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George Benson and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra at Mesa Arts Center

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George Benson and the Phoenix Symphony OrchestraMesa Arts Center Mesa, Arizona January 21, 2015 Guitarist-vocalist George Benson performed two straight hours of soul-satisfying and totally thrilling music that reprised his five decades of hits in jazz and pop-contemporary music acclaim. The non-stop set ranged from his 1964 jazz albums debut through multiple Grammy-winning gold and platinum CDs, to his 2013 Nat King Cole tribute, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole (Concord Records, 2013).

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Herb Alpert: In the Mood for Excellence

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While he has been bestowed endless awards--nine Grammys, a presidential Medal of the Arts, enshrined in the Rock Hall of Fame--and has sold over 72 million records, Herb Alpert is a trumpet player at heart and an artist in his soul. What emanates from that trumpet and its player's mind is pure creative expression. And, in addition to the love of his life, the incredibly talented vocalist/author Lani Hall, Herb Alpert is deeply enamored with melody and with the Muse ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Rockin' The Wall: How Music Ripped The Iron Curtain

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Various Aritsts Rockin' The Wall: How Music Ripped The Iron Curtain The Video Project 2014 This documentary focuses on the connotations of freedom and innate power of rock music, and its role in bringing down the Iron Curtain. Nonetheless, it's an intriguing history lesson for baby boomers and more importantly, Generation X and Gen Y. Narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, musicians from legendary 60s rock band Vanilla Fudge, Mark Stein (keyboards, vocals) and Vinnie Martell ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Martin Fabricius Trio: Out of the White

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The opening sounds of the title track of Out of the White herald that this is going to be something different. Electronic sounds begin the track, but closer listening reveals that these are being made ingeniously by Martin Fabricius' vibes. Bassist Christian Hougaard enters, stating the theme supported by the quasi-electronic vibe sounds. Fabricius takes over to recap the theme now as a recognizable vibraphonist. At the turnaround, Mathias Heise adds his harmonica to the mix, eventually with drummer Jacob ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Porter: Stone Chucker

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Back in 2012 Porter, a sextet from the county of Essex, just north of London, produced the highly enjoyable Can't Keep Still (Cornerblock Records). Two years later, band leader Gary Porter has released his follow-up, Stone Chucker. Boosting the line-up to a Spinal Tap sized 11, including guests, Porter has also upped the enjoyment quotient. His old-school mix of blues, R&B, jazz and soul bursts joyfully out of the speakers. Drummer Phil Mount and keyboardist Dave Melling also ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Chris Botti at Blue Note Jazz Club

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Chris Botti Blue Note Jazz Club 10th Annual Holiday Residency New York, NY January 2, 2015 Chris Botti has held his own as a contemporary music darling since making splashes as both a studio and live musician in the mid-1990s. Gracefully sidestepping knee-jerk criticism and bolstered by widespread praise, he has forged a smooth, individual path across a variety of genres, earning an equally diverse fan base along the way. Whether or not one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Majamisty TriO: Love

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"Maja" refers to pianist and composer Maja Alvanović, “misty" is a nod to Errol Garner, one of her influences. Love is the second album from the trio, based in Novi Sad, Serbia. The trio--Alvanović, bassist Ervin Malina and drummer Istvan Cik--are superb players. Alvanović is melodic, crafting single note runs that are gentle, percussive, romantic in turn. Cik is a positive, economical, drummer and the imaginative Malina is particularly strong on arco bass. The combination of their playing and the ...

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Boney James: The Beat Goes On

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Saxophonist Boney James is a prolific musician and songwriter gifted with an ear for creating music inspired by artistic expressionism. As an architect of original songs, James is an intellectual man of modest demeanor who has established himself as a musical pioneer in his intuitive discovery of the formula for longevity in his mellifluous career spanning three decades. At the root of his professional success is his meditative passion for exploring uncharted paths as a songwriter and interpreter of songs. ...



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