Smooth Jazz Therapy review

Gabriel - Kissed By The Sun

After his 2010 project ‘Told Ya So’, horn player Gabriel Mark
Hasselbach, aka Gabriel, certainly had a lot to live up to. It was a
recording that brimmed with understated magnificence and included
contributions from Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Marc Antoine and Darren
Rahn. Now Gabriel has re-united with Lorber for the splendid ‘Kissed
By The Sun’. Not only does it live up to expectations but in fact
blows them sky high. With all ten tracks written produced and
engineered by these two fine musicians (and with Lorber variously
playing guitar, bass and keys throughout) this is a body of work that
is sure to be one of the highlights of the contemporary jazz year.

Think James Brown, think funky and you will be perfectly in sync with
what the zesty ‘King James’ is all about. As the album’s opening tune
it provides an early insight into the superb vibe that permeates the
entire collection and in addition affords a nice platform for the
combined artistry of Gabriel on trumpet, Lorber on keys and the
rapidly emerging Rock Hendricks on sax. When sax duties pass to Walle
Larsson the result is the swaggering ‘Lock It Up’ which finds Gabriel
in decidedly jazzy mode and he stays that way for ‘Funk In Deep
Freeze’ which showcases the incomparable Brian Bromberg on bass and
the ubiquitous Chuck Loeb on guitar.

Lorber takes center stage for the funk drenched ‘No One Like You’ and
he also comes up big for the extremely edgy ‘UnReal Blues’ for which
Gabriel switches effortlessly between trumpet and flute in the most
magical of ways. Lorber again makes a significant input to the
smoothly jazzy ‘Starpixie’. Already climbing the chart of most played
on smooth jazz radio this is a track that seems certain to widen
Gabriel’s already considerable appeal

The romantically inclined ‘Ready When You Are’ is a delight while
elsewhere the wonderful ‘Kindness’ finds Gabriel at his mellow best.
It proves to be what might be described as textbook smooth jazz and
much the same can be said of the easy grooving title cut that benefits
from a rhythm that is entirely to die for. However, all things
considered, a real personal favorite is the rhythmic, mid-tempo ‘Its
Real’ which features Rob Tardik on guitar and is right up there with
the best that ‘Kissed By The Sun’ has to offer.

In every respect ‘Kissed By The Sun’ is a truly exceptional CD and
comes highly recommended.

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Read Denis Poole's complete review online:

My old friend and colleague Beverly Staunton

It is always great to see and hear(!) Beverly on Dancing With The Stars. She has been staff singer on DWTS since the beginning (7 yrs) and always just nails it! (her cohorts aren't too shabby either).
Beverly sang in my Sass'n'Class Band for a number of years around Vancouver and recorded a really sweet album that included one of the Dianne Shurr tunes we did live. We all knew she had big things in her go grrrl!
Bev, if you are reading this, drop me a note.... Luv ya.... G

(Beverly Staunton, center)

Check out the Blue Note Archives app

Blue Note and Groovebug launch first premium OpenEMI app

Legendary jazz label Blue Note Records has released an iPad app, developed by Groovebug, which serves as a social network and specialized etailer for all things related to the genre. Watch the video below for a demo.

It’s the first app to be commercially released through OpenEMI, an initiative launched in partnership with the Echo Nest that simplifies music licensing and gives developers more flexibility in how they work with licensed music.

The app costs $1.99 a month for unlimited music streaming, new music and other content added monthly; expert-curated playlists, user playlists, social network integration, discussion pages, extended liner notes, photos and videos, and historical documents. Blue Note describes it as “the ultimate digital box set.”  Featuring classic Blue Note artists such as Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon and Art Blakey, the free-to-download free app plays 30-second clips of the tracks playable without activating a subscription.

Neil Tinegate, vice president Digital Projects at EMI Music, said: “Groovebug have done an amazing job with the Blue Note App, creating a fantastic experience that really brings this outstanding content to life. The App looks and sounds incredible and is a brilliant way to get completely immersed in the world of Blue Note and its seminal artists. The partnership approach of the OpenEMI process has meant that whilst EMI has taken care of tasks such as licensing and clearances, and now distribution and marketing, Groovebug have been able to concentrate on what they do best – designing and building a stunning app.”

Related links:

Groovebug –

BlueNote –

OpenEMI –

Echo Nest API –

100 years of Jazz .... and counting

100 years of jazz and still going strong... An enduring form of art and entertainment. The brilliant music master Matt Chauvin has seen fit to archive and present great (mostly lost, always amazing) music to a YouTube type world. Hats off to Matt! Today's 'side' (talking about records here, folks!) contains the first solo recording ever made by W. Evans Burton Junior. More details and video at:
Enjoy! Check out Matt Chauvin's work, and please help spread the word about the sites and as well. Subscribe to his sites for a daily fix, jazz junkies!

The Top 10 Things to aim for when starting the trumpet....

I get asked all the time, so here is my story, and I am sticking to it!

Trumpet is a frustrating beast sometimes... but here are my basic suggestions... 

1. Take relaxed, full breaths. Keep air support steady, and lift and push with your diaphragm muscles when you you want to play higher and/or louder. Don't close off your throat ever!
2. Play softly and keep the lips together to get a clear tone, especially at first. Pucker your lips slightly forward... don't smile/stretch your lips. Putting your lips to the horn in a relaxed natural manner is the best route and is the most sustainable when you start to play harder.
3. Play long tones... DAILY... aim for 30 seconds without wavering. Start in the middle of your natural range and move up the notes in 1/2 steps
4. Rest as often as you play , ie: ON for 1 minute, OFF for one minute, working up to ON for 5 minutes, OFF for 5, 10, etc   
5. It is better to play 10 minutes every day than 30 minutes every 3 days, but 30 mins every day is a good goal for a newbie. Two hours a day for pros...
6. Listen carefully to what you are playing and what pitch and rhythm is happening around you, whether playing with a group or with records.. playing with ANY records/CD is good. 
7. Make every note count: Try to 'hear it' in your head before it ever comes out, and when it does, 'place it' accurately and confidently  
8. Learn to READ music and learn to LISTEN to music, you need both skills to improvise and make the trumpet fun!
9. Use a metronome if possible and learn your chromatic scale as high and low as you can go, fluid and smooth... start slow and make it even. Add major, minor, etc scales as you go.
10. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Playing a few confident well chosen or pretty notes is way more satisfying than spewing a hot mess.... ;)