Artists Worth Checking Out: DeNovo Kept Things On The Relaxing Side


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In honor of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team reaching their first World Series since 1988, I thought it was a nice idea to go a bit further down Memory Lane to 1986.

That was the year when Nippon Columbia Records of Japan issued this really cool gem of an album from DeNovo.  Albeit the cover to L.A. Transit shows off a typical row of suburban housing, it is not at all mundane or boring.

This disk is very refreshing, whether you are driving down one of the main streets in and around Los Angeles–or maybe on a nice summer’s day, you have this on your Spotify or Apple Music playlist.  Featuring bubbly covers of “Mas Que Nada”, Antonio Carlos’ Jobim’s “Wave”, “Aqua De Beber”, and Sergio Mendes hit “Pretty World”.

Contributing on the album were Tom Scott (alto sax and regular sax), the late great Oscar Castro-Neves (mainly on acoustic guitar), Paul Jackson, Jr. (electric guitar), and Yutaka Yokokura (keyboards).

A majority of the vocals were beautifully done by Carol Rodgers, Kata Yanai Markowitz, and Gracinha Leporace.  The album does not feel rushed, but similar to more than a handful of my past reviews–each song sounds very loose and carefree.  This is also a great weekend album, where you can simply kick off your shoes or heels and just unwind.

One thing you will notice immediately upon opening up the booklet, about 60 percent of it was written in Japanese.  Lucky for us, the May 1986 notes penned by Japanese music critic Michiko Suzuki provide enough of a glimpse as a worthy addition to any jazz fan’s library:

“It is a well done album with Bossa Nova classic numbers and some original tunes.  It’s the real thing, yet is very LA-ish in that the tunes are fun and relaxing…All song(s) are quite marvelously done.”

Next week, I hope to return with another cool Brazilian jazz album review.

Enjoy your Halloween, and remember–everything in moderation.  If you still have some candy left over, give some to any friend or co-worker that might enjoy it.




Halie Loren on Kickstarter Proved To Be A Major Success

The final numbers are simply astounding:

$68,145 pledged of $64,000 goal

364 backers

That is an average of $187.21 per backer.

Way cool.

In the meantime, as she takes us behind the scenes during the next five plus months–same mostly old script here.  Lots of cool album and occasional concert DVD reviews for you to enjoy.

Again, congratulations to Halie.  Cannot wait to blog about your tenth album in 2018.

Artists Worth Checking Out: Toledo Brings On Soothing Factor


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Not much biographical information is available about this veteran musical artist.  However, in 1995, Toledo scored a gem with this little heard of jazz album from Sony Discos out of Miami, Florida.

Featuring a steady mix of very little vocals along with lots of really cool guitars and percussion, this album can tug at the heart unlike many albums that I know of.

The best songs are the opener “Roots”, which longtime music critic Joel Dorn penned in the liner notes as, “a ‘sound’ that was the perfect focus for his playing and composing”, along with “Bahia” on Track 4.

A nice album for the weekend or any late night, nice music to keep on in the background if you are working on that lengthy project around the house.

Next week, we will kick off October with more nice album reviews from days gone by.  Hope to see you all then.

She Did It! Halie Loren Accomplishes Kickstarter Goal…And Then Some

Just read in my email at 5:24 p.m. Central Time this very happy news:

“Thank you so much to all who have helped to make this project happen!!!
You have made a huge difference in my life and in my art. To each of you, I send my deepest gratitude.

Any amount over the goal will still go toward endeavors around this project, such as music videos of the songs from the album (which I am particularly looking forward to) and promotion efforts to help this music reach farther out into the world!

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!”

The total stands at a robust $64,230 with an amazing pool of 314 backers helping Halie Loren in making her tenth jazz album (of all original material) a reality.

The dream has come true.  Nobody deserves it more.

And yes, I promise–once my signed CD arrives in the mail, I will blog about it for the blogging community to see.

Again, huge Congratulations to Halie Loren!

I am so happy and proud of you:).

Entering The Final Stretch With Halie Loren

Kickstarter campaign enters final week hoping to meet goal to record 10th album

Halie Loren appeared on a few local radio stations Monday in her home state of Oregon continuing her passionate pleas and sounding in her voice a phrase that I normally use in my household as, cautiously optimistic.

Even after mentioning in some online interviews late last week in getting some other fans to join in the fun, the latest total on her Kickstarter page has donations adding up to:

$55,934 pledged of $64,000 goal, good enough for 87.4 percent of the goal.

There have been 275 backers to her project, including Yours Truly Online.  Everyone has averaged a cool $203.40 per contribution.

I am sure that Halie would trust me 100 percent so I can use my blog to simply say this timely but very important message:

Halie Loren simply deserves this chance to make her own unique album and conquer one of her many opportunities to create a new chapter in her already amazing life and career.

Even after all of the travel across oceans and continents and her frequent trips to find solitude in nature, all the while meeting hundreds upon hundreds of fans at her many concerts–I hope we all can make this tenth jazz album a reality.

Please do what you can, however small an amount to make her dream come true.

I wonder what type of emotion we will all express by the time we check on Halie’s Kickstarter page on Sunday morning.

My guess is that Halie Loren will be feeling either:

a) Like freaking out, as if an impromptu party has begun for the celebration of a job well done and that her many hundreds of fans came through when the chips were down and time was of the essence.

b) Crying very happy tears, because that is what most women do when they do something good.

c) Fully appreciative and eager to start a new chapter in her already amazing music career.

d) Wondering out loud and maybe cussing underneath her breath saying, “Why?”, “How come we missed out on those final dollars?”

e) Trying to come up with the perfect thank you video for her many thousands of fans.

My always kind Halie,

Regardless what happens this coming weekend–you have made me and many hundreds of fans so proud of your accomplishments.  You overcame your initial fear of crowdsourcing and have proven time and time again how honest, trustworthy, dedicated, and always being the cool and amazing person that you are–both inside and out.

I hope your dream comes true in achieving that $64,000 goal.

It all comes down to four simple words, words that I first saw on America’s only interurban railroad with my late father in November 1979 on a train trip to do some shopping for my mother inside the old Marshall Field’s store on State Street in Chicago.

The South Shore Railroad had a cute image featuring a cartoon image called, “The Little Train That Could”.  Alongside that image of a pair of trains chugging along the tracks was this timeless statement:

I think I can.  I think I can.

Say that to yourself as many times as you think you need to achieve your goals, no matter what obstacles and/or challenges might stand in your way.

Hopefully, when this month draws to a close–Halie Loren’s goal will be met.

Let us all make it happen.

I did my part, now please go ahead and do your part.



Master Composers: Alexia Bomtempo Hits All The Right Notes

Her Chasing Storms and Stars album is sure to impress


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From the first moment Alexia Bomtempo sings the first note from the song searching for answers from within in “Crystallize”, to penning a long lost love letter on Track 2 in “I Thought About You”, and the only Portuguese speaking track “A Cada Canto” (translated meaning, “At Every Corner”), this jazz album is simply magnificent.

Of course, it takes almost like solving a jigsaw puzzle when you finally find where the title track was hidden.  If you listen really closely, it is located in the final forty seconds of Track 8, “Mexico”.

Other cool hits that will be definitely worth playing on repeat include, “Maybe I’m A Fool” (Track 7) and one of the rare smooth jazz songs possibly earmarked for Halloween when she penned the final track titled, “Oh the Vampyre”–remarking about crescent moons, among such devilish delights.

Overall, this album runs nearly 45 minutes and it definitely gets a five star rating in my book.  Alexia’s voice comes off so sweet and graceful, I almost think it is nearly a cross between Paula Fernandes and a touch of Bebel Gilberto.

It is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple iTunes, and other popular streaming music players.  With this being her third album coming every five years, this puts Alexia Bomtempo among the best of the best as far as Brazilian jazz artists are concerned.

Alexia, please take your place in line.  You simply deserve it.  As a loyal fan with you being a friend of this blog, I wish to say simply–

Job well done:). 


Artists Worth Checking Out–Indigo City Exudes Smooth Jazz For Any Relaxing Saturday


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I just might have found a perfect album for those people that love to hop wearing fashionable outfits before piling into the car and cruising down that Interstate highway heading towards a hip and fun party.

Or, for those people who are hosting–try to have this album on repeat along with my prior blog post of Les Hommes The Mood Is Modal while you are busy preparing dinner for that big, hungry crowd or just getting ready to crack open a few bags of chips and bottles of salsa, because Indigo City’s debut album way back in 1996 provided some really excellent smooth jazz.

Each of the ten tracks features no vocals, and on some days when there is too much chatter going on in the news and social media in this current environment–let this album attempt to calm your nerves and think nothing but positive thoughts.

Let the cool sounds of Tom Schwritz on alto sax and soprano take your breath away.  Ditto also with the nice guitar played by Russ Corvey and Mark McKee on piano.  Even on the third track, their soothing rendition of “September Samba” was done masterfully with the help of vocalists Laura Owens, Grace Cantrell, Michael Blythe, and Thelonious Smooth.

Other tracks definitely worth a deep listen include “On The Other Hand” (Track 2) and “That Saturday Song” (Track 8).  Definite belongs right up there with Fabiana Passoni, Patricia Talem, Diana Krall, and Halie Loren as my Five Star Album pick for any week.

Speaking of Halie…she was sending some more cool vibes late last night (albeit it was late Saturday afternoon in Japan) with her seventh blog update from her Kickstarter campaign.  They are around 70 percent towards the goal of making her tenth album next spring a reality.  She even took time to answer fan’s questions on her Facebook Live page, so I hope you get a chance to check it out when you get some time this weekend.

With my mind getting ready to take some credible notes before my other blog gets started up the week of October 23 at the same time the defending World Series baseball champion Chicago Cubs are trying to fend off some last ditch efforts from their pesky National Central Division rivals of the Milwaukee Brewers and their longtime rivals in the St. Louis Cardinals, it is indeed a great time to be alive.

Another artist will get profiled sometime next week as the calendar (albeit still feels like summer in most of the United States), but technically late September reminds most Americans that crisp autumn nights and the changing fall foliage are the norm like this…


Images courtesy of my own Personal Collection, taken in October during the years 2013 to 2015

Like the current Wisconsin Department of Tourism television ads cleverly say,

“These free views are only available for a short period of time.”

Please take advantage and see the gorgeous fall colors.  I have enjoyed taking time out to see my version of nature every autumn since 1987, so take a chance and enjoy it.