Two for Tuesday: Nick Colionne

There’s a story about Nick Colionne, who started playing professionally at 15 years old: He would play in the clubs around Chicago, and to appear older he’d draw a mustache on himself with eyeliner. One night, his grandmother caught wind that he was playing in a club, went down to the club, wiped the mustache off of him, and hauled him home.

He managed to grow up and divides his time between being a smooth jazz guitarist and being an elementary school teacher in Elgin, Illinois. His first album, It’s My Turn, was released in 1994, and his most current release is last year’s Just Being Me.

From 2016’s The Journey, here is “Morning Call.”

From 2006’s Keepin’ It Cool (recorded in part at The Soundbank in Northfield, Illinois, my hometown while I was in high school and college), here is “Can You Feel It.”

Nick doesn’t have a web page, but there is a fan page on Facebook, and AllMusic has lots of good information.

Nick Colionne, your Two for Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Two for Tuesday: Paul Hardcastle

Paul Hardcastle is a British composer, producer, songwriter, radio personality and multi-instrumentalist who has recorded in the dance, electronic, and smooth jazz genres. His smooth jazz albums fall into several “series”: the Hardcastle series, Jazzmasters series, Chill Lounge series, and a collaboration with singer-songwriter Jaki Graham called “Kiss The Sky.”

From Chill Lounge 3, here is “Peace On Earth.”

Paul recorded a single in 1985 called “19,” a “musical collage” about the Vietnam War. It reached #1 on the British Pop chart and stayed there for five weeks. British comedian Rory Bremner, recording as “The Commentators,” did a parody version of the song, “N-N-Nineteen and Out,” that apparently Hardcastle was involved with as well.

You can find lots more Paul Hardcastle music on Spotify and YouTube. And, of course, he has a website.

Paul Hardcastle, your Two for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Two For Tuesday: Boney James

In case you were wondering, saxophonist Boney James (né James Oppenheim) got that moniker because of his physique. The Boston Globe said of him “Let’s make something perfectly clear: James is not a smooth jazz player. Yeah, he is often grouped with people like Kenny G and Najee, but his music is muscular and gritty, whereas most smooth jazz has all the texture and complexity of a cue ball.” Influenced by Grover Washington Jr. and Motown R&B artists, he’s backed such artists as Bobby Caldwell, The Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford and Teena Marie. He’s been nominated for four Grammys and Two NAACP Image awards, and won a Soul Train award for Best Jazz album in 1998.

He’s released 16 studio albums. From his most recent, 2017’s Honestly, here is “Kicks.”

Here’s the title track from 1997’s Sweet Thing, which earned him the Soul Train award.

His website has him in Florida, South and North Carolina beginning later this week. Check the site for specifics.

Boney James, your Two for Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Two for Tuesday: Kirk Whalum

Saxophonist/flautist Kirk Whalum backed Whitney Houston for about seven years and soloed on her “I Will Always Love You,” which is the best-selling single by a female artist in history. He’s also backed Luther Vandross on some of the singer’s covers of older material. He’s recorded 22 studio albums, three of them with trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Norman Brown as BWB.

He has a total of 12 Grammy nominations, winning the Grammy for Best Gospel Song in 2011 for his “It’s What I Do” featuring singer Lalah Hathaway.

From his 2007 album Roundtrip, here is “The Wave.”

His website tells us that he’ll be in Memphis, Tennessee on April 7 doing an “interactive concert” at the Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts and Education, and at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania on April 13 and 14.

Kirk Whalum, your Two for Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

Two for Tuesday: Najee

Jerome Najee Rasheed, who uses the mononym Najee professionally, says that his first loves musically were the tenor saxophone and the flute, and that his brother Fareed was the person who goaded him into taking up the soprano sax. Turns out, that’s the instrument where he found his initial success. He’s had four of his albums go platinum, two more that went gold, has had 5 #1 albums on the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Album chart and 4 #1 singles on the Jazz singles chart, and has been nominated for a Grammy.

From his first album, 1986 Najee’s Theme, here’s the title track.

From his latest release, 2017’s Poetry In Motion, here’s the title track.

His website tells us he’ll be at Clayfin University in Charleston, South Carolina on April 1 and at Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz in Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 5. He’ll be in Atlanta with Brian Culbertson on August 3.

Najee, your Two for Tuesday, March 19, 2019.