STANLEY CLARKE

Stanley Clarke and his band of masterful musicians had an outstanding performance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

The 8th Annual John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival

The John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival held on September 1st -2nd began with the Coltrane Youth Jazz Workshop. Every year they are always the festival openers. Following them were the 2018 Coltrane Jazz All Stars spearheaded by the director of Jazz Ensemble at North Carolina A&T State University Mondre Moffett. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans had the crowd on their feet with their funky big band grooves. Grammy nominated Jazzmeia Horn blew onlookers away with her incredible jazz vocals. The rain made its way in and even caused a brief break in the performances, but in the end it didn’t stop the music. Renowned guitarist Lee Ritenhour was everything fans expected. Gregory Porter graced the stage with his fabulous band and flawless vocals to end the evening. It was the perfect finale to a day of incredible music. The last day of the festival included vocalist and guitar player Jackie Venson, Michelle and Ravi Coltrane, Diane Reeves, and Pete Escovedo with Sheila E.

Photo cred for last 4 images: Garland Hancock

STANLEY CLARKE DELIVERS “THE MESSAGE”

Stanley Clarke is undeniably one of music’s most renowned bassists–with an astounding career spanning over forty-five years. On June 29th, 2018, Stanley released his latest album titled “The Message.” Clarke was accompanied by his virtuoso band mates Cameron Graves, Mike Mitchell, and Beka Gochiashvili. Also joining the band and having lent their talents to “The Message” are Doug E. Fresh, Mark Isham, Steve Blum, Skeyler, Trevor Wesley, and Doug Webb. This album was crafted while the band’s European tour was briefly interrupted in Paris. Fortunately for us, that unexpected extra time in Paris was put to great use, and it led to the creation of this project. Clarke says that his first thought once he heard the material was “how honest it was.” He would like everyone who hears this project to know that “The Message” is a “message of love.”

Listen as Stanley and I talk all things music and “The Message”: 

Stanley Clarke Band

Stanley Clarke Band

 

Guitarist Denny Jiosa explores the sensuality of Latin jazz fusion on “Mueve Tu Cuerpo”

Denny Jiosa

Guitarist Denny Jiosa explores the sensuality of Latin jazz fusion on “Mueve Tu Cuerpo”

The July 27 album release moves more than just bodies with the emotional radio single, “Missing You,” serving as testament.

NASHVILLE (23 July 2018): Four-time Grammy nominee Denny Jiosa sees parallels between the curvaceous body of the guitar and the human body. Indulging his passion for “sexy” Latin music, the jazz guitar slinger uses his electric and nylon-string guitar bodies to get people to move their body as well as expressively stir emotions on his eighth album, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo,” which drops July 27 on the Sonic Canvas Records/BFD imprint. Radio is already getting a taste with the evocative first single, “Missing You,” one of eleven songs Jiosa penned and produced for the collection.

Jiosa endeavored to craft an upbeat Latin-influenced, jazz-rooted album that would get people to move and grab attention via an exciting blend of musical styles. But he also wanted to go deeper, “shy away from the norm” and touch people emotionally. Beneath the energizing layers of exotic Latin percussion that create lusty rhythms and sensual grooves emerge moving harmonies and rousing melodies that resonate. Whether he’s furiously strumming impassioned nylon-string guitar rhythms, precisely picking lyrical phrases and bending extended notes, or intensely issuing scorched earth electric guitar pyrotechnics, Jiosa’s deft fretwork establishes and maintains a commanding presence throughout the recording.

“‘Mueve Tu Cuerpo’ is about what music does to get people to move. I wanted this to be an exciting, compelling and expressive blend, tapping into my huge passion for Latin music. I love the sounds, rhythms and sexiness of Latin music, which I blended with jazz rhythms, lines and harmonies. My intention from the outset was to reach a broad scope of listeners with this album. Guitar is one of the most expressive and sexy instruments. Whether I’m playing nylon string to electric guitar with an edge, it’s about moving people emotionally. If you can move people emotionally with an instrumental, then you’ve accomplished something,” said the Nashville-based Jiosa.

More than just sultry enticements to body movement or coaxing emotional responses, “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” also transmits meaningful messages. “Missing You” ruminates on the absence of Jiosa’s loved ones who have passed, such as his desire for his parents to be here to see their grandkids and hear his music. Alluring and mystical, “Dance In Heaven” contains the gut string guitarwork of multiple Grammy nominee Phil Keaggy. The festive, gospel-funk cut “Selah, Love Each Other,” featuring drummer Chester Thompson (Genesis, Frank Zappa), pays tribute to Jiosa’s late bassist, Chris Kent. John Santos contributes lead vocals to “Freedom Tower,” a song about the historic Miami structure that still stands as a landmark for Cubans who fled to the US in the 1960s and were processed at that location. The atmospheric meditation “From The Fire” appeared in the Christian film “Believe: The Misfit Pawn” a couple years ago and addresses embracing “the fire” we face in our lives.

Jiosa developed his brand of guitar play that borrows from jazz, rock, blues and R&B while living in Los Angeles where he studied under the tutelage of innovative guitarist Frank Gamble (Chick Corea). He dropped his solo debut, “Moving Pictures,” in 1995. Subsequent collections spawned a string of singles that proliferated the radio charts. Jiosa’s diverse body of work includes roles as a producer, engineer, mixer and/or guitarist for artists such as Yolanda Adams, Kirk Whalum, Take 6, Ben Tankard, Philip Bailey and Crystal Gayle. “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” is his first album in ten years. For more information, please visit http://jiosa.com.

Jiosa’s “Mueve Tu Cuerpo” contains the following songs:

“Fumarlo Bebe”

“Mueve Tu Cuerpo”

“Missing You”

“Dance In Heaven”

“Abre La Puerta”

“Selah, Love Each Other”

“The Gift”

“Freedom Tower”

“Backroads”

“From The Fire”

“Embracing The Fire” (remix)

Urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker finds solace as an “Overcomer” on the path to “Redemption”

Sam Rucker

Urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker finds solace as an “Overcomer” on the path to “Redemption”

His steadfast message of “True Love” heads to radio as a single, preceding the August 24 release of his inspired third album.

WILLIAMSBURG (2 July 2018): One of the first songs that urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker recorded for his third album, “Redemption,” was the soothing “Overcomer,” on which he emotes intimately on soprano sax during an uplifting exchange with a guitar duo comprised of his nephew, Justin Taylor, and John Calisto. Tragically, both guitarists passed away unexpectedly three days apart and the tune Rucker wrote to comfort and inspire others became his own healing grace. It is a focal point of the rousing eleven-track set penned and produced by Rucker that drops August 24 from Favor Productions.

Rucker’s life and his musical journey have evolved in recent years, growing from a gritty hip hop producer into a soul-baring R&B-contemporary jazz instrumentalist, yet his faith has never wavered. He is on a mission as an empowering evangelic emissary, using his tenor, alto and soprano sax on “Redemption” to deliver heartening orations that commiserate and console as much as persevere and conquer. His writing, production and sax play reflect a more refined, mature and sophisticated auteur who retained just enough of the raw urban grit from his edgy past to ensure that his recordings are genuine. Despite enduring pain, struggle and suffering, Rucker never loses sight of the Divine hand orchestrating it all – the victories and the losses – purposely placing his focus on the abundance of blessings and the love that cushions his every fall.

“‘Redemption’ is a feel-good album designed to touch the inner soul, to encourage and inspire the listener. It is about perseverance, keeping the faith, overcoming some of the worst that life has to offer and coming out better on the other side. Redemption of everything that was lost: the naysayers and doubters, the narrowly missed opportunities, the emotional scars and the sore spiritual muscles from years of exercised faith. Staying steadfast and seeing the gracious hand of God redeem all and make our former days greater than the latter. It’s also about making someone nod their head to the beat when they feel like hanging it during a tough time,” said Rucker.

Listeners will soon be nodding their head to the first radio single, “True Love,” when it goes for playlist adds on July 16. Rucker’s fat tenor sax packs a powerful punch on the sensually steamy mid-tempo groove graced by Calisto’s sultry nylon guitar and a celestial, gospel chorus-like affirmation that embodies the album’s message: “Take one look, and you will see, what true love has done for me, take one look and you will see, what true love has done in me.”

“First and foremost, the song is about the fact that despite all the mistakes I’ve made and how undeserving I am, God still loves me enough to redeem me and bless me with as much as he has. For the listener, ‘True Love’ could be about life with a special someone. For me, it is really about the love of God, the only true love that holds no records of wrongs and never fails. If you look at your life, you’ll see evidence of His love in what He has done for you. But, when you really get it and realize that it’s Him and really receive His love, then there is a change in you that people will see. Hence the song’s lyrics.”

The Williamsburg, Virginia native debuted in 2011 with “Heat from the Heavens,” introducing his formula of hip hop beats, improv jazz and stirring inspirational messages. Three years later, “Tell You Something,” upped the ante by offering collaborations with urban stalwarts Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne and Alyson Williams, boosting Rucker’s appeal at radio. His eyes averted the camera on the first album cover and were hidden behind dark glasses on the second. “Redemption” depicts a happier, lighter Rucker looking directly into the camera, eager to face and embrace what lays ahead of him with gratitude.

“When I released the last album (“Tell You Something”), it was a difficult time for me personally,” admitted Rucker. “In the last five years, my life has done a complete 180. With the release of ‘Redemption,’ I feel spiritually, physically, emotionally and materially redeemed. On this album, there are no covers, no guest producers and no big-time superstar performers. Just pure, raw and real me and those closest to me.”

“Redemption” contains the following songs:

“Down on the Inside” (intro)

“Down on the Inside”

“True Love”

“Overcomer”

“Nothing’s Too Hard”

“Redemption”

“Forever Forgiven”

“Follow Me”

“I Am with You”

“Throwback”

“Please Child”

For more information, please visit https://www.samrucker.com.

 

IT’S “A NEW DAY” FOR GREG CHAMBERS

For saxophonist Greg Chambers, A New Day has been 2 years in the making. He and his wife, Chelsea, have added the joy of parenthood to their lives, welcoming their baby boy, Owen. Greg is experiencing “balancing life and work.” A New Day was partially written and inspired by Owen, and the title, itself, represents embracing something new. Greg co-wrote all 10 original songs on the project and collaborated alongside Matt Godina, Nate Harasim, Lew Laing and Paul Brown. Working with Paul Brown provided “a different approach” that served as an inviting addition to the music. Chambers “enjoys the writing process” and is always “excited when working with other people and seeing the music take shape.”

Listen to Greg and I discuss A New Day

Greg Chambers (2)

THE 2018 QUEEN CITY JAZZFEST

Live music–who doesn’t love it? There is nothing quite like it, and on June 16th, live music is exactly what the city of Charlotte received. On that hot afternoon, fans packed the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre with much anticipation. No one was disappointed as artist after artist took to the stage, giving the crowd their all. Opening the show was a local talent, Darnell Showcase Taylor. If fans didn’t know him then, they definitely know him now. He was followed by Kindred the family soul who sang as the crowd swooned with them. The Rippingtons with their legendary jazz style and masterful musicianship, gave fans exactly what they came to see. When Will Downing graced the stage, everyone was beyond ready to hear him sing the songs they know all the words to. He is always a crowd favorite. And under the stars, Norman Brown closed the night with everyone in the palm of his hand. His performance was stellar, as always and spiritually moving. When it was all said and done, Norman Brown had undoubtedly left it all on that stage.