D E N I S * P O O L E
‘What A Day’ by Demetrius Nabors from the CD A Journey Within. In terms of genre defining smooth jazz, a better tune than this would be hard to find. Crammed full of all the rhythm and melody you will ever need this one looks set to put Nabors on the map.
‘Touch’ by Randy Scott from his latest album 90 Degrees At Midnight. This engagingly mellow cut is added to in no small measure by a fine contribution on piccolo bass from Terrance Palmer.
‘Written In Red’ by Hart Ramsey from his second CD My Next Heartbeat. With a terrific bass line from co-writer Sean Michael Ray, and in contradiction to the gentle nature of much of the collection, this one turns out to be a real mover and shaker.
‘Enjoy The Ride’, which is the title track from the fresh new album by guitarist Jay Stewart. This mellifluous tune really takes the honours. With Jimmy Bralower immense on congas it’s a track with genuine cross-genre appeal and the potential to do really well.
‘To Catch A Thief’ from the highly anticipated new album East Bay Soul 2.0. This year, for those true funk soldiers whose donations made the rapidly emerging East Bay Soul 2.0 project become a reality, Christmas came early. In fact it came one day early as true to his word bandleader Greg Adams circulated the pre-release download of the first single from what will surely be one of the albums of 2012 to everyone of those who pledged their support. With a languid yet easy grooving vibe this ultra cool cut is in the best traditions of Adams’ best work and benefits from some killer Hammond B3 from Joey Navarro. The title ‘To Catch A Thief’ was inspired by the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name.
J E F F * D A N I E L S
Bryan Lubeck, We Three Strings (Earthscape Media) (2006)
Steve Oliver, Snowfall (Koch Records) (2006)
Jeff Golub, Six String Santa (Metro Cafe) (2007)
Blake Aaron, A Romantic Christmas (Innervision Records & Entertainment LLC) (2011)
P E T E R * B O E H I
Mark Stephens - The Dream Of The Peaceful Warrior (2011)
This CD by keyboard player Mark Stephens is the best album to come along in recent times, it bristles with energy, enthusiasm and great playing by all involved. I especially enjoyed the sax playing of the late Michael Brecker, who participated on the album, like Marcus Miller, Jonathan Butler, The Andreae Crouch Singers, Chaka Khan and several others. Mind-boggling stuff!
Al Turner - Sunny Days (2011)
Bassist Al Turner is a veteran on the scene - having toured with artists like Kem and Earl Klugh - and his solo albums are always top-notch smooth jazz affairs. His latest is no exception, it boasts guests like Dave McMurray, Marlon McClain, Nelson Rangell, Bob James and others. The CD contains a bunch of groovy, catchy and funky instrumentals featuring not only the leader, but his well chosen guests as well. Another winner!
Papa John DeFrancesco - A Philadelphia Story (2011)
Organist Papa John DeFrancesco is the father of famous organist Joey DeFrancesco who also appears on this album, this CD is a great collection of funky and swinging tracks, also notable are the contributions of his other son, John DeFrancesco Jr. on guitar, nice covers like "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" make this a well rounded session. The recording quality is outstanding. A fun album!
Gábor Vermes Group - Slap The Bass (2011)
Gábor Vermes hails from Budapest, Hungary and delivers a really good album of jazz-funk with lots of bass slapping, a technique he developed to perfection, but it doesn't stop there, the music is not only funky, but also memorable and catchy, musicians and production are top-notch. Check it out!
Jeff Cascaro - The Other Man (2011)
Jeff Cascaro is an outstanding soul singer from Germany, this is his third album and again, it is full of heartfelt, soulful music featuring the singer's unique and easy recognizable voice. The music is deeply rooted in the 60ies and 70ies, with organic grooves and real instrumentation. A gem!