Listening Loft Store

New Arrivals

  • Nona Brown
  • Latter Days/Greater
  • Signature Music Group
  • Raja-Nee
  • The Sovereign of 14742
  • JARF Music Group

Listening Loft : HOLIDAY

Sylvia Bennett - A Smooth Jazz Holiday
Sylvia Bennett
A Smooth Jazz HolidayOut of Sight Music

From Lionel Hampton, the legend who discovered Sylvia Bennett raving “Her magic gets to the ears and hearts of the audience,” to later Smooth Jazz collaborators Paul Brown, Rick Braun and Nathan East, jazz cats have been enamored of the multi-talented song stylist for decades. Her warm and wonderful, inspiring and rhythmically festive EP A SMOOTH JAZZ HOLIDAY is the perfect bookend to her equally lovely and joyous 2009 album IT’S CHRISTMASTIME WITH SYLVIA BENNETT – and even features a callback to a sparkling track on that album penned by longtime collaborator and producer Hal Batt. Evenly balanced between urban jazz arrangements of classics and charming, whimsical originals (including a Bennett/Batt tune with a global reggae vibe), the collection features dynamic solo spots by Paul Brown and Ed Calle. 

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Maggie Herron - Hallelujah
Maggie Herron
HallelujahMaggieHerron.com

Maggie Herron’s passionate, haunting twist on the Leonard Cohen classic is one of the big selling points for MY STORY IN SONG. The Michigan born, Honolulu based veteran jazz treasure, pianist and vocalist’s raw, vulnerable, emotionally revealing new album is due out soon. Yet it’s Herron’s impactful original material where she shares, in settings ranging from big band and gospel to easy swinging jazz, her enduring love, truth and grief over the 2020 loss of her beloved daughter and collaborator Dawn. Buoyed by jazz greats like Bill Cunliffe, Mitch Forman, Grant Geissman and Andrew Neu, Herron brings Dawn’s talent and spirit into the mix to pay homage to her life and legacy. This single will take you through the musical marble arch to the promised new album!

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Shawn Raiford - Santa Baby
Shawn Raiford
Santa BabyShawn Raiford Sax Productions

A much beloved fixture for the last decade playing clubs, festivals, private events and the historical Delta King Riverboat in the Sacramento area, Shawn Raiford has long called his ever-evolving ensemble the SRE (Shawn Raiford Experience) because – drawing on his passions for contemporary jazz, R&B, gospel, rock and pop – that’s what the multi-talented saxophonist promises every time he and his cohorts take the stage. His first release since making an initial impact in Smooth Jazz with his 2020 debut album MAN WITH A HORN, Raiford breathes fresh, sultry bounce into the classic “Santa Baby” with a delightfully traditional, seductive, soulful version buoyed by a lush orchestral string arrangement. Listening to this track after re-visiting his earlier collection is a great way to experience the depth Raiford’s expansive and heartfelt artistry offers.

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Dennis Van Aarssen - Christmas When You're Here
Dennis van Aarssen
Christmas When You're HereDVA Music Powered By AOE

An immediate sensation in his native country after winning The Voice of Holland 2019, multi-talented singer, songwriter, showman and leader of the DvA Bigband, Dennis van Aarssen achieves something miraculous with his first seasonal collection CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU’RE HERE. Inspired by Jamie Cullum’s 2020 holiday set of mostly original songs, the soulful, marvelously swinging crooner shares a set driven by clever, engaging originals (many penned with American songwriters Jeff Franzel and Maria Christensen) that will capture the heart as powerfully as the classic holiday tunes do. With a vibrant 20+ piece brass and string ensemble, and sizzling arrangements by Willem Friede and Ilja Reijngoud, it’s a bold, exciting set full of festive energy, beautiful imagery, anticipation and excitement, hope and romance – everything we need as a soundtrack to a beautiful holiday season! 

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Listening Loft : HOTPICKS

Jim Adkins - Soul Expression
Jim Adkins
Soul ExpressionJim Adkins

In a recent interview connected with the release of Jim Adkins’ latest album SOUL EXPRESSION, the versatile veteran guitarist said it all about his multi-faceted artistry when he talked about the inspiration for the title, “It all comes from within as an expression of my soul.” Nearly 25 years into his award-winning, regularly charting recording career, the Grammy nominated musician is still mixing up a non-stop, cool swirl of varying vibes and energies centered on his alternately crisp/crackling and sensually fluid lines. Complementing a batch of high-spirited originals with a bluesy, slow burning twist on an Ed Sheeran classic, Adkins brings his jazzy hipster magic to tracks that rock, jazz, immerse us in mystical romance and take us to balmy tropical climes.  

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Dan Alan Levine - Over The Moon
Dan Alan Levine
Over The MoonDanAlanLevine.com

Acclaimed TV arranger/orchestrator and Tony Award nominee for the score of the Broadway Musical "Anna Karenina", multi-talented pianist/composer Dan Alan Levine says that “one of the nice things about Smooth Jazz is that it allows the spirit and soul to relax.” It’s joyfully ironic then, that the wondrously inviting, infectious tunes on his stylistically eclectic (and perfectly titled) debut album OVER THE MOON are peppy and optimistic. Mixed and mastered by chart-topping songsmith Peter Ferencz (Peet Project), the full album project will be released in 2023. Driven by light funk grooves that breeze along the pop, soul, jazz, tropical and Latin landscapes – with a dash of classical, Dan’s emotionally compelling melodies come to life with the support of two genre leading ladies, flutist Kim Scott, and his latest single, "Cozumel," features the smooth and sexy brass of saxophonista Jeanette Harris!

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Rebecca Angel - Life Love Choices
Rebecca Angel
Love Life ChoicesTimeless Grooves Records

Hot off her hit sensual funk rendition of “For What It’s Worth,” the Vietnam era classic she slyly re-appropriated for contemporary times, New York based singer, songwriter and vocal interpreter extraordinaire Rebecca Angel makes her long-awaited full length album debut with the vibrant, multi-faceted LOVE LIFE CHOICES. Vibing with longtime collaborator, veteran keyboardist/producer Jason Miles, and some top-flight session cats, the sultry, easy flowing vocalist makes every track an intimate invitation to join her as she celebrates her recent marriage and artfully chronicles the pandemic and other important societal issues. The set includes dynamic jazz, R&B and/or Brazilian tinged originals, exotic, atmosphere and groove-centered re-imaginings (of gems by Bill Withers, Bob Marley, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sade) and a few memorable, previously released singles. 

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Mariea Antoinette - So Amazing
Mariea Antoinette
So AmazingMasaai/Infinity Productions

Gloriously and sensually making the harp not only a viable, but extremely vibrant and melodic Smooth Jazz lead instrument, Mariea Antoinette has enjoyed great success, including hitting the Billboard Top 5 with her debut album STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP and her 2020 single “Overture.” Since her last full length release ALL MY STRINGS, she’s all about celebrating the  R&B legends, starting in 2021 with Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star” and now setting our openminded hearts afire with a divine sprinkling of Luther Vandross on her infectious, soaring version of his 1980’s classic “So Amazing.’ Mariea’s twist is pure joy from start to finish, with her inviting and dynamic string melody sweetened with gospel flavored female backing vocals and swelling orchestral textures. Whether gracing us with originals or R&B re-imaginings, Mariea’s vibe is captivating.  

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Walter Beasley - Meet Me at My Place
Walter Beasley
Meet Me at My PlaceAffable Records

35+ years into his extraordinary career, Walter Beasley continues to hold the distinction of being the highest selling full-time professor/recording artist in history. Emerging from a period of mourning after the loss of his second parent, the multi-talented saxophonist and composer’s MEET ME AT MY PLACE – his first EP after 25 full length albums – affirms his rediscovered passion for life and music. Infused with immense groove, lyrical grace, a sweet Beasley lead vocal and fresh spins on classics by Grover Washington, Jr. and Jimmy Webb, the seven-track set is an all-star party featuring Paul Jackson, Jr., drummer Lil John Roberts, bassists Byron Miller and Derek “DOA” Allen, keyboardist Herman Jackson and a beautiful ballad written and produced by Chris Walker.  

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Sylvia Bennett - A Smooth Jazz Holiday
Sylvia Bennett
A Smooth Jazz HolidayOut of Sight Music

From Lionel Hampton, the legend who discovered Sylvia Bennett raving “Her magic gets to the ears and hearts of the audience,” to later Smooth Jazz collaborators Paul Brown, Rick Braun and Nathan East, jazz cats have been enamored of the multi-talented song stylist for decades. Her warm and wonderful, inspiring and rhythmically festive EP A SMOOTH JAZZ HOLIDAY is the perfect bookend to her equally lovely and joyous 2009 album IT’S CHRISTMASTIME WITH SYLVIA BENNETT – and even features a callback to a sparkling track on that album penned by longtime collaborator and producer Hal Batt. Evenly balanced between urban jazz arrangements of classics and charming, whimsical originals (including a Bennett/Batt tune with a global reggae vibe), the collection features dynamic solo spots by Paul Brown and Ed Calle. 

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Sylvia Bennett - Reflections
Sylvia Bennett
ReflectionsOut of Sight Music

Since her recording debut on the Grammy-nominated SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY album with music icon Lionel Hampton, multi-talented jazz vocalist and songwriter Sylvia Bennett has become something of a legend herself, with a dozen solo albums to date, and a successful emergence into Smooth Jazz that includes collaborations with Arturo Sandoval, Paul Brown, Rick Braun and Nathan East. With production by longtime collaborator and producer Hal S. Batt, the vibrant singer’s latest album REFLECTIONS finds her looking firmly ahead, pairing her lush, lilting and sultry vocals with seductive light grooves and sweet caressing musical atmospheres. Complementing her emotionally impactful originals with a tasty “world mix” of a Songbook standard ("Witchcraft"), she thoughtfully explores the many facets of relationships, from hopeful beginnings and making dreams reality to the fine art of working things through. 

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Ed Calle - Soulful Nights with Jon Secada & KC
Ed Calle
Soulful Nights with Jon Secada & KCAfterhours Music

If you want to know what the multi-faceted musical city of Miami sounds like in 2022, listen no further than SOULFUL NIGHTS, the latest seductive, snazzy, pop, funk and Latin jazz driven album by Latin Grammy winner and five time Grammy nominated saxophonist Dr. Ed Calle. Calle’s silky, uber-romantic and punchy tenor is the delightfully infectious emotional through-line on the compelling originals and imaginative covers of classics by Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell and Marvin Gaye. Yet at heart, this multi-faceted project is a full-on celebration of the saxophonist’s hometown, featuring guest vocals by two pop greats that make their home there (KC of the Sunshine Band and the bilingual Jon Secada) as well as ace production and arrangements by legendary behind the scenes figures Hal Batt and Mike Lewis.

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Mike Di Lorenzo - What We Need
Mike Di Lorenzo
What We NeedKeep The Groove

When keyboardist/composer Mike Di Lorenzo set out to create his first album in over ten years, he had every intention of making it an instrumental project with a few vocals. But when he started reaching out to the world-class singers that now populate the breezy, neo-soulful, easy grooving new project, WHAT WE NEED, he quickly realized that he was creating an all-vocal showcase, with his own dazzling synth, piano and arrangements. The incredible array of vocalists include Joel Kibble from Take 6, Anna Moore, Sonna Rele, Caino, and Denise Stewart. In addition to several silky, ultra-engaging originals, Di Lorenzo creates fascinating takes on tunes ranging from the Great American Songbook to contemporary hits by Charlie Puth and Justin Bieber – a set Di Lorenzo fondly calls the “East Coast Playlist.”  

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Wayne Gutshall - Spanish Love
Wayne Gutshall
Spanish LoveSpicy Music LLC

Imagine the good fortune of being the wife of master saxophonist Wayne Gutshall. A few years after scoring a remarkable five #1 singles on SmoothJazz.com’s World Listener Chart, the multi-talented Miami based composer/musician finds a fascinating way to pay loving homage to her with a sweet, sensual nod to her Spanish heritage. On the perfectly titled, balmy and breezy “Spanish Love,” he not only plays his passionate heart out, but also uses his emotional sax melody as the foundation for a gorgeous, dreamy conversational duet with the soulful acoustic guitar flow of genre great Steve Oliver. Like in previous solo works, the slow danceable “Spanish Love” draws on Gutshall’s extensive resume playing with Latin artists like Ed Calle, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and the late Dave Valentin. 

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Shelia Moore-Piper - The Love/Soul Session Vol.1
Shelia Moore-Piper
The Love/Soul Session Vol.1BDM/UGroove Music

In addition to being a sonically fascinating EP, chock full of silky classic R&B vibes, sensual urban jazz, crunchy grooves and hip-hop elements, Christian soul vocalist Shelia Moore-Piper’s latest (perfectly titled) release THE LOVE/SOUL SESSIONS, VOL 1 is seriously one of the most relentlessly optimistic projects of the year. While acknowledging that everything in her life is grounded in and runs on faith, she begins the exuberant, self-empowering journey with a bright affirmation filled intro  - and along the way reminds us that love is beautiful, good things are on the way and all things are possible with God. The singer’s perfect blend of uplifting and romantic emotion comes to life with an intricate sonic universe created with the artsy touch of her husband and producer, Glenn GP Piper. 

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Kenny Nightingale - King David Dance
Kenny Nightingale
King David Dance3Face Records

Drawing bustling and exotic, high spirited groovin’ energy from the West Side of the Motherland, emerging Nigerian-born saxophonist Kenny Nightingale cites both sacred music and legendary jazz inspiration for the creation of his buoyant, hypnotic, and intensely percussive new party all night single “King David Dance.” While citing, among others, fellow African musical greats like Jonathan Butler, Hugh Masekela and Richard Bona, the spiritual excitement of the song is a contemporary reflection on the classic Biblical story of King David, who – much like Nightingale himself when he’s performing onstage – danced before God and ripped his cloth off like nothing mattered around him. This grand expression of punchy and passionate musical worship features sparkling high-octane contributions by three incredible African musicians Nightingale calls his brothers.   

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Leo P. - Comin' Up Aces
Leo P.
Comin' Up AcesShanachie Entertainment

More like a bundle of exploding dynamite than a simple breath of fresh air, the irrepressible, wildly inventive Leo P follows his incredible journey from subway busking to YouTube sensation (with 100M+ views) by bringing his soulful and incendiary baritone sax energy to Smooth Jazz with his multi-faceted debut, aptly titled COMIN’ UP ACES. His multi-colored hair, over the top performances and “Contrabass Saxophone” video may prompt some to think he’s a talented novelty act – but the dynamic artistry and unpredictable array of styles (soul-jazz, funk, Latin, New Orleans styled blues) and crafty way with R&B and jazz standards and feisty originals proves him to be a masterful artist capable of many vibes, moods and colors. Richard Elliot and NOLA drummer Stanton Moore join the emerging star’s raucous, relentlessly fun party. 

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Shawn Raiford - Man With A Horn
Shawn Raiford
Man With A HornShawn Raiford Sax Productions

With one listen, you’ll step deeply into the alluring saxophone world of Shawn Raiford… he is the MAN WITH A HORN, playing it smoothly, brightly and with great conviction! This slickly produced and intensely melodic debut album fires up rich bass lines and hip-hop grooves, creating a proprietary blend of Smooth Jazz, pop, funk, soul and gospel for the Sacramento alto saxman. Raiford’s roots took form in a house of worship, where he played sax for the first time at his late grandmother’s 75-year church anniversary. While showcasing his highly spirited style and emotional range, this collection reflects many styles of musical inspirations, from the exhilarating Raiford-penned originals that the world will surely take notice of, to a select and fun handful of covers from Bruno Mars, DeBarge and Rihanna. MAN WITH A HORN from a man who has arrived. 

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Shawn Raiford - Santa Baby
Shawn Raiford
Santa BabyShawn Raiford Sax Productions

A much beloved fixture for the last decade playing clubs, festivals, private events and the historical Delta King Riverboat in the Sacramento area, Shawn Raiford has long called his ever-evolving ensemble the SRE (Shawn Raiford Experience) because – drawing on his passions for contemporary jazz, R&B, gospel, rock and pop – that’s what the multi-talented saxophonist promises every time he and his cohorts take the stage. His first release since making an initial impact in Smooth Jazz with his 2020 debut album MAN WITH A HORN, Raiford breathes fresh, sultry bounce into the classic “Santa Baby” with a delightfully traditional, seductive, soulful version buoyed by a lush orchestral string arrangement. Listening to this track after re-visiting his earlier collection is a great way to experience the depth Raiford’s expansive and heartfelt artistry offers.

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Steve Raybine - The Best of Steve Raybine
Steve Raybine
The Best of Steve RaybineBad Kat Records, LLC

In the late 90s, the late Steve Raybine received encouragement from Rick Braun, his friend and former band mate in the famed 70’s progressive jazz ensemble Auracle. A longtime fan of the veteran vibraphone master, percussionist and influential, award-winning educator, Braun suggested, “Why don’t you try to do for vibes what I’ve done for trumpet?” Taking up the challenge, Raybine embarked on an extraordinary 20-year career as a solo artist, releasing four multi-faceted Smooth Jazz albums and scoring a multitude of radio hits. While the composer and master musician recently battled for his life with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, he immersed himself in the production of this world-class collection, remixing, editing and remastering. Steve wrote to SmoothJazz.com founder Sandy Shore before his passing, “The album is definitely Smooth Jazz centric, with an extra component of what I can do with Swing music and my solo Vibe artistry. It is a compilation of 15 of my favorite songs I’ve recorded previously.” This brilliantly performed, non-stop melodically and rhythmically infectious 15-track compilation THE BEST OF STEVE RAYBINE celebrates a grand legacy charged with the spark and sizzle of jazz, R&B, fiery Latin music, pop/rock and edgy blues. The artist may be gone, but the BEST of his art lives on! 

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Terrence Richburg - Treasures
Terrence Richburg
TreasuresRichEscape Music, LLC

Over the past few decades, Terrence Richburg – known by his peers as “The Quincy Jones of Gospel” – has amassed a mind-boggling, star-studded multi-genre resume in service of the Lord. He’s worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin and the Winans, appeared on over 36 albums, and worked as a jack of all musical trades - vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, orchestrator, etc. Inventive sourcing of influences like Earth, Wind & Fire, Take 6 and George Duke can be heard all over Richburg’s 16-piece vocal and instrumental masterpiece TREASURES, which he composed and recorded during the pandemic as a companion piece to his 2020 book “Wisdom Treasures.” His luminous blend of easy-flowing gospel-jazz, colorful keyboard instrumentals and funky jams offer a musical testimony to the priceless treasures of God. 

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Michael Ross - Four Seasons to Cross
Michael Ross
Four Seasons to CrossMIHI Records, Inc.

Long before he was amassing an impressive catalog of urban jazz gems, opening for Chaka Khan and Patti Labelle, recording with Najee and performing with the likes of Ramsey Lewis and Jonathan Butler, guitarist/composer Michael Ross was staff guitarist for a touring company of “The Wiz.” The yellow brick road journey is the perfect metaphor for his blessed and eclectic musical road that leads now to the release of FOUR SEASONS TO CROSS, his first album in eight years that alternates between lighthearted, spirited breeziness, whimsical exotica, seductive funk balladry and contemplative cool that reflects a multi-faceted, polyrhythmic journey through the seasons. From a snappy trip to Rio to a silky seductive tune about winter approaching, Ross invites listeners on a magnificent and inspiring adventure.

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Brendan Rothwell - Destiny
Brendan Rothwell
DestinyBrendanRothwell.com

Released just before the pandemic, Anglo-Canadian bassist/composer Brendan Rothwell’s 2019 smash single, “Keep on Keepin’ On” – which made him the first indie artist to hit #1 on all three SmoothJazz.com Airplay Charts – offered the musical hope and encouragement we needed to navigate the global challenge. Always evolving and full of surprises, this multi-faceted artist – who was inspired to play bass when he heard Marcus Miller’s groundbreaking work on Miles Davis’ TUTU – infuses his easy-grooving, buoyantly funky and often soulfully meditative third album DESTINY with lush atmospheric soundscapes and exhilarating piano harmonies and textures. Indicative of the intimate and emotionally direct, heart to heart nature of Brendan’s compositions, DESTINY presents twelve master-crafted tracks with titles designed to spark our musical imaginations.

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Kim Scott - SHINE!
Kim Scott
SHINE!Innervision Records

Over her prolific past decade, one of Kim Scott’s greatest contributions to Smooth Jazz is, along with compatriots Althea Rene and Ragan Whiteside, helping bring the majestic, magical sounds of the flute back to the forefront. On the heels of the trio’s vibrant reimagining of “I’m Every Woman,” Scott follows her #1 Billboard album FREE TO BE with SHINE!, a beautifully diverse set showcasing her sensual, otherworldly melodic vibe throughout, with mood swings ranging from deliriously funky and whimsically tropical to meditative and romantic. True to the title, she simmers and blazes in the spotlight, sharing the SHINE! with a batch of genre all-stars including Greg Manning, Jonathan Butler, Adam Hawley, Blake Aaron, and Eric Essix to further illuminate many of these infectious tracks – including classics from Herbie Hancock and Kirk Franklin.     

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Michael Silverman & Eric Marienthal - In These Times
Michael Silverman & Eric Marienthal
In These TimesAutumn Hill Records

While the staggering number of 6 billion downloads and streams may be hard to fathom, Michael Silverman – the most streamed pianist on the planet - has made each a joyful experience over the past 15 years with his diverse array of stylistic excursions. Sure to add quickly to his total, his latest destination is “Clearwater,” a buoyant, melodically infectious, easy grooving romp blending Silverman’s lively elegance with Eric Marienthal’s always spirited sax. Joining forces with legendary bassist John Pattitucci, Silverman’s brother Rob on drums and percussionist Casey Adams, they have a sunswept blast that celebrates their initial meeting playing the Clearwater Jazz Holiday festival. This perfect Smooth Jazz cure for the winter blues is the second lead single from Silverman’s remotely created upcoming album IN THESE TIMES.

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Neika Simone - Picture Perfect
Neika Simone
Picture Perfect Canis Major Digital

Though she started her musical life as a classically trained pianist and vocalist, Neika Simone – much like the legend whose name hers nearly sounds like – ultimately gravitated towards jazz with highlights of funk and smooth soul. Following the successful splash of her early 2022 EP BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS, her soul-pop new single “Picture Perfect” finds her using fascinating and insightful photography-related metaphors to convey clever insights on creating and sustaining a solid romantic relationship. The respected chorus, voice and piano teacher draws on her own experiences in overcoming numerous physical and emotional traumas – from health complications, divorce, and grief – allowing her to include vulnerability with her sultry cool musical sensibilities, bringing her most authentic self at her heartfelt best.

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Dennis Van Aarssen - Christmas When You're Here
Dennis van Aarssen
Christmas When You're HereDVA Music Powered By AOE

An immediate sensation in his native country after winning The Voice of Holland 2019, multi-talented singer, songwriter, showman and leader of the DvA Bigband, Dennis van Aarssen achieves something miraculous with his first seasonal collection CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU’RE HERE. Inspired by Jamie Cullum’s 2020 holiday set of mostly original songs, the soulful, marvelously swinging crooner shares a set driven by clever, engaging originals (many penned with American songwriters Jeff Franzel and Maria Christensen) that will capture the heart as powerfully as the classic holiday tunes do. With a vibrant 20+ piece brass and string ensemble, and sizzling arrangements by Willem Friede and Ilja Reijngoud, it’s a bold, exciting set full of festive energy, beautiful imagery, anticipation and excitement, hope and romance – everything we need as a soundtrack to a beautiful holiday season! 

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Kim Waters - That Special Touch
Kim Waters
That Special TouchShanachie Entertainment

Saxophonist Kim Waters is one of the few Smooth Jazz greats who has now recorded in four decades. He’s not only one of the genre’s most prolific hitmakers, but also, like joyful clockwork every few years, the go-to guy for the perfect fusion of sensual romance and up to the minute funky hipster grooves and dancefloor vibes. His new album (his 25th and 23rd on Shanachie Records) THAT SPECIAL TOUCH is truly all about touching and titillating the heart and soul. While extending his brilliantly fashionable streak of original emotional, instantly hummable melodies, snappy rhythms, late night chillout soul and innovative sonic surprises, he spins some cool new energy on a classic Joe hit (featuring vocalist Raynard Gibson) and a gorgeous sax-piano duet on a recent Adele #1 smash by Kim and his daughter Kayla Waters.    

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Lindsey Webster - Reasons
Lindsey Webster
ReasonsShanachie Entertainment

With the drop of REASONS, Lindsey Webster’s transcendently dreamy, lightly funky and infectiously soulful – not to mention uber-romantic - new album, the seductive vocalist and songwriter celebrates an extraordinary decade in Smooth Jazz. With the recent Top Ten success of the collection’s lead single featuring Brian Culbertson’s stellar trombone solo, she continues her prominence at Billboard, which includes being the first vocalist to score a #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart since Sade – and being chosen Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Year for 2016 and 2017! Besides Culbertson, Webster has a crew of all-stars helping bring her latest blend of cool brassy silk and deeply intimate songs to life, including Nathan East, Randy Brecker, Nicholas Payton and Kev Choice who adds a dynamic hip-hop vibe to the mix. 

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D.S. Wilson - Skyline
D.S. Wilson
SkylineBig Splash Music, LLC

Sharing his long in the making musical success story so that other talented dreamers may follow his bold lead, Chicago-based saxophonist/keyboardist D.S. Wilson explains that in his 20s, he had a chance to go to the Berklee College of Music but ended up working for IBM. Several decades later, he’s making a vibrant splash in Smooth Jazz, with his well-received single, buoyant single “Life With You,” and now “Leave it To the Gods,” his whimsically titled, sparkling and inviting new focus track showcasing his dynamic one two punch as an instrumentalist. Wilson fuses his restless and robust melodic horn excitement with the sly sensuality and jazzy improvisational cool of his piano. Paving the way for his forthcoming album SKYLINE, “Leave it To the Gods,” is a stellar collaboration with Adam Hawley, who brings his songwriting, guitar and production brilliance to the song!

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Listening Loft : MUST HAVES

Carol Albert - Magic Mirror
Carol Albert
Magic MirrorCahara Music

Though pianist/composer Carol Albert has been recording since the early 90s, it’s testament to the fire her singles have caught on at Smooth Jazz Radio since 2016 that two tracks from her 2020 album STRONGER NOW have Spotify streams in the millions – very rare numbers for the genre. Her streak of infectious hits continued with the first two lead singles from her latest wonderwork MAGIC MIRROR, which sweeps us up in spirited whirlwinds of melodic grace via tunes that range from intimate and meditative to exuberant and funky to exotic and Brazilian flavored. While promoting themes of personal soul escape/adventure and self-reflection in this post-pandemic era of new awakenings, Carol showcases her love for  dreamy, easy-flowing contemporary jazz that takes her, and us, to many magical places.

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Dominic Camardella - Moments in Time - Temple of Light
Dominic Camardella
Moments in Time - Temple of LightGlobal Perspective

Having released his debut album SOOTHE in 2020, composer and multi-instrumentalist Dominic Camaradella is a newcomer to Smooth Jazz. Yet as the decades-long owner of Santa Barbara Sound Design, he’s used his dual passions for music and technology to engineer sessions for Ottmar Liebert, Michael McDonald, Anita Baker, Kenny Loggins, Depeche Mode and many, many others. With the release of the fascinating, globally eclectic, and enchantingly exotic concept album MOMENTS IN TIME: TEMPLE OF LIGHT, he’s launching an ambitious new contemporary urban jazz meets world music fusion series that should establish him as an innovative force in the genre. With his piano, bass, acoustic guitars, keyboards, and MIDI programming as a foundation, he creates balmy, Mediterranean, even spiritual-minded magic with the likes of saxophonist Gary Meek and Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat. 

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Bob Coate - Super Smooth
Bob Coate
Super Smoothbobcoate.com

Boldly embodying the tagline/mission statement “Smooth Jazz and Beyond” on his website, Virginia based emerging saxophonist Bob Coate’s perfectly titled debut single “Super Smooth” takes us on a sensual, exotic journey that’s uniquely suited for a lighthearted, sexy summer soundtrack.  Driven by an easy flowing crunch groove, the tune is a dynamic showcase for his understated, steamy low tones on the soul-enveloping melody. Finally pursuing his musical dreams after many years in Information Technology, Coate’s growing catalog of singles are all based around the theme and vibe of relaxation, chillout and tropical island imagery.      

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Eric Darius - Unleashed
Eric Darius
UnleashedSagiDarius Music

As he closes in on the big 4-0, it’s inspiring to realize that Eric Darius has been gracing and grooving us with his sizzling funk intensity, sensual soul, and sonic innovation for literally half his life. The saxophonist’s dynamic first 20 years as an urban jazz innovator – including five #1 radio hits and 17 Top Tens - culminates in the appropriately titled UNLEASHED, the second full length album on his SagiDarius label. Darius offers an eclectic slate of edgy and fiery horn intensity, divine dance floor thumping, sensitive slo-jam romance, party jamming, exotic African magic and a lush, soaring ballad featuring Rebecca Jade and the Metropole Orkest. Helping to unleash the foundation for Darius’ next two decades of uplifting sax power are, among others, Paul Jackson, Jr., Justin Lee Schultz and Eric Roberson.   

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Funktastic Players - Jazz on the Funky Side
Funktastic Players
Jazz on the Funky Sidefunktasticplayers.com

Years after establishing his career as an MC/DJ during the early days of rap/hip-hop, writer, producer and musical visionary David Williams had ideas of creating the next Incognito or a hip-hop fired James Brown vibe before organically developing the ultra-melodic, silky cool and laid back funk and sizzling brass tinged sonic universe of the perfectly named Funktastic Players. On their exuberant, soulful and freewheeling seventh album JAZZ ON THE FUNKY SIDE, the quartet of Williams, saxophonist Marcus Mitchell, guitarist David Prince and keyboardist Kevin Croom ride both smooth and swanky, rhythmically eclectic waves of sassy, romantic, sensual and playful joy to create an exciting fusion that draws from all of Williams’ many musical passions and continues to fulfill his founding funktastic vision! 

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Dee Lucas - Sir Dee
Dee Lucas
Sir DeeODL Music

Fast approaching a decade since he released his prophetically titled album REBIRTH OF THE SMOOTH, saxophonist Dee Lucas has been on a roll these past few years, following his album THE TIME IS NOW with several hit singles (including the #1 “Full Tilt” ft. Blake Aaron) and a Soul Café Radio Indie Soul Award nomination for Smooth Jazz Album of the Year. Always up for thought provoking titles, Lucas’ “Sir Dee” may be a humorous twist on his name, but its dreamy and lyrical soprano melody, sizzling and soaring horn textures, tasty rock edges and snappy, infectiously grooving flow make it a passionate and optimistic autobiographical statement! A decade plus since being named runner-up in the Capital Jazz Festival Competition, Lucas continues to redefine the parameters of Smooth Jazz cool.  

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Bobby Lyle - Ivory Flow
Bobby Lyle
Ivory FlowNew Warrior Music

An incredible 45 years after releasing his epic debut album THE GENIE, and 33 years since his landmark Atlantic album IVORY DREAMS, Bobby Lyle reminds us on his latest collection that he’s still engaged and excited about being in the IVORY FLOW. The multi-talented pianist/keyboardist calls this gloriously crafted set “a reunion album,” with support from his equally legendary contemporary jazz pals Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, Najee, Marcus Miller, Marion Meadows, Nathan East, Everette Harp, Stanley Clarke, Kirk Whalum and Paul Jackson, Jr!  This dream team takes fanciful spins through a riveting, expansive landscape infused with classic soul/funk, Latin-fired fusion, straight ahead jazz, solo piano blues and an elegant tune dedicated to Lyle’s son Tommy, who passed away in 2017 from diabetic complications. Step into the IVORY FLOW and feel the love. 

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Ken Powe - Steppin'
Ken Powe
Steppin'Ken Powe Music

Coinciding with the release of his high spirited, melodically sparkling and deeply grooving 5th album STEPPIN’, veteran keyboardist, composer and producer Ken Powe recently published a book exploring the possibilities of our visions and dreams being divine experiences. Smooth Jazz fans checking out the array of moods and grooves by this vibrationally in tune spiritual and musical explorer may truly feel they’ve entered an urban dreamscape full of colorful and trippy atmospheric textures, eclectic rhythms and dazzling, dramatic ivory runs – all of which draw from Powe’s mult-faceted background in jazz, gospel, R&B, pop and classical music.  

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Althea Rene - Pastel Leather
Althea René
Pastel LeatherAltheaRene.com

The daughter of Dezie McCullers, one of Motown’s original Funk Brothers, classically trained flutist Althea Rene has been using her instrument to make some sweet, infectious urban jazz funk of her own for over 20 years. The theme of her exuberant, stylistically multi-faceted eighth studio album PASTEL LEATHER is the unique duality of human behavior, where we can be gentle, polite, and forgiving while staying tough mentally and physically. With a high wattage guest list that includes Jeff Lorber, Lin Rountree, Marqueal Jordan and vibe master Warren Wolf – with whom she creates some fascinating musical dualities - Althea manifests these compelling ideas with an enticing mix of brassy funk, laid back breeziness, groovin’ party jams, an uplifting and encouraging gospel number and a charming twist on a Joe Sample classic. 

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Kris Russell - I Remember You
Kris Russell
I Remember YouKris Russell

Jeff Moses of WJMX Smooth Jazz Boston says it simply and best about Kris Russell, who began weaving her beautiful interpretive vocal magic in the genre with her lush, intimate and inviting take on Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You” in 2015: “Your music is always brilliant and stellar!” The daughter of veteran jazz musicians, a well-traveled live performer and a three time Global Music Award winner, Russell’s latest single, an exquisitely dreamy twist on “I Remember You,” continues the Brazilian magic of her past two songs with the backing of Richard Rome’s bossa nova string arrangement. Inspired by George Michael’s sweet, stripped down vocal-harp rendition of the classic. Russell brings sweetness, emotional intimacy and a touch of melancholy to Johnny Mercer’s timeless lyrics. 

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Sonix - Love Crusade
Sonix
Love CrusadeNucleus Entertainment

Having created studio magic throughout his multi-genre career with everyone from David Bowie, Barry White and DMC to 50 Cent, keyboardist/composer Tim Rouse perfectly embodies both his artist name (Sonix) and his nickname (“The Mad Scientist”). Having gotten his solo Smooth Jazz career off to an explosive start with the flammable, chart-dominating “Easy Street” featuring Eric Marienthal – which was voted #1 on the Smoothjazz.com Listener Countdown Chart four weeks in a row – as well as his successful, follow-up single, the groove-driven, chilled-jazz “Cloud9,” Sonix is finally ready to roll out the full album, a project of passion and dedication. LOVE CRUSADE arrives with his 3rd single, an epic take on Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” which is also released as a 6-song maxi-single offering 3 unique versions (a smooth jazz mix, instrumental and a vocal mix featuring Patrice Isley) plus extended mixes of each. A transcendent sonic experience, showcasing sparkling, melodic and funky Smooth Jazz, George Duke-like synth-fire fusion and fashionable, contemporary vocals with soulful and spiritual messages. True to its title, LOVE CRUSADE paves a bright, inviting path that you won’t be able to resist… Bringing to mind the famous MLK Jr quote, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that.”

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Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band - The Power Station Sessions
The Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band
The Power Station SessionsAutumn Hill Records

A renowned session drummer, Pat Petrillo has backed the likes of Gloria Gaynor, Patti Labelle, and Broadway shows. The New Jersey based groover leads his group of jazz, R&B and rock all-stars, The Big Rhythm Band, serving up some mind-blowingly adventurous and high octane jamming, on the group’s latest album THE POWER STATION SESSIONS. Though named after the recording facility where the sessions took place, the title could just as easily describe these freewheeling original tracks and fresh, inventive arrangements of classics by Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel. While Petrillo drives the grooves, the deeper fire comes from the special guest artists, including guitar greats Nile Rodgers, Felicia Collins and Oz Noy, plus appearance by John Popper (harmonica), Glen Burtnik (vocals), and SNL bandleader Lenny Pickett (sax). A cool variety of R&B, Funk, Blues, Rock and Smooth Jazz.

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R.L. Walker - Colorized
R.L. Walker
ColorizedR.L. Walker

Developing his formidable horn chops and seductive funk vibe in South Korean clubs and talent shows while serving in the Air Force,charting contemporary jazz saxophonist R.L. Walker has been an unstoppable force in Smooth Jazz since the release of his debut MANY FACETS in 2013. Currently on deck, the Whispers' “In The Mood” featuring Castella, the third single from his upcoming COLORIZED album, a seductive collaboration between the saxman and the soulful singer/songwriter. This smooth take of the classic 1987 song is an expressive, in-the-pocket hybrid of R&B and Jazz showcasing the talents of both recording artists and capturing the essence of romance. R.L.'s seventh independently-released full album features nine tracks, three produced by the artist and six produced by renowned producer Lew Laing Jr. The concept behind the new project's title is, according to the composer "Music gives color to the air of the moment." 

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Listening Loft : ESSENTIALS

Charles A. Kelly - You're Not Alone
Charles A. Kelly
You're Not AloneInnervision Records

Not surprisingly considering his pre-Smooth Jazz resume as a keyboardist, producer, film composer, songwriter and music director that includes the likes of Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers, Charles A. Kelly mixes it up with some of the genre’s elite (Blake Aaron, Darryl Williams, Tony Moore, Munyungo Jackson) on his stellar Innervisions Records debut album, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. With uplifting  romantic and spiritually minded melodies, intimate and sparkling piano and keyboard magic, and always in the pocket, edgy and funk-minded grooves, Kelly fulfills the promise of his three dynamic lead radio singles and sets the stage for an incredible new phase in his career. 

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Brooke Alford - On The Move
Brooke Alford
On The MoveAEEG

Powerfully branding herself as “The Artist of the Violin,” Brooke Alford has been blazing trails for the exciting contemporary jazz possibilities of her instrument for 15 years – and since 2021 has served as a wellness coach for musicians, creatives, professionals, and families through her company New Horizons. Listeners will feel that wellness big time as they groove and dance along with her funky and uber-infectious, high energy new single “On the Move,” an anthem for personal empowerment, includes a prominent jazzy piano solo by co-writer & producer George Freeman as well as a brief, reflective interlude that touches on the more sensitive side of Alford’s ample artistry. 

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Marcos Ariel - Second Chance
Marcos Ariel
Second ChanceMarcos Ariel

Now into his fifth decade of celebrating the deep musical joys and classic rhythms of his native Brazil and his hometown of Rio, pianist/composer Marcos Ariel follows his stunning, plant inspired solo album PIANO BLOSSOMS with the delightful new single “Second Chance.” It’s an easy swaying, dreamy and wistful (and highly danceable!) Bossa Nova tune that allows us not only to experience his majestic piano expressions, but also his charming vocals in duet with his friend Lulu Joppert, who invited Ariel in 2019 to participate in her Pop n Bossa project featuring the songs of Bruno Mars! 

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Jake Bass - Gonna Be OK
Jake Bass
Gonna Be OKBassment Sounds 2.0

It’s no wonder Jake Bass is bursting forth with so much optimistic, funky rock/soul energy on his latest perfectly titled single “Gonna Be OK.” In addition to a burgeoning career as a recording artist over the past decade, the multi-talented composer/guitarist has worked with some of Detroit’s top rap/hip hop talent, opened for Ludacriss, LL Cool J and Detroit legend Mitch Ryder and collaborated with and produced deaf artist Sean Forbes for years. True to his Motor City roots, Bass keeps the grooves hoppin’ and his electric strings crackling throughout, stopping only momentarily for a dazzling jazzy piano solo.  

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Hank Bilal - Beneath The Covers
Hank Bilal
Beneath The CoversHank Bilal

On his vibrant fourth album BENEATH THE COVERS, South Carolina trombone sensation Hank Bilal throws a fascinating, sometimes tenderly soulful, often funked up and danceable party showcasing several eras of contemporary R&B. He’s got fresh, alternately laid back and punchy twists on classics by The Jacksons, Next, Blackstreet, Guy, Brandy, Montell Jordan, Shalamar and Mary J. Blige, in addition to others by Journey and Frank Sinatra and a few lush originals. Though not officially billed as a duets album, Bilal creates sly, spirited musical conversations throughout with some of Smooth Jazz’s best – including Gerald Albright, Michael Lington, Althea Rene, Jackiem Joyner, Jasmin Ghent, Jeff Ryan, Marcus Johnson and Phil Denny.

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Nona Brown - Latter Days/Greater
Nona Brown
Latter Days/GreaterSignature Music Group

Gospel singer/songwriter Nona Brown’s dynamic resume includes working as Josh Groban’s choir coordinator, guest vocalist and composer for Gospel Workshop of America and being a member of the New Edwin Hawkins singers. Nona is also a Brown in the charting, emerging jazz trio Brown, Sturgis and Brown. The multi-talented artist caps a prolific 2022 – which includes singing on Falu’s Grammy winning Children’s album and garnering a Telly Award for a “Black Lives Matter” music video - with her rousing, inspiring and encouraging single “Latter Days/Greater.” She is releasing both a vocal track and a silky, jazzy funk instrumental version featuring an ultra-soulful lead saxophone melody by Kevin Moore for Smooth Jazz audiences. 

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Collective Groove Band - Can't Live Without
Collective Groove Band
Can't Live WithoutLife Music Studios

Buoyant, funky party vibes create an endless summer on the latest single from the Collective Groove Band titled “Can’t Live Without" featuring the rousing vocals of Marcel Anderson. Infectiously washing over our senses and making us smile and groove along, the new track, from veteran Durham NC jazz/R&B/gospel ensemble – which broke through on the charts in 2021 with “Definition of Funk (D.O.F.)” – brings the goods via the passionate, invigorating swirl of Cameron Morgan’s fiery sax, Ronald Antwon Timmons’ hypnotic piano harmonies, and Kensby Blount’s irrepressible drums – and that’s before Kevin Crockett’s blazing rock guitar solo kicks in to complete the triumphant jam. Produced by the band's production duo Blount & Timmons, mixed by Smooth Jazz super charting keyboardist Nicholas Cole and mastered by Kevin McNoldy.

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Doctor X - Sinusoidal
Doctor X
SinusoidalDRX Music

Baghdad-born and raised composer/keyboardist Haider Raad (aka Doctor X) has been leading a fascinating double life, literally composing his wonderfully eclectic, contemporary jazz/funk meets chillout and world fusion debut, the intriguingly titled SINUSOIDAL for the past 25 years while pursuing and launching an impactful career in academia. Currently director of the Engineering Physics program and the Wearable Electronics Research center at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, Doctor X’s infectious tunes breeze artfully between Smooth Jazz and related genres, fulfilling his personal dreams and inspiring his kids while creating sine waves (oscillating mathematical wave forms) that not only symbolize the peaks and valleys of recorded music, but also of our life journeys. 

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Everett B. Walters - It's For The Love Of Music
Everett B Walters
It's for the Love Of MusicEverett Mych Music

The name Everett B Walters may sound like a solo artist, but in truth it’s the clever moniker that Chicago bred brothers Michael Everett Brown (guitar) and Harold Walter Brown III (bass) came up with for their popular, infectiously grooving ensemble that’s been recording since the mid-2000s and headlining in Las Vegas for years. The Akademia Music Award winners score another victory with their latest, the perfectly titled, hard grooving EP, IT'S FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC. It’s a rambunctious free-flowing, horn-drenched Smooth Jazz jam fest driven by Harold’s snappy, buoyant rhythms and Michael’s elegant melodies and sparkling otherworldly improvisations.

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Louie Fitzgerald - Emotions
Louie Fitzgerald
EmotionsStratophonics Music Group, LLC

Continuing a prolific roll with his fourth full length album since 2020, Louie Fitzgerald sets his intention for the deeply felt roller coaster of highs and lows on EMOTIONS with his personally hand-painted cover art imagery of a two-toned eye with the yellow and blue of the Ukranian flag with a prominent tear rolling down. Yet the haunting ballads and darker, hypnotic, underpinnings of some tunes tell only part of his story. Recently distressed by the loss of not one, but two of his brothers, Fitzgerald also offers bright musical rays of joy created to inspire a sense of hope and optimism amidst the storms of life. 

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A. Ray Fuller - Coastal Breeze
A Ray Fuller
A Coastal BreezeWoodward Avenue

The Weeper returns! After nearly two decades, A. Ray Fuller has finally found the time to write and record a new single. The busy A-List guitarist who has worked with legends and icons including Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, George Duke and many more has rolled out a wonderful, world-class gem, “A Coastal Breeze.” The new, radio-ready single is a collaboration with double Grammy-winner Paul Brown and labelmate, Shane “Terry-O” Theriot. Soulful, old-school vibes and gently flowing goodness exude from this tune. The feeling is exactly like a day at the beach… with just the right amount of sun and fun and of course that cool, clear coastal breeze that makes you feel alive!

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LaShawn D. Gary - Transitions
LaShawn D. Gary
TransitionsLNC Music, Inc.

A true musical Renaissance man, Emmy and Detroit Music Award winning producer, composer and pianist LaShawn D. Gary has over the past few years complemented his usual array of activities – educator, church music director, the Executive Director for the Michigan Fine Arts Institute, TV commercial guy – to release five successful Smooth Jazz singles. Creating all the instrumentation on his latest jam, brass-tinged, lively delight “Transitions,” Gary uses his sparkling, melodic and richly improvisational ivories – and a unique percussion fill - to express the unique tenacity of change, the quick pace and unpredictable twists and turns in our day to day lives. 

 

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Maggie Herron - Hallelujah
Maggie Herron
HallelujahMaggieHerron.com

Maggie Herron’s passionate, haunting twist on the Leonard Cohen classic is one of the big selling points for MY STORY IN SONG. The Michigan born, Honolulu based veteran jazz treasure, pianist and vocalist’s raw, vulnerable, emotionally revealing new album is due out soon. Yet it’s Herron’s impactful original material where she shares, in settings ranging from big band and gospel to easy swinging jazz, her enduring love, truth and grief over the 2020 loss of her beloved daughter and collaborator Dawn. Buoyed by jazz greats like Bill Cunliffe, Mitch Forman, Grant Geissman and Andrew Neu, Herron brings Dawn’s talent and spirit into the mix to pay homage to her life and legacy. This single will take you through the musical marble arch to the promised new album!

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Gordon James - Smooth Sunshine
Gordon James
Smooth SunshineGordon James

Closing in on a remarkable 30 years since the release of his critically acclaimed debut album, trumpet and flugelhorn artist Gordon James’ discography is full of all-star genre guests – including Bob Baldwin, James Lloyd and the late Chuck Loeb. Written and recorded during the pandemic down time, his latest gem SMOOTH SUNSHINE (which is just that from start to finish) doesn’t feature major names but has big, beautiful multi-faceted sounds infusing ballads and light funk tunes that reflect his passions for jazz, Latin/Brazilian music, R&B and pop. James also includes several delightful tunes featuring lead vocals featuring himself and his wife Carol Selick.

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Jay King - Soulful Bossa Nova
Jay King
Soulful BossanovaJay King Music

Three and a half decades since his Grammy winning R&B band Club Nouveau scaled the pop and soul charts with their spin on “Lean On Me” and “Why You Treat Me So Bad,” singer, songwriter and producer Jay King breezes and romances his way into the exotic side of vocal Smooth Jazz with SOULFUL BOSSANOVA – a perfectly titled jaunt full of soulful island rhythms, atmospheric Brazilian sultriness and silky, intimate expressions of love, longing and regret. Helping King cultivate this gentler, more seductive side of his artistry here are hit guitarist Nils and King’s longtime collaborator, saxophonist/flutist Cal Bennett.

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Michael Lemmo - Blue Comet
Michael Lemmo
Blue CometWoodward Avenue

While keeping his ultra-cool day job at Norm’s Rare Guitars in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley – from where his YouTube streaming show “Guitar of the Day” reaches over 500,000 subscribers – singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Lemmo takes a powerful, stylistically expansive double-fisted approach to the official launches of his recording career with BLUE COMET. Produced by Paul Brown, the album boldly showcases two unique sides of his ever-evolving artistry. On the instrumental side, the guy whose influences range from George Benson to Eddie Van Halen shares his crackling, muscular, super rhythmic and melodic rock edged contemporary jazz fire. He intersperses these tracks with showcases of his singing and songwriting artistry that reveal a vocal artist of extraordinary sensitivity and soulful depth. All of this bodes well for an incredible career in Smooth Jazz and beyond! 

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Valentino Maltos - Analog Future
Valentino Maltos
Analog FutureRadioStar Records

In making his long-awaited debut as a Smooth Jazz artist with ANALOG FUTURE, three-time Grammy-winning producer and saxophonist Valentino Maltos fulfills his mission to create a positive vibe by capturing an inviting, soulful analog sound using warm synths, vintage electric pianos, turntable samples and live instrumentation. Along the way, the multi-talented performer – who has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg and Dave Chapelle – stirs up a swirl of edgy funk jams, sensual mid-tempo romantic vocal driven expressions, horn-drenched R&B, a bustling spin on a Stevie Wonder classic, a mystical tribute to Roy Hargrove and a touch of spirituality. 

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Demetrius Nabors - Perserverance
Demetrius Nabors
PerseveranceKolorful Entertainment LLC

A vibrant, multi-faceted instrumental and vocal reflection of personal and collective turbulence and trauma of 2020, Demetrius Nabors’ latest album PERSEVERANCE started with a prayer – which led the veteran pianist, composer and producer to weave his bright infectious melodies, spirited piano and synth licks along with deep emotional grooves that swing from dreamy, seductive ballads to slammin’ celebratory soul jazz fusion. The two-time Detroit Music Award winner – who has produced hits for KEM, Althea Rene, Tim Bowman and Willie Bradley – is also known as “Krayon,” and he elevates his colorful blend with special guests like Rene and saxophonist Randy Scott.  

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Raja-Nee - The Sovereign of 14742
Raja-Nee
The Sovereign of 14742JARF Music Group

On a dynamic roll creating sensual pop, R&B and neo-soul vibin’ singles since 2018, chart-topping, Chicago-bred vocalist and songwriter Raja-Nee brings a multi-faceted musical resume – including work with the Chi-Lites and legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – to her long awaited, rhythmically diverse, full-length album THE SOVEREIGN OF 14742 (dedicated to her parents, the title pertains to her childhood street address and the affectionate nick name for the youngest member of the family). Whether she’s swaying in the sultry romantic breeze or bringing her mid-tempo, easy-grooving, sexy energy to the mix, Raja-Nee captures our hearts by sharing her views on the many facets of love and relationships – including a dreamy, caressing take on a Fifth Dimension heartbreak classic.

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Jeff Ryan - We Can Work It Out
Jeff Ryan
We Can Work It OutWoodward Avenue

The invitingly, seductive sax intro breaks way into a Michael Jackson-esque dance groove on Smooth Jazz charting saxman Jeff Ryan’s latest single, a funkified version of the Beatles “We Can Work It Out.” Life is very short for fussing and fighting my friend… Hence Rebecca Jade delivers the most important lines from the Lennon-McCartney composition to make the most impact and compliment Ryan’s brass hustle and special guest Greg Manning’s relentless vibes. The message and the meaning delivered in a high-energy swirl of jazz and funk can only shine as bright a light as possible on hopefulness in mending fences in these divisive sociopolitical times, as the original was during the Civil Rights era!

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Ken Sato Experience - Wait It Out !!
Ken Sato Experience
Wait It Out !!kensatoexperience.com

The Ken Sato Experience dubs themselves an SNS (social media service) band only because thus far, they’ve been an internet only sensation and have never performed the songs on their debut album WAIT IT OUT !! live. If they ever leave their small Tokyo studio, prepare to have your senses overwhelmed with some wild, relentlessly adventurous, and explosive fusion of rock, jazz, funk/soul and sultry neo soul. Led by Sato’s blistering guitar and Rioji Orihara’s buoyant, Jaco Pastorius-like bass, they bounce from vibe to vibe and groove to groove on a slate of shiny originals and inventive renovations of classics by The Beatles, Madonna, T-Rex and Stevie Wonder. 

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Slow - Under Everchanging Sky
SLOW
Under Everchanging SkySlow Music

Founded by the Polish duo of Tomasz Kaczmarczyk (guitar) and Krzysztof Werminski (piano) in 2010, the multi-faceted, ever-evolving contemporary jazz ensemble SLOW continues to fascinate as it explores various jazz-related styles on its perfectly titled third album UNDER EVERCHANGING SKY. With the powerful, intensely expressive sax of group member Leszek Szczerba driving the emotion, the project’s most Smooth Jazz relatable gems give us everything from edgy, punchy funk jams to dreamy, impressionistic ballads. Beyond these, SLOW has a blast exploring electric jazz fusion, swinging and wildly improvisational trad jazz and even the intensely percussive trance rhythms of North Africa. 

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Al Staehely - Post Spirit, Vol. 1: 1974-1978
Al Staehely
Post Spirit, Vol. 1: 1974-1978Camp Music

If your love for smooth music extends to the mid to late 1970s California soft rock (occasionally called “Yacht Rock”) vibe, you’ll thoroughly enjoy immersing in POST SPIRIT, VOL. 1 1974-1978, featuring previously unreleased gems by bassist, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Al Staehely. After several years performing in the band Spirit in the early 70s, he enjoyed some success as a songwriter before setting aside his rock dreams to become a prominent Houston entertainment lawyer who played music at night. Perfectly reflecting the timeless joy of the 70s, POST SPIRIT’s 14 sparkling vintage tracks include soulful ballads, including his contemporary jazz single, “Without Love,” plus some easygoing pop/rockers and a few raucous numbers for good measure. Nowadays, Al and band play original music to sold out audiences, and he’s planning for the release of a new music collection in 2023!   

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Brown, Sturgis & Brown - Every Time I Close My Eyes
Brown, Sturgis & Brown
Every Time I Close My EyesWhole 9 Music Group

“Every Time I Close My Eyes,” the lush, easy swinging, vocal harmony driven new single by popular Bay Area trio Brown Sturgis and Brown, is one of those rare urban jazz tracks where the multi-platinum production team The Whole 9 (John Rhone and Ontario Haynes) is as essential a part of the story as the artists themselves. The duo’s sensual, easy flowing Quiet Storm-like tune was sitting on the shelf a while, just waiting for the perfect group – in this case, veteran multi-genre singer Mark Brown, jazz man Patrick Sturgis and gospel vocalist Nona Brown – to add their charming voices, infectious melody, and arrangement to bring it to life. 

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Jesse "JTJazz" Thompson - The Inauguration of JTJazz: The Man Behind the Keys
Jesse Thompson
The Inauguration Of JTJazz: The Man Behind The KeysGJR Records, LLC

A native of Dayton, Ohio, known in music circles as the land of funk, keyboardist/composer Jesse Thompson’s been carrying on his hometown traditions as a member of the popular urban jazz ensemble NexLevel and sideman for Eric Darius, Adam Hawley, Althea Rene and others. What started out as a way to share joyful, danceable rhythms during the pandemic evolved powerfully - and with melodic grace and grooves to spare - into THE INAUGURATION OF JTJAZZ (JESSE THOMPSON THE MAN BEHIND THE KEYS). It’s a wonderfully autobiographical debut that shines a spotlight on his passions for funk, mid-tempo romantic ballads (including one featuring Lin Rountree), gospel music and more. 

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