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Urban Jazz, Page 3

Cameron Graves | Planetary Prince

Cameron Graves - Planetary Prince - smaller
Cameron Graves
Planetary Prince
(Jack Junior Entertainment)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
Cameron Graves is the lead piano man of the current west coast jazz revolution that has already launched luminaries such as saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Bruner brothers Ronald (drummer) and Stephen “Thundercat” (bass). All three of those cats and more are present here, showing out in chops-heavy style on Graves’ 4-song EP, Planetary Prince.

Marquis Hill | The Way We Play

Marquis Hill - The Way We Play
Marquis Hill | The Way We Play
Concord Jazz
by Brent Faulkner
It’s arduous being innovative when so much innovation has materialized in the past. Particularly in jazz, with so many prodigious pioneers, finding a truly distinct lane and showcasing similar innovative spirit is intimidating. It’s not intimidating for Chicago trumpet standout Marquis Hill, who proves he’s a musical force to be reckoned with on latest album The Way We Play, his first for Concord Jazz.

Bernie Worrell / Bill Laswell / Karsh Kale | Funkcronomic

Bernie Worrell Bill Laswell Karsh Kale - Funkcronomic - MODtechnologies - smaller
Bernie Worrell / Bill Laswell / Karsh Kale
Musical Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
Keyboard genius Bernie Worrell a.k.a. “Wizard of Woo,” drops us off at the launching pad of his next phase with a parting gift of groove that – in a just and funky world – will become the Ride On soundtrack of The Summer of 16. Hangin’ with old crony bassist/producer Bill Laswell and drummer Karsh Kale, Worrell came up with a 5-song EP of lean, mean Caddy cruisin’ joints guaranteed to relax your mind.

Near-Perfect Playboy Jazz Festival Sunday Covers The Full Spectrum

38th Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl
Sunday June 12, 2016
Festival Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
Day 2 of the 38th “Playboy Jazz Festival” at the Hollywood Bowl was by far the more star-studded and highly anticipated of the weekend. Not only that, the cross section of artists provided a near-perfect representation of all the music that appropriately falls under the cornucopia of the art form – from New Orleans roots, Blues and Big Band to Latin, Funk-Rock, Contemporary and Ancient-Future takes.
Photo 1 - George Lopez (1)
George Lopez (Photo: Matthew Imaging)

12 year-old Joey Alexander Steals Day 1 of Playboy Jazz Festival

38th Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl
Saturday June 11, 2016
Festival Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
Photography by Matthew Imaging (except one)
Photo 1 - George Lopez
George Lopez
Though big names were lacking, big fun was in full regalia for the opening day of this year’s Playboy Jazz Festival, due in part to amiable host George Lopez. Mist in the midday and a light sprinkling of pre-summer rain baptized the early acts and audience. Poetically speaking, it gave the high-achieving students of the Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band of an early taste of dues they have to pay on their way to the top.

Byron Miller | Psycho Bass

Byron Miller - Psycho Bass
Byron Miller | Psycho Bass
by Peggy Oliver
When a supporting musician is noticed for a memorable contribution on a major star’s hit project, that can transform into the ultimate door opener for their own artistic platform. The jaw dropping bass guitar solo heard around the funk world on George Duke’s “Reach for It” in 1977 belonged to an up and coming, self-proclaimed funkmeister in Byron Miller. The then nineteen year old, who was mentored by the legendary keyboardist Duke, was more than well on the way to a much respected place amongst the bass playing community.

Ronnie Foster Sets Organ Ablaze in Smokin’ Rare L.A. Concert

Ronnie Foster Trio
Baked Potato
Saturday May 14, 2016
Concert Reflections and Photographs by A. Scott Galloway
I first got turned onto Ronnie Foster when he was part of George Benson’s incomparable mid-`70s Breezin’ band trading electric keyboard and acoustic piano chairs with the late, great Jorge Dalto. From that association I appreciated Ronnie not only as a player but also a composer (“Lady,” “The Wind and I”). Even though I eventually heard his earlier Blue Note solo LPs on which he was featured on organ and his post-Benson work primarily on Fender Rhodes, I’ve always thought of Ronnie as a sideman who came up thanks to a high profile situation.

Theo Croker | Escape Velocity

Theo Croker - Escape Velocity - smaller
Theo Croker and DVRK Funk | Escape Velocity
by Peggy Oliver
When musicians are ready to hit the professional pavement, many are willing to hone their craft with studio time or side work to make all their financial ends meet while gaining more notoriety in the industry. Born into jazz royalty as the grandson of trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Croker was naturally inspired to follow his own, unique trumpet virtuosity. After graduating from college, Theo Croker moved to Shanghai China, where a melting pot of musical cultures awaited him.


BWB - 2016
by Brent Faulkner
BWB (Brown, Whalum, and Braun) are nothing short of a musical force to be reckoned with. When three of smooth jazz’s crème de la crème collaborate together as a super group – Norman Brown on guitar, Kirk Whalum on saxophone, and Rick Braun on trumpet – the end results are nothing short of celestial.

Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life | Nihil Novi

Marcus Strickland Nihil Novi
Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life
Nihil Novi
(Blue Note/Revive)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
With song titles such as “Tic Toc,” “Alive” and “Truth,” it becomes apparent that saxophonist Marcus Strickland’s Blue Note bow is an extended meditation on life, the pull of history, the urgency of addressing the present state of this planet, ancestry and time. Rich with African roots and rhythm, the searching spirit of jazz and the boldness of hip hop, it is an optimistic and conscientious forward march to the beat of leadership’s cry.