Top Names Assemble for Jazz for Japan Benefit Recording

Jazz for Japan benefit recordingJazz For Japan is a benefit album recorded in two days by 25 of the top jazz musicians in the world benefiting the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. The recordings took place last week in Los Angeles at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Legendary and Grammy nominated performers include: Kenny G, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, George Duke, Rickey Minor, Tom Scott, Billy Childs, Boney James, Lee Ritenour, Keiko Matsui, Bob James, and many others.

Larry Robinson, Jazz For Japan producer states; “This project came about after discussing the tragic aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan with my co-workers. I told them that many of the American jazz musicians tour Japan numerous times a year. It was at that moment the seeds of Jazz For Japan were born. Within five days we called all our jazz friends and put together this truly amazing line up of musicians to record at Hollywood’s famous Capitol Recording Studio who all donated their time.”

The album features jazz standards including “Maiden Voyage,” “Body & Soul,” “Watermelon Man,” “So What,” “Sophisticated Lady,” etc. along with a DVD release including interviews with the artists stating their support and sympathy for the Japanese people. “You, the Japanese people inspire us with your resilience. We are trying to send our strength with what we have – and that’s music,” states Steve Gadd (drummer, performing on “Maiden Voyage”, and “So What”).

Jazz For Japan is being produced by Avatar Records and is available now worldwide via iTunes with profits benefiting the International Red Cross in Japan.

Dukey Treats from George Duke

You know how sometimes you’re a huge fan of an artist but their style changes over time? You keep buying their new music because you’re holding on/hoping for what you enjoyed in the past. Fortunately, that is not the case for every artist. George Duke is a constant in the contemporary jazz universe. He’s done other styles but he always comes back to the funk/soul style he loves best. His new Dukey Treats, available tomorrow, is full of soulful vocals provided by some familiar names: Jonathan Butler, Howard Hewett, Teena Marie, Rachelle Ferrell, and more. “I didn’t want to drift too far away from the old school sensibility,” Duke explains. As usual, you’ll find an irresistible track or two – it was the peppy “Are You Ready” for me.

Fans will not be disappointed in Dukey Treats. It’s like a visit from an old friend who hasn’t lost the things you love about him or her.

Buy Dukey Treats now from Amazon.com.
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Check out the Concord site for more information.

Review: Tom Scott – Cannon Re-Loaded

Always a fan of Tom Scott’s, I’ve been waiting for this release for a while. Although when his name is mentioned, most contemporary jazz fans think of Tom Scott’s releases such as LA Express, New York Connection, Apple Juice, or any number of the outstanding recordings he did while on GRP. But there were two, now with this release, three recordings where that unmistakable saxophone voice can be heard in a more traditional (notice I didn’t say straight-ahead) setting; 1992’s Born Again, BeBop United from 1996 and now, Cannon Re-Loaded. Joining Scott on this collection of tunes associated with the late great Cannonball Adderley are Terence Blanchard, George Duke, Marcus Miller, Steve Gadd, and Nancy Wilson. This is a pretty straightforward tribute. The players all sound very relaxed and the arrangements are excellent. It’s encouraging to see Tom Scott on the new release list and I give kudos to Concord for ‘carrying the torch’ while the ‘majors’ have burned their houses down to the ground. One last note, it’s nice to hear Terence Blanchard in a more contemporary setting. Here’s hoping he steps into the genre a bit more.

Buy the CD from Amazon.com!
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News Bits: Marcus Miller, Stanley Jordan, Kirk Whalum

Marcus Miller is releasing what he calls an “Official Bootleg CD”. The Ozell Tapes features performances from Marcus’ 2002 tour with no remixing or editing. Having seen a show on the tour, I can guarantee you that finding this CD will be worth your while. It should already be out in Japan and will be in Europe and available for ordering online later this week. For more information and updates, check out Edi Weitz’s MarcusMiller.com site, where Marcus contributes frequently. . . Stanley Jordan‘s 1985 release, Magic Touch, was certified gold on August 27, meaning that it has sold over 500,000 copies. . . The jazz/gospel fusion that Kirk Whalum displayed on his underappreciated Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter One will be back for a second volume. The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter Two will be in stores on October 29. George Duke and Paul Jackson, Jr. return and are joined by Jonathan Butler. The CD was recorded live and KirkWhalum.com reports that a DVD/VHS version should be coming soon.

George Duke Goes Indie

George Duke - Face the MusicIt’s the year of major modern jazz artists striking out on their own. Branford Marsalis released Footsteps of Our Fathers earlier this year on his own label, Marsalis Music. Now George Duke has released his first album on his label, BPM (Big Piano Music). Face the Music was released September 3 and consists of mostly instrumentals. “The basic idea for this project was to use the same rhythm section for the entire album,” Duke says. “Though there are horns and vocals in spots, the rhythm section is the focus and identity of the music.” The rhythm section consists of Christian McBride and John Roberts.
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