Friday, July 25, 2014

New Releases - Sophie Alour - Shaker; Ray Barretto - Eye Of The Beholder / Can You Feel It; Acid Jazz Mod


For her fifth record, young French saxophonist Sophie Alour returns with a new formula, a beautiful trio album, with saxophone, organ, and drums. Is it because she played with Rhoda Scott? Or just because she likes the somewhat historical funky sound it carries. With gusto and a hint of mischief, she sheds a new light on some of her own compositions, plus a colourful version of the Sergio Mendes arrangement of 'My Favourite Things'. Tracks include: Joke; In This World; Comptine;
Shaker; En Ton Absence; Mystère et Boule de Gomme!; I Wanna Move My Body!'; Nos Cendres; My Favourite Things; and En Ton Absence (alternate take). ~ Amazon UK


Raymond Barretto came from New York and was a drummer, percussionist, bandleader, composer and producer. He was born in 1929 and was a member of Tito Puentes orchestra from 1957 to 1960. He recorded for a number of labels including United Artists and Fania Records and was with Atlantic for the two albums we present here for the first time on CD, Eye Of The Beholder and Can You Feel It. Both these albums come from the heyday of jazz fusion in the late 70s (1977 and 1978 respectively), the first a production collaboration with The Crusaders. With Joe Sample penning Here We Go Away, the music is just one step away from what The Crusaders were making themselves at the time, short of Stix Hooper on drums but in the sturdy hands of Frank Zappas Terry Bozzio doing the beats. Elsewhere on the album the UK's Steve Ferrone, a former member of Average White Band, features prominently on drums with Ray focusing on congas and percussion, as he does across these two sets with Wilton Felders Numero Uno (the albums US 45) highly regarded as a masterpiece of jazz fusion. ~ Amazon UK


While the name of Acid Jazz evokes images of the jazz, soul, funk, disco and hip-hop movements that dominated the British music scene during the Nineties, the label (which many credit with naming the musical genre) quickly proved flexible with regards to the roster and the releases that emanated from it. Many of the names signed in its early days are still rightfully regarded as heavyweights in the acid jazz movement, such as Brand New Heavies, JTQ (James Taylor Quartet, for the uninitiated) and Mother Earth. There aren't many labels that can place the likes of Geno Washington in-between Corduroy and Mother Earth and get away with it, but Acid Jazz is certainly one of those. While 'Mods' might lead you to think that this is an album rooted in the Sixties, the Mod scene is still very much alive and kicking, with many of the tracks that appear here being given an airing or two. The end result is a diverse album, but extremely enjoyable. ~ Amazon UK

Amazonian songstress Dona Onete releases debut album - Feitiço Caboclo

Phenomenal debut album from the stunning and until now, undiscovered 73-year-old Amazonian songstress Dona Onete - the work of a lifetime on one CD on the great Mais Um Discos Label. A vibrant blend of Paraense folklore,carimbó, boi bumba, Caribbean salsa, brega, samba and even rap, all rooted in the cultures of the Brazilian interior, this phenomenal debut album from Amazonian septuagenarian songstress Dona Onete has been over 60 years in the making and almost never happened… Sat on the banks of the Amazonian river in the small town of Igarapé Miri as an 11 year old, singing sambas, quadrilhas and boi bumbas to the river dolphins, Dona Onete could have scarcely imagined she'd be seeing the worldwide release of her debut album at the age of 73. 

Whilst not pursuing music as a career when growing up, Onete's heart remained invested in it. Becoming an expert in the rhythms, dances and traditions of the Amazon through her university studies, she'd go on to become Municipal Secretary of Culture of her hometown Igaparé-Miri. Completely enveloped by Amazonian culture and with her latent talents as a singer, Onete began to compose music for herself. Amassing a collection of over 300 original songs throughout her years, it wasn't until she retired that her musical career took off. 

Moving to the quiet area of Pedreira in Belém to while away the rest of her days with her husband, Onete inadvertently moved onto a street where popular Brazilian band Coletivo Radio Cipó lived. The band, hearing Dona perform at a local carimbó party, initially thought they were listening to a much younger singer - due to Onete's vivacious and flirtatious flair, along with her penchant for a cheeky lyric or two. But when they caught sight of her, they were astounded. Knowing they'd stumbled upon someone truly special, the band instantly invited her to sing on their forthcoming album. 

Onete took some convincing but eventually relented, a decision that would lead to her recording as an artist in her own right and see her audience of river dolphins on the banks of the Amazon transform into the people of the cities of Brazil, and soon the world. her audience of river dolphins on the banks of the Amazon transform into the people of the cities of Brazil, and soon the world. ~ Amazon UK

Vocalist Freda Payne Comes Back to Jazz and Big Bands with Come Back To Me Love

"She had the Motown sound before Motown was Motown." - NPR

As iconic in 2014 for her timeless beauty and sex appeal as she is her artistic versatility as an all around entertainer, Ms. Freda Payne remains among music's and show business' brightest shining star survivors. When she is singing her heartbeat music - jazz - love, awe and yearning only grow stronger. Her latest album, Come Back To Me Love (her first for Artistry Music) marks not only a return to the big band and strings-laden classics from her mid-`60s beginnings with Impulse!, but also marks a return to her hometown of Detroit. That makes this 14-song album featuring Grammy® Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe's musical arrangements a beautiful homecoming.

"It's a dream come true," Payne enthuses with a smile, "just like in 1968 when I was living in New York seeking my fame and fortune, and ran into Brian Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland. He told me they had just left Motown and started their own company, Invictus. I flew back to Detroit, signed with them and a year later had a Top 5 record, 'Band of Gold.' So signing to Artistry Music with Gretchen Valade and Tom Robinson today is truly serendipitous - a flashback to something really good happening for me at home in Detroit, my good luck charm."

Reflecting on how this opportunity arose, Payne continues, "(Bassist) Ralphe Armstrong and I were on a local big band gig together when he told me about an intimate jazz club in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, with great food, saying, 'You should work there.' I made the contact and that's when I met Gretchen and Tom. Six months later I did a return engagement and they asked me to sing a song for a documentary on Gretchen - When I Have To Smile. Then they asked if I'd like to record an album for their label, Artistry Music. That made me feel very special."

That album became Come Back To Me Love, featuring six selections penned by Gretchen and Tom paired with eight selections of golden favorites. When asked who she would like to be her right hand she called upon a more recent associate of hers, Los Angeles-based Bill Cunliffe. She'd first hired him to accompany her in her acclaimed "Ella: The First Lady of Song" engagement at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. "I told them Bill was at the top of my list," Freda insists. "Bill is an excellent musician, easy to get along with and respects my ideas."

With her Artistry Music debut, Come Back To Me Love -- on which every instrumental solo sounds like it was played by someone who had a crush on her at one time or another -- Ms. Freda Charcelia Payne won't just be swinging on a star...she'll be clutching that golden Victrola for this, her return to jazz and Detroit.

Upcoming Freda Payne Performances:
August 9 / BB King Blues Club / New York, NY
August 21 / Coral Springs PAC / Ft. Lauderdale, FL
August 30 / Detroit Jazz Festival (w/ USAF Airmen of Note Big Band) / Detroit, MI
* September 6 / Miller Outdoor Theatre / Houston, TX
September 19 - 20 / Catalina's Jazz Club / Los Angeles, CA
October 4 / The American Theater / Hampton, VA
* indicates an "Ella: First Lady of Song in Concert" performance

New Releases - The Brand New Heavies - AllAboutTheFUnk; T-Bone Walker - Super Black Blues; Akira Sakata, Johan Berhtling, Paal Nilssen-Love - Arashi


Long gone are the heady days of the Acid Jazz explosion led by artists such as JTQ, Corduroy, Jamiroquai and at the centre of it all, the Brand New Heavies. All About the Funk, the band's first album for some time doesn't hanker after days gone by, instead it draws influence from the latter day hip-hop soul scene and fuses it with their own very British sound.  The Brand New Heavies, along with Incognito, have been pioneers of the acid-jazz movement and for more than 25 years have remained a vital force for fans of soulful, jazzy club-oriented funk ‘n’ groove.  Aside from their great grooves, the band has been known for outstanding female vocalists ranging from N’Dea Davenport and Siedah Garrett to talented newcomer Nicole Russo.  All Abou the Funk finds The Brand New Heavies delivering just what the title implies - a strong set of grooves leaning on the funk-oriented end of their classic sound.  The extremely passionate and fiercely loyal fan base will find this great “lost” Brand New Heavies album (from 2004 and only previously availalable in Japan)  to be a “must have!” Essentially the main line up of the original three remains with former pop-R&B wannabe Nicole Russo taking the mic, a tough act to follow after N'Dea Davenport, Siedah Garrett and briefly Carleen Anderson, but her fresh voice makes the band seem more current, sounding a lot like Fergie from Black Eyed Peas, especially on the catchy "How we Do This". Another such example of adapting to the modern day is "Need Some More", a mid-tempo groove clearly influenced by Ms Dynamite. However, it's not all change; "What Do You Take Me For?", "Surrender" and opener "Boogie" are classic Heavies--bass up, choppy-guitar and keys with light breezy vocals injecting a bit of summertime into the album.  ~ Amazon/Shanachie


A great little set from T-Bone – recorded at the end of the 60s, with a lineup that includes other blues musicians like Joe Turner, Otis Spann, and George Harmonica Smith, plus jazz funk players like Paul Humphrey and Ernie Watts. The vibe is very laidback – and most tracks on the album stretch out in an extended free-form style that's quite unusual compared to T-Bone's other records. As usual, his guitar and vocals are very soulful – and titles include "Paris Blues", "Blues Jam", and "Jot's Blues". features four long titles that include "Arashi", "Ondo No Huna-Uta", "Dora", and "Fukushima No Ima".  ~ Dusty Groove


Akira Sakata is a player who's never been known to hold back – but he sounds especially powerful here in the company of Paal Nilssen Love on drums and Johan Berthling on bass – two younger players who seem to inspire Sakata to a sort of frenzied height that we haven't heard this strongly in years! Akira's not just mindblowing on alto sax, but also does this incredible vocalization at one point – an almost mystical mode, but extremely powerful and almost frightening too. He also plays clarinet too – at a level that has us wonder how often he's got to be running for new reeds – and the set features four long titles that include "Arashi", "Ondo No Huna-Uta", "Dora", and "Fukushima No Ima". ~ Dusty Groove

Lineup Announced for the 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 19-21, 2014

The 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival will be held September 19–21 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center, Arena and Grounds. 2014’s GRAMMY Award-winning lineup includes Arena headliners Herbie Hancock, The Roots, Gary Clark Jr., Michael Feinstein, Charles Lloyd Quartet, Booker T. Jones, Robert Glasper Experiment, Marcus Miller, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Billy Childs with special guests Shawn Colvin, Lisa Fischer and Becca Stevens, Aaron Diehl Quartet, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

98 shows and events will take place over 30 hours from Friday night, September 19 through Sunday night, September 21.

Drummer Eric Harland serves as the 2014 Artist-In-Residence, performing with the Charles Lloyd Quartet, his own group, Voyager; Sangam with Zakir Hussain and Charles Lloyd; and as a soloist with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Charles Lloyd
Legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd returns to Monterey for the first time since 2006 as the 2014 Showcase Artist, performing with his own Quartet (with Jason Moran, Rueben Rogers and Eric Harland); Sangam with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland, and in a duo with pianist Gerald Clayton.

The 2014 Commission Artist will be pianist Aaron Diehl, who will premiere his tribute to the pianist and MJF Artistic Director for 24 years, John Lewis, Three Streams of Expression.
 The Festival features 500 artists, nearly 100 performances and events on 8 stages and more, for 30 hours of live music over two days and three nights, accompanied by an array of international cuisine, shopping, art exhibits, educational events, seminars and conversations with iconic and emerging jazz artists on the oak-studded 20-acres of the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center.

Booker T. Jones
2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Highlights and Artist Listing
•Return of jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, Marcus Miller
•MJF debut of crossover artists The Roots, Gary Clark Jr., Michael Feinstein, Booker T. Jones, The Philadelphia Experiment
•World Premiere of 2014 Commission by the Aaron Diehl Quartet, Three Streams of Expression and special performance of Billy Childs’ new project, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, with special guests Shawn Colvin, Lisa Fischer, and Becca Stevens
•Musical tribute to Mulgrew Miller & James Williams with Harold Mabern, Donald Brown, and Geoff Keezer trios
•Coffee House Gallery Exhibits: Blue Note Records:  75 Years of Excellence and Earl Newman: 50 Years of Monterey Jazz Festival Posters
57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival
September 19 - 21, 2014
Artist-In-Residence: Eric Harland
Showcase Artist: Charles Lloyd
Commission Artist: Aaron Diehl
Herbie Hancock
 ARENA ARTISTS ● Friday, September 19
Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper Experiment with special guest Jason Moran, Cecile McLorin Salvant

ARENA ARTISTS ● Saturday, September 20
The Roots, Billy Childs with special guests Shawn Colvin, Lisa Fischer and Becca Stevens; Aaron Diehl Quartet; Gary Clark Jr., Booker T. Jones; Davina & The Vagabonds

ARENA ARTISTS ● Sunday, September 21
Michael Feinstein with special guests Russell Malone & Harry Allen and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra; Charles Lloyd Quartet with Jason Moran, Rueben Rogers, & Eric Harland; Marcus Miller; Jon Batiste & Stay Human; Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

Marcus Miller
GROUNDS ARTISTS ● Friday, September 19
Dizzy’s Den: Sangam with Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland; Red Baraat
Night Club: Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride Trio; Claudia Villela & Harvey Wainapel
Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines: Sarah McKenzie Quartet, Melissa Aldana Crash Trio, SambaDa
Coffee House: Harold Mabern Trio (3 sets)

GROUNDS ARTISTS ● Saturday, September 20
Dizzy’s Den: Billy Childs Quartet; Charles Lloyd-Gerald Clayton Duo, The Philadelphia Experiment with Christian McBride, ?uestlove, Uri Caine and special guest Booker T. Jones; Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary Band with Ambrose Akinmusire, Kendrick Scott, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge & Lionel Loueke; Becca Stevens, John Hanrahan Quartet, Top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival
Night Club: Aaron Diehl Quartet, Eric Harland Voyager, Habaneros, USAF Commanders Jazz Ensemble, Top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival
Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines: Pete Escovedo Orchestra with Peter Michael & Juan Escovedo; Jason Moran, Ana Popovic, Davina & The Vagabonds, Red Baraat
Coffee House: Donald Brown Trio (3 sets); Sarah McKenzie Quartet; Conversation about Mulgrew Miller & James Williams; Conversation about Blue Note Records
West Lawn: Sourmash Hug Band (2 sets)

Jon Batiste & Stay Human
GROUNDS ARTISTS ● Sunday, September 21
Dizzy’s Den: Eric Harland Voyager, Tony Monaco, Pamela Rose & Wayne De La Cruz; Daniel Rosenboom Quintet; Conversation with Michael Feinstein, DownBeat Blindfold Test
Night Club: Delfeayo & Ellis Marsalis; Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, Top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival
Garden Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines: Harold Lopez-Nussa, Ben Flocks & Battle Mountain; Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band; Youn Sun Nah & Ulf Wakenius; Top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival
Coffee House: Geoffrey Keezer Trio (2 sets); Top bands from the Next Generation Jazz Festival; Bari Koral
West Lawn: Minor Thirds Trio (2 sets)

Jazz on Film: Legends of the Tenor Saxophone: Charles Lloyd: Arrows Into Infinity; Jeremy Siskind & Friends on the Yamaha AvantGrand; Arena Simulcasts in The Jazz Theater; Coffee House Gallery Exhibits: Blue Note Records:  75 Years of Excellence; Earl Newman: 50 Years of Monterey Jazz Festival Posters


Thursday, July 24, 2014


Silhouette is the new single from Ali Campbell, the legendary voice of UB40 reunited with Astro and Mickey, released 18th August on Cooking Vinyl. The single is the first to be taken from Silhouette, the new album out October 6th.

Recorded partly in London's renowned RAK Studios, Silhouette is an inspired mix of freshly-minted new songs and sparkling, reggaefied cover versions of classics by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites and others. Silhouette was originally a 1957 hit for the American doo-wop group The Rays, and later helped to break Herman's Hermits in the States. The yearning take that appears on Silhouette, however, owes more to an early 1970s version by the crown prince of reggae, the late Dennis Brown.

As founding members of UB40, Ali, Mickey and Astro helped to define reggae music for a generation. The iconic Birmingham reggae troupe topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records as they took their smooth yet rootsy musical blend to all corners of the globe. Campbell left the band in 2008 after 28 years and has since released four reggae-themed solo collections, with Mickey, who left UB40 soon after Ali, joining him on keys. Astro remained with the band until November 2013, when he left to team up again with Ali and Mickey.

Ali's voice remains as strong as ever - rich, melodic and instantly recognisable. “He’s a genius in the way he can work a set of lyrics around a great melody,” says Mickey. “Any song he sings could easily be a UB40 tune.”

With the redoubtable Astro lending strong vocal support and Mickey's keyboards to the fore in a new band that includes a three-piece horn section, their lithe but potent sound should delight fans old and new. Having reiterated their credentials as consummate live performers with triumphant gigs this year in places as far flung as Nigeria, South Africa and Papua New Guinea, the trio have a quartet of UK festivals dates this summer and will embark on a headline tour in December.

“When we play live now, it has the feel of a proper group,” says Ali. “The musicians in our band have all played with other reggae acts, so they love what we're doing. And the fact that Astro is back with us after six years speaks volumes about the music we are making.”

Vocalist VENISSA SANTI Pays Homage to Billie Holiday with Eclectic Interpretations on Big Stuff: Afro-Cuban Holiday

Just what is so special about the vocalastics of Venissa Santi - just what is so singularly unique - is so eminently clear on Big Stuff: Afro-Cuban Holiday, the brilliantly innovative follow-up to her 2009 Sunnyside Records debut, Bienvenida. If at first blush this record appears to be a mere tribute to the great Billie Holiday, it is clear that first impressions can be somewhat deceptive. True, this is Santi's homage to the legendary singer. However the music on this record comes from the very depth of her soul that this is so much more than a tribute: it is more like an anguished cry, rich in the metaphor of Afro-Cuban-Blues, cry of sisterhood that is lifted up in elevation to the celebrated ghost of Ms. Holiday. 

Just as she was on her first album, Santi has once again channeled her ideas through percussion-colourist and long-time band mate François Zayas, who is responsible for the majestic arrangements of 12 songs with which Santi, in turn, re-imagines the heartfelt repertoire of Billie Holiday in an idiom that melds the heartbeat of bata and offbeat of clave with African-American deep song. Also joining the vocalist on this musical odyssey are trumpet and flugelhorn players Tim Thompson and Chris Aschman, the late guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, pianist John Stenger and bassist Jason Fraticelli. Special appearances are also made by bassists Paul Klinefelter and Madison Rast, clarinetist Jon Thompson and percussionist Cuco Castellanos.
The origins of this music are vividly recalled by Santi, who remembers how Danilo Pérez invited her to share the stage in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Sheila Jordan, Lizz Wright and Claudia Acuña among others on a gig that was designed to present a series of homages to Billie Holiday in May of 2010. For Santi to be included in a playbill that comprised of such stellar artists was both a privilege as well as a chance to do something truly special. She and Zayas, went to work on selecting an appropriate Billie Holiday repertoire; then transferring it to the landscape of danzón, guaguancó and bolero. All this happened about a year from May 2010.
Next came learning the challenging arrangements that Zayas came up with, swirling from out of the fiery cauldron of Afro-Cuban music. This took the musicians close to six months to master; a memorable effort that, together with the fact that this homage was written in Afro-Cuban idioms, made the project so distinctive. The memory of a show that played in Billie Holiday's birthplace, and was later broadcast on WRTI radio on Mother's Day a couple of weeks later, lingered long and hard with Santi and Zayas. They concluded this was music worthy of a longer life vis-a-vis a record that would preserve both the beauty and authenticity of this Afro-Cuban odyssey into the heart and soul of Billie Holiday.
Santi acknowledges that following the 2010 performance, it was not easy getting into character for the next stage of the project - the recording of Big Stuff: Afro Cuban Holiday. "Life happened and we had great odds keeping our crew from finishing the record," says the vocalist, "and in the journey of putting these songs together, while I was delving into the lyrics and repertoire that I had started checking out when I was fourteen years old, I realized I had grown up into the songs," explains Santi. "The journey has been long and at times dark. By daring to interpret the tunes as uninhibited as possible it enabled me to come face-to-face with something bordering on danger and I experienced great gratitude. What emerged was an-almost four-year labor of love that overflowed onto this record," she concludes.
Nothing can really prepare the listener for the transcendental melancholy of Billie Holiday's music like "On the Sunny Side of the Street," which is deliberately set as the gateway to the album, in a prelude to dimming the lights and before entering the world of Lady Day, who virtually changed the way a song ought to be interpreted. "I started to sit with the tune daily, doing just what the lyrics require, taking the sunny side with my son on cold morning walks to school to stay warm," says Santi.  "It was an extreme honor to record with Jef Lee Johnson as well. I miss him dearly."

Santi's musical intellect that combined with the erudite delicacy of manipulating phrasing and tempo is brilliantly on display in the breathtaking complexity of "Big Stuff," a song that Santi turns into a musical equivalent of a darkish expressionist film. The footage of a damaged life unravels in the elemental sadness of "What's New" as Santi dialogues with the eminently soft, almost vocal work of John Stenger's piano  and so begins the descent into the nourish life of Billie Holiday. The stark portrait of "My Man" appears on a ghostly canvas daubed as if by the magic of a brush dipped in the "makuta" rhythm of drums and bass. The shock and awe of "Stormy Weather" is propelled by the rhythmic sweep of Central-African "palo" highlighted by a burbling ostinato that churns the melody and harmony into a veritable twister's vortex before Santi enters the narrative, breaking the verses of the song with a pirouetting "coro."

"You're My Thrill" is perhaps the most sensuous song on the album and "Travelin' Light" is a cross-hatching collision between the Cuban "guajira" and the second line rhythm so characteristic of New Orleans. "You get a sense of the interpreter (of the song) travelling light because I am only accompanied by the bass at one time; then by the piano; later the trumpet," Santi explains. The stately, shimmering rhythm of the Cuban "danzón" bathes "Involved Again," with Jon Thompson's sweet clarinet and the singer who is yearning for a new love in her life, yet realizes that she is a fool for love. This is a chart that Billie Holiday wanted dearly to record, but died before she could do so. Dick LaPalm, Nat "King" Cole's promoter suggested that Santi record this song. "It was extremely special to be mailed the lead sheet personally by the composer, Jack Reardon," Santi reveals somewhat in awe of being considered as an interpreter of a song that Ms. Holiday herself yearned to do.

"That Old Devil Called Love" sashays with the voluptuous ecstasy of "son-Abakuá" and is resplendent in the rich imagery of Afro-Cuban music. "There are codes here which only those who listen carefully will hear," Santi says, "including a quote from a famous Cuban song called "El Diablo Tun, Tun," she reveals, almost as a gentle challenge to anyone ready for it. "I Cover the Waterfront /Monk's Dream" is another song worked into the cracked rhythm of a Monk-like idiom and "You'd Better Go Now" is set to a deliciously sexy "yambú" rhythm that is beguiling despite its sad and lonesome lyric.

Perhaps the darkest part of the album is "Strange Fruit" a song that Billie Holiday's infused with the searing imagery of an ugly part of America's tainted history. Performed as a swaying "bolero" this chart infuses the horror of lynching in the deep south of the United States with a prayer to the Yoruba deity, "Oya." "She is the keeper of the cemetery gates and the fierce winds," Ms. Santi warns about a torch song that she sings with breathtaking power. "Strange Fruit is a political and graphic song. I am drawn to repertoire like that. "Strange Fruit," "My Man," "Good Bye Pork Pie Hat" - I have sung these for years," says Santi. "In this performance on the record I very much wanted to sing in a way where there is room for the audience to sing along to it again and I recall performing it in a way where I literally don't breathe." In many respects "Strange Fruit" is the crowning glory of Big Stuff.  It is a song that Ms. Holiday never took lightly and neither does Santi.

As for the absence of one of Holiday's more popular songs, Santi says, "I haven't gotten to 'God Bless the Child' because I have so many thematic ideas regarding that tune, which leads me to believe that I might do a 'God Bless the Child' suite."

A musician of rare and unbridled genius, Venissa Santi was born to parents who filled her life equally with the music of Celia Cruz, Maurice Ravel and Michael Jackson, and numerous other musicians. Her musical heritage goes further back: to a grandfather, Jacobo Ros Capablanca, a Cuban composer. She honored his memory by playing one of his songs on Bienvenida. Santi was born in Ithaca, New York, but moved to Philadelphia after she graduated high school. There, through the study of her grandfather`s compositions, she re-connected with her Cuban roots and majored in Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of the Arts. She was a vocal instructor at the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos. In 2008, Ms. Santi won the Pew Fellowship for Folk and Traditional Arts. In 2009 she was signed to Sunnyside Records. She went to Cuba specifically to study Afro-Cuban song, dance and percussion as well as to prepare for this project.

Reflecting on the past three years, Santi reflects, "It's sort of intense to think how close I've been to this repertoire and Billie's story. It's been an extremely existential experience."

New Releases - Sylvie Courvoisier - Double Windsor; Sax Appeal - Funkerdeen; Janette Mason - D'Ranged


Sylvie Courvoisier, Drew Gress, Kenny Wollesen. Double Windsor * The Charlier Cut * Downward Dog * Pendulum * La Cigale * Inscordatura * Corto * Hedgehog in the Fog * The Beauty and the Beast Sylvie Courvoisier steps out with her long awaited first recording for piano trio! One of the most creative pianists in the downtown scene, and a long time collaborator of Mark Feldman, Ikue Mori and many others, Sylvie combines a brilliant technique with a wild imagination that straddles classical, jazz, improvisation and more. Featuring the dynamic rhythm section of Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress, the music combines the best of improvisation and composition in the classic piano trio format. Three years in the making this is an essential project that highlights an exciting new musical world. ~ Amazon


'Funkerdeen' features a totally original set of compositions and arrangements from leader Derek Nash, he is accompanied on the front line by leading UK sax players support by a steller rhythm section. Special guests include the multi-award winning saxophonist Alan Barnes and global superstar Jools Holland on piano.Sax Appeal was formed by Derek Nash over thirty years ago and, with its unique five sax front line, has recorded six albums, travelled the world and garnered numerous awards, confirming their place in the top rank of British Jazz bands. As always, the band's repertoire on this album encompasses driving swing, groovin' funk, heartfelt blues, vibrant Latin and soulful ballads, and is the first Sax Appeal CD to feature entirely the composing and arranging pen of Derek. The band has always featured the elite of British saxophonists and a world-class rhythm section. This album is no exception. Ronnie Scott's regular, Brandon Allen, and Simon Allen, sideman to the late Stan Tracey, both flex their muscles for the first time with the band. ~ Amazon


'D'Ranged' is the third studio album from the supremely talented pianist, arranger and composer, Janette Mason and includes guest vocalists David McAlmont, Claire Martin OBE, Gwyneth Herbert and Vula Malinga. A departure from her previous two, critically acclaimed, albums, which took a clear jazz path, the concept behind 'D'Ranged' was to take classic soul, jazz and pop tunes and inject them with a brand new jazz-inflected sensibility. To this end, Janette assembled an outstanding group of singers and musicians, who may not normally cross paths, to record nine new arrangements of songs by David Bowie, Burt Bacharach, the Bee Gees, Alison Moyet, Rodgers and Hart and more. The results are simply stunning. A mainstay of the British jazz scene for over a decade, Janette Mason has toured throughout the world and has made her mark as a successful recording artist, pianist, composer and arranger. She has enjoyed an incredibly varied career and has worked with many popular acts, including Pulp, Oasis, Seal, k.d. Lang and Suzanne Vega, as well as writing music for film and TV, including Sex and the City, and Come Dine With Me. She gained a strong reputation as an arranger through her association with the singer Ian Shaw, contributing five arrangements to his Joni Mitchell album, 'Drawn to All Things'. ~ Amazon

New Releases: The Holmes Brothers - Brotherhood; Bill Medley - Your Heart To Mine: Dedicated To The Blues; John Mayall - A Special Life


The album features fourteen songs, including eight new Holmes Brothers originals and six carefully-chosen covers. Brotherhood is a testament to the uplifting musical power that comes from the close-knit, fraternally telepathic relationship of the Holmes Brothers. A wealth of authentic, joyous blues, funk, R&B and soul, dominated by eight new Holmes Brothers originals. Also featured are sparkling remakes of songs by Ike Turner, William Bell & Booker T. Jones and Ted Hawkins, plus the band's unparalleled version of 'Amazing Grace.' 'Fervent, inspired and joyful blues, R&B, roadhouse rock, soul and gospel... beautiful harmonies, true magic' - NPR ~


Bill Medley is a seminal figure in the history of American music. He is perhaps best known as half of the unmistakable duo, The Righteous Brothers. Their raw emotional rhythm and blues sound essentially created the genre "blue-eyed soul." In the mid-1960s, the Righteous Brothers became a fixture on Top Forty radio with hits like "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin," "Just Once in My Life," "Unchained Melody," and "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration," creating an ultra- dramatic take on Sixties pop romance. Their partnership lasted four decades, though Medley explored his solo options apart from the duo on occasion. He went on his own in the late-`60s for six years. In 1974 the duo reunited and resumed their hit-making ways with the prophetic "Rock and Roll Heaven." In the seventies, their live shows continued to attract fans and gained the respect of a new generation of listeners. In 1987, Medley scored a monumental hit with another duettist, Jennifer Warnes, on "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," for the film. On March 10, 2003, The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction came just months before Bobby Hatfield's unexpected death. Medley not only lost his singing partner.he had lost a close friend whom he'd known since his late-teens. After a period of mourning, Medley made the decision to continue touring as a solo artist.


As 2013 came to a close and with his 80th birthday mere weeks away, the godfather of British blues quietly entered a North Hollywood Studio with his band, special guest C.J. Chenier and co-producer/engineer Eric Corne. He walked out with one of the finest and most personal records of his career, A Special Life. Along with his accomplished band (Greg Rzab, Jay Davenport and Rocky Athas) Mayall goes back to his roots with an eclectic album centered in the blues but with diversions into rock and Americana. This is John's first studio album in five years. It is an instant classic and a must have for any blues/roots music enthusiast. ~

Guitarist Rotem Sivan to Release his Second Album, For Emotional Use Only - Out September 2 on Fresh Sound New Talent

One of the most exciting young jazz performers on the New York scene, Rotem Sivan is developing at a fascinating rate. Hot on the heels of Sivan's 2013 debut, Enchanted Sun (SteepleChase), comes the guitarist's new album For Emotional Use Only, featuring Haggai Cohen Milo on bass and Mark McLean on drums. This album - to be released September 2, 2014 on Fresh Sound New Talent Records - sees Sivan lead the trio in a set of beautifully textured and dynamic originals, plus fresh, individual takes on two standards.

Sivan recorded For Emotional Use Only in Brooklyn's Atlantic Sound Studios. Conducted without headphones, with no separation between the players and with a gathering of friends and followers as an audience, the session had a live, in-the-moment atmosphere. The result, with no edits and an emphasis on rich interplay and sheer allure of sound, is one of the more organic, engaging and involving guitar trio albums you're likely to hear. A glimpse of the session can be seen on Sivan's YouTube channel.

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Sivan moved to New York City in 2008 to study jazz at the New School and pursue his dream of becoming part of the city's vibrant scene. He has developed a glowing tone and quicksilver phrasing, as well as a sophisticated sense of rhythm and an openhearted approach to melody. The guitarist came up with the title For Emotional Use Only after a visit to WDNA-FM in Miami. "I was flipping through the racks of CDs," the guitarist recalls, "and I saw a sticker on one of them that said, 'For Promotional Use Only,' misreading 'Promotional' as 'Emotional.' It struck me immediately, and as I thought it over, I realized that I wanted use the seemingly mistaken phrase for my album title as a way to convey my own relationship to music. Ultimately, what leaves the most enduring impression is the music's emotional effect."

For Emotional Use Only begins with a hypnotic bass solo, "Intro to Spirals," an unusual way to open an album led by a guitarist, yet an utterly compelling one. "It felt right for the music - which is always the choice I'll make," Sivan says. "There are many crossroads you come to when performing music. The choices you make determine where the music is going to go. Mark and Haggai make musical choices that I really appreciate - we usually know where each other is heading, and if it is a surprise, it's a good one."
Cohen Milo's bass intro is followed by "Spirals," a dusky, catchy number with a tricky rhythm of 31/16. The album's other originals include the dynamic "Sefi's Blues," the Monk-like "Pass It On" and the pensively beautiful "For Emotional Use Only," marked by a tolling bass line and golden-hued lead playing by Sivan.

There are also two tracks labeled "Blossom Interlude" interspersed on the album before the record closes with the full-on "Blossom," the ebullient material laced with subtle West  African accents, rhythmically, melodically and texturally - Sivan's electric six-string sounds like a kora harp at some points and sounds like Malian-style guitar at others. The album's two standards are Jobim's lilting-yet-offbeat "Useless Landscape" and the rarely covered "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Disney's Cinderella.

Sivan grew up digging into the legacies of guitarists from Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to John Scofield and Pat Metheny. But in more recent years, he has been keenly influenced by pianists, from Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson to Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. "When I listen, study and transcribe these days, it's most often from the piano," Sivan explains. "I love the sound of the instrument and the counterpoint you can achieve on the keyboard. I adapt piano exercises for the guitar, and piano trios have been the most inspirational for me in terms of the way they interact."

The All About Jazz review of Sivan's Enchanted Sun praised the debut album for its "energy, intensity and creativity," all qualities that the guitarist has amplified with his trio on For Emotional Use Only. He says: "In music, being in the moment is the point - being fully conscious of the situation, where the music is and where it's going. Even solos can be like dialogues with the other players. The best jazz groups commune with each other."

Rotem Sivan
Sivan is a guitarist for the 21st century, with an international background and border-defying interests. From an early age, he was influenced by a wide range of genres, including Baroque music and classic rock, Indian classical and Middle Eastern music. In New York City, Sivan quickly became an active player and started collaborating with acclaimed musicians such as Peter Bernstein (see this video of Sivan and Bernstein playing duet on "The Way You Look Tonight"), Ari Hoenig, Colin Stranahan, Paul Bollenback and Ziv Ravitz. Sivan was a prize-winner at the Montreux Jazz Festival and has performed at the Sonora Jazz Festival in Mexico, the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland and numerous others. The Rotem Sivan Trio performs regularly at well-known jazz venues such as Birdland, Smalls, Le Poisson Rouge, the Bar Next Door, Fat Cat and more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PAUL TAYLOR live @ Germany's greatest Soul, Funk & Jazz - Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg, Germany, Sept. 11, 2014

Paul Taylor took up the saxophone at the age of seven. Though the Denver native has lived and worked primarily in Las Vegas since graduating as a music performance major from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the proximity of his adopted hometown to Los Angeles gave him many opportunities to vibe with R&B and contemporary jazz producers and artists. In 1994, Jeff Lorber asked Taylor to play with him at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. 

Another popular keyboard player, Keiko Matsui, and her producer/husband Kazu liked Taylor's charismatic performance and offered him an audition with their band. He recorded and toured with the Matsuis for two years (appearing on "Sapphire" and "Dream Walk"), and Kazu Matsui eventually co-produced his debut album "On The Horn" (1995), which spawned the #1 radio hit "Till We Meet Again." Although Taylor has since been one of the genre's most popular live attractions as a solo artist, he eagerly accepted Russ Freeman's invitation to tour with The Rippingtons as a special guest artist in 2000. 

He later toured as a featured performer with the all-star "Groovin' For Grover" lineup (including Lorber, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright). Over the past few years, Taylor has also been part of two of the genre's biggest summer tours, Gentlemen of the Night (with Marion Meadows and Warren Hill) and Sax and the City (with Meadows and Vincent Ingala). Long a mainstay among the most popular and elite artists, Taylor has been on one of the most exhilarating upswings of his career over the past seven years, starting with "Ladies' Choice" (2007), which marked his first ever #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz. "Burnin'" the title track from his 2009 album, "Push To Start" from "Prime Time" (2011) and "Supernova" from his latest release "Tenacity" (2014) hit the pole position on the Smooth Jazz Songs chart. The albums itself respectively reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.


Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Boney James, Brian Culbertson & Others Headline Unforgettable All-Star Smooth Jazz Cruises

While sailing into placid blue-green Caribbean waters last January, The Smooth Jazz Cruise encountered a tidal wave of demand for cabins for the 2015 sailing. On just the second day of the 2014 venture, next year’s cruise sailing January 11-18, 2015 showcasing more than twenty of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz and R&B sold out. To make sure that no one would be left stranded ashore, cruise producer Entertainment Cruise Productions, working with cruise line Holland America and the enthusiastic cooperation of the artists and musicians, swiftly put together a solution to rescue the lengthy waiting list of enthusiasts from all over the world eager to be part of the luxurious musical vacation adventure. Six days later, The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.2 sailing March 1-8, 2015 was conceived. 

Spending a week at sea performing, meeting and hanging out with fans aboard Holland America’s m/s Eurodam while visiting exotic Caribbean ports during the traditional January time slot fits nicely into the musicians’ schedules because most don’t tour or release new albums immediately after the holiday season, but rounding up everyone six weeks later in March, including such Grammy winners, legends and chart-toppers as Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Joe Sample, Peter White and many others, could have been difficult. 

“We called all the artists’ agents and managers and they were happy to hear about the unprecedented demand so everyone was ready and willing to sign up immediately,” said Entertainment Cruise Productions’ Executive Director Michael Lazaroff of the cruise that will depart Fort Lauderdale and visit Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Croix and the private island Half Moon Cay. “The Smooth Jazz Cruise is simply the best entertainment in the world of smooth jazz. No other festival or event can boast this level and depth of talent, fun and excitement. As it’s affectionately known, it is ‘The Greatest Party at Sea.’” 

Capturing the unique spirit of the perennially sold-out cruise that many guests embark upon year after year has been a bit of a challenge as well. Offering live music plus DJ Biz Markie in six different venues large and intimate on top of informative panels, theme parties and autograph sessions with the artists, it is more than a music festival and more than backstage experiences with fan favorites. It is more than a vacation in the Caribbean with a dazzling array of amenities and delectable dining. It is more than a week of pampering during which everyone is treated first class by the Holland America staff. For the past twelve years on 17 full-ship charters, The Smooth Jazz Cruise has delivered unforgettable music and lifestyle experiences. Something special happens when passionate guests devote the entire week to being immersed in the music. A new video clip that provides a glimpse into the magic that occurs on every sailing is as close as one can get without leaving shore. It can be viewed at 

Trumpeter Sean Jones Releases Never Before Seen

Celebrating his 10th anniversary with Mack Avenue Records, internationally acclaimed composer/trumpeter Sean Jones views his seventh album, never before seen, as "a reintroduction of who I am." Although he has clearly established himself as a formidable leader through recordings and live performances, this album reflects his "conscious decision to approach this latest step in my artistic evolution as a trumpet player, a composer and a leader."
A major event in that evolution occurred when he chose to step down from his longtime position as Lead Trumpeter of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2010. But touring with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock's Tribute To Miles the following year made a truly profound impact on his personal journey. "I have so much respect for those men, so I asked them how I could best contribute to this music. Without hesitation and in one voice they said: 'Lead. That's what we hired you to do.' That brought it all together for me."
Through that epiphany, Jones set out with a new motivation firmly in place, and never before seen began to take form. Paring his artistic viewpoint down to the basics, he decided to make his first quartet recording with his longtime bandmates, the dynamic pianist Orrin Evans, and the seamless bass/drum tandem of Luques Curtis and Obed Calvaire. Furthermore, he chose to do it old school.
"All of my previous albums were 'productions' with overdubs, etc," says Jones. "This time it was just the four of us in one room, no barriers between us, playing live." The sense of immediacy and urgency that has always been a key element of the jazz art at its highest level is front and center throughout this entire album. Another essential tradition of looking back to look forward is also omnipresent here, and that includes the full scope of that legacy from its blues roots to its freer explorations.
Powerfully committed to his art and clearly focused upon where he wants to take it, Jones has developed one of the most impressive and compelling ensembles on today's scene, all of whom are committed to performing together and taking their place alongside the most affecting and important ensembles in jazz. 

Together this quartet generates the consummate energy to which all truly dedicated jazz artists should aspire. The musicians bring everything they have to the table, making the music their own, yet always understanding that the purpose is to fulfill the vision of the leader. "I want to reflect the tradition of what jazz is," says Jones, "and my voice is a voice that needs to be part of it."

Upcoming Sean Jones Performances:
July 31 / Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Festival / Atlantic City, NJ
August 8 & 9 / Richmond Jazz Festival / Richmond, VA
August 12 - 13 / Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (featured guest artist) / New York, NY
August 21 / SFJAZZ Center / San Francisco, CA
September 1 / Detroit Jazz Festival / Detroit, MI
September 5 / The Frick / Pittsburgh, PA
September 25 - 28 / Jazz Showcase / Chicago, IL
November 3 - 8 / SF Performances Residency / San Francisco, CA
November 10 - 15 / Jazz Bistro / St. Louis, MO

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Laura Dreyer, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has established herself as a vital member of the New York jazz scene. Always drawn to Brazilian music, the composer, educator and multi-instrumentalist created a "latinized" fusion incorporating elements of jazz, funk, and rock.

Dreyer was a founding member and contributing arranger for the big band DIVA. In this capacity, she worked with luminaries Dave Brubeck, Rosemary Clooney, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Slide Hampton and Clark Terry, among others. Additionally she has performed with Dr. Billy Taylor, Mel Lewis, Robert Palmer, Nnenna Freelon, Lea Delaria, Leny Andrade and Portinho. She was a band member for the award-winning musicals "Hot and Sweet" and the Duke Ellington tribute, "Hit Me With A Hot Note." 

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Dreyer grants in performance and professional jazz study/composition. She participated in the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop and four of her songs have received an honorable mention in Billboard Magazine's songwriting contests. Dreyer has been active as an educator, and continues to write for music publications.

Of her current work she says, "I discovered an intrinsic emotional quality in Brazilian music that helped me find a deeper level of self-expression. After having performed many times with Brazilian jazz artists throughout the years in New York City and Brazil, I began to envision recording my newest album in Rio de Janeiro. I had worked with world-class Rio-based jazz artists in Brazil, and realized that I had found the perfect group of musicians to perform my music and complete my vision."

In the spirit of creating a multi- cultural recording, vocalist and music educator Professor Roger Wesby wrote lyrics in Spanish for one of Dreyer's compositions. Brazilian vocalist Débora Watts adapted these lyrics to Portuguese, and penned lyrics to another one of Dreyer's songs. Vocalist Teri Koide contributed her vocal talents and English lyrics to another piece, and Karen Rodriguez helped with further Spanish lyrics and stellar vocals. The repertoire was completed with the addition of two arrangements of a composition by the legendary Romeo Santos.

The 14 tracks of the CD were recorded in the historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa with engineer Carlos Fuchs at his state of the art studio. Dreyer concludes, "I am grateful that the magic I felt during the recording session, and my passion for the fascinating sounds of Brazil, are captured on Vida. Arte. Amor."

Caminhos Novos
Beauty & The Beast
Ping Pong
La Pena El Placer (Portuguese Version)
Beijo del Sol (Rio Version)
Spring St.
Vale La Pena El Placer
O Outro Lado do Seu Amor
Perdendo Voce
A Somba Se Foi
Until Daybreak
A Danca dos Cacharros

Reed Master Harvey Wainapel's "Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2" Due for September 2 Release

Harvey Wainapel Amigos Brasileiros volume 2 Saxophonist and clarinetist Harvey Wainapel has been dividing his time between Berkeley and Brazil for nearly 15 years now, and in the course of his expansive Brazilian travels he's forged deep musical friendships with an array of that country's notable composers and instrumentalists. Many of them were showcased on Wainapel's gorgeous 2007 travelogue Amigos Brasileiros, and many more are in the spotlight on its follow-up, Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2. The new disc will be released by Wainapel's JazzMission Records on September 2.

"I've been pretty ambitious with both of these CDs, but I'm still just scratching the surface," Wainapel says. "There are so many traditions and styles that are very localized and not commercial, so you won't hear them on the radio." 

The sessions took place in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Recife, Brazil; one track featuring carioca pianist and U.S. resident Weber Iago ("Palavras de Menina") was recorded in Washington state. Rhythms such as xote, caboclinho, maracatú, baião, frevo, marcha, and choro infuse intoxicating compositions by Léa Freire ("Mamulengo"), Spok ("Nilinho na Aldeia"), Wilson Lopes ("Árvore"), and Marco César/João Lyra ("Triunfando"). The leader contributes "Nas Ruas de Perdizes," a composition selected as a semi-finalist for the 2010 Curitiba Choro Festival (and the only entry by a non-Brazilian). 

In many ways Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2 serves as a savvy on-the-ground survey of the contemporary Brazilian scene, a thoughtfully curated guide to musicians' musicians in a nation bound together by sound. Instrumental music is overshadowed in Brazil by vocal music, which means many of the Amigos Brasileiros players and composers are unsung at home. "I wanted to reflect what's happening now with the people I meet," says Wainapel, "and they were kind enough to include me on their scene. There's so much creative energy down there. You never get to the end of it." 

Equally adept on clarinets and saxophones, Wainapel (pronounced wine-apple) has also collaborated with some of jazz's most acclaimed musicians over the past three decades, including pianists Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner, tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, and drummer Billy Hart. It was while living in New York City, in 1979, that he first contracted his fever for Brazilian music. He landed a weekly gig playing in a large Brazilian jazz ensemble led by Thiago de Melo, which also included drummer Duduka da Fonseca, Wainapel's onetime Berklee classmate Claudio Roditi, and pianist Marcos Silva. The fever became an obsession.

 "It's led me to making these annual trips," says the saxophonist, a native of upstate Ellenville, New York, "though I play jazz there too. Brazilians love jazz, so it's 50/50. The Brazilian side injects a lot of emotion into my playing, and it opened up my concept of melody and harmony." Wainapel has gone on to tour internationally with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, and perform in the U.S. and Brazil with such top figures as composer Guinga, guitar virtuoso Paulo Bellinati, and master pianists Jovino Santos Neto and Nelson Ayres.

Wainapel relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982 and quickly became an in-demand player. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1994 with At Home/On the Road, followed by Ambrosia: The Music of Kenny Barron (1996) and The Hang (1998), with Barron at the piano. Wainapel's first full recording of Brazilian music was 2004's New Choros of Brazil, a duo album with guitarist Paulo Bellinati that focused on previously unrecorded choros by masters like Sérgio Assad, Guinga, and Dori Caymmi.

The saxophonist is planning a special series of shows to celebrate the release of Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2. He'll be appearing 9/4 at Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz, and 9/5 at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool), Berkeley, with special guests Vitor Gonçalves on piano (Hermeto Pascoal, Maria Bethânia, Anat Cohen) and Cleber Almeida on drums and percussion (Hamilton de Holanda, Banda Mantiqueira), plus bassist Scott Thompson and percussionist Brian Rice. He'll also be performing as a duo with Gonçalves 9/10 at Sonoma State University (1-3 pm) and 9/12 at Old Siskiyou Barn, Ashland, Oregon.

Wainapel and carioca vocalist (and longtime California resident) Claudia Villela are scheduled to appear together at the Monterey Jazz Festival 9/19. In October, Wainapel will head to the Northwest for additional CD release gigs with pianist and frequent collaborator Jovino Santos Neto and his group: 10/6 at Rhythm & Rye, Olympia (also featuring Filó Machado) and 10/7 The Royal Room, Seattle. And then the saxophonist will pack his bags for another temporada in Brazil, staying for most of the remainder of 2014. 

"Time to start working on Volume 3!" says Wainapel. 


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