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Tony DeSare -  Christmas Home

Tony DeSare Front Page PhotoTony DeSare’s album Christmas Home was released in 2015, but too late to get it out to the radio stations and the reviewers, to draw much attention, so we decided to sit down with the affable singer, pianist, arranger, composer, lyricist and film scorer to talk about his album and his career.

“I have self-produced every album and I didn’t get Christmas Home out early enough to get any press. I think that I got it mastered right around Thanksgiving and it was just too late to submit to press.

n the genre that I am in it is only natural (to do a Christmas album), because the great Christmas standards also have a lot in common with the great standards of the Great American Songbook golden era, like Irving Berlin, Gershwin and Cole Porter. The songs are right up my alley. It wasn’t a question of if I would do one, but when it would feel right to do it. In the last few years I have started to do a lot of holiday Pop shows with orchestras, which I just love so much. It gets me in the spirit too, because for two or three weeks I am usually with different orchestras. I am doing ten shows with the Philly Pops and they have dances and they a children’s choir with the full orchestra on stage. I have been doing it for the last four years or so.

Part of it was it would be really great to have my own Christmas arrangements and I could sell CDs after the show. It made sense business wise to do it and creatively I have wanted to do something for a long time. It is just that I knew when I did do it I would have to take it very seriously. If I record, “Have Yourself  Read More

Barbara Dennerlein New DVD / CD

Barbara Dennerlein 2016 Front Page PhotoBarbara Dennerlein one of the world’s most highly regarded organists and Jazz composers just released a brand new CD and DVD, My Moments, recorded live at Studio Acusticum in the northern Swedish town of Piteá. The original Jazz compositions are played on both the Hammond organ, for which she is more widely known and the pipe organ. The very congenial Dennerlein who has become a good friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine over the years spoke to us from her home in Germany and referred to this CD / DVD as her most personal recording so far.

She explains why, “It is so pure. It is a solo situation. I am alone with both instruments. It is so personal. I think my personal style has developed over many, many years and it is very special. When you have a solo situation you can hear it more clearly. Also you can hear the little things. Very often when you have a drummer with you no matter how good he is it is always covering details from the organ sound. I do so many little things, because I love the sound and I love the colors that you can make and little changes. I like to experiment with sound and I can do this alone with my instruments. That is why I think it is my most personal one.

(Also), there is nobody else that you can hide behind. You have your own inspiration. I play the pedals very intensely, I have a whole band in a way, as I play with my feet the bass player’s work and I have both of my hands for comping and soloing. It gives me a lot of freedom and my style, which is very different from other organists, can be heard very clearly on the solo performance. It is wonderful and I just can let it go and it flows. I have a lot of inspiration and the two instruments are fascinating. Read More

Magical Musical Moments

Tamela DamicoHere are some Christmas singles to add to your collection.

Tamela D’Amico has a fabulous rendition of “Winter Wonderland. Riveting Riffs Magazine has always been a big fan of D’Amico as her phrasing is impecable and she injects personality into each song. The musicians keep it simple allowing Tamela D’Amico’s vocals to be showcased. Brian Ward is on bass, Matt Hornbeck on guitars and Greg Sadler is the drummer.

“Christmas Lights,” is breathtakingly beautiful, as pianist Ben Burget elegantly accompanies Tamela D’amico. The song has a wishful feel to it. This is a timeless classic and we guarantee you will enjoy this song for years to come.

Please visit Tamela D’Amico on her website.

Our friend Katie Cole, originally from Australia and now living in America, has released a stirring version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Cole is accompanied by Justin Ostrander on guitar and it is a superb mix by Howard Willing. You can listen to Katie Cole singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” here.

On the album front Chris Bennett’s When I Think of Christmas brings a Jazzy feel to your holidays. I have never been much of a fan when it comes to the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” but Bennett brings a gentle swing to the song that makes a familiar tune fun. There is also a nice call and response with a chorus conisting of Anita Sherman, Marion Ramsey, Ariana Howell, Casey Jarvis and Chris Bennett also lends her vocals to the response. Read More

Swedish Drummer Rasmus Kihlberg

Viktoria Tolstoy front page photoViktoria Tolystoy is a Swedish singer and songwriter who has worked on stage with and recorded with some stellar musicians and composers during her career, including Belgian Jazz guitarist and harmonica player Toots Thielemans, Swedish producer, singer and trombonist Nils Landgren (Björn Skifs, ABBA, Herbie Hancock) and iconic Swedish clarinetist Putte Wickman.

Viktoria Tolstoy fondly reflects upon all three gentlemen “Putte Wickman passed away nine years ago (2006) and he was a great person. He taught me more than I can understand. I can understand it now. He was so cool. He was world class, but he was never outside of Sweden. He played together with Arne Domnérus, the saxophone player (Charlie Parker, Art Farmer, James Moody). It is so sad now, it is fading out and all of these great giants are somewhere else now in heaven and playing for the angels. I really believe that. I can see the picture. They have a lot of fun up there now I guess (she laughs lightly).  Putte Wickman is the number one choice for me (of people she has collaborated with) both personally and how I developed when I was singing with him and his cool feeling against everything.

Toots Thielmans is my all-time favorite musician in all categories. He says it all. He is a beautiful soul. I got to meet him Read More

Brazil's Rique Pantoja

Rique Pantoja Front Page PhotoRique Pantoja is one of Brazil’s most highly respected composers, arrangers, orchestrators, pianists / keyboardists and singers, who has been living in Los Angeles for the past two decades. He was recognized early in his career and he still is, for being a brilliant composer and a music innovator, as his songs have been recorded by artists such as Chet Baker. His band Cama de Gato is legendary and impacted the Brazilian music scene as much as the Fusion band Weather Report did the North American Jazz scene. In essence Cama de Gato influenced future generations of Brazilian artists and songwriters. Rique Pantoja has worked with some of the most iconic people in the music industry including Brazil’s Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins and Djavan, as well as prolific artists like, Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Luis Conte, Brenda Russell and Alex Acũna. His music has appeared in numerous feature films and television shows, as well as it has been used to promote some of the world’s top brands, such as Coca Cola, Honda and Toshiba.

Rique Pantoja grew up in Rio de Janeiro, one of six children, the fourth oldest boy and he also had two younger sisters. He says that his father who passed away almost six years ago was the greatest influence on him musically. He remembers his father as a great pianist and although he did not pursue a music career professionally he did complete all of the conservatory requirements. Read More

LA's Mark Winkler is Hip

Mark Winkler front page photoOne look at the eleven songs that appear on platinum award winning singer / lyricist Mark Winkler’s current album Jazz and Other Four Letter Words suggests this is a hip guy, with hip music and a hip attitude about life. If that is the conclusion that you reached, you would be right. There are songs such as the original tune that he co-wrote with Rich Eames, “Stay Hip,” and then there is the Dave Fishberg and Bob Dorough song “I’m Hip,” that he performs as a duet with Cheryl Bentyne. There are also songs that testify to his hipness, such as the swinging “My Idea Of A Good Time,” a Mark Winkler and Greg Gordon Smith collaboration, then there is the convergence of love and Jazz, both hip, as told through the words and music of “Your Cat Plays Piano,” (music by Bill Cantos, lyrics by Mark Winkler). For those old enough to remember or whose parents told them about the Beatnik culture of the ‘50s and early ‘60s, the story Winkler tells in “Your Cat Plays Piano,” is of a person who had they been born a few decades earlier might have fit in well as a Beatnik. One look at the eleven songs that appear on platinum selling songwriter Mark Winkler’s current album Jazz and Other Four Letter Words leaves the definite impression this is a hip guy, with hip music and a hip attitude about life. If that is the Read More

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