What We're Listening To -- December

D E N I S * P O O L E

'Baby Its Cold Outside,' by James Taylor featuring Natalie Cole from his 2004 Christmas album on Hallmark.

'Auld Lang Syne,' by Steve Cole, a previously un-released track that appears on the WNUA Sampler CD Volume 18.

'This Christmas,' by Patti Austin from the N Coded Album Tis The Season.

'Sleigh Ride,' by Boney James from the release on Warner Bros Boney's Funky Christmas.

'In The Bleak Mid Winter,' by James Taylor also from his 2004 Christmas album on Hallmark

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

Michael O�Neill, Funky Fiesta (Green Bean Records)

George Benson, Live (GRP)

Rick Braun, Yours Truly (ARTizen)

Ramsey Lewis, With One Voice (Narada Jazz)

Boy Katindig, Groovin� High (Kool Kat Productions)

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

June Kuramoto, Spirit of the Season

Acoustic Alchemy, Arcanum

Ken Navarro, Ablaze in Orlando

Paul Hardcastle, Hardcastle 4

Special EFX, Masterpiece

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

Norman Brown, The Very Best of Norman Brown (GRP): This new CD features music from Brown�s early music on the MoJazz label. It happens to include some of the guitarist�s best songs, such as �Better Days Ahead� and �Lydian.�

Craig Chaquico, Holiday (Higher Octave): Jazz rock sounds for the holidays from the pride of Ashland, Ore.

Various Artists, Nu Jazz Sessions (Groove Gravy): Remixes of Sarah Vaughan and McCoy Tyner standards plus originals by Praful and Physics make this a way cool collection.

Ramsey Lewis, With One Voice (Narada Jazz): The 70-year-old piano icon makes his very first gospel CD. It�s jazzy, soulful and reverential. There�s also a reggae tune, �Keep the Spirit.�

Steve Oliver, Snowfall (Oohla Productions): Ten re-imagined classic holiday tunes from the guitar and vocalist. Sublime.

P E T E R * B O E H I

Gerardo Frisina - The Latin Kick (2005)
This CD is by no means a smooth jazz CD but since it has given me lots of pleasure I want to mention it here. This is a smoking afrocuban latin jazz album with lots of congas and timbales, fiery brass and spirited soloing underpinned with a subtle dance groove. Cool!

Marc Antoine - Modern Times (2005)
To be honest: I have been buying Marc Antoine CDs because he was a mainstay of the smooth jazz scene but never really enjoyed his music - until this great CD came along. This album grooves and employs current dance and house rhythms which elevate the music to the next level. Congrats Marc!

G-Sax - White (2005)
This is a top-notch sax player from Switzerland offering his second CD full of smooth sax playing and cool grooves done really well. Covers include "Captain Of Her Heart" and Sade's "Smooth Operator". Check it out at www.g-sax.ch!

Dwayne "Smitty" Smith - This Is Me (2005)
Bass player Dwayne "Smitty" Smith who played with many luminaries of the genre comes out with a beautiful solo album full with memorable melodies and contemporary grooves and top-drawer guest artists (like Gerald Albright). Don't miss it!

Darren Gholston - D's Mood (2005)
One wonders why such great sax players like Darren Gholston are not wider recognized. This totally contemporary, cool and urban album features the leader on sax and boasts a wide array of first-rate smooth jazz. Recommended!