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New to the Listening Loft

ERIC DARIUS | Retro Forward | Shanachie

MICHAEL LINGTON | Soul Appeal | Copenhagen Music

RHYTHM JETS | Sound Barrier | Infinity Jazz Records

ROCCO VENTRELLA | Another Time | Delilah Records


SmoothJazz.com Hot Picks

The Journey

JIM ADKINS The Journey Clear Image Records

Though he’s based in Central Virginia and has won numerous awards from V.O.C.A.L. (Virginia Organization of Composers and Lyricists), guitarist Jim Adkins’ picture perfect melodies, tight snappy pocket grooves and soulful blues and rock influences have been heard all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe to Indonesia and Australia. A popular independent recording artist since the late 1990s, Adkins continues to embrace THE JOURNEY on his infectious and dynamic sixth album, whose tracks include the lively, spirited acoustic-driven “Time With You”; the slick, funked-up electric title track; the whimsical old school R&B flavored “The Secret Place”; and a colorful, improvisation-rich venture “Into the Storm.” The Billboard Song Contest winner also includes a graceful cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” followed by a spirited blues jam that heralds “A New Horizon.” THE JOURNEY is a passionate, musical adventure you won’t want to miss out on!

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Straight From The Harp

MARIEA ANTOINETTE Straight From The Harp Masaai/Infinity Productions

The magical sound of the harp makes it's way to the funk side of Jazz! San Diego native Mariea Antoinette’s repertoire includes Classical, Jazz and R&B, which she has showcased at Walt Disney Hall and of course out on the Jazz in Pink tour. The first single “Give Me Your Love” dominated the summer of '14 Smooth Jazz Charts and many more songs are sure to follow with the fresh release of the full album, STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP, including the effervescent, “Rock Wit’Cha,” the Hiroshima-esque “Special Treasure” and the exciting, new single, “Fly Away.” Keeping her spirited, melodic harp lines front and center, she creates a bold blend of old school with soul sensibilities, symphonic atmospheres and sizzling brass. Mariea has a home in Smooth Jazz… right where her Harp is!

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Listen to This

CHERYL BARNES Listen to This Barnes & Cabasso Music

The title of jazz vocalist Cheryl Barnes’ new album LISTEN TO THIS is an invitation to enjoy a brilliant collection of songs, interpreted masterfully by this amazing artist, whose extensive resume includes performances with Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones on the jazz side, the Clara Ward Gospel Singers, and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Talk about vocal range and versatility! Ms. Barnes’ voice and phrasing are stunning. I’m especially drawn to the entrancing “Come with Me,” the gently swinging “Like Jazz,” and her latest single, an incredible take on Joni Mitchell’s “Come In From the Cold." Cheryl Barnes’ LISTEN TO THIS is an absolute must-have!

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It's All About Love

SYLVIA BENNETT It's All About Love Out of Sight Music

Grammy-nominated jazz singer, Sylvia Bennett comes to the table with a hip, luxe new single, “Another Love Song,” featuring her gorgeously pure vocals with modern beats as smooth as a night in Miami! The focus of the song, co-written and produced by Sylvia’s long-time music partner, Hal S. Batt, offers encouragement to never give up on love… as the next love may be the best love! Love, a common theme with Ms. Bennett, will be the focus of her next full album due out in 2016, IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE will include this riveting new track! Sylvia Bennett mixes her pristine vocal stylings into to a fresh new sonic playground on “Another Love Song,” which is anything but… more like a unique, exciting love song that lends itself beautifully to the contemporary, lifestyle vibe of Smooth Jazz!

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Life Between The Notes

BLUEY Life Between The Notes Shanachie Entertainment

On his second solo album, Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, groundbreaking UK funk master and longtime creative force behind the Jazz/R&B/Dance collective Incognito, acknowledges some deep spiritual truths as he keeps a steady flow of sensual cool and progressive thumping rhythms flowing. On the whimsical, old school Soul Jazz driven first single, he reminds us that we’re all “Saints & Sinners” living our lives in the same place. He also offers some encouraging advice about living on our own terms on the hypnotic, vocal harmony filled ballad “The Poetry of Life.” And he lets us know where his own musical inspirations come from on the soaring, infectious title track, declaring, “I get up to Aretha, I get down to James Brown” and invoking Quincy Jones and Marvin Gaye. Living LIFE IN BETWEEN THE NOTES, Bluey captivates like the international groove superhero that he is!

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This Is Where I Wanna Be

SHARON MARIE CLINE This Is Where I Wanna Be Independent

Celebrated and critically acclaimed L.A. based vocal stylist Sharon Marie Cline has released a live album and holiday project in the past, but those were simply prelude to her glorious emergence as a recording artist with this an exquisite and romantic collection that allows her to declare, on the dreamy and sensual, flute spiced title track, one of two lush originals among 10 well chosen interpretations of classics, that “This Is Where I Wanna Be.” Cline’s triumph lies in her effortless breezing from easy swinging (“Happy Talk,” an inspired choice from SOUTH PACIFIC) to Bossa (“Love Dance,” “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) to blues (“You Don’t Know What Love Is”). When you listen, you too will declare, THIS IS WHERE I WANNA BE!

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Soul Searching

MITCHELL COLEMAN, JR. Soul Searching Soul Revelation Music

Emerging bassist Mitchell Coleman may be SOUL SEARCHING on his dynamic and driving debut, but he doesn’t take long to find some tasty, infectious urban jazz and funk grooves. Influenced by greats like Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke and Larry Graham, the multi-talented musician and composer kicks off the 12 track, two interlude set by stamping a fun and fiery “Passport” to a place filled with buoyant R&B/jazz fusion. While establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with, he also pays homage to Earth, Wind & Fire (a dreamy “That’s The Way of the World” featuring Pam Vincent) and the late great Joe Sample with an eloquent take on “When Your Life Was Low” featuring Dionyza Sutton. There’s plenty of soul in SOUL SEARCHING!

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One World

JESSE COOK One World Entertainment One Music

With his emphasis on RUMBA FLAMENCO and exotic and organic world music textures, Juno award winning guitarist Jesse Cook has been of the most influential forces in Nuevo Flamenco music for two decades. Truly embodying the empowering universal musical spirit of its title, the Canadian musician’s latest collection ONE WORLD is his most erotic and intensely complex collection to date. It’s an in depth, exotic global journey interweaving funky beats, dusty electronic textures, syncopated handclaps, thick “dubby” basslines, fiery percussion and rich touches of violin and sitar. Jesse dazzles on tracks like the dramatic, soaring, intensely rhythmic soul-stirrer and first single, “Shake,” the trippy and hypnotic high energy blast “Bombay Slam” and the vibey, industrial and exotic “Steampunk Rickshaw.” Jesse Cook’s vision of ONE WORLD is a whirlwind of exuberant joy!

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Retro Forward

ERIC DARIUS Retro Forward Shanachie

More energy, more swagger, more Darius! RETRO FORWARD is a respectful glance backward toward the legacy of R&B, soul and pop while propelling full speed ahead toward the future of contemporary music, including Smooth Jazz, neo soul, hip hop and more! Mostly originals, this new album will deliver so well for you that you’ll forgive the charismatic young talent, for making you wait so long since 2010’s ON A MISSION. Produced by Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Antonio Dixon (half of FaceTone w/Babyface, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson) and Blu2th (Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks, Boys II Men). 11 Songs featuring today’s hottest talent, Dessy Di Lauro, Terry Dexter, Eric Dawkins, plus the sax phenom sings beautifully on Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love”! Don’t miss the delirious cover of Pharell’s “Happy” and the sensational, jazz-pop dance smash, “Broke Down.” RETRO FORWARD is a joyous, jubilant, funkified, fortified recording that will ignite your soul!

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Smile For Me

JAMES DAWKINS Smile For Me Independent

Miami based keyboardist, composer, songwriter and producer James Dawkins Jr. brings an exciting array of professional experiences to SMILE FOR ME, his dynamic full-length debut sunshine infused with Jazz, Soul, and R&B! The Miami native has shared the stage and toured with everyone from Mike Phillips and Robert Glasper to Chico DeBarge and Doug E. Fresh. His high octane joy ascends from the get-go on the spirited, sax and key driven title track and continues on gems like the infectiously funky “Love Song (You)” (featuring inspiring female vocals), the buoyant, perfectly titled “Groove Time” and a blazing, irrepressible cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” When Dawkins asks, “Will you Smile For Me?” how can you not?

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All In Good Time

AL DEGREGORIS All In Good Time A-PEX Recordings International

When Al DeGregoris records a new project, the A List shows up! Seven tracks produced by guitarist Nils and two helmed by keyboardist Jeff Lorber, ALL IN GOOD TIME finds the versatile indie composer/keyboardist establishing a powerful ensemble vibe with a batch of contemporary jazz greats, including Chuck Loeb, Jimmy Haslip and Eric Marienthal, it also includes some of the supremely grooving last sessions by drummer Ricky Lawson. The all-star guests may make genre fans curious, but it’s DeGregoris’ infectious and dynamic piano, synth and Fender Rhodes’ melodies, which supercharge the fun. Nils’ tracks range from the funky, exuberant “Sunnyside” (the project’s first single) to the synth driven symphonic pop jazz tune, “Autumn Chill.” The stylin', jazz-infused and highly melodic, “Into The Night” is the latest single and promises to reverberate on the Smooth Jazz Charts in 2015.

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Carefree

DR. DAVE Carefree Hatherill Records

To paraphrase the title of one of Dr. Dave’s previous recordings, once again, ‘the Doctor is in’ stirring up a spirited storm of healing, soulful melodies and electric guitar funk on his perfectly titled album CAREFREE. The prolific, world renowned musician includes some freshly re-imagined covers of classic tunes – most notably, his reggae infused, island spin on Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – however, Dr. Dave is also an exciting composer. He whips up fresh, infectious magic on tracks like the sensual, wind in your hair opening title track “Carefree”; an atmospheric, pocket groove driven ballad that truly “Feels So Good”; the breezin’ George Benson influenced “G.B. Style”; and the moody, romantic, old school vibin’ “Sylvia.” Listen to Dr. Dave and you’ll truly feel CAREFREE!

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Love Is

D. EDWARD Love Is 10th & Clay Records

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, D. Edward is back with a groove so funky, a beat so strong and heart so deep on LOVE IS… a brilliant, soul pop follow-up to 2011’s LITTLE RED BOX, the album that introduced the soul crooner to the Smooth music community. A small, handful of singers have such distinctive character to their voices, that list would include Darryl Hall, Robbie Robertson, Darius Rucker and perhaps more current, Ray LaMontagne… soulful, rugged and sexy! LOVE IS cleverly blends the joy of jazz, the freshness of funk and the style of soul to deliver an incredibly moving collection of songs. The title track is already proving that D. Edward has big fans at radio… the sensual duet with Jenna Lavoie, “Show Me,” the chilled melancholia of “Pretty Eyes” and the 70’s throwback vibe on “Mighty Love” all help make this a SmoothJazz.com Hotpick!

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The Lou Rawls Project

VICTOR FIELDS The Lou Rawls Project Regina Records

Back in the day, when critically acclaimed, chart-topping, San Francisco Bay Area Jazz vocalist, Victor Fields was starting his music career, working a day job and performing music on the side, the legendary Lou Rawls and entourage caught Victor's live performance in a small club in Oakland. Rawls called Fields “the man with the golden voice,” and inspired Victor to launch a full-fledged recording career. Rawls once said the immortal words, “Soul is Truth,” and Victor Fields fulfills that reality brilliantly on highly anticipated release, THE LOU RAWLS PROJECT - A sultry, bluesy and easy swinging set featuring lush, sophisticated re-imaginings of ten Rawls classics. In addition to the first single, the smooth and romantic “Let Me Be Good To You,” the singer lends his graceful caress to the balmy, gently swaying “Lady Love” (featuring producer Chris Camozzi on guitar), the smoky “Let’s Fall In Love All Over Again” and Rawls’ Philly SOUL trademark classic, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.” It’s not braggin’ on himself, baby, to call Fields’ THE LOU RAWLS PROJECT a true masterpiece.

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Casa Groove

AL GOMEZ Casa Groove Shade Records

Smooth Jazz has a new star... check out the uplifting new release from the extremely versatile, Texas-based guitarist Al Gomez, CASA GROOVE on Shade Records featuring all kinds of feel good energy blended into his Smooth Jazz including R&B influences, Neo Soul, Funk, traces of Tejano and killer vocal harmonies, making for a spicy, fresh vibe! Think Santana meets Larry Carlton! The Pecos, Texas native studied music at West Texas State University, Sul Ross State University, and The Recording Workshop of Cincinnati, he also graduated from a two year Master Guitar Certificate Program from Berklee College of Music in Boston! One of the most exciting collections to hit our musical landscape, CASA GROOVE is filled with hooky original compositions that sound like world-class hits along including his latest single, "Closer To You" and stunningly contemporary cover of Toni Braxton's "Another Sad Love Song." Al Gomez is in the casa!

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Coast To Coast

VINCENT INGALA Coast To Coast Independent

Still in his early 20s, chart-topping saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Ingala recently moved from his native New England to Los Angeles to headline the weekly live broadcast brunch at the new Spaghettini and the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills. As the title of his 3rd album points out, he’s truly a COAST TO COAST sensation! Ingala continues to bring a fresh, young perspective to instrumental music via his colorful, innovative vibe blending Smooth Jazz, Funk, Soul and R&B. His star-studded, horn drenched new album finds him vibing with trumpeter Lee Thornburg, British jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins (of BadBone & Co.), Peter White, Roberto Vally and DW3. The set gets off to a danceable, thumping start with the infectious title track before taking a deliciously “Nasty” turn with some slow simmering sax-trombone tradeoffs and harmonies. Ingala showcases his tender, romantic side with the elegant old school soul ballad “Love on Hold.” Fans from COAST TO COAST will love this!

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My One And Only One

JESSY J My One And Only One Shanachie Records

Drawing on her family’s Latin heritage, Jessy J has been infusing an exotic, sassy and sensual world music vibe into the genre since her debut hit “Tequila Moon” in 2008. The soulful tenor saxophonist’s recent travels to Cuba (on a SmoothJazz.com adventure) and Africa inspired her most freewheeling travelogue yet on her 5th album release, MY ONE AND ONLY ONE. Working once again with producer Paul Brown, whose hypnotic guitar licks are the perfect complement to her emotional melodic leads… Jessy is all about adventure on the bluesy, tropical moods on album opener “Una Mas” and the funky, brass fired 1st single “The Tango Boy.” The multi-talented artist also showcases her incredible flute skills as well as vocals on the sizzling “Paraiso Magico” and “Cuba.” The originals are pure magic, but she also works wonders with three perfectly chosen covers, including the Cure’s mesmerizing “Lovesong,” and a funk-rock-jazz version of “Strawberry Letter 23.” You’re certain to make THE ONE AND ONLY ONE you listen to for a while!

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futuresoul

BONEY JAMES futuresoul Concord Music Group

With over three million albums sold, four-time Grammy-nominated saxman Boney James is one of the best selling instrumental artists of all time – and has been a Smooth Jazz superstar for over two decades! Rather than rest of his laurels, the innovative artist and producer keeps looking ahead, mixing R&B old school cool with fresh, contemporary production vibes inspired by his love for today’s top artists. The result on his 15th CD is truly FUTURESOUL! The crunch-funk groove and sizzling horn textures driving the infectious melody of the first single, “Drumline” are masterminded by Boney with top R&B producer Jairus Mozee. Other irresistible tracks are the mystical, dreamy soprano tune and vocal “Watchu Gon’ Do About It,” the moody, atmospheric “Hand In Hand” and the lightly funky, sonically adventurous title track, co-written and co-produced with neo soul star Dwele. 23 years after his debut, Boney’s still got the FUTURESOUL of instrumental music in his ever-soulful sax!

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Sexy Saxy Vol. 1

JAREZ Sexy Saxy Vol. 1 Top Jazz Records, LLC

Cali-cool sax star, Jarez (Jarel Posey) redefines contemporary jazz with his youthful, soulful approach to original music. Coolio's sax man, friend and business partner, Jarez turns the swagger up a notch on his latest release, SEXY SAXY Volume 1. The seduction is on high and the EP is loaded with fresh and inviting new tunes featuring the project’s first single, “Hold On Tight” with Billboard, chart-topping Smooth Jazz saxophonist Vandell Andrew. Also on board for two tracks, Jarez guitarist and vocalist A.J. Luke, who enhances the SEXY SAXY vibe. All seven of the tunes are sax-drenched, saucy and smooth infused with Hip Hop, soul and jazz! This may not be your father’s Smooth Jazz, but you're gonna dig it!

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Mr. Jones

WAYNE JONES Mr. Jones Dim & Dimmer

Continuing to bring the thunder from Down Under on his new 5-track set MR. JONES, Australian bassist, songwriter arranger and performer Wayne Jones, a renowned session musician who launched his solo career in 2006, keeps that perfect balance between tunes that are lush, melodic and sophisticated and others that showcase his freewheeling and wildly energetic ways. Working with top genre stars like Rick Braun and Grammy-nominated keyboardist Philippe Saisse, who is featured on "5 To 6," Jones creates a dynamic array of moods, from the bright and brassy new single "A Day at the Beach" to the strutting and funky "Get Up" and light and breezy "Sweet Melody." Another highlight is Jones’ buoyant Latin excursion "The World Keeps Turning." You’ll enjoy experiencing the wild, wonderful world of MR. JONES!

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Soul Appeal

MICHAEL LINGTON Soul Appeal Copenhagen Music

One of Smooth Jazz’s most dynamic and reliable hit makers, the Danish born saxman blasts through his usual in the pocket vibe for a freewheeling, live in the studio immersion into the heart of 60’s and 70’s Memphis soul. Co-writing with renowned R&B/pop producer Barry Eastmond and playing with a handpicked group of his favorite session musicians (including Paul Jackson, Jr. and Ray Parker, Jr.), Lington complements a batch of infectious, deep grooving originals including his latest single, "Taking Off," with two well chosen King Curtis classics, “In The Pocket” and a horn section-infused “Memphis Soul Stew.” This spirited collection also includes two fresh old school style vocal ballads sung by Kenny Lattimore (“Gonna Love You Tonight”) and Ryan Shaw (“Leave Me You”). SOUL APPEAL is fresh, yet familiar!

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Back 2 Love

MAYSA Back 2 Love Shanachie Entertainment

BACK 2 LOVE ushers in Maysa’s 20th year and 12th album as a solo recording artist! A project that flows deep with a sensuous and lucious collection of originals! The super-talent launched her career with music biz heavies Stevie Wonder and the UK’s top soul band Incognito... her sterling vocal abilities and mad skills make Maysa a fan and industry favorite. The Grammy-nominee delivers a heartfelt set here, with hit makers JR Hutson, Lorenzo Johnson and Chris “Big Dog” Davis in mix. BACK 2 LOVE is soulful, vibey love fest with songs you can sing to, dance to, and swoon to, including “My Last Chance For Love,” a gorgeous duet with soul crooner and fellow Shanachie label mate Phil Perry. Other highlights, “Heavenly Voices,” a funky jam with Mint Condition’s Stokely, plus the massively sexy “Unforgettable,” the life-affirming, Bluey–esque,“Smilin’” and a new flavor for our girl, the 80’s-tinged, “The Radio Played Our Song.” Spotlight back on Maysa, back to her music, BACK 2 LOVE!

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You, Me and Forever

NAJEE You, Me and Forever Shanachie Records

One of the greatest instrumentalists of our time… The two-time Grammy-nominated jazz and R&B saxophonist and flautist Najee, has earned two platinum and four gold albums and has collaborated with Quincy Jones, Prince, Steve Wonder, and Herbie Hancock. This musical visionary embodies contemporary and fusion jazz… sweet and seductive playing, rich melodies and progressive ideas. YOU, ME, AND FOREVER, his latest release, features world-class musicianship on covers and originals, including Frank McComb (Buckshot LeFonque), James Lloyd (Pieces Of A Dream) and Robert Damper (Kenny G). The highly inspiring collective was recorded in part, in Incognito’s studio in the UK with audible influences, especially on the captivating “Give It All We’ve Got.” The project’s single, “Fly With the Wind,” will reclaim the dynamic performer’s place at the top of the charts and don’t miss the evocative covers of Ambrosia’s “Biggest Part Of Me” and Jobim’s “Wave.” Timeless Najee at the top of his craft!

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Inner Bossa

FABIANA PASSONI Inner Bossa Independent

With a sensual, romantic vibe driven by her distinctive sultry vocals and fresh interpretive style, Fabiana Passoni won the 2012 Brazilian International Press Award for Best Brazilian singer living in the U.S. and was also selected as Talk 2 Brazil’s 2012 Person of The Year. On her highly anticipated new EP INNER BOSSA, the beautiful and charismatic songstress offers a sweet, intimate seduction via a blend of clever covers and soul-drenched originals. The collection includes graceful, dreamy takes on Aretha Franklin’s classic “Daydreaming” and Spandau Ballet’s classic 80’s ballad “True,” in addition to the lovely, self-penned, whispery ballad “Remember My Name” and easily rhythmic “Mouvance.” There’s no better way to connect with your INNER BOSSA than through the music of Fabiana Passoni!

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Blue

NELSON RANGELL Blue Independent

He is truly one of the most diverse and exciting performers in the genre, equally adept at soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone, as well as being a genuine virtuoso on flute and piccolo. Nelson Rangell offers up, simultaneously, RED, a gripping, sax-soaked contemporary jazz adventure, and BLUE his sparkling new collection of flute recordings. Blue is a musical exploration of tremendous depth and broad vision with beautiful melodies and spiraling improvisations featuring very special guest Bob James. According to Rangell releasing BLUE at the same time as RED is an attempt to do something unique and to sincerely engage listeners in his musical vision. "I'm a flutist as much as a saxophonist and, after all these years and 17 CDs, I wanted to try to tell another side of my musical story in a more full way on that instrument." Ranging from whimsical (“Dizzy”) to profound (Maurice Ravel's "Le Tombeau De Couperin”) BLUE gracefully and mind-blowingly swirls jazz, pop and classical together with creative abandon.

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Red

NELSON RANGELL Red Independent

In a sea of saxophonists, there is only one Nelson Rangell - Daring, compelling, and heartfelt. Fans of contemporary jazz are quite familiar with this extraordinary talent, he released eight CDs with GRP Records garnering chart-topping airplay in the 80’s and 90’s, and recorded with The Rippingtons, Chuck Loeb, Patti Austin, the GRP All-Star Big Band, featured on Don Grusin’s Grammy-nominated album, THE HANG, among numerous other accolades. RED, Rangell’s dynamic, sax-centric new recording, part of a tandem album release with BLUE, his flute and piccolo musical masterpiece, is a full-throttle adventure with bold and persuasive originals including the first single, the rocketing “Point Of Departure,” and the slammin’ “The Red Pill,” balanced by honest and haunting ballads such as “Matters Of the Heart” and “Some Next Grace.” Two albums from one mad-skilled musician, Nelson Rangell makes a big statement with this unprecedented maneuver… fully embracing his independence as a Global recording artist!

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Sound Barrier

RHYTHM JETS Sound Barrier Infinity Jazz Records

Though they are new on the scene as a unit, the members of this explosive six piece Atlanta-based instrumental band are all veteran musicians with mile long resumes. Joining forces to release their debut EP SOUND BARRIER, Rhythm Jets have created a musical signature they refer to as “Infinity Jazz… not smooth, not traditional… taking you where you’ve never been with rhythm and sax.” Part of their fiery magic comes from a distinctive island and world vibe, which infuses key tracks like the Reggae-tinged, first single, the Top 10 charting, “Chasing the Sun," which received airplay on over 70 radio stations, the buoyant Latin-fusion jam “It’s A New World” and the balmy, tropical romance “Down By The Sea,” the album's second single! With over 37,000 YouTube views, 225,000 EP streams and sold out live performances, Rhythm Jets hit a cruising altitude for the perfect soundtrack to an island destination, full of pulsating rhythms, edgy guitars, funky sax and glorious pop breezes.

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Air Play

TRAVIS ROGERS Air Play Roxboro Entertainment

With credits that include everyone from Lady Gaga and Brian McKnight to Missy Elliot and Chaka Khan, Travis Rogers brings a deep history as a sound engineer to his emergence as a buoyantly melodic Smooth Jazz composer and guitarist. Rogers has been the man behind many of Stanley Clarke’s recordings, and has also worked with the late George Duke - so it’s natural that Rogers launches his consistently infectious album AIR PLAY with a crisp, electric romp through “Sweet Baby.” But that’s just the start of the thoughtful and spirited fun, as Rogers grooves sensually through the lush acoustic title track single, the sweetly reflective “Loving You” and the breezy acoustic soul of “It’s You.” The inventive guitarist follows the eleven studio tracks with live versions of two tracks from a previous album. Tracks from Rogers’ perfectly titled set will indeed be receiving substantial AIR PLAY!

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Together

SAX O'GROOVE Together PrintSound Ug

With a stage name like “Sax O’Groove,” multiple horn master Andreas Büchel sets our expectations high, then transcends anything we could have imagined, infusing TOGETHER with his emotional and powerfully explosive, jazz and pop straight from his unpredictable musical heart and mind. He’s a true sax powerhouse, but he’s not making his magic alone! Aside from introducing us to his wild musical musings, Sax O’Groove vibes with some of our favorite artists, including Rick Braun on the soaring, retro soul-jazz tune “Love You More," Darren Rahn, with the sly and soulful “Keep It Smooth," Brian Culbertson blasting into the horn-drenched Jazz/Funk fusion of “Jungle Groove," along with Michael Lington, NILS, Shilts, Marqueal Jordan and others. Sax O’Groove has sax appeal!

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Brighter Day

SHASHATY Brighter Day A.H.I. Records

Inspired by years of on-stage experience with the brightest of stars including Carlos Santana, The Mavericks, Kirk Whalum and Dave Koz. ShaShaty’s own 5-piece band opened for legends the likes of The Bee Gees, Peter Cetera, Gloria Estefan and George Benson! ShaShaty explodes on to the scene with this exciting, fresh sound that is truly original! His A.H.I. Records debut, BRIGHTER DAY is a soul-drenched, smash hit with high energy, sweet and pure saxophone performances with soaring melodies and genre-blending curves. The first single, “Dream Ride” is like a top-down, moonlit drive, while “Let’s Go!” and the title track are upbeat, mood enhancer’s with cool vocal accents and “Late On 91” will soulfully set your spirit free! It’s clear to see why ShaShaty has so many fans around the world… and tons more on the way!

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Overnight Sensation

JOEY SOMMERVILLE Overnight Sensation Jayvox, Inc.

Joey Sommerville is anything but an OVERNIGHT SENSATION! The spectacular jazz trumpeter has been paving a successful road with his distinctive blend of traditional and smooth jazz, hip hop, R&B, and Gospel. His credits include collaborations with a diverse artist and recording roster including the jam band Phish, Cirque du Soleil and Jazze Pha. While the title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, the album OVERNIGHT SENSATION is filled with tasty horn arrangements, feel good grooves, special guests and a handful of surprises including a couple of JS vocals! Guests include guitar legend, Earl Klugh, saxman Elan Trotman, cool trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and fellow Southern gentleman, guitarist Eric Essix! The sultry, new single, "Desire" features the aforementioned Mr. Klugh on guitar and ready for radio! Music fans of all persuasions will enjoy discovering Joey Sommerville’s OVERNIGHT SENSATION… it’s loaded with class, elegance and good times!

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It's a Jazz Day

STEPHANIE SPRUILL It's a Jazz Day Spruill House Music Production

This multi-faceted force of vocal nature brings to her first true JAZZ album an extensive history as a session and touring vocalist and stellar reputation as a vocal and artist development coach and author of “17 Points To Longevity in Show Business.” Like her expansive career, Spruill engages many different influences – including R&B, CONTEMPORARY URBAN JAZZ, TRAD JAZZ and BRAZILIAN – to create a musical journey that allows her to tap into her full vocal range. Her splendid mix of originals and classics includes a sassy, brass-infused “Fever,” an intimate “Round Midnight” and the moody, poetic title track, featuring Brenda Russell and Patrice Rushen, which cleverly weaves decades of jazz legends into a celebration of the art form. When you’ve got “A Metheny morning and a Whalum afternoon…Tea with Thelonious and a Yellowjacket Moon,” you know IT’S A JAZZ DAY!

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Hereafter

SEAN SULLIVAN Hereafter SonyRed

Sean Sullivan’s relaxed musical approach and smoldering vocal style will draw you in like a Sunday morning. HEREAFTER is a compelling collection of jazz, blues, pop and soul. On this smoothly eclectic album, produced by Matt Pierson, the New York City singer, songwriter and guitarist delivers gorgeous originals with intelligent and moving lyrics, plus cool, soulful covers. The Sullivan-penned, "Don't Get Me Started," the first Smooth Jazz radio single, has a Marvin Gaye vibe with a Boz Scaggs jazzy-bluesy slant along with the moody and alluring, "Wash My Soul," which features tasty saxophone and melancholy flute. Covers include Michael Franks' "Jive," Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain," and Aretha's "Until You Come Back To Me." If you dig the music of the aforementioned Franks, and Scaggs as well as James Taylor, this gem of a talent is for you... Sean Sullivan is the star to watch rise and rise, from now 'til the HEREAFTER.

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High Tide

THE B. CHRISTOPHER BAND High Tide Independent

Exceptional, electric guitarist B. Christopher’s renowned as a top television composer, with some 7,000 song placements and counting! His work has made it possible for him to vibe with superstar rhythm cats, bassist Nathan East and drummers Anton Fig and Kenny Aronoff on his highly anticipated debut recording HIGH TIDE. You’ll find a showcase of artful fusing between melody, dynamic technique and skilled improvisations on the dreamy, seductive and atmospheric opener “Best Laid Plans,” the uplifting, easy funk-rock influenced “Islamorada” and the hypnotic blues-rocker “Flashback.” Fans of Carlton, Nils and Nick Colionne will also dig Christopher’s crafty high-toned licks on “Eights” and the bubbling energy of “Fifth at Six.” Contemporary jazz guitar reaches a new HIGH TIDE with the welcome addition of B. Christopher!

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Power Of 3

THE SAX PACK Power Of 3 Shanachie Entertainment

The cover of The Sax Pack’s exuberant new funkfest POWER OF 3 says it all, with genre superstars Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa and Kim Waters laughing and joyously toasting their first collective studio jam since 2009. But as the title of the buoyant, summery first single reminds us, the magical horn action thousands of fans have heard live for years had to get back in the studio “Sooner or Later.” Celebrating ten years of smooth and snazzy sax tradeoffs and combined brassy sizzle, the new collection is soulful, sexy, and swanky, full of toe-tapping lines, infectious hooks and uplifting vibes that continue to make them the life of the party. Though styled after The Rat Pack, the dynamic trio celebrates everything from “Disco Here” to the late 80s bounce of Rick Astley. A truly remarkable return to form that celebrates the POWER OF 3! – Jonathan Widran

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Let It Flow

WALDINO Let It Flow WaldinoMusic.com

The wonderment of Waldino continues with his most connected and creative album to date, LET IT FLOW! Sexy vibes, alluring lyrics and swirling electro grooves surround the title track, which comes in two flavors here, one with vocals and the other as a radio-friendly, jazzy re-mix! The musical craftsman has outdone himself on this exciting new project with 17 original tracks… Waldino has forged together an eclectic yet cleverly cohesive mix of sweet, Chill Jazz as heard on the single, “Let It Flow,” Electro Fusion, and “It’s A Beautiful Day,” plus Electro Dance which is pumpin’ on “Let’s Go” and “Hot Stuff,” Groove Funk as featured on “I Got The Groove, and “e-Motion,” as well as a splash of roadhouse blues on tunes “Chillin’ In The Ethereal Plane,” and “Funk Love Magic.” LET IT FLOW is in reference to going with the flow in life, in love and of course in laughter, “Trying hard to let loose all the things that bother us then we go out and let it go, then we go out and let it flow…” Amen.

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One Romantic Night

GREGG ARTHUR One Romantic Night Tsunami Entertainment

When Tony Bennett calls himself a fan of your phrasing because it’s “perfect,” then it’s time for the entire world to know about you! Such is the case with Australia’s Gregg Arthur… the sexy, charismatic crooner, who now calls California home, is prominent on our radar here at SmoothJazz.com with his affable adaptations of the Great American Songbook as well as “New Standards” and originals! The productive entertainer is currently writing and recording with legendary pianist Tom Ranier (Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Michael Feinstein), which promises even bigger things for this awesome Aussie, however, his latest recording (8th album), ONE ROMANTIC NIGHT, which features his hit single, “You With Me,” has our full focus with an absolutely charming video of the song featuring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (a must see!) as well as crisp covers of gorgeous classics, “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Misty,” and “Dindi” to name a few. ONE ROMANTIC NIGHT adds up to a smash hit for Gregg Arthur!

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Phillip Brandon

PHILLIP BRANDON Phillip Brandon Independent

Often described as “the intersection between Luther Vandross and Bruno Mars,” silky soul singer/songwriter Phillip Brandon – whose mother was a Raylette singer with Ray Charles – performed in a national tour of “The Color Purple” and shared the stage with the likes of Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Patti LaBelle before his powerful emergence as a solo recording artist on his debut self-titled EP. His infectious single “Sail On” finds the sweet spot between sensual romance and funky Smooth Jazz, while jams like “On My Mind” showcase his powerful chops as a sultry rocker. Embrace BRANDON with abandon!

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Cause & Effect

TY CAUSEY Cause & Effect Tyvonn Records

Over the past ten years, silky and sensuous vocalist Ty Causey has established himself as a venerable, recording and touring artist, performing with Najee, opening for everyone from Boney James and Babyface to Peter White. Equally acclaimed as a GOSPELl/R&B singer, Causey invites us to “Leave the Drama” behind and enjoy a picture perfect, seductive blend of Sensual soul and smooth jazz. SmoothJazz.com Founder, Sandy Shore was so taken by the sexy, soulful crooner's showmanship and hit maker craftsmanship, she affectionately dubbed him “the Bruno Mars of Smooth Jazz.” This collection features intimate, easy groovin’, old-school gems like “It’s Gotta Be Love, “If We Got Love” (both featuring sultry saxophonist Igor Gerzina) and “Just Another Love Affair.” It adds up to a magical CAUSE & EFFECT!

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New Moon

DAVID CORREA New Moon Baja/TSR Records

A popular Bay Area guitarist renowned for his explosive global fusion of Latin folk, Rumba Flamenco, French Gypsy and Middle Eastern music, David Correa is recording under his own name after many years as leader of David Correa and Cascada. The dynamically rhythmic, deeply melodic nylon string master’s NEW MOON explores his passion for the Southwest. His journey includes the soulful, spirited “Hacienda,” the whimsical, percussive “Sandstorm” (highlighted by clapping “palmas”) and the exuberant, high energy “Paseo De Pueblo.” Dancing and dreaming under the NEW MOON is encouraged as you listen!

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Romances Latinos

RUSTY CRUTCHER Romances Latinos Emerald Green Sound Productions

On Romances Latinos, his first recording in over a decade, saxophonist Jay "Rusty" Crutcher – renowned for his New Age oriented Sacred Sites musical travelogue series – taps into the sensual, passionate and exotic spirit of some of the most beautiful Latin love songs written by the Greatest Latino Songwriters and Composers of the Twentieth Century. Tapping into a dreamy and emotional Gato Barbieri-like aesthetic Crutcher offers a lush, moody meditation on the first single “Here’s To Life (Gracias a La Vida), vibes with wistful Spanish guitar and accordion on the slow burning “I Miss You (Te Extrano) and is all tropical splashed whimsy on “Unforgettable (Inolvidable)” (not the Nat King Cole classic). ROMANCES LATINOS is a gorgeous multi-cultural sweep through a glorious era of music!

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Love Potion 2

D. MILLS Love Potion 2 D. M. Records

We’ve all heard of “Love Potion No. 9,” but artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist d. mills, who began touring at age 15 with Gospel great Shirley Caesar, offers something even more hip and potent with his latest single “Love Potion 2.” Dubbing his vibe 'Nu Smooth Jazz,' the pianist, bassist and guitarist brings thumping, clapping joy to his lively and melodic, piano and sax driven, seductive new single, featuring angelic female vocals, reminding us that “Love is strong - Love carries on.” Recipe for a romantic night must include d. mills "Love Potion 2."

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Dear Mr. Benson

JIMMY DALE Dear Mr. Benson Daletone Records

Respected guitarist, Jimmy Dale has played with legendary bands since he was a young man, (The Drifters, The Platters, The Coasters, Little Anthony and the Imperials) and played on the Big Mountains' hit album BABY, I LOVE YOUR WAY. Yet, in many ways, his career is just revving up with his super-exciting Smooth Jazz singles, “Agi’s Tune,” and the driving, in-the-pocket hit, “Dear Mr. Benson,” a homage to his idol, George Benson. The composer, vocalist and guitarist, credits his success to his exposure to the Monterey Bay area. When his family moved to California’s Central Coast, the jazz community embraced the young talent. The A-List musician is quick to drop the names of his many influences by Monterey jazz icons the likes of music educator Don Schamber, musicians Ace Hill, Bobby Phillips, Lee Durley, JoJo Franklin, Don Pendergrass, Brian Stock and Santa Cruz legends Randy Masters, Joe Sekon and Ray Brown! A wonderful new addition to Smooth Jazz playlists all over the world... The Welcome sign is lit up for Jimmy Dale!

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Life Is Good

THE DANGLING SUCCESS Life Is Good Independent

The five veteran musicians who comprise The Dangling Success may have resumes that include legends like Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers, Don McLean and The Shirelles, but their combustible, sax, guitar and keyboard driven vibe makes them the ultimate groove, R&B, Smooth Jazz band. While everyone raves about their live performances, they move heart, feet and spirit just as well on LIFE IS GOOD, a perfectly titled album they dedicate to the optimists of the world. Like them, their titles are all about having a good time – from the buoyant grooves of “Drinking Margaritas” and the playful, jangling “Feelin’ Frisky” to the ultimate Jazz/Funk jam “Pineapple Kush.” No question about it, LIFE IS GOOD!

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Telltale

DOTSERO Telltale Cinderblock Records

Named for a small Rocky Mountain town in their native Colorado, Dotsero (means “unique” according to Native American legend) is guitarist David Watts and saxophonist brother Steve Watts, together they have been setting contemporary jazz on the edge for over 25 years, rocking out at major festivals and their home venue Jazz@Jack’s. Their latest release Telltale weaves an eclectic, melodic and rhythmically explosive story that brings together elements of Smooth Jazz, Rock, Funk, Americana, Folk, R&B, Latin and Country. The sax and guitar driven thrill ride includes the playful funk of “Deja Vrai,” a passionate reassurance that “It Won’t Be Long,” the wistful ballad “Thoughts of You,” a bluesy electric romp through “The Greasy Bass Song” and the high octane Latin jam “Steppin’ Outta Th’ Boat.” Dotero’s latest set is a TELLTALE sign that they’re here to be heard and we couldn’t be more delighted to have them in our mix!

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Food For Thought

FLAVOUR Food For Thought Independent

Since joining forces as Flavour, multi-saxophonist Bryne Donaldson and keyboardist/arranger Lawrence Ross have been stirring up a lot of grooving, soulful FOOD FOR THOUGHT throughout their home base of the Southwest. They showcase their unique, bold, yet sensual brand of “Nu Jazz” throughout the six track EP, most notably on the somewhat exotic and infectiously mystical radio hit “Savory,” the kickin’, old school alto jam “Jazzmental” and a trippy Latin romp through War’s “Low Rider” they have re-imagined as “Take a Little Trip.” FOOD FOR THOUGHT is the perfect recipe for smooth urban jazz with lots of cool twists!

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Boss

JAZMIN GHENT Boss Independent

This buzz about saxophonist Jazmin Ghent is getting strong and stronger... The talented, rising star has catapulted from her first recording, a critically-acclaimed 3-song EP, released in early 2015, into a full album early summer recording, featuring mostly originals. Her live appearances schedule continues to grow as she tours with her own band and the popular Jazz In Pink all women ensemble! She's also performed with Brian Simpson, Kim Scott and.Ben Tankard. Ms. Ghent has already enjoyed her first taste of airplay charting success this year with the EP single, “Boss,” which she rolled over as the title of this exciting full album debut! There’s no question as to why people are responding to Jazmin Ghent the way they are, her saxophone tone is rich and that of an old soul, while her songs are fresh and creative and her appearance is vibrant and glowing with a small yet mighty stature! With a full scholarship, Jazmin received a full scholarship offer to Berklee and Florida State University, she attended the latter at received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education/Jazz Studies, then earned a Masters Degree from Tennessee State University. This extraordinarily hot, new sensation is moving so fast that her feet are barely hitting the ground!

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Ukrainian Doll

GROOVEXPRESS Ukrainian Doll Independent

All aboard the Groovexpress… featuring a vintage vibe with original material that encompasses jazz, blues, funk and more on their latest release UKRAINIAN DOLL. The internationally acclaimed band is based out of New Zealand and delivers upbeat, fun, sensual jazz with a retro spin that will inspire you to throw swanky parties and hand shake your martinis while playing UKRAINIAN DOLL as the soundtrack! The album is receiving critical acclaim and airplay around the world. A band of highly accomplished individuals with deep resumes and guitarist/vocalist Mykeljon at the helm of this exciting ensemble, creating music that is ageless and timeless by combining genres with fresh flavors to attract music lovers worldwide! Groovexpress is the new face of Smooth Jazz!

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Don't Look Back

SKII HARVEY Don't Look Back Vie Publications

The woman with an unbridled soul, a distinguished voice and a powerful pen… has returned with a dynamic 3-song EP featuring a trilogy of deeply moving, soulful tunes with jazz-infused richness! Award-Winning, Australian Singer/Songwriter Skii Harvey is a cross blend in style between the iconic Tina Turner, the jazz goddess, Ella Fitzgerald and a dash of gumption like that of powerhouse popster, Annie Lennox! Skii’s voice has caught the attention of music royalty over the years, including Sting, however, it’s her songwriting that’s earned her the respect of Billboard Music Awards, UK Songwriting Awards, Australian Songwriter’s Association, as well as the L.A. Music Awards! On DON’T LOOK BACK, the songstress is more determined than ever lyrically… she shares a window that pierces into her very being on, “All That Glitters,” “Second Chance,” and “Don’t Bother Me.” For those who have ‘been there,’ this cathartic recording of soul, jazz & renewal will be volumized to the maximum!

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That Jazz

JOSIE JAMES That Jazz NJM Media Inc

Grammy-nominated singer, Josie James brings an exciting resume as an A-list session vocalist to her burgeoning solo career and the release of her sweet, soulful and sultry debut THAT JAZZ. She’s performed with the greatest pop, jazz and R&B artists and producers of our time, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Earth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Stanley Clarke and David Foster. A master romantic balladeer, Josie’s seductive voice beckons on the atmospheric “Coming Back to Your Love,” the moody, retro soul title track and the thoughtful, understated “Out of Time.” Her debut is all THAT JAZZ and so much more!

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Intuition

JAZZ HOLDOUTS Intuition Palm Beach Jazz

Calling themselves by the clever name Jazz Holdouts, eight of the world’s most recorded and well-toured POP, R&B and JAZZ sidemen found time in their breakneck schedules to jam collectively and create the sparkling Intuition. Led by pianist/composer Alan Palanker and vocalist/composer Douglas Cooper Getschal, they mix old school romantic soul (sophisticated vocals and instrumentals) with easy flowing grooves and a few exotic textures. Highlights include the percussive, chant driven “Babadoo,” the candlelit “Smooth One” and the silky, Al Jarreau flavored JAZZ-POP pop tune “Intuition.” INTUITION tells you that this amount of talent will result in some explosive musical magic!

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Psycho Bass

BYRON MILLER Psycho Bass Byron Lee Miller Studio, LLC

Throughout his four decade career, Detroit bassist Byron Miller has brought the coolness and funk to a lot of “late greats” including Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Joe Sample and Luther Vandross. Emerging from a 12-year recording hiatus with an expansive, deep bottom, intensive album, with a title that doubles as his new musical persona and mission statement, Byron blesses us with three of the last sessions from the late great George Duke, including a slowed-down, emotional twist on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” With an exciting guest list that includes veterans Ndugu Chancler (drums), David T. Walker (guitar) and Sheila E. (percussion), Miller balances fierceness with heartfelt emotion on the atmospheric, old school, soul-jazz flavored single, “U Must Be Crazy,” then turns to Duke-esque classic, mellow fusion on “Spoken Funk.” Miller also includes a pair of moody and meditative gems in “Apples & Oranges” and the atmospheric “Eyes.” Lunatic for the low end? Don’t miss PSYCHO BASS!

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Tropic of Groove

MOTOWN MOE Tropic of Groove Windee Records

True to his clever artist name, charting producer/keyboardist/mixer and mastering engineer Motown Moe (Kevin Dingle) hails from Detroit. In addition to eight solo projects, he’s worked with artists from all over the world, including fellow Michigan Smooth Jazz performer Nate Harasim. Moe’s latest album TROPIC OF GROOVE is a sexy, keyboard driven collection of enticing, mood setting, Chill-Jazz grooves, hypnotic melodies and sensuous atmospheres. The first single, “Beach Breeze,” will introduce new fans to the Motown Moe vibe, as the title track leads to more horn-infused, synth mastery on the mystical “Tropic of Groove,” while he adds a little acoustic guitar and sax on “Light of Life.” TROPIC OF GROOVE brings the heat with a beat!

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Kiss of Life

CARL NEAL Kiss of Life Grace Star Music

International recording artist, Grace Star Music CEO and saxophonist, Carl Neal releases a fresh take on the sensuous Sade smash, “Kiss Of Life,” bringing a killer Smooth Jazz vibe to the already sexy song. The sax man has roots in Gospel, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock, Pop, yet his expedition into Smooth Jazz has been met with the most successful reception including making new fans and receiving radio airplay around the world with radio stations spinning his songs on their playlists... this latest tune will be no exception. Sultry, saxy and sweet… on “Kiss Of Life,” Carl keeps the beat in the color of love!

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Love Me Again

GARY PALMER Love Me Again Lauderdale Beach Recordings

Don’t let Gary Palmer’s elegant suit and tie on the cover of his album LOVE ME AGAIN tell the whole story... he’s all about steppin’ out and having some sweet, soulful Urban Jazz fun. Alternating between soprano and tenor, the versatile NYC born and raised, South Florida-based musician and songwriter stirs up the sultry romance on the breezy, easy groovin'' “Love Me Again” and “Stay With Me,” a balmy vibe is the perfect backdrop to his rich tenor-driven emotion. Another romantic highlight is the sultry, Earth, Wind & Fire-influenced “Yes I.” In the mood? Listen to LOVE ME AGAIN again and again!

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Love

PEET PROJECT Love Beagle Beat Records

When they say, “All you need is LOVE,” I’m certain the reference is in regards to the 4th independent album release from one of our favorite musical discoveries, Hungary’s Peet Project. While still in their 20’s, the ensemble features highly skilled, artfully creative musicians, who consistently push the Contemporary Jazz movement forward! At the helm of this multi-media, high-energy mix of Jazz, Funk & Pop is the uber talented, Péter Ferencz (Peet), who leads the band with great command and presence providing soulful violin and textured vocals. Voted ‘Debut Artist of the Year’ at the prestigious 2013 Catalina Jazz Trax Festival, Peet Project is sure to add to the awards list quickly with LOVE, as it’s garnering upward movement on radio airplay charts and quickly securing the boys line-up listings on jazz happenings in Europe and the States. From the recording’s current single, the catchy, “Jazz & Wine,” to the hit, “Night Is Falling,” to my favorite track, the pop-infused, “Feel Alive,” LOVE is all you need… at least for now!

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Party In The Back

CECIL RAMIREZ Party In The Back Music Solutions SMG

Well known for his performances at Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, elegant funk pianist Cecil Ramirez creates a dynamic contemporary style rooted in a classic, R&B throwback vibe on a mix of covers and originals. A dual celebration of soulful sensuality and high octane grooves, PARTY IN THE BACK rolls with big name invites like Culbertson (featured on a wild jam version of Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time”), Michael Lington, Darren Rahn, Phil Denny and Adam Hawley. Ramirez’s lush ivories provide the melodic thrust on the bright, bouncy “J Street,” the dreamy, laid back “Weekend in Napa” and the perfectly titled, divinely disco-fied “Party in the Back.” Keep the fun front and center and find the PARTY IN THE BACK!

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Tell You Something

SAM RUCKER Tell You Something Favor Productions

The next generation of Smooth Jazz has a visionary… welcome to the inspired world of saxophonist Sam Rucker and his soulful and passionate new album TELL YOU SOMETHING! This unique blend of Jazz, Soul, Gospel and Hip Hop, is a collaboration with sax star, Euge Groove and features special guests Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Brown and Alyson Williams. Nearly three years in the making, every song is moving with nonstop, positive energy and rich production. The latest single, “Love's Melody," is an enthralling, sax-drenched smash! The project includes brilliant collaboration with Norman Connors and Euge Groove featuring Bobby Lyle and Alyson Williams. The saxman who’s played with Smooth Jazz stars such as Peter White, Ronnie Laws and Phil Perry is telling you something, we highly recommend that you listen!

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NOW

JIM SAMUEL NOW Independent

Composer/pianist Jim Samuel Productions offers a compelling variety of textures and tempos on his latest release, NOW, featuring a stellar collection of originals, augmented by two sterling covers… namely the iconic “Mr. Magic,” featuring Gerald Albright Music’s brilliant sax work, and the Norah Jones hit, “Don’t Know Why.” Of the originals, I’m particularly drawn to the lovely “Serena,” featuring talented Smooth Jazz guitarist RobTardik, and the bittersweet “Now That You’re Gone,” featuring trumpet/flugelhorn master Tony Neenan. Also the driving, cool radio hit, "Off The Tracks" with Gerald Albright burning the sax, and "Binney Street" adding the fresh element of dance-electronica, while the title track continues to impart joy n' jazz with escalating piano and pulsating rhythms. NOW just might be Mr. Samuel’s best release yet!

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Dream Catcher

MARC STAGGERS Dream Catcher Expansion Records

Listen up, Luther fans! Ten years after the legendary singer’s passing, his legacy and style is in great hands with Washington, DC vocalist Marc Staggers, whose silky-smooth voice bears an uncanny resemblance. Fully embracing the similarities, Staggers’ third album DREAM CATCHER features a lush cover of the classic “So Amazing.” It’s testament to the singer’s artistic vision, and the great songwriting and arranging skills of his brother Reginald, that the best songs are the originals. These include the funked up, breakup fueled new single “Bring Me Back,” the seductive liquid soul/funk of “Come on Baby” and confident and sultry, “I Wanna Spend My Life With You.” You’ll want to spend some romantic nights with this DREAM CATCHER!

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Another Time

ROCCO VENTRELLA Another Time Delilah Records

Known for fast cars, beautiful people, sexy food and extraordinary fashion, Italy is also home to world-class, contemporary jazz recording artists, including one of our favorite saxophonists, Rocco Ventrella! No stranger to Smooth Jazz, he’s performed all over the world, over 200 shows in 30 countries in front of hundreds of thousands of music fans! With prior genre successes, including 2005’s TRIBUTE TO GROVER WASHINGTON, JR with the hit cover of “Winelight, Ventrella has steadily been gaining ground as a true musical force. His passionate playing, as well as clever and catchy compositions, make his exciting new album, ANOTHER TIME, his best work to date, featuring special guest vocalists Ilaria de Robertis and Kenya Hathaway. Stocked with thrilling originals (plus an evocative cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”), Rocco’s collection of sax-steeped funk and smooth gems, rocks our jazz world!

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Come Groove With Me

PAUL WHITLEY Come Groove With Me Pablo Productions

A veteran gospel and contemporary jazz performer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Paul Whitley believes “Music and rhythm is a gift from God…It’s a message that carries a sound.” That explains the truly divine inspiration behind this alternately supercharged and sultry set of GOSPEL, JAZZ and R&B originals. They spotlight Whitley’s artistry as a keyboardist and composer while shining spotlights on emerging genre talents Jonathan Fritzen, Elan Trotman and Marcus Anderson. With blazing George Duke-like fusion flavors, Whitley invites us to “Come Groove With Me,” but he’ll also get you in a romantic, even spiritual mood with the slow simmering ballad “Tranquility” and the elegant, exotic atmospheres of “Take Me Away.” Accept Whitley’s invitation to COME GROOVE WITH ME now!

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One

ZOLBERT One Tom-Tom Records

Fast rising award-winning Hungarian saxophonist Zolbert launched his career in 2009, when he put together a Grover Washington, Jr. Tribute band to commemorate ten years since the legend’s passing. The incredible success of this group throughout Budapest and then Switzerland led to this Tom-Tom Records debut ONE, a slamming, infectious set of in-the-pocket urban jazz tunes produced by Péter Ferencz from the popular, Hungarian Smooth Jazz band, Peet Project. The title of the first single “Smile” captures the track’s mix of robust energy and playful charm, while “Frappe” adds mystical atmosphere to its propulsive melody and grooves. Inspiring, youthful new music coming from Central Europe these days and as the name of another energetic album track, reminds us, Zolbert’s debut is ONE we can enjoy “Everyday”!

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