Today’s Jazz Stars Interpret Disney Classics

Ever imagine The Bad Plus doing music from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? How about Joshua Redman doing a cover of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story? Those notable artists are among the dozen contributing to the forthcoming compilation Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.

The title of the album comes from the song “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat,” from The Aristocats, which is given an upbeat, grooving treatment by Roy Hargrove’s quintet. You’ll also hear Disney classic songs like “The Bare Necessities” and “It’s a Small World After All” performed by a diverse lineup. “I wanted to get a group of people together who would represent the many styles of jazz,” says producer Jason Olaine, who also called Dave Brubeck, Esperanza Spalding, Regina Carter, and Nikki Yanofsky for the recording.

Writing in the album liner notes, Ashley Kahn praises the top-drawer prowess of the performers: “It’s exceedingly rare that one finds this range of talent on one jazz album. If one desired an accurate measure of today’s scene in all its flavors and formats, here it is on one disc.”

I’m looking forward to hearing this. Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat is in stores February 15.

Herbie Hancock Quote from 1983

I’ve been researching contemporary jazz in the 80s and 90s and came across this great 1983 quote from Herbie Hancock:

I don’t mind being classified as a jazz artist, but I do mind being restricted to being a jazz artist. My foundation has been in jazz, though I didn’t really start out that way. I started in classical music, but my formative years were in jazz, and it makes a great foundation.

Torcuato Mariano Debut (1994)

From 1993-1994, I produced a newsletter to promote the late night “new music program” for KBIA-FM. Following is an article I wrote for one of the newsletters:

Paradise Station, the debut recording from Torcuato MarianoRarely do debut solo albums come to the station as solid as Torcuato Mariano’s Paradise Station (Windham Hill). From the start, it’s evident that the guitarist knows how he wants his music to sound. The CD features Mariano demonstrating his ability on guitars and other instruments on his own world-influenced compositions.

Born in Buenos Aires, Mariano ended up in Brazil during his adolescence. He started playing nightclubs in 1980, working with artists such as Johnny Alt, one of the most renowned Bossa Nova players in Brazil. He played in bands with the country’s more notable players, Djavan, Ivan Lins, and Leo Gandelman. These influences, plus those of Pat Metheny and Jeff Beck, have helped Mariano develop a personal style that comes across in a big way.

Mariano knows how to write and arrange a memorable song. The uptempo tracks, “A Train to Uberaba” and “2350″ are only two of the twelve examples presented on this release. His playing is equally good and he has a strong group of worldly musicians to back him up. It’s the influence of both Mariano’s background and these musicians that really makes Paradise Station stand out. It’s still early to say, but so far Torcuato Mariano has got the nod for debut of the year.

Get the Paradise Station CD from Amazon.com!

ContemporaryJazz.com Store Launches

ContemporaryJazz.com StoreThe ContemporaryJazz.com Store will feature a number of different categories, from new releases to best of lists. It’s just starting out and there are two departments to shop from so far – new releases and the 1988 store. Items are purchased from Amazon.com, which this site is a member of its affiliate program.

The new releases has six recordings that came out this week. More will be added.

The other department is 1988. This is the first of the yearly departments I’ll be adding as I develop content for 1989 contemporary jazz recordings and beyond. The 1988 department has the best-selling contemporary jazz recordings for that year – including music from the David Sanborn, Tuck & Patti, George Howard, Steve Kindler, Spyro Gyra, Najee, and more! Stop in there and see which recordings you remember!

Site Update

I apologize for the lack of new content for the last few months. In March, I pretty much dropped off the modern jazz map. I stopped updating the site, let ContemporaryJazz.com Radio go, and tweeted less frequently. I haven’t abandoned the site but there will be some changes in the future. I have plans for ContemporaryJazz.com. I’m not sure when these will happen but I hope you’ll continue to check in from time to time, follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

I’ll give you my idea of the direction of the site. It will be focused on when the music was labeled as contemporary jazz and not smooth jazz. I have so many press releases, magazines, and other materials from the time I started listening to the music. I want to revisit the time when everything was exciting to me.

Stay tuned!

What Is Acid Jazz?

The JAZZzology blog asks: “is acid jazz just a name given by a radio disc jockey to promote some readily unidentifiable form of pop music or is it a form of jazz music?” I think it’s the latter – more of a type of fusion but, instead of rock, it blends soul, funk, jazz, and a contemporary sound. If we’re talking about terminology – wasn’t “smooth jazz” just a term invented by a corporation?

Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion Preview

New Acid Jazz Compilation

According to Amazon, this compilation from the Soundiva label, called Chillout & Acid Jazz, will be out on New Year’s Day. Sample it now – a good mix of 25 jazzy uptempo and laid-back tracks.

Milano Jazz Dance Combo

I always find some good jazz while searching through the electronic category. Check out music from this new release, which features several vocal performances.

New on ContemporaryJazz.com Radio

ContemporaryJazz.com Radio plays nu jazz, acid jazz, remixed jazz, jazzy house, dancefloor jazz, and other groove jazz styles. It’s online all the time and is free (with ads) or you can purchase a VIP package for commercial free listening and other benefits.

See the embedded spreadsheet below for the most recent adds to the playlist. The spreadsheet contains the artist, track, album title, and links to how to buy the recording (CD and/or high-quality, DRM-free MP3 download) through Amazon.com. Buying through those links benefits ContemporaryJazz.com. Click here for a full screen version.