Dianne Reeves is set to release her Concord Records debut, Beautiful Life, this month. The album showcases Reeves’ sublime gifts by melding elements of R&B, Latin and pop within the framework of 21st Century jazz. “At its essence,” says Reeves, “Life is beautiful and I wanted to celebrate that which is too often overlooked.”There should be no overlooking Beautiful Life, a journey of 12 songs which includes singularly memorable covers of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” and Ani DiFranco’s self-empowering “32 Flavors.”
Included… Continue reading
Saxophonist-composer-producer-educator Bobby Watson is proud to release Check Cashing Day, the second self-produced recording on Watson’s label, Lafiya Music. The project, which is available now, coincides with Watson’s 60th birthday, the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
As Watson reflects, Check Cashing Day serves as “a commentary on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we need to go as a people, as a country, and as a global community.” Instead of focusing on the iconic “I Have a Dream” aspect of Dr. King’s speech, Watson chose to… Continue reading
Chris Standring returns with another musical left turn with Don’t Talk, Dance!, a deep European progressive soul-jazz-dance influenced project featuring the best funk and soul studio musicians in Los Angeles. This 13-track set (with 2 bonus cuts) features Chris as arranger, orchestrator and producer, along with his signature solo jazz and fusion guitar sounds.
Drawing on 70′s style funk and soul inspiration, Chris raises the bar once again with an album that is impossible to sit still to. The first radio single “Sneakin’ Out The Front Door,” features Chris on guitar talkbox, and harks back to a time… Continue reading
Xiu Xiu’s NINA, an homage to the late icon Nina Simone featuring covers of her music, is out today, Dec. 3, via Graveface Records. Joining Xiu Xiu founder Jamie Stuart (vocals) is the band’s longtime collaborator Ches Smith and his group These Arches, featuring Tim Berne (alto sax), Tony Malaby (tenor sax).
This being Xiu Xiu, of course, Stewart’s tribute album is far from a collection of straight covers. Rather, he and long-time collaborator Ches Smith — “the only person I know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful… Continue reading
J-Town Beat, marks the 19th recording by the Grammy-nominated group, Hiroshima. With numerous gold records and nearing four million in world-wide record sales, this truly unique American ensemble embarks on a musical journey filled with colorful rhythms and melodies that evoke jazz, blues, R&B, Latin, pop—and their trademark blend of east and west.
“J-Town refers to Japan Town USA,” notes leader Dan Kuramoto, “it’s a microcosm of all the multi-cultural communities that make America the most diverse country in the world, and how better to reflect that than in music?”
Opening with “RED BUDDHA,” an exotic romp through Japanese Obon… Continue reading
Steppin’ Out includes 16 songs, including a contemporary version of Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a video for which has just been released. The music has an undeniable charm coupled with an energetic and intricate dance routine choreographed by the Emmy® award-winning team from So You Think You Can Dance, Napoleon & Tabitha D’umo, creating a magical pied piper-like scene.
The video features musicians Lani Hall, Bill Cantos, Hussain Jiffry, Michael Shapiro and dancer Vincent Noiseux alongside corps dancers like Kherington Payne and others from So You Think You Can Dance USA, America’s Best Dance Crew, Dancing with the… Continue reading
Two years ago, Sofia, Melanie, Amanda, and August von Trapp came to Portland to perform with the Oregon Symphony, and soon thereafter were drawn into the orbit of Thomas Lauderdale. Thomas, who believes The Sound of Music was the last great American film, found these real-life descendents of that legendary family to be as magical as the movie itself, and it didn’t take long until The von Trapps had moved to Portland and cultivated a lasting bond with Thomas and Pink Martini.
Dream a Little Dream is the culmination of this collaboration. The album features the crystalline four-part harmonies of… Continue reading
Conceived as a musical journey of love, Najee’s 2013 album, The Morning After, finds the sweet-toned, smooth jazz saxophonist delivering a set of songs that bring you along on a sensual and romantic road trip. The album follows up Najee’s equally as passionate 2012 release, The Smooth Side of Soul. Along with a bevy of superb studio musicians,
Najee is backed here by a capable rhythm section featuring keyboardist Demonte Posey, guitarist Ray Fuller, bassist Bill Sharpe, and drummer Daniel “dpondrums” Powell. Also featured is vocalist Meli’sa Morgan, who adds her warm and throaty vocal presence to the intimate R&B-infused… Continue reading
Despite its sophistication, intricacy, and nuance, at root, this is danceable music. Set against nimble, multifaceted drumming, the lines played by the other musicians weave, bob, spin, dart in and out, embrace on occasion, and, well, Tango . . . Stein lures you into his music, the notes begin to slip under your skin, grow there, and leave a lasting impression. It’s not simply that days later you’ll find yourself humming some phrases that you heard; you’ll find yourself feeling them. You’ll not be the same music listener after hearing John Stein. (John Thomas, from the liner notes)
John Stein,… Continue reading
After finishing his saxophone studies with honors at the Conservatory of Granada (Spain), Pedrosaxo (Pedro Rafael Garcia Moreno) was a finalist in the hit TV show ‘GOT TALENT’, performing works by his own composition. He chose the path of personal research, delving into the study of the saxophone and new forms of interpretation, imitation of sounds, world music, as well as performance practice with professional actors in Madrid.
As a result, Pedrosaxo is a unique artist of extreme sensitivity to the world around him, able to describe the atmosphere of faraway places through the saxophone and his body, his music… Continue reading