Valeriy Stepanov – Happy People

Widely recognized within the genre as a Smooth Jazz highlight of 2017, ‘New Beginnings’ by multi-instrumentalist Valeriy Stepanov not only blasted a path to #1 on the Amazon US chart of best-selling Jazz albums but also proved to be a project that is entirely radio ready. Indeed having already delivered the captivating single ‘Tonight’, the next track headed to the airwaves is the high octane ‘Happy People’. It finds Stepanov really tearing it up on keys (& drums) while the addition of cello from Vsevolod Guzov, coupled with a delicious splash of synth horns, are production masterstrokes that serve as the icing on a very tasty cake.

Prior to ‘New Beginnings’ Stepanov was best known as a YouTube sensation who, to date, can boast over three and a half million Internet views. He enjoys such an online profile that musicians around the world are clamoring to both cover and rework his music. Not only that, he has been recognized as having the ability to traverse the entire spectrum of Jazz, from his Smooth Jazz sensibilities, that are very much the province of ‘New Beginnings’, through to his own brand of fusion that can accurately be described as Chick Corea meets Jeff Lorber.

The story of Valeriy Stepanov, who grew up in Irkutsk, Siberia, close to the Mongolian border, is very much a story of today. He is living proof that in today’s connected world an Internet presence combined with an abundance of talent can propel a performer from the most unlikely of locations into the global spotlight. In fact the original ‘Russian’ title of ‘Happy People’ is  Irkutskrasnoyarsk’, the blending of the names of the two cities where Valeriy and Vsevolod grew up as childhood friends.

What makes Valeriy stand out from the crowd is the superb formula he has for rhythm and melody, his unbounded energy and a technique that is solidly grounded in music theory. ‘New Beginnings’ is a magnificent showcase for his artistry, writing skills, and production know-how, an inspired body of work and an important step on his journey to musical stardom. ‘Happy People’ will be Going for Adds on 01/29/2018

Advertisements

Darryl Williams – Do You Remember

 

It took ten years for urban-jazz bass player Darryl Williams to write, record and release “Here to Stay,” his Billboard top 10 single and the title track to his second album. This week’s release of the follow-up single, “Do You Remember,” proves that he doesn’t plan to go away anytime soon. Plucking rubbery basslines on piccolo and electric basses on the slick jazz-funk energizer that he wrote and produced, Williams is joined on the dancefloor filler by chart-toppers Michael Lington (saxophone) and Adam Hawley (guitarist).

Williams’ return to center stage as a frontman with the “Here to Stay” set resulted in a 2017 Best

New Artist nomination from the Smooth Jazz Network. The first-call bassman calls the collection that he produced with sax powerhouse Euge Groove “a labor of love,” featuring eight of his hand-penned originals along with a pair of remakes that have personal meaning to the San Diego native who currently resides in Temecula. A stellar list of his regular employers were quick to return the favor by making guest appearances on “Here to Stay,” including Groove, who ignites a pair of tunes including the title cut, two-time Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Paul Brown, jazz-funk keyboard pioneer Jeff Lorber, saxmen Marcus Anderson and Elan Trotman, and keyboardists Jonathan Fritzen, Greg Manning and Scott Wilkie. The disc’s lone vocal number, a faithful rendering of The Emotions’ “Don’t Ask My Neighbors,” is soul kissed by R&B crooner Ashling Cole. Williams remembers his late mentor, Carl Evans Jr., by revamping the former Fattburger leader’s sweetly redolent “The Doctor,” which is graced by Michael Paolo’s caressing soprano sax.

“While to some people, ‘labor of love’ is an overused cliché, it certainly applies to ‘Here to Stay.’ I began writing songs for the collection in 2007 before moving my family to Temecula from Las Vegas. The compositions were inspired by different experiences we went through in our journey throughout that period. It was an important and formative time in my career as well. That’s when I first started playing in Euge’s (Groove) band and did a tour with Jeff (Lorber) a couple years later. In between is when my very good friend and mentor Carl (Evans Jr.) passed, which was devastating. ‘Do You Remember’ was one of the last songs I wrote for the record and it was inspired by reflecting on how far I’ve come from growing up as a kid in Los Angeles and San Diego to playing in a funk band with my brother as a teenager. It took me ten years to finish this album and while it takes me back in time, the reaction from fans, radio and reviewers has me looking forward with excitement. I couldn’t be more proud of this album,” said Williams.

Williams was a teenager when he opened for R&B acts Lakeside and Al Green along with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. After studying jazz at San Diego State University, Williams went from regular gigs backing many of San Diego’s most prominent homegrown talent to the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip where he accompanied such nationally-renowned headliners as Clint Holmes, Angela Bofill, Tevin Campbell, Howard Hewett and Keith Washington, and did a road stint with Chaka Khan. After moving back to California in 2008, Williams dropped his debut album, “That Was Then,” garnering praise from JazzTimes and national airplay on SiriusXM. He has become a fixture on the smooth/contemporary jazz scene where he has shared the stage with the genre’s heavy hitters: Richard Elliot, Peter White, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, Brenda Russell, Darren Rahn, Jessy J, Everette Harp and Jeff Kashiwa. He has also recorded with Jackiem Joyner, Blake Aaron, Nils Jiptner, U-Nam and Kay-Ta Matsuno.

Source: Great Scott Productions