What We're Listening To ** December 2016

Oli Silk - Where I Left Off (2016)
Keyboardist Oli Silk delivers a groovy, funky album boasting his sparkling keyboard playing, with some great guest players like Peter White and Steve Cole, personal highlight is the Joe Sample classic "Burning Up The Carnival" doing the original and Joe ample justice. Don't miss it!

Marc Antoine - Laguna Beach (2016)
A nice selection of mostly laid-back songs led by the acoustic guitar of Marc Antoine, running the gamut from funky to jazzy to latin, always pleasant, groovy and entertaining. Not your typical smooth jazz fodder, instead an honest musical statement by a bunch of great musicians. Recommended!

Peter White - Groovin' (2016)
Competent, conservative, covers. That sums it up!

Tony Saunders - Uptown Jazz (2016)
This is the third release by bassist Tony Saunders and it is a winner. Infectious melodies and upbeat vibes keep the head bopping. The album features guests like Gerald Albright on sax, Gabriel Mark Hasselbach on trumpet and flute, Mic Gillette and Tom Politzer of Tower of Power, as well as Rock Hendricks, Paul Hardcastle Jr. and Sakai. Very nice!

Judy Roberts - Circle Of Friends (1995)
This classic album by pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts is one I always like to come back to. In an acoustic trio setting plus sax/flute, she delivers a string of great songs, featuring her sensitive piano playing and flawless singing. Her renditions of the witty "My Attorney Bernie" and "Comes Love" always put a smile on my face. Thumbs up!

Damien Chazelle: Jazz in La La Land

By: Ryan Nelson

Jazz musicals have been staples of Broadway, Hollywood and even radio since the 20th century. Director Damien Chazelle pays homage to the jazz musical genre with La La Land, a 2016 film that has received several accolades and is believed to be a strong contender for the upcoming Oscar nomination season.

As a musical genre, jazz has played an important role in Hollywood both as a plot device and as a versatile soundscape. Some of the best jazz films are not musicals; they are actually biopics such as Bird, directed by Clint Eastwood, or Round Midnight, directed by Bertrand Tavernier. Jazz biopics often portray music both as a blessing and as a burden, and this is something that Damien Chazelle understands very well.

Chazelle is not only a filmmaker; he is also a jazz musician who understands the blessing and burden dichotomy, particularly in terms of performance. Jazz virtuosity is rarely a product of raw talent; the best performances are cathartic due to their intensity. Chazelle attempted to reach this level of performance in high school when learning jazz drumming, but he accepted failure. His 2013 film Whiplash deals with this sentiment, which is also explored in La La Land, a film that is receiving serious Oscar buzz.

The subject of jazz in Chazelle's films will particularly appeal to musicians and fans who subscribe to Downbeat and who enjoy the bebop revival of the last few years as much as they enjoyed the time when swing and big band jazz made a comeback in the 1990s. In La La Land, Ryan Gosling stars as a struggling jazz pianist who is passionate about performing and pleasing audiences of a genre he feels is not getting the attention it deserves. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with a struggling actress who is as passionate as she is unsuccessful at her chosen craft.

The beauty of jazz as it is perceived by those who are passionate about it drives La La Land in a sublime manner. The musical score and choreography are magical and serve to depict the hope that drives performers to keep going in the face of certain failure. Interestingly, the stars at the center of La La Land do not find everlasting love together; however, their artistic dreams do come true as they wonder what life could have been like as a couple.

Chazelle has mentioned that young jazz purists these days may feel disenfranchised, and that their practical dreams become harder to achieve as they get older. This does not mean that their inner passion will dwindle or that jazz will one day evaporate; it will live on thanks to artists such as Chazelle.

Anthony Caceres releases a fresh Christmas single

By: Ryan Nelson

If you have been in a retail store recently, you have probably have heard Christmas music played over the speakers, the same songs you heard last year, and the year before, and so on. You might be wondering: "Is there simply no more room for a new Christmas song?" Well, don't despair: a new song by Anthony Caceres might be able to give you some needed holiday cheer.

Caceres is a jazz singer and his song, "A Very Special Christmas" is a smooth jazz number with a yuletide focus that has gotten a great deal of love. Stacey Zering, writing for music publication No Depression praised the song for how it stands out compared to other seasonal songs.

"'A Very Special Christmas' distinguishes itself from the deluge of holiday music by taking a personal approach to season's greetings; it is basically a love letter wrapped with a bow," Zering said.

Zering continued, "The track is sweet without any artificial flavors; the feelings here are honest and real.

If you're looking for a new Christmas song to bring into your seasonal rotation, give Anthony Caceres' "A Very Special Christmas" a shot. It is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.

It seems that Caceres upbringing and musical inspirations have been pivotal for him in developing his style as well as this song. He comes from a very musical family. He is the grandson of swing violinist Emilio Caceres, who worked with the likes of Harry James and Jack Teagarden. He has also performed alongside the Four Aces, Freddie Jones, and Bill Mays, among others. His vocal stylings on the song were influenced by singers famed for their voices, such as Harry Connick, Jr. and Chet Baker.

Listening to the song, it's hard not to be taken with not only Caceres' vocals but also his lyrics. "Before I met you, I was living for myself" he sings as the song opens, giving a nice vulnerability to the proceedings. His voice is also one of utmost sincerity; you feel like he is singing from his heart, not from words on a page.

It also doesn't hurt that the backing arrangement, with groovy bass, a peppy guitar melody from Greg Petito, and steady drums, helps create a warm, comforting atmosphere. This song feels like a blanket is being draped over you, while you're safe inside away from the bitter cold and snow outside.

Gardner & Fuller - Original Demos

With Gardner & Fuller's Original Demos, listeners are invited to immerse themselves into the compositions and production of outstanding songs created by the songwriting team of Cecily Gardner & Scott Fuller, featuring the silky vocals of the late Warren Wiebe.

In 1989 Gardner & Fuller traveled from their San Francisco base to attend a special music seminar at the heralded Santa Monica club "At My Place" in Los Angeles. The gathering featured David Foster and a vocalist David had just discovered by the name of Warren Wiebe. While Warren delivered one riveting performance after another, Foster talked about a song he'd written for Chaka Khan called "Through The Fire" but lamented that he couldn't remember how to play it. Cecily Gardner leaned over from her seat near the stage and mentioned that Scott could play it. David invited Scott Fuller to the stage and together they performed this classic composition with Warren singing it in Chaka's key.

Soon after that evening, Cecily and Scott invited Warren up to the Bay Area to sing on several demos of their songs. In spite of obvious personal issues Warren was dealing with in his life, he performed incredibly and the weekend spent together endeared Warren to them forever.

This special collection of Gardner & Fuller's original demos includes the songs Warren Wiebe contributed to as well as many other exceptional compositions from Cecily and Scott's impressive songwriting portfolio. It's always fascinating when the songwriters are also the performers, as the listener is hearing the creation as close to the version that was conjured in the composer's minds. Cecily's splendid vocals along with Scott's superb keyboards, programming, arrangements and production make this release another treasured jewel to enjoy and infinitely revisit.

Released in a limited edition of only 1000 copies.

Lindsey Webster: The Unlikely #1 on the Charts

By: Ryan Nelson

If you are a fan of smooth jazz, you might know a thing or two about Lindsey Webster. The young vocalist has been making waves this year, as her single, "Fool Me Once" topped the Smooth Jazz Songs chart earlier this year, becoming only the second vocally-driven song to do.

Webster has been well-versed in music for most of her life. She grew up in Woodstock, NY and attended a school that focused very much on the arts, including music. Her first foray into music was playing the cello. After ten years of formidable cello-playing, she attended high school at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. It was there Webster found her voice, by literally, developing her singing voice.

Since 2009, Webster has been performing professionally with her husband and music partner, Keith Slattery. They and a slew of other musicians have performed over 600 shows together. Many of these shows have been around New York City and New York state.

Webster's years of effort paid off. Her second album, "You Change", released in 2015, contained the song "Fool Me Once" which topped the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs chart earlier this year, a spot it held for four weeks. This beats out the previous record for a vocally-driven song on that chart, Sade's "Soldier of Love", which held that position for three weeks in early 2010. Additionally, of all the songs to have topped the Smooth Jazz songs chart since its inception in 2005, only those two are vocally-driven.

Since receiving the honor of topping the Smooth Jazz Songs chart, Webster has spoken very humbly and graciously. She said, "The fact that I'm on a Billboard chart, let alone at No. 1...let alone in a mostly instrumental format, has been a huge turning point for me."

Webster also spoke of her appreciation for fellow chart-topper Sade. "Having the only other vocal No. 1 since queen Sade is an amazing thing, almost incomprehensible," Webster said.

Additionally, she expressed her appreciation for Slattery and the rest of her band for their work in helping bring "Fool Me Once" to the top of the charts.

"Without him and our band turning what was just an idea into a beautiful song, we would not have what is now a No. 1 hit on Billboard!" Webster said.

Despite her impressive achievement with "Fool Me Once", Webster has not shown any sign of slowing down. In fact, she has already released her third album, "Back to Your Heart", which was released by Shanachie Entertainment earlier this year. The album demonstrates the power of Webster's voice and the progress she continues to make.

Webster's achievements have shown that success in music is possible with work ethic and overall passion. It is very likely we will be hearing about her topping the charts again soon.

Simpson Is Joined By An All-Star Line Up Including Boney James & Peter White

"The melody is still king," declares chart-topping keyboardist, composer, prolific studio musician and producer Brian Simpson. A master at crafting unforgettable melodies and timeless anthems, Simpson's soulful approach to the music has made him first call for many including Janet Jackson, Teena Marie, George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, for whom he has had the distinction of being musical director for close to two decades. Brian Simpson's newest masterpiece, Persuasion, is the perfect amalgamation of influences that are close to the pianist's heart: Jazz, R&B, Funk, Soul and his late father Bill Simpson, to whom the CD is dedicated. "My dad listened to jazz with such a keen ear. I learned to enjoy the beauty of a great jazz solo and how to discern the musicians with great phrasing from listening to music with him."

Persuasion is Simpson's seventh recording as a leader and fourth CD for Shanachie Entertainment and features all original music. Front and center throughout the CD is Simpson's eloquent touch, sophisticated harmonic sensibility, bluesy overtones and R&B stylings. His approach is simple. "I'm following in the footsteps of those that laid the foundation of contemporary jazz music," says Simpson. "Fusing jazz and R&B is just what contemporary jazz is all about." Joined by an all-star ensemble, Simpson takes his mission to new heights and aligns himself with an all-star cast of friends including contemporary jazz stars saxophonist Boney James, Peter White, bassist Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé), composer/guitarist Steve Oliver, saxophonist Steve Alaniz (Bobby McFerrin and Nancy Wilson), guitarists Darrell Crooks (Gregory Porter, Ledisi, Boyz II Men, Will Downing) and Kendall Gilder (Jennifer Lopez), percussionist Ramon Yslas (David Sanborn, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Patti Labelle), and drummer Omari Williams (Boney James, Ruben Studdard, Rick Braun, Jessy J).

10th annual Capital Jazz SuperCruise

The 10th annual Capital Jazz SuperCruise sailed from Miami, FL, it took place October 23-30, 2016 and was supposed to sail to San Juan, St. Kitts and Great Stirrup Cay. Due to the damage done by hurricane Matthews, Great Stirrups Cay was replaced with Nassau, Bahamas, but since we were here for the music, this was no big deal for me.

As opposed to earlier reviews of this cruise, this time I went for a diary approach and listed my personal activities and impressions of the proceedings. There were tons of other shows going on, mostly comedy and neo-soul, which I more or less ignored and didn't cover below. To get a general idea what a Capital Jazz Cruise offers, check out last year's review.

For this anniversary cruise which was supposed to top everything that preceded it, the SuperCruise sailed on a bigger ship, the newly built Norwegian Getaway which accommodates almost 4000 passengers, a step up from the smaller Carnival ships that had been used before. Unfortunately, this was not without problems. The biggest one was the fact that the size of the venues available on the ship didn't match the number of attendees, so we had to make reservations to control the flow of people. After having embarked the ship, long lines of SuperCruisers were building up in front of the screens where one had to reserve their favourite shows - a thing considered by many to be a nuisance and not serving the party spirit. People showed up well prepared with lists of artists they wanted to see, only to find out after having stood in line for hours that many shows were already completely booked and therefore unavailable to them. In addition, the reservation system did seem to have a few glitches. In the end, many people only could get tickets to 1-2 major shows, which caused a lot of anger and frustration. Many wanted to speak to a representative, so the lines in front of the box office desk were long, and the noise from all the chatter in the room was almost deafening. I saw lots of unhappy cruisers around me!

Five Up-and-coming Jazz Musicians

By: Ryan Nelson

Outside of the tight knit modern jazz community, very little is known about current artists in the genre. Everyone knows the American legends like Miles Mavis and Thelonious Monk, but this new generation should not be overlooked. Below are five musicians you should know.

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter is an award-winning Jazz vocalist and composer. At the 53rd Grammy Awards, Water, his debut album, was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal album in 2011. His 2013 album Liquid Spirit was nominated for and won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. As BBC's Kevin Le Gendre said during his review of Porter's first album, Water, "Gregory Porter has a voice and musicality to be reckoned with."

Marquis Hill

Twenty-nine-year-old Marquis Hill is an up and coming trumpeter born and raised in Chicago. He's a veteran of the Chicago jazz scene, which you can hear in his music with its hard-hitting, swingy feel. He now spends half his time in New York. The Way We Play, his newest album, was released June 24, 2016, and recorded with his Chicago-based working band, the Blacktet. Howard Reich at the Chicago tribune says that "Hill commands a nimble technique, a fluid way of improvising and a pervasively lyrical manner."

Aaron Diehl

Aaron Diehl is a jazz pianist, born in Columbus, Ohio. In 2002, at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington competition, Diehl was a finalist and won an award for "Outstanding Soloist." He graduated from Juilliard in 2007 and a few years later, released his first album, Live at the Caramoor. In 2010, he released his second album, Live at the Players. Diehl released his debut album with Mack Avenue Records, The Bespoke Man's Narrative, in 2013 and won an award from the Jazz Journalists Association for Up-And-Coming Artist the same year. He's won several other awards as well and was the Artistic Director of the Catskill Jazz Factory. Diehl has played with several internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles too and is currently on tour with Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Jamison Ross

Jamison Ross is a jazz drummer and vocalist from Jacksonville, FL. He got his start playing the drums and singing at his grandfather's church. In 2007, Ross was featured in the documentary "Chops". Jamison was invited to the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2009, where he met Carmen Lundy, the grammy-award winning singer/songwriter. He went on to record as the drummer on Lundy's Changes and Soul to Soul. In 2012, alongside winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz competition, Ross was named the best vocalist amongst young, jazz artists by Vanity Fair. On June 23, 2015, his first album, Jamison, was released by Concord Jazz. The album received a nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Cécile McLorin

Cécile McLorin Salvant is a jazz vocalist from Miami, Florida. In 2010, she won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and released Cecile, her first album. In 2013, she released her second album, WomanChild, on Mack Avenue Records. Salvant was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for the 2014 Grammy Awards. For One to Love, her third album, was released on September 5, 2015, and won her the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2016.

Chuck Loeb - Unspoken

Grammy Nominated Guitar Wizard, Composer & Producer Chuck Loeb Rekindles A New Love of Music With Unspoken Drawing Inspiration From Its Healing & Rejuvenating Powers

CD Out 9/30 Features Everette Harp, Nathan East, Eric Marienthal, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber & Others

"I think I have a problem," admits Chuck Loeb laughing. "I am addicted to music! I admit it. I get inspired when I hear music like Earth, Wind & Fire, Weather Report, Stevie Wonder and Wes Montgomery." Dubbed by The New York Times as 'The Clark Kent of Jazz Guitar,' Chuck Loeb has had a legendary four-decade career that has garnered him heroic status among fans and musicians alike. Loeb's mesmerizing virtuosity, flawless technique, mystical lyricism and dazzling grooves have made him first call as a guitarist, producer, composer and arranger. One quarter of the iconic Contemporary Jazz ensemble, Fourplay, and one third of the trio Jazz, Funk Soulwhich scored a 2015 Grammy nomination, Loeb has worked with a who's who list in music that includes Bob Dylan, Carly Simon, Gloria Gayner, Bill Evans and Stan Getz (who happened to have been the best man at Loeb's wedding!) A wizard in the studio, Loeb has produced everyone from pianists Bob James and Keiko Matsui to singer Jon Lucien, saxophonists Kim Waters and Nelson Rangell and fellow guitarist Larry Coryell. He's even penned theme songs for CNN, The New York Yankees and ESPN, as well as performed on soundtracks for such popular films as The Untouchables(Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner), Turner and Hooch (Tom Hanks) and Hitch (Will Smith and Eva Mendes).
September 30, 2016, Chuck Loeb will release Unspokenhis 18th album as a leader. The project remains close to his heart as it was recorded after a recent illness and recovery in which Chuck developed a new found appreciation for his first love - music. "After undergoing surgery," confides Loeb, "I had to get out and walk and sometimes it was difficult. During this period I listened a lot to music. Being a musician for so many years, I have been so involved with the mechanics and analyzation of how the music is produced, that sometimes its hard to just simply enjoy it. But now for the first time in a long time, I was able to just enjoy it purely as a listener. Music lifted me up and drove me forward during my recovery process. It meant so much to me, and rekindled my earliest love and appreciation for it."
As much as Chuck Loeb is revered as an artist, he is equally admired for his sincere, gentle and down to earth spirit. Unspokenis a testamentto the good will and adoration Loeb has amassed from his peers through the years. The star-studded cast unites Loeb with such notable guests as saxophonists Everette Harp, Eric Marienthal, Dave Mann and Andy Snitzer, bassist Nathan East, drummer Brian Dunne and pianists Jeff Lorber and Brian Culbertson, among others. 
The exhilarating "Cotton Clubopens Unspoken. The album's first and chart-climbing single is reminiscent of Joe Zawinul's classic "Birdland." Loeb wrote the song in tribute to the staff of the Tokyo Cotton Club - his favorite club to play. He fronts an ironclad septet featuring pianist Jeff Lorber, who co-wrote the song and who is part of Jazz, Funk, Soul along with Loeb and saxman Everette Harp. "When Jeff and I get together we are prolific. There is no one quite like Jeff. He is an amazing guy and talent, and Everette brings so much emotion to each performance along with his obvious musical skills. "The buoyant and serene "Natural Light" features Loeb's free flowing and agile guitar lines alongside Andy Snitzer's (who can be heard these days with Paul Simon) soaring and fluid soprano. Chuck, who plays all of the other instruments on the track, credits label-mate Keiko Matsui's 'ethereal approach' for the song's inspiration. 
Loeb wrote the album's title track featuring pianist Brian Culbertson, with Earth, Wind & Fire's "After The Love" and Pat Metheny's "Something To Remind You" in mind. Loeb recalls laughing, "I told Pat that I have been trying to rewrite his song for the past 25 years!" The results of Loeb's labor are sublime, resulting in one of the most tender and spectacular moments on the CD. Loeb shares, "I recorded on Brian's 'Fullerton Avenue' and it was a smash hit. I've played a few songs with him and I said to him 'Listen Bro, you owe me!' This was the right track to hear his soulful piano. He did a perfect job as he always does." As the title "Happy Hour" suggests Loeb and company came to let loose and have a little fun. There is a great horn section featured on the track that was arranged by Dave Mann who arranged the horns on the entire CD. "Dave is a huge talent," says Loeb of Mann. He is often in the background. I always want people to know just how great he is!" "Affinity" featuring Everett Harp is a bluesy, funky and soulful number that was inspired by the 1980s tune, "Maputo," written by Marcus Miller and recorded by the bassist along with Bob James and David Sanborn. Loeb reflects, "Everette came in and he brought a little of his love of Sanborn to the track and made it his own."
Unspoken also showcases the song "Treetops," featuring saxophonist Eric Marienthal, who Loeb most recently recorded with on their 2015 collaboration Bridges. "Eric is one of my best friends," shares Chuck. "He is also one of the best musicians on planet.The tune pays homage to Weather Report's Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius who have long remained influences. The Latin-tinged and winning Si Se Puede" featuring German trumpeter Till Bronner, is an ode for President Obama and the people of Cuba. Loeb's daughter Lizzy (a talented singer in her own right) wrote the samba "Way Up High," featuring her mother and Loeb's wife Carmen on vocals. Loeb confides that both his wife and daughters are always a part of his creative process. "I am always hard on myself," confesses Chuck. That is where my family comes in. They help me to have an outside objective perspective."
Shifting gears, the song "Cut and Run" is a swinging trio and beatnik number joining Loeb with Mann and drummer Brian Dunne (who is a member of Hall & Oates' band). "Dave's plays amazing flute," says Loeb. I told him I want you to wear a beret when you play this. It is a look back at my love of the birth of the cool from the 50s.Unspoken transports us to Spain on the Mediterranean with the tunes "Voramar and" "Via Verde." Both tunes pay tribute to places close to Loeb and his family's heart as they make their home there a few months a year. "Voramar" features saxophonist Eric Marienthal, pianist Pat Bianchi and drummer Brian Dunne (featured on the show Darryl's House). "Via Verde" which is co-written and features his daughter Christina on ukulele and vocals, showcases Chuck's exquisite taste and ability to summon such grace, beauty and healing energy with this playing. It is the perfect ending to a beautiful journey. Or perhaps it is a new beginning?
The release of Unspoken coincides with the first Chuck Loeb Signature model guitar by Sadowsky Guitars. The special edition will showcase a newly designed shape and will boast an extensive array of electronics. "Roger Sadowsky worked very hard and gave a lot of thought to the sound of my playing, and came up with what I call the Mercedes Benz luxury model of the guitar. I am very excited."
Born and raised in Nyack, New York, Chuck Loeb began playing the guitar as a child. As a teen the dedicated young musician would ride the train to Philadelphia to study with Dennis Sandole, whose other pupils included John Coltrane, James Moody and Pat Martino, to name a few. While a student at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Loeb studied with Pat Metheny. He is now a professor and, has his own "School of Jazz Guitar on the ArtistWorks.com educational website.
Upon graduation he joined Gloria Gaynor's band and further honed his skills performing alongside such heavyweights as Chico Hamilton, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Barretto Joe Farrell and Hubert Laws, among others. In 1979 Loeb became a member of Stan Getz's ensemble and the same year, he met singer/songwriter Carmen Cuesta and the two were married soon after.
In 1985, he joined the group Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker, Michael Mainieri, Peter Erskine and Victor Bailey. In 1988, after nearly ten years of intense studio work, he made the decision to develop his own recording career releasing. My Shining Hour, which was followed by Magic Fingers on DMP along with four other projects for the audiophile label.
Chuck Loeb joined the Shanachie Entertainment family releasing his label debut The Music Inside in 1996. Loeb's subsequent recordings for the label include The Moon The Stars & The Setting Sun (1998) Listen (1999) In A Heartbeat (2001) All There Is (2002) eBop (2003) When I'm With You (2005), Silhouette (2013), Jazz, Funk Soul (with Jeff Lobber and Everette Harp) (2014) and Bridges (with Eric Marienthal - 2015). 
With the release of Unspoken, Loeb unleashes the enduring beauty and power of music. The guitarist concludes, "I am really proud of this music and have a strong emotional attachment to it. I hope the CD reflects the deep love I have for music and the artists who helped me to create it. I hope that it can bring joy and healing to others."

What We're Listening To ** July 2016

Keiko Matsui - Journey To The Heart (2016)
The lovely Japanese keyboard player Keiko Matsui truly entered a new chapter in her musical life with this stellar release. Backed by an international acoustic band, she delivers her beautiful brand of world and smooth jazz, supported by some great guests, among them Swiss harmonica player Gregoire Maret. Fresh and exciting music!

Patrick Yandall - Ethos (2016)
Guitar player Patrick Yandall continues to please with another solid smooth jazz album, the musicianship is on the highest level, and the songs stick in your mind. Very recommended!

Kay-Ta - Arrival (2016)
This japanese guitar player who plays with Greg Adams' East Bay Soul and others released his debut album and it is a winner. Groovy, funky and smooth, it runs the whole gamut, and with guests like Jackiem Joyner and Jonathan Fritzen, you can't lose. Thumbs up!

David P. Stevens - Love City (2016)
Guitarist David P. Stevens is on a roll and with this latest album, he really impressed me. He is getting better all the time and with Love City, he joined the top level of the genre. Cool grooves and melodies abound, and with guests like Jackiem Joyner, Selina Albright, Lin Rountree, Frank McComb and others, you know what to expect. Excellent stuff!

Paul Jackson, Jr. - Stories From Stompin' Willie (2016)
Guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. is back with a vengeance with this album, all killer, no filler, featuring tons of top players. You won't be disappointed!