June 28, 2006

What We're Listening To * June

D E N I S * P O O L E

'Get Down On It' by Wayman Tisdale from the CD Way Up that will be released on June 27

'Judge So And So' by Rod Kelley from his solo CD Music Man. Kelley is quite a talent so watch out for him!!

'Smooth' from the CD Miles Ahead by the Italian based smooth jazz duo Westbound. One of my favorites of the entire month.

'No One' by Wilton Felder from his gorgeous come back album Lets Spend Some Time.

'Going All The Way' from Nelson Rangell's 1994 release Destiny. Gems like this that are buried in the mists of time really do deserve to be aired from time to time.

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

Steve Oliver, Radiant (Koch)

Eric Darius, Just Getting Started (Narada)

Rendezvous Lounge 2 (Rendezvous Music)

Randy Jacobs, From Me To You (Bad Monkey)

Shilts, HeadBoppin' (ARTizen)


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

Donald Fagen, Morph the Cat, 2006

Janita, Seasons of Life, 2006

Brian Tarquin, High Life

Chieli Minucci, Jewels

Harry Hmura, Face to the Sun, 2006


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

Westbound, Miles Away (Westbound): Westbound, an Italian smooth jazz group with Cristian Rocco on guitar and Enrico Catena on percussion, proves that great instrumental music can come from any corner of the globe. Very smooth, with the only harsh edge coming on the rock-guitar lead of the title track. Available at www.westbound.it. Highly recommended.

Horace Alexander Young, Acoustic Contemporary Jazz (Design): You’ve got to hand it to Horace Alexander Young, a saxophonist and flutist who believes in truth in advertising. It’s also smooth, urban jazz with a hint of gospel and a compelling version of Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.”

Main Gazane, Hip Space (Apria): Mark Minchello and Bob Magnuson get it right in their fusing of hip and funky contemporary jazz with a little chill on the side. Upbeat and influenced by jazz-fusion from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Konstantin Klashtorni, Led By You (KVK): Another example of the worldwide reach of smooth jazz. Klashtorni, born in the Ukraine with a master’s in music from the Rotterdam Royal Conservatory in Holland, this saxophonist offers easy-listening sax music in the vein of Jeff Kashiwa and Eric Marienthal. Especially uplifting is the tune “On the Way.”

Ray Parker Jr., I’m Free (Raydio Music): The veteran vocalist returns with an 11-song CD that features three stunning instrumentals – the smooth jazz hit “Mismaloya Beach” (the best smooth single of the year), “Sunset Ray” and “Gibson’s Theme.” But just as compelling are Parker’s vocal tunes that speak of finding his way and offer unabashed glimpses into the joys of middle age


P E T E R * B O E H I

Evan Garr - The Chill Out Album (2005)
Violinist from Detroit comes up with a very decent, well produced and played smooth jazz and r&b album featuring great songs and top-notch playing.

Sean Turner - Begin Again (2006)
Very nice, polished and styleful smooth jazz keyboard album boasting memorable melodies and great playing by all involved. Very recommended.

Paul Richardson - What I Do (2006)
Despite being self-taught Paul Richardson comes up with an excellent piano album full of catchy songs, cool grooves and nice melodies. Not to be overlooked!

Westbound - Miles Away (2006)
Located in Italy this band hits the nail on its head with some relaxed smooth jazz songs, beautiful playing and memorable compositions. Thumbs up!

Al McKay Allstars - Live In Europe: The Earth, Wind & Fire Experience (2005)
Available as CD and DVD this great concert captures founding EWF member Al McKay with his tight band covering many of EWF's greatest songs recapturing the spririt of this band during their peak in the 70ies. Truly great stuff!


J E F F * D A N I E L S

Eric Darius, Just Getting Started (Narada)

Joe Sample, Rainbow Seeker (MCA/GRP)

Kenny Wright, Herbie, Miles and Me... (Knee-Deep Records)

Deodato, Knights Of Fantasy/Night Cruiser (Wounded Bird Records)

Brecker Brothers, Return Of The Brecker Brothers (GRP)

Posted by Beverly J. Packard at June 28, 2006 3:33 AM