Other than the easy-listening pieces that appear near the beginning of the program, this is one of The Yellowjackets' strongest jazz dates. Bob Mintzer's creative reeds (switching between tenor, bass clarinet, soprano and the EWI) keep the music stimulating and keyboardist Russell Ferrante has come a long way as both an improviser (where he is most influenced by Herbie Hancock) and as the band's main composer. With bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer William Kennedy in strong supporting roles, the ensemble plays intelligent funk grooves, some mood music and occasional sections of straight-ahead jamming. The inclusion of the Miles Davis-influenced trumpeter Tim Hagans on half of the selections adds variety to a particularly enjoyable set.
Smooth jazz with some rough edges, you can actually sink your teeth into The Spin. Yellowjackets haven't completely taken pop/jazz out of their diet – Marc Russo's "Blues for Nikki" and Russell Ferrante's "Whistle While You Walk" will skip a little too lightly for some tastes – but most of the songs find a satisfying midway point between the sweet and the sour. "Geraldine," "Dark Horses," and "Storytellers" all have some meat on them, with keyboardist Russell Ferrante leading a musical discussion that steers clear of the banal. Leaving Russo to carry the melodies, Ferrante is free to pursue a more discursive dialogue (notably on "Enigma"), with punctuation provided by the brisk percussion of William Kennedy (who shines on "Dark Horses"). Jimmy Haslip's bassline gives "The Spin" its shape, but he continues to fade in and out of the mix, and fails to make the most of his one solo.
A nearly complete departure from smooth jazz, Politics is arguably the Yellowjackets' strongest effort to date. True, there is the pure pop of the single "Local Hero" (which features a rhythm section more rock than jazz) and the accessible "Evening Dance" to be considered, but they're the exceptions rather than the rule. Like Four Corners before it, Politics engages in exotic, dreamy textures, the new wrinkle here being the joining of Russell Ferrante's keyboards and Marc Russo's saxophones to create intoxicating, complex themes (the opening pair of "Oz" and "Tortoise & the Hare" are the best examples of this technique).
MoonJune Records is pleased to introduce another of Indonesia's most gifted and celebrated music personalities – multi-genre keyboardist, composer, producer, peace activist and cultural icon, Dwiki Dharmawan. With a career spanning over 30 years and performances in over 60 countries, Dwiki remains one of his country's most popular and respected industry stalwarts. On his debut for MoonJune, listeners are treated to an exotic musical mélange of the highest order. Featuring fusion and progressive rock luminaries, Chad Wackerman, Jimmy Haslip, (and fellow MoonJune artists and Indonesian giants) Dewa Budjana and Tohpati, and as well the legendary violinist, Jerry Goodman.
Anyone who appreciates the richness of Spanish music (be it traditional flamenco or the popular "flamenco rock" of the 1970s, '80s and '90s) can't help but take notice when an album is titled Madrid. This effort by guitarist Marc Antoine was recorded with the so-called "smooth jazz" market in mind. Imagine the most laid-back recordings of Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, or Grant Geissman having Spanish overtones, and you can get an idea what Antoine sounds like on such lightweight tunes as "Jazzenco," "Plaza Mayor," and "Sunland." Antoine's albums may have wound up in the jazz bins, but this CD is would be more at home in "new age with a beat.
For Immediate Release – Jeff Lorber Fusion, whose previous release Hacienda was praised for its “impeccable musicianship and deep grooves” by JazzTimes and its “funky, rollicking jams” by All About Jazz, returns on September 25, 2015, with Step It Up on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group. The fourth consecutive collaboration between GRAMMY®-nominated keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber and GRAMMY®-winning bassist/composer/ producer Jimmy Haslip since the two virtuosos reactivated Jeff Lorber Fusion five years ago, Step It Up features 11 new Lorber compositions, several co-written with Haslip. The longtime colleagues also co-produced the recording.
Only Purple Pyramid Records - home to progressive rock legends Nektar, Hawkwind founder Nik Turner, Amon Düül II, Tangerine Dream and others - could produce this massive 4CD set of cutting edge prog suitable for both die hard fans and newbies! This extraordinary package features over 5 hours of music including tracks by Yes, Hawkwind, Curved Air, an unreleased Billy Sherwood mix of Queensrÿche, and Tangerine Dream PLUS performances by a whole pantheon of virtuosos including Rick Wakeman, Steve Hillage, Steve Morse, Chris Squire, Steve Stevens, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Peter Banks and more!