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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Jazzmasters: The Jazzmasters VII

Read "The Jazzmasters VII" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Jazz: noun, often attributive \'jaz\ a type of American music with lively rhythms and melodies that are often made up by musicians as they play

Jazz. Say the word. J-A-Z-Z. Paul Hardcastle calls his side project “The Jazzmasters." If he means he plays instrumentals, it is. If he means truly understanding the idiom, it's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Cindy Bradley: Bliss

Read "Bliss" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Everything you need to know about Cindy Bradley's new album Bliss is right there on the CD jacket photo. Her blonde hair is coiffed, she strikes a stern, yet accommodating stance with no smile, but a hint of cleavage, her right thumb hooked around a belt loop and her left grasping her trumpet.

Looks ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Lin Rountree: Serendipitous

Read "Serendipitous" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

When a musician goes into the studio the opportunity always exists for something special to come out. They can really go for it and go in a bold, fresh, new direction and see if something innovative and exciting is the result.

Or they can just make the doughnuts. Serendipitous is the sound of Detroit-based trumpeter ...

Paul Hardcastle: VII

Read "VII" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Paul Hardcastle's greatest strength? Consistency. Paul Hardcastle's greatest weakness? Also consistency. Before you applaud or boo Hardcastle you must admit this: the man knows what he does best and he is not about to stop doing it based on what critics say when his global audience tells him that's exactly the way they like it.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Julian Vaughn: Breakthough

Read "Breakthough" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Within the first 30 seconds of the stomping “On Your Feet," the lead-off track on Breakthrough, it's hard not to think, “Darned if this guy doesn't sound just like Wayman Tisdale." Hopefully Julian Vaughn will take the comparison as a compliment because his “lead bass" playing style is eerily reminiscent of Tisdale, who passed away in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Lington: Pure

Read "Pure" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Here is a disclaimer: Michael Lington plays alto and tenor saxophone, and the saxophone is the dominant instrument of the smooth jazz genre, every bit as much the electric guitar is the dominant instrument of rock 'n' roll. This means Lington is trying to stand out in an extremely crowded field.

So what is it ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Cindy Bradley: Unscripted

Read "Unscripted" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Every now and then a musician gets bold and breaks the mold. Cindy Bradley's Unscripted is the sound of an artist just going for it. The nearly eight-minute “Prelude/Massive Transit/Interlude" suite that kicks off the album is like a rush of cool air to the face on a hot summer day. It's fast, furious and funky, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jazzmasters: Jazzmasters VI

Read "Jazzmasters VI" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

To understand why Paul Hardcastle's latest Jazzmasters album is such a tedious drag it's first necessary to understand that the multi-instrumentalist has taken an unfortunate interest in a subdivision of smooth jazz, called Chill.

Chill relies on ambient sounds, airy vocals, quietly tinkling keyboards, and the occasional alto sax bubbling away in the mix. It's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob Baldwin: Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson

Read "Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

The connection between Michael Jackson and jazz seems tentative to non-existent until it's factored in he reached his greatest heights as an artist when collaborating with producer/arranger extraordinaire Quincy Jones. The unlikely pairing of Jackson and Jones brought out a degree of professionalism, maturity and poise in the late King of Pop that did not fully ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Various Artists: The Very Best of Christmas

Read "The Very Best of Christmas" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Christmas albums are the Valentine's Day and Halloween cards of the recording industry: a simple and short-term product that is featured for public consumption for a limited time and then put away until next year. There's no rule that says you can't listen to and enjoy an album of holiday-themed music whenever the urge strikes. It ...