Donna Kimura

Donna Kimura

For The Blue & Green Project, saxophonist and composer Jack Wilkins drew inspiration from the rich Appalachian Mountain culture and environment.


Composer and pianist Michiel Braam has largely remained under the radar here, but he's a big-time figure in Europe, where he has led the notable Bik Bent Braam band and several other groups.

His latest effort is the ensemble Hybrid 10tet, which makes its recording debut with On The Move, an album made up of songs inspired by the venues played by the band during a recent tour.

Pete Herzog's Steel Guitar, A Blues Opera, tells the story of one guitar as it passes through different hands over its lifetime. It's purchased, stolen, won in a card game, and handed down through generations. "I have often thought about vintage instruments I have played and wondered at their history and felt all those who had played had colored their sound," Herzog explains. That curiosity about whose hands have graced a guitar and where it has traveled sparked the idea for the new album.

On That's What We Were Born For, veteran British singer Paul Cox teams with young French guitarist Charlie Fabert.

For her Vanguard Records debut, Diane Schuur does something she's never done. She performs 10 country tunes. The Gathering, her first album in three years, is a bold move that pays off.
Jo Thompson shows she’s only getting better with age on Forever Fabulous. The octogenarian is in fine form leading the J.C. Heard Orchestra, under musical director Walt Szymanski, through 15 jazz and blues jewels. The singer-pianist sets the tone for the album by leading off with a strong, high-energy version of “Bye Bye Blackbird” that will transport listeners back to the big band days. Thompson is the smart, sassy girl singer and more. She offers thoroughly engaging performances of “Gee Baby A
San Francisco vocalist Margie Baker’s assembled five musician friends with the idea of playing African-American music from the 1930s and ‘40s, which was then known as “race music.” Their three-hour sets would be tribute to the music that Baker heard as a young girl growing up in the city’s Fillmore District, the scene of several nightclubs that housed black entertainers on the “chitlin circuit” when they came through the city. She was too young to be allowed inside these clubs, but the music was
Sean Sullivan wants to do it all and wants to give listeners everything in his musical arsenal on Square One. The New York-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist delivers no fewer than 21 songs (17 on the disc and four bonus downloads) that showcase his considerable talents. A two-time winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Sullivan brings five original numbers to the album, ranging from the catchy jazz-funk title song to the soft island-flavored “Summer Rain.” Sullivan then swings loos
Lauren Hooker delivers a bold album full of interesting twists and turns. The surprises start early. She opens the album with a cool original that she kicks off but then turns over to poet Jeanette Curtis Rideau, who delivers a spoken-word performance. The track conjures up the feel and sounds of a 1950s nightclub inhabited by hip beatniks. “I ride your music—feel your story and smile,” says Rideau as a horn wails behind her. “Because your music brings out the poetry in me.” Life Of The Music co
Rob Keiter recorded The Glory Of Love during a rough patch in his life. In the midst of the breakup of his 23-year marriage, he found himself putting together a collection of a dozen love songs. The emotion was overwhelming. As he was singing “This Nearly Was Mine,” Keiter couldn’t hold back the tears. Still, he managed to keep singing about lost love until the song’s conclusion. Everyone there realized it was a moment that couldn’t be recreated, so that became the one and only take of the song.
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