From the opening gong, you know you're in for a treat with Obon. Marking Hiroshima's 25th anniversary, the new disc is the Japanese-American group's first without vocals—save a wordless chant by Shoji Kameda on "Obon Two-Five. Formed by Dan and June Kuramoto (the only Japanese native in the group) in 1979, Hiroshima has successfully blended traditional Japanese sounds with North American pop, soul, R&B, and of course jazz.
Radio Music Society is the fourth studio album by Esperanza Spalding, which was released through the record label Heads Up International on March 20, 2012. The album earned Spalding Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the track, "City of Roses".
An Evening with Dave Grusin is essentially the soundtrack to the Blu-Ray DVD product, and an app for the iPad, both of which have loads more features. The composer, arranger, and pianist conducts the 75-piece Henry Mancini Orchestra in a live program of his own music – tunes written for cinema – as well as the works of composers Gershwin, Bernstein, and Mancini. The show was co-produced by Grusin's longstanding business associate and collaborator Larry Rosen and Phil Ramone.
Summer Madness is a new kind of Richard Elliot recording. For one thing, the cast includes two other horn men augmenting Elliot's signature sax work: trumpeter/trombonist Rick Braun, who also produced the album and, on several tracks, baritone saxophonist Curt Waylee. Most importantly though, the music was created from scratch as Elliot and his handpicked musicians formulated and honed their ideas in the studio, with Braun's ultra-capable guidance. For Elliot, recruiting the additional players and having the entire band plus a well-respected veteran producer help him shape the music was integral to the project's success.
In four short years, contemporary/smooth jazz tenor saxophonist Jessica Arellano (Jessy J) has made quite a splash. Hot Sauce, her Heads Up International debut – and fourth album overall – was produced by Paul Brown, and includes guest appearances from heavyweights Joe Sample, drummer Harvey Mason, guitarist Ray Parker Jr., and vocalist Saunders Sermons. Arellano wrote or co-wrote eight of the album's ten compositions.
Smile, set for release on October 7th, is White's fourteenth recording as a leader, and his scintillating, contemporary jazz sound is buttressed by his equally-impressive command of several instruments and augmented by an impressive array of special guests, including vocalist Mindi Abair, trumpeter Rick Braun, soprano saxophonist Euge Groove, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, bassist Nate Phillips, violinist (and daughter) Charlotte White, Ramon Yslas on bongos and vocalist Stevo Theard.
With Lip Service, Richard Elliot has come full circle as one of the reigning merchants of Soul Jazz and cementing his role as one of the great contemporary sax players in the world. While working on Summer Horns in 2013, he had the opportunity to revisit his roots as one of the founding members of Tower of Power by performing "So Very Hard To Go" and working alongside arranger Greg Adams again. This led to Greg Adams arrangement for the GRAMMY-nominated "Shining Star" on Lip Service.
For Immediate Release – Jeff Lorber Fusion, whose previous release Hacienda was praised for its “impeccable musicianship and deep grooves” by JazzTimes and its “funky, rollicking jams” by All About Jazz, returns on September 25, 2015, with Step It Up on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group. The fourth consecutive collaboration between GRAMMY®-nominated keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber and GRAMMY®-winning bassist/composer/ producer Jimmy Haslip since the two virtuosos reactivated Jeff Lorber Fusion five years ago, Step It Up features 11 new Lorber compositions, several co-written with Haslip. The longtime colleagues also co-produced the recording.