What We're Listening To ** February 2015

P E T E R * B O E H I

Brian Simpson - Out Of A Dream (2015)
Keyboardist Brian Simpson released a truly great smooth jazz album that pushes all the right buttons, it features some excellent players, like saxophonists Grace Kelly and Dave Koz, Najee on flute, Norman Brown and Marc Antoine on guitar and Maysa on vocals. Quality stuff from beginning to end!

Vahagn Stepanyan - Moonlight (2015)
This keyboardist hails from Armenia and delivers a beautiful album straight out of the Brian Culbertson / Jonathan Fritzen school, he invited some top-notch players like Eric Marienthal on sax, Melvin Lee Davis and Leslie Johnson on bass, among others, on his debut record, an it is a winner. Sparkling piano, catchy melodies and excellent musicianship are the hallmarks of this album. Thumbs up!

Dr. Dave - Carefree (2015)
Guitarist Dr. Dave comes up with another picture perfect smooth jazz album with a host of guest players and his breezy guitar out front, that delivers the good stuff. Recommended!

Angela Puxi - Badapapapaa (2015)
This female saxophonist caught me by surprise with this funky, sax-led album, supported by her awesome band, she can keep up with the best. Don't miss it!

The Ice Man's Band - Introducing... (1972)
My nod to the past goes to this great instrumental R&B album featuring Jerry Butler's touring band, lots of nice instrumentals with guitar and hammond b3. Just beautiful!

D E N I S * P O O L E

'Thursday' by the Columbus, Ohio based NexLevel from the CD Midnight Blue. Influenced by the likes of George Duke, this evolving jazz-fusion collective has hit the jackpot with a cut that might yet emerge as one of the outstanding tracks of 2015.

'Walking In Rome' by Italian keyboard player and composer Paolo Rustichelli. Twelve months have passed since the release of Paolo's sunny, sexy and invigorating 'Med Groove' and now Mr. Rustichelli is at it again, this time with the easy grooving 'Walking In Rome'. Together with the aforementioned 'Med Groove' and the equally good 'Playa Blanca' it will all be included on Paolo's next CD, Soul Italiano that is slated for release in April 2015.

'It's Only Love' by French guitarist Emmanuel 'U-Nam' Abiteboul. With a featured performance from long time collaborator Shannon Kennedy, this top-notch re-imagining of Barry White's seminal hit (which in turn was turned into a worldwide smash by UK band Simply Red) seems a 'shoo in' for my top ten covers of 2015.

'All Time Love', by funky trombone player Jeff Bradshaw, from the CD Home. The album was recorded live at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and this, the first single, finds Eric Roberson and Tweet trading sexy, soulful vocals while Robert Glasper adds luscious support on keys.

'Entropy' from Dee Majek's latest project, Kejam with featured keys by James Colah. This one is all about vintage UK 'feel-good' jazz funk. It captures to perfection the spirit of jazz stalwarts such as Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers, The Crusaders, Patrice Rushen, Rodney Franklin and Donald Byrd. Complete with a cool vibraphone groove, it's a track that can aptly be described as a real winter warmer.

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

Vahagn StepanyanMoonlight (Vahagn Stepanyan) (2015)

Brian SimpsonOut Of A Dream (Shanachie) (2015)

KemPromise To Love (Deluxe Edition) (Motown Records) (2014)

Pat Wroge & The Urban Groove ExperienceBetter Days (Pat Wroge) (2014)

Mitchell Coleman, Jr.Soul Searching (Soul Revelation Music) (2014)

Sara de Ville, Single - Not That Kind of Girl (Sara Vandenberghe Aka Sara De Ville) (2015)