Thursday, April 5, 2018

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2017

The JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2017 features songs from albums released in 2017 by independent jazz and world music artists from all over the world: Matija Dedic(Croatia), Roberto Magris Sextet(Italy/USA), Sinouj(Spain), Randy McGill(USA), Diego Figueiredo(Brazil), Florin Raducanu(Romania), Stefano Travaglini(Italy), Itamar Borochov(Israel), Florian Hoefner(Canada), Antoine Fafard(UK), The Steven McGill Project(USA), Bill Mentz(USA), Leon Neal(USA), António Silva Quartet(Portugal), Hayley Lam(USA), Igor Willcox 4tet(Brazil), Daniel Chia(Singapore), Marcin Malinowski(Poland), Sweet Lu(USA), Luis Alas & La Calle Ocho Funk(USA), The Besser Three(New Zealand)

Listen at

Sunday, February 18, 2018

CANADA, BC: Van Django in Oak Bay Recreation’s Upstairs Lounge Feb.23 at 7:30 p.m

"Van Django is a standout act. With a clever mix of contemporary standards, classical ditties, rock homages and solid originals they effortlessly whip the audience into a joyful frenzy. Attending a Van Django concert is the most fun you can have sitting down with your clothes on." - NICK LEHR, Artistic Director, Djangofest Northwest
Van Django is an acoustic string ensemble made up of four of Canada's most talented and eclectic musicians; violinist Cameron Wilson, guitarist Budge Schachte, guitarist/cellist Finn Manniche and bassist Brent Gubbels.
Van Django's music is well-rooted in the gypsy jazz of 1930's Paris France, but beyond that it's all pure blue-skying; flights of dazzling fancy, driving rhythms and boundless creativity featuring original compositions and arrangements including humorous mash-ups that showcase their eclectic influences in full regalia.
Since the group's formation in 1998, they have toured extensively in Canada as well as international forays to the USA, Europe and China, they've had repeat performances at Djangofest Northwest (DFNW) on Whidbey Island.
They have released 3 CD's "Tiptoe Trip", "Waltz in the Shape of a Tree" and a Christmas CD with special guests titled, "Cool Yule". Their CD's have been well received and played on many radio stations at home and abroad including; CBC, RDI, Espace Musique, NPR and Lyric FM in Ireland.
Please note the Upstairs Lounge is a licensed restaurant and bar, doors open at 6 pm for dinner service, the concert starts at 7:30 pm (this is a listening room).
Van Django | Waltz in the Shape of a Tree
Waltz in the Shape of a Tree
by Van Django

USA: It's (Eric) Valentine's Day: urban-jazz multi-instrumentalist rides "Velvet Groove" into the Billboard Top 3

Contact: Rick Scott 310.306.0375

It’s (Eric) Valentine’s Day: urban-jazz multi-instrumentalist rides “Velvet Groove” into the Billboard Top 3

The album, boasting performances by an all-star collective, dropped Wednesday as the title track is within striking distance of the top spot on the singles chart.

LOS ANGELES (14 February 2018): Valentine’s Day has deeper meaning this year for Eric Valentine, who released his long-in-the-works labor of love, “Velvet Groove,” on Wednesday. The Matcha Entertainment collection of soul-soaked urban grooves and sophisticated contemporary jazz sounds is the first release from the drummer-multi-instrumentalist-songwriter-producer’s Velvet Groove, a creative community of musicians and recording artists spreading love and positivity through music and collaboration. Valentine produced the set constructed by more than forty musicians, including an enclave of distinguished chart-toppers such as trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot, who are the featured soloists on the title track, which is presently No. 3 on the Billboard chart.

Valentine is a first-call drummer for many of the brightest stars in smooth/contemporary jazz, which is why so many accomplished players were eager to join the “Velvet Groove” sessions. He composed nine songs for the platter illuminated by Grammy-winning saxman Kirk Whalum, multiple Grammy-nominated sax player Gerald Albright, and solo hit-makers Adam HawleyElan TrotmanBrian Simpson and Greg Manning.  R&B singer B. Valentineseduces in lead and background vocal roles while pianist Wayne Linsey, guitarists Kay-Ta Matsuno and Alex Machacek, and percussionists Lenny Castro, Munyungo Jackson and Ramon Islas texturize the ten songs plus three reprises.

A Washington, DC native and long-time Los Angeles resident, Valentine sees “Velvet Groove” as the launch of a movement, a reboot of old-school record making where multiple artists are in the studio playing, recording, communicating and collaborating on each other’s albums all at the same time like they did at Motown and Philadelphia International Records, but with a modern touch. Valentine’s mission for Velvet Groove is to spread “love, joy and happiness” and use their “musical gifts to inspire people to choose kindness and uplift people to a better place.” Valentine anticipates releasing other projects from the musical cooperative this year, including a disc from B. Valentine, his wife who sings lead on the album’s retro cut “Back in the Day,” which is the featured “First Listen” track this week on the SoulTracks site.

On March 25, Valentine will take the stage to helm his Velvet Groove unit at their live concert premiere during an album release celebration at Spaghettini, south of Los Angeles. 

The “Velvet Groove” album is available now around the world from For additional information, please

Below are excerpts from some of the initial record reviews:

“An exquisite project and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to release such a masterpiece.” - The Pulse of Entertainment

“Eric Valentine's album Velvet Groove is certainly one of the year’s best recordings.” – Smooth Jazz Daily

“He outshines even himself with offerings that embrace a bit of jazz, R&B, funk, and fusion masterfully. Tracks here are laced with character, personality, and imagination… the album is stacked with quality, and Valentine came not only to play but to thoroughly impress… Valentine is another example of one capable of carrying the genre to another, higher plateau. This album does nothing if it doesn’t solidify him as a name to watch as a solo artist.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“A stunning line-up of contemporary jazz glitterati… a recording that warrants some serious attention…they collectively deliver music that will both inspire and uplift.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy
“Eric Valentine is an artist that you have heard as a session player on albums from other artists…He has a lot of talent, and the arsenal is in full effect on Velvet Groove.” – The Jazz World

Positive and good vibes can be heard and felt in (the) music.” – Keys & Chords

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USA: The Mike Stern Band To Headline the 7th Les Paul Festival

7th Annual Les Paul Festival Concert
The Mike Stern Band
featuring Teymur Phell and Richie Morales

Plus Opening Act

February 24 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ 07430

(201) 684-7844

Tickets & Info

The Mike Stern Band featuring Teymur Phell and Richie Morales will headline the 7th Les Paul Festival Concert at Ramapo College on Saturday, February 24, 2018 in the Berrie Center’s Sharp Theater at 8:00 p.m.  The annual festival celebrates Mahwah resident Les Paul’s innovative spirit as a musician and technologist by hosting a week of guest speakers and workshops for Ramapo’s music students culminating in a concert for the college and regional community. The Les Paul Festival is presented by the Ramapo College Music Program, the Berrie Center for the Performing and Visual Arts, the School of Contemporary Arts, the student-run Ramapo Music Club, and the Mahwah Museum.

Mike Stern is regarded as one of the true guitar greats to a generation of contemporary jazz guitar aficionados. A player of remarkable facility, his searing lines are informed mainly by bebop and the blues while also carrying a rock-tinged intensity. Stern made his mark with Miles Davis in the early 1980s before launching his solo career in 1985. Since then he has released 17 recordings as a leader, six of which were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards.  His latest album is titled “Trip.”  Stern has also played with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jaco Pastorius, Michael and Randy Brecker, Eric Johnson, Bela Fleck, and numerous other major jazz musicians.  Stern was presented with Guitar Player magazine’s Certified Legend Award in 2012. Ramapo College is thrilled and honored to have Mike Stern headline the 7th Les Paul Festival, during which he will also provide a workshop for Ramapo music students.

Drummer Richie Morales, a native of New York City, is a versatile player who has performed and recorded with a wide range of contemporary artists: Mike Stern, The Brecker Brothers, Spyro Gyra, Grover Washington Jr., Al DiMeola, Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Dianne Reeves, saxophonist Bill Evans, bassist Victor Bailey, Michael Franks, George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra, Grammy award winning vibraphonist Dave Samuels, Gato Barbieri, Dave Valentin, Ray Barretto, and Herbie Mann. He also leads his own group performing a mixture of Jazz standards and original music. Richie has been a member of the jazz faculty at Purchase College Conservatory of Music SUNY since 2000. He has also taught at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program.

Bassist Teymur Phell moved to New York in 2011 and has since built a reputation as a vibrant and virtuosic player. He has performed with Mike Stern, Arturo Sandoval, Danielia Cotton, Alex Young, Leni Stern, Kevin Salem, Lafayette Harris, and Oz Noy. Born in Azerbaijan to a family of professional musicians -- his grandmother Elmira Nazirova was a celebrated classical pianist -- Teymur studied classical bass at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and toured with Palestinian singer Amal Murkus.

Concert tickets are $30/27/24, and $8 for Ramapo students with ID. No discounts. Contact the Berrie Center Box Office: (201) 684-7844 or visit

USA: The Jazz Foundation of America is proud to present our 16th Annual "A Great Night in Harlem" gala concert.


The Jazz Foundation of America is proud to present our 16th Annual "A Great Night in Harlem" gala concert. Join us on Friday, April 20th at Harlem's world famous Apollo Theater for a spectacular evening of music and testimony, honoring and featuring some of America's greatest musicians, including:

(Honoree: Clark Terry Courage Award)
Four-time GRAMMY-winner Roberta Flack, best known for her #1 singles "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Killing Me Softly with His Song" and "Feel Like Makin' Love", and her duet hits including "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You" with Donny Hathaway.

(Honoree: Lifetime Achievement Award)
Legendary guitarist/vocalist from Chicago, Otis Rush is considered one of the most intense, soulful bluesmen of the past six decades, and has influenced Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimmy Page, among others.

(Honoree: Lifetime Achievement Award)
Saxophonist, composer, arranger, big band leader, and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Jimmy Heath has performed on more than 100 record albums and his compositions have been recorded by everyone from Dexter Gordon and Clark Terry to Chet Baker and Ray Charles.

Texas guitarist Jimmie Vaughan provides a vital link between contemporary music and its proud heritage, with a style praised by his brother Stevie Ray, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy, who says, “He’s unbeatable when it comes to the blues. He just plays it like it’s supposed to be played.”

Vocalist Nona Hendryx is well known as one-third of Labelle, whose hit “Lady Marmalade” made her a legend, and, in addition to touring with the Talking Heads, she has recorded a series of acclaimed solo albums, combining soul and hard rock.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

USA: New Release From Acclaimed Modern Jazz Singer, Robin Grant

New Release From Acclaimed Modern Jazz Singer, Robin Grant

Sensitive storytelling, in the opinion of many, is the most significant test of a singer. If that is the case, then a song has found a friend in Robin Grant.
A native of Chattanooga TN, Robin has been delighting local audiences for many years. With the upcoming radio release of her first CD, 'Good Girls' there's no doubt she is about to garner international acclaim. Good Girls is a collection of original jazz songs reminscent of the all-time great standards but with a modern flair. 
Robin's soulful stylings may take her listeners back to the great Tinpan Alley days of the 1920's 30's and 40's, but it's with an edgy delivery and sizzle that resonates with the youthful in body & spirit. Her live shows showcase her flaming vocals  throughout her diverse repertoire of all-time-favorites mixed with her popular original compositions.
Robin began her music career at an early age. She developed her performance ability through classical training, by earning her degree in Vocal Performance and by embracing musical theater.  She later transitioned into jazz with the help of her mentor, bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks is also a native of Chattanooga and toured for many years with Ella Fitzgerald.
Robin's meticulously phrased singing and controlled but inescapable intensity is supported by her talented band, The Standard. Over and over they have proven their ability to captivate and move any audience.
Introducing Robin Grant!
Press Inquiries:
William Grant Jr.

USA: John Raymond & Real Feels-Joy Ride(Sunnyside Records 2018)

John Raymond - flugelhorn Gilad Hekselman - guitar Colin Stranahan - drums Recorded Live at Urban Cowboy (Nashville, TN) on September 18, 2017 Composed by John Raymond Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: