J E F F * D A N I E L S
Najee, The Morning After (Shanachie) (2013)
Jeff Golub with Brian Auger, Train Keeps A Rolling (eOne Music) (2013)
Bob James & David Sanborn, Quartette Humaine (Okeh) (2013)
Andrew Neu, Everything Happens For A Reason (CGN Records) (2013)
Bob Baldwin, Twenty (City Sketches) (2013)
P E T E R * B O E H I
Najee - The Morning After (2013)
This latest release from saxophonist and flautist Najee hits it right home, it is a great mix of jazz-funk and smooth jazz, complete with a great vocal by Meli'sa Morgan. This CD is a gem from beginning to end. Najee is getting better with each release!
Theresa Grayson - Live 2 Love (2013)
Saxophonist Theresa Grayson does not only look stunningly beautiful, she also knows how to blow the sax and provides some groovy instrumentals on this album. Nice selection of covers ("Sarah Smile", "Smooth Operator" and "It Never Rains In Southern California"), plus excellent original compositions. Thumbs up!
Garry Goin - Road Trip (2013)
This is a stand-out album by guitarist Garry Goin, delivering lots of memorable melodies, with superlative playing by a top-notch band. Don't miss it!
Bob Baldwin - Twenty (2013)
Keyboardist Bob Baldwin has a career that has been going on for decades, his latest release is another mighty fine slice of smooth jazz with great keys and some cool covers like Herbie Hancock's "Butterfly" and Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay", so you know this guy has his heart on the right place. Very recommended!
Carmen Stokes - Sexy Feelin' (1995) and Words Of Wisdom (1997)
My nod to the past goes to keyboardist Carmen Stokes who I just discovered recently and totally love. She plays a mean keyboard and delivers some jazz-funk of the highest order, she has been a well kept secret. Hope she gets some recognition eventually!
D E N I S * P O O L E
'Dreamwalker', by guitarist Reza Khan, from the album of the same name. Domiciled in New York, Reza was born in Bangladesh and although on record as continuously reaching for a global sound, Kahn's music is remarkably accessible. Indeed it's a must for those who have a penchant for smooth jazz guitar in the style of Peter White or Ken Navarro.
'Happy Holidays' by two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Butler from his new seasonal CD 'Merry Christmas To You'. This is Butler's very first Christmas album and includes eight yuletide classics plus two all new self-penned songs. 'Happy Holidays' is one of them and is sure to find favor with a smooth jazz audience way beyond the confines of December.
'Through The Rain' by flautist Jef Kearns from the CD 'Soulfisticated'. It is an album that finds Kearns displaying a whole new musical maturity that is evidenced by the sophistication of the production, the selection of guest vocalists and, above all, the quality of the eleven songs that he either writes or co-writes. A personal favorite is the soulful 'Through The Rain' that, complete with wonderful vocals from Aria Zenua, is extremely hard to beat.
'Stay With Me' by saxophonist Brandon Willis from his debut CD 'First Time'. The 21-year-old Willis lives in Seattle and is currently a junior at the University of Washington. 'First Time' is his debut album and the track that is catching much of the early attention is the extremely easy grooving 'Stay With Me'. With a vibe reminiscent of Euge Groove at his very best, this cool cut should quickly establish Willis as a smooth jazz player to be reckoned with.
'Brighter', the title cut from the five-track debut EP from vocalist Selina Albright. This sensational collection from the daughter of Grammy nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright boasts four original self-penned compositions, one killer cover and guest performances from both Albright and smooth jazz superstar Brian Culbertson. By some distance this is the standout track and, with soul to burn plus handsome featured sax by Albright Sr., shows that smooth R & B really doesn't get better than this.