Monday, October 31, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 31, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VI" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
2 - 2 - Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
7 - 3 - Acoustic Alchemy - "Roseland" - (Onside/Heads Up)
4 - 4 - Jessy J - "Hot Sauce" - (Heads Up)
6 - 5 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
3 - 6 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Friday Night"[single] - (Woodward Avenue)
5 - 7 - George Benson - "Guitar Man" - (Concord)
8 - 8 - Larry Carlton - "Plays The Sound of Philadelphia" - (335)
13 - 9 - David Wells - "Light" - (Independent)
10 - 10 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 11 - Chuck Loeb - "Plain 'n' Simple" - (Tweety)
11 - 12 - Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
12 - 13 - Randy Scott - "90 Degrees At Midnight" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
16 - 14 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
17 - 15 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
21 - 16 - Brian Hughes - "Fast Train To A Quiet Place" - (Sylvan House)
20 - 17 - Tim Bowman - "The Tim Bowman Collection" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 18 - Cindy Bradley - "Unscripted" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
18 - 19 - Nick Colionne - "Feel The Heat" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 20 - Bob Baldwin - " 2/Revibe (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Seal - "Soul 2" Release from Warner - January 31, 2012

Grammy-winning vocalist and songwriter Seal will release his eighth studio album, Soul 2 in the U.S. on January 31st, 2012, on Warner Bros. Records. The first single “Let’s Stay Together” will impact radio today and will be available digitally November 1. The collection finds Seal joining forces once again with legendary producer Trevor Horn (Seal, Seal II, Human Being) who shares production duties on the album with Soul producer David Foster (Soul, Commitment). This time Seal brings his silky, inimitable voice to a lush collection of romantic soul classics primarily from the ’70s,including those by Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Al Green, and Teddy Pendergrass,among others.

Seal and Horn teamed up in both London and Los Angeles to record “Lean on Me” (Bill Withers), “Love Here Don’t Live Here Anymore” (Rose Royce), “Love T.K.O.” (Teddy Pendergrass), “Oh Girl,” (The Chi-Lites), “Ooh Baby Baby” (The Miracles), “What’s Goin’ On” (Marvin Gaye), “Wishing On A Star” (Rose Royce). Seal enlisted Foster and Jochem van der Saag to produce “Back Stabbers” (The O’Jays), “I’ll Be Around” (The Spinners), “Let’s Stay Together” (Al Green), and “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” (The Delfonics), all of which were recorded in Los Angeles.

“In my twenty years on a journey in the music industry, two things remain constants, the voice and more importantly, the song. I continue to make music because of the chance that this day could indeed be the day I write another great song or have the opportunity to sing one. The songs on Soul 2 are a natural evolution in the arc of soul music from the songs on the first Soul album -- and they are all-time classics,” said Seal. “One more very important reason why I still make music is the 'gift of collaboration'. I've been fortunate to work with two such industry greats as Trevor Horn and David Foster on this album and I they continue to inspire me each and every day.”Horn says “Working with Seal is like making music again….even I’d buy this record!”

“While still reeling from the success of Soul, it was even more exciting to have the opportunity to record more of some of the greatest songs ever written,” Foster says. “I am positive fans will not be disappointed in our selection and again, Seal's unique, raw, and, yes, sexy approach to these great classics. I am delighted to share production duties, along with Jochem van der Saag, with one of my all-time favorite record producers, Trevor Horn. His musical history with Seal is rich and runs very deep. Together I believe they made some of the greatest records ever, by anyone. They led, they didn't follow.”

Released in November 2008, Soul was a hit around the world, earning gold certifications in Australia, Italy, and Sweden, platinum certifications in Canada, Switzerland, and the U.K., and double-platinum awards in Belgium and on the European Album chart. Soul was a Diamond-seller in France where it peaked at No. 1 on the album chart and remained there for 13 consecutive weeks. Over the course of a remarkable career that spans more than two decades, Seal has won four Grammy awards and sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, enjoying success across numerous genres of music. His emotional, romantic love songs, such as “Prayer For the Dying,” the Grammy Award-winning “Kiss From A Rose,” and “Don’t Cry” (all from 1994’s Seal II), and “Love’s Divine” (from 2003’s Seal IV), delighted fans and earned him critical acclaim. He has also seen great success in the dance/pop music world beginning with his roots in Britain’s house music/rave scene with his debut 1991 album and returning to those roots with 2007’s dancefloor-friendly System. In September 2010, Seal released his seventh studio album Commitment, which peaked at No. 11 on the U.K. chart giving Seal his fifth Top 20 album in his native Britain.

The track-listing for Soul 2 is as follows:
“Wishing On A Star”
“Love T.K.O.”
“Ooh Baby Baby”
“Let’s Stay Together”
“What’s Goin’ On”
“Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”
“Back Stabbers”
“I’ll Be Around”
“Love Won’t Let Me Wait”
“Lean On Me”
“Oh Girl”

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - November 1, 2011 #jazz

Al Cohn / Zoot Sims - You'N Me ( )
Art Blakey - Hold On.I'm Coming ( )
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers - Les Liaisons Dengereuses 1960 ( )
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers - S Make It ( )
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers - Soul Finger ( )
Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers - Buttercorn Lady ( )
Beegie Adair - Into Somethin' (Green Hill )
Benny Carter / Earl Hines - Swingin In The 20s ( )
Benny Golson - Free (Universal Records (Japan) )
Bill Evans - Quintessence ( )
Billie Holiday - Songs For Distingue Lovers (Universal Japan/Zoom )
Billy Taylor (Trio) - Sleeping Bee ( )
Buddy Defranco - Cooking The Blues ( )
Charlie Rouse / Julius Watkins - Complete Jazz Modes Sessions ( )
Chet Baker / Stan Getz - Stan Meets Chet ( )
Chris Standring - Send Me Some Snow (Ultimate Vibe )
Count Basie - Kansas City Suite: Music Of Benny Carter ( )
Dave Brubeck - Last Time Out (Sony Music )
Earl Hines / Johnny Hodges - Stride Right ( )
Eddie Thompson - Piano Mood ( )
Elsie Bianchi - Sweetest Sound ( )
Eugen Cicero Trio - In Town ( )
Free Spirit - Plays Starship (Asterisk )
Freeez - Southern Freeez ( )
George Duke - Follow The Rainbow ( )
George Duke - Master Of The Game ( )
Hampton Hawes - Hamp's Piano ( )
Hank Jones - Here's Love ( )
Harry Edison - Sweets ( )
Herb Ellis - Nothin But Blues ( )
Herb Geller - Gellers ( )
Herbie Hancock - Best Of (Pid )
Jazztet / John Lewis - Jazztet & John Lewis ( )
Joe Gordon - Introducing Joe Gordon ( )
John Coltrane - Essential Albums: Lush Life/Soultrane/Stardust/Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane (Concord )
John Williams - John Williams Trio ( )
John Young - Touch Of Pepper ( )
Johnny Griffin - Night Lady ( )
Jon Hendricks / Dave Lambert / Annie Ross - Sing A Song Of Basie ( )
Kathrin Shorr / Chris Standring - Send Me Some Snow ( )
Lester Young - Jazz Giants 56 (Phantom Sound & Vision )
Link Wray - Link Wray & His Wraymen ( )
Lorraine Geller - Lorraine Geller At The Piano ( )
Maurice Vander - Jazz At The Blue Note ( )
Miles Davis - And Modern Jazz Giants (Universal )
Miles Davis - Essential Albums: Cookin'/Relaxin'/Workin'/Steamin' (Concord )
Nils Petter Molvaer - Baboon Moon (Thirsty Ear Recordings )
Oscar Peterson - Mellow Mood ( )
Oscar Peterson - Travelin On ( )
Paul Bley - Paul Bley ( )
Pim Jacobs Trio - Come Fly With Me ( )
Ray Bryant - Gotta Travel On ( )
Red Garland - Quota ( )
Sinikka Langeland - Land That Is Not (Ecm )
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus (Prestige )
Sonny Rollins - Complete 1959 European Tour ( )
Stacey Kent - Dreamer In Concert (Blue Note )
Stan Getz - Award Winner (Universal )
Stan Getz - Focus ( )
Stan Getz - What World Needs Now ( )
Stan Getz / Dizzy Gillespie / Sonny Stitt - For Musicians Only ( )
Stan Getz / Gerry Mulligan - Getz Meets Mulligan In Hi-Fi ( )
Stan Getz / Oscar Peterson Trio - Stan Getz & Oscar Peterson Trio ( )
Stan Getz Quintet - Interpretations By Stan Getz 3 ( )
Tal Farlow / Red Mitchell / Red Norvo - Complete Recordings ( )
Tete Montoliu Trio - Piano For Nuria ( )
Tubby Hayes Quintet - Down In Village ( )
Vince Guaraldi - Charlie Brown Collection (Fantasy )
Vito Price - Swingin The Loop ( )
Wes Montgomery - Goin Out Of My Head ( )
Wynton Kelly - Comin In The Back Door ( )
Wynton Kelly Trio - Undiluted ( )
Zoot Sims / Sonny Stitt - Inter-Action ( )


Art Farmer - Perception (Universal Records (Japan) )
Duke Ellington - Piano In The Background (Columbia Legacy)
Ramsey Lewis - Mother Nature's Son (MCA Records (USA) )
Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness (Fantasy)
Sonny Stitt - Sonny Stitt (Import [generic] )
Thelonious Monk - At Town Hall (Fantasy Records (USA) )

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, October 25, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 24, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VI" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
3 - 2 - Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
6 - 3 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Friday Night"[single] - (Woodward Avenue)
2 - 4 - Jessy J - "Hot Sauce" - (Heads Up)
10 - 5 - George Benson - "Guitar Man" - (Concord)
4 - 6 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
9 - 7 - Acoustic Alchemy - "Roseland" - (Onside/Heads Up)
13 - 8 - Larry Carlton - "Plays The Sound of Philadelphia" - (335)
17 - 9 - Chuck Loeb - "Plain 'n' Simple" - (Tweety)
15 - 10 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 11 - Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
21 - 12 - Randy Scott - "90 Degrees At Midnight" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
14 - 13 - David Wells - "Light" - (Independent)
16 - 14 - Bob Baldwin - " 2/Revibe (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
11 - 15 - Cindy Bradley - "Unscripted" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
8 - 16 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
5 - 17 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
7 - 18 - Nick Colionne - "Feel The Heat" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
12 - 19 - Jonathan Butler - "So Strong" - (Rendezvous/Mack)
23 - 20 - Tim Bowman - "The Tim Bowman Collection" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Galaxy" Release on Heads Up - January 31, 2012 #jazz

Trailblazing keyboardist composer producer Jeff Lorber revisits a sound he helped pioneer on his latest recording, Galaxy, set for release on January 31, 2012, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

Yellowjackets’ bassist Jimmy Haslip joins him in this 21st century version of the Jeff Lorber Fusion along with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist Lenny Castro, guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Larry Koonse, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. Haslip also co-produced the album and co-wrote five tunes with Lorber.

“What I like about working with Jimmy is he’s very intuitive,” says Lorber. “It’s often hard for me to wear so many hats so I really count on him for advice. I have a lot of confidence in him and really trust him. He has a good big picture sensibility, and he really loves the whole recording process, like I do.”

“Coming into the project, I felt like Jeff was plugged in with an explosive energy,” Haslip says. “He was writing up a storm. I just wanted to help in any way I could. Jeff is an incredible producer, and I learned a lot working with him.”

Following up on his GRAMMY®-nominated 2010 release, Now Is The Time, Lorber again culls from his early catalog but gives a fresh approach to some of his most highly requested compositions, including “Wizard Island,” “City,” “The Samba” and “The Underground.”

“Essentially this album is a part two,” Lorber says. “It features the same rhythm section, but it’s even more into the jazz fusion direction. It’s more energetic and the performances are tighter.”

Galaxy spotlights 11 originals – all instrumentals – that cover the scope of electrified jazz. The disc opens with “Live Wire” “At over seven minutes long, it’s a real powerful, up-tempo song,” says Lorber. “It’s fun to play and hopefully just as fun to listen to. “

“Live Wire,” like most of Galaxy, is a showcase for the work of renowned drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. “We had three days with Vinnie to cut basic tracks,” Lorber says. “Basically, he’s the best drummer on the planet, so once he lays down his drum parts – which are like the foundation – you’re ready to go. His work really inspired the rest of us.”

That inspiration also lives on “Big Brother,” a tune that recaptures the essence of contemporary jazz, while the soulful and funky “Montserrat” works a groove loosely based on the Police’s 1980 hit “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.”

While Colaiuta handles most of the drumming on Galaxy, Lorber recruited Dave Weckl to perform on the title track. “Weckl has been on my last three records,” Lorber says. “And I love the way he plays.”

Lorber’s look back at jazz fusion is also a look at the present, and to the future, including vibrant reinterpretations of “City,” from the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s 1980 LP on Arista, Wizard Island (which introduced a young saxophonist named Kenny Gorelick, better known as Kenny G), and “The Underground” featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, from Lorber’s 1993 album on Verve Forecast, Worth Waiting For.

Among Lorber’s favorites is “Horace” (dedicated to Horace Silver), the American jazz pianist and composer who inspired so much of his playing. “Horace Silver was one of the first guys I ever heard that I could understand what he was doing,” says Lorber. “Along with Ramsey Lewis, he’s one of the forefathers of fusion jazz. He blended funk and a melody with jazz. Sometimes he’s not given a much credit as he deserves.”

The Latin-influenced “The Samba,” originally from the 1978 album, Soft Space, on the Inner City label, highlights the skills of guitarist Larry Koonse. “Larry is awesome,” Lorber says. ‘LA has some wonderfully talented musicians, and he’s pretty well known in the straight ahead scene here.”

Those who have heard Lorber perform live know how hard his band grooves, and “Wizard Island” from the Wizard Island album, is one of his most requested tunes, “I’ve always focused on instrumentals that are going to be fun to play live,” says Lorber. “We’ve been doing so much touring, and songs like this were made for live performance.”

Much of Galaxy was mixed by Michael Brauer at Electric Ladyland in New York City. Brauer’s credits include the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Ben Folds and John Mayer. “I think Michael is brilliant,” says Lorber. “His mixes are always so creative. Michael’s like a musician, only his instrument is the mixing board.”

The fresh sounds on Galaxy expand the possibilities of where technology is taking music – the old becoming new, the modern becoming post modern. “It’s a step up from the last album,” Lorber says. “It’s more energetic, harder hitting and even more cohesive. This record really takes fusion to another level.”

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - October 25, 2011 #jazz

Alan Wilkinson - Practice (Bo Weavil Recordings )
Amir El Saffar - Inana (PI Recordings )
David S. Ware - Organica (Solo Saxophones, Vol. 2) (AUM Fidelity )
David S. Ware - Organica: Solo Saxophones, Vol. 2 (AUM Fidelity )
Graham Collier - Day Of The Dead ( )
Graham Collier - Day Of The Dead/October Ferry/Sympho (Beat Goes On )
Greg Ward - Greg Waard's Phonic Juggernaut (Thirsty Ear )
Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms - Spacer (Delmark Records) - LP
Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms - Spacer (Delmark Records)
Jason Stein Quartet - The Story This Time (Delmark)
John Abercrombie - Speak To Me (Pirouet )
Lynda Carter - Crazy Little Things ( )
Mats Eilertsen - Skydive (Hubro )
Miles Davis - Warner Years 1986 - 1991 ( )
Palito Ortega - 20 Exitos Originales (BMG (distributor) )
Paquito D'Rivera & Madrid Big Band - Clazz Continental Latin Jazz ( )
Rachael Mcshane - No Mans Fool (Nav )
Rachael Mcshane - No Man's Fool ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Love Notes (Wounded Bird )
Ramsey Lewis - Tequila Mockinbird ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Ramsey ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Routes ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Sunn Goddess ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Two Of Us ( )
Roil - Frost Frost (Bo Weavil Recordings )
Sabrina Malheiros - Dreaming ( )
Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire - The Real Deal (Delmark Records)
Simon Fell - Frank & Max: Bass Solos 2001-2011 (Bo Weavil Recordings )
Simon Fell - Two Falls & A Submission (Bo Weavil Recordings )
Tigran Hamasyan - Fable (Verve )
Toronzo Cannon - Leaving Mood (Delmark Records)
Two Rivers Ensemble - Inana (Pi )
Zara Mcfarlane - Until Tomorrow (Brownswood )

Billie Holiday - Billie Holiday (Real Gold)
Dave Brubeck - Dave Brubeck (Pid)
Ramsey Lewis - Don't It Feel Good (Wounded Bird)
Ramsey Lewis - Salongo (Wounded Bird)

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, October 18, 2011

Kim Waters - "This Heart Of Mine" - Shanachie Release on 10/25 #jazz

Kim Waters has been heralded as “simply one of the planet’s best saxophonists” by Jazz Times Magazine and touted as a “romantic pied piper” by The Washington Post. Waters has built an impressive and enviable career giving his fans what they want, along the way garnering praise from critics and fans alike and becoming one of the top five best-selling instrumentalists in jazz. His winning combination of sensitivity and brawn, intellect and emotion, coupled with his technique and soulfulness have helped him to score over thirteen #1 hits and over 20 Top 10 hits.

Everyone from Al Green and Isaac Hayes to Phyllis Hyman, Kenny Lattimore and Teddy Riley and Guy have tapped his creative genius. In the Summer of 2011, Waters also had a song featured in the movie Larry Crowne starring Oscar winning actors Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.

Never one to rest on his laurels, the prolific saxophonist is constantly creating. “When I am in the studio there’s got to be a perfect mixture of romance, groove, melody and catchy hooks that are both memorable and singable. If the music is right it can appeal to both a two year old and a 90 year old!” confesses Waters. For the debonair, laid back and talented multi-instrumentalist, music is simply a way of life. “It is always my hope that my music will be a vehicle to touch and inspire people in some kind of way.”

A trendsetter, Kim Waters was one of the first instrumentalists to break on the Quiet Storm radio scene garnering airplay around the country. He has long been admired for his unparalleled ability to combine the finer elements of Jazz, R&B and Hip Hop. “The industry has changed drastically since I came on the scene in the 80's. There were no ‘Smooth Jazz’ radio stations when I first started out and so my music was embraced on Urban and Urban AC stations,” explains Kim. “For me the fusion of jazz with R&B is natural because I have listened to, loved and studied both all of my life.”

On October 25, 2011, Kim Waters will release his 17th album as a leader and tenth for Shanachie Entertainment, This Heart Of Mine, which artfully showcases why he has long held the throne as the King of Smooth Urban Jazz. This Heart Of Mine finds the saxophonist doing what he does best -- creating dreamy melodies, sultry ballads, reinventing timeless R&B hits and playing funky dance-inspired and hot stepper originals. Waters brings to life a tapestry of love songs that explores the full range of emotions that love sparks.

Like Prince, Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo, Kim Waters is a wizard in the studio and musically blessed with the ability to play multiple instruments. Kim is a one man band and plays virtually every instrument heard on This Heart Of Mine, from the saxophones to keyboards, guitar, drums, bass and vocals. The CD opens with the soulful and inviting “Heart Seeker,” which shines light on Waters’ undeniable knack for crafting unforgettable melodies and songs that take you on a journey. The album’s first single “Free Fall,” reunites Waters with celebrated producer Davy D. The dynamic duo joined forces for the #1 hit song “Water Fall” from Kim’s 2002 recording Someone to Love You. “Working with Davy D comes very easy because he has this amazing ability to create incredible tracks,” says Kim. “Once he creates the beats I then add my own jazz vibe and the result always turns into something amazing! Davy D is great at everything he does.”

A highlight on This Heart Of Mine is the sublime Kim Waters ballad “Am I A Fool,” featuring several-time Grammy nominated Soul Prince, Calvin Richardson. The duo also has a stunning new video that takes the song to new heights. “‘Am I a Fool’ is a song that I wrote about a man who is so in love with his woman that he let's her run all over him and take advantage of his kindness,” explains Kim. “I have witnessed this with several friends and was inspired to write this song.”

“Am I A Fool” has all the ingredients for a hit at urban radio. In recent years Waters has garnered a new fan base recording such diverse projects as The Sax Pack (with fellow saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Cole) and his own Streetwize and Tha’ Hot Club CDs that are known for their clever re-workings of the hottest hip hop, R&B and reggae hits on the radio. On This Heart Of Mine, Waters does a hot buttery soul rendition of the R. Kelly ballad “Love Letter” as well as takes on the Alicia Keys and Jay-Z smash hit “Empire State of Mind.” The latter features Kim Waters’ wife and vocalist Dana Pope, who is also featured on the Streetwize recordings. “I decided to record ‘Love Letter’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’ because I am a fan of both R. Kelly and Alicia Keys. Both of these songs have true messages. ‘Love Letter’ is an open expression of love that I can relate to while ‘Empire State of Mind’ offers an inspirational message of hope and the fulfillment of dreams.”

No Kim Waters CD would be complete without his trademark - get your groove on - dance floor anthems. Songs like the uplifting and in the pocket “The Groove’s Alright,” “Running To Love” and Waters’ ode to dedicated Steppers around the country, “Step to This,” demonstrate the saxophonist’s delicate balance of jazzy grooves with R&B flavor. Waters once again hits the mark with his seductive ballads “I Love My Girl” and “Stay With Me Tonight.” He penned “Double Two Love” for his musically gifted twin daughters, Kimberly and Kayla. “Being a Dad is the most important job and my family is my main inspiration,” confides Kim. “Kimberly and Kayla are the key to my heart and they inspire me to continue to create my music and keep it fresh. They are truly angels. Even though they are 21 years old this year, they will always be my little girls. ‘Double Two Love’ is my way to express my love for them through music and gives them something to share with their friends and family forever!”

Through the years Kim Waters has proven that he knows a thing or two about love. Just take a look at the titles of his hit Shanachie albums over the last decade and you can see love is a recurring theme: Love’s Melody (1998), One Special Moment (1999), From The Heart (2001), Someone to Love You (2002), In the Name of Love (2004), All For Love (2005), You Are My Lady (2007), I Want You: Love in the Spirit of Marvin (2008) and Love Stories (2010).

Inspired by such jazz luminaries as Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, George Benson, Cannonball and Grover Washington, saxophonist Kim Waters was born into a musical family. The Maryland native picked up his first instrument, the violin, at the age of eight. "That didn't go over well with the fellas," says Waters, who later found his calling on the alto and soprano saxophones at 13. Shortly afterwards he began playing in a band with his brothers, James (who he still performs with) and Eric, and his old friend, pianist Cyrus Chestnut. Over the years, Kim Waters has been called on to perform with or open shows for the best including Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Phyllis Hyman, Teddy Riley and Guy, and Gerald Albright to name a few. Waters recently relocated to Sacramento, California from his longtime home in Aberdeen, Maryland.

This Heart Of Mine is sure to further endear old Kim Waters fans and bring new ones to the forefront. It is confirmation that Kim Waters has rightfully been crowned the King of Smooth Urban Jazz and that he is here to stay! Waters concludes, “I enjoy helping others and it is my hope that my music in some way brings positivity to the world. I believe that the world cannot live without new music. I know I can’t!”

Press Quotes:
“He is the pied piper of smooth jazz.” Upscale Magazine
"Waters is simply one of the planet’s best saxophonists." Jazz Times
“The man can play….he continues to add a sense of sensibility to the smooth-jazz airwaves.” Jazziz
“Kim Waters has a flair for composing seductive melodies. He is like a romantic pied piper out on a long evening stroll.” The Washington Post

Kim Waters
This Heart Of Mine

Heart Seeker
Free Fall
Am I A Fool (ft. Calvin Richardson)
Empire State Of Mind (Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys cover)
The Groove’s Alright
Step To This
I Love My Girl
Love Letter (R. Kelly cover)
Stay With Me Tonight
Running To Love
Double Two Love

Kim Waters – All instruments, saxophones and background vocals
Dana Pope – All female lead and background vocals
Allen Hinds – Guitars
Tim Maia – Background vocals on Love Letter
Calvin Richardson – Lead vocals on Am I A Fool

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 17, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
2 - 1 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VI" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
3 - 2 - Jessy J - "Hot Sauce" - (Heads Up)
6 - 3 - Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
5 - 4 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
4 - 5 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
1 - 6 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Friday Night"[single] - (Woodward Avenue)
8 - 7 - Nick Colionne - "Feel The Heat" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
7 - 8 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
9 - 9 - Acoustic Alchemy - "Roseland" - (Onside/Heads Up)
15 - 10 - George Benson - "Guitar Man" - (Concord)
10 - 11 - Cindy Bradley - "Unscripted" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
16 - 12 - Jonathan Butler - "So Strong" - (Rendezvous/Mack)
11 - 13 - Larry Carlton - "Plays The Sound of Philadelphia" - (335)
21 - 14 - David Wells - "Light" - (Independent)
19 - 15 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 16 - Bob Baldwin - " 2/Revibe (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 17 - Chuck Loeb - "Plain 'n' Simple" - (Tweety)
17 - 18 - Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
12 - 19 - Brian Hughes - "Fast Train To A Quiet Place" - (Sylvan House)
25 - 20 - Andy Snitzer - "Traveler" - (Native Language)

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Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Michael Feinstein" The Sinatra Project, Vol. II: The Good Life - Concord 10/24/11 #jazz

When the foremost custodian of the Great American Songbook pays tribute to the music’s greatest practitioner, the results are guaranteed to be both dynamic and original. Such was indeed the case in 2008 when Michael Feinstein crafted The Sinatra Project, which marked his ninth Concord release and was nominated for a Grammy. Feinstein, long recognized as not only one of the world’s finest vocal and piano stylists but also for his tireless efforts to preserve, protect and promote the songs and songwriters that shaped the golden age of American music, wanted to pay tribute to the rich Sinatra legacy, but was determined to do so in a way that was fresh and unique. With The Sinatra Project, Feinstein explains, he “decided to focus on the aspects of Sinatra’s art that people don’t always think about; specifically, his particular taste and style in choosing music and how he pervaded it, paying close attention to the arrangements and orchestrations, which were important elements in making Sinatra great.” Feinstein took songs Sinatra had sung—some instantly familiar others relatively obscure—and reinterpreted them in “different ways that still reflected his style and approach. It was a way into the material that allowed me honor him without copying; to bring the essence of him through without being an imitator.”

Now, with The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, Feinstein has found another inventive way in. “The second volume is really about Sinatra and his friends,” says Feinstein. “It’s about the people he influenced and who influenced him. The focus is more on the 1960s. The album includes a few songs Sinatra never sang, which was intentional because I wanted to encapsulate that era and show that, though he was still very important, music and styles were changing. It was the ushering in of a new sensibility, and yet the 1960s was still a time when rich, standards-type songs like ‘For Once In My Life’ were still being created alongside newer pop elements like rock and roll.”

Close to a dozen superstars, many of whom Sinatra counted as close friends and also deeply admired as artists, influenced Feinstein’s song selections and his stylistic choices, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Ann-Margret, Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Nancy Wilson and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Again Feinstein combines familiar and comparatively obscure material, creating a 12-track playlist that extends from such signature Sinatra tunes as “Luck Be a Lady” and “The Lady Is a Tramp” to the extremely rare “C’est Comme Ça,” co-written by Ellington and Marshall Barer for the 1966 Broadway flop Pousse Café (a musical adaptation of the 1930 Joseph von Sternberg film The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich).

Throughout the closing decades of Sinatra’s career, Feinstein himself became friendly with the legendary singer. Their first meeting was in the late 1970s at Chasen’s, one of Sinatra’s favorite Hollywood watering holes. Sinatra was throwing a birthday party for his wife, Barbara, and Feinstein was booked to play piano. “Frank invited me to join him after he heard me play,” Feinstein recalls. “I was very excited by that. I wasn’t interested in all the personal aspects of his life, nor did I know much about them. I was interested in the art, and because I got to meet him in such a casual situation he was at his most relaxed, very talkative and freewheeling. He talked about his years at MGM and [producer] Arthur Freed and songwriters. It was really fun. There was no sign of any temperament. He was just great to me.”

Prior to Sinatra’s death in 1998, their paths would frequently cross. “When Liza [Minnelli] was touring with him, I’d often go backstage to see her and would get to spend time with him, too. And I was at his house for several dinners. One time, Barbara asked me if I wanted to perform, but I declined. In addition to Sinatra, the guests that night included Dinah Shore and lots of other big-name singers and music executives, and I was just too nervous. I wish I had, though. It would have been great to sing for all those people, but I felt too overwhelmed!”

When, three years ago, Feinstein conceived The Sinatra Project, he partnered with producer/arranger Bill Elliott to help realize his concept. Together with Elliott, Feinstein was able to recreate the charts he envisioned in the style of such classic Sinatra arrangers as Nelson Riddle and Billy May. Elliott returns for The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, again demonstrating his alchemic ability to fulfill Feinstein’s vision. “Bill Elliot is one of the most talented musicians working today,” says Feinstein. “I was recently at a party where somebody said, ‘Bill Elliott is like a secret weapon; he’s this unsung hero,’ and I said, ‘I wouldn’t call him unsung. He’s doing arrangements for the Boston Pops and L.A. Philharmonic and for New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, he did the arrangements for the current Broadway production of Anything Goes and he’s doing them for the forthcoming musical Robin and the Seven Hoods!’ He is becoming more and more in-demand. That’s because Bill’s background is such that he can orchestrate in any style. He’s very seriously schooled in all pop music styles. He knows how to create an orchestration to sound like a 1930 band or a 1935 band, between which there is a huge difference; or he can [replicate] the 1920s, ’40s, ’50s or rock ‘n’ roll. And Bill can do it so it sounds organic, which is fiendishly difficult. I hear so many recordings that want to sound retro and they always sound ersatz to me. Bill, as the result of years of work, can emulate any style and make it fresh. I can’t think of anyone else who can do what he can do.”

In addition to producing the album, working with Feinstein on all the arrangements and orchestrations and conducting the 30-member orchestra, Elliott plays piano on eight of the dozen tracks. The album’s core group also includes guitarist Jim Fox, bassist Kirk Smith, drummer Albie Berk and percussionist Bernie Dresel. Asked if it is difficult to work with another pianist when he is so accustomed to accompanying himself, Feinstein responds, “Not at all… It is fun to work with someone else because it spurs me to sing the songs a little differently.” Feinstein does, however, accompany himself on four tracks, two—“The Good Life” and “Sway”—with the full orchestra and two—“C’est Comme Ça” and “I’ll Be Around”—with just Smith and violinist Sid Page.

As for the album’s subtitle, Feinstein says he chose “The Good Life” because “it reflects the ’60s, when Sinatra had gotten to a point in his life where he became iconic in a way that was different from the ’50s. He really came into his own. And it was also a good time. “The Good Life” is a song from the mid-’60s and people were in many ways, if perhaps illusionary, living a good life.”

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Jacqui Naylor Stacks The Musical Deck With Lucky Girl #jazz

On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, vocalist and songwriter Jacqui Naylor released Lucky Girl. The 15-track disc is issued by Naylor's Ruby Star Records label, distributed nation-wide through eOne (RSR-007). A full length documentary, also called Lucky Girl, about the artist debuts this fall.

With a wide vocal range and innovative style, Naylor is a rare artist, known as well for her own compositions as she is for her treatment of jazz standards. For her eighth recording, she stacks the musical deck in favor of her fans, who voted for the selected songs before she set foot in the studio. With nine inspiring compositions and six fresh covers, Lucky Girl is sure to please her dedicated audience. For over a decade, they have been captivated by her unique jazz phrasing, poignant lyrics and ability to mix genres with the technique she calls "acoustic smashing." "Acoustic Smashing marked a turning point in Naylor's career," claims the Wall Street Journal.

On her new album this technique of arranging, where she sings the words and melody of a standard over the groove of a rock or pop song, can be heard on Rogers and Hammerstein's "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" over George Benson's "Breezin'." It's a blend so seamless that it's quite possible to forget this is not the tune's original music. "Naylor has the chops and sensibility to pull it off," states New York Magazine.
More genre bending can be heard on Brent and Denis' "Angel Eyes," sung over a Prince sounding funk groove. And only Naylor can make Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" sound like it was written by Burt Bacharach. Meanwhile, Naylor's strong gospel influence shines on the Mercer and Mancini classic "Moon River," Gamble and Huff's "Close the Door," and her original "Nothing Could Be Better than You." "I wanted to write a gospel song to encourage people of any religion," says Naylor, a practicing Buddhist who sang in an all African-American Baptist choir for five years.

Indeed Naylor's longing to encourage others is heard throughout Lucky Girl, especially on her originals. From her New Orleans jazz-styled opening title track to the Bossa Nova inspired closing number, "Beautiful," her positivity is evident. Even the heartbreaking, "It Was Supposed to Work Out," seems to have a hint of forward motion. The Indigo Girl's inspired "Dreamin' Prayin' Wishin' and Wes Montgomery infused "Sunshine and Rain," speak clearly to Naylor's generosity of spirit. "Naylor's songs are Joni Mitchell good," writes JazzTimes.

"I Promise" was written for the wedding of her long-time mastering engineer, Michael Romanowski, and "You're My Favorite Person" and "Since I Love You" written for pianist/guitarist and husband, Art Khu. Khu is also Naylor's co-writer and the Musical Director of her long-time band that includes Jon Evans on bass and Josh Jones on drums. All are credited for arrangements and production on Lucky Girl, with the benefit of this close-knit band heard in the flexibility of the music. This is particularly true in the beautifully odd-metered "I Can't Make You Love Me," by Reid and Shamblin.

Naylor and her trio kick off the Lucky Girl Tour at Seattle's Jazz Alley (September 26) and land at Portland's Jimmy Mak's for the release date (September 27). Five nights at San Francisco's Rrazz Room follow (October 5-9) before heading to the East Coast. She'll return to New York's famed Blue Note (October 17 and 24), DC's Blues Alley (October 19), Philadelphia's Chris' Jazz Café (October 20) Doylestown's Puck (October 22), Hollywood's Catalina Jazz Club (November 15) and New Orleans' Snug Harbor (December 10). More U.S. and European dates

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Upcoming New Jazz Releases - October 18, 2011 #jazz

Airto Moreira - Touching You Touching Me ( )
Andrew McCormack - Places & Other Spaces (Edition )
Benny Goodman - Afrs Benny Goodman Show, Vol. 5 (Sounds of Yester Year )
Benny Goodman & His Orchestra - Afrs Benny Goodman Show Volume 5 (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Bette Midler - Original Album Series ( )
Carly Simon - Original Album Series ( )
Chieli Minucci - Without You (Chieli )
Chieli Minucci - Live At Java Jazz Festival (Chieli ) - DVD-Video
Colin Stetson - Those Who Didn't Run (Constellation )
Colin Stranahan - Anticipation (Capri )
Davey Williams - Velocities (Ictus )
Deric Dickens - Speed Date (Mole-Tree Music)
Diana Krall - Live In Paris (Original Recordings )
Don Preston - Escape From 2012 (Ictus )
Elliott Sharp - Beyond ( )
Eric Reed - Something Beautiful (WJ3 )
Evgeny Masloboev - Russian Folksongs In The Key Of Sadness (Leo )
Fab Trio - History Of Jazz In Reverse ( )
Gare Du Norde - Lilywhite Soul ( )
George Benson - Benson Burner (Wounded Bird )
Glenn Miller - Glenn Miller's Aaf Band Arrangements (Sounds of Yester Year )
Glenn Miller & The Aaf Band - Glenn Miller's Aaf Band Arrangements (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Hatian Fascination - Route De Freres ( )
Heikki Sarmanto - Everything Is It (PORTER )
Holli Ross - You'll See (Miles High )
Horace Arnold - Tales Of The Exonerated Flea (Jazz Secrets )
Horace Arnold - Tribe (Wounded Bird )
Jeff Richman - The Line Up (Nefer Records)
Jeff Richman & Chatterbox - Line Up (Nefer Music Records )
Jelly Roll Morton - Rarities-Rare Band & Blues Sides (Jazz Oracle )
Jelly Roll Morton - Rarities: The Rare Band And Blues Sides (Jazz Oracle )
Julius Hemphill - Dogon A.D. (International Phonograph )
Keith Jarrett - Rio ( )
Lalah Hathaway - Where It All Begins (Concord Jazz )
Lee Morgan - I Remember Clifford (Candid )
Levon Eskenian - Music Of Georges I. Gurdjieff (Ecm )
Mark Harris - Let's Fall In Love (Bay Sound )
Maynard Ferguson - Maynard (Wounded Bird )
McCormack & Yarde Duo - Places & Other Spaces (Edition Records )
Mikko Innanen - Clustrophy ( )
Miles Davis - Agharta (Phantom )
Miles Davis - Pangaea (Phantom )
Miles Davis - In Person Friday & Saturday Nights At Blackhawk ( )
Mitchel Forman - Sing Along With Mitch ( )
Montrose - Original Album Series ( )
Nina Causey - Holding On Forever (Karnivel )
Olavi Trio - Triologia ( )
Otto Donner - More Than 123 ( )
Ramsey Lewis - Solar Wind ( )
Roscoe Mitchell - Before There Was Sound (Nessa Records )
Rusian Sirota - TBD ( )
Rusian Sirota - Ruslan ( )
Ruslan Sirota - TBD (Ark 21/Bungalow )
Seldon Powell - End Play (Candid )
Sergio Mendes - Original Album Series ( )
Stefano Battaglia - River Of Anyder (Ecm )
Sunnie Paxson - Bohemian Sun (Umgd/Bungalo )
Tex Beneke - Glenn Miller Formula PT. II (Sounds Of Yesteryear )
Tex Beneke Orchestra - Glenn Miller Formula, Part II (Sounds of Yester Year )
Tim Berne - Bang (Ictus )
Tony Saunders - Romancing The Bass (San Francisco Records )
Vince Mendoza - Nights On Earth ( )
Von Freeman - Have No Fear (Nessa Records )
Wellstone Conspiracy - Humble Origins (Origin )
Wynton Marsalis - Swingin Into The 21ST: 50th Birthday Celebration ( )
Zaleski Stranahan & Rosato - Anticipation (Capri )

Dizzy Gillespie - Groovin' High (Columbia)
Weather Report - Heavy Weather (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, October 11, 2011

Bob James and Keiko Matsui "Altair & Vega" Availalbe now from eOne Music #jazz

A prolific composer, Grammy-winner and founding member of the contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, pianist Bob James explores the classically influenced side of his immense musicality on Altair & Vega. A duet project recorded with fellow piano virtuoso Keiko Matsui, it's a modern take on the four-hands piano tradition established in the 18th and 19th centuries by the likes of such classical composers as Haydn, Brahms and Schubert. Named for a Japanese folkloric tale about the seventh day of the seventh month (July 7th - an annual celebration known as Tanabata), Altair and Vega are two stars in the galaxy that pass by each other only once a year. "So this kind of rare meeting of these two fictional characters seemed to be a good title because it also described my eventual hookup with Keiko on this project," says James.

"Originally this story came from China," adds Matsui. "Later it was combined with Japanese tradition. We write one's wish and prayer on origami (Japanese traditional color paper) and hang it from bambondero grass. We decorate bamboo with origami under the sky for an evening.For us, July 7th is a special day with romantic feeling."

The genesis of this four-hands piano project came 12 years ago when James wrote a piece he titled "Altair & Vega" that he envisioned playing with Matsui. "I didn't really know Keiko at that time," he recalls. "I had only met her once backstage at the Hollywood Bowl but I just thought I would send her this piece of music to see if she might be interested in playing it. I always found it a fun challenge to have two people both sitting at the same piano, working out the choreography and how their hands would go back and forth."

The two ultimately got together in the studio when Matsui was on tour in the States and they recorded "Altair & Vega" as a four-hands piece, which was released in 2001 on James'Dancing on the Water (Warner Bros.). Matsui responded by writing a piece for James called "Ever After," which had appeared on her album Whisper from the Mirror. Shortly after, James and Matsui embarked on a tour together of nine Japanese cities, performing four-hands piano adaptations of their original compositions. "And we had a great time doing it," recalls James. "The audiences loved it, but for a variety of contractual reasons and other problems, we never really got to complete an actual CD project of that music."

Last year, the two performed a four-hands duet in Pittsburgh at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, which was documented on video. Two days before that, they had performed a concert in James' hometown, Traverse City, Michigan, and later documented the music in James' home studio. A CD/DVD package of those four-hands piano performances is now available on the eOne label.

"Most of the music on this project crosses borders," says James. "There are some elements of classical music along with elements of Keiko's and my different influences. So it is partially written and partially improvised."

On Matsui's "Frozen Lake," a piece she wrote at the session after taking a walk on Long Lake by James' home studio, James performs on an Avant Grand digital piano, which gives him a kind of Fender Rhodes effect. His "Divertimento: The Professor & The Student" is a variation on a piece by Haydn that was originally written for piano duet. "He was using it as a method for teaching so he could sit down at the piano and play with students," James explains. "So he would play a phrase and the student would echo it or answer it. And I used that as a jumping off place for me and Keiko. So I play the role of the professor and she plays the part of the student, and those actually became our nicknames during the course of our working together on this project."

Matsui's "Midnight Stone" and "Invisible Wing" are previously recorded pieces given a new four-hands treatment here while the lengthy 13-minute suite, "The Forever Variations," is a four-hands take on Matsui's popular theme "Forever Forever." "That is, for the most part, written," says James. "Although the kind of jazz or funk stuff that happens in the middle is improvised. So there are a couple of places where we take off."

They also turn in an enchanting arrangement of J.S. Bach's "Chorale from Cantata BWV 147" which the two had played together on tour in Japan. As Matsui explains, "In 2002 I did a Christmas show in Tokyo and I invited Bob as guest. And he brought this beautiful four-hands arrangement of the Bach piece as Christmas present for me.We performed it for first time at that show.I love this arrangement. So beautiful and cool!"

Adds Matsui, "Bob's arrangements are very unique.Sometimes it's like classical music with lots of written parts and sometimes we have lots of freedom to improvise.So mentally and technically, our mind and body are working hard to nail both worlds."

Regarding the challenges of the four-hands technique, James says, "It's not for everybody because a lot of pianists don't want to give up that control. There's only one sustain pedal, for example. So whoever does the sustain pedal has a lot of power over phrasing and smooth transitions. I think most of us pianists very often use the pedal as a kind of crutch to smooth our way through technical passages that we're either having trouble with or whatever. And if you happen to be the pianist who doesn't have control over the sustain pedal, you better make sure that your technique is really accurate.

"The other thing is, once we get in the middle of the keyboard, fingering becomes very important," he continues. "Because if some of your fingers are sticking out there and getting in the way of your partner, you make it impossible for them to play. So you have to make sure that you avoid those clashes. And you do that by giving up control and becoming a team. So you have to agree about the way you pass the ball back and forth melodically so that the two really become one person on one piano."

James says that Matsui was an ideal partner on this four-hands project. "Keiko was a dream to work with. There was no way for either one of us to know how we would get along that way, but she is very methodical in the way that she approaches the piano and accurate. So I developed a lot of confidence that I know where and when she's going to arrive on a note, and I try to be the same way with her. In fact, we always challenged each other for the end of every performance, one or the other of us would be depressed because we made the most mistakes. And when you have somebody else that you know is going to be really, really accurate, it motivates you to keep trying to get it better and better so that you don't be the one that brings it down."

A prolific composer who has recorded in a wide variety of styles going back to 1962's Bold Conceptions, his boppish debut as a leader for the Mercury label, Bob James has amassed an extensive discography that encompasses electronic avant garde (1965's Explosions on ESP), classical (1990's The Scarlatti Dialogues), commercial crossover music (a string of best-selling albums through the '70s and '80s with key collaborators David Sanborn and Earl Klugh) and world music exotica (2006's Angels of Shanghai recorded with a group of Chinese folkloric musicians). A one-time sideman to jazz diva Sarah Vaughan (1965-1968), he is also known for the catchy instrumental theme to the popular late '70s sitcom, Taxi. In 1991, James co-founded the smooth jazz supergroup Fourplay with guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. In 1997, Ritenour left the group and was replaced by Larry Carlton. In 2010, Carlton left and was replaced by guitarist Chuck Loeb.

Keyboard virtuoso Keiko Matsui grew up in Tokyo and took her first piano lesson at the age of five. Her early training focused on classical music and she later became interested in jazz. Major influences during her formative years included Stevie Wonder, Sergei Rachmaninov, Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea. After studying at the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo, she recorded four albums with the new age group Cosmos. Her debut as a leader, 1987's A Drop of Water, was dedicated to those who had died in the Space Shuttle Challenger the year before. She followed with a string of successful contemporary jazz albums, including No Borders, Under Northern Lights, Dream Walk and 1995's chart-topping Sapphire. Her 2002 album, The Ring, was a return to her classical roots while 2004's Wildflower was an evocative project with world music overtones. She followed in 2005 with the smooth jazz offering Walls of Akendora and the orchestral Moyo in 2007. Her most recent recording as a leader, her 22nd, is 2011's The Road..., which features guests Richard Bona, Kirk Whalum and Vinnie Colaiuta.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 10, 2011 #jazz

LW - TW - Artist - Album - (Label)
8 - 1 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Friday Night"[single] - (Woodward Avenue)
2 - 2 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VI" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
1 - 3 - Jessy J - "Hot Sauce" - (Heads Up)
4 - 4 - Jackiem Joyner - "Jackiem Joyner" - (Artistry/Mack Ave)
3 - 5 - Boney James - "Contact" - (Verve)
11 - 6 - Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
6 - 7 - Nils - "What The Funk?" - (Baja/TSR)
5 - 8 - Nick Colionne - "Feel The Heat" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 9 - Acoustic Alchemy - "Roseland" - (Onside/Heads Up)
7 - 10 - Cindy Bradley - "Unscripted" - (Trippin 'n Rhythm)
20 - 11 - Larry Carlton - "Plays The Sound of Philadelphia" - (335)
17 - 12 - Brian Hughes - "Fast Train To A Quiet Place" - (Sylvan House)
10 - 13 - Chuck Loeb - "Plain 'n' Simple" - (Tweety)
13 - 14 - Bob Baldwin - " 2/Revibe (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
33 - 15 - George Benson - "Guitar Man" - (Concord)
12 - 16 - Jonathan Butler - "So Strong" - (Rendezvous/Mack)
14 - 17 - Oli Silk - "All We Need" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythym)
19 - 18 - Randy Scott - "90 Degrees at Midnight" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 19 - Nate Harasim - "Rush" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
25 - 20 - Watson's Riddle - "Watson's Riddle" - (Palmetto_

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" Artistry release October 11, 2011 #jazz

The reigning merchant of Soul Jazz, Richard Elliot invites loyal fans and newcomers alike to celebrate 25 years since the release of his debut album Trolltown. Where’s the party? Where else—In the Zone, a grooving, funked up, horn splashed collection that finds the energized-as-ever tenor saxophonist paying homage to the pioneering instrumental artists of his formative years (‘70s-early ‘80s) whose brilliance and musical innovations inspired his own.

Drawing on the influences of legends like Grover Washington, Jr., Bob James and David Sanborn, Elliot fashions the perfect contemporary jazz complement to Rock Steady, his 2009 recording that was inspired by the great R&B artists he grew up listening to; that collection debuted at #5 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart and remained on the list for over 40 weeks

In The Zone includes a simmering, hypnotic retro-soul cover of “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler),” a Marvin Gaye staple whose original instrumental version marked Washington’s first session as a leader. Beyond that, the collection is driven by 9 powerful retro-flavored original songs penned by Elliot and co-producer Jeff Lorber, who share a colorful collaborative history over the past 10 years. The two played numerous shows in the early 2000s as part of the all-star Groovin’ For Grover tour (with Gerald Albright and Paul Taylor) and have worked together on various tracks on Elliot’s recordings Crush (2001), Ricochet (2003), Metro Blue (2005), RnR (Elliot’s hit dual 2007 recording with trumpet great Rick Braun) and Rock Steady.

Lorber, who began recording as leader of The Jeff Lorber Fusion in the late ‘70s, brings his unique dual history as a Jazz Fusion pioneer and R&B producer/re-mixer to the session. In addition to his array of keyboards, including the Fender Rhodes, In The Zone features the input of longtime Elliot associates Nate Phillips (bass), Tony Moore and Lil’ John Roberts (drums), Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson (guitar), and percussionist Lenny Castro. The same way that Bob James’ horn arrangements created a powerful sonic magic behind Washington’s early recordings like “Mister Magic,” arranger David Mann creates dreamy retro-atmospheres with a subtle mix of muted trumpets, flute and bass clarinet that transport Elliot deeper In The Zone.

“The interesting thing about my desire to pay homage to the wonderful array of R&B and jazz I grew up with on these last two recordings is that I actually wanted to do it as far back as Metro Blue,” says Elliot of the album whose key single, a cover of The Stylistics’ “People Make The World Go Round,” spent an unprecedented 11 weeks at #1 on Radio & Records airplay chart. “The music of the ‘70s carved out a lot of where I wanted to go musically, and I felt this need to express some musical gratitude, not by doing a cover record but by incorporating a few familiar songs among originals that had references to my influences. Compared to Rock Steady, the vibe is definitely subtler on In the Zone, especially with David’s wonderfully sophisticated low-key horn arrangements, but the same love of that time is there. The vibe is the ‘70s forerunner to the contemporary instrumental music that became popular in my own era as an artist.”

The first single, “Boom Town,” has an exuberant and aggressive, in-the-pocket tenor hook that does Sanborn proud—it’s intense yet has a smooth, poppy finish. Elliot launches the set with the playful and lilting tropical chill vacation “Island Style,” then gets back to the city on the moody and atmospheric mid-tempo ballad “Metropolis,” which as it evolves includes Elliot’s rich sense of improvisation and emotional power. The same type of sensuous atmospheres caressing that track play behind the lighthearted funk of the drive time tune “The Lower Road.” With Lorber providing the percussive synth blasts and Fender Rhodes harmonies, Elliot gets down to bluesy business with his muscular playing on the horn-drenched funk of “Bring It!”

“Just a Taste” takes the groove down a notch into romantic chill territory, while the vibrant, in-the-pocket title track lives up to its name with a swirl of percussive synth accents, brassy vamps and bubbling-over retro keyboard flavors. Elliot saves some of his most expressive, in your face tenor playing for another horn-fired jam “Panamera” before wrapping In The Zone on the wistful, candlelit ballad “Golden Triangle.”
Taking the concept of In The Zone to another metaphoric place, Elliot has been on one of the most incredible rolls of his career since Metro Blue, which debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart. In addition to the incredible chart success of “People Make The World Go Round,” “RnR” (the title track from the album Elliot recorded with Braun) stayed at #1 on the chart for over two months. Elliot and Braun crisscrossed the US as part of Jazz Attack (with Peter White and Jonathan Butler) in 2005, 2007 and 2009; and spent 2008 touring as RnR. The saxman also did media appearances and performed in South Africa for the first time, and did his first ever shows in Russia and St. Petersburg in January 2009. Elliot is currently headlining on tour with Grammy® award-winning guitarist Norman Brown.

The Scotland-born, L.A.-raised saxman was still on the road with Tower of Power when he released his debut album Trolltown in 1986. Embarking upon one of instrumental music’s most dynamic and multifaceted careers, he has scored four #1 albums (On The Town, Soul Embrace, After Dark and Jumpin’ Off) and a growing number of #1 airplay singles. In addition to his participation in all-star tours like Groovin’ For Grover and Jazz Attack, in the mid-‘90s he helped launch another of the genre’s annual franchises, the Guitars & Saxes tours, which he has also participated in on and off ever since. At his peak, Elliot was doing over 100 tour dates a year, but he has scaled it back as his family has grown to include five children over the years.

“My original motivation for doing an album like In The Zone was the opportunity to reconnect with my earlier self, the musician I was when I first started out,” says Elliot. “The songs remind me of listening to my heroes in those days and seeing them perform live, feeling incredible joy and enthusiasm about the possibility of following in their footsteps. The wonderful thing is, so many years after I began performing professionally, I still feel that excitement. I love to play live more than anything. Under certain circumstances, the recording process can be arduous, but when you can tap into the kind on inspiration I draw from here, it’s a whole different, joyous experience. It’s all about feeling the same way I did back when I was 18 and dreaming that this could someday be my life.”

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