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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 2001: A Garden of Personal Mirrors [7” Single]
Artist - Mike Kaplan ft. Naomi Gardner

For those unaware, Wave Theory Records have just released a limited edition vinyl of a single written for Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The song, subtitled “A Garden of Personal Mirrors”, was written in 1968 by the film’s marketing strategist Mike Kaplan. Kubrick proposed it immediately following an unsuccessful pitch by MGM Records, who wanted to release a single to tie in with the film, and amid reports the Beatles were also writing a song.

Presented by Wave Theory as a historical release, 2001: A Garden of Personal Mirrors adds a new chapter to the film’s mythology.

This limited edition, 7” vinyl is infamous in the annals of film music history for the way that Kubrick abandoned Alex North’s original score in favor of classical and popular pieces that have become synonymous with the movie.

Following a digital release last year that caught the imagination of the film’s fans, Wave Theory now release a limited edition CLEAR vinyl that will give the opportunity for soundtrack aficionados to own a piece of movie history.

Mike Kaplan explains, “The Single’s intent was to capture the different responses 2001 was generating from audiences and the media, the many levels of interpretation and appreciation, from its hypnotic visuals to it’s metaphysical illuminations. We also wanted to instill curiosity among audiences who had not yet seen what was becoming a cultural phenomenon.”

Co-founder of Wave Theory Records Dan Jones said, “Attempting to write any music for Kubrick would be a daunting task, as Alex North — and now we discover Mike Kaplan — were both to discover. Both of them are examples of the complex creative interactions that Kubrick’s films distilled.”

As for the track itself, it is safe to say that it was not what I was expecting, but my goodness, what a gorgeously atmospherically-charged, and musically symbolic of that mid-1960s, lushly orchestrated, gentle psych-prog era flashback it most certainly is.

Layered from start to finish, each chorus is set in motion by some stern piano work before we are gloriously presented with a rhythmical bounce of melodies and hypnotic storytelling within.

2001: A Garden of Personal Mirrors [Official Listen]

Rough Trade 7” Single Purchase Link

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Title - Messages from Aphrodite
Artist - Lauren Monroe

For those unaware, Lauren Monroe - singer, songwriter, and healing artist - announces her third album, Messages from Aphrodite (releasing September 9th, 2022), with the release of the new single, “If You Want.”

Co-produced by Monroe with the renowned Jim Scott, “If You Want” features a guest performance from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rick Allen, drummer of Def Leppard, and Monroe’s husband and frequent collaborator.

With its old-school Americana groove and splash of Southern soul, “If You Want” would slide seamlessly into a 1970s playlist featuring Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.

The song embodies Monroe’s messages of positivity, love, and healing through music. “In every moment we have a choice to live in love or in fear. To live in love or anger, in love or worry. In every moment we have the opportunity to choose love over and over again,” she says. “I believe that love is not just a feeling, it is a place, a home, a sanctuary of hope and meaning, but only if you choose it.”

Music and healing have always been a focal point in Monroe’s life. Through performance, storytelling, and art, she creates an intimate experience for her audiences, showing them how music can impact healing and growth.

Earlier this year, she and Allen played some intimate East Coast club dates during which they also displayed their mixed-media art, which was then auctioned online to benefit Raven Drum Foundation, an organization they founded with the mission to serve, educate and empower veterans dealing with PTSD and combat trauma, people in crisis and other at-risk individuals.

1. Gold
2. If You Want
3. Sparrow
4. Void of Course
5. Dream Again
6. Kiss Me Now
7. My Love
8. Big Love Lullaby
9. Can’t Let Go
10. Beautiful World
11. Calling All Angels

This beautifully crafted, creatively ambient new album opens on the aching yearn within Gold and then brings us the exquisite hipsway of the lead single, If You Want (which reminds us we have a choice to live in love or fear, to live in love or anger, in love or worry), which itself bleeds seamlessly into the second single, the effortless gossamer of Sparrow (a song that teaching us how to grieve, and be present with people who have crossed over), then comes the third single, the reaching, guitar-led rocker Void of Course (which lyrically comes from her interest in the ancient science of astrology).

Next up is the joyously rambunctious Dream Again and the joyously lush, Celtic-imbibed, mid-tempo balladry bounce of Kiss Me Now, and they are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites from this quite diligently wonderful album, the passionate longing within My Love, and then comes the gentle foot tapper Big Love Lullaby, the country pop-rock raunch of Can’t Let Go, the recording rounding out on the free flowing Beautiful World, coming to a close on the stilled, yet fibrous Calling All Angels.

The title of the new album, Messages from Aphrodite, references the ancient Greek goddess of love in its myriad aspects, and signifies the emotional expanse of Monroe’s songs, to which she brings a rarefied degree of insight and compassion, enabling her to nimbly plumb the depths and scale the heights of the human condition in her songwriting.

Producer Jim Scott, who’s worked with more than his share of legends over the years, bears witness to Monroe’s alchemy. “Lauren is a special artist,” he asserts. “She’s tuned in to the spiritual workings of the heart and the mystical nature of the universe. She’s an empath, a healer, a teacher, visual artist, producer and songwriter; I also think she’s a time-traveler. Her songs guide, direct and uplift and are sonically beautiful.”

The songs are enlivened by Scott’s deft sonic sculpting of song-serving performances from musical luminaries such as guitarists Greg Leisz (k.d. lang, Matthew Sweet, Bill Frisell), Tyler Bryant (Larkin Poe, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown), Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakam), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams) and David Garza (Fiona Apple, Watkins Family Hour); bassists Bob Glaub (Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon), Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) and Mai Leisz (David Crosby), keyboardist John Ginty (Neal Casal, the Allman Betts Band); and backing vocalist Tammi Brown (Bobby McFerrin, Quincy Jones). In addition to Allen, the Heartbreakers’ Steve Ferrone and young dynamo Beth Goodfellow (Iron and Wine, Allison Russell) anchor the proceedings from behind their drum kits.

Lauren Monroe - If You Want (Official Music Video)

Lauren Monroe - Sparrow (Official Music Video)

Official Website

Lauren Monroe @ Facebook

Lauren Monroe @ Instagram

Lauren Monroe @ YouTube

Title - Rock ‘n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers [Remaster]
Artist - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

For those of you not in the know, this is now the second release from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers and which features the U.K. Singles Chart Top 5 hit, “Egyptian Reggae.”

While his desire was for his band to be more of an acoustic/harmony based endeavor, Jonathan was blindsided when his true debut was overtaken by a compilation of early recordings. Singles like “Roadrunner” and “Pablo Picasso” were in the forefront—but that did not deter Jonathan.

After original drummer David Robinson left, (eventually finding success with Hall of Famers, The Cars), Richman hired D. Sharpe, and the band recorded and released the aptly titled Rock ’n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers.

Now, one might wonder how “rock ’n’ roll” and album with songs titled “Ice Cream Man,” “Dodge Veg-O-Matic,” and a version of “Wheels On The Bus” is — but, Greil Marcus called it “the purist Rock and Roll album I’ve heard this year.” And, due to the U.K. fascination with the band’s perceived debut, “Egyptian Reggae” hit #5 on the singles charts!

The date is 1977. Revel in where the “real” Jonathan Richman story started, and how it evolves. The original releases are available on CD and LP, with a unique red colored vinyl variant available for independent retail. His true, Beserkley catalog is available once again. The way Jonathan intended.

1. The Sweeping Wind (Kwa Ti Feng)
2. Ice Cream Man
3. Rockin’ Rockin’ Leprchauns
4. Summer Morning
5. Afternoon
6. Fly Into The Mystery
7. South American Folk Song
8. Roller Coaster By The Sea
9. Dodge Veg-O-Matic
10. Egyptian Reggae
11. Coomyah
12. The Wheels On The Bus
13. Angels Watching Over Me

In truth, here on Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Modern Lovers, Richman branches out to Japanese music, a South American Folk Song, and even Egyptian Reggae, but the real highlight on Rock ‘n’ Roll is that ode to a totaled car, Dodge Veg-O-Matic; in my humble opinion.

Thus, and as you might well have expected, mixing traditional folk songs, with covers of Jamaican music and his own left-field jaunty compositions, Richman left audiences perplexed as to what future musical direction he was actually taking here on this recording.

Opening on some Japanese-embodiment within The Sweeping Wind (Kwa Ti Feng) and the raw, earthy Ice Cream Man, along next is the titular sounds found within Rockin’ Rockin’ Leprchauns, the atmospheric storytelling within Summer Morning, then comes the psych chanting and rhythms of Afternoon and then the veritably acoustic balladry of Fly Into The Mystery

Up next is the melodic bounce, ebb and flow of the contagious South American Folk Song and the hand-clapper Roller Coaster By The Sea, the aforementioned Dodge Veg-O-Matic, which are in turn followed by the brilliant Egyptian Reggae (an instrumental version of a track by Jamaican musician, Earl Zero), the album rounding out with the skip-pop-bounce of Coomyah, an upbeat, Rock ‘n’ Roll version of the kids song The Wheels On The Bus, everything coming to a close on the finger-snapping melodies of Angels Watching Over Me.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jonathan Richman @ Bandcamp

Title - Unconditioned
Artist - Intelligent Music Project VII

For those unaware, the Bulgarian rock band Intelligent Music Project have just released its seventh studio album entitled Unconditioned, and trust me when I tell you it was well worth the wait!

The legendary Simon Phillips (TOTO, Protocol) returns as percussionist and musical co-producer of the new album, while the lead vocalist on this release will again be one of the most popular names in rock music today: Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, MSG).

This will be Romero’s third album with Intelligent Music Project, and for the first time the group has expanded its compositional approach: two of the songs are entirely the work of Ronnie, Biser Ivanov and Ivo Stefanov.

For the first time on Unconditioned, the band’s lead singer shows off his skills as a lyricist, having penned the words to those two songs. All the other songs and lyrics are once again the creation of Intelligent Music Project’s founder and producer, Dr. Milen Vrabevski.

In honor of the tenth anniversary of the band’s first album, The Power Of Mind, the seventh album follows its format and also begins and ends with instrumental tracks written by Dr. Milen Vrabevski in collaboration with Biser Ivanov and Ivo Stefanov.

1. Topic (Instrumental)
2. Intention
3. Sunshine Boulevard
4. How
5. Blue Morning
6. Soulmate
7. The Long Ride
8. Madness
9. And Stars Never Fall
10. Spirit
11 Wait for the Night
12. New Hero
13. Finale Grande (Instrumental)
14. Intention (Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Version) [Bonus Track]
15. Intention (Singback) (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]

This beautifully crafted and wholly creatively ambient new album opens on the scorching guitar balladry of the instrumental Topic and then brings us the exquisite AOR of Intention, the low slung, yet reaching ’80s-esque Sunshine Boulevard, and then comes the piano balladry of How, the clenched fist embrace within the vibrant Blue Morning, the atmospherically-charged Soulmate, and then we get the forthright rock of The Long Ride and the mid-tempo AOR (complete with Wurlitzer-imbibed creamy center) of Madness.

Next up is the free-wheelin’ And Stars Never Fall which is itself followed by the, at first, ornate piano ballad, but which subsequently ebbs and flows with a beautiful blues rock vibe within Spirit, and then we get the rambunctious Wait For The Night, the yearning New Hero and the soaring guitar instrumental of Finale Grande, this CD rounding out with two more versions of Intention.

Intelligent Music Project - Intention (Official Video)

Intelligent Music Project - New Hero (Official Video)

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Ride
Artist - Walter Trout

For those not in the know, today, the iconic blues-rock guitarist Walter Trout has revealed the official video for Ride, the title track of his 30th solo album, out August 19th, 2022 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

Arriving on the West Coast two weeks before album sessions began, Trout settled down to write the material on Ride in his now-deserted house in Huntington Beach, California.

But even in this beach side paradise, among the swaying palms and ocean breeze, the past came calling. As long-standing Trout fans know, the Golden State has been the blues man’s home for 47 years.

Fully realizing that nobody ever really leaves their old selves behind, here on Ride, Trout provides an emotional release valve – both for its creator and his loyal listeners – perhaps this veteran artist can reconcile with his past, accept his future and live in the present as it unfolds.

“I think you can interpret this album title a few different ways,” he concludes. “I mean, this album is definitely a musical ride and I certainly tried to cover a lot of ground. But, really, life is kind of a ride too, isn’t it? And I want to live mine to the fullest.”

1. Ghosts
2. Ride
3. Follow You Back Home
4. So Many Sad Goodbyes
5. High Is Low
6. Waiting For The Dawn
7. Better Days Ahead
8. Fertile Soil
9. I Worry Too Much
10. Leave It All Behind
11. Hey Mama
12. Destiny

The album opens on the laid back, blues roll of Ghosts and then the deceptively upbeat, harmonica-led title track Ride (a track that recounts a locomotive that rattled past his childhood home each night) and they are backed by the wonderfully emotive balladry within Follow You Back Home, the mid-tempo, Hammond-inspired blues So Many Sad Goodbyes, and the comes the vast splendor of another harmonica-driven track, High Is Low and the drum and guitar-led stylings within Waiting For The Dawn.

Next up is the layered, beautifully crafted Better Days Ahead and the swinging blues of Fertile Soil and they are in turn followed seamlessly by the veritably shimmering I Worry Too Much, the soulful, yearning thrill within Leave It All Behind, this vibrantly authentic, heartfelt and wholly embracing new album rounding out on the old school, soul-filled blues within Hey Mama, coming to a close on the rolling blues ebb and flow of Destiny.

Trout joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers lineup in ’85, before embarking on an acclaimed solo career from ’89 onwards. But before that came his chaotic, self-destructive years as a jobbing lead guitarist, whether for revered-but-tricky blues pioneers like John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton, or an unhinged tenure in an ’80s Canned Heat line-up controlled by the Hell’s Angels.

Trout’s well-documented excess in this era was darker than a young rock star cutting loose. It could all be traced back to his troubled childhood in New Jersey, he explains, where an unstable stepfather – himself the victim of shocking cruelty as a prisoner of war – was a terrifying presence.

As Ride took form, such memories couldn’t help but flavor the music. “This album is obviously what I was going through mentally and emotionally,” Trout considers. “All I did was express it. I spent a lot of time crying, because I would dig down into my emotional core. I want my songs to have some sort of truth to them.”

Walter Trout is the beating heart of the modern blues rock scene. Respected by the old guard, revered by the young guns. Adored by the fans who shake his hand after the show each night, and after five decades in the game, Trout remains a talismanic figure.

But, however fast or far a man travels, he can never truly outrun his past. On the new album Walter Trout found himself eyeing the horizon and the green shoots of his triumphant late career. There was a new record deal with Mascot/Provogue. A move from California to Denmark with his beloved family. Even now, aged 70, Trout was still writing fresh chapters of his life story.

Walter Trout - Ride (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Walter Trout @ Facebook

Walter Trout @ Twitter

Walter Trout @ Instagram

Title - The Dream Is Free
Artist - Joe Macre

For those not in the know, hot on the heels of his critically acclaimed first solo album, bassist Joe Macre has released his sophomore album The Dream Is Free on Cuppa Joe Records.

Joe is known as the original bassist for the progressive rock band Crack The Sky best known for achieving debut album of the year in Rolling Stone Magazine and still included in the top 50 albums of all time.

Joe was a member of Crack The Sky from 1975-1980 and 2004-2009. Joe has also worked with The B. E. Taylor Group, Wild Cherry, King Friday, Jim Croce, David Sanborn, The Brecker Brothers, Marie Osmond, Keith Green, Clint Brown, and others.

In 2018 Joe began work on Joe Mac’s American Garage with the debut album, Bullet Train released in 2021 with a cast of musicians and superstars including Grammy Award Artists Oliver Wakeman (Yes), and Andy Timmons (Danger Danger), Robert Schindler (Johnny Nash), Madukwu Chinwah (Erikah Badu), Chris Elliot and Jerry Oxendyne (86 Bullets), Pete Hewllett (Billy Joel), John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Bobby Hird and Joey D’Amico (Crack The Sky).

Joe’s latest effort, The Dream Is Free was written immediately after the Bullet Train release and features him on all instruments and voices, with guest appearances by Crack The Sky’s Rick Witkowski and Al Macre (keys) and solos by Chris Elliott. It’s a collection of 10 songs with Bonus tracks and the lead single is a light commercial song entitled I Need You.

1. The Dream Is Free (3:51)
2. Tell Me (3:46)
3. Ride Or Die (3:13)
4. Drop Me Off At The Rainbow (4:58)
5. Life In The Theater (3:55)
6. These Cool Years (Graduation) (4:10)
7. Not Looking Back Tonight (3:18)
8. Tomorrow Is Today (5:20) 9. The Dark Sky Sea (6:07)
10. Get Up, Crack Down (3:48 )

The album opens on the virtually shimmering AOR of the titular The Dream Is Free and the drum-led rocker Tell Me and then brings us the slightly heavier side of Macre on Ride Or Die, the low ebb, relatively acoustic Drop Me Off At The Rainbow and then the mid tempo balladry of Life In The Theater is brought forth.

Next up is the foot tapping, sweeping rock of These Cool Years (Graduation) and the rhythmically melodic Not Looking Back Tonight, and they are in turn followed by the glistening hipsway of Tomorrow Is Today, the album rounding out on the guitar-led The Dark Sky Sea, coming to a close on the stuttering prog rock vibe of Get Up, Crack Down.

Says Joe, The Dream Is Free album is a reflection on my life experiences as a musician. The Dream Is Free BUT the pain’s sold separately. It takes some talent to get in but there are consequences if you have no idea of the BUSINESS of music. So, I guess it’s a loosely concept album but also a collection that was written during the Covid times. I write all the songs and play all the instruments and vocals with the exception of some solos by Chris Elliott, Rick Witkowski and Al Macre; two incredible soloists and a classical keyboardist who played on a few songs.

My former bandmate Rick Witkowski co-wrote two songs with me on this album. My musical inspirations are The Beatles, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Strawbs. I grew up playing Funk as a bassist. These early years were filled with Motown, James Brown and anything with a cool rhythm. The context for my songs is positive, giving the listener the chance to explore what I’m saying. Most are based on my musical experiences and years on the road.

Joe Macre’s Award-winning Post Production mixing credits in films include Monster in Law, House of D and Fire Down Below. His Cuppa Joe Music Library and Sound Design are chosen for many national spots, including the award-winning Super Bowl Tabasco’s Mosquito, Corona’s Ship in a Bottle, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Ford, McDonald’s, Corona, Hyundai, and Oprah Winfrey.

Joe was inducted into the board of directors for SPARS (Society of Professional Audio Recording Services) with Leslie Ann Jones, Audio Director at Skywalker Sound, Kevin Mills at Larrabee West Studios, Tim Butler at Chicago Recording (CRC), Jeff Greenberg at The Village Recorder and Steve Davis at Crawford Communications Atlanta. Joe is an active member of AES and the American Federation of Musicians.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Joe Macre @ Facebook

Title - Green Light
Artist - Josh Hoyes & Soul Colossal

“Moving people through the power of soul music, that’s what it’s all about,” says Josh Hoyer of his band’s sixth studio album, Green Light, released on October 21st, 2022. “You’ll hear the sounds of pain, solitude and spiritual reckoning – a heartfelt reaction to the realities of today.”

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal have lived up to their name for the past decade, spreading bold yet nuanced soul/R&B through constant touring and regular releases. Averaging 125 shows a year and already eight albums deep (including live releases), the ultra-authentic sextet is sharing the healing power of love and empathy through melody, lyricism, groove, and dance.

“Whether it gives people courage or solace, joy or a place to heal, that is what my creations are for,” asserts Hoyer. “To show them that they are not alone. To bring people together.”

So fully expect Green Light to propel Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal toward further headlining slots, high-profile tours, and into speakers and ears wherever an honest, singular, and richly soulful voice – musically and emotionally – is cried out for.

1. Evolution
2. Loneliness
3. Harmony
4. Mirrors
5. Mr. One Up
6. Green Light
7. Beautiful People
8. Business As Usual
9. Crazy Love
10. Shou Shou Do

This beautifully crafted, creatively inspiring new album opens on the old school funky grooves within Evolution and then seamlessly slip slide into the free flowing, all be they languishing harmonies within Loneliness, the gentle funk bounce of Harmony, and then comes the majestically low slung balladry of Mirrors and the fervently-charged Mr. One Up.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this blisteringly soulful album is the foot-tapping titular track Green Light, which is itself followed by the rhythmically buoyant Beautiful People, then comes the melodically harmonious Business As Usual, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo, Motown-esque balladry of Crazy Love, coming to a close on the guitar-led, funkin’ grooves that make up Shou Shou Do.

A performer since childhood, Hoyer discovered his songwriter’s voice through high school jazz choir improvisation. He later honed his talent with years of jamming in the famed blues and roots scene of his native Lincoln, Nebraska, and its legendary Zoo Bar.

Having further shaped his songcraft with spells in Oregon and New Orleans, he returned to Lincoln where he was mentored by the likes of Little Jimmy Valentine of The Heart Murmurs, renowned bluesman Magic Slim, and late guitarist/singer Sean Benjamin. “Hoyer sang with fire and a natural joy,” raved Rolling Stone after his powerhouse performance on Season 12 of NBC’s The Voice (Team Blake).

Hoyer formed Soul Colossal in 2012, completing the award-winning band with Stephen Cantarero (bass), James Cuato (sax), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Harrison ElDorado (drums), and Benjamin Kushner (guitar). Hoyer handles Hammond organ, electric piano, and lead vocals.

Night after night, Hoyer & Soul Colossal leave it all on stage, passionately delivering their fresh take on super-relatable soul music coast-to-coast and across Europe. Visceral, gutsy, and relentlessly real, they channel Stax, Motown, and Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philly, and San Francisco through Hoyer’s cultured compositions, lived-in vocals, and supple, horns-flecked arrangements. Smoky late-night vibes and sometimes playful arrangements cradle thought-provoking lyrics, virtuoso musicianship, and uplifting sentiments that linger long after the show.

Highlights have included headlining European festivals, playing major U.S. fests, and sharing bills with Booker T Jones, Irma Thomas, The Muscle Shoals Revue and George Clinton. In the studio, they’ve worked with Wilco’s Ken Coomer and New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Hoyer off the road but also gave him time to take pause and patiently craft the album of his life in Green Light. The result is an instant genre classic that can be savored as a coherent yet emotionally dynamic collection or as ten standalone singles, each distinct in tone, identity, and message.

“This album was my therapy and way of making sense of all the turmoil,” Hoyer reflects. “Music that would serve both as a time capsule and a lasting message of reckoning and hope.”

Green Light is effectively a “best of” that era, culled from around 40 songs. Its title references both the “green light” given to the music world to return after lockdown and the “go” signal for Soul Colossal to motor into the mainstream after years of under-the-radar acclaim and adulation.

“This is our masterpiece so far … full of great playing and sincere truths,” offers Hoyer. “It stays true to our sound that we have cultivated over the years, but with it we added a steadfast focus to make something fantastic that we would be happy with one hundred percent.”

The entire Hoyer-produced album was tracked, mostly live, in less than 48 hours at Denver’s Mighty Fine Studios and mixed by James Fleege at Silver Street Studios in Ashland, Nebraska.

The love, sweat, and tears poured into Green Light are palpable in its elevated songwriting, eloquent lyrics, taut performances, and Hoyer’s tinglingly emotive vocals. It communicates on multiple levels, shaking booties while shaking off complacency. Both a celebration and a call to action, a sharing of and a shelter from universal angst, Green Light is a timeless record that far transcends its instant-gratification good vibes and irresistible, sinewy grooves.

Listen closely and you’ll hear New Orleans parade beats, vibrant Detroit and New York R&B, and the funky stylings of Rufus Thomas and his Stax Records cohorts. Repeat spins reveal echoes of Donny Hathaway’s spiritual ruminations, the worldly heartache of Charles Bradley, and the chordal complexities of Herbie Hancock and early ‘70s Santana.

Official Website

Josh Hoyes & Soul Colossal @ Facebook

Josh Hoyes & Soul Colossal @ Instagram

Josh Hoyes & Soul Colossal @ YouTube

Title - Tone Paintings
Artist - Craig Davis w/ John Clayton & Jeff Hamilton

For those unaware, the music of the mysterious Dodo Marmarosa finds new life in this recording, Tone Paintings, by jazz pianist, arranger, composer, and educator Craig Davis.

Joined by John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums and recorded in Los Angeles where Dodo found his voice in the progressive form of jazz, bebop, Tone Paintings combines masterful compositions with contemporary arranging and exquisite soloing from three Masters of Jazz.

Michael “Dodo” Marmarosa, bebop pianist, composer and arranger who retreated to his childhood home in Pittsburgh after years of touring with several major big bands, including those led by Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Artie Shaw and recording with leading bebop and swing musicians, including Howard McGhee, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young, as well as leading his own bands in the 1940s due to mental health issues.

1. Mellow Mood
2. Dodo’s Bounce
3. Dodo’s Blues
4. Escape
5. A Ditty For Dodo
6. Opus No. 5
7. Compadoo
8. Dary Departs
9. Tone Paintings
10. Battle Of The Balcony Jive
11. Dodo’s Lament

This well crafted and harmoniously melodious album opens on the playful Mellow mood and the sprightly Dodo’s Bounce and then comes the aptly-titled, low slung Dodo’s Blues, the drum-led, energetically cheerful Escape, and the last dance, slow twirl of A Ditty For Dodo.

Up next is the elegant gossamer within Opus No. 5 which is in turn followed by the peppy Compadoo and then comes the late night, smoky blues club appeal within the upright bass-led Dary Departs, the feel changing, the rhythmic gears worked down to balladry level for the titular track, and then the album rounds out with the zippy Battle Of The Balcony Jive and the sheer elegance of musical splendor found within Dodo’s Lament

MCG Jazz is a social enterprise of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, a subsidiary of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a non-profit arts and learning center in Pittsburgh, PA. MCG Jazz supports its mission to preserve, present, and promote jazz through its annual subscription concert series, dedicated to hosting the world’s finest jazz musicians; a specialty, jazz recording label; and a multi-faceted educational outreach program that reaches thousands of music lovers and students locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Official Purchase Link

MCG Jazz @ Bandcamp

MCG Jazz Official Website

Title - Rituals
Artist - Jim McNeely w/ Frankfurt Radio Big Band

For those unaware, with a tribute to Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Igor Stravinsky, the hr Big Band, which plays here as the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, and the American tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, fills essential parts of their new CD Rituals (out now via Challenge Records).

Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Igor Stravinsky is regarded as a key work of classical music of the 20th century. Due to its rhythmic and tonal structures, interspersed with numerous dissonances, it created turmoil in the audience at its world premiere in Paris in 1913, but was then able to quickly establish itself as a central work in the repertoire of concert halls.

The work on this new album was commissioned by the Alte Oper Frankfurt, which held a Stravinsky Festival in 2013, Olaf Stotzler recalled, producer of the hr Big Band. At that time there was a music festival around a central work of classical music, in this case Le Sacre du Printemps.

The idea was to commission Jim McNeely to compose this work for Chris Potter. However, it is not a jazz version of Le Sacre du Printemps, but instead a new composition. It was inspired by the sound language of Le Sacre du Printemps.

The performance was a huge success, which is why Potter and the hr Big Band decided to record the whole thing again in a studio. With plenty of verve and aplomb, the hr Big Band glides through the complex rhythmic and harmonious score that McNeely composed in the spirit of Stravinsky.

With Chris Potter, one of the best contemporary saxophonists could be won over for the role of soloist. With a unique sonorous tone and inexhaustible inventiveness, he actually seems to play as if his life depended on it. Chris Potter is the voice of this spring sacrifice, Olaf Stotzler explained. He embodies this character, which is why we chose a soloist in the first place. Musical representation of this spring sacrifice is a mammoth task. He really plays all the time, and that is a challenge for which we wanted to have one of the best.

1. Rituals - Adoration I (6:58)
2. Rituals - Adoration II (5:12)
3. Rituals - Adoration III (2:16)
4. Rituals - Sacrifice I (7:40)
5. Rituals - Sacrifice II (6:36)
6. Rituals - Rebirth (4:21)
7. Dawn (7:46)
8. The Wheel (8:45)
9. Wine Dark Sea (8:32)
10. Okinawa (10:22)

This beautifully crafted, creatively juicy new album opens on the firecracker Rituals - Adoration I and then bleeds seamlessly into the huge cinematic scope of Adoration II, which then leads us into the frenetic Adoration III, then comes Rituals - Sacrifice, which does not break step as it also comes complete with some breathtaking musicianship, whereas Sacrifice II subtly brings the uproar down a level, the laid back, at first, then volcanic, Bond-esque Rituals - Rebirth a simply stunning track that follows.

Up next is what seems to be a cumulative, layered jam track, Dawn, and that is itself followed by the jamboree brought forth within the triumphant The Wheel, the album rounding out on the uproarious Wine Dark Sea, the entire recording coming to righteous close on the free-wheeling melodies and rhythms within the ten minute Okinawa.

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Title - Woodstock: 20 Years After [CD / DVD]
Artist - Sha Na Na

For those not in the know, Sha Na Na, the popular 1950s revival group which has sold over 20 million records and starred in its own syndicated television series, was one of the performers at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.

Twenty years later, Sha Na Na joined original fellow musicians for the Woodstock: 20 Years After concert held 3,000 miles away at Cal-State Dominguez Hills in Carson, California on August 20th, 1989.

This 1989 performance from Sha Na Na is scheduled for release on CD, DVD and digital on August 5th, 2022 via Liberation Hall.

1. Rock Around the Clock
2. Tossin’ and Turnin’
3. The Stroll
4. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
5. High School Confidential / At the Hop
6. Let’s Dance
7. Queen of the Hop
8. Save the Last Dance for Me
9. Chantilly Lace
10. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
11. You Can’t Sit Down
12. Blueberry Hill
13. Tequila
14. Hit the Road Jack
15. Tonite, Tonite
16. In the Still of the Night
17. Get a Job
18. Oh Lonesome Me
19. Promised Land
20. Introducing the Band
21. Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay
22. Goodnight My Love
23. Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite

Opening on the vibrant, yet short duo of Rock Around the Clock and the swinging rhythms of Tossin’ and Turnin,’ they are followed by a low slung The Stroll, a rampant Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, the hoppin’ and a boppin’ of the blended High School Confidential / At the Hop, the once organ-infused (now guitar-revved) version of Chris Montez’s twister Let’s Dance, the finger-snapping, one-minute long Queen of the Hop, a warm and tender version of Save the Last Dance for Me, and then comes an upbeat and gently frenetic Chantilly Lace, a powerful You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and then a fervent You Can’t Sit Down.

Up next is the thrill of Blueberry Hill and the urgency of chords within the beloved instrumental Tequila and they are in turn backed by the groovy Hit the Road Jack, the street corner do-wop of Tonite, Tonite, the soulful In the Still of the Night, more do-wop in the form of a .38 second instrumental snippet of Get a Job, the countrified Oh Lonesome Me, a pulsating rendition of Promised Land, and then after intro’ing the band (for nearly three minutes), they bring the recording to a close by saying they have one last thing to say, which is that Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay, before the encore provides us with two goodbye tracks in the form of the laid back hipsway of both Goodnight My Love and Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite.

Whether it be the CD you are listening to or the music and visuals coming from your TV via the DVD, this live show is performed by a highly-spirited and genuinely heartfelt group of guys that know their target audience is having as much fun as they themselves are!

There is just so many on-going, and still choreographed (to a point) dance routines on display along with impassioned vocals performances, shiny attire, and, of course, some electrifying, and at times high-kicking piano fare rolled in!

Sha Na Na’s first appearance at Woodstock was only the band’s eighth performance. Formed during the 1968-1969 school year at Columbia University in New York City, the idea for the band was conceived by George Leonard, a humanities graduate student who also became the group’s choreographer.

The original lineup featured a dozen members and performed a song-and-dance repertoire based on popular rock and doo-wop hits of the 1950s. Within two months we were the hottest rock act in New York, held over week after week at Steve Paul’s Scene, where the stars themselves partied, recalled Leonard.

According to the band’s drummer, John Fair Jocko Marcellino, it was on the final night that The Scene was open that Jimi Hendrix personally introduced Sha Na Na to Woodstock’s producers, Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld.

We were booked that night, Marcellino told Yahoo Entertainment’s Lyndsey Parker. We got $350, the check bounced, and we got a dollar to be in the movie. But that was a good dollar.

Sha Na Na’s high energy presentation and set-closing rendition of Danny & the Juniors’ At the Hop was a highlight of the concert and appeared in Michael Wadleigh’s award-winning documentary film, Woodstock (1970).

The movie helped make Sha Na Na a sensation in the U.S. and triggered a 1950s nostalgia craze that inspired the Broadway musical Grease (1971), George Lucas’ feature film American Graffiti, and the long-running television series Happy Days (1974-1984).

When director Randal Kleiser’s big budget film adaptation of Grease arrived in 1978, the accompanying soundtrack included six songs by Sha Na Na, and the group performed two songs in the film as as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.

During their 1970s heyday, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, and Jay Leno all opened for Sha Na Na.

Sha Na Na continues to play concerts, and the current lineup features original members Marcellino and Donny York, as well as Screamin’ Scott Simon who joined in 1979. Simon co-wrote the much-loved Sandy which appears in the Grease film. They are the only surviving members from the original band and TV show.

Woodstock: 20 Years After features 23 classic rock and doo-wop performances by Sha Na Na and runs 51 minutes. Order the first digital single, You Can’t Sit Down, at Sha Na Na now.

Sha Na Na - Woodstock: 20 Years After (Official Trailer)

Official CD / DVD Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Raw [Vinyl LP]
Artist - ZZ Top

For those unaware, Raw was recorded in connection with the band’s wildly popular and critically lauded 2019 Netflix documentary That Little Ol’ Band From Texas.

The Grammy-nominated feature from Banger Films and director Sam Dunn includes an interlude that finds the group’s classic line up - Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and the late Dusty Hill - gathering for a very intimate session at Gruene Hall, “the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas.”

That performance provided the basis for the RAW album release.

Side A:
1. Brown Sugar
2. Just Got Paid
3. Heard It On The X
4. La Grange
5. Tush
6. Thunderbird

Side B:
7. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
8. Legs
9. Gimme All Your Lovin’
10. Blue Jean Blues
11. Certified Blues
12. Tube Snake Boogie

The album, released through Shelter Records/BMG and available now, opens on the, at first, slow poke roll and then soon thereafter, the rambunctious blues rock of Brown Sugar (penned by Billy F Gibbons, and thus should not be mistaken for the Rolling Stones song of the same title; the latter of which was actually released three months after ZZ Top’s first album) and the sturdy guitar rock of Just Got Paid (from their 1972 album Rio Grande Mud), and backs those up with the duel-sung Heard It On The X, which made its debut in 1975 as part of ZZ Top’s fourth album Fandango!

Up next is La Grange, a little ditty about a “shack outside La Grange” that was mostly known as the Chicken Ranch, although it was a Texas brothel open from 1905 to 1973, and that is followed by Tush and the slow blues crawl of Thunderbird, both from the aforementioned Fandango! album, although the former was the only single released from it, and then the first side rounds out with the melodic blues of I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide (a song inspired by Texas bluesman Joey Long) and from their brilliant Degüello album.

The second side opens on the beloved pairing of MTV favorites, and softer AOR of both Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin,’ from their now-infamous Eliminator album, and then this excellently crafted, rawly recorded album continues onward with another track from Fandango!, the blues balladry of Blue Jean Blues; where the realness of the lyrics, coupled with the imagery of the covered oil and gasoline, work day pants, much like the titular pair of blue jeans in the tune, are brought vividly, if not achingly to life, the album rounding out on their earthy Certified Blue (from First Album - yup, that was it’s title - from 1971), coming to a righteous close on Tube Snake Boogie; which debuted in 1981 as part of their El Loco album and is still one of their most enduring in-concert favorites to-date.

The classic honky-tonk setting of Gruene Hall established back in 1878, was chosen for an unfettered, roots-oriented recording session that is chronicled in the documentary. Released by Banger Films, the feature offers insight into the history of the band’s classic Gibbons/Beard/Hill incarnation.

The new album’s liner notes by Gibbons and Beard note of the RAW sessions, “ was, in a very real way, a return to our roots. Just us and the music, no audience of thousands, no concession stands, no parking lot social hour, no phalanx of tour buses. Just us. We knew right then it was a very special circumstance, all of us in the same place at the same time, and what a time it most certainly was!”

Gibbons commented, “The Director suggested we find a way to illustrate the early style from the start of our five-plus decades run. Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, was selected as a fitting backdrop to replicate the look of the band’s very beginnings. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that all our gear had been transported there so, as cameras rolled, we picked up the instruments and commenced an unplanned jam session.”

“Fortunately, our stage engineers were on hand with tape machines in place to capture the performances that went down. That became, in essence, the soundtrack to the film and now it’s also an audio document of ZZ Top’s early beginnings. Still going strong today.”

Gibbons continues, “Our director suggested going back to what it was like when we first started recording in our early days: the band in the studio together in a mostly unfettered way. We were quite comfortable in the room as heard on the tracks, with that level of branded intimacy.”

RAW’s 12 tracks include “Certified Blues” which was originally heard on ZZ Top’s First Album as well as “La Grange,” the band’s 1973 breakthrough, and “Tush,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Legs” and other eternal ZZ Top song catalog standouts.

The album was captured in one day, keeping the whole process simple and straightforward. A nod to the band’s early days. Billy F Gibbons served as producer, with engineering by Jake Mann and G.L. G-Mane Moon; RAW was mixed by Ryan Hewitt. It is available on 180-gram vinyl, CD, and digital platforms.

Official Raw Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Rhythm of the World
Artist - The Cowsills

Some of the best music made in the last 60 years has been delivered by musical families. Think about it. The Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, The Jackson 5, The Staple Singers, Pointer Sisters, Kings Of Leon, Oasis … and The Cowsills!

Starting in 1965, The Cowsills was composed of six siblings, performing their instruments and singing those glorious harmonies as only families can. Originally starting as a regional act (from Newport, Rhode Island), the group was “founded” by Joda Records owners Danny Sims and reggae/pop singer Johnny Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”) in the mid-’60s for whom they recorded a handful of singles before turning towards more national recognition when they were signed to MGM Records in 1967.

At this point, the group’s mother Barbara and young sister Susan joined the act and they were awarded a Gold record for over one million copies sold of their very first single for MGM, the sublime, “The Rain, The Park & Other Things.”

This began a series of chart records that dominated the Top 40 for the next three years. Among the classic Cowsills recordings are “We Can Fly,” “Indian Lake,” “Hair” (from the rock musical Hair), and “Love American Style” (the theme song from the popular ABC-TV show of the same name).

The group also recorded and charted with five successful albums during this time period. The band and their story were even the inspiration for the popular 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family.

The group was also a prosperous touring attraction up through 1972, spreading their harmonious hope and love to an adoring fan base. They even had their own comic book published in 1968.

As all families do, the group went through a series of changes, disbanding in 1972. But music never left the soul of this tuneful and melodic kin. Over the years, the group, as individuals, continued to make music and even reunited in 1978 and 1993 to make historic records that are woefully out of print.

Now, nearly 30 years after their last recordings as a group, The Cowsills are returning with new music for the new world! Omnivore Recordings is proud to announce the release of Rhythm Of The World.

This new album features eleven brand new songs written by the band and the ambassadors of goodwill and love will be on the road through 2023 thrilling fans with their classic hits and soon to be new favorites!

1. Ya Gotta Get Up!
2. Lend A Hand
3. Hawks On The Line
4. Every Little Secret
5. Nuclear Winter
6. Rhythm Of The World
7. Largo Nights,br> 8. Goodbye’s Not Forever
9. The Long Run
10. Try To Believe It Too
11. Katrina

This beautiful new album opens on the buoyant message within Ya Gotta Get Up! and the mid-tempo, rhythmic rocker Lend A Hand and they are followed by the tumbleweed-imbibed, countrified Hawks On The Line, the jangling, melodic guitar work within Every Little Secret and the late ’90s-esque alt-pop vibe of Nuclear Winter is then brought forth.

Next up is the titular Rhythm Of The World and the late ’70s melodies within Largo Nights, and then we get the comfortable, low ebb balladry flow of Goodbye’s Not Forever, the album rounding out with the gently fervent The Long Run, the upbeat and loving Try To Believe It Too, coming to a close on the acoustic guitar-led, sweeping ’70s embrace of Katrina.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

The Cowsills @ Facebook

Title - American Cult Candy
Artist - Joybomb

For those not in the know, if punk rock keeps evolving, then Joybomb is its latest incarnation. With its unique blend of power pop, alternative, and post-hardcore, this trio of Memphis mashers reels out a steady stream of sonic hooks designed to galvanize audiences and hit them with something new.

Equal parts sin and salvation, Joybomb is a stiff shot of clever rock and roll that comes without a chaser! From the very first note, the band flies in hot and sharp, strafing the floor with a barrage of burning riffs that detonate on impact.

Although operating out of Memphis, TN, Joybomb was actually conceived in nearby Starkville, MS, where frontman and songwriter Grant Beatty met original members, bassist Adrian Lewis and drummer Collin Whitten as early as teen punks.

There, smack dab in the heart of Bulldog country, the three recognized they shared a similar musical vision and committed their energies to bringing it to life. Initially calling themselves The Jarheads, the trio would later adopt the moniker of Joybomb as a descriptor of both their sound and intent.

Years later, the band continues defying traditional perceptions of modern pop punk, opting for curiously melodic power riffs injected with a healthy dose of feedback! The instrumentation offers a musical language all of its own, as the trio finds new ways of expressing discontent and optimism with each new song.

Beatty’s lyricism is both earnest and witty, cleverly infused with a mix of garage aestheticism and social reflection. He now carries the torch as the remaining original member, embracing a fresh lineup to support an all-new chapter for the band, which opens with the release of their first full-length album, American Cult Candy.

1. New Light
2. Twin Hearts
3. Running Blind
4. Outside the Frame
5. High Crimes & New Lows
6. Blueprints
7. Foreign Affair
8. Bloody Rubber Bands
9. En Vogue
10. Speak Shallow
11. The Charade

The album opens on the mid-tempo AOR of the melodious New Light and the cranked Twin Hearts and then brings us the free flowing rock of Running Blind, the jagged, low ebb flow of Outside the Frame, the drum led High Crimes & New Lows and then comes the upbeat and gently rambunctious Blueprints.

Up next is the mid-tempo rocker Foreign Affair which is itself followed seamlessly by the upbeat ride of Bloody Rubber Bands, which is then backed by the angst-fueled En Vogue, the album rounding out with the grippingly layered Speak Shallow, coming to a close on the forthright The Charade.

We sought to make a HUGE sounding, smart, authentic, guitar-driven rock record with our unique flavor of power pop and punk aesthetic ... essentially, hi-fi meets DIY! We definitely got that working with Drew, who allowed us time to breathe and explore, says Beatty.

Official Facebook Page

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Joybomb @ Bandcamp

The Jarheads @ Bandcamp

Title - Chasing Horizons
Artist - Russ Hewitt

For those not in the know, this new album Chasing Horizons from Russ Hewitt is an experience. It is a 10-track journey through samba, montuno, milonga, fatback, rumba Flamencom guajira, and four-on-the-floor grooves!

It begins with his breezy, fluid and melodic Allende, where if you close your eyes, you might just hear the rustling of palm leaves as you sit on your mental warm sandy beach of choice!

With a total of four tracks with Hewitt in the spotlight, he is equal to the task of making the album so inviting, perhaps more so than anything he has done in the past.

1. Allende
2. Chasing Horizons (feat. Nuno Bettencourt)
3. Vivir Libre (feat. Marty Friedman)
4. Amor Perdido (feat. Bucharest All-Star Orchestra)
5. Luminous
6. Sunset Samba (feat. Jorge Strunz)
7. Luna
8. Cubalia Cafe (feat. Ardeshir Farah)
9. Serein
10. Return To Simitai (feat. Tri Nguyen)

This vibrantly alive and wholly musically compelling new album opens on the beautifully free flowing Allende and smoothly follows that up with the vibrantly titular Chasing Horizons (featuring the expert guitar work of Extreme’s very own Nuno Bettencourt), and then the tempo is taken up a further notch on the effervescent Vivir Libre (featuring Marty Friedman), the aching balladry of Amor Perdido (featuring the always impressive Bucharest All-Star Orchestra) is next, and then comes the languishingly ornate musings within the aptly-entitled Luminous.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the dulcet hipsway of Sunset Samba (featuring Jorge Strunz) and the veritably shimmering Luna, and they are in turn backed by the drum-led orchestrations within Cubalia Cafe (featuring Ardeshir Farah), the album rounding out with the mellow Serein, coming to a close on the lightly playful Return To Simitai (featuring Tri Nguyen).

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Russ Hewitt @ Instagram Russ Hewitt @ Bandcamp

Title - Yes!!!
Artist - Duduka Da Fonseca & Quarteto Universal

For those not following along at home, in 2021, after enjoying a Central Park concert, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca met bassist Gill Lopes and guitarist Vinincius Gomes, both of whom said that they wanted very much to play music with him. Duduka felt flattered and suggested putting together a quartet that also included pianist Helio Alves, and Quarteto Universal was born.

Throughout his career, Duduka has been one of the leaders in performing music that combined Jazz with Brazilian rhythms, featuring the most rewarding aspects of both genres, In Gomes, Lopes and Alves, he has found kindred spirits, resulting in the first recording by the group, simply entitled Yes!!

1. Samba Novo
2. Transition
3. Lilia
4. Montreux
5. Bebe
6. Exodo
7. Viver De Amor
8. A Correnteza
9. West 83rd Street
10. Dona Maria

The album opens on the vibrancy of Samba Novo and the atmospherically-charged Transition, and then backs them both up seamlessly with the melodic urgency within Lilia, the thoughtful Montreux and then comes the energetically sculptured Bebe.

Up next is the ardently emotional Exodo and the veritable dance floor swirl of Viver De Amor, and they are in turn followed by the lush balladry of A Correnteza, the album rounding out with the exquisitely melodic West 83rd Street, closing on the impassioned Dona Maria.

In short, Yes!! features Duduka Da Fonseca and Quarteto Universal performing music that is boundary pushing, whilst still being deeply in touch with their Brazilian heritage. Indeed, it is an exciting beginning for the Brazilian Jazz super band!

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Official Instagram Page

Duduka Da Fonseca @ Bandcamp

Title - Weighted Keys (EP)
Artist - Potter’s Daughter

For those not following along at home, Melodic Revolution Records is proud to announce that Art Rock/Prog Folk artist Potters’ Daughter’ new 3-track Art-rock EP Weighted Keys is now available worldwide.

A compilation of three songs that were dear to lead singer Potter Voegtlin during three different phases of her life, Potter’s Daughter released their debut album, The Blind Side, in August 2018 and in 2019 they released two singles, Blood and Water (featuring Annie Haslam, Renaissance as guest artist), and the holiday single, This Winter’s Child; which was composed for the MRR Holiday album.

In 2020, they released the EP, Casually Containing Rage and in 2021 they released the single, Pyrrha’s Song (featuring drummer, Jimmy Keegan), for Nick Katona’s project, Troubleshooting Pandora’s Box.

Last year, Dyanne and bassist/producer Jan Christiana formed the band, Octarine Sky, and released their debut album, Close to Nearby, which featured Simon Phillips, Guthrie Govan, and Amit Chatterjee.

1. Night of the Swallow
2. Catherine
3. That Song About the Midway

This short, but ultimately sweetly charming, and always musically breathtaking EP opens on their aching version of a rarely heard, semi-acoustic version of Kate Bush’s dramatic song from her album, The Dreaming (from Dyanne’s time in NYC, when she first discovered Kate Bush) and then moves seamlessly into a solo piano rendition of Tom Kelly’s Catherine, the EP rounding out on the veritable gossamer, semi-acoustic version of That Song About the Midway from Joni Mitchell’s beautiful 1969 album, Clouds.

Featuring some rather lovely cover art by Joe Ganech of Pink Glasses Girl, this quite wondrous new EP, due out August 19th, 2022, and available digitally and on CD, is not only everything and more that you would expect from Potter’s Daughter, but is also a most exquisite, and wholly elegant musical experience from start to all-too-soon finish.

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

Official Instagram Page

Duduka Da Fonseca @ Bandcamp

Title - Mountain City Four [Unreleased]
Artist - Mountain City Four

In 1963, Jack Nissenson and Peter Weldon recruited Kate McGarrigle to form a trio. A few months later, Kate’s sister Anna joined, and the group became the Mountain City Four. Playing locally at Montreal folk clubs, the band developed a loyal and substantial following and played into the 1970s.

Kate and Anna began writing songs which were passed from friend to friend, and eventually found their way into the repertoires of Maria Muldaur and Linda Ronstadt. While in L.A singing backups on Maria’s first record, they were invited by Greg Prestopino to record a few of their other compositions.

Greg passed the demo on to Warner Brothers Records who quickly offered Kate and Anna their own recording contract and they were off and running. For several years, the Mountain City Four continued as the opening act for Kate and Anna’s live shows and contributed backup vocals and instrumentals to the sisters’ early studio recordings.

The McGarrigles origins shine brightly on Mountain City Four which contains sixteen previously unissued recordings from 1963–1964, 1969–70, and a final one in 2012 two years after Kate’s passing which featured members of the Mountain City Four’s extended family. The tracks include classics like Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” the traditional “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “This Train,” and “All The Good Times,” written by Lead Belly and Alan Lomax.

Mountain City Four is produced by original member Peter Weldon and Jane McGarrigle. The packaging contains photos and liner notes from Weldon, both Jane and Anna McGarrigle, and Joe Boyd, outlining the history and sharing memories of the Mountain City Four. Not only is Mountain City Four a window into the origin of one of the world’s foremost singer/songwriting sisters, but a look into the incredible folk music scene of the 1960s.


These historic, early recordings from Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s beginnings as members of the Mountain City Four open on the warmly melodic rumblings of JESULEIN SÜSS/WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN and the harmonica-driven MEAN OLD FRISCO and then lovingly bring us the simply beautiful Israeli favorite EREV SHEL SHOSHANIM, the impassioned MOTHERLESS CHILDREN, the guitar picking showcase within DARK AS A DUNGEON, and then we get the upbeat and joyous BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY, the gently raucous sing-along REUBEN RANZO and then comes the old blues of YOU’VE GOT TO WALK THAT LONESOME VALLEY.

Next up on this quite breathtakingly ambient new collection is the jubilant melodies within EN FILANT MA QUENOUILLE and the harmonious THIS TRAIN which are in turn backed by the old time Canadiana of THE LOG DRIVER’S WALTZ, the lushly ornate V’LÀ LE BONNE VENT, the uniquely rhythmic blues of YOU’RE GONNA NEED SOMEBODY ON YOUR BOND, the recording rounding out with the wonderfully heartwarming ALL THE GOOD TIMES, the mid-tempo storytelling of SAM HALL, coming to a simply achingly passionate rendition of SHENANDOAH.

Omnivore presents Mountain City Four Featurette

Official Purchase Link

Title - Let It All Lay Bare
Artist - Scott Clay

Nashville-based Americana/roots rock singer-songwriter Scott Clay is set to release his album, Let It All Lay Bare, independently on September 23rd, 2022. Recorded partially at Hall of Justice in Seattle and partially remotely, the album was produced/engineered by Mike Davis (Modest Mouse), mixed by Steven Aguilar, and mastered by Rachel Field.

Let It All Lay Bare showcases themes important to Clay: relationships, stunning displays of natural beauty, and even famous historical events. The collection of songs that compromise his fifth full-length gives listeners a multi-faceted picture of a storyteller in his element.

1. Let It All Lay Bare
2. Nothing Like the Real Thing
3. Open Country
4. It’s Easy
5. Simple Kind
6. Chief Joseph
7. Baptize Me
8. Aurora
9. Utah
10. The Captive

Blessed with a longing ache within his vocal delivery akin to a young Adam Duritz and, perhaps, at times, the great Michael Stipe, Scott Clay opens this album with the upbeat, easygoing titular track and then comes the jaunty alt-country rock of Nothing Like the Real Thing, and they are followed by the aching yearn within Open Country, the rockin’ grooves of It’s Easy and the harmonica-imbibed, reticently restrained Simple Kind.

The seasoned Seattle-based performer continues onward with the Counting Crows-esque Chief Joseph and the blazingly euphoric Baptize Me, and then follows them seamlessly with the dulcet, Americana-embed, hauntingly ethereal Aurora, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo Utah, coming to a close on the sententious balladry within The Captive.

“This album represents an evolution in my musical career, and I am hoping it will connect deeply with my listeners,” Clay says of Let It All Lay Bare. “I feel honored to continue touring and look forward to engaging with my audience on a new level.”

Clay plans to roll out a series of singles with accompanying videos leading up to the album release in the fall.

Scott Clay – Let It All Lay Bare (Official Video)

Official Purchase Link

Scott Clay @ Facebook

Scott Clay @ Twitter

Scott Clay @ YouTube

Title - Pandemic Radio
Artist - Charles Xavier

San Francisco composer and recording artist the Xman aka Charles Xavier is releasing an ambient/melodic/neo-jazz album titled Pandemic Piano on September 9th, 2022. The music speaks for itself for it is new age ambient piano music that Charles will perform as he crosses the country and live streams the tour.

He will continue his Xman drama with the first single titled “When I Think Of You” (Dolby Atmos mix by immersive mix engineer McKay Garner) on July 29th. The second Atmos single titled “Sexual Vibration Chakra” will be released on August 19th.

Says Charles, “I was creating out of my comfort zone. I improvised each morning after I had awakened from my unconscious dark shadow and I recorded endless loops of anguish and despair. I was capturing the moment until I was able to release my darkness with loving light through this piano. Isn’t that what every artist strives for? To capture our souls on fire, so that we can present to our audience the true essence of our art, engage our listeners in our battles, our conflicts with egos that are present in every man.

There’s a magic in our madness as human creatures that the superior beings that control the universe cannot predict or prescribe into ... DIG.”

1. You Know
2. Perfect Mold
3. Grand Happiness
4. Swallow
5. Covid Oddity
6. Little Portugal
7. When I Think Of You
8. Africa
9. I Sat Outside There
10. Morning
11. Evening
12. Sexual Vibration Chakra
13. Mary’s Pond
14. Stories New, Stories Old
15. Expectations
16. Ascended Masters
17. Profile Rock
18. St. John’s Cathedral
19. Round Hill

Encouraging meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness, these songs are a perfect introduction to Charles Xavier and he opens on two of my own personal favorites from the new set, the dulcet stillness of You Know and then follows that up with the gentle flow of possibility within Perfect Mold, the almost crystalline Grand Happiness, the veritably shimmering Swallow, the aptly-named Covid Oddity, and then comes the quietly flirtatious Little Portugal, the self awareness of When I Think Of You and the thoughtful Africa (no, not the Toto song!).

Up next is the delicate, almost stoic embrace of I Sat Outside There and then the perfect bookends of both the lucid Morning and the translucent Evening, and which are both seamlessly backed by the atmospheric Sexual Vibration Chakra, the effective mixtures found within Mary’s Pond, the echoing ebb of Stories New, Stories Old, the lightly jaunty Expectations, and then the album rounds out on the glassy ambience of Ascended Masters, the gentle breeze of calm brought within Profile Rock, coming to a righteous close on the intricately sculptured St. John’s Cathedral and the elegance of Round Hill (and a handful of 30 & 60 second Radio Tags).

Says Charles, “I present this new set of songs recorded during the pandemic and throughout its current state of osmosis, separation, disruption, disdain and frustration from our being separated from our commutative, tribal, creative souls. This living project began as the last six albums have but quickly took shape into a life changing force all-encompassing into oneself. I exist now as a solo human being drifting across America…”

Ambient solo piano music by composer/percussionist/sound designer Charles Xavier. Pandemic Piano is sometimes spontaneous, then magically serene, dipping into quadrants of clarity then unspoken shifting moods, pain then dreams, dreams then gain. Different pianist, different speed. It’s worth a listen.

What’s next for Charles? The show “ELLA ACROSS AMERICA” is a real-time docudrama about a Composer/musician/post-production director who separates from his wife after 30 years, he leaves a thriving Silicon Valley Suburbia named San Bruno with his dog Ella, a spiritual breed of a dog Great Pyrenees, then he travels cross country in a specially equipped RV van for capturing streaming media.

The short synopsis: “One man, one dog, one piano. He decides to leave California after his marriage ends, so he buys an RV, then sets out to explore 5,000 miles while busking & performing ACROSS AMERICA!”

In closing Charles has this to say, “Live in the present! A year ago I never would have predicted this tour to happen.”

Official Purchase Link

Charles Xavier @ Facebook

Charles Xavier @ Twitter

Charles Xavier @ YouTube

Title - You Hit The Spot
Artist - Tracye Eileen

On You Hit The Spot, Chicago singer Trayce Eileen returns to her straight-ahead jazz roots on an album of standards performed with a contemporary edge. This is Eileen’s fourth release and third full-length album. Always exploring new ways to express herself, each of her previous recordings covered different genres and stylistic approaches.

Eileen is a regular on the Chicago jazz scene and has enjoyed a 6-year residency at Buddy Guy’s Legends, the famous Chicago blues and jazz club, where she has opened for many of the biggest names in the music business.

On You Hit The Spot, Eileen is joined by two different bands made up of some of the top jazz artists Chicago has to offer. Her trio appears on five cuts that were recorded live at PianoForte, the beautiful performance space, recording studio, and high-end piano boutique. She also brought on board Thomas Gunther to arrange and produce an additional three studio tracks that feature her six-piece band.

The songs on You Hit The Spot have been performed and recorded over the years by many wonderful artists, but Tracye Eileen brings her own perspective and successfully delivers authenticity to every style she chooses to sing.

For Eileen, You Hit The Spot is a homecoming to straight-ahead jazz, which has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her father was a professional jazz drummer who missed an opportunity to tour with Count Basie’s band because he was drafted to serve in Vietnam.

“My father, Ed Smith, an accomplished jazz percussionist, was a major influence in my life. His inspiration many years ago led to successful roles as lead singer in my high school and college jazz bands and my continued love of jazz music.”

When she got older, she performed professionally with her father many times.

1. I Love Being Here With You
2. You Hit The Spot
3. They Can’t Take That Away From Me
4. Almost Like Being in Love
5. The Very Thought of You
6. Just in Time
7. This Can’t Be Love
8. The End of a Love Affair

This vibrant and heartfelt album opens on the hot to trot swing of I Love Being Here With You and the quietly rambunctious, horn-led You Hit The Spot and then backs those up with the sultry They Can’t Take That Away From Me, the finger-snapping melodies of Almost Like Being in Love, the soft piano balladry of both The Very Thought of You and Just in Time, the album coming to a close on the upbeat, layered harmonies of This Can’t Be Love, and the veritable cinematic embrace of The End of a Love Affair.

Eileen launched her professional career with the release of her first straight-ahead recording, Love’s Journey (2012). She recorded the album shortly after studying at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago, where the owner of the school was so impressed with her talent that he briefly served as her manager, helping her hone her straight-ahead sound for her debut album.

On her next album, Why Did I Say Yes? (2018), she veered away from straight-ahead jazz into soul and R&B. Then, in 2020, she released It’s Time, a smooth jazz album featuring originals co-written by Eileen on which she reflected on her journey of love as she moves through life.

The album charted on several major music charts in the U.S. and abroad and was played in 67 countries on over 220 radio stations. Smooth Jazz Daily said, “The special feature of Tracye’s performance is not only her voice but also the ingenious use of her vocals in the arrangement, for which she constantly finds new approaches.”

Eileen has also enjoyed a 6-year residency at Buddy Guy’s Legends, the famous Chicago blues and jazz club. The club’s talent manager had found Eileen on LinkedIn and offered her and her band a monthly residency. She still performs regularly at the club, and over the years she has opened for many of the biggest names in the music business, such as Babyface, The Stylistics, Mary Wilson, Chante Moore, After 7, and Buddy Guy himself.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Tracye Eileen @ Facebook

Tracye Eileen @ Apple Music

Tracye Eileen @ YouTube

Title - Listen to the Red Rock
Artist - Various

For those unaware, Gigi Love celebrates the upcoming release of Listen to the Red Rock, a compilation album in which she collaborates with several artists who are passionate about seeing America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA) signed into law.

The album, which will be released on October 7th, 2022 and will be available for purchase at, highlights Love’s goal to alert listeners to the importance of protecting these lands and to motivate them to reach out to their senators and representatives in support of this important legislation.

Listen to the Red Rock compiles a variety of folk, folk-rock, and bluegrass songs in support of the passage of ARRWA. By designating this federal land as wilderness, it will be protected and keep a viable corridor open to biodiversity and species connectivity, as well as prohibiting mining, drilling and development.

Indeed, in a first-of-its-kind act, the Navajo Nation has endorsed this congressional bill.

Along with Love, the line-up of wonderful musicians who are contributing their talents include Anke Summerhill, Cosy Sheridan, Kate MacLeod, Leraine Horstmanshoff, Marv Hamilton, Meander Cat, Pixie and the Partygrass Boys, Tyler Grant, and Walkin’ Jim Stoltz. Every song carries listeners on a musical journey into the Red Rock canyonlands of Utah’s mythic wilderness.

1. Dancing with the Beauty [Gigi Love]
2. Desert Song [Leraine Hortsmanshoff]
3. Red Rock [Kate MacLeod]
4. 18 Holes on the Open Range [Cosy Sheridan]
5. The Long Hard Way [Ben Weiss]
6. Hayduke [Marv Hamilton]
7. Meander Canyon [Lenore McDonough]
8. Stars at Noon [Anke Summerhill]
9. Desert Flatpicking [Tyler Grant]
10. Down in the Blue [Walkin’ Jim Stoltz]

This simply divine, atmospherically ambient, and wholly heartfelt new work of musical art opens on the poetic summers breeze of Dancing with the Beauty and the soulfully smooth, low grooves of Desert Song and then follows those up with the almost ethereal yearn of finger-picking guitar woven within Red Rock, the piano-led, poignant beauty within 18 Holes on the Open Range, and then we get the melodic bluegrass hipsway of The Long Hard Way (from Pixie and The Partygrass Boys).

Next up is the low key, richly toned Folk/Americana of Hayduke which is itself backed seamlessly by the throaty musings within Meander Canyon (named after the regional Meander Cat, born of the Utah desert land), then comes the achingly heartfelt folk of Stars at Noon, the album rounding out on the banjo-led Desert Flatpicking (from National Flatpicking Champion himself, Tyler Grant), coming to a glorious close on the lonesome, harmonica-led storytelling of Down in the Blue.

Official Gigi Love Website

Dancing With The Beauty (Gigi Love) - In Support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

Gigi Love @ YouTube

Title - Bridges
Artist - Ana Nelson

For those unaware, Ana Nelson is a clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, and arranger known for her multi-genre diversity in classical and jazz styles. Currently residing in Bloomington, IN, Ana has performed with a variety of groups and artists across the Midwest, including Michael Spiro’s “Descarga 5,” the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Ensemble.

As a recording artist, Ana has appeared on recordings with Bootsy Collins for his remix of the “Indiana Fight Song,” Indiana University Jazz Ensemble performing “Gennett Suite” recorded for WTIU TV, Liberation Music Collective’s Rebel Portraiture, and releases for Oberlin Orchestra and IU New Music Ensemble.

In Summer of 2020, Ana Nelson co-founded the Virtual Woodwind Academy, an online program that brings music and education to students of all ages and backgrounds through masterclasses, summer programs, and courses in jazz and classical genres.

In her career so far, Ana Nelson has shown that she has equal skill and sensitivity in playing jazz, classical and Latin music whether on alto-sax or clarinet. She has mellow tones on her instruments but also displays inner passion in her improvisations.

Bridges, her first full-length release as a leader, features the up-and-comer on seven of her originals. She is also joined by by pianist Jamaal Baptiste on six of the seven selections and bassist Brendan Keller-Tuberg and drummer Carter Pearson on the first four numbers.

1. Wanderlust
2. Waltz
3. LCB
4. Blue Flower
5. NelBap Choro
6. Let the Light In
7. Fruit of the Groove

This dutifully masterful, always heartfelt, and melodious new album opens on the passionately-imbibed Wanderlust and the clarinet-led, at times sombre, but most assuredly warmly driven Waltz and then backs those up seamlessly with the melodic interplay found within LCB (the initials of her family members) and the hauntingly melodic, and string quartet-enhanced balladry of Blue Flower.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new collection, the Brazilian joy of the clarinet-piano duet known here as NelBap Choro, which is in turn followed by the sweetly mellifluous Let the Light In (which also features the string quartet), the album rounding out on the hard swing of Fruit of the Groove (which brings together the clarinet, the piano work of Baptiste, her father and tenor-saxophonist Bill Nelson, bassist Jeremy Allen and drummer Steve Houghton).

About the album, Ana says, As a classical musician who fell in love with jazz, and then later discovered Brazilian music, it’s difficult for me to label this album as any one specific genre, as I view it more of a melding of music and people I love.

The title, Bridges, is my way of reflecting that cross-blending. I hope that my album can exemplify the connection between genres, people, and the personal joy and empowerment that creating original music brings me.

Official Website

Ana Nelson - Fruit of the Groove (from Bridges)

Ana Nelson @ Facebook

Ana Nelson @ Instagram

Ana Nelson @ YouTube

Title - I’ll See You In My Dreams
Artist - Doug MacDonald

There are some musicians who earn the label “a players player”. Individuals who possess a quality and integrity that peers look up to, not for mere bursts of blazing notes or chops, but for the perfection of their performances and the joy they bring.

Such a musician is West coast based Jazz journeyman guitarist Doug MacDonald. “I’ve simply never lost my love affair for warm notes, a good standard and striving for the best performance” states the guitarist. In that regard, MacDonald’s musicianship evokes thoughts of such artists as Chet Baker and Sinatra, to name a few, who performed and excelled in a particular style their entire careers while keeping it fresh for their audiences time after time.

On his brand new album, I’ll See You In My Dreams, (out August 30th, 2022), guitarist Doug MacDonald teams up with three longtime musical friends who happen to be among the finest jazz musicians in California.

As a quartet, MacDonald, pianist Tamir Hendelmann, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton perform joyful, infectious and swinging jazz.

1. I’ll See You In My Dreams
2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
3. Don’cha Go ’Way Mad
4. My Ship
5. New Mark
6. Easy To Love
7. ’Tis Autumn
8. More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows
9. Will You Still Be Mine

This easy breezy, harmonious summer’s breeze of an album opens on the four guitar breaks brought forth within the titular exhilaration of I’ll See You In My Dreams and a masterful take on Duke Ellington’s I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) and then backs those up with the majestic bowed bass-imbued Don’cha Go ’Way Mad, the medium-tempo bossa of My Ship and then comes the, at times, uproarious, and yet always blues-centric New Mark.

Up next is their gloriously crafted rendition of Easy To Love (complete with guitar-piano and bass-drums tradeoffs) which is in turn followed seamlessly by the heartfelt ’Tis Autumn, the album rounding out all too soon on their original jazz waltz More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows, closing on the sprightly, highly spirited Will You Still Be Mine.

Originally from Philadelphia, he began his career in Hawaii, where he played with Trummy Young and Gabe Balthazar, and with Del Courtney at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Relocating to Las Vegas, Doug found himself immersed in a vibrant music scene, and began playing in lounges and showrooms with jazz greats, including Joe Williams, Carl Fontana, Jack Montrose, and Carson Smith. On to Los Angeles, Doug played in the bands of Bill Holman, Ray Anthony, and John Clayton, and performed and recorded with Jake Hanna, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Sheldon, Bob Cooper, Ross Tompkins, Ray Brown, Buddy Rich, and Ray Charles.

Doug also began recording and performing with his own trio and quartet, as well as his 13 piece ensemble, The Jazz Coalition. Throughout his career the guitarist has caught the attention of noted jazz writers and critics. Michael Nastos of All Music Guide wrote, “a veteran guitarist who know his influences cold, and consistently plays to his strong suit.” Scott Yanow wrote of MacDonald, “...a fine bop-based guitarist in the tradition of Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, and Joe Pass.” Chicago Tribune’s Zan Stewart captured so much of MacDonald when he wrote, “...beautiful bell-clear sounds and a sure-footed sense of swing.” drummer Harold Acey round out the personnel.”

​ To date, MacDonald has released a prolific catalog of 15 CDs spanning configurations as a soloist, in duos, trios, quartets and big bands. A selection of discs include 2009’s orchestral project Fourth Stream for 13-piece brass and woodwind ensemble augmented with strings. 2014 saw the release of Solo Plus, a 14 song collection of standards played solo by MacDonald. In 2016, he released Doug MacDonald’s Reorganized Quartet.

Bill Milkowski writes in the liner notes for the CD, “On this potent outing, MacDonald is surrounded by a pair of like-minded old school burners on the LA scene in tenor saxophonist Clarence Webb and 70-year-old Hammond B-3 master and Columbus, Ohio native Bobby Pierce (who recorded with a young Pat Martino in his band on a couple of Cobblestone and Muse sessions from the early 1970s). Tenor saxophonist Rodger Neumann and drummer Harold Acey round out the personnel.”

Official Website

Doug MacDonald @ Twitter

Doug MacDonald @ Facebook

Doug MacDonald @ Instagram

Doug MacDonald @ YouTube

Title - Radiance
Artist - The Dead Daisies

For those unaware, The Dead Daisies will release their sixth studio album, Radiance, on September 30th , 2022. Chock full of ten powerful tracks of pure unadulterated brilliant rock, the power of Doug Aldrich and David Lowy’s dual guitars provide a wall of sonic nectar.

Frontman Glenn Hughes’s rock-solid bass grooves and unmatched vocal intensity, still among the greatest rock singers of all time, and the matrix of Brian Tichy’s drums set the engine room on fire.

Radiance is the second album THE DAISIES have made with esteemed producer Ben Grosse at the helm, recorded at The Mix Room in North Hollywood, California.

The first singles off the album, the titular Radiance and Shine On, went straight to air on radio across the globe, were added to digital playlists and received with open arms by tens of thousands of fans and audiences on THE DEAD DAISIES’s summer 2022 European tour.

1. Face Your Fear
2. Hypnotize Yourself
3. Shine On
4. Radiance
5. Born To Fly
6. Kiss The Sun
7. Courageous
8. Cascade
9. Not Human
10. Roll On

The in your face and purposefully boisterous new album opens on the thrusting, bluesy swagger of Face Your Fear and the powerfully passionate Hypnotize Yourself and backs those up neatly with the veritably flying Shine On, the solid rock ’n roll of the titular Radiance and then we get the drum-led, guitar rocker Born To Fly.

Up next is the heavier fare of the deeply groovy Kiss The Sun which is itself backed seamlessly by the funky rock of my own personal favorite from this new set Courageous, and then comes the cut and rockin’ thrust of Cascade, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo Not Human, coming to a close with the soulfully stripped-back rock of Roll On.

Said Aldrich: The new album Radiance is our second album with Ben Grosse producing from top to bottom. We had a great time composing and recording the record and I’m very excited for you all to hear what we put together. Definitely a heavy album but with some cool twists and turns! Hope you all like it.

All the songs on Radiance were written by Lowy, Aldrich and Hughes with Tichy returning to THE DAISIES in early 2022 to lay down the drums on Radiance.

Said Tichy: I am very much looking forward to the release of Radiance, the newest LP from THE DEAD DAISIES! It was great to start off being back in the band by getting together with Doug, Glenn, David, and producer Ben Grosse at his studio dialing in the songs that make up Radiance. It was a very smooth, organized process of jamming with the guys getting all drum grooves and parts just right. The final result is another slab of butt-kicking rock! The guys all brought their A-game and a tight, powerful record was created! I’m looking forward to everyone hearing it and playing more of these songs live in the near future.

Radiance will be available as a digipak CD with sticker, gatefold black vinyl with printed inner sleeves and digitally.

Official Website

The Dead Daisies - Hypnotize Yourself (Official Lyric Video)

The Dead Daisies @ Facebook

The Dead Daisies @ Twitter

The Dead Daisies @ YouTube

Title - Lotus Blossom Days
Artist - Vicki Burns

Although vocalist Vicki Burns specializes in the romantic music of the 20th Century, she is not tethered to the Great American Songbook. Her newest album, Lotus Blossom Days, comprises 12 songs, three of which are originals.

Of the other tunes, all started life as instrumentals, except for the standards, This Times the Dream’s on Me and Out of this World, both by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and Close Your Eyes written by Bernice Petkere.

The album is a showcase for Burns’ appealing three-octave range, gorgeous tone, heartfelt expression, and assured sense of rhythm and dynamics.

1. If You Never Fall in Love with Me / Del Sasser
2. Close Your Eyes
3. Love Spell
4. Lotus Blossom Days
5. Bittersweet
6. Watch Out / The sidewinder
7. A Long Way to Go / Equinox
8. It’s Over Now / Well You Needn’t
9. You Don’t Have to Believe
10. This Time The Dream’s On Me
11. Siren Song
12. Out of this World

Burns’ third album as a leader, and which follows Live at Anna’s Jazz Island (2008) and Siren Song (2005), opens on the buoyant hipsway of If You Never Fall in Love with Me / Del Sasser and the late night smoothness of Close Your Eyes and follows those up seamlessly with the sultry affair Love Spell, the veritably cinematic, titular Lotus Blossom Days, pure balladry gossamer of Bittersweet and the finger-snappin’, foot-tappin’ Watch Out / The Sidewinder.

Up next is the languishingly resplendent A Long Way to Go / Equinox and the drum-led hop within It’s Over Now / Well You Needn’t, and then we get the melodiously sculptured You Don’t Have To Believe, the upright bass, smoky club-imbued hue of This Time’s The Dream’s On Me, the album rounding out with the quietly rhythmic tones of Siren Song, coming to a close on the sweetly upbeat, luscious hipsway of Out of This World.

Lotus Blossom Days is a collection of rare standards, most of which started as instrumentals and original music by Vicki Burns, Tessa Souter and lyrics by Roger Schore, Carol Sloane, Mary Ellen Donald, Chris Caswell and Mike Ferro.

Arrangements were made by Bassist Sam Bevan who also plays on the album along with Art Hirahara on piano, Billy Drummond on drums and special guests, Dayna Stephens on saxes, Grammy Winner Josh Deutsch on trumpet, Nick Vayenas (Michael Buble) and Mas Koga on flute and baritone sax.

Official Website

Vicki Burns @ Facebook

Title - Heal the Heart
Artist - The Deer’s Cry

The Deer’s Cry is a Nashville based band named after an old Irish prayer. They play and sing original music inspired by Irish, Bluegrass, Jazz, and other world traditional genres.

Their debut album, Rise with the Dawn, is both a haunting invocation and joyful praise, expressing the power of light in the darkness. The album was a journey of the soul for over a two two year period it expanded from a small collection of original songs with harp into a larger, more diverse collaboration.

The Deer’s Cry band is Karen Ballew (Vocals, Celtic Harp, Portative Organ), Bryan Brock (Percussion), Patrick Atwater (Double Bass), and Will MacLean (Banjo), but they also collaborate and record with other artists.

Set to release their sophomore album, Heal the Heart on September 30th, 2022, even though hope permeated the new collection of 10 songs, the album’s creation grew out of dark, sad times.

Recorded at The Doghouse Studio, the album finds harpist/vocalist Ballew grappling with the isolation of the early days of the pandemic and the stories of hatred and division leading the news, a heartbreaking set of circumstances.

Full of uncertainty, she wrote new songs to follow the band’s debut Rise with the Dawn, however, sparks of joy crept in, she noticed messages of transformation and healing throughout her work.

Music itself cannot cure all the wrongs in the world, but there is much we can do through art to remind one another of the beauty in our universe, the intrinsic worth of every living creature, the interconnected nature of all things and the invitation to be part of a story bigger than ourselves, Ballew reflects.

1. Cavern Cathedral
2. Dogwood Tree
3. I Want to Get Through to You
4. Pieces
5. I See His Blood Upon the Rose
6. Heal the Heart
7. The Sermon of St. Francis
8. Night Falls
9. Morning Light
10. Jesus Sees Me

This quite stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the veritably ethereal Cavern Cathedral and the flirtatious rhythms within Dogwood Tree and follows those up seamlessly with the mid-tempo melodies of I Want to Get Through to You, the strongly toned Pieces and then comes the pure gossamer of the yearning within I See His Blood Upon the Rose.

Next up is the titular Heal the Heart which is itself backed lovingly by the upbeat and joyous The Sermon of St. Francis, and then come the layered, measured cadences within the spectacular Night Falls, the album rounding out on the Renaissance-imbibed Morning Light, coming to a close on the piano-imbued, ornate and immaculately sculptured Jesus Sees Me.

The Deer’s Cry celebrates the coexistence of different voices and the beauty of various backgrounds and sensibilities working together to serve something greater than any one of us, while at the same time, honoring the character of the individual, Ballew continues.

Indeed, with Heal the Heart, The Deer’s Cry explores the beauty and symbolism of the spiritual, consistently reminding the listeners of both the vastness of our universe and the importance of their role in it.

The band’s name, The Deer’s Cry, comes from a translation of the title of an Old Irish prayer, St. Patrick’s Breastplate, which reflects on the natural beauty, personal strength and protection given by a higher power.

Official Website

The Deer’s Cry @ Facebook

The Deer’s Cry @ Instagram

The Deer’s Cry @ YouTube

Title - Parallel Motion
Artist - Yellowjackets

For those unaware, Parallel Motion — the new album from jazz fusion legends Yellowjackets — is a true testament to the longevity and resilience of a band who debuted over 40 years ago.

Consistently reinventing themselves through elevated instrumentation in their signature electro-acoustic soundscape, the current lineup consisting of Bob Mintzer (tenor & soprano saxophone/EWI), Russell Ferrante (piano/keyboards), Will Kennedy (drums, keyboards) and Dane Alderson (electric bass, MIDI Sequencing) showcases a collective at their prime.

Furthermore, this album features 9 new original compositions and guest vocalist Jean Baylor (4x GRAMMY® Award Nominee of the Baylor Project and R&B duo Zhané) on “If You Believe."

1. Intrigue
2. Challenging Times
3. Parallel Motion
4. Onyx Manor
5. Samaritan
6. Il Mio Amico
7. Resilience
8. If You Believe
9. Early

This beautifully crafted and wholesomely organic new album opens on the quietly fervent Intrigue and the seamless melodic musings within Challenging Times and they are followed by the methodically orchestrated, titular Parallel Motion and then comes the opulent Onyx Manor and the gentle hipsway of Samaritan.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites off this new recording, the sweepingly mesmeric ambiance created within Il Mio Amico which is itself backed by the gentle R&B-jazz funk of Resilience, the album rounding out on the gentle, almost ethereal balladry of the Jean Baylor-vocalized If You Believe, closing on the drum and percussion-led Early.

Russell Ferrante — piano, keyboards
Bob Mintzer — tenor and soprano saxophones, EWI
Will Kennedy — drums, keyboards
Dane Alderson — electric bass, MIDI sequencing

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Yellowjackets @ Facebook

Yellowjackets @ Spotify

Title - Reflections
Artist - Al Foster

Approaching 80 years of age is occasion enough for anyone to take a moment and look back on a life well lived. For legendary drummer Al Foster, those eight decades have been more memorable than most, filled with exhilarating sounds and encounters with some of the music’s most iconic legends.

On Reflections (out now via Smoke Sessions Records), Foster revisits the work of several of those peers alongside an inspiring quintet of all-stars: Nicholas Payton, Chris Potter, Kevin Hays, and Vicente Archer.

Throughout the session he propels this supremely talented unit through fresh, vital treatments of well-known and less-traveled numbers by iconic legends Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and McCoy Tyner, all of whom regarded Foster as their first-call drummer for long portions of his celebrated career – at times competing for his services.

Band members Payton, Potter, and Hays each contribute a tune apiece, while Foster penned three well-wrought songs, including two homages to Thelonious Monk that bookend the program.

1. T.S. Monk (6:20)
2. Pent-Up House (5:04)
3. Open Plans (7:17)
4. Blues on the Corner (6:23)
5. Anastasia (5:32)
6. Six (8:21)
7. Punjab (5:11)
8. Beat (6:56)
9. Alone and I (4:51)
10. Half Nelson (5:36)
11. Monk’s Bossa (6:18)

This simply magnificent, richly layered and melodically rhythmic new album opens on fun the free for all being had within T.S. Monk and the euphorically-charged Pent-Up House, before we soon slide into the quieter balladry of Open Plans, then comes the soft shuffle of Blues on the Corner, before another ballad in the form of the beautiful Anastasia is brought forth.

Next up is the shimmering, veritably cinematic Six and the emotive Punjab which are in turn backed by the translucent melodies within Beat, and then comes the quietly dulcet, late night smokey jazz club appeal of Alone and I, the recording rounding out with the upbeat and joyous, trumpet-led Half Nelson, coming to a close on the restrained, and yet magnificently free wheeling Monk’s Bossa.

It’s hard to overstate Foster’s contribution to the musical production of the aforementioned giants over his 60 years as a professional. But, as much as Foster likes to wax nostalgic about the past, it’s also evident on every note of this 68-minute gem that he’s fully committed to living in the moment and playing in the here and now.

This follow-up to his well-received 2019 Smoke Sessions debut, INSPIRATIONS & DEDICATIONS, is Foster’s fifth leader recording and, as even the notoriously self-critical drummer surprisingly says, “It is my best record yet.”

Official Purchase Link

Al Foster @ Facebook

Title - As We Lay – The Elektra Recordings 1985-1991
Artist - Shirley Murdock

For those not in the know, Shirley Murdock’s work and success with famed funk group Zapp and Roger Troutman in 1984 provided a springboard for her solo career which began in earnest in 1986.

Featuring the self-titled US certified gold LP Shirley Murdock!, which included the US Top 20 and RnB Top Five hit, As We Lay which established Shirley as a mainstream recording artist and performer; 1988’s A Woman’s Point Of View, featuring the US RnB chart- making single ‘Husband’; and the 1991 set Let There Be Love! which, like Shirley’s previous solo albums, included a number of Shirley’s own compositions and was also produced by Roger Troutman.

With stellar artwork from Roger Williams and excellent mastering by Donald Cleveland, As We Lay – The Elektra Recordings 1985-1991 includes a total of ten bonus tracks.

CD 1: Shirley Murdock! (Expanded Edition)
1. Be Free
2. No More
3. Go On Without You
4. Truth or Dare
5. Danger Zone
6. Teaser
7. As We Lay
8. The One I Need
9. Tribute
10. Be Free (Sexy Sax Thang Mix) - Bonus Track
11. No More (Extended Mix) - Bonus Track
12. Go On Without You (Vocal/ Extended Mix) - Bonus Track
13. Truth or Dare (European Mix) - Bonus Track
14. As We Lay (Midnight Mix) - Bonus Track
15. Tribute (Extended Mix) - Bonus Track

Disc 1 reprises six cuts from the expanded edition of Shirley Murdock!, released by SoulMusic Records in 2018.

A little lost among the heavy-hitting R&B/funk stars of the ’80s, Shirley Murdock nevertheless made some impact on the charts and clubs. This debut album emerged in 1985 in the US and went gold.

The overall sense is of something understated, underrated and often in a gentle, soulful, easy-listening style that was never going to compete with the likes of Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Alexander O’Neal, etc.

The production, vocals and sound quality are very good and the bonus material completes the experience well. All six extra versions are excellent, though worth pointing out that Tribute is a Jesus-praising ballad and not at all a dance track.

For my money, it actually works better here in its extended form more than the one and a half minute original album cut and is nicely heartfelt - rather than some over-emoting and preachy histrionics.

CD 2: A Woman’s Point of View (Expanded Edition)
1. Husband
2. (Everybody Wants) Somethin’ For Nothin’
3. Found My Way
4. If I Know
5. Woman’s Point of View
6. Oh What A Feeling
7. I Still Love You
8. Spend My Whole Life
9. Modern Girl
10. And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
11. Instrument of Praise
12. Husband (Single Edit) - Bonus Track
13. Found My Way (Single Edit) - Bonus Track
14. Oh What A Feeling (Extended Version) - Bonus Track

Disc 2 includes three edits and mixes not previously available on CD.

For my money, this is the best album Shirley Murdock ever made! The arrangements and production by the great Roger Troutmann are fabulous and Ms. Murdock’s vocals are stunning. She also sings some great backup vocals with herself, if you listen closely enough.

Her first album with Troutmann is also good, as noted, but I’d say you can’t go wrong with this one. Later, she went back into Christian music, but as far as I’m concerned, these kind of albums have way more soul than all of her Christian albums put together.

Innovative production, great vocals, and the album now complete with three bonus tracks (albeit two are just single edits), I mean, come on now, what more can you ask for?

CD 3: Let There Be Love! (Expanded Edition)
1. In Your Eyes
2. Stay With Me Tonight
3. Let There Be Love
4. Say It, Mean It
5. The Last Hurrah
6. We Should Be Together
7. Anywhere
8. Everywhere
9. Heavenly
10. Save The Children
11. You Brought The Sunshine - Bonus Track

Disc 3 also has Shirley’s version of The Clark Sisters’ classic, You Brought The Sunshine, first released in 1990 on the 40th Elektra anniversary compilation, Rubaiyat, which has been out of print for a number of years.

As we all know by now, Shirley Murdock was an emotional, passionate belter who believed in wailing and letting it rip! Let There Be Love! (once again produced by Roger Troutman, the funkster and George Clinton associate who was known for his extensive use of the vocoder with his band Zapp) also contains a few hints of P-funk on this more than decent, ballad-oriented release.

While Let There Be Love! isn’t the soul extravaganza Murdock is quite capable of delivering, R&B/pop ballads and slow jams like The Last Hurrah, Say It, Mean It and the Anita Baker-ish Anywhere aren’t anything to be embarrassed by either.

Meanwhile, Murdock increases the tempo with likable results on the house-influenced title song and the slightly jazzy We Should Be Together, this release now adding the bonus track You Brought The Sunshine.

This is a first-of-its-kind box set of expanded editions of the three stellar albums by renowned RnB/soul and gospel artist Shirley Murdock.

It is a 40-track 3CD deluxe package including Shirley’s trio of albums plus ten bonus tracks.

It comes with extensive liner notes from acclaimed music historian and writer Tim Dillinger, who co-produced this reissue with SoulMusic Records’ founder David Nathan, including an in- depth interview with Shirley who continues to work as a popular gospel artist and her husband, producer and musician Dale DeGroat specifically for this box set.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - Live at NYU: 1980
Artist - Steve Tintweiss Spacelight Band

This is my fifth archive release produced for the Inky Dot Media label. This concert at the NYU Loeb Student Center Eisner and Lubin Auditorium, for their New music Showcase series, was an opportunity to present two sets of my original tunes performed by the Spacelight Band at a high point.

Saxophonist Byard Lancaster and Charles Brackeen provided the front-line along with vocalist Genie Sherman Walker. Drummer extraordinaire Lou Grassi and I held down the varying rhythm. I especially enjoy listening to the spontaneous arco-5-string double bass ad bass clarinet duet sections playing with Byard Lancaster. He, and now Charles Brackeen are gone. Thanks for the Light everyone. [Steve Tintweiss]

The leader here is bassist Steve Tintweiss, a long-distance runner in an exceptionally challenging field. This recording, which had long sat untouched in Steve’s archive, captures a night in 1980 when his Spacelight Band played in a new-music concert series at the Loeb Student Center of New York University.

CD 1:
1. The Theme / Man Alone
2. Spring Raga
3. Whistle Stop Tour / I Lust You
4. Love’s Fortune
5. Risk-O-Disc
6. Marion
7. Abandoned Dance
[Break Announcement]

This beautifully crafted and immensely immersive live recording opens on the short, but sweet The Theme / Man Alone and then moves smoothly into the Indian musical traditions within Spring Raga, the layered rhythmic shifts of Whistle Stop Tour / I Lust You, the trance-like Love’s Fortune, and then comes the insistent, veritably snake charming bass that encourages some dulcet flute playing within the near nine minute Risk-O-Disc, the musically lavish Marion is along next, the first disc closing on the incredible instrumentation showcasing them all, and yet another near nine minute musical wonderment, Abandoned Dance; and a short break announcement then follows.

CD 2:
1. Knowledge is Power
2. Flash!
3. Ash Dung Blues Bowl
4. Vermont Tune
5. Do Not Look Back
[Closing remarks and credits]

The second disc opens on the beautiful, and varying rhythms and melodies within Knowledge is Power along with the standalone, and near ten minute Flash! and then they are themselves followed smoothly by the sinuously embroidered, and near twelve minute Ash Dung Blues Bowl, the recording rounding out on the Genie-wailed, ten minute Vermont Tune and the avant-garde-imbibed Do Not Look Back; ending on some closing remarks and credits.

The music on this recording is classified as free jazz, but that term doesn’t do justice to the evocative, theatrical, often hair-raising sounds herein. Some are dreamlike, others nightmarish. Lines are incanted hypnotically and mutate subtly.

You’ll hear a chirping flute that could be an agitated bird; a marching band with an air of menace; a saxophone that lets out a ghoulish cackle. All while an unexpected lyricism brightens even the darkest corners.

Official Website

InkyDotMedia @ Facebook

Title - Uncharted Faith
Artist - J.A. Deane & Jason Kao Hwang

J.A. Deane, called “Dino” by his friends, passed away before this CD was completed. Dino started his musical life touring with Tina Turner and eventually became a great innovator of electronic music, which is by any measure, an extraordinary journey. I met him in the mid-1980’s, playing together in various Butch Morris ensembles. Here is the story of Uncharted Faith, his last project.

After his life partner Colleen Mulvihill passed away in 2019, Dino moved from Denver to a tiny house parked in a rural field in Cortez, Colorado. There, alone in nature with his two dogs, he completed his book, Becoming Music, Conduction & Improvisation as forms of QiGong, which he sent me in December 2020. I reciprocated by sending him my CDs, including Conjure, my duets with Karl Berger, which he especially loved. Despite the pandemic, we agreed to collaborate on a duo recording!

On January 28, 2021, I heard his zoom concert for the Red Room in Baltimore. Dino’s phantasmagoric symphonies, vivid and luxuriant with unique sounds, were stunningly beautiful. We corresponded further and our duo project gained momentum. Dino proposed that I send him “5 to 10 minutes of solo acoustic violin” improvisations. He would “work with it,” then send me tracks to overdub. In March I sent him my tracks. All tracks on this CD, from both Dino and myself, are completely improvised.

Dino edited the tracks into “57 gestures” that he would then “map a subset to another instrument (Sensei Morph touch controller & Spacecraft granular synthesizer software).” On May 12 Dino cryptically mentioned health issues. On May 14, he sent me the first five tracks, not yet titled but in the same order as this CD.

He wrote: “Every track was created on an Akai MPC Live Digital Audio Workstation (and your original sounds have been shifted and mutated intensely), and then performed and recorded in real-time. I’m obsessed with exploring, exploding & exalting the DNA of sound. Now there is no question that many of these pieces are harmonically dense. I encourage you to embrace and multiply that density with multiple overdubs if you choose to go that way.”

On July 2, I completed my overdubs on a Tucker Barrett solid-body electric violin (with a Richard Barbera bridge) through an Atomic Amplifire 12 multi-FX processor with expression pedals assigned to wah, whammy, and delay feedback. I asked him to send me one more track, which surprisingly, he had ready to go. Only for track 5, Speaking in Tongues, and track six, Uncharted Faith, did I record multiple violin tracks.

On July 11, Dino wrote: “I have been avoiding this because I didn’t want it to negatively shade your contribution to what is probably going to be the final project of my life. I am honored that it will be with you. I have stage four throat cancer. Please follow your heart with how you want to play into this final world. Please forgive me and understand that I simply didn’t want the weight of this to shade your performance as you were coming from a place of such joy, the same place I was coming from when I created my performances.”

Dino had a concrete belief in the spirit world, having communicated to Colleen through psychic mediums several times. He decided not to receive treatment and on July 12 wrote: “What is compelling is to be with Colleen in spirit form. I am making a conscious journey to transition.”

On July 13 I wrote: “Your decision is courageous and from a deep spiritual wisdom gained through your extraordinary musical journey. I am deeply moved by your faith. I am so thankful that we have created music together. You opened my mind and ears to the expressivity of electronic processing, which enriched my life. I had not heard anyone play in that sonic universe with your boundless imagination and soul. I know your journey forward will be full of beauty and wonder, just like your music.”

On July 15, I began sending him mixes and he gave me insightful suggestions. He also empowered me to name the tracks and complete this production. On July 23, 2021, J.A. Deane transitioned in New Mexico with his dearest friends, Joe Sabella and Katie Harlow at his side. Born on February 16, 1950, he was 71. [Jason Kao Hwang]

1. Parallel Universe
2. Singularity
3. Crossing the Horizon
4. Shamans of Light
5. Speaking in Tongues
6. Uncharted Faith

This quiet stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the atmospherically-charged Parallel Universe and the jaggedly scattered melodies within Singularity and follows those up seamlessly with the searingly crystalline Crossing the Horizon, the harmonically frazzled Shamans of Light, the album rounding out on the lighter, quietly frenetic fare of Speaking in Tongues, closing on the euphorically reaching, titular Uncharted Faith.

Title - Isn’t It Romantic
Artist - Judy Whitmore

For those unaware, acclaimed vocalist, pilot, best-selling author, psychologist and theater producer Judy Whitmore has announced her new jazz album Isn’t It Romantic out September 16th, 2022 along with the music video for second single Sunday In New York (see link below).

Indeed, most people would need two or three lifetimes to accomplish as much in life as vocalist Judy Whitmore has so far. Named after the legendary singer Judy Garland (a friend of her grandfather from his days in the MGM Studio Orchestra), as noted, she is not only a respected jazz and cabaret performer and recording artist, a bestselling novelist, a theater producer, but is also a Board member of Pacific Symphony, and a Marriage and Family therapist with a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and a licensed commercial jet pilot!

Now, on her third album, Isn’t It Romantic, Whitmore lends her lilting, appealing voice to some of the most iconic tunes of the Great American Songbook.

On Isn’t It Romantic, Whitmore chose a mix of ballads and swing tunes to which she applies her velvety vocals. Although her life’s journey had taken her down many different paths, she never lost her love of music.

Whitmore says, “I always wanted to sing full-time, but it was never possible. I had done all these exciting things, and none of it was easy, but I always felt something was missing,” she admits.

“I knew it was time to get a box of dreams out of the closet and embrace the music career I had always wanted.”

1. It Could Happen To You
2. I Remember You
3. Sunday In New York
4. You Go To Mt Head
5. The Nearness of You
6. The Birth of The Blues
7. Speak Low
8. Isn’t It Romantic
9. In the Wee Small Hours of The Morning
10. But Beautiful
11. Just A Little Lovin’
12. Hallelujah I Love Him

This stunning majestic and just all round magically shimmering new album opens on the sultry It Could Happen To You (complete with a stunning piano solo from award-winning pianist/conductor Tamir Hendelman) and the unbreakable I Remember You, before we get Sunday In New York, where Whitmore infuses every line with her palpable affection for the city where she was born, and that is in turn backed seamlessly by the soulfully-imbibed You Go To My Head, the lushly orchestrated The Nearness of You and then comes an enraptured The Birth of The Blues.

Up next is the beautifully crafted Speak Low and the evergreen balladry of the titular Isn’t It Romantic and they are backed by the enigmatically sorrowful ache of In The Wee Small Hours of The Morning, the quietly melodious But Beautiful, the album rounding out on the heartfelt hipsway of Just A Little Lovin’, coming to a righteous close on the deliciously righteous Hallelujah I Love Him So.

With her music amassing over one million streams, Isn’t It Romantic is the follow-up to her highly lauded 2020 debut album Can’t We Be Friends and marks a new era musically for Whitmore with a bold departure from the more traditional arrangements of its predecessors, unfolding in a more free-flowing sound imbued with the improvisational spirit and exploratory musicianship of jazz - a feat she achieves with both dazzling ingenuity and extraordinary grace.

Produced by John Sawoski (a composer, orchestrator, and musical director who also helmed the production of Can’t We Be Friends,) the track came to life at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles (where her story began as a singer in college) in a series of sessions with Grammy Award-nominated recording engineer Steve Genewick (Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach).

Sunday In New York - Judy Whitmore (Official Video)

Official Website

Judy Whitmore @ Facebook

Judy Whitmore @ Facebook

Judy Whitmore @ Twitter

Title - Times Like These
Artist - Nica Carrington

It took a worldwide epidemic to make vocalist Nica Carrington fully realize that tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

Although she has been singing and studying voice since she was a young child, her shyness made her feel more comfortable singing in choirs surrounded by others rather than stepping into the spotlight as a solo performer.

But now with the release of her debut album, Times Like These (due out September 23rd, 2022), audiences will get to appreciate her smokey, warm voice and soulful interpretations of great American standards.

For her debut album, Carrington chose songs from the Great American Songbook that she learned about from her father’s record collection. Says Carrington, “I’ve always admired the composers and lyricists of the great standards. Their songs are timeless and I wanted to stay true to them, but I also wanted to present them with my own more contemporary style. The album is also an homage to my father. He passed away a couple of years ago, but his influence on me is indelible, and I needed to channel my feelings through music.

1. Skylark
2. Left Alone
3. When Sunny Gets Blue
4. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
5. We’ll Be Together Again
6. The Summer Knows
7. You Don’t Know What Love Is
8. Angel Eyes
9. The Shadow of Your Smile
10. Here’s to Life

This beautifully crafted and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the stillness of Skylark and the lushly orchestrated Left Alone and then follows them up with the beautiful When Sunny Gets Blues, the yearn of Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye and then the gentle flow of We’ll Be Together Again is brought forth.

Up next is the veritably shimmering The Summer Knows the aching ode within You Don’t Know What Love Is and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the quietly perky Angel Eyes, the album rounding out with the exquisite The Shadow of Your Smile, closing on the sculptured intoxication of Here’s to Life.

“Times Like These began as a “pandemic project” with my vocal coach, John Proulx, singer, pianist, composer, recording artist, arranger, and instructor,” Carrington further explains. “I met John through, an online vocal jazz educational community founded by Alexis Cole.”

“It was truly a divine nudge that led me to join Prior to becoming a member of the community, I had been a serial vocal and trumpet student floating from one vocal and music coach or workshop to the next, doing the “hokey pokey” with my singing, trumpet, and piano lessons. I had dabbled at my musicianship most of my life, taking a course here and there, mostly singing to my bathroom walls—and then came COVID.”

“When the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world, I finally got serious about my craft. There were songs I had to sing.”

“I had my first lesson with John on August 17, 2020 and a year later on August 13, 2021, we were in Paul Tavenner’s Big City Recording Studio recording an album with two of John’s musical mentors, jazz legends Chuck Berghofer (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums).”

“It was a blessing to record with John, Chuck, Joe, and Paul. Featuring songs about endings and beginnings, this album is meant for Times Like These.”

Official Website

Nica Carrington @ Facebook

Nica Carrington @ Instagram

Title - Acoustic Burnside [Splatter Vinyl]
Artist - Duwayne Burnside

Acoustic Burnside (due out on September 23rd, 2022 via Dolceola Recordings) is the first album in 17 years by the legendary hill country bluesman Duwayne Burnside, ex-member of North Mississippi Allstars and son of the late R.L. Burnside.

Recorded in his hometown Holly Springs Mississippi, this album captures raw and vivid aspects of his solo acoustic playing by analog field recording, and features a number of masterpieces written by his father such as See My Jumper Hanging on the Line and Going Down South, Junior Kimbrough’s classics like Meet Me in the City and Lord Have Mercy, as well as his own pieces.

Side A:
1. Going Down South
2. See My Jumper Hanging on the Line
3. Poor Black Mattie
4. She Threw My Clothes Out
5. Alice Mae
6. Dust My Broom

This quite stunningly opulent, earthy and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the foot-tapping beauty Going Down South and the jagged, raw blues of See My Jumper Hanging on the Line and follows those up seamlessly with the jaunty blues-rock, complete with background noise of Poor Black Mattie (the anthem of the Magnolia State’s hill country blues), the aching yearn within She Threw My Clothes Out and then comes the false-started, yet impassioned, R.L.’s ode to his wife, Alice Mae and the infectious Robert Johnson foot tapper Dust My Broom.

Side B:
7. Meet Me in the City
8. Stay All Night
9. She Threw My Clothes Out (Alt. Take)
10. 44 Pistol
11. Bad Bad Pain
12. Lord Have Mercy on Me

The second side opens on the quieter fare of Meet Me in the City which is itself backed lovingly by the rhythmically upbeat, and smoother vocals of Stay All Night, and then comes the an alternate take of She Threw My Clothes Out, the album rounding out on his guitar picking genius showcased on 44 Pistol, the free flowing Bad Bad Pain, coming to a righteous close on a folk-funk reworking of Junior Kimbrough’s atmospheric Lord Have Mercy on Me.

I learned most of the songs on this record from my daddy, Duwayne says. When I play them, I’m doing my best to show respect and love for him and the music. When I play on acoustic guitar, especially, it goes back even further, because this music started without electricity.

I think about all the musicians who came up from the early says, out of the Delta and the hills, and took their music to the big cities and all around the world. It makes me feel like I’m part of all that history.

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Duwayne Burnside is one of 14 children born to legendary North Mississippi musician R.L. Burnside and his wife, Alice.

He has been a frequent performer with the North Mississippi Allstars since the early 1990s, when that group, fronted by Luther and Cody Dickinson, formed.

Dust My Broom / Duwayne Burnside (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Link

Duwayne Burnside @ Facebook

Duwayne Burnside @ Instagram

Duwayne Burnside @ Twitter

Title - The Kreutzer Project
Artist - The Knights

The Knights, the bold Brooklyn-based orchestral collective, embody the spirit of exploration with The Kreutzer Project, a program that posits Tolstoy’s response to Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata:

What exactly is it? I don’t understand. What is music?
What does it do?
And why does it do what it does?

Beethoven and Tolstoy in turn inspired Czech composer Leoš Janáèek, whose first string quartet is also called “Kreutzer Sonata”. The Knights’ response to these iconoclastic touchstones is to reimagine the Beethoven as “Kreutzer Concerto”, arranged by The Knights’ co-founder Colin Jacobsen who is also the orchestrated version’s violin soloist; and the Janáèek as orchestrated by The Knights’ co-founder and conductor Eric Jacobsen.

They keep the canon going with Colin’s newly composed “Kreutzings”, which makes buried allusions to both Beethoven and Janáèek; and a commission from Anna Clyne, whose piece “Shorthand” takes its title from a line in Tolstoy’s novella: “music is the shorthand of emotion”.

‘Kreutzer Concerto’
Violin Sonata No.9 in A Op.47 (arr. Colin Jacobsen)
1. I. Adagio sostenuto – Presto (14:27)
2. II. Andante con variazioni (15:21)
3. III. Finale: Presto (9:07)
Colin Jacobsen, solo violin

4. Kreutzings (6:48)

ANNA CLYNE (b. 1980)
5. Shorthand* (11:06)
Karen Ouzounian, solo cello
Colin Jacobsen, Emily Daggett Smith, violins
Mario Gotoh, viola · Eric Jacobsen, cello · Logan Coale, double bass

LEOŠ JANÁCEK (1854–1928)
‘Kreutzer Sonata’
String Quartet No.1 JW 7/8 ‘Z podnštnu Tolstého Kreutzerovy sonáty’
(arr. Eric Jacobsen, orch. Michael P. Atkinson)
6. I. Adagio – Con moto (4.22)
7. II. Con moto (4.24)
8. III. Con moto – Vivo – Andante (4.18)
9. IV. Con moto – Adagio – Più mosso (5.15)

This quite stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the veritably sweeping, almost flirtatiously purposeful in its construction, Ludwig Van Beethoven ‘Kreutzer Concerto’ Violin Sonata No.9 in A Op.47 and the fourteen minute opus Adagio sostenuto – Presto and then comes the delicate, ornate at times, fluttering, shimmering even fifteen minute Andante con variazioni, the culmination of the work being the sterner, more triumphantly pronounced, ten minute Finale: Presto.

Colin Jacobsen’s almost cinematic, seismic Kreutzings is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold, and is followed seamlessly by the more assertively sculptured work of Anna Clyne’s eleven minute Shorthand.

Closing this absolutely magical recording is a quartet from Leoš Janáèek entitled ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ String Quartet No.1 JW 7/8 ‘Z podnštnu Tolstého Kreutzerovy sonáty,’ which opens on the uproarious Adagio – Con moto, then brings us the quieter, at times, sternly joyous at others, mid-tempo palette of Con moto, rounding out on the playfully fervent Con moto – Vivo – Andante and then the scattering, free falling melodies found within the rather jubilant Con moto – Adagio – Più mosso.

The Knights - Janáèek (orch. M. Atkinson) - "Kreutzer Sonata" Mvt. I [Official Video]

Official Purchase Link

Title - Strange Shores: Old Singles & New Hits
Artist - The Breakers

The Breakers, a Surf / Psychedelic / Garage / Punk combo from the Chicago area, are back on the scene with Strange Shores: Old Singles & New Hits.

There’s no shortage of fun times on Strange Shores. Released following 2021’s Torch Light, Strange Shores is a must hear CD that collects orphan cuts, several new songs, remixes, singles and compilation tracks.

The 2022 core lineup of The Breakers features lead guitarist Jim Abrahams, Marc Lockett (drums, percussion) and Jayson Slater (bass guitar). Torch Light was a masterful album of beguiling instrumentals and likewise, Strange Shores is equally enjoyable. A few songs incorporate some of the band’s musical buddies, particularly Dan Klapman and Gary Kretchmer on horns.

1. Crystal Pistol (2:46)
2. Rotation (4:03)
3. Steppin’ Porpoise (4:08)
4. Escalation (2:28)
5. Tubular Bells (2:37)
6. Point Conception (2:18)
7. Vodka Sonic (Techno Tonic) (6:30)
8. The Moldau (Reprise) (4:30)
9. O’ Holy Night (3:14)
10. Icicle Park (3:54)
11. Don’t Go Into The Woods (Twilight Version) (4:11)
12. Strange Shores (2:07)

This brilliantly alive and abundantly rhythmic new collective album opens on the virtually riotous Crystal Pistol and the quietly melodic Rotation, before bringing the levels down on the tongue in cheek humor balladry of Steppin’ Porpoise (an obvious cover of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone), the mid-tempo pomp of the aptly-named Escalation and then comes the foot-tapping melodies of their dubious rendition of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and the languishing Point Conception.

Next up is the frenetic Vodka Sonic (Techno Tonic) and the mellow psych, brass twirl of The Moldau (Reprise), a beautiful O’ Holy Night, the album rounding out on the rhythmic Icicle Park, an all-embracing Don’t Go Into The Woods (Twilight Version), closing on a reverb-infused, layered psych mix within the titular Strange Shores.

Listeners that followed the band’s previous albums including Torch Light, A Date With Destiny and 2020’s Voodoo Treatment will dig Strange Shores, even as the album moves beyond the tried and true surf-rock sound.

Highlights are limitless especially the title track, “Strange Shores” with its eerie shroud of tremolo guitar sounds that morphs into a neoclassical melody line that then reverts back to the intro theme, and the CD-opener “Crystal Pistol” with its hit and run melody, while for surf-purists “Rotation”, with its Dick Dale-inspired sound, sets the scene. A Breakers cover of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” moves in unexpected directions before backing into the prog-friendly vision of the original. “Point Conception” blasts out of your speakers with ferocity while “Icicle Park”, with sonic transcendence, borders on psychedelic surf for the 2020’s.

Strange Shores features eye-popping CD cover art that adds luster to a most impressive album release. With something old, something new, something borrowed and something, well strange! Strange Shores is clearly essential listening for surf-rock fans young & old.

The Breakers - Vodka Sonic (Techno Tonic) - The Breakers (Official Video)

Official Purchase Link

The Breakers @ Facebook

The Breakers @ Bandcamp

Title - The Healing Guitar
Artist - Jimmy Ryan

Jimmy Ryan is renowned among those that have followed his career—equally as a guitar technician and a composer, as well as a recording artist and co-founder of the acclaimed jazz-rock fusion band, The Flyin’ Ryan Brothers.

On his 2021 CD Astral Café, Jimmy scaled the heights of the guitar summit, providing us with his unforgettable guitar melodies, powerful arrangements, and his studio wizardry.

To compliment his electrifying instro-rock sound and perhaps reflect on his recent health challenges, Jimmy Ryan has released another, all-new heaven-sent album in the middle of 2022.

The Healing Guitar, Jimmy’s new, 5-track, 51-minute album was issued on CD in the Summer of 2022 on the Chicago-based Salvatori Productions.

For the release of The Healing Guitar, producer Tom Salvatori compiled five recently-recorded instrumental tracks performed by Jimmy and has presented them in two distinctive sonic settings: First, the album showcases four tracks featuring Jimmy Ryan (Electric Guitar, Bass) and Dan van Schindel (Drums, Percussion) in a normal studio setting.

Second, the fifth track called “The Healing Guitar In Nature Suite,” clocks in at 28:33 and becomes the centerpiece of the album with its five pieces that merge into each other. It is made up of the same four studio tracks but also features the recently discovered fifth track entitled “Continuum.”

Tom has creatively woven all five of these tracks into an ambient nature journey with wonderful background sound effects…starting with morning songbirds in a field, moving on to a visit to the ocean, with sounds of surf, seagulls, and children playing on the beach and then ending in an evening field teeming with crickets, birds and even the hoot of a late night barn owl!

Merging the five tracks, including the ultra-rare “Continuum,” featured at the end of the suite, into one nearly 29-minute piece of music is a feat of engineering brilliance.

The first four tracks, preceding the “Nature Suite,” with Jimmy and Dan, present the two musicians in a very reflective yet supremely relaxed setting.

The concept of The Healing Guitar is quite commendable, both as an immersive instrumental guitar experience as well as a salute to the healing powers of the guitar, especially when put into the hands of musicians of this high caliber.

In the face of his recent health struggles, Jimmy Ryan truly rises to the occasion on The Healing Guitar.

1. Walden
2. Twilight
3. Alphaville
4. Equinox
5. Healing Guitar In Nature Suite (inclusive of Continuum - Bonus Track)

This quiet stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the dutifully languishing Walden and the almost ethereal Twilight and follows those up seamlessly with the veritably shimmering Alphaville, the solidly euphoric Equinox and then comes the atmospherically-imbued Healing Guitar In Nature Suite (which features all four aforementioned tracks merged with the closing bonus track Continuum).

Elixir for the soul; balm for the scrapes…salve for the wounds; aspirin for the pain…and…music for fatigued ears. Take two Jimmy Ryan listens and call me in the morning. Literally.

We have produced Jimmy’s instrumental guitar pieces in two showcases; first, as studio work featuring long-time bandmate and percussionist Dan Van Schindel, and second, woven into nature itself and presented in a twenty-eight-minute suite worthy of any spa/healing experience anywhere, anytime.

Our nature journey starts in a morning meadow and then spends the day surfside (what is more healing than watching children play on the beach?) and ends in the peaceful warmth of an outdoor cafe nestled in an open field where the quiet nighttime sounds are teeming with life.

The suite features a bonus track “Continuum” which was lost in the studio but saved through the grace of an mp3 copy and then woven into the suite thanks to some studio magic.

Working with Jimmy and Dan has been a real treat during the production of this album, and special thanks to our mutual friend and music associate Robert Steven Silverstein of Rock Rose Music and for introductions and persistence.

Quietly Enjoy. [Tom Salvatori, Producer Salvatori Productions, Inc.]

Official Website

Title - Bakersfield Gold: Top 10 Hits 1959-1974 [2CD]
Artist - Buck Owens & the Buckaroos

Buck Owens is a country music icon. As one of the best-selling artists of the 1960s, he accumulated numerous Top 10 hits with 19 of them reaching the #1 top spot on the charts. Now all of Owens’ Top Ten hits from 1959–1974 have been compiled on Bakersfield Gold: Top 10 Hits 1959–1974 (out October 7th, 2022 via Omnivore Recordings).

Collecting 46 tracks, this release is available as a double-CD, triple-LP, and Digital release. Featuring new liner notes from Grammy®-nominee, Randy Poe (author of Buck ‘Em: The Autobiography Of Buck Owens), this is the first collection to compile Buck’s Top 10 hits on vinyl, with a limited edition gold vinyl version for independent retail.

Bakersfield Gold is the ultimate collection of Owens’ biggest hits, with The Buckaroos, Rose Maddox, Buddy Alan, Susan Raye, and more. With its availability across all formats, this is a perfect introductory collection for the new fan, and an incredible ride for those who already love the magic of Bakersfield.

Disc 1:
1. Under Your Spell Again
2. Above And Beyond
3. Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got A Heartache)
4. Foolin’ Around
5. Loose Talk – Buck Owens & Rose Maddox
6. Mental Cruelty – Buck Owens & Rose Maddox
7. Under The Influence Of Love
8. Kickin’ Our Hearts Around
9. You’re For Me
10. Act Naturally
11. Love’s Gonna Live Here
12. My Heart Skips A Beat
13. Together Again
14. I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)
15. I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail
16. Before You Go
17. Only You (Can Break My Heart)
18. Gonna Have Love
19. Buckaroo
20. Waitin’ In Your Welfare Line
21. Think Of Me
22. Open Up Your Heart
22. Where Does The Good Times Go
23. Sam’s Place

This stunningly opulent, and wholly heartfelt new collection of country songs opens on the free-wheeling Under Your Spell Again from the first disc and follows that up seamlessly with the joyous Above And Beyond, the melodious twanging within Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got A Heartache), the Southern Maryland-imbibed Foolin’ Around, the fantastic duet Loose Talk (Buck Owens & Rose Maddox) and then we get the nostalgic honky tonk country of Mental Cruelty (Buck Owens & Rose Maddox), the foot-tapper Under The Influence Of Love, the mid-tempo Kickin’ Our Hearts Around, the twanging beauty You’re For Me, and then comes the crystal clear guitar playing and buoyant rhythms of Act Naturally and the definitive Bakersfield sound of Love’s Gonna Live Here.

Next up on this first disc is the song that went to #1 on the country charts in 1964, My Heart Skips A Beat and the pedal steel guitar balladry of Together Again and they are in turn backed by the feisty song that went to #1 for 6 weeks on the country music charts in 1964, I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me), the Hee Haw-imbued I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail, the guitar-led Before You Go, the always pleasant to the ear ballad Only You (Can Break My Heart), the perky country of Gonna Have Love, and then along comes one of my own favorites, the Bakersfield sound of Buckaroo, the cleverly written Waitin’ In Your Welfare Line, a song that went to #1 on the country charts in 1966, Think Of Me, the opening disc rounding out on the country pop of Open Up Your Heart, the bittersweet ode within Where Does The Good Times Go, closing on the twangy Fender Telecasters of Sam’s Place.

Disc 2:
1. Your Tender Loving Care
2. It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)
3. How Long Will My Baby Be Gone
4. Sweet Rosie Jones
5. Let The World Keep On A Turnin’ – Buck Owens & Buddy Alan
6. I’ve Got You On My Mind Again
7. Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass
8. Johnny B. Goode
9. Tall Dark Stranger
10. Big In Vegas
11. The Kansas City Song
12. The Great White Horse – Buck Owens & Susan Raye
13. I Wouldn’t Live In New York City (If They Gave Me The Whole Dang Town)
14. Bridge Over Troubled Water
15. Ruby (Are You Mad)
16. Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
17. I’ll Still Be Waiting For You
18. Made In Japan
19. Big Game Hunter
20. On The Cover Of The Music City News
21. (It’s A) Monsters’ Holiday
22. Great Expectations

The second disc opens on the heartwrenchingly beautiful Your Tender Loving Care and the mid-70s country pop haze of It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me) and then we get the gently frenetic How Long Will My Baby Be Gone, the beautiful, yearning balladry of Sweet Rosie Jones, the upbeat and jubilant duet Let The World Keep On A Turnin’ (Buck Owens & Buddy Alan), then comes the mid-tempo hipsway of I’ve Got You On My Mind Again, that 60s fuzz with those double layered vocals that harken back to the Beatles sound, Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass, a turbulent Johnny B. Goode, the brilliant bass line threaded through Tall Dark Stranger, and up next is the last song Buck ever sang, live on stage at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield the evening before he passed away, Big In Vegas and one of the best country themes there has been, The Kansas City Song.

Along next is the harmonious Duet The Great White Horse (Buck Owens & Susan Raye) and the sentiment-laden I Wouldn’t Live In New York City (If They Gave Me The Whole Dang Town), the rarely heard within country circles now country gem, Bridge Over Troubled Water, the banjo-led beauty Ruby (Are You Mad), then comes the forthright ode Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, the pure gold balladry of I’ll Still Be Waiting For You, the cool breeze hipsway of a song that went to #1 on the country charts in 1972, Made In Japan, the divine picking and singing within Big Game Hunter, this collection coming to a triumphant conclusion with the upbeat and joyful ditty On The Cover Of The Music City News, the rock ’n’ roll of (It’s A) Monsters’ Holiday and the languishing country majesties within the lonesome storytelling of Great Expectations.

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Title - So Schön

After the release of the first single Heile Segen for the tour with MAERZFELD in May of this year, HEMESATH will release the new album So Schön (So Beautiful) on October 7th, 2022.

Musically, the new songs not only tie in with the predecessor Für Euch, but go a significant step further in all areas. The band has long since broken the corset of the so-called New German Hardness and shows that hard German rock music doesn’t just have to be bludgeoned.

Driving drums, robust guitars and singer Christopher’s charismatic vocals combine proverbially playfully with gripping melodies (Elysium, Dies Eine Leben) and in the quiet passages sometimes have an emotional impact on the listener’s soul, as Schattenseele impressively shows.

Epic titles such as Flieg or the darkly pounding album finale Bleib bei mir fit seamlessly into the overall musical concept, so that the musical variety and the change between aggressiveness, tempo and melody runs like a red thread through the songs.

Lyrically, the themes move pleasantly away from genre-typical clichés, especially in relation to the well-trodden paths of striking pseudo-provocative text lines.

In any case, it’s worth consciously following the stories that singer and lyricist Christopher has to tell and letting yourself be carried away by the music and the violence of words.

1. Heile Segen
2. Elysium
3. Die Stadt verbrennt
4. Tanz
5. Flieg
6. Schattenseele
7. Dies eine Leben
8. So Schön
9. Bleib bei mir

This quite stunningly mesmeric and brilliantly constructed new album opens on the driving Heile Segen and the melodically catchy Elysium and follows them up seamlessly with the canorous aggression veined throughout Die Stadt verbrennt, the impassioned Tanz and then comes the epic saga within Flieg.

Up next is the soulful depth found hauntingly within Schattenseele and then one of my own favorites is brought forth, the rhythmically excellent Dies eine Leben, and they are in turn backed by the core pseudo-provoking verses of the titular So Schön, the recording coming to a close on the dispiritedly dark Bleib bei mir.

In truth, it is worth consciously listening to the stories that singer and songwriter Christopher has to tell, and letting oneself get carried away by the music as well as its overall eloquence.

All in all, So Schön (So Beautiful) proves that rock music with German lyrics can be exciting, energetic as well as emotional and, in the end, offers lots of fun.

Official Website

HEMESATH @ Facebook

Title - Fire Rider [Limited Edition DigiPac]
Artist - Winter

Following the latest official album, Pale Horse, from autumn 2021, as well as the re-release of he Best Of album, Looking Back, from spring/summer 2022, the project Winter releases the next long-player, Fire Rider with brand new songs this October.

While Pale Horse was primarily based in the genre of gothic rock, the new songs really hit the creative gas pedal and surprise with an extremely gripping mixture between the aforementioned goth sound (Unholy Blood, Into The Void) and almost classic rock with the style of the 80s as demonstrated by the title song, Fire Rider, the proverbial Children Of The 80s as well as the first single, Pray.

A stylistic description of the mixture on the album is the cover version of the Sisters Of Mercy song Under The Gun, which even in its original version ranges between different genres.

Fire Rider will be released on October 14th, 2022 (Via Bob Media) and will be available on CD, limited edition digipac CD, double vinyl and in digital form.

In addition, the double vinyl and limited edition CD feature a special version of Into The Void with guest singer Florian Grey plus another exclusive bonus track called Shortcut To Your Heart on the vinyl edition.

1. Unholy Blood
2. Fire Rider
3. That Much Is True
4. Child Of The 80s
5. Pray
6. Under The Gun (feat. Nera Mamić)
7. Lost In The Ice
8. Rough Love
9. Violent Dream (feat. Aliz AJ)
10. Into The Void (feat. Florian Grey)
11. You’ve Been On My Mind
12. Can’t Hold Back The Tears
13. Never Again (feat. Angelina DelCarmen)
14. I Want it Black
15. When All Is Said And Done
16. Run Away From Pain (Pale Horse Part III)

This rousing, AOR-imbibed album of great rock tunes one after the other opens on the forthright Unholy Blood and the melodic rock of the titular Fire Rider and then backs those beauties up with the aching yearn buried within That Much Is True, the euphoric Child Of The 80s, the melodic mid-tempo balladry and ’90s vibe of Pray, and then come their rendition of the mesmeric Sisters Of Mercy track Under The Gun (backed by the popular Croatian artist Nera Mamić), the bold AOR of Lost In The Ice and the smash and grab textures of Rough Love.

Up next is my own personal favorite from this new recording, the quite brilliant Violent Dream (featuring 3-octave rock vocalist Aliz AJ) and then comes the free flowing Into The Void (featuring rock/gothic rock/pop musician Florian Grey) and they are in turn followed by the mid-tempo rock balladry of You’ve Been On My Mind, the early ’90s AOR of Can’t Hold Back The Tears, the absolute belter Never Again (featuring power house vocalist Angelina DelCarmen), the album rounding out on the manically-charged I Want it Black, the triumphant When All Is Said And Done, coming to a close on the rhythmic melodiousness of Run Away From Pain (Pale Horse Part III).

Overall, and in musical terms, Fire Rider is bolder and occasionally slightly more aggressive than the previous album, but also very catchy.

A prime example is the song When All Is Said And Done, which perfectly combines a wonderful Chris Isaak vibe in the verses and a rousing up-tempo sound in the chorus.

WINTER - Pray (Official Video 4K)

Winter @ Facebook

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Title - Seasons 25
Artist - Flying Circus

For those unaware, Seasons is an old album. With their 1997 debut, the German band Flying Circus from Grevenbroich (somewhere between Dusseldorf and Cologne) immediately became an insider tip for all lovers of classic rock music between hard rock and progressive rock.

Enthusiastic reviews flooded in from all corners of the world, and that hasn’t changed with the seven additional releases that the band now has under their belt.

The excellent reviews and the status of Flying Circus as a band to be reckoned with was soaring now and then, last year, the band’s Best Of album suddenly found itself as #14 in the German album charts for metal and rock and stayed on the hit list for a whopping 10 weeks.

Since then, the band has received significantly more media attention, and so Michael Dorp (vocals), Michael Rick (guitar), Rüdiger Blömer (keyboards and violin), Roger Weitz (bass) and Ande Roderigo (drums) decided to rewind the band’s history for all newcomers to the band and completely re-record the 12 original tracks contained on Seasons for the album’s anniversary 25 years after its release.

And in the process, the band took all liberties. Instead of just adapting the song arrangements to the current Flying Circus line-up and instrumentation, the five musicians treated the initial tracks as if they were new musical ideas that still had to be fully developed.

Some songs are now in a different key and/or have new parts added and others left out, most of the pieces were tightened up or even (in the case of the ballad Follow the Empress) saw the singer changed (drummer Ade Roderigo instead of main singer Michael Dorp).

Seasons 25 Version:
1. The Jewel City
2. Footprints In The Sand
3. In All Ways And Always
4. Follow the Empress
5. Seasons (Acoustic Version)
6. Antigone’s Lament and Triumph
7. Let It Be Gone
8. Interior Monologue
9. Evening Solace
10. Supersonic Man
11. Never Again
12. The Jewel City (Reprise)

Named after the Monty Python’s television series, this intensely rousing, updated and remodeled recording opens on the drum-led rock of The Jewel City and the the brilliant Hammond Vs. Guitar blues rock of Footprints In The Sand is brought forth, and they are followed by the veritably acoustic, Renaissance-imbibed In All Ways And Always, the mid-tempo balladry of Follow the Empress, an acoustic rendition of the titular Seasons, and then we get presented the brilliant, soaring one minute, low ebbed roll the next, guitar opus Antigone’s Lament and Triumph.

Up next is the funky rocking blues of Let It Be Gone and the sturdy AOR of Interior Monologue which are in turn backed by the shimmering, balladeer qualities within the lush instrumental Evening Solace, and then we get the incredible Hammond organ solo that then feeds us seamlessly into the quiet AOR of Supersonic Man, the album rounding out on the pulsating 10 minute opus Never Again, coming to a close on a reprise of The Jewel City.

The result of this exciting experiment (which also features the aforementioned 12 Remastered tracks directly after the 25th Anniversary versions) presents the five musicians audibly matured and each individual as a virtuoso in his respective profession, while all the 12 pieces sound incredibly fresh.

Not only because of the powerful, contemporary production, but above all because of the band’s infectious joy of playing that makes one thing utterly clear: Seasons 25 is a NEW album.

The separately available, elegant digipack of the new recording alone demonstrates this in a more than impressive way, but in addition a double CD pack adds in a remaster of the original recordings from 1997 as a bonus disc and thus gives everyone the possibility of a direct compassion between yesterday and today.

Official Website

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Title - Standing Eight
Artist - Jeremy Green

For those unaware, guitarist Jeremy Green has a message for you: “At long last, my first full length, artist solo album is completed. It was a long haul, but finally Standing Eight is wrapped and released. All songs have been completely remixed and some new sonic additions to make the experience much better than the singles. It’s truly an album as I envisioned.”

“The recording sounds fantastic, mixed and mastered by Jerry Guidroz in Nashville. The recording sounds lush and punchy. The runtime came in at a tidy 48:08 and I assure you it is a good bang for the buck if you count all the notes! Needless to say I am very happy with how it all came out.”

“It should be said that Keith Carlock has been instrumental in making this recording become what it is. I am so grateful for his time, spirit and involvement. Such talent and an asset to the project in so many ways. I truly can’t thank him enough.”

Guitarist Jeremy Green has recorded with musicians such as: Mike Stern, Oz Noy, Keith Carlock, Victor Wooten, Billy Sheehan, Jimmy Haslip, Tim Lefebvre, Chase Baird, Rich Brown and others.

Indeed, his original works have gained praise from studios and industry experts and his music has featured on traditional and online radio stations around the world.

1. No Jacket Required (Mike Stern, Keith Carlock, Jimmy Haslip) (6:05)
2. Ain’t No Chevy (Robben Ford, Will Lee, Keith Carlock) (6:34)
3. Michael & Me (Victor Wooten, Keith Carlock, Chase Baird) (6:23)
4. The Land of Oz (Oz Noy, Keith Carlock, Rich Brown) (4:57)
5. Big Shoes (Keith Carlock, Tim Lefebvre) (5:48)
6. Mr. Beast (Billy Sheehan, Keith Carlock) (4:49)
7. Close with the Jab (Michel Cusson, Moto Fukishima, Keith Carlock) (6:12)
8. Car Rock (Oz Noy, Keith Carlock, Ian DaSouza) (7:14)

This intensely rousing, heartfelt and lovingly constructed new funk-fusion romp entitled Standing Eight opens on the soaring guitar rocking blues of Jackets Required and then my own personal favorite here, some deeply funky grooves come forth within the brilliant Ain’t No Chevy, and then comes the drum-led, funky bass lines of Michael & Me and then the strident low ebb prog blues of The Land of Oz.

Along next is the harder-edged Big Shoes and that is itself backed by the free flowing, fervently frenetic rock of Mr. Beast, the album rounding out all too soon on the foot-tapping melodies within Close with the Jab, coming to a close on the grand rock jam opus of Car Rock.

Official Website

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Jeremy Green @ Bandcamp

Title - Attitude & Gratitude
Artist - Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra

The Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra’s sophomore release, Attitude & Gratitude, is a collection of tributes to the many communities and experiences that have shaped Godfrey’s artistic vision and worldview.

Featuring premiere young musicians in the Boston jazz scene, each track brims with boundless excitement and energy, each solo a statement of identity weaving through the chord changes.

Godfrey’s writing both proclaims an individual vision of groovy, funk influenced jazz, while honoring the jazz luminaries who paved the path so far.

1. For McCoy (7:56)
2. Mad Max (12:54)
3. Forgetting What Will Never Be (9:47)
4. Hot Water (8:26)
5. We’ll Get There (11:25)

This stupendous, totally heartfelt and yet intricately sculptured new recording opens on the forthright swinging melodies within For McCoy and then backs those up with the drum-led, and thoroughly joyous notes brought forth within the near 13 minute opus Mad Max, and then comes the laid back, late night club hipsway of Forgetting What Will Never Be, the euphorically-charged Hot Water, the album closing on the near 12 minute, and totally, beautifully uproarious We’ll Get There.

Saxophones - Aaron Dutton, Alex Ramirez [5], Ian Buss [3], Anton Derevyanko [4], Nicholas Suchecki [2]
Trumpets - Miles Keingstein, Matt Kelly [5], Eli Block [2], Zoe Murphy
Trombones - Joey Dies [3], Jasmine Sloane [4], Sam Margolis
Tuba - Michael Prentky
Guitar - Pritesh Walia [1]
Piano - Rowan Barcham [1]
Bass - Anna Abondolo [3]
Drums - Henry Godfrey [2,5]

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Official Website

Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra @ Facebook

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Title - Gliding and Hiding
Artist - Malka Spigel

For the uninitiated, Israeli vocalist Malka Spigel’s music feels like something that is altogether new and fresh. And that may seem like quite the feat when you consider that she has been in the game for well over 30 years, both as a solo artist and as a member of post-punk outfit Minimal Compact.

But with the release of Gliding and Hiding in June 2022, Spigel has delivered something that is not exactly new, but is certainly fresh.

Gliding and Hiding is a mashing-up of selections from two of the songstress’ previous albums; 2014’s Gliding EP and the 2997 release, Hide.

This new title serves this marriage well, and having never heard either of the individual records, I was very keen to take a listen.

1. Strumgliding (2014 version)
2. Hacol Zaram Beyachad (2014 version)
3. Tall Grey Buildings (2014 version)
4. Dreamwalking (2014 version)
5. Hide (2022 version)
6. I Just Want (2022 version)
7. Besof Hayom (2022 version)
8. Returning Wheel (2022 version)

Strumgliding is an ambient jam that approaches an impressive seven minutes in length. Hazy electronics give way to resonant, plucky guitars and a driving drum beat. Any kind of vocal doesn’t kick in until nearly three minutes into the song. And even then, the lyrics consist of only one word: “Strumgliding.” I don’t know what it means, exactly, but I get serious Joe Satriani Surfing With the Alien vibes from it.

That almost mystical undertone carries over into Hacol Zaram Beyachad, a song that was overall an instant contender for Favorite Track. The words to the song are all in Hebrew, so knowing that language would certainly enhance the listening experience. But even without the benefit of understanding the lyrics, not much is lost because the listener still has the pleasure of enjoying a background of pop-tronica and singing that deftly straddles the line between breathy and melodic.

In many ways, Spigel almost feels like Israel’s answer to Enya, both vocally and musically. This is for both the better and worse, as many of the songs sound stylistically very much the same, particularly when it comes to the electric ambience that runs continuously under every other instrument. And like Enya, the lyrics can be occasionally lost inside the featherlight singing. This is especially the case with Tall Grey Buildings.

Indeed, this is an album best listened to with headphones in; if not to ensure that you catch the words in I Just Want, then to get wholly lost in the track’s drum machines and pumping bass beats.

Malka Spigel’s collaboration with Colin Newman to put a new twist on some old songs is a commendable effort, if not one most appreciated by longtime fans. For everyone else, this is as good of an introduction as we could have hoped for.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

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Official Website

Malka Spigel @ Facebook

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Title - Zenith
Artist - Seven Kingdoms

For those needing to fill out one more spot on their shelf, Seven Kingdoms has come out with their latest album. After their debut in 2007, Seven Kingdoms has gone through several changes and if they continue the way they are now, they will be killer for many years to come. Power metal with aspects of thrash and synth, Zenith is great all around.

I must admit, I have never heard this band before, but once I plugged in my headphones, it was hard to pay attention to anything else. I really wanted to concentrate on the great combination of sounds. Alas, I couldn’t find any credit for the ones responsible for the keyboard, but whoever was in charge of putting the electric behind certain songs did a great job. It was pretty unique and it flowed well with the guitars.

Speaking of guitars, Kevin Byrd and Camden Cruz are fantastic. Good amount of rhythm and deeper bass work hand in hand with their solos and riffs. The intros to A Silent Remedy and Chasing The Mirage are both good examples of their abilities to get into the heavy style and easily able to transition into passionate solos.

1. “Diamond Handed”
2. “A Silent Remedy”
3. “Love Dagger”
4. “Chasing The Mirage”
5. “Valonqar”
6. “Empty Eyes”
7. “Magic In The Mist”
8. “Universal Terrestrial”
9. “The Water Dance”
10. “Life Signs”
11. “I Hate Myself For Loving You”

Keith Byrd effortlessly brings the timing and energy to a crux with his skills on the drums. His work in the ballads are perfect to keep things slow but then he just amps things up in the next song like a master. A great example is the song Valonqar.

The guitars are soulful and the need to bring things together with the drums are done with such ease. Empty Eyes is probably the best example of Byrd’s ability. Yes, I know people might expect a faster song to be his best, but what he does is just incredible with his fills. You’ll have to listen to get it.

Normally I talk about singers first, but I wanted to give Sabrina Valentine a special shout out. Her voice is a great fit for this band. It matches the tone for each song uniquely. The fact that she has multiple styles of vocals she can fall back on is one of the band’s greatest assets.

She can go from a melodic, almost semi operatic-range like in Valonqar, to a rock queen in Diamond Handed. Her ability to go between each note is something to behold. Even her rendition of I Hate Myself For Loving You, by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, is top notch.

Overall this album is a fantastic add to any discography. With the power aspects, down to the ballads, this band can do it all. Easily in my top 5 favorite female lead bands. I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Review by: John Cicotte

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Title - Written By Life
Artist - Radiant

For those looking to expand their discography, Radiant has just come out with a new album, Written By Life, totally inspired by hard ’80s rock combined with hair metal aspects. Written By Life exudes powerful vocals, melodic tones from the guitar, sick beats from the bass, and thrills from the drums.

The album consists of 11 songs that their homepage dubs as “no filler, just killer.” I would agree to this bold statement, as each track embodies everything you would expect from ’80s style rock and metal.

Herbie Langhans does lead vocals and he continues to shine. His experience in Firewind, Avantasia, as well as other metal bands, makes this a perfect addition to his repertoire. His use of keyboards throughout certain songs just amps up the epic factor. 1. “Nightshift”
2. “Don’t Stop The Daydream”
3. “Real Passion Will Never Die”
4. “Live The Adventure”
5. “Stand That Fight”
6. “Because Of You”
7. “Contagioned”
8. “Rock And Win”
9. “Dare To Fail”
10. “Twice A Week”
11. “Hang Around With Friends”

The guitars are meshed together for a seamless sound that makes you think back to bands like Van Halen and Bon Jovi. Flo Gottsleben and Carsten Stepanowicz use rhythm and riffs to expertly craft their vision to bring a full and epic sound.

Practically every band’s least acknowledged position is bassist. Markus Beck solidly brings the beats and definitely deserves as much cred as possible. Rock And Win is a great example of his skills. However it also points out one of the small flaws I have with this album.

With so much guitar going on, it can easily drown out the deeper tones of the bass. We all know metal is guitar heavy but if I could be so bold to say, they could amp up the bass just a tad and it would make for a more full experience.

No band is complete without its drummer. Manni Spalka has expert level timing and his fills are fabulous. Don’t Stop The Daydream actually gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. The fills were subtle and nothing extreme but were just enough to give it the oomph the song needed.

Overall, I’d give Written By Life 2 horns up. It makes you want to bob your head, and if I had metal hair I’d be swinging it away during some of the solos. I’ll definitely be seeing them live if they ever come to my area. Metal on!

Review by: John Cicotte

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Title - Lit From Within
Artist - Leticia Walker

For those unaware, aside from being a singer-songwriter, Leticia Walker is also a published author. So, aside from now releasing her brand new album, Lit From Within, she has also written a new inspirational book entitled “Never Lucy” - which talks about a journey of trials, triumphs, and faith. Her written work is available online and at your local bookstores.

On this new project, Steve Jankowski laid the groundwork for Leticia to work with a plethora of prodigious musicians, starting with Aaron Graves, a very accomplished musician and arranger from Philadelphia. An extraordinary talent, Aaron created 10 of the 11 arrangements on this project.

His skill and delicate, soulful touch on the piano and organ lead the way to a gourmet meal of sophisticated arrangements with artistic, enlightened harmonies. He even added a tasty jazz piano solo to Better Than Anything and other tracks. Aaron then put together the rhythm section that laid down the tracks for 10 of the 11 songs.

Steve Beskrone, a master of his craft and a virtuoso, played bass on this project. His sensual and provocative playing adds to this marvelous musical gourmet meal. Leon Jordan is a phenomenal drummer and a master of his craft also. He brought the meat and the heat to cook this delectable musical meal, hot and steamy when needed to simmer, cool and collected when necessary.

Richard Tucker is an incredible guitarist, evidenced by his solo on This I Know for Sure. He makes his instrument cry. His tasty guitar licks added the sauce to the pot, which he also tastefully sprinkled on the meal.

And, others that came to the musical cook out include Deb Lyons, a consummate performer, her vocal in the duet with Leticia being both expressive and glorious. Kimberly Davis and Audrey Martells are also superb vocalists, individually, and as a trio (with Deb) singing background vocals.

Doug DeHays is a fantastic horn player, who also played alto, tenor and bari saxes, and flute. In addition he added some flavorful garnish to the meal. He was delicate and sweet on the flute and hot and sassy on the saxes.

1. Lit From Within
2. This I Know For Sure
3. Speak To Me
4. Better Than Anything
5. Power of Love
6. Prayer of St. Frances
7. Highest Praise Medley
8. My City of Ruins
9. Just A Closer Walker with Thee
10. Happy Days / Get Happy
11. Jesus Is Mine

This wholesomely delicious and magically uplifting recording opens with the upbeat and funky rhythms of the titular Lit From Within and then comes the magnificently smooth grooves of This I Know For Sure, and they are followed seamlessly by the piano and trumpet-imbued balladry of Speak To Me, the jazzy Better Than Anything, and then comes the mid-tempo ballad Power of Love.

The atmospherically-imbued balladry of Prayer of St. Frances makes it a mighty fine stand out, and that is itself backed by the gently Samba-esque melodies within the Highest Praise Medley, then comes the organ-led stillness within her unique cover of Bruce Springsteen’s My City of Ruins, before the album rounds out with the trumpet-led beauty Just A Closer Walker with Thee, the euphonious duet with Deb Lyons (originally done by Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand) of Happy Days / Get Happy, coming to a righteous, funky close on the joyous bounce of Jesus Is Mine.

Lit from Within - Leticia Walker [Official Video]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

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Leticia Walker @ Instagram

Leticia Walker @ Twitter

Leticia Walker @ YouTube

Title - Strike A Nerve [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Drowning Pool

For those unaware, Drowning Pool have long been hailed as champions of blue-collar hard rock and metal, not just because of their consistently incendiary live shows and vastly impressive catalog, but because of the trials and tribulations that have marked their career.

They aren’t unique in that regard. What they are is resilient, their everyman, working-class ethos and stubborn perseverance creating a bond few bands ever realize.

Drowning Pool’s seventh album, Strike A Nerve, will be released via T-Boy Records and UMe on September 30th, 2022. With over 1 billion streams and over 1 million in album sales, the alternative metal band delivers a headbanging, whiplash-causing collection of songs, two of which ("Strike A Nerve," "Hate Against Hate") have been served up to fans on recent live dates with a massive positive response.

Side A:
1. Doing Time in Hell
2. Hate Against Hate
3. Stay and Bleed
4. Strike a Nerve
5. Racing to a Red Light
6. Choke

This genuinely pulsating new album opens on the melodic Doing Time in Hell and the heavy, yet canorous Hate Against Hate and follows those up with the thunderous Stay and Bleed, the rhythmically excellent titular Strike a Nerve, and then the first side rounds out with the foot-pounding Racing to a Red Light and the free flowing Choke.

Side B:
7. Everything But You
8. Down in the Dirt
9. Rope
10. A Devil More Damned
11. Mind Right

Next up is their rock balladry in the form of Everything But You and that is itself backed seamlessly by the dark metal of Down in the Dirt, and then comes the cavernous Rope, the album coming to a close on the nu metal-imbibed A Devil More Damned and a drum-led, alt-metal dive into Mind Right.

Their heaviest record to date, Strike A Nerve was inspired by wearing life’s battle scars on their sleeves. Those bumps and bruises got magnified during the worldwide COVID lockdowns; lockdowns that started mere months after Drowning Pool completed recording, mixing and mastering Strike A Nerve, an 11-song tour-de-force through the torn and battered psyche of a band.

Written and recorded before the pandemic that halted the world in its tracks for more than two years, Strike A Nerve became more poignant with its time on the shelf.

Official Website

Drowning Pool @ Facebook

Drowning Pool @ Instagram

Drowning Pool @ Twitter

Title - A Free Society [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Night Crickets

Iconic and foundational bands in the history of alternative music certainly include Bauhaus, Love And Rockets, and Violent Femmes. San Francisco born artist Darwin Meiners was a fan of all three. A chance meeting 13 years ago with David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets) grew into a friendship, and Darwin not only became a band mate, but David J’s manager.

After reaching out to Victor DeLorenzo through e-mail, Darwin met the Violent Femmes drummer after the Femmes’ Coachella set in 2013. Soon after the three collaborated on Darwin’s 2014 release Souvenir.

As the pandemic took hold, Darwin was looking for a new project to occupy the lock-down time and approached Victor, who was keen to proceed and suggested that David join as well. The musical trust established between these three was immediate and Night Crickets were born.

Within weeks a global process was initiated between them, the recordings eventually forming the album, A Free Society. To say this is something of a dream come true for music fans would be entirely accurate.

“There’s a lot of analogue warmth to this album which will only be emphasized all the more on vinyl” says David J of Omnivore recording artists Night Crickets about the imminent vinyl release of their debut album A Free Society on July 29th, 2022.

Side A:
1. Black Leather On The Inside
2. Candlestick Park
3. Amanda’s Mantra
4. A Free Society
5. Roman À Clef
6. Soul Wave

This new album, constructed by layers of heartfelt, yet affectionately moody art-pop opens on the acoustically-imbibed, almost countrified Black Leather On The Inside and the melodic, low ebb, balladry song about the baseball park Candlestick Park and those are followed up by the short, but synth sweet Amanda’s Mantra (a track constructed around an infamous kiss between Marilyn Monroe and James Dean), the tambourine-led, shimmeringly catchy title track Free Society, the sweeping fuzz of Roman À Clef and then comes the slow, mesmerizingly groovy, mid-tempo balladry yearn of the aching Soul Wave.

Side B:
7. Little Did I
8. Sloe Song
9. The Unreliable Narrator
10. Down Below
11. Return To The Garden Of Allah
12. Sacred Monster
13. I Want My Night Crickets!

Next up is the upbeat, funky and rhythmically smooth Little Did I and the almost ethereal Sloe Song and they are in turn backed by the veritably spoken word, wistfully somber The Unreliable Narrator, the sonically-charged, yet atmospherically eerie Down Below, the Bowie-esque Return To The Garden Of Allah, the album rounding out on the, again, tambourine-led, darkly enjoyable Sacred Monster, closing on the all-hands-on-deck, veritably instrumental, strange psych-pop hipsway of I Want My Night Crickets!

A member of iconic post-punk bands Bauhaus and Love & Rockets, David J embraces the format, especially when it comes to this release. “Vinyl was the format that I initially listened to music on when I was a kid and when it first became so important to me. So there is a degree of nostalgia there but what transcends that is the enveloping warm, rich quality of the sound.”

Together with band mates Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes) and multi-instrumentalist/artist Darwin Meiners, Night Crickets are excited for the format. “A vinyl record is where it all started for me,” reinforces Victor. “The pressing of our album gives the listener a rich, round and full-bodied sound with wonderful detail along the spectrum! It swings and sings.”

The band’s name came from one of many Zoom meetings between the three members. After addressing various pressing musical issues the conversation rambled somewhat and turned to the subject of David Lynch, with David J telling an anecdote which was told to him by Lynch’s sound designer, John Neff.

Lynch had asked Neff to obtain a field recording of crickets chirping at night for inclusion in Mulholland Drive. When Neff played him the tape, the director immediately recognized the sound that the insects make when it is light which is apparently a little different to their nocturnal chirp.

“No! No! No! These are day crickets, John! I want my night crickets!” Victor, Darwin, and David then shared a look of mutual realization and instantly agreed that the project now had a name!

Night Crickets - The Unreliable Narrator (Official Video)

Official Purchase Link

Omnivore Night Crickets - A Free Society (Official Trailer)

Night Crickets @ Facebook

Title - Chronic Town (EP)
Artist - R.E.M.

Although preceded by the Hib-Tone version of “Radio Free Europe” the previous year, to all intents and purposes, Chronic TownR.E.M.’s 1982 debut EP — was the start of R.E.M. as we know them.

These five songs showcased the true extent of the Athens-based four-piece’s potential and talent in a way that a single — even one as good as “Radio Free Europe” and its accompanying B-side “Sitting Still” — didn’t have the capacity to do.

Indeed, while those two songs were the sound of a band finding themselves, the five songs that comprised Chronic Town were the sound of a band asserting themselves.

And while this motley crew of three early-twentysomethings (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills) and a teenage Michael Stipe surely had no idea of the profound, world-conquering impact their songs would go on to have on alternative music and culture, these songs nevertheless sound revolutionary, vital, important.

R.E.M. will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its classic, five-song debut EP, Chronic Town, by releasing it as a standalone CD for the first time in the U.S. on Aug. 19th, 2022 via I.R.S./UMe.

Augmented by extensive new liner notes from original producer Mitch Easter, the project will also be available on picture disc vinyl and cassette.

1. Wolves, Lower
2. Gardening At Night
3. Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)
4. 1,000,000
5. Stumble

Introducing their arpeggiated guitar playing, cryptic and often indecipherable lyrics, and radiant choruses that would soon emerge as signatures of the classic R.E.M. sound, Chronic Town opens on the differently refreshing, catchy and upbeat melodies of Wolves, Lower and then backs that up with the jangling guitars of the rhythmic Gardening At Night.

Next up is the my own personal favorite track from this EP, the raggedly fierce, harmoniously spectacular Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars), which its itself followed by more of Buck’s energetic guitar chords and Stipe’s raw and defiant vocals on 1,000,000, coming to a close on the autumnal mist of the excellent raw, enigmatic ambience within Stumble.

Chronic Town was recorded in October 1981 at Easter’s Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, N.C., a few months after the release of R.E.M.’s aforementioned debut single, “Radio Free Europe.”

The EP introduced R.E.M.’s distinctive early sound to the wider world on staples such as “Gardening at Night,” “Wolves, Lower” and “1,000,000,” setting the stage for the band’s debut full-length, Murmur, in April 1983.

“There is a certain spare, almost live quality to the sound of this record, which makes it especially fascinating now,” Easter writes of Chronic Town in his new essay. “You hear what R.E.M. actually sounded like in its early days, only slightly enhanced with a little studio fun. No other R.E.M. record is like Chronic Town, but you hear traces of it throughout the band’s entire career.”

R.E.M. - Gardening At Night (Official Remastered 2006 Video)

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Official Website

R.E.M. @ Facebook

Title - Signs & Wonders
Artist - Sun King Rising

For those unaware, Signs & Wonder (out September 29th, 2022 via Peacock Sunshine Records), is a collection of Sun King Rising’s southern noir stories set to music, with a cast of colorful characters, intrigue, tales of sin and redemption, murder without justice, and love without limits.

Indeed, had William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams been lyricists, they might have written deeply nuanced musical stories like Sun King Rising.

Sun King Rising is a solo project by singer-songwriter John Blangero from Port Isabel, Texas, that is steeped in the tradition of southern rock and country soul.

1. Bitter Waters Sweetened (4:20)
2. No. 6 Magnolia Avenue (4:11)
3. Lanterns On The Levee (3:58)
4. Buried In The Blues Again (3:56)
5. Jubal Takes A Wife (4:29)
6. She Was A Blonde (4:56)
7. One More Story To Tell (3:24)
8. Low Wine And Cruel Ruin (4:39)
9. Anchorless (5:48)
10. Alabama Nocturne (3:01)

With Blangero’s music draws from his southern family roots, the literary genius of William Faulkner and the bluesy compositional brilliance of George Gershwin imbued throughout his lushly sculptured works, this new album opens on the impassioned Bitter Waters Sweetened and the drum-led, soulful percussional blues of No. 6 Magnolia Avenue and they are backed seamlessly by the veritable hipsway shimmering within Lanterns On The Levee, the rawly organic feel of Buried In The Blues Again and then comes the heartfelt ode within Jubal Takes A Wife.

This vibrant collection of blue-eyed soul, all sweetened by the funky rhythms and horns of the 60s-70s, continues onward with the joyously upbeat She Was A Blonde and the Cash-esque One More Story To Tell, and then we get the brilliantly atmospheric Low Wine And Cruel Ruin, the album coming to a close on the subtly reined Anchorless and the expansive Alabama Nocturne.

Signs & Wonders Sessions:
John Blangero – Piano, Keys, Lead Vocals, Orchestral Arrangements
George Perilli – Drums on all tracks except 4 and 10
Roger Humphreys – Drums 4
George Elliott – Bass Guitar on all tracks
Willie Ross – Guitar 1 2,3 4.5,8
Steve Schuffert – Guitar 6,7 8 9
Ace Acker – Acoustic Guitar 3
Fred Delu – Electric Piano 4
Background Vocal Arrangements by Stevee Wellons and Ace Acker
Background Singers: Stevee Wellons – All tracks but 10; Joy Brown – 1,3,4,5,7,8; Bernice Wilkerson – 1,3,4,5,7,8; Pete Hewlett – 6,9; and Ace – 2,6,9
Raloh Guzzi – Horn Arrangements
Ralph Guzzi, Eric Defade, Kevin McManus – Horn Section
Kennv Blake – Saxophone 4

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Sun King Rising @ Facebook

Sun King Rising @ Instagram

Title - Jack Songs
Artist - Jeff Berlin

For those unaware, bass icon Jeff Berlin will be releasing a new tribute album to legendary Jack Bruce titled Jack Songs” on August 2nd, 2022.

Jack Bruce, best known for his work with classic rock group Cream as well as his critically acclaimed solo work passed away in 2014. Jeff Berlin, who has been called “the greatest bass player in the world”, was a personal friend of Jack’s and wanted to record his songs in remembrance of how Jack helped Jeff to find his own musical path.

Says Jeff, “Recording the music of Jack Bruce has been the most emotional recording project of my career. Jack was the greatest bass influence I ever had. In the center of his music were these strange and wonderful bass lines weaving in and out of the key, reaching for resolutions and finding them, again, and again. Jack’s playing was a living evolving improvisation.”

1. Creamed
2. Theme From An Imaginary Western
3. A Letter of Thanks
4. L’Angelo Misterioso
5. Rope Ladder to the Moon
6. One Without a Word
7. Smiles Story and Morning Grins
8. Folk Song
9. Traintime Time
10. Fuimus (We Have Been)

With an album that is most definitely not a cover recording, well, not in the literal sense, except maybe for a couple of tunes from Bruce’s Cream period (all be they arranged in ways that should surprise people), and with most of these songs coming from other periods in his life after Cream, the album opens on the funky blues of Creamed and the piano-led balladry of Theme From An Imaginary Western and then follow those up with the upbeat and joyous A Letter of Thanks, the drum-led, Hammond and horn-imbued beauty L’Angelo Misterioso and then comes the mid-tempo hipsway of Rope Ladder to the Moon.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites, the lyrically-majestic ballad One Without a Word and then that is in turn backed by the masterful piano work heard within the gentle AOPR of Smiles Story and Morning Grins, the quiet, veritable gossamer of Folk Song, the album rounding out on the aptly-named, gently frenetic Traintime Time, coming to a close on the earnest piano ballad Fuimus (We Have Been) (aka the Bruce Clan Motto).

“Jack was the Alpha and Omega for me,” Berlin Continues. “I never would have become the bass player I became if I didn’t hear his unfettered improvisations and innovations, his creating a completely original bass tone, and his playing every gig as if it was his last.”

“When he died, I immediately set out to honor him by reviewing his music to choose some of my favorite songs of his and recording them via my own musical vision. As was his legacy of musical brilliance, I wanted this record to be brilliant to honor his spirit. He really means this much to me.”

For over 40 years, Jeff Berlin has stood as one of the most innovative electric bassists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Known for his one-of-a-kind tone, jaw dropping technique and highly advanced harmonic approaches to the bass, Jeff has been one of the major figures in firmly establishing the electric bass as a solo instrument well deserving of its own distinct place in modern music.

Jeff’s recording and performance credits include a who’s who of jazz and rock. They include: Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, John McLaughlin, Anderson Wakeman Bruford Howe, Frank Zappa, Patrick Moraz and many more.

Guest performers:
Sammy Hagar, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Gregg Bissonette, Gary Husband, Eric Johnson, Bill Frisell, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Alex Ligertwood, Scott Henderson, Marcus Miller, Ron Carter, Tony Levin, Michael League, Nathan East, Mark King, Bruce Guttridge, Billy Sheehan and Johnny Hiland!

Jeff Berlin - Jack Songs (An All-Star Tribute to Jack Bruce) [Official Invite Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jeff Berlin @ Facebook

Jeff Berlin @ Instagram

Jeff Berlin @ YouTube

Title - Love Wins
Artist - David Young and Friends

Imagine going into another dimension at a creative presentation where the live music soothes your soul and mystical-inspired art surrounds you. This magnificent dimension is now a reality.

On Love Wins, David Young & Friends has captured this power through his soulful healing music, meditations and beautiful spiritual stories alongside his eclectic band.

An award winning artist, author, painter and musician, Young showcases his eclectic style with unique and talented musicians to create a captivating sound experience of Celtic-inspired acoustic music enhanced with soul-soothing mandolin and earthy native drums.

1. Everybody On The World
2. Love Wins
3. Heaven Is The Place
4. The Best Is Yet To Come
5. Clues
6. I See The World With Different Eyes
7. The Other Side of The Clouds
8. Everyday
9. Troubled Waters
10. The Perfect Place at The Perfect time
11. The Way of Love

This beautifully harmonious album opens on the free flowing melodies within the gentle caress of Everybody On The World and the melodic pleas within the titular Love Wins and then comes the smoothly organic Heaven Is The Place, the drum-led, reggae-esque pop ebb and flow of The Best Is Yet To Come and then some gentle acoustic guitar work is brought forth within the mid-tempo yearn of Clues.

Both the simply beautiful I See The World With Different Eyes and the impassioned viewpoint of a happy world within The Other Side of The Clouds are stand outs here for me, and they are in turn backed by the playful, reggae-pop bounce of Everyday, the veritable balladry gossamer of Troubled Waters, the album rounding out on the melodious The Perfect Place at The Perfect time, coming to a close on the rockier side of Young, the foot-tapping, blues-rock of The Way of Love.

David Young is an award winning artist, author and musician well known for playing two renaissance flutes in harmony. He has recorded 67 albums, sold over one million copies and 25 millions streams as of 2022. David’s music, revered for its soothing sounds and healing properties, is a staple in healing centers, hospitals and spas throughout the world.

Currently, David is teaming up with an array of talented musicians to embark on a world-wide concert tour of his Celtic inspired music featured on this new album, Love Wins.

David Young & Friends - LOVE WINS (Official Album Sampler)

Official Website

David Young @ Facebook

David Young @ Instagram

David Young @ YouTube

Title - Better Than Heaven: Expanded 2CD Edition
Artist - Stacey Q

For those unaware, Stacey Q, an American singer songwriter, dancer and actress hit the charts in 1986 with ‘Two Of Hearts’ peaking at number 3 is the US singles chart and going top 10 in multiple territories.

‘Insecurity’ became a # 1 hit in the US Dance Charts, with the ‘Better Than Heaven’ album being awarded a gold certification for sales in the USA.

Better Than Heaven: Expanded 2CD Edition, releasing September 16th, 2022 via Cherry Pop Records, is the definitive collection of Stacey Q’s debut album, and it celebrates her lasting legacy 36 years on from its original release.

The two CD collection features the ten original album tracks plus all the related bonus material, sourced and mastered from the original analogue tapes from the Atlantic archives.

And also comes with 19 of the tracks appearing on CD for the first time!

Better Than Heaven + Bonus Tracks:

CD 1 features the original LP version of ‘Better Than Heaven’ including the shorter album version of ‘Two Of Hearts’, plus versions of her singles, ‘Two Of Hearts (Q-Mix Edit)’, ‘We Connect (Dance Radio Edit)’, ‘Insecurity (Guitar Mix)’, ‘Music Out Of Bounds (Edit)’ and the 7” B-side ‘Dancing Nowhere’.

Bonus Tracks:

* denotes appearing on CD for the first time

CD 2 is crammed full of 12” mixes and remixes of ‘Two Of Hearts’ – the European Dance Mix, Q-Mix, Original Mix, Instrumental and the CD Album Version; ‘We Connect’ – Q-Mix, Safari Mix and the 12” Dance Radio Edit; ‘Insecurity’ – USA Dance Mix, Instrumental and Bonus Beats 1 & 2; ‘Music Out Of Bounds’ – Out Of Bounds Mix and Instrumental version.

Stacey Q was one of the myriad of Madonna wannabes who saturated the airwaves in the mid-’80s, but, unlike many of the pack, her debut album Better Than Heaven showed panache and a knowledge that she shouldn’t take herself too seriously.

The sexy monster hit ‘Two of Hearts,’ synthesized and insistent, benefited greatly from Q’s breathy, little-girl vocals (and the fact that it didn’t hit #1 on the Hot 100 is a crime!), while ‘We Connect’ was her only other venture into the Top 40. Tracks like ‘Music out of Bounds,’ ‘Love or Desire’ and ‘Dancing Nowhere’ all followed in the same vein, without being an actual copy of the blueprint lead single.

But, she does stray from the sex-kitten image on some cuts, and for the most part it is a cotton-candy result which is rather more, well, lighter than air, but nevertheless a tasty treat.

The title track is a sweet ode to love whereas ‘He Doesn’t Understand’ is repetitive to the point where she’s practically chanting, but the effect is almost lulling and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is so frothy the song practically floats!

Her vocals are simply perfect for this type of pop, let alone the more hyperactive tunes, and with a voice so well finely tuned, anyone can sing along.

Though she became more experimental with successive albums, Better Than Heaven is Stacey Q’s most accessible and most enjoyable work, in my humble opinion.

And now with a second disc of Bonus Tracks to enjoy, the stand outs here for me are the supreme ‘Two of Hearts (European Dance Mix),’ the dance floor, and keytar excellence of ‘Insecurity (USA Dance Mix),’ and then both the ‘Stacey’s Dream (Acapella)’ (where Overdrive was used in the Theme from S-Express) and the smooth synth riff grooves within ‘We Connect (12” Dance Radio Edit)’ (and which all now appear on CD for the very first time).

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Stacey Q @ Facebook

Title - The Teammates: 20 Years of Making Music
Artist - Dean Torrence & Friends

Dean Torrence’s The Teammates: Twenty Years Of Making Music 1965-1985 (out October 14th, 2022 via Omnivore Recordings) is a curated collection that traverses the decades of the various musical teams Torrence has captained.

Whether it was in the producer’s chair, behind the microphone or putting together musical entities, Dean has done it all.

This collection includes many of Dean’s rare collaborations with the likes of Mike Love, Jan Berry, Bruce Johnston, Harry Nilsson, and Leon Russell.

The Teammates: Twenty Years Of Making Music 1965-1985 also offers extensive liner notes by Torrence, a track-by-track conversation with David Beard on the album’s contents and a forward by longtime Jan & Dean associate, and entertainment executive Winston Simone.

1. Buy Our Album – The Legendary Masked Surfers
2. Summertime, Summertime – Our Gang
3. The Theme From Leon’s Garage – Our Gang
4. Louisiana Man – Jan & Dean
5. Snowflakes On Laughing Gravy’s Whiskers – The Laughing Gravy
6. Vegetables (Alternate Mix) – The Laughing Gravy
7. Moving Day – Locksley Hall
8. It’s A Beautiful Day – Hogfat Cantina Singers & Bel Air Bandits
9. Just Keep It Up – Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston, Dean Torrence
10. Love Lace – Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston, Dean Torrence
11. A Teenager In Love – Dean Torrence
12. I Only Have Eyes For You – Dean Torrence
13. Get A Job – Dean Torrence
14. One Summer Night – Dean Torrence
15. Dead Man’s Curve (Dr. Landy Version) – Dean Torrence
16. Be True To Your Bud (Budweiser Fight Song) – Mike & Dean
17. Lightnin’ Strikes – Mike & Dean
18. Her Boyfriend’s Back – Mike & Dean
19. Alley Oop – Mike & Dean
20. Jingle Bell Rock – Mike & Dean
21. Ride The Wild Surf – Flo & Eddie with Dean Torrence
22. Order Our Album – The Legendary Masked Surfers
23. Fun, Fun, Fun (Commercial) – Mike & Dean

Tracks 1, 4, 6–10, 15, 21–23 previously unissued.

On this simply brilliant new collection of tunes, that are noticeably about friendship, being buddies, and having teammates in life, this true team effort (from behind the scenes to the music itself) kicks things off with the short, tongue in cheek Buy Our Album (The Legendary Masked Surfers) and the Beach Boys-imbibed Summertime, Summertime (Our Gang) and then brings us the surfing melodies within The Theme From Leon’s Garage (Our Gang), the chatty session intro to the scratchy blues of Louisiana Man (Jan & Dean), the old timey lean of Snowflakes On Laughing Gravy’s Whiskers (The Laughing Gravy), an alternate mix of Vegetables (The Laughing Gravy), the light and airy magnificence of Moving Day (Locksley Hall), and then we get delivered the upbeat and perky, finger-clicking It’s A Beautiful Day (Hogfat Cantina Singers & Bel Air Bandits), a pair from Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston, Dean Torrence; the drum-led, funky guitar and pop bounce of Just Keep It Up and then the rhythmic pop flow of Love Lace, before the mellow pop of A Teenager In Love (Dean Torrence) is laid before us.

A quartet from Dean Torrence are up next in the shape of the laid low, mid-tempo balladry of I Only Have Eyes For You, a great rendition of the Silhouettes’ foot-tapper Get A Job, the reaching, soulful Dead Man’s Curve (Dr. Landy Version), and then the horn-imbibed surfer ode One Summer Night, and those are lovingly followed by a quintet from Mike & Dean; the free flowing Be True To Your Bud (Budweiser Fight Song), the drum-led Lightnin’ Strikes, their rendition of The Angels’ of Her Boyfriend’s Back, the finger-snapping Alley Oop 9which was a song inspired by the V. T. Hamlin-created comic strip of the same name), and then the sentimental Holiday tune Jingle Bell Rock is brought out, with the recording coming to a close on the gently frenetic surfer song Ride The Wild Surf (Flo & Eddie with Dean Torrence), the instructive book ending Order Our Album (The Legendary Masked Surfers), and then, finally, we get the rambunctious Fun, Fun, Fun (Commercial) by Mike & Dean.

Teaming with The Beach Boys/Jan & Dean historian David Beard (also editor/publisher of Endless Summer Quarterly), Torrence raided his vaults and discovered previously unreleased recordings from 1965–1985. Beginning with the ultra-rare single of “Summertime, Summertime” by Our Gang (never available on CD and taken from the original 2-track master), this collection is a treasure trove of rarities and previously unheard music.

There are alternate recordings by Jan & Dean, never before heard music from 1973 by Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston & Torrence, and a slew of rare tracks by Mike (Love of The Beach Boys) & Dean from the early ’80s that has never been made available on CD or digitally until now!

Omnivore Recordings is proud to continue its association with Dean Torrence on this exciting and rare compilation of historical music from one of the early progenitors of rock ’n’ roll.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Signature
Artist - Sylvia Brooks

Since her captivating debut in 2009, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks has displayed a gift for inhabiting different personas, with a sub-specialty in film-noir inspired femme fatales.

On this, her fourth brand new album, Signature (Rhombus Records), Brooks embraces the most challenging role of all; defining herself with a set of beautifully crafted original songs.

Her evocative lyrics and emotionally direct delivery imbue the music with hard-won authenticity. Whether looking back with wry affection on her walk-on-the-wild-side youth or lamenting a lost love, Brooks brings bracing honesty and poise to the material.

1. Your Heart Is as Black as Night
2. Catch 22
3. Red Velvet Rope
4. Over and Done
5. The Boy That Lived There
6. Sixteen
7. The Flea Markets of Paris
8. Holding Back Tears
9. Boogie Street

This heartfelt, and wholly organic new album opens on Melody Gardot’s sultry blues within Your Heart Is as Black as Night and the gentle finger-snapper, swingtown wit of Catch 22, and then they are followed by the searingly upbeat and joyous melodies within the cautionary tale Red Velvet Rope (which is set to a sensuous Latin groove by cuatro master Kiki Valera), and then come the quietly-imbued balladry of Over and Done and then an despairingly aching tale is brought forth within The Boy That Lived There.

Along next is the upright bass-led, piano infused, late night club vibe of Sixteen which is in turn backed seamlessly by the atmospherically-charged, passionately romantic The Flea Markets of Paris, the album coming to an all-too-soon close on the veritable gossamer of Holding Back Tears, and then the mid-tempo, bluesy hipsway of the Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson erotic lament, the six minute Boogie Street.

Artistically, Brooks has collaborated with Southern California’s most creative accompanists: ace pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob designed beguiling, harmonically rich settings for her incisive lyrics.

The stellar rhythm section tandem of drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry appear on almost every track and it also features cellists John Waltz, lead cellist for The Los Angeles Opera Company, Stephanie Fife and Mike Kaufman.

Official Website

Official Spotify Purchase Link

Official Apple Music Purchase Link

Sylvia Brooks @ Facebook

Sylvia Brooks @ Instagram

Sylvia Brooks @ Twitter

Title - How Do I Get That Star
Artist - Zannie

How Do I Get That Star is Zannie Owens’ debut record under their own name, as well as the first release with Kill Rock Stars.

Previously, they performed as Potted Plant and they co-helmed the band Really Big Pinecone alongside Michael Buishas (0 Stars, .michael).

This latest effort is self-produced, and features contributions from friends in New York, as well as zannie’s brother Sam, who plays bass and also mixed the record.

Made over the course of four years, the record deals with feelings of pining for the unknown, the mystical, and the mundane. To paraphrase zannie, the record was produced mitotically from their mind.

The resulting 11 songs (picked precisely because of the number’s magical, symmetrical qualities), are warm to the touch. To listen to How Do I Get That Star is to immerse oneself in a sound bath or look up at the stars on a summer night in the middle of nowhere.

1. Mechanical Bull
2. A Rose for Every Puppet
3. Get That Star
4. Lovers
5. For a While
6. Forest Flesh
7. Poison Plant
8. Song of Rose Pain
9. Route 32
10. Holy Ghosted
11. Doppler

This heartfelt, and sweetly organic new album opens on the gentle Summer’s eve breeze of Mechanical Bull and the veritably shimmering synth pop, mid-tempo, arpeggiated keys and drum machine balladry of A Rose for Every Puppet (which explores the range and power of love, not just in the big feeling romantic kind, but also in a more platonic sense), and then comes the gentle, melodic psych-pop of Get That Star, the sultry, breathy, less-than-a-minute Lovers, and then comes the drum-led, pop bounce of For a While.

The atmospherically-charged, drum-led, psych guitars within Forest Flesh are up next and they are seamlessly followed by the aching, informative yearn within Poison Plant, the synth-psych twirl of Song of Rose Pain, the acoustic guitar work of the beautiful Route 32, the album rounding out on the psychedelic synesthesia of Holy Ghosted, coming to a close on the euphorically-imbued, science ballad Doppler.

Brooklyn’s Zannie Owens conceived of their debut solo record, How Do I Get That Star, as an homage to Voyager One Golden Record, the album that Carl Sagan and Lynn Margulis sent into space in 1977. “I was following this narrative idea about an alien on Earth trying to find their way back to their home planet,” says zannie. The idea also comes from one of their favorite poets, Jack Spicer, “He had this whole thing about artists being radio transmitters for Martians or ghosts.”

“I wrote Mechanical Bull after waking up from a particularly vivid dream involving the fusion of various bull mythos: namely the bull of heaven, the Minotaur of Minos, and the modern mechanical bull,”

Zannie Explains.

“The dream followed a dysfunctional family on vacation. At the end, the father became obsessed with a giant glowing mechanical bull in a maze beneath a deserted house the family entered to call for help. The twins went down to the basement to look for their father, and happened upon an underwater mirror room where they converged into one entity.”

“The father spent the rest of his days following the mechanical bull through the maze. Here the bull is both the solution and problem...the mechanical bull represents a system of our own creation we’re forced to hop back on again and again.”

“Yet that mystic bull can also represent the comfort one can access feeling the weight of their body on the earth, and not needing to be perceived to exist. Quite simply it’s tough out here, give yourself a hug!”

How Do I Get That Star, is a sort of Spicer-esque exercise in spooky, spectral auto-dictation that has its roots in the outer limits of our galaxy. Made over the course of four years, the record deals with feelings of pining for the unknown, the mystical, and the mundane. To paraphrase zannie, the record was produced mitotically from their mind.

Official Purchase Link

Zannie @ Spotify

Zannie @ Instagram

Title - VIVALDI Concerti per violino X Intorno a Pisendel
Artist - Julien Chauvin & Le Concert de la Loge

For those unaware, this tenth volume of violin concertos, VIVALDI Concerti per violino X Intorno a Pisendel, marks the return of Julien Chauvin and his Concert de la Loge to the Vivaldi Edition, with works linked to Pisendel, a major musical figure in the court of Dresden in the 18th century.

Julien Chauvin and his Concert de la Loge released a hugely successful volume of Vivaldi concertos with a theatrical theme in 2020.

In this new album they perform works focusing on Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755), konzertmeister at the Dresden Court chapel, and pupil and friend of Vivaldi, who played a key role in the popularity of the Red Priest’s music in Dresden.

It is thanks to the admiration and foresight of this eminent German violinist not only that the city possesses a considerable Vivaldi catalogue, but also that certain signed manuscripts were preserved that are to be found only in Dresden.

This album comprises three concertos composed for him (RV 237, RV 314 and RV 340) and three others copied by his hand (RV 225, RV 226 and RV 369).

All the many contrasts which mark Vivaldi’s concerto repertoire - whatever the instrument -are magnified here under the supple bow of Julien Chauvin: his close bond with Le Concert de la Loge flourishes in a free, rich and diverse discourse, fiery and passionate in the external movements, and lyric or gently melancholic in the central parts.

Worth mentioning among the many examples are the splendid elegiac song of the Adagio in concerto RV 237 or the delicate slow movements accompanied by the pizzicato of the strings in concertos RV 314 and RV 226.

1 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 314 In G Major - 1. Allegro
2 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 314 In G Major - 2. Adagio
3 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 314 In G Major - 3. Allegro
4 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 226 In D Major- 1. Allegro
5 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 226 In D Major- 2. Largo
6 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 226 In D Minor - 3. Allegro
7 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 369 In B - Flat Major - 1. Allegro Mà Poco
8 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 369 In B - Flat Major - 2. Largo
9 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 369 In B - Flat Major - 3. Allegro
10 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 237 In D Minor - 1. Allegro
11 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 237 In D Minor - 2. Adagio
12 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 237 In D Minor - 3. Allegro
13 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 225 In D Major - 1. Allegro
14 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 225 In D Major - 2. Largo
15 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 225 In D Major - 3. Allegro
16 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 340 In A Major - 1. Allegro
17 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 340 In A Major - 2. Adagio
18 - VIVALDI - Concerto RV 340 In A Major - 3. Allegro

This stunning majestic and just all round magically shimmering new album opens on Concerto RV 314 In G Major and the sheer vibrancy of the Allegro, the veritable gossamer of the Adagio and then the forthright perkiness of the Allegro is brought forth, and then we get the Concerto RV 226 In D Major which brings us the flirtatious filly of the Allegro, the hankering yearn within the Largo and for the Concerto RV 226 In D Minor, next comes the spirited Allegro.

The Concerto RV 369 In B - Flat Major opens on the sturdy, confident chords and notes displayed within Allegro Mà Poco, the grandeur of Largo, and the lively, almost animated Allegro, which are in turn followed by the Concerto RV 237 In D Minor’s vigorously vital Allegro, an aching Adagio, and a highly studious Allegro.

Next up we get brought forth the Concerto RV 225 In D Major, which opens on the free flowing majesties within the Allegro, the elegant dance floor swirl of Largo, and the almost vivacious, frenetic even Allegro, the collection rounding out on Concerto RV 340 In A Major, which first brings us the vividly powerful Allegro, then comes the almost fibrous Adagio, it itself coming to a close on the determined qualities within the Allegro.

CD Purchase Link

Julien Chauvin @ Facebook

Title - Flowers From The Fray
Artist - Satsung

Following the commercial success of the band’s debut, which hit #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart and led to tours with artists like Michael Franti, Satsang’s (aka singer/songwriter Drew McManus) recent output has been a process of stripping down - removing the excess layers and filters, both creatively and professionally, and returning to something organic, authentic, and real.

The band’s last release ‘All. Right. Now.’ was broad and spacious, reflecting the soaring mountains and “big soundscape” of McManus’s home state of Montana.

Now, having made the decision to leave his label and release independently, Satsang’s new album, Flowers From The Fray (out September 9th, 2022) takes that trajectory several steps further - recorded in a secluded cabin in Southwest Montana around an open fire, which you can hear audibly popping throughout the record, it’s McManus attempt to make music the way our ancestors might have, before the music industry event existed.

Just a few guys around a campfire, free from genre, expectation, or commercial restraints. “It was really sifting through the stage of life I had found myself in which was a kind of dark night of the soul,” he explains. "This record is truly me bearing my heart.”

1. Intro
2. Alone With You
3. All On Me
4. What I Am
5. Think Of You
6. No Regrets
7. Earlywood
8. Coming Together
9. Never Be Alone
10. Workin’ On
11. Flowers From The Fray (ft. Aubrey Marcus)

This heartfelt, and sweetly organic new album opens on an, at times, unintelligible set of voicemail messages left for Drew prior to making the new record, and then we are off on running with the gentle Americana flow of Alone With You and then comes the buoyant rhythmic bounce of All On Me, the free flowing Folk/Americana of What I Am, the aching yearn of Think Of You and then we get the foot-tapper No Regrets.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the harmoniously layered Earlywood which is itself backed up seamlessly by the joyous alt-pop/Americana of Coming Together, then comes the forthright and melodious Never Be Alone, the album rounding out on the acoustically-imbibed balladry of Workin’ On, coming to a close on the earnest storytelling within the veritably spoken word, titular Flowers From The Fray (ft. Aubrey Marcus).

Satsang - The Making Of Flowers From The Fray

Official Website

Satsung @ Facebook

Satsung @ Twitter

Satsung @ Instagram

Title - Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Various Works
Artist - Fabio Biondi & Europa Galante

For those unaware, taking inspiration from his predecessors in the German tradition, Mendelssohn polished his counterpoint, and practiced the fugue - as Mozart had done before him on discovering Bach - and the concerto.

We discover a young composer well versed in Baroque and Classical forms, which he embellished with his own sparkling charm.

This album is also an opportunity to discover some of Mendelssohn’s lesser-known works, including the note-worthy Salve Regina sung by the soprano Monica Piccinini, several solitary fugues, a Largo and Allegro for piano and strings and a Concerto for violin and string orchestra in D minor.

“This is a profound work,” says Fabio Biondi about his new album, Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Various Works, who also plays the violin solo here, “with a rich orchestral part, which does not merely accompany the soloist, but is also fully engaged in all its sections, and a particularly interesting violin part. It conveys a constant good humor, in a huge kaleidoscope of formulations, while always retaining its formal construction.”

1. Sinfonia In D Major MWV No2 - 1 Allegro
2. Sinfonia In D Major MWV No2 - 2 Andante
3. Sinfonia In D Major MWV No2 - 3 Allegro Vivace
4. Concerto For Violin In D Minor MWV 03 - 1 Allegro
5. Concerto For Violin In D Minor MWV 03 - 2 Andante - Allegro
6. Concerto For Violin In D Minor MWV 03 - 3 Allegro
7. Salve Regina In B Flat MWV C2
8. Fuga For String Quartet In E Flat
9. Strings Symphony In B Flat MWV No5 - 1 Allegro Vivace
10. Strings Symphony In B Flat MWV No5 - 2 Andante - Presto
11. Strings Symphony In B Flat MWV No5 - 2 Presto
12. Largo And Allegro In D Minor
13. Fuga A Tre In G Minor
14. Fuga A Tre In D Minor

This divinely ornate and wholly invested new album opens on the flourishing Allegro of Sinfonia In D Major MWV No2 and then brings us the almost stoic Andante, culminating in the joyous embellishments within Allegro Vivace, before we are into the Concerto For Violin In D Minor MWV 03 series, with the upbeat and perky Allegro leading the way, and then we get the moderate wane of the Andante - Allegro, it all coming to a close on the super lively Allegro.

The vocalized Salve Regina In B Flat MWV C2 is just a most beautiful work of musical art and is backed seamlessly by the ornately crafted, stirring Fuga For String Quartet In E Flat and then we get brought forth the Strings Symphony In B Flat MWV No5 - 1 series, with the cheerfully jaunty Allegro Vivace leading the way, then comes mid-tempo yearn of the Andante - Presto, the work closing on pulsatingly orchestrated Presto.

This new collection culminates with the, at times, stern, but moreover elegantly cinematic notations within Largo And Allegro In D Minor, closing on the aching longing found within Fuga A Tre In G Minor, and the veritable buoyancy of Fuga A Tre In D Minor.

CD Purchase Link

Fabio Biondi @ Facebook

Title - Into the Light
Artist - Cantus

In time for the holidays, acclaimed vocal ensemble Cantus release their latest Christmas album on Signum Classics.

Out October 14th, 2022, the album, Into the Light reflects Cantus’ commitment to diversity of repertoire, with works by a broad range of composers and arrangers: from John Jacob Niles and Kenneth Jennings to Joni Mitchell and B.E. Boykin.

The album also offers six pieces created specifically for Cantus, including two new arrangements from Reginald Bowens and Christopher H. Harris. The ensemble performs the program in ten venues throughout the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul in December.

1. Angels We Have Heard On High - Trad. French Christmas, arr. Saunder Choir
2. O Little Town of Bethlehem - Kenneth Jennings
3. I Wonder As I Wander - John Jacob Niles, arr. Paul John Rudoi
4. River - Joni Mitchell
5. Alleluia! Into The Light - Cheryl Camm
6. Love, the God Eternal - Chris Foss
7. O Magnum Mysterium - B.E. Boykin
8. Glory Hallelujah to Duh Newbo’n King - African-American Spiritual arr. William C. Powell
9. Mensaje de Paz - Francisco Grau Vegara
10. Children Go! - Traditional, arr. Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown
11. I Saw Three Ships - Traditional, arr. Reginald Bowens
12. Aguinaldo Carols - Trad. Filipino Christmas/Jerry Brandy, arr. Saunder Choir

13. Still, Still, Still - Austrian Carol, arr. Aaron Humble
14. Noel Nouvelet - Traditional French Carol, arr. Sofia Söderberg
15. Silent Night - Franz Gruber, arr. Christopher H. Harris
16. Twas the Night Before Christmas - Chris Foss
17. We Toast the Days - Linda Kachelmeier

The low-voice ensemble, widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming and riveting performances of music, opens up their dutifully delightful new Holiday album with the simply divinely, low-ebb harmonies within Angels We Have Heard On High and the gently flowing, and updated O Little Town of Bethlehem, and then follow those up with the sterner, more individually constructed I Wonder As I Wander, a quite breathtaking, veritably translucent rendition of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 track River, the uproarious, at times, calming and soulful at others, work of composer Cheryl Camm, Alleluia! Into The Light, the wholly embracing Love, the God Eternal (a new carol written by Cantus bass Chris Foss, with text by Ella Wheeler Cox), and then we are treated to the expressive O Magnum Mysterium and the absolutely breathtaking, soul-sung African-American Spiritual Glory Hallelujah to Duh Newbo’n King.

Next up on this wily selected narrative is the fibrous connected harmonies within Mensaje de Paz and the upbeat, melodious and gently fervent Children Go! and they are in turn backed seamlessly by a beautiful track that deserves to atop their known repertoire, the rhythmic I Saw Three Ships, which is backed by the amazingly harmonized fervency within the Traditional Filipino Christmas within Aguinaldo Carols, the aptly-named Still, Still, Still (Austrian Carol), the glistening Noel Nouvelet (Traditional French Carol), the recording coming to a close on the almost crystalline Silent Night, the alluringly elegant, adroitly layered, world premiere arrangement of Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then we finally get the peaceful work of composer Linda Kachelmeier’s, We Toast the Days.

CD Purchase Link

Official Website

Cantus @ Facebook

Cantus @ Instagram

Title - The Warehouse Sessions
Artist - Kaeshammer

Over the course of three decades as a professional performer, Kaeshammer has developed a style that weaves threads of classical, jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, stride, and piano pop into a signature sound.

Kaeshammer has been nominated for seven Juno Awards, has received the West Coast Music Award for Musician of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, and has represented Canada at numerous Olympic ceremonies.

With The Warehouse Sessions (due out October 7th, 2022 via Linus Entertainment), Michael Kaeshammer and his trio, bassist David Piltch and drummer Johnny Vidacovich, are captured with live off the floor performances in Bryan Adams’ recording studio in performances that are electric and spontaneous.

The trio are battle tested: Countless gigs all over the world, hundreds of kilometers traveled and thousands of happy listeners. And on this album, you hear these three friends finding joy in making music with each other.

1. You Got It in Your Soulness
2. How Long Blues
3. Down By the Riverside
4. Caravan
5. Bourbon Street Parade
6. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas
7. Ain’t She Sweet
8. Ramblin’
9. The Preacher

This vibrantly alive, wholesome and justifiably craved for new album opens on the boogie-woogie of You Got It in Your Soulness and then, having requested some train beats, Kaeshammer gets exactly what he wants on the atmospheric, and aptly-named How Long Blues, and then we get their old school, raw blues-imbibed version of the traditional Down By the Riverside and then comes the drum-led, acutely-cultivated Caravan.

On this new album, much like, in all truth, all the music he has released since his 1996 debut album, Blue Keys, Kaeshammer keeps the grooves a’coming, and next brings us the infectious melodies within Bourbon Street Parade, the playful rhythms of Quizas, Quizas, Quizas, the upbeat and joyously delicious Ain’t She Sweet, the recording rounding out on the drum-led mastery of the hushed blues-funk tones within Ramblin’, coming to a close on a stridently impassioned The Preacher.

“When I play, I don’t worry about if it’s jazz or pop or classical or whatever; I just play what I hear and let the music decide what it wants to be,” Kaeshammer explains. “Sure, there are different styles, different eras, different approaches, but when you really look at it, it’s all just music based on 12 notes.”

Official Website

Kaeshammer @ Facebook

Kaeshammer @ Twitter

Kaeshammer @ YouTube

Title - Circus of Wire Dolls [2CD]
Artist - Rocking Horse Music Club

For those unaware, The Rocking Horse Music Club is a songwriting and performing collaboration between producer/songwriter Brian Coombes, singer/songwriter Justin Cohn, and singer/songwriter Patrik Gochez and the talents of Rocking Horse Studio musicians Brenden Harisiades, Mike McAdam, Myron Kibbee, and Eric Wagley.

The band’s eclectic style blends progressive rock with elements of baroque and chamber pop, gospel, fusion, indie folk, and art rock.

And now the time is right to announce that the Rocking Horse Music Club are readying their brand new concept album/rock opera, entitled Circus of Wire Dolls (due out October 28th, 2022 via Plane Groovy).

The record once again feature special guest appearances by musicians and singers from the USA and UK - Ms. Amy Birks, Tim Bowness, Caroline Carter (Miss NH 2017), Evelyn Cormier (American Idol), David Cross (King Crimson), Kenwood Dennard (Brand X), Chris Difford (Squeeze), John Hackett, Greg Hawkes (the Cars), Noel McCalla (Mike Rutherford/Manfred Mann), Kate St John (Dream Academy), and Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett) - and is also going to be made available as a vinyl LP.

CD 1:
1. Prologue: Riverside
2. Circus of Wire Dolls
3. Packed Up (featuring Noel McCalla)
4. Senseless Sky
5. Animate in 5/8 (featuring Noel McCalla & Caroline Carter)
6. To Reach the Other Side
7. Will You Be My Downfall? (featuring Caroline Carter)
8. So Little Left (featuring Tim Bowness)
9. It’s Not About You
10. Trapeze Waltz (featuring Amy Birks)
11. Burn (featuring Caroline Carter)
12. Cut from a Different Cloth (featuring Chris Difford)

On an album that encapsulates what musical theme to expect by formerly announcing that He created a miniature circus of wire dolls, then brought its performers to life, the first disc of this expansive, genre-defying concept album/rock opera opens on the atmospherically-charged Prologue: Riverside and then continues ably onward with the fluid rock opus within the near nine minute titular Circus of Wire Dolls, the waning yearn of Packed Up (featuring Noel McCalla, himself once the vocalist for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from 1991-2009), the skittish, frenetic brilliance of Senseless Sky, and then comes the majestically soaring Animate in 5/8 (featuring Noel McCalla and singer/songwriter Caroline Carter).

Up next is the acoustically-imbibed To Reach the Other Side and the dutiful alt-pop romp Will You Be My Downfall? (featuring Patrick Gochez and Caroline Carter) and they are in turn followed seamlessly by the languishing ache within So Little Left (featuring Tim Bowness, known for being part of the band No-Man), the uproarious It’s Not About You, the first disc rounding out on the summer swirl of Trapeze Waltz (featuring the multi award-winning singer/songwriter and Prog entrepreneur, Amy Birks), and then the fervent foot-tapper Burn (featuring Caroline Carter) and the airy balladry of Cut from a Different Cloth (featuring Squeeze’s brilliant Chris Difford).

CD 2:
12. Face of Rain
13. 0300
14. SY22
15. Lost a Piece of Me
16. House Party at Jack’s
17. Flowers in November
18. Every Show Must End (featuring Noel McCalla)
19. All Shall Be Well (featuring Evelyn Cormier)
20. Circus Waltz (featuring David Cross)
21. Coda: Slide Down the Cellar Door

The second disc continues the epic oeuvre of a theme by first bringing us the soft, mid-tempo rock balladry of Face of Rain and the gentle gossamer of the ballad 0300 and backs those up with the Ultravox-esque SY22, the short, but sweet pairing of Lost a Piece of Me and House Party at Jack’s, and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the delicately orchestrated, alt-piano work of Flowers in November, which is in turn followed by the exuberant Every Show Must End (featuring Noel McCalla).

The second disc, and the album itself, then culminates on the breathy vocals of the low ebb, mid-tempo balladry of All Shall Be Well (featuring the delightful Indie singer/songwriter from New England, Evelyn Cormier), the vibrantly alive Circus Waltz (featuring the electric violinist and keyboardist best known for playing with progressive rock band King Crimson from 1972-1974, Mr. David Cross), ending on the creeping prog psych-pop of Coda: Slide Down the Cellar Door.

The band has recorded two albums, Every Change of Seasons (2018) and a tribute album to original Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips, Which Way the Wind Blows (2019), which features guest appearances from Steve Hackett (Genesis), John Helliwell (Supertramp), Noel McCalla, and others.

The band’s debut single, Everywhere is Home, received an Independent Music Award in 2019. They received a Best Supergroup award from New Hampshire Magazine later that same year.

Vocals, Acoustic Guitar / Justin Cohn
Keys, Bass, Vocals / Brian Coombes
Vocals, Guitar, Keys / Patrik Gochez
Bass / Brenden Harisiades
Guitar / Myron Kibbee
Guitar / Mike McAdam
Drums / Eric Wagley

The new album is available from October 28th, 2022 on Plane Groovy and is also available as a vinyl LP.

Official CD Purchase Link

Rocking Horse Music Club @ Facebook

Rocking Horse Music Club @ Instagram

Title - 3
Artist - Revolushn

For those not in the know, myself included, Revolushn is an experimental psych rock group from California formed by longtime friends and collaborators NO Mansfield and David “Dekay” Kendrick.

They recorded dozens of songs together for other artists as part of a studio group in Los Angeles, and in 2016 began writing and recording their own material for what would become Revolushn.

They enlisted the talents of multiple friends for their debut release The Freshman (2016) and their follow-up Further!! (2018) and have now solidified their lineup around NO (guitar/vocals), Dekay (drums, percussion), Olga Schubert (keys), and Neil Nyberg (bass guitar/vocals) for their new album, entitled 3, set for release September 30th, 2022.

Revolushn is extraordinarily versatile and showcase an assortment of styles, leaning into experimental art rock along with their love for dance rock and loud guitars and drums.

Produced by NO Mansfield and Arron Connor (Bone Thugs and Harmony, Cher, Ed Sheeran, Dr. Dre), their new album 3 also features Scott Page (Pink Floyd, Toto, Supertramp) on sax and Harlan Spector (Redbone, Buffalo Springfield) on keys on the track Electric as well as Kim Aston on backing vocals.

1. Jackfix
2. Electric
3. My Living Brain
4. Puppy
5. Spiral Galaxies
6. Little Red Dolls
7. Hover
8. Pushing
9. Papa Fell Down
10. The Beast Inside

This heartfelt, and sweetly organic new album opens on the upbeat and infectious psych grooves of Jackfix and the drum and sax-led rocker Electric and then they are seamlessly followed by the melodious, mid-tempo balladry of My Living Brain, the pop-rock of Puppy, before we are brought forth the foot to the floor melodic psych rock of Spiral Galaxies.

Up next is the trippy, psych-infused, guitar rock of the brilliant Little Red Dolls and the free flowing, fervently drum-led Hover and they are in turn backed up by the early Alice Copper-esque Pushing and the rocker Papa Fell Down, with the album coming to a close on the layered rhythms and guitar licks within The Beast Inside.

This incredible new Revolushn album highlights their influences including Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Black Keys, Lady Gaga, Manaskin, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and more. 3 was recorded at Swamptone Studios in Northern California, Cypher Sound Studios in Kansas City, MO, Hailer Studios in Los Angeles, and Coast Mastering in Berkeley, CA, and the album was mastered at Coast Mastering by Michael Romanoff (Pentatonix, Nine Inch Nails, The Who).

NO Mansfield lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and has written several hundred songs since he picked up the guitar at six years old. NO is a respected studio musician and multi-instrumentalist that has recorded music for television and film and has played with dozens of artists including Aretha Franklin, Berlin, DEVO, and many more. NO Mansfield also recently scored the horror movie The Beast Inside.

David “Dekay” Kendrick plays drums/percussion and writes many of the song’s lyrics. Dekay lives in Los Angeles, CA. A lifelong musician, Dekay has played everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to Madison Square Gardens. He has been a member of Sparks, DEVO, Gleaming Spires and Xiu Xiu. Dekay and NO write the songs for Revolushn and have been playing together in different bands for over 25 years.

Olga Schubert plays keyboards and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was born in Russia and studied classical piano during her youth before going on to medical school to become a doctor. After moving to America, she studied art and became a respected and internationally known painter. NO and Olga are married and when NO realized how good she was at keyboards she was drafted into the group. Since joining Revolushn she has also become a talented videographer and now creates all their videos.

Neil Nyberg plays bass guitar and sings for Revolushn. Neil lives in Berkeley, CA. He has been a musician since a young age and has played in several prominent San Francisco Bay Area bands. He also plays guitar and sings for his band Nalamora. Neil is also creating a fashion brand.

To release their newest album 3, Revolushn signed with the bay area independent music label Candy Gram Music Company. With a mission to promote the SF Bay Area music scene as a world class entertainment center in California for mind-blowing music and art, and as an inspiring place for artists to live and love, the label is cultivating a San Francisco sound reminiscent of the 60s summer of love that is also firmly rooted in the present day.

Revolushn - Little Red Dolls [Official Music Video]

Revolushn - Electric [Official Music Video]

Revolushn - Spiral Galaxies [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Revolushn @ Facebook

Revolushn @ Twitter

Title - Future Classic
Artist - Orphantwin

For fans of hardcore metal, Orphantwin has come out with their latest album. Elements of thrash, metalcore, synth, and so much more are prevalent throughout Future Classic. Brothers Cory Brandan, and Mathew Putman put together a wild and fun six-track masterpiece.

Right off the bat, we are treated to a nice electric intro in Negative Threads that leads into a melodic tone. Then, quite suddenly, the listener is suddenly hurled into a fury of epic screaming vocals that will be the defining factor in each song. The way Cory and Mathew’s voices match is phenomenal.

The low singing in Headphones or Die is a great contrast to the rest of the album. It showcases just how skilled they really are by making it quite apparent they don’t need screams to make their songs great. The beats to this album are fantastic from the drums, to the bass, and then the rhythm work in the guitars.

Brandan on guitar and bass masterfully brings both instruments into the fray expertly, matching them with his synth production. Putman on drums and percussion has great timing throughout the album. His occasional blast beats are mixed in well with other fills to give each song a unique feel. He doesn’t just smash away; each beat is deliberate.

1. “Negative Threads”
2. “Deathsurf”
3. “Headphones or Die”
4. “The Glimpse”
5. “IIovvlless”
6. “Hominy”

Grayson Stewart gives some extra volume to songs Negative Threads and The Glimpse. Adam and Tristan Putman add their own spice with piano and French horn in Hominy. It’s certainly a calmer song with melodic vocals that gives your eardrums a nice break after pumping the volume up from the earlier tracks.

The production quality for this album is something to behold. There’s so much nuance that it’s hard to describe in words. Little things like echoes and electric sounds match so well with the music. The occasional speaking elements are in a tone purposely muted and gives a sense of mystery behind the context. Matt Marquez lends aid to the duo in the production element in Headphones or Die to give it an even more unique flair.

Overall, this album was a fun ride. It was nothing like I’ve heard before and will definitely keep my eyes open for more content from this group.

Review by: John Cicotte

FUTURE CLASSIC by ORPHANTWIN is available on all streaming platforms.

Official Website

Orphantwin @ Facebook

Orphantwin @ Twitter

Orphantwin @ Instagram

Title - Sunir
Artist - Ianai

The Twitter bio line for Ianai states, “songs from the sons of God and daughters of man.” This description becomes particularly interesting when the listener learns that the act known as Ianai may or may not be more than one person. At the very least, the spokesperson for the project is an entity known only as Trevenial, not even disclosing if they are a man or woman.

The musical style is equally ambiguous, classified as “alternative folk” on Apple Music, and “alternative world music” by Ianai’s own description. It is this label that feels the most accurate, with the songs on Sunir, the debut album, bringing to thought acts like Dead Can Dance.

1. Savoj Icoil
2. Elitha
3. Manda Navaja
4. Anaia
5. Sunir
6. Khaalo
7. Vasariah
8. O’zana
9. Akrar Adi’re
10. Incheronia
11. Ovu Lusta
12. Samovela

Opening track Savoj Icoil has a mystical Middle Eastern, possibly South Asian vibe, with crashing percussion and twangy strings. This title — like many others on the record — looks and sounds like it could be a real language, but none translate into any discernible words. Thus, the lyrics offer very little. This is a particular shame when numbers like Elitha lean more into these (very smooth) vocals.

And while this record offers little to nothing for listeners who are especially attune to what lyrics mean, it is impossible not to cheer the album’s musical grandiosity. The crescendos and decrescendos come along like a beautiful, quasi-orchestral ocean wave.

Manda Navaja may be a song about a Spanish-language knife attack, or nothing at all, and it is here that the unknown nature of the lyrics becomes the most maddening. This feels like an impossible river to cross, but the urgent, sweeping music carries you across with relative ease. The same movie score sound continues on through Anaia (an anagram of the artist’s name).

Sunir begins with an inflective vocal after a slow fade-in, leaving the listener unquestioning of its beauty, but deeply questioning of the significance the title holds in order to make it the title track for the whole album.

In the end, Ianai is the sum of all of their parts, and that is its greatness. This album, though the first, I hope is not the last, for Ianai’s music is a marvelous mystery to behold.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte.

SUNIR by IANAI is available on all major streaming platforms.

Ianai @ Facebook

Ianai @ Bandcamp

Ianai @ Instagram

Title - Got To Believe
Artist - Blue Largo

Blue Largo was formed by guitarist Eric Lieberman and vocalist Alicia Aragon in 1999. Eric has been a fixture on the Southern California blues scene since 1981, when he began his four year stint with San Diego’s now legendary King Biscuit Blues Band.

He then went on to form The Rhumboogies, and subsequently The Juke Stompers. As part of the Southern California blues community during the 1980’s, Eric became closely associated with The Paladins, The James Harman Band, Hollywood Fats, Kid Ramos and Junior Watson. He was even lucky enough to play a gig with Hollywood Fats at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California, just two weeks shy of Fats’ untimely death.

Both The Rhumboogies and The Juke Stompers have shared bills with B.B. King, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Little Charlie and The Nightcats, Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, The Paladins and The James Harman Band.

And two of Eric’s greatest disciples, Robby Eason and Nathan James, both went on to play guitar for James Harman. In addition to Robby and Nathan, pretty much any blues musician who has lived in San Diego from 1981 to the present will attest to Eric’s major influence on the San Diego music community for the past four decades.

Blue Largo released its debut album, What A Day, produced by Mavis Staples’ guitar player and musical director, Rick Holmstrom in 2000, its second album Still In Love With You in 2003, their third album Sing Your Own Song in 2015, then came their fourth album Before The Devil Steals Your Soul in 2018, and now their fifth album, Got To Believe is out this year.

1. A World Without Soul
2. Got to Believe
3. Soul Meeting
4. What We Gotta Do
5. Disciple of Soul
6. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
7. Soldier in the Army of Love
8. Ronnie
9. Gospel Music
10. Rear View Mirror
11. Santa Fe Bound

Opening on the funky blues grooves within A World Without Soul and the forthright Gospel-imbued title track Got to Believe, this incredibly vibrant new album continues onward with the mid-tempo, languishing blues of Soul Meeting and the comes the uproarious, guitar and Hammond-led beauty What We Gotta Do and the reggae-pop bounce of Disciple of Soul is brought forth.

Along next is their softer, cultured rendition of the song written specifically for pianist Nina Simone, and made mainstream famous by The Animals, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and that is in turn followed by the finger-snapping, toe-tapping, percussion-imbued Soldier in the Army of Love, the funky storytelling within Ronnie, the aptly-named, Hammond-led Gospel Music, the album rounding out on the low slung Rear View Mirror and closing on the upbeat and joyous ode within Santa Fe Bound.

With the completely organic and unintentional stylistic change from playing vintage blues covers to writing their own original material, Blue Largo now likes to think of their music as Americana Soul. Eric just lets the songs come to him as they do and he doesn’t try to write in anyone’s voice other than his own.

In spite of his deep love and respect for traditional blues of the 1940’s and ‘50’s, which he dedicated the better part of his adult life studying and playing, it’s not surprising that his original songs are much more evocative of the 1960’s soul music that he came of age hearing on his parents’ car radio, and the great singer / songwriter albums he immersed himself in as a teenager in the early seventies; with lyrics that reflect his own life experiences, and which he and Alicia hope others can relate to their own life experiences.

In addition to Eric and Alicia, Blue Largo’s current line-up consists of Taryn ‘T-Bird’ Donath (piano), Marcus P. Bashore (drums), Mike ‘Sandlewood’ Jones (Fender bass), and Dave Castel De Oro and Eddie Croft (saxophones).

Official Website

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Title - The Shape of Strings
Artist - Wayne Alpern

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Wayne Alpern has been on a proverbial magic carpet ride. An endless journey motivates him to listen to his inner voice and in equal measure to learn from mentors covering a broad spectrum of musical styles.

His lengthy catalog of recordings never grows old. The way classics like the iconic television series I Love Lucy is eternal to TV viewers and The Wizard of Oz is perennial to movie buffs, Alpern’s releases are ageless to music, continuously relevant through the passage of time.

Many artists create music that reflects the time in which the music is made, but Alpern makes music with more permanence, reaching generations long after his own generation will pass. The source of his creativity is multi-fold, able to regenerate his imagination with infinite possibilities for improvisations.

“I’ve always been interested in the confluence of multiple musical styles, genres, and traditions,” he discerns. “I don’t elevate one over the other, or view them qualitatively as better or worse, high art or low. The different styles of jazz, classical music, pop music, folk music, country music, and ethnological music from various cultures around the world are merely different ways of approaching organized sound, emphasizing various technical aspects and musical qualities in relative degrees. I value them all.”

Now, here on his fourth album, The Shape of Strings New York-based composer and musicologist Wayne Alpern has invited into his circle a string ensemble composed of the best New York masters: six violins, two violas, two cellos and a double bass, led by concertmaster Monika Bauschwitz.

Thus, here on his new program of works entitled The Shape of Strings, we get to listen along as they take us from the 21st century into the 18th century, bringing forth the very kind of music that Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and other composers of his time would indeed themselves compose.

1. Reinvention 1
2. Reinvention 2
3. Reinvention 3
4. Serenade 1
5. Serenade 2
6. Serenade 3
7. Divertimento 1
8. Divertimento 2
9. Divertimento 3

Opening on the sternly orchestrated, yet lovingly smooth, ten minute Reinvention 1, the gentle gossamer of Reinvention 2 and then the boisterously flirtatious one minute, perky and playful the next Reinvention 3, he backs those up with the veritably shimmering Serenade 1, the aching longing within Serenade 2 and the gently frenetic Serenade 3, bringing this quite incredible new recording to a close on the fleeting Divertimento 1, the awe-inspiring and wholeheartedly encapsulating reach of Divertimento 2, and then comes the uplifting rhythms within the coquettish Divertimento 3.

Official Website

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Title - Love and the Catalyst
Artist - Aimée Allen

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, vocalist Aimée (pronounced emAY, or M.A.) Allen’s intimate connection with music began as a child. Her childhood was scored with classic jazz, because her mother kept selections from the tradition on the family turntable.

Though singing was a part of her childhood, Aimée first began singing professionally with jazz a cappella groups in college. After graduation, Aimée moved to Paris where she performed regularly in jazz clubs and festivals.

The deep relationship between the francophone audiences and Brazilian bossa nova, led Aimée to form Les Bossa Novices, a Paris-based group dedicated to bossa and jazz.

​Aimée now performs regularly in New York City and abroad, having toured in France, Italy, Russia, and Senegal. Standards and bossa are part of her repertoire, but now an accomplished songwriter, she also sings her original compositions, many of which have become audience favorites.

Her original music has been licensed for feature film and network television and she has sung with many renowned musicians including Romero Lubambo, Ron McClure, François Moutin, Rozwell Rudd, Ari Hoenig, and Yomo Toro and More.

Aimée Allen’s latest release, Love and the Catalyst presents her striking original music alongside a few diverse, yet familiar selections form the jazz cannon.

The songs address change and the catalytic agents that bring it about. Transformation, large and small, personal and collective, social and scientific, is the them, with the alchemy of romance explored through the surprisingly sensual metaphors of science and the cosmos.

1. Little Sunflower
2. Earth is Waiting
3. Quantum Entanglements
4. Crystal Silence / 500 Miles High
5. Star Eyes
6. Love’s Crescendo
7. Reaction Time
8. Mortally Immortal (Requiem)
9. The Comet’s Tail
10. Man Ripples Through Time
11. Hidden Place
12. Worlds Collide

Opening on her beautifully encased and effectively joyous rendition of Little Sunflower and then the Japanese-infused stillness and musical intricacies within Earth is Waiting and they are then in turn followed by the playfully organic rhythms and melodies of Quantum Entanglements, Allen’s achingly heartfelt tribute to Chick Corea on two golden 1970s period tracks (Crystal Silence / 500 Miles High) and then comes the quietly modified Star Eyes and the late night jazz bar, lush ambiance of Love’s Crescendo.

Up next is the furtively buoyant Reaction Time and the sterner, albeit still elegantly crafted Mortally Immortal (Requiem) - which also revisits Mozart’s Requiem as a jazz-infused mass for those lost to Covid - Allen returning to her more free flowing and pleasingly filled with jazzy blues hipsway ways on The Comet’s Tail, then comes the atmospheric storytelling of Man Ripples Through Time, the album rounding out on the melodiously mid-tempo Hidden Place, coming to a close on the heartfelt, all encompassing love within Worlds Collide.

The end result is a musical prism, leading the listener through bold, moving and soulful takes on issues such as climate change, George Floyd’s death and legacy, the human toll of the pandemic, and love as the ultimate agent provocateur.

Tribute is also paid to one who changed the art form, Chick Corea, in a tour-de-force medley of two of his best-known compositions.

An array of rhythmic and harmonic textures is reflected and refracted as Love and the Catalyst invites the listener to chance, be changed, and make change.

Official Website

Aimée Allen @ Facebook

Aimée Allen @ Bandcamp

Aimée Allen @ Instagram

Title - Findings
Artist - Jim Dedrick

Few local names are establishing themselves so firmly in the Greater Wilmington world of music like the Jim Dedrick Trio.

Multi-talented artists, the Jim Dedrick Trio takes listeners on a compelling journey of thoughts and emotions with improvised music.

The Jim Dedrick Trio presents modern jazz with roots in the styles of great historic performers like Kieth Jarrett, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and Chick Corea.

Music is composed of original creations, standards, and modern interpretations of of artists like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana.

Known for creating developmental and free jazz sections over original and traditional music, the Jim Dedrick Trio is most frequently seen in the Washington DC to Philadelphia and surrounding areas.

Findings is the latest release by Jim Dedrick. The album title Findings is intended to reflect music unfolding and developing as it is played. It is Modern Jazz utilizing both traditional and non-traditional forms.

Most of the music is improvised with either developmental sections and/or free solo areas. Melodies, harmonies, forms, and progressions are introduced to inspire improvisations and then edited or replaced with each musician’s individual interpretations.

1. Kelly
2. Lugubrious
3. Spontaneous Blues
4. Tension
5. Bullfrog Burp
6. Demon
7. Rough Waters

Opening on the rhythmically juxtaposing Kelly and the late night, foot-tapping musings within Lugubrious, they are in turn seamlessly followed by the gently frenetic Spontaneous, the European-esque vibe of Tension, the free flowing Bullfrog Burp, the album coming to an all-too-soon close on the more pronounced Demon and the crystalline jazz-rock of Rough Waters.

Dedrick explains, I wanted the project to be free from traditional musical guidelines. Musicians simply stated their musical thoughts as they pleased. My intent was to open up a space for all three musicians to collaborate, interact, communicate, and serve the music.

Jim Dedrick (double bass)
Tom Reyes (piano)
Chuck Ferrell (drums)

Official Website

Title - Strong [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Ian Flanigan

For those unaware, Reviver Records recording artist and The Voice’s Season 19 runner-up, Ian Flanigan will be releasing his new album Strong on September 2nd, 2022.

For the last decade, troubadour Ian Flanigan has toured his whiskey-soaked voice and evocative lyrics across America, with a country sound reminiscent of Joe Cocker and Chris Stapleton.

In 2020, Flanigan was a celebrated finalist on NBC’s The Voice, finishing third as the representative from Team Blake. The country music world has since tapped him as an up-and-coming artist to watch.

Flanigan has since then, continued to tour as direct support to Trace Adkins and Chris Janson, he has released his debut single, “Grow Up” featuring Blake Shelton (over 1.2 million streams), he represents Taylor Guitars and KICKER AUDIO, gains exposure as a Reviver Publishing writer in Nashville and looks forward to releasing his debut album in 2022 on Reviver Records.

Containing all his now popular singles - such as “Grow Up” featuring Blake Shelton, “Under A Southern Sky”, “Last Name On It” and more - much like all those singles did, his new album Strong has already become a staple on the country album charts.

Side A:
1. As Far As Love Goes
2. Help Me Drink This Wine
3. Under A Southern Sky
4. Home Sweet Home
5. Shine Like The Moon
6. Strong

Side B:
7. Grow Up (feat. Blake Shelton)
8. Devil In My Hands
9. Last Name On It
10. The Quiet
11. Shine Again

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt new album opens on the smoothly free wheeling As Far As Love Goes and the mid-tempo balladry of Help Me Drink This Wine and they are followed by the foot-tapping rhythms within Under A Southern Sky, the forthright appeal of Home Sweet Home, this first vinyl side rounding out on the majestic country-pop bounce roll of Shine Like The Moon and the stand out ballad Strong.

The second side opens on the hauntingly ethereal, at times, shimmeringly euphoric the next, country balladry of Grow Up (featuring Blake Shelton) and that is itself backed by my own personal favorite, the uproarious Devil In My Hands, then comes the joyous hand clapping hipsway of Last Name On It, the side, and the album, coming to a close on the shining beam of an aching yearn within The Quiet and then the upbeat, mid-tempo rocker Shine Again.

Ian Flanigan - Grow Up (Featuring Blake Shelton) (Official Music Video)

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Title - Commit Yourself To Bethlehem Asylum
Artist - Bethlehem Asylum

Bethlehem Asylum’s only two albums, combined into this brand new CD Commit Yourself To Bethlehem Asylum (out September 23rd, 2022 via Liberation Hall), provide an insight into the future of fusion and prog rock artists that will follow.

The first album (Commit Yourself) offers a more jazzy instrumentation and superb work on piano, sax and flute.

The eponymous second album has more harmonizing but the psychedelic sounds of the late 60’s are on full display, with rock and jazz fused and then veering into more spacey prog rock.

They originated from the St. Pete/Tampa area in Florida although they toured extensively all around the South, had a good live reputation as a live act and were often double-billed with The Allman Brothers.

1. Lady Author
2. The Year’s Biggest Rain
3. Another Time Another Place
4. I Know A Lonely Man
5. Ring My Bell
6. Blind Man’s Bluff
7. Tales From The Citadel: Vol. 1
8. Child Of The Mountain
9. Sailboat Ride
10. Earth
11. Sea Rider
12. Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
13. It’s About

This wonderfully weird flashback to a musically pleasing era opens on their self-titled album, and the free flowing majesties and acoustic guitar-laced folk rock of Lady Author and the more forthright, albeit still country-rock folk veined The Year’s Biggest Rain, and those are backed with the purely magical psych twists and turns of the veritably shimmering Another Time Another Place, the piano ballad I Know A Lonely Man, the slow poke, blues-psych brilliance of Ring My Bell and then comes the low down blues, complete with airy flute percussion within Blind Man’s Bluff and the uproariously euphoric storytelling (lest we forgot to mention an extended bass and drum solo that features even more jazz piano and lush sax) within the 13 minute Tales From The Citadel: Vol. 1.

The second album (Commit Yourself) opens on the folk-imbued, harmonized vocals and delicious flute harmonies within Child Of The Mountain and the light and breezy, free flowing, jazzy rock of the British Canterbury-sounding Sailboat Ride, then comes the all-genre-encompassing instrumental Earth, the jaunty, gently frenetic, at times surf rock guitar-imbued instrumental Sea Rider, the album coming to a close on the funky, groovy, Chicago-esque jazzy blues of the foot-tapper Talkin’ ‘Bout Love and the foot-tapping, mid-tempo melodic rock of It’s About.

Bethlehem Asylum - Ring My Bell (Official Music Video)

Bethlehem Asylum - Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Official Music Video)

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - Generations
Artist - Steve Turre

Trombonist/composer Steve Turre was passed the jazz torch early in his career by some of the music’s greatest masters – Art Blakey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Woody Shaw, and Ray Charles, among others.

In recent years he’s kindled the same flame in a younger crop of rising stars. On his new album, Generations, Turre brings the eras together, inviting still-vital legends to join a gifted band of fresh blood while paying tribute to the elders who have helped shape his sound.

Set for release on September 16th, 2022 via Smoke Sessions Records, Generations features literal second-generation players including the trombonist’s own son, drummer Orion Turre, as well as trumpeter Wallace Roney Jr., whose late father was a close friend and collaborator of Turre’s.

In addition, the core band includes young pianist Isaiah J. Thompson and the more tenured Corcoran Holt on bass, who has been working with Turre for more than a decade.

Over the course of the album this stellar group is joined by the likes of saxophonist James Carter, guitarists Ed Cherry and Andy Bassford, keyboardist Trevor Watkis, bassists Buster Williams and Derrick Barnett, drummers Lenny White and Karl Wright, and percussionist Pedrito Martinez.

“There’s a balance between youth and age,” Turre says, “Age brings wisdom and knowledge, and youth brings enthusiasm and energy. Playing with each of them stretches me in a different way. The elders stretch me in ways of wisdom, but the youngsters fire it up. All of that is inspiring.”

That inspiration bears fruit in one of the most scintillating and eclectic recordings of Turre’s storied career, ranging from burning modal jazz to tender ballads, sophisticated swing to reggae grooves to Latin rhythms, and of course, at the root of everything is the blues. “The blues don’t never get old,” Turre declares. “I like playing the blues. To me, it’s quintessential to American music.”

1. Planting the Ceed (8:46)
2. Dinner with Duke (6:58)
3. Blue Smoke (6:34)
4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (4:54)
5. Don D. (5:00)
6. Pharoah’s Dance (8:30)
7. Flower Power (8:29)
8. Good People (6:54)
9. Sweet Dreams (6:04)
10. Resistance (8:04)

The album opens with the eventfully cinematic Planting the Ceed, an homage to Cedar Walton (He’s one of my heroes,” Turre says of the great pianist, who was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers when Turre joined the band in 1973) and then comes an even earlier influence for Turre, as he honors Duke Ellington on the divinely elegant Dinner with Duke, and that is itself followed by the straightforward blues of Blue Smoke (a nod to Turre’s home label for his past four releases and its namesake club, where he’s a regular performer), a veritably simmering rendition of the classic Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and then we get the Caribbean-reggae appeal of Don D. (a tribute to the legendary Skatalites trombonist Don Drummond) brought forth.

Next up on this wondrous new album is the translucently vibrant Pharoah’s Dance, itself a joint tribute to saxophone titan Pharoah Sanders and the genius pianist McCoy Tyner, and then comes the dreamy ambiance within Flower Power, the Latin-influenced hipsway of Good People, the album rounding out on the gentle, late night balladry of Sweet Dreams, closing on the boisterously determined Resistance (a song about resisting all the negative forces that we must encounter in the world today).

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Title - Halloween Nuggets: Haunted Underground Classics
Artist - Various

For those unaware, the brand new album Halloween Nuggets: Haunted Underground Classics features eighteen spooky rock ’n’ roll deep cuts from the 1950s and 1960s, alongside three classic horror movie trailers!

Also featuring a cover illustration by NYC cartoonist Cliff Mott it will be available on August 19th, 2022 (via Rock Beat/Liberation Hall) as a CD, Digital and more importantly, a Limited Edition neon orange vinyl LP!

Trust me when I say this is the ULTIMATE Halloween-themed novelty rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack, featuring witches, ghouls, teenage monsters, graveyards, haunted houses, devils, ghosts, and zombies that you will ever need!

1. The Keytones - I Was a Teenage Monster
2. Ervinna & the Stylers - Witch Queen of New Orleans
3. Bobby Bare - Vampira
4. Jim Burgett - Jekyll and Hyde
5. ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ Trailer
6. The Invasion - The Invasion Is Coming
7. Johnny Fraser & the Regalaires - It
8. Jackie Morningstar - Rockin’ in the Graveyard
9. The Phantom Five - Graveyard
10. The Vettes - Devil Driver’s Theme
11. Kenny & the Fiends - House on Haunted Hill
12. The Shades - Strolling After Dark
13. The Elites - Jack the Ripper
14. Billy Ghoulston - Graveyard Stomp
15. ‘The Blob’ Trailer
16. The Graveyard Five - Marble Orchard
17. Larry & the Blue Notes - Night of the Sadist
18. Jericho Jones - Black Magic
19. Richard Rome - Ghost A’ Go Go
20. The Contrails - Mummy Walk (Walking Death)
21. ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ Trailer

Opening on the drum-led, funky brilliance of The Keytones’ I Was a Teenage Monster and coming complete with a blood curdling scream, the rock n roll of the foot tapping Ervinna & the Stylers Witch Queen of New Orleans, we then get to hear the hand-clapper from Bobby Bare in Vampira, the dance floor swirl of Jim Burgett’s Jekyll and Hyde, the one minute ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ movie trailer, and then comes the surf rock of The Invasion’s The Invasion Is Coming, the purposely ghastly, shambolic instrumental rock of Johnny Fraser & the Regalaires’ It, before we are given the groovy rock of Jackie Morningstar’s Rockin’ in the Graveyard, The Phantom Five’s soaring surf rock instrumental Graveyard and the laid back, atmospherically charged instrumental The Vettes’ track Devil Driver’s Theme.

Opening on yet another blood curdling scream, the drum-led, surfer rock instrumental House on Haunted Hill by Kenny & the Fiends and the low ebb, bass and horn-imbued rock instrumental work within The Shades’ Strolling After Dark, they are in turn followed seamlessly by the light and airy rock of The Elites’ Jack the Ripper, the finger-snapping hipsway of Billy Ghoulston’s Graveyard Stomp, The Blob movie trailer, the pulsating rhythms within The Graveyard Five’s Marble Orchard, the upbeat pop-rock bounce of Larry & the Blue Notes’ Night of the Sadist, the album rounding out on the Elvis-esque imbued Jericho Jones hit Black Magic, Richard Rome’s mid-tempo psych rock instrumental Ghost A’ Go Go, the music coming to a close on the seasonally effective, Hammond melodies within The Contrails’ Mummy Walk (Walking Death), and the movie trailer from ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon.’

Official Purchase Link

Title - We’re Still Here
Artist - NYO Jazz

Carnegie Hall today announced the release of NYO Jazz’s first full-length studio album, We’re Still Here, featuring Artistic Director and Bandleader/trumpeter Sean Jones and special guest Melissa Aldana on tenor saxophone, plus an appearance by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, available on June 24th, 2022.

The album will be released by Platoon and will be available for digital download and on all streaming platforms in standard and Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio formats.

One of Carnegie Hall’s three acclaimed national youth ensembles, NYO Jazz—comprising outstanding young musicians ages 16–19 from across the United States—showcases the legacy and bright future of American jazz.

Created in 2018 by the Hall’s Weill Music Institute, NYO Jazz annually brings together some of the nation’s finest teen jazz musicians to train, perform, and tour with world-class jazz masters while also serving as music ambassadors for their country.

“You close your eyes and think they’re all 20 years older than they are,” said Sean Jones who pays it forward through his passionate leadership of NYO Jazz, carrying on the tradition of mentorship in jazz.

We’re Still Here features four new works written for the band since its inception, a range of classic and contemporary charts that are hallmarks of its live concerts, and works exploring themes that include social justice, resilience, and the power of music to spark joy.

The four Carnegie Hall-commissioned works on the album are: “Run with Jones” by Miguel Zenón, featuring Melissa Aldana as soloist; “Mr. Jones and Co.” by Ayn Inserto, featuring Jones as soloist; “Fête dans la Tête” by John Beasley; and “RPM’s” by Igmar Thomas.

In addition to these commissions, among the album highlights include: “We’re Still Here” by—and featuring—trombonist and NYO Jazz faculty member Wycliffe Gordon, which has become the band’s rousing encore theme song; hence, the album’s title; “The Art of War” by Ralph Peterson; “Oyelo” by Zenón, featuring Aldana as soloist; “A Taste of Honey” by Duke Pearson; “Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool” by Duke Ellington, arranged by NYO Jazz ensemble coach Reginald Thomas; and “Transitions” by Jones.

The album—recorded during the ensemble’s summer 2021 training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—is a declaration of resilience and longevity.

A summer that began with the disappointment of a year without touring evolved into the opportunity to create this 97-minute showcase of the incredible artistry and enormous versatility of this remarkable ensemble, a recording poised to reach audiences around the world just as the ensemble resumes touring this summer 2022 (US tour dates to be announced this spring).

1. Oyelo (Miguel Zenón)
2. Mr. Jones and Co. (Ayn Inserto; 2019 NYO Jazz commission)
3. Bedouin (Duke Pearson)
4. We’re Still Here / He’s Alright (Wycliffe Gordon)
5. Fête dans la tête (John Beasley; 2020 NYO Jazz commission)
6. Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool (Duke Ellington and Laura Rembert, arr. Reginald Thomas)
7. RPM’s (Igmar Thomas; 2021 NYO Jazz commission)
8. Run with Jones (Miguel Zenón; 2018 NYO Jazz commission)
9. Cute (Neal Hefti)
10. The Art of War (Ralph Peterson)
11. Transitions (Sean Jones)

Produced by NYO Jazz Artistic Director Sean Jones and recorded at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, this vibrantly heartfelt new album opens on the euphoniously-crafted, organically-grown Oyelo and the frenzied skittle-skattle of Mr. Jones and Co. and then we get the delicate gossamer of the veritably shimmering one minute, triumphant and standing tall the next Bedouin, the counted in, playfully fun and eagerly animated We’re Still Here / He’s Alright and then the keen bounce of Fête dans la tête.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the laid low, at first, then boldly resolute musical jousting within Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool and that is itself backed by the gently frenetic, deliriously smooth RPM’s, the cultured jazz of Run with Jones, the album rounding out with the finger-snapping, toe-tapping melodies of Cute, the trumpet-led magnificence of The Art of War, closing on the triumphant rhythms and layered, melodic harmonies within Transitions (Sean Jones).

“We’re thrilled for NYO Jazz to release its debut album this spring—the first recording by any of our national youth ensembles,” said Sarah Johnson, Chief Education Officer and Director of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for these gifted young players to train, perform, and now record alongside some of today’s leading jazz artists including special guest Melissa Aldana.”

“It was especially meaningful for the musicians to gather for an extended residency last summer as it marked the first time many of them had the opportunity to come together to play in a full ensemble since the start of the pandemic.”

“With We’re Still Here, we are proud to showcase the incredible depth of talent and high level of musicianship of these standout jazz musicians from across the country who will help ensure one of America’s quintessential art forms is preserved for generations to come.”

“The big band has always been America’s orchestral format and one of the most wide-ranging ensembles ever devised,”

said Jones, NYO Jazz’s Artistic Director and Bandleader. “It can convey nearly any style of music in a sonically stimulating and interactive way. This recording exhibits that diversity by placing classics by Duke Ellington and Neil Hefti alongside pieces that utilize the big band as a vehicle for contemporary American music and represent a wide variety of genres.”

This summer, NYO Jazz embarks on its first-ever US tour after performing at Carnegie Hall on July 28, 2022, with special guest vocalist Jazzmeia Horn. It follows successful international tours by NYO Jazz including a 2018 inaugural European tour with Dianne Reeves as special guest, and the ensemble’s debut tour to Asia in 2019 with Kurt Elling as special guest.

Although NYO Jazz was unable to travel during the past two years, the musicians convened virtually during the summer of 2020 and at Purchase College, just north of New York City, in summer 2021, rehearsing and recording a wide range of repertoire, including this debut album.

Melissa Aldana appears courtesy of Blue Note Records.

Wycliffe Gordon appears courtesy of BluesBack Records.

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Title - Glory Daze [EP]
Artist - Rachel McIntyre Smith

With her lyrically driven songs, Rachel McIntyre Smith’s comfort twang music reminds listeners of the classics while also adding a relevant and fresh perspective.

Three Chords Country writes that her “flair for storytelling and her killer voice set her head and shoulders above the rest.”

Raised in the small East Tennessee town of Oliver Springs, Rachel began intensive piano training at 9 years old. She won the Tennessee State Piano Competition twice and earned the Paderewski Medal for Guild for 10 years of superior ratings in a row.

This strong background of music theory allowed Rachel to excel in other areas of music. She taught herself ukulele and guitar and also served as clarinet section leader in her school band.

Although she always dreamed of being a singer, her bashfulness kept her from singing in public until she was a junior in high school. She made her debut singing “Please Mister Postman” in the high school theater arts production of “Ducktails & Bobby Socks.”

​ She went on to study Communications and Spanish at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. There she learned web design, graphic design, social media marketing, videography, and other skills needed in order to succeed in a world where all musicians have to double as content creators.

Some of her first original songs were “The Kitten Song” (an ode to a rescued kitten) and “Miss Highfalutin” (a cheeky song poking fun at condescending people). Upon graduating from college, she compiled 13 demos of her original music and began sending them to venues.

Due to the quirky subject matter of “The Kitten Song,” she became a regular performer at cat cafes. “It’s like playing a cozy house show with 30 or so cats,” comments Rachel. “It’s amazing.” In early 2020, she launched a concert tour of those feline-friendly venues.

Rachel began working with producer Dran Michael in the fall of 2020. Since the beginning of their partnership, Rachel has released several singles and is set to release her debut EP, Glory Daze, in the fall of 2022.

After the title track, “Glory Daze,” went viral on TikTok, Rachel saw her audience double in a matter of days. People compared her songwriting to the stylings of country music legends, including Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, and Linda Ronstadt.

Her brightly colored style, smooth vocals, and small-town charm leave a lasting impact on audiences. Today’s Country Magazine states, “She has absolutely been turning heads with her incredibly witty lyrics and vintage vibe.”

Rachel’s had the privilege to share the stage with some impressive names in country music, including Lee Roy Parnell, Larry Fleet, Paul Thorn, and Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who called Rachel’s debut single, “High School Reunion,” “Real country music, smart wordplay, excellently written and sung even better.

1. Glory Daze
2. Queen Of Our Hometown
3. The Woulds
4. First Love
5. Miss Highfalutin
6. High School Reunion

Opening on the languishingly beautiful, dulcet, yet threaded with rainbows of aching color, titular Glory Daze, a simply magnificent, Summer’s molasses haze of a track, that is backed by the spirited energy within the solar-powered Queen Of Our Hometown and then we get the joyous country-pop, balladry bounce of the cartwheeling The Woulds.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this stunning new EP, the charmingly delicate, yet fearlessly astute, mid-tempo ballad First Love, before we are brought forth the twanging, thigh-slapping, foot-tapping, social media-imbibed Miss Highfalutin, coming to a close on the cheerfully blessed High School Reunion.

Glory Daze- Rachel McIntyre Smith (Official Lyric Video)

The Woulds (Official Audio) - Rachel McIntyre Smith

Miss Highfalutin (Official Audio) - Rachel McIntyre Smith

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Title - True Treasures
Artist - Leroy Van Dyke

Leroy Van Dyke’s True Treasures album has been released by Country Rewind Records. Many people remember the Leroy Van Dyke Show and his role as a co-host on the Country Crossroads with legendary DJ Bill Mack for 10 years which aired on WBAP radio syndicated to 800 stations and is a part of radio history.

The exposure brought to his name via the radio and TV shows were instrumental Leroy becoming a household name. Leroy is literally a living piece of country music history and as we all know there are very few of his generation left.

“I thank each and every person on the label, all of whom did masterful work in their respective aspects of this product’s development. The attention to detail and professionalism is superb, and I know our country music fans will treasure it,” expressed LeRoy Van Dyke.

“These true unreleased treasures have been skillfully brought up to 21st century standards by producer Paul Martin, for a new generation of country fans and his longtime fans of the past. Leroy has had an amazing musical career that started in 1956 and is still going strong,” shared Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia.

1. Walk On By
2. Oklahoma Hills
2. Just A State Of Mind
4. If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone)
5. San Antonio Rose
6. You Couldn’t Get My Love Back (If You Tried)
7. Anytime-Oh Lonesome Me (Medley)
8. Be A Good Girl (Til I Get Back In Town)
9. I’ve Never Been Loved
10. Jambalaya
11. The Other Boys Are Talking
12. The Last Letter
13. The Auctioneer
14. Big, Wide Wonderful World Of Country Music
15. Ol’ Man Mose

Opening on the joyous bounce of both Walk On By and the lushly orchestrated country-pop of Oklahoma Hills, they are in turn followed by the mid-tempo balladry of Just A State Of Mind, the lovingly upbeat storytelling of marriage within If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone), the rambunctious San Antonio Rose, the stern foot-tapper and tambourine-slapped You Couldn’t Get My Love Back (If You Tried), and then we get the beautiful balladry of Anytime-Oh Lonesome Me (Medley) and the rhythmically melodic Be A Good Girl (Til I Get Back In Town).

Next up is the delightful ballad I’ve Never Been Loved and the playfully perky guitar work of Hank Williams’ Jambalaya and they are in turn backed smoothly by the free flowing country-pop of The Other Boys Are Talking, the lonesome, aching ode within The Last Letter, the fast-talking The Auctioneer, the album rounding out on the expansive, Elvis-esque Big, Wide Wonderful World Of Country Music, closing on the melodic storytelling within Ol’ Man Mose.

This unique album includes a stellar rendition of “The Auctioneer” and "Walk On By" along with many more great songs. These recordings were made exclusively for radio airplay and were never previously commercially available - until now. Long thought to be lost, the original master tapes were “rescued” by executive producer and president of Country Rewind Records, Thomas Gramuglia, and placed in the experienced hands of producer Paul Martin, who skillfully brought the recordings up to twenty-first century standards of audio quality.

Leroy Van Dyke is one of the true treasures of country music. In a remarkable career spanning more than six decades, he has recorded hundreds of songs and has continually toured, both in the USA and overseas, to worldwide acclaim. Van Dyke’s amazing musical career was launched in 1956 with the iconic song “The Auctioneer,” entertaining thousands of his fellow servicemen as an opening act for Marilyn Monroe, becoming the only country music personality to do so.

Upon returning to civilian life he began working as a journalist. While doing so his recording of “The Auctioneer” became an immediate million-selling hit, and he became a regular member of Red Foley’s “Ozark Jubilee” on ABC-TV, remaining until the end of the show’s run.

He then moved to Nashville and shortly after that joined the Grand Ole Opry. Proving he was not a “one-hit-wonder” he followed up with a hit recording of “Just Walk On By” which remained on the charts for a remarkable 42 weeks, including 19 weeks at number one. Billboard would later name his “Walk On By” the biggest country record of all time, based on sales, plays and number of weeks in the charts.

Leroy became a multimedia star before the phrase was invented. In addition to a stellar recording career, he would co-host “Country Crossroads,” the most widely-syndicated show in radio history, host “The Leroy Van Dyke Show” on syndicated television and become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

On the big screen, he starred in the 1967 movie “What Am I Bid?” that also featured his cousin Ray Sims as an auctioneer. He was also the first country artist to headline a fully-produced, self-contained, choreographed country music show on the famed Strip in Las Vegas.

The only thing to slow him down at age 92 was the global pandemic. Now we can once again enjoy his unmistakable voice on this collection of unique recordings.

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Title - The Lost Souvenir Collection
Artist - Hank Snow

Country Rewind Records has announced the release of Hank Snow’s The Lost Souvenir Collection with Special Guest Artist Jimmie Snow.

Country Rewind Records is proud to present a special collection of newly discovered recordings from “The Singing Ranger,” Hank Snow.

One of country music’s most gifted performers who has influenced several generations of musicians. He was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979. He was also recognized by the Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.

He passed away December 20, 1999. His son, Jimmie Snow, was quite pleased to hear these songs 45 years later and be in the studio while the additions and the updates were completed. This album is a tribute to Hank’s long and illustrious career.

1. Down The Trail Of Aching Hearts
2. I Don’t Hurt Anymore
3. The Rhumba Boogie
4. How Do You Think I Feel*
5. Tangled Mind
6. The Wreck Of The Old ’97
7. Conscience I’m Guilty
8. Precious*
9. Calypso Sweetheart
10. Loose Talk
11. Among My Souvenirs
12. Rainbow*
13. Caribbean
14. Hobo Bill’s Last Ride
15. Tell The World He’s Coming*
16. Me And My Fiddle (Inst.)

* performed by Jimmie Snow

Opening on the aptly-named Down The Trail Of Aching Hearts and the lonesome ode I Don’t Hurt Anymore, up next is one of my own personal favorites, the upbeat and lush hipsway of The Rhumba Boogie, the Jimmie Snow-performed beauty How Do You Think I Feel, the mid-tempo balladry of Tangled Mind, the atmospherically-charged The Wreck Of The Old ’97, and then we get the laid back Conscience I’m Guilty and the stunning ballad from Jimmie Snow, Precious.

Next up is the flirtatiously playful Calypso Sweetheart and the finger-snapping, toe-tapping Loose Talk, and they are in turn backed by the yearning ache within Among My Souvenirs, the Jimmie Snow-sung Rainbow, then comes the gently frenetic Caribbean, the album rounding out on the troubadour storytelling of Hobo Bill’s Last Ride, the gentle drum and harmonica-led Tell The World He’s Coming (again from Jimmie Snow), coming to a close on the delightfully ambient instrumental Me And My Fiddle.

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow was born May 9, 1914 in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, Canada. The country and honky tonk music artist boasted several number one hits, including the self-penned “I’m Moving On,” “The Rhumba Boogie” and “The Golden Rocket,” as well as popular versions of “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “Hello Love,” “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” and “Let Me Go, Lover!”

An accomplished songwriter known for his clear baritone voice, Snow’s songs touched a wide variety of subjects, from the anguish of tortured love to the joys of freedom and travel. With songs inspired by his impoverished beginnings during the Great Depression in Nova Scotia, Snow was encouraged to pursue his dream of becoming a famous singer, like his idol Jimmie Rodgers, by his mother, who was also musically talented.

The recipient of numerous awards and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Hank Snow earned legendary status by overcoming adversity and becoming one of the most influential artists of all time.

If you are a fan of classic Country, you know the name Hank Snow, and if you are a Hank Snow fan, you’ll recognize many of the song titles on this album. But you have never heard Hank or these songs the way you will hear them on this unique collection!

In 1949, Hank made the big move to Nashville, Tennessee, and began recording songs for RCA Victor. As was the case with many future stars, his big break came in 1950 when he was invited to play on The Grand Ole Opry, whose radio broadcasts were heard over much of the USA.

He quickly established a reputation as a singer and guitar player, noted for his flamboyant sequined stage outfits. He was also a prolific and successful songwriter, writing many of the songs heard on the 80 million albums that he sold over his long career.

This special collection of songs was recorded at Eastside Manor Studio in Nashville, Tennessee with Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia and Producer Rex Allen, Jr., for Boxer Productions. Aaron Dethrage served as re-recording and mastering engineer. Studio musicians included Dug Grieves on electric guitar, Joshua Cobb on drums and Kristen Rogers provided background vocals.

"Special thanks to Jimmie Snow and Rex Allen, Jr. for their help in making this special project come together,” expressed Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia.

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Title - A Country Boy Singing His Heart Out
Artist - Webb Pierce

A new album, Webb Pierce’s A Country Boy Singing His Heart Out, has been released by Country Rewind Records featuring the hit singles There Stands The Glass and I Ain’t Never along with 13 other favorites.

The audio quality on these tracks has been upgraded and additional instrumentation has been added to set the release apart from the other albums out there.

Perhaps the following quote best sums up Pierce’s remarkable appeal: “A honky-tonk innovator, Webb Pierce was a fine singer, responsible for many of the hardest-cutting and daring recordings of honky-tonk’s golden age. His revival of Jimmie Rodgers’ In the Jailhouse Now was the bridge between the country’s hillbilly roots of the 1930s and the burgeoning rockabilly of the 1950s,” reflected Alan Cackett - author, country music historian, and 47th member of the British Country Music Hall of Fame.

This one-of-a-kind record contains recordings that were never intended for commercial release and were believed to have been lost or forgotten. They are recordings that Pierce made solely for radio airplay, and stations frequently just discarded them after they were aired. Country Rewind Records founder, Thomas Gramuglia, rescued the master tapes and entrusted producer Rex Allen, Jr. and engineer Aaron Dethrage with the task of bringing the audio quality up to twenty-first century standards.

Webb Pierce was the most popular vocalist of the 1950s, holding the distinction of charting more number one hits than similar artists like Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Eddy Arnold and Lefty Frizzell.

1. I Ain’t Never
2. Why Baby Why
3. I Don’t Care
4. Slowly
5. Wondering
6. Memory #1
7. Back Street Affair
8. There Stands The Glass
9. That Heart Belongs To Me
10. I’m Walking The Dog
11. Fool, Fool, Fool
12. Yes, I Know Why
13. How Do You Talk To A Baby
14. Goodbye City, Goodbye Girl
15. It’s My Way

Opening on the foot-tapping, melodious beauty I Ain’t Never and the free flowing Why Baby Why, they are in turn followed seamlessly by the lonesome ode within I Don’t Care, the aching yearn of Slowly, the openhearted Wondering, the twanging Memory #1, and then we get the mid-tempo balladry of Back Street Affair and the slow, piano-imbued roll of There Stands The Glass.

Next up is the flirtatiously loving That Heart Belongs To Me and the thigh slapper I’m Walking The Dog and they are in turn followed by the low slung, lush balladry of Fool, Fool, Fool, the euphonious Yes, I Know Why, the album rounding out on the rhythmic ache within How Do You Talk To A Baby, the troubadour-imbibed Goodbye City, Goodbye Girl, coming to a close on the melodic, harmoniously-layered It’s My Way.

Webb Pierce was the most popular vocalist of the 1950s. He holds the distinction of charting more number one hits than similar artists like Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Ernest Tubb and Lefty Frizzell. Pierce was the quintessential honky-tonk artist known for his unique vocal styling and guitar playing, as well as his signature rhinestone-encrusted, lavish and flamboyant Nudie suits.

Many of his songs would reign atop the country charts for multiple weeks, making him the most recognizable face of country music. Webb called his style “a country boy singing his heart out” and if you are a fan of the “Honky-Tonk Country” style, you know that’s an accurate description of his pure hillbilly twang with overtones of the country & western music of the era.

It was a styling he was to use for most of his career. Today, many people remember Pierce for his extravagant lifestyle, his guitar-shaped swimming pool and his 1962 Pontiac with its steer-horn hood ornament and pistols on the doors and fenders, which is now on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The project, distributed by Select-O-Hits, was recorded at Eastside Manor Studio in Nashville with Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia and re-recording and mastering were done by Aaron Dethrage. Musicians on the record included Dug Grieves (electric guitar), Ernie Reed (fiddle), Rex Allen, Jr. (acoustic guitar) and Diane Manon, Deegee McCall, Ben Hall and Rex Allen, Jr. (background vocals).

“Bringing back these long-lost recordings means so much to me,” said Thomas Gramuglia. “Hearing Webb’s voice and guitar playing again is truly a joy. This one-of-a-kind album contains recordings that were believed to be lost or forgotten. Webb was one of the most popular honky-tonk vocalists of the 50s. These updated recordings will really bring joy to any classic country fan," stated Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia.

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Title - When A Boy Falls In Love [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Mel Carter

For those unaware, Mel Carter’s first full-length album, When A Boy Falls In Love, originally released in 1963, will be back in print in May 2022.

ABKCO, steward of Sam Cooke’s SAR Records catalog of which this title is part, has announced that the album, including the hit title track and 11 other selections will be available on LP, while the CD and digital releases will contain bonus material.

When A Boy Falls In Love originally awarded 4-stars by Billboard, has long been unavailable and much sought after by collectors over the decades since its initial release 58 years ago.

Like Sam Cooke, Mel Carter’s roots are in gospel music. He was a prodigy whose first recordings were made when he was a child in his hometown of Cincinnati. The two first met in the early 1950s, when Carter’s group The Robert Anderson Singers shared a bill with Cooke’s group The Soul Stirrers while touring on the gospel circuit.

Years later, Mel Carter moved to Los Angeles and reconnected with Cooke who was one of the biggest names in the business. Cooke, along with manager J.W. Alexander and former Soul Stirrer Senior Roy Crain had started SAR Records in 1959 and it was the label home of numerous artists including, 16-year-old Billy Preston, gospel stars The Soul Stirrers, The Valentinos, a group consisting of Bobby Womack and his four brothers, soul man Johnnie Morisette, Sam’s brother L.C. Cooke, and secular R&B recordings by Johnnie Taylor who came to SAR with The Soul Stirrers.

J.W. Alexander saw Carter at a downtown Los Angeles jazz club and suggested he come to SAR’s office on Hollywood Boulevard. Carter showed up the next day and Cooke soon signed him to a recording contract.

Side A:
1. Time Of Young Love (2:51)
2. We’ll Bless Each Day With Our Love (2:38)
3. So Wonderful (1:56)
4. When I Fall In Love (2:37)
5. Twelfth Of Never (2:39)
6. Why I Call Her Mine (2:20)

Side B:
7. When A Boy Falls In Love (2:55)
8. Hold Me (2:25)
9. For Your Love (2:09)
10. Wonderful Love (2:17)
11. After The Parting The Meeting Is Sweeter (2:28)
12. You Can Count On Me (3:13)

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt flashback of an album that is, still today, the epitome of all love songs, opens on the smooth balladry of Time Of Young Love and the gentle toe-tapper We’ll Bless Each Day With Our Love and they are in turned followed by the euphoniously delicious So Wonderful, the soon-to-become, aching standard When I Fall In Love, the first side of this vinyl LP rounding out with the lullaby-esque Twelfth Of Never and the mid-tempo hipsway of Why I Call Her Mine.

The second side opens on the lushly orchestrated, educational, Sam Cooke cover When A Boy Falls In Love and the dancefloor swirl of Hold Me and they are both in turn backed seamlessly by the reaching yearn of For Your Love, then comes the playfully perky pop bounce within Wonderful Love, the recording coming to a close on the forthrightly earnest After The Parting The Meeting Is Sweeter and the finger-snapping, hip-shuffling, velvety tones of Carter on You Can Count On Me.

Now in his early 80s, Carter recalls, “Sam liked my phrasing as I was as adept as he was at fitting the lyric to the melody.” Cooke wrote “When A Boy Falls In Love” and arranged for Carter to track it at United Recording in Hollywood with J. W. Alexander and Fred Smith producing. The February 25, 1963 session was engineered by Bones Howe, who would later work with a wide range of artists including The 5th Dimension, Johnny Rivers, Elvis Presley and Tom Waits.

“When a Boy Falls In Love” was not released on SAR, but rather on the newly established Derby label that Cooke and Alexander, at the urging of SAR office manager Zelda Samuels (and Carter’s future manager), had earmarked for pop-oriented material. By the time summer ended, the single had spent ten weeks on both the Pop and R&B charts and was named a “Breakout Single” by Billboard in June 1963.

To this day, Carter delights in noting, “It was the first crossover record from a black-owned company.” Wink Martindale, the disc jockey who was one of the first to play Elvis Presley on the air in1954 when he was with WHBQ in Memphis, was a popular personality at KFWB, the powerhouse LA Top 40 radio station whose studios were down the street from SAR’s Hollywood office.

Underscoring Mel Carter’s pop/crossover appeal, Martindale was enlisted to write the album’s liner notes, included with the faithfully restored package. R&B scholar Bill Dahl has been enlisted to add current-day liner notes to the LP and CD packages.

The success of “When A Boy Falls In Love,” which spent 10 weeks on the pop chart, begat a full 12-track album, set for reissue under its original title. Produced by Cooke and Alexander, the album includes songs written by Cooke, Alexander, and Samuels as well as some pop standards and “Why I Call Her Mine,” a Mel Carter original composition that would be issued as a single in 1963.

Carter performed “When A Boy Falls In Love” on numerous TV shows including Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, but he was back in Cincinnati when he first heard the song on the radio while cruising Central Avenue in a car full of friends. They screeched to a halt with Mel and friends exiting the vehicle, but not before turning the radio up for all the passers-by to hear his hit.

Today, Mel Carter, who went onto a career marked by a massive hit record (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”) and as an actor with roles on such TV shows as Sanford and Son, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Magnum, P.I., recalls his days at SAR/Derby with great fondness. “Sam Cooke was like an older brother to me; he took care of everybody at the label. It was really like a family for us.”

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Title - American Dust
Artist - Chris Berardo & The DesBerardos

For those unaware, Chris Berardo’s latest album is also his oldest for the New York-born/Connecticut-based singer-songwriter recorded American Dust in 1997.

For its 25th anniversary, Berardo is releasing it digitally for the first time on September 27th, with the first single, Old Man’s Eyes, available across digital media platforms on August 26th.

When Berardo first started performing around New York City in the 80’s he attracted the attention of superstar manager Bill Aucoin (Kiss, Billy Idol), who offered his help and encouragement. Berardo’s bands were always on the verge, but never broke through.

Aucoin helped Berardo move to Los Angeles and get situated in L.A.’s music scene. Berardo honed his songwriting craft working with hit songwriter/producer/ Songwriter’s Hall of Fame member Bob Crewe (Four Seasons, LaBelle).

Returning to New York from Los Angeles, he put together a band with an assortment of New York and Connecticut musicians, including his brothers Marc and Scott, mandolin/lap steel player, and the co-producer of American Dust, Dick Neal (who has produced and played on several subsequent Berardo albums), and bassist Tom Marotta (Indigo Girls). “There was no budget; there was no plan,” Berardo admits. “I just wanted to document this stuff.”

Pristine sound isn’t the point of American Dust. It’s an album about an artist rediscovering the joy of creating music for the sheer love of it. A prime example is the sole live track, Still Your Friend. Recorded at 3 am in Larchmont, NY’s Cellar Bar, as an acoustic duo with his brother Marc, and at the end of the band’s second gig of the day, the track has uneven sound, bar room sounding performance, but it conveys the wholehearted exuberance that is only achieved after a group and its audience are locked in.

The recording is significant to Berardo because “it is just the sort of thing that made me realize what’s good about bringing music to people directly.”

1. American Dust
2. Old Man’s Eyes
3. One Step Closer to Goodbye
4. The Top of the Stairs
5. Is There Anybody Out There
6. Somewhere Down the Line
7. Hard Times for the Lonely
8. She’s Leaving Me
9. Still Your Friend
10. One Chance

Opening on the roots rockin’ acoustic and electric guitar feast that makes up the titular American Dust and the heartwarming, highly personal ode within Old Man’s Eyes, they are seamlessly backed by the Eagles-esque, mid-tempo, balladeering harmonies within One Step Closer to Goodbye, the aching yearn of The Top of the Stairs and then comes the uptempo, yet gentle rocker Is There Anybody Out There.

Next up is the porch swing summer vibe within Somewhere Down the Line and the slow melodic rock of Hard Times for the Lonely which are themselves in turn followed by the heartfelt melodies within She’s Leaving Me, the album rounding out on the acoustically live, near seven minute balladry of Still Your Friend, coming to a close on the foot-tapping storytelling within One Chance.

Of late, Berardo has released a series of singles. His song Somewhere Blue, as well as a knock-out cover of the Badfinger classic Baby Blue, and his gorgeous original holiday tune This Year. These songs were all done in collaboration with longtime Reckless Kelly guitarist, David Abeyta, who also produced Berardo’s upcoming full-length album which will be released in the near future.

Although American Dust has been available over the years, it has been only on a small scale - like merch stands. It’s understandable why Berardo is excited about bringing these songs, which come from such a pivotal time in his career and life, to a larger audience.

“When I hear American Dust, it actually gives me a wonderful feeling,” he confides. “I think, well look at this: you wrote 10 songs you’re really proud of, recorded them, and started a cool band that’s lasted essentially to this day. So that gives me a very happy feeling.”

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Title - Manhattan Whispers
Artist - Yola Nash

For those unaware, Yola Nash’s new album Manhattan Whispers blends and blurs the lines between Jazz, Pop, Latin and Eastern European colors as she expertly crafts a personal musical style that is simply irresistible.

Indeed, it is the Polish-born jazz singer-songwriter’s eagerly awaited third studio album as a leader and she produced the project with Grammy-winning musicians and producers Edsel Gomez (Dee Dee Bridgewater) and Lonnie Park.

The unique smooth jazz artist’s style is stamped with her signature seductive sound, and her exotic delivery is flavored with Eastern European folk and brilliantly anchored in the Latin grooves.

Furthermore, Yola wrote all of the lyrics for eight of the nine songs, the lone song on Manhattan Whispers not penned by Yola being Truth Tango, a cabaret-like track that she describes as “musical exploration.”

Indeed, it is set to a beautiful theatrical poem by an award-winning Poet, Writer, Poetry Film Director, Fella Cederbaum, the music written by the author, a unique musical collaboration of which Yola is so very proud of having on her new album.

1. Manhattan Whispers
2. Lovers In Paris
3. Still Love You
4. World On Fire
5. Pray For Love
6. Angel’s Tears
7. So In Love
8. Truth Tango
9. Wonderful Life

This lushly orchestrated, delightfully Parisian in its overall construction, infectiously-imbibed, Latin-tinged work of musical art opens on the titular Manhattan Whispers and that Parisian-embodiment continues onward within the dance floor rumba Lovers In Paris and the swing embodiment of Still Love You, with the, at first, aching balladry, the next a fully upbeat and melodious ride within World On Fire and the gentle roustabout of Pray For Love both along next.

Next up on Yola’s quite stunning new album is the heartfelt yearning within the ballad Angel’s Tears which is itself followed by the buoyant jazz-pop vibe of So In Love, the album rounding out on the forthright melodies and rhythms within the aptly-named Truth Tango, coming to a close on the beautifully harmonic coming together of her multi-faceted skill set on Wonderful Life.

She is also joined on the album by the masterful pianist Edsel Gomez who serves as her music director. Gomez tailored powerful musical soundscapes around the award-winning jazz chanteuse’s passionate vocals. Also on the album are Grammy nominated accordionist Alex Meixner, guitarist Graham Keir, bassist Dave Baron, and Grammy–winning drummer-percussionist Luisito Quintero (Chick Corea).

Yola Nash - Manhattan Whispers [Official Music Video]

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Title - From A Window To A Screen
Artist - Kirsten Lambert

For those unaware, From a Window to a Screen is the debut album by North Carolina chanteuse Kirsten Lambert.

Produced and written by noted producer Chris Stamey, the predominantly acoustic jazz collection features performances by Bill Frisell (guitar) and a North Carolina jazz dream team of Will Campbell (saxes), John Brown (bass), Jim Crew (piano), and Dan Davis (drums), along with special appearances by Nels Cline (treated and untreated guitars), Django Haskins (harmonies), Brent Lambert (nylon-string guitar), Allyn Love (steel), Matt Douglas (bass clarinet), and James Wallace (additional drums).

Recorded in performance at the renowned Fidelitorium Studio and then completed at Modern Recording, the album is finally due out October 28th, 2022.

I like finding the moment a song goes from hopeful to heartache, Kirsten says of her upcoming release, which features new songs Stamey wrote especially for this outing. These, including What Is this Music that I Hear? and the bossa nova-styled waltz The Woman Who Walks the Sea, join others reimagined from his earlier catalog, including the smoky, noir title cut (which itself might well have been a reimagining of the old Icicle Works album From A Whisper To A Scream).

Although optimism is at hand in uptempo numbers such as There’s Not a Cloud in the Sky, heartache is also not in short supply in reflective ballads such as 27 Years in a Single Day and I Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love with You.

And Lambert’s effortless and highly personal interpretations display an intimate knowledge of the material; with her resonant and expressive alto, she has clearly made it her own.

1. What Is This Music That I Hear?
2. On An Evening Such As This
3. The Woman Who Walks The Sea
4. Occasional Shivers
5. Insomnia
6. Song For Johnny Cash
7. I Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love With You
8. There’s Not A Cloud In The Sky
9. From A Window To A Screen
10. There’s A Love
11. 27 Years In A Single Day
12. And I Love Him

This ornately sculptured, Karen Carpenter-esque imbibed album of pure, and unadulterated light jazz gossamer from the North Carolina chanteuse Kirsten Lambert opens on the simply breathtaking What Is This Music That I Hear? and the lushly opulent On An Evening Such As This, and those are in turn followed by the sumptuous The Woman Who Walks The Sea, the breathy, late night smoky club vibe of Occasional Shivers, the veritably shimmering Insomnia (featuring Bill Frisell and Nels Cline), and then we get the gently luxuriant Song For Johnny Cash.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from this debut set, the delicately dignified I Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love With You and the upbeat folly of the free flowing There’s Not A Cloud In The Sky, which are in turn followed by the lavishly cinematic, softly aureate musings within the titular From A Window To A Screen (featuring Bill Frisell), the softly endearing There’s A Love, the album rounding out all too soon on the quietly enigmatic, tender dance floor swirl of 27 Years In A Single Day, closing on the graceful balladry of And I Love Him.

Bill Frisell layers and weaves his distinctive hypnotic textures on Insomnia and steps up for a classic solo on the dB’s classic From a Window to a Screen.

The album’s melodic and lyrical twists harken back to the era of the Great American Songbook. In fact, its harmonic language would not be out of place in such a setting, and Stamey’s Nelson Riddle- and Gordon Jenkins-inspired string arrangements underline this kinship.

And Harry Connick, Jr.-alumni Will Campbell’s sax solos make every chordal connection catch fire, his improvisations, recorded live with the rest, seem both startling and inevitable.

Official Kirsten Lambert Trailer: From a Window to a Screen

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Title - Music For Hope
Artist - Amjad Ali Khan-Wu Man

For those unaware, Pipa Virtuoso Wu Man and Sarod Grand Master Amjad Ali Khan blend Chinese and Indian music traditions on new recording Music for Hope, released by Zoho Records on September 23rd, 2022.

The cultural dominance of China and India in Asia stretches back thousands of years. Their musics are quite distinct though they share many significant features, especially highly developed modal systems.

Because these find their most sophisticated expression in single melodic lines, often improvised, it is often asserted that they lack harmony, but that is an over-simplification, as this recording demonstrates. Harmony means so many different things, not only within music theories, but also on a human level.

These musicians, from diverse musical traditions, are already seeking harmony by coming together to make a new music, and are finding it by responding to each other in their musical creativity. Harmony is a joining together of peoples and cultures, not just musical phrases and responses.

The principal aim of this project is to support the AAPI movement and raise awareness of its struggle, which can be seen as the restoration of harmony amid the discord created by discrimination, victimisation and violence. AAPI stands for Asian-American and Pacific Islander, a group that comprises dozens of ethnicities and many more languages and dialects, harmonised by their common objective of resisting discrimination.

The musicians expressing this power of music, transcending national boundaries, are leading virtuosi on their instruments, and all have ventured extensively into cross-cultural collaborations.

Both Wu Man and Shane Shanahan are founding members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad project, and Wu Man remains an active touring and teaching member of the Silkroad Ensemble. Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, represent the sixth and seventh generations of a family of sarod masters.

1. Stream Of Love
2. Rhythm Of Life
3. Beyond Borders
4. Maya
5. Of Tradition and Heritage

This heartfelt, and genuinely organic new album opens on the acutely melodic, spiritually Indian, veritably shimmering Stream Of Love and the more rhythmically-imbibed, Eastern-influenced Rhythm Of Life and they are seamlessly followed by the stoic, at times, almost ethereal for the most part, work within Beyond Borders, the album rounding out on the almost cinematic Maya, coming to a close on the gently frenetic mysticism’s within Of Tradition and Heritage.

To allow you into the thinking of the actual creators, here are their very own thoughts on each track: On Stream of Love, Wu Man, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash follow the Indian structure of a slow improvised opening section in free rhythm, in the pentatonic North Indian Raga Durga, to which Wu Man responds with improvisations in the corresponding Chinese pentatonic mode.

On Rhythm of Life, Wu Man, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash are joined by Shane Shanahan for a rhythmic composition and further improvisations in Raga Durga, with drum accompaniment.

In Beyond Borders, Amjad Ali Khan and Wu Man follow the same structure, starting with a slow improvised section in free rhythm, this time in the South Indian Raga Vachaspati, which uses a seven-note scale, with a sharp fourth and flat seventh, and a touch of the flat sixth. Wu Man effortlessly extends her pitch set accordingly in her improvisations, thereby dispelling the misconception that Chinese music is all pentatonic.

On Maya, Amjad Ali Khan and Wu Man are joined by Shane Shanahan for a rhythmic composition and further improvisations in Raga Vachaspati, with drum accompaniment.

In the final track Of Tradition and Heritage, the spirit of improvisation and search for new harmonies are perhaps at their freest. Amjad Ali Khan, Wu Man and Shane Shanahan combine melody and rhythm in the Raga Zila Kafi, a relatively flexible classical structure that uses a seven-note scale, akin to the D-mode, with the possibility of introducing sharpened or flattened versions of notes.

The five tracks on the recording capture the spontaneity of improvisation while retaining and honoring structural traditions. The project expanded to include contributions and improvisations from Mr. Ali Khan’s sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who are seventh generation sarod musicians, and American percussionist Shane Shanahan.

Amjad Ali Khan sarod (3, 4, 5)
Wu Man pipa (1-5)
Amaan Ali Bangash sarod (1, 2)
Ayaan Ali Bangash sarod (1, 2)
Shane Shanahan percussion (5)

Despite obvious differences in appearance, the Indian sarod and Chinese pipa (Wu Man’s instrument) are leading members of the plucked lute extended family. The pipa is made of wood, pear-shaped, with a fretted fingerboard and four strings; the sarod has a narrower wooden body, covered with goatskin, and a fretless metal fingerboard, the key factor in enabling the slides that are essential to Indian music.

In addition to the playing strings there are drone strings and an extra set of sympathetic strings.

Both Wu Man and Amjad Ali Khan and his family have contributed enormously towards the establishment of their instruments on the world stage. Hope, looking to a better future, is expressed by these five artists through this coming together; their harmony is immediate.

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Amjad Ali Khan @ Facebook

Title - Chant For Our Planet
Artist - Marco Pignataro

For those unaware, from murmuring brooks to the eruption of scalding magma, sound is ubiquitous on our planet. What is more, according to satellite data - scientists theorize that sound waves may have been present at the beginning of the universe.

Since antiquity, philosophers and poets have explored the fundamental link and life here on planet earth. Mother Nature indeed has a rich spectrum of timbres, rhythms, and beats, that you can hear if you pause and listen. There is music all around us. There is music in our midst.

But sometimes we need a jolt, a reminder that we are not above nature but part of it. Not just spectators but musicians in the symphony of earth.

Marco Pignataro’s Chant for Our Planet (out October 21st, 2022 via Zoho Music) is a stirring, magnificent music opus. It’s also a clarion call for better stewardship of our shared home, our planet.

Indeed, this was Pignataro’s mission upon creating this work that was commissioned by the Tällberg Foundation, which seeks to inspire positive climate action and nurture innovation by exploring societal challenges through the prism of music.

“Jazz music has historically been a powerful artistic medium to inspire, educate, empower and advocate for social change in our community. Using jazz to advocate for reforming climate policies is now a mandate for conscientious artists to inspire more care for our world,” says Pignataro.

1. Suite Terra - Mare - Cielo I: Terra (Earth) (7:24) (John Patitucci)
2. Suite Terra - Mare - Cielo II: Mare (Sea) (3:26) (John Patitucci)
3. Suite Terra - Mare - Cielo III: Cielo (Sky) (7:19) (John Patitucci)
4. Agua de Beber (5:35) (Jobim/De Moraes. Arr. Edmar Colon)
5. Moon Threads (11:25) (Marco Pignataro. Arr. Chase Morrin, M. Pignataro)
6. As It Should Be (9:51) (Joe Lovano)
7. Nature Boy (3:00) (Eden Ahbez. Arr. M. Pignataro)
8. On Irene’s Path (6:29)
9. Chant for Our Planet (Agua Falando) (1:50) (Edmar Colon - Nadia Washington)

Opening on the Suite trilogy: Terra – Mare – Cielo (Earth – Sea – Sky), composed for this project by John Patitucci, the elegant, evocative tour-de-force, which immediately sets the asserting tone of the album is truly something to audibly behold. Terra is an ornately polished work, a somewhat mournful bass clarinet then brings us Mare, with the layered fluidity of playing within Cielo being the empathetic statement’s full stop of the trio.

Up next is Agua de Beber (water to drink), which is itself a well-known piece by Antônio Carlos Jobim, which here is now a translucent work of fashioned musical art, especially given that Nadia Washington vocally gives all she has on it.

Then we get the eleven minute Moon Threads, a thoughtful musical meditation of the highest order and one that is followed by a sensitive reading by Pignataro, and that is itself backed by the stratified musical jam As It Should Be; which begins as a pedaling, pensive number that builds with intensity throughout, finally bringing us the grooves that it has always been alluding to.

Next up is the dutifully reconditioned, and one that now opens with a solo tenor improvisation that leads to the main theme of Nature Boy, which itself was the first song recorded by Nat King Cole. Furthermore, it was composed by Eden Ahbez in 1947 as an ode to Lebensreform, which was a reform movement that propagated an organic way of life such as being a vegetarian and sensible farming. Featuring Marco’s searching solo tenor saxophone reflections, the melody of the song is fully stated with poignancy and somberness.

Bringing the recording to a close are both the drum-led On Irene’s Path, which is Pignataro’s composition wholly inspired by Hurricane Irene and its aftermath. From West Africa to the Americas, this destructive hurricane caused significant damage and thus here the band plays seamlessly together, a blended brew of virtuosos riffing counterpoint by Marco on soprano sax and Lovano on tenor sax; and then closing the album is the short, but sweet Chant for Our Planet (Agua Falando), which is an unapologetic anthem/call to action to respect and protect Mother Nature.

Creating such a lofty project requires an artist with a global outlook. After all, humans drew the borders between countries, but music helps us see past these lines and to recognize our shared existence.

An acclaimed saxophonist and composer, Pignataro hails from Bologna, Italy and served previously as professor & founding Director of the Jazz & Caribbean Department at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico.

Together with Danilo Perez, he presently co-leads the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) at Berklee College of Music in Boston. His passport has been stamped the world over, as he has traveled extensively as a touring artist and performed with the likes of Eddie Gomez, Billy Hart and Rufus Reid, among many others.

Pignataro assembled a veritable cast of jazz all-stars for this special project: John Patitucci (bass), Joe Lovano (saxophone), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) and Chico Pinheiro (guitar), as well as the emerging talents of Anastassiya Petrova (piano) and Nadia Washington (vocals), both alumni and faculty at the BGJI. And wow, does the band ever come together for this inspired work.

Marco Pignataro - soprano, alto and tenor sax
Joe Lovano - tenor sax, bass clarinet, alto flute, mezzo soprano sax
John Patitucci - bass
Terri Lyne Carrington - drums
Chico Pinheiro - guitar
Nadia Washington - voice
Anastassiya Petrova - piano

Chant for Our Planet is a watershed project. It follows in the tradition of jazz music being leveraged for social change. Pignataro has picked up the baton (and his saxophone) and forged ahead, paving a new direction for jazz.

The challenge of our times is making sure our planet is safe and secure for future generations. That an artist of Pignataro’s caliber has offered his talents to such a noble cause is remarkable. It’s been a joy to help Pignataro on his quest.

May his music inspire many more to take action towards protecting Mother Nature for future generations.

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Title - Cuban Sketches For Piano
Artist - Leo Brouwer & Mariel Mayz

For those unaware, to know contemporary classical music is to know Leo Brouwer. An acclaimed Cuban composer, conductor, Brouwer has long been celebrated as a modern-day Mozart who has birthed an inimitable body of work.

While he has composed for a variety of formats, from quartets to orchestras, Brouwer’s canon is most widely associated with the guitar. For starters, he is a terrific classical guitarist whose teachers come from impressive lineage.

His teacher’s teacher’s teacher was Francisco Tárrega, widely considered “the father of classical guitar.” As the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

But to truly know Brouwer is to also know that he has also composed exquisite works for solo piano. Enter, Mariel Mayz. She is a remarkable pianist, composer, and teacher who has performed at venerable institutions such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

She even wrote a chamber opera that premiered during New York Opera Fest. She helped to start Porto Pianofest, an annual piano festival in Porto, Portugal. Like Brouwer, she wears many hats and moves deftly among these roles.

Quite naturally, Mayz first became aware of Brouwer via his guitar compositions. Some of these impactful compositions include “El Decamerón Negro”, “Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt”, “Tríptico”, and the “Estudios Sencillos.”

Mayz heard some of these selections performed by João Luiz, a fellow ZOHO label Artist, and was thoroughly impressed. “I came to truly experience the detailed layers, references, and unequivocal finesse of Brouwer’s sound world,” she says.

In fact, she credits Luiz for suggesting that she learn Brouwer’s Diez Bocetos for solo piano. “This music was utterly idiomatic, imaginative, and brilliant,” she reflects.

Ergo, the just-released Cuban Sketches for Piano is a thoughtful, elegantly rendered piano solo album that features world premieres of two multi-part pieces: “Diez Bocetos” and Nuevos Bocetos para Piano.

Listening to these works is surely an awakening, as you’ll come to see Brouwer in a new light. And you’ll no doubt be enveloped by Mayz’s magical virtuosity as a performer and composer on this production.

Leo Brouwer: Diez Bocetos (Ten Sketches)
1. Boceto No.1 Raúl Milián (2:59)
2. Boceto No.2 René Portocarrero (2:08)
3. Boceto No.3 Nelson Domínguez (6:18)
4. Boceto No.4 Acosta León (4:35)
5. Boceto No.5 (Choco) Eduardo Roca (3:09)
6. Boceto No.6 Mendive (2:46)
7. Boceto No.7 Cabrera Moreno (4:22)
8. Boceto No.8 Fabelo (3:23)
9. Boceto No.9 Carlos Enríquez (2:58)
10. Boceto No.10 Raúl Martínez (4:03)

11. Mariel Mayz: Variations on a Theme by Brouwer (12:34)

Leo Brouwer: Nuevos Bocetos para Piano (New Sketches for Piano)
12. No.3 Leonel Lopez Nussa (3:56)
13. No.4 Antonia Eiriz (5:41)
14. No.5 Amelia Pelaez (7:35)

15. Leo Brouwer: An Idea (Passacaglia for Eli) arr. Mariel Mayz 3:2

Opening on Diez Bocetos (“Ten Sketches”), these were composed by Brouwer between 1961 and 2007, ultimately published by his own publishing imprint Ediciones Espiral Eternal. There’s a lot packed into each selection. Not only is each piece numbered but each is titled after a Cuban visual artist.

Each is also dedicated to another individual. For example, “a Egberto Gismonti”, “a Chucho Valdez”, and “a Isabelle, mi mujer.” Brouwer imbues his music with even more vitality, notating passages when the performer should improvise: for example,“Improvisación (ad. lib.)” and “Cadenza ad. Lib. (alla Gismonti).”

Mayz performs these ten pieces with aplomb, navigating complex chromaticism and sprawling jumps with precision. Boceto No.1 is an opulent, if not purposefully acute to the ear work, Boceto No.2 is a free flowing work of musical art, Boceto No. 3 is particularly moving, in and unto itself, and Mayz performs it with a tender touch and reflective balance, Boceto No.4 starts off quietly, but soon flourishes, and Boceto No.5 is an ornate, yet playful number, without a shadow of a doubt.

Continuing along, and Boceto No.6 is one of the sterner pieces, and the beginning rumblings of Boceto No. 7 are a pure joy to behold, with the tranquility found within Boceto No. 8 a dulcet pleasure to behold, the kaleidoscopic habanera of Boceto No. 9 yet another mesmerizing work, the work closing on the gently fervent, yet sculptured and controlled key work within Boceto No.10.

With the world premiere of Variations on a Theme by Brouwer, we meet Mayz the composer, who wrote these variations based on Brouwer’s melancholic theme from Dia de Noviembre, the 1972 movie directed by Humberto Solás.

The piece begins with the well-known opening, and as it moves to the B section, Mayz reveals her variations, which unfold thoughtfully throughout. Variation 1 is notated “Lontano; unanticipated” and showcases Mayz writing with a new compositional language.

Each variation moves seamlessly to the next. No doubt, you can hear Brouwer’s inspiration in passages with this trademark of angular, melodic cells. Yet these themes have the texture of something more: rhythmic chords, brash tonal tensions, rich improvisations, and a panoramic understanding of Latin America’s musical traditions and stream-of-consciousness soundscapes.

Nuevos Bocetos Para Piano (“New Sketches for Piano”) are three Brouwer pieces completed in 2021 and sent to Mayz in early 2022. They have a similar structure as “Diez Bocetos” with intriguing and vivid passages. Each selection is also given the name of a Cuban visual artists.

That they are numbered 3 through 5 suggests that there must be two bocetos that haven’t yet been made public by Brouwer. Mayz performs these three pieces with alacrity. For the sprightly Nuevos Boceto No. 3, not only is Mayz’s intrepidness on full display, moving with thought and yet as if it’s second nature, but the key work here is veritably hypnotic.

The encapsulating, almost ethereal work within No. 4 makes it one of my own personal favorites here and also comes complete with a gravitas that renders this work flawlessly opaque and generously giving, whilst the enigmatic No. 5 is a searing and searching piece that Mayz brings to life to full effect.

“An Idea” (Passacaglia for Eli) is Brouwer’s stirring tribute to Eli Kassner, a Canadian guitarist on his seventy-fifth birthday in 1999. Mayz was drawn to this particular piece because of a peculiar notation in measure eighteen: “quasi fiorituri Chopiniana,” which means “almost flowering Chopiniana.”

That, of course, refers to the Chopin-like embellishments familiar to pianists such as Mayz. To be sure, “An Idea” has become a recurring one at her shows, as Mayz likes to program this striking number at her concerts.

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Title - Upon Further Reflection
Artist - John Wilson

For those unaware, the dynamic young American pianist John Wilson first encountered Michael Tilson Thomas in 2015 when he was a fellow with the New World Symphony.

John’s protégé status quickly evolved to that of close confidant and collaborator, leading to this solo debut album featuring the world-premiere recording of the title track, MTT’s three-movement suite for piano, Upon Further Reflection.

MTT explains innumerable influences that are embedded throughout the work, including the piano music of Debussy and Schumann, bossa nova, gamelan, ragas, Monteverdi, Berg and Peggy Lee’s rendition of the song Alley Cat, all of which flowed together in a way that seemed completely natural, to me anyway, Wilson says.

In 2019, John premiered a portion of Upon Further Reflection that was broadcast live on MediciTV to an audience of over 50,000. John embellishes the album’s Americana theme with two titans of the solo piano repertoire - Aaron Copland’s early Piano Sonata - a work lesser-heard than the composer’s other works for solo piano - and Earl Wild’s virtuoso arrangements of seven of George Gershwin’s most iconic tunes.

1-3 Upon Further Reflection (24:11) [Michael Tilson Thomas]
4-10 7 Virtuoso Etudes after George Gershwin (20:52) [Earl Wild]
11-13 Piano Sonata (24:07) [Aaron Copland]

Beginning with the titular, and world premiere recording of the near twenty-five minute Upon Further Reflection, a piece that itself opens on the playfully perky, at times sternly ornate Bygone Beguine (1973), that is itself backed by the more serene Sunset Soliloquy (Whitsett Avenue, 1963) and the mischievous musings within You Come Here Often? (Hello Stranger, 1977).

The ornately scattered Liza opens the seven Virtuoso Etudes after George Gershwin, the splendidly opulent Somebody Loves along next and they are in turn followed by the delicately free flowing The Man I Love, the ornately joyful, veritably shimmering Embraceable You, the quietly elegant Lady Be Good, before the tempo is raised for the flirtatiously fervent I Got Rhythm, the works culminating in the expertly melodiously crafted work within the foot-tapping Fascinatin’ Rhythm.

The recording comes to a close on the first of the three Piano Sonata’s, the stern, at times burgeoning, and yet always forthright and rhythmic Molto moderato, the sprightly Vivace, itself coming to a close on the eleven minute keyed master work within Andante Sostenuto.

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Title - The Scriabin Mystery
Artist - Vincent Larderet

For those unaware, The Scriabin Mystery is brought to vivid life by acclaimed French pianist Vincent Larderet and celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Russian composer.

Making his AVIE debut, Larderet presents a comprehensive survey of the scope of Scriabin’s output and the evolution of his style, from his early, post-Romantic works influenced by Chopin and Liszt, through to the modernism of the 20th century in his final works.

His harmonies famously colored by his synesthesia, Scriabin’s craft was a revolutionary fusion of freedom of expression underpinned by a sense of unity and geometric proportion, his psychologically complex constructions infused with incandescence and mysticism.

Scriabin’s music has long held pride of place in Larderet’s repertoire. He offers a brilliant and broad overview of the composer’s evolution in chronological sequence, revealing the mystery of one of the most visionary composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Scriabin’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 43, leaving his final work, Acte préalable, unfinished. Long thought lost, the sketches were re-discovered by composer and musicologist Manfred Kelkel, who used the material for his composition Tombeau de Scriabine. Vincent includes the Prelude of this work as a touching encore to The Scriabin Mystery.

1. Etude in C-Sharp Minor Op.2 No.1 (3:17)
2. Etude in F-Sharp Minor Op.8 No.2 (1:44)
3. Etude in B-Flat Minor Op.8 No.11 (4:08)
4-5. Prelude & Nocturne for the left hand, Op. 9 [I. Prelude: Andante / II. Nocturne: Andante] (7:22)
6-7. Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 19 "Sonata Fantasy" [I. Andante / II. Presto] (13:24]
8. Etude in C-Sharp Minor Op. 42 No. 5 (3:47)
9. Piano Sonata No. 7 Op. 64 “White Mass” (15:07)
10. Piano Sonata No. 9 Op. 68 “Black Mass” (10:50)
11. ’Vers la flamme’ Op. 72 (“Poeme”) (6:16)
12-16. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 [I. Douloureux, déchirant / II. Très lent, contemplatif / III. Allegro drammatico / IV. Lent, vague, indécis / V. Fier, belliquex] (8:18)
17. ’Tombeau de Scriabine’ Op. 22: I. Prelude (5:16)

Opening on the delightfully rich opulence of Etude in C-Sharp Minor Op.2 No.1, the forthright, yet playful Etude in F-Sharp Minor Op.8 No.2 and the finale of the trio, the gently-orchestrated, harmoniously-imbibed Etude in B-Flat Minor Op.8 No.11, those are seamlessly backed by the the sweetly-enthralling two-hander Prelude & Nocturne for the left hand, Op. 9: I. Prelude: Andante and Nocturne: Andante.

Up next is the beautiful pairing of Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 19 "Sonata Fantasy" Andante and the prosperously thriving Presto and they are in turn backed by the soaring Etude in C-Sharp Minor Op. 42 No. 5, and then we get the ten minute, sternly pointed, yet delicately balanced Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 64 “White Mass,” and the quieter, much more controlled, yet still gently fervent within the darkness Piano Sonata No. 9 Op. 68 “Black Mass.”

Rounding out the work is the flinty, hard-edged approach within ’Vers la flamme’ Op. 72 (“Poeme”), the recording coming to a close on five Preludes, Op. 74; the first being the spiky Douloureux, déchirant, then comes the softer touch of Très lent, contemplatif, the aptly-named, short but controlled Allegro drammatico, the aching yearn within Lent, vague, indécis, and finally the free flowing Fier, belliquex.

However, in addition to those wondrously crafted tracks we also get treated to the exquisitely graceful work ’Tombeau de Scriabine’ Op. 22: I. Prelude, the extra bonus tracks being two Dances, Op. 73: I. Guirlandes, a playfully delicate number, and II. Flammes sombres, the sterner of the two pieces.

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Title - Man On A Mission
Artist - Hezron

For those unaware, Montego Bay, Jamaica raised vocalist, songwriter and producer Hezron Clarke will be releasing his album, M.O.A.M. (Man on a Mission), on August 19th, 2022 via Tad’s Record (Ernie Ranglin, Tanya Stephens).

Recorded in Reggae’s birthplace, Kingston Jamaica, M.O.A.M. features some of Jamaica’s greatest musicians including Dean Fraser (saxophone), Kirk “Kirkle Dove” Bennett (drums), Donald “Danny Bassie” Dennis (bass), Mitchum Khan (guitar), Carol “Bowie” McLaughlin (keyboards) and Robbie Lyn (keyboards).

On a lyrical front, the album embodies feel-good vibes with motivational and inspirational concepts that encourage patience and resilience.

1. Man On A Mission
2. House Of The Rising Sun
3. Plant A Seed
4. Tik Tok I’m Coming
5. Blame It On The Wine
6. Taxi Driver (ft. Dean Fraser)
7. Stronger In Love (ft. Dean Fraser)
8. Made For The Battle (ft. Turbulence)
9. Kuja Nyumbani (I Want To Go Home)
10. Smile Today
11. Black Widow
12. Warriors Code (ft. Tony Skrelunas, ’Navajo’ and Gabriel Yavia ’Hopi’)
13. Holding On (Grandpa’s Chair)
14. Save The Children
15. One Day Outta Seven
16. Resilience
17. Walk In Love And Light

This expertly sculptured, heartfelt and organic new album opens on the brilliant reggae hipsway of the titular Man On A Mission (a song about his personal journey as a goal oriented person) and a refreshingly wonderful rendition of The Animals’ House Of The Rising Sun and then he follows those up with the reggae-pop bounce of Plant A Seed, the loving, R&B-laced balladry within Tik Tok I’m Coming, the mid-tempo rhythms of Blame It On The Wine, and then comes my own personal favorite, the free flowing, Marley-esque Taxi Driver.

Up next is the melodious Stronger In Love and the sterner Made For The Battle and they are in turn backed by the informative pleas within Kuja Nyumbani (I Want To Go Home), the upbeat Smile Today, the rhythmic Black Widow, the gently rapped storytelling within Warriors Code, the earnest Holding On (Grandpa’s Chair), Save The Children (a heartfelt commentary on the alarming number of brutal acts committed against the youth), the album rounding out on the sunny reggae-pop bounce flow of One Day Outta Seven, the aching mid-tempo balladry within Resilience, coming to a close on the acoustically-imbibed Walk In Love And Light.

With inspiration from classic soul artists such as Luther Vandross, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, to 90’s favorites KC and Jojo and Dave Hollister to iconic Jamaican singers Beres Hammond and Dennis Brown, Hezron has embodied his own classic vocal and musical style while taking notes from some of the greats.

Hezron released his debut album The Life I Live(d) on Tad’s Record in 2015. His return to the label with M.O.A.M. unites two established Jamaican brands, each committed to proving that quality reggae with the potential for widespread global appeal is still being made in the music’s birthplace.

Although many younger Jamaican artists embrace trap and hip-hop over indigenous reggae and dancehall, a stark contrast to the proliferation of young American reggae bands, especially in California, Tad’s Record founder Tad Dawkins is determined to see Jamaican reggae restored to prominence internationally.

It’s an objective he firmly believes will be fulfilled with the release of M.O.A.M. “Hezron is trying to pivot to a wider audience and propel his achievements to the next level. He has that fire in him and he is going to make it work because he is a man on a mission,” states Tad.

“M.O.A.M (Man on a Mission), in its truest sense, is a mission to bring back great Jamaican music and musicianship to the mainstream,” offers Hezron. “It’s a reminder of where reggae is supposed to be in the world.”

Hezron Clarke - Man On A Mission (Official Video)

Hezron Clarke - Resilience (Official Video)

Hezron Clarke - Save The Children (Official Video)

Hezron Clarke - Tik Tok I’m Coming (Official Video)

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Title - A Shade Of Jade
Artist - Rebecca Jade

For those unaware, Neo soul singer Rebecca Jade shares her songbook on her brand new album, A Shade of Jade this coming October 14th, 2022.

Vocalist Rebecca Jade has carried a journal in her backpack ever since she was a college athlete at UC Berkley. She journaled her thoughts, feelings, reflections and experiences in the form of poetry and song lyrics.

However, although she sang and came up with the album title A Shade of Jade, she didn’t consider herself to be a songwriter and didn’t have the confidence to put out original material, so she just toted the notebook around thinking one day.

That day has arrived. Jade opened the pages of her journal to create the R&B, jazz and pop songs that she wrote and co-produced with Carnell Harrell for A Shade of Jade, which will be released via LadyJade Music.

1. Show Me
2. Please Come Home
3. My Reason (ft. Dave Koz)
4. What’s It Gonna Be
5. Drift Away
6. Thankful
7. Beautiful Lies
8. Bottle Up Magic (ft. Eric Darius)
9. Other Side of the Moon
10. Insane

This expertly sculptured, heartfelt and organic new album opens on the soulfully-charged grooves within Show Me and the lushly orchestrated tones of Please Come Home and follows those up seamlessly with the euphonious My Reason (featuring Grammy Award Nominated, Multi-Platinum selling jazz icon Dave Koz), the absolutely beautiful, mid-tempo soul rhythms within What’s It Gonna Be, and the delicate, wispy gossamer of Drift Away.

Up next on this simply divine, veritably heavenly album is the atmospheric Thankful and the soaring Beautiful Lies and they are in turn followed by an old school bluesy jazz vibe within Bottle Up Magic (featuring International jazz recording artist, Eric Darius), the album coming to an all too soon close on the R&B hipsway of Other Side of the Moon and the smoothly funky Insane.

The bare bones of a couple of the songs on this album have been sitting and waiting patiently to come to life in a lyric book from many years ago, Rebecca reveals. I knew in my heart that I had something to say that might resonate with others.

I have had the title for this album since college, and I wasn’t even doing music at the time. With this being my first album that I wrote and co-produced, I feel like it represents who I am because I have so many different styles of music that have influenced me and make their way into my music. This album is one of, hopefully, many ’shades of me’.

Rebecca’s songs on A Shade of Jade are personal, visceral, emotional and motivational. Melody-rich harmonies emoted skillfully with warmth, passion, urgency and ardor, her voice reflects the authentic heart and soul of a confident and courageous woman; an artist desiring to connect with listeners via intimate stories, resonate themes and messages of hope and inspiration.

Rebecca dares to make herself vulnerable, loves, desires and fantasizes freely, confronts brazenly, celebrates with gratitude in the face of loss, and empowers strength and resilience.

What’s It Gonna Be - Rebecca Jade [Official Music Video]

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Title - Icarus and Other Music
Artist - Elena Ruehr

For those unaware, Composer Elena Ruehr adds to her extensive discography with Icarus and Other Music, an album of chamber music infused with hints of history, legendary literature and close collaborations with a multitude of musical colleagues.

Throughout, history elides with the present day, and Elena’s sumptuous and evocative compositional voice shines through.

The repertoire revolves around the string quartet, a genre that generated great acclaim for Elena’s Six String Quartets.

1. String Quartet No. 7: A Thousand Cranes (2019) (14:04)

2. Icarus for clarinet and string quartet (2018) (11:38)

The Worlds Revolve for piano and string quartet (2016)
3. I. The Worlds Revolve (3:56)
4. II. Like Ancient Women (3:13)
5. III. Gathering Fuel (4:38)
6. IV. In Vacant Lots (7:25)

Insect Dances: Suite for String Quartet No. 8 (2020)
7. I. Spider Swing (2:45)
8. II. Dragonfly Flit (2:15)
9. III. Wasp Stomp (2:29)
10. IV. Bumblebee Boogie-Woogie (2:51)
11. V. Lady Bug Waltz (1:51)
12. VI. Grasshopper Polka (2:19)

This expertly sculptured, heartfelt and organic new album - which was actually made possible with support from the MIT SHASS Research Fund - opens on the stirring, veritably translucent at times String Quartet No. 7: A Thousand Cranes and then brings us the aching yearn within the comprehensively earnest Icarus for clarinet and string quartet.

Up next is the the four-piece The Worlds Revolve for piano and string quartet which opens on the delicately playful The Worlds Revolve and then brings us the full on, all be they sterner (at times), orchestrated majesties within Like Ancient Women, then we get the melodic fervency of Gathering Fuel, the work closing on the flinty, quietly foreboding at times, rhythmically soaring at others, In Vacant Lots.

This simply wondrous new recording comes to a close on the six-part Insect Dances: Suite for String Quartet No. 8, the first piece being the playful Spider Swing and that is backed by the flirtatiously-ornate musings within Dragonfly Flit, the aptly entitled urgency of Wasp Stomp, the delightful ebb and flow romp within Bumblebee Boogie-Woogie, rounding out on the pure, unadulterated gossamer of Lady Bug Waltz and the perky, buoyant, and statically-charged Grasshopper Polka.

Elena’s String Quartet No. 7: A Thousand Cranes, evokes experiences and resilience of children in wartime, including the internment of Japanese in American camps, and her own father’s escape from Nazi Germany. Her playful Insect Dances: Suite for String Quartet No. 8 – “written for listeners of all ages” – finds a diverse family of bugs engaged in an impish dinner party.

Inspired by T. S. Eliot, The Worlds Revolve, for piano and string quartet, conjures elements both ancient and prescient. The title track, Icarus for clarinet and string quartet, centers on the Greek mythological character’s excitement as he builds his wings of wax and dares to fly, rather than his dark demise as he flies too close to the sun.

Jon Manasse, clarinet
Donald Berman, piano
Borromeo String Quartet
Delgani String Quartet
Arneis Quartet
Tom Stone, violin

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Title - Completion
Artist - Griffin Woodard Group

For those unaware, Griffin Woodard’s debut album, 𝑪𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, is an uninhibited, autobiographical recount of potent memories and experiences that shaped the course of his life. The 10 original compositions and 1 arrangement chronicle Woodard’s formative experiences and lessons in love, isolation, connection, and spirituality.

“The Completion album has nothing to do with endings. The word completion means to me, spiritual wholeness,” states Woodard.

The journey on the 11 tracks from Little Angel to Completion captures the prolific virtuosity of the ensemble in a variety of contexts from solo to septet. The resplendent display of each band member’s self-expression demands the listener’s undivided attention.

The Griffin Woodard Group’s magnetic sound features vocalist Georgia Heers, vocalist Deneen Jones, saxophonist Coleman Rose, pianist Abe Gold, bassist Miles Gilbert, and drummer Hugh Kline.

1. Little Angel (6:40)
2. Doxology (2:12)
3. Bass Interlude (1:20)
4. Camillus House (9:22)
5. Bridget’s Song (5:40)
6. Alchemy (2:54)
7. Marmalade (5:26)
8. Route 1 (6:24)
9. Bridget’s Song (Quintet) (2:25)
10. Kyrie (6:34)
11. Completion (10:18)

This ornately, passionately sculptured new album opens on the gentle, yet stealthy Little Angel (featuring Georgia Heers) and the veritably translucent Doxology and after a short, but sweetly embracing Bass Interlude, we next get the free flowing, musical majesties contained within the near ten minute Camillus House, the dulcet, almost crystalline Bridget’s Song and then the fervent Alchemy.

Up next is the beautiful Marmalade (once again featuring Heers) and the drum-led fervency within Route 1 and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the full quintet sound of the aforementioned Bridget’s Song, the harmonic clinch of Kyrie (which features both Heers and Deneen Jones on vocals), the album coming to a close on the ten minute, softly titular opus Completion.

Georgia Heers - vocals (tracks 1, 7, and 10)
Deneen Jones - vocals (track 10)
Coleman Rose - soprano saxophone (tracks 2, 4, 9, 10, and 11); tenor saxophone (track 8)
Griffin Woodard - bass clarinet and composition
Abe Gold - piano
Miles Gilbert - bass
Hugh Kline - drums

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Griffin Woodard Group @ Twitter Griffin Woodard Group @ YouTube

Griffin Woodard Group @ Instagram

Title - Jazzy Italian
Artist - Vanessa Racci

For those unaware, on her ZOHO debut, and second studio recording, New York based singer, Vanessa Racci revisits songs by Italians and Italian-Americans who left their mark on jazz, from Nick LaRocca to Frank Sinatra to Louis Prima, Chick Corea and John Pizzarelli.

The gifted pianists/arrangers Steven Feifke and Glafkos Kontemeniotis provide creative horn writing and harmonic and metric alterations to bring even century-old songs into the present.

Vanessa’s sultry vocal style combines a tart, brassy, catch-in-the-throat sound with Italianate ardor, dramatic flair, and swing here on Jazzy Italian (out October 21st, 2022) - James Gavin.

1. Betcha I Getcha
2. Volare
3. At The Jazz Band Ball
4. Moon River
5. Coquette
6. Make Love To Me
7. I’m A Fool To Want You
8. A Lifetime Or Two
9. A Sunday Kind of Love
10. Come Back Home With Me
11. September In The Rain
12. You’re Everything
13. At Last

This vibrantly cultivated, wholly heartfelt, and genuinely delicious to the ears new album opens on the gently swinging inflections within Betcha I Getcha and the Latin-imbued hipsway of the quietly frenetic Volare and then brings us the vibrant At The Jazz Band Ball, the sultry, dulcet Moon River and then both the mid-tempo Coquette and the Latin-imbued shuffle Make Love To Me.

Next up on this exciting album (originally entitled Italiana Fresca) is the low slung I’m A Fool To Want You and the finger-snapping balladry of A Lifetime Or Two and they are in turn backed by the ornately cultured within A Sunday Kind of Love, the infectiously swaying rhythms within Come Back Home With Me, the effortlessly impassioned September In The Rain, the album coming to an all too soon close on the measured melodies within You’re Everything and a euphorically embracing At Last.

Growing up with her Southern Italian grandfather in New York, Vanessa learned Italian American classics and jazz at an early age, hearing Dean Martin, Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra and the like played throughout the house. She developed as a singer in musical theater (starring in professional theater at age 12), discovered her love for jazz in her 20’s and started touring with a trio.

After her grandfather passed away, Vanessa was inspired to reinvent the Italian classics that he taught her with modern jazz arrangements to keep the music alive for future generations.

She teamed up with Gianni Valenti of Birdland Jazz Club, producer, David Finck, and Manhattan Transfer arranger, Yaron Gershovsky, to realize her vision.

The result was a sold-out album release show at Birdland in June, 2017 and a unique album entitled, Italiana Fresca, that reached #65 on the jazz charts.

Since then, she has performed at over 70 festivals, events and jazz clubs across the country and has been played on over 20 Italian radio stations across the US and Italy.

Official Website

Vanessa Racci @ Official Facebook Page

Vanessa Racci @ Official Instgram Page

Vanessa Racci @ Official YouTube Channel

Title - Puttin’ On The Ritz
Artist - Rich Willey

For those unaware, Rich Willey plays trumpet, bass trumpet, valve trombone, tuba and Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI) and he is also a composer, arranger, and bandleader, performing regularly in the southeast.

Rich taught at University of North Carolina Asheville for 12 years and Clemson University for 7 years and continues to teach privately.

Rich’s new album, Puttin’ On The Ritz is mostly comprised of beautiful and fun jazz standards that Rich arranged for four horns. He played and recorded all the horn parts with a talented group of all-star Chicago rhythm players.

The album is produced by the phenomenal trumpeter and gifted arranger Carey Deadman who also masterfully arranged string parts on eight tunes.

Of the eleven selections (three of which are originals), two are vocal numbers: one featuring Zeke Listenbee and the other, Rich. Two of the original compositions reflect Rich’s deep spiritual beliefs.

Rich writes: These small group arrangements represent how I hear jazz. I prefer taste over virtuosity. I like hearing melodies, I like hearing interesting ensembles, and I like hearing a certain amount of structure between improvised passages.

My concept of jazz and jazz improvisation has to do with communicating with the audience. I hope to always be ’telling a story’ via my writing and my playing.

1. Poor Butterfly
2. If I Should Lose You
3. I’ll Be Seeing You
4. Puttin’ On The Ritz
5. My Melancholy Baby
6. Holy Trinity (Radio Edit)
7. Song For Janet
8. Uncle Remus
9. Sweet Lorraine
10. Hard Hearted Hannah
11. But For The Grace Of God
12. Holy Trinity (Full Version)

This vibrant, some might say sparkling new album opens on the free flowing Poor Butterfly (a track inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly) and the finger-snapping melodies within If I Should Lose You (which itself was first introduced in the 1936 film Rose of the Rancho) and then they bring us the stern fair of I’ll Be Seeing You (which was interestingly inserted into the Broadway musical Right This Way, which closed after fifteen performances), the absolutely stellar, spirited and yet cultured, titular Puttin’ On The Ritz (made famous by the 1930s film of the same name) and then comes the laid low My Melancholy Baby (first published in 1912) and the Rich Willey-written Holy Trinity (Radio Edit).

Up next is another Rich Willey-written track, the gentle dance floor swirl of Song For Janet and the always wonderful to hear Uncle Remus (written by the brilliant Frank Zappa and George Duke, and first released on Zappa’s 1974 album Apostrophe), and they are in turn backed by the popular jazz standard Sweet Lorraine, a track that tells, in humorous fashion, the story of a sadistic vamp, the uproarious Hard Hearted Hannah, the album rounding out on the Rich Willey-written, ornately beautiful, humble and thankful But For The Grace Of God, coming to a righteous close on the full ten minute version of the aforementioned Holy Trinity.

A U.S. Army bandsman, he studied at the U.S. Navy School of Music and later attended North Texas State University where he studied jazz improvisation with Rich Matteson, Jack Petersen and Dan Haerle.

Rich spent his formative years as a jazz player in Philadelphia and New York City jazz clubs and participated in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop studying with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam. He studied trumpet and bass trumpet with the legendary Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt in Philadelphia from 1978-1986.

Rich is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a master’s in jazz performance/trumpet. While there he studied arranging with Mike Abene, trumpet with Byron Stripling, improvisation with Garry Dial and film scoring with Ed Green.

Rich has toured with Maynard Fergusion’s Big Bop Nouveau and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and has played numerous times for the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Sammy Kaye Orchestra and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

Rich has played with or for many great musicians, including Lionel Hampton, Hank Mobley, Don Patterson, Buddy Morrow, Bob Haggart, Dick Hyman, Claude Roditi, Chris Potter, Conrad Herwig, John Swana, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Drew Jr., Brad Mehidau, Mel Torme, Bobby Sanabria, Skitch Henderson, Tommy Flanagan, and countless others.

Rich owns and operates Boptism Music, a publishing company he formed in 2001 for the purpose of offering and distributing his jazz and brass method books, over 40 to date.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Rich Willey — Puttin’ On The Ritz (Official Promo)

Title - Talking Hands
Artist - Greg Hatza & Enayet Hossain

For those unaware, Talking Hands is an album conceived by two members, Greg Hatza and Enayet Hossain, of the jazz-world fusion group Melodic Intersect.

It entails their years of experience in the genre and their chemistry with each other.

It can be best described as a musical amalgamation of styles and vibes which goes beyond cultural differences and music styles.

It represents a mosaic of cross-cultural musical expression which produces a unique borderless muscical experience.

1. Talking Hands
2. Crazy Calcutta Streets
3. Sweet Shop
4. Dark Matter
5. Midnight Mood
6. Deep Love
7. Sultan’s Dream
8. The Conversation
9. Dialogue

This wholesome, nurtured and amazingly melodic album opens on the titular, infectious rhythms within Talking Hands and the bass-led funky grooves of Crazy Calcutta Streets and then brings us the fine-tuned inflections within the rhythmic hipsway of Sweet Shop, the almost synth-imbibed Dark Matter and then comes the softly centered Midnight Mood.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the virtually effervescent tones within Deep Love and that is itself followed seamlessly by the Eastern-embed brilliance of musical arrangements within Sultan’s Dream, the album rounding out on the flourishing The Conversation, coming to an all too soon close on the near ten minute, aptly-named, back and forth opus, Dialogue.

Greg Hatza is an American jazz organist born in 1948 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Hatza started on piano at age five, and switched to organ at age fifteen. He played professionally from age sixteen, working for four years at Lenny Moore’s club.

He recorded two albums for Coral Records in the late 1960s with guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Grady Tate, then switched to electric keyboards in the 1970s as the organ’s popularity waned. From 1974 to 1984, he studied tabla under Ustad Hamid Hossain.

He later performed ragas on piano, in concert with Hamid, in the U.S., India, and Bangladesh. He returned to playing the organ in the 1990s after hearing Joey DeFrancesco, and recorded again as a leader with his ensemble, the Greg Hatza ORGANization.

In 1996, he began to study Chinese classical music on the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle, under Shanghai instructor, Liang Shan Tang.

Enayet Hossain was born into a musical family, his grandfather, the late great Ustad Kader Buksh was acknowledged as one of India’s foremost musicologist/musician. Enayet learned the tabla from his father, Ustad Hamid Hossain, a very well known Indian music teacher and musician based in the United States.

Enayet was born in Bangladesh and raised in the United States and represents a new breed of musicians who received their musical training outside of India.

Enayet is a versatile performer of tabla. He is at ease with accompaniment with North Indian classical music, instrumental music, light and semi classical music including thumri, ghazal, dadra, et al. as well as giving solo performances.

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Greg Hatza Official Website

Enayet Hossain Official Website

Title - Feelin’ It
Artist - Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet

For those unaware, Jim Witzel grew up in the north-Bay Area town of San Rafael and began learning guitar at age twelve. He explored various styles (folk, pop, rock and blues) and began studying jazz guitar in high-school with well-known Bay Area teacher and performer Dave Smith.

After graduating high school Jim attended San Francisco State University, completing a Creative Arts Interdisciplinary (Music Emphasis) Bachelor of Arts degree. During college he focused on film scoring and composing for jazz combos. While attending SF State he was fortunate to study with Bay Area alto-saxophonist legend John Handy.

After graduation Jim freelanced extensively around the Bay Area, working clubs and concerts as both a leader and sideman with such players as Mark Isham, Art Lande, Mike Clark, Delbert Bump, Michael Barsimanto, Glenn Cronkite, Mike Formanek, Chris Amberger and Todd Dickow.

During this period he joined the “Life is Color” band along with vocalist Jesse Foster and vibist Jon Ericson. Jim hosted and performed on his weekly television series “Jazz After Midnight”, leading a quartet with featured guest performers.

Soon afterward he received a National Endowment for the Arts Travel Study grant, studying with guitarists Jack Wilkins (New York) and Howard Roberts (Los Angeles).

Moving to Los Angeles Jim teamed up with singer-songwriter Joyce Yarrow, exploring the ’jazz-pop’ side of the L.A. music scene. Jim also worked clubs and concerts with saxophonist Dave Lefebvre’s six piece jazz-fusion group and played on Dave’s “Marble Dust” album.

He freelanced with such notable players as Bob Sheppard, Scott Colley, Henry Butler, Richie Cole, Casey Schuerell and Clay Jenkins. Jim recorded a trio album (“Up Until Now”) with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Ralph Penland.

While teaching privately and studying with guitarists Joe DiOrio and John Abercrombie, Jim helped form and co-lead a quartet with pianist Phil Aaron, Eric VonEssen and Tony Jones. “Hyperion” played a mix of jazz standards and originals composed by band members, working clubs around the greater LA area.

Before moving back up to the Bay Area Jim recorded his first recording of all original music (“Give and Take”) featuring an all-star cast including Ernie Watts, Russ Ferrante, Marc Johnson, Ralph Penland and John Abercrombie.

After relocating to the Bay Area he formed a new band performing the material from “Give and Take”. His group, featuring saxophonist Dann Zinn, drummer Wally Schnalle and pianist Murray Low performed at the San Jose, Monterey and Stanford Summer Jazz festivals.

Later Jim toured Italy multiple times with both the San Jose Jazz Festival Quartet and the Gulio Capiozo Quintet. Currently Jim is a faculty member (Professor of Jazz Guitar Studies) at both San Francisco State and Santa Clara Universities.

He also teaches through the Google Corporate Arts program (CSMA) and has a private teaching studio located in downtown Mountain View. Jim continues to work as both a leader and sideman with such Bay Area musicians as Adam Shulman, Akira Tana, John Worley, Matt Clark, Lorca Hart, Dann Zinn, Wil Blades, Andrew Speight, Jason Lewis, Brian Ho and others.

His brand new album, Feelin’ It, under the banner of Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet, is out now and can be purchased on all manner of platforms.

1. Feelin’ It (7:18)
2. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise (5:35)
3. Norwegian Wood (6:13)
4. Beyond Beijing (9:22)
5. I Loves You, Porgy (5:16)
6. If Ever I Would Leave You (5:40)
7. Ms. Information (6;14)
8. The Old Country (5:11)

This vibrantly fresh, upbeat and infectious new album opens on the joyous tones within the titular Feelin’ It and then we get the delightfully blissful and wholly melodious Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise and that is in turn backed by a quite mesmerizing rendition of the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood and then comes the gently fervent, and rhythmically addictive, Beyond Beijing.

Up next is the ornate, veritably translucent I Loves You, Porgy and that is in turn followed by the spirited If Ever I Would Leave You, the album rounding out on the transcendent sensitivity within Ms. Information, coming to a close on the upbeat and sincerely earnest The Old Country.

Official Website

Title - The Pan American Nutcracker Suite
Artist - Joe McCarthy New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

For those unaware, the Latin Grammy Award-winning New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band (NYABABB) is an Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble based in New York City.

As winner of Latin Jazz Album of the Year at the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2008 for the recording “Afro Bop Alliance, featuring Dave Samuels,” released on the Heads-Up label, this recording was also nominated for a Grammy in the same category that same year at the 51st Grammy Awards.

NYABABB was founded and is led by drummer Joe McCarthy. The band is comprised of first call Jazz and Latin Jazz players from New York City who collectively perform with the greatest names in the business.

The band draws from their own extensive catalog of charts featuring the writing and composing talents of members of the band and collaborations with Dave Samuels and Roland Vazquez, among others.

The music of NYABABB has long been inspired by the great bebop tradition, married to the rich rhythmic stylings of Afro-Caribbean music.

Joe McCarthy’s New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band Returns with The Pan American Nutcracker Suite, a Pan-Afro Reimagining of the Tchaikovsky Classic on September 9th, 2022 via Angelface Records.

1. Overture
2. March
3. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
4. Trepak
5. Arabian Dance
6. Chinese Dance
7. Dance of the Reed Flutes
8. Waltz of the Flowers

Opening on the totally wild and vibrantly alive Overture, the album continues onward in much the same vein with the expressive March and then comes the Latin-hipsway within Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the strongly assertive Trepak, and then we get the wondrous pairing of the earnestly stirring Arabian Dance and the upbeat and joyous Chinese Dance.

Next up is the free flowing majesties found within the rhythmically exuberant Dance of the Reed Flutes and then comes the closing, and most well known of the works (most notably in British TV), the enthusiastically ebullient Waltz of the Flowers.

The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band:
Nick Marchione | trumpet
John Chudoba | trumpet
Brandon Lee | trumpet
Alex Norris | trumpet
Andrew Gould | alto saxophone
Alejandro Aviles | alto saxophone
Ben Kono | tenor saxophones
Luis Hernandez | tenor saxophones
Frank Basile | baritone saxophone
Mark Patterson | trombone
Ryan Keberle | trombone
John Yao | trombone
James Borowski | bass trombone
Luis Perdomo | piano
Vinny Valentino | guitar
Boris Kozlov | bass
Samuel Torres | percussion

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Modern Lovers ‘Live’
Artist - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

For those of you not in the know, Jonathan Richman formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 in Boston with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Ernie Brooks and David Robinson (The Cars).

The band recorded a series of demos, first with John Cale (The Velvet Underground) and later with producer Kim Fowley. Both sets of demos were eventually released, but not until the original group had disbanded.

In 1975 Jonathan relocated to California and secured a recording deal with Beserkley Records. By 1976 he had pulled together a new version of The Modern Lovers. This group included the holdover David Robinson from the original band and added, Leroy Radcliffe and Greg ‘Curly’ Keranen (The Rubinoos).

The self-titled release delivered on Richman’s desire for more acoustic and harmony-based material. Unfortunately, nearly on top of the bands’ debut album release, the earlier demo material drawn mostly from the Cale demo sessions was issued, and Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers was overshadowed by “Pablo Picasso,” “Roadrunner,” and their—now classic—“debut.” Shortly after the release of their actual self-titled debut, Robinson departed to join The Cars.

Needing a new drummer, the band found D. Sharpe (later of the Carla Bley Band) and this new line-up recorded Rock ’n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers which was released in 1977 and achieved some chart success in Europe with “Egyptian Reggae” making it to #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Greil Marcus called it “the purist rock ‘n’ roll album I’ve heard this year.” However, another in the series of personnel changes, Keranen left the group. Modern Lovers ‘Live’ followed in 1977 with new bassist Asa Brebner.

While the U.S. might not have caught on to the magic of Jonathan Richman, the U.K. certainly did. Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, Live features Jonathan and the Modern Lovers performing classics from their first two releases to an enthusiastic crowd. (The eight-minute version of “Ice Cream Man” should inform that!).

The set includes the recent Top 5 single “Egyptian Reggae,” as well as tracks from the Modern Lovers’ previously releases and new tracks.

Captured on tape by Beserkley founder Matthew King Kauffman and Kenny Laguna (whose rock pedigree runs from Buddah Records through Joan Jett’s biggest hits), Live is a true, time and place document of the magic that is Jonathan Richman.

The performer who The Farrelly Brothers chose to include in their classic 1998 film There’s Something About Mary, rather than simple licensing his music.

A pivotal release in Richman’s catalog, Live spotlights how captivating a performer he was, and continues to be and his original releases return on CD and LP, with a unique colored yellow vinyl variant available for independent retail; meaning his true, Beserkley catalog is available once again. The way Jonathan intended.

1. I’m A Little Ariplane
2. Hey There Little Insect
3. Egyptian Reggae
4. Ice Cream Man
5. I’m A Little Dinasaur
6. My Little Kookenhaken
7. South American Folk Song
8. New England
9. The Morning Of Our Lives

Live catches Jonathan Richman at the height of his candy-floss novelty period. The music is warm and mild, almost all of it derived from ’50s and early-’60s models such as surf idioms and guitar instrumentals.

The lyrics are sweet and charming, sure to appeal to fanciful youngsters with visions of ice cream men and little dinosaurs in their heads. Tracks such as the buoyant opener I’m A Little Airplane Now (Wangity Wang), the low rolling, soft pop rock of My Little Kookenhaken and the autobiographical New England are simply too infectious not to enjoy with a smile.

The only bothersome misstep here is the repeated encore reprise of the chorus to Ice Cream Man, which extends well past the point of honest enjoyment, in truth!

Sound quality and instrumental balances are excellent, and performances are low-key and winsome. While not an essential album in the Modern Lovers’ canon, this sunny little platter is a fetching listen.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jonathan Richman @ Bandcamp

Title - Back In Your Life
Artist - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

For those of you not in the know, Jonathan Richman formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 in Boston with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Ernie Brooks and David Robinson (The Cars).

The band recorded a series of demos, first with John Cale (The Velvet Underground) and later with producer Kim Fowley. Both sets of demos were eventually released, but not until the original group had disbanded.

In 1975 Jonathan relocated to California and secured a recording deal with Beserkley Records. By 1976 he had pulled together a new version of The Modern Lovers. This group included the holdover David Robinson from the original band and added, Leroy Radcliffe and Greg ‘Curly’ Keranen (The Rubinoos).

The self-titled release delivered on Richman’s desire for more acoustic and harmony-based material. Unfortunately, nearly on top of the bands’ debut album release, the earlier demo material drawn mostly from the Cale demo sessions was issued, and Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers was overshadowed by “Pablo Picasso,” “Roadrunner,” and their—now classic—“debut.” Shortly after the release of their actual self-titled debut, Robinson departed to join The Cars.

Needing a new drummer, the band found D. Sharpe (later of the Carla Bley Band) and this new line-up recorded Rock ’n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers which was released in 1977 and achieved some chart success in Europe with “Egyptian Reggae” making it to #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Greil Marcus called it “the purist rock ‘n’ roll album I’ve heard this year.” However, another in the series of personnel changes, Keranen left the group. Modern Lovers ‘Live’ followed in 1977 with new bassist Asa Brebner.

Enter Back In Your Life. While credited to Jonathan and the Modern Lovers (which now included Andy Paley—Brian Wilson, Chris Isaak, NRBQ, John Wesley Harding), the release was Jonathan, accompanied on about half of the material by the Lovers and it followed the aforementioned ‘Live’ record.

Another musician on the record, and co-producer, was Kenny Laguna, whose work with Buddah Records (The Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Lemon Pipers,) plus Tommy James & The Shondells, Crazy Elephant, Bow Wow Wow, and Joan Jett. Laguna was a perfect person to put Jonathan’s sound where it needed to go.

Featuring the Richman staples, “Abdul And Cleopatra,” “Affection,” and the title track, Back In Your Life signals the ending of his Beserkley tenure, but with much more to come!

1. Abdul And Cleopatra
2. (She’s Gonna) Respect Me
3. Lover Please
4. Affection
5. Buzz Buzz Buzz
6. Back In Your Life
7. Party In The Woods Tonight
8. My Love Is A Flower (Just Beginning To Bloom)
9. I’m Nature’s Mosquito
10. Emaline
11. Lydia
12. I Hear You Calling Me

Sweet, fun, and honest aptly describe this 1979 long-player by Jonathan Richman. And while some singers badly fumble at being innocently possessed, Richman keeps it all engaging with his unbridled enthusiasm, wit, and crack songs.

For all intents and purposes, this was Richman’s first solo venture since forming the Modern Lovers in the early ’70s, and the newfound freedom shows on loose doo wop rockers like Party in the Woods Tonight, Sesame Street-issue nature odes such as Buzz Buzz Buzz, the yearning ache within the opener Abdul And Cleopatra, and the low brow, acoustically-imbibed, titular Back In Your Life.

Indeed, the breezy tone is further plied on surf-toned instrumental Lover Please and a harmony and hand clapping-rich Lydia. But it’s not all passing fancy, as Richman also waxes sincere and lonely on strong, yet often hushed sides like Affection, Emaline, and the wholly melodic Affection, his terminally congested vocals and jangly guitar chords perfectly echoing the wistful sentiment.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jonathan Richman @ Bandcamp

Title - Blossom-ing!
Artist - Roberta Donnay

For those of you not in the know, vocalist Roberta Donnay celebrates Blossom Dearie on her 10th album, Blossom-ing!. Yes, you heard that right for award-winning Roberta Donnay’s tenth album, Blossom-ing!, celebrates the music of Blossom Dearie, whose wispy, delicate voice is the perfect foil for Donnay’s own appealing sound.

Music critic Bob Leggett called Donnay’s voice pure sugar and honey, while JazzTimes said, With her singularly enticing sound, few contemporary vocalists are as well suited to dustily vintage material as jazz-blues stylist Roberta Donnay.

Donnay, a singer, composer, and producer, has been on the jazz and blues scene for over three decades. She has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in the music industry and toured throughout the U.S. and internationally, performing at clubs, theatres, concert venues and jazz festivals.

Furthermore, Donnay is a recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Composers Award for her song, One World, which was selected as a world-peace anthem for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations. Her music has been heard on both film and TV, as well on Serious XM Radio. She has received features in both DownBeat Magazine and JazzTimes for her prior releases.

Her earlier albums with her group, The Prohibition Mob Band, featured swinging, danceable jazz popular in speakeasies from the 1920’s and 1930’s. Donnay’s performances have become audience favorites as she dresses in period clothing and assumes a gun moll character fronting her band dressed as gangsters from the same time period.

Drawn years ago to Blossom Dearie for her simple but swinging storytelling, Blossom-ing! is a true labor of love for Donnay. Dearie was a minimalist with a kittenish voice and a playful style. Donnay’s homage to Dearie captures her essence, but she adds her own sassy, bluesy interpretations that audiences have come to love.

Donnay chose 16 songs associated with Dearie for the album, written by diverse composers and lyricists. They include Peel Me A Grape, Spring In Manhattan, Just One Of Those Things, The Party’s Over, Moonlight Savings Time, and Someone To Watch Over Me, among others.

1. Roberta’s Blues
2. Peel Me A Grape
3. Just One Of Those Things
4. Inside A Silent Tear
5. Plus je t’embrasse
6. Someone To Watch Over Me
7. Moonlight Savings Time
8. A Paris
9. The Party’s Over
10. If I Were A Bell
11. Spring In Manhattan
12. Unless It’s You
13. You Fascinate Me So
14. I Wish You Love
15. It Amazes Me
16. Put On A Happy Face

Opening on the beautifully crafted, low slung, autobiographical Roberta’s Blues and the free flowing, harmonic melodies within the always-elegantly orchestrated Peel Me A Grape, they are followed seamlessly by the upright bass-led Just One Of Those Things, the Latin-tinged guitar work within Inside A Silent Tear, the gentle foot-tapper, and sultrily French-sung Plus je t’embrasse, and then comes the dulcet Someone To Watch Over Me, the quietly upbeat and melodic Moonlight Savings Time and the softly whispered, in French, A Paris.

Up next are the finger-snapping delights of The Party’s Over and the more stridently-keyed If I Were A Bell and they are in turn backed by the effortlessly gorgeous, veritably sumptuous Spring In Manhattan, the delicate musings within Unless It’s You, the summer’s breeze of You Fascinate Me So, the album rounding out on the gracefully-contoured I Wish You Love, the smoothly tender It Amazes Me, coming to a close on the upright bass-led, gingerly jaunty Put On A Happy Face.

Donnay gathered some of Northern California’s finest jazz musicians for Blossom-ing!, including MIKE GREENSILL (piano), RUTH DAVIES (bass), MARK LEE (drums), JOSE NETO (guitar), DAVID STURDIVANT (harmonica), and Los Angeles-based MB GORDY (percussion).

Having a mentor can change your life and Roberta has been fortunate to have had three top names in the music business who took her under their wings – Bob Dorough, Dan Hicks, and jazz producer Orrin Keepnews. All provided guidance, encouragement, and opportunities for her vocal talents to shine.

Keepnews loved her singing and offered to produce an album for her. They began a friendship in which he shared his extensive knowledge of jazz and the music industry with her.

One of the longest and most important professional relationships Donnay has experienced was with Dan Hicks, who blended elements of swing, jazz, folk and country music to create his own unique sound with his group The Hot Licks. Roberta worked and recorded with Dan over the last ten years of his life, touring the country performing in the group’s very theatrical shows.

Her association with Bob Dorough, with whom she became friends, provided the direct linkage to Blossom Dearie’s music, as he was Dearie’s close friend and collaborator. After meeting him at the Hooker’s Ball in San Francisco in the 1990s, Donnay recorded two of his songs on What’s Your Story?, produced by Keepnews.

They shared musical tastes and became fast friends, and in 2011, Donnay recorded five songs with Dorough. They recorded several of the duets he had performed with Blossom, and he shared his personal insights into Blossom’s life and music.

Roberta’s appreciation of Blossom’s music only grew deeper, inspiring her some twenty years later to create Blossom-ing!, this tribute album that truly captures Blossom’s essence.

Official Website

Roberta Donnay Twitter

Roberta Donnay Facebook

Roberta Donnay @ LinkedIn

Title - Ruffyunz II
Artist - Ruffyunz

For those unaware, RUFFYUNZ is a partnership between Randy Pratt (Cactus/The Lizards), Emmy winning engineer JZ Barrell, and singer Ed Terry and a collection of drum, guitar and keyboard masters.

Guest artists featured on the band’s new album RUFFYUNZ II include legendary Bobby Rondinelli, who dominates the drums (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, BOC), Don Airey (Deep Purple), Dave Maniketti (Y&T), Pat Thrall (Pat Travers, Glenn Hughes, Meatloaf), Tracy G. (Dio) and Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake).

Bassist Randy Pratt on bass, pedals and riffs and is best known for his work with The Lizards & Cactus. Singer Ed Terry has sung live with Stevie Wonder, Sister Sledge, John Oates, Sissy Houston, Slash and recorded with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Talking Heads, Simply Red, Little Steven, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, David Lee Roth, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner.

JZ Barrell handles recording, engineering, mixing and arranging…he earns his writing credits. Jesse Berlin is the band’s “go-to-first guitarist” usually and helps set a bedrock with embellishments.

The band’s concept is to use “known” drummers, guitarists and keyboardists as guests on their records. Once the guest guitarist has done his or her thing, Jesse trades solos with them. And, trust me, he really throws down the gauntlet, as he shreds!

1. Hype In My Head
2. Back It On Up
3. Undercover Agent For The Blues
4. Doesn’t Matter
5. Candyman
6. Dark Side
7. Slither Man
8. Bubbles
9. Can’t Slow Down
10. Keep It Coming
11. The Game

Opening on a great example of how expert musicians, masters of their craft can come together to bring a sound as smoothly grooved as AOR can be, the lead single Hype In My Head is backed by the blues/funk/hard rock of Back It On Up, the down south, rocking grooves of Undercover Agent For The Blues, the hard psych rock vibe of Doesn’t Matter and then comes the drum-led, harder-edged beauty Candyman.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this sophomore album, the guitar slinging Dark Side which is in turn followed by the funk-soul-blues storytelling of Slither Man, the melodic, funky Bubbles, the groove laden Can’t Slow Down, the album rounding out on the atmospherically-charged rocker Keep It Coming, closing on the sidewinding storytelling within The Game.

Says Randy, “Hey folks, here’s a first look at a video [see bleow] for a song from our upcoming release RUFFYUNZ II, reuniting my longtime rhythm section partner, Bobby Rondinelli on drums.”

We have a groovy list of guests Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy and Deep Purple for decades) on smoking Hammond B-3, Dave Maniketti on BADASS guitar, Tracy G. (Dio & WW III) on BRUTAL guitar, Joel Hoekstra from Whitesnake.”

And starring in our video, Pat Thrall from the classic Pat Travers band line up, Hughes Thrall, Asia and if you’re old and cool enough to know the band AUTOMATIC MAN, that’s Pat!”

Please check out ‘Hype in My Head’ and watch for the imminent release of our new album, RUFFYUNZ II on Hyperspace Records.”

Ruffyunz - Hype in My Head [Official Video]

Title - Double Exposure
Artist - Vinnie Moore

For those unaware, the follow up to Vinnie Moore’s 2019 Soul Shifter will be released on November 8th, 2022 on his Mind’s Eye Music label.

On the propulsive Double Exposure, Vinnie is joined by singers Ed Terry (Rage And Beyond, American Mafia), Keith Slack (MSG, Mother Road), Mike DiMeo (Riot) and Brian Stephenson (Old James) on this half vocal half instrumental album.

This is his first solo release that features vocals and the band members include Richie Monica (Billy Cox, Papa Chubby, Tantric) on drums, Michael Bean and Pete Griffin (Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa) on Bass, John Cassidy on Keyboards, and John Pessoni on Drums.

Vinnie has released ten solo albums and six albums and a LIVE DVD with rock icons UFO, and is considered to be one of the originators of shred guitar and he has made many guest appearances with others and played and wrote the soundtrack for a classic PEPSI TV commercial.

He’s also recorded and toured with ALICE COOPER and was opening act for RUSH with his solo band on the ROLL THE BONES tour. Vinnie has toured all around the world with UFO and solo, has two best selling guitar instructional videos, and has been an inspiration for fans and guitarists worldwide.

1. Vertical Horizon
2. Rise
3. Still Waters Run Deep
4. Paid My Dues
5. River Flow
6. Hummingbird
7. Astro Man
8. Breaking Through
9. In Too Deep
10. Rocket
11. One Day
12. Southern Highway

On yet another album that perfectly showcases Moore’s ability to bring forth a technical, and vibrantly melodic musical masterpiece, he opens with the funky, Extreme-esque Vertical Horizon and the melodically-charged AOR of Rise and follows those up with the countrified rock of Still Waters Run Deep, the funky blues rock of Paid My Dues and then we get both the low slung balladry of River Flow and the mid-tempo flow of Hummingbird.

Next up is the free flowing guitar mastery prevalent throughout Astro Man and the veritably scorching Breaking Through and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the soaring In Too Deep, the blistering chord maneuvers that showcase the breakneck Rocket, the album rounding out with the cinematically-sculptured One Day, coming to a close on the beautiful rhythms and melodies that make up Southern Highway.

“This project started during the period when we were all grounded from touring,” Vinnie reveals. “I had some song ideas and originally thought I’d do an instrumental EP with 5 or 6 songs. Before recording, I always do listening sessions with my demos to get production ideas. While playing “One Day”, I started hearing vocals in my head and naturally started singing along and it hit me that this would make a good vocal song.”

“As I listened through the rest of the tunes, one by one I realized that they all could be vocal songs. It was a light bulb moment where I realized, ‘hey dummy, here’s the vocal thing you’ve been wanting to do’. So the idea to take a group of songs and create dual versions of each was born.”

“To set this all in motion, the next step was lining up singers. I knew right away that I wanted to collaborate with a few different vocalists I have known or worked with over the years. Keith Slack and Mike DiMeo quickly came to mind. I have known Keith for more than 20 years and we have always talked about working together. Mike has toured with me in the past as vocalist and keyboardist, so he was an obvious choice.”

“Brian Stephenson opened for me on a tour in 2016 with his band Old James, I liked his voice and lyrics and knew he would be a good guy to collaborate with. Ed Terry and I were on a track together a couple years back. I really dug his voice and ideas and knew I wanted to work with him.”

“The only good thing about the world being shut down for months is that it gave me the time I needed to put this thing all together. It was a big undertaking. In between recording guitars, I would shift gears and go into phases where I sang and sketched out lyrics. It took some thought to decide which singer I wanted to be on which song.”

“After that, I sent out the recordings with and without vocals and told everyone to be creative whether that meant totally following their own inspiration or using any of my ideas. In the end both things happened.”

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Vinnie Moore @ Facebook

Vinnie Moore @ Twitter

Vinnie Moore @ Instagram

Vinnie Moore @ YouTube

Title - Magic Man
Artist - Jackson Wang

For those unaware, singer, performer and producer Jackson Wang’s sophomore album Magic Man (TEAM WANG records/88rising Records/Warner Records/RYCE MUSIC GROUP) made its debuts at #3 in Billboard’s top-selling albums the week of release.

The album also debuted at #15 on that week’s Billboard 200 marking Jackson’s highest charting album.

This all follows Jackson’s whirlwind year of making history at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as the first-ever Chinese solo artist who performed on the Coachella main stage as part of 88rising’s ‘Head In The Clouds Forever’ set.

Jackson also headlined this year’s 88rising ‘Head In The Clouds’ Festival (alongside the likes of NIKI, Rich Brian, and more) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Jackson Wang Gets Ready for a Sold-Out Show | Vogue [Official Backstage Video]

As a globally acclaimed artist and a creative director, Jackson’s goal is to showcase a Chinese-influenced sound on the international music stage and highlight Chinese and Asian culture worldwide. In his ascent, Jackson has amassed over 55 million followers across socials.

1. Blow
2. Cruel
3. Champagne Cool
4. Go Ghost
5. Drive It Like You Stole It
6. Come Alive
7. Just Like Magic
8. All The Way
9. Dopamine
10. Blue

Here on his new album, “Magic Man” – the alter ego of Jackson – is transported to various realities, and musically we first get the pop-funk of Blow and the arcing synth-pop reach of Cruel, they are in turn followed seamlessly by the dance floor burner Champagne Cool, the foot to the pedal, electronic-fare of Go Ghost and then comes the mid-tempo, slow groove-imbued Drive It Like You Stole It.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the veritably shimmering vibes and rhythms within Come Alive and the foot-tapping, R&B-flavored Just Like Magic, and they are in turn backed by the heavier rock fare of All The Way, the album rounding out on the R&B-soaked Dopamine, coming to a close on the yearning ache within Blue.

Official Purchase Links

Team Wang

Jackson Wang @ Facebook

Jackson Wang @ Instagram

Jackson Wang @ Twitter

Jackson Wang @ YouTube

Title - Heartsonic
Artist - Magical Heart

For those unaware, Magical Heart - who have been together since 2014 - are a German band who initially became popular in Bavaria, before they exploded onto the international music scene in mid-2018.

For in 2018, they released a first album, Another Wonderland. The current band lineup is Chris Urner (vocals, guitar), Patrick Schuster (guitar), Robert Frenz (bass, backing vocals) and Guiliano-Pepe Müller (drums).

And now Magical Heart release their new album Heartsonic which includes eleven rock songs, the style of which can only be described as melodic rock or AOR.

Indeed, two songs (Take Your Time and Magical Star) were already released as singles in 2020, but the album release was delayed due to Covid, but is now back on course for October 7th, 2022.

The songs present the four musicians as a driving hard rock (How Will The Story End, It Could Go On (Forever)) as well as a classic melodic rock band (Waiting For So Long, My Own Way), but always homogeneous and entirely within the framework of the proverbial album title Heartsonic.

1. Bad Habits
2. Heartsonic
3. My Own Way
4. Waiting For So Long
5. Daydream
6. Magical Star
7. How Will The Story End
8. Free Of Pain
9. It Could Go On (Forever)
10. Take Your Time
11. Raise

Opening on the infectious rock of Bad Habits and the melodic, yet harder-edged titular Heartsonic, those are neatly backed by the mid-tempo My Own Way, the powerful Waiting For So Long, and then come both the drum-led, and complete with awesome guitar solo rock of Daydream and the AOR balladry of Magical Star.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on this new album, the aching rock yearn of How Will The Story End which is itself followed by the melancholic Free Of Pain, the power balladry of It Could Go On (Forever), the album rounding out on the almost atmospherically fantastical, yet guitar driven Take Your Time, coming to a close on the heartwarming AOR of Raise.

Magical Heart play analogue-sounding, straightforward rock following their instincts, with much heart as well as a sense of melody and a good deal of fun while making music. With Achim Köhler (PRIMAL FEAR, BRAINSTORM SINNER), the band also hired the perfect man for mix and mastering, who was able to perfectly and homogeneously round off the sound of the individual songs across the album.

The band will finally be able to tour live again for the album release in autumn and in October they are going to start with individual shows and in December 2022, they will continue supporting eight SERIOUS BLACK shows.

Magical Heart - Heartsonic (Official Video)

Magical Heart - Magical Star (Official Video)

Magical Heart - Take Your Time (Official Video)

Official Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Magical Heart @ Facebook

Title - Experimental Truth
Artist - Dallas Perkins

On Dallas Perkins’ latest release Experimental Truth, his stellar technical proficiency and dexterity are on full display and thus we are now hearing six-string wisdom come to full fruition.

Showcasing a guitarist that is clearly steeped in melody, the music allows us to join the conversation with breathing room, suspense, and brilliantly placed pauses in these layered compositions.

Indeed, Perkins is not just a guitarist with attention grabbing technique, he is a composer reflecting influences spanning centuries of music history absorbed and personalized over decades finally distilled into a singular artistic statement.

1. Beck Street
2. Deus XM
3. Dynamic Equilibrium
4. Mexican Puppets
5. Monolith
6. Inter Meshing Spectra
7. Azul
8. In Via Domum
9. Jagwired

This thunderously magnificent guitar album opens on the roaring Beck Street and the atmospherically-charged, short but sweet Deus XM, and then brings us the free wheeling Dynamic Equilibrium, the self-sufficiently crafted Mexican Puppets, and one of my own personal favorites, the aptly-named, rhythmically forthright, menhir-embued Monolith.

Along next is the gorgeous speed racer hue found within Inter Meshing Spectra, the, at first quiet build via reverberation, then later a very Queen-esque homage breaks forth that brings us Azul, the album rounding out on the quiet resolve of balladry within In Via Domum, closing on the out-the-gate, electrical spark of Jagwired.

Dallas has said of Experimental Truth: “With this album, I really wanted to grab the listener’s attention with harmonic complexity and melodic simplicity. My hope is that it will satisfy fans of my previous work. But beyond that, my goal was to create a cohesive theme connecting each composition as in the spirit of the concept album.”

“With the absence of lyrical content, I wanted the music to stand on its own and perhaps evoke a visual dimension. In short, I hope to inspire each listener’s imagination to create their own interpretation and imagery.”

Official Website

Dallas Perkins @ Facebook

Dallas Perkins @ Instagram

Dallas Perkins @ Spotify

Title - Smile
Artist - The Wide

Epic. Energetic. Infinitely wide. What is the difference between a charming smile and a broad grin? Perhaps the finesse, the latent subtlety, the secrecy and maybe even the not quite obvious.

In this sense, The Wide’s new album title Smile (out October 29th, 2022 via Echozone) is a time travel into the subconscious, musically floating between dream pop and indie rock; sound wise perfectly balanced, almost like its very own genre in a musical cosmos divided into categories.

Originating from Mönchengladbach, Germany, the band goes beyond musical boundaries with their second album (following the debut album Paramount, 2018).

The five musicians from Scotland, England, Switzerland and Germany see themselves as crossover artists who come together again and again like attracted by a magnet to create a homogeneous, room-filling sound with every tune and every note of their songs.

The live performance unlocks the experience immediately for they are very spherical-hypnotic, led by almost heroic-melodic vocals, the songs lodge themselves into the brain area in charge of listening and feeling and captivate the audience forever.

The Wide were founded in 2016 by ex-members of Dead Guitars. Before then, singer Pete Brough, bass player Kurt Schmidt and drummer Hermann Eugster caused a stir with 12 Drummers Drumming and the album Loveless at the beginning of the ’90s.

Today, The Wide’s line-up consists of the aforementioned three and the newly recruited guitarists Roo Hobbers and Sebastian Kühl. Roo played in several well-known UK bands like The Vaulted Skies and Sebastian, the youngest of the band, was vocalist and guitarist for Zone5 (and both come complete with a crazy devotion to atmospheric guitar sounds).

And trust me when I say that the accomplished guitar work supported by Pete Brough on acoustic guitar is one of the most exciting sound scenarios which have been captured on hardware and converted into megabytes in the indie genre in recent years.

Smile was produced, recorded and mixed by bassist and mastermind Kurt Schmidt with whom vocalist Pete entertains a live-long friendship and spiritual kinship.

1. I Believe (3:16)
2. Smile (5:29)
3. See The Light (4:25)
4. Angels Wander (6:09)
5. Alone (4:59)
6. Shame (6:11)
7. Golden Blunder (5:02)
8. Happiness Fades (4:21)
9. Anything (5:14)
10. Cry Babies Cry (1:40)

Opening on the Cure-imbued melodies and rhythms of I Believe and the early ’90s indie vibe of the titular Smile, they are in turn followed by the euphorically-charged See The Light, the guitar-led Angels Wander, and then comes the sonically-driven Alone.

Up next is the acoustically free wheeling melodies within Shame and the synth-powered Golden Blunder, and they are in turn followed by the veritably shimmering, Smiths-atmospheric Happiness Fades, the album rounding out on the dulcet indie rock Anything, coming to a close on the short, but sweetly acoustic, fragile Cry Babies Cry.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

The Wide @ Facebook

Title - Sense Of
Artist - DevilsBridge

Following the release of various singles and the 2020 EP Endless Restless from Switzerland, DevilsBridge are really kicking it on their first long player titled Sense Of (due out October 28th, 2022).

On the eleven album tracks, the band celebrates fresh melodic metal, which can unfold more and more with each listen.

The title of the album is conceptually a supplement to the titles of the individual songs, which consist only of one word each. Every song is understood as Sense Of plus title, which is what the lyrics also refer to.

In all areas, the step from the EP to the album is audible and noticeable. The band has been able to further develop their fresh sound and also added a new addition to Punkto Production.

Also vocal front lady Dani can really express herself here and her intense voice between thick metal sound, which clearly dominates the album, or like in the wonderful ballad Pain, it is at the front and present, creeping into the ear of the listener.

Except for the aforementioned (and only) ballad the album songs are very straightforward, driven by JC’s precise and energetic drumming and Tom’s guitar playing between heavy riffs and pure melody, which complement each other perfectly and literally goad each other in the choruses.

DevilsBridge also unfold their energy on stage just as powerfully. After the Corona-related cancellation of the tour with SALIVA and PSYCHOVILLAGE, which was originally scheduled for early 2022, new tour dates are planned for and after the album release.

1. Intro
2. Illusion
3. Reality
4. Space
5. Life
6. 7th Sense
7. Instinct
8. Perfection
9. Pain
10. Death
11. Survive
12. Time

Opening on the hauntingly ethereal, building Intro, they then launch into the thunderous Illusion and the shimmeringly hardcore Reality, and they then back those up with the melodic Space, the effervescently-charged Life and then comes the guitar-led beauty 7th Sense.

Up next is the stormingly drum and bass-led Instinct and the euphoric rocker Perfection and they are in turn followed by the quieter, balladry fare of Pain, then come the fervent dark metal sounds within Death and the veraciously-melodic rock of Survive, the album closing on the rocking metal appeal of Time.

DevilsBridge - Perfection (Official Video)

Official Website

DevilsBridge @ Facebook

Title - Elements of Surprise
Artist - Delay Tactics

For those unaware, Elements of Surprise is the third album by Delay Tactics and the nine song CD comes in a 4 panel digipak featuring artwork by Walt Whitney and design by Tom Carlson.

You read that right, Elements of Surprise is the latest release from the techno-pop instrumental trio Delay Tactics and was produced and recorded by the original members Walter Whitney (keyboards, synthesizers), Carl Weingarten (electric and slide guitars) and David Udell (acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards), with special guest Michael Manring on fretless bass.

Delay Tactics was among the first American bands to produce music using digital instruments,including looping, sampling and delay effects, and was one of the most innovative indie bands of the 1980s.

Formed in 1981 as the tape-looping guitar duo of Carl Weingarten and Reed Nesbit, Delay Tactics made its mark with late night ambient music concerts in St.Louis movie theaters.

Within a year, synthesist/sound designer Walter Whitney joined the band while recording the first Delay Tactics album, Out-Pop Options (Multiphase1982). Nesbit departed in 1983 and was replaced by guitarist David Udell (of Wax Theatricks) and Delay Tactics release their second album, Any Questions? (Multiphase 1984).

1. Viola’s Ascent (7:55)
2. Kalimba Lounge (5:08)
3. Shadow of Berlin (5:10)
4. Don’t Wake The Pharaoh (5:45)
5. Fire Ceremony (4:35)
6. Ever Unwinding (5:23)
7. Idea3 (4:30)
8. Acoustic Reprise (4:37)
9. Three Voices (5:03)

Opening on the the pop-ambient sound of Viola’s Ascent and the atmospherically-charged Kalimba Lounge, they are in turn followed by the prog-imbibed, rangy rock beauty Shadow of Berlin and a track that would make even Philip Glass proud, Don’t Wake The Pharaoh.

Up next is the deeply transformative rhythms within Fire Ceremony and that is itself backed seamlessly by the European ambient sounds akin to early Ultravox captured within the mighty Ever Unwinding, the new age-imbibed Idea3 is along next, the album rounding out on the pastoral and evocative Acoustic Reprise, coming to a close on the spacious elements creatively sewn throughout Three Voices.

Walter Whitney – synthesizers, electric guitar, manipulated sounds, fizzy guitar, drums, piano
David Udell – electric/lead guitar, steel and nylon string acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards synth, cut and paste
Carl Weingarten – acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, loops, delays
Michael Manring – fretless bass

Delay Tactics - Viola’s Ascent [Official Music Video]

Delay Tactics - Ever Unwinding [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Link

Carl Weingarten @ Bandcamp

Delay Tactics @ Facebook

Carl Weingarten @ Facebook

Carl Weingarten @ YouTube

Carl Weingarten @ Flickr

Title - Gold
Artist - Ashley Davies

For those unaware, Gold is the most recent album by Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Davies.

Although the album does pay tribute to the guitar-centric sound of the mid to late 1960s, much of the 10-track, 36-minute album falls into a deeply eclectic genre of orchestrated rock-based instrumentals.

Overall, Gold is an impressive showcase for Ashley’s drumming, percussion and synth / keyboards, while it’s also worth noting that his acoustic and electric guitar work is also prominent on many of the Gold tracks.

Oh, and another key to the sound of Gold is Ashley’s string arranger Bryony Marks.

1. Birth (2:42)
2. Bush (4:03)
3. Outback (5:54)
4. Discovery (5:01)
5. Gold (2:37)
6. Meeting (2:18)
7. Camel (3:17)
8. Walking (2:12)
9. Lost (5:01)
10. Death (3:03)

Opening on the lead-off track, Birth, which itself sounds inspired by the U.K. band Stackridge with a little Penguin Café Orchestra mixed in, the free wheeling and joyfully jaunty track is backed by the statically-charged rush of Bush, and then comes the laid back, rhythmic grooves within Outback, the lighter fare of Discovery and then the ornately sculptured, aching yearn of the titular Gold is brought forth.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from the album, the melodically mesmerizing, atmospherically stuttered Meeting which is in turn followed by the spacial qualities found within the rangy Camel, the Hammond and brass-led, and aptly-named beauty Walking is up next, the album rounding out on the veritably shimmering rock of Lost, coming to a close on the rhythmic hipsway of Death.

Assisting Ashley on Gold are a number of musicians, including cameo vocalists Karen Rush and Tess McKenna, a veritable string section with violinists Lizzy Welsh and Erkki Veltheim and cellist Katherine Philp as well as Sam Lemann on second electric lead guitar and mandolin, to name several of the musicians here.

The liner notes of Gold, available so far only on black vinyl and digital download, fills the listener in about the significance of the album, which serves as a kind of instrumental tribute to Ashley’s Uncle Len, a World War II hero, and specifically the few hundred paintings Len did, expressly those in “The Lasseter Series”.

Gold has a very cinematic sound with Ashley adding, “I turned Len’s paintings and his story into a short film using the music from the album as the soundtrack and have recently won 4 awards from film festivals in New York.”

According to Ashley, “I had been wanting to do an “up” record for a while. Something that would stimulate and inspire the listener in an emotional way much like the Lasseter paintings had made me feel, and so, with that in mind, I set out to write an album of ten instrumental pieces of music that would go with each of the Lasseter paintings.”

Too upbeat to fit into contemporary prog-rock and too complex for background soundtrack music, Gold in its place sparks the imagination with a series of beguiling, rock-centric instrumentals that thrives in a variety of sonic settings.

With ten tracks clocking in at 36 minutes, Gold is guaranteed to move listeners to the brink of sonic wonderment as they delve into the widescreen musical imagination of Ashley Davies.

Ashley Davies - Discovery [Official Music]

Ashley Davies - Bush [Official Music]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Ashley Davies @ Facebook

Ashley Davies @ YouTube

Title - Jonathan Sings!
Artist - Jonathan Richman

For those of you not in the know, Jonathan Richman formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 with Jerry Harrison, David Robinson & Ernie Brooks. The band would eventually travel to Los Angeles, and score a recording contract.

However, while demos and recordings were made, an album was never finished, and the band was dropped (not before appearing on the classic Troublemakers compilation).

Jonathan began recording for Beserkley mid-decade with new versions of The Modern Lovers, focusing on his desire for his band to be more of an acoustic/harmony based endeavor, releasing albums including their eponymous debut (1976), Rock & Roll With The Modern Lovers (1977), Modern Lovers ‘Live’ (1977), and Back In Your Life (1978), even scoring a Top 5 U.K. single in the process.

Putting together a new Modern Lovers in 1980, with Greg Keranen (who played on the early records), drummer Micheal Guardabascio, Ken Forfia, Ellie Marshall, and Beth Harrington. The group toured and record through 1981–82, and in 1983 Jonathan Sings! (Produced by Peter Bernstein, bassist for the renowned LA power pop band The Cretones) appeared on Sire Records. It was worth the wait.

The album not only became an immediate fan favorite, but placed at #8 in The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop critics poll, and NME put it at #19 in their Album of the Year list. The album has all of the hallmarks that would show why he made frequent appearances on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and was tapped by the Farrely Brothers for their smash film There’s Something About Mary in the 1990s.

Indeed, Jonathan Sings! - now made available again by Omnivore Recordings on November 2nd, 2022, and as Jonathan originally intended - marked a new decade, a new band, a new label, and a timeless sound.

1. That Summer Feeling
2. This Kind Of Music
3. The Neighbors
4. Somebody To Hold Me
5. Those Conga Drums
6. Stop This Car
7. Not Yet Three
8. Give Paris One More Chance
9. You’re The One For Me
10. When I’m Walking

Opening on the sweetly dulcet, windows down, warm breeze, Sunday country drive of That Summer Feeling and the educational, upbeat and groovy This Kind Of Music, those are backed up by the low ebb, at times veritably acoustically-imbibed hipsway of the foot-tapping rhythm’s within The Neighbors, the old school, Motownesque sing-along Somebody To Hold Me and then comes my own personal favorite, the feverish sixties rock n’ roll of Those Conga Drums.

Next up is the gently frenetic Stop This Car and the beautiful, languishing balladry of Not Yet Three and they are in turn followed seamlessly by the atmospherically-imbued hand-clapper Give Paris One More Chance, the album rounding out on the aching yearn within You’re The One For Me, coming to a close on the melodic, one-two beats within the easy going When I’m Walking.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Jonathan Richman @ Bandcamp

Title - The Calton Songs
Artist - Gun

Welcome to The Calton. The Calton District in Glasgow’s East End has always been home to Jools and Dante from Gun. In their parents’ spare bedroom just a stone’s throw from Glasgow’s famous Barrowland Ballroom, the boys fashioned their songwriting skills alongside former Gun lead singer Mark Rankin.

The Calton Songs is a fourteen-track celebration of Gun’s classic hits and favorites – semi-acoustic versions of what appeared through the years as full-on rock tracks.

Another CD edition of this album also comes signed by the band and the album is also available on double red vinyl, cassette and digital formats.

The songs feature all the current band’s line-up plus some amazing backing singing from Beverley Skeete and The Sisterhood, giving a gospel slant and an original spin to these rock classics.

Barring Word Up, the other thirteen songs were inspired by the sights and sounds of The Calton.

Recorded initially by Dante in the spare bedroom, the songs were completed after the lockdown situation ended in January 2022 in Glasgow’s Morsecode studios.

Gun will be touring this fantastic album with the full band and doing some acoustic shows in the months ahead.

1. Backstreet Brothers
2. Better Days
3. Coming Home
4. Steal Your Fire
5. Word Up
6. Frantic
7. Taking On The World
8. Crazy You
9. Money
10. Shame On You
11. Don’t Say It’s Over
12. Inside Out
13. Higher Ground
14. Watching The World Go By

Here on this wildly brilliant new album from Gun, and one that re-imagines all their classic hits and live favorites, this time through the spyglass of some highly inventive semi-acoustic renditions, they open on the thumping rock of Backstreet Brothers and the acoustically-charged Better Days (2021) and then back those up with the euphorically-charged Coming Home, the euphoric reach within Steal Your Fire, a simply sensational version of Cameo’s Word Up and then bring us the free flowing Frantic and the acoustically low slung Taking On The World.

Next up is the foot-tapping Crazy You and the fervently-inspired hand and thigh-clapper Money and they are followed seamlessly by the guitar rocker Shame On You, the mid-tempo balladry of Don’t Say It’s Over, the gently pulsating Inside Out, the album rounding out all too soon on the slowed down, rhythmically melodic Higher Ground and the slow rock roll of Watching The World Go By.

Gun - Coming Home (ft.The Sisterhood) [Official Lyrics Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Band Website

Gun @ Facebook

Gun @ Instagram

Gun @ Twitter

Title - The Merriest
Artist - Jane Monheit

For those unaware, Jane Monheit is about to unwrap her new holiday CD The Merriest (Club44 Records) on October 28th, 2022 followed by a streaming format release on November 4th, 2022.

“I’ve always been a person who loves the holiday season,” enthuses the international #1 Billboard pop/jazz vocalist. “I look forward to it all year, especially the wonderful songs we only get to experience during the month of December.”

When classic Christmas songs are dipped in the sweet, luscious swing of jazz music, the results are always as warm and soothing as hot cocoa and chestnuts.

Top that with a vocal performance from an artist who has perfected the art of songbook standards, and you’ve got all the ingredients for holiday delight.

The Merriest is actually Jane Monheit’s second holiday album, following 2005’s The Season. On this release, the celebrated jazz singer continues her tradition of imbuing timeless music with her unique vocal and jazz stylings.

Produced by Rick Montalbano, The Merriest is a personal collection of festive faire handpicked by Monheit herself.

1. Christmas Time Is Here
2. It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
3. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
4. (Christmas) Stay With Me
5. That Holiday Feeling (featuring John Pizzarelli)
6. The Christmas Song
7. The Merriest
8. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
9. Winter Wonderland

Opening on the beloved melodies within Christmas Time Is Here and the lush orchestrations of It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, next up are the cherished memories found within a quite wonderful Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! which is itself backed seamlessly by a nostalgic (Christmas) Stay With Me (which is also the first ever recording of Broadway legend Cy Coleman’s composition) and the decadent duet That Holiday Feeling, with world-renowned artist John Pizzarelli.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this album, the lavishly layered melodies within The Christmas Song which is followed by the lushly orchestrated, gentle swing tones within the titular The Merriest, the album coming to an all-too-soon close on Monheit’s signature vocals evoking the lyrical question, What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? and the delightfully studious Winter Wonderland.

A master of her craft, Jane Monheit’s stunning interpretations of the American Songbook, classic pop songs, and traditional Latin / bossa nova tunes have mesmerized fans the world over. Her ability to honor timeless material with her well-honed vocal performances has resulted in several of her albums going to #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts.

Smooth, playful, and enchanting, The Merriest richly revisits these cherished melodies with lush orchestrations and Monheit’s signature vocals, evoking nostalgia, family, and home. It’s a perfect collection to kick off the holiday season.

Official Website

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Jane Monheit @ Facebook

Jane Monheit @ Instagram

Jane Monheit @ Twitter

Jane Monheit @ YouTube

Title - Live at Montreux 1994 [2CD]
Artist - Rite of Strings

For those unaware, Mercury Studios is proud to release for the first time on CD Rite Of Strings: Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival 1994 on October 28th, 2022.

Previously released on DVD in 2005, the brilliant interplay between three virtuoso musicians — Al Di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Clarke — is on full display.

The nine-track two-CD set features such deep cuts as “Renaissance” and “Memory Canyon” along with six others. Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty had never played with guitarist Al Di Meola. Their special on-stage chemistry is all over this sterling performance.

CD #1:
1) “Song To John”
2) “Memory Canyon”
3) “La Cancion De Sofia”
4) “Summer Country Song”
5) “School Days”
6) “Eulogy To Oscar Romero”

CD #2:
1) “Renaissance”
2) “Chilean Pipe Song”
3) “Song To John” (with Monty Alexander)
4) “Indigo”

Opening on the dimensional composition, and tribute to John Coltrane, “Song To John” (a Clarke/Corea composition from Clarke’s 1978 Modern Man) and the free flowing harmonies within “Memory Canyon”, next up is the soulfully interactive musings of “La Cancion De Sofia” (a song that would prove to be the highlight of this trio’s subsequent album together a year later), which is itself backed seamlessly by the Al Di Meola soloing within the dulcet “Summer Country Song” and Stanley Clarke soloing on the graceful “School Days”, the first CD rounding out with Jean-Luc Ponty’s soloing on melodious beauty of “Eulogy To Oscar Romero” (off his 1983 Individual Choice).

The second CD opens with the fantastically spirited “Renaissance” and is followed by one of my own personal favorites from this album, the folkloric South American grooves that permeate Di Meola’s breathtaking “Chilean Pipe Song” (where all three spiral upwards to a whirlwind conclusion), which is followed with an encore performance by guest pianist Monty Alexander perfectly recreating what Chick Corea himself might have added on another rendition of “Song To John”, the album coming to a close with the second encore work, the jazz fusion of “Indigo”.

Di Meola—dubbed “Best Jazz Guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine for five consecutive years (’77-’81)—is on fire. His solos on acoustic guitar sting in a non-stop dizzying flurry of notes while bassist Clarke slides up, over and underneath his every riff with alarming dexterity. The absence of drums frees each master musician to fill in the spaces with pure technique.

At 21, Clarke first played Montreux with Stan Getz. Later in his career, his “slap” technique became a funk standard. His solo School Days, in ’74, cemented his rep as a fusion icon.

Jean-Luc Ponty exploded out of Europe to join Frank Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Known for being the first violinist to fully integrate electronics and effects into his playing made him the Jimi Hendrix of the Violin. Here, in an acoustic format, his playing is sweet, swift and fully supportive.

Amazon 2CD Purchase Link

Title - No Mentions, No Worries
Artist - Jonathan Mills

For those unaware, Composer/Arranger/Drummer Jonathan Mills is currently based in Atlanta where he enjoys a busy performance schedule with touring artists and some of the best in the region.

Jonathan has performed with George Cables, Grace Kelly, Brandon Boone (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Greg Abate, Harold Betters (Louis Armstrong, Slide Hampton, Ray Charles), Ashleigh Smith (Sarah Vaughn International Vocal Competition winner), Dave Frackenpohl (GSU), Kevin Bales, and Luke Weathington (KSU).

As a sideman, Jonathan has played at Rockwood Music Hall NYC, Musikfest PA, The Atlanta Film Festival, Churchill Grounds Jazz Cafe, Spivey Hall, Paris, Fete de la Musique in Toulouse, and many other stages up and down the East Coast.

No Mentions, No Worries is Jonathan’s debut full-length album blending his interests in the jazz tradition and its’ contemporary branches, designed as a collection of moods and thought journeys though life in today’s America.

1. No Mentions, No Worries (4:20)
2. For Hadley’s Folks (8:12)
3. When My Mind’s Quiet (7:44)
4. Solecism (4:52)
5. Cool Out (6:02)
6. Calderazzish (6:05)
7. Wait For It (6:54)
8. Sneak Attack (6:01

Opening on the deeply lush rhythms within the titular No Mentions, No Worries and then the laid back, late night melodies of a lullaby written for his niece when she was born (with the hopes that she and her parents could find some sleep in their new schedules) For Hadley’s Folks, then comes the gently fervent, quietly excitable, harmonic work out When My Mind’s Quiet, and an exercise in melodic reinterpretation, the swinging cadences of Solecism.

The compositional, and aptly-named Cool Out is one of my own personal favorites and that is itself backed seamlessly by the finger-snapping, toe-tapping melodies that make up the stunning Calderazzish (a personal thank you to pianist/composer Joey Calderazzo), the album rounding out on the smooth hipsway of Wait For It (a commentary on working through the horrors of the world we live in today and finding our own inner peace and sense of hope for what’s to come), coming to a close on the upbeat, joyous and bountiful rhythms of the fun, yet hard hitting blues of Sneak Attack.

Luke Weathington - Alto Saxophone
Patrick Arthur - Guitar
Tyrone Jackson - Piano & Fender Rhodes
Tommy Sauter - Acoustic Bass
Jonathan Mills - Drums

Official Website

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Blue Pickup Session - the Jonathan Mills Trio performing For Hadley’s Folks [Official Music Video]

Title - Sonatas & Chamber Music For Oboe & Oboe Damore
Artist - Christopher Tyler Nickel

For those unaware, the soulful sounds of the oboe and oboe d’amore infuse the expressive, lyrical new album of solo and chamber works by award-winning Canadian composer Christopher Tyler Nickel.

The star of the show is Seattle Symphony principal Mary Lynch VanderKolk, whose artistry plays a vital role in Chris’ compositional process. He explains, I find ways to incorporate her strengths and personality into expressing the music’s emotions.

The Oboe Sonata, dedicated to Mary, is by turns haunting and pastoral, navigating the full three-octave range of the instrument. The Sonata for Oboe d’amore demonstrates the large timbral and emotional range of the oboe’s lower-pitched cousin, from darkness to light.

Undaunted by the historic canon of iconic solo instrumental works already in existence, Chris - an oboist himself - created a tour de force with his Suite for Unaccompanied Oboe, a work Mary describes as more cinematic than his other concert works, not surprising perhaps given his countless award-winning TV, film, and theatrical scores.

The album concludes with what is surely the only Oboe d’amore Quintet ever composed. The instrument’s plaintive tone takes center stage against the backdrop of string quartet, as the work moves from serenity, melancholy, and nostalgia, before ending with an invigorating finale that brings the inspiring album to a close.

Sonata for Oboe (2019)
1. I. Andante cantabile (5:08)
2. II. Andante Lacrimoso (6:45)
3. III. Allegro agitato (3:31)

Sonata for Oboe d’amore (2018)
4. I. Andante (4:35)
5. II. Andante cantabile (5:06)
6. III. Allegro con fuoco (5:47)

Suite for Unaccompanied Oboe (2020)
7. I. Giocoso (1:49)
8. II. Largo con dolore (2:47)
9. III. Con fuoco (1:22)
10. IV. Cantabile con rubato (3:04)

Oboe d’amore Quintet (2020)
11. I. Moderato (4:47)
12. II. Reflectively (4:40)
13. III. Andante (5:50)
14. IV. Con fuoco (4:43)

This rather thrilling, conceptually dulcet, and yet always heartfelt and evoking, recording opens on Sonata for Oboe (2019), where we are first brought the virtually crystalline Andante cantabile, the quietly pensive Andante Lacrimoso, the works culminating on the feisty, playful and perky Allegro agitato.

Next up is the Sonata for Oboe d’amore (2018) which begins with the tender, wrought at times, but still always dutifully ornate Andante, the pure, unadulterated elegance of Andante cantabile, and then the sterner fare of Allegro con fuoco is brought forth.

Along next is Suite for Unaccompanied Oboe (2020) which first brings us the flighty, precocious even Giocoso, the aching yearn within Largo con dolore, the furtively sculptured Con fuoco, and then comes the graceful ache found within Cantabile con rubato.

This most excellent new recording of works comes to a close on Oboe d’amore Quintet (2020), opening on the charming refinement of Moderato, which leads into the shimmering gentility of Reflectively, the melodious, layered rhythms then played out within Andante, itself rounding out on the bubbly flight of Con fuoco.

Mary Lynch VanderKolk, oboe & oboe d’amore
Paige Roberts Molloy, piano
Eduardo Rios, Andy Liang, violins
Olivia Chew, viola
Efe Baltacigil, cello

CD Purchase Link

Title - Pity To Love
Artist - Ronboy

For those unaware, LA-based rising singer-songwriter Ronboy, the musical moniker of Julia Laws, shares her poignant and atmospheric debut studio album Pity To Love out everywhere now.

Ronboy’s debut album Pity To Love emerged first from feelings, rather than specific subject matter, and came together after a few tireless weeks in the studio. A lot of the album’s concept comes from me grappling with my own mental health. I had a feeling, more than a topic, for the songs and wasn’t sure if they would translate the way I heard them in my head, Ronboy explains.

Speaking to the recording process, Ronboy says, The recording process began as us chipping away when we could and ended with us all together for two hardcore weeks tying up each song. We’d record all day then I’d go straight to my studio to track final vocals, wake up the next day, print the vocals, maybe track some piano or something and head back to the studio to do it all over again for the next song.

1. Always
2. Forget It
3. Say Too Much
4. Pity to Love
5. Your Way
6. Oceans of Emotion
7. Boogeyman
8. Easy For You
9. Mercy
10. Off the Record

Opening on the shimmering at times, orchestral at others, and coming complete with an electronically-charged blitz of a sweeping center, Always is up first and is then followed by the strongly-held, yet empyreal Forget It, and they are backed by the melodic dance floor, airy swirl of Say Too Much, the breathy, rhythmically fluctuating Pity to Love, and the filmy piano balladry of Your Way.

Up next is the Billie Eilish-esque, almost celestial Oceans of Emotion and then comes one of my own personal favorites, some electronic flashback dance that is expertly sewn within the infectiously-crafted Boogeyman, and they are backed seamlessly by the veritably ethereal Easy For You, the album rounding out on the subtly inflected balladry of Mercy, coming to an close on the dulcetly earthy Off the Record.

The album includes production by Ronboy herself, and Samuel Stewart (Lo Moon, Nightmare and the Cat), along with additional production by Sterling Laws (Lo Moon, Kim Gordon, Matt Berninger, Olivia Rodrigo) who affirmed Ronboy’s initial ideas and helped propel the project further.

Over ten tracks, Ronboy turns inward to confront her own fears, transforming her innermost thoughts and spiraling emotions into vivid sonic catharsis, with plenty of space to dance.

Taking the album to Sam and Sterling was really reassuring. They got it instantly and were on board with approaching the production from more of a visual standpoint, shares Ronboy. I’d have depictions for songs like this song is a fever dream or that song is an anxiety attack. And we’d run towards that. Pity To Love holds a lot of emotion, some over-awareness, and melancholy feelings. Dancing is welcomed.

Last month, the raw track, Your Way, premiered with Under the Radar, who wrote the track is, ...a stark and contemplative track, traced with only a three-chord piano accompaniment, some subtle understated drones, and Laws’ unadorned vocal performance ... Laws’ songwriting is both gorgeous and desolate, allowing her to stun with crystalline melodies before she follows with a heartrending lyrical voice.

The recently shared Forget It ultimately inspired the creation of the full-length album. The sleek, mid-tempo production is bolstered with nostalgic, atmospheric instrumentation. Dropping into the bridge, Ronboy’s vocal mantra swirls around before rocketing into a high energy solo and final chorus, singing, Forget it too easy / Not your problem / You get it, you get it / You do away with it.

Forget It was a distinctly fun song to write and record, recalls Ronboy. And as a bonus, has some stellar, inconspicuous personality.

Built around a demo recorded while sick, Ronboy shares, I had an involuntary crack come out of my throat. I thought it had a vibe and dropped it throughout the chorus. Pitched a few of them around to follow the progression and coincidentally, they became the jumping off point for the syncopated rhythm and groove of the song.

Ronboy’s debut EP, Velvet, arrived in 2020 filled with lush soundscapes and layered synths. The following year, in 2021, Ronboy appeared on a cover of Tom Petty’s Only A Broken Heart alongside The National’s Matt Berninger and Resynator-a cover that received praise from Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan.

Today’s release follows a string of singles released this year that have caught the attention of several leading tastemakers.

Simply put, Ronboy’s cathartic and intimate debut album Pity To Love is out everywhere now so go and get it!

Official Website

Spotify Purchase Link

Official Instagram Page

Official Facebook Page

Official Twitter Page

Title - Lagoon
Artist - Bird Streets

For those unaware, acclaimed Brooklyn artist Bird Streets has returned with Lagoon (Sparkle Plenty/Deko), an album about separation, rumination, regret, and recurrence, that travels the darker passages of the heart and mind in search of something resembling clarity.

For his second album under the Bird Streets name, John Brodeur has widely expanded on the project’s collaborative foundation, enlisting production by Patrick Sansone (Wilco), Michael Lockwood (Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple), and Zach Jones (Sting) and Oscar Albis Rodriguez (A Great Big World), plus guest appearances from the likes of Aimee Mann, Ed Harcourt, John Davis (Superdrag), Jody Stephens (Big Star), and an array of top-shelf session players.

With mixing split between Sansone and Grammy winner Michael Brauer(Coldplay, John Mayer), and mastering by Grammy nominee Pete Lyman (Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton), Lagoon is an enormous step forward sonically, while musically it’s a tour de force from an artist who has been hailed for his evocative storytelling and keen attention to craft.

1. Sleeper Agent
2. Machine
3. Burnout
4. The Document
5. Let You Down
6. Leave No Trace
7. SF 1993
8. Ambulance
9. Disappearing Act
10. On Fire
11. Unkind
12. Go Free

This vibrantly harmonious new album opens on the melodically languishing Sleeper Agent and the indie rock of Machine, those are followed by the stalking rhythms within Burnout, the veritably acoustic The Document, the drum-led, gentle guitar vibe of Let You Down, and then comes the unrestrained, Springsteen-esque Leave No Trace.

Next up is the tuneful hipsway of SF 1993 and the gently frenetic Ambulance and they are in turn backed by the percussion-adorned Disappearing Act, the almost-shimmering On Fire, with the album coming to an all-too-soon close on the mid-tempo rocker Unkind and the late 90’s indie appeal (akin to The Mighty Lemon Drops, House of Love, et al) of Go Free.

Lagoon is out November 4th, 2022 on CD, digital, and limited-edition double vinyl.

Official Website

Official Purchase Links

Bird Streets @ Bandcamp

Bird Streets @ Facebook

Bird Streets @ Twitter

Title - Older [2LP]
Artist - George Michael

For those unaware, this is what the late, great George Michael once said about this newly-remastered classic of his: “Older is my greatest moment.” - George Michael.

Originally released in 1996, Older spent three weeks at Number 1 in the UK and spawned 6 singles including Fastlove and Jesus To A Child. The album was a huge global success, going 6x platinum in the UK, as well as being verified platinum in another 22 countries.

Written, arranged and produced by George, it sees him exploring new genres as he reflected on life, loss, love and healing. This iconic album is now available as a 2LP gatefold on 180g vinyl beautifully remastered from the original tapes.

Side A:
1. Jesus to a Child
2. Fastlove, Pt. 1
3. Older

Side B:
1. Spinning the Wheel
2. It Doesn’t Really Matter
3. The Strangest Thing

Side C:
1. To Be Forgiven
2. Move On
3. Star People

Side D:
1. You Have Been Loved
2. Free

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt album is also the album that many observers initially believed Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 to be - a relentlessly serious affair, George Michael’s bid for artistic credibility.

Indeed, it’s an album that makes Listen Without Prejudice sound like Faith. Michael had dispensed with the catchy, frothy dance-pop numbers that brought him fame, concentrating on stately, pretentious ballads - even Fastlove, the album’s one dance track, lacks the carefree spark of his earlier work.

Although Michael’s skills as a pop craftsman still shine through - several songs are well-constructed ballads that rank with his best material - his earnestness most definitely leaves a mark on the album overall.

For in preferring to be bring forth a more mature album, George has, in my humble opinion, mistaken slight melodies for earned craftsmanship and thus Older never quite reaches the heights that his beloved listeners had hoped for.

That said, and exploring some of the tracks a little more, the aforementioned Fastlove is also my favorite George Michael single, as it happens. An exciting, near autobiographical set of lyrics built exquisitely around an exciting dance groove, all built around Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots, it’s also accompanied by one of his most memorable, futuristic music videos; with a powerful choreographed dance under rain showers of water.

Moving on and the first single released, Jesus to a Child, also opens the album, and is also emblematic of the album’s beautiful dedication to George’s Brazilian lover, Anselmo, who transitioned from the big A, a year before. It left little doubt that George was now a proud, out gay man.

Indeed, along with You Have Been Loved and other songs such as the overlooked, understated To Be Forgiven and the excellent Move On, they all came together to underscore the aforementioned seriousness of the album.

Simply put, Older is a wonderful album of well crafted songs played by superb musicians with fine arrangements. Jazzy, Bluesy, and R&B tones come perfectly together to allow George’s magnificent voice to sound as great as it did.

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - Memory Mile
Artist - Dane Clark and The Backroom Boys

For those unaware, Dane Clark is set to release Memory Mile on October 21st, 2022, his first new album since 2020’s history-making Songs From Isolation.

The release date, as it happens, is also his birthday. The Anderson, Indiana-based musician is well known as the touring and recording drummer in John Mellencamp’s band and is an accomplished vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who has previously recorded and released seven critically lauded albums featuring a range of guest musicians including John Sebastian, Carlene Carter, Ian Hunter, Mickey Raphael, members of Moby Grape and Donovan.

This time out, Clark tips his musical hat to the latter with the album’s lead track – his own rendition of “Riki Tiki Tavi,” a charting single for Donovan in 1970.

Donovan was delighted with Clark’s version and, in fact, appears with Linda Lawrence, his wife of 52 years, in the video for the song that is based on the mongoose character in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

“Worst Best Friend” features Donovan on lead vocals and was written as a collaboration with Clark, Donovan’s first co-write ever. The song was conceived during the 2005 Mellencamp tour on which Donovan guest starred when he and Clark struck up a friendship that exists to the present day.

Clark recalls, “What an honor it was to back Donovan and play his greatest hits every night. I’m humbled beyond words and so happy that our song, ‘Worst Best Friend,’ is finally seeing the light of release.”

1. Riki Tiki Tavi
2. Worst Best Friend
3. Magic Woman Eyes
4. Wrong Gone World
5. Eyes Of A Child
6. Chevy Hat
7. Dream Motel
8. Divided Land
9. Emily Marie
10. Still My Baby Girl
11. Memory Mile

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt album opens on the groove-inflected rock of Riki Tiki Tavi and the countrified, Donovan-sung Worst Best Friend and follows those up with the fun, fantasy-imbibed rocker Magic Woman Eyes, the fusional cross between Steely Dan and Jefferson Airplane of Wrong Gone World (which also features Dane’s daughter Abigail on shared vocals), and then comes the Celtic-imbued, reflective Eyes Of A Child.

Next up is the Springsteen-esque, sax-hued rocker Chevy Hat and the troubadour rolling Dream Motel and they are in turn backed seamlessly by the mid-tempo balladry of a lyrical outreach for political harmony within Divided Land, the beautifully earnest Emily Marie (written for his oldest daughter), with the album rounding out on the wedding song Still My Baby Girl (written for the wedding celebration of his middle daughter, Taylor), closing on the harmonica-driven, Elliott Murphy co-vocalized, titular Memory Mile.

As with Songs From Isolation, the first pandemic-themed and pandemic-spawned album to be issued while the country was still on lockdown, Memory Mile by Dane Clark and the Backroom Boys was recorded in Clark’s home studio with contributions from Randy Melson (bass), Erik Scull (guitars, keyboard, vocals) and Troye Kinnett (keyboards), and will be released on Clark’s Thundersound imprint digitally later this month and on vinyl and CD in early 2023.

The album’s striking cover art is by Hugh Syme, the award winning designer whose work has been featured on albums by Iron Maiden, Celine Dion, Joe Bonamassa, Supertramp, Bon Jovi, KISS, Whitesnake, Aerosmith, The Band, Earth, Wind & Fire and every Rush album since 1975.

Those participants were joined by several other notablers on the album which, in fact, Clark thought he might even title Collaborations to underscore the communal effort reflected in the album’s credits.

Also among Memory Mile’s highlights is “Dream Motel,” a Rolling Stones-tinged acoustic rocker with Clark playing all the guitars on the track. Troye Kinnett joins on accordion and upright piano with Erik Scull on background vocals with Dave Roe on bass.

Roe had been Johnny Cash’s longtime bass player and has worked with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach of late. The song was co-written in Nashville with Fred Koller, who co-wrote (with John Hiatt) the hit “Angel Eyes” for Jeff Healey and “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian” with John Prine.

The album’s title track was co-written by Elliott Murphy, whose cult following since the early 1970 has followed him from New York to Spain to France, where he is now based. Murphy plays harmonica and vocalizes with Clark, along with Erik Scull and Dane’s daughter Abigail Clark. Dane Clark notes, “This one always makes me smile, and I hope it does to all of you too.”

Official Website

Dane Clark @ Facebook

Dane Clark @ YouTube

Dane Clark @ Twitter

Title - Convergency
Artist - Dave Slonaker Big Band

For those unaware, the Dave Slonaker Big Band, coming off it’s 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble, returns with a dazzling collection of new music celebrating the tradition, but also pushing the possibilities of big band jazz.

Featuring an all-star cast of West Coast jazz and studio legends, including Bob Sheppard, Larry Koonse, Peter Erskine, Wayne Bergeron, and so many more, Convergency (Origin Records) brings together the lives, stories and extraordinary talents of these great musicians, with the music of veteran Los Angeles composer/arranger Dave Slonaker, to create what will certainly be another touchstone recording for fans of the large jazz ensemble tradition.

1. Convergency
2. Uncommonly Ground
3. Duelity
4. A Gathering Circle
5. A Curve in the Road
6. Inner Voices
7. Sometimes a Notion
8. Vanishing Point
9. And Now the News
10. I Had the Craziest Dream

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt album opens on the infectious joy of the titular Convergency and the quieter, yet no less melodic Uncommonly Ground and they are followed by the gently fervent Duelity, the laid back A Gathering Circle and then comes the effervescent A Curve in the Road.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the almost Parisian-esque rhythms within the dulcet Inner Voices and that is itself backed by the soft dance floor swirl of Sometimes a Notion, the, at times, Eastern-flavored Vanishing Point, the album rounding out on the foot-tapping ear worm And Now the News, coming to a close on the intensely impassioned I Had the Craziest Dream.

Official Website

Dave Slonaker Big Band @ Facebook

Dave Slonaker Big Band @ YouTube

Dave Slonaker Big Band @ Instagram

Title - Imágenes Latinas
Artist - Spanish Harlem Orchestra

For those unaware, within the vast landscape of Latin music in New York City, few ensembles have had such a magnificent impact as the 3x GRAMMY®-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO).

Founded by pianist and composer Oscar Hernández two decades ago, the mission statement of SHO is to honor the tradition of great Latin music, and to continue their work as “the leading light of the salsa reconstruction movement” (Newsday).

On Imágenes Latinas, their eighth release due out May 20th, 2022, SHO stays true to their purpose. The first Spanish Harlem Orchestra release on Hernández’s own imprint, Ovation Records, the roll-out of Imágenes Latinas features a fan-funded model that allows fans to pledge different levels of monetary support for an assortment of exciting benefits, from an advance copy of the album to an executive producer credit.

1. Llegó La Hispanica
2. Imágenes Latinas
3. Vestido De Flores
4. De Mi Para Ti
5. Romance Divino
6. Como Te Amo
7. Mambo 2021
8. Sentimiento Y Son
9. Cuando La Hispánica Toca
10. Mi Amor Sincero
11. La Música Latina

This beautifully crafted, wholesome and heartfelt album opens on the infectious joy of Llegó La Hispanica and the formidable Imágenes Latinas (whose title nods to the iconic New York Latin pop group Conjunto Libre) and they are followed by the beautiful hipsway within Vestido De Flores, the summer breeze of De Mi Para Ti, the aptly-named, dance floor swirl of Romance Divino, and then comes one of my own personal favorites from the album, the soft-winged, ornately sculptured Como Te Amo.

Up next is the impassioned turn of the brisk Mambo 2021 (itself a throwback to SHO’s last album, The Latin Jazz Project) and that is itself backed seamlessly by the emphatically-charged Sentimiento Y Son, then comes the upbeat, fervently exuberant Cuando La Hispánica Toca, the album rounding out on the delicately-woven melodies and rhythms within Mi Amor Sincero (which starts as a slow bolero and before transforming into a cha-cha), closing on the free flowing La Música Latina (which also features the great Carlos Cascante on lead vocals).

“As leader and producer, my mission and vision is to represent the great history and legacy of this music that I’ve been blessed to be a part of my entire life,” reflects Hernández. “Our passion and commitment to this music is never ending.”

With this unyielding motivation Imágenes Latinas finds the band exploring new dimensions but never deviates from its core belief. “As with all the new SHO recordings, the concept and sound is the same but the playing of new songs, arrangements, and performances always aim to create a new magic for the listeners,” Hernández adds.

Official Website

Spanish Harlem Orchestra @ Facebook

Spanish Harlem Orchestra @ Twitter

Spanish Harlem Orchestra @ Instagram

Title - Visión
Artist - Oscar Hernandez

For those unaware, 4x GRAMMY® Winning Pianist and Composer Oscar Hernández released his new album Visión with Alma Libre on January 22nd, 2022 via Ovation Records.

Supported by his long-standing quintet Alma Libre, and augmented by special guests Joe Locke, Aaron Janik and Luisito Quintero, Hernández’s third release as a leader is a powerful document that reaffirms his standing as one of the most important voices in Latin music.

Indeed, this is the second release for Ovation Records, a new record label founded by Hernández in 2020.

Visión is a seminal work for the decorated artist, who described the experience of preparing and recording the project as an important creative outlet during the shutdown. “The creative process was in full force during that time,” reflects Hernández.

“Recording this album was a way to react positively, and to counteract the negative circumstances surrounding the pandemic.” And so, the prolific composer added ten new compositions to his already expansive and wide-ranging repertoire.

In May of this year, he and Alma Libre – his Los Angeles-based ensemble featuring the legendary saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Jimmy Branly, bassist Oskar Cartaya, and percussionist Christian Moraga – recorded Visión, bringing these brilliant new tunes to life.

1. Vision
2. Ritmo Pa’ Ti
3. Doña Provi
4. Chick Forever
5. Make The Move
6. Tributo Al Son
7. Don’t Stop Now
8. Spring
9. So Believe It
10. Virtually Here

This infectiously melodic new album opens on the heartbeat of the album, the titular Vision and then bleeds seamlessly into the beautifully rhythmic Ritmo Pa’ Ti, the ornate piano gossamer, that leads the track at first, before it becomes more layered, of Doña Provi, the impassioned tribute to Chick Corea within Chick Forever, and then comes the upbeat NYC-esque vibed Make The Move.

Along next is the free flowing, artfully crafted melodies within Tributo al Son and that is in turn backed by the more straight forward, but no less mesmerizing, piano-jazz of Don’t Stop Now, the aptly-named Spring, the album rounding out on the breezy rhythms within So Believe It, coming to a close on the more forthright, yet heartwarmingly pleasant Virtually Here.

The title is of significance to Hernández. “When I was young, I was taught by my family that you need to have a vision to accomplish things. I believe that if you see it and you believe it, you can achieve it,” he says.

This uplifting title seemed a fitting response to the tenuous situation at the time the album was conceived.

Official Website

Oscar Hernandez @ Instagram

Title - Not Quite Yet
Artist - Paul Marinaro

For those unaware, vocalist Paul Marinaro, dubbed as having “one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business today” by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, is a modern classic.

With Chicago as his home base, Paul has become one of the most in-demand and respected male vocalists and has “taken his place among the top five male jazz singers active today.” (Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene).

In 2013, Paul celebrated his widely acclaimed debut album Without a Song, a carefully crafted concept album stemming from and inspired by his father’s unfulfilled dream to have been a professional singer.

For this album, Paul incorporated the beginnings of his love affair with music, when at the age of five, he found his father’s homemade 78rpm acetate discs in the attic, heard him singing “That Old Black Magic”, and was mesmerized.

This scratchy recording of his father’s voice was Paul’s first musical inspiration…and it was restored and used to open his debut album 66 years later.

On his brand new album, Not Quite Yet (due out October 28th, 2022), the Buffalo native showcases an intimate, honest, and deeply compelling storytelling side of himself.

Thus, this multi-faceted collection is an invitation into the singer’s often playfully swinging and yet always graceful, exploration of timeless themes - life, love, the search for meaning and the longing for connection - as seen through the lens of the collective anxiety we all have felt these past few years.

1. Born To Be Blue
2. Someone The Light Up My Life
3. Make Me Rainbows
4. 5:15 The Angels Have Gone
5. Remind Me
6. No One Ever Tells You
7. Invitation
8. The Island
9. Taking A Chance On Love
10. On A Wonderful Day Like Today
11. That’s All
12. Searching (É Luxo Só)
13. I Remember
14. No Plan

This infectiously melodic new album opens on the emotive Mel Tormé cover Born To Be Blue and the beautiful, free flowing Antônio Carlos Jobim and Frank Sinatra composed Someone The Light Up My Life and they are followed by Paul upgrading the easy-listening Make Me Rainbows (John Williams / Alan and Marilyn Bergman) to bring forth a resonantly phrased work, the first of two David Bowie covers, this one a quite extraordinary reworking of 5:15 The Angels Have Gone (from Bowie’s 2002 Heathen album), and then comes an ultra smooth Remind Me (Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields).

And in what is, in a way, a newly embroidered notation on Sinatra’s own legato-style of singing/phrasing, or perhaps more so, the lushly orchestrated, velvety tones that only Nat King Cole could usher, next up is Paul’s take on the Sinatra-sung No One Ever Tells You (Carroll Coates / Hub Atwood) which is backed by one of my own personal favorites, a simply divine rendition of Invitation (Bronisław Kaper / Paul Francis Webster, originally used in the 1950 film A Life of Her Own), which is itself followed by the romantic masterpiece The Island (Ivan Lins / Alan and Marilyn Bergman).

Up next is the Ella Fitzgerald-sung, yet exquisitely honored here by Paul, Taking A Chance On Love (Vernon Duke / John La Touche), the swinging, finger-snapping On A Wonderful Day Like Today (Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse), the album rounding out on what many consider part of the Great American Songbook, the dulcet, yet expressive That’s All (Bob Haynes / Alan Brandt), a reworked nod toward the Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd sung Searching (É Luxo Só), an impeccable telling of Stephen Sondheim’s I Remember (which actually comes from a made for 1966 TV film called Evening Primrose), coming to a lovely close on a daring choice, Bowie’s No Plan (taken from his posthumously album in 2017).

Mike Allemana, guitar
Tom Vaitsas, piano
John Tate, bass
George Fludas, drums
Marques Carroll, trumpet
Raphael Crawford, trombone
Chris Madsen, tenor sax
Rich Moore, alto sax, clarinet, flute
KAIA String Quartet
Allyssa Allgood, backup vocals
Gabriella Allemana, backup vocals

Official Website

Born To Be Blue - Paul Marinaro [Official Video]

Paul Marinaro @ Facebook

Paul Marinaro @ Twitter

Paul Marinaro @ Instagram

Paul Marinaro @ YouTube

Title - Burning Room Only
Artist - Ron Bosse

For those unaware, inherently jazz is about collaboration, the sum of the whole being greater than the parts due to the magic that results from improvisation when the chemistry amongst the musicians is right.

That’s the approach jazz fusion guitarist Ron Bosse took to record Burning Room Only. The Boston-based fretman hooked up with Grammy-winning fusion icon, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, to write and record the eleven-song set produced by Lorber that drops October 28th, 2022 on the Deep Cat Records label.

Bosse views Burning Room Only as a mindset. Yes, musicians love to describe scorching performances as “burning,” and that certainly applies to the masterful musicianship on display throughout this collection, but Bosse takes the meaning deeper.

1. Bossman
2. Power Drive
3. Strutter
4. Checkin’ In
5. Kiss The Sky
6. Rumble Strip
7. Aerodynamic
8. Event Horizon
9. Ante Up
10. DNA
11. Deep Cat

This radiantly flourishing new recording opens on the heartbeat of the album, the groovy, free flowing funk of Bossman (his longtime nickname) and the majestically intricate Power Drive and then comes the refined, smooth jazz vibe of Strutter, the funky, bass-laden grooves within Checkin’ In are next, before we are then brought the beautiful melodic hipsway of Kiss The Sky.

Along next is the funky-veined, rock-edged Rumble Strip (which was also the first track on the album that Snarky Puppy saxophonist Bob Reynolds recorded for Bosse), which is itself backed by a gently frenetic, urban lean found within Aerodynamic (my goodness, just listening to his fingers do the talking makes me exhausted!), the groove-oriented Event Horizon, the album rounding out on the infectiously engaging Ante Up, the colorfully creative DNA, closing all too soon on the cool mood-imbued Deep Cat (named after John Williams).

Over the course of fourteen months, Bosse spent hours talking to Lorber about the funky contemporary jazz grooves, intense rock fusion explorations and compelling melodies they were creating. Led by the guitarist’s remarkably proficient and alacritous finger work, the set that Bosse and Lorber crafted is a team effort with this formidable team featuring some real “burners.”

Lorber deploys nimble keyboard harmonies and unleashes fiery solos. Drummer Gary Novak (George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Chick Corea) anchors the beats with precision, locking into the bass lines etched by Ben Shepherd, Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), Frenchman Hadrien Feraud, or the colorfully experimental MonoNeon (Prince).

Robust horn section arrangements by David Mann add muscle and might, with two saxophonists – the Yellowjackets’ Bob Mintzer and Snarky Puppy’s Bob Reynolds – harnessing soul, power and passion in spotlight solos.

“When I first began the process of recording this album with Jeff, I immediately noticed that we shared similar values in that we feel that all aspects of the production require a high level of attention and detail. Not only is it about the songs, it’s about the orchestration, it’s about the musicians, the solos, the way it’s recorded, how it’s mixed and mastered, the album artwork, the song titles. One of the things I think about when reflecting on the process of writing and recording the album is how collaboration can yield a result far more unique than going it alone, especially if you put the right people together,” Bosse reflects.

“This time period has been one of the most prolific for me which is a true testament to the power of collaboration. My most memorable experience throughout the process of recording this album is the camaraderie and connection with the musicians involved. It’s these personal experiences that really mean the world to me.”

Aerodynamic (feat. Jeff Lorber)

Bossman (feat. MonoNeon, Jeff Lorber & Gary Novak)

Official Website

Ron Bosse @ Instagram

Ron Bosse @ YouTube

Ron Bosse @ Facebook

Title - Two of Swords
Artist - Miró Henry Sobrer

For those unaware, following his father’s death, Miró Henry Sobrer found himself alone in a world full of political, environmental, and spiritual division.

Thus, his new album Two of Swords is dedicated to Miró’s Catalan father, Josep (Pep) Miquel Sobrer (1944-2014) whilst also being an homage to Miró’s heritage and a recollection of his grief.

His father, an accomplished writer, translator, and scholar of Spanish and Catalan literature, wrote his own tarot book in a poetic format. The album centers around Josep’s text version of the Two of Swords tarot card.

The album features plentiful spoken poetry: the prose-poem corresponding to this card from Josep’s tarot book, and some sonnets by another Catalan poet Josep Janés i Olivé, whose poems accompany Miró’s twisted-arrangement of a song cycle by the renowned Catalan composer Frederic Mompou.

Act One:
1. “Two of Swords” (Part One)
“Dream Combat” (“Combat del Somni”)
2. “Over You Only The Flowers
3. “Tonight Only One Wind”
4. “I Don’t Know If I’m Seeing You”
5. “I Had A Vision of You Being Like The Sea”
6. “Make My Life Transparent”

Act Two:
7. “Deep Waters” (“Aigües Profundes”)
8. “Trinity Dance” (Part One)
9. “Trinity Dance” (Part Two)
10. “Trinity Dance” (Part Three)
11. “Bridge Over The Tiber”
12. “Two of Swords” (Part Two)

This incredibly impassioned and immaculately heartfelt new album opens on Act One, where spoken words from part one of the “Two of Swords” entry in Josep’s book are dutifully accompanied by a muted trombone duet that foreshadows the melody from “Unity Suite part two,” which bleeds seamlessly into the short, but sweetly spoken words of the arrangement of Mompou’s song cycle “Dream Combat” (“Combat del Somni”).

As he himself has acknowledged, Miró’s arrangement contrasts starkly from the original due to his unique approach. For here he strips the original music of its flesh until all that remains is a skeleton which becomes a seed to nourish with a more modern approach. This regrows the piece and imbues it with fresh vitality.

The next track is the dulcet, yet magnificently gleaming combination of spoken word and bowed percussion within “Over You Only The Flowers” which is then followed by the exuberant vibrancy of “Tonight Only One Wind”, the aching yearn combined with the exasperation of perennial hope within “I Don’t Know If I’m Seeing You”, the simply magnificent, wholly encompassing work of musical art within the near nine minute “I Had A Vision of You Being Like The Sea”, and the veritably cinematic, melodically rhythmical, finger-snapping joys of “Make My Life Transparent”.

Act two opens on “Deep Waters” (“Aigües Profundes”), and introduces spoken words from the second half of the “Two of Swords” poem, superimposing them over a chorale, but then a violent rhythmic interjection leads into the main melody and groove.

After this we are brought forth another original in three parts entitled “Trinity Dance” (aka “Unity Suite”) which features progressively layered Indian Classical Music with Sardana (a Catalan folk music) and latin-jazz cha-cha-cha into a cacophonous harmony, that is at once chaotically discordant and peacefully unified.

Part One is a mediation in art form, a percussional yearn that both lingers yet ebbs throughout, and which is later layered with other instruments to raise it. Part Two is a flirtatious, hip swaying, if not regimented piece, whereas Part Three is a more loose, free flowing dance floor swirl.

An accordionist street musician inspired the final full-length track: a contrafact on the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves” titled “Bridge Over The Tiber”. With lilting, quick-shifting rhythms, resemblant of tango and buleria, this song symbolizes the historic flooding of the Tiber river that runs through Rome.

The album finishes by recalling its own inception, with the remaining text from the “Two of Swords” spoken over another muted trombone duet that trills and flutters away like a bird flying into the distance.

Official Website

Miró Henry Sobrer @ Instagram

Title - Momentary Beauty
Artist - Kate Hamann

For those unaware, born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Kate Hamann started studying the trumpet at 10. As her passion for performing grew, she attended the Interlochen Arts School at 16.

There she studied classical and jazz trumpet with Ken Larson and Bill Sears (respectively), graduating with the class of 2018.

Kate then attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and studied with legendary artists Brian Lynch, Etienne Charles and John Davera. During college, Kate discovered her love of singing and decided to incorporate her voice into her musicianship.

On her debut EP, When I Grow Up, she brought forth a collection of original music centered around childhood, relationships, self-discovery, and new beginnings. Indeed, When I Grow Up embraced the fact that, as artists and people, we are constantly evolving and growing, no matter how old or experienced.

Her brand new full-length album Momentary Beauty (coming out November 18th, 2022) tells a long love story, starting with feelings of butterflies, daydreaming, and the blissful period of being newly in love.

1. Butterflies
2. What Love Could Be
3. Daydream
4. Daydream (Reprise)
5. Stepping Stones
6. Cherish You
7. Momentary Beauty
8. Songs We Used to Sing

This incredibly impassioned and immaculately heartfelt new album opens on the fun and flirtatiously-noted elegance of Butterflies and that weaves seamlessly into the reflective contemplation of energy found within What Love Could Be (itself a nod to uncertain times of loneliness, but where a new romance can bring clarity and joy), and then we get the compositional, almost hypnotizing exploration within both Daydream and the sweetly cultured Daydream (Reprise).

Up next is Stepping Stones, a track that highlights loyalty to a partner through hardship and such, its well crafted, melodious ebb and flow, peaks and troughs a joy to behold, and that is itself followed by the balladry work of Cherish you, the recording rounding out on the album-themed encapsulation within the titular Momentary Beauty, coming to a close on a track that symbolizes the unrelenting grief one can experience losing the one they love, the optimistic, yet reflectively yearning Songs We Used to Sing.

In closing, this brand new album attempts to describe (and to my journalist mind, succeeds) the indescribable experience of human love: so remarkable to us, yet even our strongest passions happen for only a moment.

Official Website

Kate Hamann @ Instagram

Kate Hamann @ YouTube

Title - Stories From Solitude
Artist - Domi Edson Trio

For those unaware, while many artists Domi Edson’s age feel compelled to write music over saturated with complex harmonies and dense arrangements, her brand new album Stories from Solitude proves that Domi developed the maturity and bravery to let this music, characterized by catchy melodies, infectious swing, and joyful ensemble interplay, be enough - and the results speak for themselves.

The record’s title speaks to the inspiration Domi finds from being alone with her thoughts in picturesque natural places - if you know anything about her, you know that she is happiest sailing down a snowy mountain range on a pair of skis.

On this occasion, however, she is joined by two fine musical companions in pianist Spencer Zweifel and drummer Bobby Wiens. Zweifel’s fluid technique and dynamic touch breathes life into Edson’s melodies, and his solos always enhance the mood of the piece.

Wiens clearly (and rightly) prioritizes swinging above all else to great result, and his tasteful accompaniment pushes Edson and Zweifel to greater heights.

As for the bassist, Edson commands a massive tone and lives in the pocket. Her solos are sensible, laid-back, and always tinged with the blues.

While the trio’s performances of songbook tunes on this date all serve the compositions well, this record shines in large part because of Edson’s development as a composer. She has learned how to take stories and experiences from her life and converts them into songs, weaving tales for her listeners much like she would in conversation.

1. Shiny Stockings (4:30)
2. Domi’s New Blues (6:16)
3. In Waltzed Minnie (6:02)
4. Panoramic (5:56)
5. Killarney Glen (6:41)
6. You and the Night and the Music (4:09)
7. Lush Life (7:45)
8. Crocos (5:42)
9. When You’re Smiling (6:09)
10. For Col Tom Blue (5:02)
11. Up Jumped Spring (5:04)

This wonderfully impassioned and wholly masterful new album opens on the fervently flirtatious Shiny Stockings and the low slung, at first, and then creatively layered thereafter, Domi’s New Blues and then backs those up neatly with my own personal favorite, the elegantly constructed dance floor swirl of In Waltzed Minnie, the simply heavenly Panoramic and the breezy, enjoyably engaging rhythms within Killarney Glen

Next up is the furtively scampering energies within You and the Night and the Music and the overall aching yearn found within Lush Life, and they are in turn backed smartly by the free flowing melodies of Crocos, a beautifully recrafted When You’re Smiling (written by Larry Shay, Mark Fisher and Joe Goodwin in 1928), the album rounding out on the ornately languishing For Col Tom Blue, coming to a close on the aptly-named, and totally abounding Up Jumped Spring.

As for her essence, Domi explains: “I gain inspiration from being alone in nature (usually skiing) and most of the songs have stories behind them that are something very specific.”

Official Website

Domi Edson Trio @ Instagram

Domi Edson Trio @ Facebook

Domi Edson Trio @ YouTube

Title - Let Go
Artist - Acute Inflections

For those unaware, Acute Inflections will release their fifth album on November 11th, 2022, entitled Let Go.

The powerful title track, Let Go, was recently featured on NPR, and the collection includes soulful takes on uplifting songs from a wide range of artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, and Andra Day.

The album is actually inspired by their fans’ requests during their popular online pandemic concerts.

Elasea Douglas is a gifted singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Like many other singers, she started in church as a young child. For a short time as a toddler, she believed she was why everyone attended the services and took advantage of quiet moments like the choir’s pauses to make her voice heard.

Sadiki Pierre is a talented upright bass player who is uniquely capable of playing and fusing almost any style of music, including classical, jazz, latin, reggae, and R&B.

When her first started playing the upright bass, he had no interest in actually learning the instrument and instead was only looking for a way to get out of his sixth-grade class. Fortunately, he chose the right distraction from his schoolwork.

1. Blue Skies (2:28)
2. We Are The Champions (4:47)
3. Let Go (5:23)
4. Everything That I Wanted (5:27)
5. A Change Is Gonna Come (6:07)
6. Nature Boy (3:23)
7. Only Together (4:49)
8. Rise Up (5:19)
9. What A Wonderful World (5:25)
10. Let Go Remix (4:41)

This soulfully-crafted and genuinely heartfelt new album opens on the summer’s breeze of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies and a remarkable rendition of Queen’s We Are The Champions and they are followed by the quieter gossamer of their original song, Let Go, then comes a quite remarkable take on Billie Eilish’s Everything That I Wanted and then an artfully constructed, waning yearn is brought to the for on Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, both in its original state and here on this album, their magnificently soulful cover of Nat King Cole’s always-lush Nature Boy and that is itself backed by the subdued, yet euphorically implored original, Only Together, and then we get an infectiously melodic Rise Up (Andra Day), the album rounding out on the robustly crafted What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong), closing on a remix of their original song, the titular Let Go.

Official Website

Acute Inflections @ Instagram

Acute Inflections @ Facebook

Acute Inflections @ Twitter

Title - Wake The Beast (The Impellitteri Anthology)
Artist - Impellitteri

For those unaware, for the first time ever, the Impellitteri catalog has been made available worldwide!

A legendary guitarist around the world, Chris Impellitteri is well known for his technical skill, as well as being an extremely melodic and proficient songwriter.

Despite being a full American metal outfit, the Impellitteri catalog has been hard to pin down for western fans, with many fans having to buy expensive import copies direct from Japan, where Chris enjoys a huge following.

But this has now changed with Global Rock officially licensing the full catalog between the years 1987 and 2010.

In celebration of this occasion, Global Rock are releasing Wake The Beast: The Impellitteri Anthology, a 3CD set that encompasses the Impellitteri story from 1987-2010.

Every song here selected by Chris himself as to what he feels are the highlights from some 12 different releases. Whether it’s fan favorite Rob Rock on vocals or the legendary Graham Bonnet behind the mic, one thing can be sure, the intensity never let’s up!

This is the first ever Impellitteri career spanning compilation released worldwide, featuring not only the well known album tracks, but rare Japan released only bonus songs, B-sides and more!

Disc 1:
1. Victim of the System
2. Perfect Crime
3. Power of Love
4. When the Well Runs Dry
5. 17th Century Chicken Pickin’
6. Spanish Fire
7. Rat Race
8. Lost in the Rain
9. Father Forgive Them
10. Hungry Days
11. Eye of the Hurricane

Disc 2:
1. Texas Nuclear
2. Speed Demon
3. On and on
4. Stand in Line
5. Secret Lover
6. Fly Away
7. Warrior
8. Hold the Line
9. The Young and the Ruthless
10. Ball and Chain
11. Wake Up Sally

Disc 3:
1. Wake Me Up
2. Falling in Love with a Stranger
3. Rock & Roll Heroes
4. Anti-Social Disease
5. Burning
6. Freakshow
7. Wicked Maiden
8. Garden of Eden
9. Propaganda Mind
10. Stand or Fall
11. I’ll Be with You

In what was always a band - formed by high-speed neo-classical guitarist Chris Impelliteri - whose core styling was highly reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, Impelliteri not only produced a self-financed album of instrumentals in 1986 and formed his own band in 1987, but at their collective best, man, did they strongly evoke a certain Rainbow style too!

Probably down to the fact that cult hero, and supreme screamer Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, MSG, and Alcatrazz) was on lead vocals, sure, but overall, and with Impelliteri churning band members in and out like it was a game show, no matter what happened, musically the group made music that just f**in’ rocked!

Chris Impellitteri formed Impellitteri together with vocalist Rob Rock in Los Angeles where they first released an EP entitled Impellitteri in 1987. The EP features heavy metal with classically influenced shredding guitar solos, screaming vocals, speed metal drumming and aggressive bass!

It contained songs like Lost in the Rain and Burning, which quickly gained the attention of heavy metal fans and musicians around the world. In fact, during the release of the EP, many major media outlets began to cover Impellitteri, including Kerrang!, Guitar World, Circus, and Burrn!

After the release of the EP, Impellitteri regrouped, this time with British vocalist Graham Bonnet as lead singer, and released an album titled Stand in Line in 1988. MTV played Impellitteri’s music video for Stand in Line in heavy rotation, and Chris Impellitteri was a guest host on MTV’s Headbangers Ball.

Fans voted Impellitteri a Smash on MTV’s Smash or Trash show and the album charted in Billboards Top 100 and remained there for over five months. To date, the song Stand in Line has become a fan favorite globally.

After touring in support of the Impellitteri EP and Stand in Line, the band returned to the studio and reunited with original vocalist Rob Rock. They quickly recorded and released another EP titled Victim of the System (1993), which was produced by Mike Tacci, who was the assistant engineer on Metallica’s Black Album (1991).

Victim of the System was highly influenced by the band Queen and following that they released Answer to the Master in late 1994. It was also another album that produced many new fan favorite songs, like Warrior, Fly Away, and the title track itself, Answer to the Master.

In 1996, Impellitteri released Screaming Symphony with Chris Impellitteri winning the Burrn! magazine Readers Poll Award for Best Rock Guitarist. The record was mixed by Michael Wagener, who had also produced Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne.

Screaming Symphony featured songs such as Rat Race and 17th Century Chicken Pickin’, which are played frequently during live concerts. In 2000, Impellitteri released the album Crunch. Crunch was the first record where the band started to occasionally use drop tunings in combination with their brand of shred metal.

This album featured songs such as Beware of the Devil, Slay the Dragon, and Speed Demon and in addition, the band recorded a ballad entitled Forever Yours.

Shortly after Crunch, Rob Rock decided to pursue a solo career and so Impellitteri again recruited Graham Bonnet and began working on their next album entitled System X, released in 2002. That year they also released a compilation of hits called The Very Best of Impellitteri: Faster Than the Speed of Light (2002).

In May 2008, it was announced that Rob Rock was, once again, back with Impellitteri. They collaborated on a new album called Wicked Maiden (2009), which was released in Japan and Europe on February 24th, 2009, with the intent of releasing the new album in the United States in 2011, followed by the Impellitteri Shredfest tour.

Now, for the first time ever, the band’s career spanning music is available on Wake The Beast!

Stand In Line - Impellitteri [Official Music Video]

Answer To The Master - Impellitteri [Official Music Video]

Official Website

Impellitteri @ Instagram

Impellitteri @ Facebook

Impellitteri @ Apple Music

Title - Satan’s Cats
Artist - Puss Johnson and Satan’s Rats

For those unaware, Satan’s Cats, a collaboration between UK punk band Satan’s Rats and singer Puss Johnson of Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, have announced plans for a self-titled debut EP to be released November 4th, 2022 by Salamander Records.

Available on CD and download, the EP features five songs, including four reworkings of vintage Satan’s Rats tracks and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s The Rocker.

Satan’s Cats includes three members of Satan’s Rats: guitarist Steve Eagles (founding member in 1977), drummer Olly Harrison, and bassist Dave Sparrow.

When the Rats dissolved in 1978, the trio invited Wendy Wu to sing and rebranded themselves as The Photos. Following much media attention and a record company bidding war, they signed with Epic Records. The Photos’ debut album reached #4 in the UK charts.

For this 2022 EP, the three Rats have collaborated with vocalist Puss Johnson, from the incendiary rock band Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. PATDJs released their fourth studio album through Hound Gawd! Records in 2020.

1. You Make Me Sick
2. Facade
3. Sex Object
4. Year Of The Rats
5. The Rocker

This vibrant, iconic-sounding, punk-fused rocker of a collective opens on the free-falling, old school punk rock of the Toyah-esque vocalized You Make Me Sick and then brings us the angrily-infused, yet always melodic Facade (which also sounds a little like early Adam & The Antz), the bass-led, arioso, guitar-run brilliance of Sex Object, the EP rounding out on the raucous, anti establishment-imbued sound of Year Of The Rats, closing on a pretty damn fine cover of Thin Lizzy’s The Rocker.

“During Covid lockdown, Olly suggested that we should reform the Rats with Puss,” said Eagles. “When I reacquainted myself with the songs, I was instantly excited and wrote Olly back to say, ‘Yeah, let’s go!’ The band had one rehearsal with Puss to just sort out which key each song would be in. Puss has a strong presence, and she sounds great on these tracks.”

The EP features four classics from the Rats’ repertoire — “You Make Me Sick,” “Facade,” “Sex Object,” and “Year of the Rats” — chosen mainly by Johnson and Harrison. It was discussed whether Johnson liked the song, whether it was suitable for her kind of delivery, and whether the lyrics needed to be updated.

“Sex Object” received the biggest overhaul! “We tried out seven or eight old Satan’s Rats songs and the four that sounded the most immediate made the cut for recording,” said Eagles. “As for the cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker,’ Olly saw something in it that would suit Puss’ voice and attitude.”

In 1978, “You Make Me Sick” and “Year of the Rats” were the band’s second and third singles for DJM Records, a company named after the music business veteran (Dick James Music) who had originally signed Elton John.

During their brief existence, the Rats played many of the famous punk clubs of the day —The Roxy in London, Barbarella’s in Birmingham — and shared bills with Slaughter and the Dogs, XTC, the Killjoys, Suburban Studs, The Drones, and many others.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of their career happened December 21st, 1977, when they opened for The Sex Pistols at Club Lafayette in Wolverhampton (UK). The Rats were called back for an encore!

After Satan’s Rats and The Photos, Eagles spent time as guitarist with the post-punk/no wave jazz band, Blurt, and in the 1990s, Bang Bang Machine. The latter group’s “Geek Love” single (Parallel Records) was voted number one on John Peel’s “Festive Fifty” list for 1992. Harrison went on to become a filmmaker having his work shown at Cannes and the British Film Institute. Dave, alongside his charity work, is now a luthier and a member of the band The Pleasuredome.

As for the future, Eagles says, “Satan’s Cats is all about having some fun. If there’s enough interest in the EP, I could see it leading to an album.”

Official Purchase Link

Satan’s Cats - Facade [Official Music Video]

Satan’s Cats @ Instagram

Title - Love Hope Trust
Artist - Roger Street Friedman

For those unaware, noted Americana singer-songwriter Roger Street Friedman has announced the release of a new album, Love Hope Trust, due on November 4th, 2022.

The album was produced by Grammy-winner Larry Campbell and boasts performances from Jason Crosby on keyboards, Teresa Williams and Lucy Kaplansky on background vocals, and a cameo from legendary accordionist Gil Goldstein.

“This album encompasses a myriad of concerns, fears, joys and sorrows inherent in everyday life in this crazy world from the perspective of age—dare I say maturity—and gratitude,” Friedman asserts.

“I strive to get to emotional truths in my songwriting where people say, ‘oh yeah, I’ve experienced that,’ or just to make people feel something, sadness, joy or longing. That is what makes an album of mine feel successful.”

The album’s producer, Campbell, expressed excitement about the forthcoming record. He shared, “Making this record with Roger Street Friedman was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had as a producer,” Campbell proclaimed. “Great songs, well-crafted lyrics and melodies, vibrant performances, and the creative inspiration that sprang from that made it a joy to show up at the studio every day.”

1. Love Hope Trust
2. Mother And Son
3. Thankful For This Day
4. Vapor In The Air
5. About You
6. In The Summertime
7. The Ghosts Of Sugarland
8. Annabelle
9. Multiply By Two
10. I Want Her To Know
11. Walls Close In
12. Cut Your Losses

This opulently sculptured album of musical gems from start to finish opens on the titular, blues and soul-infused, forward messaging, mid-tempo rocker Love Hope Trust and then comes the aged-to-perfection, troubadour-imbued storytelling within Mother And Son and then we are treated to the veritably shimmering, Gospel-esque, layered melodies within the symbolically beautiful Thankful For This Day, the Caribbean-imbued sweetness within Vapor In The Air, the mid-tempo, Mellencamp-esque rock of About You, and then we get the rhythmically drum-veined In The Summertime.

Up next is the banjo-soaked, rhythmically infectious foot-tapper The Ghosts Of Sugarland, before my own personal, resonant favorite from this album comes to the fore in the simply beautiful Annabelle and they are in turn followed by the Summer’s breeze of Multiply By Two, the low slung Americana plea within I Want Her To Know, the album rounding out on the barn yard, dance floor swirl of Walls Close In, coming to an all too soon close on the tuneful Americana of Cut Your Losses.

Furthering a multi-album artistic continuum between Roger and Larry, the 12-song Love Hope Trust is a sonic scrapbook that documents a divided world while exploring intimately personal journeys that evince universal truths, sensitively snap shooting moments of modern living.

A critically-acclaimed artist whose work has been featured everywhere from American Songwriter and Consequence to No Depression and The Boot, Roger’s insightful lyrics and empathic perspective reveal the magic in the mundane aspects of everyday living.

His songs venture down those dirt roads of folk, country, vintage rock n’ roll, and blues. Love Hope Trust, in particular, is inspired by 1970s folk-rock artists such as Cat Stevens and Jackson Browne.

Furthermore, the material on Love Hope Trust was culled from a collection of songs Roger wrote during the pandemic and onward. The title track opens the record with a lone roots-rock shuffle riff played on an acoustic guitar.

Then, as if a camera pans to a widescreen shot, the full band enters with a nuanced rhythm section groove, and Larry Campbell’s elegant, rockabilly-esque lead guitar figures, and Jason Crosby’s organ fills weaving in and out.

Down the center, Roger’s vocals cut through, rhythmic yet melodic, stating the facts of this frightening time while also dishing out some hope. He sings: Let’s go back to the beginning/Time to pay some rent/all this time we’ve been moving/Hard to believe where we went/Troubled hearts and spinning wheels/Trouble blowin’ out and in/The butterflies in my stomach/Wonder when this too shall end.

Love Hope Trust is the fourth installment in a second chance-era of musicality. Roger left music behind for 25 years before resurfacing with his acclaimed 2014 debut, The Waiting Sky. He returned to music after experiencing a series of seismic life changes, including the deaths of his father and mother, marriage and, later, the births of his two children.

Today, with a well-received album catalog, an engaged fan base, and a lot of road work under his belt, Roger has created a robust and respected artist profile. “I feel like I’m on the right path, and I’m still growing. I think it took me longer to get smart enough to write these songs,” he says with a good natured laugh. “Now, I get to make up for lost time, and I am really lucky because I don’t have a lack of inspiration—something always comes to me when I sit down with my guitar.”

Roger Street Friedman - Love Hope Trust (Official Music Video)

Roger Street Friedman - Annabelle (Official Lyric Video)

Official Website

Roger Street Friedman @ Twitter

Roger Street Friedman @ Instagram

Roger Street Friedman @ Facebook Roger Street Friedman @ YouTube

Title - Ticket To Ride
Artist - Loren Daniels

For those unaware, Loren Daniels is professional musician with over 30 years experience in the music business in composition, performance, recording and producing.

Loren is a prolific composer and skilled arranger, writing original tunes heard on his own CDs, as well as creating highly original versions of classic jazz, R&B and pop tunes often performed live.

Loren is a co-founder of the well-established jazz band The Reggie Pittman / Loren Daniels Quartet, which performs often in the Greater New York Area at clubs and at events by invitation.

The rich and famous songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney formed the soundtrack for the second half of the 1960s and have been revisited a countless number of times.

Rather than stick to the usual treatments, on his brand new album, entitled Ticket To Ride, Loren Daniels has rearranged, modernized and transformed their music into stirring jazz.

While originally conceived as an acoustic trio set with vocals, the project grew over time with Daniels also being heard on organ, electric piano, melodica, and multi-tracked background vocal harmonies!

With fine contributions bu the supportive team of bassists Belden Bullock and drummer Jonathan Peretz, Daniels sings a few well-known Beatles songs along with some that are rarely performed, creating a continually surprising set of music.

1. Drive My Car (4.00)
2. Ticket To Ride (6:11)
3. I’m Only Sleeping (6:14)
4. With a Little Help from My Friends (5:10)
5. For No One (4:35)
6. Eight Days A Week (6:34)
7. Come Together (5:46)
8. Blackbird (4:25)
9. I’ll Follow The Sun (5:01)
10. You Can’t Do That (6:22)

This vibrantly heartfelt album opens on the free wheeling Drive My Car and the titular, albeit soulfully transformed Ticket To Ride, and backs those up with the balladry of I’m Only Sleeping, the slow roll of the lower tempo’ed With a Little Help from My Friends and then we get the lushly orchestrated For No one.

Along next is the dance floor swirl of the magnificent Eight Days A Week which is in turn followed seamlessly by the smooth funk within Come Together, the elegantly orchestrated Blackbird, the album rounding out on the finger-snapping I’ll Follow The Sun, closing on the skittle-skattle vibe of You Can’t Do That.

In closing, the fabulous Ticket To Ride, perhaps the finest recorded showcase for the multi-talented Loren Daniels to date, evokes the coming together of the Beatles and creative jazz, shedding new light on the songs of Lennon and McCartney.

Official Website

Loren Daniels @ Facebook

Title - Beyond the Reservoir
Artist - Julian Taylor

For those unaware, Award-winning, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Julian Taylor has just released his next album, Beyond the Reservoir, on October 14th, 2022, via his Howling Turtle, Inc. label, with distribution via Warner Music/ADA.

Co-produced by Taylor and longtime production partner/collaborator Saam Hashemi, mixed by Hashemi, and mastered by Noah Mintz, Beyond the Reservoir was recorded at three studio locations — Canterbury, The Fireside Studio, and The Woodshed.

“I really enjoyed writing and producing this new album,” Taylor says. “I dug down deep. It’s extremely personal like my last record, and I’ve taken that to heart. It took me longer to write this piece of art, and I think that I was learning and teaching myself so many things along the way.”

“I’ve realized that by sharing my personal truth and the stories of my life, as they are and were, is a real gift to myself and to others. It’s not easy to love ourselves, and it’s not easy to love in general. I have a difficult time with it, and as I shed my own skin to reveal that kind of vulnerability, I find it connects me to the human experience in a more meaningful way.”

1. Moonlight
2. Murder 13
3. It Hurts (Everyone Was There)
4. Wide Awake
5. Seeds
6. Stolen Lands
7. I Am A Tree
8. Moving
9. Opening the Sky
10. 100 Proof [Bonus Track]

This beautifully crafted, melodically Americana new album opens on the gracefully pleasing tale within Moonlight and the storytelling of Murder 13, and they are then followed by the gentle hop-skip-bounce of It Hurts (Everyone Was There), the congenial Wide Awake (which examines the forward-looking reverie of embracing one’s ingrained familial experiences), and the John Mellencamp-esque S.E.E.D.S. (a song powered by strife, loss, and discontent, but one that grasps firmly to hope and redemption).

Along next is the sterner recounting of reflection in the form of Stolen Lands (where he explores his own heritage as an Afro-Indigenous person, tracing stories of dispossession, cultural genocide, and police brutality), which is itself backed by the low slung folk of I Am A Tree, the aching, albeit melodic yearn within Moving, the album closing on the gently furtive, at first, boisterous and upturned rhythms thereafter of Opening The Sky (equal parts loving fatherly advice and a forever promise, written as a message to his daughter) and the so-called acoustic guitar bonus track, 100 Proof.

Beyond the Reservoir’s name is grounded in a specific geographical touchstone Taylor fondly recalls from the not-entirely halcyon days of his teenage youth in Ontario. “I used to hang out at a place in Toronto called the St. Clair Reservoir. If my last album, The Ridge, was a childhood record in a lot of ways, Beyond the Reservoir is an adolescence record – a coming-of-age story – about moving into adulthood. Beyond the Reservoir is an album that addresses identity, loss, sadness, hope, and redemption, and the themes of resilience, courage, and strength are prevalent in every carefully chosen lyric.”

“It contains a gentle spiritual thread that runs throughout the album, touching on each of the elements like fire, water, air, and earth as they relate to humanity. It has this infinite sadness to it, but it also has this infinite hope to it as well. It is a beautifully orchestrated successor to The Ridge. It’s compelling, like a book you can’t put down.”

Joining Taylor, who played acoustic guitar, piano, and hand drum, on the album were returning pianist/multi-instrumentalist Derek Downham and two of Taylor’s cousins — Gene Diabo on drums, and Barry Diabo on bass.

Due to certain pandemic-related travel restrictions at the time of recording, Taylor additionally deployed some other musicians to lend their talents to the Reservoir process, amongst them being drummer Shamaka Ali, electric and upright bassist Anna Ruddick, pedal-steel guitarist Burke Carroll, and fiddler Miranda Mulholland, with Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther providing backing vocals, and string arrangements by Michael Peter Olsenis performed by Aya Miyagawa, Sarah Valasco, and Eslin Mckay (violin), Maxime Despax (viola), and Erika Nelson (cello).

Nine profoundly interpersonal songs form Beyond the Reservoir. As aurally bountiful and topically deep as The Ridge truly was, Beyond the Reservoir raises the overall artistic ante considerably.

Thanks to songs like the starkly restless narrative of “Murder 13” and the no-holds-barred reclamation declarations of “Stolen Lands” — not to mention the resilient backbone at the taproot of “Seeds” and the magnanimous firmament of freedom and wisdom celebrated in “I Am a Tree” — the sheer breadth of Reservoir finds Taylor planting a stake for taking his rightful place as one of the most insightful and personally affecting songwriters and performers of the first quarter of the 21st century.

As bleak as some of the channels certain Reservoir songs must travel are, the joys found within the down-home transformative stretch of “Moonlight” and the forward-looking reverie of embracing one’s ingrained familial experiences in “Wide Awake” only serve to add to the album’s widescreen look at the world sprawl that’s around us.

It all leads to the uplifting album-denouement signpost that is the acoustified final track “Opening the Sky,” which was written explicitly by Taylor as a treatise for his pre-teen daughter to champion the idea of how you can do anything, no matter what the world at large puts in your path. “What I’m saying to her here is, it’s ok to keep going,” he explains.

“Ultimately, I hope my work helps people relate to their own humanity,” Taylor says. The inherent compassion and humanity entrenched all throughout Beyond the Reservoir clearly show Taylor is well in tune with the soul of his restless muse in a way that’s personally relatable to everyone who’s listening.

To borrow a line from “Moonlight,” it’s an album that captures the moments that changed just about everything. Beyond the Reservoir is a justly attained artistic apex by a duly established career artist still looking over the rim to see where he can take us, and himself, next.

Murder 13 by Julian Taylor [Official Video]

S.E.E.D.S. by Julian Taylor [Official Video]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Julian Taylor @ Facebook

Julian Taylor @ Instagram

Julian Taylor @ Twitter

Julian Taylor @ YouTube

Title - Let Go
Artist - Sam Taylor

For those not in the know, Harlem based saxophonist and Philadelphia native, Sam Taylor presents his third release for Cellar Live, entitled Let Go, featuring trumpet master Terell Stafford.

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios in January of 2022, a time when much of what we believed in as a society was being redefined and reimagined, Taylor chose to invite his musical elders to join him on a journey of generosity and letting go.

Surrendering to the music he loves, interpreting the songs and sharing with others, Let Go remains true to Sam Taylor’s musical values. There is an emphasis on mentorship and tradition, as Terell Stafford was a childhood hero of the young saxophonist while in Philadelphia.

Joined by Jeb Patton (piano), Neal Miner (bass) and Willie Jones III (drums), Taylor and Stafford joyfully perform a collection of songs by the great Barry Harris, Benny Golson, and Coleman Hawkins, along with interpretations of rarely played standards from the American Songbook.

Indeed, the title track, Let Go, is an original by Taylor, his first to be recorded. The quintet swings hard and with purpose, honoring the spirit of those who came before, with a clear message: Music is an act of giving. Let go.

1. Luminescence
2. Let Go
3. Angel Face
4. Gettin’ Together
5. Out of the Past
6. Philly New York Junction
7. Bye Bye Baby
8. Here’s That Rainy Day
9. You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
10. Prisoner of Love

This beautifully crafted, melodically infectious new album opens on the aptly-named Luminescence and the upbeat and joyous titular Let Go and then backs them up seamlessly with the smooth and creamy Angel Face, the fervently-rhythmic Gettin’ Together and the yearnful melodies within Out of the Past.

Up next is the soft, slow, delicate gossamer that makes up Philly New York Junction and that is in turn backed by the veritably shimmering sparkle within the delicious Bye Bye Baby, the dance floor swing of Here’s That Rainy Day, the album rounding out on the studious You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile, closing on the fervently flirtatious Prisoner of Love.

Taylor incorporated two metropolises into the mix: his hometown of Philadelphia and his adopted home, New York City. Both cities add nuance that is heard on the ten-song collection produced by Taylor and Cory Weeds.

For one, Stafford is a prominent part of the Philly jazz and arts scene, and his solos, accents and duets with the saxophonist on “Let Go” are prodigious. One of the songs on the album is “Philly New York Junction,” a tune that Taylor saw trumpeters John Swana and Joe Magnarelli perform in local clubs when he was growing up.

Recording a classy version of Benny Golson’s “Out of the Past” is another tribute to the City of Brotherly Love; Golson is a fellow saxman from Philly.

Simply put, “Let Go” is a swinging set, where astute rhythms abound, bebop grooves, and varied melodic hues provide structure for Taylor & Company’s improvisational explorations.

One of the highlights of the set list composed primarily of Great American Songbook standards is Taylor’s first ever recording of one of his own compositions: the title track.

Indeed, Taylor’s inspiration for “Let Go” comes from his belief that living a life of music is “an act of defiance” that involves surrendering and generously giving oneself to the music, that music is an expression of love and respect, inspiring hope and a reason to overcome challenges and triumphs.

Official Website

Sam Taylor @ Facebook

Title - Hollywood Christmas
Artist - Richard Williams

In truth, the name Richard Williams may be rather familiar to some people and not only because he is originally from Salinas, California, but currently resides in South Provo, Utah.

Richard is a composer and has almost always been involved with music since first learning to play the piano in the third grade. By the time he reached the fifth grade, he had learned to play the trombone, and says that he “picked up other instruments along the way when [he] got bored in band class.”

His music has been recorded at Capitol Studios, Budapest, Prague, and Fox Studios in LA.

Some people may also recall that Richard is a part of the cinematic pop band, TREN, along with Taylor Miranda, Eliza Smith, and Nate Young. The group met through the Commercial Music Program at Brigham Young University (BYU). The band’s unique focus is on creating music for major films such as Captain America: Civil War, featuring the Marvel Comics character, Captain America.

The group actually stated on their Facebook page that “the premise of the song [“Civil War”] is that evil wins when forces for good are divided. It is when we come together that good prevails and amazing things can happen.”

TREN also wrote the hit song “Live or Survive,” intending it to be the end credits song for The Hunger Games.

On his brand new album, the just-released Hollywood Christmas, multi-instrumentalist Richard Williams weaves a rich tapestry of big band classics, orchestral and rock arrangements that create a new, updated sound for a dozen Christmas classics.

Partly driven by his Mormon faith, Williams decided to show off his considerable arranging chops by putting his own spin on these well-known and beloved songs.

1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
2. The Holiday Season (Pt. 1)
3. Happy Holiday (Pt. 2)
4. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
5. White Christmas
6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
7. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
8. Here Comes Santa Claus
9. Jingle Bells
10. Frosty the Snowman (Pt. 1)
11. Jingle Bells (Pt. 4)
12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
13. Winter Wonderland
14. Let It Snow (Pt. 1)
15. Up on the Housetop (Pt. 2)
16. Let It Snow (Pt. 3)
17. (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
18. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
19. Coming Home (Pt. 1)
20. Somewhere in My Memory (Pt. 2)
21. Someway, Somehow (Pt. 3)
22. Somewhere in My Memory (Pt. 4)
23. - 40. Instrumental tracks

This beautifully crafted, melodically infectious new Holiday album opens on the vibrant, warmly vocalized It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year [feat. Alex Stiles] and the Rat Pack-esque The Holiday Season (Pt. 1) featuring Nate Bryant, and they are followed by the rambunctiously delightful Happy Holiday (Pt. 2) featuring Company B, the luscious The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) [feat. Alex Stiles], a beautifully sung White Christmas (featuring a breathy Rebecca Lopez) and then comes a spirited Santa Claus Is Coming to Town [feat. Evon Collett & Connor Ross] and a party-flavored Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree [feat. Taylor Miranda, a vocalist in Williams’ virtual cinematic pop band TREN].

Along next, on what was my very first Christmas music-listening experience of the year, is the finger-snapping Here Comes Santa Claus, Pt. 1 [feat. Hayley Kirkland & Connor Ross] and Jingle Bells, Pt. 2 and they are in turn followed nicely by the beloved Frosty the Snowman, Pt. 3 [feat. Company B], the euphoric Jingle Bells, Pt. 4, a low slung Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [feat. Russian vocalist Dmitry Noskov], and then comes the upbeat and joyous swing of Winter Wonderland [feat. Hayley Kirkland & Company B] and the gently fervent swing of Let It Snow, Pt. 1 featuring Benny Benack III.

The harmoniously layered Up on the Housetop, Pt. 2 featuring Company B is up next and that is followed by Let It Snow, Pt. 3, and then comes the veritable gossamer of the delicately, nay, sweetly sung duo of both (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays and I’ll Be Home for Christmas [both featuring Chelsea Brooke Olson], then come the quartet of scenically atmospheric tracks in the form of Coming Home, Pt. 1, Somewhere in My Memory, Pt. 2 (a song from the movie Home Alone), Someway, Somehow, Pt. 3 and before a whole host of instrumentals, Somewhere in My Memory, Pt. 4 [feat. Julie Seechuk].

To add to the album’s vibrant texture, Williams brought on board several of his favorite vocalists to perform as solo artists and in various combinations on each each of the songs. “Every singer has their own sound and own approach”, says Williams, “I chose singers that I thought would do the best job on each of the songs, and I then arranged the songs to fit each singer’s style and vocal range”.

In closing, Williams takes a unique approach on this album by including the instrumental tracks without vocals for people who may just want to listen to the music and to highlight his arrangements, which stand ably alone because of their cinematic quality.

Official Website

Richard Williams @ Facebook

Richard Williams @ Instagram

Title - One Of The Others
Artist - Taurey Butler

Montreal-based pianist Taurey Butler is a native of East Orange, New Jersey and now makes his home in Montreal. During his last year of high school, a prescient teacher, who was also a distinguished percussionist, Barry Centanni handed Taurey a CD of Oscar Peterson and advised him to listen.

He did, and from then on, he knew where he was going. “I didn’t know a piano could do that!” he recalls and began to focus more on jazz studies.

With his self-titled debut, released on Justin Time Records in 2011, Butler firmly established his signature artistry in his adopted home base – he is a well-known and favorite performer in Montreal’s preeminent jazz clubs, including Dièse Onze, the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill and the illustrious Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

He has toured internationally with stops in Asia, the Middle East, and in the USA including New York City’s Blue Note Jazz Club and The Cotton Club in New Orleans as well as the Detroit and JVC Jazz Festivals.

The pianist teams up with Montreal-based Justin Time again for One Of The Others, set for release on October 7th, 2022.

The trio recording is a genuine, creative deepness of effort, and is selflessly shared. The album delivers the real Butler in a musical representation of who he is, and what he feels, a suite of truly personal and personalized tracks.

1. One Of The Others
2. Artis’ Truth
3. Swappin’ Lies
4. On The Natch
5. Smile
6. Nutfog
7. Sisyphean Task
8. What Is This Thing Called Love?
9. Can’t Buy Me Love
10. Laini’s Love
11. I Can Only Be Me

This beautifully crafted, stupendously melodic new album opens on the confident swagger of the titular One Of The Others and the Dave Brubeck-esque waltz of Artis’ Truth and then comes the controlled frenetic-ism of Swappin’ Lies, the joyful soul of On The Natch and then we get the merrily purposeful, yet noticeably whimsical Smile.

This throwback trio set continues onward with the ornately sculptured Nutfog which is itself backed by the forward perch found within the rhythmic Sisyphean Task, then comes the fleet-footed What Is This Thing Called Love?, their subdued rendition of Lennon & McCartney’s Can’t Buy Me Love, the album closing on the melodically paced Laini’s Love and a loving stillness found within the balladry gossamer of I Can Only Be Me.

One Of The Others is also one of the tracks on the album and like a title or heading it is an expression of the thoughts and musings presented throughout about being an outsider in a new and strange, but immediately, not so strange land.

With Wali Muhammad on drums and Morgan Moore on bass, Butler tells us his story through eleven songs some authored and some re-imagined and authored. Listen to this music and travel the Taurey Butler migration from his then to his now.

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Title - Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes [OST]
Artist - Ron Carter

Six years in the making, the documentary film of the most comprehensive look into the life of jazz bassist Ron Carter arrives. Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes was produced and directed by the renowned producer/director Peter Schnall, a seven-time Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner.

Schnall reveals poignant and joyful details of the jazz maestro’s life, from his early years as a cello student in high school through his years in the Miles Davis Quintet of the ‘60s and into his vital solo career that continues to expand.

In addition to the television broadcast premiere, the exclusive soundtrack of never-before heard Ron Carter performances will be released as a CD/double vinyl recording by Freiburg, Germany-based IN+OUT Records on October 21st, 2022.

The album includes a live performance filmed at the Newport Jazz Festival of Carter’s classic original “Soft Winds,” and an impromptu bass duet of “Willow Weep for Me” with Christian McBride at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

There are also tunes from two New York Blue Note club sessions with Bill Frisell on “My Man’s Gone Now” and a first-time recording with fellow bassist Stanley Clarke on “Bag’s Groove.”

The most rewarding recording comes when Carter meets up with Jon Batiste at the Power Station studio for a conversation and ultimately a song: “Sweet Lorraine.”

1. Receipt, Please
2. Soft Winds
3. Flamenco Sketches
4. Bag’s Groove
5. Willow Weep for Me
6. Blues for D.P.
7. Doom Mood
8. My Man’s Gone Now
9. A Nice Song
10. Sweet Lorraine

This elegantly sculptured new soundtrack album opens on the simply fabulous blues-jazz hipsway of Receipt, Please and the, at first gentle and congenial, yet soon enough swirly and playful Soft Winds and those bleed seamlessly into one of the highlights, the delicate gossamer of the live piano balladry combined with a soft Latin center within Flamenco Sketches, the foot-tapper Bag’s Groove, and then we get the studious, upright bass-led work within Willow Weep for Me.

Up next on this gorgeously smooth new album is the all out brass-tastic swing of Blues for D.P. and the veritably cinematic in scope Doom Mood, which are in turn backed seamlessly by the languishing yearn found within My Man’s Gone Now, the recording closing with the ornate delicacy of A Nice Song and the low ebb, organically-crafted Sweet Lorraine.

Toward the end of the production, Schnall had thought of reviewing Carter’s history, but then decided to have someone else on screen. He invited Batiste who was once a student of the elder while he attended Juilliard. What better choice than to have two of music’s most prominent artists talk together? The session lasted two hours. “My hope was that the two would play together,” says Schnall. “When Ron showed up with his bass, I knew that something was going to happen.”

Schnall admits that he didn’t grow up as a jazz aficionado. His introduction to Carter came from his friend John Matera, a jazz enthusiast, who had invited him to see the bassist perform at the Blue Note in the West Village. “Towering over his bass, Ron played with a sensitivity that commanded attention,” Schnall writes in the recording liner notes. “I was mesmerized. When the show ended, my friend John told me we had just witnessed the greatest living bass player. He wondered why a documentary had never been produced on Ron’s 60-year career. Half-joking, I said, maybe now’s the time.”

So began Schnall’s long journey interviewing Carter at his house, on the road, in the studio to fully understand the 85-year-old’s majestic life story, with Jonathan Zalben serving the valuable role as the film’s musical supervisor. He started out by writing a letter to Carter and then visiting him at home. “It was the most wonderful and interesting and surprising conversation. We chatted for two hours, not so much about music, but about life. That was to be the beginning of an extraordinary journey together.”

If Schnall hadn’t been steeped in jazz before, he certainly gained a depth of appreciation from Carter as well as from the other great jazz musicians he interviewed, ranging from Herbie Hancock to Sonny Rollins.

As for getting the documentary out to the public, Schnall first pitched the story to PBS. “They immediately said ‘yes’ to the project, they were very excited about the Ron Carter story,” he says. “Later, when we presented PBS with our 90-minute rough cut, they asked if we could extend the show to two hours. That doesn’t happen too often.”

The same enthusiasm held true with IN+OUT Records. “The soundtrack was produced in less than three months,” Schnall says. “It’s an important compilation, as the tracks represent the breadth and scope of the music Mr. Carter has been performing throughout his career.”

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Title - Saudade, Colour of Love
Artist - Maria Mendes

Hailing from Portugal and based for the last decade and a half in the Netherlands, Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-nominated vocalist and composer Maria Mendes is no stranger to living between two different worlds.

With her critically acclaimed 2019 album Close To Me, Mendes, whose praises have been sung by such legendary composers as Quincy Jones and Hermeto Pascoal, spotlighted her ability to bring disparate influences together in stunning fashion with her vibrant fusion of symphonic jazz and Portuguese Fado, the folk music of her homeland.

Far from having exhausted the possibilities of that project, Mendes brings her singular vision to the concert stage in collaboration with master keyboardist/arranger John Beasley and the revered Metropole Orkest on her breathtaking new live album, Saudade, Colour of Love.

Due out October 7th, 2022 via Challenge Records, the album further expands the emotional intensity of its predecessor’s thrilling hybrid sound with the backing of a full orchestra.

The lush, velvety symphonic sound creates sparks when it meets the exhilarating interplay of Mendes’ brilliant quartet and the singer’s fervent vocals, resulting in an unforgettable evening of music.

1. Com Que Voz
2. Tudo Isto É Fado
3. Verdes Anos
4. Foi Deus
5. Hermeto’s Fado for Maria
6. E Se Nâo for Fado
7. Dança Do Amor
8. Quando Eu Era Pequenina
9. Meu Pobre Capitão

This elegantly lush, veritably symphonic sound of a recording opens on the sweeping ornate gossamer of Com Que Voza and the delightfully free flowing Tudo Isto É Fado and they are followed by the furtively playful Verdes Anos, the dutifully harmonic Foi Deus and then comes the artfully sewn dips and swirls within the beautiful Hermeto’s Fado for Maria.

Up next is the delicate balladry found within E Se Nâo for Fado which is itself backed seamlessly by the, at first laid back, summer’s breeze entwined, but which soon bleeds into the aptly-named Dança Do Amor, the album rounding out on the drum-led Quando Eu Era Pequenina, closing on the audience-participated Meu Pobre Capitão.

In advance of Saudade, Colour of Love, Mendes released the single “Hermeto’s Fado for Maria,” a new piece written for Mendes by the iconic Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal.

The song was actually gifted to her in the form of a handwritten score on the back of a hotel room emergency exit instruction card. Pascoal gave Mendes free rein to do what she wished with the song, the only demand being, “Don’t you dare to not record it!”

The Dutch Metropole Orkest, the world’s leading pop and jazz orchestra, appeared on four tracks on Close To Me, but that was enough to convince Mendes that the collaboration could bear even greater fruit. “Working with the Metropole Orkest was so precious that it nurtured a seed in me that needed a lot more water,” Mendes says.

“Bringing together jazz and Fado has been the most important and artistically fulfilling work that I have done, really feeding my soul. It’s been a new awakening to connect with this beautiful legacy that came from my ancestors.”

While Mendes and Beasley’s arrangement of “Asas Fechadas” garnered nominations for both Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, the pandemic inevitably halted the album’s momentum. At the same time, it allowed the luxury of time to plan a truly spectacular showcase for expanded orchestral renditions of these songs to be premiered at two May 2022 concerts at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ and at Parkstad Limburg Theaters in Heerlen.

Mendes worked closely with John Beasley in arranging the music for the symphonic setting, while Beasley crafted majestic orchestrations for the Metropole Orkest.

Official Trailer of SAUDADE, COLOUR OF LOVE | New CD

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Title - Back Home in Kansas City
Artist - Bobby Watson

“The alto is a singing horn,” says Bobby Watson, and the great saxophonist is in fine voice on his latest album, Back Home in Kansas City.

Due out October 7th, 2022 on Smoke Sessions Records, the album features an all-star quintet with Watson’s longtime rhythm section of bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Jones along with pianist Cyrus Chestnut and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt.

“Great melodies are immortal, like a sculpture or a painting,” Watson insists. “This album is more about the singing quality of my instrument.”

As the title suggests, Back Home in Kansas City also pays homage to Watson’s hometown and its own rich musical heritage. The saxophonist grew up in KC, leaving to study at the University of Miami and then spending a quarter century making his name in New York City.

He returned home in 2000 to serve as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music & Dance, retiring 20 years later.

His retirement coinciding with the pandemic, Watson found himself with plenty of time to reflect on Kansas City’s importance to his distinctive sound and, gradually, to play for local audiences who helped attune his approach to the blend of soul and balladry that makes up the new album.

“Being out here in Kansas City has given me a chance to slow down and go deeper into what I want to play,” he explains. “The Kansas City audience is a sophisticated audience because of the history of this town. We’ve got people out here who have heard a lot of music. So I’m not playing down to the audience, and I’m not trying to simplify anything. I’m simply coming out of what I feel in my heart and my soul.”

1. Back Home in Kansas City
2. Red Bank Heist
3. Our Love Remains
4. Bon Voyage
5. The Star in the East
6. Mind Wine
7. Celestial
8. Dear Lord
9. Side Steps
10. I’m Glad There Is You
11. Blues for Alto

This elegantly-crafted, harmoniously articulate new album opens on the insistently perky title track, Back Home in Kansas City and then brings us the more structured, Pink Panther-esque Red Bank Heist, the quieter fare of Our Love Remains (featuring Carmen Lundy on vocals), the tantalizing Bon Voyage, and then we get the late night, dance floor swirl (that features Cyrus Chestnut on piano) of The Star in the East.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the upbeat and flirtatious Mind Wine and that is backed supremely by the aptly-named, angelically-divine Celestial, a veritably shimmering cover of John Coltrane’s Dear Lord, the drum-led Side Steps, the album rounding out on the aching yearn within I’m Glad There Is You (together with Paul Madeira), coming to a righteous close on the buoyantly optimistic Blues for Alto.

The title tune is a contrafact (a new melody written over existing chord changes) on “Back Home Again in Indiana,” also famously the basis for Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee.” The spirited swinger opens the album on a high note, Jones’ crisp percussion nailing every sudden stop before propelling the band forward again.

It’s one of three similar Watson tunes on the album; the yearning “Bon Voyage” is based on Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” while the brisk “Side Steps” is Watson’s reimagining of John Coltrane’s classic (and notoriously challenging) “Giant Steps.”

Watson also drew the haunting ballad “Dear Lord” from the Coltrane songbook, one of several spotlights on the album for his burnished tone and silken melodicism. Chestnut’s achingly delicate touch sets the tone for a gorgeous version of the standard “I’m Glad There Is You,” featuring one of Watson’s most beautiful and moving solo turns. The album closes with the gritty, self-explanatory “Blues for Alto.”

Watson encouraged his band mates to bring their own material to the session as well. Jones contributes the stealthy “Red Bank Heist,” which feels like Henry Mancini by way of Art Blakey. Chestnut’s sparkling “A Star in the East” is an easygoing waltz that thrives on the rich melody shared by Watson and Pelt. The trumpeter’s offering is the tender “Celestial,” highlighted by his own muted eloquence.

John Hicks’ “Mind Wine” pays tribute to the late pianist, with whom Watson Lundy and Jones all worked extensively. Hicks appears on Watson’s 1988 Blue Note debut, No Question About It, as well as Love Remains; while Watson and Lundy are part of the quartet for Hicks’ 1988 release Naima’s Love Song. “John Hicks was a mighty huge influence on me, Curtis and Victor,” Watson says. “When he passed away, that was one of the saddest moments in our lives. He was extremely near and dear to us.”

The saxophonist has long garnered inspiration from vocalists as well as his sax-playing peers and idols. He invited the acclaimed singer Carmen Lundy to join the band for “Our Love Remains,” co-written by Watson and his wife Pamela. In instrumental form, the song was the title track for his 1986 album Love Remains and was recorded again for 1992’s Present Tense. The vocal version has previously been recorded by Kevin Mahogany and Melissa Walker, and Lou Rawls was planning his own rendition prior to his death.

“I love hearing singers tell stories,” Watson says. “Joe Williams, Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Ella, Gregory Porter, Andy Bey – and Carmen does that. She’s not just singing the melody, she’s putting it out there as a story.”

Throughout Back Home in Kansas City, Watson’s gift for telling stories with his saxophone is on vibrant display. “Johnny Griffin told me that when you solo you want to introduce yourself, talk about how your day went, tell how you feel right now and where you want to take the listener – all through music,” he details. “I know that I have enough technique to last me the rest of my life. But what do I want to say with it? We’re all trying to play one grand solo our whole life in different contexts.”

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Title - King of Hearts (Remastered)
Artist - Roy Orbison

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of its initial release, King of Hearts — the posthumous Roy Orbison album lovingly assembled by his friends and family after his untimely death — will be reissued this October 14th, 2022.

Available on CD, digitally and as a limited-edition LP pressed on red vinyl, the new edition of King of Hearts has been completely remastered and is offered by Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy, in partnership with Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings.

Although Roy Orbison’s album Mystery Girl was issued eight weeks after his death on December 6th, 1988, it was apparently in finished form and thus only technically a posthumous release. Indeed, Orbison’s widow Barbara said she was always then asked whether Roy had recorded enough material for, perhaps, one more album.

The answer was, as we now know, a resounding yes, to which she also confirms within the liner notes here to the King of Hearts remaster.

4. CRYING (duet with k.d. lang)
10. CARELESS HEART (Original Demo)

This simply divine, incredibly-heartfelt, and still musically resonant, remastered King of Hearts (from 1992), opens on the soaring, T-Bone Burnett-produced YOU’RE THE ONE and the Jeff Lynne-produced, and late ELO-esque HEARTBREAK RADIO, and they are followed by the Don Was-produced, mid-tempo balladry of WE’LL TAKE THE NIGHT, Orbison’s Grammy-winning remake duet from 1987 of CRYING (duet with k.d. lang), and then we are brought forth the silky smooth, Was-produced AFTER THE LOVE HAS GONE

Up next is the veritably shimmering LOVE IN TIME (produced by Robbie Robertson) and one of the stand out gems here, the Lynne-produced, thunderously melodic mastery of the stunning cover of the Cyndi Lauper hit I DROVE ALL NIGHT, then comes the beautifully crafted ballad WILD HEARTS RUN OUT OF TIME (from the soundtrack of the film Insignificance), the album rounding out on the resoundingly euphoric COMING HOME (a selection from Class of ’55: Memphis Rock & Roll Homecoming, a collaborative effort with Orbison joining original Sun Records label mates Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins), coming to a close on the sweetly-adorned CARELESS HEART (Original Demo); a song also featured in its finished form on Mystery Girl.

Barbara also says, within the aforementioned liner notes, “At times I could hardly bring myself to listen to the songs and definitely couldn’t think of finishing the album without Roy. I guess that was one of the reasons I arrived late at one of the first sessions. Don Was had booked the studio to put the rhythm track down around Roy’s voice. When I finally arrived at the studio, the musicians had already left.”

“As I looked around the dimly lit studio - still full of empty cups and full ashtrays, I could just imagine the musicians telling one more funny story, the laughter of their camaraderie and Roy taking that last sip of Coca-Cola before saying “Okay, Let’s take it from the top.” In that moment of daydreaming, Don started rolling the tape and I heard Roy’s voice coming through the speaker singing ... Reach out and let it touch your soul, And give in to love, Love is believing, et al.”

“Hearing these words made it right for me to finish the album. When Roy was that young kid from Texas with a song in his heart and a melody of his lip I’m sure he could never have dreamed a sweeter dream than to have his songs finished with so much loving care by a community of old and new friends. Roy would be so honored to have kept another studio busy and filled with great musicians one more time. It was a real special experience to finish this for Roy.”

Orbison’s late career resurgence as a member of the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne served a prelude to his smash hit Mystery Girl album that was released fewer than two months after his passing in late 1988. Some years later Barbara Orbison, his widow (and mother of Roy’s Boys principals Roy Orbison Jr and Alex Orbison), surveyed completed material that had not theretofore been included on her late husband’s albums, as well as demos on which his vocals were heard. She determined that a complete album could be constructed from those audio assets with new backing tracks commissioned where deemed necessary.

The result was King of Hearts, an album created from various sources which, when assembled, served as a coherent and evocative conceptual “last hurrah” for one of music’s most celebrated voices. Various producers of note including Jeff Lynne and T-Bone Burnett (who had both been involved in the Mystery Girl sessions) as well as Robbie Robertson, David Briggs, Chips Moman, Albert Hammond and Diane Warren are credited as producers on specific King of Hearts tracks with Barbara Orbison serving as executive producer.

Don Was had a hand in producing three of the album’s tracks including “Crying,” a reprise of Orbison’s 1961 hit performed as a duet with k.d. lang and originally recorded for the soundtrack of the film Hiding Out, directed by Bob Giraldi.

That rendering would go on to win a GRAMMY® for Best Country Collaboration and had a profound impact on k.d. lang’s life and career. She spoke with a sense of awe about what the song meant to her, “I literally think it changed my DNA. I think as a singer it literally shifted me somehow. That was an epic moment in my musical career, in my life, I mean, in my being.”

She notes, “I always carried that song with the utmost respect because it was given to me by him personally - literally handed to me on a silver platter by Roy Orbison… I will always be deeply, deeply humbled and honored that I was given that song.”

Was also produced “We’ll Take The Night” and “After The Love Is Gone” for the album and recently commented, “It was really important to us that the posthumous sessions for King of Hearts avoided grief and sadness because Roy was such a positive and upbeat gentleman. We set up a live band and put a microphone in the vocal booth and, as Roy’s previously recorded performances boomed through our headphones, it was easy to imagine that he was in the booth singing along with the band. His spirit permeated every corner of the studio, and the tape captured the wistful transcendent warmth of the sessions.”

Jeff Lynne was involved in producing two of the album’s tracks including “Heartbreak Radio” and “I Drove All Night.” The latter, written specifically for Orbison by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who crafted huge hits for Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, the Bangles, Heart and Chrissie Hynde, was recorded in 1987 but it was not released at that time. Later versions by Cyndi Lauper and Celine Dion found chart success but Orbison’s original was not heard until the 1992 release of King of Hearts. It was heralded by a highly regarded music video starring Jason Priestly and Jennifer Connelly.

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Roy Orbison - Crying (with k.d. lang) [Official Video]

Roy Orbison - I Drove All Night [Official Video]

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Title - Navigation Blues
Artist - Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado

The brand new, and now eighth, full length album from Denmark’s premier roots-rockers Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado is out now. Entitled Navigation Blues, the septet has blazed a trail across Scandinavia, Europe, Canada, the US and Asia for the past twenty years and have been captivating crowds with their dynamic stage presence.

With a sound that fuses soul, Chicago blues, boogie and rock ’n’ roll with a voice where Ray Charles, Van Morrison and Billy Gibbons meet in the middle, they’ve brought dancing shoes to Europe’s largest festival stages and low-light noir-ish blues to Jazz clubs around the globe.

1. Navigation Blues
2. Watch the Sun Go Down
3. The Way You Make Me Feel
4. Fire Inside
5. Blue Lullaby
6. Taking the Good with the Bad
7. Whatever Price
8. Time
9. Something to Hold On To
10. Hoodoo Lover
11. Headed for the Stars
12. Heart Crash

This resonating new album from Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado opens on the low slung, dirty Deep South blues of the titular Navigation Blues and then pairs that with the lighter, electric, yet subtle foot-tapper Watch the Sun Go Down, and then we get the acoustic-imbued The Way You Make Me Feel, the rocker Fire Inside and then comes the acoustic brilliance of the beautifully melodic Blue Lullaby.

Up next is the vintage-sounding, dance floor rock within Taking the Good with the Bad and then the piano-led, banjo-imbibed, finger-snapping delights of Whatever Price are brought forth and they are backed by the finger-picking guitar work of the mid-tempo Time, then we get the earthy, gutsy acoustic rock yearn within Something to Hold On To, the upbeat, perky, slightly flirtatious Hoodoo Lover, the album rounding out on the rock steady Headed for the Stars, closing on the low key, Americana-Folk approach found within acoustic Heart Crash.

In closing, Navigation Blues boasts compelling melodies, catchy guitar riffs, and on most of the 12 tracks, a rich, expansive sound with strings, horns and backing singers. All with Thorbjørn Risager at the helm who Dan Akroyd said has “a great voice, great delivery and feels the blues.”

Produced by Søren Bøjgaard, Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado, all songs on Navigation Blues were written by Thorbjørn Risager except three co-writes with Joachim Svensmark.

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Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado - Navigation Blues (Official Music Video)

Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado - The Way You Make Me Feel (Official Music Video)

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Title - Novel Noël: A Jingle Cool Jazz Celebration
Artist - Lyn Stanley

Capping an extraordinarily prolific decade of sonically innovative releases featuring ensembles of L.A.’s top-tier musicians and recording engineers, Lyn Stanley releases her 2022 wildly ambitious, stylistically eclectic holiday album, Novel Noël - A Jingle Cool Jazz Celebration.

As Lyn herself adds in the beautiful liner notes, and describing the extraordinary journey of creating and developing Novel Noël, she writes, It survived one of the most horrific events of our lifetime, mainly a worldwide pandemic that sidetracked the train of life for most of us.

In addition to the opportunity to, as she says, “center our efforts in love and new beginnings, an impactful silver lining musicians being sidelined from the road during the year of quarantine was their availability to have what Allen Sides calls “every amazing player in L.A. available for the sessions at The Village.

1. Zat You Santa Claus?
2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
3. Come Dance with Me
4. Little Drummer Boy - Jazz Version
5. It’s Magic
6. The Way You Look Tonight
7. I Concentrate On You
8. Christmas Waltz
9. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
10. Moonlight In Vermont
11. Merry Christmas, Darling
12. Holy Night (Bonus Track)
13. Mary Did You Know? (Bonus Track)

Opening with a dead pan, veritably hilarious impression of Louis Armstrong, this festively opulent new, 13-track holiday collection leads with a spirited romp through Zat You Santa Claus? and the elegance of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and then comes the cinematic cha-cha of Come Dance with Me (an ode to her other life as a former amateur champion ballroom dancer), a spirited piano/bass 5/4 tempo then bursts forth on Little Drummer Boy - Jazz Version, an alluringly engaging, modern day twist on the iconic Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn classic, It’s Magic, and then we get the female perspective now found within The Way You Look Tonight (now inclusive of a rather playful Santa reference) and with a gracious nod to Cole Porter, a quite stunning I Concentrate On You is brought forth.

Created as a fast paced Viennese Waltz styling, along next on this lovely new festive album is the spirited Christmas Waltz and an enthusiastic twist on the post WWII classic Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, and they are in turn nicely backed by a lush Moonlight In Vermont (word has it, included as a special nod to an audiophile fan who lives there), a cheerfully nimble Latin swing next guides us through Merry Christmas Darling, the album rounding out on the bonus tracks: a heartfelt, spiritually-imbued, original ballad, Holy Night and an adroitly tasteful Mary Did You Know?

“I was driven to record this by my fans, who had been asking me, Where’s your holiday album? says Lyn, who released her eighth album in 2020-2021, the critically acclaimed Live at Studio A, recorded at the famed Capitol Recording Studios, in June 2020.”

“Originally, I thought about doing a winter solstice themed collection, and my vision was to try to cover all holidays, not just Christmas, celebrated by a variety of religions and traditions that time of year. I wanted to create a perennial recording that my fans around the world could enjoy.”

“Over time, however, the project evolved to secular and Santa songs plus a handful of non-holiday classics that to me also capture the range of emotions people feel around the holidays.”

The rhythm section includes guitarist and leader John Chiodini, upright bassist Chuck Berghofer and percussionist Luis Conte, all members of Lyn’s longtime core band, affectionately dubbed The Jazz Mavericks, now re-dubbed Big Band Jazz Mavericks; pianists Bill Cunliffe, Christian Jacob and Pat Coil; drummer Bernie Dresel; and drummer and percussionist Aaron Serfaty. Rickey Woodward is the featured saxophonist.

Novel Noël was recorded by a team of several of the industry’s most renowned engineers, including five time Grammy winner Allen Sides (Natalie Cole, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles), two time Grammy winner and Emmy winner Bill Schnee (Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow), five time Grammy winner Leslie Ann Jones (Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock), Spencer Guerra, Playback Designs Founder Andreas Koch and DSD Audio Pioneer Gus Skinas.

Lyn Stanley Announces Her Big Band Holiday Album, Novel Noël (Official Video)

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Title - Joy
Artist - Amina Figarova

For those unaware, Joy is a return to the acoustic piano setting following the groove-heavy electronic excursion of Amina Figarova’s previous album, Persistence.

The album reconvenes her regular collaborators: flutist (and husband) Bart Platteau, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Alex Pope Norris, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and Rudy Royston and Brian Richburg Jr. sharing drum duties. Vocalist/songwriter Sasha Masakowski and percussionist Hasan Bakr make special guest appearances.

This meeting of old friends contributes greatly toward embodying the warm spirits that Figarova aimed for with the new album. Add to that mixture ten original songs that exude bright feelings and lyrical melodies, and it would be difficult to find a more apt descriptor than the one Figarova chose to christen the album.

While past albums have showcased her penchant for complex, interwoven layers - most memorably, her deft combination of jazz sextet and strings on 2019’s Road to the Sun - here she achieved music that is equally memorable while prioritizing emotion over complexity.

Joy serves as a reminder that each of the musicians are equally skilled at expressing vibrant passion and, trust me here, within moments of hearing Bakr’s shimmering percussion on the album-opening title track, if the corners of your mouth don’t start to edge upwards, turn the volume up!

1. Joy
2. October Phantasy
3. Green Blues
4. Morning Dew
5. Ruby at Play
6. Suddenly Stars Are Falling from the Sky
7. Road Ahead
8. Only Peace Liberates
9. Getting There
10. Muse

This quite beautifully crafted new album, complete with bold horn melodies galore, opens on the titular, and aptly-named Joy (music that also combines African rhythmic traditions with those of Figarova’s native Azerbaijan) and then seamlessly brings us the wistfully elegant October Phantasy (featuring the velvety tones of Sasha Masakowski), the upbeat and finger-snapping delights of Green Blues, the quieter, more pensive fare, at first, and then the sunny thawing comes within Morning Dew, and then we get the rambunctious Ruby at Play.

Up next is the pure, unadulterated gossamer of Suddenly Stars Are Falling from the Sky and the delightfully harmonious Road Ahead and they are in turn backed by the shrewdly crafted Only Peace Liberates, the album rounding out on the ecstatically exuberant Getting There and the pleasurable Muse.

“We all live in uncertainty”, Amina adds. “My message and my mission are to spread good energy and lift people’s spirits.”

Mission accomplished, Amina. Mission accomplished.

Official Website

Amina Figarova @ Facebook

Amina Figarova @ YouTube

Amina Figarova @ Twitter

Amina Figarova @ Instagram

Amina Figarova @ YouTube

Title - Excelsior
Artist - Steven Page

Steven Page is recognized around the world as one of it’s top songwriters, capable of bringing a tear to the eye and a fall-on-the-floor laugh, often both in the same song. Add to that he is a renowned performer with an iconic and powerful voice and numerous top-10 songs over a 30-year career as an award-winning musician.

Steven has been performing and releasing new, original music for the last decade as a solo artist and touring with the Steven Page Trio and his sixth solo album, Excelsior, is out November 11th, 2022 via IDLA.

In 2018 Steven Page was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame with his former band, Barenaked Ladies, having won a total of eight Juno Awards, four MuchMusic Video Awards, two Billboard Music Awards and a World Music Award during his 20 year tenure with that band.

In addition to his recording career, Page has penned a musical, hosted a reality TV series, and has been actively involved in organizations that support mental health and environmental issues.

1. Feel
2. What’ll I Do Now
3. Human Doll
4. How Much Is Enough
5. Look to the Stars
6. Infinitely Light Years
7. Safe
8. The Golden Age of Doubling Down
9. Xylorimba
10. Zoom
11. Something About Me

On what sounds, from start to finish, like a classic Steven Page album of the highest, creative order, he opens on the Church organ, Choir-imbued Feel and the impassioned What’ll I Do Now and follows those with the quietly revealing Human Doll, some acoustic guitar work that threads through the dulcet How Much Is Enough, and then we get both the rhythmically pleasant Look to the Stars and the layered harmonies found within the gorgeous hipsway of Infinitely Light Years.

Next up on this entertaining breeze of an album is the contemplative Safe and that is backed by the first single released, and yet confidently left until now on the track listing, the classic-BNL sounding fun of The Golden Age of Doubling Down, the album rounding out on the aptly-named Xylorimba, the jaunty pop of Zoom, coming to a close on the elegant, dance flow swirl of Something About Me.

Official Website

Steven Page @ Facebook

Steven Page @ YouTube

Steven Page @ Twitter

Steven Page @ Patreon

Steven Page @ YouTube

Title - Recollecting
Artist - Mathieu Soucy

For those unaware, Mathieu Soucy (he/him/il) is a Canadian up-and-coming jazz guitarist and composer living in Montréal. His debut album, entitled Recollecting is out now via Rebop Records, and is a self-released effort that features the brilliant voices of the new generation of Canadian jazz.

Mathieu’s first record is a recollective act, as it speaks a language rehearsed and brought to the fore by many creative spirits of the bop era; yet it does so with an accent. It is only insofar as the language has, from the outset, concerned itself with colorful variations, that Mathieu was able to produce an album that speaks his own most voice, but also that of his illustrious, albeit sometimes forgotten, predecessors.

1. Lennie’s Changes
2. Where or When
3. Turner Days
4. Blues for Barry
5. Thinker and a Fool
6. Mike’s Mudrā
7. 5th Avenue
8. Reflections
9. Recollecting

This dutifully dulcet, always heartfelt, and wholly encompassing new album opens on the skittish rhythms within Lennie’s Changes and the beautifully free flowing Where or When (featuring the vocals of Caity Gyorgy) and then brings us the articulately sculptured, upright bass-led Turner Days, the heady hipsway of Blues for Barry and the quieter, but no less melodic Thinker and a Fool (once again with Caity Gyorgy).

Up next is one of my own personal treats, the foot-tapping and finger-snapping flow within Mike’s Mudrā which is itself seamlessly on the late night, lounge bar appeal of 5th Avenue, the album rounding out a chance for Soucy to showcase his masterful guitar skills on Reflections, closing all too soon on the swirling jazz notes from all musicians on the titular Recollecting.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Mathieu Soucy @ Facebook

Mathieu Soucy @ YouTube

Mathieu Soucy @ Spotify

Mathieu Soucy @ YouTube

Title - The Round Window
Artist - The Round Window

The Round Window, which was formed in Essex, England in 2018, originally as a duo with Rich and Thomas Lock sharing vocals, guitars, and keyboards. Jack Lock joined on drums on 2020 and the line up was completed with David Brazington on guitar and Dietmar Schantin on bass.

Their self titled debut album (released independently by the band on September 30th 2022) consists of eight songs that run the gamut of rock styles and draw upon a wide range of influences.

Indeed, they themselves describe their music as a widescreen rock that encompasses influences from acoustic, classic, melodic, pop and progressive rock.

1. The Window (3:31)
2. Take My Hand (6:27)
3. Among The Clouds (5:30)
4. Victory (7:04)
5. Out Of Time (6:58)
6. Nobody Home (5:19)
7. Avalon (5:36)
8. Another Chance (9:00)

This well-crafted, dedicated and supremely profound new album opens on the organically-driven resonance of The Window and then brings us the prog-pop melodies within Take My Hand, the soaring Among The Clouds and then comes the languishing prog, mid-tempo, guitar-led AOR of the near-eight minute epic Victory.

Up next is the rhythmically magnificent hipsway within the low key AOR of Out Of Time which is itself backed seamlessly by the forthright Nobody Home, the album rounding out on the comforting melodies of Avalon, coming to a close on the all-encompassing, nine minute opus Another Chance.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

The Round Window @ Facebook

The Round Window @ Instagram

The Round Window @ Twitter

Title - Liberté Toujours
Artist - Duo Atanasovski

For those unaware, Ariel Vei Atanasovski is a young composer and musician from Slovenia. After completing high school in Maribor and many successes in classical music competitions, he is currently a student of cello in nearby Music Academy Graz, Austria.

Beside that he also plays guitar, compose music and was already a part of many concerts and projects of his father Vasko Atanasovski, who is an internationally acknowledged musician and composer, releasing 15 albums of original music and performed with musicians like Living Colour (USA), Hindi Zahra (F), Marc Ribot (USA), Vlatko Stefanovski (MK), Tommy Emmanuel (AUS), Michel Godard (F), Simone Zanchini (IT), Bojan Z (F) and many others around the world.

The story of the family duo became even more rounded, when during the corona virus quarantine, Ariel Vei wrote quite some new musical pieces and the decision to make an album was born!

Thus, the newly-released Duo Atanasovski (out now on MoonJune Records) expands on all that has gone before, whilst also featuring some great musical guests: Marko Churnchetz, Jošt Drašler and Marjan Staniæ.

1. Drevored
2. Orehi
3. Barve Sena
4. Balada za sonèen dan
5. Vrane Na Prepihu
6. U2
7. Liberté Toujours

This dutifully crafted and beautifully crafted new album opens on the expressive Drevored and then brings us the thoughtfully impassioned Orehi, the eloquently colorful Barve Sena, before we are introduced to the stunningly ornate, elegantly-crafted embrace of Balada za sonèen dan, the strongly tender Vrane Na Prepihu, the album rounding out on the flirtatious rhythms within the switch-hitting U2, closing on the strikingly picturesque melodies within the titular Liberté Toujours.

Ariel Vei Atanasovski – guitar, cello
Vasko Atanasovski - saxophone, flute
Marko Churnchetz - piano
Jošt Drašler - double bass
Marjan Staniæ - drums, percussion

Ariel Vei Atanasovski / cello, guitar - Cellist Ariel Vei Atanasovski, born on June 30, 2002 in Maribor. After completing high school in Maribor and many successes in classical music competitions, he is currently a student of cello at nearby Music Academy Graz, Austria. Ariel Vei has been active in various musical fields since childhood. He can boast of many successes in competitions, such as first prize at the National competition Temsig 2021, first prize at cello at Euritmia Povoletto 2018, the first prize with chamber group Trio Aeternum at Svirel 2018, and first prize in solfeggio at Temsig 2018 and the first at the international solfeggio competition in Belgrade. He has especially shown his concert success and engagement by performing at the Klasinc Awards as a soloist with the Maribor Conservatory Orchestra, by performing at the national celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rudolf Maister as a soloist with the Slovenian National Opera Orchestra Maribor, and with concerts at the Cankarjev dom Ljubljana, as a soloist in the ensemble of his father Vasko Atanasovski.

Vasko Atanasovski / saxophone, flute - Saxophonist and flutist Vasko Atanasovski is one of the most creative and versatile Slovenian composers and musicians, well known for his cross-genre collaborations with world-famous jazz, rock, classical, and traditional musicians, and his masterful approach to all styles of music. Up to this date he has released 15 highly acclaimed albums and earned numerous audience and critics’ compliments for his performances and compositions at home and abroad. He is a regular guest on the European festivals and concert circuit and has also performed in India, China, Latin America, and New York. His original compositions have also found a way into the world of theatre, dance, and puppet shows, repertoires of eminent soloists, orchestras, ensembles, and choirs. He collaborated with musicians like Vlatko Stefanovski, Marc Ribot, Hindi Zahra, Living Color, Theodossi Spassov, Gibonni, Tommy Emmanuel, and many others. Lately, he is releasing world known label MoonJune Records from New York.

Duo Atanasovski - Balada za sonèen dan [Official Music Video]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Bleed
Artist - Reuter Motzer Grohowski

Notes by Tim Motzer: For those unaware, back in August 18th, 2019 Markus and I met Kenny Grohowski musically for the first time on stage at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn NYC. To say the least it was an incredible first meeting of this explosive improvising trio in front of an enthusiastic live audience.

Thankfully the set was recorded and the results were released on Leonardo Pavkovic’s MoonJune Records as Shapeshifters. I still remember that first meeting of this mighty trio, our chemistry, and our sound immediately gelled. We were all so buzzed and happy from the set afterwards and hoping to do it again.

Fast forward to May 2022, Leonardo arranged a recording session for us in the Catskill village, in the beautiful Hudson Valley, in New York State. Markus was coming off of a Stick Men tour, and a few days earlier, I had opened for them solo. Kenny was just back from a tour with Imperial Triumphant. We were all charged up and ready to go.

We recorded about 6 hours of initial takes, with the live trio set up in a circle in the studio, and then spent another few hours overdubbing Rhodes, Mellotron, and Hammond B3 to orchestrate several select pieces. It was an incredible session, all improvised—composed on the spot.

Markus and I have been playing together since 2008, recorded many records together, and have this very deep musical connection. We’ve always created music from improvising. Now, working with Kenny we’ve found our special drummer who can do that with us, and play anything. The music finds us.

Markus played his U8 touch guitar — which sounded invincible and crushing — along with his looping setup. I brought along and used my 6 and 12 string Takamine acoustic-electrics, G&L Commanche, and Danelectro Baritone along with my electronics, looping, a few new fuzz pedals, and bow. Each of these guitars and sounds brought a different vibe to the music we created.

Sometimes Markus would begin a piece, and other times he would direct me to begin something. Kenny’s drumming was propulsive and inspiring throughout the day. His drumming is as electrifying as is his commitment to ideas and rhythmic invention across the music. The recording day was a blur. We worked hard all day and night, and it was over before we knew it.

We were deep in. The music comes through us. It’s a deep process, like a meditation in a way, but we are all together and deep in the sound. The longer we played the more treasures revealed themselves.

After a day of that you really don’t even know what has happened until you rest and listen back at a later time. We all had a really good feeling. A day later Markus came to my studio in Philly, and we listened to everything with fresh ears, and made notes, and selections from all of the material.

All of us agreed on the tracks chosen and we each contributed titles. The album Bleed [out on November 2nd, 2022 on MoonJune Records] is the result, and it is a monumental album by this band.

1. Bleed (11:21)
2. Causastum (8:14)
3. Sibylline (11:31)
4. Monolith (14:30)
5. Oracle Chamber (7:03)
6. Impenetrable (6:01)
7. Free in the Now (6:20)
8. Externalities of the Truest Universality (8:39)

This ingeniously-sculptured, organically-opulent new album from the collective trio opens on the opulent, mechanistically-imbued, sonically-charged 11 minute, titular Bleed and then brings forth the ballad, for the most part, fluid theatrical jam session the other, Causastum, the magnificent orchestrations of sound and veritable vision within the 11 minute Sibylline, before we are treated to the new harmonic pathways and melodies found within the near-15 minute opus, Monolith.

On an album that has been (correctly) self-described as sounding like “... pretty girls with beards ... very crunchy .. a lot of caustic sounds and abrasions ... some brand new directions in music and sounds ... new rhythms, new fuzz tones, et al.”, up next is the almost crystalline elements of life all coming together to form the musical blood within Oracle Chamber, which is in turn backed by the shimmering cacophony of sounds that make up Impenetrable, the album then rounds out on the searing, alt-percussion imbued free fall that is Free in the Now, closing on the finite elegance within each layered level of shading and sound-shaping of the near nine minute Externalities of the Truest Universality.

MARKUS REUTER - Touch Guitars® AU8, looping
TIM MOTZER - acoustic-electric 6 & 12 string guitars, baritone electric, electric guitar, bow, electronics, looping
KENNY GROHOWSKI - drums and percussion

Markus Reuter & Tim Motzer in Asbury Park, May 5th, 2022 [Official Video]

Official Purchase Link

Title - Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma’s House
Artist - Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen (later of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) met a singer named Janis Joplin at a hootenanny in San Jose, California, in the fall of 1962. Over the following years, Janis would call on Jorma to accompany her at gigs.

As they continued to play together, the Bay Area was changing musically and developing into the legendary San Francisco scene to which both Janis and Jorma would be integral.

During a rehearsal for a show in North Beach, Jorma started his reel-to-reel machine to capture what they were working on. For decades, this recording was the stuff of legend, with inferior, multi-generational transfers making their way through select collector’s circles.

Now, for the very first time, it is available officially, with the blessing and cooperation of both the Janis Joplin Estate and Jorma Kaukonen.

The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma’s House contains this legendary recording, featuring Restoration and Mastering from acclaimed, Grammy®-winner Michael Graves.

The tracks include Joplin on vocals, Kaukonen on guitar, and Jorma’s wife Margareta typing away intermittently in the background. This may have just been a rehearsal, but it is so much more.

Featuring Joplin originals, as well as blues classics, The Legendary Typewriter Tape (releasing November 4th, 2022 via Omnivore Recordings) is an intimate glimpse into two major artists at the beginnings of what would become highly influential careers.

As Jorma himself says in his liner notes: “This is indeed a window into a simpler time when the music truly was everything.”

1. “ARE WE TAPING NOW?” (dialog)
7. “HOW ‘BOUT THIS?” (dialog)

This beautifully resonant, flashback of a time less cluttered, work of unearthed musical art, actually first opens on some dialog between the two on a .46 second “ARE WE TAPING NOW?” before we get the first real track, the twanging of bluesy guitar and soulful vocals on TROUBLE IN MIND which is backed by the deeply rooted vocalization within LONG BLACK TRAIN, the upbeat, playful and foot-tapping KANSAS CITY BLUES and then we are brought forth the more stoically-cultivated, almost shyly played HESITATION BLUES.

Along next is the smooth, yet gently funky blues within NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT and then we get some more dialog between the two stars, including an introduction to Ms. Janis Joplin in the form of the .60 second “HOW ‘BOUT THIS?” before the recording rounds out with the down and righteously dirty blues of DADDY, DADDY, DADDY.

In closing, enjoy being a fly on the wall and revel in the magic of The Legendary Typewriter Tape!

Official Purchase Link

Title - Pure Imagination
Artist - Akiko Aoki

For those unaware, Akiko Aoki is a professional singer, voice instructor and Japanese teacher who is known for her jazzy phrasing and pitch control, as well as being experienced and solid vocalist. Indeed, Akiko’s flexible character with a sense of warmth and humor, is one that encapsulates the audience.

Born in Morioka of Iwate prefecture in Japan, Aoki moved to Sendai of Miyagi prefecture at the age of 3. There, she received vocal training in various chorus groups in her elementary, junior and senior high years in Japan.

It was actually during her youth that she said to herself, “I could spend all day singing without ever getting bored”. As she carried this thought with her, at age of 16, she won the chances to perform on the TV shows NHK Nodo-Jiman and Star-Tanjo-(meaning Star in born) the following year.

A few years later, at age of 19, Aoki would begin her professional singing career at Jazz clubs and lounges in Sendai and Yokohama Japan. Booked almost daily, she sang around six nights a week in various styles such as American pops, Jazz, and Japanese pops.

Akiko would later attend the Berklee College of Music on a scholarship in 1986 where she took voice lessons with some great instructors, such as Jan Shapiro, Maggie Scott, and Anne Packham, and piano lessons with Yuki Arimasa and Bob Winter.

Post graduation, Aoki returned to Tokyo and performed in Jazz clubs as well as Jazz festivals in local cities and Hotel lounges. She was also teaching at several private music schools, such as the Yokohama Contemporary School of Music and Mate school of Music.

In 1998, Aoki released her debut album, entitled Alfie, with The Yuki Arimasa piano trio (Tomas Hebb on Bass, Marc Gratama on Drums), receiving high ratings by the Japanese jazz magazine, Jazz Life.

Shortly after this, Aoki returned to New England upon her marriage, where she would continue singing at venues, restaurants as well as teaching Japanese and voice.

This was done all while managing and singing at her husband’s restaurants, Sushi Island and Junji Fine Japanese Cuisine. Akiko however, lost her husband to Cancer in 2017, but despite this, she continued to teach and perform in the Boston area.

She currently teaches music at Marblehead school of music as well as Japanese, in both in-person and online settings at the Japanese School of Greater Boston, the Amherst Japanese Language School and at her own studio.

Akiko Aoki has now released her sophomore album, the truly beautiful Pure Imagination via the help of some online project starters (see below), on which she joins together with the Tim Ray Piano quartet, along with Reedsman Ken Peplowski, Mike Monagan on Tenor sax, and Greg Hopkins on trumpet.

1. Almost Like Being In Love
2. Yesterday I Heard The Rain
3. Sugar
4. Two For The Road
5. No More Blues
6. You’ll Never Know
7. Moondance
8. Just The Two Of Us
9. I Love Being Here With You
10. Jardin D’hiver
11. Pure Imagination
12. Caravan
13. Smile

This beautifully crafted and wholesomely heartfelt new album of work from Aoki, opens on the billowing Almost Like Being In Love and the delicate gossamer of Yesterday I Heard The Rain and backs those up seamlessly with the soulful R&B-jazz of Sugar, the shimmering Two For The Road, and then we get the finger-snapping delights of No More Blues and the late night jazz cafe vibe of You’ll Never Know.

Up next is a rather perky, unashamedly flirtatious Moondance and a superb rendition of the melodious Just The Two Of Us, which are in turn followed by the percussion-led beauty I Love Being Here With You, the atmospheric Jardin D’hiver, a smooth as silk Pure Imagination, the album rounding out on the controlled fervency of Caravan, coming to a close on the dutifully elegant Smile.

Tim Ray (Piano & Arranger)
Marshall Wood (Bass)
John Baboian (Guitar)
Mark Walker (Percussion and Drums)
Greg Hopkins (Trumpet)
Ken Peplowsky (Tenor Sax)
Mike Monaghan (Tenor Sax)
Hiro Honshuku (Flute)
Mari Aoki (Vocals)
Peter Kontrimas (Audio Engineer)

Official Website

Akiko Aoki @ Facebook

Akiko Aoki @ Twitter

Akiko Aoki @ YouTube

Akiko Aoki @ Instagram

Title - HardKnox Reprise
Artist - Gamache Marak Rondini

For those unaware, Mansion Road Music is proud to announce the release of the third CD from Gamache Marak Rondini entitled HardKnox Reprise , coming out on August 12th, 2022.

As the song goes, it was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pep ... no wait, wrong band, wrong story! They actually think theirs is more interesting because it’s true, and they might not be too off with that thought either!

No Flaming Pies, no screaming fans (well, very few anyway), no backward recorded secret messages, their albums are nothing but pure pop-rock musical gems from start to finish!

40+ years ago Wayne Gamache (guitar, vocals) and Tom Marak (bass and vocals) put together the first of many iterations of the Connecticut band HardKnox.

A bit later in 1980, Tony Rondini (lead guitar and vocals) joined and became one of the core members of the band. In 1984, after 7 years playing (mostly throughout New England at area clubs, high schools and colleges), personnel changes, recording demos, two (2) 45 singles (Magical Man/Only You, I’m In Love Again/On My Way) and an EP (HardKnox Roughcut) of original material, the core members decided to call it a day.

Currently, all of these vinyl recordings are being bought and sold by many record collectors in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Official Discogs Purchase Link

Having released their last album, the well-received HardKnox Redux lst year (and which was an album of re-recorded and updated songs from the HardKnox RoughCut EP, and other songs written around the time that HardKnox was in existence during the late 70’s and early 80’s), the guys have come together once again to now bring us HardKnox Reprise.

1. Fame And Fortune
2. Second Place
3. Elizabeth Eaton
4. Wait For A Moment
5. We’ve Been Down This Road Before
6. Pick Up Your Gun (We Keep Asking Why)
7. Do You
8. I Didn’t Know How Hard I’d Fall For You
9. Let You Go
10. Anyway Love
11. Mr. Lennon

This brilliantly buoyant, AOR flashback of an album opens on the jaunty pop-rock of Fame And Fortune and the rhythmically melodic Second Place and then we get the ornately crafted, prog, mid-tempo balladry of Elizabeth Eaton, the energetically passionate Wait For A Moment, and then come the upbeat and melodious We’ve Been Down This Road Before and the forthright storytelling via rock messaging within Pick Up Your Gun (We Keep Asking Why).

Up next is the excitable energy found within Do You and the euphonious I Didn’t Know How Hard I’d Fall For You, which are in turn followed by the all out AOR, complete with rocking guitars of Let You Go, the album rounding out on the happy-go-lucky Anyway Love, coming to a close on the light and breezy, yet harmonious outreach of an ode to a legend within Mr. Lennon.

After the breakup of HardKnox, Wayne Gamache stayed involved in music and continued to write and record songs both as an individual and with numerous other artists including Tony. He has his own recording studio “Origin Recording Ltd” and Mansion Road Music Record label in Wallingford CT. As you can see on the discography page of this website Wayne has been very busy.

Tony Rondini took a hiatus from playing out, but continued to keep up his guitar chops. In the 90’s he connected with musicians in the Colchester CT area, playing blues and country rock covers as “Hampton Station”. The band morphed into “Top Secret”, doing mostly rock and blues covers.

In 2006 Tony re-engaged with Wayne, and rekindled the relationship. This sparked Tony’s renewed interest in writing and recording. It wasn’t long before his home studio, Chimney Window Studio, was built.

Today, Tony lives in Austin Texas and is working on a new record scheduled for release sometime in mid-2022. Tony and Wayne began writing new songs and recording, as well as working with vocalist Reena Hart to record and produce her 2013 release “Waiting For You”.

Tony’s debut record “No Use For The Blues” was released in 2015, featuring several songs co-written with Wayne. Grooveyard Records picked up distribution of that record in 2019.

Tony also co-wrote and is featured on guitar for several songs on Wayne’s 2018 release Gamache “Get in the Game”.

Tom Marak took a short break from the music business (33 years). He taught Social Studies and was a teacher for academically gifted students at North Haven High School in CT for 37 years, until his recent retirement. During that time, he coached their Future Problem Solving teams to multiple state championships and Future Problem Solving International Competition championships and awards.

After getting back in touch with Wayne four years ago, he dusted off his old bass and guitars, and got back in the game, as the collaboration was revived.

Fast forward 37 years, Tony, Tom and Wayne began proving Thomas Wolfe wrong and metaphorically “went home again” with the aforementioned Gamache Marak Rondini album HardKnox Redux.

The reunion began as an attempt to preserve previous recordings of our original material, cover songs and gig recordings. We were impressed with how the tunes stood the test of time, but concerned with the condition of the recordings.

The quality left much to be desired and original tapes had badly deteriorated or totally disintegrated, most of our songs survived only on cassette tapes.

To not let this material fade into oblivion, they saved all we could to digital format, before deciding to re-record their original material. And now, and with only a small break in between, the band bring us the excellent HardKnox Reprise.

HardKnox Reprise - YouTube Listening Link

Title - Late Bloomin’ Jazzman
Artist - Mark Winkler

For those unaware, Late Bloomin’ Jazzman, the newest album by vocalist and songwriter Mark Winkler, is an homage to growing older and all the blessings and drawbacks that come with it.

The album is Winkler’s 20th CD as a leader and each of his previous projects have received stellar reviews and consistently been top the jazz charts. Indeed, Rex Reed has said, “Mark Winkler is a musical marvel and a true original! At last, a writer who sings and a singer who swings!”

On Late Bloomin’ Jazzman, Winkler brought into the studio some of the top players in Southern California, including DAVID BENOIT, JAMIESON TROTTER, RICH EAMES, and JON MAYER on piano, JOHN CLAYTON and GABE DAVIS on bass, CHRISTIAN EUMAN on drums, GRANT GEISSMAN on guitar, BOB SHEPPARD on sax, BRIAN SWARTZ on trumpet, NOLAN SHAHEED on trumpet, and KEVIN WINARD on percussion.

1. It Ain’t Necessarily So
2. Don’t Be Blue
3. When All The Light in The Sign Worked
4. Late Bloomin’ Jazzman
5. In Another Way
6. Boss Nova Days
7. Old Devil Moon
8. I Always Had A Thing For You
9. Before You Leave
10. Old Enough
11. Marlena’s Memories
12. If Gershwin Had Lived

This majestically created, wholeheartedly pleasurable listening experience opens on the heartfelt and melodious It Ain’t Necessarily So and a rather buoyantly flirtatious Don’t Be Blue and then comes the smokey, Noir-infused tale spun within When All The Light in The Sign Worked, the finger-snapping hipsway of the titular Late Bloomin’ Jazzman (composed and arranged by Eli Brueggemann), the lushly orchestrated balladry of In Another Way, and the gently Latin-tinged Boss Nova Days.

Up next is the infectious foot-tapper Old Devil Moon and the enchanting I Always Had A Thing For You and they are in turn followed seamlessly by the late night-imbued, sweetly dulcet Before You Leave (composed by pianist Jon Mayer), the mid-tempo swing of Old Enough, the album rounding out on the storytelling yearn about a dear friend of his who has Alzheimer’s within Marlena’s Memories, coming to a close on the impassioned beauty within the achingly tender If Gershwin Had Lived.

This is also the eighth album he has worked on with BARBARA BRIGHTON as producer. Winkler covers a lot of personal topics on Late Bloomin’ Jazzman. He writes about his love of George Gershwin, film noir, and the songs of Rio. He also writes about losing his husband, finding love again, and about a close friend ravished by Alzheimer’s disease.

With an abundance of fans on the West and East coasts, it is easy for Winkler to fill a house wherever he performs. Winkler is a prolific lyricist whose songs have been recorded or performed by a Who’s Who of well-known singers, including Dianne Reeves, DeeDee Bridgewater, Steve Tyrell, Claire Martin, Jackie Ryan, Randy Crawford, Cheryl Bentyne, Kenny Rankin, Jane Monheit, and Ben Vereen, among others.

Furthermore, the great Liza Minelli titled her 1977 CD Tropical Nights after one of Winkler’s songs. The roster of Winkler’s collaborators is equally impressive and includes David Benoit, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Dexter Gordon, Dianne Reeves, Wes Montgomery, and Lorraine Feather.

In the last few years Winkler has often included a couple of his originals on his previous albums, he has mostly focused on standards, and the East Coast Jazz Scene in the 50s & 60s,and especially the songs of Bobby Troup.

When All The Light in The Sign Worked - Mark Winkler [Official Music Video]

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Title - Flintlock - The Albums [4CD]
Artist - Flintlock

Regulars on tea-time TV, Flintlock had their own series called Fanfare and also appeared on each episode of You Must Be Joking and Pauline’s Quirkes while drummer Mike Holloway was a star in his right via the hit show Tomorrow’s People.

They also adorned all the teen magazines of the day including the likes of My Guy, Jackie, Fab 208 and Look-In as well as appearing on all the top pop shows of the time including Crackerjack, Supersonic and of course, Top Of The Pops.

‘Dawn’ gave the band a UK Top 30 smash in April 1976 and they, like other ’70s heart throb groups such as Rosetta Stone, Buster and Child, regularly featured in the charts in Japan.

The just-released Flintlock: The Albums (by 7T’s / Cherry Red Records), is an expansive 4CD Box-Set that covers everything released by the five piece ’70s heart throbs, Flintlock.

Inclusive of four albums and various 12” singles, including three only previously issued in Japan, overall there are an incredible 56 tracks of sublime ’70s pop that are finally getting a European CD release!

Also, the in-depth liner notes include a new interview and quotes from Mike Holoway who has overseen the project and is currently involved in Flintlock 2 with original guitarist John Summerton.

CD 1: ... On The Way
11. I’M GOING HOME [Bonus Track]
12. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVIN’ [Bonus Track]
13. SOONER OR LATER [Bonus Track]

The first album, ... On The Way, opens on the funky guitar work of MY LOVE IS NOT FOR TAKING and the veritably symphonic LEARN TO CRY and then we get the finger-snapping, street shuffle of THUNDERMAN, the rambunctious ONE MORE DAY, the effervescently shimmering RENOUF’S DREAM, and then come the mid-tempo, lushly orchestrated SINCE YOU’VE GONE and the psych rock of SAMANTHA.

Up next is the groovy ALL IS LOST and the guitar rockers DAWN and FLINTLOCK’S ON THE WAY and then this newly expanded edition rounds out on three bonus tracks: the gently frenetic I’M GOING HOME, the languishing LITTLE BIT OF LOVIN’ and the fast-paced rocker SOONER OR LATER.

CD 2: Hot From The Lock

The next album is the live Hot From The Lock, which opens on the mid-tempo balladry of SEA OF FLAMES and their take on the gentle Steely Dan rocker RIKKI, DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER and then we get the slap guitar grooves that push I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU forward, the rockabilly vibe of SATURDAY NIGHT ROCK-A-BOOGIE is then brought forth, and that is backed by the laid back ballad SHE’S LEAVING HOME and an exquisite take on the Moody Blues’ epic A WHITER SHADE OF PALE.

Up next is their almost spot-on rendition of Joe Walsh’s ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY and a free flowing A LITTLE BIT OF LOVIN’ and they are in turn followed by the piano-led rocker I LIKE WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO ME, the album rounding out on the feisty SOONER OR LATER, a glorious version of the Beatles’ CAN’T BUY ME LOVE, closing on a wistful CARRY ME.

CD 3: Tears ‘N Cheers
12. I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU [Bonus Track]
13. SADDLE MY HORSE [Bonus Track]
14. CARRY ME [Bonus Track]
15. FREELOADER [Bonus Track]
16. COMING AROUND [Bonus Track]

This third album, Tears ‘N Cheers, opens on the soft rock of I’M YOUR MAN and the excitable RUSSIAN ROULETTE and then we get the trippy TAKEN ALL AWAY, the hand-clapping rock of AMOROUS LADY, the fast-paced synth and organ work of SILBURY HILL, the soaring ballad ANYTHING FOR YOU, and then we get the soft rock of ON THE ROAD (AGAIN) and the Floyd-esque WINDOW.

Along next is the breezy rock of I DON’T WANNA DO NO LIMBO and the robust TRUDIE BABY, and they are seamlessly backed by the mid-tempo balladry of SEA OF FLAMES, the five bonus tracks on this expanded edition including: the slap guitar grooves that push I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU forward, the Styx-esque SADDLE MY HORSE, the passive balladry rock of CARRY ME, the album rounding out on the fleet-footed rock of FREELOADER, closing on the airy AOR of COMING AROUND.

CD 4: Stand Alone
10. MONY MONY [Bonus Track]
11. ONE OF A KIND [Bonus Track]
13. SPIDER AND THE FLY [Bonus Track]
14. N.A.B. 250 IN A MINOR [Bonus Track]
15. GET WITH THE BOYS [Bonus Track]

The fourth, and final album, Stand Alone, opens on the piano-led, rock balladry of the titular STAND ALONE and the funky rock of (HEY YOU) YOU’RE LIKE A MAGNET and they are backed by the laid back FOOL’S A WINNER, the light and breezy, and complete with ferocious drum solo center, NEERODAVIS’S BLUES, the light-hearted AOR of TOKYO, and then comes the rocking grooves within the brilliant DON’T DRINK THE WATER, the psych-imbued ON MY OWN AGAIN and closing the original album, the amiable rocker END OF TIME.

The six bonus tracks now included on this expanded edition include: a wonderfully vibrant cover of MONY MONY, the flashback rock within ONE OF A KIND, the brilliant AOR of ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, the funky rock of SPIDER AND THE FLY, rounding out on the organ and drum-led instrumental N.A.B. 250 IN A MINOR, closing on the playfully robust rock of GET WITH THE BOYS.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - Mirage
Artist - Samantha Fierke

Samantha Fierke is a jazz vocalist from Columbia, MO, currently enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for a degree in Jazz Composition.

In 2018, they introduced their first ever jazz EP “Sam”, consisting of 5 standards played with a piano trio and featured artists. Since that first release, Sam has been performing professionally at live gigs and events, while writing and recording their own original music.

In May of 2022 Sam released their debut single, soon to be followed by a full 8 track album of original jazz and jazz fusion. They draw much of their influence from global jazz and fusion musicians such as Gretchen Parlato, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, and Avishai Cohen, but also deeply appreciates and studies more “straight ahead” jazz from the likes of Jane Monheit, Sarah Vaughn, Chet Baker, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald — all the greats.

When they began crafting their brand new album, Mirage (due out November 18th, 2022) in 2022, Fierke had deferred their first year at Berklee College of Music and also had to push back recording the album due to pandemic restrictions.

The delay afforded Fierke’s music time to mature, songs that explore the pain they endured while masking their autism in an abusive relationship; fantasizing romantically about a woman; our times; the pain and anger of betrayal; and emerging from darkness with hopeful anticipation.

As restrictions eased last year, Fierke entered bassist Mickey Jamieson’s home studio in Columbia, Missouri, where they recorded live accompanied by a trio, compromised of Jamieson, keyboardest Samuel Luetkemeyer, and album producer Loyd Warden on drums and percussion.

1. Kick It Loose
2. I Remember Butterflies
3. Shower Song
4. Color Me
5. Mirage
6. Sweet Girl
7. When People Speak
8. Smile Again

This elegantly-crafted, just stunningly-orchestrated, vibrant new jazz album opens on the gentle freneticism of Kick It Loose and the soft, dance floor shuffle of I Remember Butterflies and then backs those up with the organically-sculptured, atmospheric Shower Song and then comes the late night soiree within Color Me.

Up next is the ornate, veritably crystalline, verging on ethereal, titular Mirage and that is itself followed by the dulcet piano and velvety drum brush work of Sweet Girl, the album rounding out on the Latin-tinged When People Speak, coming to a close on the upbeat, joyously melodious Smile Again.

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Title - Body Mind Soul: Deluxe Edition [2CD]
Artist - Debbie Gibson

After exploding onto the charts with her debut album Out Of The Blue in 1987, Debbie Gibson quickly racked up an impressive string of international hits. Singles from her debut, such as ‘Only In My Dreams’, ‘Foolish Beat’ and ‘Shake Your Love’, quickly made her a household name.

Her second album, Electric Youth was a US chart-topper, selling millions of copies around the world and included the signature song ‘Lost In Your Eyes’. It was followed by 1990’s ambitious Anything Is Possible and finally, what was to be her last album for Atlantic Records, fan favorite Body Mind Soul.

Originally released January 1993 on Atlantic Records and including material co-written and/or produced by award-winning hitmakers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers (Rythm Syndicate), Elliot Wolff, Carole Bayer-Sager, Narada Michael Walden and Phil Ramone, this brand new Body Mind Soul: Deluxe Edition expands the original 11-track release over two discs.

This delightful fan favorite, which saw Debbie embracing urban pop trends and includes the US Hot 100 hit ‘Losin’ Myself’ (#86), her last solo UK chart entry ‘Shock Your Mama’ (#74) and promotional single ‘Free Me,’ is the fourth and final installment in Cherry Pop’s series of Debbie Gibson classic album reissues.

CD 1: Body Mind Soul
1. Love Or Money
2. Do You Have It In Your Heart?
3. Free Me
4. Shock Your Mama
5. Losin’ Myself
6. How Can This Be?
7. When I Say No
8. Little Birdie
9. Kisses 4 One
10. Tear Down These Walls
11. Goodbye
12. Love Or Lust (Non-album B-side) [Bonus Track]
13. Eyes Of The Child (Japan Exclusive CD Bonus Track) [Bonus Track]
14. Shock Your Mama (The London Apprentice Edit) [Bonus Track]
15. Losin’ Myself (Radio Mix) [Bonus Track]

Appearing on disc one, the original Body Mind Soul album is complimented by four additional bonus tracks, including non-album B-side ‘Love Or Lust’, the previously Japanese-only exclusive track ‘Eyes Of The Child’, plus the 7” versions of the two single releases, ‘Losin’ Myself’ and ‘Shock Your Mama’.

It must be difficult for a teen sensation - of any decade - to bridge herself from her own self-inflicted goody two-shoes labeling to a modern, respectable artist. Debbie Gibson is such an artist, having penned nearly all of her songs and produced a good amount as well.

OK, sure, Body Mind Soul is not the tragedy that Tiffany’s New Inside turned out to be, but it sadly wasn’t as well received by everyone external to her hardcore fan base as all had hoped for, me included.

On this fourth and final album for Atlantic, whether she asked to be or not, Debbie was saddled with writing help from Sturken and Rogers, who admittedly brought Donny Osmond some of his better late-80’s material. Her collaborations with them (aside from ‘Love or Money’) are not the best, in my humble opinion, just favoring being rhythmically incessant over striving for melodic class.

Simply put, Debbie was made to turn from being a highly successful, solo female songstress (of that, there was no doubt) into a female neo-New Kids on the Block! To Gibson’s credit though, the best songs are those written wholly by her, such as the light and charming ‘Little Birdie’ (an indicator of where her career would eventually lead re: Broadway) and the forceful power pop ala Janet Jackson, of the much underrated, totally awesome dance song, Shock Your Mama.

‘When I Say No’ is a finely tuned pop song on the surface, albeit one carrying the message that unwanted sexual persuasion is intolerable, throughout the lyrics. An even bolder message follows on ‘Kisses For One,’ which not so subtly speaks against the danger of AIDS.

So, yeah, sure, in yearning for a new direction, it is clear now that Debbie may well have taken some musical missteps here, perhaps mistaking fad for maturity, one being the song chosen as the first single, ‘Losin’ Myself,’ in which she portrays a stripper, being the rubber stamp on that theory, but overall, it is a home run amongst us fans (and that is what counts for more with Debbie herself, trust me).

As for the four new bonus tracks now included, Love Or Lust (Non-album B-side) is a BRILLIANT slice of aggressive pop that would have lit the damn charts up back then! For those wondering, it was the the B-side of the British version of Shock Your Mama. The almost-spiritually harmonized balladry of Eyes Of The Child (Japan Exclusive CD Bonus Track) is a beauty to beyond also, and then we get an Edit of Shock Your Mama (The London Apprentice Edit), which resembles her percappella mix, the last track being the Losin’ Myself (Radio Mix).

CD 2: Remixes
1. Losin’ Myself (12” Masters At Work)
2. Losin’ Myself (Masters At Work Dub)
3. Free Me (Extended Mix)
4. Losin’ Myself (G-Man / Marz “Hot” Mix)*
5. Losin’ Myself (G-Man / Marz Alternate “Hot” Mix)
6. Kisses 4 One (Percapella)
7. Losin’ Myself (T-Ray’s Hip Hop)*
8. Losin’ Myself (T-Ray’s Acoustic Mix)
9. Free Me (Smoove Free Club Mix)
10. Losin’ Myself (Masters At Work “Hot” Mix)
11. Losin’ Myself (Masters At Work 12” Edit)
* Previously unreleased on CD

Disc two offers a host of club remixes by Masters At Work, E-Smoove, G-Man & Marz and Todd Ray, with two selections appearing here on CD for the first time.

For me, the two stand outs here amongst the almost-all pure, unadulterated musical gems, are the brilliant opener Losin’ Myself (12” Masters At Work) and the Free Me (Smoove Free Club Mix), but come on now, do we really need nine expanded/extended/remixed different versions of the very same song over and over?

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Gospejazzical, Vol. 1 (Live)
Artist - John Paul McGee

His name may be unfamiliar to many initially, but John Paul McGee is arguably one of the most gifted, classically-trained millennials that has ever touched the 88 keys on a piano.

One experience with his masterful musicianship and the way you hear Gospel, Jazz, and Classical will never be the same.

On his latest offering, GOSPEJAZZICAL VOL. 1, JP steps into uncharted territory combining three powerful genres; Gospel, Jazz, and Classical into a unique listening experience with both live and studio tracks that you won’t soon forget.

Accompanied by several accomplished musicians and vocalists like: Joel Powell (bass), Tyson Jackson (drums), Amber Bullock (vocalist), and Zebulon Ellis (vocalist) just to name a few, the 17 track project breathes new life on traditional hymns, familiar classics, and unexplored gems, that listeners are sure to embrace.

With standout pieces like the reimagined 90’s Bebe & Cece hit “Heaven” feat. Amber Bullock, the breezy classic hymn “Amazing Grace” feat. saxophonist Michael Walton, to the dreamy modern day jazz standard “Here’s To Life” feat. Wendi Henderson Wyatt, the Alan Pasqua favorite “Highway 14,” and Barry Harris’ “Sometimes Today Seems Like Yesterday” featuring the maestro himself on lead vocals, John Paul McGee.

1. Wonderful Is Your Name
2. I Am Amazed
3. Amazing Grace (feat. Michael Walton)
4. The Fount
5. Here’s To Life (feat. Wendi Henderson Wyatt)
6. The Manifest Overture
7. Manifest
8. Sometimes Today Seems Like Yesterday
9. Highway 114
10. When We All Get To Heaven
11. A City Called Heaven (feat. Amber Bullock)
12. Heaven (feat. Amber Bullock)
13. Jesus Christ Is The Way: An intimate Moment
14. Jesus Christ Is The Way
15. Book Of Life (feat. Zebulon Ellis)
16. The Lord Will Make A Way (Intro) (feat. Kenneth Lowe)
17. The Lord Will Make A Way

This beautifully-crafted and spiritually impassioned new album opens on the silky smooth Wonderful Is Your Name and after a short, but sweet I Am Amazed, we then get a near eight minute rendition of Amazing Grace (featuring Michael Walton), the languishing beauty of The Fount, the ornate Here’s To Life (featuring Wendi Henderson Wyatt), and then comes the 90 second The Manifest Overture which bleeds seamlessly into the dulcet full-length version, and then we get brought forth a late night, smoky club rendition of Sometimes Today Seems Like Yesterday.

Up next is the mellow tones and rhythms within Highway 114 and the gently frenetic When We All Get To Heaven and they are in turn backed beautifully by the pairing of the veritably shimmering A City Called Heaven and the near eight minute, and dutiful performed Heaven (both featuring Amber Bullock), and then along comes a quick, yet heartfelt Jesus Christ Is The Way: An intimate Moment, which itself soon gives way to the pure, unadulterated gossamer of Jesus Christ Is The Way, the album rounding out on the scintillating Book Of Life (featuring Zebulon Ellis), coming to a close on an Intro (by Kenneth Lowe) to The Lord Will Make A Way (Intro) and then the fully formed track follows thereafter.

At the age of 4, without any formal training, John Paul began playing familiar hymns and other standards as if he had heard them a thousand times before. Recognizing his skilled aptitude, John Paul’s mother created a training ground of music education for the budding maestro and the rest as they say is history.

Since then his musical career has taken him around the world collaborating and accompanying with Gospel and mainstream artists like; Patti Labelle, Yolanda Adams, The Clark Sisters, Donnie McClurkin, Najee, the NFL players choir, and many more. In 2014, John Paul released an instrumental holiday project, A CHRISTMAS WITH JOHN PAUL, debuting in the top 10 on the Billboard Gospel charts.

Just 2 short years later, John Paul made his Hollywood debut as the featured pianist in the theatrical release of “A Question of Faith,” featuring Richard T. Jones and Kim Fields.

As John Paul McGee makes his introduction to the music community at large, his Gospejazzical sound is a true trinity of spirit, soul, and artistry.

Gospejazzical Vol. 1 Album [Official Promo Trailer]

Official Website

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John Paul McGee @ YouTube

Title - Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill
Artist - Rodney Whitaker

Detroit native Rodney Whitaker, University Distinguished Professor of Jazz Bass, and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University, is a luminary in the jazz universe.

He has performed extensively with jazz greats Donald Harrison, Terrance Blanchard, Roy Hargrove and Wynton Marsalis. Rodney, Terell, Bruce, Tim and Dana have traded spots as leaders of this configuration on numerous albums over the last decade. Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill (out November 18th, 2022) is the third album co-produced by Rodney Whitaker and composer Gregg Hill.

The first album, Common Ground was released in 2019 (Origin Records) featuring the same talented artists as Oasis. The second album, Outrospection (Origin Records 2021) featured Xavier Davis, Dana Hall, Randy Gelispie, Rockelle Whitaker, Etienne Charles, Michael Dease, Diego Rivera, Marcus Eliot and Randy Napoleon.

1. Betty’s Tune (4:56)
2. Puppets (7:34)
3. Minorabilia (6:28)
4. Interlude (6:07)
5. Sunday Afternoon (7:24)
6. The Jazzdiddy Waltz (4:46)
7. S’Cool Days (8:25)
8. Blues for Gregg (6:40)
9. Fan-O-Gram (7:44)
10. To the Well (7:18)
11. Oasis (5:16)

This beautifully-crafted and spiritually impassioned new album opens on the gently frenetic rhythms within Betty’s Tune and the soothingly laid back, late melodies of Puppets and backs those up with the almost cinematic scrawl of Minorabilia, the ornately comforting Interlude and then comes the finger-snapping melodies of Sunday Afternoon.

Along next is the simply mesmerizingly-crafted The Jazzdiddy Waltz and the veritably swashbuckling S’Cool Days and they are in turn followed seamlessly by the free flowing Blues for Gregg, the dutiful, studious even Fan-O-Gram, the album rounding out on the atmospherically crystalline To the Well, closing on the feelgood Oasis.

Michigan based composer Gregg Hill has published 145 original jazz compositions across 4 volumes: Outrospectives, Spontaneity, Moonducks and The Tuning Fork. Ten albums have been released featuring the compositions.

TERELL STAFFORD trumpet and flugelhorn TIM WARFIELD tenor and soprano saxophones
ROCKELLE FORTIN vocals (1,4,10,11)

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Title - Urbanessence
Artist - Tito Carrillo

For those unaware, Urbanessence is the second solo album of trumpeter/composer Tito Carrillo.

Of the music on the album, Carrillo states the following: “I love the energy of the city, always have. Having been born in Austin, TX, and raised musically in Chicago, I’ve always been drawn to the melting pot, the high-energy pace, the festivals, the food, the diversity of cultures, and, of course, the music.”

“As my career as a performer morphed into a career as a performer/educator, life has taken me out of the city for a number of years. I’ve adjusted for the sake of stability and family, and I wouldn’t change it, but my heart has never left the city.”

“This album draws from my years in Chicago, playing jazz, salsa, Latin Jazz, gospel, blues, funk, and soul, and performing several times at the Chicago Jazz Festival and Hyde Park Jazz Festival, both as a leader and a sideman.”

“These nine originals (plus one non-Tito original by Phil Kocheril) seek to blend and meld my experiences into one language, rather than keep them as separate experiences inside my memory. Through my life lens, Urbanessence is one musical landscape - that I proudly share with you.”

1. Momentum (6:35)
2. Fire & Ice (9:21)
3. Bliss Point (6:38)
4. Urbanessence (11:43)
5. Crazy, Stupid Fine - bass intro (Clark Sommers improvised solo) (:59)
6. Crazy, Stupid Fine (8:54)
7. Up The Down Staircase (6:54)
8. Poor To Rico (7:46)
9. Justice & Mercy (7:45)
10. Fly By Night (7:12)
11. Sublime (3:38)

This soulfully-imbued, and wholly heartfelt new recording opens on the free flowing rhythms and melodies within the soaring Momentum before bringing us the more methodically, studious perhaps, Fire & Ice and then they are followed by the late night, dance floor swirl of Bliss Point, the empowering, near twelve minute, titular Urbanessence, and after a brief improvised bass solo intro by Clark Sommers, the gloriously sculptured full track Crazy, Stupid Fine is brought forth.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites, the beautifully refined, ornate gossamer of Up The Down Staircase which is itself followed by the crackling old record intro to the cutely fashioned Poor To Rico, the vibrant Justice & Mercy, the album rounding out on a track that runs the gamut on layered sounds and textures, Fly By Night, closing on the lament thread through the dulcet Sublime (for Roy Hargrove).

Tito Carrillo is a trumpeter, composer, and educator, whose music blurs the lines between Afro-Caribbean music traditions and modern jazz. Born and raised in Austin, TX by a Puerto Rican father and Mexican-American mother, Carrillo came to prominence in the mid 90’s in Chicago’s rich jazz and Latin music scenes, becoming a top call soloist, sideman, and bandleader.

The Chicago Tribune describes him as having “acquired a reputation as a fluid improviser, doubly-blessed with a warm lyric style and technique to burn.” The artists he has collaborated with are as diverse as his skill set: Chicago heavyweights Willie Pickens, Ryan Cohan, and Geof Bradfield; Chicago Latin groups Chinchano (Juan Pastor) and the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (Victor Garcia); big bands such as the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and the Smithsonian Masterworks Orchestra (David Baker); salsa legends Andy Montañez, Cheo Feliciano, and Cuban flutist Orlando “Maraca” Valle; jazz greats such as Kurt Elling, Claudio Roditi, Jon Faddis, and Paquito D’Rivera; and pop icons Quincy Jones and Phil Collins.

He released his debut solo album in 2011 entitled Opening Statement (Origin Records) to rave reviews, and his next solo project, the above-mentioned Urbanessence (Origin Records) was released on October 21st, 2022.

Tito Carrillo is equally passionate about jazz education, and he has served on the faculties of Roosevelt University, Northwestern University, and his current post, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he has served as full-time professor of jazz trumpet since 2006.

He has taught at secondary and collegiate music programs across the U.S. and Latin America, and his long list of former students include many who have established careers as both performers and educators and includes winners of international jazz competitions at the highest level.

Tito Carrillo, trumpet, flugelhorn
Troy Roberts, tenor, soprano saxophones
Ben Lewis, piano
Clark Sommers, bass
Jay Sawyer, drums and cymbals
Victor Gonzalez, Jr., congas

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Title - The Things We Lost: A 65th Birthday 3CD
Artist - Marc Almond

As the centerpiece of his 65th birthday celebrations, Marc Almond has reconvened with award winning record producer Chris Braide (Sia, Hans Zimmer, Lana Del Ray, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj) to create a concise and unforgettable suite of six ultra vivid story-telling songs for an all new mini-album Things We Lost.

This audio gem is expanded on a 3CD set with the additional inclusion of the audio from the exclusive and acclaimed live concert performed at the Royal Festival Hall in 2020 with Chris Braide and featuring Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull); a celebration, too, of the wider Marc Almond and Chris Braide songwriting partnership.

The bonus 2-disc concert, ‘Chaos And More’ includes live versions of all the tracks from their recent collaboration, ‘Chaos And A Dancing Star’ album from 2020, as well as six tracks from their first collaboration in 2015, ‘The Velvet Trail’ album.

Disc One is the ‘Things We Lost’ studio mini-album which contains the highly emotive song ‘Dead Stars’, a tour de force lyrical evocation of the legendary status famous stars can attain once deceased. Just as deftly drawn is the songwriting genius of ‘Wolf (Modern Life)’ which distills an almost psychotic projection of self as prey to the enveloping forces of darkness.

Evocative and emotive reflections on ageing and the passing of time; eulogies to the loss of lives fully lived are both omnipresent in the reflective power of the songs ‘A Flowered Goodbye’ and the searing title track.

Feel good album opener, ‘Golden Light’, seems like a ‘feel good’, upbeat paean to love and joy. Seemingly, it elucidates a worthy aspiration to a carefree existence in the all too often elusive sunny uplands of happiness and lovers’ togetherness… but then again, with deft mastery of the contrarian lyrical form, Marc Almond plants the idea that, perhaps, the ‘Golden Light’ isn’t any of these things! ‘Siren’ continues the theme of the title track of Marc’s first collaborative album with Chris Braide, ‘The Velvet Trail’ (2015).

CD 1: Things We Lost:
1. A Golden Light
2. Dead Stars
3. Wolf (Modern Life)
4. Siren
5. A Flowered Goodbye
6. Things We Lost

The veritably shimmering A Golden Light opens the EP and is backed by the free flowing, mid-tempo balladry of Dead Stars, and then comes the low key Wolf (Modern Life), before we are brought forth the simply divine Siren, the recording rounding out on the cinematic scope within A Flowered Goodbye, closing on the beautifully synth-imbued Things We Lost.

Discs Two and Three contain the ‘Chaos & More’ 37 song live set which also includes some of Chris Braide’s best known compositions. ‘Unstoppable’ (Sia) and ‘Kill And Run’ (for the film The Great Gatsby), an emotive stripped back piano and voice suite of cult songs from the Marc Almond and Soft Cell back catalogues as well cover versions paying tribute to Marc Almond and Chris Braide’s unifying love of Marc Bolan on ‘Children Of The Revolution’ and ‘Change’.

CD 2: Chaos & More (Part One) / Marc Almond & Chris Braide / Live At The Royal Festival Hall, 2020:
1. Intro
2. Black Sunrise
3. When The Stars Are Gone
4. Dust
5. Dreaming Of Sea
6. Hollywood Forever
7. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
8. Cherry Tree
9. Chaos
0. Fighting A War
11. Giallo
12. Lord Of Misrule [featuring Ian Anderson]*
13. Witch’s Promise [featuring Ian Anderson]*
14. Bedsitter [featuring Ian Anderson]*
15. Slow Burn Love
16. The Crow’s Eyes Have Turned Blue

This magnificent ‘Chaos & More’ 37 song live set is literally chock full of incredible hits, beloved album tracks and personal favorite covers, and its almost crystalline sound is a massive tribute to everyone associated with the recording process.

Once the synth Intro has bled into the reaching Black Sunrise, the heartfelt When The Stars Are Gone, and the storytelling within Dust, tracks such as the delicately ornate Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and the euphorically-charged Cherry Tree are highlights, before we then get a trio of tracks that include Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on flute; the highlight for me being the perky, free flowing majesties found within Witch’s Promise.

CD 3: Chaos & More (Part Two) / Marc Almond & Chris Braide / Live At The Royal Festival Hall, 2020:
1. Flames
2. Skin Deep
3. The Pain Of Never
4. Scar
5. Kill And Run [Chris Braide solo vocal]**
6. Unstoppable [Chris Braide solo vocal]**
7. Torch
8. Black Heart
9. Little Rough Rhinestone
10. Flowered Goodbye
11. Winter Sun
12. Change
13. Where The Heart Is
14. Embers
15. Minotaur
16. Zipped Black Leather Jacket
17. A Kind Of Love
18. Dandy In The Underworld
19. Children Of The Revolution
20. Tainted Love [featuring Ian Anderson]*
21. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye [featuring Ian Anderson]*

The second half of the recording opens on the gentle pop hipsway of Flames (It got to number five, but it’s really a number one record, Almond jokes), before bringing us the sweeping, languishing beauty found within Skin Deep and the heartfelt sentiment of The Pain Of Never, and then later we get the Chris Braide sung duo of Kill And Run and Unstoppable.

Along a bit and we then get treated to the delicately fluttering Little Rough Rhinestone, the gentle rock of Zipped Black Leather Jacket, and the recording rounds out on two Marc Bolan classics (Dandy In The Underworld and a gripping Children Of The Revolution), closing on an absolutely mesmeric Tainted Love and a gorgeous flashback to an easier time within Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (both featuring Ian Anderson).

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Title - Stranger Things 4 (Soundtrack From The Series) 2LP
Artist - Various

For those unaware, Stranger Things 4 (Soundtrack From The Netflix Series) is out now (November 4th, 2022) as part of the upcoming Record Store Day releases, and includes key music covering various classic eras and styles as featured in the just-released Stranger Things 4.

The soundtrack album is conceptualized and produced by The Duffer Brothers and Nora Felder (Grammy and Emmy nominee Nora Felder has served as music supervisor for Stranger Things since the show’s inception and was nominated for a Music Supervision Grammy the first year the category was recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences).

The compilation album is produced by The Duffer Brothers and 2x Grammy nominee Timothy J. Smith. 2-LP version comes in a gatefold package with a 12” x 12” insert.

As we all know by now, the fourth series notably features the explosive Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix of Journey’s Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), which is, of course, featured on this magnificent Stranger Things 4 soundtrack.

Official Remix of Journey’s Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - Listening Links

Side A:
1. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix) - Journey
2. California Dreamin’ - The Beach Boys
3. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
4. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - Kate Bush
5. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) - Dead or Alive
6. Chica Mejicanita - Mae Arnette

Side B:
7. Play With Me - Extreme>br> 8. Detroit Rock City (Single Version) - KISS
9. I Was A Teenage Werewolf - The Cramps
10. Pass The Dutchie - Musical Youth
11. Wipe Out - The Surfaris
12. Object Of My Desire (Single Version) - Starpoint

Side C:
1. Rock Me Amadeus (The Gold Mix) - Falco
2. Travelin’ Man - Ricky Nelson
3. Tarzan Boy - Baltimora
4. Dream A Little Dream Of Me - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
5. Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo (Single Version) - Rick Derringer
6. Fire And Rain - James Taylor

Side D:
7. Spellbound - Siouxsie And The Banshees
8. Master of Puppets - Metallica
9. When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die (featuring Mimi Goese) - Moby
10. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Steve Perry & Bryce Miller Extended Remix) - Journey

As always with these Stranger Things soundtracks and scores, they always contain some of the best, newly constructed, and usually atmospherically eerie instrumentals along with quite wonderful flashback music from the day and this one is no different.

Inclusive of essential music tracks evoking various classic eras and styles as featured in the killer Netflix show, the four-sided, vinyl 2LP set kicks things of in some style with the aforementioned, and explosive Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix of Journey’s Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (whilst it should also be noted that a new Steve Perry & Bryce Miller Extended Remix of the same track closes the recording), and that then rolls sweetly into a delightfully calm California Dreamin’ (The Beach Boys) and a still vibrant Psycho Killer (Talking Heads).

FYI: As you might know, California Dreamin’ was a big hit for the Mamas and the Papas, but instead of using that version, the Duffer Brothers elected to use the 1986 cover version of the song by The Beach Boys in place of the original. The substitution is understandable for the cover came out in 1986, the same year that the fourth season of Stranger Things takes place.

Carrying on and the song central to this fourth season, the defining Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) from Kate Bush is along next and actually, due to its new-found popularity, reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in mid-June of 2022 (and was Bush’s first number one since Wuthering Heights in 1978), and the first side rounds out with the wondrous, fun ’80s sounds of You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) from Dead or Alive and an absolutely crystalline, alive and reaching Chica Mejicanita from Mae Arnette.

The second side of the collection opens with one of the early shredders of its era, the propulsive Play With Me from Extreme (which features Nuno Bettancourt, one of the all-time underrated guitarists) and the well-known Detroit Rock City (Single Version) by KISS (which soundtracks an intense game of D&D to Argyle’s arrival music), and then along comes the creepingly ambient I Was A Teenage Werewolf (The Cramps), the upbeat Pass The Dutchie (Musical Youth), the side closing on a pulsating Wipe Out (The Surfaris) and an amazing Object Of My Desire (Single Version) by Starpoint; which now brings the great soulful R&B sound back to a whole new generation.

With this incredible 2LP vinyl set of music featured on Season 4’s soundtrack showcasing just how perfectly woven into the show moments and thereafter our heads to remember really is, the music continues onward as the third side opens with the ’80s chart smash Rock Me Amadeus (The Gold Mix) from Falco and then comes the sweet, beautiful voice of Ricky Nelson on his hit single Travelin’ Man - Ricky Nelson, before the atmospheric Tarzan Boy (Baltimora) is brought forth, and that is followed by the silky smooth Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong), the Rick Derringer rocker Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo (Single Version), the side rounding out on the deeply emotional and impactful Fire And Rain (James Taylor).

The fourth, and final side opens on the closing credits, and timeless gem of a track, Spellbound from Siouxsie And The Banshees, before one of the most to the forefront of tracks is given to us, the explosive Master of Puppets from Metallica, the side, along with the whole album, coming to a righteous close on a breathtakingly ethereal When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die (featuring Mimi Goese) by Moby (which backs the tear-jerking scene For Eddie and Max) and then the aforementioned Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Steve Perry & Bryce Miller Extended Remix) from Journey.

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Title - Players [2CD]
Artist - Eugenie Jones

Eugenie Jones grew up with four sisters and three brothers in rural West Virginia. Her father, Eugene, directed the local Friendship Baptist Church Choir, and her mother, Tommie Lee, was the choir’s lead soprano and a frequent guest soloist at neighboring churches.

Jones grew up listening to and influenced by her mother’s perpetually singing around the house as well as her older siblings’ Motown albums and her parents’ Nancy Wilson and Ray Charles LPs.

But in those early years, she had no latent desire to become a singer. Jones grew up, earned an MBA, married, and eventually made her home in Seattle, raising two sons and working in nonprofit marketing and communications.

Her singing career began later in life after the death of her mother in 2008. At one stage of my grief, I realized that beyond the sorrow of losing my mother, I also missed hearing the sound of her singing, Eugenie admits. Seeking solace and a positive way forward, I wondered if I could carry on that part of her.,p> That speculation led Jones to the Seattle jazz scene and ultimately to the pursuit of something she had never imagined - a singing career.

Her wood-shedding with local Seattle bands paid off with the release of her 2013 debut CD, Black Lace Blue Tears. The CD was the first-ever vocal release to win the coveted Earshot Jazz NW Recording of the Year award.

On the strength of her 2015 follow-up, Come Out Swingin’, Jones ranked in Jazz Week’s top 50 and won the title of NW Vocalist of the Year from Earshot. The CD was lauded in Jazziz magazine for her smoke-and-satin vocals in settings that float like a butterfly and swing like a night at the Savoy.

And now 4 years, 4 cities, and 32 musicians coalesce to create Jones’ 2022 recording, Players. This two-disc, 15-track recording with ten originals and five reimagined classics was independently produced and recorded on Jones’ Open Mic Records label.

CD 1:
1. I Got Rhythm
2. There Are Thorns
3. Multicolored Blue
4. Ultimo Baile En Casa
5. You Can Have Him
6. Skipping Under Starlight
7. The Gift of Life
8. Ey Brother

This beautifully-crafted and genuinely heartfelt new album opens on the gently frenetic I Got Rhythm and the Latin-imbued hipsway of There Are Thorns and those are seamlessly backed by the aching percussional yearn within Multicolored Blue, the Latin caliente flare of Ultimo Baile En Casa, the soft and sultry balladry of You Can Have Him, and then come the beautifully crafted Skipping Under Starlight, the veritably dulcet The Gift of Life, the first disc closing on the funky R&B of Ey Brother.

CD 2:
9. Sittin’ at the Bar
10. Blues Skies
11. Red Dress
12. But I Do
13. As Long As
14. One More Night to Burn
15. Do I Move You?

The second disc, also featuring recordings from New York, Dallas, Chicago and Seattle, first brings us the silky smooth Sittin’ at the Bar and the robust rhythms within Blues Skies and follows those up with the late night, underground, smokey jazz club appeal of Red Dress, the low key, funky ’70s-esque vibe within But I Do, the smooth R&B jazz slide of As Long As, the recording rounding out on the lonesome yearn of One More Night to Burn, coming to a close on the old school, laid back, soulful blues jazz of Do I Move You?

In addition to her recording/performing career, Jones established a nonprofit, Music for a Cause, and serves as the executive producer of free community jazz walks and concerts that commemorate the legacy of African American music in Seattle while simultaneously raising money for community service organizations such as The Central Area Senior Center’s meal delivery program, Northwest Harvest food bank, and the Rotary Boys & Girls Club.

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Title - Songs For The Cynical
Artist - Spud Davenport

As a Wise Man once commented, “Spud puts a happy face on bad times.”

Indeed, that’s the mission singer / songwriter / satirist Spud Davenport has been on for years (with songs in major movies and on hundreds of terrestrial radio stations).

Southern Californian Singer/Songwriter Spud Davenport plays a few instruments. Piano, guitar, and a whole alotta Drums to name a few. And he also has a few things to say.

From storytelling within such songs as Time Bomb Mom, You’d Love Me Now (If You Knew Me Then) to twisted love songs such as Car Wreck, She Gets Loud, Spud sings, moans, and screams his tales of woe and WHOA for your enjoyment!

Oh, and Spud also enjoys a songwriting partnership with buddy Charlie Recksieck in the irreverent fun rock band, Leaders In The Clubhouse.

So if the concept of a long-haired Randy Newman fronting a Rock Band from behind the drums sounds interesting to you, take a listen to Spud!

Spud’s new album, Songs For The Cynical drops January 27th, 2023 and features the singles Home For The Headaches, Enjoy Every Sandwich and You’d Love Me Now (If You Knew Me Then).

1. Come Inside!
2. Enjoy Every Sandwich
3. You’d Love Me Now (If You Knew Me Then)
4. Car Wreck
5. I’m The Only One
6. Paper Maps
7. Hot For Teacher
8. Roommates
9. If I Had The Time
10. Love Frustration
11. Don’t Flip Your Lid
12. Home For The Headaches
13. Only One Parade (Reprise)
14. Let’s Lead Together (feat. Mary Grasso)

This vibrantly alive, indie-rocker with a jovial heart of an album opens on the rampant guitar chords of Come Inside! and the languishing, informative messaging with Enjoy Every Sandwich and they are followed by the free wheeling AOR of You’d Love Me Now (If You Knew Me Then), the slower-paced Car Wreck, the heart-soaked, harmonica-driven rock of I’m The Only One, and then we get the tambourine-imbued foot-tapper Paper Maps, the beautiful piano balladry of Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher, and the statically-charged Roommates.

Up next is the joyous, countrified twang of If I Had The Time and the rangy, mid-tempo indie guitar ballad Love Frustration and they are in turn followed by the evenflow of Don’t Flip Your Lid, the Proclaimers-esque vibe to Home For The Headaches, the album rounding out on a harmonica-driven reprise of Only One Parade, coming to a close on the sumptuous ballad Let’s Lead Together, featuring gorgeously-toned vocals from Mary Grasso.

Come Inside! by Spud Davenport [Official Music Video]

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Title - Fifty
Artist - The Manhattan Transfer w/ WDR Funkhausorchester

The Manhattan Transfer - Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, and Trist Curless - celebrates 50 years here on the just-released, and aptly-named Fifty, with a collection of songs - some reimagined favorites, even something new - all with symphony, the WDR Funkhausorchter with whom they’ve performed.

With performances alongside Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and so many more, the group wanted to share harmony - the harmony in their new recording, to share the harmony of bringing people together in this dedicated recording to founder Tim Hauser, and Laurel Masse.

This recording is their love letter to their fans over 50 years, to the many honors and awards they’ve received, and celebrating a career spanning 50 years!

IN THE FALL OF ’72: It’s been fifty years since Tim Hauser, a former Madison Avenue marketing executive, paid his bills by driving a New York City cab while aspiring to form a harmony vocal quartet sui generis that could authentically embrace varied musical styles, and still create something wholly unique in the field of American popular song.

A LEGACY OF SONG: Signed to Atlantic Records by the legendary head of the label, Ahmet Ertegun, the group released their self-titled debut in 1975; the second single from the album, a remake of the Friendly Brothers gospel classic “Operator,” gave the group their first national hit.

“Operator” took radio stations by storm, from the opening four-part a cappella intro to Siegel’s emotional lead vocal, eventually peaking in the Top 20.

1. Agua
2. The Man I Love
3. Paradise Within
4. On a Little Street in Singapore
5. The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
6. Twilight Zone / Twilight Tone
7. Blues for Harry Bosch
8. Chanson D’amour
9. What Goes Around Comes Around
10. God Only Knows

This most perfectly manicured and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the free flowing gossamer of Agua and the politely perky, rhythmically stunning The Man I Love and then goes on to bring us the cinematic reach of Paradise Within, the layered melodies and harmonies within On a Little Street in Singapore and then we get the atmospherically-charged fervency of The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the emotionally aesthetic, spookily-veined Twilight Zone / Twilight Tone which is itself backed seamlessly by the percussion-imbued, cinematic scope that attaches itself to APD detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch’s very own Blues for Harry Bosch, the lavishly sculptured, dance floor twirl of Chanson D’amour, the album rounding out on the hard-noted, hand-clapping, pop-jazz beauty What Goes Around Comes Around, coming to a most beautiful, harmonious close on the layered ambiance within the veritably crystalline God Only Knows.

The Manhattan Transfer with WDR Funkhausorchester – “God Only Knows” (Official Video)

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Title - Christmas with Chris Ruggiero
Artist - Chris Ruggiero

For those unaware, Chris Ruggiero takes his audiences on a journey through the golden age of rock and roll, breathing new life into the timeless music of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Chris has been described as an “old soul” at only 23 years old, whose approach to his concert appearances is more in line with that of a bygone era than it is the artists of his generation.

Chris says, “I try to make every move and sing every song with a touch of class that reminds the audience of a time when entertainers put their heart and soul into their songs and delivering an exceptional concert was paramount.”

On his latest album, Christmas with Chris Ruggiero, Chris delves deeper into jazz, pop and classical themes as he reinvents a dozen Christmas classics with the helps of some of the most storied and well-respected arrangers and musicians in the country.

1. This Christmas
2. Sleigh Ride
3. Merry Christmas Darling
4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
5. Grown-Up Christmas List (feat. Darlene Love)
6. The Christmas Song
7. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
8. Please Come Home For Christmas
9. It’s Christmas Once Again
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (feat. Wayne Bergeron)
11. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
12. Silent Night

This most perfectly manicured and wholly heartfelt new album opens on the pure vocal and percussional gossamer of This Christmas and the festively free flowing Sleigh Ride, and then slows things down for the dulcet balladry found of Merry Christmas Darling, but picks the pace back up on the vibrantly dutiful Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), a simply divine Grown-Up Christmas List (featuring Darlene Love), and then we get a warm and cozy The Christmas Song.

Up next is the majestically-sculptured, joyously abounding It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and that is in turn backed by the low slung, blues-soul of Please Come Home For Christmas, the most perfect balladry of It’s Christmas Once Again is along next, together with the finger-snapping, percussion-imbued Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (courtesy of trumpeter Wayne Bergeron), the album rounding out on the soulfully harmonized I’ll Be Home for Christmas, closing on a dutiful Silent Night.

Chris Ruggiero - The Christmas Song (Official Video)

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Title - Brightest Of Days
Artist - Sicard Hollow

For those unaware, Nashville’s psychedelic punk-grass rockers, Sicard Hollow, grew up sick of any existing institution telling them who and what to be.

Now, as they navigate adulthood, they’re equally tired of the music institutions telling them what their music should sound like — so they dunked it in patchouli and a skate-and-destroy ethos that brings an enduring sound into the modern age.

Whether it was skateboarding or chasing jam bands, singer/guitar-player Alex King always had a fierce desire to succeed on his own terms. He spent years as an artist without an art-form, searching for a home by pouring every bit of his sweat and heart into anything he was doing. “It took years for me to land on music,” King says, referencing “This I Know” from the album, “but when I found that fire inside my heart, I found my home.”

It just so happened that finding that home coincided with the shutdown of live music due to the pandemic that canceled the entire release tour supporting their debut studio record, ‘Secret of the Breeze.’ During that time, the band turned inward to reflect on their identity and how they could add their generation’s voice to a timeless genre of music.

The result, with the help of producer John Mailander (Billy Strings, Bruce Hornsby) and Recording/mixing engineer Dan Davis (Billy Strings, Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley), was a combination of pop-punk melodies, psychedelic instrumental breaks, and existential song-writing all packaged as a bluegrass quartet dressed in tattoos and tie-dyes; and titled Brightest Of Days.

Tracks like Herrin’s “Escape the Unknown,” wrestle with staying true to yourself in a world seemingly fueled by mob-mentality. This positive skepticism toward the main-stream permeates the entire record. Songs like “Forecast of Life” and “Where I’m At” impress a new-American-Zen that dances through the chaos with a smile on your face.

If unapologetically being yourself is the key to finding the “Brightest of Days” ahead, then you’ll hear it here first from Sicard Hollow.

1. Brightest Of Days
2. Where I’m At
3. This I Know
4. Escape The Unknown
5. Metamorphic Prophecy
6. Face The Wreckage
7. Bound To Die
8. Forecast of Life

This most perfectly manicured and infectiously-harmonious new album opens on the barn dance, twirling joyfulness of the titular Brightest Of Days and backs that up with the gently rambunctious, fiddle-driven Where I’m At, the mid-tempo, banjo-fed bluegrass of This I Know, and then comes the rootsy, trepidational-themed ambiance found within Escape The Unknown.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new recording, the both banjo and fiddle-driven, veritably acoustic rock beauty Metamorphic Prophecy and that is in turn backed by the passionately-imbued, free flowing Face The Wreckage, the album rounding out with the sun-sinking, front porch sing-along Bound To Die, coming to an all too soon close on the upbeat and cheerfully jubilant Forecast of Life.

Sicard Hollow - Escape the Unknown (Official Video)

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Title - Americana Soul
Artist - The Jorgensens

For those unaware, on November 4th, 2022, celebrated musical collective The Jorgensens, led by harmonizing duo Kurt and Brianna Jorgensen, will proudly present their new album Americana Soul via Paramour Records.

Specializing in an honest, authentic style of roots rock/AAA/Americana-steeped sound, The Jorgensens’ have earned a loyal fanbase and press adulation for their signature steel-sharp musicianship, honey-soaked harmonizations, and relatable lyrics, which have drawn comparisons to Delaney and Bonnie and Alabama Shakes.

Kurt’s mix of vintage guitar, bouncy bass lines, and modern technology blends with Brianna’s classically-trained multi-instrumental talent, as she deftly commands keyboards, guitar, and mandolin, among others.

Add the remaining members unique, diverse talents, and the result is a mix of vintage classiness, hip style, and a love of fun (which beams out of their music videos). Blending influences from the blues, bluegrass, traditional earthy spirituals, and jazz into a unique, distinctly America-bred musical style, their story in and of itself is that of a bond between various personalities.

1. Old Black Crow
2. Miles
3. Boom Boom Boom
4. Hey Baby
5. Shake It
6. Out of My Mind
7. Leave Your Light On
8. Dark Road
9. Twenty Years
10. State Line

This most perfectly manicured and infectiously sweet-sounding new album opens on the harmonious, blues soul twang of Old Black Crow and the gentle hipsway of Miles and then brings us the warmly melodic, veritably acoustic Boom Boom Boom, the late night, sultry hoochie coochie of Hey Baby and the mid-tempo balladry of Shake It follows it thereafter.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites from the new recording, the impassioned, low slung blues rock of Out of My Mind which is in turn backed by the Americana-imbued breeze within Leave Your Light On, the foot-tapper Dark Road, the album rounding out on the troubadour-imbibed Twenty Years, coming to a close on the harmonic, elegant balladry gossamer of State Line.

The roots of The Jorgensens were set in 2014 in St. Paul, MN, when singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Brianna Tagg was introduced to fellow vocalist/songwriter/guitarist/producer Kurt Jorgensen. Embarking on a musical journey with their first album Jorgensen/Tagg, they continued to write music as their bond grew stronger.

As both were getting sober, Kurt was also suffering the weight of a recent divorce – seeing each other through these difficult times forged an incredible connection.

Something amazing happens when soulmates create music; when kismet seeks to bring two creative forces together in a way that allows them to express kindred emotions and sentiments through song.

Originally starting as collaborators, Kurt and Brianna would go on to marry, give birth to a son, and infuse their kinetic energy into The Jorgensens, which blossomed with the additions of Andra Lee Suchy (vocals), Brenda Lee King (Bass Guitar), Jeff King (Saxophone, Clarinets), Jeff Levine (Trumpet), Mark O’ Day (Drums, Percussion), and C Harris (Percussion).

It’s this closeness that radiates through every note, twang, and lyric of their songs, as evidenced on the current feel-good single “Old Black Crow”, which is already making waves at radio. This simpatico energy burns bright on Americana Soul.

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Title - Los Angeles Forum - April 26, 1969
Artist - Jimi Hendrix Experience

For those unaware, Experience Hendrix L.L.C. in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, is releasing the Jimi Hendrix Experience Los Angeles Forum: April 26, 1969 live recording this November 18th on 2LP vinyl, CD and all digital platforms.

Recorded in the spring of 1969 before a raucous, sold out audience, the captivating performance of the original lineup (singer/guitarist Jimi Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, bassist Noel Redding) has never before been released in its entirety.

A portion of this performance was previously included as part of a short-lived Westwood One radio documentary box set [Lifelines 1990-1992] but has been unavailable in any form for two decades and this marks the first time ever that it will be available on vinyl.

The double LP release in gorgeous gatefold packaging and a 12 page 12”x12” book - complete with liner notes from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons who witnessed the show first hand - gives this seminal performance its proper platform, presenting the complete performance mixed directly from the original eight-track master tapes.

Furthermore, the album comes out in time for the 80th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s birth (November 27th).

1. Introduction
2. Tax Free
3. Foxey Lady

4. Red House
5. Spanish Castle Magic

6. Star Spangled Banner
7. Purple Haze
8. I Don’t Live Today

9. MEDLEY Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Sunshine Of Your Love / Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

After a rousing Introduction, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (which I have always loved as the name for a band) take the stage to a billowing uproar of both vocal and bodily love, and launch into a cover of Tax Free, which was an interesting choice, given that it was an obscure 1967 instrumental by Swedish duo Hansson & Karlsson (with whom the Experience had previously shared bills in Stockholm) and then give the crowd more of what they came for in the shape of their signature crowd pleaser, Foxey Lady (where the obvious improvisation on this live version is just impeccable).

Continuing their set with a raw and earthy blues original in the shape of Red House, where he produces sounds from his electric guitar that were wholly unheard of before he hit the scene, and after that they come together to bring us their version of a track first recorded in 1733, and a song that Jimi dedicates to all the plain clothes police out there and other goofballs, the exceptional natural dowry of his that shines through on the pulsating Spanish Castle Magic.

Along next is Jimi’s now renowned reimagining of the Star Spangled Banner (which he would canonize four months later at Woodstock), and one where he intentionally played the song with unique heavy distortion to stimulate the sounds of warfare and that is followed seamlessly by Purple Haze; where playing half of the main solo one-handed is still just so badass (and which due to all the growing, and heavy police presence, he changes the lyrics to “‘Scuse me while I kiss that policeman!”).

And then, after riding a crowd-enhanced wave of adrenaline, expectation and unadulterated love for the band and the music, after Hendrix jokes that they just threw in some Smothers Brothers chords, they launch into a blistering I Don’t Live Today (complete with Jimi pleading at the end with the crowd not to rush the stage, as he didn’t need any more jokers up there with them).

After having had to leave the stage under the promise that they would return to bring them Voodoo Child, they do indeed keep that promise and come back on to a now void-of-jokers stage to launch into a simply pulsating medley of Voodoo Child (Slight Return), with Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love sandwiched in-between it, thus like bookends, the lead song returning to deliver another scintillating rendition of Voodoo Child (Slight Return).

Following the massive success of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967-68 studio album trifecta (Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland), the trio had developed into the most popular international touring attraction in rock music.

This wide scale public interest coincided with the construction of new arenas for sporting events, among them the Forum in Inglewood, CA. Designed by famed architect Charles Luckman (who also designed New York’s rebuilt Madison Square Garden), this multi-purpose venue opened in 1967 as the home of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, but also began to serve as a music venue.

Among the earliest concerts held there was Aretha Franklin in January 1968 and the Cream farewell tour with opening act Deep Purple in October of that year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience were booked to perform on April 26, 1969 with opening acts Chicago Transit Authority (soon-to-be renamed Chicago) and Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys, the latter of whom shared management with the headliners. Floor seats cost $6.50 ($51.20 adjusted for inflation).

By the time the Jimi Hendrix Experience took the stage to blaze through a spirited set, live concert sound had drastically improved from the time of the Beatles baseball stadium tours, but crowd control was still a major concern. Between songs, Jimi pleads with audience members to stop rushing the stage and a heavy police presence is felt throughout.

Hendrix treated each performance as a unique event. He never relied on a standard set list comprised only of his biggest commercial hits. This approach was on full display at the Forum performance, blending more familiar tunes such as “Foxey Lady” with “I Don’t Live Today” from Are You Experienced and his signature blues original “Red House” (“Everybody want to know what America’s soul is; everybody think it’s Motown . . . America’s soul is something more like this here”) which had still not yet been released in the US at this time.

Another unique highlight featured within the Forum performance was an early reimagining of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which Jimi would canonize four months later at Woodstock. “Here’s a song we was all brainwashed with,” Jimi trenchantly declares, at a time when the nation was in a state of great political unrest.

The group closed their performance with a unique, extraordinary medley of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. The song was an Experience favorite and a perfect live vehicle for the trio’s unparalleled improvisational skill.

The Jimi Hendrix Los Angeles Forum was recorded by Wally Heider and Bill Halverson contemporaneously, and recently remixed by longtime Hendrix producer/engineer Eddie Kramer for maximum audio fidelity. It was produced by Janie Hendrix, CEO of Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. and the sister of Jimi Hendrix, Kramer and John McDermott, who manages the Hendrix music catalog on behalf of Experience Hendrix.

The package’s liner notes are by former LA Times staff writer/critic Randy Lewis with a preface by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons who attended the Hendrix Forum show, having toured with the Experience, as part of the Moving Sidewalks, his pre-ZZ band. Both Gibbons and Lewis provided commentary for yesterday’s LAist piece.

Also coming out during the month of Hendrix’s 80th birthday is the book JIMI. Published by Chronicle Books imprint Chroma for a November 15 release, this comprehensive visual celebration is an official collaboration with Janie Hendrix and John McDermott.

JIMI significantly expands on the authors’ previously published titles, including An Illustrated Experience, and features a new introduction by Janie, extensive biographical texts, and a trove of lesser known and never-before-published photographs, personal memorabilia, lyrics, and more.

Additionally, JIMI includes quotations by legendary musicians such as Paul McCartney, Ron Wood, Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton, Drake, Dave Grohl and others who have spoken about Hendrix’s lasting influence.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience - I Don’t Live Today (Live at Los Angeles Forum, 4/26/1969) [Official Audio Link]

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Title - Time To Love Again
Artist - Nicole Henry

For those unaware, since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has established herself as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed vocalists. Ms. Henry possesses a potent combination of dynamic vocal abilities, impeccable phrasing, and powerful emotional resonance.

Her repertoire includes the American Songbook, classic and contemporary jazz titles, contemporary standards, blues, and originals; while her accompaniment ranges from a simple jazz trio to a full big band.

The Jazz maven took to the studio during the pandemic and has now released her eighth album, and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time in everyone’s lives. TIME TO LOVE AGAIN is a musical salve to soothe the soul during the difficult times in which we have all found ourselves these days.

Ms. Henry has created an album of covers that ranks as one of the most enjoyable CDs of 2021. Henry, who often draws comparisons to other artists and voices who have come before, is a consummate artist whose work (and voice) stands entirely on its own, something made patently clear by the fact that the nine tracks on the forty-five (ish) minute album don’t actually sound like covers.

This could be an album of nothing but original tunes, so strong is Henry’s focus on discovering new colors, new layers, new points of view on songs long well-known and loved by many music lovers.

1. Feeling Good
2. Midnight At The Oasis
3. Your Smiling Face
4. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
5. Is It A Crime
6. Until It’s Time For You To Go
7. Wild Is The Wind
8. Love and Affection
9. OverJoyed

This truly beautifully crafted new album opens on a vibrantly enthusiastic take on Nina Simone’s Feeling Good and that is then backed up with the sultry, harmonica-led Midnight At The Oasis (Maria Muldaur), which is in turn followed by a dutifully melodious cover of James Taylor’s Your Smiling Face and the free flowing, rhythmical magnificent I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Frank Sinatra).

On an album where Ms. Henry seems to be celebrating life, music, and the act of enjoying both, next up is a stand up bass-infused, breathy rendition of Sade’s Is It A Crime and the late night, gentle dance floor swirl of Until It’s Time For You To Go (Elvis Presley), and they are followed by a quite mesmerizingly atmospheric, percussion-embossed Wild Is The Wind (David Bowie), the album rounding out on a brilliantly resculptured rendition of Joan Armatrading’s Love and Affection, coming to a close on a simply joyous Steve Wonder cover of OverJoyed.

Nicole Henry: voice / vocals; Pete Wallace: piano; Jean Caze: trumpet; Aaron Lebos: guitar; Troy Roberts: saxophone; Eric England: bass, electric; Camilo Velandia: guitar; Eduardo Rodriguez: percussion; Dan Warner: guitar; John Michalak: saxophone, tenor; Richard Bravo: percussion; David Chiverton: drums; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Teddy Mulet: trumpet; Jim Hacker: trumpet; Jorge Dorbal, Jr: trombone; Tom McCormick: woodwinds; Doug Emery: keyboards.

Ms. Henry’s passionate, soulful voice and heartfelt charisma have earned her a 2013 Soul Train Award for Best Traditional Jazz Performance, four Top-10 U.S. Billboard, JazzWeek and HMV Japan jazz albums, and rave reviews both domestically and internationally by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, El Pais, Jazz Times, Essence and more.

Ms. Henry has captivated audiences in over 20 countries, headlining at venues in cities including New York, Tokyo, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Miami. She has performed in more than 30 music festivals worldwide and in some of the world’s most famous venues including Blue Note, NYC; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Blues Alley; Arsht Center; Feinstein’s; Green Mill; Madrid Jazz Festival; the Regattabar; and Catalina Jazz.

Ms. Henry’s 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the U.S. and in Japan, where they named her Best New Jazz Artist of 2004. The following year, Ms. Henry’s Teach Me Tonight reached #1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan’s Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005. In 2008, The Very Thought of You substantially expanded her American audience, reaching #7 on Billboard’s jazz chart.

The 2011 release of the Embraceable CD was a creative triumph for Ms. Henry as it expanded her recordings beyond those of the American Songbook jazz standards which had been her focus up until that time. Embraceable included more originals, soul and even a touch of gospel, and reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth U.S. jazz radio charts. Joining Ms. Henry on Embraceable was an amazing collection of jazz artists including Kirk Whalum, Gerald Clayton, John Stoddart, Julian Lage, Gil Goldstein, Larry Grenadier, and Eric Harland.

Ms. Henry demonstrates her diversity and skills as a performer and a peerless interpreter of songs on her 2013 release, SO GOOD, SO RIGHT: Nicole Henry Live. The 13-track live album, which was recorded at sold-out performances at Feinstein’s in NYC in May 2012, showcases her soulful, inspired renditions of some of her favorite classic hits of the ‘70s from iconic artists including Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight.

Nicole Henry - Your Smiling Face (Official Video)

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Title - Mid Century Modern, Vol. 3
Artist - Gabriel Mark Hasselbach

For those unaware, while Denver Colorado born trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach’s albums Open Invitation (2014) and Tongue & Groove (2021) were more acquainted with the smooth jazz genre, his subsequent albums - Mid Century Modern, Volume 1 (2018) and Mid Century Modern, Volume 2 (2019) - are much more of a fluid jazz mix.

And here on the third volume, Mid Century Modern, Volume 3, he once again follows in the footsteps of the previous two, albeit this time taking a decidedly different turn into fiery organ combo territory, even going head-to-head with the trumpet/organ sound of Joey DeFrancesco.

Gabriel’s working combo features himself on trumpet, the fleet fingered Jason DeCouto on organ/bass, the snappy Nick Bracewell on drums, and the mellifluous John Lee on guitar.

Complete with a dynamic deep dive into a few well-chosen originals and, of course, mid century gems, Gabriel then switches things up by bringing in some flute, flugelhorn, and trombone, for some underutilized, but still very much timeless classics.

1. Jonah’s Joint
2. Bring It Home To Me
3. Big Dipper
4. Nutville
5. Slow Hot Wind
6. Senor Blues
7. Easy Living
8. Lover Come Back To Me
9. Underground Vibe
10. Blue Miles
11. I Love You
12. You Don’t Know What Is
13. I Love Paris
14. Angel Eyes
15. Blue Bossa

This soulfully crafted, heartfelt and impassioned new album opens on the dulcet, languishing beauty of Jonah’s Joint and the joyous funk-soul of Bring It Home To Me and then we get the vibrantly cushioned, and aptly-named Big Dipper, the fervency of melodies and rhythms within Nutville, then comes the atmospherically-charged Slow Hot Wind, the upright bass-led beauty Senor Blues, and then the ornate gossamer of the ballad Easy Living is brought forth.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on this new recording, the uproariously delicious Lover Come Back To Me and that is in turn followed by the harmoniously-crafted Underground Vibe, the hauntingly smokey Blue Miles, the foot-tapper I Love You, the late night, delicate orchestrations within You Don’t Know What Is, the album rounding out on the veritably shimmering, yet electric-paced I Love Paris, the lonesome, yet sultry Angel Eyes, coming to a close on the upbeat and flirtatiously elegant Blue Bossa.

Slow Hot Wind by Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (Official Music Video)

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Title - Finding Light
Artist - Jeff Denson / Romain Pilon / Brian Blade

For those unaware, the first time that bassist Jeff Denson and guitarist Romain Pilon got together to record with drummer Brian Blade felt like a lightning strike.

Like so many musicians before them, the longtime friends from their days as standout students at Berklee experienced what’s often been described as the Blade Factor, a sudden, clarifying jolt that illuminates the musical moment.

Captured in the studio on the 2019 Ridgeway Records album Between Two Worlds, the trio’s debut introduced an uncommon communion that seemed destined for further adventures.

Even two years of pandemic angst hasn’t been able to dim their brilliant chemistry. If anything, the trio’s second album, the just-released Finding Light, blazes all the more brightly as an antidote to isolation, anxiety, and despair.

Released on Denson’s Ridgeway Records label on September 23rd, 2022, the project beams with the palpable pleasure the musicians take in each other’s company as they explore new music together in glorious trialogue.

1. Daily Jubilee Of Dancing Herbie D.
2. Finding Light
3. This Way Cooky
4. A Moment In Time
5. Wishing Well
6. The Tipster
7. Terre Intro
8. Terre
9. Espoir
10. Sixto

This oh-so pure, magnificently cultured and jubilantly heartfelt new album opens on the rhythmically jaunty Daily Jubilee of Dancing Herbie D., one of the six originals composed by Denson, and backs that up with the organically dulcet Finding Light, then we get the first of the four Pilon tracks, the playfully perky, veined with some hard-edged funk This Way Cooky (which is actually an homage to his dog), and that is in turn backed by the ornate ambiance within A Moment in Time, and then we get the gentle dance floor swirl of Wishing Well brought forth.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, Denson’s righteously blithe swing piece The Tipster and then we get the short, but sweet upright bass piece Terre Intro, which serves as the launch pad for the final three tracks.

All compositions by Pilon, the trio opens on the delicate, almost ethereal Terre (Earth), before moving seamlessly into veritably fluid, textually layered Espoir (Hope), rounding out on the free flowing, harmonically compositional styling found within the simply magnificent Sixto.

Denson spent the first 18 months of the pandemic keeping the California Jazz Conservatory running online as dean of instruction. Though two years had elapsed between the trio’s last tour and regrouping to record Finding Light, they picked up where they left off, exploring a sound that evolved because we did a lot of playing and traveling together in 2019 and 2020, Denson says. Each time we played together the band kept growing and our sound and direction evolved. Our connection kept intensifying.

That intensity is evident throughout Finding Light. The trio’s new music reflects both the unbridled joy of gathering together again and the small pleasures (particularly the fur-bearing variety) that eased the surreal passage of pandemic time.

Finding Light - Jeff Denson, Romain Pilon & Brian Blade (Official Music Video)

Daily Jubilee of Dancing Herbie D. - Jeff Denson, Romain Pilon & Brian Blade (Official Music Video)

This Way Cooky - Jeff Denson, Romain Pilon & Brian Blade (Official Music Video)

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