We welcome to the Blue Canoe family of Artists - Rafael Greco
Rafael Greco's CD titled, "Dice Que Vive (Signs Of Life)" features guest appearances from Steve Khan, Randy Brecker and a host of talented musicians. Learn more about the personnel and CD by clicking this link.
d. mark owen is a seasoned pianist, keyboardist, producer, arranger, music director, mixing and mastering engineer, and proprietor of his own innovatively designed studio Nonebody Productions (with partner and drummer Cam Tyler). Based in Las Vegas, Owen is currently Associate Conductor of Cirque Du Soleil’s mammoth production KÁ. He is the lyricist and coleader, with Cam Tyler, of the pop group Cryptic Cadet, which released the 2021 album Disconnected featuring vocalist Olivia Rubini, electric bass giant Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Wayne Krantz, Elvis Costello) and other fine musicians.
Owen has just released the largely one-man album Respite on Blue Canoe Records, connecting sparkling acoustic piano, lush synth pads and intriguing harmonies to clear and expressive melodic lines, grounded in a percussive groove sensibility. The result is a set of original instrumental pieces with ample tonal and thematic sophistication, engaging melodies and richly contrasting moods.
Owen graduated Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Bob Winter, Jeff Covell, Christian Jacob, Dave Frank and Andy LaVerne. Before he finished 6th grade he’d taken up trumpet, drums and piano, but committed himself fully to piano by his junior year in high school. He has also played guitar and bass professionally. Prior to his Las Vegas chapter, he did extensive studio work as manager, producer and engineer of Citywalk Studios in Missouri, contracting sessions for clients, writing commissioned works and delivering TV and radio spots for hire. Among his album production credits are Bill Caldwell’s Common Tones (featuring Steve Cardenas, Bob Bowman, Todd Strait, liner notes by Mike Metheny), Dave Tieff’s The Art of Peace, Jimmy Carpenter’s Soul Doctor, Mighty Joe King’s The Human Revolution and more. Owen is above all a sound artist, bringing his considerable acumen and wide-ranging experience to bear in every professional context.
In Parabbean Tales Iwan combines the rhythms and melodies of Caribbean music and contemporary jazz with a strong groove to weave a narrative of his childhood and express the love for his native music. Iwan’s career as a trumpet and keyboard player, composer, arranger and producer spans over twenty-five years of touring, performing and recording as a solo artist and with some of the greatest names in the industry including Candy Dulfer and Sister Sledge.
Trumpet: Iwan VanHetten
Piano, Keys: Russell Ferrante
Bass: Melvin Lee Davis, Jimmy Haslip (tracks #5,#7)
Drums: Will Kennedy
Percussion: Lenny Castro
Steel Pans: Andy Narell (tracks #7, #8)
Sax: Bob Mintzer (track #6)
Recorded at Castle Oaks Recording Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Recording Engineer: Rich Breen
Mixing: Iwan VanHetten (at VanHetten Productions, UK)
Mastered: Peter Beckmann (Technology Works, London, UK)
Photography - Anael Miantsoukina (Paris, France)
Art Design - Aaron Paddock
Tennessee-born jazz trumpeter Thomas Heflin delivers a remarkable new collection of songs, titled, “Morning Star”. This dynamic modern jazz, R&B, CrossOver album features eleven original compositions and one cover song by the late great James Williams.
Thomas Heflin is a virtuosic trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator and all of his talents are on full display with his latest release. Jazz and music fans will welcome this creative output from the bright star of Mr. Heflin.
Keyboard phenom and composer, Cody Carpenter releases his latest effort titled, "Balance Of Extremes". Now available in the Blue Canoe Store and wherever you get your music!
Keys: Cody Carpenter
Guitar: Marco Sfogli
Bass: Jimmy Haslip
Drums: Gergo Borlai
Mixing/Mastering: John Spiker
Album Art Design: Mizoguchi "Mizo" Nobukatsu
Produced: Cody Carpenter & Jimmy Haslip
Keyboardist Scott Kinsey is known for many things — being a close friend and protege of the late Joe Zawinul, an integral member of the iconic fusion band Tribal Tech and pushing subsequent boundaries with his adventurous groups Human Element, the Zawinul Legacy Band and ARC Trio. In a continually evolving career, Scott’s operational motif is embodied by the word “exploratory.”
Enter vocalist, songwriter and electric bassist Mer Sal (Meridith Salimbeni), a Coloradan with a fresh presence on the LA scene who spent years honing her songwriting, vocal and performance craft while fronting bands around the West to rave reviews. Through a series of recent (and fortuitous) introductions to top players and producers, Mer was invited to participate in The Native Dancer Series: A Tribute to Wayne Shorter and Karl Sterling’s Dream: Parkinson's Global Project. Both of these projects saw her performing along with many other top-shelf musicians, including Jimmy Haslip, Peter Erskine, Nir Felder, Gary Novak and Jeff Richman.
Mer and Scott first crossed paths on one of these sessions and there was something of an instant connection between the two. After their initial meeting they kept in touch, exchanging lyrical and musical ideas. Mer continues, “I sent Scott the beginnings of a song, which he arranged and reharmonized. When I returned to LA to live, he played it for me. It blew my mind, it was so incredible — and incredibly thoughtful.” It’s that uncommon connection and synergy that fires the collaborative and creative union between the two, the fruits of which come through on Adjustments.
Part of the mojo transmitted on the album owes to the individual musical path each has taken and the different processes they have developed to achieve their respective musical ends. They also seem equally taken by the other’s abilities. “It’s interesting,” Kinsey says, “because she writes all this poetry — pages upon pages of text. I look at it and say, ‘There’s no song there.’ But when I ask what she has in mind, she starts singing and I can’t believe it, it’s totally there... a melody, a direction, a concept... everything.”
Sal concurs: “I’m a poet, but I’m equally a singer, so the melody comes out hand in hand with the lyrics. I usually hear some sort of harmonic background to the melodies while I’m writing but now that I know what Scott does with them, I try to come up with melodies that lend themselves to Scott’s process. I love hearing him ‘Scottify’ them.”
Kinsey adds, “She has a full song there — melody, lyrics and chords — but I actually don’t want to hear the chords; I don’t want them to influence what I might do. I want to keep my freshness, with the melody and the lyric and that’s it. This gives us individual roles to play. She comes up with the lyrics and the melody, then I can put my thing to it.”
One might think that Kinsey, with a background steeped in instrumental, soloing-oriented music, would have altered his approach for the album’s song-based collaborations. “To me it’s not really that different.” Kinsey explains. “I still say, what is the melody, what is the story — just as I would with a saxophone player or guitarist — and write around that.” But Scott readily admits that having Sal in the mix sparks different inspirations. “It’s because of her voice. I love orchestrating around that and end up writing more harmony. With busier instrumental records, the music is already dense. But with Mer’s voice I can hear all this lush stuff going on around it.”
The fact that Adjustments displays some of Kinsey’s most innovative writing, playing and arranging to date may indeed owe to having Sal as talented muse, but it’s also the singer’s authenticity that effectively grounds Kinsey’s work like never before. Her original songs, such as the opening “Tiny Circles,” display a certain valiant fearlessness for a songwriter whose emotions run so palpably close to the surface. “I recorded that in my studio in Colorado and it was the first one I sent to Scott. I felt that in my life, I was walking in tiny circles instead of the bigger ones where I wanted to be. It’s kind of admitting my shame — so I could get through it.”
But even when the pen presses hard lyrically, it’s not only taken aloft by Sal’s engaging vocals but by Kinsey’s (sometimes counterintuitive) treatments: “I had a general concept that if it’s a very, very dark lyric, I won’t enhance it with more darkness. I don’t want it to sink deeper into that pit but keep it afloat by lightening it up. Just like I might put slightly darker things around a really happy lyric or melody — enhance it by pulling it the other way a bit.”
This symbiosis also carries over into the duo’s wonderfully creative takes on some classic (if not surprising) cover material on the album. Steely Dan, The Beach Boys, even Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” — (Kinsey’s an unapologetic Blondie fan) — all are freshly reimagined by the pair. Perhaps none of these are more emblematic of the Kinsey/Sal union than the wonderful joining of Joni Mitchell’s “Down to You” with Weather Report’s “Jungle Book” — something of a talisman and surely among the album's high points.
The icing on the cake for Adjustments is undoubtedly how the proceedings are further raised by having so many of the sought-after, A-list musicians of Kinsey’s world (e.g., Scott Henderson, Oz Noy, Tim Lefebvre, Hadrien Feraud, Gergö Borlai and others) uncommonly colliding with Sal’s. This propels the music beyond today’s retrograde “jazz vocalist” albums that seek to rekindle nostalgia for the singer-fronted jazz band. Nor is it another in the recent stream of barely distinguishable, vocal-forward, jazz/neo-soul hybrids that proliferate in the modern soundscape.
In their own way, what Scott Kinsey and Mer Sal exhibit on Adjustments speaks to an intersection as uniquely compelling as when Jaco met Joni. A modern entity, to be heard on its own terms. Says Mer, “We want to change what’s considered the norm a little.” And in light of the music that she and Scott have brought forth here, listeners will happily make their own “adjustments.”
Biography written by Mike Jacobs
The JVM Collective features: Denny Jiosa (guitar), Roy Vogt (bass), and Tom Moller (drums).
This Nashville Jazz trio delivers a creative and powerful album of beautiful original compositions, deep grooves, and inspiring improvisations titled, "Frontiers". Fans of instrumental, eclectic music will surely love The JVM Collective and their 8 song album titled, "Frontiers".