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.

New Classical-Jazz Collaborations: Yo-Yo Ma/Krall, Grusin/Ritenour, Perez/Ogerman

It’s not often that I see this: three new classical-jazz collaborations in less than a month.

This week, Amazon has an exclusive download of a new collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and Diana Krall. Two weeks ago, Decca released a new Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour classical-jazz-folk collaboration, Amparo. It’s a follow-up to their 2000 classical-jazz recording Two Worlds. A week before that, Across the Crystal Sea, a Danilo Perez/Claus Ogerman recording came out.

I put them all in a carousel below so you can sample them (just click on the cover). I also added three other classical-jazz collaborations that immediately came to mind.

Smoke N’ Mirrors from Lee Ritenour

He’s been a presence in contemporary jazz for more than two decades and nominated for seventeen Grammy awards. Guitarist Lee Ritenour still has stories to tell. The concept for his new release, Smoke N’ Mirrors, came from different sources, notably his first trip to South Africa last year. The new recording has a definite world influence. Ritenour brought in a number of musicians to help him achieve his vision: eight percussionists, South African singer Zamajobe, Daniel Jobim (grandson of Brazilian legend Antonio Carlos Jobim), his thirteen year old son, Wesley, and old friends like Dave Grusin, John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta, Abraham Laboriel, Richard Bona, and Patrice Rushen. He also plays twelve different guitars. As you would expect from the personnel, the performances are top-notch and Rit’s playing is fluid. If you haven’t checked out Captain Fingers in a while, Smoke N’ Mirrors is a good one to pick up.