Sunday, November 25, 2012

Miles Davis:Remembering The Jazz Giants, Chapter 9

There are a lot of talented trumpet players we know and love but there is only one Miles Davis. His projection of a song's emotions is raised to a point where the listener can almost touch, as well as, hear the lyrics coming from his trumpet.  Miles Davis has always been an exceptional instrumentalist who had the musical sense to bring some of the best players in the US to his recording sessions.  His style over the years evolved from Bebop to Standards. Miles taught us that when it comes to playing standards from the Great American Songbook, "less is better". The results of these sessions produced some of the best sounds ever recorded. Picking just one favorite from the vast list of superb songs is almost impossible.  What makes this effort a little easier for me is that I have always been drawn to the great love songs Miles Davis recorded. I found a 1956 recording on YouTube of the Rodgers & Hart classic, "It Never Entered My Mind" that I think perfectly illustrates Miles Davis' ability to transfer great lyrics through his trumpet. Joining Miles on this song are some jazz giants in their own right: the great Red Garland on Piano, Philly Joe Jones on Drums and Paul Chambers on Bass. Enjoy the musical magic of Miles Davis!

Friday, November 16, 2012

CD Pre-Release Review: Introducing "THE VERGE"

"The Verge"is a new powerfully-charged and musically creative group of musicians formed in New York City in 2011. The result of their labor has produced sounds that merge the music of yesterday, today and tomorrow very effectively. If there is such a thing as serious jazz musicians, this group qualifies. This CD is worth purchasing just to heard the different rhythms and creative arrangements.

Jon Hanser is a musical super star on Keys, plays Trumpet and has a voice that is easy to listen to and smooth. Jon also wrote the arrangements that are all fresh, unique and sure to please any jazz lover. Kenny Shanker plays just outstanding Sax and also sings and plays the Piano solo on cut #3, the Britney Spears 2011 hit "I Wanna Go". This song never sounded better with all due respect to Ms Spears. The third member of "The Verge" is Brian Fishler who plays drums and adds his voice to several cuts.

There are 12 cuts on this CD and I liked every one. "The Verge" is a forward-moving group that mixes intensity with mellifluous lyrics. They are musically perfect together!  This Cd will be released on November 20, 2012.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CD Review: Tianna Hall & The Mexico City Jazz Trio

Most of the readers of The Musicman Blog have a deep love of the "Great American Songbook". The new CD "Two For The Road" from Tianna Hall and the Mexico City Jazz Trio will be a real treat for you.  This is the fourth release for Tianna Hall, a two-time Grammy recognized vocalist who is based in Houston, Texas. This is also her second collaboration with the Mexico City Jazz Trio. Tianna brought her unique voice and approach to some of the best American songs ever written. Take a look at this spectacular list of songs:

1. Til There Was You- Meredith Wilson
2. What Is This Thing Called Love?-Cole Porter
3. When October Goes-Johnny Mercer & Barry Manilow
4. They Can't Take That Away From Me-Andrew William Thorpe & George Gershwin
5. Black Hole Sun-Chris Cornell
6. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To-Cole Porter
7. Creep-Mike Hazelwood, Albert Hammond
8. I've Never Been In Love Before-Frank Loesser
9. Good Morning Heartache-Irene Higginbotham, Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher
10. I'm Not In Love-Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart
11. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter- Joe Young, Fred Ahlert
12. So In Love-Cole Porter
13. Moon River-Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini
14. Two For The Road- Leslie Bricusse, Henry Mancini

Tianna Hall loves to sing standards and she has the musical skills to perform perfectly.  She is blessed on this CD with some super sidemen that bring the total musical product to the highest level.  Miguel Villicana did most of the wonderful arrangements and played piano beautifully, Agustin Bernal's bass playing was great and Gabriel Puentes drumming provided a perfect foundation for the group.  Of note also was the fact that David Caceres sang and played sax on "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and also was Associate Producer and assisted with the audio engineering.  David is a truly talented musician and if you are not familiar with David, look up the June 12th, 2012 blog I posted on his latest CD.

By the way, when is the last time you bought a new CD with 14 songs on it. Yea! to Tianna Hall for giving her fans a bonus number of songs. You can buy this CD for $9.99 on iTunes and other music sources.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So You've Cut A New CD, Now What?

I recently read an article written by Eliot Van Buskirk that I think clearly painted a picture of recording artists being between a "rock and a hard place". As Van Buskirk put it, "Music Is Still Too Expensive To Be Free, Too Free To Be Expensive". Today's most popular streaming sites, like Spotify and Pandora have millions of users but the bottom line payouts to recording artists are tiny and can take over a year to collect. So what can recording artists do after they cut a new CD? In past years, they would try to pitch their CD to a record label looking for a recording contract from the label. If successful, the label would earn their money by providing the marketing power to get the word out about the new CD and put it in front of the buying public. In return for their promotional and marketing efforts, the label obtains a lock on the artists and their songs.

Fast forward to today and the major labels won't touch a new artist unless they think the artist can sell several million CDs and even then the amount of promoting and marketing would be very limited unless they feel the artist has mega star potential.

As a result many recording artists have moved to self publish their new CDs. The cost of quality recording equipment has dropped to the point where self publishing music is within the reach of most new artists.

This is all well and good but after the CD is cut, most artists are at a total loss as to how to get the word out and as a result just simply sell the CD at one of their live performances.

Considering that new artists today can self publish effectively and inexpensively, it seems to me that there should be more affordable promotional and marketing available to help new recording artists get the word out about their products. Artists who self publish their music have a good chance to produce a profit from their CD because the number of sales needed to break even is low and in many cases is less than 10,000 sales.

I wish I had the answers to these marketing questions because I believe there are answers out there. I can share the names of a couple of marketing firms that do an excellent job with their small recording clients. I have received some great new CDs to review from both of these firms.  KL Productions is owned by Karen Leipziger and can be contacted at Karen is a very effective promoter, represents some major league musicians and takes a personal interest in all her clients. Another is Kari Gaffney who owns Kari-on Productions and she can be contacted at Kari has lots of new talented performers that she works with and also takes a personal interest in all her clients.

If any of my readers have other sources that can help in getting the word out for new CDs, please share that information with me so I can pass it on.                      

CD Review: Clairdee Releases Her Forth CD, "A Love Letter to Lina"

San Francisco based Vocalist Clairdee has admired and been a fan of Lena Horne since she was four years old.  Clairdee was not just in...