B R I A N * S O E R G E L
Denny Jiosa, Dreams Like This (Sonic Canvas): The veteran guitarist returns, finally, with an exceptional work featuring a new version of the classic "Sunny" with original vocalist Bobby Hebb scatting along.
Tony Guerrero, Apasionado (Native Language): The trumpeter's love for Latin music is realized with assists from Eric Marienthal, Brian Bromberg, Jeff Kashiwa, Grant Geissman and others. Highly recommended.
The Terry Disley Experience, London Underground (Disleyworld): The former Acoustic Alchemy keyboardist is a favorite in the San Francisco contemporary jazz scene. This album explains why. Listen to "Miramar" and get swept away.
David Benoit, Heroes (Peak): This is the way you do cover albums: in your own style, with lots of flair. Benoit covers an ecletic mix of artists in a jazzy and acoustic setting.
Sergio Mendes, Encanto (Concord/Starbucks): "The Look of Love," "Funky Bahia," "Waters of March," "Morning in Rio," "Agua de Beber." Fergie, Ledisi, Juanes, Natalie Cole. Delightful Brazilian music from a master, with some dazzling updates.
P E T E R * B O E H I
Tom Scott - Cannon Re-Loaded (2008)
This is saxophonist Tom Scott's tribute the the great Cannonball Adderley revisiting many of his classic compositions, delivered with style and class employing an all-star cast. Delicious!
Yosuke Onuma - Beautiful Day (2008)
Japanese guitarist Yosuke Onuma plays more in the fusion idiom, but his playing is cool and groovy, I really like his music. Check it out!
Neil Larsen - Orbit (2007)
Keyboardist Neil Larsen is back, supported by guitarist Robben Ford and an all-star band, on this great new live album where he covers several of his old classics. Not to be missed!
Bradley Leighton - Soul Collective (2008)
Flautist Bradley Leighton teams up with some of the best players and comes up with a top-notch and groovy smooth jazz album. Two thumbs up!
Jeff Lorber Fusion - Soft Space (1978)
Classic early Jeff Lorber music with Joe Farrell and Chick Corea guesting, for the first time released on CD, along with his debut album just called "Jeff Lorber Fusion". Cool to see them eventually out on CD!
J E F F * D A N I E L S
Neil Larsen, Orbit (Straight Ahead Records) (2007)
Bradley Leighton, Soul Collective (Pacific Coast Jazz) (2008)
D E N I S * P O O L E
"She�s All That" by Bob Baldwin from the CD New Urban Jazz. With Marion Meadows immense on sax, Ragan Whiteside adding her usual spine tingling flute and Baldwin�s keys always smooth yet often edgy, this is as good an example of �in the pocket� contemporary jazz as will be found anywhere.
"When It Rains" by Darryl Williams from the album That Was Then. Reggie Smith features on sax and this foot tapping delight is certain to make it onto my 'best list' of 2008.
"Pacific Breeze" by Gail Jhonson from her latest CD Pearls. Here this underrated keyboard player has come up with an absolute gem.
"Bring It On" by Michael Manson from his album Up Front. This feisty and uplifting chunk of smooth jazz is enhanced even further by the contribution of Paul Jackson Jr on guitar and a stunning piano solo from the legendary George Duke. Darren Rahn produces, plays sax and is joined by his brother Jason on trumpet.
"A Cosmic Love Song" by Frank Felix And The FU Express from his debut album Tales From The Funky Underground. Blessed by a fine guitar solo from Miles Gilderdale this is an extremely edgy a slice of contemporary jazz.
J O N A T H A N * W I D R A N
Chris Bennett, Girl Talk (Chris Bennett Music)
Al Green, Lay It Down (Blue Note)
Brian Culbertson, Bringing Back The Funk (GRP)
Nick Colionne, No Limits (Koch)
B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D
Warren Hill, La Dolce Vita, (Koch Records, to be released June 24th, 2008) Warren�s first studio album since 2005�s PopJazz. This CD has an awesome list of co-stars, including Nathan East, Paul Jackson, Jr., guitarist Dean Parks and drummer Ricky Lawson (both of whom played with Steely Dan), keyboardist Greg Phillingaines (Michael Jackson, Toto, Quincy Jones) and Koch recording artists Jeff Golub and Philippe Saisse. Warren couldn�t go wrong with this line-up. The opening track will perk you up with its great rhythm and the second will keep you there with its soulful sound, and so it goes, you won�t be taking this one out of your player any time soon. A masterpiece.
Nick Colionne, No Limits, (Koch Records, to be released July 8th, 2008) Nick gave us a taste at the Berks Jazz Festival in March of some of the tunes on here. There are many tunes which could again propel him to the top of the charts, as did his �Always Thinking of You,� from his last album, Keepin� It Cool, which stayed on the R & R charts for 45 weeks! I can attest to the fact that you will melt when you hear him sing �Melting Into You.� Nick�s a great vocalist in addition to that awesome playing, not to mention his continuing hold on being the most debonair dresser.
Gil Parris and Friends in Concert, DVD, Gil and his friends delivered on this DVD, taken in NYC at the Irvington Town Hall Theatre. Paul Schaeffer of the David Letterman show, David Mann, producer of Gil�s latest CD Strength, Randy Brecker, Grammy nominated trumpet player, and vocalists Vanesse Williams and Tommy �Pipes� McDonnell all contribute to an awesome show. Interestingly, Gil is introduced by Carolyn Kepcher, of The Apprentice show with Donald Trump � as she explains, she first heard Gil play at a club where she was a waitress. How far they have both come!
Paul Jackson, Jr., Never Alone - Duets, (Blue Note, 1996) A classic CD of our American Idol guitarist, featuring artists Earl Kugh, Gerald Albright, Najee, Tom Scott, Joe Sample, George Duke, Jeff Lorber, and many others. Paul has a couple of great songs on here that he composed, along with covers People Get Ready, Soulful Strut, Where is the Love, Let�s Start Again, a nice compilation and arrangement of these familiar tunes.