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Friday, September 30, 2016

Grammy-winning hit-maker Paul Brown follows his heart “Back” to his roots #jazz

The urban-jazz guitarist releases the bluesy “One Way Back” on Friday, an album on which he collaborates with four contemporary jazz guitar giants and another Paul Brown.
Paul Brown has had the Midas touch since the early ‘90s when he began producing some of the biggest contemporary jazz hits and definitive chart-topping albums by the brightest urban-jazz stars in the galaxy, amassing more than 60 Billboard No. 1 singles. In the past twelve years, the guitarist stepped forward as an artist in his own right, consistently cranking out hits of his own. Although his formative recordings established the sound of the smoother side of contemporary jazz for more than two decades, Brown yearned to reconnect with his first musical passion: the blues. On Friday, Woodward Avenue Records issued his eighth solo collection, “One Way Back,” a self-produced ten-track outing on which he followed his heart back to his blues roots.   
“There was only one way back to my roots and that was to go down every road and embrace each one of them in order to find my way back to where I began,” said Brown, a two-time Grammy winner who wrote nine new tunes for the disc that was preceded by a reimagined take on Joe Sample’s party starter “Put It Where You Want It,” currently bulleted at No. 8 on the Billboard singles chart. 
Bubbling under Brown’s clean and cool electric jazz guitar expressions throughout “One Way Back” are blues-powered keyboard and Hammond B3 organ blasts courtesy of the similarly-named Brother Paul Brown (no relation) and stacks of muscular horn section workouts from saxophonist Greg Vail and trumpeter-horn arranger Lee Thornberg. Having enjoyed a tremendous amount of success producing signature hits for saxophonists Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove and Jessy J, Brown invited label mate saxman Darren Rahn to guest on “Sexy Thang.” Guitar fans will rejoice that four cuts – “Piccadilly Circus,” “River Walk,” “Take Flight” and “Rear View Mirror”- spotlight Brown trading stringed barbs with contemporary jazz guitar sensations Chris Standring, Marc Antoine, Peter White and Chuck Loeb respectively. Standring, Antoine and White stand apart using the voice of nylon guitars while Fourplay’s Loeb emotes deftly on jazz guitar. The session boasts a roof-raising gospel-jazz vocal from Don Bryant on the celebratory juke joint original “Well Alright.” Brown himself takes to the mic to croon the intimate “Heaven,” a poignant, heart-on-the-sleeve country-blues album closer spotlighting the artist’s character-rich voice.                
“’One Way Back’ is a journey thru my musical and life experiences. This album is a pure sense of expression and everything I’ve got to give,” said Brown before adding, “I’m a much better guitarist, producer and writer now than ever before.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif., initially Brown was a drummer before picking up the guitar. After learning his way around the recording studio, he became the engineer for R&B legends Diana Ross, Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin. Moving over into the producer’s seat, Brown almost single-handedly architected the sound of smooth/contemporary jazz since the 1990s before delivering his solo debut in 2004, “Up Front.” From subsequent albums, three of which went Top 10, two singles -2005’s “Winelight” and 2007’s “The Rhythm Method” – were the most-played radio songs of their respective years. Concert performances around the world enabled him to refine and develop his guitar chops as well as cultivate his fan base far beyond the limiting confines of a recording studio. For more information, please visit
Brown’s “One Way Back” album contains the following songs:
“Put It Where You Want It”
“Sexy Thang” (featuring Darren Rahn)
“Piccadilly Circus” (featuring Chris Standring)
“River Walk” (featuring Marc Antoine)
“Well Alright” (featuring Don Bryant)
“Take Flight” (featuring Peter White)
“One Way Back”
“Rear View Mirror” (featuring Chuck Loeb)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Guitarist Peter White Pays Tribute To His Rock And Soul Roots On "Groovin" - #jazz

October 28, 2016 release features timeless compositions from the 1950s to the ’80s

Like so many millions of us, guitarist Peter White still feels closest to the music he absorbed while growing up. As a British teen in the ’60s, he kept his ears glued to the radio—soaking up the exciting new sounds of rock bands like the Beatles and soul giants like Stevie Wonder—and tried to learn how to play those songs on the acoustic guitar his dad had given him. It didn’t take him long to get the hang of it, and now, after more than four decades as both a leader and sideman, he’s returning to those tunes that impacted him so forcefully in his youth.

Groovin’, set for release on October 28, 2016 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is White’s third collection of guitar-centric interpretations of timeless compositions from those halcyon years of the 1950s to the ’80s. Taking up where his previous all-covers albums Reflections (1994) and Playin’ Favorites (2006) left off, Groovin’ finds White not only nostalgic but adventurous and playful, injecting vocal shadings and bold horn charts into the mix, and even some tougher guitar sounds than he’s generally known for.

“I always gravitate toward this era,” says White about the songs he chooses to cover. “At that time the music meant more to me than at any other time in my life.”

Groovin’ takes its title from the Rascals’ tropical-hued ballad hit of 1967, and also includes, from that heady decade, the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” From the same era, the R&B classic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a hit for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, gets a distinctive new reading here by White, as does Otis Redding’s timeless “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The oldest tune, “Sleep Walk,” was a number one instrumental hit in 1959 by Santo and Johnny in the United States, but White actually heard it first by the Shadows, a British guitar combo massively popular in the U.K. that never really caught on in the States. For White, the challenge in interpreting such familiar music is in putting his own stamp on a number while retaining the characteristics that make it instantly recognizable.

“I like playing covers because if you can take a song that people know, by a well-known artist, and make it your own, then you have defined yourself as an artist,” he says. “Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley did that and no one complained. One of the purposes in my making these cover albums is that I want to be very faithful to the melody. But I ask myself, if I had just come up with this idea and it had never been recorded before, how would I record this song? Do I need to use any part of the original arrangement, and if I don’t then let’s not. On at least half the songs on this album, if you took my melody off, you would not recognize the song.”

Several songs on Groovin’ originated in the 1970s and ’80s, the decade that White considers his “cutoff point.” The Stevie Wonder track that follows “Groovin’” on the album is “Do I Do,” from 1982, and “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” originally recorded by Stephanie Mills, is also an ’80s-vintage track. “I Can See Clearly Now,” the classic reggae chart-topper by Johnny Nash, the Three Degrees’ Gamble and Huff-penned “When Will I See You Again” and “How Long,” the Paul Carrack-written hit by Ace, all stem from the first half of the ’70s. Once White narrowed down the material he wanted to include, he got to work on the arrangements. “You have to forget the original version,” he says. “I start with a beat and then I start playing the piano—most of these arrangements come from the piano.” Self-producing, White then worked out his guitar parts and fine-tuned the roles that the various musicians would play. Among them was drummer Ricky Lawson, a friend of White’s who passed away shortly after contributing to the album and to whom he dedicates Groovin’.

“A lot of the ideas on Groovin’ were left over from my last two cover songs albums,” White says. “I make song lists and go through them—‘Does this work? Does that work? Oh, that works.’ I had this list of songs and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’”

In a way, “Let’s see what happens” has been White’s modus operandi since he first picked up a guitar. Influenced at first by folk music, he learned fingerstyle picking by listening to Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell recordings. An introduction to the revolutionary rock of Jimi Hendrix sent him scampering toward the electric guitar, but when his first model was destroyed in a fire he returned to the acoustic. He fell for the British blues of bands such as (early) Fleetwood Mac and was introduced to jazz by a friend. It was his ability to adapt his playing to multiple styles of music that got White noticed by British singer-songwriter Al Stewart—first as a pianist, then as a guitarist. White played on Stewart’s top 10 album Year of the Cat in 1976 and co-wrote the hit title track of the singer’s next album, “Time Passages.” White spent 20 years in all accompanying Stewart, and performed sideman duties for many other artists, but by 1990 he was ready to go out on his own.

“I was listening to the radio,” he recalls, “and they played a song I’d recorded with Al Stewart, ‘Ghostly Horses of the Plain,’ which was pretty much a guitar instrumental. The DJ comes on and says, ‘That was Al Stewart.’ I said, ‘No, that was me!’” From that point on, White began concentrating on his own music, composing and recording under his own name. His 1996 Caravan of Dreams album sold over 300,000 copies and by the early 2000s his shelf was bulging with awards for his virtuosic musicianship. “I never thought I’d be in the position of having a career playing my instrumental music,” White says. “When I started out, that wasn’t a road that was open to me. Then it worked.”

It’s still working. “I throw my net far and wide,” he says, “and don’t label it. It’s just instrumental music. I like to play nice songs on the guitar and I hope people like it.” Based on his stellar four-decade track record, and the instantly contagious grooves he’s created on Groovin’, that’s not going to be a problem.

1.     Groovin’ (4:30)
2.     Do I Do (4:55)
3.     (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay (4:38)   
4.     How Long (5:42)
5.     I Can See Clearly Now (4:39)
6.     I Heard It Through the Grapevine (5:04)
7.     Never Knew Love Like This Before (6:31)
8.     Sleepwalk (4:18)
9.     When Will I See You Again (4:44)
10. Here, There and Everywhere (2:47)

Date                    Venue                                                      City                   State
13-Oct-16        Descanso Beach Club                               Avalon                CA
16-Oct-16        Thornton Winery                                          Temecula            CA
23-Oct-16        Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival              Catalina           CA
28-Oct-16        Montrose Showroom                                 Rosemont        IL
02-Nov-16          The Concorde                                           Southampton      UK
04-05-Nov-16     Pizza Express Maidstone                          Maidstone           UK
06-Nov-16       The Cinnamon Club                                  Manchester         UK
07-10-Nov-16     Pizza Express Soho                                  London            UK
13-Nov-16         The Stables                                              Milton Keynes    UK

Christmas Tour with Rick Braun and Euge Groove
25-Nov-16       One World Theatre                                  Austin                TX
26-Nov-16       Dosey Doe                                               Woodlands     TX
27-Nov-16       Majestic Theatre                                      Dallas                 TX
29-Nov-16       Tangier                                                    Akron                 OH
30-Nov-16       Birchmere                                                Alexandria          VA
01-Dec-16        Rams Head                                             Annapolis           MD
02-Dec-16        B.B. Kings                                                  New York           NY
03-Dec-16        Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun                         Uncasville       CT
04-Dec-16        Miller Center for the Arts                           Reading              PA
06-Dec-16        Lyric Theatre                                            Stuart               FL
07-Dec-16        Parker Playhouse                                     Ft. Lauderdale    FL
08-Dec-16        Capitol Theatre                                         Clearwater       FL
09-Dec-16        Englewood Event Center                          Englewood        FL
10-Dec-16        Mattie Kelly Arts Center                            Niceville            FL
11-Dec-16        Ritz Theatre                                              Jacksonville       FL
12-Dec-16        Hilton Melbourne Rialto                             Melbourne         FL
15-Dec-16        Hyatt Gainey Ranch Resort                       Scottsdale           AZ
16-Dec-16        Tower Theatre                                          Fresno                CA
17-Dec-16        Aliante Casino & Hotel                              Las Vegas           NV
18-Dec-16        Vacaville Performing Arts Center               Vacaville            CA
21-Dec-16        Yoshi's                                                     Oakland              CA
22-Dec-16        Yoshi's                                                     Oakland             CA
23-Dec-16        Balboa Theatre                                         San Diego          CA
31-Dec-16        Hyatt Regency                                          Huntington Beach CA
05-08 Jan-17    Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley                                Seattle               WA
13-Jan-17         Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend                   Melbourne          FL
21-28-Jan-17    The Smooth Jazz Cruise                           Ft. Lauderdale    FL


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Monday, September 26, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 26, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 3 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
4 - 9 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
5 - 8 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
6 - 4 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
7 - 7 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
8 - 12 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
9 - 5 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
10 - 10 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
11 - 11 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
12 - 20 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 19 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
14 - 6 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
15 - 14 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
16 - 16 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
17 - 18 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Fritzenized" - (Nordic Night Records)
18 - 17 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)
19 - 22 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
20 - 13 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)

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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"Expansions Live" The Dave Liebman Group - October 14th Whaling City Sound Release #jazz

Going Their Way?
The Dave Liebman Group’s Expansions Live journeys to parts unknown

It is a work in progress in the very best sense. It is music in progress. Performance in progress. Musicians moving music forward, making things happen, responding to the actions and reactions of their bandmates. Making their own way, then joining hands for a while. Expansions Live, the Dave Liebman Group’s brand new recording, is a thrill ride and a joy ride both.

Those that know jazz know Liebman, and those that know Liebman know he is a master improviser. His latest band, Expansions, is an ambitious project designed to disassemble and reassemble the language of jazz. At their core, Expansions is an adventurous ensemble, eager to invent and constantly in search of new terrain to explore. Their debut album, Samsara, skirted the outer edges of new jazz interpolation, with a profoundly intellectual approach to composing. A follow up project, The Puzzle, found the band delving even deeper into the headier aspects of improvising, daring each other to unearth brave new compositions. Expansions Live finds the band snapping an aural photograph, capturing a time and a place, as if to say, “This is us right here, right now. Check it!”

Expansions centers on the generous skills of five extraordinary musicians—Liebman (soprano sax and flute), Matt Vashlishan (reeds), Bobby Avey (keys), Tony Marino (bass), and Alex Ritz (drums). Each one of is a heavy lifter, with the capacity (and tendency) for extraordinary adventure. Together, they embark on a bristling night of discovery, traipsing through a set consisting of songs from The Puzzle and Samsara. It is a pleasure to hear tracks like the eerie “Vendetta,” a cracking go at Basie’s “Good Bait,” and the bruising “Danse De La Fureur,” a Liebman-adapted track excerpted from a Messiaen composition, which closes the show. The material is rough-hewn and organic, much the way Liebman and company have designed them, with many gratifying moving parts and just as many blind alley ways leading to who knows where. That is why Expansions Live is such a gas. It’s a masterful exercise from a band that is never content to merely play great. They would much rather make something happen, and in the process, take their open-minded listeners to, well, destination unknown.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

International jazz guitarist Marc Antoine returns to health and California with a diverse outing at “Laguna Beach” with friends #jazz

The title track continues its chart-toping trajectory on the Billboard songs chart as the album is released Friday.

The four-year gap between albums for global guitarist Marc Antoine was spent fighting for his life and career as well as moving his family from their longtime home in Spain to the Southern California coast. Having conquered two major health challenges – one life-threatening and one career-threatening – and resettled into the placid enclave of Laguna Beach, the Paris-born, classically-trained hit-maker resumes his recording career Friday with the release of his Woodward Avenue Records debut, “Laguna Beach.” The title cut, which preceded the celebratory set of Antoine’s signature classical acoustic and nylon-string guitar melodies, quixotic gypsy jazz forays, brassy funk grooves and sultry Latin, Brazilian and Cuban rhythms, is already No. 5 on the Billboard songs chart, offering a last gasp of summer.
His thirteenth album, Antoine produced “Laguna Beach,” wrote eight of the nine songs and called upon some of his accomplished friends to collaborate with him, something he couldn’t do easily when he lived abroad for twelve years.
“When you live near LA, you can call anyone to come and work with you. Once I built my new studio over here, fired it up and began working on new material, I knew I just had to make a few phone calls to get the right guys to play on it,” said Antoine, who reached out to soloists Philippe Saisse (keyboards), Rick Braun (trumpet), Greg Vail (saxes), Armand Sabal-Lecco (bass), Tim Welvaars (harmonica) and two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown (electric guitar), who mixed the album. Anchoring the tracks were drummer Gorden Campbell, upright bassist Roberto Vally, keyboardist Marco Basci, and percussionists Gumbi Ortiz and Richie Gajate Garcia.
Incorporating an interesting variety of sounds, tapestries, moods and styles remains the guitar alchemist’s forte. Antoine’s compositions on “Laguna Beach” are enriched with his spirited sense of joy and gratitude after enduring major heart surgery in 2012 to repair an incapacitating atrial fibrillation problem only to be followed by hand surgery two years later to relieve the crippling pain and permanent nerve damage he endured while playing the guitar that locked the fingers on his left hand in odd positions.

After “pretty much hitting rock bottom” in 2014, Antoine and his wife, Rebeca, decided to make the move back to California where they resided prior to Spain. It turns out playing the guitar is ideal physical therapy, enabling Antoine to work through the scar tissue in his hand. 
“I remember vividly what a hand therapist from LA told me, that the only way to fix this is to change my ways,” Antoine recalled. “I have a deep relationship with my guitar. It's a little bit like a marriage: if you don't put effort into it, there is no life in it. So playing, and most importantly, playing with joy, love and respect is the key. I am so grateful for what is going on in my life right now and I am back enjoying my instrument, which fixes all problems. It is for real: life through guitar therapy.”

Rejuvenated, re-inspired and restored to full health, Antoine anticipates a busy concert itinerary of festival, theater and club dates to support the album release across the U.S. where he has been a popular entertainer ever since he toured globally with Basia in 1988. He’s also shared the stage with superstars Sting, Queen Latifah and Selena prior to launching his solo career with the album “Classical Soul,” which spawned the first of a library of radio hits that have made Antoine one of the mainstays at contemporary/smooth jazz radio since 1994. He’s played in pop, rock, jazz, world music, hip-hop and acid jazz settings, each of which have informed his multicultural sonicscapes and furthered his international appeal.  For more information, please visit
Antoine’s “Laguna Beach” album contains the following songs:

“Why Not”
“This and That”
“Laguna Beach”
“High Five”
“New Morning”
“Twice Upon a Time”

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 19, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 2 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 3 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 5 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
5 - 8 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 4 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
7 - 6 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
8 - 13 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
9 - 7 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
10 - 18 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
11 - 9 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
12 - 16 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
13 - 11 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
14 - 16 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
15 - 10 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
16 - 15 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
17 - 20 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)
18 - 26 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
19 - 12 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 17 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Bob Baldwin's alluring sounds of Rio #jazz

As recollections of Olympian accomplishments fade into our memories, the music of Rio via Grammy-nominated keyboardist Bob Baldwin’s ( Brazilian-American Soundtrack” continues to thrive, casting a vibrant and soulful spell of urban-jazz bliss. The critically-acclaimed, 26-song double CD is riding a wave of critical acclaim and multi-format radio spins. Multi-instrumentalist Baldwin meticulously produced and arranged the collection of twenty of his original songs along with a selection of seminal Brazilian jazz classics and R&B hits. Clocking in at more than two hours of sophisticated music, Baldwin’s lavish opus debuted as one of Billboard’s Top 20 Contemporary Jazz Albums and is capable of having the staying power to soar through 2017.
The new disc reignites Baldwin’s affair with the seductive and sensual sounds of Brazil, which first served as his muse on his 2004 love letter, “Brazil Chill.” Three years in the making and recorded on two continents, “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” is presented in two movements: Rio-Ipanema and New York. Baldwin employed an accomplished cast of Brazilian and Latin musicians – percussionists CafĂ© Da Silva, Rafael Pereira and Armando Marcal, and guitarist Torcuato Mariano - to construct the exotic rhythms on tunes such as the energizing first single, “Ipanema Fusion,” “Funky Rio,” “Teardrop” and “Oasis Of Love,” and when reimaging music from masters Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Corcovado”), Ivan Lins (“Anjo De Mim,” “The Island” and “Love Dance”) and Djavan (“Eu Te Devoro”). Baldwin uses first-call session players, vocalists and prominent soloists - Marion Meadows (sax), Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (trumpet) and Marlon McClain (guitar) to name a few - to craft soul-soaked, funk-flavored urban grooves including a pair of tunes (“Maurice” and “The Message”) that pay tribute to Maurice White, the influential creator and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, who passed away as Baldwin was finishing the record.   
On “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack,” melody-rich explorations abound anchored by Baldwin’s agile keyboard, Rhodes and piano artistry. The date, which became Baldwin’s ninth album to hit the Billboard Top 20, also benefits from his soothing tenor voice, bass, drums, percussion, Moog bass, Melodica, strings and clave contributions.

Beyond his 23-album recording career, Baldwin produces, hosts and nationally syndicates ”The NewUrbanJazz Lounge” radio show, leads a production and event planning company, designs and markets a line of men’s hats and has authored two informational books about the music industry.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Songbird of New Orleans Robin Barnes #jazz

The Songbird of New OrleansRobin Barnes ( flight to spread her soulful traditional jazz meditations across the nation is in full flight after the No. 5 Billboard Current Traditional Jazz Albums chart debut of her just-released “Songbird Sessions” EP. Along with landing a national piece in the coming issue of Food & Wine magazine, her charm continues to allure back home where Gambit Weekly’s Best of Poll selected the radiant twenty-something chanteuse the No. 2 Best Local Music Artist behind Trombone Shorty. In conjunction with the record release and a jam-packed hometown album release concert date, Barnes was featured on the iheartNOLA website and performed a pair of acoustic jazz tunes from the disc on the locally televised “News With A Twist.”
Over the past few years where she maintains a busy concert schedule in the Big Easy, Barnes has become the voice and face of the music of New Orleans, which is how she earned the trademarked moniker “The Songbird of New Orleans.” Performing on “NCIS: New Orleans” plus a bevy of appearances in the pages of national magazines while maintaining a constant presence in local media – newspapers, magazines and television – has enabled Barnes’ robust, exposed and lusty-voiced “Songbird Sessions” to waft near and far, connecting with and delighting listeners fond of her intimate versions of jazz standards and gems made famous by two of her iconic New Orleans role models, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas.          
Winner of Offbeat magazine’s Outstanding Millennial in Music Award, Barnes has received accolades from Forbes, Ebony, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, ESPN and Southwest Magazine. Thriving on the national scene with the new collection is her top priority, which is why she was in New York City last week to meet with managers, agents and venues excited to showcase the siren that brings freshness, authenticity, passion and enthusiasm to her vintage jazz repertoire.
On top of her weekend residencies at the Hotel Monteleone and Windsor Court Hotel Polo Club Lounge in the Crescent City, Barnes will launch a four-week Wednesday night residency at the Maple Leaf Bar next month and will tackle the National Anthem at the Superdome prior to the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers contest on October 16.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 12, 2016 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
2 - 3 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
3 - 1 - 3rd Force - "Glocal Force" - (Baja/TSR)
4 - 8 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
5 - 7 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
6 - 6 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
7 - 9 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
8 - 4 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
9 - 10 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
10 - 11 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
11 - 5 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
12 - 15 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 21 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
14 - 16 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
15 - 13 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
16 - 19 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
17 - 12 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
18 - 28 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
19 - 14 - Pieces Of A Dream - "All In" - (Shanachie)
20 - 36 - Philippe Saisse - "On The Level" - (Badar Log Music)

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, September 11, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Grammy Nominated Guitar Wizard, Composer & Producer Chuck Loeb Rekindles A New Love of Music With Unspoken Drawing Inspiration From Its Healing & Rejuvenating Powers #jazz

CD Out 9/30 Features Everette Harp, Nathan East, Eric Marienthal, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber & Others

"I think I have a problem," admits Chuck Loeb laughing. "I am addicted to music! I admit it. I get inspired when I hear music like Earth, Wind & Fire, Weather Report, Stevie Wonder and Wes Montgomery." Dubbed by The New York Times as 'The Clark Kent of Jazz Guitar,' Chuck Loeb has had a legendary four-decade career that has garnered him heroic status among fans and musicians alike. Loeb's mesmerizing virtuosity, flawless technique, mystical lyricism and dazzling grooves have made him first call as a guitarist, producer, composer and arranger. One quarter of the iconic Contemporary Jazz ensemble, Fourplay, and one third of the trio Jazz, Funk Soulwhich scored a 2015 Grammy nomination, Loeb has worked with a who's who list in music that includes Bob Dylan, Carly Simon, Gloria Gayner, Bill Evans and Stan Getz (who happened to have been the best man at Loeb's wedding!) A wizard in the studio, Loeb has produced everyone from pianists Bob James and Keiko Matsui to singer Jon Lucien, saxophonists Kim Waters and Nelson Rangell and fellow guitarist Larry Coryell. He's even penned theme songs for CNN, The New York Yankees and ESPN, as well as performed on soundtracks for such popular films as The Untouchables(Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner), Turner and Hooch (Tom Hanks) and Hitch (Will Smith and Eva Mendes).

September 30, 2016, Chuck Loeb will release Unspokenhis 18th album as a leader. The project remains close to his heart as it was recorded after a recent illness and recovery in which Chuck developed a new found appreciation for his first love - music. "After undergoing surgery," confides Loeb, "I had to get out and walk and sometimes it was difficult. During this period I listened a lot to music. Being a musician for so many years, I have been so involved with the mechanics and analyzation of how the music is produced, that sometimes its hard to just simply enjoy it. But now for the first time in a long time, I was able to just enjoy it purely as a listener. Music lifted me up and drove me forward during my recovery process. It meant so much to me, and rekindled my earliest love and appreciation for it."

As much as Chuck Loeb is revered as an artist, he is equally admired for his sincere, gentle and down to earth spirit. Unspokenis a testamentto the good will and adoration Loeb has amassed from his peers through the years. The star-studded cast unites Loeb with such notable guests as saxophonists Everette Harp, Eric Marienthal, Dave Mann and Andy Snitzer, bassist Nathan East, drummer Brian Dunne and pianists Jeff Lorber and Brian Culbertson, among others.

The exhilarating "Cotton Clubopens Unspoken. The album's first and chart-climbing single is reminiscent of Joe Zawinul's classic "Birdland." Loeb wrote the song in tribute to the staff of the Tokyo Cotton Club - his favorite club to play. He fronts an ironclad septet featuring pianist Jeff Lorber, who co-wrote the song and who is part of Jazz, Funk, Soul along with Loeb and saxman Everette Harp. "When Jeff and I get together we are prolific. There is no one quite like Jeff. He is an amazing guy and talent, and Everette brings so much emotion to each performance along with his obvious musical skills. "The buoyant and serene "Natural Light" features Loeb's free flowing and agile guitar lines alongside Andy Snitzer's (who can be heard these days with Paul Simon) soaring and fluid soprano. Chuck, who plays all of the other instruments on the track, credits label-mate Keiko Matsui's 'ethereal approach' for the song's inspiration.

Loeb wrote the album's title track featuring pianist Brian Culbertson, with Earth, Wind & Fire's "After The Love" and Pat Metheny's "Something To Remind You" in mind. Loeb recalls laughing, "I told Pat that I have been trying to rewrite his song for the past 25 years!" The results of Loeb's labor are sublime, resulting in one of the most tender and spectacular moments on the CD. Loeb shares, "I recorded on Brian's 'Fullerton Avenue' and it was a smash hit. I've played a few songs with him and I said to him 'Listen Bro, you owe me!' This was the right track to hear his soulful piano. He did a perfect job as he always does." As the title "Happy Hour" suggests Loeb and company came to let loose and have a little fun. There is a great horn section featured on the track that was arranged by Dave Mann who arranged the horns on the entire CD. "Dave is a huge talent," says Loeb of Mann. He is often in the background. I always want people to know just how great he is!" "Affinity" featuring Everett Harp is a bluesy, funky and soulful number that was inspired by the 1980s tune, "Maputo," written by Marcus Miller and recorded by the bassist along with Bob James and David Sanborn. Loeb reflects, "Everette came in and he brought a little of his love of Sanborn to the track and made it his own."

Unspoken also showcases the song "Treetops," featuring saxophonist Eric Marienthal, who Loeb most recently recorded with on their 2015 collaboration Bridges. "Eric is one of my best friends," shares Chuck. "He is also one of the best musicians on planet.The tune pays homage to Weather Report's Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius who have long remained influences. The Latin-tinged and winning Si Se Puede" featuring German trumpeter Till Bronner, is an ode for President Obama and the people of Cuba. Loeb's daughter Lizzy (a talented singer in her own right) wrote the samba "Way Up High," featuring her mother and Loeb's wife Carmen on vocals. Loeb confides that both his wife and daughters are always a part of his creative process. "I am always hard on myself," confesses Chuck. That is where my family comes in. They help me to have an outside objective perspective."

Shifting gears, the song "Cut and Run" is a swinging trio and beatnik number joining Loeb with Mann and drummer Brian Dunne (who is a member of Hall & Oates' band). "Dave's plays amazing flute," says Loeb. I told him I want you to wear a beret when you play this. It is a look back at my love of the birth of the cool from the 50s.Unspoken transports us to Spain on the Mediterranean with the tunes "Voramar and" "Via Verde." Both tunes pay tribute to places close to Loeb and his family's heart as they make their home there a few months a year. "Voramar" features saxophonist Eric Marienthal, pianist Pat Bianchi and drummer Brian Dunne (featured on the show Darryl's House). "Via Verde" which is co-written and features his daughter Christina on ukulele and vocals, showcases Chuck's exquisite taste and ability to summon such grace, beauty and healing energy with this playing. It is the perfect ending to a beautiful journey. Or perhaps it is a new beginning?
The release of Unspoken coincides with the first Chuck Loeb Signature model guitar by Sadowsky Guitars. The special edition will showcase a newly designed shape and will boast an extensive array of electronics. "Roger Sadowsky worked very hard and gave a lot of thought to the sound of my playing, and came up with what I call the Mercedes Benz luxury model of the guitar. I am very excited."

Born and raised in Nyack, New York, Chuck Loeb began playing the guitar as a child. As a teen the dedicated young musician would ride the train to Philadelphia to study with Dennis Sandole, whose other pupils included John Coltrane, James Moody and Pat Martino, to name a few. While a student at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Loeb studied with Pat Metheny. He is now a professor and, has his own "School of Jazz Guitar on the educational website.
Upon graduation he joined Gloria Gaynor's band and further honed his skills performing alongside such heavyweights as Chico Hamilton, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Barretto Joe Farrell and Hubert Laws, among others. In 1979 Loeb became a member of Stan Getz's ensemble and the same year, he met singer/songwriter Carmen Cuesta and the two were married soon after.

In 1985, he joined the group Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker, Michael Mainieri, Peter Erskine and Victor Bailey. In 1988, after nearly ten years of intense studio work, he made the decision to develop his own recording career releasing. My Shining Hour, which was followed by Magic Fingers on DMP along with four other projects for the audiophile label.

Chuck Loeb joined the Shanachie Entertainment family releasing his label debut The Music Inside in 1996. Loeb's subsequent recordings for the label include The Moon The Stars & The Setting Sun (1998) Listen (1999) In A Heartbeat (2001) All There Is (2002) eBop (2003) When I'm With You (2005), Silhouette (2013), Jazz, Funk Soul (with Jeff Lobber and Everette Harp) (2014) and Bridges (with Eric Marienthal - 2015).

With the release of Unspoken, Loeb unleashes the enduring beauty and power of music. The guitarist concludes, "I am really proud of this music and have a strong emotional attachment to it. I hope the CD reflects the deep love I have for music and the artists who helped me to create it. I hope that it can bring joy and healing to others."

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 5, 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 - 4 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
5 - 5 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
6 - 8 - Boney James - "Futuresoul" - (Concord Music)
7 - 9 - John Novello - "Ivory Soul" - (529 Music)
8 - 6 - Chris Standring - "Ten" - (Ultimate Vibe Recordings)
9 - 7 - Keiko Matsui - "Journey To The Heart" - (Shanachie)
10 - 10 - Michael Lington "Second Nature" - (Copenhagen Music)
11 - 11 - Kim Waters - "Rhythm and Romance" - (Shanachie)
12 - 13 - Incognito - "In Search Of Better Days" - (Shanachie)
13 - 14 - James Day - "Repertoire" - (Song King)
14 - 17 - Pieces Of A Dream - "All In" - (Shanachie)
15 - 16 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
16 - 21 - Brian Culbertson - "Funk!" - (BCM Entertainment)
17 - 12 - Will Downing - "Black Pearls" - (Shanachie)
18 - 15 - Vincent Ingala - "Coast To Coast" - (Independent)
19 - 26 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
20 - 18 - Jonathan Fritzen - "Fritzenied" - (Nordic Night Records)

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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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Smaller yet still Phat: 4-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin allows his jazz band to open up on "An Elusive Man," arriving September 9

Having amassed 20 Grammy nominations, four statues and three Emmy wins, Gordon Goodwin is the most decorated big band leader in the 21st century. After all six of his Big Phat Band albums have garnered Grammy nominations or wins, he's not elusive about why he trimmed his large 18-piece ensemble for an outing as the 8-member Little Phat Band, which will release their debut album, "An Elusive Man," on September 9 via the Music of Content label.

"It represents another side of my interest in jazz with more emphasis on improvisation and letting the musicians explore things in a way that they can't do in a larger ensemble. The music I write for this band covers a wide range of styles, from swing to Latin to funk and more. The seven musicians who join me in making up the Little Phat Band are all members of the Big Phat Band and are, to a man, the most accomplished and versatile musicians that I know," said Goodwin, who produced and arranged the date while composing eight new songs for the ten-tune set.

Goodwin's Little Phat Band - Goodwin (piano and tenor sax), Wayne Bergeron (trumpet), Eric Marienthal (alto and tenor sax), Andy Martin (trombone), Andrew Synowiec (electric and acoustic guitar), Rick Shaw (electric and acoustic bass), Bernie Dresel (drums) and Joey De Leon (percussion) - fills the diverse "An Elusive Man" with regal swing, elegant be-bop and effulgent Latin jazz rhythms along with soulful jazz funk jams. Throughout the collection adeptly balancing serious and somber with playful fun and quirk, astute musicianship is on full display with the players granted more room to bob and weave spontaneously than in the tightly-scripted big band settings to which they are typically confined. Goodwin's communicative piano ruminations and probing tenor sax explorations carve space to solo as do Marienthal's roaring tenor and penetrating alto sax, Bergeron's commanding and eloquent trumpet, Martin's character-rich trombone, Shaw's rock-steady bass and Synowiec's adaptable electric guitar that pierces tunes with expansive straight-ahead and contemporary jazz riffs as well as country licks.

As for the album's title, Goodwin reveals, "It is a reference to people we all know who go through life in fear and hide behind their jobs, their sense of humor or even their skill sets, but never really reveal much about themselves. They present a public persona, often a well-crafted one, but we never get to see who they are inside."

Breaking into the industry while still a student at California State University Northridge, Goodwin, a native of Wichita, Kansas, began by writing music for various aspects of the Disneyland park, which eventually led to composing and orchestration gigs in such films as "The Incredibles," "Remember The Titans," "Armageddon," "Get Smart," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "National Treasure" and "Gone in 60 Seconds." His inventive scoring and orchestrations for television garnered three Emmys while his resume boasts crafting music for Quincy Jones, Christina Aguilera, Johnny Mathis, John Williams, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme. Longing to forge his own legacy, he formed the Big Phat Band, which debuted in 2000 with "Swingin' for the Fences," nabbing a pair of Grammy nominations. Each release that followed cemented the unit's place as the preeminent big band with Grammy nominations and wins for albums featuring contributions from Eddie Daniels, Arturo Sandoval, David Sanborn, Brian McKnight, Dianne Reeves, Take 6, Lee Ritenour, Patti Austin, Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Marcus Miller. The group's most recent offering, 2014's "Life in the Bubble," snared four nods along with the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Goodwin shares his ardor for the big band sound that first captured his imagination on "Phat Tracks with Gordon Goodwin," a radio show airing weekends on KJAZZ, America's jazz and blues station. For more information, please visit

"An Elusive Man" contains the following songs:

"The LP Shuffle"
"Cot in the Act"
"Behind You"
"An Elusive Man"
"Samba Cya"
"Garaje Gato"
"I Know You"
"In a Sentimental Mood"
"Why We Can't Have Nice Things"

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