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Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 12:03 am

Beyond the bars

The cover art for Dreaming in Colour’s latest single, “Cayenne,” now zooming up the smooth jazz and jazz fusion charts all over the country and Europe.


We spend a lot of time covering the nightclubs in this column, and rightfully so, since a good deal of our live music scene stems from gigs in the bars. But bands and artists continue to make music elsewhere, especially in the recording arena, creating news outside of the city limits.

Chris Noonan and Kevin Ellis formed the drum-and-bass nucleus of the fusion and smooth jazz outfit Dreaming in Colour some 25 years ago, playing venues such as the Wooden Nickel on a regular basis. From those early bar-gig days to opening for top-rated jazz groups, these two kept the dreaming part alive. A few years ago after hooking up with cool jazz cat Jeff Lorber, an internationally successful keyboardist, guitarist, producer and composer, Dreaming in Colour took on a new life, especially in the recorded music and airplay world.

Back in the summer of 2016, the guys collaborated in St. Louis, New York City, Los Angeles and Springfield studios on a Lorber-penned tune called “Cayenne,” mixed and produced by Chris. With Kevin and Chris handling the rhythm section, Jeff on keys and guitar, and Andy Snitzer on saxes (Sting, Paul Simon, Billy Joel), the track, released digitally a few weeks ago, immediately gained attention with a “most added” ranking in Billboard magazine. Now it’s reached #48 on the smooth jazz indie charts with adds and upward movement on related charts as well as substantial airplay in London, Germany and many major U.S. urban areas. They’ve got a top-notch marketing company handling promotion, an L.A. agent lined up, and another two singles set for release in 2017. Congratulations to Dreaming in Colour for keeping the dream alive and in motion.

After putting the Hipbone Sam Band on hiatus at the first of the year, Kevin Hawkins aka Hipbone Sam promised us some recorded material along with a new focus and direction in his music. The first result is a newly released collaboration with Bruce Baise called “Paint Your Own Sky.” CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon all carry downloadable versions available for a mere 99 cents, so you can take a listen and help Hipbone get another single out. Keep ‘em coming. We are listening. And purchasing.

On my end, our Kickstarter campaign for All That Love hit its goal last week. We have until this Monday at midnight to add to the total and hopefully hit the $10,000 mark by our deadline. After paying for manufacturing costs and fulfilling all the rewards, money will be used for promotion per the Dreaming in Colour model of paying a company to get your music out to radio because that’s how it’s done. A few weeks ago I received $26.93 (no kidding) from CD Baby for digital sales and streaming over the last several months from iTunes, Pandora, Amazon, etc. The sad state of digital distribution sales is another topic, but all I know is it took nearly 300 separate connections ranging from $14.01 to hundreds of 2 cent and 1 cent additions to get to my $26.93 total. Yes, you can borrow twenty bucks from me now, but buy a CD soon.

Around town, Bar None hosts an acoustic showcase on Friday night and we celebrate two years of Fridays at George Rank’s with a reunion of a Tom Irwin Band configuration from the late 80s. Saturday features Champaign’s Kilborn Alley at Third Base, and It’s All About Wine hosts a special appearance by the one and only Josie Lowder joining Lowder and Manning. Next Thursday, we’ll welcome Back Pack Jones to The Alamo after a successful showing at the recent International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

See you then, then!

Contact Tom Irwin at

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