KENYON CARTER PERSEVERED… NOW “GAME ON”

Increased anticipation and excitement is brewing in the Carter household as the release date of Kenyon’s latest album, “Game On,” draws near–August 14, 2014 to be exact. The 10 song original collection was penned and produced by Kenyon and is a reflection of his musical influences. Guitarist Chuck Loeb joins him on the flirtatious title track, “Game On.” The first single, “Jammin’ On Juniper,” was most added on the Billboard chart its first week. Kenyon exemplifies strength, courage, and persistence after recovering from a car accident that injured his arm severely, proving that patience and faith will get you through anything if you simply press on. “Game On” is a beautifully inspirational conclusion to the rollercoaster journey Kenyon Carter has experienced. The best is yet to come.

Kenyon inspires me with his story:

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Groove therapy: contemporary jazz singer Carol Duboc keeps her diary open on “Colored Glasses”‏

Carol Duboc

Groove therapy: contemporary jazz singer Carol Duboc keeps her diary open on “Colored Glasses”

Her seventh album, due September 18, is bolstered by collaborator Jeff Lorber’s R&B rhythms.

Los Angeles, California (30 July 2015): On Carol Duboc’s deeply personal 2013 release, “Smile,” the contemporary jazz singer-songwriter opened up in a way that she had never done so before, revealing the pain and heartache involved with dissolving her marriage while being the mother of a young daughter. She described writing the album with producer and jazz keyboards legend Jeff Lorber as therapeutic. Her therapy continues on “Colored Glasses,” a Gold Note Music ten-track disc written and produced by Duboc and Lorber set for release on September 18 and launched that evening with a Hollywood concert date that will be streamed online.

Two years on, Duboc’s new material details her struggles with cutting the ties of the relationship, one tinged by her partner’s delusional view of the world. Writing lyrics and melodies to rhythm tracks sent to her by Lorber, Duboc addresses the realities and realizations of moving forward with honesty and candor, even if she felt her ex was hiding the truth behind “colored glasses,” thus spawning the album’s title. But she acknowledges her own role as well.

“Some people refuse to see the world as it really is or life as it is, and to be honest, I was so caught up in the hypnotic love that I didn’t see things as they really are either,” admitted Duboc, who titled the first single “Hypnotic.” “I think this album is going to surprise people. It’s about letting go completely and moving on emotionally. And it may be the funkiest solo record I’ve ever made.”

Lorber’s R&B rhythms are lively throughout the soulful, sophisticated session of jazzy adult pop tunes. A marquee supporting cast brings high-caliber musicianship to the taut grooves with stellar performances by Jimmy Haslip (electric bass), Brian Bromberg (acoustic bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr. and Michael Thompson, Hubert Laws (flute), Eric Marienthal (sax), Lenny Castro (percussion) and multi-instrumentalist Lorber on keyboards, piano, bass and guitar. Dave Mann punches up several cuts with crisp horns and vivid horn arrangements that add vibrancy, lushness and depth.

“Hypnotic” will be serviced to radio next month coinciding with the release of a video lensed on Venice Beach for the album’s “Wavelength,” a danceable guitar and horn-driven song about intuitive communication between partners. To mark the album’s release and celebrate coming through the other side of the relationship, Duboc will perform at the famed jazz joint the Baked Potato on the release date (Sept. 18), which will be streamed live on her website (www.CarolDuboc.com). Lorber, Haslip and Thompson are among the musicians from the album’s lineup already confirmed to be backing the singer that night.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Duboc has been living in Los Angeles ever since she attended USC Thornton’s School of Music. Prior to launching her solo recording career in 2001with the critically-acclaimed “With All That I Am,” Duboc wrote hits on gold and platinum-selling albums, including records by Patti LaBelle, Chante Moore, Tom Jones, Stephanie Mills, Jade, Fine Yong Cannibals, Maurice White and the late George Duke. Possessing multimedia appeal, the photogenic blond had a supporting role on the silver screen in “Be Cool” alongside John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Danny DeVito.

The songs on “Colored Glasses” are:

“Hypnotic”

“Every Shade of Blue”

“Celestial Skies”

“Wavelength”

“Breathing”

“Trajectory”

“Spinning”

“Colored Glasses”

“Walking in My Sleep”

“Code Red”

Additional information is available at www.carolduboc.com.

Jazz crooner’s big voice almost silenced permanently‏

S. Davis

Jazz crooner’s big voice almost silenced permanently 

Romantic ending for “What Happened To Romance” singer Steven Davis after suffering a severe vocal cord bleed

Los Angeles, California (14 July 2015): Hard to fathom how close the jazz world came to losing the grand, velvety voice of crooner Steven Davis, who is presently garnering airplay and accolades from around the world on the heels of his first big band offering, “What Happened To Romance.” A severe vocal bleed silenced him completely for seven months and doctors did not know if the Nashville-based singer-songwriter would ever be able to sing again. It took over a year for him to fully heal, rebounding remarkably to record three original albums in less than one year.

Awakened in the middle of the night in early November 2013 by a profound coughing spell lasting several hours, Davis aspirated into his lungs and mistakenly thought that he was experiencing a bronchial problem. Instead of rushing to the ER, he waited nine days before seeking medical care.

“The doctors didn’t know if I would ever really sing again as I waited too long for treatment and the bleed was severe and very serious,” recalled Davis, who was treated by world-renowned voice specialist Dr. Robert Ossoff, executive medical director of the Vanderbilt Voice Center in Nashville. “The worst concern with this sort of bleed is scar tissue in the wake of healing. I was put on a very aggressive treatment immediately with massive doses of steroids for many weeks. During the course of the next seven months, I was put on absolute mandatory vocal silence multiple times with some periods lasting a month. No talking and no whispering period. This sort of silence draws you inward. It’s a very Zen experience actually. The emotional layers take on an almost spiritual quality.”

It was happenstance that the injury occurred after Davis had taken a prolong break from singing and had just begun testing his voice in the studio in preparation for recording for the first time in many years.

“There was great irony in that I had finally come home to singing after such a long hiatus, facing my fears in stepping up to the mic for the first time in years, only to be silenced by the bleed,” Davis said.

Shortly after the extended recovery period was complete and Davis was cleared to resume singing, he met Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno, the songwriting and production team known as The 88s. Work commenced almost immediately on “What Happened To Romance,” a swinging big band session recorded in New York City with accompaniment by The After Midnight Orchestra comprised of veterans of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands. Primarily encompassing new compositions authored by Davis and The 88s that are in the spirit of the Great American Songbook, radio programmers, reviewers and enamored fans are warmly embracing Davis’s retro sound, fresh material and charming tales of romantic ardor that could become modern standards.

Davis and The 88s spent the spring in Los Angeles recording and are wrapping up a big band Christmas album highlighting original selections plus one chestnut, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” a stocking stuffer that will be released in time for the holiday season. Also in the can, but being held for release in 2016 is a more intimate Davis recording date in which the mellifluous baritone is backed by a jazz trio. After nearly losing the only thing he’s known since he was five years-old, he is passionately inspired, which is part of the fire behind the prolific period.

“On the wings of my recovery, I began writing and recording with a renewed perspective and a fresh approach to making music. There is more joy, more satisfaction, more pleasure and more fun in making music now – more than I ever could have imagined,” said Davis, whose bewitching celebration of love, “Perfectly Perfect” from “What Happened To Romance,” serves as the splendid soundtrack to an international television spot for Centralway Numbrs, a Germany-based mobile banking application. “The crisis served as a personal awakening and re-embrace of a gift that often times can be easily taken for granted in the most subtle of ways. Now I treasure the gift, I respect the gift and I honor the gift – more than I have in my entire career. I’m so lucky, so grateful for my reprieve from the edge of silence.”

For more information about Davis, please visit www.StevenDavisMusic.com.

Crash inspires saxophonist Kenyon Carter to up his “Game”‏

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A pivotal album inspired by a pivotal, life-changing experience, “Game On” is the apropos title of Kenyon Carter’s (www.KenyonCarter.com) forthcoming album, a ten-song set of originals that the saxophonist wrote and produced in this “Go for it!” moment in his career. Due August 14, his third disc knocks it out of the park with an MVP assist from guitar great Chuck Loeb (Fourplay), a contemporary jazz heavyweight who trades ferocious licks with Carter’s spirited tenor horn. There’s a sense of urgency to the cut that can be directly attributed to an incident in Carter’s not too distant past that informs everything the Atlanta-based artist does in life and career.

Carter’s arm was mangled in a car crash resulting in severe radial nerve damage. Doctors didn’t know if the appendage would ever function normally again thus putting the musician’s career choice in peril. Undeterred, Carter utilized a specially-designed therapy glove, spending countless hours daily for eight months trying to relearn how to play sax. Since he couldn’t perform at the time, he taught others to play and in time, with hard work, full use of the arm returned. Realizing how close he was to losing his dream, Carter recommitted himself towards achieving his career goals in music.   

Earlier albums introduced Carter to the masses, charted and collected national airplay. The third album seemed like a milestone thus Carter focused on elevating his game feeling like the time to breakthrough in a big way is now. Hitting full stride artistically, he ably demonstrates his proficiency as a player on tenor, soprano and baritone sax while constructing layers of rhythmic grooves that buttress sweet melodies and lush harmonies. Whether serenely serenading, dexterously exploring the outer limits on a meandering run or uncorking fiery wails as if his life depended upon it, Carter’s saxplay serves in the best interest of the ensnaring melodies and gripping rhythms without overstepping or over dramatizing.    

While the record was being recorded, Carter issued a single to radio to stir up an appetite for the full session. The head-bopping funkster “Jammin’ On Jupiter” was one of the most added singles on the Billboard chart in its debut week. The title track opens the proceedings and is the second single heading to radio ahead of the album’s street date. Starting coyly, a knowing glance breaks into the charming “Just A Smile.” The heart-tugging “Going Home” is warmly moving and beautiful amidst a stripped down acoustic setting. “Sea Of Abaco” floats upon a soothing soprano sax wave of tranquility. The album was recorded using Carter’s well-rehearsed live band, who challenge with complex time changes and a brisk vacillating pace on “Moving Forward,” a number that the soprano-yielding Carter describes as navigating “a bridge between straight-ahead and contemporary jazz.” Cool jazz illuminates “Wine On Eight,” a seductive happy hour social invitation while the mellow vibes continue on “Lights Down Low.” Intimacy pervades the poignant “In This Moment” before Carter & Company close the album with the rousing “Here We Go,” concluding with some of the saxman’s most feverish play on the recording.                          

CECIL RAMIREZ SETS THE TONE WITH “PARTY IN THE BACK”

The sound of Cecil Ramirez’s new album, “Party In The Back,” is reminiscent of the 80’s. It is a throwback to an era in music that he loves and that is memorable to most people. Although the album was released a year later than Cecil anticipated, friends and fans patiently waited. Cecil Ramirez is just coming from his fourth year at the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway. He performs at the welcome dinner and sets the tone for the rest of the week. Napa is beautiful for multiple reasons and often times, special for a few. The latter is true for Ramirez and his wife. They had their first date there and got engaged there. Needless to say, Napa will always hold a special place in his heart. Embracing the beauty of wine country sparked an interest in learning about wine in Cecil. Wine and music are a perfect combination. “Party In The Back” is a fun, energetic, and funky background to many of summer’s festivities. It puts you in the mood to reflect and party. Cecil wrote seven of the ten songs on the album. He collaborated with Brian Culbertson, Michael Lington, Adam Hawley, Darren Rahn, and Phil Denny. He also covered a few songs that are sure to take you back: “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson, “Stronger Than Before,” and “Georgy Porgy” by David Paich.

Cecil and I have a great time discussing the album:

Party In The Back

Party In The Back

Masterfully “Cool”: An album unlike any other by Bob James and Nathan East‏

bob james and nathan east

Masterfully “Cool”: An album unlike any other by

Bob James and Nathan East

“The New Cool,” an expansive acoustic offering centered on scholarly jazz piano and bass duets, will be released September 18, a first from the GRAMMY®-honored artists and long-time collaborators. 

 

Nashville, Tennessee (7 July 2015): Albums just aren’t made like the way “The New Cool” was made. Yamaha Entertainment Group label president Chris Gero put legendary keyboardist Bob James and master bassist Nathan East in the recording studio, equipped them with state-of-the-art Yamaha gear and gave them free reign to create. Recorded entirely in Nashville, the long-time collaborators emerged with an unexpected and audacious collection of original compositions plus a few handpicked classics, an acoustic jazz outing that will make you forget everything you thought you knew about these GRAMMY®-recognized artists best known as contemporary jazz luminaries. The disc produced by Gero, James and East will be released September 18.

“The New Cool” unfolds much in the way the meticulously-crafted project was conceived. The germ begins organically with a couple of intimate James and East duets. Pastoral piano wanderings explore the outer perimeter of straight-ahead jazz where they peruse, mirror and engage with meandering bass lines. In fact, more than half of the record’s compositions written by James and/or East are sparsely-produced, probing piano and bass sojourns. As the seed sprouts, dramatic orchestral accoutrements added by the Nashville Recording Orchestra illuminate the piano, keyboard and bass explorations, contributing hues that are warmly rustic and autumnal or whimsically vibrant. James challenges with deftly inventive arrangements on complex pieces like “All Will Be Revealed” while East counts off supple rhythms that are astutely measured and metered. Fluid melodies and harmonies ranging from subtle, serene and meditative to lush, exquisite and cascading blossom throughout, whether emoted by a dexterous piano, keyboard or bass or East’s celestial vocalese. An imaginatively-arranged version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” bops and swings in sublimely surprising style before the ultimate surprise is revealed: a serendipitous vocal from Vince Gill. The proceedings flourish in a gust of breezy Brazilian jazz when percussionist Rafael Padilla and drummer Scott Williamson appear on “Canto Y La Danza” and climax in a crashing crescendo on the explosive and intricately orchestrated “Turbulence.”

“‘The New Cool’ project carries with it a special level of excitement for me as Bob and I have been courting the idea of this duo adventure for many years,” said East, who released his self-titled, GRAMMY® nominated solo debut album last year via Yamaha Entertainment Group on the heels of playing on Daft Punk’s 2014 GRAMMY®-winning Record of the Year “Get Lucky.” “I’ve always loved the sound of the piano and bass together, and have enjoyed duo recordings by the greats: Bill Evans & Eddie Gomez and Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden. ‘The New Cool’ is our celebration of more than 25 years of friendship and musical camaraderie. This collaboration was embraced by Yamaha Entertainment Group and producer Chris Gero, who took it yet to another level.”

“The more I played with Nathan over the course of many live performances and spanning more than 25 years, the more in sync we were whether or not we had the anchor of the drums,” said James, a two-time GRAMMY® winner considered one of the founding fathers of smooth/contemporary jazz and whose extensive catalogue is frequently sampled on hip hop tracks. “Something special happens when we only have each other’s notes to play off of, when the music is totally exposed.”

Although busy with touring and recording individually as well as together, including as half of the contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, James and East are committed and energized by “The New Cool,” which will be supported comprehensively in traditional and non-traditional ways harnessing the full power of Yamaha Entertainment Group. Nearly a dozen video vignettes that take viewers into the recording studio during the making of the album will soon begin to trickle out through the official website (www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com) as well as on the artists’ social media platforms and a full-scale documentary film will unspool in the fall shortly after the album’s street date. A grand-scale concert date is in the initial planning stages, which is expected to be streamed live and captured for television broadcast.

The songs that make-up “The New Cool” album are:

“The New Cool”

“Oliver’s Bag”

“All Will Be Revealed”

“Midnight Magic/Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow”

“Crazy” (featuring Vince Gill)

“How Deep Is The Ocean”

“Canto Y La Danza”

“Waltz For Judy”

“Seattle Sunrise”

“Ghost Of A Chance”

“Turbulence”

“House Of Blue” (U.S. bonus track)

For more information, please visit www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com.