BillyRay Sheppard – Silk

San Antonio saxman BillyRay Sheppard‘s debut album Silk is out now on the Big Bib Entertainment label!

The album was co-written and produced by Smooth Jazz hitmaker Steve Oliver. Sheppard’s new single/title track “Silk” is the follow up to 2018’s debut single, “Heels and Pearls”.

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”

– Charlie Parker (quote taken from Sheppard’s website)

Listen to Silk on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Nicholas Cole – Sugar

Keyboardist Nicholas Cole has surprised the smooth jazz community with his solo albums A Journey of One (2010) and Endless Possibilities (2012).

Meanwhile this wunderkind can be found on albums of well-known musicians such as Brian Simpson (Just What You Need), Steve Cole (Pulse), Julian Vaughn (Breakthrough, Limitless), Lebron (Shades), Elisabeth Mis (Breakaway), Lin Rountree (Serendipitous, Soulfunky), Jeff Kashiwa (Let It Ride) or Marcus Anderson (Style Meets Substance).

While his reputation as a studio musician is already phenomenal, the insiders are waiting for the breakthrough as a live musician. His fame rises by his third album Night Sessions (2015).

From his long awaited forthcoming album The Weekend, keyboardist/producer Nicholas Cole delivers this highly infectious, pop infused visceral sweet, Sugar, the first radio single now playing at Smooth Jazz Buzz.

Listen to Sugar on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Rhythm Jets – Spice Island

Vance Kelly and the Rhythm Jets have once again teamed up with renowned composer/arranger/producer Trammell Starks on their new single, “Spice Island”.

The dynamic new single features bandleader Vance Kelly on alto sax, Sam Sims (Boney James, Michael Jackson, Dave Koz) on bass, the virtuoso Chris Blackwell on guitars, Rafael Periera on percussion, Trammell Starks on keyboards and the incomparable Lil John Roberts (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder) on drums.

Listen to Spice Island on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Jazmin Ghent – Work Wit It

Jazmin Ghent is among the hottest up&coming national Smooth Jazz artists today. Jazmin Ghent’s The Story of Jaz is of astonishing complexity and maturity of a musical personality that has grown up in young years. The smooth jazz genre can be grateful for such talents. From her new album The Story Of Jaz comes the sexy songstress’ new single, “Work Wit It”. It’s the follow-up to Ghent’s Top 5 Billboard hit, “Heat”.

Written by Jazmin Ghent, produced by Ron Jenkins and recorded by Euge Groove at ‘The Groove House’, “Work Wit It” features Jazmin’s signature rich and soulful tone.

Listen to Work Wit It on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Paul Brown – Blues For Jeff

Even as he’s scored countless #1 hits as the producer of the most popular and influential performers in the genre, Paul Brown, over the past decade plus as a solo artist, has been pushing the needle towards a powerhouse fusion of Smooth Jazz and Blues.

One of the best stories told on Uptown Blues is from behind the scenes. The tightly funky, easy struttin’ new single “Blues For Jeff” isn’t simply a tribute to the late guitarist (and friend) Jeff Golub. Brown originally wrote it for Golub, but unfortunately Jeff never had the opportunity to record it. Golub was truly the originator of the Uptown Blues vibe that Brown celebrates on “Blues For Jeff”.

“Jeff had a huge influence on me as an artist. I went to see him in concert and was blown away by his energy on stage. He played so blusey, I thought…WOW! He, more than any other friend or fellow artist, told me to put out records as a guitarist. I took his advice and here we are today. I wrote this song for him” – Paul Brown

Listen to Blues For Jeff on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Call Me Saxy – Havana

A musical trendsetter with nine (yes nine) Top30 Billboard hits to his name writer, producer and guitarist extraordinaire Emmanuel “U-Nam” Abiteboul continues to invigorate the world of smooth jazz with an approach that is both innovative and daring.  A string of solo albums, with another planned for February of this year, plus side projects such as the critically acclaimed Groove Ltd. (via which he released the hugely successful “First Class”) have marked him out as a perennial trend setter and now, brand new for 2019, he is all set to do it again with “Call Me Saxy”.

This cool collaboration that is due for release on the Skytown Records label in the last quarter of 2019 finds him teaming with an exciting all female line-up sax players including his latest protégé Nikki Sax and it is Nikki who features with U-Nam on “Havana”, the first single from the album to be serviced to radio.

The duos’ sumptuous reworking of the song that in 2017 was a hit for Cuban-American vocalist Camila Cabello is a triumph for U-Nam’s production skills. Gone is the rap that on the original was provided by Young Thug and in its place is the sophisticated interplay, underscored with a smooth Latin lilt, which showcases to perfection the artistry of Nikki on sax and U-Nam on guitar.

All this points to a meteoric rise for Nikki, a classically trained musician, who was raised and educated in the Ukraine and at age twenty-one, has already performed in India, Turkey, Thailand, Jordan and extensively within her home country. Indeed with looks that are stunning, talent to burn and a newly signed recording contract with Skytown Records the stage seems set for Nikki Sax to be the next big thing in sax driven smooth jazz.

“Havana” is the first single to be taken from U-Nam’s “Call Me Saxy” project and will be going for adds January 28, 2019.

Listen to Havana on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 23/3).

Scott Allman – Elevated

Chicago-based keyboardist Scott Allman comes out of the gate with his third contemporary jazz project, “ELEVATED”. Scott’s upbeat melodies and synth-backed themes are captured in nine brand new songs prepared to raise you to new heights! Plus, a special treat is Scott’s adaptation of the well-known pop-song “Sweet Freedom” made popular in 1986 by Michael McDonald. Working with celebrated producer Darren Rahn, (who also appears on the record) Scott brings a host of featured guests to the table including sax man Jeff Kashiwa, guitar virtuoso Allen Hinds, and Grammy-winning bassist Mel Brown.
For fans of sophisticated contemporary jazz with a piano flair, “ELEVATED” is sure to please.
Listen to Elevated on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 22/3).