Blue Soul •••
Justin Young, saxophonist
Justin Young’s Blue Soul features a dozen new songs recorded live in the studio. According to Mr. Young the album is a celebration of his love of jazz and soul music mixed with a variety of styles including R&B, pop and gospel. Throughout the album, most notably on “High Definition,” the musician’s alto, tenor and soprano sax is embedded amidst rhythms and grooves constructed by bassists Alex Al, Hussain Jiffry, and the late drummer, Ricky Lawson. Former Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist-vocalist Sheldon Reynolds is another notable player who fortified Mr. Young’s lilting harmonies and undeniable melodies. Other highlights include “Blue Soul” (title track), “Paradise Found,” and “New Life.”
Outside The Box •••
David Garfield, keyboardist
The new album from David Garfield, featuring an extensive collection of recordings, offers a rare glimpse from a musician curating music outside the box of his career as a multi-part, genre-crossing project spanning various types of jazz, R&B, pop, country and rock. The result was the release of Jazz Outside the Box, a straight-ahead jazz set with performances by Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, The Doors’ drummer John Densmore, Tom Scott, Jason Scheff (Chicago), Will Lee, Eric Marienthal, Steve Ferrone, Vinnie Colaiuta, John Clayton, Michael Thompson, Brian Auger and Charlie Bisharat along with the accompaniment of full horn and string sections. “Outside the Box” includes some of the final performances from the late guitarists Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell. Their passings are part of what sparks Mr. Garfield’s inspiration for this enormous undertaking.
The second outing, Jamming Outside the Box, slated to drop this summer, has already spawned a Billboard No. 2 single with “Go Home,” showcasing a sizzling lineup on the Stevie Wonder original comprised of Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum, guitar aces Paul Jackson Jr. and Tony Maiden (Rufus), bassist Freddie Washington, fellow keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, and horn players Marienthal and Stephen “Doc” Kupka (Tower of Power). This disc will be comprised of smooth/contemporary jazz cuts, including the second single presently climbing the charts, “Jamming,” a remake of the Bob Marley classic showcasing guitarist Mike Campbell (a member of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers) and saxophonist Brandon Fields (The Rippingtons, Tower of Power). Icons David Sanborn and George Benson are among the luminous guests on the album. Other prominent players in the mix are Rick Braun, Nathan East, Marcus Miller, Ray Parker Jr. and Rickey Minor.
Presently rising up the Mediabase country charts is a preview of Vox Outside the Box, a set of vocal songs that will be the third release of the series. “I Lied” is one of two songs Mr. Garfield wrote for the project with legend Smokey Robinson. The fourth component will be “Stretchin’ Outside the Box,” which according to Mr. Garfield is “more adventurous with extended intros and special arrangements, a record perhaps geared towards musicians and music enthusiasts. It’ll have more fusion plus bonus tracks and alternate versions.” He is also planning a seasonal selection entitled “Holidays Outside the Box.”