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New to the Listening Loft

ASTROMETRIC STAR | The Road Home | Distant Sounds Records

THE AULT SISTERS | Timeless | Independent

PAUL BROWN | Truth B Told | Woodward Avenue Records

TIM DEHUFF | Big Water Little Boat | Independent

RICHARD ELLIOT | Lip Service | Heads Up

TERJE LIE | Bright Moments | TCat Records

ROBERT MILLER | Twenty | Cakewalk Records


SmoothJazz.com Hot Picks

Soul Strut (On Track)

DENNIS ANGEL Soul Strut (On Track) Timeless Grooves Records

Dennis Angel made a fateful choice after high school – study music at Julliard or pursue a law degree. He eventually became a well-respected entertainment attorney, but jazz found its way back in 2009, when he recorded “The Wall Street Recession Time Blues.” He made an impact with his multi-faceted, full-length debut TIMELESS GROOVES, and now he’s back, deep in the melodic and grooving pocket again with his latest, ON TRACK. The first single “Soul Strut,” produced by Jason Miles, is a playfully funky, swinging tune featuring Angel’s soulful flugelhorn surrounded by top Jazz veterans Kenny Barron (piano), Gottfried Stoger (sax) and the grooving rhythm section of James Genus (bass) and Edward J.T. Lewis (drums). Angel is ON TRACK to become a bona fide jazz star!

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No Strings Attached

MARIEA ANTOINETTE No Strings Attached Independent

Who knew the magical sound of the harp could find a home on the funk side of the Jazz world? San Diego native Marie Antoinette’s repertoire includes Classical, Jazz and R&B, which she has showcased at Walt Disney Hall and of course out on the Jazz in Pink tour. Her debut single “Give Me Your Love” is a sensual, funky fresh re-imagining of the love song from Curtis Mayfield’s iconic Super Fly soundtrack. Keeping her spirited, melodic harp lines front and center, she creates a bold blend of old school with soul sensibilities, symphonic atmospheres and sizzling brass. “Give Me Your Love”… and more of it, please!

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Groove Time

BENNETT B Groove Time Baton Records

Veteran Hollywood session guitarist and contemporary jazz artist with three previous albums under his belt, Bennett B declares that it’s GROOVE TIME on his explosive fourth full length project. Produced by multi-Grammy winning artist Paul Brown, the ten track set has splashes of sizzling brass, a sprinkling of Blues, a lot of Funk and simmering old school keyboard textures. Guests include Greg Adams, and Ricky Lawson in one of his last recordings. The single “Tell Me About It” is mid tempo, in the pocket cool all the way – the perfect showcase for Bennett’s expressive electric guitar excitement. The title says it all – GROOVE TIME grooves!

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A Miracle of Love

DIANA BARASH A Miracle of Love Anaviv Music

On her sensual and soulful debut album A MIRACLE OF LOVE, well traveled Eastern European native Diana Barash caresses her spirited blend of moods, romance and inspiration with exotic percussion, soundscape textures and ethereal atmospheres. Drawing from world music as well as traditional genres like jazz, R&B and pop, the sensual singer creates dreamy journeys (on some tracks in collaboration with renowned jazz pianist and composer Sunnie Paxson) that seduce the listener with optimism as she sings of love, hope, empowerment and perseverance. The elegant, trumpet laced focal track “Save This World” can be enjoyed both as a vocal and instrumental.

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Listen to This

CHERYL BARNES Listen to This Barnes & Cabasso Music

The title of jazz vocalist Cheryl Barnes’ new album LISTEN TO THIS is an invitation to enjoy a brilliant collection of songs, interpreted masterfully by this amazing artist, whose extensive resume includes performances with Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones on the jazz side, the Clara Ward Gospel Singers, and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Talk about vocal range and versatility! Ms. Barnes’ voice and phrasing are stunning. I’m especially drawn to the entrancing “Come with Me,” the gently swinging “Like Jazz,” and her incredible take on Joni Mitchell’s “Come In From the Cold.” Cheryl Barnes’ LISTEN TO THIS is an absolute must-have!

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Best Love Songs

SYLVIA BENNETT Best Love Songs Out of Sight Music

Love doesn’t get any better than this! Grammy-nominee, jazz chanteuse Sylvia Bennett captures the flirtation, the romance and the jazz on her brand new album BEST LOVE SONGS featuring 12 of the most amazing love songs ever written, including Burt Bacharach’s “Look Of Love,” the Sinatra classic “Fly Me To the Moon,” the Gershwins' “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” Ms. Bennett opens the Great American Songbook for her exciting new collection, and helps herself to a rich set list custom made for her exquisite voice and impeccable phrasing! BEST LOVE SONGS is Sylvia Bennett's sweetest assortment of classics yet!

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Night Sketches

BUTCH AND RHONDA COLEMAN Night Sketches Jeremee Records

The dynamic Baltimore based Smooth Jazz duo of Butch (bass) and Rhonda (vocals, keyboards) brings a dynamic resume to their delightfully poppy and soulful debut NIGHT SKETCHES. Their collective resume includes two decades of performances in the DC Metro area. In addition, Butch plays bass on several of pop singer Jessie J’s hit singles, while Rhonda has opened for Al Jarreau, Phyllis Hyman and The Blackbirds. Complementing the playful, horn-fired light funk instrumental tune “Malibu,” the Colemans are all about imparting lessons of love and romance on the vocal tunes - from the optimistic “Here I Go Again” through the exotic, Latin-flavored “Yellow Butterfly,” “Carry My Heart and “We Belong Together.”

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The Doctor Is In

DR. DAVE The Doctor Is In Hatherill Records

An author as well as a prolific artist and composer, guitarist Dr. Dave has written a book in which he says, “Often music touches people in ways that words alone cannot.” Hot on the heels of his star studded 2013 collection “Love Potion,” he lets fans know that THE DOCTOR IS IN – in super-melodic, funky and slightly exotic and tropical ways – on his infectious, high energy new album. The lead single is an easy swinging cover of Stanley Turrentine’s jazzy version of the Marvin Gaye penned, “Don’t Mess With Mr. T,” a dynamic showcase for his crisp, hypnotic electric lines. He includes some older cuts with late sax great Hollis Gentry III, and also a horn-intensive twist on the Booker T. classic “Hip Hug-Her.” Make your appointment – The DOCTOR IS IN!

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Nathan East

NATHAN EAST Nathan East Yamaha Entertainment Group

When word began trickling down that super-bassist and Fourplay founding member Nathan East was releasing his first solo recording in 2014, you could feel the music industry’s heartbeat begin to flutter! The excitement continues to mount as we await the release of NATHAN EAST, the A-List musician’s very first foray into recording as a solo artist. While it may be an individual endeavour, according to the affable East, “It’s a celebration of my musical friends and my musical experiences and influences over 30 years.” To know Nathan East is to love Nathan East. The magnetic musician has recruited a handful of friends to join him, who, like Nathan, are in a class of their own, including Bob James, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, and Sara Bareilles. Nathan’s stars are definitely aligned, as he prepares for a new Eric Clapton tour, on the heels of the international hit “Get Lucky,” (featuring Nathan on bass) and his first single, “Daft Funk,” the feel-good tribute to the Grammy-winning, French hit makers, Daft Punk, is taking to the airwaves and the charts! Fasten your seat belts… this ride is gonna be amazing!

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Lip Service

RICHARD ELLIOT Lip Service Heads Up

Running hard with Dave Koz's Grammy nominated Summer Horns project and subsequent summer tours, saxophonist Richard Elliot is back in his "Sweet Spot" – which also happens to be the title of one of the power tenor ballads on his can't miss latest solo recording, LIP SERVICE. Working in his familiar, easy, soul-jazz-funk zone, with producer Paul Brown, Elliot is in various degrees of seduction mode throughout, forgoing the jams and barnburners for different shades of sensuality – ranging from the silky mid tempo grooves of "City Lights" and easy thumping "All The Way" to the deeper slow dance candlelight of "Sookie Sookie" and engaging covers of hits from several generations of pop/soul: The Manhattans' "Shining Star," Brian McKnight's "Anytime" and Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man." LIP SERVICE seals the soul with a kiss!

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LanceEllis.com

LANCE ELLIS LanceEllis.com Landlord Records

He grew up learning from Ellis Marsalis, he marched in the Mardi Gras in school, he moonlighted on Bourbon Street and played on riverboats and he followed in the footsteps of the, great saxophonist Charles Miller. Meet Lance Ellis, a former New Orleans postal worker turned entrepreneur and entertainer. The charismatic performer has taken the innovative principles of jazz and applied them to his unique style of smooth music that is truly seductive and hypnotic. A timeless, sophisticated gumbo of jazz, Gospel-tinged R&B and soul… inspired by New Orleans but too big to stop there! LanceEllis.com is home to a catalog of cool music, including original Lance Ellis music on CD and DVD. Jazz just the way you like it, smooth and sexy, featuring saxophone and flute with renowned guests including Michael Ward, Gina Brown and Lee Oskar. Get inspired, get inspiring music at LanceEllis.com!

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Amplified Soul

INCOGNITO Amplified Soul Shanachie

However fans choose to label Incognito’s sound in a post Acid Jazz world, its feisty mix of Retro Soul, Brass, Funk and Jazz is a crowd-pleaser. UK groove master and founder Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick and company are on sensual, jamming overdrive on AMPLIFIED SOUL – an eclectic, brassed-up set that doubles as a 35th Anniversary celebration. These high-energy anthems are glorious showcases for an exciting mix of vocalists, including Imaani, Tony Momrelle, Vanessa Haynes and new band additions Katie Leone and 22-year-old Australian singer Chiara Hunter. The Incognito singers are joined by Carleen Anderson (The Brand New Heavies, Young Disciples) and Deborah Bond (Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Sade). AMPLIFIED SOUL turns it up for a whole lot of funky summer fun!

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On Top Of The World

JAREZ On Top Of The World Independent

Crave new music? Meet innovative Saxophonist Jarez and his Cali-cool hybrid blend of jazz, hip-hop and R&B; robust with style and confidence! His album ON TOP OF THE WORLD, takes his unique treatment of Smooth Jazz to the Echo Boomer generation, featuring his infectious new hit single, "Can't Let Go." Jarez says that his desire is to be the "Tiger Woods of jazz." As he puts it, “Tiger made an old man’s game exciting and real for kids. I want to do the same for jazz.” The 30-something is a busy entrepreneur, in addition to promoting his new release, he tours, performs and even cooks with iconic rapper Coolio! Discover jazz by Jarez and expand your world!

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Jazz Funk Soul

JAZZ FUNK SOUL Jazz Funk Soul Shanachie Records

What happens when three of the most dynamic and innovative Urban Jazz greats join forces? In the case of keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Chuck Loeb and saxman Everette Harp, infectious melodies, in the pocket grooves and lots of spontaneous musical combustion – in short, Jazz Funk Soul. This powerhouse collection evolved from the trio touring together, which has led to a playful, freewheeling chemistry. Each of the ten originals allows for colorful solo passages that showcase their true jazz chops (or funk or soul as the case may be). From the frenetic sizzle of “Adrenaline” and the edgy funk of the first single “Serious Business” to the soulful romance of “Silent Partner,” this is a gem from start to finish. JAZZ FUNK SOUL lives up to its name – and then some!

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Relentless

DARRYL EVAN JONES Relentless Independent

Bringing inspired melodic possibilities of the flute back to the Smooth Jazz realm, Darryl Evan Jones adds his own funky spin to the tradition forged by pioneering greats the likes of Tim Weisberg and Hubert Laws. Branding himself the “Ambassador of Instrumental Soul,” the multi-talented artist, who has played the legendary Apollo Theatre and opened for Kem and Boney James, beautifully blends his training and experience in Jazz, Classical and Gospel to create a truly original path. While he’s all about the deep pocket groove on tracks like “It’s Alive” and “The Ride,” he brings a touch of symphonic soul to “Relentless” and eases into a whimsical easy-flowing mode on “A Walk In The Park” and “Remember Me.” Darryl shatters any preconceived notions you may have regarding the flute on RELENTLESS… it’s truly an adventure!

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Dreamwalker

REZA KHAN Dreamwalker Painted Media

New from Bangladesh-born guitarist Reza Khan comes DREAMWALKER with his band Painted Diaries and featuring special guests keyboardist Philippe Saisse and saxophonist Andy Snitzer on Reza’s exciting new collection of global grooves! The title track is the project’s first single and we anticipate a tremendous traction at radio worldwide. The music is remarkably accessible… fans of Peter White and Ken Navarro, will love Reza Khan! Living in New York, Reza gathers his musical inspiration from his world travels as well collaborative efforts with renowned musicians. Chillaxed yet deep!

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Soul Appeal

MICHAEL LINGTON Soul Appeal Copenhagen Music

One of Smooth Jazz’s most dynamic and reliable hit makers, the Danish born saxman blasts through his usual in the pocket vibe for a freewheeling, live in the studio immersion into the heart of 60’s and 70’s Memphis soul. Co-writing with renowned R&B/pop producer Barry Eastmond and playing with a handpicked group of his favorite session musicians (including Paul Jackson, Jr. and Ray Parker, Jr.), Lington complements a batch of infectious, deep grooving originals with two well chosen King Curtis classics, “In The Pocket” and a horn section-infused “Memphis Soul Stew.” This spirited collection also includes two fresh old school style vocal ballads sung by Kenny Lattimore (“Gonna Love You Tonight”) and Ryan Shaw (“Leave Me You”). SOUL APPEAL is fresh, yet familiar!

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Rise Again

LIRA Rise Again Shanachie Records

Miss Lira is a multi-platinum music selling, global goddess who has launched her career from her home base of South Africa. In 2009 she won ‘Album of the Year’ and in 2008 ‘Best Female Artist’ at the South African Music Awards. Lira’s heady mixture of old school soul is spiced with contemporary twists and intelligent lyrics. RISE AGAIN is the inspiring artist’s first release on Shanachie Entertainment in the U.S. and opens an exciting new chapter for the focused recording artist. “I have big dreams,” Lira has frequently been quoted as saying, she adds,“I don’t want to be boxed into being a particular kind of artist.” Safe to say that this is not possible… RISE AGAIN features the seductively joyful hit, “Feel Good,” which could be Lira's call and response to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” 13 tracks in all, including an integral cover of Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside So Strong," a wonderful version of this song drenched in South African music influences. Discover Lira… she has a dream!

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The Smooth Factor

DEE LUCAS The Smooth Factor Smooth Soul Music Group

On his perfectly titled 5th solo album, THE SMOOTH FACTOR, Dee Lucas continues his soulful mastery of the soprano sax in the tradition of one of his heroes, the late George Howard, whom he recorded his debut album as a tribute to. Lucas’ evolving musical career is fascinating in that he didn’t pick up a horn until he was 28, then worked his way up as a sideman as well as a bandleader (of the ensemble Xpressions) before venturing out on his own. Highlights on THE SMOOTH FACTOR include the playful, funky title track and 1st single (mixing moody old school keys creating a soaring atmosphere behind his horn playing), the sensual vocal ballad “Stay” and the wistful, compelling mid-tempo ballad “The Smooth Ride.” Dee Lucas has the X Factor and it's all over THE SMOOTH FACTOR!

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Thumpin' - The Live Album

MICHAEL MANSON Thumpin' - The Live Album NuGroove Music, LLC.

One of Smooth Jazz's most creative and explosive bassists, Chicago-based Michael Manson has put out some great studio discs – but nothing tops the wild abandon and all-out joy of his live performances. So it’s exciting that he’s giving us his unfiltered, hard groovin’ best on THUMPIN’ LIVE, a 16-track set CD/DVD of the multi-talented artist at his best. In addition to expansive romps through his popular tunes like “Outer Drive,” key tracks include the soulful, swaying “Just One Touch” and the brassy, heavy bottom way out rockin’ funk of “The Bottom Line,” fashioned as a tribute to his late hero George Duke, whom Manson first played with on Kirk Whalum’s “The Gospel According To Jazz” in 1997. Nobody does THUMPIN’ LIVE better than Manson!

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King Of The Most High

KEITH MASON King Of The Most High Independent

Love, light, spirituality… all wrapped up with a beautiful, bottom heavy vibe! Meet bassist, Keith Mason who mixes his passion for music with the grace of a higher calling on his 3rd album release, KING OF THE MOST HIGH. A one-of-a-kind tapestry of Smooth Christian Jazz, soul and R&B. Music on a spiritual path from an artist who’s spent 35 years performing many musical genres which has honed his impeccable tone and masterful melodies, both showcased here along with beautiful bass solos. Keith lives and breaths his love of music and includes it in his Ministry of Music at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Virginia as well as performing with his own band N2N. The message on KING OF THE MOST HIGH is one of love, and love, no matter how you slice it, is always a positive thing!

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Ruby Lane

KEN NAVARRO Ruby Lane Positive Music Records

Closing in on his 25th anniversary as a recording artist, guitarist Ken Navarro has long been one of Contemporary Jazz's most consistent and melodic hitmakers. But on the fascinating and compelling RUBY LANE - his 21st recording since 1990 - he also explores adventurous and unexpected new vibes, including hypnotic and percussive tunes such as "Westbound and Rolling," expansive and dramatic sounds such as "Kings and Queens" and even classical-influences like "When The Spirit Speaks," featuring the Scheinbar String Quartet. Creative covers of early Boz Scaggs and Stevie Wonder's infectious "Higher Ground" are also included. The title track is a hit, a buoyant anniversary gift to Ken's wife Kristin. A spirited, eclectic album offering an exciting glimpse of the artist and the genre's bright future!

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Original

NOBRESIL Original Independent

Driven by soulful, Bossa based rhythms, colorful and exotic instrumentation (by top Latin and Brazilian musicians) and the sensual voice and beautiful phrasing of multi-lingual lead vocalist Mari Nobre, Nobresil offers a unique, multi-cultural world jazz and Brazilian music vibe on their new album that lives up to its title: ORIGINAL. A partnership between Mari Nobre and her Grammy winning husband, bassist Leo Nobre, the group works magic with a mix of classic Brazilian tunes, infectious new compositions and fresh twists, such as on The Gershwins’ “Fascinating Rhythm” and the Oscar-winning ballad “Up Where We Belong.” The tunes are filled with passion, poetry and only real instrumentation! Nobresil (a play on the the artists’ name Nobre and Brasil) defies all rules! Part pop, part jazz, part World music, 100% ORIGINAL!

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Best Of so far

STEVE OLIVER Best Of so far SOM Entertainment, LLC

With his fascinating mix of melodic, acoustic guitar, driving grooves, soulful lead singing and infectious, seemingly extraterrestrial talents as a human drum and vocal soundscape master, Steve Oliver has, over the past 15 years, titled his albums after the uplifting vibes he’s created. Early on, he recorded POSITIVE ENERGY and RADIANT. Later, incorporating more of a universal consciousness and world rhythms, he released GLOBAL KISS and WORLD CITIZEN. BEST SO FAR is a spirited 15 track set featuring the multi-talented performer’s many infectious radio smashes (including two re-recorded from his 1999 debut FIRST VIEW) and two irresistible new tracks including the first single, "Calling You." BEST OF SO FAR is a great overview of one of the genre’s most unique creative geniuses!

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Fountain Of Youth

THE RIPPINGTONS Fountain Of Youth Peak Records USA / eOne Music

The journey began 28 years ago when Russ Freeman formed the band that would become synonymous with contemporary jazz… a band that four-wheeled through a fusion of rock, world music, pop and jazz. A band that helped defined a genre, create a lifestyle and explore melody without vocals. Nearly three decades later, his band is showing no signs of slowing down; Russ Freeman continues to create soul stirring, driving music on the Rippingtons’ 20th album, FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH. This guitar-centric project features some of the coolest guitars in Freeman’s collection, including his 1960 Strat, 70’s Telecaster, Baglama (Turkish sitar-like instrument), Ukulele, among other vintage gear. The 10 new tunes will leave you delighted… from the energetic, opener, “Spice Route” to the pop/rock first single, “North Shore” to the chilled out finale, “Garden of the Gods,” it’s clear the band has discovered the secret to youthful longevity. Long live the Rippingtons!

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Playa Blanca (Soul Italiano)

PAOLO RUSTICHELLI Playa Blanca (Soul Italiano) Next Age Music

After hitting it big on the charts with his recent #1 hit "Med Groove," the Smooth Jazz hit maker, pioneer of synth music and originator of the Chillout explosion, takes us on another enchanted, pulsating, energetic journey this summer, on a white, sandy beach with "Playa Blanca" - A musical vacation to the beach of your dreams! From Paolo Rustichelli's forthcoming, masterpiece album SOUL ITALIANO, comes this exciting new single with a fresh, smooth energetic mix of saxophone riffs, Latin rhythms, Reggae and classic Paolo melodies and style! It's easy to predict that this new oustanding exploration of the Mediterrannean and his enchanted vibrating realms will be a summer sensation!

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Appaloosa

TONY SAUNDERS Appaloosa San Francisco Records

World-class bassist Tony Saunders plays bass like a wild-spirited, free-running, colorful Appaloosa. His soulful, low-end bass work is melodic, joyful and deep… like the Bay Area artist himself! This highly anticipated release features many originals including the album’s first single, the sophisticated and melodic “Sandy Shores of Monterey,” a smooth, sultry groove that I love beyond the obvious reasons (but I love it for the name as well :-). Special guests on APPALOOSA include Howard Hewitt, Santana's Tony Lindsay, Sakai, Tower of Power’s Tom Politzer and Bill Champlin singing the title track, a Gino Vannelli penned tune. Tony's career began at 5 years old, as it would in the house of his father, the beloved, late Merl Saunders (Rainforest Band, Jerry Garcia). This is why he runs deep! The project is love-inspired, love-themed and will set your spirit free!

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Tangos

RICHARD SMITH Tangos Chillharmonic Music

It’s been some 5 years since the The L.A. Chillharmonic project, the last recording from one of the coolest guitarists in Contemporary Jazz. By no means does that mean he’s been idle. The tenured music professor at the University of Southern California lives abroad 3 months every year; in 2012 and 2013 he traveled to 11 countries performing music from his previous 13 releases and collaborated with a group of international all-stars on the creation of TANGOS, the deepest, most engaging release of his career. The globally connected musical innovator was inspired by his travels to explore the intensity of the music and the dance. He brings his West coast, flirtatious, chill vibe to one of the most romantic, fiery music forms. On TANGOS the passion of the Tango meets the cool of Smooth, featuring Smith on a variety of stringed instruments in luscious orchestrations with fashionable loop mixes and effects. Get ready for this new Richard Smith groove… fresh, soulful, global!

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Renaissance Man

TONY TRAVALINI Renaissance Man Independent

A onetime Motown artist and songwriter returning to the groove after a few decades away, Tony Travalini forges a fresh, multi-faceted vibe and a wealth of sonic possibilities via his Roland GR-20 Guitar Synthesizer. On his dynamic, genre-defying debut RENAISSANCE MAN he uses this incredible electronic "axe" to create sweeping atmospheres, exotic chants, pan flutes, saxophone, trumpet, horn sections, crisp electric and acoustic guitar sounds - and a lot of unexpected sonic textures along the way. His new single, the title track "Renaissance Man," is an easy grooving light funk tune featuring Travalini's graceful and jazzy lead electric guitar tone, rich percussion textures and wordless gospel-flavored synth guitar generated vocal harmonies a la Take 6.

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Morning Nouveau

WALDINO Morning Nouveau WaldinoMusic.com

Fresh, uncomplicated, shimmering… MORNING NOUVEAU showcases the chillout craftsman in a sweet, positive light! Songs like “Morning Nouveau,” “High On Love” and “Thinking of You,” bring out the jazzier musings from the prolific songwriter and make for a collection of hopeful and inspiring tracks. The Waldino electro-retro sound is very much evident on MORNING NOUVEAU and lets the sun shine in brightly on the 10 new originals! Walter Liskiewicz aka Waldino, brushes with spacious and sincere strokes and relaxed colors here. Always eager to get a new album from the master of tranquilo, MORNING NOUVEAU delivers gentle, inspired songs, each a mini movie soundtrack in its own right. You know how it is at first light, the day is innocent and vulnerable… such is the essence on this latest offering from the wizard of wonder… Waldino!

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Wild Heart

MINDI ABAIR Wild Heart Heads Up

While saxophonist Mindi Abair has had her share of smooth hits, her live shows reveal that she’s a rocker at heart – and these past few years, she’s proven it by touring with Aerosmith and playing a benefit with Bruce Springsteen. While not fully abandoning her infectious melodic pop, on WILD HEART she amps up the power and plays with explosive abandon. Alternately keeping her identifiable horn and dreamy lead vocals front and center, she ups her game big time with a dream guest list of top artists who have inspired her: Trombone Shorty, Gregg Allman, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, Max Weinberg, renowned session guitarist Waddy Wachtel and others. WILD HEART allows one of the genre’s favorite artists to go wild!

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The Road Home

ASTROMETRIC STAR The Road Home Distant Sounds Records

To boldly go where 18 musicians dare to go... Astrometric Star's THE ROAD HOME, a musically intelligent ride that travels adeptly through contemporary jazz, pop, rock and R&B on this new collection of cleverly arranged tunes contributed to by L.A.'s top musicians… Astrometric Star's THE ROAD HOME, an instrumental album created by arranger and producer Lee Gianangelo celebrates both original compositions and outstanding covers including a mini tribute to Steely Dan with five of their titles woven into this release. Smooth Jazz fans will delight with the album's first single, "Valdez In the Country," as well as "Rosalinda" and a grooving' cover of "Low Rider," plus much more. THE ROAD HOME is a cool, diverse musical offering, with an emphasis on dynamic treatments and arrangements!

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Timeless

THE AULT SISTERS Timeless Independent

Toronto based siblings Amanda (23), Alicia (21) and Alanna Ault (19) have grown up applying their glorious vocal harmonies to everything from holiday music to pop and rock. On TIMELESS, they swing playfully into a seductive, cool retro Jazz vibe that brings to mind everyone from The Andrews Sisters to Wilson Phillips, while allowing them to put their own stamp on a mix of classics ("The Boy From New York City," "Moondance," "River") and a few originals. The very talented Ault Sisters are in perfect harmony throughout the very compelling TIMELESS!

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The Next Chapter

TOM BRAXTON The Next Chapter Pacific Coast Jazz

A truly revered saxophonist… Tom Braxton is highly respected by both the world-class artists he performs with and the fans that watch him play! With a tone that is rich and distinctive, there’s no wonder why this star player commands attention. Tom’s highly anticipated 8th solo release, THE NEXT CHAPTER, is a feel-good, body movin’, soulfully positive collection of tunes, featuring Grammy winners Bob James, Ricky Lawson, Earl Klugh, along with one of Smooth Jazz’s most beloved guitarists, Peter White! In addition to outstanding, original compositions, you’ll find sweet covers of favorites including the OJay’s “I Love Music,” and the Spinner’s “I’ll Be Around;” tunes that bring to mind the fun vibe of the late Wayman Tisdale, whom Braxton supported as Musical Director for 17 years. In addition to his own band, you can occasionally enjoy him with Earl Klugh and Keiko Matsui. Brimming with good vibes, Tom Braxton’s THE NEXT CHAPTER is a guaranteed chart topper!

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Driven By Angels

BROTHER JAY Driven By Angels BrotherJayjazz.com

Can’t imagine a better thing to be inspired by… the divine and uplifting! Jazzman, Brother Jay composes smooth, melodic songs inspired by angels. He calls his unique blend of jazz, “Inspirational Jazz.” I call his music soulfully connected… Jay is a musician who calls on a higher power to guide him through life, love and songwriting. You can feel the love when you listen… and feel it you will on his exceptional new album DRIVEN BY ANGELS. Delightfully positive new songs featuring Brother Jay’s elegant keyboard playing along with feel-good percussion and undeniably, hooky melodies! Songs like “Steppin’ On Air,” “Talk To Me,” “Slow Ride In Slow Motion” and “Rain On Me” make DRIVEN BY ANGELS one of the best recordings yet from the man with the heart of gold… Brother Jay!

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Truth B Told

PAUL BROWN Truth B Told Woodward Avenue Records

The two-time Grammy winning guitarist has produced over 60 #1s for other artists, but, truth be told, none of that success behind the boards can shadow his powerhouse solo artistry. Brown showcases his mastery of catchy melodies and smooth Funk grooves, with cool atmospheres and occasional sizzling horn accents adding harmony pizzazz to electric guitar melodies that are rooted in Jazz but steeped in heartfelt Blues. He's got a killer guest list of top saxmen, with Najee, Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove and Darren Rahn. Though the rousing brass funk driven "Take It From Me" is the first single, the heart and soul cuts are "Love N Trust" (a duet with singer Wendy Moten) and "Purple Shoes," the closing jam with Larry Carlton. TRUTH B TOLD, you’re going to love this album!

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Come and See The Stars With Me Tonight

PETER BUSBOOM Come and See The Stars With Me Tonight Independent

Truly a musical citizen of the world, versatile guitarist/composer Peter Busboom was born and raised in Germany, has lived in NYC, Los Angeles and San Francisco and now resides in Sydney, Australia. Busboom is known for his soulful, gracefully melodic atmospheric New Age and Jazz fusion vibe.

The eight tracks on his new album live up to the dreamy romance promised by the title, ranging from the hypnotic and sensual “It’s Beautiful” and the moody, sax driven “Spring in San Francisco” to the dreamy and colorful burst of sunlight coming through the “Morning Shades.” This project offers global musical passport clearance… turn it up!

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It Always Feels Good

STEVEN ANTHONY COOK It Always Feels Good Heavy Productions

NYC jazz guitarist/composer Steven Anthony Cook releases a collection that he’s written, performed (all instruments) and produced, highlighted by the single, “Sweet Pleasure,” a sensual slow jam designed to fit the title IT ALWAYS FEELS GOOD. World travels to Spain, France, Italy, the Caribbean and more are infused into the artist's expressive, musical works. The multi-dimensional talent teaches music and owns a film scoring company, Heavy Productions. Let your mind unwind with this organic jazz!

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Phat Jazz

DA PHATFUNK CLIQUE Phat Jazz Musically INKLIGNed Records

Jazz violinist Darrell “D-Funk” Looney knows how to elevate spirits and enhance moods with his unique musical concoction of funk, jazz, hip hop, Latin and Caribbean! This latest album of songs from the east coast collective known as Da Phatfunk Clique, is a collaborative recording with long time contributors, including an uplifting performance from keyboardist Bob Baldwin on the hit, “For Sake of the Art” featuring BB’s signature cool, urban jazz keys. The inspiring ensemble was a finalist in the Capitol Jazz Festival competition a handful of years ago. Under the funky and jazzy direction of “D-Funk,” with the addictive sound of his jazz violin out front, PHAT JAZZ will leaving you satisfied!

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Big Water Little Boat

TIM DEHUFF Big Water Little Boat Independent

New York area guitarist extraordinaire, Tim DeHuff shines brightly on his impressive album debut, BIG WATER LITTLE BOAT. It's truly amazing that this world class musician is just releasing a solo recording given the long list of artists he's supported over the years including The Main Ingredient, Larry Coryell, John Klemmer, David Benoit, Lee Ritenour, George Duke and many more. This stunning project features original tunes offering a variety of musical styles ranging from contemporary jazz, funk, and rock to Latin and Reggae, all showcasing Tim’s polished, yet edgy guitar solos, guaranteeing an exciting listening experience. Get ready to have your boat rocked!

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Change Coming

MARK ETHEREDGE Change Coming Vipaka Records

There’s a big CHANGE COMING in Mark Etheredge’s life – and if the eclectic coolness of his debut album as a singer/songwriter and pianist is any indication, it’s going to involve much deserved adult contemporary stardom. In addition to playing the kind of refined soul/pop that legends like Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs and Bobby Caldwell did in their heydays, the multi-talented, Los Angeles based artist beautifully balances marvelously sly humor and colorful storytelling with heartfelt romantic expressions.

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Live Life

CAJSA FRANGQUIST Live Life Independent

New from the exciting world of Cajsa ("kai-za") Franquist comes a fun, energetic new EP filled with life… aptly titled LIVE LIFE! The Swedish songwriter, singer, producer has a unique sound that mixes exciting Euro beats with a fresh fusion of funk, jazz, soul and R&B. "Funk (That Music Beat)" is the first single and it promises to get you moving with a contemporary dance groove and jazz nuances throughout. Cajsa has a style all her own… on the forefront of crossing sounds, blurring lines and proving that her generation is genre-blind and trailblazing to their own music beat. Cajsa's cool!

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On The Rocks - EP

THE GRAY Feat LAURENT CAILLAT On The Rocks - EP Independent

Fading into The Gray will lead you into a sexy world of sweet sensuality; fashionable beats, stimulating lyrics and sultry vocals. Meet Laurent Caillat, the driving force behind this music project. Born to a Haitian mother and Swiss father, the multi-cultural NYC-based singer, songwriter, producer, actor, dancer, DJ and model keeps extraordinarily busy with all of the above, including shooting a new TV comedy series directed by Mark Farrell (Curb Your Enthusiasm). The Gray feat Laurent Caillat delivers an appetizing collection of songs on the EP, ON THE ROCKS, a provocative, irresistible, love-drenched soundtrack for modern times featuring Laurent’s alluring vocals and compelling lyrics. Straight up, ON THE ROCKS delivers emotive, sonic seduction in 5 amazing songs!

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Passport To Joy

MIKE HAMILTON Passport To Joy B&G Productions

A well-traveled saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, Mike Hamilton has appeared and toured with a wide range of artists, including James Brown, Ne-Yo, Jonathan Butler, Phil Perry and the late Ronny Jordan. His infectious new single truly lives up to its fun-filled name. Featuring sultry vocals by Koreena Lunares, it’s a melodic, high energy and funky romp that makes the perfect summer driving soundtrack. Stamp your “Passport To Joy” today!

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No Time Like Now

VINCENT IOIA No Time Like Now Independent

An emotional odyssey lies behind the launching of saxophonist Vincent Ioia’s (pronounced "ee-yoy-ya") recording adventure! His world-class release, NO TIME LIKE NOW, comes on the heels of a 30-year career as an IT professional and successful Chief Information Officer for a major Wall Street investment company! Heart warming story… a young musician opted out of his music career to earn a living for his family; later revisiting his first love (music) after tragedy struck, losing his wife to cancer. Literally inspired by David Sanborn, NO TIME LIKE NOW showcases power and passion. You'll hear it in Vincent’s explosive playing! From the horn-driven, title track featuring Rippingtons’ keyboardist Bill Heller to the rest of the album, with songs penned by co-producer Ricky Peterson as well as Heller, featuring A-Listers, guitarist Gerey Johnson, bassist Paul Peterson and percussionist Petar Janjic.

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1st Collection

JAZZ IN PINK 1st Collection Philly The Kid Records

The highly-anticipated, debut recording from the stunning, all-star female ensemble known and loved as Jazz In P!nk is a slam dunk hit and a divine slice of heaven! The aptly titled, 1ST COLLECTION, will no doubt be the first of many for jazz heroines. Originated and nurtured by highly regarded keyboardist Gail Jhonson, Jazz In P!nk showcases each and every star player in the band, including world-renown violinist Karen Briggs, enchanting jazz harpist Maria Antoinette, plus Trippin 'n' Rhythm recording artists, contemporary flautist Althea Rene and trumpeter Cindy Bradley, and many more brilliant soloists. The JIP band is also star-studded featuring bassist Robin Bramlett, guitarist Lois "LadyMac" McMorris and drummer Danielle "Pocket" Brown. 1ST COLLECTION serves up 11 tracks of sheer Pink power with emphasis on groove and melody, highlighted by innovation with distinctive instrumentation. Pink is the new jazz!

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Soulfisticated

JEF KEARNS Soulfisticated Soul Breeze Records

The soulful, melodic and eminently grooving flute master Jef Kearns brings a colorful background into a cool, sophisticated sound that blends the cutting edge of Soul and Hip Hop rhythms with explosive Jazz improvisations. He grew up listening and playing along to Hip-Hop and R&B on Detroit radio in the 90s, then cut his teeth in the house band for Toronto's Jazz club, Trane Studio, for five years. A mix of instrumentals and six tracks featuring sensual guest female vocalists, Kearns keeps his flute fresh and melodic, with improvisational brilliance up front as he delves into concepts that range from trippy and atmospheric to vibey and upbeat - and all inspiring destinations in between. Wildly soulful, truly sophisticated... Jef Kearns is SOULFISTICATED!

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Bright Moments

TERJE LIE Bright Moments TCat Records

Terje Lie (pronounced "Terry Lee") knows a good team when he's got one. Collaborating on the second project in a row with the writing and production team of keyboardist Jeff Lorber and Yellowjackets' bassist Jimmy Haslip, the Norwegian born, Los Angeles based saxophonist stirs up the perfect high energy blend of pop, R&B and jazz fusion here. Stocked with playful, solid grooves like the funky opener "Storm Skies" and the first single "You Know," which are both hooky and melodic, you should also know that this album is a classic "player's album" where inventive improvisation and explosive jamming reign throughout. Lie saves the most unpredictable ride for last, blowing hard with his cohorts amidst the explosive rock energy of guest guitarist Michael Landau as they navigate the wild "Jungle." Lots of BRIGHT MOMENTS to enjoy throughout! Bold moves for Terje Lie, we expect big things from this talent!

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Phone Phonics

MARY MARSHALL Phone Phonics Independent

On PHONE PHONICS Mary Marshall’s first independent album in ten years, the versatile composer, performer, educator, music director and choir director shares joyful and thoughtfully melodic original compositions that tap into many of the elements that have defined her varied musical resume. Influenced equally by jazz and classical music, the pianist balances frenetic romps like “You Said What?” with moody, reflective ballads like, “I Stand Accused,” the powerful Gospel/Blues influenced “For Your Precious Love” and graceful, easy flowing pieces like “Phone Talk” and “Sudden Disconnect.” Urban jazz fans who like the funk will most enjoy the blazing rock guitar and piano driven “Keyed Up”, while those who prefer an in the pocket vibe will enjoy the sassy seduction of “1+1 = One.” PHONE PHONICS is off the hook!

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Twenty

ROBERT MILLER Twenty Cakewalk Records

Acclaimed bassist/composer Robert Miller, who launched his career playing fusion in Boston in the 1970s, has been busy these past two decades with his bands The Robert Miller Group and Project Grand Slam, playing soulful, high energy contemporary jazz with an equal mix of urban funk and fiery rock elements—with the occasional lush ballad thrown in for dreamy pleasure. After a hiatus, we're happy to report that Project Grand Slam is reassembled and performing again! TWENTY is a fun-filled, retrospective romp with 16 original Robert Miller tunes, including the exciting, brassy single "Catch You Later." So good, you'll wish there were 20 tracks on TWENTY!

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Sky

JEANNE NEWHALL Sky Marzipan Records

Composer, singer, pianist, poet Jeanne Newhall is what I call an expansive artist; her sound is not easily confined to one genre. Rather her organic music style is inclusive of much... such as love, jazz, folk, intelligence, soul, blues, spirituality, humor, yoga, earth, sea and SKY. This new recording, some 10 years in the making, features 10 originals and a casual-cool cover of Bob Dylan's "If Not For You." The project also features the artful bass work of the great Abraham Laboriel as well as Walter Rodriquez on percussion and drums, and Japanese guitarist Kazunori Koga. The album is called SKY for reasons that only Jeanne Newhall knows, but to me, it's because it features music that is elevated… songs with meaning, delivered with an intelligent musical sensibility, like jazz. These songs will attach themselves to your heart and work their way skyward to your thoughts, where they will linger.

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Let Your Love Rise

FABIANA PASSONI Let Your Love Rise Independent

In 2012, Fabiana Passoni received a unique designation that affirmed the impact of her sultry mix of Jazz Fusion, Bossa Nova, Baiao and Samba on American audiences. She was chosen by the Brazilian International Press Awards Colegio Electoral as Best Brazilian Female Singer Living in the U.S. Her cool, sensual vocals are showcased beautifully on her graceful and rhythmic new single “Let Your Love Rise,” one of three vibrant tracks on her latest EP of the same name. She also puts her sweet, distinctive vocal stamp on a lush cover of Carole King’s classic “Jazzman,” and a cool Bossa version of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” Fabiana is Fab!

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Let's Have Sax

STEVE REASON Let's Have Sax SoBe Entertainment

Ooh la la! From the soon-to-be-released album LET'S HAVE SAX comes a sexy new tune that spills over with scintillating jazz, infused with chill and neo soul... Steve Reason's "French Love"! The saxophonist, singer, songwriter, producer, performer has our full attention! "French Love" comes in two flavors, a St. Tropez-tinged version with sultry vocals and smooth rap featuring guests Ja'Rae and Stack$, as well as a mostly instrumental version for clear-air flying with pure unadulterated saxophone. If this is how Steve's gonna bring it with the first single, we are preparing for the rest!

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Exotica

ROXANNA Exotica Roxart Inc.

While she was a Registered Nurse, Iranian born, Toronto-based singer Roxanna discovered the healing power of music very literally when she sang for her very ill patients. Medicine’s loss is Smooth Jazz’s gain, as the multi-talented artist shares a blend of powerhouse emotional ballads and sensual Latin-flavored gems on her perfectly titled debut EXOTICA, featuring some of the world's greatest musicians and Flamenco performers! Her first single is a lush and sensuous, string enhanced mid-tempo twist on Lionel Richie’s classic of longing, “Hello.” Let Roxanna charm and seduce you with EXOTICA.

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Tell You Something

SAM RUCKER Tell You Something Favor Productions

The next generation of Smooth Jazz has a visionary… welcome to the inspired world of saxophonist Sam Rucker and his soulful and passionate new album TELL YOU SOMETHING! This unique blend of Jazz, Soul, Gospel and Hip Hop, is collaboration with sax star, Euge Groove and features special guests Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Brown and Alyson Williams. Nearly three years in the making, every song is moving with nonstop, positive energy and rich production. The single, “Be True 2 Who U R” will surely be the first of many songs from this album to hit the airwaves! The saxman who’s played with Smooth Jazz stars such as Peter White, Ronnie Laws and Phil Perry is telling you something, we highly recommend that you listen!

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Jobim Tribute

LES SABLER Jobim Tribute New Vista Records

It's 50 years since saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Joao Gilberto started the Bossa Nova craze in the U.S. by sharing the magic of Antonio Carlos Jobim on their classic album Getz/Gilberto - and guitarist Les Sabler is in a big time celebrating mood on his sensual, romantic and infectiously melodic new JOBIM TRIBUTE. Unlike many homages that just scratch the surface, Sabler's thoughtful 12-track collection digs into the heart of Jobim's catalog for some enticing obscurities beyond the well-known hits. While primarily known as a guitarist, Sabler shares his beautiful vocal gifts on half the album, conveying the multitude of emotions conjured by these timeless tunes. In paying honor to a master, Sabler proves to be quite masterful himself!

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NOW

JIM SAMUEL NOW Independent

Composer/pianist Jim Samuel offers a compelling variety of textures and tempos on his latest release, NOW, featuring a stellar collection of originals, augmented by two sterling covers… namely the iconic “Mr. Magic,” featuring Gerald Albright’s brilliant sax work, and the Norah Jones hit, “Don’t Know Why.” Of the originals, I’m particularly drawn to the lovely “Serena,” featuring talented guitarist Rob Tardik, and the bittersweet “Now That You’re Gone,” featuring trumpet/flugelhorn master Tony Neenan. NOW just might be Mr. Samuel’s best release yet. Expect to see this one spending a lot of time at the top of the charts in 2014!

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Hard Water

JONATHAN SIGEL Hard Water Jonathan Sigel Music

The New York native, now South Florida based trumpeter has performed professionally since the age of 17, his original music is reminiscent and influenced by artists including Jeff Lorber, George Duke, Steely Dan and even Stevie Wonder. Fans have been eagerly awaiting for a follow up to his debut “Milky Way Soul,” and our patience has been rewarded with a killer collection of original grooves and Smooth Jazz. HARD WATER, is a bright and melodic, easy grooving mix of retro and contemporary sounds. From the energetic and supercharged, “Monster Woman,” to the easy flowing, cool romance of “Who We Were.” Critically acclaimed saxophonist Eric Marienthal guests on the project. Jonathan Sigel’s HARD WATER promises to quench your thirst for inspiring new music from inspired artists!

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One

THUMPER & GENERATION ONE One United 4 Love Entertainment

A wildly versatile one-man-band and creative Renaissance man (singer, songwriter, producer actor, model) from Omaha, Nebraska. Meet Thumper & Generation One... urban jazz fans will be swaying to the electric guitar and vocal driven slow jam of the Johnny Gill classic “My My My.” But don’t get too chilled, Thumper's got a lot more up his sleeve on this eclectic 14 track collection of multiple moods – including New Age (the opener, “Song of the Universe”), blistering Rock/Soul (“It’s Time”), funky Synth-Jazz (“In The Zone”) and Techno-Rock-Gospel (“The Saints Jam”). Thumper’s ONE is one cool and wild ride!

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