"That's Wassup" is the debut release from Charles Langford. This imaginative creator displays his knowledge of musical history on his latest release, "That's Wassup". Mr. Langford seems to move effortlessly from straight ahead swing to funk to crooning, romantic ballads...there is literally something for every taste on this album. "Chucky's Funk" lays down some classic Stanley Clark jazz bass funk and the horn work is reminiscent of the great George Coleman. "Someone To Love" fills the senses with a romantic David Sanborn melody that you are left humming for hours.
Mr. Langford has studied under Archie Shepp, Yusef Latef, Donald Byrd and Barry Harris, among others. He has done sessions or toured with artists as diverse as The Toni Lynn Washington Blues Band to The Temptations and Mighty Sam McClain.
Charles Langford is an artist with a lot to say and he gets his point across with many different voices on his debut, "That's Wassup". With such dynamic musicianship, we will certainly be hearing his name for years to come.
This exclusive Emusic.com two CD set, recorded live at the prestigious Berlin Jazz Festival showcases the true depth and artistry of Punk Jazz Trio Megaphone Man.
"Look What the Cats Drug In" opens with ripping guitar work from Dan Baraszu on "Neutron Star", a song inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Too High". There is no slowing down with the complex harmonies by Eugene Maslov on "Last Ray". Blue Canoe's stable of talented artists is further exposed in "Symmetry 1" with the fluid, highly polished lines of virtuoso trumpeter Thomas Heflin. The album continues with unimaginable horn players Bryan Lopes and Ron Westray as well as the stellar compositional and orchestral arranging of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. The compilation brings it home rhythmically with percussionists Philip Smith and Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson. Listen for the famous Jimmy Smith on the B3 on the final tune by Junebug, "Save Your Love For Me (live)".
"Look What the Cats Drug In" is a vibrant exploration of the post-bop gems in Blue Canoe Records' vast and ever-growing catalog. Quite literally, "Look What the Cats Drug In" displays the finest musicianship of modern jazz.
Bryan Lopes Trio's debut CD for Blue Canoe Records,"Bryan Lopes Trio Volume 1", is a high energy expedition crossing from jazz to R&B to funk and back again. This trio also displays the talent of award-winning drummer Jeff Sipe (Jonas Hellborg, Leftover Salmon, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, featured in Modern Drummer August 2008) and multi-instrumentalist Neil Fountain on bass (The Fiji Mariners, Jimmy Herring, Megaphone Man).
Atlanta first-call session man Bryan Lopes works with numerous incarnations of experimental jazz jam bands as well as some of the greats of jazz, pop, rock and R&B music including Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Stone Temple Pilots and Don Henley among others. "Bryan Lopes is one of the most stylistically aggressive saxophonists living in the Southeast", says Jazziz writer James Rozzi. Lopes and crew lead listeners on a prismatic journey from jazz to funk to turbulent improvisation on this offering.
"Bouncy Pants" opens the release displaying the complex interaction between Sipe and Fountain as Lopes use of complex harmony suggestive of Michael Brecker. By the third and fourth tracks, "Happy Evil" and "Landau" the crew show their bop-chops with swinging rhythmic interaction and fantastic improvisatory stretches for which Lopes is famous. The album concludes with a funk jam of generous interplay and constantly changing tempos in "Terrelism" and the sultry "Two Pavilion Way" that conjures images of the lonely sax-man on a foggy, deserted street at 3am.
The first Blue Canoe Records release of the Bryan Lopes Trio does not disappoint. "Bryan Lopes Trio Volume 1" offers an adventurous journey into the modern jazz exploits of three of the most promising modern music-men of today.
One of the most highly regarded trombonist of his generation, Ron Westray continues to expand upon the legacy set before him with his CD release, "Medical Cures For The Chromatic Commands Of The Inner City".
Ron's work as an instructor, mentor, recording artist and leader, has earned him world-wide recognition. Ron is perhaps best known for his work as lead trombonist in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Wynton Marsalis, as well as his collaborative effort with Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Roberts and the Charles Mingus Big Band. Now Ron Westray brings his compositional vision and improvisational skills to his latest CD effort, "Medical Cures For The Chromatic Commands Of The Inner City". Featuring Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Walter Blanding Jr. on tenor saxophone, Eric Revis on Double Bass, Montez Coleman on drums and Tony Suggs on keyboards.
While "Medical Cures..." is a groove based recording, its steeped in a rich traditional jazz history, yet with a modern contemporary appeal. "The idea behind the recording" states Ron, "was to compose a jazz/hip hop score and live iteration of the evolution of hip hop and jazz. I became a jazz musician, but I searched on the concept of why jazz couldn't be as popular as funk. Medical Cures is that answer" sites Ron. Song's like "Fuzzy Dice", "The Jiggy" and "Bumpsie's Got it" will have the listener dancing to the vibe while enjoying lush, rich harmonies from this stellar ensemble of players. Mr. Westray's compositional achievements allow him a notable position among jazz composers, additionally his accomplishments on the trombone showcase him as a virtuoso instrumentalist.
Ron has recorded as a sideman on labels such as Columbia, Sony Classical, and RCA Novus and his accomplishments in the field have gained him exposure in publications such as Ebony, Essence, Downbeat, JazzTimes, Life Magazine and The New Yorker. Fan's of Ron Westray's earlier works and collaborations won't leave the listener disappointed. If "Medical Cures For The Chromatic Commands Of The Inner City" is any indication into Ron's vision, courage and longevity; Mr. Westray has a bright future indeed.
Punk jazz improvisational trio Megaphone Man, pride themselves on a loose avant-garde approach in creating their unique blend of jazz music. Hailing from Athens Georgia USA, Megaphone Man consists of Neal Fountain on bass, Jeff Reilly on drums and Bryan Lopes on tenor saxophone. With carefully crafted thematic notes and rhythms, this young group of virtuosos demand as much from themselves as they do the overall group interplay of their contributing melodic ideas. Megaphone Man's debut CD recording "Live At The Tabernacle", is such an experience.
Recorded live at The Tabernacle Concert Hall in Atlanta, GA USA, Megaphone Man's performance captures their forty-five minute opening set with headliner and James Brown sideman, Maceo Parker. Instrumental songs such as "Razor Egg Hunt", "Reoccurring Nightmare", "Fat Gambling Liar", "Miles of Rust" and "Bubble Hat" not only demonstrate clever and witty song titles, they musically transform these titles into a work of art. Megaphone Man is not timid in taking chances with their improvisational skills, which should be evident by the fact their debut CD is a live recording and not a conceived studio recording.
"Megaphone Man has a style all their own," states Jazziz writer James Rozzi. "The manner in which these accomplished musicians approach a particular tune will drastically change from one performance to the next. In an effort to maintain their own interests, they create an abundance of spontaneous, razor-sharp musical maneuvers for their audience. One concert with these guys is like a lesson in improvisational wit and daring." With Megaphone Man's turn-on-a-dime approach, one particular song will metamorphose numerous times--harmonically and rhythmically--before coming to a close. The end result is an exciting foray with enough depth to please an audience of hard-core jazz fans--or the more laid back patrons of the jam band circuit.
Describing the music of Megaphone Man is difficult. Although all members shy away from calling themselves a jazz trio, their music contains full elements of jazz--and then some. "We all have wide varieties of music in our backgrounds," states Fountain, "so I think it best not to call ourselves a 'jazz band' per se." Whether it's hard-bop, funk, free-form, R&B, R&R, country…you name it and Megaphone Man has it in the mix somewhere. As Lopes (whose inspirations include Coltrane and Joe Lovano) is quick to inform, "Hey, if I want to quote Led Zeppelin, I'm going to quote Led Zeppelin!"
In 2001, Atlanta based culture rag and weekly newspaper 'The Creative Loafing', named Megaphone Man the "Best Jazz Band" in the Atlanta metro area. One only has to listen to "Live At The Tabernacle" to see why the Creative Loafing title holds true. The trio of bassist Neal Fountain, saxophonist Bryan Lopes, and drummer Jeff Reilly is genuinely articulate, highly artistic, intellectually stimulating, and perhaps best of all, full of surprises. If this debut CD recording is any indication into the future of Megaphone Man, many exciting performances and musical journeys await.
"RayJam" is the solo release by Tunisian born lute/guitarist and visionary, Nabil Khemir. It's a luminous recording that embodies the enchanting sounds and spirits of North African Egyptian music, while remaining firmly entrenched in contemporary jazz fusion.
Nabil Khemir's fascination with jazz music, coupled with his cultural heritage is a profound experience in and of itself. While growing up beside the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and in the heart of a Tunis metropolis firmly enriched his worldly perspective, Nabil was inspired by Western and European artists such as George Benson; Django Reinhardt; John McLaughlin and Pat Methany. This intermarriage of fused cultural worlds is no more evident, than on his debut musical CD recording for Blue Canoe Records. Featured song's like "Parfum D' Orient Et D' Occident", "Nadam" and "Hanin" demonstrate Nabil's clever way of injecting his delightful character into the music, while communicating with his gifted musician's in an uplifting, unspoken and artistic way.
"RayJam" features five original compositions and arrangements inspired by the 2004 musical hybrid invention that Nabil himself created. This unique one of a kind, hollowbody double neck instrument, allows Nabil to explore his musical playfulness by having an electric lute and electric guitar within grasp at a moments notice. Nabil aptly named his new creation, "RayJam". "Ray, I choose because the instrument gives off colors like a ray from the sun. Jam, I choose because the lute and guitar are vibrating and jamming together, an energy I feel while playing it," says Khemir.
Not to go unnoticed for his artistic achievments, Nabil Khemir was recognized and decorated with honors by the President of the Republic of Tunisia (Zen El-Abidin Ben Ali) for his cultural contribution to the country and its cultural heritage in June of 2007. If this is an early indication of the bright talents of young Nabil Khemir, this deserved modern day jazz gypsy will continue to garner new fans in Tunisia and around the world, with his live performances and his infectious electromagnetic sounds of "RayJam".
The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra’s debut cd for Blue Canoe Records, “Blues Man from Memphis”, is a most adventurous big band effort featuring the work of Donald Brown. The recording also highlights the prodigious talents of three other world renowned artists: bassist John Clayton, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and saxophonist Greg Tardy.
Pianist Donald Brown (who also produced the cd) is considered to be one of the most innovative composers in the field of jazz today. Among the many accolades Brown has received, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis says: “Donald Brown is a genius.” Bassist Ron Carter adds: “For those who look around and ask, ‘Where is the next great jazz composer? Who is going to lead the music into the twenty-first century?’ Look no further. Donald Brown is here.” Brown’s compositions have been recorded by many artists. Wynton Marsalis’ recording of “Insane Asylum” on “J-Mood” was nominated for a Grammy, as was Donald Byrd’s recording of “Theme for Malcolm”.
As a testimonial to Donald Brown’s expertise as a piano player, the late Art Blakey professed: “Donald Brown is one of my favorite accompanists with The Jazz Messengers since Cedar Walton and Walter Bishop, Jr.”
The KJO is a supercharged, motivated ensemble formed in 1999 by trumpet player/arranger Vance Thompson. Although a large group (17+ members), they perform regularly and have played prestigious venues such as The Montreaux Jazz Festival. The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra has a wide fan base, largely due to the enthusiasm incurred by compelling and exciting arrangements and famous guest artists.
All of the compositions on this cd are by Donald Brown. The arrangements and orchestrations are by Vance Thompson and Bill Mobley, respectively.
“Blues Man from Memphis” is an ingenious, inspired work for the contemporary jazz big band. Twenty-first century jazz is alive and thriving.
"It's About The Melody", by Saltman Knowles Quintet, brings tight jazz harmonies and elegant lyrics together in a pleasing, sophisticated fashion. By combining compelling, interesting jazz arrangements and a sense of poetry in a friendly, non-pretentious manner, the group offers a comfortable program of songs that is sure to be in step with listeners and contemporary jazz radio formats world wide.
The ten songs on the cd were composed alternately by bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles and have a fresh, contemporary jazz feel about them with a hint of Latin grooves lurking throughout. Lori Williams vocals are sensuous and romantic: her clarity of annunciation skillfully brings out the irony of the lyrics in "The Joke's On Me", and the wistful spirit of "My Secret Lullaby". Ms. Williams' warm and inviting stylings are particularly evident on "What About April", which is already getting significant airplay around the country.
Charles Langford's sax work is thoughtful and laid back. His lines deftly shadow the vocals and add counterpoint to Knowles' piano work, while drummer Mark Prince plays tasteful grooves that pull the entire effort together.
Reviewers have described The Saltman Knowles Quintet as "rhythmically infectious" and "colorful", and have mentioned the band always "has the whole house swinging." Saltman and Knowles concur that "we want to be musically challenging ... but entertaining as well."
The Saltman Knowles Quintet has superbly melded together the three main elements that make a great musical experience: good writing, good musicianship, and good lyrics. "It's About the Melody" is just that and more.
"Symmetry", the debut of jazz trumpeter Thomas Heflin, explores the vast possibilities of contemporary post bop jazz through a carefully balanced program of original compositions and thoughtfully selected cover tunes. The self produced cd admirably showcases Heflin's brilliant, highly praised improvisational skills as well as the formidable talents of his band, including four tracks featuring the late world renowned pianist James Williams.
A rising star in the jazz world, Heflin made waves on the international jazz scene in 2005 when he placed second in the prestigious Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle. One reviewer described his playing as "a very fluid approach... generating lines in a seamless, highly polished manner that is really a joy to experience."
Among the original compositions are "Symmetry", the title track which opens and closes the album; "Salutation", a piece based on Kalidasa's poem "Salutation to the Dawn", and the ballad "Eastern Star", dedicated to James Williams. Heflin also covers material ranging from Louis Armstrong's anthem "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" to Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to Stevie Wonder's "Ma Cherie Amour".
"Symmetry" is aptly titled: Thomas Heflin has achieved a fine sense of proportion through his original pieces and covers. And though it is one of the last recordings James Williams made before he passed away, perhaps a new jazz legend, Thomas Heflin, is emerging in his own right.
Jazz Pianist Eugene Maslov's CD, "Where the Light Comes From" (Blue Canoe Records) is an imaginative endeavor which not only shows off Maslov's extraordinary talent as pianist but demonstrates his remarkable abilities as composer, arranger and producer as well.
Eugene Maslov has been an active touring and recording musician over the past decade: he has recorded and performed with Shirley Horn; Toots Thielmans; Gary Burton; Eddie Gomez; Omar Hakim; Pearl Bailey as well as many others. Maslov now brings his prolific experience and encyclopedic knowledge of jazz form and improvisation to a format with a balanced concept, astutely and poetically rendered within the tight chemistry of his backup musicians which include guest appearances by Hubert Laws (flute) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums).
The strength and entertainment value of this effort lie in Maslov's unique musical ideas, deeply rooted in contemporary post-bop jazz: "The irony of 'Where the Light Comes from'," says Maslov, "is that in my arrangements and compositions I am actually trying to touch upon the different shadows of the listener's feelings."
"Where the Light Comes From", by Eugene Maslov displays a sense of timelessness with an eye bent towards the future. Eugene's original composition's as well as his arrangement of the Miles Davis classic "Nardis", demonstrate the true beauty and originality of this extraordinary jazz artist.
"Decade", the newest release by Joseph Patrick Moore on Blue Canoe Records, contains material compiled from his recording efforts spanning the years 1996-2005. Unlike other compilation or "best of" recordings, Decade is not a testimonial of past achievements but a preface, or glimpse, into the artist's future.
JPM is a master bassist, equally proficient with upright and electric instruments; his technical virtuosity and artistic curiosity has taken him in pursuit of many musical styles. It is apparent that Moore's works are inspired by mainstream jazz and contemporary jazz as well as r&b, gospel and pop. The result of this exploratory approach to composition is fresh, imaginative, and adds an air of excitement and serves as a foil to the all too often boring and overworked state of academic classroom jazz.
A great sense of adventure thrives in this compelling 80 minute, 19 song CD. Moore pays tribute to mentors Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis with original compositions "Herbie" and "Pause 1". His solo bass version of The Police tune "Masoko Tanga" and the full-band vocal rendition of Men at Work's "Down Under" (in the spirit of Hancock's "Possibilities" and Davis "Tutu") are evidence that pop music is an excellent source of inspiration of jazz arrangements. JPM's abilities come full circle on the title track: he composed and played all the instruments on this soon to be smooth jazz anthem.
If you are searching for music with rich textures and groove oriented arrangements, look no further than Joseph Patrick Moore's Decade on Blue Canoe Records. Aptly titled, it is a remarkable odyssey through the world of contemporary jazz.
On My Way Home is the long awaited solo release by drummer/vocalist Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson. It is a swinging tour de force of a cd echoing the spirits of the hard bop era while remaining firmly entrenched in contemporary jazz.
Jimmy Jackson's association with jazz is a profound experience in itself. For over 20 years Jackson toured the world with legendary organist Jimmy Smith, and during the course of this prestigious tenure he also performed with other such masters as McCoy Tyner; George Benson; Carlos Santana, and Christian McBride (who refers to Jimmy as "swinging Jimmy Jackson"). Having shared the stage for so many years with these and other giants of jazz - and the list is extensive - makes Jackson a icon in his own right.
On My Way Home features arrangements inspired by a 1961 collaboration between Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson. There are several original tunes as well that keep the musical dialogue between past and present alive and intact. There is also a previously unreleased track recorded live in Tokyo featuring the late Jimmy Smith.
Whereas many musicians who have spent their careers as sidemen have difficulty shifting their status to center stage, Jackson's soulful vocals and commanding personality allow him the opportunity to front his talented quintet as well as maintaining his status as a world class drummer. "The collaboration between Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, was a record that really set me on fire about playing jazz when I was young," says Junebug, now 49: "On My Way Home is my way of paying tribute to them and all the other great artists who've inspired and guided me over the years."
A well meaning journalist once asked a famous trumpet player to define jazz. The response was "Man, if you don't know by now, you ain't never gonna know!" A definition of jazz is indeed elusive, but On My Way Home, by Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson, is jazz. Period. It displays a sense of timelessness and universality, a link between past and present, and that is what great art is all about.
Review by: Pete Pardo
Bassist Joseph Patrick Moore’s latest album Live in 05 is a fun and spirited jazz-fusion collection of songs recorded at This House Rocks in Atlanta, Georgia on April 2nd, 2005. Moore has been busy over the last few years, putting out a few albums of his own as well as appearing on various other artist’s recordings. Here, he and his crack band of Al Smith on keyboards, drummer Jon Chalden, EWI player Al Mcspadden, and percussionist Emrah Kotan really give a five performance on eleven tracks of smokin’ and funky fusion, melodic cool jazz, and progressive tinged improvisations.
Moore himself is a very smooth player with some serious chops, whether he is laying down deep grooves or lean melodic solos on electric, fretless, or double bass. Fans of Victor Bailey, Gary Willis, John Pattitucci, Stanley Clarke, and Marcus Miller, will instantly dig Moore’s energetic style. Although there are plenty of great bass solos on the album, the live setting affords his bandmates to also get in on the action, especially keyboard player Smith, who launches into a wild synth frenzy on the funky “Gypsy Moon Father Sun”. He also provides a nice melodic foundation in which Moore can dig into some serious popping bass lines on the light jazz piece “Fall”. Drummers will love the percussion/drum spotlight “Drum Dance”, which allows Chalden and Kotan some room to show off before the song segues into the fine “Datz It (version 2005)”, a song with plenty of funk bass melodies and 70′s styled electric piano.
Ultimately it comes down to compositions, and Moore is no slouch in that department. These are all memorable tunes with catchy melodies, which go along just fine with the solid chops of the band. So if you in the mood for some well played and melodic modern jazzfusion, you can’t go wrong with Live in 05.
3. Prayer of Solitude
4. Chief Dagga
5. Gypsy Moon Father Sun
6. Bless You
8. Bebop Charlie
10. Drum Dance
11. Datz It (version 2005)