Rick Braun – Christmas Present, Music of Warmth & Celebration (1994)

FrontCover1.jpgRick Braun (born July 6, 1955, in (Allentown, Pennsylvania) is a smooth jazz trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.

Braun’s mother was a self-taught pianist and banjoist. Braun played drums in high school, then followed his brother in playing the trumpet. In the 1970s, he attended the Eastman School of Music, and while a student there became a member of a jazz-fusion band, Auracle. The band worked with producer Teo Macero, and Braun co-produced the second album.

During the 1980s, he entered the pop music world. He released an album in Japan as a singer, then worked as a songwriter for Lorimar (Warner Chappell). He wrote the song “Here with Me” with REO Speedwagon, and it became a top twenty hit. When he returned to the trumpet, he worked as a studio musician and touring member with Crowded House, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, Tom Petty, Sade, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, and War.

He released his debut solo album, Intimate Secrets (Mesa, 1992), followed by Night Walk and Christmas Present. His popularity increased enough by 1995, when he released Beat Street, that he was persuaded to pursue a solo career.

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He has cited as influences Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Chet Baker, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie and Herb Alpert, with the last one inspiring his album All It Takes including a song called “Tijuana Dance” (a play on Alpert’s band Tijuana Brass). One of his influences was Freddie Hubbard, and Braun composed a song, “Freddie Was Here” in 2008, which he recorded on his album, All it Takes, in tribute to Hubbard, who died that year.

He achieved several top chartings including Kisses in the Rain (as high as number 1), R n R (as high as number 1), All It Takes (as high as number 2), and Can You Feel It (as high as number 1) along with charting at the Traditional Jazz Albums for the first time in 2011 with Sings with Strings (as high as number 9).

Braun performs in the band BWB, with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown.

In 2005, he and saxophonist Richard Elliot co-founded ARTizen Music Group (now known as Artistry Music) and once had Rykodisc as a distributor.

Braun won Gavin Report’s Artist of the Year twice. (by wikipedia)

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Christmas Present — Music of Warmth and Celebration is a pleasant, laidback collection of smooth jazz that’s ideal background music for holiday parties. Braun runs through a number of classic Christmas carols (“The Christmas Present,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?”) and several original pieces that often evoke the spirit of the season, making it a nice Christmas record for fans of smooth jazz and fusion. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Rick Braun (trumpet, piano, flugelhorn)
Russ Braun (trombone)
Curtis Brengle (piano)
Kevin Brown (trumpet)
Jack Daro (bass)
Vinny D’Onofrio (guitar)
Brad Dutz (drums, percussion)
Bob Feldman (bass)
John Grab (trombone, vello)
Cliff Hugo (bass)
Dave Karasony (drums)
Nick Lane (trombone)
Suzette Moriarty (french horn)
Ed Smith (cymbals)
Doug Tornquist (tuba)
Ned Treuenfels (french horn)
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Woodland Hills Elves Guild Choir:
Angela Surfield – Darryl Phinnessee – Rick Braun

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Tracklist:
01. The Little Drummer Boy (Simeone/Davis/Onorati) 4.00
02. Bell, Book, And Candle (Braun/Lane) 3.36
03. Christmas In Gorgonia (Braun/Traditional) 2.59
04. The Christmas Song (Wells/Tormé) 4.38
05. Jingle Blues (Pierpont) 4.03
06. Far Away (Braun/Reilly) 3.25
07. Christmas Present (Braun/Lane)
08. O Tannenbaum (Traditional) 3.43
09. It’s Christmas (Traditional) 4.09
10. The Christmas Clock (Braun) 3.13
11. Do You Hear What I Hear? () 4.22
12. Newborn Christmas (Feldman/Smith) 3.35
13. Maybe Next Year (Braun/Brengle) 4.43
14. Grandma’s Music Box (Braun) 2.45

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Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio – Christmas (1994)

FrontCover1This trio has won acclaim all over the world and is now celebrating 20 years of their music-making.
The first Andrzej Jagodzinski album of jazzed-up Chopin, recorded in December 1993, was an event showered with awards. Another record “Live at the National Philharmonic” was created in 1995, followed by “Chopin Once More” in 1999. In 2008 the Trio recorded “Chopin – Jagodzinski – Sonata in B flat minor” celebrating the 15th anniversary of its creation by presenting a jazz vision of this great composition. The year 2010 witnessed a 2-CD album “Chopin – Les Brillantes”, which incorporated the band’s previous experience with Chopin’s music. It was also a tribute to the master on the 200th anniversary of his birth. All the CDs quickly attained the status of Golden Disc. (by arts.uci.edu)

“One of Poland’s leading jazz pianists interprets the music of the country’s greatest composer. (…) One of the best examples of classical jazz since Art Tatum tackled Massenet.” (Music and Media)

Jagodzinski’s organically swinging and highly interactive trio continued to explore jazz interpretations of one of the most acclaimed polish jazz pianists: Andrzej Jagodziski and his trio. Here The Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio performs traditional Polish Christmas carols, with the exception of “Cicha Noc (Silent Night)”, which is of course one of the most popular christmas songs of all time.

I guess, I will hear this wonderful album tomorrow night again … together with my wife, at the end of our christmas eve … before we´ll go to bed …

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Personnel:
Czesław ‘Mały’ Bartkowski (drums)
Adam Cegielski (bass)
Andrzej Jagodziński (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Cicha Noc (Silent Night) 5.55
02 Z Narodzenia Pana (With Lord’s Birth) 4.00
03 Gdy Się Chrystus Rodzi (When The Christ Is Borning) 4.40
04 Mizerna Cicha (Wan, silent, stable earth) 5.25
05 Mędrcy Świata (The Sages of The World, Monarchs) 6.15
06 Pójdźmy Wszyscy Do Stajenki (Let Us All Go To Tthe Little Barn) 4.05
07 Jezus Malusieńki (Little Baby Jesus) 4.20
08 Gdy Śliczna Panna (When Beautiful Miss Rocked Son) 6.00
09 Lulajże Jezuniu (Hush little Jesus) 3.45

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Caffeine – Same (1994)

FrontCover1Caffeine is the eponymous debut album by the free improvisation trio consisting of Jim Baker on piano, Steve Hunt on percussion and Ken Vandermark on reeds. It was recorded in 1993 and released on Okka Disk. By the time of recording, Vandermark and Hunt were members of the NRG Ensemble.[1]Caffeine is the eponymous debut album by the free improvisation trio consisting of Jim Baker on piano, Steve Hunt on percussion and Ken Vandermark on reeds. It was recorded in 1993 and released on Okka Disk. By the time of recording, Vandermark and Hunt were members of the NRG Ensemble.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz notes that “‘with Baker and Hunt, Vandermark is slightly too exposed.”
The Chicago Tribune review by Howard Reich says “Baker’s restless pianism, Vandermark’s penetrating reed work and Hunt’s meticulous percussion perpetually react to one another in unexpected, novel ways.”
The Down Beat review by Bill Shoemaker states “Caffeine provides high-energy blow-outs followed by explorations of space and color. Baker’s first recorded outing is appetite-whetting, as he skillfully skirts Taylor’s long shadow.”

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Ironically, Caffeine is the longest-lived project by reedist Ken Vandermark, and the least documented. It is an uncompromising trio rounded out by two of the most underrated Chicago musicians. Drummer Steve Hunt is mostly known for his work with the NRG Ensemble, and pianist Jim Baker has long been a mainstay of the Chicago scene. Baker produces rather linear lines with an uninterrupted flow of notes, and Hunt often uses percussive devices on his drum kit, creating a bustle. The two seem to have a privileged rapport, and Baker’s braininess acts as a foil for Hunt’s intuitiveness. Vandermark, still a little green, occasionally seems a little foreign to what they both cook, his playing being juxtaposed to theirs. The reed player gets credit, however, for his quite different approaches on each of the three instruments on this set of improvised music: clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor sax.

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It is on bass clarinet that he manages to best blend with his cohorts — maintaining an energetic flow without sounding forceful. On tenor, Vandermark is at his fiercest and most ferocious. The second part of “Landscape on the Events Horizon,” a clarinet feature, provides a rare occasion to hear him in contemplative mode. Overall, the music is extremely dense, despite the fact that the session only involves a trio and the musicians avidly seek to fill all the spaces. Despite its shortcomings, Caffeine manages to sustain the listener’s interest due to, in particular, Hunt’s and Baker’s attention to details. (by Alain Drouot)

Attention please: This is free jazz and when I write fee jazz I mean free jazz !

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Personnel:
Jim Baker (piano)
Steve Hunt (drums, percussio
Ken Vandermark (reeds)

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Tracklist:
01. Two Car Garage 16.14

Landscape On The Events Horizon (46.58)
02. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 1) 10.11
03. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 2) 14.54
04. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 3) 8.55
05. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 4) 7.34
06. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 5) 5.20

07. Beyond The Gum Wrapper  9.45

All compositions by Baker/Hunt/Vandermark

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Kermit Ruffins – The Big Butter & Egg Man (1994)

FrontCover1With his outgoing personality, New Orleans-style trumpet playing, and likable singing style, Kermit Ruffins has the potential to develop into a new Louis Prima. This CD from Justice hints at his potential, but it is quite erratic. Some of the songs (particularly those featuring the tenor of Roderick Paulin) are too modern; Ruffins’s solos are streaky, and the varied material does not all succeed. Best are such good-time numbers as “I’ll Drink Ta Dat,” “The Undertaker Man” and “Li’l Liza Jane,” although one wishes that this rendition of “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” were a lot stronger. (by Scott Yanow)

New Orleans of the ’90s has two young trumpeters in their 20s, Kermit Ruffins and Nicholas Payton, who resemble the greatest New Orleans trumpeter of them all, Louis Armstrong. Payton, who bears the closest physical resemblance, does the best job of echoing Satchmo’s piercing, adventurous jazz solos. Ruffins, whose physical resemblance is less exact, is the heir of Armstrong as pop entertainer–the warm singer, the charming joker, and the tuneful trumpeter. Six of the 10 tracks on Ruffins’s second solo album, The Big Butter & Egg Man, are vocal numbers, and it’s on those that he bridges the gap between New Orleans jazz of the ’20s and New Orleans R&B of the ’50s. This is most obvious on “Li’l Liza Jane,” an old Dixieland standard which was later recorded by Fats Domino and the Neville Brothers.

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Ruffins and his two former bandmates in the ReBirth Brass Band–saxophonist Roderick Paulin and tubaist Philip Frazier–get a Dixieland horn arrangement swinging, but the gospel-ish vocals and syncopated dance beat come straight out of R&B. The same approach of sophisticated harmonies, infectious rhythms, and exuberant humor is applied to the old Tin Pan Alley title tune, to Stuff Smith’s 1930s marijuana song “If You’re a Viper,” and to Ruffins’s guided tour of his hometown, “I’ll Drink Ta Dat.” The four instrumentals, featuring music by Armstrong, Ellington, and Ruffins, are perfectly respectable, but it’s Ruffins’s vocal showcases which separate him from the pack. (Geoffrey Himes)

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Personnel:
Jerry Anderson (drums)
Dwight Fitch (piano)
Philip Fraizer (tuba)
Corey Henry (trombone)
Roderick Paulin (saxophone)
Kermit Ruffins (trumpet, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. I’ll Drink Ta Dat (Ruffins) 3.55
02. The Big Butter And Egg Man (Clare/Friend) 4.07
03. Besame Mucho (Skylar/Velázquez) 4-08
04. Out Of Left Field (Ruffins) 4.46
05. The Undertaker Man (Ruffins) 4.00
06. Leshianne (Ruffins) 3.09
07. Struttin’ With Some Barbecue (Hardin/Raye) 4.17
08. If You’re A Viper (Smith) 3.11
09. Li’l Liza Jane (Traditional) 3.53
10. West Indies Jazz Dance (Ellington) 3.58

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Geri Allen Trio – Twenty One (1994)

FrontCover1Twenty One is an album by pianist Geri Allen with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams recorded in 1994 and released on the Blue Note label.

Pianist Geri Allen has thus far been a very consistent performer, and all of her recordings are easily recommended. This particular set finds her in a trio with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams performing six of her originals along with six jazz standards. Allen’s style is fairly original, with hints of Herbie Nichols, and her chancetaking but logical solos are generally quite stimulating. (by Scott Yanow)

This female Jazz pianist can play from traditional jazz to free form,classic music,bebop style.That is this pianist has a wide range of musical capacity.In this album GERI plays her original songs with a distinct power and prowess.The sound she makes is so challenging and beautiful.Indeed,there is a crystalized beauty in her touch.In a sense well-controled touch of madness is to be seen.This album is a overlooked and underestimated album.This is a MUST ITEM for jazz piano trio fans. (by Sound Profiler)

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Geri Allen, a musically adventurous jazz pianist and bandleader who performed with the leading musicians of her time, from Ornette Coleman to Wayne Shorter, and who furthered the careers of other women in jazz, died June 27 at a hospital in Philadelphia. She was 60.

The cause was cancer. Her death was announced by the University of Pittsburgh, where she directed the jazz studies program.

In a career spanning more than 35 years, Ms. Allen was known for her eclectic approach to music, exploring the traditions of jazz and reaching into some of its more arcane byways. She portrayed pianist Mary Lou Williams in the 1996 Robert Altman film “Kansas City,” set in the 1930s, but she also dipped into a variety of other styles, from the Motown music of her childhood home town Detroit to electronic music and classical works.

“I like to look at the piano as a drum,” she said in a 1992 interview with the Contemporary Musicians reference guide, “as 88 drums with pitch. Rhythm is the core of my music.”

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Ms. Allen was considered one of the leading pianists of her generation and, as Los Angeles Times critic Don Heckman wrote in 2006, “long overdue for the sort of recognition that accrues for the top level of jazz ­performers.”

In the 1980s, Ms. Allen toured with Mary Wilson, a onetime member of the Supremes from whom she said she borrowed fashion ideas. A decade later, Ms. Allen accompanied another singer from Detroit, jazz vocalist Betty Carter, and performed on Carter’s Grammy Award-winning album ­“Droppin’ Things.”

Ms. Allen released more than 20 albums as a bandleader, many of which featured her own compositions, and she collaborated on recordings with rock guitarist Vernon Reid of Living Colour and jazz masters including bassists Ron Carter, Charlie Haden and Dave Holland, and drummers Paul Motian and Jimmy Cobb.

In 1996 she became the first acoustic pianist in almost 40 years to record with Coleman, the innovative saxophonist. Their work was documented on two albums, “Sound Museum: Hidden Man” and “Sound Museum: Three Women.”

“Why can’t I explore the whole universe of music that’s available to me?” Ms. Allen told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “There’s a point of view that suggests that you can do something much better if you focus on one thing, but it’s my nature to be curious, and to go back and forth between different contexts, such as playing solo, trio and large groups, or using electronic stuff.”

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Ms. Allen also found time to write symphonic works, develop theatrical projects and to become a prominent jazz educator, first at her alma mater, Howard University, and later at the University of Michigan and the University of Pittsburgh.

Throughout her career, Ms. Allen helped rediscover the historical role of women in jazz. Ms. Allen recorded Williams’s “Zodiac Suite” and often appeared at what is now the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. She also performed the music of Lil Hardin Armstrong, who was the pianist on the early recordings of her husband, trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

“There is a really strong legacy of great female piano players, and women have played really important parts in the history of the music,” Ms. Allen told the British newspaper the Independent in 1998. “The issue of Lil Hardin in Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five is an important one. She was the first piano player in the first major group in jazz, and that’s a big hole left undiscovered.”

Among other ensembles Ms. Allen led in recent years, she often performed with the ACS Trio, an all-female group, with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Grammy-winning bassist ­Esperanza Spalding.

“If you want to be true to tradition, you must find your own voice,” Ms. Allen told Newsday in 1992. “It isn’t just in playing on what’s already there. If you come to this music on its own terms, then you have to come to it on your own terms.”

Geri Antoinette Allen was born June 12, 1957, in Pontiac, Mich., and grew up in Detroit. Her father was a school principal, and her mother worked as a contracts administrator with the federal government.

Her parents often played jazz and classical records at home, and Ms. Allen began studying the piano at age 7. She went to Cass Tech, a Detroit high school that produced many other talented musicians, and studied under trumpeter Marcus Belgrave.

In 1979, Ms. Allen became one of the first graduates of Howard’s jazz studies program, and she received a master’s degree in ethno­musicology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982.

Among other projects, she collaborated on musical plays with actress and director S. Epatha Merkerson and writer Farah Jasmine Griffin. She also wrote musical tributes honoring civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Her marriage to trumpeter Wallace Roney ended in divorce. Survivors include three children; her father; and a brother. (by Matt Schudel)

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Personnel:
Geri Allen (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Tony Williams (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. RTG” (Allen) 2.47
02. If I Should Lose You (Rainger/Robin) 4.35
03. Drummer’s Song (Allen) 3.52
04. Introspection/Thelonious (Monk) 4.36
05. A Beautiful Friendship (Kahn/Styne) 3.23
06. In The Morning (Allen) 6.09
07. Tea For Two (Caesar/Youmans) 3.19
08. Lullaby Of The Leaves (Petkere/Young) 5.14
09. Feed The Fire (Allen) 6.16
10. Old Folks (Hill/Robison) 6.14
11. A Place Of Power (Allen) 3.14
12. In The Middle (Allen) 4.25

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Rest In Peace:
Geri Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017)

Loreena McKennitt – The Mask And Mirror (1994)

FrontCover1The Mask and Mirror is an album by Loreena McKennitt. Released in 1994, the album has been certified Gold in the United States.

 

Like most of Loreena McKennitt’s albums, The Mask and Mirror is heavily influenced by her travels. Her experiences in Spain and Morocco, specifically, serve as the inspiration for this album.

As her introduction to the album, McKennitt wrote:

I looked back and forth through the window of 15th century Spain, through the hues of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and was drawn into a fascinating world: history, religion, cross-cultural fertilization….For some medieval minds the mirror was the door through which the soul frees itself by passing…. for others the pursuit of personal refinement was likened to polishing the mirror of the soul. From the more familiar turf of the west coast of Ireland, through the troubadours of France, crossing over the Pyrenees, and then to the west through Galicia, down through Andalusia and past Gibraltar to Morocco….the Crusades, the pilgrimage to Santiago, Cathars, the Knights Templar, the Sufis from Egypt, One Thousand and One Nights in Arabia, the Celtic imagery of trees, the Gnostic Gospels…who was God? and what is religion, what spirituality? What was revealed and what was concealed…and what was the mask and what the mirror?

Accompanying all the selections, as the liner remarks, are some of the entries in a traveler’s log that McKennitt kept all throughout her journey.

The album’s cover uses a collage made from the medieval The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries.

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Photo by Donna Griffith

Press play and enter the world of Loreena McKennitt, where walls dissolve into thick, billowing mists as the ground beneath your feet turns to compacted earth and the sky above opens up to reveal a black cloak dotted with shimmering stars draped beneath silk-like clouds. Were McKennitt’s composing and songwriting abilities lacking of any luster (as they most certainly are not), her voice would still possess the strength to hold her fifth album, The Mask and Mirror, up on its own. But the combination of this talented woman’s vocal prowess and songwriting ability makes her all the more similar to her work — ethereal and almost unbelievable in its level of quality. A mythical menagerie, The Mask and Mirror contains songs that lift the veil to reveal the soul of McKennitt’s work in eight dreamlike, Celtic-inspired tracks.

The opening track, “The Mystic’s Dream” (featured on the TNT movie The Mists of Avalon, based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley), is a haunting tune that features McKennitt at her most heavenly peak as a vocalist, evoking the spirits of the instruments and Gregorian chant-like background vocals that accompany her on the track. The album excels at conjuring up mythical visions in the listener’s imagination, as with the gypsy-like tune “Marrakesh Night Market,” which echos of the picturesque scene the title invokes. The soul-searching “Full Circle” best exhibits McKennitt’s ability to transpose the true meaning of the lyrics into her songs.

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Even after the song ends, the somber mood lingers softly in the air. The balalaika (a three-stringed triangular-shaped instrument), the bouzouki (an eight-stringed instrument), and the hurdy-gurdy (a stringed instrument that also has keyboard and percussion parts) are among the rare, strange instruments introduced on many of the songs, including the lighthearted, uplifting “Ce He Mise Le Ulaingt? (The Two Trees),” on which these instruments demonstrate their incredible quality and prowess. The lyrics of this track are none other than the words of the poem of the same name by William Butler Yeats. McKennitt’s unique use of the lyrical words of William Shakespeare, combined with her skillful adaptation of the words to the heavenly, undulating music, make the final track, “Prospero’s Speech,” an inspiration in itself. (by Kerry L. Smith

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Personnel:
Anne Bourne (cello, background vocals)
Al Cross (drums)
Nigel Eaton (hurdy gurdy)
Ofra Harnoy (cello)
Brian Hughes (guitar, oud, balalaika, sitar)
Patrick Hutchinson (Bagpipes, pipe)
George Koller (bass, tambura, cello, esraj, tambura)
Rick Lazar (drums, percussion, udu)
Donal Lunny  (bouzouki, bodhrán)
Hugh Marsh (fiddle)
Loreena McKennitt (vocals, keyboards, goblet drums, accordion, piano,pipe)
Ravi Naimpally (tabla)
Abraham Tawfik (oud)
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background vocals:
Victoria Scholars Choir conducted by Jerzy Cichocki
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strings (on 07.2.)
Adele Armin – Andy Benac – David Hetherington – David Miller –  Douglas Perry –  Fujico Imajishi – Heinz Boshart – Kent Teeple – Mark Sabat – Marie Berard – Morry Kernerman – Sharon Prater – Susan Lipchak – Sylvia Lange

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Tracklist:
01. The Mystic’s Dream (McKennitt) 7.43
02. The Bonny Swans (Traditional) 7.21
03. The Dark Night Of The Soul (Traditional/St. John Of The Cross) 6.44
04. Marrakesh Night Market (McKennitt) 5.30
05. Full Circle (McKennitt) 5.57
06. Santiago (Traditional) 5.59
07. 1. Cé Hé Mise Le Ulaingt? (“Who Am I To Bear It”) (Hutchinson) 1.31
07.2. The Two Trees (Traditional/Yeats) 7.35
08. Prospero’s Speech (Traditional/Shakespeare) 3.23

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Inlet02ACommunication … before we had the internet

Najee – Share My World (1994)

FrontCover1One of the best-selling instrumentalists of the late ’80s to mid-’90s, Najee has been a consistent favorite in the quiet storm and so-called “smooth jazz” markets. Often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz, the New Yorker has been greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr. — although he hasn’t been nearly as adventurous. Heavily produced and quite formulaic, Najee’s albums have tended to avoid improvisation and strive for commercial radio airplay above all else. Debuting in 1987 with Najee’s Theme, Najee was an immediate hit in the new adult contemporary (NAC) market. Similar pop/urban jazz dates like 1988’s Day by Day and 1990’s Tokyo Blue did nothing to jeopardize his niche on smooth jazz radio.

Onstage, Najee takes some risks and stretches out more. Morning Tenderness was released in 1998, followed by Love Songs (2000), Embrace (2003), My Point of View (2005), True Spirit (with John Grant, Victor Williams, and Dennis Chambers in 2006), Rising Sun (2007), and Mind Over Matter (2009). In 2012, Najee released his 14th studio album, The Smooth Side of Soul, featuring the track “First Kiss,” a collaboration with R&B vocalist Phil Perry. Najee returned in 2013 with The Morning After: A Musical Love Journey which included the song “Shinjuku,” a tribute to the late jazz keyboard legend George Duke. (by Alex Henderson)

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Well played typical set of Smooth Jazz with R&B vocals, nothing major here just good music for mellow moments. I actually find this one more playable than his 1990 album “Tokyo Blue” the production has improved greatly since then, the melodies are well-balanced. Since some songs can get boring at points my standouts are “Secret Admirer” “My Angel” If only “Laid Back” didn’t have that corny male hook then it woulda been a huge standout, how could they funk up a couldhave been great song, it was a fusion between Hip-Hop/R&B & Jazz which some call “Urban Jazz” which is an nice title IMO and “Broken Promises” is another nice one. Fans will enjoy this. (by Oldspice Evans)

And “I Didn’t Know (Instrumental) / Reprise “is one of the best smooth jazz compositions ever !

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Personnel:
Victor Bailey (bass)
Buz (vocals)
Robert Damper (keyboards, strings)
Bernard Davis (drums)
Fareed (guitar, synthesizer, programming, drums, percussion);
Bill Jacobs (vibraphone)
Pocket, D “Dirty Mugg” James (guitar)
Barry Johnson (bass, background vocals)
Morris Pleasure (keyboards, strings),
Najee (saxophone, various instruments)
Artie Reynolds (bass)
Richie Ruiz (percussion)
Alec Shantzis (keyboards)
Andrew Sherman (keyboards)
Bryan Tate (clavinet)
Issac Wiley Jr. (drums)
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background vocals:
Jerry Elcock – Christian – Armstead – Amanda Elliot – April Spikes – Lori Ann Velez – Angela Stribling – Ushanda Tiana Goldsboro

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Tracklist:
01. My Angel (Najee/Sherman/Fareed) 6.16
02. Laid Back (Christian) 4.51
03. Now That I’ve Found You (Pleasure) 6.53
04. Joy (Najee/Christian) 4.52
05. I Didn’t Know (Holmes/Basby) 5.53
06. Secret Admirer (Najee/Fareed) 4.59
07. (G) Street (Christian)  5:15
08. Broken Promises (Najee/Fareed) 5.11
09. Heart Like Mine (Christian) 6.37
10 Saleemah’s Dream (Najee) 2.00
11 Share My World (Sherman/Glannille/Najee/Fareed) 4.44
12. I Didn’t Know (Instrumental) / Reprise (Najee) 6.27

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