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On July 12, singer, songwriter and pianist Jon Regen will release “Wide Awake,” the first single from his highly-anticipated Ropeadope debut due out later in 2019. A jazz/pop tour de force, “Wide Awake” marries Regen’s signature soulful vocals and infectious piano work with the funk production prowess of longtime Jamiroquai keyboardist Matt Johnson.
“What began as me fooling around on my old Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and Wurlitzer electric piano, soon took on a life of its own once I started working with Matt,” Regen says. “Everything he touches oozes groove, and the two of us found an amazing way to meld each of our strengths into song. ‘Wide Awake’ is about paying attention to the little moments in our lives, and that’s just what we did while we were working on the song together.”
With early praise from luminaries like fellow singer/pianist Bruce Hornsby, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench, famed songwriter Rob Thomas, and jazz great Kenny Barron, “Wide Awake” is striking a chord with legends and listeners alike. Surprisingly, track was recorded and produced entirely remotely, with Regen and Johnson both working in their respective New York and London recording studios.
“As a new parent, the idea of me locking myself away in a proper recording studio to make an album was a daunting proposition,” Regen explains. “But Matt and I have a rhythm in the way we work together. It’s like we’re in the same room, even though we’re an ocean apart!”
“It’s been great collaborating with Jon from either side of the pond,” Johnson says. “He has a rich sounding voice and is really a fantastic piano player too. We got a bit of Stevie mixed up with some Steely and everything in between on this one!”
“Wide Awake” features guest appearances by Johnson’s Jamiroquai bandmate Rob Harris on guitar, plus UK musicians Nicola Sipprell on background vocals and Alex Reeves on drums. Trumpeter Jim Rotondi (with whom Regen was a member of bassist Kyle Eastwood’s touring band) guests as well. The song was produced and mixed by Matt Johnson, and mastered by 2019 Grammy-winning engineer Greg Calbi.
Regen’s upcoming Ropeadope debut will be his first album since his acclaimed 2015 release Stop Time, which was produced by Mitchell Froom and featured Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher from Elvis Costello’s Imposters. Regen hints his latest project will have an even more surprising guest list.
“It’s a thrill when your heroes want to make music with you,” Regen says. “So stay-tuned for the album!”
Jon Regen - Vocals, piano, Roland Juno-60 synthesizer *
Matt Johnson - Wurlitzer, Minimoog, Roland Jupiter-8 and Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizers, bass, drum programming **
Rob Harris - Guitar, electric sitar +
Nicola Sipprell - Background vocals **
Jim Rotondi - Trumpet, horn arrangements ++
Luis Diego Bonilla - Trombone ++
Alex Reeves - Drums +++
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, Edgewater, NJ
Graphic design by Rebecca Meek
* recorded by Jon Regen at Studio G-Machine, New York, NY
** recorded by Matt Johnson at Wonderland Studios, UK
+ recorded by Rob Harris at Harritoons Studio, UK
++ recorded by Jim Rotondi at Little G Recording, Graz, Austria
+++ recorded by Alex Reeves at Reevsey’s Drum Studio, London UK
A protégé of the legendary pianist Kenny Barron, Jon Regen began his career as a sideman to jazz artists like Ted Dunbar,
Kyle Eastwood and Little Jimmy Scott. Regen made an abrupt left turn into singer/songwriter territory with a series of acclaimed solo albums...more
This is music with so much thought, feeling and consideration behind it, so as to defy encapsulation in a brief review. I listen to this album with a sense of meditative gratitude. My favorite part of the album is how Overcomer settles into the mood of Songs She Never Heard. ngballard
The vinyl sounds incredible! Aaron Parks put together some very compelling compositions. Just the right mix of electronics to compliment this project. More great jazz being released from the Ropeadope label. One of the newer pianists with first rate talent! Rob O.