Monday, July 29, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 29TH, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 2 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
2 - 1 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
3 - 3 - George Benson - "Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole" - (Concord)
4 - 6 - Brian Simpson - "Just What You Need" - (Shanachie)
5 - 5 - Chieli Minucci & Special EFX - "Genesis" - (Shanachie)
6 - 7 - Keiko Matsui "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
7 - 4 - BWB - "Human Nature" - (Heads Up)
8 - 13 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 8 - Euge Groove - "House Of Groove" - (Shanachie)
10 - 9 - Fourplay - "Espirit de Four" - (Heads Up)
11 - 14 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (
12 - 12 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 11 - Paul Brown - "The Funky Joint" - (Woodward Ave.)
14 - 15 - Bob James & David Sanborn - "Quartet Humaine" - (OKeh)
15 - 17 - Time Bowman - "Seaside Drive"-Single- (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
16 - 18 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
17 - 22 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
18 - 19 - Jeanette Harris - "Summer Rain" - (J&M Records)
19 - 10 - Maysa - "Blue Velvet Soul" - (Shanachie)
20 - 20 - Eric Essix - "Evolution" - (Essential recordings)

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Jazz Rescue: All-star concert set for August 2nd to benefit the Yarnell 19 - #jazz

Jazz relief is on the way for victims of the recent Yarnell fire. The M.U.S.I.C. Foundation of Arizona and Arizona Jazz Festival producer Brad Laughlin have teamed with Phoenix City Council Member of District 8 Michael Johnson and Alan “AP” Powell to assemble a galaxy of contemporary jazz stars to perform a benefit concert for the families affected by the tragic fire, including the 19 families of the fallen firefighters and those who lost homes. The show featuring a bevy of hitmakers will be held this Friday, August 2nd at 7 PM at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 602-244-8444. The minimum donation per ticket is $50.00 although digging deeper is encouraged.
The All-Star Jam will feature contemporary jazz and R&B luminaries George Benson, Brian Culbertson, Peter White, Euge Groove, Warren Hill, Michael Lington, Eric Darius, Jessy J and Dominic Amato along with other surprise guests.
“Dating back to (Hurricane) Katrina, BTWconcerts (producer of the Arizona Jazz Festival) has been donating funds whenever and wherever these devastating natural disasters occur, but this one, the Yarnell fire, happened right in our own backyard thus we had to do something significant to help our local community. We’re working with the local government and the firefighters to raise much needed funds. The artists generously agreed to waive their performance fees and the Orpheum Theatre stepped up to donate the venue. We’re (BTWconcerts) covering the costs to bring the artists in so that we can donate every dollar from ticket sales to assist the families of the fallen firefighters and those who lost their home,” said Laughlin.
“This is a tremendous loss for our community and we need to continue to support the families of those 19 firefighters not just today, but even years from now. We reached out and gathered an all-star line-up of jazz artist from across the country who wanted to help and all of them have waived their fees so we could give everything we make this night to the families and children of fallen firefighters,” said Johnson.
All of the proceeds will aid the victims of the Yarnell fire disaster through the 100 Club of Arizona, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides immediate financial assistance to families of public safety officers and firefighters who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, and provides resources to enhance their safety and welfare.
The M.U.S.I.C. Foundation of Arizona purchased tickets and has set them aside so the families of the fallen firefighters can attend and be part of the evening.

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Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" Release on Shanachie July 30th, 2013 #jazz

Internationally Acclaimed Pianist, Composer & Humanitarian KEIKO MATSUI Creates Ground-Breaking,
Thought-Provoking & Inspirational New Music on SOUL QUEST Out July 30, 2013

Keiko Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of US Recording Career With Star-Studded CD featuring
Narada Michael Walden, Chuck Loeb & Kirk Whalum Among Others

U.S. Tour Dates August 4 - December 21, Including Eighteen Shows On Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour

“Creating this album was like going on a soul quest, as I tried to figure out how to express the things I was thinking and experiencing during this past year,” confides pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui (pronounced Kay-Koe, meaning ‘happy, celebratory child’ in Japanese).  “This music energizes me and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I listen to it.  I hope people will allow themselves to go inside the music and become a part of my journey,” says the stunning, profound pianist and world citizen who is celebrating a triumphant 25 years of recording in the US. In the words of Duke Ellington, Keiko Matsui is ‘beyond category.’

The courageous, spiritually-driven and consummate artist who enjoyed the distinction of being an invited guest and performer at the second International Jazz Day, sponsored by UNESCO and held in Istanbul in April 2013, transcends boundary.  Her unique melting pot of musical influences have garnered her a devout international following. The eloquent and soft-spoken but yet deliberate musician tours relentlessly and seeks to make a genuine connection with her audience. “Everybody has so many things going on in their lives but my concerts are special for me. The music creates a oneness.  The exchange I share with my audience is the root of my energy. It’s like my mission.” Matsui has worked alongside the best including Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela and Bob James.

A true humanitarian, Keiko has lent her voice to raise awareness for such causes as The Daniel Pearl Foundation, The United Nations World Food Programme, Be The Match Marrow Registry and The National Donor Program and Marrow Foundation. She has also lent her efforts to the continued revitalization and healing of Japan in the wake of the recent Tsunami and Fukushima disasters. “I still have these images of kindergarten teachers holding their kids in order to protect them.  I also think about all of the older people who did not make it and the children who lost parents,” reflects Keiko, the first Japanese musician to top the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. “But when I think about the people who did survive, I think that they may be the strongest souls there are. Out of this pain, I have found the greatest strength from these individuals.”  Keiko Matsui’s new recording Soul Quest, is a riveting new collection of songs that unfold like an epic journey. With an all-star cast that includes such heavyweights as producer and drummer Narada Michael Walden, guitarist Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and bassist Marcus Miller, among others, Keiko explores themes of love, loss, spirituality and environmental consciousness.

“I become very serious when I am recording a new album.  I carry a notebook around with me and take notes as ideas come to me,” confesses Keiko. “These notes focus my vision. Each recording is like my baby, so I feel such obligation. When I am gone these songs will still be here.”  Reflecting Keiko’s universal approach to her life and music, Soul Quest was recorded and conceptualized on several corners of the globe– New York, Japan, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Eastern Europe.

Soul Quest
 opens with the transcendental and majestic “Dream Seeker,” a melodic prayer that Keiko holds for all mankind. “I want everyone to have a dream and to seek it.” She co-wrote the song with guitarist and producer Chuck Loeb and it features the flamenco-like and ethereal guitar of Loeb along with the soaring soprano saxophone of Andy Snitzer.  Soul Quest’s first single “Black Lion,” was inspired during a rigorous Eastern European tour in which Keiko and her band played an exhausting five countries in five weeks. They were even detained at one point due to problems with travel visas. However, the courageous and optimistic pianist drew inspiration from happier times during her tour.

“I was in Georgia and after the concert we all went to a restaurant called ‘Black Lion,’ where I saw this painting that caught my eye. The owner explained it was by a famous Georgian painter named Niko Pirosmani who was suffering from a broken heart after a failed romance.”  Inspired by the sadness of this painting Keiko manages to uplift us with the searching and soaring notes of her piano. “Black Lion” and the title track were produced by Derek Nakamoto, who Keiko has known her entire career and who also worked with her on her previous album. “A Night With Cha Cha,” is another remnant from Keiko’s Eastern European crusade and is dedicated to a liquor she was introduced to in Georgia.  The track features celebrated saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who makes a return appearance after recording with Keiko on the acclaimed CD, The Road…

Soul Quest
 finds Keiko Matsui doing several firsts, including recording with Chart-topping producers Chuck Loeb and Narada Michael Walden. She recorded with Loeb at his home studio outside of New York. The guitarist produced five of the album’s tracks and together with Keiko he co-wrote three songs. “Chuck is a great producer and such a sweet human being.  I got to spend time with his family and they are all beautiful, including his dog Annie and cat, Kit Kat,” recalls Keiko laughing. “I never had that kind of peaceful environment during a recording.” Keiko and Chuck join forces on the catchy “Top Secret,” with its bluesy undercurrent, percolating rhythmic pulse and the muted trumpet of Giulio Carmassi. The two also collaborate on the Keiko written “A Night With Cha Cha” and Loeb’s Quiet Storm inspired “Proof.” The duo also penned together the tunes “Two Hearts” and “Dream Seeker.”

“I first met Narada Michael Walden in 2006 at a Grammy party,” shares Keiko. “I knew his work well as a producer and I was very surprised when he told me he loved my piano playing.” Narada and Keiko had plans to record one song together but after they discovered their great synergy together in the studio, they collaborated on a total of three songs – “Moving Mountain,” “Antarctica – A Call To Action” and “Stingo.”  The process of recording with Walden was atypical for Keiko. She explains, “Usually before I go into the studio I spend a great deal of time preparing arrangements and production. This time I flew to San Francisco to meet Narada and we got started right on the spot. It was very challenging but at the same time I was able to be myself. It was a real adventure. Their song “Moving Mountain,” is an improvisatory piece that was done in one take.  Keiko recalls “When we finished recording, I really felt like we moved a mountain!” Narada and Keiko also join forces for the pianist’s sublime and lilting waltz “Antarctica A Call to Action,” which opens with primordial rhythms and addresses the fact that Antarctica is melting and it is affecting all the animals and entire planet. I hope the music can send a message to the world.” If you listen carefully to the song’s quiet moments, you can hear authentic whale sounds! Keiko is also joined for the first time on record by bassist Marcus Miller. “Marcus made such a great track he made me cry. The conversation we have together where the song transitions is powerful. He pulled out everything and made it such a great experience.” Soul Quest also finds Keiko and Narada Michael Walden paying tribute to Keiko’s all-time favorite musician - Sting. The joy they have creating this song is evident as they both pay homage to the iconic rocker with “Stingo,” a nickname Narada coined for his close friend.

In April 2013, Keiko Matsui had the distinction of participating in the second International Jazz Day celebrated around the globe and held in Istanbul. She performed at the star studded event that included luminaries Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter Hugh Masakela, George Duke and countless others. Keiko who performed with RubĂ©n Blades states, “It was special for me and wonderful to be with so many musicians I respect. The day was dedicated to world peace and it was great that the event united us all beyond our culture and differences.”

The devastating effects of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and Tsunami left close to 30,000 innocent victims dead or missing. Lives were changed forever not only in Japan but the world. Keiko who was in Japan at the time of the earthquake states, “I felt like my life was going to end that day. In the Northern part everything was shaking. Luckily my family was fine but I had family in Sendai who were unreachable for ten days.” She goes on to explain that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster went on to cause further destruction but that progress is slowly occurring.

“There is still lots of recovery needed and so much loss. It has really made a big impact on all of us. Living with less light in these times has reminded us how to live and how much energy it takes to live. I have been dedicating all of my shows to this and making sure to share our story. I am so grateful for all the prayers, emails and support that people have shown me.”

Keiko Matsui made her US recording debut in 1987 with the recording A Drop of WaterUnder Northern Lights followed in 1989 and her subsequent albums of note include No Borders (1990), Night Waltz (1991), Cherry Blossom (1992), Doll (1994), Sapphire (1995) and Dream Walk (1996), which remained on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 15 months and further cemented her reputation  as a force to reckon with. In 1997, she launched a tour dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer, and released a four-song CD entitled A Gift of Hope that benefitted the Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization. Her music was prominently featured in Say It, Fight It, Cure It, a Lifetime special profiling several courageous women battling breast cancer. “My fans come from all backgrounds and I have been approached by various foundations to join in their efforts. When I hear of a cause that resonates with me that I can dedicate my music to then I am always willing. It is my way to show gratitude and give back,” states Keiko Matsui.

In 1999, the pianist performed at "A Golden Moment," a skating concert featuring Olympic figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Katarina Witt, which benefitted the Susan G. Komen Foundation. 1998 saw the release of her album Full Moon And The Shrine, which was accompanied by the acclaimed PBS-TV special Keiko Matsui: Light Above The Trees. In 2000, the special earned Keiko a National Smooth Jazz Award for “Best Long-Form Video Achievement” and she was honored with an award for “Best Female Artist.” She claimed the award again in 2001. In 2002, she released the poignant recording The Ring, which was meant to communicate a message of peace, compassion, and humanity to listeners around the world.

Keiko Matsui’s CD Deep Blue (2001) topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts for three consecutive weeks. Keiko is the first Japanese artist to achieve this honor.  In 2003 she enjoyed success with her recording The Piano, which featured reinventions of some of her most loved original works. In 2004 the title track of Keiko’s Wildflower was used to support the United Nations World Food Programme’s efforts in Africa. "I decided I wanted to support the WFP after learning about the tremendous problems in Africa and how humanitarian assistance can change people’s lives for the better," shares the activist."  Keiko has also collaborated with A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches) in numerous charity concerts. In addition proceeds from her 2001 mini-CD, A Gift of Life, went to The National Donor Program and Marrow Foundation in support of A3M. In December 2009, the highly sought-after pianist was asked to put together a Christmas show at the Blue Note club in Tokyo, which was a major success and in November 2010 she made her highly anticipated debut at the Blue Note in NY, which was sold out. In 2011 Keiko recorded with fellow pianist Bob James on a four hand piano project called Altair & VegaKeiko’s depth as a composer has also allowed her to contribute music to soundtracks in Japan, the U.S. and Russia. She also released her critically heralded Top 5 Billboard Recording The Road… which featured Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona and saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Jackiem Joyner among others.

“I always want to dedicate my music to world peace and to use my music to give back to the planet,” declares Keiko Matsui. With the release of Soul Quest, her mission is complete and the results promise to be long lasting.

Keiko Matsui
Tour Dates
Aug 04 
 Trenton, MI @ Jazz on the River
Aug 17 – Livermore, CA @ Bankhead Theater
Aug 19 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
Aug 20 – San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 21 – Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 22 – Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 23 – Petaluma, CA @ Mystic Theatre
Aug 24 – Las Vegas, NV @ Santa Fe Station
Aug 29 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Aug 30 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Aug 31 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Sep 01 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Sep 22-29 – Italy*Greece*Sicily (Dave Koz & Friends At Sea)
Oct 11 – Newport Beach, CA @ Hyatt Newport Beach
Oct 13 – Temecula, CA @ Thorton Winery
Oct 18 – Rehoboth Beach, DE @ Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest
Oct 19 – Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
Oct 20 – Austin, TX @ One World Theatre
Oct 21 – The Woodlands, TX @ Dosey Doe
Nov 29  Sarasota, FL @ Van Wezel Perf Arts Hall*
Nov 30  Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall*
Dec 02  Atlanta, GA @ Cobb Energy PAC*
Dec 03  Durham, NC @ The Carolina Theatre*
Dec 04  Newport News, VA @ Ferguson Ctr for the Arts*
Dec 05  Baltimore, MD @ Modell PAC (The Lyric)*
Dec 06  Cleveland, OH @ Palace Theatre*
Dec 07  Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre*
Dec 10  Van Wert, OH @ Niswonger Perf Arts Ctr*
Dec 11  N. Tonawanda, NY @ Rivera Theatre*
Dec 12  Kalamazoo, MI @ James W Miller Auditorium*
Dec 13 – Carmel, IN @ The Palladium*
Dec 14 – Rancho Mirage, CA @ Agua Caliente Casino Resort*
Dec 16 – Santa Barbara, CA @ The Granada Theatre*
Dec 17 – Santa Rosa, CA @ Wells Fargo Center*
Dec 19 – Mesa, AZ @ Ikeda Theater (Mesa Arts Center)*
Dec 20 – Cerritos, CA @ Cerritos Center for Perf Arts*
Dec 21 – Cerritos, CA @ Cerritos Center for Perf Arts*
Jan 12-19 – Caribbean (Smooth Jazz Cruise)

* Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour (Dave Koz, Keiko Matsui, Oleta Adams, Jonathan Butler)

Keiko Matsui
Soul Quest
1. Dream Seeker (ft. Chuck Loeb)
2. Black Lion
3. Top Secret (ft. Chuck Loeb)
4. A Night With Cha Cha (ft. Kirk Whalum)
5. Moving Mountain (ft. Narada Michael Walden)
6. Antarctica - A Call To Action (ft. Marcus Miller & Kirk Whalum)
7. Soul Quest
8. Proof (ft. Chuck Loeb)
9. Two Hearts (ft. Chuck Loeb)
10. Stingo (ft. Narada Michael Walden)

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway raises a significant sum to benefit The GRAMMY FOUNDATION® #jazz

 Mason & Hamlin grand piano the big ticket auction item that helped double last year’s donation to support music education programs in schools
Enthusiastic bidders and generous event sponsors packed the Lincoln Theater in Napa, Calif. on June 8th during Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway to raise an impressive $66,000.00 at a fundraising auction and wine reception to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation® more than doubling last year’s take. With over 3,000 jazz and wine enthusiasts gathered from across the nation for the 5-day festival, Brian Culbertson auctioned off the Mason & Hamlin 7-foot model BB grand piano that he used to record many of his chart-topping contemporary jazz albums, including “It’s On Tonight,” “Bringing Back The Funk,” “A Soulful Christmas,” and “XII.” The highly-esteemed piano that was also featured in a number of Culbertson’s videos was donated by festival sponsor Mason & Hamlin.
Tom Lagomarsino, Executive Vice President of Mason & Hamlin Piano and PianoDisc, was thrilled that one of their exclusive handmade pianos, which are still built in the United States, was the coveted centerpiece of the auction. “We are honored to partner with Brian (Culbertson) and the wine and jazz communities to sponsor this great fundraiser to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation. We all recognize the essential need for music education programs in schools as well as the value of preserving our cultural heritage in both music and art. Together, we can truly make a difference."
Mason & Hamlin pianos are acclaimed for their even touch, consistent action, and well-balanced tone, and are Culbertson’s exclusive piano choice. He describes them as having “the purest and richest tone on the market - period. To make great music, it always starts with an amazing instrument. That’s why I’m excited about exclusively playing Mason & Hamlin,” said Culbertson, the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway’s Founder and Artistic Director, a passionate music education advocate.
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The foundation works to bring national attention and support to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education. Kristen Madsen, The GRAMMY Foundation’s Senior Vice President, expressed her sincere appreciation for the tremendous support. “The value of this generous donation from Mason & Hamlin and Brian (Culbertson) can certainly be calculated in the number of grants to schools and students it will facilitate. But equally important is the vision it reflects of a promising future, where music takes a central position in the vibrancy of our communities. We are delighted to have such remarkable support."
The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway is a not-to-be-missed interactive lifestyle experience at which fans share their passion for wine and jazz with the star studded lineup of concert performers while dining, during wine receptions and tastings, autograph sessions, a golf tournament and at casual post-concert hangs. The third annual festival will be held June 11-15, 2014 and will again include an auction to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation. Additional information is available at
About Mason & Hamlin
Mason & Hamlin is one of America's oldest names in piano making and a pioneer in piano design and manufacturing technology. Mason & Hamlin builds its high-end, handmade pianos in its factory in Haverhill, Mass. and its line of vertical and grand pianos is sold in countries around the globe. See

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 22nd, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
2 - 3 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
3 - 2 - George Benson - "Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole" - (Concord)
4 - 7 - BWB - "Human Nature" - (Heads Up)
5 - 5 - Chieli Minucci & Special EFX - "Genesis" - (Shanachie)
6 - 4 - Brian Simpson - "Just What You Need" - (Shanachie)
7 - 8 - Keiko Matsui "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
8 - 6 - Euge Groove - "House Of Groove" - (Shanachie)
9 - 10 - Fourplay - "Espirit de Four" - (Heads Up)
10 - 14 - Maysa - "Blue Velvet Soul" - (Shanachie)
11 - 13 - Paul Brown - "The Funky Joint" - (Woodward Ave.)
12 - 17 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 11 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 19 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (
15 - 12 - Bob James & David Sanborn - "Quartet Humaine" - (OKeh)
16 - 16 - Bluey - "Leap Of Faith" - (Shanachie)
17 - 29 - Time Bowman - "Seaside Drive"-Single- (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 9 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
19 - 18 - Jeanette Harris - "Summer Rain" - (J&M Records)
20 - 15 - Eric Essix - "Evolution" - (Essential recordings)

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Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Hacienda" Releases 8/27/13 on Heads Up #jazz

August 27, 2013 release features Jimmy Haslip, Eric Marienthal, Jean-Luc Ponty, Larry Koonse, Paul Jackson, Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Lenny Castro, David Mann and more!

Keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber, heralded as “one of the founding fathers of fusion” (Keyboard), returns with his GRAMMY®-nominated power trio the Jeff Lorber Fusion, featuring bassist/co-producer Jimmy Haslip and saxophonist Eric Marienthal. Since the late 1970s, this contemporary jazz collective has blended elements of jazz, funk, rock, R&B and world music into a distinctive sound that has connected with audiences from a variety of continents, cultures and generations. In more recent years, the group’s studio efforts such as their 2010 release, Now Is the Time (2010) and Galaxy (2012), influenced by extensive touring throughout Europe and Asia, have been colored with vibrant shades of dance and house music.

These same colors are at the forefront of Hacienda, the new album from the Jeff Lorber Fusion scheduled for release August 27, 2013 on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group. Co-produced by Lorber and Haslip, Hacienda spotlights eleven tracks, including a brilliant take on the Frank Zappa composition “King Kong,” with Jean-Luc Ponty on violin. Other guests include Larry Koonse, Paul Jackson, Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Lenny Castro, David Mann, and more.

The album title – the Spanish word for house – is partly inspired by the club in Manchester, England, with the same name that fostered an exciting dance music scene that eventually came to be known as house music. Lorber, who explored the style earlier in his career, revisits it in various places on Hacienda.

“Eric and Jimmy and I had done a lot of touring in 2011 and 2012,” says Lorber. “By the time we were back in the States in the fall of 2012, and we realized that Vinnie Colaiuta was available, the whole thing came together very spontaneously. Hacienda takes what we started on some of our previous records and puts it into a tighter focus. It also reflects the excitement of doing a lot of touring and discovering what really worked – funky rhythms, unusual chord changes – for international audiences that really understood where we were coming from.”

The offbeat and funky are immediately evident in “Corinaldo,” the complex opening track that consists of multiple sections. “It’s not simple at all,” says Lorber. “It’s unusual, and it goes to some unlikely places – which is what helps the track maintain a level of excitement. Eric, who is known primarily as an alto sax player, takes a tenor solo on that song that is just incredible.”

“Solar Wind” features an L.A.-based guitarist named Larry Koonse, who “kind of takes it outside a little bit, but in a way that the average listener can still enjoy,” says Lorber. Koonse reappears several tracks later in the midtempo “Playa Del Falco,” a melodic ballad in 6/8 which Haslip describes as “very modal, very polyrhythmic, with a little bit of a Latin vibe.”

Lorber and company’s intriguing rendition of Frank Zappa’s “King Kong” – featuring Jean-Luc Ponty and Ed Mann on marimba – is the only cover on the record. “It’s a song I’ve always loved,” says Lorber. “What you hear on the record is actually just a really quick arrangement that I put together, but a lot of stuff happened spontaneously in the studio that became part of the arrangement. It was almost an accident, but it came out great, and it became one of my favorite songs on the record when Jean-Luc Ponty, who also used to work with Frank Zappa, and Ed Mann, who was a member of the Mothers of Invention, both agreed to play on it.”

Unlike the uptempo tracks at the front end of the album, “The Steppe” settles into a quieter groove that focuses more on melody than intensity, with the help of a fine sax solo from Marienthal that rounds out the track. “That was Eric’s first take,” says Lorber. “He’s the kind of guy who likes to play things over and over again until they’re perfect, but I told him, ‘Man, that first take, that was it. Don’t waste your time playing any more solos.’ He insisted on recording it several more times, but eventually we went back to the first take.”

The swing-flavored “Raptor” was one of the first tunes that Lorber played for Haslip and Marienthal when the idea for the album was just beginning to take shape. “It was just a loose jam at the time,” says Haslip, “but I thought, ‘Wow, what a cool tune.’ I knew it was an indication of what was to come, because I could see that Jeff was on a roll. He was inspired, and I could see that he was writing a lot of material.”

The set closes with “Dragonfly,” a track written by Haslip that features guest drummer Dave Weckl. “We knew we wanted to do something kind of special with this track, so we got Dave,” says Lorber. “He played an incredible drum part on that song. Also, Dave Mann, who does a lot of the horn parts and horn arranging for this record, stepped up on this track and delivered a really interesting bass clarinet solo.”

In the end, Hacienda is the culmination of several years’ worth of exploration in the studio along with several thousand miles worth of self discovery in live performances around the globe. At the end of that journey, Jeff Lorber Fusion is exactly where it should be – in the house, and deep in the groove.

“Hacienda is a bit more focused than some of our previous projects,” says Lorber. “The writing is more original, the playing is better, the overall vibe is more exciting. And we had a blast bringing it all together. In the end, that’s what it’s all about. If you want people to enjoy the music, you have to put the good vibes in when you make it so people can get the good vibes out when they hear it.”

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jeff Golub - "Train Keeps A Rolling" - Release on Entertainment One Music August 13th - #jazz

“Train Keeps A Rolling” for spirited guitarist
Jeff Golub teams with jazz-rock keyboard icon Brian Auger for his first new album since losing his sight
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It’s been a helluva two years since guitarist Jeff Golub released his last album, “Three Kings,” which paid tribute to blues legends B.B., Freddie & Albert King. As the record was released, the optic nerves in Golub’s eyes inexplicably collapsed leaving him blind. Adjusting to his new life meant adopting Luke, a guide dog. While attempting to catch a New York City subway last September, Golub fell onto the tracks as a train rapidly approached. He was clipped and dragged by the train as Luke and bystanders frantically attempted to help. Miraculously Golub escaped the harrowing and what could have been a fatal ordeal with only minor scrapes and bruises. Undaunted and as boisterous as ever, Golub stands defiantly, toting his guitar with Luke perched at his feet, at the crossroads of train tracks on the cover of his aptly titled new album, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” which will be released August 13th by Entertainment One Music.
Golub’s 12th solo album had to be something special and have a lot of soul. At the suggestion of his manager, Bud Harner, he teamed with British keyboard great Brian Auger for a rollicking 11-song collection of soul, jazz, blues and rock combining Golub’s raw bluesy guitar licks with Auger’s hallmark Hammond B-3 organ. Golub produced the set with Harner, a Grammy-nominated producer who shared production duties with Golub on the guitarist’s five most recent records. Anchoring the grooves were steady-as-a-rock drummer Steve Ferrone, who was an original member of the acclaimed jazz-rock ensemble Brian Auger & The Oblivion Express, and bassist Derek Frank, who also had a history playing with Auger. Augmenting the tracks were percussionist Luis Conte and a lively horn section comprised of Mindi Abair (alto sax), Nick Lane (trombone), Dave Woodford (baritone sax, flute) and Steve Madaio (trumpet). Making guest appearances on the vocal selections were Christopher Cross, Ambrosia’s David Pack and Alex Ligertwood, who was also an original member of The Oblivion Express.   
“When I was about 15 years-old, I picked up a copy of ‘Closer To It’ by Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and it changed my life. That is why I was looking forward to doing this record. It was the first time I heard rock musicians playing jazz and it was the first time I knew you didn't have to be a jazz musician to play jazz,” explained Golub. “The vibe of the new record is soul-jazz. It has a lot of Latin grooves - a lot of grooves period. My last couple of records have been blues records, especially the last record was straight ahead blues, but now I’m kind of going back to what I did before that with soul-jazz. No matter what I do is blues-oriented guitar, but the record itself is music that is more jazz oriented.”
The material they elected to record consists of a couple classic cuts Auger recorded with The Oblivion Express (“Happiness Is Just Around The Bend” and “Whenever You’re Ready”), a new Auger tune penned specifically for the Golub project (“Shepherds Bush Market”) and a previous unreleased Auger composition (“Isola Natale”), a pair of new songs co-written by Golub (the title track and “J&B”) and a fistful of fun covers, including Lalo Schifrin’s frisky “The Cat,” Willie Dixon’s “I Love The Life I Live,” Paul Carrack’s “How Long” spotlighting Cross, The Police’s spacy reggae dusted “Walking On The Moon” with vocals by Pack, and Curtis Mayfield’s gritty street life anthem “Pusherman,” which is the first radio single from “Train Keeps A Rolling.”
Harner said, “The whole thing with the Hammond B-3 and the guitar and the Fender Rhodes, it’s got a retro kind of funky groove type vibe. Jeff (Golub) is one of the best blues guitar players out there so this definitely has a bluesy edge to it, but it’s got more of a funky groove than the standard blues approach.”
A Copley, Ohio native who has called New York City home ever since he launched his career in the early 1980s, Golub began as an in-demand sideman who enjoyed long stints touring and recording with Billy Squier and Rod Stewart as well as Tina Turner, Peter Wolf, John Waite, Vanessa Williams, Gato Barbieri and Bill Evans. He released his debut album as a band leader in 1988 and went on to record an impressive string of chart-topping albums and radio hits with Avenue Blue and as a solo artist that made Golub a radio staple, perennial fan favorite and consistently strong concert draw in the contemporary jazz stratosphere. Additional information and a list of tour dates that Golub will play with Auger in support of “Train Keeps A Rolling” are available at
Golub’s “Train Keeps A Rolling” album contains the following songs:
“The Cat”
“Isola Natale”
“Train Keeps A Rolling”
“I Love The Life I Live”
“How Long”
“Happiness Is Just Around The Bend”
“Shepherds Bush Market”
“Whenever You’re Ready”
“Walking On The Moon”

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Earl Klugh - "Handpicked" - July 30th Release On Heads Up International #jazz

“A class act since emerging as a class-A guitarist almost 40 years ago, Klugh never fails to amaze. Along with his own work, Klugh has played with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Jimmy Buffett, Chick Corea and others. Safe to say, an evening experiencing Klugh in concert is one that will remain in the ol’ memory vault for months and even years to come.”
“Earl Klugh has been tough to categorize throughout his four decade career. Neither pop nor jazz, he is best described simply as a supreme guitarist who has moved from genre to genre, always bringing a sense of melody and accessibility to anything he’s touched. And on his 31st album, he brings those same sensibilities, not breaking new ground but continuing to mine somewhat familiar territory in his unique, understated fashion. HandPicked is clearly a labor of love for the nearly 60-year old - with each song bearing special meaning to him - and on it he provides long time fans with a comfortable, melodic collection, smartly selected and beautifully performed. Recommended.”
“A musical autobiography of emotional depth and artistic maturity...this is arguably the finest Earl Klugh release to date. Never one to rest on his laurels and easily sidestepping the musical complacency that has tripped up similar artists, HandPicked should easily make most ‘Best Of...’ lists for 2013.”

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 15th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
2 - 3 - George Benson - "Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole" - (Concord)
3 - 2 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
4 - 4 - Brian Simpson - "Just What You Need" - (Shanachie)
5 - 6 - Chieli Minucci & Special EFX - "Genesis" - (Shanachie)
6 - 7 - Euge Groove - "House Of Groove" - (Shanachie)
7 - 5 - BWB - "Human Nature" - (Heads Up)
8 - 11 - Keiko Matsui "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
9 - 10 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
10 - 9 - Fourplay - "Espirit de Four" - (Heads Up)
11 - 12 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
12 - 8 - Bob James & David Sanborn - "Quartet Humaine" - (OKeh)
13 - 22 - Paul Brown - "The Funky Joint" - (Woodward Ave.)
14 - 20 - Maysa - "Blue Velvet Soul" - (Shanachie)
15 - 17 - Eric Essix - "Evolution" - (Essential recordings)
16 - 13 - Bluey - "Leap Of Faith" - (Shanachie)
17 - 18 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 15 - Jeanette Harris - "Summer Rain" - (J&M Records)
19 - 23 - Vincent Ingala - "Can't Stop Now" - (
20 - 16 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)

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Steve Cole "Pulse" Release September 17th, by Artistry Music #jazz

Big hooks and big horns power saxman’s soulful “Pulse”
Steve Cole’s 7th album due September 17th preceded by “With You All The Way”

Rather apropos that saxophonist Steve Cole covered the soul classic “Going In Circles” on his forthcoming “Pulse” album, his 7th solo disc, which he produced and wrote with fellow sax player David Mann. Honest and organic are vital qualities to Cole, whose creative muse has gone full-circle in the 15 years since he burst onto the contemporary jazz scene with an award-winning debut disc that spawned a pair of #1 singles. The tenor saxman “returns to the basics” on the new 10-song set that will be released September 17th by Artistry Music.

“Pulse” comes out swinging with knockout punch hooks, a muscular horn section and soul-powered grooves. In contrast to his divergent 2011 album, “Moonlight,” that placed the classically-trained Cole in a lavish orchestral setting, the new record is a bounty of R&B, soul, funk, blues, gospel and hip hop jams. Cole makes concise statements constructed of big buoyant melodies and taut rhythms. No notes are wasted as the impassioned artist rides grooves tailor-fit by Mann (section saxes, flute, keyboards, synth bass, programming), noted keyboard veteran Ricky Peterson (Hammond B3), wunderkind Nicholas Cole (keyboardist, synth bass, programming), Khari Parker (drums), Paul Peterson (electric bass), Rico McFarland (guitar, lead & background vocals), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar) and Nicki Richards (background vocals). Trevor Neumann (trumpet) and Dan Levine (trombone) cement the wall of horns anchored by Steve Cole and Mann.
“’Pulse’ is about finding an audience and really honoring them. I have a voice and an instrument, but my job is to entertain. It's simple in a way: if you focus on those people right in front of you and what excites them, you win every time. My work is about moving people. If you can figure out how to do that, the rest falls into place,” said Cole about the album that is chock-a-block full of crowd pleasers and potential radio favorites.
Radio listeners will get a feel of “Pulse” when the single “With You All The Way” is serviced to programmers next month. Cole describes the tune’s warm and empowering hook as a stylistic snapshot of his hallmark sound.
The Chicago, Illinois native emerged in 1998 with the Brian Culbertson-produced “Stay Awhile,” which heralded the arrival of a hitmaker. On subsequent albums, Cole continued to crank out chart-topping singles with the reliability of a slugger. Live performances as a solo artist and high-profile sideman appearances with Culbertson, Boz Scaggs, Peter White, Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun and Larry Carlton helped make him a magnetic concert draw. Today, Cole tours as a headliner and for the past 10 years as a member of Sax Pack, a stellar sax trio completed by Marcus Anderson and Jeff Kashiwa. To support “Pulse,” he will lead his band out on the road for shows in the U.S. and abroad with dates booked into November. For more information, please visit
The songs contained on Cole’s “Pulse” album are:
“Do Your Thing”
“With You All The Way”
“Going In Circles”
“Looking Up”
“Maximum Cool”
“Minty Fresh”
“Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”
Catch Cole in concert on the following dates:
August 1                              San Francisco, Calif.                         Yoshi’s
August 7                              Annapolis, Maryland                      Rams Head On Stage
August 8                              Boston, Mass.                                   Sculler’s
August 10                            Chicago, Illinois                                 Montrose Room – IC Hotel O’Hare
August 11                            Bethesda, Maryland                       Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club
August 18                            Peconic, New York                          Jazz in the Vineyards Concert Series
September 13                   Augsburg, Germany                       Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg
September 28                   Denver, Colorado                            Soiled Dove Underground
September 29                   Las Vegas, Nevada                          Las Vegas Jazz Festival
October 6                            Avalon, Calif.                                      Catalina JazzTrax Festival
October 19 & 20                Rehoboth Beach, Delaware         Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival
November 8                       Seal Beach, Calif.                              Spaghettini
November 9                       Rancho Mirage, Calif.                     Rancho Mirage Art Affaire          

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Lawson Rollins - "Full Circle" - Release on Infinita Records, July 16th #jazz

Rollins has enthralled YouTube viewers with his jaw-dropping classical guitar prowess that has generated over 7.5 million views, which is massive for an instrumental artist. Those views were registered for his three clips and video attempts by ambitious guitarists trying to emulate his astonishing technique.
“Full Circle,” Rollins’ fourth album, reflects his artistic journey. On earlier releases, he traversed the world on a quest to amass interesting styles to incorporate into his sonic collages that mine world music, jazz, rock, classical, folk and reggae. Along the way, he unearthed a fondness for Latin, Middle Eastern, African and Japanese sounds and instrumentation. He recorded with the finest native musicians to maintain authenticity. On “Full Circle,” Rollins decided to travel with a smaller suitcase thus pack less layers into the still lush tracks, which places the focus on his ensnaring melodies and body moving grooves. Rollins was accompanied by the same core ensemble that played on his three previous releases: Camardella (keyboards, piano), Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, bassist Randy Tico, percussionist Dave Bryant and saxophonist/flutist Richard Hardy. The more direct path led Rollins back home creatively to his recordings from over a decade ago when he was a member of the hybrid world music duo Young & Rollins that favored flamenco, samba and rumba rhythms.          
It’s a forward motion march into the melody and a driving groove on “Momentum,” the album opener and first radio single highlighted with hints of Japanese folk music that has consistently been one of the most added tracks on the Billboard BDS and charts over the past month. A sultry tango setting makes “Point of Attraction” a sensual guitar, piano and string section tryst. Thumping bass and a pulsating drum beat propel the frenetic “Pursuit” into a runaway rumba that surprises with an Appalachian fiddle and an exotic sax and accordion interlude. In order to get the pure and powerful guitar tone heard on the soaring bossa nova “Flight,” Rollins utilized a new custom Lester Devoe guitar along with sophisticated vintage microphones and pre-amps combined with cutting edge technology. “Horizon” floats alluring world jazz hues over samba rhythms. Rollins’ guitar is vividly fragrant on “Bloom,” another bossa nova/samba blossom.

The title track is a reflective salsa number. Middle Eastern nuances cast a mystical spell on “Serpent’s Tale,” which shuffles along a potent reggae beat. “The Offering” is a beguiling beauty – delicate, vulnerable and emotional. The sprawling “Gone From Here” clocks in at close to 9 minutes. On the majestic passage that swirls rock and rumba, behold the unusual sound of Rollins on electric guitar (he doesn’t own one so he borrowed it from Camardella). Another piece that Rollins also describes as a “journey piece” that incorporates 4 songs into one ambitious composition, “Shifting Seasons” is one of the most diverse cuts on the record. It seamlessly stitches folk motifs, Asian elements, and rumba and bolero rhythms. The tender “Promise” is an elegant dialogue between Rollins’ nimble six-string and lyrical string section swatches from Bisharat’s graceful violin and Cameron Stone’s yearning cello.

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Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 8th, 2013 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns" - (Concord/CMG)
2 - 2 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
3 - 6 - George Benson - "Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole" - (Concord)
4 - 3 - Brian Simpson - "Just What You Need" - (Shanachie)
5 - 9 - BWB - "Human Nature" - (Heads Up)
6 - 4 - Chieli Minucci & Special EFX - "Genesis" - (Shanachie)
7 - 5 - Euge Groove - "House Of Groove" - (Shanachie)
8 - 7 - Bob James & David Sanborn - "Quartet Humaine" - (OKeh)
9 - 8 - Fourplay - "Espirit de Four" - (Heads Up)
10 - 10 - Marion Meadows - "Whisper" - (Shanachie)
11 - 16 - Keiko Matsui "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
12 - 11 - Paul Hardcastle - "Hardcastle VII" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 13 - Bluey - "Leap Of Faith" - (Shanachie)
14 - 19 - Darren Rahn - "Speechless" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 17 - Jeanette Harris - "Summer Rain" - (J&M Records)
16 - 18 - Nils - "City Groove" - (Baja/TSR)
17 - 14 - Eric Essix - "Evolution" - (Essential recordings)
18 - 12 - Althea Rene - "In The Flow" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
19 - 30 - Drew Davidsen - "True Drew" - (Oznot)
20 - 28 - Maysa - "Blue Velvet Soul" - (Shanachie)

Our thanks to smoothjazz.comVisit to view the latest complete top 50 chart. Visit to view the latest weekly chart recap.
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