Wenso Ashby


The Urban Music Scene

When you think of Minneapolis, what do you think of? Prince, Mint Condition, The Time, Apollonia and Vanity 6? OK, fine. But what about the jazz scene? Minneapolis East or Madhouse. Either way jazz is still alive and kicking in Minneapolis, and Wenso Ashby is keeping jazz real. His latest effort "Love Is So Amazing" with featured vocalist Zsame, is a nice laid back project that you can drop in the player (of your choice) after a hard day at work. Let Wenso take you away! With nice groovin' songs like "No Letting Go", "In The Blu", "Keep On Dreaming", "Faded", "Lights Low", "Love Is So Amazing", & "Heavenly" are guaranteed to relieve your stress. And the ethereal covers of Sade's "No Ordinary Love", Brian McKnight's "Anytime" and Lisa Stansfield's "Been Around The World". Plus let us not forget Zsame's soothing voice that compliments each song in a way where you feel totally relaxed. Make sure you pick up this cd at www.itunes.com, www.bestbuy.com or any online store. You can find more information about the cd at www.WENSOASHBY.com. Get song samples & more at CDBaby!! Marv D. The Urban Music Scene

Insight Newspaper

Wenso Ashby brandishes quality artistry of the first order By Dwight Hobbes Got a long road trip you have to take in the car by yourself and are at a loss for some first-class sounds to keep you company on the way? Out at the park taking a walk with the headphones on and need good stuff to feed your CD player? Kicking back at the crib on a lazy afternoon and want something you can put on the box and savor as you plop down in the easy chair and let the world pass you by for the day? Here's an all-purpose cure for what you might lack: It goes by the name of Wenso Ashby, he of such soul sophisticato as is not to be denied. Songsmith, producer and keyboardist, Wenso Ashby brandishes quality artistry of the first order and he's released three strong albums to prove it. There's Walkin' Midnite (somebody came over the house and helped my copy grow feet before yours truly could even listen to it, which, for my two cents, qualifies as a better review than anything anyone could write), Wenso Ashby Live, featuring Zsamé, Q'Aisha and TaVanni; and his newest, Love Is So Amazing, featuring Zsamé. It's the kind of music you never get tired of – not if you dig laid back, jazz-drenched magic that washes over you in a soothing wave and brightens your spirits like a dose of pure, unadulterated sunshine. Ashby is one of the most fascinating pianists since Ramsey Lewis; if he don't know nothin' he sure knows how to lay down a tantalizing groove, tickling the ivories with exceptional taste and a world of finesse. For this project, he has enlisted the easy-on-the-ears services of splendid vocalists along with sax ace Willie Moore. Listening to Wenso Ashby Live, you easily could think the thing was done in a studio – until the applause at the end of each cut --it's that clean and tight. "Philly's Groove" even brings in a sprinkling of funk, beautifully seasoning this straight-ahead, pocket-nailed gem. Look out for a sweet rendition of the Rufus classic "Ain't Nobody." Love Is So Amazing is, well, amazing. The album leads off with the haunt-your-mind "Not Letting Go". The song is one of those instantly agreeable numbers that from first hearing, is something you just can't get out of your head. As is "Keep On Dreaming" (with incredible bassist Yohannes Tona sitting in). As gifted a songwriter as Wenso Ashby is, he readily might've made the whole disc from original material, but decided to include choice covers of Sade's "No Ordinary Love," Lisa Stansfield's "Been Around The World" and Brian McKnight's "Anytime". Doesn't matter. The entire disc works just fine, it's one of those rare outings you can enjoy from beginning to end without skipping a single cut. And, then, when you're done, you can quite contentedly play the whole thing all over again. Twin Cities music is renowned throughout the country and, for that matter, some parts around the world, as a wellspring of phenomenal talent. Said reputation is formidably upheld by Ashby, a consummate musician with cast iron chops. He's got that often elusive quality on which the best producer-instrumentalists rely, an infallible ear for intricacies that give an overall sound its irresistibly compelling signature. Smooth-jazz virtuoso Ashby is available at stores and www.cdbaby.com/wensoashby. You can catch him in action when the release event for Love Is So Amazing throws down at Fine Line Café on Wed., June 18, 8 pm. the Fine Line is located in Downtown Minneapolis at 318 First Avenue North. For tickets: (612) 338-8100.

TC Daily Planet

Interview: Smooth jazzers Wenso Ashby and Zsamé Performing at the Bean Scene. Photo courtesy Wenso Ashby. By Dwight Hobbes , TC Daily Planet There could be no better fit than Wenso Ashby featuring Zsamé to play St. Paul’s vaunted Selby JazzFest—lovers of mellow music would do well to be in attendance. The Twin Cities have seen the recent loss of two smooth jazz radio stations, and no one has stepped into the breach to rectify this situation. So a healthy audience, left with nowhere to turn on their radio dials, needs to grab every available opportunity to listen to artists this gifted. Composer, producer and keyboard man Wenso Ashby is one of the best at what he does, creating a lush tapestry of sound that, at times, is nothing short of spellbinding—especially when front lady, singer-songsmith Zsamé is at the microphone on splendid vocals. There are three albums: Midnite Walkin’, Wenso Ashby Live, featuring Zsamé, Q’Aisha, and TaVanni, and the newly released Love Is So Amazing, featuring Zsamé. You can’t wrong with any of them and, indeed, are apt to sooner or later end up owning them all if getting locked into a sweet, laid back groove is your thing. September 13, the Selby Avenue JazzFest is at the intersection of Selby and Milton, right outside Golden Thyme Coffee Café. The festival starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 6 in the evening. How did your musical partnership come to be? Wenso Ashby: I came here from D.C. on a visit and was listening to the radio. I didn’t know who she was, but I loved the voice. I called the station [but] couldn’t connect with her. A year later, I came back. Somebody told her I was in town, looking for a vocalist, so I met with her. Zsamé: I wasn’t singing at the point—just goin’ to work, goin’ home. Daily grind. Ashby: We talked. She listened to [my] CD and liked it. Later, we went out to a [rehearsal] area. I asked to do some runs, and she did it a cappella. On the spot. I was like, wow. I immediately said, “I’m gonna stay here.” We started working together. Now, it’s four years later. Each of you easily could go solo. Why stay hooked up? Ashby: If you look at the [new] album, it features Zsamé and it features the saxophone player Willie Moore. Production is what I really love to do—to stay in the background. Zsamé: I always felt the music. It’s funny, because [earlier] I’d been doing vocals for a local hip-hop group, recording at Flyte Time, but when I looked at my music collection, I owned mostly smooth jazz, R&B, soul music. That was the music I was feelin’. This was the opportunity, when I started performing with Wenso, to [be] in my comfort zone. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “This was the opportunity, when I started performing with Wenso, to be in my comfort zone.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You write for the ensemble? Zsamé: I do. And for the live CD, it’s actually kind of funny. When we first met, he brought over this music and wanted me to write words for some of the songs [in the vein] he had in mind when he wrote the music. When I brought [them] back, it was totally different. Ashby: Than the way I wrote it. Zsamé: So, he always jokes about that. “Just like a woman. It came back totally different from the way I gave it to her.” But, you know, I have my own originality within what we’re doing—even when we’re doing covers. Ashby: She can capture the essence of any song. If she hears it, she can capture it. How is it performing together onstage? Ashby: We do the songs over and over, but each performance is a little different. That’s where the intuitive stuff comes in. She’ll go off and do something. Willie will do something. You know how it is. The words may be the same, but the way you feel changes. Each time she sings, it’s a new spark. So, I’m always, “What can I do to enhance that?” I never get tired of hearin’ what she does. You also have another singer on board. Zsamé: Deynn Hampton. She does background vocals. Ashby: She could be an individual artist, too. The thing that works for us as a group is that everybody’s willing to come in and, like Boston [the NBA Celtics] did this year in basketball? All them people, stars, but they put their personal games aside to be a team. I just say here’s the song, here’s the concept, let’s go and do this. Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet. Article Tags: Arts, Music, originals, St. Paul, Summit University


Wenso Ashby is a dynamic contemporary jazz artist with a flare for pushing the boundaries of musical artistry. Ashby's unique blend of jazz, funk, neosoul and r&b showcase the brightest in keyboard expertise. His debut album Midnite Walkin' is a musical odyssey into possibilities of contemporary jazz.

Brendon Kelly

Black Music Month Café Tatta Bunna Written by Brendon Kelly When it’s time to sit back and relax there’s nothing more soothing than listening to great contemporary jazz with soul. Great beats from a magical keyboard player and soulful lyrics from a vocalist with a voice of an angel, is the sounds of Wenso Ashby Contemporary Jazz with Soul, features Zsamé at vocals and Wenso at the keys, and there’s nothing you can do but listen in bliss. This collaboration between the two inspires original songs, written by Wenso, such as ‘Take Me Out,’ and ‘Rising,’ which is from their live CD, Wenso Ashby Live. They also pay homage to Neo-Soul artists when they sing covers like ‘Do I Every Cross Your Mind’ by Brian McKnight and ‘Emotional Roller Coaster’ by Vivian Greene. Even when Zsamé is on break, Wenso plays instrumental journeys that would get your foot tapping in seconds. The performance was held in the beautiful setting of Café Tatta Bunna located in the urban area of North Minneapolis in the Urban League building on the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Penn Avenue. When the temperature heats up out there, great music sounds from Wenso Ashby Contemporary Jazz with Soul sends chills down your spine to cool you down. In my opinion, Wenso Ashby Contemporary Jazz with Soul featuring Zsamé was great! It gave me a reason to sit in my seat and not miss a beat that smoothly flowed out of the speakers. I gave the performance, “Two Thumbs Up,” and if you ever hear the name Wenso Ashby Contemporary Jazz with Soul, you should definitely check them out.

Fans via CD Street reviews

Midnite Walkin by Sandra Honton Rating: 10 Wenso it was by accident that I got to hear you and see you perform it was a great pleasure I listen to both of your CD during my drive time to help relieve the stress of traffic. keep up the great work. Kat -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- singersongwriting musicianal producing performer by lel coventry Rating: 10 exceptionaly done. beyond words can utter. Truly geniously portrayed -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Feel! the new sound on the scene by Ria Rating: 10 From my own personal experiience of having the opportunity to work with Wenso Ashby in the past by way of collaboration of vocals and lyrics, I can't express enough that his passion, drive and energy definitely delivers all the dynamic artistry that he has to offer his audience. Wishing much success on his musical journey as I know will be received. You! Must! pick up a copy to feel the new sound on the scene.... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- raw talent, indeed by MC LOGO 65 Rating: 10 I highly recommend checking out this artist! Way cool and very good, indeed!!! 10. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- midnite walkin' by llpeltier Rating: 10 rarely in this age of technology enhanced music does a raw talent such as wenso ashby emerge. midnite walkin' reveals a multi-talented artist. you are easily pulled into the flow of his musical expertise. many of his lyrics are ones many of us can relate to; anyone who has won, lost or yearns for true love. this cd's variety ranges from his laughter and teasing on "angel" to "let me know" a sexy "courvoisier smooth" set, that being defined as: surprise at first taste, smooth going down, then filling you with a burst of warmth. wenso ashby's success has just begun. his God given talent is one that you will definately want to see live; knowing with this artist, what you hear - is what you'll see. also, a bonus for the ladies, he looks as good as he sounds! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Midnight walkin by Andrea Cumber Rating: 10 great music to lounge to and enjoy with an intimate small group or to relax with that special someone. Track 4 is my favorite. The sample CD has inspired me to purchase the 12 song CD and tell my closest friends about this new emerging talent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Midnite Walkin by Derrick Alexander Rating: 9 Great CD! I have been a fan of contemporary jazz for many years and am always open to new artist. I had heard a buzz about the CD and wanted to check it out. Midnite Walkin did not disappoint. Nice for just listening or entertaining. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Midnite Walking by Terry Lynne Rating: 10 My husband and I love this CD. Very romantic and soothing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Must Buy by J. Michelle Rating: 10 I enjoy listening to this CD, it's smooth, relaxing, great instrumentation and rhythm. I listen to it while cleaning,cooking, and while entertaining. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Refreshing by Trisha Rating: 10 When listening to this CD, the artist prompts you to visualize your own personal, romantic journey. The music is refreshing and soothing yet has a solid, upbeat flavor as well. With Jazz being my #1 music of choice, I will definitely have to add this CD to my list and tell my friends about it.

Twin Cities Jazz

Radio interview premiering new CD "Artistry."