Tuesday, September 23, 2008

“Soft As Granite” by Janine Santana (Jazz Artist from Colorado(CO))

"Soft As Granite" is a lively Latin-jazz release from Janine Santana that combines traditional and authentic Afro-Cuban rhythms with mainstream jazz and elements of funk to create a exceptional, vibrant sound. The musicianship is of the highest order, with great horn solos and bebop lines floating on top of Santana's rhythmic and intricate percussion patterns. Listen to "Close Your Eyes" for spirited vocals, great horn section arrangements, and a soaring trumpet solo. Even on the calmer tracks such as "Dignificada," the intense passion is still there, with Santana's percussion providing many textures and colors over rhythmic piano and horn figures. One bright spot is a clever arrangement and fiery interpretation of Freddie Hubbard's classic "Red Clay". The production is clear and crisp throughout, with every instrument having a distinctive place in the mix. Another definite highlight of this collection is an incredibly funky rendition of "Big Brother" by Steve Wonder. This is a particularly respectful version, with the style and vocals revealing a mysterious resemblance to the original artist. This album features a unique blend of the traditional folkloric Afro-Cuban rhythms with the more contemporary styles of Mainstream Jazz and Funk, and is highly recommended for any fan of Afro-Cuban music or Latin-jazz.
-Rodney and the RI Reviewer Team
Check out Janine Santana's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

“Soundbox” by The Monty Casper Project (Jazz Artist from British Columbia, Canada)

"Soundbox" is a great smooth jazz/instrumental pop album from The Monty Casper Project. British Columbia multi-instrumentalist Monty Casper plays all of the instruments on this album, showing his tremendous piano talent, as well as his crafty work on drums, guitar, and horns. The songs are all instrumental and inspired by classic pop instrumentals of the '60s, '70s, and '80s from the likes of Herb Alpert and George Benson. The songs themselves are all Monty Casper originals, though he draws from the aforementioned pop instrumentalists to give the songs a certain timelessness to them. "Soundbox" is well-produced, and the entire album sounds professional, the instrumentation clean and well-layered. "Marimba Coffee Break" has a solid arrangement with a rhythmic drum beat and acoustic guitar in the background and skillful marimba work at the forefront. "Random Thoughts" shows Casper's prowess as a pianist and has a great timeless sound to it. "Searchlight" features the unique sound of the harpsichord and nice drum work. Overall, "Soundbox" is a solid effort that any fan of smooth jazz or '60s to '80s instrumental pop will surely enjoy.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out The Monty Casper Project's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

“JossFunk” by JossFunk (Jazz Artist from Québec, Canada)

Fusing many musical elements and styles, Joscelyn Drainville's "JossFunk" is a melting pot of musical exploration, drawing from several different influences and sources. The tracks on this album cannot be easily pigeonholed into one style or musical genre. Numerous elements from many different styles are present as Drainville weaves his melodic sax and flute lines over intricate, funky drum beats that combine elements of funk, jazz, world, and urban/r&b. The production on "JossFunk" is crisp and clean, achieving a nice balance between the highly percussive drum beats and melodies provided by the sax, flute, keyboards and guitar. Drainville sets the tone right away with "How Did You Know?" which features an incredibly funky, syncopated drum groove and fiery sax solo. "Check It Out" is another grooving track, with Drainville's flute providing the melody over the drum-n-bass style accompaniment. Slower, tender moments are provided by the silky "Black Dress Red Lipsticks" and the gentle, passionate "Do U Think of Me?" which features a beautiful soprano sax solo and fitting, musical guitar work. "Greasy Barry" features baritone sax and trumpet, adding a big band flavor to this funky tune. "South Side" is a definite highlight, with luxurious sax, flute, and guitar lines layered over Brazilian and Afro-Cuban influenced percussion grooves. "JossFunk" is a very interesting and impressive album to be recommended to any fan of jazz-funk and/or urban/r&b music.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out JossFunk's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

Monday, September 22, 2008

“Hands & Feet” by Thumper & Generation One (Jazz/Urban Artist from Nebraska (NE))

"Hands & Feet" by Thumper & Generation One, featuring the one man band from Nebraska known as "Thumper," is an instrumental blend of many musical styles, moods, and tempos. The musical landscape takes you on a journey through jazz-fusion, funk, R&B and pop/rock oriented grooves. The aptly titled "All Action & No Talk" is a highlight for his many instrumental talents, particularly on keyboard and guitar. This title could be used to describe the entire CD. Another hot groove number that feature's Thumper's impressive keyboard work, is "Dreamscape." There are also gentle moments, provided by songs such as "Sittin' By the Fireplace" and "Sleep With Me," which feature lush melodies and soulful solos. The production is lively and crisp, focusing on creating memorable tracks with infectious grooves and touching melodies. This CD showcases some thoughtful writing and great musicianship and is recommended for any fan of instrumental smooth jazz, jazz-funk, or Urban/R&B.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out Thumper & Generation One's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

Sunday, September 21, 2008

“Jazz Mass” by Jim Duff (Jazz Artist from Canada)

"Jazz Mass" is a truly unique album from the mastermind of composer/arranger Jim Duff that juxtaposes and fuses a symphonic orchestra, a big band, and a choir to create brilliant classical and jazz compositions. Duff amassed fifty-five of Newfoundland's finest musical talents, drawing mainly from the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, but also showcasing sprouted talents from in and around the community. The result is, guaranteed, something you have never heard before in your life. The fantastic vocals of the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble can stand alone like in a chamber choir or accompany the big band and classical sounds of the Orchestra, then halt for a traditional jazz composition with a sax solo. It can be sudden and contrast moods, but it is excellent, and probably for that reason. "Jazz Mass" is well-produced, and all of the diverse sounds are recorded to their utmost quality. "Gloria" well combines the chamber choir, big band orchestra, and jazz ensemble with great booming vocals that sing the chorus of the traditional hymn, and then moves into a fusion of horns with the traditional jazz sound that features a mean saxophone solo. "Beatus" begins with a great vocal performance from the Vocal Ensemble as they sing about the "Be" attitudes and then moves into a great jazz song with piano, drums, and xylophone. Jim Duff has composed and arranged a beautiful, incredibly original "Jazz Mass" that is sure to be admired by anyone who respects well-crafted music. Fans of big band, jazz, and excellent vocal ensembles will be interested to find out what this "Jazz Mass" is really all about.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out Jim Duff's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Footprints in New York" by Kaoru Azuma (Jazz Artist from Japan)

"Footprints in New York" by Kaoru Azuma is a fantastic modern jazz album brought to life by a talented jazz vocalist. Kaoru, though born in Osaka, Japan, has honed her craft as an American singer and will leave you feeling musically satisfied and pleasantly soothed. She has certainly made her way around the New York jazz scene and her experience and poise shines through on her smooth, graceful vocal performances. The musicians behind her are certainly no slouches either. The performances are solid and the arrangements are creative, lively, well-layered, and compliment the vocals well. The album is well-produced, reflecting a perfect balance of instrumentation and vocals, and illuminates a sound that is very crisp and smooth. "High Wire" opens things up with a haunting vocal intro and evolves into an upbeat performance, both in the arrangement and in the vocal performance. "Footprints" invokes images of a smoky, low-lit room and features a great tandem between Kaoru's voice and the saxophone. This track is fantastically heavy on the mood. "Turn Out The Stars" wraps things up with nice piano progressions that gives the hint of closure and an intimate vocal performance from Kaoru. This album will leave any lover of crafty and soul-filled modern jazz wanting more.
-William & the RadioIndy.com Review Team
Check out Kaoru Azuma's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“Calm Breeze” by Derrick Finch (Jazz Artist from Los Angeles, California (CA))

"Calm Breeze" is a great, live traditional jazz album from The Derrick Finch Trio. Finch is a student of jazz piano influenced by the likes of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson and reflects this with great classical and traditional and avant-garde jazz arrangements reminiscent of his predecessors. His accompaniment, sometimes going beyond the implied trio, includes great stand-up bass lines, occasional saxophone solos, and classic jazz drumming. Together, The Derrick Finch Trio creates solid arrangements with great melodies that'll have your toes tapping and fingers snapping, guaranteed. "Calm Breeze" is a live recording, as well-done jazz is intended to be heard live. This recording is no exception. The title track, "Calm Breeze," has a great arrangement featuring Finch's versatile piano skills that show his complete mastery of the instrument, a sad saxophone, and a nice bass line. "Good Bye Pork Pie Hat" closes the album out nicely with a solo from Finch that features an excellent progression and a great build. "Calm Breeze" is proof that Derrick Finch's studies have paid off and he and his trio deliver a great jazz concert. Fans of acoustic, avant-garde, and traditional jazz, give The Derrick Finch Trio a listen.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Review Team
Check out Derrick finch's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites