Jul 19

Eumir Deodato – Night Cruiser (1980/2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz  | Time – 34:28 minutes | 1,34 GB | Genre: Fusion
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Rhino/Warner Bros.

Brazilian composer, arranger and pianist Eumir Deodato’s 1980 release, Night Cruiser, is a blend of disco, pop and jazz. The album is rooted with soulful melodies, smooth hooks and fluid horns. It showcases Deodato in fine form. A true highlight on this masterfully produced album is the magnificent collaboration with Kool & the Gang’s saxophonist Ronald Bell on the track “Uncle Funk.”

Eumir Deodato has long been hailed for his smooth jazz/fusion blend. And although he had moved closer to a disco-pop sensibility by the time of this release, at least some of the early, cohesive elements of his trademark sound remain. Night Cruiser is smooth, studied, and packed with those moments that scream disco-lite, pop nightmare, and ’70s television show soundtrack. But, as mediocre as some of these songs seem, bizarrely it’s hard not to at least tap a toe on “Skatin.” Where this album takes an interesting turn is at the opening of side two, as “Uncle Funk” finds Kool & the Gang’s saxophonist, Ronald Bell, guesting. Deodato and Kool & the Gang had formed a productive partnership for the Gang’s hit single “Ladies Night,” and here Bell returns the favor. “Uncle Funk” is a juicy blend of fusion and classic funk sax that puts the rest of the album to shame. Clocking in at over six minutes, the song is allowed to find a groove and follow it through. “Love Magic” and “Groovitation” try to follow on from there, but they fall short, proving that although Deodato was capable of turning in a set that was musically perfect and flawlessly arranged, he really couldn’t grasp the mastery of his early era output. ~~ AllMusic Review by Amy Hanson

Tracklist:
01 – Night Cruiser
02 – East Side Strut
03 – Skatin’
04 – Uncle Funk
05 – Love Magic
06 – Groovitation

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May 30

Sadao Watanabe – Paysages (1971/2007) {SACD Sony Japan} 
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 1.99 GB
FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 970MB
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

Paysages is a French word that roughly means “landscapes.” In this 1971 album, Sadao Watanabe & his bandmates’ music reflected the sign of the times in their use of electric piano, strong emphasis on rhythms – realized, in part, by employing 2 drummers – & a freer approach to improvisation.

Tracklist
1. Paysages Part 1 & 2
2. Out-Land
3. Space Is Not A Place
4. Green Air
5. Provincial

Musicians
Sadao Watanabe – alto sax, flute, sopranino
Masabumi Kikuchi – electric piano, acoustic piano
Gary Peacock – bass
Masahiko Togashi – drums
Hiroshi Murakami – drums

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May 25

Sadao Watanabe – Paysages (1971/2007) {SACD Sony Japan} 
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 1.99 GB
FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans 600dpi | 970MB
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

Paysages is a French word that roughly means “landscapes.” In this 1971 album, Sadao Watanabe & his bandmates’ music reflected the sign of the times in their use of electric piano, strong emphasis on rhythms – realized, in part, by employing 2 drummers – & a freer approach to improvisation.

Tracklist
1. Paysages Part 1 & 2
2. Out-Land
3. Space Is Not A Place
4. Green Air
5. Provincial

Musicians
Sadao Watanabe – alto sax, flute, sopranino
Masabumi Kikuchi – electric piano, acoustic piano
Gary Peacock – bass
Masahiko Togashi – drums
Hiroshi Murakami – drums

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Apr 12

Pieces of a Dream – In The Moment (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:51:10 minutes | 568 MB | Genre: Jazz, Fusion, R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: HDTracks | @ Shanachie Entertainment

In the world of jazz, commodities are fleeting. Styles come and go. Artists at the top of this week’s charts could be history by the end of next month. Words like “staying power” and “longevity” are for anyone or anything that sticks around for more than a couple years.

But then there are those rare few, gifted with the right stuff, who hang in for the long haul – musical collectives that continue to explore and evolve album after album, year after year, decade after decade, eschewing fashion and fad and reaching instead for something much more permanent. This is the story of Pieces of a Dream, a contemporary jazz band that opens the next chapter in a career that spans more than three decades.

The R&B legends are at their creative best with In The Moment, an inspired celebration of their 20th album!

Core and founding members James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon refer to In the Moment as the 20th Pieces of a Dream album. Instead of hosting a guest-filled blowout, they keep it simple with familiar associates, guitarist Rohn Lawrence, saxophonist Tony Watson Jr., and bassist David Dyson. The duo also receive a little assistance from a handful of additional musicians, including Shanachie label stalwart Chris “Big Dog” Davis. An all-instrumental set apart from some talkbox on “New Jazz Swing,” In the Moment features a handful of cuts that should remain in the group’s live repertoire for years. “Steppers ‘D’ Lite” and “TTYL (I’m Driving),” two of the album’s most energized songs, combine live instrumentation and programmed rhythms with as much finesse as anything from their ’80s releases. Dyson’s bass and Lloyd’s piano shine brightest on “For Real,” one of several typically melodic ballads, while Lawrence is showcased throughout “Never Let It End,” where he provides a pair of graceful lines. This is another modest, kicked-back release from the group. –AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman

Tracklist:
1 In The Moment 5:29
2 For Real 4:46
3 Steppers “D” Lite 4:25
4 Misty-Eyed 4:35
5 TTYL (I’m Driving) 5:04
6 People Say 3:40
7 NewJazz Swing 3:40
8 Under The Inflence (Of Pieces) 4:26
9 Never Let It End 5:51
10 Coming Home 5:17
11 There Will Never Be Another You 3:57

Personnel:
James K. Lloyd – keyboards, piano, synthesizer
Curtis Harmon – keyboards, drum programming, percussion
Rohn Lawrence – guitar
Tony Watson Jr. – saxophone
Chris Davis – keyboards
David Dyson – bass, keyboards, drum programming
Robert “Boots” Pickard, Bennie Simms – drum programming

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Apr 07

Yellowjackets – Timeline (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:02:29 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Mack Avenue Records

Timeline is Yellowjackets’ GRAMMY®-nominated debut on Mack Avenue Records. This 2011 album commemorates the band’s unprecedented thirty-year career. Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Will Kennedy and Bob Mintzer deliver the perfect combination of smooth jazz and post-bop. The album peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums and features the smooth jazz standout “Timeline.”

Contemporary jazz ensemble Yellowjackets’ 2011 Mack Avenue debut, Timeline features the band’s longstanding knack for straddling the line between smooth jazz and more cerebral post-bop stuff. Marking the group’s 30 years in the business, the album is a perfect mix of low-key, soulful moments and more funky, angular jazz. In that sense, it’s a perfect balance of what the band has done throughout its career. Showcased here are members saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Will Kennedy, as well as guests guitarist Robben Ford and trumpeter John Daversa. Ultimately, with tracks like the disarmingly knotty opener “Why Is It,” the expansive “Tenacity,” and the ruminative R&B-infused title track, Timeline reveals Yellowjackets as a band in a seemingly reinvigorated and creative state of mind. Not a bad place to be at 30. ~~AllMusic Review by Matt Collar

Tracklist:
1. Why Is It 5:04
2. Tenacity 6:07
3. Rosemary 4:54
4. Timeline 5:11
5. Magnolia 4:36
6. A Single Step 7:05
7. Indivisible 5:22
8. Like Elvin 5:32
9. My Soliloquy 6:23
10. Numerology 5:56
11. I Do 6:01

Personnel:
Bob Mintzer – Tenor Saxophone, Sopranino Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Russell Ferrante – Keyboards, Piano
Jimmy Haslip – Bass
Will Kennedy – Drums, Keyboards
Guests:
John Daversa – Trumpet (#2,8)
Robben Ford – Guitar (#5)

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