Surveying the soul of pop music: saxophonist Theresa Grayson’s “Live2Love”

Theresa Grayson

Theresa Grayson

Surveying the soul of pop music

Saxophonist Theresa Grayson’s “Live2Love,” a compelling mix of pop gems from past to present and soul-jazz originals, will be released November 5th.

Houston, Texas (16 September 2013): Theresa Grayson wears her passion for soulful pop music proudly. From Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oats, Sade and Tony! Toni! Toné! to Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and John Legend, the saxophonist-flutist mines hits from decades past to present on her sophomore album, “Live2Love,” which will be released November 5th by L2L Records. The disc also showcases five soul-jazz originals, four of which were penned by Grayson including the first radio single, “Afterthoughts,” an urbane track featuring soprano sax, scat-like vocalization and live instrumentation typical of the set from producer Terence Fisher.

Grayson alternates between expressive tenor and soprano sax on “Live2Love” augmented by graceful flute flourishes. She wields soprano on the lush ‘70s retro themed “More Pressure.” The frenetic pace on “Locked Out of Heaven” gushes streams of flowing melody. Grayson presents “Sarah Smile” as a soulful tenor serenade and she surprises with soothing lead and backing vocals on “Smooth Operator.” “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” soars upon a futuristic sonicscape giving flight to the saxtress’ impassioned calls. “Moves Like Jagger” prances feverishly with a sense of urgency established by a driving beat. The stately “Natural Woman” receives an anthem-like rendering. Lights dim for “Spend My Life” and “Close Your Eyes,” seductive urban adult contemporary grooves lit by Grayson’s sensual soprano and a vocal chorus. Desire permeates the ballad “Just A Little Time” while the longing continues on the classic slow jam “It Never Rains in Southern California,” which closes the collection.

“Leading my own band for several years, I have always had a set list that mixes feel good originals and cover songs with unique arrangements that get people up dancing and my goal with ‘Live2Love’ was to capture that spirit in the studio. I’m really happy with these arrangements of songs from multiple eras, and as a songwriter and arranger, I appreciate the chance to introduce my own material. The music is a reflection of my heart and the melodies I play are the steps of my own experiences. My desire is to touch a special place in the listener’s heart and create a warm feeling of peace and happiness. I want to leave the listener smiling, knowing that this was more than just a recording, that it was a life experience that I want to share with them,” said Grayson, who will preview the album at an October 26th concert date at Sugas Deep South Cuisine & Jazz Bar in Beaumont, Texas.

Having been reared in the church, the Tyler, Texas-born and Houston-raised Grayson debuted in 2010 with “It’s All About You,” an outing comprised of inspirational instrumentals. The fashionably coiffed and flashily wardrobed Grayson has strutted her high heels on concert stages with Peter White, Mindi Abair, Michael Bolton, Will Downing, Marion Meadows and Ronnie Laws as a sidewoman and an opener. She earned a pair of master’s degrees and is pursuing a doctorate in music education. Additional information is available at http://www.TheresaGrayson.com.

Grayson’s “Live2Love” contains the following songs:

“More Pressure”

“Locked Out of Heaven”

“Sarah Smile”

“Smooth Operator”

“Tonight (Best You Ever Had)”

“Moves Like Jagger”

“Natural Woman”

“Spend My Life”

“Afterthoughts”

“Close Your Eyes”

“Just A Little Time”

“It Never Rains in Southern California”

Keiko Matsui’s “Soul Quest”

When you cross paths with a great spirit while on this journey called “life,” it is an amazing experience. While listening to and talking with Keiko Matsui about her journey, that connection was made. Out of her journey was born her latest CD “Soul Quest” on which she dedicated her mind, body, and soul. Keiko, the pianist, composer, and humanitarian collaborated with music greats like Chuck Loeb, Narada Michael Walden, Kirk Whalum, and Marcus Miller to create her latest masterpiece. Undoubtedly, she displayed music artistry at its best, meanwhile sharing her passion about various causes that effect us personally as well as the world we live in.

From the moment the music begins, you’re instantly mesmerized by the melodious first song “Dream Seeker.” Later, Keiko adds vocals to the up-tempo Black Lion which is also her first single. Alongside Loeb, she wrote “Top Secret” which displays a beautiful dance between piano and trumpet. Next up is “A Night With Cha Cha,” featuring the smooth sounds of Saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Keiko and Narada Michael Walden change the tone of the CD with the soul stirring “Moving Mountain” and “Antarctica – A Call To Action.” “Antarctica – A Call To Action” is soulfully powerful and features Kirk Whalum on sax and Marcus Miller on bass. She dedicates this song to saving Antarctica and the environment or our planet. The title track, “Soul Quest,” is mystical and alluring. “Proof” is funky and sultry, and “Two Hearts” resembles a conversation between two. Both were written by Keiko and Chuck. Finally, she and Walden pay tribute to Sting with the edgy song “Stingo” on the finale of the album.

The connection unfolds…

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui’s “Soul Quest”

When you cross paths with a great spirit while on this journey called “life,” it is an amazing experience. While listening to and talking with Keiko Matsui about her journey, that connection was made. Out of her journey was born her latest CD “Soul Quest” on which she dedicated her mind, body, and soul. Keiko, the pianist, composer, and humanitarian collaborated with music greats like Chuck Loeb, Narada Michael Walden, Kirk Whalum, and Marcus Miller to create her latest masterpiece. Undoubtedly, she displayed music artistry at its best, meanwhile sharing her passion about various causes that effect us personally as well as the world we live in.

From the moment the music begins, you’re instantly mesmerized by the melodious first song “Dream Seeker.” Later, Keiko adds vocals to the up-tempo Black Lion which is also her first single. Alongside Loeb, she wrote “Top Secret” which displays a beautiful dance between piano and trumpet. Next up is “A Night With Cha Cha,” featuring the smooth sounds of Saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Keiko and Narada Michael Walden change the tone of the CD with the soul stirring “Moving Mountain” and “Antarctica – A Call To Action.” “Antarctica – A Call To Action” is soulfully powerful and features Kirk Whalum on sax and Marcus Miller on bass. She dedicates this song to saving Antarctica and the environment or our planet. The title track, “Soul Quest,” is mystical and alluring. “Proof” is funky and sultry, and “Two Hearts” resembles a conversation between two. Both were written by Keiko and Chuck. Finally, she and Walden pay tribute to Sting with the edgy song “Stingo” on the finale of the album.

The connection unfolds…

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

“Another Long Night Out” for Brian Culbertson

GetInline

“Another Long Night Out” for Brian Culbertson

On the 20th anniversary of its release, the multi-instrumentalist hitmaker returns to his contemporary jazz roots to remake his debut album joined by many of the accomplished artists that inspired him.

Los Angeles, Calif. (12 September 2013): Brian Culbertson was a 20-year-old student at DePaul University recording demos in his bedroom “studio” in a crowded apartment that he shared with three roommates above a costume shop on a busy Chicago street. Those demos not only landed the then trombone player in DePaul’s jazz ensemble a record deal, but they were released a year later – February 1994 – as part of his debut album, “Long Night Out,” on which Culbertson played most of the instruments himself. Twenty years later, he’s an award-winning recording artist, songwriter and producer who is currently in the studio revisiting that first collection of songs that will be released in February 2014 as “Another Long Night Out,” but this time he’ll be accompanied by many of the contemporary jazz artists who influenced him when making the original.

Culbertson’s recent releases have primarily been excursions aboard R&B and funk grooves thus “Another Long Night Out” marks a return to his roots in contemporary jazz. Among the preeminent musicians joining him in the recording studio to play on the 11-song album are the Rippington’s Russ Freeman, Eric Marienthal, Candy Dulfer, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Paul Jackson Jr., Fourplay’s Chuck Loeb and Nathan East, Jimmy Haslip and Will Kennedy of Yellowjackets fame, Ricky Lawson, Michael Thompson, Lenny Castro, Michael Bland, Patches Stewart and a 38-piece orchestra with additional legendary artists soon to be added. Culbertson is producing the record.

Another major change for the keyboardist-trombonist who has released his 13-album catalogue through major record labels is that Culbertson decided to go the independent fan-funded route in order to get his worldwide fan base intimately involved with the project. In recent years, he has been a leading figure in contemporary jazz when it comes to embracing technological innovation, social media and video blogs and is energized about the new music business, the creative freedoms it affords and the opportunities to interact directly with fans.

Said Culbertson, who discusses the new project and shares footage from some of the recording sessions in his latest video blog (www.YouTube.com/BrianCulbertsonMusic), “I’m excited about being able to make the album the way I’ve always wanted to make it. With the limited resources I had at the time, most of ‘Long Night Out’ was just me on drum machines, synth bass and sampled/synth piano trying to sound like real instruments. Now I’ve got some of the best contemporary jazz musicians on the planet playing those parts. This record is a true passion project and a return to my roots as a recording artist. I’m also enthused about opening up the recording process to fans via fan funding, which is almost like having them there in the studio with us. They’ll get to hear demo versions of songs and early mixes in almost real time. The entire recording process will be documented on my video blog. Plus we’ll be offering fans extraordinary experiences such as personalized videos and phone calls, private concerts, concert tickets, video blog shout outs or a thank you in the album’s liner notes, signed sheet music and CDs, a limited edition vinyl copy of ‘Another Long Night Out,’ an opportunity to hang with me at the mastering session followed by dinner or the chance to come to a rehearsal for my 2014 tour. I can even play on your record.”

A highly-popular headline concert performer, Culbertson is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day festival of wine and jazz in breathtaking Napa, California. The luminous lineup for the third edition of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, slated for June 11-15, 2014, will be revealed by the end of the month in conjunction with the release of tickets.

For more information, please visit http://www.BrianCulbertson.me and http://igg.me/at/brianculbertson.

A Master Marks A Milestone‏

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A Master Marks A Milestone

Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan to embark on a historic 50th anniversary U.S. concert tour

accompanied by his accomplished sons-students Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan.

Houston, Texas (4 September 2013): Way back in 1963, a young sarod player from India named Amjad Ali Khan first came to perform Indian classical music for American audiences. Half a century later, the now highly-regarded master of the stringed instrument definitive of the Indian classical music sound is set to launch a 50th anniversary U.S. concert tour this Saturday in Houston, Texas. The four-week trek that runs September 7th through October 4th will incorporate a teaching residency at Indiana University, a book launch event at the Indian Consulate and a performance at the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence in New York City (October 2nd).

Continuing a family lineage that makes him a sixth-generation performer, the Grammy-nominated Khan will be accompanied on the concert swing by his sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, prodigious sarod players trained by the virtuoso. The concerts are comprised of three sections. Amjad Ali Khan performs the first half backed by a pair of tabla (percussion) players. Brothers Amaan and Ayaan perform a sarod duet to open the second half before Amjad Ali Khan joins to interact with his scions – disciples of the master – for the final portion performed as a sarod trio, during which the audiences witness the time-honored rite of passage as the father passes down his musical inheritance to his sons.

“The occasion of the 50th anniversary of my first concert in the United States allows me to reflect on the growth of Indian classical music there and change with the sarod in particular. There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote,” said Amjad Ali Khan, who splits his time between living in India and New York. “Since my childhood, I always wanted my instrument (sarod) to be able to express the entire range of human emotions…to sing, shout, whisper, and cry. All the emotions! It has been a long journey so far and by the benevolence of the heavens, the sarod has become far more expressive than it was 25 years ago.”

Amjad Ali Khan’s five-day residency for course credit at Indiana University from September 23-27 will examine the fundamentals of Indian classical music along with the lifestyle, relevancy to the modern world and how composition aids in the preservation of its tradition and techniques. He gave a similar class at Stanford University last winter. Having been taught by his father, Haafiz Ali Khan, Amjad Ali Khan penned a recently published book on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his father-guru’s passing entitled “My Father, Our Fraternity,” which will be feted at the Indian Consulate on October 1st in New York City.

Together the Khans have performed all over the world since 1996, including at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House. Following Indian classical music precepts, their performances are improvisational with the compositions often determined the day of the show inspired by the moods and emotions of the artists. Amjad Ali Khan, who has received esteemed honors from UNESCO, UNICEF, World Economic Forum, the Indian, French and Japanese governments and had Amjad Ali Khan Day declared by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1984, considers the audience to be the soul of his motivation. The musicians collaborate with each serving as the performer, composer and conductor. Having made their U.S. debut in 1991, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan have proven their own mastery of the sarod, which has garnered awards and acclaim for recording projects in Indian classical and contemporary music settings. After the American tour, the Khans will perform in France, Belgium and Amsterdam in November and return to the U.S. in late February for concert dates through March. Additional information is available at http://www.sarod.com, http://www.AmaanAliKhan.com and http://www.AyaanAliKhan.com.

Celebrate Amjad Ali Khan’s 50th anniversary U.S. concert tour this fall with Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan on the following dates:

September 7 Houston, Texas Wortham Center (joined by Rahim AlHaj)

September 10 Philadelphia, Penna. Philadelphia Ganesh Festival

September 13 Chicago, Illinois Chicago World Music Festival

September 14 Baltimore, Maryland Johns Hopkins University

September 15 Boston, Massachusetts Berklee Performance Center

September 16 Boston, Massachusetts New England Conservatory of Music

September 19 San Francisco, Calif. SF JAZZ Center, Miner Auditorium

September 22 North Brunswick, NJ North Brunswick Township High School

September 23-27 Bloomington, Indiana Indiana University residency

September 28 Bloomington, Indiana Lotus World Music & Arts Festival

October 1 New York, New York Book launch at the Indian Consulate

October 2 New York, New York UN’s International Day of Non-Violence (private)

October 4 Louisville, Kentucky Kentucky Center for the Arts

John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival

The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival in High Point, NC was a wonderful way to spend part of the Labor Day weekend. The festival was jumpstarted by the Coltrane Youth Workshop, followed by The Coltrane All-Star Band. Next up was acclaimed trumpeter, Christian Scott. His performance displayed just how talented a musician he is. He and his band were fantastic. It was about that time when the skies opened up, followed by a brief storm. Although the storm caused a delay in the performances, it also made the temperature about 15 degrees cooler. It was the perfect formula for a beautiful evening, and as the rain stopped, the crowd once again filled the park. Before the show continued, some very talented winners who attended the Coltrane Institute of Jazz and wrote essays were awarded instruments so that they could continue their musical endeavors.

The rain had ceased, and the park was full again as Music Maker Revue came to the stage and showed us how Blues is done in Louisiana. Afterwards, the stage was set for Summer Horns comprised of Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, and Richard Elliot. They came out to a huge round of applause and an audience that endured a storm to see them perform. They opened with “Serpentine Fire,” grooving in harmony with the crowd on their feet. The four were playful and entertaining during their thrilling performance. They did amazing covers of Sly and The Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” and James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” The foursome ended their performance with a medley of old funky tunes and a standing ovation. Last and most certainly not least, the most anticipated artist of the night, the legendary Al Jarreau, made his way to the stage. Without making a sound, he had the crowd on their feet and clapping for him. With cameras flashing and roaring applause, Al greeted the crowd. He sang songs of old and shared a couple of his new ones. As I sat mesmerized and elated, my body never stopped swaying and moving to the sound of his voice. Al and his band of fine musicians were absolutely incredible. It’s a night that I will always remember and treasure. Afterall, I had been graced with a performance by the legendary Al Jarreau.

Al and I

Al and I

Christian Scott

Christian Scott

Braxton and Christian Scott

Braxton and Christian Scott

Kris Funn

Kris Funn


Kris Funn

Kris Funn

Music Maker Revue

Music Maker Revue

Summer Horns...Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliott

Summer Horns…Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliott

Summer Horns

Summer Horns

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau