MARIEA ANTOINETTE SPEAKS “STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP”

Harpist Mariea Antoinette is gracefully leaving an indelible impression in smooth jazz. Classically trained on the harp, Mariea knew it was undeniably the instrument for her at the age of twelve. She has been playing for over thirty years and has always wanted to take her playing into a different stratosphere. “Straight From The Harp” bolsters a smooth fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B, blazing a new trail for herself and those to come after her. The journey has definitely been the reward for Mariea. Her concept for “Straight From The Harp” came from wanting to introduce a fresh, unique sound that could be heard in a different way. Mariea enlisted producer Allan Phillips to help bring her vision to life. The special edition of the Billboard Top 5 album will be released on September 25, 2015. Also joining Mariea on the album is violinist Karen Briggs who adds her twist to the first single, “Walk the Walk.” Mariea’s parting words of wisdom were: “practice compassion.”
Listen as Mariea and I talk history, music, and more:

maria antionette

MARIEA ANTOINETTE SPEAKS “STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP”

Harpist Mariea Antoinette is gracefully leaving an indelible impression in smooth jazz. Classically trained on the harp, Mariea knew it was undeniably the instrument for her at the age of twelve. She has been playing for over thirty years and has always wanted to take her playing into a different stratosphere. “Straight From The Harp” bolsters a smooth fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B, blazing a new trail for herself and those to come after her. The journey has definitely been the reward for Mariea. Her concept for “Straight From The Harp” came from wanting to introduce a fresh, unique sound that could be heard in a different way. Mariea enlisted producer Allan Phillips to help bring her vision to life. The special edition of the Billboard Top 5 album will be released on September 25, 2015. Also joining Mariea on the album is violinist Karen Briggs who adds her twist to the first single, “Walk the Walk.” Mariea’s parting words of wisdom were: “practice compassion.”
Listen as Mariea and I talk history, music, and more:

maria antionette

TALKING “NIGHT SESSIONS” WITH NICHOLAS COLE

“Unapologetic” and “innovative” both describe Nicholas Cole precisely. His youthful yet old soul approach to music is a welcomed breath of fresh air. His presence in contemporary smooth jazz is undeniable. Having a number one song from his last album, “Endless Possibilities,” didn’t steer him to play it safe, but quite the contrary. Nicholas went into the creative writing process of his latest album, “Night Sessions,” with specific goals. He knew who he wanted to collaborate with and feature. Among the list of enlisted talent: Anthony Saunders, Julian Vaughn, Kayta Matsuno, and Steve Cole. Nicholas was also very clear that he wanted to infuse elements of different genres into “Night Sessions.” In doing so, he created a fresh new sound without limitations; he has managed to captivate listeners seventeen years old and older. Nicholas has opened a door in jazz music that will lead to the future. As of September 8, 2015, his first single, “Mary Ann,” was number one on Billboard Smooth Jazz songs chart, and “Night Sessions” was number seventeen for top Smooth Jazz albums–not bad for the album that was released on August 21, 2015. In addition to his solo career, Nicholas is a member of “Generation Next” with his peers Lebron Dennis and Lin Rountree. The sky is the limit for Nicholas Cole.

As per our usual conversation, Nicholas and I keep it real. Listen:

Nicholas Cole

CAROL DUBOC CAN SEE THROUGH “COLORED GLASSES”

“Hypnotic,” the first single from Carol Duboc’s latest album, “Colored Glasses,” is the perfect description of the collection of original songs being released on September 18, 2015. Carol collaborated again with her friend and colleague, Jeff Lorber, to produce “Colored Glasses.” And what better way to complete a new album than to once again enlist the talented Jimmy Haslip, Michael Thompson, and Vinnie Colaiuta? Additionally, Eric Marienthal, Hubert Laws, and Paul Jackson, Jr. added their special touches to the long-time anticipated new album. Carol is lyrically gifted, and her uncanny ability to tell stories is a part of her charm. “Colored Glasses” tells the story of someone in love who sees and has seen love through “Colored Glasses”–a little something everyone can relate to. Writing this album has been therapeutic for Carol, empowering her to remove any “Colored Glasses” she has ever worn. Carol recorded a video for the song “Wavelength,” and she was joined by her band live on the sands of Venice Beach. Little did she know that a few onlookers would join them, giving it even more life. Admittedly, Carol had a fantastic time sharing that time with colleagues and strangers, all coming together for a common cause. The end result: perfectly befitting the song, a long line of people on the beach doing one long wave. Carol has an album release on September 18th at Hollywood’s Baked Potato and will be joined by Lorber, Haslip, and Thompson.

Listen to Carol and I discuss love, lost, and the healing power of music:

Carol Duboc

 

JOHN COLTRANE BLUES AND JAZZ FESTIVAL

As festival season and summer come to an end for 2015, I am taking in the best of the last. I always look forward to Labor Day weekend in High Point, NC where I attend the John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival. It is held at the beautiful Oak Hollow Park by the lake. Great music, legendary artists, and a spectacular sunset comprise the essence of this festival. This year, the festival was a two-day event. Opening day was an extra special treat for attendees; the Coltrane Youth Orchestra opened the festival, followed by The Bold Soul Revival, featuring singers Lauryn Mitchell, Annika Chambers, and Annie Mack. Then, the first of three legendary masters graced the stage: Earl Klugh. He was followed by Marcus Miller, and ending the night was David Sanborn. It wouldn’t have been a show if Miller hadn’t joined Sanborn on stage for a couple of songs. At the end of day one, my musical palette had been satisfied. The final day was opened by the Coltrane All-Stars, followed by Poncho Sanchez. Rounding out the final evening was Snarky Puppy, joined by Eric Gales and headliner, Lalah Hathaway. Another successful year for The John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival, benefiting music and local youth.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

 

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Eric Gales photo credit Garland Hancock

Eric Gales
photo credit Garland Hancock

 

Snarky Puppy and Eric Gales Photo Credit Garland Hancock

Snarky Puppy and Eric Gales
Photo Credit Garland Hancock

Poncho Sanchez Photo credit Garland Hancock

Poncho Sanchez
Photo credit Garland Hancock

Lalah Hathaway Photo credit Garland Hancock

Lalah Hathaway
Photo credit Garland Hancock

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SUNSET JAZZ FESTIVAL

As we approach the end of the summer, we are also approaching the last few festivals for the year. I am going to get a couple more in before it all comes to end for 2015. August 15, 2015, Atlanta, GA was once again the host for the Sunset Jazz Festival at Chastain Park. As always, the line-up was incredible and left no stone unturned. Opening the five hour show with his energetic performance was saxophonist, Mike Phillips, joined by the very talented violinist, Karen Briggs. They’ve appeared together all over on various stages. Next up was The Robert Glasper Experiment. Robert had just flown in from London the night before, and he gave the type of performance he is known for: incredible. Alongside a cast of extremely talented musicians, The Robert Glasper Experiment wowed the crowd. Following was R&B singer, Eric Benet. His performance was grown and sexy–as expected. Eric never disappoints his fans with a collection of songs spanning his expansive career. Headlining the festival was none other than the entertaining, keep-you-on-your-feet Brian Culbertson. In true Culbertson style, Brian and his talented ban delivered a performance not to be forgotten. With an expansive catalog of music, Brian was able to give the crowd some of old and new music. The energy he and his band leave on the stage every time he performs is undeniable and created the perfect finale. Without knowledge of the line-up for 2016, I can assure old and new attendees they can safely make plans to attend. Furthermore, they will be happy that they did. I’ll see you there in 2016.

Here are some photos from the Sunset Jazz Festival:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Sunset Jazz Festival

Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips

Karen Briggs

Karen Briggs

The Robert Glasper Experiment

The Robert Glasper Experiment

Eric Benet

Eric Benet

Eric before taking the stage

Eric before taking the stage

Rick and Ross of The Famous Rick & Russ Show

Rick and Ross of The Famous Rick & Russ Show

BOB JAMES AND NATHAN EAST GIVE US “THE NEW COOL”

Cool: precisely the way I describe the new album from Bob James and Nathan East titled “The New Cool.” The new album will be released on September 18, 2015. James and East step into duo mode with pure ease; that is to be expected since the two have been friends and musical collaborators for over 25 years. Individually and collectively as part of the legendary group, Fourplay, Bob James and Nathan East have been making music for a very long time. It was the obvious next step for the two of them to embark upon a journey together doing what they do best. As friends and collaborators, the ease of which the two fused their talents with just a piano and upright bass was masterful. That camaraderie and spirit shines forth in every note of every song on “The New Cool.” It is comprised of an array of original songs and a few covers of some good old favorites, like Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” on which Vince Gill delivered stellar vocals. East describes the project as an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and present the music as pure and unplugged as possible–no filters, no barriers, and no rhythm section to hide behind. The result is a recording like none other you’ve heard from either of them as well as a beautiful representation of two legendary artists and their friendship.

Nathan and I have a wonderful conversation about “The New Cool”:

bob james and nathan east