Saxophonist Justin Young’s “Blue Soul” powered by “High Definition”

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Saxophonist Justin Young’s “Blue Soul” powered by “High Definition

The November 17 album release reflects his Motor City roots, driven by the set’s new single

SEATTLE (9 October 2017): Justin Young is hungry. The energetic and enthusiastic saxophonist is all about hustle and hard work. For over a decade, he’s put out quality soul-jazz albums, but his forthcoming disc, “Blue Soul,” captures an artist hitting his stride on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Mining his Detroit roots, Young’s fourth album, due November 17 via JustnTime Records, features a dozen new songs recorded live in the studio with premier musicians, producers and songwriting collaborators. Paving the way for the collection is the new single, “High Definition,” a vibrant R&B/pop confection just shipped to radio stations, a tune that Young penned with fellow soul-jazz saxman Jackiem Joyner and keyboardist Matt Godina.  

The release of “Blue Soul” caps a lengthy recording odyssey for Young. His approach for this outing was purposely different and taps into the Motown lore that influenced his musical discoveries while growing up.

“I started work on this album three and a half years ago. There have probably been about 40 different songs written for this album. In the past, I would write twelve songs, and then enter the studio quickly and put out an album. But for ‘Blue Soul,’ I wanted to take a different approach and put the absolute best songs out, really push myself to elevate the standard this time around,” said Young, who had a hand in writing all but one song on the album. “‘Blue Soul’ goes back to my roots in music, Detroit, the home of Motown. I loved the creativity of musicians recording together in the studio, creating an amazing vibe. The opportunity to put high-quality musicians together along with amazing producers has always been my dream. I watched this growing up and listened to the Motown stories. ‘Blue Soul’ goes back to my love of jazz and soul music. It’s organic, it’s played by consummate musicians and it truly is soul music with saxophone at its beating heart.

Throughout “Blue Soul,” Young’s alto, tenor and soprano sax is embedded amidst rhythms and grooves constructed by the likes of bassists Alex Al and Hussain Jiffry, and the late drummer to the stars, Ricky Lawson. Former Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist-vocalist Sheldon Reynolds is another notable player who fortified Young’s lilting harmonies and undeniable melodies. The first single, “Always There,” one of four cuts written and produced by Joyner – a Billboard chart-topper in his own right – hit the Billboard Top 25 and the Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown. “Jazz Along The 101,” one of three tracks shepherded by gospel producer Noel Hall (Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond), kept Young’s momentum motoring along with both singles garnering daily spins on SiriusXM’s Watercolors. In response to Hurricane Harvey, he released the hopeful “Song For A Better Tomorrow” (https://youtu.be/PoL8NtcUwFw), donating the track’s proceeds to the American Red Cross. “High Definition” promises to take him into 2018 on a high note with a wealth of potential singles in the offing.

Young began in music as a drummer and was introduced to a wide array of styles – from R&B and pop to jazz and gospel – by his father, Jim Young, who led and played in a variety of bands, encouraging his scion to play sax. Landing his first professional concert at age sixteen, Young put himself through Michigan State University by playing weekend gigs. He issued his debut album, “Rendezvous,” in 2003. After winning a competition at the famed Capital Jazz Fest in 2007, he released “On The Way.” A move to Southern California helped his following multiply quickly when he booked a year-long residency at Spaghettini, a hot spot for the contemporary jazz crowd south of Los Angeles. Gigs on the national festival circuit ensued as did subsequent recordings, “Home for the Holidays” and “Nothin’ But Love.” Young previewed music from “Blue Soul” at a Detroit show held at Chene Park last July with 5,000 people in attendance and at a sold-out date in August when he returned to Spaghettini. Now based near Seattle, he will support the new record with a series of local concerts at nearby wineries this fall. Resourceful and brand savvy, Young produces and plies his effervescent personality as the host of “The Justin Young Audio Experience,” a podcast that teaches musicians about the business of music. For more information, please visit www.JustinYoungSax.com.

“Blue Soul” contains the following songs:

 “Always There”

“Nothin’ But Love”

“Razzmajazz”

“Jazz Along The 101”

“Paradise Found”

“New Life”

“Blue Soul”

“Sorento”

“Sweet Release”

“India”

“Song For A Better Tomorrow”

“High Definition”

SUNSET JAZZ FESTIVAL

The fifth annual Sunset Jazz Festival was nothing short of spectacular. The evening was hosted by Will Downing and featured guest appearances by Chris Walker and Norman Brown. The line-up included Regina Belle, Boney James, and concluded with a stellar performance by the master himself, Mr. George Benson. The weather was beautiful at Chastain Park in Atlanta, providing music lovers with the perfect atmosphere. Regina Belle serenaded the audience with hit after hit, wooing the crowd as they sang along. Boney James gave fans the show they’ve grown to expect and enjoy. After the sun set, George Benson and his amazing band graced the stage giving fans a night to remember. The legendary Benson played song after song from various era’s of his illustrious career. He was simply phenomenal.

“Dear Friend”: Jazz fusion keyboardist Patrick Bradley honors tangible and “Intangible” influences on his fourth album, due August 25

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“Dear Friend”: Jazz fusion keyboardist Patrick Bradley honors tangible and “Intangible” influences on his fourth album, due August 25 

ALISO VIEJO (31 July 2017): The spiritually-minded jazz fusion keyboardist Patrick Bradley doesn’t need a special occasion like marking his tenth anniversary as a recording artist to acknowledge his inspirations both tangible and divine. However, “Dear Friend,” the first single from his forthcoming fourth album, “Intangible,” due August 25, does just that, slated to arrive ten years after the release of his first solo set. Written with the album’s producer, Jeff Lorber, “Dear Friend” pays respectful homage to the seminal musicians who influence and inform Bradley’s contemporary jazz, rock, fusion and R&B mashups released on the Patrick’s Song Factory label.

“My intent was to honor the influence and significant impact that late musicians have on me musically such as keyboardist giants Keith Emerson, Richard Wright, George Duke, Joe Sample and Jon Lord. Bass players Chris Squire and Jaco Pastorius and guitarist Alan Holdsworth have a major influence on my approach to arrangements and melodies. Their influences are woven throughout my musical experiences, abilities and styles,” said Bradley, who wrote and arranged the ten songs that comprise “Intangible” with Lorber. “The tune also celebrates friendship of all kinds – whether it is the intimate friendship between a spouse or lover, a trusted best friend, a mentor, your family pet or the friendship expressed through songs of faith.”         

 Intangible” is the third outing for Bradley and Lorber, the latter of whom is a keyboardist widely recognized as one of the forefathers of jazz fusion, thus an element of mentorship is evident in their ongoing creative friendship. “Jeff and I work very well together. Coming into the studio, I had about 18 songs to work with for this project and we selected ten. Collaborating with Jeff always draws out new dimensions and makes me dig deeper.”

One of the dimensions that Bradley developed under the tutelage of Lorber was to cultivate the ability and the confidence to communicate as a trilingual keyboardist: piano, Hammond B3 organ and Moog synthesizer. Bradley’s nimble finger work dispenses harmonies in equal measures of power and grace, poignant and propulsive, riveting and rousing, and cerebral and accessible. His multi-voiced keyboard approach makes an individual track seem as if it is helmed by more than one protagonist with each unique keyboard instrument providing a different perspective on the melodies. In addition to the heavy usage of the Hammond B3 along with frequent spacy Moog forays, Bradley’s distinctive brand also consists of deep-pocketed grooves constructed by live instrumentation from a core unit of prominent musicians – guitarists Adam Hawley and Michael Thompson, bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Gary Novak and Lorber on synth bass, guitar and additional keyboards. A handful of cuts are bolstered by the brawn and bravura of David Mann’s horns. Paul Jackson Jr. cranks out a gale force of electric guitar riffs on “Tail Wind” while Andrew Carney’s trumpet thrives animatedly while exploring “Newport Coast.”                    

There is another essential element to Bradley’s recordings that have been present ever since he issued his debut album, “Come Rain or Shine,” a decade ago. “Music and creativity and whatever talents we each have are a gift from God. Love, faith, hope and even music are all intangible, hence the new album title. Much of our universe is intangible yet we spend the majority of our time seeking the physical and temporal things. I always want to encourage people to look beyond the physical universe and turn our hearts towards God,” said the Southern California native who balances his creative output with a corporate profile by serving as president of the Southern Pacific Region at Whole Foods Market.

Bradley’s singles regularly hit the Billboard chart, but he was especially encouraged by the success and growing support he received for his previous album, 2014’s “Can You Hear Me.” “It gave me a new drive to write, play and collaborate with a newfound zeal and energy, revealing where I am at musically at this time. All music has a piece of the artist within their songs. I find with each new project, I feel the need and responsibility to dig deeper and in a sense, be truer to the musician I am and inspire to be.”

For more information, please visit www.PatrickBradleyMusic.com.

“Intangible” contains the following songs:

“Dear Friend”

“Funky Greens”

“Tail Wind”

“On Tap”

“Intangible”

“Find the Way”

“Newport Coast”

“Winds of Change”

“Destiny”

“Out of Bounds”

JACKIEM JOYNER IS ON A “MAIN STREET BEAT”

Jackiem Joyner is enjoying the success of his sixth album “Main Street Beat” and life as a father. His daughter Trinity, whose name is also the title of the album’s first single, is a tremendous inspiration to him. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. Jackiem says, “it’s his most exciting record.” “Main Street Beat” is about common folks getting down to the funky beat, and it will make you want to groove. One very exciting aspect of this project is that a lot of it was recorded live–an experience Jackiem thoroughly enjoyed. Nick Colionne, Steve Oliver, and Nikolai Egorov are all featured artists on the project. Jackiem is looking forward to sharing “Main Street Beat” with his fans on the road.

Listen as Jackiem and I chat about the project:

Jackeim Joyner

Fatherhood has put saxophonist Jackiem Joyner in a funky mood

Jackeim Joyner

 

Fatherhood has put saxophonist

Jackiem Joyner in a funky mood

The spirited first single from the “Main Street Beat” album is named for his daughter, Trinity.

SHERMAN OAKS (8 May 2017): Delivering on his promise to “Evolve,” the title of Jackiem Joyner’s last soul-jazz album, the saxophonist became a father since his 2014 release, an elation-inducing experience that informs the music he wrote and produced for his new Artistry Music set, “Main Street Beat,” due June 30. The first single from the funky, dance inspiring, Motown-influenced session that will be shipped to radio this month is the exultant “Trinity,” named for Joyner’s first child whose presence on the track is voiced by Steve Oliver’s incandescent acoustic guitar.

Joyner approached crafting “Main Street Beat” with a three-pronged purpose. “I wanted to create something upbeat, fun to listen to and something to dance to. ‘Main Street Beat’ originally started off as a straight funk record that eventually became some of that, but a whole lot more as I allowed the creative process to have its way with me,” said Joyner, a Billboard chart-topper who plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone on the date, often enriching the tracks by laying layer upon layer of horns to form a powerhouse sax section.     

The exuberant album opener, “Main Street,” exemplifies the mighty wall-of-horns approach with Joyner playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his sax section. Instead of tracking individually, Joyner brought the band – drummer Raymond Johnson, bassist Darryl Williams, electric guitarist Kyle Bolden and piano player Carnell Harrell – into the studio to record six tracks old-school style, including “Back To Motown.” Nick Colionne guests on “When You Smile” to flash his cool electric jazz guitar on the infectious mid-tempo R&B cut. Taking his alto sax chops out for a strut, Joyner cranks up the band for a fiery funk romp down “Southside Boulevard,” one of three tunes that adds Nikolai Egorov’s trombone muscle to the horn section. On a pair of urban joints – “That Good Thing” and “Don’t Make Her Wait” – Joyner plays soprano sax. He takes full command on the stormy “Addicted,” playing every instrument heard on the moody number. “Think James Brown on tenor sax” is how Joyner describes the super funky “Get Down Street.” A pair of high-energy pop-R&B covers – Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” – complete the outing, songs Joyner elected to record based upon their buoyant, positive nature, which he says mirrors his young  offspring’s personality.

“My little girl played a huge role in inspiring this album. Having Trinity around during the writing process sparked an enormous font of creativity and really kicked my writing into high gear. The first single, named after her, really captures the excitement and joy of being a dad as well as the exciting little girl that she is. Trinity was right there in the studio during a lot of the writing process. Her jumpy and bouncy upbeat little self is really reflected on this album,” said Joyner, who will launch the record with June concerts in Cincinnati (June 9 at A Celebration of Black Music), Birmingham (June 11 at Jazz in the Park), San Diego (June 25 at Mediterranean’s Jazz and Supper Club) and Philadelphia (June 29 at South).  

The release of “Main Street Beat,” Joyner’s sixth album, coincides with his tenth anniversary as a recording artist. His 2007 debut “Babysoul” earned Debut Artist of the Year honors from Smooth Jazz News. Two years later, his sophomore set, “Lil Man Soul,” spawned two No. 1 singles on the Billboard chart and won the Song of the Year trophy for “I’m Waiting For You” from the American Smooth Jazz Awards. His self-titled 2010 album solidified his position as a consistent hit-maker. Revisiting his non-secular roots, Joyner issued the gospel-jazz “Church Boy” in 2012. “Evolve” placed his infectious melodies amidst futuristic electronic sonicscapes. Joyner’s music isn’t his only creative effort that ventured into extraterrestrial territory. Last year, the Norfolk, Virginia native who resides near Los Angeles authored his first book, the science fiction novel “Zarya: Cydnus Final Hope (Book 1). For more information, please visit www.JackiemJoyner.com.

“Main Street Beat” contains the following songs:

“Main Street”

“Back To Motown”

“Can’t Stop The Feeling”

“Trinity”

“When You Smile”

“Southside Boulevard”

“That Good Thing”

“Treasure”

“Addicted”

“Don’t Make Her Wait”

“Get Down Street”

Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

Elan

 

Plugged In: Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

The “Electro Sax” album is released as the tropical “Island Gal’” prepares to charm radio.

BOSTON (24 April 2017): Saxophonist Elan Trotman is unwavering in his committed to wave the flag high for Caribbean music, but after releasing six soul-jazz albums and more than ten chart-topping singles that made him a permanent fixture on radio playlists, the Barbados native is “shaking it up” by going electronic on “Electro Sax,” his seventh outing which was released last Friday (April 21) by Island Muzik Productions.

Seeking a “hip radio sound that will reach beyond the masses,” Trotman assembled a creative team of up-and-coming producers – Spardakis, P-Nut, Dr. O and Da Troof – who he met at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music and tasked them with putting a fresh, modern twist on the eleven new tracks that he wrote for the collection. With electronic elements evident in the production of Trotman’s tenor and soprano sax and the adventurous EDM sonicscapes, the result is an energizing, dance-happy mix of impromptu jazz sax licks, kinetic dance beats and festive Caribbean rhythms. Adding nuances to the audacious alchemy are guitarists Wayne Jones, Freddie Fox and JJ Sansavarino, and steel pan player Kareem Thompson. The first single set to seduce radio is the reggae-infused “Island Gal’,” which spotlights Trotman on soprano sax on the cut he describes as having “a sexy vibe to it.” Prince fans will appreciate the balladic tribute “Purple Emotion” that closes the set. The session’s lone cover is a tropical, dance hall take of Walk The Moon’s infectious pop smash “Shut Up and Dance.”

“’Electro Sax’ is a true representation of where I am at in my career. It’s modern sounding with prominent hints of the island. It’s also about branching out, reaching out by making good music for the masses. It’ll definitely ruffle feathers, but that is part of being an artist – pushing boundaries and perhaps establishing new ones,” said Trotman. “The ‘tropicality’ elements are part of who I am and I’m sticking with it. It’ll always be part of my sound and I believe in it. It is part of my brand and it’s authentic to my (Barbadian) roots.”

Trotman showcases and shares the culture of his homeland at his annual Barbados Jazz Excursion, slated to take place on the Caribbean island for the fourth time in October over Columbus Day Weekend (October 6-9, 2017). The saxman performs and hosts the music festival and golf tournament that benefits his nonprofit Never Lose Your Drive Foundation and the Head Start Music Program in Barbados. Slated to perform this year are R&B and contemporary jazz mainstays Will Downing, Norman Brown, Marion Meadows, Brian Simpson, Jeanette Harris and Julian Vaughn as well as the Queen of Soca, Alison Hinds.

Earning a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music from the government of Barbados, Trotman has lived in Boston ever since. Named the Jazz Artist of the Year on multiple occasions by the New England Urban Music Awards and the Barbados Music Awards, he debuted as a solo artist in 2009 with “This Time Around.” Subsequent albums featured collaborations with Grammy winners Kirk Whalum, Terri Lyne Carrington and Paul Brown as well as Downing, Peter White, Jeff Lorber, Cindy Bradley, Tony Terry and Simpson. Trotman has also guested on Billboard No. 1 hits by Meadows, Simpson, Vaughn, Greg Manning and Cal Harris. He’s a popular draw on the festival and club circuit. For more information, please visit www.ElanTrotman.com.

The songs on “Electro Sax” are:

“Happy Place”

“Electro Sax”

“Barbados Breeze”

“Island Gal’”

“Chill Cat”

“Shut Up and Dance”

“Up In The Clouds”

“orutrA”

“No Need For Trippin’”

“120 BPM”

“Move!”

“Purple Emotion”

 

NATHAN EAST PAYS “REVERANCE”

Throughout the illustrious career that Nathan East has had, he has remained one of the most sought after bassists in the industry. The beauty that lies within that enormous calling is that Nathan has worked with the best of the best. His career has evolved so that he gets to work with musicians that he once just admired. In honor of those who have inspired and continue to inspire him, his latest album is titled “REVERANCE.” The album was produced by Nathan and Chris Gero. Sharing the spotlight with Nathan are Philip Bailey on East’s cover of “Love’s Holiday” and Verdine White and Ralph Johnson on “Serpentine Fire.” “REVERANCE” also features Kirk Whalum, Yolanda Adams, Ruben Studdard, Chuck Loeb, Chick Corea, and Nikki Yanofsky. Nathan’s son Noah joins him once again and is featured on piano. Nathan will spend the remainder of 2017 on the road with Fourplay, Eric Clapton, and Chick Corea.

I always enjoy talking with Nathan. Listen:

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