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The Rippingtons, With Feedback Track, Offer A ‘Guru Quiz’ For Fans


January 22nd, 2010 Brian

How much do you know about the Rippingtons, one of the most popular smooth jazz bands in the world? How much do you know about leader and guitarist Russ Freeman? The band is invited its fans to participate in a feature on its website called the Rippingtons Guru Quiz.

Freeman, who created the quiz’s questions, admits that it’s pretty challenging. Examples include “What was the first Rippingtons album to debut at #1 on the Billboard jazz chart?” and “What sax player is featured on theTopaz CD?” (The answers are St. James Club and Paul Taylor.)

Is there a prize for getting all the right answers on the Rippingtons Guru Quiz? “No, just the prize of not being a jester, I suppose,” Freeman says. “They e-mail me and say, hey I got eight out of nine. It’s like, dude, you’re a pro man. If you can get that many, that’s tough. I don’t even know some of the answers.”

The Rippingtons latest CD, the Grammy-nominated Modern Art, features the title track which is now the Smooth Jazz Top 20 feedback track.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Lily Mariye, Boney James’ Wife, Has Role In “Extraordinary Measures”


January 22nd, 2010 Brian

Lily Mariye, the actress and wife of smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James, today (January 22) can be seen in movie theaters nationwide as she has a role in Extraordinary Measures, which stars Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford and Keri Russell.

Mariye plays the role of Dr. Waldman in the drama centered on the efforts of a couple’s efforts to find a researcher who might have a cure for a rare genetic disorder afflicting their two children.

Mariye is best known for her small role in the TV series ER. She played nurse Lily Jarvik for the show’s entire 15-year run. She’s also appeared in many other TV shows, directed short films and had roles in the movies American Pie Presents Band Camp and Mighty Joe Young.

In September, Lily and Boney celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

“Hope For Haiti” Airs Tonight With An All-Star Lineup


January 22nd, 2010 Brian

The two-hour, star-studded Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief will air tonight (January 22) at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT simultaneously on more than 25 networks. MTV is presenting the benefit, which will be hosted by actor George Clooney and musician Wyclef Jean. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will report live from Haiti.

Clooney will host the Los Angeles portion of the show, which will feature Alicia Keys, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow.

Hatian native Jean will be live from a New York studio with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira and Madonna. Beyonce, Coldplay, Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna will perform from London.

Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller, Jon Stewart, Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Muhammad Ali, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and former president Bill Clinton are just a few of the names of other celebrities who are set to make appearances. And many other celebrities, including Quincy Jones, will be taking donations over the phone.

In addition to MTV and CNN, other networks airing Hope for Haiti include ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT. The show will even air on the Discovery’s eco-lifestyle television network, Planet Green. The program will live on many radio stations and streamed online globally across sites including YouTube, Hulu, MySpace, Fancast, AOL, MSN.com, Yahoo, Bing.com, BET.com, CNN.com, MTV.com, VH1.com, and Rhapsody and on mobile via Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and FloTV.

Proceeds from Hope for Haiti will benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme, Yele Haiti Foundation and the Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation.

Music performances from the telethon will be available for purchase and download from Apple’s iTunes store. Apple, the record labels and the artists have pledged to donate their share of the proceeds to Haiti relief funds managed by the telethon charities.

For more information, go to Hope for Haiti’s website.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Boney James Performing In UNCF Tribute To Lionel Richie


January 22nd, 2010 Brian

Smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James will be in the national television spotlight this weekend as he performs for An Evening of Stars Tribute to Lionel Richie. Richie will be honored with the UNCF Award of Excellence at an annual event sponsored by the United Negro College Fund as it recognizes excellence in entertainment and education.

Joining Boney on stage will be a star-studded lineup, including Brian McKnight, Natalie Cole, James Ingram, Stevie Wonder, Akon, Jesse McCartney, Katharine McPhee and many others. Making special appearances will be Quincy Jones, Ne-Yo, Nicole Richie and Will.I.Am.

Richie is a graduate of Tuskegee University, a UNCF member school. The Award of Excellence is for the musician’s long and distinguished career as a singer-songwriter-producer and for his history of supporting minority education. Richie, a former member of the Commodores, has had such memorial hits as “I Call It Love,” “Hello,” “Easy,” “All Night Long,” “Three Times a Lady” and “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

The taped event took place September 12 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. It will air Saturday (January 23) on WGN America and Sunday (January 24) on BET. A complete listings of stations and times can be found on the UNCF website.

James currently a Top 10 song on the Smooth Jazz Top 20 with “Touch.”

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Sade To Provide CD Commentary On Smooth Jazz Network’s World Premiere


January 21st, 2010 Brian

The Smooth Jazz Network is proud to offer the world premiere of Sade’s Soldier of Love CD on February 6. Allen Kepler, president of Broadcast Architecture and the Smooth Jazz Network, will be the host of the show, and Sade will provide commentary on each of the songs from the forthcoming CD.

Solider of Love will be released on February 9. The first single from the CD, the title track, will be No. 1 for the fourth straight week this weekend on the Smooth Jazz Top 20, which is also hosted by Kepler. “Soldier of Love” had the distinction of being the first vocal tune and the first song to debut at the top spot on the countdown.

In addition to the No. 1 song, Sade’s 10-song CD features titles such as “The Moon and the Sky,” “Morning Bird,” “Long Hard Road,” “Bring Me Home” and “In Another Time.”

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Pianist Alan Hewitt Officially Releases New CD


January 21st, 2010 Brian

Smooth jazz pianist Alan Hewitt’s new CD Retroactive, his first for NuGroove Records, is now officially available this week after being only offered as a digital download in October.

Hewitt, who has been a mainstay in the production room for artists like Earth, Wind and Fire, Warrant and Donny Osmond, has also written for movies and for Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talk show.

“I wanted to bring back the energy to Retroactive that I used to feel and hear when I would listen to the Jazz Crusaders, Return to Forever, Weather Report and Ramsey Lewis,” said Hewitt, who in 2006 released a CD titled Metropolis and in 2004 offered Noche de Passion. Retroactive has guest appearances by trumpeter Greg Adams and guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Steve Oliver, among others.

The 10-track CD has covers of “Shaft” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” in addition to original tunes such as “All For You,” “Nassau Blue” and “Saturday Afternoon.”

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Patti Austin Helps Establish A Mentoring Foundation


January 21st, 2010 Brian

Vocalist Patti Austin, in an effort to stimulate sustainable giving, has joined with Dawn Carroll and other concerned citizens to establish the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Its goal is to break down barriers that separate generations of people and cultures. Through mentoring, it will exemplify how all are all increasingly inter-dependent on each other, rather than independent individuals. And, because people’s inter-dependency, the foundation hopes to help foster respects diversity, culture, and individuality.

This month is National Mentoring Month, and today (January 21) is National Mentoring Day.

“Today is the first day of the rest of our lives,” Austin says. “Yet, for many, the ‘rest of our lives’ will be fraught with the scars of lost loved ones and the tireless work of rebuilding a country. The Haitian earthquake disaster is a heart-wrenching reminder that forces beyond our control continually test our resolve. But we, as a civilization, hold the keys to how we rise above these forces through our actions in support of each other.

“Throughout history, there have been countless examples of how people and nations put aside their own needs in favor of those in more dire situations. We all have the innate instinct to give, especially during times of tragedy. However, giving should be a continuous process. This is the only way that we can sustain our support for those in need, during good times and bad.”

(Smooth Jazz Network)

James Taylor Sets Two Haiti Benefit Shows; On “Letterman” Tonight


January 20th, 2010 Brian

James Taylor has announced that he will perform two benefit concerts for Haitian relief efforts. The second show was added after the first one quickly sold out, and the second is expected to do the same. They will be held at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, on Friday (January 22) and Saturday (January 23). Taylor lives nearby in Lenox, MA.

Proceeds from Help for Haiti: An Intimate Evening with James Taylor will benefit Partners in Health. The Boston-based group brings modern medical care to poor nations and has been working in Haiti for more than 20 years. Each show is raising $300,000 — $150,000 in ticket sales each and a matching donation by Taylor and his wife, Kim. Concert tickets range in price from $100 to $1,000. Taylor will be joined onstage by his wife, singers Kate Markowitz and Arnold McCuller, as well as Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Owen Young.

“Our hearts go out to everyone in Haiti,” said Taylor. “We need to do everything we can to help the country recover after this tragic earthquake. I’m grateful to do my part and hope my neighbors here in the Berkshires will join me and be as generous as possible.”

Taylor will perform tonight (January 20) on Late Show With David Letterman, along with Carole King. The two begin their Troubadour Reunion tour on March 26.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Wayman Tisdale Video Inspires Basketball Players; Cruise In His Honor


January 19th, 2010 Brian

A 20-minute video showing the basketball exploits of the late Wayman Tisdale is being used to help motivate members of the University of Oklahoma basketball team. The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City reports that coach Jeff Capel had tried benching his players, challenging them publicly and privately, and taking away their access to an upscale posh locker room and the privilege to wear the team’s logo during practices.

The newspaper say Capel’s done this to try to kick-start the effort and attitude he feels is missing as his team experienced a disappointing start to its season.

He then showed the team the video on former Sooner Tisdale, who died in May at age 44. “Wayman, after he got his leg amputated, wanted to put OU Sooners on his artificial leg,” senior forward Ryan Wright told the paper. “It just showed us what we’re playing for and what the name on the front of the jersey means to everyone in OU athletics.”

Basketball players aren’t the only ones Tisdale continues to inspire. Tisdale, who went on to have a successful smooth jazz career, is being remembered this week on a smooth jazz cruise that sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Tisdale was to be a co-host on the cruise. Now, the cruise is dedicated to his life and music.

Among those on the cruise are Dave Koz, Keiko Matsui, Peter White, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Eric Darius, Jeff Golub, Earl Klugh, Jonathan Butler, Euge Groove and Richard Elliot.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

Nick Colionne Is Lovin’ It As McDonald’s Musical Host

Smooth jazz guitarist and Chicago resident Nick Colionne has been selected as the spokesman for McCafé Nights at The Oasis. The venture is a joint operation between the Black McDonald’s Operators Association and 87.7 FM, Chicago’s Smooth Jazz WLFM. The station is an affiliate of the Smooth Jazz Network.

During January, February and March, selected McDonald’s locations in the Chicago area will find some musical goings-on in the store. It begins Thursday (January 21) at Jazz at the McDonald’s at 2525 S. King Drive. There will be live poetry and free samples of McCafé specialty coffees at every location from 6 to 8 p.m.

You can visit the 87.7 FM WLFM website for more information. Upcoming shows feature Chicago saxophonist Skinny Williams January 28, Detour on February 18 and Brian Danzy and the Jazzmatics on February 25. Colionne, whose latest CD is No Limits, will be hosting all of these events.

(Smooth Jazz Network)

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