A Blessing of Music
I can only speak for myself; 2019 was a true whirlwind of new and outstanding music. Destin Smooth Jazz did our first show in May and its becoming nearly a fulltime job trying to keep up with the great music hitting the streets, reviewing email from artists who are interested in coming to the Panhandle to help Destin Smooth Jazz realize #FloridaJazzCentral, the hub of jazz in Florida and the southeast. Lofty goals? Yes, dream big, work hard and try my best to make it happen. Of course, I need your help with buying tickets and supporting the artists,
I love live music and the best live performance I saw in 2019 was Pieces of a Dream at the Gulf Coast Summerfest. Although I have seen POD at least four times over the years, they came and showed out on one of the hottest days in September on the Gulf Coast. You can check out a few clips on our YouTube page. Smooth Jazz Network (SJN) did a Top 100 of 2019 and POD landed at #81 with On Another Note. As can be expected James Lloyd shines through as he tickles the keys on this upbeat smooth jam. My favorite in the collection is Kickin’ & Screamin’. Smoothjazzride.com stated, “Combining an uncanny sense of musicianship and professionalism (the late Count Basie once called them a “tough act to follow,” and the late Grover Washington, Jr. took them under his wing and signed them as the first group with his then-new production company), Pieces just keeps strutting along with their magical potion of jazz, funk, R&B, blues, and pop.” If you haven’t checked this project, take some time and have a great treat. Grab more info on their website, http://piecesofadream.net
Phil Denny hit the Smooth Jazz scene in 2012 with his tenor sax and has since had six Billboard hits and a #1 in 2018 with his single Switch Up. I heard some of his work earlier last year and was really impressed by his talent. SJN has him listed as the anchorman at #100 for 2019. His Brio Bounce, the intro, if nothing else, will make you jump up and head for the dancefloor. His sax skills are clean and straightforward, and the bass line is sure to get your fingers snapping and feet tapping. Check out his website and make plans to catch him on tour in 2020. BTW, Solux is a very sweet cut and I soon realized why, another contribution by Adam Hawley. Adam, we can’t wait to see you this week in Fort Walton Beach, FL for Destin Smooth Jazz’s My New Year Groove. For local fans, we added saxophonist Al Alvarado as the opener and he always brings fire. Check out Phil’s page at https://www.phildenny.com/man
Who doesn’t love a great bass line and even more, a great bass player! This artist was a drummer, turned celloist and converted to a bass player. Brian Bromberg comes from a family of musicians, so it only seems natural he would develop a grand skill. Brian Bromberg hit #93 for 2019 with Thicker than Water. My favorite on the project, Is That the Best You can Do, but all of the cuts are very nice.
I came across Brian last year when searching for jazz bass players and I found Downright Upright and I was instantly a fan. In MHO, he is one of the top bassists in the game today. If you are a fan of Watercolors on SiriusXM, I’m certain you have heard a few of his cuts. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with his two latest projects, I reached out to him to begin exploring the possibility of bringing him to the Gulf Coast.
His website spells it out in plain English, “pushing the barriers of the acoustic and electric bass to their limits. Commonly using as many as 10 or more basses on his recordings, using different tunings, string configurations, acoustic basses, electric basses, piccolo basses etc… Brian has taken the bass and truly turned it into a vehicle for him to make music, write melodies, and be the lead melodic voice as well as the rhythmic foundation of the music. See more about him at https://brianbromberg.net/home.
Lastly, I received an email earlier in the day from a young trumpeter/flugelhornist out of the Napa, California area. He simply dropped me a line stating, “I’m working on a ‘trap jazz’ easy listening/maybe it’s a Smooth Jazz type of tune.. It’s currently being mixed and mastered. Demo here – https://soundcloud.com/robert-gastelum-264936958/plane-whack”. Also check out his track titled Self-medicated sung my Angle Morale out of the UK. Take a listen to Rob G and leave your comments below.