Alternative jazz adventurer Matt Von Roderick boldly embarks on a transcendent “Hero’s Journey”‏

Matt Von Roderick

Alternative jazz adventurer Matt Von Roderick boldly embarks on a transcendent “Hero’s Journey”

Experimental pop trumpeter-rapper’s audacious album arrives digitally Friday exclusively on Bandcamp

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (11 December 2015): Genuine artists and heroes share a lot in common. They don’t come along every day and when they do manifest, they come equipped with immense vision and foresight, extraordinary courage and the towering confidence to spin the world on its axis in reverse. Fearlessly utilizing a jazz trumpet, imaginative rap lyrics, modern rock angst and otherworldly tracks constructed of gurgling synthesizers and kinetic electronic beats, alternative jazz alchemist Matt Von Roderick emerges to share his larger-than-life tales of burning love, spiritual hunger, raucous rebellion and realizing dreams on “Hero’s Journey,” a twelve-tune set released Friday by Invention Records available digitally exclusively on the Bandcamp site ( Additional digital retailers will soon carry the title and a physical CD is slated for release on February 5, 2016.

The songs that comprise Von Roderick’s boundless and colorful world on “Hero’s Journey” are an aural listening experience unlike any other. He invites listeners into his cache of cascading melodies, progressive multiphonic trumpet harmonics, clubby rhythms, futuristic sonicscapes, and vivid storytelling rhymes and spoken word play that bites, teases, romances, provokes and satirizes – sometimes bordering on the outlandish. Von Roderick wrote the album except for a sensitive yet bright-eyed instrumental interpretation of “What A Wonderful World,” an acknowledgment of his jazz roots. He produced the collection with a half-dozen producers who helped bring his daring concept to life.

Von Roderick had been toiling away in the studio for years, experimenting to develop the formula for “Hero’s Journey.” Occasionally, he surfaced to test the waters by staging extravagant live concert productions backed by seductive dancers, Broadway choreography and elaborate costumes that caused The Huffington Post to declare “Matt Von Roderick makes jazz dangerous again.” During that period, Von Roderick also released a couple of groundbreaking singles and playful videos such as “Let The Trumpet Talk,” which has been viewed over 4.5 million times on YouTube ( Today, he’s ready to share the album with the world, eschewing the traditional record industry model of months of setup time and trying to find a place on a label or distributor’s crowded release schedule. No, there’s a vital sense of immediacy and yearning passion along with empowering hope and optimism inherent in Von Roderick’s music that calls for a refreshingly different plan – his own.

“Hero’s Journey” is the debut album for Von Roderick, but in 2007, the artist released “So It Goes” commercially as Matt Shulman, his given name. DownBeat magazine described the session as “Taking jazz into the future” while the New York Times called him “a post-millennial Chet Baker.” The new outing is wildly more adventurous and comes after the long-time New York City resident relocated and reinvented himself in Los Angeles.

“I think we’re all on our own ‘Hero’s Journey’ of sorts. This is mine: receiving a vision, jumping off a cliff into the abyss of the unknown by moving across the country, taking on a stage name and making completely new music. In the process, I have learned and grown – a lot. And this album is what I have to show for it – so far. Represented within ‘Hero’s Journey’ is all aspects of me – from New York to Los Angeles, from Shulman to Von Roderick, and from my dark, abstract, esoteric and avant-garde side to my bright, fun, playful and uber commercial side. It’s all in there,” said Von Roderick, who will soon announce a live performance date in Hollywood at The Sayers Club in conjunction with February’s CD release.

Hailed as a prodigy and the winner of the Jazz Artist of the Year honor at the Independent Music Awards over a decade ago, Von Roderick has shared his talent on stage or on record with an eclectic array of artists, including Neil Diamond, Music Soulchild, Brad Mehldau, Dionne Warwick, Tenacious D, John Medeski, Nnenna Freelon and the Saturday Night Live Band as well as in such esteemed venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. An innovator on multiple levels, he patented the Shulman System, which balances and supports the trumpet.

Accompanied by an extensive liner notes essay penned by JazzTimes contributor Matt R. Lohr, “Hero’s Journey” contains the following songs:

“Seize The Night”

“A Girl Like That”

“All For You”

“Let The Trumpet Talk”


“Baby Got Jazz”

“Cash Money”



“Life Is Fun”


“What A Wonderful World”

Overcoming connectivity issues: jazz keyboardist Mark Etheredge connects with GRAMMY-winning producer Paul Brown to create “Connected,” due February 26‏

Mark Etheredge

Overcoming connectivity issues: jazz keyboardist Mark Etheredge connects with GRAMMY®-winning producer Paul Brown to create “Connected,” due February 26


LOS ANGELES (9 December 2015): Emitting an abundance of light on the front and back covers, contemporary jazz keyboardist Mark Etheredge describes his forthcoming “Connected” as the happiest album he’s ever made. Listening to the ten-song Vipaka Records release produced by two-time GRAMMY® winner Paul Brown, the upbeat melodies and optimistic grooves are spirit-raisers, written by a man who is quite comfortable in his own skin. But the inspiration behind the project that is scheduled for release February 26, 2016 is anything but comfy. While growing up, the tall and gawky Etheredge was bullied. He felt alone and disconnected. One of four boys born to a father who was a minister, Etheredge grew up singing and playing in church yet as he discovered his sexual identity, he felt further isolated. He was different and he knew it.

“I had a deep feeling of being disconnected from humanity. Later, I realized that these feelings were all in my head. We are all connected in this world, and what we do affects each other. ‘Connected’ is a celebration of our human connection – across geography, race, language, class, gender, sexual orientation and beliefs,” said Etheredge. “I’ve wanted to make an album like this for a long time. Working with Paul Brown and the high caliber of musicians was a real treat for me, and I’m thrilled to share this album with listeners.”

While most of the tunes on “Connected” offer a treasure trove of lilting piano and keyboard harmonies, the tension is palpable on “Lost In The Shuffle,” an instrumental account of Etheredge’s bullied past provoked by Brown’s menacing electric guitar and horn section stabs from saxophonist Greg Vail and trumpeter Lee Thornburg. It took decades before Etheredge could feel at ease composing a soaring affirmation like “Be Who You Are.” Championing our differences and connectivity, the disc’s deep-pocketed title track will be the first single shipped to radio after the New Year for airplay (watch the video for “Connected” here The urbane outing produced to sound live also makes room for the lighthearted with the carefree romantic romp “Groovin’ With My Baby”; the rousing “For Your Love” highlighting ace guitarist Chuck Loeb (Fourplay);  the frivolously-titled “Bing Bang Boom,” which packs an explosive wallop along with combustible Latin sounds; and incorporates R&B and gospel into the mix with Andy Suzuki’s soul-stirring tenor sax appeals as Etheredge demonstrates his proficiency on the Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer on “Soul Clap Honey.”

Throughout the album, drummer Gorden Campbell, bassist Roberto Vally and percussionist Richie Garcia form a taut rhythm section from which Etheredge’s nimble and vibrant piano and keyboard melodies leap to the fore, bolstered by Brown’s guitar prowess.

“Connected” denotes a return to instrumental music for Etheredge following 2012’s adult contemporary vocal session “Change Coming,” which was driven by “The One,” a single graced with backing vocals from dance music diva Jeanie Tracy that received international airplay. His debut date, “As Dawn,” was a New Age record released at the height of the genre’s commercial power and reissued in 2010. “Connected” is Etheredge’s first collection recorded in Los Angeles after his relocation from the Bay Area two years ago, leaving a job in the tech space to fully focus on following his musical muse.

“I realized I wanted to do something more meaningful, make a more positive impact on the world and share my passion for music,” said Etheredge, who will be performing at album release concerts at Spaghettini near Los Angeles on February 28 and at Bay Area jazz club Angelicas on March 19.

Etheredge’s “Connected” album contains the following songs:

“Groovin’ With My Baby”

“Be Who You Are”

“Roger That”

“Connected” featuring Paul Brown

“Lost In The Shuffle” featuring Paul Brown

“Cherry Cha”

“For Your Love” featuring Chuck Loeb

“Bing Bang Boom”


“Soul Clap Honey”

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With a career spanning decades, over 75 albums, 3 GRAMMY’S, and other countless honors, Ramsey Lewis has sustained a presence that only true icons possess. His early love for the piano turned into an illustrious career of doing what he loves to do. Ramsey has been able to make music that impacts an entire genre of music and has done so while collaborating with the very best musicians in music. Ramsey’s recent audacious moves are truly indicative of a legend with more work to do. One of those ventures is establishing his own label: Ramsey’s House, distributed through SONY/Red. Additionally, on July 24th, 2015, Ramsey released his latest album “Taking Another Look – Deluxe Edition” on his label. Ramsey’s House will be home to Ramsey and other jazz artists. “Taking Another Look – Deluxe Edition” is a reincarnation of sorts of Ramsey’s 1974 album “Sun Goddess,” including exceptional covers of “Betcha By Golly Wow” and “Living For The City.” The addition of three bonus songs featuring Dr. John, the funky group Kung Fu, and the band TAUK complete the Deluxe Edition. Ramsey says, “this album is definitely among the top five.”

Listen as the legendary Ramsey Lewis and I converse about his past and present:

Ramsey Lewis