September 4, 2010

What We're Listening To ** August

P E T E R * B O E H I

Nils - What The Funk? (2010)
This is another outstanding album by guitarist Nils boasting cool laid-back grooves and funky guitar playing, supported by a stellar cast. Thumbs up!

Brian Simpson - South Beach (2010)
More sparkling piano playing by Brian Simpson, one of the best smooth jazz players on the scene today. Picture perfect smooth jazz of the highest order. Don't miss it!

Marcus Johnson - This Is How I Rock (2010)
This keyboardist belongs to my favorite players, on this album he plays it a bit safe and sticks to some familiar pop/r&b covers, but hell, it works. Most notable is a cool cover of "Fly Like An Eagle" and Herb Alpert's "Rise" featuring Greg Adams.

Brian Culbertson - XII (2010)
Heavy hitting, hard funking album by keyboardist Brian Culbertson featuring guests like Chuck Brown, Kenny Lattimore, Brian McKnight, Faith Evans and Ray Parker Jr. among others, with just the right dose of jazzy piano thrown into the mix. The emphasis is on the funk!

Billy Cobham - Palindrome (2010)
Veteran drummer Billy Cobham comes up with a great fusion album featuring his trademark drumming and energetic playing by all involved. Still on top of his game!


R O N A L D * J A C K S O N

Kirk Whalum, Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway (Rendezvous): THe classy saxman pays a bright yet, in many ways, poignant tribute to a legend whose career was far too short.

Ric Alexander/Levi Seacer Jr. (aka 2wo 4our 1ne), Self-titled, (Jazzy Jamz): A quality melodic and funky debut collaboration bound to catch many a smooth jazzer's ear.

Patrick Yandall, The Window, (Innervision): The prolific guitarist delivers another recording with diverse and intense melodies and hooks as original as his style.

Dave Koz, Hello Tomorrow, (Concord): Well worth the long wait, the iconic saxman steps forward with a star-studded cast of supporters and a lot of "firsts" for him in smooth jazz (from producers to collaborations to his role as vocalist). Not a disappointing track in the batch!

Kristine W, Straight Up With a Twist, (Fly Again): Perhaps my pick as THE vocal find of the year (so far). The project comes as a two-CD set (the second is merely a dance remix, not nearly as good as the "straight up" version, in my opinion). Skip the remix, go with the first, and fall in love! She exhibits a style, charm, and soul-stirring reach like few others (save a few choice names -- and I do mean choice), this one is a must-hear, a must-have...and, as her first stab at jazz, she knocks it out of the park.

D E N I S * P O O L E

The sensational ‘6 O’clock Revisited’ from George Duke’s recent release Déjà Vu. This terrific re-imagining of the classic ‘6 O’clock’ (which first appeared on his 1992 project Snapshot) is brought entirely up to date by a distinctly urban groove and fresh vocals provided by Duke’s son Rashid. Quite simply it is among the best cuts of the year so far.

‘Lay Ur Hands On Me’ by George Anderson from the album Positivity. Anderson is a long time member of the UK based Shakatak and this soulful mid tempo groove benefits in no small measure from the splendid lead vocals of Fil Straughton and backing from Debby Bracknell.

‘Crescent Shores’, the title cut from the great new CD from guitarist Les Sabler. Arguably the album’s best track, this sumptuous easy grooving tune is a real winner.

‘Feelin’ Alright’ by Will Downing from his wonderful new release Lust, Love & Lies. With its streetwise sexy swagger, this track exemplifies Downing at his very best.

Lynne Fiddmont’s ‘All The Way’ from her homage to Billie Holiday, Lady. The contemporary jazz intro to this stunning classic combined with cool sax from Gerald Albright and a splash of Herman Jackson’s electric piano really is something special. Not only that, it could well be the surprise smooth jazz hit of the year.


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

Michael Powers, Urban Ukulele (Michael Powers Music)

Tom Grant, Delicioso (Nu Wrinkle)

Lee Ritenour, 6 String Theory (Concord)

Jeff Beck, Emotion & Commotion (Atco)

Kirk Whalum, Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway (Rendezvous)


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

Jack Prybylski, Out Of The Box (Innervision Records and Entertainment) (2010)

Rudiger Baldauf, Own Style (Mons Records) (2010)

Bryan Forsloff, The Final Touch (Bryan Forsloff) (2010)

Brian Simpson, South Beach (Shanachie) (2010)

Jonathan Fritzen, Diamonds (Nordic Night Records) (2010)

Posted by Peter Böhi at September 4, 2010 8:47 PM