Monday, April 12, 2021

New Music From Independent Artists Steve Hunt, Michael Whalen, Afro Yaqui Music Collective and Ahmed Warshanna

Jazz pianist Steve Hunt recently released his latest studio album titled "Connections." It features loads of special guests who Steve has connected with over the years and the songs have a special connection to him. Steve has performed along side many great jazz artists like Freddy Hubbard, Kenny G and Allen Holdsworth, and has invited Jimmy Haslip, Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Husband (just to name a few) on his new album. The new nine-song release begins with funky rhythms and energetic sax of "Now's The Time," which continues to build with energy. Next, Steve pays homage to the Native Americans, with the eleven-minute tribal flow of "Prayer For A New Day (Cherokee Morning Song)," then delivers the jazz fusion piece "First Creation," led by the guitar work of Randy Roos. Steve Hunt finally shows off his skills on the keyboard for the more ambient flow of "Carry On," before finishing his new album with the energetic solos of "Le Zonage Trois" and the nearly fourteen-minute free form jazz closer "Connections." To find out more about Steve Hun and his latest release, please visit stevehunt.bandcamp.com.

Next, we take a sonic trip with "Future Shock," the latest album from Emmy-Award winning composer Michael Whalen. He has assembled a stellar line-up, including Tony Levin (King Crimson), Simon Phillips (Toto) and Bob Magnuson. His new album features ten tracks, beginning with the upbeat, title track "Future Shock," which feels like it could have found a home on the "Tron Legacy" soundtrack. Whalen and his band shift gears to a more jazz fusion sound with the keyboard/horn duel of "Hop, Skip, Jump," before slowing down for the mellow soundscape of "Lights Of Home." He picks the energy up once again with the exciting electronic rock infused melody of "Poly Jam," before closing out his new album with nostalgic jazz touch of "Morning Song," along with the gentle emotions of "Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss." To find out more about Michael Whalen and his latest release "Future Shock," please visit michaelwhalen.com.

The award-winning, multilingual jazz band, Afro Yaqui Music Collective have recently released a new six-song album titled "Maroon Futures." The band is led by frontwomen Gizelxanath Rodriguez, who takes her experiences of growing up Mexican and American along with her ancestry as an Indigenous Yaqui woman and mixes that with a group of elite musicians to create some truly unique and exciting jams. The album begins with "Nonantizin," as Gizelxanath skats along with the band on this high-energy introduction track. The music gets more funky and exotic on "Sister Soul," as you feel the band's passion for what that stand for in their performance. A Latin sound is spread across "La Cigarra" and a more modern jazz fusion approach is the common thread on "We Refuse To Be Used And Abused." The album wraps up with the more experimental nature of "Insurrealista," as each instrument looks to support the direction it wants to go. To find out more about the latest release from the Afro Yaqui Music Collective jazz band, please visit afroyaquimusiccollective.com.

Last, but not least we have the debut album from newcomer, jazz guitarist Ahmed Warshanna titled "Ishta." Ahmed brought together his experiences of growing up in an Eyptian-American household, along with experience of watching his mother battle breast cancer to these five emotional instrumentals. The album begins with the slow-simmering opening of "Inty Omry," as Ahmed lets his emotions take the song in whichever direction his chooses. Ahmed and his band continue with a more traditional jazz sound with "Alf Leila," while the soft tones of "Samaka" just float on by as you listen intently to capture every note. He finishes his new album with beautiful dance of horns, guitar and piano of "Intisar." To find out more about Ahmed Warshanna and his latest release "Ishta," please visit ahmedwarshanna.com.

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