Saturday, January 31, 2009


One of my all time favorite groups Tower of Power turned 40 in 2008, but the group is commemorating the anniversary with special album releases -- in 2009. This fantastic R&B/rock outfit expects to release "The Great American Soulbook" sometime during the first quarter of 2009 on its own Tower of Power Records label. Once we have the final release date, we’ll be sure to pass it on to you. As the title suggests. it's a collection of covers, ranging from obscurities (Stevie Wonder's "You Met Your Match") to well-known favorites."We really didn't want to do it," saxophonist and group co-founder Emilio Castillo tells, crediting manager Pat Rains with pushing the idea. "We were like, 'Yeah, yeah, everybody's doing that.' We don't like chasing trends. But we got about a third of the way through and started thinking, 'Boy, this is gonna be really cool,' and it turned out really good."

Tower of Power call in several of its famous friends to be part of the album. Joss Stone duets with band vocalist Larry Braggs on Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston's "It Takes Two" and Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Your Precious Love." Huey Lewis sings Wilson Pickett's "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)," Tom Jones performs on Sam & Dave's "I Thank You" and Sam Moore does Otis Redding's Mr. "Pitiful.” Other tracks on the album include Aretha Franklin's "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone," Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" and Tavares' "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel," as well as a four-song James Brown tribute. George Duke produced four of the album's tracks, while Castillo helmed the other 10.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Dave Samuels of the Caribbean Jazz Project and Joe McCarthy and his Afro Bop Alliance have already landed a 2008 Latin Grammy for their album entitled Afro Bop Alliance. Last year, their two great bands joined forces to make some exceptional music, producing one of the hottest Latin Jazz recordings of 2008. On the Heads Up label, it's the third recording for the Maryland-based Afro Bop Alliance. Teaming up with the Caribbean Jazz Project, the group swelled to the size of a big band to create a winning sound. The group anticipated neither nomination. Says Afro Bop Alliance bandleader Joe McCarthy: "I've never made a recording with the intention of trying to win an award. The idea behind the Grammy-nominated recording was to put some of our favorite music into big band arrangements."

This is his third album with Afro Bop Alliance and the second major collaboration with New York-based Caribbean Jazz Project led by Dave Samuels. The Washington Post calls it "an inspired pairing." Amplified by a talented team of brass and reed players, they forge a unique and powerful sound that gets audiences visibly excited and itching to dance. Samuels wrote the opening high-energy track, "Rendezvous," and four other tunes on the CD. Recognized as the top mallet player of his generation, the award-winning artist shines on both the vibraphone and marimba. Says McCarthy, "Dave is a phenomenal improviser with a wonderful time feel. With him the groove is paramount."

The big band instrumentation lends extra color and power to the music. The CD also features much-praised remakes of Dizzy Gillespie favorite "Sole Sauce," the John Coltrane classic "Naima," and the more conventionally Latin "Stolen Moments" by Oliver E. Nelson. The new versions are receiving plenty of airplay. Besides the Latin Grammy win and Grammy nomination, the project has yielded two books being published by Alfred Music. One features McCarthy's drum-set-playing techniques; the other taps Dave Samuels' knowledge as a mallet player.

For these musicians, the path has been short on glitz and glamour and long on hard work and discipline. Samuels is based in New York, as is conguero Roberto Quintero. The rest of the musicians on the recording live and work in the Baltimore-Washington area. Afro Bop Alliance bandleader Joe McCarthy lives in Annapolis and holds the rank of Chief Petty Officer as a musician in the United States Naval Academy Band. He is the principal percussionist of the U.S. Naval Academy Concert Band and the drummer in the jazz ensemble.

McCarthy founded Afro Bop Alliance in 2002, combining the harmonic language of jazz and the rhythmic language of many different Afro Cuban rhythms. The group is infused with the talent and experience of many military band career musicians and others. About the musicianship of his colleagues he says: "The level is second to none. They are serious and reliable. Had I not been in the Navy Band, I may not have met most of these world-class musicians."

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The Essence Music Festival slated for July 3-5 at the New Orleans Superdome, will include events marking the festival's 15th anniversary and President Barack Obama's inauguration. Headliners for the festival — billed as one of the nation's largest annual events celebrating black music and culture — will include Maxwell, Anita Baker, Al Green, John Legend, Robin Thicke, Salt-N-Pepa, Ne-Yo and En Vogue will join previously announced headliner Beyonce. Rounding out the bill are Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Teena Marie, Eric Benet, Jazmine Sullivan, Janelle Monae, Raphael Saadiq, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Zap Mama, The Knux, Irvin Mayfield, Lalah Hathaway, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ledisi, Marva Wright, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Brand New Heavies, Dan Dyer, DJ Soul Sister, Keri Hilson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave. The Essence Festival is also known for its empowerment seminars, which are free and open to ticket-holders on a first-come, first-served basis. Among the personalities participating in these events are Bill Cosby, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Donna Brazile, Tom Joyner, Hill Harper and Donnie McClurkin.

The format for this year's festival will be the same as in years past: Ticketed musical performances are slated at night and free empowerment seminars will be held during the day. The festival began in 1995 as a one-time celebration of the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine. Over the years, it has hosted performances by Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, the Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, the O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton and Patti LaBelle, among others.

In honor of Essence's 15th anniversary, the festival is offering a 15 percent discount on select tickets through Friday. General admission tickets range from $51 to nearly $175.An estimated 200,000 people attended the festival in 2007, the year it returned to New Orleans after being held in Houston in 2006 because the city was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The festival had one of its biggest turnouts last year with more than 270,000 attendees.



Simply Red are about to embark on a huge worldwide tour starting on February 1st in Thailand. All the dates to the end of July have now been announced and gone on sale – see below for a list of confirmed concert dates thus far. The tour is expected to continue until the summer of 2010.

Impact Arena, Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 1
Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, Australia, Feb 4
Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, Australia, Feb 5
Peter Lehmann’s Winery, Barossa Valley, Australia, Feb 7
Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley, Australia, Feb 8
Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia, Feb 10
Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia, Feb 11
Bowl of Brooklands, Taranki, New Zealand, Feb 13
Church Road Vineyard, Napier, New Zealand, Feb 14
Villa Maria Estate, Auckland, New Zealand, Feb 15
Royal Theatre, Canberra, Australia, Feb 17
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, Feb 18
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, Feb 19
Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley, Australia, Feb 21
Sirromet Valley, Mount Cotton, Brisbane, Australia, Feb 22
Vina del mar Festival, Dina de Mar, Chile, Feb 26
Casino, Vina del Mar, Chile, Feb 28
Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mar 3
Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mar 4
Citibank Hall, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mar 6
Telmex Theatre, Guadalajara, Mexico, Mar 9
National Auditorium, Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 11
Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA, Mar 13
Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY, Mar 15
Braehead Arena, Glasgow, UK, Mar 24
Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, UK, Mar 26
Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, UK, Mar 27
LG Arena (NEC), Birmingham, UK, Mar 28
Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth, UK, Mar 30
Brighton Centre, Brighton, UK, Mar 31
The O2 Arena, London, UK, Apr 2-3
M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, UK, Apr 5
The Clyde Auditorium,, Glasgow, UK, Apr 6
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, UK, Apr 7
Trent FM Arena, Nottingham, UK, Apr 9
Sprotspaleis, Antwerp, Belgium, Apr 18
Rockhal, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, Apr 19
Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Apr 21
Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Apr 22
Forum, Horsens, Denmark, Apr 24
Annex, Stockholm, Sweden, Apr 26
Hartwall, Helsinki, Finland, Apr 28
Kremlin Palace, Moscow, Russia, Apr 30
Torwar, Warsaw, Poland, May 3
Leipzig Arena, Leipzig, Germany, May 5
Arena Nurnberger Versicherungen, Nurnberg, Germany, May 6
Mannheim SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany, May 7
Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany, May 9
Hamburg Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany, May 11
Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany, May 12
Frankfurt Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany, May 13
Halenstadion, Zurich, Switzerland, May 15
Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, Italy, May 16-17
Palasport, Conegliano Veneto, Italy, May 19
Stadhalle Vienna, Vienna, Austria, May 21
Stadhalle Graz, Graz, Austria, May 22
O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic, May 24
02 World Arena, Berlin, Germany, May 25
Olympia, Paris, France, May 27-28
Olympiahaile, Munich, Germany, May 30
Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, UK, June 21
Heroes’ Square, Budapest, Hungary, June 27
Vaerket Outdoors, Randers, Denmark, July 1
Westerpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 3
Foret National, Brussels, Belgium, July 4
Markplatz, Lingen, Germany, July 5
Parkuhne, Hannover, Germany, July 7
Amphitheater, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, July 18
Muensterplatz, Ulm, Germany, July 19


EMI Music’s vinyl campaign continues with Ben Harper’s complete Virgin Records catalog. On, February 24, EMI Music continues its successful high-quality vinyl campaign with the release of Ben Harper's entire Virgin Records catalog in limited edition, 180-gram vinyl packaging. Nine Ben Harper albums, all previously out-of-print on vinyl, have been restored to the format with Harper's supervision. The LPs will be released in deluxe packaging with carefully replicated artwork, and two live EPs will make their vinyl release debuts. A bonus colored vinyl 7" is included for Welcome To The Cruel World (Anniversary Edition), and an original poster has been reproduced for inclusion with Both Sides Of The Gun.

EMI Music launched its popular "From The Capitol Vaults" series in September 2008 with 13 classic titles, all previously out-of-print on vinyl. Included in the campaign's debut were A Perfect Circle's Mer de Noms, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Coldplay's Parachutes, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, and X&Y, Radiohead's Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A (two 10" 140-gram LPs), Amnesiac (two 10" 140-gram LPs), and Hail To The Thief, R.E.M.'s Document, and Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 1974-78.

The series continued with John Lennon's Imagine and Rock 'N' Roll, The Band's Music From Big Pink and The Band, The Beach Boys' Endless Summer, Paul McCartney & Wings' Band On The Run, Megadeth's Peace Sells and Rust In Peace, Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, Roxy Music's For Your Pleasure and Roxy Music, Stray Cats' Built For Speed, The Verve's Urban Hymns, and Jimi Hendrix's Band Of Gypsys on fiery red 180-gram vinyl.

For more information click to:

Ben Harper vinyl LP & EP titles:

Welcome To The Cruel World (Anniversary Edition)
1 LP + bonus colored vinyl 7" (7" tracks: "Remember" / "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again")
Gatefold packaging, paper sleeve with inner clear lining, printed labels

Both Sides Of The Gun
2 LPs, gatefold packaging, paper sleeves, printed labels, poster

Burn To Shine
2 LPs, gatefold packaging, paper sleeves, printed labels

Diamonds On The Inside
2 LPs, gatefold packaging, paper sleeves, printed lyrics

Fight For Your Mind
2 LPs, gatefold packaging, paper sleeve with inner clear lining, printed labels

Life Line
1 LP, gatefold packaging, paper sleeves, printed labels

Live From Mars
4 LPs, special packaging, paper sleeves, printed labels

There Will Be Light
1 LP, gatefold packaging, printed sleeves, printed lyrics

Will To Live
1 LP, gatefold packaging, paper sleeve with inner clear lining, printed labels

Will To Live (Live EP)
Side A Side B
1. The Will To Live 1. I Shall Not Walk Alone
2. Faded 2. Voodoo Chile
3. Forever

Alone (Live EP)
Side A Side B
1. Alone 1. Steal My Kisses
2. Burn To Shine 2. Nobody's Fault But Mine
3. The Woman In You 3. Please Bleed

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Emerging from the club scenes of Tokyo, London, and Paris, SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS, the groundbreaking sensation of last summer's Montreux Jazz Festival, are set to invade the U.S. in 2009 with their newest album on KOCH Records, "Planet Pimp." This is a band that accepts no taboos and acknowledges no barriers in their mission to rid jazz of its tired old clichés, and re-energize the values that made it the original popular music of a time gone by. The attitude is ferocious and full of humor; the music charges ahead with abandon: rhythmic, danceable, driven by powerhouse grooves, kinetic piano, and bold horns. They're considered a pop group in their native Japan, where they play before thousands and receive maximum airplay for their videos. In the UK and Continental Europe, they've established themselves at the head of a new wave of club jazz that's packing in young audiences who may not even identify with an older generation, but respond to the sheer enthusiasm and gutsy euphoria of the band's gigs and records. SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS are now ready to begin their friendly takeover of the United States' alternative, club, fusion, and contemporary jazz scenes.

1. I.N.T.R.O.
2. Hollow
4. Fantastic Planet
6. Darkside
7. Sea Of Tranquility
8. The world is filled by...
9. Khamasin
10. Struggle
11. Mingus Fan Club
12. Mars
13. SATSURIKU Rejects
14. Sorrow

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, pop and R&B musician Brian McKnight has partnered with the ABC Radio Networks to host "The Brian McKnight Show." Originating from its flagship WRKS-FM/New York, the program will air weekdays from 7-midnight ET starting on January 26, 2009. The show will include interviews with entertainers from the worlds of music and film, discussions on love and relationships and McKnight's selection of ballads from today's top musicians. Prior to this, Brian hosted a radio show, The Brian McKnight Morning Show with Pat Prescott on KTWV The Wave in Los Angeles, CA. The show was also simulcasted on KHJZ-FM, Smooth Jazz 95.7 The Wave in Houston, TX from 6am-9am CST, but this station has since changed its format.

"Brian is a phenomenal music personality who has quickly established himself as a broadcaster with a knack for touching his audience in a deeply personal way," said VP/Urban Programming Ed Pearson. "Adding this new show to our Urban portfolio is a win for us and R&B music fans across the country. The live studio performances will be a hit on the air and online and there's no question they will create traffic and become a destination point for both consumers and advertisers." "The opportunity to have an intimate visit each night with an audience looking for some good Soul and R&B plus a bit of conversation is going to be a thrill for me," added McKnight. "I'll be able to connect with our listeners on the air, on the phone and in our live Web chat room during the show. It's going to be a fun ride and I can't wait to get started." (01-26-09)


There is "cool" and then there is Dino, the King of Cool. Now, just in time for Valentine's Day, Dean Martin - Love Songs (Hip-O/UMe), released January 13, 2009, brings together 14 of his most heartwarming performances, from his best known signature tune, "Everybody Loves Somebody," to his forever hopeful "Somewhere There's A Someone." A handful of these recordings have rarely been available on CD, and now they're in one place.

As the man who once knocked the Beatles out of the No. 1 spot on the charts, Dino has remained an icon and a timeless singer whose vocal style has defined smooth, suave and seductive, while being rediscovered by new generations. Coincidentally, a pair of Martin's albums was recently on the Top 40 charts. The George Clooney-Brad Pitt Ocean's Eleven series of hit movies, a continuing fascination with the Rat Pack, Comedy Central's reruns of Martin's classic "Celebrity Roast" specials, and lounge music revivals have helped fuel a never-ending interest in one of the most popular entertainers in history.

Martin's music career boasted more than 30 albums, 12 of them certified gold. He originally signed to Capitol Records, where he scored several major hits. He moved to Reprise, the imprint formed by pal Frank Sinatra, in its inaugural year and he stayed for 16 years. At that label, he enjoyed 11 Top 40 singles, including Love Songs' gold-seller and #1 smash "Everybody Loves Somebody," "I Will" (#10) and "Somewhere There's A Someone" (#32).

On Love Songs, Martin's unique combination of carefree charm and late night intimacy infuses such classics as "Besame Mucho," "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)," "I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)," "I'll Be Seeing You," "You'll Always Be The One I Love" and "Release Me." Also on board are vintage gems "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" (from the album spun off from the enormously successful "The Dean Martin TV Show") and "The Glory Of Love" from the soundtrack to the film The Silencers, one of the spy spoofs that starred Martin as Matt Helm. Rounding the album out are the pop hits "For Once In My Life," "For The Good Times" and "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)" on Dean Martin - Love Songs.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Just off of his annual "A SOULFUL CHRISTMAS" tour, Brian Culbertson is preparing to hit the road with Barry Manilow. Culbertson is thrilled to be sharing the stage again with Barry Manilow. Culbertson stated, "I had the chance to open for Barry on a number of dates last year and had a blast! He has the best fans and I can't wait to share my music with them again."
Culbertson will be wowing audiences with his signature high-energy show as he opens for Manilow's hit concert, "ULTIMATE MANILOW: The Hits.and then some" in various cities throughout the U.S.

Tour stops include:
February 4 - Manchester, NH @ Verizon Wireless Arena
February 5 - Wilkes-Barre, PA @ Wachovia Arena
February 11 - Providence, RI @ Dunkin Donuts Center
February 14 - Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
*Benefit for STAND UP FOR A CURE
March 14 - Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena
March 15 - Everett, WA @ Comcast Arena
*Benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Manilow, who will be performing the exclusive rendition of his hit Las Vegas Hilton show, ranks as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time with more than 75 million records sold worldwide. His career includes 25 consecutive Top 40 hits such as Even Now, This One's for You, Weekend in New England, I Write the Songs, Tryin' to Get the Feeling Againand Copacabana (At the Copa). In 1978, five of Manilow's albums were on the charts simultaneously - a record rivaled only by Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis.

Billboard Magazine recently stated: "Among the few things one can count on in life: the taste of McDonald's cheeseburgers, 'I Love Lucy' reruns are still funny-and Barry Manilow never wearing out his welcome at the top of the charts." The pop icon has written hundreds of songs and performed around the globe thrilling millions of fans, winning a Grammy, two Emmys, several Tony Awards and an Oscar nomination along the way.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Bettye LaVette pulled out all the stops and put on a staggering performance of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" in a duet with Jon Bon Jovi on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This marks the second time in the past two months she has been in the capitol making an indelible impression with the powers that be and distinctly shined through it all. The first was at the Kennedy Center Honors when she slayed the crowd with her own very unique version of the Who's "Love Reign O'er Me."

"'Music has always been the creative heartbeat of the American experience,'" Denzel Washington said at the Lincoln Memorial during Sunday's opening ceremony, noted The Philadelphia Inquirer. "That truism was brought vividly to life this week. Bettye LaVette turned in a soul-searing performance at the memorial of Sam Cooke's civil-rights-era classic 'A Change Is Gonna Come.'"

Of singing for Obama, Bettye said in Tina Brown's Daily Beast: "In the middle of the song I turned and looked and Obama was on the stage, the whole group of them, and my eyes were just fixed on him for a moment. I was singing the line 'I always believed that a change would come,' and just as I turned, our eyes locked and he was mouthing the words along."

Bettye recounted her other most meaningful moments of the day in the Detroit Free Press, where Bettye proclaimed: "Do you know I just hugged, kissed and sung for the president of the United States? For the second time in six weeks?" And in another section of the paper, she revealed: "I got a chance to talk to them. He (Obama) held me and he said, 'I appreciated you singing for me so much and I really loved the song.'"

Meanwhile, Jon Bon Jovi was on Oprah yesterday (1/21) showing photos he had taken during all the inaugural festivities. While Oprah was holding a photo of Bettye and Jon, he exclaimed, "That's Bettye LaVette who sang with me 'A Change is Gonna Come.' Talk about a lady who's lived the lyric of a song -- looking into her eyes was almost as magical as looking out at the 400,000 people I was singing to. It was pretty special."

Elsewhere, Daily Variety declared: "Bettye LaVette, who took D.C. by storm last month at the Kennedy Center Honors, was partnered with Jon Bon Jovi on Sam Cook's 'A Change Is Gonna Come.' She invested it with anguish, while he approached it from a perspective of reasoned logic, giving the perf considerable gravitas"; while The Baltimore Sun remarked: "The under-rated blues-soul great Bettye LaVette -- whose wrenching, scarred approach to everything she sings -- was... paired with Jon Bon Jovi for Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come."

Utne Reader had the best headline of the event: "Bettye LaVette and the Soul of Barack Obama." The item went on to predict, "I think her performance might be the Barackathon's emotional showstopper." And even the sports world took notice. Former NFL running back for the San Francisco 49ers confessed to the San Francisco Chronicle: "Oh... when Bon Jovi and Bettye LaVette sang Sam Cooke's stirring civil-rights song, 'A Change Is Gonna Come,' on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday? I cried like a baby."

According to Newsday: "The great Bettye LaVette brings the first amazing moment of 'We Are One' as she fills 'A Change Is Gonna Come' with fire, dueting with Jon Bon Jovi. They even rewrite the final chorus to say 'Change has come.'"

"It was truly the most wonderful experience and highlight of my life," Bettye whispered with all the sincerity and humility in her soul.

You can see and hear her duet with Jon Bon Jovi from Barack Obama's Inaugural Event at the Lincoln Memorial here:

Additionally, NPR's "Fresh Air" is going to re-air and update their interview with Bettye for today's broadcast (1/23).

For more info click to:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Well here we go once again. Over the past two years we have lost so many smooth jazz formatted radio stations that I seem to have lost count. At this point, I would guess it’s about at least 12 stations thus far. So far, smooth jazz has disappeared off the FM airwaves in New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Miami, and Philadelphia, to name a few. Now comes word that Smooth Jazz 107.5 (WJZZ-FM) in Atlanta has cut its local staff, according to Radio & Records’ industry blog. The Radio One station has reportedly fired Programming Director Dave Kosh and on-air talent Greg Fitzgerald. Station representatives would not confirm whether 107.5 will switch to a new format. According to Bob Baldwin, a local jazz artist who had hosted a “new urban jazz” show on Saturday nights on the station “It’s a nationwide epidemic.” “The whole East Coast,” Baldwin said, “smooth jazz has become a dying art.”

Locally, ratings for Smooth Jazz, which blends contemporary jazz with R&B, have slipped the past two years. In the most recent monthly numbers provided by Arbitron for December, the station was ranked 19th among 25- to 54-year-olds and 16th place overall. The only jazz station left in the Atlanta market is Jazz 91.9 WCLK- FM, which is supported by Clark Atlanta University. Tim Davies, Atlanta vice president and market manager, would not comment on staff changes going on at the station. When asked if there would be a format change in the future for WJZZ he said, “We are going to continue with smooth jazz format for a predetermined amount of time and then we will let folks know about our programming changes if they happen.” The station had been playing smooth jazz for the last seven years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Charles Aznavour has long been one of the world's top entertainment legends, with decades of music and film success and global album sales totalling more than 100 million. On February 10, Capitol/EMI will digitally release Charles Aznavour: Duos, a new 28-track collection of mostly previously unreleased collaborative recordings, via all major digital music providers. Duos' U.S. digital release follows its December release on CD.

Duos is a collection of many of Aznavour's greatest vocal collaborations with top stars of the French and international stage, including Paul Anka, Celine Dion, Placido Domingo, Bryan Ferry, Josh Groban, Herbert Groenemeyer, Johnny Hallyday, Julio Iglesias, Elton John, Carole King, Liza Minnelli, Nana Mouskouri, Laura Pausini, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra and Sting. All of the tracks, with the exception of "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" with Dean Martin (previously released on Dean Martin: Forever Cool), make their commercial release debuts on Duos.

Charles Aznavour will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at MIDEM on January 19 in recognition of his outstanding career. The 43rd edition of MIDEM, the international music market, takes place in Cannes from January 18 to 21.

"Charles Aznavour is, without doubt, the most famous French singer throughout the world, and he is a living legend in the pantheon of chanson francaise," said Paul Zilk, Chief Executive Officer of Reed MIDEM. "His songs have become standards covered by some of the greatest artists of successive generations, and the films in which he has starred are classics. It is a pleasure for MIDEM to be able to honour this incomparable personality." Aznavour will travel to New York City in April for four concerts at City Center (April 29 to May 2).

Charles Aznavour has written more than 800 songs, many of which have been interpreted by the world's greatest artists (Fred Astaire, Shirley Bassey, Ray Charles, Elvis Costello, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Junior, Juliette Greco, Liza Minnelli, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone, to name but a few). He has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and his career as an actor, which he began in the theatre at the age of nine, includes more than 60 films, including "The Tin Drum," winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1979 Festival de Cannes. Last October, a musical comedy based on Aznavour's songs, entitled "Je m'Voyais Deja" ("I Could Already See Myself"), opened in Paris.

At 84, the lyricist and/or composer of such classics as "La Boheme," "Je m'Voyais Deja," "Hier encore" and "La Mamma" continues to write new songs and to appear on some of the most prestigious international stages. Charles Aznavour is a dazzling symbol of universal artistic talent coupled with unbounded energy. His latest studio album, Colore ma Vie, was released in 2007 by EMI.

CHARLES AZNAVOUR: Duos (digital album)
1. TOI ET MOI (Charles Aznavour / Celine Dion)
2. QUE C'EST TRISTE VENISE (Charles Aznavour / Julio Iglesias)
3. LES BATEAUX SONT PARTIS (Charles Aznavour / Placido Domingo)
4. PARIS AU MOIS D'AOUT (Charles Aznavour / Laura Pausini)
5. HIER ENCORE (Charles Aznavour / Elton John)
6. IL FAUT SAVOIR (Charles Aznavour / Johnny Hallyday)
7. MOURIR D'AIMER (Charles Aznavour / Nana Mouskouri)
8. L'AMOUR C'EST COMME UN JOUR (Charles Aznavour / Sting)
9. LA BOHEME (Charles Aznavour / Josh Groban)
10. TON NOM (Charles Aznavour / Carole King)
11. JE N'AI PAS VU LE TEMPS PASSER (Charles Aznavour / Paul Anka)
12. MES EMMERDES (Charles Aznavour / Herbert Groenemeyer)
13. C'EST UN GARS (Charles Aznavour / Edith Piaf)
14. YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS YOUNG (Charles Aznavour / Elton John)
15. QUIET LOVE (Charles Aznavour / Liza Minnelli)
16. LOVE IS NEW EVERYDAY (Charles Aznavour / Sting)
17. YOUNG AT HEART (Charles Aznavour / Frank Sinatra)
18. TO DIE OF LOVE (Charles Aznavour / Nana Mouskouri)
19. SHE (Charles Aznavour / Bryan Ferry)
20. I DIDN'T SEE THE TIME GO BY (Charles Aznavour / Paul Anka)
21. YOU AND ME (Charles Aznavour / Celine Dion)
22. LA BOHEME (Charles Aznavour / Josh Groban)
23. EL BARCO YA SE FUE (Charles Aznavour / Placido Domingo) [Spanish]
24. THE SOUND OF YOUR NAME (Charles Aznavour / Carole King)
25. YOU'VE GOT TO LEARN (Charles Aznavour / Johnny Hallyday)
26. PARIGI IN AGOSTO (Charles Aznavour / Laura Pausini) [Italian]
27. ALS ES MIR BESCHISSEN GING (Charles Aznavour / Herbert Groenemeyer) [German]
28. EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME (Charles Aznavour / Dean Martin)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The legendary Motown Records celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a series of promotions and releases from Berry Gordy's groundbreaking company and Universal Music Enterprises, including a series of online podcasts featuring rare and intimate conversations with the label's legends, producers, songwriters and singers, which started on Monday, Jan. 12 at The podcasts are also available on iTunes. The year-long series of episodes gets underway with an interview featuring Smokey Robinson reflecting on Motown's early days, his relationship with Gordy and the impact the label has had on American culture.

Fresh episodes will debut bi-weekly, including those with founder Berry Gordy; Nick Cannon; the late Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops; The New York Times columnist Frank Rich; Smokey Robinson detailing the genesis of "Shop Around," the label's first million-seller; the Temptations' Otis Williams and the late Melvin Franklin; Stevie Wonder; Levi Stubbs and Lamont Dozier (of H-D-H fame) discussing "Reach Out I'll Be There"; KCRW's Garth Trinidad; Diana Ross; songwriters Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod on the creation of Ross's hit "Love Hangover"; hip-hop pioneer and Universal Motown artist Q-Tip; Smokey Robinson and more of the Miracles; and songwriter/producer Dozier. Upcoming segments will feature Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, the Commodores, film director Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill), and songwriter Diane Warren, among others.

These exclusive podcasts are just part of a year-long celebration of Motown's 50th and its lasting legacy, which included the Dec. 9 release of Motown: The Complete No. 1's, a 10-CD box set in the shape of the label's famed "Hitsville U.S.A." birthplace in Detroit, featuring more than 200 classic songs from 50 Motown artists that topped charts around the world, plus a 100-page photo booklet with rare images and an introduction by Smokey Robinson. In addition, NOW That's What I Call Motown!, the latest compilation in the hugely successful NOW That's What I Call Music! Series--featuring 25 of the label's most beloved, timeless classic pop and R&B tracks--was released on CD and digitally January 13, as a joint venture from EMI Music, the Universal Music Group and its Motown Records division, and Sony Music Entertainment.

Below is the link to iTunes, as well as a complete list of the first 15 "Motown 50" podcasts:

1. Smokey Robinson: Motown Reflections (1/12): The legendary artist/songwriter reflects on the label's early days, his mentor Berry Gordy and the impact Motown continues to have worldwide.
2. Berry Gordy: A Tour of Hitsville U.S.A., May 1963 (1/27): In this rare interview, the Motown founder and a Detroit radio host walk through Hitsville on the cusp of the company's runaway success.
3. Nick Cannon: Impressions of Motown (2/10): The actor/musician/producer and husband of Mariah Carey shares his earliest impressions of Motown.
4. Levi Stubbs: The Four Tops (2/24): The late lead singer, in a rare interview from the Motown Archives, talks about what made the group tick.
5. Frank Rich: The Nation's Capitol, The Motortown Review and President Obama (3/10): The New York Times' political columnist links Motown to the upheaval of the '60s through personal recollections of the Motortown Review in his native Washington, D.C., while adding perspective on the election of President Barack Obama.
6. Smokey Robinson, The Anatomy of a Hit: "Shop Around" (3/24): The singer/songwriter and Motown veteran tells the amazing story about the label's--and his group the Miracles'--first million-selling single.
7. The Temptations (4/14): Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and fellow Tempts discuss their beginnings and illustrious musical career in a rare archival interview from the '80s.
8. Stevie Wonder (4/28): In another rare archival interview, the superstar talks of his early days at Motown and the evolution of his music through the brilliant, then-new album Talking Book.
9. Levi Stubbs, Lamont Dozier and Paul Riser, The Anatomy of a Hit: "Reach Out I'll Be There" (5/12): The threesome break down one of Motown's biggest hits, a world-wide smash for the Four Tops.
10. Listening with Garth Trinidad (5/26): The KCRW tastemaker and renowned DJ gets put to the test listening to a batch of Motown songs, unlike any he has heard.
11. Diana Ross (6/09): In a rare '70s interview, Motown's No. 1 diva tells her story in her own words.
12. Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod, The Anatomy of a Hit: "Love Hangover" Part 1 (6/23): The songwriters of Diana Ross' #1 dance smash discuss the birth of the tune, including rare session elements.
13. Q-Tip, The Anatomy of a Hit: "Love Hangover" Part 2 (7/7): The hip-hop pioneer and Universal Motown artist breaks down one of his favorite Motown songs, with more previously unheard elements from the master tapes.
14. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (7/21): Smokey, Ronnie White and fellow members of the band discuss their long career and amazing body of work.
15. Lamont Dozier (8/4): The songwriter and producer, part of the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland team, reflects on the songs and artists that made Motown one of the greatest musical forces of the 20th century - and beyond.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Mindi Abair @ All Star Smooth Jazz, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Miami, FL, Jan 31-Feb 6
Simply Red @ Impact Arena, Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 1
John Scofield @ Salem State College, Salem, MA, Feb 2-3
Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, Brian Blade @ Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 2-8
Michael Franks @ Billboard Live, Osaka, Japan, Feb 3
John Scofield @ Zankel Hall, New York, NY, Feb 4
Michael Franks @ Billboard Live, Osaka, Japan, Feb 4
Brian Culbertson @ Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH, Feb 4
Simply Red @ Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, Australia, Feb 4-5
Brian Culbertson @ Wachovia Arena, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Feb 5
B. B. King @ Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL, Feb 5
Frankie Valli @ Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, Feb 5
Michael Franks @ Billboard Live, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 6
B. B. King @ UCF Arena, Orlando, FL, Feb 6
Doc Sevrensen @ California Center For The Arts, Escondido, CA, Feb 6
Charlie Hunter @ Café du Nord, San Francisco, CA, Feb 6
Frankie Valli @ Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL, Feb 6-7
Michael Franks @ Billboard Live, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 7
B. B. King @ Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL, Feb 7
Charlie Hunter @ Freight & Savage, Berkeley, CA, Feb 7
Simply Red @ Peter Lehmann’s Winery, Barossa Valley, Australia, Feb 7
Dave Koz @ Pechanga Showroom, Temecula, CA, Feb 7
Simply Red @ Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley, Australia, Feb 8
Michael Franks @ Billboard Live, Fukuoka, Japan, Feb 9
Simply Red @ Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia, Feb 10
B. B. King @ Shoreline Ballroom, Hilton Head Island, SC, Feb 10
Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle @ @ Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 10-15
Simply Red @ Palais Theater, Melbourne, Australia, Feb 11
Brian Culbertson @ Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI, Feb 11
Dr. John @ Overture Center, Madison, WI, Feb 11
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons @ Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, FL, Feb 11-12
Dr. John @ Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis, MO, Feb 12
B. B. King @ Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN, Feb 12
Mindi Abair @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA, Feb 12-15
Dr. John @ Englert Civic Theatre, Iowa City, IA, Feb 13
Dennis Coffey @ Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Detroit, MI, Feb 13
Chris Bott @ Boettcher Cpncert Hall, Denver, CO, Feb 13
Simply Red @ Bowl of Brooklands, Taranki, New Zealand, Feb 13
John Legend @ Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Palm Springs, CA, Feb 13
Bobby Caldwell @ Scullers, Boston, MA, Feb 13-14
Chris Botti @ Northern Quest Casino, Spokane, WA, Feb 14
Dr. John @ Soaring Eagle Casino, Mount Pleasant, MI, Feb 14
B. B. King @ Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO, Feb 14
Simply Red @ Church Road Vineyard, Napier, New Zealand, Feb 14
Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr @ Spotlight Casino, Coachella, Ca, Feb 14
Brian Culbertson @ Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, Feb 14
Freddie Jackson @ B. B. King’s Blues Club, New York, NY, Feb 14
Labelle @ The Civic Center, Atlanta, GA, Feb 14
Chris Botti @ Vilar Center For The Arts, Beaver Creek, CO, Feb 15
Simply Red @ Villa Maria Estate, Auckland, New Zealand, Feb 15
Susan Tedeschi @ Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA, Feb 15
Labelle @ Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL, Feb 15
B. B. King @ Louisville Palace Theatre, Louisville, KY, Feb 15
Teena Marie @ Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Los Angeles, CA, Feb 15
McCoy Tyner @ Portland Jazz Festival, Portland, OR, Feb 15
The Stylistics, The Delfonics, The Manhattans, The Chi-Lites, The Main Ingredient ft. Cuba Gooding Sr. @ The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, Feb 15
B. B. King @ Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI, Feb 16
Labelle @ The Civic Center, Atlanta, GA, Feb 16
Simply Red @ Royal Theatre, Canberra, Australia, Feb 17
Al Jarreau @ The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA, Feb 17
Angie Stone @ B. B. King’s Blues Club, New York, NY, Feb 17
Rachael Yamagata, Kevin Devine @ Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 16-17
Simply Red @ Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, Feb 18
B. B. King @ Providence PAC, Providence, RI, Feb 18
Bobby Caldwell @ Birdland, New York, NY, Feb 18-21
Hank Jones @ Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 18-24
Dr. John @ American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA, Feb 19
Simply Red @ Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, Feb 19
Branford Marsalis @ Myerson Symphony Center, Dallas, TX, Feb 19-22
Tony Bennett @ Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, Feb 20
B. B. King @ Dar Constitution Hall, Washington, DC, Feb 20
Chicago @ Agua Caliente Casino & Resort, Rancho Mirage, CA, Feb 20
John Scofield @ Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI, Feb 20
Thievery Corporation @ Riviera theatre, Chicago, IL, Feb 20
Simply Red @ Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley, Australia, Feb 21
Tony Bennett @ Chevrolet Theatre, Wallingford, CT, Feb 21
B. B. King @ Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, Feb 21
Dr. John @ House of Blues, Atlantic City, NY, Feb 21
Mindi Abair @ Wine and Jazz Festival Laishley Park, Punta Gorda, FL, Feb 21
Thievery Corporation @ Kool Haus, Toronto, Ontario, Feb 21
B. B. King @ The House of Blues, Boston, MA, Feb 22
Thievery Corporation @ Metropolis, Montreal, Quebec, Feb 22
Simply Red @ Sirromet Valley, Mount Cotton, Brisbane, Australia, Feb 22
Thievery Corporation @ House of Blues, Boston, MA, Feb 24
B. B. King @ Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ, Feb 24
Dr. John @ NC Blumenthal PAC, Charlotte, NC, Feb 25
Thievery Corporation @ Terminal 5, New York, NY, Feb 25-26
Bob James, Masato Honda @ Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 25-28
Simply Red @ Vina del mar Festival, Dina de Mar, Chile, Feb 26
Branford Marsalis @ University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, Feb 27
Thievery Corporation @ Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD, Feb 27
Van Morrison @ Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, Feb 27-28
Simply Red @ Casino, Vina del Mar, Chile, Feb 28
John Legend @ KB Halle, Copehagen, Feb 28
Lalo Shifrin Trio @ Birch North Park Theatre, San Diego, CA, Feb 28Thievery Corporation @ Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, Feb 28


HBO will broadcast an inaugural celebration live on Sunday, January 18 at 2:30PM ET, with an encore play at 7PM ET. The event will be broadcast live for free and it will also be available at the same time The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial “WE ARE ONE” with President-Elect Barack Obama will feature a number of prominent performers. Guest include Jack Black, Steve Carell, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah, Laura Linney, Denzel Washington and more. Special performances include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, Betty Lavette, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, U2, Usher, Will.I.Am, and Stevie Wonder.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Beat Konducta (Madlib) – Beat Konducta Vol 5 – Dil Cosby Suite (Stones Throw)
Binario – Binario (Far Out)
Boney James – Stop, Look, Listen (Concord)
Bonnie Bramlett – Piece Of My Heart: The Best of Bonnie Bramlett 1969 to 1978 (Columbia)
Bossa Do Morro (Man/Universal)
Brighter Days – Brighter Days (Comet)
Burt Bacharach – Live At The Sydney Opera House (Verve)
Cal Tjader – Soulful Vibes: Jazz Club (Verve)
Cecil Ramirez – Talk To The Hand (
Chris Botti – Live In Boston
Club Jazz A La Mode 3 (Rambling)
DJ Kawasaki & Others – Most Wanted Works International Edition (Extra Freedom)
Dave Grusin – Music From The Television Series ‘The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.’ (Varese Vintage)
Dining Rooms – Other Ink (Schema)
Dutch Rare Grooves 2: 18 Classic Soul, Jazz & Funk Tracks From Holland (Sonic Scenery)
Erik Rick – Double Feature: Journey Back To Me/Higher Frequency (Lifenotes)
Fabio Nobile – AlwaysLove (Déjà vu)
Foreign Exchange – Leave It All Behind (HBD)
Freddie Cruger – Just Chillin’ In The Spot (Home Grown)
Freddie Hubbard – Love Connection (Columbia)
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Wake Up Everybody (expanded version) (Philadelphia Int’ll)
Harry Connick Jr. – What A Night! Christmas Album (Columbia)
Incognito – More Tales Remixed (Dome)
JWB (The James Ward Band) – In Perspective (ASR Records)
Jazz Supreme Spiritual Waltz-A-Nova (P-Vine)
Jazzanova – Of All The Things (Verve)
Joe Locascio – Ghosts (Blue Bamboo Music)
Ledisi – It’s Christmas (Verve)
Ken Vandermark – Collected Fiction (Okka Disk)
Mavis Staples – Mavis Staples Live: Hope At The Hideout (Anti)
Melo – Off My Chest (Raw Fusion)
Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By walking (Dunham/Daptone_
Movements Vol. 2: 15 Deep Funk Pearls Compiled By Tobias Kirmayer (Perfect Toy)
New Mastersounds – Live In San Francisco (P-Vine)
Perceptions – Introducing The Perceptions (Freestyle)
Peter Hadar – Well Dressed For The Art Show (Cool Weirdos)
Peven Everett – Dear Europe (Studio Confessions)
Quasimode – Sounds Of Peace (Geneon)
Rahsaan Patterson – Ultimate Gift (Artistry)
Romina Johnson – Soul River (J&J)
Ronnie McNeir – Ronnie Mac & Company (Jupiter Island)
Rurals – Farming Grooves (Peng)
Serge Gainsbourg – Je T’aime Moi Non Plus Original Soundtrack LP (Phillips)
Souljazz Orchestra – Manifesto (Do Right)
Tom Jones - 24
Tortured Soul – In Transit EP (Purpose)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Jazz artist Liza Lee's new CD, Anima, is due to be released January 27, 2009, on the Jazz Doll Records label. It is an extremely personal CD. In 2006 her promising jazz career as a recording artist, performer and composer was taking off with the breakout critically acclaimed release of her first CD Scarlet Mark, when 29-year-old Liza suffered a stroke. Now, having made a full comeback, Liza (pronounced the same as the famous Minnelli) is back with a new CD reflective of her life altering experience. With a new understanding of the inequities in women's health care by personal experience, Liza has chosen to donate the proceeds from Anima to The Society For Women's Health Research (SWHR), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy).

Liza has chosen for Anima a collection of songs that are fresh, unpredictable and innovative. Most of the songs were composed or co-composed by women including Joni Mitchell's "Blue," "A Thousand Kisses Deep" by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, and Kate Bush's "Wow." Liza is particularly haunting on "Silver Dagger" a song about confounding expectations. She also presents a unique and memorable interpretation of the Peggy Lee hit "Is That All There Is?" Her supporting cast includes such notables as pianists Bruce Barth, Michael Kanan, David Cook and Art Hirahara, bassist Pat O'Leary, drummers Michael Petrosino and Eric Halvorson, the reeds of Scott Robinson, Jim Clouse and Adam Kolker, and guitarist Kelsey Warren. Singer Shayna Steele duets with Liza on "Calling You."

Anima also includes some of Liza's highly praised yet controversial original compositions. She co-wrote "Revolving Mattress" with New York writer, arranger, producer and pianist David Cook and penned "Sorry Child" and "Lay We Down" with bassist and composer Pat O'Leary. Liza's rendering of lyrics has been described as moving. "Liza has something unique going on. Musically her palette runs to the all the colours of the rainbow and her lyrics could - and should - be published in a volume of verse just as they are," says UK artist and pop phenomenon Ariel.

Liza explains, "I want you to feel these stories. Some are joyful, some are painful and some straddle the lines as our lives do. Anima is interpreted from inside of my feminine voice filtered through these talented men playing their instruments." The title of the CD, Anima, was inspired by her three and a half year struggle through the medical system with her various health issues. It comes from the concept of the Anima and Animus by Carl Jung. Anima is an emotional journey.

"The idea for Anima began to germinate about two years ago," says Liza. "I picked up Carl Gustav Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections. I was especially enthralled by his concept of the 'Anima' and 'Animus.' The union of the pull of Anima, the female aspects present in the collective unconscious of men, and Animus, the male aspect present in the collective unconscious of women." "To me Anima represents the feminine whisper inside of a patriarchal society," explains Liza. "After my stroke I went from doctor to doctor searching for answers. I was having trouble getting back in touch both physically and creatively. Doctors told me that I might never sing or write again. These blanket statements without hope or answers were not acceptable to me."

"I was confronted with a seeming lack of understanding regarding my plight from the primarily male dominated medical profession. This is when I learned that little research is done on how illness, disease and medications uniquely affect women's bodies," she goes on to explain. "I believe that we should increase funding for women's health research and I'm trying to do my part with Anima."

Liza Lee is compounding her mark on today's jazz scene with the release of Anima. Her personal and haunting musical interpretations exhibit an emotional vulnerability laced with a confident understanding of life's realities. Liza is an important voice of the 21st Century. Her continual evolution and development, which are uniquely displayed on Anima, are fascinating to hear and her thought-provoking music is always memorable. She has undoubtedly proven herself a consistently intriguing vocalist and a significant addition to the current jazz scene with this CD.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Ravi Coltrane will be a featured performer in the Blue Note 7 -- a touring septet which will embark on a 51 date tour of concert halls in 50 cities beginning in January to celebrate Blue Note's 70th Anniversary. Tour dates for the Blue Note 70th Anniversary Tour are as follows:

1/7) Yakima, WA
1/8) Seattle, WA
1/10) Eugene, OR
1/11) Klamath Falls, OR
1/13) Davis, CA
1/14) Napa, CA
1/15) Berkeley, CA
1/16) Beaver Creek, CA
1/17) Boulder, CO
1/19) Santa Cruz, CA
1/21) Santa Barbara, CA
1/22) Los Angele, CA
1/23-24) Costa Mesa, CA
1/27) San Diego, CA
1/28) Mesa, AZ
1/29) Wickenburg, AZ
1/30 Tucson, AZ

2/17) Boone, NC
2/18) Nashville, TN
2/20) Kansas City, MO
2/21) Omaha, NE
2/22) St. Louis, MO
2/24) Meridian, MS
2/26) Baton Rouge, LA
2/27) Lafayette, LA
2/28) Birmingham, AL

3/1) Germantown, TN
3/13) Detroit, MI
3/14) Lexington, KY
3/15) Louisville, KY
3/18) Norman, OK
3/19) Columbia, MO
3/20) Chicago, IL
3/21) Appleton, WI
3/23) Sheboygan, WI
3/25 Sioux Falls, SD
3/26) Lincoln, NE
3/27) Ames, IA
3/28) Milwaukee, WI
3/29) Minneapolis, MN

4/1) Worcester, MA
4/2) Hanover, NH
4/3) Philadelphia, PA
4/4) Pittsburgh, PA
4/5) Washington, DC
4/6) Princeton, NJ
4/8) University Park, PA
4/9) Schenectady, NY
4/14-19) New York, NY

Sunday, January 11, 2009


On January 12th, 2009, Motown will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sound that changed America and the world. Berry Gordy's legendary Motown Records made its mark not just on the music industry, but society at large, with a sound that that has become one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century. Motown artists' music communicated and brought together a racially divided country and segregated society around the world, touching all people of all ages and race. No other record company in history has exerted such an enormous influence on both the style and substance of popular music and culture.

With more than 180 No. 1 hit songs worldwide and counting, that influence is still being felt today, from pop to hip-hop. Motown celebrates the 50th anniversary of the company's founding and the timeless music of Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, the Marvelettes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips and all the others that have made Motown a soundtrack to people's lives. Universal Music Group and EMI Music Publishing will mark the historic Detroit label's musical achievements with a series of initiatives from CD/DVD releases to television event. Upcoming throughout the celebration are releases of classic Motown Television specials in a series of DVD collections and INSIDE MOTOWN, a multi-part documentary on how the company was built. Upcoming details will be announced as each new package or event approaches.

Ask just about anyone what their favorite Motown hit is and most will have a hard time picking just one. From "My Girl" by the Temptations to Marvin Gaye's haunting "What's Going On," Motown songs - and the talented artists and musicians who produced them - have touched the hearts of music fans worldwide over the last 50 years. Beginning this month and throughout the entire year, Borders will celebrate Motown's 50th anniversary with a prominent in-store display of Motown music selections along with related items, such as anniversary T-shirts. In addition, the retailer is devoting a special page on dedicated to Motown's anniversary, and will host both past and present Motown artists including Boyz II Men, Martha Reeves of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Duke Fakir of The Four Tops for in-store appearances and signings in Los Angeles and Detroit.

Borders invites Motown fans to attend free in-store events in Los Angeles and in the Detroit area, which will give customers the opportunity to come together to celebrate their passion for the music that helped shape our popular culture. Boyz II Men, who were recently nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award for their Decca debut album "Motown: A Journey through Hitsville USA," will sign CDs and answer questions at the Westwood Borders store in Los Angeles Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. In addition, Duke Fakir of The Four Tops and Martha Reeves of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas will greet fans, answer questions and sign CDs at the Borders store in Dearborn Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Apple has announced several changes to the iTunes(R) Store. Beginning this past week, all four major music labels -- Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI, along with thousands of independent labels, are now offering their music in iTunes Plus, Apple's DRM-free format with higher- quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings. iTunes customers can also choose to download their favorite songs from the world's largest music catalog directly onto their iPhone(TM) 3G over their 3G network just as they do with Wi-Fi today, for the same price as downloading to their computer. And beginning in April, based on what the music labels charge Apple, songs on iTunes will be available at one of three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, with most albums still priced at $9.99.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer our iTunes customers DRM-free iTunes Plus songs in high quality audio and our iPhone 3G customers the ability to download music from iTunes anytime, anywhere over their 3G network at the same price as downloading to your computer or via Wi-Fi," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "And in April, based on what the music labels charge Apple, songs on iTunes will be available at one of three price points -- 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 -- with many more songs priced at 69 cents than $1.29."

iTunes offers customers a simple, one-click option to easily upgrade their entire library of previously purchased songs to the higher quality DRM-free iTunes Plus format for just 30 cents per song or 30 percent of the album price. The iTunes Store will begin offering eight million of its 10 million songs in Apple's DRM-free format, iTunes Plus, today with the remaining two million songs offered in iTunes Plus by the end of March.

iPhone 3G users can now preview and purchase the entire iTunes Store music catalog on their iPhone 3G over their 3G network, just as they do with Wi-Fi today, for the same price and in the same high quality format. Songs purchased on an iPhone will automatically sync to a user's computer the next time they sync their iPhone.The iTunes Store is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 10 million songs, over 30,000 TV episodes and over 2,500 films including over 600 in stunning high definition video. With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod(R) and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac(R) and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Off and on through the years, these soul mates have made sweet music together - from the now classic "Street Life" which Randy sang with Joe's group The Crusaders to Randy's own album "Now We May Begin," for which Joe was a co-producer. These stellar guest appearances eventually led to the inevitable: a duo project as co-headliners. March 24, 2009 will see the release of Joe Sample and Randy Crawford's second album of collaborations titled "No Regrets." It's the much anticipated follow-up to their first such collection in 2006, Grammy nominated "Feeling Good," which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and paved the way for a successful string of tours around the world. "No Regrets" promises to lean in more of a soulful direction, featuring both remakes of R&B classics such as Aretha Franklin's "Today I Sing The Blues" and The Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself" - plus other songs from across the eras, done in a jazzy-soul style such as the legendary Edith Piaf chestnut "No Regrets" to contemporary pop singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan's "Angel."

Sample states, "Randy and I wanted to keep this recording on more of the rhythm and blues side. And, as always, we wanted to pick songs that nobody else records." The result is a collection of music that sets and sustains a laidback late night groove - a time and space where the listener can do just that - relax and really listen to Joe and Randy's custom made takes on everything from blues great Bobby Blue Bland's "Lead Me On" to Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Randy Newman's poignant "Just One Smile" - the latter of which significantly impressed Mr. Newman who told his old friend Mr. LiPuma personally. This fantastically laid foundation brings out the very best in Miss Randy Crawford for 11 soul-stirring performances. One London Times reviewer marveled at how after 30+ years her voice still retains such "youth and power." Sample proudly describes her succinctly as "an American treasure."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


As a year ends and a new one replaces it, you can always bet that a certain number of radio stations around the dial will switch formats. Well this new year brings a new format to Houston radio. Beginning Monday, January 5, 2009, “Classic Cool” will reunite Houston listeners with the Rat Pack, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Michael Buble, and Norah Jones. Hosts Ronnie Renfrow and Tom Richards will join listeners for the drive home beginning at 4pm, Monday through Friday.

Longtime Houston radio personality Ronnie Renfrow and his Classic Cool team have created a format that is unique not only to Houston, but to the national radio scene as well. “This is by far the biggest programming void in radio. The artists of Classic Cool are selling millions of CD’s annually, but listeners have had nowhere to go on the dial – until now,” Renfrow said. “This is definitely not a nostalgia format,” Renfrow stressed. “Classic Cool is far removed from that approach in that we will feature new music from contemporary artists who are all over the Billboard charts.”

Classic Cool will present a blend of singers, classic jazz, Latin, and blues. Stars of the show include Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Sade, Diana Krall, and B.B. King, to name just a few.

The format’s web site – - is the first of its kind, exploring music both new and vintage. Visitors to the site can register to win rare and valuable prizes, including musical collectibles. Listeners will also be able to participate in online exchanges with the hosts, who are experts on the artists and the music. Additionally, the web site will be a resource for information on live music performances in Houston.

While the Classic Cool format is being launched in Houston, its creators are in the process of syndicating programming to other cities. “We are excited by the possibilities that syndication holds, since we know that we have something truly unique and entertaining to offer,” Renfrow said.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


"Sally," the new album from Sally Kellerman will be released on February 10, 2009. One of the most recognizable voices in the world of film, television and voice-over, Sally maintains her signature sound in the recording studio and the result is a richly layered album, mixing jazzy blues and adult standards with a touch of soulful rock.

Sally will be celebrating the CD release of "Sally" with three performances at The Rrazz Room in San Francisco on February 16, 17 and March 17. Major retail promotions are being planned for the album, which is being released, on the Music Force label. "Sally" will be available in stores nationwide via Ryko retail distribution as well as through major online retailers.

"Sally" was produced by Grammy Award-winner Val Garay whose illustrious list of credits includes recordings with Kim Carnes, Linda Ronstadt, the Motels, Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne, Marvin Gaye, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and Jennifer Warnes, among others. "Sally's distinctive voice connects the songs on this album," says Garay. "Having worked with many of the greatest female vocalists over the last few decades, Sally falls in with the best of them."

The album also features a stellar lineup of musicians including Russ Kunkel (drums), Leland Sklar (bass), Dean Parks (guitar), Jerry Peterson (Saxophone) and Andrew Gold (percussion/guitar). Sally's music director, Chris Caswell, who just received a Grammy nomination for Jazz Album of the Year (Karrin Allyson) played keyboards on "Sally" and contributed three songs on the album: "Nobody's Perfect," "Somebody Call the Cops" and the beautiful ballad, "By Heart."

Another standout song on the album is "Say It Isn't So," written by five-time Grammy Award-winner and Take 6 artist, Mervin Warrens. Other cuts include the blues classic, "I Put a Spell on You" (Screamin' Jay Hawkins), "Sugar in My Bowl" (Nina Simone) and a smoky rendition of the Leiber and Stoller hit, "Love Potion #9."

Sally has kept good company with some of the most prestigious names in the music industry, having done various singing projects with both Hal David and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famers, Leiber and Stoller, among others. In the 70s, while working with Robert Altman on her Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated role as Hot Lips Houlihan in "M*A*S*H," Sally also teamed up with Lou Adler (Mamas and Papas, Carole King, Sam Cook). This led to her debut album, "Roll With the Feeling" on Decca Records, produced by world-class arranger/producer Gene Page (Barry White, Lionel Richie) and his brother, songwriter Billy Page.

Throughout her film and television career, Sally has had the opportunity to sing in numerous film and television productions. She has sung at Carnegie Hall and the Los Angeles Music Center and has appeared regularly on the concert club circuit, performing at such popular venues as The Roxy and Catalina Bar & Grill in Los Angeles and The Metropolitan Room in New York.

Sally has come full circle with the release of this long awaited album. The seductive combination of words and music shine through on "Sally," and fans will undeniably agree that what makes the album even more special is the unmistakable presence of the voice.

Monday, January 05, 2009


While the "Standards" are vanishing from many traditional radio stations one up-start Internet station is trying to reverse the trend. As Frank Sinatra belted out "I did it my way" so too has The Standard Media Group's Internet radio station The North Hollywood, CA-based is a totally listener-supported Internet radio station and is one of the most listened-to stations of its kind. Starting January 1, 2009 they will be programming KPHX 1480 AM in Phoenix and bringing the timeless music we know as "The Great American Songbook" back to traditional radio in the Phoenix area.

Standard Media Group is headed by former Clear Channel radio programming executive Brad Chambers. Calling their format Contemporary Standards, Chambers has created a blend of songs he calls "Classic Cool," featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald and the like, with "Contemporary Cool" artists like Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall and Rod Stewart -- the latter group having recent success attracting Baby Boomers to the Great American Songbook.

Music has always been and will continue to be the cornerstone of this generation's lifestyle. "We Boomers still love our Rolling Stones and Beatles CDs. But we've heard all those songs over and over." Chambers points out that Boomers in radio created the short playlist, fast turnover Top 40 radio format. "We love those songs but they're not making many new rock 'n roll oldies. So we go looking for something new -- especially in social situations," he adds. "We have friends over, we're making martinis and 'Brown Sugar' by the Rolling Stones doesn't cut it. But Sinatra's 'One for My Baby' does! We have graduated from rock concerts on the green to an intimate jazz show with seats near the stage. The martini glass has replaced the beer bottle. We can still knock 'em back, but with a martini glass, of course."

The new KPHX 1480 AM radio station will be a combination of classic "Standards" like the aforementioned Sinatra saloon song -- and contemporary recordings like a version of the same song on a recent CD from harmonica legend Toots Thielmans, featuring 28-year-old British jazz wunderkind Jamie Cullum. Chambers adds, "It's amazing the list of artists who identify 'Standards' as their inspiration ... from Elton John to Rod Stewart. Stewart's Great American Songbook series is closing in on 20 million units in sales and gave the 63-year-old rocker his first Grammy ever."


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