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Smooth Jazz - CD Reviews (474)

"They Say It's Wonderful," the first track on this marvelous new record from Kirk Whalum, opens cleverly with a sample (or a fresh recording made to sound like a sample, complete with the scratchy LP and old AM radio speaker sound effects), of McCoy Tyner's piano at the top of the classic John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman cut of the same tune from their eponymous 1963 record that serves as Whalum's inspiration.  But following that clip, nothing further is lifted directly from Coltrane and Hartman except the spirit of excellence in musicianship and the mellow, romantic mood. Whereas Coltrane and…
My Next Heartbeat is keyboardist, producer, engineer, composer and Founder and Pastor of Northview Christian Church Hart Ramsey's second release as a leader.  This lively set of smooth jazz music doesn't skimp on nice easy-going grooves or compromise on room for Ramsey's accompanying musicians to express themselves on those grooves via long improvised solos.
Watching smooth jazz artists embark on new ventures, new arenas and new paths is actually one of the more exciting things to happen to music in 2011 and still now in 2012.  With the death of smooth jazz radio we've witnessed George Benson return to the kind of music he played on his CTI and early Warner Brothers recordings, watched Richard Elliot move to soul-jazz, and Candy Dulfer gravitate more fully towards dance music.
Joe Blessett makes an interesting case for going into the studio and doing your own thing.  His sixth release as a solo artist has him everywhere, laying down music tracks on several instruments, voicing over for effect, mixing, and even marketing his own product.  The result is a pastiche of music that runs from smooth to funk, and tracks that run in and out like a fever dream. 
It's been two years since vocalist Anders Holst released a recording and his newest one, Soho Suite, may very well be his best. Originally from Sweden, Holst is now based out of New York. In the style of Kenny Rankin, Holst has a rich lower tenor voice that is full of deep romantic leanings that falls into either the smooth jazz or adult contemporary vein. Recorded with a variety of Swedish backing musicians and vocalists, every track is richly produced, but not over produced and is so popular these days in the smooth jazz world.
In this, the age of being able to record your own CD in your basement, the adage, “just because you can record your own CD doesn’t mean you should,” has never been more true, especially in the smooth jazz realm. The market has been flooded with, let’s face it, tons of just terrible recordings, mostly done by artists playing all the parts themselves on their keyboard workstations. None of the above applies to the new CD by saxophonist Neamen, So Free.
Self-taught native Washingtonian Jeff Logan today lives in Maryland, near where we grew up. While he has a day job as an administrator in Prince George’s County detention center, Logan has opened concerts for artists such as Martha & The Vandellas and Junior Walker & The All-Stars. This, his seventh release, finds Logan playing all of the instruments as well as releasing the CD on his own BASS-mint Records. With 12 tracks, 10 of them originals, Logan has recorded a sweet recording of subdued instrumental R&B.
Player A is a loose collection of studio musicians out of Nashville who have come together under the direction of keyboardist, producer and Creative Soul label President Eric Copland. While all of the musicians on the disc are heavy hitters, there is no way they are household names unless you like to read liner notes on the records of others because it’s there where you’ll find their names. The cast of musicians rotates and revolves depending on the composition, but the one stable element throughout is Copeland’s playing, his compositions and arrangements; besides the two covers, one by the Brothers…
Primarily known as a session musician, pianist Eddie Gip Noble has worked with artists such as Gerald Albright, Patti Austin, Wayne Henderson, Etta James and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. In The Lite Of Things is Noble’s second release, following 2004’s Love T.K.O. Like a number of keyboard oriented albums by Kim Pensyl, this recording was totally done by Noble, playing all of the parts on a keyboard workstation. In this case it’s the Korg Triton Studio Musicworkstation Sampling Keyboard. There is one exception. On “I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight,” Noble adds a guitarist and vocalist to great effect. The…
Monrovia Liberia born guitarist Martin Mathelier was raised mostly in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. First learning the guitar from his well-known Haitian guitar virtuoso brother Marc Mathelier, the younger brother focused, as he got older, on Brazilian Bossa Nova. In 1981, in New York, Martin, along with two others, founded the group Vibes, a long lasting band featuring Haitian Kompa music.
Great musicians, truly great musicians, can play any style of music. That is true in any of the great recording cities in the United States. The wealth of fantastic musicians in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville almost boggles the mind. This CD is a compilation of different jazz artists currently working in Nashville. All the cuts, as is typically true with compilations, are great. When artists have the ability to put their best foot forward you're going to get their best. There are 11 different cuts on the disc led by 10 different artists.
One of the constants in the music world is that saxophonist, composer and Philadelphia native Andy Snitzer will always be working. Even though he gave up his gig with the Rolling Stones to Tim Ries, Snitzer is not hurting for work. Since being discovered by Bob James when Snitzer was a student at the University of Miami, he eventually went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University. Snitzer has worked steadily as a session musician and touring artist when not working for Wall Street investment firms. Whether touring with Paul Simon, playing his own…
Smooth jazz groups are, unfortunately, becoming a dime a dozen. Smooth jazz sounds, to most unsophisticated ears, as being remarkably easy to play. With no need to have to master tricky rhythms or complex harmonies, as in straight-ahead jazz, many musicians have turned to smooth jazz in hopes of cashing in on this lucrative music market. The truth is, however, that to play smooth jazz well, one has to truly feel the music. There have been a ton of musicians, including greats like Kenny Garrett, who tried their hand at smooth jazz, only to fail.  The reason being they do…
Smooth jazz guitarist, vocalist and composer Roger Chong, a graduate of York University in Toronto, works leading his own jazz group, playing in bands lead by others and teaching grade school students in Toronto. Love Me One More Time is his second release as a leader.
Euge Groove, known to his friends as Eugene Grove, has worked hard for his vaulted place in smooth jazz. Early classical piano lessons led to studies on the saxophone. Graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in saxophone performance, Groove played in a variety of bands and did studio work before coming to the attention of fellow saxophonist Richard Elliot, who got him a gig with Tower of Power. Later work with artists like Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Elton John kept Groove constantly on the road before staking out a solo career.
There are few things you can bet on that are absolute certainties. In the music world the top of the list has to include how Kenny G will always confound critics while at the same time delighting his fans. Few instrumental artists, save perhaps Herb Alpert, have understood over long periods of time, and here we're talking decades, exactly what kind of music will respond to the public's heart. G has never had that problem.
"Multiple Grammy-Award winning guitarist, singer and producer Paul Brown has the Midas tough. With over 50 #1 smooth jazz radio hits credit, the innovative guitar God has engineered and produced for virtually every top contemporary jazz artist during the past two decades. Brown's talents have been summoned by such luminaries as George Benson, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Boney James, Luther Vandross and Kirk Whalum among countless others. Featuring Paul's soulful vocal smash, 'Love You Found Me,' 'Toast and Jam,' 'Sugarfish' and more!! Paul Brown is the most prolific hit maker in the history of Smooth Jazz. -Shanachie "I'm particularly proud…
Multiple Grammy-Award winning guitarist, singer and producer Paul Brown has the Midas tough. With over 50 #1 smooth jazz radio hits credit, the innovative guitar God has engineered and produced for virtually every top contemporary jazz artist during the past two decades. Brown's talents have been summoned by such luminaries as George Benson, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Boney James, Luther Vandross and Kirk Whalum among countless others. Featuring Paul's soulful vocal smash, 'Love You Found Me,' 'T
Kenny G is one of the most phenomenal smooth jazz musicians known through out history. He has sold over millions of albums and that is just in the United States. He started his solo career in 1982 and in now known worldwide. This album Heart and Soul is produced by Walter Afanasieff and Kenny G. himself. This is a smooth jazz style with a twist of urban with the help of vocal artists Babyface, “No Place Like Home,” and Robin Thicke, “Fall Again."This album is very touching. Robin Thicke’s “Fall
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