D E N I S * P O O L E
'Ruby Lane', the title cut from the brand new album from guitarist Ken Navarro. The smooth jazz sensibilities of this easy grooving tune are not only hard to beat but also qualify it as an early contender for my top twenty tracks of 2014.
'Paintings' by Edison Herbert from his soon to be released collection, 'My Favourite Tunes'. Provided in standard form (and as a bonus offering) this melodic rendition of a Joe Sample classic is raised to new heights by the addition of sumptuous piano solos from Norman Clarke and Graham Maynard respectively.
'My Phone' by Chicago based trumpeter Rob Juice. Sprinkled with funk and tempered by smooth jazz, this is a song that finds Rob walking an ultra cool line between nu-soul and urban jazz.
'Hey Lady' by drummer and percussionist Gary Stanionis. After being an integral part of Jackiem Joyner's touring band since 2006, Gary marks his debut as a solo artist with this hot, spicy and decidedly Latin radio single. It features Will Donato, Jay Gore and Greg Manning (who also produces) and deserves to do well.
J E F F * D A N I E L S
Bona Fide, Bona Fide (2014)
Phil Perry, Say Yes (Shanachie) (2013)
Ken Navarro, Ruby Lane (Positive Music Records) (2014)
Fo/Mo/Deep, The Groovy Goodness (RHMedia LLC) (2014)
P E T E R * B O E H I
Derrick Harvin - From Here (2014)
This is the debut release by keyboardist Derrick Harvin, and it is a beauty. If you are into the melodic smooth jazz of artists like Jonathan Fritzen and Brian Culbertson, then you should definitely enjoy this album. Lovely melodies, spirited piano playing, top-notch production yield a very enjoyable smooth jazz album that nurtures the soul and lifts the spirits. An artist to watch!
25th Street Band - Dawn Of My Career (2014)
This is a great album by the 25th Street Band offering groovy tracks featuring lengthy solos and catchy compositions that will have you bop your head along to the music. "Jazzira" which clocks in at 12:36 is a monster track. Thumbs up!
Hirotaka Izumi - Amoshe (1988)
This album by T-Square keyboardist Hirotaka Izumi was released in 1988, thanks to eBay, I got it recently from Japan, it delivers contemporary jazz with an edge that was played back then, really worth to go back to. Great stuff!
Lira - Rise Again (2014)
This songstress from South Africa is a star in her homeland, this is her US debut offering nu-soul, R&B and world music, the production and musicianship is top-level and the music has lots of soul, so this lady should reach a larger audience over here as well. Check her out!
Bobbi Humphrey - Flute-In (1971) and Dig This (1972)
My nod to the past goes to flautist Bobbi Humphrey who released those seminal albums on the Blue Note label. Now they were re-released in Japan on CD and provide a welcome opportunity to revisit those great funky flute tracks once again. Essential stuff!