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Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection

Dave Koz

Jazz - Released July 31, 2015 | Telarc

The 2015 Dave Koz compilation, Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection, brings together duets and other collaborative recordings culled from the smooth jazz saxophonist's over-two-decades-long album history. Included are pairings with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Herb Alpert, and Luther Vandross. Also included are several brand new recordings including a take on the Jackie Wilson soul classic "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher," featuring vocalist Kenny Lattimore and trumpeter Rick Braun. Also included is Koz's version of the Academy Award-winning song "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen, as well as the song "Good Foot," with longtime associate and keyboardist Jeff Lorber. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Futuresoul

Boney James

Jazz - Released September 18, 2015 | Telarc

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Title aside, there is something very familiar about Futuresoul, Boney James' follow-up to 2013's Grammy-winning Beat. With a modern production approach, there is a deliberate look back at his great inspiration, Grover Washington, Jr., in particular, the late saxophonist's groundbreaking period between 1975 and 1983. Washington, then recording for Kudu, was deeply influenced by vintage soul music and equally taken with funk. He melded them seamlessly with warm, melodic jazz in a welcoming tone and songlike phrasing that virtually created the "smooth jazz" genre. Those tropes influenced and benefited James greatly; he's continued to evolve and transform the music since his 1992 debut album, Trust. His tone here is pure retro analog, while the rest of Futuresoul's sounds derive from the current production techniques of R&B and pop. He collaborated with several co-producers, including Jarius Mozee on the slinky club floor opener "Drumline," and with Dwele on the fingerpopping summertime groove in the title track. Stokley (Williams) makes a vocal appearance on the lovely crossover tune "Either Way." While the scratchy sample at the intro to "Vinyl" is perhaps too obvious, the melody is low, sexy, and slow, with elegantly layered and harmonically staggered saxophones. Rob Bacon's chunky guitar and Nutty P Beats' loops and spacy synths are tastefully stitched into the backdrop. The ballad "Hand in Hand," with Darrell Smith's programmed loops and low-end keyboard bass, is lithe and romantic, though the earthy, Southern gospel tinge of Tim Carmon's B-3 adds roots and depth. Closer "Far from Home" features the muted trumpet of Marquis Hill as a lyric foil for James. Carmon's acoustic piano fills, Vinnie Colaiuta's impressionistic drums, and Lenny Castro's illustrative percussion add a restrained yet cinematic feel to the track. While Futuresoul may not have the outward propulsive force of Beat, it is its flipside: a more lyrical outing that tastefully and thoughtfully melds grooves from the history of smooth and contemporary jazz to modern adult R&B. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Futuresoul

Boney James

Jazz - Released September 18, 2015 | Telarc

Title aside, there is something very familiar about Futuresoul, Boney James' follow-up to 2013's Grammy-winning Beat. With a modern production approach, there is a deliberate look back at his great inspiration, Grover Washington, Jr., in particular, the late saxophonist's groundbreaking period between 1975 and 1983. Washington, then recording for Kudu, was deeply influenced by vintage soul music and equally taken with funk. He melded them seamlessly with warm, melodic jazz in a welcoming tone and songlike phrasing that virtually created the "smooth jazz" genre. Those tropes influenced and benefited James greatly; he's continued to evolve and transform the music since his 1992 debut album, Trust. His tone here is pure retro analog, while the rest of Futuresoul's sounds derive from the current production techniques of R&B and pop. He collaborated with several co-producers, including Jarius Mozee on the slinky club floor opener "Drumline," and with Dwele on the fingerpopping summertime groove in the title track. Stokley (Williams) makes a vocal appearance on the lovely crossover tune "Either Way." While the scratchy sample at the intro to "Vinyl" is perhaps too obvious, the melody is low, sexy, and slow, with elegantly layered and harmonically staggered saxophones. Rob Bacon's chunky guitar and Nutty P Beats' loops and spacy synths are tastefully stitched into the backdrop. The ballad "Hand in Hand," with Darrell Smith's programmed loops and low-end keyboard bass, is lithe and romantic, though the earthy, Southern gospel tinge of Tim Carmon's B-3 adds roots and depth. Closer "Far from Home" features the muted trumpet of Marquis Hill as a lyric foil for James. Carmon's acoustic piano fills, Vinnie Colaiuta's impressionistic drums, and Lenny Castro's illustrative percussion add a restrained yet cinematic feel to the track. While Futuresoul may not have the outward propulsive force of Beat, it is its flipside: a more lyrical outing that tastefully and thoughtfully melds grooves from the history of smooth and contemporary jazz to modern adult R&B. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole

Blues - Released March 10, 2015 | Telarc

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That Lovin' Feeling

Steve Tyrell

Jazz - Released February 10, 2015 | Telarc

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An urbane singer with a throaty, burnished croon, Steve Tyrell has made his name interpreting classic pop songs. It's a skill that helped break his career wide open after he appeared singing "The Way You Look Tonight" in the 1991 film version of Father of the Bride. And while it's the songs of the pre-WWII era that are primarily Tyrell's bread and butter, he has a long-standing love and history connected to pop from his own generation. On his 11th album, 2015's That Lovin' Feeling, Tyrell revisits many of the classic pop tunes of his generation as he sings a variety of compositions that were written at places like the famed Brill Building in the '50s and '60s. Inspired both by his time spent as a teenager working in A&R for Scepter Records in New York City, and by his performance at famed songwriter Mike Stoller's 80th birthday concert in 2013, That Lovin' Feeling is a both a celebration and love letter to the songs and songwriters of that decade. The album follows up his similarly inclined collection of American popular song, 2013's It's Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn, and like that album, finds Tyrell perfectly suited to his chosen material. Immaculately produced by Tyrell, along with Jon Allen and Bob Mann, That Lovin' Feeling is an intimate, jazz-inflected album featuring contributions from keyboardist Chuck Leavell ("Hound Dog"), as well as Stoller-himself on Hammond B-3 ("Stand by Me"). Also adding to the proceedings are a handful of duets with Tyrell and the artists who originally popularized these songs, including Bill Medley on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," B.J. Thomas on "Rock and Roll Lullaby," Neil Sedaka on "Laughter in the Rain," and others. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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That Lovin' Feeling

Steve Tyrell

Jazz - Released February 10, 2015 | Telarc

An urbane singer with a throaty, burnished croon, Steve Tyrell has made his name interpreting classic pop songs. It's a skill that helped break his career wide open after he appeared singing "The Way You Look Tonight" in the 1991 film version of Father of the Bride. And while it's the songs of the pre-WWII era that are primarily Tyrell's bread and butter, he has a long-standing love and history connected to pop from his own generation. On his 11th album, 2015's That Lovin' Feeling, Tyrell revisits many of the classic pop tunes of his generation as he sings a variety of compositions that were written at places like the famed Brill Building in the '50s and '60s. Inspired both by his time spent as a teenager working in A&R for Scepter Records in New York City, and by his performance at famed songwriter Mike Stoller's 80th birthday concert in 2013, That Lovin' Feeling is a both a celebration and love letter to the songs and songwriters of that decade. The album follows up his similarly inclined collection of American popular song, 2013's It's Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn, and like that album, finds Tyrell perfectly suited to his chosen material. Immaculately produced by Tyrell, along with Jon Allen and Bob Mann, That Lovin' Feeling is an intimate, jazz-inflected album featuring contributions from keyboardist Chuck Leavell ("Hound Dog"), as well as Stoller-himself on Hammond B-3 ("Stand by Me"). Also adding to the proceedings are a handful of duets with Tyrell and the artists who originally popularized these songs, including Bill Medley on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," B.J. Thomas on "Rock and Roll Lullaby," Neil Sedaka on "Laughter in the Rain," and others. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Will Downing Collection

Will Downing

Jazz - Released December 1, 2014 | Telarc

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Otis Taylor Collection

Otis Taylor

Blues - Released November 17, 2014 | Telarc

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Al Di Meola Collection

Al Di Meola

Jazz - Released November 18, 2014 | Telarc

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A Michael Feinstein Christmas

Michael Feinstein

Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 2014 | Telarc

Pianist/vocalist Michael Feinstein turns his longstanding love of the Great American Songbook tradition toward the holiday season with his 2014 effort A Michael Feinstein Christmas. Featuring a handful of seasonal classics, many of which were written by such legendary composers as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Meredith Wilson, A Michael Feinstein Christmas is a warm, intimate affair perfect for long winter evenings. Included are such songs as "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays," "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," and many more. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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My Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach

Jacques Loussier

Classical - Released May 27, 2014 | Telarc

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Beyond Bach, Other Composers I Adore

Jacques Loussier

Classical - Released June 30, 2014 | Telarc

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My Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach

Jacques Loussier

Classical - Released May 27, 2014 | Telarc

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Life in the Bubble

Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Telarc

Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band's 2014 effort, Life in the Bubble, showcases the ensemble's lively, crisply swinging jazz sound. Included here is a mix of standards and originals including such songs as the hard-driving "Why We Can't Have Nice Things," the lively Latin-tinged "Garaje Gato," their freewheeling take on the classic "On Green Dolphin Street," and others. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Chameleon

Harvey Mason

Jazz - Released April 29, 2014 | Telarc

Harvey Mason's 2014 effort, Chameleon, is an expansive and funky album that finds the journeyman jazz drummer exploring the space between the '70s post-bop/fusion albums that marked his early career and the contemporary smooth jazz work that has defined the latter half of his career. Having started out playing with the masterful pianist Erroll Garner, Mason eventually join Herbie Hancock's legendary Headhunters ensemble, with whom he recorded the original version of this album's title track. And while he went on to a successful career working with a bevy of artists including Lee Ritenour, George Benson, and others, it is primarily his work with Hancock that is Mason's focus here. In fact, Mason has put together a group of adept musicians rivaling the original Headhunters lineup, including original Headhunters percussionist Bill Summers, trumpeter Christian Scott, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, Fender Rhodes keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams, and others. Together, Mason and his band delve deep into a batch of original songs and well-chosen covers by such similarly inclined crossover jazz giants as Bobby Hutcherson, Patrice Rushen, and the Mizell Brothers. And while Mason's organic, chilled-out take on the title track (replete with Summers' atmospheric vocals and Hinda Hu whistle) is a highlight, it's merely the tip of this funk-berg. Similarly engaging are such cuts as the synth-driven, '80s video game funk of "Mase's Theme" and the yearning, alternative R&B-infused reworking of Leon Ware's "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," featuring vocalist Chris Turner. We also get the moody, sensuous "Black Frost," with its synth-layered groove that still allows for a muscular, skronk-laden solo from Washington. Ultimately, as the title implies, Chameleon is a joyful album that combines the best aspects of Mason's musically colorful, ever-changing career. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Britten: Cello Symphony / Cello Sonata

Zuill Bailey

Classical - Released September 3, 2013 | Telarc

Midwestern American Telarc label seems to have survived its absorption into Concord Music Group and the subsequent gutting of its top-flight engineering staff with its spirit intact, although audiophiles should note that this live recording is not a Super Audio release. It's nicely recorded, though, with a sense of the unidentified space, perhaps the acoustically strong Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh where the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra resides. The use of a somewhat unheralded regional orchestra is another part of the Telarc formula, and the NCSO certainly punches above its hitherto perceived weight. The spotlight, however, belongs on Texas-based cellist Zuill Bailey. Here he takes on a pair of works by Benjamin Britten, both originally composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, and he does a fair impression of the great crowd-pleasing Russian. These pieces, on the moody side, aren't among Britten's most popular pieces; the Anglicisms that draw ordinary listeners to his music are there, but they tend to be combined with other things, as in the final Passacaglia of the Symphony for cello & orchestra, Op. 68, in which a sea-type tune becomes enmeshed in dense Sibelian counterpoint. The tricky balances in the paradoxically named Symphony are well handled here; the cello often seems to be muttering dark commentary behind the scenes. The commission for the Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 65, was mediated by Shostakovich, and there's more than a bit of his influence in the music. Both pieces have intensely tragic sections, and Bailey seems in tune with these. Recommended for anyone wishing to expand a Britten collection beyond the standards. © TiVo
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Britten: Cello Symphony / Cello Sonata

Various Artists

Classical - Released September 3, 2013 | Telarc

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Midwestern American Telarc label seems to have survived its absorption into Concord Music Group and the subsequent gutting of its top-flight engineering staff with its spirit intact, although audiophiles should note that this live recording is not a Super Audio release. It's nicely recorded, though, with a sense of the unidentified space, perhaps the acoustically strong Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh where the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra resides. The use of a somewhat unheralded regional orchestra is another part of the Telarc formula, and the NCSO certainly punches above its hitherto perceived weight. The spotlight, however, belongs on Texas-based cellist Zuill Bailey. Here he takes on a pair of works by Benjamin Britten, both originally composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, and he does a fair impression of the great crowd-pleasing Russian. These pieces, on the moody side, aren't among Britten's most popular pieces; the Anglicisms that draw ordinary listeners to his music are there, but they tend to be combined with other things, as in the final Passacaglia of the Symphony for cello & orchestra, Op. 68, in which a sea-type tune becomes enmeshed in dense Sibelian counterpoint. The tricky balances in the paradoxically named Symphony are well handled here; the cello often seems to be muttering dark commentary behind the scenes. The commission for the Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 65, was mediated by Shostakovich, and there's more than a bit of his influence in the music. Both pieces have intensely tragic sections, and Bailey seems in tune with these. Recommended for anyone wishing to expand a Britten collection beyond the standards. © TiVo
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Christmas Songs

Mel Tormé

Ambient/New Age - Released December 16, 2013 | Telarc

Because Mel Tormé co-wrote "The Christmas Song," it was a surprise to many of his fans that when he recorded this full-length Christmas album for Telarc in 1992, it was his first. Since he is backed by a large orchestra (conducted by Keith Lockhart) in addition to his regular trio and the emphasis is on ballad renditions, Tormé does not get many opportunities to scat and swing on this pleasing but unadventurous set. However, the 16-track album, which includes several medleys and a pair of instrumentals for the orchestra, features tasteful and melodic Tormé interpretations of 20 Christmas-associated songs, and the album is worthwhile, if not essential. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Badlands

Trampled Under Foot

Blues - Released July 9, 2013 | Telarc

Released on Telarc, Badlands is the debut album this trio of siblings, which consists of Danielle Schnebelen (lead vocals and bass), Nick Schnebelen (guitars and vocals), and Kris Schnebelen, (drums). The band is in good company with producer (and drummer for Robert Cray), Tony Braunagel, who had previously worked with the group on their 2011 release Wrong Side of the Blues. Braunagel brought back two musicians who also played on the previous album, Johnny Lee Schell on acoustic guitar and keyboardist Mike Finnigan, known for his work with Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, and Etta James. Although this is basically a blues-soul album, Trampled Under Foot aren't afraid to branch out a bit and incorporate elements of gospel, rock, and funk. Their cover version of the James Brown classic "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" shows off Danielle's dynamic vocal range accompanied by an arrangement that is even more dramatic than the original! Braunagel's influence is evident on the tracks "Bad Bad Feeling," which is similar to Bonnie Raitt's work in the '90s, and the title track "Badlands," which sounds like it could have been on a Robert Cray album. Trampled Under Foot's first major-label release will appeal to a wide audience without the group having to compromise their blues roots. © Al Campbell /TiVo
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Badlands

Trampled Under Foot

Blues - Released July 9, 2013 | Telarc

Released on Telarc, Badlands is the debut album this trio of siblings, which consists of Danielle Schnebelen (lead vocals and bass), Nick Schnebelen (guitars and vocals), and Kris Schnebelen, (drums). The band is in good company with producer (and drummer for Robert Cray), Tony Braunagel, who had previously worked with the group on their 2011 release Wrong Side of the Blues. Braunagel brought back two musicians who also played on the previous album, Johnny Lee Schell on acoustic guitar and keyboardist Mike Finnigan, known for his work with Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, and Etta James. Although this is basically a blues-soul album, Trampled Under Foot aren't afraid to branch out a bit and incorporate elements of gospel, rock, and funk. Their cover version of the James Brown classic "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" shows off Danielle's dynamic vocal range accompanied by an arrangement that is even more dramatic than the original! Braunagel's influence is evident on the tracks "Bad Bad Feeling," which is similar to Bonnie Raitt's work in the '90s, and the title track "Badlands," which sounds like it could have been on a Robert Cray album. Trampled Under Foot's first major-label release will appeal to a wide audience without the group having to compromise their blues roots. © Al Campbell /TiVo