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Smooth Jazz Bassist Julian Vaughn Launches His Fourth Album

Reviewed by Lee Jarmon

Julian Vaughn

Julian Vaughn

Lead bassist and upcoming jazz artist, Julian Vaughn, has released his new album titled Limitless. His new album debuted April 21, 2015, by Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records. It currently ranks #24 on the Smooth Jazz Top 50 album charts (www.smoothjazz.com). Limitless also hit #19 on the Billboard Album chart as well as his hit single titled “Ride Along,” which peaked to # 1 on the Billboard charts for the top Jazz singles (www.allmusic.com). Julian Vaughn, without a doubt has composed yet another masterpiece.  The rhythm section consists of some of the greatest underrated musicians in the world. Vaughn’s hit song, “Ride Along” is absolutely a true work of Vaughn’s. The way that he composed the melodies and arrangements are indescribably beautiful. The clarity in the sound of his fingers hitting each note on his bass is what makes each song so remarkable. The way he plays his bass is so smooth, like the instrument itself, is singing the melody. Whether he is playing a ballad or an upbeat song, the funk never leaves. Featured on the album are some the greatest musicians in the world. Those individuals include smooth jazz artist saxophonist Marcus Anderson, saxophonist Elan Trotman, keyboardist/ producer Nicholas Cole, flutist Althea Rene, and many more.

Julian Vaughn album

Julian Vaughn’s fourth album “Limitless”

Aside from other bass players, Vaughn brings the bass guitar to the forefront as the lead instrument where he adds his own creativity, technique, and style towards his playing. Whether he’s on stage or in the studio, Julian’s music reflects how he plays which stems from his heart and soul. As a native of Kansas City, MO, the 6’7’’ bassist started playing as a teenager. He grew up in the church where both his father and grandfather served as pastors. At first, Julian started playing drums in church. Vaughn describes how every kid in the church wanted to play drums. He states, “Trying to the play the drums at church was like ten football players going after a fumble,” (www.julianvaughnmusic.com). While fighting over the drums got old, Julian decided to try a different instrument. At 15, he picked up the bass guitar and instantly fell in love with it. By this time, Vaughn knew that the bass was his instrument of calling. At 19, his grandfather bought him 6-string bass guitar. Vaughn eventually, taught himself how to play and soon realized he had the skill to play by ear. Later on he discovered that his playing was more than a hobby; it was his passion. So, he decided to become a professional bassist. Back when he released The Purpose Project in 2010, the album not only put his playing to the forefront but also his strong song writing abilities. So far he has released four albums including his latest. His previous albums include Behind The Scenes (2006), The Purpose Project (2010), and Breakthrough (2012) all have successfully topped the Jazz charts. Vaughn has performed at notable Jazz festivals such as the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Catalina Island Jazz Festival, Big Bear Lake Festival, and the Dubai International Jazz Festival. What makes Julian Vaughn so distinct from other artists is that he stays current on the industry trends but doesn’t write music to fit the radio format. According to his website (www.julianvaughnmusic.com), he states, “I know what flavor works in the music industry but I don’t write my material based on that. I write from my heart.” Vaughn also quotes, “Whatever is moving me at the moment is what dictates the end. I want to make music for the people not the format.” As a rising- jazz artist, Julian Vaughn continues to improve on his technique as well as perfect his craft as a bass player. As a young man he still motivates himself to learn and evolve not only as a musician, but as an individual as well. Limitless is definitely as must buy!

Sources:

www.theurbanmusicscene.com

www.ibanez.co.jp

Contemporary Jazz Guitarist Lee Ritenour Releases Newest Album

Reviewed by Lee Jarmon

Lee Ritenour

Lee Ritenour

After 40 years of being in the music business, iconic jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour has done a relentless amount of recordings throughout his career. His latest album is titled A Twist Of Rit which was released by Concord Music on August 21, 2015. It currently ranks #10 on the top 50 Smooth Jazz charts (www.smoothjazz.com). Featured on the album are original tunes from Lee’s earlier projects from the mid-70s. According to his website, the idea was to re-arrange some of his original tunes to more of an updated contemporary sound (www.leeritenour.com). The album has a blend of genres including contemporary jazz, funk, and fusion. Lee Ritenour has out done himself on this project. Featured on this album is iconic keyboardist/composer, Dave Grusin, bassist Melvin Davis, Dave Weckl and Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums, saxophonist/composer, Tom Scott, guitarist “Wah-Wah” Watson and many others. Some of the featured songs such as “Ooh Yeah” and “A Little Bit of This” does give you that old school sound with a lot funk and soul. The horn arrangements are magnificently beautiful and the rhythm is tight. Ritenour also introduces a guest performer on new his album. Hungarian guitarist, Tony Puztai, was a grand prize winner of Lee Ritenour’s 2014 Six String Theory Competition.

Lee Ritenour album

Lee Ritenour’s album “A Twist of Rit”

While growing up in Los Angeles, California, in the 60s, the highly acclaimed guitarist was exposed to many musical genres from jazz, rock, and Brazilian music. When he was 16, he started doing session work. At 18, he played guitar for legendary artists like Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. According to Lee’s website, he was nominated 17 times for a Grammy. He received the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC (The University of Southern California). One of his classic songs that became an instant top 15 hit was “Is it You” which has been a constant contemporary jazz radio classic (www.leeritenour.com). During the later years, Lee has recorded and toured with some of the best world- renowned musicians in the world. He is recognized as being one the founding members of the iconic jazz quartet, Fourplay. The group formed in 1991. The original lineup featured keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, drummer Harvey Mason, and Lee on guitar. Their first album spent 33 weeks as #1 on the Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart (www.leeritenour.com). The current lineup still features Bob, Harvey, Nathan, and newest member, guitarist, Chuck Loeb. He is currently is touring and promoting his new album all over the world. This album is truly a masterpiece.

Sources:

www.leeritenour.com

www.smoothjazz.com

www.cloud-jazz.com

www.axis.com