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Ramsey Lewis, Tower of Power, Anthony Hamilton and More Help Playboy Jazz Festival Turn 40.

Playboy Jazz Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary at The Hollywood Bowl
 
by A. Scott Galloway
 
Under clear blue skies, 80-degree temps with a sweet breeze blowin’ on both days, the “Playboy Jazz Festival” celebrated its 40th anniversary with days split almost squarely between World Music leaning on Saturday and Jazz on Sunday.
 
Saturday June 9 began with the traditional Los Angeles County High School For The Arts Jazz of promising young students followed by Columbian party band Monsieur Perine’. Things got really interesting when blind 17 year-old organ prodigy Matthew Whitaker and his trio wowed the crowd with the passionate and eclectic set list of his original “Play it Back,” the `60s pop hit “More Today Than Yesterday” by Spiral Staircase made famous on the jazz side by Charles Earland, the Brazilian gem “Mais Que Nada,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” and the finale of a dual medley of Earth Wind and Fire’s “In the Stone/September” with Stevie Wonder’s “As/I Wish” – what a prodigious talent and people-pleaser.
 

Matthew Whitaker

Sade | “Flower of the Universe” (From Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’)


 
Sade
“Flower of the Universe (from Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’)”
(Sony)

 
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Sade peeks over the horizon like a sunrise with a special offering to the soundtrack of the Disney film “A Wrinkle in Time” with the dreamy “Flower of the Universe” – the band’s first studio recording since the Soldier of Love CD in 2010. Mellow as a Zen mantra, the piece recalls past floating and ambient Sade gems such as “I Never Thought I’d See the Day” and “Like a Tattoo.”

Walter Beasley – The Best of Walter Beasley | The Affable Years, Volume 1


 
Walter Beasley – The Best of Walter Beasley | The Affable Years, Volume 1
by Peggy Oliver
 
Once upon a time, a particular nine year old received a life-changing gift of a Grover Washington, Jr. CD. From that moment on, Walter Beasley would dedicate his career to shear excellence — all for the love of music and for the legendary saxophonist they call Mr. Magic.

Sy Smith | Sometimes a Rose Will Grow in Concrete


 
Sy Smith Blossoms into Full Singer/Songwriter Bloom on “Sometimes a Rose…”
 
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Sy Smith has been a work in progress as a most valuable session and touring singer for others, and a developing artist in her own right with four acclaimed albums behind her. Her latest, Sometimes a Rose Will Grow in Concrete, is her first since 2012, its title foreshadowing that a sister has been through some things but come out the other side steeped in artistry, ancestry and ‘Les Fleur de la Corazon.’

Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind


 
Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind
Blue Note Records
by Brent Faulkner
 
Ah, Dr. Lonnie Smith! He’s one of the legendary jazz musicians still alive and well who continues to record sweet music. What makes Smith most unique – besides his beard and turban – is the fact he’s a jazz Hammond B3 organist. While there are numerous organists in jazz, compared to other instruments, it’s rarer.

Soul Man Owens’ Country Cash Project Pays Off Some of the Time


 
Bryan Owens & The Deacons of Soul
Soul of Cash

(LIFE Arts Music)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
The junction where R&B and Country Music intersect has been traversed by many artists from Charlie Rich, Lucinda Williams and The Rolling Stones going one way to Ray Charles, Esther Phillips and Gladys Knight & The Pips heading in the other. The fourth and latest project by singer Brian Owens & The Deacons of Soul is an intermittently successful yet tight 8-song CD, Songs of Cash, that finds the man and his band tippin’ their Stetsons to one of Country’s tallest figures, Johnny Cash.

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