Bloom, the Salt Lake-based Pop Band

September 24, 2013 in News

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BloomBloom makes bright and catchy music that somehow makes you dig deep while your heart smiles. And now, they’re creating highly anticipated new music.

Independent of a label, Bloom launched a project last Wednesday, with the goal of raising enough money to produce their second full-length album. Surprisingly, within just 32 and 1/2 hours, the project was 100% funded by the popular crowd-sourcing website that continues to redefine how creative projects get launched into the world.

“The response was overwhelming!” said band founder, Joshua Voiles. “We knew we had fans – but with this sort of support it really threw us into ‘scramble mode’ to come-up with stretch goals that allow us to expand on our vision of increasing world awesome – including going on our first tour!”

But this isn’t the first time Bloom has experienced such surprising support. In 2010, when they launched their debut album, Photosynthesis, they were shocked when hundreds of copies of the album were sold within just a few days – with zero support from any record labels and with no advertising whatsoever.

On the heels of this flurry of album sales, they were offered to have their music featured in the wildly popular video game franchise, Rock Band, as one of the very first songs on the Rock Band 3 video game network to feature PRO keys.

As Bloom launched more music and videos into the world, they started getting attention from mini and mega-celebrities alike. The guitarist, Joshua Voiles, got one of his videos watched, shared, and commented on by the top-grossing actor, Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan), as well as Jim Sturgess (21, Cloud Atlas).

BloomThe drummer, Mari Voiles, got one of her videos shared by the world-renown keyboardist for Dream Theater, Jordan Rudess – and yet another video shared by best-selling author, Brad Blanton.

Bloom has also had music videos shared by the musician and YouTube celebrity Alex Day, and the online video entrepreneur Hank Green. All of this attention has resulted in Bloom beginning to achieve that which they initially set out to do – make this world brighter and better.

“We have all gotten countless messages and letters from fans expressing the deep impact Bloom has made in their lives” mentioned Jeremy Finlay, singer and pianist for the group. “In fact, in several cases, the fans have claimed that Bloom had quite literally saved their lives – relieving them from the tempting grasp of suicide” added Wally Allred (bassist).

“That’s really why we do what we do. We seek to create music that truly moves people, and inspires them to learn, grow, and to be their very best selves. It’s a lofty, if not romantic endeavor, but it’s what keeps us up at night and keeps us working hard in a dying industry that doesn’t readily reward substance and heart,” concluded Mari Voiles, drummer for the young band.

Visions: The Music Of Stevie Wonder Yoron Israel

January 8, 2013 in Music Reviews

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Yoron IsraelYoron Israel’s recently released CD, “Visions: The Music Of Stevie Wonder” is unique in that it is a rework of Stevie Wonder’s music, but as Israel hears it. He says this is always the way he heard Wonder’s music, and he has put it into a form where we can share and enjoy his concept with him. Musically sound and full of innovations, I really enjoyed his approach to making the music in the form of jazz. Israel states that Wonder, in his opinion, was always a Jazz composer even if his music was more mainstream R&B. Leading his band from the drummer’s position is amazing, and his playing is consistent and fabulous.

Always making his presence heard and felt, Israel’s abilities are reminiscent of the late great Art Blakey. “Visions” with spoken word is bad to the bone with perfect balance, and the spoken word adds an interesting touch. The musicians backing Israel up do a tremendous job in their playing as well, exploring the works of one of the greatest American artists to ever preform. The amount of love and respect for Wonder’s music comes pouring out song after song on the CD. I did not mention other songs because I liked them all so much that I could write a review of each one and I’m sure you’d rather hear the music than to read my writing. I almost wanted to do just that, but I instead recommend you get this CD and listen for yourself. Trust me, it’s a journey of discovery that you won’t soon forget.

The 10 track CD is interesting in another way, that being the fact that Israel doesn’t just choose the most recognizable of Stevie Wonder’s songs, but reaches deep and conceptualizes some of those that are lesser known. “You Are The Sunshine Of my Life” is an exception of course, and I can clearly hear what Israel means when he says Wonder’s music has always been composed for jazz. This is one classy CD with wonderful renditions that will make you smile inside and out. This CD is a big winner for fans of jazz and R&B, and I highly recommend it.

Esprit De Four Fourplay

December 4, 2012 in News

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Fourplay, the contemporary jazz group known for their incredibly smooth jazz, recently released their newest album, “Esprit De Four”. Let me just say this: Some things only get better with time, and Fourplay appears to be in that category. The album is sizzling hot from the moment it begins until the very last note is played, and has been met with critical acclaim and garnered praise from fans as well. How do they do it? I think the proper word is SYNERGY. The four (keyboardist Bob James, bassist/vocalist Nathan East, guitarist Chuck Loeb, and drummer/percussionist Harvey Mason) are immensely talented musicians individually. However, their combined efforts are greater than the sum of their individual greatness. SYNERGY. They’ve got plenty of it, and there’s enough on the album to satisfy the most discerning of jazz fans. Released on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, “Esprit De Four” belongs in every jazz connoisseur’s collection.

“Esprit De Four” embodies contributions from all members of the group, which for more than two decades has been making us feel the groove. “Esprit De Four” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart, which speaks volumes. So does the album, and listeners will love what it’s saying.

“December Dream” begins simply and then flows to a full stream and out into a ocean of music. This group simply overwhelms me with their sound. It is pure and very sophisticated as they play in a synchronized flow that is perfectly connected. It doesn’t matter which of the four is taking the lead, one can count on it to be consistently outstanding. “December Dream: sets the stage for everything that follows on this very beautiful CD. The overall theme is mellow, however, with Fourplay, even mellow is enormous. This is an album from a very special place of creativity and distinction, and no amount of words that I write can prepare you for just how great it is. This is one of those CDs that you “Run, don’t walk, and buy!!

Live From Stern Grove Picante Artist Pete Escovedo

November 29, 2012 in News

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Concord Picante artist Pete Escovedo’s “Live From Stern Grove” starts out with the best of the best Latin Jazz, with the percussion section setting a high standard that is hard to match, and then the trumpet and piano solos just blow you away. And just when you’re getting over that groove, Escovedo brings on the percussion, just tearing away at the half beats that make you move and shake your head in disbelief that someone could play so well. Amazing beats and rhythms coming to life, and that’s just track 1. “Picadillo Jam” sets the stage for even more great things to come. I just loved this show; it was as if I were in San Francisco, sitting in the sun, listening to this very strong percussionist and his very solid band.

Track 2 “Take Some Time” is much more laid back, where the first cut was all about making you move that body. The track is very nicely done in the mellow Latin Jazz smooth sound. The venue is perfect for the music the Escovedo throws down with a certain expertise that is very pleasing to this listener’s ears. Every musician playing in the band is outstanding and can be clearly heard on this very well produced piece of work. This is live jazz played by a master and this CD provides all the proof you need.

“Dance” has a salsa rhythm that is on fire with passionate playing. With a driving percussion lead, the lead and background vocalists really give quite a performance. Wow is all I can say when the band lets loose on this one. If you can remain seated on this track, you can count yourself among those who have phenomenal self control. “Dance” is simply excellent! Alternating between muy caliente to very smooth jazz was a welcome listening experience for me, allowing me to relax a little and dance a lot.

“True or False” is a jam with colorful breaks that almost take you out of you chair, but they are just teasers that take the music into a different direction. The band that Pete Escovedo has put together is very well worth seeing if they come anywhere near you.

“Live From Stern Grove” is a must have for music connoisseurs. “Solo Tu” combines excellent guitar with great writing and a performance extraordinaire. Escovedo has earned the title of master, though some who are in their mid 40’s may be more familiar with his daughter — drummer Sheila E., who lends her skills on conga to this production. I highly recommend this CD to any music lover who is looking for something special. You need look no further.

When the Smole Clears (Stephanie Pauline & Joe Uvegas)

November 13, 2012 in News

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I like to hear new music when my ears are clear, my mind is calm, and I’m completely focused and can “tune in” to the artist. The gift of this job is when the music reaches me through the speakers or headphones and tunes me up! I’m sure that’s what happened while listening to the vocal duo out of Denver, Colorado: Stephanie Pauline & Joe Uveges and their album, “When The Smoke Clears”.

The first song, “Build A Barn”, is an amazing and well conceived and executed work. I can believe they’ve written over 1000 songs together, as they do it so well — flawlessly, in fact. The lyrics throughout the CD are effective and inspiring to the point of almost being a country anthem. The musicians on this session are also very impressive players, increasing the authenticity and creativity of the album. They didn’t miss a lick, beat, pick, or chord. Country fans will recognize some of these guys right off the bat, including Tim Akres (touring pianist for Rascall Flatts) and Glenn Duncan (drobro, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle player who toured with her for more than 20 years), with Nashville producers Steve Dady and Michael Rossback.

One outstanding ballad is “Start With I Love You”, in which Joe tells a warm story of a man calling his family, bringing attention to the things that we say (or don’t) that are so very important. Stephanie adds harmony and intensifies the emotional strength of the song. The piano, and guitar play beautiful open chords that blend well against the melody, and the drummer is very tasteful with his dynamics. Read the rest of this entry →

Soft Vocals From Adam Scrimshire “The Hollow”

October 24, 2012 in News

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The sounds of acoustic guitars, waves of violins, and the final entrance of a bossa nova beat with soft vocals from Adam Scrimshire with sparse block chords on the piano add up to sounds of a sophisticated jazz lounge on “Your Promise Is All It Was”. The mix has edgy electronic noise and distortion making for a cool song with a sad ending.

Scrimshire uses brilliant combinations of pop afro horns, reverse effects, and even African style vocals. The drums have an insistent funky drummer style to it. “Everything You Say” features a nice performance from Heidi Vogel with her own, very personal sound, and the percussion and breakdowns are made to keep people dancing. The trumpet, and horn section have well articulated cuts in the arrangement, and the reverse ending swipe was effective.

“Afar” is innovative freshness, and the haunting “ouu’s” from the female background singers top a lush romantic soul vibe of bell tone electric fender Rhodes piano, while the bass, and synth sweeps are brilliant on this down tempo cut that really took my head away from the last thing I was worried about. This is classic dream sequence music. Harmonically rich, and the sonic range is expansive as it fades down to the tempo of a beating heart. Easily one of my favorites.

Scrimshire has a sound that combines nu jazz, and hip hop, and significant production swag. “Ode to Daddy” is another standout with remarkable piano and tight analog bass with the soothing voice of Inga Lill-Aker. This song is powerful and the work of composer/producer Adam Scrimshire will have a significant new spot in my musical universe. Vocals are courtesy of Faye Houston (Resonators/JetTricks), Stac, and other guest artists (including the Hackney Colliery Band and harpist Rachael Gladwin (Matthew Halsall/Rachael and the Red Socks). “The Hollows” put out by Wah Wah 45’s is available through Beatport Worth seeking out!

Don’t Quit On Me (Fortch)

September 26, 2012 in News

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“Don’t Quit On Me” by Fortch is a very well written and and performed anthology of his music, which includes one song that took twenty years to complete. What he gives us here is a fresh, clear, country approach in his music, which is strong, as are the lyrics. This is a solid album and a refreshing project, which I’m sure many will find to be both interesting and highly entertaining.

The song “Anna Baby” has great lyrics, and is well complemented by the strong sound of Fortch’s voice. He has an excellent band accompanying him, though I must say the guitarist stands out. I couldn’t help but notice the riveting lyrics in his songs, which capture the listener’s attention again and again while Fortch sings his stories. “Over My Head”, “Listen To The Whispers”, and “Watch And See”  are very well done.

“Listen To The Whispers” is where Fortch shows his singing and songwriting ability to the fullest extent in this beautiful love song of a different kind that really delivers the listener to the location of the song, and the band doesn’t miss a beat. There’s some nice acoustic guitar on this one along with noticeably good drumming.

“Don’t Quit On Me” is a 14 song collection with over a hour of music that is well written, performed, and produced. On the track “World On Fire”, the band funks it up quite a bit, and rocks it very hard in a funky southern Rock style. Fortch is a versatile artist with many different styles, which he shows on this CD. The drummer and lead guitar really stand out, and Fortch’s singing is passionate and moving.

The title track, “Don’t Quit On Me” is a political song that is full of inspirational, meaning, and heartfelt awareness of the plight of so many Americans these days. Fortch emphasizes unity, perseverance, and loving one another as an answer to finding our way back to the top. It’s a thought provoking track, and adds a lot to the album, which is already stellar.



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