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.

Urban-jazz guitarist dee Brown remembers his late fiancée with songs of love and joy

dee Brown

Urban-jazz guitarist dee Brown remembers his late fiancée with songs of love and joy

His fourth album is a celebration of life chronicling their time together with fun and spirited songs such as the new chart-bound single, “Pop the Question.”

SOUTHFIELD (22 June 2018): Two years ago, soul-jazz guitarist dee Brown was preparing for a summer wedding to his fiancée, gospel singer Shaunia Edwards. When her young life was tragically cut short by an unexpected illness, he was devastated, leaning on his strong faith to endure. Shifting his mindset from a mourning period during which he sought meaning by asking “Why?” to a perspective of positivity, Brown turned to writing, honoring the sweet, lasting memories of Edwards and their romance by composing lively, intimate and playful stories of love, laughter and hope. He shares his fond remembrances via the ten new songs that constitute his fourth album, “Remembering You,” his second release for Innervision Records.

Determined to make “Remembering You” a joy-filled affair, Brown imparts his charming recollections by setting his lyrically expressive, loose and improvisational cool jazz fretwork amidst ebullient pop nuances, pulsating dance beats and sensual R&B grooves. He picks, plays and scats soulfully throughout, inspired to celebrate his season with Edwards by deriving meaning from her lingering place in his heart, not in the loss of her physical presence.

“Shaunia was the reality of my dreams, a woman heaven sent to make me whole. ‘Remembering You’ celebrates her life and our life together. It’s purposely an upbeat celebration, not a mourning. The meaning that I derived from this experience and a message I think everyone can relate to is that we should exalt those in our lives as well as remember those who are no longer in our lives for whatever reason. Tomorrow is coming, but not necessarily for you. Share our love with those with us in the here and now because tomorrow is not guaranteed,” said Brown, who coproduced nine of the album’s tracks.

A loving, encouraging greeting from Edwards opens “Hey Baby,” the sweeping, feel-good first single illuminated by fervent guitar and alto sax banter on the cut that presaged the set’s arrival. Brown’s frequent writing and producing partner, pianist-keyboardist-programmer Valdez Brantley (Usher’s former music director), uses the vocoder to tantalize and tease on “Pop the Question,” the current chart-bound single that appears on the record in both album and d-Funk remix versions. Other noteworthy contributions are made by keyboardist Bob Baldwin, who also produced and cowrote the sleek and sophisticated “I Will”; Althea Rene, who adds fanciful flute flourishes to the vibrant escapade “Our Summer”; and keyboardist Nate Harasim, cowriter and producer of the sultry reflection “Beauty Within.”

A Detroit born and based guitar man who got his start in music as a vocalist, Brown launched his solo career in 2007 with “No Time To Waste.” Teaming with Valdez and Kern Brantley (Lady Gaga’s former music director and bassist who plays on “Remembering You’s” opener, “I Want You Too”) two years later for his sophomore outing, “A Little Elbowroom,” proved formative to his sound and style. Brown dropped his first recording for Innervision Records in 2014, “Brown Sugar Honey-Coated Love,” spawning the Top 15 Groove Jazz Music chart single, “Natural Love.”

Brown performs regularly on the Motor City music scene backed by Valdez Brantley, saxophonist Dezie McCullers Jr. and drummer Ron Otis, his core band that appears on the new album. Brown is looking forward to performing cuts from “Remembering You” in a big setting at the River Raisin Jazz Festival on August 11held in nearby Monroe, Michigan. One week later, his summer wedding will finally take place when he takes marriage vows with “a beautiful child of God.”

Brown’s “Remembering You” album contains the following songs:

“I Want You Too”

“Hey Baby”

“Pop the Question”

“Our Summer”

“I Will”

“Follow You”

“So Much”

“Pop the Question” (d-Funk remix)

“Beauty Within”

“Remembering You”

For more information, please visit http://deebrownmusic.com.

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:


MFranksCover