Monday, October 31, 2011


Acclaimed eclectic music composer and instrumentalist, Paolo Rustichelli’s soulful new single “Funky Love,” is a cinematic, joyful, smooth and seductive, innovative musical celebration. “Funky Love” is his 2nd single from the soon to be released album Soul Italiano. Paolo is the son of three-time Oscar nominee, movie soundtrack composer, Carlo Rustichelli, known as the creator of spaghetti western music. Paolo studied composition and orchestra conducting at Accademia Chigiana, as well as classical piano studies. He started his career at age 16 simultaneously as a soundtrack composer and as a rock keyboard player with the album Opera Prima released on RCA Records, considered by critics a Rock progressive masterpiece.

As a teenage prodigy, Paolo pioneered the use of the mono synth ARP 2600 in Dino Risi's "In Nome del Popolo Italiano", and followed with a subsequent score for the Italian cult film Fernando Di Leo's "Razza Violenta". Both scores were entirely made with both the Yamaha CS80 polysynth and with the first sampler machine of the world, the Fairlight CMI, making Paolo one of the first composers to produce a soundtrack entirely with synths. In 1991, Paolo moved from Rome to Los Angeles, and in 1995 he released the solo album Mystic Jazz (known as Capri in the US, by PolyGram records) which was the first Italian jazz-rock album released worldwide by PolyGram records. As a pioneer musical attempt it achieved chill out music genre success (via the Buddha Bar compilations) and proved extremely influential for future smooth jazz progressive styles.

Among his other album projects, Paolo recorded, performed and produced for rock-jazz superstars like Carlos Santana and Miles Davis. In 1997 he released the album Mystic Man in the U.S. through the Island Records label, which featured the legendary Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Andy Summers and the disco diva Jill Jones. In that same year, Gavin and Radio & Records (Billboard) reported the song "Paisa" from Paolo's album Mystic Man had reached the Top 10 on the U.S. NAC Smooth Jazz charts.

In 2002 Paolo composed, arranged and produced the song "Kyrie" for Placido Domingo's Sacred Songs album. The album Neopagan, completely made with state-of-the-art plug-in technology, charted in the U.S. Radio charts in 2006 with the song "My Geisha". His latest single "Soul Italiano" (2011) has been at the Top Ten radio charts for seven weeks.


One artist, two distinct but interwoven concepts: this is the captivating logic behind Double-Booked, pianist Robert Glasper’s third album for Blue Note, following up Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007). An artist who “unfailingly gets the feeling right” (New York Magazine), Glasper has made waves throughout the music world as leader of both the acoustic Robert Glasper Trio and the electric, hip-hop-oriented Robert Glasper Experiment. With Double-Booked, the 32-year-old Houston native puts his enviable versatility front and center, emphasizing these different hemispheres of his musical brain at the same time. Career-wise, this creates a constant balancing act, and on occasion literally being double-booked, appearing with the Trio and the Experiment on the same night. Such is the storyline that emerges on Double-Booked, with conflicting voicemail messages from Terence Blanchard and Roots drummer Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson, each pulling for a different Glasper band.

“Most people, if they have different bands, they do separate albums,” says Glasper. “But I felt I’d be making more of a statement if I put it all on one joint.” The result, in essence, is a snapshot of Glasper’s life. “This is what I’m dealing with,” he continues. “It’s not like I play jazz but I also play hip-hop now and then. I’m in it, for real, both sides of the spectrum. That’s my life. A lot of people go in stages—they might focus on trio for a long time, then they change or whatever. My thing is both, all the time.”

The first six tracks on Double-Booked feature Glasper in trio setting with longtime bassist Vicente Archer as well as drummer Chris Dave, who plays in Glasper’s Experiment band but recently came on board the Trio as well. “It’s hard to find that common thread in one cat,” Glasper enthuses. “Very few cats out there are extremely convincing in all genres of music. There’s always a wink-wink somewhere, like they play jazz really good but the hip-hop’s a little strange, or vice versa. Chris has both sides down on an even level, and he keeps on creating. He and Vicente used to play together with Kenny Garrett, so they have a history that made the linkup a lot easier. He knows the Chris-isms and Chris knows the Vicente-isms.”

As on In My Element, Glasper underlines the Trio’s hip-hop leanings with short fade-in interludes (“little Pete Rock-isms,” Glasper says) that function as short codas to some of the tunes. From the outset, with the lyrical flow and supple interaction of “No Worries,” one hears what Nate Chinen of the New York Times describes as “spongey, changeable adaptations of hiphop rhythm tracks…Glasper himself plays as if he’s a living sample…in a kind of real-time loop.” “This is a little ditty I came up with when I was in London at a soundcheck,” Glasper recalls. “We played it that night at the show. I kept hearing people in London say ‘no worries,’ and that seemed like the title. It has a real positive, bright, ‘It’s ok’ vibe.”

“Downtime,” set mainly in 7/4, evokes a memory of Glasper looking out the window at the rain—“kind of like the ‘F.T.B.’ of this record, if you will,” Glasper says, referencing a standout track from In My Element. Both “Yes I’m Country (And That’s OK)” and “59 South,” meanwhile, touch upon Glasper’s hometown environment in Texas. The latter references a heavily-trafficked highway in Houston, a cultural reference not unlike the Brooklyn Bridge in Glasper’s current home base, New York. “Yes I’m Country” prompts Glasper to explain: “I have a country swing when I play sometimes, and I like playing that way.” The vamp of the tune, an intriguing five-bar phrase, exemplifies the sort of off-kilter rapport that sets the Glasper Trio apart. “I love odd phrases that vamp,” he adds. “It brings a whole different feeling than a regular vamp.”

The Trio portion of Double-Booked culminates with an astonishing treatment of Thelonious Monk’s “Think of One.” In an ingenious and totally natural overlay, Glasper seizes an opportunity in last 'A' section to quote Ahmad Jamal’s “Swahililand,” the chord progression that formed the basis of De La Soul’s 1996 hip-hop classic “Stakes Is High,” co-written by Glasper’s hero and friend, the late beatmaster J Dilla. “Monk and Dilla are both passed away, so when I play live I sometimes say they’re both probably in heaven, chillin’. Maybe they’re talking about this arrangement! I always wanted to mix a jazz joint with a hip-hop joint but make it dope, not contrived. Chris’s drumbeat is so crazy at the end, the hi-hat with the placement of the bass drum—you don’t get this on a jazz record, ever. That’s why I made it the last Trio tune, because it’s a perfect segue.”

From that point forward, we are firmly in Experiment-land, with Chris Dave remaining on drums—although the drum sound on this half of the album can be markedly different from the first. “4Eva,” a live excerpt featuring rap icon Mos Def, leads us straight into another world. “Butterfly” is originally from Thrust, Herbie Hancock’s 1974 landmark album. Hancock, as both a pianist and a genre-crossing innovator, is of course a huge influence on Glasper. “It just happens that every one of my records has a Herbie tune—it seems like I’m doing it on purpose,” Glasper says. “I’m not. But I had to put this on the record because it’s dope.” Casey Benjamin’s vocoder effects heighten the mystery of the melody, and a J Dilla beat called “F--- the Police” serves as a rhythmic foundation.

Benjamin’s arsenal of sonic effects is at the fore of “Festival,” colored by Glasper’s Fender Rhodes, taking wild, digressive turns over the course of ten minutes—the Experiment sound at its most representative and expansive. “Casey has so many pedals, it’s a whole thing when he sets up, he has to go to the gig before us,” says Glasper with a laugh, noting that Benjamin is playing only alto saxophone and “nothing’s overdubbed.” A short transitional piece, “For You” by Benjamin and drummer Sameer Gupta, leads into “All Matter,” a striking, unclassifiable original by vocalist Bilal Oliver. Glasper offers: “You can really do this song in any situation, and it does stick with you. So pretty.” Derrick Hodge, the Experiment’s bassist, an accomplished composer as well as a top-shelf jazz and hip-hop sideman, contributes the final track, “Open Mind,” also featuring Bilal. It’s “a spiritual tune” in Glasper’s words, with additional textures and voice elements from turntablist Jahi Sundance, the son of alto saxophone great Oliver Lake.

Hailed by listeners and critics, Glasper has also garnered the respect of the toughest audience of all: musicians from across the jazz spectrum. In a May 2008 Blindfold Test for Down Beat magazine, a fellow pianist instantly identified Glasper and praised him as “a fantastic musician,” pinpointing characteristics of his unique style: “…a harmonic maze, but also an insistent rhythm, certain turns and filigrees and ornaments, some of them sort of gospelish.” With Double-Booked, Glasper further develops all these elements and pulls them together in a new synthesis, continuing his ascent to the top ranks of modern jazz artistry.


Indie piano recording artist Henry Dehlinger has released his new solo piano album, Evocations Of Spain. The album showcases a fresh, New World interpretation of the piano music of Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados. The music draws on the beautiful melodies of Andalusia with its Flamenco rhythms and exotic overtones. Also prominent is the use of cante jondo, or “deep song” of the Spanish gypsies. “This soulful quality associated with Spanish music derives from the use of these lyric elements,” Dehlinger explains, “and it’s what makes this album a mesmerizing fantasy in which you can let your imagination run wild.” According to Dehlinger, the album’s audience is comprised of Baby Boomers and Early Gen-Xers. “The NPR crowd,” comments Dehlinger, who is a National Public Radio listener, “folks with broad musical tastes who listen to classical music with some regularity.” Spanish music fans familiar with the seminal recordings of legendary pianist Alicia de Larrocha will also be intrigued with Dehlinger’s interpretation.

When indie piano recording artist Henry Dehlinger decided to produce his first album, he was shopping venture funds to finance a startup. For nearly a decade, the former tech executive had led sales and marketing teams on three continents, most recently as global VP of an IT company in Northern Virginia. Well before venturing to the corporate world, Dehlinger distinguished himself musically on celebrated stages, from the White House in Washington, DC to the War Memorial Performing Arts Center in San Francisco. His first mentor was conductor Dr. William “Doc” Ballard, legendary director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus. Dehlinger credits Doc for his early success. By the time he was ten, Dehlinger was part of the Bay Area music scene, performing with Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballé and entertaining VIPs from the President of the United States to the Prince of Wales. At twelve, Dehlinger was invited to study with piano virtuoso Thomas LaRatta, founder of the Crestmont Conservatory of Music and student of the great Rudolf Ganz. Enchanted with Spanish music, Dehlinger traveled to Spain where he enrolled at the University of Valencia. He later graduated from Santa Clara University. Dehlinger is unique among interpreters of modern Spanish music, evoking its sensuous sophistication with a rugged, New World virtuosity, from the hauntingly beautiful melodies of Albéniz to the poetic lyricism of Granados.


Breaking news out of London…the late Amy Winehouse will release a new album on December 5th! Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures includes 12 tracks recorded over the course of her career. Producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, Amy's close pal, have been locked in studios across the world for the past few weeks pulling the album together. Salaam said: "When I listened back you would hear some of the conversations in between — that was emotional. It has been hard, but it has also been an amazing thing. Amy was a gifted girl. I believe she has left something beyond her years. She has put a body of work together that will inspire an unborn generation. I'm blessed to be part of that process, to have known that person and to continue her legacy with this album." Amy, who scored a string of hits and won five Grammy awards despite battling drink and drugs, died at her home in Camden, North London.

The posthumous album will be released on December 5 and £1 from every sale will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which is helping children's charities. The most emotional track for the singer's family and fans is her cover of A Song For You, a Leon Russell tune made famous by Amy's favourite artist Donny Hathaway. The song, on which Amy plays guitar, was recorded in a single take at her London home in 2009 as she battled to overcome her addiction to Class A drugs. Her voice can be heard quaking as she tearfully delivers the lyrics. Another cover, of Carole King's Shirelles classic Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, was produced in 2004 — months before Amy embarked on her drink and drug hell. And a further track, Between The Cheats, was recorded as the star emerged from her turbulent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.

Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures:
1. Our Day Will Come (Reggae Version): Re-working of classic '60s doo-wop song produced by Salaam Remi. Recorded May 2002.

2. Between The Cheats: New Amy composition recorded in London in May 2008 for potential inclusion on album three, produced by Salaam Remi.

3. Tears Dry: First written by Amy as a ballad, this is the original version she recorded in November 2005 in Miami with Salaam. The later up-tempo version appears on Back To Black.

4. Wake Up Alone: The first song recorded for the Back To Black sessions. This is the one-take demo recorded in March 2006 by Paul O'Duffy.

5. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow: Beautiful reading of the Carole King-written Shirelles classic. Produced by Mark Ronson and featuring the Dap Kings with string arrangements by Chris Elliott. Recorded in September 2004.

6. Valerie: One of Amy's jukebox favourites, the original slower tempo version of the Mark Ronson-produced post-Back To Black single. Recorded in December 2006.

7. Like Smoke: Featuring Nas: Amy and Nas became good friends after Amy name-checked the New York rapper on Back To Black's Me & Mr Jones. Like Smoke is Amy finally doing a song with one of her favourite artists. Produced by Salaam Remi. Recorded in May 2008.

8. The Girl From Ipanema: The first song 18-year-old Amy sang when she went to Miami to record with Salaam. He remarked that "the way she re-interpreted this bossa nova classic made me realise I was dealing with a very special talent. Her approach to the song was so young and fresh, it inspired the rest of our sessions". Recorded in May 2002.

9. Halftime: Amy had talked to Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of the Roots about working together. Amy and Salaam worked on Halftime since the Frank sessions. The result is beautiful. Recorded in August 2002.

10. Best Friends: Frank-era live set opener produced by Salaam Remi. Probably the first song that early Amy fans would have heard live. Recorded in February 2003.

11. Body & Soull with Tony Bennett: Cover of '30s jazz standard with hero Tony Bennett. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios London in March 2011 and produced by Phil Ramone. Amy's final studio recording.

12. A Song For You: Heartbreaking and emotional version of the classic made famous by Donny Hathaway, Amy's favourite artist. The song was recorded in one take, just Amy and her guitar, at her home during spring 2009 as she battled her demons. Produced by Salaam Remi.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Cookin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Cookin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet is the first classic album of four total that emerged from two marathon and fruitful sessions recorded in 1956 (the other three discs released in Cookin’s wake were Workin’, Relaxin’ and Steamin’). All the albums were recorded live in the studio, as Davis sought to capture, with Rudy Van Gelder’s expert engineering, the sense of a club show á la the Café Bohemia in New York, with his new quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. In Miles’s own words, he says he called this album Cookin’ because “that’s what we did—came in and cooked.” What’s particularly significant about this Davis album is his first recording of what became a classic tune for him: “My Funny Valentine.” Hot playing is also reserved for the uptempo number “Tune Up,” which revs with the zoom of both the leader and Trane.

Relaxin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet is in every way a masterpiece. When the trumpeter (1926-1991) had formed the band in 1955, his colleagues—tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones—were not considered jazz-world A-listers. And before conquering his narcotics addiction earlier in the Fifties, Davis had seen his once-promising career go into eclipse. By 1956, however, his sound, especially when muted, was an achingly personal counterpart to the vocals of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Relaxin’ (plus its Prestige companions, Miles, Cookin’, Workin’, and Steamin’) reestablished Davis, and elevated his quintet as the gold standard of small groups.
With its accent on bright tempos, from medium-bounce to crisply up, Relaxin’ remains one of Davis’s sunniest outings, a prime example of one of the outstanding ensembles of the 20th century reaching the summit of their artistry.

Workin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Undeniably one of the best small bands in the history of jazz, the Miles Davis quintet of the mid-1950s made history at the Cafe Bohemia on Manhattan's Barrow Street and in the New Jersey studio of Rudy Van Gelder for Prestige. This is the third in a series of four LPs taped in two marathon studio sessions, done in the style of sets at the Bohemia and producing music of high energy and immediacy. Preceded by Cookin' and Relaxin' , Workin' is a mix of standards and originals, up-tempos and ballads, and a trio number, "Ahmad's Blues." The music this quintet made in the mid-Fifties period will live forever: the excitement of the emerging John Coltrane; the informed, melodic swing of Red Garland; the tremendous snap and pop of the rhythm trio of Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones; and Miles's poignancy and intense swing.

Steamin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Of Miles Davis's many bands, none was more influential and popular than the quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Davis's muted ballads and medium-tempo standards endeared him to the public. The horns' searing exposition of classics like "Salt Peanuts" and "Well, You Needn't" captivated musicians. The searching, restless improvisations of Coltrane intrigued listeners who had a taste for adventure. The flawless rhythm section became a model for bands everywhere. Steamin' is a significant portion of the music of this remarkable group.

1. My Funny Valentine 6:04
2. Blues By Five 10:23
3. Airegin 4:24
4. Medley: Tune-Up / When Lights Are Low 13:10

1. If I Were A Bell 8:15
2. You're My Everything 5:18
3. I Could Write A Book 5:11
4. Oleo 6:22
5. It Could Happen To You 6:37
6. Woody'n You 5:01

1. It Never Entered My Mind 5:22
2. Four 4:23
3. In Your Own Sweet Way 5:42
4. The Theme (Take 1) 2:01
5. Trane's Blues 8:33
6. Ahmad's Blues 7:24
7. Half Nelson 4:45
8. The Theme (Take 2) 1:05

1. Surrey With The Fringe On Top 9:05
2. Salt Peanuts 6:09
3. Something I Dreamed Last Night 6:15
4. Diane 7:49
5. Well, You Needn’t 6:19
6. When I Fall In Love 4:23


Carole King is arguably the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history. To date, more than 400 Carole King compositions have been recorded by more than 1000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles - many reaching #1. She was the first woman to win four Grammy® Awards in one year, and her landmark 1971 album Tapestry received a Diamond Award from the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million units in the U.S., with more than 25 million units sold worldwide.

Carole King's first ever holiday album, A Holiday Carole, will be released by Hear Music/Concord Music Group. Produced by her daughter Louise Goffin, the album's 12 songs artfully blend the sacred and the secular with an eclectic mix of well-chosen standards and newly written material. Goffin co-wrote three original tracks on the album, including the Latin-flavored "Christmas in Paradise," on which she collaborated with Grammy-winners George Noriega and Jodi Marr, the sublime Goffin/Marr composition "Christmas In The Air," and the deeply moving "New Year's Day," co-written with renowned songsmith Guy Chambers.

"As an experienced producer," King remembers, "Louise's first question to me as her artist was, 'What songs do you like?'" After compiling a list of favorites, Goffin went on the hunt for more unusual tracks, coming up with tunes like William Bell & Booker T. Jones' Stax classic "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday." King puts her own indelible stamp on the music, lending it a special seasonal flair.

For King, the album's emotional highlight is undoubtedly "Chanukah Prayer." "Louise had the brilliant idea to take the Chanukah prayer that I learned from my parents, and they learned from their parents, and back through generations," she explains. "She said 'I want to record you singing that and I'm going to build a track around it.'" The result is a warm, jazz-inflected tune that brings together three generations on vocals: King, her daughter, and her grandson.

In a career with innumerable highlights, King has reached new pinnacles in recent years including 2010's bestselling Troubadour Reunion album and tour with James Taylor, American Idol devoting an entire episode to her music this season, and a forthcoming memoir due out in 2012.

A Holiday Carole - Tracklisting:
1. My Favorite Things (Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers)
2. Carol of the Bells (Mykola Leontovych)
3. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Paris)
4. Christmas Paradise (Louise Goffin, George Noriega and Jodi Marr)
5. Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday (William Bell and Booker T. Jones)
6. Chanukah Prayer (Traditional, Arrangement by Louise Goffin and Lee Curreri)
7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin)
8. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Irving Berlin)
9. Christmas In The Air (Louise Goffin and Jodi Marr)
10. Do You Hear What I Hear (Gloria Shayne and Noel Regney)
11. This Christmas (Donny Hathaway and Nadine McKinnor)
12. New Year's Day (Louise Goffin and Guy Chambers)


Born in Biddeford, Maine, composer/vocalist/pianist Christopher Gore was raised in Montreal and New England before moving to California, where he met pianist and arranger Marty Steele. In 2005 they collaborated for the first time, and the concept of Jackson Garrett was born. (Gore had been searching for a band name which reflects the distinctly American sound of his music, and when a friend in Dallas told him her grandfather had passed away and his name was Jackson Garrett, Gore quickly and politely requested that he be permitted to use the name, since her grandfather would not be needing it anymore!). 

In Montreal, Gore founded the Upstairs Jazz Club in 1985, where he began to appreciate the “American Songbook”, and he likes to say that he gleaned his musical aptitude and direction from the talented musicians he hired nightly. In Palm Springs, CA, Gore met Pat Rizzo, local saxophonist whose credits include long stints with Sly and The Family Stone, War, and Frank Sinatra, as well as being a versatile vocalist and composer himself. Shortly after meeting Rizzo, Gore began a musical collaboration with the late Walter Earl Brown(Earl), composer of the hit Elvis song “If I Can Dream”, Grammy and Emmy award winner, and music arranger and writer for dozens of hit variety shows including “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour”, The Dinah Shore Show”, and many others. Then, in 2005, with Rizzo and Earl Brown, Gore and Steele began a long-standing relationship in the recording studio, and they have produced four CD’s to date (Please Call Me, Sanjaya!, Cool And Easy, Speechless, and Let Sleeping Dogs Lie), performed dozens of shows in Southern California before hundreds, and received much radio airplay both in the U.S. and abroad.

Jackson Garrett, as a band, is loosely based on a musical concept along the lines of Steely Dan. Gore and Steele represent the Fagen/Becker songwriting side of the group, and the cast of sidemen and guests on their records and shows might vary from time to time, but a core group of musicians comprise the main body of the band. Also like Steely Dan, each of the sidemen is a significantly recognized talent in his own right.
On the local scene, Jackson Garrett performs as a 10 piece band for charity events and special concerts, and sometimes in a smaller ensemble at nightclubs.

Jackson Garrett band members:
Christopher Gore - composer, arranger, producer, vocalist
Marty Steele - composer, arranger, engineer, pianist
Jeff Stover - bass
Steve Neilen - drums
John Pagels - guitar
Steve Madaio - trumpet
Gary Bias - sax
Pat Rizzo - sax
Kenny Meier - trombone
Kristi King - vocals
Laura Hagen - vocals

Some tidbits:
  • Jackson Garrett once performed “Lemon Tree” with Trini Lopez, and Trini exclaimed that it was the first time he ever sang the song as a duet(with Christopher Gore).
  • Christopher Gore founded the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal in 1985, and the club is still going strong.
  • Jackson Garrett performed at The Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs with Earth, Wind and Fire saxophonist Gary Bias and composer/vocalist Slim Man.
  • Jackson Garrett trumpet player Steve Madaio performed at Woodstock with Buffalo Springfield, and on Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life”, and hundreds of hit records.
  • As of this writing, Jackson Garrett has held the number one(#1) spot on the ReverbNation jazz charts in the Coachella Valley for over one year.


Few jazz musicians have the combined R&B-jazz-blues experience of keyboardist Eddie Gip Noble who has played with dozens of top acts in these genres including Gladys Knight, Patti Austin, Gerald Albright, Wayne Henderson, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Etta James. This illustrious multi-faceted background has led to the exciting hybrid sound Noble creates on his second solo album, In the Light of Things, by taking classic R&B and jazz-fusion elements from the Seventies and using them to create modern instrumental music that features extensive, melodic, traditional-jazz-style-soloing on acoustic and electric pianos. “That’s the nature of artistic endeavors,” Noble says. “You take what you love and know best, and create something new out of it. I specifically wanted this to be feel-good music that is melodic, light and buoyant, and easy-to-listen-to.”

To put this music in historical perspective, first go back to some of the 70s sexy R&B artists such as Teddy Pendergrass and Barry White, and remember the soulful stylings of their bands, often with romantic string arrangements in the background. Then, from the same era, take the jazz-rock electric-piano sound as personified by Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Now have the solos reflect not only those electric-fusion-days, but also some of the acoustic-piano greats from the 50s and 60s (Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck). Top it off with modern melodic sensibilities developed from listening to a broad array of contemporary recordings. These are the diverse elements smoothly brought together by Eddie Gip Noble on his latest album. Often within a single song Noble will play a solo on acoustic piano followed by another solo on electric piano.

For the album In the Light of Things, Noble selected well-known, highly-charted hits (R&B, pop, rock, jazz and country) from the past five decades and turned them into instrumental smooth jazz. His wide-ranging song choices include selections seldom heard in smooth jazz. The material comes from many genres: rock (Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia”), British pop (The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain,” Sting’s Desert Rose,” Tears for Fears’ “Shout”), R&B/pop (Michael Jackson’s “This Girl is Mine,” Vanessa Carlton’s “1,000 Miles,” Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last”), jazz (Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy”) and country (Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors,” George Strait’s “Run”). Noble also performs an original (“Don’t Want to Be Alone Tonight”) co-written with Dee Dee McNeil (who has written for the Supremes, the Four Tops and Gladys Knight) and sung by Zuri (whose background includes Chaka Kahn, Brenton Woods, and Noble’s first album). Another special guest on the album is electric guitarist Jim Henkin who adds a scorching solo on “Linus and Lucy.”

Gip is one of the few musicians today with such a wide-ranging history of playing with a huge list of top jazz, blues and R&B artists, which is why it is a natural transition to bring such a variety of styles into his own music. In addition to his role as ace sideman for many stars over several decades, Noble spread his influence even wider as a composer. He co-wrote the huge hit “Love T.K.O.” for Teddy Pendergrass and also has had compositions recorded by Etta James, Brothers Johnson, Hall & Oates, Bette Midler, Regina Belle, The Nylons, Boz Scaggs, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Pamela Williams, among others. Noble’s current music has another link to the classic sounds of 70s soul: his co-producer David Williams, who also plays drums and adds drum-programming on the album, was formerly was the drummer with The O’Jays and Patti LaBelle.

Noble has toured extensively playing in the bands of such R&B notables as Brothers Johnson (serving as musical director as well), Gladys Knight & The Pips, Patti Austin, Barry White, Shalamar, Mary Wells, the Marvelettes, Teena Marie, The Drifters, The Platters, Brenton Woods, Arpeggio, The Jones Girls, Mona Raye Campbell, Munyungo (Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle), Ricky Minor (Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie), Tisha Campbell (Lenny Kravitz), Gil Askey (Diana Ross, The Temptations) and others. Gip also has played with top blues artists including Johnny “Guitar” Watson (as his musical director), Etta James (as her musical director), Albert Collins and blues-rocker Joe Walsh. In the studio Noble has recorded with Watson, James, Randy Crawford, Noel Pointer, Wayne Henderson, David Oliver, Womack & Womack, Shalamar, Stacye Branche, Charles Brown, Amos Garrett and Hilliard Wilson.

In addition, Noble has extensive credentials in the jazz field having performed with Gerald Albright, Plas Johnson (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald), Rahmlee Michael Davis (Earth Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis), Larry Gales (Thelonious Monk, Herbie Mann), Henry “The Skipper” Franklin (Freddie Hubbard, Archie Shepp), Andy Simpkins (The Three Sounds, Sarah Vaughan), James Gadson (Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders), Pamela Williams (Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle), Linda Hopkins (Jackie Wilson), Debra Laws (Dianne Reeves, Ronnie Laws), Ronald Muldrow (Eddie Harris, Maceo Parker), Hilliard Wilson (Dionne Warwick, Paul Taylor), Ernie Andrews (Harry James Orchestra, Gene Harris), and others.

Noble has appeared in numerous films as an actor playing a musician – the Clint Eastwood-directed “Bird” (the Charlie Parker biography), “City Heat” with Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, “Animal House” in Chuck Berry’s band, “Jo Jo Dancer” with Richard Pryor, “The Nutty Professor” with Eddie Murphy, “Against All Odds” with Jeff Bridges, “All of Me” with Steve Martin, “Inspector Gadget” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (The Tina Turner Story). Gip also made appearances in television shows such as “Dallas,” “Knot’s Landing” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s “12 Minutes of Fame” and “Watching Ellie.”

Born Gip Edward Noble, Jr. in Chicago, his earliest musical memory is his father playing piano frequently in their home. “My dad played a lot of jazz and standards, and began giving me lessons when I was four. I lived at the corner of 43rd and South Park, and right there was the 400 Liquor Store that played jazz loud all day long. I was too young to get into the clubs, but I remember standing outside one listening to Smokey Robinson sing.” Gip’s earliest influences were all the Motown pop-soul acts and the more bluesy Etta James, Ray Charles and Bobby Blue Bland. “My life changed when a friend gave me a record by The Three Sounds with Gene Harris on piano,” Gip remembers. “Then my jazz piano instructor turned me on to Herbie Hancock which led me to a lot of other great jazz like Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Wayne Shorter.”

Noble went into the Air Force and was stationed in Germany where he hung out with members of the post’s military band and played in their experimental jazz group before starting his own jazz trio to perform in German clubs. Back in Chicago, Noble studied avant-garde jazz with Muhal Richard Abrams (Dexter Gordon, Max Roach), president of the influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Gip moved to Los Angeles to further his musical pursuits and quickly became a sought-after accompanist for top R&B and blues acts. In his spare time, Noble put together jazz trios and quartets to play Southern California gigs doing material by Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Noel Pointer, Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour and other popular contemporary jazzsters. “I always tried to be innovative with my arrangements and add my own twist to them.”

Finally after many years of audiences requesting an Eddie Gip Noble recording, he released his first album, Love T.K.O., featuring smooth jazz performances of that famous tune as well as a half-dozen other original compositions and some classics such as “Trains & Boats & Planes.” Now Noble is back with a second CD, In the Light of Things. “I could have done my own material on this album or tackled a dozen jazz standards,” explains Gip, “but I wanted to do popular songs that have stood the test of time because I felt listeners would enjoy that the most. I wanted to show my audience what I can do with these great melodies, and offer them new arrangements they have never heard before.”

Eddie Gip Noble - In The Light Of Things1. Linus & Lucy
2. Run
3. Streets of Philadelphia
4. Blackbird
5. The Girl Is Mine
6. Thousand Miles
7. Red Rain
8. Don't Want to Be Alone Tonight
9. Behind Closed Doors
10. Desert Rain
11. Let It All Out (Shout)
12. Save the Best For Last

Friday, October 28, 2011


Here is an album by one of the most amazing players to ever pick up the vibes – an artist with the sort of boundless creativity that Walt Dickerson and Bobby Hutcherson brought to the instrument in the 60s. Jason Adasiewicz is a vibraphonist, drummer, and composer. He is an integral member of Chicago's jazz and improvised music scene, bringing his aggressive yet lyrical style to over 10 working Chicago groups, including Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra and Starlicker, The Nicole Mitchell Ice Crystal Quartet, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Josh Berman and His Gang, and Ken Vandermark's Topology. Adasiewicz has an amazing ear for both sound and music – and manages to balance the two perfectly – reaching for completely fresh sounds from the vibes, yet also with a sense of structure that's never too free – really maintaining a musical, melodic approach that keeps us rapt and attentive all the way through!

Jason's music has always been great, but these recent Delmark sets are even a cut above – proof that both the label and the new Chicago scene are powerful forces in 21st Century jazz. The trio features excellent work by like-minded musicians Natt McBride on bass and Mike Reed on drums – and titles include "The Volunteer", "Pillow", "Run Fly", "Solo One", "Diesel", and "Waiting In The Attic".

Adasiewicz performs frequently in Europe and is a member of groups lead by Peter Brotzmann, Stefano Bollani, and Mats Gustafsson. Adasiewicz won the 2011 Downbeat Annual Critic's Poll in the Rising Star Vibes category, and for the last 3 years has placed in the Vibes category. For the last two years Jason has been nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association as a finalist for 'Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year'. His quintet Rolldown, with Josh Berman, Aram Shelton, Jason Roebke, and Frank Rosaly, formed in 2004 and have released two records, Rolldown (482 Music, 2008) and Varmint (Cuneiform Records, 2009). His trio Sun Rooms, with Mike Reed and Nate McBride, formed in 2009 have released one record, Sun Rooms (Delmark, 2010). The critical attention that Sun Rooms received includes: the New York Times Top 10 Pop and Jazz Records of 2010, The Village Voice Top 50 Jazz Records of 2010, The Chicago Tribune Top 10 Jazz Records of 2010, Dusted Magazine Top Jazz Records of 2010, and The Chicago Reader Top Albums of 2010.


“Modern” – “Retro” – and “Funky” are 3 words that can best describe this new recording venture. A soulful, fresh and funky ride through 13 sparkling sides, bringing back as the title suggests, a mix of sophisticated funk, groove and soul- jazz productions. Performed by keyboardist Mike Di Lorenzo, featuring the rich vocals of Atlantic Records recording artist Norman Durham, member of the funk group “Kleeer” whose hits included “Intimate Connection” and “California Love”, later covered by 2Pac and Dr. Dre. With a voice as smooth as silk, Mr. Durham’s warm and sophisticated phrasing is a welcome addition to the mix with 4 outstanding and classic cover tune performances.

On the heels of his successful debut CD release Urbanized, keyboardist Mike Di Lorenzo gets loose from the opening track with electrifying performances including 9 original tracks and 4 cover arrangements that groove like the old days. Tribute is given one of Mike’s favorite instrumental groups The Crusaders with a rendition of “Keep That Same Old Feeling”. Other standouts range from the funky title track to an infectious Latin take on Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love”, to the smooth interpretation of the Spinners’ classic “It’s A Shame”. One listen to Fred Astaire’s old standard “One For My Baby” and you will be hooked as this is destined to transform into a new classic of today. Old school, new school, Mike’s unique sound on keys and productions, is helped out by the stellar musicianship of Vinnie Cutro on trumpet, Frank Elmo on sax and Willy Dalton on guitar… old school grooves with a modern touch…

Mike Dilorenzo –Bring It Back
1. Keep That Same Old Feeling (feat. Norman Durham)
2. Say Word
3. Can't Hide Love (feat. Norman Durham)
4. Get Loose
5. One For My Baby (feat. Norman Durham)
6. Bring It Back
7. Club Ibiza
8. Sweetness
9. That's What I Do
10. It's A Shame (feat. Norman Durham)
11. Let's Get Busy
12. Mo Z
13. It's Tough In Here


The Best Kept Secret is Avana’s third album. She debuted with It’z On in 2004, which she followed up with her sophomore album, Oopz Uh Oh… the same year. Christie said, “The difference between Avana and other artists is that she has a very unique voice – one that’s soulful, pleasing to listen to, and vocally refreshing. And she can do much more than just sing – she’s an entertainer as well. There’s a tremendous difference between the two.” Her most recent single entitled “Patron” is 3 minutes and 28 seconds of fresh, funky, bluesy dance music with attitude that is in a class by itself. The track is a fun mid-tempo dance track about one of America’s popular drinks and a girl’s night out, celebrating life, and drinking Patron. Avana takes you on a refreshingly innovative R&B, soul, and blues blended voyage that will have you out of work mode and ready to “get your Patron on” in no time, Her unique voice is perfectly suited to this style of music, which defies classification by one genre. Avana’s sassy and sophisticated vocal performance is well complemented by the music, which you won’t be able to resist if you like getting your groove on. In short, “Patron” takes you where you want to go and it keeps you there. It’s perfect for hitting the club, just chilling, or hanging with the ladies (and/or gents). “Patron” delivers both musically and lyrically as Avana proclaims in the chorus: “Give me my lime and my salt/Patron in my glass/Let’s get this party started/I came to dance/Play some blues/Turn it up/Desert blues/Turn it up.” So, turn it up with “Patron” and you won’t be disappointed.

Avana – Best Kept Secret
1. Patron
2. 69
3. Money Can't Buy U Everything
4. U Got What I Love
5. I Got'cho Back
6. Your Touch Your Love (Step Remix)
7. Clue
8. Bad Boy (feat. Luggnutt)
9. Texting My Baby
10. 69 . Lust Jazz
11. Parlay Info


These are the words that drive multiple award-winning Contemporary Jazz Guitarist/Artist Rob Tardik. As a 2011 Billboard Charting Artist and 2010 Canadian Smooth Jazz Guitarist of the Year, the arrival of his 3rd CD recording B.E.L.L. is a personal statement and musical glimpse into his current life’s musical direction and growth, further showing the world his passion for life, music, and the guitar. If you enjoy instrumental music, then expect Rob’s smooth guitar work to soothe your soul and provide the soundtrack to your lifestyle. Rob is again destined to capture plenty of attention with his fantastic new musical offering, further growing his status in the current Adult Contemporary Jazz music scene.

From Contemporary Jazz to Pop, World, Lounge, Latin, and Flamenco overtones, Rob’s new CD serves up an eclectic jazzy mix of genre-bending smooth, funky, and infectious contemporary instrumental music grooves which will keep him moving forward into 2012 and beyond. Featuring an all star CD of guest artist collaborations and top studio musicians like drummer Tony Moore (George Benson), bassists Mel Brown, Eric Soostar, and Rich Brown. Rob’s stellar core band includes some of Toronto’s finest including 2010 Canadian Wind Instrumentalist of the Year saxophonist Carson Freeman, bassist twin brother Curtis Freeman, keyboardist Davor Jordanovski, drummer Jeff Salem and newest members, percussionist Gino Mirizio and 2nd guitarist Geoff Hlibka.

The new CD produced by Rob and keyboardist/studio owner Davor Jordanovski features for the first time ever a very unique quartal phase music-listening concept. The 12 new tracks of music are subdivided into groups of 3 songs within each of the four quadrants of Rob’s life acronym B.E.L.L.

Rob’s current musical journey opens quadrant one with Balance. The opening cut is the hypnotic groove based radio single “East Meets Wes”, a collaboration right across North America between legendary producer Paul Brown (George Benson, Luther Vandross, Boney James, and Larry Carlton) and Rob. The call and response type communication between the two guitarists is immediate and lyrically highlighted by the strong hooky chorus that ties the track together. All the while the two of them show mutual admiration and a tip of the hat to the late great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery through Paul’s tasteful arch top inflected octave work which is complimented by Rob’s smooth melodic nylon string guitar lines. Track 2 “The Right Time” introduces Rob’s skilled foray into AC pop music as he pens his first vocal track featuring South African singing-sensation Francois Mulder. The balance of breathtakingly effortless vocals and Rob’s liquid smooth acoustic work will leave the listener humming the chorus long afterwards. Track 3 “Kimberley’s Song”, is a serene, beautiful, heartfelt song written for a very special someone who has brought true balance into Rob’s life.

Quadrant two kicks up the Energy on B.E.L.L into high gear as “Shakin’ the House”, recorded and produced by saxophonist Darren Rahn, gets the pace moving. Recorded at Darren’s “Litterbox” studio in Colorado, Darren and Rob’s music writing/playing chemistry is instant and as the title suggests, will be raising the roof in many homes worldwide. Track 5, “When It Comes To Lovin’ You”, features the collaboration between Rob and Emmy award winning songwriter/pianist Don Breithaupt on this second vocal tune of Rob’s, again featuring the gifted Francois Mulder, the result: a contemporary jazz and Bossa Nova flavored gem with a rich vocal reverberating hook. The up-tempo track 6 is aptly named “Frolic”, a playful tune bordering on fusion written by co-producer/keyboardist Davor Jordanovski. The tracks effortless melodic romp let’s Rob’s guitar and Davor’s piano converse freely and move into sprees of tasty trade off jams and improvisational flourishes.

Laughter is the best medicine and main ingredient in quadrant three of B.E.L.L. as track 7, La Buena Vida (The Good Life), will light up the dance floor and get heels clicking on this Pop/Rhumba Flamenco inspired track that showcases Rob’s incredible facility and lightning fast guitar technique, but at no point loses the listener as the beautiful Latin melodies sing on. Alto saxophone superstar Warren Hill lends his incredible talents and joins on track 8, “Sunday Morning”, a song which defines the genre and showcases Warren’s tasteful phrasing, lyrical soloing, and Rob’s keen melodic songwriting sense. The best things in life are free and the track 9, “Smile”, completes the 3rd phase by simply making you do just that. Guest artist Jaared, fill’s out Rob’s ear-catching guitar melodies by adding his cutting edge, layered horn lines to keep toes tapping and faces grinning from ear to ear in a song that simply lets the melody sing without words.

Love is the final theme in quadrant four and a phase of personal reflection for Rob. These three songs succeed with musical depth and soul in capturing this highly desired, but sometimes very elusive emotion in all it’s facets and dimensions starting with the track “Midnight Blue”. The second song on B.E.L.L. co-written with multi-award winner Don Breithaupt, feature both musicians in fine musical form as they each freely improvise solos that breathe the cool night air into this late night track. The two are joined by Juno Award winning trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach who adds just the right amount of soft horn undertones to the track. The captivating “Waiting for Love”, is a tender chill/lounge song which is highlighted by Rob’s gentle classical finger style melodies that are supported throughout by the trance-like electronic loop-based rhythms. These wash through the song like gentle waves as Gabriel Mark Hasselbach’s muted trumpet compliments Rob’s emoting guitar lines in a song of passionate yearning that at the same time remains hopeful. The CD’s final World/Flamenco-flavored track 12, “Corazon Contento” (Happy Heart), is a fitting ending for Rob having found his own personal peace and happiness in the simple gifts of life as the trio of guitar, accordion, and Cajon jam the tune out into the sunset on a green hilltop signifying the arrival of Love.

Rob is the recipient of the following awards: 2011 Billboard Charting Artist; 2010 Canadian Smooth Jazz Guitarist of the Year; and 2007 Mississauga Established Performing Artist of the Year.

Rob Tardik - Balance ● Energy ● Laughter ● Love
1. East Meets Wes (feat. Paul Brown)
2. The Right Time
3. Kimberley's Song
4. Shakin' the House (feat. Darren Rahn)
5. When It Comes to Lovin' You
6. Frolic
7. La Buena Vida (The Good Life)
8. Sunday Morning (feat. Warren Hill)
9. Smile (feat. Jarred)
10. Blue Midnight
11. Waiting for Love
12. Corazon Contento (Happy Heart)


A public service announcement featuring the legendary singer Johnny Mathis on behalf of the non-profit Nat King Cole Generation Hope has been selected for screening at the upcoming Ferndale Film Festival in Ferndale, Mich. Filmed by Cola Kat Productions, the two-and-a-half minute PSA is designed to raise awareness about the organization’s mission in supporting music-education. Nat King Cole’s twin daughters, Casey and Timolin Cole, founded the charity to promote the growth and development of children with the greatest need and fewest resources, through the study of music. The PSA will be shown at the third-annual Ferndale festival to be held from Nov. 2 through Nov. 6. The video was shot on location at Mr. Mathis’ home in Los Angeles, the spot has generated interest on the Internet. “It was a privilege to work with Generation Hope on this important cause,” said Kathy Kolla, who directed the PSA and is president of Cola Kat. “We hope the exposure will bring more positive attention to Nat King Cole Generation Hope.” The Ferndale Film Festival will take place at various locations throughout Ferndale. Screenings will include documentaries, short films and features, as well as workshops and exhibitions.

Nat King Cole was one of the most popular singers ever to hit the American charts. A brilliant recording and concert artist during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, he attracted millions of fans around the world with a sensitive and caressing singing voice that was unmistakable. Cole had a rare blend of technical musical knowledge and sheer performing artistry topped off with an abundance of showmanship. In the 23 years that he recorded with Capitol Records, he turned out hit after amazing hit – nearly 700 songs – all the while managing to remain a gentle, tolerant and gracious human being.

In 1965, Nat King Cole died tragically of lung cancer. He was only 45. Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919. He was the son of Baptist minister, Edward James Coles, and mother, Perlina Adams, who sang soprano and directed the choir in her husband’s church. Cole grew up in Chicago, met and married a girl in New York named Maria Hawkins, who was from Boston. They had five children and lived in Hancock Park in Los Angeles.

Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., is non-profit organization that is helping to support music education in Florida. Musical instruments, instruction, seminars, state-of-the-art recording equipment and funding are being provided to students with the greatest need and fewest resources in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties

For information about Nat King Cole Generation Hope, visit

The PSA can be viewed online at

Thursday, October 27, 2011


One of David Murray's most ambitious projects ever - David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Español, where he revists Latin classics through the filter of two Cole records, Cole Español and More Cole Español. These were not the strongest efforts from Nat King Cole, who had learned Spanish phonetically. Latin audiences heard his delivery as something comedic, but they gave Cole a break. He was singing their songs. The idea to celebrate Nat King Cole started in Cuba. Saxophonist David Murray was recording one of three albums he would make at the legendary Studio Egrem when he spotted a photo of Cole recording at Egrem with Cuban maestro Armando Romeu in pre-revolutionary Havana. Murray's project is a trans-cultural outing that brings together his jazz roots with Cuban musicians, additional strings, and an occasional vocalist – all recorded in studios from Argentina, to Portugal, to France!

There's still a nicely unified feel to the whole record, though – and there should be, given how long Murray has kept this musical vision in his heart – and honestly, the whole thing is one of the most impressive things he's recorded in years – not only a great reminder that he's got deep respect for many jazz traditions, but also that he can inflect his horn with rich flavors with effortless ease. Titles include "Quizas Quizas Quizas", "Black Nat", "Piel Canela", "Cachito", "Aqui Se Habla En Amor", and "El Bodeguero". The U.S. version features the bonus cut "El Chocolo. David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Español, features a stellar cast of Cuban players, including tango vocalist Melingo plus the strings of the The Sinfonieta of Sines, as well as featuring Omara Portuondo . This early cross-cultural repertoire is a natural for the versatile and prolific jazz great David Murray, whose previous projects include collaborations with Gwo-Ka percussion masters from Guadeloupe (Gwotet), Senegalese artists (Fo Deuk Revue) and the gospel-inspired Speaking In Tongues.


For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straightahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that inform his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz - conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his new album, Chano y Dizzy!, his 25th recording as a bandleader on Concord Picante. For the first time, Sanchez and Francisco Torres, long time band member (trombone/vocals), join forces to produce the new album.

Joining Sanchez on the 11-song set is multi-Grammy winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard. It makes sense that, for this project, Sanchez recruited fellow label mate Blanchard, a New Orleans native who literally grew up amid the Cuban and Latin jazz scene and a longtime fan of the music's multicultural underpinnings. Blanchard has established himself as one of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians and film score masters of his generation. As a film composer, Blanchard has more than 50 feature film scores to his credit. Currently at work on the score for George Lucas's long-awaited upcoming movie, "Red Tails," the Golden Globe nominee and four-time Grammy winner's music was recently featured on Broadway in Chris Rock's Tony-nominated play, "The Mother****** With Hat." Blanchard is currently at work on the music for the Broadway remake of A Streetcar Named Desire and has also been commissioned by the Opera St. Louis for a project that will premiere in 2012. His latest CD, Choices, was released by Concord Jazz in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim.

"These two musicians were the pioneers of what is now known as Latin jazz," says Sanchez. "Chano Pozo was a genius. He's considered the godfather of conga drummers, and he's someone whom I respect a great deal. And of course, Dizzy Gillespie was an iconic artist in American jazz. I had the honor and pleasure of working with him on several occasions. These guys were the first musicians to bring elements of Latin music to American jazz - which has resulted in some of the greatest music of the last 50 or 60 years. I felt that it was time to pay tribute to them and their accomplishments."

While the album includes songs originally written and performed by the two legends, it also showcases compositions crafted by other writers that capture the flavor of traditional Latin jazz. Sanchez's touring band assists with the songwriting and arranging. The studio ranks include: pianist David Torres, saxophonist Rob Hardt, trumpeter Ron Blake, trombonist/vocalist Francisco Torres, bassist Tony Banda, timbalist George Ortiz, and percussionist Joey De Leon, Jr.

"The great thing about this band is that they take a very traditional approach to Latin music,' says Blanchard. "They pay a lot of attention to the detail of the specific rhythms they're playing, and they understand the historical significance of keeping that heritage alive."

Although born in Laredo, Texas, in 1951 to a large Mexican-American family, Sanchez grew up in a suburb of L.A., where he was raised on an unusual cross section of sounds that included straightahead jazz, Latin jazz and American soul. By his teen years, his musical consciousness had been solidified by the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Along the way, he taught himself to play guitar, flute, drums and timbales, but eventually settled on the congas.

At 24, after working his way around the local club scene for several years, he landed a permanent spot in Cal Tjader's band in 1975. "I learned a great deal from Cal," says Sanchez, "but it wasn't as though he sat me down and taught me lessons like a schoolteacher. Mostly it was just a matter of being around such a great guy. It was the way he conducted himself, the way he talked to people, the way he presented himself onstage. He was very elegant, very dignified, and when he played, he played beautifully. The touch that he had on the vibes - nobody has that sound. To me, he was - and is, and always will be - the world's greatest vibe player."

Sanchez remained with Tjader until the bandleader's death in 1982. That same year, he signed with Concord for the release of Sonando, an album that marked the beginning of a musical partnership that has spanned more than 25 years and has yielded more than two dozen recordings. Chano y Dizzy! is the latest installment in that ongoing partnership.

Sanchez, Blanchard and company set the tone early with an opening medley of lively Pozo tunes: "Tin Tin Deo," "Manteca" and "Guachi Guaro." Blanchard delivers down some sultry trumpet lines over Sanchez's percussion and vocals, while the rest of the band lays down a solid and spicy rhythmic bed throughout.

The followup track is a simmering rendition of Dizzy's "Con Alma," with numerous tempo changes that give Blanchard room to flex his muscles in varying rhythmic contexts within a single song.

Further in, "Siboney" is an old Cuban song by Ernesto Lecuona that's consistent enough with the overall vibe of the record to make the cut. "Ron Bake called me and said, ‘Poncho, I've always liked this tune, but Chano didn't write it and neither did Dizzy.' I said, ‘It's alright. It fits. It'll be fine.' I've always liked the tune myself, so I was glad that we finally got a chance to record it. I think it complements the artists and the period we're paying tribute to."

The light-hearted "Groovin' High" is a Gillespie composition originally conceived as a swing tune, but Sanchez and company rearranged it here to fit more of a mambo vibe. The funky "Harris's Walk," another song penned by Blake, was written in the style of Eddie Harris, "but I liked it so much at rehearsal that I said, ‘We gotta put this on the record,'" says Sanchez.

"Jack's Dilemma," written by Francisco Torres, came together on the fly with a stripped down rhythm section consisting of Sanchez on conga and Joey De Leon on trap drums. "There are no timbales, no bongos," says Sanchez. "The engineers in the studio sort of slapped together a drum set. Joey tuned them the way he wanted, and man, ten minutes later we were recording. In the end, I think it sounded great."

The album ends just as it starts, with a staccato and highly rhythmic Pozo tune called "Ariñañara." Recorded by several artists through the years, the song is what Sanchez calls "straight-up hardcore salsa music." It serves close to a recording that celebrates some of the most innovative music to emerge from the 20th century.

"To me, Latin jazz is the world's greatest music," says Sanchez. "It has the melodic and harmonic sophistication of jazz and American standards, and the flavor and energy of Latin American music. What I'm most proud of is that this music - while it may sound exotic at times - is from America. It was born in New York City, when Chano Pozo met Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in the mid-1940s. They created something that didn't exist before in this country. I'm very proud to take this music all over the world all the time."

1. Chano Pozo Medley: Tin Tin Deo / Manteca / Guachi Guaro 6:48
2. Con Alma 5:31
3. Wandering Wonder 2:58
4. Siboney 4:54
5. Dizzy's Dashiki 4:08
6. Groovin' High 5:19
7. Nocturna 6:25
8. Harris' Walk 4:46
9. Promenade 5:29
10. Jack's Dilemma 4:04
11. Ariñañara 4:45


Records are made every day, released every week, and even with the best will in the world this means that scores of records are ignored or lost from the moment that they are pressed. However it is also true that the collector, the DJ and the fanatic are all out there looking for something that can lift their soul. So there is always hope that if your record is good enough, one day it will be discovered and revered. Artists as diverse as Terry Callier, David Axelrod and Vashti Bunyan have all benefited from this effect, and if there is any justice in the world so should Sandy Barber’s album The Best Is Yet To Come .

Born in New York City on June 8th 1955, Barber grew up and attended school just across the river in Englewood New Jersey. With the encouragement of her big family she was singing from an early age at any events that would have her. As a teenager she came second at the legendary ‘Talent Night’ at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The Apollo was known throughout America as the premier venue of the African American circuit, and was infamous for its tough audience. Even stepping onto that stage was a challenge, but to finish in the top three was a serious achievement.

The appearance at the Apollo was heard by Chris Curry who arranged for Sandy to audition for David Jordan a producer who was working on a group called Rare Pleasure. He had a song called ‘Let Me Down Easy’ and felt that Sandy’s voice was perfect for it. The record released on Cheri Records became a club anthem – today probably better known for being sampled by David Morales on his hit ‘Needing U’ – with Sandy’s vocals perfectly capturing the songs pleading nature. Sandy didn’t enjoy working with a group and went out on her own soon after, a decision that was vindicated when a mutual friend introduced her to the producer, writer and record label owner Clyde Otis, who Sandy describes as ‘her mentor’. Otis liked what he heard and signed her immediately to the deal that would produce her album The Best Is Yet To Come.

When he signed Sandy he was bringing with him over a quarter of a century of knowledge and experience and he used it all in putting together the record. The vocal arrangements were handled by Tasha Thomas, the incredible singer who had made her name in the stage play of ‘The Wiz’, who recorded the wonderful ‘Shoot Me (With Your Love), at the time one of the hottest singers on the scene. The musical arrangements were by Nat Adderley Jr, son of the jazz trumpeter, and a brilliant keyboard player in his own right, who had recorded with the group Natural Essence on Fantasy.

The album opens with ‘Look Out Sky’ which lays out the stall for the whole album. A glorious uplifting soul song that benefits from the thoughtful arrangement that allows for plenty of space within the record for the voice to shine through. ‘I’ve Got Something Good’ has a pounding four to the floor rhythm and a great horn arrangement as Sandy tells about her good thing. Especially notable on this track is the vocal backings that mimic and sing along with the rising synthesiser part. ‘The First Time’ takes the tempo way down and is a jazz based ballad reminiscent of Marlena Shaw’s ‘Go Away Little Boy’, with a fine string arrangement. The first side ends with the fantastic ‘Don’t You Worry Baby (The Best Is Yet To Come), seven minutes of carefully arranged ecstatic soul. The record builds from a elongated intro, through some banked backing vocals to the full on song, before dropping into an instrumental middle section of strings and saxophone, and an improvised out-section where Sandy’s voice comes right back in.

The album has become sought after in recent years for the cut that opens up side two ‘I Think I’ll Do My Stepping At Home’, once more the rhythm section and its arrangement proves to be the perfect foil for Sandy’s love-worn but defiant voice. This is followed by the discofied version of the theme to ‘Wonderwoman’ the late 70s TV staple starring Linda Carter. This contrasts with the vibrant, but extremely jazzy ‘Can’t You Just See Me’ which rolls along on an astounding piano part and some bluesy guitar. The original album ends with the emotional overload of the second ballad of the album ‘Stay Here With Me’, a fitting showcase for Sandy’s voice.

‘Wonder Woman’ was lifted as a single, possibly in the hope that it would get sales on the back of the success of the TV series, and it was backed by a non-album B-side, ‘Remember Me’ another cut that could have sat very well on the album. Access to the master tapes at Otis’ Argon productions has allowed us to unearth four previously unreleased tracks including the lovely ‘Let’s Get Back Together’, that appear to have been recorded later, possibly for a follow up album for The Best Is Yet To Come.

Sandy continued singing, joining the group Blue Moderne who released records on Roll and Atlantic, before appearing solo as Sandy B on Vinylmania, Nervous and King Street amongst others. She lives in New Jersey and continues to sing in and around New York.

Sandy Barber / The Best Is Yet To Come Tracklist:
1) Look Out Sky
2) I've Got Something Good (Come And Get It)
3) The First Time
4) Don't You Worry Baby (The Best Is Yet To Come)
5) I Think I'll Do Some Stepping (On My Own)
6) Wonder Woman
7) Can't You Just See Me
8) Stay Here With Me
9) I'll Belong To You / Yea Baby
10) Can't Nobody Take Your Place
11) Remember Me
12) Woman Of The World
13) Let's Get Back Together
14) I Think I'll Do Some Stepping (On My Own) (John Morales Alternative Mix)


The story of Acoustic Alchemy has always been about innovation and adaptability. In the nearly 25 years since their first recording, the UK-based group has crafted a sound that maximizes the potential of not only the acoustic guitar but also its electric counterpart - and in so doing they've explored the subtle corners where jazz, pop, world music and other genres intersect. Along the way - with the help of a massive worldwide following created by consistent touring - they've weathered personal setbacks, dramatic shifts in musical trends, and in recent years, sweeping changes in the music industry. The next step in this ongoing journey is Roseland, their new recording set for release on September 27, 2011. While they may call themselves Acoustic Alchemy, Carmichael and his creative partner and co-pilot, Miles Gilderdale, exercise plenty of creative license by injecting generous elements of electric guitar into the mix on Roseland. This sonic edge comes courtesy of Gilderdale, who was an electric player first and foremost before joining the band after the death of co-founder Nick Webb in early 1998. Together, Carmichael and Gilderdale explore elements of jazz, rock, country and reggae - all of which makes for an album that's both eclectic and yet cohesive at the same time.

Also along for the ride is the band's usual touring lineup: keyboardist Fred White, bassist Julian Crampton and drummer Greg Grainger. Other assistance in the sessions comes from Hammond organist Ricky Peterson, pedal steel player Frank Mizen, drummers Dan Mizen and Sam Hobbs and a full complement of horn players.

Roseland was recorded in Gilderdale's newly constructed home studio in York, England, a place where the band could be creative without the pressure of a ticking clock. "We used the studio as a place to write," says Carmichael. "We would just throw ideas at each other. You try things as you go along. That's the beauty of having your own studio. You can try an electric guitar solo here, a steel-string solo there, a trombone solo somewhere else, whatever you like. It may have taken us a little longer, but if something didn't work, it didn't matter. We just tried things until we found what did work."

"For a lot of people, instrumental music is just a sound that plays in the background," says Carmichael. "But we put a lot into it - not just with this record but with every record we've ever made. I'd like to think that after all these years, we've learned how to take people on a journey. A lot of our fans have said that we do that for them. As long as they keep coming back, and as long as they want to stay on that journey, we'll keep doing what we're doing."

Acoustic Alchemy - Roseland1. Marrakesh 4:11
2. One For Shorty 3:46
3. Templemeads 4:45
4. Marcus 4:38
5. The Ebor Sound System 5:21
6. State of the Ark 4:11
7. Swamp Top 4:37
8. Sand On Her Toes 4:36
9. Roseland 3:40
10. World Stage 4:46
11. Stealing Hearts 3:31
12. Right Place, Wrong Time 3:31
13. A Kinder Loving 3:55


Until Isaac Hayes released Hot Buttered Soul in 1969, soul music had been a singles-oriented genre. Best known as the partner of David Porter in writing such Stax hits as "Hold On! I'm Coming," "Soul Man" and "B-A-B-Y" among others, Hayes, along with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield gave the soul album a higher purpose, superseding the standard practice of assembling LPs around recent hits and filler. Even so, a four-song album whose two "singles" clocked in at 12:03 and 18:42 was unprecedented.

Stax Records' reissue of Hot Buttered Soul includes two bonus tracks (single edits of "Walk On By" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"), digital remastering, new rare photographs, and expanded liner notes by both music historian Bill Dahl and Hayes fan Jim James from the band My Morning Jacket.

Hayes had recorded one previous album, Presenting Isaac Hayes in 1968, which failed to impact the charts the way his Porter-collaborated song compositions had for other Stax artists. Nonetheless, label president Al Bell green-lighted Hayes' encore long-player. Hayes went to cross-town Ardent Studios to lay down the tracks. "There was absolutely no attempt to be commercial," Marvell Thomas, the album's co-producer, told annotator Dahl. "It was just, ‘Let's do these songs. Let's do 'em like we like to do 'em. Play whatever you want to play and have a good time doing it.' To the company, it wasn't, ‘We're going to make one of the all-time great albums and it's going to sell huge.' It was, ‘Okay, let Isaac do his thing.'"

Opening with Hayes’ sexy, intimate delivery of Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” clocking in at 18 and a half minutes, the album also included an extended remake of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Walk On By,” given definition by the spacey lead guitar of Harold Beane. “The guitar solo was not something that was planned on front end,” recalled Thomas. “It was like, ‘Well why not?’ We just stretched out and let it go. When you get in the middle of it, you just kind of ride with it until it stops.” Which it did after 12 minutes. Beane joined Thomas on piano and Hayes himself on organ, backed by the surviving members of the Bar-Kays, a band ravaged by the airplane accident that also claimed Otis Redding. Guitarist Michael Toles and drummer Willie Hall filled out the band. Interestingly, the overdubbing of strings, horns and backing vocals was done in Detroit instead Memphis, thanks largely to the influence of producer Don Davis, who introduced Al Bell to veteran Motown arranger Johnny Allen. Another Detroiter, Dale Warren — the nephew of Berry Gordy’s ex-wife — orchestrated “Walk On By,” with a violin section populated with members of the Detroit Symphony.

The original album contained two other songs as well as the hits. “One Woman,” penned by Wilson Pickett accompanist Charlie Chalmers and his future wife, Sandra Rhodes, was more of a traditional Memphis soul ballad, and was recorded also by Al Green for his Green Is Blues album. The only number on Hot Buttered Soul bearing Hayes’ writing imprimatur (a co-write by Bell) sported one of the longest song titles ever conceived: “Hyperbolicsyllabiccsesquedalymistic.” According to Thomas, “(The title) means the propensity to make a whole big deal of using words to show off your vocabulary.”

The reissue contains single mixes for both “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Walk On By,” extending the four-song album to six. The new edition also contains a second set of liner notes by Jim James, lead vocalist, songwriter and producer for the Kentucky-based American rock band My Morning Jacket. Quoting James, “Everything is revealed when you open your mind to its secrets . . . [The album makes] your mind bleed . . . blurring the lines of what you thought you knew before was possible with music. It is one of those start to finish classics. And yes, damn near everything is here: Soul. Rock. Sweeping strings. Blasting horns. Full orchestral arrangements. Bare stripped down moments. Humor. Sadness. Funk . . . The recording is so God-damned 3D. It’s black. It’s white. It is universal. It is timeless. It is LOVE.”

Black Moses
Black Moses, the original LP cover of which unfolded in the shape of a cross three feet wide and four feet tall, "is a wondrously crafted, intense evocation of the vagaries of love gone bad," in the words of Stax historian Rob Bowman. Hayes used songs popularized by such artists as the Jackson 5, the Carpenters, Toussaint McCall, Little Johnny Taylor, Jerry Butler, the Whispers, Ray Price, and Dionne Warwick, along with his own highly erotic "Good Love," to express the heartbreak he was feeling about the breakup of his own marriage. "Isaac's ability to take other people's material and make it so deeply personal," Bowman observed, "is nothing short of brilliant."

Shaft is Isaac Hayes's crowning achievement. Besides being one of the most successful soundtrack albums of all time--spending over a year on Billboard's pop album chart, which it also topped--it opened the door for a number of other r&b artists, including Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Norman Whitfield, to write for motion pictures. Besides such memorable tunes as "Ellie's Love Theme," "Soulville," the Wes Montgomery inspired "Cafe Regio's," and the nearly 20-minute funk opus "Do Your Thing," the double-disc album includes the classic "Theme from Shaft," itself a No. 1 pop hit. The song earned Hayes an Oscar for "Best Song," while the album won him a Grammy for "Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture."

1. Walk On By 12:03
2. Hyperbolicsyllablecsesquedalymistic 9:39
3. One Woman 5:11
4. By The Time I Get To Phoenix 18:42
5. Walk On By 4:27
6. By The Time I Get To Phoenix 6:49

1. Never Can Say Goodbye 5:10
2. (They Long To Be) Close To You 9:06
3. Nothing Takes The Place Of You 5:32
4. Man's Temptation 5:02
5. Part Time Love 8:35
6. Medley: Ike's Rap IV/A Brand New Me 9:44
7. Going In Circles 7:02

1. Never Gonna Give You Up 5:51
2. Medley: Ike's Rap II/Help Me Love 7:34
3. Need To Belong To Someone 5:17
4. Good Love 5:16
5. Medley: Ike's Rap III/Your Love Is So Doggone Good 9:18
6. For The Good Times 5:21
7. I'll Never Fall In Love Again 4:56

1. Theme From Shaft 4:40
2. Bumpy's Lament 1:52
3. Walk From Regio's 2:24
4. Ellie's Love Theme 3:18
5. Shaft's Cab Ride 1:11
6. Café Regio's 6:10
7. Early Sunday Morning 3:50
8. Be Yourself 4:31
9. A Friend's Place 3:24
10. Soulsville 3:49
11. No Name Bar 6:11
12. Bumpy's Blues 4:04
13. Shaft Strikes Again 3:05
14. Do Your Thing 19:28
15. The End Theme 1:59
16. Theme From Shaft 4:45

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We always look forward to compilations from Jazz FM, and this newest release is no doubt one of the best to come out. The brand new 2-CD set features artists of the calibre of Roy Ayers, Flora Purim, Ramsey Lewis, Gretchen Parlato, Avery Sunshine, Bobby Womack, Patrice Rushen, Luther Vandross and The Isley Brothers. Here is the full track listing.

The Sound Of Jazz FM 2011
I Got Sunshine - Avery Sunshine
RIP With John Coltrane - Patchworks
Golden Lady - Reel People
Can't Hide Love - Sabrina Malheiros
Double Face feat. Al Jarreau - Deodato
Watch Me Fly - Down To The Bone
All That I Can Say - Gretchen Parlato
Use Me - George Benson
Let's Make Love Tonight - The Isley Brothers
Girlfriendz - Driza Bone
Take Five - Sachal Studios Orchestra
Pastime Paradise - Ray Barretto
N.E. Wind - Kirk Whalum
1960 What? - Gregory Porter
Greatest Lover (Hot Bass Mix) – Heston

CD 2
Still In Love - Shuya Okino
It' Your World - Gil Scott-Heron
Vera Cruz (Empty Faces) - Flora Purim
No Other One But You - Donny Hathaway
Arrival - Patrice Rushen
Feel Like Making Love - Bobby Lyle
Throw It Away - Maydie Myles
Caught Up In The Middle - Bobby Womack
Found My Light - Imaani
Easier Said Than Done - Rahsaan Patterson
Has It Come To This? - Amy Keys
Take You Out - Luther Vandross
Virgo - Roy Ayers
Unicorn - Dizzy Gillespie
You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine - Stanley Turrentine


When the foremost custodian of the Great American Songbook pays tribute to the music’s greatest practitioner, the results are guaranteed to be both dynamic and original. Such was indeed the case in 2008 when Michael Feinstein crafted The Sinatra Project, which marked his ninth Concord release and was nominated for a Grammy. Feinstein, long recognized as not only one of the world’s finest vocal and piano stylists but also for his tireless efforts to preserve, protect and promote the songs and songwriters that shaped the golden age of American music, wanted to pay tribute to the rich Sinatra legacy, but was determined to do so in a way that was fresh and unique.

With The Sinatra Project, Feinstein explains, he “decided to focus on the aspects of Sinatra’s art that people don’t always think about; specifically, his particular taste and style in choosing music and how he pervaded it, paying close attention to the arrangements and orchestrations, which were important elements in making Sinatra great.” Feinstein took songs Sinatra had sung—some instantly familiar others relatively obscure—and reinterpreted them in “different ways that still reflected his style and approach. It was a way into the material that allowed me honor him without copying; to bring the essence of him through without being an imitator.”

Now, with The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, Feinstein has found another inventive way in. “The second volume is really about Sinatra and his friends,” says Feinstein. “It’s about the people he influenced and who influenced him. The focus is more on the 1960s. The album includes a few songs Sinatra never sang, which was intentional because I wanted to encapsulate that era and show that, though he was still very important, music and styles were changing. It was the ushering in of a new sensibility, and yet the 1960s was still a time when rich, standards-type songs like ‘For Once In My Life’ were still being created alongside newer pop elements like rock and roll.”

Close to a dozen superstars, many of whom Sinatra counted as close friends and also deeply admired as artists, influenced Feinstein’s song selections and his stylistic choices, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Ann-Margret, Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Nancy Wilson and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Again Feinstein combines familiar and comparatively obscure material, creating a 12-track playlist that extends from such signature Sinatra tunes as “Luck Be a Lady” and “The Lady Is a Tramp” to the extremely rare “C’est Comme Ça,” co-written by Ellington and Marshall Barer for the 1966 Broadway flop Pousse Café (a musical adaptation of the 1930 Joseph von Sternberg film The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich).

Throughout the closing decades of Sinatra’s career, Feinstein himself became friendly with the legendary singer. Their first meeting was in the late 1970s at Chasen’s, one of Sinatra’s favorite Hollywood watering holes. Sinatra was throwing a birthday party for his wife, Barbara, and Feinstein was booked to play piano. “Frank invited me to join him after he heard me play,” Feinstein recalls. “I was very excited by that. I wasn’t interested in all the personal aspects of his life, nor did I know much about them. I was interested in the art, and because I got to meet him in such a casual situation he was at his most relaxed, very talkative and freewheeling. He talked about his years at MGM and [producer] Arthur Freed and songwriters. It was really fun. There was no sign of any temperament. He was just great to me.”

Prior to Sinatra’s death in 1998, their paths would frequently cross. “When Liza [Minnelli] was touring with him, I’d often go backstage to see her and would get to spend time with him, too. And I was at his house for several dinners. One time, Barbara asked me if I wanted to perform, but I declined. In addition to Sinatra, the guests that night included Dinah Shore and lots of other big-name singers and music executives, and I was just too nervous. I wish I had, though. It would have been great to sing for all those people, but I felt too overwhelmed!”

When, three years ago, Feinstein conceived The Sinatra Project, he partnered with producer/arranger Bill Elliott to help realize his concept. Together with Elliott, Feinstein was able to recreate the charts he envisioned in the style of such classic Sinatra arrangers as Nelson Riddle and Billy May. Elliott returns for The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, again demonstrating his alchemic ability to fulfill Feinstein’s vision. “Bill Elliot is one of the most talented musicians working today,” says Feinstein. “I was recently at a party where somebody said, ‘Bill Elliott is like a secret weapon; he’s this unsung hero,’ and I said, ‘I wouldn’t call him unsung. He’s doing arrangements for the Boston Pops and L.A. Philharmonic and for New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, he did the arrangements for the current Broadway production of Anything Goes and he’s doing them for the forthcoming musical Robin and the Seven Hoods!’ He is becoming more and more in-demand. That’s because Bill’s background is such that he can orchestrate in any style. He’s very seriously schooled in all pop music styles. He knows how to create an orchestration to sound like a 1930 band or a 1935 band, between which there is a huge difference; or he can [replicate] the 1920s, ’40s, ’50s or rock ‘n’ roll. And Bill can do it so it sounds organic, which is fiendishly difficult. I hear so many recordings that want to sound retro and they always sound ersatz to me. Bill, as the result of years of work, can emulate any style and make it fresh. I can’t think of anyone else who can do what he can do.”

In addition to producing the album, working with Feinstein on all the arrangements and orchestrations and conducting the 30-member orchestra, Elliott plays piano on eight of the dozen tracks. The album’s core group also includes guitarist Jim Fox, bassist Kirk Smith, drummer Albie Berk and percussionist Bernie Dresel. Asked if it is difficult to work with another pianist when he is so accustomed to accompanying himself, Feinstein responds, “Not at all… It is fun to work with someone else because it spurs me to sing the songs a little differently.” Feinstein does, however, accompany himself on four tracks, two—“The Good Life” and “Sway”—with the full orchestra and two—“C’est Comme Ça” and “I’ll Be Around”—with just Smith and violinist Sid Page.

As for the album’s subtitle, Feinstein says he chose “The Good Life” because “it reflects the ’60s, when Sinatra had gotten to a point in his life where he became iconic in a way that was different from the ’50s. He really came into his own. And it was also a good time. “The Good Life” is a song from the mid-’60s and people were in many ways, if perhaps illusionary, living a good life.”

Michael Feinstein - The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life
1. Thirteen Women
2. Hallelujah I Love Her So
3. C'Est Comme Ca
4. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?
5. Sway
6. Luck Be a Lady / All I Need is the Girl
7. I'll Be Around
8. Way You Look Tonight
9. Lady Is A Tramp
10. For Once In My Life
11. Good Life
12. Once In a Lifetime

Personnel: Michael Feinstein (vocals); Jim Fox (guitar); John Wittenberg, Carolyn Osborn, Erika Walczak, Sharon Jackson , Kathleen Robertson, Gina Kronstadt, Judy Yoo, Julie Rogers, Peter Kent, Susan Chatman (violin); Pam Jacobson, Andrew Duckles (viola); Rudy Stein, Cecilia Tsan (cello); Jay Mason, Jeff Driskell (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Dan Higgins (flute, alto saxophone); Sal Lozano (clarinet, alto saxophone); John Mitchell (bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Willie Murillo, Darrel Gardner, Don Clarke, Wayne Bergeron (trumpet); Joe Meyer , Brian O'Connor (French horn); Charlie Morillas, Alex Iles, Alan Kaplan, Craig Gosnell (trombone); Bill Elliott (piano); Albie Berk (drums); Bernie Dresel (percussion).

Audio Mixer: Mark Linett.
Recording information: Ocean Way Recording Studio B, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Gilles Toucas.
Arranger: Bill Elliott.


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