D E N I S * P O O L E
The Poole family household sound system is running hot with the following sounds this month:
�Gilding The Lilly� by The Kevin Chandler Band from the CD Chicago Soul Sessions Volume 1. This is one of the stand-out tracks from a new collection on the Listen Up label from a stellar line up of Chicago's underground artists.
�I'll Try Something New� by Demo Cates from his CD Smooth - Try Something New. A great cover of a classic tune that until now has slipped through the net.
�Athens Park� by Paul Jackson, Jr., from the CD Still Small Voice. Quite simply a piece of quintessential smooth jazz
�19 (Slow Version�) by Paul Hardcastle from the CD Paul Hardcastle 1983-2003. Classy smooth jazz with an edge.
�Slam Dunk� by Euge Groove from the CD Play Date. Euge Groove can do no wrong with the Poole's.
J O N A T H A N * W I D R A N
Pamela Williams, Sweet Saxations
Chuck Loeb, When I�m With You
Nelson Rangell, My American Songbook, Volume I
Acoustic Alchemy, American English
Bobby Caldwell, Perfect Island Nights
Paul Taylor, Nightlife
B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D
Tom Grant, Hands: The Tom Grant Collection
There�s an element to enjoy in each song: the movement of 'Angel�s Crossing,' the compelling 'Mamba to the Moon,' the stirring 'Private Beach' with its interesting chord progressions, the driving beat of 'Change,' the expert vocal harmony on �Every Day Is Up,� funky �Bernie�s Groove� (featuring Najee), upbeat �Hang Time� (featuring Paul Jackson, Jr.), the superb lead in to �Happy Feet,� and the final, touching selection of �Heidi�s Song.� It�s been a great way for me to begin my discovery of Tom Grant�s music. My favorite song, �Morning Show,� has a melody and beat that go together perfectly; and when the song seems to be ending, it�s only a transition to an enthusiastic buildup that ultimately returns to the beginning of the song. It�s a song of celebration with a fun, surprising ending. In fact, this CD has a recurring theme of the delightfully unexpected. I can�t wait to continue my journey of discovering more of Tom Grant's music.
Eumir Deodato, Deodato 2
The album that followed Prelude, which contained �Also Sprach Zarahustra� (better known as the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey). The unwritten rule of having to match or improve on a subsequent CD needn�t have been applied after the blockbuster Prelude catapulted Deodato to #1 instrumentalist and #2 Jazz Artist of the Year. Deodato 2 has great compositions and arrangements of its own. Invigorating �Super Strut� and �Skyscrapers� are great listening and dancing tunes, and renditions of Moody Blues� �Night in White Satin� and Steely Dan�s �Do It Again,� are both impressive, especially the flute on the latter. Gershwin�s �Rhapsody in Blue� and Ravel�s �Pavane for a Dead Princess� measure up, as well. �Latin Flute� is another energizing tune and �Venus� has a classical feel to it with a very steady and engaging blend of piano and guitar. This artist will be part of the Berks Jazz Fest's 15th Anniversary Concert to be held March 19th.
Vital Information, Come On In
Having recently heard this band at Gerald Veasley�s Jazz Base in Reading, Pennsylvania, I knew before the show the caliber of each of the players. They played a number of songs from this, their 11th album, and listening to it only reminds me of the privilege of being there to see a band who will surely go down as one of the most talented and strong combinations of players in history.
P E T E R * B O E H I
Joe Kurasz, Soul Searching (2003)
Groovy organ jazz with a very contemporary feel boasting catchy tunes which set you in a good mood. Very recommended.
Morris Pleasure, Elements of Pleasure (2004)
Funky instrumental music from Earth, Wind & Fire's music director and keyboard player Morris Pleasure with enough jazz elements to attract us smooth jazz fans.
Black & Brown, File Under Funk (1995)
Released on Italy's Irma label this group delivers a funky brand of instrumental music which fits well into the acid jazz and lounge mould. Currently my favorite type of music, really worth to hunt it down.
Andre Delano, Full Circle (2004)
This is truly a quality release by sax player Andre Delano with the right mix of funk and jazz. You find it at CDBaby.com like the albums from Bernard Alcorn and Joe Kurasz.
B R I A N * S O E R G E L
Chuck Loeb, When I�m With You: Chuck Loeb�s latest is a more of a true reading of the guitarist than his last, electronic-influenced project. Here Loeb plays jazzier and more acoustic, shining on the smooth jazz single �Tropical.� Loeb also writes three songs dedicated to idols: �The Girl From Ipanema� for Stan Getz, with whom he played with for a couple of years; �Double Life� for legendary guitarist Jim Hall, who taught Loeb a thing or two in private lessons; and �Brother Ray� for the late, great Ray Charles. The latter is the one song on the CD that will no doubt shine a smile on your face.
Soul Ballet, All the Pretty Lights, Vol. 1: Soul Ballet, the project by Rick Kelly, has had the nation�s No. 1 smooth jazz single with �Cream� for more than a month. If that song from his DreamBeatDream CD intrigues you, you might want to check out this CD of remixes of some of Soul Ballet�s most requested romantic songs, mostly from the first two projects. But there are also two new songs. Perfect music to get romantic to.
Michael Buble, It�s Time: Michael Buble, a young Frank Sinatra and just as popular with the masses, swings on new and old classics such as �How Sweet It Is� and �I�ve Got You Under My Skin.� But the two tracks I keep returning to are just sublime. �Home� is an original track he wrote that speaks to universal longings and is stunningly beautiful: and �Quando, Quando, Quando,� a classic by Englebert Humperdinck, is given a fresh spin by Buble and pop singer Nelly Furtado. It�s sublime.
Various Artists, Caf� Del Mar, Vol. 8: The latest in an excellent series of chill/downtempo music features the hard-to-get �Pina Colada� (Jazz Mix) by Digby Jones and has an excellent remix of vocalist Dido�s �Worthless.� Classy vocals and cool beats make this another winner.
Bryan Lubeck, Acoustic Vineyard: Mellow smooth jazz promoted on the CD cover as �smooth jazz and Latin styles.� Lubeck is an acoustic guitarist who mixes mild touches of flamenco with romantic melodies to provide a gorgeous and relaxing music experience. Available at www.bryanlubeck.com or here.