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  • A review of Al Di Meola’s Elysium

    With more than four decades in music, three gold albums, and more than six million record sales worldwide, Al Di Meola is ready for his next success with Elysium.

    The album consists of 14 original tracks with Di Meola accompanied by guests such a Philippe Saisse and Mario Parmisano on keyboards, Rhani Krija on percussion, and Peter Kaszas on drums.

    Al Di Meola can be heard blending the sounds of his Conde Hermanos acoustic prototype model with his ’71 Les Paul electric throughout the songs on Elysium, bringing two usually distinct guitar styles – a sometimes hard rock and sometimes classically romantic – together.

    Elysium opens with “Adour,” in which Di Meola accompanies an electric guitar melody with acoustic guitar. “Babylon” has a ostinato part over which Di Meola something action through a fusion-influenced melody, definitely our favorite on the project. “Purple and Gold” is somewhat cinematic in nature, but something nonetheless fitting with the other tunes on the project.

    The title track, “Elysium” has a lighter feel to it and a melody that transports you from where ever you might be listening to an intimate sonic landscape. “Amanjena” begins with a slow and something introduction before delving into a full-something with Di Meola improvising over the track on electric. The album closes with the mysterious and vibraphone driven “La Lluvia”.

    The project is definitely one that will be undoubtedly poured over by guitarists and fans of Di Meola.

    Al Di Meola has worked with Return to Forever, Rite of Strings, his Guitar Trio along with John McLaughlin and Paco Lucia, and more. He has more than 20 albums as a leader and is world renowned for his blending of world and Latin musics with jazz. He attended Berklee College of Music and soon joined Chick Corea’s fusion group Return to Forever at the age of 19. He will be honored with the 22nd Miles Davis Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival this summer (2015).

    Get Elysium on Amazon.

    Title: Elysium
    Artist: Al Di Meola
    Date: June 09, 2015
    Genre: Jazz, Jazz Fusion
    Label: inakustik Label Group

    Tracks:

    01 Adour
    02 Cascade
    03 Babylon
    04 Purple and Gold
    05 Esmeralda
    06 Elysium
    07 Amanjena
    08 Sierra
    09 Etcetera in E Major (Intro)
    10 Etcetera in E Major
    11 Tangier
    12 Stephanie
    13 Monsters
    14 La Lluvia

    Get Elysium on Amazon.

    August 19, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 1004

  • Blake Aaron Soul Stories Review

    Guitarist Blake Aaron celebrated the release of his latest project Soul Stories yesterday, May 5, 2015. The album was released by Innervision Records and has already entered the Billboard Top 10 with “Encantadora”, a salsa-influenced track featuring Najee on flute.

    The album weaves through the contemporary jazz, R&B, Latin and funk genres with a collection of ten tracks both originals and covers. In Blake Aaron’s words, “It’s the most expressive album I’ve ever made as an artist representing the many different facets of the music I love and who I am creatively.”

    Soul Stories begins with the horn-driven, disco-inspired “Groove-o-Matic” and then steps back a decade in style with the 60’s influenced Wes Side Story. He next serenades use with nylon string guitar during “Sol Amor” and uses a combination of nylon string and electric guitars for the ever popular ballad “Europa.”

    Joining forces with vocalist Spenser Day on “You’re the One for Me”, Blake Aaron steps into the jazz realm before shifting to the bluesy-rock style on “Story of the Blues.” The album closes with “You’re My Miracle” and the chart-topping “Encantadora.”

    Soul Stories is certainly a cinematic experience as Blake Aaron paints a diverse collection of aural landscapes for his listeners as the project progresses from track to track. There’s definitely something for everyone on this project – whether you enjoy Latin-fusion or blues.

    On Soul Stories, Blake Aaron is expertly accompanied by Derek Bordeaux, Tom Zink, Rob Mullins, Lew Lain, Hussain Jiffry, Melvin Davis, Mike Whittaker, Craig Sharmat, Ronnie Gutierrez, Rick Lawson and Winston Butts.

    Get Soul Stories on Amazon.

    Title: Soul Stories
    Artist: Blake Aaron
    Date: May 05, 2015
    Genre: Jazz, Smooth Jazz
    Label: Innervision Records

    Tracks:

    01 Groove-o-Matic
    02 Wes Side Story
    03 Sol Amor
    04 Europa
    05 You’re the One for Me feat. Spencer Day
    06 Story of the Blues
    07 Sara Smile
    08 Story of My Life
    09 You’re My Miracle
    10 Encantadora feat. Najee

    Get Soul Stories on Amazon.

    May 6, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 861

  • Guitarist Adam Fallen | Teen Jazz Artist

    When did you first begin seriously studying your instrument?

    I was about 15 years old.

    Who are your greatest influences? Who did you study with?

    George Benson, Django Reinhardt, J-Dilla, Jimi Hendrix, Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock… Some of my main mentors and teachers would be: Lee Barbour, Tyler Ross, Quentin Baxter, Stephane Wrembel, and Nat Townsley.

    Guitarist Adam Andrew Fallen

    Located in the Brooklyn, NY

    • Producer, Composer, Arranger, Guitar Player
    • Years Playing: 9 years
    • School/Major/Degree: College of Charleston
      And Queens College- bachelors in jazz performance

    http://www.adamfallenmusic.com 
    Soundcloud | Facebook


    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

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    Who or what gave you the confidence to pursue music as a career?

    I started taking guitar a little more seriously when starting to study under the intensity of Lee Barbour that broke me down and built me back up. And then It really happened around the time where I had been hired full time to play for this artist, Quiana Parler. I quit my day job and started playing gigs full time in Charleston, SC with Quiana and another close friend, Elise Testone (top 6 on American Idol), and my own band Slanguage. I still was trying to figure out if the hints from mentors ,audience members, and my own intuition of taking music as a serious life time career could one day feed a family. One morning I awoke to a phone call from Quiana asking if I wanted to play for Clay Aiken’s 2011 tried and true tour. This was my first opportunity that showed me that music could really be a career that put food on the table while still being able to do what I love. I saw that it could be comfortable living as a musician especially after meeting some of the players on the tour that were heavy hitters, experienced with playing for multiple pop artists (Felix Pollard, Del Atkins)

    What are your thoughts on what it takes to be successful as a performer? Do you think any other skills are needed aside from the ability to play your instrument well?

    I think one of the most important things is integrity and never giving up. Of course it’s important to know your instrument and know all your fundamentals. Study rhythm, time, timing, music theory, the blues, and building a true relationship with your instrument…those are all very key. But it’s about having those to facilitate the uniqueness of yourself and your personality through your playing. We all have a fingerprint that is one of a kind. That should be a testament of how one of a kind you can be as a performer. A lot of what it takes to be successful as a performer is the small detail such as being timely showing up to gigs, learning and knowing the music before rehearsal, and a simple smile and ease to your demeanor. The more you can find a way to genuinely connect with your audience, people, and community of musicians in general will help you as a performer. Understand that music is greater than ourselves as humans and that it’s something that has been on this planet for thousands of years if not longer. Music is a vibrational frequency that connects us all.I  would say a large part of why I have gotten a lot of great gigs is because I make friends easily and show my face as much as I can on top of being a good listener and being prepared.

    What are some of the things you did before your career as a performer became as successful as it is today?

    I took a lot of advice from mentors and always surrounded myself with like-minded individuals that have good energy. I never closed myself off by genre and just said yes to as many gigs as possible. I always made time to go out and show my face and listen. The mutual respect that is created when you see another musician make an effort to come out to a show is priceless. On top of that, I always would go sit in at sessions whenever I could and even when feeling intimidated I would take a chance and go against my gut and just try It out. I went with a gut feeling to ask to sit in on a gig the first week I moved to Nyc. It was scary but that instance led to a gig where I met the guy who called me to play for Queen Latifah at the Super Bowl 2014. Of course I learned a lot from being in school at College of Charleston in the jazz department but what they did to prepare me most was be brutally honest and kick my butt on everything to the point that I stopped taking things personally. That really prepared me for the bigger scene in NYC. It’s important to be open to any type of opportunities that are presented. One of the best things that changed my playing was getting involved in gospel music and playing gospel church services while studying jazz.

    What are some of your goals musically for the future?

    I plan to release my first EP in the next couple months. I do a lot of production and in July 2014 I started a project to make 100 tracks in order to choose 9 for my full length album. I knew that the project would not only develop my production skills but also expand my catalogue for clients and open up my song writing abilities. I don’t want to throw the album together and want to do it right so I figured in the meantime I’ll release some music so that I can book more shows. I write and produce a lot with this great artist and musician named Elise Testone. Elise and I plan to tour Europe in the near future.  Elise and I have worked together for 7 years off and on so there is a special chemistry between us that hopefully you guys will be hip too soon enough at music festivals and around the world. I have my own original project called Myth of An Atom which is a jazz influenced funk hip hop r&b drum and bass vibe band. I plan to do some festival circuit touring with that group as well. Also a high priority is doing more stuff with an electro drum and bass with jazz influence band I play with called Rhythm and Stealth led by Australian Bass Player ,Lex Sadler.  Hoping to do a tour with Rhythm and Stealth soon. In the past I’ve done some film scoring and I want to do more of that as well as production for mainstream artists. Hopefully I’ll do some more playing for pop artists on tour and maybe even do some musical directing. I go with the flow a lot but still have goals of ushering more of my income with production so that my playing can be more focused on music I really love and want to be involved in. Since being in Nyc I haven’t got to play as much jazz as I want because it doesn’t necessarily always pay the rent. So hopefully some more challenging gigs that take me out of my element in the near future.

    What inspires you to continue to pursue music? Have you ever come close to giving up and if you did, how did you overcome it?

    One of the main things that inspires me is to see how music moves people and how much of a necessity it is for people. Music brings so much to the world. Music is one of the only things I’ve seen bring so many different types of cultures of people together. Especially playing in a gospel church you see how your playing can make people laugh, dance and cry. I’d be lost without music personally. One of things that inspires me other than my love and passion for music is certain mentors I’ve met that have showed me that it is possible to live any lifestyle you have ever dreamed of. There is money in the music business but it’s up to the individual to pimp the system and figure out how as an individual they can make it work. I’ve definitely come close to giving up. One of the first instances was when I started studying with one of my most influential mentors, Lee Barbour. He was so cold and didn’t smile and would just say “do it again” when I played something wrong. What I didn’t know is that he had his own zen way of planting a seed in my head that would grow regardless of my choices. He busted my a** on fundamentals, sight reading, and the true soul from Blues and r&b. He also showed me that jazz had no limitations and that it would truly help me learn my instrument. There was a point where I felt that I wasn’t able to do what he asked and I begged my dad to tell him I was sick so that I didn’t have to go…haha…He scared me a little bit, but I knew it was good for me deep down inside. It’s funny to think that now we can chill and hang like friends and that he taught me so much in really a short time. As time as progressed  I realize how much similarities we share not just in music. He is truly a great human being who is a master that helped me question everything I was doing in life and in music.

    What are some of the things you enjoy most about your career as a performer/recording artist?

    I love being able to make a living in NYC doing what I love and it’s just amazing becoming part of this community of fantastic musicians and people that inspire me everyday to be the best I can be. I also love to witness the healing of music and how it can make a persons day better instantly. People from all over the world can play music together without speaking the same language and the journey that comes with it is beautiful.

    Do you write music? Where do you get your inspiration?

    Yes I write music. I’ve been writing music just about as long as I have been playing guitar. In July 2014 I started a 100 song project to really dive into the writing, producing, and engineering process. Within this process I am going to choose 9 of the 100 tracks to be a full length album with a live band and some of my musical heroes I’ve met and become friends with along the journey of moving to NYC. I am now at 95/100. Many things in life inspire my creation process. I went to a performing arts middle and high school 6-12 where I majored in visual arts so I get a lot of inspiration from that and films. I’m also very inspired by mythology and narrating a story with music composition. Growing up in Vermont and South Carolina inspired my creativity with the incredible nature of the forrests and mountains. The south really put a lot of blues, hip hop, funk, and gospel influence in my life that comes out in my production and performance. A lot of my inspiration originally came from grunge, fusion jazz, blues classic rock, pop and classical. Although, I am all over the place with inspiration….I really love books, world cultures, stories of love, language, and abstract/ambient sounds to be an influence on my song writing and playing.

    What was your lamest gig and how did you learn from it? What was the best?

    The lamest gig was probably when I showed up unprepared for a gig and learned the importance of really knowing tunes inside and out….Not just your part but every part of the song to understand your role in the music. The biggest rush came from playing the Super Bowl opening ceremony with Queen Latifah but it’s hard to say really what my best gig was. I love each gig because I learn from it and try to be better each time.

    Hobbies other than Music:

    Visual arts, design, painting, swimming, exercise, nature, yoga

    What would your advice be for an up and coming, young musician?

    To be as positive as you possible. Practice as much as you can and stay focused on one thing at a time. It’s really important to learn the history and dig into the originators of a lot of the music that’s out today. I really love the music out today and of course you must keep no boundaries but a lot of young musicians don’t listen to or pay attention to the importance of knowing the musicians that built the foundation for today’s sound. I’d also say that a young musician in general should try to play classical, gospel and the blues as much as possible. It’s really key to learn and know tunes….as many as possible. One thing in particular that I can’t stress enough is to not focus so much on the harmony and chops of your instrument. Focus on what matters most, which is : TIME, RHYTHM, GROOVE, and TIMING! Also it’s really important to get hip to the business side of music as well as composing/producing with a DAW such as Ableton Live, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, etc… The new age of music is something to take advantage of and learn from. I wouldn’t be the player I am today if I didn’t produce because I learn so much about sonic placement and the role of instruments and arrangement. On top of that… If you can publish your music and get placements; you will continually make money when your not even doing any new work. This leads me to the last but not least about composing and improvising as much as possible. Doing these two things will expand and help one explore themselves to the greatest potential.

    Are you up for sharing a few items that are in your music playlists at this moment and maybe a little bit about what you dig about them?

    Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Chris Dave Drum Hedz. I love how experimental that group is and they all listen to each other so well. The groove they keep while entering different songs and metric modulations is incredible. Especially a big fan of Chris Dave and Isaiah Sharkey. The mix and sound that Isaiah has going on is so unique and new yet classic and shares similar sounds to George Benson and Joe Pass but with a funky gospel twist.
    I am also listening a lot to Kendrick Lamar’s newest album which I’m obsessed with. I’m already a huge hip hop fan and the album is reminiscent of classic funk and jazz sounds interwoven throughout the highly creative hip hop grooves. The album is so thematic and conceptual which I really want to do with my upcoming EP to be released. The level of musicianship, production, composing, and song writing on the record is insane and I love that they took time to make the record and didn’t rush through it.

    I am listening to the album “living the luxury brown” by Mint Condition. I was brought to it after finding out it was a record with Chris Dave on it that I hadn’t heard. I really dig this record because it’s a classic 90’s r&b soul vibe and sound but the groove and pocket is so thick on the album and it’s just feel good dance music with great musicians.

    Endorsements:

    Daneglico Guitars
    DR strings
    Option 5 fx

    New releases and projects coming up:

    Myth of an Atom- trainseason July 4, 2015
    Elise Testone and Slanguage EP Summer 2015
    Rhythm and Stealth- monotronic fall 2015

     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

    April 20, 2015 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 1444

  • Guitarist Carlos Vargas | Teen Jazz Artist

    Why did you begin studying music?

    Music was in my family, Mom and Dad were musicians, so I was pushed into it by my parents. (This was in my homeland, Honduras) I didn’t know at the time, music was going to be one of the main forces in my life.

    What are you doing with music right now?

    I have been constantly working in the Tri-State area since I moved to Cincinnati, playing with my trio and working as a recording guitarist. My new years resolution in 2015 was not to take any gigs, instead lock myself in my house and practice, write and record my own music. So, that is what I am doing this year.

    Guitarist Carlos Vargas

    Located in the Cincinnati, OH

    • Guitarist
    • Years Playing: Over 10 years

    http://www.carlosvargasmusic.com


    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

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    What’s your setup?

    Guitars

    • Fender Telecaster 6oth Anniversary
    • ’99 Fender Strat Deluxe – Loaded with Texas Special
    • Fender Strat – Loaded with Dimarzio
    • Cruisers/Fast Track
    • ’98 Gibson ES – 135
    • Vintage Hohner Acoustic (Unknown series and model)
    • Yamaha CGX171CCA

    Pedals

    • Wampler – Tom Qualey Dual Fusion
    • TC Electronic Micro Tuner
    • Keeley 4 Knob Compressor
    • OCD Custom Made
    • Fulltone OCD
    • CMAT Mods Signa Drive
    • Xotic EP Booster
    • Mooer clean boost
    • MXR Zack Wilde Customized
    • Polyphonic Octave Generator – 2 (POG2)
    • Boss DD-3
    • Amptweaker Swirpool
    • ReedWitch Empress Chorus
    • Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe
    • Empress Vintage Modified Super Delay
    • Strymon Timeline
    • Neunaber Stereo Wet Reverb
    • R3 FX Switcher
    • Voodoo Lab Pedal Power

    Amps

    • Roland JC-120
    • Peavey Classic 30 – Mod by Chrome
    • Dome Cincinnati
    • Kustom – The Contender
    • 1969 Fender Champ
    • Fender Blues Jr.
    • Bad Cat Amps
    • Mesa Boogie Express 550 Head
    • Mesa Boogie Lone Star 1×12 Cab
    • Mesa Boogie Lone Star 2×12 Cab

    Who are some of your influences?

    Lage Lund, Jim Hall, Gilad Hekselman, Pat Metheny, Mike Moreno, Brad Mehldau, Toninho Horta, Aca Seca Trio, Kurt Rosenwinkel.

    Who have you studied with?

    • Jim Smith
    • Kim Pensyl
    • Julio Zelaya
    • Phil Degreg
    • Bruno Mangueira
    • Tom Quayle

    What are some of your goals musically for the future?

    Keep playing, recording and traveling.

    Anything else you would like to add?

    Carlos Vargas-Ortiz is a Honduran musician, arranger and music educator. He grew up in the lower-class Tegucigalpa suburb of Flor del Campo.

    Carlos moved to Cincinnati in the spring of 2007 to pursue a music career. He was awarded a scholarship at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he earned two bachelor degrees in Jazz Guitar and Music Education.

    As an active guitarist and singer in the Cincinnati music scene, Carlos performs and record with Ben Alexander, Ric Hordinski, Flawless Band, Tajci, Marvin Hawkins, with his trio and many other artist in the Tri State area.


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

    April 6, 2015 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 2230

  • Guitarist Zakk Jones | Teen Jazz Artist

    Why did you begin studying music?

    I always gravitated towards music, picking out melodies on my grandparents piano. I knew from an early age that I wanted to pursue music professionally for the rest of my life.

    Who are some of your influences?

    I am open to all styles of music: Moacir Santos, Olivier Messiaen, Sammy Nestico, Rob McConnell, Ben Monder, Gilad Hekselman, Ed Bickert, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Brad Mehldau, Alex Sipiagin, The Faceless, Necrophagist, John Mayer, D’Angelo, Robert Glasper, and many, many more.

    Guitarist Zakk Jones

    Located in the Columbus, OH

    • Guitar
    • Years Playing: 10 years

    Zakk Jones | (510)-710-6709
    Zakkjonesguitar@gmail.com | Zakkjonesguitar.com


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    Setup/Gear/Instruments:

    Guitarist Zakk Jones | Teen Jazz ArtistGuitars: Eastman T185MX
    Fender TelecasterYamaha G-245s II

    NylonAmps: Roland Cube 80

    JazzkatPedals: MXR Chorus, EQ and Delay
    Wampler Sovereign Distortion
    BOSS Compression, Loop, and Distortion
    Cry Baby Wah Wah
    EP Booster
    Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive
    Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

    JRStrings: Thomastik, Infeld, D’addario

    What are you doing with music right now?

    I lead a variety of groups, ranging from duo to octect formats. I frequently perform with my trio and my sextet “Screeching Owl”. I am in the middle of finishing an original album of 6 compositions, encompassing my career so far as a writer/arranger and performer. This will be released along side a professional video shoot of one of the tunes, and will aid me in booking a tour in August of 2015. I also frequently play solo guitar at farmer’s markets and art galleries.Aside from my own groups, I am involved in a professional wedding band call the “Blue Water Kings”, a pop/cover group “The Jordan Millisor Band” as well as various jazz groups in the central ohio area.I love composing and arranging, recently completing projects with big bands and larger ensembles.I also teach both privately and through a few different music studios in the Columbus, Ohio area.I’m always listening/seeing live music when I’m not performing or practicing myself!

    Who have you studied with?

    Stan Smith – Guitar/Composition
    Brett Burleson – Guitar
    Gilad Hekselman – Guitar
    Corey Christiansen – Guitar
    Rotem Sivan – Guitar
    Adam Rogers – Guitar
    Mark Flugge – Piano
    Dr. Lou Fischer – Arranging

    What are some of your goals musically for the future?

    I hope to continue gigging, both with my own groups as well as being an avid “sideman”. I have a vested interest in arranging, hoping to write for professional jazz big band/orchestras. I also enjoy teaching, and transcription/engraving services. Grad school will be in my future as well.

    Any addition information you would like to add?

    Zakk Jones is a Columbus based guitarist, composer/arranger and teacher, currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies at Capital University. Originally from Portland, Oregon, his musical studies started at the age of 6, when he began playing piano and composing original music. His involvement in the Fear No Music project led to a National Award in composition at the age of 11.Around the same time, Zakk picked up the guitar, first being influenced by rock and metal. He now regularly plays Jazz, Classical, Fusion, Pop and Brazilian styles among others. In his three years on the Columbus scene he has performed at Dick’s Den, Worthington Inn, Brother’s Drake Meadery, Rumba Cafe, Park St. Tavern, Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, Columbus Performing Arts Center, Columbus Jazz & Ribs Festival, farmer’s markets, art galleries, weddings and corporate events. Opportunities have taken him all across the Midwest, with summer gigs in Port Clinton, OH and even further to Atlanta, Dallas, and San Diego for the Jazz Education Network Conference where he has been both a performer and stage manager.Zakk regularly performs with the Jordan Millisor Band, Chase Potter, Bluewater Kings Band, Wake Fold and many other groups/artists. As a bandleader, Zakk has groups ranging from duo to octet formats, currently focusing on his sextet, “Screeching Owl”. At Capital he has studied with Stan Smith and Brett Burleson, additionally having the opportunities to take lessons with Corey Christiansen, Adam Rogers, Gilad Hekselman and Rotem Sivan. Besides performing, Zakk Jones is an avid composer/arranger, private teacher, and provides transcription services.


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

    March 18, 2015 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 1006

  • Lawson Rollins Traveler Review

    Guitarist Lawson Rollins released Traveler, his fifth album as a solo artist on February 17, 2015 by way of Inifinita Records. Accompanied by Mads Tolling, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Tico, Dave Bryant, Cameron Stone, Scotty Morris, Joshua Levy, and Karl Hunter, the composer delights listeners with twelve original tracks.

    One almost feels as though they need to get their passport ready as Lawson Rollins brings us along on his journey to Spain (“Barcelona Express” and “Meeting in Madrid”), France (“Café Paris”), Germany (“Berlin Bossa” – my favorite track), among other popular travel destinations.

    Opening with the exciting and energetic title track, “Traveler,” Lawson Rollins takes listeners on a global adventure by bringing us across Europe. Rollins then leads us back to California with “Marching West” and “Journey Home”. Each of the tracks on the project are tied to a certain place where the guitarist and artist has either lived or visited, those places which have inspired his prodigious career and music.

    Lawson Rollins won the 2014 USA Songwriting Competition’s “Best Instrumental Song”, placing third overall in the contest. He has also topped the most-played charts for Sirius Radio’s Watercolors and was offered a guest DJ hosting spot. He began his career as a solo artist in 2008 with “Infinita” after performing as Young & Rollins alongside Daniel Young.

    Get Traveler on Amazon.

    Title: Traveler
    Artist: Lawson Rollins
    Date: February 17, 2015
    Genre: World
    Label: Infinita Records

    Tracks:

    01 Traveler
    02 Barcelona Express
    03 Café Paris
    04 Berlin Bossa
    05 Meeting in Madrid
    06 Marching West
    07 Journey Home
    08 Beyond the Bayou
    09 Across the Moors
    10 Metropolis
    11 Ancient City
    12 City Electric

    Get Traveler on Amazon.

    March 16, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 917

  • Groove LTD feat. U-Nam and Shannon Kennedy

    I try not to use this space [Teen Jazz] for shameless self-promotion. I have my own website to do that, but every once in a while I have a project that I am a part of that I am just to excited about not to share.

    Over the past few months, guitarist U-Nam and I have been working on a new collaboration – Groove LTD. This past week we released our first single “It’s Only Love”, a cover of the Barry White classic made popular by Simply Red.

    The single is currently going for adds at smooth jazz radio stations around the country and we would be absolutely thrilled if you called in to your favorite local station to request the song. Just ask for “It’s Only Love” by Groove LTD.

    In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of the song on either iTunes or Amazon OR you can get an exclusive, limited edition copy signed by both U-Nam and I here.

    Thank you again so much for all of your support. Happy New Year!

    Groove LTD can be found here:

    January 14, 2015 • Reviews • Views: 889

  • 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

    Tracks:

    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: 863

  • Guitarist Brandon Coleman | Teen Jazz Artist

    Guitarist and composer Brandon Coleman is based out of Cincinnati, OH and is one of the region’s most in-demand jazz musicians. He frequently tours and plays his own compositions with the Brandon Coleman Quartet, progressive electronic rock with his trio Zvezda, and avant-garde rock and roll with acclaimed Louisville band D’Arkestra. 2013 saw the release of his debut quartet album, Decisions, which received many favorable reviews. Critical Jazz said: “Brandon Coleman may well be one of the most unique guitar voices to emerge over the last decade…While his technical proficiency is beyond reproach, Coleman has an deceptively subtle artistic sense of harmonic movement that could be considered in the same style as that of a Bill Evans. ” 2014 saw Coleman join the Timberwolf Guitar Company Family, and he plans on recording a new album in 2015, with supporting tours in Japan and Brazil. He is going on tour with his Louisville-based bands D’Arkestra and Anomaly in the fall.

    Guitarist Brandon Coleman

    Located in Cincinnati, OH, USA

    • Guitarist
    • I have been playing about 14 years
    • Endorsements: Timberwolf Guitars, PHRED Instruments and Curt Mangan Strings.

    www.brandoncoleman-music.com
    brandoncolemanjazz@gmail.com


    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

    [What’s this?]

    Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

    I endorse:
    Timberwolf Guitars
    Phred Instruments
    Curt Mangan Strings

    Why did you begin studying music?

    I started playing at 12 years old, but I got into jazz around the age of 15 when my love for Frank Zappa lead me down the rabbit hole of creative music. Since then, I was on a journey to learn as much as I could about the inner workings of music. I went to Morehead State University for undergraduate and the University of Louisville for my Master’s Degree.

    What are you doing with music right now?

    I am currently performing and touring as a bandleader for The Brandon Coleman Quartet, as well as a member of progressive 9-piece band D’Arkestra. I also teach students in my spare time and engrave charts for a publishing company.

    Who are some of your influences?

    Kurt Rosenwinkel, Paul Motian, Wayne Shorter, Maria Schneider, Kenny Wheeler, Gilad Hekselman, Jim Hall, Grant Green, Lennie Tristano

    Who do you/have you studied with?

    Glenn Ginn – Guitar
    Craig Wagner – Guitar
    Gilad Hekselman – Guitar
    Bucky Pizzarelli – Guitar
    Steve Snyder – Piano/Arranging
    Chris Fitzgerald – Piano/Harmony
    John LaBarbera – Composition/Arranging

    What do you plan on doing with music in the future?

    Keep on performing, writing, and making records!


     

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    August 28, 2014 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 1054

  • Guitarist Alex Sill | Teen Jazz Artist

    Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

    Ibanez PM-120, Fender Twin Reverb Amp, Music Man JP-6, Martin 1978 D-35

    Why did you begin studying music?

    I grew up in a very musical household and was exposed to lots of great music growing up. My mother is a great singer and my dad has been in the music business for over thirty years, in addition to being a former saxophone player. Through all the exposure to different music, I became fascinated by the different effects certain music would produce within me, both imaginatively and emotionally.

    Guitarist Alex Sill

    Located in West Hills, CA, USA

    • Guitarist
    • I have been playing about 8 or 9 years

     


    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

    [What’s this?]

    What are you doing with music right now?

    I am currently a student in the Cal Arts Jazz Program and play frequently with my own group: www.trifieldguitarproject.com

    My group has been performing at numerous jazz clubs around town lately including the Baked Potato, Vitello’s, and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Jazz. We’ve performed with several special guests including Lee Ritenour and piano virtuoso Vardan Ovsepian.

    In addition to my love for improvisation, I’m also very involved with composing.

    Who are some of your influences?

    Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth, Steely Dan, John Coltrane, Guthrie Govan, Chick Corea, Charles Altura, Steve Vai, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Julian Lage, Keith Jarrett, Jonathan Kreisberg, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and John F. Kennedy-just to name a few 🙂

    Who do you/have you studied with?

    I am currently studying with jazz guitar great Larry Koonse at Cal Arts, and as of late, have also been receiving mentorship from Lyle Mays. I’ve also studied and/or performed with Steve Vai, Charlie Haden, Lee Ritenour, Joe LaBarbera, Sonny Emory, Melvin Lee Davis and Vardan Ovsepian.

    What do you plan on doing with music in the future?

    I plan on continuing to perform with my own group, hopefully someday on a global scale, and devote as much energy as possible to these ventures. If any other music related project/job opportunity comes along that interests me, I will most certainly take it, whether it means being a sideman in a band or composing music for Film/TV.

    Any additional information you would like to add?

    Awards/Accolades:

    -Winner of Rock Category in Lee Ritenour’s 2012 International Six String Theory Guitar Competition and one of three top finalists overall in the contest. The competition involved hundreds of applicants from over 50 different countries, and was judged by jazz greats including Lee Ritenour, Julian Lage, and Dave Grusin.

    -Recipient of Louis Armstrong Jazz Award (2011)

    -Recently composed a piece entitled “Montana Suite,” commissioned for the 2013 Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Montana. The composition was written for three guitars, and was performed during an opening set for Robben Ford. Other performers at the festival included Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour. “Montana Suite,” is part of an album of the same name, which is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other major outlets for purchase.

    -Was a member of the great Charlie Haden’s Cal Arts Liberation Music Orchestra in 2013. Rest in peace, dear Charlie!

    -Commissioned to compose and record music in 2010 for the independent film “Smitty,” which starred Peter Fonda and Lou Gossett Jr. The recording sessions included major L.A. studio players such as drummer John Ferraro.

    -I’m also in the process of arranging and recording music for another independent film entitled “Saved in America,” a documentary about one woman’s journey to save the lives of animals in high kill shelters, and her successful attempts to ameliorate the problem of pet overpopulation.


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

     

    August 7, 2014 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 1262