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ARIA Sky Suites Named One of Only 76 Five-Star Hotels Worldwide
Apr 07
Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its 55th annual list of Star Award-winning hospitality establishments worldwide and ARIA Resort & Casino has earned the prestigious Five-Star Award for its Sky Suites, joining an elite class of resorts.

“This well-respected award is recognition of our exceptional staff and their commitment to Five-Star service each and every day,” said Paul Berry, ARIA’s Vice President of Hotel Operations. “Recognizing how rigorous Forbes’ standards are, I am incredibly proud of our team and all they have accomplished as a result of their dedication.”

A luxurious hotel-within-a-hotel with expansive views of Las Vegas, ARIA Sky Suites provides an unparalleled level of stylish accommodations and exemplary service from arrival to departure. Designed for the most discerning guests, Sky Suites offers special touches within the 442 one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, as well as the 16 Sky Villas, single- and two-story retreats representing accommodations unlike anything else in Las Vegas.

From limousine transportation to and from the airport to a personal greeting upon entering Sky Suites’ private porte cochère, guests of Sky Suites receive dedicated attention from the expertly trained staff throughout their visit. Other special touches include a customized itinerary and show tickets presented when checking in at the Sky Suites lounge, private elevators and priority reservations and preferred seating for shows, dining, pool cabanas, nightclubs and more.

Michael Cascone, President and COO of Forbes Travel Guide, said, “The Forbes Travel Guide annual Star Awards represent the best in class in luxury hospitality. Travelers seeking exceptional experiences rely on our ratings to guide them to the world’s finest hotels, restaurants and spas. By continuing to evolve our ratings categories, we are establishing a global benchmark for the highest standards in hospitality service and facilities.”

For a detailed explanation of how Forbes Travel Guide compiles its Star ratings, visit To view the complete list of 2013 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners, visit

About ARIA Resort & Casino
ARIA Resort & Casino, a stunning AAA Five Diamond resort, features an unprecedented combination of spectacular amenities, high-end service, premium meeting and convention space, striking architecture and sustainable design. From unique culinary offerings created by the world’s most talented chefs to innovative nightlife, indulgent spa treatments and Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil, ARIA embodies the excitement and vitality of Las Vegas. ARIA is home to an incredible collection of stylish and technologically advanced accommodations including Sky Suites, a AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star hotel-within-a-hotel experience. Combined with CityCenter’s unparalleled amenities including luxurious shopping at The Shops at Crystals and the first-of-its-kind public Fine Art Collection, ARIA introduces a new generation of resort experiences, unlike anything Las Vegas has ever seen. CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World. For more information and reservations, visit or call toll free at (866) 359-7757; also find ARIA on Facebook and Twitter.

About Forbes Travel Guide and
Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide and originator of the prestigious Five Star ratings and certifications, has provided the travel industry’s most comprehensive ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas since 1958. Forbes Travel Guide has a team of expert inspectors who anonymously evaluate properties against rigorous and objective standards, providing consumers the insight to make better-informed travel and leisure decisions. The information gathered from the inspectors’ visits can be found along with content by curated hospitality experts, tastemakers, Forbes Travel Guide editors and correspondents at, online home of Forbes Travel Guide.
Inn on Fifth Delivers Luxury Lifestyle with “Fab Four” Vacation Packages
Apr 07
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Mike Sebbage with Ryan Woods Dreams In My Pocket TBC Records 17 June 2017
Jul 16
Dreams in My Pocket came about a little by accident, if that’s possible when writing and recording an album!
“It all started when I was listening to some old songs that I wrote years ago, some going back as far as the early ‘8_0_’s, that I had uploaded on to my PC for safe keeping. As I listened and reminisced to the songs, which were recorded in various formats; some live in a rehearsal studio, some demo's laid down in a bedroom or some other make shift space and some professionally recorded in a pucker studio.
But, whatever the quality of the recordings, there were some pretty decent tunes there and it got me thinking, why not re-vamp some of the songs with a more modern twist and see if they stand the test of time?
I enlisted a talented young guitarist friend of mine, Ryan Woods, to come along and have a listen and see if he felt there was any mileage in re-visiting some of my old songs and see if we could record them again, but this time with a bit more of a modern edge and feel.
As we started working on a few of the old songs we also began to play around with some new ideas, which sounded, to us anyway, pretty fresh and we soon realised that a good, strong writing partnership was developing between us.
We ended up with a collection of twelve songs, three of my old ones and nine brand new tunes, which we decided to record and release under the title, Dreams In My Pocket. The title track, Dreams In My Pocket, is one of the four original songs of mine but it has under-gone a complete facelift and only the intro and choruses remain the same as before! “ _says Mike.
1. Time Well Spent—an up-beat pop/rock tune with a catchy, sing along chorus. Life is all about having a good time with those that you love, right?
2. Dreams In My Pocket - originally written in the mid ‘8_0_’s, this song is a real favourite of ours and has a strong pre-chorus & cho-rus. It was the hardest thing ever to completely re-write a song, including lyrics, that you have lived with for quite a while!
3. Sound Of A Broken Heart - The first song Ryan and I wrote together, a little bit of a Country feel, personally I love this song!
4. You Are Love - Written around a lyric I wrote for the love of my life, my wife Carol, this song just took on a life of it’s own. Unusu-al? Ethnic? Gregorian like? Maybe. But we had a blast recording this track, using some very unusual instruments!
5. Solo In Soho - I came up with this fun riff whilst wandering around Soho one Summer’s evening, people watching ! It’s slightly Latin-pop feel lends itself well to Lee Thompson’s (Madness) inimitable sax lines!
6. Life Got In The Way - Our latest collaboration. A groove-based pop/rock tune lyrically inspired by the film, “La La Land” _
7. Forever - a love song, a modern ballad, with a strong chorus line. Proud of the lyrics on this song.
8. Don’t Say A Word! - A bluesy rocker based around Ryan’s stomping guitar riff. Two groovy guitar and organ solos, make this song a firm favourite of ours.
9. She’s Been Gone So Long - Another oldie that we have re-vamped. Originally a reggae tune, now a true slow blues/rock track with a twist at the chorus.
10. Chasing Butterflies - A little homage to a genre of music I love, a soulful jazzy song with some lilting sax work courtesy of Joe Di Fiore and some lovely guitar work from Ryan.
11. Why? - Another blast from the past. This up-beat pop song is the truest to it’s original counterpart with some nice guitar work from Ryan.
12. Eyes Like Fire - The rockiest track on the album, building from a slow groove to a manic rock ending, we really like this track! A great way to finish of the album.

Mike Sebbage has been involved in the music business since the age of 16, both professionally and semi-professionally. He has written well over 150 songs and has collaborated with many musicians over the years including Alan Blakley of The Tremeloes, Dave Dee, Keith Emerson, Elkie Brooks, Davy O’List and Harry James of UK Rock band, Thunder. Mike has written jingles and music for adverts and film and has had publishing deals with ATV Music and Chips Records. His musical highlight came in 1982 when he reached number 18 in the charts with the “Hokey Cokey “as a member of The Snowmen… _dizzy heights indeed!
E-Mail: Tel: SongCraft Music 020 3730 1785

T: +44 (0) 7584 572648
facebook: com/dreamsinmypocketalbum
Twitter: com/DreamsAlbum
Music CD Release
Out of USA
Music Of Rick Sparks Is Played Worldwide On Hundreds Of Radio Stations
Jun 21

“The idea of night falling on a great city like London intrigued me with the possibilities for musical adventure,” explains pianist/synthesist, composer, arranger and producer Rick Sparks, who titled his fourth album Nightfall London. “I have always loved the Brits: Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street, World War II history, Abbey Road Studio and EMI with The Beatles and George Martin, and, last but not least, the Jaguar XK8 convertible in my garage. Then I saw this photo that showed the tranquil beauty of Big Ben at dusk and it just seemed like a perfect fit for the mood of the album so I used it on the cover.”

Sparks calls his recordings “quiet-piano albums” and the music is popular with fans of new age and neo-classical music. Piano is most-often the featured instrument, but Sparks is an adept arranger who uses synthesizer to give his music layers, textures and additional depth. Sparks also colors his music with the sounds of synth and electronic keyboards, individual stringed instruments such as violin, string sections, flutes, chimes and choirs.

More information on Sparks is available at his website ( His CDs -- Nightfall London, Matilda’s Flowers, Endless and Christmas Love -- and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many other outlets. His earlier two recordings received strong airplay and reviews with Endless going into the Top 10 on the prestigious international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Chart that specifically monitors new age music. “My quiet-music recordings received a huge shot in the arm in the Fall of 2016 when SiriusXM added seven of my songs to their Spa (68) and Escape (69) channels,” states Sparks. “The airplay from such a major outlet was a tremendous encouragement to me.”

Rick Sparks’ musical influences have been many and diverse: coming from a musical family, getting his B.A. degree in broadcasting from the University of Tennessee, being an FM-radio DJ in the 1970s and 1980s, earning Masters degrees in music and communication and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Missouri, programming a leading new-age music station (The Cove) on Radionomy, and serving as a college professor. His taste in music also has been varied and includes pop music, jazz and new age. His musical career has included accompanying on-stage legendary artists that include The 5th Dimension's Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., gospel great Alvin Slaughter of Brooklyn Tabernacle, and American Idol finalist Phil Stacey.

“The music of Nightfall London was inspired by the strings of the London Philharmonic, the ethereal voices of an English choir and the somber beauty of twilight over Big Ben,” explains Sparks. “Even more specifically, the enduring legacy of Sir George Martin was a constant inspiration to me in my arrangements, especially the string parts. His classical training and stellar musicianship were evident in all he did during his life as a producer and arranger. I admire him tremendously.”

Sparks says, “I've gone from composing two original tunes on my Endless album, to seven originals on my Matilda's Flowers recording, to nine of the ten pieces on Nightfall London. I am excited about offering the listener more of myself and my music on this project.”

Here, in his own words, are descriptions of each tune on Nightfall London:

1. “Across the River”: “While the river might be the Thames, as suggested by the album’s cover photo, there is another river which we all must cross at the end of our lives. As a Christian, I am sure that what awaits me on the other side is unimaginable beauty and joy, both the presence of God and my loved ones who made that crossing before me.”

2. “Nightfall London”: “What became the title song is perfectly captured by the cover photo of the album which shows the somber beauty and stillness of Old London at twilight. This is
the most ‘chill’ song on the album.”

3. “Little Angel”: “A simple, lovely piano solo inspired by the headstone of an infant’s grave in an old mountain cemetery in Tennessee. The grief and heartache of her parents could only have been endured with the sure knowledge that their baby girl had been instantly transported to heaven and into the arms of Jesus.”

4. “First Love”: “Tender, innocent joy at the wonder of finding someone other than your family to love and to love you. First love is a truly amazing experience.”

5. “Tokyo Rain”: “Traditional Japanese music is mysterious and beautiful, just like their culture. I challenged myself to write a piano solo that respected that culture by mostly using the oriental music scale, but without it being a cliché of Japanese music. The lovely night photo of Japanese umbrellas was the perfect backdrop for the CD’s liner-notes.”

6. “Beyond the Stars”: “Another simple song, driven by transcendent chord progressions. I took the song where I thought it should go, both musically and spiritually, which was into the heavenly realms beyond the stars.”

7. “In the Bleak Midwinter”: “The only cover song, this classic hymn of devotion to the Christ child has been a longtime personal favorite. I love Gustav Holst’s gorgeous melody, and tried to give the song the gentle yet transcendent arrangement it deserves. To my ear, the strings and voices add a special sacred feel to the song.”

8. “Hearts As One”: “A tender love song, this one was written for my lovely wife Sandie. Romantic and gorgeous – the song and her.”

9. “Highland Rose”: “With my Scots/Irish roots, I’ve always loved Celtic music. It is simple but emotional, with typically lovely melodies. This is my effort to combine those elements into an original song, complete with fiddle and flute. Those same elements are in the Appalachian mountain music of the U.S., where I grew up, so they are very familiar to me and much loved.”

10. “Evening Prayer”: “I ended my two previous albums with traditional hymns, but to finish Nightfall London, I wrote my ninth and final original song for the album. The composition serves as an evening prayer of peace and gratitude to the Almighty for blessing my life with the priceless gift of music and the love of friends and family.”

Sparks says, “I was raised in east Tennessee in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains, where generations of my family lived. My grandfather played banjo clawhammer-style, my airline-mechanic dad sang and played the guitar, and my mom also sang and played the piano and organ. I started pretty early with piano lessons at age seven. My parents played in church so I got an early education in the spiritual power of music and eventually became a church pianist myself. I grew up with early gospel music influences followed by the pop music I heard on Top 40 radio, and then FM pop-rock when I was a DJ and program director. During those years I learned to play Beach Boys and Chicago songs on the piano. I also have always had a deep admiration for Paul McCartney. Later my musical tastes expanded to include smooth jazz and then, about a decade ago, I became enamored by new age artists such as George Winston and Jim Brickman. When I began my own new age radio channel, I started enjoying artists that include Chris Botti, Kevin Kern, Dominic Miller and Mark Baldwin.”

According to Sparks, “My utmost desire as an artist is to create music that feeds the soul, inspires and uplifts. I guess my approach to composing and recording is ‘less is more.’ I favor songs and arrangements that are relatively simple, but melodic. The power of music to project beauty into the world is so significant.”
Music CD Release
Out of USA
Kerani's Fifth New Age Album Has Piano, Synth, Voices, Guitars And Orchestral Instrumentation
Jun 21

“The overall message of my Stardust album is to make people aware about the wonders of
our planet, the mysteries of the universe, and the miracle of earth’s ideal position in the
Milky Way, which enables life,” explains renowned composer, keyboardist and producer
Kerani. “This album applauds and celebrates every advancement and achievement in the
discovery of new space technologies and data about the universe. It is a tribute to all those
who journey up to space and risk their lives in the name of science and for humankind.”

Stardust was recorded with a symphonic orchestra and a mixed vocal ensemble. Kerani plays the piano and a wide range of synthesizers and is also joined by a number of accomplished European musicians. In total, 60 musicians have participated in this elaborate project, all of whom have been credited in the stunning 20-page album booklet.

With Stardust she proves again her position as one of the top keyboardists, composers,
arrangers and producers in the neo-classical and new age music genres. Her recording,
Arctic Sunrise, went to #2 on the international Zone Music Reporter Chart for this type of
music, was a Top 10 album on the annual ZMR rankings and won the ZMR Neo-Classical
Album of the Year Award. Her last album, Equilibrium, went to #3 on the ZMR Chart and
was named by radio programmers one of the Top 5 Best Neo-Classical Albums of the year.

Kerani’s albums -- Stardust, Equilibrium, Arctic Sunrise, The Journey and Wings of Comfort
-- are available as CDs and digital downloads at many online sales sites including CDbaby,
Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, CDuniverse, (Belgium and The Netherlands), (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and (Australia). More
information about Kerani is available at her English-language website,

Here, in her own words, Kerani tells what inspired each composition on Stardust:

1. “Stardust” - “According to scientific research, everything in the universe is made of
stardust - cosmic dust that is composed of particles. These grains are the building blocks of
meteors, moons and planets including Earth and all its living species. When I wrote this
piece, I imagined the very beginning of the universe that happened eons ago when
innumerable particles collided to become stars and to create worlds, and the immeasurable
size and force with which it happened and still is happening.”

2. “Cosmic Sunrise” - “This is the moment when the sun appears above the horizon of a
planet. Space agency records show that every astronaut is in awe when witnessing a
cosmic sunrise. They all speak of a beautiful spectre of colours that keep changing hue.
I’m reading Chris Hadfields’ (Canadian who worked on the International Space Station)
autobiography, called “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.” The book opens with the
following: ‘The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes, another
sunrise: a layer cake that starts with orange, then a thick wedge of blue, then the richest,
darkest icing decorated with stars.’ My song is a description of this feeling of wonder.”

3. “Rosetta” - “I have a lot of admiration for the missions that are being carried out by all
the space agencies worldwide, but I’m particularly in awe of the recent Rosetta project of
the European Space Agency (ESA), which showed a superior level of engineering. Most
people think that Rosetta is the name of the meteor, when, in fact, it is the name of the
satellite that took Philae, the lander, to the comet. My song describes the journey. If you
listen attentively to this piece of music, you can recognize the different stages of this
journey. It starts with the passing of a space vehicle. Then the bass plays a rhythmic line
that points to Rosetta’s steadfast pace and successful two-year voyage. You can hear Philea
land and transmit data in the middle of the song. It ends with the departure of the comet.”

4. “Perpetuum Mobile” - “The title refers to motion that continues indefinitely. The search
for perpetual motion began in the 13th century. Many scientists tried to build machines that
would move forever. Think of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings! No one has ever succeeded.
It is said that perpetual motion only exists in the universe, as it is constantly moving.
Throughout the song, you can hear a recurring melodic pattern embodying perpetual motion. Everything else revolves around this pattern. If you close your eyes, you should see a wheelwork in motion with gears and levers, just like the inside of a watch.”

5. “Beyond” - “This piece not only describes the vastness of the universe, but also its very
mystery. Is there something beyond what our eyes can see? It expresses our hunger for
knowledge and our wish to discover the answers to our existence.”

6. “The Next Step” - “This up-tempo song describes the excitement of everyone involved in
space missions -- the joy that is experienced at a new discovery, and the enthusiasm and
eagerness to take each mission a step further, because there will always be a next step! It
also refers to Neil Armstrong’s famous words upon taking the first step on the moon.”

7. “Infinity” - “Just like ‘Beyond’, this song speaks about the vastness of the universe. To
enhance the feeling of endlessness, I felt the need to give the choir a more prominent role
(in the counter-melody) and let the bridge be carried by an ethereal female voice. Davinia
Van der Zee did this beautifully.”

8. “Gravity” - “Continuing in the same key as ‘Infinity’ - which was done on purpose -
‘Gravity’ is a slow-moving, heavy piece that describes the mass and denseness of celestial
bodies. Throughout the song, there is a deep undertone that surfaces every now and then.
The drama and power grow as the drums, percussion and choir majestically set in.”

9. “Worlds Unknown” - “Based on the poem written by the Japanese astronaut Koichi
Wakata, who worked on the ISS in 2009, this very emotional piece for piano and orchestra
expresses the profound love for our planet and the yearning to discover new worlds. This
song is entirely about the beauty of our existence.”

10. “Stars (remix)” - “This is a symphonic remix of a song that I released as a single in
2016. It speaks of the magic of our universe. The message of this song is twofold: to
respect the planet we live on because it is our only home and to respect each other because
we are children of the stars!

Kerani was born in Belgium to a Hungarian father and German mother, and Kerani currently
lives in the south of The Netherlands. She speaks English, Dutch, French, Italian, Hungarian and German. “As a child I listened to the great classical composers like Mozart, Liszt, Schumann and many others.” Her family got a piano when she was four. “Slowly I taught myself to play and I discovered the magic of composing music. The rise of electronic music in the late Seventies and Eighties was a revelation to me -- Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Electric Light Orchestra and Mike Oldfield. These new sounds boosted my inspiration.” She began recording instrumental music in 1986. She performed as the lead vocalist and keyboardist in the band Liaison. She wrote and published a book of children’s stories called Cherub (“it tells the story of a little angel who helps children”), and also re-orchestrated 15 children’s songs for an instructional DVD for disabled children. Kerani regularly composes soundtracks for historical or scientific documentaries and writes piano
arrangements for other artists. In 2015, she performed in concert with Terry Oldfield (who makes a guest appearance on Stardust).

“With Stardust I try to highlight our fragility as human beings living collectively on this
globe and how important it is to treat our planet with respect,” Kerani says. “Earth is part of
something much bigger than what we as humans can possibly fathom.”
Music CD Release
Out of USA
Jack Gates Brings A Lovely Mix Of World-Influenced Guitar Styles To New Recording
May 24

Guitarist Jack Gates enjoys incorporating into his sound subtle musical stylistic traits, motifs and rhythms from around the world, which explains the title of his new album, Bring The Flavors. “Music can be like cooking where you add a variety of spices to come up with something new,” he states.

Gates has spent his career studying many music genres especially from India, South and Central America, Cuba and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. His music includes a raga form here, a samba beat there, an Afro-Cuban structure elsewhere, and much more. Those world-fusion elements are then blended with the sounds of new age, jazz and folk to create a delectable mix with broad appeal to many audiences.

“This album was written and recorded while I was living in a forest in the mountains above Santa Cruz, California, where I was studying Tibetan Buddhism,” says Gates. “The music has a peaceful quality and is certainly an outgrowth of meditation and being close to nature in a place where I could explore music without a lot if interruptions. I found a recording studio in those mountains down a winding dirt road and it had just the right ambience.”

Gates is joined on most of the tunes on the album by drummer and percussionist Steve Robertson and acoustic bassist Stan Poplin. Other guests include Damien Masterson on harmonica on two tracks, and Michal Palzewicz playing cello on one piece. “We all had the same sensibilities because all of these players have studied widely in both the world music and jazz arenas.” Robertson (Tassajara Trio, Deepak Ram, The White Album Ensemble) has studied North Indian classical music and sacred sounds from around the world. Poplin has played with Robben Ford, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dave Brubeck and Dub Nation. Masterson (San Francisco Harmonica Ensemble, Zerro Santos, Gerald Beckett) has spent extensive time in Brazil, Cuba and Africa. Palzewicz is a member of Duo Sapphire, Elsner String Quarter, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Orchestra and the world-fusion band Trine.

Gates’ previous recordings are New Geography (produced by Mark Lemaire, and featuring Michael Manring and Phil Thompson), Earth Messenger (with drummer Kevin Mummey and bassist David Motto), the solo guitar album Boulevard (including original material as well as compositions by Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Baden Powell, Cole Porter, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Lennon/McCartney), and Voyage of the Troubadour (with Phil Thompson, Dean Muench and Sharyl Gates). Jack Gates also has recorded two duo albums with sitarist Tim White, Morning Song Evening Song and Impromptu.

More information on Jack Gates is available at his website ( His CDs and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and many others.

In addition, Gates is a longtime live performer, producer, arranger, session musician, composer and guitar teacher. He has produced albums and sessions for Larry Stefl, Bill Meyer, Marc Silber and Deborah Henson-Conant. Gates also arranged and played guitar on an album for singer Helene Attia that also featured musicians such as Norton Buffalo, Roger Glenn and Celso Alberti. Gates has performed on recordings by Silvia Nakkach and Kit Walker (with Paul McCandless), Joanne Shenandoah, Steve Deutsch (with Omar Sosa), Chris Saunders, Juanita Newland, Rafael Manriquez and Quique Cruz, Fernando Sanjines and Samba do Coracao, Faranak, Bob Giles and many others. Gates has performed live with Frank Biner (Tower of Power), Tyler Eng (Greg Kihn), Claudia Gomez, Jeff Narell, Klezmania, Chalo Eduardo, Monica Pasqual, Marcos Silva and others.

Jack grew up in Northern California in the Berkeley-Kensington-El Cerrito area. When he was young his parents introduced him to classical music and a little later on to folk-singers (Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs). Soon he was listening to the guitarists Andres Segovia and John Fahey. Gates took some folk guitar and flamenco lessons as a youngster, but it was jazz guitar lessons when he was 16 that opened new doors of understanding and he started appreciating George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. After becoming enthralled with the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Gates put together a rock’n’roll band, Underock, at age 18 to play at local dances and eventually nightclubs. While a music major at Cal State Hayward, Gates began playing classical guitar. He studied with the renowned David Tanenbaum and also audited a master class taught by Julian Bream at the San Francisco Conservatory. Gates had the opportunity to go to the John Cabot School in Italy for six months and study art history (while there he also played music with his friend Tim White). After returning home, the association with White led to Gates studying North Indian classical music under famed musician Ali Akbar Khan and learning to play the sarod.

After switching his focus back to guitar, Gates broadened his musical studies even further. First he immersed himself in Sixties jazz (John Coltrane, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner), then R&B and finally Latin music. “Getting deep into Brazilian music was a revelation,” says Gates, who began exploring the music of Jobim, Baden Powell and Milton Nascimento. “This was important for my guitar playing because it showed me how to stretch and simultaneously incorporate many elements into my music. South and Central America have always been a fertile place for music where so many styles have come together including jazz, blues, indigenous music and elements from Portugal, Spain and Africa.”

For his Bring the Flavors album, Gates plays both nylon-string acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars, often overdubbing them onto the same piece to create interesting interplay and deep textures. The album opens with the Latin-tinged title tune featuring Gates on two acoustics “plus there is an electric guitar in the background playing shimmering chords.” The track “Time In,” featuring harmonica, “takes a cue from Brazilian traditional choro music.”

Gates calls “Wave Theory” a “psychedelic piece combining the Northeastern Brazilian rhythmic style called baiao with music from the Sixties like Quicksilver Messenger Service or the Grateful Dead, and I have been spending a lot of time at the beach watching the waves and surfers.” The piece “Waterfalls” features Gates’ friend Michal Palzewicz on cello (“we have often improvised together during summer music retreats”). “Seraphic Journey,” the longest composition on the album at more than eight-minutes, “starts as an acoustic guitar Renaissance classical piece and then becomes more of a Brazilian samba when the electric rock guitar part joins in.” There also is acoustic and electric guitar interplay on “Enigmatic Land” (“my sonic description of the huge trees in the Santa Cruz forest, an almost primeval environment”). Its companion piece is “Cloud Forest” featuring Gates playing both classical and flamenco guitars with Robertson on pandeiro, a Brazilian hand frame-drum.

“‘Marketplace’ is my interpretation of an African market where I play the rhythm on an electric Stratocaster and the melodic part on an acoustic flamenco guitar.” The one solo acoustic guitar tune on the recording is an Afro-Samba piece titled “The Magician,” influenced by Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell and “Candomble” (“a syncretic religious practice that combines West African indigenous ritual with Catholicism and White Voodoo”). The acoustic-guitar and harmonica duet “Dawn Walker” refers to early mankind, the hunter-gatherer, with the unusual chords inspired by Brazilian jazz guitarist Toninho Horta. “Beach Traffic” incorporates acoustic strumming with electric soloing over a Latin-Cuban groove with conga. On “Choco Latte” Gates tips his hat to Afro-Cuban jazz using two acoustic guitars, while the following “Electric Sonata” includes solos on both electric and acoustic guitars. The recording closes with a raga-influenced number, “Liquid Entropy,” utilizing two electric guitars.

“When you are in a restaurant you might say, ‘Bring the flavors!’ That is exactly what I said in the recording studio to myself and the other musicians. I wanted all of us to explore different sounds, tastes and textures by bringing in elements from all over.”

Music CD Release
Timothy Wenzel's Sixth Solo Album Is An Instrumental Feast
May 24

“One of the most important lessons in life,” says keyboardist-composer Timothy Wenzel, “is to learn to concentrate on what we have rather than what we don’t have. As a reminder of that I titled my new album What We Hold Dear and each of the musical themes reflects various aspects of life that are especially meaningful to me.”

Wenzel goes on to explain, “As the album cover artwork shows, if after a natural disaster you have your arms around your family, you still have the most important things in your life. Everything is secondary to those whom I hold dear. Number one is the people I love. But moving down my own personal list, I also have strong love for music, nature, our world and the universe, spirituality, dreams, special places I have lived and traveled to, wonderful people I have come in to contact with, and the power of rivers, lakes and oceans.”

Timothy Wenzel is a former scientist who has become a leading new age music keyboardist over the past few years. He uses his music to explore both major universal concepts as well as philosophies, feelings and adventures that pertain to our daily lives. Musically Wenzel places the most emphasis on piano, which he has played all his life, but he also is a master synthesist and augments the piano parts with a wide variety of instrumental sounds including flute, woodwinds, harp, guitars, strings, bass, drums and percussion. Wenzel’s music has great appeal in the new age genre, especially because of the haunting melodies and dreamy arrangements that create a sense of peacefulness and relaxation.

Wenzel is joined on What We Hold Dear by several special guests -- violinist Josie Quick who plays on 10 of the 12 tracks (she also appeared on his last recording), cellist Jordan Schug (who is on half of the tunes) and singer Sarah Joerz (who vocalizes wordlessly on one piece). Quick is a member of the progressive groups Perpetual Motion, The Coyote Poets of the Universe and the Frontera String Quartet. Schug, who has backed Richie Cole and Jon Hendricks in concert, plays jazz cello in a number of groups including The Wildcats, The Schug-Jellick Duo and the Detroit Jazz Legacy Ensemble.

What We Hold Dear follows Wenzel’s previous albums Mountains Take Wing (on which he explored earth and nature), A Coalescence of Dreams (centered on dreams and our personal journey), River Serene (a flowing river serves as an analogy for life), Summon the Wind (using the wind metaphor to explore life’s pervasive forces) and Distant Horseman (extending thoughts about life to include the entire universe). He also recently recorded a duet CD, Such a Long Time, with singer Anne Cozean. More information on Timothy Wenzel is available at his website ( All of his CDs and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and many others.

His albums regularly receive airplay on hundreds of radio stations and channels around the world, and always race into the Top 10 on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 monthly airplay chart. Distant Horseman was the #3 album on the ZMR Chart and went #1 on numerous monthly New Age Music Charts: Got Radio's New Age Nuance Channel, Our Place Radio Channel, Montana Public Radio, WAWL (Chattanooga, Tennessee), WFCF (St. Augustine, Florida), KRCB (Rohnert Park, California) and WVUD (Newark, Delaware).

There is always a visual element within Wenzel’s music which is often inspired by dreams, films, stories and nature scenery. In addition, for each tune he usually seeks out an appropriate piece of artwork which he makes available for viewing on his website. Wenzel also is an avid photographer.

Some of the music on What We Hold Dear was inspired by nature. Wenzel turned the idea
of “Murmuration” into music (it is a collective term for starlings). “When thousands of
starlings swirl in the air together as a unit, it is like a dance of nature.” Wenzel wrote “Appalachian Waters” about his time living in West Virginia (“I loved the beauty of nature there and the traditional mountain music.”). “Desert Dream” grew out of the feeling “of being in the Southwestern desert with a tribe long ago going through a deep mysterious spiritual rite.” The composition “On A Quiet Night” came from a thrilling night of photography when Wenzel went out into the country alone to capture the aurora borealis. Wenzel has often explored water themes which he returns to with “Turquoise Sky, Emerald Sea.” “Waves on the ocean can be very lulling and soothing, but this simple melody also affected me emotionally because it brought back memories of youth and falling in love.”

Other tunes on the recording explore the spirituality of our lives -- “Ascension” (“My aspiration is to rise higher both spiritually and musically, to ascend beyond boundaries and limits.”), “Incantations” (“Spells and chants can lead to a powerful personal transformation especially when you get so enraptured and caught up in the vision that you go beyond your normal realm.”) and “Moon Dance” (“Humans have always looked up at the moon, felt its magic, and been inspired, even compelled, to dance happily through the night.”).

While the title tune, “What We Hold Dear,” musically summarizes what is most important to each of us, on other tunes Wenzel explores a variety of life’s meaningful moments. “Hypnotized” is a love song. “When you feel the hypnotic effect of love it is a remarkable kind of mesmerizing experience.” Wenzel taps into the sadness of being separated from family and friends in the piece “In A Little While” (“The sense of leaving, of displacement, and the yearning for reunion evokes strong emotions.”). For “A Spring Day in Autumn,” Wenzel fantasizes about “what if an older person suddenly was able to experience their youth again, but with the perspective that all of their years have given them.”

Wenzel spent his childhood in South Haven, Michigan, where he was born and raised. As a boy he divided his time between being outdoors enjoying nature, but also inside playing the piano. “There was always a piano in our house. It was built by my grandfather who worked in a piano factory.” Tim’s mother played piano and encouraged him to play. He started plunking on the keys when he was three and two years later was taking lessons. Wenzel says, “I was deeply into classical music at first, but later I started being influenced by rock’n’roll and what I heard on the radio.” Initially Wenzel enjoyed Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and the Moody Blues, and later Fleetwood Mac and U2. As he got older he began to appreciate new age music (“George Winston and the whole rosters of the Windham Hill and Narada labels”) and Celtic sounds -- Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Enya and Sara McLachlan.

Music is Wenzel’s second fulltime career following an initial career in science. “Music and science have always been my two main passions. I see a correlation between them. Scientific exploration is full of creativity and is very much like writing a song. In both cases you start with an idea and then explore the possibilities of where it can lead.” He earned a BS degree in Chemistry at the University of Missouri, then his Masters and PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry at Cornell University. He first served as a post-doctoral researcher in organometallic chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. This led to a career in research science, first with Union Carbide in West Virginia, and then with Dow Chemical back in Michigan where he still lives. “I primarily worked in making polymers using catalysts. Polymers are a chemical compound of repeating structural units. My work was primarily in polyethylene using a new generation of catalysts to make different plastics. The highlight of my career was when they let me run with a far-out idea I had, and I headed a team that found a way to make two catalysts talk to each other. It is a powerful technique to make new types of polymers. It was a major discovery.”

Wenzel says, “Life is full of loss, but even when we lose people or things it helps us put life into perspective and teaches us that what is most important is what we still have. I hope the music on What We Hold Dear is not only entertaining, but also provokes some thoughts about what are actually the most important things in our lives.”
Music CD Release

Note ... All Listed Information Is Subject To Change Without Notice.

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