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New to the Listening Loft

MIKE DiLORENZO with Frank Valdes | Soul To Soul | Keep The Groove

CHERILYN EVANS | Truly Loved | Ceejazz.com

THE JAMES KOB EXPERIENCE | So Right | Partly Sunny Records

KEIKO MATSUI | Journey To The Heart | Shanachie Records

DAVE MUSE | Firefall Revisited | Deva Records

JOHN NOVELLO | Ivory Soul | 529 Music

STEVE RAYBINE | Cool Vibes | Bad Kat Records, LLC

PAUL TUVMAN | Musically Speaking | Independent


SmoothJazz.com Hot Picks

Global Force

3RD FORCE Global Force Baja/TSR Records

What a fantastic way to roll out 2016… the Force has truly awakened with the first recording from the compelling contemporary jazz project 3RD Force in more than ten years! Sonic architects, William Aura and Craig Dobbin return with a GLOBAL FORCE. Both artists have spent the past decade involved in musical and cultural endeavors, including global activism through organizations with the mission to bring peace and progress to the world through music. Their exciting and eloquent new release opens a dynamic, new chapter for the duo in a global music paradigm. There was a natural and organic approach taken on GLOBAL FORCE – The concept was to create an album for artistic reward rather than corporate expectations… and the result is extraordinary (amazing how that works). A rich and textured soundtrack for music fans who crave something a little more for their ears than conventional. In addition to juicy rhythms and seductive saxophone, you’ll hear delightful contributions from special guests Lawson Rollins, Brian Hughes and members from the popular Nepali supergroup Kutumba. Download now… and let the Force be with you!

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Midnight Passion

BENNETT B Midnight Passion Baton Records

The perfect follow-up to his 2014 hit album GROOVE TIME, guitarist Bennett B’s MIDNIGHT PASSION – which includes a high energy, party-vocal version of his hit radio single “Get On Up!” - is driven by smooth, sexy grooves designed to take the heart and soul deeper into the night. Produced by the veteran Hollywood session guitarist and Grammy-winning genre hitmaker Paul Brown, Bennett’s high energy blues, brass, funk and exotica filled set features exciting guest appearances by vocal trio DW3, percussion great Lenny Castro and drummer Joel Taylor, with dynamic horn arrangements by Lee Thornburg. You don’t have to wait all day to experience the full-on magic of MIDNIGHT PASSION!

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It's All About Love

SYLVIA BENNETT It's All About Love Out of Sight Music

Sylvia Bennett’s first all original, contemporary jazz album, IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE, is finally available. Featuring the Grammy-nominated singer in an entirely new sonic atmosphere, one that plays on her sensual side and taps into her 24/7, deeply held belief that love is the answer as well as the question. The project has produced two hits before it’s release date and the 3rd single, the title track, “It’s All About Love,” is no doubt going to be another runaway radio smash as well with it’s smooth, ethereal groove featuring the high studio standards of producer/songwriter Hal S. Batt (Shakira, Julio Iglesias) and the gorgeous layering of voice with a sweet, seductive musical ambiance. The Miami song machine is in her creative prime and is redefining the business of music, with no intentions of stopping anytime soon!

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Can You Hear Me

PATRICK BRADLEY Can You Hear Me Patrick Bradley

When you hear the bluesy organ solo on “All In,” the easy flowing opening track of keyboardist/composer Patrick Bradley’s CAN YOU HEAR ME, and the wild Moog synth solo on the high octane “North of Evermore,” you might just think they’re being played by the project’s legendary producer Jeff Lorber. That’s how exciting and innovative Bradley is as a player! Though he enlists the help of all-star friends like Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Jimmy Haslip and Eric Marienthal, Bradley shines on both the main melodies and sparkling solos on a set that’s rocking, funkified and at times profoundly spiritual. CAN YOU HEAR ME? That would be a resounding YES!

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Set Me Free

DAVE BRADSHAW JR. Set Me Free MOKU Records

There is a certain sophistication to Dave Bradshaw Jr.’s cool, jazzy compositions. His album SET ME FREE, due out later this year, has yielded three tasty treasures including his brand new single, “West Coast Jammin’” featuring the unmistakable Darren Rahn on saxophone! This classy, groovin’ tune will have you boppin’ your head on Pacific Coast Highway, even if it’s only in your mind! The successful sideman, steps out into the spotlight with his original tunes that exude delightful melody and world-class chops! “Jumpstep” and “Nothin' But Groove” took the killer keyboardist to new, solo horizons in 2015, and early 2016, and we’re certain that the latest single and the soon-to-be-released full album will take this effervescent talent to more exciting successes in 2016 and well beyond! Set yourself free by adding Dave Bradshaw Jr.’s music to your personal playlist!

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Let's Get Started

VANN BURCHFIELD Let's Get Started Self-Released

Before he released his sparklingly exotic, Brazilian themed 2015 debut RYTHMS OF RIO last year, Birmingham based saxophonist Vann Burchfield was perhaps best known in jazz circles for setting a new Guinness world record for circular breathing (besting Kenny G). Now that the award-winning, multi-instrumentalist is in the mix of top indie Smooth Jazz artists, there’s no stopping his smooth, sexy, silk-funk fired musical flow. His new collection LET’S GET STARTED features a handful of lush and lighthearted melodic originals amidst a batch of cleverly seductive, easy grooving re-imaginings of classic 80s pop/soul hits. Want to hear what it sounds like when a masterful player is on the rise? LET’S GET STARTED!

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This Is Where I Wanna Be

SHARON MARIE CLINE This Is Where I Wanna Be Sharonmariecline.com

Celebrated and critically acclaimed L.A. based vocal stylist Sharon Marie Cline has released a live album and holiday project in the past, but those were simply prelude to her glorious emergence as a recording artist with this an exquisite and romantic collection that allows her to declare, on the dreamy and sensual, flute spiced title track, one of two lush originals among 10 well chosen interpretations of classics, that “This Is Where I Wanna Be.” Cline’s triumph lies in her effortless breezing from easy swinging (“Happy Talk,” an inspired choice from SOUTH PACIFIC) to Bossa (“Love Dance,” “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) to blues (“You Don’t Know What Love Is”). When you listen, you too will declare, THIS IS WHERE I WANNA BE!

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Perception

MITCHELL COLEMAN, JR. Perception Soul Revelations Records

Continuing to draw buoyant and grooving inspiration and innovation from his heroes Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller, emerging bassist/composer Mitchell Coleman, Jr. throws down another explosive, multi-faceted round of feel good, jazz-funk fusion on PERCEPTION, the follow-up to his debut, chart-active, SOUL SEARCHING. Among the most exciting aspects of Coleman’s artistry is his adventure and unpredictability. He’s raucously thick and thumping on the uptempo jams, suave and in the pocket, soulful on the ballads, and throws into the mix colorful atmospheric, world beat exotica that explore realms beyond the cool confines of Smooth Jazz. Another highlight is a lush remake of The Crusaders’ “Street Life,” which puts Dionyza Sutton (High School Musical, Cheetah Girls) in the seductive Randy Crawford role. Your PERCEPTION is on the money – this album’s a “Funkatized” joyride!

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Black Pearls

WILL DOWNING Black Pearls Shanachie Entertainment

Closing in on three decades of creating silky and sublime R&B/jazz vocals, Will Downing reminds us why he’s long been known as "The Prince of Sophisticated Soul." On BLACK PEARLS, his first full length album in six years, the veteran baritone gives it up for the ladies, paying loving homage to his (and our) all-time favorite soul divas with gently nuanced, lushly produced and arranged re-imaginings of classics and amazing though lesser known tunes by Chaka Khan, Phyllis Hyman, Randy Crawford, Deniece Williams, Angela Winbush, Jean Carne and Cherrelle. Complementing the inviting perfection of one of the greatest voices of our time are cool guest spots by Najee and Kirk Whalum, among others. Downing makes these musical BLACK PEARLS shine like never before!

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Open The Curtains

CAROL DUBOC Open The Curtains Gold Note Music, Inc.

After several solid collaborations with Jeff Lorber, Carol Duboc makes a monumental shift on her infectious and eclectic new album Open The Curtains. Embracing an emphatic “Girl Power” aesthetic, the sexy and soulful singer/songwriter surrounds herself with a star studded lineup of female jazz, rock and R&B musicians, including Mindi Abair, Sheila E, Patrice Rushen, guitarists Bibi McGill and Jennifer Batten, drummer Queen Cora Coleman, bassist Rhonda Smith and trombonist/singer Aubrey Logan. Duboc’s mix of blues, soul, pop and funk influenced tunes includes seven emotionally hard-hitting originals (including the title track, which features vocals by her nine year old daughter) and classics made famous by her heroes Rushen, Nina Simone and Peggy Lee. OPEN THE CURTAINS to experience Carol Duboc like never before!

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Connected

MARK ETHEREDGE Connected Vipaka Records

On CONNECTED, Mark Etheredge deals powerfully with his past issues of feeling disconnected from humanity. The result is a heartfelt, socially conscious collection that uses the joy of music to cut across traditional human barriers. With a deep sense of groove and a compelling mix of lighthearted and deeply emotional melodies, the multi-talented performer creates a lively, diverse and lushly soulful celebration of human connection with world class musicianship – including dynamic interactions with guitarists Chuck Loeb and Paul Brown (the project’s Grammy winning producer) and saxman Andy Suzuki. In addition to clearly reflecting his influences David Benoit and Joe Sample, the veteran sideman complements his contemporary jazz vibe with Latin and bluesy excursions. Start out the New Year by getting CONNECTED!

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Catchin' A Vibe

AL GOMEZ Catchin' A Vibe Shade Records

One of the most versatile musicians in Texas, Al Gomez started out as a trombone player with local Tejano bands before evolving into a first call guitarist, playing and sharing the stage with everyone from Selena, Aaron Neville and Willie Nelson to Carlos Santana and Buddy Guy. After funkin’ up the Smooth Jazz world a bit with his critically-acclaimed 2014 debut CASA GROOVE, the electric guitarist brings his rich, infectious sound to his cool follow-up EP CATCHIN’ A VIBE. The set is full of edgy licks, vibey grooves, irresistible melodies and moments to dance and later romance. In addition to its awesome originals, Gomez includes dynamic re-imaginings of classics by Dr. John, Luther Vandross and George Duke. Don't delay, catch this vibe today!

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Still Euge

EUGE GROOVE Still Euge Shanachie Entertainment

Ten albums into one of Smooth Jazz’s most inspiring and compelling careers, Euge Groove reminds us on his latest infectious, infinitely melodic and easy grooving gem that he’s still cool…still sexy…still unafraid to embrace his soul music ancestors…and yes, STILL EUGE! The multi-saxophonist taps into his passion for blues and gospel while stirring up a fresh batch of danceable jams and steamy ballads, including one featuring the dreamy acoustic guitar of Peter White. Euge complements these core tunes with deeply soulful vocal tracks featuring two of R&B’s greatest, Rahsaan Patterson and Oleta Adams. After 16 years of mesmerizing his fans with some of the genre’s greatest hits, it’s refreshing to know that he’s STILL EUGE!

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In Search Of Better Days

INCOGNITO In Search Of Better Days Shanachie Entertainment

Recognized around the world as pioneers of acid jazz, a genre combining elements of jazz, soul, funk and dance music, the UK's Incognito is still on the forefront of London's creative music scene more than 3 decades in. Founded by Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick, the band has been a mainstay for some of the most well known voices in the world, including Grammy-nominated Maysa, and British sensation, Imaani, as well as extraordinary musicians, and some of the hottest musical discoveries on the planet. IN SEARCH OF BETTER DAYS, is the band's 17th studio album and a joyful amalgamation of vibrant musical stylings, captures the sound and soul of London circa 2016! Featuring lyrically enlightened tracks, and relentless grooves, the recording also features legendary Japanese guitarist Hotei Tomoyasu and Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender. This collection is completely tuned into a world IN SEARCH OF BETTER DAYS, providing a soundtrack to lead the way through self-discovery, love and connection. Bluey’s so deep into the inkwell, that I think he actually may be the inkwell… he’s a brilliant source to draw inspiration from in our modern times.

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Stories From Stompin' Willie

PAUL JACKSON, JR. Stories From Stompin' Willie Branch Records, Inc.

One of the most versatile guitarists in pop, R&B and jazz, Paul Jackson, Jr. has worked with everyone from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to Barbra Streisand and Daft Punk. The cleverly titled STORIES FROM STOMPIN’ WILLIE, his first solo recording in seven years, is chock-full of high energy jazz/funk, crisp lead and rhythm guitar lines and picture perfect Smooth Jazz melodies. Because the collection is a tribute to the late George Duke (who nicknamed Jackson “Stompin’ Willie”), the guitarist also stretches into fiery electric jazz fusion territory on three Duke deep cuts. Helping Jackson celebrate the keyboard great’s legacy and making this a can’t miss party are Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Karen Briggs, Michael Lington, Byron Miller, Patrice Rushen, the Rickey Minor Band and others. They’ve got STORIES FROM STOMPIN’ WILLIE you’ll want to hear again and again!

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So Right

THE JAMES KOB EXPERIENCE So Right Partly Sunny Records

A multi-talented musical Renaissance man trained in classical guitar and orchestral composition, James Kōb draws on his vast skills as a songwriter, producer, scoring and orchestration skills to create SO RIGHT, the debut project from The James Kōb Experience. The collection is an exciting musical excursion featuring refreshing and super-melodic original tunes blending breezy Bossa, with lighthearted pop, and sensual jazz reminiscent of Sergio Mendes. In addition to sharing his expansive musical vision, the collection doubles as a wondrous showcase for the warm and sensuous vocal talents of featured singer Maria Shafer. SO RIGHT is a multi-cultural experience you won’t want to miss!

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In Too Deep

JAREZ In Too Deep Top Jazz Records LLC

Jarez offers the perfect combination of cool, contemporary and classic in his music. The charismatic saxophonist has a way with writing songs that are filled with emotionally charged verve, and freshly infused swagger; adding a hipness to Smooth Jazz that is appealing to core fans and attracting a youthful new audience! The Vegas-based recording artist and music entrepreneur, merges his jazz influences from legends, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, with today’s sound on IN TOO DEEP. The album is drenched with Sweet, sexy sax, along with urbane and urban grooves, compelling melodies and sophisticated runs. A hip hop heart and a jazz soul makes for a unique, commanding signature sound. This latest project is sure to place Jarez in the thick of things musically speaking…In deep, indeed! With more chart-topping hits and live performances guaranteed!

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Wind Dance

REZA KHAN Wind Dance Painted Media

The inspiration behind Bangladesh Born and Raised, NYC based, world-fusion guitarist and composer, Reza Khan’s 4th solo album release, WIND DANCE, came in an instance, upon a breeze and swirled meaning through movement into the recording artist’s mind. "This is a story of a Twilight Dream," Reza recalls, which sparked a song title on the new album, he continues, “it happened in a breath of an instance or in a whole life, I don’t know.” This engaging collection is magical and mystical in a way that only Reza can harness through composition and playing. The guests on the project are as special as the music itself, including performances from Andy Snitzer, Philippe Saisse, Nelson Rangell, Mark Egan, Miles Gilderdale, and Marc Antoine. WIND DANCE will move your mind and body through a journey of sweet reflection and musical expression, prepare to be blown away!

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Second Nature

MICHAEL LINGTON Second Nature Copenhagen Music

STAX is in the house! On his high octane latest album SECOND NATURE, Michael Lington expands upon the fiery, old school exploration of his 60’s-70’s Memphis soul influences he started with veteran R&B producer Barry J. Eastmond on his last release SOUL APPEAL. Making that vibe fresh, innovative and relevant to today’s contemporary jazz fans, the multi-talented saxophonist, producer and composer creates a hard-grooving retro-modern vibe, surrounding his muscular alto with sizzling horns, simmering organ textures, funky bass lines, crackling guitar licks and playful gospel touches. Lington’s all-star guest list includes Brian Culbertson (on trombone!), Ray Parker, Jr., The Dap Kings, Booker T and Taylor Dayne. After your first listen, these tunes will become SECOND NATURE to you!

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Hold Up (Bring It Down)

BARBARA MAMABOLO Hold Up (Bring It Down) Next Move Entertainment - Canada

The eminently sultry and soulful Barbara Mamabolo has been a multi-faceted force in entertainment in her native Canada for years as leader of the popular band Mamabolo and as a film and TV actress. Her breakthrough single “Hold Up (Bring It Down)” is a coolly grooving, danceable delight that takes a fresh approach to classic, jangling old school R&B/funk. Mamabolo’s sensual sass leaps over a track helmed by powerhouse producer Preston Glass (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin) and renowned Canadian producer David Case. It features guitarist extraordinaire Paul Pesco, who’s worked his sizzling magic in the past for Madonna, Hall & Oates, C&C Music Factory, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez. You’ll want to make “Hold Up (Bring It Down)” your sexy new summer jam!

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Journey To The Heart

KEIKO MATSUI Journey To The Heart Shanachie Records

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Keiko Matsui released her first album, A DROP OF WATER. This recording was so enchanting, it’s no wonder that the world stopped to listen to the compelling musician from Japan who reimagined piano jazz to include new age, classical, along with mystic, ancient sounds. On her latest release, her 27th, JOURNEY TO THE HEART, Ms. Matsui celebrates her fans, the heart of her world, as well as the universe and its heart or center. Keiko conceived over 100 melodies and motifs for this album, and of the top 10 that have made their way onto the project, she says, “I hope the listeners will allow themselves to go anywhere with my music.” The acclaimed composer and humanitarian has mastered her mission… timeless melodies and global rhythms are at the very HEART of Keiko herself, as she personally delivers her message to people around the world!

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Firefall Revisited

DAVE MUSE Firefall Revisited Deva Records

A founding member of the platinum 70's and 80’s hit-making soft rock band Firefall and member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, multi-instrumentalist Dave Muse finds a fresh way to re-imagine the group’s hits and renowned album cuts on his new album FIREFALL REVISITED. Putting his soulful and whimsical flute virtuosity front and center (with a little sax here and there), he enhances the picture perfect pop melodies with jaunts into spirited contemporary jazz, blues and rock fusion. Muse brings fans up to date with an explosive new Latin jam tune as well, "Nestor." FIREFALL REVISITED will inspire you to fall in love with the band all over again – and maybe discover some gems you overlooked!

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Pictures & Frames

STEVE OLIVER Pictures & Frames SOM Entertainment, LLC

Throughout his decade and a half of instrumental #1 Billboard Smooth Jazz radio hits, multi-talented composer/guitarist/vocalist Steve Oliver peppered his recordings with soulful pop/R&B vocals. Expanding his musical aesthetic further into that dynamic realm, his first all-vocal album PICTURES & FRAMES is driven by his trademark cool, classic, contemporary vibe and meaningful, soul searching lyrics. Recorded at the iconic Capitol Studios and using Frank Sinatra’s legendary mic, Oliver creates his John Mayer, Michael McDonald and Steely Dan influenced sound with the all-star rhythm section of Lee Sklar and Vinnie Colaiuta as well as a debut singing collaboration with critically-acclaimed, Northern Californian songstress Chris Webster. PICTURES & FRAMES is a splendid musical snapshot of Oliver’s heart and soul!

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Coast 2 Coast

GARY PALMER Coast 2 Coast Lauderdale Beach Recordings

During his years many years as a cop in Lauderhill, Florida, Gary Palmer frequently turned to his sax as an outlet and stress-reliever, which calmed him and helped him focus even when he was on stakeouts. Shifting gears after retiring as Chief of Police in 2010, the versatile composer-musician has been sharing his passion for soulful urban jazz as an independent recording artist, starting with his 2015 full-length debut LOVE ME AGAIN. On “Waterfalls,” the infectious, irresistibly grooving lead single from his follow-up album COAST 2 COAST, due out later this summer, Palmer keeps the silky, laid-back funk flowing, trading explosive licks with chart-topping electric guitarist Nils. No need to go chasing “Waterfalls” – it’s all right here on Gary Palmer’s hot new single!

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All In

PIECES OF A DREAM All In Shanachie Records

Already on a roll in 2015 with the release of his solo debut HERE WE GO, composer and pianist James Lloyd gears up to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Pieces of a Dream - the band he co-founded with drummer Curtis Harmon – with the release of the group’s latest Shanachie Entertainment release ALL IN. Discovered in high school and mentored by the late great Grover Washington, Jr., Pieces have been recording since the early 80s and once earned their hometown Philadelphia Inquirer’s praise as “Pioneers of Smooth Jazz.” Jamming with their longtime saxman Tony Watson, Jr., Lloyd and Harmon serve up yet another can’t miss spirited mix of fanciful funk, urban fired Smooth Jazz and gentle late night romance. As they gear up to enter their fifth decade together, the two are truly ALL IN!

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Red

NELSON RANGELL Red Independent

In a sea of saxophonists, there is only one Nelson Rangell - Daring, compelling, and heartfelt. Fans of contemporary jazz are quite familiar with this extraordinary talent, he released eight CDs with GRP Records garnering chart-topping airplay in the 80’s and 90’s, and recorded with The Rippingtons, Chuck Loeb, Patti Austin, the GRP All-Star Big Band, featured on Don Grusin’s Grammy-nominated album, THE HANG, among numerous other accolades. In a bold move in 2015, Rangell released two albums simultaneously... the sax-focused RED, as well as BLUE, which is an acclaimed flute and piccolo musical masterpiece, both are full-throttle adventures with persuasive originals! The latest single, "From Here" is from RED. It's an urbane, Euro-cool tune that showcases the master class saxophonist's improv, yet delivers a sweet, accessible melody and promises to quickly gain interest with radio and consumers alike... Fresh and fashionable for your Spring and Summer music mixes!

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Cool Vibes

STEVE RAYBINE Cool Vibes Bad Kat Records, LLC

A onetime bandmate of Rick Braun in the 1970’s progressive jazz group Auracle, vibraphonist, composer, percussionist and renowned music educator Steve Raybine has been on a mission since his 2000 debut to make the spirited sound of the vibes a fresh contemporary sound in Smooth Jazz. On his infectious, rhythmically-compelling (and perfectly titled) new album COOL VIBES, the Omaha, Nebraska-based artist stirs up exciting island flavors with a rhythmic mix of swaying coolness and light-funk charm. With a swirl of styles that explore Raybine’s passions for jazz, R&B, Latin, pop/rock and blues, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a night of chillout and romance. Full of surprises, he even does a spirited rap on one track. Steve Raybine's COOL VIBES are the perfect mid-summer delight!

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True Stories

THE RIPPINGTONS f. Russ Freeman True Stories Peak Records / Entertainment One Music

With the release of the ultra-melodic, super high energy and daringly eclectic TRUE STORIES, The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman celebrate an amazing thirty years (and 22 albums!) as a seminal force in contemporary jazz – while finding fresh ways to move the genre forward. The GRAMMY nominated ensemble, launched by the guitarist/composer in the mid-80s, comes full circle with new tracks featuring the soulful, lyrical vibe of original saxophonist Brandon Fields. Beyond the trademark soaring pop/rock funk fusion the band is known for, the collection features a powerful flamenco venture into the Spanish tradition of Andalusia, a return visit from R&B great Jeffrey Osborne and the band’s first ever extended drum solo by Dave Karasony. No lie – these TRUE STORIES will keep Ripps fans as riveted as ever!

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Uptown Jazz

TONY SAUNDERS Uptown Jazz San Francisco Records

The son of legendary keyboardist/composer Merl Saunders, Tony Saunders was taught piano by Herbie Hancock and for his tenth birthday received an electric organ from Sly Stone. But the magic started happening once he shifted to bass, and the two time Emmy Award winner’s s third album UPTOWN JAZZ on San Francisco Records is a full-blown celebration of the multiple ways he grooves. Joyfully eclectic throughout, he launched the album with the brassy, ultra-funky title track single that featured Gabriel Mark Hasselbach and Tower of Power’s Mic Gillete on horns and Paul Hardcastle, Jr. on sax. Saunders’ bass also bubbles beneath the emotional sax passion of Gerald Albright and later engages on an improvisation rich jazz-fusion journey also featuring saxophonists Tom Politzer (Tower Of Power) and Rock Hendricks and vocalist Sakai (Train)! UPTOWN JAZZ gonna give it to ya!

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Endless Sumner

WILL SUMNER Endless Sumner willsumner.com

Will Sumner may have been born in Minnesota, but the highly versatile San Diego based guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist’ several decade recording career – starting with his 1980 classic surf jazz album TROPIC ZONE - is all about lighthearted, feel good, easy grooving summer vibes. His latest collection ENDLESS SUMNER, whose title is a colorful reference to a classic Beach Boys album, is endlessly smooth, melodic and fresh. The tracks are driven by Sumner’s electric and acoustic virtuosity, enhanced in all the perfect spots by lead sax and horns. Continuing the eclectic flow of earlier releases, the album mixes heartfelt urban rhythms, funk and Latin grooves and breezy tropical atmospheres. If you can’t wait for summer to begin (or end), put ENDLESS SUMNER in a continuous loop!

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Rhythm and Romance

KIM WATERS Rhythm and Romance Shanachie Entertainment

An incredible 22 albums into his extraordinary career, versatile composer and saxophonist Kim Waters continues to set standards on the urban side of Smooth Jazz by bringing the emotional power of RHYTHM AND ROMANCE. Dedicating his 12th Shanachie collection to his daughters Kayla and Kimberly, the man The Washington Post calls “a romantic pied piper” incorporates cutting edge production and deep beats into a mix of seriously sultry ballads and funked up, supremely grooving originals. Beyond his renown as a master instrumental composer, Waters loves taking well known pop/R&B originals to fresh, inspiring places – and he works fresh, dreamy magic with an infectious Janet Jackson jam and candlelit classics by DeBarge and Sam Smith. If you're looking for more RHYTHM AND ROMANCE in your life, listen up!

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Playtime

STEVE WATSON Playtime WatsonWood

Guitarist/composer Steve Watson has enjoyed many musical lives, from touring overseas with the Miami Concert Jazz Band to becoming a first call Hollywood session player and most recently, impacting students in various educational roles in his adopted hometown of Greenville, SC. His career as a solo artist continues with the release his dynamic new album PLAYTIME, which launches with popular title track, a fresh, in the pocket gem featuring the lush acoustic guitar counterpoint of special guest Chuck Loeb. With production by Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak, Watson offers a mix of brassy, high energy jams and mid-tempo light funk delights, balanced in the middle with a graceful, reflective ballad. When Watson picks up his formidable axe, it’s always PLAYTIME!

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SmoothJazz.com Listening Loft Store

Tropical Infinito

ANTONIO ADOLFO Tropical Infinito AAM Music

Recorded in his hometown of Rio with a rhythmically dynamic octet featuring a sizzling three piece horn section, veteran Brazilian pianist, arranger, producer and educator Antonio Adolfo brings the intoxicating, exotic sounds of his native land alive via gorgeous melodies and spirited improvisations on TROPICAL INFINITO. Complementing his four originals are fresh re-imaginings of classics by Benny Golson, Horace Silver, Oliver Nelson and Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein. TROPICAL INFINITO will keep you infinitely grooving!

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Repertoire

JAMES DAY Songs Repertoire SONG KING RECORDS

Harkening back to those classic Quincy Jones albums featuring a rich array of veteran and up and coming R&B vocalists, International Award winning and chart topping songwriter James Day brings together on his new album REPERTOIRE an exhilarating roster of R&B and urban jazz singers and instrumentalists to create the ultimate 80s styled jam. The mix of soul, Smooth Jazz, disco/dance and Quiet Storm magic includes leads and solos by Maysa, Lin Rountree, Tony Terry, Walter Beasley, Glenn Jones, Audrey Wheeler, Donnie, U-Nam, Trina Broussard, Tim Owens and the late Gavin Christopher. The vast REPERTOIRE of James Day includes songs for every moment and mood of the day!

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Soul To Soul

MIKE DiLORENZO with Frank Valdes Soul To Soul Keep The Groove

Veteran New York based keyboardist Mike DiLorenzo may be classically trained, but his eclectic career is driven by jazz, R&B and Latin music. SOUL TO SOUL, his new album featuring percussionist Frank Valdes, runs the glorious gamut from Latin funk to organ swing to smooth, contemporary jazz. Using a cool array of unique instruments (including Rhodes, melodica and accordion), the sound is a jazzy blend of street beats and melodic improvisation making SOUL TO SOUL a cool, connected musical experience from two amazingly soulful musicians.

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Truly Loved

CHERILYN EVANS Truly Loved Ceejazz.com

All at once, sultry, funky and intimately jazzy... St. Louis based singer-songwriter Cherilyn Evans began her singing in church, but she’s enjoyed a diverse professional career beyond the gospel realm. Fronting the CEEJazz Band, her rhythmically diverse jazz infused soul debut TRULY LOVED is a set of colorful originals with pop and jazz standards that showcase her inviting vocals with a variety of groove foundations. If you like things soulful and silky, then you'll fall in love with TRULY LOVED!

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Cielo Nocturno

RUSS HEWITT Cielo Nocturno russhewittmusic.com

Known for his fiery, soulful and intoxicating rumba flamenco rhythms, warm, inviting acoustic melodies and his virtuosic improvisational runs, guitarist Russ Hewitt taps further into his passion for a variety of Latin and other global music vibes on CIELO NOCTURNO. He ensembles with a powerhouse lineup of jazz and Latin greats, including Larry Carlton, Ardeshir Farah (from Strunz & Farah), percussionist Raphael Padilla, drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Gypsy Kings All Stars guitarist Alfredo Caceres. The stars in the CIELO NOCTURNO (Night Sky) are definitely dancing!

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Between The Lines

LOWELL HOPPER Between The Lines Get Jazzed Records

Dubbed by SmoothJazz.com as “one of our best discoveries yet!”, Panama City, Florida based guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Lowell Hopper is a veteran in two inspiring ways. During his 20 years serving in the Air Force, he performed and recorded with jazz artists in Germany, Panama Canal and Florida. His stellar 7th solo recording BETWEEN THE LINES features the kind of soulful, hypnotic guitar lines, deep, haunting original melodies, easy grooving basslines and seductive beats he’s been wowing audiences with for over 30 years. Don't miss special guest, saxophonist Chris Godber on "Flying High," which could be Hopper's anthem upon the release of such a quality recording!

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Psycho Bass

BYRON MILLER Psycho Bass Byron Lee Miller Studio, LLC

Throughout his four decade career, Detroit bassist Byron Miller has brought the coolness and funk to a lot of “late greats” including Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Joe Sample and Luther Vandross. Emerging from a 12-year recording hiatus with an expansive, deep bottom, intensive album, with a title that doubles as his new musical persona and mission statement, Byron blesses us with three of the last sessions from the late great George Duke, including a slowed-down, emotional twist on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” With an exciting guest list that includes veterans Ndugu Chancler (drums), David T. Walker (guitar) and Sheila E. (percussion), Miller balances fierceness with heartfelt emotion on the atmospheric, old school, soul-jazz flavored single, “U Must Be Crazy,” then turns to Duke-esque classic, mellow fusion on “Spoken Funk.” Miller's latest single, is one that delivers a much needed message to the world, a creative, jazzy cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." Lunatic for the low end? Don’t miss PSYCHO BASS!

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Sincerely Yours

SHARON RAE NORTH Sincerely Yours Sharon Rae North

Perfectly capturing the stylishness and soulful sensuality of Sharon Rae North’s jazzy vibe and expressive vocals, Jay Edwards of Jazz Tones (WCLK, Atlanta) once said, “Line up all the female jazz vocalists you can think of and Sharon can sing them all under the table!” The singer artfully lives up to that promising praise on her new 5 song EP SINCERELY YOURS, which features lush, easy flowing originals and two beautiful covers including a sly, moody take on Sting’s “Sister Moon.” If you’re a fan of singers like Oleta Adams, you’ll feel the deep sincerity of SINCERELY YOURS!

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Ivory Soul

JOHN NOVELLO Ivory Soul 529 Music

At the heart of John Novello’s signature sound that’s imprinted on #1 hit songs worldwide is a classic sense of groove and sensuality perfectly captured in the title of his latest collection IVORY SOUL. The multi-faceted keyboardist, arranger and composer, draws on his deep old school jazz, soulful pop and R&B sensibilities for a set that finds him gliding and grooving on acoustic and electric piano, B3 organ, Korg synthesizers and even upright bass. Enhancing the cool, Novello jams with top saxmen Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal and Tom Scott. The new single, "I Can't Stop My Heart" is trending now at Smooth Jazz radio. Get Novello and get groovin’ with some potent IVORY SOUL!

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Backtalk

PHAZE II Backtalk Phaze II Publishing

A mainstay at the Capital Jazz Fest since winning the event’s Challenge Competition in 2005, Phaze II has been a popular groovin’ force throughout the Washington, DC region for nearly 20 years. Playing Smooth Jazz with a funky, free twist, the hot six-piece ensemble has been headlining shows and opening for urban jazz greats performing there. Keeping the cool thumping and soulful sensuality flowing, Phaze II’s album BACKTALK – driven by the emotional lead melody lines of saxman Brent Birckhead - is a powerful way to introduce their dynamic vibe to fans everywhere. You’ll want to Phaze this kind of BACKTALK into your life!

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Spice of Life

ROB SABADO Spice of Life Rob Sabado

Years ago at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the legendary Stan Getz took notice of young saxophonist Rob Sabado and said he had “the best tone around.” Now, Sabado delivers big time on that promise with his soulful and gently exotic debut SPICE OF LIFE. Sabado surrounds his warm, intimate tones and flavorful grooves with balmy atmospheres fashioned by Grammy-winning producer Paul Brown, whose distinctive guitar energy plays off Sabado’s lead lines perfectly. Also on hand are bassists Roberto Vally and Daryl Williams, as well as keyboardist Marco Basci, who adds dynamic old school touches. Sabado’s kind of variety is truly the SPICE OF LIFE!

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Carolina

CAROL SABOYA Carolina AAM Music

Carolina, the latest recording by sensual Brazilian vocalist Carol Saboya, is an intimate and celebratory family affair, with her father, legendary pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo, and his band providing lush, caressing arrangements of a unique slate of exquisite compositions. She is most at home interpreting the native repertoire, including songs by legendary composers like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Djavan and Joao Bosco. Yet Saboya is equally emotionally compelling interpreting classics by Sting and The Beatles. Destined to become a classic, CAROLINA is the perfect soundtrack to a warm romantic evening!

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Luminescence

STEPHANIE SANTE Luminescence Sante Music

LUMINESCENCE is the 9th album release from multi-instrumentalist Stephanie Sante… featuring layers of Smooth Jazz, Chill, Soulful Funk & Bossa, the project creates a buoyant, heartfelt, tranquil vibe from start to finish. While the collection is inspired by the artist’s love for the Pacific Northwest, this writer is presently enjoying it in Spain on the Mediterranean, where music fluidity is as important to the lifestyle as the sun and LUMINESCENCE is a perfect fit. Adapting to advances in computer technology, with her musical, fine arts and engineering backgrounds, Ms. Sante integrates new forms of sound generation with the latest advancements in tactile expression… LUMINESCENCE shines brightly and directs the composer towards a new level of recording artistry, one that will have new listeners around the world, from the Pacific to the Med, chillaxing to the new soundtrack!

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A Stagey Bank Affair

ARUN SHENOY & THE GROOVE PROJECT A Stagey Bank Affair Narked Records

Step right up and experience GRAMMY® nominated composer and record producer, Arun Shenoy’s latest musical inspiration featuring a 13 member collaboration team known as The Groove Project. A STAGEY BANK AFFAIR, referring to an expression derived from an actual event held in the North East of England in the previous century at Stagshaw Bank. The gathering went from a forthright agricultural fair to a rather rowdy celebration involving sideshows, gambling and drinking before being banned in the 1920s. The concept translates to excitement in musical terms, and will certainly liberate your inner child with a fantastic fusion of funk, jazz and rock with a spicy hint of worldly pleasures, featuring pianist Uziel and Bansuri flautist Ravichandra Kulur, in addition to jazz great, Jeff Coffin. We’ve never heard anything quite like it… and we’re certain that you’ll be enthralled. Surrender to the swirling wonderment within and dig in for some good ol’ fashioned fun, like Stagey Bank fair!

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I Got Next

JACK TURNER I Got Next Turner Entertainment Artist

Four decades after making his initial musical foray performing and recording with seminal soul-jazz organist Charles Earland, Pittsburgh-based electric guitarist Jack Turner launches a fresh new movement in contemporary jazz guitar with his crackling, playfully grooving debut, I GOT NEXT. Embracing the freewheeling next chapter in his career, the versatile composer/musician – who pays direct homage here to Wes Montgomery - creates a powerful fusion of soul, acid, funk, hip hop, ambient music and exotic Latin and Brazilian music – all rooted in jazz. I GOT NEXT should be the very next album you check out!

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Musically Speaking

PAUL TUVMAN Musically Speaking Independent

Filled with gorgeously rendered, easy flowing compositions written by pianist Paul Tuvman over the past 30 years, MUSICALLY SPEAKING is more than just a dazzling debut by a thoughtful new Smooth Jazz artist. It also marks the resurrection of his musical dreams after he set them aside to become a successful airline pilot. This pilot’s amazing musical journey involved making some wonderful musical friends – including Rick Braun, who adds simmering horn section harmonies to “Rebecca” and “Inverted.” Don't miss the summer single, "Tap Your Feet," it will have you dancing in the sunshine! MUSICALLY SPEAKING, Tuvman’s blend of elegance and funk soars to the heavens!

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Smile

WALDINO Smile WaldinoMusic.com

From audio craftsman, Waldino, comes his latest recording, and his most exciting yet, SMILE, featuring mood music for a happier life! Electro-positive beats enhanced by compelling lyrics in between the chilled, musical vibe, from the infectious title track to the highly motivating, “You Know You Got It,” to the captivating, “Turn Me Around,” SMILE is an Ibiza-conjuring soundtrack drenched with melody and splashed with sunshine! The doctor of groove, Walter Liskiewicz (aka Waldino) is one of the most prolific recording artists in the genre with new releases every other year on average and many more songs in the works, it’s a nonstop creative flow for the retired maxillofacial surgeon! Download the album and turn up your SMILE!

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From Sunset To Sunrise

R.L. WALKER From Sunset To Sunrise R.L. Walker

With a title like FROM SUNSET TO SUNRISE, saxophonist R.L. Walker sets the tone for some sensual and romantic late night magic on his latest album. Creating easy, laid back grooves behind his passionate dreamy lead horn melodies, he creates the perfect Smooth Jazz chill album, opening doors into a dreamy, atmosphere rich realm full of lush, powerful moods and a relaxing flow. While many artists simply gather a bunch of their best tunes, Walker’s idea was to invite listeners into a deep, memorable experience. Over ten tantalizing tracks filled with sweet soul and passionate emotion, he allows listeners to experience a “Sexy-Saxy” musical escape... FROM SUNSET TO SUNRISE, you’ll have this one on repeat!

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3RD FORCE
Global Force
BAJA/TSR RECORDS
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MIKE DiLORENZO with Frank Valdes
Soul To Soul
A Jazzy Blend of Street Beats & Melodic Improvisation
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Jazz In The Park 2016
Jazz In The Park
April - October 2016
Birmingham, Alabama
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