Valeriy Stepanov – Happy People

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

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

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

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

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Darryl Williams – Do You Remember

 

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Great Scott Productions

Dreaming in Colour – Morning Star

A wonderful work of passion: Dreaming in Colour presents their new single Morning Star featuring guest musicians Jeff Lorber and late Chuck Loeb.

Dreaming In Colour is Kevin Ellis (bass), Chris Noonan (drums), Michael Scherer (keyboards) and Steve Wunder (sax). The song was written by Jeff Lorber and Michael Scherer. The single will be released December 26, 2017. The single will be played on Smooth Jazz Buzz, the premium station for exquisite hand-selected smooth jazz pieces.

Brian Culbertson – Colors of Love

 

Brian Culbertson, is a contemporary jazz, R&B, and funk artist that has been making records for 24 years now. He spent the first 20 of those years on major labels which was great, but now he is independent which gives him the creative freedom to pursue whatever direction he is feeling in the moment.

Earlier this year he started writing new music inspired by his 20th wedding anniversary (Oct 4th). As you can imagine, it is a very romantic record. While he was writing the new songs, he did a Facebook live session from his studio and asked the audience if this record should be instrumental only, or if he should include guest vocals. It was overwhelmingly a YES for instrumental only. He even took it a step further, purposely not including any saxophone or other lead instruments, focusing mainly on the piano which is something he never has done over his 17 albums.

The name of this new album is, Colors of Love, and it will be released on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2018. Currently, there is an Indiegogo campaign to fund the production of this album, which will end in ten days. Here is the link.

Warren Hill’s Cancun Jazz Festival

 

Star-studded lineup, exotic tropical location, luxurious accommodations and the new Stay & Play option have made Warren Hill’s Cancun Jazz Festival the hot ticket for Labor Day Weekend.

 

With more than a decade of planning music vacation experiences in alluring locales on land and at sea around the world, it should come as no surprise that in his second full year at the helm, Warren Hill has already doubled the number of festivalgoers preparing to end summer with a trek to his Cancun Jazz Festival at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico over Labor Day Weekend (August 31-September 3, 2017).

 

The chart-topping saxophonist knows that his crowd covets value and all-inclusive packages just as much as they value the names on the marquee, that the location really does matter, that posh accommodations and amenities are a must, that most of the performers should be jazz artists if you bill the event as a jazz festival, and that sound, lighting and production values are not to be skimped upon.

 

The star power Hill has assembled to perform at this year’s Cancun Jazz Festival rivals or eclipses the lineup at any event on land or at sea and is comprised of smooth and contemporary jazz legends and royalty – from the seminal George Benson and Kenny G to charismatic crossover artist Chris Botti. Smooth R&B singer-songwriter Brian McKnight will be featured along with instrumental luminaries Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Jesse Cook, Candy Dulfer, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove, Keiko Matsui, Paul Taylor and Peter White. Fan favorites Eric Darius, Michael Lington, Brian Simpson and Elliott Yamin complete the bill.

 

“I really wanted to keep the artists close to the format. I believe that if you are a core fan of smooth and/or contemporary jazz, this is the festival for you. I even feel that Brian McKnight has a tremendous amount of jazz influences in his music. He can riff and improvise as well as any jazz musician I have ever heard. And for those who want to stretch their musical boundaries even further, we have virtuosos such as Chris Botti, Jesse Cook and Keiko Matsui to keep you on the edge of your seat,” said Hill.

 

Along with the four-night festival package, new for 2017 is the seven-night Stay & Play option. In addition to four nights of concerts, Stay & Play (August 28-30) adds three days of excursions to Cozumel, Tulum Mayan ruins, Cenotes cave pools and shopping in Playa del Carmen along with a Cirque du Soleil performance to the front end of the vacation. Both packages are all-inclusive and cover reserved concert seating, casual meals and a la carte dining, beverages (including alcohol), access to all festival events and after parties, and resort credits that can be applied to a variety of amenities such as golf, spa treatments and tours.

 

“The best part of this event is that you have an all-inclusive package. Your wallet never has to leave your room. And there is a very relaxed atmosphere. You have the days to spend at your own leisure – either exploring Mexico or just chilling on the private white sand beach,” said Hill, who co-promotes Rock Getaway at the same location October 26-November 1 headlining Don Henley, Santana, Steve Miller Band, Roger Daltrey, Bad Company, ForeignerREO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Cheap Trick and many more.

 

In addition to his award-winning recording career, Hill has been producing first-class music vacation experiences ever since he launched the first smooth jazz cruise in 2004. “There weren’t very many options for musical vacations back then. Now there are multiple cruises and destinations. But I feel the Cancun Jazz Festival overshadows all the other options in terms of the experience. The festival is growing every year as people begin to understand the incredible value that the event has to offer.”

 

As a world-class performer himself, Hill understands the importance of presenting the talent in the finest settings with premier production values. “Our production quality is second to none. Staging, sound, lights and venues are all top notch. Even though the festival takes place south of the border, we procure some of the best production on the continent. As an artist who has performed in every type of venue – from small clubs to The Hollywood Bowl – this is as good as it gets. And why stop at just great production? Last year’s closing ceremony featured Mayan dancers and fireworks. We put the ‘Can’ in Cancun, baby!”

 

To book a festival package or for more information, please call 805.491-JAZZ or visit https://cancunjazz.com/.

Source: www.greatscottpr.com

East Bay Soul – Soul Citizen

East Bay Soul – The Jazz Funk R&B 10 piece band of musicians that’s been making music and touring together since 2008 are poised to launch their third Kickstarter campaign. With two successful all-or-nothing crowd funding projects that produced the highly acclaimed 2015 That’s Life CD and the 2012 East Bay Soul 2.0 CD that solidified the band’s infectious sound are set to go back in the studio.

Greg Adams spearheads the band, the music is horn driven infused with R&B vocals with a wicked funky rhythm section. Collectively they have recorded, performed and toured worldwide with hundreds of artists individually over the span of their careers.

What They Are Making – A Double Vision: The crowd- funding goal is set for $55,000 for both recording projects with 30 days to reach the project’s goal. Soul Citizen is the 4th East Bay Soul album. As Greg tells it “Inspired to create new music for you, by us and with the people that have believed in us most. We’ve already started writing the songs and have some great ideas swirling around to make this our best CD yet!

Sweet Soul Christmas is the first EP – extended play of classic Christmas songs that we have been playing live. Many of our fans have asked for a Christmas CD after our shows and from seeing our live rehearsal videos online. Now we can have it delivered to you just in time for the holidays! It seems like the perfect time to do both!”

The Band: Greg Adams – trumpet and flugelhorn, background vocals • Darryl Walker – lead vocals and tenor sax • Lee Thornburg – trumpet and flugelhorn, background vocals • Greg Vail – alto, tenor saxes and flute, background vocals • Johnnie Bamont – alto, tenor, baritone saxes,and background vocals • Nick Milo • keys • Kay-Ta Matsuno – guitar • Dwayne “Smitty” Smith – bass • Herman Matthews – drums, background vocals • Johnny Sandoval – Latin percussion, background vocals.

Our Goal is to make music that connects a community of music lovers from all over the world.

Why They Need You – East Bay Soul is an independent ensemble with no outside record label or agent. EBS depends completely on their audience to help them make and record their music. “The advantage of that is huge,” says Adams. “We have no one between us. Our music comes straight from our hearts to your ears. It means everything to us to be able to make the music we want and the music you want too!”

For more information visit their website.

Julia Fordham – The Language of Love

According to singer-songwriter Julia Fordham, Ella Fitzgerald set the standard when it comes to tackling standards so she had to turn to other source material for her forthcoming collection, “The Language of Love,” which will receive its U.S. and European release on April 14 from Red River Entertainment with distribution via BFD/Sony RED.

“As the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, has already covered every traditional jazz song to perfection, we tried to find a new angle and hopefully put a fresh twist on some of our favorite songs,” the British-born, Los Angeles-based artist said.

Along with producer-arranger Grant Mitchell, Fordham culled a set list of modern pop, rock and R&B classics and revamped them as if they were pages from the Great American Songbook. The misty-voiced singer seductively emotes nine signature hits from the likes of Blondie, Eurythmics, Sting, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder in intimate acoustic jazz settings. She also reconfigured her own debut hit, “Happy Ever After,” and introduces a pair of new tunes – “Like You Used To Do” and “The Morning After (The Night With You)” – that she penned for the occasion with Mitchell.

Throughout “The Language of Love,” Fordham regally plies her deep-hued vocals on tracks that swing (“Call Me” and “Alone Again (Naturally)”), seduce through sultry bossa nova grooves (“Who’s That Girl” and “At Seventeen”), traverse a multicultural world music grid (“Happy Ever After”) and pitter-patter gracefully to a Latin jazz rhythm embellished by a sterling nylon guitar serenade by Ramon Stagnaro (“Fragile”). “I’m Not In Love” becomes a stunning torch song while a stark depiction of “Eleanor Rigby” strikes a hauntingly dramatic tone in a voice, piano and upright bass incarnation. “Sir Duke” bops to a groovy jazz beat highlighted by Wonder’s original “Songs in the Key of Life” tour trumpeter, Harry Kim. The lone tune taken from the Great America Songbook era is “Moon River,” a timeless, heart-tugging beauty written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. As for the new originals, “Like You Used To Do” is a steamy affair heated by soulful backing vocals from Judith Owen and Sista Jean McClain. A taut rhythm section comprised of David Piltch (upright bass), Herman Matthews (drums) and Ramon Yslas (percussion) construct a subtle Latin vibe on “The Morning After (The Night With You).”

Two bonus tracks, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “Moon River” orchestrated with strings, will be available exclusively with the digital purchase of the album. Videos for “Call Me,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “At Seventeen” were created and will soon be made available for viewing. Fordham will support “The Language of Love” with concert dates in London on July 28 & 29 at The Strand at PizzaExpress Live, October 18 in Los Angeles at Catalina Jazz Club and October 27 & 28 in New York City at Joe’s Pub.

Fordham said she selected “The Language of Love” as the album title because “it seemed to conjure up a romantic image and the seductive feeling of the album.” The words are the opening lyrics of “Who’s That Girl” and are mentioned in the bridge section of “Call Me.”

Although she grew up writing and singing folk music in clubs since she was 14 in Portsmouth, England, Fordham discovered jazz shortly thereafter and has always incorporated nuances of jazz throughout her recording career that began with her eponymously-titled 1988 release. Her global hit “Love Moves” was featured in 1992’s “The Butcher’s Wife” starring Demi Moore. After relocating to Los Angeles two years later, three of Fordham’s albums were produced by four-time Grammy winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Peyroux). Her 2005 live CD (“That’s Life”) and DVD (“That’s Live”) featured a stellar ensemble including Klein on bass and Academy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Mark Isham, and showcased Fordham dueting with multiple Grammy winner India.Aire. For additional information, please visit http://www.JuliaFordham.com.

“The Language of Love” contains the following songs:

“Call Me”

“Who’s That Girl”

“Happy Ever After”

“I’m Not In Love”

“Alone Again (Naturally)”

“Fragile”

“Like You Used To Do”

“Eleanor Rigby”

“The Morning After (The Night With You)”

“At Seventeen”

“Sir Duke”

“Moon River”

Bonus Tracks – Digital Only

“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”

“Moon River (with strings)”

Source: Great Scott Productions