Cole, Trotman, Andrew and Vaughn releasing new music

By Phillip Martin

In my latest new music watch, I highlight new releases by Steve Cole, Elan Trotman, Vandell Andrew, and Julian Vaughn.

Steve Cole releases single ahead of new album

Sax player Steve Cole released his new single a few days ago. “Mirage” (embedded from Spotify below) will appear on his new CD album Turn It Up. The new album is expected to release in mid-July but is available for pre-order.

Cole released his Pulse album in 2013. His fans will likely remember his 2000 album, titled Between Us. That particular album featured his hit “Got It Goin’ On” and his cover of TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Elan Trotman teases redone songs from previous albums

Elan Trotman, another successful sax man, posted a video teaser of his newest project via Facebook and Instagram. He has presumably titled the project Double Take, and, according to his post, it will feature redone versions of songs from his previous albums. He concluded his post by saying he will release the album July 1 at Scullers Jazz Club, in Boston.

Elan Trotman allowed fans to listen to a teaser from recording software. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.
Elan Trotman allowed fans to listen to a teaser from his recording software. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

Trotman’s recent work includes collaborating on Marion Meadows’ “Magic Men” and Julian Vaughn’s “Ride Along.” The native from Barbados also earned an education from the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, according to his biography on his website. He is also the founder and host of the Barbados Jazz Excursion, held every Columbus Day weekend.

Vandell Andrew offers pre-order of new album

Like the two aforementioned sax players, Vandell Andrew is also releasing new music. All For Love is set to release on July 29. Andrew has posted a pre-order link on

The New Orleans native released a short play album earlier this year titled For Lovers. Additionally, Andrew’s 2011 debut Years Later earned “rave reviews from smooth jazz fans, music lovers and critics across the world,” according to his biography on his website. “Let’s Ride,” the hit single from his 2014 EP Turn It Up, earned Billboard chart success and a Soul Train nomination.

Vandell Andrew shared artwork for his new record set to come out this July. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

Julian Vaughn pushes new release back to 2017

I first shared a few months ago that bass guitarist Julian Vaughn announced he would release his new album this summer. Apparently, Vaughn pushed back the release date for sometime in March of next year. This is according to a post he shared recently on Facebook.

Bassist Julian Vaughn updates his fans on the progress of his new record via Facebook. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

Watch for new music from these longtime artists

By Phillip Martin

The year 2016 is nearly halfway over, and a few longtime contemporary jazz artists are recording or will release new music soon. In my latest new music watch, I focus in on Nathan East, The Rippingtons, and Joyce Cooling.

Nathan East records with Barbra Streisand, announces his own new solo record

On the eve of Memorial Day, this past week, a photo of bassist Nathan East and Barbra Streisand showed up on Facebook. Global Radio’s page originally shared the photo (screen-captured below). The bassist of smooth jazz group Fourplay apparently has been recording new music with Streisand.

Nathan East and Barbra Streisand take a break in the studio to let fans know about the new music they are making. Post shared by Global Radio and originally posted by East on Facebook. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.
Nathan East and Barbra Streisand take a break in the studio to let fans know about the new music they are making. Post shared by Global Radio and originally posted by East on Facebook. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

In addition to working with the multi-award-winning singer and actress, East announced he will release his own new solo album. His second solo album will be out this fall on the Yamaha Entertainment Group of America label, according to The website reported the news on May 27. East’s new album will reportedly feature a more contemporary jazz sound than his first solo album and will have guest artists from his past. 

East’s first solo album, which was self-tilted and released in 2014, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s jazz charts and No. 1 on’s “Top 50” chart for 36 weeks.

New Music by The Rippingtons hit the airwaves, due out late June

Sirius XM Watercolors shared on Facebook this past Wednesday that the station was playing a new single by The Rippingtons. “Wild Tales” is already considered a hit. The band’s entire new album, titled True Stories, will be out June 24 but is available now for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.

The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, share artwork from the band's new album due out later June.
The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, share artwork from the band’s new album due out later this June. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

The Rippingtons celebrate 30 years ever since its leader and guitarist Russ Freeman formed the band. Throughout these years, the band has produced music that crosses over smooth jazz and jazz fusion. Plus, music from the band did appear often during The Weather Channel’s “Local on The 8’s” segment prior to Universal purchasing the network.

Joyce Cooling updates, settles fans uneasiness

Apparently fans of jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling have been anxious to know about her latest projects. Some might say her fans’ uneasiness is justified, given that her latest release, Global Cooling, was seven years ago.

However, Cooling finally eased those fans’ restless minds this past Wednesday.

In her first Facebook post since March, she acknowledged that some fans have asked “What’s up?” She then said that “we’ve been having a ball recording” and that her friend from Spain visited the studio to record drums. Her friend Danny can be clearly seen laying down some percussion in the photo post.

Danny Montgomery came over to Joyce Cooling's to record drums during a laid-back session for her new music.
Danny Montgomery came over to Joyce Cooling’s studio to record drums during a laid-back session for her new music. Cooling originally posted this photo on Facebook. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

Cooling has won numerous awards, including the Gibson Best Guitarist of The Year. She taught herself the guitar, learning to play it by ear, according to her biography. She initially played a straight-ahead / bebop style of jazz but is now recognized as a contemporary jazz player with a funk and pop flavor. Some jazz stars she’s played with include Joe Henderson, Al Jarreau, and Lee Ritenour. Cooling is also a national advocate for the National Alliance for Mental Health.

30 Day Overview: April and May 2016

By Phillip Martin

A lot has happened since my most recent post on April 28. Below are some highlights of the past month in the world of smooth jazz:

Lindsey Webster breaks through, charts again on Billboard

Up-and-coming singer Lindsey Webster has done it again. After her “Fool Me Once” led Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart for a record-breaking three weeks as a fully-led vocal song, the singer found more success on the chart. Her song “Open Up” will reach No. 15 on the chart for this coming week. The song has charted three consecutive weeks.

Lindsay Webster celebrates her most recent chart hit "Open Up" on her social media accounts. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.
Lindsey Webster celebrates her most recent chart hit “Open Up” on her social media accounts. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.



Sade possibly making new music

Multi-genre singer Sade shared on her Instagram account (sadeofficial) four months ago has led people speculating she may be working on new music. Houston Williams of originally shared the artist’s post for Facebook.

Many fans, including Williams, regard Sade as a celebrated artist that has been influential for smooth jazz and several other genres dating back to the mid-1980s.

Sade’s most recent album release was Soldier of Love in 2010. The title track, “Soldier of Love,” charted well on a few Billboard charts. The song once held the record for a vocal before Lindsay Webster’s “Fool Me Once” a few months ago. 

Brian Culbertson launches another Indiegogo campaign

Jazz, funk, and R&B pianist Brian Culbertson launched an Indiegogo campaign this past Saturday for his new record Funk! set for release in September. The crowd-funded campaign is the second for Culbertson since he went independent for his Another Long Night Out album two years ago.

His fans can choose options like paying for a pre-order mp3 download, a pre-ordered autographed copy, or even to have him write a song or play a private concert for a fan (the latter being a more expensive options). The funding, he said on a recent YouTube video, will help finance his latest record and his funk tour scheduled for this fall.

Like some of his more recent albums, Culbertson has also released a video blog on YouTube that chronicles parts of his project.

Michael Lington sets personal best with new release

Danish sax player Michael Lington released his new album Second Nature one month ago. His new release started at No. 3 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums Sales chart, which is the best start for any album in his career. His new album features mostly new songs, inspired by old school R&B.

Michael Lington thanks fans for helping him earn his best album sales debut. Screenshot by Phillip Martin.

Other new music releases chart well

BWB (Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun) released a self-titled album on April 22. The title track, “BWB,” from the latest album, reached No. 1 one week ago, and has remained in the Top Five of Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart since. The new album features an upbeat and pleasant sound overall. This is the third recording of Brown, on acoustic guitar, Whalum, on saxophone, and Braun, on flugelhorn and trumpet.

 Chris Standring recently released Ten. His hit single “Ready Steady Flow” peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart for the week of April 16 and has remained in the Top Six throughout the month of May.


Jessy J Appears on Magazine Cover; Lington Promotes New Record

By Phillip Martin

Saxophonists Jessy J and Michael Lington shared images of their recent happenings through their social media accounts this past week.

First, Jessy J shared that magazine Saxophone Life is featuring her on their front cover for the month of March.

This past Tuesday, she shared the cover photo as well as her reaction on her Instagram account:



Saxophone Life is a monthly magazine that covers the lifestyles of professional sax players and offers tips for amateur players. The magazine typically features images of professional saxophone players each month and also includes an interview with the selected artist inside the month’s edition. Boney James appeared on the front cover this past Feburary.

Aside from appearing on the front cover of the magazine, Jessy J is touring around the country after her most recent release My One and Only One. The Latin jazz performer also recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend. She also celebrated the eight year anniversary of the release of her first CD album Tequila Moon, for which she earned Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Song of the Year in 2008 for the album’s title track.


Finally, Danish-born sax player Michael Lington announced this past Thursday that his new album Second Nature is available for pre-order.

He said on his Instagram account, lingtonsax, that fans can pre-order the new album by accessing a link in his profile bio. By doing this, fans will receive the new album a week before the release date, which is set for April 22 (also known as Earth Day in the U.S.).


Below is a photo of what appears to be the front cover for Lington’s new album:


Lington’s most recent album was his 2014 album Soul Appeal. The single “Uptown Groove” from this album peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s “Smooth Jazz Songs” chart in November of that year. He also is known for his song “Show Me,” from his Stay With Me album in 2004, which received a lot of airplay at that time.

Peter White and Euge Groove Team Up for New Music

By Phillip Martin

Smooth jazz guitarist Peter White shared a photo of him sitting with sax player Euge Groove on his Facebook page this past Tuesday evening. White’s photo post said he and Groove were working on new music. 

No further details about the new music were disclosed on White’s page.

Guitarist Peter White (left) sits alongside sax player Euge Groove (right). The photo is part of White’s public Facebook post sharing that the two are collaborating on new music. Screen capture by Phillip Martin.

White and Groove will also team up on tour at least a few times this year, according to White’s touring schedule on his website. The guitarist and sax player will play in Anchorage, Alaska on Valentine’s Day. The two will also join several other artists on tour at the following events:

  • Dave Koz & Friends at Sea cruise, in the Caribbean, from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28 
  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival, in South Africa on April 2
  • Seabreeze Jazz Festival, in Panama City Beach, FL, on April 23

Smile, one of White’s most recent albums, peaked at No. 13 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart during the week of Oct. 25, 2014

Groove also enjoyed a top-25 position on the same chart category in 2014, peaking at No. 11 during the week of Sept. 9 for his album Got 2 Be Groovin.

Julian Vaughn to Release Hometown-themed Record

By Phillip Martin

Guitar player Julian Vaughn is busy recording his new album, due out this summer, and he’s not shying away from sharing about it.


Vaughn’s new album will be dedicated to his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, he announced on his Facebook page Jan. 9, one week ago.

The young smooth jazz star enjoyed success this past year as his latest hit “Ride Along” finished No. 3 on Billboard’s 2015 year-end chart.”Ride Along” featured sax player Elan Trotman, who also enjoyed chart success in the previous year. Vaughn’s 2015 album Limitedless, which featured the song, finished No. 24 on’s 2015 year-end chart. 

Vaughn’s playing style sounds similar to the late Wayman Tisdale, and some classify him in the same style as Marcus Miller. Vaughn has said Tisdale is one of his biggest musical influences. The Kansas City-bred guitarist is on my short list of artists I seek to include in my own smooth jazz collection.


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Brian Culbertson Will “funkifize” With New Funk Record

By Phillip Martin

Updated Jan 30, 2016 at 6:10 p.m.

Jazz, R&B, and funk pianist Brian Culbertson announced on his website and by social Monday he will release a new funk album.

The album, expected for release this coming September, will be Culbertson’s fourteenth studio album of his career. It will also be his second funk-themed album since Bringing Back The Funk in 2008.

Culbertson has already recorded a few collaborations for his new album, according to his posting. Below is a video of him in Minneapolis while recording with Chance Howard and St. Paul Peterson:

On his website, Culbertson also mentioned that two special features will accompany the new album:

First, he will share a new video blog on YouTube that will chronicle the production of some of the tracks. Like with his three previous studio albums, fans can watch teasers, hearing how the chorus of each track will sound. Fans can also pitch in the recording process, which Culbertson says he will provide with special offers in the spring via Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website.

Secondly, Culbertson said in his posting that he and his camp are planning “an extensive FUNK tour” for this fall. The schedule for the tour is set to come out sometime this spring.

 The term “funkifize” in the headline of this post is derived from the song titled “You Got To Funkifize” originally by Tower of Power, redone by Brian Culbertson on his Bringing Back The Funk record.

Watch Mound City Jazz on Tuesday, Culbertson’s birthday, as I post my first CD album review for his Live From The Inside.