Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with NAJEE..."The Morning After"

I have always been a fan of Najee, and his music has really evolved over the years from what I call, "cool jazz" to just down right sexy jazz".  Since the latest release of his highly anticipated new CD "The Morning After", when I hear the name Najee and listen to his music, I picture myself in Paris at a small, but intimate jazz club, sipping on my favorite white wine, and chilling with my husband while we are romanced and entertained by the sounds of one of the most talented and influential musicians in the business.

When I hear Najee's music, past and present I think about a smooth jazz cruise, or an expensive meal at a gourmet soul food restaurant (yes I said gourmet, because with his music playing in the background, southern food is turned up a notch).  His latest CD is by far, one of his best to date.  It's sexy, soulful, romantic, upbeat, funky and emotional. You want to laugh, cry, hug someone, dance, and just sit back and chill all in one night.

Ronald Jackson, President and Chief Editor at thesmoothjazzride.com did a great interview with Najee and not only was the conversation fun, and entertaining, but you got a real sense of the man behind his music.  As I listened to him and heard samples of his music, I thought to myself, he is truly at the top of his game!  He is a veteran in the business as an established artist, so what will or could he possibly do next?  Who knows, but whatever he works on next, I am sure it will be equally as great if not better than "The Morning After", but is it possible? Sure it is, after all it's Najee!

Clink on the link below for a recent interview with Najee at the thesmoothjazzride.com blogtalkradio "smooth conversations" and hear samples of his new CD...Enjoy!



Saturday, December 28, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with Me'shell Ndegeocello, India Arie, Jill Scott and more.....

Inspire, Motivate, Uplift, Prosper in 2014 and beyond!

The 70's and 80's Era produced many of the greatest and extremely talented artists and musicians of that decade.  The 90's and beyond continued to be bring about a good collection of music, and although much has changed in terms of the artists themselves, the tsunami of music videos and auto-tuning, great music is still being made;  but then you have those artists who sort of fly under the radar or stay low key while still producing great songs, so when I first heard the music of Me"Shell Ndegeocello years ago, I wondered if she would come and go as so many have done and still do, or would she soar on the music charts become mainstream, and a "household name" type of artist. Fortunately she and many others did neither.  Many artists when they become "branded" by the industry, they lose that sense of connection to their fans and eventually their own souls.

It is one thing to be in the industry, and draw a audience of people looking for party music or just something that sounds good, or be the next pretty face on a CD cover, but then there is that audience
and music lover who is looking for a message or inspiration.  Not an easy task, because it is hard to sing like a poet and get people to truly understand the message while enjoying the music.  Jill Scott, Ledisi, Alicia Keys, India Arie, and Me'Shell Ndegeocello all come to mind when I think about inspirational, motivating songs.  I consider them all very unique in their craft, because although collectively, many of their songs are upbeat, and lively, what stands out most for me, are that individually, the songs each artist perform, is speaking directly to you, me or someone you and I know, who perhaps may be, in love, dealing with a breakup, the lost of a friend or loved one, struggling with depression, or needing motivation to make some hard choices; whatever the need, there is a song for it somewhere, but not every artist can deliver that message as poetically as these ladies can. I consider them in a distinct group all their own, along with so many other poetic artists, male and female.

As the year 2013 comes to a close, think about a song that enlightened, inspired, and motivated you and put a much needed smile on your face as we enter a new year, with what I hope will be the best that is yet to come...A few songs by some of my favorite female vocal artists are below....Enjoy and Happy New Year! 

Feel free to comment about your favorite artists and songs! I may feature he or she on a future blog post!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with Kristine W! "Straight Up With A Twist"

Sultry, seductive, upbeat, feisty are just a few words to describe the soulful jazzy sounds of Kristine W.  Ronald Jackson, CEO and Chief Editor at thesmoothjazzride.com told me about her and so I wanted to check her out myself and wow, this woman is just awesome! I have listened to my share of solo female jazz artists over the years, and I have to admit, I have never heard anyone quite like her.  I have what I call a "funny" ear when it comes to vocal jazz, because I much prefer the instrumentals, but when someone sounds like Kristine, I pay much closer attention. With her one and only CD of this kind titled, "Straight Up With A Twist" it is so full of romance, intrigue, love, heartache, and sophistication. This is a CD set of 2, but I prefer part one.  I always think of jazz, instrumental and vocal, as an acquired taste, such as anyone who enjoys Sushi. This CD would make for great music at a intimate dinner party.  Enjoy!

Check out a full, more in depth review with samples of her music at 


One of my favorites

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with JAREZ "On Top Of The World"

Every now and then a musician or vocalist that is unknown to me, will come along and grab my attention. I was checking out a few CD reviews at www.thesmoothjazzride.com, when I stumbled across Saxophonist Jarez.  To be so young, his music sounds like he has been around for quite some time. Not everyone is a fan of smooth or contemporary jazz and I can respect that considering how long traditional jazz has been a part of our musical existence, with the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, but if Jarez keeps playing like this, he will surely make a great name for himself as the other jazz legends have. He certainly is on Top of the World! 

Check out a full review of his latest project "On Top of the World" and a sample of his music below, you will not be disappointed....ENJOY!


YouTube Clip 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"In My Listening Booth with the late Luther Vandross"

What better way to start off the month of December than with some nice warm, cozy music.  I have to admit, I am not a fan of Christmas music, well at least not all Christmas music. I am really not as big a fan of the Christmas season anymore either..When I was a kid, through my teens and as a young adult, between Thanksgiving and New Years, our house was filled with family, food and lots of fun! At times we would travel from one relative house to another, and each house was always filled with the same, food, family, friends and fun!  The toys were nice, but the best part was seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles, and listening to stories from the elders about what Christmas really means....

A Charlie Brown Christmas is another classic that my cousins and I would faithfully watch every season; Sadly, so much of that has been lost and forgotten, that listening to and watching classic songs and shows, brings it all back!  Even now as an adult, I will still watch Charlie Brown Christmas, yes, you read that right, and I can't wait to watch it with my grand-kids when my Son and his wife start their family!  

I feel the same about holiday songs; So many popular songs have been done over and over again, that I feel a little nostalgia is needed from time to time. I am not knocking the artists who've added their personal touches to already classic holiday tunes, but every now and then, I have to listen to some of the best holiday tunes I have had the pleasure of enjoying over the years.   There is something about the older songs evokes the best memories! Luther Vandross may have left us much too soon, but he also left us with some amazing music and classic holiday tunes!

Luther Vandross classic "Every Year, Every Christmas", This is one of my all time favorites holiday songs by him. He sings it so beautifully, if your not in the mood, you will be....ENJOY!

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  
Do you prefer the classic version, or a newer version of the same song?