- Norman Brown
- Heart To Heart
- Shanachie Entertainment
- Paul Brown
- Ones Upon A Time
- Woodward Avenue
- The 2ND Coming
- MMP Sound, Inc.
- Dave Baker & Rich Kurtz
- Forever New
- DAB Music
- Misz The Groove Producer
- Praise and Devotion: Inspirational Jazz
- Mary Stewart
- Stephen Rothhaar
- Brendan Rothwell
- Tony Saunders
- Sexy Somethin
- San Francisco Records
- The Sahara Club
- The Sahara Club
- R.L. Walker
- Coming Big
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.
Years after discovering her, jazz legend Lionel Hampton exclaimed of Sylvia Bennett, “Man, that lady can sing! Her magic gets to the ears and the hearts of the audience.” The extraordinary, multi-talented Grammy nominated vocalist does just that once again on her exceptional new album THIS LOVE IS REAL. To the delight of Smooth Jazz fans, Bennett has been part of the genre for much of the new millennium, recording hits with Paul Brown and Rick Braun. Recent smashes featuring Nathan East and Arturo Sandoval lay the buoyant foundation of the new collection produced by Hal S. Batt, which finds Bennett artfully swinging from playful and whimsical to passionate and sensual as she brings smooth grooves and Latin-tinged twists to her all-time favorite subject… love!
In 2019, pioneering acid-jazz architect Bluey Maunick celebrated the 40th anniversary of his groundbreaking UK based funk/jazz/soul collective Incognito in grand style with TOMORROW’S NEW DREAM. That ongoing dream now includes TINTED SKY, his first solo album in five years which showcases a more intimate side of his artistry while opening a door into his deeper passions and socially conscious heart. Collaborating on songwriting and with longtime Incognito associate Richard Bull, Bluey creates a landscape expressing the many facets of today’s social challenges via tunes that are spirited and thought-provoking. Raw, honest and embracing his truest self, Bluey shares insightful messages with grooves on this labor of love!
One of Smooth Jazz’s most prolific hitmakers for nearly 30 years, Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown meets our unique moment in history with his socially conscious, spiritually enlightening new album HEART TO HEART. Confronting our uncertainty with constant comfort and cool balance through shimmering, forward-thinking energy, Brown surrounds his sensual and hard-grooving, crisp melodic electric guitar licks with stirring contributions by Peter White, Gregg Karukas, Paul Brown, Jeff Lorber and Chris “Big Dog” Davis. Manifesting his belief that we are all interconnected and that we must have a real heart to heart, to achieve loving peace on earth, Brown pays homage to Wes Montgomery, takes us to church, gets bluesy, hits the beach and closes with a blistering fusion rocker showcasing another dimension of his vast artistry.
Producing dozens of #1 hits for himself and countless Smooth Jazz greats, Paul Brown has helped define the genre’s sensual and grooving aesthetic over the past three decades. Putting a fresh spin on the traditional “greatest hits” concept, the two-time Grammy winning guitarist/composer’s cleverly titled latest album ONES UPON A TIME offers exhilarating re-imaginings of classic tracks he originally produced for everyone from Boney James and Larry Carlton to Kirk Whalum and George Benson. In addition to focusing the lead melodies on his inimitable, blues-inflected electric guitarisma, he offers some hip new arrangements and colorful sonic details which take the tunes to another level. On hand to help Brown re-create the magic are Euge Groove, Rick Braun, Gregg Karukas, Richard Elliot, DW3, Darren Rahn and Jeff Ryan.
Those who listen intently to the sensual yet funky, soulfully provocative, and spiritually-uplifting journey Marshall Charloff leads us through on his new album UNPERFECT may find his humble title ironic – since, vocally and instrumentally, it’s truly Smooth Jazz perfection in every way. Drawing on a fascinating background that includes fronting symphony orchestras and touring globally paying tribute to Prince, and work with Atlanta Rhythm Section and The Commodores, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist seamlessly showcases many of the elements that have defined his multifaceted career. Balancing the romantic acoustic dreaminess and sweet, easy flowing neo-soul, he grooves deeply with affirmative emotional/spiritual messages and two versions of a jam that pays homage to Prince and the sound of Minneapolis that Charloff has been sharing for years.
A spiritually grounded husband and wife duo that recognizes music as a universal healer, Maryland based Butch & Rhonda Coleman create a fascinating dual sound around the plucky thump of his bass and her versatility as a sultry pop/R&B singer and jazz keyboardist. The title of their third album MOMENT OF YOUR TIME doubles as an invitation to get to know them and their deft blend of old school soul-jazz, breezy and heartfelt balladry and buoyant urban-flavored Smooth Jazz. Adept at creating a variety of moods, the Colemans like to say that their music tells a story. Here, that’s paying homage to past influences like Bill Withers while making sure we’re hip to their eclectic, very contemporary sexy, funky flow.
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.
It’s perfectly fitting that Euge Groove put the final touches on his brilliant and uplifting, several years in the making new album SING MY SONG during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown. Celebrating a remarkable 20 years as a Smooth Jazz hit maker, the always seductive, constantly grooving saxophonist perfectly meets our moment of struggle and anxiety with a collection that artfully balances his usual sweet splashes of horn-textured romancing and dancing with dynamic moments of gospel energy, hopeful inspiration, forward thinking and self-empowerment. In addition to a lively re-imagining of a Herb Alpert classic, Euge includes two versions of the gorgeous soaring title track featuring Maysa (one produced and the other stripped down) and compelling tracks featuring the always-infectious magic of Peter White and Paul Brown.
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!
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and Motema label founder Jana Herzen and renowned bassist Charnett Moffett are true jazz legends in their own right. Yet their latest collaboration ROUND THE WORLD so artfully blends soul sensitivity and quirky originality in its acoustic arrangements, it could just as easily be considered alt-pop or modern folk. The collection is a spirited, twist and turn filled extension of the duo’s 12-year creative partnership that includes an initial duo project in 2012 and touring together. Intuitive in their breezy yet sometimes off the beaten path arrangements, they blend graceful and jaunty re-imaginings of classics by The Beatles, Men at Work, Kermit the Frog, Roberta Flack and Maria Muldaur with heartfelt, easy grooving originals that fit snugly and seamlessly amidst the more familiar fare.
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.
Since being named one of 10 Dallas based artists to watch in 2018, hipster jazz, pop and neo-soul singer-songwriter M’lynn has been on a creative roll, releasing her debut EP GROUNDING and three popular singles at Smooth Jazz radio. Currently studying music business at the University of Miami, she’s built a fan base with her seductive songwriting and vocals that flow like Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae and Adele, but have an emotional resonance and sonic uniqueness all of their own. Her latest single, the hypnotic, soulfully intoxicating ballad “Forget the Day,” is already brewing up global interest on popular streaming platforms. The tune takes us into the midst of an emotional conflict that never sounded so good. Once M’lynn draws you in, via her transcendent blend of sensual, ethereal vocals and dreamy floating atmospheres, you’ll never “Forget the Day” you discovered her!
A versatile bass player for an astonishing 45 years, Keith Mason’s life has been dedicated to and defined by his passion for two things that make his latest album I SURRENDER ALL an emotionally impactful and spiritually edifying delight – music and the Lord. With a Christian Smooth Jazz sound incorporating his love for jazz, R&B, funk and gospel, he showcases his poppin’ basslines in the service of a cool yet rhythmically punchy flow that reflects a rich anointing and some truly amazing grace. The collection was inspired by Mark 8:36 (“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”) and his titles are all expressions of his faith… the thoughtful, inviting and exuberant vibes have been Crafted to lift you up spiritually and engage you intellectually.
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.
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!
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.
Propelling powerfully into their second quarter century of hard-jamming live performances and recording, West Coast based phenoms Under The Lake – truly the freewheeling, adventurous West Coast equivalent to Spyro Gyra – infuse their high-octane latest album YOUR HORIZON TOO with a multitude of stylistic excursions built on its grooving Smooth Jazz foundation. Led by founder and keyboardist Jayson Tipp, the core trio adds crackling elements of funk, old school R&B, neo-soul, a true spirit of freewheeling jazz fusion and dashes of mystical cool to their relentlessly inventive mix. Although guitarist Patrick Yandall and saxophonist Quintin Gerard W are billed as featured guests, the two interact powerfully with the band while making the deepest emotional impact with their intense, heartfelt solos.
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.
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
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.
Patrick Bradley wrote his latest single “Reinvention,” in a mental space of deep introspection, with an eye towards loving better and being true to his purpose. If that purpose is to lift spirits and inspire, this veteran chart-topping keyboardist - working again with his longtime producer and collaborator Jeff Lorber – succeeds brilliantly on this vibrant, melodic, smooth-rockin,’ jazzy piece. The punchy groove is anchored by drummer Gary Novak, allowing Patrick to complement the track with his lively, free-flowing piano musings with organ and synth harmonies, kicking everything up a notch for epic guitar hero Michael Thompson’s memorable musings.
A longtime expert on the evolving integration of music and technology, Grammy-winning pianist, composer and arranger Dominic Camardella brings a fascinating background to the sensual, easy-grooving melodic flow of his debut Smooth Jazz collection, SOOTHE. The owner and primary audio engineer of Santa Barbara Sound Design, Dominic has been a TV/Film sound designer and mixer who has worked with, among others, Ottmar Liebert, Carlos Santana, Anita Baker and Michael McDonald. Elements of soul, and electro-chill complement his soothing musical atmospheric, laid-back vibe as well as lush interactions with acoustic guitar and dreamy trumpet.
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.
Closing in on 30 years as a recording artist, Richmond, VA based saxophonist James Saxsmo Gates offers timely words of wisdom to accompany his sonically bold, sweetly sensual and intensely funked-out new album STEPPING OUT. The Founder of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program at Virginia State University writes, “Together we can make it if… we Keep Jazz Alive!” Six years in the making, the faith-driven project pairs Gates’ steamy, igniting horn fire with a batch of multi-talented collaborators (including guitarists Alan Parker and Freddie Fox) to create the perfect party mix of anthem-like originals and soulful pop covers.
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.
18-year-old Nyah Grace grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Oregon, but now she’s a budding UK-based neo-soul/jazz star releasing her soul-stirring debut HONEY-COLOURED. The collection is driven by her romantic storytelling and hip, sensual and deeply intimate collaborations in England with producers Steve Chrisanthou and Michael Kwesi Graves. Chrisanthou was Grammy nominated for his similarly elegant work with Corinne Bailey Rae, who adds her inimitable vocals to the hit track, “My Sista Told Me.” Sultry, heartfelt and world wise beyond her years, Nyah has earned comparisons to Alicia Keys and Billie Holiday – but you may hear a bit of the other Billie… Eilish, on a few beautiful occasions.
Sometimes we just need to allow a song to break our hearts and make us cry. When you listen to Skii Harvey sing “So Cruel” – the lead single from her upcoming album BROKEN - the award-winning Australian artist’s sultry and seductive, yet world-weary and grit-filled voice may remind you of everyone from Cher and Melissa Etheridge to Tina Turner and Ella Fitzgerald. But a deeper dive into her emotion reveals a true original inviting us into the dark places of the soul - where regret and longing to change reality linger long after a love’s gone wrong. On the forthcoming album, the songsmith takes on the resilience of the human heart, no matter the challenge, we always endure.
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.
Famed music biographer David Ritz says of “Deodato,” the chilled, jazzy and hypnotically grooving latest single by Jazz Holdouts: “They ain’t holding out their love for their mentor, Deodato.” Continuously infused with colorful sonic details, the spirited, hard-driving track finds the powerhouse band of musical veterans, including keyboardist Alan Palanker, saxophonist Louis Cortelizzi, and guitarist Michael Thompson, paying fun-loving homage to legendary Brazilian composer, pianist and producer Eumir Deodato, who is famed for his similar fusion of styles. Palanker, a longtime part of the Deodato universe, includes a fiery electric piano solo worthy of his mentor! This hot number promises to turn up summer listening to sultry!
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!
Ten years in the making, ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD is not simply the debut album by Mexican born saxophonist Luis Gerardo Villarreal Aranda (aka LuiSaxo). It could also be the multi-faceted soundtrack to his dramatic, inspiring life of overcoming the odds. The collection’s lighthearted and funky, frequently intense and furious, deeply cinematic and often romantic and steamy vibes perfectly reflect the ups and downs of his life as a printer/designer, jazz club owner, hotelier and survivor of a serious lung infection. His mastery of all four saxes, impactful compositional style and use of symphonic strings creates a wondrous sonic cocktail that is Siempre Adelante!
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.
Hot off THE BIGGER PICTURE, his multi-faceted 2019 dual album with bassist Mark R. Harris, multi-talented veteran flutist and saxophonist Paul Messina stirs up a similarly stylistically eclectic mix on his latest solo album NIGHTWALK. The engaging collection finds the Miami-based artist tapping into his freewheeling passions for funky jazz fusion, balmy Caribbean, Latin and Brazilian, exotic Eastern tinged sounds and magic and lyrical and mystical atmospheric chill-jazz. While alternating between his muscular sax and virtuosic flute – sometimes playfully blending them on a single track – Messina and Platinum and Gold record winning producer/engineer Gary Vandy create their unique sonic world using synths and MIDI programming to artfully manipulate sound.
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!
NYC bred, South Florida based saxophonist, Gary Palmer has reinforced his arsenal with world-class, musical genius. The retired Lauderhill, FL police chief is currently brandishing a saxophone and continuing to deliver charting Smooth Jazz hits from his critically acclaimed sophomore release, COAST 2 COAST. Palmer reached out to a handful of contemporary urban jazz star artists and producers to fine tune the latest collection. His new single is produced by Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Paul Brown, and offers up a smooth and refreshing cover of Stanley Clarke’s classic, “Lisa.” We anticipate another contemporary jazz smash with this one… perfect for your summer soundtrack regardless of which coast you’re on!
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.
Launching his musical career with his family’s gospel ministry and serving as a Minister of Music for over 25 years, Solex has been blending gospel, classic R&B, neo-soul, jazz fusion, urban jazz and funk influences as a solo artist since 2010. The versatile keyboardist/composer celebrates all those glorious elements once again on SMOOTH RIDE, a 16-track, hour long journey designed to lift the soul and speak to the dreams of his listeners. Creating a fresh sonic universe, Solex fills the ride with moments of meditation and deep grooving, bright and trippy sonic invention. It’s a world where a George Duke inspired mix of lush solo piano and trippy synth invention rolls freely with slick and infectious contemporary urban jazz textures.
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
After years of touring with artists like MC Hammer, guitarist Lonnie “Bach” Sabbath launched a studio but had no intentions of recording – until he clicked with versatile Smooth Jazz saxophonist A. Killian and created the silky, sensual, easy grooving EP BROKEN PROMISES. It’s an ironic title for a fulfilling blend of inviting melodies, colorful improvisations and an emotional flow of old school, soul-jazz with slick contemporary production – topped with an ultra-romantic track featuring the ethereal voice of Brandi Wilson.
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!
Three years after H Allan exploded into Smooth Jazz consciousness with his high-octane twist on Richard Elliot’s classic “Stiletto Heels,” the versatile guitarist returns with BAM!, a debut EP whose emphatic title perfectly reflects the intensely grooving, soulfully rocking impact of its tracks. Showcasing a wide variety of jazz, rock and even country influences, Allan offers up a fascinating stylistic diversity as he re-imagines classics by Jimi Hendrix, Herb Alpert and Neil Young.
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.
Building momentum with an EP and a batch of popular singles since 2014, multi-talented composer, keyboardist, vocalist and former church musician Wade C. Long showcases the full range of his artistry on his eclectic, musically adventurous debut album NOSTALGIA. With an exuberant retro keyboard vibe and a sweet, soulful voice that have earned him comparisons to late greats George Duke and Luther Vandross, the Cleveland bred artist stirs up a tasty batch of silky, Smooth Jazz, soulful vocals and chilled grooves.
Where Smooth Jazz and traditional Jazz bump heads. In a time of civil unrest at the southern borders, educational unrest in the school systems, political unrest in the government, Charismata has created a sound to comfort the hearts and minds of all generations. This album is infused with traditional, fusion, funk, and easy listening to appeal to a broader audience. Herb McMullen, head producer and CEO of Macbet Records, has produced many independent projects in various genres, such as R&B, Rap, Gospel, Jazz and Classical but prides himself in the production of this new Smooth Jazz Classic. Catchy melody lines with well thought out arrangements determine the unique character of this project. Each song takes the listener on a musical journey flowing with improvisations anchored by relentless, pulsating hypnotic under current.
Want to enhance your candlelit instrumental Smooth Jazz with some hipster love and playful boppin’ straight out of back in the day? Look no further than 11-time Global Music Award winner Nick Dukas’ debut album ONE & FOREVER LOVE. The Florida based singer, his ear-poppin’ 19-piece ensemble and ultra-mellifluous backup vocalist Tanya Lewis have a blast contemporizing lovelorn tunes by Dion, Elvis, Bobby Rydell, Dean Martin, Ron Holden and Santana, along with two snazzy originals whose swingin' vibe is on par with the hits!
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.
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.
Grooving buoyantly into his second decade of recording Latin and gospel tinged urban jazz, Puerto Rican born, Connecticut based saxophonist Nelson Garcia’s infectious “East Coast Drive” is the perfect summer anthem – and a fun-spirited stress reducer for the madness of 2020. Nelson’s breezy yet passionate funk is brought to life via a supercharged collaboration with bassist and hit making producer Jacob Webb – and the extra guitar kick of Adam Hawley!
Gil Johnson’s sensual and warmly captivating debut single “Keep on Walking” from his forthcoming album SOMETIMES A MAN, is proof that it’s never too late to fulfill a lifelong dream. After 30 years in the car business, the Detroit-based singer is launching his music career, drawing on his rich, seductive vocals to bring added emotional resonance to a Gino Vanelli tune of romantic longing and hope. Gil (his single artist name) is backed by lush strings and an ensemble featuring Smooth Jazz star Tom Braxton on sax.
One of the highest charting Smooth Jazz vocalists of 2019, veteran soul-jazz singer Kathy Kosins joins forces with legendary flutist Hubert Laws on “Fancy Free” – a moody, sultry, slow grooving re-imagining of trumpeter Donald Byrd’s classic that celebrates the landmark song’s 50th Anniversary in grand style. Laws’ soulful and whimsical flute lines underscore the theme of spiritual and emotional freedom in co-producer Paul Randolph’s fresh lyrics – which, combined with Kosin’s inviting vocals, take the original composition to exciting new contemporary dimensions.
Believing that “Music is a blessing that should be shared,” Seattle-based drummer, keyboardist, producer, composer, arranger and musical visionary Misz The Groove Producer, meets our anxious moment with a rousing yet prayerful Holy Ghost Party on her uplifting titled new album PRAISE AND DEVOTION: INSPIRATIONAL JAZZ. With lively gospel vocals and passionate, soulful and super funky Smooth Jazz styled instrumental passages, she and her five-piece ensemble – complemented by a dynamic appearance from sax great Ernie Watts – offer a powerful message of hope and encouragement in these challenging times.
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.
If that smoky and soulful, adventurous sax and sizzling horn section action you hear on So Cal Sound Collective’s debut single “Marisa” sounds familiar, it should – it’s legendary horn man, the 3 time Grammy winning Tom Scott, a featured guest with the evolving ensemble of top L.A. musicians from the worlds of pop, jazz and gospel. Founded by Kevin Walt and Steve Kuhn and also featuring Ray Ylas, Adam Castillo, Joel Paat and Michael Fash, the collective's simmering, easy grooving track offers the contemporary equivalent of classic, edgy 70s fusion groups like Scott’s L.A. Express, or Spyro Gyra, complete with retro keys and a blistering guitar solo.
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.
The Sahara Club is spearheaded by a trio of monster music biz heavyweights, starting with top L.A. session guitarist Michael Thompson who has recorded on more #1 records than you can shake a pick at, including tunes from Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston as well as Smooth Jazz chart toppers from the likes of Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson and Kenny G. Joining MT, is singer Romeo Johnson, vocal coach to the stars, who has worked on 5 seasons of The Voice and tours with music titans; and veteran drummer and top radio promoter and record producer, Bud Harner rounds out the trio. You say, it can’t get better than this? Well, it just did, the project’s debut single, “Feel” is a tribute to George Duke and features special guests, bassist Stanley Clarke and keyboardist Jeff Lorber. The song is both ethereal and spiritual, while grounded with a sweet soulfulness, providing a perfect vibe to Smooth Jazz.
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.