| Website | YouTube | Facebook | There is a new shooter in the saxophone ranks of modern jazz and his name is Shlomi Cohen. This Tel-Aviv born saxophone phenom currently resides in the jazz Mecca that is New York City and has just released Breather. This stunning digital only recording is a contemporary post modern riff that masterfully fuses Cohen’s Middle Eastern roots with the form and functionality of improvisational music we know as jazz in the United States. Shlomi Cohen elevates what would normally be considered world music into a far more accessible place than previous artists. Cohen does an imaginative spin on his own cultural base and flips it into a hybrid that is the embodiment of blues, R&B, traditional jazz and the deceptively subtle nuances that are his Moroccan and Israeli DNA. Breather is a lyrical mosaic, colors and textures you can hear. Cohen walks a harmonic tightrope with the grace and fluidity of a Michael Brecker and the biting attack of a David Sanborn but all while demonstrating one of the most refreshing saxophone voices to come along in a decade! The transformation of this incredibly imaginative music into a new and highly evocative art form is stunning. There are artists residing in Eastern Europe that perform with a deep identifiable cultural base but you would be hard pressed to find any artist born outside of the United States that has so artistically opened up his own heritage to an entirely new audience. One listen to Breather and it would be apparent to the most discerning of fans that Shlomi Cohen is on the cutting edge, a saxophonist poised for great things and one of the rising stars of the future. Shlomi Cohen is indeed an artist whose musical stock is an arrow pointing straight up.
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Jaga is making some good impressions in the Jazz community and in the industry . She has a very smooth and soothing voice in which the grown and sexy will appreciate her music. She is not your typical artist but then again who is looking for typical.
Jaga lives for music as music is her life. Jaga Glassman has been blessed to come across the right team at the right time and together her dreams and aspirations are coming true. Her sound and music has been considered to be as smooth and sweet as a very fine wine. Her two singles “Come On Down” and “Waves Rollin In” are receiving a lot of radio play and is getting a lot of attention across the internet. It is said that “there is a time for every artist” and It appears that this is her time. Jaga has defied the odds as it is a known fact that age is such a major factor in the music industry but with all the attention on the age of these up and coming artist the music is losing the attention it deserves. Jaga is here to give us a friendly reminder that “Age is nothing but a number”. She has songs that are made for a enjoyable night out to songs that are made for love. If you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy a smooth sound then Jaga is here for your listening pleasures.
Romantic music is always welcome in my playlist. Add to that a first class jazz production with with an exceptional voice like Beth Duncan’s, and you have an inkling of an idea as to how good her new album, “Comes The Fall” is. “Come This Fall” is a 14 course (track) gourmet feast for the ears. The rhythm section arranging was done with guitarist Steve Homan, Mike McMullen on tenor and flute, Bill Douglass on bass, and drummer/producer Guy Kowarsh who is also the CD’s producer. Featured on this session are Jim Martinez on keyboards, Babatunde Lea and Brian Kendrick on percussion. and Steve Roach on trumpet solos.
In jazz, it’s all about your sound, and Beth Duncan is blessed with a voice that has great musical range, and tonal color. She creates an enchanting blend with the tenor sax on her title track “Come This Fall”. The opening phrases immediately catch your attention, and the strings Jim Martinez provides on the keys add sweet elegance to the arrangement.
Ms Duncan’s phrasing shines on “How High The Moon”, with the duet of voice and percussion leading to solos with the harmon muted trumpet of Steve Roach, and impressive guitar voicings from Steve Homan. Listening to this cut, one notices how clean the brushes from the drummer sound as he swings the band along with solid bass from Bill Douglass. The mix throughout the cd is excellent.
One note about the great arranging, and what I found especially enjoyable was when Beth vocalizes with the ensemble such as with the sax on “Come This Fall”, and with the guitar and flute on the jazz waltz, “I’m On A Cloud”. Recently it was only Esperanza, or the Grammy nominated Denise Donatelli’s “When Lights Are Low” where I could hear intricate voice with ensemble on this level. Kudos to Steve Homan and Beth Duncan’s great talent. As a jazz musician, and radio host at KJZZ, Phoenix, I would not hesitate to recommend this to my listeners, or radio program directors across the country. If you still need convincing cue up “Embraceable You”, with voice and bass. It’s happening.
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!!
Lee Ritenour’s latest musical work, “Rhythm Sessions”, features top Jazz names like Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, George Duke, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, and Marcus Miller, along with the winners of his annual Six String Guitar Theory International Competition and winners of The Ritenour’s 2012 Rhythm Section Competition. Ritenour believes in giving promising new artists a chance to work with the greats, producing a “fascinating experiment, and a way to create great sounds” according to Ritenour himself.
I fully agree as these musical mixes of talent mesh well, and the result is a progressive fused jazz set. Ritenour is a master guitar player first and foremost, and his play is impeccable throughout the entire album. This is an artist who is consistently great, and this album is no exception. I can’t say with 100% certainty that Ritenour put a lot of love into this project, but it sure seems that way and if he did, it shows.
This is a wonderful CD that’s chock full of great jazz music from some of the biggest names in the business, along with rising stars and the future of music. This is one that belongs in every jazz connoisseur’s collection. Job well done!!
Bobby Caldwell’s “House Of Cards” is his latest production. Playing guitar, keyboards, and singing, the longtime crooner shines brightly on this CD, showing that some things only get better with time. Writing all of the arrangements and programming the musical mixes used on this CD, he is very talented indeed. Caldwell’s music is that cool jazz that tells stories like Frank Sinatra.
Track 2, “Blue” is a snazzy blues song that Mr. Caldwell has also managed to make cool. The lyrics were very good and the music was just right. The same goes for track 4, “It’s Coming Back To Me Now”, which is a smooth Jazz tune that has a nice swing beat to it. Very nice keyboard and bass along with the ever present Caldwell singing. Just when I thought I had him pegged, I heard “Hearts On Fire” and “Dinah” (my favorite on the CD), which are country songs that are done very nicely with great lyrics and guitar play, showing serious versatility from this artist. Caldwell has a versatile vocal style, which he hones skillfully on each song, despite the genre. I always have a good feeling about artists who blend musical styles on their albums, and this one has a great mixture. Caldwell is a very entertaining performer with surrounds himself with good musicians
“Dear Blues” is notable because of the solid lyrics and musical content. Caldwell sings this song from his heart and it is a short blues song that he does very well. The musical quality of “House Of Cards” is simply excellent. Caldwell shows his R&B side with “Mazatlan”, a touching love song, and “What About Me” which has a catchy hook and is one that listeners will enjoy the first time around and probably play repeatedly. This artist’s work is made to entertain and I can say with no hesitation that the job has been done!
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.