TSJR News Corner

Current smooth jazz news

Jan. 24, 2018

Iconic South African Jazz Trumpeter Hugh Masekela, 78, Dies

“Father of South African Jazz” Was Influential Figure to Many

Trumpeter, vocalist, & composer Hugh Masekela, known as “The Father of South African Jazz,” died early yesterday morning in Johannesburg, South Africa, after a long battle with cancer. He was 78 years old.

“A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss,” his family said in a statement confirming his death.

Masekela was one of the last instrumental jazz musicians to have crossover pop success; his recording of “Grazing in the Grass” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1968 and is a staple of the oldies radio format. He also appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival the previous year. In the 1980s, he toured with Paul Simon on the latter’s Graceland tour.

However, his popular fortunes had little to do with Masekela’s broader career. He had been a member of the groundbreaking South African combo the Jazz Epistles in the late 1950s, and in the 1970s and ‘80s gained acclaim and influence for his anti-apartheid recordings, which he used to. He also spent a great deal of time collaborating with musicians across genres, within and without sub-Saharan Africa. He was recognized in 2010 with the National Order of Ikhamanga in Gold, the highest honor that the government of South Africa bestows on its citizens.

“The nation mourns one its most recognizable signature talent in the person of Bra Hugh Masekela,” said South African President Jacob Zuma in a statement on Tuesday. “It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large.”

For the full story and a concise bio of this great icon, visit Jazztimes.


Jan. 10, 2018

Concord Records and Stax Score Nine Blues Music Award Nominations

Southern Avenue, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Receive Nods

Concord Records and Stax are proud to announce that they have received nine nominations from the Blues Foundation for their 39th Blues Music Awards, which will be held on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Blues Music Awards, which is universally recognized as the top accolade afforded blues musicians, upholds blues’ rich cultural traditions while every year honoring the exceptional achievements in performances, recordings and songwriting.

The Blues Foundation is known around the world as being THE organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Memphis-based Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events – the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards – make the Blues Foundation the international center of blues music. For more information, log onto www.blues.org.

The Concord Records and Stax nominations are:

Acoustic Artist
Taj Mahal

TajMo - TajMo

B.B. King Entertainer
Taj Mahal

Best Emerging Artist Album
Southern Avenue - Southern Avenue

Contemporary Blues Album
TajMo - TajMo

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Keb’ Mo’

Rock Blues Album
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band - Lay It On Down

Rock Blues Artist
Kenny Wayne Shepherd

“Don’t Leave Me Here” - written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary Nicholson

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact: mike.wilpizeski@concordmusicgroup.com


Aug. 1, 2017

Jazz Guitar Great and Fourplay Member Chuck Loeb Succumbs to Cancer at Age 61

Chuck Loeb, a versatile guitarist, composer and producer best known for his associations with Stan Getz, Steps Ahead, and contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, died at 9 p.m. on July 31, according to his family. Loeb was 61. He had suffered with cancer for several years. A musician whose compositions have been recorded by a variety of smooth-jazz and acts, Loeb recorded more than 20 albums as a solo artist, composed commercial jingles, TV theme songs and music for films, and had an extensive career as a studio musician. His rhythm and lead work is found on a variety of pop, jazz and Brazilian recordings.

Shanachie Entertainment, Loeb’s label, offers the following:

We at Shanachie are saddened by the loss of Chuck Loeb, who had been part of the Shanachie family of artists for two decades. As guitarist, arranger, producer and composer, Chuck’s wide-ranging artistry manifested across genre boundaries and, aside from creating hits for himself, Chuck helped many other artists to create great music. Beyond his gifts as a musical artist, Chuck was one of those rare people about whom only good things were said… in his unassuming way Chuck’s presence was always a positive one. Beyond his unquestioned technical brilliance and musical facility, there was a sensitive spirit which is memorably manifested on his beloved composition “Blue Kiss.” We will miss him. 

We at The Smooth Jazz Ride also offer our sympathy and condolences to the family.