FOURPLAY’S “SILVER,” A REMARKABLE 25 YEARS

Fourplay: a legendary group that needs no introduction, much like its iconic band members Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason, and Chuck Loeb. The rarity of a group sustaining longevity and success for twenty five years is virtually unheard of these days. Even more remarkable, each member is successful and has amazing careers individually. To celebrate the timeless essence of this group, Fourplay will release “Silver” on November 20th, 2015. “Silver” is a collection of all original songs quite apropos by representing silver in some manner. Former members of the group Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenhour were asked to join the project for this monumental recording. Additionally, long time friend of the group Kirk Whalum lent his one-of-a-kind sound to “Silver.” Bob, Nathan, Chuck, and Harvey share an undeniable cohesive bond and share language that illuminates with every note they play.

I spoke with guitarist Chuck Loeb about the groups’ “Silver” anniversary:

Fourplay_Silver_36688_5x5_RGB

 

“Moments” in the key of positive: guitarist Rob Tardik reflects on his fifth album, coming November 13‏

Rod Tardik

“Moments” in the key of positive: guitarist Rob Tardik reflects on his fifth album of vibrant jazz, exotic Latin rhythms, funky R&B grooves and spirited pop-rock tunes, coming November 13

TORONTO (19 October 2015): Equipped with an optimistic outlook and an attitude of gratitude, award-winning guitarist Rob Tardik was contemplating the pivotal moments in his life when he sat down to compose the material for “Moments,” his fifth album that will be released November 13 by Guitardik Music. The Toronto-based artist whose mission is to use music to spread positive energy will launch the collection of jazz, Latin, R&B, funk, rock and pop originals that he wrote and produced with Steve Oliver, Nate Harasim and Gabriel Mark Hasselbach with a concert performance that same evening at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, Calif. The first single from “Moments” already garnering radio spins is the flamenco-infused “Sip and Salsa,” a high-energy dancer powered by frenzied fretwork recognizing the enjoyable moments in life.

“Reflecting on the key moments that define us, you’ve got to be in the moment in order to catch those moments of unexpected happiness. Life moves so fast and its hectic thus we get caught up and lost in it. These days, so many people are distracted by modern technology that we miss what’s happening right in front of us,” said Tardik. “I want my music to uplift people’s spirits. There’s a lot of negativity out there on a daily basis; my intention is only to bring positivity to people’s lives.”

Tardik opens “Moments” with “Sip and Salsa,” a fun recollection about learning to salsa dance with his fiancée. Using his electric guitar lyrically, “Rite Of Passage” celebrates the monumental moments that serve as measuring sticks to growth and achievement. “Moments In Time” ponders the meaning behind the key moments in life with a ballad soulfully crooned by Aiden Castillo highlighted by some nylon guitar gymnastics from Tardik. Passion is represented on the sultry “Eros,” which riffs on love, sex and intimacy. Tardik’s electric guitar symbolically lets loose on the good-time “Hang Time.” Sometimes things come together in surprising ways with unexpected twists. That often seems to happen to Tardik when he’s writing songs, which is what “Serendipity” is about, a track featuring saxophonist Will Donato and Tardik noodling gleefully on an electric jazz guitar. “Stop!,” spotlighting Canadian saxman Walle Larsson, commands taking action to breathe, appreciate and enjoy the fast-fleeting moments with a funk-tastic party jam illumined by fiery nylon guitar and a vocal hook emoted by Tardik. A gentle beauty, “Reflections” slows the tempo for a pensive moment to recall good times, hopefully with peace, tranquility and a smile. Utilizing Latin nuances and bursting with joy, “A New Life” revisits the “intense, overwhelming emotion” Tardik experienced when becoming a father, which is mirrored by the invigorating song’s grand chorus. The locomotive rhythm on “Voyageur” represents Tardik’s extensive travels as a musician. The album closer takes listeners on a wide-eyed, wonder-filled nylon guitar journey of melody, technique, precision and joyous appreciation.

Tardik’s singles frequently travel into the Billboard top 10 and he’s topped the Music Choice chart. In 2010, he was honored as the Canadian Smooth Jazz Guitarist of the Year. His 2011 disc, “Balance, Energy, Laughter, Love (B.E.L.L.),” scored the trifecta at Café Jazz Radio as the No. 1 album, No. 1 single (“East meets Wes”) and No.1 Canadian Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year. A gifted guitarist capable of playing with the best of them without showboating, Tardik shares his knowledge, experience and skill with students at the Metal Works Institute, Centennial College and the Merriam School of Music in Toronto. He’s a dynamic entertainer on stage, engaging audiences with his infectious songbook, crafty technical abilities, and the charm and charisma of a star whose brightest days are on the horizon.

“Moments” contains the following songs:

“Sip and Salsa”

“Rite Of Passage” (featuring Will Donato)

“Moments In Time”

“Eros”

“Hang Time”

“Serendipity”

“Stop!” (featuring Walle Larsson)

“Reflections”

“A New Life”

“Voyageur”

“Moments In Time (instrumental version)

“Rite Of Passage” (radio edit)

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

KEIKO MATSUI “LIVE IN TOKYO”

The highly anticipated “Live In Tokyo” collectors’ CD/DVD was released on October 2, 2015. With it being her first in over a decade, Keiko’s desire was to give her fans the experience of a lifetime. She incorporated the best stage production and asked her friends Chuck Loeb and Kirk Whalum to join her. Keiko describes her Homecoming show in Japan on May 23, 2015 as surreal. Aside from being an impeccable artist, Keiko is also a known humanitarian. She dedicates much of her life and music to bringing awareness to various causes around the world. As her latest album, “Soul Quest,” continues to blossom and take on new life every time she performs it, Keiko is continuing to tour, sharing the “Live In Tokyo” experience with fans.

Listen to Keiko describe her incredible experience:

Keiko live

“THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL”…TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON IS STELLAR

Terri Lyne Carrington granted the wishes of her fans around the world.  On August 7th, 2015, she released the follow-up to the GRAMMY award winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album “The Mosaic Project,” “THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL.” The stellar all-female ensemble consists of extraordinary vocalists and astounding musicians. Adding intrigue by his own request is the undeniable voice of Billy Dee Williams, garnishing the project with spoken word. “THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL” is Terri’s expression of the language between men and women. In creating so, she also added a voice message from her dear friend, the late George Duke. The list of exceptional artists featured include: Natalie Cole, Oleta Adams, Lizz Wright, Chaka Khan, Chante Moore, Valerie Simpson, Nancy Wilson, Paula Cole, Jaguar Wright, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Rachel Z, Patrice Rushen, keyboardist Geri Allen, saxophonist Tia Fuller, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and bassists Linda Oh and Meshell Ndegoecello. To say that is a lot of powerful talent on one project is an understatement. Terri as drummer, composer, producer, and singer created a project that was reflective of her love of R&B and Jazz. The twelve song album consists of six covers and six originals. She paid homage to great classics and singers of all time such as Frank Sinatra, Bill Withers, Ashford and Simpson, Patrice Rushen, and Duke Ellington. I asked her what she couldn’t do after learning that she also plays guitar, bass, and keyboards on some of the songs.

I am in awe of her talent. Listen, and you will be too:

Mosaic_Project_LOVE_And_SOUL

Jamaican roots color Darren Barrett’s “Trumpet Vibes”‏

Darren Barrett

Jamaican roots color Darren Barrett’s “Trumpet Vibes”

Hard bop jazz meets reggae on the award-winning artist’s seventh album, due November 20.

BOSTON (13 October 2015): Trumpeter Darren Barrett proudly wears his Jamaican ancestry on his musical sleeve as well as on the album sleeve of “Trumpet Vibes,” his seventh album that will be released November 20 on the dB Studios label. Decorated in the distinctive green, yellow and black colors of the Jamaican flag, the award-winning Canadian musician, composer and producer mines the native sounds of  his parents’ homeland for the first time on the eight-tracker constructed of hard bop jazz amidst laidback reggae rhythms and frenetic ska grooves. Throughout the session that highlights Barrett’s academic technical proficiency and heartfelt interpretive trumpet work, animate vibraphone plays the role of trusty sidekick with noted vibist Warren Wolf on the record’s opener and closer.

Barrett not only honors his family’s lineage on “Trumpet Vibes,” but he opens the proceedings with a salute to one of his early mentors, Donald Byrd, with a bouncy take of Byrd’s “Fly Little Bird,” that flaps mightily, evolving into a hard-swinging tilt midflight. Barrett wrote four compositions for the album and applies the jazz-meets-reggae ethos to a few modern classics. An original tune, “Chiapas” serves up somber autumnal hues from Barrett’s horn over a brisk ska track provided by the dynamic rhythm section composed of brothers Alexander and Anthony Toth on upright bass and drums respectively. The stately pop gem “To Sir, With Love” gets an invigorating and spritely makeover, riding the crest of a rocking wave of Caribbean culture. Vibraphonist Simon Moullier, who plays on the entire album, charismatically shares the spotlight with Barrett’s moody horn on the regal reggae jam “Song For A Princess.” The cadence is elevated on “Phantom,” a particularly rambunctious monster stalking the outer perimeter of experimental jazz, free-form fusion and rowdy rock. Both “Everything I Own” and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” get the full-scale reggae treatment with the former being a fun and celebratory romp while the latter benefits from some good old rock & roll grit. Closing with a knockout punch, brilliant musicianship electrifies “The Club Up The Street,” which bops, swings and soars mightily, allowing Barrett and Wolf the time and space to mix it up in a go-for-broke improvisational trumpet and vibraphone free-for-all.

“This album means so much to me personally because it mixes the music from my Jamaican heritage, which is part of my heart, and jazz, which is part of my soul, into one. ‘Trumpet Vibes’ brings together the best of these two musical worlds that share a common ancestral genesis in Africa. I’ve spent the past two years totally immersed in the creation of this project – writing, producing, playing and recording – and I’m excited for people to finally hear it,” said Barrett, who was labeled “a force to be reckoned with” by the Boston Globe.

Barrett, a Toronto, Ontario native who has been anchored in Boston, Massachusetts ever since attending the famed Berklee College of Music where he presently serves as an associate professor in the ensemble department, won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 1997. Two years later, he issued his debut recording as a band leader, the aptly titled “First One Up.” Often mentioned in the same breath as Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard perhaps comes from having studied under the same professor, William Fielder. Barrett soloed on Esperanza Spaulding’s double Grammy winner “Radio Music Society” and has recorded or performed internationally with jazz royalty such as Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. The trumpeter is a jazz purveyor who leads a handful of combos that provide a variety of outlets for his wanderings and full creative expression in the genre. Still enjoying a remarkably prolific period that brought to fruition two releases last year – “Energy In Motion: The Music of the Bee Gees” and “Direct 2014: Darren Barrett and the dB Quintet” – he’s already at work crafting his next unpredictable endeavor, jazz interpretations of Amy Winehouse’s songbook, which is slated to arrive in the spring. On Sunday (October 18), Barrett leads his dB Quintet into New York City for a show at The Iridium.

The songs contained on “Trumpet Vibes” are:

“Fly Little Bird”

“Chiapas”

“To Sir, With Love”

“Song For A Princess”

“Phantom”

“Everything I Own”

“My Cherie Amour”

“The Club Up The Street”

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

“ONE WORLD” AS TOLD BY JESSE COOK

Spanish guitarist Jesse Cook is an international artist who is known for traveling and recording all over the world. It’s not that it was so much his plan to do so; it just so happened that during his travels, he fell in love with the various sounds different cultures had to offer. Coming from a classical, flamenco, and jazz background, Jesse already possessed his own style and sound. He admittedly gets excited about music from around the world. His ninth album, titled “One World,” is a reflection of what the world sounds like to him. Before being re-released in the United States on October 2, 2015, “One World” had already debuted at number one in Jesse’s homeland, Toronto, both on the jazz and the world music charts. Amassed with vast knowledge of music and instruments from around the world, Jesse created a melting pot of guitar, jazz, flamenco, pop, and gypsy. He very beautifully weaves a tapestry of influences together, putting the focus on the world. For Jesse, making music resembling other places and times that fit together like puzzle pieces into the music of here and now is what it is all about. After the U.S. release of “One World,” Jesse is embarking on a concert tour.

Jesse and I talk about the language of music heard through the worlds eyes:

Jesse Cook

 

Oct 2: KEIKO MATSUI “Live In Tokyo” CD/DVD | US Tour Oct 9 – Nov 15‏

Keiko live

KEIKO MATSUI To Release “LIVE IN TOKYO” CD/DVD on October 2 Via Shanachie Entertainment
Concert Showcases SOUL QUEST, Her Most Recent Critically Acclaimed Studio Album
 
Special Guests Include Guitarist Chuck Loeb and Saxophonists Kirk Whalum & Tom Braxton
 
U.S. Tour Oct 9 – Nov 15 Covers Boston, Washington DC, Cleveland & Seattle

Los Angeles, CA: On October 2, Shanachie Entertainment will release “Live In Tokyo,” the definitive concert experience from contemporary jazz icon Keiko Matsui. Recorded during a sold-out stop on her 2014 Soul Quest World Tour, the CD/DVD release showcases her stunning live show like never before.

Captured in a state-of-the-art theater in the TV Asahi EX Tower building in the vibrant nightlife district of Roppongi in Minato, Tokyo, the extraordinary 74-minute journey showcases the prowess of a truly transcendent artist at her peak powers. Deftly leading the bristling affair, Matsui hypnotically gallops through electrifying extended excursions of “Dream Seeker,” “Black Lion,” and “Stingo,” all from her critically-acclaimed album Soul Quest.
Joining the improvisational mastery is long-time collaborator Chuck Loeb who adds soaring guitar on “Caricias” and “Proof” while saxophonist Kirk Whalum reprises his guest appearance on “Affirmation,” from Matsui’s album The Road… Elsewhere, Keiko delights the crowd with fan favorites “Forever, Forever,” “Safari” and “Bridge Over The Stars” before Loeb & Whalum re-join the ensemble for a show-stopping encore of “Antartica: A Call to Action” and “A Night with Cha Cha,” both cornerstones of Soul Quest.
The companion DVD chronicles the action in high definition, as this historic night unfolds before a rapturous audience. Extras on the 3-hour, 16-minute DVD include behind-the-scenes footage at the conclusion of the concert, a bonus performance of “Midnight Stone” (Adapted w/ “En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor”) and a 13-minute alternate live version of “Caricias”.
With over 1.2 million units sold in the U.S. over her 25-year recording career, Keiko Matsui is one of the most recognized artists in contemporary jazz. Her elegant piano melodies and spell-binding grooves have universal appeal, cementing her legacy as one of the preeminent entertainers in the world. To celebrate Tokyo, Keiko will embark on a U.S. Tour from October 9 to November 15, with select shows from Boston to Seattle.
TOUR DATES

Oct 09 – Boston, MA @ Scullers

Oct 10 – Boston, MA @ Scullers
Oct 16 – Akron, OH @ The Tangier
Oct 17 – Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere
Oct 18 – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head On Stage
Oct 24 – Nov 1 – Eastern Caribbean; Capital Jazz Cruise
Nov 12 – Seattle, WA @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Nov 13 – Seattle, WA @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Nov 14 – Seattle, WA @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Nov 15 – Seattle, WA @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Feb 21-28 – Eastern Caribbean; Dave Koz & Friends at Sea

KEIKO MATSUI
LIVE IN TOKYO

CD
1. Dream Seeker
2. Black Lion
3. Forever Forever
4. Caricias (ft. Chuck Loeb)
5. Proof (ft. Chuck Loeb)
6. Affirmation (ft. Kirk Whalum)
7. Soul Quest
8. Safari
9. Stingo
10. Bridge Over The Stars
11. Antarctica: A Call to Action (ft. Kirk Whalum & Chuck Loeb)
12. A Night with Cha Cha (ft. Kirk Whalum & Chuck Loeb)
13. Deep Blue

DVD
1. Dream Seeker
2. Black Lion
3. Forever Forever
4. Caricias (ft. Chuck Loeb)
5. Proof (ft. Chuck Loeb)
6. Affirmation (ft. Kirk Whalum)
7. Soul Quest
8. Safari
9. Stingo
10. Bridge Over The Stars
11. Antarctica: A Call to Action (ft. Kirk Whalum & Chuck Loeb)
12. A Night with Cha Cha (ft. Kirk Whalum & Chuck Loeb)
DVD EXTRAS
1. Before the Doors… (11:12)
2. The Memories 9:01)
3. Midnight Stone Adapted w/ En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor (6:32)
4. Caricias (13:39)
Total DVD Running Time: 3 hr 16 min
YouTube: https://youtu.be/h6gzkkjK9rA (A Night with Cha Cha ft. Kirk Whalum, Tom Braxton & Chuck Loeb) [Live Video]