Check out the newest albums from Isaac and Mindi (her CD review is on the Music page). Both releases qualify as "smooth jazz-plus." Rick's new album comes out Aug. 2, but he'll be talking about it June 11 at the concert.


ISAAC VALENZUELA, “Hush Little Baby”


Right now, Isaac Valenzuela is living the dream. Born and raised in Tucson, married and the proud father of two teen kids, Valenzuela studied music at Pima Community College in the early 1990s. Then he took a day job like a responsible family man to keep the bills paid.


“But I never stopped playing,” said Valenzuela. His alto saxophone has brightened many a church music event over the years. “I just came to a point in my life where I had to accept that music has always been my passion.”


That point was 2004, when Valenzuela with the blessings and encouragement of all his family members packed up everything and took the whole family to Dallas to pursue his passion for a career in music.


Here we are seven years later and Valenzuela has his first album, a 14-track release full of energetic smooth jazz originals including five with vocals.

The instrumental version of the title track features Isaac’s brother Jacob, who plays trumpet and keyboards for Tucson’s extremely successful southwestern rock band Calexico.


“Hush Little Baby” is a knock-out piece of work. Isaac Valenzuela has the chops to keep adding passionate soul to the filigree of smooth jazz lyricism that identifies the genre’s lacey sound.


“Hush Little Baby” might sound like a bedtime lullaby, but Valenzuela gives every track the macho strength that offers reassuring security.


To be sure, this CD is mood music for muscle cars. The one to pop in your dashboard player while cruising all the right places on a Saturday night.


Order a hard copy or download it online at


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