Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Darren Barrett’s Trumpet Vibes pays tribute to “The Music of Amy Winehouse” #jazz

The award-winning trumpeter’s reggae jazz band will release a nine-song salute to the late Grammy winner on August 26.
Trumpeter Darren Barrett, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, was flipping through cable television channels while taking a break from a recording session when he stumbled upon a live concert by Amy Winehouse. He had heard the buzz about the unconventional British artist, but hadn’t heard any of her music until that moment. The musician of Jamaican descent with a proclivity for incorporating reggae into his neo-bop jazz recordings was instantly struck by the way the rhythm & soul singer-songwriter infused reggae into her throwback tracks.
“I was surprised to discover that the majority of her concert consisted of performing music mirroring the spirit-liberating sound of reggae music. Damn! Amy was laying the music down like one of the ‘old heads.’ She immediately gained much respect from me and I soon became a fan and a loyal follower of her fast-moving musical career,” Barrett recalled about his 2008 discovery and the inspiration for his eighth album, “The Music of Amy Winehouse,” which will be released August 26 on the dB Music label.
Barrett and his Trumpet Vibes band, a jazz and reggae group, selected nine songs from the late artist’s songbook and spent over a year working on the arrangements and rehearsing before entering the studio. To recreate Winehouse’s high voltage, multi-tiered sound, Barrett augmented his band by adding guitars, keyboards, saxophone and percussion to the Trumpet Vibes lineup that consists of the trumpeter-producer, bassist Alexander Toth, drummer Anthony Toth and vibraphonist Simon Moullier (noted vibraphonist Warren Wolf is featured on “Our Day Will Come”). Naturally, the toughest part was casting a female vocalist capable of capturing Winehouse’s uniquely soulful and charismatic spirit on hallmark hits such as “Tears Dry On Their Own,” “Rehab,” “Back To Black” and “Just Friends.” Enter Joanna Teters.         
“I met Joanna many years ago when she was a student at Berklee College of Music, but never had the opportunity to work with her,” said Barrett, who is an associate professor in the ensemble department at the distinguished school in addition to his work as an artist. “I continued to listen to many of her projects after she graduated, having a strong sense that someday we would eventually work together. Well it happened just as I predicted. Joanna joined us on the Amy Winehouse project and really captured the essence of Amy's musicality without neglecting to incorporate the uniqueness of her own personality into each song. The commitment and musical steadfastness that each musician brought to the project has resulted in a recording that Amy’s well-deserving fans will not only enjoy, but also appreciate as they reconnect to Amy’s simple joy of creating music.” 
A Toronto, Ontario native who has been based in Boston ever since he attended Berklee, Barrett was a soloist on Esperanza Spaulding’s two-time Grammy-winning “Radio Music Society.” Mentored by trumpet great Donald Byrd, he has recorded or played internationally with jazz giants Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Wayne Shorter and Roy Hargrove. Barrett has also performed with Common,, Talib Kweli and D’Angelo. Maintaining a prolific album release pace since 2014, “The Music of Amy Winehouse” follows last fall’s critically-hailed jazz and reggae mashup “Trumpet Vibes” and predates a straight-ahead jazz outing from the dB Quintet that is expected in the first quarter of 2017. For more information, please visit
“The Music of Amy Winehouse” contains the following songs:
“Tears Dry On Their Own”
“Our Day Will Come”
“Back To Black”
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
“Just Friends”
“To Know Him Is To Love Him”
“Monkey Man”
“Tears Dry On Their Own” (clean version)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Internationally Acclaimed & Celebrated Pianist, Composer & Humanitarian Keiko Matsui Marks 30th Anniversary Of Recording Debut With Journey To The Heart

Matsui Continues to Find Inspiration Reinventing Her Sound & Ensemble-Embarking On New Chapter

"Keiko Matsui is appreciated not just as an artist but as a humanitarian. She dedicates every song she writes to causes that move her..."-NPR

“My melodies are my living testimony,” declares internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui. A world citizen, Matsui’s music speaks to the hearts and souls of fans around the world, transcending borders and building bridges among people who share a common appreciation of honest artistry and cultural exchange. “Music creates a oneness,” says the striking, petite powerhouse who has worked alongside everyone from Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder to Hugh Masekela and Bob James. A consummate artist, Keiko views each show and recording as a unique opportunity. “Journey To The Heart is my gift to my fans. I want to deliver the most beautiful and emotional experience.” Keiko, who has lent her voice to raise awareness for such causes as The Daniel Pearl and the Susan G. Korman Foundations says, “I feel the world is getting crazier and we need to collectively go back and recall what connects us all…our spirits, hearts and our souls.” On Journey To the Heart, Matsui more than delivers what she has come to be loved for breathtakingly beautiful transcendent melodies that transport the listener. A master storyteller, Keiko Matsui crafts passionate and emotive songs with lush harmonies and global rhythms to create timeless musical anthems. “Every song is like its own drama,” confides Keiko. “The word ‘heart’ in the title has a double meaning. I want the music to find its way into your heart but I also mean heart, as is the creator and center of the universe. I hope the listeners will allow themselves to go anywhere with my music.”

Upon the completion of Keiko Matsui’s 2016 winter tour, the pianist, who divides her time between the West Coast and Japan, set her sights and energies on her next recording project. “I finally had a chance to slow down, so I went to Catalina Island to be free. I love the ocean. Just to be able to hear the waves and watch the sunset is healing to me. Catalina Island is where most of the melodies on Journey To The Heart were born.” The project evolved over a four month period starting in Catalina and then taking the pianist on an Eastern European tour and eventually back to California to record at Unity Studio in Hollywood. “After I completed the last album Live in Tokyo, I felt that a new chapter in my life had started. I really wanted to work in a more organic way,” explains Keiko. Journey To The Heart Keiko Matsui’s 27th recording as a leader, marks the 30th Anniversary since her recording debut and is her boldest statement yet. Helping Keiko to reinvigorate her sound and new acoustic direction are Cuban musicians: bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Jimmy Branly. Del Puerto, son of famed bassist Carlos Del Puerto, one of the founding members of Irakere, has collaborated with everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder. Conservatory trained Branly has worked with such notables as Flora Purim, Celia Cruz, Sheila E., Natalie Cole and Airto Moreia. “Carlitos and Jimmy are amazing musicians. I admire their artistry, musicianship and spirituality. They are my new family on the road and they bring such a sensitivity and passion to every situation,” shares Keiko. Peruvian guitarist Ramon Stagnero and Venezuelan percussionist Luis Quintero also join Keiko along with special guest harmonica player Gregoire Maret and a sublime string section that augments several of the album’s tracks. Stagnero has worked with such diverse artists as Al Jarreau, Andrea Bocelli, Dianne Reeves and Herb Alpert, while Quintero has been first call for such musicians as Louie Vega, Natalie Cole, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and George Benson. Maret hails from Switzerland and has worked and toured with Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny among others.

True to Keiko’s personality, her music is eloquent, earthy and multi-dimensional. Her unique melting pots of musical influences are at the forefront as is her unique ability to craft mystical and otherworldly melodies that permeate your very essence. “Melodies are an important part of my music and the melodies on Journey To The Heart seemed to come from another dimension,” shares Keiko. “There is a different energy. I was even amazed myself at just how bright and happy the music is. It does reflect where I am right now.”

Matsui conceived over 100 different melodies and motifs for Journey To The Heart and eventually settled on the ten themes featured on the CD. During the initial stages of writing she collected melodies and wrote charts and began recording on her iPhone and a small recorder everywhere she went. Journey To The Heart opens with the exhilarating, percussive and jubilant “Moving On.” It is fitting as the song parallels a fresh new beginning for Keiko and it is actually the first song she wrote for the album. Keiko admits that at first she felt the melody was too simplistic. “I tried to write another song but kept coming back to this one. When the band and engineer told me they could not get the melody out of their heads, I knew this was the one.” Keiko’s bluesy riffs and Stagnero’s soul laced guitar juxtaposed to the driving undercurrent Branly and Quintero, create a euphoric journey from beginning to end. The fluid and telepathic interplay of the ensemble is front and center on the samba-esqe “Carnival” and it is hard to resist the impressionistic introduction to “The Edge of Twilight,” which is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. Joined by a string section, Matsui creates a high point on Journey To The Heart with the unforgettable “Butterfly.” As Keiko’s fingers glissando over the piano keys it is not hard to picture the wingspan of a spectacularly colored butterfly taking flight. “When I was writing, I noticed the sound being made from my pencil on the paper and at the same time I was sniffling. The sun was setting as I sat at my piano working and the melody for “Butterfly” came to me. It was such a special moment, that I was in tears.”

Keiko transports us to North Africa with the stunning and melodramatic “Casablanca,” featuring harmonica player Gregoire Maret. The album’s title track opens with the suspension of violins that converge with Keiko’swistful melodies. As the song climaxes, Stagnero’s country tinged guitar and Keiko’s dancing lines sweep you away until Keiko’s haunting solo piano brings the proceedings to a surprising and peaceful halt. We continue to globetrot and land in the Republic of Cuba with “Havana Nights,” which grew out of Keiko’s recent collaborations with Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Jimmy Branly. “We have been talking about going to Cuba and I thought it was the right time to write this song.” The celebratory “New Beginning” is fitting for where Keiko finds herself at the present moment. “Each step of the way in making this new music, I felt like I was evolving. I feel like I have given so much, that I have found a new side of myself. In many ways I am really making a new beginning.” Gregoire Maret joins Keiko once again for the mysterious and contemplative “Two Harbors.” “I wrote this song in the Catalina’s where I learned that there are two harbors,” explains Keiko. “There are two destinations you can choose. Just like in life you have the freedom to choose your path and to decide your own destination.” Journey To The Heart closes with the minuet and multi-movement cycle “Blue Rose.” “This piece is a bit of a different genre for me. It is more like story-telling music. I tried a different approach using the piano and strings,” shares Keiko, “Blue Rose” transports the listener on a soul quest and ends Journey To The Heart on an unforgettable high note.

“When I see little babies who come back as teenagers to my shows or their parents who take their entire families to my concerts I feel blessed. We are trading good energy and the memories are timeless. We are recalling what is most important as human beings on this one planet. I hope that by delivering this peaceful and meaningful music, that we can together increase kindness and caring. I hope we can make a better place to live for the next generations.”

Keiko Matsui took her first piano lesson at five and she made her US recording debut in 1987 with the recording A Drop of Water. Under 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 be reckoned 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 benefited 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. 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 benefited 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. She 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 Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) 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 & Vega. Keiko’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 Billboard Top 5 recording The Road… which featured Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona and saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Jackiem Joyner among others. In 2013, Keiko Matsui celebrated the release of her critically lauded album Soul Quest, which is the musical inspiration behind Live in Toyko. The same year she was also an invited guest in Istanbul for International Jazz Day alongside such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. With the release of Journey To The Heart, Keiko confirms her place as one of the most dynamic and important voices in instrumental music and assures us that her journey continues.

“We need to find that common bond in our hearts. People are dying with violence, hunger and war. This music is my new journey,” concludes Keiko Matsui. “It is an evolution in many ways. I hope I can make a path and make some noise and leave a positive effect on the world. This is my mission and I am dedicating my music to this cause.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 25, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
2 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
3 - 3 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
4 - 5 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
5 - 4 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 7 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
7 - 6 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
8 - 8 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
9 - 9 - Marcus Anderson - "And Coffee" - (Anderson Music-LLC)
10 - 15 - Will Downing - "Black Pearls" - (Shanachie)
11 - 10 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
12 - 14 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 11 - Fourplay - "Silver - (Concord Music Group)
15 - 19 - Dave Bradshaw Jr. - "Set Me Free" - (MOKU Records)
16 - 35 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
17 - 13 - Steve Cole - "Turn It Up" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
18 - 21 - Pieces Of A Dream - "All In" - (Shanachie)
19 - 22 - Patrick Bradley - "Can You Hear Me" - (Patrick's Song Factory)
20 - 16 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Songbird of New Orleans is ready to spread her wings soulfully

Award-winning jazz chanteuse Robin Barnes will release “Songbird Sessions” on August 26

Having conquered hearts locally and captured media acclaim as “The Songbird of New Orleans,” award-winning jazz singer Robin Barnes is preparing to spread her soulful song beyond The Big Easy. On August 26, the powerfully-voiced siren who was named the Favorite New Orleans Musician earlier this year by New Orleans Magazine will issue her second EP, “Songbird Sessions,” on the Rhythm Elevation Records label. Barnes and bassist Pat Casey produced the intimate five-song acoustic jazz date of standards and gems made famous by her seminal influences such as New Orleans icons Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas. The first track being serviced to radio is Barnes’s smoldering and sultry rendition of Thomas’s “Ruler of My Heart.”          

Backed by Casey, drummers and percussionists Herlin Riley and Shannon Powell, and guitarists Steve Masakowski and Danny Abel, Barnes soars mightily on “Songbird Sessions.” Confident and assured, the twenty-something chanteuse unveils unadulterated passion with poise and in complete command on the rousing spiritual “Great Day” and the gentle jazz lullaby “Little Jazz Bird.” Barnes’s arresting take of Van Morrison’s “The Way Young Lovers Do” haunts. On the classic “My Funny Valentine,” her aching, delicate croon depicts an intrepid artist confronting her fragility head on.            

“’Songbird Sessions’ is about spreading my wings and singing with my soul. This little jazz bird is taking a leap and following a dream. The EP is made up of songs that I've been passionate about while growing up in New Orleans. This music helped me express my heart though song. I wanted to do something more intimate for this record with just vocals, bass, guitar and drums. Sometimes it was scary because it's just me and my vocals. There’s no big band or sounds to help cover my vulnerability or distract the listener. The tracks are open and powerful, but it's just me. As a young artist, I'm finding my voice and my self. Jazz has impact and power. I want to remind the world how amazing jazz music is,” said Barnes, who begins a six-week residency at the House of Blues in New Orleans on July 28 and will celebrate the EP at a hometown record release concert at Peaches Records on August 27. 

Barnes has come a long way since she started singing in church as a six-year-old and going on to performing in her family’s jazz band. Two years ago, she won Offbeat magazine’s Outstanding Millennial in Music Award. Her weekly gigs in New Orleans have not only endeared her to the city, but have brought national fanfare including a performance on “NCIS: New Orleans” as well as an abundance of press coverage in the pages of ESPN, Forbes, Ebony, Southern Living , Travel + Leisure and Southwest Magazine. Having become synonymous with the distinctive sounds of New Orleans by being featured in various media and marketing campaigns promoting the Crescent City, Barnes has adorned the cover of area newspapers and magazines and maintains a regular presence on local television. Her leadership role includes her running club, “Move Ya Brass,” which counts over 200 runners in the fitness program she created to help motivate her to get fit after recovering from a near fatal kidney ailment four years ago. Barnes’s first EP, “Me,” was a soul-pop effort released in 2013. For more information, please visit         

“Songbird Sessions” contains the following songs:
“Great Day”
“Little Jazz Bird”
“My Funny Valentine”
“Ruler of My Heart”
“The Way Young Lovers Do”

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 18, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
2 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
3 - 3 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
4 - 7 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
5 - 6 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
6 - 5 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
7 - 4 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
8 - 8 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
9 - 9 - Marcus Anderson - "And Coffee" - (Anderson Music-LLC)
10 - 11 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
11 - 10 - Fourplay - "Silver - (Concord Music Group)
12 - 54 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 13 - Steve Cole - Turn It Up - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
14 - 14 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
15 - 15 - Will Downing - "Black Pearls" - (Shanachie)
16 - 16 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (
17 - 20 - Michael Lington - "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
18 - 18 - Andy Snitzer - "American Beauty" - (Goose Song Music)
19 - 17 - Dave Bradshaw Jr. - "Set Me Free" - (MOKU Records)
20 - 33 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saxophonist Steve Cole’s entrancing “Mirage” poised to top the Billboard chart #jazz

The single is No. 2 as the “Turn It Up” album hits Friday and the concert tour takes off.
When saxman Steve Cole takes the stage Friday night at the Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival in Norfolk, Virginia, he will celebrate the release of his eighth album, “Turn It Up,” while on the precipice of adding another No. 1 Billboard single to his burgeoning catalogue of hits. The Artistry Music release produced by long-time Cole collaborator David Mann arrives Friday as the first single, the riveting aural oeuvre “Mirage,” holds the second spot ready to claim the peak position from Cole’s Sax Pack colleague Marcus Anderson.       
“Mirage” casts a transcendent spell with a futuristic foray that projects Cole’s improvisational jazz horn onto a screen of ambient tones and throbbing club beats. The single, along with the exuberant Chicago house music salute “Workhouse,” is a divergent excursion from the ten-track collection brimful of frothy pop melodies and voluminous horns over soul-powered R&B undercurrents. Recorded in three booming metropolises - New York City, Chicago and Minneapolis – that helped shape the eight compositions authored or co-authored by Cole, “Turn It Up” includes contributions from Nicholas Cole (“Turn It Up!”), Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd (“Bright Side”) and Ricky Peterson (“Workhouse”). Of note is a vintage take of Bobby Womack’s seductive “Woman’s Gotta Have It.” 
Cole’s “Turn It Up” concert trek has dates to keep the Chicago-bred, Minneapolis-based artist playing festivals, theaters and clubs across the nation in support of the disc through November.
Cole was recently interviewed for a feature segment on the nationally-syndicated “Dave Koz Radio Show.” Below is a smattering of the initial “Turn It Up” album reviews:
“On the money throughout, this is the cure for anyone suffering with a severe sax deficiency that needs smoothing out post haste. Well done stuff that fans will immediately recognize as the real deal.” – Midwest Record Recap
“Make no mistake ‘Turn It Up’ is the real contemporary jazz deal and with musical contributions from Mann, Bernd Schoenhart on guitar, Ricky Peterson with Hammond B3 and Cole’s fellow Chicago cats bass-man Lamar Jones and drummer Khari Parker this one comes hugely recommended.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy
“Cole is one of those true standout artists who really intrigue me with their deep expression of love for this music via their respective instruments. In Cole’s case, the sax really does become an extension of him, and he brings that through loud and clear on this and all of his previous recordings.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“On Turn It Up there is tried and tested, but also pioneering music. Steve Cole has understood that one must not stop, but has to evolve conceptually to remain viable for the future.” – Smooth Jazz Daily
“You'll want to get your hands on a copy of his latest release, "Turn It Up"...His signature sax harmonies and up-beat melodies take over and has just the right snap and sauciness to have you craving more.” – Smooth Jazz Magazine
“An album with energizing smooth jazz melodies and hooky harmonies in a sauce of soulful R&B!” – Keys & Chords
“Really rather delightful, and perfect for summer new album.” – Exclusive Magazine
“A perfect summation of what contemporary smooth jazz is all about.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk
Catch Cole in concert on the following dates:
July 15                                   Norfolk, VA                                        Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival
July 16                                   Mableton, GA                                   Wade Ford Concert Series – Mable House
July 21                                   Houston, TX                                       Martini Blu
August 6                              Honolulu, HI                                       Liliu Theater at Hawaii Convention Center
August 14                            Long Beach, CA                                 Long Beach Jazz Festival
August 17                            Dearborn, MI                                     Jazz on the Ave
August 18                            Philadelphia, PA                               South Jazz Club
August 20                            San Antonio, TX                                                The Big Bib Too
September 3                      Pensacola, FL                                     Community Maritime Park
September 16                   Denver, CO                                         Soiled Dove Underground
September 24                   Melbourne, FL                                  Studio Theatre at the Maxwell C. King Center
October 15-16                   Rehoboth Beach, DE                       Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival
November 26                    Rancho Mirage, CA                          Westin Mission Hills

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dan Costa - "Suite Três Rios" - Release on Dan Costa Productions, July 17th - #jazz

Dan Costa presents an original jazz / world music project which reflects the
convergence of various cultural influences. Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
in January 2016, "Suite Três Rios" ("Three Rivers Suite") recaptures the essence
of Brazilian rhythms, coupled with shades of jazz and Classical music. It
includes the participation of renowned performers such as cellist Jaques
Morelenbaum, sax player Teco Cardoso and singer Leila Pinheiro.

Born in 1989 in London (UK) to Portuguese and Italian parents, Dan Costa studied
classical piano for six years at the Académie de Musique Rainier III in Monaco,
and underwent further classical training at the Académie Internationale d'Été de
Nice in France as well as at the Aurora Music Star Festival in Sweden. He was
awarded a diploma with merit in modern music performance at Sir Paul McCartney's
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the UK. His strong interest in his
Latin roots coupled with his passion for jazz led him to study at the Escola
Superior de Música, Artes e Espectáculo in Portugal, where he graduated with an
award for outstanding achievement, bestowed upon him by Rotary Club Porto-Foz in
2015. During his course, he was also awarded a merit grant to study Brazilian music
at UNICAMP – Universidade Estadual de Campinas (São Paulo, Brazil).

Dan Costa - Suite Três Rios - Album from DroneFilmagemAerea on Vimeo.

He has attended workshops coached by musicians such as Kevin Hays, Scott Colley, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jorge Rossy, Chick Corea and César Camargo Mariano. He has co-directed musicals, performed with orchestras and big bands, and starred as both a pianist and composer in projects that have taken him to several countries including France, Finland, Germany, Spain and the USA. He has performed for festivals such as NEU/NOW, Encontrarte, HARMOS, Festa do Jazz do São Luís, Guimarães Jazz and Spring On!


1- Alba (ft. Jaques Morelenbaum)
2- Chorinho
3- Samba
4- Bossa Nova (ft. Leila Pinheiro)
5- Baião (ft. Marcos Suzano)
6- Maracatu
7- Modinha (ft. Teco Cardoso)
8- Aria

Piano, Compositions, Arrangements, Production - Dan Costa
Guitar, Executive Co-production - Ricardo Silveira
Alto & Tenor Sax - Marcelo Martins
Trombone - Vittor Santos
Double Bass - Alberto Continentino
Drums, Pandeiro - Rafael Barata
Featured artists: Jaques Morelenbaum (cello), Leila Pinheiro (voice), Teco Cardoso (baritone sax), Marcos Suzano (percussion)

Recorded by Ricardo Dias & pre-mixed by Matheus Dias in RJ, Brazil, 2016
Mixed by Jan Erik Kongshaug in Oslo, Norway
Mastered by John Greenham in Los Angeles, USA

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 11, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
2 - 6 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
3 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
4 - 3 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
5 - 4 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
6 - 7 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
7 - 10 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
8 - 5 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
9 - 8 - Marcus Anderson - "And Coffee" - (Anderson Music-LLC)
10 - 9 - Fourplay - "Silver - (Concord Music Group)
11 - 13 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
12 - 11 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Don't Stop (Soul Italiano)" - (Next Age Music)
13 - 12 - Steve Cole - Turn It Up - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
14 - 15 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
15 - 22 - Will Downing - "Black Pearls" - (Shanachie)
16 - 19 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (
17 - 33 - Dave Bradshaw Jr. - "Set Me Free" - (MOKU Records)
18 - 16 - Andy Snitzer - "American Beauty" - (Goose Song Music)
19 - 21 - Rob Sabado - "Spice Of Life" - (
20 - 18 - Michael Lington - "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - July 4, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
2 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 5 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
4 - 3 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
5 - 4 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
6 - 6 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
7 - 8 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
8 - 16 - Marcus Anderson - "And Coffee" - (Anderson Music-LLC)
9 - 10 - Fourplay - "Silver - (Concord Music Group)
10 - 17 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
11 - 9 - Paolo Rustichelli - "Don't Stop (Soul Italiano)" - (Next Age Music)
12 - 14 - Steve Cole - Turn It Up - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
13 - 7 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
14 - 11 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord)
15 - 12 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
16 - 13 - Andy Snitzer - "American Beauty" - (Goose Song Music)
17 - 21 - Jeff Lorber Fusion - "Step It Up" - (Heads Up)
18 - 15 - Michael Lington - "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
19 - 20 - Julian Vaughn - "Limitless" - (
20 - 27 - Patrick Bradley - "Can You Hear Me" - (Patrick's Song Factory)

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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Sunday, July 03, 2016

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

I, Sam the Eagle, present a musical salute to America.
©2009 The Muppets Studio, LLC

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Will Downing - "Black Pearls" - Release on Shanachie July 8 - #jazz


Downing Pays Homage to Some of the Greatest Women Voices In R&B
Including Chaka Khan, Deniece Williams & Phyllis Hyman

Will Downing‘s voice is one of the most distinctive, loved and instantly recognizable voices in R&B. His flawless, emotive, buttery-smooth and agile honey-toned baritone, along with his impeccable phrasing and jazz-fueled agile runs, seamlessly bridge the worlds of R&B and Jazz. Downing’s sophisticated and always-cool sensibilities have proven to be timeless and have garnered him the role as the reigning king of romantic ballads. “I pinch myself everyday because I can’t believe that after all this time I’m still making music for a living,” shares the charismatic singer/songwriter. “19 albums and 28 years of recording later and I’m still blessed. Truly Blessed!!” Shanachie Entertainment will release Black Pearls (July 8, 2016), Downing’s highly anticipated CD and his first full-length album in six years. A key ingredient to Downing’s success has been the keen selection of his repertoire. Black Pearls exemplifies the caliber of songs that Downing has long been associated with. Few singers possess the interpretive powers and individual musical identity required to reinvent ‘classic’ material and make it totally their own. An accomplished composer in his own right, Downing takes on the ultimate challenge on Black Pearls as he reinvigorates chart-topping gems originally performed by some of the greatest female voices to grace R&B. He rekindles the soul and ignites a fire in songs made famous by Chaka Khan, Deniece Williams, Randy Crawford, Cherrelle, Jean Carne and Phyllis Hyman, among others. While remaining true to the essence of the songs, Downing transforms them with the sweet nuances of his own irresistible signature sound. “Phyllis Hyman started this whole project,” confesses the Grammy nominated singer who has been dubbed the “Prince of Sophisticated Soul.” “I was having a conversation with a friend who also worked with Phyllis. We both agreed that “Meet Me On The Moon” was our favorite Phyllis tune. My friend suggested I remake it. I called my keyboardist/arranger Mike Logan to help with the song. After completing it, I thought maybe this is a great opportunity to pay tribute to other female artists that I have always loved. That’s how Black Pearls was born!”

From midnight black and iridescent blues to metallic and regal greens, black pearls also commonly know as Tahitian pearls, are known to possess a spectacular color range. So it is fitting that Downing’s album is titled Black Pearls. The beauty, depth, brilliance and dimension of what Downing brings to Black Pearls is what he has built his enduring legacy on. “I choose songs based on lyrical content and melody,” explains the singer. “I enjoy singing songs that are reality based and that I can identify with and that my audience can relate to as well.” Among Downing’s many talents are his soulfully honest and heart-rending performances that speak directly to the body, mind and spirit. No matter who originally sang the song initially, once Downing takes it into his own hands, the song becomes his. “I’ve always found it interesting to give the male interpretation of songs,” states Downing. “Men feel the some way as women and sometimes don’t know how to verbalize it or they are afraid to. These songs might be their mouthpiece and even spark thought and conversation.”
Downing signed to Island Records in the 80s and recorded two albums before his self-titled Will Downing, which spawned a major hit in the U.K. with “A Love Supreme” (a Top 10 hit), catapulted the CD to platinum sales there. 1991 saw the release of Downing’s big stateside breakout album, A Dream Fulfilled, featuring such songs as War’s “The World Is A Ghetto,” Paul Davis’ “I Go Crazy” and the stunning version of Angela Bofill’s “I Try,” which hit Top 25 on the charts. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Downing recorded frequently on multiple record labels and became a fixture at the top of the Contemporary Jazz Charts, courtesy of a number of critically acclaimed and charting releases. Quite possibly the crown jewel of this era was a jazz-infused album of duets with saxophonist Gerald Albright, Pleasures Of The Night. In 2001 Will Downing scored a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Traditional R&B Album” for his Motown recording All The Man You Need.

Will Downing is a survivor and his faith has given him the fortitude to prevail both musically and personally. In early 2007, he contracted the rare muscular and auto immune disease, Polymyositis, which sidelined him for most of the year. It is a devastating and debilitating condition, which landed Downing in a wheelchair and caused him to lose nearly 100 pounds. Despite the setback, he was determined to complete his debut album for Peak Records, After Tonight. He had already recorded four songs prior to his illness. Incredibly, during the Spring of 2007, he worked from his home, putting down vocals despite severe weakness and fatigue. Truly a labor of love and a music therapy of sorts, pouring his heart and soul into the project the fruits of his labor inspired five wonderful songs, including the gem, “God Is So Amazing,” a simple, melodic testimony of unshakeable faith during truly difficult times. Will shares, “Polymyositis changed my life in every way- both mentally and physically. Like a lot of men that I know, I was afraid to go to the doctor. By the time I finally did, I ended up being hospitalized for three months. After coming home I caught a pneumonia and had to go back to the hospital where I remained for two more months.” During this time Downing came to several realizations. “When you’re laying in bed, you have plenty of time to reflect on life. It taught me to slow down and enjoy it,” he explains. “I also learned that nothing is forever. As much as I love music it’s not my everything. Music played a huge part in my recovery but it’s not everything. The bond with family and real friends were strengthened. I always say it was the best and worst thing to ever happen to me.”

In June 2009, a fully recovered Will Downing returned with a creative vengeance with Classique, teaming up with longtime collaborator Rex Rideout to rediscover their studio magic. Indirectly, the release made the emphatic statement that Will Downing was back! This was further cemented in 2010 when Downing unveiled the audio-novel recording, Lust, Love and Lies, which detailed a romantic relationship going through various stages, mixing spoken language and humorous interludes with a potent collection of original songs (and one cover). During 2011 and 2012, Downing released a series of limited edition EPs to feed his enthusiastic fan base a constant flow of great new music. 2013 saw the release of Silver, which marked the extraordinary singer’s amazing 25-year anniversary in the music business. The album, an incredible musical milestone, included the instant wedding classic “The Blessing.” In 2014 Downing released his album Euphoria which showcased a slightly stripped down “acoustic-lounge” production approach and included a fresh and unique take on the Teddy Pendergrass bedroom classic, “Turn Off The Lights.” Chocolate Drops followed next and once again united Downing with kindred musical spirit Chris “Big Dog” Davis. The album featured a dazzling collection of originals coupled with some daring and captivating R&B classic interpretations.

“I believe God spared me for a reason,” says Will Downing who has made it a mission to lend his time, name and presence to the awareness and fundraising efforts of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). He has even donated portions of his recording sales to MDA, as a way to support the organization he credits with helping him through his own battle. As a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Downing has made the role of mentoring a priority in his musical endeavors. He is frequently mentoring aspiring singers and musicians through invitations to join him at sound checks, performances, backstage or workshops. A graduate of the arts High School Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn, Downing who went on to study music at Virginia Union University and Brooklyn College, credits much of his success to the mentors who supported him along the way. “I love mentoring. If someone didn’t mentor me, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in,” shares the singer. “Since they cut funds for the arts in Public schools, a lot of young people are left to find their own way and sometimes you need point them in the right direction. The internet and social media can give folks a false sense of where they are in regards to talent. I enjoy being able to be hands on.” Will Downing balances work with off-the-road life in New Jersey as a loving husband and father, giving back and always giving his all. He concludes, “I believe the old saying ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” I just add to the phrase ‘improve upon it!’ The fans dictated to me on my first few albums what the wanted to hear from me. I’ve tried to fulfill that request ever since. Following the trends might get you immediate success but not a long lasting career. A good song with solid subject matter that people can relate to can last forever… I’m living proof.”

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Bob Baldwin - "The Brazilian-American Soundtrack" - Released Today on Red River Entertainment #jazz

Going for gold: Keyboardist Bob Baldwin’s
“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack,” released Friday, is a sprawling urban-jazz exploration through Rio.     
As the eyes of the world focus on Rio de Janeiro this summer, Red River Entertainment released a generous 26-song double disc of authentic Brazilian jazz rhythms and distinctly American R&B grooves on Friday from keyboardist Bob Baldwin entitled “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack.” The Grammy-nominated artist had a hand in writing twenty tunes for the collection that he produced in two movements, Movement I: Rio-Ipanema and Movement II: New York, that were recorded in Rio, New York City and Atlanta over a three-year period. The first single that will be serviced to radio stations for airplay is the pulsating club music meets sultry Latin music blend “Ipanema Fusion.”    
“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” is Baldwin’s second foray into Brazil expanding on the territory he mined on his 2004 album, “Brazil Chill.” This time out, he purposely incorporated more American nuances into the mix. Supplementing his own compositions, he elected to honor a few of the iconic artists who influenced his artistic muse including Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Corcovado”), Ivan Lins (“Anjo De Mim,” “The Island” and “Love Dance”) and Djavan (“Eu Te Devoro”). Another formative inspiration was Maurice White, the late Earth, Wind & Fire creator and leader who Baldwin remembers with a heartfelt spoken word tribute that closes the album, “The Message,” and on two musical numbers, “Maurice (The Sound Of His Voice)” and “The Greatest Lover,” the latter of which was recorded in the spirit of White’s hall of fame band. Meticulously produced, performed, composed and arranged, most of the tracks on “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” are tightly segued, maintaining a smooth flow and graceful transition from cut to cut through more than two hours of music.    
Baldwin’s winning team that bolsters his pliable piano gymnastics and effervescent keyboard finesse on “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” consists of an international ensemble that includes noted Brazilian and Latin players Café Da Silva (percussion), Torcuato Mariano (guitar), Rafael Pereira (percussion) and Armando Marcal (percussion). Canadian trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, veteran saxophonists Marion Meadows and Freddy V, and emerging flutist Ragan Whiteside add soulful horn solos while guitarists Marlon McClain and Phil Hamilton contribute compelling runs throughout the date that showcases a handful of charismatic vocalists: James “Crab” Robinson, Porter Carroll II, Gigi, Zoiea Ohizep as well as Baldwin himself. In fact, Baldwin demonstrates remarkable dexterity by singing lead and background as well as playing piano, Rhodes, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, Moog bass, Melodica, strings and clave on the album.   
“My love for Brazilian music runs deep. It started with the infiltration of samba in the 1960s courtesy of Stan Getz, who brought with him Astrud Gilberto and the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim. So many other American artists have embraced Brazil, including Quincy Jones, who signed Ivan Lins to his publishing company, and Djavan, who I refer to as "The Brazilian Sade", who goes as far back as 1973 when he sang on a Stevie Wonder track. There are so many others - like Maurice White, Ramsey Lewis and George Duke - who all caught the Brazilian music bug and were hooked,” said Baldwin, who made the record in part via crowdfunding for which a number of unique opportunities remain available ( “Musicians like Cafe da Silva, Armando Marcal, Torcuato Mariano, Delia Fisher and Rafael Pereira give the tracks on ‘The Brazilian-American Soundtrack’ authenticity and the green light to deliver the sound of Brazil to the project.”

A Mount Vernon, New York native who has become a longtime resident of Atlanta, Baldwin debuted in 1988 with “I’ve Got A Long Way to Go” and his 22 albums – eight of which climbed into the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20 – are jazz, R&B and gospel outings. Over the years, he’s worked as a producer, songwriter and performer alongside George Benson, Gerald Albright, Euge Groove, Will Downing, Phil Perry, Pieces of a Dream, Paul Taylor, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Chuck Loeb. Since 2008, he has hosted the nationally syndicated radio program “The NewUrbanJazz Lounge,” which attracts nearly 500,000 listeners weekly. His City Sketches, Inc. is the umbrella entity that houses a production and event planning company, the radio network and NewUrbanJazz Hats. Baldwin is also the author of two books about the music industry, “You Better Ask Somebody” and “Staying On Top of Your Career in the ‘Friggin’ Music Business.” For more information, please visit     
“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” contains the following songs:

Movement I: Rio-Ipanema
“Funky Rio”
“Ipanema Fusion” featuring Café Da Silva
“Teardrop” featuring Ragan Whiteside
”Caipirinha” featuring Torcuato Mariano
“Corcovado”/”The Redeemer” featuring Torcuato Mariano
“Greatest Lover” featuring Zoiea
“Boa Noite”
“Lookin’ At Me” featuring Gigi
“Anjo De Mim”
“The Island” featuring Leo Gandelman
“Eu Te Devoro”
“Oasis Of Love”
“Love Dance/May I Have This Dance?”
“Children Of The Sun”
Movement II: New York
“Home From Work”
“Maurice (The Sound Of His Voice”)
“My Soul” featuring Marion Meadows
“For You” featuring Porter Carroll II
“Summer Madness” featuring James “Crab” Robinson
“Yesterday” featuring Freddie V
“South Of The Border”
“Mobile & Global” featuring Gabriel Mark Hasselbach
“Summer’s Over”
“I Need The Air (You Breathe)”
“State Of Mind”
“The Message (A Maurice White Tribute)” 

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