Smooth Global Living
New Music Blast - September 21, 2021
Lowell Hopper - No Turning Back
Lowell Hopper - No Turning Back
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Lowell Hopper No Turning Back lowellhopper.com

One of Smooth Jazz’s most prolific artists and consistent chart-topping hitmakers, 20-year Air Force veteran Lowell Hopper has released an incredible 19 albums over the past quarter century. With a forward-leaning title that blissfully promises many more, his latest collection NO TURNING BACK is much more than feel good, deeply-grooving and joyfully melodic jazz. Offering some of his deepest, most compelling expressions ever, this is also a master class in fluid and intricate electric guitar lines and ambient/atmospheric musical mood setting that runs the emotional gamut between late night vibes and dance floor jams.

Dee Brown - Deep Secrets
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dee Brown Deep Secrets Innervision Records

Grooving up the Smooth Jazz charts album after album, versatile Detroit-based guitarist Dee Brown’s multi-faceted musical character stems from an intrinsic spirituality that’s unafraid to ask the right questions. Yes, even about the DEEP SECRETS of God, as he passionately explores (in the wake of his mother’s passing) on his funky, soulful, and contemplative new gospel-fired album, co-produced with Grammy-nominated producer Valdez Brantley and featuring guests Lin Rountree, Blair Bryant and Merlon Devine and mixes by Blake Aaron, Darren Rahn and Nate Harasim. Many of the tracks may be inspired by Scripture, but everyone will love his alternately edgy and silky string vibe and the enticing mix of dance floor gems and breezy ballads -  including one of where Brown affectionately name checks his first grandchild!

Marshall Charloff - Unperfect
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Marshall Charloff Unperfect Marshall Arts Records

Dipping into the UNPERFECT collection, song craftsman and vocalist Marshall Charloff releases two more singles, post Coronavirus pandemic. The first, “Colours,” a beautiful, mood-swept vocal landscape penned with the inspiration of melody provided by Prince’s sister who received the notes in her sleep and invited Marshall to be the vessel for the song. Incidentally this kind of divine delivery is common to the family as Prince and his father received musical motifs in the same fashion. The second single, “Eye For Jazz,” is an earworm instrumental track that combines all that’s cool about Smooth Jazz and neo-soul into one buoyant song with a hook that’s sure to get stuck in your head! Charloff is currently holding a residency in Las Vegas with his one man show, the intimate, top selling ticket, Purple Piano, and he’s back on tour with The Purple Xperience, the world’s most successful Tribute to Prince and The Revolution.

Terje Lie - Flow
Terje Lie Flow TCat Records

From his 2006 debut album TRAVELER through his popular 2019 single “Slow Pacific,” Norwegian-born, longtime Southern California based tenor saxophonist, Terje Lie,  always captures the range of movement in music and life through his titles. He keeps that inspiring “motion” theme going on his latest single “Flow.” Centered around Lie’s sultry sax melody, it’s a silky, jazzy tune with a smooth, strolling vibe that creates the perfect soundtrack for an end of summer slow dance, or reflecting on sunny days gone by. While many of his previous recordings featured collaborations with Grammy winning greats Jeff Lorber and Jimmy Haslip, Lie shines mostly as a one man band here, producing and playing piano, keys and bass while drummer Tony Moore kicks up the irresistible groove.  

Dee Lucas - The Time Is Now
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Dee Lucas The Time Is Now ODL Music

The bio page of Dee Lucas’ website boldly declares “The Rebirth of Smooth Jazz” – and anyone who’s been following the sonically inventive, continuously grooving saxophonist since his emergence in 2004 knows his vibe is always on the cutting edge. That trailblazing streak continues on his latest EP, THE TIME IS NOW, which balances balmy, easy flowing vibes and fiery, high impact pairings with bassist Darryl Williams, pianist George Freeman and guitarists Blake Aaron and David P. Stevens. Helping bring Lucas’ fresh licks and infectious melodies are two of Smooth Jazz’s top producers, Adam Hawley and Lew Laing, Jr. We predict that the time is NOW for Dee Lucas… and once the festivals return, he’ll be in demand!

Gary Meek - Monterey Groove
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Gary Meek Monterey Groove Autumn Hill Records

A stylistically powerful showcase for his legendary sax skills (Brian Bromberg, Jeff Lorber, Green Day) and equally impressive keyboard playing, the wide range of emotions Meek generates on his adventurous, fusion-fired album MONTEREY GROOVE, might not have been recorded had it not been for Covid-19. The collection was originally intended to be new material for a developing Monterey Peninsula fusion band with neighbor/guitarist Michael Lent (Barry Manilow, Jeffery Osborne). However, the new ensemble struck charismatic musical gold and then the pandemic hit before their first gig. Luckily for listeners around the world, Meek hit record on the new material! With a career that includes more than 200 recordings and notable collaborations with world-class drummer Dave Weckl and a 20-year stint with Brazilian icons Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, this dynamic collection celebrating Meek’s passion for California’s Central Coast features Flora & Airto, as well as Weckl, local bassist Dennis Murphy and of course Mike Lent.

Darron Cookie Moore - Let It Brew
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Darron Cookie Moore Let It Brew darroncookiemoore.com

Wrapping up two dynamic decades of successful contemporary urban jazz indie releases, Detroit-raised bass wizard Darron “Cookie” Moore uses his vibrantly melodic and deeply rhythmic axe on his perfectly titled new album LET IT BREW to find that magical sweet spot between laid back atmospheric cool, sonically intoxicating light funk and high octane, densely percussive Latin and club-ready vibes. The multi-faceted artist - also a force in gospel, has played extensively in church and recorded praise and worship albums. Listen as he stirs up his feel-good, energetic grooves with longtime cohorts and friends, including LaDarrel Johnson (Saxappeal) and guitarist Joe Flav.     

Solex - Full Moon
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Solex Full Moon solexmusic.com

A Minister of Music for over 25 years, versatile composer/keyboardist (and preacher’s son) Solomon Edmond (aka Solex) has also channeled all of his great gospel and funk spirit into a nearly 15-year career as a Smooth Jazz recording artist that includes two #1 UK hits! On his easy-flowing 8th album FULL MOON, Solex showcases his range of jazz skills as an artist and producer, offering an artful blend of gentle acoustic piano melodies with classic keyboards and fashionable production textures. While his infectious melodic and harmonic elements are front and center, he equally shines as a collaborator, featuring special guests on the project, including his cousin, gospel guitarist Jonathan Dubose, Jr., saxophonist Jason Gay and soul singer Tony (T-Mac) McLendon. We find it very easy to bask in this FULL MOON!