Much of the early buzz surrounding the release of 'East Bay Soul 2.0' was about how a sensational campaign to raise the $25,000 necessary to record the album hit its target. However, now it's all about the music. Make no mistake; this is a collection of the highest order and everything (plus a little bit more) that one would expect from the artistic genius of its creator Greg Adams. Of course Adams was the founding member of Tower of Power where his signature sound as performer and arranger made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all it's own. When recently I talked with Greg via Skype from his office in LA I was eager to discover why he had used Kickstarter as the vehicle for funding the project.
The blistering new album from rising sax-star Aaron Bing is titled 'Rebirth' and in many ways that's exactly what it represents. Bolstered by a discography that stretches back to 2005 and his debut release 'Always' Bing has come roaring back with a collection as good as anything you will hear this year. When recently I got the opportunity to talk with him from his home in Jacksonville, FL I was eager to understand the creative process that underpinned this latest project.
When, in 2009, saxophonist Elan Trotman released the album 'This Time Around' it was his first concerted foray into the realms of contemporary jazz. The follow up 'Love And Sax', which hit the streets earlier this year, further demonstrated the penchant he has for creating an atmosphere through his music that is both relaxing and sensuous. When recently I met with Elan at the Cinnamon Club in Altrincham, UK (where he had just captivated an appreciative the audience with his performance as part of Peter White's touring band) I was eager to learn more about this most interesting of artists and in doing so went right back to the beginning.
A new release from the great Michael Franks is a highlight of any musical year but the advent of the sublime ‘Time Together’ has been rendered that much more special by the fact it has been five years since his previous project, ‘Rendezvous In Rio’, first hit the streets,. When recently I talked with Michael from his home in New York State the topics ranged from the weather, the autobiographic nature of ‘Time Together’, his passion for British television crime drama and many things in between.
Throughout a discography that dates back to 1987 and her debut recording ‘A Drop Of Water’, the wonderful Keiko Matsui has differentiated herself by continuously crafting memorable melodies that she considers to be reflections of herself. Her latest CD is titled ‘The Road’ from which the title track has just been released as a music video. When I talked to Keiko from her home in Los Angeles I was eager to discover more.
Someone who has made it her mission to harness contemporary jazz for the benefit of others is Detroit based music writer, photographer and broadcaster Marissa Caliguire. In 2010 she masterminded the charity release 'C Notes For Haiti' which featured a wonderful selection of jazz-infused R&B from the likes of Kloud 9, Darnell Kendricks, Nick Colionne and Rick Braun. Proceeds went to aid those impacted by the disastrous quake that hit the island in January of that year and now she is back with a brand new charitable venture. When recently I met with Marrisa at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego I was eager to discover what this new project, 'Jazz With A Cause', was all about.
Composer and arranger Gordon Goodwin certainly has an impressive resume. A 2006 GRAMMY Award winner for his arrangement of 'Incredits' from the Pixar film The Incredibles, Gordon has also enjoyed eleven more Grammy nominations and picked up three Emmy Awards along the way. Not only that, since 2000, Goodwin has been the driving force behind his own creation Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and when recently I talked with him from his studio in Los Angeles I was interested to know what had been his motivation for beginning what has now evolved into a modern day big band phenomenon.
Over a career spanning more than twenty years, the hugely talented Maysa has remained ahead of the curve with a sound that is both sophisticated and soulful When recently I talked to her from her home in Baltimore, MD I was interested to learn more about the exciting ventures she already has lined up for 2011. However, before doing so I wanted to take Maysa back to her early days in music and how she first got started.
Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave. His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up with him in LA I first asked him about the creative process that brought the project to fruition.
Already described as extremely cinematic, ‘Blue Bolero’ by Chris Standring has already become one of the most talked about releases of 2010. The compositions, arrangements and choice of instruments all show off a different side to his musical persona so when recently I talked to this talented guitarist from his studio in Los Angeles, I was particularly eager to ascertain how this amazing project had come about.
"I started putting the album together in late 2008" Chris told me.