Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New Music Releases: Chris Walker – We’re In This Love Together: Celebrating Al Jarreau; Phil Klein; Dario Margeli


Chris Walker – We’re In This Love Together: Celebrating Al Jarreau

A musical tribute project co-produced by Chris Walker & Larry Williams. Special thank you to Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Regina Belle, Bob James, Gil Goldstein, Mark Simmons , Bobby Lyle, Randy Brecker, Jay Graydon, Jerry Hey, David Foster, Arturo Sandoval, Greg Phillinganes, Paul Jackson Jr., David Caceres, Jonathan DuBose, Marcus Miller, Randy Bowland, Nathan East, John Stoddart, John Calderon, David Caceres, Leonardo Amuedo, Arno Lucas, Cassio Duarte, Kathleen Nester, Charles Pillow, Joy Mack, Chelsea Simone, Tom Walsh, Robbie Harvey, Gary Grant, Chuck Findley, Bill Reichenbach and Rohn Lawrence. Includes: Mornin’, Breakin’ Away, Roof Garden, We Got By, We’re In This Love Together, Not Like This, and more!
  
Phil Klein - God Bless The Child Reimagined

While building an incredible multi-faceted career that has included being a top BMI composer, with over 10,000 performances in U.S. and European television and solo albums dating back to the mid-90s, keyboardist/composer Phil Klein has dreamed of finding the right time to record his own version of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child.” An all-time favorite. “God Bless the Child Reimagined,” a colorful, lightly funky R&B/jazz driven vocal version featuring dreamy atmospheres, a hip horn arrangement, cool synth effects, a punchy sax solo and lush female backing vocals. Poignantly bringing eras of American History together, Klein has also created a timely video. One that shines a spotlight on the current state of emotionally charged race relations. The heartwarming video is a reminder that prejudice is taught and that children left to their own devices...are colorblind. www.smoothjazz.com

Dario Margeli – Suffering Is Optional

Dario Margeli is based in Southern Europe who taught himself songwriting from carefully studying the structure of songs by 70's funk groups Chic and Brass Construction. He is a fan of electronic musician Larry Heard. In 2011 he released his first song which featured Florida based studio session blues guitarist Hugh Williams. Later that year one of his songs was included in a campaign by clothing brand Sisley (Benetton). In 2012 he was subject of an article on Vice magazine. His recordings all feature amazing session guitar players, including Philip Ockelford from Cambridge (U.K). In 2013 Dario started studying Buddhist meditation and decided that his songs would be based on the well-being concepts that he is learning. By creating songs from them, he is sure not to forget some essential lessons. Dario has a significant fan base on Facebook. His YouTube channel is popular too with over 120,000 views. "Suffering is optional" is a song for those who love electric guitar-driven mid-tempo Smooth Jazz songs with the occasional gentle vocals with inspirational lyrics


One O'Clock Lab Band Marks Its 53rd Yearly Recording with "Lab 2019"


One O'Clock Lab Band Lab 2019 The University of North Texas's renowned One O'Clock Lab Band maintains its uncanny aptitude for both timeliness and timelessness with the November 22 release of Lab 2019 (North Texas Jazz). The latest installment in an annual series that has continued since 1967, the album features six original student compositions, five of them by members of the 20-piece student ensemble, as well as two standards with new student-penned arrangements. In addition, it offers new work by two of UNT's jazz faculty members and prolific Lab Band contributors: Grammy-nominated composer Rich DeRosa, the school's Director of Jazz Composition and Arranging, and Alan Baylock, the acclaimed big band veteran (Airmen of Note, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra) and director of the One O'Clock Lab Band.

This 53rd recorded iteration of the Lab Band (named for its long-entrenched rehearsal time) finds the institution in danger of losing neither inspiration, nor its long-held place in the elite of collegiate jazz ensembles. "We want everyone to know that the great UNT tradition going back many years is still alive and well," says Baylock in marking his third year of directorship.

Baylock is also an alumnus of UNT, earning his master's in jazz studies in 1995.  Alan Baylock Though he was not an official member of the One O'Clock Lab Band during his time at the university, he wrote 15 charts that were featured in the band's performances and on its recordings. He adds to that legacy with "Confluence," a startling and highly experimental piece that features solos by tenor saxophonist Addison Jordan and trumpeter Chris Van Leeuwen as well as musique concrète work by guitarist Ethan Ditthardt.

DeRosa is a legendary figure among jazz composers and has written a new piece for the One O'Clock Lab Band each year since his arrival at UNT in 2010. "Al-Go-Rhythm" ranks among his most thrillingly ingenious: subtitled "A 21st Century Take on a Gershwin Tune," it's an abstraction of "I Got Rhythm," recognizable by its chord changes and increasingly sneaky use of melodic motifs from the original. Jazz lovers will also identify it with the relentless swing that for DeRosa is as essential an ingredient as Gershwin's notes.
Ultimately, however, the One O'Clock Lab Band is an endeavor by, of, and for its student members, and their work on Lab 2019 rivals that of their elders for excitement and accomplishment. The complexity of trombonist DJ Rice's "Aggro" (which interlaces the harmonies of "Cherokee" and "Giant Steps") is exceeded only by the fun of listening to it; Rice also takes a solo of majesty and pathos on his sectionmate Nathan Davis's luxurious arrangement of the standard "I Can't Get Started." Student composer-arranger John Sturino, a former band member, shines with his sweetly hopeful tune "Frauenfeld" and boisterous setting of Styne & Cahn's standard "The Things We Did Last Summer" that features vocalist Marion Powers. Meanwhile, lead saxophonist Kyle Myers contributes three originals, cresting with the breezy, bluesy, meter-shifting swinger "Third Time's the Charm."
One O'Clock Lab Band 

The One O'Clock Lab Band is the premier performing ensemble of the University of North Texas jazz studies program. It began in 1927 as the Aces of Collegeland, an extracurricular dance orchestra at what was then North Texas State Teachers College. It gained academic accreditation (as the Laboratory Dance Band) in 1946-47, when UNT established the world's first collegiate jazz studies program.  One O'Clock Lab Band When innovative educator Leon Breeden took leadership of the program in 1959, he recast the ensemble as a forum for the serious study of jazz, renaming it for its daily rehearsal time.

With Breeden as its director, the band performed at venues ranging from Birdland to the White House; toured worldwide; and in 1967 began recording its annual albums at the request of legendary Voice of America broadcaster Willis Conover. Eight years later, the One O'Clock Lab Band became the first college band to be nominated for a Grammy Award. (It has been nominated seven times in all.)

Pianist and composer Neil Slater succeeded Breeden in 1981, compounding the ensemble's success over his 27-year run. Slater was then followed by Maynard Ferguson/Doc Severinsen Band alum Steve Wiest; Stan Kenton veteran Jay Saunders; and Alan Baylock, who became director of the One O'Clock Lab Band in 2016, after a highly lauded 20-year tenure as chief arranger for the U.S. Air Force's Airmen of Note jazz ensemble and leader of the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra.

One O'Clock Lab Band Alumni of the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band include Billy Harper, Bob Belden, Jim Snidero, and Ari Hoenig.

Gary Smulyan is guest artist for the One O'Clock Lab Band's 59th Annual Fall Concert/Lab 2019 CD Release Event, to be held at Winspear Performance Hall, Murchison Performing Arts Center, Denton, TX, on Tuesday 11/26 at 7:30pm. 

Craig Marshall, longtime manager and producer for the band, notes that "This is a time when our fans really look forward to hearing the current band live and purchasing the latest recording in person."

The One O'Clock Lab Band will also be performing at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, on Saturday and Sunday, January 18-19, 2020, having been invited to participate in the first Rudin Jazz Championship for collegiate jazz bands. Ten college bands will spend two days participating in workshops, a combo showcase in the Appel Room, and a friendly competition of big bands.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Music Releases: Terri Lyne Carrington; Joe Armon-Jones; Lawrence Clark Featuring Jeremy Pelt & Duane Eubanks


Terri Lyne Carrington – Waiting Game

Galvanized by seismic changes in the ever-evolving social and political landscape, and Social Science confront a wide spectrum of social justice issues. The band’s stunning double disc debut, Waiting Game, immediately takes its place in the stirring lineage of politically conscious and activist music, expressing an unflinching, inclusive and compassionate view of humanity’s breaks and bonds through an expansive program melding jazz, R&B, indie rock, contemporary improvisation, and hip-hop. Social Science is: Terri Lyne Carrington (drums, percussion, vocals), Aaron Parks (piano, keyboards), Matthew Stevens (guitars), Morgan Guerin (saxophone, bass, EWI), Debo Ray (vocals), Kassa Overall (MC, DJ)



Joe Armon-Jones - Turn To Clear View

A fantastic second set from keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones – a musician we first came to love in the UK-based Ezra Collective, and one who's now effortlessly bridging a space between jazz and soul! The record's got a vibe that's as cosmic as its cover – but one that comes not just through creative keyboard work, but from a great overall conception of the songs – so that Joe's music flows out with a warm style that embraces our ears, then takes us on a journey to the heavens! This isn't the usual keyboard jazz, with references heavy on the past – as Armon-Jones is as forward-thinking as his best contemporaries on the London scene. The set features great guest vocals from Georgia Anne Muldrow on the tune "Yellow Dandelion" – and other guest appearances by Nubya Garcia, Jehst, and Obongjayar – on titles that include "Try Walk With Me", "Gnawa Sweet", "Icy Roads", "To Know Where You're Coming From", "The Leo & The Aquarius", and "Self Love". ~ Dusty Groove

Lawrence Clark - Inner Visions Featuring Jeremy Pelt & Duane Eubanks

Inner Vision is a follow up to Clark’s debut album Forward Motion (2017), and features trumpeters Jeremy Pelt and Duane Eubanks with David Bryant, piano and Rhodes; Darrell Green, drums; and Joris Teepe, bass. It was recorded at Tedesco Studios, Paramus, NJ and mixed and mastered by Alex Geurink at Studio West Hoogland, The Netherlands. The album represents Clark's journey both musically and spiritually and pays homage to one of his biggest inspirations with whom he played for many years, Rashied Ali. Of Ali, Clark states, "Rashied was not only my mentor but also my good friend, like family. This album is a dedication to him and all my heroes."


Incognito to Release Highly Anticipated New Album “Tomorrow’s New Dream” featuring Maysa & Phil Perry


British acid jazz band Incognito release their new album ‘Tomorrow’s New Dream’ on November 8th 2019, and have announced a huge homecoming London show at Indigo at The O2 on December 4th 2019, marking an incredible 40 years since their formation.

An enduring relationship with music has seen Jean-Paul (Bluey) Maunick lead his band Incognito to their 40th Anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, Bluey has recorded a brand-new album of songs and instrumentals with the hallmark Incognito sounds both familiar and fresh, encompassing acid jazz, soul, funk, and neo-soul.

This album offers a rich sonic journey at every turn that features special guests Maysa, Phil Perry, Take 6, Mario Biondi and many others, collaborating with band members past and present, along with the talented new ’Cogs’. It’s a record of brand-new, original tracks that would feel right at home featuring on any of their most enduring, classic releases from the past.

The album opens with a selection of collaborations, including the fifth Incognito appearance of vocalist Joy Rose (Sting, Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock) on afro beat-inspired ‘Haze Of Summer’, The Montclairs’ Phil Perry on ‘For The Love Of You’, and a-cappella gospel legends Take 6 on ‘The Weather Report’. Also featuring on the aforementioned ‘For The Love…’ is long-time collaborator Maysa, about whom Bluey says “Combining the uniqueness of her rich soulful tones with Phil’s raw, powerful, and limitless vocal range is the stuff of dreams.”

Closing out the first third of the record is the instrumental ‘Saturday Sirens’, which utilises Incognito’s aptitude for creating soulful funk, and invokes what Bluey describes as living in a constant state of high alert in central London, as the feeling of rising crime can be magnified on a busy Saturday night.

The following trio of songs feature a young man whose band is a great example of Britain’s vibrant and everexpanding music scene — singer-songwriter-pianist-producer James Berkeley and his neo-soul band, Yakul. ‘Shine’ and ‘Wake Me’ are short interludes born of Bluey’s musings and James’s ability to sensitively tap into the old and the new, and explore the rich musical world they each come from. The funky-edged ‘After the Beat Is Gone’ is a song about love’s uncertainty “Songwriting is deeply personal and the chemistry of cowriting has to be perfectly balanced,” Bluey muses. And in James he has found a like-minded soul.

The next tracks on the record feature talented female vocalists that Bluey has sought out, including Lethal B/ Wiley collaborator Cherri V on ‘Only A Matter Of Time’, Italian singer Roberta Gentile on ‘Absent In Spring’ and Vanessa Haynes (dubbed the Caribbean Queen of Soul by Bluey) on ‘Still The One’, which also features Indonesian harmonica prodigy Rega Dauna.

The final two tracks on the album to feature vocals are ‘Now That I’ve Found You’, an uplifting song that celebrates life and love and features the vocal talents of long-time Incognito vocalist Imaani, and motivational number ‘No Show’, in which vocal duties are handled by Mario Biondi, who famously dueted with Chaka Khan on Incognito’s ‘Lowdown’ from the Transatlantic R.P.M album.

Closing the album is ‘Say What’s On Your Mind’, a spirited instrumental that features, in a metaphorical nod to the title, solos from all the core Incognito members.

Incognito will bring tracks from ‘Tomorrow’s New Dream’, plus a selection of their greatest and best -known hits to Indigo at The O2 on December 4th 2019, as a celebration to their 40-year career, and enduring legacy as one of the UKs most beloved bands. Tickets from axs.com

Upcoming Tour Schedule:
Oct 20 Charlotte, NC
Oct 21 Atlanta, GA
Oct 22 Alexandria, VA
Oct 24 Chicago, IL
Oct 25 Detroit, MI
Oct 26 New Haven, CT
Oct 28 Annapolis, MD
Oct 29 NY, NY
Oct 30 Philadelphia, PA
Nov 08 Los Cabos, Mexico


Monday, October 14, 2019

Drummer Mareike Wiening Releases "Metropolis Paradise"


An in-demand sidewoman on the fertile jazz scenes of both New York City and her native Nuremberg, Germany, drummer Mareike Wiening [pronounced: Mar-eye-kuh Vee-ning] asserts her extraordinary talents as composer, player and bandleader on Metropolis Paradise, her first full-length CD and debut on the Greenleaf Music label. A follow up to her ambitious 2014 EP, Crosswalk, Wiening's latest outing once again features Nuremberg-born bassist Johannes Felscher, outstanding Toronto-born guitarist Alex Goodman (a New York resident since 2012 and winner of the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Guitar Competition in 2014) and veteran tenor saxophonist Rich Perry (longstanding member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra). 

Pianist Dan Tepfer (longtime collaborator with alto sax legend Lee Konitz) was a last-minute replacement for Wiening's regular pianist Glenn Zaleski, who had suffered a broken elbow from a bike accident seven days before the recording took place. "I wanted to reschedule," said Wiening, "but a day later I learned that we were going to be the very last session to be recorded at Systems Two. It was a big dream for me to record at the legendary Systems Two Studio in Brooklyn, so rescheduling wasn't an option anymore. A friend of mine recommended Dan and said he would fit my music perfectly. Thankfully, he was free and we had a day to rehearse. My music isn't easy but he prepared it the best way he could and I think he played incredibly well. And Systems Two literally closed after our last take."

While Mareike's highly interactive drumming fuels this spirited session, it's the breadth and depth of her eight challenging compositions, along with her gift for melody and lyricism, that truly predominate throughout Metropolis Paradise. And her stellar sidemen rise to the occasion with impeccable execution and inspired soloing from track to track.

Wiening began studying piano at age five and participated in classical competitions in Germany until she was 16. She also studied flute for six years and sang in a choir for ten years before starting on drums at age 16, later playing in the German Jazz Youth Orchestra. She received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Performing Arts Mannheim and the Rhythmic Conservatory of Music Copenhagen and, thanks to a two-year scholarship from Germany, in 2012 moved to New York to work on her masters degree at New York University, where she studied with veteran drummer Tony Moreno. During her second year at NYU she began studying with Stefon Harris, a pivotal period in her musical development. "I took private lessons in composition as well as his harmony class," she recalled. "His approach to improvising/composing/harmony and ear training/communicating within the band had a huge impact on my playing and my relationship to music. It opened up a whole other world to me." She also cites Argentine composer Guillermo Klein as an important influence. "I love his music and I started taking private lessons with him in 2016 on a regular basis, which I still do. He had a huge impact, for instance, on the title track to Metropolis Paradise."

The collection opens with "Free Time," a buoyant number full of harmonic movement and underscored by Wiening's adept brushwork. Goodman and Perry blend in unisons on the melodic head before the saxophonist breaks loose for a bold tenor solo and the guitarist follows suit with a fluid, warm-toned solo of his own. "I love Rich's sound and in unison with Alex it's so perfect," said the composer. "The counterpoint passages underscore the harmony in a different way, maybe a hidden influence from my classical past. I loved Alex's playing from the first minute I heard him back in 2012 and he's still my favorite guitar player in the city. His energy and musical ideas are so clear and tasteful, it was exactly what I was looking for."

The suite-like "2 in 1" opens with Tepfer's thoughtfully introspective solo piano intro before the band enters, playing unison against Wiening's interactive brushwork. A series of stop-time phrases allows the drummer to traverse her kit with aplomb before introducing some intricate counterpoint against Tepfer's hypnotic arpeggiating. The mood then shifts to a strong backbeat behind Goodman's fleet-fingered guitar solo before drummer and saxophonist engage in a conversational free duet together. "This piece was composed together but it clearly contains two ideas in one song," said Wiening, referring to the title. "The solo piano part goes over the form and harmonic structure of the first melodic theme. With the stop-time, I wanted to incorporate the drums on a melodic basis. That part is also the transition into the second part of the song, which is based on a triplet, Afro-beat kind of feel. The busy piano ostinato is a constantly changing riff. Dan had to practice that a lot. The guitar solo is based on the harmony of the Afro-beat part but is a nice contrast to the busy triplets that happen before."

She added, "I was writing that piece thinking of different places I call home. I grew up in Norway as a kid and spent every summer for the past 20 years there. I also studied in Copenhagen for a year, I'm fluent in Norwegian and speak Danish and I love the nature and the silence there, a perfect place to relax. But I also love busy cities like New York or Paris. And obviously, I'm German. People often ask me how I can change immediately from a New York lifestyle into a small-city vibe like my hometown in Germany, but it doesn't affect me at all. For me it's all the same as long as I feel home and comfortable."

The whimsical "For a Good Day" is a delicate waltz with a memorable melody that features sparkling solos from tenorist Perry, bassist Felscher and pianist Tepfer. "I wrote this song on an unexpected free afternoon in Brooklyn close to Prospect Park," said Wiening. "It captures that special feeling that springtime in New York can evoke. It's definitely influenced by Brad Mehldau, who brought me into jazz. I heard him live in Burghausen the very first time in 2007 and since then I've never been tired of listening to all of his albums on a regular basis. I saw him many times, most recently at the Village Vanguard with Leon Parker. He's a constant source of inspiration and his music fits all kinds of different moods."

On the other end of the spectrum of that carefree ditty is the edgy, rhythmically-charged "Misconception." As the composer explained, "That's a drum-nerdy tune. My former teacher at NYU, Tony Moreno, used to tell me to write tunes in order to practice things I'm not comfortable with. I was getting into polyrhythms in 5/4 on the drums and found the main groove of 'Misconception' through practicing 4 over 5. I couldn't stop exploring and finally found harmonies and the bass line for the song. The dissonance and the funky vibe is part of the emotional engagement I'm looking for. It's definitely something that captures your attention!" Goodman's beautiful solo guitar exploration midway through offers a rare revealing moment in this imposing composition while the driving band ostinato near the end of the tune allows Wiening to unleash on the kit with a vengeance.

The gentle, unhurried ballad "Viewpoints," showcases Tepfer's exquisite accompaniment and the leader's coloristic work with brushes, and also features another beautifully melodic bass solo from Felscher. "Relations" is the lone swinger here, with the leader igniting the track with her slick Papa Jo Jones hi hat work. "I needed a tune like 'Relations' on the record because it basically shows me as a drummer," said the leader. "I see myself clearly as a jazz drummer and I love swinging on jazz standards. In New York, that's what I do the most, in fact. I expected that I would write more jazzy songs but somehow it didn't happen. I started playing jazz very late and maybe it's not deep enough in my composing skills. My drumming personality and my composition personality are very different, I'm still working on bringing both closer together." Perry digs in here, revealing his bebop hand on an invigorating tenor solo while guitarist Goodman follows suit with a flowing, Metheny-influenced guitar solo. Tepfer also responds with an urgent piano solo on top of the irrepressibly swinging pulse laid down here by Wiening and Felscher.

The moody, mesmerizing title track is a rhythmic puzzle of interwoven ostinatos and shifting harmonies. Inspired by her daily life in New York City, it features some flowing call-and-response between guitar and piano while Perry's plaintive tenor sax carries the main theme. "This piece was influenced by Guillermo Klein," Wiening explained. "I admire composers who make the music sound 'easy' and floating but if you look at it closer you realize it's super hard! Guillermo definitely has that quality in his writing. I was hearing that odd-metered melody in the piano/bass, and first when I wrote it down I realized it's uneven. That is also influenced by that feeling you get when you're traveling a lot between the continents. With jetlag, it's often hard to keep track of time/day/time zone so I wanted to express this drifting, unsettled state of mind in this composition."

The closer, "Free At Last," was originally written for a commission that Wiening got in Germany in 2018. "We had a year honoring Martin Luther," she recalled. "Since the organizer wanted me to find a reference to my current life, the only thing I could think of was comparing Martin Luther to Martin Luther King Jr. I composed seven songs (for vocals, guitar, sax, bass and drums) referring to and comparing ML and MLK. 'Free At Last' is one I wrote where I incorporated parts of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech to Martin Luther's scripture "About the Freedom of a Christian Man." One of the highlights of this darkly introspective piece is the conversational interaction between Wiening, Felscher, Tepfer and Goodman on the open-ended, lightly swinging 3/4 section midway through the evocative piece.

"I would describe my music as very intuitive and emotional," said the composer, "but because I'm classically trained on the piano, it's also technically very demanding, especially for the pianist. Melodies are extremely important for me as well as interesting rhythms. I look for surprises when I compose, and for an emotional engagement."


Kneebody Releases "Chapters" Featuring Special Guests Becca Stevens, Gretchen Parlato, Gerald Clayton, Michael Mayo & Josh Dion


A band with a long history, a deep mutual respect, and a dedicated fanbase, Kneebody marks a new beginning with their October 18, 2019 Edition Records release, Chapters, the band’s seventh album and their first full album since they became a four piece with the extraordinary Nate Wood taking the simultaneous roles of drummer and bassist. Keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, and saxophonist Ben Wendel complete this leaderless band – or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant. Featured on the album is a stellar array of guests, including Michael Mayo, Gretchen Parlato, Gerald Clayton, Josh Dion and Becca Stevens. The band previously worked with Mayo, Stevens, Clayton, and Dion on their digital EP By Fire, which was Kneebody’s first foray into modern covers. That experience led to an extended collaboration with these guests and the recently added Parlato for Chapters, featuring all original compositions.

The title references the episodic nature of life and the way our personal stories begin to form a narrative as we accumulate more time on the planet,” states Endsley. “Kneebody feels like a family. We came together as young people and have spent all these years growing together. We have our personal chapters and we have our chapters as a band, and they all intertwine. Sometimes we have to look back to realize what a given chapter was about and sometimes it can be noted in the present. At this time, Kneebody is clearly entering a new period and this album illustrates the passage.”

Chapters displays a musical confidence and a sublime musical language that highlights Kneebody’s trademark sound of displaced beats, infectious riffs and haunting unison horns blended with compelling affected solos. With an explosive vitality and exuberance, and, at the flick of a switch, the ability to switch from a wall of monstrous improvisations to a sound of nuanced sweetness, Chapters epitomizes Kneebodys reason for being.

Kneebody channels an explosive energy paralleled with nuanced chamber ensemble playing while showcasing highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvisation. The band performs the feat of creating music that’s both musicians’ music as well as music for the people, with Chapters being one of Kneebody’s most spirited and accomplished albums to date. “We have the original quintet, the new quartet, and we have the arrival of these wonderful guests. From here, we begin the next chapter of our story,” says Endsley.

Upcoming Kneebody Tour Dates

Oct. 3 - 5 / Blue Whale / Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 6 / The Art Boutiki / San Jose, CA
Oct. 8 / Frankie's Jazz Club / Vancouver, BC
Oct. 9 / Earshot Jazz Festival / Seattle, WA
Oct. 10 / The Jack London Revue / Portland, OR
Oct. 24 / The Ardmore Music Hall / Ardmore, PA
Oct. 25 / BRIC JazzFest / Brooklyn, NY
Nov. 8 / Le Crescent Jazz Club / Macon, France
Nov. 9 / La Spirale / Fribourg, Switzerland
Nov. 12 - 13 / Duc Des Lombards / Paris, France
Nov. 14 / Jazzclub Unterfahrt / Munich, Germany
Nov. 15 / Zig Zag Jazz Club / Berlin, Germany
Nov. 17 / Jazzhaus Freiburg / Freiburg, Germany



Dave Koz’s New Album, Gifts Of The Season + Christmas Tour w/Guest Artists


Twenty-two years after releasing his first Christmas-themed set, GRAMMY®-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz takes a very different stylistic approach on his new holiday album, Gifts of the Season. The 11-track collection will be released on Friday, October 11, via Just Koz Entertainment, Inc. Produced by Darren Rahn (Wayman Tisdale, Toby Keith, Bob James), the album brings a buoyant, soul/funk/pop feel to Christmas classics across different eras, and sheds new light on their rich musicality and lyrical depth. Closing out the set is “A Prayer for Peace,” a new song penned by Koz.

Gifts of the Season is the ideal companion piece for the 22nd Annual Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour – a whirlwind of 22 shows in 25 days – with Jonathan Butler, Melissa Manchester, Michael Lington and special guest Chris Walker. All four of Koz’s tour mates appear on the new album. Butler and Lington are also releasing Christmas albums this fall so – in a first for the tour – the shows will feature material from three brand new holiday albums. The run kicks off on November 29 at the Van Wezel in Sarasota, FL and includes shows at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, NY (December 8), the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, TX (December 16) and Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Southern California (December 20 and 21). Tickets are available at www.davekoz.com. See below for itinerary.

“One of the reasons I continue to record this music and tour every year is that the holidays are a reminder for all of us about the things that matter. It’s a time when we seem more capable of living our best lives,” says Dave Koz. “It’s easy to get off course during the rest of the year, especially the way the world is these days with all of its antagonism and intolerance. The holidays help bring us back to center. That’s what ‘A Prayer for Peace’ is also – a way to express that music is perhaps our one last vestige of uniting people who may be at odds in other areas of life.”

To bring an added warmth to the songs, Koz and Rahn recorded the basic tracks in the producer/musician’s Denver studio, then visited the guest artists to record them in their home studios. “We wanted to capture them at their most intimate, powerful best,” explains Koz.

Approaching Mariah Carey’s “All I Want Is You” as a soulful ballad, GRAMMY winner Melissa Manchester changes the entire emotional trajectory of the song. Koz notes, “It’s one of the most played holiday songs on the radio, but because it’s so up-tempo, it’s easy to overlook that it’s got a lot of meat on its bones. Melissa’s version makes you stop and pay attention.” Likewise, pairing the intensity of Michael Lington’s alto saxophone with Koz’s tenor fuels an explosive funk/soul romp through “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Jonathan Butler brings his gritty, soul-gospel energy to classics from two different eras: a groovin’, African chant-spiced version of the nearly 70-year-old “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and a swinging, festive bounce through Donny Hathaway’s 70’s smash, “This Christmas,” which features Koz on soprano sax and Rahn on Wurlitzer and Hammond organ. Singer, bassist and former Al Jarreau musical director Chris Walker also knocks it out of the park, delivering the perfect blend of solemnity and classic soul power on a sparsely-produced rendition of “Mary Did You Know.”

Another vocalist Koz is excited to showcase on Gifts of the Season is Matt Cusson, whose Take-6-like vocal textures combine with Koz’s cool tenor to bring renewed poignancy to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Koz and Rahn’s dance-jam spin on Wham’s mid-80’s smash, “Last Christmas,” makes it one of the album’s most compelling instrumental tracks. “Never in a million years did I think it would make a great vehicle for the sax,” Koz says, “but it was such a blast to play, so funky and danceable.”  See below for the album’s full track listing.

“The title Gifts of the Season is personal to me on many levels,” he adds. “It’s not about the presents under the tree, but the gift of showing love and appreciation. As I approach the 30th anniversary of the release of my debut album, nobody is more surprised than I am by the career I have had and all the ongoing support from my fans. I have been blessed with so many gifts and, in turn, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the gift of music with people around the world.”

Saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz has racked up an astoundingly impressive array of honors and achievements: nine GRAMMY® nominations, 11 No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, 13 sold-out Dave Koz & Friends At Sea cruises, performances for multiple U.S. presidents, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. A Platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

Jonathan Butler - The youngest of 13 children, Jonathan Butler grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, ruled by Apartheid and segregation. Butler began his singing career at age 7. He released his first album in 1973 and won the Best New Artist GRAMMY in South Africa the following year at age 12. More than a decade later, Butler moved to London, England after signing with Jive Records and released his first album internationally. The self-titled set went Gold in 1987 in the United Kingdom and in the U.S. He received GRAMMY nominations for Best R&B Song for his R&B-pop vocal hit “Lies” and for Best Jazz Song for the instrumental “Going Home.” His new album, Christmas Together, is due out October 4.

Melissa Manchester - Following her stint as a founding member of Bette Midler’s Harlettes, Manchester established herself as a solo artist with Top 10 hits like “Midnight Blue,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and the GRAMMY-winning “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.” Her songs have been heard in motion pictures, netting her two Oscar nominations, and recorded by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Alison Krauss and Roberta Flack. On her latest album, The Fellas, she pays tribute to iconic male artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett.

Michael Lington - Although he grew up in Copenhagen, Michael Lington was massively influenced by the soul music that emanated from Memphis, TN. At age 20, he made the fateful decision to move to the U.S. and is now regarded as one of the world’s top contemporary soul and jazz saxophonists. In his remarkable career, he has charted more than 20 hit singles and performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues. He recently recorded his first Christmas album, A Foreign Affair Christmas, which features numerous special guests, including Vince Gill and Dave Koz.

Chris Walker - Born and raised in Houston TX, Chris Walker began singing before he began speaking. He got his start in church, performing as a member of his family gospel group, The Walker Brothers. He has played with such jazz greats as Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, Bob James, Jimmy Heath, Cassandra Wilson and others. He served as musical director for Regina Belle and also for seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Al Jarreau. Walker’s latest album, We’re In This Love Together Celebrating Al Jarreau, is out now. It features many smooth jazz greats, including Dave Koz.

Track Listing – Gifts Of The Season
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas feat. Jonathan Butler
O Come All Ye Faithful
White Christmas
Last Christmas
Mary Did You Know featuring Chris Walker
I’ll Be Home For Christmas featuring Matt Cusson
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer feat. Michael Lington
This Christmas featuring Jonathan Butler
All I Want For Christmas feat. Melissa Manchester
Winter Wonderland
A Prayer For Peace

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Simply Red: New Album Blue Eyed Soul Out November 8th on BMG


Simply Red have just released new soulful ballad ‘Sweet Child’ from their 12th studio album, Blue Eyed Soul. Effortlessly soulful, the dreamy string section compliments the catchy guitar riff on ‘Sweet Child’. Reflecting on the song, lead singer and band leader Mick Hucknall writes "We (alleged) grown ups should be asking ourselves if we will be leaving this world in better shape for our children than it is for us. So, are we? Or are we failing them?" Blue Eyed Soul will be released November 8th on BMG. 

Blue Eyed Soul is a ten track masterclass in funky, brassy soul music and emotionally charged ballads and available for pre-order HERE. Recorded in London at British Grove Studios, all ten tracks of Blue Eyed Soul were written by Mick Hucknall and produced by long time collaborator Andy Wright. The results are simply sensational. Recorded as live, with few overdubs, Blue Eyed Soul drew on inspiration from classic funk and soul: Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Tower of Power.

After 40 years of making records (with punk band The Frantic Elevators, solo and various line ups of Simply Red) Hucknall wanted to create something tailored to the core strength of his fantastic band. “I asked myself, what would these guys really like to play, night after night? I want them to enjoy playing, for crowds to get up and move around, and everybody to put their heart into it. It’s all about capturing the groove.”

Simply Red have over a billion hits on YouTube, have sold over 60 million albums worldwide, 5 going to number one in the UK. Their 1991 classic Stars was the best-selling album for two years running in Britain and Europe. They have had two US Billboard chart toppers with classic singles "Holding Back The Years" and "If You Don’t Know Me By Now." Every Simply Red studio album has been a UK top ten (with previous release Big Love reaching number 4 in 2015). Hucknall has been the songwriter and bandleader since the beginning in 1985, aided since 1986 by long-serving saxophonist Ian Kirkham.  

Blue Eyed Soul is the sound of Simply Red firing on all cylinders. “At this stage of my career, I could do one of those dark reflective albums looking back on my life and all that kind of stuff that people tend to do at a certain age,” Mick Hucknall admits. “But I thought sod that! I wanted to make something punchy. I want to have a good time.”


Nat King Cole - Hittin’ The Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)


Released in partnership with the Nat King Cole estate, Resonance Records’ HITTIN’ THE RAMP: THE EARLY YEARS (1936-1943) is the first large-scale collection of the pivotal early recordings (1936-1943) of Nat’s 29-year recording career. Most tracks are receiving their first official release in this meticulously restored set of original live-to-disk recordings.

This definitive 7CD and limited-edition 10LP collection draws upon a wide range of sources, including many newly-discovered tracks unearthed for the first time from archives located all over the world, such as “Trompin” (jukebox-only release for Cinematone, 1939), “What’cha Know Joe” (undocumented radio performance, 1940 — now the earliest known recording of Nat “on the air”), “The Romany Room is Jumpin’” (private recording, 1941) and “Beautiful Moons Ago” (longer alternate take, 1943). 

Sessions include Nat at age 17, playing piano in his brother’s band in Chicago, 1936; the first King Cole Trio recordings from 1938, made for radio broadcast only, for Standard Transcriptions; further radio transcription sessions for Standard, Davis & Schwegler, Keystone, plus his first (uncredited) session for MacGregor, with vocalist Anita Boyer; the Ammor Records Session (Spring 1940 – the first commercial-release sessions for the trio), the Decca Recordings (1940-41), the small-label sessions for Excelsior and Premier labels (1943), many previously-uncirculating Armed Forces Radio performances, and, with producer Norman Granz at the helm, early jazz sessions with Lester Young (Granz historic, first session as a producer) and Dexter Gordon, originally released on Philo and Mercury, respectively. 

Boasting an extensive 60+ page booklet with rare photographs; essays by acclaimed author Will Friedwald and guitarist Nick Rossi (with a special focus on Oscar Moore); interviews and testimonials from Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, John Pizzarelli, Freddy Cole, Michael Feinstein and many others.

Hittin’ the Ramp features new remastering from original source disks transferred for this set from a number of personal collections and from the archives at University of California – Santa Barbara, The Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, the the CU Boulder American Music Research Center, and the Library of Congress.

Celebrate Nat King Cole’s centennial in 2019 with this definitive early years multi-disc box set. This is the origin story of a great artist just as he was just “hittin’ the ramp,” launching a distinctive style that would quickly become famous the world over.

Resonance Records, the Los Angeles-based independent jazz label noted for its historical releases, will issue its most ambitious release to date, the seven-CD/10-LP Nat King Cole boxed set Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) on November 1, 2019.
Succeeding critically acclaimed Resonance archival collections devoted to previously unheard recordings by Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughan, and other eminent jazz performers, Hittin’ the Ramp offers the first in-depth survey of singer-pianist Cole’s work in the years preceding his long hit-making tenure at Capitol Records.

“This is a really important project for Resonance,” says Zev Feldman, label co-president and the set’s co-producer. “We’ve done some pretty substantial packages over the years, such as our three-disc Eric Dolphy and Jaco Pastorius sets with 100-page booklets, but this Nat King Cole box is truly a definitive, king-sized set, clocking in at a staggering 10 LPs and seven CDs worth of essential early Cole material with enhanced audio.”

The expansive collection — which includes several previously unreleased studio sides, transcriptions, and private recordings — is the first major overview of Cole’s earliest work to be produced in conjunction with the musician’s estate.

“The Nat King Cole Estate is thrilled to be partnering with Resonance Records on this exciting collection of early recordings that showcase Nat’s extraordinary abilities as a jazz musician,” says Seth Berg of the Nat King Cole Estate. “The family is especially grateful for Resonance’s unwavering determination to preserve and present these pioneering recordings to the world.”

The set’s co-producer, writer and historian Will Friedwald – who received Grammy Award nominations for his work on Mosaic Records’ landmark 1992 box The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio and the 1989 album Nat “King” Cole and the “King” Cole Trio – points out in his comprehensive notes to the collection that Cole’s deep and influential jazz roots were often obscured by his towering reputation as a pop singer.

“At the height of his fame in the 1950s and ‘60s,” he writes, “Nat King Cole (1919-1965) was primarily known as a popular singer — the biggest-selling artist of his generation, no less — who occasionally played piano. By that point, only a few older fans and critics remembered that he had been one of the greatest pianists in the whole history of American music, a true spiritual descendent of Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and Art Tatum, and himself a huge inspiration for Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Erroll Garner, and many others.”

Beyond Cole’s brilliance at the keyboard, the Resonance set takes in his dazzling work as a vocalist, and includes a new interview with the master pop singer Johnny Mathis, who discusses his debt to and friendship with his great predecessor.

“As a young boy, studying the art of vocalizing, Nat was everything I needed,” Mathis says. “All I did was listen and learn…And then I want [people] to remember that he also, also, also played the piano. Please, please, please remember that. Even as gigantic as a pianist as he was as a vocalist.”

Co-produced by Zev Feldman, Will Friedwald, Seth Berg, Matt Lutthans, and Jordan Taylor, and executive produced by Resonance co-president George Klabin, Hittin’ the Ramp homes in on Cole’s prodigious early career, beginning with the debut sides he recorded with his brother Eddie for Decca Records as a 17-year-old piano phenom in 1936.

The majority of the set’s nearly 200 tracks focus on the first work by the King Cole Trio, the seminal combo that put Cole on the map with a swinging combination of jazz, jive, and pop, with an emphasis on his simpatico creative partnership with the trio’s longtime guitarist Oscar Moore.

In his notes for the collection, guitarist Nick Rossi notes that Moore’s synthesis of such influences as George van Eps, Dick McDonough, Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian led to his “groundbreaking style, one which provided a template for how the guitar functions in a modern jazz setting.”

Hittin’ the Ramp compiles Cole’s recordings – among them the first versions of “Sweet Lorraine,” a staple of his ‘40s repertoire, and the R&B and pop hit “Straighten Up and Fly Right” – with his trio and in other studio settings (as sideman and accompanist) for Decca, Ammor, Excelsior, Premier, Mercury, and Philo (including a celebrated session for the latter label, founded by Norman Granz during the 1942 Musicians Union recording ban, with saxophonist Lester Young).

It also contains dozens of transcriptions, mainly by the trio, cut by Standard, Davis & Schwegler, and MacGregor for servicing to radio stations, as well as wartime recordings produced for American servicemen by the Armed Forces Radio Service.

The newly discovered selections include several performances that were not known to exist before research for the boxed set began. These include a privately recorded number, “The Romany Room is Jumping,” a homage to the titular Washington, D.C., club that hosted Cole’s group; the hitherto unheard Cinematone transcription “Trompin’”; and an unreleased 1940 trio rendering of Trummy Young’s “Whatcha’ Know Joe.”

“Although nothing on this package can be described as ‘common,’ these are some of the rarest Cole items known to exist,” Friedwald writes.

He adds, “Just in time for his centennial, we cover this quintessential American artist from his very first stirrings at the start of the swing era to the very precipice of universal fame during World War Two, with dozens of fascinating detours along the way. This, then, is the incredible but true origin story of a sound and a career that would change the world.”


Saturday, October 12, 2019

New Music Releases: Ramsey Lewis & Urban Knights, Greg Foat & James Thorpe, Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Ramsey Lewis & Urban Knights – VII

A smoking little set from Ramsey Lewis – one that really recalls the best electric years of his 70s recordings – and which also has a much sharper sound than some of the other albums recorded with the Urban Knights! There's plenty of great piano on the record from Ramsey, mixed with keyboards from Tim Gant – and the blend has that warm mix of acoustic and electric that Columbia would feature on some of their more soulful fusion albums of the 70s – and which is never overdone here in the production or arrangements, given that the group is nice and lean – with just Henry Johnson on guitar, Charles Heath on drums, and Joshua Ramos on bass. The great singer Dee Alexander joins the group on "The Shape Of My Heart" – and other tracks include "Tequila Mockingbird", "The Spark", "I'll Never Forget You", "Sharing Her Journey", "Trees", "Armandos Rhumba", and "Baby What You Want Me To Do".  ~ Dusty Groove

Greg Foat & James Thorpe - Photosynthesis

A very cool collaboration between Greg Foat and James Thorpe – a set that's billed more as a sound library session than some of Foat's other jazz projects – even though the sound is equally appealing if you love those records too! The set is self-described as "futuristic analogue cosmic synth library cues for TV, film, and radio" – but it's also got a much warmer sound than you might expect, very much in keeping with the natural image on the cover – as Foat and Thorpe eschew some of the colder keyboard styles of other library records, and instead really let things glow with that organic vibe that usually informs Greg's music, as gentle rhythms set the pace for Fender Rhodes, Hohner pianet, and a host of Korg and Roland keys. There's also a touch of vibes, some field recordings, and other cool touches – on tracks that include "Balloon Ride", "Circadian Rhythms", "Grockle Box", "Living The Dream", "Platform Game", "Stacey's Theme", and "Elementary Physiology (parts 1 & 2)". ~Dusty Groove.

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - Build Bridges

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble are tighter than ever, and have really perfected a trademark sound – a style that's got the breaking drums of a vintage funky 45, the moody horns of an Ethio funk group, and the kind of organ and keyboard lines that would be right at home on a vintage album by The Meters! The blend is wonderful, and carried off to perfection here – touched with some added percussion and other surprises over the course of the record – but all with this lean, sharp instrumental style that never needs any vocals, nor any other added elements to hold our interest! The set begins with a cover of the Roy Ayers tune "Aragon" – then moves through originals that include "Build Bridges", "Roxy Funk", "Gloria's Anthem", "El Nino", "Sucker Punch", "Costa Blues", and "Campus Life". ~ Dusty Groove


Brenda Earle Stokes "Solo Sessions Volume 1"

 Brenda Earle Stokes has a new album "Solo Sessions Volume 1" - a solo piano and voice project that was recorded in just under 4 hours in her hometown of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.  As a follow up to her 2014 studio release Right About Now, she wanted to go back to the simplicity of her favorite jazz records by recording live with no overdubs, edits or corrections.  What you hear is exactly what came out in the moment. 

She was inspired by many of the great piano/voice duo records - Ella/Oscar, Tony Bennett/Bill Evans and Fred Hersch/all the singers he has worked with.  There have been very few albums put out in this voice/piano solo format, which made this project both terrifying and exhilarating. 

Brenda Earle Stokes is a rare jazz artist with a true command of both the piano and the voice. As a follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2014 studio album Right About Now, Stokes sought to challenge herself to dig deep and share the full scope of her talents in the most intimate setting possible. In her latest album Solo Sessions Volume 1, Brenda explores the rarely- recorded format of solo piano/voice, showcasing her mesmerizing fluidity as both singer and pianist. Recorded in a single four-hour session in her hometown of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Brenda explores a wide spectrum of material, including jazz standards, original compositions and seldom-heard compositions by George Shearing and Steve Swallow. She rounds out the recording with lush jazz arrangements of songs recorded by k.d. lang, Michael McDonald and Huey Lewis, showing the full range of her musical curiosities.

The official release date is November 15th. 
Check out the first single off the new record: 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Jazz chanteuse Kinga Heming aiming for a GRAMMY® nomination


A GRAMMY® nomination would remain forever in the heart of jazz chanteuse Kinga Heming

Tucked away in the dimly lit vocal booth of producer Gabriel Mark Hasselbach’s recording studio in Vancouver, jazz vocalist Kinga Heming tapped into the powerful emotions that fill her newly released third album, “Forever in My Heart.” While tracking “The Very Thought of You” from the Great American Songbook, something clicked as she crooned the lyrics “Forever in my heart, the very thought of you.” Hasselbach knew instantly that he had uncovered the soul of the singer, the magic ingredient that makes her record special. 

“That is the title of your album,” Hasselbach said to Heming about the first-round GRAMMY ballot contender for Jazz Vocal Album, “Forever in My Heart.”

Heming identifies herself as a singer and a storyteller. While the eight tunes she recorded for “Forever in My Heart” are standards, she selected each song because of her personal connection to each one. 

“These were songs that were introduced to me at a very young age. Gabriel suggested that I choose songs that I feel reflect on my life. So, I chose the ones that I felt really connected to because, to be honest, when I sing a song, it’s not just singing a song. It’s not just reciting the lyrics to make it sound pretty. It’s me telling a story. And every single song on the record is me telling a story,” said the Polish-born Heming, who moved to Ottawa, Ontario in Canada when she was five and now resides in the small British Columbian town of Kelowna.

“When I sing songs, I never make myself emotional to the point of getting moved by a song. However, one of the songs on the album that does hold a soft spot in my heart is ‘Here’s to Life.’ When I sing it, I kind of felt like Johnny Mandel wrote that song for me. Lyrically, every single part of that song, it’s just me.”

Garnering airplay on Canadian radio from coast to coast, “Forever in My Heart” is an acoustic jazz vocal album. Heming’s elegant and graceful voice is embellished by Miles Black’s dramatic piano melodies and supple basslines, Joel Fountain’s genteel drumming and Hasselbach’s astute trumpet expositions. On “Nature Boy,” Heming’s exquisite voice rides the rhythmic groove etched by guitarist Loni Moger and upright bassist Bernie Addington with evocative shadowing emoted from Hasselbach’s muted trumpet.     

Heming celebrated the album release last week by performing the material live at the Rotary Center for the Arts at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna where she shared the stage with Hasselbach, Black, Moger, Addington and drummer Tony Ferrero. Bonding with her audience as she tells her intimate stories through song is important to the singer.

“It’s me telling a story to everybody in the audience and for me to move an audience with my songs is even better,” Heming said before returning the focus to “Forever in My Heart.” 

“At the end of the day, I know for myself, and from my own perspective, that I recorded this (album) from the bottom of my heart. That’s why I came up with ‘Forever in My Heart’; because every single part of that story is held forever in my heart.”

Soul-Jazz flutist Kim Scott emerges in the GRAMMY® race


It was a hot July for soul-jazz flutist Kim Scott, who rocketed like fireworks to the top of the Billboard chart with her first No. 1 single, which has inserted the emerging artist into the GRAMMY conversation. Scott’s solo on “Emerge” made the first-round ballot for Best Improvised Jazz Solo while the album on which the track appears, “Free to Be,” is garnering consideration in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.  

Scott wrote “Emerge” with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen, a hitmaker who is featured delivering his own shimmering solo. However, it is the flautist’s fanciful flourishes that are meriting consideration from the voting members of The Recording Academy for the 62nd GRAMMY Awards that take place on January 26, 2020. 

After setting the stage to perfection with a Billboard chart-topping single that also went No. 1 on the Groove Jazz Music chart, Innervision Records dropped “Free to Be,” Scott’s fourth album, in mid-July. She had a hand in writing five of the album’s nine songs, which offer an alluring blend of instrumental pop appeal, jazz spontaneity and funky R&B grooves. Scott’s classically trained flute melodies share the spotlight equitably on a few numbers with prominent guest soloists Fritzen, saxophonist Jazmin Ghent and Pieces of A Dream keyboardist James Lloyd. Guitarist Eric Essix, drummer/percussionist James “PJ” Spraggins and bassist Sean Michael Ray anchor the rhythm section with compelling textures and vibrant harmonies crafted by keyboardist/programmer/producer Kelvin Wooten, keyboardists West Byrd and Jaden Scott, alto saxophonist Cameron Ross and instrument programmer Dimitri Turner. The disc’s second single, the bumping “Take It To The Rink,” is presently skating laps around playlists after earning Most Added honors in its debut week at radio.    

In addition to her recording career, Scott hosts the nationally syndicated “Block Party Radio Show,” which added to its growing list of stations with the recent pickup on Alabama Public Radio, an NPR affiliate. The artist infuses her energy and enthusiasm into the weekly broadcast featuring the latest  contemporary jazz, urban and Latin jazz releases. 

The Birmingham, Alabama-based Scott debuted in 2011 with “Crossing Over.” Her records have consistently produced Billboard Top 20 singles. On the concert stage, she’s performed at clubs and marquee festivals, including Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival and Seabreeze Jazz Festival. Scott is also a member of the all-female supergroup Jazz in Pink with whom she has played shows across the US. 

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