Ken Navarro is acclaimed as one of today's
leading Contemporary Jazz
guitarists. His impressive discography of top charting albums and widespread
radio airplay are a testament to his appeal to a wide range of listeners, who
have been inspired by his compositions and superb guitar performances. And,
alongside the development of Navarro’s recording career, has been the
emergence of Ken Navarro as one of the top live Contemporary Jazz acts on the
touring scene today.
Navarro was recently honored with the coveted Smooth Jazz Award for Video
Achievement at the first annual Smooth Jazz Awards, for his live performance
on his concert video, Ken Navarro-Ablaze in Orlando! Navarro has been
captivating audiences with his exciting live show and charismatic
performances since he began touring in 1992 with his quartet. Navarro’s
guitar virtuosity exudes a passion and energy that has inspired a growing
following of loyal and enthusiastic fans at his shows.
Highlights of his active, year-round
schedule of concert appearances have included appearances at countless Jazz and
music festivals and Performing Arts Centers, where he has presented his live
show, aptly billed as “Ken Navarro - Jazz Ablaze!”
Navarro’s newest album, released June, 2001, “Old Friends-the Best of Ken
Navarro” contains two newly recorded songs and 13 greatest hits from his
discography of the past decade. As of 2002, Ken Navarro will have a new
record label home at Shanachie Entertainment; Navarro's forthcoming CD is
scheduled for release in the Spring of 2002.
Navarro’s 2000 album, Island Life, has yielded two Smooth Jazz radio hits,
“Delicioso” and the title track. In My Wildest Dreams, Ken Navarro's
eleventh album, was voted the #14 Top Contemporary Jazz release of 1999 by
the definitive Smooth Jazz website, contemporaryjazz.com. In ‘98 Ken Navarro
broke new ground with the release of his live album and award winning video,
Ablaze in Orlando, His 1997 album, Smooth Sensation, occupied the Top 10 of
Radio & Records "NAC" chart (the national radio chart for Smooth
Jazz music) for most of 1997.
In Japan, Smooth Sensation was released on
Air Records. Other releases from Ken Navarro include his 1996 album,
When Night Calls, featuring Eric Marienthal on saxophone, and Christmas Cheer, a
holiday album of Smooth Jazz guitar and piano duets. Navarro's 1995
album, Brighter Days, reached the national radio top 5 and was voted the #9
Album of the Year by Smooth Jazz radio. His 1991 release, After Dark, was
selected for screening by the 1991 GRAMMY nominating committee. His
successive albums, The Labor of Love(1992), I Can't Complain(1993), and Pride
and Joy (1994), all reached the top 5 in national radio, firmly establishing
Ken Navarro as a mainstay on Smooth Jazz radio playlists.
Ken Navarro began his recording career in Los Angeles as a premier session
guitarist, performer and composer, performing and recording with artists as
diverse as Doc Severinsen, Nell Carter, John Pattitucci, Dave Koz And Gregg
Karukas. In 1990, he established his own musical identity with the release
of his debut album, The River Flows. With each successive album, Navarro
received increasing acclaim and recognition as a leading stylist in
Navarro’s contribution to Contemporary Jazz goes beyond his personal
artistry. As founder of Positive Music Records, he is responsible for
launching and furthering the recording careers of saxophonist Brandon Fields,
guitarists Grant Geissman, Thom Rotella and Pat Kelley, keyboardist Gregg
Karukas, and many others. He continues to handle all of the A&R for
Music and is actively involved as a producer on many albums.
Navarro has also committed his time, talent and support and to the American
Music Therapy Association, performing concerts for patients at Mental Health
facilities whenever his tour schedule permits.
Signs Guitar Virtuoso Ken Navarro
New CD Slow Dance Due out March 2002
Over the past decade, composer and guitarist Ken Navarro has had an
extraordinary dual impact on smooth jazz both as an artist and producer. His
irresistible melodies, deep, soulful grooves and incomparable sense of
romance have been staples in an ever-evolving format. Most of his 13
previous recordings yielded top five airplay hits and have been consistent
best sellers. He's also emerged as one of contemporary jazz's top touring
attractions. Navarro's Shanachie debut Slow Dance finds him once again
pushing creative envelopes and delivering the melodic and rhythmic goods his
fans have come to expect. The album title reflects the romantic spirit of a
few of the tracks but for the most part, Navarro's all about the funk, urban
After recording and releasing so many projects on his own, Navarro was truly
refreshed and challenged by the input of Shanachie Jazz A&R Director
Weiss. The result is one of Navarro's most spontaneous 'live' sounding
studio recordings ever. "Danny's guidance, feedback and arrangement
suggestions really helped me develop many of the songs in ways I would never
have thought of otherwise," says Navarro. "The goal here is to
career to the next level, and so the music steps forward more than ever
before, with stronger tunes, tighter playing and more colorful arrangements.
With some extra pre-production time, my keyboardist Dan LaMaestra and I came
up with hundreds of unique new sounds and parts which kick the production
values way up. I like the improvisational spirit of jazz, a little unplanned
spark, to shine through each song."
Many of Navarro's best loved recordings featured sequencing and drum machine
generated grooves, but Navarro's notion with Slow Dance was to capture more
of the human element. One of the keys to the tight ensembling is working
with longtime recording and touring band members LaMaestra, bassist Gary
Grainger, drummer Andre 'Blues' Webb and percussionist Kevin Prince, in
addition to popular saxman Eric Marienthal, who has worked with Navarro
since 1996. Navarro is also blessed on the new project to work with
Shanachie labelmate and soprano saxman Kim Waters. "Kim has a unique,
style and really puts his own stamp on those cuts," Navarro says.
"His gift is a very refined soprano sound and brings a lot to those upper
level parts. He's also Mr. Smooth in the studio, always patient and
to do as many takes as necessary to get things right."
Among the highlights on Slow Dance are the two Kim Waters tracks--the
whimsical, hypnotic funk tune "Workin' It" and the festive,
Other standouts include the elegant funk jam "Healing Hands"
Navarro's snappy nylon string melody bouncing off of Eric Marienthal's alto
and soprano) and the first single, the laid back, old school soul influenced
"So Fine." "When Eric flew out to Washington to
record these tracks, I was
excited both about him playing with me again and also just hanging out and
having dinner. That sort of camaraderie is what making this music is all
about," states Navarro.
Also featured on Navarro's Shanachie debut is the moody, seductive and
tropical flavored "Lady's Choice," the fiery gospel blues explosion
"Shootin' The Breeze," featuring an intense, hard blowing conversation
between Navarro and Marienthal as LaMaestra's organ simmers underneath, and
the festive Latin dance number "Meet Me at Midnight." And for
down moments, Navarro offers the dreamy and atmosphere-laden title track and
the closing acoustic ballad "28," dedicated to his wife Kristin.
Prior to his solo recording career, Navarro began his professional life as a
session guitarist in Los Angeles, working with Doc Severinsen, Nell Carter,
John Patitucci, Dave Koz and Gregg Karukas (whose three CDs on Navarro's
Positive Music label later launched his own solo career). Navarro has
performed at countless jazz and music festivals, and Performing Arts Centers
over the years, including JVC Jazz Festivals and the Kennedy Center. He has
also committed his time, talent and support to the American Music Therapy
Association, performing concerts for patients at mental health facilities
when his touring schedule permits.
"It's been a great blessing to be able to continue to develop as a player
and composer over the years and to keep recording new music that reaches
more and more people," he says. "I don't take it for granted for a
The point is to keep growing as an artist and working on the things that I
Publicity Contact: Monifa Carson (973) 579-7763 EXT