Current smooth jazz news

Nov. 19, 2013

Esperanza Spalding Raises Awareness on
Guantánamo Injustice in New Music Video

“We Are America” shines a light on human rights
and calls for closing the detention camp

Bassist, vocalist, composer and bandleader Esperanza Spalding has just released “We Are America,” a new music video highlighting the injustice of prolonged indefinite detention at the prison at Guantánamo Bay:
Spalding says she was motivated by nagging concerns that grew as she was on tour with her band. “It was the first time I heard about the hunger strike. I was touring in Europe, and I was appalled and embarrassed about what was happening. When I returned home, I remember I started researching online to see what I could do about it, and I saw that I could download this action pack. With that you had some important info to use to call your representative. And I did, I did call my representative and Senators. In fact, I got a letter back from one Senator who basically said that she was not going to proactively deal with it but that they would ‘keep my comments in mind’, or something like that. But I really wanted to do more. And my band actually came to me first and said they wanted to do something too.”
Read Spalding’s guest editorial in the LA Times:
Next week, the U.S. Senate can take a major step toward closing Guantanamo by passing this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). To email your Senators now and tell them to vote “No” on any amendments to the Guantanamo provisions in the NDAA:


Nov. 1, 2013

Songstress Maysa, Bassist Marcus Miler Among Recent Soul Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Congratulations to the latest round of inductees into The Soul Music Hall Of Fame: Maysa Leak (Contemporary Soul Artist); Marlena Shaw (Female Artist); Will Downing Singer (Male Artist); The Emotions (Group); Marcus Miller (Instrumentalist); Minnie Riperton (Legacy); Nancy Wilson (Lifetime Achievement); Nona Hendryx (Songwriter); Norman Connors (Producer) and The Impressions (R&B Pioneers). Click here to see the complete list to date.


Oct. 24, 2013

Pianist/Composer Joe Sample Hospitalized

Jazz pianist/composer Joe Sample, co-founder of the legendary Jazz Crusaders group, was recently hospitalized with what appears to be a severe case of pneumonia. A surgical procedure to remove a build up of fluids in his lung was performed, and he remains hospitalized. Doctors have advised Sample to undergo an extended period of convalescence before he will be able to resume his professional schedule.

Close friend and early Jazz Crusaders vocalist Randy Crawford had this to say: “Our hearts go out to Joe and wish him a speedy and healthy recovery so that we can return to performing together ASAP…”


Oct. 10, 2013

Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2013 Kicks Off In November
Features Oleta Adams, Jonathan Butler, and Keiko Matsui    

Fresh off the sold-out Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Mediterranean cruise and a show at London’s Cadogan Hall, eight-time GRAMMY® nominee is now back in the States, where he’s sitting in with the band on “The Arsenio Hall Show” on October 15 and getting ready for the holidays.

Koz always celebrates in a big way, entertaining thousands of his closest friends in a jaunt that takes him from coast to coast.   Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, this year’s Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour will feature renowned singer Oleta Adams, who first came to prominence when Tears for Fears asked her to appear on their The Seeds of Love album and who has released eight acclaimed CDs of her own, crossing effortlessly between R&B, jazz, popular and gospel music, Jonathan Butler, who was the first black artist played on white stations in his native South Africa and has since earned accolades in the R&B, contemporary jazz and gospel fields, and Japanese-born pianist/composer/producer Keiko Matsui, who has shared the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis.  

The run will kick off on the day after Thanksgiving (November 29) at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, FL, and include a return engagement at Plaza Theatre in El Paso, TX (12/18), a two-night stand at Cerritos Performing Arts Center in Cerritos, CA (12/20 & 21) and a show at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, CA (12/22). See below for a full tour itinerary.  

Year after year, fans return for an uplifting, high-energy show that offers fresh, unexpected takes on seasonal favorites and hits from each of the artist’s careers.  The El Paso Times says “As anyone who has seen more than one of Koz’s shows can attest, there’s a different energy each time he performs because he shares the stage with a rotating cast of characters.” “Not only did [Koz and Friends]…revamp the tinsel and garland mainstays, they offered an array of non-holiday tunes that beautifully captured the spirit of the season,” noted the Dallas Morning News in a review of last year’s show. “Though the cast changes every year, the warm feeling remains the same,” observed the Palm Beach Post.  

“I Got You (I Feel Good),” the brand new single from Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns (Concord Records), goes to radio this week. The San Jose Mercury News called Koz and Friends’ rendition of the James Brown classic “a funk-filled fun fest” in a review of the album, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in June 2013, marking the renowned saxophonist’s seventh No. 1 album. It spent five weeks atop the chart and is still in the Top 10.  

Fellow saxophone players Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair joined Dave on Summer Horns, which pays tribute to the great horn sections that fueled hits by such artists as James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Tower Of Power, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Sly & The Family Stone.

“Got To Get You Into My Life,” the collection’s first single, spent seven weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz chart and was recently nominated for a Soul Train Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.  

For the past 19 years, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries. Dave’s KOZ Wines has partnered with California Pizza Kitchen (http://www.cpk.com) to offer restaurant guests a chance to raise a glass and make a difference. For a limited time, KOZ Wines will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its delicious Pinot Noir and White Wine Blend at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations nationwide to Starlight Children’s Foundation (www.starlight.org.).

Learn more about Koz’s Christmas Tour by clicking here.


Oct. 7, 2013

Dave Koz Featured on William Shatner Album

Eight-time Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz appears on the new album from actor William Shatner entitled Ponder the Mystery due out tomorrow, October 8, 2013.  Shatner gets some help on the progressive rock offering from top artists like Rick Wakeman and Billy Sherwood of Yes, acclaimed guitarists Steve Vai and Al Di Meola, Robby Krieger of the Doors, country star Vince Gill, the late George Duke and multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter, among others.  Shatner penned all of the lyrics for the album and says Ponder the Mystery is “quite possibly the most creative thing I have ever done.”

You can also watch Koz as a guest on William Shatner’s “Brown Bag Wine Tasting” series by clicking here.

Source: Smooth News Network


Oct. 7, 2013

Growing Jazz Getaway Offers a Divine Taste of Napa
Brian Culbertson Assembles an Array of Jazz & Funk Stars for the 2014 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway

While in the midst of the vineyards last June to shoot a promotional clip for the third annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, the flourishing jazz and wine festival’s Founder and Artistic Director Brian Culbertson looked into the camera and vowed “More artists, more music, more food and of course, more wine.” The hit-making contemporary jazz and R&B mixologist is making good on his promise with the unveiling of the powerhouse lineup of jazz and funk artists that will perform for the many thousands of Getaway attendees who will come from all over the U.S. to Napa Valley from June 11-15, 2014.

Slated to join Culbertson for five-days of concerts, wine tastings, fine dining and unique social opportunities are Eric Benét, Lee Ritenour, David Grusin, Ohio Players, Morris Day & The Time, Earl Klugh, Mavis Staples, Average White Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Michael Lington, Eric Marienthal, Jazz in Pink featuring Gail Jhonson, Althea Rene and Karen Briggs, Cecil Ramirez and the comedic mind of Keenen Ivory Wayans.
VIP Packages are already sold out with Four-day Gold Packages ($499) on sale now through the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway website (www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway.me). Two-day Silver Packages ($229) will go on sale in late November.
The 2014 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway will open with several VIP-only events as well as an exclusive Welcome Dinner Concert and Jam Session at renowned chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar with a performance by the Cecil Ramirez Quartet along with Culbertson and saxophonist Lington for which a separate ticket is required (available through the Getaway website for $125). The Thursday night theme concert on June 12th will be Jazz Legends at the Lincoln Theater, which will also be the venue for Friday Night Funk Night. The music moves outdoors on June 14 & 15 to the breathtakingly beautiful setting at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards for concerts that run from 4-10:30 PM. Afternoon happenings during the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway include a cigar and port event hosted by Lington with Ramirez and daily Wine Downs at the luxurious Westin Verasa Napa, the host hotel that for the first time will be solely reserved for guests of the Getaway. The Westin Verasa will also be the scene for the hot Late Night Hangs scheduled for Thursday through Saturday evenings post-concert during the Getaway at which fans can meet and mingle with the artists after their stroll down the Cab Carpet. As in previous editions of the Getaway, silent and live auctions will be held to benefit The GRAMMY® Foundation, which supports music education programs in schools, a mission of Culbertson, who raised nearly $100,000 for the organization during the first two Napa Valley Jazz Getaways.
Culbertson said, “It is extraordinary how much the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway has grown in just our third year and I’m so excited about our incredible lineup for 2014, our biggest and best yet. In addition to being joined by these legendary artists, I continue to invite more exquisite wineries to be involved with the Getaway as well as many more unique restaurants to be present at our outdoor events to provide a true ‘taste of Napa’ experience. I look forward to welcoming wine and jazz enthusiasts to the beautiful Napa Valley once again.”
Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who became a fan favorite for the vitality and prodigious skills that he brought to contemporary jazz ever since the release of his 1994 debut disc, “Long Night Out,” signaled the arrival of a consistently creative and engaging artist. The keyboardist and trombonist is back in the recording studio working on his 14th collection, a remake of the first album that he made in his crowded apartment bedroom “studio” while he was a 20-year-old college student. But this time out, instead of playing most of the instruments himself, he will be joined by an all-star collective of contemporary jazz artists comprised of many of the musicians that inspired him while recording the original. “Another Long Night Out” will be released in February 2014 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the first record. Additional information about Culbertson is available at www.BrianCulbertson.me.
Highlights of the 2013 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway can be viewed by clicking here. 


Sept. 26, 2013

Keepin’ It Smooth to Launch “Up Close & Personal” Radio Show

Annie Rodriguez, known to most as “Latinjazzy” or “LJ,” the co-host and producer of Cool Jazz Conversations, is spreading her wings.  Her new company, Keepin’ It Smooth Mgmt. & Promotions, has formed a new radio station.  The station will have a new talk radio show produced by Latinjazzy called ”Up Close & Personal.”

“Up Close & Personal” is not just another radio show.  The show allows artists to promote and showcase their brand.  The goal of the show is to:

Showcase some of the best jazz artists in the world

Share with the listeners the artist’s style, compositions, preparation, what inspires them, and what makes them who they are

Bring contemporary, traditional, classical, Latin jazz, and World jazz artists into the spotlight

Pay respect to trendsetters who paved the way for so many and spotlight the new upcoming and rising stars of tomorrow

LJ shares with the industry and fans alike that jazz is limitless.  The talent streaming on our radios each and every day is very much alive and is here to stay.  LJ felt compelled to have a show that will help artists with exposure and provide good music for some of the most talented jazz artists in the industry.   Keepin’ It Smooth Radio’s “Up Close & Personal” is for everyone!  It is for artists to share new releases, concert dates, anything that will help to keep fans informed.  If an artist doesn’t have a project to be released soon, that’s ok.… the show is also for fans to hear about their favorite artist, hear great music, and learn about the new stars of tomorrow.

“Up Close & Personal” will be heard by our listeners on Keepin’ It Smooth Radio, IJazzglobal Radio, and Good Karma Radio.

The first guest to appear on the show will be bassist Julian Vaughn on Oct. 1 at 3:00 pm (ET). Tune in then by clicking here.

Join Latinjazzy as she makes her maiden voyage on her ship “Up Close & Personal.”

Artists: Please accept this as an invitation to interview with Latinjazzy.  For more details, visit www.kismpromotions.com or contact Latinjazzy at Latinjazzy58@aol.com or by phone at 301-267-6181.


Sept. 26, 2013

Soul Train Awards Set For November 8

The 2013 Soul Train Awards are set to take place on November 8, 2013, in Las Vegas and will be televised on BET and Centric on December 1, 2013 at 9pm ET.  Comedian and actor Anthony Anderson is scheduled to host the show this year.

Nominees include Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, John Legend, Robin Thicke and Rihanna.  In the Best Traditional Jazz Performance category George Benson picks up a nomination for his updated version of the Nat King Cole classic “Unforgettable” featuring Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, along with Jeffrey Osborne featuring Chaka Khan on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”  In the Best Contemporary Jazz Performance category Boney James featuring Rick Braun on trumpet are nominated for “Batucada (The Beat),” along with Dave Koz for “Got To Get You Into My Life” and George Duke’s “Missing You.”

A full list of nominees is available by clicking here.

Source: Smooth Jazz Network 


Aug. 29, 2013

Hot Jazz and Soul in the Desert; Arizona Jazz Festival Slated For October 25-27

The endless Arizona sky will be filled with a galaxy of stars day and night during the Arizona Jazz Festival slated for October 25-27, 2013, at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ. More than 13,000 contemporary jazz and soul fans from across the nation are expected to flock to the lavish desert resort to enjoy performances by a stellar slate of Grammy-winners and chart-toppers along with a weekend of revelry. Tickets are on sale now for the three-day festival or as a single-day event and are available online at www.arizonajazzfestival.com and by calling 602.244.8444.  

The Arizona Jazz Festival opens with an evening of seduction starting with the tantalizing pairing of saxophonist Eric Darius and R&B vocalist-producer Lyfe Jennings, who will set the mood for marquee-topper Maxwell, a Grammy-winning soul balladeer. Stick around for the official after-party at the resort. 

Live music begins Saturday when nattily-attired guitarist Nick Colionne and new jazz swagger sax player J. White hit the stage followed by a trio set by saxophonists Warren Hill and Tom Braxton with blues-based guitar slinger Jeff Golub. Powerhouse tenors Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Euge Groove will blow a fierce sax storm in the desert before ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan belts out a song list filled with her massive crossover hits. The Queen of Neo Soul Erykah Badu will reign over majestic grooves and Baduizms preceding a set by “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, a 2013 BET lifetime achievement award winner, crooning cuts from his Grammy-nominated R&B songbook. After the concert, a number of the festival artists will head into the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa for an all-star jam.  

It’s going to be a great-looking Sunday when saxophonists Jessy J and Michael Lington link with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen to open the final day followed by a neo soul session from vocalist Eric Benet. Emerging saxmen Elan Trotman and Dominic Amato will accompany R&B chanteuse Melanie Fiona for an outing. Captivating multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson will inject a potent dose of funk-jazz into the mix during a high-octane performance before fellow blue-eyed soul man Robin Thicke blurs the lines during a set list certain to include the #1 summer smash “Blurred Lines.” Closing the festival is edgy multiplatinum R&B personality and reality television star Keyshia Cole.

“We pulled out all the stops for the Arizona Jazz Festival, which is perhaps the most spectacular lineup we have ever presented. While every festival that BTWconcerts.com produces and promotes is special, this is our hometown festival. We look forward to hosting guests from all over the U.S. that are passionate about jazz and R&B. It’s going to be an unforgettable weekend of live music and partying,” said Brad Laughlin of BTWconcerts.com, which also produces the Las Vegas Jazz Festival and the San Diego Jazz Festival.  

The Arizona Jazz Festival offers reserved seating with ticket prices starting at $240.00 for the entire weekend or $65.00 for a single-day seat. For the enthusiast, tickets can be upgraded to include the Rock Star Experience that provides VIP tent access, a complimentary meal and drinks, artist meet & greets, Arizona Jazz Festival commemorative bag, t-shirt, poster and laminate, and entry to the Friday night after-party and Saturday night all-star jam.     

About BTWconcerts.com  

Phoenix, Arizona-based BTWconcerts.com is one of the premiere concert producers in the Southwest. Among the star-studded jazz and R&B concerts and multiday music and lifestyle festivals that the company promotes are the Arizona Jazz Festival (http://arizonajazzfestival.com), Las Vegas Jazz Festival (http://www.lvjazzfestival.com) and San Diego Jazz Festival (http://www.sandiegojazzfest.com).


July 26, 2013

Seventh Annual Capital Jazz SuperCruise Sets Sail in November; Cabins Still Available 

The Capital Jazz SuperCruise is the jazz cruise with soul…plus a touch of comedy, gospel, and funk. There are a few spots left for this year’s star-studded cruise.

The talent lineup includes Charlie Wilson, Najee, Incognito, Chrisette Michele, Lalah Hathaway, Take 6, Rahsaan Patterson, Rick Braun, and many more artists from the world of jazz and soul, plus a special appearance by Anthony Hamilton and a special gospel show featuring Marvin Sapp.  Click here to see the full talent lineup.  

The 2013 cruise will sail from Fort Lauderdale on November 2 and return on November 10 with ports of call in Aruba, Curacao, La Romana (Dominican Republic), plus a bonus stop at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

Share in top social networks!