Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eliane Elias "Light My Fire" May 31st on Concord Records #jazz

Since the mid-1980s, pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias (pronounced eh-lee-AH-neh eh-LEE-ahs) has grafted various elements of jazz, pop, soul and other styles to her deep Brazilian roots to create a hybrid groove that exists comfortably on any hemisphere. Borrowing from an array of sources and singing in a variety of languages, Elias consistently forges a sound that appeals to listeners of every geographic locale and cultural persuasion.

Her new album, Light My Fire, wields this universal sound to explore the various corners of the human heart – from romance and passion to the shared joy of being alive and embracing everyone into the dance of life. Along with four compositions written or co-written by Elias herself, the album also includes covers of familiar works by songwriters as diverse as Jim Morrison and the Doors, pop icon Stevie Wonder and jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond. Elias weaves it all together into a cohesive whole by injecting each of the twelve songs with distinctly Brazilian grooves that alternate effortlessly between the fiery and passionate to the cool and sophisticated.

“Some of the tunes are cool and laid back, but others are quite rhythmic and joyful,” says Elias. “And they have some different grooves. I tend to gravitate toward romance – beautiful melodies, beautiful harmonies and rhythms with a great feel. But more than anything else, I’m singing about love on this record in its different aspects and dimensions.”

Backing Elias on Light My Fire is a crew of twelve high-caliber players, including special guests guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and trumpeter Randy Brecker. The rhythm section – which has accompanied Elias on several of her most recent recordings – includes guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Paulo Braga. Also on hand to sing with Elias and Gil on “Toda Menina Baiana” is Elias’ daughter, singer-songwriter Amanda Brecker. New to Elias’ team is percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos, drummer Rafael Barata, guitarists Romero Lubambo and Ross Traut, and flutist Lawrence Feldman.

“I’ve made more than 20 records in my career,” says Elias. “I’m proud of all of them, but I’m especially excited about this one,” says Elias. “It feels like it has a life and an energy all its own. With very few exceptions, nearly all of the songs were first takes. Everybody in the studio was so focused, and it was such a fun record to make. The music was really flowing, and we all felt very relaxed. From the very first day, not a note was wasted by anyone. It was an amazing experience.”

Says Elias, “I’m very excited about the music on this album. I think it’s cool, sexy and fun. This recording is the truest expression of what I’m doing right now, and it represents very closely what people hear me doing live in concert. I hope this music brings some romantic, joyful and heartfelt moments to those who hear it.”

1. Rosa Morena 4:18
2. Stay Cool 4:03
3. Aquele Abraço 5:18
4. Light My Fire 5:38
5. Isto Aqui O Que É (Silver Sandal) 4:00
6. My Cherie Amour 4:31
7. Toda Menina Baiana 4:23
8. Bananeira 3:28
9. Made in Moonlight 5:12
10. Turn To Me (Samba Maracatú) 3:39
11. Take Five 5:13
12. What About the Heart (Bate Bate) 4:46

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Upcoming New Jazz Releases - May 3, 2011 #jazz

A Von Schlippenbach - Piano Solo '77 (Pid )
Alex Welsh - Alex Welsh And Friends (Lake )
Azimuth - Aurora (Phantom )
Bill Ramsey - Swings (Bear Family )
Blond - Blond (Ultimate Vibe )
Charles Mingus - Four Classic Albums Plus (Phantom )
Charlie Parker - Bluebird: Legendary Savoy Sessions ( )
Chet Baker (Trumpet / Com / Vocals - Complete Recordings With Chet Baker (American Jazz Classics )
Chihiro Yamanaka - Forever Begins ( )
Chris Barber - Greatest Hits (Phantom )
Diego Barber - Choice (Sunnyside Commu )
Django Reinhardt - Genius Of Improvisation ( )
Gene Krupa - Drum Battle: Gene Krupa And Buddy Rich At Jatp (Chrome Dreams )
Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich - Drum Battle At Jatp (Chrome Dreams--Mvd-- )
George Gruntz - Beyond Another World-Live In China (Phantom )
Gerry Mulligan - Complete Recordings ( )
Gregor Huebner - El Violin Latino (Peregrina Music )
Harada / Parker / Taylor - Dance Project (Pid )
Herbie Hancock - Out Of This World (West Wind Records)
Intuit - Voyage No.2 (Phantom )
Jean-Luc Ponty - Open Strings (Promising Music )
Jim Hall - Complete Jazz Guitar ( )
Jim Hall - Live At The North Sea Jazz Festival (Challenge )
Joachim Kuhn - Kuhn,Joachim Vol. 2-Solos (Phantom )
Jochen Rueckert - Somewhere Meeting Nobo (Phantom )
John Martin - Dawning (Phantom )
Jolly Boys - Great Expectation ( )
Jula De Palma - Jula In Jazz ( )
Karrin Allyson - 'Round Midnight (Concord Jazz )
Kenny G / Yanni - Their Greatest Hits (Phantom )
Lester Young - President Plays With Oscar Peterson Trio ( )
Lester Young - President Plays With The Oscar Peterson Trio (Essential Jazz Classics )
Marlena Shaw - Acting Up ( )
Martin Lechner - Gentlemen Are Hard To (Phantom )
Miles Davis - Jazz Legend (AAO Music )
Musiq Soulchild - Musiqinthemagiq ( )
Native - Possibility (Arison )
Nick Pride & Pimptones - Midnight Feast Of Jazz (P-Vine )
Ottilie Patterson - Blues Book And Beyond (Lake )
Putumayo Presents - Jazz (PWM )
Quincy Jones - Smackwater Jack (A & M )
Quincy Jones - Walking In Space ( )
Quincy Jones - Gura Matari ( )
Quincy Jones - Youve Got It Bad Girl ( )
Quincy Jones - Body Heat ( )
Quincy Jones - Mellow Madness ( )
Quincy Jones - Sounds & Stuff Like That!! ( )
Smooth Jazz For Lovers - Smooth Jazz For Lovers (Phantom )
Stan Killian - Unified (Sunnyside Commu )
Steve Lacy - Complete Whitley Mitchell Sessions ( )
Steve Lacy - Complete Whitey Mitchell Sessions (American Jazz Classics )
Terez Montcalm - Here's To You: Songs For Shirley Horn (Dep )
Thelenious Monk - Complete 1951-1954 Recordings ( )
Wayne Shorter - Introducing ( )
Wayne Shorter - Introducing Wayne Shorter (Essential Jazz )
Yusuf Lateef - Love Is Eternal (Phantom )

Duke Ellington - Essential (Legacy)
Jimmy Giuffre - 7 Pieces (Pid )
Thelonious Monk - Complete 1951-1954 Recordings (Definitive Special Products)

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The information is updated biweekly by John Kelman

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tab Benoit "Medicine" Out Today From Telarc #jazz

Medicine, Benoit's seventh solo release successfully joins two gifted guitarists/songwriters in a session that proves greater than the sum of its very talented parts. The 11-track recording features seven new Benoit originals co-written with ace songwriter Anders Osborne (his song "Watch the Wind Blow By" was recorded by Tim McGraw in 2002, hitting No. 1 on the country charts for two weeks and selling over three million albums, and Keb' Mo's 1999 GRAMMY®-winning album Slow Down, featured two songs he had co-written). In an unusual twist, Osborne (who also co-produced the album) uses B.B. King's famous guitar "Lucille" on Medicine. "He played half the album on that guitar, basically anything that's not slide guitar," Benoit says.

Medicine showcases a lean, energetic young band, and vibe-wise it's hipper and groovier than anything Benoit has ever done before. The recording also spotlights the work of keyboardist Ivan Neville (son of Aaron Neville and nephew to members of the Neville Brothers), drummer Brady Blade (Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Dave Matthews) and bassist Corey Duplechin (Chubby Carrier & Bayou Swamp Band). Fiddler/singer Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil makes a special appearance on three tracks.

Medicine was recorded at Louisiana's legendary Dockside Studio (B.B. King, Dr. John, Keb' Mo', Taj Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco), located on a 12 acre estate in the heart of Cajun country on the banks of the Vermilion Bayou, and engineered by David Z (Prince, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Gov't Mule). The award-winning music producer/engineer worked with Benoit on three earlier releases (Fever for the Bayou, Power of the Pontchartrain and Night Train to Nashville). "When David's in the booth, I don't have to worry," says Benoit. "He's always comfortable with the way I work. We have a lot of fun and like to joke around."

Medicine is more than another strong entry in Benoit's increasingly impressive discography - it's one of his most defining albums. "Magic happens when you least expect it," says Benoit. "Most of the stuff here was played live - these are mostly first takes. When it came down to playing, we weren't trying to structure things. We were open to the moment." If music has the power to help relieve pain and suffering, then Tab Benoit's Medicine might be just what the doctor ordered.

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Vibraphonist Gary Burton Debuts New Quartet on Mack Avenue Records with Common Ground June 7 #jazz

Amazon > Common Ground
On Gary Burton's debut release on Mack Avenue Records, Common Ground, the Grammy-winning pioneer of the four-mallet technique of playing the vibes is not only delivering his first studio album since 2005, but is also introducing his latest band. Known as the New Gary Burton Quartet, the group is comprised of guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Common Ground features 10 tunes, including six remarkable originals by quartet members as well as two impressive numbers by pianist Vadim Neselovskyi (a former Burton band member), a gem from the Keith Jarrett songbook and an intriguing arrangement of the standard "My Funny Valentine," spotlighting Lage.

Well-known throughout his five-decade career for his quartets (beginning with his 1967 group featuring Larry Coryell, Roy Haynes and Steve Swallow), Burton is returning to the configuration for the first time since the mid-'90s. He expresses great enthusiasm for the new band's alchemy.

The quartet served as a reunion of Lage with Burton, who has known the guitarist since he was a teen wunderkind and has featured him in his bands up until three years ago. (During the hiatus from working together, Burton was focusing on revisiting the 1973 chamber jazz classic Crystal Silence duo with Chick Corea, while Lage finished college and worked on his long-awaited debut album, Sounding Point.) "Julian has matured so much since I first met him 10 years ago when he was 12 years old," Burton says. "Julian has kept on growing and developing a sound of his own. He's a knock out." Lage fills the quartet guitar chair that was once held by such rising-star six-stringers as Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkel, among others.

"I've always liked the vibraphone-guitar sound," says Burton, whose masterful vibes glisten throughout Common Ground. "It's something that I discovered when Nashville country guitarist Hank Garland invited me in the '60s to record with him. The sound of the two instruments together has an ideal timbre and coolness." For the quartet's rhythm section, Burton called Sanchez, who has played with the vibraphonist on and off in recent years. But Colley is new to Burton's employ. "Once I decided to have Antonio be a part of the group, I asked him what bass player he'd suggest, and he said Scott is the one," says Burton. "They are a terrific rhythm team."

Formed in 2010, the new quartet's first gig took place in August at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, and then took New York by storm with a weeklong, sold-out engagement at the Blue Note from October 19-24. After that, the group toured, road tested their material and entered the studio in New York for a three-day session December 4-6 to record Common Ground. Longtime friends with Mack Avenue president Denny Stilwell and marketing vice president Randall Kennedy, Burton approached the label about the new band and proposed recording an album showcasing it. "They were both keenly interested," says Burton, who also serves as the album's producer. "And the band was excited. They're all talented composers and brought music to the group that really stands out."

Common Ground opens with the buoyant Neselovskyi composition "Late Night Sunrise," which Burton likes for its whimsy. "It's so melodic that it really works as the best piece to introduce the band," says Burton, who also chose for the album the pianist's "Last Snow," another lyrical beauty that "captures Vadim's Russian heritage. It has a light feel and is a fun piece to play."

Colley's contribution to the set list is the joyful "Never the Same Way," which features Lage delivering biting phrases on his guitar solo. "It's in 7/4 time, but because of the way Scott constructed the piece, it doesn't have that awkward feel that often happens with tunes in odd time signatures," says Burton. "We look into the audience and people are swinging and swaying to it, and probably don't even realize the time signature."

Sanchez brought two tunes to the session, including the title track, which the drummer wrote specifically for the band. "It was written for me in mind," Burton says. "We worked it around, and added a section. Antonio is featured with his solo. We've been using this as a set closer." The other Sanchez piece is "Did You Get It," based on the 12-bar blues form, but with two bars added every other chorus, and is taken at breakneck speed with another drum solo. The tune also features Burton and Lage in call-and-response conversation.

Lage has two originals in the collection: "Etude" and "Banksy." The first is based on music that the guitarist was thinking of using as a study piece for his students. "Julian visited me in Florida to work on material for the album, and he played me this," Burton says. "I loved it, so we figured out an arrangement so we could improvise on it. It's an impressive piece that's fast and difficult. I really had to practice to get it right." The second is another complex, almost mysterious piece with displaced rhythms in the bass part and a loping rhythm at the beginning. The title of the song is based on the name of the famous British graffiti artist. "I asked Julian why he chose the title," says Burton, "and he responded that it just sounded like a cool name."

Burton brings to the date the moving ballad "Was It So Long Ago?" He says, "I don't write tunes that often. But I sat down at the piano and came up with a tango that I dedicated to Astor Piazzolla who I collaborated with in the '80s. And I knew how authentically Julian can play a tango from when he was in my 2004 Generations band."

Burton decided to take on the golden standard "My Funny Valentine," which he figures he's covered with different arrangements four times throughout the course of his career. He was on the fence about recording it again. "It's really a showcase for Julian who has an extended, gorgeous solo section that opens the piece," Burton says. "As it turns out, this tune brings the house down when we play it live, so I figured we had to include what has become one of the new quartet's signature tunes."

Common Ground ends with the quartet's sublime rendition of Jarrett's "In Your Quiet Place," a tune that the pianist wrote for the vibraphonist back in 1970 when they first met and played together. Back then, they recorded an album of Jarrett compositions, titled simply Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett. Burton says, "I've played this ballad as a solo in concerts over the years, which has worked well, but this new version is the first time it's been played in a band format since 1970."

While Burton has crossed multiple stylistic borders since he broke into the jazz ranks in the '60s, he finds that he often returns to the straight-ahead jazz quartet setting. That's why Common Ground by the New Gary Burton Quartet is so special to him. "Since my very first group in 1967, I can count maybe three times that one of my groups over the years clicked so perfectly," he says. "Whenever I start a new group, I often wonder how things will work, to see if the musicians will enjoy playing together and are ready to take the music to a higher level. With the new band, I'm thrilled. It's proving to be one of the standout bands of my career and has already quickly developed its own identity."

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 25, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
4 - 3 - Norman Brown - "Sending My Love" - (Peak/Concord)
3 - 4 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
5 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
7 - 6 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 7 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
10 - 8 - Drew Davidsen - "Spin Cycle" - (Creative Soul Jazz)
16 - 9 - David Benoit - "Earthglow" - (Heads Up)
15 - 10 - The Rippingtons - "Cote d' Azur" - (Peak/Concord)
8 - 11 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
9 - 12 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" - (Shanachie)
12 - 13 - Keiko Matsui - "The Road" - (Shanachie)
18 - 14 - Shilts - "Going Underground" - (Blanket)
13- 15 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 16 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
21 - 17 - Elan Trotman - "Love and Sex" - (
11 - 18 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
20 - 19 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Now Is The Time" - (Heads Up)
31 - 20 - Andy Snitzer - "Traveler" - (Native Language)

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - April 26, 2011 #jazz

Acker Bilk - Seven Ages Of Acker (Pickwick )
Adam Dunning - Sunset Monkeys (Metropolitan Groove Merchants )
Alan Martin - Everything Is Ragtime Now (North Pacific Music/Clay Paste )
Art Blakey - 3 Blind Mice ( )
Art Blakey - Gretsch Drum Night At Birdland ( )
Asiento - Animation (Rare Noise Records)
Benny Golson - And The Philadelphians ( )
Bill Frisell - Sign Of Life (Savoy )
Billie Holiday - Lady Love ( )
Booker Ervin - Structurally Sound ( )
Booker Ervin - Booker N Brass ( )
Booker Little - Booker Little 4 & Max Roach ( )
Brotzmann / Drake / Kondo / Parker - Die Like A Dog (Jazzwerkstatt )
Bud Shank - Barefoot Adventure ( )
Bud Shank - Windmills Of Your Mind ( )
Buddy Rich Big Band - Mercy Mercy ( )
Cannonball Adderley - Great Love Themes ( )
Catrin Finch - Annwn (Phantom )
Christoph Haberer - Polyritmia (Phantom )
Clare Fischer - First Time Out ( )
Clare Fischer - Surging Ahead ( )
Clark Terry - Eddie Costa Memorial Concert ( )
Count Basie - Basie Meets Bond ( )
Dave Grusin - An Evening With. (Telarc Distribution )
Dave Leslie - Confluence (Orb )
Dave Leslie - Path (North Pacific Music/Clay Paste )
David Murray - Plays Nat King Cole En Espanol ( )
Derek Baile / Tony Oxley - Tony Oxley/Derek Baile (Jazzwerkstatt )
Diahann Carroll - Porgy & Bess ( )
Diane Marino - From The Heart (M&M )
Die Like A Dog-Complet - Die Like A Dog-Complet (Jazzwerkstatt )
Disney Jazz: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat - Disney Jazz: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat Vol. 1-Disney Jazz: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat (Phantom )
Eddie Costa - Vinnie Burke Trio ( )
Ella Fitzgerald - Ella In Japan (Verve )
Eric Alexander - Don't Follow The Crowd (Highnote )
Eric Harland - James Farm (Nonesuch (USA) )
Ethel Azama - Cool Heat ( )
Etta Jones - Way We Were (Highnote Records, Inc. )
Etta Jones & Houston Person - Way We Were (Highnote )
Frank Rosolino - Frank Rosolino ( )
Fred Ho - Deadly She-Wolf Assassin At Armageddon!/Mommas Song (Innova )
Garner / Peterson / Tatum - Keyboard Kings (JDC )
George Shearing - Bossa Nova ( )
Gil Evans - New Bottle Old Wine ( )
Helge Lien Trio - Natsukashii (Phantom )
Ho / Margraff / Mcgill / Shepp / Stark - Deadly She-Wolf Assassin At Armageddon!/Momma's So (Innova Recordings )
Howard Roberts - Somethings Cookin ( )
Howard Rumsey - Double Or Nothin ( )
Irvin Mayfield - Love Letter To New Orleans (Basin Street )
Jan Kopinski - Mirrors (33 Jazz )
Jerome Richardson - Going To The Movies ( )
Joe Fiedler - Sacred Chrome Orb (Yellow Sound )
Joe Morello - Collections ( )
Joe Puma - Jazz ( )
John Handy - No Coast Jazz ( )
Jonah Jones - Swingin On Broadway ( )
Joshua Redman - James Farm (Nonesuch )
Julian Lage - Gladwell (Emarcy )
Junior Mance - Straight Ahead ( )
Ken Hanna - Jazz For Dancers ( )
Kyle Eastwood - Songs From The Chateau (Phantom )
Lacy / Waldron - Live In Berlin (J+K )
Ladies In Satin - Ladies In Satin (Phantom )
Larsen - In V.Tro (Important )
Laurindo Almeida - Man & Woman ( )
Laurindo Almeida - Look Of Love ( )
Les Mccann - Jazz Waltz ( )
Manhattan Transfer - Jukin ( )
Mastersounds - Plays Horace Silver ( )
Michel Pilz & Bob D - Tilly's Eyes (Phantom )
Modest Jazz Trio - Good Friday Blues ( )
Muellbauer's Kaleido - Journeyman Music For L (Phantom )
Muhal Richard Abrams - Sounddance (PI )
Orchestra Superstring - Easy ( )
Pasadena Roof Orchestra - Licensed To Swing (Phantom )
Paul Quinichette - Like Basie (Mighty Quinn)
Paul Smith - Delicate Jazz ( )
Randy Weston - Live At The Five Spot (Blue Moon Import )
Randy Weston - Highlife ( )
Ravi Shankar - Improvisations ( )
Ray Bryant - Cold Turkey ( )
Red Snapper - Key (Phantom )
Richard "Groove" Holmes - Groove ( )
Roy Ayers - West Coast Vibes (Might Quinn)
Schultzing - Federleicht (Phantom )
Seldon Powell - Sextet ( )
Sonny Stitt - Saxophones Of ( )
Specs Powell - Movin In ( )
Stan Kenton - West Side Story ( )
Steve Lacy & M.Wald - Live In Berlin '84 (Jazzwerkstatt )
Steve Lacy & Mal Waldron - Live In Berlin '84 (Jazzwerkstatt )
Supersax - Bird With Strings ( )
Tied & Tickled Trio - La Place Demon (Morr Music/Forced Exposure )
Tied + Tickled Trio - La La Place Demon (Morr Music )
Tied + Tickled Trio - La Place Demon (Morr Music )
Tina May - Tina May Sings Piaf (33 Jazz )
Tom Bergeron - Tom Bergeron & Labirynth (North Pacific Music )
Tony Aless - Long Island Suite ( )
Tony Oxley & Derek Baile - Tony Oxley Derek Bailey Quartet (Jazzwerkstatt )
Western Rebellion - Western Rebellion (CD Baby )
Wolfert Brederode Quartet - Post Scriptum (Phantom )

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin (Columbia/L )

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, April 19, 2011

The Smooth Jazz Cruise making waves on water and land

Brian Culbertson, Kirk Whalum and Euge Groove join star-studded 2012 lineup;
“The Greatest Party at Sea” is sponsoring major jazz festivals and concert tours
Last year, Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises) asked their passengers to select the musicians they want to see perform on The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2012.  Thus it only made sense when an unfortunate logistical situation forced the cancellation of Smokey Robinson’s performance that the St. Louis-based company went back to their guests to ask who should fill the gap.  In addition to adding keyboardist Brian Culbertson, saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Euge Groove were the overwhelming fan favorites selected to join an already stellar lineup that will perform aboard the week-long Caribbean cruise sailing January 15-22 and January 22-29, 2012 aboard Holland America’s m/s Westerdam.   
“It was fun to enlist the help of our guests to book the lineup for The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2012.  After all, the cruise is for them, about them and only exists if they are pleased,” said Michael Lazaroff, executive director of Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises), producer of The Smooth Jazz Cruise, which in 2012 will sail from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Barth’s, and the private island of Half Moon Cay.
Grammy winner Whalum and chart-toppers Culbertson and Groove bolster a robust lineup of headliners including David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler, Boney James, Rick Braun, Candy Dulfer, Eric Darius, DW3, Jeff Golub, Rahsaan Patterson, Patrice Rushen, Joe Sample, Brian Simpson and Peter White.  Also added to the list of talent are Larry Braggs, Tom Braxton, Ellis Hall and Patches Stewart.  On the heels of a recently premiered Showtime standup comedy special, comedian Alonzo Bodden returns to the ship to keep things light while Dane Butcher and Pat Prescott will be back to serve as cruise hosts of what is billed as “The Greatest Party at Sea.”  With this much star power aboard a luxurious musical vacation, it’s no wonder the cruises sell-out each year with more than 60% of the guests being repeat cruisers.  Already the cabins for 2012 are over 75% sold.
Not content with presenting the finest jazz musicians with top notch sound and production values on the sea, The Smooth Jazz Cruise will be the title sponsor of the 2011 Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, which marks its twenty-second year.  Jazz Cruises will be the presenting sponsor of the DMS concert tour comprised of George Duke, Miller and Sanborn, a concept that was initially sparked by Lazaroff.  Commencing May 28th at the House of Blues near Orlando , DMS will tour the U.S. with dates booked through August 31 concluding at the legendary Hollywood Bowl.  Last week (April 13-17), The Smooth Jazz Cruise was the title sponsor of the perennially successful Seabreeze Jazz Festival, which took place in Panama City , Florida .
Lazaroff explained, “Jazz Cruises is dedicated to bringing jazz to our guests throughout the country.  Besides our sponsorship of the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, The Vista All-Stars Series, Chicago Smooth Jazz Series and St. Louis Smooth Jazz Series, we are proud to be the title sponsor the first DMS tour, featuring George Duke, Marcus Miller and David Sanborn, who are frequent collaborators aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise.  We are also excited about being the title sponsor of the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival.  At Jazz Cruises, our commitment to jazz is second to none.”
The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, like the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, features a number of the artists who appear on The Smooth Jazz Cruise along with other icons from the genre.  The Delaware-based event, slated for October 12-16, attracts contemporary jazz fans from the Tri-State area as well as up and down the East Coast.  Lineup and ticket information is available at
In addition to providing guests with the best musical experiences possible, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, which sailed upon its maiden voyage in 2004, is an experiential vacation that offers passengers a wealth of opportunities to meet and interact with their favorite artists off-stage in an out-of-the-ordinary setting.  While sailing in luxury to picturesque ports of call in the Caribbean , guests enjoy nightly headline concerts with unique artist pairings in a large showroom theatre as well as in more intimate lounges that foster spontaneous collaborations.  Daytime activities aboard the ship include cocktail parties hosted by the musicians, autograph and question & answer sessions, informative panels, sporting events, and fun contests.  Reservations can be made from the U.S. and Canada by calling toll-free 888.8JAZZ.US (888.852.9987) and internationally by placing a toll-free call to 800-8JAZZ.USA (800.852.99872).  Further information is available at
About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises)
The largest private music charter company in the world, St. Louis, Missouri-based Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises) owns, produces and promotes The Smooth Jazz Cruise and The Jazz Cruise (, and is proud to partner with Time Life for The Malt Shop Memories Cruise (  Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises) prides itself on providing first-class musical vacation experiences featuring marquee stars from their respective genres for loyal passengers, many of whom make the cruises an annual affair.  With its current slate of excursions, Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (Jazz Cruises) will have produced thirty-two full ship charter cruises.  Additional information is available at

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Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 18, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
3 - 2 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
2 - 3 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
13 - 4 - Norman Brown - "Sending My Love" - (Peak/Concord)
5 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
4 - 6 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
8 - 7 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 8 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
12 - 9 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" - (Shanachie)
7 - 10 - Drew Davidsen - "Spin Cycle" - (Creative Soul Jazz)
10 - 11 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
14 - 12 - Keiko Matsui - "The Road" - (Shanachie)
9 - 13 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
16 - 14 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
11 - 15 - The Rippingtons - "Cote d' Azur" - (Peak/Concord)
18 - 16 - David Benoit - "Earthglow" - (Heads Up)
17 - 17 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
22 - 18 - Shilts - "Going Underground" - (Blanket)
19 - 19 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
37 - 20 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Now Is The Time" - (Heads Up)

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Les Nubians - "Nu Revolution" Full CD Stream - Release 4/19/11 #jazz

Full CD Stream
Les Nubians, who managed the difficult trick of scoring an urban radio hit with French language neo-soul have returned with another fantastic release. Les Nubians, consisting of two bi-cultural sisters from France, Hélène and Célia Faussart--were being hailed as one of the most appealing and innovative artists on the urban music scene world-wide. There followed a near gold-selling album, collaborations with the likes of Talib Kweli and the Red, Hot and Riot collective, and Grammy nominations. Then suddenly they seemed to disappear but all along they were busy refining their craft. Now Les Nubians return with Nü Revolution, their highly-anticipated third album to be released on April 19, 2011 by Shanachie Entertainment. It fully delivers on the promise of their breakthrough efforts with a relentlessly enchanting and energized mix
of R & B, hip-hop, African music and other world elements. "The main difference between this album and the others," muses Hélène Faussart, "is that Nü Revolution is more uptempo. This album is a celebration of life! We wanted to bring and spread this energy, this joy in a time of uncertainty." Indeed Nü Revolution may be the most impressive representation of Les Nubians' "Afropean Soul" to date.

Featuring special guests ranging from African music legend Manu Dibango, whose "Soul Makossa" crossover classic gets a politically charged make-over to indie soul icon Eric Roberson, with South African
pop stars Freshly Ground, Ghanian-American MC Blitz The Ambassador and Polish MC John Banzaï along for the ride. Somehow, Les Nubians manage to make the blend of so many diverse elements seem logical and organic; it flows quite naturally from their multicultural lives. The infectiously funky dance track "Afrodance" expresses this reality by celebrating hairstyles as an expression of personal style and cultural identity. "Your hair is a statement of who you are and how you live with your true nature," Célia Faussart notes. "That's why since the first album we insisted on bringing back natural Black hair by using traditional braids and hair-dos and dreadlocks because we need to embrace ourselves to the fullest. Our mother always said "natural is beautiful" but it's not easy to cope with everyday! And, yes, it is a political statement saying who we are and that we will not compromise. This message has been used by the same way during the
70's as a symbol of liberation, destruction of the old establishment and affirmation of identity."

"Déjà vu," with guest vocal by Eric Roberson tells of a man and woman meeting in a club while "Fraicheur Souhaitée (Freshness Desired)" presents romantic longing through a personals ad. Nü Revolution also
delivers provocative messages, as on "Femme Polyandre (Polyandrous Woman)." "Polyandrous woman" is the female version of a polygamous man," Les Nubians explain. "This idea came from a conversation between women friends where we were wondering if there was a word for it. Why some man could 'marry' several women and not the inverse? We also appreciate the different qualities in a variety of people! Women are naturally very complex. If you listen to the voices in their mind, you would be amazed! There is a joke saying that a woman needs three men: one for the money, one for romance and one for sex. The ideal
situation would be to have all those three men in one!"

The women of Les Nubians were shaped by many influences. Les Nubians has its genesis in a small town in the South West region of France where the Paris-born sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart lived as teenagers after returning from several years' residence with their parents in the African country of Chad. With a French father and a Cameroonian mother, Hélène and Célia experienced cultural dissonance in the rural Bordeaux region. After their father's death, Célia joined her sister in Bordeaux and they helped found a cultural collective, Les Nouveaux Griots, a "griot" being a traditional African storyteller and historian, all with the goal of increasing awareness of African and Urban cultures. A chance meeting with jazz legend Abbey Lincoln,
who encouraged the sisters to sing, led to the formation of Les Nubians. In the beginning they sang acapella due to their difficulty finding musicians who would back them. Their unique sound led to a recording deal with Virgin Records and in 1998 their debut album, Princesses Nubiennes was released in Europe, where initially it enjoyed only modest sales. But the albums innovative mix of hip hop, neo soul and African music found an audience in America and "Makeda" the first single from Princesses Nubiennes became an urban radio hit. The video for "Makeda" garnered heavy rotation on BET and VH-1 Soul while a DJ Spinna re-mix generated strong club play. Characterized by a marriage between Sade and Erykah Badu, "Makeda" was the right sound at the right time. Massive media attention, successful tours and a Grammy nomination followed as well as nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and two Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards; one of which Les Nubians took home as 1999's winner for Best New Artist Group or Duo.

In 2003, Les Nubians released their second album One Step Forward a conscious evolution of their style. They sang more in English on this album, largely as a result of their American experiences, which made
them far more fluent in English." Restlessly creative, the sisters graced 2005 not with a new Les Nubians album but with a spoken word project that brought together talented spoken word artists under Les Nubians' umbrella. By now Les Nubians was in demand around the world as a performing act, which they felt fostered both personal and artistic growth--the fruit of which is revealed on Nü Revolution. Their pan-African vision remains as vibrant and clear as ever, as expressed on "Africa For The Future" from the new album.

"Africa is our past, present and future," Les Nubians asserts. This song is about accepting and rejoicing through our body and mind that Africa is vibrant and 10,000,000 times ALIVE! Africa FOR the future
also to say that we have to prepare the future of the continent. It's in the NOW that we create the future. ACTION time is NOW!!!"

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brubeck, Botti, & More Set for Blue Note Jazz Festival, 6/1-30

In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Blue Note Jazz Club is opening its doors throughout New York City during the month of June for the inaugural Blue Note Jazz Festival. More than 80 shows featuring many artists who have performed at the Blue Note for years will take the city by storm at this year's largest New York jazz festival. More than 60,000 tickets are available. Ticket information and a complete schedule of events are available on the official festival website,

The festival will feature a diverse group of high-profile artists including Dave Brubeck, Chris Botti, Nancy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin, Brian Wilson, The Roots, Chaka Kahn, Roberta Flack, El Gran Combo, Jon Hendricks, Kathleen Battle, McCoy Tyner, Youssou N'Dour, Bill Frisell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Madeleine Peyroux and many more. In addition to presenting a special series of shows at the Blue Note, the club has scheduled shows at the Beacon Theatre, Town Hall, BB King Blues Club & Grill, Highline Ballroom, Terminal 5, Joe's Pub, Mercury Lounge, Rose Hall at Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, The Lehman Center for Performing Arts, and the Katonah Museum of Art.

"Thirty years ago, I never could have dreamed that the Blue Note would become what it is today," owner and operator Danny Bensusan said of his famed jazz club. "It wasn't easy to convince the artists to play here at first. We had help from some of the musicians who believed in what we were trying to do - Ray Brown and Dizzy Gillespie, in particular - and as we started bringing in bigger names, the reputation of the club grew. Once they played the Blue Note, they always wanted to come back, because there is an intimacy here between the audience and the musician that is appealing to everyone."

"To celebrate our 30th year, we're presenting musicians all over New York who have played the Blue Note since the beginning, as well as new ones who we hope will continue to come back for many years," Mr. Bensusan said of the festival. The Blue Note shows in particular will feature many of the club's long-time artists, like Jon Hendricks, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday, Lee Konitz, who performed at the Blue Note within the first few weeks of the club's opening, and Dave Brubeck among others.

While the Blue Note Jazz Festival celebrates the club's accomplishments and legendary artists, Mr. Bensusan believes the Blue Note's future success will come from exposing new artists, captivating new audiences and investing in jazz education. In light of this, the Blue Note Jazz Festival will include a series at the Mercury Lounge devoted to young up-and-coming artists in a variety of genres, as well as the new Spontaneous Construction Series at the Blue Note presented by Search & Restore, which pairs young, experimental artists together for the first time. Additionally, the Blue Note Jazz Festival will sponsor educational programs for the non-profit organization JazzReach and its "ELLINGTON!" program at the Highline Ballroom which will host hundreds of New York City Public School students each day over a period of three afternoons.

For Mr. Bensusan, the Blue Note Jazz Festival is a reflection of where the Blue Note has been, but most importantly, an indication of what lies ahead. "I'm proud that after 30 years, the Blue Note has become an important institution in New York and that with the Blue Note Jazz Festival, we are continuing to expand and work toward making the Blue Note as good as it can be."

About Blue Note

Since its inception in 1981, the Blue Note has become a cultural institution in New York and one of the premier jazz clubs in the world. Jazz is undoubtedly America's music, and while the Blue Note strives to celebrate the music's great history, the club is a place where progression and innovation - the foundation of jazz - are encouraged and practiced on a nightly basis. After 30 years of success, the Blue Note continues to carry the torch for jazz proudly.

Located at 131 W. 3rd St. between 6th Ave and McDougal St., in the heart of Greenwich Village, the Blue Note offers music every night at 8pm and 10:30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights at 12:30am, Blue Note hosts the Spontaneous Construction Series and the Late Night Groove Series, respectively. The Blue Note Brunch is held every Sunday with sets at 12:30pm and 2:30pm.

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Upcoming New Jazz Releases - April 19 2011 #jazz

Al Jolson - Very Best Of ( )
Alex Pangman - 33 (Phantom )
Andy Snitzer - Traveler (Native Language Music )
Anita O'Day - Swing The Winners / At Mister Kellys ( )
Azimuth - Aurora (Phantom )
Bad Plus - Never Stop ( )
Beatnik Jazz Anthology - Beatnik Jazz Anthology (Phantom )
Becca Band Stevens - Weightless (Sunnyside Commu )
Becca Stevens - Weightless (Sunny Side )
Ben Waters - Boogie For Stu (Eagle Rock Media/Fontana )
Ben Waters - Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle )
Ben Webster - Ballads (Essential Jazz Album )
Bill Anschell - Figments (Origin )
Bill Dixon - Intents & Purposes: The Jazz Artistry Of Bill Dixon (International Phonograph )
Bill Dixon - Intents And Purposes (International Phonograph )
Bill Evans - Sharp Notes (Phantom )
Bill Orchestra Dixon - Intents & Purposes (International Phonograph )
Bill Ramsey - Ramsey Swings! 1958-99 (Bear Family )
Bill Ramsey - Ramsey Swings! 1958-1999 (Bear Family )
Blues-La Discotheque Ideale En 25 Albu - Blues-La Discotheque Ideale En 25 Albu (Phantom )
Canadian Jazz QRT - Brazilian Reflections (Phantom )
Canadian Jazz Quartet - Brazilian Reflections (Out )
Charles Trenet - Definitive (Phantom )
Coleman Hawkins - Saxes Inc ( )
Count Basie - On The Beatles (Disconforme )
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five (Phantom )
Debbie Poryes - Two And Fro (OA2 )
Debbie Poryes & Bruce Williamson - Two & Fro (OA2 )
Dexter Gordon - Gotham City ( )
Duke Ellington - Early Years 2 ( )
Elemer Group Balazs - Memories (Phantom )
Ella Fitzgerald - Mack The Kinfe: Ella In Berlin ( )
Fats Waller - 20 Greatest Hits (JDC )
Garland / Keezer / Locke - Storms/Nocturnes (Origin )
Garrison / Kinsey / Novak / Tuncboyaciyan - Human Element (Abstract Logix )
Gary Novak - Human Element (Abstract Logix )
Geoffrey Keezer - Storms / Nocturnes (Origin )
George Lewis & His New Orleans Stompers - Vintage George Lewis 1954-55 (Phantom )
Greta Matassa - Live At Tula's (Jazz Stream ) - SACD
Harriet Tubman - Ascension (Sunny Side )
Harriet Tubman Band - Ascension (Sunnyside Commu )
Helen Merrill - Nearness Of You / Youve Got Date With The Blues ( )
Henry "The Skipper" Franklin - Soul Of The World (Skipper Productions )
Henry Franklin - Shanghai (SP )
Henry Franklin - Soul Of The World (Skipper Productions )
Hugh Hopper - Stolen Hour ( )
Jack Jezzro - Jazz Tastings: Light Jazz Guitar (Green Hill Productions )
James Brown - Please Please Please / Think ( )
Jazz Giants - Jazz Giants ( )
Jim Wilson - Sanctuary By The Sea (Green Hill Productions )
Joe Candullo - 1926-28 (Vintage Music Prod. )
Joe Candullo - 1926-1928 (Vintage Music Productions )
Joelle Leandre - Can You Hear Me-Live At The 'Ulrichsberger Kaleido (Leo Records -- City Hall -- )
Joelle Leandre - Can You Hear Me: Live At Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon ( )
John Coltrane - Complete Recordings ( )
Julie London - Julie Is Her Name (Boxstar Records )
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnics - It's Time (Katalyst Entertainment )
Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio - It's Time (katalyst entertainment )
Katja Cruz - Mi Corazon (Leo )
La Vern Baker - La Vern / Rock & Roll ( )
Late Night Jazz - Late Night Jazz (Intro )
Laura Ann - Summer Samba (& Quatro Na Bossa) (Phantom )
Lee Gunness - Reckless Blues (GHB )
Lee Morgan - Midtown Blues (Phantom )
Liam Sillery - Priorite (OA2 )
Linda Ronstadt - What's New (Lim )
Lionel Hampton - Lionel Hampton In Paris (JDC )
Lou Donaldson - Sunny Side Up (CLASSIC )
Louis Armstrong - Live In Paris 65 ( )
Louis Armstrong - And The Good Book / Louis & The Angels ( )
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Best Of The Mahavishnu Orchestra (Wounded Bird )
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Best Of Mahavishnu Orchestra (Wounded Bird )
Mathias Eick - Skala (Ecm )
Melissa Collard - In A Mellow Tone (Audiophile )
Metro - Live At The A-Trane ( )
Miles Jaye - Attenergy (Three Keys Music )
Mongo Santamaria - Afro Rhythm (Phantom )
Mort Weiss - Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe ( )
NDR Bigband - 21 Spices (MIG )
Nina Simone & Her Trio - My Baby Just Cares For Me ( )
Pee Wee Ellis - Tenoration (M.I.G. Music )
Peppy Prince - Dance Time (Phantom )
Prince Lasha / Sonny Simmons - Cry ( )
Putter Smith - Home (SP )
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Mircacle ( )
Ralph Flanagan & His Orchestra - One Night Stand & Afrs All Star Parade Recordings (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Ralph Flanagan And His Orchestr - One Night Stand And Afrs All Star Parade Recordings (Sounds of Yester Year )
Roger Eno - Anatomy (Burning Shed )
Roy Eldridge - Swing Goes Dixie ( )
Sam Levine - Smooth Sax Romance (Green Hill Productions )
Samuel Blaser & Paul Motian - Consort In Motion (Kind Of Blue )
Samuel Blaser Quartet - Consort In Motion (Kind Of Blue )
Shirley Scott & Soul Saxes - King Curtis / Hank Crawford / David Newman ( )
Stan Getz - Cool Sound Of (Phantom )
Stan Getz - Cool Sound Of Stan Getz (Not Now )
Stan Kenton & Depaul University Jazz Ensemble - Kenton,Stan & Depaul University Jazz Ensemble Vol. 1-Double Feature (Tantara Productions )
Sun Ra - Jazz In Silhouette (Disconforme )
Sun Ra - Bad & Beautiful ( )
Sych - Lunar Roulette (Strange Attractors/Carrot Top )
Tex Beneke - Glenn Miller Formula (Sounds of Yester Year )
Tex Beneke & His Orchestra - Glenn Miller Formula (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Tim Garland & Geoffrey Keezer - Storms/Nocturnes (Origin )
Tommy Whittle Quintet - Complete Recordings 1958-59 (Phantom )
Tony Williams & Lifetime - Emergency ( )
Tony Williams & Lifetime - Turn It Over ( )
Toshiko Akiyoshi - Last Live In Blue Note Tokyo (Wounded Bird )
Trilog Gurtu - 21 Spices (Phantom )
VR SMith - Beautiful Love (Skipper Productions )
Walt Weiskopf - Live (Capri )
We3 - Amazing (Kind Of Blue )
Woody Herman - That's Where It Is (Sounds of Yester Year )
Woody Herman & His Orchestra - Thats Where It Is (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Yusef Lateef - Doctor Is In & Out ( )

Art Blakey - Jazz Messengers (Sbme Special MKTS. )
Clifford Jordan - Soul Fountain (Wounded Bird Records )
John Coltrane - Giant Steps ( )
Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain (Columbia/L )
Modern Jazz Quartet - Pyramid ( )
Wynton Kelly - Complete Live At The Half Note (Lone Hill Jazz (Spain) )

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

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paul Simon - "So Beautiful or so What"

Paul Simon's new record, his first since 2006's dense Brian Eno-collaboration Surprise, is a career-spanning, sometimes duskily ruminative, quirk-splashed triumph—simultaneously bold in its constructions and timeless in its themes. There's a freedom, perhaps, that comes from going it alone: After 30 years with Warner Bros., Simon paid for the lengthy sessions that eventually produced So Beautiful or So What, then signed with the Concord Music Group. The album is due out on Tuesday; a sold-out tour of theaters and small clubs will then follow, beginning on April 15 in Seattle.

Simon has, with this long-awaited effort, found a way to combine the subtlety and directness of his early work with the complexity—both musical and emotional—of subsequent exotic sideroads like Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. You hear every piece of that long history, sometimes inside of one song: A percussive South Indian rhythm signature opens “Dazzling Blues," but then Simon encircles the tune with finger-picking, bluegrass-infused guitar line, a stirring reminder of his perhaps forgotten abilities on the instrument.

Yet the album is more than an interesting interpolation of the leaping clickety clack of “Cecilia," the frank self examinations of “Still Crazy After All These Years," and his later fascination with supple Afropop. Simon, 69, ended up taking more than two years to complete So Beautiful or So What, and his patient craftsmanship imbues the project with a striking inventiveness. There's also a growing sense of mystery and of forebearance, away from the thrilling din of music made with a core band that included longtime guitarist Vincent Nguini and percussionist Steve Shehan (Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel). Simon, in his quietest moments, seems to be engaged in a desperate fight against the gloaming. And not always winning.

[ONE TRACK MIND: “The Afterlife," an advance tune from So Beautiful or So What, is almost like a long-lost discovery from Graceland. Not that there's anything wrong with that.]

He dabbles, I think brilliantly, in distinctly modern studio experimentation, laying a portion of a fiery 1941 sermon by the Rev. J.M. Gates into “Getting Ready for Christmas Day" with such skill that it sounds like a found-object field holler. “Love Is Eternal Sacred Light" rumbles out with a caverous harmonica-driven beat, like a space-station bar band. It was only later, after some time with it, that I pinpointed the sample as the late Sonny Terry. That's him, wailing away on the harp, a ghost forever playing the train whistle blues.

With “Rewrite," Simon employs a West African kora harp and djembe drum—but also, occasionally echoing low in the mix, the gutteral bleets of a wildebeest and other night sounds recorded while on a family trip to Kenya. “Rewrite" is so sinewy, so itchy and sharply rhythmic, that it sparked a realization, perhaps for the first time, that there is no bass guitar on this record. So Beautiful or So What is that rarest of listening experiences, one that rewards time spent with these shimmering new insights.

And it's not just the music. Simon, probing and wry, revisits many of the questions that have defined his work. But this album's sprite rhythms, its flinty experimentation, those kinetic stringed instruments, they all work in arresting contrast to some of the darker notions crossing his mind these days. The title track has an attitude—life is what you make of it, he sings, so get going—that's as tough minded as its beat. But things aren't always that easy, and Simon knows it. There are times, in fact, where he sounds genuinely angry.

Still, Simon keeps going, and that becomes its own kind of affirmation. On “Rewrite," about a Vietnam vet trying to weave his way into society again, as on “Love and Hard Times" and “Questions for the Angels"—and further back, almost all the way back into his past—people never stop grasping for meaning in an angry, confusing world. What they find, one song at a time, isn't always salvation ("Afterlife" actually makes the whole process sound like a frustrating day at the DMV) so much as it is a rediscovered passion for living, step after step, one day at a time.

There are small, good things along the way. Paul Simon's new record is one of them.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - April 11, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
2 - 1 - Dave Koz - "Hello Tomorrow" - (Concord)
1 - 2 - Fourplay - "Let's Touch The Sky" - (Heads Up)
4 - 3 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
3 - 4 - Steve Oliver - "Global Kiss" - (SOM)
5 - 5 - Brian Culbertson - "XII" - (GRP/Verve)
6 - 6 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Diamonds" - (Nordic Night)
12 - 7 - Drew Davidsen - "Spin Cycle" - (Creative Soul Jazz)
10 - 8 - Steve Cole - "Moonlight" (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
9 - 9 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
7 - 10 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
8 - 11 - The Rippingtons - "Cote d' Azur" - (Peak/Concord)
13 - 12 - Eric Darius - "On A Mission" - (Shanachie)
18 - 13 - Norman Brown - "Sending My Love" - (Peak/Concord)
15 - 14 - Keiko Matsui - "The Road" - (Shanachie)
11 - 15 - Paul Brown - "Love You Found Me" - (Shanachie)
19 - 16 - Gerald Albright - "Pushing The Envelope" - (Heads Up)
16 - 17 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
17 - 18 - David Benoit - "Earthglow" - (Heads Up)
20 - 19 - Mindi Abair - "In Hi-Fi Stereo" - (Heads Up)
14 - 20 - Nate Najar - "Groove Me" - (Woodward Ave.)

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