Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Martz Communications has ceased operations of its pair of HD fed translators in Detroit. Tim Martz-run Radio Power had trouble finding a workable frequency for smooth jazz "Oasis", after an interference complaint filed by Clear Channel's Toledo rocker, WIOT. The Oasis originally signed on at 104.7, the same frequency as WIOT, and the FCC rules are that a translator (such as 104.7 The Oasis) must sign off if there is a complaint by a full-power station, pending resolution of the problem. The Oasis looked at other frequencies, including 93.9 and 93.5. But the Smooth Jazz Board of Radio-Info.com reports that both station's Facebook pages feature the same statement saying that "All good things must come to an end. We’re sorry to say that The Oasis has ceased operations today. Thanks for your support Detroit. You’re the best.”

Bone Program Director Holly Hutton added, “Hey – Just wanted to say Thank you to everyone who listened and supported us. I know we had signal issues…but my personal experience at this station was a positive one. This company really celebrated true radio programming and gave me an opportunity to learn and discover that radio could be FUN again. I appreciate Martz and the time I had here and the friends I have made. From the inside and out; it was the radio that I fell in love with a bzillion years ago. I’m not sure if you’ll hear me on the air again…but if it’s meant to be, it will and I’ll talk to you then. xoxo ~ Holly Hutton”.

Both translators debuted last April 20 with programming fed by HD subchannels of 107.5 WGPR. The Oasis has struggled with interference issues with WIOT Toledo.


Guitarist Chris Standring has released his brand new single , "Oliver's Twist" from his forthcoming album Electric Wonderland. ‘Oliver’s Twist” was released to radio this week and Standring is reporting that he’s picked up 28 radio stations in its first week out. Standring is of course ecstatic over this and has said that “This is great news. Looks like we may have a hit!” He’s also finished the "Oliver's Twist" music video and has provided a link to check it out here: http://youtu.be/6_h-nmlnBk8

Electric Wonderland features some of his favourite musicians, including keyboard wizard Mitchel Forman, trumpeter Rick Braun, Fender Rhodes groovemeister Rodney Lee and an array of  great friends including Dino Soldo, Larry Steen, Jimmy Earl, David Karasony, Oscar Seaton, Dan Lutz, Andre Berry, and his string quartet including Nikki Garcia, Barbra Porter, Tom Tally & Cameron Stone.

Also....he's indicated that tickets are selling fast for his upcoming London shows. These will be UK record release parties and he’s promising to have lots of new Electric Wonderland albums with him. Book a reservation now before they sell out. Here’s his schedule so far for this year:

Feb 23rd 8:30pm - Southend, UK The Jazz mix @ Cliffs Pavillion
Feb 24th 8:00pm - Soho, London, UK (record release party) Pizza Express Jazz Club
Feb 25th 7:30pm - Soho, London, UK (record release party) Pizza Express Jazz Club
Feb 25th 10:30pm - Soho, London, UK (record release party) Pizza Express Jazz Club
Feb 29th 8:00pm - Jakarta, Indonesia Java Jazz Festival
March 3rd tba - Jakarta, Indonesia Java Jazz Festival
March 4th tba - Jakarta, Indonesia Java Jazz Festival
March 10th 10:00am - Mission Viejo Breakfast with Gary & Kelly (tv show)
April 24th 7:00pm - Seal Beach, CA (Electric Wonderland record release party) Spaghettini


Roberta Flack the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist is back after an eight year absence with a brand new album, Let It Be: Robert Flack Sings The Beatles - a collection of Beatles song interpretations. The first single "We Can Work It Out" made a spectacular debut on two different radio charts this past week garnering #1 Most Added at Mainstream Adult Contemporary Chart and #2 Most Added at Urban Adult Contemporary. In addition, the single moved into the Top 20 at Smooth Adult Contemporary radio. Buzz continues to build as key press such as NPR, Billboard, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, AARP and More Magazine are already confirmed. Newly signed to a partnership of 429 Records, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Flack's RAS Records, the album which was produced by Sherrod Barnes, who has also produced Beyonce' and Angie Stone, with contributing producers Jerry Barnes and Barry Miles, is slated for release on February 7th worldwide (Sony Music will release the album in Japan).

Roberta Flack has long been known as an unparalleled musician who effortlessly inhabits the worlds of pop, soul, R&B, jazz and folk. From her very first recording, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" which hit #1 in the U.S across all charts, Flack has created strong emotional bonds with her listeners through her poignant musicality and unerring stylizations while also shining an uncompromising light onto the culture and politics of the times.

Since bursting onto the scene in 1969 with the blockbuster album First Take (produced by the legendary Joel Dorn), she's followed her fiercely uncompromising lyrical and musical muses earning her a place alongside pioneering artists such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Nina Simone. A multiple Grammy winner, she is the only artist along with U2 to win "Record of the Year" in consecutive years (for "The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Killing Me Softly"). Although she's taken some time between recordings, she's never stopped performing having constantly toured worldwide. Flack, a national treasure gives her time freely to a host of charitable and humanitarian causes--among them, the ASPCA (spokesperson of the year for 2011) and the Roberta Flack School of Music in Bronx, NY (which she founded in 2006).

Let It Be: Robert Flack Sings The Beatles Track Listing:
• In My Life
• Hey Jude
• We Can Work it Out
• Let It Be
• Oh Darling
• I Should Have Known Better
• The Long & Winding Road
• Come Together
• Isn't It A Pity
• If I Fell
• And I Love Her
• Here, There, and Everywhere


Current GRAMMY® nominee Adele will make her much anticipated return to the live stage on the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards. This will be her first time performing live in nearly five months since being forced to cancel a sold-out U.S. tour to undergo surgery on her vocal cords.

"I'm immensely proud to have been asked to perform at this year's GRAMMY Awards," said Adele. "It's an absolute honor to be included in such a night, and for it to be my first performance in months is very exciting and of course nerve-racking, but what a way to get back into it all."

Two-time GRAMMY winner Adele has six nominations: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Short Form Music Video for "Rolling In The Deep"; Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 21; and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Someone Like You."

Previously announced performers for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards include Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; and Taylor Swift. Aldean, The Band Perry, Minaj, and Shelton will perform on the GRAMMY telecast for the first time, while Adele, Campbell, Clarkson, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Mars, McCartney, Rihanna, and Swift are returning to the GRAMMY stage.

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy®. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ken Ehrlich are the writers.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.



New from Legacy Recordings is a continuation of their Playlist series.  This latest batch (released Jan 31) features Charlie Wilson, Reggae, and a Black History Month compilation.


1. Everyday People – Sly & The Family Stone
2. It’s Like That – Run-D.M.C.
3. (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue – Louis Armstrong
4. I Can – Nas
5. Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston
6. Abraham, Martin & John – Harry Belafonte
7. God Bless the Child – Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra
8. Mississippi Goddam – Nina Simone
9. So What – Miles Davis
10. My Love is Waiting – Marvin Gaye
11. Stormy Weather – Lena Horne
12. A Change is Gonna Come – Aaron Neville
13. Keep Your Head to the Sky – Earth, Wind & Fire
14. Cult of Personality – Living Colour


1. One Love/People Get Ready – Bob Marley & The Wailers
2. I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash
3. Dem No Worry We – Super Cat
4. Stepping Razor – Peter Tosh
5. Mr. Loverman – Shabba Ranks featuring Chevelle Franklyn
6. L-L-Lies – Diana King
7. Worker Man – Patra
8. Here Comes the Hotstepper (Heartical Mix) – Ini Kamoze
9. Ketchy Shuby – Peter Tosh
10. Shark Attack – The Wailing Souls
11. Flex – Mad Cobra
12. Ways of the Lord – Aswad
13. My Way or the Highway – Tony Rebel
14. Looking – Ziggy Marley


1. Outstanding (Vocal Long Version) – The Gap Band
2. There Goes My Baby
3. Supa Sexxy (featuring T-Pain and Jamie Foxx)
4. You Are
5. Charlie, Last Name Wilson
6. Floatin’ (featuring will.i.am and Justin Timberlake)
7. Magic
8. No Words
9. My Girl is a Dime
10. Shawty Come Back
11. Cry No More
12. Lotto
13. Musta Heard
14. Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) – The Gap Band



Jazzanova Upside Down – a great little set that features rich reworkings of songs from their excellent Of All The Things album! The core album was probably the greatest thing Jazzanova had done to date – a richly soulful outing that featured some really incredible songwriting – perfect for vocals from singers like Jose James, Paul Randolph, Ben Westbeech, and Phonte – all of whom make appearances here. Yet this time around, the sound is taken back to Jazzanova's roots – that cool, clear style they first had back in their Compost and early Sonar Kollektiv days – a time when they were one of the most revolutionary acts on the European scene. The step backwards is actually a move forward as well – thanks to help from great collaborators throughout – in a lineup that features "Dance The Dance" remixed by Atjazz, "Little Bird" remixed by Alex Barck, "Let Me Show Ya" remixed by Henrik Schwarz, "Glow & Glare" remixed by Ame, "Lucky Girl" remixed by Neve Naïve, "Lie" remixed by Soldiers Of House, "Boom Clicky Boom Klack" remixed by Mr Scruff, and "Look What You're Doin To Me" remixed by Motor City Drum Ensemble.


A recent recording from the legendary Faruq Z Bey – working here with the highly creative Northwoods Improvisers! Bey's tenor and alto are very much at the front of the recording, but the album also really draws a lot from the other players in the group – the vibes of Mike Gilmore, bass of Mike Johnston, drums and log drum of Nick Ashton, and additional reeds of Mike Carey and Skeeter CR Shelton – who all work with Faruq in ways that almost seem more structured than before – really held together with a great sense of composition on the longer tunes, while still stretching out with some freedom on the solos. The blend – possibly because of the bold use of vibes – reminds us a lot of the Chicago work coming from artists like Mike Reed or Jason Adasiewicz – and titles include "Kins", "Primal Waters", "Talon", and "Kuthuhlpa". (Limited edition.)


Some of the best blue-eyed soul we've heard in recent years – especially the funky variety! Rhett Frazier really surprised us with his last album, and he sounds even better here – working with musical partner Donny Gruendler in a really classic-styled batch of grooves that clearly draw inspiration from older sources like Hi Records and Curtom, yet which also deliver the goods with a lean, stripped-down vibe that's just right for Frazier's vocals! The album packs way more of a punch than you'd guess from the package and price – and Rhett's one of those singers who could well be huge if he ever gets the right sort of exposure in the mainstream. Titles include "Private Hell", "Secret Places", "Elephant Walk", "Burying Ground", "Workin", "Hard Man", "WTH", and "Every Day Is Saturday".


A Philly group with a New Orleans-tinged name – but one who work in a hard deep funk mode all the way through! There's less of the Crescent City modes than you'd expect from the cover – but that's OK with us, because in their place are some tight classic funk modes strongly influenced by the best of the late 60s and early 70s – a vibe that would be right at home in the Daptone or Soul Fire universe! Lead singer India Rex has a classic bad sister funk approach – one that sits mighty nice over the group's tight rhythms, fierce organ, choppy guitar, and soulful sax. Titles include nice covers of "No No No", "Slipped Tripped & Fell In Love", and "What A Man" – plus the tunes "People Gonna Talk", "I'm Not Gonna Cry", "My Man He's A Lovin Man", and "She Caught The Katy.”

Source: Dusty Groove



Great tracks from the second generation of Philadelphia International – that time when the label moved past the clubby Philly sounds that had won them big hits in the 70s – into an even deeper range of styles overall! Most of the tracks here have a wonderfully mature sort of feel – a move past easy dancefloor modes, into more complicated mellow steppers and midtempo rhythms that are perfect for the emotive, sensual lyrics of the tunes – most of which are performed by artists who were still the greatest working for the Philly International label at the start of the 80s! Gems throughout – with great cuts that include "I'm In Love Again" by Patti Labelle, "Easy Easy Got To Take It Easy" by Teddy Pendergrass, "When I'm Gone" by The Jones Girls, "Mine All Mine" by The Stylistics, "Start The Fire" by Jean Carn, "I Can't Stop Turning You On" by Silk, "Set A Little Trap" by Phyllis Hyman, "So Glad I'm The One" by Instant Funk, "Yes You Need Love" by Anthony White, "Your Love Is Good" by Bunny Sigler, and "I've Been Pushed Aside" by McFadden & Whitehead.


Some of our favorite sorts of soul tracks from the 70s – those mellow groovers that never get too over the top, and have a great slow-burning energy that goes on and on through the night! The tracks here are the sort that bubbled under during the disco generation – more laidback tracks that often used the same arrangers, producers, and studios – but came up with a groove that was much more gentle, and which was perfect for the soulful, sensual lyrics of the tunes! Thanks to efforts by the two-step scene in 80s London, and Chicago steppers in the 90s, lots of these tracks have had great staying power for years – and are perfectly put together in this sublime little compilation. Titles include "Take It Slow" by The Notations, "Trying To Get Next To You" by Arnold Blair, "Ain't It A Shame" by The Dells, "This Feeling's Killing Me" by The Jones Girls, "Sweet Music Soft Lights & You" by Ken Williams, "Love Sounds" by Intimate Strangers, "Let's Do It Again" by The Staple Singers, "Try Love Again" by Natural Four, "Lucky Fellow" by Leroy Hutson, "How Glad I Am" by Joyce Cobb, and "We Got Some Catching Up To Do" by Jean Carn.


Soaring soul from the start of the 70s – great tracks in a mode that came to be known as "modern soul" in contrast to the Northern Soul that had been big on British dancefloors – but which to us is just totally great, totally tight 70s soul at its best! Most cuts here are relatively underground – numbers that never even broke big in the US when they were released, but which have a depth and quality that's kept them strong for years – and a unique upbeat approach that really makes them all sound great together! There's some great production going on – a fuller range of studio styles that marked the 70s scene – but things are never overproduced, nor commercial at all – which is another great aspect of the collection. Titles include "Human" by Brief Encounter, "Love Music" by Lloyd Price, "I Can See Him Loving You" by The Anderson Brothers, "Satisfactorise Your Mind" by Africano, "Hung Up On Your Love" by The Montclairs, "Come On Train" by Don Thomas, "Movin On A Groove" by Barbara Lynn, "Because Of You" by Jackie Wilson, "I Don't Do This" by Sidney Joe Qualls, "Suddenly" by Tony Drake, "Broken Home" by Ben Monroe, and "What's Happening To Our Love Affair" by Danny Hunt.


Lost in time, but brought back brilliantly – a host of incredible upbeat soul numbers from the latter half of the 60s – all of them perfect for a Northern Soul dancefloor! There's plenty of Detroit influences going on in the music, and a bit of Chicago as well – but the tracks represent a great range of underground grooves from the days when indie soul 45s were coming out in droves – so much so that the charts couldn't even come up with the quality of the recordings, which resulted in great under-discovered gems like these! The package is really top-shelf all the way through – cuts that come on strong, and keep staying long – filled with undeniable spirit. Titles include "I Keep Tryin" by Fred Hughes, "Let The Music Play" by Didi Noel, "I Hurt On The Other Side" by Sydney Barnes, "I Don't Want A Playboy" by Barbara Lynn, "I'd Think It Over" by Sam Fletcher, "Tear Stained Face" by Don Varner, "Just Like The Weather" by Nolan Chance, "Baby What Has Happened To Our Love" by The Ringleaders, "New Girl" by Jimmy & The Entertainers, "You Hit Me Like TNT" by Linda Jones, "Just Another Heartache" by Little Richie, "Breakaway" by The Valentines, "I'll Always Love You" by The Artistics, and "Lonely For You Baby" by Sam Dees.


Deep soul from the 70s – a rich assortment of great tracks from the years when the genre was really getting into its own – stretching out, and hitting a rich level of expression that wouldn't have been dreamed about the decade before! At a time when so many mainstream acts were copping the cliches of earlier southern soul, all the artists here dug in their heels, and worked to really deepen up their game – coming up with some incredible music that still stands as some of the most heartfelt soul ever recorded – rich in spirit, and soaring with the new modes of the time. Titles include "Take This Hurt Off Me" by Big John Hamilton, "He's Gone" by Doris Duke, "Loneliness" by Jean Plum, "I Need You" by Little Archie, "Fugitive From Love" by Linda Jones, "That's How It Is" by Otis Clay, "Let Me Down Easy" by Betty Lavette, "I Catch Myself Crying" by Leon Byrd, "I Keep Coming Back" by Tyrone Davis, "Aretha Sing One For Me" by George Jackson, "Been So Wrong" by Aaron Neville, "I Can't Stand To See You Go" by Joe Valentine.
Phillybusters – Underground Philly Dancefloor Gems


Soaring sounds from Philadelphia International – the label that virtually defined the sound of soul in the 70s, thanks to a succession of ultra-big hits! Those cuts are great, but this set goes even deeper – to move past the chart standouts, and come up with a brilliant batch of Philly groovers that stayed mostly on the underground – but which have had a huge influence on the global scene over the past few decades! All the best Philly 70s elements are in place here – tight rhythms, impeccable musicianship, and production that finds a way to polish without ever making things too slick – a wonderful blend that makes these tunes totally top-shelf all the way through – and even fresher than some of the bigger hits you'd know from the artists. Titles include "Hey Baby" by Anthony White, "I Heard It In A Love Song" by McFadden & Whitehead, "Old People" by Archie Bell & The Drells, "Sunshine & You" by The Futures, "Groovy People" by Lou Rawls, "You Can't Come Back Now" by Jean Carn, "Tell The World How I Feel About Cha Baby" by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, "Let The Dollar Circulate" by Billy Paul, "Found A Love You Couldn't Handle" by The Stylistics, and "I'm Just Thinking About Cooling Out" by Jerry Butler.

Source: Dusty Groove


Sounds Of Space, the title of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez' debut recording, evokes images of science fiction. In truth, it's about a far more personal adventure. "It's about the space that surrounds us," he explains. "In this record I wanted to introduce myself: here are the people, the places and the sounds that have surrounded me, and made me who I am."

A key player in Rodríguez' extraordinary story is producer Quincy Jones, who co-produced Sounds Of Space with Rodríguez. "He is very special, and I do not say that easily because I have been surrounded by the best musicians in the world my entire life," said Jones. "And he is one of the best." In turn, for Rodríguez, 26, Jones has not only become a mentor and a teacher but "like a new father." Still, such priceless endorsement can also create impossibly high expectations. But in Sounds Of Space, Rodríguez proves up to the challenge.

The album comprises 11 tracks composed and arranged by Rodríguez. It includes nods to Cuban masters such as Ernesto Lecuona, but also pianistic models such as Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk; it draws on the tradition, but it has a personal imprint. And now and then, Sounds Of Space is also shaped by nostalgia for a country left behind, so near yet so far.

Born in Havana, Cuba, the son of a popular singer, television presenter and entertainer of the same name, Rodríguez began his formal music education at seven. Percussion, not piano, was his first choice. "But...to choose what I wanted I had to wait until I was 10," he explains. "So I picked piano. By the time I could actually switch to percussion, I knew the piano was my path."

He graduated to the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, and then to the Instituto Superior de Arte. But while his formal musical education was strictly classical, he also learned music "on the street," or more precisely, on stage. "I didn't play with many dance groups, but I played in my dad's band since I was 14," he says. "And my dad presented a daily TV show and many famous Cuban musicians came through it and we had every type of music. I was still a kid but had a chance to perform every day, and write arrangements for all kinds of music: boleros, rock 'n roll, dance music-you name it. It is where I learned the discipline of being a professional musician. That was another great school for me. I was very lucky."

The momentous discovery during that formative period, however, came packed on a CD. "When I was 15, my uncle gave me Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert," he recalls. "That's when I began to explore the idea of improvisation. Up to then it had been all Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, and I'm thankful to my teachers for it because without that I wouldn't be the same pianist. But up to that point I didn't know anything about improvisation. The Köln Concert changed my life. I realized that was what I wanted to do: just sit and play. And not only musical ideas; music doesn't come only from music. It can reflect and speak to what surrounds us."

In 2006, Rodríguez was selected to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival. While there, he was invited to a gathering at the house of the festivals' founder and director, Claude Nobs, who asked him if he would play for Quincy Jones. "And of course I said yes," recalls Rodríguez. "I remember I played an arrangement I had written of 'I Love You,' by Cole Porter. And when I finished, Quincy said he liked it a lot and that he wanted to work with me. That was amazing. That someone I admire so much would be interested in doing something with me was incredible. But I'm a realist, and while it was a nice idea I thought it would be difficult. And it was." Still, a month later, back in Cuba, he received an email from Jones' Vice President Adam Fell. "Then I knew this was serious. That's when I decided I was coming to the U.S."

In 2009, while in Mexico after playing some engagements with his father, who has lived there since 2008, Rodríguez made his move and flew to Laredo-where he was arrested and held by the border police. "I had nothing: a suitcase with a sweater, a pair of jeans and my music," he says. "And when they interviewed me I told them the truth: I was coming to stay. I wasn't doing planning to do anything illicit. I was coming to write and play music, work with Quincy Jones and start my career. And I told them: 'If you turn me back, I'll be back tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, until I can make it through.' They talked among themselves, put me in cab and sent me on my way. That's how I started my life in the United States."

Few artists get to make their public debut professionally in the United States at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, opening for Wayne Shorter. And Rodríguez also made appearances at events such as the SXSW Music Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, as well as performances at international festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Umbria (Italy), Montreux (Switzerland), Mawazine (Morocco), Mundo Latino (Brazil), and the Tag Heur Shanghai Jazz and Blues Week (China), among others.

Now, in Sounds Of Space, the arc of the music suggests a young artist looking back and forward, taking stock at the beginning of a new road. The energetic "Qbafrica" mixes elements of avant-jazz with Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and African music, and "is titled in honor of Quincy, who was nicknamed 'Q' by Frank Sinatra. He's been championing for years this notion of a global cultural unity. This piece is a tribute to that idea."

"Sueño de Paseo" evokes walking again in the streets of Havana, while in "Y Bailaria La Negra? (a Ernesto Lecuona)," Rodríguez both pays tribute to-and teases-one of the grand masters of Cuban music as he playfully alludes to his piece "Y La Negra Bailaba?"

Meanwhile, "Cubop" celebrates Bud Powell, "one of my favorite pianists," explains Rodríguez. "It's my idea of how bop would have sounded in Cuba if he had been born there."

The stunning virtuosic display in "April" suggests an impossible piano duet for solo piano, while pieces such as "Oxygen," "Transculturation" and "Crossing the Border" are eloquent examples of Rodríguez' idea of drawing on non-musical ideas and experiences for his music.

"I wrote 'Crossing The Border' the first week I lived in the States, and it reflects all the stress of that crossing," he says. "That's what I lived. That's what I wanted to communicate."

As for the title track, which starts with a quirky habanera cadence, it elicits from Rodríguez the story of the true original title of the song-and the record. "The original title comes from a quote about music by José Martí, a Cuban writer and poet whose work has really touched me and influenced my work," explains Rodríguez. "Unfortunately, it didn't sound as good in English as a title, so we chose a different tack. But Marti's line says it all: 'Lo verdadero es lo que no termina: y la música está perpetuamente palpitando en el espacio.' That which is true never ends, and music is perpetually beating in space."

All performances to feature the Alfredo Rodríguez Trio unless otherwise noted.
January 25-28 - Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts - UC Davis, Davis, CA
January 29 - Wheeler Auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
March 2-3 - Java Jazz Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia
March 8 - Festival of the Arts Boca, Boca Raton, FL
March 30 - Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Cape Town, South Africa
*April 14 - The Broad Stage, Santa Monica, CA*
April 30 - Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
May 1 - Yoshi's San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
May 5 - The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Kalamazoo, MI
May 6 - Ventura Music Festival, Ventura, CA
**June 16 - Playboy Jazz Festival, Los Angeles, CA**

*Solo piano performance*
**Performance as a member of The Quincy Jones Global Gumbo All Stars**

Alfredo Rodríguez • Sounds Of Space
Mack Avenue Records • Release Date: March 27, 2012
For more information on Alfredo Rodríguez, visit alfredomusic.com http://www.alfredomusic.com/

Source: Urban Music Scene


Electronic jazz ensemble, EXEGESIS, bridges the gap between modern music technology and improvisation in its latest album The Harmony of the Anomaly (Dems Dem's Demos). As the title suggests, the album showcases the group's own unique blend of heterogeneous soundscapes including electronic jazz, live samplers, interactive music software, and complex compositions. With the help of Gretchen Parlato's smooth vocals and guest drummers Greg Gonzalez, Mark Guiliana, Robert Perkins, and Mark Ferber, The Harmony of the Anomaly boasts a well-pedigreed collection of artists and eclectic sounds.

Joined by a shared passion for rhythmic explorations in improvised music, EXEGESIS features bandleader/guitarist Nick Demopoulos (best known for his work with NEA Jazz Master Chico Hamilton); bassist Danton Boller (formerly of the Roy Hargrove Quintet); and new-music drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

Described as adventurous and bold, EXEGESIS references straight bop tradition while utilizing electronically manipulated instrumental timbers and is influenced by Middle Eastern music, 20th century classical and electronic music. "This album is our attempt to express symbols, scientific thought, astronomical ideas, numerical ratios and conceptual art through the manipulation of sound," explains Demopoulos. According to the Buffalo News, "in Demopoulos, EXEGESIS boasts one of the most strikingly virtuosic, well-versed jazz guitarists this side of Pat Metheney."

EXEGESIS based in Brooklyn, NY, is a jazz/electronic music ensemble playing original compositions that stress adventurous improvisations and unique textural layers. Formed in 2001, EXEGESIS is made up of bandleader/guitarist Nick Demopoulos, bassist Danton Boller, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. EXEGESIS has performed throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. In 2008, EXEGESIS participated in the "American Music Abroad" program sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State. This program enabled EXEGESIS to perform in Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. EXEGESIS has also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, The House of Blues, NYC's Dizzy's Club, The Knitting Factory, and The National Geographic Auditorium in Washington D.C. EXEGESIS released its debut album The Order of Chaos in 2002.


Monday, January 30, 2012


Joe Cocker is without a doubt, a true musical legend. With 40 years and counting as a major player in the music business, the singer with that unmistakable bluesy soul voice has earned countless accolades for his artistry—Grammys, Golden Globes, Academy Awards and platinum selling albums worldwide. The iconic singer has released Hard Knocks - his 21st album. Hard Knocks is a collection of 9 all new songs plus a cover version of the Dixie Chicks' "I Hope." Produced by Matt Serletic (Matchbox 20, Carlos Santana), Hard Knockc has the timeless "Cocker" sound fusing soul, pop and rhythm and blues into an undeniably infectious mix of a singularly unique contemporary style.

The recording sessions took place in Serletic's own Emblem studios in Los Angeles involving a host of acclaimed musicians like Ray Parker Jr., Tim Pierce and Joel Shearer on guitar, Josh Freese, Matt Chamberlain and Dorian Crozier on drums, Chris Chaney on bass and Jamie Muhoberac on keyboards. The songs were mixed by Chris Lord-Alge and mastered by Bob Ludwig. Songwriters Kara Dioguardi of recent American Idol fame and Marc Broussard have contributed songs to the collection.

Says Cocker, "I don't really know what you would call this album: 'rock/pop'? It's a little more pop than I've been into for quite a while so it would scare me sometimes. I would do the basic tracks and then Matt would go away and do some of these overdubs and he had all these electronic things on there. It was sometimes like 'Oh, my god!'. But I wanted to work with Matt very much. And I always knew what kind of record we would be making."

Joe Cocker – Hard Knocks Track listing:
1. Hard Knocks
2. Get On
3. Unforgiven
4. The Fall
5. So It Goes
6. Runaway Train
7. Stay The Same
8. Thankful
9. So
10. I Hope



GIBlythe has released heir debut CD release, Lost in Space. This group of seasoned musical pros are from a variety of impressive musical backgrounds and have come together to fuse a high-energy hybrid of wit and horn-centric good-time Rock, which is amply demonstrated on their new CD release. Lost in Space is an exhilarating introduction to a band that's sure to pique some discerning ears, and raise some diverse eyebrows, in the near future. The CD contains original tunes written by Geoffrey Blythe, Archie Brown & Jim Paterson-including the instrumental "Freedom March" with some swinging, scorching Jazzy moments-and the first cut, "Run Rabbit Run," just might bring you out of your chair, so be forewarned: before you put this disc on be sure and put on your dancing shoes!

GIBlythe is a band of exceptional players from the U.K. and the U.S. that have outrageous chops and share a pure joy of making music that is both exuberant and street savvy. Several members of GIBlythe have worked together in various music settings over the years-including Dexy's Midnight Runners-and along with Geoffrey have collectively played and/or recorded with a number of diverse artists from Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and Nick Lowe to Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and The Funk Brothers (of Motown fame), to name but a few. GIBlythe's fluid and driving rhythm section, the inventive way that they use horns in a Rock/Soul setting (arranged and delivered with an edgy sense of humor), along with singular vocals, are particularly noteworthy and create a sound that's difficult to compare to anyone else. Simply put, it's a rockin' good time!

GIBlythe's foundation is provided by drummer Crispin ‘the Pump' Taylor and bassist Joe ‘Bear Claw' Burcaw-and these guys cook! They provide a solid pocket that energetically propels the band and allows lead singer Archie Brown and the horns of Geoffrey Blythe and ‘Big Jim' Paterson (trombone & backup vocals), along with the keys of Pete Levin and guitars of Larry Baeder, to alternately punch the rhythm section and float above the smooth ride effortlessly. Although the band's players are accomplished pros, they retain a raucous, authentic post-punk attitude resulting in a sound that's soulful, sometimes Jazzy (with tasteful flashes of dissonance-and a funky beat!), rockin' and audacious-all at the same time!


Soprano saxophonist, composer, arranger and bandleader, recipient of the Landau award for the performing arts in the field of jazz for 2010 (the most prestigious prize in Israel), Yuval Cohen, has developed his own unique sound and melodic approach to composition and improvisation. Lee Konitz, Lew Soloff, Arnie Lawrence and Reggie Workman are just a few of great jazz masters with whom Yuval has collaborated. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel (1973), Yuval is a graduate of the prestigious Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts, and was regularly awarded scholarships from the Israel-American cultural foundations between the years 1987-1996.

Yuval Graduated Berklee College of Music (Summa Cum Laude, 1996), and was awarded prizes for outstanding achievements and the woodwind department award. His compositions were chosen to represent the college in the prestigious jazz magazine, Jazziz. In July 2010 Yuval received his Masters in Composition from the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem. His debut CD, Freedom (2007), and his recordings with the 3 Cohens (featuring brother and sister Anat and Avishai) have all received rave reviews. Yuval tours extensively with the 3 Cohens, playing in the U.S., Europe, South America and Israel, most recently in support of the band's new recording, Family.(http://www.3cohens.com/).

Yuval Cohen's latest recording for Anzic Records, and his 2nd as a leader, Song Without Words, is all about melody, and a simple, heartfelt and honest dialogue between two friends, and two masterful musicians, Yuval (soprano saxophone) and Shai Maestro (piano). It is an expression of an outlook that merges various musical disciplines, creating a unique and very personal blend. "I feel at home playing in this manner - on the one hand feeling an intense musical activity, yet on the other experiencing a transparency and softness that are the result of the dialogue," explained Cohen.

Yuval Cohen on Song Without Words:
Song without words - From the intro on, when writing this tune, it felt like a song that is missing its lyrics. It has a clear melody, almost naïve. We tried to keep the naïve vibe going through our musical dialogue.

Nehama - This song is like a whipping Israeli song. Like a child playing with a toy. So naïve, so beautiful. Wide and sad.

Bye Bye Blackbird - A version that keeps the melody a secret from the listener. It reveals itself at a relatively late point in the music as we were enjoying the melodic options the tune allows.

Skylark - Shai and I wanted to stretch the melody in a very slow tempo, allowing the bird to spread its wings, to fly slowly and to sing.

Angelo - A beautiful piece by Shai. It has a quality of something so personal, yet familiar. It brings a feeling of being somewhere in Italy in the beginning of the century. I always say in concerts, that the only disadvantage I can find in this tune, is that I didn't compose it myself!

26/2 - An arrangement we did together of the great John Coltrane composition. We decided to make our life harder and to play it in the odd meter of 7/4. In a duo set up, it is like making a Japanese Harakiri in front of a live audience.

Shir Hasade - "The song of the field". It is a beautiful song, sometimes proud, sometimes dark, by the late David Zehavi, an important Israeli composer. It started off as an arrangement I wrote for piano and voice, during the course of my Master's degree. I then brought it to the duo for this recording.

Nature Song - I was envisioning wide meadows in the winter, somewhere in the north of Israel, something like the photo on the cover of the album. Again, the melody is very clear, graspable.



Drummer/composer Ernesto Cervini’s latest album, There, was recorded live at the end of November, 2010, at Cory Weed's Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, There, features Joel Frahm (saxophones), Adrean Farrugia (piano) and Dan Loomis (bass) and Cervini (drums.) The album follows up Cervini's previous recording distributed by Anzic Records, Little Black Bird (2009),which received heaps of praise from critics and fans alike.

On There, his third recording as a leader, Cervini and the band revel in the joy that musicians experience playing for an enthusiastic crowd, and gives the listener a front row seat to enjoy this riveting set of music. Cervini commented that, performing for a live audience is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a musician. The energy that we get from the audience pushes us to even greater levels of creativity and spontaneity. This was definitely the case when I brought my quartet to perform for two nights at the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver. The sold-out audience was fantastic, and they propelled us to create some of our best performances to date. Luckily, we recorded both nights and this album features the best music culled from those shows.

The title, There, comes from the fact that the music was recorded over "there" in Vancouver, on the other side of Canada from Cervini's residence in Toronto, and also references and contrasts the drummer and composer's debut CD, Here. Two of the tunes featured on There, "Gramps" and "TGV",are from that first recording. The album art features a drawing by Cervini's wife, Jenny, depicting an abstract view of the Cross-Canada tour's path.

Like most of the music on There, the album's opening tune draws its inspiration from places Cervini has visited (he clearly possesses a quality that all great drummers share; he's always listening), and people that have left indelible impressions on the artist. "Granada Bus" borrows its bass line from a little melody that plays at bus stops in Granada to let people know of the impending arrival of the bus, and, it happens to be in 9/8! "Gramps" is a heartfelt ballad written for Cervini's grandfather while he was sick several years ago (he is better now!), followed by "TGV", based on a jingle Cervini overheard in a famous Parisian train station. He explains, while on vacation in Europe, my wife and I took the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), which is the bullet train traveling between Paris and London. Whenever there was a track announcement over the P.A. system, they played a couple notes first to get people's attention and I thought it sounded very interesting (and quite mysterious).

Other highlights on There include "Tullamore", the name of an Ontario city Cervini has passed many times in his travels, but has never actually been to. "The Monks of Oka" is dedicated to the wonderful Thelonious Monk, and it's named after the monks of Oka, Quebec who make fantastic cheese. Pianist Adrean Farrugia and saxophonist Joel Frahm also brought in some compelling music, "Woebegone" (Farrugia) and Alert (Frahm), to the quartet during this tour. The drummer's good friend, trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, arranged the album's one standard, "Secret Love".

I hope that this CD conveys the wonderful interaction we had with our audiences on those two nights, and gives you a feeling of the "live" music experience we all enjoyed! - Ernesto Cervini

Cervini, who has shared the stage with many legendary musicians such as Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Cleo Laine, Pat LaBarbera, Dick Oatts, Buddy DeFranco, Eddie Daniels, Scott Robinson, Dave Binney, Jim McNeely, and many others, has energy to burn, whether radiating it from behind his drums or working on any number of musical and educational projects. Cervini's diversity as a musician (he is also an excellent pianist and clarinetist) has allowed him to travel throughout the world, performing in some of the world's greatest jazz venues such as, Birdland, Sweet Rhythm, The Jazz Standard, The 55 Bar, The Montreal Bistro, The Top Of the Senator, The Rex Jazz and Blues Club, and also many of the world's most prestigious concert halls, such as Massey Hall, The Glen Gould Theatre, The St. Lawrence Center for the Arts and the Sugita Theatre in Yokohama, Japan.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Masterworks Broadway will release David Merrick Presents Hits From His Broadway Hits for digital download and as a disc-on-demand on February 21. It is the first time this compilation from 1964 will be available in these formats. The 12-track album contains such familiar songs as "What Kind of Fool Am I?" from Stop the World I Want to Get Off, "Small World" from Gypsy "Make Someone Happy" from Do Re Mi, "As Long As He Needs Me" from Oliver!, and "Love Makes the World Go Round" from Carnival, as well as less-well known material from Fanny, Destry Rides Again, and Irma La Douce. Originally produced by George R. Marek, the recording features such performers as John Gary, Ann-Margret and The Merrill Staton Voices.

It was back on October 1, 1964, that RCA Victor released David Merrick Presents Hits From His Broadway Hits. The album paid homage to the man who delivered the label the original cast recording of Hello, Dolly!, the phenomenal hit that had just opened at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. RCA’s George R. Marek called on John Gary, The Merrill Staton Voices and the sizzling Ann-Margret to capture on record a dozen songs from a dozen different Merrick musicals.

David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits
1. Fanny [Fanny] – John Gary
2. Love Makes the World Go ‘Round [Carnival] – Ann-Margret
3. Make Someone Happy [Do Re Mi] – The Merrill Staton Voices
4. Small World [Gypsy] – John Gary
5. Our Language of Love [Irma La Douce] – Ann-Margret
6. Take Me Along [Take Me Along] – The Merrill Staton Voices
7. What Kind of Fool Am I? [Stop the World, I Want to Get Off] – John Gary
8. As Long as He Needs Me [Oliver!] -Ann-Margret
9. Once in a Lifetime [Subways Are for Sleeping] -The Merrill Staton Voices
10. Anyone Would Love You [Destry Rides Again] – John Gary
11. Is It Really Me? [110 in the Shade] – Ann-Margret
12..Hello, Dolly! [Hello, Dolly!] – The Merrill Staton Voices


Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records recently released the third recording, From Now On, from guitarist and composer Oscar Peñas. Utilizing a multi-cultural band with members from the U.S., Japan and Argentina, Peñas delivers an album of music that he is very attached to, as it truly defines who he is as a Barcelona-born/Brooklyn-based composer and improviser. Paradoxically, Peñas feels that he had to be removed geographically from his native Spain to compose the music for From Now On. The recording is many things, but it is predominantly Peñas' personal and heartfelt reflection on his cultural heritage.

Nylon string guitar was Peñas' first instrument and he uses it again here to great effect, incorporating a dexterous finger picking style from his formative classical training. This technique combines with hints of Iberian music and memories of flamenco, informing the compositions, but never pretending to be faithful to any particular style or palo (sub-genre of flamenco). This influence is most profound on the title track, "From Now On" (featuring Gil Goldstein and Franco Pinna), and also on Encuentro, the oldest composition on the album, from the late nineties.

Spanish music and contemporary jazz are not the only influences on Peñas'writing. Brazilian music was love at first sight for the guitarist, and remains a strong influence on his music. This infatuation is clearly evident when listening to "Choro n.1 (Guinga)"dedicated to the great guitarist/composer from Rio de Janeiro, and "Choro n.2 (Corpo)", a composition that Peñas wrote immediately after attending an outstanding dance performance at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) by the Brazilian Corpo Dance Company that blew his mind.

Argentinean music and Cuban filin are the other strong influences in Peñas'compositions for this album. Samuel Smith,named after a British beer, is his way to pay tribute to an "Argentinean mood", expressed in a recurrent ostinato. Julia, dedicated to the memory of Oscar's late cousin, is an optimistic kind of bolero that simply celebrates life.

Listening to the lyrical, solo-less, last track of the album, Adéu ("goodbye" in Catalan), one could never mistake where Oscar Peñas is from, and where he is now.


Is there time to explore and reflect on musical beauty in the frenetic pace of modern life? It's a question vocalist Anne Walsh asks on her latest CD Go. "The title sums up my wish to move forward as an artist, and strike out into areas of the musical art-form that I haven't had the opportunity to explore in the past." Walsh and husband Tom Zink created this memorable musical journey as the follow up to their previous project Pretty World, which earned a Grammy nomination for the arrangement of "In The Still Of The Night."

The collection showcases a pair of Brazil 66' hits ("Cinnamon & Clove", "Batucada"), several originals written by friends ("Je Vousem", "Bumble Bee", "I'll Wish for You"), classic jazz pieces with original lyrics ( Wayne Shorter's "Go", & Azymuth's "Cascade of the 7 Waterfalls"), a song discovered on LinkedIn ("Melanie"), and even a piece of the soundtrack to Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid ("South American Getaway"). Once again, Walsh's husband, Thomas Zink, produced and arranged the dozen tracks that mesmerize in Go.

The CD gives both a point of view and asks some questions about the current times we live in, and the evolving way we listen to music. "The song Bumble Bee, really sums up what it's like to be alive these days: buzzing around, always moving, wings always flapping, and so busy that it is unfortunately easy to neglect the ones and the things we love," said Zink. Though we are constantly bombarded with information, there is an up side to this sometimes overwhelming deluge: the ability to study, observe and enjoy so many different cultures, and styles of music. "We wanted to incorporate that positive element into the format of the CD, so it's very eclectic." It flows almost like a mix tape from, but with a unique kind of cohesiveness.

Throughout Go a top-notch group of all-star musicians that includes noted bassists Brian Bromberg, and Jerry Watts, saxophonist Gary Meek, Guitarist Larry Koonse, and percussionists Chris Wabich, & Tiki Pasillas, help bring the musical vision alive. The result is a consistently colorful program in which one song leads logically to the next one, yet nothing is predictable or obvious. Not unlike modern life.

While this collection acknowledges the challenges of twenty first century living, it also provides an antidote through the rich layering of the musical elements, and a varied mosaic of orchestration. Some of the songs are fairly simple in their construction, while others invite the listener to thoughtful reflection in order to discover all the elements that are woven into the piece. Anne's voice takes the lead in much of the orchestration - including background parts, on solos, introductions and interludes. "Sometimes with vocal jazz projects, there's a disconnect between the way the voice and other instruments are used in a song, but we wanted to bridge that gap and link the elements together with the voice," explained Zink. In fact, many of the solos evolve as a conversation between Anne's vocals and the solo instrument.

"Ultimately we believe that beauty is real and rooted in the nature of creation. It can be reflected in music, or in the way a life is lived," said Zink. With this in mind, Anne chose to end the CD with an original song (Spring's Unfold) that she wrote as a tribute to the beauty of the sacrificial love that her parents lived out as they raised her and her brothers.



Carmen Lundy once again proves why she is a true legend of Jazz in a move that will have fans and Jazz enthusiasts everywhere scrambling to get in line for the first copies of the re-issue of her 1987 compact disc Night And Day, which has proven to be one of her most rare and highly-prized CDs. For all those who have been looking for a copy of Night And Day, the 1987 release of all standards featuring Kenny Kirkland, the wait is over! Afrasia Productions, Inc. is re-issuing this out-of-print, much sought-after CD. Available for the first time after many years, the album contains the original tracks with new artwork created by Carmen Lundy especially for this reissue.

Carmen is very excited to bring you this classic album on its 25th anniversary featuring some of Jazz' finest musicians. Says Carmen, "This recording has always been one of my favorites. Those were special times for Jazz in the mid 80s in New York City. This record was especially magical because of these incredibly gifted players. I want to thank our beloved Kenny Kirkland, Victor Lewis, Alex Blake, my brother Curtis Lundy, Rodney Jones and Ricky Ford for sharing in the making of this, my first and only recording of all standards." Yes, Night And Day is the only all standards album Ms. Lundy has ever released, making it one of the reasons this is such a momentous occasion. This reissue was recently released and isl preceding Carmen's new upcoming CD of all originals (and one arrangement) to be released in February 2012.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


French singer Amanova is preparing for the release of her first EP later this year which will contain 6 songs. Amanova is a true artist at heart who brings a very soft and soothing charm to the music that she loves to perform, whether it be soul, blues or jazz. She discovered her love for music when she was only 12 and since then she has been expressing herself musically. Her musical singing style is categorized as soothing with a hint of beautiful tenderness and sweetness, but yet jazzy and colorful at the same time.

“Cool excellence. She has produced a potent yet relaxing, laid back sound with vocals that, if they could be eaten would simply melt in the mouth. Amanova! Remember the name.”
Mr A. Domenico (GB) Cool Excellence – Review about “What A Way To Be”

She's got four songs available right now that you can listen to and enjoy: "What A Way To Be," "Unstoppable," "Then Will Come The Chance," and "Call Me."  Just go to http://www..amanova.net/ for more information. Her full EP will be out sometime during the August/September time frame.

In the meantime if you want to catch her live, here is where she will be appearing:

Live: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Bar-Club Apoteca Luxembourg City (LU)
9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Live: Friday, February 10, 2012
Restaurant MIA ZIA Belvaux (LU) at 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
TV-show "Head of the Art"
Diffusion 18h30 - 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
then visible on the net

Live: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Evening of Valentine's Day
Restaurant MIA ZIA Belvaux (LU) at 8:30 p.m.

Live: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Special Concert Hot Truck Jazz Session
SUNSET JAZZ CLUB in Paris (FR) at 8:30 p.m.
Amanova - Hallie Weiner - Réjane Artico
Tickets: http://www.sunset-sunside.com/2012/2/artiste/470/596/

Live: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Bar the 47 Place St Louis Metz (FR)



Concord Music Group is about to release Isn’t It Romantic? by Tony Bennett on February 15, it’s a new 15-track release culled from Tony Bennett’s recordings for the Improv and Fantasy labels, originally released between 1975 and 1977. Bennett founded Improv Records in 1975 with the determination of an industry veteran ready to make a statement of creative freedom. He had concluded a long tenure at Columbia Records and a two-album deal for MGM when Improv was born, and although the label only released some ten albums in its short lifetime, its music resonated with the full power of what we now call The Great American Songbook. A glance at some of the songwriters represented on Isn’t It Romantic? proves this: Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter.

More than one-third of the tracks originated on The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album, the first collaboration between Bennett and the jazz pianist, known for his sensitive work as a pioneer of the modal jazz style. Bennett and Evans made for incredibly sympathetic partners, and their work together is mood music of the highest order. Three tracks come from their 1977 follow-up, Together Again, recorded for Improv.

Though nothing is present from the freewheeling Tony Bennett/The McPartlands and Friends Make Magnificent Music, each one of Bennett’s other Improv albums is represented. From the original Sings 10 Rodgers and Hart Songs comes three cuts including “Isn’t It Romantic?,” written by the team for the 1932 motion picture Love Me Tonight. Its “sequel” (from the same 1973 recording sessions with the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet) Sings More Great Rodgers and Hart has yielded “My Romance,” from the 1935 musical Jumbo. Finally, 1975’s Life is Beautiful has been culled for both its title track (gifted to Bennett by its songwriter, Fred Astaire!) and Herman Hupfeld’s “As Time Goes By,” introduced in the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome but immortalized on the silver screen in 1942’s Casablanca.

This relatively brief period of Bennett’s still-thriving career has been anthologized numerous times, including on 2004’s The Complete Improv Recordings (Concord CCD4-2255), a cornerstone of any music library, and 2006’s Tony Bennett Sings for Lovers. There’s nothing new for completists, but if you’re looking for a succinct sampler of the period, each of the fifteen tracks here is beyond reproach. Isn’t It Romantic? arrives on February 7. This is classic, classy singing at its finest.

Tony Bennett, Isn’t It Romantic?
1. Make Someone Happy
2. Isn’t It Romantic?
3. As Time Goes By
4. My Foolish Heart
5. I Could Write a Book
6. Days of Wine and Roses
7. Dream Dancing
8. The Touch of Your Lips
9. Lover
10. But Beautiful
11. Young and Foolish
12. We’ll Be Together Again
13. My Romance
14. Lucky To Be Me
15. Life Is Beautiful


Marcus Strickland's seventh recording Triumph of The Heavy Volume 1 & 2 is a definitive statement from the critically-acclaimed and world renowned saxophonist. This ambitious two-CD set takes the listener on a journey from the studio to the stage alongside a highly-developed Marcus Strickland; one who is very sure of what he's doing on the saxophones (soprano, alto and tenor), and very comfortable taking risks.

On Volume 1 (laid down at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY) Strickland records on the alto saxophone (his new P. Mauriat alto) for the first time (on tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 10), and recorded the band while the music, a whole new set of originals, was still new to the musicians. This half of the recording is the documentation of the birth of his new quartet, featuring David Bryant, who fully embraced Strickland's percussive writing and approach for the piano in a quartet setting, the third Strickland "brother", Ben Williams on bass, and twin brother E.J. Strickland on drums. "In a way I added more excitement to the studio process by recording while the music was fresh, while it was close to the beginning of its development and interpretation," explained Strickland.

In contrast to Volume 1, on Volume 2 the trio displays the incredible results of extended touring together as they stretch and reinvent their repertoire, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT. The musical conversations and interactions are on an extraordinary level, only possible with time and trust. Strickland explains further, "The biggest development is trust: we trust each other more on this record than on Idiosyncrasies (StrickMuzik, 2009) because that was towards the beginning of the trio. And when trust is at such a height, it allows many spontaneous things to happen. It's very exciting. Playing with E.J. and Ben gets a performance out of me that's like no other with anybody else. While playing the track 'Surreal', for example, I remember we were very in tune with the groove. It was swinging extremely hard and I did some things on the horn that I didn't know I could do before the session. And that's what it's all about. That feeling is like no other!"

The title, Triumph of the Heavy, grew out of an experience Strickland had with his girlfriend. The saxophonist explains, "once upon a time, some months after I started seeing my girlfriend Dawn, we were in the car listening to my iPod. We'd never listened to her music in the car, so I said to her 'hey, why don't you put on your iPod?' So she does. And her immediate reaction after hearing her music was, 'You know what? This sounds kind of light compared to the music you listen to.' And that really stuck with me because often times many things have been extracted from commercial music so it can appeal to the masses. Quite often in the music industry, there's an entity (a producer, manager or A & R guy) trying to get artists to adulterate their sound so it's more 'accessible. After that day in the car I wanted to associate the title of my next recording with weight, because I wanted to express that music with substance, a strong sound and which takes risks can triumph, it can move people. It can, in fact, appeal to a greater audience. But, as demonstrated through my girlfriend's experience, only if we give it a chance through exposure. So that's what I call it: Triumph of the Heavy."

Strick Muzik Catalog:
Marcus Strickland - Twi-Life (SMK 001)
Marcus Strickland - Open Reel Deck (SMK 002)
E.J. Strickland - In This Day (SMK 003)
Marcus Strickland - Idiosyncrasies (SMK 004)
Marcus Strickland - Triumph of the Heavy Volume 1 & 2 (SMK 005-6)



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