Monday, December 18, 2017



In the label’s 23rd year, release number 200 arrived in the form of a ridiculously ahead of its time long lost album from 1976 by the musical god Hermeto Pascoal. Mystical Brazilian psych-folk from the Quartin catalogue was unearthed in the form of Piri’s Voces Querem Mate? Sabrina Malheiros made a very welcome return with her first studio album in four years and it was well worth the wait. São Paulo’s can-do-no-wrong 10-piece Nomade Orquestra did no wrong with their earth-traversing second album EntreMundos. And the dancier side of things saw scorching heat from some ultras of underground music including Ron Trent, Dego and Ig Culture as well as newer names on top of their game like Max Graef, Glenn Astro and Contours, who each did Ivan Conti Mamao proud reworking a groove from the Azymuth drummer’s forthcoming solo album. Here’s a selection of some of our Far Out highlights of the year. Includes: Hermeto Pascoal - Danca Do Paje; Azymuth - Fenix (Ron Trent Remix); Nomade Orquestra - Jardins de Zaira; Piri - Reza Brava; Philippe Baden Powell – Chica; Sabrina Malheiros - Salve O Mar; Arthur Verocai - Bis (feat. Azymuth); Ivan Conti - Azul (Max Graef Remix); Sabrina Malheiros - Clareia (2000Black Remix); Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra - Vendetta (Al Kent Dub Mix); Dokta Venom - I Owe U Something; and Ivan Conti - Mamao's Brake (IG Culture Remix).


Wonderful contemporary work from the legendary Chairmen Of The Board – not exactly the same version of the group that climbed the charts at the start of the 70s, but one that definitely gets their spirit completely right! The album's a recent recording, but it features plenty of vintage talent on board – including the Philly songwriting team of the Steals Brothers, and Detroit soul legend McKinley Jackson on production work – handling things with an approach that really reminds us of the kind of group soul albums they cut back in the day! Ken Knox is the lead here, with a very different style than that of General Johnson – and in a way, the album's maybe thought of best as a criss-cross between classic Philly group and Detroit modes, rather than just another Chairmen Of The Board set. Titles include "Each Morning I Wake Up", "Words Left Unsaid", "No One Else", "I'm Ready Willing & Able", "Get Your Lovin", "All I Need Is You Tonight", and "Get Your Lovin (DJ mix)". ~ Dusty Groove


Sugaray Rayford looks like a vintage soul singer on the cover, and he sounds like one too – here on an album that may well be the first time he really found his groove! Previous Rayford efforts have been a bit more blues-based, but the approach here goes strongly for a deep funk style – using a tight backing combo, and sometimes a trio of female backup singers – all to bring Sugaray's strong vocals into the territory of older southern soul! The instrumentation's never too overdone – and respectfully always leaves the tremendous vocals in the lead – on titles that include "Home Again", "Don't Regret A Mile", "Take Me Back", "Keep Moving", "What Do We Own", "The World That We Live In", "Troubles", and "Ain't Got No Business To Die". ~ Dusty Groove

"Moving Day," Second CD by Bassist/Composer Mark Wade

Mark Wade Trio Moving Day On their 2015 debut, Event Horizon, bassist and composer Mark Wade and his trio displayed an uncanny empathy and earned a warm reception from press, radio, and fans. Moving Day, his sophomore recording which will be released February 2 by his label Mark Wade Music, showcases the evolution of the trio's tight, seemingly telepathic interplay.

"We've had a chance to develop a sound and identity and an understanding of one another as an ensemble. We had some of that with the first CD," he explains, citing his bandmates Tim Harrison, on piano, and drummer Scott Neumann. "But this CD, three years later, shows that we've really formed some strong chemistry together. By the time we got to the recording session, we had been playing some of these tunes live in front of audiences a number of times."

Wade started writing music for Moving Day a few months after the release of Event Horizon, and the new album includes seven harmonically and rhythmically challenging originals as well as inventive arrangements of the standards "Autumn Leaves" and "A Night in Tunisia" (reinterpreted as "Another Night in Tunisia"). With the exception of "In the Fading Rays of Sunlight," the gentle waltz that closes Moving Day, all of the selections utilize frequent meter changes.

The meter shifts are not immediately obvious, however, due to the way Wade, Harrison, and Neumann keep their performances flowing so perfectly. "There aren't many tunes that don't have at least one or two meter changes," Wade explains. "It wasn't my intention to do that. It was just kind of the way the music worked out." 

Mark Wade was born on December 29, 1974, outside Detroit in Livonia, MI. He taught himself to play bass guitar at 14 in Long Valley, NJ. During his senior year in high school in Morristown, NJ, he joined the Royal Nonesuch, a rock quartet for which he began writing original songs.

He attended New York University, studying with renowned bassist Mike Richmond, who encouraged him to take up acoustic bass for jazz and to hone his arco technique and sight-reading abilities in order to better play European classical music. He received a B.A. in music with a concentration in jazz in 1997. Wade considers Richmond, whose extensive resume includes work with Stan Getz, Jack DeJohnette, Lee Konitz, and Mingus Dynasty, a major influence, along with Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, Michael Moore, and Red Mitchell.

Over the past 20 years, Wade has balanced his musical schedule between jazz, classical, and commercial gigs. His jazz credits include playing in the string section for the Jimmy Heath Big Band's performances of Ernie Wilkins's Four Black Immortals; backing singer Stacey Kent on The Today Show; playing with trumpeter Bill Warfield's New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra; and recording with singer Elli Fordyce. Wade has performed with numerous classical ensembles, including the Key West Symphony backing guitarist Sharon Isbin and violinist Robert McDuffie, both of them Grammy winners. He is presently principal bassist of the Bronx Opera Company.

Bill Warfield, who directs the jazz program at Lehigh University (where Scott Neumann and Tim Harrison also teach), invited Wade to join the faculty in February 2017. The bassist commutes one day a week from his home in Queens to the university in Bethlehem, PA, to give private lessons on both acoustic and electric basses.

The Mark Wade Trio's gigs at Club Bonafide in Manhattan, Flushing Town Hall in Queens, and other venues have greatly increased since the release of Event Horizon, and Wade's own raised profile resulted in his landing a spot in the 2016 DownBeat Readers' Poll as one of the year's Top 10 bassists. The ensemble had its first appearance in Europe in late 2017, including a performance at the Sunside Sunset Club in Paris. Interest in the trio's music was sparked in Europe when the Edition 46 label in Berlin reissued Event Horizon a year after Wade released it himself in the U.S.

Wade does not take for granted the rapport he, Harrison, and Neumann have established, which is evident in their ability to flawlessly navigate consistently challenging original compositions and arrangements in a flowing, unforced manner. "I'm really lucky that I have guys to work with to put this together," Wade says. "I'm only one-third of the sound. It takes all three of us to make it happen, and they do a really great job with it. We've been able to develop a certain kind of language together that helps bring out something deeper than just your average run-of-the-mill trio that you might throw together at a session."

The Mark Wade Trio will be performing CD release shows at the Airtrain Jazz Festival, Jamaica, NY, on 2/15, and Club Bonafide in NYC, 3/3.   

Thursday, December 14, 2017



Es:sensual presents a continuation of pianist-composer Omar Sosa’s collaboration with Hamburg’s NDR Bigband (North German Radio—Norddeutscher Rundfunk) and acclaimed Brazilian cellist-composer-arranger Jaques Morelenbaum, whose inaugural effort can be heard on the Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband CD Ceremony (Otá, 2010). Recorded at NDR’s Hamburg studios under the direction of Sosa and Morelenbaum, Es:sensual features the latter’s vivid arrangements of selections from Omar’s CDs Free Roots (1997), Mulatos (2004), Promise (2007), Across the Divide (2009), and Ilé (2014). Rooted in Afro-Cuban spiritual and percussive traditions and intimately versed in a range of contemporary world musics, Omar’s finely textured compositions present Morelenbaum with the foundation to summon forth an expansive palette of sounds, inspiring the NDR Bidband’s brilliant soloists, maximizing the ensemble’s sonic potential, and providing ample latitude for Sosa’s own luminous keyboard improvisations. ~ Michael Stone


A fantastic funky album from flute man Dave Valentin – done right after his time on the New York Latin underground, including some work with Ricardo Marrerro – and in that lean, sharp sound of the early years of the GRP label! The vibe here is more CTI than the smoother later sound of the imprint – and the arrangements have plenty of space for Dave's flute to soar out in Bobbi Humphrey-like solos – amidst larger charts from Dave Grusin, Dennis Ball, and Valentin himself. Grusin also plays a fair bit of keyboards on the record, Marcus Miller plays bass, and one track features sweet guest vocals from Luther Vandross and Patti Austin. Titles include "Open Your Eyes", "Fantasy", "Astro March", "Land Of The Third Eye", and "Sidra's Dream". CD features a bonus 7" mix of "Sidra's Dream". (Hybrid Super Audio CD pressing – works on standard CD players!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Expansion begins each year with one of the label’s most anticipated collections, “Luxury Soul”. The success of the series comes down to the quality of tracks sourced from independent soul music artists, often unsigned or with recordings previously unissued or on limited release elsewhere. This year’s set includes music by Linda Clifford, Shirley Jones with The Jones Girls and Cool Million feat. Keni Burke, artists from the 70s/80s appearing at the UK’s Luxury Soul Weekender in January. Also for the first time on CD is music by Tristan, Chris Jasper, Myles Sanko, Robb Scott, Marcus Anderson and The Wanda featuring Chaka Khan, Tristan feat. Heston, Marcus Anderson feat. Anthony Saunders, Will Wheaton & Bridgette Bryant, Soulutions, Lina, Gordon Chambers, Kim Tibbs, Jay King, Kenya, Marcia Mitchell, Dimitris & Sulene, Sir Piers feat. Frank McComb, Brian Power, Mather & Kingdon, The BritFunk Association, Andre Espeut Quintet, Crack Of Dawn, Cool Million feat. Gregers, Bobbi Humphrey, Kazu Matsui Project, Sophia Ripley, Robb Scott feat. Sylvia Mason, Adika Pongo feat. Christopher Williams, The Groove Association, Kashif, Tracy Hamlin, Watergates, Leon Ware, and Lonnie Hill.

BIGYUKI (Talib Kweli, Matisyahu & A Tribe Called Quest Collaborator) Announces Debut Album Reaching For Chiron

Torn between the ferocity of the equine and the civility of man, Chiron was considered to be the noblest of the centaurs. His front legs were not of a horse but of a man. He trotted about mythological worlds as a refined anomaly, forged with the best traits of both beasts. For keyboardist and songwriter BIGYUKI we are all on the verge of that transformation with our digital devices amplifying and polishing our intellects. His debut album Reaching For Chiron is a perfect synthesis of heart and technology, heavy beats and buoyant melodies.

"We don't memorize phone numbers anymore. We don't memorize maps. It's like a part of the brain now," says BIGYUKI. "There is an ongoing discussion about AI creating a god or summoning a devil. I kind of feel like in the near future there is no way a human will develop themselves without help from AI. It's a unity between human and machine."

BIGYUKI is naturally the perfect embodiment of that modern man. Raised in Japan, he moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music. Up until that point a majority of his keyboard experience had been with the classical masters. "Playing classical music I learned how to depart from this realm. Me becomes not me. That's when I learned that. I love Chopin. I could really relate as my young self. He has beautiful melodies. I loved it. I think that part is still in me. Whatever music I play, it's always there."

Not long after arriving in Massachusetts, BIGYUKI began to see the changes, expanding and acquiring the knowledge that would create his powerhouse sound. An encounter with the much sought-after drummer Charles Haynes at Wally's Cafe landed BIGYUKI a church gig in the Boston suburb of Dorchester, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the state. "People seemed to like my enthusiasm, attitude and maybe my playing. I didn't know any songs but I have an ear that doesn't suck. I can figure it out." And he did. He played that gig for six years, lasting far longer at the church than at the college. "That really kind of gave me a sense that maybe where you are from and what your background is doesn't really matter."

A move to New York helped to solidify BIGYUKI's transformation. He worked regularly with hip-hop artists like Talib Kweli and Matisyahu and made numerous contributions to the long-awaited return from A Tribe Called Quest. All of these elements -- Chopin, jazz, gospel, hip-hop -- reside between the keys on BIGYUKI's debut, trampling anyone who stands in the way.
The album opens by tuning into an intergalactic transmission with the ethereal "Pom Pom," a malleable swim through space dust that is engulfed in a storm of synths, Randy Runyon's panic attack-inducing guitar and drummer Justin Tyson's driving hi-hat. Despite its intensity, "'Pom Pom was one of the simpler ones," BIGYUKI explains.

He gets an assist from Taylor McFerrin on two tracks. "Eclipse" features vocalist Chris Turner in a swoony mood, crooning poet J. Ivy's impassioned lyrics over drummer Louis Cato's thundering presence. Drummer Marcus Gilmore sprinkles the funk on "Missing Ones," a chill-out crawl that blinks breathlessly from the atmosphere.

"Coming up with the bass lines and the changes was the easy part. Harmonies and melodies are very simple but then coming up with a form? Figuring out how to make the four-minute piece interesting enough so that you don't stop in the middle of it? That's the hard part." "Belong" and "In A Spiral" both showcase BIGYUKI's more sensitive side.

"Belong" features some of BIGYUKI's most delicate work on the album. Amid the clipped rhythms programmed by Reuben Cainer, BIGYUKI channels an inner calm that becomes even more stripped down on "In A Spiral," a virtual cabaret performance amidst the unrelenting futurism found throughout the album.

"I wanted to come up with something that was straight fire. That was the idea. Let's make something that hits people hard." There isn't any mystery to "Burnt N Turnt." BIGYUKI is aiming straight for the club floor with help from producer Bae Bro. The two mix samples and synthesizers for a menacing spin. "Boom," the duo's second collaboration further along the record, is equally indebted to the heavy jam, vocal samples twisted into place by dense drum programming.

"It was after one of those taping sessions for Stephen Colbert's late show. I was part of the house band for two months. I started jamming over my piano figure with Louis Cato and I recorded it on my phone." That sample made its way into the final recording of "NuNu." Drummer Lenny "The Ox" Reece lays down a skittering track that melds seamlessly with a distant vocal sample manipulation. There is a latin-ish vibe simmering beneath the surface throughout. "Reuben Cainer sprinkled a little bit of his flavor to it and the rest is blood and tears."

BIGYUKI first worked with Bilal years ago. The soul singer is the main guest on "Soft Places" making the tune decidedly his own. "You know that it's Bilal as soon as you hear his tone. He gives musicians such a freedom to stretch. He makes the music his playground." With help from co-producer and sound designer Stu Brooks, BIGYUKI presents a post-apocalyptic love song that veers through time to create a soundscape that ears can easily tumble into.

"Simple Like You" puts hip-hop in the center of BIGYUKI's universe. Javier Starks brings a swagger to the album that is refreshing and unexpected. A staccato riff keeps everyone on their toes while Celia Hatton's top melody on viola packs a hard-left turn with a symphonic break.

The album closes with "2060 Chiron," another floating collaboration with Cainer. An industrial pulse surrounds the futuristic song that is also incredibly indebted to the science fiction soundtracks of the 1980s. And as quickly as it arrives it goes, taking with it the future of BIGYUKI, the shape-shifting keyboardist, part man, part beast, all soul.

BIGYUKI · Reaching for Chiron
Likely Records · Release Date: February 2, 2018

Urban-jazz maestro Eric Valentine will launch his “Velvet Groove” featuring a bouquet of contemporary jazz luminaries

When he isn’t anchoring the beats as a first-call drummer for a virtual who’s who list of contemporary jazz stars, Eric “Mr. Chocolate” Valentine has been locked away in his Chocolate Cave studios near Los Angeles conceiving and crafting “Velvet Groove,” the first of what he envisions to be a movement of urban and jazz “music you can feel.” With the title track enriched by hypnotic trumpet forays from Rick Braun and sultry sax embellishments by Richard Elliot already in the Billboard Top 20, Matcha Entertainment will issue the album produced by Valentine on Valentine’s Day 2018.           
Stepping out from behind his drum kit, Valentine thrives plying his skills as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist on “Velvet Groove,” playing keyboards, synths, bass, vocals, percussion and drums on the disc comprised of ten full songs - nine of which he penned or co-penned – along with three reprises. The star power illuminating the high-level session of deft rhythms and grooves include Grammy winner Kirk Whalum, multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright and chart-toppers Elliot, Braun, Adam Hawley, Elan Trotman, Brian Simpson and Greg Manning. Pianist Wayne Linsey, jazz fusion guitarist Alex Machacek, and percussionists Lenny Castro, Munyungo Jackson and Ramon Islas are among those who texturize the lush tracks.

A vital element to Valentine’s vibrant melodies and “sing-able” harmonies, and an important contributor to what he calls “my Velvet Groove community” is R&B vocalist B. Valentine (formerly known as Baskerville Jones), Eric’s wife, who can be heard cooing soulfully throughout the album and sings lead on “Back in the Day.” Her upcoming solo release is one of several projects currently under construction by the Velvet Groove collective that they aim to release in 2018.

“Through the Velvet Groove platform, I’m really striving to push the idea of community. We’re trying to get all the musicians recording at the same time, vibing off of one another. People have become so socially compartmentalized these days that they don’t know how to communicate anymore. The positivity and good vibes we’re creating within the Velvet Groove community can be heard and felt in the music. It’s about giving back and being helpful. We’re trying to live the example we want people to embrace. We want our music to make people feel love, joy and happiness, using our musical gifts to inspire and uplift people to a better place, and to choose kindness rather than conflict,” said the hopeful Valentine.

A Washington, DC native who released his debut album, “Eric Valentine’s Jazz Impressions,” in 2003, the longtime Los Angeles-area resident has toured and recorded globally with smooth/contemporary jazz stalwarts Braun, Elliot, Peter White, Euge Groove and the Dave Koz Cruise as well as rock guitar giants Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather and Steve Vai on the G3 World Tour. An artist who had a significant impact on Valentine was late bassist Wayman Tisdale for whom Valentine wrote “‘Tis So Sweet” for “Velvet Groove.”

“The sounds and grooves on Wayman’s early recordings made me study and practice to his music, not knowing that I would go on to perform shows on a couple of tours with him. His melodies are always sing-able and his grooves are strong. He’s definitely still one of my musical influences.”

“Velvet Groove’s” lone reboot is a fresh take on Stevie Wonder’s “Joy Inside My Tears,” which includes members of Wonder’s horn section on the track. “I always thought it was one of Stevie’s underappreciated songs that never really got its due. We came up with a fresh arrangement for it, giving it a celebratory feel. To me, it’s a song about anyone you hold in high regard, someone who stood in the gap for you and really had your back through a difficult time.”    

Eric Valentine & Velvet Groove’s “Velvet Groove” contains the following songs:

“Back to the Groove”
“E. Love (Everlasting Love)”
“Velvet Groove”
“Back in the Day”
“Mr. Z”
“That Guy”
“Velvet Groove Reprise”
“Mi Sol”
“‘Tis So Sweet (for Wayman Tisdale)”
“Joy Inside My Tears”
“Sixth Sense”
“Joy Inside My Tears (Reprise)”
"Reflections (Back in the Day Reprise)”



Nice work from Louis Cato – a singer with a style that warmly crackles along with his grooves – partly in a soul-based mode, but with more of the depth of the singer/songwriter world – as Louis is clearly an artist who doesn't care which genre he appeals to the most! That's not to say that Cato is very way-out, just very personal – in a wonderfully special head space that comes through both in the way he phrases his lyrics, and puts together the instrumental core of the tunes – which often have his own guitar alongside shifting percussion, bass, and other elements – almost all of which are handled by the singer himself. Titles include "In My Reach", "Back & Forth", "Starting Now", "Light", "Someone Else", "SE Interlude", "Anymore", and "Look Within".  ~ Dusty Groove


A long-overdue comeback from pianist Olli Ahvenlahti – the musician who made so many wonderful records on the Finnish scene in the 70s, and whose sound here shows that he hasn't dimmed his talents at all over the years! Olli plays piano throughout, in a quartet that features Jussi Kannaste on tenor, Antti Lotjonen on bass, and Jaska Lukkarinen on drums – a group that's maybe a bit more down to earth than his 70s ensembles, but who still have an incredible sense of soul! All tunes are originals by Olli, and they do a great of of mixing angular rhythms with a forward-flowing sense of lyricism – a sound that would already be strong enough if it was Ahvenlahti with a trio, but which gets even greater with the addition of tenor. Titles include "Black Forest Air", "Thinking Whistling", "Minor Minor", "Say It Again", "Miles Away", "Little White", and "A Piano Song". (Includes download with bonus tracks!) ~ Dusty Groove.


Lisa B. (Lisa Bernstein) is a jazz singer and songwriter as well as a widely published poet and spoken word performer. On "I Get A Kick: Cole Porter Reimagined", her newest CD and sixth as a leader, she applies her vocal gifts and poetic prowess to fresh interpretations of ten tunes by Cole Porter, one of the finest of the lyricists and composers (unconventionally, he was both) who created the Great American Songbook. According to Lisa B, “My five previous CDs were largely original music, and it was time to tackle the works of another songwriter. I was always drawn to Cole Porter’s writing, and I’ve been singing his tunes in my live performances for years. In his lyrics and his shifting, major-to-minor harmonies, you can hear a dual nature. He was an outsider and a high society partygoer, a gay man in a closeted era, a breezy wit perfectly crafting up-to-the-minute, amusing lyrics who could pivot to expressing powerful longing and sadness. I guess I’m attracted to these tensions – his suffering soul, and his charm.” Lisa B chose to record ten songs Porter composed for stage and screen between 1929 and 1954. Although many jazz singers have sung and recorded Porter’s tunes, Lisa B set out to present them in adventurous ways while still hewing to the essences of the lyrics and music. I Get A Kick: Cole Porter Reimagined is stylistically diverse, offering a new arrangement of each song spanning bebop, beguine, bossa, ballads, sultry funk, and more. As for the lyrics, each tune includes almost all of Cole Porter’s words, from the introductory verses to the choruses to the once-censored parts. Plus, Lisa B adds her original improvised vocalese on two tracks and spoken word segments on three others.


The Levin Brothers' 2014 self-titled debut release was a long overdue first album by two brothers who've been recording individually for ... well, a lot of years! It was a return home to the music they first shared as kids, the 'cool jazz' of the 1950's. After decades of making dozens of solo albums and hundreds as sidemen for other artists, 'Levin Brothers' was the first duo project they started together from the scratch. It was a labor of love to compose melody-based pieces in that '50s style, and perform them with the chemistry of musicians who play like brothers! For the album and the live band, Pete and Tony recruited two friends, saxophonist Erik Lawrence and drummer Jeff "Siege" Siegel. In the studio and live they wear suits and ties, part of immersing themselves in the genre.

In preparation for the original release, the Levins contacted a prominent Jazz manager to help them navigate today's market. Tony recalls, "When the manager saw the album cover, he said, 'this screams jazz!', we looked at each other and thought, 'great!', but the manager said, 'no, no, that's terrible! that's the worst thing you can do! Nowadays you have NOT to look like a jazz group.' We were shocked! That's a bizarre concept for the music industry, but it's funny to us. We're thinking, "if it screams jazz, no problem!' We're proud of that, still are!

The Levin Brothers band first hit the road in 2015. Their second tour, in 2017, kicked off with three weeks in South America, then back home to the USA: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, upstate New York, finishing up in New York City. When they returned from South America, the band was "hot". So they arranged to have three of their live gigs recorded. This album is the result, eleven of their favorite pieces recorded at three of their shows. Special thanks go to engineer Robert Frazza, and to Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music who makes these live gigs possible.

Recorded live by Robert Frazza during the North-American leg of Levin Brothers Tour 2017: March 30, Natick, MA (Natick Center For The Arts); March 31, Schenectady NY (The Van Dyck Lounge); April 1, Rochester, NY (Lovin' Cup).

Since graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Tony Levin has become bass and Chapman Stick voice for Peter Gabriel and King Crimson. he has played on notable recordings for John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Carly Simon, and many others, as ell jazz artists Buddy Rich, Gary Burton and Chuck Mangione. He currently records and tours with Stick Men, King Crimson and Peter Gabriel.

After graduating from the Juilliard School, Pete Levin became a synthesizer specialist in the New York City recording studio scene. Over the years, he has graced hundreds of jazz and pop recordings and performances with many artists, including Gil Evans, Jimmy Giuffre, David Sanborn, Annie Lennox, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Lenny White and Paul Simon. he has released nine solo albums.

Erik Lawrence is a longtime member of Levon helm's Midnight Ramble Band. His innovative band Hipmotism features Sex Mob's slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein. Equally proficient on flute and saxophone, Erik's career as a sideman has included work with Buddy Miles, Chico Hamilton, Joan Osborne, Little Feat and The Spin Doctors..

A veteran of the New York Jazz scene, Jeff 'Siege' Siegel has worked with a virtual who's-who of jazz artists. A member of Sir Roland Hanna's Trio from 1994-1999, Jeff has performed and recorded with Jazz legends including Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Lee Shaw, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Helen Merrill and Mose Allison.
Catch The Levin Brothers band live in 2018:
Tuesday January 2 - Kennett Square, PA (Kennett Flash)
Wednesday January 3 - Vienna, VA (Jammin' Java)
Thusday January 4 - Annapolis, MD (Ramshead)
Friday January 5 - New Hope, PA (Havana)
Saturday January 6 - Montclair, NJ (Trumpets)**
Sunday January 7 - Woodstock, NY (The Colony)
Thursday January 18 - Tokyo, Japan (Blues Alley)
Friday January 19 - Yokohama, Japan (Motion Blue)
Saturday January 20 - Nagoya, Japan (Star Eyes)
Monday January 22 - Osaka, Japan (Banana Hall)
** NEW DATE. There is no New York City gig anymore at The iridium.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Danny Fox Trio releases third album The Great Nostalgist

Hot Cup Records announces the January 19, 2018 release of The Great Nostalgist, the third album by the NYC- based Danny Fox Trio.  Since its critically acclaimed 2011 debut The One Constant (Songlines) and 2014 follow-up Wide Eyed (Hot Cup), the group has continued to push the boundaries of the classic piano trio format.  The Great Nostalgist, recorded to tape in the living room of a 100-year old house in the Catskills, captures the band's uniquely personal, genre-defying original music in a warm, intimate setting with no headphones, isolation booths, or overdubs. Falling somewhere between jazz and chamber music, the album's ten pieces are replete with sonic surprises: quirky rhythms, jaunty yet catchy melodies, haunting harmonies, and out-of-the-box arrangements that spotlight the capabilities of each member of the group, all while maintaining tuneful melodies.  The modern yet tradition-embracing music filters themes of nostalgia, early influences, and old haunts through the lens of the present.

Formed in 2008, the Danny Fox Trio, featuring pianist Danny Fox, bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest, and drummer Max Goldman, is a true working band. Whether holed up in a Brooklyn basement rehearsing or touring around the country crammed into a sedan, the trio has spent countless hours developing a rapport that's immediately palpable in their music.

Though rooted in jazz, the three versatile musicians are also active in chamber music, bluegrass, electro, and New Orleans rhythm and blues, thereby giving the band a sound that is all-encompassing yet strikingly individual. Having committed these intricate and challenging compositions to memory and performed them scores of times, the influence and aesthetic of rock bands is readily appreciated.

The trio explores a wide range of novel techniques to eschew standard forms and roles.  The piano, typically both the lead melodic and harmonic voice, rarely performs these two roles simultaneously. Instead, Fox opts for textures that feature the abilities of his bandmates and explore the more extreme ranges of the piano. In addition to fulfilling the traditional role as rhythmic anchor, bassist van Voorst van Beest provides melodies, counterpoint, and coloristic arco effects adeptly. Goldman employs traditional drumbeats effectively, but often opts for a more orchestral approach, mimicking symphonic playing.
The ten pieces on The Great Nostalgist navigate through a vast array of grooves, harmonies, time signatures, tempo shifts, free improvisations, and dynamics while always remaining grounded in the thematic material, giving the music a seamlessness and cohesion that make it both challenging and highly listenable.

The album opens with the rolling piano figures, moody bass melody, and haunting cymbal howls of "Adult Joe," an homage to old friends and kiddie nicknames.  The first six bass notes plucked by van Voorst van Beest provide the theme that spins out into the various sections of the piece.  "Theme for Gloomy Bear," written for a giant pink stuffed
animal with claws, alternates between wistful ballad and pulsating trancelike grooves.  In the earliest version of the piece, Goldman conceived the shaker figure using a mint tin which burst open and left stray mints lurking in Fox's living room to this day.

"Jewish Cowboy (the Real Josh Geller)" summons Fox's love for minor-key country tunes, tapping into one of his earliest influences: the bluegrass of artists such as Doc Watson that his parents would play on car trips.  The ominous bass chords of the middle section evoke a dusty mountain range before the spirited hootenanny-like group improvisation closes the song.  The first of two ice cream themed titles, "Cookie Puss Prize," named for the Carvel mascot Fox won in a fifth grade ice cream eating competition, begins with a swirling contrapuntal duet between the piano and bass before the drums sneak in with a bouncy polyrhythmic Afro-Cuban groove.  "Truant" was composed in short bursts in the practice rooms of Harvard University amidst repeatedly being kicked out by a dour front desk attendant. The piece scrambles frantically with tumbling piano/bass melodies giving way to momentary respites of calm. The lone solo piano piece of the album, "Caterpillar Serenade" could be the underscoring for a movie trailer and flashes back to an early family home movie where Fox's brother sings him a happy first birthday on a caterpillar-shaped accordion.  "Preamble" begins with two short improvised piano and bass sections, each set against an off-kilter ostinato.  A similar figure resurfaces where the drums improvise over the squirrely, record-skipping rhythm.  Named for an impossibly neon green ice cream treat from the 80s, "Fat Frog" is a nostalgic, old-timey piece with an intro that conjures a theater curtain rising up.  The hopeful opening notes are quickly hijacked into darker terrain as the melody careens along a windy, breakneck path.  "Emotional Baggage Carousel," conceived at JFK Airport Terminal 4, explores themes of sentimentality and longing alongside a Rocky-like optimism (for receiving your luggage?).  Purely by coincidence, The Great Nostalgist closes in the same manner as the group's second album Wide Eyed: with a song inspired by laundry.  "Old Wash World," an imagining of an earlier, simpler time at Fox's local laundromat New Wash World, builds a boisterous yet sinister dance party on a simple piano riff mined from a long-ignored voice memo.

The Great Nostalgist is also a reunion of pianist Fox with recording/mixing engineer Tyler Wood, who recorded the first music Fox ever wrote while the two were at Harvard University in 2002. 

Pianist Danny Fox was born in New York City where he became immersed in the jazz scene from an early age. In high school, Danny was selected as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and went on to attend Harvard University during which time he became active in the Boston music scene. He formed the Danny Fox Trio in 2008 as a vehicle for his original compositions and since then the working group has performed steadily around NYC and the US, releasing the critically acclaimed albums "The One Constant" (Songlines) and "Wide Eyed" (Hot Cup).  Called a "pianist of diverse accomplishment" (NY Times), Danny has established himself as a versatile musician active in a wide variety of settings, co-founding the New Orleans rock and roll group Tubby, playing around the fertile Brooklyn roots and bluegrass scene, performing on Broadway, and collaborating with the cutting edge video artist Meghan Allynn Johnson.  He has performed with artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Cassandra Wilson, Michael Blake, and Kermit Driscoll.

Born in Pownal, Maine, bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest has been an in-demand presence on the New York music scene since moving to Brooklyn in 2005.  Chris received his bachelor's degree at the University of New Hampshire and a Master's degree in composition at City College of New York, where he studied with Pulitzer-Prize winning composer David Del Tredici. Known for his big sound, lyrical bass lines, and versatility in different musical settings including jazz, rock, contemporary classical, and bluegrass, Chris performs regularly around New York City with a wide variety of jazz, chamber, and new music groups.  He tours frequently to Europe, having performed extensively in the Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey and Italy.  An emerging composer, Chris is the founder of the chamber music project Hear + Now which features his original compositions for ensembles of various sizes. His most recent work Het Glazen Herenhuis, a sonnet for piano, cello and clarinet, was premiered in Brooklyn in July of 2017. Chris was a nominee for the 2016 Charles Ives Arts and Letters award.  In 2009 Chris was awarded a grant to compose the original score for the children's book "The Lamplighter," featuring narration by noted folk artist Sam Amidon.

Born in Rochester, NY, drummer Max Goldman was fortunate to study under local greats Jeff Lewis, Steve Curry and Rich Thompson. He moved to New York City in 2001, attending NYU and the New School, where he studied with Tony Moreno, Gerald Cleaver and Kenny Washington. Since graduating in 2006, Max has been active in Brooklyn's fertile creative scene. He spends much of his time touring Europe, South America, the US, and Canada with a diverse lineup of artists. In addition to the Danny Fox Trio, Max has performed and recorded with Becca Stevens, Tim Berne, The Elan Mehler Group, Old Time Musketry, Midnight Magic, Nomi Ruiz, and Eleanor Friedberger. He has been called "a seriously propulsive force" by the Chicago Reader and his drumming has been described as "beautifully melodic, even pianistic" by the New York Jazz Review.



“The Little Dream,” the title track of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez’s fourth studio album (Mack Avenue Records), gently builds into an uplifting statement – one that reflects the hope children hold in building a brighter future, where tiny dreams manifest into grandiose realities.

There is no better example of this than Rodríguez’s own personal journey: from his humble beginnings in Cuba to being discovered by Quincy Jones, ultimately leaving his family behind to immigrate to the United States and pursue his own dream. Over the past decade, Rodríguez has gone from a young local Cuban artist to a globally recognized Grammy®-nominee with three critically acclaimed releases on Mack Avenue Records: Sounds of Space (2011), The Invasion Parade (2014), and Tocororo (2016).

Over the years, Rodríguez’s worldwide tours have shaped his diverse global point of view. “I believe people are more similar than different. We live in a time where we have so many ways to inform ourselves, and yet some places – and people – choose to remain isolated. As a result, the world can lack peace and empathy, instead of showing unity and tolerance.”

In a time where governments want to build walls instead of bridges, and uplifting programs like DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are being rescinded, Rodríguez understands how important “dreams” are, especially for today’s youth – and the immigrant children known as “DREAMers” – for shaping a more unified future. He expresses, “the title of my new album, The Little Dream, is my response to our current world climate. The title comes from my fascination with the dream world, which is a beautiful manifestation of our reality. My greatest dream is one where all humans live happily and in peace. Children are the hope and the answer to creating a world of love, peace, unity and understanding.”

The Little Dream was recorded in just two days, with a majority of the songs being done impressively in one take. Rodríguez explains, “I don’t like perfection in the common sense of the word. For me, perfection is how we react to something initially, and that makes my music better and more honest. The most beautiful thing to me is when I play and the opposite of what I had intended happens, so I have to find a solution while I am playing! Music is like life, it’s about adaption and transformation in the moment.” Rodríguez’s commitment to improvisation is evident in his popular cover song videos, which have racked up millions of views on his social media channels.

Two musicians who join Rodríguez on The Little Dream and helped shape the album’s sound are Michael Olivera and Munir Hossn. “I’ve been touring and playing with Michael and Munir for the last several years, so The Little Dream is a testimony to the sound we have developed.”

Quincy Jones continues to serve as producer, and Rodríguez never stops learning from his teacher. “Quincy always impresses me, and for a young musician, it’s such an incredible opportunity to get to be around a legend. Quincy has affected my life in so many positive ways; he is my mentor, and the most open-minded musician I know. His influence has made me a better person as well as a better musician.”

As jazz music sees a resurgence in younger audiences, Rodríguez is leading the way for the new wave of Cuban musicians, including past collaborators Ibeyi and Pedrito Martinez. The rich musical history of Cuba is finally being exposed to a wider audience, which has always been a hope for many upcoming artists.

Rodríguez circles back on the title The Little Dream, which he concludes “is about the child that is within us all, and how imagination and creativity are messages for hope. No one knows better than me that a little dream can become a big dream, and big dreams can become reality.”

Alfredo Rodríguez · The Little Dream
Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: February 23, 2018

Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" Expanded Edition Releasing December 15 In Celebration Of 10th Anniversary

When Herbie Hancock's genre-defying River: The Joni Letters, won the 2007 Grammy® Award for "Album of the Year," beating out Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters and Vince Gill, it was a victory for musical exploration, inspired musicianship and the kind of creative spirit that the legendary jazz musician has carried throughout his incredible and influential five-decade career. A true milestone, the album was only the second jazz recording to win the top honors in the award's history, with the first being Getz/Gilberto by Stan Getz and João Gilberto in 1965, 43 years prior. The musical tribute to the iconic Joni Mitchell, which also won "Best Contemporary Jazz Album," soared up the charts where it peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200.

In celebration of the album's first decade anniversary, River: The Joni Letters, will be released as a 2CD expanded edition with four bonus tracks on December 15 via Verve Records/UMe with the digital release to follow on December 29. Last month, the album was released on vinyl for the first time in the U.S. 

Upon release, River was hailed by critics for Hancock's thoughtful interpretations of Mitchell's compositions, which he used as a jumping off point for extended musical meditations. The New York Times declared it "an intimate reinvention issuing from someplace deep inside the music" while NPR remarked, "Hancock is too smart to follow the tribute-record script. He doesn't radically overhaul Mitchell's songs — instead, he gently opens them up and lures the singers into fascinating free-associative conversations." New York enthused, "Hancock comes to these songs with uncommon sensitivity and understanding," adding, he "came of age when pop and jazz overlapped comfortably, and he's at his best when he shows us how they still can."

Hancock first worked with Mitchell on the acclaimed singer/songwriter's Mingus record, an album comprised of collaborations between Mitchell and the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus. Together with Wayne Shorter, Hancock was part of the ensemble with which Mitchell tried to craft a new "conversational" approach to coupling lyrics with instrumental jazz.

"At this point in my career," Hancock said when the album was announced, "I want to do something that reaches into the lives and hearts of people." With River, he did just that. Hancock enlisted producer/arranger/bassist Larry Klein (a frequent producer and collaborator of Mitchell's), to help him go deeply into Mitchell's body of work to select songs that they could adapt to a genre-less and conversational musical approach, while trying to portray the breadth of Mitchell's gift as a musician and writer. To add another dimension to their picture of Mitchell's musical world, they also included two compositions that were important to her musical development, Shorter's asymmetrical masterpiece "Nefertiti," first recorded by Hancock and Shorter on Miles Davis' classic album of the same name, and Duke Ellington's prescient standard "Solitude."

Hancock and Klein worked for months, carefully reading through Mitchell's lyrics and music, eventually paring their list down to thirteen songs that they hoped comprised a panoramic view of the poet's work.  They then assembled a group of the top musicians in the world, including the incomparable Shorter on soprano and tenor sax, the brilliant bassist and composer Dave Holland, (a musical cohort of Hancock and Shorter's who shared their adventurousness, as well as the Miles Davis imprimatur), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (a then-recent member of Hancock's band as well as having played extensively with Mitchell and Sting), and Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, also a member of Hancock's band.

They went on to craft arrangements for songs like the often recorded "Both Sides Now," and "Sweet Bird" (from Mitchell's overlooked classic The Hissing of Summer Lawns) that transformed the songs into lyrical and elegant instrumental tone poems, devoid of the trappings of conventional jazz records.  "We wanted to create a new vocabulary, a new way of speaking in a musical sense," Hancock said. Klein added, "We used the words to guide us. All of the music emanated from the poetry."

They were also fortunate to be able to cast the vocal songs with some of the greatest singers in the music world. Mitchell herself sings the autobiographical musing on childhood "The Tea Leaf Prophecy," Tina Turner turns the beautiful prose of "Edith And The Kingpin" into a timeless piece of song-noir, Norah Jones delivers the wistful classic "Court and Spark," Corinne Bailey Rae turns the mournful Christmas classic "River" into an innocent and optimistic poem of bittersweet romance, Brazilian-born Luciana Souza becomes a dark third voice to Hancock and Shorter on "Amelia," and in a stark and cinematic closer, Leonard Cohen recites the brilliant and surreal lyric to "The Jungle Line" as Hancock provides film score-like improvised accompaniment.

The 10th anniversary edition of River adds four additional songs of Mitchells', previously released as Amazon and iTunes exclusives. The extra tracks span Mitchell's expansive career and include "A Case Of You" and "All I Want" (featuring Sonya Kitchell) from her masterpiece Blue, "Harlem In Havana" from her 1998 album Taming The Tiger and "I Had A King," the opening song on Mitchell's debut record Song To A Seagull. "Harlem In Havana" and "I Had A King" are making their debut in any physical format.

River: The Joni Letters represented a journey into a new world in Hancock's search for fresh ground – a world of words – and now with this new expanded release fans can revisit this stunning album again and dive even deeper into Hancock and Mitchell's timeless creations.

Disc 1
Court and Spark (featuring Norah Jones)
Edith And The Kingpin (featuring Tina Turner)
Both Sides Now
River (featuring Corinne Bailey Rae)
Sweet Bird
Tea Leaf Prophecy (featuring Joni Mitchell)
Amelia (featuring Luciana Souza)
The Jungle Line (featuring Leonard Cohen)

Disc 2
A Case Of You*
All I Want (featuring Sonya Kitchell)*
Harlem In Havana*
I Had A King*
* Bonus Tracks

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

John Raymond & Real Feels Expand on Original Compositions & Indie-Rock Meets Jazz Arrangements for Sophomore Studio Album Joy Ride

In the unfettered world of the jazz musician, having a long-time working group with a unique identity and sound is a rare thing. But for over four years now, Minnesota-born trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer John Raymond has done just that. His bass-less trio Real Feels, which includes guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan, evokes a sense of home, companionship and comfort that his Midwest roots might suggest. However, bringing together three musicians from three distinct musical backgrounds make the group a model of what defines American music -- a melting pot of influences tied together by a close bond of warm-hearted kinship. Their newest album Joy Ride accomplishes this in its fullest sense.

The majority of the music on Joy Ride was written during a self-imposed, month-long retreat in which Raymond spent hours composing each day. Among the priorities for the music was Raymond's desire to connect to his listeners, so rather than compose "heady" or complex songs, he focused on simplifying and writing music that people could sing along with. When the group was ready to record the new music, Raymond brought in Matt Pierson as producer to help streamline the recording process and help craft a stronger musical presentation.

The recording begins with the title track, "Joy Ride," a jaunty original that keeps both the band and the listener on the edge of their seats for the entire tune. The group's interpretation of Paul Simon's "I'd Do It For Your Love" provides a perfect setting for Raymond's flugelhorn on the sing-song melody and intriguing harmonic underpinning. Raymond's "Follower" evokes a Radiohead-esque vibe, with a steady groove and winding, mysterious melody. Justin Vernon's music is a huge influence on Raymond, as he was in Eau Claire when Bon Iver was just in its nascent form. Taking hints from a live Bon Iver performance in Brooklyn, the trumpeter rearranged "Minnesota, WI" into an incredibly poignant and resonant piece which features Hekselman stretching over his own guitar loops. The group's take on the hymn "Be Still, My Soul" starts out calm but gradually becomes more edgy and dissonant, ending with a collectively improvised release of acoustic and electronic sounds.

The bare, yet moving original "Fortress" further reinforces Raymond's indie-rock influences. Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" is a perfect pop song set up with a repetitive guitar riff that the group modulates both harmonically and metrically throughout. Raymond's soulful "En Route" is a lighthearted piece that breezily traverses the musical back roads. A tribute to a Minnesota legend, Raymond's pastoral take on Bob Dylan's iconic "The Times They Are A-Changin'" (to this day, still a powerful political statement) subtly shifts and bends, yet retains, the essential sentiment of the song. The recording concludes with "Hymn," a duo performance with Hekselman leaving the listener with yet another simple and sincere melody resonating in their ears.

"From the very beginning this band has had a special connection, not only to each other but also to listeners -- both jazz and non-jazz inclined," Raymond states. "The process of recording this album gave way to an even more tangible realization of this connection, and upon completion we all remarked to each other how unique this music was going to be." The urge to create a band with a deep chemistry was of high importance to John Raymond. The desire to play music that develops a unique and memorable connection to the listener was also a priority. Both of these are on full display in Joy Ride, a distinctive and highly listenable new recording that will further establish Raymond and the group as an important voice in jazz today.

Originally from Minneapolis, MN, John Raymond grew to appreciate musicians who wanted not only a connection with their audience but also with their associates on the bandstand and, taking this to heart, the trumpeter applied the sentiment when he created his own band, Real Feels.

Raymond moved to New York City after spending some time time studying music in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He was able to establish himself in the New York scene playing alongside well-known musicians like Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dan Tepfer and Linda May Han Oh among others. He also began to establish himself as a bandleader by releasing four albums since 2012, all of which receiving critical acclaim including nods from the Stereogum, New York Times, and Downbeat Magazine who named him a Rising Star Trumpeter in 2016.

Raymond formed Real Feels in 2014 by piecing together a trio comprised of flugelhorn, guitar and drums. Influenced by albums done by Art Farmer and Jim Hall, as well as the collaborations of Ron Miles, Bill Frisell and Brian Blade, Raymond called guitarist Gilad Hekselman who was a frequent contributor in Raymond's past projects. Raymond's decision to play as a trio without a bassist allowed Hekselman free reign to interpret the harmony of the compositions any way he chose. Providing the glue between Hekselman's harmony and Raymond's melody would be drummer Colin Stranahan, a formidable but elastic timekeeper who had an instant connection with Raymond and Hekselman. Together, the group would go on to release two albums in 2016, the self-titled Real Feels and a live follow up Real Feels: Live, Vol. 1.

John Raymond & Real Feels Upcoming 2018 Tour Dates:

January 17 - 18 / Indiana University Residency / Bloomington, IN
January 19 / Rudy's Jazz Room / Nashville, TN
January 20 / The Velvet Note / Atlanta, GA
January 21 / White Horse Black Mountain / Asheville, NC
February 7 / Jazz Standard / New York, NY
February 10 / The Liberty / Cincinnati, OH
February 11 / Mabel Tainter Theater / Menomonie, MN
February 12 / The Icehouse / Minneapolis, MN
February 13 / Jazz Showcase / Chicago, IL
February 14 - 15 / Luther College Residency / Decorah, IA
February 16 / The Mill / Iowa City, IA
February 17 / Noce / Des Moines, IA
April 4 / Twins Jazz Club / Washington, D.C.
April 5 / The Bop Stop / Cleveland, OH
April 6 / Cliff Bells / Detroit, MI
April 7 / BLU Jazz / Akron, OH
May 10 / The Dark Room / St. Louis, MO
May 11 / Dazzle Jazz / Denver, CO
May 12 / The Nash / Phoenix, AZ
May 14 - 15 / Blue Whale / Los Angeles, CA

John Raymond & Real Feels · Joy Ride 
Sunnyside Records · Release Date: February 9, 2018

Cult combo CALIBRO 35 announce the new studio album “DECADE” and celebrate 10 years

Italian cinematic funk cult band CALIBRO 35 announce the release of their sixth studio album “DECADE”, which will hit the streets worldwide on February the 9th 2018 on Record Kicks. Today the band unveils the first teaser, taken from the recording sessions at Milano’s Officine Meccaniche, album’s artwork by Solo Macello and tracklist.

“DECADE” marks 10 years of Calibro 35’s releases and it’s the very first album recorded by the band with an orchestral-inspired enlarged line-up that features horns, strings and percussions. Mixed and recorded by CALIBRO’s usual suspect and Grammy Award winner for The Muse Drone album Tommaso Colliva “DECADE” is CALIBRO 35’s “time capsule” and it is as rare and complex as a timeless work.

Active since 2008, CALIBRO 35 enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the coolest independent band around. During their ten years career, they have been sampled by Dr. Dre on his Compton album and Jay-Z, they shared stages worldwide with the likes of Roy Ayers, Muse, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Jones, Thundercat, Headhunters and as unique musicians they've collaborated with, amongst others PJ Harvey, Mike Patton, John Parish and Stewart Copeland and Nic Cester (Jet).

Described by Rolling Stone magazine's as "the most fascinating, retro-maniac and genuine thing that happened to Italy in the last years", Calibro 35 now count on a number of aficionados worldwide which includes VIP’s fans such as Dj Food (Ninja Tune), Mr Scruff and Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin’ Criminals).

Ray Brown Jr Shines On New International Jazz Recording

SRI Jazz is proud present a new album by Ray Brown Jr, cementing his place as one of the leading jazz vocalists performing today. Called a cross between Billy Eckstein and Al Jarreau, Ray Brown Jr. is the heir - apparent to the title of the best smooth jazz vocalist of our time and is the “Featured Artist” on the label’s website

His new album is simply titled “This Is Ray Brown Jr .” , as it showcases this superb artist as he glides through thirteen creative renditions of classic jazz and blues songs combined with Ray’s warm and charming vocals making it this one of the best vocal jazz albums of the year.

Ray is one of those rare journeymen singers who, like his famous Mother (Ella Fitzgerald), is more at home performing than anywhere else. Most recently he has been working non - stop throughout Europe , Australia and the Ukraine ( where this album was recorded ) to sold out shows of adoring audiences with a terrific band of talented musicians who are thrilled to be working with this amazing artist.

“ This Is Ray Brown Jr ” was recorded at Fonia Recording Studios, Lviv, Ukraine during March & August 2017 with engineer Yuriy Melnik . Ray’s band of veteran musicians included Yuriy Seredin on piano, Andrew Arnautoff on bass, Frank Parker on drums, Dimitry Kovalenko and Vlad DeBriansky (on loan from the American Music Academy) on guitars, Bogdan Humeniuk on saxophone and Andy Valentine on percussion.

“I’ve worked with some of the greatest names in Jazz and I’ve worked with Ray for many years and, as far as I’m concerned, this is Ray’s best work. This album is the culmination of the talents of Ray Brown Jr. and his years of non - stop performing. The man just keeps getting better as he is never satisfied and always wants to improve. This album ranks up there with his critically acclaimed SRI Jazz duets album, Friends And Family ”, stated Shelly Liebowitz, veteran producer and label President .

SRI Jazz, SRI Records and Flamingo Jazz are all part of SRI Label Group, celebrating twenty years of providing quality, collectible Blues, Jazz, Country and Rock & Roll from major artists past and present. As one of the first websites on the  internet to offer great new and collectible music, has established itself as a music pioneer on the internet. With industry veteran Shelly Liebowitz at the helm, SRI has strived to provide a standard of excellence in the world of music.



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