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FEATURED INTERVIEWS

  • Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
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  • Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
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  • Kem Owens
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    Adekemi Owens, known professionally and affectionately to music fans as "Kem," has come a long way from Nashville, Tennessee to his current hometown of Detroit, Michigan. So, one figures that is why this musical genius has written and performed songs…
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  •  New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
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Most recently astronomers have discovered a new planet dubbed "55 Cancri e", the rocky world is twice the size of earth but has eight times its mass, thus classifying it as a "super earth."  Whenever a new planet is discovered, astronomers and the media alike start a buzz of excitement to announce the discovery.  Well, on September 26th at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, there was a discovery in the music world of the magnitude of "55 Cancri e", it was the Robert Glasper Experiment.  The 34-year old Blue Note recording artist, Robert Glasper has been on the jazz scene for many years and has been putting out hit after hit since his debut of "Mood" in 2003.  On his 2012 release "Black Radio," Glasper takes his music to new heights of genre originality with tastes of hip/hop, fusion, electronica, R&B while all still centering around his unique personal jazz style.  Glasper refuses to be pigeon holed into a single genre and in the process, takes the listener on a musical journey of epic proportion.

 Much of the early buzz surrounding the release of 'East Bay Soul 2.0' was about how a sensational campaign to raise the $25,000 necessary to record the album hit its target.  However, now it's all about the music.  Make no mistake; this is a collection of the highest order and everything (plus a little bit more) that one would expect from the artistic genius of its creator Greg Adams.  Of course Adams was the founding member of Tower of Power where his signature sound as performer and arranger made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all it's own.  When recently I talked with Greg via Skype from his office in LA I was eager to discover why he had used Kickstarter as the vehicle for funding the project. 

The Greatest Party At Sea: The Smooth Jazz Cruise

How would you like to be in Smooth Jazz Heaven? It sails around the Caribbean and features an A-list of smooth jazz performers in concert and in special moments. It's "The Smooth Jazz Cruise," which is also called "The Greatest Party At Sea." From the time you board Holland America's Westerdam until you disembark, it's just one amazing experience after another. In January, Bev and I went on what would become not only our first cruise, but the only cruise we would ever think of taking again.

Rarely, only very rarely, is a recording released that brings together a host of the greatest jazz musicians on which they all play to the highest of standards.  There have been more than a ton of recorded amalgamations of all-star jazz groupings going all the way back to the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts of Norman Granz.  The end result of those kinds of producer-inspired recordings usually finds a host of mismatched musicians all trying to find common ground.  While there were more hits than misses on the JATP fests, groupings such as those by Arista and Columbia records in the 1970s had far more misses than hits.  One amalgamation of superstar groups that absolutely cooks from first cut to last is the new Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield by the Jazz Soul Seven.

Thunder Soul is the movie/documentary, executive produced by Jamie Foxx, about the award winning Kashmere High School Stage Band, out of Houston, Texas.  The band was led by a visionary music teacher, Conrad "Prof" Johnson Sr., who, like Miles Davis, recognized music and life was changing dramatically for African-Americans in the early 1970s and moved his traditionally oriented jazz stage band into the realm of jazz funk.  Documentaries, if they are successful, find ways to not just make the true life experiences focused on in the movie personal for the audience, but also complete the picture with a full round look at ancillary ideas and vector relationships germane to the topic.  Director Mark Landsman does this in aces.

It just doesn't seem possible this could be Lewis' 80th recording.  It feels like it was yesterday when keyboardist, composer and radio show host Ramsey Lewis's mega hit, "The 'In' Crowd," was first on the radio.  Since the eruption of that light swinging jazz track on radios throughout the world in 1965, Lewis has gone on to a career that would be the envy of everyone who has ever made an instrumental record.

The Steve Hall Quintet mingle blues with elements soul, funk, modern bop, and straight ahead jazz on their new album, Cruisin' On Burnside

 When I heard Candy Dulfer's new CD 'Crazy' I was absolutely flabbergasted.  This is not a 'sit down and listen to' CD.  It's a 'get up and move' CD.  From the first track 'Stop All That Noise' to the cool jazz ending of 'Too Close', Ms. Dulfer took me on a wonderful high energy adventure.  Not only that, this collaboration with Black Eyed Peas producer and musical director Printz Board makes for a perfect album and is a complete 'must listen'.

Saxophonist and horn arranger Freddy Vigdor has been a member of the Average White Band for the last decade.  He has performed with the band around the globe at festivals, clubs, on television and radio programs while, as a prolific composer, his work has been recorded by the likes of Grover Washington, Jr., Bob Baldwin, Marion Meadows, and of course AWB.

Beppe Di Benedetto is a trombone player, composer and arranger born in Italy. Beppe's passion for music began at the age of 12 when one day his father came home with a strange black suitcase in his hand. Inside was a shiny instrument. His constant curiosity in capturing the secret language of music has accorded Beppe many opportunities in sharing the stage with such famous musicians as Eumir Deotado, Solomon Burke, Bob Mintzer, Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach, Mario Biondi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hengel Gualdi, Jovanotti, Antonella Ruggero, Fabrizio Bosso, Lorenzo Tucci, Daniele Scannapieco, Giovanni Amato, Claudio Filippini, Andrea Tofanelli, Massimo Manzi, Ellade Bandini, Christian Meyer, Michael Rosen, Ernesstico, Mark Harris, Luca Mannutza, Tullio De Piscopo and many more.

 

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