Afro-Café - Afro-Café Vol 1 – BassLine Live

Duke Jones presents his heartfelt new album, Afro-Cafe Vol 1. Delivering an awe-inspiring sound and featuring a string of legendary artists, Afro-Café Vol 1 is a celebration of diverse Jazz, Soul, and African music styles. Released on the artist’s brand-new boutique label, the album is a compilation of classic songs retrieved from the vaults of Bassline Live record label. Swiftly gaining recognition for its unique approach to bringing together legendary artists to record in world-class studios, Bassline Live is a matchless record label. The label masters are one-of-a-kind recordings that capture some of the most amazing musical moments, rife with emotion, color, and character. State of the Art pristine quality recordings done with legendary studio engineers such as Los Angeles engineer Dave Rideau and New York/London born Beatles Abby Road album engineer Malcolm Addy.

Lynne Arriale Trio - Being Human - Challenge Records

On her latest release, pianist Lynne Arriale and her trio mates address a troubled, divided world with an exquisite suite of optimistic, deeply felt compositions. Being Human, pianist-composer Lynne Arriale’s 17th album as a leader, is her fourth for Challenge Records International. Being Human, a suite of 10 original compositionscelebrates the ways that our lives are enriched by acts of passion, courage, conviction, love, persistence, heart, soul, curiosity, faith and joy. Featuring bassist Alon Near and drummer Lukasz Zyta, the album explores these life-affirming facets of humankind. Many of the songs are dedicated to people who’ve inspired Arriale, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. “I wrote this suite in response to the division and turmoil in our world,” Arriale says. “The music focuses on qualities we all share, that define our humanity. I hope this album will be uplifting and convey a sense of unity and optimism. The dedications reflect my admiration for those who I feel personify the traits that inspired the music.”

Ron Burris – Jazz Never Felt So Good – Ron Burris Jazz

This is Ron Burris’ third CD as an independent artist, and, as the title implies—he has never felt better.  Ron has selected some excellent musicians to assist him in bringing out the different qualities of these eight standards and one original song on this CD. To get things started, Ron and the guys offer a fresh rendition of Coltrane’s Impressions.  The entire group plays with passion to the very last note. Additionally, Kendrick Freeman, drum solo and drumming throughout adds to the beauty of this selection. “Never Felt So Good”, the title of the CD, is a simple tune, that is meant to express the wonderful feeling I have for this song and the entire CD.  It is meant to be simple, but expressive. At the end of the piece, John and I exchange simple phrases that match the title of the song- and at the very end, I can be heard stating, “It Never Felt So Good. The beauty of music in our lives, allow us to be thankful for what we do have, and rejoice. Life is not perfect, but music makes it feel so much better.

Albare – Beyond Belief - Alfi Records

This album is a journey through Albare’s rich musical landscape. His guitar, as always, is not merely an instrument but a voice that speaks of life, experiences, and the unspoken narratives of the heart. The collaboration with his long-@me collaborator, pianist Phil Turcio, is in full display here; you are in the presence of two masters having a musical conversation to the delight of the listeners. Beyond Belief invites listeners to immerse themselves in a world where melody reigns supreme, offering a unique experience that is quintessentially Albare. Beyond Belief is produced by Albare and his long-time colleague and collaborator Phil Turcio. This duo’s partnership in the studio brings a richness and depth to the album, highlighting a shared vision that has been refined over 30 years of collaboration. Phil Turcio: Piano, Phil Rex: Bass, Pablo Bencid: Drums, Lionel Cole: Vocalist.

Craig Malcor - Between Sounds - Intrajazz

After 24 years of what he calls “selling the dream to help people make music”, Craig Malcor is now living the dream by making his own music. With the help of producer Mike Parlett, he has assembled a “dream team” of brilliant LA players. Malcor’s classy trumpet sound is a joy, and his melodic solos and leads are remarkable for their taste and restraint. Beginning with the Starsky & Hutch funk of “The Opener”, Between Sounds takes the listener on a journey through Malcor’s compositional mind – music that, having waited patiently to emerge, is now ready to jam! Each track has its own story to tell, using a musical language that combines elements of classic 1970s funk with more contemporary grooves. Malcor’s arrangements are tight and assured, piloted by Jon Papenbrook’s powerful, soaring lead trumpet. For the last 40 years, Bob Sheppard’s saxophone mastery has graced the work of many jazz icons and continues to impress on this album. Ido Meshulam’s trombone solos on “Out of the Rain” and “Repetition & Reflection” are a welcome new discovery for this writer. Matt Hornbeck delivers some great rock-tinged solos on “New Horizons” and “Love Unconditionally” featuring Alex Nestor’s soulful vocals. Producer Parlett, managing to play while pushing buttons and faders, delights with his nimble soprano and baritone sax solos. The groove provided by drummer David Zarlenga and percussionist Ronnie Gutierrez is solid, even when Malcor throws some unusual time signatures or changes of feel into his compositions. Bassist Adam Cohen has the rare talent of keeping the rhythm grounded while playing superbly melodically. Mitch Forman’s piano and keyboards are a special pleasure throughout, especially the two solo piano tracks “In Times of Trouble” and “Mitch’s Reflection”. “Between Sounds” is a bottle of brandy that has been sitting in a cellar for 24 years. Open. Consume. Enjoy.

Greg Murphy - You Remind Me - Whaling City Sound

Greg Murphy, the revered pianist and composer, unveils his transcendent musical masterpiece, You Remind Me. This deeply moving tribute is a celebration of enduring love and the timeless essence of life’s most precious moments. Murphy’s fourth release on Whaling City Sound and his seventh as a leader, this album intricately weaves together diverse musical landscapes into a seamless tapestry of emotions. Recorded primarily at the esteemed Van Gelder Studios, Murphy leads an exceptional ensemble, featuring the foundational prowess of Obasi Akoto on bass and the rhythmic finesse of Steve Johns on drums. The album’s emotional depth is further enriched by the artistry of Zach Brock‘s mesmerizing violin and the captivating vocals of Malou Beauvoir and Frank Lacy. Reflecting on the album’s inspiration, Murphy shares, “Love is timeless…” He dedicates this musical opus to his late wife Nancy, the beautiful soul behind his creative vision. “Nancy’s spirit reminds me every moment of every day that love transcends everything…,” he adds, illuminating the profound essence that permeates every note of the album. You Remind Me is a multifaceted exploration of fleeting moments in time, a symphony resonating with the vibrant energy of love, cooperation, and hope for a better world. Murphy’s visionary arrangements and technical expertise shine through, carrying forward the legacy of the jazz tradition while embracing a modern, collaborative approach.

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra - And So It Goes - RMI Records

John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Jeff Clayton founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. While in their 20’s, John and Jeff Hamilton toured and recorded with Monty Alexander then moved on to separate big band environs. Jeff joined Woody Herman and John signed up for Count Basie. All along, Jeff Clayton had been performing and recording in Los Angeles. In 1986, the three men came together in L.A. and formed the Jazz Orchestra. In 2020, Jeff Clayton passed away after a lengthy illness. The CHJO reminds audiences that his spirit remains in every note that is played. The excitement of this powerful 19-piece band is the result of the band’s stellar performances and John’s writing. Their music is composed and arranged by John, and have garnered multiple Grammy© nominations. The RMI Records Debut of the world-renowned Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra is entitled, And So It Goes. This is the ensemble’s first full-length album in over a decade. And So It Goes features nine incredible performances of the Big Band with arrangements by John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and other members of the orchestra.  Captured in stunning clarity with Hi-Definition Digital audio, this project’s foundation harkens back to the days when an entire band played a piece in the same room.  Performing with flawless execution at the same time, stamping into the recording forever, “a single moment in musical history”.

Richard Niles - Adventures For Cello and Piano - New World Classics

Composer Richard Niles unveils his genre-defying musical revelation Adventures for Cello and PianoRenowned for his groundbreaking work in Pop (Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Tina Turner), Jazz (Pat Metheny, Randy Brecker, Bob James), Classical (Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo, Monserrat Caballe) and Soul (Ray Charles, James Brown, Michael McDonald), Niles now blends classical sophistication with contemporary audacity in his new album – duets for cello and piano that defy categorization. To play his daring new compositions, Niles has chosen masterful virtuosos. Dennis Karmazyn – Cello, Clive Dunstall – Piano, Mark Egan – Electric Fretless Bass, Ian Palmer – Drums.

Adam Schroeder & Mark Masters - CT! - Capri Records

Adam Schroeder and Mark Masters pay tribute to Clark Terry on CT! Big Band takes on fresh arrangements of 13 Terry originals! There are certain bodily movements that humans do without thinking: the expansion and contraction of the lungs, the beating of the heart, or in this case, the tapping of the foot to a deliciously slow, swinging groove. On CT!, baritone saxophonist and bandleader Adam Schroeder teams up with arranger Mark Masters to deliver a tasty baker’s dozen tunes in the Basie/Ellington/Strayhorn style, all composed by renowned trumpeter Clark Terry. Schroeder conceived of the recording as a celebration of Terry’s 100th birthday. Schroeder’s motivations for the record were heartfelt. “I wanted to celebrate what Clark gave to me and so many others around the globe for decades – musically, educationally, and as a mentor,” said Schroeder. “He was so giving, while at the same time demanding the utmost respect for the music and its process, and thus demanding that the players and listeners be present and collaborative.” That collaborative spirit and commitment to the music is evident throughout CT!, from the exhilarating solos to what Masters refers to as the “sound of surprise” of the band as a unit.

Ada Rovatti - The Hidden World of Piloo - Piloo Records

Italy-born, Long Island, New York based saxophonist and arranger Ada Rovatti delivers a captivating collection of original songs with wide-ranging thematic surprises around every corner. Her seventh album as a leader, The Hidden World of Piloo features six improvisationally rich instrumentals that include blues grooves, samba vibes, straight-up lyricism, melancholic balladry and a comedic finale. Two songs include strings; another features the dobro, a country instrument unlikely to be in a jazz song. Four Rovatti compositions showcase top-tier vocalists, including jazz-poll champion Kurt Elling, the Netherlands jazz singer Fay Claassen, German pop/jazz star Alma Naidu and fired-up R&B singer Niki Haris (the daughter of jazz great Gene Harris) who once served as a Madonna backing vocalist. They each follow Rovatti’s “impossibly ranged melodies” and settle marvelously into her phrasing.