Friday, July 22, 2016



iLLBiLLY HiTEC is a Berlin based collective, that is out to put the rootsy vibe back into modern productions, blending influences of dub, cumbia, bass music, hiphop and jungle into a very own style of reggae. Live they team up with MCs and guest musicians, to fuse the raw energy of a traditional band performance, with the flow, excitement and hype of a DJ set. The "No Boarders" EP is iLLBiLLY HiTEC’s taster from their upcoming album to be released in October 2016. What ́s new about I.H.? First of all, the band has an expert alongside the mixing desk and on the production side. The well known and Juno Award winner Jesse “Dubmatix” King KING from Canada takes care on the production and looks after tweaking the knobs at the desk at the right time. On vocals we do have Kinetical, Promoe, Emwan, Horseman to celebrate a fusion of reggae with rap lyrics. They grab reggae by the root to conjure up a varied mix of digital reggae, hip hop and dub. As a bonus there are three remixes by Dubmatix, Max Powa and Fleck.


A totally great group – all hip leaders who've given us great records on their own in recent years, working together here as a combo with a really fresh sound of its own! The music draws on the strengths of the individual members, but also really pushes forward, too – as their unified voices create moments of pride and power that are maybe even brighter than recent records on own – a truly artful collective expression of the talents of Wayne Escoffery on tenor, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, James Burton on trombone, Xavier Davis on piano, Vincente Archer on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums. There's maybe more angular lines than we might have expected, but still a deep sense of warmth as well – on titles that include "Essence Of Beauty", "Double Consciousness", "Going Somewhere", "Salvador Da Bahia", "Devil Eyes", and "Awaiting Change. ~ Dusty Groove


GwenYvette can be described in one word Soulful. Strong comparisons in voice and delivery are often made with R&B/Soul greats such as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. GwenYvette was born in New York and raised on St. Helena Island, a small sea island on the coast of South Carolina. Her native soulful delivery and beautiful voice have inspired the Rebirth of Soul movement which recently has sparked the resurgence of classic R&B/Soul music. Despite the hardships that accompanied dealing with depression, failed relationships, and loss, GwenYvette has has emerged, and reignited her passion for singing. Bypassing big record labels standards, she has found her audience while pursuing her career with no restrictions. Currently working on her forthcoming album, entitled, "Dreams & Visions" her goal is to simply re-introduce soul music to an older audience while influencing and gaining a younger following. She currently can be seen performing at The Champagne Room, Island Grill, various clubs, weddings, community and private corporate events with her funk and soul band, T.C. Soul Playas.

Award-winning New Orleans jazz chanteuse Robin Barnes releases “Songbird Sessions”

Having conquered hearts locally and captured media acclaim as “The Songbird of New Orleans,” award-winning jazz singer Robin Barnes is preparing to spread her soulful song beyond The Big Easy. On August 26, the powerfully-voiced siren who was named the Favorite New Orleans Musician earlier this year by New Orleans Magazine will issue her second EP, “Songbird Sessions,” on the Rhythm Elevation Records label. Barnes and bassist Pat Casey produced the intimate five-song acoustic jazz date of standards and gems made famous by her seminal influences such as New Orleans icons Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas. The first track being serviced to radio is Barnes’s smoldering and sultry rendition of Thomas’s “Ruler of My Heart.”          
 Backed by Casey, drummers and percussionists Herlin Riley and Shannon Powell, and guitarists Steve Masakowski and Danny Abel, Barnes soars mightily on “Songbird Sessions.” Confident and assured, the twenty-something chanteuse unveils unadulterated passion with poise and in complete command on the rousing spiritual “Great Day” and the gentle jazz lullaby “Little Jazz Bird.” Barnes’s arresting take of Van Morrison’s “The Way Young Lovers Do” haunts. On the classic “My Funny Valentine,” her aching, delicate croon depicts an intrepid artist confronting her fragility head on.   
 “’Songbird Sessions’ is about spreading my wings and singing with my soul. This little jazz bird is taking a leap and following a dream. The EP is made up of songs that I've been passionate about while growing up in New Orleans. This music helped me express my heart though song. I wanted to do something more intimate for this record with just vocals, bass, guitar and drums. Sometimes it was scary because it's just me and my vocals. There’s no big band or sounds to help cover my vulnerability or distract the listener. The tracks are open and powerful, but it's just me. As a young artist, I'm finding my voice and my self. Jazz has impact and power. I want to remind the world how amazing jazz music is,” said Barnes, who begins a six-week residency at the House of Blues in New Orleans on July 28 and will celebrate the EP at a hometown record release concert at Peaches Records on August 27.
 Barnes has come a long way since she started singing in church as a six-year-old and going on to performing in her family’s jazz band. Two years ago, she won Offbeat magazine’s Outstanding Millennial in Music Award. Her weekly gigs in New Orleans have not only endeared her to the city, but have brought national fanfare including a performance on “NCIS: New Orleans” as well as an abundance of press coverage in the pages of ESPN, Forbes, Ebony, Southern Living , Travel + Leisure and Southwest Magazine. Having become synonymous with the distinctive sounds of New Orleans by being featured in various media and marketing campaigns promoting the Crescent City, Barnes has adorned the cover of area newspapers and magazines and maintains a regular presence on local television. Her leadership role includes her running club, “Move Ya Brass,” which counts over 200 runners in the fitness program she created to help motivate her to get fit after recovering from a near fatal kidney ailment four years ago. Barnes’s first EP, “Me,” was a soul-pop effort released in 2013.       
 “Songbird Sessions” contains the following songs:
“Great Day”
“Little Jazz Bird”
“My Funny Valentine”
“Ruler of My Heart”
“The Way Young Lovers Do”


Bosccacucnova's New Best of Collection Set for Release August 12 on Six Degrees Records

You can never tell what will happen when friends get together. The trio of Marcio Menescal, DJ Marcelinho DaLua, and Alex Moreira originally started remixing classic bossa nova tracks for fun. Eighteen years and five albums later, Bossacucanova has honored and helped evolve its native Brazilian soundtrack.

The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records) assembles songs the band members feel are the most representative of their diverse and progressive catalog, including two brand new songs. As Menescal, son of legendary bossa nova pioneer Roberto, says, “We decided to choose songs featuring our best arrangements, most original beats, and top performances.” The album is set to be release on August 12.

As the trio initially had no ambitions of becoming a band, Menescal says that offered a kind of freedom when they worked on their debut album, Revisited Classics. In hindsight this collection offers a reflective gaze at what they’ve accomplished. Still, Menescal waxes poetic over the early days: “We like the beginning when we had no experience; that allowed us to be bolder.”

This is why the collection opens with a global lounge classic, ‘Berimbau,’ titled (and featuring) one of Brazil’s most famous contributions—the berimbau is the single-stringed percussive instrument rooted with a gourd, mostly known for its role in the martial art form, capoeira. Bossacucanova’s tribute features a meandering beat with a chant-style chorus that is a trademark of the nation's folk music. It features the voices of Os Cariocas, a group initially founded in 1942.

For this song and ‘Meditacão,’ which features vocalist and guitarist Wanda Sa (who cut her teeth performing with Sérgio Mendes’s Brazil ’65), Menescal borrowed original tracks from his father’s label and remixed them with “distorted guitars, flutes, amplifiers, and guitar pedals.” The samples were lifted straight from vinyl with a microphone placed near the monitor—a harbinger of today’s digital drag-and-drop techniques.

Bossacucanova has made its career by blending such Brazilian anthems, working with a pantheon of musical gods and goddesses while keeping tabs on emerging technologies. Never have distortion, DJ scratches, or electronic beats distracted from the melodic core that comprises the nation’s soul. This is nowhere more evident than in the upbeat hit, ‘Essa Moça tá Diferente,’ featuring a sample of Chico Buarque along with swing vocals by Wilson Simoninha and saxophone contribution by Leo Gandelman.

“Our great references are still the music and culture of the sixties through eighties,” says Menescal. “Brazilian music is very rich—it has several rhythmic styles, an abundance of harmonies, and extraordinary musicians. But we will always feel like we need to improve and refresh what has come before. And we have many projects with this in mind coming soon.”

Keeping the collection fresh, a dubby, percussive remix of ‘Waldomiro Pena’ by British Afro-Brazilian group Da Lata breathes new life into this Bossacucanova staple, which was originally recorded by Jorge Ben for the popular television show, Plantao de Policia. Another new tune, written for Carnaval, ‘Indio Quer Apito,’ updates a carioca song from the sixties, with Pedro Luis contributing vocals and Orquestra Criola, led by Humberto Araújo, spicing up the dance floor track.

It’s impossible to separate Brazilian culture from its political climate. The Tropicália movement of the early seventies addressed important social issues; the music, then and now, has long been a response to what’s going on around the country, a mirror for its people to meditate on and, ideally, uplift. Bossacucanova is in this latter camp, using music as a tool for unifying a people that is currently in the midst of a severe economic downturn.

“When the country faces times of crises, the culture reacts immediately,” says Menescal. “In difficult times, people renew themselves. We find intelligent, creative solutions. While all of this is happening, it is our role to have a positive influence on the people and in Brazilian music.”

This self-appointed ambassadorial position is certainly appreciated. The band’s next tour will be a survey of its nearly two decades making incredible music, progressively walking through its rich history. Members will blend the worlds they know so well: the expansive technological domain of previously unimagined soundscapes combined with the integrity and joy of live performance, the foundation of Brazil’s music since the beginning.

“Our band is a family,” Menescal concludes. “We’ve built this friendship over years of touring, living through a range of emotions: good times, fights, music and love. We hope there still will be lots of surprises left!”


1.  Berimbau (feat. Os Cariocas)   
2.  Consolação (feat. Silvio César)   
3.  Meditação (feat. Wanda Sá)   
4.  Bye Bye Brasil (with Roberto Menescal)   
5.  Água De Beber    (with Roberto Menescal)   
6.  Brasilidade (with Roberto Menescal)   
7.  Essa Moça Tá Diferente (feat. Wilson Simoninha)
8.  Previsão (feat. Adriana Calcanhotto)   
9.  Águas De Março (feat. Cris Delanno)   
10. Adeus América (feat. Os Cariocas, Oscar Castro Neves and Wilson Simoninha)
11. É Preciso Perdoar (feat. Emilio Santiago)   
12. Balança (Nao Pode Parar!) (feat. Cris Delanno)
13. Índio Quer Apito (feat. Orquestra Criôla and Pedro Luis)   
14. Waldomiro Pena (Dalata Remix)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jazz-Rock Fusion Group Project Grand Slam To Release Highly Anticipated New Album “The Queen’s Carnival” On August 19th

Project Grand Slam, the acclaimed jazz-rock fusion band led by bassist/composer Robert Miller, is excited to announce the second single from their upcoming full-length album, The Queen’s Carnival. This single, “You Really Got Me”, is a fresh, reimagined take on The Kinks’ classic, and features vocals by noted singer Lucy Woodward. The Queen’s Carnival will be available for preorder starting July 29, and as the featured track, “You Really Got Me” will be available instantly for all who preorder the full album. The new album, which also features recent single “The Rescue”, draws from a variety of influences and highlights Robert’s unique approach to blending jazz and rock into a totally new sound. The Queen’s Carnival will be released on August 19th via CEN/RED Distribution, a division of Sony Music.

Following the successful 2015 release of their third album, “Made in New York”, which featured the hit songs “New York City Groove” and “Fire” (Robert’s highly acclaimed reimagined cover of Jimi Hendrix’s classic), Project Grand Slam returns with “The Queen’s Carnival”. This exciting and fresh take on jazz-rock fusion (Miller calls the album a post-fusion record) features eleven tracks, including nine original songs by Robert and both vocal and instrumental versions of the Kinks’ classic, “You Really Got Me.” This continues Project Grand Slam’s tradition of reinventing popular classic rock songs as jazz-rock fusion and featuring vocal and instrumental versions of the cover track. “I think that people can relate to covers of popular songs, and it’s very cool to try and reimagine them in a way that is both true to the original but which takes the song to a whole other level”, says Robert.

Robert originally formed the band in 2007. Project Grand Slamʼs first two celebrated CDs, Play (2008) and Spring Dance (2012), had three top radio singles — “The Captain Of Her Heart” (feat. Judie Tzuke on vocals) from Play, and “Catch You Later” and “Spring Dance” from Spring Dance. The band also had a featured role in the hit NBC-TV series Lipstick Jungle starring Brooke Shields and Kim Raver, with five of the bandʼs tunes featured in the soundtrack.

In November 2015 the band opened for Scott Weiland (formerly of Stone Temple Pilots) at NYC’s Gramercy Theater. In May 2016 the band opened for 4-time Grammy Award nominee Boney James at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in NJ. On July 15th the band was the featured performer at the Kirby Center For The Performing Arts in PA. On August 11th PGS will perform at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia and on August 12th the band will perform at Garcia’s at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. On August 16th PGS will host a CD Release Party at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall. In October Project Grand Slam will perform at the Manhattan Center. The band continues to play at clubs in NYC including a monthly residency at The Groove.

Upcoming Tour Dates
See Project Grand Slam Live!
July 23 @ The Groove. New York, NY
August 11 @ Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA
August 12 @ Garcia's at The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
August 20 @ The Groove, New York, NY
September 17 @ The Groove, New York, NY
October 6 @ The Groove, Manhattan Center

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



How would you like to hear a new side—or should we say sides—of the world’s greatest funk band? This 40-track set presents the A and B-side of every single that organist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bassist George Porter, Jr., and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste cut for the Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. label, virtually their entire singles output save for a few odds ‘n’ ends issued mostly overseas. That means that you not only get every hit along with its hard-to-find B-side but also the rare single mixes, including the especially rare original mono single mixes of the 1968-1971 Josie sides, very few of which have appeared on CD (the first CD is all mono; the second, featuring the later Reprise and Warner Bros. singles, presents all stereo single mixes). These songs represent the mother lode of New Orleans funk, classic tracks like “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Cissy Strut,” “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Chicken Strut,” “Hand Clapping Song,” “Hey Pocky A-Way,” and more, all but two co-produced by the late, legendary Allen Toussaint. And, with liner notes by Bill Dahl featuring quotes from Nocentelli, Neville, and Porter, this 2-CD set offers probably the best retrospective to date of this enormously influential band. And how’s the sound? Well, after extensive and exhaustive tape research, we were able to come up with original tape sources for all but five of these single sides, and the remastering—by Mike Milchner at SonicVision—is tight! Just maybe the year’s most indispensable R&B release.


The new audiophile live recording “out & across” presents the qualities of the involved mg3 musicians without make-up and the band’s modern jazz cosmos with its pop/soul elements in impressive intensity. Martin Gasselsberger has created his own piano-trio sound through extensive international concerts and many highly acclaimed record productions. His tasteful compositions and the stupendous interaction of his musicians appeals to a wide scope of listeners. With the current CD Gasselsberger extends his trio to a quartet. The new member is virtuoso vibraphonist Tim Collins, who solos reflectively but at the same time exuberantly bringing his creativity with seamless integration into the group’s sound. This happens on one hand at a percussive level since the American drummer masters rhythm in his sleep, and on the other hand Collins contributes three compositions with the floating sound of his vibraphone. He interprets ballads with a swelling emotional audio -journey and ignites his improvisations towards collective ecstasy. As a leader Martin Gasselsberger moves the album with mature and tasteful piano-playing between impressionistic solo passages, chambermusical blue-notes and captivating Staight-Ahead Jazz. The mix and spectrum demands 100 percent from the ensemble and public - a music listening experience at a high cultural level of enjoyment and taste. Mg3 presents real-time musical development and encourages it’s audience to a deeper understanding of it’s own special mix of elegant and exciting instrumental music. – The sky’s the limit! Lineup: Martin Gasselsberger, piano; Tim Collins, vibes; Roland Kramer, double bass; and Gerald Endstrasser, drums.


“The Great Lost Isley Brothers Album” is coming to CD from Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records! In 1980, Ronald, Rudolph, O’Kelly, Ernie and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper were riding high with their electrifying fusion of rock, funk and soul. After having transformed in 1973 from a three-man vocal group to a self-contained six-man band, The Isleys cranked out hit after hit: original powerhouses like “That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” and “For the Love of You,” and dramatic covers of pop songs introduced by Seals and Crofts, Carole King, and Todd Rundgren. “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time for Love)” had given the Isleys their longest stay atop the R&B charts since 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” and savoring its success, they decided to follow in the footsteps of The Commodores, Parliament, and Earth Wind & Fire to record a live album. Rather than bring a mobile truck to a concert venue, however, The Isley Brothers chose to cut Groove with You…Live! at Bearsville Sound Studio in Woodstock, New York. The resulting recordings had all of the incendiary thrills of a live performance, but with pristine studio fidelity. The band overdubbed an audience’s frenzied reception and the energetic introduction of MC “Gorgeous” George Odell to create an in-studio live album as captivating as the real thing. It was presented to CBS for release on the band’s T-Neck imprint, but the label opted to wait for an original studio record. Groove with You…Live! was shelved. Fast forward to 2015, and the Bearsville sessions were remixed, sans crowd ambiance, for inclusion as one disc of a massive Isleys CD box set. Later that year, Groove with You…Live! was restored and released in its originally-intended “live” version on limited edition vinyl. Now, this sizzling, swooning and immersive double-album document of The Isleys at the peak of their powers comes to CD for the very first time as The Isley Brothers originally intended it! Featuring classic hits like “Take Me to the Next Phase,” “Summer Breeze,” and “Livin’ in the Life,” Groove with You…Live! has been remastered by Mark Wilder and Chris Le Monde and features new liner notes from The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese with quotes from Ernie Isley and Chris Jasper. This must-have for fans of R&B, soul, funk and rock will, without a doubt, make you want to shout!

Saxophonist Steve Cole’s new album "Turn It Up" include the single “Mirage” poised to top the Billboard chart

Saxman Steve Cole is celebrating the release of his eighth album, “Turn It Up,” while on the precipice of adding another No. 1 Billboard single to his burgeoning catalogue of hits. The Artistry Music release produced by long-time Cole collaborator David Mann arrives Friday as the first single, the riveting aural oeuvre “Mirage,” holds the second spot ready to claim the peak position from Cole’s Sax Pack colleague Marcus Anderson.      

“Mirage” casts a transcendent spell with a futuristic foray that projects Cole’s improvisational jazz horn onto a screen of ambient tones and throbbing club beats. The single, along with the exuberant Chicago house music salute “Workhouse,” is a divergent excursion from the ten-track collection brimful of frothy pop melodies and voluminous horns over soul-powered R&B undercurrents. Recorded in three booming metropolises - New York City, Chicago and Minneapolis – that helped shape the eight compositions authored or co-authored by Cole, “Turn It Up” includes contributions from Nicholas Cole (“Turn It Up!”), Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd (“Bright Side”) and Ricky Peterson (“Workhouse”). Of note is a vintage take of Bobby Womack’s seductive “Woman’s Gotta Have It.”

Known for consistently cranking out chart-topping singles that deploy big vibrant pop hooks, contemporary jazz saxophonist Steve Cole conjures a sonic escapade with the hypnotic “Mirage,” the first single from his eighth album, “Turn It Up,” which was released July 15 by Artistry Music. Radio programmers were instantly spellbound, making the track from the David Mann-produced set of R&B grooves and soul-powered sojourns the No. 1 most added single on the Billboard BDS chart.

The entrancing single on which electronic beats bombard the senses before chill tenor and soprano sax leads and a soothing trumpet undercurrent take command of the illusion is one of nine new songs on the session, eight of which were composed or co-composed by Cole. The tune reflects his hometown roots and ardor for Chicago’s dance music scene. It’s one of three major cities that helped shape the collection.  

“I embarked on ‘Turn It Up’ with the goal of making music with great musicians and great friends in great cities. This time around I wrote much of the music with Dave Mann in New York City.  We recorded horns, guitars and vocals there as well. The energy in that great city was truly inspiring and it really is reflected in the music. Next stop was Minneapolis, where I worked with the great keyboardist and producer Ricky Peterson. Ricky and I wrote the song ‘Workhouse’ together, a track influenced by our love of Chicago house music. Dave joined us later in Minneapolis to record Ricky on the Hammond B3 organ as well as to record my Chicago pals, bassist Lamar Jones and drummer Khari Parker. I decided to track all of the saxophone parts in Minneapolis as well,” explained Cole, who has a slate of festival and club dates running into mid-October to help support the album release.
Cole and Mann have been collaborating ever since Cole’s sophomore record, “Between Us” (2000). In addition to helming the production on “Turn It Up,” multi-instrumentalist Mann often shadows Cole on alto and soprano sax to add depth, thickness, volume and intensity to the layers upon layers of horns – alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, trumpet, trombone and flute. Aside from the back-to-back dance music workouts that close the album, Cole’s energizing pop melodies and hooky harmonies on the disc are presented as soulful R&B joints. The saxman dusted off Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” teamed up with fresh-faced keyboardist Nicholas Cole on “Turn It Up!” and yielded the spotlight on “Bright Side” to Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd, the author of the sunny mid-tempo smile, who solos on piano.        
“In the end, I really accomplished what I set out to do,” Cole surmised. “The music reflects all of the diverse backgrounds and personalities that brought it to life. There was a lot of laughter and good times throughout this journey. I think that's why I've got such a big smile on my face on the album cover. After all, it's supposed to be fun...and it sure was!”

Cole’s 1998 award-winning arrival onto the contemporary jazz scene was the Brian Culbertson-produced “Stay Awhile” that spawned a pair of No. 1 singles. Solo tours and prominent sideman gigs with Culbertson, Boz Scaggs, Rick Braun, Peter White, Jeff Lorber and Larry Carlton served to rapidly multiply his fervent fan base exponentially while successive albums and singles repeatedly took Cole to the top of the charts, establishing him as a radio playlist favorite. In addition to his own recordings, Cole records and performs regularly as a member of Sax Pack, an all-star sax combo consisting of rotating members Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters, Jackiem Joyner and Marcus Anderson. For more information, please visit 

“Turn It Up” tracklisting::
“Turn It Up!”
“She’s The One”
“Bright Side”
“Woman’s Gotta Have It”
“Laws Of Attraction”
"Life Is A Groove"                                                                  
Catch Cole in concert on the following dates:
August 14 - Long Beach, CA @ Long Beach Jazz Festival
August 17 - Dearborn, MI @ Jazz on the Ave
August 18 - Philadelphia, PA @ South Jazz Club
August 20 - San Antonio, TX @ Big Bib Too
September 3 - Pensacola, FL @ Gulf Coast Summerfest
September 16 - Denver, CO @ Soiled Dove Underground
October 15-16 - Rehoboth Beach, DE  @ Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest

Monday, July 18, 2016



Greg Ward's group here is named 10 Tongues – a great label for an ensemble that's overflowing with individual voices on their instruments – less a big band than a combo that can bring together so many different tones and colors at once! Ward himself is wonderful on alto, but maybe even more impressive as both the leader and composer here – writing in this fresh voice that's extremely positive and uplifting, but without ever resorting to any cloying cliches – and the group seems to respond by playing his music with a sense of joy and discovery at each new twist and turn! Players include Keefe Jackson on baritone and tenor, Tim Haldeman on tenor, Ben LaMar Gay on cornet, Russ Johnson on trumpet, Norman Palm on trombone, Christopher Davis on bass trombone, Jason Roebke on bass, Marcus Evans on drums, and Dennis Luxion on piano – on titles that include "Singular Serenade", "Daybreak", "Grit", "With All Your Sorry Sing A Song Of Jubilation", "Dialogue Of The Black Saint", and "Gather Round The Revolution Is At Hand".  ~ Dusty Groove


Great work from Dave Douglas and his High Risk quartet – a group who definitely step into dark territory here, in a heady blend of electric elements and Dave's bold frontline work on trumpet! The group electric bass, electric drums, and more electronics – plus some acoustic drums – yet somehow manage to come across with a very organic vibe, and one that's quite different than you might expect – especially in comparison to other trumpet-led projects like this, which often have the leader processed and filtered into the mix. Instead, Dave's sound is as rich and warm as ever – never a slave to the backings, and instead right out front ahead of them – blowing with lines that arc and turn beautifully, and remind us what a personal, poetic soloist Douglas can be. Titles include "Celine", "Ridge Hill", "Mission Acropolis", "All The Pretty Horsepower", and "Loom Large". ~ Dusty Groove


In his fourth album ‘So Close’ Thierry Condor once again draws upon the U.S. West Coast Pop of the 1980s, but adds new flavour to the style. His personality is evident on the entire album and he speaks to the listener directly; his singing profile has become even more distinct and original. Amongst others, the album contains three compositions until now unpublished. Highlights include: Heart to Heart - Thierry Condor has a very personal relationship to this mid-tempo number from Kenny Loggins, David Foster and Michael McDonald. The song is a pop classic and brings together top session musicians such as John Robinson, Daniel Küffer and Bernhard Schoch. Love Will Rise and Fall - inspired by the Chicago album ’17’, and intended as a homage to its signature musical style, Urs Wiesendanger composed this song at the age of 17 (lyrics: Alexander Jaggy). It is being released for the first time. Deeper Than The Night - Tom Snow wrote the song together with John Vastano for Olivia Newton-John. The saxophonist Tom Scott, who accompanied the singer on her 1982 ‘Physical’ tour, can be heard in the recording as a special guest. Hard To Say Goodbye - this duet, until now unpublished, was written by Grammy-nominated American songwriter Jeri Lynne. Thierry Condor and Jeri met each other in Switzerland in 2013 and spontaneously decided to record this song together.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Sunkissed, the title of Ashleigh Smith’s August 19, 2016 debut on Concord Records, describes her singing perfectly. The 27-year-old Dallas-based winner of the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocals Competition possesses an iridescent alto that radiates a spectrum of poised emotions. While clearly she’s capable of tackling material underscored by darker themes such as heartache and sobering social commentary, optimistic rays of light always shine through her voice.

The disc reveals Smith to be a gifted songwriter too. She co-wrote five of the disc’s 10 compositions. Like the musicians accompanying her, most of Smith’s writing partners – electric bassist Nigel Rivers and guitarist Joel Cross – were fellow classmates of hers from the University of North Texas, where she studied jazz. Indeed, enlisting a cadre of musicians whom she’s already forged a sparkling rapport imbues Sunkissed with a greater sense of warmth and personal conviction. “I wanted people who have already been an integral part of my musical development,” Smith explains. “We were all in music class and jazz forums together; we also performed together. They played a big part into the making of who I am as a musician. That’s something you figure out not necessarily in the classroom but when you’re performing on stage.”

Sunkissed begins with “Best Friends,” a bittersweet original co-written with Cross. Even though the song glides to a percolating sanguine bossa-nova groove, powered by Cross’ acoustic guitar riffs, Smith’s lyrics touch upon on the pains of a waning romantic relationship. The song’s melody and “heart on your sleeves” lyrics also betray one of her brightest lodestars – Stevie Wonder.

With Cross, Smith also co-penned the music for “Into the Blue,” another melancholy Brazilian-tinted gem, marked by sauntering rhythms and bracing melodicism. The lyrics, however, were co-written by her older sister, Lauren, after the two were swapping stories about things that were happening in each other’s amorous relationships.

On the glowing soul-jazz original, “The World Is Calling,” Smith partnered with Rivers as a songwriter. Distinguished by sliding keyboard chords, a subtle Latin mid-tempo groove, and a jaunty melody underscored by pleads of universal love, Smith refers to this song as her “love call.” “I’m very empathic with humanity and things that are going on in the world,” she explains. “It’s important to know what’s going on around you – not just what’s happening within yourself. I think we’re becoming so self-consumed. We don’t love people enough. Loving each other more wouldn’t solve all the world’s problems, but it would be a great start.”

Similar glimmers of hope sparkle on “Sunkissed,” the title track co-written with Rivers and singer Nadia Washington. Riding atop a breezy, hip-swerving samba rhythm, Smith sings empowering lyrics to young girls of color, who oftentimes struggle seeing themselves as beautiful. “There had to be a song on this album for girls who look like me,” Smith argues, “A lot of times when I’ve mentored African-American girls, they always commented that there weren’t any role models that looked like them. They saw mostly people who looked like their Caucasian friends. This is not to say that one is better than the other. We are all beautiful. But I think all of that beauty should be represented equally.”

Smith acknowledges that the melody on the succinct “Brokenhearted Girl” resembles “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Centered on “break-up songs” and written with Kwinton Gray during a rehearsal for a Dallas show, the song purposefully eschews the conventional AABA song format.

Sunkissed contains one song – the searching “Beautiful and True” – that’s written by Rosanna Eckert, one of Smith’s teachers at the University of North Texas. With its soaring melody and lush arrangement, the tune superbly accentuates Smith’s effervescent tone and gift for articulating other people’s verses. “I wanted Rosanna to write a song because she knows my voice very well,” Smith says. “I love her ease at lyrical expression. I love how fluid her lyrical thoughts are and how well they match her musical thoughts.”

As for the covers, Smith chose wisely. Raised in LaGrange, Georgia in a musically rich household and nestled deep in the modern R&B sounds of Dallas, Smith wanted material that reflected her upbringing. Such is the case with her winning makeover of Hall & Oates’ classic tune, “Sara Smile,” which is given a discreet hip-hop bounce via punchy rhythms.

Even more indicative of Smith’s generation is her sumptuous rendering of R&B singer Chrisette Michele’s 2007 ballad “Love Is You.” Interestingly enough, Smith has been singing backup for Michele for five years. “We’re great friends,” Smith adds. “I’ve learned a lot about the music business from her. Lyrically, it’s such a beautiful song.” On Sunkissed, Smith beefs up the arrangement by incorporating silhouetting strings and fanciful Latin rhythms inside the bridge. “My version is completely different from the original. But Chrisette loves it – it’s an ode to her.”

Smith digs deeper into the pop canon and covers the Beatles’ late-’60s classic “Blackbird.” It was the song’s dark themes that first seduced Smith. “The opening is so haunting; it’s so pivotal and timeless – it brings you in immediately,” she says. Smith brightens the mood with a gently swaggering rhythm while keeping the haunting tenor of the lyrics well intact.

Sunkissed concludes with a mesmerizing version of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s immortal “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 movie, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Showcasing her love for sophisticated harmonies, Smith’s rendition features her harmonizing with herself via overdubs. It makes for an ideal ending to the shining debut of a creative singer with her own distinct style poised to take on the world.



Apache is the new album from multiple Grammy award-winner, Aaron Neville, member of the world renowned Neville Brothers and one of the most recognizable voices in American music history. Apache celebrates Neville’s 75th birthday, and marks the 50th anniversary of his first #1 single “Tell It Like It Is.” The album was recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn, produced by multi Grammy-winning artist and producer Eric Krasno (Soulive, Lettuce, Tedeschi Trucks Band). In addition, it includes elite musicians David Guy and Cochemea Gastelum (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings), Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce) and Eric Bloom (Lettuce, Blue Oyster Cult.  Includes: All Of The Above, Orchid In The Storm, Stompin' Ground, Heaven, Hard To Believe, Ain’t Gonna Judge You, I Wanna Love You, Sarah Ann, Make Your Momma Cry, and Fragile World.


Omnivore Recordings, in conjunction with the Maynard Ferguson trust, is once again happy to delve deep into the catalog of this truly legendary jazz great. For the first time in nearly thirty years, all of the recordings that made up High Voltage and High Voltage 2 are compiled together with two previously unissued bonus tracks. With liner notes by Ferguson’s co-producer Jim Exon, Complete High Voltage is now a fully realized collection… a complete document of the small-group sound that Ferguson created during this time.


A great message in music from bassist Peter Brendler – working here on a set of mostly original compositions that really showcase his vision as a leader! The music here spins out in a great mix of lyrical flourishes and more deeply soulful currents – tunes that have a creative conception, but never fail to swing – all while creating some very compelling interplay between relatively familiar instrumentation. The group features Brendler's bass very firmly in the lead – with Rich Perry on tenor, Peter Evans on trumpet, Vinnie Sperazza on drums, and Ben Monder on guitar – an instrument that provides a nicely fresh sort of color, especially in the absence of a piano. Titles include "Splayed", "Angelic", "Very Light & Very Sweet", "Gimme The Numbers", "Lucky In Astoria", "Stop Gap", and a nice take on Alice Coltrane's "Ptah The El Daoud". ~ Dusty Groove

Thursday, July 14, 2016


After breaking into the music business as part of Teddy Riley’s hit-making group BlackStreet, Dave Hollister brought his gritty tenor, down home and soul-drenched 'keeping it real' approach to a string of hits. Creating numerous anthems about love, life, respect and lessons learned, the Gold-selling singer managed to merge inspirational material with edgy songs fusing the best of R&B and Hip Hop. Through it all, Hollister’s approach has been able to ‘keep it 100’ while dealing with the ups and downs of life from different perspectives, all held together by the honest and soulful expressiveness of his voice. Yet many feel that he has been under-recognized, possibly because of the multi-faceted nature of his personal and artistic journey. Shanachie Entertainment is proud to announce that, in partnership with Conjunction Entertainment, TopNotch Music, and Hollister Music Group, Shanachie will release The MANuscript, Dave Hollister’s new album, a state-of-the-nation exploration of the nature of men, women and relationships on the contemporary landscape. The album will be released September 9, 2016. “Definition Of A Woman,” the album's first single is produced by Walter W. Millsap III (Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez) of Conjunction Entertainment and features a guest appearance from Angie Stone.

“We are really pleased to be releasing Dave Hollister’s new album, which I think will be received as a major artistic statement by him,” says Shanachie General Manager Randall Grass. “While it is widely recognized that he has a great voice, we don’t feel that the depth of his talent has gotten its due yet. We think this album will change that.”

Walter W. Millsap III of Conjunction Entertainment was drawn sign and work with Hollister based on his unique appeal. “Dave Hollister’s soul-stirring vocals have graced chart-topping pop, hip-hop, and R&B songs alike. Female fans are drawn to his signature style of singing, which is powerful and velvety. He has a significant male following as well, being that he speaks freely of his own transgressions and of his shortcomings and his struggle to live and love the right way.”

"When Walter shared Dave Hollister's new music with me, I grew very excited about the potential of the project," states Marv Mack, President of TopNotch Music. "Dave has one of the most powerful, creative and distinctive voices which makes him a driving force in R&B!  Walter's production presentation and studio chemistry with Dave really makes the new album more then competitive in the urban market place. The new single "Definition Of A Woman" will touch the heart and souls of women on a universal level." The video  for “Definition of a Woman” features fellow Chicagoan, actress LisaRaye, and can be viewed here.



The tunes may be standards, by tenorist Jerry Bergonzi makes them into something else entirely with his performance here – taking these really open-ended runs on the familiar numbers, in these beautiful waves of soul and sound with Hammond organist Renato Chicco! The two work together at a sublime level – as Bergonzi's horn has those raspy tones that we love so much, and almost a Joe Henderson-like balance between modernist impulses and a soulful core. Chicco's amazing – almost Don Patterson-like in his fluidity – handling both the keys and the basslines, and getting some spacious rhythms from drummer Andrea Michelutti. The whole thing's great – maybe one of Jerry's most compelling records in years – and titles include "Bi Solar", "Witchcraft", "First Lady", "Dancing In The Dark", "Out Of Nowhere", "Stella By Starlight", and "Blue Cube". ~ Dusty Groove


A set that arguably has even more majesty than the debut album from Michael Kiwanuka – and that's saying a lot, given the strength of that now-classic record! Production here is by Dangermouse, Inflo, and Paul Butler – and there's an airiness to some songs that really has Kiwanuka's vocals floating in space – maybe more iconic than before, and held nicely in a balance between open sonic elements and more crispily-focused instrumental touches. Michael uses folksy currents in his vocals that almost recall Nina Simone during her Philips Records years – and titles include "Black Man In A White World", "One More Night", "Love & Hate", "Rule The World", "Father's Child", "The Final Frame", and "Cold Little Heart". ~ Dusty Groove


Earth, Wind & Fire's first album from 1971– recorded at a time when the group recently had ties to the Chicago soul and jazz scenes, and a range of experience that ran the gamut from work with Sun Ra, the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, The Pharoahs, Ramsey Lewis, and countless other influential groups. Headed up by Maurice White on drums and percussion, the group forged an amazing blend of all these influences, creating a future soul sound that pushed black music to the next level – taking a wealth of previously underground modes of expression, and fusing them into a soaring sound that would soon put them at the top of the charts. This album's a lot looser and freer than their Columbia albums – with plenty of raw funk and some nice off-beat jazz soling. Includes the classic break track "C'Mon Children", plus "Fan The Fire", "Bad Tune", and "Moment Of Truth". ~ Dusty Groove

Saxophonist Ben Wendel Releases "What We Bring" Featuring Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders & Henry Cole

Saxophonist, composer, bandleader, educator, and catalyst Ben Wendel's What We Bring, available September 9, 2016 on Motema Music (his 15th album as a leader or co-leader and his debut for Motema), is panegyrical, acknowledging the great legacy and lexicon that he has played and composed his way into. While composing the music for this album, it occurred to Wendel that the evolution of a musical genre, or artist, is a continuum that looks backwards and forwards at the same time. Wendel elaborated, "What We Bring refers to the experience, inspiration and shared wisdom that musicians collect and absorb throughout their lives, and how that is expressed through their art. All of the pieces on this album are dedicated to masters from the past, peers from the present and musicians of the future. In my opinion, nothing springs from a vacuum - all that we make is connected, influenced, and most importantly, indebted to what has been created before us and around us in the present day. This album expresses my continued acknowledgement and appreciation to all of those who have helped me along the path, both directly and indirectly." Wendel added, "I get the most joy when I find ways to express my love for the bravery of the people who came before me, for the people who are doing this music now, and for the people who will do this music in the future" (from the feature on Wendel by Ted Panken, DownBeat Magazine, June 2016).  

What impresses most about Wendel is that he has gleaned from past masters, and his peers, far more than technique and chops to become an artist who embodies the importance of finding your own voice, and the pluck to follow your inner compass. This is fully revealed and represented on What We Bring, which opens majestically and powerfully with "Amian", a subconscious, compositional reaction to listening to Coltrane's "Naima" hundreds of times in his formative years. Like "Naima", "Amian" possesses a melody that floats over a constant bass note, with shifting chord qualities, offering myriad moods and colors.   

"Fall" and "Spring" are two pieces repurposed from Wendel's acclaimed Seasons project of 2015, featured on NPR's All Things Considered, and in The New York Times (, "They were originally written as duo pieces for the exceptional pianists Taylor Eigsti and Aaron Parks. I felt they would be great vehicles for the quartet and decided to arrange them for this album", commented Wendel.

"Doubt" is one of two covers on the album (the other being the standard "Solar", given a highly-entertaining, brainy, odd-meter face lift by Wendel & co.), by the indie-rock band Wye Oak. "I fell in love with their music years ago and this track is hauntingly beautiful in its mood and simplicity. What We Bring also refers to what we listen to, and at this point, most jazz musicians listen to a wide spectrum of music outside of our field. I wanted to showcase something that had moved me along the way", said Wendel.

"Song Song" is dedicated to the great Ahmad Jamal, and was inspired by his famous composition, "Poinciana". "I was on tour with nothing to do one evening and watching countless performances of 'Poinciana' on YouTube. There's something incredibly meditative about the piece that I've always loved - the rhythm section's commitment to playing one beautiful groove throughout the song - not doing anything more, and most importantly, not needing to. I recall waking up the following morning with the bass line for 'Song Song' looping in my head", explained Wendel.

"Soli" rocks and swings and, like the rest of the album, displays the band's ability to conduct complex maneuvers in complete harmony with one another (the term "big ears" comes to mind). A track like this will surely send fledgling musicians scurrying to the shed, and prompt listeners to quickly hit "repeat." "Soli" is a pre-written passage played in unison by multiple instruments. You can hear this technique used in everything from classical music to big band music and Wendel has always loved the sound of it. "In fact, I've always had at least one piece on each album that highlights this approach. Though I don't know how long this streak will continue, I can say this was perhaps the most challenging one I've written to date", said Wendel.

One of the most emotive and gorgeous songs on What We Bring is "Austin", "dedicated to the incredibly talented pianist Austin Peralta, who left this world much too soon. I played with Austin on 'Endless Planets', his final album. I was deeply saddened by Austin's passing and also incredibly moved at his funeral by the outpouring of love from friends, family and musical peers. Many of his personal letters and writing were read at the ceremony. I was struck by the depth of his inner life - something he didn't show the outer world very much. I didn't get to see this side of him until it was too late. This was something I was thinking about as I wrote the piece," stated Wendel.

On What We Bring, Wendel's camaraderie with his fellow musicians, Gerald Clayton (piano), Joe Sanders (bass) and Henry Cole (drums) greatly informed his artistic choices and inspired him. He has stated (in a recent feature by Bob Weinberg, Jazziz Magazine, Spring 2016) that, "it's hard to know where the music starts and the friendship ends", and that, "all of these layers of understanding and all the coded information that's embedded in how you play together, it's so intermingled."   

More on Ben Wendel: GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer and producer. Highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with artists such as Ignacio Berroa, Tigran Hamasyan, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the GRAMMY-nominated group Kneebody, currently signed with Concord Records and Brainfeeder Music.

As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008 and 2011 Chamber Music America "New Works Grant" and most recently was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council For The Arts. He also co-wrote the score for John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men." 

Ben's recent work includes producing and playing in jazz and many other genres, including the GRAMMY-nominated album "Life Forum" for pianist Gerald Clayton on Concord Records, the new Kneedelus album (Kneebody + Daedelus), released on Brainfeeder and given a rave 8.0 review from Pitchfork, appearing on Julia Holter's new film score, and collaborating with her on a new non-jazz album he is co-creating with Daedelus (the album will feature artists such as Terrace Martin, Knower and Mark Guiliana), producing an album for Folk/Americana artist Darryl Holter (a BMI Woody Guthrie Fellowship Recipient), playing on Jimmy Chamberlin's (drummer from Smashing Pumpkins) new instrumental album, and producing live concerts at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA from 2008-2015, with the help of Quincy Jones and his production team. He also recently worked with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiel Plus in Munich, Germany.

Ben is a former Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and a current Adjunct at the New School in NYC.  Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 250 masterclasses at various colleges, universities, high schools, and previous work with the LA Philharmonic Artist Program.

Ben has recorded for Sunnyside Records, Concord Records and Brainfeeder, with two solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009) and Frame (2012), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013) and multiple Kneebody albums. His music video project, The Seasons, inspired by Tchaikovsky's works of the same name, was released throughout 2015 and included guests such as Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Mark Turner, Julian Lage and more. Ben's third solo album What We Bring is planned for release in the Fall of 2016 on Motema Music. 

What We Bring - CD Release Tour:
Sept 14 -Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, NYC - 7:30 & 9:30 PM
Sept 15 - The Regattabar, Cambridge, MA - 7:30 PM
Sept 16 - Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT
Sept 17 - Chris' Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia. PA
Sept 19 & 20 - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Sept 21 - Constellation, Chicago IL, 7:30 & 9:30 PM
Sept 22 - Dazzle, Denver, CO, 7 & 9 PM
Sept 23-25 - SF Jazz Center - Joe Henderson Lab, San Francisco, CA,
7 & 8:30 PM (Fri/Sat), 5:30 & 7 PM (Sun)
Sept 26 - Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR
Sept 27 - Cornish Playhouse-Seattle Center, Seattle, WA
Sept 28 - The Old Church, Portland, OR, 7:30 PM
Sept 29 - Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA, 7 PM
Sept 30-Oct 1 - Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA, 8 PM
Oct 2 - Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Oct 12-13 - Duc des Lombards, Paris, France
Oct 14 - Bimhuis, Amsterdam, NL
Oct 15 - Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, NL


Entercom San Diego and Sunny 98.1 have announced the launch of “Smooth Jazz KIFM, 98.1 HD2,” marking the return of Smooth Jazz to the airwaves of San Diego after a 6-year hiatus. The letters KIFM have been synonymous with jazz in San Diego for over 30 years and Sunny 98.1 is excited to welcome the format back to the airwaves. KIFM will be the new home for today’s top jazz tracks as well as the classics. In addition, KIFM will also feature the legendary Dave Koz Radio Show and San Diego native Art Good’s Jazz Trax. For more than 30 years, the frequency was home to one of the nation’s leading Smooth Jazz radio stations, Smooth Jazz 98.1.

“Jazz was a long-standing format in San Diego and KIFM was the heritage station,” says Sunny 98.1 Program Director Brooks O’Brian. “Even as we went through format changes, no longer played jazz and finally changed our call letters completely, there was always that group of loyal jazz fans asking to bring it back to San Diego. So we listened and now Smooth Jazz FM is back!”

Listeners can tune in to Smooth Jazz KIFM at, with the Sunny 98.1 app or over the airwaves at 98.1 HD2.  Soon to be available on Tunein and iTunes.


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