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Corinne Bailey Rae's New EP

Corinne Bailey Rae is all about The Love. The singer is set to release a new EP on January 25, covering several of her favorite love-themed tracks. Among them are Bob Marley’s “Is This Love,” Paul McCartney’s “My Love” and Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Bailey Rae told The Idolator why she chose the Marley song: "I just thought about that song 'Is This Love' and how poignant it sounds and how it feels when it's stretched out at that tempo. When it's the start of a relationship and it's this questioning - 'Is this love? Is this it? Is this what it feels like?' - it's just so tentative. And I love the descriptions in the song, and I think it's amazing, the idea of two people against the world in poverty and the idea that love is everything that you need." As for picking that super-funky Prince track? "It's just really fun! I thought, I never get to do really fun, synthy, aggressive bright things."

Walter Beasley is "Backatcha!"

Between teaching full-time at the Berklee School of Music, and his hot music career, Walter Beasley is one of the busiest artists out there. But he shows no signs of slowing down, especially with the release of his new studio album, Backatcha! [Shanachie]. This project brings together Beasley’s talents as a saxophonist and a vocalist, kicking off with a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” Beasley also takes on Isaac Hayes’ “Ellie’s Theme” as well as The Five Stairsteps “Ooh Child.” There are plenty of original tracks to follow on the heels of his recent big hits, “Oh Yeah” and “Steady As She Goes” (named Billboard’s #1 smooth jazz Song of the Year for 2009). Beasley’s next live date is in Baltimore on Nov. 13.

Michael Buble's Advice for Stars

So much for that snarky, “no pictures, please” attitude: singer Michael Buble’ thinks stars need to be nicer to their fans. And he’s walking the walk: during a recent London concert, he invited an audience member to sing along with him. In an interview with the UK press, he explained, “It's something that has been missing from this business for a little while and we should be doing more of it. It's good to be connected to your audience." He added that being friendly is just part of the entertainment business: "It doesn't take a lot to be sincere and accommodate people. It's entertainment." Buble’s Crazy Love Tour rolls on, with some final dates in Portugal this week before he returns to the States later this month.

Dave Koz, Peter White Among Award Winners

Congratulations to Dave Koz, who took the Entertainer of the Year prize at the first annual American Smooth Jazz Awards on Friday [Oct. 29.] The event, which took place in Chicago, also named Koz “Broadcaster of the Year.”
Album Of the Year went to Peter White for Good Day, and his hit single, “Bright,” took Song of the Year. White also took home the Guitarist of the Year award. In the Brass/Woodwind slot, Boney James and Richard Elliot were tied [hmmmm….how they gonna split that?]. Brian Culbertson was named Keyboardist of the Year, with Fourplay taking Group of the Year prize. George Benson and Norah Jones were each named in the Vocalist categories; Nick Colionne was awarded the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, while David Benoit was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The complete list of winners is below:


Chris Botti Announces Tour

Trumpeter Chris Botti has just announced a slate of concert dates that includes a stint in Japan and a three-week residency in New York City. Botti who’s backed everyone from Sting to Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, will begin his trek on Nov. 5 in Newark, NJ, concluding in April in Charlotte, NC. He’ll do 18 consecutive nights at New York’s Blue Note club, beginning in December. If you can’t make it, you can experience him live with his 2009 two-disc live set, Chris Botti In Boston. The first wave of dates are listed below; for the complete schedule, visit his website,

November 2010

5 - Newark, NJ - New Jersey Performing Arts Center
6 - Richmond, VA - Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage
8 - Princeton, NJ - McCarter Theatre
13 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
14 - Green Bay, WI - Meyer Theatre
26-28 - Baltimore, MD - Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
30 - Pittsburgh, PA - Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
December 2010
13-30 - New York, NY - Blue Note
January 2011
1, 2 - New York, NY - Blue Note
8 - Costa Mesa, CA - Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
22 - Turlock, CA - Turlock Community Theatre
23 - Palm Desert, CA - McCallum Theatre
29 - Carmel, IN - Carmel Performing Arts Center

John McLaughlin Sits in on Jimmy Fallon Show on NBC

The legendary guitarist to perform with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Guitarist John McLaughlin kicks off his tour of America, with a special appearance on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show on NBC tonight (Friday, November 5) at 12:35 am, EST. (Yes, we know that technically that’s Saturday, November 6.) McLaughlin will sit in with the show’s house band The Roots. As Miles Davis famously uttered during the Jack Johnson recording, “Go ahead, John.”

Later this month, McLaughlin will perform and be the guest of honor at the New Universe Music Festival in Raleigh, NC on November 20 and 21. That festival, organized by Abstract Logix founder Souvik Datta, also includes performances by Lenny White, Jimmy Herring and other noted jazz/fusion players.

Here are the rest of McLaughlin’s tour dates in North America:

Nov. 10 Quebec City, Palais Montcalm
Nov. 11 Toronto, ONT Koerner Hall
Nov. 12 Philadelphia, PA Keswick Theatre
Nov. 13 New York, NY Town Hall
Nov. 14 Alexandria, VA Birchmere
Nov. 16 Boston, MA House of Blues
Nov. 18 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theatre
Nov. 19 St. Louis, MO Sheldon Concert Hall
Nov. 20 Atlanta, GA Rialto Center
Nov. 21 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theater
Nov. 23 Austin, TX One World Theatre
Nov. 24 Austin, TX One World Theatre
Nov. 27 Mexico Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
Nov. 29 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
Nov. 30 Santa Fe, NM Lensic Theatre
Dec. 1 Los Angeles, CA UCLA
Dec. 3 Tucson, AZ The Fox
Dec. 4 Boulder, CO Boulder Theatre
Dec. 5 Seattle, WA Jazz Alley
Dec. 7 Portland, OR True West Alladin Theatre
Dec. 10 Santa Cruz, CA Rio Theater
Dec. 11 Berkeley, CA Zellerbach Hall

McLaughlin will be performing with his Fourth Dimension band, including Gary Husband (keys & drums), Etienne Mbappé (bass) and Mark Mondésir (drums)

Roy Hargrove at the Museum of Modern Art

As part of the 2010 Jazz Interlude Benefit, Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art will host an after-party event on Tuesday, November 2, from 9 p.m. to midnight. The after-party will be held in MoMA’s Agnes Gund Garden Lobby and will be highlighted by a live performance by the Roy Hargrove Quintet. After that, ?uestlove, the drummer for the Roots, will do a DJ set in the Garden Lobby.

The 2010 Jazz Interlude is being hosted by The Friends of Education, a Museum affiliate group devoted to encouraging greater appreciation of art made by African-Americans and the participation of African-Americans at MoMA. This year’s event honors Lois and Roland W. Betts and artist Elizabeth Catlett. Proceeds from even t will benefit The Friends of Education Fund. Past Jazz Interludes have honored Agnes Gund and David Rockefeller, Jr., Dr. Camille O. Cosby, Dorothy Cullman and George Wein.

Joe McBride: A Changed Man

Shortly after the release of his first album on the Heads Up imprint in 1992, singer/pianist Joe McBride became a smooth-jazz star. Since then, McBride has gently pushed the boundaries of the genre now and then – most notably perhaps on 2000′s Texas Rhythm Club – but for the most part he’s remained a smooth-jazz stalwart through the years.
But now comes the July 28 release of his eighth Heads Up release, the aptly titled Lookin’ For a Change. Here McBride utilizes his Ohio-based working trio – guitarist Dan Wilson, bassist Roger Hines and drummer Elijah Gilmore – to interpret nine contemporary pop songs and three of his own compositions in straightahead-jazz fashion. Primarily in this case, that means no beats and rhythms generated by soulless machines. Also, for the first time on an album, McBride sings on every track.

The leader and his group take on a range of songs, from Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Vanessa Carlton’s “1000 Miles” to Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star” and Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” The results are predictably tasteful and mannered. This isn’t dinner music exactly, but neither is it far removed from dinner music. McBride possesses a pleasant, edgeless voice that never noticeably wanders into previously unexplored realms. Like his singing, his piano playing is done admirably well, but never feels all that adventurous. The thoroughly competent band follows suit.

Depending on your taste, of course, consummate professionalism all around is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people will enjoy this record. Certainly McBride’s smooth-jazz fan base won’t be offended, and in the meantime he might pick up a few more traditional-minded listeners once these tunes start hitting the airwaves. In any event, kudos to McBride for trying something a bit different this time around. From his perspective, I imagine he judges this album a success. On his terms, who could argue otherwise? -David Pulizzi

Music Review: Ray Charles - Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters

Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters gives music fans a peek inside the Ray Charles vault with ten previously unreleased songs. Available October 26th on Concord Records, this is the rare archival release that actually hangs together like a real album. Rather than release an expensive box set only a hardcore completist would appreciate, Rare Genius offers forty or so minutes of prime Ray Charles. The songs were originally recorded over the course of three decades, the 1970s-'90s, yet the album flows smoothly. None of these are scratchy cassette demos — the fidelity of these studio tracks is sterling throughout.

Studio musicians were brought in to flesh out some of the more skeletal arrangements. Seeing as these were in some cases unfinished recordings, the producers decided to tastefully approximate the sound Charles likely had in mind. Whether or not this is appropriate, or even acceptable, is certainly debatable. Posthumous releases by a variety of artists have been ruined by the intrusions of overzealous producers.

Luckily this project was overseen by John Burk, co-producer of Charles' final studio album, Genius Loves Company, who approached the matter with the utmost respect for the material. Nothing on Rare Genius sounds out of place; the enhancements blend in perfectly. In fact, I couldn't even tell what elements were newly recorded.

As for the songs themselves, there are many highlights. "It Hurts To Be In Love" is a jazzy, swinging number featuring Charles' strongest vocal on the album. "I'm Gonna Keep On Singin'" coasts along on a light funk groove, with tasty horn licks and seemingly improvised vocal interjections. Charles' much celebrated country-and-western side emerges on a deeply soulful reading of Hank Cochran's "A Little Bitty Tear."

Speaking of country, Charles joins forces with another departed legend, Johnny Cash, on the closing track. The only tune not sourced from the Ray Charles vault, this 1981 version of Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me, Lord?" was found in Sony's vault. Billed as a duet, it should be understood that Cash actually sings lead with Charles' contributing backing vocals and keyboard accompaniment

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