Dirk K – It’s On

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Dirk K is producing a new CD entitled, “Dirk K – It’s On”. 5 original compositions and 5 covers. The covers include a fantastic funk version of Toxic (Britney Spears) a bluesy groove version of Funkytown (Lipps, Inc.) one of his favs, Holding Back the Years (Simply Red), a mysterious ballad version of Lovesong (The Cure) and a Latin/ bossa version of That’s the Way of the World (Earth, Wind & Fire).

He has already finished the recording and mastering part in the studio and is shooting for a release in September. He is trying to raise $4,500 in 30 days in order to finish this project. This campaign is his invitation for you to partner with him in accomplishing this goal!

To support this project go to

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dirkk/dirk-k-brand-new-album-project

Smooth Jazz And Books – Smooth Jazz Handbook

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The term ‘Smooth Jazz’ was originally coined by radio executives to describe the then new genre that fused blues, jazz, R&B, funk, rock and pop influences. Smooth Jazz tracks are generally down-tempo instrumentals favoring melody and smooth grooves over the sophisticated rhythms, faster tempos and long improvisations typical in jazz.

Musicologists would likely trace the origin of what’s known today as ‘Smooth Jazz’ back to a series of three Wes Montgomery records produced by Creed Taylor in the late 60’s. All three were very commercially successful, which enticed many other accomplished musicians of that era to release records in the format including Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, George Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Bob James, David Sanborn, Grover Washington Jr, Herb Alpert, Al Jarreau and Chuck Mangione.

Guitarists Larry Carlton, Stanley Jordan, Earl Klugh, Chuck Loeb, Kevin Eubanks, Michael Landau, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour and many other contemporary guitarists have also all enjoyed critical acclaim and much commercial success from their Smooth Jazz projects.

One other extraordinarily talented guitarist of note, Paul Brown started his music career as a producer and engineer. He earned two Grammy Awards and an impressive string 40+ number one hits. Paul has worked on projects with George Benson, Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Norman Brown, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Boney James, and many, many other top artists and musicians. With such extensive experience as a producer, engineer AND guitar player, who better than Paul to guide you through the Smooth Jazz Handbook?!

Paul organized the Smooth Jazz Handbook into two sections. In the first section, Paul presents what he considers to be the 12 guiding musical principles of Smooth Jazz for guitarists. In the second section, Paul steps you through six soloing studies, which put all of those principles to work, in a musical context, over a variety of rhythm tracks (top notch tracks!)

Paul demonstrates all of the musical examples and then breaks them down in detail. All of the soloing studies are tabbed out and notated, plus you’ll get Guitar Pro files as well (Windows & Mac compatible). You’ll also get all of the rhythm tracks to work with on your own.

No tedious theory or boring exercises to struggle through — you’ll play your way through Paul Brown’s Smooth Jazz Handbook and have a blast doing it.

Grab your guitar. The smooth groove is just a click away…

http://truefire.com/jazz-guitar-lessons/smooth-jazz-handbook/

Smooth Jazz And Books – Benson: The Autobiography

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This summer will see the release of  Benson: The Autobiography.

Benson: The Autobiography follows Lil’ Georgie Benson from his remarkable rise from the ghettos of Pittsburgh to the stages of Dubai, and everywhere in between.

George’s tales of scuffling on the road with jazz legend Brother Jack McDuff, navigating his way through the recording studio with Miles Davis, and emerging as the first true (and truly successful) jazz/soul crossover artist will enthrall devotees of both music history and pop culture.

This long-awaited book allows readers to meet one of the most beloved, prolific, and bestselling musicians of any era.

You can pre-order the book from Amazon here.

Italian Saxophonist Rocco Ventrella – Another Time

Italian Saxophonist Rocco Ventrella announces his new CD Project “Another Time”.

Hello Jazz Fans and my precious Friends. This is Saxophonist Rocco Ventrella coming to you for Bari Italy. I am in the midst of recording my new CD “Another Time”. I am working with LA super producer and top Billboard Artist Greg Manning of Los Angeles. I am excited to say this is my best work ever and I can’t wait to share this labor of love with you all.

You can be a part of this exciting project by donating here at Indiegogo.com and help me make this dream a reality.

Thanks so much for being part of my musical family and helping me share my new music with the world.

Ciao and much love,

Rocco Ventrella

If you want to buy the new CD and support Rocco visit this website.

Kirk Whalum – The blessed Sax Player

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Soulful, passionate, stirring…these are the words most often used to describe Kirk’s music. Forged from his Memphis, (TN) gospel roots and his 1980‘s initiation into the thriving Houston, TX nightclub scene, Kirk’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his. The 80’s were highlighted by Kirk’s stepping out of his blossoming sideman role and forming his own band. It was there that Kirk ultimately developed both his “voice” and songwriting in the crucible of the local club scene––especially at a rooftop club called Cody’s. It was also in Houston where jazz pianist Bob James “discovered” him and brought him on tour, which led to five successful albums with Columbia Records, including Cache, Kirk’s first #1 album. As well, Kirk and Bob received a Grammy nomination for their collaboration album, Joined at the Hip. After moving to Los Angeles, Kirk became an in demand session player for top artists like, Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones and most notably, Whitney Houston, amongst many others. It’s his sax heard on the mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.” Kirk soon followed that career high point with his phenomenal hit album released on Warner Bros. Records, For You, perhaps the most successful of over 25 solo recordings to date; others include his eclectic Gospel According to Jazz series, (Chapters 1, 2 and 3).

An ordained minister, Kirk has earned his Masters of Art in Religion. It’s in this spirit that he serves his community, frequently performing at nursing homes, schools and missions. There is also his daily fifteen minute podcast, Bible In Your Ear (BIYE), in which he invites you to listen along as he reads through the Bible in a year. In addition to music and ministry, Kirk has a passion to educate young, aspiring musicians and as such he currently serves as Chief Creative Officer of the STAX Music Academy and the STAX Museum of American Soul Music in his hometown of Memphis, TN.

Kirk is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence including three Dove Award nominations, an NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards-Gospel music’s highest honor. An eleven time Grammy nominee, Kirk won his first Grammy award for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do”-featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside life-long friend and gifted writer, Jerry Peters.

His latest release (on Mack Ave. Records) is perhaps his most ambitious to date. On Romance Language Kirk pays homage to the much revered 1963 ballads album, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Kirk’s release features the brilliant and lush vocals of his brother Kevin. As the original recording is only six songs, Kirk rounds out this album with his romantic interpretations of some modern day ballads such as Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count,” which features the dulcet voice of his 83 year old uncle, Peanuts Whalum.

In addition, Kirk is very proud that Romance Language is the first album produced in LiveAudio, a 3D listening experience for the JAMBOX wireless speaker.

In a career spanning decades, Kirk has a sound that is uniquely his; it is a sound that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener.

Kirk Whalum published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Napa Valley Jazz Getaway

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Single-day tickets went on sale today for the star-studded concerts taking place June 12-15, 2014 as part of the third annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a wine and jazz festival set in scenic California Wine Country. Available at TicketFly (www.TicketFly.com), tickets are priced at $99 apiece except for the June 13show, which cost $129 each and includes entry to an exclusive The GRAMMY® Foundation benefit wine reception and silent auction. A limited number of discount tickets for each concert are available to Napa residents.

Multiday ticket sales for the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway founded and directed by contemporary jazz-R&B instrumentalist Brian Culbertson have been robust with the five-day VIP Package selling out in one week when they went on sale last October. Until now, tickets for the 2014 festival have only been available in four-day Gold Packages and two-day Silver Packages, which are being scooped up voraciously by fans from all over the world that will gather in Napa to enjoy the full schedule of concerts starring A-list contemporary jazz, funk and R&B artists; daily Wine Down at The Westin wine tastings held at the official Getaway host hotel, The Westin Napa Verasa; a Cigar Event offering cigars and a performance by saxophonist Michael Lington; and “Another Long Night Out” Late Night Hangs. Single-day tickets are popular with nearby Bay Area residents as well as Napa locals, the latter of which are eligible to receive a $20 discount per ticket by using an access code provided to local businesses and via a targeted email sent by the Napa/Yountville Chamber of Commerce.

After a pair of sold-out opening night dinner concerts happening simultaneously on June 11, Napa Valley Jazz Getaway will stage four days of concerts with the June 12 & 13 shows taking place at The Lincoln Theater and the June 14 & 15 shows to be held on the majestic grounds of the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards. The Thursday night lineup showcases the Legends of Jazz featuring Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour and Earl Klugh with special guest Eric Marienthal and more. Friday Night Funk Night headlines The Ohio Players and special guest comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans. The weekend concerts move outdoors with Saturday spotlighting Brian Culbertson & Friends, Morris Day & The Time, Average White Band and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Eric Benét, Mavis Staples, Eric Darius and Jazz in Pink featuring Gail Jhonson, Althea Rene and Karen Briggs fill the marquee on the final day of the 2014 Getaway.

A boundless creative force, showman, multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter responsible for 26 No. 1 hits, Culbertson will release his 14th album, “Another Long Night Out,” on February 25. He will be in Napa on February 27 to perform a short set at a private event for invited tastemakers to celebrate the release of the contemporary jazz record featuring an all-star cast and uncork his new custom-crafted wine, Culbertson Pinot Noir, which he personally blended with Jamieson Ranch Vineyards’ winemaker Nori Nakamura.

Four-day Gold Packages ($499) and two-day Silver Packages ($229) remain available through the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway website (www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway.me).

Smooth Jazz And Printed Medium – Jazz Inside Magazine

 

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Keyboardist, Composer, Producer Jason Miles – is featured in the December 2013 issue of Jazz Inside Magazine (print and digital). With a long list of album and artist credits, Jason discusses the serendipitous events that led to his many associations, his Bebop and mainstream jazz background, and the innovative soundscapes he contributed to recordings by Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Michael Brecker, The Crusaders, Ruben Blades, Freddy Cole, George Benson, Joe Sample, Herb Alpert., Vanessa Williams, Grover Washington Jr. and others.

This expanded 80-page issue of Jazz Inside Magazine also includes a feature on bassist Mark Dresser. The new Jazz Outside section, guided by Associate Publisher, Nora McCarthy, includes features on drummer William Hooker, Amina Claudine Myers, Andrew Lamb, Giuseppe Logan, and Lucian Ban. This issue also includes an expanded 25-page CD Review section, and a comprehensive calendar of hundreds of clubs, concert and event listings.

For more information visit http://jazzinsidemagazine.com/publications/guide.

Brian Culbertson – The Christmas Song

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With the holiday season on his mind, contemporary jazz-R&B star Brian Culbertson recently took a break from recording his forthcoming “Another Long Night Out” album, sat down at the Mason & Hamlin grand piano in his studio and played a stark, emotionally stirring rendition of “The Christmas Song.” Enjoying his newfound freedoms as an independent recording artist, Culbertson recorded the seasonal classic and put it on iTunes (http://bit.ly/BCChristmasSong), Amazon (http://bit.ly/bcChristmasSong)  and other major digital outlets.

“It is a solo piano piece of an arrangement I did many years ago. I have performed it on my Christmas tours, but had never recorded it until recently,” said Culbertson of the heartfelt, contemplative beauty. “Being able to spontaneously record and then swiftly release something new for fans is one of the energizing perks of the new music industry.”

Culbertson’s first full-length indie release and 14th album overall, “Another Long Night Out” is slated for release in late February. The project is a reimaging of his debut album, “Long Night Out,” which will mark its 20th anniversary in February. Culbertson, a multi-instrumentalist who wrote the eleven songs and played most of the instruments on the original album that he recorded in his crowded Chicago apartment while he was a 20-year-old student at DePaul University, is producing the set featuring performances by Lee Ritenour, Russ Freeman, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Candy Dulfer, Eric Marienthal, Chuck Loeb, Steve Lukather and Paul Jackson Jr. along with a stellar collective of contemporary jazz musicians and a 33-piece orchestra playing arrangements by David Benoit.

Additional information about Culbertson, who will bring in the New Year on stage with his band at a New Year’s Eve Gala at the Hyatt Regency in Huntingdon Beach, Calif., is available at www.BrianCulbertson.me.

Saxophonist Jarez Hits the Road with Coolio

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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.

Kim Waters – The Saxiest Saxman

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With the release of his 1989 debut album, Sweet and Saxy, saxophonist-band leader-composer-arranger-producer KIM WATERS was instantly established among the premier Urban Jazz hit makers. Now, after over two decades as a music superstar with 16 Top Ten and 14 #1 singles, 4 #1 CDs and sales in excess of a million album units, Kim again elevates his already luminous career profile to an even higher pinnacle with MY LOVES, his 19th solo album and major label debut.

Resplendent with all the KIM WATERS signature in-the-pocket grooves, seductive melodies, virtuoso improvisations, state-of-the-art production and inspired contributions from his musicians and guest vocalists, MY LOVES, with an even deeper focus on the distinctly rich Urban Music mother-lode, is a soulful, 11-track hymnal in praise of romance – always the essential emotional subtext of any KIM WATERS album – in all its varied shadings, hues, depths, grandeur, yearnings and joyous fulfillments.

Imagine an evening-long party where two guests, meeting for the first time, realize they’ve found their forever partners. MY LOVES compellingly portrays the next once-in-a-lifetime hours with a most inviting “It’s a Party in Here,” one of Kim’s very best jazz creations to date. The spell has been cast, and next up is “I Wanna Love You,” co-written by Kim, guest vocalist Glen Jones and destined to become a soul power-ballad classic beyond this first 2013 appearance. And there are few moments ever better than “Watching the Sunset” with your soul-mate in a shimmering musical mood of exquisite, the best is yet to come promise.

Then it’s “High Steppin’” back to the party as your host and groovemeister KIM WATERS keeps the good-time vibe going big time with the very singular brewing of hot and cool Waters jazz jams. The expressive title song is dedicated to all lovers new-found and life-long, and especially to Kim’s special loves, Waters daughters Kimberly and Kayla (who is a 2013 Howard University Summa cum laude graduate!).

Next, the mood turns mellow with “Flamenco Nights,” featuring Kim’s sensuous sax lines embraced by a sumptuous orchestral ambiance with lush harmonies and insinuating rhythms followed by ”My Love is All I Have to Give,” a toast from our host to all his friends and one of Kim’s strongest power-ballad declarations. Then once again, it’s dance time with a scintillating mix of beats, hooks, lines and singer (Kim’s spellbinding solo saxophone) to introduce “The Groove Sensation.”

Another of Kim’s special loves, his wife Dana Pope, brings her vocal talents and individual artistry to the classic soul anthem “Loving You” in a memorable interpretation sure to remain in the mind and heart for all the “Sunny Days” and star-filled moonlight evenings of “Red Wine and You” and the everlasting love all KIM WATERS albums celebrate.

In truth, one look at the titles of his hit albums from only the past decade proves that KIM WATERS knows quite a lot about romance and love with such stellar achievements as Love’s Melody, One Special Moment, From The Heart, Someone to Love You, In the Name of Love, All For Love, You Are My Lady and Love Stories, his classic 2010 collection. Inspired by such jazz icons as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Paul Desmond and Cannonball Adderley, Kim was born into a musical family. The Maryland native picked up his first instrument, the violin, at the age of eight. “That didn’t go over well with the fellas,” says Waters, who later found his true calling on the alto and soprano saxophones at age 13. Shortly afterwards he began playing in a band with his brothers, James (who he still performs with) and Eric, and his old friend, jazz piano legend Cyrus Chestnut. Over the years, KIM WATERS has shared stages with many of the best including Ray Charles, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Phyllis Hyman, Gerald Albright and Grover Washington, Jr. to name a very few. Waters recently relocated to Elk Grove, California from his longtime Baltimore area home.

MY LOVES is sure to further captivate all KIM WATERS fans and earn him innumerable new ones as well again affirming that he has rightfully been acclaimed The #1 Urban Jazz Saxophonist and is here to stay! In this regard, Kim once stated, “I enjoy helping others and it is my hope that my music in some way brings positivity to the world. I believe that the world cannot live without new music – I know I can’t!”

Kim Waters published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.