Following the sizzling release of “On Top of the World,” R&B saxophonist Jarel Posey (AKA “Jarez”) will be touring in the States and overseas with hip hop music rapper Coolio.
Jarez’s tour dates are not the normal jazz venues and haunts you would expect either. He tours regularly on the hip hop scene, incorporating the smooth sounds of jazz into cutting edge beats. Jarez is perhaps one of the few jazz artists able to successfully blend the two diverse musical genres. In fact, for several years, Jarez toured with Coolio around the world, dazzling audiences unfamiliar with jazz with his playing skills and showmanship.
“Touring in over 30 countries, the experience was an unforgettable one,” explained Jarez. “Performing is one of the most satisfying experiences because I have a spiritual connection with the audience when I’m playing. To have them feel what I feel – well, it’s a divine connection. It is a double blessing and joy to be able to bring the gift of jazz to an audience not typically familiar with it, and yet have them embrace and welcome it.”
Just as his touring schedule challenges the public’s perception of jazz, “On Top of the World” marks a strategic release for this entrepreneurial artist. While the music itself appeals to a broad audience base, Jarez desires to unite the younger generation with jazz. By adding a splash of urban groove with luxurious melodies, Jarez paints a musical tapestry that is culturally rich and brazenly accessible. It is music that inspires change within the contemporary jazz landscape.
The saxophonist’s commitment to America’s future includes having served as a spokesperson for Environmental Justice and Climate Change’s (EJCC) campaign, which served Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in an educational initiative regarding global warming. This opportunity also lent him a chance to develop his fan base even further with selections from one of his previous CD releases, ” SAXOHOLIC ,” providing the musical signature for the accompanying radio show, “Just Environment” which broadcasted weekly on from Atlanta’s Clark University’s WCLK 91.9, “The Jazz of the City,” and live online at www.wclk.com.
His ability to expand his musical outreach to fans of all ages included multiple appearances on “Cooking with Coolio.” Jarez also assisted in the production of Coolio’s cookbook of the same name, along with ongoing management of various aspects of Coolio’s business operations.
For information on Jarez and to view all available tour dates, please visit www.jarezmusic.com.
Saxophonist Andrew Neu follows up his successful NuGroove Records debut with his 4th contemporary jazz CD, "Everything Happens for a Reason." Along with producers Brian Bromberg and Steve Oliver, Andew has assembled an all-star band, featuring Rick Braun, Bobby Caldwell, Jeff Lorber, Tom Schuman and Alex Acuna. Embellished by a horn section and a full orchestra, this project takes you on a musical journey around the world. Andrew co-wrote a song with Bobby Caldwell and arranged a unique take on the jazz classic, "Take Five". Inspired by the soul jazz and Latin music of the 1960s, it's reminiscent of Quincy Jones and Sergio Mendes.
As a saxophonist, Bob Reynolds has worked with a diverse array of artists in both pop (John Mayer, Michael Buble, Usher, Amos Lee, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Guy Sebastian) and jazz (Richard Bona, Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Eric Harland, Gregory Hutchinson). Reynolds is also an award-winning composer with 4 albums of original material and 4 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards to his credit. He graduated with honors from Berklee College of Music and currently lives in Los Angeles.
"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 Hartman--the latter not well known at the time but nonetheless a brilliant vocalist--set out to make a recording of pop[ular] tunes in a jazz form (trio plus tenor sax and vocals), the Whalums instead are making a smooth jazz record on a core of what became jazz standards, then adding some of their own new music. Because great songs are great songs, both versions work very well. But don't think Kirk Whalum was trying to remake the original; this is a modern recording with its own fresh and eloquent voice.
Kim Waters has always had a way of captivating his fans with his infectious melodies and outstanding showmanship. On his new CD, 'This Heart of Mine', he again harnesses his hallmark vibe by putting out another set of grooves that his fans will absolutely love. Each track is beautifully arranged, and compliments Waters undoubted talent as the 'King of Smooth Urban Jazz'.
The blistering new album from rising sax-star Aaron Bing is titled 'Rebirth' and in many ways that's exactly what it represents. Bolstered by a discography that stretches back to 2005 and his debut release 'Always' Bing has come roaring back with a collection as good as anything you will hear this year. When recently I got the opportunity to talk with him from his home in Jacksonville, FL I was eager to understand the creative process that underpinned this latest project.
When, in 2009, saxophonist Elan Trotman released the album 'This Time Around' it was his first concerted foray into the realms of contemporary jazz. The follow up 'Love And Sax', which hit the streets earlier this year, further demonstrated the penchant he has for creating an atmosphere through his music that is both relaxing and sensuous. When recently I met with Elan at the Cinnamon Club in Altrincham, UK (where he had just captivated an appreciative the audience with his performance as part of Peter White's touring band) I was eager to learn more about this most interesting of artists and in doing so went right back to the beginning.
A native of Athens, Greece--Panos Vassilopoulos has previously been most known for his educational DVD releases, including "Ostinatos and Polyrhyth...