Friday, August 30, 2013



2013 release from the veteran Jazz outfit. Joined by superstar guitarist Rhon Lawrence and up and coming saxophonist Tony Watson Jr., the group has composed 10 brilliant originals that run the gamut from "in the pocket" R&B to the kind of sensuous Smooth Jazz jams that have made them legends. Lead producer and founding member James Lloyd, who has been a go to hit maker and accompanist for such artists as Mary J. Blige, BB King, Wayman Tisdale and others, is at the top of his game here with such highlights as the funky "Steppers 'D' Light" and the romantic ballad "Misty Eyed". Additionally, co-founder Curtis Harmon's composition, the title track "In the Moment", is a joyful celebration of Pieces of a Dream's 20th album and their brilliant career.


Although not a new release (it's from 2006), I thought I would bring this one to the forefront since it contains one of my all-time favorite songs – Crystal Blue Persuasion. Originally performed by 60s group Tommy James and the Shondells, Shields’ version is smooth., cool, and simply beautiful!  It’s got a feel-good vibe and stellar production that I am sure you will enjoy as well. Iconic producer Preston Glass has worked with a plethora of artists including Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Kenny G, George Benson, and more. The album also includes two timeless cuts from the catalogs of Van Morrison (Have I Told You Lately) and Sade (Cherry Pie). On "Have I Told You Lately," Shields delivers the right chops to bring out the beauty of the highly recognizable tune and on "Cherry Pie," he deliver with a sweet, sexy excursion of R&B grooves.


The latest artist to emerge from the 'New' Detroit music scene, soul trumpeter Lin Rountree has spent his years laying a serious foundation on the local scene, honing his skills and chops for the moment that he had his opportunity to take his music to a higher level and spread it to the masses. With 'Serendipitous' his major label CutMore Records debut, Lin works now on building his musical house with this base firmly established and does so with spectacular result. Rountree is no stranger to the groove and hits high marks for hip factor as he lays them down fat and funky, giving him canvas to paint his many colors, fusing funk, soul, ambience, pop and jazz into a captivating musical portrait.. Consumers seeking to find the Zone, will find it in plenty with this assemblage of vibes moods and feels that create that kind of escapism that allows the partaker an internal getaway. The lead single 'We Chill' already burning up national radio, just oozes with hipness and is so chilled that goose bumps become a natural side effect. Scoring a role in the Whitney Houston film 'Sparkle' hasn't hurt Rountree's international profile, which helped lead to his headlining a show at the Dubai International Jazz Festival this year. Having shared sides with the likes of George Duke, Marcus Miller, Kem and Darren Rahn, it's time to step forward to the front edge of the stage and take his rightful place alongside the burgeoning crop of fresh new faces of the next generation of smooth jazz stars. ~


When you think of soul music, "attitude" isn't the first thing that always comes to mind. That's not to say the genre couldn't use a little spunk though—especially in this day and age. Thankfully, Los Angeles singer Raquel Rodriguez and her band, The Big Guys, play soul how it was always meant to be played. 

Meeting her six-piece band "The Big Guys" while still attending class, they collectively began pursuing their own "party" in 2011, gigging tirelessly everywhere they could. A year later, the group hit the studio to record what would eventually become Miss Me. Their 2013 full-length debut Miss Me boasts a collection of impassioned, invigorating, and irresistible songs that are as fresh as they are fiery.

Miss Me has that old school vibe which is a perfect sound for her amazing vocal delivery. Rodriguez’s influences are a collection of both old and new school soul - from Sarah Vaughan to Adele. You can hear it loud and clear on the first single and title track, "Miss Me". Blending intricate instrumentation and Raquel's infectious delivery, the song is something of a call-to-arms. "It's an anthem," she admits. "It's a girl singing about a guy who took advantage of her and didn't treat her right. Now, because she's successful, he wants her back. She always warned him like, 'One day, you'll miss me'. She was right."

Elsewhere on the album, "Tell Me It's Fine" paints a poignant picture via her vivid lyrics and the music's sultry swing. "It's about a relationship where both people are really stubborn," she goes on. "Neither side wants to end it so they stick it out, stay together, and just hope that it's fine."


Brooklyn's Barbez, sui generis luminaries of the New York music scene will be performing Wednesday, September 18th at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, NY in celebration of Bella Ciao, their fifth full-length album. The album was recorded and  mixed by the incomparable Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth, Herbie Hancock, Ramones, John Zorn) at B.C. Studios in Brooklyn, NY with band leader and guitarist Dan Kaufman producing. Special guests on the album include Dawn McCarthy (Faun Fables, Will Oldham) on vocals, legendary downtown experimental theatre director and poetess Fiona Templeton on voice, and former Electro-Harmonix pedal inventor Dan Coates on electronics. Bella Ciao was released by John Zorn's Tzadik label on August 27.

To open the show, Barbez will perform the New York premiere of two movements of acclaimed classical composer Yotam Haber's Roman Jewish inspired piece, "Death Will Come and She Shall Have Your Eyes." This stirring work, which will feature special guest avant-classical vocalist Dafna Naphtali, includes field recordings of Roman cantors recorded by Leo Levi (the Alan Lomax of Italy) in the 1940s and 50s and a guest appearance by the extraordinary new music singer Dafna Naphtali. Haber, whose music has been described "as deeply haunting" by New Yorker critic Alex Ross is a former recipient of the Rome Prize and his works have been performed by Alarm Will Sound, Either/Or, Flux Quartet and JACK Quartet among many others. 

Haber's music is an especially fitting compliment to this record release show for it was in 2009, at a residency at the MacDowell Colony, that Haber first introduced Barbez bandleader Dan Kaufman to Roman Jewish music. While there the pair collaborated on Haber's score for a documentary about Rome's Jewish community and they have shared a deep friendship and love for this singular music ever since.

 Bella Ciao is inspired by both ancient Roman Jewish melodies and the Italian Resistance during the Second World War. To help tell that timeless story of defiance, the album incorporates poems by the great Italian writer and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini and his renowned contemporary, the poet Alfonso Gatto. The title track, the partisan anthem "Bella Ciao," has been an international symbol of resistance for seventy years and is re-imagined here in a stunning interpretation for a new generation. As Gatto wrote many years after the war: "The Resistance ... is not an exceptional moment of being; it is the opposite-a period that endures in time and in history to form a common conscience."

As on previous efforts Barbez weaves a haunting mosaic of avant-rock, old-world cabaret, European folksong, and contemporary classical into a uniquely beautiful and personal soundscape. An unconventional line-up, a kind of rock-tinged chamber ensemble comprised of theremin, clarinet, violin, vibraphone, electric guitar, bass and drums, forges a rich, indescribable-yet beautiful-sonic tapestry that alternates between passages of quiet intensity and passionate fury.

Since its formation in Brooklyn in the late 1990s, Barbez has released five albums, each of them engineered and mixed by Martin Bisi. The group's last record, Force of Light, was an homage to the Romanian-Jewish Holocaust poet Paul Celan and was hailed by as "one of the most profound settings for poetry in music" of all time.

For the past decade, Barbez has performed across the United States and Europe including engagements at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles (sharing the bill with the MC5 and Sun Ra Arkestra), the Festival Territoria in Moscow, Russia, and the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris, France. Over its history, Barbez has collaborated with a diverse group of musicians including the cellist Julia Kent of Antony and the Johnsons, the avant-vocalist Shelley Hirsch, and the singer and guitarist Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Faun Fables.

Barbez maintains a long-running collaboration with the experimental theatre director, filmmaker, and playwright, John Jesurun, a MacArthur "genius" grant winner, and has composed and performed scores for several of Jesurun's theatrical works, which have been staged at the Berliner Festspiele, in Berlin, Germany and the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in New York. Jesurun, who directed the groundbreaking "Last Goodbye" video for Jeff Buckley, has directed two videos for the band. Barbez has also contributed music for several dance works, including One and The Making of Americans, both choreographed by the Bessie-award winner Juliette Mapp and presented, respectively, by Danspace Project and Dance Theatre Workshop in New York.

Barbez is made up of the following members: Dan Kaufman (Rebecca Moore) guitar, Pamelia Kurstin (David Byrne, Cibo Matto) theremin, Peter Hess (Balkan Beat Box, Asphalt Orchestra) clarinets, Danny Tunick (The Clean, Bang on a Can All-Stars) marimba, vibraphone, organ, piano Catherine McRae (filmmaker Sam Green, the Quavers) violin, Peter Lettre (Shearwater) bass, and John Bollinger (Sway Machinery) drums.


Quartet San Franciso, the acclaimed cross-genre string quartet received Grammy nominations for their 2006 Látigo, 2007 Whirled Chamber Music, and 2009 QSF Plays Brubeck. Now they are preparing to release a dazzling new CD, Pacific Premieres: New Works by California Composers, on ViolinJazz Recordings.The disc, due out September 24, delivers a program featuring two swinging new suites by noted jazz big band leader, composer, and arranger Gordon Goodwin; a breathtaking three-movement string quartet by conductor, arranger, and composer Vince Mendoza; and a gorgeous new work by legendary Hollywood composer Patrick Williams. QSF's founder and first violinist Jeremy Cohen closes the album with a brilliant piece of his own, "Guamba."

Well versed in the violin's deep jazz roots, Cohen combines his love of jazz and classical music in QSF. "As both a classically trained and improvising jazz violinist," he says, "I began to write and arrange music that had the sounds of my generation in it -- Santana, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, and so many more. Combine this modern musical era with the chamber music tradition inside of a developing young musician, and you have the seeds of QSF's DNA. The creation of Quartet San Francisco in 2001 was a clear move to encourage, create, and perform works from this modern age of chamber music."

Recorded at Skywalker Sound in Nicasio, CA by the Grammy Award-winning engineer Leslie Ann Jones, and mixed by Judy Kirschner, Pacific Premieres rivets from beginning to end, offering an experience unlike anything else on the scene. Employing the subtle dynamics, textural acuity, and technical prowess of a top-flight string quartet, QSF maintains the improvisational imperative and emotional intensity of a hard-bop combo. Whether you call it chamber jazz, third stream, or simply new American music, the ensemble has honed a singular sound that has inspired some of the era's most celebrated composers.

"The ability to swing began to steal into the ranks of classical strings players a few years ago," critic Doug Ramsey wrote in his review of QSF Plays Brubeck. "Although they may not discuss it in the polite company of their easily-shocked older colleagues, some of them are also improvising with proficiency and joy. There is convincing evidence of both phenomena in the QSF's CD of 10 pieces by Dave Brubeck, and Paul Desmond's 'Take Five.'"

Quartet San Francisco Since QSF's last release, the band has undergone some personnel shifts, resulting in a prodigious new lineup. Through the group's work in the San Francisco Symphony's Adventures In Music program, the quartet shared some 170 performances before heading into the studio.

Joining Cohen on violin is Matthew Szemela, a Mannes College graduate who has performed widely in pop, jazz, chamber, and symphonic settings, including collaborations with tap master Savion Glover, vocalist Cassandra Wilson, and rapper Jay-Z; Santa Cruz-based Chad Kaltinger, an active freelancer around the Bay Area who performs widely in an array of settings and is the principal violist for Opera San Jose and the Santa Cruz Symphony; and cellist Kelley Maulbetsch, a member of the Marin, Santa Rosa, Fresno, Monterey, and Modesto Symphonies (and assistant principal cello of the Sarasota Opera Festival) who also freelances extensively and performs in the bands of major San Francisco stage productions.

Quartet San Francisco will premiere the music of Pacific Premieres at Yoshi's Oakland on Thursday 9/26 at 8:00 pm.



Lisbon based singer Guida de Palma (better known as Jazzinho)  has recorded a duet with music legend Leon Ware.  The song, entitled A Seed In You is a preview of her new album due out soon.  “I’m a mother, I’m a singer, I’m a teacher, and I’m a sinner. I play my music in the sun. My music is a mix of Jazz, Soul, MPB and Funk, often referred to as Sambalanço, a genre made popular in the 70s by artists like Banda Black Rio, Tim Maia, Sandra de Sá, Jorge Ben, Copa 7 etc…” says de Palma. For the new Jazzinho album that she is recording, she says that it’s due out sometime later this year and that it will feature some hot new grooves and melodies.  Her duet partner, Leon Ware, is a Motown legend, having worked alongside Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, as well as with Quincy Jones and many others.  Ware is an accomplished singer and songwriter.  


Omar Akram was the first Afghan American to win a Grammy. Akram’s music reflects his multicultural roots, incorporating piano, violin, guitars, flute, Persian ney and world percussion. “The Grammy win brought me a lot of attention, both from the Afghan media and the people of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a very divided country that is made up of many different ethnicities and social groups. After being on the radio and television I heard from everyone. The people there can hardly ever unite behind anything, and after I won the Grammy award there was a shared sense of accomplishment. It was a kind of unity I’ve never seen that I was very happy to be a part of.” —Omar Akram //  “After copping a Grammy for his fourth record Echoes of Love, Omar is back with a full-on sonic assault to make sure he does it again. Not exactly pop, he does turn it up a notch loading the new age deck with pop and jazz smarts, keeping it buoyant, upbeat and winkingly sassy.” —Chris Spector, Midwest Record 


An amazing little box set – filled with 10 rare bossa nova albums from the Brazilian underground of the 60s – almost all of which we'd never heard before! The records here were mostly issued on small labels at the time – the kind of sets that never circulated widely outside of Brazil, and which often have unusual and striking sounds that are quite different from mainstream bossa work on labels like Verve or Elenco! There's a fair bit of jazz on most albums, and the instrumentation varies nicely throughout – sometimes more sax up front, sometimes more acoustic guitar, or offbeat horn arrangements, odd percussion, and lots of other sweet touches! Each CD features two full albums, completely with cover art and other details of the records – and the set features the albums Balanco E Bossa Nova by Ritmistas Da Bossa, Sambalanco by Orquesta Moderna De Samba, Isso E Bossa Nova Mesmo by Conjunto Sambossa, Saxsambando by Os Saxsambistas Brasileiros, O Balanco E A Bossa by Conjunto Masterplay, Samba Do Bom by Conjunto Samba De Balanco, Samba Pra Frente by Samba Trio, A Musica Maravilhosa De Antonio Carlos Jobim by Bossa Brass, and the self-titled 1964 album by Os Azes De Bossa. ~, Dusty Groove

Thursday, August 29, 2013


The endless Arizona sky will be filled with a galaxy of stars day and night during the Arizona Jazz Festival slated for October 25-27, 2013 at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 13,000 contemporary jazz and soul fans from across the nation are expected to flock to the lavish desert resort to enjoy performances by a stellar slate of Grammy-winners and chart-toppers along with a weekend of revelry. 

The Arizona Jazz Festival opens with an evening of seduction starting with the tantalizing pairing of saxophonist Eric Darius and R&B vocalist-producer Lyfe Jennings, who will set the mood for marquee-topper Maxwell, a Grammy-winning soul balladeer. Stick around for the official after-party at the resort.

Live music begins Saturday when nattily-attired guitarist Nick Colionne and new jazz swagger sax player J. White hit the stage followed by a trio set by saxophonists Warren Hill and Tom Braxton with blues-based guitar slinger Jeff Golub. Powerhouse tenors Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Euge Groove will blow a fierce sax storm in the desert before ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan belts out a song list filled with her massive crossover hits. The Queen of Neo Soul Erykah Badu will reign over majestic grooves and Baduizms preceding a set by “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, a 2013 BET lifetime achievement award winner, crooning cuts from his Grammy-nominated R&B songbook. After the concert, a number of the festival artists will head into the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa for an all-star jam.

It’s going to be a great-looking Sunday when saxophonists Jessy J and Michael Lington link with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen to open the final day followed by a neo soul session from vocalist Eric Benet. Emerging saxmen Elan Trotman and Dominic Amato will accompany R&B chanteuse Melanie Fiona for an outing. Captivating multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson will inject a potent dose of funk-jazz into the mix during a high-octane performance before fellow blue-eyed soul man Robin Thicke blurs the lines during a set list certain to include the #1 summer smash “Blurred Lines.” Closing the festival is edgy multiplatinum R&B personality and reality television star Keyshia Cole.              

“We pulled out all the stops for the Arizona Jazz Festival, which is perhaps the most spectacular lineup we have ever presented. While every festival that produces and promotes is special, this is our hometown festival. We look forward to hosting guests from all over the U.S. that are passionate about jazz and R&B. It’s going to be an unforgettable weekend of live music and partying,” said Brad Laughlin of, which also produces the Las Vegas Jazz Festival and the San Diego Jazz Festival. 
The Arizona Jazz Festival offers reserved seating with ticket prices starting at $240.00 for the entire weekend or $65.00 for a single-day seat. For the enthusiast, tickets can be upgraded to include the Rock Star Experience that provides VIP tent access, a complimentary meal and drinks, artist meet & greets, Arizona Jazz Festival commemorative bag, t-shirt, poster and laminate, and entry to the Friday night after-party and Saturday night all-star jam.




Creole Soul is an exploration of Charles musical roots featuring sounds from the French, Spanish and English speaking Caribbean as well as North America, Creole Soul highlights myriad inspirations from Haitian Creole chants and blues to bebop and R&B while drawing on an array of rhythms including Rocksteady, Reggae, Bel Air, Kongo and Calypso.Charles has been hailed as a daring improviser by Jazz Times while Ben Ratliff of The New York Times called him one of the more ambitious soloists and composers. A musician and professor at Michigan State University, Charles studied under piano virtuoso Marcus Roberts at Florida State University and Mark Gould, former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera, at Juilliard. He was also mentored by Jamaican reggae and jazz luminary Monty Alexander and the late multiple Grammy Award-winning Trinidadian-American percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald. ~ amazon


Wes Montgomery appeared as leader or co-leader on a dozen Riverside albums, in a wide variety of formats ranging from organ trios to one with full string orchestra. Some of the most rewarding simply placed him in a studio with a superior rhythm section and let him deal with the mixture of ballads, blues, and swingers. So Much Guitar!, his fourth album for the label, is a notable example of this straightforward approach. Recorded in 1961, it features the flawless support of Ron Carter (in one of his very first sessions) and Hank Jones, and includes Montgomery s only entirely unaccompanied recording While We re Young. An added bonus in this Original Jazz Classics Remasters edition are eight selections recorded that same year during a Montgomery Brothers tour. ~ amazon


Since his self-penned debut album, Adiemus Songs of Sanctuary, Jenkins s albums have sold over two million copies around the world. His distinct signature sound has reached mainstream audiences around the globe through its use in scores of TV and cinema commercials in over 20 different countries. Levi Strauss, Delta Airlines, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Lexus, Japanese Airlines, Lux Soap, Hewlett Packard, De Beers, Johnnie Walker, Renault, BMW, Audi and Chanel No. 5 are just some of the brands to use his music to help sell their products and brand messages. Adiemus Colores is his first work of its kind for ten years, and employs the rhythms, sounds, colors and textures of Latin American music to create a distinctly unique and exotic sound-world expect the unexpected! Scored for choir (The Adiemus Singers), instrumental forces and a super-tight rhythm section, as well as solo guitar, trumpet and voice this world premiere recording features Fado sensation Cuca Roseta, star guitarist Milos, new trumpeter on the block Pacho Flores and the worlds favorite tenor, Rolando Villazon. ~ amazon



4th studio release from the Grammy nominated R&B crooner.It's often said that love makes the world go 'round and three-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Raheem DeVaughn knows that to be the truth. With the release of his fourth studio album, A Place Called Loveland Raheem embraces the global theme while bringing his heart and soul into all tracks of his latest work of aural art. With songwriting collaborations with Ne-Yo and production via talents like Mario Winans,Carvin & Ivan, and Ne-Yo, Raheem proves why he is the Love King. Reflecting on this new phase of his career, RAHEEM recognizes that his process of creating music is definitely getting more defined as I grow as an artist and songwriter. A Place Called Loveland reflects the growth of Raheem DeVaughn vocally, mentally, spiritually and professionally. His quest for love is woven throughout each song, which he has crafted over the last year and states: This album represents a voyage, an eclectic ride where melody meets passion, a dimension of desire and orgasmic rescue in pleasure paradise. I am sure you will agree. ~ amazon


Still Within The Sound Of My Own Voice again unites Jimmy Webb with some of todays biggest selling and enduring artists for once in a lifetime performances, including the iconic MacArthur Park. In celebration of its 45th Anniversary, Jimmy reached out to Brian Wilson for his inspirational vocal harmonies which take this American Classic soaring to new heights. The Album is full of inspirational vocal performances from the breathless seduction of Carly Simon on Easy For Yoy To Say to the joyful contemporary styling of Keith Urban on Where's The Playground, Susie. In celebration of Jimmy Webb's Career as a singer, songwriter and performer it is easy to see why so many Artists have joined together for this amazing collection of duets from the Jimmy Webb Great American Songbook. Besides the Artists already mentioned other Special Guests featured include Lyle Lovett, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Marc Cohn, Amy Grant, Joe Cocker, Kris Kristofferson, Art Garfunkel and Rumer. ~ amazon


2013 compilation of the finest recordings from the late Smooth Jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale, featuring George Duke and Toby Keith. Wayman Tisdale was an All-American at The University of Oklahoma, gold-medal winner in the 1984 Olympic games and NBA star for the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. A self-taught musician, Tisdale began playing the bass guitar during his father's Sunday services. As his basketball career was ending, he turned his focus to his self-described "first love" with the release of his debut jazz album 'Power Forward', which climbed to number four on the Billboard charts. In his short musical career he released nine eclectic jazz albums - four of which hit #1 on the US jazz charts. ~ amazon


World-class jazz musicians will once again descend on downtown Detroit Labor Day weekend – Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 – for the 34th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, presented by the Chrysler brand.

The world's largest free jazz festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 30 providing music lovers with one-of-a-kind performances from a variety of artists and ensembles throughout the weekend. This year's headliners include David Murray Big Band with Macy Gray, the Ahmad Jamal Quartet, Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield Uberjam Band, the Alan Broadbent Trio and 2013 Artist in Residence Danilo Perez.

"Each year we work harder than the last to make the Detroit Jazz Festival an experience that adds to the cultural fabric of this region and this music. Our lineup features incredible artists, free of charge, who will once again make this a can't-miss event," said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. "The rich culture of jazz history in Detroit lives on through the Festival this Labor Day weekend and all year with the many activities we do to keep this spirit alive. This is really about what Detroit and this music have to offer the world."

More than 100 performances will take place on four stages located throughout Hart Plaza and Campus Martius. Artist in Residence and Grammy-winning pianist, Danilo Perez, and the Panama 500 Band will open the Festival on Friday at 7:15 p.m. followed by the David Murray Big Band featuring Macy Gray at 8:45 p.m., both on the JP Morgan Chase Main Stage. Saturday through Monday the music will start as early as noon and end at approximately 10:45 p.m. For those wanting more, there will be fireworks Saturday and Sunday night on the Detroit River after the last performance and late night jam sessions from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Volt Bar & Lounge in the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the Festival's official hotel.

One unique element to this year's Festival is the amazing tributes that will take place throughout the weekend including a Teddy Harris, Jr. Tribute by the New Breed Be Bop Society; Tribute to Stan Kenton featuring The Four Freshmen and the Toledo Jazz Orchestra; Three Baris Tribute to Pepper Adams, featuring Gary Smulyan, Howard Johnson and Frank Basile; Tribute to Brad Felt featuring Steve Wood, Cary Schunk, Pat Prouty, Bill Higgins and Terry Kimura; Tribute to Don Byas featuring James Carter; and the four-performance Detroit Jazz Festival Tribute to the late Dave Brubeck featuring the Brubeck Brothers.

"Year after year we are honored to present this incredible opportunity to see some of jazz music's best artists perform live in the heart of Detroit," said Chris Collins, artistic director for the Detroit Jazz Festival. "Our goal this year was to select an eclectic lineup that embodies all genres of jazz music and spanning across different generations. We want to highlight the best that jazz has to offer, and I believe this year's lineup definitely accomplishes that."

In addition to the performances throughout the weekend, attendees will have the opportunity to see artists up-close and unplugged in the Chrysler Jazz Talk Tent, which offers a deeper dive into the artists and history with interviews, panel discussions, presentations and performances. One key Talk Tent segment not to miss is the DownBeat blindfold test, Sunday, Sept. 1 at 3:45 p.m., where Geri Allen will test her jazz music recognition skills. For more information on the Chrysler Jazz Talk Tent, hosted by jazz historians Jim Gallert and Lars Bjorn, visit

The weekend also provides fans of local musicians the opportunity to see performances from accomplished Detroit-native artists, such as Geri Allen and the 2013 Homecoming Band, the Sean Dobbins Organ Trio, the Scott Gwinell Ensemble and numerous other musicians featured in the Marcus Belgrave "Trumpet Call."

The Detroit Jazz Festival gives back to the region not only by featuring Detroit- and Michigan-based artists during the Festival weekend, but also through year-round initiatives that work to promote the history and development of jazz music in Detroit and help maintain the city's legacy as a music hub. For example, as part of its mission to educate students about the importance of music, the Festival puts on a variety of concerts, workshops and competitions to foster young talent from the region. For the seventh year in a row, the Wayne State University Department of Music and the Detroit Jazz Festival teamed up to bring promising high school musicians the J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne program, a week-long, audition-based jazz workshop that provides students with an intensive and rewarding jazz education. Eight exceptional students who stood out during the program earned a spot in the J.C. Heard All-Star Youth Ensemble, which will be performing at the Festival on Monday at 12:15 p.m on the Carhartt Amphitheater Stage.

In addition to performances by the J.C. Heard All-Star Youth Ensemble and several other high school jazz ensembles, the Michigan State University Big Band I, the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble with special guest Lee Konitz and ensembles from Central Michigan, Oakland and Wayne State Universities also will be performing over the weekend.

The Festival also is extending its support for national artists for the second year in a row by staging national performance and arranging competitions. This year the Festival welcomed submissions from up-and-coming trumpet artists and composers from all around of the country. Upon judging from a panel of prominent jazz artists and educators, including Marcus Belgrave and Chris Collins, Theo Croker from New York City won the trumpet competition and Scott Nimmer, also from New York City, won the arranging competition. Both winners received a cash prize and Croker will perform at the Festival.

Every year people from all over the world travel to Detroit on Labor Day weekend to see some of the industry's top musicians perform at this premier music event. As the world's largest free jazz festival, it brings in tens of millions of dollars to the city center annually, helping to boost the local economy. With help from the DTE Energy Foundation, the Festival also is making a positive impact by continuing its efforts to promote a green atmosphere through recycling, reducing paper waste and more to minimize its carbon footprint.
About the Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. Recently voted number two in North America in a JazzTimes reader's poll, the Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in the world and a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 23 percent of its audience coming from out of state.


Tedeschi Trucks Band's new album, Made Up Mind - released by Sony Masterworks on August 20th - has debuted at #11 on Billboard's Top 200 Album chart, #1 on the Blues chart, #2 on the Rock chart, #2 on the FMQB AAA non-comm chart, #5 on the BDS AAA Indicator chart, #4 on the Americana chart and #1 on the Roots Music Blues Chart with 26,466 units sold - Tedeschi Trucks Band's highest unit debut to date.

Made Up Mind is nothing less than a quantum leap forward for TTB. If Revelator and Everybody's Talkin' were all about finding their way, this new effort is where they emerge as a fully formed band for the ages. 

Rolling Stone magazine raves: "The album combines funk, greasy blues and Memphis soul; beefier horn lines, snappier interplay between two drummers, and Tedeschi's rugged vocals."

Throughout the course of the album it becomes increasingly apparent that Susan Tedeschi has evolved into one of the most dauntingly commanding vocalists in contemporary music, her serious lung power exploding on standout tracks such as the uber-funky "Misunderstood" and just as convincingly digging into the core of poignant, tender acoustic ballads like "Calling Out to You" and "Idle Wind".

Derek Trucks has indisputably matured into one of the monster guitarists of our time, tearing up barnburners like the title track "Made Up Mind" with his masterful slide and lead licks while showcasing his easier, more subtle touch on the bluesy "Do I Look Worried".

Premier Guitar Magazine praises: "When Trucks cuts loose, the gloves come off. And that's what makes this album essential listening for anyone who plays slide guitar."

Tedeschi Trucks Band's fall tour kicks off at Lockn' Festival and includes a residency at the legendary Beacon Theater in New York City. Here are the tour dates:

08-Sep / Arrington, VA -  Lockn' Festival
13-Sep / Cleveland, OH - Jacobs Pavilion
14-Sep / Cincinnati, OH - PNC Pavilion
16-Sep / Las Vegas, NV- Sin City Soul & Blues Revival
19-Sep / Allentown, PA - Miller Symphony Hall
20-Sep / New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
21-Sep / New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
26-Sep / Richmond, VA - Carpenter Theatre
27-Sep / New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
28-Sep / Wilmington, NC- Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
15-Oct / Madison, WI - Overture Center for the Arts
16-Oct / Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater
18-Oct / Ozark, AR - Harvest Music Festival
19-Oct / New Orleans, LA - Joy Center
23-Oct / Charleston, WV - Clay Center
24-Oct / Columbia, MO - Jesse Auditorium
25-Oct / Bowling Green, KY - Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center
29-Oct / London, ENG - Royal Albert Hall
01-Nov / Boone, NC - Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

28-Apr / Paris, FR - L'Olympia



Buenos Aires based digital folklore trio Tremor return to the forefront of modern South American music with a brand new album on Nickodemus’ Brooklyn based Wonderwheel Recordings that fuses traditional sounds with contemporary electronic elements. After playing some of the most important festivals and venues worldwide including Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Fusion Festival in Germany, and an official showcases at SXSW and Womex, Argentina's Tremor advances the digital folk genre with their upcoming release Proa. Tremor uses South American folklore traditions and regional instruments to bridge unexpected genres such as Argentine chacarera and glitch electronica. Digging deeper into their folkloric roots and adding a new element of vocals for the first time, Proa is Tremor evolved: the most organic and visceral release of the trio to date. Lead by Leonardo Martinelli (composer and producer), the power trio features Camillo Carbajal (bombo leguero) and Gerardo Farez (synthesizers, melodica and bombo leguero).


Ras G may be back on the planet, but the sound here is still very much in keeping with the excellent mode on his Ghetto Sci Fi set – a really weird and wonderful blend of cosmic influences from the heyday of spiritual jazz, including lots of Sun Ra-inspired touches, mixed with some very unusual beats and electronics! There's a sense of analogue electricity that crackles through the set, and really sets an edge right from the start – potent and powerful right at the start, then laying back a bit for awhile as things get somewhat warmer – but still stepping in at all the right points to shock the system! The whole thing is really a great move forward in the legacy of sci-fi sounds from the jazz and funk world – a definite heady part of the Sun Ra Legacy too. Titles include "Been Cosmic", "Find Ya Self", "Asteroid Storm", "Back On The Planet", "All Is Well", "Cosmic Lounge Kisses", "One 4 Kutman", "Culture Riddim", and "Natural Melanin Being".  ~ Dusty Groove


A really wonderful set of grooves – much richer, jazzier, and more soulful than we would have expected – and a great full length introduction to the work of Bosq! Bosq's a name that's been brimming around on singles recently – but on this full album, he really opens up with a wonderfully deep groove – one that's inspired by older styles of jazz, Latin, Brazilian, and even Afro Funk modes – but put together in ways that often mix organic and live instrumentation with some studio production too – yet always at a level that still retains all the warmth of the elements at the core! These are some of the best sounds we've heard from Ubiquity in awhile, and the record's a real return to the mix of classic and contemporary that first made us fall in love with the label. The set features guest work from Kon, Tita Lima, Kaleta, and others – and titles include "More Heavy", "Up & Down (NYC 91 mix)", "Tear It Out", "Getting There", "Movin On", "Pura Candela", "Paciencia De Jo", "Never Feel Cold", and "Get Involved".  ~ Dusty Groove    



Santa Claus has a special treat to stuff in the stockings of all the good Jonathan Butler fans this Christmas: the first Christmas album by the two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-guitarist. Butler produced and arranged “Merry Christmas To You,” which will be released October 1 by Artistry Music. Two singles will be shipped to multiple radio formats this holiday season: an instrumental take on “Sleigh Ride” decorated with hallmarks from the South African native’s homeland, and the album’s title track, which is a retro-flavored R&B/adult contemporary ballad penned by Butler.
Butler recorded eight Christmas chestnuts for the collection and penned a pair of new songs, including “Happy Holidays,” an ardent urban groove ornamented with riffs of cool jazz guitar. High-profile hornmen Dave Koz, Rick Braun and Paul “Shilts” Weimer contribute to the festivities on a couple of tracks as does Butler’s daughter, vocalist Jodie Butler, and bassist Dan Lutz, who plays upright on a tune, but the heart of the intimate recording is Butler solo pouring his impassioned voice and acoustic guitar into the seasonal songs. His arresting performances and sparse production captivates, fostering an air of freshness to the evergreen material.

“These songs are beautiful on their own so I felt they didn't need a lot of instrumentation. Plus I wanted my fans to have a personal Christmas message from me. That is why the CD has very little production and plenty of voice and guitar. It’s a very proud moment for me to finally have a Christmas record, which has been a long time coming. I hope fans feel blessed and uplifted when they play it at home or in their car or wherever they may be. I truly thank God for giving me the strength and the opportunity to make this album,” said Butler, who lives in California’s San Fernando Valley with his family.

The “Merry Christmas To You” album opens with an energizing version of the Donny Hathaway soul classic “This Christmas.” Butler applies South African vocalization, chanting and rhythmic percussion to “Little Drummer Boy.” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The First Noel,” “O Holy Night” and the lesser known “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” are presented starkly featuring show-stopping performances by the devoutly inspired man with his guitar.

Beginning November 30, Butler will venture out on a three-week U.S. concert swing performing on the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour during which he will share the stage with the charismatic sax star as well as keyboardist Keiko Matsui and vocalist Oleta Adams.   
A former child star, Butler was the first black artist played on radio stations in South Africa. The hint of grit in his expressive voice reflects the pain he endured growing up under Apartheid, the youngest of 17 children. A true artist who refuses to segregate his music, Butler’s recordings consist of vocal and instrumental hits and enduring fan favorites spanning R&B, contemporary jazz, gospel, adult contemporary, pop and world beat stylings. The natural-born performer’s radiant spirit shines brightly through his beaming smile and twinkling eyes. 

The songs comprising Butler’s “Merry Christmas To You” are:
“This Christmas”
“Sleigh Ride”
“Merry Christmas To You”
“Happy Holidays”
“Little Drummer Boy”
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
“Sweet Little Jesus Boy”
“The First Noel”
“O Holy Night”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Atlanta Jazz station WCLK 91.9 FM has switched formats, going from a traditional jazz station and adopting a more "smoother" sound.  By smoother, we mean adding tracks from such artists as Gerald Albright, Candy Dulfer, Anita Baker, Incognito, Bob James, Sade, Jeff Lorber, Wayman Tisdale, Kirk Whalum, Marc Antoice, Walter Beasley, Marcus Johnson, Euge Groove, The Crusaders - you get the picture. 

Since flipping formats on Monday (8/27), the station has garnered alot of negative feedback with avid listeners demanding that the station revert back to the music that they admired in the first place.  As a matter of fact listeners have voiced their opinions on WCLK's Facebook page and have even started an online petition asking that the station switch back.

So why the sudden change you may ask?  In an effort to boost its audience and garner more membership dollars, the non-commercial radio station attached to Clark Atlanta University has started pre-programming its playlist and narrowed it down from about 900 songs to 400 songs Monday-Friday, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution radio reporter Rodney Ho, who spoke to WCLK's general manager of the last 20 years, Wendy Williams.

In addition to severely cutting back on the number of songs being played, the radio DJ's are no longer allowed to program their own music.  A major focus is WCLK DJ and on-air personality Jamal Ahmad, who's S.O.U.L. of Jazz show has been a longtime listener favorite, recognized locally and internationally for its groundbreaking programming. "Jamal Ahmad's show is one of the last bastion's on noncommercial music in the city of Atlanta," reads the first line of the petition, started by Creative Loafing contributor and publisher of Slo Momagazine, Carlton Hargro.

Personally speaking, these are my thoughts...
I've always loved the sound of smooth jazz; however, the format has gotten tired over the last few years and I think that a hybrid playlist is more realistic as a formula for success. The format needs to be less sugary and less background music-ish - and please no more of the tired same old songs being played over and over again.

The format needs to be revitalized - more soul, more advant gardish, more diversion. Ever here of Jazz FM in the UK?  Check them out for ideas. 

WCLK walks a fine by making the switch to a tired format and needs to be careful that they don't fallback into the same old tired niche.  I suggest that they add the diversity to their playlist; open it up to much more than 400 songs; become edgier with their sound; and let Jamal Ahmad select his playlist.  Think about it - if his show has garnered awards and recognition then why not expand on that sound in the first place?

I look forward to any thoughts or comments - so please pass them on...



‘Between Shadows’ is the debut album by award-winning trumpeter and composer Reuben Fowler. This is an album of huge ambition, delivered impeccably by an artist with a vision to match. Here is a young musician with plenty to say as both a player and a composer. He’s technically strong; equipped with a beautiful, round trumpet tone. As a composer he’s highly developed in orchestration with a vast understanding of harmony and instrumentation. However what‘s most impressive is his boldness and maturity in bringing together an ensemble of world-class musicians to create an album of huge breadth and poise. Featuring some of the most renowned and revered musicians in British jazz - including Stan Sulzmann, Jim Hart and Guy Barker (who conducts) - as well as US trumpet star Tom Harrell, Fowler's ensemble echoes the brilliance and invention evident in some of the great British big band leaders.


Seven Hills is the new trio album from Finnish born Alexi Tuomarila, an artist on the verge of becoming one of the most important young pianists & composers on the European Jazz scene. Following numerous first prize awards at various international jazz competitions throughout 2003, he signed to Warner Jazz France releasing two albums that brought worldwide attention and critical acclaim from the international press, fans and musicians including fellow pianist Brad Mehldau, who is quoted as saying, "I'm definitely excited about the future of this piano player".


Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone have been at the forefront of European Jazz scene collectively for the last 5 decades gaining the admiration and reverence from all generations of musicians and fans. With the release of ‘Mirrors’, a suite of music composed by Kenny Wheeler set to poems by Stevie Smith, Lewis Carroll and W.B. Yeats, they are joined by the London Vocal Project, a 24 piece choir directed by the inimitable Pete Churchill. Featuring some of the renowned and celebrated musicians in British Jazz including pianist Nikki Iles, saxophonist Mark Lockheart, bassist Steve Watts and drummer James Maddren, Mirrors is vast in conception and world class in its execution.


Saxophonist-composer-producer-educator Bobby Watson is proud to release, Check Cashing Day, the second self-produced recording on Watson's label, Lafiya Music. The project, which honors the March on Washington's 50th anniversary and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I Have A Dream" speech, is now available digitally (August 28, 2013) and will be released physically on November 12, 2013. 

As Watson reflects, Check Cashing Day serves as "a commentary on where we've been, where we are, and where we need to go as a people, as a country, and as a global community." Instead of focusing on the iconic "I Have A Dream" aspect of Dr. King's speech, Watson chose to concentrate on another very significant part: the reason why over 300,000 people, black and white, gathered in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. Dr. King spoke of coming to Washington to cash a 100 year old check, a moral check that the founding fathers wrote into the Declaration of Independence, but to this day, the check keeps coming back marked 'insufficient funds.' "This, being the year of my 60th birthday, I sadly understand that Dr. King's dream has not been fully realized and the struggle continues," says Watson.

Introducing poet and spoken word artist Glenn North from Kansas City, MO, Check Cashing Day is a concept recording with 15 tracks portrayed in the vein of musical theatre. "I asked Glenn to put some poetry, from his perspective, to several of my compositions, as well as one written by vocalist Pamela Baskin-Watson and two by bassist Curtis Lundy," comments Watson. "It was my desire with this project to produce poetry that would in some ways cleanse the soul," notes North. In addition, Watson's release features trumpeter Hermon Mehari, pianist Richard Johnson, drummer Eric Kennedy, flutist Horace Washington, and trombonist Karita Carter.

With Watson's commentary on the ongoing struggle of todays racial inequalities spotlighted on compositions such as the title track "Check Cashing Day (For Ms. Trudy)" and "MLK on Jazz (Love Transforms)," he offers a recording that provokes positive conversation and continued movement towards Dr. King's 'dream,' so that the 'dream' becomes a reality in today's world. "The result is something more powerful and thought provoking than I could have imagined," concludes Watson.

The first "William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri, Distinguished Professor in Jazz Studies at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance," saxophonist, composer, producer and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and trained formally at the University of Miami studying with Dr. Clifton Williams, receiving a B.M. in Music Theory and Composition in 1975. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his "doctorate" - on the bandstand - as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1977-1981. In addition to his work as leader of the Grammy® Award-nominated quintet Horizon, Watson also led a group known as the High Court of Swing (a tribute to the music of Johnny Hodges), the Grammy® Award-nominated Tailor-Made Big Band, and is a founding member of the highly acclaimed 29th Street Saxophone Quartet. Watson also wrote original music for the sound track of Robert DeNiro's directorial debut "A Bronx Tale."

Since 2000 he has served as director of Jazz studies at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, and is also, currently Artistic Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute's "Jazz in America" Informance program, annually presenting dozens of informational concerts and jazz workshops around the nation. In 2010 Bobby released his self produced CD, "The Gates BBQ Suite" which went to #4 on the National Jazz airplay charts. In 2011, Bobby was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame and in 2013 he received the "Benny Golson Jazz Masters" award from Howard University. To date; Bobby has made 37 recordings as a leader and he appears on over 100 other recordings.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...