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...