August 28, 2010

George Duke - Deja Vu

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. When George Duke released his 2008 album, Dukey Treats, it marked a return to the funk driven energy that made him a platinum-selling artist and commercial superstar. Duke stays with this theme for the brand new Déjà Vu which revisits the synthesizer sound that characterized his most memorable recordings. Although in comparison to its predecessor the CD features several more straight-ahead and contemporary influences, it nevertheless delivers a collection that will prove to be a ‘must have’ for George Duke fans everywhere.

The ability Duke has to call upon a wide range of supporting artists befits an industry legend who has been writing, producing and making music since the late sixties. For Déjà Vu he enlists the vocal magic of Lynne Fiddmont who enriches the Brazilian flavored ‘A Melody’ as only she can and the tune is further enhanced by great guitar from Paul Jackson Jr. Later, when Duke uses ‘Ripple in Time’ to honor the memory of Miles Davis, it is Oscar Brashear on trumpet who makes a significant contribution. Sax-man Everette Harp is also involved and he returns for the moody ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ that despite smoky beginnings quickly erupts into a jazz drenched frenzy.

A delightful glimpse of Duke at his mellow best comes courtesy of the tranquil ‘Bring Me Joy’ while in similar vein is the stunningly wistful ‘Come To Me Now’. Clearly one of the album’s top tracks it is in the company of another Secret Garden favorite, the sensational ‘6 O’clock Revisited’. This terrific re-imagining of the classic ‘6 O’clock’ which first appeared on his 1992 project ‘Snapshot’ is brought entirely up to date by a distinctly urban groove and fresh vocals provided by Duke’s son Rashid. Quite simply it is among the best cuts of the year so far.

For more go to

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

Posted by Denis Poole at 6:45 PM

August 22, 2010

BB Jazz Festival - It's Not Just About the Music

Written by The Jazz Gypsy

BB Jazz Festival
September 11, 2010
Central Park Huntington Beach, CA - Get your tickets today!

Nowadays, almost anybody can put together a music festival. However, through my travels I've learned that not all festivals are created equal...even when they have the same musicians. Why are some festivals terrible despite their great line-up? The answer is simple. A festival reflects the heart and soul of it's producers.


A case in point is one of my favorites, the BB Jazz Festival in Huntington Beach. The producers, Corky and Betty Benish, actually care about their audience, the musicians and their all volunteer staff. They make attending their festival simple. Bring your own picnic if you chose, or get a gourmet meal cooked on site with free flowing beverages. Park right at the venue for FREE, come right in, relax and enjoy new artists, established artists and superb talent that you typically won't see everywhere else.

The 2010 line-up includes: Walter Beasley, Maysa, Raul Midon, Bob Baldwin featuring Art Sherrod, Andre DeLano, Manhdo, Eric Essix and BK Jackson. These are superb artists that we rarely get to see, especially on the West Coast. View their bios at

In short, BB Jazz is not your "cookie-cutter" festival. You get a high-caliber, enjoyable experience from beginning to end. No hassles, or burdensome restrictions that are typical of other events and venues.

Huntington Beach Park 2.jpgHuntington Beach Park-lake.jpg

BB Jazz Festival offers:
- miles of grassy, green rolling hills,
- mature shade trees,
- ocean breezes (they're only 2 miles from Pacific Coast Highway),
- great sight lines, and
- a stellar line up.

And, if you don't have time to pack a picnic, and don't opt to go VIP, the festival has great food and merchandise vendors within steps of the main stage.

There's also some great new news!!! This year there will be a second stage in the Vendors Village, giving you three reasons to stroll over there.....great food, great vendors and more great music!

crowd BB Jazz.jpg

If you're wondering about the crowd, yes, they are sophisticated but they definitely know how to "shake what they momma gave them" when DJ Jonathan Phillips spins the best of R&B & oldies between performances. In short, BB Jazz is a gem of a festival and on my top 10 list.

What: 5th Annual BB Jazz Festival

When: Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time: GATES OPEN at 10:00AM **Artists performances from 10:30AM-9:00PM

Where: Huntington Beach Central Park 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.

How: Purchase tickets online at and BOX OFFICE at the park entrance opens at 8:30AM for ticket sales and Will Call pickup

Need a hotel?: The Hotel Huntington Beach has special $85 rates for this event!

Posted by JazzGypsy at 1:05 AM

August 21, 2010

Incognito - Transatlantic RPM

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. Attention all ‘old schoolers’ everywhere. Almost thirty years after the legendary Incognito made its debut with the album Jazz Funk, leader Bluey Maunick has reached back to the inspirations he originally took from 1970’s jazz, funk and fusion. The result is the stunning new release Transatlantic R.P.M which, with fifteen all new Maunick compositions (plus one sensational cover), captures to perfection the vibe of an age that, for many, was magical.

Incognito has become synonymous with the movement that started out in the UK as acid jazz and with Transatlantic R.P.M much of what makes the band unique remains evident. However, by enlisting the services of guest performers such as the iconic Chaka Khan and Motown legend Leon Ware, Maunick has engendered a feel that although unashamedly and soulfully retro still feels refreshingly new. This is particularly so with the track ‘Gotta’ that finds the band in collaboration with Philadelphia’s melodic spoken word artist Ursula Rucker. With an intensity that is tangible this is a tune which is already attracting attention and another is a sumptuous cover of the Boz Scaggs classic ‘Lowdown’. In the capable hands of Chaka Khan, Mario Biondi and Stuart Zender, it has a ‘wow’ factor that is off the scale whilst when Chaka Khan returns for easy grooving ‘The Song’ the Latin infused outcome is a total delight.

The silky ‘Make Room For Love’ owes much to the soulful tones of Tony Momrelle and he is in equally fine form for the jazz tinged ‘Tell Me What To Do’. It’s a cut that places the band closer to the often sophisticated, sometimes complex, but always compelling music with which its name was made and in this same vein are songs such as ‘Expresso Madureria’ and ‘Life Ain’t Nothing But A Good Thing’ where classic Incognito style keyboards are in the capable hands of Matt Cooper. Elsewhere the heavy hitting ‘Can’t Get Enough’ proves to be the perfect vehicle for the robust style of Mario Biondi and although the message of ‘Everything That We Are’ is nostalgia laden, the groove it engenders is all about today.

Luscious horns combined with the unmistakable sound of longtime Incognito vocalist Maysa Leak herald in the relaxed yet heartfelt ‘Your Sun My Sky’ and the tempo remains mellow for ‘All My Life’ where the singing voice of Joy Rose takes the honors. She is just as effective for the appropriately evocative ‘1975’ whilst the up beat ‘Put A Little Lovin’ In Your Heart’ seems tailor made to enliven even the most tired of dancing feet.

All things considered, in a collection that will effortlessly and repeatedly put you ‘back in the day’, a real Secret Garden favorite is ‘Line In The Sand’. This very special song is blessed by the soulful vocals of Leon Ware but right up there with it is the wonderful ‘Let’s Fall In Love Again’. Entirely in the best traditions of great dance floor fillers, and with Tortured Soul front man John Christian Urich firmly in control, this is Incognito at its shimmering best.

For more on Incognito go to

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

Posted by Denis Poole at 5:39 PM

August 17, 2010

Honoring Legends at Long Beach Jazz Festival

By Ricky Richardson

Long Beach - This past weekend, the stage was set with all of the right elements for another successful summer of music at the 23rd Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival. The festival was held at the beautiful grass knoll of the Rainbow Lagoon, August 13-15, 2010. The right elements that were in place were an international food court, clothing’s and other accessories booths, a multi-ethnic eclectic crowd. Noticeable absent were the scorching hot weather from festival past. The weather was pleasant 80’s with a constant breeze. A smorgasbord of jazz, Latin jazz, soul/R&B and smooth jazz nourished the crowd’s hearts.

Friday night the crowd was treated to a set from Jazz Search winners to kick off the festival. Making a good first impression on the crowd were Anne Mack who sang “In Walked Bud,” and Matilda Haywood performing “Cheek to Cheek.” The Jazz Search winner for 2010 was vocalist/producer Darrin “D.Note” Milton the son of legendary trumpeter Clora Bryant.

Legends 1 - The Jazz Crusaders came out swinging hard with their signature sound of hard bop marinated in soul with “On Broadway,” and “The Thing” from their extensive catalog of hits. The reunion announcement of The Jazz Crusaders was met with much excitement and anticipation. The members of the band lived up to the hype and received a standing ovation at the end of their set. The members of the band featured Joe Sample - piano, Wayne Henderson - trombone, Euge Groove - saxophone, Nick Sample - bass, and Maurice Lucas on drums. Check out their website for tour dates that may arrive in a city near you soon.

Saxophonist Boney James has recaptured his energy in an emotionally heartfelt and spiritually uplifting performance much to the delight of his adoring fans. He closed out the opening night of the festival.

Legends 2 - Jazz composer/keyboardist/producer/arranger Jason Miles has a distinguished history of producing critically acclaimed CD’s in tribute to the late great Grover Washington Jr. On Saturday, he assembled an All-Star cast of legends and band leaders in their own right for a Tribute to Grover Washington Jr. How’s this for a band: Ronnie Laws - sax, Tom Scott - sax, Chante Moore - vocals, and Paul Jackson Jr., on guitar. It doesn’t get any better than this. The band performed “Mr. Magic,” “Just The Two of Us,” “Take Me There,” and “Let It Flow” written for basketball legend Dr.J.

Several dynamic vocalists helped to contribute to a soulful music experience on Saturday. Vocalist Karen A. Clark and Melanie Fiona graced the stage in different sets and thoroughly engaged a captivated crowd. Mark Allen Felton, Shilts, Dave Koz and Jonathan Butler with special guest Sheila E. were also superb on Saturday.

Legends 3 - Bassist Marcus Miller and trumpeter Christian Scott are touring extensively all across the United States and overseas. The group is receiving rave reviews for “Tutu Revisited”. Marcus Miller composed and arranged the title track and several other tunes on Tutu for the late great Miles Davis. Tutu is a Grammy Award winning CD to honor Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I found myself getting carried away with the crowd by tapping my feet, shaking my head and swaying my body from side to side throughout their set. They riled up the crowd with the following tunes “Thomas,” “Splash,” “Jon Pierre,” and a beautiful ballad “In a Sentimental Mood” performed on the bass clarinet by Marcus Miller. They concluded their set with “Tutu.”

Sunday, also featured several additional dynamic vocalist. Andrea Palm performed with the Al Williams Jazz Society, and Goapele stepping up to the plate as a replacement for Laura Izibor. The crowd was able to get their groove on with the sounds of The Next Great Drummer; Al Jarreau backed up by the George Duke Trio and concluded with some spicy Latin jazz provided by Poncho Sanchez.

Posted by Peter Böhi at 8:12 AM

August 8, 2010



Norah Jones with special guest Corinne Bailey Rae will perform one night only at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas on Sunday, August 22nd.

Dave Koz, with Jonathan Butler, and special guest, Sheila E., received standing ovations at the sold out Sunset Station Amphitheatre July 24th.

Chris Botti in a sold out performance performed one show at Texas Station on August 4th.

Brian Culbertson returns to Vegas to perform at Santa Fe Station, August 13th.

Saturday, August 14th, local resident contemporary jazz favorite, The Killer Groove Band, with new member, guitar phenom Jon Jacquemoud, perform at Lake Las Vegas, hosted by KXPT 97.1 The Point's Ric & Jackie Gould.

BB King performs in his own club, BB King's Blues Club, located inside the Mirage Hotel, in Vegas on August 17th.

September events include legendary songwriter / vocalist, Michael Franks, who will be performing at Aliante Station on September 7th.

Posted by Danny Desart at 10:50 PM | TrackBack

August 6, 2010

What We're Listening To ** July

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

David Benoit, Earthglow (Heads Up Records) (2010)

Chris Geith, Island of a Thousand Dreams (Timeless World Productions) (2010)

The Eric Evans Project, Waves of Grace (electricflute records) (2010)

Mindi Abair, In Hi-Fi Stereo (Telarc) (2010)

Gerald Albright, Pushing the Envelope (Telarc) (2010)

P E T E R * B O E H I

Leon Ayers Jr. - Here We Go (2010)
This album is a gem - it is full of groovy tracks boasting memorable melodies and most of all the sparkling piano playing of the leader, really top-notch stuff from beginning to end. SwissGroove webradio has been soaking up these tracks, it has been really difficult to sort out any bad ones. A real discovery!

Rodney Taylor - Can I Blow For You? (2010)
A great and well produced smooth jazz album by saxophonist Rodney Taylor pressing all the right buttons, his sound is very similar to Gerald Albright, complete with the staccato parts. Thumbs up!

Vincent Ingala - North End Soul (2010)
Another prodigy at 17, multi instrumentalist Vincent Ingala delivers a smashing smooth jazz album boasting great hooks, top-notch playing and production, he can compete with the best of the genre. Absolutely outstanding!

David Hughes - Crusing Along (2010)
Bassist David Hughes plays with David Benoit, this is his third solo release full of nice smooth jazz tracks and supporting players include Jamey Tate on drums, Rique Pantoja on piano and Andy Suzuki on sax among others. Thumbs up!

Onaje Allen Gumbs - That Special Part Of Me (1988)
My nod to the past goes to this LP of pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs from 1988 that has all the smooth jazz sensibilities and can be considered a classic of the genre. Nice cover of "Didn't I Blow Your Mind (This Time)". Stood the test of time!

D E N I S * P O O L E

‘Here’s My Number’ by Norman Brown from his new CD Sending My Love. This seductively understated cut has a wow factor that is indecent and backing vocals which, late in the piece, come in like a gift from god.

‘Lowdown’ by Incognito from the bands brand new release Transatlantic R.P.M. In the capable hands of Chaka Khan Mario Biondi and Stuart Zender this wonderful Boz Scaggs composition has never sounded better.

‘Tower of Soul’, by guitarist Patrick Yandall from his yet to be released album The Window. Yandall has rhythm and melody pumping through every vein of his body and here provides further evidence of his distinctly Southern Californian groove.

‘Another Love’ by Brian Culbertson from the sensational new CD XII. With a thumping old school vibe, and silkily soulful vocals from the always excellent Kenny Lattimore, smooth R & B doesn’t get better than this.

‘Better Days’ from writer, producer and keyboard player James Colah. Released under the name of the James Colah Project, this digital download shimmers with a combination of laid back grooves, compelling rhythms and wonderful guitar from Ant Law. It is, in every respect, a smooth jazz masterpiece. Not only that; in these difficult credit crunched times the title of this infectious single could well be a metaphor for what hopefully the future has in store.

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

Jazzmasters, Jazzmasters VI (Trippin' N Rhythm)

Tim Bowman, The Tim Bowman Collection (Trippin' N Rhythm)

Fingerprints, Dream Life (South Memphis Music)

Incognito, Transatlantic RPM (Shanachie)

Herbie Hancock, The Imagine Project (Hancock Records)

Posted by Peter Böhi at 6:30 PM

August 5, 2010

Euge Groove - Groove On This!

GrooveEugeBIG.jpgSmooth jazz saxophonist Euge Groove has something different planned for his next CD. Now, many artists say their next project is different, but Groove's certainly is.

On Aug. 31, Groove will debut a new, interactive CD titled Groove On This! The CD works inside the Beamz interactive software. A YouTube video explains a bit about how it works.

"The cool thing," says Groove, "is you can interact with my songs from either the laser beam controller, a midi keyboard, or directly for the keys on your computer. It's for anyone to mess with even if they know nothing about playing a musical instrument. I re-recorded new versions of 10 of my most popular songs and spent the last eight months getting it all to work inside the Beamz software."

Groove is justifiably proud of his upcoming CD. "It's a pretty bitchin' project," he says. "It truly is a blast to play with. I'll have video tutorials for each song up on my site when it launches at month's end. In the meantime, the disc also comes with some brief video content from me explaining how to use it as well as mp3 versions of the 10 songs for people to reference to."

Groove on This track list

1. Chillaxin
2. Slam Dunk
3. XXL
4. Vinyl
5. Born 2 Groove
6. Geez Spot
7. Babylon
8. Rewind
9. As You Like It
10. From the TOP

Posted by Brian Soergel at 6:55 AM