Monday, January 30, 2017

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 30, 2017 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Reverence" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group"
2 - 2 - Peter White - "Groovin' - (Heads Up/Concord)
3 - 3 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
4 - 4 - Brian Simpson - "Persuasion" - (Shanachie)
5 - 14 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
6 - 7 - Doc Powell - "This Is Soul" - (DPR Music)
7 - 6 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
8 - 8 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
9 - 12 - Richard Elliot - "Summer Madness" - (Heads Up/Concord)
10 - 9 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
11 - 5 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
12 - 15 - Steve Watson - "Playtime" - (WatsonWood)
13 - 13 - Ken Navarro - "Bonfire" - (Positive Music Records)
14 - 10 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
15 - 19 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
16 - 16 - Lindsey Webster - "Back To Your Heart" - (Shanachie)
17 - 18 - Herb Alpert - "Human Nature" - (Herb Alpert Presents)
18 - 21 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
19 - 11 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
20 - 23 - Lawson Rollins - "3 Minutes To Midnight" - (Infinita Records)

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Therapeutic “Conversations”: Smooth soul singer Selina Albright comfortable and confident enough to “Eat Something” #jazz

Empowering radio single about self-love and acceptance previews her March 17 debut album release.
While a song about the joy of packing on a few pounds and a widening booty may seem contrary to the messages bombarding the popular music and media landscapes, smooth soul singer Selina Albright’s “Eat Something” is instantly resonating with fans and radio programmers, including SiriusXM Watercolors’ Dave Koz Lounge, which will feature the song on the February 5 national broadcast. The mid-tempo adult R&B song bolstered by guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno’s crafty touch is the lead single from Albright’s first full-length album, the very personal “Conversations,” which will be released March 17 by Golden Rays Music with preorders beginning February 1 on iTunes.         
“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that I’ve reprioritized my life and stopped putting so much emphasis on doing and being what’s most acceptable to others, and instead focused more on appreciating and expressing who I’ve become. Getting to that place in my life inspired me to write about topics I normally wouldn’t, such as ‘Eat Something.’ I know it’s unconventional to write a song about being so happy that you gain weight from eating more, but there’s a freedom in the candor of the lyrics. There was no way I was going to change that. It was far too special,” said Albright, who selected the heartening cut as the first single based upon the immediate and rousing response she receives whenever performing the song in concert and from the fervent reaction from her “FanFamily” on social media.    
Describing the custom-tailored blend of sensual soul and sultry jazz album as “my own therapeutic diary through joy, betrayal, liberation and hope, all written without holding back,” Albright wrote the lyrics for all nine original tunes and co-produced three tracks on “Conversations.” Her subject matters are based upon intimate and probing conversations she’s had, shared as if she’s confiding in a close friend. Whether skillfully unleashing the full power and magnitude of her gravity-defying voice or harnessing her passion in a reassuring caress, Albright’s demeanor remains sunny and glowing on uplifting numbers like “Possible” and “Highest High.” Even when confronting weightier subjects head on like she does on “Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” and “Victim,” her inherent optimism remains present and undaunted. “Let Go” also is wrought with emotion and includes dramatic flute flourishes from multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright, Selina’s father. The disc’s lone cover is a stripped down, jazzy take on “If I Were A Boy” with accompaniment by contemporary jazz hit-maker Peter White on acoustic guitar and Randy Ellis (Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé) on sax. Also contributing to the date are producers Chris “Big Dog” Davis and James “JRob” Roberson as well as guitarist David P. Stevens.     
To help launch the album, Albright will perform at three record release parties: February 12 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California, April 6 at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania and April 15 at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver, Colorado. The Southern California show is already nearly sold-out.  
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Albright was reared in the jazz and R&B scene, making her first appearance singing on one of her father’s albums twenty years ago. She has since sung on several of his collections, including penning lyrics and singing on the Grammy-nominated “24/7,” a 2012 duet set from the chart-topping saxophonist and Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown. Oozing stage presence, exuberance and captivating charisma, Albright has made her own name while singing on records and stages around the world, shining brightly amidst a galaxy of contemporary jazz stars and R&B legends that spans Brian Culbertson, David Benoit, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, David Sanborn, Boney James, Richard Elliot and Rick Braun to Chaka Khan, Will Downing, Regina Belle, The Temptations, Hugh Masakela and the late George Duke. In an entirely different setting, she injected her soul-powered energy into the electronic dance music world by collaborating with Manufactured Superstars, leading to a performance with the internationally-revered DJ duo at Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival in 2011. Recording as a solo artist, Albright placed the spirited jazz original “You and I” on the iTunes Top 100 Singles Downloads in 2010. A few years later, she topped the soul chart in the United Kingdom for four weeks with her R&B/soul single “Brighter.” Last year, Albright primed the marketplace for “Conversations” by issuing “Sun Comes Up,” which outpaced her previous singles.                   
“Conversations” contains the following songs:
“Eat Something” (featuring Kay-Ta Matsuno)
“If I Were A Boy” (featuring Randy Ellis)
“Talk To Her”
“Highest High”
“Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” (featuring David P. Stevens)
“Search My Name”
“Let Go” (featuring Gerald Albright)
“Uncharted Love”
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vocalist Clint Holmes has an intimate “Rendezvous” with a star-studded jazz collective #jazz

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Ledisi, Joey DeFrancesco, Dave Koz, Patti Austin and The Count Basie Orchestra help bring the veteran crooner’s story to life on the album due February 24.

A song that singer-songwriter Clint Holmes wrote fondly recalling the Sunday afternoons he used to spend with his father at the historic Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo in upstate New York where he was first exposed to jazz serves as the centerpiece of “Rendezvous,” his new album slated for release on February 24 from LL Music
“I was twelve and it was a true coming of age moment for me. I had never seen my dad in his world. He worked three jobs and never seemed happy until I saw him in this element. I fell in love with jazz and how cool it felt to interact with the ‘cats’ the way my dad did,” said Holmes, the son of an African-American father and a white British mother who was a classically-trained opera singer. 

With jazz timing and phrasing informing his velvety tenor croon on eleven cuts, including three new songs that he co-wrote, Holmes surrounded himself with a royal herd of jazz “cats” on the collection that was produced by two-time Grammy winner Gregg Field. The sophisticated session offers a diverse play list that reinterprets modern day and classic pop hits, soulful R&B, theatrical tunes and numbers culled from the Great American Songbook. Field placed Holmes’ voice front and center amidst live instrumentation, sweeping strings and orchestra accompaniment, and sparse piano and vocal settings. The first single shipped to radio stations for airplay is “Say Something,” a duet between Holmes and multi-time Grammy nominee Ledisi. Grammy winner Patti Austin sang, conducted and arranged the background vocals on the track that will also be remixed for dance floors and serviced to club DJs.           

Class and elegance reign on a cunning big band mashup of “I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” pairing Holmes and Grammy-winning chanteuse Dee Dee Bridgewater backed by The Count Basie Orchestra. Holmes will join Bridgewater and the famed orchestra on stage at the legendary Blue Note in New York City on February 4 and 5 to perform the showstopper arranged by four-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin.    

Stellar contributions proliferate “Rendezvous.” Holmes and Grammy winner Jane Monheit break hearts on a sublime rendition of Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Swinging jazz and blues mingle “At The Rendezvous,” which is illuminated by a storming Hammond B-3 solo from Grammy-nominated organist Joey DeFrancesco. Closing the record with poignancy, Holmes penned lyrics to the sweetly melodic “What You Leave Behind,” composed by contemporary jazz luminary Dave Koz, who embellished the acoustic guitar and vocal track with a gracefully emoting sax solo.           

“Every track does come from a personal place for me and this CD is a ‘rendezvous’ in every sense of the word – a coming together of great and generous artists. The material I selected for the album is specific and biographical while being universal at the same time,” Holmes concluded.   

Holmes burst onto the pop landscape nearly 45 years ago with the million-selling smash “Playground in My Mind.” His enduring and accomplished career as a recording artist, multidimensional showman and consummate entertainer includes tenure as Joan Rivers’ sidekick on her late night television program, a stint as musical feature and event correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” and his own Emmy-winning talk/variety show. Along with appearing in marquee musicals across the country, he has written the book, music and lyrics to original shows and cabaret acts. A critically-acclaimed draw in Las Vegas and New York City in recent decades, Holmes concluded an extended run at the Palazzo a short time ago and soon expects to announce a new Vegas residency with a production inspired by “Rendezvous.” For more information, please visit

“Rendezvous” contains the following songs:
“Stop This Train”
“At The Rendezvous” featuring Joey DeFrancesco
“I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater and The Count Basie Orchestra
“Every Time We Say Goodbye” featuring Jane Monheit
“All Of Me”
“Say Something” featuring Ledisi
“The Perfect Trance”
“My Way”
“What You Leave Behind” featuring Dave Koz

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Monday, January 23, 2017

It’s “3 Minutes to Midnight” and Lawson Rollins has “Island Time” on his mind #jazz

The world music guitarist is feeling “Golden” about landing his first motion picture score.
Award-winning world music guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time,” the first cut taken from his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which was released last Friday (January 20) by Infinita Records. Radio programmers at influential national outlets, including SiriusXM’s Watercolors and Broadcast Architecture, have made the seductive waltz paced by Rollins’ beguiling fingerstyle nylon guitar come-ons one of the “most added” and “most played” new singles on the first two charts published in 2017. Another composition appearing on the multicultural and multi-genre collection written by Rollins, the mystical meditation “Eternal,” began receiving airplay last month on the nationally-syndicated public radio program Echoes. “3 Minutes to Midnight” wasted no time climbing into the top 20 of the iTunes world music album sales chart.   
Adopting a “Brevity is the soul of wit” mantra while crafting the twelve tunes that form “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Rollins opted to communicate with a sense of urgency, immediacy and poignancy perhaps to contrast the clutter and clamor incessantly assaulting our senses and shrinking bandwidths. He eschewed his long-held penchant for sprawling compositions and opulently-layered audioscapes in favor of clear and concise constructs - all in the three-minute range – with a pared down sonic aesthetic. Producing the session with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella, Rollins’ new set evokes a full gamut of moods and emotions ranging from passion, energetic and excitement to brooding, melancholic and pensive.  
In the March issue of Guitar Player that is slated to hit magazine racks early next month, Rollins, whose virtuosic classical guitar technique has amassed over 10 million YouTube views, discusses “3 Minutes to Midnight” as well as nabbing his first film score. In a feature story that serves as the cover to the magazine’s “Frets” section, he talks about composing the music and serving as the music supervisor and executive producer of “Golden,” a movie described as a modern day psychological morality thriller currently in post-production.  

“The soundtrack is going to be all original material from me on acoustic, electric, slide and Spanish guitars, backed by two-time Grammy-winning Danish violinist Mads Tolling, Native American master flute player Guillermo Martinez (of the Tarascan tribe) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Duros. It's going to be a haunting soundtrack of acoustic Americana guitar motifs, blues-based electric guitar playing, violin fiddling, and Native American flute and drumming fused with some contemporary synthesizer and percussive elements,” said Rollins, a San Francisco-based artist whose authentic world beat sound and earthy ethereal recordings foretold eventual work in cinema.
Along with garnering robust radio play and early chart action, “3 Minutes to Midnight” is being well received by critics. Below is a sampling of the initial reviews: 
If your ears are thirsting for swirling guitar work that will thrill your heart and bring you up out of whatever funky mood you’re in – Lawson’s new (January 20th, 2017) release is just perfect for doing that.” – Improvijazzation Nation
Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey…A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins' exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that ‘3 Minutes to Midnight’ is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.” – Exclusive Magazine
This American artist is one of the most creative world music and fusion guitarists in the world.” – Keys & Chords
“As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite a while ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, ‘3 Minutes to Midnight.’…these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“Classic, acoustic guitar jazz with a hint of the exotic.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk
“Firmly staking out his territory as a world beat guitarist par excellence…A tasty treat throughout.” – Midwest Record
“’3 Minutes to Midnight’ is dazzling, pertinent and explosive.” –
For more information about Rollins, please visit To view the “Golden” trailer, go to

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Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 23, 2017 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Reverence" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group"
2 - 2 - Peter White - "Groovin' - (Heads Up/Concord)
3 - 4 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
4 - 8 - Brian Simpson - "Persuasion" - (Shanachie)
5 - 5 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 3 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
7 - 7 - Doc Powell - "This Is Soul" - (DPR Music)
8 - 10 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
9 - 11 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
10 - 6 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
11 - 9 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
12 - 12 - Richard Elliot - "Summer Madness" - (Heads Up/Concord)
13 - 21 - Ken Navarro - "Bonfire" - (Positive Music Records)
14 - 18 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
15 - 19 - Steve Watson - "Playtime" - (WatsonWood)
16 - 13 - Lindsey Webster - "Back To Your Heart" - (Shanachie)
17 - 20 - Jazz Funk Soul - "More Serious Business" - (Shanachie)
18 - 16 - Herb Alpert - "Human Nature" - (Herb Alpert Presents)
19 - 17 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
20 - 23 - Mark Etheredge - "Connected" - (Vipaka Records)

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

COLOR OUR WORLDS -Stein’s new recording hits an impressive trifecta #jazz

It is all you can ask for from a jazz recording — the trifecta, the vaunted triple threat. John Stein’s new disc, Color Tones, features excellent compositions, beautiful arrangements, and formidable playing.

It helps when you can fit the pieces into place like Stein can. The tasteful guitarist has assembled a sublime band, expanding his regular rhythm section — drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario and bassist John Lockwood — with the addition of two unique and mature soloists, Fernando Brandão on flutes and Phil Grenadier on trumpets and mutes.

The band is critical to Stein’s success. Together, the quintet has created Color Tones, a marvelous melange of classy jazz, funky grooves, and terrific ensemble playing. All four of Stein’s accompanists carve out unique territory, individually and collectively. Stein is a generous leader. Every musician is featured extensively, and they complement each other beautifully, adding their individual voices to the group effort.

Songs like the exciting “Neck Road” provide an example of how this collective functions, featuring all five instrumentalists weaving through spontaneous interplay: the musical conversation is respectful, energetic, and bristling. Though the acoustic format feels traditional on the surface, there are surprises hiding underneath. This is music of depth and subtlety.

John Stein is one of the finest jazz guitarists you'll ever hear, with beautiful touch, tone, swing, detail, and emotion. Working with a warm, singing classic jazz-guitar sound, he renders maximum swing and expression. There's a wealth of detail that he gets at even the fastest tempos.

Special mention goes to John for his compositions on this recording. The tunes are challenging yet melodic, adventuresome yet familiar. John has provided his co-artists with sparingly ornamented, although not blank canvases. The musicians, utilizing the palette John has supplied, complete the sonic landscapes, adding depth, perspective, and character. With the composer leading the way with nimble, subtle guitar figures, the result is communal art in which all participants have room to express themselves through thoughtful improvisation.

Eight of the eleven tunes here are arranged by the group; each one features the rhythm section laying down a deep groove, with the other musicians layering colored lines over it in a communal way. In addition to the ideas contributed by the composer and the players, three of the songs are arranged by Adi Yeshaya, which adds immeasurably to the sonic variety of Color Tones.

The resulting work is bold and beautiful, vigorous brush strokes on a sturdy canvas. Which is to say, art. One way, and a fitting one, to describe Stein’s Color Tones is that it’s literally a work of art, a mosaic of playing, composing and arranging that amounts to strata of bold colors, masterful restraint, and just the right amount of flourish.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 16, 2017 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Reverence" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group"
2 - 2 - Peter White - "Groovin' - (Heads Up/Concord)
3 - 6 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
4 - 4 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
5 - 3 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
6 - 10 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
7 - 5 - Doc Powell - "This Is Soul" - (DPR Music)
8 - 14 - Brian Simpson - "Persuasion" - (Shanachie)
9 - 7 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
10 - 11 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
11 - 9 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
12 - 8 - Richard Elliot - "Summer Madness" - (Heads Up/Concord)
13 - 13 - Lindsey Webster - "Back To Your Heart" - (Shanachie)
14 - 12 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
15 - 18 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
16 - 17 - Herb Alpert - "Human Nature" - (Herb Alpert Presents)
17 - 15 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
18 - 16 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
19 - 31 - Steve Watson - "Playtime" - (WatsonWood)
20 - 21 - Jazz Funk Soul - "More Serious Business" - (Shanachie)

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - January 9, 2017 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Reverence" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group"
2 - 2 - Peter White - "Groovin' - (Heads Up/Concord)
3 - 5 - BWB - "BWB" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
4 - 3 - Euge Groove - "Still Euge" - (Shanachie)
5 - 8 - Doc Powell - "This Is Soul" - (DPR Music)
6 - 4 - Paul Taylor - "Countdown" - (Pike/eOne)
7 - 6 - The Rippingtons - "True Stories" - (Peak/eONE)
8 - 10 - Richard Elliot - "Summer Madness" - (Heads Up/Concord)
9 - 9 - Paul Jackson Jr. - "Stories From Stompin' Willie - (Branch, Records Inc.)
10 - 11 - Paul Brown - "One Way Back" - (Woodward Avenue)
11 - 13 - Adam Hawley - "Just The Beginning" - (Kalimba)
12 - 7 - Chuck Loeb - "Unspoken" - (Shanachie)
13 - 12 - Lindsey Webster - "Back To Your Heart" - (Shanachie)
14 - 23 - Brian Simpson - "Persuasion" - (Shanachie)
15 - 16 - Nick Colionne - "The Journey" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
16 - 14 - Marc Antoine - "Laguna Beach" - (Woodward Avenue)
17 - 21 - Herb Alpert - "Human Nature" - (Herb Alpert Presents)
18 - 15 - Gerald Albright - "Taking Control" - (Bright)
19 - 17 - Ken Navarro - "Bonfire" - (Positive Music Records)
20 - 19 - Reza Khan - "Wind Dance" - (Painted Media)

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