Friday, July 31, 2015

Concord Music To Reissue Bill Evans Collection: The Complete Fantasy Recordings - #jazz

9-CD BOX SET IN STORES IN NEW, SLEEK PACKAGING 
FEATURES EVANS’ STUDIO AND LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM 1973-1979

Concord Music Group is pleased to announce the reissue of The Complete Fantasy Recordings of Bill Evans. Released July 17th, the nine-CD box set celebrates one of the most influential jazz pianists in history with 98 studio and live performances: Evans’ complete body of work for the Fantasy label during the seven-year period closely preceding his untimely death in 1980. As a special bonus, a fascinating 1978 interview with Evans at the piano is included, conducted by Marian McPartland for her National Public Radio show. Completing the box is a 62-page illustrated booklet with an essay by music critic and biographer Gene Lees and detailed notes on each of the 11 sessions by longtime Evans manager and producer Helen Keane.  Previously out of print, the box set will return to store shelves in new, sleek and compact 5” x 5” packaging.

In these solo, duo, trio and quintet performances with the likes of Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Gomez, Philly Joe Jones, Lee Konitz and Marty Morell, Bill Evans is revealed as a commanding artist at the peak of his powers. The Complete Fantasy Recordings includes such albums as Evans’ GRAMMY®-nominated label debut, The Tokyo Concert, his celebrated first duet album with Tony Bennett, The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album and Evans’ only solo recording for Fantasy, the GRAMMY®-nominated Alone (Again).

In his liner notes, Gene Lees writes of Evans, “I remember my amazement not so much at the brilliance of the playing—itself cause enough for wonder—as at the emotional content of the music…His playing spoke to me in an intensely personal way. And as the years have gone by, I have discovered that he had the same effect on many people.” Indeed, in the 35 years since his passing, Bill Evans’ legacy and influence continues to grow.

The Complete Fantasy Recordings joins several recent and forthcoming releases celebrating the career of Bill Evans. Aside from a handful of reissued albums on vinyl, fans can also look forward to CD box set reissue The Complete Riverside Recordings this fall, while highly acclaimed deluxe LP box sets The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 and The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings hit store shelves this past winter and spring, respectively.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Carol Duboc - "Colored Glasses" - CD Releases on September 18th - #jazz

 Groove therapy: contemporary jazz singer Carol Duboc keeps her diary open on “Colored Glasses”
Her seventh album, due September 18, is bolstered by collaborator Jeff Lorber’s R&B rhythms.

On Carol Duboc’s deeply personal 2013 release, “Smile,” the contemporary jazz singer-songwriter opened up in a way that she had never done so before, revealing the pain and heartache involved with dissolving her marriage while being the mother of a young daughter. She described writing the album with producer and jazz keyboards legend Jeff Lorber as therapeutic. Her therapy continues on “Colored Glasses,” a Gold Note Music ten-track disc written and produced by Duboc and Lorber set for release on September 18 and launched that evening with a Hollywood concert date that will be streamed online.
Two years on, Duboc’s new material details her struggles with cutting the ties of the relationship, one tinged by her partner’s delusional view of the world. Writing lyrics and melodies to rhythm tracks sent to her by Lorber, Duboc addresses the realities and realizations of moving forward with honesty and candor, even if she felt her ex was hiding the truth behind “colored glasses,” thus spawning the album’s title. But she acknowledges her own role as well.
“Some people refuse to see the world as it really is or life as it is, and to be honest, I was so caught up in the hypnotic love that I didn’t see things as they really are either,” admitted Duboc, who titled the first single “Hypnotic.” “I think this album is going to surprise people. It’s about letting go completely and moving on emotionally. And it may be the funkiest solo record I’ve ever made.”
Lorber’s R&B rhythms are lively throughout the soulful, sophisticated session of jazzy adult pop tunes. A marquee supporting cast brings high-caliber musicianship to the taut grooves with stellar performances by Jimmy Haslip (electric bass), Brian Bromberg (acoustic bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr. and Michael Thompson, Hubert Laws (flute), Eric Marienthal (sax), Lenny Castro (percussion) and multi-instrumentalist Lorber on keyboards, piano, bass and guitar. Dave Mann punches up several cuts with crisp horns and vivid horn arrangements that add vibrancy, lushness and depth.
“Hypnotic” will be serviced to radio next month coinciding with the release of a video lensed on Venice Beach for the album’s “Wavelength,” a danceable guitar and horn-driven song about intuitive communication between partners. To mark the album’s release and celebrate coming through the other side of the relationship, Duboc will perform at the famed jazz joint the Baked Potato on the release date (Sept. 18), which will be streamed live on her website (www.CarolDuboc.com). Lorber, Haslip and Thompson are among the musicians from the album’s lineup already confirmed to be backing the singer that night.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Duboc has been living in Los Angeles ever since she attended USC Thornton’s School of Music. Prior to launching her solo recording career in 2001with the critically-acclaimed “With All That I Am,” Duboc wrote hits on gold and platinum-selling albums, including records by Patti LaBelle, Chante Moore, Tom Jones, Stephanie Mills, Jade, Fine Yong Cannibals, Maurice White and the late George Duke. Possessing multimedia appeal, the photogenic blond had a supporting role on the silver screen in “Be Cool” alongside John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Danny DeVito.                  
The songs on “Colored Glasses” are:
“Hypnotic”
“Every Shade of Blue”
“Celestial Skies”
“Wavelength”
“Breathing”
“Trajectory”
“Spinning”
“Colored Glasses”
“Walking in My Sleep”
“Code Red”

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dave Koz - "Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection" - Release on Concord, July 31st #jazz

 SAXOPHONIST DAVE KOZ CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF RECORDING WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS
Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection includes 15 tracks showcasing Koz’s work with numerous high-profile creative partners

Over the span of nearly 20 albums and an ambitious international touring schedule, Dave Koz has forged a distinctive sound that merges the best elements of jazz, pop R&B, soul and funk. In the 25 years since the release of his self-titled solo debut album, the acclaimed saxophonist has received nine GRAMMY® nominations, had seven albums top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Along the way, he’s established an impressive body of work and built a fan base that stretches around the globe. But Koz would be the first to tell you that he hasn’t done it all by himself.

“How did I get here? I can tell you it was not entirely my doing,” says Koz. “You’ve heard the phrase, ‘It takes a village.’ That’s really what my career has been about. It’s been about really talented people – fellow musicians, managers, agents, producers, engineers, radio people, retailers and others – who have supported me along the way. I’m so proud of that, and so blown away by it. In this milestone year, I want to say thank you to all of them for helping me along this road. And I especially want to thank the fans who’ve been with me since day one. Every single one has been a collaborator with me.”



Koz celebrates and gives thanks for those many creative partnerships with Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection, a set of 15 tracks that includes material from his own previous recordings as well as recordings from projects with other artists. The album also includes three new tracks that send a clear message that there’s still plenty in store in the next 25 years. Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection is scheduled for release on July 31, 2015 via Concord Records.

“Some my favorite moments in the last twenty-five years have been collaborations with people whom I just love and treasure, and from whom I’ve learned so much – mentors and friends and people whom I never would have expected to meet,” says Koz. “And that’s the power of music. It will come up against any wall that can divide people and bring it right down.”

That unifying power is in evidence in the very first notes of “Good Foot,” a brand new track featuring keyboardist Jeff Lorber. “If you took Jeff out of the story of my career, there would be no story,” says Koz. “He was the first person to say to me, ‘You need to be a recording artist.’ The initial demos I made with him got me signed to Capitol Records, so he changed my life. It was very important to me that he be a part of this record. This song is actually something we wrote together a long time ago. We dusted it off and heard it with fresh ears and turned it into something new for this project.”

Another new track – and the first single going to radio – is the rousing “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” featuring vocalist Kenny Lattimore and trumpeter Rick Braun. “‘Higher And Higher’ is a great vehicle for the three of us,” Koz says. “Amazing horn parts for Rick and I to play, and a very soulful melody and lyric that Kenny just crushes! The saxophone and trumpet together have been such an amazing sound on so many hit records over the past several decades – be they pop, R&B or jazz. But it only works when you have the right combination of people playing the sax and the trumpet. Rick and I have played on each other’s records, we’ve written songs together and we’ve toured together. We have a musical kinship that spans so many years.”

“When Will I Know for Sure,” a selection from Koz’s 2010 album, Hello Tomorrow, features saxophonist Boney James. “The song was never released as a single, and it never really got its due,” says Koz. “But there was something that happened between Boney’s tenor sax and my soprano sax. It was an alchemic thing. I thought this album could be another opportunity for this great tune to be heard.”
Vocalist Michael McDonald and the Summer Horns – saxophonists Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliott – appear on “So Very Hard to Go,” a rendition of a classic Tower of Power hit that originally appeared on Koz’s GRAMMY®-nominated 2013 release, Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns. “Michael has always had the passion for Tower of Power, like I do and like most horn players do,” says Koz. “He delivered such an amazing performance on this track and the horn section of Mindi, Gerald, Richard and me turned it into something with a great groove all the way around.”

The classic ballad “(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons” features rock and pop icon Rod Stewart on vocals, and originally appeared on Stewart’s Stardust: The Great American Songbook Vol. 3, released in 2004. “I always enjoyed the musical relationship Rod and I developed over the course of the four American Songbook recordings that I played on,” says Koz, “so I thought this track would be a fun one to include here.”

Stevie Nicks appears on “Let Me Count the Ways,” a track from Koz’s 1996 album, Off the Beaten Path. “Stevie’s been a friend for a long time,” says Koz, “but she’s also this superstar of rock and pop, and getting her to come in and sing on that album back in 1996 was a big coup. She came into the studio and recorded it on the night before my birthday, and she just slayed it. The memory of her bringing a cake into the studio on the night we recorded is part of why that song is so special for me.”
Trumpeter Herb Alpert lends a hand with “This Guy’s in Love with You,” the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song that Alpert himself had a hit with in 1968. The version on this collection is from Koz’s Hello Tomorrow. Koz recalls: “I sent Herb the track and I said ‘You need to tell me right now whether I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. Should I sing this song, or should I just play it instrumentally?’ Herb said, ‘Not only do I think you should sing it, but if you want, I’d love to play on it as well.’ It turned out to be this great memory – collaborating with the same guy who’d had such a big hit with the same song more than a generation earlier.”

The lively “Linus and Lucy,” featuring David Benoit, is a track from an anniversary compilation called 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas, released on Peak Records in 2005. The project featured renditions of Vince Guaraldi’s classic Peanuts Christmas music by numerous artists. Koz and Benoit teamed up to deliver a lively rendition of the signature Peanuts tune that has become an iconic holiday favorite. “That version of that song was only heard on that 2005 compilation,” says Koz, “so a lot of my fans never knew that I had done it. So I decided to put it on this collection because I’m so proud of the collaboration with David.”

“Can’t Let You Go (The Sha La Song),” from Koz’s 1999 album, The Dance, features the legendary vocals of Luther Vandross, whose performance here is as brilliant as it is minimalist. “Luther’s star has not waned a bit since his passing several years ago,” says Koz. “He’s still revered as one of the greatest vocalists of all time. He actually never sings any words in this song. He just sings sha-la’s in a bunch of different ways. That was the genius of Luther Vandross. He could take something as simple as sha-la and turn it into a vocal masterpiece.”

The stirring rendition of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love,” which originally appeared on Koz’s The 25th of December, features a crew of nine vocalists and musicians, including Johnny Mathis and Stevie Wonder. “This track was like a Christmas version of ‘We Are the World,’” says Koz. “It all leads to the payoff when Stevie Wonder’s voice comes in, and we do a harmonica/saxophone trade at the end. To me, if you can say on an album called Collaborations that you had the honor of making music with Stevie Wonder, how much better does it get?”

Koz originally recorded the jazz waltz version of “Game of Thrones Theme (The Smooth Version)” for a YouTube video with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. “At millions of hits, this song brought jazz to a whole new audience of younger people who may not have been exposed to it otherwise,” says Koz. I was so proud of it, but if you weren’t already a Postmodern Jukebox fan, you may never have heard of it.”

The poignant “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)” features country artist Toby Keith. Originally released on Keith’s 2009 album, American Ride, the song was written and recorded in tribute to athlete and musician Wayman Tisdale, who died earlier that year. “Toby invited Marcus Miller and me to play on the tribute to Wayman, who was a dear friend. It’s a beautiful song, and it was a huge country hit for Toby. After the album came out, I went on the Country Music Awards and played it with him. We got to be friends in the process, and I really love the song.”

The rollicking “Think Big,” another selection from Koz’s Hello Tomorrow, features trombonist Brian Culbertson and slide guitarist Keb’ Mo’. “Both of those guys are amazing instrumentalists, each with their own unique voice,” says Koz. “This is a song that Brian and I wrote. It’s a New Orleans-style, fun-loving romp. It’s a kitchen-sink kind of song, and everybody just had a lot of fun with it.”
“Apartment 2G: I Hear Her Playing Music” is a track from Barry Manilow’s 2001 concept album, Here at the Mayflower. “He wrote this song about a woman in an apartment who would listen to my music late at night,” says Koz. “I went into the studio to play on the track and listened to the song, and towards the end I hear this line that goes: ‘I hear her playing Dave Koz in the middle of the night.’ I just said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And Barry said, ‘Yeah, that’s you.’ Barry’s an amazing musician. He’s at the top of his game at 72, and he’s filling arenas. I just have so much admiration and respect for him. I knew I wanted to have a song with him on this collection. This was the first thing we worked on together, so it always holds a special place in my heart.”

The set closes with a soaring rendition of “Let It Go,” the hugely popular anthem from the 2013 Disney film, Frozen. This last track, co-produced by Carl Sturken (who also plays keyboards and guitar) and Evan Rogers – both of whom produced tracks on Koz’s very first album in 1990 and several since – puts Koz in the launch position for the next chapter in an already highly successful and multi-faceted career.

“So many people have recorded this song, but to my knowledge, no one has ever done an instrumental version of it,” he says. “It’s not a sung version, but hopefully you can feel what the song is about by the way it comes across on the saxophone. And what a great message, whether it’s for kids or people my age or senior citizens. It’s about truly letting yourself be who you are. That’s why the song has a lot of resonance for me personally. Getting to the point where I can be comfortable and confident in my own shoes has been a long journey. It’s a message that, no matter how old we get, we can always use some reinforcement.”

“And the moment when you reach that point is the moment when you are most open to engaging with others and creating something entirely new,” says Koz. “There’s a message in this album about opening your heart, opening your mind, opening your arms to the idea of working with others,” he says. “The art of collaboration has been a theme that has run through my entire career and my entire life. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over again about how important it is to keep yourself open so you can truly understand other people, walk in their shoes for a minute and become a better citizen of the world in the process. It’s a message that I think is a bit lost in the noise right now. This record is my way of inviting people to open up a little and become better human beings.”


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 27, 2015 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 2 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
2 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
3 - 4 - Najee - "You, Me and Forever" - (Shanachie)
4 - 5 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
5 - 3 - Maysa - "Back 2 Love" - (Shanachie)
6 - 6 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
7 - 10 - Jessy J - "My One And Only One - (Shanachie)
8 - 7 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
9 - 9 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
10 - 8 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
11 - 17 - Nick Collionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
12 - 18 - David Benoit - "2 In Love" - (Concord)
13 - 12 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
14 - 13 - Jesse Cook - "One World" - (Entertainment One Music)
15 - 16 - Bluey - "Life Between The Notes" - (Shanachie)
16 - 24 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets"- (Nightowl)
17 - 31 - Ben Tankard - "Full Tank 2.0" - (ben-jammin')
18 - 14 - Peet Project - "Love" - (Beagle Beat Records"
19 - 19 - Jazmin Ghent - "Boss" - (Independent)
20 - 30 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)

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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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Buddy Guy - "Born To Play Guitar" - Sony release on July 31st - #jazz

New Studio Album, Guest Appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, & More. 
Plus Songs Dedicated To B.B. King and Muddy Waters. 
Album Set For Release Friday July 31st and Available For Pre-Order Now!


Sony Music Entertainment Australia is proud to announce Buddy Guy, the legendary award winning blues icon, is set to release his brand new studio album BORN TO PLAY GUITAR on Friday July 31st 2015. The follow-up to his 2013 double disc release, RHYTHM & BLUES, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart, BORN TO PLAY GUITAR is produced by Grammy Award winning producer/songwriter and Buddy’s long-time collaborator Tom Hambridge.

Buddy has today revealed the album cover and track listing for BORN TO PLAY GUITAR and the album features guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons. Morrison joins Buddy on the heartfelt ‘Flesh & Bone’, a song dedicated to the late great B.B. King. On ‘Come Back Muddy’ Guy reminisces about the good ole days with his friend Muddy Waters.
BORN TO PLAY GUITAR is released Friday July 31st and is available for pre-order now

BORN TO PLAY GUITAR Track listing:
1. Born To Play Guitar
2. Wear You Out feat. Billy Gibbons
3. Back Up Mama
4. Too Late feat. Kim Wilson
5. Whiskey, Beer & Wine
6. Kiss Me Quick feat. Kim Wilson
7. Crying Out Of One Eye
8. (Baby) You Got What It Takes feat. Joss Stone
9. Turn Me Wild
10. Crazy World
11. Smarter Than I Was
12. Thick Like Mississippi Mud
13. Flesh & Bone with Van Morrison (Dedicated to B.B. King)
14. Come Back Muddy (Dedicated to Muddy Waters)

About Buddy Guy:
The recent recipient of the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Buddy Guy’s incredible career spans over 50 years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include 7 Grammy Awards, 28 Blues Music Awards, Kennedy Centre Honours, NARM Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement, Billboard Music Awards' Century Award for distinguished artistic development, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to name a few.

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Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 20, 2015 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
3 - 3 - Maysa - "Back 2 Love" - (Shanachie)
4 - 6 - Najee - "You, Me and Forever" - (Shanachie)
5 - 4 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
6 - 5 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
7 - 8 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
8 - 9 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
9 - 13 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
10 - 12 - Jessy J - "My One And Only One - (Shanachie)
11 - 10 - James Lloyd - "Here We Go" - (Shanachie)
12 - 16 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
13 - 15 - Jesse Cook - "One World" - (Entertainment One Music)
14 - 17 - Peet Project - "Love" - (Beagle Beat Records"
15 - 11 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (JulianVaughn.com)
16 - 7 - Bluey - "Life Between The Notes" - (Shanachie)
17 - 14 - Nick Collionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 21 - David Benoit - "2 In Love" - (Concord)
19 - 22 - Jazmin Ghent - "Boss" - (Independent)
20 - 26 - U-Nam - "C'est Le Funk" - (Skytown)

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, July 13, 2015

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 13, 2015 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
3 - 5 - Maysa - "Back 2 Love" - (Shanachie)
4 - 3 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
5 - 4 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
6 - 8 - Najee - "You, Me and Forever" - (Shanachie)
7 - 7 - Bluey - "Life Between The Notes" - (Shanachie)
8 - 6 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
9 - 15 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
10 - 11 - James Lloyd - "Here We Go" - (Shanachie)
11 - 9 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (JulianVaughn.com)
12 - 10 - Jessy J - "My One And Only One - (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
14 - 14 - Nick Collionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 13 - Jesse Cook - "One World" - (Entertainment One Music)
16 - 19 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
17 - 16 - Peet Project - "Love" - (Beagle Beat Records"
18 - 18 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
19 - 17 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
20 - 25 - Blake Aaron - "Soul Stories" - (Innervision)

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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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lizz Wright Makes Her Concord Records Debut With The Powerful "Freedom & Surrender" #jazz

Produced by Larry Klein, September 4, 2015 release features collaborations with Klein, David Batteau, Maia Sharp, J.D. Souther, Toshi Reagon and Jesse Harris
“Right Where You Are” spotlights Wright in a duet with Gregory Porter

Five years after the release of her critically acclaimed, gospel-laden disc, Fellowship (Verve), Lizz Wright makes her Concord Records debut with the powerful Freedom & Surrender, set for release on September 4, 2015. The 35-year-old singer-songwriter – renowned for her earthy alto voice and emotive yet straight-forward vocal serenading – teams with four-time GRAMMY-winning bassist and producer Larry Klein, who’s best known for his work with such leading lights as Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Tracy Chapman.

Wright enlisted Klein based upon the recommendation of trusted colleagues. Already a fan, she was well aware of his production brilliance, particularly through his work with strong-minded women artists. “We talked over the phone; then we met and did as much talking as we did laughing,” she recalls. “I don’t laugh to just mess around and make people feel good; I laugh because I actually get you. Just the fact that I felt that way with him – I just said, ‘OK, we’re cool.’”

For the sessions, Klein and Wright gather a cadre of great musicians that includes drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Dan Lutz, percussionist Pete Korpela, guitarists Dean Parks and Jesse Harris; and keyboardists Kenny Banks, Pete Kuzma, and Billy Childs. In addition, Klein also recruited his longtime songwriting partner David Batteau to collaborate with Wright in the songwriting process. “I loved writing with them,” Wright enthuses.

Freedom & Surrender was initially supposed to be a disc of mostly cover-songs, centered on themes of “the circuitous dance of love.” Instead, it became the very opposite – an album of mostly originals – while keeping the initial theme intact. Wright explains, “There’s a time for everything. There’s a time to do cover-song records, which can be like sharing good homework after doing really beautiful research. It can be amazing and very creative in that way. But I just knew it wasn’t time for me to be doing that. I had to prove it and buckle down and make it happen.”

Without a doubt, Wright certainly made it happen with Freedom & Surrender, her sexiest, most sensual album yet. She wrote ten of the disc’s 15 songs, six with Klein and Batteau. The three penned “The New Game” – the disc’s original working title – a rollicking, country-blues ditty with poetic lyrics and verses. The album as a whole touches upon fresher emotional terrain, especially the ethereal, acoustic guitar and Hammond organ-powered “Somewhere Down the Mystic,” the beautiful lament “Here and Now,” (which was inspired in part by the passing of Maya Angelou), the salty and spiteful “You” and the tender R&B ballad “Blessed the Brave.”

Written by Wright, Klein and celebrated songwriter J.D. Souther, “Right Where You Are” is a mesmerizing love slow jam featuring Wright in an amorous duet with Gregory Porter, while “Real Life Painting,” written by Wright and Maia Sharp, is a bucolic evocation about dwelling in the momentary carnal bliss of a love affair.

Souther invited Wright to his small farm in Nashville for a writing session where she recalls playing a lot of piano in his barn. “I gave him a few chords and turned them around into something that we liked. I didn’t think he was going to do anything with them but then he sent me part of the song all the way through to the B section,” Wright recalls. “I respect his clarity and speed.”

Wright was also delighted to have the song feature Porter, whom she toured with in 2013. “The song is very tender and slow. To trust him with that was easy; to hear him move through a suspended, vulnerable space, you can get into the machinery of his voice,” she offers.

Wright is equally enthusiastic about her writing sessions with Sharp, which yielded “Real Life Painting,” containing reflections with cinematic-like qualities. “She is a real fast writer and a wonderful guitarist,” Wright notes.

On “Freedom” and “Surrender” – two songs which bookend the disc – Wright reconnected with Toshi Reagon, who played tremendous roles on her three previous discs – Dreaming Wide Awake (2005), The Orchard (2008) and Fellowship (2010). The gentle yet lusty waltz “Surrender” showcases Wright in a seductive splendor, while Reagon’s declarative, funk-driven “Freedom,” displays Wright in a feisty independent mode. ‘Freedom’ is so unapologetic; it has weight to it that differs from the other songs,” Wright explains. “Larry totally got it; he thought the song was just killing. There’s something about Toshi in which she always calls my spirit to be true in whatever I do.”

Jesse Harris, another longtime collaborator of Wright, co-wrote the lulling, erotically charged ballad “The Game” and the slinky “Lean In,” which moves to a midnight groove that Marvin Gaye might have concocted with Leon Ware.

When it came to covers, Wright chose wisely. She slows the Bee Gees’ 1967 ballad “To Love Somebody,” to a smoldering crawl that maximizes both her gorgeous voice and the song’s pleading lyrics. On bonus track Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s classic “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” – a song made famous in 1972 by Roberta Flack – Wright delivers a haunting, almost noir-ish interpretation. And on Nick Drake’s immortal folk classic, “River Man,” Wright uncoils newfound emotional clarity through her mesmerizing delivery and the spectral arrangement, which also features noted German trumpeter Till Brönner blowing a blustery solo.

Wright has reached new heights of singing and songwriting, and has delivered an album destined to become a classic.


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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Masterfully “Cool”: An album unlike any other by Bob James and Nathan East - #jazz


“The New Cool,” an expansive acoustic offering centered on scholarly jazz piano and bass duets, will be released September 18, a first from the GRAMMY®-honored artists and long-time collaborators. 
 
Albums just aren’t made like the way “The New Cool” was made. Yamaha Entertainment Group label president Chris Gero put legendary keyboardist Bob James and master bassist Nathan East in the recording studio, equipped them with state-of-the-art Yamaha gear and gave them free reign to create. Recorded entirely in Nashville, the long-time collaborators emerged with an unexpected and audacious collection of original compositions plus a few handpicked classics, an acoustic jazz outing that will make you forget everything you thought you knew about these GRAMMY®-recognized artists best known as contemporary jazz luminaries. The disc produced by Gero, James and East will be released September 18.    

“The New Cool” unfolds much in the way the meticulously-crafted project was conceived. The germ begins organically with a couple of intimate James and East duets. Pastoral piano wanderings explore the outer perimeter of straight-ahead jazz where they peruse, mirror and engage with meandering bass lines. In fact, more than half of the record’s compositions written by James and/or East are sparsely-produced, probing piano and bass sojourns. As the seed sprouts, dramatic orchestral accoutrements added by the Nashville Recording Orchestra illuminate the piano, keyboard and bass explorations, contributing hues that are warmly rustic and autumnal or whimsically vibrant. James challenges with deftly inventive arrangements on complex pieces like “All Will Be Revealed” while East counts off supple rhythms that are astutely measured and metered. Fluid melodies and harmonies ranging from subtle, serene and meditative to lush, exquisite and cascading blossom throughout, whether emoted by a dexterous piano, keyboard or bass or East’s celestial vocalese. An imaginatively-arranged version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” bops and swings in sublimely surprising style before the ultimate surprise is revealed: a serendipitous vocal from Vince Gill. The proceedings flourish in a gust of breezy Brazilian jazz when percussionist Rafael Padilla and drummer Scott Williamson appear on “Canto Y La Danza” and climax in a crashing crescendo on the explosive and intricately orchestrated “Turbulence.”                          

“‘The New Cool’ project carries with it a special level of excitement for me as Bob and I have been courting the idea of this duo adventure for many years,” said East, who released his self-titled, GRAMMY® nominated solo debut album last year via Yamaha Entertainment Group on the heels of playing on Daft Punk’s 2014 GRAMMY®-winning Record of the Year “Get Lucky.” “I’ve always loved the sound of the piano and bass together, and have enjoyed duo recordings by the greats: Bill Evans & Eddie Gomez and Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden. ‘The New Cool’ is our celebration of more than 25 years of friendship and musical camaraderie. This collaboration was embraced by Yamaha Entertainment Group and producer Chris Gero, who took it yet to another level.”

“The more I played with Nathan over the course of many live performances and spanning more than 25 years, the more in sync we were whether or not we had the anchor of the drums,” said James, a two-time GRAMMY® winner considered one of the founding fathers of smooth/contemporary jazz and whose extensive catalogue is frequently sampled on hip hop tracks. “Something special happens when we only have each other’s notes to play off of, when the music is totally exposed.”

Although busy with touring and recording individually as well as together, including as half of the contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, James and East are committed and energized by “The New Cool,” which will be supported comprehensively in traditional and non-traditional ways harnessing the full power of Yamaha Entertainment Group. Nearly a dozen video vignettes that take viewers into the recording studio during the making of the album will soon begin to trickle out through the official website (www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com) as well as on the artists’ social media platforms and a full-scale documentary film will unspool in the fall shortly after the album’s street date. A grand-scale concert date is in the initial planning stages, which is expected to be streamed live and captured for television broadcast. 
     
The songs that make-up “The New Cool” album are:
“The New Cool”
“Oliver’s Bag”
“All Will Be Revealed”
“Midnight Magic/Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow”
“Crazy” (featuring Vince Gill)
“How Deep Is The Ocean”
“Canto Y La Danza”
“Waltz For Judy”
“Seattle Sunrise”
“Ghost Of A Chance”
“Turbulence”
“House Of Blue” (U.S. bonus track)
For more information, please visit www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com.

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Terri Lyne Carrington - "Love And Soul" Concord Records Release on August 7th - #jazz

GRAMMY-WINNING DRUMMER/COMPOSER/PRODUCER TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON RELEASES HOTLY ANTICIPATED MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL

August 7, 2015 release spotlights vocalists Oleta Adams, Natalie Cole, Paula Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Chanté Moore, Valerie Simpson, Nancy Wilson, Jaguar Wright and Lizz Wright 

 After receiving worldwide praise and a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her 2011 disc, The Mosaic Project, drummer extraordinaire Terri Lyne Carrington releases its hotly anticipated follow-up, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL, on August 7, 2015 via Concord Records. (International release dates may vary)

Like its predecessor, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL presents Carrington leading a rotating cast of superb female instrumentalists and vocalists that includes Oleta Adams, Natalie Cole, Paula Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Chanté Moore, Valerie Simpson, Nancy Wilson, Jaguar Wright and Lizz Wright, as well as saxophonist Tia Fuller, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen; bassists Meshell Ndegoecello and Linda Oh; and keyboardists Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen and Rachel Z.

On The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL, Carrington juxtaposes her salute to female artists by paying homage to various male artists who have either influenced her professionally and/or informed her musicality, such as Nick Ashford, George Duke, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Luther Vandross and Bill Withers. “Whenever I do something that celebrates women, I never want it to feel like it’s something that excludes men,” she explains. “On this record, I consciously wanted to celebrate the various relationships women have with men either through original songs of mine or cover songs by male composers and song writers.” The male presence and perspective on The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL is even more realized by Billy Dee Williams, who contributes insightful spoken-word interludes through the disc.

Carrington’s musicianship has already catapulted her into the upper echelon of jazz artists of her generation. But on The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL, her gifts as a producer, songwriter, and arranger emerge more to the fore with a collection of tunes that places a greater emphasis on her love for R&B.  “When I grew up I wanted to be Diana Ross,” she says as she explains her wide musical influences that range from classic music and straight-ahead jazz to R&B and hip-hop. “I loved all forms of Black music and eventually started listening from a production standpoint, finding Missy Elliot, Q-Tip and Questlove to be some of my favorites.”

While she never sacrifices the intricacies of jazz, Carrington’s knack for crafting R&B recalls that of the late keyboardist and composer George Duke because the results are at once adventurous and accessible.  Carrington also expands her talents as an instrumentalist by playing guitar, bass and keyboards on several tunes.

“Duke Ellington said ‘jazz means freedom of expression’ and he also said ‘there’s nothing demeaning about playing music for dancing,’” Carrington explains. “I’m in agreement and this album is my spin on jazz meets soul, with danceable grooves as well as a jazz aesthetic that comes not only from the arrangements, but also from the singer’s sophistication and ability to go between genres.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her strategies for recruiting singers reminisce those employed by Ellington, who wrote arrangements and charts specifically for each individual in his orchestra. “When I choose which singers to ask, it’s always because I hear their voice in my head while writing an arrangement,” she explains. “I then demo the song, singing all the vocals myself in the style of the person I’m hearing. I feel this has been the key to my success in garnering such amazing talent.”

The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL started out as a collection of love songs. But over the course of its development, Carrington noticed influences of music from the black American church seeping inside the song’s harmonic and melodic movement – hence the disc’s subtitle. “I felt that I didn’t really do all the things I wanted to on the first Mosaic Project and that I needed to dig deeper. Right now is a soft period in my life where I’m allowing myself to express vulnerability - a contemplative period where I recognize more the importance of soul work and spiritual connection. For me, that’s all wrapped up in this project of love songs,” she says.

After an ethereal intro, featuring Williams reciting insightful kernels of wisdom that were passed on to Carrington from legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL launches into the soul-electronica makeover of Ellington’s 1943 classic, “Come Sunday,” which features Natalie Cole rendering the hopeful lyrics over Carrington’s skittering drum patterns. “Come Sunday” makes for an ingenious introduction to The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL because Carrington’s previous disc was the GRAMMY award-winning, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Concord), on which she puts a 21st century modern sheen on Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach’s classic 1963 LP, Money Jungle.

Soon after, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL presents another timeless jazz standard – Sinatra’s 1951 ballad, “I’m a Fool to Want You” – this time underscored with a mid-tempo groove and a modern soul-jazz landscape on which Chaka Khan powers her distinctive and soulful phrasing.
The disc then delves into modern R&B repertoire with the splendid cover of Vandross’ 1988 ballad, “For You to Love,” featuring Oleta Adams, and Carrington’s original, “So Good (Amazing),” a gospel-inflected neo-soul tune, on which R&B songstress Jaguar Wright’s demonstrates her distinctive soprano vocal prowess.

Carrington invites Valerie Simpson, of the legendary husband-and-wife duo Ashford & Simpson, to sing on a remake of their 1976 song, “Somebody Told a Lie.” Carrington’s arrangement underscores the spirituality brimming through the sensual themes, while also being suspenseful, particularly when it moves into the unexpected Afro-Latin breakdown, featuring pianist Geri Allen, percussionist Nêgah Santos and flutist Elena Pinderhughes.

Legendary song stylist Nancy Wilson enlivens the amorous “Imagine This,” an ambitious original bursting with sophisticated harmonies and poetic lyrics addressing the art of realizing an idealistic romance. Carrington is especially proud of this composition because she feels she stretched herself as a lyricist to contribute one of her best efforts yet.

A recording of a humorous voice message from the late George Duke – one of Carrington’s close friends and musical collaborators – introduces the soulful mid-tempo original “Best of the Best,” on which Chanté Moore – who also worked with Duke – sings touching lyrics reflecting on his vivacious personality and influential musical legacy.

Carrington revamps “This Too Will Pass,” an original she wrote 15 yeas ago with long-time friend Lalah Hathaway in mind; Hathaway’s caressing alto amplifies the song’s bittersweet yet self-empowering lyrics. Carrington sings lead on the capricious original “Can’t Resist,” whose serrated, Latin-tinged groove and catchy melody vocals demand repeated high-rotation airplay on jazz, urban and Latin radio formats.

Paula Cole’s vocals enthrall on “You Can’t Smile It Away,” a poignant reading of Bill Withers’ 1985 ballad; Carrington’s interpretation gains even more emotional weight thanks to Regina Carter’s melodic violin solo, which soars alongside Cole’s majestic wails.  The romantic allure continues with longing original, “Get To Know You,” which features soul-jazz vocalist Ledisi singing amidst some of the disc’s most opulent horn arrangements.

The U.S. edition of The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL concludes with Carrington’s breathtaking rendition of Patrice Rushen’s 1978 ballad, “When I Found You” with which she dedicates to her son. The new version, re-arranged in 5/4 with added new hooks, features Rushen sharing keyboard duties with Rachel Z, while Lizz Wright brings darker, more maternal hues to the melody by way of her earthy alto. Sophisticated horn arrangements animate the makeover as well as trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Grace Kelly’s inventive solos. As the song coalesces and crests, Carrington delivers a feisty yet lucid improvisation toward the end.

When asked to reflect upon her artistic trajectory thus far, Carrington says, “If we’re lucky, we can live our lives like a puzzle and just try to keep putting all the pieces together,” which explains both her catholic taste in music and her interests as a music producer and educator. In addition to being a leader in her own right and a much-in-demand drummer and record producer, she’s also the artistic director for Boston’s annual Beantown Jazz Festival and a professor at the Berklee College of Music. “Most of us have many interests but not always able find an outlet to address them,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to fulfill many of mine under the wide umbrella of the music industry. My interests can be scattered, but I approach it all with a seeking spirit and determination to pursue my goals in a way that I can possibly fulfill most of them.”

The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL is undeniably another triumphant artistic fulfillment.

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 6, 2015 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
2 - 2 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
3 - 4 - The Sax Pack - "Power Of 3" - (Shanachie)
4 - 3 - Jeff Golub - "The Vault" - (eOne Music)
5 - 5 - Maysa - "Back 2 Love" - (Shanachie)
6 - 6 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
7 - 7 - Bluey - "Life Between The Notes" - (Shanachie)
8 - 17 - Najee - "You, Me and Forever" - (Shanachie)
9 - 8 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (JulianVaughn.com)
10 - 10 - Jessy J - "My One And Only One - (Shanachie)
11 - 9 - James Lloyd - "Here We Go" - (Shanachie)
12 - 11 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
13 - 12 - Jesse Cook - "One World" - (Entertainment One Music)
14 - 14 - Nick Collionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
15 - 15 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
16 - 13 - Peet Project - "Love" - (Beagle Beat Records"
17 - 19 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Ave.)
18 - 16 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
19 - 36 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
20 - 25 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)

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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Kenyon Carter - "Game On" - Release 8/14, Title Track Featuring Chuck Loeb - #Jazz

Inspired saxophonist is determined to step up to the bigs with a new album due August 14; the energetic and impassioned title track, "Game On" featuring guitarist Chuck Loeb, heading to radio.

Driven to overcome the serious injuries sustained in a violent car crash that could have been the devastating knockout blow to his dream of a career in music, saxophonist Kenyon Carter rallied and rebounded from the life-altering accident with renewed purpose, tenacity and patience. That focus has him poised on the precipice of a career breakthrough with the forthcoming "Game On," a spirited ten-song contemporary jazz workout written and produced by Carter that CurvePoint Media will release August 14 prefaced next month with the servicing of the title track as a radio single, a propulsive track highlighted by a dazzling display of frenetic tenor sax and feisty fretwork from guitarist Chuck Loeb.

Carter's right arm was mangled in the crash and doctors didn't know if the broken appendage with severe radial nerve damage would ever function normally again. With the aid of a specially-designed therapy glove, the musician persevered through eight tedious and trying months of hours upon hours of daily practice to relearn how to play the sax. During the lengthy recovery process and subsequent return to function and form, Carter continued to teach others to play, but rarely performed in public. In time, he phased out teaching to go "all in" on pursuing his own recording and performing goals. After issuing two modestly successful and critically-hailed collections - "Right By My Side," which received an abundance of contemporary jazz airplay on the strength of three charting singles, and last year's "Songs For My Father," an offering of gospel hymns given fresh jazz arrangements that debuted at No. 4 on the iTunes Top Jazz Albums chart - Carter has taken his game to the next level on "Game On" by elevating his adept heart-and-soul horn play and bolstering his production and songwriting fitness.

"I once heard someone talk about their recording projects as ‘snapshots' in time. My first album was written as I was falling in love with my wife and the second was a tribute to my late father. ‘Game On' is the next snapshot in my life, a decision to really go for it musically and hold nothing back. While my injury definitely changed the course of my life, it didn't define me or hold me back. It was unbelievably scary to think that I would never play saxophone again, but I know I was given a second shot at life and I'm grateful to have gained the clarity to pursue what I really want in life - both personally and professionally. ‘Game On' is an honest musical snapshot that combines my love for pop, R&B, funk, etc. with my favorite elements of the straight-ahead jazz tradition and I'm very proud of it. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to write and play this music and to record it with the world-class musicians who helped make this project come alive."

Carter's band spotlighted on "Game On" is guitarist Billy Wilkie, keyboardist Tyrone Jackson, bassist Tim Aucoin, drummer John David, trumpeter Brent Whiten and trombonist Richard Sherrington. While Carter & Company labored in the studio, the jazz-funk party starter "Jammin' On Juniper" was released to radio and instantly achieved Most Added status on the Billboard chart in its debut week.

The songs in the "Game On" lineup are:

"Game On" featuring Chuck Loeb
"Just A Smile"
"Going Home"
"Sea of Abaco"
"Jammin' On Juniper"
"Moving Forward"
"Wine On Eight"
"Lights Down Low"
"In This Moment"
"Here We Go"
"Game On" radio edit


For more information, please visit www.KenyonCarter.com.

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Have A Happy And Safe 4th Of July [Video] #jazz

I, Sam the Eagle, present a musical salute to America.
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