Since launching his solo career in 2006, Rome-born and based composer/acoustic guitarist Marco Albani has shared his expansive global consciousness via demanding works that have fused acoustic jazz with Mediterranean, African, and South American textures and rhythms. The title of his latest collection KALLAAMA – from a Senegalese idiom meaning “language,” specifically the universal language of music – speaks to the ambitious thematic concept and dynamic, polyrhythmic culturally fluid scope of the project. It’s a wildly spirited, multi-lingual affair (English, French and idioms of Italian, Senegalese and Zambian) pairing Albani’s bright guitarisma with featured saxophonist Javier Girotto and renowned international vocalists Frances Alina Ascione, Kaw Sissoko, Andrea Sanchini, Umberto Vitiello, Clea Scala, Carla Cocco and Velka-Sai. Collectively, they fulfill Albani’s vision to celebrate freedom, love, hope, fearlessness, and the overcoming of challenges.
Approaching its 60th Anniversary, “Watermelon Man (Radio Mix)” the iconic Herbie Hancock tune hundreds of jazz greats have recorded and jammed to, finds dynamic, freewheeling new expression in the imaginative and adventurous musical universe of multi-talented, three-time Grammy nominated Bay Area percussionist, producer and film composer James Henry (Hands On Fire Band). The unbridled, exotic joys of the arrangement are rooted in a seductive timbale rhythm by the legendary Pete Escovedo, Bob Crawford’s sparkling Latin kissed piano solo, trilled island-flavored vocal whoops, sizzling horns and chant-along vocals by Henry and the legendary artist/producer Narada Michael Walden. The track offers pure toe tapping, shout out loud freedom.
Having performed alongside jazz and gospel greats ranging from the late Clark Terry and Kirk Whalum to Marvin Winans, multi-talented Kansas City saxophonist JahVelle continues his quick emergence in Smooth Jazz with “Up All Night,” a sparkling, sensually grooving mid-tempo ballad showcasing his deep sense of romantic soprano expression, passion for horn textures and ability to set the perfect mood. For this fast-rising Tiktok star (with 75,000+ followers) and viral sensation (whose last video scored 1.5 million views), making great sax tracks is merely the foundation of his personal mission as a social influencer that includes public speaking, activism and cultivating what he calls a “soulful new wave in music through love, positivity and empowerment.”
A versatile multi-instrumentalist who’s been a rising force in Smooth Jazz since his 2016 debut album SUMMER’S GONE, Jim Richter has mastered numerous genres in bands and on his own over the years – from jazz and blues to rock and classical. Kicking back a bit after the explosive blend of funk, pop, rock jams and blues romps that infused his 2020 album MR. KOOL, Richter’s latest catchy single “Catamaran” is a breezy, easy flowing showcase for his formidable dual skills as a soul-jazz keyboardist and rock-jazz guitarist. On the main melody, over the tight grooves of drummer Jack Jones, he creates a dreamy duality with Chris Otts’ lyrical soprano sax – which he punctuates in the middle with an emotional e-guitar solo.