazz

First Jazz Musician To Ever Win Best New Artist Award

Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, is proud to announce that bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding has won the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. Winners were announced by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards on Sunday, February 13, 2011, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. All nominations were for albums released from September 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.

Spalding is the first jazz musician to ever win the Best New Artist GRAMMY® Award. She was nominated along with Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & the Machine, and Mumford and Sons. Her inclusion in this mainstream category signified her considerable appeal to a broad audience.

“Esperanza is a phenomenal artist, and we’re thrilled about her GRAMMY® win,” says Mark Wexler, Senior Vice President and Label Manager, Jazz and Classics Group. “All of us at the Concord Music Group are delighted that she’s been honored by her peers in the music industry, and we’re proud to be a part of her success.”

Concord Music Group label manager Gene Rumsey added, “Esperanza embodies everything a ‘Best New Artist’ should: inspired vision, unique creativity and undeniable talent. The Concord team is extremely pleased to be associated with such an outstanding person and artist. We look forward to what will surely be an important and lasting career in music.”

Spalding combines the imaginative flights of a serious improviser with the musical accessibility of a pop star and within two years of her solo debut has beguiled success at nearly unimaginable heights. Esperanza, her 2008 release, spent over 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and was the most successful internationally selling debut that year.

Chamber Music Society, Spalding’s most recent release, is a brilliant marriage of string and jazz trio, and a showcase for her eclectic sensibilities along with her vocal and compositional talents. In January 2011, Chamber Music Society hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.

Other career highlights include two televised performances at the White House, a Banana Republic ad campaign, features in Oprah Magazine and The New Yorker, numerous awards and high profile tour dates, capped by an invitation to perform at the 2009 Nobel Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

For nearly 20 years, Heads Up International has been successfully carving its niche in the world of contemporary instrumental music. Heads Up artists and releases have consistently landed on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz, Traditional Jazz and World Music charts, and have garnered numerous industry awards, including Billboard’s Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year, the AFIM’s Independent Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, eight GRAMMY® Awards and numerous GRAMMY® nominations. Heads Up was also the winner of JazzWeek’s Radio Programmers Album of the Year Award for two consecutive years, and Gibson Guitar’s Best Female Jazz Guitarist. In addition to the awards and accolades, Heads Up artists have regularly captured the No. 1 slot in national radio airplay.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - February 15, 2011 #jazz

10 Classic Rags Of Scott Joplin Arranged For Finge - 10 Classic Rags Of Scott Joplin Arranged For Finge (Stephan Grossmans Guitar Works )
Acker Bilk - Acker Bilk And His Paramount Jazzband: The Early Years (Membran )
Ahmad Jamal - Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club ( )
Alon Nechushtan - Words Beyond (Buckyball )
Andy Cooper - Andy Cooper's Top 8: Makin' Whoopee (Membran )
Anthony Braxton - 6 Duos (Wesleyan) 2006 (Nessa )
Anthony Braxton & John Mcdonough - 6 Duos (Wesleyan) 2006 (Nessa Records )
Arne "Papa" Bue Jensen - In The Beginning (Membran )
Art Tatum - Legendary 1956 Session ( )
Atsuko Hashimoto - Until The Sun Comes Up (Capri )
Austin Peralta - Endless Planets (Brainfeeder )
Benny Goodman - Afrs Benny Goodman Show, Vol. 5 (Sounds of Yester Year )
Benny Goodman & His Orchestra Sextet - Afrs Benny Goodman Show 5 ( )
Blue Mitchell - Legendary Quartet Sessions With Wynton Kelly ( )
Brian Lynch - Conclave, Vol. 2 (criss cross )
Brian Lynch & Spheres Of Influence - Conclave 2 ( )
Bud Freeman - Tenor Sax And Orchestra (Membran )
Chad Mccullough - Imaginary Sketches (Origin )
Chad Mccullough & Bram Weijters - Imaginary Sketches ( )
Chet Baker (Trumpet / Com / Vocals - Time After Time (Appaloosa )
Chris Barber - Chris Barber's Jazzband: Hits From The Golden Era Of Traditional Jazz (Membran )
Clark Terry - Sextet & Octet ( )
Coasters - Coasters ( )
Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins,Coleman Vol. 36 (Red/Membran )
Coleman Hawkins & His All Stars - Timeless Jazz ( )
Conrad Gozzo - Goz The Great ( )
Cuong Vu - Leaps Of Faith (Origin )
Cuong Vu 4-Tet - Leaps Of Faith ( )
Diana Krall - Doing All Right-In Concert (Phantom )
Django Reinhardt - Swing De Paris (Red/Membran )
Don Elliott - Octet And Sextette Play Jamaican Jazz/Musical Offering (Fresh )
Duck Baker - King Of Bongo Bong (Stefan Grossman's )
Duke Ellington - Ella & Duke At The Cote D'Azur (Mosaic )
Eddie Mendenhall - Cosgin Meets Tangent (Miles High Production )
Eddie Mendenhall - Cosign Meets Tangent (Miles High )
Eddie Mendenhall - Cosine Meets Tangent (Miles High )
Ehud Asherie - Organic ( )
Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly (Disconforme )
Ella Fitzgerald - Ella & Duke At The Cote D' Azur (Mosaic Vinyl )
Elvin Jones - Dear John C. (Analogue Prod. )
Erroll Garner - Music For Tired Lovers ( )
Erroll Garner-Music For / Woody Herman - Woody Herman/Erroll Garner-Music For Vol. 37 (Red/Membran )
Flip Phillips - Swinging With Flip (Membran )
Frank Rehak - 3 Bones And A Quill (Fresh (Label) )
Freddie Gambrell - Chico Hamilton Introduces ( )
Freddie Green - Mr Rhythm ( )
Freddie Hubbard - Open Sesame (Pid )
George Wallington - Complete Session 1949-1956 (Fresh )
Glenn Miller - Dance Anyone? (Montpellier )
Herbie Mann - New York Jazz Quartet / Music For Suburban Living ( )
Howard McGhee - Dusty Blue / Connection ( )
Illinois Jacque - Illinois Jacque Vol. 38 (Red/Membran )
Illinois Jacquet - Illinois Jacquet And His Orchestra ( )
Jack McDuff - Brother Jack / Tough Duff ( )
Janette West Group - Snapshot (Pony Boy )
Jeff Steinberg - Dancing Under The Stars: Tango (Green Hill )
Jo Stafford - At The Supper Club, PT. II (Sounds of Yester Year )
John Coltrane - At Carnegie Hall (Mosaic )
June Christy - Cool School (Pure Pleasure )
Jurek Lamorski - From Csardas To Jazz (Membran )
Jurek Lamorski - Lucky (Membran )
Katy Bourne - As The Fates Decide (Pony Boy )
Ken Colyer - Ken Colyer's Jazzmen And Skiffle Group 1956 (Membran )
Larry Elgart - Elgart Sound (Montpellier )
Larry Elgart & His Orchestra - Elgart Sound ( )
Laurindo Almeida - Holiday In Brazil ( )
Lee Morgan - Legendary Quartet Sessions ( )
Lenny Mcbrowne - Complete Recordings ( )
Les Quitriche - La Recolte (All Score Media )
Lionel Hampton - Air Mail Special (Membran )
Max Kaminsky - When The Saints Go Marchingin/Jazz On Campus ( )
Max Kaminsky-When The Saints Go Marchi - Max Kaminsky-When The Saints Go Marchi Vol. 39 (Red/Membran )
Meadow - Blissful Ignorance (Edition Records )
Odean Pope - Universal Sounds (PORTER )
Okun Trio, Yakov - New York Encounter ( )
Old Merry Tale Jazz Band - 50 Jahre Old Merry Tale Jazz Band (Membran )
Papa Bue - In The Beginning (Membran )
Pat Coil - Java Jazz (Green Hill )
Paul Bryant - Blues Message ( )
Paul Chambers - Chambers Music: A Jazz Delegation From The East ( )
Peter Eldridge - Mad Heaven (Palmetto )
Peter Meyer - Party All My Troubles Away (Membran )
Planet Zu - In The Light Of Day (Blue Canoe )
Ray McKinley / Glenn Miller - Dance Anyone ( )
Reeds & Deeds - Tenor Time ( )
Ricard Roda - Asteriscs ( )
Rich Pellegrin - Three-Part Odyssey ( )
Ronnie Hawkins - Ronnie Hawkins ( )
Roscoe Mitchell - Old/Quartet Sessions (Nessa Records )
Russ Freeman - Trio & Quartet ( )
Seth Ford Young - Seth Ford Young ( )
Seth Ford-Young - Seth Ford Young ( )
Shelly Manne - West Coast Jazz In England ( )
Skip Martin - Speakeasy Blues (Montpellier )
Skip Martin - Scheherajazz / Swingin With Prince Igor ( )
Skip Martin & His Orchestra - Speakeasy Blues ( )
Sonny Rollins - Sonny Rollins On Impulse! (Analogue Productions )
Sonny Stitt - Salt And Pepper (Analogue Productions )
Stacy Dillard - Good & Bad Memories ( )
Stacy Dillard - Good And Bad Memories (criss cross )
Stan Kenton - Rosengarten: Manheim, Germany 23RD April 1956 (Sounds of Yester Year )
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra - Rosengarten: Manheim Germany 23RD April 1956 ( )
Sun Ra - Space Probe (Phantom )
Surman John - Flashpoint: Ndr Jazz Workshop April '69 (Grosse Freiheit Music )
Swing Combination - Yesterdays (Membran )
Teddy Edwards - Its About Time ( )
Teddy Edwards - Sunset Eyes ( )
Terry Gibbs - Exciting Terry Gibbs Big Band / Swing Is Here ( )
Thelonious Monk - Complete Thelonious Monk At The It Club (Mosaic )
Tigran Hamasyan - Fable (Verve )
Tom Scott - Honeysuckle Breeze ( )
Tommy Emmanuel - Little By Little (Favored Nations )
Toots Thielemans - Soul Of Toots Thielemans (Essential Jazz )
Uptown Swing Gang - Time On My Hands (Membran )
Urbie Green - Slidin Swing (Membran )
Yakov Okun Trio - New York Encounter (criss cross )

Gene Ammons - Boss Tenor (UMVD)
Stephane Grappelli - Improvisations (Emarcy)

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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Monday, February 07, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - February 7, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
3 - 3 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
5 - 4 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
4 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
7 - 6 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
6 - 7 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
9 - 8 - Paul Brown - "Love You Found Me" - (Shanachie)
8 - 9 - Brian Bromberg - "It Is What It Is" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue
14 - 10 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
12 - 11 - Norman Brown - "Send My Love" (Peak/Concord)
10 - 12 - Walter Beasley - "Backatcha! (Shanachie)
15 - 13 - Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 14 - Darren Rahn - "Talk Of The Town" (NuGroove)
11 - 15 - Tim Bowman - "The Tim Bowman Collection" - (Trippin "N" Rhythm)
16 - 16 - Euge Groove - "Sunday Morning" - (Shanachie)
18 - 17 - Nate Najar - "Groove Me" - (Woodward Ave.)
17 - 18 - Craig Sharmat - "Outside In" - (Innervision)
19 - 19 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
40 - 20 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)

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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