Friday, November 14, 2014

Roxanna...Toronto Smooth Jazz/Adult Contemporary artist latest album release "Exotica"

It was while studying to be a nurse that singer/songwriter Roxanna witnessed first hand the healing power of music. Sitting bedside with a patient suffering from dementia, she sang gently to the elderly woman, who was no longer swallowing. “She looked into my eyes and for the first time, I saw her smile. And she began to eat,” Roxanna says. “The doctors were amazed.”

After becoming an RN in Toronto, again, Roxanna sang each night to a young man battling cancer while enduring a regimen of caustic treatment. When he was at last released from the hospital, the man’s father—with tears in his eyes—said to her, “My son is better because of the way you sang to him.”

With that, she realized that music, like medicine, is a great healer—and destiny would take her down a different path. “When I saw patients return to health, I knew my music could be useful in this world. Pursuing my dream as a singer was the happiest moment in my life,” Roxanna says. “There’s a quote from Shakespeare that goes, ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ I like to put my own twist on it: ‘If music can heal your soul, it can also heal your body.’ No matter where you are from, what language you speak, music has the ability to soothe, revive and foster hope. It is truly universal, in any language.”

That theme is pervasive across the 12 songs comprising Roxanna’s debut album “Exotica,” released via RoxArt Inc. With a rich tapestry of velvety ballads and rousing, robust pop anthems of healing, forgiveness and strength—accompanied by the grandeur of string orchestration and jazz, Spanish and Flamenco influences—the sensual songbird has certainly found her calling.

“The album’s seductive allure, however, is not the focus nor is it the extent of Roxanna’s abilities, it is simply a byproduct of her ravishing vocals.” AXS

"Roxanna is a rare find in the music industry, not only does she have a phenomenal voice but she writes and produces too. Like Roxanna her music is an irresistible force that picks up the listener, instantly transporting them to a rare and sensual place rich in timeless elegance and joie de vivre!" James Scott

“One of the strongest new voices to come out over the last year belongs to a lovely woman known professionally as Roxanna.” Pontiac Daily Leader

“There is a lush and cinematic feel to the sound, one that should lend itself to radio play here. Add striking beauty to her strong vocals and you have the recipe for real success for Roxanna.” New Canadian Music

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Barbara artist, singer and original. A trendy representation of jazz/pop.

Barbara Lusch has a unique and compelling way with a song that goes straight to your heart. Her new recording, "Rock Me Sweet", is a surprising and magnetic reinterpretation of some of the best loved rock anthems of the 80's. Well-known hits of male rock icons such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Bono have been transformed by Barbara into sophisticated, sexy, and soulful songs. She is an interpreter of both jazz and pop, as well as a producer, actress and model with a gorgeous vocal instrument that recalls singers such as Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Eva Cassidy, Doris Day, Julie London. There is smoke, there is fire, there is honey. 

Barbara's solo singing career was preceded by a stint as a vocalist in the popular Portland, Oregon band, Pepe and the Bottle Blondes. The group appeared with the Oregon Symphony Pops, the Britt Festival in Jackson, Oregon, and in venues throughout Oregon as well as in Reno and Seattle. In 2002, Barbara went solo, and since then has been performing throughout the Pacific Northwest with regular engagements in such premier venues as Jimmy Mak's, the Liberty Theater in Astoria, the Heathman and Benson Hotels, and the Allison. She has also appeared at Portland's Cathedral Park Jazz Festival and the Portland Jazz Festival.

"Rock Me Sweet" is Barbara's third album, and represents a new avenue of musical exploration for her as well as for the audience. It has a profound beauty that is at times sweet, at times sorrowful, and at other times playful and seductive. It can console, and evoke nostalgia. Throughout "Rock Me Sweet", Barbara's vocals have an elegant and steady consistency as they move from smoldering emotions to soaring, angelic expressions. Enhancing her performance are the arrangements of warm strings, simmering percussion, plaintive horns, and piquant keyboards. It's a lush setting that perfectly complements the tales contained therein of toxic love, self-imprisonment, liberation, broken dreams and hope.

"Lusch isn't one to settle for ordinary; she sings with a deeply sensual vibrancy that gets right to the heart of the matter. One listen and you may feel as if you've known Barbara Lusch all your life." (Jim Santella, All About Jazz)

click here for home page

Genre  :Adult Contemporary, Jazz, Pop, Easy Listening

Comparison : Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Joni Mitchell, Julie London, Blossom Dearie

Location : Portland, OR

Thursday, September 4, 2014

PURDY.....Slinky, Sultry Jazz/Pop Vocalist's debut album release "Diamonds In the Dust"

PURDY was recently discovered by (and now working with) Creation Records legend Alan McGee. Her new/debut album "Diamond in the Dust" was produced by grammy award winning producer Andy Wright (Imelda May & Simply Red). It includes Purdy’s co-writes with Emily Phillips (Rizzle Kicks writer) Tim Baxter, Damian Montague, Charlie Perry and Jamiroquai’s pianist and producer Matt Johnson.

Purdy was recently a guest singer on Richard Branson's Necker Island where she opened for Lana Del Rey!

PURDY’s music has impressed some major audiences, including 90,000 people at Wembley, packed houses at London’s premier venues, Formula 1 events, The London Lifestyle awards and she has also sung for the likes of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mick Jagger and many more.
"It's so slinky it shouldn't be allowed" Craig Charles- BBC 6 Music

Friday, July 11, 2014

Peter Calandra returns with new album release "Inner Circle"

Composer, arranger and keyboardist, Peter Calandra, returns with "Inner Circle", the follow up to his previous album, "Ashkan Memories"

You may not know the name Peter Calandra, but chances are you've heard his music. The New York City-based composer and keyboard player has scored 40 films, written over 2000 compositions for television broadcast, including 37 theme packages, and performed as a musician in the Broadway productions of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera, The Lion King, and Little Shop Of Horrors. Parallel to this, Calandra has released three albums of imaginative and lyrical instrumental music encompassing jazz, contemporary jazz, classical, and refined pop.

“I’ve always heard music in my head—there is like a radio in there playing new music all the time,” says Calandra.

His fourth solo album, Inner Circle, showcases pianist/composer/arranger Peter Calandra's talents across a wide swath of music styles, always with his trademark sensitivity, abundant technique, and spot-on attention to detail. Working with an outstanding assortment of guest players on acoustic bass, violin, viola, cello, oboe, flute, piccolo, fretless electric bass, and vocals, Calandra explores myriad sonic landscapes, easily navigating from jazz to fusion to pop to classical with uncommon grace, ease, and a rich sense of melodic accessibility without sacrificing depth of emotion. 

Of Calandra, Mark Hasan of wrote "Calandra's writing is very deft...he shows a strong sensitivity for subtle emotional conflicts and the fusion of contemporary jazz, fusion, and light orchestral" and Music Web International's Demetris Christodulides wrote "Peter Calandra impressively capable composer, with broad musical horizons." In reviewing Calandra's previous release, Ashokan Memories, Tom Lohrman stated "Inner Circle is a testament to Calandra's inventive approach to composing across multiple genres while retaining a signature sound which never fails to entertain."

"... best known for his extensive body of work in film and TV soundtracks, ... Peter Calandra steps into the spotlight ... as a recording artist of his own music with ... Inner Circle. The album sparkles, reflecting a rainbow spectrum of his musical influences ... I was entranced from the opening track, and continued to be impressed as each new piece unfolded." Michael Diamond - Music and Media Focus

"Inner Circle is an amazing album! Seldom does an artist achieve such excellence across so many genres and styles. Each track is like a gemstone, each one shining with its own hue and pattern." Bill Binkelman - Zone Music Reporter

"Just make sure you check out [Inner Circle]. It is worth every star in the sky and more…" Dana Wright, New Age Music Reviews

Monday, June 16, 2014

Alex Rossi Quartet Plays Tom Jobim..Brazilian Harmonica Player's Tribute to Legendary Bossa Nova Artist

While the world is in the grip of World Cup fever and everything Brazilian, I thought it only appropriate to feature a release from a Brazilian artist. Harmonica player Alex Rossi's album  "Alex Rossi Quartet Plays Tom Jobim" is out on Topcat Records. The album features special guests Mauricio Einhorn and Ludovic Beier and is a great mixture of Bossa Nova - a well known style of Brazilian music, Samba and Instrumental Music. 

Born in 1974, South of Brazil, Alex Rossi met the Harmonica in his childhood. From amateur bands to Jazz festivals (he shared the stage, among others, with Hermeto Pascal), Alex deepened his knowledge of musicality. At the age of 18, he went on tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and at the age of 21, he took the road to Dallas, Texas, USA. This album follows on the heels of Rossi's performance on the soundtrack of the recent award winning cinematic hit, Nono The Zig Zag Kid, starring Isabella Rosellini.

Oscar Castro Neves says about Alex Rossi and his new album:
"It is wonderful to see the young new generation of harmonica players, following on the teachings of the master giant Toots Thielemans. This record celebrates the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Alex Rossi demonstrates that he has the heart, the technique and the talent to spread the gospel of Brazilian music with his own personal sound. I wish him longevity and success in his endeavors."

Toots Thielemans said about Alex Rossi: 
"Your playing is very melodic and lyrical and you have a very nice technique. I am moved by your playing and wish you a beautiful career."

Download the album from here:

Alex Rossi with Toots Thielemans

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chick Corea...Now He Sings, Now He Sobs..1968 album reissued and remastered with extra tracks

If you enjoy great, improvised jazz piano in a trio format, you'll be sure to welcome this one as a new addition to your jazz library. With Chick Corea on this occasion are two excellent, lifelong sidemen of his, Miroslav Vitous on bass and Roy Haynes on drums.

While Corea was not unknown to the world of jazz in 1968, this album did bring him more notoriety and showcased him as a somewhat radical pianist. The album likely played no small role in Miles Davis having brought Corea on board later that same year to join his quintet. Many of the pieces on this album may seem too abstract for some, perhaps appearing too loose or unstructured. If you do come to such a conclusion, you will at least come to appreciate "Matrix" (now a standard) for its cohesiveness.

The original release of "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" had five tracks, but this wonderful reissue has 8 bonus tracks making this an obvious win. Outstanding piano improvisation from one of the genre's finest pianists, this album is a must own as much for it's beauty as for its radicalism.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

William and groovy tenor single "Semibluff"

Youtube-single "Semibluff" from the William Suvanne "The Tenor" album. 

William Suvanne.. tenor sax
Mikael Jakobsson.. piano
Tuure Koski.. bass
Mikko Arlin.. drums

William Suvanne  is a Helsinki-based saxophonist and composer. He has released many albums as a leader and works extensively as a freelance musician in Finland and abroad. Winner of the Nokia Young Talent stipend and the Association of Finnish Saxophonists’ “Saxophonist of the Year” award, Suvanne released his new album “The Tenor” in January 2014.

find out more here:
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lee Morgan...The Sidewinder...classic Hard Bop from 1963

The Philadelphia-born trumpeter and superb bop stylist Lee Morgan apprenticed with Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey before emerging as a leader in his own right in the early '60s for Blue Note Records. Although Morgan owed stylistic debt to both Gillespie and Clifford Brown, he quickly developed a voice of his own that combined half-valve effects, Latin inflections, and full, fluid melodies. While many of Morgan's later sessions for Blue Note would find him paired with saxophonist Hank Mobley, The Sidewinder features then up-and-coming tenor player Joe Henderson, plus Detroit pianist Barry Harris, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins. 

Along with the title track, an unconventional 24-bar blues, the album's compositional standout is "Totem Pole," a minor Latin groove featuring an outstanding solo by Henderson. This is the kind of relaxed blowing date, invigorated by thoughtful performances, that forms the backbone of the Blue Note catalog. --Fred Goodman ( review)

If you ever want to convert a non-fan into a jazz lover, this album would be a good choice to start with. The most underrated jazz musician ever is at his peak and it's hard to stop this disc once you start. Crisp, clean, upbeat jazz in every song. No ballads or muted horns here, this is hardbop at it's best. 

 1. The Sidewinder 10:25  
 2. Totem Pole 10:15
 3. Gary's Notebook 6:10
 4. Boy, What A Night 7:34
 5. Hocus-Pocus 6:25
 6. Totem Pole (Alternate Take)  9:57

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Count Basie....The Complete Atomic Basie..Classic Album Expanded and Remastered

Bristling with excitement and electricity, this 1958 album represents the finest accomplishment of Count Basie's "New Testament" big band. His "Old Testament" band of the late 1930s, featuring stars Lester Young, Herschel Evans, Dickie Wells, and Buck Clayton, perfected the blues-drenched, straight 4/4 rhythm of Kansas City swing. Building on the blues foundation, this 1950s band features more ambitious compositions and a more dynamic sound and incorporates more modern developments. One constant, however, is the anchoring rhythm guitar of Freddie Green. 

As always, Basie can dig deeply into robust stride statements or choose each note as if he had to pay for them separately. Neal Hefti, the primary composer and arranger here, marvelously captures the strengths of each individual musician. His arrangements sparkle exuberantly on the up tunes and create vivid and exotic moods on the slower ones; clever and innovative without ever being overblown. Beefy tenor Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, who was only in the band for a relatively short period, offers the most valuable and vital solo contributions, recalling Ben Webster's tenderness at times, squeaking and honking like an R'n'B man at others. --Marc

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers...Moanin'..remastered and expanded edition review
This is truly one of the great classics of hard bop, with drummer Art Blakey leading arguably his greatest Jazz Messengers lineup through a driving program that never lets up. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson (whose composition "Along Came Betty" is heard here, subsequently becoming a jazz classic), brilliant trumpeter Lee Morgan, and funky pianist Bobby Timmons (who wrote the hit title cut) each take some of the best solos of their great careers, and Blakey was never greater. No jazz record collection should be without this disc. It remains one of the premier items in Blue Note's catalog, and rightfully so. As part of Blue Note's 1999 60th anniversary celebration, original session producer Rudy Van Gelder's done a smash job remixing Moanin', adding warmth in the low end and far greater color across the spectrum. --Skip Heller

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thelonious Monk - Greatest introduction to a jazz giant

Thelonious Sphere Monk (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered one of the giants of American music. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser" and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.

His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations. This style was not universally appreciated, shown for instance in poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin's dismissal of Monk as "the elephant on the keyboard". 

Visually, he was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats and sunglasses. He was also noted for the fact that at times, while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano. He is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time, after Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, and Duke Ellington, and before Wynton Marsalis.

This collection serves as an introduction only to Monk's enormous body of work. See below for a sample more of his recordings.

1 Well You Needn't (live) 12:42
2 Misterioso 9:46
3 Bemsha Swing 4:14
4 'Round Midnight (Take 2) 3:51
5 Epistrophy 2:27
6 Ruby, My Dear5:42
7 Crepuscule With Nellie 2:46
8 Blue Monk 11:18
9 Straight, No Chaser 11:30

As influential as he proved to be during the final decades of his lifetime, it appears that Monk has only gained greater stature in the years since his death. Once considered too eccentric and complex to be appreciated by listeners and other musicians, Monk has become a standard of excellence, as both composer and soloist, for those who seek to extend the jazz tradition in the current age.