Earlier this year the saddest thing I have had to report on this show was the sudden, unexpected death of one of the true greats of this format, The big windy cat from Chicago, guitarist Nick Colionne. Colionne was at the height of his career. Having scored eight Billboard Smooth Jazz number ones, his electrifying performances were in much demand. He was enjoying a very heavy performance schedule at high profile venues. In the new year he was scheduled to perform on several cruises in January and February and on the Dave Koz and Friends cruise in May. He had also signed to play in October as a headliner at this year’s Catalina Island Jazz Festival. It was reported after his untimely passing that Colionne was scheduled to release a brand new already completed album this spring.
His new album will be titled Just Like That. I am playing an early release, our first song from that forthcoming album, our chance to hear once again the remarkable guitar of the great Nick Colionne with his song What You Do To Me.
We have certainly been blessed this year so far to have practically every week a new release from a major Smooth Jazz star. The week of March 25th was no exception. Guitarist Norman Brown, a disciple of the great Wes Montgomery, found his place among the very best following the release of his 1994 album After The Storm, an album named Jazz album of the year. Furthering his path to greatness, In 2003, Norman Brown won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album for Just Chillin'. Brown has since had eight Billboard number one songs. In addition he has released three albums as a member of the fabulous group BWB with trumpeter Rick Braun, and saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Norman Brown’s brand new album is titled Let’s Get Away. No better way to hear a song from this album than by listening to his remembrance of his idol, Wes Montgomery, on his song Wes Side Story.
Saxophonist, songwriter, and vocalist Michael J Thomas has been releasing albums since 2010. He is best known for his Billboard number one songs Baby Coffee and his cover of I’ll Never Love Again and also for his huge hit with the unusual name Sippin’ The Yak. February 7th he released a single that hopefully will be a part of a new album. I will play the saxophone of Michael J. Thomas with his new song, already on the charts The OG Bounce.
Energetic and dynamic saxophonist Mindi Abair’s new album Forever was released March 18th. 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. Mindi has had several appearances on American Idol and has performed with Stephen Tyler and Aerosmith. In 2017 she abandoned Smooth Jazz 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 the parts of her album I like. From Forever I will play the sax of Mindi Abair with Nothing Ever Hurt Like You.
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