Trumpeter and flugelhornist Dennis Angel has released three CDs and more than a half dozen diverse singles that charted and received radio spins around the globe. His work consists of gracefully emoting pristine pop melodies from his horn over laidback grooves.
Following his success of releasing more than a half dozen diverse singles that charted and received radio spins around the globe, Dennis released his debut album, the vintage sounding Timeless Grooves, in 2012 on Timeless Grooves Records.
Angel wrote eight songs for the varied 10-track set produced by keyboardist Jason Miles (Marcus Miller, Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross) that brings something refreshing and unique to the contemporary jazz scene.
Angel has a way of gracefully emoting pristine pop melodies from his horn over the type of laidback grooves that bring to mind jazz-funk hits from the '60s and '70s. After experimenting and dabbling in a wide array of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz, hip hop, R&B and pop to construct an eclectic variety of instrumental and vocal singles, Angel knew he needed a producer to curate the sound for his first album. Enter Miles, who gave Angel the freedom to create and encouraged the trumpeter to also play flugelhorn on the set. Giving the well-crafted material a distinctive R&B edge, Miles (keyboards, synth bass, percussion) recruited "some of the very best players in the studio to play live" including guitarists Romero Lubambo, Nick Moroch, Dean Brown, and Will Bernard, bassist Amanda Ruzza, and drummer Brian Dunne. Joel Mofsenson plays acoustic piano on the vocal tracks and arranged two of the compositions. Long-time Angel collaborator Gottfried Stoger plays saxophones and deftly arranged the remaining compositions based on the classic American form.
While Angel and Miles toiled away in the studio in the spring and summer on Timeless Grooves, the single "Rio On My Mind" was released as an appetizer. Radio stations instantly embraced the idyllic soul-infused fiesta spotlighting Angel's flugelhorn and classy acoustic guitar licks from Lubambo. As a follow-up, the groovy "Forever Funk," on which Angel and Stoger engage in a Soul Train line-like trumpet and sax strut, was just serviced as a single. Angel's 16 year-old daughter, Rebecca Angel, delivered a heartfelt vocal performance on the empowering "A Song In Harmony," co-written by the pair. One of two covers, The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" receives a beautiful 3/4-time treatment with elegant etchings courtesy of Angel's flugelhorn and Lubambo's acoustic guitar along with a sterling performance by Stoger on soprano sax. Flugelhorn and tenor sax top the marquee on the leisurely paced "Vegas Vibe,"which bodes to become a radio favorite. Charismatic baritone vocalist DeForest Raphael pledges allegiance on the patriotic "I Did All This" and is featured on the clever bebop rapper "From Bebop To Hip Hop,"the latter of which charted when released as a single in 2010.
Timeless Grooves represents a life-long dream come true for me. After playing the trumpet my whole life, the album embodies my personal contribution to the music scene, which I believe adds something new and fresh to the contemporary jazz genre. We want to bring back some of the great trumpet and sax R&B sounds from the '60s and '70s and give it a more contemporary feel. The songs have catchy melodies that came to me during quiet times of just putting my trumpet to my lips. For me, the heart of a song is a simple yet memorable melody, which is what I tried to incorporate into each recording," said Angel.
While in high school, Angel was trained by world renowned trumpeter William Vacchiano and had to decide between studying music at The Julliard School and pursuing a law degree. He chose law school and based his highly respected suburban New York City law practice on the motion picture industry where he works with the major studios. However, he never stopped playing his trumpet and performed at Carnegie Hall in a brass choir.
Dennis released the CD Someone to Watch Over Me in 2008.
In 2009, Angel wrote and recorded the witty "The Wall Street Recession Time Blues" after the market crash. This timely track garnered considerable airplay and media attention from the likes of the Boston Herald. Encouraged, Angel continued to crank out new singles, which also were welcomed at radio. Some were tongue-in-cheek numbers such as "I Need Smooth Jazz" and "Daddy, Can I Drive Your Car?" while others, like "Dizzy Izzy" displayed the trumpeters true talent.
Angel earned the distinction of being December 2012’s Artist of the Month from the monthly jazz webzine Sounds of Timeless Jazz.
In 2014 Angel released his most sophisticated work to date, his second collaboration with Jason Miles, On Track, a contemporary collection of 10 songs featuring a funk, latin and the traditional acoustic five piece jazz combo. The first single from the CD is the acoustic jazz-funk driven “Soul Strut”, which rose quickly on smooth jazz radio outlets, reaching the Top 35 on the Smoothjazz.com Radar chart, debuting in the Top 50 on SmoothIndieStar.com and gaining spins on the Radio Wave Internet Airplay chart. “Soul Strut” and the coolly swinging “Sunset Café” are driven by an organic quartet arrangement, featuring Angel with jazz greats Kenny Barron (piano) and James Genus (acoustic bass); on the latter tune, Angel successfully experiments for the first time with a more laid back, Chet Baker styled tone.
Both Timeless Grooves and On Track were produced by Jason Miles, a keyboardist, composer and artist who is renowned for his work with Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Michael Brecker, Whitney Houston, Grover Washington, Jr., Sting, Ivan Lins, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, David Sanborn and Michael Jackson. Miles arranged the tracks with longtime Angel collaborator Gottfried Stoger who also did transcriptions and charts, and plays tenor sax, soprano sax and flute.
Five of the tracks are anchored by the rhythm section of Amanda Ruzza (bass) and Brian Dunne (drums), with featured appearances by acoustic guitarist Romero Lubambo and bassist Will Lee. The high-energy soul-jazz jam track titled “This Song’s For You” features bassist George Porter, Jr., who is well known for his work in the band The Meters and the TV series Treme The funked out, thumping groove infused “Dream Dancer” is a retro disco 70s vibe tune with cross genre appeal. Veteran engineer Goh Hotoda from Japan mixed the original track and did another mastered version that could be a dance track. The overall emotional dynamics of the set are captured with the silky and graceful “Serenity” (featuring Gottfried at his most expressive) giving way to the explosive whimsy of the bossa nova carnival “Jubilation”, featuring powerhouse solos by Lubambo on acoustic guitar and Stoger on flute.