What We're Listening To ** December

P E T E R * B O E H I

NuGroove Records: Grooves For The Season (2008)
Sold via the label's website and Circuit City, this truly groovy selection of Christmas carols played by the label's roster of artists (Jay Soto, Gail Jhonson, Michael Lington, Bob Baldwin, Steve Oliver, Michael Manson, Shilts and more) delivers some very fine music which is just perfect for this time of the year. Dance around the Christmas tree!

Dotsero - A Season Of Wonder (2008)
This contemporary jazz band from Denver, CO comes up with a great holiday album featuring the band grooving over some really hot arrangements, they are one of my favorite bands and this CD has been a welcome addition to my holiday albums. The packaging will put a smile on your face!

Don Immel - Long Way Home (2008)
Trombone player Don Immel floored me with this ultra-smooth and polished album, offering cool grooves and nice playing, his slowed down and chilled version of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" has to be heard to be believed. Very recommended!

Alex Lattimore - Promise (2008)
Singer Alex Lattimore has a velvety voice reminiscent of Will Downing going down like sweet wine, the music is laid-back, jazzy and very classy, an absolute gem that stands out and makes you feel good. This one will caress your soul!

Hagood Hardy Orchestra - Mystic Morning (1985)
As usual a nod to the past with this Japan-only LP from 1985 by pianist Hagood Hardy who delivers a lush, laid-back orchestral album with crystal clear production and flawless playing by the jazzy band. If you like the Belair Strings, this one will be right up your alley!

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

Grady Nichols, Take Me With You (Grady Nichols): The Oklahoma saxophonist returns with another strong effort.

Incognito, More Tales Remixed (Heads Up): A groovin' time will be had by all.

Eldredge Jackson, Listening Pleasure (JEA): The CD by the saxophonist is produced by Wayman Tisdale.

Jeff Lorber, Heard That (Peak): Funky stuff from the keys master.

The Terry Disley Experience, The Jazzcracker & Other Delights (Disleyworld): Former Acoustic Alchemy pianist swings with the season.

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

J-Mood, A Midnight Clear (Blue Canoe Records) (2008)

BK Jackson, On The Move (bkjackson.com) (2008)

Jazz Crusaders, Kick The Jazz (Wmgw Records) (2008)

The Slow Club Quartet, Expressionism (2008)

Dotsero, A Season of Wonder (CinderblockRecords.com) (2008)

D E N I S * P O O L E

�Overnight Success� by Angie Whitney from the CD That�s What Love Is All About. Urban tinged, classically soulful and with a string arrangement that is stunning, this wondrous tune from vocalist Whitney has an intoxicating vibe and overall is destined to become one my top twenty tracks of the year.

�Practice Makes Perfect� by the sensational Dionyza from her debut album Quite Like Me. The daughter of legendary Motown singer-songwriters Michael and Brenda Sutton delivers a fresh takes on a melodic soul theme that really flows. In every respect it is a complete gem.

�Golden Love Light� by Pete Gitlin from his latest project Full Circle And The Great Temptation. Rolling atop a delicious mid tempo groove, and with vocals from keyboard player Rachel Eckroth that are really something special, this is without doubt the real smooth jazz deal.

�Christmas Bells Medley� by the outstanding DeNate from the nuGroove Christmas compilation Grooves For The Season. DeNate has been one of the finds of 2008 and here this fine duo of keyboard player Nate Harasim and vocalist Deborah Connors has never sounded better. Grooves For The Season is the best seasonal album of the year and makes you wish that Christmas could last forever.

Finally, for 2008, �Dove� by Grady Nichols from his brand new album, Take Me With You. This tight and urgent rendition of the one of 2003�s best club classics takes contemporary jazz into an area where it might just engender a new generation of listeners. Sax-man Nichols looks to have a bright future.

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

The Rippingtons, 20th Anniversary, 2006.

Gerald Veasley, Your Move, 2008

Josh Groban, Live at the Greek, 2004

Basia, Sweetest Illusion, 1994

Jeff Golub, Dangerous Curves, 2000

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

Oli Silk, The Limit's the Sky (Tripp N Rhythm Music): Can one have a more apropos name than Silk for some of the smoothest, tightest keyboard jazz combined with solidly �toothy� funk? Find it all here with Oli Silk�s latest, a continuing voyage along the sea of quality.

Les Sabler, Sweet Drive (The Music Force Media Group): Cool, vibrant guitar licks and chords highlight this worthy project by seasoned guitarist Les Sabler who�s brought in a host of smooth jazz luminaries like Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, just to name a few, to help with the tasty ingredients for this magnificent recipe of aural treats.

The Quiet Storm Players, After Hours (Calvin Records): Sweet, relaxing covers from a duo that obviously has more than a finger on the heartbeat and soul of smooth jazz. Some Sade tunes are included and well-represented here, as are selections from Earth, Wind & Fire, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and the Isley Brothers. This album, soaked in romance, will surely stoke the fires of love.

Brian Oneal, Daisy (BCO Media): Keyboardist Brian Oneal ushers in a generous set of 14 original �smoothers� for your listening pleasure. If melody is your thing, you�ll certainly find it here in abundance. Each tune is carved out in catchy hooks and finesse that is guaranteed to find favor among even the most discriminating tastes.

Jason Miles, Soul Summit (Shananchie Records): This live soulful extravaganza, presented here by the man who brought us back-to-back tasteful tributes to the late great Grover Washington, Jr., takes place at the Berks Jazz Fest. It features great covers of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and others. It receives contributions from many of our most notable artists, including the graceful Maysa, sax giant Richard Elliott, and Susan Tedechi. Jason Miles is clearly on a roll!