April 29, 2010

What We're Listening To ** April

P E T E R * B O E H I

Marcus Finnie - Boundless (2010)
Drummer Marcus Finnie offers a powerful slice of groovy contemporary jazz that definitely stands out, lots of interesting soloing and spirited playing. Very recommended!

Freddie V - Easier Than It Looks (2008)
Freddie V is the saxophonist of the Average White Band, finally stepping out into the spotlight with this cool and catchy album featuring his horn playing. Thumbs up!

Michael O'Neill - Touch The Past (2010)
Guitarist Michael O'Neill has been playing with George Benson for many years, this is his latest solo album featuring a great mix of smooth tracks alternating between straight ahead, contemporary and smooth jazz. Quality stuff!

Maysa - A Woman In Love (2010)
Maysa is my favorite songstress that is getting better and better with every release, this one is another example of her ample talent. Pure honey!

The David Chesky Band - Rush Hour (1980)
My nod to the past goes to this funky big band LP by keyboardist David Chesky featuring New York's finest like Bob James and the Brecker Brothers.


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

David Wells, Skyline (Little Fish Records) (2009)

Saturday Night Live Band, Gotta Keep My Eye on You [Impoprt] (2005)

Michael Scherer, Exceeding Expectations (2009)

Steve Oliver, Global Kiss (SOM Entertainment LLC) (2010)

Donald Patterson, Family (Global Music Alternative Llc) (2008)


D E N I S * P O O L E

‘Love You All Night Long’ by rising sax star Jaared from his brand new release Manhattan Nights. With Cindy Bradley lending a hand on trumpet and flugelhorn, this sultry cut is rapidly evolving into a genuine Secret Garden favorite.

‘Window Shopper’ by Christophe De Villa from the CD Jazz and Soulful; Almost unrecognisable from rapper 50 Cent’s explicit original, this chilled out tune, with De Villa on guitar at his very best, is entirely to die for.

‘The Thrill Is Gone’ by Kirk Whalum from the album The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 3. This brass drenched delight finds Lalah Hathaway in outstanding form on vocals and Whalum, on sax, nothing short of inspirational.

‘Anthem’ by the Uptown Band from the CD Waiting For Her; Here David Fenwick on piano is totally magical. In every respect this is a tune in search of a movie score.

‘Astro’ by Drew Davidsen from his highly rated new release Around (Again); Already in rotation at The Wave 94.7 in LA, this intense number finds Davidsen’s playing to be reminiscent of Nils at his very best.


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

Elizabeth Mis (independent release), Forever & Ever -- Young, talented saxophonist who can't possibly be 20 years old yet offers both high-spirited and mellow originals. Shepherded in by master producer/guitarist Paul Brown. Great stuff! Visit her website for more info and samples (www.elizabethmis.com).

Steve Oliver (SOM Entertainment), Global Kiss -- In my opinion, possibly the best CD Oliver has produced to date (inlcuing his monster smash Positive Energy). Melodic, smooth, and definitely Steve oliver.

Joseph Patrick Moore, (Blue Canoe Records), To Africa With Love -- Upcoming release has great thick fusion grooves; heavy, heavy, heavy on bass.

David Benoit (Heads Up), Earthglow -- This CD is clear evidence that David Benoit is a long way from his "finish" line, and that’s cause enough for a broad, glowing smile from us all.

Agnieszka Iwanska (independent release)-- Beautiful vocals from this new artist who struts out some interesting, occasionally Basia-like material. Very warm, very appealing.

Posted by Peter Böhi at 6:48 AM

April 25, 2010

Gregg Holsey--Can't Stop

This cool and airy CD, Can’t Stop, from bassist/vocalist Gregg Holsey has a suave, rather debonair R&B/smooth jazz swagger to it that instantly reminds one in spots of the good ol’ Earth, Wind & Fire years, especially when listening to track one, which is also the title track and bears an uncanny resemblance to EW&F’s “That’s the Way of the World.” Nice R&B phrasing and hook.

The entire CD is a very tasteful easy one. While there’s nothing exceptionally innovative or groundbreaking here, it’s an album you can easily display in your library as one that upholds the appeal of “smooth.” Tunes like “Just Cooling,” “Guitar Man,” and “Missing You” do a decent job of blurring the line between R&B and jazz while adding the sweet touch of memorable melodies with some sharp horn action. “The One” has an appealingly bouncy rhythmic groove to it. It could have been almost tropical if he’d gone with what appeared to be developing in the piece. Nonetheless, as a smooth mid-tempo jam with a nice feel, it works.

The one real stand-out observation about this album would be the competent blend of catchy melodies with that laid-back aura about it all. It’s what keeps you connected to the project and listening. Holsey definitely does his part to exclaim that the breath of life in smooth jazz is not exhausted by any means. Take this one on that coastal drive with the top down, and just bask in the glow of the sun and the draw of the smooth melodies that have always served as the signature for smooth jazz.

Posted by Ronald Jackson at 3:13 AM

April 24, 2010

Contempo April 2009

By Jonathan Widran

In 2004, when the popular indie new age/jazz/world label Higher Octave Music was absorbed into Narada — which later was gobbled up by Blue Note — a great trend in instrumental pop music seemed to hit its end. In the 90s and early 2000s, Higher Octave was a major outlet for famed arena rockers getting their mellow middle year grooves on, with everyone from Craig Chaquico (Jefferson Starship) to Journey-men Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon and Yes’ Jon Anderson releasing compelling albums to a fan base that was aging as gracefully as they were.

While scattered on various independent labels that have popped up in recent years, all of them are happily still recording when they’re not doing more lucrative tours with their classic bands. But it’s their classic, ultra-soulful and melodic HOM output from a decade ago that comes to mind while enjoying the colorful mix of rock, pop, soul and jazz influenced instrumentals and vocals on Jim Peterik’s Lifeforce, the debut contemporary urban jazz offering by the still-going-strong rocker.

Unlike the above mentioned artists who are known primarily for their associations with one major band, Peterik has a unique, two fisted resume whose catchy hits define two eras in pop music. As a founder and lead singer of the 70s group The Ides Of March, he launched his career with the horn-drenched rocker “Vehicle”; Ides could be considered a one hit wonder, but since reuniting in the late 90s, they’re still touring constantly like they’re in their early 20s. Slightly younger pop fans know Peterik as the voice of Survivor, that early to mid 80s hit making machine responsible for love-‘em-or-loathe-‘em still popular karaoke hits “Eye of the Tiger,” “The Search Is Over,” “Burning Heart” and “I Can’t Hold Back.” He also penned hits for other artists, including “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up In You” for .38 Special.

Still in the rock and roll jungle most of the time, Peterik has divided his time these last few years between Ides and his latest band, Pride of Lions. But all that rockin’ takes its toll on a 58-year-old soul, and the Chicago area based musician is happy to chill out on occasion and listen to his longtime musical love, smooth jazz. In many ways, Lifeforce — is his coming out party after being a closet fan of the instrumental genre for so long.

“Yeah, that’s me, the secret smoothie!” Peterik laughs. “Maybe this will shock my fans, but when I get off the road and am hanging out at home, I don’t put on Kansas or Journey, I listen to classic tracks by Acoustic Alchemy, Keiko Matsui, Dave Grusin and David Benoit. And it’s not really a recent phenomenon. My wife Karen and I have been living and breathing that music even before there was an official radio format for it. When I’m away from it for too long, I need my fix and when I get back to it, I’m like the kid in the candy store. It just felt like the right time to take a shot and make music that reflects this true passion.”

While his longtime friend and fellow Chicagoan Nick Colionne is helping him build connections in the genre — and contributed a colorful guitar solo to the anthemic mystical rock jam title track — Peterik is mostly working with longtime musical cohorts, some of whom are also in Pride Of Lions. Because of his successful ongoing history as a bandleader, when the idea of doing a half vocal/half instrumental project struck after doing background music for his wife’s website, there was no question he would pursue a group concept rather than a solo effort. This extra firepower — which includes co-lead and backing vocalist Lisa McClowry, saxman Steve Eisen, guitarist Mike Aquino and drummer Ed Breckenfeld — also allowed him to dig a little deeper sonically than many of his favorite artists do on their radio singles.

And just to make the transition easier for fans of Ides and Survivor, he stocks the 10-track collection with cool revamps of “Eye of the Tiger” (taking a crisp, mid-tempo, R&B/blues electric-guitar/horn approach that Colionne no doubt digs), “The Search Is Over” (an expansive, slow-building atmospheric duet with McClowry) and “Vehicle,” all muscular punch and sizzle but which includes a surprising, swinging, West Coast trad jazz breakdown in the midst. The Matsui-like opener “Joy” and well-rendered inspiration-minded vocals like “Unconditional Surrender” and “Ghost Orchid” are likeable, but Lifeforce’s heart and soul — and the listener’s attention — is clearly on the reworked hits.

“From the get go, I was keying in on the melodies,” he says, “starting with lyrics but then stripping them away to create strong instrumentals the listener can hum, as opposed to chordally based pieces. I love lush sonic landscapes just like anybody but as I started writing, the edgier melodic vibe is what naturally emerged. Working with players who are much more well-versed in jazz than I am was a great challenge. I worked closely with (keyboardist) Scott May on ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and just told him to ‘twist the chords, do those demolished fourths and demented thirds like the jazz guys do, keep twisting.’ Then Ed my drummer would help me find the groove. For ‘The Search Is Over,’ I told them I wanted to start with an a capella, Annie Lennox flavor. And that swing thing on ‘Vehicle’ just happened spur of the moment — it wasn’t charted out or anything.

“With Lifeforce,” he adds, “I see myself as the writer with the nugget of a great idea but it was a collaborative effort and one that had a truly loose and playful jazz spirit. It’s very liberating after sticking to strict pop/rock structures over the years. Rock is so primal but jazz is a way to explore a more sensual side of my artistry. The good news is that I’m committed to making Lifeforce an ongoing thing and I’m excited about getting out and touring with this group. And yes, I’m sure I’ll be doing new treatments of other songs. The .38 Special tunes would adapt especially well — so ‘Hold on Loosely’!”


For five nights just before the 2008 election, renowned pianist and jazz educator Eli Yamin turned the reliably blue New York into a bona fide swing state, playing with his longtime quartet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz At Lincoln Center in celebration of his latest dynamic independent release You Can’t Buy Swing. Driven a bluesy yet romantic playing style that draws from the Thelonious Monk-Duke Ellington brand of energetic bebop, the 11-track collection opens with a lively autobiographical nod to his long fulfilled ambition (“I Want To Be A Teacher”) and includes pieces that hit a wide range of moods, from reflective (“Getting Somewhere”) to cleverly optimistic (“Bop To Normal”). Yamin sticks close to home on the charming and lyrical “Waltz on the Hudson” but shows global reach on the brooding and slightly exotic “Rwandan Child.” Yamin dedicates the album to his mentor, legendary jazz drummer Walter Perkins, who once told him that “you can have the biggest names and it’s not necessarily going to swing!” For the pianist, then, swing is “about believing in your team, listening, trusting, working together and committing to the outrageous opportunity of this moment.” A great jazz and swing ambassador who has performed at concert halls and festivals throughout the U.S., Europe, Japan, India, Mali and China, Yamin’s home base is as the Artistic Director of The Jazz Drama Program and Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy; the latter appointment was made by Wynton Marsalis. Among his accolades are six widely performed jazz musicals for children and Suns of Cosmic Consciousness, a recording he did as part of the jazz/world music collective Solar in 2005. For more information: www.eliyamin.com


PERSONAL TASTE

1) Walter Beasley, Free Your Mind (Heads Up) – The veteran saxman gets America’s new era off to a soulful, easy funk start with the African-spiced “Barack’s Groove,” which is just part of his overall goal to engage our grooving spirits while inspiring us to chill and reduce the stress in our lives.
2) Hot Buttered Jazz: Celebrating The Genius of Isaac Hayes (Shanachie)
3) Jane Monheit, The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me (Concord Records)
4) Diane Landry, It’s A Lovely Day (JazzMaDi Productions)
5) Incognito, More Tales Remixed (Heads Up)

Posted by Jonathan Widran at 8:49 PM

April 18, 2010

Greg Adams & East Bay Soul At Anthology

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Despite the rapidly emerging status of Anthology as San Diego’s preeminent music hotspot it is debatable if this upscale venue has ever staged a performance of such consummate quality and immense power as that served up on April 15, 2010 by Greg Adams and his brand new ensemble project East Bay Soul. This mega funky collective is the brainchild of the Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter Adams who just happens to be a founding member of the wonderful Tower of Power. At Anthology, as on the album, he was joined by another ex Tower of Power stalwart, trumpeter Lee Thornburg and the East Bay Soul roster was completed by Joey Navarro on keyboards, Evan Stone on drums, Brian Allen on bass, James Wirrick on guitar, Johnny Sandoval on percussion plus Michael Paulo and Greg Vail on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Suffice to say that the combination was nothing short of sensational throughout.

Ostensibly in town to showcase the excellent new release East Bay Soul, Adams also created space on the set list for several other songs from his illustrious discography. One was a stunning rendition of his seminal hit ‘Burma Road’ from the 1995 CD Hidden Agenda and another was ‘One Night In Rio’ from the more recent Cool To The Touch. It found huge favor with the enthusiastic crowd and Adams slick arrangement allowed the bands rhythm section to really shine.

The show opened with the brass drenched ‘Survival Of The Hippest’ which laid down a clear marker as to the energy that Adams intended to pack into every tune. Although ‘Bop Drop’ offered a jazzy diversion it also built a bridge to ‘Reading Lips’ where the silkily soulful vocals of Darryl Walker provided the velvet glove into which the bands iron fist easily slid. The shimmering ‘Someone New’ (where Adams playing on flugelhorn was spectacular) and the equally impressive ‘iHope’ also found Walker in fine vocal form and he returned to add a little soul to the zesty ‘Awaken’ which incidentally is a number co-written by Adams and the up and coming Alan Hewitt.

‘Always Takes Two’ was delivered with all the horn driven frenzy that one would expect from a line-up with its roots firmly grounded in the uniquely soul based genre of San Francisco’s East Bay area and this was reinforced by the bands sizzling version of the Jerry Ragovoy composition ‘Stop’ which, as well as being outrageously ‘off the chain’, also featured luscious horns and immensely soulful vocals from Lee Thornburg.

Paradoxically the band appeared just as effective with the tempo notched down and this was ably demonstrated by the jazzily smoky ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ where Adams trademark muted trumpet was terrific. He used this same technique to engender a massively chilled out vibe for a tremendous cover of the classic ‘Ghetto’ and amongst ever rising excitement from the audience the band were applauded back to the stage for a much deserved double encore. For this they first went back to Adams 2002 project Midnight Morning for a blockbuster take on ‘Sup With That’ then closed out the ninety plus minute set by coming right up top date for the soulful swagger of ‘Jump, Shout And Holler’ from the new album.

Quite simply this was an incredible show from a group of musicians who generate the sort of tight horn filled rhythms that are both entirely timeless and totally to die for. East Bay Soul will next be in Southern California on May 1 when they are sure to make a significant impact on the Temecula Wine & Music Festival. Miss them at your peril.

For more information go to www.eastbaysoul.com

Posted by Denis Poole at 6:32 PM

April 17, 2010

Pat Metheny to perform at LA's iconic Disney Hall

Written by The Jazz Gypsy

Monday, May 19th, 8:00 pm
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tickets: http://bit.ly/dB7eSC

pat_metheny.jpg

The renown jazz fusion guitarist, Pat Metheny, is set to reinvent the jazz experience with his new Orchestration Project.

According to Metheny, this project represents a conceptual direction that merges an idea from the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the technologies of today to create a new, open-ended platform for musical composition, improvisation and performance.

"Orchestrionics" is the term that Metheny uses to describe a method of developing ensemble-oriented music using acoustic and acoustoelectric musical instruments that are mechanically controlled in a variety of ways, using solenoids and pneumatics. With a guitar, pen or keyboard Metheny is able to create a detailed compositional environment or a spontaneously developed improvisation, with the pieces on this particular recording leaning toward the compositional side of the spectrum. On top of these layers of acoustic sound, Metheny adds conventional electric guitar playing as an improvised component.

Metheny already had a trademarked playing style, which blended the loose and flexible articulation customarily reserved for horn players with an advanced rhythmic and harmonic sensibility - a way of playing and improvising that was modern in conception but grounded deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues.

The Orchestration Project will certainly further distinguish Metheny as an innovator ahead of his time.

Posted by JazzGypsy at 6:27 PM

April 13, 2010

American Smooth Jazz Awards 2010

Excitement is mounting with news that the nominees have been announced for the inaugural American Smooth Jazz Awards which will be held on October 29 at the Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa in Michigan City, Indiana. Among the 18 categories are both male and female vocalists, instrumentalists, song, album and entertainer of the year.

There is also a category for Journalist Of The Year and I am honored to report that I have been included in the short list. Check back here soon for information on how to place your vote.

Speaking about his aims and aspirations for this ground-breaking event, Bernie Scott, president of Scott & Company Music Group and the American Smooth Jazz Awards is quoted as saying that “We want smooth jazz fans from all over the globe to be part of the voting process”.

Award presenters will be coming in from around the world to be part of the show and to date those confirmed as attending include high-profile radio personalities such as Jimi King from London, Philadelphia’s own Michael Tozzi, Doug Thomas from Sacramento, Lynn Bridges from Las Vegas and the voice of smooth jazz in Cleveland, the one and only Carmen Kennedy.

Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa is located 50 miles east of Chicago on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Tickets for the dinner and awards ceremonies are available to the public through Ticketmaster or any Ticketmaster outlet. Special packages are available through Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa by calling 888-879-7711.

More news on the American Smooth Jazz Awards will follow. For a full listing of nominees please continue reading.

American Smooth Jazz Awards Nominees

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Dave Koz
Nick Colionne
Brian Culbertson
Richard Elliot

MALE VOCALIST
Spencer Day
Will Downing
George Benson
Phil Perry
Kenny Lattimore

FEMALE VOCALIST
Maysa Leak
Melody Gardot
Norah Jones
Vanessa Williams
Randy Crawford

GROUP OF THE YEAR
Rippingtons
Sax Pack
Fourplay
Pieces of a Dream
Spyro Gyra

BRASS/WOODWIND
Rick Braun
Boney James
Richard Elliot
Darren Rahn
Euge Groove

PERCUSSIONIST
Harvey Mason
Alex Acuna
Rayford Griffin
Lenny Castro
Russ Kunkel

GUITARIST
Peter White
Nick Colionne
Jeff Golub
George Benson
Nils

KEYBOARDIST
Brian Culbertson
Gregg Karukas
Jeff Lorber
Philippe Saisse
Brian Simpson

NEW ARTIST
Cindy Bradley
Spencer Day
Drew Davidson
Kyle Wolverton
Darren Rahn

GOSPEL JAZZ
Greg Vail
Take 6
Jonathan Butler
Angella Christie
David Wells
Kirk Whalum
Ben Tankard

SONG
‘Bright’ - Peter White
‘I’m Waiting For You’ - Jackiem Joyner
‘Living In High Definition’ - George Benson
‘Talk Of The Town’ - Darren Rahn
‘Go For It’ - Bernie Williams

ALBUM
‘Send One Your Love’ - Boney James
‘Bloom’ - Cindy Bradley
‘Rock Steady’ - Richard Elliot
‘Good Day’ - Peter White
‘In Boston’ - Chris Botti

JOURNALIST
Carol Archer - All That Jazz Inc.
Melanie Maxwell - Smooth Jazz News
Denis Poole - Smooth Jazz Therapy, Abyss Jazz, iJazzGlobal and Smooth Jazz Vibes
Brian Soergel Smooth Jazz Network, Smooth Jazz News and Jazz Times
Jonathan Widran - Jazziz and Wine & Jazz

BROADCASTER -TERRESTRIAL RADIO
Randy Bennet
Brian Culbertson
Art Good
Allen Kepler
Dave Koz
Rick O’Dell
Alexander Zonjic

BROADCASTER - INTERNET RADIO
Jimi King
Ted Hasiuk
Mike Scott
Cameron Smith
Michael Tozzi

INTERNATIONAL MALE VOCALIST
Michael Buble
Seal
Matt Dusk
Anders Holst

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE VOCALIST
Basia
Diana Krall
Sophie Milman
Carol Welsman
Corinne Bailey Rae

INTERNATIONAL GROUP
Four80East
Hiroshima
Jazzmasters
Down to the Bone
Incognito
Groove Kings

INTERNATIONAL ARTIST
Jesse Cook
Oli Silk
Marc Antoine
Candy Dulfer
Paul Hardcastle

Posted by Denis Poole at 7:16 PM

April 9, 2010

Free Playboy Jazz Festival

Written by The Jazz Gypsy

The kick-off for the 32nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival scheduled for June 12 and 13th at the Hollywood Bowl will begin with a free concert featuring Grammy winning pianist Bill Cunliffe and his Septet and Johnny Crawford and His Orchestra. The event will be held on Sunday, May 2nd from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Beverly Hills Civic Center Plaza, located at 450 North Rexford Drive, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Burton Way

Cunliffe, who will open the show, continues to attract nationwide attention for his lyrical style and groundbreaking compositions, has toured and played with many jazz greats, including Frank Sinatra, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, James Moody, and many others. Together, Cunliffe and his Septet will echo the sounds of big band with a celebration of saxophonist Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

Johnny Crawford and His Orchestra will recall the musical elegance of another time, with their authentic arrangements of popular songs and music from the ‘20’s and ‘30’s.

This afternoon promises to be a lively afternoon of upbeat jazz entertainment at the Civic Center’s attractive outdoor performing arts venue.

Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Glass containers, alcoholic beverages and audio/video recorders are not permitted. Two free hours of parking are available at the Civic Center parking structure, adjacent to the Beverly Hills Public Library.

For more information regarding the community concert series or the Playboy Jazz Festival, call the hotline at 310-450-1173 or visit www.playboyjazz.com .

Posted by JazzGypsy at 8:39 AM

April 4, 2010

Kirk Whalum - The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 3

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. From his early days in Memphis, where he played in his father's church choir, saxophonist extraordinaire Kirk Whalum has drawn inspiration from a musical amalgam of gospel, R&B, blues, and jazz. During an illustrious career that began in 1984 (when he was ‘discovered’ by Bob James) his music has often betrayed the depth of his faith and this was confirmed in 1998 with the release of The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 1. Although it was a glittering example of the way that throughout black history gospel and jazz have often intertwined, his pop jazz approach did not always find critical favor. However, the passing of time and subsequent launch of gospel orientated albums such as Unconditional and Hymns In The Garden meant that by 2002, when his ten track The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 2 came along, critics seemed much more relaxed about a sacred message being contained in what appeared to be a secular envelope.

Eight years on and attitudes have changed. Whalum, together with artists such as Jonathan Butler, George Duke, Tom Braxton, Oleta Adams and the late Wayman Tisdale have all played their part in making ‘gospel jazz’ a legitimate adjunct to the contemporary genre. As a consequence Whalum’s brand new seventeen song double CD, the expansive The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 3, is sure to be recognized as a star studded extension to this overall process.

In fact, although released in March 2010, The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 3 was recorded back in 2007 at Reid Temple in Glenn Dale, Maryland. As well as notable performances by Lalah Hathaway, Doc Powell, John Stoddart and George Duke it also includes significant contributions from several of Whalum’s family members.

Whalum’s shrewd use of popular classics to convey the message of his faith knows no bounds and a case in point is the silky rendition of the much covered Thom Bell – Linda Creed composition ‘You Are Everything’ for which he partners with the excellent guitarist Doc Powell. Other gems include George Duke’s reworking of the Celine Dion pop smash ‘Because You Loved Me’ while Whalum’s treatment of the Frankie Beverly & Maze hit ‘Running Away’ owes much to the vocals of his brother, Kevin Whalum. Kevin is equally impressive for ‘Make Me A Believer’ which was originally recorded and co-composed by Luther Vandross yet in terms of old fashioned sentimentality there is none better than the mellow interpretation of the timeless ‘Smile’ that is effortlessly delivered by Kirk’s uncle, Hugh ‘Peanuts’ Whalum. That notwithstanding a real Secret Garden favorite is the brass drenched ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ for which Lalah Hathaway on vocals is outstanding and Whalum on sax inspirational.

The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter 3 has all the credentials necessary to make it work for different audiences and at different levels. For more go to www.kirkwhalum.com

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at 4:51 PM

April 2, 2010

The 18th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz Festival

The 18th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz Festival, which will be held at the Government Center on Saturday, April 24th features one of the best line ups of all the years this event has been around.

Sax giant Everette Harp, and the very funky sax of Euge Groove are scheduled. Vocalists Will Downing and former Tower Of Power member Lenny Williams (What Is Hip) will also take the stage.

Karen Briggs brings her Soulchestra, which will feature keyboard virtuoso Lao Tizer.
Fattburger will round out the list with their legendary signature band sound.

Posted by Danny Desart at 5:06 AM

Gentlemen Of The Night Rip Up Aliante Station

The Gentlemen Of The Night, sax greats Paul Taylor, Marion Meadows, and Michael Lington, tore it up at Aliante Station March 19th to an enthusiastic audience.

Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns continue their Monday night romp at the Tropicana Hotel, currently under remodelling.

The Killer Groove Band just grooved at House Of Blues in Vegas on Tuesday, March 30th, showcasing new guitarist, Dana Barry. The band will be also featured at Lake Las Vegas on April 24th as part of the weekly summer jazz series.

Local favorite Blu7 will be at the Red Label on Thursdays starting in April.

The 18th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz Festival will be held on April 24th at the Government Amphitheater for 10 hours of jazz.

Posted by Danny Desart at 4:31 AM | TrackBack

April 1, 2010

What We're Listening To ** March

D E N I S * P O O L E

The soul drenched and easy grooving ‘Dreamin’ by horn player and vocalist Butch Harrison from his new CD What It Is. This velvety number proves, if indeed proof was needed, that the timeless quality of great soul music will always endure.

The almost indecently catchy ‘True Vision’ by Steve Oliver from his latest album Global Kiss. Featuring the incredible Bob Baldwin on keys and the always excellent Marion Meadows on sax this is an obvious choice as the next cut from the CD to go to radio.

‘Spotlight’, by Phillip ‘Doc’ Martin, that comes from his album Realization. In terms of cover versions there is none better than this rendition of the Jennifer Hudson blockbuster. With a vibe to die for this is right up there with the album’s best.

‘Chi Town Strut’ by guitarist Bernard Alcorn from the CD A New Day. With sumptuous sampled horns and a great groove this one is a real attention grabber.

‘Mystical Force’ by the late great Grover Washington Jr from the recently discovered and soon to be released ‘live’ album Grover Live. Atmospheric smooth jazz with a funky edge doesn’t come better than this.

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

Paula Atherton, Groove With Me  -- Hot new material from a hot (relatively) new saxophonist with a knack for serious grooves.

Steve Raybine, In the Driver's Seat  --Smooth vibist who flirts with smooth jazz, Latin, and blues in an unpretentious way.
 
Lawson Rollins, Espirito -- The smooth guitarist sets the World stage afire again with hot licks and sexy Latin/world melodies tailor-made for the romantic and the culturally curious, as well.
 
Michael J Thomas, City Beat -- Saxman Thomas delivers on City Beat the kind of self-confidence and stand-up solid material that has ushered in so many of our smooth jazz greats today.

Phaze II, Live & Uncut -- This sizzlin' band has been tearing it up here in the Washington, DC area for years now. On this live recording, the guys show just why they have maintained a solid reputation as one of the premier bands in the area. Can't wait until these cats explode on the national scene with their brand of smooth and funk!


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

Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea (Capitol)

Tom Hemby, In the Moment (EMG)

Alex Bugnon, Going Home (Xela)

Terje Lie, Urban Vacation (TCat)

Kirk Whalum, The Gospel According to Jazz Vol. III (Top Drawer/Rendezvous)


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

Pat MethenyOrchestrion (Nonesuch) (2010)

MaysaWoman in Love (Shanachie) (2010)

Kim WatersLove Stories  (Shanachie)  (2010)

Terje LieUrban Vacation (Open All Nite Entertainment/T Cat Records) (2010)

Alan HewittRetroactive (Nu Groove Records) (2010)


P E T E R * B O E H I

still recovering from the awesome Berks Jazz Festival, so check back very soon.

Posted by Peter Böhi at 8:02 PM