Citrus Sun Returns

People of Tomorrow by Citrus Sun album cover Incognito founder Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick has joined forces with guitarist Jim Mullen to resurrect Citrus Sun. The new, mostly instrumental recording, People of Tomorrow, is available in the U.S. on March 17.

Bluey elaborates on the light and breezy feel of People of Tomorrow: “In terms of sound it is also more sparse as it features the sole trumpet reminiscent of the late Donald Byrd, and there is a cool Latin jazz flavor on some of the cuts. The distinctive sound of Jim Mullen’s thumbing guitar brings a tonal quality that is very different to Incognito, but at times it is obvious that this is the Incognito rhythm section and for that we make no excuses, instead celebrating the fact that this is a new project by the same band with me at the helm”.

Dianne Reeves – Beautiful Life

Dianne Reeves returns to music stores today with her new recording, Beautiful Life. As she mentions in her YouTube introduction, “It’s been about, what, five years since I’ve been in the studio. In that five years, I’ve lived a lot of life.” She’s got some all-stars joining her: Robert Glasper, Gregory Porter, Richard Bona, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lalah Hathaway, Esperanza Spalding and the late George Duke.

New Projects from Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller recently posted on Facebook what he’s been up to:

Finishing Alex Han’s first album, started work on Al Jarreau’s tribute to George Duke last week, writing for David Sanborn and myself.

Don’t know about you but that sounds like a whole lot of awesome to me!

David Sanborn – Isn’t She Lovely

I remember David Sanborn dedicated each of his recordings to his son Jonathan Sanborn. Looks like Jonathan is a bassist and has given David a couple of granddaughters! Check out this intimate video of the Sanborn men playing “Isn’t She Lovely?” in David’s home studio.

The Wonder of Christmas by Scott Wilkie

Scott Wilkie has a new holiday recording called The Wonder of Christmas. It’s solo acoustic piano renditions of all of your seasonal favorites. And by “all,” I mean all. With 17 covers of the classics, you’ll find several that you’ll have on your Christmas playlist.

I remember being impressed by Scott’s first recording, Boundless, nearly 15 years ago. I wrote on this site on February 19, 1999:

Missing the pop-jazz sound of the 80s and early 90s? Check out Boundless, the debut from keyboardist Scott Wilkie. Wilkie’s music reminds me of the contemporary jazz piano CDs that I heard when I first started listening to the genre in 1989 or so – works by David Benoit, Tom Grant, and Alex Bugnon. I wouldn’t rule out a Rippingtons influence (especially in the compositions), especially since former Ripps Steve Reid and Jeff Kashiwa, as well as main man Russ Freeman, play on the release. Wilkie doesn’t hold back on the uptempo jams either, which you’ll notice from the start.

Scott is on Facebook and Twitter.

Salute to George Duke in Kansas City

The annual Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival (formerly Rhythm & Ribs) has announced a Salute to George Duke theme for its October festival. George Duke was announced as the headliner for this year’s fest shortly before his death. Among those participating are Pieces of a Dream, Bobby Lyle and Maysa. Catch local talent as well in the historical jazz district in the city where I reside on Oct. 12!

18thvinejazzfest2013

Bob James with Rob Swift Live

I loved the Bob James/Rob Swift collaboration on “Street Smart” from Bob’s Morning, Noon & Night release. Didn’t know about this live version they did of “Nautilus.”

Top of the Chart – July 1988

Reflections by George HowardHere were the top-selling contemporary jazz recordings in summer 1988, according to the July 8, 1988 issue of Billboard!

  1. George Howard – Reflections
  2. Bobby McFerrin – Simple Pleasures
  3. Basia – Time and Tide
  4. Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman – Kilamanjaro
  5. David Benoit – Every Step of the Way
  6. Tim Heintz – Searching the Heart
  7. Chick Corea – Eye of the Beholder
  8. Dianne Reeves – Dianne Reeves
  9. Kirk Whalum – And You Know That!
  10. Shadowfax – Folksongs for a Nuclear Village

Entering the chart that week was a number of releases that would be headed toward the top: Spyro Gyra’s Rites of Summer, Politics by Yellowjackets, If This Bass Could Talk by Stanley Clarke, and Sade’s Stronger Than Pride.

NEXT Collective

I love any modern jazz project that has the potential to reach new audiences. Cover Art, the new recording from the NEXT Collective has interpretations of songs by Drake, Bon Iver, Dido, Pearl Jam, Kanye West and more. The collective Features rising jazz stars: saxophonists Logan Richardson and Walter Smith III, guitarist Matthew Stevens, keyboardists Gerald Clayton and Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams, drummer Jamire Williams, and special guest trumpeter Christian Scott (aka Christian aTunde Adjuah).

Cover Art is available now on Amazon and iTunes. Connect with the Collective on Facebook and Twitter.

Ultimate Nu Jazz Sounds

Sample the new compilation, Ultimate Nu Jazz Sounds (35 Essentials for Nu Jazz, Lounge, Chillout and Smooth Jazz Lovers), below. iPad and iPhone users can sample it at iTunes. What do you think?