KIKI EBSEN’S GIFT

For parents, rebellion is not what we want to see in our children. However, we will experience it at some point. For Buddy Ebsen, his daughter, Kiki’s venture into rebellion would ultimately lead her into a future full of musical success. Kiki Ebsen decided to ignore her father’s request to pursue a career as a jazz singer and instead, chose to find her own way, indulging in the pop music world. Her talents as a singer/songwriter were undeniable and proved to get better with time. A future in entertainment was Kiki’s destiny. After all, she grew up in the limelight of her father’s success as an actor. After he passed, Kiki began to reflect on the desires of her father and, eventually, fulfilled the desires of his heart. As an expression of love for her father, she honored him with the “Scarecrow Sessions.” It is precisely the type of project that would have made her father proud. Over the years, Kiki has been evolving as an artist and has found her voice. She recorded “Scarecrow Sessions” in her own time, in her own voice, and in her truth. Working with David Mann to produce this project helped shape it into a masterpiece of songs that everyone can relate to. Additionally–making this recording even more incredible–were musicians Chuck Loeb, Henry Hey, John Patitucci, and Clint de Ganon.

Kiki and I talk about “Scarecrow Sessions,” set for release on September 30th:

 

KIKI

I HEAR PATRICK BRADLEY

On the day of the release of his third album titled “Can You Hear Me, Patrick Bradley was thrilled that fans would finally hear his new project. Bradley has spent his life playing music; he taught himself at an early age. His instrument of choice was the organ, and he displays his keen skills playing the Hammond organ on this album. The sound he projects is profoundly crisp and is a pleasure to hear. It is a rare opportunity to hear a Hammond organ played in music these days. Although Patrick has a career as a business man working for Whole Foods Market, he has never strayed from his love of music. He has always written songs and is fortunate to have made three albums. Patrick wrote this album with the concept in mind of blocking out the noise that surrounds us all of the time along with the idea of having his music speak louder. The title and first radio single is a reflection of that premise. The song and title (“Can You Hear Me”) came to him at once as he wondered if his late mother could hear his music. Making this album even greater, he joined forces with producer Jeff Lorber whom also produced his second album “Under The Sun.” Together, their chemistry is the perfect formula for making music magic. “Can You Hear Me” features Dave Koz, Rick Braun, and Eric Marienthal. Also adding their musical chops to the project are Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak, David Mann, Dwight Sills, and Michael Thompson.

Patrick and I talk about the evolution of “Can You Hear Me”:

 

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The stars align for Joey Sommerville’s “Overnight Sensation”

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The stars align for Joey Sommerville’s

“Overnight Sensation”

 

More than 20 years in the making, the soul-jazz trumpeter’s fifth album, due October 28, features Earl Klugh, Jeff Lorber, Jeff Bradshaw, Elan Trotman and Eric Essix.

Atlanta, Georgia (25 September 2014): Behind every musical overnight sensation are years of toiling away in rehearsal halls, recording studios and sweaty nightclubs meticulously honing one’s craft. In trumpeter Joey Sommerville’s case, it’s more than two decades of writing, recording and touring to cultivate his following and establish his presence on the national scene. On October 28, the award-winning soul-jazz musician, songwriter and producer will release a new collection of songs that he’s been working on as far back as 1993 that will comprise his fifth album, “Overnight Sensation,” slated for release on his Jayvox imprint. The title track will crank up the party when it is serviced to radio stations for airplay at the end of this month.

Sommerville’s forte is serving as an impresario of fun and funky frolics and pretty harmonies that touch the heart. He wrote or co-wrote nine of the disc’s ten tracks and produced the entire session sharing production duties on two cuts with fusion icon Jeff Lorber. Like a ringmaster who skillfully unifies the eclectic acts of a three-ring circus, the trumpeter who also plays flugelhorn, piano, keyboards, synth bass and drum programming on the record has scripted a colorful collection of short stories with his horn serving as the common thread binding gripping chapters in contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, R&B, hip hop and rock.

“In this era of singles downloads, I still believe in the concept of albums and a cohesive body of music,” said the Atlanta, Georgia-based Sommerville, who will perform at an album launch gig there on October 30 at the Suite Food Lounge. “I’ve always wanted to record these songs and I really like them, but they didn’t fit on previous projects. They were all inspired by real life experiences thus they have meaning. The long journey that is a music career is a marathon, not a sprint, and the timing finally came around for these songs to be recorded for the first time. Surprisingly, they fit together despite being written over a long period of time and the variety in their sound and style.”

Sommerville’s trumpet seduces on the sensuous “Desire” highlighted by gossamer guitar from legend Earl Klugh. Venturing in a divergent tangent, Sommerville tosses a bone to Jeff Bradshaw on a raucous and imaginative take on “Caravan,” a scintillating thrill ride that Duke Ellington never would have seen coming. “Red Cups Up” is a playful party anthem while Sommerville surprises when he steps to the mic on the stunner “I Just Wanna Be With You” on which his husky voice quivers and cracks with raw emotion while crooning an autobiographic story of romance to his wife. A spiraling Lorber groove, “The Next Big Thing” is a tightly-wound R&B-jazz-funk mélange illumined by Sommerville’s trumpet and quirky synth along with a touch of sax from Elan Trotman. The elegiac “Rebecca of Birmingham” was penned years ago after Sommerville’s grandmother passed and is graced by a stirring blues-jazz guitar eulogy from Eric Essix. “Karma” induces reflection during the straight-ahead jazz exercise after which Sommerville closes the album with the throwback R&B instrumental “Forever” followed by the boisterous “The Passport Life.”

A spotlight soloist on the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning album “Alegria” by Cirque du Soleil, Sommerville’s 2007 release “Like You Mean It” won the American Society of Young Musician’s All That Jazz Award in 2009. His trumpet artistry was featured on Hidden Beach Recordings’ “Unwrapped Volume 4” and he’s written and produced a Top 20 single for Bob Baldwin and an album by Rhonda Smith that features performances by Prince, Sheila E. and gospel icon Fred Hammond. Sommerville is a high-octane performer who is a regular at festivals and on music cruises. Outside of music, he can be heard voicing spots for BMW, Coke, Ford, the U.S. Army and more. Additional information can be found at www.JoeySommerville.com.

The songs contained on the “Overnight Sensation” album are:

“Overnight Sensation”

“Desire”

“Caravan”

“Red Cups Up”

“I Just Wanna Be With You”

“The Next Big Thing”

“Rebecca of Birmingham”

“Karma”

“Forever”

“The Passport Life”

HOWARD HEWETT IS TIMELESS

There are times when you encounter an artist who has sustained a successful career for decades. Howard Hewett has done just that. The longevity of his career can be attributed to his fans, his delivery of great music, and to being “evenly keeled.” Without a doubt, Hewett believes that “you must learn how to deal with circumstances, rather than let circumstances deal with you.” He learned this at a very young age, and it has remained his essential way of thinking, subsequently sustaining him. Although, his fans will always love the music from the past, they are still engaged and excited about his latest songs. Howard’s latest sexy thriller is titled “Better Guy.” It’s the second song released from his forthcoming project. Again, the “common thread for Howard is his vocals” no matter the style of music. The new album will be released through IEG – The Incendiary Entertainment Group, which Howard is a huge part of.

Howard and I have a candid conversation:

 

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AT HOME WITH JEFF LORBER

In Jeff Lorber’s home, surrounded by a variation of instruments old and new, creativity is abundant. Taking a step down into his studio, I was overwhelmed by the majestic presence of music. I knew it was the home of countless artists, songs, albums, and hits. It was the place that Grammy-nominated Jeff Lorber called home. As we comfortably made our way from one room to the other, Jeff and fellow friend/producer shared stories about the “Beatles.” I listened intently absorbing every word.

Jeff is very fortunate because he gets to do what he loves and that is making music. Having grown up in a household where music was abundant helped fuel his passion. His ability to evolve with the change of tides in the music industry, in addition to being inspired by new music and artists has contributed to his longevity. Lorber challenges himself to get out of his comfort zone when collaborating with countless musicians crossing genre lines. Reinventing himself continuously, Jeff is keenly aware that it is his job to make great music, and holds himself accountable if it is not. From his point of view, his music is “melodic, funky, and harmonic.”

Lorber is undeniably a great musician. While talking with him, I discovered he’s great for more reasons than one:

 

THE SURGE OF PHIL DENNY

Phil Denny’s arrival to the music scene has many on the edge of their seats anticipating his next moves. As a businessman turned musician, Phil chose to pursue his passion with the idea of “risk versus reward” in mind, and that decision has proven to be a very wise one. Since his ascent, Denny has captured the hearts of fans around the world.  He has done so by not only being very talented but by also being personable and grounded. Phil’s goal has always been to “build a brand and an identity.” In doing so, he has allowed fans to unequivocally and without a doubt participate in the journey with him. Denny worked alongside producer Nate Harisim as well as other fine musicians on his debut project, Crossover, in 2012–a formula that has earned him three songs that climbed into the Billboard Top 30. He continues to woo fans with his performances and by speaking to them passionately through his playing.

 Phil and I have fun while discussing his career:

 

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Keyboardist Dan Siegel returns with a lush collection of astute jazz etched in melodically rich “Indigo”‏

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Keyboardist Dan Siegel returns with a lush collection of astute jazz etched in melodically rich “Indigo”

Irvine, California (17 September 2014): Having recorded a catalogue of Top 10 albums in a vivid spectrum of jazz hues with topflight musicians for 35 years, Dan Siegel only emerges when he has something engaging to say with his poetic piano and crafty keyboards. Back with his first new statement in five years, Siegel’s DSM record label will release “Indigo” on October 14, a set comprised of ten new compositions that he wrote, arranged and shared production chores with Grammy-nominated bassist Brian Bromberg.

On his 20th album, Siegel creates right up the spine of the jazz dichotomy allowing the melodies, improvisational soloing and grooves to unfold and flourish unencumbered by restrictive genre borders and polarizing labels. His cerebral compositions traverse the expansive jazz terrain, but do so with heart rendering them instantly accessible. The keyboardist has a gift for writing inviting, emotionally-evocative material that connects soulfully.

“My tendency is it to overwrite, which can make it challenging for the listener.  I believe the emotional allure of the music on this album (“Indigo”) transcends its compositional complexity,” said the Irvine, California-based artist who was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Eugene, Oregon.

The beating heart and soul heard on “Indigo” in part comes from the live production tracked in the cozy confines of Bromberg’s home studio in the valley just over the hill from Los Angeles. Siegel and Bromberg have an easy rapport and level of trust that dates back several decades from playing and recording together. Bromberg’s 300-year-old acoustic bass provides the rhythmic bottom end on tracks anchored by the deft drum beats from Yellowjackets veteran Will Kennedy. Bob Sheppard plays a prominent role using a variety of saxophones and impassioned play to echo Siegel’s piano and keyboards leads as well as emote his own scholarly theses. Allen Hinds and Mike Miller are afforded ample room to dispense thoughtful guitar riffs and do so with finesse. Lenny Castro’s percussion and Craig Fundyga’s vibraphone embellishments add texture, color and shadow in all the right places while two different horn sections appear on a total of six tracks providing power and depth. The cumulative result of such masterful players animating Siegel’s poignant piano pieces is a warm and plush album that will be serviced for airplay at straight-ahead jazz (full album) and contemporary/smooth jazz outlets (title cut).

Siegel inked his first record deal in 1979 with Inner City Records, which issued his debut disc, “Nite Ride,” featuring guitar great Lee Ritenour. Siegel’s sophomore session, “The Hot Shot,” went No. 1 on the Radio & Records chart and spent ten weeks in the Top 10 on the Billboard jazz chart. A couple years later, Siegel moved to Los Angeles to focus on composing film and television scores. Subsequently, he signed with Epic Records and altered his sound from fusion to collections that spanned contemporary jazz, electronic, worldbeat and R&B. Over the years, he has played and recorded with Herbie Hancock, Boney James, Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, Ernie Watts, John Patitucci, Bela Fleck and Ottmar Liebert in instrumental settings; Glenn Frey, Chaka Khan, Berlin and Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire) in the pop world; and amassed an array of television and film credits that boasts Oscar-winner “The Usual Suspects.” For more information, please visit www.DanSiegelMusic.com.

The songs contained on “Indigo” are:

“To Be Continued”

“By Chance”

“Indigo”

“Beyond”

“Far and Away”

“If Ever”

“Spur of the Moment”

“First Light”

“Consider This”

“Endless”