The great number of new 2022 releases from some of the top stars of Smooth Jazz already this year are providing us with excellent music to play for you. Among others, I have been playing new releases from two of the true pioneers of Smooth Jazz David Benoit and Bob James. We will be hearing more from them.
In past weeks we heard two early releases from a brand new album Forever from energetic and dynamic saxophonist Mindi Abair. Who could ever forget that moment on American Idol when Mindi’s saxophone accompanied one of the contestants. Judge Stephen Tyler blurted out, forget the contestant, who is that saxophone player. After that appearance Stephen Tyler was so impressed with Abair that he invited her to join Aerosmith on the summer leg of their 2012 world tour playing sax and singing backing vocals.
Now Mindi’s new album Forever is out. Mindi back in 1999 performed with the Backstreet Boys and she also assembled Mandy Moore's first band and acted as Moore’s musical director, keyboardist, background singer and percussionist. Mindi became a top Smooth Jazz performer after her 2003 album It Just Happens That Way and her mega hit Lucy’s. In 2017 she abandoned the format to play the blues with the Boneshakers. Recently reuniting with her former manager Bud Harner, Mindi seemingly returned to Smooth Jazz. surprisingly it winds up that Mindi’s new album is a mix of formats. There is some excellent Smooth Jazz on the record but several vocals and songs unfortunately trend back to bluesy and other formats. So I will play what I like. This week's selection from Forever is April.
Last week I began to play an excellent album Rock The World released March 4th by Canadian saxophonist Darren Rahn. Darren has over 30 #1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations over the past 20 years as an artist, producer and mixing engineer, most notably for his work on Dave Koz’s albums including the Summer Horns albums. Darren’s new album offers a message of love, faith, and hope through music in these challenging times of the pandemic. From Rock The World, I will be playing his song Weekend Flow featuring bassist Brian Bromberg.
Smooth Jazz icon and pioneer David Benoit of Peanuts movies and television fame released a new album on February 18th A Midnight Rendezvous. For this album David fulfilled his long-standing dream of writing and arranging for a 12 piece big band featuring some of the top instrumentalists on the L.A. scene. While almost entirely Smooth Jazz for one song Benoit could not resist the urge while being accompanied by a big band to play one song of straight ahead jazz. I will play that song by David Benoit titled Cabin Fever.
February 11th one of my very favorite artists, trumpeter Rick Braun released an album titled simply Rick Braun, his first album put out under his own label . Rick had become increasingly important to us by providing great entertainment with his free Youtube shows from his own living room during the pandemic shutdown of live performances. This week I will play his song Playing Around.
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