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Monday, September 30, 2019

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 30, 2019 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Rick Braun - "Crossroads" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 2 - David Benoit - "David Benoit and Friends" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
3 - 3 - FOUR80EAST - "Four On The Floor" - (Boomtang)
4 - 6 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns II: From A to Z" - (Concord)
5 - 9 - Althea Rene - "Flawsome" - (Althea Rene Productions)
6 - 7 - Brendan Rothwell - "Sentiment" - (Independent)
7 - 5 - Ragan Whiteside - "Five Up Top" - (Randis Music)
8 - 4 - Nicholas Cole - "The Weekend" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 8 - Pieces Of A Dream - "On Another Note" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
10 - 15 - Adam Hawley - "Double Vision" - (Kalimba)
11 - 11 - Eric Darius - "Breakin' Thru" - (SagiDarius Music)
12 - 10 - Jazmin Ghent - "The Story Of Jaz" - (Jazmin Ghent Music)
13 - 12 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
14 - 13 - Nelson Rangell - "By Light" - (Independent)
15 - 14 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
16 - 21 - Chris Standring - "Best Of Chris Standring Remixed" - (Ultimate Vibe)
17 - 19 - Paul Brown - "Uptown Blues" - (Woodward Avenue)
18 - 18 - Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band - "Midnight Daydream" - (Hatherill)
19 - 16 - Keiko Matsui - "Echo" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
20 - 20 - Butch & Rhonda Coleman - "Moment Of Your Time" - (Jeremee 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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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Van Morrison Announces His Sixth New Album in 4 Years, Three Chords and the Truth #jazz

Van Morrison is back with more new music.
The legendary “Brown Eyed Girl” singer is set to release his upcoming album, Three Chords and the Truth, on Oct. 25. It’s his sixth record in four years and the 41st of his career.
Three Chords and the Truth will feature fourteen new original compositions, including the first track from the album, “Dark Night of the Soul,” which was released on Sept. 18. All of the songs on the record were written and produced by Morrison, 74, except for “If We Wait for Mountains,” which was co-written with lyricist Don Black.

In a statement, Morrison said of recording the album, “You’re just plugging into the feeling of it, more the feeling of it … when they’re playing … It’s like reading me. So, I think there’s more of that connection.”
The album also features contributions from legendary guitarist Jay Berliner and a duet with The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley on the track “Fame Will Eat the Soul.” Other titles on the album include “March Winds in February,” “In Search of Grace,” “Nobody in Charge,” “You Don’t Understand,” “Read Between the Lines,” “Does Love Conquer All?,” “Early Days,” “Up on Broadway,” “Bags Under My Eyes,” “Days Gone by” and the title track, “Three Chords and the Truth.”
Starting on Oct. 2 in Reno, Nevada, Morrison will play several shows in the U.S. before heading abroad to play his shows in the U.K. beginning on Oct. 21. In January 2020, Morrison will return to the U.S. to play five shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Then, in March, he’ll kick off his residency at the London Palladium.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 23, 2019 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Rick Braun - "Crossroads" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 3 - David Benoit - "David Benoit and Friends" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
3 - 2 - FOUR80EAST - "Four On The Floor" - (Boomtang)
4 - 10 - Nicholas Cole - "The Weekend" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
5 - 6 - Ragan Whiteside - "Five Up Top" - (Randis Music)
6 - 8 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns II: From A to Z" - (Concord)
7 - 5 - Brendan Rothwell - "Sentiment" - (Independent)
8 - 7 - Pieces Of A Dream - "On Another Note" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
9 - 4 - Althea Rene - "Flawsome" - (Althea Rene Productions)
10 - 9 - Jazmin Ghent - "The Story Of Jaz" - (Jazmin Ghent Music)
11 - 32 - Eric Darius - "Breakin' Thru" - (SagiDarius Music)
12 - 13 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
13 - 12 - Nelson Rangell - "By Light" - (Independent)
14 - 16 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
15 - 14 - Adam Hawley - "Double Vision" - (Kalimba)
16 - 11 - Keiko Matsui - "Echo" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
17 - 15 - Jazz Holdouts - "Summer Nights" - (Palm Beach Jazz)
18 - 19 - Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band - "Midnight Daydream" - (Hatherill)
19 - 21 - Paul Brown - "Uptown Blues" - (Woodward Avenue)
20 - 24 - Butch & Rhonda Coleman - "Moment Of Your Time" - (Jeremee 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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Brandon Robertson – Bass’d on a True Story - #jazz

Bassist Brandon Robertson is a ten year veteran of the Florida jazz scene. Bass’d on a True Story – his debut album as a leader – represents the first chapter of his musical autobiography. Its eight original songs were written over the course of the last 14-years. Each tune reflects something important in his development both as a person and as a musician. “Each song is attached to a memory that I hang on to; memories from significant moments in my life. From the birth of my kids to my experiences in New Orleans,” says Robertson. For this project, Robertson assembled a fine mix of collaborators from a range of jazz scenes in order to best fit each tune’s particular flavor. Throughout the aptly named album, you’ll quickly discover that Brandon is not your typical bass player. He’s as comfortable taking the lead on a tune as he is keeping time in the background. His solos reveal a deep sense of melody and are filled with unexpected rhythmic accents that enhance the musical conversation with his collaborators.

Brandon Robertson – Bass
Avis Berry – Vocals
Adrian Crutchfield – Soprano Sax
Lew Del Gatto – Tenor Sax
James Suggs – Trumpet
Mason Margut – Piano*
Leon Anderson – Drums*
Zach Bartholomew – Piano**
Gerald Watkins Jr. – Drums**
*Tracks 1, 3, 5, 8
**Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 9Release Date: September 13th, 2019 on Slammin Media/Believe Distribution

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Poncho Sanchez Tribute Album “Trane’s Delight”, released on Sept. 20th, | Listen to New Single “Blue Train”! #jazz

On his first new album in seven years, GRAMMY Award-winning conguero Poncho Sanchez celebrates the life and music of the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane. Released on September 20, 2019 via Concord Picante, Trane’s Delight is a love letter from one musical pioneer to another, as the Latin Jazz legend pays homage to one of his earliest and most indelible influences.
Throughout his career Sanchez has held aloft the torch lit by such Latin Jazz innovators as Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente and Cal Tjader, embraced by each of those icons and entrusted to carry forward the traditions of Latin Jazz. But Sanchez’s influences are numerous, and Coltrane looms large in Sanchez’s pantheon alongside those pioneers. On his latest album Trane’s Delight, Sanchez pays tribute to the late jazz legend with Latin-tinged reimaginings of Coltrane classics as well as new pieces composed in honor of the tenor titan.

“I’ve always loved John Coltrane,” Sanchez says, “ever since I was a kid and first learned about jazz. I’ve recorded tributes to a lot of my heroes in life – Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader – so I thought it was definitely time to do a tribute to the great John Coltrane.”
Trane’s Delight also continues Sanchez’s remarkable 37-year relationship with Concord, a rich legacy that has now yielded 27 albums. The album features the conguero’s longtime band, featuring trombonist and musical director Francisco Torres, trumpet and flugelhorn master Ron Blake, saxophonist Robert Hardt, pianist Andy Langham, bassists Rene Camacho and Ross Schodek, and percussionists Joey DeLeon and Giancarlo Anderson.

The 11-track album features three classic Coltrane compositions and a pair of new compositions written in honor of the sax master, alongside a host of original pieces and classic favorites chosen to represent Sanchez’s wide spectrum of influences. At its heart, though, Trane’s Delight provides a direct link from the 67-year old conguero to his 11-year old self, staring in the window of his local record store at the entrancing, blue-tinged cover of the 1962 album Coltrane.
“I had eyeballed this record for about a month, looking at it with not enough money to buy it,” Sanchez recalls. “I played a couple little gigs around town and saved up the money, so it was the first album I ever bought by myself. I used to have a little space in my mother’s garage with my record player and my drums and congas. I put that record on, and that first track, ‘Out of This World,’ kicked in and I was blown away. I listened to that record daily for years.
The wonder with which Sanchez first heard Coltrane’s singular voice is still present more than a half-century later in his vibrant reimagining of the saxophonist’s compositions. Trane’s Delight features a buoyant Latin spin on “Liberia,” from 1964’s Coltrane’s Sound; the classic “Blue Train” rendered as a cha-cha-chá; and a rumba twist on the immortal “Giant Steps,” that perennial proving ground for jazz musicians, its challenge not only embraced by Sanchez’s virtuosic collaborators but taken at a breakneck pace that leaves no room for trepidation.
In collaboration with Torres, Sanchez also penned two brand-new pieces inspired by Coltrane. The bustling title tune is a lively encapsulation of the saxophonist’s adventurous spirit, highlighted by DeLeon’s rollicking timbale solo. “Yam’mote,” meanwhile, coins a new hybrid term combining two cultures’ words for the same food: yams and camote. The music, as warm as the comfort food that it references, was inspired by another of the young Sanchez’s brushes with his idol.
“When I was in high school, I would lay in bed listening to Los Angeles’ jazz radio station,” he says. “One night, the DJ announced, ‘Tomorrow I’m going to interview John Coltrane at 11am.’ It was during the week, but I had to hear this interview, so the next day I woke up and started coughingand told my mother that I didn’t feel good, so I didn’t have to go to school that day. It ended up being a short interview, but the part that stuck with me the most was at the very end. The host asked Trane his favorite food. My ears grew huge and I leaned in to the radio, thinking he’d say BBQ ribs or fried chicken or something, but he said sweet potato pie.”
Dumbstruck, Sanchez asked his mother if she knew how to make sweet potato pie. Instead, she offered to make the candied camotesthat is a favorite dish in Mexico and across Central America. “I ate that camote every day for like two weeks because I loved John Coltrane,” Sanchez laughs. “I just thank God that he didn’t say dog food, because I would’ve run out and got some dog food. That’s how much he meant to me.”
As always with Sanchez’s wide-ranging interests, Trane’s Delight casts its sonic net much wider than just Coltrane’s sphere of influence. The blissful Duke Ellington composition “The Feeling of Jazz,” provides a bridge: the lovely, relaxed tune, here featuring eloquent turns by Torres and Camacho, was recorded on 1963’s Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, the sole meeting of the two jazz icons.
Trane’s Delight opens with “Soul Bourgeoisie,” a Hubert Laws composition originally recorded by the Jazz Crusaders on their 1965 album Chile Con Soul. Featuring a soulful Hardt solo, the upbeat tune sets the exuberant tone for the album. The classic bolero “Si Te Dicen” slows things down to an elegant sway, with Sanchez’s heartfelt vocal harkening back to Joe Cuba’s 1966 version featuring singer Cheo Feliciano.
Pianist Andy Langham contributed “Sube” (which translates as “ascend” or “go up”), a bristling 6/8 piece ornamented by the mesmerizing kalimba playing of Cornelius Alfredo Duncan Jr. Sanchez befriended the percussionist more than 40 years ago, and reconnected when he saw a YouTube video of Duncan playing the African thumb piano. He immediately reconnected with his old friend and invited him to join the band for the occasion.
A sequel to the medley of classic tunes that appeared on the conguero’s last release, Live in Hollywood, “Poncho Sanchez Medley #2” combines three old favorites: “Baila Mi Gente,” from 1979’s Poncho, which Sanchez cites as his first original composition; “El Sabrosón,” co-written by Sanchez’s longtime pianist and musical director, the late David Torres; and “El Shing-A-Ling,” a song born from Sanchez’s impromptu singing in a Fayetteville, Arkansas convenience store.
The album closes with “Todo Termino,” a song written by Bobby Manrique and immortalized by another Sanchez idol, the great Puerto Rican singer and bandleader Tito Rodríguez. For the occasion he invited the Los Angeles vocalist Norell Thomson, a standout voice on the city’s salsa scene, to front the ensemble.
Ultimately, Trane’s Delight offers a tribute not only to the stellar music and influence of the great John Coltrane, but a spotlight for the myriad ways that the tenor giant’s explorations have fueled courageous artists like Poncho Sanchez. The results, as on this passionate new album, would no doubt delight Trane’s searching spirit.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Spyro Gyra taps vinyl for inspiration #jazz

Seminal contemporary jazz band mines a collection of vinyl classics for their first album in six years. “Vinyl Tap” drops October 11 with the first single, “Can’t Find My Way Home,” going for playlist adds September 23.

Free of the tension of having to write great songs, the five members of Spyro Gyra were laughing and having fun in the recording studio. Creativity flowed as the venerable contemporary jazz band revisited the songs that inspired them from their youth when they were listening to music on vinyl. That artistic fount was spun into “Vinyl Tap,” Spyro Gyra’s first album in six years, which drops October 11 on the Amherst Records label.      

“It was tensionless as we ‘warped’ the tunes. We had a world of brilliant music to choose from and we didn’t have to worry about writing brilliant music. It was a really fun project to make,” said saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, who will lead Spyro Gyra on tour to support “Vinyl Tap” with a string of US concert dates beginning November 15 in Newark, NJ after a three-week international trek that begins at the Cancun Jazz Festival on October 23.

When Spyro Gyra manager Phil Brennan proposed the albums concept a few years ago to bandleader Beckenstein for their 31st album, he knew that it might take some convincing, so he came prepared with an intriguing concept. Brennan suggested that the band use their arrangement talents to transform the originals into something brand new. The challenge appealed to Beckenstein, who soon overcame any misgivings.

“It’s cliché (to record covers) in saxophone-based contemporary jazz. We did not want to sound like a fantastic wedding band. I was really afraid that if we didn’t do our own thing, that our identity would be lost. It was imperative in the creative process – and everybody (in the band) knew this in a big way – that things had to be mixed up. Things had to be jolted out of the old way of approaching the songs. We really tried to come up with a new take on whatever (song) we were doing. We put solos into tunes that really are complete extensions that never had anything to do with the originals,” said Beckenstein.

What initially stands out on “Vinyl Tap,” which was produced by Spyro Gyra, are the wildly imaginative arrangements. Beckenstein said, “The arrangements were put together with everyone in my basement with all the equipment set up. We were all together in the pre-studio arrangement process. It was all done democratically. Spyro Gyra is a musician’s group collective. When you have five talented guys, you can do some cool arranging things.” 

Spyro Gyra are Beckenstein, Tom Schuman (keyboards), Julio Fernandez (guitars), Scott Ambush (bass) and Lionel Cordew (drums). The musicians have somewhat of a wide range of ages, which explains some of the diversity of the material recorded for “Vinyl Tap.” Beckenstein selected the album opener, “Secret Agent Mash,” a supercharged and ultrahip mashup of “Secret Agent Man” and “Alfie’s Theme.” “Sunshine Of Your Love” is virtually unrecognizable in its new form as a Latin big band number. The first cut going for playlist adds on September 23 is the plaintive “Can’t Find My Way Home,” which takes on a bit of a western feel and benefits from the soulful perspective of Beckenstein’s saxophone protagonist. “What A Fool Believes” is slowed to become a contemplative power ballad that breaks into a mid-song swing cadence.

“I spent a lot of time listening to radio – classic rock radio – looking for material that had fantastic melodies. If there was a beautiful, arching melody, like ‘What A Fool Believes,’ it would definitely translate to my saxophone ‘voice,’” said Beckenstein.         

Adding chromatic and bass harmonicas by Gary Schreiner, “The Cisco Kid” vacillates in time and tempo, letting the band members stretch out into improvisational banter. Exemplative of Spyro Gyra’s ethos, each band member shares the spotlight equitably, adding sweetness and redolent depth to “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.” “Tempted” always oozed soul, but the band’s reading is deliberate, adding romance and underscoring the sweeping chorus. “Stolen Moments” is another that essentially becomes an “original” composition in Spyro Gyra’s inventive hands after the piece was reconstructed using entirely new, deft and complex rhythms. The set closes with an exhilarating romp cascading through a groovy expanse on “Carry On.” 

“This is the first record we’ve done where we have allowed ourselves to do other people’s material full throttle,” said Beckenstein. “That is not to say in any way that we tried to copy what other people did, but it was really great to reach outside of our writing capabilities for inspiration for us to take off on. And that’s what this album is about.”

Pre-order sales for “Vinyl Tap” begin on iTunes and Amazon on September 23, the same day “Can’t Find My Way Home” becomes available.       

“Vinyl Tap” contains the following songs:

“Secret Agent Mash”
“Sunshine Of Your Love”
“Can’t Find My Way Home”
“What A Fool Believes”
“The Cisco Kid”
“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
“Stolen Moments”
“Carry On”

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Brian Culbertson tells “Winter Stories” in a jazz trio #jazz

“Morning Walk” went for playlist adds on Monday ahead of the October 4 album release.

Inspiration strikes artists even when on holiday break. As pianist Brian Culbertson strolled the frigid streets of Chicago last winter, he felt compelled to write music. Feeling the cold air, seeing his breath and hearing the crunch of snow under his feet spurred the creation of “Winter Stories,” a contemplative collection of melodic musical “stories” recorded in a jazz trio setting. The first “story” that will preface the BCM Entertainment release dropping October 4 is “Morning Walk,” which went for playlist adds on Monday.     

When Culbertson returned from that inspired walk, he started composing the first piece for the album that, over time, will become a four-album series: separate stories for each season. He wrote and demoed one song per day for ten consecutive days. After each day’s session, he’d head back into the cold, taking the demo out for a walk. Upon his return, he’d make adjustments to the composition until “it was just right.”

Best known for crafting a catalog of R&B, jazz, and funk hits, Culbertson felt that this pensive and introspective album would best be presented by a jazz trio. Knowing that drummer Khari Parker has a deft touch with brushes to craft the gentle rhythms, Culbertson had only one acoustic bassist in mind: Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group). They knew each other from the Chicago jingle scene at the beginning of Culbertson’s professional career and Rodby played on a track on the keyboardist’s second album, “Modern Life” (1995). 

“Understanding Steve’s jazz/pop sensibilities and knowing how musical and ‘in tune’ he plays upright bass, I knew that he was the only one who could play on this record,” said Culbertson.

Culbertson describes “Winter Stories” not as a Christmas album, but as a hybrid. “It is very melodic with a pop structure, but utilizing traditional straight-ahead jazz elements - acoustic piano, upright bass and drums with brushes – which give it a ‘holiday’ feel, but also something you can listen to any time since these are all new original songs. However, what was unusual is that the three of us didn’t record together. I produced the album using a layered approach, which also makes it more of a pop-styled record, replacing each demo track one at a time. I first recorded piano, then layered Wurlitzer, Rhodes and B3 organ parts sparsely to add depth here and there. After that was drums and then bass was last. A couple tracks also called for percussion, which was played by Lenny Castro.”

While writing his “Winter Stories” - the inspiration for all ten stories is shared in the accompanying liner notes, which is another first for Culbertson – he spotted a painting online that he felt perfectly encapsulated the album’s motif. So, he bought the painting and made it the album cover.

“It was exactly what was in my mind. I wanted it to be like an intriguing book cover, the kind that after you look at it, you get a sense of what the music is like and then compels you to want to listen,” said Culbertson, who curates, hosts and headlines his second annual Chicago Jazz Getaway running this Thursday through Sunday, a spinoff of his wildly popular Napa Valley Jazz Getaway.      

A second single from “Winter Stories” is planned for just prior to the holiday season. Going for adds on November 18, “City Sleigh Ride” is one of the album’s more up-tempo and fun adventures and the only song with sleigh bells. “While most of the album is on the slower, more ruminative side of things, it was important for me to break up the feel a little bit with a couple tracks,” said Culbertson.

After a recent YouTube Premiere with fans, the video for the album opener, “Sitting By The Fire,” is now available for viewing ( “I’d say the best time to listen to this record is when it’s the coldest and bleakest outside,” said Culbertson. “These songs will warm you up and keep you cozy.”  

“Winter Stories” contains the following songs:

“Sitting By The Fire”
“Montana Skies”
“Morning Walk”
“City Sleigh Ride”
“Waltz For M”
“Island Dream”
“Northern Lights”
“Frosted Window”
“Starry Night”

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Rainforest Band delivers a timely album with a timeless message #jazz

“Peace To The Planet” drops October 25 in partnership with The Jerry Garcia Foundation and Rainforest Action Network

Thirty years before the devastating Amazon rainforest fire and decades before the global climate crisis was one of the crucial issues facing the survival of life on earth, keyboardist Merl Saunders forecasted the future after witnessing the destruction occurring in the Amazon. Teaming with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, Saunders brought the need to preserve rainforests into pop consciousness by creating an album, “Blues From The Rainforest – A Musical Suite,” featuring Garcia that they described as “environmental earth music.” Merl’s son, bassist Tony Saunders, is continuing his late father’s mission with the October 25 release of “Peace To The Planet” by Rainforest Band, which drops on San Francisco Records with a portion of the proceeds going to The Jerry Garcia Foundation and Rainforest Action Network.   

“The rainforests around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. This band has three strong souls as leaders and our mission is to bring awareness with our music to a cause that needs vigilant attention – long before the Amazon fires put the issue back in the news. To honor the history of the music Jerry and Merl made and to do something to help save the planet is why we made this album now,” said Tony Saunders, who is based in the Bay Area along with his Rainforest Band mates, guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black and keyboardist Sylvester Burks.

“Peace To  The Planet” was produced by Black and San Francisco Records chief Ron Umile with social activism at the fore. Umile said, “The band and I have been concerned about the rainforest, climate change and all the related issues. We are also concerned about senseless gun violence in America, the rise of bigotry in our country, the extinction of animals and plants, and the lack of acknowledgement and action from the present administration and general government to address these issues and seek real solutions. The music on ‘Peace To The Planet’ tries to instill calmness for a minute to allow reflection on how we can do our part to be part of the solution. If we can visualize a peaceful planet, we could possibly inspire our audience to take action to save the planet.”

While Garcia crossed genres to collaborate with Merl Saunders, who was an African American jazz musician, the twelve songs composed by Rainforest Band members for “Peace To The Planet” are rooted in improvisational contemporary jazz and soulful R&B. The disc features performances by Billboard chart-topping saxophonist Jeff Ryan, noted keyboardist Gail Jhonson, drummer Austin White and percussionist Maquinto Brasil. The first single garnering playlist adds is the funky “S.I.Z.” on which Ryan’s tenor sax wails up a thunderous storm. 

The continued relationships and support of both nonprofit partners – The Jerry Garcia Foundation and Rainforest Action Network – was natural. Tony Saunders toured for a year playing in the original Rainforest Band concerts thirty years ago with his father and Garcia, including gigs for Rainforest Action Network. Garcia’s wife and daughter, Manasha and Keelin Garcia, run The Jerry Garcia Foundation and have collaborated with Tony on multiple projects and music catalogue decisions over the years. The foundations are the beneficiaries of the album release concert planned for November 1 at the Terrapin Crossroads Grate Room in San Rafael. 

The Rainforest Band principals are seasoned professionals equipped with lengthy resumes built during accomplished music careers. As a guitarist, vocalist, producer, composer and music director, Black has amassed recording, touring and film credits that list Stevie WonderMariah CareyHerbie HancockChaka KhanLionel RichieCeline DionWhitney HoustonAretha Franklin and Spice Girls. Tony Saunders has played or recorded with legends Eric ClaptonRingo StarrDavid CrosbyJoe SampleJeff LorberPaul Jackson Jr. and Paul Brown. He has won two Emmy Awards for writing television scores and is an award-winning composer of jingles and motion picture scores. Burks’ work with ten Grammy winners includes Patti LaBelle and Lalah Hathaway along with gospel superstars Yolanda AdamsDonnie McClurkinShirley CaesarBebe Winans and The Hawkins Family. For more information, please visit
“Peace To The Planet” contains the following songs:

“Caribbean Sunset”
“My Mellow Ways”
“One More Time”
“Gumbo Groove”
“God’s Nature”
“Just Before Sunrise”
“Windows Of Time”
“Verano Dias”

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 16, 2019 #jazz

TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Rick Braun - "Crossroads" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
2 - 2 - FOUR80EAST - "Four On The Floor" - (Boomtang)
3 - 3 - David Benoit - "David Benoit and Friends" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
4 - 4 - Althea Rene - "Flawsome" - (Althea Rene Productions)
5 - 7 - Brendan Rothwell - "Sentiment" - (Independent)
6 - 6 - Ragan Whiteside - "Five Up Top" - (Randis Music)
7 - 5 - Pieces Of A Dream - "On Another Note" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
8 - 9 - Dave Koz & Friends - "Summer Horns II: From A to Z" - (Concord)
9 - 8 - Jazmin Ghent - "The Story Of Jaz" - (Jazmin Ghent Music)
10 - 15 - Nicholas Cole - "The Weekend" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
11 - 10 - Keiko Matsui - "Echo" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
12 - 14 - Nelson Rangell - "By Light" - (Independent)
13 - 16 - Nick Colionne - "Just Being Me" - (Trippin N' Rhythm)
14 - 11 - Adam Hawley - "Double Vision" - (Kalimba)
15 - 12 - Jazz Holdouts - "Summer Nights" - (Palm Beach Jazz)
16 - 21 - Kim Scott - "Free To Be" - (Inntervision Records)
17 - 13 - Phil Denny - "Align" - (Off-Sheet)
18 - 18 - Norman Brown - "The Highest Act Of Love" - (Shanachie Entertainment)
19 - 17 - Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band - "Midnight Daydream" - (Hatherill)
20 - 23 - Chris Standring - "Best Of Chris Standring Remixed" - (Ultimate Vibe)

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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Friday, September 13, 2019

Eddie Money, ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ Singer, Dies at 70

Eddie Money, the prolific singer and songwriter whose songs “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Shakin'” and “Take Me Home Tonight”  soundtracked popular music in the 1980s, died Friday (Sept. 13). He was 70.

A statement provided by his family reads: “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.”

Money recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.
A reality television series about Money and his family, “Real Money,” had aired on AXS TV starting in April 2018. It chronicled his life at home, on the road and with his family, revealing his health struggles.

Money made his home in the Bay Area in the mid 1970s where he performed at the city’s clubs regularly. A star of MTV’s formative years, during which he starred in a series of comedic music videos, he saw major chart success with such songs as “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” and in 1986 “Take Me Home Tonight”, a duet with Ronnie Spector, which was a radio hit. He was signed to Columbia Records and released 11 albums throughout his career, starting with his self-titled debut in 1977 which saw three songs chart, “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.”

Born Edward Joseph Mahoney in Brooklyn, New York, Money, who grew up on Long Island, originally started out in law enforcement, his father’s profession, spending two years as a New York City police officer before deciding to try music. In Berkeley, Calif. following his move out west, he palled around with local musicians of the San Francisco club scene which led him to legendary promoter Bill Graham, whom Money met in 1976. Graham would become Money’s manager helping him achieve multi-platinum album sales in the 1980s.

During that decade, Money also descended into drug and alcohol abuse, nearly dying of an overdose that left him unable to walk for a year.

Money’s blue-collar songs led him to be featured on “The King of Queens” in 2002, where he performed a selection of his hits.

Known also for his comedic manner, both in his music videos and in interviews, he told Rolling Stone last year that, despite his string of hit songs, he “missed the boat when it [came] to the big money.” In his typically self-deprecating manner, Money capped the conversation with this view: “The kids aren’t in jail, they’re not in rehab, nobody’s wrecked the car this week and there’s still milk in the refrigerator. I’m having a good month.”

Money is survived by his wife Laurie and five children, daughter Jesse Money, and sons Zachary, Joseph, Desmond and Julian.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Brothers proudly do Justus to their Memphis roots #jazz

“Chinese Checkers” is poised to make bold moves up the singles chart ahead of the
October 11 debut album release.

The roots of The Justus Brothers date back forty years, in the birthplace of soul, blues and rock ‘n’ roll: Memphis. The musicians who comprise the band dropping the eponymous debut album on October 11 on the iconic Memphis International Records/Select-O-Hits labels met long ago in the sweaty blues and smoky jazz clubs on Beale Street. Together, they electrified Memphis churches with rousing musical sermons and tracked in fabled Memphis recording studios alongside an incomparable list of hall of famers, Grammy winners and chart-topping legends. Before they backed a galaxy of stars in sold-out arenas, the members of The Justus Brothers paid dues playing long hours, night after night, sharpening their chops and earning virtuosity while forming a brotherhood built upon rhythm and groove.

Guitarist Niko Lyras and The Justus Brothers produced the ten songs on their self-titled set, a balance of original tunes and choice covers given the full Memphis makeover. Already garnering playlist adds is their soul-powered jam session workout “Chinese Checkers,” a revival originally recorded by Memphis’s Booker T. & the M.G.’s ( Several members of The Justus Brothers have ties to Booker T. & the M.G.’s, including drummer Steve Potts, who was a longtime member of the outfit.
The chemistry between the five “brothers” sizzles throughout the collection. Lyras, Potts and bassist Dave Smith have been playing together the longest. Thirty years ago, hornman Pat Register (tenor, alto and soprano sax and flute) and keyboardist Jason Clark completed the family.

“The Justus Brothers are direct descendants of the great Memphis soul fathers, having played with just about all of them, receiving their blessing and having the torch passed directly from them. For decades, we have been a not-so-well-kept secret ingredient on hundreds of R&B and blues-flavored records. Together, we finish each other’s musical phrases and know each other’s soul. We are brothers. Even with busy schedules, we have not stopped playing together live or in the studio through the years. And even though we’ve worked with many of the world’s best-known artists, we know that something magical happens organically whenever we interact with each other,” said Lyras.

The Justus Brothers stoke the fire by weaving Memphis history throughout the album. Opening with a Sting mashup of “Fragile” and “Fields of Gold,” Lyras explains, “From the time The Police pulled up at a small Memphis club with their amps in a station wagon, to the time they returned to play for 20,000 people, there has always been a Memphis connection. Sting sought out the raw soul sound of the Memphis Horns, who were longtime friends and collaborators of The Justus Brothers. In the early 90s, we were the opening act for Andy Summers’ Memphis shows. Combining two Sting classics into one seamless piece came naturally.”

Inspiration for the band’s crackling royal funk dance, “King Strut,” came during a Beale Street gig last summer after a power failure. Potts, who is widely considered the current king of the Memphis drum throne, kept the packed dancefloor filled all on his own in the dark for five minutes until the electricity was restored. “Steve never stopped grooving. As if we had rehearsed it, when the power came back, I went into an infectious funky riff and Dave jumped right into it on bass. Before long, Jason and Pat had made up a theme on top of that. The crowd responded to it instantly, as if they had known and danced to it for years.”
The mood downshifts to romance on “Miss L,” a shuffling, amorous jazz and blues song that Lyras wrote while playing a guitar serenade for his girl as the moon hovered over the Mississippi River. The tune is evident of The Justus Brothers’ commitment to melody and emotion, not just deep rhythmic pockets and all-night grooves.   

The Justus Brother take great pride in their Memphis lineage. Lyras said, “Memphis musicians have always stood out for boldly fusing several styles to form a new, unique brand. That couldn’t be truer in our case.”
“The Justus Brothers” contains the following songs:

“Fragile Fields of Gold”
“Chinese Checkers”
“Miss L”
“Askin’ Ain’t Gettin’”
“Hip Pocket”
“King’s Strut”
“Garment District”
“I Keep Forgetting”
“Crazy” featuring Katrina Anderson
“Chinese Checkers” (radio remix)

For more information and to see some of the individual credits of The Justus Brothers, please visit

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