John Stein – Lifeline – Whaling City Sound

With the release of Lifeline, John Stein celebrates a musical career as one of the most diverse jazz guitarists of his generation. Selected highlights from Stein’s varied discography capture his eclectic spirit with his honey-toned guitar effortlessly guiding listeners across several decades of brilliance. After retiring from a longtime career at Berklee College of Music where he held a professorship since 1999, and upon recently contracting a rare autoimmune disease, the esteemed jazz veteran decided to synthesize his remarkable body of recorded work. The recorded output surveyed on this compilation spans more than twenty years, from Stein’s 1999’s Green Street to the most recent recording, 2021’s Serendipity. Throughout this assortment of releases, Stein has been consistently regaled for his expansiveness, turning heads with his emotive, subtle, grooving, and precise stylistic excursions. With dazzling guitar playing, notable contributions from the side musicians, creative arrangements, and compositions that are at once sophisticated and memorable, the full scope of John Stein’s instrumental and compositional prowess is on display on this prodigious, varied, and musically rewarding retrospective.

Mark Christian Miller - Music In The Air - Sliding Jazz Door Productions

Mark Christian Miller, a well-established presence on the West Coast scene releases Music in the Air featuring a first call list of renowned West Coast based musicians; Jamieson Trotter on piano and arrangements, Mike Gurrola on bass, Kevin Winard on drums, Larry Koonse on guitar, and Danny Janklow on alto sax. When Mark Christian Miller sings, he’s talking to you, with the warmth, clarity, and intimacy of a fine conversationalist. Underneath it all is a gentle jazz pulse that makes his singing float on air. He has an effortless rapport with musicians, for he knows how to listen.

Albare – Freedom - Alfi Records

Long before Bob Dylan and Paul Simon hit a societal raw nerve through their protest songs of the 1960s, Jazz had long established itself as arguably the first activist music – becoming the poster child for emancipation and liberty along the way. Such is its power that totalitarian regimes similar as North Korea sought to ban it and jail musicians who ventured into its orbit. At this strange point in our western democratic history, where one by one, our freedoms are being eroded, it is good to remind ourselves of the genesis of Jazz – as an expression of Freedom. In this spirit, we conjure once again the activist roots inherent in the artform, in order to celebrate and protect our hard-won freedoms. We shall never be silenced. Guitars: Albert Dadon aka Albare, Piano: Phil Turcio, Flugelhorn and Trumpet: Randy Brecker, Alto and Tenor sax: Ada Rovatti,  Bass: Phil Rex, Drums: Felix Bloxom.

Tony Hightower – Legacy - Hightower Legacy

Singer/Songwriter Tony Hightower is taking up the mantle to be a bridge that ushers R&B audiences into Jazz…Real Jazz. With years of experience as a musical performer and actor, Atlanta-native Hightower is still just getting started on this benevolent turn in his journey. And he is bringing a lot of young people with him. His sophomore project, Legacy, finds Hightower exploring Jazz vocal stylings from a dazzling prism of angles. The 10-song album moves confidently and assuredly from original compositions such as the soulful scat-laced “All to the Good,” the seductive Brazilian bossa nova of “Rendezvous” and the tender carnal Jarreau-esque love beg “I Need You” to swingin’ covers of Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic Skip Scarborough-penned “Can’t Hide Love,” a mean shuffle boogie groove through Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” and a smoldering upright bass accompanied tiptoe through the 1929 Andy Razaf standard “Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” made further famous in 1944 by one of Hightower’s greatest and earliest Jazz vocal heroes, Nat “King” Cole.

Clifford Lamb – Blues and Hues NY, NY - Weber Works

With Blues & Hues New York, pianist-composer Clifford Lamb and producer Jeff Weber have added the next destination to their singularly inventive and highly personal musical road trip across America. They’ve packed the tour bus with an A-team of jazz stars from the Big Apple –bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Jerely Pelt, drummer Carl Allen, and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery – to create a stirring, surprisingly introspective homage to the City that Never Sleeps. “This is an album of reflection,” Lamb explains. But in addition to looking inward, the recording also looks back, to New York in the 1930s, when the elegant geniuses Duke Ellington and George Gershwin were shaping the city and the nation’s music for generations to come. Lamb, whose albums have emphasized themes of social justice, took specific inspiration from Ellington’s monumental 1943 suite, Black, Brown & Beige, which Ellington introduced as “a tone parallel to the history of the American Negro.”

Sylvia Brooks – Signature – Rhombus

Since her captivating debut in 2009, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks has displayed a gift for inhabiting different personas, with a subspecialty in film-noir inspired femmes fatale. On this, her fourth album, she embraces the most challenging role of all, defining herself with a set of beautifully crafted original songs. Her evocative lyrics and emotionally direct delivery imbue the music with hard-won authenticity. Whether looking back with wry affection on her walk-on-the-wild-side youth or lamenting a lost love, Brooks brings bracing honesty and poise to the material. Artistically, she is collaborating with Southern California’s most creative accompanists: ace pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob designed beguiling, harmonically rich settings for her incisive lyrics. The stellar rhythm section tandem of drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry appear on almost every track. This album marks a quantum leap reflecting years of concentrated effort. “I really worked hard on trying to make the stories deeper and richer,” she says, “each song is really a story within itself.”

Tuba Skinny – Magnolia Stroll – Independent

To say that acclaimed New Orleans street band Tuba Skinny has grown steadily popular over the past decade would be an immense understatement. Over the years Tuba Skinny has attracted a wide variety of fans with the strength of their musicianship and the scope of their jazz and American roots music catalog. After years of playing mostly other artist’s songs, Tuba Skinny has decided to fulfill a long-time dream with the release of Magnolia Strolltheir first album of all-original tunes. Set to be released on May 6, 2022, Magnolia Stroll will feature compositions from band members Erika Lewis, Shaye Cohn, Robin Rapuzzi, Barnabus Jones, Craig Flory, and Max Bien-Kahn. Magnolia Stroll is an ode to all the musicians, alive and dead who have nurtured and inspired them along their journey, as well as to the city of New Orleans and the neighborhoods that took them under their wings and continue to do so.

Ori Dagan - Click Right Here – Scat Cat Productions

With Toronto-based vocalist and songwriter Ori Dagan, one thing is certain: there’s great material to be mined for a lyric these days, something Dagan always delivers with a wry and agile sense of swing. Click Right Here, praised by John Devenish of JAZZ.FM91 as “fun, provocative, fancy-free and spirited,” and by journalist and author Jeanne Beker as “the perfect balance between modernity and nostalgia,” is Dagan’s first album of original material. It offers a joyful escape from, and timely reflection upon, a world spinning out of control. Dagan’s rich bass-baritone is unmistakable; his irreverent songcraft speaks to the lineage of Nat Cole novelty numbers and the impeccably swinging humor of the late Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg. His scat singing has the natural, fluid, bop-inflected feel of the best in that idiom. Click Right Here, his most ambitious project to date, is sure to take him to new destinations, onstage and online. Dagan’s right-hand man on Click Right Here, his fourth studio effort, is guitarist and musical director Nathan Hiltz, whose crackling arrangements and brilliant solos bring the songs to life.

Ricky Ford – The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul’s Scene – WCS

Ricky Ford, tenor sax legend, needs no introduction, but he’ll get one anyway because it’s important to hear his lineage before diving into his new recording. After getting his start filling the Paul Gonsalves chair in the Duke Ellington Orchestra (under Mercer Ellington’s leadership), Ford’s gone on to play with Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, and Abdullah Ibrahim, to name a few of his more illustrious stints. He is, quite simply, a national treasure. His latest recording, a tip of the hat to his early roots and a focused, fabulous blast of multi-hued bebop and traditional jazz, reflects tremendous taste and virtuosity, with nods to his heroes (Hawkins, Duke, Mingus, and others) and affirmation that the guy can still play with the best of them. While he may not have the same public profile as our present-day tenor heroes, he deserves every ounce of respect that they get and more. The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul’s Scene, made with his accompanist’s pianist Mark Soskin, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Barry Altschul, is wondrous and his playing sounds as fresh today as it did decades back, when he was a true legend in the making.

Rique Pantoja – Rique Pantoja_Live In LA - Moondo Music

Moondo Music celebrates the release of Rique Pantoja’s live recording re-mastered for 2022! Capturing a treasured set of Rique’s sensational works performed by stellar musicians including Steve Tavaglione/Sax & Flute, Jimmy Earl/Bass, Joel Taylor/Drums, Cassio Duarte/Percussion, and Moondo Music label mate, Ricardo Silveira/Guitar, “Live In Los Angeles” delivers with impeccable flair & style! Following the initial release of 2001, Moondo Music reissues a re-imagined album with re-mastered tracks tailored for current platforms including high resolution streaming outlets!