Listening Loft Store

New Arrivals

  • Doc City
  • Welcome to Doc City (Deluxe Edition)
  • Clarence Taylor, MD
  • Nils
  • Cool Shades
  • Baja/TSR Records

Listening Loft : HOTPICKS

Jim Adkins - Soul Expression
Jim Adkins
Soul ExpressionJim Adkins

In a recent interview connected with the release of Jim Adkins’ latest album SOUL EXPRESSION, the versatile veteran guitarist said it all about his multi-faceted artistry when he talked about the inspiration for the title, “It all comes from within as an expression of my soul.” Nearly 25 years into his award-winning, regularly charting recording career, the Grammy nominated musician is still mixing up a non-stop, cool swirl of varying vibes and energies centered on his alternately crisp/crackling and sensually fluid lines. Complementing a batch of high-spirited originals with a bluesy, slow burning twist on an Ed Sheeran classic, Adkins brings his jazzy hipster magic to tracks that rock, jazz, immerse us in mystical romance and take us to balmy tropical climes.  

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Sylvia Bennett - Reflections
Sylvia Bennett
ReflectionsOut of Sight Music

Since her recording debut on the Grammy-nominated SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY album with music icon Lionel Hampton, multi-talented jazz vocalist and songwriter Sylvia Bennett has become something of a legend herself, with a dozen solo albums to date, and a successful emergence into Smooth Jazz that includes collaborations with Arturo Sandoval, Paul Brown, Rick Braun and Nathan East. With production by longtime collaborator and producer Hal S. Batt, the vibrant singer’s latest album REFLECTIONS finds her looking firmly ahead, pairing her lush, lilting and sultry vocals with seductive light grooves and sweet caressing musical atmospheres. Complementing her emotionally impactful originals with a tasty “world mix” of a Songbook standard ("Witchcraft"), she thoughtfully explores the many facets of relationships, from hopeful beginnings and making dreams reality to the fine art of working things through. 

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Ron Bosse - Burning Room Only
Ron Bosse
Burning Room OnlyDeep Cat Records

Twenty-five years after establishing himself as an impactful straight ahead guitarist with his renowned ensemble Pursuance, multi-faceted guitarist Ron Bosse – referred to as a “master in the making” by Guitar Player Magazine - pulls a fascinating, freewheeling 180, getting into a funkified, explosive and uber-melodic groove collaboration with Jeff Lorber on his epic high-octane album BURNING ROOM ONLY. The two bring the wildly infectious, ultra-melodic and robustly grooving tracks to life with an ensemble of equally genre-busting greats – including saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Bob Reynolds (Snarky Puppy), bassists Ben Shepherd, Jimmy Haslip, MonoNeon (Prince’s last bassist), Hadrien Feraud, drummer Gary Novak, with sizzling horn arrangements by David Mann. Bosse freely showcases his potent rhythm lead guitar chops along with his colorful and expressive melody lines and burning improvisations, hence the title!

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Ed Calle - Soulful Nights with Jon Secada & KC
Ed Calle
Soulful Nights with Jon Secada & KCAfterhours Music

If you want to know what the multi-faceted musical city of Miami sounds like in 2022, listen no further than SOULFUL NIGHTS, the latest seductive, snazzy, pop, funk and Latin jazz driven album by Latin Grammy winner and five time Grammy nominated saxophonist Dr. Ed Calle. Calle’s silky, uber-romantic and punchy tenor is the delightfully infectious emotional through-line on the compelling originals and imaginative covers of classics by Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell and Marvin Gaye. Yet at heart, this multi-faceted project is a full-on celebration of the saxophonist’s hometown, featuring guest vocals by two pop greats that make their home there (KC of the Sunshine Band and the bilingual Jon Secada) as well as ace production and arrangements by legendary behind the scenes figures Hal Batt and Mike Lewis.

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Mike Di Lorenzo - What We Need
Mike Di Lorenzo
What We NeedKeep The Groove

When keyboardist/composer Mike Di Lorenzo set out to create his first album in over ten years, he had every intention of making it an instrumental project with a few vocals. But when he started reaching out to the world-class singers that now populate the breezy, neo-soulful, easy grooving new project, WHAT WE NEED, he quickly realized that he was creating an all-vocal showcase, with his own dazzling synth, piano and arrangements. The incredible array of vocalists include Joel Kibble from Take 6, Anna Moore, Sonna Rele, Caino, and Denise Stewart. In addition to several silky, ultra-engaging originals, Di Lorenzo creates fascinating takes on tunes ranging from the Great American Songbook to contemporary hits by Charlie Puth and Justin Bieber – a set Di Lorenzo fondly calls the “East Coast Playlist.”  

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Doc City - Welcome to Doc City (Deluxe Edition)
Doc City
Welcome to Doc City (Deluxe Edition)Clarence Taylor, MD

More than just a clever name, Doc City is a dynamic, multi-faceted all-star contemporary jazz/R&B ensemble led by real MD, Dr. Clarence Taylor, who is a practicing internal and emergency medicine physician at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation – and is also a versatile multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Two decades after being nominated as Best R&B/Soul Band by the Cleveland Free Times Music Awards, the powerhouse, lushly romantic and wildly grooving 19-piece (15 instrumentalists, 4 vocalists) band featuring trumpeter Sean Jones and singers Evelyn Wright, Tina Farmer, and Reggie Kelly returns with a DELUXE EDITION of their sophisticated project, WELCOME TO DOC CITY. It’s a stylistically expansive set of music that rolls like a sexy party mix featuring soul, hip-hop, jazz and pop and features beautifully crafted songs as well as vibey dance mix of a Sade classic!

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Wayne Gutshall - Spanish Love
Wayne Gutshall
Spanish LoveSpicy Music LLC

Imagine the good fortune of being the wife of master saxophonist Wayne Gutshall. A few years after scoring a remarkable five #1 singles on SmoothJazz.com’s World Listener Chart, the multi-talented Miami based composer/musician finds a fascinating way to pay loving homage to her with a sweet, sensual nod to her Spanish heritage. On the perfectly titled, balmy and breezy “Spanish Love,” he not only plays his passionate heart out, but also uses his emotional sax melody as the foundation for a gorgeous, dreamy conversational duet with the soulful acoustic guitar flow of genre great Steve Oliver. Like in previous solo works, the slow danceable “Spanish Love” draws on Gutshall’s extensive resume playing with Latin artists like Ed Calle, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and the late Dave Valentin. 

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Rei Narita - Monsoon in Crimson
Rei Narita
Monsoon in CrimsonStudio Luna Azul

Internationally renowned as the foremost pioneer of Smooth Jazz in Asia, pianist/composer’s Rei Narita’s ultra-infectious vibe has been hailed as everything from an “immaculate diamond” to “kaleidoscope of attractive melody” and “a jewel of Smooth Jazz.” The artist may have pegged it even more perfectly when he called his first jazz band, “Ear Candy Jazz Factory.” He follows recent radio hits with contemporary jazz superstars Peter White, Nelson Rangell and Omar Hakim with two fresh singles spotlighting his adventurous piano and synth magic. “To the Air Era” Narita weaves a distinctively percussive-melodic energy with spacey atmospheres and colorful electronic accents, while “Monsoon in Crimson” focuses on the composer’s sparkling piano melody and improvisations over a nonstop, irresistible groove!

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Shawn Raiford - Forever
Shawn Raiford
ForeverShawn Raiford Sax Productions

A few years ago, before recording his popular debut album MAN WITH A HORN, Shawn Raiford was asked by renowned bassist Derek “DOA” Allen, “Who is Shawn Raiford?” The multi-talented musician’s response: “I’m just a guy with a saxophone who wants to play for the world.” Leading the SRE (Shawn Raiford Experience), he’s been a beloved fixture in the Sacramento area for over a decade. After slyly seducing us this past holiday season with a tasty cover of “Santa Baby,” Raiford sets the stage for his sophomore collection THE NEXT STEP. The project rolls out with the first single, “Forever” – a sultry, infectious and uber-melodic romantic ballad featuring a hypnotic/exotic drum groove, sizzling horn textures with backing support by Andre Delano, a snazzy sax-guitar conversation and Quintina Paris’ dreamy female background vocals that float above the sparkling magical cool. 

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Terrence Richburg - Treasures
Terrence Richburg
TreasuresRichEscape Music, LLC

Over the past few decades, Terrence Richburg – known by his peers as “The Quincy Jones of Gospel” – has amassed a mind-boggling, star-studded multi-genre resume in service of the Lord. He’s worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin and the Winans, appeared on over 36 albums, and worked as a jack of all musical trades - vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, orchestrator, etc. Inventive sourcing of influences like Earth, Wind & Fire, Take 6 and George Duke can be heard all over Richburg’s 16-piece vocal and instrumental masterpiece TREASURES, which he composed and recorded during the pandemic as a companion piece to his 2020 book “Wisdom Treasures.” His luminous blend of easy-flowing gospel-jazz, colorful keyboard instrumentals and funky jams offer a musical testimony to the priceless treasures of God. 

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Michael Silverman & Eric Marienthal - In These Times
Michael Silverman & Eric Marienthal
In These TimesAutumn Hill Records

While the staggering number of 6 billion downloads and streams may be hard to fathom, Michael Silverman – the most streamed pianist on the planet - has made each a joyful experience over the past 15 years with his diverse array of stylistic excursions. Sure to add quickly to his total, his latest destination is “Clearwater,” a buoyant, melodically infectious, easy grooving romp blending Silverman’s lively elegance with Eric Marienthal’s always spirited sax. Joining forces with legendary bassist John Pattitucci, Silverman’s brother Rob on drums and percussionist Casey Adams, they have a sunswept blast that celebrates their initial meeting playing the Clearwater Jazz Holiday festival. This perfect Smooth Jazz cure for the winter blues is the second lead single from Silverman’s remotely created upcoming album IN THESE TIMES.

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Will Sumner - Meadowlark
Will Sumner
MeadowlarkGuitar One Records

After a series of edgy electric guitar driven Smooth Jazz albums featuring beachy/summery titles like COAST DRIVE and RIDE THE WAVE, multi-talented musician-composer Will Sumner got more personal with his 2021 release OCEAN STREET, which featured songs emotionally connected to his longtime former family home in Carlsbad, where his mother lived until her passing at 96. On this latest, truly innovative sonic excursion MEADOWLARK, Will keeps his trademark blend of buoyant funk/rock, sensual atmospheric balladry and breezy, piano-enhanced melodic grace flowing in loving homage to the beautiful working alfalfa farm in Apple Valley, California. owned by his grandmother in the 1960s and 1970s. The collection of infectious tunes brings to life grandma’s warmth and generosity, as well as the sweet nostalgia of his childhood summer vacations there.     

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Avery*Sunshine - Four Songs & A Bootleg
Avery*Sunshine
Four Songs & A BootlegBigShine Recordings

Now that you’ve let Avery*Sunshine light up your holidays with “Sunshine For Christmas,” you should treat yourself to an even more immersive experience of the gloriously talented gospel, R&B and jazz influenced force of vocal nature whose enthusiastic fans have included the likes of Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle. Avery’s first full length album since 2017, FOUR SONGS & A BOOTLEG starts with four vibrant studio tracks that showcase her funky side, her church vibe, sensual acoustic grace, and hipster neo-soul energy, including the Smooth Jazz hit “Boomerang” featuring Nathan East on bass. The eight live tracks, recorded in her hometown of Atlanta in 2019, feature a lot of rousing good time praisin’ the Lord and shed powerful light on the singer’s incredibly intimate connection with her fans – a synergy she’s also taken to Asia, Australia, Africa and the UK.  

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The 3 Keys - We 3 Keys
The 3 Keys
We 3 KeysShanachie Entertainment

The debut release from The 3 Keys, a world-class supergroup of Smooth Jazz composers and keyboardists, namely contemporary jazz icon Bob Baldwin who has collaborated with Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, and Gerald Albright to highlight a few; the First Lady of Smooth Jazz, Gail Jhonson who has been the musical director for Norman Brown and the driving force behind the all female ensemble, Jazz In Pink; and producer Phil Davis who works closely with Najee and Will Downing and has oodles of Top 10 Smooth Jazz singles to his credit. WE 3 KEYS features original tunes set to Inspiration mode with deeply infectious grooves and spirit lifting melodies as you would expect from these powerhouses! A pure pleasure from start to finish!

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D.S. Wilson - Skyline
D.S. Wilson
SkylineBig Splash Music, LLC

Saxophonist and keyboardist D.S. Wilson has teamed with recording artist, guitarist and producer Adam Hawley along with an all-star cast to produce SKYLINE, the 3rd full album of  contemporary jazz featuring catchy melodies and solid grooves. The A-listers in the mix include Eric Valentine on drums, Mel Brown on bass and Carnell Harrell on keys. Paying homage to the bustling vibe of the Windy City, the project has released advance singles which have proven to grab the attention of radio stations and music fans around the world. His previous single, "Leave It To The Gods" has nearly 100k streams on Spotify! The successfully charting artist, performer and composer has experience in jazz, blues, pop and rock and all of these genres seamlessly flow through the tracks on SKYLINE, giving the listener an exciting experience from beginning to end.

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Listening Loft : MUST HAVES

Amandus - Her Love
Amandus
Her LoveAmandus Records

The quote on Michael “Amandus” Quast’s About section on his website says it all about what the veteran, multi-talented German composer and keyboardist philosophy is, “Believe In Your Dreams and They Might Come True.” The title track to his forthcoming EP HER LOVE, is a super fun, exotic and fashionable jam that promise to make his musical dreams come true. Amandus attributes his relationship with his wife as a stabilizing, motivational force in his life that has taken his innate talents further than he could have fathomed. This smooth and upbeat tribute offers a highly improvisational piano romp with hypnotic, percussive textures along with sexy, singing support of Trinidad-born and German-based vocalist Klyive, giving the tune buoyancy and soul! 

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Steve Baxter - Do What You Feel
Steve Baxter
Do What You FeelSlubba Bub Record

Truly manifesting the thought-provoking title of his fourth album DO WHAT YOU FEEL, veteran Urban Contemporary Jazz trombone master, Steve Baxter’s stirring blend of soulful, funky and smooth music invokes the classic R&B/jazz vibe of Wayne Henderson and finds him joining the ranks of Trombone Shorty and Brian Culbertson as contemporary jazz cats making Smooth Jazz a wonderland of possibilities for the instrument’s unique lower toned timbre. Steve’s unique stylistic array has its roots in his years sharing stage and studio time with everyone from The Crusaders, Barry Manilow and Gladys Knight & The Pips to Alicia Keys, Babyface and Ziggy Marley. Adding deeper emotional cool to the mix are the very different moods created on several key tracks by guest vocalists Devere Duckette and Lynn Fiddmont. This is a must have for music enthusiasts!

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Dominic Camardella - Moments in Time - Temple of Light
Dominic Camardella
Moments in Time - Temple of LightGlobal Perspective

Having released his debut album SOOTHE in 2020, composer and multi-instrumentalist Dominic Camaradella is a newcomer to Smooth Jazz. Yet as the decades-long owner of Santa Barbara Sound Design, he’s used his dual passions for music and technology to engineer sessions for Ottmar Liebert, Michael McDonald, Anita Baker, Kenny Loggins, Depeche Mode and many, many others. With the release of the fascinating, globally eclectic, and enchantingly exotic concept album MOMENTS IN TIME: TEMPLE OF LIGHT, he’s launching an ambitious new contemporary urban jazz meets world music fusion series that should establish him as an innovative force in the genre. With his piano, bass, acoustic guitars, keyboards, and MIDI programming as a foundation, he creates balmy, Mediterranean, even spiritual-minded magic with the likes of saxophonist Gary Meek and Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat. 

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Funktastic Players - Jazz on the Funky Side
Funktastic Players
Jazz on the Funky Sidefunktasticplayers.com

Years after establishing his career as an MC/DJ during the early days of rap/hip-hop, writer, producer and musical visionary David Williams had ideas of creating the next Incognito or a hip-hop fired James Brown vibe before organically developing the ultra-melodic, silky cool and laid back funk and sizzling brass tinged sonic universe of the perfectly named Funktastic Players. On their exuberant, soulful and freewheeling seventh album JAZZ ON THE FUNKY SIDE, the quartet of Williams, saxophonist Marcus Mitchell, guitarist David Prince and keyboardist Kevin Croom ride both smooth and swanky, rhythmically eclectic waves of sassy, romantic, sensual and playful joy to create an exciting fusion that draws from all of Williams’ many musical passions and continues to fulfill his founding funktastic vision! 

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Jeff Golkin & Forever Love - A Million Lifetimes
Jeff Golkin & Forever Love
A Million LifetimesSmiling Goddess Productions, Inc.

The love continues with producer, composer, musician Jeff Golkin’s follow-up single to his critically acclaimed and Smooth Jazz charting debut album WE HAVE LOVE… FOR ALL TIME. “A Million Lifetimes” from the Jeff Golkin & Forever Love project is a timeless, mid-tempo ballad speaking to true love, the kind that lasts forever. The sentiment run deep on this emotive, sweet track… Served up it as a vocal duet and as an instrumental. The sweeping, cinematic piano is the star of the instrumental with complementing expression from violin, flute and guitar, and the musical arrangement warmly caresses the vocals on the original version. Golkin’s vantage point of perennial love leads him to the heartfelt believe that “love of another, greater than oneself, is to know the joy of how to make the world a better place for all time.”

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Lowell Hopper - Tender Touch
Lowell Hopper
Tender TouchGet Jazzed Records

While old paradigm music industry protocol dictated that recording artists should limit themselves to a single album a year so as not to over-saturate the market, the fiercely indie-minded Lowell Hopper is blissfully answering to a higher muse these days. Only three months after releasing his brisk, feel good album ANOTHER HOT SUMMER NIGHT, the wildly prolific, adventurously melodic and groove intensive guitarist graces us with the equally infectious, uplifting and sweetly romantic TENDER TOUCH. As always, his trademark tonal blend (between crackling and silky) offers a wide palette of engaging tones and moods. Now over three decades and 21 albums into his recording career, the 20-year Air Force vet turned Smooth Jazz hit maker is soaring higher and more creatively than ever.

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Bobby Lyle - Ivory Flow
Bobby Lyle
Ivory FlowNew Warrior Music

An incredible 45 years after releasing his epic debut album THE GENIE, and 33 years since his landmark Atlantic album IVORY DREAMS, Bobby Lyle reminds us on his latest collection that he’s still engaged and excited about being in the IVORY FLOW. The multi-talented pianist/keyboardist calls this gloriously crafted set “a reunion album,” with support from his equally legendary contemporary jazz pals Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, Najee, Marcus Miller, Marion Meadows, Nathan East, Everette Harp, Stanley Clarke, Kirk Whalum and Paul Jackson, Jr!  This dream team takes fanciful spins through a riveting, expansive landscape infused with classic soul/funk, Latin-fired fusion, straight ahead jazz, solo piano blues and an elegant tune dedicated to Lyle’s son Tommy, who passed away in 2017 from diabetic complications. Step into the IVORY FLOW and feel the love. 

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Nils - Cool Shades
Nils
Cool ShadesBaja/TSR Records

In 2021, as his #1 hits “Caught in the Groove” and “Outta Sight” were spinning regularly – ultimately making him Billboard’s #1 Smooth Jazz Airplay Artist of the Year – guitarist, composer and producer Nils was going through a rough personal time, traveling back and forth from L.A. to his original home of Munich to care for his ailing parents. The stylistically, eclectic gems written for his latest album COOL SHADES (which he dedicates to his late father Kurt) alternately reflect the heavy emotions of this time, the importance of musical catharsis and the need for joyful, infectious and funky jams to balance the sadness and brighten up the world. Not surprisingly, Nils works his bluesiest excitement ever – a point emphasized by his clever jazzy arrangement of a Jimi Hendrix classic.

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Steve Raybine - The Best of Steve Raybine
Steve Raybine
The Best of Steve RaybineBad Kat Records, LLC

In the late 90s, the late Steve Raybine received encouragement from Rick Braun, his friend and former band mate in the famed 70’s progressive jazz ensemble Auracle. A longtime fan of the veteran vibraphone master, percussionist and influential, award-winning educator, Braun suggested, “Why don’t you try to do for vibes what I’ve done for trumpet?” Taking up the challenge, Raybine embarked on an extraordinary 20-year career as a solo artist, releasing four multi-faceted Smooth Jazz albums and scoring a multitude of radio hits. While the composer and master musician recently battled for his life with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, he immersed himself in the production of this world-class collection, remixing, editing and remastering. Steve wrote to SmoothJazz.com founder Sandy Shore before his passing, “The album is definitely Smooth Jazz centric, with an extra component of what I can do with Swing music and my solo Vibe artistry. It is a compilation of 15 of my favorite songs I’ve recorded previously.” This brilliantly performed, non-stop melodically and rhythmically infectious 15-track compilation THE BEST OF STEVE RAYBINE celebrates a grand legacy charged with the spark and sizzle of jazz, R&B, fiery Latin music, pop/rock and edgy blues. The artist may be gone, but the BEST of his art lives on! 

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Paolo Rustichelli - Glitter
Paolo Rustichelli
GlitterNext Age Music

“Glitter” is the new, perfectly sparkling gem from multi-talented keyboardist/composer Paolo Rustichelli, one of the leading pioneers of the Chillout and Smooth Jazz genres! Loved by Carlos Santana and respected by Miles Davis, the one-man band plays all the instruments himself, in addition to composing, producing, and mixing. Providing an uplifting, refreshing sonic vibe, “Glitter” is a tribute to the past 70 years of the greatest pop bands. One listen and you’ll understand why Santana said in a Billboard interview that Paolo’s music is a soundtrack for life. He continued, “He easily creates a melody that makes the song really catchy, sounding classic and innovative at the same time!”

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Les Sabler - Flying High
Les Sabler
Flying HighNew Vista Records

As Les Sabler embraces his fourth decade as a recording artist, the title of the versatile, ultra-fluid guitarist’s latest album, FLYING HIGH, says it all about his thriving career and creative flow. On his previous album TRANQUILITY, upon the suggestion of his mega hitmaking producer Paul Brown, he began exploring the unique mix of electric and acoustic tones on Brown’s vintage Gibson Johnny Smith model guitar – which likewise leads to a unique palette of sonic colors and a mix of lighthearted and darker tones on the new collection. Brown’s studio crew has a profound influence on Sabler’s ever-expanding artistry, with songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shane Theriot writing five of the collection’s radio ready gems and trumpeter Ron King crafting fiery and festive horn arrangements of classics by Les McCann/Eddie Harris and The Lovin’ Spoonful.  

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Sonix - Love Crusade
Sonix
Love CrusadeNucleus Entertainment

Having created studio magic throughout his multi-genre career with everyone from David Bowie, Barry White and DMC to 50 Cent, keyboardist/composer Tim Rouse perfectly embodies both his artist name (Sonix) and his nickname (“The Mad Scientist”). Having gotten his solo Smooth Jazz career off to an explosive start with the flammable, chart-dominating “Easy Street” featuring Eric Marienthal – which was voted #1 on the Smoothjazz.com Listener Countdown Chart four weeks in a row – as well as his successful, follow-up single, the groove-driven, chilled-jazz “Cloud9,” Sonix is finally ready to roll out the full album, a project of passion and dedication. LOVE CRUSADE arrives with his 3rd single, an epic take on Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” which is also released as a 6-song maxi-single offering 3 unique versions (a smooth jazz mix, instrumental and a vocal mix featuring Patrice Isley) plus extended mixes of each. A transcendent sonic experience, showcasing sparkling, melodic and funky Smooth Jazz, George Duke-like synth-fire fusion and fashionable, contemporary vocals with soulful and spiritual messages. True to its title, LOVE CRUSADE paves a bright, inviting path that you won’t be able to resist… Bringing to mind the famous MLK Jr quote, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that.”

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Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band - The Power Station Sessions
The Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band
The Power Station SessionsAutumn Hill Records

A renowned session drummer, Pat Petrillo has backed the likes of Gloria Gaynor, Patti Labelle, and Broadway shows. The New Jersey based groover leads his group of jazz, R&B and rock all-stars, The Big Rhythm Band, serving up some mind-blowingly adventurous and high octane jamming, on the group’s latest album THE POWER STATION SESSIONS. Though named after the recording facility where the sessions took place, the title could just as easily describe these freewheeling original tracks and fresh, inventive arrangements of classics by Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel. While Petrillo drives the grooves, the deeper fire comes from the special guest artists, including guitar greats Nile Rodgers, Felicia Collins and Oz Noy, plus appearance by John Popper (harmonica), Glen Burtnik (vocals), and SNL bandleader Lenny Pickett (sax). A cool variety of R&B, Funk, Blues, Rock and Smooth Jazz.

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Listening Loft : ESSENTIALS

Nona Brown - Latter Days/Greater
Nona Brown
Latter Days/GreaterSignature Music Group

Gospel singer/songwriter Nona Brown’s dynamic resume includes working as Josh Groban’s choir coordinator, guest vocalist and composer for Gospel Workshop of America and being a member of the New Edwin Hawkins singers. Nona is also a Brown in the charting, emerging jazz trio Brown, Sturgis and Brown. The multi-talented artist caps a prolific 2022 – which includes singing on Falu’s Grammy winning Children’s album and garnering a Telly Award for a “Black Lives Matter” music video - with her rousing, inspiring and encouraging single “Latter Days/Greater.” She is releasing both a vocal track and a silky, jazzy funk instrumental version featuring an ultra-soulful lead saxophone melody by Kevin Moore for Smooth Jazz audiences. 

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Castella - I Saw You
Castella
I Saw YouCastella Music

Since earning an impressive batch of Smooth Jazz radio accolades upon her breakout in 2020, there’s been no stopping Castella, a onetime HR Exec who turned her musical dreams into reality with her sensual, super-soulful vocals and inviting mid-tempo romantic gems. Vibing with Top 5 Billboard charting saxman Marqueal Jordan, Castella playfully grooves her way into 2023 with “I Saw You,” a hopeful, uplifting and whimsically funky love song – co-written by the singer and the track’s producer David P. Stevens, about how meeting the right person with pure intentions can change everything for the better. 

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Doctor X - Sinusoidal
Doctor X
SinusoidalDRX Music

Baghdad-born and raised composer/keyboardist Haider Raad (aka Doctor X) has been leading a fascinating double life, literally composing his wonderfully eclectic, contemporary jazz/funk meets chillout and world fusion debut, the intriguingly titled SINUSOIDAL for the past 25 years while pursuing and launching an impactful career in academia. Currently director of the Engineering Physics program and the Wearable Electronics Research center at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, Doctor X’s infectious tunes breeze artfully between Smooth Jazz and related genres, fulfilling his personal dreams and inspiring his kids while creating sine waves (oscillating mathematical wave forms) that not only symbolize the peaks and valleys of recorded music, but also of our life journeys. 

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Everett B Walters - It's for the Love Of Music
Everett B Walters
It's for the Love Of MusicEverett Mych Music

The name Everett B Walters may sound like a solo artist, but in truth it’s the clever moniker that Chicago bred brothers Michael Everett Brown (guitar) and Harold Walter Brown III (bass) came up with for their popular, infectiously grooving ensemble that’s been recording since the mid-2000s and headlining in Las Vegas for years. The Akademia Music Award winners score another victory with their latest, the perfectly titled, hard grooving EP, IT'S FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC. It’s a rambunctious free-flowing, horn-drenched Smooth Jazz jam fest driven by Harold’s snappy, buoyant rhythms and Michael’s elegant melodies and sparkling otherworldly improvisations.

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Ghost Jazz Trio - Groovin Smooth
Ghost Jazz Trio
Groovin SmoothGhost Records

On track for the 2023 release of GROOVIN’ SMOOTH, their incredible fourth album in four years, the breezily melodic and funky cool San Diego based ensemble Ghost Jazz Trio is emphatically “On the Groove” with this latest single. In the same musical vein as their previous west coast jazz collections, the tune is an exhilarating showcase for the project's founder, James Morgan's gentle and fluid, and always positive approach to composition. In addition to special guest, legendary guitarist Dean Brown (Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, Bob James, et al), Morgan is joined by his regular cats Chase Pado (who contributes a dazzling improvisational piano solo), bassist Nathan Brown and drummer Tres Hodgens.

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Maggie Herron - My Story in Song
Maggie Herron
My Story In SongMaggieHerron.com

Maggie Herron’s passionate, haunting twist on the Leonard Cohen classic is one of the big selling points for MY STORY IN SONG. The Michigan born, Honolulu based veteran jazz treasure, pianist and vocalist’s raw, vulnerable, emotionally revealing new album is due out soon. Yet it’s Herron’s impactful original material where she shares, in settings ranging from big band and gospel to easy swinging jazz, her enduring love, truth and grief over the 2020 loss of her beloved daughter and collaborator Dawn. Buoyed by jazz greats like Bill Cunliffe, Mitch Forman, Grant Geissman and Andrew Neu, Herron brings Dawn’s talent and spirit into the mix to pay homage to her life and legacy. This single will take you through the musical marble arch to the promised new album!

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Charles A. Kelly - You're Not Alone
Charles A. Kelly
You're Not AloneInnervision Records

Not surprisingly considering his pre-Smooth Jazz resume as a keyboardist, producer, film composer, songwriter and music director that includes the likes of Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers, Charles A. Kelly mixes it up with some of the genre’s elite (Blake Aaron, Darryl Williams, Tony Moore, Munyungo Jackson) on his stellar Innervisions Records debut album, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. With uplifting  romantic and spiritually minded melodies, intimate and sparkling piano and keyboard magic, and always in the pocket, edgy and funk-minded grooves, Kelly fulfills the promise of his three dynamic lead radio singles and sets the stage for an incredible new phase in his career. 

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Jay King - Soulful Bossa Nova
Jay King
Soulful BossanovaJay King Music

Three and a half decades since his Grammy winning R&B band Club Nouveau scaled the pop and soul charts with their spin on “Lean On Me” and “Why You Treat Me So Bad,” singer, songwriter and producer Jay King breezes and romances his way into the exotic side of vocal Smooth Jazz with SOULFUL BOSSANOVA – a perfectly titled jaunt full of soulful island rhythms, atmospheric Brazilian sultriness and silky, intimate expressions of love, longing and regret. Helping King cultivate this gentler, more seductive side of his artistry here are hit guitarist Nils and King’s longtime collaborator, saxophonist/flutist Cal Bennett.

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Joe Leavy - Let it Go
Joe Leavy
Let It GoHarmonius Records

This jazzier, more sophisticated approach to the Frozen Movie soundtrack mantra, Joe Leavy and Steve Hunuman’s “Let It Go,” will offer you the same adrenal support, as you chill and ponder what it might feel like to be free of the constant incoming bombardment of modern living! Leavy, a San Diego native and smooth soul jazz singer, partners with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Hunuman to deliver a “less is more” original that is destined to become a Smooth Jazz classic. This sweet jazz meets smooth soul musical motif comes packed with a message for the times, for young and old! “Let It Go” is the 3rd single from Joe Leavy’s highly anticipated 2023 album, SOUL ON FIRE, promised on Valentine’s Day! 

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Valentino Maltos - Analog Future
Valentino Maltos
Analog FutureRadioStar Records

In making his long-awaited debut as a Smooth Jazz artist with ANALOG FUTURE, three-time Grammy-winning producer and saxophonist Valentino Maltos fulfills his mission to create a positive vibe by capturing an inviting, soulful analog sound using warm synths, vintage electric pianos, turntable samples and live instrumentation. Along the way, the multi-talented performer – who has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg and Dave Chapelle – stirs up a swirl of edgy funk jams, sensual mid-tempo romantic vocal driven expressions, horn-drenched R&B, a bustling spin on a Stevie Wonder classic, a mystical tribute to Roy Hargrove and a touch of spirituality. 

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Chelsea Nichole - Love Letters feat Jeff Lorber
Chelsea Nichole
Love Letters feat Jeff LorberProgress Entertainment, LLC

With two advance singles making their mark on Smooth Jazz radio ("If I Didn't Have Love" and "Wait for Me"), the full album LOVE LETTERS, due out Valentine’s Day, is an extraordinary, romantically uplifting collection by the passionate, sultry voiced vocalist/songwriter Chelsea Nichole featuring Jeff Lorber, a compelling Smooth Jazz collaboration, almost a quarter century in the making. Since contributing to the Grammy-winning keyboardist’s 1998 album MIDNIGHT, the multi-talented singer, successful radio program producer and podcaster (“A Woman and Her Music”) has worked with the likes of Dave Koz, Andre Delano and gospel artist Kenny Smith – and invited Lorber to play on her 2016 debut album SPIRITUAL MAN. Buoyed by Lorber’s tight, dynamic grooves, soulful keyboard harmonies and classic R&B sensibilities, Chelsea scales fresh artistic heights of both hushed, heartfelt intimacy and vibrant, sensual funk. 

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Michael Paulo - Hang Time
Michael Paulo
Hang TimeWoodward Avenue

Making his Woodward Avenue Records debut, acclaimed contemporary jazz saxophonist Michael Paulo (Al Jarreau, James Ingram, Bobby Caldwell) teams with two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown on “Hang Time.” An ultra-melodic collaborative effort with musical force and label mate Shane Theriot on keys, bass, guitars, and drums and sax star Euge Groove placing the cherry on top with his masterful engineering skills making this single release an automatic super hit! Filled with fresh optimism for the new year, Michael Paulo’s return marks a soulful and soaring celebration for Smooth Jazz and certainly fuels the artist’s 3½  decade solo career!

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Raja-Nee - The Sovereign of 14742
Raja-Nee
The Sovereign of 14742JARF Music Group

On a dynamic roll creating sensual pop, R&B and neo-soul vibin’ singles since 2018, chart-topping, Chicago-bred vocalist and songwriter Raja-Nee brings a multi-faceted musical resume – including work with the Chi-Lites and legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – to her long awaited, rhythmically diverse, full-length album THE SOVEREIGN OF 14742 (dedicated to her parents, the title pertains to her childhood street address and the affectionate nick name for the youngest member of the family). Whether she’s swaying in the sultry romantic breeze or bringing her mid-tempo, easy-grooving, sexy energy to the mix, Raja-Nee captures our hearts by sharing her views on the many facets of love and relationships – including a dreamy, caressing take on a Fifth Dimension heartbreak classic.

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Mekiel Reuben - Just Like The Radio
Mekiel Reuben
Just Like The RadioMekMuse Records

Chicago-born native and Caribbean transplant, acclaimed saxophonist Mekiel Reuben delivers his highly anticipated new album JUST LIKE THE RADIO featuring jazzy grooves and soulful vibes. This well-respected musician has shared the stage with Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, UB40 Marcus Miller, Chaka Khan and many more over the hears. The island influence let him to study calypso, reggae and Latin rhythms with has since become part of the artist’s signature sound. If you’re a fan of old school, bold brassy horns and the courage to inch your way to your creative edges, this collection has your name written all over it. On the heels of the album’s advance singles, “Sly Jungle” and “FB Maze,” JUST LIKE THE RADIO is fully loaded and ready for your listening enjoyment!

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Talking Book featuring Jared - Muse of Isis Vol. 1
Talking Book Featuring Jared
Muse of Isis Vol. 1Southern Lady Generals Ent

Strategically named after the classic Stevie Wonder album for its intoxicatingly soulful blend of groove, sensuality, romance, spirituality and imparting of life lessons, Talking Book featuring Jared is a unique R&B/contemporary jazz studio ensemble of four vocalists and five instrumentalists captained by songwriter, producer, and keyboardist Jared Johnson. The group’s eclectic, intimately inviting MUSE OF ISIS, VOL. 1 was inspired by contemplating the divine eternal life of the ancient Egyptian goddess as well as a nod to women’s basketball star Isis “Ice” Thorpe. As such, the collection features a graceful blend of sweet acoustic charms, breezy, Sade and Babyface-tinged neo-soul and reggae with comforting, prayer-like tracks designed for healing and uplifting the soul.    

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Doug Thomas & Debbie Davis - Feel My Love
Doug Thomas & Debbie Davis
Feel My LoveLekiwi Music

When the unique tandem of Doug Thomas & Debbie Davis musically compel you to feel the love on their balmy, breezy new single, it’s an invitation with deep international resonance. Though they have enjoyed successful individual careers dating back decades, New Zealand multi-instrumentalist/composer Thomas and Guyana-born, Spain-based jazz/soul singer Davis have been successfully collaborating since 2009, with tracks being played everywhere from Australia and the U.S. to South America and beyond. On the seductive new “Feel My Love,” Davis’ captivating lead vocals and sweet whispers weave a romantic charm over an uplifting acoustic guitar and piano driven, brass-enhanced bossa-R&B vibe. A feel-good hit from beginning to end!

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Ulbert Underground - Live Session
Ulbert Underground
Live SessionArt Major Records

Driven by creative spontaneity, Hungarian jazz and blues guitarist and songwriter Ferenc Ulbert’s “Ulbert Underground” is not a formal band but a musical community that brings artists together onstage to get out of their comfort zones, write and play from the ground up. UU’s LIVE SESSIONS EP features the talents of the core trio of Ulbert, bassist Márton Eged and drummer Ákos Benkó on two seductive improvisational jazz instrumentals as well as a charming, lilting vocal featuring soulful pop-jazz singer Petra Kész – all the result of a two-day Art Major music holiday, followed by a third day of studio recording. In addition, Ulbert released a beautiful acoustic guitar/vocal duet with Petra Pákai, that promises to grab the attention of music fans around the world. 

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