Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 20th, 2013 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
2 - 4 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' - (Shanachie)
3 - 3 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
4 - 6 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
5 - 2 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
6 - 10 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
7 - 9 - Al Jarreau - "My OldFriend: Celebrating George Duke" - (Concord Music Group)
8 - 13 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
9 - 8 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
10 - 11 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
11 - 7 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
12 - 12 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
13 - 5 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
14 - 14 - The Stanley Clarke Band - "Up" - (Mack Avenue)
15 - 15 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
16 - 16 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
17 - 21 - Mindi Abair - "Wild Heart" - (Concord Music Group)
18 - 20 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
19 - 17 - Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
20 - 22 - U-Nam - "C'est LeFunk" - (Skytown)

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Expansions: The Dave Liebman Group - "Samsara" Released on Whaling City Sound #jazz

 Twenty Years After

On Samsara, Dave Liebman debuts a long-awaited new group:

Expansions


After over two decades of the Dave Liebman Group (featuring guitarist Vic Juris) the NEA Jazz Master unveils Expansions, a brilliant new adventure featuring members of the new generation of talented musicians eager, like their bandleader, to alter the language of jazz. These musicians, heard on the new Samsara release, include Bobby Avey on piano, Matt Vashlishan on sax, flute and clarinet, Tony Marino on bass, and drummer/percussionist Alex Ritz. Expansions is a remarkable band, not only for its talent, which is ample and evident, but for the fact that they represent an “expansion” of Lieb’s horizons as well as honoring the jazz tradition of a legend mentoring the younger generation.

These new kids know how to flow with the boss!! Liebman’s most direct influences—Coltrane and Miles, instilled in him a need for constant growth and evolution. In this case pursuing edgy rhythms and complex harmonic settings. The directions are unpredictable and dazzling, with an emphasis on collective improvisation…a milieu seemingly built for Liebman as evidenced in his extraordinarily diverse stylistic career.

The effect is especially intoxicating on excursions like the funky “Liberian Hummingbird,” the uniquely styled “Level One,” and “Endive,” (a reworking of Monk’s “Evidence.”) “Simply,” the opening track, is awash with rhythmic surprises while “Child Refugee,” running at nearly eleven glorious minutes, is dedicated to the plight of “the innocent victims of politics and violence worldwide since the beginning of time.” ”Samsara,” recycles and re-orders the twelve pitches of Western music several times in tempo, key and rhythm over a colorful canvas.

Deeply felt, eclecticism is the order of the day here for the sax great, as it always has been. Certainly with this cadre of young musicians, the excitement is palpable. Liebman’s heady concepts underline and reinforce the spectacular playing of his new instrumentalists…a group that will soon enough etch its own achievements in the annals of modern jazz.

Excerpts from recent biographical information from Dave’s website:

Liebman has most notably been awarded the NEA Masters of Jazz, the Order of Arts and Letters from France and has been a perennial name in Downbeat and Jazz Times polls among the top soprano saxophonists since his tenure with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in the early 1970s. He presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ; is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC and guest lecturer at the University of Toronto.

After leading he legendary group Quest in the 1980s, from 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group was formed featuring guitarist Vic Juris which toured and recorded nearly 20 CDs, ranging from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion to free jazz. Over the past several decades, Liebman has often been featured with top European musicians such as Joachim Kuhn, Daniel Humair, Paolo Fresu, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Michel Portal, Wolfgang Reisinger and Jean-Paul Celea among others. His reputation in Europe has led to big band and radio orchestra performances with the WDR in Koln, Germany; Metropole Orchestra, Netherlands; “new music” groups Klangforum, Vienna; the Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris and Avanti from Helsinki, Finland playing music specially commissioned to feature Lieb’s unique soprano saxophone style. Liebman has been featured on over 500 recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on 150. 

Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music; Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody and Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound (which has been translated into multiple languages). Liebman’s biography is entitled, What It Is: The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press).

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Greg Abate Quartet - "Motif" - Released on Whaling City Sound #jazz

What’s in a Name? Greg Abate’s fresh new Motif
Speaks volumes about playing great bebop


Motif might be the title of Greg Abate’s new album, but it could just as easily, and perhaps more appropriately be called Conversations for the way it feels. Each song breezes beautifully by, with Abate’s organic spume of notes, cascading effortlessly the way wind pushes over a field of wheat. Abate is masterful in the way he handles a variety of themes (or topics) and the disc is persistent and interesting, the way an adept communicator can be when making great conversation.

Abate, a master on the alto saxophone, has been doing this a long time, and his experience lifts up the songs on Motif, shines a light on them, and makes the record a joy to listen to. It doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounded himself with an impeccable cadre of musicians: drummer Mark Walker, inimitable bassist John Lockwood, and pianist Tim Ray. Together, they encircle Abate with a cushiony, luxurious musical bumper, keeping Abate on track with his blowing yet also allowing him the space for full expression. Abate certainly takes advantage. Fans of the sax, and alto in particular, will revel in his tone and note choices, as he explores the full range of the instrument.

He plays with immense personality and always has. Going back to his earliest days as a professional—in the Ray Charles Orchestra (where he, if you recall, replaced the one of a kind, David “Fathead” Newman) and the Artie Shaw band, led at the time by clarinetist Dick Johnson. Since then, he has been at it on and off, mostly on, and his dexterity stands out on Motif.

The record opens with the zesty title track, a re-harmonization of the standard “All the Things You Are.” It moves smoothly into the slower, and slightly bluesy “Buddy’s Rendezvous,” an elegy to Abate’s late friend Buddy Hawkins. That, in turn segues into “Snowfall,” a peaceful evocation of the title matter, that is brisk and light, even while Abate’s minor key composition and solid alto paint a beautiful picture of what it might have been like on the inside looking out. “Bittersweet,” the track that follows, is deep and personal, with a bossa nova underpinning and, according to Abate, “several different key centers.”

It’s easy to continue in this vein, but we won’t. The songs are easy to hear and artfully executed. Like an exhilarating talk between friends, it is beautifully paced and wonderfully articulated.

On Motif, Greg Abate presents prima facie evidence proving he belongs near the top of the list when the subject is today’s top sax players. Abate reminds us, as the notes tumble generously out of his horn, that he deserves every jazz fan’s unwavering attention.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 13th, 2013 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 7 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
2 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
3 - 3 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
4 - 4 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' - (Shanachie)
5 - 2 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
6 - 15 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
7 - 8 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
8 - 6 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
9 - 9 - Al Jarreau - "My OldFriend: Celebrating George Duke" - (Concord Music Group)
10 - 5 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
11 - 10 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
12 - 11 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
13 - 12 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
14 - 18 - The Stanley Clarke Band - "Up" - (Mack Avenue)
15 - 13 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
16 - 19 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
17 - 23 - Keiko Matsui - "Soul Quest" - (Shanachie)
18 - 14 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
19 - 16 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
20 - 17 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - October 6th, 2013 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 4 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
3 - 5 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
4 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' - (Shanachie)
5 - 3 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
6 - 7 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
7 - 20 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
8 - 8 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
9 - 6 - Al Jarreau - "My OldFriend: Celebrating George Duke" - (Concord Music Group)
10 - 10 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
11 - 12 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
12 - 9 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
13 - 11 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
14 - 14 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
15 - 13 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
16 - 18 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
17 - 15 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
18 - 21 - The Stanley Clarke Band - "Up" - (Mack Avenue)
19 - 22 - Gregg Karukas - "Soul Secrets" - (Nightowl)
20 - 17 - Mindi Abair - "Wild Heart" - (Concord Music Group)

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Smooth Jazz Chart - Weekly Top 20 - September 29, 2013 #jazz


TW - LW - Artist - Album - (Label)
1 - 1 - Nathan East - "Nathan East" - (Yamaha Entertainment Group)
2 - 2 - Euge Groove - "Got 2 Be Groovin' - (Shanachie)
3 - 3 - Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp - "Jazz Funk Soul" - (Shinachie)
4 - 4 - Richard Elliot - "Lip Service" - (Heads Up/CMG)
5 - 6 - Gerald Albright - "Slam Dunk" - (Heads Up)
6 - 5 - Al Jarreau - "My OldFriend: Celebrating George Duke" - (Concord Music Group)
7 - 8 - Michael Lington - "Soul Appeal" - (Copenhagen Music)
8 - 7 - Paul Brown - "Truth B Told" - (Woodward Avenue Records)
9 - 9 - Nick Colionne - "Influences" - (Trippin 'N' Rhythm)
10 - 11 - Brian Culbertson - "Another Long Night Out" - (BCM)
11 - 10 - Boney James - "The Beat" - (Concord Jazz)
12 - 15 - Kim Waters - "Silver Soul" - (Red River Entertainment)
13 - 18 - Rick Braun - "Can You Feel It" - (Artistry)
14 - 12 - Chris Standring - "Don't Talk, Dance!" (Ultimate Vibe)
15 - 17 - Steve Cole - "Pulse" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
16 - 14 - Jonathan Butler - "Living My Dream" - (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
17 - 13 - Mindi Abair - "Wild Heart" - (Concord Music Group)
18 - 16 - Paul Taylor - "Tenacity" - (eOne)
19 - 19 - Greg Manning - "Dance With You" - (Kalimba)
20 - 28 - Peter White - "Smile" - (Heads Up/CMG)
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Friday, September 26, 2014

New CD From Vocalist Carmen Lundy "Soul To Soul" Released 9/23/14 #jazz

A Myriad Of Special Guests Including Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Simphiwe Dana, Bennie Maupin, Carol Robbins, Warren Wolf And More

“Soul To Soul,” a passionate new song cycle from vocalist, songwriter, producer and musician Carmen Lundy, was released on September 23rd, 2014 via Afrasia Productions.  “Soul To Soul”, Lundy’s 14th album, is the next chapter in her critically-acclaimed career as both a musical artist and a visual artist; a return to her roots but also an exploration of these roots -- and the journey that those roots can take you on.  The release of “Soul To Soul” will be accompanied by tour dates both in the U.S. and overseas.



Carmen Lundy began working on “Soul To Soul” well over a year ago in a very hands-on manner – literally composing, co-composing and arranging eleven of the thirteen tracks and then playing and recording all the instruments - including bass, drums, piano, guitar and percussion - in her home studio to get a working “feel” for how the music might sound. She then “sweetened” the songs by adding string sounds and other software instruments to elaborate and experiment with the aural mood of each track, interpreting and identifying with each track’s sound individually as well as part of the overall song sequence.  On the final CD, Lundy plays guitar on all tracks, piano and Rhodes on many tracks, and drums on two.  

“I wrote the music with specific players in mind for each respective instrument,” says Lundy.  “My producer and label co-owner Elisabeth Oei encouraged me to reach out to those musicians whose music I have loved and have been inspired by; some of whom I had worked with but never recorded with. I consider these artists specialists on their instruments.  These are players who bring a distinctive sound to everything they play and
add another layer of individuality to my original music.”

Patrice Rushen, for example, is featured on nearly every track on “Soul To Soul” because of the deep musical connection Carmen felt with her.  “I could hear her sound in my music,” says Lundy, “Patrice creates these beautiful sonic palettes from which I could soar freely through the music.  This project would not be as special to me if it were not for her incredible contribution.”

Featuring the stellar talents of guest artists Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Mayra Casales, Simphiwe Dana, Bennie Maupin, Carol Robbins, Ada Rovatti, and Warren Wolf along with Carmen’s core rhythm section members Darryl Hall and
Jamison Ross, “Soul To Soul” invites the listener on an intriguing journey. Whether the source of inspiration comes from time spent in Sardinia, Italy (“Soul To Soul” and “Sardegna”) or from her hometown of Miami in the songs “Kindred Spirits” and “Grateful” – “It’s important to acknowledge and remember where you come from and all those who provide unwavering moral support” says Lundy; from the beauty of Mary Lou Williams’ “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory” - “Geri Allen and I have spent many years performing the works of this great pianist,” Lundy remarks, “I could not miss the chance to have yet another of the great pianists/composers of our time be a part of this musical journey”; to the sexy bossa nova beat of “Everything I Need”, the moods and moments of  “Soul To Soul” are genre-bending and traverse many borders, both literally and figuratively.

Of special note is the story of the track “Grace,” the result of a meeting with South African vocalist Simphiwe Dana.  At the time of the meeting – which coincided with tour dates Lundy and Dana had in Johannesburg and Los Angeles – Lundy was in the process of writing the song on guitar and had been haunted by it for months.  She then played the track for Dana who immediately began to sing the melody in her native tongue, and whose contribution to the track on the CD adds yet another dimension to the journey of “Soul To Soul.”

Added Lundy, “It is an honor to have these players joining in this majestic musical adventure.  I hope listeners – both new and established - enjoy the voyage.”
Carmen Lundy is also a celebrated mixed media artist and painter, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.  For additional information and media requests, please contact Chip Schutzman at Miles High Productions, 323-806-0400; e:  chip@mileshighproductions.com
A complete track listing with credits is as follows:

TRACK LISTING:

1.    Kindred Spirits  (Carmen Lundy)
2.    Life Is A Song In Me  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
3.    Soul To Soul  (Carmen Lundy)
4.    When Will They Learn  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
5.    Daybreak  (Carmen Lundy)
6.    Between Darkness and Dawn  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
7.    Grace  (Carmen Lundy, Simphiwe Dana)
8.    Grateful Pt. 1  (Carmen Lundy)
9.    Grateful Pt. 2  (Carmen Lundy)
10.     Everything I Need  (Carmen Lundy)
11.     Don’t You Know How I Feel  (Marilyn Castilaw)
12.     Sardegna  (Carmen Lundy, Deborah Ash)
13.     What’s Your Story, Morning Glory  (Mary Lou Williams)

Personnel:

Carmen Lundy – Vocals (all), piano (track 1) Rhodes (track 11), keyboards (track 8), guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12), drums (track 12), percussion (tracks 1, 6), string arrangements and programming
Patrice Rushen – piano, Rhodes, keyboards (all tracks except 8, 13)
Darryl Hall – acoustic bass, electric bass (all tracks)
Jamison Ross – drums, percussion (all tracks)
Geri Allen – piano (track 8, 13), Rhodes (tracks 6, 9)
Randy Brecker – trumpet (track 3, 10, 11), flugelhorn (track 3)
Mayra Casales – percussion, congas (all tracks except 13)
Simphiwe Dana – Vocals (track 7)
Bennie Maupin – tenor sax, soprano sax (tracks 5, 9)
Carol Robbins – harp (tracks 4, 5, 6, 10)
Ada Rovatti – tenor sax (track 3, 10)
Warren Wolf – vibes (tracks 5, 8, 12)
Background Vocals – Carmen Lundy, Patrice Rushen, Jamison Ross (track 2), plus Mayra Casales, Darryl Hall, Elisabeth Oei (track 7).

All songs composed and arranged by Carmen Lundy, C. Lundy Publishing/ASCAP except * by Marilyn Castilaw (Redfield Music/BMI); ** by Mary Lou Williams (Cecilia Music), Paul Francis Webster, Jack Lawrence; *** by Carmen Lundy and Julie Raynor (Castle Dream Music/ASCAP); **** by Carmen Lundy and Deborah Ash (Compashe Music/ASCAP); ^ by Carmen Lundy and Simphiwe Dana (Black Carrot Publishing).

Produced by Elisabeth Oei and Carmen Lundy
Recorded and Mixed by Don Murray at Firehouse Recording Studios, Pasadena, CA and Mixed at Afrasia Studios, Woodland Hills, CA. Basic tracks recorded and played by Carmen Lundy at Afrasia Studios.
Mastered by Doug Sax at Mastering Lab, Ojai, CA
CD Cover Photo by Victor Dlamini

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