Diana Ross Summer Tour 2017

Diana Ross Summer Tour 2017Diana Ross was here in Las Vegas earlier this year. She performed a mini 9-date residency at the Venetian Theatre. While I personally did not attend, the show reviews were stellar. I mean, you have to put the word Legendary when you address Ms. Ross, right?

We are talking Motown here. As far as I am concerned, that is the beginning of the Soul music movement. Diana Ross was an original player in that movement. You look around today, and there are some Motown artists that are still touring. We have to behonest here, though. Most of them are just a shell of themselves, and there are very few original members still around.

You cannot fake Diana Ross.

Let’s break down some of the accolades:

  • Female Entertainer Of The Century – Billboard Magazine
  • Most Successful Female Artist In History – Guinness Book Of World Records
  • Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame – With the Supremes
  • Kennedy Center Honors – 2007
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom – 2016
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award – 2012

For those of you who weren’t able to see Ms. Ross in Vegas, she will be starting theDiana Ross Summer Tour 2017. Shewillperform onseveral dates in June and July,with a couple of spot dates in August and September.

Here are some of the big city performances:

Ms. Ross will be a part of the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on the 4th of July Weekend.

Here is the complete schedule for theDiana Ross Summer Tour 2017

Unfortunately for those in the west, Texas is as close as she will get. There are severalshows for those of you in the central and eastern time zones. This may be a good excuse to plan a road trip around one of the shows.



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Album Review Just Funkin’ Around By Pieces Of A Dream

Pieces of A Dream Just Funkin' AroundPieces Of A Dream is back with a new album. They have always been a favorite of mine, since back in the old days. Remember the trackFo-Fi-Fo? That was in tribute to the famous Moses Malone prediction for the 1983 NBA playoffs. Thefounding members, keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon actually were discovered by Grover Washington, Jr. almost forty years ago! Being together in the music biz for that long is an accomplishment.

I guess you can call their sound fusion, as all of the instruments get some shine, but you can always count on one thing. Their tracks are always soulful and groovy. They have been featured several times in the Smooth Jazz Mix series. You can check that out here, and also here.

The new release is calledJust Funkin’ Around, and I must say that it is another hot one. The album features all original tracks that you can sink your teeth into.

Album Review Just Funkin’ Around By Pieces Of A Dream

The first track is Right Back Atcha’. The song delivers that trademark mid-tempo groove that we love so much. The keyboard and the saxophone play off of each other nicely, and the groove will keep those feet tapping. This may be a track that we feature on a future edition of the mix series.

The title track,Just Funkin’ Around is up next. You immediately hear that bassline, and you know it will get funky real fast. You also hear a little Stax flavoring in there. What you don’t know about Stax? Well, you better ask somebody.

Up next is Shaken, Not Stirred. It does not make a difference whether you like your martini’s shaken or stirred, we can all agree that this track belongs on a film soundtrack. There are two sax parts in the song, and that works surprisingly well.

They break it down a little bit with Sensuosity. James Lloyd totally runs those keys, and it has one of those 80’s electro sounds. Excellent choice for this track.

I really like the trend of adding some EDM elements in the music. I have written about it at length in other posts. Fast Lane is another one of those EDM influenced tracks withan uptempo beat. The title is appropriate, as this is definitely a song to be played as you are riding down the highway.

OnThe Move is another strong mid-tempo track, and this is one that I want to hear live. I always say that there are certain tracks that you need to experience live to get the full effect. Once again, the keyboard takes center stage. Like a great ad-lib from a vocalist, the keyboard ad-libs are totally on point.

No Doubt and Let’s Do This are classic Pieces Of A Dream lounge tracks. On both tracks, the grooves sit right in the pocket. I would not be mad if each track wasten minutes long. I guess I will have to settle for five minutes each.

The set closes out with Manhattan, and they may have saved the best for last. Once again, Lloyd is handling those keys, and it is an all around great song. I am sure you will love the vibe.

What Can I Do..I mean, say? Just Funkin’ Around is another winner by this iconic group. They continue to give us the style of music that we like to hear, and they never disappoint. They are always current with the sounds, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down.

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Top Jazz Tracks Week of May 28

 

Lindsey Webster Back To Your Heart

Top Jazz Tracks Week of May 28

Lindsey Webster takes the top spot this week with Where Do You Want To Go.  If you have not had a chance to listen to the album, you are missing out on some fine tracks.  Webster will be on the road for several dates this summer.  We will keep you posted on her whereabouts.  New to the top ten this week include Special EFX and their new offering, Lavish, and Norman Brown with It Keeps Coming Back.

  Song Artist Album Listen! Buy Now!
1 Where Do You Want To Go Lindsey Webster Lindsey Webster Back To Your Heart
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2 Hey Girl Brian Culbertson Brian Culbertson Funk
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3 Boom Boom Gerald Albright
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4 Hush Paul Brown Paul Brown
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5 Bona Fide Julian Vaughn Julian Vaughn
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6 Midnight Drive Michael Lington Michael Lington Second Nature
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7 It Keeps Coming Back Norman Brown
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8 We Don’t Talk Anymore Rick Braun Featuring Peter White Rick Braun Around The Horn
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9 Lavish Special EFX Special EFX
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10 Shuffle The Deck John Novello Featuring Tom Scott John Novello
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Steve Oliver Concert Dates 2017

The thing about jazz instrumentalists, is that unless you are in tune with the artist’s sound or tone, you may not know who is playing when their song comes on.  You do not have that problem with Steve Oliver.  He has a distinctive guitar sound, and you will know a Steve Oliver song when you hear it.

Steve Oliver Concert Dates 2017So when did I first hear of Mr. Oliver?  I heard this song called High Noon on the radio.  That is off the Positive Energy album from 2002.  This actually coincided with the start of the Smooth Jazz Mix series.  For the first mix project, I wanted tracks that were uptempo, but not too fast.  High Noon was exactly the type of song that I wanted, so I actually built the first mix around that track.

Not too long after that, I heard another track called Chips and Salsa.  That track is off the 3D album from 2004.  There were two things that immediately caught my attention.  The guitar tone that I mentioned earlier, and also the scat singing along with the melody.  I’ll tell you what,  if I was a guitarist, I would scat along with pretty much all of my songs.  For me, scatting just hypes the song a little more.

Anyway, after hearing Chips and Salsa, I had to hear more from this artist.  The 3D album is full of great tracks.  Magic World, You Rescued Me, and my favorite – In The Shade Of Cool.

After hearing that album, I officially became a fan.  By the way, the Radiant album is pretty hot also.  Be sure to check out Feeling Good, Cool, and Bend Or Break.  I am sure you will like those tracks.  

Oliver has nine albums, plus the Live album from 2008, and the Snowfall Holiday album from 2006.  They are all good as far as I am concerned.

Oliver will perform on select dates through October, and I am sure more dates will be added to the schedule.  

Here is what we have so far:

Steve Oliver Concert Dates 2017

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Top Jazz Tracks Week of May 21

 

Paul Brown

Top Jazz Tracks Week of May 21

Paul Brown continues at the top spot this week with Hush.  This is the second week at number one.  If you are in Portugal in September, you may want to check out Paul Brown.  He will be a part of the Portugal Jazz Fest.

Jeff Lorber Fusion is back in the top ten this week with Hyperdrive.

 

  Song Artist Album Listen! Buy Now!
1 Hush Paul Brown Paul Brown
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2 Hey Girl Brian Culbertson Brian Culbertson Funk
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3 Midnight Drive Michael Lington Michael Lington Second Nature
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4 Where Do You Want To Go Lindsey Webster Lindsey Webster Back To Your Heart
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5 Boom Boom Gerald Albright
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6 Why Not Marc Antoine Featuring Philippe Saisse
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7 Shuffle The Deck John Novello Featuring Tom Scott John Novello
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8 Bona Fide Julian Vaughn Julian Vaughn
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9 We Don’t Talk Anymore Rick Braun Featuring Peter White Rick Braun Around The Horn
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10 Hyperdrive Jeff Lorber Fusion Jeff Lorber Fusion Prototype
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