Listen to Jeff, Everette, and Paul discuss the project with me:
Listen to Jeff, Everette, and Paul discuss the project with me:
It’s been seven years since Michael Franks’ last album was released, and his fans are elated to receive “The Music In My Head” on June 8th. It is his 18th album to date in his 45 year career. Franks is known for his eloquent and poetic lyrics, clever song titles, and smooth charismatic delivery. Michael describes this project as “very true” and “very personal”– one in which you can hear and feel his “love for nature” as well as his everlasting love for his wife Claudia of 42 years. Once again, Franks has given us a plethora of musical gems while working in the studio with his musical comrades: Jimmy Haslip, David Spinozza, Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Bob Mintzer, and Rachel Z. He feels especially blessed to have also collaborated with his dear friend Chuck Loeb on the song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” It would be one of the last recordings Loeb would work on. Franks’ collection of ten new songs embraces listeners and glides them through a journey of love, nature, science-fiction, old LA jazz clubs, and healing relationships.
Listen and enjoy my interview with Michael Franks:
Throughout the illustrious career that Nathan East has had, he has remained one of the most sought after bassists in the industry. The beauty that lies within that enormous calling is that Nathan has worked with the best of the best. His career has evolved so that he gets to work with musicians that he once just admired. In honor of those who have inspired and continue to inspire him, his latest album is titled “REVERANCE.” The album was produced by Nathan and Chris Gero. Sharing the spotlight with Nathan are Philip Bailey on East’s cover of “Love’s Holiday” and Verdine White and Ralph Johnson on “Serpentine Fire.” “REVERANCE” also features Kirk Whalum, Yolanda Adams, Ruben Studdard, Chuck Loeb, Chick Corea, and Nikki Yanofsky. Nathan’s son Noah joins him once again and is featured on piano. Nathan will spend the remainder of 2017 on the road with Fourplay, Eric Clapton, and Chick Corea.
I always enjoy talking with Nathan. Listen:
The super trifecta otherwise known as Jazz Funk Soul started 2016 off with their latest album “More Serious Business.” The group is comprised of guitarist Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Everett Harp, and pianist Jeff Lorber. Each member distinctly represents artistry that is well-respected, and combined, they have sold millions of albums. Amidst working on “More Serious Business,” Loeb, Harp, and Lorber individually enjoyed successful solo projects. Jeff describes the chemistry between them as fun and challenging. As a cohesive unit, they respect one another’s talents and have found a way to harmoniously blend them. “More Serious Business” has ten original songs that keenly represent the varying yet similar styles of the trio. The lead single “You’ll Know When You Know”–written by Harp–is soulful and funky.
Jeff and I discuss the new project and snippets of his career:
Keyboardist Mark Etheredge, armed with a diverse musical background, has come full circle and is set to release the instrumental album he has always wanted to. On February 28, 2016 at Spaghettini’s near Los Angeles, Mark will have a CD release party for “Connected.” Paul Brown produced the much anticipated album and was featured on two of the ten songs, including the title track. Guitarist Chuck Loeb of Fourplay is also a featured artist on the project. As of January 11, 2016, the first single and title track “Connected” was the number one most added song on the BDSradio Smooth Jazz Chart. “Connected” is the result of Mark’s message about humanity. Unfortunately, like so many other young people in our society, Mark experienced being bullied and developed a sense of being disconnected. Overcoming those feelings and empowering himself, Mark musically expressed it all with “Connected.” He recognizes our differences and expresses how we are all still “Connected.”
Listen as Mark shares his story:
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 http://bit.ly/1m7Krpe). 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”
“Connected” featuring Paul Brown
“Lost In The Shuffle” featuring Paul Brown
“For Your Love” featuring Chuck Loeb
“Bing Bang Boom”
“Soul Clap Honey”
For more information, please visit www.MarkEtheredge.com.
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:
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