NATHAN EAST PAYS “REVERANCE”

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:

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Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style

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Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style 

The self-titled album from long-time friends Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun

is the first set written by the hit-makers. Their Artistry Music debut arrives April 22.

SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF. (23 March 2016): You can almost smell the tangy barbecue sauce dripping from the forthcoming third album “BWB” by chart-topping trio BWB, who throw down like a sweaty garage band at a Memphis backyard house party on their debut for the Artistry Music label arriving April 22. It’s the first time the band made up of GRAMMY® winners Norman Brown (guitar, vocals) and Kirk Whalum (saxophone, flute, vocals) and Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, vocals) cooked up a festive, sticky-fingered feast of ten new contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and funk joints. Braun produced the session in his suburban Los Angeles-area home studio where the band moved in with their families and lived together for an entire week. The result is a collaborative disc celebrating brotherhood and live music. The tantalizing title track is the first radio cut, which enters Billboard’s Top 10 on next week’s singles chart and appears to be ticketed for the top spot.

Anytime the three solo stars get together to record, it’s an instant candidate for event album of the year in the contemporary jazz world. BWB has been itching to record original material ever since they first recorded as a high-wattage trio in 2002 when they released a collection of covers entitled “Groovin’.” Over a decade later, they reunited as a combo in 2013 with “Human Nature,” paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s songbook and scoring their first No 1 hit with “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).” This time around, they decided to compose the material entirely on their own, creating party jams specifically with their spirited live shows in mind.

As Braun tells it, “A long time ago in a faraway galaxy, three brothers dreamed of recording a CD of all original material as a band. Although the evil forces of time and geography stood in their way for many years, a dream is a powerful idea and ultimately the collective, creative force will prevail. And in that spirit, Norman and Kirk moved into my house for a short week with their loved ones. We played our horns, sang, drank wine, wrote, laughed and lived together. Thus it began!”

Primarily instrumental with a batch of tunes amped up by fun-filled vocal refrains and catchy, sing-a-long choruses, BWB’s members wove DNA from their hometowns into the music mix. With Whalum’s Memphis soul serving as the nucleus, Braun’s Philly funk atoms and Brown’s Kansas City jazz genes add flavor, flair and some old-school stank to the homegrown offering that struts and seduces with swagger and sophistication along with a devilish dash of mischief. An equally important nonmusical component is incorporating the enduring love and joy of treasured friendships that exists between the musicians.

“As I grow wiser, grayer and more awesomer (!), I realize just how important relationships are to me –– much more important even than music. But how awesome it is to make great music with great friends! This is a glorious bonus and a wonderful journey. I am grateful for “the Chord of three strands” that is BWB,” Whalum testified.

Brown concurred enthusiastically. “I believe in the Master Mind! Two or more minds joined in harmony with a common goal will surely connect to higher source energy. BWB is a brilliant vibration channeling a spirit of joyful elevation. I love my brothers!”

BWB are touring throughout the year in support of the new album playing festival dates including Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival (April 8), Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival (April 16), St. Lucia Jazz Festival (May 7), Steel City Jazz Festival (June 4), Tri-C Jazz Festival (June 25), QC Summerfest (July 31), Wolf Creek Jazz Festival (September 4) and the Capital Jazz SuperCruise (October 23) as well as a pair of Texas dates in Austin at the One World Theatre (May 27) and Houston at Dosey Doe (May 28).

The songs contained on “BWB” are:

“Triple Dare”

“Bust A Move”

“BWB”

“Bolly Bop”

“I Want You Girl”

“Lemonade”

“Memphis Steppin’”

“Hey Baby”

“North Star”

“Turn Up”

For more information, please visit www.MackAvenue.com.

FOURPLAY’S “SILVER,” A REMARKABLE 25 YEARS

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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KEIKO MATSUI “LIVE IN TOKYO”

The highly anticipated “Live In Tokyo” collectors’ CD/DVD was released on October 2, 2015. With it being her first in over a decade, Keiko’s desire was to give her fans the experience of a lifetime. She incorporated the best stage production and asked her friends Chuck Loeb and Kirk Whalum to join her. Keiko describes her Homecoming show in Japan on May 23, 2015 as surreal. Aside from being an impeccable artist, Keiko is also a known humanitarian. She dedicates much of her life and music to bringing awareness to various causes around the world. As her latest album, “Soul Quest,” continues to blossom and take on new life every time she performs it, Keiko is continuing to tour, sharing the “Live In Tokyo” experience with fans.

Listen to Keiko describe her incredible experience:

Keiko live

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.

VANDELL ANDREW

Vandell Andrew hails from New Orleans where jazz is rooted and abundant. It wasn’t until he was a teenager attending a summer camp that, unbeknownst to him, his future would be set in motion. He would later lay down the trumpet for the saxophone, and the rest is history. After enduring hurricane Katrina, Andrew relocated to Texas. It was there where his passion was fueled, and music became his life. As always, on the other side of every storm, there is a rainbow. For Vandell, that rainbow was a collection of original music and a debut album titled “Years Later.” He went on to share the stage with jazz musicians such as Kirk Whalum and collaborate with others such as Darren Rahn. He recently released an EP titled “Turn It Up.” And that is exactly what he wants his fans to do: turn it up and enjoy. They have done just that and embraced Vandell’s new music, giving it great reviews.

Vandell and I talk about the past and the present.

Vandell Andrew

Vandell Andrew