New and Noteworthy:
Steve Cole’s Spin
Jeff Golub’s Temptation
Keiko Matsui’s Walls of Akendora
B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D
Hiroshima, Obon, 2005
Another masterpiece of creativity and spiritual emphasis, the concept and the music complement each other well. Fans of Hiroshima won't be disappointed. I recently interviewed founders Dan and June Kuramoto, and they shared their insights into the development of this project. Stay tuned…
Chieli Minucci, Got It Goin’ On, 2005
Plenty of variety on this fantastic CD. The title track showcases Chieli's typically awesome talent on the guitar; fully half the CD consists of individually unique, upbeat, dancing tunes, any one of which could be chosen to climb radio and record charts; 'Love Is Always Young' is a melodious remake of one of father Ulpio Minucci’s stirring compositions, featuring Bob Bowen on bass; 'Still Waiting' is a great update of a favorite Philip Hamilton vocal, and 'Destiny' is an elusive track which will draw you in when you least expect it. Watch for a few gems in the form of hidden tracks, dueling on bass guitars with Jerry Brooks and Gerald Veasley, golden vocals by Steve Oliver, great saxophone input by Jeff Kashiwa, David Mann, and Kim Waters, and a fun collaboration between Chieli and Marion Meadows. Also features Jay Rowe on keyboards, Lionel Cordew on drums, Philip Hamilton on percussion. This one is hard to take out of your CD player!
Tom Grant, Reprise, 2001
Continuing my journey to discover more of Tom Grant’s music, this one has a lot of favorites from the 80s and 90s, which are now becoming favorites of mine, too! New ones I’m captivated by are 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Witchi Tai-to' with its lead-in of 'Lakota Ghost.' ‘Change’ and ‘Restless’ are two more that showcase Tom’s talent for composition and playing. Includes familiar favorites 'Angel’s Crossing,' 'Bernie’s Groove', and 'Heidi’s Song.' Timeless in its appeal, Tom Grant's music is always captivating.
Acoustic Alchemy, American English 2005
Another in a long line of successive, successful CDs, this one easily connects with their fan base and will likely draw in new fans. If you haven’t yet begun your collection of the music of ‘the Lads,’ don’t wait any longer! This is a group you will not tire of – I predict many of their CDs will become your favorites.
Matt Bianco, Matt’s Mood, 2005
After ten years, it’s quite a satisfying experience to hear new music featuring Basia’s beautiful voice, with her wonderful pitch and extensive range and also to get to know her as part of the trio that is Matt Bianco. Watch for an article – and interview – after I see her in concert April 16th in Philadelphia.
P E T E R * B O E H I
3rd Force - Driving Force, 2005
This album smokes! A great CD brimming with catchy compositions and soulful playing. Outstanding!
James Gabriano - Riviera Sunrise, 2004
Independent release available at CDBaby.com by acoustic guitar player James Gabriano with an all-star cast and some bright and easy on the ear playing with the right groove.
Amedeo Bianchi - Coming Home, 2003
Superlative smooth jazz album by this Italian sax player who I learned about only recently. Well produced, well played, great compositions, heartfelt playing, groovy songs which put a smile on your face. Don't miss out on this one!
Hiroshima - Obon, 2005
Latest release by this classic outfit which is definitely a winner. Memorable compositions and their unique eastern flair make this another unmissable CD for any smooth jazz lover.
B R I A N * S O E R G E L
Alex Cortiz, Mesmerizing: Amazing chill music from the Netherlands producer that forgoes vocals and instead pumps up the downtempo jam, if that makes sense.
Acoustic Alchemy, American/English: The veteran band simply is at the top of its game once again. Early fans of the group will appreciate the many pretty guitar melodies.
Steve Cole, Spin: A great new album from the Chicago-based saxophonist. The “spin” in this case refers to the CD’s acoustical nature. Stick around for the hidden track.
Matt Bianco Featuring Basia, Matt’s Mood: This is one that refuses to leave my CD player. In addition to the single “Ordinary Day,” the cocktail sensibilities and Brazilian rhythms make this a cool trip, baby.
Eastern Sun, In Emptiness: Brian Saitzyk and John Kelley give downtempo beats a new age sensibility in this masterpiece. “Rapture At Sea” is possibly the song of the year.
D E N I S * P O O L E
‘Smooth Jazz Flavor’ by Quentin Gerard W from his debut CD Fnkysax
‘My Time’ by Mike DiLorenzo from his CD Urbanized.
‘You Don't Know My Name’ by Pamela Williams from her CD Sweet Saxations.
‘Rainforest’ by Paul Hardcastle, one of his earliest and greatest tracks from the CD Paul Hardcastle 1983-2003
‘Across 110th Street’ by Bobby Womack from (as well as as other places) the soundtrack from that incredible movie Jackie Brown