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Chucho Valdes and Hiromi at NJPAC
with HIROMI: The Trio Project featuring Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips

Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 3pm
Newark, NJ (December 5, 2011) – Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés returns to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall for the first time since 2003 on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 3pm with the Afro-Cuban Messengers, the band with which he recorded his latest Grammy-winning CD. Japanese jazz/pop pianist Hiromi and her Trio Project featuring Anthony Jackson and Simon Philips share the bill in an afternoon concert that spans genres and continents. The performance is part of NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz Series and is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Discover Jersey Arts.

Tickets are $29-$80 and are available by telephone at 1-888-466-5722, at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, and at To purchase tickets for groups of 10 or more, call 973-297-5804.

About the Artists:
Chucho Valdés, a pianist, composer, arranger, band leader and music professor, has recorded over 80 CDs, has won five Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, and has performed solo and with his band across the world. He was born in Havana, Cuba in 1941 to a muscial family— his mother, Pilar Rodriguez, was a singer and piano teacher, his father, the great band leader and pianist Bebo Valdés. Valdés formed his fitst band at the age of 15 and in 1973 formed the Cuban genre-defining band Irakere. With its blend of jazz, rock, traditonal Cuban music and classical, the band had a major influence on Cuban music that can still be heard today. In 2009 Valdés formed Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messenger. The group tours internationally and recorded Valdes’ most recent Grammy-winning release, “Chucho’s Steps,” in 2011.

Japanese pianist and composer Hiromi started playing the piano when she was six years old and while still a teenager played with the Czech Philharmonic and Chick Corea. She is a Berklee College of Music graduate who has performed with Corea, Ahmad Jamal and Stanley Clarke. She made her debut in 2003 with Another Mind (Telarc), which won the Recording Industry Association of Japan’s “Jazz Album of the Year” award and sold over 100,000 copies. In June of this year, she released Voice on the Concord Music Group label with her Trio Project – bassist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, The O’Jays, Steely Dan, Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour, Jack Bruce). Her Trio Project collaborators join her for this performance.

Paul Brown signs with Woodward Avenue Records

paul brownWoodward Avenue Records is pleased to announce the signing of double Grammy winner and guitarist, Paul Brown, for the recording of Paul’s new album entitled “The Funky Joint,” due to be released on Woodward in early 2012. Paul Brown also serves as producer (of course) on his new album, which includes appearances by Boney James, Euge Groove, Bob James, Bob Baldwin, Marco Basci and “The Producers” tour-mate, Darren Rahn. “This album allows Paul to unleash his musical roots and just let it rip” says Mark Nordman, President and CEO of Woodward Avenue Records, “while at the same time being true to the sound that has earned him over 50 # 1 Hits.”

“Paul Brown sets the musical standard by which others are measured. ‘The Funky Joint’ showcases Paul’s incredible guitar playing as well as his signature sound, as both an artist and a producer. We are extremely excited about this album and look forward to its release. Making really great music requires a commonality of vision and purpose between the artists and the label…….and we are confident that our association with Paul will be very positive and beneficial to all whom we work with. Woodward Avenue Records is trailblazing a new direction for Jazz, R&B and Soul by fusing music and artists from different genres into a fresh and unique sound…..the signature sound of Woodward Avenue Records and the great Paul Brown.”


Mark C. Nordman
President and CEO
Woodward Avenue Records
Gainesville, Florida

Entertainment Cruise Productions continues to sail beyond jazz
Top music cruise producer adds The Soul Train Cruise to its burgeoning menu

St. Louis, MO (13 December 2011): It began a decade ago when then 70 year-old Anita Berry became the first person ever to charter a full cruise ship to create The Jazz Cruise featuring over a dozen of the genres’ grandest musicians. A St. Louis-based company, Jazz Cruises, LLC was also born and conceived the star-studded The Smooth Jazz Cruise in 2004 under the executive direction of Berry’s son, Michael Lazaroff. With both cruises selling out annually, including a second week of The Smooth Jazz Cruise: The Greatest Party at Sea that was added this year, Jazz Cruises, LLC blossomed into the world’s leading full ship music charter company. 2011 brought unprecedented growth for the company that evolved into Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC, the new corporate moniker that reflects its diversification into music genres beyond jazz.

Last October, Entertainment Cruise Productions teamed with Time Life to produce the second Malt Shop Memories Cruise, which featured a slate of idols from the 1950s & ‘60s such as The Beach Boys, Chubby Checker, and Little Anthony & The Imperials whose music is contained on the nearly 4-million selling, 10-CD box set Malt Shop Memories. The four-day Caribbean cruise was so successful that it will become a seven-day cruise in 2012 boasting a luminous lineup of legends such as Dion, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, The Original Drifters, The Duprees, Carl Gardner’s Coasters, and nearly a dozen other artists. Malt Shop Memories Cruise will sail October 27-November 3 aboard Holland America’s M/S Eurodam from Fort Lauderdale to Turks & Caicos, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

Time Life again tapped Entertainment Cruise Productions to produce the first ever Soul Train Cruise, which is spawned from the iconic, trendsetting television series of the same name. “The Hippest Trip at Sea” debuts February 17-24, 2013 with a lineup certain to keep the Soul Train line grooving including Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Kool & The Gang, Jeffrey Osborne, War, The Spinners, Harold Melvin’s Blues, Cuba Gooding & The Main Ingredient and others under the musical direction of George Duke. Cruising aboard Holland America’s M/S Westerdam, cabins are already being booked for the cruise that will party from Fort Lauderdale to Turks & Caicos, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC

The largest private music ship charter company in the world, St. Louis, Missouri-based Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC owns, produces and promotes The Smooth Jazz Party: Greatest Party At Sea ( and The Jazz Cruise (, and is proud to partner with Time Life for The Malt Shop Memories Cruise ( and The Soul Train Cruise ( Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC prides itself on providing first-class musical vacation experiences featuring marquee stars from their respective genres for loyal passengers, many of whom make the cruises an annual affair. With its current slate of excursions, Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC will have produced 37 full-ship charter cruises. Additional information is available at

Contact: Rick Scott 310.306.0375

Kirk Whalum duets with his brother, Kevin, to remake a classic album in a Romance Language of their own
Grammy winning saxophonist’s reimaged take on the Coltrane/Hartman collaboration will be released on Valentine’s Day

Memphis, TN (6 December 2011): Most artists would be daunted at the thought of remaking a classic work of art made by legends, but not Grammy winner Kirk Whalum. The multidimensional saxophonist adeptly steps into the role of John Coltrane and tapped his brother, vocalist Kevin Whalum, to fill the shoes of Johnny Hartman on an unabashedly romantic collection of duets originally recorded in 1963 by the seminal artists. Romance Language, due to be released on Valentine’s Day by Rendezvous Music, consists of all six songs that comprise the Coltrane/Hartman recording along with a handful of modern ballads to complete the disc produced by Kirk Whalum and John Stoddart.

In addition to the traditional CD and digital version, an extended and enhanced digital version of Romance Language will be released as the world’s first complete LiveAudio optimized album for JAMBOX by JAWBONE, a leader in personal mobile technology devices. LiveAudio allows music to be enjoyed in a 3D-like, surround sound experience from a single, small Bluetooth wireless speaker. This one-of-a-kind version of Romance Language will be available exclusively at

In conjunction with the album release, Kirk & Kevin Whalum will perform a Valentine’s Day concert at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Oregon that will stream live to a global audience through Kirk Whalum’s website,

“Boom Town” takes soul-jazz saxophonist Richard Elliot to #1
The first single from In The Zone explodes at radio as the album garners acclaim

Escondido, CA (8 December 2011): Soul-jazz saxman Richard Elliot has been blowing up radio with the funky single “Boom Town,” which has taken command of Billboard’s smooth jazz national airplay chart for the past four weeks. The track, produced by Elliot and fusion pioneer Jeff Lorber, is the debut single from Elliot’s October release, In The Zone, and the latest of more than a dozen #1 singles registered by the genre-defining Artistry Music recording artist.

Elliot’s 16th solo collection, In The Zone salutes the seminal instrumentalists that most influenced the saxophonist in his formative years of the 1970s and ‘80s including Grover Washington Jr., Bob James and David Sanborn. Elliot and Lorber penned the nine original songs that comprise the disc as well as dishing up a sweltering version of the gritty Marvin Gaye classic, “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler).”

Concert dates are presently being booked for next spring and summer for Elliot to reteam with trumpeter Rick Braun to tour as RnR, a dynamic duo that held the #1 spot captive on the radio airplay charts for an astonishing 15 weeks with the self-titled, title track from their 2007 album collaboration.

In addition to sweeping the nation’s radio waves, In The Zone has been receiving critical praise. Smooth Jazz Magazine selected it as the #1 album of 2011. Below are highlights from some reviews.

Additional information is available at View Elliot’s electronic press kit at Photos and press materials are available for downloaded at


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