Friday, August 30, 2013



2013 release from the veteran Jazz outfit. Joined by superstar guitarist Rhon Lawrence and up and coming saxophonist Tony Watson Jr., the group has composed 10 brilliant originals that run the gamut from "in the pocket" R&B to the kind of sensuous Smooth Jazz jams that have made them legends. Lead producer and founding member James Lloyd, who has been a go to hit maker and accompanist for such artists as Mary J. Blige, BB King, Wayman Tisdale and others, is at the top of his game here with such highlights as the funky "Steppers 'D' Light" and the romantic ballad "Misty Eyed". Additionally, co-founder Curtis Harmon's composition, the title track "In the Moment", is a joyful celebration of Pieces of a Dream's 20th album and their brilliant career.


Although not a new release (it's from 2006), I thought I would bring this one to the forefront since it contains one of my all-time favorite songs – Crystal Blue Persuasion. Originally performed by 60s group Tommy James and the Shondells, Shields’ version is smooth., cool, and simply beautiful!  It’s got a feel-good vibe and stellar production that I am sure you will enjoy as well. Iconic producer Preston Glass has worked with a plethora of artists including Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Kenny G, George Benson, and more. The album also includes two timeless cuts from the catalogs of Van Morrison (Have I Told You Lately) and Sade (Cherry Pie). On "Have I Told You Lately," Shields delivers the right chops to bring out the beauty of the highly recognizable tune and on "Cherry Pie," he deliver with a sweet, sexy excursion of R&B grooves.


The latest artist to emerge from the 'New' Detroit music scene, soul trumpeter Lin Rountree has spent his years laying a serious foundation on the local scene, honing his skills and chops for the moment that he had his opportunity to take his music to a higher level and spread it to the masses. With 'Serendipitous' his major label CutMore Records debut, Lin works now on building his musical house with this base firmly established and does so with spectacular result. Rountree is no stranger to the groove and hits high marks for hip factor as he lays them down fat and funky, giving him canvas to paint his many colors, fusing funk, soul, ambience, pop and jazz into a captivating musical portrait.. Consumers seeking to find the Zone, will find it in plenty with this assemblage of vibes moods and feels that create that kind of escapism that allows the partaker an internal getaway. The lead single 'We Chill' already burning up national radio, just oozes with hipness and is so chilled that goose bumps become a natural side effect. Scoring a role in the Whitney Houston film 'Sparkle' hasn't hurt Rountree's international profile, which helped lead to his headlining a show at the Dubai International Jazz Festival this year. Having shared sides with the likes of George Duke, Marcus Miller, Kem and Darren Rahn, it's time to step forward to the front edge of the stage and take his rightful place alongside the burgeoning crop of fresh new faces of the next generation of smooth jazz stars. ~

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