Saturday, December 12, 2015

Uptown Yardie: The Monty Alexander Trio Live at Yoshi’s By Shelah Moody

Following their stint at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival, the Monty Alexander Trio, featuring Jeff Hamilton (drums) and John Clayton (bass), played to a sold out house at Yoshi’s Oakland on Sept. 23.
Alexander, a Grammy-nominated, Jamaica-born pianist/composer, told the story of his illustrious career on the black and white keys of a Steinway & Sons grand piano. The trio celebrated the music of Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley.
Alexander, 71, is perhaps the only artist to maintain careers concurrently in the genres of jazz and reggae, collaborating with the likes of Dizzie Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Ranglin and Sly and Robbie to name a few. As a trio, Alexander, Clayton and Hamilton have been playing together since 1975. In 2006, Alexander recorded one of his finest reggae albums, “Concrete Jungle: The Music of Bob Marley,” recorded at Tuff Gong studios in Kingston and featuring some of the hottest players in contemporary reggae and jazz-- Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), Dean Fraser (saxophone) Glen Browne (bass), Junior Jazz (guitar) Herlin Riley and Rolando Alphanso Wilson (drums) and Luciano (vocals) and more .
At Yoshi’s, the room became silent as Alexander played the first chords of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and segued into a tribute to the reggae icon with one of his most popular ballads, “No Woman, No Cry.”
“Yardie!” a man called out from the audience.
“Yeah mon, yuh hear what me a seh; that gentleman is acknowledging the fact that we come from yard, and the yard is the nexus of the house; it’s better than the kitchen,” said Alexander, in a regal, uptown Jamaican accent. “Jamaica gave us riddim.”
Alexander performed one of his original compositions, the one drop-infused “Think Twice,” which is based on Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale.” Alexander added a distinct Caribbean flavor to Charlie Chaplin’s somber ballad “Smile,” featuring an ethereal bass solo by Clayton. Alexander showed off his R&B chops with a lively version of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 hit, “Isn’t She Lovely.”

At age 18, while Alexander was performing at a bar in Florida, Frank Sinatra happened to walk in and change the course of his life by taking him from saloons to “high class joints.” Impressed by the young man’s style on the piano, Sinatra flew Alexander to New York, and he went on to play with Ole Blue Eyes for two-three years on and off. Alexander honored Sinatra’s centennial birthday with hits such as “Mack the Knife,” “Night and Day” and “Strangers in the Night.” For more on Monty Alexander concert dates, go, Yoshi’s line up, Hear the music of Monty Alexander on Streetwise Radio’s Jazz Café.

Sunday, November 15, 2015



Half German, half Japanese, Naoki spent his early years in Tokyo and Osaka. It is customary in the Land of the Rising Sun to push children at a tender age, which meant that by the age of five he was already taking classical piano lessons and penning his first compositions. 

By the time he was 13, in 1982, his parents sent him to boarding school in Germany to improve his educationFar from his homeland, Naoki discovered the electric guitar and became a member of the school band. The band’s concerts proved a washout, but his first gig convinced Naoki that music would determine his life. As he turned 18 he left school without his parents consent to dedicate himself to his dream. And his interest in electronic music began to grow under the influence of Japanese culture: he felt no less inspired by Helden Szene than by Yellow Magic Orchestra and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

With his first album Tozai from 1999 he already landed a US release, such as few European artists manage. This was followed by further discs in Japan, Europe and the USA on labels like Sony or Universal/US. In 2000 Naoki released the album Shogun on Neuton under the pseudonym “JP Juice”, followed in 2001 by the album Electric Bolero on ICM by his project “Planet Lounge” - a style mix of jazz, world percussion and electronics created together with Christoph Spendel and Hakim Ludin.

Steadily the visual component has gained increasing importance for his productions. From gifted producer Kenji has moved on to become a go-getting video artist, as highlighted by his contributions to the cult TV series “Flowmotion”. In 2002 his album Denshi Ongaku was published by Elektrolux for the first time simultaneously as a CD and a DVD, a milestone for the renowned downbeat label. The album Ecoustic (Elektrolux) followed on in Spring 2004 with a small concert tour.

The CD and DVD Fukai (under the moniker JP Juice) and the video Leben for the band “Schiller” in 2003 on Universal gained Naoki Kenji lasting respect in the scene as a video artist and director. With his series “Man vs. Machine”, the club-oriented version of his established “Flowmotion” format, Naoki together with Tomio Tremmel (The Sushi Club) were given their own TV programme by Hessischer Rundfunk in 2004. Parallel to this Fukai Remixed was released on Blue Flame, featuring remixes by famed producers such as Gabriel le Mar, Pascal Feos, Andreas Kauffelt and Lemongrass. Acclaimed chill-out compilations such as Cafe del Mar or Erotic Lounge have licensed numerous of his tracks.

Doubtless the high point to date in Naoki’s visual-musical output has been the music documentary Brahmand. During the two years in which he shot the film between 2002 and 2004, he travelled to such counties as Laos, Thailand, Burma, Namibia and India. Impressed by the enormous diversity of this planet, he has created in a kind of one-man-show a film without words, in which not only positive but also negative visual impressions and experiences are captured on celluloid. In spring 2005 he and his partner of many years, Tomio Tremel, founded their own label and music publishing house, 4mpo, which aims at presenting a safe platform for their projects even when times get hard. After the Planet Lounge album Nazim and other pearls of the lounge genre, further sounds are planned for the label in the coming years, including the album Versatile, Naoki’s latest long player.

Naoki Kenji feels music is a way of conveying his inner feelings, is a mirror of his soul. He is not one of those musicians who enjoys sitting in bars or partying till dawn. His creative work is so fulfilling that he has no need of any other leisure pursuits. For this he draws intuitively on his outstanding abilities as composer and producer, doing things “in one go”, rather than working for weeks on end toying with one short sequence. Whatever Naoki Kenjii is doing at the moment, whether music, film, video or remix, his work is always distinguished by the high demands he places on himself and by great technical perfectionism - and with that he serves up time and again true delicacies that delight even the most jaded eyes and ears.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Michael e

.As I’m sitting here on this cold breezy 62 degrees “sunny” day in San Jose, CA, I’m  thinking about cooking something very comforting and warm while listening to Michael e. I’m imagining floating downward through the clouds, moving softly down with the warm sun shining and land gently in a field of flowers. The power of his music puts me there instantly! Very relaxing. Michael e is from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. His music is considered smooth chill jazz and I must say, this Brit is very smooth. Michael e’s music takes the stress and worry from my body. This pianist composes his own music and plays all the parts. He started out in 2006 with his debut album “Beautiful World.” His songs “Ship to America,”  “Rainy Thursday,”  “Beautiful World” and “The Things They Say” are personal favorites. If you enjoy smooth chill jazz, you will love Michael e. Check out his music on Streetwise Radio.

Friday, October 23, 2015


NEW ORLEANS, LA— Grammy winning trombonist and New Orleans native Delfeayo Marsalis will bring the sounds of New Orleans jazz to Sao Paulo’s Bourbon Street Music Club, Mangaratiba Jazz and Blues Festival, as well as venues in Natal, Brazil from October 21-25. Marsalis will travel with his sextet, vocalist Sharon Martin, saxophonist David Caceres, pianist Kyle Roussell, bassist David Pulphus, and drummer Peter Varnado. These performances will promote exchange experiences between Brazilian music and New Orleans jazz. 
“It’s inspiring to bring the beauty of one city to another on such a grand scale,” says Marsalis. “It’s an honor to continue showcasing New Orleans jazz internationally through various initiatives.” 
Modeled after New Orleans restaurants and jazz venues, Sao Paulo’s famous Bourbon Street Music Club brings Louisiana heritage to Sao Paulo through food and music. The Marsalis’ sextet will perform on October 21, at 10 p.m. BRT (Brazilian Time). 
The inaugural Mangaratiba Jazz & Blues Festival will take place on the Green Coast from October 23-October 25 with Marsalis’ group performing on October 23 at 8 p.m. 
The Brazilian tour will close in Natal, Brazil with the band performing at the 5º MPB Jazz Fest. This festival begins on October 21 and Marsalis’ sextet will perform on the festival’s final day, October 25 at 5 p.m. 
For more information, visit, like him on Facebook:, follow him on Twitter: @delfeayo
About Delfeayo Marsalis 
Delfeayo Marsalis is one of the top trombonists, composers, and producers in jazz today. He is also a member of the famed “first family of jazz,” which includes Marsalis’ father and pianist Ellis Marsalis, and brothers, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and percussionist Jason Marsalis. Marsalis also showcases his talent through literature and drama. He is author of the award-winning children’s book No Cell Phone Day and founder of Uptown Music Theatre (UMT). Since 2000, UMT has provided professional dramatic arts training to New Orleans youth, encouraging them to explore the world from different perspectives. 

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Trumpet Star Joins the SFJAZZ Collective
Group will perform new arrangements of music by Michael Jackson

Sean Jones joins the SFJAZZ Collective, replacing long-time member and trumpeter Avishai Cohen, as the group prepares for its 2015 Fall Tour which will feature new arrangements of the music of Michael Jackson and new original compositions.

For the remarkable composer, trumpeter, and educator Sean Jones, the pursuit of jazz is a most serious endeavor. Deeply influenced by his immersion in Gospel music in the church as a youth, Sean had an epiphany at the age of 19 while he was a student at Youngstown State University. The awakening was his first hearing of the magnificent John Coltrane’s masterpiece A Love Supreme. After receiving his Master’s Degree from Rutgers University, Sean performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for six years, participating in two recordings. During that time, Sean started touring and performing regularly with his own ensembles and began his longtime relationship with Mack Avenue Records, for whom he has just released his seventh recording.

SFJAZZ Collective will perform new arrangements of Michael Jackson music and original compositions at the SFJAZZ Center from October 22-25 and will be recording that material for a future release.

"...I know in the end, my body of work is going to show a progression of who Sean Jones is in its most honest form. What I’m hearing, what I believe and what I have to say." — Sean Jones

The Music of Michael Jackson & Original Compositions
SFJAZZ Collective
THU-SUN, OCT 22-25

Miguel Zenón alto sax · David Sánchez tenor sax
Sean Jones trumpet · Robin Eubanks trombone
Warren Wolf vibraphone · Edward Simon piano
Matt Penman bass · Obed Calvaire drums

SFJAZZ’s resident all-star ensemble presents new arrangements of music by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and new compositions by the band. Much like the approach took with Stevie Wonder’s material a few years ago, the Collective brings the same probing intelligence, incisive lyricism, harmonic insight and rhythmic energy to well-crafted pop tunes as to material conceived for jazz settings.

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SFJAZZ’s resident all-star ensemble presents new arrangements of music by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and new compositions by the band. Much like the approach took with Stevie Wonder’s material a few years ago, the Collective brings the same probing intelligence, incisive lyricism, harmonic insight and rhythmic energy to well-crafted pop tunes as to material conceived for jazz settings.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ron Scott Plays The San Jose Jazz Festival August 7th through 9th

San Jose, California as well as the Bay Area, has a lot of talented musicians and bands that are so underrated. My husband says it’s because San Jose Jazz Festival committee, don’t promote its local talent. For several years my husband and the bands he played with would send in CD’s and get turned down. Yet instead play festivals in other cities like San Francisco, Berkeley and Sacramento and get on the main stage opening for artist or head lining. One artist that is playing the San Jose Jazz Festival has deep roots in San Jose. I’m talking about Ron Scott, he was born in San Jose and raised here in the Sunnyhills section of Milpitas. He is a self-taught jazz keyboardist, songwriter and director. Ron as well as his band, The 650 Connection is a mix of urban, smooth, funky, R&B jazz, with fiery Latin rhythms. Ron Scott and his band The 650 Connection has opened for and played with some vary notable recording artist like Chaka Khan, Raheem Devaughn, The O’Jays , Lenny Williams, Whispers, Regina Belle, The DeBarges, Billy Preston and Rose Royce, El Chicano, Lakeside and Bryon Miller. Ron Scott’s latest album ‘In the Keys of Love’ was released in 2014. This album has several songs that are going on my play list like, “Funkin' for Luv (feat. Rasheed Wedlow)”, “My Sweet Diary (feat. Juan Escovedo & Rasheed Wedlow)”, “Last Night Was Amazing (feat. Frank Threadgill Sr.)”, “n the Keys of Love”, “Afro Cuban Blues (feat. Tony Lindsay, Juan Escovedo, Ric Feliciano & Federico Zuniga)” and “Midnight Strut (feat. Rick Warren, Jivoni Jordan, Lucien La Motte, Larry Refu Sanders & Clay Bandy)”. Ron Scott may not be playing on the main stage, in my opinion he should be. He is playing on the YP Gordon Biersch Stage on August 7, 2015 at 8pm. Go check out Ron Scott, you will be happily amazed at his talent and become a fan. Listen to songs from Ron Scott on Streetwise Radio. You can also listen to Streetwise Radio on Pandora, iTunes, Live365, Athena365 and MyGen365.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Billy Cobham's "Spectrum 40"


Billy Cobham's "Spectrum 40"
      Tuesday April 28th & 29th  2015
      510 Embarcadero West, Oakland, CA 94607
Call For Info and Tickets (510) 238-9200