Thursday, July 02, 2015



Actress and singer, Gloria Reuben, releases, Perchance to Dream, her first ever Jazz album with the specialty, non-profit record label MCG Jazz. Perchance to Dream includes eight standards, done in a completely unique way and two new tunes. Songs list: Change Partners, Poor Girl, Close Enough For Love, Pure Imagination, When I Close My Eyes, How Am I To Know, Save Your Love For Me, You Better Love Me, Sharing The Night With The Blues, and Here's To Life.


Billy Price and Otis Clay: Two singers separated by a generation come together in a performance that moves the Southern soul tradition a little bit further up the road.
Pittsburgh rhythm and blues singer Billy Price and deep Southern soul/gospel icon Otis Clay worked with masterful guitarist/producer Duke Robillard to create their first full-album collaboration, This Time for Real. On This Time for Real, the singers have selected an array of soul and R&B songs from the catalogues of artists including Joe Tex, Sam & Dave, the Spinners, Los Lobos, Syl Johnson, and Bobby Womack as well as new versions of two songs originally recorded by Clay. The two friends have performed and worked together occasionally since 1982, but this is by far their most extensive collaboration to date. ~ Amazon


David Torn ever-intrepid guitarist, producer, improviser, film composer and soundscape artist returns with only sky, an album that explores the far sonic edges of what one man and a guitar can create, a solo recording of almost orchestral atmosphere. It is Torns first ECM release since 2007s acclaimed prezens, a full-band project, with Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey, that Jazzwise described as a vibrating collage full of shimmering sonic shapes, a dark, urban electronic soundscape a potent mix of jazz, free-form rock and technology that is both demanding and rewarding. Many of those same descriptors apply to only sky, with its hovering ambient shadows and vaulting flashes of light, its channeling of deep country/blues memories and Burroughsian dreams of North Africa. Recorded in the acoustically apt hall of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in upstate New York (and then sorted and mixed in Torn s own mad-scientist lair), only sky is an album to get lost in, over and again. ~ Amazon




9x Grammy® nominee Dave Koz has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and established himself as a platinum-selling artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate. He is marking the 25th Anniversary of his recording career with this collection of musical collaborations throughout his career (Concord and Capitol), along with three new songs: "Good Foot" featuring Jeff Lorber; "Game of Thrones Theme" (Scott Bradlee) and the hit theme song from Disney's movie: Frozen, "Let It Go." Also includes (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher featuring Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun; When Will I Know For Sure featuring Boney James; So Very Hard to Go featuring Michael McDonald and Summer Horns; (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons Rod Stewart featuring Dave Koz; Let Me Count the Ways featuring Stevie Nicks, This Guy's In Love With You featuring Herb Alpert, Linus and Lucy David Benoit and Dave Koz, Can't Let You Go (The Sha La Song) featuring Luther Vandross. All You Need Is Love featuring Eric Benét, Johnny Mathis, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Jonathan Butler, Maysa, BeBe Winans, Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder, Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song) Toby Keith featuring Dave Koz and Marcus Miller, Think Big featuring Brian Culbertson and Keb' Mo', and Apartment 2G: I Hear Her Playing Music Barry Manilow featuring Dave Koz. ~ Amazon


It was said that to fully appreciate the splendour of Nina Simone, you had to see her perform live. Since her touring schedules didnt always allow for worldwide tours, her record company at the time (Colpix) very thoughtfully ensured there was plenty of live material out on the market her first seven album releases featured no fewer than three live albums! What each and every one proved was the Colpix had a point (and it should be pointed out that Nina had full creative control, meaning she decided what she released). Nina Simone performing live was almost like being hit with an electric shock when Nina started singing or playing, everyone stopped and took notice. At The Village Gate features an interesting mix of folk material with traditional African American songs, including House of the Rising Sun, which of course became something of a signature song for The Animals. ~ Amazon


Giacomo Gates approaches jazz singing with a showman's poise and an aficionado's zeal. With his deep, cognac baritone and his vintage-hipster lexicon, his phrasing and his bearing, he upholds a distinctly masculine ideal of deceptively easy nonchalance. Gates is known as the modern day heir to Eddie Jefferson, the godfather of vocalese. Here he uses the style sparingly, but to great advantage. never showboating by using the challenging technique. Gates’ considerable chops are always at the service of the song. Backed by his go-to pianist, John di Martino and guitarist Tony Lombardozzi leading the rhythm section and Grant Stewart out in front on saxophone, Giacomo sings and swings his way through a dozen tunes – some familiar favorites, some rarely heard gems. He may be soft and subtle or he may be hip and humorous but one thing Giacomo Gates is not, is predictable. ~ Amazon

Wednesday, July 01, 2015



Marc Cary's genre-bending mix of jazz and electronica gets some added spice on his new 4-track EP, Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 Remixes, a satellite project to the new album, Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2. Fans can expect more of Cary's signature style, dubbed a "self-assured trek to the heart of jazz-funk futurism" in The New York Times and "a new way of seeing music, art and the world-through groove" in DownBeat. On Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 Remixes, the DJs of La Fine Equipe bring their signature trip-hop vibe to Cary's Indian-influenced "Spices and Mystics", while Dav***K , of TSF Radio in France brings on a chilled out electronica vibe in his remix of "Essaouira Walks". The package is completed by the debut of two new jazz-meets-electronica tracks from Cary's Mini Moogs Ago collection, a work in progress which extends his celebration and exploration of analog technology through various vintage and modern synthesizers such as the Minimoog Voyager, The ARP and The Access Virus. Cary's original compositions draw inspiration from his lifelong fascination with the intersection of Indian and African rhythms with modern jazz and electronica. ~ Motema


Tomoko Ozawa's premier album, 'Gentian', exhibits far-reaching compositional influences that blend impressionist melodic gestures with hypnotic rhythmic nuance and the playful improvisation. Ozawa's pervasive and inviting musical influences are translated by the group's organic execution. Several pieces, including the title track, 'God made a little gentian', utilize the poetic mastery of Emily Dickinson to guide the listener through the narrative compositions. The time-tested art of Dickinson combines with the sensitive performance of Ozawa to create a conceptual attitude that takes the focus from the exquisite technicalities of the music, and offers it to the subtle and introverted depth of the poems. Alongside the 'poem-songs', Ozawa's trio is highlighted on a number of instrumental tracks. Her supportive rhythm section maintains loyalty to the greater arc of the album as a whole, and creates an enveloping bed on which Ozawa's deliberate and tranquilizing piano playing is laid. ~ CD Universe


Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio release "Symbiosis" - a progressive follow-up to their debut album 'The 11th Gate'. This album draws together the Trio's collective influences incorporating straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz, fused with tinges of rock and generous helpings of hard-funk. The infectious compositions aim to take listeners on a roller-coaster musical journey. Includes: Utopia, Reverence, Symbiosis, Hark!, Senhora Do Almortao, (Walk) In Their Shoes, Money, Boneyard, Bakkra, and The Rose. ~ CD Universe  


New York City-based vocalist DHEEPA CHARI releases PATCHWORK

With Patchwork, the new CD by Dheepa Chari, the outstanding New York City-based vocalist has taken a giant step into the forefront of contemporary jazz singers.  The influences of her personal inspirations are all fully displayed in her singing – the dulcet sultriness of Sarah Vaughan, the impeccable phrasing and effortless control of Ella Fitzgerald, and the emotional depth and sinuous lyricism of Billie Holiday. But the musical depth and creativity on this remarkable album also call to mind another icon of jazz vocalizing – the unparalleled Betty Carter. Like Betty, Dheepa is a band leader, not simply a vocalist with ensemble support. The musicians create a vivid synergy, weaving a rich tapestry of inspired creative interplay that takes the listener on a fascinating journey with each song. These are not theme-in/development/theme-out excursions, but rather full throttle adventures that conclude in a place far different from the departure point.

Each of the ten pieces on the album is developed entirely on its own terms, embracing various elements of the jazz vocal tradition without ever falling into categorization or succumbing to the expected.  Much of this can be credited to the extraordinary arrangements of Dheepa’s brilliant collaborator and pianist/keyboardist Lars Potteiger, who also co-composed three of the songs with Dheepa. Each arrangement is lovingly crafted to not only provide the perfect setting for the jewel that is Dheepa’s beautiful voice, but also to allow her to paint each song’s story on its own emotional canvas. The exemplary skills of producer Aaron Nevezie capture every nuance of this marvelous recording.

To deliver music of this substance, the musicianship must be at the highest level, and the musicians on Patchwork are flawless in execution and consummate in artistry. Joining Lars in the rhythm section are Dan Asher on both electric and upright bass, and Vin Scialla on drums and percussion. Together they provide the pulsing fire, sensitive rapport and dynamic flow as demanded by the expressive context of each piece. Violinist Daniil Davydoff and Mike DiRubbo on alto and soprano saxophones are added on a number of pieces. Daniil provides a shimmering, hypnotic radiance sometimes in obbligato and others in harmony, woven delightfully into the arrangements; while Mike’s vigorous, inventive solos and background textures vitally enhance each piece on which he’s featured. Most of the solo space goes to Lars – always imaginative, adventurous and fully integrated into the music without a wasted note or a flash of virtuosity for its own sake.

Of course, the core of the music is Dheepa’s luminous artistry and superb voice – warm, emotionally expressive, full-bodied throughout her extensive range, deeply soulful and richly compelling. The essence of all vocal artistry is to tell a story beyond the lyrics, not just through one’s personal sound and style, but by conveying the essence of the soul within the structure of the musical environment. Dheepa has mastered that thoroughly.

The repertoire is delightful – an excellent balance of originals, Great American Songbook classics and rock pieces.  The Chari/Potteiger originals include the album’s opener Semblance of Truth, a dramatic, moving, anthem-like piece built on emphatic piano chords and colored by violin; the adventurous Questions with a powerfully driving piano solo and buoyant vocal; and the title track Patchwork atmospherically blossoming from its rubato opening, incubated by violin and featuring alto and soprano solos in a context that has an early electric Miles feel.

The standards are fully re-imagined and completely refreshing in their approaches. Cole Porter’s Love for Sale is vibrantly up-tempo, spurred by horns and with Dheepaalternating long languorous tones and rapid fire phrases. Kern& Mercer’s beautiful I’m Old Fashioned is an unexpectedly bouncy jaunt that closes in a delicious soprano sax/vocal pas de deux. Woody Herman’s 1949 hit Early Autumn features Dheepa dancing briskly over the effervescently percussive rhythm section; and Fats Waller’s iconic Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a highly original and modernized version, embellished by violin and with Dheepa’s rhythmic thrust fluctuating boldly.

Dheepa also transforms a trio of popular rock songs and makes them her own. Again and Again – by British rockers Keane – uses very subtle and tasteful vocal overdubs to enhance the lovely melodic delivery over dramatically rhythmic chords. The French rock band Phoenix’s Lasso features Dheepa coiling sinuously around the rhythm section with exceptional percussive flavorings and mesmerizing synthesizer textures. A highly atmospheric, rubato, deeply moving take on Counting Crows’ Black and Blue closes out this captivating album on a most poignant note.

Following up on her excellent previous releases, 4th Street (EP) and Some New Fashion, Patchwork is a triumph.

Composer and Pianist ANTONIO ADOLFO explores Brazilian jazz with TEMA

For half a century, the eminent composer and pianist Antonio Adolfo has dedicated himself to the profound exploration of jazz in the context of the great Brazilian music tradition. While all of Antonio’s albums bear the unique stamp of his personal creativity and singular artistry, and feature many of his own compositions, he has often recently focused upon Brazil’s classic composers as well as the rich musical history and culture that have provided the landscape for one of the world’s most beguiling musical legacies. With his new AAM album Tema, Antonio looks back upon a very important part of that legacy – his own marvelous contributions, dating back to the 1960s.

More than 200 Antonio Adolfo songs have been recorded by his own groups and other major artists – including Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Earl Klugh, Herb Alpert and many others – and he has also written extensively for films and television in the past 50 years; but it’s been a while since he has chosen to focus an album entirely on his own music. He decided that it was time to do so – this time with an exclusively instrumental Brazilian Jazz approach. Tema is all Antonio Adolfo, brilliantly conceived in the reflection upon his own accomplishments through the prism of his mature focus and wisdom.

“My impression is that when composers are very young they express great spontaneity, but sometimes do not have enough musical maturity to be able to organize ideas as they can when they are more experienced. I have redeveloped my earlier ideas with new arrangements, made new bridges or even new changes and chords for the original melodies. To present all this in a contemporary way required not only a certain amount of creative work but also a wonderful team of musicians that came to join me on Tema."
This outstanding team is comprised of a group of remarkable musicians who have performed with Antonio for a good number of years, and who have helped make the great pianist/composer’s earlier AAM albums, such as Finas Misturas and Rio, Choro, Jazz … so heavily acclaimed.

Marcelo Martins provides the full bodied sounds of his flute and soprano sax, while Leo Amuedo and Claudio Spiewak contribute stunningly seamless interplay on electric and acoustic guitars respectively. Jorge Helder anchors the core of the music with his deeply resonant and flawlessly musical double bass, while the exhilarating intensity and impeccable rhythms of Rafael Barata on drums and percussion are further enhanced by the equally inspired percussion of Armando Marçal - and percussionist Hugo Sandim on one track.

Despite the highly personal focus of this project, Antonio’s generosity, crystal-clear vision and captivating arrangements provide the ideal context for the ensemble synergy to play its essential role in making this music everything intended by the leader. There is such a powerful group dynamic that the solos emerge from the ensemble interplay in a spontaneous and organic fashion as though nothing else could possibly be more appropriate at that particular moment of time. The solos are concise, splendidly structured and always in the moment, contributing imaginatively to the story being told, never allowing the virtuosity to detract from the thematic content – and always perfectly framed by the supporting ensemble.

The ten compositions were composed as early as 1967 with the earlier ones re-imagined so thoroughly with different melodies and new sections that many of them must be considered new compositions and in some cases have been re-titled. A number of the originals were composed with Brazilian lyricist collaborators Xico Chaves and Tiberio Gaspar, but are transformed as instrumental versions here. The collaborations with Chaves resulted in Natureza (Nature) and Todo Dia (Everyday). Natureza depicts its subject matter so viscerally that you can almost smell the fragrance of greenery in the air of mystery surrounding Martins’ flute buoyed by Barata’s various drums. Todo Dia’s deliciously suspended theme is sinuously played by Martins on soprano saxophone and is further enhanced by his coiling, serpentine solo.

Martins’ soprano is also the voice on Sao Paulo Express, a smoldering piece in locomotive/Baião drive with solos of blazing Amuedo melding into blistering Spiewak, riveting piano and soaring soprano. High energy is also the mode for SamboJazz, co-written with Claudio Spiewak, eliminating the drum set and acoustic bass and featuring Antonio on both acoustic and electric piano. Opening and closing with Carnival-like samba heat, Marҫal sets the mood for the three drummers and both guitarists to lay down the raw primitive rhythmic fire over which Antonio and Leo burn. The opening track, Alegria For All (Joy For All) is a surging excursion evoking the all night dance parties that traditionally take place in Northeast Brazil during the winter months of June and July.

The music moves to the other end of the emotional spectrum with the ethereal calm and hypnotic loveliness of Alem Mares (Beyond Seas). The original version was written in1969 to celebrate the conquest of space, but here Antonio shifts the emphasis to the sea, creating a sumptuous aura somewhat reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s classic Maiden Voyage. Marked by a sparkling piano solo, it culminates in a luminous drum solo amidst shimmering flute and mesmerizing guitar touches. Gentility is also the texture for Trem de Serra (Hillside Train) like a desert flower whose petals possess a beauteous delicacy, but also a protective edginess, all supported by a rhythm section that is controlled and steady, but with an inner fire that seems always on the verge of eruption.

The Moorish influence upon Portugal that their people brought to Brazil is reflected on the medium tempo Phrygia Brasileira, structured upon the unusual Phrygian scale. It opens with Martins’ solo flute touching exotically upon the Navajo flute/Japanese shakuhachi styles and features lush piano, vibrant bass and gliding flute solos. Moody rubato flute winsomely introduces Melos interwoven with piano and guitars before melding into a gentle Bossa-ish groove that doesn’t in any way undermine the poignant beauty of the ballad.

Tema Triste was a Samba-canção (sort of a Brazilian bolero) when Antonio wrote it with lyricist Gaspar in 1967. It is reincarnated here as Variations on a Tema Triste, a breathtaking solo piano interpretation that fittingly closes this extraordinary album on a most exquisite note.

“The Portuguese word ‘tema’ is usually translated as theme, tune, melody or song; but in this title I want to evoke a sense of a musician inviting others to play. That’s the way jazz players mean it in Brazil."

The musicians here all accepted that term in exactly the way Antonio meant it… and they delivered in enthusiastic fashion, helping to create another wonderful album in the brilliant legacy of Antonio Adolfo.

Guitarist Brad Allen Williams releases debut album "Lamar"

On the heels of a busy year of sideman work with kris Bowers, Cory Henry, and principally José James, with whom he recorded the critically acclaimed While You Were Sleeping (Blue Note), emerging guitarist Brad Allen Williams announces the release of his debut LP Lamar.

In a deceptively bold departure from current vogue, Williams and bandmates Pat Bianchi (Hammond organ) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums) largely eschew overt high concept or purposeful displays of technical or harmonic virtuosity in this set. "This album is exclusively about creating and capturing a feeling, and this is reflected not just in the choice of material and musicians, but also in the way I produced the album, and the recording techniques we chose."

Indeed, the all-analog nature of Lamar stands out as unique. "The vinyl release of this will have never touched a computer at all. It was recorded with the three of us in one great-sounding room together using the best analog tape machines and a great analog engineer. The decision to opt for this process was a musical one. From my work as a producer, I've become convinced that most often the humanity lies in the little hiccups; the little mistakes. Too often contemporary recording techniques allow us to go in and sanitize things to satisfy our ego-- our desire to airbrush the blemishes out to present the best possible version of ourselves. It's human nature to want to do that, but the problem ism the listeners respond to, and relate to, the tiny flaws that reveal our humanity. Tiny things that seem egregious to the musicians themselves are only audible to the audience as a subconscious sort of warmth and honesty. That's the stuff I wanted to protect.

The analog recording and mix process is just a way to enforce that. It makes you ask yourself 'is this really getting in the way of the music?' 99% of the time it's not-- in fact, it's better than that; it's human, it's real, and it's evocative. It makes you less likely to sacrifice the moment for the sake of presenting... not a performance exactly, but sort of a highly-retouched showcase of instrumental skill. I'm bored of that. I wanted to trust the moment and create recordings of performances."

The album's palette may seem a bit of a departure to those who follow Williams's sideman work (Ann Powers of NPR compared his playing on While You Were Sleeping to both Jimi Hendrix and The Edge), but the direction on Lamar is supremely honest. "This group was born out of years of this trio playing together in various configurations. Those familiar with Tyshawn's more visible work, or with my more visible work, might be a little surprised to hear us this way, but I think these are our roots, all of us. I feel proud to have captured that on a gorgeous-sounding, high-fidelity analog record, and with such high-level musicianship from my collaborators."

Lamar is slated for a September 4, 2015 release.



DJ and record producer Ian Levine was one of the prime movers in establishing Northern Soul as a youth cult in the UK in the early to mid-70s. His sets at Blackpool Mecca's Highland Rooms were innovative and he was at the forefront of the scene's musical development through the 70s. His Solid Soul Sensations for Pye Records in 1975 set a benchmark for Northern Soul LPs and was a major seller. Ian has applied that knowledge and taste to Stax's highly esteemed catalogue of recordings and chosen 25 superb soul songs aimed primarily for the dancers. Big spins from the 70s such as Barbara Lewis The Stars and Margie Joseph's One More Chance have been combined with floor-fillers from today including Charlene & The Soul Serenaders Can You Win and (Let Hurt Put You In The) Loser's Seat by Joni Wilson (under the guidance of George Clinton). Although he concentrated on producing in the 80s and 90s, Ian already knew many of the big Stax sounds, such as Paul Thompson's Special Kind Of Woman and Ilana's Where Would You Be Today through his own impressive Stax collection. Inevitably Ian has come up with some leftfield numbers from Proud As Punch, the Cheques and Bobby Whitlock and there is a super vault discovery from Sylvia & The Blue Jays. The major players are covered with tracks from David Porter, Rance Allen, the Dramatics, William Bell and Northern Soul's first superstar, Major Lance. ~ Amazon


Betty Wright has been of the most well known and respected female Soul singers in a career that spans over 45 years. Her breakthrough million selling hit from 1971 Clean Up Woman is an iconic Soul sister track. Betty recorded eight albums for the Miami based Alston label part of Henry Stones TK empire between.1968 and 1979. Soul Brother Records have previously reissued two, Danger High Voltage from 1974 and Explosion from 1976. Betty's 1977 album This Time For Real is one of her most consistent if possibly overlooked albums and opens with the highly regarded modern soul dance record That Man of Mine (credited on the 45 as Man Of Mine both on the original US release and limited edition UK release on Soul Brother for Record Store Day 2015). Also here is the popular rare groove track If You Abuse My Love (You'll Lose My Love), the lush ballad A Sometime Kind of Thing and more quality outings like Brick Grits on an album produced in an original style. Betty Wright is still very popular today and her comeback album with The Roots Betty Wright The Movie has raised her profile further. She has appeared with Jools Holland on TV and regularly performs in the UK. ~ Amazon


New release coming July 31 from the great Buddy Guy.  Track listing includes: Born To Play Guitar, Wear You Out feat. Billy Gibbons, Back Up Mama, Too Late featuring Kim Wilson, Whiskey, Beer & Wine, Kiss Me Quick featuring Kim Wilson, Crying Out of One Eye, (Baby) You Got What It Takes featuring Joss Stone, Turn Me Wild, Crazy World, Smarter Than I Was, Thick Like Mississippi Mud, Flesh & Bone with Van Morrison, and Come Back Muddy.

Take 6, the most awarded a cappella vocal group in history with 10 Grammy Awards has signed with Sono Recording Group (SRG) to deliver a new record in 2016

Take 6, the most awarded a cappella vocal group in history with 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award, and 7 Downbeat Awards has signed with SoNo Recording Group to deliver a new album in 2016. Producing the album will be Ross Vannelli, Vice President of A&R for the label. SRG will distribute the album internationally through its affiliated partners ILS Group and Universal Music Group.

The new album will be released in the spring of 2016 with the first single issued by the end of the year. Fans of the group can look forward to a contemporary record of exciting new material with every hallmark of the classic Take 6 sound. Songs for the record are being contributed by a diverse group of songwriters.

Claude Villiani, SoNo Recording Group, President and Founder: "We are proud to welcome Take 6 to the SRG family. We have a magnificent team starting with the members of Take 6 themselves, their management team Ed Keane Associates, our distributors ILS Group headed by Dominique Zgarka, and Universal Music Group. Of course we have Ross Vannelli and his unparalleled writing team. We look forward to delivering an outstanding record."

Take 6 (Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley), has been heralded by none other than Quincy Jones as the"baddest vocal cats on the planet!” Their uniquely cutting-edge style is comprised of six virtuosic voices united in crystal clear harmony, against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements, and funky grooves. All of this bubbles into an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop. Take 6 are quintessential a cappella.

The group, considered torchbearers for an entire reemergence of a cappella as a musical movement, has been performing together since their days at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama in 1980. Their debut album scored two 1988 Grammy Awards and landed in the Top Ten Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts.

27 years later, the most talked-about vocal group of all time, Take 6 is in greater demand than ever, selling out shows all over the world. They have performed on Saturday Night Live, the Oscars, the Grammys, had the honor of performing for four sitting U.S. Presidents, and appeared at the Democratic National Convention. The group, which has inspired and been a founding influence to a generation of recording artists including Boys to Men and 'N Sync, has collaborated with a who’s who of artists – including Stevie Wonder, Gordon Goodwin, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, kd lang, Queen Latifah, Brian McKnight, Luis Miguel, Marcus Millier, Joe Sample, Ben Tankard and Cece Winans.

Funk Quartet Rock Candy Funk Party to Unleash "Groove Is King" on July 31

On July 31, funk and jazz band Rock Candy Funk Party (RCFP) will release their sophomore studio album Groove Is King, an aural kaleidoscope that mashes up funk, rock, dance, electronica, jazz and R&B into 14 original tracks and 2 covers full of space, texture, and virtuoso musicianship. Included is a bonus DVD with over 50 minutes of in-studio footage.

Powered by a lineup of world-renowned players, the group came together for the sheer fun of making music—and a mutual love of genre-blurring grooves, they are:  album producer Tal Bergman (drums), Joe Bonamassa (guitar), Ron DeJesus (guitar), and Mike Merritt (bass). 
Groove Is King —due out on Bonamassa's independent label, J&R Adventures— was recorded at Tal Bergman Studios in Los Angeles, California. Unlike RCFP's debut album We Want Groove (2013), which tipped its hat to Miles Davis' classic 1982 live instrumental LP We Want Miles, Groove Is King pulls away from the jazz-funk sounds of the first album into a modern sound, with focused compositions and arrangements and a slick production. "This time around, the concept was less jazz and more modern dance with layered grooves. The rhythm section laid the foundation and then we'd add in strings, synths and an incredible horn section, all while keeping it funky," says DeJesus.

Also new to this album are horn arrangements by Grammy-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker, and contributions from Daniel Sadownick (percussion), James Campagnola (saxophone), Ada Rovatti (saxophone), and Fred Kron (keys). Renato Neto, who played on RCFP's debut album, joins the lineup again on keys while ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons lends his trademark growl to the album as the master of ceremonies aka "Mr. Funkadamus." Together, these players weave into the mix heavier dance beats, rock, and pure unadulterated funk, citing influences such as Daft Punk, the Brecker Brothers, Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars, Massive Attack, Sade, Prince, and Led Zeppelin.

These influences can be heard in many of the tracks, including the more rock-driven "Don't Funk With Me" and "Uber Station," a couple of tight, funky tunes punctuated with horns that recapture some of that classic Brecker Brothers sound, while "Low Tide" and "Groove Is King" feature a more stripped down, guitar-driven funk. "There was a definite intention of making tracks that are danceable," said Merritt about "Don't Be Stingy With The SMPTE," "C You On The Flip Side," and the EDM mash-up "The Fabulous Tales Of Two Bands," which has traces of Prodigy's 1997 hit "Firestarter." "East Village" and "The 6 Train To The Bronx" both feature a cool, relaxed jazz feel while "Cube's Brick" has a world music groove reminiscent of Weather Report; a funky yet ethereal treatment can be found on a re-imagining of Peter Gabriel's "Digging In The Dirt."

RCFP grew out of Bergman and DeJesus' 2007 instrumental album Grooove Vol. 1, and subsequent live dates at L.A.'s storied jazz spot The Baked Potato. They encouraged other musicians to jam with them, including Merritt and Neto, who joined the line-up early on. Bonamassa made his RCFP debut in early 2012 during one of his rare breaks from the road when Bergman—who has toured with the guitarist—invited him to sit in on a pair of gigs. 

To celebrate the release, RCFP will play two exclusive shows each night on July 24 and July 25 at 9:30pm and 11:30pm at The Baked Potato (3787 Cahuenga Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604). Buy advance tickets here:

Groove Is King Tracklisting:

1.Introducing the Master of Ceremonies Mr. Funkadamus
2.Groove Is King
3.Low Tide
4.Uber Station
5.East Village
6.If Six Was Eight
7.Cube's Brick
8.And now a word from our find sponsors with Mr. Funkadamus
9.Don't Be Stingy With The SMPTE
10.C You On The Flip Side
11.Digging In The Dirt
12.Don't Funk With Me
13.The 6 Train To The Bronx
14.Rock Candy
15.Mr. Funkadamus thanks all the senors but especially the senoritas
16.The Fabulous Tales of Two Bands

Get a free download of the song "Uber Station" here:

Watch the music video for "Don't Be Stingy With The SMPTE" here:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Alto Saxophonist RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA named DownBeat Magazine's 63rd Critics Poll Triple Crown Winner

2015 saw not one, but two, Triple Crown winners as alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa joins American Pharoah in this illustrious group.

Mahanthappa, whose ACT Music +Vision release Bird Calls has garnered global acclaim, placed first for Jazz Album of the Year, Alto Saxophone (for the 4tth time in the past five years), and for Rising Star-Composer.

Though it pays homage to one of jazz’s Founding Fathers and arrived at the outset of Charlie Parker’s 95th birthday year, Bird Calls is not a tribute album in the traditional sense. There isn’t a single Parker composition to be found on the album, which consists entirely of new music penned by Mahanthappa for the occasion. But Bird’s DNA is strongly present in every one of these pieces, each of which takes a particular Parker melody or solo as its source of inspiration. Each is then wholly reimagined and re-contextualized by Mahanthappa and his quintet which features trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Rudy Royston.

Select Bird Call Tour Dates
(complete Rudresh tour dates can be found at
July 3 - Iowa City, IA / Iowa City Jazz Festival
July 11 - Krefeld, Germany / Kulturfabrik
July 12 - Rotterdam, The Netherlands/ North Sea Jazz Festival
Aug 23 – New York, NY / Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Sept 5  - Detroit, MI / Detroit International Jazz Festival
Sept 20  - Monterey, CA / Monterey Jazz Festival
Oct 24-25 – Washington DC / Blues Alley
Oct/Nov – Tour of Europe
Dec 12  - New York, NY / Miller Theatre
Jan 14, 2016  – Santiago, Chile / Jazz Festival
Feb 26, 2016 – Chicago, IL / Orchestra Hall
Feb 27, 2016- Columbus, OK / Wexner Center for the Arts

March 19, 2016 – Buffalo, NY / UB Center for the Arts


Shai Maestro is a creator of moods, a shaper of atmospheres and a sculptor of sound. The pianist doesn't merely play music; he creates a world that is distinctly and intimately his. On his new recording, Shai Maestro Trio - Untold Stories, available on Motema Music on August 28, 2015, Maestro, and his trio featuring Jorge Roeder (bass) and Ziv Ravitz (drums), explores a touching and poetic universe of music. Untold Stories contains all that is great in modern jazz today, and truly displays the camaraderie and brotherhood in music that this trio possesses. 

As a pianist and composer Maestro has been chasing down beauty his entire life, looking to capture meaningful phrases that are refined, and clearly communicated. With Untold Stories, the third album from his trio, Maestro has turned the page and entered a new phase, taking time, fearing less, daring more, accepting the occasional stumble, and allowing the music to change and be a representation of who the members of the trio are as people, for good or bad. Maestro elaborates, "What happened to us on the road in the last few years is basically a shift in our state of mind. What I want to do today (and also to hear from other musicians as well) is to express who I am, and who we are as human beings. Being human is a complex thing to say the least, and there are many sides to our personalities. Not all are beautiful. So music can and should contain everything; beauty, ugliness, love, violence, etc. So Untold Stories is a point in time of us, an entry into a different journey, one that is much more raw and honest then what I have done so far." The music on Untold Stories was recorded live and in studios in Brooklyn and Paris, offering the listener a complete picture of the Trio today ("Maya's Song"-studio-Paris, "Treelogy", "Painting", "Elusive" & "Looking Back (Quiet Reflection)"-live-Paris, "When You Stop Seeing", "Endless Winter" & "Shades"-studio-Brooklyn).

Untold Stories opens with the compelling triumph, "Maya's Song", co-written by Maestro, Roeder and Ravitz while preparing music for a tour. "When You Stop Seeing"was inspired by a poem Maestro received from a dear friend. The poem speaks about a transparent bubble floating in space. Maestro elaborated, "this idea of transparency fascinated me and I tried to look for a transparent harmonic quality which is how I got to the texture of the song, which is a chord that is made out of 5ths. It's neither major nor minor." This composition was written during the last armed conflict between Israel and Palestine. "As an Israeli, I was born into this realty of conflict and that's the only thing I knew until I started traveling and eventually moved to New York. During the horrible violence of this last 'round' between Israel and Palestine, I was exposed to the voices coming from within Israel and Palestine via social media etc. One of the things that really bothered me is how people referred to people on the other side as, 'The Palestinians', or 'The Israelis'. We know this reality very well here in the U.S. with racism, sexism etc., and I feel that people forget that we are human beings before belonging to a place, race etc. So the extended title of this song, which didn't make it to the album, is 'When you stop seeing other human beings as human beings', explained Maestro. "Treelogy" was written while the trio was on tour in France. After the initial melody is presented it's a study of new harmonic devices that Maestro found, trying to create the contrast between a consonant, slow bass motion combined with a fast dissonant harmony on top of it. Ravitz and Roeder found a way of creating a long, intense build up, allowing the trio to explore the higher register of their instruments, which is something new to Maestro's music. This also displayed a new level of patience that the trio had found. "Painting" is a song Maestro wrote for the group's first album several years ago in his Brooklyn apartment. Maestro explains, "it was composed at 3 AM, while I was staring at a painting I had received as a gift from a friend in Bulgaria. It is a painting that resembles the work of Marc Chagall. The composition is an attempt to write music to what I feel the painting expressed instead of trying to express myself." It is included on Untold Stories mainly because of Ravitz's enthralling drum solo. "Ziv and I were talking a lot about how the drum solo got stuck in a concept in jazz music, usually stuck in the shape dictated by trading or soloing over the form unaccompanied. We spoke at length about how not many people are questioning this concept any more, and that drum solos can be treated as any other instrument, playing and reacting to harmony, melody and space. I felt it's a statement I wanted to make", said Maestro. 

Other highlights on Untold Stories include "Elusive", a study in contrasts in registers and harmonic tension; "Endless Winter", inspired by NYC's painful winter, and, "an attempt to deal with harmony in a special manner, finding the harmonic twist only in the middle voices, while the melody and bass movements are completely consonant", explained Maestro; the completely improvised "Shades", which finds Maestro bravely opening the door to presenting an abstract piece that is not "beautiful" and part of his usual aesthetic; and the album's closer "Looking Back (Quiet Reflection)", which is all about time, space and simplicity. Maestro explained, "Together with this 'abstract world' that I'm discovering, I'm simultaneously being pulled more towards simplicity, which has to come with trust. Trust in the band members, and in the music. This is one of the compositions I'm most proud of on this album, as it opens new possibilities for me in how to approach music and composition in particular. It's a new direction that I'm very curious about." 

While he was only 19 years old, Shai Maestro began a five-year stint recording and touring with bass player Avishai Cohen, and is featured on the albums Gently Disturbed (2008), Aurora (2009) and Seven Seas (2011). Maestro moved to New York City in 2010 and created his acclaimed trio with Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder (Gary Burton, Miguel Zenon), and Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz (Lee Konitz, Esperanza Spalding). The Trio's debut album for the French label Laborie Jazz, simply titled Shai Maestro Trio, was very well received and set the trio in motion, touring the world, playing major festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs (Jazz In Marciac, Nice Jazz festival, Montreal Jazz festival, Cotton Club-Japan, Duc des Lombards, New Morning, Jazz Cafe-London, A Trane, Smalls, ShapeShifter Lab, The Jazz Gallery, etc), and receiving incredibly positive responses from audiences, peers and the press. In 2012 at the Jazz In Marciac Festival they shared the stage with Chick Corea's group, Tigran Hamasyan's quintet, Esperanza Spalding's group and Diana Krall's band, indicating the echelon they had reached in the jazz world. The Shai Maestro Trio's third album Untold Stories will be released on August 28 on Motema music. 

Maestro is based in Brooklyn, and when not leading his Trio, the pianist can be found performing and recording with international artists such as Theo Bleckmann, Donny McCaslin, John Patitucci, Mark Guiliana, Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Anat Cohen, Jorge Rossy, Ari Hoenig, Myron Walden, Gilad Hekselman, Jonathan Blake, Clarence Penn and many others.


Recorded live on 16 June 1968 at the Montreux Casino during the second edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival, this unusually intense concert by Nina Simone is one of the most famous live performances by the American artist and activist. This recording had never been released officially, and it is finally receiving the attention worth of its exceptional quality..

“With an athletic silhouette, an immaculate African dress, a stern face and authoritative gestures, Nina Simone first graced the stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival one evening in June, 1968. A nervous Claude Nobs looked on from the wings as the “High Priestess of Soul” took her place behind the keyboard, facing a fascinated audience. He had to pinch himself. His event was barely into its second edition and yet it was hosting this mesmerizing voice, this major pianist, the author of an unprecedented synthesis of jazz, pop, classical, and Broadway. It was Claude Nobs’ considered opinion that her very first appearance in Montreux counted among the foundations on which the Festival’s history was built.”
David Brun-Lambert

The landmark item in our boutique this year, this double LP co-produced by the RTS is the second work from our vinyl record collection THE ESSENTIALS, which aligns the greatest live performances to have set the Montreux Jazz Festival stages alight since 1967. The timing is perfect, with the documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? coming out on Netflix last week, featuring two other live performances by Nina at Montreux from 1976. Not to mention the release on 10 July of the tribute album Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone with incredible covers by artists like Lauryn Hill, Gregory Porter and Mary J.Blige.

Nina Simone 1968 (recorded live at Montreux Jazz Festival)
Nina Simone: piano & vocals
Buck Clarke: drums
Henry Young: guitar
Gene Taylor: double bass

1 Go To Hell
2 Just in Time
3 When I was a Young Girl
4 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

5 Ne Me Quitte Pas
6 To Love Somebody
7 Backlash Blues
8 The House of The Rising Sun

9 Sea Lion Woman
10 Please Read Me
11  Ain't Got No/I Got Life

12 Gin House Blues
13 I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free

Recorded live on 16 June 1968
Double LP, 78 minutes
180 grams, remastered sound
Limited edition of 1'000
Mini poster inside
Co-Produced by Montreux Jazz Festival and Radio Télévision Suisse 



The later years of the Sound Of Memphis studio – cuts from a time when the legendary deep soul powerhouse was trying on some of the newer modes from the end of the 70s! The work here is a real lost slice of Memphis soul – music from a time when the heyday of Stax and Hi Records had long passed, but smaller indies like SOM were going strong – and able to capture the shifting sound in the great soul city – as singers worked in the sorts of funky club and boogie modes you'd more regularly associate with New York or Chicago! The quality level is surprisingly great – especially since there's a nicely indie vibe to these cuts – not polished disco rehash, but the sort of underground club material that we've always loved from reissues on labels like Numero or Soul Cal – coming here from the surprising source of Memphis. Even more importantly, almost all this material never saw the light of day at the time – since the SOM connections to bigger labels had faded – so the whole thing's like a time capsule, taking you back to some real under-exposed days on the Memphis scene! Titles include "Dream Girl" and "Groove With A Feeling" by Freedom Express, "You Can Bet I Can Get You Yet" and "What You Do For Love" by Lee Moore, "Ridin" and "Attraction" by Erma Shaw, "Cold Blooded Sally" by Fran Farley, "New Lang Syne" by Kannon, "I'll Be Around" by The Jacksonians, "Gone" by Vision, "We Need Love" by Donald O'Connor, "Tighter Tighter" by Demetrius & Takelia, and "Don't Fight It" by Louis Williams. ~ Dusty Groove


Loads and loads of great group soul sounds from the LA scene of the late 60s and early 70s – a mix of upbeat groovers and laidback harmony tunes that show that the west coast city was every bit as great at handling soul groups as the scenes in Detroit or Philly! Apart from The Whispers – who were the big Dore label stars at the time – many of these other acts didn't break big east of the Rockies – which makes this whole collection a real treasure trove of great discovery – stunning vocals supported by superb arrangements and production, and a selection of tracks chosen with the usual Kent Records care! There's a few solo artists on the set, too – but the main focus is on groups, and titles include "Nothing Lasts Forever" by The Natural Resources, "Getting Back Into Circulation" by The Entertainers IV, "I'm Givin You Notice Baby" by The Fidels, "I Wanna Chance" by The Vows, "I Only Cry Once A Day Now" by The Puffs, "The Girl That I Loved" by Bobby & Eddie Unlimited, "Saigon To San Francisco" by Toussaint McCall, "Just A Little Ugly" by Gail Anderson, "Wind In My Sails" by The Superbs, "I Want YoU" by Dee Torres, and "My Pillow" by The Darlings. ~ Dusty Groove


Walt Weiskopf is a hell of a tenorist, and one who's getting more and more of our attention with each new release – able to open up and really blow at a fast-riffing level of creativity, yet always with a sense of focus, soul, and strongly rhythmic approach! We might dub Walt as the heir to a legacy that runs back to Tubby Hayes, and includes the work of Eric Alexander – and there's a creative crackle to this album that reminds us of Alexander's early material – a quality that's further emphasized by the wide range of original material penned by Walt, which really keeps things interesting. The group's a quartet – with Peter Zak on piano, Mike Karn on bass, and Steve Fidyk on drums – but Walt's dexterity often makes it feel like there's a lot more going on, too. Titles include "Premonition", "Chronology", "Tricycle", "Leaves Of Grass", "Electroshock", and "Open Road". ~ Dusty Groove

Friday, June 26, 2015



From his many Criss Cross dates as a leader to his extraordinary sideman work with Chris Potter, the late Michael Brecker and many more, Adam Rogers continues to blaze a path as one of jazz's most compelling guitarists. His longtime associate David Binney, alto saxophone great and an influential composer and producer, has also distinguished himself with numerous innovative sessions for Criss Cross and others. On 'R&B', Rogers and Binney unite to co-lead a lean and hard-swinging quartet with bassist Reuben Rogers (no relation) and drummer Gerald Cleaver. In a departure from their usual focus on original material, Rogers and Binney aim straight for bebop, ballads and classics by Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter, among others. The feel is rock-solid, the improvisations bracing. It's a fresh, unexpected take on the jazz tradition, viewed through a modern prism. Personnel: Adam Rogers (guitar), David Binney (alto saxophone), Reuben Rogers (bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums). ~ Amazon


Ron Carter's elegant, eloquent and delicate tone, as well as his extraordinary sense of timing, has informed generations of bassists, and has had a tremendous impact on Jazz as a whole. 'My Personal Songbook' is the first recording of the grand master's original compositions, performed by a large ensemble, to be released. Given that the outcome is so successful one may wonder why he's so rarely worked in this setting - it was only in 2011, after all, that he formed a big band of his own. Includes: Eight, Receipt, Please, Ah Rio, Doom Mood, Blues For D.P., Wait For The Beep, Little Waltz, For Toddlers Only, Sheila's Song, and Cut and Paste. ~ Amazon


Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at a given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin -- she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world. During one of her live performances, Naylor has no problem singing smoky jazz one minute and folk-rock or adult alternative the next -- and there are times when she blurs the line between the two. Naylor, who is very jazz-friendly but far from a rigid jazz purist, brings a long list of influences to her introspective work -- influences ranging from Billie Holiday, June Christy, and Nina Simone to Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, Carole King, and Sheryl Crow. That is an unlikely combination of influences, certainly, but it is one that works well for Naylor (who has used all of them to fashion a personal, recognizable style of her own). Naylor has a highly diverse repertoire; on-stage, she is likely to perform a Tin Pan Alley standard right after something by the Rolling Stones or Talking Heads (in addition to performing songs of her own). Naylor is not an overly aggressive or forceful type of singer; she favors subtlety, restraint, and understatement, which are things that Holiday and Christy (one of the goddesses of jazz's cool school) were both masters of. ~ Amazon



Her latest, The Other Side Of Desire was written, recorded and rooted in the city of New Orleans, where Jones lives on the opposite side of the street made famous by Tennessee Williams. Produced by John Porter (of Roxy Music) and Mark Howard, this is the first new music Jones has written in over a decade. “This work is inspired by many years of sitting with all the events of my life until I had something to paint with,” says Rickie. “I came to New Orleans to write and to live a different way than what I have known on the west coast.”  Tracks include: Jimmy Choos, Valtz De Mon Pere (Lovers’ Waltz), J’ai Connais Pas, Blinded By The Hunt, Infinity, I Wasn’t Here, Christmas In New Orleans, Haunted, Feet On The Ground,. Juliette, and Finale: (A Spider In The Circus Of The Falling Star).


Drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is a musician we're used to hearing in smaller groups, and duo and solo sessions – but this time around, he provides a stunning debut of his Large Unit – an 11 piece ensemble that really brings out a whole new sound in Paal's music! Much of the record is improvised, but there's also a larger sense of structure too – that balance between ensemble direction and individual freedom that's run through groups from the London Jazz Composers Orchestra to the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet! The range of expression is wonderful – much more full of color and tonal elements than usual projects we've heard from Paal – definitely a new step forward – and musicians include Thomas Johansson on cornet and flugelhorn, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Kasper Vaernes on alto and soprano, Klaus Ellerhusen Holm on alto and baritone, Borre Molstad on tuba, Ketil Gutvik on guitar, Lasse Marhaug on electronics and turntable, Jon Rune Strom and Christian Meass Svendsen on basses, and Andreas Wildhagen and Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion.  ~ Dusty Groove


Olivia Hime sings here with some key "amigos" – on a record that continues that wonderfully collaborative spirit we love in Brazilian music! American artists hardly ever give themselves so openly – save, perhaps, for hip hoppers looking to climb up the ladder with an appearance on another record – but Brazilian singers and musicians are always ready to help each other out – to check their egos at the door, and come together beautifully on records like these – which often stand out as some of the most special moments in their careers! Hime's great on her own – and we love her other Biscoito Fino records – but there's really something special going on here, as she works alongside Milton Nascimento, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Dory Caymmi, Djavan, and Lenine – all artists whose presence only seems to make Olivia more at home in her own space. Titles include "Ultimo Retrato", "Cara Bonita", "Fortaleza", "Morena Do Mar", "Pra Voce Que Chora", "Barbara", and "Corpo Marinheiro".  ~ Dusty Groove



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