Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Six years after their last gold-selling album 'Combo', released on Universal Music, The Bluebeaters are finally back with a brand new album. 'Everybody Knows' is the fifth studio album from the Italian rock steady & ska giants and the magic formula remains unchanged. The Bluebeaters take a bunch of hits from the past and present and re-arrange the songs as if they were recorded in Kingston, Jamaica in the 60s and early 70s. The classy musicianship of the combo, lead by original members and top musicians Mr T-bone (Derrick Morgan of New York Ska Jazz Ensemble and The Slackers) on trombone, Paolo "The Angelo" Parpaglione on sax, Count Ferdi on drums, Cato on guitar and Pat "Alton Ellis" Cosmo on vocals, enables them to give the songs a totally brand new life. All songs are cooked with The Bluebeater's unique and super spicy Jamaican sauce. From the first single - Oasis' 'Roll With It' - to The Undertones seminal punk hit 'Teenage Kicks', Kraftwerk's 'The Model', The Smith's "Girlfriend in a Coma", Neil Young's titletrack, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner "End Titles" or Jamaican Ska forgotten pearls like "Somebody Has Stolen My Girl" by Delroy Wilson and "True Confession" by The Silvertones, we're in safe hands. The Bluebeaters deliver 14 scorching old school ska and reggae tracks with the power to set every dancefloor on fire.

Active since 1994 with four studio albums for V2 and Universal Music, plus two gold records under their belt, The Bluebeaters are top musicians in love with vintage Jamaican ska and reggae. Blessed by Ken Booth, during the last 20 years of their career they've headlined festivals like Rototom Sunsplash and International Ska Fest in London. Amongst their fans, there are folks like Gaz Mayall, David Rodigan and the legendary late lamented Lloyd Knibb (The Skatalites). Everybody Knows is pure gold from start to finish, so let the party start as we welcome back The Bluebeaters!

New release from Jeff Golub - The Vault; single from the late guitarist debuts in the Billboard Top 20

A few days prior to New Year’s Day, the day guitarist Jeff Golub passed away at age 59, his frequent collaborators Steven Miller, Rick Braun and Bud Harner put the finishing touches on Golub’s 13th solo album, “The Vault,” a collection of previously unreleased songs and reimagined early career gems that were redecorated with the assistance of some of the artist’s high-profile musician friends. Everyone involved with creating the album that was released today by eOne Music - musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers, mixers, mastering, graphic artists, etc. - donated their time to the project so that all of the money generated by record sales can go to Golub’s family. 

One of the new cuts, “Open Up,” featuring the soulful Golub boisterously shredding over a trademark jazzy blues-rock groove produced by Jeff Lorber, debuted last week in the Top 20 of Billboard’s smooth jazz singles chart boding to become the next addition to the artist’s catalogue of No. 1 singles.   

“The Vault” is just the latest rallying of the music community to aid Golub, who succumbed to complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare, incurable and aggressive brain disease. Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until last November, PSP stole his vision in the spring and summer of 2011. An all-star contingent played a sold-out benefit concert that autumn in Southern California to raise money to cover medical expenses. Golub’s motor skills rapidly began to deteriorate while touring in 2013 in support of his final set of all new material, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” and eventually left him unable to play his beloved instrument. After his passing, nearly two dozen prominent recording artists gathered January 21 near the guitarist’s New York City home to play a sold-out tribute benefit concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Many of the musicians who appeared on that high-wattage bill perform on “The Vault,” including Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Philippe Saisse, Steve Ferrone and Braun. Additional album contributors were hitmen Gerald Albright, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Boney James and Peter White.  

The ten-track “The Vault” consists of vastly different versions of seven Golub songs harvested from seminal album releases that were given a fresh twist by the guest artists personally selected by Golub; a soul-stirring live version of the Golub classic “Naked City”; and two previously unreleased selections, “Open Up” and the Saisse-produced “Swagster,” a sweltering swing sparked by Golub’s scalding guitar and Whalum’s impassioned sax wails.  

To help set the stage for “The Vault,” SmoothJazz.com hosted the world premiere of the record on March 28 along with interviews with the guest artists and producers. Last Sunday’s (March 29) episode of Koz’s radio show that airs nationally on SiriusXM’s Watercolors was devoted to the album spotlighted by interview segments with Abair and Braun, and played multiple tunes from the disc. On April 15, SiriusXM’s Watercolors will broadcast the entire Golub all-star tribute concert.

Golub began his career as an ace guitar slinger alongside superstars Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner before launching his own chart-topping band, Avenue Blue, leading to his star-making solo career. The Akron, Ohio native is survived by his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12).
“The Vault” contains the following songs:
“Funky Is As Funky Does”
“One More Excuse To Play The Blues”
“Open Up”
“Gimmie Some”
“Keep The Ball Rolling”
“Jeff’s Blues (Mama Didn’t)”
“Atlanta Nights”
“Naked City” (Live)



In February 2015 Angelique Kidjo, the Benin born singer/songwriter celebrated the win of her 2nd "Best World Music Album" Grammy Award for her #1 charting 2014 album Eve, as well as the announcement of her new album 'Sings' . Produced by Kidjo and long-time production partner Jean Hebrail, Sings showcases Kidjo's collaboration with the 110 piece Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg, led by renowned conductor and composer Gast Waltzing. Kidjo reimagines nine classic songs from her 24 year repertoire and two new songs ("Otishe" and "Mamae" from the Eve sessions), blending European classical traditions with the powerful rhythmic sounds of her native West Africa. Along with the orchestra, Kidjo's additional players include Christian McBride and Massimo Biolcati on upright bassesamong many more. ~ Amazon


The team behind SuperFunk return with their latest compilation. In the last couple of years the soul and funk collecting scenes have moved closer together. Superfunk's Soul Emissaries reflects the increasing demand for funky soul. 20 tracks composed of rarities, classics, unknown obscurities and previously unreleased masterpieces. From the first category they have used their contacts in the American south to serve up Les Getrex's bluesy funk masterpiece I Can Feel It In My Bones which has been selling for upwards of $500 after exposure by deejay Ian Wright. Nothing is known of Samson and Delilah, who recorded You Bring The Tears at Malaco Studios, except that their single has been in demand for some time now. Two classic slices of sister funk from Viola Wills and Marcene Harris sit alongside obscurities by Earl Foster, Billy Cee and Tribe whose 1975 funk take on Toots and The Maytals Funky Kingston has flown under the radar for years. The time is right for proper exposure on dancefloors up and down the country. Also featured is a soulful boogie funk by William Bostic and from the unreleased pile we have astounding tracks by Raymond Parker, the Funky Kids and Obrey Wilson to complete our soulful excursion. ~ Amazon


On its way to becoming another much-loved series in the tradition of Stop and Listen, the Spectrum compilations, or perhaps more aptly Kon & Amir’s Off Track sets all from BBE, On Deck has been a music-format manifestation of the Birmingham, Alabama-based website BamaLoveSoul for the past couple of years. Originally conceived as a two-hour haven from R&B/AOR mediocrity for soul folk on radio, DJ Rahdu’s Diamond Soul Xxxperience reflected the neo-soul /conscious hip-hop underground, attracting a devoted audience of more alternative, sophisticated listeners who had been waiting for just such a show to represent their tastes. Rahdu –real name Roderick Moody – responded to the massive success of his baby with, first, a string of open-mic street shows, and then with the launch of BamaLoveSoul in 2008. Despite its local roots, the website has had well over a million hits annually and has become an important mustview for the global neo-soul massive. For the third in the On Deck series, Rahdu introduces another scintillating taster for the more mature musical palette, featuring contemporary up-upand- coming artists generally not too well-known on the international scene yet, with a bias towards artists sharing his own southern roots. Features 15 previously unreleased tracks. ~ Amazon



Former Blood Sweat & Tears frontman, David Clayton-Thomas, has released his latest album Soul Ballads.  The album brings you 12 tracks from the legendary Grammy-Award winning singer covering all-time soul-classics by Ray Charles, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and many others. The album was recorded live in Thomas’ hometown of Toronto, Canada. Tracks include: Midnight Train To Georgia, A Change Is Gonna Come, People Get Ready, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, Sunny, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, Ruby,When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,You Don’t Know Me,You Really Got A Hold On Me, and When A Man Loves A Woman.


Heavy funk from the vaults of Jewel and Paula Records – that Louisiana family of labels that cut some mighty mean music in the 60s and 70s! Jewel and Paula were more than able to come up with the goods again and again over the years – with roots in the south, and artists in styles that included blues, gospel, and jazz – which makes for a really fresh, really unique criss-crossing of modes here – in a set of singles that dig way deeper than the usual hits from the label! There's no stock, standard groove here – as you might find on labels that had a more unified approach to the music – which makes this collection of singles even more filled with surprises than you might expect. The styles run from funky blues to deep soul, instrumental funk, group soul, and more – and titles include "Loose Booty (part 1)" by The Eldorados, "Shootin The Grease" by Jesse Gresham Plus 3, "Looking For A Woman" by Joe Perkins, "Get It On With Me" by Bobby Rush, "Prove It" by The Genies, "Loose Eel" by Dumas King, "The Thrill Ain't Gone" by Alex Williams, "The Hen (part 1)" by Louis Chachere, "Woman Hang Your Head In Shame" by The Wallace Brothers, "Good Thing (part 2)" by Casey Jones, "Black Reflections" by Essence, "Junkie For Your Love" by Cash McCall, "Impeace Me Baby" by Arlene Brown, and "My World" by The Four Shades. ~ Dusty Groove


The Cookers Quintet definitely earn their name this time around – serving up an old school hardbop groove that would have been right at home on 60s Blue Note or Prestige – but which is maybe even more compelling here in a contemporary setting! As before, these guys have a very strong sense of rhythm – similar to some of our favorite artists on the Ricky Tick label – which means an acoustic, live approach to jazz, but one that's also really focused on a soulful groove as well – the sort that's sure to make some of these numbers perfect for the jazz dance underground. There's great vocals on a few cuts too – a number each sung by Johnny O'Neal, Leron Thomas, and Dawn Pemberton – and titles include "Hot For Preacher", "Sheriff", "The New Deal", "The Crumpler", "This Is The Thing", and "Blindside".  ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, March 30, 2015


The Daniel Bennett Group just released  (Manhattan Daylight Media), and are currently touring the United States and Europe to promote the album. Their NYC album release will be at the Metropolitan Room on June 28th. The Daniel Bennett Group was recently nominated "Best Jazz Group" in the NYC Hot House Awards. The Boston Globe describes thier music as a groovy "mix of Jazz, Folk and Minimalism."

New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett has been hailed as one of the most original and unpredictable musical voices of his generation. Insite Magazine calls Bennett's music, "refreshingly capricious and trippy." The Village Voice raves, "saxophonist Daniel Bennett makes hay with an airy approach that's buoyant enough to conjure notions of East African guitar riffs and Steve Reich's pastoral repetition." The Boston Herald describes Bennett's music as "exploratory Folk-Jazz hybrid." Timeout New York raves, "Daniel Bennett airs his lilting, potentially hypnotic compositions!"

Daniel Bennett has been featured on NPR's "Here and Now" radio program. The Daniel Bennett Group was recently nominated "Best Jazz Group" in the New York City Hot House Jazz Awards. The band has released five critically-acclaimed albums in the last ten years: A Nation of Bears, The Legend of Bear Thompson, Peace and Stability Among Bears, Live at the Theatre, and Clockhead Goes to Camp.  In 2013, the Daniel Bennett Group celebrated the release of Clockhead Goes to Camp with concert at the Metropolitan Room in New York City.  The International Review of Music raves, “Clockhead Goes to Camp is beautiful enough to delight a child!

Daniel Bennett recently composed and performed the original musical score for the stage adaptation of Frankenstein at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan. Recent off-Broadway theater performances include the North American premier of Legacy Falls and a revival of Swingtime Canteen at Cherry Lane Theatre. Daniel Bennett recently played woodwinds in Blank! The Musical, the first fully improvised Off-Broadway musical to launch on a national stage. Entertainment Hour raved, "Mike Descoteaux (piano), Daniel Bennett (reeds) and Al Vetere (drums) accompanied the cast expertly and twisted from our randomly chosen notes an impressive score WITHOUT an active conductor or sheet music!"  The New York Times called the show, "Witty, Likable and Ludicrous!"

Upcoming appearances:
April 11 - Tomi Jazz, New York, NY 
May 8 - Hudson Guild Theatre, New York, NY 
May 9 - Hudson Guild Theatre, New York, NY
May 10 - Hudson Guild Theatre, New York, NY
May 15 - Hudson Guild Theatre, New York, NY 
May 16 - Hudson Guild Theatre, New York, NY
May 30 - Tomi Jazz, New York, NY
June 6 - Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence, KS
June 7 - Marvin Auditorium, Topeka, KS
June 9 - St. Louis Library Auditorium, St. Louis, MO
June 20 - Funky Monkey Cafe, Cheshire, CT
June 28 - Metropolitan Room, New York, NY
July 18 - Tomi Jazz,  New York, NY


2014 proved to be a landmark year for drummer, composer and bandleader  Antonio Sánchez. Long one of the most acclaimed and in-demand drummers of his generation, Sánchez's ever-expanding musical vision was discovered by new audiences through his Golden Globe & BAFTA-nominated score for Alejandro González Iñárritu's Academy Award-winning film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and a globe-spanning 150-city tour with the Pat Metheny Unity Group, the latest iteration of a fifteen-year collaboration between the guitarist and drummer - in addition to appearing as a featured musician in Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's forthcoming biopic on Miles Davis as well as composing and recording his next album as a leader. 

Now, Sánchez follows that well-deserved success with two remarkably diverse new releases that spotlight the continued evolution of his compositional and bandleading talents. Three Times Three (available April 28 on CamJazz - distributed by Sunnyside Records in the U.S.) showcases Sánchez at his improvisatory best with three different but equally iconic all-star trios; while the breathtaking, sweeping The Meridian Suite (available June 9) features the composer's most ambitious work to date, an hour-long electro-acoustic suite penned for Migration, his working ensemble.

That range only adds to the multi-faceted dimensions that Sánchez has shown to audiences over the years, culminating in his exhilarating score for Birdman. Despite being disqualified from Oscar contention - for arcane reasons having to do with the use of pre-existing classical music on the soundtrack - Sánchez's innovative drums-only score won top honors at other important award shows and contributed immensely to the film's success at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, where it won four awards including Best Picture. While Sánchez was understandably disappointed by the Oscar snub, the outcry against the decision has been reassuring and the composer is well aware of his achievement, saying, "The work speaks for itself."

On Three Times Three, Sánchez assembled three different trios, a format which allows for incredible intimacy and interplay and in which he's enjoyed considerable success as drummer for three-man groups led by the likes of Metheny and pianist Danilo Pérez. The trio configurations on Three Times Three are undoubtedly impressive: pianist Brad Mehldau and bassist Matt Brewer; guitarist John Scofield and bassist Christian McBride; and saxophonist Joe Lovano and bassist John Patitucci. But even more impressive is the way these three groups work together, creating electrifying dynamics and deeply empathetic communication despite their one-time-only existences.

While Sánchez has played with many of jazz's most acclaimed and influential bandleaders since his arrival in the States in 1993 - a staggering list that includes Metheny, Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman, Toots Thielmans and countless others -Sánchez was wary of pursuing an "all-star project," knowing that such recordings are often more impressive for the names on the cover than the music contained within. "The chemistry can be completely off," Sánchez explains. "The players can come from all different walks of life and not really relate to each other, and the ego factor can also play a big part. So I wanted to achieve an all star project that would still feel intimate and allow the musicians to stretch as much as possible."

Part one of Three Times Three is entirely made up of three tracks by the Mehldau/Brewer trio. The pianist is the sole artist on the album with whom Sánchez had never worked, despite a longtime mutual admiration between the two. Considering the busy schedules of everyone involved, Sánchez promised Mehldau an easy session. "I wanted to write something that would exploit his strengths," Sánchez says, "and it started sounding so good to me that suddenly I had 16 pages of music." Despite its complexity, "Constellations" came together beautifully, with some of Mehldau's most striking playing; the disc also features haunting Sánchez ballad, "Big Dream," and an arrangement of Miles Davis' "Nardis."

Sánchez managed to stick closer to his goal of relatively simple, improvisation-fueling pieces for the other two trios. He shows off his funky, groove-oriented side with Scofield and McBride (his sparring partner in the Pat Metheny Trio). Wayne Shorter's "Fall," a longtime favorite, leads off part two, followed by the hard-driving funk of "Nooks and Crannies" and the slinky groove of "Rooney and Vinski" (named for McBride and Sánchez's nicknames for one another, though the drummer refuses to elaborate further).

Finally, the sax trio with Lovano and Patitucci features the album's loosest compositions: the intense "Leviathan," which opens with a deceptive ballad feel; the romantic "Firenze," dedicated to Lovano's and Patitucci's Italian heritage and spotlighting the sax player's burly tenor sound; and a raw, freeform deconstruction of Monk's "I Mean You."

"I can't tell you how honored and happy I am that all these guys agreed to play with me," Sánchez says of Three Times Three. "To have them play my music and my arrangements is a dream come true for any jazz musician."

Sánchez's experience composing the Birdman score was heavily influential on the cinematic scope of The Meridian Suite, his second release this year with Migration. "The movie is basically one long continuous shot," he explains, referring to the film's illusion of being shot in a single take as it follows Michael Keaton through his Broadway breakdown. "That's also what I wanted to do with this suite; to the listener it should be seamless."

The suite takes full advantage of the versatility and wide-ranging palette of Migration, the quartet that Sánchez has led since 2011. Tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake doubles on Electric Wind Instrument (EWI), John Escreet on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Matt Brewer on both acoustic and electric bass. Sánchez also layered keyboard atmospherics onto the album in post-production along with a wide array of guitars from Adam Rogers, while singer Thana Alexa contributes soaring lyrics to the second movement, "Imaginary Lines," and coloristic wordless vocals elsewhere.

The seed of the suite was planted while Sánchez was on tour with Metheny in Meridian, Mississippi in 2012. The title was originally a makeshift file name, but took on greater meaning as Sánchez began to research the idea of meridians, imaginary lines that circle the globe, the celestial sphere, or, in some new age conceptions, the body's energy field. "You have meridians that cross the earth, that cross the sky, that cross our bodies and our minds, and I started getting fascinated by the way meridians interact in all those different shapes and forms," Sánchez says. "So I thought it was a very good analogy for the way the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic aspects of this composition intertwine, interact and meet over the course of the whole piece." 

The scale of the suite derived from Sánchez's determination not to place limits on his compositional imagination. "One of the things that turns me off the most as a composer is that as soon as you start developing, you have to start thinking of ways of how to wrap it up because you don't want a tune to be longer than six or seven minutes. I hate to feel that I'm limited by time instead of just following my instincts." 

With motifs, phrases and concepts that recur and transform throughout the piece's five movements, The Meridian Suite is a thrillingly adventurous achievement that absorbs influences from modern rock, free form improvisation and electronic music into a forward-looking jazz masterwork. "I took a lot of liberties and let a lot of my musical influences come through in a very unapologetic way,"the composer says. 

The simultaneous release of Three Times Three and The Meridian Suite mark the high point thus far for a career that continues to climb. With unprecedented attention focused on him following his lauded Birdman score, these expansive new albums serve to reinforce Antonio Sánchez's place at the forefront of modern jazz-breaking boundaries as a virtuoso drummer, a visionary composer, and a truly inspired musical thinker.

Upcoming ANTONIO SÁNCHEZ Performances:
All performances to feature Antonio Sánchez & Migration unless otherwise noted.
**Notates Birdman Film Screening w/ Live Drum Score Performance
**April 4 / New York Society for Ethical Culture / New York, NY
April 10 / Esplanada del Centro de Coyoacán / Mexico City, Mexico
April 13 / Blue Note Tokyo / Tokyo, Japan
April 14-17 / Cotton Club / Tokyo, Japan
April 20-21 / A-Trane / Berlin, Germany
April 22 / Jazz Club Hannover / Hannover, Germany
April 23 / Bix / Stuttgart, Germany
April 24 / Jazz Festival / Espoo, Finland
April 25 / Unterfahrt / Munich, Germany
April 26 / Blue Note / Milan, Italy
April 27 / MA / Catania, Italy
April 28 / Centro Culturale Officina / Messina, Italy
April 29 / Auditorium Comunale / San Vito al Taglimento, Italy
April 30 / Teatro Della Fortuna / Fano, Italy
May 1 / Odeon Leicester Square / London, United Kingdom
June 11 / Falcon Arts / Marlboro, NY
**June 13 / Bonaroo / Manchester, TN
June 19 / Subculture - Official Album Release Party / New York, NY
**August 22 / SFJAZZ Center - Miner Auditorium / San Francisco, CA
August 23 / SFJAZZ Center - Joe Henderson Lab / San Francisco, CA

Antonio Sánchez · Three Times Three
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Antonio Sánchez & Migration · The Meridian Suite
Release Date: June 9, 2015


Love Supreme Jazz Festival is returning to the glorious setting of Glynde Place near Brighton from 3rd to 5th July 2015 for another weekend of world-class jazz. Love Supreme has quickly became one of the summer’s must-go festivals thanks to its spectacular setting, friendly atmosphere and 3 days of jazz, blues, soul, funk and hip hop.

Joining the recently announced Rebecca Ferguson, Saturday has been bolstered by the addition of legendary Sly & The Family Stone’s Larry Graham, who will be bringing his Graham Central Station to the main stage for the now customary Love Supreme Saturday funk workout. Expect classic Sly & The Family Stone hits, expect ‘Everyday People’, expect ‘Family Affair’, expect groove and funk!

They will be joined by the effortlessly cool Neneh Cherry, who is enjoying a renaissance off the back of her critically acclaimed, Four Tet produced ‘Blank Project’ album. Fresh from working on the Oscar-winning soundtrack for ‘Selma’, Jason Moran will be bringing his incredible ‘All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller’ album to life in the idyllic setting of the South Downs. Rounding out the additions to Saturday’s bill are blues’n’roll firebrands Vintage Trouble.

Joining the bill on Sunday will be the seductive and soulful Lisa Stansfield playing a set of her classic hits. Also joining Sunday’s bill are the vibrant afrobeat collective Ibibio Sound Machine, acclaimed Brainfeeder producer Taylor Mcferrin and eclectic bandleader David Lyttle.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Friday night at Love Supreme without Jazz FM’s Funky Sensation opening proceedings in the arena with their famed club night spinning classic tunes until the small hours.

All of these join the previously released line up including Van Morrison, Chaka Khan, Hugh Masekela, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves & Candi Staton.


Many believe the gospel has always been played in jazz notes, whether in the agonizing lament of a Psalm, the improvisational expression of shape-note singing, the haunting strains of a Negro spiritual or the joyous celebration of a Dixieland band. Kirk Whalum and his company of translators is here to make sure that the intrinsic creativity, inspiration and skilled presentation that is part of both the gospel and the language of jazz is sounded clearly in the culture at large and the church in seasons of both triumph and tragedy. The award-winning series that launched with the initial The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter I in 1998 has transformed the concept of sharing the “gospel truth” through instrumental music. Each of the subsequent releases has garnered critical acclaim and award nominations, with “It’s What I Do” from GATJ III taking home the Grammy for Best Gospel Song in 2011.

After a six-year wait, the much anticipated The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV (GATJVIV) is here with a two-disc, 19-song CD (and a feature-length DVD) that sets a benchmark for live recording, nuanced performance and deep improvisation at the most profoundly felt, thoughtfully conceived and personal level. Kirk Whalum’s insightful and revelational narrative both in concert and post-production in the DVD version enriches the whole experience, with an up-close and personal look at the heart of the artist and his art. Once again, Whalum, shares the stage with members of his exceptionally gifted family, including brother Kevin (vocals) and nephews Kenneth III (saxophones) and Kortland (vocals). His cohorts in jazz super group BWB (both solo artists in their own right), Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone) and Norman Brown (guitars, vocals) join an eminent ensemble comprised of legendary percussionist “Doc” Gibbs, renowned bassist Gerald Veasley, rising vocal star (and Stevie Wonder protégé) Sheléa, as well as returning co-producer John Stoddart who lends his eloquent and soulful keys and vocals to the mix.

GATJ IV is an invitation to pause, hear, and “see” in a fresh, prescient way; it is also a tribute album that is uniquely gospel-centric. Honored are heads of state (Mandela and Obama), departed and greatly respected and loved artists (George Duke, Wayman Tisdale, and John Coltrane), alongside mothers (Kirk’s… and yours if you like) and a homeless woman Whalum came to call friend (“Nannette”). In myriad ways, the gospel’s welcome is declared and displayed with eloquence and power.

GATJ always spotlights the God-given gifts of leading artists outside the “church” world. Says, Kirk, “We always try to reach out to the cadre beyond gospel artists, to a Norman Brown, a Rick Braun, or Doc Gibbs; that is a very crucial part of our approach. By their willingness to be part of it and by honoring them and their spiritual quest, what we are able to do is create a safe space, a sort of spiritual and musical “Switzerland.”

Additionally, Whalum wanted to amplify the direction taken on GATJ III: “One of the things on my mind was carving a deeper niche in the improvisation, longer, more in-depth solos, a little bit more avant garde.” This is front and center on songs like “Madiba,” Kirk’s elegant, polyrhythmic South African seasoned tribute to Nelson Mandela and “Triage,” an instrumental editorial-on-and-embodiment-of the mash-up of life and death in the world—dissonant, chaotic and composed, it’s an improvisational tour de force. His signature melodic and soulful fusion drawing from jazz idiom across generations and genres—contemporary jazz to Dixieland, Bebop, Big Band and beyond—as well as a strong identification with R&B, blues, world music, rock, Latin and pop hasn’t changed, but the balance has indisputably shifted.

Kirk’s intent on this record was to deliver for the listener a more pensive, meditative, contemplative, take your time with what you’re really feeling exploration. Along with the previously mentioned “Madiba” and “Triage,” Kirk’s tribute to Coltrane, “Un Amor Supremo” an original with a Cubano/Santana/Afro-Caribbean vibe and Doc Gibbs strongly featured—reflects that trend. Trane’s artistry is alluded to not only in the title but the extended solos and Whalum’s abandoned yet precision performance—Transcendent. Street. Smart. “Cain’t Stay Blue” is an infectious mood elevator, with a vocal and musical hook that won’t let go. The persistent hope, patience and resolve not to give up that captured the essence of the Civil Rights Movement and a nation in 1964 on Curtis Mayfield’s “Keep On Pushing” is a GATJIV highlight.

On the downside, it is the first GATJ without the inimitable keys of jazz giant George Duke. Kirk Whalum composed and takes the vocal lead on an evocative tribute and heartfelt requiem to his dear friend and fellow artist titled “There,” derived from Duke’s favorite saying “We were there!” Abounding with hopeful transparency and contemporary jazz opulence, underscored by Stoddart’s keys, it’s a fitting tribute to the Duke who is now “there” with his King. The late Wayman Tisdale’s song “Sunday’s Best” is both a tribute and a contemporary jazz triumph showcasing the prodigious talents of BWB and bassist Gerald Veasley. And on the vocal side of things, Kirk’s brother Kevin’s understated cool retools Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Let ’Em In’” (complete with an intricate scat). While Sheléa brings warmth, subtlety and soul to the Foo Fighters mega-hit “My Hero”; the Negro spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”; and “I See You.” The latter was written by Kirk in response to and reflecting the customary greeting, “I see you” of the Na’vi tribe in the movie Avatar—another unexpected context for and allusion to gospel truth, so a perfect fit for a GATJ chapter.

The heart of The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV is an invitation to see…and to hear in fresh and expansive ways. To see God and to see people, to experience the Creator’s radical welcome, and then to throw the doors of your heart wide open with welcome to those he loves and created. The message of the final track, originally penned by Todd Rundgren and popularized by England Dan and John Ford Coley not only completes the album, but sums it up and describes the raison d’etre for The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV (and all the previous and subsequent chapters to come)—simply, and profoundly: “Love Is The Answer.”

Philadelphia's MINAS Combines Big Band Jazz and Brazilian Bossa Nova on SYMPHONY IN BOSSA

Philadelphia-based husband and wife duo Minas, comprised of guitarist, vocalist, and composer Orlando Haddad and pianist, vocalist, and composer Patricia King, have performed together over the past three decades in a variety of formats ranging from duo to ensemble to orchestra and big band. Haddad and King have combined their Brazilian and American roots to create a sound that merges north and south with big band jazz and Brazilian bossa nova - the result is an album 10 years in the making: Symphony in Bossa (available April 14 via Blueazul). This ambitious album serves as a monumental achievement for the Brazilian culture that they have dedicated their lives to preserving and spreading. The music includes fresh takes on old classics such as "The Girl from Ipanema," "Quiet Nights," "Triste," "Waters of March," and introduces three Minas originals, "Sinal Verde," "Amazonia," and "Only the Moon and the Stars."

Symphony in Bossa features more than 50 musicians, including The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, conducted by trumpeter Terell Stafford. The album is augmented by a string section and many guest artists, including Brazilians Leonardo Lucini (bass), Adriano Santos (drums), Zé Maurício (percussion), and Philadelphia's own Larry McKenna (saxophone), John Swana (trumpet) and Tony Salicandro (flute). Orchestral arrangements were written by the late Philadelphia arranger and University of the Arts professor Bill Zaccagni (Bobby Ridell, Patti LaBelle), specifically for Minas.

In 2004, Haddad & King began a collaboration with Zaccagni to create a large-scale work written specially for Minas, incorporating original compositions with traditional Brazilian repertoire and enhanced by big band and strings. "It is our hope that Symphony in Bossa expands the unique marriage of American big band jazz and Brazilian bossa nova into new musical realms," states Haddad and King. The album is dedicated in memory of Zaccagni, who passed away in 2007, leaving Minas with the extraordinary gift of this music. "It represents some of his best writing," comments Haddad and King. "It is a reflection of his passion for Brazilian music and big band jazz, resulting in sophisticated, imaginative and lush musical pieces."

One of the tracks included on Symphony in Bossa is the timeless composition "The Girl From Ipanema." The Minas reissue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the song, as well as the album from which it stems - the quintessential Getz/Gilberto. The album and single won several Grammy® Awards including "Record of the Year" in 1965. Minas' version of "The Girl From Ipanema," while opening and closing with dreamy and ethereal instrumentals, maintains the essential elements of authentic bossa novas: Portuguese/English, male/female vocals, jazz/samba mix, nylon-string guitar/tenor saxophone vibe, cross stick/wood block beat. Nonetheless it is presented in a new arrangement in which exciting big band and lush strings interact with vocal melody lines and dialogue with the tenor saxophone solo, played by McKenna.

Based in Philadelphia for the last 30 years, Minas has had a consistent impact on the area's cultural life, not only performing and exposing audiences to the music and culture of Brazil, but making a difference in the area of education. Haddad and King formed Minas in 1978 at the

University of North Carolina School of the Arts. They proceeded to play all over the eastern United States before moving to Brazil, where they lived, entertained and traveled, absorbing the essence of Brazilian culture. In 1984 Orlando and Patricia returned to the United States and raised a family while performing and recording extensively.

Haddad has taught Brazilian Percussion and Jazz at the University of the Arts for over 10 years and has organized and taught Samba Percussion to Ph.D. students (Ethnomusicology) for several semesters at University of Pennsylvania. Minas' program Brazilian Adventure, on the roster of Musicopia, has been presented to over half a million students in public and independent schools. Minas has also presented master classes at many colleges in the U.S. including Brown University, University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University to name a few.

Minas · Symphony In Bossa
Blueazul Records · Release Date: April 14, 2015

Bassist & Vocalist & Mimi Jones Sets US & European Tours for 2015 / Plans to Record Follow-Up to Her 2014 Hot Tone Music CD "Balance"

For bassist/composer Mimi Jones, the release one year ago of her second CD Balance accomplished several goals. It tested her mettle as a businesswoman, as the CD was released on the Hot Tone Music label she'd founded in 2009. It highlighted her propensity for collaboration and support of other indie jazz musicians, particularly women, as Hot Tone Music simultaneously released Jones's album with new discs by saxophonist Camille Thurman and drummer Shirazette Tinnin. And it established Jones as a leader to watch, a protean instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer/arranger. 

"Satisfying on every level," Marc Myers wrote of Balance on JazzWax.com. "The bassist plays with enormous strength and enthusiasm but she also has a cohesive vision for how the music should sound. Each track is an important statement expressed with sensuality and chops. . . . She is Grammy-worthy." 

Since that time, native New Yorker Jones, who celebrates her 43rd birthday today, has been expanding her professional horizons -- all of them -- with her customary dynamism. She's been appearing in a series of sidewoman dates with the Tia Fuller Quartet, Toshi Reagon, and Luis Perdomo & Controlling Ear Unit (whose new CD, Twenty Two, will be released by Hot Tone Music 5/19).

Jones's work as a composer is being featured as part of the D.O.M.E. Experience, co-led by Jones and ArcoIris Sandoval and performed by artists including Steve Wilson, Jamie Baum, Bob Stewart, Tia Fuller, and many others.

She shared her DIY label experience with attendees at the JazzConnect conference earlier this year and will deliver a lecture on "The Business of Music" at the International Society of Bassists convention in Fort Collins, CO on 6/4. 

As a leader, she's been running a weekly residency and jam session, the Lab Session, at Bar Thalia/Symphony Space (Broadway and 95th Street) most Friday nights which includes Mimi's band as well as a rotating cast of first-rate vocalists, horn players, drummers, pianists, guitarists, tap dancers, rappers, and comics. Some regulars seen at the Jazz Party are Mark Shim, Miki Hayama, Marion Cowings, Rodney Green, Jonathan Barber, and Victor Gould, among others. And now she plans to take her Mimi Jones Band on the road to points east (New England, Europe) and west (Chicago, Michigan).

L. to. r.: Mimi Jones, Jonathan Barber, Miki Hayama, Mark Shim. 

"It's been a terribly long winter," says Jones, "but spring is here and I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things manifesting. It will be my first time performing as a leader around the country, whether it be at the annual iRock Jazz Festival in Michigan or the London Jazz Festival later this year. I am thrilled to be physically bringing this music to the people."
Jones is currently in the process of choosing music for her next Hot Tone Music CD, due for early 2016 release. 

Born in New York City and raised in the Bronx, Mimi Jones attended Fiorello LaGuardia High School and earned a B.A. in music at the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. She missed her graduation, however, because she'd been hired to tour Japan with saxophonist Masa Wada and drummer Denis Charles. It was the first of numerous overseas tours that would take her to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, some under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. In addition to leading her own groups, Jones has worked with jazz artists including Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lyne Carrington (who chose Jones to play on her Grammy-winning The Mosaic Project), Ravi Coltrane, Lizz Wright, Lionel Hampton, Roy Hargrove, and many more. She has recorded two albums as leader: A New Day (2009) and Balance (2014). 

The Mimi Jones Band (trio/quartet):
Fridays at Bar Thalia/Symphony Space (2537 Broadway), NYC, The Lab Session, 8-11pm
5/7 Smoke, NYC / (Mark Shim, sax, wci; Miki Hayama, p; Clarence Penn, d)
5/29 Loews Hotel Jazz Series, Chicago /(Ryan Cohen, p; Marcus Evans, d)
5/30 iRock Jazz Festival, New Buffalo, MI / (Pharez Whitted, tpt; Ryan Cohen, p; Marcus Evans, d)
6/4 International Society of Bassists, Fort Collins, CO (solo lecture: The Business of Music)
6/11 Burlington (VT) Discover Jazz Festival
6/12 Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar, Nashua, NH
6/13 The Side Door, Old Lyme, CT
6/16 Jazz Journalists Awards, Blue Note, NYC / (Mark Shim, sax, wci; Miki Hayama, p; Jonathan Barber, d; + Marvin Sewell, g, 6/16 only)
8/10 Bushnell Park, Hartford (CT) Monday Night Jazz / (Band TBD)
11/11-22 European Tour

The Brian Auger Freestyle Records Sampler EP - 4 track sampler pulls together rare and new material from his illustrious career

Brian Auger has always displayed a fiercely independent and single minded approach to his music - and after over 50 years of doing just that, has firmly secured his reputation as an award winning and much loved musical innovator, a jazz piano prodigy, a Swinging 60's London scenester, early jazz fusion protagonist, a 2014 Hammond Organ Hall of Fame Inductee, and recipient of a US Congressional Award For Services to Jazz!

This 4 track sampler pulls together rare and new material from Brian Auger's illustrious career included in the two forthcoming albums; Back To The Beginning - The Brian Auger Anthology and Live In Los Angeles - Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.

Git Up was originally on the 1977 Encore album which reunited Brian and his cohort Julie Driscoll from The Trinity days of the 1960's. A very funky Fender Rhodes piano riff backs Julie's amazing vocal, and then Brian brings in his trademark Hammond sound to stunning effect. This probably should have been released as a single back then, but wasnt - something Freestyle Records is happy to correct in 2015.

Freddie's Flight is an unusual track as Brian is joined by a full horn section - this is dance floor material, as the uptempo groove is infectious - taken from the 2005 self released album 'Looking In The Eye Of The World'.

The final 2 tracks are brand new, live versions of Oblivion Express classics - but taken from the forthcoming Live In Los Angeles' album which features the original Oblivion Express vocalist Alex Ligertwood. Happiness Is Just Around The Bend is a joyful, uplifting soulful funk track - and Inner City Blues, one of Brian's most loved cover versions - the Marvin Gaye composition simply sparkles here. Brian & Alex are a dream team - many years have passed since their first collaborations - but both their respective talents remain utterly undiminished.

The Debut Recording From Pianists & Composers FRANK CARLBERG & LEO GENOVESE: SHADOWS and REFLECTIONS

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records has announced the release of Shadows and Reflections from pianists/composers Frank Carlberg and Leo Genovese. The recording sessions for this album came about in an atmosphere of friendship, common musical interests, and in anticipation of great fun. Carlberg (also a partner in Red Piano Records) commented, "I've known Leo for many years and have always admired his playing and attitude. Playing with him is very easy and always fun!" Genovese added, "Frank Carlberg is one of my favorite players and composers. I learned so much music when I had the chance many years ago to study with him at Berklee, and every time I hear him play I learn lots of music." 

Genovese and Carlberg are two artists who possess very open personalities that embrace everything around them. "The session was so fun and deep as we got a chance to play music from our hearts and to be able to reach higher spiritual ground through the act of listening and playing together," said Genovese. Carlberg added that, "Leo radiates positivity and helps make others reach further. This for me was very inspiring; and when the inspiration threatened to run out we had some claret libations from Mendoza and Patagonia to help steer us right back in to the playing. It is simply so much fun to play with Leo!" 

The duo entered into the studio with the notion to accept whatever was happening in the moment, and not impose an agenda or specific direction for the music. "We had not really even decided what instruments we were going to play but made impulsive decisions about that as the session unfolded," said Carlberg. The repertoire was dominated by their mutual interest and love of Monk. "Playing Monk together was like speaking about an old friend while still learning new things about him. A truly exhilarating experience! Both Leo and I seem to have maybe a somewhat cinematic bent to our music so I had also sketched out a few things for us to elaborate on that I suspected would take us on little journeys. Finally, there was the music of the Argentine songwriter Cuchi Leguizamón. Leo knows many of Cuchi's songs while I know only a couple so we decided to play Zamba Para La Viuda, a song that I learned through my association with the great Argentine singer Roxana Amed. Leo helped me see facets of this song that I could only have dreamed of before," said Carlberg. 

"Recording Shadows and Reflections was a truly delightful experience and I am grateful to Leo for sharing this music with me." - Frank Carlberg 

"I feel so happy and honored to be able to explore sound and textures with Frank in this setting of piano, electric piano and organs. The recording was a very magical night. With a little malbec friend, we became music and sound." - Leo Genovese 

Originally a native of Helsinki, Finland, Frank Carlberg has carved himself quite a niche in the New York City jazz community. As a leader, he has released almost twenty albums, and his groups include the Frank Carlberg Quintet (performing settings of a wide variety of texts including poetry), the Tivoli Trio (a classic jazz piano trio playing an eclectic mix of Carlberg's compositions drawn from cinematic and circus inspirations), and the Frank Carlberg Big Band (performing original compositions as well as arrangements and re-compositions of standards and folk materials), Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares (a large ensemble project with the music of Monk as its central source both in terms of reinterpretations of Monk's music and inspiration for new original compositions), as well as recent collaborations with Argentine vocalist Roxana Amed, and the Dutch Clazz Ensemble. 

In addition to his own bands, the Brooklyn-based pianist has been involved in many crossover projects throughout the years, and some of his most notable collaborations have included performances and recordings with the likes of saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler.  Carlberg has been commissioned to compose music for big bands, small ensembles, symphony orchestras as well as modern dance companies. In addition to his playing and composing activities the pianist also serves on the faculty at the New England Conservatory. He is also a member of the Douglass Street Music Collective and a partner in Red Piano Records, an artist run cooperative label in Brooklyn, NY.

Early on Carlberg came under the influence of jazz masters such as Paul Bley, Ran Blake, Geri Allen and Jimmy Giuffre.  The music and thinking of these musicians had a profound impact on Carlberg and set him on a path in search of a personal expression.

Leo Genovese was born in Argentina in the farmlands of Venado Tuerto, Argentina. His first encounters with music and freedom where in the Genovese family band, where the spectrum of sonic possibilities is as wide you want to imagine and without limits, if you wish. Leo was, and is, a student of music in history, ecology, politics and economics around the clock and around the world. Genovese went on to study at the Berklee College of Music where he learned from masters such as Hal Crook, Frank Carlberg and Danilo Perez. He has also had the opportunity to make some noise and go crazy with some amazing people on the scene today, such as Esperanza Spalding, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock and many others.

Pianist RAN BLAKE & Vocalist CHRISTINE CORREA release The Road Keeps Winding, the second volume in their ongoing tribute to Abbey Lincoln

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records has announced the release of The Road Keeps Winding from pianist/composer Ran Blake and vocalist Christine Correa. This album represents the second volume in the duo's ongoing, respectful and creative tribute to the late, great Abbey Lincoln. In addition to paying tribute to Lincoln, The Road Keeps Winding is the latest yield from Blake and Correa's remarkable friendship and superlative musical collaboration that has thrived for more than three decades. 

Blake and Correa are a united force in paying tribute to Abbey Lincoln. Correa is able to capture the unique timbre of Abbey's voice, yet still retain her own uniqueness. Together, they capture the raw emotion ("Love Lament") and abundant confidence of Abbey's delivery, and the drama of her demonstrative vocalizations (most notable on "The River" and "In The Red"). Blake's pianism on "Throw It Away" (perhaps made even more poignant as Blake plays it solo, sans vocals), which has possibly become Abbey's best-known composition, is sublime, passionate and fierce, much like Abbey Lincoln herself. 

Abbey Lincoln holds a special place in the hearts and souls of these artists; a place where her music, her sound and her aesthetic, resonates resoundingly. Blake said, "The fact is that Abbey always spoke the truth, nothing but the truth, openly, unabashedly, honestly, unreservedly, and most importantly, with dignity and conviction. Abbey had raw anger ("Driva Man"/"Triptych"), immortal vision ("Down Here Below" - title track from Blake and Correa's first tribute to Lincoln, Down Here Below, also on Red Piano Records), passionate displays of the great American tragedy ("Retribution" and "In The Red"), and also addressed issues of memories lost and gained ("Throw It Away"). I listened to a lot of Abbey's music when I was a student at Bard College. I particularly liked the album Abbey is Blue, but was astounded when she and Max Roach brought out the Freedom Now Suite. Around late October 1960, Roach and his group were hired at The Jazz Gallery.  The group which included Julian Priester, Booker Little, and a man who eventually became my teacher, Mal Waldron, performed at the club for five or six weeks. The entire Freedom Suite was performed, as was the entire material from the Straight Ahead album.  Although Abbey didn't scat or improvise dramatically, there were nights when her lyrics were more pungent, others when they were more tragic.  Often I would leave the club at 3:30 or 4:00 AM to catch the IRT Broadway line back home, trying to recreate in my head much of the material I had heard earlier that evening. The last time Abbey and I met was in February 2006 at Scullers.  She came over to the table for a cognac, mentioning she had adopted a dog called Sako and had moved to Riverside Drive and then she publicly thanked me . . ."

Correa elaborated, "my first exposure to Abbey Lincoln was in 1979 through Ran Blake, almost as soon as I arrived in the U.S.  I had never before listened to anything as intense as the Freedom Now Suite and Straight Ahead recordings.  Abbey's delivery was passionate and expressive and she had a power all her own! Beginning with her association with Max Roach, her style and repertoire changed from a nightclub act ("The Heel"), featuring selections from the Great American Songbook to performing songs with a social context ("Freedom Now Suite", "Mendacity", "Straight Ahead"). Her later meditations on life and humanity showed yet another facet to this remarkable artist. Abbey's powerful voice had a lasting effect on me, and her music has continued to be a source of inspiration. It seems only fitting to record a second tribute album, as she was a presence, a great singer, musician, actress, poet and human being.  For me this project with Ran is a dream come true."

In a career that now spans five decades, pianist Ran Blake has created a unique niche in improvised music as an artist and educator. With a characteristic mix of spontaneous solos, modern classical tonalities, the great American blues and gospel traditions and themes from classic Film Noir, Blake's singular sound has earned him a dedicated following across the world. In the tradition of two of his idols, Ellington and Monk, Blake has incorporated and synthesized several otherwise divergent styles and influences into a single innovative and cohesive style of his own, ranking him among the geniuses of the genre. Ran Blake is a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" grant. He was the founder and long-time chairperson of the Third Stream Department (currently called Contemporary Improvisation Department) at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. 

Christine Correa has been involved in a variety of improvisational contexts and is currently teaching in The Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University. She has been widely recognized as a leading interpreter of the works of a range of modern American and European poets as set to music by some of today's most innovative jazz composers, such as Frank Carlberg, Nicholas Urie, Sam Sadigursky, and Steve Grover among others. Correa has also recorded and/or performed with artists such as Steve Lacy and John LaPorta and appeared at numerous festivals, concert halls and clubs in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and India. She is currently at the faculty in the jazz department at Columbia University in New York City.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Jazz Chill attended the 10th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival on Saturday, March 21, in Miami Gardens, Florida.  A sold out crowd attended the festival on this beautiful sunny day at Sun Life Stadium. Day one of this two day event was headlined by Sheila E., Men of Soul featuring Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson, and Peabo Bryson, Toni Braxton, and R. Kelly. Two local acts, Karina Iglesias and John Erinosho opened the show. The master of ceremonies throughout the evening was comedian, D. L. Hughley.

Jazz Chill had the pleasure of interviewing Voice-alumni, Karina Iglesias. Miami-born of Honduran parents, Karina was selected to be a contestant on NBCs The Voice in 2013. Her epic performance of "It's a Man's World" turned into a YouTube sensation overnight and she eventually made it to the Top 16 on the Live Shows. Karina is currently appearing at local venues with her jazz quartet playing a mix of neo-soul and jazz music. Karina is no stranger to the music scene as her first album was released back in 2006. Her set included a jazzy version of Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" as well as her latest single, "Only Love Can Save Us."

Next up was another local musician, Nigerian-born saxophonist, John Erinosho who is currently in the studio working on new music for release in late 2015.  John is a featured artist at the American Express Jazz lounge and is well respected in South Florida for his soulful style. John displayed his talent on three seductive tracks and left the stage leaving the audience begging for more of his musicianship. The last track that her performed is a current radio favorite by another artist (I wish I es song because it was really good). On it, he added a Nigerian beat which had the crowd up on their feet and grooving to his sax playing. 

Sheila E. is a world-class percussionist whose credits read like a who's who in a music history book: Marvin Gaye, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, George Duke, and many others. She is a Grammy-Award nominated singer and songwriter responsible for the seminal hits "The Glamorous Life" and "A Love Bizarre." Aside from constantly touring, Sheila E. this past year released her first new album in 13 years, the aptly titled "Icon."  She also added  the title of author to her list of accomplishments with the publication of her autobiography, "The Beat of My Own Drum" this past September. Her performance consisted of a couple of songs of the "Krush Groove" album, her hits, and many songs from "Icon," including one of my favorites off this album, "The Leader of the Band."

Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson, and Peabo Bryson have been touring the country as the Men of Soul. Balladeer Jeffrey Osborne's career has spanned several decades as he swayed the audience with such favorites as "On the Wings of Love," "Don't You Get So Mad," "Only Human," and the crowd favorite "The Woo Woo Song." Jeffrey told the crowd that the late George Duke had produced every one of his solo albums since leaving the group LTD, and that he vowed to pay tribute to George at every single show where he performs. Jeffrey also performed a George Duke song, entitled "Jam," which got the crowd standing and dancing.  He also performed some LTD classics such as "Holding On," "Back in Love Again", and of course the timeless "Love Ballad."

Freddy Jackson is considered to be one of the most popular R&B artists of the '80s and early '90s, effortlessly dominating the R&B charts with hit after hit.  Freddie has a total 11 number one hits to his credit, many of which he performed, including "Rock With Me," "Jam Tonight," "You are My Lady," and "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love."  Freddie was looking svelte after announcing that he had just recently lost 107 lbs.  

Oscar and Grammy award winner Peabo Bryson swooned the crowd with such favorites as the Quiet Storm stalwarts "Feel the Fire," "Reaching for the Sky," 'I'm So into You," and "Can't Stop the Rain,"  Peabo paid homage to his duet partner Roberta Flack with whom he performed the massive hit "Tonight I Celebrate My Love," which he performed with one of his back up singers.  

Although he is an official member of the Men of Soul, Howard Hewett was not on the bill this evening, however he was backstage and contributed to background vocals throughout the night. As a matter of fact, during D.L. Hughley's portion of the show, Hughley called on Howard to come join him on stage, and when he in fact did join him, Howard joked that this was the longest time he spent on a stage without getting paid. 

One of the most popular and highly recognized stand-up comedians,D.L. Hughley,kept the action moving along in between the performances. D.L. was most recently heard on the New York radio airwaves as host of the morning show on WRKS-FM.  Nowadays her serves as a weekly contributor to the nationally syndicated show, "The Tom Joyner Morning Show." D.L.'s 10-minute bit in after the Peabo Bryson performance was extended to about 40 before Toni Braxton took the stage.  At one point, Jay Anthony Brown (The Tom Joyner Morning Show) came onstage to entertain the crowd with is non-stop comedy bit.

The beautiful and talented Toni Braxton hit the stage with her distinctive sultry vocal blend of R&B, Pop, Jazz and Gospel.  With more than 40 million albums sold worldwide and six Grammy Awards to her credit, Braxton delighted the audience with an endless selection of classics. The audience totally enjoyed her performance as evidenced by how many people were actually singing along to the songs with her.Toni shared the story of when she was diagnosed with lupus which led her to lose her desire to continue her singing, and that it was the encouragement of her peers (Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc), who gave the drive to get back into the business. She also acknowledged Babyface who discovered her and produced many of her greatest hits.

Unfortunately Jazz Chill did not get a chance to see the R.Kelly performance.  In any event, it was a great show.  Kudos to all the performers and to the Jazz in the Gardens organizers. 



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