So, What's News?
Current smooth jazz news

Feb. 24, 2010

TSJR News Nugget:

Happy Belated Birthday, Tom Grant!

Keyboardist and composer Tom Grant, born in Portland, Ore., and still living there now, turned 63 on February 22. Grant began playing the piano at the age of 4. After earning a master’s degree in education, he became a high-school social studies teacher in his native Portland.  It wasn’t too long after that Grant’s musical talent was discovered at an after-hours gig where he soon found himself performing with the great Woody Shaw. The pianist went on to record many smooth jazz CDs, beginning in 1976 with Mystified. Subsequent CDs have included Mango Tango, The View From Here, In My Wildest Dreams, Hands, Instinct, Tune It In, and his latest, 2008’s Life Is Good. He now has released 24 CDs.

Source: Smooth Jazz Network

MAY 7 -9, 2010

                            The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisccnsin Presents:

                                                    "JAZZ ON THE VINE" 2010

                                                   2 Days of Cool Jazz & More!

2010 Festival Line Up:

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Night of Jazz & Old School

Featuring Legendary & Grammy Award Winning Jazz Guitarist Earl Klugh


Legendary R & B  Group The Average White Band


Davinia & The Vagabonds

Saturday, May 8th 2010

It's Jazz & More Jazz


Nick Colionne

also The guest MC

Greg Adams--East Bay Soul

Paul Taylor

Michael Lington

Tickets on Sale Now

For Ticket Information, visit

Feb. 18, 2010

Cape Town International Jazz Festival to be Held April 3-4, 2010

The 11th Annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be held on Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. This festival has grown into a hugely successful international event since its inception in the year 2000. Attendance figures have increased from the initial 4,000 to 32,000 in the last ten years.

Jazz Festival Line Up    

    Jonathan Butler & Friends

    Rachelle Ferrell

    George Benson / 28 piece orchestra

    Regina Carter

    Ronnie Jordan Organ Trio

    Toots Thielemans

    McCoy Tyner

    And many, many, more....

Visit for ticket details.

Feb. 17, 2010

Sade's Soldier of Love Standing Tall at #1 on Billboard

Nearly 10 years after its last studio effort, Sade is back with Soldier of Love, blasting in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 502,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Solder of Love
gives the group Sade its first No. 1 debut and her best sales week since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. On top of that, it's the best sales week for an album by a group since rock group AC/DC's Black Ice bulldozed into the chart at No. 1 on the chart dated Nov. 8, 2008, with 784,000.

Soldier of Love is Sade's second No. 1 album. Its first, Promise, spent two weeks at the top of the chart in 1986. The new album is also the first studio effort from the band -- led by vocalist Sade Adu -- since Lovers Rock was released in November of 2000. That set debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 370,000 sold in its first week. Since its release, Lovers Rock has sold 3.9 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

All told, Sade has notched eight top 10 albums in a row on the Billboard 200 -- its entire output of albums, which stretches back to its Diamond Life debut in 1985. That total includes its six studio sets, one greatest hits (The Best Of) and one live recording (Lovers Live). With that feat of eight top 10s, Sade is the first group since rock group Led Zeppelin to see its first eight charting albums all reach the top 10.

Source: Billboard

Feb. 16, 2010

Chuck Loeb Joins Fourplay As Larry Carlton Exits

The smooth jazz supergroup Fourplay has announced that Chuck Loeb has joined the band as Larry Carlton has departed to delve further into his solo career. Loeb is the third guitarist for the band, following Carlton and original member Lee Ritenour.

Loeb, who studied with Jim Hall and Pat Metheny, was in famed saxophonist Stan Getz’s band for two years, recorded with the band Steps Ahead, and today remains an in-demand songwriter and producer. He has released 16 solo CDs, including his latest titled Between 2 Worlds. His many smooth jazz hit singles include “Window of the Soul,” “Good to Go,” “Just Us,” “The Music Inside,” “Sarao,” “Cruzin’ South,” “Tropical” and “Blue Kiss.”  He is also part of a jazz-fusion band called Metro, which will be making its Berks Jazz Fest debut next month.

“Chuck’s musical contributions will undoubtedly enhance the creativity and pursuit of excellence Fourplay has enjoyed in the studio and on the stage,” said Fourplay manager Sonny Abelardo in a statement.

Carlton replaced Ritenour in 1998. “The band extends their heartfelt gratitude for his contributions and wishes him continued success in all his pursuits,” said Abelardo. “Larry Carlton will remain an integral part of our musical family and legacy.”

Fourplay was co-founded by Ritenour, as well as current member Bob James on keyboards, Nathan East on bass and Harvey Mason on drums. The band released 11 studio CDs, including its latest, Energy, which includes the Grammy-nominated smooth jazz hit “Fortune Teller.” Among the band’s many best-known songs are “Max-O-Man,” “101 Eastbound,” “Chant,” “Bali Run,” “Fields of Gold” and “Play Around It.” Seven of its CDs have hit No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

“Fourplay thanks its many loyal fans,” says Abelardo, “and promises that this latest incarnation will inspire the band to explore new avenues of creativity while maintaining its core musical values.”

Steve Oliver Unveils Track Listing For Upcoming Global Kiss CD

Smooth jazz guitarist and vocalist Steve Oliver has unveiled the track listing for his upcoming CD, Global Kiss, which will be released by SOM Entertainment on March 30. The seventh solo CD of his career is the first regular studio project since 2006’s Radiant. He released the holiday CD Snowfall in late 2006 and One Night Live in 2008.

Global Kiss features all original songs with titles such as “Fun in the Sun,” “Barcelo,” “Sunlight Within,” and “Take Me Away (Distant Shore).” It features special guests Darren Rahn and Marion Meadows on saxophone, and Tom Schuman, Alan Hewitt, and Bob Baldwin on keyboards. Other musicians include percussionist Humberto Vela, drummer Bonny B, and bassists Larry Antonio and Mel Brown.
Oliver is now offering a podcast of the making of Global Kiss at his website.

Oliver showcased the new songs, as well as previous material, at a special Valentine’s Day show at La Palapa del Mar in Long Beach, Calif.  He will have record-release parties for the CD March 13 at Spaghettini Italian Grill and Jazz Club in Seal Beach, Calif., and April 1 at Voce Ristorante in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Global Kiss track listing:

1. Fun in the Sun (Oliver) – 3:49
2. Global Kiss (Oliver) - 4:11
3. Long Road (Oliver) - 4:21
4. Barcelo (Oliver) - 3:51
5. Life Goes On (Oliver) - 4:42
6. Ba Aye (Oliver) - 4:47
7. Sunlight Within (Oliver) - 4:34
8. Fearless (Oliver) - 4:18
9. Another Place [interlude] (Oliver) - 1:02
10. True Vision (Oliver) - 4:08
11. Take Me Away [Distant Shore] (Oliver) - 4:15
12. Angel Amore (Oliver) - 3:57

Feb. 2, 2010

Quincy Jones Gathers Stars For "We Are The World" Haiti Session

More than 75 mega-stars gathered Monday to re-record the 1985 charity anthem "We are the World" in the same Hollywood recording studio where the original was cut 25 years ago.

Pink, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, the Jonas Brothers, Kanye West, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Hudson, Akon and other musical luminaries stood shoulder to shoulder on risers at Henson Recording studios, singing their hearts out and hoping to help Haiti.

Jones, who produced the 1985 anthem, announced last week that he planned to redo the song to benefit recovery from the deadly Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

Written by Michael Jackson and Richie, the original "We Are the World" thundered up the charts when it was released on the radio and in record stores in March 1985. 
An unprecedented number of top pop musicians gathered at A&M the night of Jan. 28, 1985, following the American Music Awards, to record the tune. The song featured 45 American superstars, including Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper.  The record raised more than $30 million for USA for Africa, a nonprofit organization founded by the singers to fund hunger relief in African nations.

This latest session was all the talk at Sunday night's Grammy festivities. Music producer RedOne said being asked to participate was "the biggest honor a musician can ever do."  "Having Quincy, our father of music ... and Lionel Richie asking me to contribute and help, I said of course, because this is not about me," he said. "It's about Haiti."

Source: Billboard

Feb. 1, 2010

Joe Zawinul Posthumously Awarded Grammy

The 2010 GRAMMY Award winners included Joe Zawinul's 75 as Best Contemporary Album. Here's a summary of the 2010 jazz winners:

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
75 - Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Dancin' 4 Chicken - Terence Blanchard, soloist

Best Pop Instrumental Album
Potato Hole - Booker T. Jones

Best Pop Instrumental Performance
Throw Down Your Heart - Bela Fleck

Best Traditional Pop Album
Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden - Michael Bublé

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman -- Kurt Elling

Other Winners Included:

Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
Five Peace Band – Live --  Chick Corea and John McLaughlin Five Peace Band

Congrats to all!

Jan. 14, 2010

Eric Darius Makes Appeal for Haiti Help

For smooth jazz saxophonist Eric Darius, Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti that has killed and wounded thousands hits too close to home. His father, Serge, is from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, while his mother, Shirley, is from Jamaica. Eric and his family now live in the Tampa Bay area.

In a post on his Facebook page, Eric wrote that he is “very saddened to hear about news of the earthquake in Haiti. This crisis has deeply impacted me, as I have a lot of family members living in Port-au-Prince. Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers through such a difficult time.”

Darius is recommending those who want to help can take advantage of a U.S. State Department action to provide immediate relief to the area. You can help through this program by texting “Haiti” to 90999. Doing so will automatically donate $10 to the American Red Cross for Haitian rescue and recovery efforts and will be reflected on your bill.  “Every dollar makes a difference,” says Darius.

In addition to Darius, Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean is also soliciting donations. He is asking anyone who can to donate $5 to his Yele Haiti Foundation. You can do this by sending the text message “Yele” to the number 501501.
Source:  Smooth Jazz Network

Marcus Johnson Among the 41st NAACP Image Awards Nominees

What does Marcus Johnson have in common with superstars Wynton Marsalis, Vanessa Williams and Christian McBride? They are all nominated for Outstanding Jazz Album of the year at this year's NAACP Image Awards.
The 41st NAACP Image Awards nominees were announced on January 6 during a press conference at The SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.  The Image Awards will air live on Friday, February 26 (8:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT Tape-Delayed) on FOX.
In the Recording category, Columbia Records leads with 7 nominations, followed by Atlantic Records and Def Jam, both with 5 nominations.
In the category of Outstanding Jazz Album, the nominees are:

Detroit - Gerald Wilson Orchestra (Mack Avenue Records)
He and She - Wynton Marsalis (Blue Note Records)
Kind of Brown - Christian McBride & Inside Straight (Mack Avenue Records)
Poetically Justified - Marcus Johnson (Three Keys Music)
The Real Thing - Vanessa Williams (Concord Records)

Founded on February 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
For more information on the NAACP Image Awards, please visit



Register for The Smooth Jazz Ride email updates
(insert e-mail address below)

NOTE: Once you receive our mailer requesting your confirmation,
please be sure to open it and confirm your request!