Category Archives: Smooth

David Longoria – baila!

David-Longoria–baila!

David Longoria is one of the most important and many-sided trumpet-players in contemporary Smooth-Jazz. He also is a brilliant singer. He worked with Sting, Foreigner, Buddy Rich, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, B.B.King, Boyz II Men and many more. He also has worked as a producer for many other musicians. On February 7, 2014 David Longoria was awarded the Best Jazz Artist award for 2014.

Being classically trained, he has a great range of repertoire, from Classical music to Pop and Jazz, from Flamenco to Salsa and even Disco and House-Music.

On his new album BAILA!, he shows the whole spectrum of his talents.

BAILA ! means the invitation to dance and already the very first track GO FOR IT underlines the invitation. A trumpet melody, which is easy to remember, accompanied by a brisk horn section and some groovy Latin rhythms, which takes the listener into the world of a Cuban night club, followed by the more smooth ALL SHE DOES IS DANCE, in which David Longoria changes the trumpet to a muted one.

BÉSAME MUCHO (originally composed by Mexican composer Consuelo Velázquez) is one of the best-known Love-Songs of the twentieth century and has been interpreted by numerous artists.David Longoria presents the song as a stylish tango with bandoneon/accordeon, Spanish guitars and a string section, followed by the quiet UN BAILE LENTO with some flowery vocals.

CADENZA, originally is a term, taken from classical music. It is that part of a solo concert, in which the soloist ist playing a short improvised passage all alone until the orchestra comes back, playing the rest of the set together with the soloist. David Longoria does the same: He plays a short trumpet solo, in which he shows his brilliant technique on his instrument. It is like an introduction to the following up-beat LOVING LIFE, featuring Chris Standring on Guitar; another example of Longoria’s keen sense for catchy melodies.

In ZOON BALOOMBA, REFLECTION and DEEPER LOVE, Longoria also integrates some elements of ‘house-’ and contemporary pop-music like sequenced Synthesizer-Sounds.
This guy masters every style! DEEPER LOVE also features Cece Peniston as vocalist.

With NO TURNING BACK Longoria returns to the more Latin flavor of the beginning of the album. He is supported by the famous Latin-Jazz musician Poncho Sanchez,
who is also playing a solo on the percussion.

HUMAN NATURE is a reminiscence of the great Michael Jackson, who made this song famous in the eighties of the last century, before MUY CALIENTE takes us back to the unique sound of Havana.

LA PUESTA DEL SOL (featuring Marc Antoine on Guitar) is a classical Smooth-Jazz-Track and invites the people just to dance, while DREAM is good to chill out a little bitand
to regain strength for the following LOST IN YOUR LOVE (featuring Therése Neaimé on vocals), a song which certainly rocks the house.

THE GREEN HORNET is an adaption of the famous “Flight of the Bumblebee”, a composition by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Again David Longoria shows here his stunning abilityon his instrument.

With A CASTLE IN SPAIN (featuring German Flamenco-Guitarist Ottmar Liebert), we turn back to the more exotic world of Latin-Music. This song won them a 2008 Hollywood Music Awards nomination and award for Best instrumental Song and Performance.

This album is a varied and sophisticated mix of David Longoria’s musical work and invites the listener to dance!

So, Ladies and Gentlemen – it’s time to ‘baila!’

David Longoria - baila!
Release day: 2014
Label: Del Oro Music, Studio City, Ca.
Produced by David Longoria

Tracklist

01. Go for it! (Dalé) 
02. All she does is Dance (Baila)
03. Bésame Mucho
04. Un Baile Lento
05. Cadenza
06. Loving Life (featuring Chris Standring)
07. Zoon Baloomba
08. Reflection
09. Deeper Love (featuring Cece Peniston)
10. No Turning Back (featuring Poncho Sanchez)
11.So Cool!
12. Human Nature
13. Muy Caliente
14, La Puesta Del Sol (featuring Marc Antoine)
15. Dream
16. Lost In Your Love (featuring Theres Neaime)
17.The Green Hornet
18. A Castle In Spain (featuring Ottmar Liebert)
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Citrus Sun – People Of Tomorrow

Citrus-Sun–People-of-Tomorrow

Citrus Sun is a side project of Incognito founder Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick.  Member of this project are Bluey (guitar and vocals), Jim Mullen (guitar), Valerie Etienne (vocals), together with Incognito members Matt Cooper (keyboards), Francis Hylton (bass), Francesco Mendolia (drums), Joao Caetano (percussion) and Dominic Glover (trumpet).

Anyone familiar with the music of the group Incognito, will immediately recognize the parallels, especially as many pieces come from the spring of Bluey. Bleuy was motivated by the desire to play together with the English guitarist Jim Mullen. After Another Time Another Space (2000) People of Tomorrow is their second joint project.

With Mais Uma Vez (One More Time) greet us Citrus Sun with Spanish sounds. Jim Mullen flatters with the gentle resonance of his guitar the audience. The Latin American vibration continues on Tonight We Dance. Mullen thrills with his guitar staccato. After a short rhythm solo Glover presents his skills on trumpet.

Marvin Gayes’ What’s Going On is presented at a high level. You cannot go wrong with this eternal melody. The vocal part is performed by singer Valerie Etienne. However, her true voiced qualities unfold on Terry Callier’s What Color Is Love. Finally on Cooking With Walter one immediately recognize the typical Incognito sound and their powerful horn arrangement. You’re So Far Away exposes anew Jim Mullen‘ divine guitar performance incorporated in a haunting melody. Yesterday Detroit captures the vibrant life of motor city. Who has not come yet in the mood for dancing, is packed with People Of Tomorrow. Santana, Earth, Wind and Fire, Incognito and The Brand New Heavies united in one song. The instrumental As Night Falls will enthuse especially the keyboard fans. Micia dismisses the album with a variation of keyboard and piano. There is nothing to shake, Bluey has again delivered a masterpiece. Anyone who has a soft spot for Incognito, should not miss People of Tomorrow.

Album Information

Title: People Of Tomorrow
Artist: Citrus Sun
Year: 2014
Length: 0:46:50
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Dome Records Ltd.

Tracks:

01 Mais Uma Vez (One More Time) [4:04]
02 Tonight We Dance [4:51]
03 What’s Going On [5:09]
04 What Color Is Love [4:22]
05 Cooking With Walter [4:02]
06 You’re So Far Away [5:10]
07 Yesterday Detroit [5:57]
08 People Of Tomorrow [5:22]
09 As Night Falls [4:48]
10 Micia [3:04]

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Barry Danielian – Metaphorically Speaking

Barry-Danielian–Metaphorically-Speaking

With an experience as part of the world’s “most famous” horn band, Tower of Power, Barry Danielian has a long, distinguished track record as a session player and soloist. As a leader, he releases Metaphorically Speaking (Tariqah Records, 2013), an eclectic mix of jazz, world music and funk.

A trumpeter, producer and arranger, Danielian has toured and performed with some big names, including Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel and James Taylor. He also spent several years with the trio known as the No Sweat Horns, which appeared on several recordings by Spyro Gyra in the 1990s.

“Turning Inside Out” is an adventurous piece that begins with a bit of jungle funk. Danielian blends with Pillow for the lead much of the way. Each layers multiple instruments. Pillow plays flute, alto flute and bass clarinet. Danielian provides trumpet, Rhodes, Clavinet and elegant string synths. The composition is like a soundtrack to an adventure sequence in a movie, enhanced by the percussion of Bashiri Johnson and the funky bass line of Hubert Eaves IV.

“In the Land of the Blind” is a bit of a socio-political statement. Danielian makes good use of technology, blending programming and an assortment of sounds with conventional instruments for a piece that’s part funk, part symphonic. Lawrence Feldman contributes flute, alto flute and bass flute. Mike Ciro’s guitar riffs add a nice touch. Ralph Rolle’s drum play is supplemented by Danielian’s programming. The leader’s solo injects some Randy Brecker-like commentary.

The title song is an easygoing groove that enlists David Mann on flute, alto and tenor saxophones. Sherrod Barnes sits in on guitar, with Buddy Williams taking the drum duties. The band impresses with some stop-time phrases during the flugelhorn solo. It’s one of the more enjoyable selections on an album loaded with enjoyment.

Danielian attended the Berklee College of Music from 1980 until 1982, when he graduated with the Faculty Performance Award. He earned a bachelor of arts in jazz performance from William Paterson University. In 1984, he was honored with the University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Competition’s Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award. And in 2000 and 2001, he became the only unsigned artist nominated for the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards.
Danielian composed all 12 tracks of Metaphorically Speaking.

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Les Sabler – Jobim Tribute

Les-Sabler–Jobim-Tribute

Before Les Sabler began recording “Jobim Tribute,” which will be released April 8 on New Vista Records, the jazz guitarist-vocalist walked a mile in the shoes of the iconic Brazilian composer known for writing exquisitely poetic romantic standards that popularized bossa nova. An inspired Sabler trekked to Brazil, visited the places Jobim frequented and absorbed the native culture and sounds. He voraciously studied recordings and read stacks of books about Jobim’s life. Sagely he knew that fostering authenticity on a collection of twelve Jobim songs involved more than just playing the right notes on his nylon string guitar or mastering the pronunciation of the Portuguese lyrics. Sabler, who produced the album, recognized that the most important ingredient was to capture the soulful passion inherent in the author’s touching melodies and sensually exotic rhythms.

The timing of Sabler’s record correlates to two milestones: the 50th anniversary of the classic “Getz/Gilberto” that spawned Jobim’s No. 1 hit “The Girl from Ipanema,” which helped weave bossa nova permanently into the fabric of American music; and the 20th anniversary of Jobim’s passing. When selecting material for “Jobim Tribute,” which is comprised of seven vocal tunes and five instrumentals, Sabler challenged himself by recording some of Jobim’s lesser known gems (“Esquecendo Voce” and “Janelas Abertas”) as well as popular favorites such as “Corcovado,” “Bonita” and “Fotografia.” The first single that was just shipped to radio stations for airplay is Sabler’s rendition of “A Felicidade,” a sweeping wave of joyous melody, nifty guitar fingerplay and an ethereal vocal chorus.

Produced, arranged and performed in acoustic jazz settings, Sabler was accompanied by keyboardist Clay Perry (Julio Iglesias), acoustic bassist Byron House (Robert Plant’s Band of Joy), Brazilian drummer-percussionist Celso Alberti (Flora Purim, Stevie Winwood) and the late percussionist Joe Lala (CSNY, Bee Gees). Allon Sams scripted string arrangements as did Grammy-nominated arranger Tom Zink, who orchestrated a 4-piece string section that added emotional depth on three selections.

 

Sabler explained that “My first trip to Brazil guided me to a deeper understanding of Jobim’s music from the places I visited followed by an immersion of his music, videos and books. During my trip, I was able to learn a lot more about the history of Brazilian music. I explored some of the places where Jobim used to hangout, including the restaurant where Heloisa Pinhiro walked by, who was the inspiration for ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ I am passionate about this music and made it a goal to master and record it. After working on this project for several years, I am pleased to finally share it.”

“Jobim Tribute” is Sabler’s seventh album. The Montreal native who studied music at Canada’s Concordia University and at the University of Miami, has created a catalogue of finely-crafted contemporary jazz recordings that summited sales and airplay charts in the U.S. and Canada while garnering award nominations, No. 1 most-played Canadian artist airplay honors and international acclaim. Most often playing electric guitar on earlier works, “Jobim Tribute” is his second consecutive record on which he exclusively plays nylon string acoustic guitar following 2010’s “Crescent Shores.”

Earlier this week, the Tampa, Florida-based sports fan performed the American and Canadian National Anthems with Marshall Gillon on Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Rays followed the next night by performing the anthems prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning game. With the eyes of the world turning to Brazil for this year’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Sabler’s elegant “Jobim Tribute” is a perfectly timed soundtrack. For more information, please visit www.LesSabler.com.

 

Sabler’s “Jobim Tribute” contains the following songs:

 

“A Felicidade”

“Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)”

“Esquecendo Voce”

“Bonita”

“Brigas Niunca Mais/Discussao”

“Ligia”

“Fotografia”

“Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Voce”

“Por Causa De Voce”

“Triste”

“Janelas Abertas”

“Chega De Saudade”

Source: Great Scott Productions

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Harvey Mason – Chameleon

Harvey-Mason–Chameleon

Chameleon, the scintillating Concord Records debut from multi-GRAMMY® nominated Harvey Mason, finds him drawing upon the rich jazz-funk legacy of the 1970s and recasting seven of that era’s most enduring classics with an early 21st-century sheen. A legendary session drummer, producer, composer and recording artist, Mason is among the most recorded and in-demand musicians of all-time.

Co-produced by Chris Dunn, Sr. Director of A&R for Concord Music Group, Chameleon features some of the brightest young jazz talents on the scene today. NEXT Collective alumni such as trumpeter Christian Scott, bassist Ben Williams, pianist/keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist Matthew Stevens enliven Chameleon. Bringing more young firepower to the fore are trombonist/vocalist Corey “CK” King, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, vocalist Chris Turner, and keyboardist/electronica producer, Mark de Clive-Lowe.

Helping Mason steer this cooperative are some of his contemporaries – bassist and co-founder of the legendary Yellowjackets, Jimmy Haslip; percussionist and founder of Los Hombres El Caliente, Bill Summers; and bassist Paul Jackson. Summers and Jackson worked with Mason on Herbie Hancock’s 1973 landmark LP, Head Hunters.

The lead composition, “Chameleon,” from Head Hunters serves, in part, as the signifying reference for Mason’s disc. Not only did Mason provide the rhythmic spank for the jazz-funk staple, he co-wrote it with Hancock along with several other bandmates – Jackson and reedist Bennie Maupin.

The other part of the equalization for the disc’s title comes from “chameleon” being a nickname, given to Mason, because of his incredible versatility. As a first-rate session musician and live performer, his brilliance resides not only in jazz. He’s demonstrated musicianship in R&B, pop, country, Latin and European classical music; Mason also has played on an astounding number of recordings, movie and TV scores and commercial jingles.

After two decades of playing with the GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble Fourplay – with which he’s still a member – Mason decided to reignite his solo career by forming a band based on the first edition of Hancock’s Head Hunters ensemble. Mason took the combo to Japan and received rave reviews. That reception, along with serious encouragement from his manager, inspired him to record Chameleon. “I came back [from Japan] and my manager spoke with Chris Dunn, who was real excited about it. He championed the idea with Concord,” Mason recalls.

During the sessions, Mason was surprised about how strongly ’70s jazz-funk resonated with today’s more cutting-edge jazz artists. “It’s funny because a lot of those records, I may have listened to them maybe one time since I recorded them,” Mason explains. “As a musician, you’re always trying to evolve. When I listen to my drumming back then, it sounds dated. Now my sound is more opened. Back then, I had only one head on the toms, so they didn’t ring as much. They had a darker sound. I’ve modernized my drumming to accommodate the music that’s happening now. So when I listen to the old stuff, I just say, ‘Wow! That’s really something. That’s what they want to hear now.’”

After witnessing Dunn’s passion for the project, Mason took his lead in terms of repertoire and sound quality. “I said to myself that there might be something to this that I might not be seeing. So I trusted his instincts,” Mason says. “As we put it together, I saw where he was coming from.”

A tour-de-force destined become a new hallmark in Mason’s illustrious career, Chameleon begins with a smoldering rendition of Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Black Frost,” arranged by King. It features Kamasi Washington blasting a searing tenor sax solo across an evocative sonic terrain crafted by Bowers and Corey King keyboard and synth chords as Steven’s bluesy guitar accompaniment helps the rhythm section give it more funky momentum.

Like most of the songs on the disc, Mason participated in the recording sessions of the original version of “Black Forest.” That 1974 date was of his first opportunity working with CTI Records and Creed Taylor. He recalls that except for Bob James (who co-wrote and arranged the song), many of the other musicians initially gave him the cold shoulder. “I remember no one would speak to me except for Bob because I was this hotshot making all these hits in L.A.,” Mason says, “Bob was very welcoming to me. We instantly became friends. When we started playing, everything sort of opened up and things were cool after that. Those guys became some of my greatest friends.”

The disc continues with an imaginative take on Bobby Hutcherson’s “Montara,” which has become a hip-hop gem thanks to people like the Roots and Madlib sampling it. On Chameleon, Mason handles the vibraphone part but allows Stevens, who arranged the makeover, to emerge as the lead voice on the melody, before passing the baton to de Clive-Lowe on Fender Rhodes.

Mason wasn’t on the original version of “If I Ever Lose This Heaven,” a soul-jazz ballad classic on Quincy Jones’ 1974 LP, Body Heat. But Dunn insisted on including it on the disc; he suggested Turner, who croons a simmering rendition of the lyrics, originally sang by Minnie Riperton and the song’s co-writer, Leon Ware. Arranged by King with vocals produced by Mason’s son, the new version retains the sensual vibe of the original, yet it shimmers with a modern, after-hours appeal.

Chameleon then breaks into one of its three sensational interludes. The first one, “Going Back” provides an ideal vehicle for showcasing de Clive-Lowe’s arranging and instrumental prowess on the keyboard as he tickles a hypnotic groove alongside Mason and Jackson.

The disc then slides into Bowers’ stunning arrangement of Rushen’s jazz-funk gem, “Before the Dawn,” which is graced by impressionistic horn chords from Scott, Washington and King.

Donald Byrd’s classic “Places and Spaces” arrives next, first with a haunting prelude, before it launches into a swaggering groove, enlivened by Scott’s electrifying trumpet solo. King, who arranged the strutting down-tempo makeover, also lends his suave vocals on lead.

Afterward, Mason’s wistful ballad, “Either Way” arrives. Originally appearing on Dave Grusin’s 1979 LP, Mountain Dance, the song became famous in hip-hop circles after being sampled on Biggie Small’s 1994 rap tune, “Everyday Struggle.” Bowers deftly taps into that hip-hop/jazz connection with a melancholy arrangement.

The title track comes as a grand finale with an imaginative arrangement from reedist (and Concord labelmate) Ben Wendel of Kneebody. For the new arrangement, Mason invited Summers to reprise his famous hinedewho intro to “Watermelon Man” from Hancock’s Head Hunters LP as a suspenseful teaser. It works like a charm as “Chameleon” moves into its trademarked stuttering melody and humpback groove.

The disc is a true testament to the enduring vitality of ’70s jazz-funk, and to Mason’s incredible musical flexibility. He’s a musician intent on constantly pressing forward. So Chameleon is hardly caught up in shallow nostalgia; it’s undeniably contemporary. “The music sounds different than it did back then,” Mason says. “But you get the same feeling and vibe. “

Source: Concord Records

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Sam Rucker – Tell You Something

Sam-Rucker–Tell-You-Something

Hip-hop producer turned contemporary jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker has something to say. Blending jazz, hip-hop, soul and gospel, he communicates through inspirational instrumentals that meaningfully resonate with listeners. Nearly three years in the making, his sophomore album, “Tell You Something,” is slated for release from Favor Productions on June 3 and includes contributions from Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne and Alyson Williams on the set mixed and mastered by Euge Groove.

Rucker produced “Tell You Something” featuring eight originals that he wrote or co-penned. The tracks harness the rhythms and intensity of hip-hop, melodic phrasing typical of R&B, rousing gospel affirmations and improvisational jazz nuances. A fan of vintage R&B, Rucker was honored to share production chores with Connors on instrumental renditions of three classics: “Before I Let Go,” “Footsteps in the Dark” and Connors’ signature hit, “You Are My Starship.” Lyle’s keyboard wizardry is on full display on each cover tune with gregarious solos while Browne’s regal trumpet adds a touch of class along with a fervent solo to “Starship.” Williams’ glorifies “Before I Let Go” and “Footsteps” with her lustrous voice. But it’s one of Rucker’s own empowering compositions, “Be True 2 Who U R,” that will be the first to receive airplay from the radio-friendly disc when it is serviced to stations in May. Rucker, who plays keyboards as well as tenor, alto and soprano sax on the record, elects to use his soprano horn over the chunky hip hop beats on the single.

“My desire as an artist is not only to entertain, but to be a communicator – to connect with the listener in such a way that they are encouraged and inspired by my music. Even as an instrumentalist, I believe my music speaks lyrically and I use it to convey uplifting messages. I wrote ‘Be True 2 Who U R,’ ‘No Other Way’ and ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Like It’ to inspire confidence in one’s individuality. My music has a unique fingerprint and the songs on the album celebrate what the Creator put in me to share with the world. ‘Tell You Something’ and ‘A Million Ways’ convey my gratitude for the gifts He’s given me. ‘Brighter Day,’ ‘Love’s Melody’ and ‘A Long Way to Go’ were written to offer compassion for the sacrifices and struggles that we face in life and touch that place in our soul where adversity rests. ‘Brighter Day’ advocates that a brighter day will come if you keep the faith. The covers I selected pay tribute to some of the great R&B artists that shaped my listening while growing up. One of whom, Norman Connors, I had the pleasure of working with on this album,” said Rucker, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native who studied music while attending nearby James Madison University.

Shortly after releasing his 2011 debut album, “Heat from the Heavens,” that introduced his formula of “hip-hop grooves + jazz melodies + a splash of inspirational lyrics,” Rucker met Connors and planning commenced straightaway for “Tell You Something.” The saxman toured as a member of Connors’ Starship Orchestra through 2012. Over the years, Rucker has performed with Peter White, Ronnie Laws, Phil Perry, Cindy Bradley, Ivan Neville, Howard Hewett and Gerald Veasley as well as Groove, Browne and Williams. His work as producer spans hip-hop, gospel and spoken word. Rucker gigs throughout Virginia and looks to expand his routing nationally with the successful release of “Tell You Something.” For more information, please visit www.SamRucker.com and http://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/samrucker.

The cuts contained on “Tell You Something” are:

 

“Tell You Something”

“Before I Let Go”

“A Million Ways”

“You Are My Starship”

“Be True 2 Who U R”

“Ain’t Nothin’ Like It”

“Footsteps in the Dark”

“Brighter Day”

“No Other Way”

“Love’s Melody”

“A Long Way to Go”

“Tell You Something” (album version)

 Source: Great Scott Productions

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