LaShawn D. Gary – Line Brothers

LaShawn D. Gary cover art

LaShawn D. Gary – Emmy Award Winning Producer, Composer, Smooth Jazz Artist, Arranger, and Pianist is the Executive Director for the Michigan Fine Arts Institute. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan and received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Instrumental Music Education from Southern University A&M College where he also served as the Band Captain of the world renowned “Human Jukebox” Marching Band. He earned a Master’s of Music Education Degree from the University of Louisville.

LaShawn is currently on staff as a composer for the new television mini- series “Terror Lake Drive” featuring Malik Yoba, Shannon Kane and Lamman Rucker. He is also completing his second album scheduled for release in September of 2021. LaShawn has toured professionally as a pianist with jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield and the late jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste.

LaShawn has worked as a composer/arranger in commercial advertisement with Burrell Communications, Global Hue and Yessian Music. His musical talents were displayed on television in the production of the Toyota Avalon “Son-in-Law” commercial, the introductory advertisement of the Ford Fiesta, Xfinity “Unplug” Commercial and the Happy’s Pizza Jingle featuring the Four Tops. LaShawn was the Choir Director for the McDonald’s 365 Black Awards directing the Southern University Gospel Choir with Erica Campbell and the Louisiana Leadership Institute Drumline performance with American Idol winner, singer, and actress Jordan Sparks.

LaShawn worked with Grammy Award winning singer Patti Austin, Greg Phillinganes, and Sanchez Harley as the Assistant Choir Director for the Charles H. Wright Museum 50th Anniversary Celebration “Oh Freedom”. In 2015, LaShawn released his debut album, “Love, Peace, and Praise.” Two singles, “Now Is the Time” and “Love, Peace, and Praise” charted on iHeart Radio and SmoothJazz.com in 2019 and 2020. The decade ended as the Emmy Award winning producer and fellow producing partners, Bill Bowen and Mike Ellison released “Detroit: One Nation Under A Groove”, a YouTube video featuring the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences Choir which received over a million views in the first month. The team was also awarded two Detroit Music Awards for “Outstanding Music Video” and “Outstanding Urban Recording”.

LaShawn is a music educator with Southfield Public Schools and serves as the Director of Music at Oak Grove AME Church. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Phi Mu Alpha Professional Music Fraternity, The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He is married to Cherida D. Gary and together they have two children Nigel and Niyah.

Gary’s new single “Line Brothers” features two of his Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Line Brothers (Donald Edwards – drums; Roland Guerin – bass), along with percussionist Romel Alexander. We think LaShawn’s talent on piano is showcased on “Line Brothers”.

Listen to Line Brothers on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Michael Lington – Up All Night

Michael Lington Alone Together cover art

Alone Together – the album of Duets Features Dave Koz, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Kenny Lattimore, Chris Walker, Sy Smith, Nick Colionne, Billy Dean, Dorian Holley and Javier Colon.

What do you do when you can’t hit the road in 2020? You turn your home studio into a premiere virtual performance destination with a popular ongoing series of weekly shows on the StageIt Platform, invite your musical friends to be your guests, record all the performances, and a year later release an extraordinary album of duets Alone Together.

States Michael: “Alone Together is a unique project that presented itself in many shapes and forms. When the pandemic started and all my touring was postponed indefinitely, I knew I needed to continue creating music for my own well-being. That’s when I started doing my virtual shows from my home studio on StageIt. A few shows in I started inviting special guests to perform with me, but as technology wasn’t allowing for ‘live’ duets we did it literally ‘alone together’ from separate locations as a pre-record. The most exhilarating part was that my fellow artists that I invited all said yes immediately – and the same goes for the selections I made for this album.”

When it came time to stream the duets, technical challenges made it impossible to do them live. So for each duet, Lington and each artist created pre-recorded videos, doing one take from top to bottom. He mixed the music and then sent it all to a video editor to synch it up – and the result is pure sonic and split screen visual magic. As Lington says in his liner notes, “What ended up happening was incredible. We put together performances that were so real, heartfelt and authentic that it became apparent we were creating something special. We captured a spirit and vibe beyond anything I could have imagined. It’s not about being perfect but all about the heart and soul. It’s exciting to now share that magic again on Alone Together.

Opening with a rousing version of “Baker Street” (the first single released Feb. 19) featuring Javier Colon (from Heat), the set includes “Everything Must Change” feat. Chris Walker (Everything Must Change), “Gonna Love You Tonight” feat. Kenny Lattimore (Soul Appeal), “My Love” feat. Dave Koz (Stay With Me), “Some Kinda Way feat. Sy Smith (Second Nature), “Slick” feat. Brian Culbertson (Second Nature), “So Very Hard to Go” feat. Dorian Holley (Silver Lining), “Road Trip” (feat. Nick Colionne) (Pure) and “You’ve Got a Friend” feat. Billy Dean (A Song For You). Lington also fires up a dynamic horn conversation with superstar saxman Boney James on the project’s new single, Boney’s #1 hit “Up All Night.”

And last, but certainly not least, in 2020 Michael became a Dad to son Landon, his first child and they were able to be Alone Together, too!

Taken from the album Alone Together is the new single Up All Night.

Listen to Up All Night on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Michael Broening – Shine a Light

Michael Broening - Shine A Light Cover

After two decades of non-stop hit making as a writer/producer for R&B/jazz legends and smooth jazz icons and upstarts, multi-talented veteran keyboardist/composer Michael Broening is ready to “Shine a Light” on a more personal side of his artistry with the highly anticipated release of his debut single as an artist on June 14.

Showcasing his vibrant acoustic piano over a hipster pocket groove and colorful synth textures, “Shine a Light” – featuring bassist Mel Brown and the song’s co-writer, rhythm guitarist Thano Sahnas – offers a master class in picture perfect elegantly played adventurous urban jazz/funk, laying the foundation for not only Broening’s upcoming debut smooth jazz album but a dynamic new chapter in his illustrious, multi-faceted career.

Since 2006, Broening has scored 11 #1 airplay hits, including the Grammy-winning “Mornin’” with George Benson and Al Jarreau, four with Cindy Bradley and others for Althea Rene, Lin Rountree, Kayla Waters and Randy Scott. He has also written or co-written and produced hits for saxophonists Marion Meadows, Michael Lington and Lebron, guitarists Tim Bowman and Steve Oliver, keyboardist Brian Simpson and vocalist and labelmate Catie Waters.

Over the years, Broening penned numerous songs he felt would sound great with a piano lead but wouldn’t be quite right for the vibes of his other artists. After years of keeping crazy-busy in the service of other artists, with the encouragement of Jeff Lunt and Les Cutmore of Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm, he felt now was the time to develop some of these tracks and launch his long in the making solo career.

“I think part of the reason I’ve lasted so long working behind the scenes is that I always felt that I was happy in that role and never felt like I was missing anything,” says Broening, whose journey in instrumental music began by forming the popular rock-jazz band Turning Point with Sahnas and Sahnas’ brother Demitri in the early 90s right after graduating from Arizona State University.

“When I’d hear a song I wrote and produced for one of my artists on Watercolors or saw that someone had hit #1, I shared in the joy of that achievement, but for a long time didn’t have the yearning for being out in front and having my name be better known by fans of this music. I suppose along the way, when I was with Turning Point or working early on with Marion that I would one day become a solo artist, but I got so caught up in the cycle of writing a song and giving it to other artists that I set those thoughts aside for a long time. I joke that up till now I’ve been the 40-year-old virgin of smooth jazz – it just never happened!”

Broening cites Randy Scott’s #1 Billboard chart success with “Joyride,” the track he produced in 2020 for the veteran saxophonist, as further inspiration for his decision to focus on a solo project. “I’m really proud of the work I did with Randy,” he says. “He’s been dedicating his passion for this for a long time, and then out of the blue he’s got a huge hit that everyone’s listening to and talking about. You never know where the next hit’s coming from. If you’ve got a melody you can’t get out of your head, that’s where the magic is.”

Listen to Shine a Light on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Nathan Brown – This Place Hotel

a2757142574_2

After experimenting with several instruments during his childhood and discovering that members of the opposite sex aren’t interested in guys who play baritone horn, Nathan Brown decided to take up electric bass. He began playing seriously at the age of 15, and has been tearing up the Detroit and L.A. music scenes ever since with his distinct brand of intelligent, funky, jazz-infused bass. Nathan currently performs as a member of the Scott Wilkie Band and as a session player for various other artists in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Nathan earned an A.A. in music from Henry Ford College, but attributes some of the best learning in his perpetual musical education to the time he spent in the Detroit music scene. It was in Detroit that Nathan met flutist Alexander Zonjic. As a member of Zonjic’s band from 1986-1993, he performed with some of the world’s most eminent jazz artists, including Bob James, Earl Klugh, and Kirk Whalum. In 1993, Nathan moved to southern California and eventually hooked up with Detroit buddies Scott Wilkie (the Scott Wilkie Band) and Randy Jacobs (Boneshakers).

The new single by Nathan Brown is a cover of the classic hit by the Jacksons. Nathan comments: “The is a song by my favorite group, The Jacksons, featuring my favorite artist, Michael Jackson. I’ve always loved the bass line to this song. I started recording it some years ago to feature Joel Scott, who passed away before we finished. When we revisited it, Jeff McCullough suggested I play the lead on bass. I hope you enjoy it!”

The single features Nathan Brown (bass), Jason Weber (sax), Patrick Yandall (guitar), Richard Sellars (drums), Jeff McCullough (production, keys, percussion), and Joel Scott (keys). Available on all major platforms.

Listen to This Place Hotel on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Andrew Neu & Rob Zinn – A To Z

Andrew Neu & Rob Zinn cover art-min

From Miles and Coltrane to the Brecker Brothers, the pairing of sax and trumpet defines great jazz and funk. Billboard artists Andrew Neu and Rob Zinn continue that tradition performing as A2Z. Teaming up with hitmaking producers like Adam Hawley and an all star rhythm section, A To Z is their first collaborative single. Tearing a page from great horn bands, the song sizzles from start to finish with Andrew and Rob bringing their unique style and signature horn licks.

Andrew has released 5 albums and toured with Bobby Caldwell, Diane Schuur, Smokey Robinson and Norman Brown. Rob is releasing album #3 in 2022 and has toured with Paul Brown.

Nice groove… A To Z covers it all. Great tune, production and playing by all. Andrew Neu has a great tenor sound that is complimented by Rob Zinn’s fitness on the trumpet. Tight rhythm section brings it all home!” -Jeff Kashiwa

Listen to A To Z on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Paul Brown – Deep Into It

Cover Art v3

Longtime urban jazz fans have probably felt a nostalgic sense of déjà vu these past months as the first two singles from Paul Brown’s Ones Upon a Time hit the Billboard Top Ten Smooth Jazz Airplay Chart. The guitarist’s concept of freshly re-imagining as an artist classic radio hits he had produced (mostly) for others led a Richard Elliot fueled revamp of Rick Braun’s “Notorious” to reach #7 and the Brown-Jeff Ryan collaboration on Boney James’ 1995 smash “Nothin’ But Love” to hit #1. Aside from experiencing dynamic new arrangements, the truly fun part of this experience is Brown’s interaction with the different artists he’s vibed with over the years.

There’s no doubt Brown will reach similar heights with his sensual, soulful and ultra-vibey light funk spin through “Deep Into It,” whose original version was the title track to Larry Carlton’s 2001 album and hit #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart. This time, Brown keeps a similar tempo, but fashions a whole new atmosphere and flow by changing out the sax for Braun’s silky, soaring flugelhorn, which breezes along in sparkling musical conversation with the lead guitar and then, with spirited whimsy and improvisational notes to spare, swells on the chorus with a snazzy horn arrangement featuring Lee Thornburg (trumpet, valve trombone) and saxophonist Greg Vail.

Because they’re the focal artists, our ears will no doubt catch Brown’s crackling guitar grace and Braun’s dreamy cool from the get go, but upon repeated listenings, the deeper (pun intended) textures that really drive the track powerfully emerge. Gregg Karukas’ rich, bluesy and subtly simmering keyboard harmonies are the most prominent element, but as with so many of Brown’s best tracks, everything grooves along on the energy of the rhythm section of Roberto Vally (bass), Gorden Campbell (drums) and the legendary Lenny Castro on percussion. These cats form the urban jazz/equivalent of the famed Wrecking Crew, driving the infectious exuberance of so many classics tracked at Brown’s Funky Joint studio. Needless to say, “Deep Into It” deserves a deep dive to fully appreciate its subtleties beyond the hook that will take radio by fire all summer long. – Jonathan Widran

“Deep Into It”

Written by Paul Brown, Larry Carlton & Carl Burnett
Produced & Mixed by Paul Brown

Paul Brown – Guitar
Rick Braun – Flugelhorn
Roberto Vally – Bass
Gregg Karukas – Keys
Gorden Campbell – Drums
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Lee Thornburg – Trumpet & Valve Trombone
Greg Vail – Saxes

Listen to Deep Into It on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 18/5).

Tarik Clark – Soul Surpluss

Tarik Clark cover art

 

Tarik Clark is an embodiment of the old saying, “When it comes from the heart, it reaches the heart”. His style is full of passion. Born and raised in Hannibal, MO, Tarik began playing music at an early age. His fascination with the saxophone started at the age of 5 when he was mesmerized by a saxophonist visiting his church. He began taking clarinet lessons at the age of 8 (once his two front teeth finally came in), and quickly switched to saxophone at the age of 10. Tarik credits his father, Stan “Holy Harp” Clark, who plays a mean harmonica and his mother, Georgia with continuing to challenge him musically, Spiritually, and academically. Clark earned a BS in Engineering Management from the prestigious Missouri University of Science and Technology; however, his true passion is music.

Inspired by players such as Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Najee, and Grover Washington, Jr., Tarik’s passionate playing brings you to your feet with a soulful sound that leaves you crying out to the heavens. Clark serves in the music ministry for his church. He has traveled across the globe, where he has blessed thousands throughout South Africa and Kenya. Recently, Tarik led the Houston Texans in the singing of the National Anthem, and has performed the National Anthem on Opening Night for the Sugar Land Skeeters minor league baseball team. Tarik is a loving family man, who makes his home in Houston with his wife Micale and their two children, Kalel and Camille.

Listen to Soul Surpluss on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Gino Rosaria – Don’t Stop Now

Gino Rosaria cover-art

 

Don’t be fooled by the quiet façade. Pianist Gino Rosaria has an uncommon depth that stems from being a native of culturally diverse Curacao. He possesses a master’s degree in classical music performance while having a love of jazz. Each element helps shape the music he composes, produces and plays as a first-call session musician and sideman. Gino is currently working on his fourth album, dropping later this year. Gino’s first three singles have collecting playlist adds and earned most added status on the Billboard chart. His latest single, “Don’t Stop Now!” speaks for itself.

Gino’s plan is to keep the momentum of climbing the billboard charts. This single features charting saxophonist WaKaNa. Previous records include an array of chart-topping smooth/contemporary jazz artists such as saxophonist s Marcus Anderson and Elan Trotman, drummer Eric Valentine, flautist Althea Rene, multi-horn man and arranger David Mann, Roman Street’s acoustic guitarist Noah Thompson, and electric guitarist Adam Hawley. Rosaria’s compositions are inspired by such collaborations, adventures with his sons, Simon and Elijah, and recognizing that it is time to make his own unique musical statement.

“I knew it was time for me to step out as a solo artist. I’ve been putting it off for a long time and playing with other artists. I have some good material to release to the world. Because of my Caribbean and Latin roots, I think I have something special to offer musically. I don’t know how to explain it except by showing it through my music. My time has come to step out onto that stage, not as a sideman, but as Gino Rosaria, The Pianist,” said Rosaria, who moved to the US from Curaçao in 2003 and resides in Pensacola, Florida.


“Don’t Stop Now!”

Written by :
Gino Rosaria – G-Sharp Enterprises (BMI)
Adam Hawley – MBF Entertainment (ASCAP)
Keith McKelley – Keith Mac-Publishing (ASCAP)


Piano: Gino Rosaria
Sax: Wakana
Guitar and Sequencing: Adam Hawley
Drums: Eric Valentine

Listen to Don’t Stop Now! on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Marhid – Sensibility

 

COVER-SINGLE-MARHID-Sensibility

With a progressive, avant-garde and multifaceted approach to urban jazz, the veteran composer and guitarist David Margam and the multifaceted producer and keyboardist Sergio Hidalgo merge their sound, although the main objective of the new project is to consolidate their own identity in a new instrumental era of music. Modern where they leave the doors open on the way to urban jazz funk.

MARHID is the combination of the acronym of the artists MAR (Margam) & HID (Hidalgo), the reunion of two great friends, musicians and producers passionate about Contemporary Jazz that destiny has reunited during the pandemic in which they unify and merge his creativity and experience with Guitar and Keyboard instruments respectively.

Coincidentally, MARHID translated into Arabic means “Cradle” and represents the birth of a new musical stage for both artists that begins with the presentation of the first debut single “Sensibility” inspired by the inherent and inherent capacity of any living being to perceive sensations and as responders. to small stimuli or excitements through the power of music.

“Sensibility” debut single preview of his first album scheduled for this year 2021 of this fruitful project in which the media and radio stations around the world already predict a promising future in the Smooth Jazz scene internationally.

Listen to Sensibility on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Ragan Whiteside – Off The Cuff

Ragan Whiteside cover art

Classically trained Soul Jazz flautist, vocalist, and composer Ragan Whiteside is at it again with her latest release, “Off The Cuff”, poised to continue her streak of 6 consecutive Billboard Top 10 Hits: “JJ’s Strut”, “Reminiscing”, “Jam It”, “Early Arrival”, “See You At The Get Down”, “and Billboard #1 and Smooth Jazz Network’s song of the year “Corey’s Bop,” which made Ragan the first female flautist to hold the #1 spot on 3 major smooth jazz charts simultaneously. For the second consecutive year, Ragan is also Billboard’s top female Smooth Jazz Songs Chart artist of the year. In the male-dominated genre in which only three females made it into the year-end top 10, Whiteside came in at No. 5 for 2020. The previous year, the Atlanta-based musician-songwriter checked in at No. 3.

As any composer will tell you, some songs take months to develop while other songs seem to write themselves. It’s exciting and inspiring to work on one of those songs that seem to sense its own rhythm and feel-good vibes and just comes alive. “Off The Cuff” takes the listener on a journey from “feel good” to “feel great”, whether they are on that first climb in spin class or the last mile of a long road tip.

She has made the flute an integral part of this format,” said veteran sax player Walter Beasley of her work, “Huge!

Listen to Off The Cuff on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Mark Jaimes – Evenin’

Over the past few years, as longtime Simply Red guitarist Mark Jaimes was honing his vibe and writing and recording tracks, Jimi King, promoter of London’s legendary jazz club Pizza Express had a running joke where he’d ask every time they met, “Is the album finished yet?” With his upcoming, highly anticipated and cleverly titled debut collection on Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records, Jaimes can finally respond that it’s Hear at Last.

 

“Evenin’,” the collection’s lead single, is a snappy, strutting mid-tempo funk driven tune featuring Jaimes’ lively, lighthearted trademark riffs and an old school soul-jazz keyboard vibe and sparkling piano solo by labelmate and longtime friend Oli Silk. The track is set to drop at radio May 31 and retail/streaming July 23.

Listen to Evenin’ on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

 

 

 
 

 

Rocco Ventrella – A New World

Delilah Records is thrilled to announce the release of the latest radio version single from saxophonist Rocco Ventrella. A New World is a fresh jazz music style composed, arranged and produced by Rocco Ventrella. This track is part of the “Reflections” ep releasing in July 30, 2021.

Listen to A New World on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Joe Rozum – Summer Cool

Joe Rozum cover art

Seamless fusion of Smooth Jazz and Pop — this is what best reveals Joe Rozum as an artist and composer. His signature sound may be soothing piano ballads, but Rozum is well known for violin duets and performances with a full band. His music has inflections of cool blues, soundtrack themes, gospel, and a hint of classical, which come from many musical influences ranging all over the map … Billy Joel, Elton John, David Foster, Diane Warren, Yanni, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Jim Brickman, Quincy Jones, Phil Vassar, Yolanda Adams, Oleta Adams Andre Crouch, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Carole King, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gino Vanelli, Jamie Cullum, Lionel Ritchie, John Williams, Hans Zimmer & David Arnold and of course the great music of Elvis and the Beatles.

The California-based Rozum also performs live. Since 2004, he has done six near sell-out concerts with his band of talented musicians at the Smothers Theatre on the stunning, ocean-view campus at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. This 500-seat theatre has been the perfect venue for Rozum to celebrate the release of his latest music projects. He has also been involved in Music Ministry, playing with amazing musicians in several churches, as well as performing for annual Award Shows, private parties and solo unplugged performances at private home concerts.

Rozum loves both performing solo to the Private Home Concert audience…..and on stage with his amazing band to the larger audience. “I love making the piano talk and come to life. My motto is ‘Love what you do, Do what you Love’… I love that message and apply that to the piano when I perform, write a new song or take on a new project!”

Listen to Summer Cool on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Peet Project – Down To The Lake

 

Peet Project cover art

We are excited to announce the release of Peet Project‘s new single, “Down To The Lake”!

Violinist / producer / bandleader Peter “Peet” Ferencz explained the title as follows:

“When I was a kid, I spent the summers by Lake Velence, a lovely natural lake near my hometown. I have always dreamed of having a house there and now I am blessed to live there actually. Whenever I hear somebody say “let’s go down to the lake”, my heart begins to beat faster and I am always in! Lake Velence is a lovely, upbeat resort area and the summer sunsets are just breathtaking there. We strove to encapsulate this feel in the song and in the accompanying video, hoping to make listeners be a part of the experience, as if they were there with us.”


“Down to The Lake”
Written by Peter Ferencz, Attila Zavodi and Oliver Magan
Produced, mixed and mastered by Péter “Peet” Ferencz.

Peter Ferencz – violin
Attila Zavodi – alto sax
Oliver Magan – keys
Martin Gudics – bass
Marcell Gudics – drums

Listen to Down to The Lake on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Dave Koz & Cory Wong – Family Reunion

Saxophonist Dave Koz and hipster funk/jam band guitarist Cory Wong (Vulfpeck, the Fearless Flyers, Cory and the Wongnotes) celebrate the joy of reconnecting with loved ones on the infectious new single, “Family Reunion,” which is being serviced to radio on May 24. The track is from their forthcoming album, The Golden Hour, which will be released on June 11.

Dave Koz says, “‘Family Reunion’ is a complete musical celebration…you can just feel it in the energy of the track. A celebration not only for us musicians, but for the millions of families that due to Covid, have had to be separated from each other for a very long time. Families are now finally able to come together, to hug, to once again feel the special joy of being around loved ones – something we’ve all missed so much. That’s the musical DNA of this particular song.”

Cory Wong – who produced the album, co-wrote 10 of its 11 tracks and played electric guitar, among other instruments – notes, “It’s the kind of song that takes me right to the backyard on a hot summer day…the smell of the grill, the presence of friends, and an air of optimism that says ‘everything’s gonna be alright’. When we wrote this song, we wanted to capture the feeling of community. Recording a 10-piece band in a live room with that live energy really brought the song to life in a way that can’t be fabricated by studio tricks!”


About Dave Koz
In a recording career that spans three decades, saxophonist Dave Koz has racked up an astoundingly impressive array of honors and achievements: nine GRAMMY nominations, 12 No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, performances for multiple U.S. presidents, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. A Platinum-selling artist, the California native is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

His 2020 album, A New Day — released exactly 30 years to the week after his very first album came out – marked Dave’s first album of original material in 10 years and his 20th overall album. Conceived and recorded completely under the umbrella of COVID-19, with the express purpose of providing some musical comfort in these extremely uneasy times, it featured special guests Brian McKnight, Antwaun Stanley (Vulfpeck), Meshell Ndegeocello, Bob James, Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Chris “Big Dog” Davis and others. The album reached the No. 1 position on numerous jazz charts, including iTunes and Amazon, and delivered two back-to-back No. 1 singles: “Side By Side” ft. David Sanborn and “Dr. Norm” ft. Paul Jackson Jr. Koz will be touring the U.S. this summer.

About Cory Wong
GRAMMY® Award-nominated songwriter, producer, and guitarist extraordinaire Cory Wong is a masterful musician and impossible-to-categorize artist adept at blending a variety of genres into his own unique sound. From his work as a member of Vulfpeck and The Fearless Flyers, to collaborations with Dave Koz and Jon Batiste, the Minneapolis, MN-based Wong has proven a restless creator and visionary musician, hailed for his distinctly original approach and dazzling live performances. 2020 saw Wong release an extraordinarily diverse series of eight original albums, spanning a stunning selection of sounds and musical styles. This year has already seen the premiere of his inventive new YouTube musical variety series, Cory and the Wongnotes, as well as an original album collecting music from the series’ first season backed by his explosive new 11-piece big band. CORY WONG AND THE WONGNOTES marks the first album in what will undoubtedly be another busy year for the indefatigable Wong as he continues making his mark as a prolific, once-in-a-lifetime artist and personality.

Listen to Family Reunion on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

Antonio Farao’ – Trip

Trip

The album EKLEKTIK contains 12 compositions and arrangements of Antonio Farao’ and features an incredible cast of musicians : Marcus Miller, Snoop Dogg, Krayzie Bone (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony), Manu Katché, Mike Clark (Herbie Hancock/Headhunters) Didier Lockwood, Bireli Lagrene.

Antonio Faraò is a pianist of uncommon skill. With a career that extends over 35 years, he has realized his potential and established himself as one of the most respected jazz pianists in the International scene. Antonio Faraó has collaborated and/or performed live with a number of great jazz musicians: Joe Lovano, Jack Dejohnette, Bireli Lagrène, Al Jarreau, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Gary Bartz, Lee Konitz, Steve Grossman, Christian Mc Bride, Miroslav Vitous, John Abercrombie, Toots Thielemans, Kurt Elling, Didier Lockwood, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, George Garzone, Cecil Mc Bee.

Now he returns with the new single Trip, which is available on all digital platforms.

Listen to Trip on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 17/5).

North “2unes” Woodall – Funkie Sister

2unes cover art

Primarily a self-taught musician, it was at the age of eleven that his mom introduced him to the guitar and a love affair with music that has stood the test of time. In his teens, North “2unes” Woodall studied the playing styles of Ernie Isley, Santana, and Joe Walsh, among other R&B, funk, rock, and pop music styles. Hard work, determination, and a natural gift paid off and as a result of his exceptional proficiency with the guitar, he was quickly established with popular groups in and around Dayton, Ohio, such as The Delvones and Round Trip Ticket. North has since relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and was sought to share the stage with funk masters Lakeside, The Ohio Players, Roger Troutman and Zapp, Roy Aires, Millie Jackson, Tom Brown and Will Downing. He regularly sells out venues as the audiences know that they will be highly entertained and satisfied by tight arrangements and banging guitar solos with great licks.

And the blessings continued to flow. 2unes has become a staple on the Atlanta music scene appearing in venues from the Ritz Carlton to Wind-Down Wednesdays at Centennial Park, bridging the generation gap with his unique music blend of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. “I work for the listener and my music is designed for them. It is important to me that I give them what they want.” Woodall went on to say that he defines his musical style as being like a gumbo. “I can’t be put into a box musically. I’m not one thing, but many things bringing people together from all sides of the music spectrum.”.

2unes new single Funkie Sister is produced by Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis.

Listen to Funkie Sister on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Roman Street – Turn It On

Roman Street Balcony Of The World Album Cover

Brothers Noah and Josh Thompson put their guitars together to form Roman Street. Since their college years, this brotherly jam session has developed into a Billboard/iTunes charting band who many have dubbed ‘the next generation’ of Jazz Fusion. Roman Street, named for an old roman street in the Alps where they studied guitar, is an internationally trained instrumental band specializing in improvisational fusion of Classical, Gypsy and Contemporary Jazz, Latin, and Nuevo Flamenco. A departure from the over-produced music that is out there today, they keep it simple—the beautifully organic sound of acoustic instruments played by talented people who love what they are doing. Whether performing as a guitar duo, or with a backing band, Roman Street astounds with music that appeals to fans of many genres.

Roman Street has opened concerts/festivals for international sensations George Benson, The Gipsy Kings, Ziggy Marley, Boney James, Dave Koz, The Rippingtons, Earl Klugh, Jesse Cook, Four Play, Maroon 5, Michael McDonald, Bela Fleck and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Their new single taken from their album Balcony Of The World (2021) is Turn It On.

Listen to Turn It On on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Lin Rountree – Release

Lin Release single cover

Chicago based trumpet player Lin Rountree started his solo career in 2006 with the album Groovetree, followed by Sumthin’ Good (2008), Soul-Tree (2011) and Serendipitous (2013). Soulfunky (2015) is his fifth album and the second for CutMore Records followed by Stronger Still (2018) on Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records.

This year Lin will return with the brand-new album Fluid (2021). Taken from this upcoming album is the first single with the aptly title Release.

Listen to Release on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Jonathan Fritzén – Keys To Paradise

Jonathan Fritzen cover art

We are excited to announce the release of “Keys To Paradise”, the new single from Swedish-American Billboard chart-topping pianist & composer, Jonathan Fritzén!

“Keys To Paradise” was written & recorded by Fritzén in his studio – playing all the instruments & mixing it as well. “Keys To Paradise” – the first single from his upcoming 7th album Piano Tales – is an upbeat song, filled with hope for a golden future.

“Keys To Paradise” will be released worldwide on May 21st on all digital music outlets. Piano Tales is a groovy, ‘feel good’ album. For the latest up-to-date information in these “special times”, please visit the Jonathan Fritzen Facebook Fan Page.

Listen to Keys To Paradise on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Matt Willard – Por la Orrilla del Mar

Por la Orrilla del Mar

While Nashville is primarily known as a launch pad for country music careers, Music City also has a burgeoning jazz scene. Trekking south from his Virginia home, saxophonist Matt Willard entered a Nashville recording studio with some of the city’s finest contemporary jazz musicians to record his debut single, “Por la Orrilla del Mar.” Willard wrote the single that just dropped on the Creative Soul Jazz imprint and produced it with the label’s Eric Copeland and Sunset Blvd. Studio’s Steve Dady. The exotic track showcasing the tenor saxman’s impassioned play is the first in a series of singles and accompanying videos that will precede Willard’s first album that is expected to drop by the end of the year.

A staccato Latin rhythm constructed by drummer Steve Brewster and bassist Jacob Lowery is the pedestal for the lush melodies of “Por la Orrilla del Mar.” Guitarist Dave Cleveland adds to the harmony while keyboardist Jason Webb shines when trading solos with Willard, who’s deft saxplay runs the gamut of emotion: from intense, raw and emotional to restrained, poised and harnessed. A horn section underscores and illumines Willard’s saxophone excursions.

Willard struggled to come up with a title for the single that has Caribbean nuances and conjures up soothing beach scenes. He felt it needed a Spanish title, but since he doesn’t speak the language, he turned to family members for help.

“After spending many hours trying to come up with the perfect song title, the idea to ask my uncle popped into my head. He speaks fluent Spanish along with many other languages. I sent him the track, and he and my aunt picked up on the Latin feel to the song, and ultimately, they came up with ‘Por la Orrilla Del Mar.’ It means ‘by the sea shore.’”  

Willard’s soulful and inspired sound meshes perfectly with the ethos of Copeland’s label. Creative Soul Jazz is a purveyor of improvisational jazz that they describe as “different and has spiritual roots.”

“As a label and production company, our mission is to use our God-given talents to show the beauty, the intensity, the passion and the spiritual effect of jazz. Our souls are rooted firmly in the freedom and pure art form of jazz,” said Copeland.    

Willard began playing baritone sax in sixth grade and switched to tenor after graduating high school. Having played in jazz ensembles as well as his school’s marching band, he landed professional gigs playing at restaurants, special events and weddings. Willard tested the waters by issuing several recording projects locally, but teaming up with Dady, Copeland and Creative Soul Jazz is about taking his craft to the national level. “Por la Orrilla del Mar” offers a promising glimpse of what’s to come from this artist.   

Willard said, “I had a blast recording in Nashville and cannot wait to see everyone’s reaction to the music as we release it. I hope that these songs touch as many lives as possible like they did mine when writing them. I am truly blessed to have a great team working with me to write and produce this record. Collaborating with Nashville session players is an amazing experience. The entire production team has knocked it out of the park. The album is going to be great!”

For more information, please visit www.mattwillardsax.com

Source: Great Scott Productions

Joel Del Rosario – Night Shift

 

Joel Del Rosario cover art

San Francisco based guitarist and songwriter, Joel Del Rosario has opened up and performed with many of today’s top Contemporary Jazz artists. From performing alongside Brian Culbertson and Michael Lington at Brian’s annual Napa Valley Jazz Festival, to opening up for mega stars Warren Hill and Eric Darius in Phoenix, Arizona and doing the same for Eric Marienthal and Gail Johnson with the ladies of “Jazz in Pink” at Carson’s Jazz Festival. “jDR”, as he as commonly referred to, has been able to stand alongside the industry’s best. Bringing an undeniable onstage presence, jDR’s electrifying performance commands the attention of music lovers everywhere as he can create an intimate musical experience even in the midst of sold out venues and outdoor festivals.

However, not only is “jDR” recognized as a distinguished jazz guitarist who has been voted “Best Jazz Guitarist” by Coffee Talk Jazz Radio and won multiple awards, including a prestigious “Stan Getz” scholarship to Stanford University’s Jazz Camp while in high school. Joel is also an established songwriter, having produced music for Billboard charting artist(s): Ragan Whiteside, Cal Harris Jr., Dee Lucas, and fellow Bay Area keyboardist, Marco Montoya.

His single “Delicious Vinyl” off his latest release “Past Present Future” charted #27 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz airplay chart for 3 weeks, and was successfully in the running for “Best Instrumental Music” at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

His passion for music however was born out of tragedy. At the age of eleven, Joel’s mother succumbed to a long bitter fight with breast cancer, and the only solace Joel found was through music and his guitar. It was at this point in young man’s journey that he began to spend many quiet moments practicing and bonding with his instrument. In these quiet moments he had developed his unique and distinct playing sound which would later garner the affection of jazz fans internationally.

Definitely be on the lookout for the evolution of Contemporary Jazz where you’ll find Joel Del Rosario at the forefront.

Listen to Night Shift on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Elan Trotman – Brighter Days Ahead

Saxophonist Elan Trotman, has quickly become one of jazz’s most thrilling and emotive performers as he continues to stand out and push boundaries as a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist. Trotman’s playing, though inspired by Grover Washington, Jr., Kirk Whalum and Najee, displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. So much so that the New England Urban Music Awards, and The Barbados Music Awards both named him Jazz Artist of The Year on multiple occasions.

Trotman is also the Executive Producer and host of the Barbados Jazz Excursion, a jazz and golf weekend getaway which brings over 300 music lovers to the island every Columbus Day Weekend. Past performers include Jeff Lorber, Javier Colon, Gerald Veasley, Brian Simpson, Althea Rene, Marcus Anderson, Peter White and Jeffrey Osborne. Elan is also the founder of the Never Lose Your Drive Foundation – a Non-Profit which directly funds the Headstart Music Program. Headstart Music provides FREE weekly instrument instruction to students ages 7-11 on saxophone, trumpet, flute, clarinet and percussion. In 2016, over $6,000.00 was raised at the Jazz Excursion Weekend and Golf Tournament. All proceeds go towards tutor salaries, instrument maintenance and supplies for the program.

Born and raised in Barbados, the native island of pop star Rihanna, and educated at the world-renowned Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Trotman approaches jazz in his own way. Blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures, his playing is full of surprises.

Trotman has recorded and performed with a number of world-class musicians, including Michael McDonald, Roberta Flack, Jonathan Butler, Keiko Matsui, Johnny Gill, Jeffrey Osborne, Sheila E, Marcus Miller, Will Downing, Earl Klugh, Jeff Lorber, Peter White, Peabo Bryson, Brian Simpson and many others. A huge sports fan, Trotman has performed the National Anthem on numerous occasions for such teams as the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. As an avid sports fan, Elan has provided entertainment for numerous celebrities including The Bronson Arroyo Band, Cold Pizza on ESPN with Woody Page, Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Golf Classic, Chris Tucker Charity Golf Tournament, Ray Allen Golf Tournament, Hot Stove Cool Music with Peter Gammons and Theo Epstein.

As a recording artist Elan has topped the Billboard Radio Charts over 10 times. As a solo artist charting songs include “Heaven In Your Eyes” feat. Brian Simpson, “Tradewinds” feat Peter White, “Master Blaster”, “As” feat. Lin Rountree, “Thoughts of Sumer” feat. Will Downing, and “Smooth N Saxy”. Collaborations that have topped the charts include “Magic Men” (Marion Meadows), “Groove Me” (Greg Manning), “Just What You Need” (Brian Simpson), “Smooth (Cal Harris) and “Ride Along” (Julian Vaughn).

Listen to Brighter Days Ahead on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

 

 

Ryan Montano – Gemini

Ryan Montano cover art

Ryan Montano is a nationally recognized trumpeter, songwriter, bandleader and recording artist. His beautiful tone, sophisticated and memorable compositions, impactful live performances and precise technique have garnered him national radio airplay and festival performances across the nation.

The success of his music has led to nation-wide performances at jazz and music festivals across the country including the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, The Phil Denny Armory Jazz Festival, The Seabreeze Jazz Festival “Rising Star” performance slot and several others.

In addition to his musical artistry, Montano is a talented and truthful actor having appeared in several commercials and Hollywood films with speaking roles in “GoodKill” starring Ethan Hawke, Disney’s “Lemonade Mouth” and “Love N’ Dancing” starring Amy Smart, Rachel Dratch and Betty White. He has been a featured performer on “CSI Miami” and “Wildfire” and has several runway modeling shows and print campaigns to his modeling credits. Montano has also appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” playing the trumpet for pop stars “Hanson” as part of the “Cleto & The Cletones” horn section.

Montano is also a professional filmmaker, director, videographer, photographer, editor and graphic artist. His work has been featured on several national networks including ESPN, CBS, NBC and FOX.

While his talents encapsulate many different passions, it is music and the trumpet that truly define Montano as an artist. With a truthful artistic vision and emotive songwriting, delivered through a graceful and soft tone, Ryan Montano is an artist with a path and sound all his own…

Listen to Gemini on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Ashely Scott – Don’t Throw Our Love Away

Ashley 2

Ashely Scott is a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia and a graduate of Howard University in Washington DC where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music. Influenced by his aunt Helen Scott of the Three Degrees, as well as The Delfonics, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Price, Ashley found his love and passion for music. He has performed on shows with Take 6, Bilal, and Eric Robertson, as well as recorded background vocals in teh studio with Will Downing, Chavous, and Tye Tribbett. His 2020 single release, “Dance The Night Away” made it to the top 10 on the UK Soul Chart. Ashley has served as a Governor on the Board of the Recording Academy Philadelphia Chapter. His label Soulful Sounds International promises to make timeless music for the future.

His new single is Don’t Throw Our Love Away (2021).

Listen to Don’t Throw Our Love Away on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Sheldon Ferguson – Next To You

Sheldon Ferguson cover art

Sheldon Ferguson is a Grammy nominated guitarist who is originally from Columbia, SC and currently resides in Atlanta, GA. He earned his Bachelors in Professional Music with emphasis in Performance and Production at Berklee College of Music. In 2011 Sheldon released his first smooth jazz album titled The Brighter Side, at the age of seventeen. Sheldon’s music has sold in over forty different countries and can be heard on jazz stations all over the world. The international radio broadcast, Talking Smooth Jazz, considers him a part of the new generation of smooth jazz. In January 2018, Sheldon released his second album, Soul Searching, after a six-year hiatus from releasing music. Soul Searching charted at #7 on the Smooth Jazz Global Listener Chart and #39 on the Top 50 Albums Chart. The album documents a journey of self-discovery and Sheldon hopes to inspire others with its message.

Outside of his work as a jazz artist, Sheldon Ferguson is Grammy Nominated studio guitarist whose sound is highly sought after. Sheldon produced the hit song, Don’t Check On Me by Chris Brown and Justin Bieber with over 80 million streams on Spotify. He also recorded guitar on Travis Scott’s Billboard Hot 100 hit, Yosemite, which appears on the Double Platinum album, Astroworld. This song is credited for bringing guitar back into hip-hop, as mentioned in the Rolling Stone article titled, Hip-Hop’s Secret Weapon: Acoustic Guitar. He was also featured on the IMAGE award winning soundtrack for Oprah Winfrey’s, Greenleaf, as well as appearing on the show in Seasons 2 and 3. Sheldon has performed on stage with notable artists, including Ledisi, Aloe Blacc, Bilal, Angie Stone, Bazzi and many others. Whether on stage on in the studio, Sheldon Ferguson’s goal is to create musical moments that will last forever.

His new single is Next To You (2021) featuring saxophonist Walter Beasley.

Listen to Next To You on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Herb Alpert – Dance With Me

Herb Alpert cover art

Creator and innovator, musician and producer, artist, and philanthropist, Herb Alpert is a man with a profound passion.

A legendary trumpet player, Alpert’s extraordinary musicianship has earned him five #1 hits, nine GRAMMY® Awards, the latest from his 2014 album, “Steppin’ Out,” fifteen Gold albums, fourteen Platinum albums and has sold over 72 million records. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass propelled his sound into the pop music limelight, at one point outselling the Beatles two to one. In 1966, they achieved the since-unmatched feat of simultaneously having four albums in the Top 10– and five in the Top 20. Herb Alpert also has the distinction of being the only artist who has had a #1 instrumental and a #1 vocal single.

As an industry leader, Alpert’s commitment to artists with personal vision guided A&M Records (with partner Jerry Moss) from a Hollywood garage operation into one of the most successful independent record labels in music history that started in 1962 with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Stars including Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, Stan Getz, Cat Stevens, Supertramp, The Carpenters, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, The Police and scores of others that are evidence of the consistent quality and diversity of the A&M Records family.

In addition to his on-going creative outlets in music, philanthropy and the arts, Alpert owns the noted Vibrato restaurant/jazz club in Bel-Air, California. He also continues to perform and tour across the country with his wife, Grammy-winning vocalist, Lani Hall and their band.

Herb’s priorities derive from the same sense of generosity and humility that has guided him through a long, illustrious career. In all of these ventures, there is a harmony not unlike Alpert’s music. A flowing of energy and sound, a dedication to quality, which sustains everything Alpert does. With more than 40 years of continuous philanthropic, musical and artistic activity, Alpert has established a legacy that reflects his firm belief that the arts can make a difference in the world and in the lives of each of us.

His new single is Dance With Me (2021).

Listen to Dance With Me on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Lee Jones – Three Day Weekend

Portada Three Day Weekend

Lee Jones presents one of his new songs “Three Day Weekend” that will be included in his new album “Timeless” with the collaboration of Spanish guitarist David Margam Founding member and leader of FUNKDACION, one of the most representative Bands of Spanish Funk. The new release will be available on all digital platforms on April 13.
“Three Day Weekend” is a song inspired by the good times that life gives us, a motivating composition to get carried away in difficult times like the ones we are living.

His album, Watercolors has remained on the Hot New releases for CD sales with his most popular song, “once in a lifetime” hitting international radio airplay on jazz radio stations and online streaming. Lee is currently collaborating with top billboard charting jazz artist on recording a new album featuring all collaborations from familiar jazz artist.

Listen to Three Day Weekend on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Jef Kearns – Find My Way 2 U

z4yiZSGw

Amazon best-selling Canadian solo artist Jef Kearns is transforming the flute from a background instrument to a serious soul voice in R&B and hip-hop. His goal, even from an early age, was to create a distinct and instantly identifiable flute sound with enough presence to command attention—just like an R&B singer’s voice. Jef’s cover of Warren G‘s “Regulate” was featured in XXL Magazine’s “20 Covers of Hip-Hop Songs Using Instruments” and his cover of Kanye West‘s “Slow Jamz” in Mashable’s “14 Bizarrely Awesome Rap Cover Videos.”

Over his two decades as a professional musician, Jef has built what would be considered an impressive online following for any independent artist. His YouTube channel has exceeded 1.3 million views. For a solo flute player it’s unprecedented. Kearns’ professionally produced discography includes two full albums, On the Level ( 2009), and Soulfisticated (2013), and an EP called The Flute (2016), and eight stand-alone singles. His follow up album, Jazzy AF is a modern pop instrumental album layered with jazzy melodic phrasings.

Jef will release a new single Find My Way 2 U on May 14, 2021. The single combines Kearns’ instrumental virtuosity with the sultry vocals of Lisa Michelle to form a soulful jam with chill downtempo beats. It was written by Kearns in collaboration with Karen Jewels and producer Douglas Romanow (Sky Machine, Kinnie Starr), and mastered by acclaimed engineer Chris Gehringer, whose resume includes such names as Chromeo, St. Vincent, Rhianna, Cardi B.

Listen to Find My Way 2 U on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Jason Jackson – All The Way

4PAN1T

 

Saxophonist Jason Jackson has a lot to be excited about – not only is his debut EP, Movin’ On (produced by Adam Hawley) due to release May 14th – but his first radio single, “All The Way” featuring bassist extraordinaire Julian Vaughn will be up for adds at stations all over the country on April 26th.

Jason grew up in Wilmington, NC and at a young age, started to study music with long time James Brown saxophonist  Leroy Harper Jr.. While still in high school, Jason landed a gig working as a member of the house band at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC where he performed as the opening act for artists such as: Brian McKnight, Morris Day and the Time, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Michael McDonald among others.

Jason went on to study music at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he earned a degree in jazz performance. After college, he continued to perform in many local and regional bands and was a regular in the wedding, corporate, and nightclub entertainment scene. In 2011, Jason enlisted in the Navy as a musician where he was able to play for audiences all over the world including: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Australia just to name a few. During his first tour, he was awarded the Colonel Finley R Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award and a few months later, he was relocated to the Seventh Fleet Band in Yokosuka, Japan where he lived for over 3 years. During this time, Jason was able to play at some of the most prestigious venues in the area as well as volunteer in several local community bands where he was able to interact one on one with young local musicians. It was during this time that Jason learned that music was truly “the universal language”.

After his military service ended in early 2021, Jason teamed up with contemporary jazz star Adam Hawley to create his first offering as a solo artist. Movin’ On is not only produced by Hawley, but includes him as a featured artist along with Julian Vaughn and Tim Bowman.

Listen to All The Way on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 16/5).

Von Stupart – Living It Up In The City

Von Stupart cover art

Saxophonist/Songwriter Von Stupart is influenced by the likes of Hank Crawford and Grover Washington Jr. He hails from New York, raised in Harlem and The Bronx. Studied music in school and with top notch Jazz musicians at Jazz Mobile in Harlem for many years. Von Stupart has a smooth and silky south with a Jazz and R&B feel.

Von Stupart is joined on his new single Living It Up by guitarist Adam Hawley, drummer Eric Valentine, percussionist Ramon Yslas, and bass player Mel Brown.

Listen to Living It Up In The City on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Antoine Knight – Something About You

Antoine Knight cover art

 

After being away from the jazz scene for nearly two years, Antoine Knight is back with his new single “Something About You,” released in April 2021. But Antoine wants you to know when it comes to a live performance; it’s an immersive experience that he is truly a “Knight 2 Remember,” which is the title track off his latest CD.

In 2017, Antoine opened for jazz music icon Boney James at the Gulf Coast Jazz Festival in Pensacola, Florida. Antoine found it fitting to release “A Knight 2 Remember”, which it was, and he received multiple encores from his hometown fans. Since the release of “A Knight 2 Remember”, Antoine has gone on a world tour playing tenor sax for the legendary “BB King All-Star Band,” based in Memphis. In the first year of joining the quintessential band, Antione traveled to Amsterdam, Portugal, the Caribbean, Sydney & Melbourne, Australia. In 2018 Antoine’s travels took him to France, Italy, Greece, and Spain. On his final leg of the tour in 2019, Antoine traveled to Singapore, Tokyo, Hong-Kong, and Beijing, China. This tour was a memorable experience that inspired him to return to the United States and start working on his new single called “Something About You.”

Antoine was inspired on sax by the Motown sounds of Jr. Walker & the All-Stars from his aunt’s 8-Track tapes with his cousin. He continued his music listening to jazz giants like John Coltrane, David “Fat Head” Newton, Sonny Rollins, and Cannonball Adderley from his dad’s old vinyl records. Subsequently, Antoine Knight became a Florida A&M University distinguished military graduate, as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. Antoine served over 20 years as a reserve officer, climbing the ranks to major. On his last command, Antoine retired as a Battalion Executive Officer at Fort Gillem, GA. When asked about his life experience’s involving his musical journey, Antoine states, “For me, I have been around the world, and “A Knight 2 Remember” is the musical journey of my life testimony that will never end. I’ve been battle-tested with mistakes, but I will always emerge stronger than ever at what lies ahead. It is my way of conveying my own experience through music.”

Listen to Something About You on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Carol Albert – For The Moment

Copy of Copy of For The moment

 


If there’s anything positive we’ve learned over this challenging, anxiety ridden past year, it’s the importance of loving more deeply, being grateful for what we have and living, as the title of Carol Albert’s new single reminds us, “For The Moment.”

The Billboard charting pianist/composer may have written the soulful and lilting instrumental ballad pre-pandemic, but its sense of cool, free-flowing joy taps powerfully and insightfully into our collective need for hope and optimism amidst the trauma during this anxious age of COVID-19. Produced by Carol, the track features guitarist Paul Brown so prominently that as it grooves along, it feels like a spirited melody and harmony dance/duet between the two smooth jazz hit makers. It also includes the powerhouse rhythm section of bassist Joseph Patrick Moore, drummer Jay Williams and percussionist Curtis McCain. Brown, who produced five tracks on the album, also mixed “For the Moment.”

“Tying in with the overall theme of Stronger Now, the song reminds of being free and having the strength to not only endure but to express that freedom and love of life to the fullest,” says Carol. “When I wrote it, there was no way I could have predicted anything like this past year, but as a reminder about living and embracing the present, ‘For the Moment’ feels very relevant to what we’re all living through. “Perhaps more than ever before,” she adds, “with all the uncertainties and upheavals, we’ve had to face, we have learned about the fragility of our lives and the reality that we only have and can count on the present – so we best embrace it. Though I wrote it from a deeply emotional place as I was coming out of a tragic personal loss, I’m grateful that it can be appreciated and perhaps offer a sense of hope on a more universal level now.”

With the release of “For the Moment,” the Atlanta based artist continues to build on the incredible career momentum she’s experienced since breaking through on the smooth jazz charts in 2017 with “Mas Que Nada” and her debut Billboard charting single “One Way.” She scored her two biggest successes with “Femme Flight,” a Brazilian flavored song that featured flutist Ragan Whiteside and saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova, and “Perfect Sunday” (featuring Brown on guitar), both of which reached #4 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Airplay chart. “Femme Flight” also earned Carol a new legion of fans via extensive airplay on SiriusXM’s Watercolors. Carol’s other recent radio hits include the Top 5 single “Fly Away Butterfly” (the title track from her previous album, released in 2017), the Latin tinged “Sun’s Out” (which reached #7), “Chasing Waterfalls” and “One Way.”

“It’s been very rewarding to see how my music has resonated with people, and the radio airplay and appreciation from listeners are a wonderful confirmation that I’m on a strong creative path and achieving my goals on this very personal quest,” says Carol, whose multi-faceted career includes five albums dating back to the 90s, including the new age oriented releases Morning Music and Night Music. “In addition to the opportunity to touch and inspire so many people with these songs, on a purely creative level it’s been an incredible experience to work with so many of the genre’s highest caliber musicians, from Paul Brown to L’il John Roberts. It’s been wonderful to find so many new ways to grow creatively and continue developing my art.”

Listen to For The Moment on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Christian De Mesones – Sexy Beast

CdeM-SexyBeastSingleArtworkFinal

Christian “Big New York” de Mesones has been playing bass guitar for over 40 years.  He was only 18 years old when he graduated from the world famous Bass Institute of Technology (now the Musician’s Institute) in Hollywood, California where he had the opportunity to study and workshop with greats such as Abe Laboriel, Louis Johnson, Tim Bogart, Howard Alden, Steve Morse, Pat Metheny, and the late Tommy Tedesco and Ray Brown.  By personal request from visiting guitar faculty member and legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino, he performed an original composition for his graduation ceremony.

His newest single is Sexy Beast, which is scheduled for release April 30, 2021 on Spotify and in May on other platforms. The single is featuring Bill McGee on trumpet and Rob Maletick on alto saxophone. Jack Turner and Nia Simmons also provide guitar and voice dynamics.

Listen to Sexy Beast on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Byron Miller – Love On The Run

Byron Miller cover art

A long respected sideman in R&B circles, Byron Miller has thus far only had a couple opportunities to lead his own record dates. Although he had started playing piano when he was five, Miller did not take music seriously until he had a football injury while a junior in high school. He soon taught himself bass and keyboards. Shortly after high school Miller joined Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity for several years (with whom he recorded several dates). Other associations included Carlos Santana, George Duke (appearing on 14 of his albums), Herbie Hancock, the Crusaders, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross and Doc Powell. Byron Miller recorded a pair of CDs in the 1990’s as a leader including Until for Discovery.

“Love On The Run” is Byron’s new single featuring Walter Beasley on sax.

Listen to Love On The Run on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Justin Lee Schultz – Gruv Kid

Justin Lee Schultz cover art

Raised in Minneapolis and born in Johannesburg, South Africa, musical wonder-kid Justin Lee Schultz is the good news you did not even know you needed. He is joy personified. The multi-instrumental wizard who has dazzled audiences on TV shows Harry, Little Big Shots and American’s Most Talented Family, is a prodigy in the fashion of his idols Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. His talent is not exceptional merely because he is young but also due to his melodic, harmonic and technical maturation. While his peers are learning the latest Tik Tok dances and amassing kills on Fortnite, Justin prefers studio time and woodshedding for hours. While social distancing has most people jamming at home with their families, Justin has literally been jamming with his musician father and bassist Julius and 16-year-old sister and drummer Jamie-Leigh. “Music brings me joy because I can express myself when I play. I can also get creative when I’m improvising,” shares the amiable, cherub face and charismatic 13-year old who has aspirations are to one day share the stage with Stevie and Herbie Hancock, as well as Bruno Mars, Charlie Puth, Jacob Collier, Cori Henri and Robert Glasper. Justin, who plays piano, guitar, bass guitar and talkbox, is home schooled and devotes five to seven hours each day to his musical craft, will make his Shanachie Entertainment debut. Gruv Kid, on November 13, 2020.

Shanachie VP of Jazz A&R Danny Weiss states, “The words prodigy and genius do not do him justice. The warmth, the maturity, the feel, the brilliance… these are qualities that only a handful of artists can hope to attain, regardless of their age. The unadulterated joy that overflows from the gifted artist’s music is really a gift to all of us.” Chart-topping label-mates Pieces Of A Dream are the producers of Justin’s forthcoming CD, which joins him with special guests pianist Bob James and guitarist and singer Jonathan Butler. It is a natural that Pieces would produce Justin as they have developed a close relationship in recent years and both James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon were also child prodigies. They were just teens themselves when they were mentored by saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., who gave them their first record deal.

With a new CD on the way, Justin Lee Schultz has high hopes. “The ultimate dream is to win or even get nominated for a Grammy!, exclaims Justin. “I also hope that I can give people feel joy and happiness when they listen to my music!”

Listen to Gruv Kid on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

Greg Manning – Sunrise Boulevard

Greg Manning cover art-min

It’s been almost five years since keyboardist/producer Greg Manning released his last CD. Finally it’s coming with the first single, “Sunrise Boulevard”. Get ready for the song that will lead us into Summer.

“Sunrise Boulevard” is an invitation to a reunion. In this hot, forward-moving song from a master of melody, Greg reunites with the talented team of musicians from his chart-topping “Top Down.” In 2021, if you’re looking for the energizing glow and warm horizon of possibility, “Sunrise Boulevard” will take you there. Grab your shades and let’s go!

Listen to Sunrise Boulevard on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Brad Alexander – Yearning For Your Love

Brad Alexander, a Los Angeles native, has been in the music business for many years. As an accomplished music producer, songwriter and pianist he has assisted many other artist in presenting their music to the world. He has served as a keyboard player for artist in different genres of music, but Smooth Jazz is where his heart is. Alexander’s love for music and his musical artistry is evident.

On August 23, 2016 Alexander released his debut CD project entitled “Just Between Us”, where he showcases his high caliber musicianship and soulful sounds with many original compositions such as “Feel Da Music” featuring Grammy nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright, “Missing You” featuring accomplished saxophonist Jackiem Joyner, super covers of great hits such as Chaka-khan’s “Through the Fire” featuring bass player Andre Gouche’ and Bill Withers “Lovely Day”.

Brad’s new single is a stunning instrumental interpretation of The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love”. It’s the follow-up to his 2020 single, “Straight Up”.

Listen to Yearning For Your Love on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Richard Smith – Let’s Roll

Smith

Last March, guitarist Richard Smith was in a battle for his life. Before the doctors and nurses administered the experimental infusions that he hoped would strangle the stage 3 cancer gripping his throat, his daily response to their inquiries asking if he was ready for the four-hour process that he went through for 45 consecutive days became an affirmation: “Let’s roll.” A year later and now cancer free, Smith is set to drop his first US single in five years, “Let’s Roll,” which he wrote with Billboard chart-topping guitarist Adam Hawley, who produced the uplifting track featuring saxophonist-flutist Jeff Kashiwa.

Shortly before Smith’s diagnosis, the former chair of the contemporary guitar department at the Thornton School of Music at USC’s former student, Hawley, sent a demo track of the single that goes for playlist adds on March 29 from Chillharmonic Media. “Let’s Roll” was to become Smith’s daily mantra before infusions.

“The clinical trial drug that I volunteered for was a daily four hours of intravenous infusion, as well as radiation and chemotherapy that drained my mojo to zombie levels every day. Fortunately, the drug is now in production and is a game changer,” said Smith, who lost 40 pounds during treatment and has an eight-inch scar on his neck from the surgery.

“Let’s Roll” previews Smith’s forthcoming 13th album, “Language of the Soul,” which he plans to drop in the Fall.

“The album title comes from a piece written by great South American poet Pablo Neruda, who I discovered while on tour in Argentina and have become a huge fan. The new album is a lively collection of pieces that I recorded over the last two years while living in Finland, Italy, Greece, London and while isolated here in LA. I wanted to get back in my ‘LA lane’ and working with Adam (Hawley) helped me get back in the musical headspace to produce music for an American audience,” said Smith who remains a full professor at USC.

Smith’s “SOuLIDIFIED” (2003) album spent 17 weeks in the top 10 in terms of airplay and his 2015 set, “Tangos,” spent more than five months in the top 10 of the indie and contemporary jazz charts. As a featured sideman and collaborator, Smith has recorded or shared the stage with contemporary jazz royalty, including Richard Elliot, Peter White, Kenny G, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, Eric Marienthal, Brian Bromberg, Warren Hill, Everette Harp and Dan Siegel. Opportunities over the last ten years to perform, compose and record with international artists and at universities aboard afforded Smith the opportunity to combine his two loves.

“I can’t separate my passion for making music from my passion for teaching it. So, I committed to a musical life away from the States. I get summers off from USC, so I hop on a plane the day after classes and spend May to September abroad. My music has changed a lot, doing arrangements that suit European concert goers. However, when I met American actress Nancy Lee Grahn (General Hospital), I decided to return to full-time life in the United States and get back to my West Coast modern jazz roots.”

Although Smith describes the exuberant R&B instrumental groove on “Let’s Roll” as “very West Coast, very LA,” songs from the upcoming album tackle weightier subjects than just “palm trees, ocean breezes and great vibes.”

 “A few songs from ‘Language of the Soul’ have political origins. A big part of songwriting history are songs of protest and struggle. We are in such turbulent times that as an artist, it is impossible to avoid the opportunity to share the inspiration and social commentary that such times provide,” said Smith.

It’s possible that Smith’s cancer experiences may inspire more music that will appear on “Language of the Soul.”

“A typical thing that cancer survivors say is that no one understands except the people who have been through it. That is so true, but it helps those who haven’t been through it to share some of the details – whether it helps them personally or one of their loved ones as they go through it.”

For more information, please visit https://www.richardsmithguitar.com.

Source: Great Scott Productions

Listen to Let’s Roll on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Richard Randolph – Changing Lanes

Richard Randolph Changing Lanes cover art

Contemporary and Smooth Jazz Saxophonist, Richard Randolph, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, co-founder of Columbus-based Smooth Jazz band, NexLevel, and saxophonist of UrbanJazzCoalition, has such versatility and finesse that captures your soul at the very first note. His skilled ability has allotted him a wide experience of performing with artists of many disciplines, and his sound has no limitation from soul-jazz, R&B, and funk.

He picked up a saxophone at the age of twelve and contributes his first taste of the true essence of music from his eldest sister, Dr. Charsie Randolph-Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Music at Calvin College, along with his humble beginnings in church.

He continues his onward journey of music mastery, with his debut single release “Changing Lanes” written by Richard and produced by chart-topping guitarist/producer, Adam Hawley.

Listen to Changing Lanes on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 15/5).

Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis feat. Kim Waters – Caregiver

Chris Big Dog Davis Caregiver cover art

For more than two decades, Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis has worked with artists including Grammy nominated Maysa, multi-Grammy nominated Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Phil Perry, Najee, Brian McKnight, Chante’ Moore, the late Vesta Williams, gospel giant Kim Burrell, Floacist, Glenn Jones, Miki Howard, Melba Moore, Marion Meadows, George Clinton, Selena Johnson, Avant, Kim Waters, Rick Braun, Alex Bugnon and many more. Davis has also performed as a solo artist at the Berks Jazz Fest, Philly South Kitchen and Jazz Parlor, and is the music director for the Brass City Jazz Fest. Equally captivating behind the scenes and on the stage, this two-time Grammy nominated writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has 17 Billboard top #1 smooth jazz records since 2008.

Early in 2020, Davis had been diagnosed with Stage Four Lymphoma for the second time in ten years. While Davis was in the hospital, he talked to the label heads at Shanachie Records, “I’ve been working with Shanachie for years, but I’d never done my own record. If I’m going to leave this earth, I want to make my own record,” said Davis. Three months later, Davis was discharged from the hospital.

In June 2020, Davis debuted his solo album, Focus. He could make his album in part thanks to his sister. “My sister was my caregiver when I was too weak to care for myself.” When Davis was due for chemotherapy treatments, “she’d take me there and stay in the hospital for days, and then I would come home and do the record.” In October 2020, Davis and Jackson collaborated to record Caregiver with one of the planet’s best saxophonists,” Kim Waters.

Davis (caree) and executive producer Keisha L. Jackson (caregiver) dedicate Caregiver to the millions of paid and unpaid caregivers in the world.

Listen to Caregiver on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Mattias Roos – Commercial Free

mFogH5Fg

Flourishing in the smooth jazz friendly confines of Skytown Records, Swedish keyboard player Mattias Roos is back with his latest single Commercial Free that goes for adds March 22. Finding him in cool collaboration with hit maker, guitarist and double Grammy winner Paul Brown this joyous mellifluous and uplifting number looks certain to lay siege to the smooth jazz charts for some time to come and is replete with the trademark vibe that Mattias has very much made is own.

Indeed his penchant for sublimely fusing smooth jazz grooves with an authentic old school vibe first emerged in 2011 with the band Soweco that he formed with drummer Peter Gustavsson. His Skytown debut came in 2017 with the critically acclaimed album Movin’ Upand the equally good It Goes On and On followed two years later. However, that wasn’t quite the end of the It Goes On and On story. In 2020 it was released as a deluxe version with four additional tracks and an outstanding reworking of Bring It On that this time featured Michael Lington on sax and proved to be a runaway chart success. As for Paul Brown, with a string of hit albums to his name, it is easy to forget that before he became a chart topping smooth jazz guitarist he was (and remains) one of the most influential producers of the genre.

Not only that, and in common with Roos, Brown has always been ready to explore areas previously untouched by contemporary jazz. In so doing he has created that special Paul Brown sound, a delicious melange that lays somewhere between rock, smooth jazz and chill.  It makes the statement that suddenly it is very OK to blend smooth jazz with guitar driven rock. Sumptuous music plus inspirational artistry from two of the best in the business and all of it totally Commercial Free.

Listen to Commercial Free on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Ashley Keiko – I Have Nothing

Ashley Keiko I Have Nothing cover art

Ashley Keiko is an up and coming saxophonist, composer, singer/songwriter and entrepreneur who has studied classical piano, alto saxophone, and has taught music for many years. Ashley has performed at major venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York City and Wollongong University in Australia. She has also performed for Steve Harvey, on the nationally syndicated TV gameshow, Family Feud. Ashley’s performance experience includes participation as lead saxophonist for the York College Blues Notes and for venues such as Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem and Live at the Gantries.

Her debut album, “Pursuit of Harmony”, was released in November of 2020, which features Ashley’s originals and covers of classics, while displaying her smooth jazz saxophone tones across genres of hip hop, R&B, pop and gospel. The album also features Ashley’s newly debuted soothing and serene vocals. Ashley received her Master’s in Music and Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Columbia University, Ashley also studied abroad at The Arts College at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China, where she practiced music and reflected on the ways in which culture, language, and the arts intersect in a trans-cultural world.

Prior to her graduate coursework and study abroad, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School. Alongside her roles as performer, music educator and music advocate, Ashley expanded her music academy, Keiko Studios, in January 2018 with the grand opening of a store front location that caters to adults and children who aim to explore the importance of music and music expression. Ashley’s academy supports communities where opportunities for music education are limited. Since the opening, the academy has been featured on Now This News and has been recognized by both of Ashley’s alma maters. Ashley’s new single “I Have Nothing” is a stunning instrumental interpretation of Whitney Houston’s classic.

Listen to I Have Nothing on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Michael Fields Jr. – Get Up On It!

Michael Fields Jr cover art


National Recording Artist/Bassist/Producer Michael Fields Jr. Is impacting the world with his musical gift. His music can be heard on smooth jazz stations worldwide with significant recognition on SirusXM Watercolors, The Smooth Jazz Network & America’s Music Charts. Music he’s produced has hit the Billboard top 30 and remained in the top 30 for 9 weeks. His gifts on the Bass are complimented by his skilled production and composing chops.

As a bassist, he has performed with such notable names as: Marcus Miller, Tom Brown, Ronnie Laws, Peabo Bryson, and others. He has recorded with notable artist such as Ben Tankard, Walter Beasley, Tom Braxton, Darren Rahn, Tim Bowman, Marcus Anderson, Julian Vaughn, Lin Rountree, Donald Hayes, & Phil Denny among others. The North Carolina Native has been inspired tremendously by the music of Victor Wooten, Stanley Clark, Bootsie Collins & the late great Wayman Tisdale. Michael Fields Jr. will definitely be a name you won’t forget!

Listen to Get Up On It! on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Rob Tardik – B Positive

Rob Tardik is a multi-award winning guitarist and contemporary pop/jazz/world/fusion instrumental music artist. He has performed at venues all across North America. His last 6 CD’s have spawned 5 U.S Billboard charting singles, two of which went to the Top 10. Rob’s 6th album SYNERGY released in January 2018 had his first single Synergy debut as one of the most added on the U.S Billboard Smooth Jazz charts and spent 3 weeks at #1 on the Wave.FM charts in Toronto. His 7th multi-album release DIVERSITY will be a 4-volume compilation in his various musical styles featuring new material and re-mastered songs from all his past recordings.

Tardik’s new single “B Positive” (featuring his friend Dave Koz, mixed by Rob DeBoer of Four 80 East) is the first single from his new album DIVERSITY Volume 2 (Guitardik). “B Positive” was written for his wife, Kimberly Black, who suffered a life-threatening attack while out for a walk in July 2020. After being hospitalized in Toronto, Rob was bombarded with questions about her health, medications, and her blood type. At first he didn’t know her blood type, and later was informed that Kimberly’s blood type was B Positive. In tears, Rob replied “of course it is, what else could it be?”

Kimberly was released after spending two months in the hospital and in rehab. Once Rob was emotionally ready, he returned to the studio and began working on a song for his wife, “Kimpossible” as he now calls her for her strength and incredible resilience.

As individuals, we are unique. Recognizing, accepting, and embracing our individual differences, skills and talents is what makes the world so fascinating and diverse. Music moves all people and brings us closer together. We must unite together to end violence against women” – Rob Tardik

Listen to B Positive on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Dee Lucas – Full Tilt

National recording artist and saxophonist Dee Lucas has been steadily growing his brand and fan base beginning with Remembrance in 2004. Thereafter, it has been a steady showcase of unique stylings with Something to Ride 2 (2007), Standing Room Only (2010), Rebirth of the Smooth (2012), The Smooth Factor (2014), Going Deeper (2016), The Sweet Spot (2017) & Going Left (2018).

Lucas got his start as a musician playing as a sideman in a local band, Between 9&7. The band recorded a CD, which was a moderate regional hit. Although he got performances, both rhythm and solos, Lucas felt it was time to develop his own by ensemble to demand more challenges within himself as both a musician and entrepreneur. So, on New Year’s Eve of 1999, Lucas formed his own contemporary jazz trio, Xpressions. They produced and recorded a CD titled Footprints, which gained notoriety in regional markets. The record contained the classic hit People Make the World Go Round.

His newest album The Time Is Now has been released in September, 2020. The album is produced by the following: Darryl Williams, George Freeman, Adam Omar Hawley, Lew Laing Jr, Gino Luigino, A. Rosaria, & David P Stevens. Additional musicians & artists include Donnell Spencer Jr, Blake Aaron, Eric Valentine, Mel Brown, Joseph Pizzolato, Dee Cole, Andrew Freeman, Darrell Crooks, & Rymand Entezari.

Atlanta saxman Dee Lucas new single, “Full Tilt” feat. Blake Aaron is taken from his new CD, The Time Is Now.

Listen to Full Tilt on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Dave Koz – Dr. Norm

 

In a recording career that spans nearly three decades, saxman Dave Koz has racked up an astoundingly impressive array of honors and achievements: nine Grammy nominations, 11 No. 1 albums on Billboards’ Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, 13 sold-out Dave Koz & Friends At Sea cruises, performances for multiple U.S. presidents, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and appearances on a multitude of television shows, including Good Morning America, The View, The Tonight Show, Entertainment Tonight and more. A platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

Dave’s new single “Dr. Norm” is named in honor of his father, Dr. Norm Koz. It’s the follow-up to “Side By Side”, which spent 4 weeks @ #1 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz airplay chart in late 2020.

Listen to Dr. Norm on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Ron King – Chicago Song

 

 

Ron King is one of the finest trumpet / composer / arranger artists in the world today. A Grammy-nominated soloist, he is also one of L.A.’s top trumpet players. He has received many awards, from the IAJE, NAJE, ASCAP, and the RMA. He has attained Gold Records for working with artists including George Benson, Ricki Lee Jones, and Marvin Gaye.

In addition to these artists, he has also performed and recorded with: “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra , Frank Sinatra, Keely Smith, “The Jimmy Kimmel Live” television show, ABC-TV’s, “The Next Best Thing”, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and was featured on the Grammy Awards show. He’s played for countless movie, television, and commercial soundtracks, including Academy Award Winner, “Children of a Lesser God”, and “Ocean’s 11”.

King has been involved with numerous music projects and CDs that include David Foster, Jeff Lorber, Michael Bolton, Queen Latifah, Brian Simpson, and Michael Paulo, to name but a few.

Listen to Chicago Song on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

 

Keith McKelley – Looking In

Keith McKelley has had a wide and varied career as a saxophonist and Aerophone (Roland’s digital wind instrument) musician but also produces and writes his own material with an occasional collaboration with other writers and producers to create music that is at a high level, will last, and that is absolutely heartfelt.

Originally from Canton Ohio, McKelley has been able to incorporate various forms of music to create his own signature sound and is quite evident when you take the time to hear his playing. Since his move to LA in August of 2013 he has been steadily working his way up the ladder while becoming an integral part of the LA scene. Due to hard work and perseverance he has been fortunate enough and had the honor to work with: Phillip Bailey, Rapper Logic, Jhené Aiko, John Lindahl, Gin Wigmore, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, David Foster, Usher, Tyrese, Larry Dunn of Earth, Wind , And fire, Bob James, Harvey Mason, Raphael Saadiq, Mary J. Blige, Andrew Gouche, Solange Knowles, Bill ‘The Budda” Dickens, Angela Bofill, Micki Howard, Marcus Johnson, Marc de Clive -Lowe. And the list continues to grow.

Keith plans to keep pushing his vision of new music, always setting the bar high. The operative word is “energy”. There always has to be 110% poured into every little bit of music no matter what the situation. This is more than just something he does. He lives it. The idea is to work with high quality artists and and put out high quality, classic work that will surely contribute to the ever changing landscape of music in this world.

Listen to Looking In on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Michael Lington – Baker Street

When 2020 began, Michael Lington was eagerly looking forward to many wonderful events – the impending birth of his son Landon, touring again with his fellow saxophone stars Vincent Ingala and Paul Taylor as Sax to the Max, and numerous European solo dates. Then COVID-19 hit, and the resulting lockdown scrambled everything. Prevented from hitting the road, Lington quickly turned his home studio into one of contemporary jazz’s premiere virtual performance destinations, with a popular ongoing series of weekly shows on the StageIt platform.

In a year like no other, the pandemic has wreaked havoc with our health, the economy and our day to day lives – but with the release of his latest recording Alone Together (Peak Records) the innovative artist and his array of musical friends remind us it can’t stop the flow of creativity and determination to bring fans together to experience a collective joy like no other.

“Alone Together is a unique project that presented itself in many shapes and forms,” Lington says. “When the pandemic started and all my touring was postponed indefinitely, I knew I needed to continue creating music for my own well-being. It was more a matter of my mental health than financial survival. I didn’t want to sit around feeling stagnant and unproductive.

In addition to the opportunity for fans to once again experience favorite warm-hearted and transcendent moments of the StageIt shows, the tracks on Alone Together allow everyone to revisit some of the most compelling original and cover songs from Lington’s multi-faceted 20-plus year solo discography. Opening with a rousing version of the first radio single “Baker Street” featuring Javier Colon, the set includes “Everything Must Change” feat. Chris Walker , “Gonna Love You Tonight” feat. Kenny Lattimore, “My Love” feat. Dave Koz , “Some Kinda Way feat. Sy Smith, and “Slick” feat. Brian Culbertson. Lington also fires up a dynamic horn conversation with superstar saxman Boney James on Boney’s #1 hit “Up All Night.”

Listen to Baker Street on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 14/5).

Adam Hawley – Tokyo Groove

 

The years since dropping his debut album has been a bit of a rocket ride for award-winning R&B/Jazz guitarist Adam Hawley. Several of his radio singles have gone to No. 1 nationally and he deftly avoided the sophomore slump when his 2nd outing further established him as a centerstage solo artist.

Escape is Hawley’s third album and first for his new record label, MBF Entertainment. Hawley produced and wrote eight of the record’s ten tunes featuring collaborations with a constellation of Smooth/Contemporary Jazz luminaries including Rick Braun, Najee, Michael Lington, Jeff Ryan, Marcus Anderson and Greg Manning.

“When I wrote Escape it really took me away to another, special place. The groove, the vibe…it just transported me to a place of chill and Zen. That became the theme that runs on through the entire record,” said Hawley, a Portland, Oregon native who has resided in the Los Angeles area since earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts.

Hawley has accompanied and toured extensively with Jennifer Lopez, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Natalie Cole, and “American Idol.” He passes his knowledge along to students around Los Angeles at Musician’s Institute, Chaffey College and Saddleback College.

Adam’s new single is “Tokyo Groove”. It’s the follow-up to his #1 Billboard hit, “Escape”.

Listen to Tokyo Groove on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

Lincoln Adler – Alchemy

 

Lincoln Adler an SF Bay Area-based saxophonist, producer, composer and certified yoga instructor. He has performed and recorded with many wonderful artists including actor/musician Jeff Goldblum, K. D. Lang, The Jets, Olivia Newton John, and Killy. As a producer and composer, he has had music included in movies, national TV commercials, industrials and on numerous albums.

Adler’s boutique production companies – Groove Tonic Media and Executive Branch Productions – help talented artists realize their creative artistic recording potential. He is profoundly interested in all aspects of creativity, in what makes us tick as both individuals and as artists, and in how to lead a life of success and happiness in the modern world.

Lincoln Adler is celebrating the release of a new album – Tabula Rasa. It’s dedicated to the idea of starting fresh, a new beginning, with a blank slate. And it features the single, “Alchemy”, about how getting the mix of ingredients just right ends up creating a whole that’s so much more than the sum of the parts. You can hear the whole album on your favorite streaming service.

“Peace” – Lincoln Adler

Listen to Alchemy on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

Danny Lerman – Steely Eyes

 

Blujazz is proud to announce the new single “Steely Eyes” from critically acclaimed saxophonist, Danny Lerman, going to radio on Monday, February 15th, 2021. The new single, written by Lerman, featuring special guest, Smooth Jazz flutist Ragan Whiteside, was co-written and produced by Adam Hawley. Danny’s previous single, “Blueberry Pie,” is still riding the charts.

Lerman has traveled and performed around the world, including Turkey, Israel, South Africa, Mexico, Finland, Venezuela, Indonesia, Holland and Arhem in The Netherlands, Hong Kong, and the USA. Danny has recorded or performed with Michele Coltrane, Adam Hawley, Joe McBride, Howard Hewett, Danny Boy, Bobby Lyle, Norman Connors, Peabo Bryson, the late Kevin Mahogany, Onder Focan, Randy Brecker, Dave Valentin, and Hubert Laws. In addition, Lerman has opened for Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Sergio Mendez, Richard Elliot, David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, the Ghetto Boys and Joe Lovano among others.

Listen to Steely Eyes on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

Carol Duboc feat. Jeff Lorber – Restless

 

Legendary keyboardist/producer Jeff Lorber teams up with jazz vocalist/songwriter Carol Duboc, just two years after winning the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental album. Duboc’s 9th solo album titled Restless is produced and co-written by Lorber and Carol Duboc. The album also features legendary flutist Hubert Laws, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr, and drummer Gary Novak. Many critics agree this is Duboc’s best album to date!

“Restless takes the sound we make together to the next level with a lot of energetic tunes” – Jeff Lorber

“Restless has a really nice flow from song to song and I’m honored to be part of it.” – Paul Jackson Jr.

Listen to Restless on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

Chase Huna – Bring On The Night

 

Saxophonist Chase Huna is back with a new single off a brand new album, which he says is his best work to date. The new single, “Bring On The Night” takes influences from pop music, groove jazz, R&B, and a rediscovered 80’s atmosphere that is sure to have the listener hooked.

His upcoming album, Life Of The Party Vol. ii, which is slated to release February 26th, is the sequel to his previous album, Life Of The Party. This will be his third studio album. Huna says that he is seeing himself becoming a more experiences songwriter and is really starting to recognize who he is as an artist.

Chase has performed at some of the most popular jazz and music festivals around the country, and has performed with artists such as Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliot, Eric Darius, Vincent Ingala, Mindi Abair, and so many more!

Listen to Bring On The Night on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

WaKaNa – Silk

 

Japanese saxtress WaKaNa was born in Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. She graduated from Shobi Music College. We are proud to announce the release of her new single, “Silk”, the follow-up to her 2020 hit, “Go For The Sound”.

“Silk”
Written by Greg Manning and WaKaNa

WaKaNa – saxophone
Greg Manning – mixing, keyboards, programming
Darryl Crooks – guitar

Mastered by Steve Hall

Listen to For Silk on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/5).

Bob Baldwin – Stay Above The Fray

 

This smooth instrumental track from Pianist/Arranger Bob Baldwin is the 2nd single from the upcoming album, “NewUrbanJazz 3 / An UrbanSmooth Suite”, following up from his first single “Back to Basics (Family First)”, which was in steady rotation on SiriusXM/Watercolors and many other stations. The Bob Baldwin disc is a blend of Urban Music through a Jazz lens, this time featuring his touch as a vocal producer. Tracks by Lori Williams, LaRita Gaskins, Toni Redd, Monica Mason, GiGi Welling, Regina Troupe on vocals, and flutist Ragan Whiteside.

Listen to For Stay Above The Fray on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 13/6).

Brass Attack – Brassetude

 

Trumpeters Willie Bradley, Johnny Britt and Rob Zinn have teamed up again as Brass Attack. After their first hit single Tijuana Taxi (2020) their second single is Brassetude. An artificial word formed from Brass and Etude.

Brass Attack BBZ
“Brassetude”
feat. Johnny Britt, Willie Bradley, Rob Zinn
Written by Jeff Canady
Co-Written by Johnny Britt, Willie Bradley, Rob Zinn
Booking Contact: (910) 920-8505
Willie Bradley: #1 Billboard hit “It’s On Now”
Johnny Britt: #1 Mediabase/USA Today hit “MoJazzin”

Rob Zinn: SirusXM Watercolors hit “Take That”

Listen to Brassetude on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 11/5).

U-Nam and Ronny Jordan – For What It’s Worth

Rooted in friendship and mutual respect the massively funky reworking of the 1966 Buffalo Springfield hit “For What It’s Worth” is the latest product of a concept devised in 2016 by contemporary jazz superstar U-Nam and executive producer Vernon Clark.

Titled “Cool Guitars” it took its name from that well-known guitar Accessories Company of which Clark is CEO and comprised seven instrumental tracks played by some of the best guitar players in the business.

Two of those players, U-Nam and the legendary Ronny Jordan (who tragically passed away in 2014 aged fifty one), had been long time musical compadres and when realized that a version of “For What It’s Worth”, although unfinished, had been one of the very last numbers Jordan ever recorded, he and Vernon set about tracking down the original tapes with a view to completing the song in true “Cool Guitars” style.

In his minds eye U-Nam visualized the song as being a duet between him and Jordan. It would be the ultimate homage to a dear friend and an artistic coming together of two artists who throughout their careers had consistently been on the same page.

For them it was less about the commercial imperative and more about the joy of the music and as U-Nam began his work the virtual synergy was both instant and powerful.

Now, in the capable hands of U-Nam and Jordan, aka Cool Guitars.02, “For What It’s Worth” is a high-octane funky delight that never strays from being ultra cool. Add in the likes of Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Brian Culbertson, Dave Koz, Stevie Wonder) on bass and Bill Steinway (The Crusaders, Larry Carlton) on both Fender Rhodes and Hammond B3 and this is a tune that will leave listeners longing to hear more from what is very much a musical family affair.

Indeed they may not have long to wait. “For What It’s Worth” (which is going for adds on 02/08/2021) is simply the first single from the second “Cool Guitars” project that is due out later in 2021.

Listen to For What It’s Worth on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 1/6).

Craig “Thumper” Samuel – Hope

Bassist Craig “Thumper” Samuels‘ music career started at a very young age with pots, pans, and other noise makers. As he grew he began experimenting with new and different sounds that range from drums, to strings, pianos, and many others. He started playing the clarinet in elementary school and has progressed from there. For quite some time now he has played all of the instruments, sings, writes, records, composes, engineers and produces all of his own songs, along with songs for other artists on local, regional and national levels in several different styles. Thumper, the one man band and award winning, multi instrumental, international recording artist, actor, and model from Omaha Nebraska has been on the music seen since the early 80’s and has a very high following and now has fans in every country on the planet. He’s a Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Actor, Model, Composer, Producer, and much more. He has created and developed his own website, http://www.Thumpinhard.com, (were you can see and hear more of him), an independent record label Thumpin’ Hard Records, Inc., 2 recording studios, and United 4 Love Entertainment, his own entertainment company, and two non-profit organizations that he has a deep passion for. “JADA” (Jazz Against Domestic Abuse) a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic abuse by raising awareness and funds for educational material and shelters and a second non-profit organization “Our Stars of 2morrow” a scholarship program that he raises money for through his music. He writes one song each year and donates the proceeds of that song to high school seniors to help for college tuition. This monster musical genius blends Rock, Gospel, Funk, Jazz, Pop, R&B, and many other styles together, and adds a little spice of his own to produce his sound – the O-ZONE sound.

There are many many Recording artist that have influenced Thumper. Prince, John Legend, Janet Jackson, Richard Marx, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Michael Jackson, just to name a few and has been touched by a lot of today’s up and coming artists as well. He has exchanged both music notes and stages with such national recording artists as Prince, The Time, Keith Sweat, The System, The Bar-Kays, and many more, along with such smooth jazz artists like Jonathan Butler, Steve Oliver, Steve Cole, Peter White, Joseph Vincelli, Euge Groove, Richard Elliott, and many more.

The new single “HOPE” (Heal Our Planet Earth) is the first single from his new CD Inspirations 4 A Brighter Tomorrow. It’s an inspirational dedication to all of us to help each other fix the problems of the world and make it a better place.

Listen to Hope on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 9/5).

Charlton Singleton – Sunrise

A native of Awendaw, SC, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of three on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle and high school. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. In 2008 he co-founded and became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18 piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC. Mr. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston, SC. In November of 2016 he was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston. He remained in this position until July 2019; at that point he was named Artist in Residence Emeritus. In this position he continues to lead the Summer Youth Jazz Orchestra Camp as well as lead the “Jazz Through the Ages” assembly, which attracts a capacity crowd of students at the Gaillard Center.

As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the United States. He is a founding member of a new ensemble called Ranky Tanky. The group is a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast Coast of the United States. In 2018 Ranky Tanky reached the top of the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Contemporary Jazz charts with their self-titled debut recording. In 2019 they accomplished the same feat with the release of their sophomore effort, “Good Time”, which was recently nominated for a Grammy Award.

In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, clinician, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of most talented entertainers in the world, including Bobby McFerrin, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few.

Listen to Sunrise on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 9/5).

Philippe Saisse – The City That Never Sleeps

Offering some beautifully melodic and playfully grooving musical silver linings in a tumultuous year, Philippe Saisse lent his compositional and production magic to three #1 radio singles in 2020 – Rick Braun’s “Crossroads,” Dave Koz’s “Side By Side” and his own solo smash “Eva Kant Dance,” which hit #2 on Billboard and was the top song on the Mediabase chart for five weeks. These successes followed the Grammy nominated keyboardist’s incredible several-year run of hits from The Philippe Saisse Trio’s 2017 set On the Level!

Continuing to build on that momentum, Saisse’s latest single, the infectious, deep bass and piano driven mid-tempo funk jam “The City That Never Sleeps,” is an homage to the 30-plus years he lived and made music in New York City. Harkening back to his recent decades of popular trio recordings and performances, the richly improvisational self-produced track – which features Saisse on Steinway acoustic piano, vibraphone and keys – is a spirited reunion (created via file transfer) with bass legend Marcus Miller and drummer Poogie Bell, who played together in Miller’s NYC based band in the early 90’s. In the late 80’s, Saisse had also been part of the band on the classic David Sanborn TV show “Sunday Night/Night Music”, for which Miller served as Music Director.

Like many of the keyboardist’s tracks, “The City That Never Sleeps” is mixed by the legendary Goh Hotoda, who worked with Miller years ago and has brought his Midas touch to classic recordings by Chaka Khan, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Prince, among others. The track is bookended by real life traffic sounds that capture the vibe and energy of the city.

Compositionally, the song has its roots in a demo that Saisse wrote over 10 years earlier for Trilogy, a popular synth plug-in created by Eric Persing of Spectrasonics and featuring Miller’s trademark bass sound. During quarantine, while looking for inspiration for his next solo album, the keyboardist rediscovered the demo and developed it into a fully produced track. Miller may not have been aware of that original demo, but quickly came on board for the new production – and suggested Bell as the drummer. Embodying all the grit and spark of NYC classic jazz/funk and featuring a stellar performance by this all-star trio, “The City That Never Sleeps” is a classic example of looking back and blazing forward at the same time.

Listen to The City That Never Sleeps on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 9/5).

Kenney Polson – Mesmerized

 

West-coast Smooth Jazz saxophonist Kenney Polson is a world traveler. Having been to over 50 countries, spreading the gospel of jazz and collaborating with many musicians, he was fortunate to compete successful tours in France and Hawaii before pandemic travel restrictions set in.

Some of Polson’s happiest and most formative years were spent in Rio de Janeiro, where he performed and recorded with some of Brazil’s finest artists. He was deeply touched by the beauty of the landscape and its inhabitants. His new single “Mesmerized” reflects that inspiration.

Recorded in Rio, the Smooth Jazz track comes to life, buoyed by a good dose of funk and inevitable move into a samba groove at the hands of expert Brazilian players. Stateside, additional color and texture were added by harpist Mariea Antoinette.

“Mesmerized” is taken from Polson’s upcoming new album, Colors of Brazil.

Listen to Mesmerized on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

Jesse Thompson – Weekend Groove

Jesse “JTJazz” Thompson is an Ohio native who is a prolific composer, energetic musician, and music director. Being the son of a father who was a professional jazz drummer and a mother who was a church organist/pianist, JT got his gift naturally and started playing the drums as his first instrument at the age of 5 years old. By the time JT was 12 years old, he played a total of 13 instruments with piano being one of them. JT, was not only musically influenced by his parents but also by his oldest brother Marvyn Wheatley who recorded and played with Dayton’s own R&B group Slave. In addition, during that time JT would always be with his brothers and they would hang out in the studio with R&B artists like: Slave, Roger Troutman & Zapp, Steve Arrington, and others which further ignited him in making the choice to make and perform music.

JT is a diverse musician with a primary jazz/urban genre. His style mixes guts and glory with his multitude of approaches to the keys. JT’s music would be described as a sound that is smooth, soulful, melodic, groovy, and straight from the heart. Great influences like George Duke, Joe Sample, Herbie Hancock, Alex Bugnon, Jimmy Smith, Billy Preston, Jeff Lorber, James Lloyd, Bob James, and others who play a major influence in his musical life which makes JT’s creation and musicability a unique style of its own.

The new single, “Weekend Groove” which features jazz flutist Althea Rene is his first and latest release.

Listen to Weekend Groove on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

Gregory Goodloe – Step ‘N Out

At a very young age, guitarist Gregory Goodloe knew that he would be a musician. Strumming to the music of West Montgomery, George Benson, and Norman Brown, these musicians among many others inspired him greatly.

Goodloe has played with Grammy-award winner Ben Tankard, Norman Brown, Dave Koz & Friends, and many more.

Listen to Step ‘N Out on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

Daniel Weatherspoon – Lights Out

 

Multi-Award Winning Producer Daniel Weatherspoon brings you the #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album “The Langley Park Project” and the follow-up album “Journey”, featuring the hit single “Lights Out”.

Amassing numerous Gold and Platinum records and awards, Daniel’s client roster includes world-renowned recording artists and organizations such as Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Paula Abdul, BeBe Winans, Cece Winans, Tamar Braxton, Carl Thomas, The Legendary Clark Sisters, Donald Lawrence, Fred Hammond, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), BMI, ASCAP and The Recording Academy. Daniel even caught the eye of Nasdaq in Times Square – leading them to invite him to be the first artist granted a live in-studio performance EVER. Daniel also arranged and recorded piano for The Hamilton’s “One Last Time ‘44 Remix’ featuring President Barack Obama”. Daniel’s approach is swiftly branding a new perspective on Modern Day Jazz.

Listen to Lights Out on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

Les Sabler – Crescent City Strut

 

The suggestion came from two-time GRAMMY winner Paul Brown who has produced dozens of No. 1 hits. When contemporary jazz guitarist Les Sabler entered Brown’s Funky Joint studio near Los Angeles to begin tracking, Brown, also a guitarist, recommended that Sabler swap out his trusty guitar in favor of Brown’s vintage Gibson Johnny Smith model. The electric guitar that has innate acoustic qualities and balances tone and sustain gave Sabler an entirely new sound, which he used to create his eighth album, “Tranquility,” dropping January 29 on New Vista Records. “The guitar’s sound is a sonic departure from anything I had previously recorded and this resulted in a successful single release, ‘Keep Pushin’.’ My fascination with the expressive tone of this instrument and my comfort in playing it led me to acquire my own, a vintage ‘67 beauty,” said the Nashville-based Sabler. The guitar recommendation was the second time Sabler heeded Brown’s counsel. The first came last December when Brown was in Nashville to perform. Sabler came to the gig to hang with Brown. It was then that Brown offered to produce Sabler’s next record. “I was both surprised and delighted that he offered to produce for me. Without hesitation, I seized the opportunity. We started collaborating immediately and two months later, we sat down to record at his studio in LA,” said Sabler. A year earlier, Sabler wrote and released “In The Light” as a standalone single, which spent three weeks at No. 1 at WAVE.FM in Sabler’s homeland, Canada. The guitar player was encouraged and decided to reinvest the residuals he received from all the airplay into recording a new album, his first since 2014’s Brazilian jazz outing “Jobim Tribute.” Sabler and Brown cowrote eight songs for “Tranquility,” collaborating with hitmaker Lew Laing (“Keep Pushin’” and “Where Has She Gone”), Jeff Carruthers (“Easy Moves”) and Shane Theriot, the latter with whom they co-wrote the new single, “Crescent City Strut.”

“Paul and I collaborated with Shane Theriot on several compositions that are among my favorites on the project. Shane’s New Orleans heritage and his work with Hall & Oates brought a vibe to these songs that really inspired my playing,” said Sabler. Sabler and Brown revisited “In The Light” on the disc with Sabler recording new guitar parts for the debut single as well as for the album’s lone remake, “Sunrise,” a George Benson original that Brown masterfully illumined with Lee Thornburg’s trumpet and trombone. Speaking of Benson, Sabler references the contemporary jazz crossover legend when discussing how much the choice of guitar impacted the sound of the “Tranquility” album. “The title track really exemplifies the beauty of this exceptional guitar that was the instrument of choice for George Benson’s classic ‘Breezin’.’ The song title ‘Tranquility’ is so fitting because I can virtually escape to that destination when I listen to this song,” said Sabler.

Sabler and Brown tracked a pair of tunes last February prior to the coronavirus quarantine, including “Keep Pushin’,” which dropped as a single in May. Work on “Tranquility” had to be put on hold until July. When they resumed, Sabler recorded his guitar parts in Nashville after Brown crafted the tracks in Los Angeles utilizing a cast of ace studio musicians such as the deep pocketed rhythm section comprised of bassist Roberto Vally, drummer Gorden Campbell and percussionist Lenny Castro. Bolstered by crackling horn work from Thornburg and saxophonist Greg Vail, the album was completed in September. “Tranquility” is a melody-rich, contemporary jazz listening experience. The set consists of vibrant harmonies, funky R&B grooves and sophisticated instrumental pop.

“It was such a great experience to have Paul produce the album and I was extremely comfortable with his direction and guidance. Without a doubt, this is a landmark recording for me, and I am so excited and pleased to share this music.”
– Les Sabler

Listen to Snapshot on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

Richard Elliot – Snapshot

 

“There are absolute parallels between jazz and flying,” confesses Grammy-nominated tenor titan Richard Elliot who has been flying airplanes for the past three decades. The Renaissance man, who is currently engrossed in the colossal project of building his own airplane, adds “When you are performing and flying you are 100 percent consumed and focused on that experience from a technical perspective, emotional and aesthetic perspective, taking in everything around you.” Elliot, who has also successfully moonlighted as a software engineer, has a laser-like focus and creative vision that knows no bounds. The chart-topping saxophonist and pioneering Contemporary Jazz musician’s instantly recognizable trademark tenor has afforded him the opportunity to work with everyone from Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt and The Temptations to Dave Koz, Tower of Power and Gerald Albright, to name a few. On January 29, 2021, Richard Elliot offers the perfect antidote to a year wrought with challenges and setbacks. Authentic Life is the Scottish-born, LA-raised saxophonist’s Shanachie debut – his first new album in five years. It’s an inspiring collection comprised mostly of originals that speak to Elliot’s optimistic outlook on life. “The recording has a positive and uplifting feel which is what we all need right now,” reflects the San Diego resident. “A lot of the inspiration is based on the idea of living life in a mindful way, with focus and in the truest way possible that allows you to be sincere in your actions and intentions with other human beings.”

Danny Weiss, Shanachie VP of Jazz A&R states, “Richard Elliot has an uncanny ability to combine precision and technical mastery with passion and excitement. As a result, whether you’re a casual listener or a jazz fanatic (like me), Richard Elliot’s music is richly rewarding – and a real home run for Shanachie!”

The past year has changed the world immeasurably affecting how we live, love, communicate, interact and work. Elliot recounts a new form of inspiration that grew out of the forced circumstances. “One of the things I love about recording is the collaborative aspect of being in the studio. Unfortunately in the last year I’ve had to forgo this,” he shares. “It’s amazing that sometimes out of challenging times you glean positive experiences. We were able to take the positive experience of collaborating remotely while finding the inspiration – albeit virtually.”

A musician’s musician, for Elliot, the line-up alone on Authentic Life is a testament to the respect and adoration he has garnered from his peers throughout his enviable four – plus decade career. Never one to rest on his laurels, the saxophonist confides, “With every record, I try and push my boundaries and stay just a little bit out of my comfort zone so that hopefully I can create an environment for evolution. There is such a camaraderie in this genre. If you are in it for any meaningful period of time you have this community of artists. I feel very fortunate and privileged.” Some of the special guests joining Elliot on Authentic Life include trumpeter Rick Braun, keyboardists Jeff Lorber, Chris “Big Dog” Davis and Philippe Saisse, saxophonists Dave Koz and David Mann, and percussionist Lenny Castro, among others. “It was wonderful collaborating with these guys because each one of them pushes me in a different direction melodically.”

Authentic Life opens with the album’s sizzling first single “Snapshot,” co-written with Jeff Lorber and featuring Lorber alongside trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonists Dave Koz and David Mann. Elliot first met Lorber when he was a 19 year-old recording with the jazz-rock unit Kittyhawk. “Jeff’s tracks are so funky and they always feel so good. He is always a pleasure to work with!” The alluring R&B flavored “Walk With Me,” is a tender excursion that Elliot co-wrote with Rick Braun. “Rick like Jeff (Lorber) is prolific. He always comes up with these really infectious grooves and chords that are really a pleasure to record melodies over.” The sensual melodic flow of “Right On Time,” a collaboration with keyboardist Chris “Big Dog” Davis and Rick Braun, transports us to a tranquil space if only for a moment in time. Elliot shares, “Chris is the perfect melding of jazz and R&B. He writes and plays these amazing harmonic structures and beats. We all had a great time working on this particular song.” The epic title track is reminiscent of the iconic CTI sound and classic Don Sebesky arrangements. The stunning Nathaniel Phillips arrangement showcases soulful interplay between Elliot and Braun that captivates throughout. “Nate has been the bass player in my band for a long time and we go back many years. He was also the bassist in the amazing R&B band Pleasure. He created this beautiful mood and orchestration with stellar horn parts.”

Listen to Snapshot on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 7/5).

North “2unes” Woodall – Giving U the Best that I Got

 

Primarily a self-taught musician, it was at the age of eleven that his mom introduced him to the guitar and a love affair with music that has stood the test of time. In his teens, North “2unes” Woodall studied the playing styles of Ernie Isley, Santana, and Joe Walsh, among other R&B, funk, rock, and pop music styles. Hard work, determination, and a natural gift paid off and as a result of his exceptional proficiency with the guitar, he was quickly established with popular groups in and around Dayton, Ohio, such as The Delvones and Round Trip Ticket. North has since relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and was sought to share the stage with funk masters Lakeside, The Ohio Players, Roger Troutman and Zapp, Roy Aires, Millie Jackson, Tom Brown and Will Downing. He regularly sells out venues as the audiences know that they will be highly entertained and satisfied by tight arrangements and banging guitar solos with great licks.

And the blessings continued to flow. 2unes has become a staple on the Atlanta music scene appearing in venues from the Ritz Carlton to Wind-Down Wednesdays at Centennial Park, bridging the generation gap with his unique music blend of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop.

“I work for the listener and my music is designed for them. It is important to me that I give them what they want.” Woodall went on to say that he defines his musical style as being like a gumbo. “I can’t be put into a box musically. I’m not one thing, but many things bringing people together from all sides of the music spectrum.”

Listen to Giving U the Best that I Got on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

LaShawn Gary/Mark Whitfield – Inception

 

Composer/Producer/Arranger/Pianist LaShawn D. Gary, is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Instrumental Music Education from Southern University A&M College, and a Master’s of Music Education Degree from the University of Louisville. LaShawn also studied orchestration and arranging with jazz composer/arranger John LaBarbera. He was also a trumpeter, student arranger and Band Captain of the Southern University “Human Jukebox” Marching Band.

LaShawn has toured professionally as a pianist with jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield and the late jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste. He is multi-talented and has composed, produced, performed and arranged music for recording artist such as: gospel great, Yolanda Adams, Howard Hewitt, Keith Washington, and L.J. Reynolds.

LaShawn’s musical talents were displayed on television in the production of the Toyota Avalon “Son-in-Law” commercial, the introductory advertisement of the Ford Fiesta, Xfinity “Unplug” Commercial and the Happy’s Pizza Jingle featuring the Four Tops.

In 2015, LaShawn released his debut album, “Love, Peace, and Praise.” Two singles, “Now Is the Time” and “Love, Peace, and Praise” charted on iHeart Radio and SmoothJazz.com in 2019. The decade ended as the Emmy Award winning producer and fellow producing partners, Bill Bowen and Mike Ellison released “Detroit: One Nation Under A Groove”, a YouTube video featuring the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences Choir which received over a million views in the first month. He was also awarded two Detroit Music Awards for “Outstanding Music Video” and “Outstanding Urban Recording”. LaShawn is currently completing his second album which is scheduled for release in January of 2021.

Listen to Inception on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Ilya Serov – Heat

“Ilya really is a talented trumpeter and a great singer. This guy has got the goods. Ilya Serov – remember that name.” — Dave Koz

Los Angeles-based trumpeter /singer /guitarist /band leader Ilya Serov has a passion for jazz that knows no bounds. A talented young musician with an old soul, Serov brings an infusion of imagination, vision and energy to the many shades of America’s original musical art form. Possessing both chops and charisma, his live performances and recordings have attracted a solid following among jazz fans and seasoned musicians alike.

Serov’s experiences on the jazz scene have recently led him to expand his creative interests in a significant new direction. Following his first original single Chillin’ (August 2020), Serov recently released new track HEAT featuring platinum-selling saxophonist Dave Koz.

In addition to Dave Koz, Serov’s collaborators on the single are seasoned musicians – guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno, keyboardist Carnell Harrell, bassist Nathaniel Kearney Jr, drummer Eric Valentine and percussionist Ronnie Gutierrez.

Ilya Serov is driven today not only by his desire to preserve jazz as an American treasure, but by a mission to engage and educate new generations of listeners. He continues to focus exclusively on contributing his time and talent to the world of jazz – its past, present and future.

Listen to Heat on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Paul Brown – Nothin’ But Love

Producing #1 radio hits for himself and other urban jazz greats for three decades, Paul Brown has forged the path for the genre’s ever-present soulful aesthetic with his artful blend of blues, back in the day R&B influences and sparkling contemporary sonic sheen.

While his crisp, emotional and deeply bluesy guitar lines have played a major role in many of the hits he’s helmed for other artists, they play a deservedly more prominent role on his cleverly titled latest album Ones Upon a Time – a collection on which he re-imagines nine dynamic #1 hits he produced for other artists and one of his own. While engaging us up front with their inviting familiarity, they offer a fresh way to experience Brown’s perfect ear for sonic intricacies while allowing us to immerse more fully in his lead guitar lines.

Following the Billboard Top 10 success with the album’s lead single “Notorious” featuring Richard Elliot, Brown turns to the foundational 90’s sides with saxophonist Boney James on his latest track, “Nothin’ But Love,” fashioned now as a sly and beautiful, harmonic conversation with one of today’s hottest young sax talents, Jeff Ryan. While Brown brings the slyly grooving, dreamy hipster old school flow and sensual axe magic, the sizzling duality he and Ryan create together on the hook takes the track to another level.

Dissecting it from the get-go reveals a cool, slow building seduction at play, with Brown’s bubbly melody weaving gently over Gregg Karukas’ snappy retro-keys, trippy atmospheres and flute textures, and the buoyant skin-tight grooves of bassist Roberto Vally and drummer Gorden Campbell. Just as we’re getting cozy with the cool, Brown and company turn up the funk and lead us into the full tilt dual blast of one of contemporary jazz’s most memorable powerhouse hooks ever.

The mid-tempo funk and sweet caressing atmospheres continue up till the second, equally zestful hook, which finds both Brown and Ryan riffing a solo bar each after the full dual impact. Brown then goes to town, fashioning a fanciful and expansive, dare we say hypnotic solo over the buoyant rhythms and Karukas’ punchy old schoolin’. Through all this, anticipation builds for a final blast of that killer hook in the final minute. Not surprisingly, considering the talent involved, this is about as melodically, rhythmically and dynamics filled a track as smooth jazz gets. – Jonathan Widran

Listen to Nothin’ But Love on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Michael J Thomas – Only Love

 

There is something beautiful about artists whose insight into the human condition and world affairs allows them to create works that truly meet the moment, help us transcend our anxieties and capture our hopes for a brighter, kinder and more compassionate world.

Michael J Thomas’ soaring soprano driven power ballad “Only Love” is more than simply the latest infectious single from the saxophonist’s popular EP Stream’n Love. Originally co-written and recorded by vocalist Jordan Smith it is an essential anthem for our time – a heartfelt yet empowering musical message that offers a way forward from the dark times, fears and challenges of 2020 into a brighter day. Thomas’ belief in the lyrics that “Only love can save us now/Keep the world from burning down. . .Only love can look inside the human heart/And see us for who we are…” inspired him to take the extraordinary step of releasing “Only Love” as a dual single that includes both an instrumental version and a vocal version showcasing the multi-talented musician’s equally soulful talents as a singer.

Thomas, who became an instant contemporary urban jazz sensation when his single “Baby Coffee” stayed at #1 on the Billboard National Smooth Jazz Airplay and Smooth Jazz Songs charts in 2017/2018, has been on a momentous roll this past year and a half. “I’ll Never Love Again,” his explosive re-imagining of the Lady Gaga hit from “A Star is Born,” became his second #1 Billboard smash, dominating the smooth jazz airwaves throughout 2019. Thomas’ cleverly titled, silky light funk follow-up single “Sippin’ The Yak” hit #2 on the charts, remained in the Top 5 for nine weeks, and rounded out 2020 on Billboard’s Year-End Smooth Jazz Songs chart at #5.
Like those tracks, “Only Love” was produced by Trammell Starks, Carl Griffin, and Thomas. It features keys, synths, strings, and percussion by Starks (who also did the string arrangements), in addition to Chris Blackwell on guitars, Sam Sims’ on bass, and Louis K Newsom on drums, with backing vocals by Chantae Cann.

“While we originally recorded it before the events of 2020 unfolded, it’s definitely more relevant than ever now, not only because of concerns related to the pandemic but our political climate where so many people are at odds with each other,” Thomas says. “It’s about digging deeper down into our hearts, being kind and having respect for people and letting that be our guiding purpose so that love may prevail. We’re releasing it in time for Valentine’s Day, but as much as I love a good romantic love song, only the true spirit of universal love can save us.”

Listen to Only Love on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Carl Roland – Rock With Me

Growing up in Kansas City, Carl Roland was a natural musician, playing the trumpet, teaching himself how to play the guitar and mastering the piano. Being a part of his school’s marching band is where he got a true understanding of music and how it translates from one instrument to the next. By the age of 15, Carl was on stage playing guitar and keys with professional adult bands, trying to blend in, as if he wasn’t just a child! By 19, with a little cash in his pocket, a car load of clothes, his guitar and keyboard, Carl and a few aspiring friends journeyed cross country landing in Los Angeles. Carl was also part of the hit making production team Mokutz which he formed with his good friend and business partner Charles Jordan. Carl aggressively built relationships, sharing his music creations with as many music Executives that would listen and shortly thereafter, Mokutz landed an impressive record deal ultimately signing with EMI music publishing now SONY/ATV. Throughout his career, Carl has made hit records that soared the Billboard Charts, straight to the top! He’s earned Gold and Platinum records along with the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul award for one of the most requested Wedding Songs for over a decade entitled, “YOU.”

“This is one of my greatest and most memorable accomplishments. Jesse is one of the friends who made the journey from Kansas to LA dreaming of a record deal. We were young and crazy but we were also fearless, hungry and we really believed in our talents. That journey to LA certainly paid off. But actually, Jesse came after I had the most incredible and amazing opportunity! I was blessed enough to have guidance from the eldest of the legendary Jackson family – Jackie Jackson. Jackie was a manager, mentor and good friend to us allowing us full access to the Jacksons’ Havenhurst studios located on the Jackson Family estates. This is where we learned the true art of production and the business of music. That time and experience alone is priceless and unforgettable.” During Carls career, he has had the pleasure of working with some of the great musical artists including Patti Label, Adina Howard, Seal, Melvin Riley and Jamie Foxx – just to name a few.

While much of his time is consumed with the Dustyy Lane Band project, Carl also finds time to produce and score music recordings for film and television. “This side of production is just another way of expressing my creativity and I really enjoy it.

Listen to Rock With Me on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Patrick Bradley – Exhale

Keyboardist Patrick Bradley is set to start the New Year with a hope-filled exhalation “Exhale,” his fifth contemporary jazz album produced by hitmaker Darren Rahn and GRAMMY winner Jeff Lorber, drops January 15. Like most things in 2020, the concept of contemporary jazz keyboardist Patrick Bradley’s fifth album slated for release on January 15 took a dramatic turn when the pandemic hit and racial strife erupted. Although ideas for the eleven-song set were already sketched out, when he and producer Darren Rahn wrote the uplifting title track,

“Exhale,” which drops as a single on January 4 on the Patrick’s Song Factory label, the composition seemed to encapsulate exactly what Bradley was feeling and believes that we are all in need of: expel the fear, worry and division gripping the nation and inhale unifying hope and peace. “It’s kind of a musical release from all the tension and difficulty of 2020. I thought the album title was going to be ‘Providence’ until we wrote ‘Exhale.’ That became the clear title track of the album. It also played into where I was at mentally with 2020, which has been a pretty rough year for everybody. Knowing I was going to release (the album) in January, it seemed perfect to call it ‘Exhale.’ That’s the motif of the album and all the songs are kind of in that vein. I want to inspire, help and bring hope,” said Bradley, whose last album, “Intangible,” scored two Billboard top 10 singles – “Tailwind” (No. 5) and “Dear Friend” (No. 8) – and the title track was a top 20 single.

Bradley recorded “Exhale” during quarantine without ever being in the studio with Rahn, who produced nine tracks for the project, or GRAMMY winner Jeff Lorber, who produced a pair of tunes. After recording three albums produced entirely by Lorber, Bradley felt the need for change as he enters the next phase in his recording career. Both Lorber and a friend, sax sensation Dave Koz, recommended Rahn. “It’s always different when you enter a new situation not knowing if it’s going to work, but with Darren, things fit together perfectly both as a producer and a songwriting partner. I brought the bones and DNA of the songs into the project, but Darren’s creative input really helped get the songs to where they are now,” said Bradley.

Listen to Exhale on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

Johnny Britt – The Way I Feel

 

Johnny Britt is an American, Grammy Nominated, Composer. Early on, Britt immersed himself deeply into Jazz, meeting the art form’s icons and legends and studying diligently to become a classically-trained Jazz trumpet player at The Versailles Conservatory near Paris, France.

Britt started his career solidly landing a record deal with Motown’s MoJazz label for a forward-thinking project he created called “Impromp2”, that blended hip hop, soul and jazz and released four albums. He is no stranger to the Smooth/Contemporary side of Jazz, having composed material for some of the genre’s stars. Either as a trumpeter and/or a vocalist, Britt has collaborated with Quincy Jones, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Josh Groban, Jennifer Lopez and Maxwell. The tunesmith also wrote for Motown legends The Temptations, the latter for whom he served as musical director. He recently lead on to be co-music producer for the Emmy-winning miniseries “The Temptations.”

You can find Johnny’s talents in popular films like Spiderman and Hollywood production, “La La Land”, as well as Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack to “Hidden Figures.” Britt also sang on the Academy Awards telecast with John Legend, Common and Mary J. Blige.

Listen to The Way I Feel on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 6/5).

James PJ Spraggins – Hark, The Herald Angels Sing

 

Drummer/composer/producer James PJ Spraggins developed a love for music at an early age in the church while growing up in Bessemer, Alabama. He received a music scholarship to Alabama State University. After graduating PJ began chasing his dream of making music a full-time career. During his musical career as a professional drummer PJ has performed music covering all genres with some of the greatest musicians & entertainers across the globe. PJ is an accomplished artist in his own right having released three self-produced albums including: The Light of Day (2006), Pure Logic (2012), and his most recent album Time to Heal (2015). He continues to write music and collaborate with other artists. There is more to come!

His new single Hark, The Herald Angels Sing features Caitlin Edwards.

Listen to Hark, The Herald Angels Sing on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

 

Kimberly Brewer – Every Day Feels Like Christmas


Kimberly Brewer
is an American singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger. She has been a backing vocalist for Stevie Wonder and many others for many years. She was featured as a background singer on the hit single “We Didn’t Know” a duet by Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. She was also featured on Elton John’s album, “Duets”

Her new single Every Day Feels Like Christmas features Stevie Wonder on harmonica also Herman Jackson and Byron Miller.

Listen to Every Day Feels Like Christmas on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Mariea Antoinette – My Favorite Things

A native of San Diego, California, Ms. Antoinette’s diverse repertoire consists of classical, smooth jazz, and R&B music. She has performed for The President and First Lady Of The United States, Barack and Michelle Obama and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with the Southeast Symphony Orchestra. Her solo performances have taken her across the US and abroad. Ms. Antoinette has been sought after to perform and record for a variety of artists and events including Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, The BET Awards, and American Idol.

Listen to My Favorite Things on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

The Frost Duo – New Years Day

 

A musical tandem perfectly named for this time of year, The Frost Duo – Pennsylvania based composer/multi-instrumentalist Christian Gratz and songwriter/vocalist LeahBeth Evans – follow the funky fire of their two previous 2020 singles with the beautiful stripped-down ballad “New Years Day.” Adding a little love in our lives when we need it the most, the track is a dreamy, sensual and optimistic piano and vocal driven showcase (spiced with an emotional electric guitar solo) of the duo’s more romantic side. It’s perfect for that intimate New Year’s Eve gathering and first dance of 2021. -SmoothJazz.com

Listen to New Years Day on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Johnny Schaefer – Finlandia Brasiliera


Johnny Schaefer
is a Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter of eclectic music. He has a BA in Music (Composition and Voice) from California State University, Fullerton. While attending school there, he was a winner in the Vocal Arts competition. He has sung backup for Josh Groban, Melissa Manchester, Sarah Brightman, Sarah Vaughan, Pete Townshend, Billy Idol, Diahann Carroll, and others.

We present you Schaefer’s Holiday single, “Finlandia Brasiliera”, a Bossa Nova Christmas tune.

Listen to Finlandia Brasiliera on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Jody Mayfield – Little Drummer Boy

Having amassed a decades long resume that includes performing with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie and Illinois Jacquet to Grover Washington, Jr. and James Lloyd from Pieces Of A Dream, Jody Mayfield believes that jazz isn’t a style of music, but rather, how you play it. On his inviting holiday EP A JODY JAZZ CHRISTMAS, the multi-talented keyboardist blends his remarkable sense of soulful sonic adventure with a warm, familiar intimacy, resulting in fresh, hipster spins through five holiday classics. As caressing atmospheres waft around the tight grooves and lush melodies, Mayfield switches off seamlessly between piano and contemporary keyboard vibes. -SmoothJazz.com

Listen to Little Drummer Boy Is You on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Allan Knighton – What Christmas Means To Me

Heavily influenced by world renown artist Kirk Whalum, Allan Knighton carries the torch in delivering an undoubtedly great artistry. Born in Detroit, Michigan, currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. Currently working independently as an international touring artist. His music brings a combination of sounds and genres to the listener. A limitless boundary of Country, Second-line, Jazz, Gospel, fusion, soul, R&B, Blues, and contemporary.

Listen to What Christmas Means To Me on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Castella – Sleigh Ride

 

Castella is a proud native of Long Beach, California. Castella embodies strength and courage, she goes after what she wants and gets it! Castella is an amazing vocalist and songwriter. Described as a gifted songwriter by her mentor Darryl Swann, he says, “She just writes good songs, she’s a songwriter!” Castella wrote all the lyrics for her debut EP.

Listen to Sleigh Ride on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Eric Darius – All I Want For Christmas Is You

For Eric Darius there are no limitations when it comes to breaking new ground. Internationally known as an elite R&B/Pop/Jazz Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Darius has cemented his status as one of the most exciting and entertaining instrumentalists to enter the must world over the last decade with the release of his highly anticipated, first ever Christmas single, All I Want For Christmas Is You. It is an irresistibly fun, uptempo jam that captures Eric’s signature high energy and saxophone prowess.

Eric states, “This holiday classic song by Mariah Carey was one of my favorite childhood songs growing up and brings back so many fond memories of holidays in the past with my family. While this holiday season will likely look and feel a little different than ones in the past, I recorded my own version of this song to capture the essence of the season and bring some holiday cheer during a time when we all need it most!” Produced by his long-term keyboardist & musical director, Richard Turner Jr., this sing features Romel Veal on guitar, trumpet, & trombone, Frank “Third” Richardson on drums, Richard Turner Jr. on keys, Lorenzo Johnson on keys, Jay Puente on percussion, Rodney Jones Jr. on bass and Rebecca Jade on vocals.

All I Want For Christmas Is You continues Eric’s mission of making a difference in the world through music and is guaranteed to make this holiday season much brighter.

Listen to All I Want For Christmas Is You on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/1).

Lars Taylor – Dance Forever


Lars Rainer Rüetschi
(born March 24, 1977), known professionally as Lars Taylor is a Swiss fusion guitarist, composer and producer. His stylistic versatility, virtuos and passioned playing made him become one of Berlins most busy live and studio guitarists.

A true musical citizen of the world, Lars Taylor brings a sensual, seductive beauty and fresh, sophisticated cosmopolitan spirit to Contemporary Urban Jazz.

Listen to Dance Forever on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/5).

Jarez – Nightlife

Jarez is a contemporary saxophonist with a ear for what is hot. In a few short years, he has gone from being known as “Mr. Sexy Saxy’ to the mayor of J FUNK CITY, a CD full of all-star guests and ultra funky goodness. Featured artists include Julian Vaughn, Vandell Andrew, Willie Bradley, Ragan Whiteside and Gerald Albright. J Funk City has made a sizzling impact of the music citizens of the world. With the release of the CD, Jarez became the first indie saxophonist to have number 1’s on all SmoothJazz.com charts at one time with this release. Additionally, the J Funk City mayor made #1 on the Groove Jazz Music Charts and Radio Wave Monitor Charts for the single “24 Hours” (featuring Julian Vaughn), as well as the Top 10 on the Smooth Jazz Network Charts and the Smooth Jazz Billbord charts for the same single. J Funk City features the well-known steamy side of the mayor’s saxophone, but lends itself overall to a more muscular and athletic approach for summertime grooving.

Jarez’s ability to extend his musical outreach to fans of all ages included multiple appearances on “Cooking with Coolio”, as well as world tours with the famous rapper. He 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. This intense work ethic would be pivotal to the development of Jarez’s solo career. A whirlwind of single releases began for the saxophonist in 2013. Jarez gained notoriety as a soloist with his 2013 release of “On Top of the World” with radio charting success, which led to the album rated as #16 on the 2014 year-end top 100 albums chart on SmoothJazz.com. Additionally, the “Make it Better” and “Can’t Let Go” singles would be in the top 100 songs chart for 2014 on GrooveJazzMusic.com. The “Hold on Tight” single featuring Vandell Andrew from Jarez’s “Sexy Saxy” Vol. 1 EP would make the World Jazz top 20 singles chart.

Listen to Nightlife on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/5).

 

Mark Mixx – Morning Rize

 

Native Detroiter Mark Mixx is part of a younger generation of Detroit jazz artists dedicated to pushing the music forward. He’s just produced and released a record on his own label. The Street Jazz Cartel project is composed of Mark Mixx (percussion and keys), Johnny Barnes (trumpet), Steve Cooley (trumpet), Wayne White (keys), Issac Pippen (keys), Jeff Canady (drums), Antonio Johnson (drums) Deblone Jackson (flute), Marty Montgomery (sax), Charles Jones (trombone), Stevo (bass), Derrick Bartel (guitar), Eddie Taylor (trumpet), and Randal Wilson (guitar).

Mark Mixx and Tha Street Jazz Cartel has performed with world renowned names like Michael Franks, Alex Bugnon, Marion Meadows, Mindi Abair and more. The Cartel also appeared on Fox 2 Detroit. In October 2011 Mark Mixx and Tha Street Jazz Cartel performed for the Rainbow Push Coalition for The Rev. Jesse Jackson 70th anniversary. In 2012 Tha Street Jazz Cartel released their sophomore album on Isis Style Music entitled “Cartel Drive” and expect much more success on this release. In July 2013 the Street Jazz Cartel performed on the Dave Koz Summer Horns Tour feat. Dave Koz, Gearld Albright, Richard Elliott, and Mindi Abair.

From this album released is the single Morning Rize.

Listen to Morning Rize on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/5).

Trey Daniels – Can We Talk

Soloist, composer and soulful bandleader, award-winning saxophonist Trey Daniels is an inspiration for his generation in jazz, funk, R&B and Hip Hop. Coming from Atlanta, Daniels’ music blends his experience and his captivating energy, creating beautiful soundscapes across genres. As part of eight-time Grammy award winner Anita Baker’s Farewell World Tour, Daniels was featured at the Monaco Jazz Fest, North Sea Jazz Fest, Montreux Jazz Fest and more. In addition, his very first single, 86th St., was listed on the Smooth Jazz Billboard Charts in 2017.

In Daniels’ upcoming 2021 release, he draws on his influences from the likes of Stevie Wonder, H.E.R., Gerald Albright, Kenny Garrett and Miles Davis to embody vibrant and relentless creativity. In the words of the lovely Anita Baker, “You already know what to do. That’s why you’re here. At the moment where you let go and just play, the stage is yours.”

From his upcoming album we present the single Can We Talk.

Listen to Can We Talk on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/5).

George Benson – Turn Your Love Around (Live)

As an all-time icon and Grammy-winning giant of Jazz, we have grown used to seeing George Benson on the stages that befit his sky-high status. During a 6-decade career marked by awards acclaim and Billboard-topping output, the Pittsburgh born veteran has earned his place in both the history books and the biggest venues around the world. So it’s a rare treat – and a whole different thrill – to find this megastar going nose-to-nose with the breathless 250-capacity crowd at London’s most prestigious bolthole. “I like that kind of intimacy”, says Benson of his flying visit to Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, captured on the year’s electrifying new live album, Weekend In London. “I can feel the love when it’s up close and personal.”

Weekend In London brings Benson full circle. This seasoned performed estimates that almost a half-century has passed since he first played at the fabled Soho club. Taken from this album is the single “Turn Your Love Around (Live)”.

Listen to Turn Your Love Around (Live) on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 5/5).

Willie Bradley – It’s My Time

 

Willie Bradley is a native of Orangeburg, SC and a graduate of South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC where he earned his BS Degree in Music Education and Performance. Over the course of his career he has become a go –to musician for many of soul music’s greats over the years. Willie’s stage presence includes performances with jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Max Roach, Betty Carter, Gerald Albright, Walter Beasley, Alex Bugnon, Ronnie Laws, Hiroshima and Marion Meadows.

Bold, yet simultaneously charming; Edgy, yet at the same time beautiful; these seemingly opposing adjectives might well-describe the music of artist/trumpeter Willie Bradley, but also fittingly tell about the man! Willie Bradley’s music brings together many varied styles, but takes Smooth Jazz to a whole new level.

Willie’s new single “It’s My Time” is the follow-up to his #1 Billboard hit, “It’s On Now”.

Listen to It’s My Time on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

Rob Maletick – Beautiful Daze

Rob Maletick expresses his love for music by melting together the various styles of musical expression that have made him a sought after musician on stage and in the recording studio. During his 25+ years in the recording industry, Rob has played almost every style of music possible on his 3 saxophones, but has landed in Contemporary Jazz music for his foundation.

Born and raised in the Washington D.C. suburb of Manassas Virginia, Rob was able to surround himself with music at an early age. Having music teachers for parents didn’t hurt either. After High School, Shenandoah University became Rob’s home for 4 years. Learning about the Music Business and Jazz Performance there put him in numerous situations in which he was able to perform with legends Billy Taylor, Bob Berg, Chris Vadala, and Randy Brecker.

Producing recordings for other artists has also become a passion for Rob over the last 10 years. He loves to share his experience in the studio and his international relationships with his clients. Rob works between his studio in Virginia and in Nashville TN. His own production company Breaking Ground Entertainment was formed to help manage the producing and live sound part of Rob’s career. In 2018 Rob was asked to help form the Loudoun Jazz Society to help increase the audience and performance opportunities near his home of Leesburg Virginia.

Listen to Beautiful Daze on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

The Allen Carman Project – Fingerprints

 

Thanks to the clever title of the debut album by rapidly-burgeoning urban-contemporary jazz supergroup The Allen Carman Project, we now have a phrase that perfectly captures a unique and inspiring phenomenon. “Carmanology” is what happens when a lifelong musician – in this case, bassist Allen Carman – hooks up with masters of his chosen genre, rekindles his long set-aside dreams and creates an extraordinary recording chock-full of innovative sounds, infectious melodies, explosive grooves and irresistible radio hits.

More than the realization of the vision of a single artist, The Allen Carman Project is a fresh collective featuring a host of contemporary jazz greats, each contributing a distinct musical perspective. With a rhythmic and melodic foundation laid by Carman, Grammy-nominated keyboardist Philippe Saisse, percussionist Gumbi Ortiz and drummer Luis Alicea (all celebrated veterans of fusion legend Al Di Meola’s band), “Carmanology” fast becomes an expansive playground for fun, freewheeling creative contributions by saxophonist Andy Snitzer, violinist Evan Garr (also from the Di Meola fold), guitarist Marc Antoine, trumpeter Rick Braun and Grammy-winning guitar legend Nile Rodgers.

“I always felt like I was a musician first and that was always my true passion,” says Carman. “The whole ‘Carmanology’ experience has been a blast for me and has far exceeded my expectations. The success we have had to this point has been unexpected to say the least. Gumbi wanted us to get together with Philippe, put some songs together and do an album, but there were no promises beyond that. We did the first four songs with Andy (Snitzer) and then invited the other featured artists, and everything developed from there.”

Take from this album is the fun-filled new single, “Fingerprints”.

Listen to Fingerprints on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

Marvin Pryor – When The Time Is Right

The PR Experience is a jazz duo comprised of Trumpeter, Nelson Render and Trombonist, Marvin Pryor. These two musicians represent over fifty years of performance experience and are based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Pryor, born in Clermont, Florida, grew up between South Carolina and Connecticut and received his formal music training at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Render, was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia and received his formal music training at Florida A&M University and Delaware State University.

Their collective professional experiences include tours, performances, recordings, opening acts with groups such as: The OHIO Players, Cameo, Ray Charles, Mike Phillips, Rick Braun, Christopher Williams, Claudia Hayden, Alex Bugnon, Najee, Eric Roberson, Mike Phillips, Chi-Lites, The Dells, Third World, and many others.

These vast experiences in music and performance inspired them to create their own band, uniquely featuring a horn front ensemble with a blended style of jazz, funk, and neo-soul. When The Time Is Right starts as new single the hope on Marvin’s first solo album.

Listen to When The Time Is Right on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

Marcia Migét – Over The Rainbow

 

Growing up in a family of musicians, Marcia Migét’s musical heritage began performing extensively throughout the Midwest with her family. Her parents, Bud and Joan Migét, taught them religious and classical music along with Jazz and Blues. The ‘Vaune Sisters’ performed on piano, sax, drums and bass, as well as vocals, renditions of Jazz and pop classics on television, radio, special events and musical clinics. From a very early age studying piano, saxophone and flute, Marcia received numerous music awards.

Carlos Santana’s description of her seminal CD, ‘Marcia Migét Discovery’, is “ … her music reflects a strong, deep and honest commitment to life.”

Executive Director of Miraflores Academié for the last three decades, the list of graduates includes educators and performers in all genres. Her Jazz drummer/composer son is Motema Records’ Jaimeo Brown. An active, ‘on call’ studio musician Marcia has performed and recorded with legends from many different genres from Blues singer Lester Chambers, Classical harpist Georgia Kelly, The Voices of Latin Rock with Jorge Santana and Malo, Anthony Brown’s Asian American Jazz Orchestra, Traditional Jazz with artists such as Azure McCall, Carl Locket and Larry Ridley, and Latin Jazz with Wayne Wallace and Pete Escovedo. Other musical endeavors include the release of three jazz singles ‘Dock of the Bay’, ‘Cruzin’ and ‘Paradise’ produced by Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis with another Smooth Jazz CD to follow in 2020.

Over The Rainbow is a classic newly interpreted.

Listen to Over The Rainbow on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 4/5).

NexLevel – Chillin

In 2000, Columbus, Ohio based guitarist Mark Jackson and Keyboardist Jesse Thompson were asked to play at his nephew’s wedding—a gathering that gave rise to one of the city’s most popular and eclectic jazz fusion bands. When the person printing the wedding program needed a band name, Jackson came up with the clever moniker NexLevel—so that, as Jackson recalls, “When people say it, it sounds good, tells everyone who we are and catapults us where we want to go”.

The group quickly established itself as a popular gigging ensemble and began playing many local festivals and performing with top R&B and urban jazz artist who came through town, in addition to touring with performers like soul singer Conya Doss. They also released their smooth jazz oriented debut album Level One in 2004. When the band’s saxophonist Randolph left shortly thereafter, the remaining ensemble (including bassist Anthony Mackey) chose a completely different route, exploring an eclectic soul jazz fusion route that kept their powerful grooves and melodies strong while increasing the sonic textures, improvisations, rock guitar and funky bass elements—very much influenced by the groundbreaking 70’s work of George Duke and bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with a contemporary urban twist like the jazz/funk trio, Soulive.

We think you will dig the group’s new single, “Chillin”.

Listen to Chillin on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 3/5).

The Peet Project – Galaxies

 

The Peet Project is a Hungarian pop-funk-jazz band comprising five twenty-something musicians. Their original music is a seductive and eclectic blend, reflecting influences encompassing Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, George Duke, Earth Wind and Fire and the Rippingtons, among others. The group’s driving force is violinist-composer-vocalist-producer Peter “Peet” Ferencz. Peter gives the band its unique sound through his use of violin as a lead instrument in an equivalent role to saxophone or keyboards. His talent was recognized by contemporary jazz icons Brian Culbertson, culminating in Brian lending production guidance to one of the standout tracks off the second album, and Dave Koz who travelled to Hungary to record a single with the Peet Project in the summer of 2016. They play extensively in Hungary and regularly perform in the United States and other European countries like Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Malta and Switzerland.

The Peet Project was formed in 2009 and their career kicked off when they won the grand prize of Budapest-based 90.9 Jazzy Radio’s song contest later that year. Everything started with their debut Pink Spirit, released in 2010. Their sophomore album Turn You On already followed in 2011, then Overseas (2013) and Love (2015). Their next endeavor is entitled The Bad Boys Of Budapest (2017) and offers guest appearances by keyboardist Jonathan Fritzén, saxophonist Dave Koz, bassist and singer Gáspár Laci and singer James Copley from the band Electro Deluxe.

Let’s talk about their newest album Ups And Downs, which is finally scheduled for release October 12, 2020. This album is featuring Csaba Deseő, Paul Brown, Ilya Serov, Marcus Anderson & Michael Lington. First single of this album is Galaxies.

Listen to Galaxies on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 3/5).

Mark Etheredge – You & Me & We

 

Keyboardist and composer Mark Etheredge returns with a new single offering, “You & Me & We”, which will be released worldwide on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

Etheredge has once again teamed up with Two-time Grammy® Winning producer and guitarist Paul Brown along with bassist Roberto Vally, drummer Gorden Campbell and percussionist Lenny Castro. The contemporary instrumental jazz track, written by Etheredge, was recorded at Big Surprise Music in Los Angeles, recorded by Carmen Grillo, mixed by Paul Brown, and mastered by Rainer Gembalczyk of Sienna Digital. “You & Me & We” is a duet with Etheredge and Brown, bringing jazz, funk, latin and blues influences together in an optimistic, upbeat track.

The inspiration for the tune? “It’s all about love,” says Etheredge. “How can we coexist peacefully with one another? If ‘you’ and ‘me’ think not just about our own wants and needs and consider a third way, ‘us,’ we can focus on shared interests that benefit us both and live more harmoniously.”

Listen to You & Me & We on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 3/5).

Walter Beasley – House of Sax

Over the past three decades, saxophonist Walter Beasley, has artfully and dynamically redefined the phrase “musical Renaissance Man” for the modern generation. Considered by fans and critics alike as the “heir to Grover Washington, Jr.’s throne,” Beasley is the acclaimed saxophonist, vocalist, educator, and entrepreneur of the decade.

As the highest selling full-time Professor / Recording Artist in history, Beasley has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a Contemporary Jazz recording artist and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education.

Beasley’s new album Going Home is dedicated in loving memory of his mom, June L. Beasley. House of Sax is taken from this album.

Listen to House of Sax on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 3/5).

Mattias Roos featuring Michael Lington – Bring It On

A Scandinavian smorgasbord of the tastiest kind, Swedish keyboard player Mattias Roos has teamed up with Danish American sax-man Michael Lington for a fresh new take on the wonderful “Bring It On” that first appeared on Roos’ 2019 recording “It Goes On and On”.

Going for adds on October 5, this vibrant, groove laden and totally memorable number is not only everything that mid tempo smooth jazz should be but also one of four bonus tracks that can be found on a deluxe edition of “It Goes On and On” which will be released October 2 on the Skytown Records label.

As well as “Bring It On” (that is included both as the album version and the radio edit) this deluxe offering also features a stunning high-octane remix of the Mattias Roos composition “Masterpiece” and the brand new never previously recorded “River of Love” that underscores the skill Roos has for fusing smooth jazz grooves with an authentic old school vibe.

Although a solo artist and ‘go-to’ keyboard player for several top-flight Swedish performers, many will know Mattias Roos as a founding member of the band Soweco that he formed in 2011 with drummer Peter Gustavsson. Roos has carried some of that distinctive Soweco sound into what is now a burgeoning solo career but with critically acclaimed projects such as “My Story”, “Movin’ Up” and most recently ”It Goes On and On” he has fashioned an identity that is very much his own.

As for Michael Lington, since relocating to Los Angeles from Denmark in 1990 he has built a reputation for being one of the most soulful sax players in smooth jazz. He is also a tremendous live player and early opportunities in this respect came when he joined Bobby Caldwell’s renowned touring band. He has also performed as part of a sold out, coast to coast Barry Manilow tour and as Manilow himself put it “Michael Lington is one hell of a sax player. He absolutely brought down the house every night.”

As a recording artist Lington’s 1997 eponymous debut set the standard for what was to come and now, ten albums later, he is still essential listening for all those who like their smooth jazz spiced with a modicum of soul.

Listen to Bring It On on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 3/5).