Blue Canoe artist, Hiroe Sekine, is back in the spotlight with her fourth release, "Hiroe's Spirit". With this bold effort, Ms. Sekine brings fresh, unique arrangements to jazz and classical songs in a very original way.
A native of Japan, pianist Hiroe Sekine has been living in the Los Angeles area since 1993, performing at many venues, festivals, and others, including the Jazz Concert Series at Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA) in 2014 and 2016. Ms. Hiroe studied jazz at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In 2010, Ms. Sekine's debut album, "a-mé", was named by "All About Jazz" as one of the 25 best albums of the year. Ms. Sekine's long-time musical relationship with Russell Ferrante of the YellowJackets continues on "Hiroe's Spirit" and the result is a classical crossover stunner. Over the years, she has worked with musical greats such as Bob Sheppard (Chick Corea, Steely Dan, Michael Brecker, Joni Mitchell), Tony Dumas (The Manhattan Transfer, Chick Corea, Etta James, Mariah Carey), Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Pat Metheny, John Scofield,) and Abraham Laboriel (Al Jarreau, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles) to name a few.
"Hiroe's Spirit" opens with a dramatic rendition of “Pavane pour une infante défunte” by French composer Maurice Ravel. It begins with Ms. Sekine hinting at the melody with her strong piano phrasing against a simple drum beat. Bob Sheppard floats to the front with his sax and takes over melodic duties before the listener is drawn in by spirited accompaniment with Michael Valerio (bass), James Tate (drums) and Akira Jimbo (shaker). Together they reach the summit with dramatically soaring sax ringing triumphantly in the end.
Another very original take on Spirit is Ms. Hiroe's version of Ave Maria. She chooses a very upbeat approach with riveting drum and bass intro. The great Abraham Laboriel contributes both electric bass and vocals in this unique approach to the standard. The changes in rhythmic patterns throughout the interpretation keep the listener engaged as Ms. Hiroe falls in with a breathtaking piano solo that will leave an audience wanting for more. At the end, all come together in a force of rocket-paced bass groove along with subdued vocals that magically just works. Creatively divine, indeed!
"Hiroe's Spirit" is an intelligent, stand-out creation that will not be matched this year. Take a ride with Hiroe Sekine's "Hiroe's Spirit" today....this one is not to be missed.
Joseph Patrick Moore updates the catalog with his 12th solo release, "Nevada Sun". Two years in the making, Mr. Moore has teamed up with...well, himself...to produce just right album at exactly the right time. He produced the album and plays every instrument himself while, per his usual modus operandi, spanning genres from smooth jazz to Persian groove...from pop to funk and even a reggae-tinged number.
For nearly two decades Joseph Patrick Moore has been touring, recording, and establishing himself as an artist with a unique voice and a diversity of talents. His skills as bassist, composer, arranger, producer, author, educator and founding partner of Blue Canoe Records and Blue Canoe Digital. Moore's music and creative vision echo the spirits of Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis to name a few. Over the years, Mr. Moore has played with some of the great musicians of our time including Earl Klugh, Stewart Copeland (The Police), Bob James, John Popper, Derek Trucks, Michael Tolcher (A&M/J Records), Colonel Bruce Hampton, Bo Bice (American Idol) and many others. The record label he created in 2003, Blue Canoe Records, recently put out two releases of trios that included 22-time Grammy Nominee and 3-time winner Jimmy Haslip (former Yellowjackets bassist and founding member). In his "spare time", Mr. Moore is an on call artist for the Cirque du Soleil show, “KA” at the MGM in Las Vegas...he keeps talented company.
"Nevada Sun" opens with the title track, a funky pop number that reaches out and grabs listeners attention straight out of the gate. Mr. Moore lays down a solid foundation with the drums keeping steady time against soaring guitar injections. Meanwhile, bouncy keyboard textures give way to a melody that grips the heart immediately until finally a solitary voice leads listeners gently to “Movement of Light”. Smooth jazz radio is tailor made for Nevada Sun's second track. Piano and a strong rhythmic figure point the listener to the genius of JPM's signature bass melodies. The journey of “Movement of Light” really highlights Mr. Moore's multi-instrumental talent and melodic sensibilities.
Further into "Nevada Sun", "Fearless" is like an infusion of cotton candy. It opens with an elastic piano hook on the upbeat...reggae style. Aside from the attention it garners, the steady island vibe and the sparse instrumentation in places really allow for the delivery to breathe in a resoundingly hopeful and playful way. "Fearless" is bound to be a go-to track on "Nevada Sun".
Once again Joseph Patrick Moore delivers the goods. The fusion of styles along with the constant pop and jazz sensibilities will make "Nevada Sun" rise to the top of your playlists. Be on the lookout for multi-media renditions of tracks from the album produced and filmed by, you guessed it, Joseph Patrick Moore!
EJ Hughes is back in the light with his riveting Blue Canoe Records release "The Emotional Vampire Sessions" a followup to his 2005 release on Blue Canoe "Something to Say". The Saxophonist has traveled extensively performing in many genres with a passion and deep-rooted training in Jazz, Classical, and Contemporary music.
Mr. Hughes has taught, performed, and recorded in New York, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire, and Singapore as well as extensive cruise ship work traveling to over 20 countries. He has spent much of his life as an educator working with students from elementary school to high school to college and beyond. Mr. Hughes is a current instructor at Music and Arts and has helped Georgia State University’s RYJO high school jazz program. In the past, EJ was the instructor of jazz saxophone for Emory University and also taught Advanced Improvisation and Jazz applied saxophone for Georgia State University before returning to his hometown in New Hampshire to be the band director and general music instructor. Hughes has performed with the likes of Grammy award winner Joe Lovano, Grammy-nominated Sam Rivers and two time Grammy winning hip-hop collective Speech & Arrested Development. Says Sam Rivers, "EJ Hughes is a talented musician who understands the beauties and intricacies of the music, an artist destined to make a valuable contribution to this art form".
"The Emotional Vampire Sessions" (recorded and mixed by John Marshden) leads off with ghosts rather than Vampires with "Ghosts in the Machine". Kevin Bales (Wynton Marsalis, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley, Rene Marie) breaks the silence emphatically with the thematic piano groove and makes way for Mr. Hughes’s soaring saxophone and energetic melody. Hughes bounces around the theme with improvisational licks that are familiar yet unique. As drummer Marlon Patton (John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Wycliffe Gordon) pulls and pushes playfully with the rhythm, Mr. Bales takes the helm mid-way through and shows improvisationally mature lead playing that slides away to a Billy Thornton (Dominick Farinacci, Christian Tamburr, Doug Carn) bass solo that continues to intertwine with Mr. Bales injections as the song builds and fades.
The album's title track opens with a sweet, touching piano intro that points the listener to an emotional ballad that one imagines an old crooner from the early 1950s will join. Just as the audience is ready for this sultry voice, Mr. Patton enters with a strong snare lead that explodes into rock-like keyboard interplay. Eventually, Mr. Hughes comes in and exploits the solid foundation that has been laid and the improvisational exploration is awe-inspiring. The vampires are emotional, indeed!
"The Emotional Vampire Sessions" by Atlanta sax-master EJ Hughes is a stunning sophomore release that brings something unique with each listen. The veteran players bring fresh and extraordinary perspective to these modern, straight-ahead jazz expressions. This release is not to be missed.