Listening Loft Store

New Arrivals

  • Ariel B
  • Unwrapped
  • arielbofficial.com
  • Hank Bilal
  • A Bona Fide Christmas
  • HankBilalMusic.com
  • Gary Meggs
  • Hark The Dancing Angels
  • garymeggsmusic.com
  • BJ Simmons
  • We Wear The Mask
  • Jimmy Mac Entertainment LLC

Listening Loft : HOLIDAY

Ariel B - Unwrapped
Ariel B
Unwrappedarielbofficial.com

When it comes to Holiday recordings, it’s always delightful when an artist graces us with memorable new tunes (and potential future classics) among the favorites. San Francisco Bay Area R&B/jazz singer/songwriter Ariel B delivers the bright, tinselly and seductive goods on UNWRAPPED. Produced by Grammy winner Jeffrey Weber and featuring top tier pop/jazz musicians, the EP finds the multi-lingual (Italian, German, French, English) vocalist complementing fresh twists on a Wham! smash and standard perennials with two funky, vibrant and super-sweet originals, "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Candy Cane Love," penned with Ariana Grande’s music director Troy Laureta. 

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Sylvia Bennett - Wrap You Up For Christmas
Sylvia Bennett
Wrap You Up For ChristmasOut of Sight Music

Youthful and vibrant recording artist Sylvia Bennett re-imagines her own holiday hit, “Wrap You Up For Christmas” with a world music vibe. The Grammy-nominated vocalist swirls a bit of reggae with Smooth Jazz to create a festive, upbeat new version of her original Christmas composition. With a nod to Herb Alpert’s take on the Jason Mraz smash, “I’m Yours,” Sylvia has managed to find a wonderful way to spread more love and cheer this holiday season despite the isolating conditions of COVID-19. An undeniable gift that the songstress has been giving her fans all over the world long before our current climate, and will continue long after the world resumes. Produced by acclaimed Miami music man, Hal S. Batt, the World Version of “Wrap You Up For Christmas” is a much needed, uplifting, musical holiday hug!

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Hank Bilal - A Bona Fide Christmas
Hank Bilal
A Bona Fide ChristmasHankBilalMusic.com

If you’ve already got a lot of saxophone music in your holiday stocking, get your groove on in a whole different way the moody and soulful trombone tones of Hank Bilal’s intimate yet lively, eclectic jam A BONA FIDE CHRISTMAS. Chock full of sexy, re-imagined classics that you mistakenly thought you had heard every possible version of, the collection features Bilal easing from simmering urban jazz to old school swing, hipster hip-hop in duet with fellow horn man Lin Rountree as well as taking things hypnotic, funky and mysterious with flutist Althea Rene.  

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Wayne Gutshall - I Wrapped My Love For Christmas
Wayne Gutshall
I Wrapped My Love For ChristmasSpicy Music LLC

A longtime mainstay on the Miami Latin music scene who has worked with everyone from Arturo Sandoval and Ed Calle to The Four Tops, saxophonist Wayne Gutshall takes a break from the funk and salsa sizzle to create his new original single “I Wrapped My Love for Christmas.” Fashioned as a tenderly romantic duet with singer Wendy Pedersen, the track was inspired by Gutshall’s wife’s passion for watching Christmas movies. Complementing Pedersen’s warm, inviting vocals, the track features an extended lush and sweetly soulful saxophone solo that will help everyone feel the love this holiday season. 

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Martin Mayer - Carol Of The Bells
Martin Mayer
Carol Of The BellsMartin Mayer Music Inc.

There’s nothing wrong with romantic Christmas music if that’s your jam - but if you’re in the mood for something more energizing to get your socially distanced party started, check out veteran Canadian pianist and composer Martin Mayer’s percussive, high octane symphonic romp through the traditional classic “Carol of the Bells.” A longtime international sensation once dubbed “Canada’s Prince of Piano” by the Beijing Times, Mayer fuses jazz, funk and rock, brilliantly blending his melodic and improvisational ivories with bold, empowering production for the ultimate holiday big bang. The track is based on arrangements by Emmy winner John Tesh and Grammy winner Charlie Bisharat.

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Jody Mayfield - A Jody Mayfield Christmas
Jody Mayfield
A Jody Jazz Christmas230 South Records

Having amassed a decades long resume that includes performing with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie and Illinois Jacquet to Grover Washington, Jr. and James Lloyd from Pieces Of A Dream, Jody Mayfield believes that jazz isn’t a style of music, but rather, how you play it. On his inviting holiday EP A JODY JAZZ CHRISTMAS, the multi-talented keyboardist blends his remarkable sense of soulful sonic adventure with a warm, familiar intimacy, resulting in fresh, hipster spins through five holiday classics. As caressing atmospheres waft around the tight grooves and lush melodies, Mayfield switches off seamlessly between piano and contemporary keyboard vibes. 

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Marion Meadows - Christmas With You
Marion Meadows
Christmas With YouIndependent

Capping 30 incredible years as a recording artist and one of Smooth Jazz’s premiere saxophone masters, Marion Meadows celebrates the season with his brilliant holiday collection CHRISTMAS WITH YOU. Inspired by childhood memories of a loving neighborhood where the spread of goodwill taught him the true meaning of Christmas. Meadows takes a magical, mystical, stroll (sometimes super-chill, sometimes crazy-brisk) through a batch of classics and a few heart-tugging originals. This urban-flavored collection has an intimate, nostalgic feeling throughout, with fresh pop, old school R&B, rock and traditional jazz elements sprinkled about. Joining the festivities and helping Meadows make the season bright are a handful of dynamic genre veterans, including Norman Brown, Blake Aaron, Gail Jhonson and Joey Sommerville.  

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Gary Meggs - Hark The Dancing Angels
Gary Meggs
Hark The Dancing Angelsgarymeggsmusic.com

Once a big band saxophonist with the Glenn Miller and Harry James orchestras, Gary Meggs made a bold move from gospel to Smooth Jazz with his hard hitting, rock/R&B/jazz influenced 2019 Smooth Jazz debut LIFES LITTLE CHANGES. Collaborating again with rock/fusion guitarist Bryan Jeffries, the multi-talented saxophonist puts a blistering, horn-drenched funk spin on a holiday classic that’s so groovin’ that it merits a new title! Also featuring infectious wordless vocals, the track is perfect for a festive instrumental holiday playlist.    

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Len Mizzoni - Mistletoe Kisses
Len Mizzoni
Mistletoe KissesCurrent Records

Expressing even more vocal passion than on his engaging 2019 holiday single “It’s Christmas Time In Nashville,” award winning, Canadian singer, songwriter and producer, Len Mizzoni – a former member of the Juno Award winning band Frozen Ghost – pours on the charm on his latest seasonal single, the light and romantic “Mistletoe Kisses,” the perfect holiday scenario in this open letter to Santa! 

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The Frost Duo - New Years Day
The Frost Duo
New Years DayBlack Rainbow Records

A musical tandem perfectly named for this time of year, The Frost Duo – Pennsylvania based composer/multi-instrumentalist Christian Gratz and songwriter/vocalist LeahBeth Evans – follow the funky fire of their two previous 2020 singles with the beautiful stripped-down ballad “New Years Day.” Adding a little love in our lives when we need it the most, the track is a dreamy, sensual and optimistic piano and vocal driven showcase (spiced with an emotional electric guitar solo) of the duo’s more romantic side. It’s perfect for that intimate New Year’s Eve gathering and first dance of 2021.

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Listening Loft : HOTPICKS

Kimberly Brewer - Just That Sweet To Me
Kimberly Brewer
Just That Sweet To MeKimberlily

As you find yourself seduced by Kimberly Brewer’s sultry vocals and delightful ‘Quiet Storm’ ballad vibe of her new single “Just That Sweet to Me,” you may wonder why you’ve never heard her before. Actually you have, and for decades, primarily as Stevie Wonder’s longtime backup singer (and on a hit duet he did with Whitney Houston), but also serving in the same capacity on tour and/or in the studio with everyone from Earth, Wind & Fire and Elton John to Boney James, Will Downing, Vanessa Williams and Teena Marie. Her long-awaited emergence onto center stage with this smooth, neo soul ballad is made all the more impactful by Walter Beasley’s sweet whimsical saxophone harmonies and solo!

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Vann Burchfield - Keep Pressing On
Vann Burchfield
Keep Pressing OnVann Burchfield

A powerhouse force in Smooth Jazz since his 2007 debut, Vann Burchfield’s bio will always boast his distinction of setting a Guinness world record for circular breathing and surpassing former champ Kenny G, since Guinness has given him the title for life with the removal of that skillset from the list. Never one to shrink from a challenge and overcome the odds, the versatile Birmingham, AL based saxophonist makes a powerful statement with “Keep Pressing On,” the lead single from his upcoming album of the same name. Using an irrepressible funk groove, instantly catchy lead melody, rich improvisations and spirited low to high note dynamics, Burchfield emphatically urges us to stay focused on the current moment while envisioning a bright future – no matter what’s going on around us right now. It’s a timely message from a truly timeless artist.  

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CTK...The 2nd Coming
CTK
The 2ND ComingMMP Sound, Inc.

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.  

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Al Degregoris - Time Sensitive
Al Degregoris
Time SensitiveA-PEX Recordings International

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.  

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Lance Ellis - Can't Get Enough
Lance Ellis
Can't Get EnoughLandlord Records

Saxophonist Lance Ellis’ multi-faceted career has run a spectacular gamut, from learning improvisational jazz techniques from the late patriarch Ellis Marsalis and his days in the Postal Service Jazz Ensemble to touring the world with WAR and playing with some of his native New Orleans’ legendary musicians. He adds another illuminating feather in his cap working with double Grammy winning producer, Paul Brown on “Can’t Get Enough,” his seductive, slick groovin’ and uber-romantic new single. Brown’s subtle guitarisma adds a tinge of Cali cool to this lights down low gem - whose female sung chorus just may be the genre’s most indelible hook of the year!

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Epic 92 - Atlanta Lights
Epic 92
Atlanta LightsMaximum Rush

Epic 92, the cool name that producer/multi-instrumentalist/singer K-Tabbs and singer-songwriter Xanthe give their fresh, edgy and soulful male-female duo, refers to two things: the year they met and a journey filled with unbelievable setbacks and triumphs, including a Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop hit. That divinely appointed road leads now to ATLANTA LIGHTS, an album infused with deep, UK influenced vibes, a classic R&B flow, confident but subtle rock edges, laid back grooves and sensual Smooth Jazz touches. The multi-dimensional sonic magic, a tight live band aesthetic and the duo’s lush vocal harmonies lay a perfect foundation for the sensual narrative. It rolls by like a sexy and sophisticated urban romance in a city that shimmers with joy and simmers with daring possibilities.  

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GTF - Watch Your Step
GTF
Watch Your StepGTF Music

While gearing up for the 2021 release of their third album WATCH YOUR STEP, GTF, the dynamic R&B/jazz ensemble led by Bay Area marrieds George and Tracy Franklin, keep our hearts open with their latest single “Some Things Happen.” Fashioned as a deeply soulful, silky number with guest vocalist Rebecca Jade, the compelling new single offers a vibrant twist on the Boz Scaggs and Marcus Miller tune by tapping into the ever-fresh and necessary universal sense of hope in Boz’s lyrics about being open to love’s great possibilities. The new song is gifted with extra emotional energy by San Diego based saxophonist John Rekevics, part of GTF’s unique lineup that includes musicians from Northern and Southern California.  

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Anders Holst - Endlessly
Anders Holst
EndlesslyUnheard of Music, LLC

After a way too long nine-year recording hiatus, Swedish born, NYC based singer/songwriter Anders Holst brings his sensually romantic vibes and poetic juice back to Smooth Jazz with his inspiring new album ENDLESSLY. While elegantly produced by Grammy Award winner Gordon Chambers, with beguiling string arrangements and soaring backing vocals, the pop/soul/jazz oriented collection is grounded by a live ensemble featuring keyboardist Shedrick Mitchell, guitarist Sherrod Barnes, and saxophonists Peck Almond and Andreas “Pastorn” Andersson. Holst muses on various aspects of love via inviting originals and spirited re-imaginings of Kem’s “Heaven,” a delicious duet with Sy Smith on George Michael's "Cowboys and Angels," as well as paying homage to Stevie Wonder in an intimate, string-laden rendition of "All I Do."

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Vincent Ioia - Self Portrait
Vincent Ioia
A Self PortraitVinStyle Music Publishing

Sparsely produced with only a keyboard accompaniment, saxophonist Vincent Ioia’s intensely heart-tugging new single “A Self Portrait,” is more than a showcase for his deeply lyrical sense of melody and powerhouse horn chops. True to the spirit of musical autobiography, his colorful interpretation of a Steps Ahead ballad originally played by Michael Brecker serves as an impactful reflection on his life – specifically his journey from a 30-year career on Wall Street as an IT executive to launching his solo career with the Ricky Peterson co-produced NO TIME LIKE NOW, just a few years after losing his wife to breast cancer and losing his home to Hurricane Sandy. Peterson is once again united with Ioia, this time on keyboards in this duet. This inspiring musician is currently working on his next full album, titled A SELF PORTRAIT.

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Jazz In Pink - Joy!
Jazz in Pink
Joy!Shanachie Entertainment

While serving as Music Director for Norman Brown and a ton of pop/R&B legends, versatile pianist, composer and renaissance woman, Gail Jhonson, has made her all-female urban jazz collective Jazz in Pink one of the genre’s must-see live ensembles. Just when we need it most, Jazz in Pink celebrates its 12th Anniversary with JOY!, a non-stop burst of musical uplift, freewheeling energy, spiritual encouragement and trailblazing sonic adventure. While driven by Jhonson’s dazzling keyboard melodies and playful runs, she makes it a party, inviting guests Kim Waters, Paul Jackson, Jr., Marion Meadows and Kim Scott to add their magic to her sensually grooving, super funky, sumptuously melodic sensibilities. Jhonson delivers big time on her titular promise to bring joy to the world during this anxious time.  

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M'lynn - T.F.I.L. (Nate Harasim Remix)
M'Lynn
T.F.I.L. (Nate Harasim Remix)M'Lynn Music LLC

The acronym in the title from emerging indie soul singer/songwriter and pianist M’lynn’s new single “T.F.I.L.” (To Fall in Love) is what everyone has done with the tune, with over 400,000 Spotify plays and counting! The prolific Ms. M has taken the song to acclaimed, Grammy-nominated producer, Nate Harasim for a fresh reconsideration of the track and the result is breathtaking. Graduating from the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music songwriter program at the Frost School of Music in Miami, M’Lynn is sure to turn heads with the fashionable remix of an otherwise smooth smash single! 

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Rob Maletick - Beautiful Daze
Rob Maletick
Beautiful DazeRob Maletick

Boasting one of the most hipster resumes in the genre, saxophonist Rob Maletick has opened for the likes of The Neville Brothers, Spyro Gyra and Donnie McClurkin, backed Kirk Whalum and Coolio and played at the White House for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Fourteen years after his last solo album, Maletick returns to center stage with “Beautiful Daze,” one of the timeliest, most uplifting, and instantly infectious soul-jazz tracks of the year. With a stomping feel good horn drenched hook that resonates for days, the funked out track features the shimmering sonic mastery of legendary R&B/jazz producer Preston Glass, who has weaved his spell over the years for Kenny G, Warren Hill, Kirk Whalum and the late George Howard.  

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Keith Mason - I Surrender All
Keith Mason
I Surrender Allkeithamason.com

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. 

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

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

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Brendan Rothwell - Sentiment
Brendan Rothwell
SentimentBrendanRothwell.com

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.   

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Walter Runge - Bakers Dozen
Walter Runge
Bakers DozenWalter Runge Jr

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.

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Tony Saunders - Sexy Somethin'
Tony Saunders
Sexy SomethinSan Francisco Records

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!

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Justin Lee Schultz - Gruv Kid
Justin Lee Schultz
Gruv KidShanachie Entertainment

Having earned the praise of, among others, Quincy Jones, Harry Connick, Jr. and Robert Glasper, 13-year-old jazz keyboard sensation Justin Lee Schultz has much to live up to on his debut GRUV KID. Turns out, the title is as spot on and whimsical as his wildly melodic and improvisational piano. The multi-talented artist – whose talents soar way beyond simple “prodigy” status” - romps mightily, gleefully and purposefully through a set of instantly catchy originals (ranging from feisty funk to groovin’ gems and African flavored originals) and vibrantly re-imagined classics by Bob James and Stevie Wonder. Joining James in Schultz’s all-star supporting cast are Jonathan Butler, Gerald Albright, Najee and Pieces of a Dream – all of whom surely hear the future of Smooth Jazz in Schultz’s nimble hands.  

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Zoe Scott - Shades Of Love
Zoe Scott
Shades Of Lovezoescottofficial.com

It’s telling that singer Zoe Scott includes a sensual version of a Chrissie Hynde / Pretenders hit among other pop and Brazilian classics on SHADES OF LOVE, her exquisite, breezy and lushly produced album of bossa nova. The London-born recording artist found great success as an edgy rock n’ roller for years before the Brazilian jazz bug bit her and challenged her to be more emotionally vulnerable and in tune with what she calls “life in the quiet spaces.” Adding to the magic and charm of Scott’s soul-stirring transformation into an interpreter of subtlety and seduction, are Brazilian-born multi-Grammy and Latin Grammy winning producer Moogie Canazio and bossa legends, including guitarist and arranger Torcuato Mariano and pianist/singer Daniel Jobim, grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Brava!

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Will Sumner - Ride The Wave
Will Sumner
Ride The WaveOcean Street

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!  

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Paul Tuvman - In My Life
Paul Tuvman
In My LifeSunny and 82 Music

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. 

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Under The Lake - Your Horizon Too
Under The Lake
Your Horizon TooMind in Overdrive, Inc.

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. 

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Alexander Zonjic - Playing It Forward
Alexander Zonjic
Playing It ForwardHi-Falutin' Music

If you love the flute, you can count on Alexander Zonjic’s PLAYING IT FORWARD as a musical silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown. The multi-talented musician and popular Detroit media personality’s first album in over a decade takes us on an engaging, whimsical yet heartfelt journey that’s all at once lyrical and dreamy, tight and funky. The collection features mostly Jeff Lorber co-penned and produced originals with sparkling re-imaginings of classics by Bob James, Adele (via Aretha Franklin), Nat “King Cole” and others. Beyond, Zonjic’s tasteful blend of breezy melodies with virtuosic runs, the project gives Zonjic an opportunity to finally cover an influential Jethro Tull classic, and includes one of the last compositions and performances from guitar great Chuck Loeb.  

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Listening Loft : MUST HAVES

Amandus - Sing a Song
Amandus
Sing A SongMocherMusic

Though you’ll only be singing actual lyrics to the title track of emerging German keyboardist Amandus’ sparkling, playfully melodic, rambunctiously grooving debut Smooth Jazz album SING A SONG, you’ll find yourself humming along with, and tapping your feet to his wildly infectious instrumentals within a listen or two. After establishing himself as a theatre and cabaret performer and touring with UK greats like Paul Young and Midge Ure, Michael Amandus Quast graces us with a colorful fusion of smooth sizzle, as well as improvisational, impactful ensemble action with guitar, sax and horns that are sure to draw favorable comparisons to Brian Culbertson and Jeff Lorber.  

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Rebecca Angel - For What It's Worth
Rebecca Angel
For What It's WorthRebecca Angel

Decades after Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” became a Vietnam-era defining classic, Rebecca Angel continues her artful fusion of social consciousness and sultry soul-jazz by introducing it to a new generation with both urgency and vibrancy. With a smooth flow inspired by the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 version, the track pairs Rebecca’s cool bossa tinged vibe with the sonic brilliance of keyboardist producer Jason Miles and a hip, crackling ensemble featuring the deep pocket of Reggie Washington (bass) and Gene Lake (drummer) the hypnotic, edgy electric guitar of Dean Brown, as well as the vocalist's father, acclaimed trumpeter Dennis Angel. For Rebecca, the song hit both a personal and universal chord connected to the protests against systemic racism that have taken hold of America and many other countries in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

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Bassmanegg - Keep Risin' To The Top
Bassmanegg
Keep Risin' Bassmanegg

After learning the essence of funk with the popular Washington DC Go-Go band Ayre Rayde, and holding down MD duties for Regina Belle for two years, bassist Adrian “Egg” Norton has been keeping the groove flowing with the contemporary jazz ensemble Phaze II for the past two decades. In normal times, “Keep Risin’,” his gospel-soul-jazz fired debut single under the hip moniker Bassmanegg, might be interpreted as a personal message of uplift and encouragement. Yet in 2020, this simmering funk vocal track rolls like an anthem, exhorting “brothers and sisters” in the struggle to keep on believing, and stay in the fight as America confronts much deeper issues.   

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Dominic Camardella - Soothe
Dominic Camardella
SootheGlobal Perspective

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.

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Allen Carman Project - Fingerprints
The Allen Carman Project
Fingerprintstheallencarmanproject.com

With their tight, funky, bold and brass-fired new single “Fingerprints,” the all-star collective The Allen Carman Project goes gangbusters extending the high intensity “Carmanology” vibe of their 2019 debut album. Bassist/founder Allen Carman lays down a slow burning, bluesy groove as the foundation for his powerhouse crew featuring Philippe Saisse (keys) and Gumbi Ortiz (percussion). Ortiz’s concept was to merge Carman’s background as a lawyer with his musical career. The double-entendre is that while fingerprints are widely used in the realm of law, each musician left their fingerprints on the music through their artistry and talent. Contributing to the freewheeling, lighthearted spirit of the tune are an array of fresh solos and wild old school synth generated vocals.

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Marshall Charloff - Unperfect
Marshall Charloff
UnperfectMarshall Arts Records

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.   

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Alex Churchill - Best Of Me
Alex Churchill
Best Of MeAlex Churchill

Smooth Jazz Kiwi alert! Eleven years and countless international performances after winning “Most Outstanding Young Musician” at the New Zealand Youth Jazz Competition, Auckland born saxophonist Alex Churchill breaks ground in the genre with a hypnotic, silky and simmering funky twist on Anthony Hamilton’s 2013 hit “Best of Me.” Vibing dynamically with and improvising off the cool, crisp guitar of New Zealand sensation and longtime collaborator Andrea Lisa, Churchill underscores his vibrant up-tempo take with a reminder to always give our best to each other (especially to strangers) and truly embrace each moment. 

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Dr. Dave and The Housecall Band - Midnight Daydream
Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band
Midnight DaydreamHatherill Records

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.

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James Saxsmo Gates - Stepping Out
James Saxsmo Gates
Stepping Out804 Jazz

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.

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Nyah Grace - Honey-Coloured
Nyah Grace
Honey-ColouredPalawan Productions

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. 

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Skii Harvey - Broken
Skii Harvey
Brokenskiiharvey.com

Like a smooth whiskey, Skii's vocals leave a little burn on the finish. Australia's greatest export returns with her 2nd single from the forth-coming BROKEN collection, "Not In Control." In a world where control comes at a premium, we're not convinced that the lament is a sorrowful one... perhaps this is a story about an exuberant willingness to fall in love with the wrong person? Surrounded by a sweet acoustic guitar, "Not In Control" is a melodic, jazzy, adult love song that promises to fill your heart with conflict. The award-winning tunesmith fearlessly leads the way through emotion with soulful grace. The forthcoming album will continue to take on the resilience of the human heart, no matter the challenge! 

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Max Highstein - Gratitunes
Max Highstein
GratitunesDesert Heart

Soprano saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Max Highstein’s masterfully eclectic 14th album GRATITUNES truly gives us something to be grateful for. Leading an explosive ensemble including the legendary Howard Levy on harmonica, Highstein artfully weaves intricate arrangements with saxes, flute, cello, accordion, fretless bass, and more. Highstein’s soprano sound is warm and lush, gently swelling in low register, then sweeping sweetly into the highs. With a passion for rock, funk, Latin jazz, and even classical music, he seamlessly blends genres and bends conventions into a varied yet surprisingly cohesive set. 

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Dave Koz - A New Day
Dave Koz
A New DayJust Koz Entertainment Inc

With every producer and participating musician contributing while quarantined, Dave Koz’s multi-faceted album A NEW DAY – his first set of original songs in ten years, marking 30 years since his self-titled debut – is extraordinary on every level, musically, technically and logistically. Flush with creativity in the months before COVID-19, he adapted to the new norm, joining forces with a cadre of greats – including first time collaborators David Sanborn, EWF percussionist Ralph Johnson, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Mann and Vulfpeck’s Antwaun Stanley – to build bridges from gentle wistfulness to bursts of optimism. The result is most purposeful, empowering and exhilarating musical statement of his career.  

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Dee Lucas - The Time Is Now
Dee Lucas
The Time Is NowODL Music

The bio page of Dee Lucas’ website boldly declares “The Rebirth of Smooth Jazz” – and anyone who’s been following the sonically inventive, continuously grooving saxophonist since his emergence in 2004 knows his vibe is always on the cutting edge. That trailblazing streak continues on his latest EP, THE TIME IS NOW, which balances balmy, easy flowing vibes and fiery, high impact pairings with bassist Darryl Williams, pianist George Freeman and guitarists Blake Aaron and David P. Stevens. Helping bring Lucas’ fresh licks and infectious melodies are two of Smooth Jazz’s top producers, Adam Hawley and Lew Laing, Jr. We predict that the time is NOW for Dee Lucas… and once the festivals return, he’ll be in demand!

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Paul Messina - Nightwalk
Paul Messina
NightwalkGVAP Music

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. 

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Kenny Nightingale - Breathe
Kenny Nightingale
Breathe3Face Records

With his compelling multi-faceted debut album BREATHE, emerging saxophonist Kenny Nightingale makes one thing clear. Not since Jonathan Butler has a Smooth Jazz artist emerged with such a dynamic fusion of melodic, in the pocket pop/soul, hypnotic and exotic African vibes. His infectious swirl of music styles is organically rooted in his childhood where he learned sax at his father’s music school in Nigeria and was later influenced by everyone from John Coltrane to Michael Jackson. Complementing the sensual romance and funky global grooving, Nightingale pays bluesy homage to a historic meeting between Coltrane and Wes Montgomery.

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Herb Partlow - Next Level
Herb Partlow
Next LevelSuperb Muzic

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 release of this innovative collection of deep grooves and smooth flows. Partlow generates jazz for a new generation with a proprietary blend of funk, hip hop and contemporary jazz. This creative artist knows how to harness today's hottest vibes to compose and produce attention-grabbing music that he releases on his own Superb Muzic label. Take your evening chill session and weekend soundtrack to the NEXT LEVEL with this atmospheric, Smooth Jazz gem. Music for our modern times!

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Peet Project - Ups and Downs
Peet Project
Ups & DownsBeagle Beat Records

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

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Mike Phillips - Pulling Off The Covers
Mike Phillips
Pulling Off The CoversThisIsMikePhillips.com

The title of PULLING OFF THE COVERS, saxophonist Mike Phillips’s first album in ten years, offers a clever double-entendre. Driven by his trademark fusion of old school R&B sensibilities and edgy hip-hop, the multi-talented musician, composer and producer has a blast re-animating pop and soul hits by the likes of The Doobie Brothers, Grover Washington Jr., The Emotions, Craig Mack and Chris Brown. The “covers” also refer to the sheets that will be flying off as soon as you hit play as Mike throws down some sexy vibes with a cadre of superstars, including Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, After 7, Angie Fisher, Trombone Shorty, Greg Phillinganes and Butterscotch.

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Frank Piombo - Family Concept
Frank Piombo
Family ConceptFrank Piombo

A mainstay of NYC’s jazz scene for many years, Italian born composer and electric guitarist Frank Piombo follows his recent induction into the Indie Music Hall of Fame with FAMILY CONCEPT, a spirited, blues and soul inflected EP paying homage to his own large brood and celebrating “everything wonderful that you share with those whom you call family.” While his crisp, fluid and melodic string style and warm, breezy blend with piano, sax and flute fit snugly into the Smooth Jazz vibe, Piombo also dances around the edges of classic jazz fusion and straight ahead influences.   

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Kenney Polson - For Lovers Only
Kenney Polson
For Lovers OnlyRosetta Records

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. 

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Danny Rae - Enough For Me
Danny Rae
Enough For MeMaddy J Music

Nipping at the heels of her 2021 full album release, California singer-songwriter, Danny Rae drops the title track, “Enough For Me.” Produced by two-time Emmy winning bassist Tony Saunders, this soul-stirring, vocal pop song is loaded with jazz sensibilities. Danny will have you melting with sentiment upon first listen to her lyrically inspiring radio hits, three so far, bolstered by world-class musicianship and formidable production. There’s a very bright future for this gifted creator who knows how to emotionally relate to her listeners on a one to one basis. While we’re enjoying the first fruits of the project, “Gimme A Call,” “Without You,” and the brand new single, “Enough For Me,” we predict these won’t be enough… as we eagerly await the full album release from such a compelling tunesmith and vocalist!

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Mekiel Reuben - Chances Are What They Are
Mekiel Reuben
Chances Are What They Aremekielreuben.com

A master class in saxophone, Mekiel Reuben’s new album CHANCES ARE WHAT THEY ARE is rooted in the second chance at life the multi-talented musician received after recovering from an illness. A spirited, Caribbean island-leaning joyride from start to finish, the collection rolls like a musical life review, taking us on Reuben’s journey growing up in the U.S. and St. Croix and sharing his rich palette of passions – including R&B, urban and traditional jazz, calypso, reggae and steppin’ music. Along the way, he pays homage to a special friend who helped him through his illness and jazz, icon Horace Silver.   

Jim Richter - Mr. Kool
Jim Richter
Mr. KoolJamesland Music Management, LLC

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.    

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Lawson Rollins - True North
Lawson Rollins
True NorthInfinta Records/BajaTSR

Pushing 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, multi-talented contemporary jazz/new age/world music recording artist Lawson Rollins – chosen by Guitar Player Magazine as one of  the 50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists of all time – 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.

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Ilya Serov - Chillin'
Ilya Serov
Chillin'Silky Sound Records

Shifting into Smooth Jazz from his classical roots and career establishing standards and big band recordings, trumpeter Ilya Serov’s new single “Chillin’” offers a sensual, laid back escape from the harsh COVID-19 era realities via a breezy, breathy muted horn melody, easy flowing groove and chillaxed keyboards courtesy of Greg Manning. While showcasing his melodic jazz, R&B and neo-soul flow and modeling the way great tracks and videos can be created under social distancing protocols, Serov’s deeper vision is to create music that offers hope, joy and a fresh mindset embracing a whole new way of living.

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BJ Simmons - We Wear The Mask
BJ Simmons
We Wear The MaskJimmy Mac Entertainment LLC

With a title like WE WEAR THE MASK, at first glance and listen, veteran world traveling saxophonist and Washington DC educator BJ Simmons seems to be making a statement about 2020. In truth, the eclectic artist is drawing from a 1896 poem by African American writer Paul Laurence Dunbar about hiding true feelings and emotions. Simmons and his fiery ensemble have no trouble letting their multitude of passions fly on this expansive, vibrantly percussive, mostly high-octane fusion of traditional jazz, soul/funk, Afro beat, Latin jazz and classical music featuring high impact originals and reworkings of iconic tunes. 

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The Smooth Jazz Alley - Let's Ride
The Smooth Jazz Alley
Let's RideSmoothJazzAlley.com

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.     

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Solex - Smooth Ride
Solex
Smooth Ridesolexmusic.com

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. 

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R.L. Walker - Coming Big
R.L. Walker
Coming BigRLWalkerMusic.com

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.

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Markus Zahrl - Celtic Dance
Markus Zahrl
Celtic DanceManao Music

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.

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Listening Loft : ESSENTIALS

Julius Adams - Life and Love
Julius Adams
Life & LoveAdams Family Productions

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!

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Antonio Adolfo - BruMa
Antonio Adolfo
BruMa - Celebrating Milton NascimentoAAM Music

One of Brazil’s most prolific and influential artists and performers for nearly six decades, pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo follows Samba Jazz Alley, a tribute to the spirit of early bossa nova, with BruMa: CELEBRATING MILTON NASCIMENTO – a similarly illuminating, lushly melodic and exotically grooving tribute to his longtime friend and chief influence. Adolfo’s bright, passionate re-imaginings, with his extraordinary ensemble, pay intimate homage to Nascimento’s history of soulful melodies, dreamy harmonies and often hard swinging percussive passion.  

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H Allan - BAM!
H Allan
BAM!H Allan Music

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.

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Marius Billgobenson - Tears on the Ground
Marius Billgobenson
The Spirit Of LoveMarius Billy

Award-winning anthropologist and musician, Marius Bilgobenson returns with his 2nd single for 2020, from his forthcoming album, THE SPIRIT OF LOVE.  “Tears On the Ground,” is an elegantly earthy song featuring acoustic guitar and raspy, honey soaked vocals. Double Grammy winning producer, Paul Brown remixed the Smooth Jazz version of this compelling song that reminds people to take a moment to appreciate the benefactors that have made us who we are today. Originally from the Congo River Basin, Billgobenson is focused on promoting cross-cultural dialog through jazz, R&B, blues and indigenous African traditions which serve to further drive home the multi-instrumentalist’s message of inclusivity and awareness for disenfranchised communities. 

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Walter Duda - Search For Inspiration
Walter Duda
Search For InspirationWorld Alert Records

Marking the 20th anniversary of his jazz fusion-oriented debut DAYLIGHT AGAIN, veteran pianist, composer and vocalist Walter Duda releases an appropriately titled new EP, SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION. A delightfully eclectic showcase for his multitude of passions and influences, the project vibes with a dynamic ensemble of NYC stalwarts including bassist Will Lee, guitarists Tim DeHuff and Al Ferrante and drummer Scott Lebish. Duda balances his breezily melodic, easy-grooving Smooth Jazz sensibilities with dreamy pop/soul vocals and thoughtful, classical leaning new age piano pieces.  

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Louie Fitzgerald - The Revolving Door
Louie Fitzgerald
The Revolving DoorStratophonics Music Group, LLC

Multi-talented Florida bred composer and keyboardist Louie Fitzgerald meets our anxiety ridden moment with THE REVOLVING DOOR, a seductively grooving, sensually soulful and vibrantly melodic set of reflective and uplifting tunes, many with encouraging and inspirational titles. Drawing on his rich palette of influences that includes everything from straight ahead and contemporary jazz to gospel and blues, he showcases his versatile talents on piano and a multitude of soulful keyboard vibes. 

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Rhoda G - Finally
Rhoda G
Finallyrhodag.com

Growing up in St. Louis, Rhoda G. turned to the saxophone for healing upon the untimely death of her mother. Now, years later, after opening for gospel and soul greats like Donnie McClurkin, Vickie Winans, Chante Moore and Freddie Jackson, the multi-talented artist unleashes her ultra-melodic, deeply grooving and explosively improvisational soprano sax prowess on the world with her debut single, aptly titled “Finally.” It’s a soaring and instantly impactful track whose infectious fire lays a promising foundation for her solo career. 

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Chan Hall - In Pursuit
Chan Hall
Somethin' 2 Provechanhalljazz.com

To appropriate the title of Chan Hall’s smooth grooving, melodically sparkling and infectiously in the pocket new single “In Pursuit” – lead single from his upcoming album SOMETHIN’ 2 PROVE – Richmond, VA based pianist Chan Hall’s goal is making music to heal people’s anxiety, and inspire them to pursue their passions. Having shared stages with Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock, Gerald Albright, et al, Hall hits the sweet spot between deep soul rhythms and uplifting jazz that intertwines powerfully with the tune’s featured saxophonist, Chris Sclafani.

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Mark Harris II - Traveler
Mark Harris II
Travelermarkharrisjazz.com

Currently an artist in residence at the Kranzenberg Arts Foundation in his hometown of St. Louis, pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Mark Harris II – who has shared the stage with Julian Vaughn, Marion Meadows, Pieces of a Dream and Norman Brown – follows his 2018 INTERSTELLAR release, with a new single, the perfectly titled, equally dynamic musical adventure “Traveler.” Harris creates a similarly soaring, epic jazz fusion journey, surrounding his powerfully melodic and percussive piano magic with innovative synth sounds and swirling atmospheres.   

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Jarrod Lawson - Be The Change
Jarrod Lawson
Be The ChangeDome Records

Six years after Jarrod Lawson’s self-titled debut became the toast of Euro radio and earned him worldwide festival invites, the brilliant Portland, Oregon based soul/jazz singer, songwriter and pianist re-emerges with a grounded in truth yet otherworldly in spirit album whose title doubles as a challenge and mission statement: BE THE CHANGE. Showcasing his transcendent, soul-transforming songwriting, rangy, heartfelt vocals and wildly inventive piano and keyboard skills, he infuses the collection with empowering contemporary social consciousness and charming romance. Discover this exciting new talent and be the change in your listening experience.

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Joe Leavy - Inside You
Joe Leavy
Inside YouHarmonius Records

Seven years after Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway influenced soul-jazz singer Joe Leavy first dazzled R&B and Smooth Jazz audiences with “I Heart You,” the internationally acclaimed performer graces us with two equally inviting versions of his ultra- sensual, trumpet-laced new single “Inside You” (B’s Side and Smooth Vibe) . The seductive tune is the ultimate love song, penned as a “thank you” to a special friend who helped the artist through the hard times following divorce. Be sure to play this new smash for your ‘Ride or Die.’

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Angelo Luster - Common Threads
Angelo Luster
Common ThreadsNative Sound Records

A multiple award-winning gospel jazz saxophonist, Oakland native Angelo Luster has long been driven to, as he says, “inspire others through my music.” Luster hits a silky, soulful home run with his lush instrumental re-imagining of Bobby McFerrin’s “Common Threads,” an atmosphere laden track that starts as a graceful ballad before building percussive passion and momentum. While sharing a timely message, Luster also showcases his fiercely melodic and improvisational magic throughout.    

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Misz The Groove Producer - GirlPlay
Misz The Groove Producer
GirlPlaySolid Groove Recordings

The title says it all. GirlPlay the latest stylistically eclectic (pop, jazz, R&B, electronica), supremely funkified album by keyboardist, drummer, composer, producer and arranger Misz The Groove Producer (Mary Stewart) is by and all about girl power. More than just a clever concept, GirlPlay is also a dynamic new band of Pacific Northwest powerhouse talents featuring two formidable saxophonists, Jessica Lurie (who also plays flute) and Kate Olson and electric violinist and electric guitarist Pamela Benton – all of whom receive ample lead spotlights. 

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Darron Cookie Moore - Lifetime
Darron Cookie Moore
Lifetimedarroncookiemoore.com

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. 

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Nex Lev'l Band - Got My Top Down
Nex Lev'l Band
Got My Top DownNex Lev'l Band

If you’re a longtime fan of Pieces of a Dream, you’ll love GOT MY TOP DOWN the fresh, new album by Baltimore urban jazz outfit Nex Lev’l Band. Driven by the deep funk grooves of founder/drummer Morris "Pinky" Harris, also known as Mr. Pocket Himself and bassist Ernest Rahim. The vibrant, high octane opening title track ignites the stack with a dazzling melodic and improvisational piano flow by World class Pianist Dawoud Said. The sensually romantic “Nita.” is the project's first radio single and propelled by the sleek and whimsical sax of longtime Pieces member Eddie Baccus, Jr. This is the perfect Smooth Jazz soundtrack for chillin', hangin' out or driving around with the top down!

Joe Rozum - Grease Funk
Joe Rozum
Grease Funkjoerozum.com

Berklee School of music grad Joe Rozum released five stellar albums between 2004 and 2012, and this single is his lively re-emergence. The festive and perfectly titled tune, “Grease Funk,” brings some ultra-hip, infectiously groovin’ piano to Smooth Jazz. Though his hypnotic riffs drive the track, its deeper magic comes from the ensemble interaction and swirling of his ivories with the featured fiery electric guitar and saxophone. Truly greasy funk… you’ll need extra napkins!

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