George Benson in session

I’m pruning my large CD library, archiving some discs and preparing to give away or sell others. I’m grabbing information off of those enhanced discs which were seemingly popular around 2000. I uploaded this clip of George Benson, Joe Sample and Christian McBride from a session from Absolute Benson, a good George Benson recording from the year 2000.

Try It Out Tuesdays – Joe Sample

Ashes To Ashes from Joe SampleTry It Out Tuesdays offers a free full MP3 of an artist. Today’s artist is someone you likely don’t need to try out. You know him. Joe Sample is a contemporary jazz legend. I love his work with the Crusaders and his solo recordings equally. I think my favorite disc of his is Ashes To Ashes. There’s two reasons to spotlight Mr. Sample: He just turned 70 a couple of weeks ago and Valentine’s Day is this weekend and this track is an excellent walk-in-the-sun-with-someone-special composition.

Click the play button to hear “I’ll Love You” then hit the Shopping Cart icon to buy this classic recording from Amazon.com (available on CD, cassette, LP, or MP3 download).

Ashes To Ashes from Joe SampleJoe Sample – Ashes To Ashes – “I’ll Love You”

New Incognito, Benson/Jarreau, Madlib/Norah Jones, and More!

Bees + Things + Flowers from IncognitoBluey = Busy. Incognito’s Eleven just hit stores in the States earlier this year but the band has already recorded a new album that is scheduled for release in October (in the UK)! Beyond that, Bluey plans to hit the studio again later this year for yet another new CD for early next year! According to the Incognito site http://www.incognito.org.uk/, this fall’s Bees + Things + Flowers is a mostly acoustic affair with a 16-piece string section. Vocalists on it include Jocelyn Brown, Maysa, Imaani, and Carleen Anderson. I heard a stripped-down Incognito recently on an XM special and it was impressive. I won’t wait for the possibility that it will be distributed here – this is a guaranteed import.

George Benson and Al Jarreau have teamed for a new release. Givin’ It Up will be out on October 24th from the Concord Music Group and Monster Music, the newly created record division of high-end audio supplier Monster Cable. Monster Music will make Givin’ It Up available in a fancy High Definition Surround SuperDisc package that you should be able to hear in the home audio section of your favorite big box store. There are thirteen tracks on the recording and the guest list is awesome: Paul McCartney, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Jill Scott, Stanley Clarke, and more. Concord’s site has more info.

Classic Picante Regrooved Vol. 1Also on the topics of collaborations and legendary soul jazz artists: Randy Crawford and Joe Sample reunite on Feeling Good, out later this month (distributed by Universal). No Stateside release date is listed on Amazon . . . Madlib produces Norah Jones? Believe it! This from a Stones Throw Records email: “Madlib produces Talib Kweli and Norah Jones on Kweli’s upcoming album to be released this fall” . . . Stanton Moore has signed with Telarc. His new release, III, is out on September 26. . . . Over a year since it was originally announced, Explorations: Classic Picante Regrooved Vol. 1 finally sees the light of day on August 29. The Latin jazz label’s catalog is remixed by producers Masters at Work, Thievery Corporation, Cut Chemist, Dan the Automator, Carl Cox, Los Amigos Invisibles, Hex Hector, Ozomatli, and Yerba Buena. Looking forward to this! I’m encouraged that Concord has labeled this “Vol. 1”.

Soul Shadows by Joe Sample

If you heard “The Texas Two Step” from his previous release The Pecan Tree and hoped that Joe Sample would do an entire recording of music like that, you’re in luck. Sample has released a solo piano recording called Soul Shadows, which features ten jazz chestnuts. The songs include Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” Ellington’s “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” and “I Got Rhythm,” Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Jitterbug Waltz,” Morton’s “Shreveport Stomp” (which I believe he performs in concert), and Jolson’s “Avalon.” Already cemented as a legend in jazz, I found myself still in awe of Sample’s talent. He has the ability to play these challenging pieces and make it sound like it’s easy work. Unbelievable dexterity. Also included in the collection are renditions of his compositions “Spellbound” and “Soul Shadows.” Although there are no vocals, the lyrics to the latter are reprinted in the liner notes. They perfectly fit this release, another jewel in the awesome Sample discography.