Patti LaBelle sits on a throne as among the greatest R&B to Pop singers recording and performing. However, the list of singers that can authentically swing between the Pop world and the Jazz world is a short one highlighted by Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nancy Wilson (retired) and the late incomparable Natalie Cole and Teena Marie.
Norman Brown | Let It Go
by Peggy Oliver
The musical dexterity of Wes Montgomery has inspired many contemporary jazz guitarists through the years despite his early days as a hard bop musician. One of many musicians who gravitated to this icon was Norman Brown, a huge turning point in studying and performing jazz, despite his earlier influences and interest in Jimi Hendrix and the Isleys.
The Gift of Christmas
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
Keyboardist/Producer Bob Baldwin eases us into the 2016 holiday season with some much needed aural relief via his 10 song offering, The Gift of Christmas. The CD opens with a pleasant jaunt through Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” then lifts off into space for a celestially reharmonized sojourn through Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here.”
A Place for Joey: Celebrating the Passion of 13 Y.O. Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander
by A. Scott Galloway
There’s a very tricky tightrope that young jazz musicians come upon when thrust into the public eye. It is a hurdle that has tripped up many a prodigy over the eras. That is when a teenage or pre-teen wonder arrives at 18 or 21 and no longer has youth as a hype mechanism. Usually what happens is a player who develops or happens upon a lot of chops and ability early on winds up sounding like everybody else when they reach adulthood. What they failed to develop was individualism, adventure and heart. It’s like a young runway model that gets by on youthful freshness yet never develops a style of their own as an adult. In those cases, you just pray their parents saved her money.
Joey Alexander, at 10, Lincoln Center Gala
Marc Antoine | Laguna Beach
by Peggy Oliver
Since he started making a dent in the contemporary jazz market as the R&R elected Best New Artist of The Year, Marc Antoine’s special brand of Spanish-injected stylistic melodies accented by his classical training and pop music background provided an incredibly unique voice and an international impact.
Najee | Najee’s Theme
by Peggy Oliver
It is hard to fathom that thirty years have passed since the single “Najee’s Theme” and the supporting album blazed the R&B and jazz charts, which for a debut recording was a remarkable accomplishment in itself. Thanks to a series of demos through New York session work, Najee already had material at his disposal, along with a decent budget from Capital/EMI – a sweet package deal that eventually resulted in his first platinum record.
Paul Jackson Jr.
Stories From Stompin’ Willie
(M and P Music Factory)
A Record Refection by A. Scott Galloway
As a sideman, super guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. has been responsible for many memorable musical moments…from his enigmatic rhythmic stabs on Angela Bofill’s “Tell Me Tomorrow” to the ethereal ghosting flavor he brought to “Maputo” by Bob James & David Sanborn.