May 30, 2006

What We're Listening To * May

P E T E R * B O E H I

Robbie King - Jazz In Colours (2005)
Funky organ with mellow grooves and great sax and guitar playing. Top notch musicianship and catchy melodies lift your spirits. Very recommended!

Ted Shumate - A Different Shade Of Blue (2004)
Easy flowing guitar jazz with nice melodies and great playing, features some top notch session players. Excellent stuff.

Ultrablue - Ultrablue (2006)
Picture perfect smooth jazz by Ultrablue, a group led by keyboardist/producer John Smatla. One song is better than the other, we added most of it to the playlist of SmoothVibes radio. Don't miss it!

The Jeannette Harris Band - Down Route 99 (2004)
Jeannette Harris is a sax player much in the vein of Pamela Williams and delivers an outstanding smooth jazz album full of great playing and contemporary grooves. Worth to track down!

Paul Cruize - Cruize Control (2005)
Smooth, laid back, cool and groovy album by Arizona based guitarist/producer Paul Cruize delivering some chilling grooves. Give it a spin!

D E N I S * P O O L E

‘Say Something’ from the new CD by Shilts, Head Boppin. This is warm and romantic with that full Shilts sound that listeners will recall from his work with Down To The Bone. Its a piece of smooth jazz that checks all the right boxes.

‘A Jam For Pam’by Pamela Williams from her album Elixir. Oozing urban vibes, this is a smooth mid tempo foot tapper of the highest order.

‘Two Sides Of A Coin’ by Sean Turner from the CD Begin Again. With Turners keys periodically giving way to full sounding brass, this one is a real winner.

'Baby I Need Your Loving' from the Four Tops. This one can be found on the Motown Sound the latest of an exquisite selection of compilations available only from Starbucks Coffee Shops.

‘Just For Kicks’ from Gail Jhonson’s great CD Keep The Music Playing .This one typifies what the album is all about. Super tight and with just a hint of a Latin vibe it is a fine example of smooth jazz piano at its smoothest.

J O N A T H A N * W I D R A N

Victor Fields, Victor (Regina Records)

Pieces of a Dream, Pillow Talk (Heads Up)

Chris Standring, Soul Express (Trippin’ N Rhythm)

Nestor Torres, Dances, Prayers & Meditations for Peace (Heads Up)

Spyro Gyra, Wrapped in a Dream (Heads Up)

B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D

Chieli Minucci, Night Grooves (Shanachie) This one's been out since 2003, and if you haven't yet added it to your collection, you'll want to check it out; it's a wonderful compilation of Chieli compositions.

Soul Providers, Featuring Bob Baldwin (Koch Records), Filled with so much talent and great arrangements of songs you'll love, this is a must-have CD, to be released July 11, 2006. I've never seen Bob Baldwin in concert, but this CD convinced me I want to do that as soon as I can.

Phil Perry, Heartbeats/The Classic Love Songs, 2006. Just listen and dream....

Sweet + Sexy: The Best of New Urban Jazz, Narada Jazz, A compelling two CD collection of the Sweet sounds of Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Euge Groove, Walter Beasley, Warren Hill, Eric Darius, Jeff Lorber, Steve Cole, Jimmy Sommers and Chris Botti, and Pieces of a Dream and the Sexy sounds of Shades of Soul, Bob Baldwin, Jeff Golub, Everette harp, Alex Bugnon, Jason Miles, Joyce Cooling, Acoustic Alchemy, Craig Chaquico, St. Germain, and Down to the Bone. You can't lose on this CD, just released last month.

B R I A N * S O E R G E L

Chris Standring, Soul Express (Trippin ‘N Rhythm): Standring’s lyrical guitar and meshing of smooth jazz with R&B, downtempo and jazz has never sounded better. Highlights include the Paul Brown-produced hit single “I Can’t Help Myself” and a meaty but accessible version of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

Gumbi Ortiz, Miami (KWI): The longtime percussionist for Al DiMeola recruited Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Brandon Fields, Jay Beckenstein and DiMeola himself for this colorful project. The 14 songs fuse Latin, Cuban and Caribbean influences to maximum effect. Very nice.

Steve Briody, Keep on Talkin’ (215): Briody is a fine Smooth Jazz guitarist who is well-respected in the field and hopefully will get some much-deserved attention with his latest, which features guest spots by Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal and Greg Adams.

Bobby Lyle, Hands On (Heads Up): Pianist Bobby Lyle comes out with yet another solid offering that should be a hit with Smooth Jazz fans who favor the type of musical elegance pioneered by Joe Sample. The jazz standard “Poinciana” is sublime, but Bobby also has fun with covers of “Best of My Love” and “Minute by Minute.”

Oscar Castro-Neves, All One (Mack Avenue): The legendary Brazilian guitarist delivers another sublime CD of Brazilian jazz, helped by vocalist Lucian Souza and Brian Bromberg, who has a killer solo on “’Round Midnight.”

Posted by Beverly J. Packard at May 30, 2006 1:04 AM