Artist Review: The Jive Aces – “Diggin’ The Roots Volume 1 & 2” LPs

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Don’t just go back to your roots – dig them!

We’ve heard a lot of today’s takes on classic songs from many new age contemporary artists, as well as tribute bands and cover artists putting their own spin on yesterday’s hits from many calibers of genres with a fresh additive or two. Some do it well, some fall flat, and then there’s the few and far between gem that comes out swinging with the charms of both yesterday’s and today’s most influential eras wrapped up into one super tight package. That, my friends, is The Jive Aces.

This UK-based band are definitely not a bunch of randies by any means. Renowned worldwide for their high-energy spectacular showmanship, this elite group has garnered an enormous following from a combination of acclaims including their viral video for the track “Bring Me Sunshine” and for also being the first live band to reach the final rounds of “Britain’s Got Talent”. Since then, The Jive Aces have firmly established themselves as the UK’s No.1 Jive & Swing band, and show no indication of slowing down their momentum anytime soon.

So with a résumé like that, you know there has to be something of theirs worth putting on your playlist. And their 2-Volume LPs Diggin’ The Roots are shining examples of their tightly knit signature sound of songs we’ve all come to know and love over many, many years. Boasting into today’s production value while maintaining that old school influential charm, we get a more than solid performance on both records comprised of eclectically professional musicians that absolutely own their roles on every track to deliver a sound that not only resonates with the classic each song became long ago, but with a whole new realm of energy and technique that gets us to appreciate them all over again in a whole new way, in a whole new era.

Diggin’ The Roots is exactly as advertised. They are tracks that have brought on endless inspiration and appreciation among a majority of today’s prominent artists and are the roots to their stories. On The Jive Aces Volume 1 record, RockinRhythm & Blues, we get a tastefully blended album of 13 tracks with many flavorful additives. Classic tunes on Volume 1 include smash hits “Jump, Jive & Wail”, “Feelin’ Happy”, “I Want You To Be My Baby”, and many others of the same caliber. Led by lead vocalist Ian Clarkson, who also takes up roles on trumpet and ukulele, his clean and vibrant voice in the forefront of every song really solidifies the band’s approach. The right rhythm section really paves the way for the rest of the band, and really puts the proper backing behind Clarkson’s effective vocal takes and melody placements. With hot piano leads, an anthemic brass section and funky fiddles added to the mix, this fresh look at some of our favorite Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues tracks will definitely get you up off of your feet and own the dance floor.

On their Volume 2 record, Hot Jazz, we get the same Jive Aces vibe with their tight grasp on 13 more classic tunes that combine equal parts originality and familiarity, just like Volume 1. Staying true to form like the previous chapter of this 2-part release, we get an instrumentally versatile execution of fan favorites from the classic Jazz era that includes “Jeepers Creepers”, “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” and “It’s Been A Long, Long Time“. Both of these records absolutely compliment each other and bring a brand new timeless edge to every perfected measure. The showmanship factors are undeniable and one thing that screams from these releases are the words “INCREDIBLE LIVE SHOW”. Diggin’ The Roots really brings out each member’s musicianship abilities and when put together, collectively bring out a stick dynamite just ready to go off at every event they play. And their devoted fan base and successful career milestones reflect that. But one of the most notable things about The Jive Aces is their authenticity – there is no wacky autotune, no oversaturated production techniques, and absolutely no cheat methods whatsoever being used. This band can produce live exactly what they do in the studio, which is a rare thing in today’s digital age of music.

The Jive Aces are the breath of fresh air you’ve been needing for a long time. They are a standout of their caliber, and once you take a listen to both volumes of Diggin’ The Roots, you’ll see and hear exactly why they are the UK’s number 1 Jive & Swing band.

Connect with The Jive Aces:

•Link to Volume 1: http://jiveaces.com/album/518834/diggin-the-roots-vol-1-rockin-rhythm-blues

•Link to Volume 2: http://jiveaces.com/album/518835/diggin-the-roots-vol-2-hot-jazz

•Official Website: http://www.jiveaces.com

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Artist Review: Bami – “Stream Of His Grace” EP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Captivatingly talented with her voice and spiritually authentic in her message, rising Gospel artist Bami brings us on a modernized journey into the realms of uplifting our Faith in God with her much awaited versatile new EP Streaming Of His Grace.

Bami‘s sound is explosive, multifaceted and graciously fun with a ton of multi-genre additives and flavorful beats on this 4-track record. Her electronically-infused sound combines an array of funky riffs, hypnotic jazzy tempos and a salsa/tropical and Latin edge that brings out her voice very effectively and tastefully. Her mid-ranged voice tackles very spiritual content about her Faith in the Lord and really brings a new and fresh approach to the legacy of Gospel music with her compellingly dynamic production and highly intricate song structures.

Delving into the songs themselves, the musicianship factors are unwavering. The rhythmic tempos are extremely neat and tidy and grasp onto composition techniques reminiscent of many jazz and fusion eras, but that’s just one of many components. Her Pop elements also add to the intuitive song structures and really helps carry Bami‘s voice in a way that is front and center, with very tasteful melodies in her vocal approach that resonate perfectly with the bluesy rhythms and chord progressions. This is a modern day triumph of Gospel music that could easily take on a life of its own, and really showcases an amazing range of production techniques and songwriting structures that are rare in Gospel music, if not new altogether.

The most striking part of Streaming Of His Grace is the originality. The record does not emulate any other artist and Bami really delves into a signature sound that is in her own right. You can draw comparisons to her if you think hard enough, but there’s no question that her approach in Gospel is anything but ordinary. If you’re looking for a spiritual record that is also musically fascinating and compelling, then Streaming Of His Grace will absolutely blow your mind.

Connect with Bami:

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Career Highlights: Young Cuban Opera Singer Dian Rene Crosses Over Into The US Latin Urban Genre

Article by: Justyn Brodsky

When it comes to being an artist, many millennial sacrifices are made. And if there’s one artist that has truly made the sacrifices and life-changes one has to make to reach a remarkable feat in the world of music, it’s young on-the-rise Opera singer Dian Rene. Someone that has moved mountains in his life to get to where he currently is.

Rene grew up in the Cuban city of Holguín and began singing at a very young age. He studied opera at The University of Arts of Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Arts, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2013. He studied opera because classical music was all that was offered at the university, but Rene quickly found his passion for it. He also sang popular music to make a living.

Rene became a well-known singer in Holguín, performing concerts as a tenor in a company. He was a singer full time, but he said that with Cuba’s economy, there wasn’t many opportunities for opera, and it also didn’t help

that opera isn’t as popular in Cuba as it is in the U.S.

That’s when Rene and his sister decided to come to the states and make his dreams of being a full time singer in the U.S. market a reality. But it was no easy task. After being subject to hazardous jungle environments, detainment in Mexico and literally singing his way to freedom to the guards that had him and his sister held in a prison area, the siblings made a safe cross over the US border into Texas, eventually settling in Harrisonburg.

After tackling the Opera genre since he began hitting the ground running in the music realm, as of October 19th Dian Rene made another crossover, this time into the Latin Urban genre, where he can showcase his vocal versatility and multifaceted musicianship more exclusively within his craft and passion for music. He released his first US single and is currently working on new material to solidify his signature sound and become a household name in the US market.

With endless possibilities ahead of him within his talent, vocal range, image and artistic merit, Rene is comfortably settled in the US and heading forward with his career in his designated market.

Connect with Dian Rene:

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Music Theory: Boss Piano – A Lesson In Cadences

Article by: Justyn Brodsky

It is nearly impossible for any piano player to not hear the word cadence at least once in their life. Before explaining the cadence meaning, I will start with the reference of what a musical phrase is.

As you might already know, it is a musical thought composed with four measures length in most cases, and incomplete also. A cadence is a chord progression composed usually of at least 2 chords that ends a phrase or a part of a piece of music.

The cadence has a really important role in any piece of piano sheet music because it gives a sense of resolution for that rhythm. There are some types of cadences that are authentic, deceptive, half, and plagal. They are divided into two groups: finished cadences and unfinished cadences.

The authentic cadence is the movement from the chord V to I of the key center. It is usually written V-I and is the most common and most frequently used cadence. For an example, when it comes to the C Major scale, try playing from V (G) to I (C) and you will notice by yourself how a great finish sounds, because the authentic cadence is also known as a perfect cadence and is well-known for its most finished contribution.

When it comes to the deceptive cadence, it is good to know that it’s also called the interrupted cadence. The name is very suggestive, as in this case, it ends on an unexpected chord. The music sounds reminiscent of something interrupting the piece. For this one, the most common chord progression is from chord V to chord VI, also written as V-VI. For an example, using the A Major scale, the chords are V which in this case is the key E and VI which is the key F sharp minor. Play it and listen carefully to get a familiarity to this type of cadence, so you will be able to use it in your own piano tabs.

When it comes to unfinished cadences, it is easy to anticipate that the sound will be unfinished. This happens because the unfinished cadences don’t end on chord I. By using an unfinished cadence at the end of a phrase in a piece of piano sheet music, it will give the listener the feeling that there is more to come in the next section and that the piece is not over.

In the group of unfinished cadences there is the half cadence. It is also known as imperfect cadence and it ends on chord V, while it can start on chord I, II or IV. For an example, in the G Major scale, we take the chords I (which is key G) to chord V (which is key D). Listen and you will notice that this is not the end, it’s more like a “wait for the next part” kind of feeling. When it comes to plagal cadence, the progression is from chord IV to chord I, also found written as IV-I.

Cadences are a great way to practice and develop piano techniques, and are also considered part of the little things that form the basis of piano for any player.

If you need material for rehearsal, here is a website where you can get piano sheets for free.

Connect with Boss Piano to get your copies now, and other great tips & information as well:

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Artist Album Review: Maribel Hill- “The Unveiling” LP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky


Jazzy, swingin’, and a writing formula that really adds appeal to the grooves, whole-band melodies that follow the vocal structures, and the bossa-nova textures that makes Maribel Hill‘s LP, The Unveiling, one of the most refreshening artists you’ll come by is not only an astonishing group that is very jammy and free spirited, but beautifully structured as well with a formula that is traditional, but modernized as well.

With the LP-title opening track “The Unveiling”, we get the perfect demonstration of this formula; a fantastic introduction into the aura that does justice to the song/album title. We are thrusted into adventurous musicianship that showcases the soothing mid-range vocals from Hill along with the band’s punctuality and precision that often follows her vocals in unison completely, syllable-by-syllable, which puts jazz songwriting techniques to a level you’ve never quite heard. Its versatility is relentless, and the likability factors are endless.

With the more uptempo track, “Sway”, we still enter the same prototype of their Jazz marksmanship and versatility, but explored at different angles. This is another song that does justice to the title completely. A track that shares some mood changes, but gets your hips to sway and place some ownership on the dance floor.

“Beautiful” is similar to the predecessors; the signature sound is still there, but a whole new showcase is brought to the forefront that encompasses you to hear another side to the moods and jazzy grooves that Hill and her band bring to the table. The musicianship is completely top notch and parallels the production value, as well as the intricacy of the signature sound that Hill offers up with every track. 

There’s something new, fresh, and multifaceted offered up in every song off The Unveiling. And it’s also an album that ties everything together both musically and lyrically. I can’t express how well put-together these songs are, and the band does a fantastic job of bringing in new additives and elements that are dynamic, soothing, and absolutely refreshing. Maribel Hill completely hits it out of the park with The Unveiling.

Connect with Maribel Hill:





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Artist Review: Kobi Arad Band

Review by: Justyn Brodsky & Dave Welsh


When it comes to the roots of all music and the theory of instrumental dynamics, there’s no question that Contemporary Jazz recording artists, Kobi Arad Band, keeps it in the swing of things.

From lounge-style piano-oriented Jazz structures to a jagged edge that could go off the rails any moment (but never does), we get something nothing short of amazing with Arad‘s sultry and insatiable precision between both the lead instruments, and extra spicey rhythm section.

Delving into a bit of Artist history, Kobi Arad is an Israeli-American musician who lives in New York, performs and composes in NYC’s top clubs like Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center and City Winery. He collaborated with Stevie Wonder (a co-production with Stevie Wonder’s manger, Stephany Andrews and Stevie himself); he finished his Doctorate in music from New England Conservatory; has 20+ self-titled CD’s on Amazon, and participated in different aired panels and interviews on IBA (Israeli national radio). 

In 2014, Kobi Arad received an award from the Israeli government, noting special excellence in Jazz and creative improvisation. Recently, Claes Nobel asked Arad to assemble 21 Grammy winners and nominees and produce them in Los Angeles with an African band called Ganda Boys. His song ‘Forever’ just won a Silver Medal for Exceptional Achievement from the Global Music Awards.

With achievements that obviously stand out all on their own, and with the many crucial years spent in many different walks of life in the industry on many levels, it’s no surprise that an Artist like Arad can turn some heads with his precision-driven stage show and persona as a performing and recording artist collectively. His artistic merit has manifested over many decades and has likely influenced many of today’s other Jazz greats from the NYC scene and its surroundings.

Being from NYC ourselves, we always have our ears to the backbeat of New York’s Sub-culture. And one thing that is apparent no matter what venue or artist you’re going to grace, it’s artists like Arad that sustain undeniable proof that NYC has some of the best eclectic talent walking the streets, and captivating the ears of everyone that passes by the venue they may be gracing the stage at. Either way, especially when it comes to Jazz and the influence it has had on so many genres that we even listen to today, artists like Kobi Arad are an absolute breath of fresh air when it comes to keeping the traditional contemporary sound, and peeking through new and bold sound structures that keeps the genre alive and well.

Connect with Kobi Arad:





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Artist Review: Imani WJ Wright

Review by: Justyn Brodsky


It’s not often that I stumble upon an artist and decide to take him under the reviewer’s wing, but we’re gonna change the pace a bit here at the Artist Reach camp.

Sensuality, good vibes and a little Rock & Soul might be a few choice words for young and upcoming Artist/Producer Imani WJ Wright

Starting out in the business early, talented and serving as your own Producer is definitely the way to go. That’s why I have to tip my hat to Mr. Wright. His single, “Appreciation”, is a lovingly witty and soul-soothing track that is bound to draw in the ladies at first blush. For a debut single, I’d say he can accomplish just that. This song does one big thing though…it gets you pumped for the prospective future for the young Artist. I wanna hear what else this young man can do. Because he’s absolutely on the right track in every way; music and image alike.

If you have appreciation, no pun intended, for an up and comer ready to take sensuality, sexuality, and the heart and soul of music’s passion, Mr. Wright is right up your alley. I hear a man ready to take off and fly. He has his passport, plane ticket, and the jet ready, and this song walks me to the plane.

So again, I have to give major props to a young guy giving his heart and soul to true music that definitely won’t shy you away. “Appreciation” is a stunner for its alley of execution, and I’m dying to hear what move this guy makes next musically. I’m jet-ready, let’s get the plane to take off!

This single is definitely on the Wright track! Double-pun completely intended.

Now his other single, “Make Me”, shows a different side to Imani WJ Wright, but still utilizes the same elements within his content and overall execution. This song allows you to get to know the fellow artist a little bit more, and explore what he has to offer as an artist that does it the DIY way.

This song offers up more edge and production value. Each measure is well crafted and keeps you listening and adds more character depth to his music and image. This is definitely a great follow-up from the predecessing track.

With the great R&B vibe still in the forefront, this song definitely will capture your heart and put some soul into you. It entices you to research more into Imani WJ Wright as an artist and persona. 

These are some solid tracks for this young man, and we at Artist Reach would like you to check them out. It’s not often that we Review an artist on-the-spot or happen upon them, but this seemed like the right occasion. 

Connect with Imani WJ Wright:




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