“Imagine” the Beatles in an urban-jazz context

Bob Baldwin

“Imagine” the Beatles in an urban-jazz context         

The release of “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” marks the pianist-keyboardist’s 30th anniversary as a recording artist. The first single, “Imagine (Living As One)” featuring Euge Groove, was shipped to radio. 

ATLANTA (4 December 2018): Bob Baldwin was a kid listening to pop radio in the outskirts of New York City when he fell in love with the melodies of the Beatles. For his 25th album, the pianist-keyboardist embarks upon a magical mystery tour through the hit-filled pages of the legendary group’s storied songbook, plying his trademark urban-jazz sheen to the iconic harmonies. The Red River Entertainment release that dropped last Friday (November 30), “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” was produced and arranged by Baldwin who wrote an original song in tribute to the band, “Abbey Road,” along with composing new passages that add unique elements to the eleven reimagined Beatles classics.

Having issued albums that honor the landmark works of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Thom Bell, Baldwin set his sights on the Fab Four’s influential catalogue that first captured his interest decades ago.

“My childhood listening tendencies before I was ten-years-old were quite broad, including Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, the music of Motown and Aretha Franklin. On the pop side, the catchy hooks of the Beatles crept into my ear from days of listening to pop radio. For this project, I wanted to interject my own reharmonized view of the Beatles music while keeping the original melodies pure. Doing the Beatles was a different twist for me,” said Baldwin, who plays piano, keyboards, bass, drums, melodica, vocoder and plies his soothing tenor voice to the session. “It would be cool to know if Sir Paul McCartney could hear it, and more importantly, if he digs the attempt.”

The first single recently serviced to radio is a reading of John Lennon’s signature piece that Baldwin soulfully reinvents as “Imagine (Living As One)” and adds sweet soprano sax from Euge Groove. Other prominent soloists include vocalist CeCe Peniston on “(Don’t Wanna Be) The Fool on The Hill”; flutist Ragan Whiteside serenely illuminates “Michelle (My Girl)”; and noted jazz-R&B singer Lori Williams, who brings a nuanced grace and elegance to Paul & Linda McCartney’s “My Love.” Williams also charms on the Beatles salute that she wrote with Baldwin, “Abbey Road,” which the pair perform as a vocal duet. Songs like “Come Together (Can We All Just Get Along?),” “(Mellow) Yellow Submarine,” “And I Love Her,” “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby” swing and groove like never before, rebuilt from the ground up on the back of Baldwin’s meticulous jazz and urban arrangements. Anchoring the rhythm section are drummer Tony Lewis and bassist Dave Anderson, who craft deep pockets seasoned with a smattering of percussion from Café Da Silva.

The arrival of “Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” coincides with Baldwin’s 30th anniversary as a solo recording artist. The 1988 release of “A Long Way To Go” was discovered by Roberta Flack, who was a finalist judge at the time for the Sony Innovators Award, a prestigious honor bestowed upon Baldwin. The debut album was the first entry in a library consisting of jazz, R&B and gospel discs, of which over a dozen have entered the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20 sales chart. At radio, Baldwin’s track record boasts 15 Top 20 Billboard BDS hits, the most recent being this year’s “Be Blessed (No Stress).” He is the creative force behind The Groove Pact’s “Club Life,” a late summer smash from an all-star collective consisting of Baldwin, Marion Meadows, Marcus Anderson, Nils, Joey Sommerville, Oli Silk, Tom Browne, Whiteside and others. Enjoying a remarkably prolific period, Baldwin released seven full-length albums over the last twelve months.

Ten years ago, Baldwin launched his nationally-syndicated radio program, “The NewUrbanJazz Lounge,” which reaches over half-a-million listeners weekly with a mix of contemporary jazz influenced by urban and Brazilian music. A creative, Atlanta-based entrepreneur who leads a music production and event planning company, he authored “You Better Ask Somebody,” a 2012 book about his experiences in the music business. Baldwin, who also designs and markets a hat collection, has a patented invention that will soon be revealed.

“Bob Baldwin presents Abbey Road and the Beatles” contains the following songs:

“Come Together (Can We All Just Get Along?)”

“(Mellow) Yellow Submarine”

“And I Love Her (Real Talk)”

“(Don’t Wanna Be) The Fool on The Hill” featuring CeCe Peniston

“Imagine (Living As One)” featuring Euge Groove

“Michelle (My Girl)” featuring Ragan Whiteside

“Something (In The Way She Moves)”

“My Love” featuring Lori Williams

“Abbey Road” featuring Lori Williams

“Yesterday”

“Eleanor Rigby”

“Something (In The Way She Moves)” vocal version

 

The album is available for purchase at https://amzn.to/2rcgTLO. For more information, please visit www.BobBaldwin.com and www.NewUrbanJazz.com.

Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family‏

Jeff Golub

Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family

New single from the late guitarist Jeff Golub debuts in the Billboard Top 20

ahead of Tuesday’s album release with sales benefitting The Golub family.   

New York City (31 March 2015): A few days prior to New Year’s Day, the day guitarist Jeff Golub passed away at age 59, his frequent collaborators Steven Miller, Rick Braun and Bud Harner put the finishing touches on Golub’s 13th solo album, “The Vault,” a collection of previously unreleased songs and reimagined early career gems that were redecorated with the assistance of some of the artist’s high-profile musician friends. Everyone involved with creating the album that was released today by eOne Music – musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers, mixers, mastering, graphic artists, etc. – donated their time to the project so that all of the money generated by record sales can go to Golub’s family.

One of the new cuts, “Open Up,” featuring the soulful Golub boisterously shredding over a trademark jazzy blues-rock groove produced by Jeff Lorber, debuted last week in the Top 20 of Billboard’s smooth jazz singles chart boding to become the next addition to the artist’s catalogue of No. 1 singles.

“The Vault” is just the latest rallying of the music community to aid Golub, who succumbed to complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare, incurable and aggressive brain disease. Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until last November, PSP stole his vision in the spring and summer of 2011. An all-star contingent played a sold-out benefit concert that autumn in Southern California to raise money to cover medical expenses. Golub’s motor skills rapidly began to deteriorate while touring in 2013 in support of his final set of all new material, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” and eventually left him unable to play his beloved instrument. After his passing, nearly two dozen prominent recording artists gathered January 21 near the guitarist’s New York City home to play a sold-out tribute benefit concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Many of the musicians who appeared on that high-wattage bill perform on “The Vault,” including Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Philippe Saisse, Steve Ferrone and Braun. Additional album contributors were hitmen Gerald Albright, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Boney James and Peter White.

The ten-track “The Vault” consists of vastly different versions of seven Golub songs harvested from seminal album releases that were given a fresh twist by the guest artists personally selected by Golub; a soul-stirring live version of the Golub classic “Naked City”; and two previously unreleased selections, “Open Up” and the Saisse-produced “Swagster,” a sweltering swing sparked by Golub’s scalding guitar and Whalum’s impassioned sax wails.

To help set the stage for “The Vault,” SmoothJazz.com hosted the world premiere of the record on March 28 along with interviews with the guest artists and producers. Last Sunday’s (March 29) episode of Koz’s radio show that airs nationally on SiriusXM’s Watercolors was devoted to the album spotlighted by interview segments with Abair and Braun, and played multiple tunes from the disc. On April 15, SiriusXM’s Watercolors will broadcast the entire Golub all-star tribute concert.

Golub began his career as an ace guitar slinger alongside superstars Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner before launching his own chart-topping band, Avenue Blue, leading to his star-making solo career. The Akron, Ohio native is survived by his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12).

“The Vault” contains the following songs:

“Funky Is As Funky Does”

“One More Excuse To Play The Blues”

“Open Up”

“Gimmie Some”
“Swagster”

“Keep The Ball Rolling”

“Jeff’s Blues (Mama Didn’t)”

“Groanin”

“Atlanta Nights”

“Naked City” (Live)

For additional information about Golub, go to http://jeffgolub.com.

New Yorkers come to Golub’s aid one final time‏

Golub

 

New Yorkers come to Golub’s aid one final time

January 21 all-star concert planned to memorialize the guitarist and benefit his family sells out. 

New York City (13 January 2015): When the newly blind guitarist Jeff Golub stumbled and fell onto New York City subway tracks where he was clipped and dragged by a train in 2012, New Yorkers came to his aid. When word spread throughout the New York City music community last month that Golub was on his death bed, New Yorkers bought concert tickets to the January 21 all-star benefit concert put together by Marquee Concerts and Smooth Jazz New York in order to raise money for Golub’s family. Although Golub succumbed to complications from a rare degenerative brain disease on New Year’s Day turning next week’s event at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill in Times Square into a memorial show, New Yorkers scooped up the remaining tickets to make sure the concert that will feature performances by more than two dozen luminaries sold-out to provide maximum assistance to Golub’s family.

At the time of the subway scare, which was chronicled extensively in the New York media, Golub dismissed the incident that he was lucky to escape with only minor scrapes and bruises as “stupid blind guy stuff.” However, losing his vision the year before due to collapsed optic nerves turned out to be a harbinger of a far more serious problem for the Akron, Ohio-born musician who has called New York City home since the 1970s. Golub began struggling with his balance and speech during a 2013 national concert tour in support of his final album, the playfully titled “Train Keeps A Rolling,” that adversely impacted his ability to perform. It got to the point that management had to pull Golub off the road. The guitarist’s motor skills continued to deteriorate, but it wasn’t until last November that he was finally diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an incurable and aggressive brain disease.

Known for playing with soulful intensity and a bluesy touch, Golub’s diverse resume boasts longtime stints as a sideman to Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner as well as a 20-year solo recording career as a chart-topping contemporary jazz artist thus the lineup for the memorial benefit concert will present a multi-genre lineup of Grammy winners, nominees and hit-makers. Slated to take the stage are (in alphabetical order) Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, Randy Brecker, Henry Butler, Christopher Cross, Mark Egan, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Steve Ferrone, Euge Groove, Dave Koz, Chuck Loeb, Chieli Minucci, Philippe Saisse, Kirk Whalum and over a dozen more musicians.

Last Thursday (January 8), Whalum presided over Golub’s funeral held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture where a throng of artists and the city’s busiest session players gathered to pay tribute to the late guitarist, his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12). Among the many performers filling the ceremony with heartfelt song were John Waite, Marc Cohn, Whalum and Cross.

Although tickets to the memorial concert are gone, those who wish to contribute to Golub’s family can by sending a check made out to Jeff Golub Medical Expenses and mailed to:

Judy Miller

PO Box 115

Boxford, MA 01921

For more information about the memorial concert produced by Marquee Concerts, please visit http://marqueeconcerts.com/events/jazz and for additional information about Golub, go to http://jeffgolub.com.

PETER WHITE MAKES ME “SMILE”

If you want to lift your spirits and feel incredibly good, then sit back, relax, and listen to Peter White’s new CD, “Smile.” It is a bountiful collection of soul-stirring songs that will have you pressing repeat. Although “Smile” is Peter’s 14th album, and his career has spanned 40 decades, he remains driven by his fans’ appreciation for his music. When asked if he had a formula for making an album, his response was, “I have to be moved”–by the music that is. Peter reached into his vault of previously written songs to create this masterpiece. “Smile” has lots of personal touches that make it extraordinarily special for many reasons–one of them being that White was joined by some of his dear friends in music: Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Euge Groove, Philippe Saisse, Nate Phillips, Ramon Yslas, Stevo Theard, and his daughter, Charlotte. Furthermore, it includes a song for the birthday of a friend’s daughter (Jordan), a song in honor of Barry White, and a tribute to Mason Williams. “Smile” has a song for everyone and is sure to be a fan favorite.

Peter and I chat about music, fans, and his superpower:

Peter White

Peter White

RICK BRAUN WANTS TO KNOW “CAN YOU FEEL IT”

The pulse of “Can You Feel It” can truly be felt throughout Braun’s entire latest release. On every funky tune, you hear the resounding theme loud and clear, no matter whether it is “Get Up And Dance” or “Another Kind Of Blue.” As Rick looks forward to the release of his sixteenth album, he feels blessed to have fans old and new who love his music. Embarking on this journey, he wanted to encompass the vibe of “Beat Street.” When it was all said and done, Rick Braun’s intent to create organic music with his friends and create a funky album with a real experience was accomplished. He humbly gives credit to Philipe Saisse, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Jeff Lorber, Elliot Yamin, and Dave Koz whom collaborated with him to breathe life into his project. From beginning to end, “Can You Feel It” will take you on a funky, musical ride. Ironically, Rick’s birthday is 2 days before the July 8th release date of “Can You Feel It.” I have a feeling that he is going to have many reasons to celebrate this year.

Rick and I talk about the unmistakable funkiness of this album.

 

Rick Braun "Can You Feel It"

Rick Braun “Can You Feel It”

 

 

 

RICK BRAUN WANTS TO KNOW “CAN YOU FEEL IT”

The pulse of “Can You Feel It” can truly be felt throughout Braun’s entire latest release. On every funky tune, you hear the resounding theme loud and clear, no matter whether it is “Get Up And Dance” or “Another Kind Of Blue.” As Rick looks forward to the release of his sixteenth album, he feels blessed to have fans old and new who love his music. Embarking on this journey, he wanted to encompass the vibe of “Beat Street.” When it was all said and done, Rick Braun’s intent to create organic music with his friends and create a funky album with a real experience was accomplished. He humbly gives credit to Philipe Saisse, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Jeff Lorber, Elliot Yamin, and Dave Koz whom collaborated with him to breathe life into his project. From beginning to end, “Can You Feel It” will take you on a funky, musical ride. Ironically, Rick’s birthday is 2 days before the July 8th release date of “Can You Feel It.” I have a feeling that he is going to have many reasons to celebrate this year.

Rick and I talk about the unmistakable funkiness of this album.

 

Rick Braun "Can You Feel It"

Rick Braun “Can You Feel It”

 

 

 

Sam Rucker

Saxophonist Sam Rucker has something to say, and he wants everyone to listen. Thus, he titled his sophomore album “Tell You Something,” set to be released on June 3, 2014. Although his roots are in hip hop, his love for the saxophone has led him into the world of contemporary jazz. When listening to this album, you can hear bits of hip hop, gospel, and soul. Having written, co-written, and produced 8 original songs and his own rendition of 3 classics, Sam made sure to keep it organic and authentic. His first radio single released to radio is “Be True 2 Who U R.” Sam chose this song because he recognizes the importance of being true to yourself and your craft no matter what it is, and he knows that everyone can benefit from that lesson. Rucker believes that music should be felt and should feel good. He has surely accomplished this with “Tell You Something.”

Sam and I have a great conversation about his new album.

Sam Rucker

Sam Rucker