“Another Long Night” of success

Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson

“Another Long Night” of success

Brian Culbertson’s first crowd-funded album surpasses fundraising goal weeks ahead of schedule.

Los Angeles, Calif. (24 October 2013): Fervent interest from Brian Culbertson’s international legion of fans powered the contemporary jazz star past his fundraising goal two weeks ahead of the close of the Indiegogo campaign launched to help bring his passion project to fruition: re-recording his entire debut album, “Long Night Out,” as “Another Long Night Out,” which will be released in February 2014 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the release of the original record.

The multi-instrumentalist was a 20-year-old DePaul University student recording demos in the bedroom of the crowded Chicago apartment that he shared with three roommates playing most of the instruments himself on the tracks that landed him a six-album record deal, but this time out he will be accompanied by many of contemporary jazz’s finest musicians – those who inspired him while making the first recording. Along with a 38-piece orchestra that will appear on a handful of tracks with arrangements by Culbertson and David Benoit, heavyweights who have already recorded parts include 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 and Patches Stewart with a few more marquee artists soon to be confirmed for Culbertson’s 14th collection.

“For many years, I have wanted to remake the first album using real musicians and thought the 20th anniversary would be the perfect time. I turned to crowdsourcing because I saw it as a way for fans to be more involved and get cool opportunities they normally wouldn’t get and I am all about that,” said Culbertson. “’Another Long Night Out’ is a return to my roots as a contemporary jazz player compared to the more commercial instrumental funk and R&B that I’ve been doing lately. I always liked these songs and I even like them more now with real musicians playing them.”

Escaping the studio last week to co-host a weeklong jaunt to the Mexican Riviera aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise with soul saxsation Boney James, Culbertson is back on land recording, pausing only to play concert dates this weekend in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Also a lifestyle curator who serves as Founder and Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, ticket sales are robust for Culbertson’s third annual wine and jazz festival in California wine country slotted for June 11-15, 2014. Culbertson will top the bill that features more than 18 artists including Eric Benét, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Morris Day & The Time, Earl Klugh, Mavis Staples, Eric Darius, Average White Band and comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans.

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

THE LEGENDARY SPYRO GYRA

In a studio in Rhinebeck, NY, the members of Spyro Gyra agreed to spend 3 days collectively improvising. After writing and recording for those 3 days, their new album, “The Rhinebeck Sessions,” was created. The legendary group has been making music and pleasing fans for over 35 years. Jay Beckenstein, the saxophone player, played all through school. His father exposed him to artists like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. While in Germany with his father on an Army base, he had the opportunity to play in bands and was introduced to R&B. He later returned to the states and attended college in NY. When Jay graduated, he spent time working in bands around town and eventually reconnected with his friend Jeremy Wall. Together they would evolve into what we now know as Spyro Gyra. Much to their surprise, their early project skyrocketed, and the group sold over tens of thousands of records in a year. They immediately captured the attention of an audience that loved their music. Jay describes the group as an instrumental ensemble that rarely has vocals. He credits the band’s tendency to be natural, pure, unpretentious musicians who put the welfare of the band before themselves with its longevity. This is evident still when listening to “The Rhinebeck Sessions.” Although some may think it’s edgier than previous albums, it’s also Spyro Gyra at their best. Jay would like the legacy of Spyro Gyra to be that their music impacted a new generation.

Spyro Gyra

Spyro Gyra

Jay Beckenstein

Jay Beckenstein

THE VOICE OF LORI JENAIRE

Her voice is velvety and smooth. Although she’s often compared to Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill, and Sarah Vaughn, Lori Jenaire, the stunning beauty, has earned her rightful place amongst those voices that paved the way. Her music has been referred to as neo-soul/jazz. Her voice can be heard on national advertising jingles, television shows, on the big screen, and she’s a skilled songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and bassist, as well. Aside from any genre she’s been placed in, her music is grown and sexy. Lori’s sophomore release “Fruition” is a collection of heartfelt empowering songs. She collaborated with Scott Cannady and co-wrote the majority of the album. Lori and Scott artistically created songs with texture, weaving a tapestry of incredible music. Lori also masterfully covered “California Dreamin’,” enhancing it with her sultry smoothness. Lori humbly describes “Fruition” as a “soul offering.”

We had a great conversation.

Lori Jenaire

Lori Jenaire

“SECOND CHANCES” FOR JESSY J

Haven’t we all wished we had the chance to do some thing over again? Of course we have. According to Jessy J, she too wanted that chance, thus the title of her latest cd: “Second Chances.” It boasts funkiness, sexiness, and grooviness. Being a multi-instrumentalist, playing the saxophone, piano, and flute, and also being a singer and songwriter adds creative texture to the cd. She produced this project herself, collaborating with Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Jimmy Haslip, and Joe Sample. With a collective core of musicians such as that, the outcome is sure to be a winner, and Jessy’s beautiful vocals are sure to enhance the overall tone of the project. She has successfully fused jazz, latin beats, and R&B into each song. The first single, “Listen 2 The Groove,” has just that: a groovy vibe, and her vocals take it to another level.

I talked with Jessy J about “Second Chances.”

Jessy J

Jessy J

Jessy J

Jessy J

“SECOND CHANCES” FOR JESSY J

Haven’t we all wished we had the chance to do some thing over again? Of course we have. According to Jessy J, she too wanted that chance, thus the title of her latest cd: “Second Chances.” It boasts funkiness, sexiness, and grooviness. Being a multi-instrumentalist, playing the saxophone, piano, and flute, and also being a singer and songwriter adds creative texture to the cd. She produced this project herself, collaborating with Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Jimmy Haslip, and Joe Sample. With a collective core of musicians such as that, the outcome is sure to be a winner, and Jessy’s beautiful vocals are sure to enhance the overall tone of the project. She has successfully fused jazz, latin beats, and R&B into each song. The first single, “Listen 2 The Groove,” has just that: a groovy vibe, and her vocals take it to another level.

I talked with Jessy J about “Second Chances.”

Jessy J

Jessy J

Jessy J

Jessy J

A Jazzy Christmas Wish Fulfilled‏

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A Jazzy Christmas Wish Fulfilled

Pianist and vocalist Peggy Duquesnel will release “All I Ask for Christmas” on November 5th, a double-disc set comprised of instrumental and vocal renditions of holiday standards and spirited originals.

Long Beach, Calif. (10 October 2013): There is always a bit of an uproar when Santa and the elves debate over music preferences while toiling away in their North Pole workshop preparing for the big night. Some prefer swinging to straight-ahead jazz instrumentals while others prefer contemporary vocal numbers. Multidimensional pianist and vocalist Peggy Duquesnel’s “All I Ask for Christmas” is certain to satisfy everyone with her generous 21-song collection that will be released November 5th by Joyspring Music. Duquesnel produced the two-CD set – one acoustic jazz instrumental disc and one vocal disc – offering fresh arrangements of seasonal standards along with four new songs that she composed and recorded as both instrumental and vocal selections. The entire album will be serviced to jazz radio stations while smooth jazz outlets will be gifted with the single, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” featuring genre star Rick Braun’s regal flugelhorn.

Duquesnel is having a prolific year. In April, she released “Seems Like I Know You,” a five-song EP that she produced with noted contemporary jazz musicians Jeff Lorber and Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) on which she exercised her fitness as an adult contemporary singer-songwriter while engaging her light jazz muscles. The instrumental portion of “All I Ask for Christmas” is a return to the classically-trained pianist’s roots in straight-ahead jazz presented with elements of adult pop, contemporary jazz and inspirational material on this, her seventh full-length outing. Backed by a crackling quartet – Grammy-nominated bassist Brian Bromberg on upright, drummer Joe La Barbera (Bill Evans, Tony Bennett, Bill Cunliffe), percussionist Brian Kilgore (Barbra Streisand, John Williams, Elton John, Coldplay, Aerosmith) and guitarist Jay Leach (“American Idol,” Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight) – Duquesnel’s arrangements are influenced by storied artists from yesteryear (George & Ira Gershwin, Horace Silver, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra) along with a dose of contemporary acoustic jazz (Dave Grusin, Bob James, Miles Davis).

On the vocal disc, Duquesnel sings and scats three duets with debonair vocalist Bill Cantos: the bebop title track penned by Duquesnel; the aptly titled “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song),” which was written and recorded by Amy Grant; and another new Duquesnel gem, “Under the Christmas Tree,” a romantic country gospel waltz adorned with Leach’s pedal steel guitar. Talented newcomer Emma Werderman impresses with a vocal full of moxie during a duet with her mentor (Duquesnel) on the stunning “Mary Did You Know” further illumined by Duquesnel’s piano eloquence. Duquesnel’s glowing jazzer “Light of Christmas” and the waltz-like “Christmas is Here” are new songs written with warmth, familiarity and timeless qualities that have the potential to become enduring evergreens.

“The album concept is to take familiar Christmas songs and put them with unique arrangements that have a jazz influence, but that are all accessible to a broad audience. In the process of making the album, I decided to do instrumental versions of the vocal songs. I am both a vocalist and an instrumentalist and enjoy playing these songs just as much instrumentally as vocally. For the listener, having both versions makes a lot of sense because they set two entirely different moods,” said Duquesnel, who invites you into the studio to observe the making of the album by watching the EPK (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSApuhPMt8o).

To support “All I Ask for Christmas,” Duquesnel will perform three shows during the holiday season in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas: November 24th at the Hoson House in Tustin, December 11th at Fields Pianos in Santa Ana and December 19th at Vitello’s Jazz & Supper Club in Studio City.

Duquesnel’s “All I Ask for Christmas” consists of the following titles:

Disc 1 – Instrumental Songs

“Little Drummer Boy”

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

“All I Ask for Christmas”

“Mary Did You Know”

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

“Christmas is Here”

“O Christmas Tree”

“Silent Night”

“What Child is This”

“Under the Christmas Tree”

“I Wonder as I Wander”

“Light of Christmas”

Disc 2 – Vocal Songs

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

“Mary Did You Know”

“Light of Christmas”

“Silent Night”

“All I Ask for Christmas”

“Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)”

“Under the Christmas Tree”

“I Wonder As I Wander”

“Christmas is Here”

For more information about Duquesnel, please visit http://www.PeggyDuquesnel.com.

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL, SHE’S TALENTED, SHE IS THERESA GRAYSON

It is apparent that Theresa Grayson was born with a gift, a gift that she’s embraced and shares through her music. At the age of 4, she could play all woodwind instruments, the piano, and the guitar. It wasn’t until the age of 8 that she cultivated a lasting relationship with the saxophone. She grew up in musically competitive environments that helped her master her art. Music is her passion, it’s evident in every note she plays. Theresa is also very dedicated to her education. She’s earned two Masters degrees and is pursuing a Doctorate degree. Amid it all, she continues to thrive and excel in every area of her life. She’s worked hard and waited for such a time as this. Her sophomore cd, “Live 2 Love,” is a compilation of soulful cover songs and beautiful originals that mirror anthems of a love story. Her rendition of “Smooth Operator” maintains the authenticity of the original, yet she makes it her own. One of her originals, “Close Your Eyes,” is so captivating, it will transport you into another world. Theresa’s music is just as colorful and vibrant as she is. Grayson’s vocals on “Live 2 Love” are sultry, funky, and oh so smooth. She attributes her work with artists like Kirk Whalum, Marion Meadows, Jeff Majors, Ronnie Laws, and Jessy J with framing who she is as an artist. Her first single is “Afterthoughts,” and her cd is set to be released on November 5th.

Talking to Theresa was inciting, fun, and motivating.

Theresa Grayson

Theresa Grayson

Theresa Grayson

Theresa Grayson