- Marius Billgobenson
- Tribes In Mind
- Marius Billy
- Dave Baker & Rich Kurtz
- Forever New
- DAB Music
- Chris 'Big Dog' Davis
- Shanachie Entertainment
- Al Degregoris
- Time Sensitive
- A-PEX Recordings International
- Ronald 'Boo' Hinkson
- Prime Cuts
- Zephryn Records
- Ron King
- Downtown Mama
- King Sounds Records
- Kim Waters
- Shanachie Entertainment
- Tray White
- A New Day
Listening Loft : HOTPICKS
Boldly continuing to venture where no genre artist has dared before, classically trained, jazz/R&B influenced harpist Marie Antoinette has turned an instrument most of us associate with delicacy and angelic realms into a platform for snappy, full-fledged funky urban jazz. The cleverly titled ALL MY STRINGS – long awaited follow up to her debut STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP – rolls and jams like a rock, pop, soul and jazz symphony, starting with a sweeping overture that’s already been a Top 5 radio hit. Along with her stunningly intricate melodies, Mariea powers the album with grand orchestral flair, hard-edged grooves, old school cool harmonies and moments of romance and sweet new age-like serenity.
Considering her lengthy recording career and an eye-popping resume that includes being discovered by Lionel Hampton, touring with his band, performing worldwide, including at presidential inaugurations and recording Smooth Jazz hits with Paul Brown, Rick Braun, Nathan East and now Arturo Sandoval! The Grammy-nominated international recording artist Sylvia Bennett returns with her latest single "Lorilee" from her soon to be released, highly anticipated new album THIS LOVE IS REAL. The new single is a David Gates (Bread) penned tune that is re-imagined with Sylvia singing from the perspective of the subject matter to Arturo's passionate horn and producer Hal S. Batt's vocal support. Based on the first two singles, we're already in love with the album and it's not even out yet!
Given his stage name CTK by his mentor, legendary former Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Al McKay, trumpeter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Clarence T. Kyle perpetuates that group’s style of old school groovin’ soul/funk and builds on the era’s classic horn-fired vibe on his latest album THE 2ND COMING. A musical gumbo for the soul, with Smooth Jazz, R&B, and hip hop, CTK pulls off the remarkable feat of creating instrumental music that tells his personal story. He invites listeners into his multi-faceted life with memorable tunes dedicated to his father-in-law, his recently departed mother, trips to Japan and fond memories of his early childhood in Rhode Island and attending the Newport Jazz Festival.
Twenty-five years after making his initial mark on Smooth Jazz stations across the globe, guitarist Dave Baker brings back his fluid melodic magic and love for contemporary and traditional jazz, pop, classical and Latin on his perfectly titled album FOREVER NEW. Teaming with Rich Kurtz (bass, cello, vocals) and Walter Runge (keys), he draws on decades as a private party and corporate gig musician to create lush, inventively arranged yet breezily accessible twists on classics by the likes of Carole King, Al Stewart, Sting, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. His lone original, the lilting title track, is equally divine.
Checking out FOCUS, the debut album as an artist for two-time Grammy nominated keyboardist, composer and producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis, is like attending a soulful, funky, mood swinging musical party where the behind the scenes host finally takes center stage. The multi-talented gentle giant, who has helmed countless urban jazz hits over the past 15 years, applies all his detailed sonic wizardry to set chock full of sly, sensual pleasures, buoyant dance energy and sparkling, easy-grooving magic. Though he’s invited a batch of guest artists he’s worked with (and some he hasn’t) to the jam – Dave Koz, Kim Waters, Gerald Albright, Maysa, Bluey, Rick Braun, Nick Colionne, et al – Davis steps out with some dazzling piano and keyboard melodies and solo action throughout!
TIME SENSITIVE, Al DeGregoris’ first album in four years, is the amped up, groove-intensive culmination of his longtime collaborative relationship with fellow keyboardist Jeff Lorber. Though DeGregoris is the independent artist and Lorber the legendary producer, the two work as creative equals in perfect intertwining tandem. Drawing on the funky, improvisation rich dynamics of their innate chemistry and an array of retro keyboards (but always leaving room for acoustic piano), they share a set of irrepressible tracks with buoyant melodies, free flowing harmonies and explosive energy throughout. With special guests including critically acclaimed guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. on board along with David Mann fashioning mood enhancing horn arrangements, Lorber and DeGregoris create the musical equivalent of a thoughtful, illuminating conversation between two masters chatting deep into the night.
Though her popular residency at Buddy Guy’s Legends club is currently on hold, there’s no stopping adventurous Chicago-based R&B/jazz singer Tracye Eileen from taking her budding career to the next level with her prophetically titled new EP, IT’S TIME. On first listen, the collection comes across as a set of intimate, easy grooving, soul-jazz. Dig deeper and you’ll discover an uplifting testament to a woman rising from heartbreak to pursue her own dreams. While seducing us with both intimacy and raw emotion, Tracye balances her R&B/jazz foundations with two renditions of her previously released, autobiographical song “Why Did I Say Yes?” – the original Brazilian light funk version and an expansive rollicking house mix that fuses dance, jazz and her dynamic passion for scat.
A decade after first dazzling the Smooth Jazz world with their combined talents on the hit debut ALWAYS… Bay Area married couple George and Tracy Franklin – collectively known as GTF, a powerhouse ensemble, deliver an intoxicating mix of soul-sensual ballads and tight urban jazz with an edgy funk twist on their chart-dominating, sophomore release, CROSS PATHS. Iconic jazz great Bob James joins in on the fun and exuberance... While the deeper joys emerge from George’s lush bass lead and vocal stylings, Tracy’s background vocals and the explosive energy of band members, drummer Ron Otis (Earl Klugh, Kem, Aretha Franklin), percussionist Juan Escovedo (of the legendary Escovedo family) as well as GTFers John Rekevics, Richard “Blitz” Livoni and John Cain.
Saxophonist Wayne Gutshall’s perfectly titled debut album SPICY! is a joyous reflection of the many years he’s spent immersed in Miami’s Latin pop and jazz scenes – which includes work with greats like Nestor Torres, Dave Valentin, Arturo Sandoval and an appearance on Ed Calle’s Latin Grammy winning album MAMBLUE. While he showcases these influences via an artful balance of high energy exotica and balmy sensuality, the Latin vibe is simply the launching point for a stylistically eclectic collection that includes jazz fusion, gritty blues, stylish tributes to Gato Barbieri and Miles Davis and engaging twists on pop classics by Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie. Playfully jumping genres from track to track, Wayne Gutshall delivers a fashionable collection with a lot of Miami spice!
As Founder and President of the highly influential jazz, world and soul recording label Motéma – dubbed as “the most important label to plant its flag in the 21st Century” by All About Jazz – Jana Herzen has helped launch everyone from Joey Alexander to Gregory Porter. Part of her secret to success behind the scenes is that Herzen is an acclaimed artist herself – a stylistically eclectic singer/songwriter with an understated mastery on guitar. On her diverse, super romantic album, NOTHING BUT LOVE, she showcases her unique points of view on the many facets of love and romance via a series of alternately heartfelt and playfully frisky jazz, pop and folk influenced originals with distinctive global music sensibilities. Co-produced by renowned bassist and label mate, Charnett Moffett, Herzen weaves her colorful narratives through a landscape imbued with Cuban/Latin, African and reggae rhythms, intimate jazz and bluesy soul.
In a few short years, saxophonist Jarez has gone from being known as “Mr. Sexy Saxy’ to the mayor of J FUNK CITY! While known to millions as touring saxophonist and right-hand man for Coolio – and his appearances on the rap star’ web series “Cookin’ With Coolio” – the saxophonist has scored an impressive string of smooth urban hits and albums playing it silky, sensual and romantic. This new collection has its steamy moments, but for the most part it’s a punchier, ultra-funky blast featuring a more muscular, emotionally impactful approach. Jarez’s wild success these past years has opened doors for him to invite all-star guests Julian Vaughn, Vandell Andrew, Willie Bradley, Ragan Whiteside and Gerald Albright (on bass!) to help him execute his supercharged vision.
Establishing herself as a powerful new presence on the urban vocal side of Smooth Jazz with her previous singles “T.F.I.L.” and “Paralyzed,” jazz, blues and soul influenced vocalist M’Lynn shares an important message to the recently broken-hearted on her seductive and dreamy ballad “Just Take Time.” Originally appearing on her debut EP Grounding, the track was chosen the No. 2 Best Soul Song of 2018 by UK radio personality Franklin Sinclair of Mi-Soul Connoisseurs. While imparting wisdom to take things slow so that we can more effectively regroup and move on, she shares her silky, intimate vocal charms (think a contemporary version of Sade or Norah Jones) and colorful scat over a lush musical bed caressed with simmering horns and gospel-blues organ textures.
With an incredible output of 16 albums over the past 12 years, Detroit based keyboardist/producer, Motown Moe, is not only one of the most prolific indie artists in Smooth Jazz, but also one of the most diverse and innovative when it comes to developing fascinating conceptual themes and fresh sonic landscapes. With a title that perfectly reflects our unique collective moment, his latest album THE NEW NORMAL could be used in regular times as a soundtrack to a romantic evening – but in this era serves as the perfect soul caressing chillout set. Drawing on his mastery of melody, gentle grooves, sensual atmospheres, synth, horns and percussion, Moe creates a free-flowing, chill and laid-back fusion of moody, impressionistic urban jazz featuring critically-acclaimed guitarist Blake Aaron!
Two decades after first showcasing his exotic, classical fingerstyle excitement as part of the duo Young & Rollins, multi-talented contemporary jazz/new age/world music recording artist Lawson Rollins – chosen one of “50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists” by Guitar Player magazine – happily finds his TRUE NORTH. On his masterful, rhythmically melodic, genre-traversing 10th solo album, produced solely by himself, Rollins delivers a sultry dance of world beat rhythms and an impassioned surge of guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies making the project the most radio ready album yet. While it’s always energizing to hear Rollins shred, his tasteful restraint gives us a deeper look into his musical heart.
Since graduating from Ithaca College of Music in 2018 with a degree in voice (Opera believe it or not), ultra-hip pop, R&B and jazz influenced, Pittsburgh based singer/songwriter Stephen Rothhaar has been unstoppable. He follows his indie-acoustic EP HUMANS with the engaging, pure pop, ultra-danceable debut full length album MOMENTS. Helping take Rothhaar’s spirited soul sensibilities and instincts for creating infectious light pop gems to the next level is producer Nate Harasim, who fashions a slick, multi-faceted sonic landscape full of lightly funk contemporary beats, bright jazzy guitar jangle and a sensual seductive flow. In addition to showcasing Rothhaar’s multi-faceted artistry, the album includes impressive guest spots by globally acclaimed bassist Nathan East, chart-topping contemporary jazz guitarist Nils, vocalist Monica Notaro and the popular Detroit-based rapper K-Squeez.
Currently #1 on the SmoothJazz.com Listener Chart!
Canadian bassist Brendan Rothwell traces his love of the instrument and its intense soul possibilities to hearing the legendary Marcus Miller play on Miles Davis’ 80’s classic TUTU. On the heels of a debut that charted both in the U.S and Canada, his latest album SENTIMENT, is an eclectic, deeply rhythmic sonic experience. He includes several picture perfect, frothy funk, Smooth Jazz tracks, but the collection’s deeper pleasures expand the emotional palette into neo-soul, jazz fusion and even ambient territory. Reminiscent of the most genre-transcendent works of Miller, Brian Bromberg and Stanley Clarke, these songs are meditative masterpieces, taking him to contemplative realms of expression rich with mood and immersive atmospheres.
Time waits for no man… yet Paolo Rustichelli’s inventive sound ensures his music will live on forever! The Roman’s signature style has inspired a generation of Chillout enthusiasts. Known for pioneering electro-jazz, chill/lounge music, he returns with his 3rd single from the forthcoming TEMPUS FUGIT collection, “Hot,” an homage to summer on the Italian central coast. The song was composed during quarantine of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy and became an anthem for the composer, musically representing freedom from illness and stress. This modern Mediterranean hymn reminds us that heartfelt, human energy is a powerful cure for the body and soul. “Hot” is on the same trajectory as Paolo’s #1 Billboard hit, “Paisa.” One listen and you’ll understand why the innovative keyboardist is held in such high regard by musicians worldwide including legends he’s collaborated with, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock!
Four years after his previous release, UPTOWN JAZZ, legendary Bay Area bassist, composer and producer Tony Saunders delivers on his stated promise to “make the best, most pleasurable and sensually satisfying album yet” with his perfectly titled, 4th studio release, SEXY SOMETHIN. Alternately bouncy and buoyant, his new original tracks are all infectiously melodic and fall into a groove-intensive pocket, from the kick off hit, the chart-topping cover of The Whispers’ “Rock Steady” to the final interlude. Yet true to the diversity of Saunders’ expansive resume, he infuses stylistic and thematic surprises. While grounding everything on his trademark deep bass tones and delivering sparkling solos, he invites a vibrant all-star cast to help execute his multi-faceted vision – including Nils, Jeff Ryan, Paul Jackson, Jr., Paul Brown, Marion Meadows and Jeff Lorber; co-produced by Tony, Nils and contemporary jazz star Gail Jhonson!
An integral member of the all-female ensemble Jazz in Pink, Kim Scott has been one of a handful of visionary artists making Smooth Jazz delightfully flute-friendly since her debut album CROSSING OVER in 2011. After a three-year recording hiatus, the Alabama-based performer is back in action on FREE TO BE, a multi-faceted album balancing her tight, infectiously grooving pop/urban jazz flow with other tracks that showcase her formidably soulful vocals and textured, more nuanced jazz flute expressions. As you listen, you’ll get the sense that her album title is truly her musical philosophy. In addition to an emotionally intense classic ballad duet on "The Prayer" with gospel-jazz saxophonist Cameron Ross, Scott vibes magnificently with all-star guests Jazmin Ghent, James Lloyd and on a Billboard #1 hit with Jonathan Fritzen.
Encapsulating the carefree days of summer, guitarist Will Sumner, delivers a brand new original collection ranging from coast-driving Smooth Jazz and slow grooves to exciting Latin rhythms on RIDE THE WAVE. The prolific, Southern California composer follows the lead of similarly, beachy themed collections, such as COAST DRIVE, PIER GROOVE and the craftily titled ENDLESS SUMNER. Drawing on an eclectic background that includes performing with Prince and Yanni and composing symphonies, Sumner infuses his signature sound of sensual rhythms and hypnotic melodies with a variety of genres and textures including blues licks and steel pans. RIDE THE WAVE concludes with a rock and soul tinged vocal take on a patriotic classic that will light up the 4th of July!
A pilot for Delta Airlines since 1986, classically trained pianist and emerging Smooth Jazz artist, Paul Tuvman flies high with his lifelong love of The Beatles on IN MY LIFE. A deeply diverse, jazzy homage to the Fab Four. Testament to his rising star status, the multi-talented Tuvman got the genre all-stars out en masse, with dynamic guest spots by Peter White, Mindi Abair, Dave Koz, Rick Braun and Vincent Ingala. Produced by one of the most sought after musicians in contemporary music, Jamey Tate, the true star of the collection is Tuvman’s hypnotic ivory playing and adventurous arrangements, hitting on trad and Smooth Jazz as well as soulful, urban funk. Another highlight of this engaging set is the stunning oboe playing of Taiwanese-American oboe master Rong-Huey Liu.
Millennial musical hipster alert! Life’s been a whirlwind this past year for 26-year-old songwriter and interpreter extraordinaire Dennis Van Aarssen, a former digital marketing project manager who won Season 9 of The Voice of Holland with a dynamic jazz and swing repertoire. The supple voiced singer parlayed that victory into FOREVER YOU, his sparkling ballad, big band and soul/funk driven debut co-written with former Frank Sinatra pianist and songwriter Jeff Franzel. Featuring six soulful and heartfelt originals and four covers (including pop hits re-imagined via bold big band arrangements), the engaging collection colorfully showcases the powerful, dramatic reaches of Van Aarssen’s vocals and a sweet, tender intimacy that make his original ballads the true highlights of the set.
For a perfect soundtrack to a night of dance and romance, there’s no surer bet than saxophonist Kim Waters, whose latest epic collection SHAKEDOWN marks his 30th year as a recording artist – the last 22 with Shanachie. Believing that “music…brings joy in these trying times,” the multi-talented artist and producer graces us with another set of gems driven by sweet, soulful melodies, uplifting lite funk grooves, faster paced club jams, a few splashes of island exotica and a spirited re-imagining of a contemporary pop/R&B hit (Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up"). For the first time in his career, the multi-instrumentalist composed every original tune at the piano before heading for the studio. The magical result is naturally dedicated to his wife Dana and his twin daughters Kimberly and Kayla.
A popular R&B website once wrote, “If Carole King and Sade had a kid, she would be Lindsey Webster.” Regaling us with her emotionally compelling, rhythmically eclectic masterpiece A WOMAN LIKE ME, the versatile vocalist and songwriter powers and finesses her way to become a genre-transcendent phenomenon. While once again showcasing her effortless facility for breezy pop/R&B/jazz as well as passionate, heartrending balladry, Lindsey also reveals a more vulnerable, personal and intimate side of herself than ever before. Working for the first time with legendary groovemeisters Nathan East, Vinnie Colaiuta and Luis Conte, she’s developed into a deeply insightful, soul-piercing storyteller, sharing different facets of her inner truths and daily struggles while maintaining her hopeful optimism and desire to achieve balance in her life, as the woman she is.
Nearly 10-years after being named runner-up in the Capital Jazz Challenge, that launched his exciting and prolific career as a Smooth Jazz artist, Detroit-bred saxophonist Deon Yates is feeling more than great, he's feeling QUINTASTIC. The socially trending title of his 5th solo album literally means “a person aged 50 or more and is still attractive and successful.” That timeless magnetism, relentless hooks and intense, horn-sizzling energy are the driving forces that propelled the title track onto the Groove Jazz Top 100 Smooth Jazz Songs of 2019! Featuring guest producers Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Jackiem Joyner and Darren Rahn, the current single, "In The Moment," features producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Mitchell!
Listening Loft : MUST HAVES
This is contemporary jazz for a new generation… empowering, sure-fired and compelling instrumental music! The talented, Chicago-based composer and keyboardist delivers an out of this world hit, "Luna Blu." Produced by Smooth Jazz, chart-topping saxophonist Darren Rahn, and featuring critically acclaimed jazz guitarist Tim Bowman, the exciting tune is a pivotal turn for Allman, who has already made formidable impact on the genre with his previous releases and performances at renowned jazz festivals and events, opening for notables such as Larry Carlton! The classy, musical tastemaker elevates listeners to an exhilarating destination with “Luna Blu.”
True to the fascinating, multi-faceted title concept of his latest album SHADES OF BLU, masterful guitarist Juewett Bostick – whose fluid, funky axe has backed recording royalty including Grover Washington Jr., Nancy Wilson, and Barry White – soulfully blends his cool, urban jazz style with elements of the classic blues & jazz as well as neo soul jazz. Bridging beloved traditions with current musical innovations, Bostic creates a rich, colorful sonic world featuring female vocals, exotic vocal textures, spoken word conversations, state-of-the-art technology and global rhythms. These caress a blend of buoyant originals and re-imagined classics by Jimi Hendrix, Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley.
Colorful, uplifting, steady grooving and wildly inspiring, singer/songwriter James Bowman III's latest album THINGS ON MY MIND offers a seamless merging of gospel energy, sacred reverence and urban oriented Smooth Jazz. Having played with Brian McKnight and Mervyn Warren and opened for everyone from Edwin Hawkins, Kirk Franklin and BeBe & CeCe Winans, the multi-talented artist and seductive vocalist has plenty to communicate about - the Lord, marriage, family and relationship. Led by a spiritual lyrical reworking of an Earth, Wind & Fire classic, the collection offers a positive overall message to combat the harsh discourse occurring in the world today.
She's called the The Saxophone Queen because she IS! Fostina Dixon delivers hard-hitting, deeply grooving, slickly and soulfully produced urban jazz on her latest album VERTICAL ALIGNMENT. The multi-talented artist - whose decades long resume includes Abbey Lincoln, Roy Ayers, as well as Prince and Marvin Gaye, whom she toured with for four years she weaves her emotional, gospel inflected magic on soprano, alto and baritone (not to mention flute and clarinet) with equal sparkle and funk. New to Smooth Jazz, this bright star is already blazing up format airplay charts with help from fellow musical vets and producers, bassist Al Turner and multi-instrumentalist Ray Chew. Fostina is a one-of-a-kind talent... we're lucky to have her in our mix!
Turning a onetime clever album title into the name of his high energy ensemble, Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band work major musical healing miracles on their latest album MIDNIGHT DAYDREAM. With a sizzling swirl of pop, R&B, traditional and contemporary jazz, topped off with tasty touches of Latin, blues and swing, Dr. Dave embraces the freedom to improvise more than ever before and tackle jazz classics and a popular TV theme in addition to a slate of ultra-infectious originals. Two new singles out this year from Dr. Dave's coolest collection yet, on the heels of his chart-topping “Sexy Cindy,” (named for Cindy Sanchez Medina, Miss Santander, Colombia 2018), expect the tropical jazz of "Cabo Time" and the sensual title track, "Midnight Daydream" to saunter up the Smooth Jazz charts as well.
On his remarkable concept album CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF, veteran saxophonist Quintin Gerard W draws on his lifelong love for aviation and soaring passions for funk, soul, gospel, blues and jazz to create an inspirational journey filled with sonic images of flying, exotic destinations and the deep spiritual places in his heart. Driven by his empowering melodic horn leads, the multi-talented artist, composer and producer entwines his intuitive sense of sensuality with old school sensibilities, varying tempos, atmospheres and instrumental and vocal harmony.
One of Smooth Jazz’s top behind the scenes forces over the years, Grammy nominated producer, Nate Harasim, has worked his sonic magic producing everyone from Brian Simpson and Dave Koz to Nils, Darren Rahn and Lin Rountree. Re-emerging as a recording artist after a five- year hiatus from his solo work with the single “Never Look Back,” the multi-talented composer, keyboardist and former Navy Special Ops serviceman joins forces with sultry Detroit singer Monica Notaro to weave a powerfully hypnotic, slow pulsing and ambient reflection on wisely letting go of a once beautiful romance whose bloom has faded.
The title of Lowell Hopper’s new album says it all. When the Panama City, Florida guitarist and Smooth Jazz favorite plays, there’s always MAGIC IN THE AIR! Musical trends may come and go, but Hopper – a 20-year Air Force veteran - has been keepin’ it real and consistent for over 25 years with tight, infectious melodies, spirited light funk grooves and crisp, fluid lines that hit the heart with soulful sensuality every time out. On the new album, he adds touches of simmering blues, exotic percussion and tasty island vibes to his ever-adventurous repertoire.
Celebrating his tenth year as a recording artist, well-traveled Minneapolis born soprano saxophonist Antonio Jackson’s SIMPLICITY gracefully delivers what its title promises: a pure, soulful, gently grooving soundtrack that lands on the chillout side of the jazz spectrum. Throughout his lengthy career, Jackson has funked it up for everyone from Chaka Khan and Average White Band to Run DMC and currently supporting Twin Cities soul great Alexander O’Neal. His own artist vibe – illustrated beautifully via the sensual flow of this collection - is all about sultry ambience, intimacy, slo-jamming and dreamy, old school R&B romance.
A fascinating, diverse musical citizen of the world, guitarist/composer Reza Khan brings a wealth of progressive jazz and global fusion influences and sensibilities to NEXT TRAIN HOME. Featuring everything from dreamy funk and percussive, multi-cultural exchanges to fiery electric jazz fusion, the festive, extraordinarily intricate album was composed primarily in hotel rooms throughout Africa, where Khan traveled as part of his amazing “day job” as program manager for the United Nations. Khan’s essential tracks featuring Pat Metheny’s longtime bassist Mark Egan are enhanced by the colorful sound design of Philippe Saisse, along with dynamic contributions by Andy Snitzer, Jeff Kashiwa and Nils.
If you dig Rick Braun, you’ll welcome veteran trumpeter Ron King’s picture-perfect Smooth Jazz debut album DOWNTOWN MAMA with open arms ready to sway and groove. Drawing on a decades-long resume filled with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye to David Benoit and Jeff Lorber, King and producer Paul Brown fire up the old school, soul-jazz cool and the stylish horn textures while keeping the silk and funk (and a touch of fiery big band energy) flowing. King complements his bright infectious originals with colorful twists on classics by David Sanborn and The Rolling Stones!
Though he’s scored several Smooth Jazz hits under his previous moniker Jack Magnet, legendary Icelandic keyboardist/composer Jakob Magnusson returns to his given name on his dynamic new EP HIGH NORTH. Written with and produced by Paul Brown, it’s a rhythmically and stylistically eclectic set showcasing the artist’s melodic and improvisational piano and Fender Rhodes brilliance while celebrating a spirited fusion of cultures. Ensembling with American musicians Jeff Ryan, Greg Vail, Lee Thornburg and Lenny Castro and many of his Iceland-based collaborators, Magnusson romps through a set infused with everything from in your face urban jazz funk to old school Crusaders-flavored soul-jazz.
A onetime member of the orchestras of Glenn Miller and Harry James, saxophonist Gary Meggs calls the release of his latest album LIFE’S LITTLE CHANGES a “lifelong dream, a chance to help place my own footprint in the Smooth Jazz scene,” inspired by the West Coast Jazz of the 80’s and 90’s. Collaborating with rock/fusion guitarist Bryan Jeffries, who produced the collection, Meggs’ brings a bold and brash horn energy to an exciting, stylistically eclectic collection that includes spirited Latin influences, innovative arrangements of pop standards and re-imagined versions (complete with new titles) of a gospel and seasonal classics.
True to the title of his latest can’t miss, in the pocket collection of radio-friendly gems and otherworldly sonic delights, guitarist, composer and producer Nils has been happily CAUGHT IN THE GROOVE as one of Smooth Jazz’s premiere hitmakers and producers for over 15 years. Yet for the artist and his usual crew – including horn player and arranger Johnny Britt and vocalist Clydene Jackson - the easy funk flow is merely the launching pad for a multi-faceted experience. Nils complements his trademark crisp pop/soul/funk vibes with more ambient, atmospheric experimentation and deeper jazz musings with master pianist and Rhodes player Mitchel Forman. One listen and you too will be CAUGHT IN THE GROOVE!
Phaze II’s fifth and latest album boasts the clever title NO COVER CHARGE, but their kind of finely honed, supremely cool eclectic magic is worth any price! Now well into their third decade lighting the jazz, funk, Latin and R&B fires in their hometown of Washington, DC, the six-piece super-ensemble Phaze II – onetime winners of the Capital Jazz Challenge Competition - alternates their flow between silky, seductive cool, fiery, wild energy storms and infectious, easy grooving mid-tempo tunes. They balance their more muscular, rocking offerings with dreamier pieces clearly and designed to melt the heart.
With a sparkling saxophone vibe that’s been lighting up the Pacific Northwest for years, Kenney Polson – who’s appeared on TV with greats like David Sanborn and Wynton Marsalis - has blended Smooth Jazz with a wide variety of influences, including Latin, classical, R&B/funk and gospel. True to its title FOR LOVERS ONLY, Polson’s latest recording finds him creating a tight, soulful ensemble with members of Tower of Power, Kool & the Gang and Parliament, among others. Soothing, romantic and lyrical, the album builds an easy groove with new compositions and satisfying classics.
Even if Danny Rae’s hooky, R&B flavored “Gimme A Call” wasn’t one of the most soulful, inviting and emotionally provocative Smooth Jazz vocal singles of the year, the story of how she came to record it as well as her upcoming debut album ENOUGH FOR ME, would be inspirational. A few years ago, the singer left a steady job, her family and friends to move to L.A. to pursue her musical dreams. While working with other local indie artists, she hooked up with legendary bassist Tony Saunders, who brings his deep sense of groove and atmospheric finesse to her warmly inviting vocals. Add this girl to speed dial!
Pooling the talents and expansive pop/R&B/gospel resumes of guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black, bassist Tony Saunders and keyboardist Sylvester Burks, the Rainforest Band is a hard grooving and sensually soulful ensemble whose debut album PEACE TO THE PLANET reflects a deeper environmentally conscious mission. The inspiration behind the blues, rock, jazz and funk vibes by these three and special guests including saxophonist Jeff Ryan, keyboardist Gail Jhonson and percussionist Marquino Brasil takes us back to 1990’s original Rainforest Band formed by Tony’s father Merl Saunders and Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. The latest single, “Caribbean Sunset” is a sophisticated love song with an exotic melody and a breezy retro feel, produced by Ron Umile and Vernon "Ice" Black on San Francisco Records.
Celebrating a multi-faceted, on and off five-decade career that’s found him playing blues, pop/rock and traditional jazz, classically trained guitarist Jim Richter made his SmoothJazz.com debut in 2019 with the impressive, Smooth Jazz charting album BREEZY DAY. This is the killer follow-up collection to his successful entry into the genre. MR. KOOL is infused with a multitude of vibes and grooves – from light funk and punchy pop/rock to dreamy ballads, driving rock jams and blues-fired romps – this collection may remind you of the high spirited, freewheeling way contemporary jazz soared in the 80s and 90s.
Exotically named after a beautiful roman thoroughfare in the Italian Alps, Roman Street – the multi-talented duo Noah and Josh Thompson – brings deeper funk, more groove and simmering soul than ever before on the sexy and explosive BALCONY OF THE WORLD, their first album in four years. Artfully blending pop sensibilities, classical traditions, spicy gypsy jazz and intricate melodies and solos into a sensual, fiery fusion, the group continues to build formidably on the infectious and exotic foundations laid by famed duos Strunz & Farah, Lara & Reyes and Acoustic Alchemy while opening enticing, spice-filled doors to the future.
The BAKERS DOZEN referenced in the title of keyboardist Walter Runge’s adventurous, funked to the max and intensely slammin’ debut not only refers to the set list of 13 tunes, but is also a loving homage to his German immigrant grandfather Opa – a baker and musician who imparted his passion for music. That legacy found expression over the years in critically acclaimed cover bands, blues, rock, jazz and gospel groups – all of which gives Runge a broad, high-octane palette of rock, R&B, urban jazz, George Dukesque jazz fusion and experimental vibes to draw from. This collection has a vintage vibe that is sure to appeal to jazz hipsters and contemporary jazz lovers around the world.
As Bay Area groovemeisters keyboardist Marco Montoya and founding guitarist Stan Evans imagined their infectious, soul-piercing vibe back in 2016, you never know what you’re going to find grooving down The Smooth Jazz Alley! With drummer/producer Kevin Lewis taking over for Evans as co-leader, the ensemble’s second album LET’S RIDE is chock full of tasty R&B cool, sultry light funk and dynamic, soaring key and sax duality created by Montoya and guest Smooth Jazz sax stars Greg Vail, Eric Marienthal and Andy Snitzer. Complementing Evans’ still formidable electric guitar are feisty licks by Carlyle Barriteau, Matt Godina and Joel Del Rosario.
Having experienced success as an NYC rocker, composer, producer and woodwind performer Warren Keller now channels his most vibrant, grooving influences into his role as leader of the perfectly named fiery, urban jazz fusion ensemble Spontaneous Groovin’ Combustion. Their latest single “Jackie’s New Car” simmers over a mid-tempo funk swing vibe with a dynamic and infectious melody carried by the razzle-dazzle of “The Session Horns,” retro keyboards, jangly guitars and Keller’s punchy, improvisation-rich sax solo. This snazzy, infectious track will be featured on the group’s upcoming self-titled EP, which includes sampled Jeff Lorber as well as support from Third Richardson, Alex Al, and Dwight Sills.
The three words that form the acronym in big, in COMING BIG, (Blessed. Inspired. Genuine.), the 6th independently released solo album by sensual, easy-grooving saxophonist R.L. Walker, says it all about his intentions and the dynamic vibes he shares. Drawing from his personal spiritual path and background in gospel music, he’s truly feeling blessed, inspired and genuinely showcasing his skillset! Like other gospel/jazz saxophonists such as Kirk Whalum, Walker has a few direct references to his faith, but mostly, his passion plays out via sensual, infectious ballads of varying tempos and old school, soul-jazz leanings. Guests include bassist Brendan Rothwell, vocalist Demetriace “Chee Chee” Jordan and keyboardist/producer/arranger Lew Laing Jr.
If you enjoy your Smooth Jazz with exciting touches of African exotica, Earnest Walker, Jr’s IFATOBA (meaning “the king has arrived” in an ancient West African language) is your gateway to multi-cultural adventure. The versatile saxophonist blends fast paced funk, deep, soulful slo-jams and intoxicating ethnic vibes with cool musical and spoken word interludes to paint a narrative celebrating glorious family bonds and the foundational culture and rhythms of his African heritage. The lighthearted joy he brings to the mix is the perfect way to convey his belief that the best of this universe is expressed through dance and music.
Listening Loft : ESSENTIALS
Discover infectious, horn-spiced, old school and neo soul gems on urban jazz songwriter and vocalist Julius Adams’ new EP, LIFE AND LOVE. Impossible not to get wrapped up in his retro-cool vibes and deeply penetrating joy, optimism and forward-thinking energy. With loads of spirit, silk and sensuality to spare, Adams takes us on a mini-journey through different types of love – romantic with a partner, choosing to love ourselves and the ultimate love of God. Fans of Smokey and KEM will love Julius!
A musical citizen of the world who also happens to be an award-winning anthropologist, Congolese born, Stockholm based singer and multi-instrumentalist Marius Billgobenson’s soulful and exotic new single “Tribes in Mind” dynamically fuses the polyphonic singing of the “Forest People” of his culture with piano and sax driven urban jazz. While painting a compelling and poetic autobiography of his unique roots and life journey, the socially conscious artist celebrates the universal concept of home and caring for and sharing love with others.
Extraordinary songwriter and vocalist Castella (Cathy Thompson) debuts with her first EP, THINKING ABOUT YOU, an inspiring collection of smooth soul jazz and love songs designed to inspire bliss, produced by veteran record producer Darryl Swann; also on-board musical genius Corey Stampley. The former government human resources executive embraces her musical destiny with this heartfelt, powerfully crafted collection of songs. The Long Beach, California native embarks at the start of what is sure to be a very successful, hit-filled journey as a smooth songstress.
Supremely versatile German composer/keyboardist Robert Christa may be a relatively new presence in Smooth Jazz, but he and his crew of dynamic and inspiring guest artists are bound to capture your musical sensibilities on his latest album SMOOTH WORLD. Driving the versatile, globally conscious magic with acoustic piano and retro keys, he and his ensemble infuse their journey with hits on all the cultural hotspots – vocal R&B, romantic urban jazz, rousing gospel, thumping EDM, jazz fusion, balmy Brazilian music and mystical new age/prog rock.
Several decades after a very young Dhenibe first showcased her formidable vocal talent at family karaoke gatherings, the Swiss singer (from Filipino roots) makes a stunning leap from being a popular studio and concert backup singer to an emotionally impactful solo artist on her sparkling self-titled debut. Blending sensual ballads, easy-struttin’ romantic funk tunes and a bit of freewheeling party energy, she showcases a multi-faceted artistry infused with classic soul, urban jazz, exuberant exultations and exquisite soft-spoken longing and heartfulness.
Prepare to have an unforgettable and magical night that will have you snapping your fingers, tapping your toes and dancing the night away with Nick Dukas’ single “Mr. Moon (Take It Away)” from his latest EP, FEELIN’ GOOD FEELIN’ FINE. Nick shares the spotlight on vocals with Jennifer Day Morrison on this fun and jazzy melody which was co-written by Dukas as a duet with well-known lyricists Anthony Little and Morrison.
Dukas, an eleven-time silver global music award winning singer/ songwriter, recently warmed up the holiday season with his feel good lyrics and artistic charm on his tune WRAP YOU UP FOR CHRISTMAS which reached #25 on the SmoothJazz.com’s Top 100 Holiday Chart. Nick’s “Mr. Moon (Take It Away)” is sure to warm you up all over again as as you tell the stars in the sky that this is your special night!!
With 19 albums since 2004, Argentine born, Israeli based multi-instrumentalist Pablo Embon is a deeply prolific musical citizen of the world. Featuring his dual prowess on acoustic piano and guitar, HARMONY TALES unleashes a wild multitude of moods and vibes with a fearless swirl of everything from funky urban jazz, gentle new age piano, lilting and feisty Latin to explosive, jazz fusion - including tracks played on Fender Rhodes. Embon’s tales are told with equal parts boldness and delightful melodic and harmonic accessibility.
The voice of EverLove will draw you in from the first note as she joins up with chart-topping, Smooth Jazz guitarist, Adam Hawley, to riff with her on the exceptional, new single "Grateful." The smooth, R&B, contemporary jazz hit shines with a unique blending of crystal-clear vocals, authentic instrumentation, and high-quality production. If Gratitude is the gateway drug to Happiness, get ready for something to make you very happy and "Grateful."
In the spirit of Jonathan Butler and Kirk Whalum and other masters who infuse their Smooth with gospel music, composer, pianist and drummer Louie Fitzgerald brings his deep faith and joy of the Lord into every playful and infectious melody, laid back and explosive groove and heartfelt romantic expression on his latest album MY HEART BEATS FOR YOU. Driven by his blend of elegant and funky piano and delightfully soulful organ harmonies, Fitzgerald takes us and our weary souls to musical church at a time we need it most.
Keeping the funky, infectious flow of his expansive OUTSIDE THE BOX series going, pianist/composer David Garfield leads a buoyant all-star Smooth Jazz jam with his perfectly titled new single “Sweetness.” While the early part of the song, and feisty hook feature the inimitable energy of Gerald Albright – who creates a powerful later horn tandem with Rick Braun - the emotional core is Garfield’s spirited improvisation over a tight groove created by Paul Jackson, Jr., “Ready” Freddie Washington, David Williams and Lenny Castro.
From the forthcoming new album PRIME CUTS, acclaimed Caribbean guitarist Ronald Boo Hinkson’s 4th studio album on Zephryn Records, we enjoy a rousing musical journey with his latest single, “African Queen.” Featuring Hinkson’s skillful guitar work, along with Arturro Tappin’s uplifting flute playing, mixed with inspiring vocal and rhythmic influences from Africa and the West Indies, this festive and engaging tune will leave you longing for West Indian Carnival! “African Queen” will shatter your Quarantine Blues!
Hot off his first-ever Billboard charting single, urban oriented Detroit-born, Phoenix-based saxophonist JWhite drops an EP whose empowering title FEARLESS reflects his defiant way of overcoming odds, struggles and doubts to emerge as a solidly soulful Smooth Jazz presence. Blending intensely emotional grit with silky cool melodic lines, he creates a passionate, timeless vibe that’s fresh and contemporary yet nostalgically and romantically old school. Testament to his multi-faceted next generation talent, his guests on FEARLESS include genre greats Darryl Williams, Gail Jhonson and Nick Colionne.
A renowned luminary in his adopted hometown of NYC who has also toured throughout Europe, Russia and Australia, veteran trumpeter Michael C. Lewis’ INTIMATE JOURNEY is the kind of clever, artful, stylistically expansive album that Miles Davis would be making if he were still alive and rising up the Smooth Jazz charts. Lewis enhances his inviting melodies with a blend of old school textures, soothing atmospheres, tight hip-hop elements and edgy electronica flavors. Complementing the vibrant instrumentals, he also impresses with a deep vocal timbre perfect for creating a romantic urban jazz vibe.
On a roll and receiving all sorts of Smooth Jazz love since the release of his 2018 debut WAVES OF INDIGO, Len Mizzoni keeps his soulfully romantic and tightly grooving momentum flowing on his promisingly titled new album FOREVER. A former member of the Juno Award winning band Frozen Ghost, the Canadian singer, songwriter and saxman hits that sweet spot where thoughtful lyrics, infectious hooks and his edgy yet sensitive vocals meet deep sensuality and playful retro synthy dance rhythms.
If you dig cats like Marcus Miller, Gerald Veasley and Julian Vaughn, you’re gonna groove instantly with Detroit bassist, composer and producer Darron “Cookie” Moore. His latest recording LIFETIME is a slo-jam delight - a sensual, infectious, sonically innovative and feel-good funky reflection on a multi-faceted musical journey that he’s found himself immersed in for years in Motor City’s urban jazz and gospel scenes. It’s a dynamic homegrown set that includes powerful collaborators including saxophonist LaDarrel Johnson and vocalists Ladon Ford and Mekial White Jr. All music composed, and all bass parts played by Darron “Cookie” Moore, with the exception of “Tried,” co-written by Mekial White Jr., co-produced by and featuring Dana Davis.
Five years after promising us a sultry and funky Digital Future, multi-instrumentalist (piano, keys, bass, drums) and all-around music industry veteran Herb Partlow takes his game to the “Next Level” with the lead single from his upcoming album of the same name. Wrapping us in a seductive, swaying and super-romantic flow, he lays the atmospheric soul foundation for the intertwining of guitarist Ricardo Love’s fluid lead lines, saxophonist DeLon Charley’s dreamy soprano flow and ethereal wordless female vocals.
On top of their individual mile long resumes and multiple decades of performing and recording with literally hundreds of artists, saxophonist and flutist Paul Messina and bassist Mark R. Harris worked together in various capacities for years before fusing their melodic, rhythmic and soloing brilliance on their perfectly titled THE BIGGER PICTURE. While the collection thrives on its funky, in the pocket Smooth Jazz romps, the breezy Caribbean and Brazilian ventures are equally divine.
With this stunning, breezy and delightfully infectious pop tune, emerging smooth pop singer songwriter Jay R. Stephens sets out to inspire on many levels. A young lawyer pursuing his musical dreams, his vocal harmony driven “Give It Up” shows that just because you’re successful in one world doesn’t mean you have to hold your talents back from another. Lyrically, the song boldly offers an optimistic path forward, one that you will gladly groove and sing along to, especially if you can relate to feeling stuck in what may feel like a hopeless situation. Giving it up, never felt or sounded so good!
VIBIN’ around Valentine’s Day, versatile St. Louis saxophonist Rod Tate closes in on 26 years as a recording artist with his perfectly titled new release – a stylistically eclectic celebration of romantic love and a soulfully lived life of purpose. Fully embodying his longtime mission to create music that speaks “love to your spirit,” the multi-faceted artist blends his trademark slow, silky late-night vibes with a variety of playful excursions to funk, rock, Latin and bossa nova territory.
Britney Spears goes Smooth Jazz? Yep, and quite brilliantly and sultrily so in the silky, easy groovin’ hands of The Frost Duo, the popular, multi-faceted soft rock/jazz tandem of multi-instrumentalist Christian Gratz and inviting vocalist LeahBeth Evans. Following a debut album, a slew of singles and countless indie music awards, the two take the pop star’s signature smash “Baby One More Time” to a fresh and sexy place, infusing it with neo-soul, jazzy electric guitar and playful, breezy splashes of steel pan magic. One more time and with jazz!
After 40 years as a performer, composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist (vocals, drums, piano, keyboards) Charles Thompson draws from his funk/R&B and gospel roots in creating his catchy, eminently grooving and sonically inventive synth and piano driven genre debut IT’S MY TIME / Smooth Jazz Vibrations 1. Working with a variety of rhythmic bass and percussive foundations, Charles tops his infectious melodies off with colorful horn riffs and trippy harmonic vibes while conveying an overall sense of divine inspiration and encouragement.
Truly embodying the title of his debut Smooth Jazz EP, A NEW DAY, Tray White brings all the excitement, energy and joyful uplift of his years recording and performing gospel music into his fresh and funky, soul-jazz style. Rich on joyful bounce and thick grooves, the Philly bred multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer stirs up a colorful synthesis of sound on this release, featuring piano and flute driven melodies with dynamic synth, brass and vocal textures. Welcome to A NEW DAY!
A true beacon of jazz multi-culturalism, well-traveled Austrian saxophonist and shiatsu practitioner Markus Zahrl makes a bold entry into the Smooth Jazz realm by opening his debut EP CELTIC DANCE with a high energy Irish jig jam. Once the Conservatory of Vienna and Berklee educated musician, arranger, composer and music educator has our attention, he shifts amiably into a more sensual urban flow showcasing his skills on several different saxes and adding touches of intoxicating exotica along the way. This is a must-have, musical journey bridging world-influenced ambient music with jazz.