Category Archives: Album Reviews
Ernie Slaughter has just released his long awaited CD project titled “Chillin” which is sure to please the lovers of Smooth Jazz with beautiful songs that come straight the Heart! Ernie plays with passion and emotion on every track which is clearly evident the moment you pop the CD in. The CD is co produced with his Brother Eliot Slaughter, who is also the featured Keyboardist and Songwriter on the CD project.
This CD release is destined to become a classic, and is sure to please the most discriminating listener! Give it a try at CDBaby.
Chicago-based artist, and Los Angeles native, Marqueal Jordan is the rare musician who is blessed with the gift of being equally proficient as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. His distinctive saxophone tone and style, combined with his soulful vocals, places him in the tradition of legendary dual talents, George Benson, Donny Hathaway and Ronnie Laws.
Described by fellow saxophonist Mike Phillips as “one of the most versatile saxophonists in the game today”, Marqueal (pronounced Mar-KWELL) earned his reputation as an electrifying live performer after moving to Chicago in 1995. He was the front man for the Chicago-based funk unit, Fat Time, and became an integral member in numerous Jazz, R&B and Blues bands in the city. In 2008, Smooth Jazz star Brian Culbertson asked Marqueal to join his touring band and since then he’s captivated audiences around the world with his talents. As a sideman, he’s performed with an amazing list of major artists such as Oleta Adams, Gerald Albright, Patti Austin, Avant, Average White Band, Rick Braun, Peabo Bryson, Jonathan Butler, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Aretha Franklin, Savion Glover, Larry Graham, Buddy Guy, Lalah Hathaway, Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh, Dave Koz, KRS-ONE, Jeff Lorber, Maysa, Najee, Ray Parker, Jr., Phil Perry, Eric Roberson, David Sanborn, Jill Scott, Sinbad, Gerald Veasley, and Kirk Whalum.
“Catalyst” is Marqueal Jordan’s solo debut CD. After years of sideman work and being involved with original bands and projects over the years, “Catalyst” reveals the focused vision and emergence of Jordan as an artist, songwriter and producer. Ronald Jackson discovered this album at CDBaby.
Hailing from Panama City, Florida saxophonist Chris Godber has already four solo albums to his discography. He started his career with Will You Be Mine? (2007) followed by One Breath At A Time (2009), My Offering (2011) and this year Where Are You CHRISTmas.
On his albums he performs soprano, alto and tenor saxophones in addition to the piano, keyboards, and acoustic guitar, drum programming and what you heard toting up.
What Child Is This, a popular Christmas carol written in 1865, starts the album emotionally interpreted by Godber. Since Bill Crosby’s version I’ll Be Home For Christmas became a holiday musical tradition in the United States. Chris continues this practice with his very own interpretations on soprano sax and piano.
The uplifting I Love Christmas features Lowell Hopper, soulful guitarist from Panama City, Florida. Delightful is the interplay between saxophone and chimes. Lowell has his place on the second part of the song. Let It Snow, a song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945, is nicely covered. Only the brass insertion is somewhat incongruous.
The Christmas carol Angels We Heave Heard On High is recorded in a traditional way. The Christmas Song presents heartfelt singer Dony Adair sharing the song with saxophonist Chris Godber. A sentimental song softly melting like chocolate ice cream.
Where Are You Christmas known by country singer Faith Hill is reacted cautiously by Chris Godber on soprano sax. Mary Did You Know impresses with its finely chiseled implementation by acoustic guitar and soprano sax.
The traditional classical English carol The First Noel is spiced with a modern rhythm. In contrast to the previous music songs Chris ventures with Feliz Navidad into the zone of Latin Jazz presenting a heightened sense of well-being.
Chris Godber offers with Where Are You Christmas an album of Christmas song in a more traditional way. This album is for those who want to hear no discord in the gift giving special.
Title: Where Are You Christmas
Artist: Chris Godber
Genre: General Jazz
01 What Child Is This [3:39]
02 I’ll Be Home For Christmas [4:50]
03 I Love Christmas [4:52]
04 Let It Snow [4:06]
05 Angels We Heave Heard On High [5:02]
06 The Christmas Song [5:01]
07 Where Are You Christmas [3:55]
08 Mary Did You Know [4:56]
09 The First Noel [3:45]
10 Feliz Navidad [4:10]
Earthy, rich, charming. Those words are the first things that come to mind upon hearing the voice of Nancy Harms. Dreams in Apartments (Gazelle Records, 2013) presents Harms with limited accompaniment, counterbalanced by original songs and fresh arrangements of classics.
Born in Clara City, Minnesota, Harms didn’t have the gift of being born in a musical family. And she was further limited in that exposure to jazz didn’t occur until she went to college. At that point, her future was determined. Though she went into teaching immediately after college, she eventually gave that up in favor of a career in jazz.
Accompanying Harms on this date are pianist Aaron Parks, who also plays Rhodes and organ on “Something Real”; guitarist John Hart; bassist Danton Boller and drummer RJ Miller. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon cameos on “And It’s Beautiful.”
“Weight of the World,” penned by Harms, is a folksy message song. Harms sings like one might expect to hear Joan Baez if she did jazz. Miller’s parade drum beat enhances the underscore.
Here’s one you don’t hear every day. “From My First Moment (Gymnopedie for Piano No. 1),” adapted from the 1888 composition by Erik Satie. It’s interesting hearing the melody in human voice with lyrics. Parks and Hart provide accompaniment. Harms is true to the elegance of the classical composition, injecting her own flavor.
Harms is a fixture in the Minneapolis-St. Paul jazz scene. She wrote or co-wrote four of the 10 songs on Dreams in Apartments.
New Jersey’s own Mike Murray, an independent composer/producer is (quoting one industry spokesman); “in a league by himself and clearly has re-defined the musical genres known as “Chill-Out” and “Smooth Jazz” by blending them masterfully”. Mike calls his self-described musical genre “Chazz” but fans of Bob James/Fourplay, Hiroshima and Jazzmasters will feel right at home with Mike’s expanding repertoire and unique musical style.
Best of Mike Murray gives you a good survey about Mike’s work at CDBaby.
Native Vibe can best be described as a high energy, eclectic instrumental group that blends Latin, African, Caribbean and Jazz. The seventh release features a collection of compositions influenced by their experiences over their existence as Native Vibe.
Each song on In The Land Of Muses reflects a major part of the band’s life. From the high energy of “High Kickin’” to the thoughtfulness of “One For The Road”, the album explores the emotion, sensitivity as well as the joviality of Bill Macpherson and Nee Sackey. Bill and Nee assembled a stellar group of musicians to record this project.
In The Land Of Muses is presented by CDBaby.