JESSY J WELCOMES A “CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS”

2016 has been a great year for saxophonist Jessy J. She got married and on October 28th, released her debut holiday album, “California Christmas.” Jessy produced the project that she had been working on since 2014. She released it on her own label, Changi Records. The album was dedicated to her former manager, Stewart, who passed away last year. A few of Jessy’s friends including Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Steve Oliver, Michael Thompson, Maurice Smith, Jay Rowe, and more joined her on the album. Christmas is Jessy’s favorite time of year, and creating a holiday album that was a reflection of a “California Christmas” felt like a must to her. Covering holiday favorites with her own blues, tropical, jazzy sound makes this album a welcome addition to fans’ collections. Additionally, Jessy started a Pledge Music campaign–a great way for her to interact with fans.

Listen to my conversation with Jessy:

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World music guitarist Lawson Rollins muses time on “3 Minutes to Midnight”

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Tick, tick, tick…World music guitarist Lawson Rollins muses time on “3 Minutes to Midnight”  

The exotic and sensual first radio single, “Sway,” previews the January 20 album release that conveys the urgency of the moment.  

SAN FRANCISCO (1 November 2016): Three minutes to midnight. Time is lapsing. What would you do with the final moments of your day? Award-winning world beat guitarist Lawson Rollins pondered that question as he entered the recording studio to craft his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which will be released on January 20 via the Infinita Records label. Focusing on “the urgency of the moment, the exhilaration of the speed of sound, the poignancy of the remains of the day and the mystical power of the number three,” Rollins wrote a dozen multicultural compositions – all in the three minute range and illuminated by his prodigious fingerstyle guitar play. The recording is stripped down, punchy and concise, a radical departure for the Billboard chart-topping artist known for creating lavishly produced and elaborately-constructed tracks that are at least twice as long.

“I really made an effort to pare down my musical flights of fancy and focus on the essentials instead of diverging into various plots and subplots within the song structure. The songs have an urgent, succinct quality and are unencumbered by elaborate instrumentation. This is the first time I came up with the title and overall concept early on in the process. I don’t know if it’s a reaction to the times we live in, with our shrinking bandwidth for complexity and desire for clarity, or if I just wanted to be as impactful and expressive as I could across a range of emotions – from exciting, passionate and bursting with energy to sad, contemplative and meditative,” said Rollins, who will introduce the new material when the sultry first single, “Sway,” is serviced to radio programmers for airplay ahead of the album’s release date.

Like his previous discs, Rollins produced “3 Minutes to Midnight” with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella utilizing the same core group of musicians. Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, bassist Randy Tico and drummer/percussionist Dave Bryant joined Rollins (guitar, keyboards, drum programming) and Camardella (piano, Rhodes piano, Hammond organ) along with newcomers to the fold Stephen Duros (drum programming) and Forrest Marquisse (pedal steel). Since fans have marveled at videos of his dazzling and dexterous classical guitar technique that have generated a whopping 8 million YouTube views, Rollins welcomed cameras into the Santa Barbara Sound Design studio to capture the recording of his guitar parts for three videos – including one lensed during the tracking of “Sway” – that are now posted on YouTube and Rollins’ website (www.LawsonRollins.com).

Rollins has landed on Billboard’s Top 10 World Music Albums chart and four of his collections placed singles on the Billboard Top 30 contemporary jazz radio chart. Recently he collected three major awards from the Akademia Music Awards (Best Jazz Song), the USA Songwriting Competition (1st place, Instrumental) and the Global Music Awards (triple gold medal winner). Why does the number three continue to come up for the long-time San Francisco resident?

“Three is a significant number that resonates in the human psyche and has a mystical power in our culture. Three is significant not only in world religions, but also in simple human terms with our body, mind and spirit triad. With songs, we have a beginning, middle and end. We even sync up with others on the count of three. Ready, set, go!,” noted Rollins, who released the albums “Traveler” and “Infinite Chill (The Remix Sessions)” last year, spawning the radio hits “Berlin Bossa” and “Café Paris (chill remix).”

The “3 Minutes to Midnight” album, which was mastered at New York City’s Sterling Sound, contains the following songs:

“3 Minutes to Midnight”

“Light the Way”

“Sway”

“Island Time”

“Driving Force”

“Southbound”

“Stringdance”

“Time Shift”

“Reveal”

“Split Second”

“Eternal”

“Mary’s Rock”

LINDSEY WEBSTER GETS “BACK TO YOUR HEART”

The smooth, effortless voice of Lindsey Webster has been compared to Sade. However, make no mistake; Lindsey Webster is in a league of her own. Lindsey recently signed with Shanachie Entertainment and has the first vocal number one to grace the Contemporary Jazz charts. Her song “Fool Me Once” was the first to have that honor since Sade’s “Soldier Of Love.” That is quite an accomplishment in a genre where men are the majority. Webster says, “this honor has changed the game for me. Once a dream comes into fruition, it really lights a fire.” Her highly awaited new album, “Back To Your Heart,” will be released on November 4th. Lindsey is excited about the endless possibilities and looks forward to touring and sharing with audiences around the world. I asked Lindsey what “Back To Your Heart” represents to her. She says, “it is an accurate representation of who I am as an artist.”

Listen to my conversation with Lindsey:

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Jazz fusion guitarist Tyler Reese rediscovers his creative muse on “Reminiscence,” arriving November 4

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“Moving On”: Jazz fusion guitarist Tyler Reese

rediscovers his creative muse on “Reminiscence,” arriving November 4.    

NASHVILLE (12 October 2016): Guitarist Tyler Reese found that being a busy Nashville session player all week and touring in a country band every weekend left little time to explore his own musical creativity. The 23-year-old, once summoned to Paisley Park to play for Prince and who studied at the feet of jazz guitar legend Pat Metheny, re-immersed himself in the music that first sparked his passion and imagination: jazz fusion. Carving time to revisit his roots resulted in the varied guitar-driven, jazz odyssey titled “Reminiscence,” featuring ten of his original compositions. The platter, produced by Jeff Silverman (Rick Springfield, Hiroshima, The Allman Brothers Band, Tim Weisberg) and Reese, will be released on November 4 and is prefaced at radio by the spirit-lifting, sweetly melodic acoustic guitar sojourn “Moving On.”

Reese composed “Reminiscence” to be an ambitious and intrepid expedition through vast jazz terrain. Most tracks slash through thickets of electric guitar-powered fusion, horn-highlighted funk and sprawling progressive rock. Others present delicate bouquets of acoustic guitar expressions, fragrant stems of gypsy jazz and new age meditations. Whether gracefully strumming gentle harmonies or dexterously plucking frenetic runs at dazzling speed with turn-on-the-dime precision, Reese’s fretwork primarily serves his engaging compositions, enabling his fingers to communicate evocatively and emote vividly.

“The seed of my inspiration for ‘Reminiscence’ came from needing a creative change and a musical recharge – something fresh and new – so I delved into writing and found myself back at my jazz roots and renewed my love of fusion. It has rekindled my musical soul. I hadn’t realized that I had so many ideas floating around in my head. The writing and production process was fun and inspiring, but challenging and liberating at the same time. The body of work is truly no holds barred, which is exactly what I was going for,” said Reese, a Fredericksburg, Virginia native who will return to the area to perform on November 20 at the Riverside Center and November 23 at The Tin Pan in Richmond. “I was never too much into songwriting, but after moving to Nashville and spending the past few years playing so many gigs, traveling extensively and going through certain life experiences, I was inspired to write. ‘Reminiscence’ encompasses all those experiences and places I’ve gotten to see, all of which are reflected in the writing.”

Reese studied classical piano for 14 years beginning at age three and started studying jazz guitar when he turned twelve. He cranked out his first album at age 15, “Risus21,” an energetic, moody and heavy progressive rock foray. Two years later, his “Because I Can” disc put a contemporary funk, rock and blues spin on a collection of straight-ahead jazz standards. He recorded a duets project two years ago with longtime Prince backup singer Elisa Fiorillo-Dease titled “Life in 20,” which is how he came to the attention of the late purple icon. Impressed, Prince flew the guitarist to Minneapolis for a jam session and carefully studied the young prodigy’s technique. Reese attended a master’s guitar clinic taught by Metheny and calls the 20-time Grammy winner a mentor. During his sophomore year as a jazz performance guitar major at Berklee College of Music, Reese released a rock single, “Simply To Choose,” his first collaboration with Silverman, who recruited the rock band Boston’s Kimberely Dahme to sing on the track. Feeling he learned all he could in the classroom, Reese left college early eager to launch his professional career.

Released on the Tyler Reese Music label, the “Reminiscence” album contains the following songs:

“Moving On”

“Breaking Point”

“Out Of Orbit”

“Reflections”

“Astrotermination”

“2Funk”

“Escapade”

“Reminiscence”

“Headed Out”

“Emancipation”

Bonus Track: “Moving On” Radio Edit

For more information, please visit www.TylerReeseMusic.com

Grammy-winning hit-maker Paul Brown follows his heart “Back” to his roots

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Grammy-winning hit-maker Paul Brown follows his heart “Back” to his roots

The urban-jazz guitarist releases the bluesy “One Way Back” on Friday, an album on which he collaborates with four contemporary jazz guitar giants and another Paul Brown.

SHERMAN OAKS (30 September 2016): Paul Brown has had the Midas touch since the early ‘90s when he began producing some of the biggest contemporary jazz hits and definitive chart-topping albums by the brightest urban-jazz stars in the galaxy, amassing more than 60 Billboard No. 1 singles. In the past twelve years, the guitarist stepped forward as an artist in his own right, consistently cranking out hits of his own. Although his formative recordings established the sound of the smoother side of contemporary jazz for more than two decades, Brown yearned to reconnect with his first musical passion: the blues. On Friday, Woodward Avenue Records issued his eighth solo collection, “One Way Back,” a self-produced ten-track outing on which he followed his heart back to his blues roots.

“There was only one way back to my roots and that was to go down every road and embrace each one of them in order to find my way back to where I began,” said Brown, a two-time Grammy winner who wrote nine new tunes for the disc that was preceded by a reimagined take on Joe Sample’s party starter “Put It Where You Want It,” currently bulleted at No. 8 on the Billboard singles chart.

Bubbling under Brown’s clean and cool electric jazz guitar expressions throughout “One Way Back” are blues-powered keyboard and Hammond B3 organ blasts courtesy of the similarly-named Brother Paul Brown (no relation) and stacks of muscular horn section workouts from saxophonist Greg Vail and trumpeter-horn arranger Lee Thornberg. Having enjoyed a tremendous amount of success producing signature hits for saxophonists Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove and Jessy J, Brown invited label mate saxman Darren Rahn to guest on “Sexy Thang.” Guitar fans will rejoice that four cuts – “Piccadilly Circus,” “River Walk,” “Take Flight” and “Rear View Mirror”- spotlight Brown trading stringed barbs with contemporary jazz guitar sensations Chris Standring, Marc Antoine, Peter White and Chuck Loeb respectively. Standring, Antoine and White stand apart using the voice of nylon guitars while Fourplay’s Loeb emotes deftly on jazz guitar. The session boasts a roof-raising gospel-jazz vocal from Don Bryant on the celebratory juke joint original “Well Alright.” Brown himself takes to the mic to croon the intimate “Heaven,” a poignant, heart-on-the-sleeve country-blues album closer spotlighting the artist’s character-rich voice.

“’One Way Back’ is a journey thru my musical and life experiences. This album is a pure sense of expression and everything I’ve got to give,” said Brown before adding, “I’m a much better guitarist, producer and writer now than ever before.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif., initially Brown was a drummer before picking up the guitar. After learning his way around the recording studio, he became the engineer for R&B legends Diana Ross, Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin. Moving over into the producer’s seat, Brown almost single-handedly architected the sound of smooth/contemporary jazz since the 1990s before delivering his solo debut in 2004, “Up Front.” From subsequent albums, three of which went Top 10, two singles -2005’s “Winelight” and 2007’s “The Rhythm Method” – were the most-played radio songs of their respective years. Concert performances around the world enabled him to refine and develop his guitar chops as well as cultivate his fan base far beyond the limiting confines of a recording studio. For more information, please visit www.PaulBrownJazz.com.

Brown’s “One Way Back” album contains the following songs:

“Put It Where You Want It”

“Sexy Thang” (featuring Darren Rahn)

“Hush”

“Piccadilly Circus” (featuring Chris Standring)

“River Walk” (featuring Marc Antoine)

“Well Alright” (featuring Don Bryant)

“Take Flight” (featuring Peter White)

“One Way Back”

“Rear View Mirror” (featuring Chuck Loeb)

“Heaven”

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International jazz guitarist Marc Antoine returns to health and California with a diverse outing at “Laguna Beach” with friends

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International jazz guitarist Marc Antoine returns to health and California with a diverse outing at

“Laguna Beach” with friends

The title track continues its chart-toping trajectory on the Billboard songs chart as the album is released Friday.

Laguna Beach, Calif. (23 September 2016): The four-year gap between albums for global guitarist Marc Antoine was spent fighting for his life and career as well as moving his family from their longtime home in Spain to the Southern California coast. Having conquered two major health challenges – one life-threatening and one career-threatening – and resettled into the placid enclave of Laguna Beach, the Paris-born, classically-trained hit-maker resumes his recording career Friday with the release of his Woodward Avenue Records debut, “Laguna Beach.” The title cut, which preceded the celebratory set of Antoine’s signature classical acoustic and nylon-string guitar melodies, quixotic gypsy jazz forays, brassy funk grooves and sultry Latin, Brazilian and Cuban rhythms, is already No. 5 on the Billboard songs chart, offering a last gasp of summer.

His thirteenth album, Antoine produced “Laguna Beach,” wrote eight of the nine songs and called upon some of his accomplished friends to collaborate with him, something he couldn’t do easily when he lived abroad for twelve years.

“When you live near LA, you can call anyone to come and work with you. Once I built my new studio over here, fired it up and began working on new material, I knew I just had to make a few phone calls to get the right guys to play on it,” said Antoine, who reached out to soloists Philippe Saisse (keyboards), Rick Braun (trumpet), Greg Vail (saxes), Armand Sabal-Lecco (bass), Tim Welvaars (harmonica) and two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown (electric guitar), who mixed the album. Anchoring the tracks were drummer Gorden Campbell, upright bassist Roberto Vally, keyboardist Marco Basci, and percussionists Gumbi Ortiz and Richie Gajate Garcia.

Incorporating an interesting variety of sounds, tapestries, moods and styles remains the guitar alchemist’s forte. Antoine’s compositions on “Laguna Beach” are enriched with his spirited sense of joy and gratitude after enduring major heart surgery in 2012 to repair an incapacitating atrial fibrillation problem only to be followed by hand surgery two years later to relieve the crippling pain and permanent nerve damage he endured while playing the guitar that locked the fingers on his left hand in odd positions.

After “pretty much hitting rock bottom” in 2014, Antoine and his wife, Rebeca, decided to make the move back to California where they resided prior to Spain. It turns out playing the guitar is ideal physical therapy, enabling Antoine to work through the scar tissue in his hand.

“I remember vividly what a hand therapist from LA told me, that the only way to fix this is to change my ways,” Antoine recalled. “I have a deep relationship with my guitar. It’s a little bit like a marriage: if you don’t put effort into it, there is no life in it. So playing, and most importantly, playing with joy, love and respect is the key. I am so grateful for what is going on in my life right now and I am back enjoying my instrument, which fixes all problems. It is for real: life through guitar therapy.

Rejuvenated, re-inspired and restored to full health, Antoine anticipates a busy concert itinerary of festival, theater and club dates to support the album release across the U.S. where he has been a popular entertainer ever since he toured globally with Basia in 1988. He’s also shared the stage with superstars Sting, Queen Latifah and Selena prior to launching his solo career with the album “Classical Soul,” which spawned the first of a library of radio hits that have made Antoine one of the mainstays at contemporary/smooth jazz radio since 1994. He’s played in pop, rock, jazz, world music, hip-hop and acid jazz settings, each of which have informed his multicultural sonicscapes and furthered his international appeal.  For more information, please visit www.MarcAntoine.com.

Antoine’s “Laguna Beach” album contains the following songs:

“Why Not”

“This and That”

“Laguna Beach”

“Deixa”

“Minority”

“Romantico”

“High Five”

“New Morning”

“Twice Upon a Time”

JOHN COLTRANE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL

The John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival was once again a phenomenal showcase of the best jazz has to offer. Labor day weekend at Oak Hollow Park in High Point, North Carolina is where fans enjoy two days of music. The line-up consisted of Kenny G, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ramsey Lewis, Eric Gales, Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter, and the Latin Jazz All Stars.