Mento Buru’s New EP Is Its Own Musical Gift

Courtesy: Earshot Media

It has already been noted many times by this critic and others, that holiday music compilations are a dime a dozen.  It’s hard nowadays to find that special collection of songs that will help get a person in the spirit of the season.  Thankfully for all of the copycat, run-of-the-mill Christmas-themed compilations that hit store shelves and digital outlets annually, there are some rare diamonds in the rough that give listeners a viable alternative.  One of those rarities has already been pointed out by this critic from punk super group The Myrrdherers, The Myrrdherers Sleigh Xmas.  It is just one of this year’s rare welcome holiday collections.  Ska/reggae band Mento Buru recently released another of those notable alternatives in its new collection East Bakersfield Christmas.  Audiences can download the six-song record free now through the end of December, thanks to The Hub of Bakersfield, which provided grant funding from its “Cash for the Arts” program to make the EP.  Audiences can download the album through Mento Buru’s official Facebook page.  The EP is a welcome new alternative holiday collection in part through its featured songs, which will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements that are featured within the songs add even more to the record’s appeal.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the EP’s songs and their arrangements, the whole makes the compilation a surprisingly enjoyable new addition to any listener’s holiday music library.

Ska/reggae band Mento Buru’s debut holiday compilation East Bakersfield Christmas is a welcome alternative to all the cookie cutter seasonal sets that start populating store shelves and digital retailers annually.  That is thanks in part to the record’s featured songs.  The six-song collection does mostly feature some familiar tunes, such as ‘Jingle Bell Rock,’ ‘The Christmas Song,’ and ‘Feliz Navidad.’  At the same time though, the record also features one song – ‘Donde Esta Santa Claus’ – as the record’s bookend.  The English version of the 1958 tune opens the EP while its full Spanish-language version closes out the song.  So while the EP’s track listing totals six songs, it in fact actually has five songs, one of which is more familiar among the Hispanic community than American audiences.  This inclusion is important because it shows the band is doing its part here to connect with more than just one target audience.  Sure it is only in the case of one song, but that the band presented that song separately in English and Spanish clearly shows that successful effort to reach a wide range of audiences.  What’s more, the inclusion of even just that one song will perhaps serve as a starting point for a journey of cultural growth for audiences.  That is the case as maybe hearing that song in particular will encourage some listeners to delve deeper into the history of Hispanic holiday music.  Keeping this in mind, the EP’s body may be mostly familiar, but the inclusion of even one lesser-known song from another people and their culture plays its own important part to the record’s presentation.  The arrangements featured within each of the record’s four songs are important to address in their own way.

The arrangement featured in ‘Donde Esta Santa Claus?’ is a catchy, upbeat composition that fully exhibits Mento Buru’s ska stylistic work.  The band took Auge Rios’ original 1958 classic and gave it a whole new identity here.  Rios’ original work is a much simpler work that echoes the sounds of the time with its sleigh bells, simple percussion and choral backing vocal approach.  It is a work that lends itself to works from the likes of Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers and others of that ilk in its stylistic approach and sound.  In the case of Mento Buru’s take on the song, the song has even more energy with the band’s full-on ska aesthetic.  The only real throwback to Rios’ original work is the subtle inclusion of what sounds like a vibraphone late in the song’s presentation.  Of course even with the updated Latin-tinged ska approach to the song, it still is so enjoyable as the energy really serves to help illustrate the energy that every child feels on Christmas Eve.  To that end, it is just as enjoyable in its own way as the original song.

The band’s updated take on the 1500s tune ‘What Child Is This (Greensleaves)’ is yet another key way in which the EP’s musical arrangements show themselves to be so important.  Everybody knows the original composition and how melancholy it sounds and feels.  From one rendition to another, the song has remained largely the same from one take to the next.  This has honestly made the song a song that has widely divided audiences.  Either audiences have enjoyed it or simply disliked it.  Mento Buru’s take however gives the timeless tune its own unique new identity with its reggae style approach.  It picks up the tempo considerably, but keeps the mood relaxed while also staying true to the source material.  There is even a surprise at the song’s end to give one last “punch” to the composition.  While the original composition is meant as an honorarium of sorts to Jesus, it is just so solemn, maybe too much so.  Mento Buru’s take on the song on the other hand, really gives the energy of the joy at the birth of Christ.  It is a much needed and welcome update on the centuries old song, and just one more example of what makes the arrangements featured in Mento Buru’s new EP so important to its presentation.

The musical arrangement featured in Mento Buru’s take of ‘The Christmas Song’ is so important as it maintains the relaxed sense from the rendition made so popular by Nat King Cole but takes the song in a different direction.  Rather than painting the standard wintry picture, Mento Buru’s take instead conjures thoughts of palm trees lit up by Christmas lights as waves gently make their way across the beach.  The string arrangement featured in the Nat King Cole version are replaced here by the subtle guitar riff and a group of horns, just as subtly adding their touch to the song.  Cole’s soft as snow vocals are replaced by the much lighter, almost playful vocal delivery here, too.  The whole presents a nice tropical update to a song that has for too long been part of a media-induced fantasy of the holiday season.  It is just one more way in which this EP’s musical content shows its importance to the record’s presentation.  When it is considered with the other noted arrangements and the rest of the record’s arrangements, that whole makes for even more reason for audiences to hear this compilation.  The arrangements are just one more way in which the EP proves itself so enjoyable.  The sequencing of the songs and arrangements puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation.

Being that the same song opens and closes East Bakersfield Christmas, it goes without saying that the EP starts and ends with the same level of energy.  So audiences start and end the record on a high note.  The EP’s energy stays high in the first two songs, but then pulls back in the band’s cover of ‘What Child is This? (Greensleeves).’  That pullback is only temporary, as things pick right back up in the band’s take of the popular tune ‘Feliz Navidad’ before pulling back slightly again in the group’s take on ‘The Christmas Song.’  Simply put, the sequencing expertly balances the EP’s energy throughout its nearly 20-minute run time.  That balanced energy ensures even more, audiences’ engagement and enjoyment.  When this aspect is considered along with the EP’s content, both its songs and their arrangements, the whole of this record becomes a work that is such a welcome respite from the run-of-the-mill holiday music compilations.  It is certain to set a whole new, enjoyable mood for listeners as they deck their halls and celebrate the season.

Mento Buru’s new holiday music compilation East Baersfield Christmas is a unique addition to this year’s field of holiday music presentation.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  While most of the songs featured in the record are familiar songs, the EP does also feature one composition with which most American audiences are likely unfamiliar.  Discovering that song could help lead to a whole journey of cultural discovery.  The arrangements featured in the EP are just as important as the songs themselves, as they give the familiar songs some unique new identities that few if any other artists have ever given them.  The sequencing of that overall content puts the finishing touch to the record, ensuring the collection’s energy will keep listeners just as engaged and entertained as its content.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make the record another surprisingly welcome way for listeners to get into the holiday spirit.  East Bakersfield Christmas is available now.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at

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New Nat King Cole Compilations Set For Release In March

Courtesy: Capitol Records/UMe

Universal Music will mark the 100th anniversary of Nat King Cole’s birth in March with two new compilations.

Ultimate Nat King Cole and International Nat King Cole are scheduled to be released March 15 via Universal Music.  The company has partnered with Capitol Records for each collection’s release.  On the same day, an expanded edition of Marvin Gaye’s classic album A Tribute to the Great Nat King Cole will be released via Universal Music and  Motown.

Ultimate Nat King Cole will be available on CD and digital, with a 2LP release to follow on June 14.  International Nat King Cole will be available on CD.  That record features a new duet of ‘The Girl From Impanema’ that pairs Blue Note Records artist Gregory Porter with Cole’s original vocal line.  Porter’s latest album Nat King Cole and Me has been nominated for an award at this year’s Grammy ceremony.

Porter’s tribute to Cole is just one of the 21 songs featured on Ultimate Nat King Cole.  Also featured in the record’s body are songs, such as ‘Unforgettable,’ ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Straighten Up And Fly Right.’

Courtesy: Capitol Records/UMe

International Nat King Cole is a limited edition, 14-song compilation that features Cole’s songs recorded in languages other than English in 1964 at Capitol Studios.

Each record features newly-written essays by actor and award-winning writer James Ritz.

While Cole was largely known for his musical accomplishments, he was just as well-known and respected for his contributions to the civil rights movement.  In 1946, he broadcast a 15-minute program called “King Cole Trio Time,” which was the first of its kind to be hosted by an African-American musician.

He became the first major African-American entertainer to host his own national TV show, Nat King Cole Show, which aired on NBC.  The program aired weekly on NBC from November 1956 to December 1957.  The series was canceled because it lacked enough sponsors to keep it running.  It lacked sponsors because marketers were afraid to upset white audiences at the time by advertising on a program hosted by an African-American.

Along with his work on radio and television, Cole also appeared in a number of movies, such as St. Louis Blues (1958) and Cat Ballou (1965).  Additionally, he received a Special Achievement Award from the Golden Globes in 1963.

The track listing for all three upcoming Nat King Cole collections is noted below.

Ultimate Nat King Cole [CD; digital; 2LP vinyl]

1.  (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 

2.  Straighten Up And Fly Right 

3.  (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons 

4.  Sweet Lorraine 

5.  Unforgettable 

6.  Walkin’ My Baby Back Home 

7.  Mona Lisa 

8.  Pretend 

9.  Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) 

10. Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow 

11. Stardust 

12. Orange Colored Sky 

13. When I Fall In Love 

14. The Very Thought Of You 

15. Perfidia 

16. Let There Be Love 

17. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer 

18. L-O-V-E 

19. Smile 

20. Nature Boy 

21. The Girl From Ipanema (with Gregory Porter)


International Nat King Cole [CD]

1.  L-O-V-E (French Version)

2.  Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves / French Version)

3.  Crois-Moi Ca Durera (You’ll See / French Version)

4.  Le Bonheur C’est Quand On S’aime 

5.  Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir (Passing By / French Version)

6.  L-O-V-E (German Version)

7.  Muetterlein (Answer Me, My Love / German Version)

8.  L-O-V-E (Japanese Version)

9.  I Don’t Want To Be Hurt Anymore (Japanese Version)

10. Kareha (Autumn Leaves / Japanese Version) 

11. L-O-V-E (Spanish Version)

12. Tu Eres Tan Amable 

13. L-O-V-E (Italian Version)

14. Tu Sei Cosi Amabile


Marvin Gaye: A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole (Expanded Edition) [digital]

1.  Goodbye

2.  I Wish You Love

3.  If I Had To Go

4.  So In Love

5.  The End Of A Love Affair

6.  The More I See You

7.  Violets For Your Furs

8.  You’re All That Matter To Me

9.  Nature Boy / original mono LP mix

10. Ramblin’ Rose / original mono LP mix

11. Too Young / original mono LP mix

12. Pretend / original mono LP mix

13. Straighten Up and Fly Right / original mono LP mix

14. Mona Lisa / original mono LP mix

15. Unforgettable / original mono LP mix

16. To the Ends of the Earth / original mono LP mix

17. Sweet Lorraine / original mono LP mix

18. It’s Only a Paper Moon / original mono LP mix

19. Send for Me / original mono LP mix

20. Calypso Blues / original mono LP mix

21. Unforgettable / original California version, take 2

22. Send for Me / original California version, take 1

23. Send for Me / original California version, take 3

24. Ramblin’ Rose / alternate vocal

25. Too Young / alternate vocal, take 1

26. Send for Me / alternate vocal, take 1

More information on the upcoming releases is available online now at:





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Time Life To Release The Wonder Years’ Fourth Season This Winter

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

This winter, Time Life Entertainment will release the next installment of ABC’s classic family drama The Wonder Years.

Officials with Time Life Entertainment announed this week that the company will release the fourth season of The Wonder Years on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016. It will be released exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $39.95. The four-disc collection boasts all twenty-three episodes from the series’ fourth season as well as a number of extras for fans of the classic series including interviews with the series’ cast and the special featurette “ABC: Teachers That Made a Difference.” Season Four is a season of big change for Arnold and his friends. It sees Kevin making the jump from middle school to high school. That means going from being a big fish in a little pond to being the ittle fish once again in a big pond. Making things even more difficult for Kevin is that he is back together with Winnie Cooper. But she’s now at another school. Paul has his own big announcement that threatens to break up the friendship between him and Kevin. On the home front things are changing quite a bit, too. Kevin’s dad gets a promotion while Kevin gets his first job. Norma takes a job at Kevin’s school. And Karen starts college while Wayne buys his first car. Things definitely get interesting in this story as well as in all of the other big changes that come in Season Four.

If the engaging stories and bonus features aren’t enough for audiences in the fourth season of The Wonder Years, the music that accompanies its twenty-three total episodes will certainly entertain audiences. Season Four features songs from the likes of: Joan Baez, The Beatles, The Monkees, Hank Williams, Nat King Cole, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Ventures, and many more.

The Wonder Years: Season Four will be released Tuesday, January 12th. It will retail for MSRP of $39.95. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:




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StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date, Specs For The Wonder Years Season 2

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Kevin, Paul, Winnie and the rest of the characters from ABC’s beloved classic drama The Wonder Years are coming back.

StarVista Entertainment announced Monday that it will release the complete second season of The Wonder Years on DVD on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015. The series’ second season consists of seventeen half-hour episodes spread across four discs. Also included in the upcoming second season set are a number of bonuses for fans. There are also more than four dozen classic songs from artists such as: Bob Dylan, Carol King, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Cream, Bing Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, Traffic, Diana Ross and the Supremes, James Taylor, Nat King Cole, The Miracles, Judy Collins, Donovan, and a number of others. The full list of songs and artists featured in season Two is noted below.

“Heart of Darkness”

  • You Make Me Feel So Young
  • Sunshine of Your Love-Cream

“Our Miss White”

  • Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)-The Temptations
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’-Bob Dylan


  • Jingle Bell Rock-Instrumental
  • White Christmas-Bing Crosby
  • River-Joni Mitchell
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas-Instrumental

“Steady as She Goes”

  • Yellow Bird-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Somewhere-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Ooo Baby Baby-The Miracles
  • The Thrill Is Gone-B.B. King
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow-Carole King

“Just between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky”

  • I Am a Rock-Simon & Garfunkel
  • Someday We’ll Be Together-Diana Ross and the Supremes
  • Some Enchanted Evening-On-Screen Character Performance

“Pottery Will Get You Nowhere”

  • It’s Not Unusual
  • When I Fall in Love-Nat King Cole

“Hiroshima, Mon Frère”

  • Wild Thing-The Troggs
  • Brother, Brother-Carole King


  • You’ve Got a Friend-James Taylor
  • Sweet Georgia Brown-Brother Bones

“Walk Out”

  • I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man-Muddy Waters
  • The Tracks of My Tears-The Miracles
  • I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag-Country Joe and the Fish
  • Give Peace A Chance-On-Screen Character Performance


  • My Girl-The Temptations
  • Theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


  • Born under a Bad Sign-Cream
  • Respect-Aretha Franklin

“Birthday Boy”

  • Happy, Happy Birthday Baby-The Tune Weavers
  • Bookends-Simon & Garfunkel
  • Yummy, Yummy, Yummy-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Hava Nagila-Karmon Israeli Singers


  • Subterranean Homesick Blues-Bob Dylan
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida-Iron Butterfly
  • You Can All Join In-Traffic
  • Catch the Wind-Donovan

“Square Dance”

  • Star Flicker-Houston Ramblers
  • Turkey In The Straw-Ralph Pierce
  • Comin’ round the Mountain-The Sundowners Band

“Whose Woods Are These?”

  • Happy Days Are Here Again-The Banjo Barons
  • In My Life-Judy Collins

“How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”

  • The Theme from “A Summer Place”-Percy Faith and His Orchestra
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes-The Platters
  • Never on Sunday-The Chordettes
  • I Only Have Eyes for You-The Flamingos
  • La Vie En Rose-Edith Piaf
  • Scarborough Fair/Canticle-Simon & Garfunkel

The second season of The Wonder Years sees Kevin, his friends, and his family all grow together as throughout all of the turmoil of the age. Kevin’s personal growth comes as he starts standing up to his older brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) and as he takes part in a class walkout to protest the Vietnam War. He, Paul (Josh Saviano), and Winnie (Danica McKellar) also fight to stop developers from plowing over Harper Woods, where the trio shared many of their favorite childhood memories.

The bonus materials included on the upcoming Season 2 box set are noted below.


  • School Days: Roundtable with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage and Josh Saviano
  • Featurette: The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Era
  • Interviews with: Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold), Alley Mills (Norma Arnold), Daniel Stern (Narrator)

The Wonder Years: Season Two will retail for MSRP of $39.95. More information on the box set’s upcoming release and other titles from Star Vista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment is available online at:




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Doherty’s Latest Will Grab Listeners “In A Heartbeat”

Courtesy:  Waldmania PR

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Children’s entertainer Laura Doherty and her band mates are set to release their latest full-length studio release this winter.  In A Heartbeat, Ms. Doherty’s third full length studio release is a fun record for preschoolers, kindergartners, and their parents even whether it is the first time said audiences will have heard her music or not.  There is much that can be said about this new release.  It is difficult to know precisely where to start.  But this critic will attempt to do so.  Both children and their parents will appreciate the musical variety presented on this record.  From songs that celebrate the simple things to sillier songs such as ‘Domingo The Flamingo’ to the cover of the Nat King Cole hit, ‘Paper Moon’, there’s something for everyone on In a Heartbeat.  As with so many children’s albums that have come before, that variety and originality makes this record more proof of what makes children’s albums just as enjoyable as anything for grown-ups.  Considering that, this new album has made itself an early contender for this critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.

Laura Doherty’s new album is so enjoyable because of its variety both musically and lyrically.  Whether it be for the lyrics or just the music, both kids and kids at heart will enjoy this record.  Right from the album’s outset, Doherty offers her listeners a song that is simple both musically and lyrically in ‘I’m a Little Fish.’  The song’s folk style musical side will impress both children and their parents equally, especially if said parents are fans of folk music.  Lyrically, it comes across as just another children’s song on the surface.  But one could argue that on a deeper level, it is a song that metaphorically celebrates the simple things such as appreciating the world around one’s self and friendship.  There’s even a subtle message about not giving up on one’s goals.  Many readers are likely thinking right now that this critic is grasping at straws.  But given the time to think about the song’s lyrics set against the gentle folksy melody, it makes sense.  Doherty sings, “I’m a little fish swimming in the ocean/I’m a little fish swimming in the sea/I’m a little fish swimming in the water/I’m a little fish swimming so free.”  That last line speaks volumes.  It presents a positive message about appreciating everything around one’s self.  Still not convinced yet?  Ok.  Doherty goes on, using an octopus and a crab to illustrate her messages as she sings, “I’m gonna get to where I’m goin’/I’m gonna wiggle to the other side/I’m gonna get to where I’m goin’/With you by my side.”  That Doherty could combine so many messages into one song without the song becoming too busy is a tribute to her writing talent.  That she and her band mates could bring to life said lyrics in a song that clocks in right at three minutes is even more impressive.  It’s just the first proof of what makes this album so enjoyable.

‘I’m a Little Fish’ is just one example of what makes In a Heartbeat fun for families with younger children. It is just the starting point of that argument.  Doherty and company offer listeners plenty of songs with positive messages and that celebrate the simple things in life.  It also has its own share of sillier songs that will still entertain parents thanks to their musical side.  Case in point, ‘Domingo The Flamingo.’  This Latin-tinged song about a flamingo named Domingo will have parents dancing just as much as their children thanks to its infectious musical side.  The inclusion of timbales, steel drums and other Afro-Cuban instruments and rhythms makes for a moment that is just as perfect for teaching as it is simply for enjoyment.  This is especially the case being that this song comes right after a catchy tune celebrating drumming and drummers.  On a side note,  this critic is a drummer. So it’s nice to finally hear someone give proper respect to drummers and drumming.  The two songs together are enjoyable and silly.  They also make for a great collective chance to teach young listeners about different musical styles around the world and about different instruments.  That in turn could lead to lessons about different cultures.  Yet again, listeners have one more reason to enjoy this record.  The enjoyment doesn’t stop here, either.

Staying on the matter of teaching different musical styles, any parents that have any interest in the world of classic jazz will appreciate Doherty’s cover of Nat King Cole’s hit song ‘Paper Moon.’  That Doherty would include this song in her new album is important.  That’s because it would seem that so few of today’s younger audiences (including listeners in their twenties, thirties, and even forties) are fans of this classic style of music.  To her credit, having heard this song, it would actually be interesting to hear Doherty craft a full album of jazz standards for children.  She has more than proven that even with this shortened version of the song made famous by Cole, she has the chops to write a jazz record. Of course the same applies if she were to craft a record centered on any of the musical styles presented throughout her new record.  In a Heartbeat contains so many more songs that can serve as examples of what makes it such an enjoyable record.  That would take far too long.  But it goes without saying that when it is released February 11th, every parent and teacher will find their own example of what makes this a fun record.  But they can only do that by ordering her new album via her website,  Families and classes can also hear Laura Doherty’s music live as she tours the Midwest.  Her complete tour schedule is available on her official website and her official Facebook page,  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Jazz Lovers And Lovers Alike Will Love Marcus Goldhaber’s New LP

Courtesy: Randex PR

Almost love.  Those are two simple, short words.  But they make for a fitting title to jazz/pop artist Marcus Goldhaber’s new album.  One has to ask oneself, when is a feeling between two people almost love?  When is it love?  The album’s title track does an outstanding job of capturing that mix of emotions when a person is trying to figure out if what they feel is love or if it’s almost love.  He sings in the album’s title track, “And it’s love/Or it’s almost love/If you/Can be certain of your heart/But so much depends on/How you connect with/What you can’t expect it to be.”  Who hasn’t been at that moment when they are trying to figure out that mix of emotions at a given point as a relationship grows?  These lyrics mixed with the gentility of the music makes this just one of many high points on Goldhaber’s new album.

After taking listeners through the emotional journey of sorting out one’s feelings, Goldhaber gives listeners the high point of realizing that love is real in ‘Somebody in Love.’  As with the album’s title track, this song also does a great job of catching the emotion that is felt by a person newly in love.  And while it’s told from the vantage point of a male, it’s a great piece in that it could just as easily have been told by a female, too.  Goldhaber sings in the song, “I’m in a big mess/I haven’t a clue/Ain’t got the time/Can’t spare a dime/I don’t know what to do/Don’t know who to call/can’t seem to get friends/I’m losing my mind/And I don’t know why/My anxiety won’t end/I gotta get through this/Unique situation/I gotta get through to/Somebody in love.  Doesn’t sound too happy, right?  Well he goes on from here singing, “I was doing fine/Figured it all out/had lots of money/I was so funny/Gigolo no doubt/I was in control/Never had a mess/The ladies would call me/nothing would stall me/from getting that kiss/I gotta get through this/Unique situation/I gotta get through to/Somebody in love.”  He’s singing about actually being in love and how crazy it makes him feel.  That’s why he sings about needing to get through to somebody in love.  He wants to make sure that the crazy feelings he’s having are normal.  Yet again Goldhaber and his band mates—Jon Davis (piano, Hammond B-3 organ) and Marcello Pelliterri (drums)—expertly capture the high that a person feels when he or she first realizes that he or she really is in love.  Any new happy couples will enjoy this track just as much as the others on this disc, of not more so.

Just as ‘Somebody in Love’ highlights what a person newly and truly in love feels, ‘As Long As I’m With You’ somewhat continues that positive vibe, with Goldhaber and his band mates yet again musically capturing the excited lyrical vibe of the song.  Goldhaber sings just as happily here, “I have never been so happy as when I’m with you/I get lots of funny feelings/and my dreams come true/When you’re in my arms/There’s no way I could be blue/It doesn’t matter where I am as long as I’m with you.  That one verse alone sets the tone for the rest of this song.  That energy is just as obvious in the lyrics as it is in the music.  Together, they make yet another great track for this album.  Audiences could almost argue that it sort of has a Stan Getz meets Nat King Cole vibe.

“Almost Love” has plenty of up-tempo pieces that perfectly capture the highs of being in love.  And even the slower, more gentile songs do an equally impressive job of capturing the more romantic moments of love.  These songs do their job both musically and lyrically.  Being entirely assembled, they make a wonderful album for any jazz lover.  And for those who may be new to Marcus Goldhaber’s music, it makes for a top notch introduction.  “Almost Love” hits stores October 9th.  While fans wait, they can get all the latest news and more from Marcus online at and

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The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie boogies bigtime

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Records is known as one of the leaders when it comes to live releases.  The companies ahve already released the majority of the year’s best live releases so far.  And now with the release of The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie live in Paris, Eagle Rock has continued to maintain its place at the forefront of live releases. 

The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie is a solid recording from start to finish with plenty of jazz and blues for any occasion.  Being that Summer is now here, lots of people are planning road trips, parties and much more.  This is one of those records that is perfect for any of those events.  The band plays its own renditions of  (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66, Doctor John’s ‘Somebody Changed The Lock On My Door’ and W.C. Handy’s famed ‘St. Louis Blues’ along with plenty of its own original compositions throughout the course of this concert.  There’s even a cover of Leroy Carr’s blues classic, ‘Low Down Dog Blues’ and Don Raye’s ‘Down The Road a Bit.’

The set list on this show is impressive to say the least.  But no concert is a concert without musicians who are capable of interpreting the music and making it pleasurable to the ear.  This quartet of musicians is exactly that and then some.  The pure musicianship of each member shows the respect that the group as a whole has for the music.  Even in the longer pieces, audiences won’t even be able to tell how much time has passed.  That’s thanks to the group’s attention to dynamics, style, and everything else that goes on in each piece.

The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie isn’t the only act out there currently spreading the joy of jazz and blues to the masses.  And while the group may not be the only one doing so, it’s one of the best, without a doubt.  And chances are, regardless of how many acts come and go through the years, this is one recording that fans of jazz and the blues will keep coming back to over and over again for years to come.

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