Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 25th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (vincentingala.com)
2 - 2 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
3 - 7 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
4 - 3 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
5 - 6 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
6 - 5 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Magical" - (Nordic Night)
7 - 4 - Gerald Albright/Norman Brown" - "24/7" - (Concord)
8 - 10 - Elan Trotman - "Tropicality" - (Woodward Avenue)
9 - 15 - Grace Kelly - "Sweet Sweet Baby" (Single) - (Woodward Avenue)
10 - 9 - Brian Bromberg - "In The Spirit Of Jobim" - (Artistry)
11 - 22 - Euge Groove - "House Of Groove" - (Shanachie)
12 - 19 - Julian Vaughn - "Breakthrough" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 17 - Nicholas Cole - "Endless Possibilities" - (Cutmore)
14 - 12 - Walter Beasley - "Live In The Club" - (Affable)
15 - 25 - Lee Ritenour - "Rhythm Sessions" - (Concord)
16 - 21 - Brian Culbertson - "Dreams" - (Verve)
17 - 14 - Patrick Lamb - "It's All right Now" - (Patrick Lamb)
18 - 16 - Tak Matsumoto - "Strings Of My Soul" - (335)
19 - 13 - Drew Davidsen - "True Drew" - (Oznot)
20 - 8 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank" - (Ben-Jamin'/Universal)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 18th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (vincentingala.com)
2 - 7 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
3 - 3 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 2 - Gerald Albright/Norman Brown" - "24/7" - (Concord)
5 - 12 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Magical" - (Nordic Night)
6 - 9 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
7 - 10 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
8 - 4 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank" - (Ben-Jamin'/Universal)
9 - 11 - Brian Bromberg - "In The Spirit Of Jobim" - (Artistry)
10 - 5 - Elan Trotman - "Tropicality" - (Woodward Avenue)
11 - 8 - Steve Oliver - "World Citizen" - (SOM)
12 - 6 - Walter Beasley - "Live In The Club" - (Affable)
13 - 15 - Drew Davidsen - "True Drew" - (Oznot)
14 - 13 - Patrick Lamb - "It's All right Now" - (Patrick Lamb)
15 - 25 - Grace Kelly - "Sweet Sweet Baby" (Single) - (Woodward Avenue)
16 - 14 - Tak Matsumoto - "Strings Of My Soul" - (335)
17 - 21 - Nicholas Cole - "Endless Possibilities" - (Cutmore)
18 - 16 - David Benoit - "Conversation" - (Heads Up)
19 - 28 - Julian Vaughn - "Breakthrough" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 19 - The David Wells & Chris Geith Project - "No Side Effects" - (Timeless World)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Bluey - "Leap Of Faith" - Release on Shanachie March 26th, #jazz

Visionary, International Music Super-Hero & Incognito Master-Mind Bluey Takes Center Stage With Solo Debut "Leap Of Faith"

Shanachie Entertainment is thrilled to be releasing new music from pioneering and ground-breaking UK groove-master Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick on March 26, 2013. The creative force behind Incognito, the preeminent funk/jazz/soul/dance outfit in the world, Bluey pioneered the ‘acid jazz’ movement and laid down the blueprint for the neo-soul scene to follow. At a time when drum machines and sampling dominated the airwaves, Bluey and Incognito reminded us of the sheer beauty of the human soul and instrumental virtuosity. They scored hits with versions of Stevie Wonder’s “Don't You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” and Ronnie Laws’ “Always There,” selling more than a million records in the process! Bluey reflects, “We have a sound of our own and we are not trying to follow anyone else's groove! Incognito has never been a band that tries to dazzle with flashiness and technical prowess, we groove to make you move, we shift to uplift and we use captivating melodies to tell our stories.” As a producer, songwriter and musician Bluey, has collaborated with a who’s who list in music including James Brown, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Chaka Khan, R. Kelly, Leon Ware, George Duke, Phillip Bailey Steve Gadd, Maxi Priest and countless others. 

Now in his third decade of effortlessly churning out mind-blowing and chart-topping hits, vocalist and guitarist Bluey steps forward with his first outing as a leader, with the highly anticipated Leap Of Faith. Featuring original compositions, Bluey gives a glimpse into his creative genius with an exhilarating set on Leap Of Faith, demonstrating why his music has continued to stand the test of time. The 56-year old prolific and inspired musician says, “I get sheer joy from making music. I have massive gratitude that I am able to make a living from my labor of love.”

Up Close & Personal With The Multi-Talented Bluey

After all of these years, everyone wants to know why now as the time for Bluey’s solo debut?

I have always felt that my strength was in guiding others and bringing out the best of their artistry. For many singers and musicians being at the forefront is where they feel most comfortable and in control. I, on the other hand, have always felt comfortable leading from the back, as a goalkeeper in my schooldays and as a long distance runner in my teens (encouraging my friends to stay together and wait for the front runners to fade). I have taken that stance in the studio and on stage with my band Incognito. The song “All I Want Is You” from Adventures In Black Sunshine [Bonus Track], was really the first time I was totally happy singing on an Incognito album. Though I have very rarely featured as a lead vocalist in Incognito’s catalogue of 15 studio albums, 2012 was the first time that I have felt a compelling desire to bare my soul in this way. One of my friends described this album as my musical autobiography. I think that comment hits the mark.

What was the creative process and how did it vary from the way you approach an Incognito album?

From the beginning this has been as much a solo album for my co-writer/producer amigo Richard Bull who shares my passion for getting something started, staying focused and seeing it through to its end as quickly as possible.

I am an ideas man and if I run something by the band, it goes through a maze of minds and creative spirits that makes it sound like a band, but on this project, the meeting of two like minded souls with almost Jedi like levels of communication meant less distractions and a quick concise process! 

Including the three collaborations with three keyboard legends Matt Cooper, Ski Oakenfull and Simon Grey, it took us under a month to write, record, mix and master the album. Being the featured vocalist, I could tap into influences that may be familiar to folks who know my soul leanings like Shuggie Otis, Boz Scaggs, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Kashif, Don Blackman and Isley Brothers. You will find other vocal influences such as Hall and Oats, Beach Boys, Steve Miller, and Peter Gabriel. On this record I could also draw inspiration from a new generation of music makers such as Peven Everett, Labyrinth, The Beauty Room, Air, Bugge Wesseltoft, St. Germain and Mozez. Incognito has strong 70s and 90s vibes where the band came into its own and forged a trademark sound; but on this album I dared to wander outside of my Incognito compound, you’ll even hear some mid 80s influences.  Bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!

The year started in Guadeloupe and Los Angeles and ended in Kenya.  Only in this tranquil and carefree space in time, supported by my loved ones, at peace with myself, inspired by my musical collaborators and energized by the rays of the sun, could I have done this. In Incognito, I am surrounded by awesome musicians and singers, I needed to reach a place where I felt my voice had its own space and that my sound was not just a twist on the band’s theme. Once there it was just a matter of jumping in! Thus… Leap Of Faith!”

Shanachie Records

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spencer Day "The Mystery Of You" Release on Concord #jazz Available Now!

[See the EPK video on the Facebook page, JazzHQ] In the three years since the release of his debut recording Vagabond, vocalist-songwriter-pianist Spencer Day has spent some time in the uncomfortable places where light and clarity disappear into the mysteries of uncertainty. He survived the journey, and he’s come back with a story to tell and a wiser perspective about himself and the world. That story – rooted in his own experience, yet filled with revelations and truths that are universal to any human being who has ever put his or her heart at risk – is captured in the 13 tracks of The Mystery of You, his new album set for release March 12, 2013 on Concord Records.

Filled with stylistic nuances that range from smoky noir to Latin jazz to surf guitar to Middle Eastern and Asian melodies, The Mystery of You tracks the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes harrowing arc of a romantic relationship from passionate beginning to painful demise to enlightened aftermath. More than just a survivor’s tale, the album is Day’s affirmation to anyone within the sound of his voice that navigating the human experience is an ongoing balancing act.

“It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my adult life, but it’s also been a huge opportunity for growth,” Day says of the ill-fated relationship and the music that emerged from it. “Each of these songs represents a different phase in that growth process. Along the way, I really started trying to understand my own psychology.”

Self-exploration is nothing new to Day, who recalls a troubled childhood in a conservative town in Utah, and a volatile home life resulting from his parents’ troubled marriage. His primary means of escape were music and movies. He grew up listening to a wide cross-section of composers, including Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon and Paul Simon. And the classic MGM musicals in the local theater – the only options available in his G-rated hometown – eventually left their mark on his creative sensibilities.

He didn’t start performing in public until age 21, mostly singing standards in piano bars and retirement homes. “I was probably three or four years into that when I realized that that wasn’t totally satisfying to me,” he recalls. “I realized that I needed to write as well.” That’s when things got into high gear.

His 2004 debut album, Introducing Spencer Day, was primarily a collection of standards, but the title track from Movie of Your Life, released the following year, won the San Francisco Academy of Art University’s 2005 competition for best original song. The resulting video was selected by Dolby Laboratories as a demonstration video for the global launch of the Dolby 7.1 system.

Day performed at the 2007 San Francisco Jazz Festival, and has been a recurring headliner in a number of high-profile Bay Area clubs, including Yoshi’s, the Plush Room, the Great American Music Hall and the Herbst Theatre. On the opposite coast, he has earned raves for performances at the Town Hall, Joe’s Pub and the Canal Room in New York City , and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has also appeared at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Tanglewood Jazz Festival.

Vagabond, released in 2009, was a musical hybrid that drew from the Great American Songbook, but also maintained an alternate aesthetic that sidestepped easy categorization by borrowing from influences like Burt Bacharach, Roy Orbison and Dusty Springfield.

But while The Mystery of You also draws from a range of sources, the result is a much more personal tale. The story opens with the noir-ish title track.  Filled with the unlikely combination of James Bond guitar riffs, Middle Eastern strings and Motown drum fills, the track explores the intrigue that comes with the early stages of getting to know someone. “The goal was to constantly surprise the listener’s ear with new sounds,” says Day. “And at the same time, it’s this classic torch song that talks about love like a crime scene.”

The minimally produced “Love and War” is an acknowledgment of vulnerability. “This is the moment when you realize that you may already be in too deep, and there’s a very real potential to be hurt,” says Day. “This track comes after three uptempo, fully-produced tracks, so given the subject matter, it seemed like the right moment to bring the production down a little bit.”

Further into the set, the symphonic “Soul on Fire” chronicles the head-over-heels tumble that takes place at the early stage of every relationship. “This was a chance to write in this unapologetically dramatic way, with a string arrangement and a great ‘60s nuance,” he says. “The strings ultimately build to a frenzy and capture the passion that’s so common early on.”

In the quiet and poignant “I Don’t Want To Know,” vocalist Gaby Moreno makes one of several appearances on the record to share the lyrics with Day. “This represents the turning point in the relationship, the moment when you realize that the end is actually here but you just don’t want to acknowledge it,” says Day. “There’s a jazz piano solo in the outro, along with an electronic drum loop. The goal was to create a slow and steady build, something that would enable the track to gain momentum as it sails into the distance.”

“The Answer” pays homage to Roy Orbison, a longtime favorite of Day’s – and perhaps the most gifted writer of heartache songs in the last six decades of pop music. “That’s basically the moment when you’ve packed everything in your car and you’re driving away, hoping that someday the reasons why it all came to an end will be clear.”

And somehow they are, eventually. “Somewhere on the Other Side” is built on the hope that if you can get through the hard part, things do get better. “I wrote that in the depths of despair,” says Day. “It’s almost like an early American Quaker spiritual. I was just trying to remind myself that if I could make it through this, there would be a sacred place that I could get to on the other side.”

He finds that place in “I’m Going Home,” which Day refers to as a song about gratitude. “It’s about returning home – not necessarily a physical place, but more a matter of redeveloping a relationship with yourself. This was an opportunity to combine an electric piano with an acoustic piano solo I recorded in L.A. It really works in this minimalist Brian Eno kind of way. There are some strange but interesting textures that pop up and catch your ears.”

In the end, Day sees The Mystery of You as an effort to chronicle a relationship in much the same way as an abstract painting would. “It’s going to be a different experience for everyone, and different tracks will resonate differently with each listener,” he says. “But I think the goal is to let people find themselves somewhere within the music, and find something in common with the experiences that inspired the writing of the music. I think the goal of any artist should be to take a situation that’s personal and draw out those things that are universal.”

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Joe Bonamassa "An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House" March 26th CD & Blu-Ray

As Joe Bonamassa grows his reputation as one of the world’s greatest guitar players, he is also evolving into a charismatic blues-rock star and singer-songwriter of stylistic depth and emotional resonance. His ability to connect with live concert audiences is transformational, and his latest project, the live acoustic 2-disc CD/DVD/Blu-ray Joe Bonamassa: An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House (J&R Adventures) captures the magnetism and maturity Bonamassa showcases as an artist.

Joe Bonamassa: An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House, to be released in March 2013, was recorded at the historic Vienna Opera House last July during a very special two-week long unplugged tour, played to a limited audience over seven exclusive European shows.  Varying from his predominantly electric blues shows, this presentation was an all-acoustic concert performance, making it a unique and very special show fans had been waiting years to experience.

Produced by long-time collaborator Kevin Shirley, Joe is supported on his vintage acoustic instruments by an eclectic assortment of craftsmen from around the globe. They include:  Gerry O’Connor, a music historian and traditional Irish fiddler from many generations of Irish music, on Irish fiddle, mandolin, and Irish banjo; Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mats Wester will play the Nyckelharpa, a Swedish keyed-fiddle; Los Angeles keyboard maestro Arlan Schierbaum, whose extensive recording career focuses on organic instruments, plays accordions, celeste, toy pianos, and more; and legendary Puerto Rican percussionist, Lenny Castro, whose works spans genres and reads like a who’s who of artists, including the Rolling Stones, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, Toto, Stevie Wonder, David Sanborn, Avenged Sevenfold, Little Feat, Tom Petty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more.

Bonamassa has been steadily building his career with each year being better than the last. In 2012, he released three projects: the solo album Driving Towards The Daylight – his “lucky” 13th album – a balanced back-to-basics album that highlights Bonamassa’s signature style of roots blues with rock-and-roll guts and featuring Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford; and a live DVD and CD Joe Bonamassa: Beacon Theatre – Live Fom New York that captures the stunning two-night sold-out set at New York City’s legendary Beacon Theatre, featuring special guests Paul Rodgers, John Hiatt, and Beth Hart. Beacon, along with 2009’s hit DVD Joe Bonamassa: Live From The Royal Albert Hall featuring a duet with Eric Clapton, have both been prominently featured on PBS and Palladia nationwide.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 11th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (vincentingala.com)
2 - 2 - Gerald Albright/Norman Brown" - "24/7" - (Concord)
3 - 6 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 4 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank" - (Ben-Jamin'/Universal)
5 - 38 - Elan Trotman - "Tropicality" - (Woodward Avenue)
6 - 8 - Walter Beasley - "Live In The Club" - (Affable)
7 - 10 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
8 - 7 - Steve Oliver - "World Citizen" - (SOM)
9 - 3 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
10 - 15 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
11 - 9 - Brian Bromberg - "In The Spirit Of Jobim" - (Artistry)
12 - 18 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Magical" - (Nordic Night)
13 - 14 - Patrick Lamb - "It's All right Now" - (Patrick Lamb)
14 - 5 - Tak Matsumoto - "Strings Of My Soul" - (335)
15 - 41 - Drew Davidsen - "True Drew" - (Oznot)
16 - 12 - David Benoit - "Conversation" - (Heads Up)
17 - 11 - Paul Brown - "The Funky Join" - (Woodward Ave)
18 - 26 - Lee Ritenour - "Rhythm Sessions" - (Concord)
19 - 20 - The David Wells & Chris Geith Project - "No Side Effects" - (Timeless World)
20 - 13 - Chris Standring - "Electric Wonderland" - (Ultimate Vibe)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway maturing into a stellar vintage #jazz

Single-day tickets go on sale as the festival partners with Bay Area radio station KBLX-FM
Eager wine and jazz enthusiasts voraciously scooped up all the multiday VIP and Silver ticket packages for the second edition of Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, the flourishing festival slated for June 5-9, 2013 in Napa, CA, but single-event tickets are now on sale for concerts featuring a luminous lineup of performers. San Francisco Bay Area’s R&B 102.9 FM KBLX has signed on as the official radio station of the gathering that celebrates the good life.
The rapid ticket sales to the sophomore event are no surprise as last year’s inaugural edition sold-out in one week. The 2013 festival includes new events and larger concert venues along with a star-studded roster boasting award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Culbertson, Grammy winners Take 6, Ray Parker Jr., Norman Brown and Kirk Whalum united with Rick Braun as BWB, funksters Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, saxophonists Eric Darius and Michael Lington, guitarist Nick Colionne, R&B vocalist Selina Albright, keyboardist Cecil Ramirez, party band DW3 and special guest comedian Sinbad.   
In addition to being able to purchase tickets to individual events for shows scheduled June 6-9, 4-day Gold packages remain available for $449 per person. Single-day tickets are available for the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Welcome Party with DW3 (June 6 from 1:30-4:30 PM), BWB & Culbertson at the Napa Valley Opera House (June 6 at 6:30 & 8:45 PM), Friday Night Funk Night featuring Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, Culbertson and Sinbad (June 7 at 6:30 & 8:45 PM), and Brian Culbertson & Friends at the Lincoln Theater (June 8 & 9). The Gold package includes prime tickets to each of the above mentioned shows along with entrance to the exclusive Late Night Hangs that take place evenings during the festival at the Westin Verasa Napa and an ACCESS CARD, which entitles the holder to 2-for-1 wine tastings at participating wineries along with other discounts and special deals at a host of Napa restaurants, shops and services. Tickets can be purchased at www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway2013.com.       
Leading up to the festival opening, KBLX will be giving away tickets on the air to individual concerts and one lucky winner will receive the Gold package. The station’s on-air personality Sterling James will broadcast live from the Late Night Hangs the evenings of June 6-8.
"I'm very excited to partner with KBLX as the official radio sponsor of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway 2013. Over the years, KBLX has been a great supporter of my music and I am thrilled to have them on board. It's going to be quite a party when Sterling James and the KBLX crew hang with us in Napa this June!" said Culbertson, the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway’s founder and artistic director.
The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway is a not-to-be-missed interactive lifestyle experience at which fans can share their passion for wine and jazz with the musicians while dining, during wine receptions and tastings, at autograph sessions, at a golf tournament at Silverado Resort & Spa, and at casual post-concert hangs at the Westin Verasa Napa. Prior to the June 8th concert, a silent auction and wine reception will be held in support of music education to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation at which many of the winery partners will provide complimentary pourings. For additional information about the performers, festival schedule, tickets, Napa Valley Jazz Getaway partners and more, please visit www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway2013.com.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Soprano Saxophonist MARION MEADOWS Announces 2013 Tour Dates In Support Of Acclaimed New Album WHISPER #jazz

Label Debut For Shanachie Features Special Guest Bob Baldwin And Includes Soulful Renditions Of Jazz Classics By Freddie Hubbard And Dave Grusin

Spring/Summer Festival Slots Will Have Meadows Share Stages With Phil Perry, Richard Elliot, Keiko Matsui, Brian Simpson, Marc Antoine, Mary Mary, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson And Sheila E

Sax And The City Tour Dates Feature Vincent Ingala And Paul Taylor

Re-Launch Of MarionMeadows.Com Provides Fans With An Immersive Multi-Media Experience

Albert Einstein once said “We all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” For multi-talented saxophonist and consummate creative spirit Marion Meadows, the allure of music was never too far. The charismatic, strikingly handsome, eloquent and debonair musician, who happens to moonlight as a brilliant digital designer/photographer, and semi-professional cyclist originally had aspirations to become a veterinarian. “Reaching people through music has always been rewarding for me. Expressing yourself through an instrument and having listeners run through so many emotions is an artistic impression like no other,” says Marion. With a clear trajectory in sight, the stars aligned for Meadows one evening at Grand Central Station, when his saxophone was mysteriously overheard reverberating through the Big Apple’s oldest railway. Emmy-winning TV composer Jay Chattaway (Star Trek fame) was so enchanted that he introduced Marion Meadows to Grammy-winning pianist, producer and label owner Bob James, who helped Meadows to launch his career as a solo artist.

Close to 25 years later, scores of sold out shows, twelve critically heralded albums, a string of radio hits and collaborations with luminaries like Stevie Wonder, Eartha Kitt, The Temptations, George Benson and Norman Connors, Meadows is not through yet. “I have immersed myself in so many styles, from old school funk, jazz, rock and pop that a great tune is a great tune and I draw inspirations from all styles of music, but it is also from the outdoors and the beauty the world has to offer that inspire me each day” states Marion.

On February 26, 2013, Shanachie Entertainment, in conjunction with Listen 2 Entertainment Group, released Whisper, Marion Meadows’ label debut. Featuring mostly originals, Meadows dances a delicate balance between soul and fire, intellect and emotion, and sensitivity and brawn, making Whisper, an exhilarating musical foray into one of contemporary jazz’s most brilliant minds and recognized soprano saxophonists.

A musician unafraid to boldly fuse diverse influences, Marion Meadows sculpts a borderless musical tapestry on Whisper. “I came up listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington but at the same time musicians like Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Chicago and Parliament Funkadelic,” confesses Meadows who early on cut his teeth playing in Avant-Garde jazz groups alongside heavyweights Rashied Ali and James Blood Ulmer. Whisper, Marion Meadows’ first new recording in four years, features the saxophonist’s agile and ethereal soprano styling’s and some robust tenor work. It opens with the majestic, intoxicating and rhythmic driven “The Visitor,” which segues into the melodious and scintillating title track, co-written by keyboardist and long-time collaborator Michael Broening.

Meadows produced Whisper along with Carlos Pennisi, Bob Baldwin, Rahni Song and Broening. The album’s first single is the enticing, funky and hypnotic “Black Pearl.” Just like its namesake and gemstone, Meadows’ Pearl is multi-layered, producing a beautiful interior within each shimmering chorus. Keyboardist Carlos Pennisi co-authored the song and helped Marion to compose five songs on the album. “Carlos helped me really try different musical ideas on Whisper. He is an amazing composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Italy with a great sense of using colors in his productions. As an artist I’m searching to try new ideas, and he definitely brought that to the table.” “Timeless,” is an evocative and tender impressionistic ballad, co-written with keyboardist Rahni Song, who joins Meadow on the track along with Pennisi and harmonica player Julian Davis. “Curves,” is an uplifting get-on-the-dance-floor anthem that serves up the right combination of grit and soul, while “Magic Life” and “Golden Curtin,” showcase Marion Meadows’ knack for crafting unforgettable melodies that magically have a way of transporting you. Meadows breathes new life into two jazz classics on Whisper, borrowing from the Freddie Hubbard and Dave Grusin songbooks. Freddie Hubbard’s 1970s landmark CTI classic “Sky Dive,” soars with Meadows’ own buttery soul rendition featuring his tenor and soprano alongside trumpeter Joey Sommerville. Dave Grusin’s 1980’s chestnut “Marcosinho,” gets revitalized with Meadows’ sparkling new take.

Recording Whisper for Meadows was truly a labor of love and part of that process was the joy of collaborating with friends. Longtime associate and keyboardist Bob Baldwin joins Marion on two of the album’s tracks, “Bottoms Up” and “Turn Up The Quiet.” Meadows says of his friend, “Bob always delivers!” Turn Up The Quiet” marks one of the high points on the project, as the duo score a home run.

Marion’s tender soprano gracefully teases and caresses the seductive melody as Baldwin finds all the accents to drive the song home. Flautist Ragan Whiteside joins Meadows on the show-stopping number, “Bottoms Up.” Marion calls Whiteside and Althea Rene (who is featured on “Golden Curtain,”) “two of the greatest flautists I know.” Not afraid to get loose and turn up the heat Marion Meadows serves up a scorcher on “Wild Thing,” a James Brown inspired romp that escalates things to a sweat inducing fevered pitch.

Hailing from West Virginia and raised in Stamford, CT, Marion Meadows began his musical endeavors at age eight, studying clarinet. At age 15, after hearing iconic saxophone masters like Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Stanley Turrentine, Marion Meadows’ switch to saxophone was imminent. During high school, he earned a coveted spot in the All-State Orchestra and Jazz Band and was afforded the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. His experiences during this time made him reconsider his ambitions for medical school and a career as a veterinarian. Upon graduation, Meadows attended the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, later transferring to SUNY Purchase School of the Arts. While still a student, the ambitious saxophonist worked steadily as a sideman. He jokes that he “got a graduate degree playing clubs.” He was also fortunate to study with the best including Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman and Eddie Daniels.

While at Berklee, Marion Meadows had another serendipitous encounter, this time with drummer producer extraordinaire Norman Connors, who was then playing with legendary saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders. Meadows says, “Norman Connors was really the guy who discovered me as an artist. The man who gave me my first shot.” Connors’ recorded Marion’s song “Invitation” and later extended an invitation to Marion to join his band. Connors, who collaborated with many of R&B and jazz’s greatest singers, afforded Marion the opportunity to work alongside such dynamic voices as Jean Carne, Phyllis Hyman, Glenn Jones, Angela Bofill, and many others. “That was a nice graduate school, sort of speak”, laughs Meadows. After graduating with honors from Connors’ University, the well-rounded saxophonist spent time honing his chops on the avant-garde circuit in the ensemble "Aboriginal Music Society," which featured guitarist James Blood Ulmur, percussionist Juma Sutan and pianist Kasa Allah.

In 1990 Marion Meadows made his recording debut, For Lover's Only featuring Eliot Lewis, Porter Carroll, Brian Keane and Average White Band alumnus Alan Gorrie. Two years later he joined forces with Will Downing, Bob Baldwin, Angela Bofill and Norman Connors for his sophomore recording Keep It Right There. Further solidifying his rightful place in the pantheon of great saxophonists, Meadows released Forbidden Fruit in 1994. He was joined by an eclectic all-star cast that included Eric Benet, SWV, Don Grusin and Dori Caymmi, among others. Body Rhythm came in 1996 and Pleasure, the following year. Around this time Marion Meadows relocated from Connecticut to the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix, AZ. He also settled at a new recording home, Heads Up International, where he released his sixth album, Another Side of Midnight in 1999, calling on a little help from some friends Bob Baldwin, Omar Hakim and Norman Brown followed by Next To You in 2000 and In Deep in 2002. Player’s Club in 2004 spawned two hit singles “Suede” and “Sweet Grapes,” and have gone on to be Marion’s signature songs. Dressed To Chill (2006) included memorable renditions of hits by R Kelly and Luther Vandross and joined Meadows with Chuck Loeb and his longtime touring keyboardist and vocalist Will Brock, among others. Secrets and its title track in 2009 advanced to the top of smooth jazz radio charts. During this time Meadows also relocated to Hawaii and has spent the past several years living in both locations. In addition to touring steadily on his own, Marion Meadows is also a member of the highly sought after Sax And the City Tour fronting the band with fellow reedman Paul Taylor, with additional guests Jessy J, young saxophone sensation Vincent Ingala and pianist vocalist extraordinaire Joe McBride.

The Maestro Duke Ellington once said “My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never!” Like the maestro, Marion Meadows, is never content to rest on his laurels. With a four-year intermission between recordings, Marion Meadows is back with Whisper and ready to share his gift with the world. “Shhhhhhhhh, the show is about to begin.”

APR 07 – Las Vegas, NV @ Thomas & Mack Center (Soul Festival)
APR 20 – Cleveland, OH @ State Theatre (Tri-C JazzFest)
APR 27 – New Haven, CT @ Jay Rowe Jazz for Scholars
MAY 11 – Cincinnati, OH @ Atrium Hotel
JUN 08 – Atlanta, GA @ Mable House Amphitheatre
JUN 14 – Gahanna, OH @ Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest
JUN 15 – Rosemont, IL @ InterContinental Hotel (Montrose Room)
JUN 21 – Charlotte, NC @ Uptown Charlotte Jazz Fest (*SATC)
JUL 12 – Upper Marlboro, MD @ Martin’s Camelot (Lake Arbor Jazz Fest)
SEP 07 – Austin, TX @ The Paramount Theatre
SEP 27 – New Haven, CT @ John Lyman Center at SCSU (*SATC)
OCT 11 – Catalina Island, CA @ Catalina JazzTrax Fest (*SATC)

*Sax And The City (SATC) Tour Features Saxophonists Marion Meadows, Vincent Ingala and Paul Taylor with Joe McBride and Will Brock on Vocals and Keyboards, “Chocolate” Chip Shearin on Bass and Jabari on Drums

1. The Visitor
2. Whisper
3. Black Pearl
4. Timeless
5. Curves
6. Magic Life
7. Bottoms Up (ft. Bob Baldwin)
8. Golden Curtain
9. Marcosinho
10. Sky Dive
11. Wild Thing
12. Turn Up The Quiet (ft. Bob Baldwin)
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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hiromi - "Move" Rleased today on Telarc #jazz [Video]

Move features contra-bass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips

On her 2011 album, Voice, Hiromi sought to capture people’s “inner voices” and strove to create what she called a “three-dimensional sound.” For that album, the Japanese composer/pianist assembled a trio that included herself and two veteran players – contra-bass guitarist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, The O’Jays, Steely Dan, Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour, Jack Bruce). While Hiromi had played with Jackson prior to recording Voice, she had never recorded an entire album with either him or Phillips.

“I had such a great time recording with them, and we went on the road together and that was even more fun,” she says. “As soon as we started playing live shows, we grew up as a band. It was the biggest fun I’ve ever had in my life musically. That’s why I wanted to do another record. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to do it again.”

While on the road, Hiromi started writing music for a follow-up, Move, set for U.S. release March 5, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group. (European release date is October 2, 2012.) “Because I had been playing with Anthony and Simon for quite a bit, I just started to understand their characteristics, and I could find a hidden gem in their playing,” she explains. “As a composer, I really wanted to write the songs especially for them, and I wanted to extract the unique beauty of their playing.”

When it came time to go into the studio to record Move, the trio was able to record quickly and effortlessly since many of the songs had been road-tested. Recorded by GRAMMY®-winning producer and engineer Michael Bishop at Aire Born Studios in Zionsville, Indiana, Move, like Voice, has an overriding theme, which Hiromi describes as “time in one day.”

“You wake up and go to work and then hang out,” she says. “The album is like a soundtrack for a day.” The opening title-track begins with an undulating piano riff that mimics the sound of a ringing alarm. “It’s one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever written,” says Hiromi. “I had great musicians with me, and we worked hard on that song. In the studios and rehearsals, we spent a lot of time to play it right. It’s very tricky because when a song sounds difficult, it’s not fun. It has to groove and it has to go beyond ‘this is a difficult song.’ It has to make you groove and feel the rhythm. To reach that point really took some time.”

The groove deepens on “Endeavor,” a tune that starts off with a funky guitar riff that gives way to beautiful piano solos before diving back into the funk. “It has a lot of tricks with rhythm so that when you’re feeling the groove and shaking your head with the music, it slips backwards,” explains Hiromi. “Then it slips back again. It has a lot of tricks rhythmically. I really like putting these small treasures in the songs because it’s like treasure hunting.”

The album’s centerpiece is a three-part suite divided into segments entitled “Reality,” “Fantasy” and “In Between.” “I really like writing suites,” says Hiromi. “I’ve done it a couple of times in the past and it’s good for the writer to come up with a big story. I always want to tell stories with my music. I always see visuals, and I always think about music like a select story. I have so much fun writing these songs that are about contrary things like your frustrations and also the fight in yourself. It took awhile to finish and there is a main theme in each song so by the third piece, if you listen to it carefully you will hear the main theme. I like that kind of musical trick.”

The album comes to a close with “11:49 PM,” an 11-minute song designed to mark the end of one day and the beginning of a new one.

“Before you go to bed, you think through what you have been through and you think and all these emotions come out,” says Hiromi. “I think the nighttime is the most emotional time of the day, especially when you’re at home. I don’t know what makes people think that but it’s just the night. People show so much more emotion and heart in that particular time of the day. I started to write a song about it. Whenever I wrote [‘11:49 PM’], it was always at nighttime. I went through all these emotions.”

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - March 4th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (vincentingala.com)
2 - 2 - Gerald Albright/Norman Brown" - "24/7" - (Concord)
3 - 28 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
4 - 4 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank" - (Ben-Jamin'/Universal)
5 - 3 - Tak Matsumoto - "Strings Of My Soul" - (335)
6 - 14 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
7 - 5 - Steve Oliver - "World Citizen" - (SOM)
8 - 7 - Walter Beasley - "Live In The Club" - (Affable)
9 - 8 - Brian Bromberg - "In The Spirit Of Jobim" - (Artistry)
10 - 11 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
11 - 9 - Paul Brown - "The Funky Join" - (Woodward Ave)
12 - 12 - David Benoit - "Conversation" - (Heads Up)
13 - 6 - Chris Standring - "Electric Wonderland" - (Ultimate Vibe)
14 - 16 - Patrick Lamb - "It's All right Now" - (Patrick Lamb)
15 - 19 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
16 - 10 - Richard Elliot - "In The Zone" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
17 - 13 - Brian Culbertson - "Dreams" - (Verve)
18 - 32 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Magical" - (Nordic Night)
19 - 24 - Swing Out Sister - "Private View + Tokyo Stories DVD" - (Shanachie)
20 - 18 - The David Wells & Chris Geith Project - "No Side Effects" - (Timeless World)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit smoothjazz.com to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit smoothjazz.com to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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Peggy Duquesnel - "Seems Like I Know You" on Joyspring Music April 16th [Video] #jazz

“Seems Like I Know You” EP due April 16th, first single features Lorber, Haslip and Braun
Transitioning from straight-ahead jazz and inspirational music to showcase her skillset as a contemporary singer-songwriter, classically trained pianist Peggy Duquesnel got to know jazz fusion keyboard pioneer Jeff Lorber and bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) in order to co-produce “Seems Like I Know You,” a five-song EP that will be released April 16th by Joyspring Music. Duquesnel wrote or co-wrote four songs for the collection, including the first radio single, “When I Think of You,” a soulfully sophisticated R&B groove that gets tasty horn-powered highlights from Rick Braun’s trumpet and flugelhorn.
Gifted with a voice as cozy and as comfortable as Sunday morning, which perfectly matches her girl-next-door demeanor, Duquesnel’s piano pop songs fortified with jazz intonations provide snippets of real-life experiences embellished and enhanced by sterling instrumentation. A joyous love song of immediate familiarity, “Seems Like I Know You” opens the EP with a celestial call and response chorus. Duquesnel and Lorber co-wrote the music for “When I Think of You,” a song of patience, longing and hope with lyrics and melodies that the pianist hatched while on a nature hike. On “That’s How It Always Goes,” Haslip’s somber bass seems to symbolize fleeing love amidst an enchanting sea of sunny optimism in the search for lasting love with Michael Thompson providing a fiery final word on electric guitar. Clouds and heartache don’t stand a chance of lingering on a soothing rendition of the Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays.” Backing vocalist Dee Dee McNeil penned the lyrics to “Bird on a Leash” for which Duquesnel composed the music for the elegant track about the loneliness and isolation that results when a romantic partner is smothered and taken for granted.
“Songwriting has been a natural gift and form of expression for me that I have enjoyed doing since I was 12 years old. I had already recorded several albums of jazz and gospel standards as well as many of my straight-ahead originals, but I wanted this project to showcase my songwriting placed in a more contemporary setting. Many of my songs have been born out of life experiences and it is my hope that the music will touch and inspire others,” said Duquesnel, who went on to explain about her accomplished collaborators that will perform with her at a pair of hometown album release concerts on March 11th in Seal Beach (Spaghettini) and April 22nd in Irvine (Concordia University). “I met Jimmy (Haslip) a few years ago in the recording studio while we both worked on a project for another artist. When he and I first connected to discuss my new direction, he suggested that Jeff (Lorber) would be a good fit as a co-producer. I had been a fan of Jeff’s since high school so the thought of collaborating with both Jeff Lorber and Jimmy Haslip on this project was very exciting for me. Both of them have become mentors and friends.”
Born in Bethpage, NY and reared primarily in Orange County, CA, Duquesnel discovered the piano when she was three years old and grew up singing, playing and writing songs. After earning her degree in classical piano at California State University, Northridge and mentoring by esteemed jazz pianists Alan Broadbent and Terry Trotter, Duquesnel performed and recorded with Dionne Warwick, Henry Mancini, John Pattitucci, Jeff Hamilton, Grant Geissman and Grammy-winner Broadbent. Her first foray as a featured artist came in 1995 as a member of jazz crossover combo Pocket Change (“Higher Altitude”) while her debut disc as a solo artist, “Where is Love?,” was released in 1999 and spotlighted Duquesnel in a trio setting with orchestral accompaniment arranged by Broadbent and engineered by Grammy-winner Al Schmitt. Her five subsequent releases spanned the jazz spectrum along with a couple of inspirational recordings. A passionate proponent of music education, Duquesnel shares her vast knowledge while serving as the Director of Jazz Studies at Concordia University. Additional information is available at www.joyspringmusic.com.
The songs contained on Duquesnel’s “Seems Like I Know You” EP are:
“Seems Like I Know You”
“When I Think of You”
“That’s How It Always Goes”
“Rainy Days and Mondays”
“Bird on a Leash”

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