The London Jazz Festival starts this weekend with gigs from South African horn player Hugh Masekela and crooner Paolo Conte. Also recommended: songwriter and pianist Jon Regen, who plays the Pheasantry, Kings Road, on Nov. 16 and 17.
This past summer, Gaynor's newest release, Change Your Mind: Music For Brainwave Entrainment, a collaboration with singer/songwriter/keyboardist Jon Regen, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's New Age Albums chart. The album also topped Amazon and iTunes' New Age charts.
The astoundingly versatile and gifted pianist/songwriter Jon Regen returns to our part of the world Friday with a performance at the Side Door jazz club in the Old Lyme Inn. Regen's been riding high of late - as in the top of the Billboard New Age charts. His "Change Your Mind" CD, a collaboration with physician Dr. Mitch Gaynor, has also been in the iTunes Top Ten for eight weeks. Also, Regen's recent "Revolution" album, comprising several of his sophisticated, Connick, Jr./Billy Joel-style pop tunes, included appearances by Andy Summers, Benmont Tench, and Rob Thomas.
Who Are The Keyboard Virtuosos Of Today? Jon Regen: He's at the forefront of the singer-songwriter scene in NYC, and tours internationally.
Dionne, the cousin of the late great Whitney Houston, received a rapturous welcome following a very talented set by New York support act Jon Regen.
Jon and his father came to me with a serious medical issue. I was able to get him to the right physician who saved his father’s life just in time. Jon returned to me with the song "Stay" he composed. I hope you enjoy it!
Andy Summers' distinctive guitar graces “Spirits of the Soul,” a track as good as some crafted by his Police mate Sting.
The new Jon Regen CD REVOLUTION is a musical work of art.
**** FOUR STARS. Jon Regen made his name as a jazz musician, notably spending a significant amount of time supporting vocal legend Jimmy Scott, so the pop savvy of his new album Revolution may come as a surprise to those who have only read his biography. He's received some songwriting help from Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas and David McAlmont, but they don't force their personalities upon the pianist: he very much anchors this album with his nimble, jazzy soul-pop. Echoes of Boz Scaggs, Steve Winwood, and Billy Joel can be heard throughout Revolution, but Regen is sharp, he never lingers in one spot, and he keeps the record swinging and soulful, so the album sticks as both songs and performance.
Regen's voice is a pure expression, finding a soulful express lane on songs like "Just Waiting for Now" and "One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue." One foot is solid in the singer-pianist tradition while the other is feeling for new ground. With special guests Andy Summers, Benmont Tench, David McAlmont, and others, the musicality is well-covered. On everything else, Jon Regen has earned the spotlight. Let it shine.
Those heading for the holiday sales won’t go far wrong by buying any of these impressive CDs: Paul Simon’s literate “So Beautiful or So What”; U.S. singer Eilen Jewell’s bluesy “Queen of the Minor Key”; Drake’s crooned “Take Care’; Danger Mouse’s filmic “Rome”; Leslie Feist’s moody “Metals” or pianist Jon Regen’s jazzy “Revolution.”
The jazz instrumentalist turned pop singer sings with smoky soul, his voice just a touch rumpled with bemusement on the wry piano come-on “Delores,” and weariness over a breathy accordion part on “One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue.” "She’s Not You (But Tonight She’ll Have to Do)” burbles along on Wurlitzer organ and roiling guitar while Regen dials in a vocal tone reminiscent of mid-solo career Sting. Although Regen doesn’t have the name recognition of some of his collaborators, Revolution is good enough to merit a qualification in that regard: Regen doesn’t have their name recognition yet.
Jon Regen is a man who knows his instrument. The piano isn’t great for rocking out unless you’re Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard, but it’s perfect for sophisticated, slightly retro pop songs. Regen writes his with the smart, jazzy feel of Ben Folds or Randy Newman, and on such tunes as “She’s Not You (But Tonight She’ll Have to Do)” and “One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue,” he gets to play his favorite character: the bemused, brokenhearted New York City night owl.
With a deceptive simplicity at times Revolution needs further listening to reveal itself. *** THREE STARS.
A wall-to-wall celebration of song and masterful musicianship. Jon Regen here emerges with a smart-as-hell pop album. The 10-song set opens with the titular track, one of several here that calls to mind the master craftsmanship of Marc “Walking in Memphis” Cohn but with elements that are more solidly and authentically fused to southern soul.
The title track of this jazz pianist turned singer/songwriter's latest album is actually a wry love song, at once bluesy and plucky.
A jazz piano player with plenty of pop singer/songwriting skills, Jon Regen spent 17 months in seven cities and two continents working on this album. It’s an enjoyable set, laid down against an organic background with Regen’s soulful vocals at the forefront. The easy-going “Just Waiting for Now,” was co-written with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, while other impressive collaborators show up along the way, especially guitarist Andy Summers who turns in some very tasty work on “Spirits of the Soul.”
Jon Regen is a skilled jazz pianist; he knows his way around advanced improv and has gigged extensively. But he has a yen for the power of lyrics, and is rolling through a career that’s based on pop songwriting. On the new Revolution (JRM), he makes his catchiest and most insightful disc so far. As one tune spills into another, a blend of Billy Joel and Randy Newman bubbles up, with romance and wit vying for equal room.
With Revolution, Regen has shifted into a magnificent new gear that fuses the earlier components with the sort of material you'd expect of Harry Connick, Jr., and Donald Fagen. There's a wit and assurance on tunes like the title cut and "She's Not You (But Tonight She'll Have to Do)," and a gorgeous sense of melody on "Spirits of the Soul" and "One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue."
Jon Regen is dripping with talent. While he’s perhaps most connected in people’s minds to the piano and keyboards, it’s Regen’s voice that ultimately sets him apart from his peers. Witness a song like “Delores,” which evokes the raw descriptive power of early Springsteen or Waits with a heady brew of piano and organ washing over the whole. Revolution really does feel revolutionary in its combination of craftsmanship and genuine soul.
Singer-songwriter and pianist Jon Regen has an original jazz-soul style on Revolution (JRM) that leverages the introspective Saturday-night spirit of Billy Joel and Leon Russell. Regen's approach on his album's originals is smoky, with a gentleness that's missing from many new albums today. Regen's quite a songwriter. And singer. And keyboard player.
Regen’s beguiling new album Revolution exudes cool sophistication without sacrificing catchy accessibility, with guest appearances by Andy Summers of the Police and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.
**** FOUR STARS. Revolution is Jon Regen’s second straight great album. “She’s Not You (But Tonight She’ll Have to Do)” has strong hooks and should be a hit. Andy Summers' distinctive guitar graces “Spirits of the Soul,” a track as good as some crafted by his Police mate Sting.
Now, with Revolution, he delivers his most accomplished album to date. Its 10 tracks are uniform testament to Regen’s richly fulfilling maturation as both singer and songwriter (who also remains a top-drawer pianist). Summers returns for “Spirits of the Soul,” superlative among these ten excellent pieces, its haunted deconstruction of a vanquished relationship as potent as anything crafted by the guitarist’s Police-mate, Sting.
Regen’s exceptional new album Revolution features guests a-plenty like Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, Andy Summers of The Police and Rutle Ricky Fataar, not to mention a co-write with Grammy winner Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.
On his suave and soulful new album, Revolution, you can still hear some of his jazz background, but mostly what you hear is someone who has developed into a supremely accomplished pop artist. Think Harry Connick Jr., or maybe Billy Joel without the bombast. Regen may not be as well-known as some of his accompanists - Andy Summers, Benmont Tench - but this album shows he deserves to be.
Revolution is often strongly reminiscent of Steve Winwood, Randy Newman and Bruce Hornsby’s undersung post-Range sets (“Harbor Lights,” “Hot House”). Regen won’t show off the way Hornsby does, but when he squeezes a solo into his compositions, it’s always thoughtful and inventive enough to broadcast his training. He’s gathered a stellar cast of accompanists, but the spotlight is on Regen, and the genial pianist makes the most of it. An adult-pop winner.
“One Part Broken, Two Parts Blue,” and “Spirits of the Soul” reflect the sensitive side of Regen’s creativity, and are the kind of songs that are destined to become pop standards.
On Revolution, Regen builds on his strengths, recording 10 original songs that expertly straddle the fence between jazz and pop. One of the album's best tunes, "She's Not You (But Tonight She'll Have to Do)," is easily one of the catchiest pop songs I've heard in a while. Add in appearances by such music luminaries as Andy Summers and Benmont Tench, and you have a seriously solid release.
Revolution effortlessly straddles the lines of commercial viability, legit authenticity, and indie. In short, it's the album that breaks and marks the beginning of Jon's musical legacy. We will be claiming joint custody of the musician, if not declaring him one of our own outright.
One must be careful when attempting to fuse jazz and pop music, if only because the process all too frequently results in a product that emphasizes the worst possible characteristics of jazz and pop. Fortunately, we have the superb pianist/composer Jon Regen,whose latest CD LET IT GO hits the high points of both genres and creates something smart, completely listenable, and basically delicious. Helping out on the album were Andy Summers and Martha Wainwright, who are just as good as you'd expect on a project such as this.
Here are seven covers of Journey’s masterpiece “Don’t Stop Believin’”, one for each day of the week. Remember, they’re for evaluation purposes only; support the artists. Jon Regen’s is the most interesting of the bunch, a jazzy take that reminds me of Marc Cohn at his best.
Regen, a singer-songwriter in only the best possible way, is a soulful performer, fluid and engaging on vocals and piano..."Better Days" and "The Last Song" are the kinds of heart-rending piano-led ballads Chris Martin of Coldplay would cut off all ties to the Paltrow tribe to have written.
LET IT GO is a great piano album, and one of 2008's best albums.
With one of the most incredible voices I’ve heard in ages and the kind of looks that made me get giddy and giggle far too much there’s little doubt he’ll make an impact on the UK singer/songwriter scene. I’ve been converted. I’m a Jon Regen fan. A mesmerizing artist with the charisma and voice to captivate even an audience of hungry jazz fans.
Right from the opening chords rippling from the keys of his piano on the title track, "Let It Go", which opens the disc, you know you're about to experience something quite a bit different from what you'd expect from a piano playing pop singer. This is a well crafted and finely executed album of songs blending elements of pop and jazz music. The real pity is that if more people heard music like this they wouldn't settle for what currently rides the top of the charts.
This pianist's no amateur: His CD "Let It Go" features Andy Summers of the Police and Martha Wainwright. There are hints of Bruce Hornsby and Van Morrison about it and the songwriting lifts it a notch.
Despite the star potential lending a helping hand, it is still the magnificent verses and glorious choruses which put their stamp on this record – as well as Regen’s voice, which unobtrusively claims center stage shining like silken sandpaper. In a way, therefore, Let it Go is another manifestation of the mystery and magic of music: You can tour the planet, sell thousands of records and grace the covers of glossy magazines, but no marketing budget in the world could make songs about the torture of wanting, the cruelty of love and the solitude of a room after she’s left sound this credible.
Jon Regen – Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)Another ironic Journey cover…yech. This one’s a keeper though, not too mellow and keeping the strong melody of the original. Bonus points for rocking out the guitar fills on the keys!
A little Dave Matthews vocal warble and a lot of the serious side of Ben Folds saturates the record... His style–and musical complexity–was influenced by his time with jazz players Jimmy Scott and Kenny Barron, and the pristine sound of the piano on the record can be attributed to Steinway giving him the keys to its storied warehouse, letting him record with whatever grand he pleased. No question, Let it Go isn’t kids’ stuff, it’s for grownups. If you dig nuanced and introspective music–and you also appreciate excellent piano work, check out Jon Regen. He’s your guy.
MAINSTREAM ISN'T SO BAD
Regen, like Marc Cohn has a bluesy / jazzy feel that carries the tunes. Strong piano playing, both in terms of presence as well as prowess. The album's titled Let It Go. It's out now. Forget Mozart, and listen...
RESIDENT MEDIA PUNDIT
Regen skillfully proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Sentimental ballads such as “Better Days” and “Photographs of You” are certain to pop on a soundtrack or a TV show in the near future and lead single “Let it Go,” certainly has a rollicking movement to it that would make Michael McDonald smile.
Sometimes an album just hits the mark. Let it Go is one of those records. There is something to it that just feels like home. Jon Regen has taken on the singer/songwriter genre from a point of view not often seen. The New Jersey native has a Jazz pedigree but the heart of a pop songwriter with the ability to make words and music move your heart through the arc of a relationship’s highs and lows.
CARRY YOU AWAY
Let It Go is a wonderful album - it's full of depth, emotion and feeling from the beginning to the end. I've found it to be a very relatable album, with songs such as Photographs of You and I Come Undone.
COVER LAY DOWN
Let It Go has high folkpop credibility, with production work from the same guys who work with Teddy Thompson and Ryan Adams, and support from Martha Wainwright on vocals and the distinctive guitarwork of Andy Summers of The Police, but Regen's original songwriting and stellar performance are the real find here.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
**** FOUR STARS. It's hard not to be drawn in by Regen's emotional ballad "Better Days" and the bittersweet "Photographs of You." Recommended.
NYC singer-songwriter and pianist Jon Regen is one of the few artists to email me lately that I actually like. His song “Let It Go” has a bluesy acoustic sound. The tune is the title track from his new album, which features Martha Wainwright and Andy Summers of The Police among others.
THE COLD CUT
The songs on 'Let It Go', his new album, offer a half and half mix of jazz and pop, a la John Legend ('Get Lifted' era, not 'Once Again'). The piano is used as a focus rather than an after thought- there is a lot of instrumental versatility, moving from literally slamming the keys to mildly depressing them. And Jon's voice? Distinctive, and yet hard to compare (a good thing), the only thing obvious about it is that it is strong enough to take him upwards.
Regen has crafted some catchy melodies with memorable lyrics. I have often found myself humming the title track. It should definitely appeal to fans of his songwriting influences, like Randy Newman and Bruce Hornsby.
Jon Regen possesses three distinguished musical gifts; he's a talented singer, songwriter and pianist of unparalleled depth, and a versatile performer with an unforgettable voice.
Tracks range from the Randy Newmanesque "It´s Alright By Me", which sounds like a strong contender for the next Pixar movie soundtrack, to a brace of tunes featuring guitarist Andy Summers - the hypnotic "Close To Me" and "Finding My Way Back to Me" (whose opening riff sounds like a very close relation of "Don´t Stand So Close To Me"). Regen displays an impressively wide pianistic touch, hitting the piano so hard in the title track you can almost feel the vibration of the strings, caressing the notes in the touching ballad "Better Days".
LONDON EVENING STANDARD
His piano fills, alternately funky and frantic, held the interest as an air of Seventies blue-eyed soul, Carole King-style, began to descend.
Radio-friendly pop tunes, featuring rich lyrics, cool and honest vocals, and grooving piano and organ playing...Like (Bruce) Hornsby, Regen has facility, hipness, and the confidence to pull it off.
Perfectly poised contemporary pop, much in the vein of icons like Billy Joel and Randy Newman...Let It Go is another significant milestone in Regen’s burgeoning career, and represents a consolidation of his composing aptitude and an inspired indicator of his progressive pianistic skills. It’s also solid proof that contemporary pop can be witty and emotional, without once slipping into awkward mawkishness.
CHARLESTON POST & COURIER
Regen comes out swinging with the album's title track and continues to impress with songs that include "Close to Me" and "Finding My Way Back to Me."
LET IT GO , a collection of piano pop gems along the lines of his previous record Almost Home. Regen opens up his trio sound this time, adding guitarist Andy Summers to the excellent “Close to Me” and “Finding My Way Back to Me” and inviting singers Martha Wainwright and Kami Thompson and cellist Julia Kent to join him on a few tunes. But it’s Regen’s own writing and crooning that carry the day here: “Better Days,” “Disappear” and the title tune make the most impact with no “name” assistance whatsoever. Regen’s proven himself a master of jazz and pop on separate records; now it’s time for him to rejoin the two sides of his personality and sew a truly distinctive place for himself in the music tapestry.
Jon Regen is one hell of a great pianist. And what do you know? His writing chops are just as hot. A protege of Kenny Barron, Jon has been bringing us story after story that oozes inspiration and is full of the New York scene in which he lives and works. And the New York Times writes about him. Can you beat that? Search for it at www.nytimes.com, it's a great read!
Pianist and singer Jon Regen is a brilliant storyteller... He has already developed his completely own handwriting as a composer.
Michael Hill gives a double concert with Jon Regen, the miracle child from New York, who one can quite compare with Billy Joel.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Regen's voice might carry him a long, long way.
Jazz pianist/singer Jon Regen takes a left turn into pop with his latest disk 'Almost Home.' Staying within the confines of a piano trio is a wise move; it not only provides a link to his previous work, but keeps the melodies from riding the triple-A line too closely. It also keeps him from sounding too much like other piano pop icons; without the full-on production of a Bruce Hornsby, Elton John or Billy Joel, Regen sounds more like himself than anyone else. Songs like "Better Than Before," "What Am I Supposed to Do From Here"and the bemused "Only My Credit Card Remembers Where I've Been" won't rewrite the rules of pop, but they're solid tunes with instantly appealing melodies and soulful vocals. Best of all, none of this record feels like slumming; Regen is no jazz snob dabbling in pop for the money. If Regen can sustain as fertile a career in pop as he has in jazz, he'll be set.
Regen takes cues from forebears like Randy Newman...both in the sardonic bent of songs like the wry "Only My Credit Card Remembers Where I've Been" and the laconically elegant tenor of "Hold Out Your Heart..." He got a lot of mileage out of clever phrasing, blurring the lines of measures on the "What Am I Supposed to Do From Here," a vaguely Norah Jones-styled amble that proved to be the most overtly jazzy tune of the evening.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
**** FOUR STARS. After a promising start as a jazz pianist, Jon Regen switched gears to try a slightly different approach. On this studio date he sticks to original material that fits in the singer/songwriter camp. Like Bruce Hornsby, another singing pianist with jazz roots, Regen is a good storyteller, though he reins in his skills as an improviser a bit more. Highlights include the introspective rocker "What Am I Supposed to Do From Here," the ballad "Little One," along with the road weary "Only My Credit Card Remembers Where I've Been," to which any traveling musician will relate. While jazz fans may be surprised with Regen's switch of his musical focus, this CD is well worth hearing.
TIME OUT LONDON
Regen made a name for himself with the great Jimmy Scott. A fine pianist (and protege of Kenny Barron) he's moved into pop crossover material with his new album, influenced by the likes of Randy Newman and Billy Joel.
Regen, who is mostly recognized for his brilliant piano accompaniment with the legendary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott and frequent gigs with Kyle Eastwood - gives his music such a veneer of aestheticism that the listener can actually involve their personal experience through the songs. With vocals reminiscent of Billy Joel and Sting, Regen does wonders for “Hold Out Your Heart,” and “What Am I Supposed To Do From Here.” Jon Regen is definitely worth the listen.
With the elegance of Sting's lyricism and vocal fluidity, Bruce Hornsby's memorable piano-driven phrases, Paul Simon's casual sophistication and Billy Joel's mastery of the highly-concentrated, penetrating hook, Regen has woven a tapestry of adult contemporary pop and jazz that reflects on the integration of intelligent songwriting with the elemental and unbridled force of the human spirit.
The pianist recorded here years ago and set candles under the ivories, then let loose. He chooses chords with Monk’s daring, phrasing them with Kenny Baron’s delight. Regen plays handsome ballads with a hungry attack, sometimes singing. He’s readying for tour with singer Jimmy Scott.
A protégé of jazz great Kenny Barron, Jon Regen is a pianist of great lyrical gifts, using his masterful technique to caress a melody like a lover strokes the object of his desire. The three-part "Tel Aviv Suite' is a marvel of collective improvisation and jazz piano melodicism.
THE WASHINGTON POST
Jon Regen is one of the best young jazz pianists in the world.
THE TORONTO STAR
Young pianist Jon Regen entertained a Top of The Senator audience with an artful blend of improv, classically influenced structures and two-fisted percussive panache. He plays intricate music that defines and occupies its own niche while displaying the maturity one might expect of a protégé of Kenny Barron.
THE NEW YORK SUN
Although the British press has described Mr. (Jamie) Cullum as "Sinatra in sneakers," he is a long way from having a Sinatra or Nat Cole-level vocal instrument. Likewise, he has less technique as a pianist than, say, Jimmy Scott's prodigious accompanist, Jon Regen...
Four years of studies with Kenny Barron at Rutgers University and wide recognition as runner-up in the 1996 Great American Piano Competition undoubtedly fortified pianist Jon Regen's talents and infused him with confidence. At this May 4, 1998, Blue Note Jazz Club date, Regen displays well-honed, elegant chops, performing for the first time with veteran bassist Ray Drummond to deliver a hardy set of seven (mostly original) tunes enhanced by Yoron Israel's creative timekeeping. A dynamic player, Regen phrases with resourcefulness and sensitivity, especially on lengthier tunes such as his riffing Latinate original "From Left to Right," a joyous remake of "You Don't Know What Love Is," and the sonorous finale, "Un Pollo Loco." Judging by this first-rate debut recording, Regen made the right choice when he switched from saxophone to piano at age 17. He's a gifted pianist-composer whose burgeoning career merits tracking.
Two years before his "Live at the Blue Note," Jon Regen already possessed a certain maturity. Elegance, clarity, sensibility and swing testify to it on "One for KB."