Brian Soergel

Brian’s Contributions

Aaronbing_cd_span3

October 2010    Albums

Secret Place
Aaron Bing

“Experience the long-winded, smooth and sensual sounds of jazz artist Aaron Bing,” reads his current press bio. That statement veers into unintentional hilarity after you’ve learned a little bit about the saxophonist. A few years ago, Bing scored a gig on...

George-duke_span3

October 2010    Albums

Déjà Vu
George Duke

Review of new album from contemporary jazz keyboardist

Jackiem-joyner_span3

October 2010    Albums

Jackiem Joyner
Jackiem Joyner

Maybe smooth-jazz saxophonists with an R&B feel are slowly, finally, realizing that what’s come before just ain’t doing it. One listen to the first track from Jackiem Joyner’s third CD holds out hope. “The Reunion” has hyper-staccato drum patterns, a thick...

Tom-schuman_span3

October 2010    Albums

Reflections Over Time
Tom Schuman

Tom Schuman gets some spoken-word help from a few of his heroes on the Spyro Gyra keyboardist’s fifth solo CD. The late Joe Zawinul extols music’s virtues on “A Quote From Mr. Z,” a fusion bopper with Schuman’s trippy organ runs and Sennie “Skip” Martin’s...

Eric-krasno_span3

September 2010    Albums

Reminisce
Eric Krasno

Guitarist Eric Krasno has stepped away from the funk-and-jam trio Soulive for a funk-and-jam solo CD, his first. Soulive members Neal (organ) and Alan Evans (drums) are here in reduced roles, although the latter mixed the project. The new crew, which will...

Norman-brown_span3

July/August 2010    Albums

Sending My Love
Norman Brown

The Grammy Award-winning Norman Brown sound is alive and kickin’ on the guitarist’s eighth solo CD. His fans know what that sound is: an easy, soulful stroll through R&B-infused jazz. Brown’s not one to break too far away from the mold; he’s not one to declare...

Gerald-albright_span3

July/August 2010    Albums

Pushing the Envelope
Gerald Albright

Gerald Albright doesn’t try to do too much—just kidding. With his aptly named new CD, Albright simply burns on his soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, while also playing flute, bass, keys, drum programming, synth and the EWI. Like all of his solo work...

Grover-washington-jr

06/07/10    Albums

Grover Washington Jr.: Grover Live

Brian Soergel on live recording from the late saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.

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June 2010    Albums

Earthglow
David Benoit

After an orchestral CD, some more Peanuts music and an unplugged set paying tribute to his heroes, David Benoit reclaims his stature as one of contemporary jazz’s favorite pianists. In spite of a somewhat new-agey designation, Earthglow is a synthesis of...

Mindi-abair--in-hi-fi-stereo_span3

June 2010    Albums

In Hi Fi Stereo
Mindi Abair

If all you’ve heard from Mindi Abair is what’s played on smooth-jazz radio, you’ve probably got her pegged as a Sanborn-style saxophonist who offers bright and catchy songs. As a singer she’s written and performed several girl-power-type ballads that are...

Kirk-whalum_span3

June 2010    Albums

The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter III
Kirk Whalum

Religion isn’t just a part of Kirk Whalum’s life, it is his life. That’s what makes the third installment in Whalum’s fusion of gospel and jazz music such a true vision. You feel the power of Whalum’s spirit as you imagine him, eyes closed, playing his sax...

Maysa_span3

May 2010    Albums

A Woman In Love
Maysa

Vocalist Maysa has the kind of soulful and husky vocals that allow her to travel seamlessly between genres. She’s amassed an underground-soul rep with the British funk-jazz band Incognito and built a following among smooth-jazz folk by guest-starring on...

May 2010    Albums

Nouveau Latino
Nestor Torres

Nestor Torres is one versatile flutist, having created smooth-jazz tunes in addition to contemporary jazz with hard-driving Latin rhythms. On Nouveau Latino , the Puerto Rican native now living in Florida returns to his Latin roots with his versions of Latin...

Ken-navarro_span3

May 2010    Albums

Dreaming of Trains
Ken Navarro

Two years ago, guitarist Ken Navarro made a statement with The Grace of Summer Light , a CD of anthemic qualities and a vigorous style of fretwork that veered far from his sweet nylon-stringed love songs of the past. It worked; it was the year’s best smooth...

Kim-waters_span3

May 2010    Albums

Love Stories
Kim Waters

After a few state-of-the-art snappy and catchy CDs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, saxophonist Kim Waters seemed to lose his knack for making radio-friendly hits. Maybe he was too busy with his Streetwize side projects and tribute album for Marvin Gaye...

Drew-davidson_span3

January/February 2010    Currents

Around (Again)
Drew Davidsen

Every year it gets increasingly difficult for new artists to break on through to the smooth-jazz charts, but Maryland-based electric guitarist Drew Davidsen has done it with the rollicking “Astro.” (Its title and inspiration come from Davidsen’s late father...

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About Brian Soergel

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Soergel, who relaxes by playing his Seagull guitar and Kala Brand ukulele, began writing about contemporary jazz in the late ’80s. Formerly an entertainment editor and writer for several daily newspapers, he now focuses on smooth-jazz full-time from his Pacific Northwest office for the Smooth Jazz Network. Soergel also authors the Currents column for JT.