Jazz guitarist Dan Baraszu's smooth jazz group - Planet Zu features the smooth jazz sounds from this organic quartet.
Dan Baraszu (guitar)
Joseph Patrick Moore (bass)
David Ellington (organ)
Marlon Patton (drums).
Available today at iTunes
"Thinking Out Loud" is the latest introspective from guitar-stunner Trey Wright. Mr. Wright assembles a trio for this rendering of eight originals and two bold covers of current rock artists.
"Thinking Out Loud" captures the magical interplay that drummer Marlon Patton (Universal Music Group's Heavy Mojo) and bass-ace Marc Miller have developed live. The strong melodic bass lines braid through modern jazz/rock drum rhythms and provide a unique, fresh foundation for Mr. Wright's contemplative voice. Recorded mostly live and with minimal overdubbing, there is a dynamic interplay captured by Mr. Wright and producer/drummer Marlon Patton. The raw energy and often dark mood of the songs from "Thinking Out Loud" make it one of the more compelling releases this year.
"Rat Race" starts off the album and sets the tone perfectly. It's mood is a reflective and utilizes multiple time signatures while the melody that Mr. Wright floats deftly on top cuts perfectly against the counter melody of the bass. Mr. Wright also chose to include Soundgarden's "Blow Up The Outside World". This adventurous cover contrasts a somber with romantic melody. This creates a captivating tension between that which is familiar and something that is shadowy and hidden. It is quite a unique take on a traditional rock song.
Trey Wright and his trio have created an intriguing contrast of sorts with "Thinking Out Loud". It is both dark and hopefully melodic while modern with traditional instrumentation. "Thinking Out Loud" keeps the listener on edge and at the edge of their seat until the end...anticipating more from this rising star.
"This Is Why", the latest release from guitar guru Bill Hart, is a fusion freight train transferring payloads full of blues, funk, rock and jazz. It is precisely this jambalaya of genres that makes Mr. Hart's music so accessible. "This is Why" features five-time Grammy® nominee award winner Mike Stern (guitar) along with Enrico Galetta (bass), Gary Wilkins (bass), Charles Marvray (drums), Tom Knight (drums), Jef Ven Veen (drums) and Ahsa Ahla (percussion). The result is deep groove, thick interplay and high voltage.
This masterpiece opens with "Anna Banana", dedicated to his daughter. The sweet, strong melody "...reflects her out-going personality...", according to Mr. Hart. This leads right into "On My Way Home", a melodic meditative journey featuring the most unique fretless guitar solo. It leaves the listener with the feeling that all is well with the universe.
The album concludes with a spiritual collaboration with Mike Stern. Mr. Hart's solo is a moving, one-take announcement and the perfect way to sum up this smart, listenable collection. "This Is Why" exemplifies Mr. Hart's new directions and influences in his music and establishes his place among the top jazz/fusion guitarists of our time.
"Defining Moment" is a reflective, soulful EP that features the smooth melodies of John Carrozza. Mr. Carrazzo's pop sensibilities shine brilliantly throughout this collection on the keyboards, guitar and from the producer's chair.
The opening track, "Defining Moment" is a smart pop-jazz melody that is the perfect lead-in to this thought provoking record. The bouncy bassline is the perfect counter-point to Mr. Carrozza's piano lead.
The next track, "Prodigal's Return", tells a beautiful story. The changing tempos and the sensitive soothing piano leads the listener through a soul searching journey. John Carrozza is an instrumental story teller.
"Something I Said" is a sweet rendition of a Peter Erskine tune. The introspective feel of this version is a perfect continuation of the mood of the rest of the album.
"Defining Moment" is a smooth jazz gem that emanates emotion and tells beautifully melodic stories. John Carrozza lays down the same piano genius that he did for two singles on Earl Klugh's Grammy nominated album "The Spice of Life". The exquisite musicianship and stellar production is destined to be a hit for smooth jazz radio.
Phenomenal Guitarist Dan Baraszu and multi-talented bassist/producer Joseph Patrick Moore offer fresh inspiration to twelve Christmas classics on the latest Blue Canoe Records release "Christmas Time is Here". The duo strikes a touching balance between the complex reharmonization of these standards and the simplistic, stripped down interplay between guitar and bass. This musical conversation is especially notable in the sweet, lullaby-infused melodic bass part of "Silent Night". The trading of melody between Mr. Baraszu and Mr. Moore strikes images of a mother gently singing the little ones to sleep as the snow gently falls outside.
The pair jump in with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", an up-tempo number featuring a jumping, rhythmic groove and haunting guitar melody. "Jingle Bells", offers up a unique coloring of another holiday classic. Again, Mr. Moore's creative groove and use of open space provides the perfect backdrop for a truly fresh version of such a seasonally routine melody.
Baraszu and Moore conclude their holiday creation with the traditional, "Angels We Have Heard on High". The bouncing bass line and almost reggae-like rhythmic feel is a sublime counter to Mr. Baraszu's contemporary version of this timeless melody.
"Christmas Time is Here" is an inspirational rendition of Christmas standards that offer a rare perspective unheard during this season. The interaction between these two notable artists is emotive and relevant long after the season is over. Mr. Baraszu and Mr. Moore converse in a beautifully woven and unique accord that's rare in a holiday release.
"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.
"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".