MICHAEL FRANKS GETS INTIMATE WITH “THE MUSIC IN MY HEAD”

It’s been seven years since Michael Franks’ last album was released, and his fans are elated to receive “The Music In My Head” on June 8th. It is his 18th album to date in his 45 year career. Franks is known for his eloquent and poetic lyrics, clever song titles, and smooth charismatic delivery. Michael describes this project as “very true” and “very personal”– one in which you can hear and feel his “love for nature” as well as his everlasting love for his wife Claudia of 42 years. Once again, Franks has given us a plethora of musical gems while working in the studio with his musical comrades: Jimmy Haslip, David Spinozza, Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Bob Mintzer, and Rachel Z. He feels especially blessed to have also collaborated with his dear friend Chuck Loeb on the song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” It would be one of the last recordings Loeb would work on. Franks’ collection of ten new songs embraces listeners and glides them through a journey of love, nature, science-fiction, old LA jazz clubs, and healing relationships.

Listen and enjoy my interview with Michael Franks:


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Saxophonist Michael Paulo calls upon friends to celebrate “Beautiful Day”

Michael Paulo

Saxophonist Michael Paulo calls upon friends to celebrate “Beautiful Day” 

Ray Parker Jr., Paul Brown, Peter White, David Benoit, Paul Jackson Jr. and Brian Simpson are among his buddies illuminating the new soul-jazz album. The first single, “Who You Gonna Call?,” impacts radio. 

MENIFEE (7 June 2018): From beginning to end, saxophonist Michael Paulo’s “Beautiful Day,” is a celebration of love, friendship and the Aloha spirit. Opening with the title track inspired by the joyous news that he was going to become a grandfather and closing with the timeless Carole King ode to friendship, “You’ve Got A Friend,” Paulo’s eleventh solo disc dropped on the Apaulo Productions imprint. The collection is comprised of eight Paulo compositions and five modern classics produced by Paulo with two tracks helmed by two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown. The first single presently collecting radio spins and playlist adds spotlights guitarist Ray Parker Jr. on the aptly titled “Who You Gonna Call?”

Inherent in Paulo’s soulful play emoted through tenor, soprano and alto saxes on “Beautiful Day” is an effervescent spirit, a hallmark that perhaps emanates from the DNA of his Hawaiian blood. A genuine sense of gratitude is another vital element present in his recordings. With that ethos, Paulo crafted a set list that enabled him to record with and feature some of his accomplished friends the likes of which include guitarists Parker Jr., Brown, Peter White and Paul Jackson Jr.; pianist David Benoit, keyboardist Brian Simpson, bassists Freddie Washington and Roberto Vally, percussionist Lenny Castro, and drummers Gorden Campbell and Michael White.

“I truly have the best friends in life that always are there to support me. ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ represents why I am able to do what I do. I hope this record will touch people emotionally. My approach to playing has always been about expressing feeling and emotion and drawing the listener in so that they forget all the stress in their lives. I hope it renews their spirit, so they can continue to be happy and express love. When I perform live, my biggest gratification is when I feel that I have uplifted people emotionally and they can go home feeling good about themselves and life in general. That’s our gift as musicians and I am so blessed to be able to do what I do,” said Paulo.

The album also showcases Paulo’s touring band – a trio of Hawaiians comprised of Kimo Cornwell (keyboards), David Inamine (bass) and Fred Schreuders (guitar) along with drummers Land Richards and Sergio Gonzalez – which will take the stage with Paulo at SoCal hotspot Spaghettini on July 21 to celebrate the release of “Beautiful Day.”

Paulo’s professional career spans more than forty years, and includes gigs playing alongside R&B, pop and jazz headliners Al Jarreau, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Kenny Loggins, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Caldwell and Rick Braun. He debuted as a solo artist in 1977 with the Japan-only release of “Tat’s in the Rainbow,” an album that highlighted Herbie Hancock on keyboards. Paulo continues his dual career as a solo artist and as a first-call session player-sideman. He also produces concerts and jazz festivals in Hawaii and in the long-time California resident’s home state. These days, Paulo tours frequently with Peter White, who plies his signature delicate acoustic guitar nuances in addition to contributing to the arrangement for “Beautiful Day’s” profound version of Sting’s “Fragile.” The saxman’s longest touring association was with Jarreau, with whom he shared the stage throughout the late crossover crooner’s glory days.

“I recorded ‘Your Song’ as a tribute to Al, who gave me my big break when he hired me for his touring band in 1983. We toured the world together for eleven years and he featured me on his ‘Live in London’ album. I used his arrangement of ‘Your Song’ and David Benoit delivered a heartfelt piano performance. I miss Al.”

Paulo’s “Beautiful Day” album contains the following songs:

“Beautiful Day” featuring Paul Brown

“Mr. Magic” featuring Paul Brown

“Europa”

“Back with the Funk” featuring Paul Jackson Jr.

“Your Song” featuring David Benoit

“Who You Gonna Call?”

“#FromtheHeart”

“Fragile”

“Keiko’s Groove”

“Galaxia”

“Mysterious”

“Fire Dance”

“You’ve Got A Friend”

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

Keyboardist David Garfield is joined by George Benson and David Sanborn on the next single previewing his “Jammin’ Outside the Box” album

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“Jammin’” with legends 

Keyboardist David Garfield is joined by George Benson and David Sanborn on the next single previewing his “Jammin’ Outside the Box” album. “Stay” features the Rufus hit’s co-writer, Moon Calhoun, on lead vocals.

LOS ANGELES (23 May 2018): When asked how he got Grammy-winning legends George Benson and David Sanborn to perform on his new single, “Stay,” keyboardist David Garfield responds dryly with a gleeful grin, “You ask them.” The third single from Garfield’s forthcoming “Jammin’ Outside the Box” album is a remake of the Rufus classic featuring the vintage R&B-funk band’s former drummer Moon Calhoun singing lead on the song he wrote with Chaka Khan. “Stay” goes for radio adds on June 11 and drops digitally from Creatchy Records on June 15.

As Garfield was gathering material for his multi-disc, multi-genre “Outside the Box” series, he decided to give his long-time friend, Calhoun, the chance to sing the first song he ever wrote, which appeared on Rufus’s “Street Player” (1978). Calhoun was paralyzed in a bike accident 25 years ago and although he can no longer play drums, he can still sing. After inviting Benson and Sanborn to participate, Garfield let Calhoun cast the rest of the track’s musicians, which includes original Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden, along with Maiden’s daughter, Amanda Maiden, on backing vocals. Among the prominent players is a powerhouse sax section comprised of Sanborn on alto, Eric Marienthal on tenor and Tower of Power’s Doc Kupka on baritone; Paul Jackson Jr. (rhythm guitar), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Freddie Washington (bass) and Lenny Castro (percussion). Sanborn and Benson take turns in the spotlight soloing.

“Both George and David were very gracious. It was great to put them together. They compliment each other,” said Garfield, who is Benson’s long-serving music director and has collaborated with Sanborn on numerous occasions. “Initially George was only going to play the solo, but when he heard the guitar tracks, he added some rhythm guitar as well. This track really embodies the idea of musical community, where everyone works hand in hand, gifting each other with their talents. All I think about when I hear the finished song now is, ‘Moon finally got to sing his song!’”

Scheduled to street on July 20, “Jammin’ Outside the Box” is the second volume of the star-studded “Outside the Box” collection. Released in late March, Garfield’s first ever straight-ahead jazz date, “Jazz Outside the Box,” continues to gather radio spins and receive accolades. “Jammin’ Outside the Box” mixes it up in the smooth/contemporary jazz sandbox showcasing luminaries Benson, Sanborn, Smokey Robinson, Michael McDonald, Ray Parker Jr., Oleta Adams, Phil Perry, Marcus Miller, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun and many more. The outing’s first single, “Go Home,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard chart, while the follow up, “Jamming,” rose to No. 8.

Garfield will perform music from “Outside the Box” on May 31at Cleveland’s Night Town and celebrate “Jazz Outside the Box” on June 12 in Hollywood at the Catalina Jazz Club featuring special guests.

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

Jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar making his case for Brazilian music on the global stage with “Sebastiana”

Ricardo B

Jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar making his case for Brazilian music on the global stage with “Sebastiana”

 His newly released third album revisiting Brazilian classics and introducing his own compositions is a multicultural celebration of Latin music.

 FORTALEZA, BRAZIL (11 April 2018): As a lawyer, Ricardo Bacelar builds airtight cases to make winning arguments to the court in defense of copyrights. As a musician, the pianist-composer-arranger is just as meticulous when it comes to crafting his recordings, making convincing musical statements. To prepare a compelling case to present on his third album, “Sebastiana,” which dropped stateside on March 30 and throughout Europe earlier this month, he gathered a collective of musicians from all over the Latin-American diaspora and granted them the freedom to inject their unique cultural identities into the 15-track contemporary jazz set of freshly-arranged Brazilian standards and poignant piano prose penned by Bacelar.

Bacelar recorded in Miami where he reconnected with his long-ago flatmate Cesar Lemos (Ricky Martin, Paulina Rubio), who was drafted to produce “Sebastiana” as well as co-write a pair of new songs. Joining them was players from Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. With Brazilian jazz and fusion serving as the stencil, distinctive Latin-American rhythms and instrumentation illustrate Bacelar’s own tunes as well as interpret works from illustrious Brazilian composers Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins, Flora Purim, Luiz Gonzaga, Lo Borges, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Milton Nascimento, Ronald Bastos, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Victor Martins and Jose Roberto Bertrami.

 The multi-genre album is receiving airplay from a variety of jazz radio formats and the disc has been lauded by reviewers for its artistic vision, authenticity and cultural significance. Thus far, Bacelar Productions has lensed videos for four songs. “Volta da Asa Branca” and “Oh Mana Deixa Eu Ir” – the later coolly crooned by Bacelar – are set in a natural amphitheater formed by a precipitously chiseled mountain range, desert foliage and vast skies with Bacelar’s grand piano precariously perched atop a rocky slab. “Toda Menina Baiana” finds the protagonist contemplating on a stroll by the opalescent Atlantic Ocean on the Brazilian coastline and in the recording studio tracking the cut live with several band members. The imaginatively animated “Nothing Will Be As It Was,” was the first single from the album and showcases a lonely lead vocal from Maye Osorio and Bacelar’s mood-shifting Moog synthesizer, adding texture to the unsettling cut. Two more videos are slated to be shot.

 The Brazil-based Bacelar will be in Lisbon, Portugal later this month to perform four concert dates.

 Below are excerpts from some of the album reviews:

 “A dazzling set sure to blow your mind as it takes jazz someplace you just didn’t expect.” – Midwest Record

 “This album is a feast for lovers of Brazilian music.” – Keys & Chords

 “Bacelar now brings us his third album, and most ambitious yet, the beautiful, and stunningly creative ‘Sebastiana.’” – Exclusive Magazine

 “It’s an album of distinct taste, class, and sophistication and does capture the colorful characters of both jazz and Brazilian exoticism.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

 “Music that honours the roots of Brazilian music yet incorporates each individual player’s cultural and musical heritage.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

 “Ricardo Bacelar’s Sebastiana is a piece of cultural history, contemporary art, style guide, musical ethnology…an object of desire for aficionados of Brazilian Music.” – Smooth Jazz Daily

For more information and to view the videos, please visit http://ricardobacelar.com.br.

No Lie: Jazz/R&B keyboardist David Garfield hits the country charts

David Garfield

No Lie: Jazz/R&B keyboardist David Garfield hits the country charts 

 He wrote the heartbroken ballad “I Lied” with legend Smokey Robinson. 

 LOS ANGELES (5 April 2018): There is no telling where your career will take you when it spans five decades, but jazz/R&B keyboardist David Garfield never imagined that he’d hit the country charts let alone for a song that he wrote with Motown icon Smokey Robinson. “I Lied,” the power pop ballad that they penned, has reached No. 60 on the Music Row singles chart and gained New & Active status on the Billboard Indicator chart. The accompanying video for the track featuring vocalist J. Paris has been added to the playlist at the Heartland Network, “the beating pulse of country music for the nation” reaching over 22 million households.

 “It’s amazing and we are thrilled to be receiving a lot of country airplay. Smokey and I wrote ‘I Lied’ with a female singer in mind. It was the second tune we wrote together, and it was just sitting in the archives. It hadn’t been recorded. When I began work on (my current project) ‘Outside the Box,’ I went to Nashville to track the song after hearing a country inflection in the singer’s voice when she demoed it for me here in LA. It was always an R&B/pop song, a product of my relationship with Smokey. He’s a poet, masterful with his lyrics. When we started writing it, it was like a contemporary pop (song) with a little R&B influence. Like all the other stuff we’ve been working on, very traditional and fresh at the same time, but nothing in the world of country,” said Garfield, a St. Louis native who has been long been anchored in Los Angeles. “These songs have stories, that’s the thing. ‘I Lied’ has such an amazing story to it.”

 Robinson wrote the storied lyrics and sweeping melody lines for “I Lied.” “When I write, let me write something that’s going to just mean something for as long as there are people. If I can possibly do it, that’s what I want to do,” said the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy winner and member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

 Garfield and Robinson first wrote together when composing “One Like You” for George Benson’s 2009 album, “Songs and Stories.” That same year, Garfield, who serves as Benson’s longtime music director, performed on Robinson’s “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” disc.

 “I Lied” will also appear on Garfield’s “Vox Outside the Box,” part of his ambitious multivolume “Outside the Box” collection showcasing the prolific keyboardist’s collaborations with jazz, R&B, rock and pop luminaries. The first set, “Jazz Outside the Box,” dropped March 23 on Garfield’s Creatchy Records imprint and is his first straight-ahead jazz outing. The first two singles from “Jamming Outside the Box” – “Go Home” and “Jamming” – hit the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs chart with the former peaking at No. 2 and the latter currently climbing the Top 20. “Jamming Outside the Box” is slated for release this summer.

To watch Garfield and Robinson discuss “I Lied,” click https://bit.ly/2I3iZEi.

To view the “I Lied” video, click https://bit.ly/2BolVeF.

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

Brian Culbertson delivers his Valentine with “Love”

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Brian Culbertson delivers his Valentine with “Love”

 The jazz-R&B keyboardist drops his “Colors of Love” album on Valentine’s Day as preparations continue for a 50-city concert tour launching March 30.

 LOS ANGELES (14 February 2018): Contemporary jazz-R&B funkster Brian Culbertson has had love on his mind essentially since last Valentine’s Day. Inspired by the occasion of his twentieth wedding anniversary last fall, the keyboardist began writing thirteen new songs about a year ago dedicated to his wife, Michelle, which make up his “Colors of Love” album that was released on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, by BCM Entertainment. Substituting the live band instrumentation customary of his recordings, Culbertson crafted an intimate set of ardent acoustic piano melodies using sensual synth grooves and textures. With the title track of his eighteenth album that he wrote, arranged and produced already in the Billboard Top 5, his attention is fixed on creating the highly-theatrical production he’ll take on the road for nearly three months beginning March 30 across the bridge from Philadelphia in Collingswood, New Jersey and concluding in Seattle on June 17.

 Culbertson showcases his proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist by playing virtually all the instruments heard on “Colors of Love” – piano, keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3 organ, synth bass, drum programming, percussion and trumpet. The only supplementation came from guitarist Isaiah Sharkey along with an ethereal accordion passage from Peter White on the song “In A Dream.” Impassioned tracks like “I Want You,” “Love Transcended,” “Don’t Go,” “You’re Magic,” “Let’s Chill,” “Desire,” “In Your Embrace” and “The Look” employ caressing melodies and sultry rhythms to allure, soothe and seduce. Even more revealing and evocative is the ravishing piano poetry of “Through The Years,” “Michelle’s Theme” and “All My Heart,” poignant solo pieces that Culbertson uses effectively to tell wordless stories of romance and amorous contemplation.

 As he lovingly conceived the cozy collection depicting the many different “colors” of romantic love, Culbertson envisioned mounting an elaborate concert presentation utilizing video and lighting to present the cherished material in an immersive multimedia experience.

 “I’m in the midst of creating a stunning-looking show, working closely with my lighting director and visual designer. We’re using a Visualizer to play each track to design and run the lighting and videos as if it was a live show right there on our computer screens. It enables us to dial in every little nuance of the music so that each video and light is precisely timed to the music. The detail is really amazing. I am loving the process of creating the production for the tour,” said Culbertson, who will begin ten days of production rehearsals in Nashville with his band in mid-March.

 Culbertson’s Colors of Love Tour has already announced 66 shows in 50 cities with more soon to be added to the itinerary. The nationwide trek includes a June 7 performance at Culbertson’s seventh annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day music, wine and lifestyle experience held in the heart of California Wine Country.

 “The ‘Colors of Love’ show will be staged in three acts. The first and third acts will showcase the new album along with romance-themed selections from my catalogue. In fact, we’re going to be drawing heavily from my ‘It’s On Tonight’ album,” explained Culbertson. “We’re not planning to do any big horn section pieces during this tour like I’ve done in the past and did extensively during last year’s Funk! Tour, but the second act will be a slamming funk set guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing.”

 Joining the keyboardist-pianist-trombone player on tour are drummer Chris Miskel, bassist Joewaun Scott, guitarist Tyrone Chase, keyboardist-vocalist Eddie Miller, and Marqueal Jordan on saxophones, vocals and percussion.

 “I asked Marqueal to bring his soprano sax for this tour. The sound fits the intimate ambience of the music we’re going to perform. It’s the first time in over a decade that I’ve used soprano sax in my live show,” said Culbertson, who describes the “Colors of Love” album as “textural ear candy cinematic in nature.”

 As Culbertson shares his anniversary and Valentine’s Day gift to his wife with the world on record and during the upcoming tour, expect the architect of 30 Billboard No. 1 singles as an artist, producer and/or songwriter to add to that stat.

 For more information, including concert dates, please visit www.BrianCulbertson.com.

An “Overture” straight from the harp

M. Antionette

 

An “Overture” straight from the harp

 Urban jazz harpist Mariea Antoinette provides a glimpse of her forthcoming album by dropping a euphoric single on January 29.

 SAN DIEGO (23 January 2018): The dramatic opening immediately commands attention. Emerging from the lab with a preview of her upcoming summer album, urban jazz alchemist Mariea Antoinette returns on January 29 with the jubilant “Overture,” the new single featuring her mystical harp pouring forth as a bubbly protagonist. The divine stringed instrument is cast amidst an intriguing orchestral proscenium both ancient and modern constructed by a nine-piece string section, three-piece horn section and an empowering rhythm track crafted by Emmy winner and two-time Grammy-nominated producer Allan Phillips, who co-authored the composition with Antoinette.

 “Overture” is the first original recording from Antoinette since her Phillips-produced “Straight from the Harp,” which was a Billboard Top 5 smooth jazz album in 2015. The new cut demonstrates that her mission to shatter preconceived limitations, stretch and abolish musical borders and boundaries, and expand the possibilities for the harp as a lead instrument in R&B, jazz, funk, soul and rock remains unwavering.

 “My goal has been to present the unexpected: to make the harp the lead instrument backed by bass, drums and percussion. I am continuously stretching and pushing the boundaries of the harp, making a clear statement that it possesses a funky and powerful place in contemporary music. The harp is unexpectedly expressive in its delivery, a forceful lead voice and soloist in the midst of it all,” said the San Diego-based Antoinette.

 In addition to vaulting into the elite ranks of the Billboard chart, Antoinette’s “Straight from the Harp” garnered an abundance of national airplay as well as critical plaudits. The mix of originals and R&B classics that comprise her sophomore outing was released in two versions. The spring 2015 release was enhanced in the fall the same year by two additional tracks and new cover art when it was issued as “Straight from the Harp: Special Edition.” Her debut album, “Sexy Paradise,” produced by the late Fattburger leader Carl Evans Jr., streeted in 2003.

 A visually striking figure that also brings sensuality to the harp, Antoinette’s alluring artistry has landed her the opportunities to perform for President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, back Ne-Yo at the BET Awards, and play Grammy parties for Vanity Fair magazine, Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx. In addition to her solo bookings, Antoinette is part of the powerhouse all-female jazz collective Jazz in Pink, with whom she has been performing at music festivals across the U.S. and abroad since 2007.

 For additional information, please visit https://www.marieaantoinette.com.