For almost two decades, it has been an engaging, mutually rewarding relationship, with the multitalented guitarist, composer and singer offering tasty sonic tidbits of classic R&B and contemporary jazz and his fans melting into satisfied aural bliss with every succulent, jazz inflected note. It's a veritable "love fest" - and Brown keeps the good vibes going on his long- awaited new release, Sending My Love, arriving this June on Peak Records. "I'm a loving guy -- I hear that a lot. I started reading my emails and the fans were sending me so much love that I wanted to send them love back," explains the artist, who wrote nine of the ten tunes on this offering. "The CD is about pure love, love in all its many aspects: a personal relationship and a general love for the planet and for people. We should be kind to each other," he adds.
"The Elders have become a beloved regional institution. Both as members of the community and as respected musicians, they have forged an uncommonly deep bond with their core constituency. The quality of the Elder's music is commensurate with its sterling civic-minded reputation... many of the qualities Kansas Citians pride themselves in - including humility, warmth, generosity and quiet tenacity- are exemplified by the Elders." Bill Brownlee - Kansas City Star
"The Elders have developed a reputation for bristling live shows and, even better, for exceeding their lofty reputation." Timothy Finn - Kansas City Star
Back in January of 2011, Smooth Jazz Journalist of The Year nominee, Denis Poole commented that "North End Soul" from multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Vincent Ingala was, by any standards, an outstanding piece of work. In fact, it proved to be a spectacular debut and set the scene for what evolved into a truly remarkable year. In San Diego, at what became known as "The Lemonade Weekend," Ingala owned the stage at Anthology and later that night played with Peter White at the Hard Rock Hotel. Twelve months later, his ever growing fan-base would be rewarded with Vincent's follow up album "Can't Stop Now," earning him two Billboard top five singles, one of them topping at #1 for four weeks. Indeed, "Can't Stop Now" bears testimony to the way Vincent pursues his musical goals with determination and zeal. Not only did he write and co-write seven of the tracks, he also played every instrument and, if that wasn't enough, produced and programmed the album throughout. This all seems a far cry from the time his parents bought him his first drum set at the age of four. Later, he was given his first guitar and after only nine months of lessons in third grade, was strumming Elvis tunes that he had perfected by ear. Both friends and family quickly sensed that there was something special going on and this was confirmed when in fifth grade he mastered the keyboard before trading it in for the saxophone. Finally, Vincent had found the sound for which he had been searching. He was hooked and the rest, as they say, is history. Vincent plays Yamaha saxophones exclusively.
In a career that spans more than seven solo albums and countless collaborations in the studio and live on stage, Mindi Abair has made her mark on a broad stretch of the musical landscape that includes jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, funk and more. The powerhouse saxophonist/vocalist has made scores of friends along the way and earned the respect of top-shelf artists representing every one of the aforementioned genres.
In addition to her acclaimed body of solo work that includes ten #1 radio hits and close to half a million albums sold, Abair was the featured saxophonist on the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol, jammed with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman and joined rock legends Aerosmith for their 2012 summer tour.
With these and other high-profile gigs on her 25-year resume as a solo artist and collaborator, she has developed a multi-layered and multi-dimensional sound that reflects virtually every corner of the musical landscape. She plunges headlong into rock and soul territory, harkening back to the days when saxophone was an integral part of the musical landscape, with her newest recording, Wild Heart, set for release on April 22, 2014, on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group.
Her two seasons on American Idol in 2011 and 2012 led to her joining Aerosmith as their first saxophonist since 1973 for their 2012 Summer Global Warming Tour.
"I got off that tour and I had this burst of electric energy to make some music of my own," says Abair. "That tour really affected what I was feeling and what I was writing. I had spent so many nights on stage with these guys who were sweating and bleeding and giving it all for their audience. I wanted that strength and that abandon on my record, and I was inspired to make that happen."
As Wild Heart was starting to take shape, Abair joined a group called Summer Horns, assembled by fellow saxophonist Dave Koz for a record and tour. The lineup also included Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. The resulting sax foursome crafted a record that paid tribute to the great horn bands of the late '60s and early '70s, including Tower of Power, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly & the Family Stone and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The Summer Horns recording scored a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Recording, a validation of not only the collective talent on the record itself, but also of the lasting impact and influence of the music of that era.
That sense of power and reach has become part of Abair's creative philosophy in recent years and has made its way into her music as well. "I've toured with so many different artists and groups representing so many different segments of the musical spectrum," she says. "So many beautiful and talented artists have joined me on my records. I'm the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded by such talent and true artistry. I don't care about labels or boundaries or preconceptions with music. I just want to play and create and keep moving forward."
Bobby Watson (born Lawrence, Kansas, August 23, 1953) is an American post-bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator. Watson now has 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on nearly 100 other recordings as either co-leader or in a supporting role. Watson has recorded more than 100 original compositions and his long-time publisher.
In 2000, he was approached to return to his native midwestern surroundings on the Kansas-Missouri border. Watson was selected as the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri, Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies. The past six years he has served as the director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music although he still manages to balance live engagements around the world with his teaching responsibilities. Watson's ensembles at UMKC have garnered several awards and national recognition
Born on January 28, 1987, Eldar came to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union when he was ten. Among his first performances were in his hometown of Kansas City, as well as The Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. He quickly then moved up the ranks and was featured on the NPR Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz show at the age of twelve.
The New York Times described the New York based pianist Eldar Djangirov as "a blend of musical intelligence, organizational savvy, enthusiasm and prowess that was all the more impressive for seeming so casual... an ebullient impressionist." Dr. Billy Taylor said, "Eldar Djangirov's playing shows brilliancy, complexity, and discipline... he's serious about his music, he's thoughtful about what he does." Jazz Times said, "Maybe he made a pact with Lucifer to be the greatest pianist ever."
"Undoubtedly Angela Hagenbach is one of America's best fresh voices in music and is one of those rare Jazz vocalists who finds more in a song than the composer penned. She inhabits a song and breathes new life into her carefully selected material." writes Mark Bacon Producer/Host, Jazz After Dark and Pan American Rhythms, KRVS 88.7 FM, Lafayette & Lake Charles, LA.
Lauren Braton holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Kansas City Conservatory. She's also certified to teach K-12 vocal music. Local credits: Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Coterie Theatre, Starlight Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, Quality Hill Playhouse, Musical Theater Heritage, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, and Kansas City Civic Opera. Regional: Arrowrock Lyceum Theatre, Seagle Music Colony New York. She also stays busy with commercial and film work. And teaches private voice at Kansas City Young Audiences. Her next projects are "Your Hit Parade" at Quality Hill Playhouse, Musical Theater Heritage's "Christmas Spectacular," And SpinningTree Theatre's "A Little Night Music."