Brian Simpson knows quite a bit about making hits. After all, he has had a few of them since his solo career began in 2005. He has been and continues to be the guy that his fellow musicians call upon when it comes to producing. Brian’s belief is that “the melody is still king.” To go along with that, he also remembers what a teacher once told him he should always remember: “unity, variety, and continuity.” While it may have been unbeknownst to him at the time, those three vital components would later become very clear. While embarking upon the creation of his latest album, “Out Of A Dream,” Brian embraced the idea of variety and enlisted a host of co-composers. “Out Of A Dream” could be viewed as an album of duets. Simpson features the superb saxophone skills of Grace Kelly and the flute of Najee on the title track, “Out Of A Dream.” Brian’s collaboration with longtime friend Dave Koz exhibits why the two have such a successful working relationship. Keeping variety front and center, Simpson’s first single, “Sky Watcher,” was co-written by Ryan Farish–who only does electronic music. Furthermore, being an international traveler, Brian takes his listeners on a global journey from Spain to Brazil through songs featuring Marc Antoine and Maysa. And as a tribute to Joe Sample, Simpson penned “Lets Get Away” with Oliver Wendell. Other collaborators include Jonathan Fritzen, Maurice Brown, and Norman Brown.
Brian and I discuss the importance of variety and the creation of “Out Of A Dream”:
Kim Waters is celebrating 25 years of success, and as a token of his gratitude for the fans who’ve supported him, he has a new album titled SilverSoul which will be released on September 2nd. Kim’s been playing instruments since he was a young boy, so it is only befitting that he has sustained such a stellar career in music. He knows what it is to have No. 1 singles, No. 1 albums, and Top Ten Singles. That is the kind of success that Waters attributes to having the perfect formula and the talent to build a brand. He has the gift of expressing romance and love with his music, allowing the sax to be his voice. Simply put: Kim Waters knows how to write and produce songs that energize the love inside of all of us. With his wife, Dana, and his twin daughters, Kayla and Kimberly, as his source of inspiration as well as his fans, he wrote Silver Soul. The album differs from his others by having more vocals and an R&B flavor. The first single, Dreaming Of You, is doing great, and Kim shares that accomplishment with his daughter, Kayla, who played piano on the song. As to be expected from Waters, Silver Soul weaves a story of love. Collaborating with him on a pair of R&B songs is Dana Pope on Anything You Need and Eric Roberson on Laying Beside Me. In addition, Kim covered John Legend’s love song All Of Me and Fireflies, originally done by his niece, Zendaya, who also sings on his version.
I congratulate Kim on his 25th anniversary, and we talk about Silver Soul:
As a child growing up, Marcus Anderson would hear his father tell him repeatedly, “protect your hands, that’s going to be your ticket.” Those words kept Marcus from having to do too much heavy work growing up, and they also were instinctively true. Marcus became a skilled saxophone player throughout his younger years and continued growing as a musician, thus inevitably becoming a multi-instrumentalist; not to mention that he is also a producer, songwriter, vocalist, and thrilling entertainer. Anderson works with some of the best artists in music. With too many to name, however, I’ll just name a few: Alex Bugnon, Brian Simpson, Nicholas Cole, and PRINCE. Although he is in a fortunate situation, Marcus embraces the opportunity to learn and grow from the wisdom of his fellow musicians. He will be releasing his fifth album titled “Style Meets Substance” on March 25th–appropriately titled as he shows that he not has “style” but also “substance.” And both style and substance are definitely recognizable on this sexy, smooth, and funky album. Marcus exhibits versatility along with his creative instincts and ability to collaborate with just the right musicians to bring his music to life.
When I hear the name Nicholas Cole, a few words come to my mind. Words such as gifted, grounded, humble, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, AMAZINGLY talented. Cole has landed on the contemporary jazz scene and shown that he’s the future generation. His friend Brian Simpson says “Nicholas is the best young songwriter of contemporary jazz that I’ve come across in the last several years….and he will definitely play a huge part in the future.” He is a composer, producer, and performer. He collaborated with Michael Stever, Tim Bowman, Vincent Ingala, Steve Oliver, Julian Vaughn, Marcus Anderson, and Lynne Fiddmont on his current CD “Endless Possiblities.” His knowledge and awareness of different genres of music gives him the ability to be innovative and continuously evolving. The future is very bright for Nicholas, and I look forward to following his journey.
Sitting in the studio with John Dillard, I realized the magnitude of his talent. He’s smart, creative, original, and constantly evolving. His peers revere him as “an asset”, and “one of the funkiest.” John is humbled by those accolades, and works hard to exceed what’s expected of him. Having been influenced by great artists like Jaco Pastorius, and Marcus Miller, John knows how to infuse multiple styles of playing into his own. He contributes to the local music scene in Charlotte, NC, and was fortunate enough to work on the 2012 pilot track for the Golden Globe Award Winning show Homeland. While collaborating with other artists on various projects, and being the musical director for Stephanie Mills, he’s also stepped into his own spotlight. John is working on his solo project “Let’s Ride” that is scheduled to be released later this year.
She’s intelligent, articulate, and a classically trained flute player. Her name is Kim Scott. Scott’s talent and distinctive, polished tone can be heard every time she plays. She’s not just an artist but also an educator that finds joy in sharing her gift and knowledge of music with her students. Her debut CD, “Crossing Over,” climbed the music charts. She’s constantly evolving as an artist and performer, and her growth is undeniable on her sophomore CD “Rite of Passage,” produced by Kelvin Wooten. Kim also shows off her vocal skills on the song “Sweet Obsessions,” which she wrote. Her album is currently rising on the charts, and she continues to tour sharing her gift with the world. Kim’s a mother, a teacher, Chair of the Music Department of The Alabama School of Fine Arts, she plays with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and she’s a rising star in the world of Jazz. She does it all, and she does it with class.
Elan Trotman is not only a brilliant recording artist, he’s a composer and performer. Coming from the beautiful island of Barbados, Elan knows how to infuse the sounds of calypso and reggae into his music. Yet, his music is also sexy and full of edgy melodies. He shows this side of himself on the “Love and Sax” CD. His collaboration with Brian Simpson on “Heaven In Your Eyes” climbed the charts, and quickly paved the way for all that was to come for Elan. His latest release “Tropicality” features Peter White among other jazz artists, and embodies his native Barbadian culture.