Fatherhood has put saxophonist Jackiem Joyner in a funky mood

Jackeim Joyner

 

Fatherhood has put saxophonist

Jackiem Joyner in a funky mood

The spirited first single from the “Main Street Beat” album is named for his daughter, Trinity.

SHERMAN OAKS (8 May 2017): Delivering on his promise to “Evolve,” the title of Jackiem Joyner’s last soul-jazz album, the saxophonist became a father since his 2014 release, an elation-inducing experience that informs the music he wrote and produced for his new Artistry Music set, “Main Street Beat,” due June 30. The first single from the funky, dance inspiring, Motown-influenced session that will be shipped to radio this month is the exultant “Trinity,” named for Joyner’s first child whose presence on the track is voiced by Steve Oliver’s incandescent acoustic guitar.

Joyner approached crafting “Main Street Beat” with a three-pronged purpose. “I wanted to create something upbeat, fun to listen to and something to dance to. ‘Main Street Beat’ originally started off as a straight funk record that eventually became some of that, but a whole lot more as I allowed the creative process to have its way with me,” said Joyner, a Billboard chart-topper who plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone on the date, often enriching the tracks by laying layer upon layer of horns to form a powerhouse sax section.     

The exuberant album opener, “Main Street,” exemplifies the mighty wall-of-horns approach with Joyner playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his sax section. Instead of tracking individually, Joyner brought the band – drummer Raymond Johnson, bassist Darryl Williams, electric guitarist Kyle Bolden and piano player Carnell Harrell – into the studio to record six tracks old-school style, including “Back To Motown.” Nick Colionne guests on “When You Smile” to flash his cool electric jazz guitar on the infectious mid-tempo R&B cut. Taking his alto sax chops out for a strut, Joyner cranks up the band for a fiery funk romp down “Southside Boulevard,” one of three tunes that adds Nikolai Egorov’s trombone muscle to the horn section. On a pair of urban joints – “That Good Thing” and “Don’t Make Her Wait” – Joyner plays soprano sax. He takes full command on the stormy “Addicted,” playing every instrument heard on the moody number. “Think James Brown on tenor sax” is how Joyner describes the super funky “Get Down Street.” A pair of high-energy pop-R&B covers – Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” – complete the outing, songs Joyner elected to record based upon their buoyant, positive nature, which he says mirrors his young  offspring’s personality.

“My little girl played a huge role in inspiring this album. Having Trinity around during the writing process sparked an enormous font of creativity and really kicked my writing into high gear. The first single, named after her, really captures the excitement and joy of being a dad as well as the exciting little girl that she is. Trinity was right there in the studio during a lot of the writing process. Her jumpy and bouncy upbeat little self is really reflected on this album,” said Joyner, who will launch the record with June concerts in Cincinnati (June 9 at A Celebration of Black Music), Birmingham (June 11 at Jazz in the Park), San Diego (June 25 at Mediterranean’s Jazz and Supper Club) and Philadelphia (June 29 at South).  

The release of “Main Street Beat,” Joyner’s sixth album, coincides with his tenth anniversary as a recording artist. His 2007 debut “Babysoul” earned Debut Artist of the Year honors from Smooth Jazz News. Two years later, his sophomore set, “Lil Man Soul,” spawned two No. 1 singles on the Billboard chart and won the Song of the Year trophy for “I’m Waiting For You” from the American Smooth Jazz Awards. His self-titled 2010 album solidified his position as a consistent hit-maker. Revisiting his non-secular roots, Joyner issued the gospel-jazz “Church Boy” in 2012. “Evolve” placed his infectious melodies amidst futuristic electronic sonicscapes. Joyner’s music isn’t his only creative effort that ventured into extraterrestrial territory. Last year, the Norfolk, Virginia native who resides near Los Angeles authored his first book, the science fiction novel “Zarya: Cydnus Final Hope (Book 1). For more information, please visit www.JackiemJoyner.com.

“Main Street Beat” contains the following songs:

“Main Street”

“Back To Motown”

“Can’t Stop The Feeling”

“Trinity”

“When You Smile”

“Southside Boulevard”

“That Good Thing”

“Treasure”

“Addicted”

“Don’t Make Her Wait”

“Get Down Street”

Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

Elan

 

Plugged In: Saxophonist Elan Trotman adds EDM beats to his Caribbean-jazz fusion

The “Electro Sax” album is released as the tropical “Island Gal’” prepares to charm radio.

BOSTON (24 April 2017): Saxophonist Elan Trotman is unwavering in his committed to wave the flag high for Caribbean music, but after releasing six soul-jazz albums and more than ten chart-topping singles that made him a permanent fixture on radio playlists, the Barbados native is “shaking it up” by going electronic on “Electro Sax,” his seventh outing which was released last Friday (April 21) by Island Muzik Productions.

Seeking a “hip radio sound that will reach beyond the masses,” Trotman assembled a creative team of up-and-coming producers – Spardakis, P-Nut, Dr. O and Da Troof – who he met at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music and tasked them with putting a fresh, modern twist on the eleven new tracks that he wrote for the collection. With electronic elements evident in the production of Trotman’s tenor and soprano sax and the adventurous EDM sonicscapes, the result is an energizing, dance-happy mix of impromptu jazz sax licks, kinetic dance beats and festive Caribbean rhythms. Adding nuances to the audacious alchemy are guitarists Wayne Jones, Freddie Fox and JJ Sansavarino, and steel pan player Kareem Thompson. The first single set to seduce radio is the reggae-infused “Island Gal’,” which spotlights Trotman on soprano sax on the cut he describes as having “a sexy vibe to it.” Prince fans will appreciate the balladic tribute “Purple Emotion” that closes the set. The session’s lone cover is a tropical, dance hall take of Walk The Moon’s infectious pop smash “Shut Up and Dance.”

“’Electro Sax’ is a true representation of where I am at in my career. It’s modern sounding with prominent hints of the island. It’s also about branching out, reaching out by making good music for the masses. It’ll definitely ruffle feathers, but that is part of being an artist – pushing boundaries and perhaps establishing new ones,” said Trotman. “The ‘tropicality’ elements are part of who I am and I’m sticking with it. It’ll always be part of my sound and I believe in it. It is part of my brand and it’s authentic to my (Barbadian) roots.”

Trotman showcases and shares the culture of his homeland at his annual Barbados Jazz Excursion, slated to take place on the Caribbean island for the fourth time in October over Columbus Day Weekend (October 6-9, 2017). The saxman performs and hosts the music festival and golf tournament that benefits his nonprofit Never Lose Your Drive Foundation and the Head Start Music Program in Barbados. Slated to perform this year are R&B and contemporary jazz mainstays Will Downing, Norman Brown, Marion Meadows, Brian Simpson, Jeanette Harris and Julian Vaughn as well as the Queen of Soca, Alison Hinds.

Earning a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music from the government of Barbados, Trotman has lived in Boston ever since. Named the Jazz Artist of the Year on multiple occasions by the New England Urban Music Awards and the Barbados Music Awards, he debuted as a solo artist in 2009 with “This Time Around.” Subsequent albums featured collaborations with Grammy winners Kirk Whalum, Terri Lyne Carrington and Paul Brown as well as Downing, Peter White, Jeff Lorber, Cindy Bradley, Tony Terry and Simpson. Trotman has also guested on Billboard No. 1 hits by Meadows, Simpson, Vaughn, Greg Manning and Cal Harris. He’s a popular draw on the festival and club circuit. For more information, please visit www.ElanTrotman.com.

The songs on “Electro Sax” are:

“Happy Place”

“Electro Sax”

“Barbados Breeze”

“Island Gal’”

“Chill Cat”

“Shut Up and Dance”

“Up In The Clouds”

“orutrA”

“No Need For Trippin’”

“120 BPM”

“Move!”

“Purple Emotion”

 

Guitarist Blake Aaron is Sirius about making it a “VIVID” spring

Blake Aaron 2

 

Guitarist Blake Aaron is Sirius about making it a “VIVID” spring

The vivacious third single from the forthcoming “Color and Passion” album goes for radio adds on April 24.

ALISO VIEJO (11 April 2017): Guitarist Blake Aaron has been featured multiple times on SiriusXM over the past week as part of Jazz Appreciation Month just as his vibrant new single, “VIVID,” is preparing to bloom brightly. The third single issued in advance of his upcoming “Color and Passion” album, Aaron wrote and produced the multihued bouquet of invigorating instrumental dance music, power pop horns and glossy R&B grooves that surround fragrant stems of fresh electric jazz guitar flourishes. On the way to radio stations now with an April 24 playlist add date, the perfectly-timed spring fling should happily satiate listeners until Blake’s sixth album streets this fall on Innervision Records.

Last Thursday, the national satellite radio broadcaster’s Watercolors aired a live concert performance by Aaron recorded at the SiriusXM studios in Washington, DC. On Sunday, the guitarist who hosted his own nationally syndicated radio show for seven years hung out on the “Dave Koz Lounge” with the affable sax sensation. This week, Aaron served as guest DJ on Tuesday and although he took command of the air waves, he didn’t sneak in the new single before the official add date.

“No, not yet,” he chuckled. “’VIVID’ is my feel good track of the spring/summer. With real Earth, Wind & Fire-style horns and tons of energetic, bright melodic hooks, I am proud to say that this is one of my most infectious grooves and most intense productions I’ve done to date. Vivid is how I try to live my life and it is how I try to teach my kids to live their lives. Be uniquely you – boldly and with passion. Be you – vividly.”

Aaron’s last collection, 2015’s “Soul Stories,” spawned five Billboard Top 10 singles. “Color and Passion” aims to continue his run of chart success with a chromatic and intense fusion of sounds and styles – funk, R&B, soul, jazz, rock, blues and Latin music. While the first three singles – “Summer Ride,” “Godfather Brown” and “VIVID” – are upbeat and full of life, the disc will also include intimate ballads allowing Aaron to showcase his lyrically expressive guitar on downtempo numbers.

Aaron recently plied his soulful fretwork on three songs for urban-jazz chart-topper Najee’s forthcoming set. The indemand session player, sideman, producer and songwriter will celebrate his birthday with an April 29 concert at Southern California hotspot Spaghettini in Seal Beach where he will be joined by two-time Grammy winner Bill Champlin, a singer-songwriter and keyboardist who spent 28 years as a member of the legendary band Chicago. Aaron will hit the road Memorial Day Weekend for performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in Florida (May 26), St. James Live! in Atlanta, GA on a bill shared with saxophonist Tom Braxton and vocalist Kevin Whalum (May 27), and a headline date with Braxton at The King Center in Melbourne, FL (May 28).

For additional information, please visit www.BlakeAaron.com.

Smooth soul singer Selina Albright comfortable and confident enough to “Eat Something”

selina-albright

 

Therapeutic “Conversations”: Smooth soul singer Selina Albright comfortable and confident enough to “Eat Something” 

Empowering radio single about self-love and acceptance previews her March 17 debut album release.

FRISCO (30 January 2017): While a song about the joy of packing on a few pounds and a widening booty may seem contrary to the messages bombarding the popular music and media landscapes, smooth soul singer Selina Albright’s “Eat Something” is instantly resonating with fans and radio programmers, including SiriusXM Watercolors’ Dave Koz Lounge, which will feature the song on the February 5 national broadcast. The mid-tempo adult R&B song bolstered by guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno’s crafty touch is the lead single from Albright’s first full-length album, the very personal “Conversations,” which will be released March 17 by Golden Rays Music with preorders beginning February 1 on iTunes.

“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that I’ve reprioritized my life and stopped putting so much emphasis on doing and being what’s most acceptable to others, and instead focused more on appreciating and expressing who I’ve become. Getting to that place in my life inspired me to write about topics I normally wouldn’t, such as ‘Eat Something.’ I know it’s unconventional to write a song about being so happy that you gain weight from eating more, but there’s a freedom in the candor of the lyrics. There was no way I was going to change that. It was far too special,” said Albright, who selected the heartening cut as the first single based upon the immediate and rousing response she receives whenever performing the song in concert and from the fervent reaction from her “FanFamily” on social media.

Describing the custom-tailored blend of sensual soul and sultry jazz album as “my own therapeutic diary through joy, betrayal, liberation and hope, all written without holding back,” Albright wrote the lyrics for all nine original tunes and co-produced three tracks on “Conversations.” Her subject matters are based upon intimate and probing conversations she’s had, shared as if she’s confiding in a close friend. Whether skillfully unleashing the full power and magnitude of her gravity-defying voice or harnessing her passion in a reassuring caress, Albright’s demeanor remains sunny and glowing on uplifting numbers like “Possible” and “Highest High.” Even when confronting weightier subjects head on like she does on “Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” and “Victim,” her inherent optimism remains present and undaunted. “Let Go” also is wrought with emotion and includes dramatic flute flourishes from multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright, Selina’s father. The disc’s lone cover is a stripped down, jazzy take on “If I Were A Boy” with accompaniment by contemporary jazz hit-maker Peter White on acoustic guitar and Randy Ellis (Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé) on sax. Also contributing to the date are producers Chris “Big Dog” Davis and James “JRob” Roberson as well as guitarist David P. Stevens.

To help launch the album, Albright will perform at three record release parties: February 12 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California, April 6 at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania and April 15 at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver, Colorado. The Southern California show is already nearly sold-out.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Albright was reared in the jazz and R&B scene, making her first appearance singing on one of her father’s albums twenty years ago. She has since sung on several of his collections, including penning lyrics and singing on the Grammy-nominated “24/7,” a 2012 duet set from the chart-topping saxophonist and Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown. Oozing stage presence, exuberance and captivating charisma, Albright has made her own name while singing on records and stages around the world, shining brightly amidst a galaxy of contemporary jazz stars and R&B legends that spans Brian Culbertson, David Benoit, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, David Sanborn, Boney James, Richard Elliot and Rick Braun to Chaka Khan, Will Downing, Regina Belle, The Temptations, Hugh Masakela and the late George Duke. In an entirely different setting, she injected her soul-powered energy into the electronic dance music world by collaborating with Manufactured Superstars, leading to a performance with the internationally-revered DJ duo at Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival in 2011. Recording as a solo artist, Albright placed the spirited jazz original “You and I” on the iTunes Top 100 Singles Downloads in 2010. A few years later, she topped the soul chart in the United Kingdom for four weeks with her R&B/soul single “Brighter.” Last year, Albright primed the marketplace for “Conversations” by issuing “Sun Comes Up,” which outpaced her previous singles.

“Conversations” contains the following songs:

“Eat Something” (featuring Kay-Ta Matsuno)

“Possible”

“If I Were A Boy” (featuring Randy Ellis)

“Talk To Her”

“Highest High”

“Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” (featuring David P. Stevens)

“Search My Name”

“Victim”

“Let Go” (featuring Gerald Albright)

“Uncharted Love”

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

Vocalist Clint Holmes has an intimate “Rendezvous” with a star-studded jazz collective

clinton-holmes

 

Vocalist Clint Holmes has an intimate “Rendezvous” with a star-studded jazz collective

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Ledisi, Joey DeFrancesco, Dave Koz, Patti Austin and The Count Basie Orchestra help bring the veteran crooner’s story to life on the album due February 24.

LAS VEGAS (26 January 2017): A song that singer-songwriter Clint Holmes wrote fondly recalling the Sunday afternoons he used to spend with his father at the historic Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo in upstate New York where he was first exposed to jazz serves as the centerpiece of “Rendezvous,” his new album slated for release on February 24 from LL Music.

“I was twelve and it was a true coming of age moment for me. I had never seen my dad in his world. He worked three jobs and never seemed happy until I saw him in this element. I fell in love with jazz and how cool it felt to interact with the ‘cats’ the way my dad did,” said Holmes, the son of an African-American father and a white British mother who was a classically-trained opera singer.

With jazz timing and phrasing informing his velvety tenor croon on eleven cuts, including three new songs that he co-wrote, Holmes surrounded himself with a royal herd of jazz “cats” on the collection that was produced by two-time Grammy winner Gregg Field. The sophisticated session offers a diverse play list that reinterprets modern day and classic pop hits, soulful R&B, theatrical tunes and numbers culled from the Great American Songbook. Field placed Holmes’ voice front and center amidst live instrumentation, sweeping strings and orchestra accompaniment, and sparse piano and vocal settings. The first single shipped to radio stations for airplay is “Say Something,” a duet between Holmes and multi-time Grammy nominee Ledisi. Grammy winner Patti Austin sang, conducted and arranged the background vocals on the track that will also be remixed for dance floors and serviced to club DJs.

Class and elegance reign on a cunning big band mashup of “I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” pairing Holmes and Grammy-winning chanteuse Dee Dee Bridgewater backed by The Count Basie Orchestra. Holmes will join Bridgewater and the famed orchestra on stage at the legendary Blue Note in New York City on February 4 and 5 to perform the showstopper arranged by four-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin.

Stellar contributions proliferate “Rendezvous.” Holmes and Grammy winner Jane Monheit break hearts on a sublime rendition of Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Swinging jazz and blues mingle “At The Rendezvous,” which is illuminated by a storming Hammond B-3 solo from Grammy-nominated organist Joey DeFrancesco. Closing the record with poignancy, Holmes penned lyrics to the sweetly melodic “What You Leave Behind,” composed by contemporary jazz luminary Dave Koz, who embellished the acoustic guitar and vocal track with a gracefully emoting sax solo.

“Every track does come from a personal place for me and this CD is a ‘rendezvous’ in every sense of the word – a coming together of great and generous artists. The material I selected for the album is specific and biographical while being universal at the same time,” Holmes concluded.

Holmes burst onto the pop landscape nearly 45 years ago with the million-selling smash “Playground in My Mind.” His enduring and accomplished career as a recording artist, multidimensional showman and consummate entertainer includes tenure as Joan Rivers’ sidekick on her late night television program, a stint as musical feature and event correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” and his own Emmy-winning talk/variety show. Along with appearing in marquee musicals across the country, he has written the book, music and lyrics to original shows and cabaret acts. A critically-acclaimed draw in Las Vegas and New York City in recent decades, Holmes concluded an extended run at the Palazzo a short time ago and soon expects to announce a new Vegas residency with a production inspired by “Rendezvous.” For more information, please visit www.ClintHolmes.com.

“Rendezvous” contains the following songs:

“Stop This Train”

“At The Rendezvous” featuring Joey DeFrancesco

“I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater and The Count Basie Orchestra

“Every Time We Say Goodbye” featuring Jane Monheit

“All Of Me”

“Say Something” featuring Ledisi

“Maria”

“The Perfect Trance”

“Marie”

“My Way”

“What You Leave Behind” featuring Dave Koz

It’s “3 Minutes to Midnight” and Lawson Rollins has “Island Time” on his mind

lawson-rollins

It’s “3 Minutes to Midnight” and Lawson Rollins has “Island Time” on his mind

The world music guitarist is feeling “Golden” about landing his first motion picture score.  

SAN FRANCISCO (23 January 2017): Award-winning world music guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time,” the first cut taken from his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which was released last Friday (January 20) by Infinita Records. Radio programmers at influential national outlets, including SiriusXM’s Watercolors and Broadcast Architecture, have made the seductive waltz paced by Rollins’ beguiling fingerstyle nylon guitar come-ons one of the “most added” and “most played” new singles on the first two charts published in 2017. Another composition appearing on the multicultural and multi-genre collection written by Rollins, the mystical meditation “Eternal,” began receiving airplay last month on the nationally-syndicated public radio program Echoes. “3 Minutes to Midnight” wasted no time climbing into the top 20 of the iTunes world music album sales chart.

Adopting a “Brevity is the soul of wit” mantra while crafting the twelve tunes that form “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Rollins opted to communicate with a sense of urgency, immediacy and poignancy perhaps to contrast the clutter and clamor incessantly assaulting our senses and shrinking bandwidths. He eschewed his long-held penchant for sprawling compositions and opulently-layered audioscapes in favor of clear and concise constructs – all in the three-minute range – with a pared down sonic aesthetic. Producing the session with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella, Rollins’ new set evokes a full gamut of moods and emotions ranging from passion, energetic and excitement to brooding, melancholic and pensive.

In the March issue of Guitar Player that is slated to hit magazine racks early next month, Rollins, whose virtuosic classical guitar technique has amassed over 10 million YouTube views, discusses “3 Minutes to Midnight” as well as nabbing his first film score. In a feature story that serves as the cover to the magazine’s “Frets” section, he talks about composing the music and serving as the music supervisor and executive producer of “Golden,” a movie described as a modern day psychological morality thriller currently in post-production.

“The soundtrack is going to be all original material from me on acoustic, electric, slide and Spanish guitars, backed by two-time Grammy-winning Danish violinist Mads Tolling, Native American master flute player Guillermo Martinez (of the Tarascan tribe) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Duros. It’s going to be a haunting soundtrack of acoustic Americana guitar motifs, blues-based electric guitar playing, violin fiddling, and Native American flute and drumming fused with some contemporary synthesizer and percussive elements,” said Rollins, a San Francisco-based artist whose authentic world beat sound and earthy ethereal recordings foretold eventual work in cinema.

Along with garnering robust radio play and early chart action, “3 Minutes to Midnight” is being well received by critics. Below is a sampling of the initial reviews:

If your ears are thirsting for swirling guitar work that will thrill your heart and bring you up out of whatever funky mood you’re in – Lawson’s new (January 20th, 2017) release is just perfect for doing that.” – Improvijazzation Nation

“Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey…A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins’ exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that ‘3 Minutes to Midnight’ is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.” – Exclusive Magazine

This American artist is one of the most creative world music and fusion guitarists in the world.” – Keys & Chords

“As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite a while ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, ‘3 Minutes to Midnight.’…these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“Classic, acoustic guitar jazz with a hint of the exotic.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

“Firmly staking out his territory as a world beat guitarist par excellence…A tasty treat throughout.” – Midwest Record

“’3 Minutes to Midnight’ is dazzling, pertinent and explosive.” – SmoothJazz.com

For more information about Rollins, please visit www.LawsonRollins.com. To view the “Golden” trailer, go to www.GoldenTheMovie.com.

World music guitarist Lawson Rollins muses time on “3 Minutes to Midnight”

lawson-rollins

Tick, tick, tick…World music guitarist Lawson Rollins muses time on “3 Minutes to Midnight”  

The exotic and sensual first radio single, “Sway,” previews the January 20 album release that conveys the urgency of the moment.  

SAN FRANCISCO (1 November 2016): Three minutes to midnight. Time is lapsing. What would you do with the final moments of your day? Award-winning world beat guitarist Lawson Rollins pondered that question as he entered the recording studio to craft his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which will be released on January 20 via the Infinita Records label. Focusing on “the urgency of the moment, the exhilaration of the speed of sound, the poignancy of the remains of the day and the mystical power of the number three,” Rollins wrote a dozen multicultural compositions – all in the three minute range and illuminated by his prodigious fingerstyle guitar play. The recording is stripped down, punchy and concise, a radical departure for the Billboard chart-topping artist known for creating lavishly produced and elaborately-constructed tracks that are at least twice as long.

“I really made an effort to pare down my musical flights of fancy and focus on the essentials instead of diverging into various plots and subplots within the song structure. The songs have an urgent, succinct quality and are unencumbered by elaborate instrumentation. This is the first time I came up with the title and overall concept early on in the process. I don’t know if it’s a reaction to the times we live in, with our shrinking bandwidth for complexity and desire for clarity, or if I just wanted to be as impactful and expressive as I could across a range of emotions – from exciting, passionate and bursting with energy to sad, contemplative and meditative,” said Rollins, who will introduce the new material when the sultry first single, “Sway,” is serviced to radio programmers for airplay ahead of the album’s release date.

Like his previous discs, Rollins produced “3 Minutes to Midnight” with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella utilizing the same core group of musicians. Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, bassist Randy Tico and drummer/percussionist Dave Bryant joined Rollins (guitar, keyboards, drum programming) and Camardella (piano, Rhodes piano, Hammond organ) along with newcomers to the fold Stephen Duros (drum programming) and Forrest Marquisse (pedal steel). Since fans have marveled at videos of his dazzling and dexterous classical guitar technique that have generated a whopping 8 million YouTube views, Rollins welcomed cameras into the Santa Barbara Sound Design studio to capture the recording of his guitar parts for three videos – including one lensed during the tracking of “Sway” – that are now posted on YouTube and Rollins’ website (www.LawsonRollins.com).

Rollins has landed on Billboard’s Top 10 World Music Albums chart and four of his collections placed singles on the Billboard Top 30 contemporary jazz radio chart. Recently he collected three major awards from the Akademia Music Awards (Best Jazz Song), the USA Songwriting Competition (1st place, Instrumental) and the Global Music Awards (triple gold medal winner). Why does the number three continue to come up for the long-time San Francisco resident?

“Three is a significant number that resonates in the human psyche and has a mystical power in our culture. Three is significant not only in world religions, but also in simple human terms with our body, mind and spirit triad. With songs, we have a beginning, middle and end. We even sync up with others on the count of three. Ready, set, go!,” noted Rollins, who released the albums “Traveler” and “Infinite Chill (The Remix Sessions)” last year, spawning the radio hits “Berlin Bossa” and “Café Paris (chill remix).”

The “3 Minutes to Midnight” album, which was mastered at New York City’s Sterling Sound, contains the following songs:

“3 Minutes to Midnight”

“Light the Way”

“Sway”

“Island Time”

“Driving Force”

“Southbound”

“Stringdance”

“Time Shift”

“Reveal”

“Split Second”

“Eternal”

“Mary’s Rock”