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CD Reviews * JAZZ Notes * Concert Reviews*

Jan/Feb 2018



Harmony With

Awards Seasons The GRAMMYS Rock & ROLL Kennedy Honors



16 12 Feature

12 Naturally 7 “Vocal Play” Lifestyle

16 George Lopez The Wall Tour

Jazz Notes

48 Concerts 19 Larry Dunn Earth, Wind & Fire Anthology Show 24 Gregory Porter Live Home Town Boy Makes Good 28 USC Meets Take 6 & Manhattan Transfer 33 Kirk Andres Wilson Louisiana to Los Angeles Show

07 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Speaker at 1st Jazz Congress 08 Nina Simone Inducted into 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 08 2018 Kennedy Honors Concert Photos 09 VOTE... Smooth Jazz 37 Dave Koz 20th Christmas Best New Artists Tour From FL to NV 10 60th GRAMMY Nominees 45 Kim Simmons Blues Legend 70th Birthday Show

CD Reviews 49 Dr. Lonnie Smith All In My Mind 54 Euge Groove Groove On 56 Michael McDonald Wide Open 59 Carol Albert Fly Away Butterfly 62 My Kirk Andres Wilson Love CD Releases 48 New CD’s


SmoothJazz Jazz Art Jackson—Publisher/CEO May / June 2015 Smooth Jazz Magazine Inc. Doris Gee- - Research Manager 3715 Midvale Ave. Suite #6 Mann—Graphic Artist Los Angeles, CA 90034

Contributing Writers Maria L. Lewis Robin Munro Keivu G. Knox Lamar Webster Maria Chinn Rosemarie Howard Shumon Hutchinson Eryn K. Bozeman Alise Levine Azval Ismail


Chicago Dallas Charlotte Los Angeles Los Angeles Los Angeles Los Angeles Nashville San Jose South Africa


No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher.

Contributing Photographers

Copyright @ 2018 by Smooth

Cecial Wells Mann Lamar Webster Tina Pruitt Alise Levine

Jazz Magazine Inc. All Rights

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Baby Coffee Michael J. Thomas Tick Tock Boney James Piccadilly Circus Paul Brown feat. Chris Standring Let It Go Jonathan Fritzen Between You And I Riley Richard Going Out Julian Vaughn So Strong Rick RileyBraun Richard Baby Coffee Michael Riley Richard J. Thomas Down The Road Paul RileyJackson, Richard Jr. Let’s Take A Ride Brian Riley Richard Culbertson

Jazz Notes Jazz Notes

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Jazz Notes

Nina Simone Inducted into the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Nina was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Simone musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. With over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman" in 1993,Other inductees are Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues and The Cars. 08| SmoothJazz Magazine

Your 2018 Kennedy Center Honorees: Carmen Dances, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J and Lionel Richie. LL Cool J the first Rapper to be honored ed at The Kennedy Center. Due to the political climate all the honorees had vowed not to appear to accept their awards if President Trump was in attendance.

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In its 30 years of the Smooth Jazz never has there been so many new artists in this forIn no particular order, mat Smooth Jazz is asking the fans to select the winner here are the nominees for Best New Artist of 2017: for 2017. You can vote NOW through Thursday, January 4th. Each person may vote one time and one time only at the vote button below. Click on the artists’ CD to view their debut releases. The announcement of the winner will be on Friday, January 5th.

Adam Hawley Al DeGregoris Carol Albert Jazmin Ghent Justin Young Michael J. Thomas Peet Project Riley Richard Selina Albright Vandell Andrew Amsterdam Co Connection Darryl Williams

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Jazz Notes Lifestyle

GRAMMY® AwardNominations in 2018 Congrats to the following artists that Smooth Jazz Magazine were privileged to showcase on our website and in our magazine for 2017. India Arie - Joey DeFrancesco + The People - Billy Childs Raul Midón - Christian McBride Big Band and Ledisi. 10 | SmoothJazz Magazine

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By: Alise Levine

Photos By: Alise Levine

On December 20th I had the pleasure of seeing the Jazz/R&B group NATURALLY 7 perform in San Francisco at the historical venue – The Great American Music Hall. Naturally 7 consists of 7 friends that met and formed in New York and created an A capella band that is unique and entertaining to say the least. The members in the group not only sing, but they are also the actual instruments as well. They like to call their style of music “Vocal Play.” Every instrument sound they sing is created from the human voice. The group has 7 albums out, including a new one released in June 2017. The Show was almost 2 hours long - including two encores. They performed some familiar hits, some original songs AND even threw in some Christmas extras to enhance the experience during the Holiday season. They performed their original songs: “Wall of Sound,” “Jericho” and “Run Away.” They did cover songs: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” ”Fix You” and one of my favorites – “Englishman in New York.” They also sang two songs from their new project “Both Sides Now:” “Going Home” and “First time ever I saw your face.” As a special treat they did 3 Christmas songs for the holiday season “White Christmas,” ”Do You Hear What I Hear,?” and an original tune sung by Ricky Cort called: “Christmas Everyday.” 12| SmoothJazz Magazine

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Feature I loved the Christmas spirit which they brought to the show!!! The group consists of current members Roger Thomas – 1st Thomas - Baritone/ leader and raps, keyboards, trumpet and strings. Warren Thomas – 3rd Tenor / drums, percussion, guitar, trumpet and strings. Rod Eldridge - 1st Tenor / DJ scratching, percussion, guitar, trum- Warren Thomas pet, string and flute. Dwight Steward – 2nd Baritone / trombone and rhythm guitar. Garfield Buckley – 2nd Tenor / harmonica, trumpet, strings and guitar. Ricky Cort 4th Tenor / guitar, trumpet and synth, and Kelz Mitchell / Bass, bass guitar, and trumpet. 7 Amazingly Talented Men! Dwight Steward The concert was one of the best overall shows I have seen in the past few years, and there was never a dull moment. They sing, dance and play the instruments with their voices all at the same time. I sang along, laughed and danced to their entertaining and definitely NOT boring show. I highly recommend seeing Ricky Cort them when they come to a city near you!!! It is worth your time and money to have this UNIQUE experience!!

Roger Thomas Rod Eldridge

Garfield Buckley Kelz Mitchell

The band will be starting a new world tour in 2018. For more information and tour dates visit their website. 14 | SmoothJazz Magazine Let the music take you…

Lifestyle By: Rosemarie Howard

Opening up to his theme song, “Low Rider” by WAR to a sold-out Microsoft Theatre composed of 97 percent Latin/ Mexican Americans with 3 percent other demographics, George Lopez did not hold nothing back. Microsoft Theater / Andrew Bernstein Associates / Aaron Poole

With his opening line F-BombTrump more than once, you had an idea from the title of the show “The Wall,” he was going to tell you exactly how he felt with this new government administration.

You came to the concert to laugh at reality and you came with thick skin. He spoke about every topic affecting today’s society and even poked fun at his own Mexican -American heritage. So even when the subject matter hit close to home, the audience laughed along with George about the generation that raised them. You expect George to come politically correct, speak for his culture even if he used a few several explicitly in both English and Spanish. To review his concert, you had to really pay attention for example. His Observa-

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tions on kids today are wimps! (he, of course, used a few other choice words), they don’t like their food to touch on their plate. A little Mexican kid having a temper tantrum because his Carne Asada touched his Tortilla, “are you @$%* kidding me?” As laughter erupted. Another food topic he spoke on was being Vegan and Mexican, as he describes Gay Mexicans being the most flamboyant, George mimicked a Gay Mexican saying “Oh I am a Vegan, I don’t eat meat.” As Mexicans, we eat lots of Carnitas and Tortillas. No such thing as a Vegan Latino. Again more laughter and applause. He spoke on body shaming “Our parents invented it,” kids being out of shape and obese, funny but a very sensitive subject but he made having fats kids funny. There were a few families with kids. I wondered how this was perceived since kids now days are very sensitive. Another delicate subject from his family perspective was regarding Diabetes; having a relative getting a limb amputated is the worst but again George made it relatable. Saying in general how Mexicans hate going to the doctor, even when family members telling his uncle that his foot is turning green, his uncle remark, I’ve walked a lot, I don’t need it.” As everyone laughed as they at the absurdness of the statement. Let the music take you… SmoothJazz Magazine | 17

Lifestyle His jokes were funny but truth if you really listened to what he had to say. He spoke on transgender particular Caitlyn Jenner. He touched on the

he spoke with honesty. When our new government depicting immigrants as killers and rapist did they think that George was not going to come after them with a vengeance. And that he did. There was no alternative facts in this show all emotion and realness. You had subject briefly. to go into the show with an open mind, He also did not miss a beat comparing topics on the Government, Dementia, blacks, Mexican’s (Latinos) and whites Kids, Family, Obesity, Marijuana, Relion how they handled different situagion and THE WALL. So don’t pretend he tions. His family being affected by de- was going to be PG and calm about mentia, a big topic now since our parAmerica. ents and grandparents are living longer. It was a good show. He said what a lot Family takes care of family not put them of Americans think. And last but not away. least, George said anyone can be PresiImmigration law, The Wall and making dent well Mr. Lopez? America great again were the highlight of this show. What stuck in my mind from George’s show was this statement “you said we are taking the jobs away, but we are lazy. “So which one is it? The two don’t even go together. We work hard, work for less and we don’t complain.” There was a lot of laughter, but 18| SmoothJazz Magazine

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Festivals Concert

Review & Photos By: Lamar Webster Any fan of mid 70’s to mid 80’s R&B music knew of Earth, Wind & Fire as one of the top recorded/touring acts in Black music. From their mystic stage costumes, album covers, and amazing live concerts, the group carried a message of spiritual oneness and good will that was spread via the direction of bandleader Maurice White, who passed away last year. Larry Dunn was the keyboardist and music director of the group during their rise to fame. This concert was an event for Larry to showcase the vast catalog of the band with which he created so many huge hits. The show at The Rose on Sunday Dec. 3, 2017 brought out many EWF fans from the Hollywood community. Although he has released a few solo LP’s and performed in limited appearances around town, this was his first show at The Rose club. The show was billed as “Larry Dunn’s Anthology of Earth, Wind and Fire.” Larry is a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, an Inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the

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Concert Lifestyle Songwriters Hall of Fame. The show opened with the band, Soul Rising, featuring Khadia Handon on lead vocals. Soul Rising is a 4-piece band, with three female vocalists. Their music was pretty tight and vocals were on point. Their all original music was a pop-rock type of blend, and I liked them. They were well received by the crowd. Comedian TK Carter was then introduced to share a few insights on comedy, then he introduced former In Living Colour performer actor/comedian Tommy Davidson. Tommy did a funny bit and showed his stand up comedic skills, which included impressions of former President Obama and of Sammy Davis Jr. They both have been in his act for a while. Tommy also displayed that he is a good singer with a good range. Finally the band for Larry Dunn’s Anthology arrived. Larry assembled a crack lineup of musicians in his 15 piece ensemble. Up front he had an amazing vocal talent of 6 vocalists, including his wife Luisa Juztiz Dunn, Leslie Smith, Masta Edge of Soul, Procton Bonnell III, Jarret Johnson and Howard Johnson. The other musicians were Larry Dunn (keys), Hilliard Wilson (bass), Darrell Crooks (guitar), Ty Fleming (drums), Jamelle Adisa (trumpet), Michael Hunter (trumpet), Duane Benjamin (trombone), Victor Orlando (percussionist)and Keith Mitchell McKelley (sax). Larry handled the keyboard duties himself and played several banks of keys throughout the show. He spoke on how the creation of some of the tunes came about, like the remake of the Beatles tune, Got To Get You Into My Life. That tune which was done as a soundtrack for the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, won EWF a Grammy award. 20 | SmoothJazz Magazine

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Concert So with his band in place the group carefully crafted out a set of hit EW&F tunes, that included Reasons, That’s the Way of the World, September, Be Ever Wonderful, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and Let’s Groove. He often introduced others in the audience including EWF members Verdine White & John Parrish, and spoke fondly of his days playing, recording and touring with the group. Others who attended were Leon Sylvers III, Hubert Laws, Jay King, Shelly Clark (The Honey Cones), and he introduced special guest percussionist Paulinho da Costa, who recorded on several EWF records. The band was very well polished and Larry mentioned that Maurice White always made them rehearse a lot. They took pride in being one of the tightest units out on the road. I must say this band tonight was on point. All of the horn parts were covered, and several in the audience sang along with the hugely successful hit songs that were performed. Larry also told stories of other contributers to the group’s recorded catalog, like Skip Scarborough and Charles Stephney. Two of my favorite performances of the night were Be Ever Wonderful featuring Masta TheEdgeofSoul and Shining Star, both delivered to enthusiastic fans. Of course Boogie Wonderland and Let’s Groove Tonight were big favorites as the crowd danced and sang to the music.

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Concert The Rose is one of the premiere event venues in the San Gabriel Valley with a huge stage, nice professional lighting, and plenty of tables for patrons to enjoy a nice dinner while watching a show. The crowd showed their appreciation for the music of EWF by giving Larry and the band rousing applause, as they came back for an encore. All in all, this was a great show for

Photos By: Gregg Hanley

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Concert By: Shumon Hutchinson

Gregory Porter graced the stage of the beautiful Ace Hotel Theater located in the midst of the arts and cultural resurgence of downtown Los Angeles on December 6, 2017. The structure built with a Spanish Gothic influence originally in 1927 as the one of the flagships for the United Artists motion picture studios was wonderfully renovated and reopened in 2014. Today it’s theater boasts 1600 seats, a three story grand lobby, state of the art lighting, digital projection and cinema sound. Let me start by noting that Gregory Porter fans are Gregory Porter “Fans”. There is no need for post-show interviews of his fans because they let you know how they are feeling throughout the entire performance. Within a few notes of Porter belting out “Musical Genocide” from his 2013 album Liquid Spirit to start the show a gentleman behind me yells 24| SmoothJazz Magazine Let the music take you…

Concert out “He came out the gate” and then a few screams in agreement followed. The gentlemen was correct in that this song on an album that won the Best Jazz Vocal Grammy Award in 2014 set the tone for what was to be a declaration of Porter’s feelings about music, life, family and love through his pitch perfect performance. Porter is one of those performers that doesn’t have to work the stage or dance around for applause, his voice is strong and commanding, his words are conscientious and thought provoking and his band is musically captivating. Featuring Chip Crawford on piano, Jahmal Nichols on bass, Tivon Pennicott on tenor sax and Emanuel Harrold on drums the band perfectly executed the tone and sentiment that Porter wanted to convey to his audience. As Porter and his band played his song and album titled Take Me to the Alley, which was released in 2016 and also earned a 2017 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album you could tell this was a fan favorite from the audience shouts of “Take me to the house” and “Alright now”. Because remember, Porter fans will let you know how they are feeling. The song is intense and memory filled of a time he was being raised in Los Angeles and of his Mom who was an unfailing generous soul who looked after everyone and anyone around her. She was a great source to draw from to create beautiful jazz music and her influence is very apparent as he shared a few stories of her life during the show. One story he shared was how he recorded a song he sang on a tape recorder as a Let the music take you… SmoothJazz Magazine | 25

Concert young child and once he played it for his Mom she said he sounded like Nat King Cole. That was the start of his affinity for Nat King Cole music as once he studied the iconic jazz vocalist he said he found comfort and motivation is in his lyrics in the absence of his father raising him. So much so that his latest album Nat “King” Cole & Me was released on October 27th of this year as a personal tribute to Cole. The show was fast moving and covered everything from slow love ballads like Infinity to high energy clap along songs like Liquid Spirit. Every song was carefully orchestrated and beautifully executed. A couple of concert goers felt the liquid spirit and danced in the aisle of the theater, true Porter fans!. The performance was amazing and as always over too fast. The crowd did not let the crooner leave without an encore performance which he finally belted out “Smile” from his current album and dedicated to a friend suffering a loss.

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By: Shumon Hutchinson What happens when you mix the performance of the 10 time Grammy Award winning acapella group Take 6, the Manhattan Transfer who has also won 10 Grammy awards with multiple nominations and a couple of guest performers in the middle of the Holiday season? A perfect night of musical harmony with lots of Christmas cheer. And on the evening of December 9th 2017 at the intimate dinner setting of the Catalina Jazz Bar and Grill this is exactly what took place. The night started off with a very delightful performance by the USC Vocal Jazz Ensemble. They sang a few beautiful Christmas carols with my personal favorite being a soul inspired version of the "Little Drummer Boy" with a little beat box assistance from a Take 6. 28| SmoothJazz Magazine

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Concert April Williams, Founder, Musicians At Play spearheaded this wonderful evening of music. "An essential part of the Musicians at Play Foundation is its Mentorship Program. One of MAP's primary goals is to bring music to the community and bringing professional musicians to mentor high school and college students is one of the ways we accomplish this.”

April Williams, seated 3rd from the left.

Take 6 took the stage next with a compilation of Christmas classics as only they can do. Songs like "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" became harmonized acapella masterpieces with the added taste of vocal instruments. And "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was performed as a comical and theatrical musical parody. I’m still not sure how they managed to make the Nutcracker’s classic "Dance Of The Sugar Fairy" into a funky and hip be bop treat, but it they did. The show continued with Nnenne Freelon joining Take 6 for more

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Concert The show continued with Nnenne Freelon joining Take 6 for more Christmas classics such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," showcasing their famous harmonizing style. Freelon with her elegance and charm also performed solo one of the most amazing straight ahead jazz versions of "Jingle Bells" imaginable. Next up was one of the longest performing vocal groups of all time, 40 years and counting, the Manhattan Transfers. Leading with their famous re-recording of "Route 66" from their 1981 Bop Doo- Whoop album they performed with the harmony and intensity they have entertained crowds with for decades. After singing a few classics they were joined by Take 6 and Freelon to end the show with the ever appropriate "Spread Love" song released by Take 6 on their first album, which was self titled and earned them their first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1988.

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Thursday 12-28-17 was a rare opportunity for me to get in at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood to finally hear the performance of Kirk Andres Wilson, a talented Louisiana native with distinctive smiling eyes and great Baritone voice at time he sounded like Louis Armstrong to Nate King Cole and if I close my eyes I would have sworn that Fats Domino was singing, “I Found My Thrill, On Blueberry Hill.”. But he began with his own raw solo rendition of the classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on a Yamaha piano. There aren’t enough right words to describe Kirk’s stunning deliverance of this timeless classic. Right from this opening masterpiece, I was floored, his performance is stunning. Kirk followed this soulful classic with another piano solo of “Miss New Orleans.” By: Maria Chinn

Photos: Mann

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Festivals Concert Kirk Wilson had captivated the audience with other powerhouse musicians with him that evening. . On keyboard was Edell Shepard; on saxophone and flute was Louis Van Taylor; on bass guitar was Harvey Anikulapo Estrada; on drums was Donnell Spencer Jr. and on percussion, Munyungo Jackson. Following the introduction of each artists playing their respective instruments, “Moscow Nights” was the evening’s third delivery. This featured a superb percussionist Munyungo Jackson on cajon drums and the grandest tenor saxophonist Louis Van Taylor. Kirk’s flawless piano strokes coaxed attention to his rendition of “Lido Island Sunshine,” enhanced by some tenor sax notes. “Time Remembered” highlighted the percussion and piano, succeeded by a sax solo of “Winelight,” a piece taken to new heights by Louis Van Taylor. “Breezin,” “My One and Only Love” and Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” are exhilarating pieces delivered impeccably this evening with Kirk’s guitar. “Wonderful World” earned Kirk spots on the top ten on Billboards Music Charts. “My Love” and “Softly Spoken” are two of my most favorite songs in Kirk’s debut CD, My Love.

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Festivals Feature “Moonlight” and “Starpower” follows as my next picks. These beauties remind me of the legendary music of George Benson and Earl Klugh in many ways. Catalina Jazz Club is a Supper Club that has fine dining from Quesadilla Appetizers to Blackened Catfish for entrée’s. A full assortment of wines to choose from as well as desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth. With a great attendance to the nearly sold out show, the audience enjoyed the evening as Kirk’s set ran long but no one was complaining. To summarize, for the jazz enthusiasts who have not heard of Kirk Andres Wilson and his extraordinarily smooth style, he is definitely someone you do not want to miss. A definite five star. You can watch Kirk perform at Downtown Disney’s Jazz Kitchen and at Mozambique in Laguna Beach. His music CD My Love is available at Amazon Music and iTunes. Let the music take you… SmoothJazz Magazine | 35

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Concert In Photos

Photos By: Tina Pruitt

Photos By: Cecelia Wells

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Concert In Photos Festivals

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Festivals Lifestyle Concert In Photos

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Concert In Photos Festivals

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New CD Releases 2018

Brian Culbertson “Colors Of Love" 02/14/18 BUY

Eric Valentine “Velvet Groove" 02/14/18 BUY

Chick Corea & Steve Gadd "Chinese Butterfly" 01/18/18 BUY

Sheldon Ferguson “Soul Searching" 01/02/18 BUY

Justin Young “Blue Soul” 11/17/17 BUY

Stacey Kent “I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Session” 10/20/17 BUY

Alice Soyer "Sky On Earth” 10/16/17 BUY

Lin Roundtree “Pass The Groove” 10/13/17 BUY

Dave Bradeshaw Jr “Flipside” 091817 BUY

CD Review

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Festivals CD Review By: Azval Ismail When the Hammond Organ comes up, the first memory that I have is as a kid listening to Booker T and the Mgs playing “Green Onions.” Somehow I remember enjoying that sound and of course growing up with the music of Santana, featuring Greg Rollie and other great organists such as Billy Preston, Don Pullen, Jimmy Smith, Carla Bley and Joey DeFrancesco among others. But the grandmaster has to be the venerable Dr Lonnie Smith who stands tall as the great master of innovation on this iconic instrument. The 2017 NEA MASTERS recipient who even though he remains humble, continues to show why he is such a supreme force at the Hammond with his new offering All in my Mind. This is his second album on the legendary Blue Note label since his return to their stable in 2016 where he had made a name for himself in the 60’s as a sideman with Lou Donaldson and as a leader in his own right. A master of grooves, sophisticated harmony, melodic integrity and ethereal atmospherics, Smith wanted to record All in my Mind in a live setting because, as he says, “It’s so hard to capture what I’m feeling at the moment in the studio. Hearing me live is catching me playing in the moment. It’s a good vibe. It’s a loving situation.” A native of the Buffalo New York who presently lives in Fort Lauderdale,, Smith decided to roll tapes during his weeklong 75th birthday celebration at one of his favorite clubs, the Jazz Standard in New York City, with his long-time trio consisting of guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake. “My group is a brotherhood, a dedicated family,” Smith says. “They are the heartbeat of the music. They know 50 | SmoothJazz Magazine

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CD Review what I’m trying to do, and they enhance what I play. I play in the moment all the time, and they adjust and are there for me.” The resulting seven-track album opens with searing version of Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu” from the saxophonist’s 1965 Blue Note album of the same name. “I enjoy playing this,” Smith says. “I feel it. I love it. It means something to me.” Next up is the deeply lyrical “Devika,” composed by the late Dave Hubbard, a tenor saxophonist who linked up with the Hammond master in years past. “This is an old tune,” says Smith. “When I played it with Dave in the past it had a faster feel. This is the first time I’ve recorded it, and I decided to change the feeling around it to give it an easier feel.” He brings a soulful, and lyrical element to this offering. Smith invited drummer Joe Dyson to replace Blake for a playful jaunt through Paul Simon’s hit “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (Dyson and Blake play alongside each other in Smith’s expanded Evolution band). Smith takes the tune on a nearly 10-minute joyride featuring a soaring B-3 solo. The slow and soulful take on Tadd Dameron’s “On a Misty Night” (most famously heard on the composer’s 1958 Prestige recording Mating Call with John Coltrane) features Smith’s mastery of dynamics, from the delicate opening to his climactic full-throttle demonstration of the B-3’s potential. “We love to play that tune,” he says. “It’s down my alley. We do it a lot and I’m in my world.” Let the music take you… SmoothJazz Magazine | 51

CD Review A Smith original, “Alhambra,” is the longest and most complex tune of the set. The leader opens with his electronics, in an atmospheric mix of synth brass and woodwind sounds that morph into driving guitar and B-3 solos. “I love to take people on a ride,” Smith says of the tune, which he wrote a long time ago but never recorded. Smith also offers up a new version of one of his oldest songs, “All in My Mind,” which he had recorded twice before on his Afrodesia (1975) and Funk Reaction (1977) albums. “It’s the right time to be singing this again,” he says, referring to the lyrics that long for a better world. Here Smith delivers the vocal in a duet with singer Alicia Olatuja, whose amazing vocal range and spirit lift the song to new heights. Closing out the session is the joyful swing through Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring,” a tune he wrote to celebrate the season when he was in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and later recorded on his own 1967 Backlash album. “There’s a hopeful note to this,” Smith says. Smith reflects, “You play life, you tell your story. I know who I am, and that means so much.” As for his return to Blue Note, he singles out Don Was who produced Evolution and All in My Mind. “I’ve worked with producers who don’t understand the musicians they’re working with. But Don wants me to be myself, he understands and respects creativity. It’s a reminder of the old days when Frank Wolff used to be the same.” City. An all-around brilliant offering showcasing on of the great musicians of our era. This is a must have for fans of the Hammond Organ and is one that is sure to take the listener into uncharted musical territory with swift and unexpected turns through the course of listening to this. Definitely worth having in the collection.

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Kim Simmonds, the founder and continuing leader of the legendary blues/rock band Savoy Brown, has released Jazzin' On The Blues on his own Panache label. He shows off his acoustic playing with a beautiful mix of jazz, blues and a new age style.... twelve instrumentals played with the assurance and mastery of a virtuoso guitar player. - Amazon

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CD Review By: Maria L. Lewis Euge Groove the maestro of the sax is back with a fresh new release titled “Groove On”. This latest album is his eleventh release, and is an invigorating collection of original tunes – featuring guitarists Peter White and Jabu Smith; including vocalist Lindsey Webster, keyboardist Tracy Carter, bassist Cornelius Mims, drummers Trevor Lawrence Jr. and Dan Needham, percussionist Lenny Castro, and string programmers/ arrangers Philipe Saisse and Austin Creek. Groove is a seasoned multi-instrumental musician, composer, and producer, who has scored a dozen #1 hits on the Con-

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temporary Jazz Charts. He has collaborated with everyone from Tina Turner, Elton John, and Bonnie Raitt to Tower of Power (of which he was a member of the group for 4 years) and Aaron Neville. Euge’s love of Jazz, R&B, Gospel, and Blues have all fused together to create his signature sound. He elaborates further stating, “I’ve listened to everyone from Grover Washington Jr. and Sanborn to Charlie Parker and Coltrane, as well as Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, King Curtis Jr. Walker, Richard Elliott, and Kirk Whalum.” Euge Groove is never short on inspiration.

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CD Review The album opens with the enticing, exuberant, and free-flowing “Sonnet Xl”. A flavorable display of Euge Groove’s musical lines on soprano saxophone. The kick-start title track and album’s first single is “Groove On” – which features Euge on flute and keyboard. “The Healing” is a ballad that rises from the depths of the heart that showcases Euge on tenor alongside the percussive genius of Lenny Castro and Philipe Saisse. Let the Ooh so smooth sounds begin with “Round and Round” giving way to Euge’s signature layering of parts sculpting a magnificent mixture of sound and musical colors. “Saturday Afternoon” is a tune for all the steppers out there with its cool, swingin’, get up and dance vibe; while the smooth ballad “Always Love You” is the lone vocal track of the album featuring Lindsey Webster. The album release date for “Groove On” is November 17, 2017 from Shanachie Entertainment. This album makes a lovely addition to your music collection. Get your copy today! For more information click Here:

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CD Review By: Eryn Bozeman Where to start when reviewing Michael McDonald, all I can say is I’m excited and intimidated. I’m going to review this with all my fan feelings from every other cd’s, and try not to let my Doobie Brother’s love cloud my entire judgment. So, with my rose colored glasses on and a big smile on my face, I can say this cd is truly evolution and quality for Michael McDonald. The cd opens with a track called “Hail Mary.” As this songs starts to unwind, you know you’re in for a perfect treat. It’s the beautiful classic voice you love. Parts of the cd have a very smooth romantic feel, and is perfect to listen to after a long day of work. Other parts of the cd are very eclectic and it helps you see how Michael McDonald is trying to evolve with his sound. The music and combined with his voice leads the way to many wonderful tunes. “Find It In Your Heart” has that classic sound you expect from him, but wrapped in jazzy music that flows so sweetly around his lyrics. He uses the bad man himself Marcus Miller to lay his bass work on this track. I felt the lyrics talked to me personally, right along with sexy jazz style. You take a listen and see how you feel. The musical experience doesn’t stop there, a few tracks later you here a song called “Ain’t No Good,” this takes you back to a old sound that you have always known. It helps me round out the new and old Michael McDonald. As always, I have a CD favorite, Track 7 called “Blessing In Disguise” it has a nice upbeat feel, it has been played several nights when I get home to help me feel 56| SmoothJazz Magazine

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CD Review good while cooking dinner. I’m not going to talk about this song without mentioning the collaboration of Branford Marsalis on saxophone. He brings the song home with his “Saxy” finish. The song makes you dance and enjoy yourself while listening, and it was definitely my winner for this Michael McDonald project. My final thoughts are this; the cd has a lot to offer, and it has its ups and downs. It has some of the Michael McDonald feel you always look for along with some new sounds you do not ex-

pect. His choice for musical collaborations is brilliant and brings the songs together in amazing harmony. As always I try to learn something when I do cd reviews about the artists, just to educate myself. Here it goes, Michael McDonald, has directed, written screenplays and tv episodes. Where does the talent end, I do not know. I do know his cd is excellent, and you should not take my word for it, but go find out for yourself and then spread the news to everyone else.

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CD Review By: Robin Munro

Released: September 01, 2017

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CD Review By: Robin Munro Atlanta based composer, keyboardist and vocalist, Carol Albert has been nominated 2017 Best New Artist by the Smooth Jazz Network and I can see why. Her album, Fly Away Butterfly, is a rich compilation of jazz melodies and vocals that are sultry and soothing. As I closed my eyes listening to the first single, “Fly Away Butterfly” (Vuela Mariposa) in Spanish; was beautiful and seductive. “Me encanta esta cancion.”(I love this song.)

Rick Braun

David Benoit

was a beautiful and bright instrumental, while “Chasing Waterfalls” a bit slower and subdued, while still hypnotic. The pace reaches an all-time high with “Mas Que Nada.” The tempo and timing was the perfect song to Samba and created a party atmosphere to dance the night away. I could see her singing this on “Dancing with the Stars” as the dance professionals in their beautiful costumes and all their glory created a beautiful Samba ensemble.

The single “On My Way” was upbeat showcasing her soft sultry voice and definitely would have” you on your feet. “Awakening”

“Fly away Butterfly” is Smooth Jazz at is finest. I thoroughly enjoyed the arrangements, the rich vocals and jazz musicality of Carol Albert.

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Smooth Jazz


CD Review By: Keivu G. Knox

Kirk Andres Wilson has been making waves in different circles in recent years. His accomplishments include his weekly concert series and Disney, to writing music for films and movies, to playing alongside musical icons like Stevie Wonder and Ray Parker Jr. On the heels of these successes, Wilson has released his debut album entitled “My Love.” Wilson’s prowess on piano and guitar is on full display, and is a great introduction to music audiences unfamiliar with his resume.

“That’s My Baby” is the opening song on the album and carries a nice mid-tempo groove. Moyes Lucsas on drums and Munyungo Jackson on percussion compliment Wilson very well. The title track on this album follows, and gives off a nice bedroom bossa nova feel. The album’s first single, a cover of the Louis Armstrong standard “What a Wonderful World” is up next. Its arrangement is carefully built around the lone vocal performance by Wilson. His baritone voice even mimics Armstrong at times, but is done in a tasteful and respectful manner. Other standout tracks on this album are the radio friendly “Softly Spoken,” which has the makings of a nice follow-up single. For those who would want to know what a one-man show from Wilson would sound like, “Even More” would be the perfect example. On this song, there is only Wilson’s piano to appreciate, and his

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CD Review confidence and command of the keys is obvious here. “Starpower” is another cut dripping with Latin flavor that shows the chemistry between Wilson and his rhythm section. Stepping out front and releasing an album can be a daunting task, but for Kirk Andres Wilson, his debut release of “My Love” feels like it came relatively easy for him. These eleven songs and well put together, and provide enough varied sounds to give just about everyone something to admire. It’s a quality album that is worth the listen. Let the music take you… SmoothJazz Magazine | 63

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Naturally 7 Jan Feb 2018  

IN THIS ISSUE: Take 6, Manhattan Transfer, Larry Dunn, Dave Koz, Chick Corea, George Lopez, Kirk Andres Wilson, Carol Albert, Gregory Porte...

Naturally 7 Jan Feb 2018  

IN THIS ISSUE: Take 6, Manhattan Transfer, Larry Dunn, Dave Koz, Chick Corea, George Lopez, Kirk Andres Wilson, Carol Albert, Gregory Porte...