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.

Jeff Golub with Brian Auger

Jeff Golub

Jeff Golub

“Train Keeps A Rolling” for spirited guitarist

 

Jeff Golub teams with jazz-rock keyboard icon Brian Auger for his first new album since losing his sight  

 

Port Washington, New York (17 July 2013): It’s been a helluva two years since guitarist Jeff Golub released his last album, “Three Kings,” which paid tribute to blues legends B.B.Freddie & Albert King. As the record was released, the optic nerves in Golub’s eyes inexplicably collapsed leaving him blind. Adjusting to his new life meant adopting Luke, a guide dog. While attempting to catch a New York City subway last September, Golub fell onto the tracks as a train rapidly approached. He was clipped and dragged by the train as Luke and bystanders frantically attempted to help. Miraculously Golub escaped the harrowing and what could have been a fatal ordeal with only minor scrapes and bruises. Undaunted and as boisterous as ever, Golub stands defiantly, toting his guitar with Luke perched at his feet, at the crossroads of train tracks on the cover of his aptly titled new album, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” which will be released August 13th by Entertainment One Music.

 

Golub’s 12th solo album had to be something special and have a lot of soul. At the suggestion of his manager, Bud Harner, he teamed with British keyboard great Brian Auger for a rollicking 11-song collection of soul, jazz, blues and rock combining Golub’s raw bluesy guitar licks with Auger’s hallmark Hammond B-3 organ. Golub produced the set with Harner, a Grammy-nominated producer who shared production duties with Golub on the guitarist’s five most recent records. Anchoring the grooves were steady-as-a-rock drummer Steve Ferrone, who was an original member of the acclaimed jazz-rock ensemble Brian Auger & The Oblivion Express, and bassist Derek Frank, who also had a history playing with Auger. Augmenting the tracks were percussionist Luis Conte and a lively horn section comprised of Mindi Abair (alto sax), Nick Lane (trombone), Dave Woodford (baritone sax, flute) and Steve Madaio (trumpet). Making guest appearances on the vocal selections wereChristopher CrossAmbrosia’s David Pack and Alex Ligertwood, who was also an original member of The Oblivion Express.

 

“When I was about 15 years-old, I picked up a copy of ‘Closer To It’ by Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express and it changed my life. That is why I was looking forward to doing this record. It was the first time I heard rock musicians playing jazz and it was the first time I knew you didn’t have to be a jazz musician to play jazz,” explained Golub. “The vibe of the new record is soul-jazz. It has a lot of Latin grooves – a lot of grooves period. My last couple of records have been blues records, especially the last record was straight ahead blues, but now I’m kind of going back to what I did before that with soul-jazz. No matter what I do is blues-oriented guitar, but the record itself is music that is more jazz oriented.”

 

The material they elected to record consists of a couple classic cuts Auger recorded with The Oblivion Express (“Happiness Is Just Around The Bend” and “Whenever You’re Ready”), a new Auger tune penned specifically for the Golub project (“Shepherds Bush Market”) and a previous unreleased Auger composition (“Isola Natale”), a pair of new songs co-written by Golub (the title track and “J&B”) and a fistful of fun covers, including Lalo Schifrin’s frisky “The Cat,” Willie Dixon’s “I Love The Life I Live,” Paul Carrack’s “How Long” spotlighting Cross, The Police’s spacy reggae dusted “Walking On The Moon” with vocals by Pack, and Curtis Mayfield’s gritty street life anthem “Pusherman,” which is the first radio single from “Train Keeps A Rolling.”

 

Harner said, “The whole thing with the Hammond B-3 and the guitar and the Fender Rhodes, it’s got a retro kind of funky groove type vibe. Jeff (Golub) is one of the best blues guitar players out there so this definitely has a bluesy edge to it, but it’s got more of a funky groove than the standard blues approach.”

A Copley, Ohio native who has called New York City home ever since he launched his career in the early 1980s, Golub began as an in-demand sideman who enjoyed long stints touring and recording with Billy Squier and Rod Stewart as well as Tina TurnerPeter WolfJohn Waite,Vanessa WilliamsGato Barbieri and Bill Evans. He released his debut album as a band leader in 1988 and went on to record an impressive string of chart-topping albums and radio hits with Avenue Blue and as a solo artist that made Golub a radio staple, perennial fan favorite and consistently strong concert draw in the contemporary jazz stratosphere. Additional information and a list of tour dates that Golub will play with Auger in support of “Train Keeps A Rolling” are available at www.jeffgolub.com.

 

Golub’s “Train Keeps A Rolling” album contains the following songs:

 

“The Cat”

“Isola Natale”

“Train Keeps A Rolling”

“I Love The Life I Live”

“Pusherman”

“How Long”

“J&B”

“Happiness Is Just Around The Bend”

“Shepherds Bush Market”

“Whenever You’re Ready”

“Walking On The Moon”

 

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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Let’s talk Rick Braun

Rick Braun has been entertaining us for many years with his chart topping award winning hits. He’s collaborated with some of the best to bring us songs like “Shake it Up” with Boney James which won the Best Collaboration Award. His work with Richard Elliott in “RNR” went to #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. It’s no surprise that he’s a much sought after producer. He’s definitely proven that he has what it takes.

Rick is skilled in more than just one area of music which makes him versatile as an artist. He’s a vocalist who was once a back-up singer for artists like Rod Steward, Sade, and Tina Turner. That’s something that most people probably wouldn’t know. Now he’s chosen to display his vocals on his latest project titled “Rick Braun Sings With Strings.” He covered songs that we all know and love such as “Time After Time,” and some we may not be as familiar with like “Once Upon A Summertime.” Rick created a project that would beautifully display his trumpet playing skills, as well as his vocal abilities.

Rick tells me all about it.

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

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Mike MacArthur “Feels Like Home”

Mike McArthur

Mike McArthur

Moving away from the kids’ table

In the company of prominent friends, saxophonist Mike MacArthur releases a sterling jazz album,

“Feels Like Home,” his first major release as a frontman.

Tampa, Florida (4 June 2013): In the midst of graduation season, it seems like the ideal time for the release of long-time sideman Mike MacArthur’s first major recording on center stage. The saxophonist’s 10-song “Feels Like Home” was released today by Paradise Point Music. On the collection produced by Grammy-nominee Brian Bromberg, MacArthur graduates surrounded by his scholarly musician friends on the set comprised of soulfully performed jazz standards and alluring originals.

When asked to describe how he felt after recording the album at Bromberg’s suburban Los Angeles home, MacArthur said “It felt like the beginning of a lot of things to come – like I’ve finally moved away from the kids’ table with my own (musical) offering. It confirms that I can stand alone as a frontman.”

“Feels Like Home” sounds live. MacArthur describes it as “real players making real music on real acoustic instruments.” Playing the music of the masters such as Duke Ellington (“In A Sentimental Mood”), Miles Davis (“Jean Pierre”), Sonny Rollins (“Blue Seven”) and Joe Zawinul (“Birdland”), MacArthur, bass prodigy Bromberg, Ron Reinhardt (piano, B-3 organ) and Frank “Third” Richardson (drums) formed the core quartet that features spotlight soloing from contemporary jazz maverick Jeff Lorber on piano, Rick Braun on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Jeff Golub on guitar. Journeyman percussionist Alex Acuna decorates and texturizes the tracks. MacArthur graciously gives his friends permission to uncork their finest vintage of improvisational jazz.

Radio stations have been playing the gospel soul cut “Sanctified,” which was christened as the first single and includes a vocal hook belted out by the almighty Alva Copeland. MacArthur wrote the three other original tunes on the disc, including the title track, a heartfelt ballad with a gorgeous melody gracefully emoted from his tenor sax. He penned the boisterous blues joint “Around The Corner” specifically with Golub’s gritty guitar in mind. Written on piano in his daughter Sydney’s playroom while the then 5-year-old was gleefully dancing, MacArthur refers to the frenetic “Sydney Style” as the “up tune on the album.”

Throughout the album, MacArthur’s sax play is dexterous, precise and efficient. He plays just enough notes to convey the song and solos with just enough pizazz to get his point across. Having performed with a bevy of marquee musicians as a sideman throughout his career, including with Bromberg, Braun and Golub, he wants the release of “Feels Like Home” to signal the start of a new chapter. Setting the bar high in terms of performance, production, and composition, MacArthur’s stride into the spotlight is smartly executed with confidence, poise and a whole lot of soul.

After recently opening for superstar Queen Latifah, MacArthur will lead his own band at Uptown Altamonte near Orlando, Florida on June 15th sharing the bill with guitarist Nils and will open for guitarist Peter White on July 21st at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee, New York.

A clip of MacArthur discussing “Feels Like Home” can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LmHusgBHR4. Highlights from some of the album reviews appear below:

“One of the best for 2013 no matter what flavor jazz you may be into. That nice fat tenor sound with chops to match, if ‘Feels Like Home’ doesn’t move you then you must be waiting on your autopsy report.” – Critical Jazz

“This album has no safety zone. It is entertaining, listenable, and catchy but it is not safe. Some of these guys have made a name for themselves in smooth but this is a jazz album. It is not an academic, archival, or intimidating jazz album. It’s a jazz album because there is a lot of improvisation and about half of the songs on here are benchmark songs in the history of contemporary jazz, and beyond…This is an album that will lead even the most skeptical pop/smooth listener deeper into the world of jazz.” – SmoothViews

“He (MacArthur) has surrounded himself with some pretty fine players and has made an album which is simply terrific…Of the album’s ten tracks, three are MacArthur originals and it’s a testament to his skills that you can’t differentiate them from the standards…this is a warm and enjoyable album that is a treat for the ears.” – Bass Players United

“’Feels Like Home’ is superior jazz made among friends. From the first track ‘Filthy McNasty’ by Horace Silver to the 10th and final cut ‘Mo Better Blues’, music enthusiasts will know that this one belongs on the top shelf.” – The Entertainment Bank

“Rolling through a set of tracks as diverse as any jazz enthusiast could hope for, MacArthur puts both feet into this project, offering appealing sax runs while his pals mix up a batch of riveting acoustic bass runs, soul-wrenching guitar riffs, tantalizing piano/keys action, and solid drums and percussions.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“He (MacArthur) comes out firing – surrounding himself with some of the very best players on the circuit and wisely mixing the repertoire between tried and tested jazz standards and quality originals.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

“The result is a predictably eclectic and jazzy mix with which jazz lovers of all persuasions will find favor.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy

Additional information about MacArthur is available at http://www.mikemacarthur.com.