I have an amazing story and my thanks to Crossover media for making me aware of this artist. January 31st critically acclaimed Indonisian jazz pianist Joey Alexander released a new album. Alexander is only sixteen years old and self taught He has already garnered three Grammy nominations. In addition he was invited by Wynton Marsalis to perform at Jazz at the Lincoln Center resulting in the New York Times calling him an overnight sensation. In addition he performed on the 2016 Grammy show, played at major jazz festivals, interviewed and played on the Today show with Matt Lauer and Lester Holt, has been profiled on CBS's 60 minutes, performed at Carnegie Hall, and performed at the White House. He is the first Indonesian to chart on Billboard. He is so highly regarded. some have dubbed him a musician we only see once in a lifetime. All of this astounding considering his age. His new album is titled Warna which in his native language means color. Our first listen is Alexander’s song Downtime.
The announcement is that I have been offered a phone interview with Joey Alexander later this month. That interview will be broadcast in late March or early April. I am really looking forward to hearing his inside story about how he has accomplished so much in such a short time.
On January 17th the album Unified became the first of two new smooth jazz albums released this year. Smooth jazz pianist, composer, and Dave Koz’s long time musical director, Brian Simpson has combined with guitarist Steve Oliver. Oliver lives in Banning, California and can often be found performing close to his home in the Palm Springs area. Their great brand new album Unified has a song named after a cafe in New Orleans close to Bourbon Street. I understand it is a great place to eat. That song is Cafe Du Monde.
I have an early listen from a new album to be released in February. Internationally renowned pop-funk jazz band from Hungary, the Peet Project, features violins, sax, keys, bass, and drums.. They are known as the bad boys from Budapest.Their leader is Peter Peet Ferencz. They are enjoying a greatly increased popularity after collaborating with Dave Koz on Smooth Jazz cruises and music. Our first listen from their new album titled Ups And Downs is Let’s Do This and features the guitar of Paul Brown.
The last release of 2019 was in November from saxophonist and flautist Najee. The album is Center Of The Heart. Najee plays Somethin’ Somethin’.
During the first year of this program I featured information about and music from one Smooth Jazz artist each week. These shows are still available in our show archives. At the first years end, I figured I had covered the major artists and I switched to this shows current format in order to cover more of the increasing number of new releases from Smooth Jazz. I am sure I overlooked more than one artist, but I recently realized that I missed a major and a very important musician. This realization came to light when I was looking at artists currently being booked into next October’s 34th Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival. Last year’s festival, the granddaddy of all smooth jazz festivals, was the most successful in history and next years is shaping up to perhaps be even better. Superstars that have not played this event for a number of years have already signed including Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Marc Antoine, and the artist I overlooked. That oversight will be corrected towards the later part of this show replacing our classic among classics segment this week for an extended segment on the career of guitarist Larry Carlton. He has had a very prolific career. He indeed will be the headliner on Catalina’s closing weekend and will bring a show that will include work from his time with Steely Dan and with Joe Sample’s Crusaders. Exciting stuff. Stay tuned later for that feature.
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