- Julius Adams
- Life & Love
- Adams Family Productions
- Carol Albert
- Stronger Now
- Shedrack Anderson
- Hamilton Park
- Evolve Minds Media
- Mariea Antoinette
- All My Strings
- Infinity Maasai Productions
- Juewett Bostick
- Shades of Blu
- Nutbutton Inc
- Adam Hawley
- MBF Entertainment
- Jana Herzen
- Nothing But Love
- Motema Music
- J Funk City
- J Star Entertainment LLC
- Michael C. Lewis
- Intimate Journey
- Cybervision Entertainment
- Keith McKelley
- Liquid Smoke
- 2020 Keith McKelley
- Tony Saunders
- Sexy Somethin
- San Francisco Records
- Kim Scott
- Free To Be
- Innervision Records
- Dennis van Aarssen
- Forever You
- DVA Music Powered By AOE
- Lindsey Webster
- A Woman Like Me
- Shanachie Entertainment
Listening Loft : HOTPICKS
A multi-faceted performer who has been a successful actor, dancer and choreographer, Julliard trained singer, songwriter and musical visionary Shedrack Anderson’s new album HAMILTON PARK is an extraordinary, stylistically eclectic work of social consciousness. Keeping the vibes jazzy and old school soulful with edgy touches of hip-hop, gospel vocal power and deep trap beats, he uses his dynamic blend of dreamy neo-soul flavored ballads and dynamic anthem-like choruses to communicate deeper universal truths. These are grounded in the symbolism of the title location, his grandparents’ old neighborhood in Dallas, one of the first African American housing developments in the South. As he creates his fresh soul-infused sound, Anderson continuously reminds us that the answer to despair and hopelessness is healing, compassion and sound mental health.
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, performing worldwide, presidential inaugurations and recording Smooth Jazz hits with Paul Brown and Rick Braun, it’s a delightful irony that veteran Grammy nominated international recording artist Sylvia Bennett is starting off the decade with the classic “It’s Impossible.” The well-traveled Italian born, American raised singer’s imaginative twist features hypnotic percussion, cool retro keyboards and the inimitable groove and a lightly funky, easy rolling solo by legendary bassist Nathan East. The single is a lighthearted, supremely engaging first-glance at Bennett’s upcoming THIS LOVE IS REAL a highly anticipated collection of her all-time love songs.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Marshall Charloff, has been creating music since an early age. Marshall has performed nationwide fronting world-class symphonies in most major cities in the US and Canada, played keys in the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and currently tours fronting the celebrated Purple xPeRIeNCE - the greatest tribute to Prince in the world. His new single, “2 Chords,” offers a sensual, laid back simplicity. This allows us to experience every nuance of Charloff’s dreamy, delicately soulful voice as he shares lyrics that speak to the mutual love affair between him and his music. The track – from his forthcoming album UNPERFECT– opens with just the singer and a lilting acoustic guitar before introducing caressing ambiences, sultry grooves and fanciful retro keys.
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.
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.
Truly embodying the concept of “old musical soul” at the ripe age of 23, multi-talented UK based singer songwriter Joe Hurworth beautifully blends old school, big production R&B with graceful low-key acoustic sensibilities on his second EP FOLLOWING YOUR HEART. Everything starts with his thoughtful, sensitive songwriting and a supple, emotive voice that draws as much inspiration from legends like Al Green and Michael McDonald as it does from contemporary greats Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeran. A passionate storyteller who weaves his tales in a multitude of styles, Hurworth is aces as producer as well, bringing lively funk grooves, sizzling brass accents and even hypnotic dance grooves to his guitar and keyboard grounded tracks.
From teen sax sensation to bona fide Smooth Jazz superstar with five #1 Billboard hits, multi-talented musical dynamo Vincent Ingala has been unstoppable this past decade. He marks ten years as a recording artist with ECHOES OF THE HEART, a truly buoyant set of hit-bound, in the pocket light funk melodic magic. Bouncing from deeply sensual expressions to danceable tunes with freewheeling grooves, Ingala enjoys working with unique sonic colors, from brass textured melodies and old school horn sections to the trippy atmospheres and rolling Latin-tinged rhythms on a snappy collaboration with Steve Oliver. His playing is particularly emotional and robust on a classic Amy Grant cover. Ingala also gets into a more laid back, hypnotic flow with special guest pianists Chris Geith and David Benoit.
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.
Celebrating an incredible quarter century of sultry, soulful hit making as a solo artist, Maysa delivers a crucial message of uplift and optimism for this new decade on her latest single “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” Over a dreamy-cool, old school atmospheric arrangement fashioned by producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis, the iconic R&B/jazz singer brings ample bursts of sunshine and hop while vibing beautifully with her male vocal equivalent Phil Perry and emotionally charged saxophonist Kim Waters. Ideal for relaxing your mind, body and spirit while creating, meditating or romancing, the Barbara Perry penned track is the second release of a series of songs from Maysa’s upcoming EP MUSIC FOR YOUR SOUL. A modern day mantra for the new year and new decade!
After recording sensual bossa nova versions of Beatles and Michael Jackson for producers in Brazil and Japan, Brazilian singer Lulu Joppert had a brilliant idea. Joining forces with pianist Marcos Ariel and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Marco Antonio Santos, she formed the cleverly titled trio Pop’n Bossa to create sophisticated bossa re-imaginings of hits by contemporary pop singers. First on the trio’s list is Bruno Mars, and they work their dazzling 24K magic on five of his most notable tunes on their infectious, percussively exotic, self-titled debut. In addition to presenting colorful twists and uncovering new emotions stirring in tunes we thought we knew, the EP is also an exciting showcase for Joppert’s alternately sultry and soaring vocals and Ariel’s adventurous ivory playing.
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!
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.
Smooth Jazz has a long and wonderful history of superstar duo pairings, from David Benoit & Russ Freeman to Boney James & Rick Braun and Paul Brown & Marc Antoine. 2020 begins with one of the most awe-inspiring yet, with genre icons Brian Simpson and Steve Oliver pooling their respective melodic and rhythmic geniuses (and collective history of 25 #1 radio hits) on UNIFIED. Building off their trademark alternately sensual/soulful and lively/rambunctious acoustic piano and guitar foundations, the two create their free flowing, festive and often romantic flow by incorporating elements specific to their individual sounds. These include Oliver’s vibey atmospheres, exotic percussion and light vocalese and Simpson’s improvisational grace and occasional retro keyboard riffs. Amazing individually, UNIFIED they transcend all expectations!
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!
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.
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.
Listening Loft : MUST HAVES
Freeing himself from a corporate job in organic produce, Salinas based guitarist, singer/songwriter Dan Beck followed his passion for musical journaling to create the truly organic sounding, stylistically eclectic Dan Beck Band. On their latest album PRIDE & ARROGANCE, Beck and his guitar, sax and violin driven ensemble engage in a playfully strutting swirl of jazz, rock, blues and Latin vibes that he collectively calls “Blue Jazz.” Creating soulful, enticing conversations, the group weaves its colorful tales via a mix of swinging instrumentals and coolly seductive, thought provoking vocals.
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 yearsÂ â€“ 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.
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.
Truly the Smooth Jazz equivalent of pop super group Toto, Jazz Holdouts is a dynamic collective of studio greats with all-star pop, R&B and jazz resumes, featuring the simmering light funk energy of Alan Palanker (keys), Lou Cortelezzi (sax), Michael Thompson (guitar) and John Sieglar (bass). Their cool, yet high spirited full length album, SUMMER NIGHTS is driven by tight, funky, old school soul-jazz meets chill music. The album follows the group’s three groundbreaking Billboard hit singles, including the #1 song that is now the title track. Palanker and Cortelezzi sparkle trading off lead melody lines throughout.
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.
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.
The Bad Boys of Budapest are back! On their first album in three years, the five Hungarian musical dynamos who pool their wild musical magic as Peet Project under the direction of band leader (violinist/vocalist) Peter “Peet” Ferencz, make an intensely infectious impact with their trademark swirl of throbbing funk and easy grooving sensuality. Their multi-faceted vibe is driven by inventive synth magic, feisty horns, irresistible dance beats and old school R&B flavored vocal. Fully immersed now in the American Smooth Jazz scene, they vibe energetically with Paul Brown, Michael Lington and Marcus Anderson while also creating sizzling spotlights for trumpeter Ilya Serov and Hungarian violin legend Csaba Deseo.
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.
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.
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.
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!
On her latest, perfectly titled album STRONGER NOW, pianist/composer Carol Albert takes us on a soaring, optimistic journey reflective of the own spiritual/emotional breakthroughs she has made in the wake of great personal loss. Written and recorded in the period after the sudden death of her husband, the deeply soulful, wondrously soaring collection – featuring elements of grand orchestration and five tracks produced by Paul Brown – reflects a buoyant spirit set free from pain after a time of intense personal struggle.
In the years leading up to the release of her spectacular, multi-dimensional full-length debut I’M RIGHT HERE, emerging indie artist Hannah Cooper has won or been nominated for countless folk awards. While the exquisite voiced singer/songwriter has earned comparisons to Joni Mitchell, the intimate, soulfully crafted collection showcases deep jazz and swing sensibilities. This folk/jazz hybrid, and her unique alternating use of piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment, lays the foundation for a fresh vibe that defies genre categorizations. At the heart of everything is her keen sense of storytelling, which commands rapt attention no matter what the musical atmosphere may be.
With the release of his supremely uplifting and inspirational, eclectically grooving debut album, LOVE, PEACE & PRAISE, LaShawn Gary establishes himself as a man of many talents - musician, composer, producer and arranger. A longtime behind the scenes force on the Detroit scene, LaShawn is a man with a mission - to bring tranquility and inspiration through his funky and dreamy instrumental tracks that are both thoughtful and rhythmically diverse featuring a collective of powerhouse singers and rappers… ideal for Smooth Jazz fans!
Adam Hawley has been THE Smooth Jazz Success story since 2016, racking up an incredible six #1 hits out of the box with his first two albums. Look for the versatile, soulfully fluid and in your face funky electric guitarist to keep that hot streak going with the ultra-infectious ESCAPE. With dynamic turns by the genre’s best and brightest (Najee, Jeff Ryan, Michael Lington, Rick Braun and Marcus Anderson), the relentlessly fun, spirit-filled set blends slammin’ grooves, sly mid-tempo old school breezin’, sizzling brass textures and moments of sweet Latin and romantic magic.
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.
Nearly ten years after his last release, saxophonist Keith McKelley returns with a triumphant bang on the melodically tight, rhythmically and harmonically diverse and sonically inventive LIQUID SMOKE. A veteran sideman who’s played with Philip Bailey, Usher and Mary J. Blige among others, he surrounds his rollicking grooves and soulful horn leads with trippy old school synth textures and moody, mystical vibes and atmospheres. Helping bring his expansive vision to life are Adam Hawley and legends like Bob James, Larry Dunn, and Harvey Mason.
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.
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 dynamic, stylistically diverse ensemble URBAN AMERICA THE BAND doesn’t drop their stylish, sensual and easy grooving self-titled EP till early 2020, but you can start getting excited now. Creating an infectious, crazy-cool, fusion of jazz, R&B, and pop grounded in deep soul and spirituality, songwriter Josephcat Sanchez, two time Grammy-nominated producer/keyboardist Kevin Toney, lead singer Vince Hall, backing vocalist Domique Toney and masterful trumpet/ flugelhorn player Johnny Britt take a slightly offbeat approach to showcase the bright future of urban adult contemporary music which fits seamlessly onto a current Smooth Jazz soundtrack.