Darren Barrett’s Trumpet Vibes pays tribute to “The Music of Amy Winehouse”

Darren Barrett


Darren Barrett’s Trumpet Vibes pays tribute to

“The Music of Amy Winehouse”

The award-winning trumpeter’s reggae jazz band will release a nine-song salute to the late Grammy winner on August 26.

BOSTON (27 July 2016): Trumpeter Darren Barrett, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, was flipping through cable television channels while taking a break from a recording session when he stumbled upon a live concert by Amy Winehouse. He had heard the buzz about the unconventional British artist, but hadn’t heard any of her music until that moment. The musician of Jamaican descent with a proclivity for incorporating reggae into his neo-bop jazz recordings was instantly struck by the way the rhythm & soul singer-songwriter infused reggae into her throwback tracks.

“I was surprised to discover that the majority of her concert consisted of performing music mirroring the spirit-liberating sound of reggae music. Damn! Amy was laying the music down like one of the ‘old heads.’ She immediately gained much respect from me and I soon became a fan and a loyal follower of her fast-moving musical career,” Barrett recalled about his 2008 discovery and the inspiration for his eighth album, “The Music of Amy Winehouse,” which will be released August 26 on the dB Music label.

Barrett and his Trumpet Vibes band, a jazz and reggae group, selected nine songs from the late artist’s songbook and spent over a year working on the arrangements and rehearsing before entering the studio. To recreate Winehouse’s high voltage, multi-tiered sound, Barrett augmented his band by adding guitars, keyboards, saxophone and percussion to the Trumpet Vibes lineup that consists of the trumpeter-producer, bassist Alexander Toth, drummer Anthony Toth and vibraphonist Simon Moullier (noted vibraphonist Warren Wolf is featured on “Our Day Will Come”). Naturally, the toughest part was casting a female vocalist capable of capturing Winehouse’s uniquely soulful and charismatic spirit on hallmark hits such as “Tears Dry On Their Own,” “Rehab,” “Back To Black” and “Just Friends.” Enter Joanna Teters.

“I met Joanna many years ago when she was a student at Berklee College of Music, but never had the opportunity to work with her,” said Barrett, who is an associate professor in the ensemble department at the distinguished school in addition to his work as an artist. “I continued to listen to many of her projects after she graduated, having a strong sense that someday we would eventually work together. Well it happened just as I predicted. Joanna joined us on the Amy Winehouse project and really captured the essence of Amy’s musicality without neglecting to incorporate the uniqueness of her own personality into each song. The commitment and musical steadfastness that each musician brought to the project has resulted in a recording that Amy’s well-deserving fans will not only enjoy, but also appreciate as they reconnect to Amy’s simple joy of creating music.”

A Toronto, Ontario native who has been based in Boston ever since he attended Berklee, Barrett was a soloist on Esperanza Spaulding’s two-time Grammy-winning “Radio Music Society.” Mentored by trumpet great Donald Byrd, he has recorded or played internationally with jazz giants Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Wayne Shorter and Roy Hargrove. Barrett has also performed with Common, will.i.am, Talib Kweli and D’Angelo. Maintaining a prolific album release pace since 2014, “The Music of Amy Winehouse” follows last fall’s critically-hailed jazz and reggae mashup “Trumpet Vibes” and predates a straight-ahead jazz outing from the dB Quintet that is expected in the first quarter of 2017. For more information, please visit www.DarrenBarrett.com.

“The Music of Amy Winehouse” contains the following songs:

“Tears Dry On Their Own”


“Our Day Will Come”

“Back To Black”

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”


“Just Friends”

“To Know Him Is To Love Him”

“Monkey Man”

“Tears Dry On Their Own” (clean version)


Steve Cole’s latest album “TURN IT UP” has lived up to its name since it was released on July 15, 2016. His first single “Mirage” is already setting the tone for the album. It was the No. 1 most added on the Billboard BDS chart. Steve once again collaborated with David Mann who produced this project to create a collection of soulful tunes. His approach to making “TURN IT UP” was clever and genius. Steve decided to travel to a few different cities, recording with his musical colleagues to embrace the energy and differences of each one. The result was astounding and can be heard in every song on “TURN IT UP.” The title song was arranged by pianist Nicholas Cole who, coincidentally, arranged the title song to Steve’s last album, “Pulse.” Also joining Steve was James Lloyd on the song “Bright Side.” Steve is excited about touring and bringing “TURN IT UP” to life for his fans. He assures that the music comes to life when played live.

Steve and I talk about “TURN IT UP”:

Steve Cole (3)



Rob “Fonksta” Bacon will release debut single August 2, 2016 “Cause & E-Funk” (featuring The P-Funk Horns and Amp Fiddler) in honor of the late Bernie Worrell.


Rob Bacon, also known as Rob “Fonksta” Bacon to fans around the world, is set to release his personal tribute to a Funk pioneer: legendary musician Bernie Worrell. Rob Bacon–guitarist, bassist, composer, producer, and artist–didn’t have to look far when creating “Cause & E-Funk.” In his personal quaint studio, Rob conjured up everything that existed within the deepest parts of his soul.

“Cause & E-Funk” features the original P-Funk horns (Bennie Cowan and Greg Thomas) and Detroit Funk legend Amp Fiddler on piano and synthesizers. “Cause & E-Funk” is Rob’s personal dedication to the memory of legendary musician and P-Funk alumni Bernie Worrell. The single was produced, arranged, and composed by Bacon. Reminiscing on the heyday of pure, un-cut funk, Rob was compelled to record an instrumental Dance Funk jam. He was driven to capture and celebrate the essence of classic Parliament-Funkadelic as well as conjure memories of fun and funky times he experienced while growing up in his hometown of Detroit.

Rob’s funky interweaving of guitars and synth bass are the glue that holds it all together. Bennie Cowan (trumpet) and Greg Thomas (saxophone) of the P-Funk Horns provide ridiculously funky horn riffs, and Rob’s Detroit Funk comrade Amp Fiddler nods to the legendary Bernie Worrell with clever and tasty piano and synthesizer fills.

“Cause & E-Funk” is set to be released on August 2nd, 2016 and will be available for download via all digital outlets worldwide. CDs of the single will be available soon after. For more information and inquiries contact mm2513@hotmail.com and stay tuned to the Rob “Fonksta” Bacon Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RobFonkstaBacon/ for updates.

Monica H. Murphy


The Songbird of New Orleans is ready to spread her wings soulfully

Robin Barnes


The Songbird of New Orleans is ready to spread her wings soulfully 

Award-winning jazz chanteuse Robin Barnes will release “Songbird Sessions” on August 26

NEW ORLEANS (21 July 2016): Having conquered hearts locally and captured media acclaim as “The Songbird of New Orleans,” award-winning jazz singer Robin Barnes is preparing to spread her soulful song beyond The Big Easy. On August 26, the powerfully-voiced siren who was named the Favorite New Orleans Musician earlier this year by New Orleans Magazine will issue her second EP, “Songbird Sessions,” on the Rhythm Elevation Records label. Barnes and bassist Pat Casey produced the intimate five-song acoustic jazz date of standards and gems made famous by her seminal influences such as New Orleans icons Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas. The first track being serviced to radio is Barnes’s smoldering and sultry rendition of Thomas’s “Ruler of My Heart.”

Backed by Casey, drummers and percussionists Herlin Riley and Shannon Powell, and guitarists Steve Masakowski and Danny Abel, Barnes soars mightily on “Songbird Sessions.” Confident and assured, the twenty-something chanteuse unveils unadulterated passion with poise and in complete command on the rousing spiritual “Great Day” and the gentle jazz lullaby “Little Jazz Bird.” Barnes’s arresting take of Van Morrison’s “The Way Young Lovers Do” haunts. On the classic “My Funny Valentine,” her aching, delicate croon depicts an intrepid artist confronting her fragility head on.

“’Songbird Sessions’ is about spreading my wings and singing with my soul. This little jazz bird is taking a leap and following a dream. The EP is made up of songs that I’ve been passionate about while growing up in New Orleans. This music helped me express my heart though song. I wanted to do something more intimate for this record with just vocals, bass, guitar and drums. Sometimes it was scary because it’s just me and my vocals. There’s no big band or sounds to help cover my vulnerability or distract the listener. The tracks are open and powerful, but it’s just me. As a young artist, I’m finding my voice and my self. Jazz has impact and power. I want to remind the world how amazing jazz music is,” said Barnes, who begins a six-week residency at the House of Blues in New Orleans on July 28 and will celebrate the EP at a hometown record release concert at Peaches Records on August 27.

Barnes has come a long way since she started singing in church as a six-year-old and going on to performing in her family’s jazz band. Two years ago, she won Offbeat magazine’s Outstanding Millennial in Music Award. Her weekly gigs in New Orleans have not only endeared her to the city, but have brought national fanfare including a performance on “NCIS: New Orleans” as well as an abundance of press coverage in the pages of ESPN, Forbes, Ebony, Southern Living , Travel + Leisure and Southwest Magazine. Having become synonymous with the distinctive sounds of New Orleans by being featured in various media and marketing campaigns promoting the Crescent City, Barnes has adorned the cover of area newspapers and magazines and maintains a regular presence on local television. Her leadership role includes her running club, “Move Ya Brass,” which counts over 200 runners in the fitness program she created to help motivate her to get fit after recovering from a near fatal kidney ailment four years ago. Barnes’s first EP, “Me,” was a soul-pop effort released in 2013. For more information, please visit www.RobinBarnesMusic.com.

“Songbird Sessions” contains the following songs:

“Great Day”

“Little Jazz Bird”

“My Funny Valentine”

“Ruler of My Heart”

“The Way Young Lovers Do”



How do you celebrate thirty years of making music? You release your 22nd album in honor of such an accomplishment. The Rippington’s are celebrating their thirty year anniversary with the release of “True Stories.” The album was recorded with all original Rippington members. Rippington’s founder Russ Freeman is jubilant and is ever so grateful for the fans who have been with them and brought the group this far. As fans are well-aware, The Rippington’s never disappoint. The group is admired by their peers and revered for their talents. Over the years, they have collaborated with artists such as Bob James, Patti Austin, and Joe Sample. It is the group’s ability to combine varying styles of music that is unique. Russ always has a “visual point of reference” when writing new music. He always strives to push the envelope and lets his imagination guide him when recording new music. “True Stories” is comprised of ten original songs and features Jeffrey Osborne on the tune “My Promise.”

Russ and I talk about the music and “True Stories”:








Keyboardist Bob Baldwin’s “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” is a sprawling urban-jazz exploration through Rio

Bob Baldwin

Going for gold: Keyboardist Bob Baldwin’s

“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack,” released Friday, is a sprawling urban-jazz exploration through Rio.       

ATLANTA (1 July 2016): As the eyes of the world focus on Rio de Janeiro this summer, Red River Entertainment released a generous 26-song double disc of authentic Brazilian jazz rhythms and distinctly American R&B grooves on Friday from keyboardist Bob Baldwin entitled “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack.” The Grammy-nominated artist had a hand in writing twenty tunes for the collection that he produced in two movements, Movement I: Rio-Ipanema and Movement II: New York, that were recorded in Rio, New York City and Atlanta over a three-year period. The first single that will be serviced to radio stations for airplay is the pulsating club music meets sultry Latin music blend “Ipanema Fusion.”

“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” is Baldwin’s second foray into Brazil expanding on the territory he mined on his 2004 album, “Brazil Chill.” This time out, he purposely incorporated more American nuances into the mix. Supplementing his own compositions, he elected to honor a few of the iconic artists who influenced his artistic muse including Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Corcovado”), Ivan Lins (“Anjo De Mim,” “The Island” and “Love Dance”) and Djavan (“Eu Te Devoro”). Another formative inspiration was Maurice White, the late Earth, Wind & Fire creator and leader who Baldwin remembers with a heartfelt spoken word tribute that closes the album, “The Message,” and on two musical numbers, “Maurice (The Sound Of His Voice)” and “The Greatest Lover,” the latter of which was recorded in the spirit of White’s hall of fame band. Meticulously produced, performed, composed and arranged, most of the tracks on “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” are tightly segued, maintaining a smooth flow and graceful transition from cut to cut through more than two hours of music.

Baldwin’s winning team that bolsters his pliable piano gymnastics and effervescent keyboard finesse on “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” consists of an international ensemble that includes noted Brazilian and Latin players Café Da Silva (percussion), Torcuato Mariano (guitar), Rafael Pereira (percussion) and Armando Marcal (percussion). Canadian trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, veteran saxophonists Marion Meadows and Freddy V, and emerging flutist Ragan Whiteside add soulful horn solos while guitarists Marlon McClain and Phil Hamilton contribute compelling runs throughout the date that showcases a handful of charismatic vocalists: James “Crab” Robinson, Porter Carroll II, Gigi, Zoiea Ohizep as well as Baldwin himself. In fact, Baldwin demonstrates remarkable dexterity by singing lead and background as well as playing piano, Rhodes, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, Moog bass, Melodica, strings and clave on the album.

“My love for Brazilian music runs deep. It started with the infiltration of samba in the 1960s courtesy of Stan Getz, who brought with him Astrud Gilberto and the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim. So many other American artists have embraced Brazil, including Quincy Jones, who signed Ivan Lins to his publishing company, and Djavan, who I refer to as “The Brazilian Sade“, who goes as far back as 1973 when he sang on a Stevie Wonder track. There are so many others – like Maurice White, Ramsey Lewis and George Duke – who all caught the Brazilian music bug and were hooked,” said Baldwin, who made the record in part via crowdfunding for which a number of unique opportunities remain available (www.pledgemusic.com/bobbaldwin). “Musicians like Cafe da Silva, Armando Marcal, Torcuato Mariano, Delia Fisher and Rafael Pereira give the tracks on ‘The Brazilian-American Soundtrack’ authenticity and the green light to deliver the sound of Brazil to the project.”

A Mount Vernon, New York native who has become a longtime resident of Atlanta, Baldwin debuted in 1988 with “I’ve Got A Long Way to Go” and his 22 albums – eight of which climbed into the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20 – are jazz, R&B and gospel outings. Over the years, he’s worked as a producer, songwriter and performer alongside George Benson, Gerald Albright, Euge Groove, Will Downing, Phil Perry, Pieces of a Dream, Paul Taylor, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Chuck Loeb. Since 2008, he has hosted the nationally syndicated radio program “The NewUrbanJazz Lounge,” which attracts nearly 500,000 listeners weekly. His City Sketches, Inc. is the umbrella entity that houses a production and event planning company, the radio network and NewUrbanJazz Hats. Baldwin is also the author of two books about the music industry, “You Better Ask Somebody” and “Staying On Top of Your Career in the ‘Friggin’ Music Business.” For more information, please visit www.BobBaldwin.com.

“The Brazilian-American Soundtrack” contains the following songs:

Movement I: Rio-Ipanema

“Funky Rio”

“Ipanema Fusion” featuring Café Da Silva

“Teardrop” featuring Ragan Whiteside

”Caipirinha” featuring Torcuato Mariano

“Corcovado”/”The Redeemer” featuring Torcuato Mariano

“Greatest Lover” featuring Zoiea

“Boa Noite”

“Lookin’ At Me” featuring Gigi

“Anjo De Mim”

“The Island” featuring Leo Gandelman

“Eu Te Devoro”

“Oasis Of Love”

“Love Dance/May I Have This Dance?”

“Children Of The Sun”

Movement II: New York

“Home From Work”

“Maurice (The Sound Of His Voice”)

“My Soul” featuring Marion Meadows

“For You” featuring Porter Carroll II

“Summer Madness” featuring James “Crab” Robinson

“Yesterday” featuring Freddie V

“South Of The Border”

“Mobile & Global” featuring Gabriel Mark Hasselbach

“Summer’s Over”

“I Need The Air (You Breathe)”

“State Of Mind”

“The Message (A Maurice White Tribute)”