Jul 06

Kevin Stewart – Never Look Back (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 00:59:43 minutes | 714 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Tonegold Records

American keyboardist Kevin Stewart is a superb contemporary jazz instrumentalist and composer who can perform a range of styles – including jazz, blues, and R&B – with equal dexterity, and his new album, Never Look Back, is a good example of his remarkable facility.

01. Moonlight
02. Full Steam
03. Still Unforgettable
04. Never Look Back
05. Mom’s Lake
06. Overjoyed
07. The Calm
08. Distracted
09. Lost Generation
10. Never Can Say Goodbye
11. Roof Garden
12. Downtime
13. Timeless Tale
14. You Touch My Brain

Kevin Stewart – keyboards
Rick Morris – guitar
Allen Palmer – guitar
Chris Amberger – bass
Derrick Autrey – drums
Rufus Hacreiti – drums
Darryl Harris – percussion
Alan Zucar – percussion
Scott Sheuerman – trumpet (7, 14)
Larry Waller – sax (14)

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Jul 06

Keith Sweat – Dress To Impress (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 1:06:19 minutes | 783 MB | Genre: Funk, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: 7digital | © RAL/Sony Music

Keith Sweat’s first studio album since 2011 arrived as the singer’s syndicated radio program, The Sweat Hotel, was approaching its tenth year. It could be deduced that the gig has sharpened Sweat’s ears and pen, as Dress to Impress features his best round of songs in well over a decade. Beside a small cast of writing and production associates that includes Wirlie Morris and Derek Allen, Sweat focuses on romance and emotional connection. The album sounds fresh while drawing from numerous eras, just as the Sweat Hotel playlist roams from decade to decade.

01. Good Love (3:44)
02. Tonight (feat. Silk) (4:09)
03. Just the 2 of Us (feat. Takiya Mason) (3:45)
04. Pulling Out the One (3:30)
05. Special Night (4:34)
06. Back and Forth (4:04)
07. Give You All of Me (4:07)
08. Missing You Like Crazy (feat. Dru Hill) (4:42)
09. Lovers and Friends (4:05)
10. Feels Good (4:24)
11. Better Love (4:53)
12. Dressed to Impress (4:21)
13. Can’t Let You Go (4:17)
14. Say (3:35)
15. Get It In (4:03)
16. Let’s Go to Bed (feat. Gerald Levert) (4:06)

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Jul 06

Jim Black Trio – The Constant (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:38 minutes | 965 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Intakt Records

Jim Black has been an influential figure in progressive jazz since the nineties. For this, his Intakt Records debut, he performs with pianist Elias Stemeseder and bassist Thomas Morgan. Linernotes by Hank Shteamer read, “The Constant, a suitelike collection of 10 new pieces, is a meditation on song- a celebration of plain-spoken melody but also an interrogation of the fragility of musical order.”

The name of this Jim Black Trio could easily have been ‘Quicksilver’ because the trio epitomises everything unpredictable and swiftly responsive. Embodied in The Constant it also revels in music of the highest quality – and that demands exceptional instrumental skills. Just a few bars into the leading song on this album it becomes that the musicians in this trio have this quality in spades. This ten-part suite brings special attention to the skill that Jim Black brings to the Art of Songwriting. His singular voice is contained in the manner in which he poses altogether different challenges in terms of phrasing, architecture and pacing.

01. High
02. Song H
03. Falls
04. Chinchilla
05. Medium
06. Song O
07. Song M
08. Song E
09. Low
10. Bill

Elias Stemeseder – piano
Thomas Morgan – bass
Jim Black – drums, composer

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Jul 06

Jessy J – My One And Only One (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 48:09 minutes | 657 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital booklet | Label: Shanachie Entertainment

Saxophonist, vocalist, songwriter Jessy J is one of the brightest stars on the Smooth Jazz scene. Her combination of extraordinary musical talents and exciting live performances have garnered her several Smooth Jazz radio #1s, a #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart position, Billboard’s and R&R’s Contemporary Jazz Song Of The Year Award and more. She also performs before millions as the saxophonist on television’s The Voice, and has appeared on American Idol as well. My One And Only One is Jessy J’s most deliciously grooving, sensuous, creative work to date. Produced by the great Paul Brown (George Benson, Boney James, Peter White), the album features special guest, Grammy winning keyboardist Gregg Karukas. Highlights include Jessy’s sensitive re-imaginings of Adele’s “Lovesong,” Toni Braxton’s “You’re Makin’ Me High,” the R&B classic “Strawberry Letter 23” plus 7 great Jessy J originals!

1 Una Mas 03:38
2 My One And Only One 04:15
3 Lovesong 05:16
4 The Tango Boy 04:27
5 Paraiso 03:52
6 Back To Basics 06:16
7 You’re Makin’ Me High 06:24
8 Siempre 04:53
9 Cuba 04:28
10 Strawberry Letter 23 04:40

Jessy J – Arranger, Composer, Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor), Vocals
Frank Abraham – Bass
Alex Al – Bass
Michael Angel – Guitar
Paul Brown – Arranger, Guest Artist, Guitar, Mixing
Oskar Cartaya – Bass
Richie Gajate Garcia – Percussion
Sergio Gonzalez – Drums
Jay Gore – Guitar (Rhythm)
Ronnie Gutierrez – Percussion
Iajhi Hampden – Drums
Taku Hirano – Percussion
Dave Hooper – Drums
Norman Jackson – Keyboards, Strings
Gregg Karukas – Guest Artist, Keyboards, Strings
Janis Liebhart – Vocals (Background)
Michael Ripoll – Arranger, Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Keyboards, Programming, Vocals
Ruslan Sirota – Arranger, Piano
Lee Thornberg – Brass, Horn Arrangements
Roberto Vally – Bass
Zoux – Keyboards

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Jul 06

Jim Rotondi – Dark Blue (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:04:15 minutes | 1,33 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Smoke Sessions Records

WHEN PEOPLE HEAR JIM ROTONDI for the first time, they aren’t likely to forget it. For 20+ years, Rotondi was one of the trumpet heroes of the New York City jazz scene and a musician whose fiery playing and daring solos firmly established him as a torchbearer of the Lee Morgan-Freddie Hubbard-Woody Shaw trumpet tradition. Like so many jazz greats before him, he’s based in Europe now, but he’s still blowing with the same intensity, if not more. His new recording, Dark Blue, uses the importance of place as a central theme and features music inspired by pivotal locations in his career from Europe to New York and beyond. While the title itself doesn’t reference any particular place, it’s a vivid description of this breathtaking music and this spectacular quintet that brings together hard-bop stalwarts David Hazeltine (piano) Joe Locke (vibes) David Wong (bass) and Carl Allen (drums).

01. In Graz
02. Bc
03. Biru Kirusai
04. Dark Blue
05. Highline
06. Pure Imagination
07. Monk’s Mood
08. Le Crest
09. Our Day Will Come
10. Going To The Sun

Jim Rotondi – trumpet, flugelhorn
David Hazeltine – piano, Fender Rhodes
Joe Locke – vibraphone
David Wong – double bass
Carl Allen – drums

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Jul 06

João Gilberto & Stan Getz – Getz/Gilberto ’76 (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 50:35 minutes | 1,12 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: ProStudioMasters | Digital Booklet | © 2xHD

Having reunited for 1976’s The Best of Two Worlds, saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian singer/guitarist João Gilberto celebrated the album’s release with a week of shows at San Francisco’s Keystone Corner. Marking over a decade since the pair had made history with 1964’s landmark Getz/Gilberto album, the shows, which took place between May 11-16, 1976, would prove one of the rare times they appeared live together. Resonance Records’ 2016 album, Getz/Gilberto ’76 (and the separate release Moments in Time), documents these shows via live recordings made by Keystone Korner club owner Todd Barkan.

01. Spoken Intro By Stan Getz (1:09)
02. E Preciso Perdoar (5:52)
03. Aguas De Marco (5:48)
04. Retrato Em Branco E Preto (4:49)
05. Samba Da Minha Terra (3:22)
06. Chega De Saudade (3:44)
07. Rosa Morena (4:26)
08. Eu Vim Da Bahia (4:12)
09. Joao Marcelo (3:22)
10. Doralice (3:48)
11. Morena Boca De Ouro (3:35)
12. Um Abraco No Bonfa (4:39)
13. E Preciso Perdoar (Encore) (6:28)

João Gilberto – vocals, guitar
Stan Getz – tenor saxophone
Joanne Brackeen – piano
Clint Houston – bass
Billy Hart – drums

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Jul 06

Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Gaute Storaas, Arve Henriksen – Knut Hamsun’s Victoria (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:31 minutes | 358 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Gubemusic | Artwork: Front cover | © Jazzland Recordings

The Norwegian musicians Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Gaute Storaas and Arve Henriksen have composed the music for the film ‘Victoria’, based on Knut Hamsun’s novel. They have also performed and produced the score, which features the pianist Tigran Hamasyan, the guitarist Robert Jürjendal and the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Hernando Rico.

Given the cinematic nature of albums like …and poppies from Kandahar (SamadhiSound, 2011), Uncommon Deities (SamadhiSound, 2012) and Cartography (ECM, 2008), it should come as no surprise to find trumpeter/vocalist Arve Henriksen and electronic sound sculptors/Punkt Festival Artistic Directors Jan Bang and Erik Honore collaborating on a film soundtrack, in this case Norwegian director, playwright and novelist Torun Lian’s screen adaptation of fellow Norwegian and Nobel Prize laureate Knut Hamsun’s 1898 novel, Victoria. Just released in March, 2013, the film is already garnering critical acclaim, and if the soundtrack to a film is not necessarily essential to its success, there certainly are antecedents where films actually become transformed for the better by their scores.
Having not yet seen the film, it’s impossible to make that judgment, but it is possible to place Victoria—co-written by Bang, Honoré, Henriksen and Norwegian bassist/orchestrator Gaute Storaas—in that smaller group of film scores that stand as independent entities. Knut Hamsun’s Victoria’s 15 largely orchestral miniatures may clock in at just under forty minutes, but it’s music best heard in its entirety, its own narrative unfolding with gentle dignity, grace and occasional power. Armenian-born/Los Angeles-resident pianist Tigran Hamasyan (a recent inductee into the “Punkt Family”) delivers “Theme from Victoria” with spare elegance, its haunting melodism picked up by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, the two entities beautifully interacting with collective, temporal ebb and flow. Henriksen makes his first appearance on “Winter,” his instantly recognizable trumpet tone engaging with Bang and Honoré’s samples to evoke an image so strong as to render it unnecessary to experience onscreen.
Bang, Honoré and Henriksen’s extant musical breadth has been further honed by nearly a decade of Punkt festivals—not just in its hometown of Kristiansand, Norway, but elsewhere in the world, including London, Mannheim, and Tallinn, where Bang first met Robert Jürjendal, the Weekend Guitar Trio guitarist/composer who also contributes to Victoria. Bang and Honoré’s longstanding partnership, dating back to their teens, also means they work together with rare empathy; two very different personalities, but ones capable of completing each other’s musical thoughts the way others in long-term personal relationships do the same with each other’s sentences.
Collaborating with Henriksen is nothing new for the duo, but Storaas adds significantly to the picture, particularly on fully orchestral pieces like the dark “The Rescue” and more optimistic “Camilla’s Theme.” “Funeral,” on the other hand, draws upon “Opening Image,” from Henriksen’s Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004)—one of three recordings recently collected in the limited edition, seven-LP Solidification (Rune Grammofon, 2013) box—though this version is shorter and, while based on the original composition’s foundational structure, features entirely different but equally compelling vocal and trumpet performances from Henriksen.
With new projects constantly in the works, including Henriksen’s overdue follow-up to Cartography and Punkt’s ninth year in Kristiansand approaching in September, Bang, Honoré and Henriksen continue to raise their bars—individually, collectively and reciprocally. With Knut Hamsun’s Victoria, they’ve moved into an area that was, perhaps, inevitable, but with the same imagination and contextual sensitivity that’s characterized their other work; hopefully this is just the first of many film scores to come.

01 – Theme from Victoria
02 – Winter
03 – The Rescue
04 – Camilla ́s Theme
05 – The Theatre
06 – Lament
07 – Preparation
08 – Funeral
09 – The Kiss
10 – The Window
11 – Night Encounter
12 – The Letter
13 – The Mill
14 – Johannes Returns
15 – Lament (reprise)

Jan Bang – samples, programming
Erik Honoré – samples, synthesizer, programming
Arve Henriksen – trumpet, vocals, synthesizer
Tigran Hamasyan – piano
Robert Jürjendal – guitar
Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by David Hernando Rico
Gaute Storaas – orchestrations

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Jul 06

Nguyên Lê with Michael Gibbs & NDR Bigband – Celebrating The Dark Side Of The Moon (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 58:51 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio | Artwork: Digital booklet | © ACT Music

Nguyên Lê is a magician; his art reveals itself not only in his own compositions but also in his celebrations of the music of the past, where his approach to the latter resembles sculptures made of new clay. Remember Purple, his tribute to Jimi Hendrix, or more recently his Songs Of Freedom and its evocations of rock’s greatest moments. He’s a flamboyant guitarist and, while he shows courteous deference to his source material, he has always expressed the full diversity of an imaginary world engendered by his own history, that of a nomad, self-taught virtuoso: his music feeds on influences embracing all continents, and is painted with colours drawn from jazz, rock, and a kind of world fusion permeated with light. Celebrating The Dark Side Of The Moon demonstrates that the imagination of Nguyên Lê has indeed risen to power; it is no simple tribute to a record which made history. It fervently expresses the re-creation exempt from all imitation of a score which you can hear in filigree. Lê produced and arranged the album, and adds five tracks of his own, interspersing the Pink Floyd material. Korean singing sensation Youn Sun Nah adds dramatic vocals and Michael Gibbs provides the orchestration.

March, 1973… A quartet known for its psychedelic inclinations delivered a fortress of an album: ‘The Dark Side of The Moon’ was a musical UFO featuring the most advanced technology of the period, a stratospheric record which mirrored society and our errant human ways. Pink Floyd was about to write an essential chapter in Rock history and enjoy planetary fame; even today, their album is still one of the greatest sellers of all time.

The idea behind a new reading of it came from ACT-director Siggi Loch and NDR producers Stefan Gerdes and Axel Dürr, whose radio Big Band is no secret for Jazz fans. Their idea may have been a bold initiative, but the project implied an orchestra capable of linking tradition with today, and it looked to have every chance of succeeding because it would involve not only Michael Gibbs – composer, arranger, old friend, but also, joining forces with them, Nguyên Lê, a guitarist known for jumping stylistic borders. The whole idea, finally, seemed a very good one indeed.

‘Celebrating The Dark Side Of The Moon’ demonstrates that the imagination of Nguyên Lê has indeed risen to power; it guides us down other, more personal paths, and is inhabited by that musical ‘brotherhood’ which has never left him all these years. It’s as if the ecumenism of song was part of his creative DNA.

‘Celebrating The Dark Side Of The Moon’ is no simple tribute to a record which made history. It fervently expresses the re-creation – exempt from all imitation – of a score which you can hear in filigree. This is a palimpsest. The writing can still be (re)read, with warm hues forged by respect for the original matrix and the multiple expressions of its identity. Like a principle of life.

01 – Speak to Me
02 – Inspire
03 – Breathe
04 – On the Run
05 – Time
06 – Magic Spells
07 – Hear This Whispering
08 – Great Gig in the Sky
09 – Gotta Go Sometime
10 – Money
11 – Us and Them
12 – Purple or Blue
13 – Any Colour You Like
14 – Brain Damage
15 – Eclipse

Produced and Mixed by Nguyên Lê at Louxor studios, Paris Barbès, March & April 2014.
Recorded at NDR Bigband studio by Michael Ploetz and Wolfgang Dierks, Hamburg, December 2-6, 2013.
Recording Producer: Walter Quintus. Mastered by Bruno Gruel at Elektra Mastering, France.

Nguyên Lê – electric guitar, electronics
Youn Sun Nah – vocals
Gary Husband – drums
Jürgen Attig – electric fretless bass
NDR Bigband, conducted by Jörg Achim Keller

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Jul 06

Jazz Funk Soul (Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp) – Jazz Funk Soul (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:03 minutes | 0,99 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | Label: Shanachie Entertainment
Recorded: JHL Sound, Pacific Palisades CA, Automotive Recording, Irvington NY, Rue Harp Studios LA, CA

Jazz Funk Soul is the new Smooth Jazz super group featuring 3 of the most important hit makers on the scene today: Jeff Lorber, Everett Harp and Chuck Loeb. As artists and producers they are responsible for selling millions of albums and scoring close to 50 #1 Smooth Jazz radio hits! As a touring ensemble, they are wowing audiences from coast to coast.

Jeff Lorber is famous for launching the career of Kenny G and his productions and collaborations with such greats as Dave Koz, Janet Jackson, Lalah Hathaway and Miles Davis. He is one of the most sought after producers and performers in Jazz! Chuck Loeb is widely regarded as one of the finest guitarists ever. Both as a solo artist and as the producer and lead guitarist of the iconic group Fourplay, Loeb has amassed an astonishing record of Smooth Jazz hits! Everette Harp has recorded and shared the stage with such musical giants as Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Billy Joel and Patti LaBelle. A hit maker in his own right, Jazziz magazine hails his “amazing virtuosity” and Jazz Times calls him “a rare talent.”

Since Jazz Funk Soul began touring in 2013, the popularity of the group and the audience’s enthusiasm has been tremendous. This new album was created to satisfy the demand from their growing audience. Jazz Funk Soul is overflowing with soaring saxophone solos, brilliant guitar riffs, super funky piano riffs and incredibly compelling melodies. Highlights include the soon to be hit single, “In The Moment,” the sensuous Loeb original “Feel Me,” the high spirited romp “All Over” and much more!!

1 Speed of Light 04:31
2 Swingette 05:09
3 Adrenaline 04:29
4 Silent Partner 06:25
5 Telephone 04:26
6 We Were There 05:49
7 Line Drive 04:27
8 Serious Business 04:34
9 D.C. 04:15
10 Raccoon 04:58

Jeff Lorber – keyboards, synth bass, rhythm guitar, Rhodes, piano
Chuck Loeb – guitars, keyboards, bass
Everette Harp – alto saxophone, EWI, keys, synth bass, soprano saxophone
Gary Novak, Brian Dunne, Lionel Cordew – drums
Dave Mann – horns
Lenny Castro – congas, percussion
James Genus – acoustic bass, bass
A. Ray “The Weeper” Fuller – rhythm guitars
Till Bronner – trumpet
Mark Hollingsworth – flutes
John Patitucci, Jimmy Haslip – bass

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Jul 05

Jim Snidero – MD66 (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:52:38 minutes | 598 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Front Cover | © Savant

Over the course of the past three decades alto saxophonist and composer Jim Snidero has been constantly pushing himself to explore new territories and expand his outlook. In 1989 (!) his extraordinary album Blue Afternoon made its way into The Penguin Jazz Guide: The History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums. Later on he made his mark in the sax-with-strings department, not only playing at the top of his game, but also composing and arranging all of the music on the project. Most recently he’s impressed more than a few listeners with a spate of fine albums on Savant. On this his latest release, Snidero tackles open modal forms and uses his unfettered imagination as a portal into free(r) territory, and takes his soloing to the next level by working an inside/outside approach that’s rooted in the structure and style of each song but radical enough to move in wildly unexpected directions. This is a musical promised land where revelations, whether subtle or seismic in nature, are guided by revolution.

01. MD66
02. Recursion
03. Free Beauty
04. Unified
05. Who We’ve Known
06. Un4Scene
07. Blue in Green
08. Purge

Jim Snidero – alto saxophone
Alex Sipiagin – trumpet
Andy LaVerne – piano
Ugonna Okegwo – bass
Rudy Royston – drums

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