JULIAN VAUGHN’S FUTURE IS “LIMITLESS”

He is never complacent but rather, just the opposite. He is always striving to be better, realizing that he has embarked upon a journey–one that has been promising thus far. I offer that after the release of his latest album “Limitless,” there is no doubt that Julian Vaughn is on this journey to stay. He understands the highs and lows of the business; embracing every opportunity to make his mark. Vaughn has persevered, even after almost giving up his musical dream. Having become fond of the bass at age 14 and after hearing “Power Forward” by Wayman Tisdale, Julian knew he was on to something promising. “Limitless” is a comprised of all original songs. Julian is joined by a few of his friends and fellow musicians on the album. They include: Nicholas Cole, Elan Trotman, Lebron Dennis, Marcus Anderson, Darren Rahn, and Althea Rene. “Limitless” also features two great vocalists, Anthony Saunders and Kim Griddine. The first single, “Ride Along,” features saxophonist, Elan Trotman. It is a funky, melodic dance between the two. “Limitless” also has a few love songs that are on their way to becoming fan favorites. Julian admits that he is a “hopeless romantic” and that “love songs reflect his personality.” While fans feast on “Limitless,” they can rest assured that Vaughn is still making new music and can anticipate a new album in the summer of next year.

Julian and I discuss music, life, and reality:

Julian Vaughn

Blake Aaron spins soulful guitar tales on “Soul Stories,” coming May 5‏

Blake Aaron

 

Blake Aaron spins soulful guitar tales on “Soul Stories,” coming May 5

 

“Wes Side Story” bodes to be the fourth single from the set to enter the Billboard Top 10.

 

Aliso Viejo, Calif. (16 March 2014): Guitarist Blake Aaron utilized an unconventional approach when constructing his fifth album, “Soul Stories,” which will be released May 5 by Innervision Records. To maintain his presence on radio and in the marketplace while juggling a busy schedule as a first-call session player, featured sideman and in-demand producer, he issued a variety of singles with three cuts – the retro funk-disco energizer “Groove-O-Matic,” the urbane romantic duet with jazz crooner Spencer Day entitled “You’re the One for Me” and the salsa-singed “Encantadora” featuring Najee on flute – entering the Billboard Top 10. The ten-track “Soul Stories,” Aaron’s first collection that is entirely self-produced, contains eight original tunes authored by the artist.

Saluting one of his hallmark influences, Aaron embodies seminal jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery on the aptly-titled “Wes Side Story,” an evocative selection that will be serviced to radio stations for playlist adds beginning April 6.

Weaving engaging narratives told through a triad of guitar voices, Aaron’s “Soul Stories” unfolds amidst a varied backdrop of contemporary jazz, R&B, Latin and funk settings. He approaches his compositions as a storyteller and elects to feature a different guitar – cool jazz electric, gentle acoustic or emotional nylon string – as the protagonist of each musical vignette. Often Aaron provides a counterpoint by waging an expressive discourse using interpretive play between multiple guitars on the same song. Whether emoting on brisk radio-friendly jaunts or taking his time to elaborate on expansive improvised jams, Aaron’s inspired fret work is crisp, clear, lyrical and skillfully performed with passion and precision.

“As with my live performances, I like to make all of my records as if they are movies with all the emotional ups and downs, as if I am taking the listener through a story or a musical landscape. On ‘Soul Stories,’ I wanted to try to tell compelling musical stories – some with words, but most without. Many artists like to focus on one trademark sound, but I prefer using different modes of expression because that’s really who I am. It keeps the albums fresh and allows for more spontaneity onstage,” said Aaron who recently previewed the album at a sold-out gig at Spaghettini south of Los Angeles. “It’s the most expressive album I’ve ever made as an artist representing the many different facets of the music I love and who I am creatively. There’s literally every part of me on this CD – my heart, blood and sweat. It’s all on this record.”

The musicians who helped Aaron illustrate “Soul Stories” were vocalist Derek Bordeaux, keyboardists Tom Zink, Rob Mullins and Lew Laing; bassists Hussain Jiffry and Melvin Davis; strings arranger and keyboardist Mike Whittaker; strings arranger and label mate Craig Sharmat; percussionist Ronnie Gutierrez, and drummers Ricky Lawson and Winston Butts.

Another creative outlet occupying Aaron’s time is his weekly “Blake Aaron Live with Tina Anderson,” a nationally-syndicated radio show airing in markets including California, New York, Florida, Arizona and on Urban Soul Radio. Over the years, Aaron has hosted, interviewed and played with a galaxy of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz, adult contemporary and pop on the radio program. The Southern California-based recording artist debuted with 2002’s “With Every Touch” that offers collaborations with David Benoit and Eric Marienthal. Subsequent releases – “Bringin’ It Back,” “Desire” and “A Romantic Christmas” – garnered airplay and chart action while frequent appearances on the concert circuit enhanced his national profile. In other media, Aaron held a 14-year-stint as the guitarist and theme song co-composer for “MAD TV” along with more than a dozen films and television series the likes of which include “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Super Dave Osborne” and “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.” For more information, please visit www.BlakeAaron.com.

“Soul Stories” is comprised of the following songs:

“Groove-O-Matic”

“Wes Side Story”

“Sol Amor”

“Europa”

“You’re the One for Me”

“Story of the Blues”

“Sara Smile”

“Story of My Life”

“You’re My Miracle”

“Encantadora”

The amazing Brian Simpson

Brian Simpson has always known that music would play a very important role in his life. Actually, the most important role. The music of the 60’s Brian heard his Father play around the house had a strong influence on the artist he is today. He left his home town of Gurnee, IL and headed for LA. It was there that he began to get immersed in the jazz scene and start working with artists like Boney James. Brian took a little break from jazz to go on the road with pop sensations Janet Jackson, Teena Marie, and Sheena Easton. Those were experiences of a lifetime for Brian. He would however return to jazz music. Jazz was where his heart had always been. In 2005 Brian wrote “It’s All Good” as a solo artist, and it was a #1 radio hit. He is always working with other jazz artists, and continuously pours his creativity into every project. Not only has he been touring and working on other projects, but he’s also been the musical director for Dave Koz for the past 15 years. His current CD is titled “Just What You Need.”

Brian tells me his story during our interview.

Brian Simpson

Brian Simpson

Brian Simpson

Brian Simpson

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