Kim Waters – The Saxiest Saxman

Waters

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kim Waters published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

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Wayman Tisdale – A Huge One

Tisdale

After a stellar career that produced eight top-selling jazz CDs and one gospel project, prepare yourself for a different side of Wayman Tisdale—one that was 12 years in the making!

It’s The Fonk Record featuring 11 original songs, Tisdale’s own funky vocals and a crew of down-and-dirty musicians, The Fonk Record also boasts three guest stars with extensive funk résumés—George Clinton, George Duke and Ali Woodson.

To those who knew him best, it seemed only natural that Tisdale would craft a funk project. “He always wanted to make funk music,” says Derek (DOA) Allen, who produced The Fonk Record and was one of Tisdale’s closest friends. “People are going to see a whole ‘nother side of Wayman on this record—he was on a mission to play as hard and funky as he could.”

Tisdale confided in Allen that a funk project was something he always wanted to do. At first it was a playful joke with a few demos here and there. Inspired by great funk artists like Bootsy Collins and Robert Wilson of the Gap Band, Tisdale created his own funky moniker: Tiz and named his band The Fonkie Planetarians. His power source came from Stinky the Sock! Those who were lucky enough to catch Tisdale in concert got a glimpse of his alter ego when he’d perform 20 to 30-minute funk-filled interludes during his jazz shows. “If you saw it, you knew it was the most explosive part of his show,” Allen says. “That’s when the party got started!”

But Tisdale was way too busy with his successful jazz career to focus attention on his fonk. Between hosting jazz cruises, headlining tours, and being an active and loving husband and father, there wasn’t much time. One thing changed that: a diagnosis of cancer in 2007. Tisdale could not ignore his alter ego any longer. “He spent the last two years of his life finishing The Fonk Record,” says Allen. “Only he knew, when no one else did, that God was going to call him home. While he was in the hospital getting chemotherapy, he used funk music as therapy. I would send him files to listen to and it was part of the healing process. When he died, he was at peace.

Tisdale died on the morning of May 15, 2009, at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, where his wife had taken him when he had trouble breathing. Tisdale’s agent described his death as a “great shock” and noted that Tisdale had been planning to go into the recording studio the following week for a project with jazz guitarist Norman Brown. Tisdale and his wife, Regina, had four children.

Wayman Tisdale published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Richard Smith – The Jazz Professor

Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a high-acclaimed professor of jazz guitar music at the USC. The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities, located in the heart of Los Angeles. The USC Thornton studio/jazz guitar department is considered one of the finest guitar programs in the world, boasting a faculty of world class touring and recording guitarists.

Richard Smith has already performed with Kirk Whalum, Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Dan Siegel, Warren Hill, Bob Hope and Brian Bromberg, to name a few. His solo projects are Rockin The Boat (1989), Puma Creek (1989), Bella Firenza (1991), From My Window (1994), First Kiss (1997), Flow (1999), Natural Soul (2002), Soulidified (2003) and LA Chillharmonic (2008).

Richard Smith published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

David Sanborn – Straight to The Heart

Sanborn

One of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence since the 1980s, David Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album. Having inspired countless other musicians, Dave has worked in many genres which typically blend instrumental pop, R&B and lately, more and more traditional jazz. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school when he was inspired by the great Chicago blues artists near his hometown of St. Louis. Having contracted polio at the age of three, Dave was introduced to the saxophone as part of his treatment therapy.

By the age of 14, he was able to play with legends such as Albert King and Little Milton. Dave went on to study music at Northwestern University before transferring to the University of Iowa where he played and studied with the great saxophonist JR Monterose. Later traveling to California on the advice of a friend, he joined the Butterfield Blues Band and played Woodstock with Paul Butterfield. Following that, Dave toured with Stevie Wonder and recorded for Wonder’s Talking Book album, played with The Rolling Stones, and toured with David Bowie with whom he recorded the famous solo heard on “Young Americans”.

At the same time, Dave was touring and recording with the great Gil Evans, dividing his time between the two. After moving to New York City and studying with George Coleman, Dave started his solo career where he later collaborated with such artists as Paul Simon and James Taylor. Dave’s solo release of Taking Off in 1975—still considered a classic—further solidified his career. His 1979 release of Hideaway became a popular hit and further propelled Dave’s ascent with the single, “Seduction” being featured in the movie, American Gigolo. Veteran bassist and composer Marcus Miller joined Dave on the 1981 album, Voyeur. The single, “All I Need Is You” won Dave his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

In 1983, Dave released the hit album Backstreet that included Luther Vandross as a featured guest vocalist. Later albums have included guest artists such as Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hayden, Wallace Roney, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, and Eric Clapton. Moving onto television, Dave hosted the show, Night Music from 1988 to 1990. Produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, the show featured films of jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and Billie Holiday, as well as banter and memorable music jams by a remarkable list of musicians including Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Pharoah Sanders, and many others. Additionally, Dave has regularly hosted the “After New Year’s Eve” TV special on ABC. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dave hosted a syndicated radio program, The Jazz Show with David Sanborn. Dave has also recorded many shows’ theme songs as well as several other songs for The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.

In his three-and-a-half decade career, Dave has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre, with 2010 tour dates exceeding 150. Considered as a whole, Dave is an artist who pushes the limits and continues to make music that challenges the mind and goes Straight to The Heart.

David Sanborn published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Brenda Russell – In An Ideal World

Russell

With a voice that caresses like melted caramel and lyrics that touch the deepest recesses of your emotions, singer/songwriter Brenda Russell proves that a glowing talent only deepens with time. Author of such gems as “Piano In The Dark,” “If Only For One Night,” and the much-loved anthem “Get Here,” Brenda returned to the marketplace in 2000 with the release of Paris Rain on Hidden Beach Recordings-her first studio album in seven years. The exquisitely crafted album displayed her song craft and richly nuanced voice in an elegant journey of mood, melody and memory that satisfied longtime fans and enchanted new listeners.

Along with composing songs for her upcoming record, Brenda has continued to exercise her considerable gifts in a variety of projects. She is currently co-writing (with Allee Willis and Stephen Bray) the music for a Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker slated to hit the stage in 2005. She also co-wrote the song “Justice of the Heart” with Stevie Wonder for the Denzel Washington movie John Q—a song which Wonder performed. And her co-composition with Brazilian artist Ivan Lins, titled “She Walks This Earth,” was recorded by international superstar Sting for the all-star tribute album Love Affair: The Music Of Ivan Lins. Sting’s inspired performance of the uniquely beautiful song earned him a Grammy Award in 2001 for Best Pop Male Vocal Performance.

Her recording with Koz and the other tour artists of A Smooth Jazz Christmas CD was nominated for a 2002 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. That CD included a new version of her classic “Get Here” which received yet another re-working last fall by American Idol’s Justin Guarini, who performed it in the 2002 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and on Oprah as well as recording it for the American Idol: Greatest Moments compilation CD on RCA Records.

Fellow artists who appreciate Brenda’s music call on her formidable talent for penning music and lyrics again and again. Singer Will Downing benefited from Brenda’s songwriting with one of her co-compositions, “Don’t You Talk To Me Like That” (co-written with Vinx and Mark Cawley)-a Top 20 Urban AC hit from his 2002 Verve Records album Sensual Journey. Solomon Burke’s critically acclaimed and Grammy-winning 2002 comeback album Don’t Give Up on Me (Fat Possum) features “None of Us Are Free,” co-written by Brenda, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The three are among an all-star lineup of songwriters on Burke’s recording including Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, and Brian Wilson.

And just to keep things fun, Brenda wrote incidental music for the animated series “Fat Girl” on the Oxygen Network, as well as an animated internet short series titled “Driving While Black” for urbanentertainment.com. She also composed the theme music for the syndicated “The Ananda Lewis Show;” a daytime talk show hosted by the former MTV VJ.

Born to musical parents in Brooklyn, New York, Brenda grew up there and in the Canadian town of Hamilton, Ontario. She encountered her first piano while singing as a teenager in the Canadian company of the rock musical “Hair” in Toronto

Without a formal musical education, Brenda says she worried that she would never be able to write a song. “Then I had this revelation that: ‘You’re not doing this, you are just a channel for this, something opened up and it came through you.’ Once I realized that I was sort of fearless about songwriting after that. Because if that’s the way it is, I can do anything, and that’s the premise I’ve based my whole writing career on.”

In the late 1970s, now living in Los Angeles, Brenda and her manager began circulating a demo of her songs. She was signed to Tommy LiPuma’s Horizon Records, and her first single, “So Good, So Right” was released in 1979. Brenda transferred to A&M Records, where she formed a bond with label founder Herb Alpert and released Brenda Russell and Love Life. Her contract was picked up by Warner Bros. for the 1983 album Two Eyes before moving to Sweden, where she wrote tunes for her A&M return, Get Here. That 1988 album contained the Grammy-nominated “Piano In The Dark,” the gorgeous “Le Restaurant,” and the title cut, which was a hit for Oleta Adams a few years later.

After a 1992 Greatest Hits package and her 1993 set Soul Talkin'(EMI Records), Brenda took time off to regroup and travel. Continuing to write, produce, and collaborate with other artists, Brenda honed her craft and contributed tunes to other projects, including albums by Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, the score to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, as well as writing and performing two songs in director Barry Levinson’s film Liberty Heights.

As one of few artists who have successfully been able to incorporate a wide range of musical influences–rock, pop, R&B, jazz, classical, Latin–into a distinct style that defies categorization while attracting fans around the world, Brenda Russell’s music endures through time and trends. As evidence, her self-titled debut was re-released on CD by Universal Records in 2000, and the label, which now owns her A&M catalog, released Brenda Russell: Ultimate Collection in 2001. And later music writer David Nathan’s Ambassador Soul Classics label reissued Two Eyes.

“I never write songs that are without hope,” the accomplished artist explains. “People have to be inspired to another level. Like: My heart can go on! I may feel like I’m going to die, but I won’t because something good could be around the corner. I take responsibility on myself to inspire people and even make them cry. Yes, I’ll make you cry but I won’t leave you hopeless.”

Currently Brenda is working on her new album, which shall be released this year.  Stephan Oberhoff shows his wizardry on this album again.

Brenda Russell published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Jimmy Reid – Here To Stay

Reid

According to Dave Koz ” Jimmy is one of the real saxophone players of the future .. and he tells a story with his saxophone ” Jimmy is the featured Sax player on the hit single ” Get it On ” from Brian Culbertson and Jimmy is also featured on many other artists albums. Now it is Jimmy’s turn to be the featured artist.

Being able to record this album, “Jimmy Reid Preview 2002” released October 1, 2001, has been a dream come true for this Chicago native. With the love, support, and belief of his family and friends his dream has become a reality. Jimmy has been blessed with a musical gift. Not only to express his love through the saxophone, but he can also write wonderful memorable melodies and lyrics. This gifted musician can do it all – he writes the words and music, plays keyboards and even assists in the engineering of the music; he is the producer on all the tracks except the first single “Cool Vibe” produced by Brian Culbertson. To know Jimmy is to love him for his beautiful spirit and love for life and music that comes through with each note he plays and writes from his heart.

Jimmy came out to California in 1994 with nothing but his hopes to bring his music to the world. After years of playing street corners and dark night clubs, he finally has accomplished his goal. He has never given up and after years of trying to make it into the music world, he has made it. Not only with the love of his family but the support of fans and fellow musicians. Jimmy is not feared by fellow musicians but he is embraced. Jimmy is a shining example that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it, and he is bringing something new and fresh to the music world. Combining old school jazz with new school urban, people of all ages are sure to enjoy this new and edgy expression of music. So, everyone get ready for the sounds of Jimmy Reid because he is surely here to stay.

Jimmy Reid published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.