• Succeeding in Music by John Stiernberg | Book Review

    Title: Succeeding in Music
    Author: John Stiernberg
    Genre: Music Businees Book and Workbook with CD-Rom
    Page Count: 198 pages

    About the Book:

    Published by Backbeat Books in 2002, John Stiernberg’s “Succeeding in Music” is a user-friendly guide to the music business, finance, and marketing. “Succeeding in Music” teaches the reader how to create and implement their own business plan with a basic and easily understandable roadmap. It includes a CD-ROM with checklists, resources, and other templates to help you plan and manage your music career.

    Our Thoughts:

    This book is highly recommended for those who need an introduction to music business and marketing, this is the perfect book. However, if you have read extensively on or have a background in music business, this book is not for you.

    “Succeeding in Music” is in a way, a “Music Business 101” class in an easily digestible, book form. It covers many of the business and marketing essentials necessary to starting and maintaining a successful career. Much of the advice offered can be found online for free on various music blogs if you’re willing to spend the time to look for it, but this book presents the information in one convenient text.

    It’s definitely a great first book if you don’t have any experience with marketing or running your own business, but if you do have any background knowledge (or if you have done a bit of independent research), you might find the content of this book to be nothing but a review.

    The author, John Stiernberg, works for a business consulting company he established in 1993. He frequently speaks at seminars, works as a professional musician, and has experience working as a booking agent.

    Get Succeeding in Music – A Business Workbook for Performers, Songwriters and Agents Book/CD-ROM on Amazon

    October 22, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1563

  • Kiki Ebsen’s Scarecrow Sessions Review

    Kiki Ebsen’s latest release, Scarecrow Sessions, is a tribute to her late father and her first endeavor covering the classics of The Great American Songbook that her father often encouraged her to take on as a vocalist. Produced by David Mann, the project launched following a successful Kickstarter campaign and has since gone on the see #2 on the most added radio single charts.

    Scarecrow Sessions opens with the hauntingly beautiful rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” before transitioning into “If I Only Had a Brain.” The Latin-influenced arrangement of “Comes Love” is a fantastic take on the jazz classic and with “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” one of my favorite tracks on the project. “At the Codfish Ball” has a fun clarinet solo and was a song that Ebsen’s father, Buddy Ebsen, sang and danced to alongside Shirley Temple in Captain January.

    The album features the talents of John Patitucci, Henry Hey, Chuck Loeb, Clint de Ganon, and David Mann.

    Kiki Ebsen has toured and performed with artists such as Al Jarreau, Tracy Chapman, Boz Scaggs, Christopher Cross, and Chicago. Her original compositions have been recorded by artists such as Boney James, Eric Marienthal and Jessy J.

    Get Scarecrow Sessions on Amazon

    Title: Scarecrow Sessions
    Artist: Kiki Ebson
    Date: September 30, 2014
    Genre: Jazz
    Label: Painted Pony Media


    01 You Don’t Know What Love Is
    02 If I Only Had a Brain
    03 Missing You
    04 Moon River
    05 Comes Love
    06 Tea for Two
    07 At the Codfish Ball
    08 Laura
    09 Easy to Love
    10 Prelude
    11 St. Louis Blues
    12 Over the Rainbow

    Get Scarecrow Sessions on Amazon

    October 8, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1465

  • Rick Braun Can You Feel It Review

    Can You Feel It is trumpet player Rick Braun’s 16th release as a solo artist and his return to the more jazz-funk that got him started with Beat Street in 1994.

    This latest effort from contemporary jazz veteran Rick Braun includes 11 tracks with 9 written or co-written by Braun and all of the classic energy that fans have come to know and love from him.

    The album moves from track to track with nonstop funky grooves and catchy horn section riffs. “Take Me to the River” is an excellent rendition of the Al Green tune with the talented vocals of Elliot Yamin. “Delta” is another fun, high-energy track, written by Braun and Jeff Lorber.

    Can You Feel It features the talents of Brian Culbertson, Phillippe Saisse, Nathaniel Kearney Jr, Rand Jacobs, Third Richardson, Nate Phillips, Euge Groove, Elliot Yamin, Dave Koz, Jeff Lorber, Richard Freemont, and Sergio Gonazalez.

    More about the artist:

    Rick Braun has a diverse and accomplished career as a performer across the jazz, pop, and rock genres. His accomplishments include everything from having co-written a Top 20 pop hit for REO Speedwagon (“Here with Me”), performing and touring with artists such as Rod Stewart, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, Tom Petty, and War, and several #1 hits on the smooth jazz charts as a composer and as an artist.

    Get Can You Feel It on Amazon

    Title: Can You Feel It
    Artist: Rick Braun
    Date: July 08, 2014
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Artistry Music


    01 Can You Feel It
    02 Back to Back
    03 Take Me to the River
    04 Mallorca
    05 Get Up and Dance
    06 Another Kind of Blue
    07 Delta
    08 Silk
    09 Radar
    10 The Dream
    11 Dr Funkenstein

    Get Can You Feel It on Amazon

    October 1, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1713

  • Jonathan Butler Living My Dream Review

    Two-time Grammy nominee Jonathan Butler is celebrating the opportunity he has to live his dream with his latest release. On June 24, 2014, the guitarist and singer-songwriter released “Living My Dream” through Artistry Music.

    The album opens with “African Breeze,” an uptempo re-imagining of the tune originally written for the film The Jewel of the Nile starring Kathleen Turner, Danny Devito, and Michael Douglas. Following “Africain Breeze” is the title track “Living My Dream,” a laid-back, RnB/Soul influenced cut highlighted by horns from Katisse Buckingham and Brigg Sterns.

    Third on the album is “Be Still,” written by Jonathan Butler and the legendary George Duke. The song showcases the talents of Marcus Miller who is also featured on “Let There Be Light” alongside Elan Trotman on sax.

    Living My Dream continues with a diverse collection of instrumental and vocal tunes penned by Butler (with the exception of “Song for You” written by Dennis Dodd, Jr.). It includes a great cast of musicians such as Katisse Buckingham, Jodie Butler, Aaron Gutierrez, Antonio Sol, Gordon Campbell, Time Carmon, Dennis Dodd Jr., George Duke, Mike Eita, Agape Jerry, Dan Lutz, Marcus Miller, Rashawn Ross, Garrett Smith, Brigg Sterns, Elan Trotman, Jay Williams, Dave Wood, and Ramon Yslas.

    More about the artist:

    Jonathan Butler was born and raised in South Africa as the youngest of 12 children. He began playing the guitar at age seven and began touring not long after. As a teen he earned his first record deal before moving to the UK and then the US. He’s earned Grammy nominations and has had the opportunity to tour with artists such as Kirk Whalum and Dave Koz.

    Get Living My Dream on Amazon

    Title: Evolve
    Artist: Jackiem Joyner
    Date: April 29, 2014
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Artistry Music/Mack Avenue


    01 African Dream
    02 Living My Dream
    03 Be Still
    04 Let There Be Light
    05 Heart and Soul
    06 Song for You
    07 Catembe
    08 Night to Remember
    09 All About Love
    10 Sweet Serenade
    11 A Prayer

    Get Living My Dream on Amazon

    September 24, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1537

  • Andrew Neu’s Everything Happens for a Reason Review

    On September 13, 2013, saxophonist Andrew Neu released Everything Happens for a Reason, an energetic and excellently performed collection of 12 songs.

    Everything Happens for a Reason is Neu’s fourth album as an artist, featuring an interesting blend of jazz, R&B, classical and Latin music. The album showcases the talents of Steve Oliver and Brian Bromberg (also co-producers of the project), Jeff Lorber, Bobby Caldwell, Rick Braun, Tom Schuman and Alex Acuna.

    The album opens with the title track “Everything Happens for a Reason,” with Neu on alto and accompanied by a full horn section. “Poolside” keeps the energy going before Neu slows down with “Hit Me Up” and “What Would I Do.” The album picks back up before concluding with the horn section driven “Date Night,” closing with an instrumental version of “What I Would Do.”

    Andrew Neu regularly tours with artists such as Bobby Caldwell, Diane Schuur, and Smokey Robinson. His past credits include performances with Elton John, Patti Labelle, Mel Torme, The Four Tops and more.

    Get Everything Happens For A Reason on Amazon

    Title: Everything Happens for a Reason
    Artist: Andrew Neu
    Date: September 13, 2013
    Genre: Jazz
    Label: NuGroove Records


    01 Everything Happens for a Reason
    02 Poolside
    03 Hit Me Up
    04 Orchestral Prelude to What Would I Do
    05 What Would I Do
    06 Night of the Mojito
    07 Take Five
    08 Dreaming of Lions
    09 Bring it On
    10 Vespa
    11 Date Night
    12 What Would I Do Instrumental

    Get Everything Happens For A Reason on Amazon

    September 17, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1465

  • Bastian Weinhold “Cityscape” Review

    On May 28, 2014, New York City based drummer Bastian Weinhold released his sophomore project, Cityscape, a collection of original compositions with a fantastic lineup of musicians.

    Cityscape opens with the first in a series of interludes, “Interlude I,” where each of the musicians check their instruments over the sounds of the city before delving into the title track, “Cityscape.”

    The album has an edgy fusion-influenced feel with tunes like “Mole Hunt” but is well-balanced with a few jazzier compositions and ballads like “Home to Home.” “One for the Doctor,” however, with its intricate melody is the standout track on the album for me.

    Overall the album is a great listen with fantastic performances from Bastian Weinhold on drums, Nils Weinhold on guitar, Adam Larson on saxophone and Raviv Markovitz on bass. It’s wonderful to hear how a new generation of artists are taking hold of the jazz idiom and making it their own, and this album is a fine example of just that.

    Get Cityscape on Amazon.

    Title: Cityscape
    Artist: Bastian Weinhold
    Date: May 28, 2014
    Genre: Jazz
    Label: FRAME Music


    01 Interlude I
    02 Cityscape
    03 The Snowman
    04 Alone
    05 Interlude II
    06 Mole Hunt
    07 Home To Home
    08 Everyday List
    09 One for the doctor
    10 Interlude III

    Get Cityscape on Amazon.

    September 9, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 2939

  • Kim Waters Silver Soul CD Review

    Today, September 2, 2014 marks the release of saxophonist Kim Waters’ latest release, Silver Soul. The album celebrates his 25th year as a recording artist and has already seen great success on the Smooth Jazz Radio Charts.

    Silver Soul is a collection of both originals penned by Waters and covers such as John Legend’s “All of Me.” The standout track of the album for me is definitely “Fireflies” with Zendaya’s stunning vocal performance, but “Laying Beside Me” is a close second.

    The album is Waters’ 20th as an artist – his first was Sweet & Saxy, recorded in 1989 – and it is a fantastic addition to his discography. One that contemporary jazz fans will surely enjoy.

    Maryland-native Kim Waters has created quite the career as a performing artist with 14 #1 Singles, 4 #1 Albums, and 16 Top Ten Singles on the Urban, Contemporary Jazz, and Heatseekers Billboard Charts. He is currently touring alongside Maysa, Nick Colionne, Brian Simpson, Marion Meadows, and Phil Perry.

    Get Silver Soul on Amazon

    Title: Silver Soul
    Artist: Kim Waters
    Date: September 02, 2014
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Red River Entertainment


    01 Dreaming of You feat. Kayla Waters
    02 On a Mission
    03 Let’s Stay Together
    04 Go-Go Smooth
    05 Anything You Need feat. Dana Pope
    06 Cruising Round Rock
    07 All of Me
    08 Fireflies feat. Zendaya
    09 Let’s Make Love
    10 High Stride
    11 A Song for Dana
    12 Laying Beside Me feat. Eric Roberson

    Get Silver Soul on Amazon

    September 2, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1487

  • Review of Reggie Padilla’s They Come and They Go

    It was just a short time ago that we reviewed saxophonist Reggie Padilla’s debut album  “Almost Home” and it is with great pleasure that we introduce his second release, “They Come and They Go” released May 27, 2014 on Pass Out Records.

    On “They Come and They Go,” Reggie Padilla is joined by The North, a trio compromising of pianist Romain Collin, drummer Abe Lagrimas Jr. and bassist Shawn Conley.

    The album opens with “+” a tune that starts right off the bat with high energy, building into a drum solo before finally relaxing and easing into a short interlude on piano before Reggie takes over for a solo on sax. “Don’t Forget to Smile” has a great melody and it features not only Reggie Padilla, but Romain Collin on piano and Shawn Conley on bass, but it’s “The Second Round” that I could listen to on repeat.

    The tracks on the album are each beautifully composed, but what really made the record for me was the performance and the overall production. Each performer is placed in the mix just right, making the listening experience quite enjoyable, particularly with headphones. If you close your eyes and turn the volume up, you feel like you’re right there in the room with them.

    We definitely enjoyed Reggie Padilla’s latest release – so much that we featured it on our last episode of Teen Jazz Radio – and needless to say, we highly recommend it. It’s really gratifying to see young artists putting out such well-produced projects and we’d love it if you supported them so that they can continue to do just that!

    Reggie Padilla was born and raised in Long Island, New York. He began playing the saxophone at the age of nine and classical piano at the age of seven. He earned his BM in Classical Piano Performance from Long Island University at CW Post and his Master’s of Music Education from New York University. He relocated to Hawaii in 2007 where he has collaborated with artists and groups including Eric Miyashiro, Yasuko Hayakawa, Dan Hill, Stephen Bishop, and Bop Tribal.

    Visit Reggie’s website to learn more about him or you can read our interview with him here.

    Get They Come and They Go on Amazon

    Album: They Come and They Go
    Artist: Reggie Padilla
    Label: Pass Out Records
    Date: May 27, 2014
    Genre: Jazz


    01 +
    02 Don’t Forget to Smile
    03 They Come and They Go
    04 Count on Me
    05 Lullaby for Three or More
    06 Chicken and Peanuts for Kenny
    07 The Second Round
    08 Number 6
    09 Another Day

    Get They Come and They Go on Amazon

    Also, if you haven’t seen this, you should!

    June 19, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1773

  • Review of The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green

    Author: Barry Green
    Publisher: Double Day
    Publication Date: February 21, 1985
    Price: $9.99 (Kindle) $19.65 (Hardcover)
    Edition Read for Review: Hardcover, 225 Pages

    I have pretty mixed feelings about “The Inner Game of Music.” I wanted to like it, especially since it’s been such an influential book for a number of performers, but I just couldn’t. That’s not to say that there are some really great things in this book, because there are. And even though I did not particularly enjoy the book, I actually even have a few take-away items that I’d like to try.

    I’ll start out by saying what I didn’t like about the book to get it out of the way. To be honest, it was just difficult to get through. It didn’t keep my attention so I found myself skipping through sections and I was easily distracted by other tasks whenever I sat down to try to read the book. I had to keep to short bursts of reading (one chapter at a time at most) just because I couldn’t keep focused on reading the book for any length of time (which is unusual for me).

    Of course, I don’t want to deter you if this is something you’re interested in reading. It just didn’t appeal to me personally. And even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, I did get some valuable tips from it.

    To end on a positive note…

    One of the things that I liked in the book was the chapter written for parents and coaches. There are a few great tips in that chapter about how to encourage kids to practice music and find enjoyment in the craft. I think that this chapter is definitely worth reading if you have kids that struggle with practice whether you’re a parent or a teacher. It gives advice on how to create an effective practice environment with the right tools, no interruptions and the opportunity for kids to have music play time as well as practice time.

    Another interesting point that was brought up in the book surrounded the struggle adult beginners go through when they decide to pursue something like music. Adult beginners tend to set unfairly high standards “and this causes them to be unaware of the very really progress they make.” (p. 165) Comparisons to professionals rather than those at their level blocks their self-awareness and they don’t see their advances because they don’t measure their week-to-week progress.

    Overall, I can see why “The Inner Game of Music” has been such an important book for many musicians. It offers an interesting perspective and several exercises that have helped a number of performers improve their musicianship. That being said, it just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve read other reviews online that state the tennis version of the book is much better, even for musicians. If you’ve read either (or both), I’d love to know your thoughts.

    Get The Inner Game of Music on Amazon

    June 4, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1816

  • Top 10 Musician Biography Books

    There are a ton of great books out that detail the lives of some of the most influential jazz musicians and one of our goals is to help you choose some of the best reading material available to you.

    So, we decided to take a look at Amazon to see what 10 of the most popular music biographies and autobiographies were so far this summer and we have added them to our reading list so we can review them for you.

    That way, we can help weed out some of the more irrelevant material for you and save you some time so that you choose to read the best of what’s out there. (Note: When we created this list, we only selected the top book for each performer, so we skipped any duplicate bios on the Amazon list. If you recommend we read a different version of any musician’s bio on this list, please feel free to let us know in the comments.)

    Here’s the list of books we plan on reading. We’ll add our reviews to the site soon, but in the meantime, if you’ve read any of these books, what did you think?

    Please note, that for the time being, clicking any of the links below will take you to Amazon until our reviews are written.

    1. Music Is My Mistress
    by Edward Kennedy Ellington(Review Coming Soon)
    2. Miles: The Autobiographyby Miles Davis

    (Review Coming Soon)

    3.Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
    by Robin DG Kelley(Review Coming Soon)
    4. Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend
    by Michael Dregni(Review coming soon.)
    5. Pops: Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz by Thomas A. Delong(Review Coming Soon)
    6. Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings
    by Mr Peter Pettinger
    (Review Coming Soon)
    7. Jaco: The Extraordinary Tragic Life of Jaco Pastoriusby Bill Millkowski
    (Review Coming Soon)
    8. King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Eraby Edward A Berlin
    (Review Coming Soon)
    9. Chet Baker: His Life and Musicby Jeroen De Valk
    (Review Coming Soon)
    10. John Coltrane: His Life and Music
    by Lewis Porter(Review coming soon)

    May 21, 2014 • Reviews • Views: 1793