Thursday, February 28, 2013

DONALD BYRD LIVE AT MONTREUX JULY 5, 1973

As a special tribute to this Jazz Immortal and as a gift to the legions of aficionados who, like all of us at Blue Note Records, treasure the music he's left behind, we are honored to present - for the first time - Donald Byrd, Live at Montreux from July 5, 1973. As teenagers in Detroit during the 1960s, my friends and I regarded Donald Byrd with the same lofty respect reserved for other hometown musical heroes like Smokey Robinson, The MC5, Elvin Jones, Mitch Ryder, Aretha Franklin and John Lee Hooker....they were all amazing artists who were changing the face of music by exporting the sounds of our city to the rest of the world. The music of Donald Byrd was ubiquitous back then...cats like the legendary Motor City jazz disc jockey, Ed Love, would hit tracks like "Nai Nai" from "Free Form" and "Christo Redentor" from "A New Perspective" on a nightly basis...Later on, in the 1970s, Mr. Byrd started adding a healthy dose of Detroit-style funk to his records and his innovative music could be heard blasting out of dashboard mounted 8 track players and back seat subwoofers all over town...He was a Motor City Trumpet Revolutionary and his timeless music will never be forgotten.

Shortly after Mr. Byrd's passing on February 4th, we got an email from the noted British music icon, Gilles Petersen, inquiring about a legendary performance from 1973's Montreux Jazz Festival. Blue Note's Curator-In-Chief, Michael Cuscuna, told us that it had, indeed, been recorded and subsequently mixed for release by Bob Belden in 1999. Inexplicably, it has remained hidden in the Blue Note vaults - until now. The tapes are wonderful and reveal a far more raw and gritty side to Donald Byrd's 70's music than his studio recordings might suggest....

As a special tribute to this Jazz Immortal and as a gift to the legions of aficionados who, like all of us at Blue Note Records, treasure the music he's left behind, we are honored to present - for the first time - Donald Byrd, Live at Montreux from July 5, 1973.


Personnel: Donald Byrd, Trumpet, Fluegelhorn, Vocals; Fonce Mizell, Trumpet, Vocals; Allan Barnes, Tenor Sax, Flute; Nathan Davis, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax; Kevin Toney, Electric Piano; Larry Mizell, Synthesizer; Barney Perry, Electric Guitar; Henry Franklin, Electric Bass; Keith Killgo, Drums, Vocals; Ray Armando, Conga, Percussion.

~ Don Was /  President, Blue Note Records / Source: Blue Note Records

NEW RELEASES - LAURA JANE, DOCTORFUNK, TOWER OF POWER

LAURA JANE - EVERYTHING CHANGES

Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter Laura Jane (www.laurajanemusic.net) has turned quite a few heads with her eclectic, powerful brand of soul music. She certainly won us over when we first heard her album Everything Changes and SoulTrackers agreed. So we're very proud to be presenting Laura's pulsating, soul driven track, "My Confession," as this month's Choice Track FREE DOWNLOAD. It's a great demonstration of the power brought by this new artist who is making waves in the soul music world. ~ Originally posted at Soultracks.com

DOCTORFUNK - SECOND OPINION

DoctorfunK was established in 1995 and has set the standard for new soul music in the Pacific Northwest. Echoing the legendary passion of famed horn band Tower of Power and that "Bay Area Sound," this 10-piece ensemble has maintained the tradition and more. With their first national release, "Prescription for Soul" on the Oakland-based label, Strokeland Records, DoctorfunK joins other standouts such as Glenn Waters and Fred Ross, as well as Doc Kupka's own Strokeland Superband. The follow-up release, "Second Opinion" introduces fresh new original material in a modern presentation that is rooted in the classic soul sound. Tower of Power alumni Jeff Tamelier produced and collaborated on the material, along with Roger Smith and Prarie Prince who makes a guest appearances. DoctorfunK is poised for a place in all of our music collections of the finest in soul and funk music. Listen for them on your local radio stations and watch for upcoming performances in your area as well. Old School in the New Millennium is here to stay. So if music is your medicine, make an appointment with DoctorfunK for your "Second Opinion" ~ CD Universe

TOWER OF POWER - ORIGINAL ALBUM SERIES

2013 5-CD box set containing a quintet of albums packaged in cardboard mini LP sleeves and housed in a slipcase. Tower of Power has remained a significant Californian funk/soul/R&B horn band since its formation in 1968. As well as performing as a band in their own right, Tower of Power have worked with an impressive selection of other acts as a horn section including major acts such Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead and John Lee Hooker. Included in this collection is the 1973 hit 'So Very Hard to Go', from the band's most successful album to date: Tower Of Power, which reached #15 in the Billboard 200, and was later certified Gold. Included in this 5-CD collection are the hit songs 'You're Still A Young Man,' on the debut album Bump City, and 'Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream),' on the 1974 album Back To Oakland. ~ CD Universe

DESSY DI LAURO - THIS IS NEO-RAGTIME

This February Black History Month, Dessy Di Lauro is releasing her first full-length album of her original music entitled, This Is Neo-Ragtime along with her new music video, 'Jump N’ Jivin’. Di Lauro says: ‘I feel like it is the perfect month of the year to release this album because I want to celebrate the importance of Ragtime music in Black history with everyone. Back then, almost a century ago, this genre was at the top of the pop charts and I want to revive that again.

The album features an urban sound with stride piano, live horns, along with electronic/urban overtones with resonating keyboard bass and thumping drum machines sounds and catchy hooks. Dessy’s lyrical subject matters range from today’s artists’ challenges dealing with social media’s heavy influence on the music industry, on her song ‘Popularity Contest’, to ending an abusive relationship on ‘Never Existed’ to simply having a good time at the juke joint party on ‘Jump ‘N’ Jivin’.

In anticipation of the upcoming release, This Is Neo-Ragtime, with the help of the people at Live Nation, the world’s premier concert promoters, Dessy Di Lauro performed a mini House of Blues tour with stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Houston. She also regularly headlines at the world renowned Blue Note Jazz in NYC.

Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s CEO of Global Touring and Chairman of Global Music comments: ‘’I had the pleasure of seeing Dessy perform at the House of Blues in Las Vegas recently. The show was brilliant. She is a great vocalist and performer with great songs and arrangements with a top-notch band led by musical director Ric'key Pageot.

Catch Dessy this summer, performing at Jazz Festivals in and across North America and Europe. Expect nothing less from Di Lauro than a high-caliber, modern-day juke joint jamboree from this unique neo-ragtime and contemporary R&B artist. ~ Giantstep.net

JROC SEVENTY ONE - DROPPING INTELLIGENCE

Jroc Seventy One (aka JB) announced the release of his second album, Dropping Intelligence. The album was released on February 19, 2013, and is available on iTunes and Amazon.com, as well as other online retailers, including Spotify, My Space Music, Media Net, Deezer, and Rdio. "Dropping Intelligence" boasts 11 tracks, most of which are between 5 and 10 minutes long. JB said, "I'm really proud of this sophomore album. I released Sponge in October 2012, but I've matured as a musician in the short period between my debut album and Dropping Intelligence. People who are open to new experiences in music will love it."

Phoenix based KJZZ on air personality and musician Paul Anderson had this to say about the new album: "When you make the sacrifices and pay the dues to learn your craft, then it's time to step up and show music fans what you are all about. Jroc Seventy One has proven himself to be a true competitor with his latest release "Dropping Intelligence". The Electronica/Jazz music master brings a fresh, new personal perspective to dance music. The cuts feature everything from Electronica to contemporary combinations, and sounds produced by the ancient peoples of south Siberia. If you want to add a unique element to your next mix or playlist, you can't go wrong with the new EP Dropping Intelligence, from Jroc Seventy One."

Born Jose Yupangco in Manila, Philippines in 1971, where his grandfather owned a piano manufacturing company, Jroc Seventy One was exposed to music at an early age. After moving to Los Angeles when he was 7, JB's parent permanently relocated to Vancouver, Canada where he now resides. Within a year, his father began teaching him piano, which he continued studying until the 7th grade. He began teaching himself to playing percussion when he was 14, subsequently moving on to other instruments, the first of which was the bass.

JB received his first DJ mixer as a present in 1988 for his 17th birthday and began DJ'ing professionally around 1995, landing the DJ spot in the renowned jazz room at The Purple Onion in 1996, where major artists from New Orleans and San Francisco played. He began dabbling with the drums at 24, but didn't really take it seriously until 2006, when he began taking lessons from Jay Beachman at Tom Lee Music in Vancouver, and also enrolled in classes at two drum schools (Grandville Island Drum School in Vancouver and also Tom Lee Music School in Vancouver). JB started penning music at that time so he could begin writing drum scores. He played in various garage bands in high school, and joined the band Smak in 1998, which was in the process of dissolution at the time. He and fellow Smak band member Chris Mitchell formed Smaqu-2 in 1999, and performed as a duo on the popular television show Breakfast TV on a Vancouver Station, and at local venues, and university radio shows. The collaboration ended with the release of a Virgin Records CD release in 2000.

From February 2000 - 2001, JB began playing and touring throughout the west coast of Canada with the band Gospel Space Juice, which was a funk/jazz/R&B band. When that ended in 2001, he continued playing at night clubs in Vancouver as a DJ, and created his own live band called Sushi On A Plate with band members from Gospel Space Juice, playing at the esteemed DV8 in downtown Vancouver. Each member of the band played an instrument, but also had a background in musical composition, which is where JB learned firsthand about the concept of practicum over theory. He ended Sushi On A Plate in 2001, moved to Japan that same year, and played for 8 months in Osaka and Kobe, then returned to Canada and took a break for two years. In 2004, he rejoined the music scene and began drumming heavily. JB started writing the music for Sponge in 2010, and completing and releasing it in 2012.

Jroc Seventy One said, "I have many musical influences and am an educated composer, so I have an open mind to all music. I can scratch, have a piano and drum background, and I'm using the most innovative software to date, called Ableton, which was made in Germany, while other people continue to use Reason and low end software. I don't have to hire a DJ or get music samples that other DJs use when they record. I can do all of that. My style of DJ'ing is a New York style, as opposed to the West Coast."

Jroc Seventy One placed 5th place out of 194 competitors in a contest to produce an original song for Converse, who sponsored the contest, which was decided by popular vote. In January 2013, he placed 4th out of 234 global competitors in a remix competition by Indaba Music, also by popular vote. He collaborated with Niamson, one of DMX's producers, on the track "I Can't Remember", and has taken courses in Advanced Ableton Music Production (for music producer) and Ableton's DJ and Live Production Program.

http://www.jrocseventyone.com/
http://www.reverbnation.com/jrocseventyonejb

MOLLY RINGWALD - EXCEPT SOMETIMES

Except Sometimes, the debut CD from actress and author Molly Ringwald is a wonderful set that pays homage to the Great American Songbook, Ringwald has crafted a carefully chosen selection of standards which she caps off with her take on The Breakfast Club classic, "Don't You (Forget About Me)." Molly Ringwald really opens up here and sings in a style that makes the tunes completely her own and the vibe throughout is just fantastic! The CD is scheduled to be released on April 9th by Concord Records.

The release of Except Sometimes will be accompanied by select tour dates as well as appearances in conjunction with the release of her best selling new novel, When It Happens to You. Except...Sometimes was produced by Peter Smith and features Clayton Cameron (drums), Allen Mezquida (alto saxophone), Peter Smith (piano), and Trevor Ware (bass).

Said Ringwald, "I grew up in a home filled with music and had an early appreciation of jazz since my dad was a jazz musician (pianist Bob Ringwald). Beginning at around age three I started singing with his band and jazz music has continued to be one of my three passions along with acting and writing I like to say jazz music is my musical equivalent of comfort food. It's always where I go back to when I want to feel grounded."

An actress of both stage and screen, Molly was cast in Paul Mazursky's film Tempest at the age of 13. Her performance as Miranda, the daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, earned her a Golden Globe nomination, and she went on to star in numerous films, including The Pick-Up Artist, For Keeps, Fresh Horses, Betsy's Wedding, Office Killer, Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade, King Lear, and the now-iconic John Hughes movies Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty In Pink.

In 1992, a lifelong Francophile, Ringwald moved to Paris where she acted in such foreign films as Jean-Claude Tacchella'sTous Le jours Dimanche and Toni Marshal's Enfands de Salaud, which she performed entirely in French. She frequently returned to the United States to star in television projects, including the critically acclaimed comedy series Townies, Stephen King's The Stand, and the Emmy-nominated Allison Gertz Story.

The ten tracks from Except Sometimes are as follows:  Sooner Or Later // I Get Along Without You Very Well // I Believe In You // I'll Take Romance // The Very Thought Of You // Exactlty Like You // Where Is Love // Pick Yourself Up // Ballad Of The Sad Young Men // Don't You (Forget About Me).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NEW RELEASES - LARRY CORYELL, PETULA CLARK, BILAL

LARRY CORYELL - THE LIFT

Larry Coryell's name isn't bandied around much now, but in the 1970s he was almost as big a guitar star as John McLaughlin, and an equivalent influence on the development of early electric jazz-rock fusion ... Coryell's crackling uptempo bursts and engagingly rough-hewn energy give this familiar music a vividness and infectious enthusiasm. You don't even have to be a fan of his or a guitar aficionado to dig this disc; anyone who likes that old school funky rock-jazz with a few delectable diversions will find a lot to like about it. The old Larry Coryell, the Father of Fusion Guitar, is back. --Something Else! Larry Coryell's third album on Wide Hive Records is simply astounding. On this throwback-style rock trio record, Larry delivers quintessential performances throughout all 12 tracks. Offering rock, blues, and soul-infused jazz, Larry is on his game with skills so amazing, it will make you seriously question how they could be the one-take performances they are. Guitarists take note: Larry s got game! ~ Amazon.com

PETULA CLARK - LOST IN YOU

In an incredible career spanning over seven decades, Petula Clark has become a true International Superstar. She cut her first record in 1949 and has subsequently become one of the best selling British female artists in recording history, selling over 68 million records worldwide. Petula releases her album in the US this coming April via The End Records, featuring a mix of stunning new songs and beautifully done covers. Tracks include Lost In You; Crazy; Never Enough; Downtown (New Version); Next To You; Reflections; and Imagine. ~ Amazon.com


BILAL - A LOVE SURREAL

Critically acclaimed musician, Bilal is once again ready to set the music world ablaze with “A Love Surreal". The album shows Bilal’s unique ability to reinterpret jazz, soul, and funk for today’s audience. The album, which Bilal calls an audio art gallery or musical museum, was inspired by the surrealist paintings of Salvador Dali. Overall, the goal of the album was to create music that mirrored Dali’s art with instruments as well as discuss the many facets of love. “A Love Surreal” will feature appearances from Robert Glasper & musical trio, KING. Never one to disappoint, Bilal is set to present a musical experience with A Love Surreal that is sure to be talked about as well as praised for many years to come. ~ BBEMusic.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

JIMMY SMITH - THE UNPREDICTABLE JIMMY SMITH: BASHIN' / HOBO FLATS

A Hammond organ double-header – two Verve classics from Jimmy Smith, back to back on a single CD! First up is Bashin – one of Jimmy Smith's biggest albums of the 60s – and a classic Verve pairing of his lean Hammond organ solos with the fuller, hard-swinging arrangements of Oliver Nelson! Nelson is working here at the height of his powers – backing Smith with a large group, but in a way that only seems to free him up to solo even more – pushing the tunes with an undeniable power from the all-star band, as Jimmy takes off on flights of soulful fancy over the top! Side two features some more stripped-down solo work – in the manner of Jimmy's later Blue Note sides – and the set includes the hit single "Walk On The Wild Side", plus the tracks "Bashin", "Step Right Up", and "Beggar For The Blues". Hobo Flats is another mighty pairing of Jimmy Smith and Oliver Nelson – one that has the heavy Hammond of Smith set up in some sparkling jazz backdrops from Nelson! The sound here has some bluesy undercurrents, as you might guess from the title – but Oliver's charts keep things hip throughout, and ensure that the record stays far from any 60s cliches in the music – and always keeps one ear out for the sharper edges that always makes Nelson's arrangements a great match for Smith. The horns are full at times, but Jimmy's organ bursts right out over the top – gliding along a great groove with a really inherent sense of rhythm. Titles include a shimmering bossa take on "Meditation", plus "Hobo Flats", "Walk Right In", "I Can't Stop Loving You", and "The Preacher". ~ Dusty Groove

DIZZY GILLESPIE - NEW WAVE / ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA

60s cookers from Dizzy Gillespie – back to back on a single CD! New Wave is a lost bossa jazz classic from Dizzy Gillespie – recorded at a time when Lalo Schifrin was working in his combo! The record's got a cool, laidback kind of groove – one that's miles away from Gillespie's earlier bop work, and which shows him opening up his rhythmic conception strongly in the 60s. Rhythms are percolated by the piano of Schifrin, guitar of Bola Sete, bass of Chris White, and some well-chosen added percussion work – and the overall groove is one of the best American takes on the bossa jazz sound of the time, delivered with wonderful horn work from Dizzy on trumpet, Leo Wright on flute and alto, and Charlie Ventura on tenor! Even familiar tunes are transformed by the sound – and titles include "In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town", "Careless Love", "Taboo", "One Note Samba", "Pergunte Ao Joao", and "Chega de Saudade". On The French Riviera isn't really French, but actually a killer batch of Latiny tinged tracks from Dizzy & Co – with with great arrangements by Lalo Schifrin! There's a wonderful 10 minute version of "Chega De Saudade", done as "No More Blues" to start it out, and it's got a great loping Latin vibe, in the manner of Dizzy's best sides from the 60s. Lalo's on piano, and the great Leo Wright is on flute and alto, with Tzigane Elek Bacsik on guitar, Chris White on bass, Ruby Collins on drums and Pepitoo Riestria on percussion. Other nice ones include "Long Long Summer", "Desafinado", and "Pau De Arara". A great album, and one not to pass up! ~ Dusty Groove

BUDDY RICH / GENE KRUPA - BURNIN' BEAT

Heavy drums from this mighty pair – presented together on two classic albums! Burnin Beat is a drum-heavy spectacular that returns Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich to their big band roots – thanks to some hard-swinging arrangements from George Williams! The tracks are a bit shorter and done with a larger group than on some of the other Rich or Krupa sides for Verve – but there actually seems to be even more drum pyrotechnics here, possibly because the players' efforts are compressed into such a tight space! Production is a bit odd – with the drums so high in the mix that they sometimes come across with more treble than bass – but that really highlights some of the most inventive moments on the top of the kit as well. Titles include "Duet", "Perdido", "Evolution", "Night Train", and "Hawaiian War Chant". Original Drum Battle is a pretty darn great album – with a wonderful mix of JATP swing and strong-handed drumming by the leaders. The material was recorded at a Jazz At The Philharmonic show at Carnegie Hall in 1952, and although the main focus appears to be Krupa and Rich's drum work, there's actually some fantastic sax playing on the album – from both the alto of Willie Smith and the tenor of Flip Phillips, both of whom are at the height of their powers in this relaxed setting, working amazingly well around the bombastic drum pounding of Krupa and Rich. Tracks are long, and titles include "Idaho", "Flying Home", "Drum Boogie", "Drum Battle", and "Perdido".  ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - MARTY PAICH, BARNEY KESSEL, HERBIE MANN

MARTY PAICH - THE ROCK-JAZZ INCIDENT: THE SOUND OF NOW

We're not entirely sure about the "incident" mentioned in the title – clearly front page news back in the day – but we can say that the album's a sweet little groover with a nice mod bounce – a set that features lots of great organ and piano from the mighty Marty Paich, working here with a snappy, syncopated groove that's right in line with Jimmy Bowen's mid 60s Reprise Records production style! The album's a sweet standout from Reprise at the time – mighty nice, and put together with a very solid feel – way more than just your typical 60s easy instrumental record – with some slight use of guitar to justify the "rock" in the title! Tunes include "The Cat", "Gotta Go", "The Proud Camel", "The Thing", "Promise Her Anything", and "Watermelon Man". ~ Dusty Groove

BARNEY KESSEL - KESSEL/JAZZ: CONTEMPORARY LATIN RHYTHMS 

A wonderful wonderful set from Barney Kessel – bossa-inflected jazz, and a wonderful setting for Barney to hit some very groovy lines on electric guitar! The group on the date is part of the strength of the record – with Conte Candoli on trumpet, Emil Richards on vibes, Paul Horn on flute, and Victor Feldman on piano – with loads of great percussion and guitar interplay on the set, plus some excellent use of flute and vibes – all of which makes for the sort of session that really translates the Brazilian groove into the best sort of sound the LA scene was cutting at the time! Nice, light, and dancing rhythms – and titles that include "Love", "Days Of Wine & Roses", "Latin Dance #1", "Lady Byrd", and "One Note Samba". ~ Dusty Groove


HERBIE MANN - LATIN FEVER

Herbie Mann's got Latin fever – and it makes for one heck of a great 60s album! The vibe here is more bossa nova than the New York Latin of the time – but that's OK with us, because Mann's flute is perfect in the setting – and really sparkles here on the album's tracks that were partially recorded in Brazil! Mann's got a way of putting a nice sort of punch into bossa – using his sharp flute lines in ways you'd never hear a Brazilian player use at the time – and titles include the bossa titles "Nana", "Groovy Samba", "Influencia De Jazz", and "Batida Differente" – plus "Fever", "The Golden Striker", and "Now Now – Later On". ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - GENE AMMONS, GEORGE WALLINGTON, HANK CRAWFORD

GENE AMMONS - THE SOULFUL MOODS OF GENE AMMONS

A pair of soulful gems from tenorist Gene Ammons – back to back on a single CD! The Soulful Moods is beautiful beautiful work from tenorist Gene Ammons – and an album that really demonstrates that during the 60s, one of Ammons' strongest suits was his work with a mellow tune or ballad! The tracks here are wonderfully laidback, but never sleepy – very soulful, and solidly put together in that Ammons-made gentle-blown way – using just a few notes to send the message out with a powerful punch, without ever overdoing things the way that a few of his tenor contemporaries might be tempted to do! The group's a great fit too – with the lovely Patti Brown on piano, plus bass from George Duvivier and bass from Ed Shaughnessy – and titles include "Two Different Worlds", "Skylark", "Three Little Words", "Street Of Dreams", and "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To". The second album is Nice & Cool, but not in a west coast way – and instead a set that's got Gene Ammons working some wonderfully soulful magic on a set of gentle ballads! The set's got a brilliant late nite sort of feel – one of those tenor albums that seems to sound even better in the space past midnight – as the warm glow from Ammons' horn seems to sparkle even more strongly in the dark – standing out with that stark, spare approach that always makes his ballad work so special – and unlike just about anyone else. The group here is nice and cool too – with Richard Wyands on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, and JC Heard on drums – and titles include "Someone To Watch Over Me", "I Remember You", "Willow Weep For Me", and "Till There Was You". ~ Dusty Groove


GEORGE WALLINGTON - THE NEW YORK SCENE

George Wallington's New York Scene is a very sharp one – touched by the fire of George's earliest bop influences, but expanded out here with a nice degree of late 50s modernism! The group has a drum-tight performance throughout – with Phil Woods on alto and Donald Byrd on trumpet providing an especially strong frontline – every bit as sharp as the best heard on Woods' seminal records from the same generation, but touched a bit more by some of Wallington's more introspective modes of later years. Rhythm is by Teddy Kotick on bass and Nick Stabulas on drums – and the album strikes a perfect balance between modern expression and personal interpretation – on titles that include "In Salah", "Up Tochickon Creek", "Dis Mornin", "Indian Summer", and "Sol's Ollie". ~ Dusty Groove


HANK CRAWFORD - SOUL CLINIC

One of the most highly-regarded albums of Hank Crawford's 60s run on Atlantic Records – a set when everything seems to come together just right – and provide an even better showcase than usual for Hank's soulful lines on alto sax! The set also features tenor from David Newman – easily a perfect companion to Crawford for the record – and the rhythms have a nicely laidback, easygoing vibe – almost more Prestige Records soul jazz than the usual Atlantic style of the time. The set's got some warm mellow instrumental versions of blues classics, plus a few originals like "Lorelei's Lament", "Blue Stone", and "Playmates". ~  Dusty Groove

BOZ SCAGGS ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES IN SUPPORT OF NEW ALBUM - MEMPHIS

Grammy Award-winning rock legend Boz Scaggs has put the finishing touches on his latest studio album titled Memphis. The multi-platinum selling musician just signed with 429 Records which will release the album on March 5th. On Tuesday, February 26th, Boz and band will perform " Cadillac Walk " on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Showcasing both original songs and choice covers, Memphis was produced by Steve Jordan ( John Mayer ) and was recorded at Willie Mitchell's legendary Royal Studio in Memphis, where the late Mitchell recorded Al Green and other Hi Records artists. Joining Scaggs on MEMPHIS are Willie Weeks (bass), Ray Parker Jr. (guitars), Spooner Oldham (keyboards), the Memphis Horns, Lester Snell (string arrangements) and Steve Jordan (drums). Memphis will be available everywhere on March 5th.

William Royce "Boz" Scaggs began a long and storied career in 1965 with the release of his first solo recording Boz. Scaggs quickly developed into an iconic singer/songwriter cutting his teeth playing with Steve Miller on several highly successful projects and honing his rock and R&B chops working with the likes of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Duane Allman . Scaggs hit it big in 1976 achieving multi-platinum success with Silk Degrees and its follow ups. Scaggs continued on a lauded and multi-genre musical journey to the present day. He and his band continue to tour worldwide and Scaggs also performs alongside Donald Fagan and Michael McDonald in their band billed as The Dukes of September.

BOZ SCAGGS 2013 TOUR SCHEDULE
March 21 - Modesto, CA - Gallo Center of the Arts
March 22 - Napa, CA - The Uptown Theatre
March 24 - Airway Heights, WA - N. Quest Casino - PendO'Reille Pavilion
March 26 - Palm Desert, CA - McCallum Theatre For the Performing Arts
April 05 - Dover, DE - Dover Downs Hotel & Casino – Rollins Ctr Ballroom
April 06 - Bridgeport, CT - The Klein Memorial Auditorium
April 08 - Worcester, MA - Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
April 09 - Buffalo, NY - Univ. of Buffalo Center For the Arts
April 11 - Minneapolis, MN - State Theatre
April 12 - Saint Charles, IL - The Arcada Theatre
April 13 - Windsor, ON - Caesars Windsor
April 15 - Newport News, VA - Ferguson Center for the Arts
April 17 - Greenville, SC - Peace Center For the Performing Arts
April 19 - Meridian, MS - Riley Center for the Performing Arts
April 20 - Biloxi, MS - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
April 21 - Lafayette, LA - Heymann Performing Arts Center
April 23 - Midland, TX - Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center
April 24 - Dallas, TX - At&t Performing Arts Center - Annette Strauss Square
April 26 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
April 27 - Houston, TX - Arena Theatre
June 16- San Francisco, CA – Stern Grove Festival

Monday, February 25, 2013

THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA - THE JAZZ AGE

It’s not uncommon now for artists of stature to rework standout moments from their canon. Recently Jeff Lynne revisited ELO’s catalogue, and Tori Amos re-recorded old songs with an orchestra. Some deem such moves a lazy admission that fresh ideas have expired; others relish seeing masterpieces in new light.
Yet Bryan Ferry, never averse to a re-make/re-model (as his lifelong parallel career as a covers-crooner of "ready-mades" has established), has cooked up something completely unexpected and unprecedented here. Not least because he doesn’t sing on it.

The Jazz Age is an instrumental set in which numbers spanning from Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain to Reason or Rhyme from most recent solo album Olympia are radically reimagined. Some are only faintly recognisable. His hits and cult items are fashioned as they might have been in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties, or the Gatsby ballrooms of F. Scott Fitzgerald (a poster-boy of doomed romanticism to whom Ferry has never struggled to relate).

Names like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Duke Ellington will be bandied around. In fairness to Ferry, this isn’t a dilettante detour: he has always, since the time of Roxy’s 1972 debut, when it was far from cool to do so, named these artists as influences. Now with musical director Colin Good (who oversaw the 1999 standards album, As Time Goes By) arranging, another Ferry fantasy world emerges. Such is the devotion and sincerity (and musicianship) that it’s not an "easy"listen at all: the once supremely-stylised Do the Strand is now loose and freeform, while Avalon wafts blithely in and out of its melody.

Love Is the Drug sounds completely transformed without its bass hook, yet still wickedly alluring; Slave to Love becomes a strangely jaunty jitterbug. There is cheek as well as chic here. Yet, crucially, as the pining Just Like You (his most underrated song) displays, that trademark air of desire remains. A peculiar concept then, with Ferry now, almost Warhol-like, sagely mute to one side while collaborators silkscreen his own icons. As fascinating as it is perplexing, anything but obvious, and therefore to be applauded.

~ Chris Roberts / BBC

NEW RELEASES: THE WORLD NEEDS CHANGING: STREET FUNK & JAZZ GROOVES. KAI WINDING, CLARKEE-BOLAND BIG BAND

THE WORLD NEEDS CHANGING: STREET FUNK & JAZZ GROOVES 1967-1976

The world needs changing – and plenty of these tunes may well do it – thanks to infectious grooves and some very righteous message-oriented lyrics! The set's a great document of the positive, progressive energy going down in soul music during the heady days of the late 60s and early 70s – a time when the country was changing heavily, and the music was as well – moving into new styles, themes, and ideas – expressed here by a hip batch of cats who were working on some of the best indie labels of the underground! This set offers up a great mix of cool cuts from a variety of sources – a few gems from the Flying Dutchman label, some other obscure 45s, and even a few southern soul numbers that fit surprisingly well with the northern vibe of most of these numbers. Titles include "Walk Tall" by Esther Marrow, "Get Ready/Uptight" by Little Eva Harris, "All Power To The People (part 1)" by Joe Savage & The Soul People, "Soul Patrol" by The Original Soul Patrol, "Do It (inst)" by Johnny Griffith, "The World Needs Changin" by Hank Jacobs & Don Malone, "Sea Saw Affair" by Cesar 830, "Love Tones" by Melvin Sparks, "That's The Way It Goes" by Elaine Armstrong, "This Is The Me Me" by Brenda Jones with Groove Holmes, "Sissy Strut N American Woman" by The Willard Posey Reunion, and "Rudypoot" by Huck & The Soul Patrol. ~ Dusty Groove

KAI WINDING - SOUL SURFIN'

Some of the coolest work Kai Winding ever recorded – two very odd albums, back to back on a single CD! Soul Surfin is hardly the trombone jazz outing you might have guessed from Kai's famous work with JJ Johnson – and instead, an electrified set that's got plenty of cool 60s touches! Winding does play trombone, but the group also features lots of guitar from Kenny Burrell, electric piano from Paul Griffin, and ondioline from Jean Jacques Perry – who really gives the whole thing a cool sort of watery sound – making the guitar and trombone sound wonderful together! Burrell's at his boldest too – almost surf-ish in parts – and titles include the album's hit version of "More", plus "Gravy Waltz", "China Nights", "Pipeline", "Sukiyaki", "Tube Wall", "Sinner", and "Hearse Ride". Mondo Cane 2 is a sweet return of the cool sounds that Kai Winding cut on his Soul Surfin album – not really jazz, but a wicked hybrid of groovy 60s modes – set to larger orchestrations this time around, but still featuring some great ondioline from Jean Jacques Perry! Perry's instrument is really unique – gliding out here in ways that make the instrumental tunes cross over to worlds that Winding might never have touched before – augmented by great arrangements from Claus Ogerman, Charlie Calello, Billy Byers, and Winding himself! The set features guitar from Les Spann – and titles that include "Python", "Mondo Cane #2", "The Gospel Truth", "Warm", "Theme From The Medic", "The Struggle", and "Portrait Of My Love". ~ Dusty Groove

CLARKE-BOLAND BIG BAND - HANDLE WITH CARE

One of the first great moments from this legendary 60s ensemble – a brilliant pairing of American and European players – heard here in one of their pre-MPS sessions! Group founder Gigi Campi is well-placed at the helm – as both producer and supervisor – giving the ensemble the vital energy that made them different from so many other groups of previous years – a quality that almost has them hitting like a small combo, especially on the breakout solo moments on the set. Players include Benny Bailey and Idrees Sulieman on trumpets, Sahib Shihab and Derek Humble on reeds, and Fats Sadi on vibes – not to mention core rhythms from Francy Boland on piano, Jimmy Woode on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums. The group's inventive style of writing and arranging is already in place – and titles include "Long Note Blues", "Speedy Reeds", "Sonor", and "Om Mani Padme Hum". ~ Dusty Groove

THE BILL HORVITZ EXPANDED BAND - THE LONG WALK

Eight years after his brother's untimely death, guitarist and composer Bill Horvitz pays homage to Philip with his latest release, The Long Walk, set for national release, April 2. Special tribute performances are being planned for the SF Bay Area (March) as well as New York (June).

The Long Walk is a suite of eight pieces composed by Bill Horvitz for the 17-piece Bill Horvitz Expanded Band as a tribute to his youngest brother Philip Horvitz, who passed away suddenly of a heart failure in 2005 at the age of 44. Philip was an inspired writer, director, actor, dancer, and choreographer, who worked primarily in San Francisco and New York. The music includes a wide range of styles drawing on jazz, funk, folk, and new music. The compositions are tightly composed and arranged and contain sections of conducted improvisation. Each piece relates in some way to a part of Philip's life.

After Philip died, Horvitz wanted to compose music as a tribute to him, and about a year after his death, began hearing the beginnings of new compositions that felt in different ways related to Philip's life. As Horvitz worked tirelessly on his compositions, the music evolved and he began adding instruments. The resulting pieces are a collection of jazz, rock, folk, classical, and funk-influenced works that have come out of the enormous range of emotions Horvitz has felt since his brother's untimely death, "I did not compose this music with literal ideas about Philip in mind, but found elements that related to him as each piece grew." For example, "Child Star" with all the appropriate fanfares, refers to a time very early in Philip's life when he often performed for his family, "Philip would create theatrical pieces, command performances based on Broadway musicals, for which he printed and sold tickets. He would dance in the living room and lip sync or sing along with recordings, all highly choreographed and rehearsed to a tee."

Bill Horvitz has spent nearly 40 years combining composition and improvisation and expanding the voice of the guitar in both large and small ensembles. Between 1978 and 1988 he lived and worked in New York City, where he worked with a long list of composers and musicians. Horvitz' lengthy and varied experience in the realms of jazz, rock, classical, folk, and new music have resulted in an entirely original compositional voice-a voice that is forceful and innovative, yet always intelligently accessible. As a guitarist, Horvitz stretches the boundaries of guitar music and points it in new and exciting directions. He fuses traditional and extended techniques in a most inventive way; his strikingly personal instrumental vision endows his music with an infinite array of tonal color.

The pieces in The Long Walk combine through-composed, tightly arranged music with a variety of settings for improvisation. Exercising his creative writing abilities with his Expanded Band proves to an exhilarating experience for Horvitz, "The instrumentation includes brass, winds, strings, and rhythm section and enables me to shift between a traditional jazz sound and something less conventional." The Expanded Band includes a stellar line-up of some of the San Francisco Bay Area's (and beyond) finest musicians, who add an enormous amount to the music already on the page as excellent readers, interpreters, and improvisers.

The improvised portions commonly begin with one or two soloists and build from there as directed by conductor Omid Zoufonoun. Hailing from a renowned family of Persian musicians, instrumentalist and composer Zoufonoun studied conducting in Vienna for three years.

When performed live, Horvitz introduces the pieces with brief stories about Philip, connecting the music to him. These stories have a profound impact on the audience as well as the musicians. The stories are poignant, evocative, and often quite humorous. Band members play the music with increased passion, and following the concerts, audience members speak of being deeply moved, sharing similar experiences of loss of their own. This, for Horvitz, is the most significant part of the project-how the combination of story and music touches people, uniting all in the human experience. Writer David Templeton said, "The program has universal appeal, beautifully illustrating how the loss of someone very close can be turned into a work of healing, acceptance, and love."

The first Expanded Band performances came in the fall of 2006 in San Francisco and Sebastopol, California. The original ensemble included twelve musicians, and by the spring of 2007, the ensemble grew to 20 and performed the music in New York City at Roulette. In 2009 Horvitz had yet another vision for his Expanded Band, opting to revise the music extensively, add a new piece, and slightly alter the instrumentation. From this the ensemble came into existence as it is today, with 17 musicians and a conductor. The music was recorded in 2011 at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA.

In addition to leading and playing in The Bill Horvitz Expanded Band, since 2004, he has sung and played guitar, banjo, and ukulele with TONE BENT, a folk duo with his wife, composer, musician and singer Robin Eschner. Their first release, Say What You Will, has been described as "a roaring ride through the heartland of human experience." They're second release Angels In the Kitchen will be released in the spring of 2013. Horvitz also leads and composes for the instrumental trio, The Skerries, with bassist Scott Walton and drummer Tom Hayashi. He is a founding member of Take Jack, a nine-member vocal and instrumental band and has composed music for theater, film, dance, art installation, and spoken word.Upcoming Bill Horvitz

Expanded Band Appearances:
March 22 / Duende / Oakland, CA
March 23 / The Glaser Center / Santa Rosa, CA
June 30 / Roulette / Brooklyn, NY

www.billhorvitz.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

MARK LOCKHEART - ELLINGTON IN ANTICIPATION

Over 30 years, tenor saxophonist Mark Lockheart has steadily built up an impressive and eclectic discography. Alongside albums on which he is leader – this is the eighth – he has been a member of such groundbreaking groups as Loose Tubes, Perfect Houseplants and Polar Bear. He’s also guested on classic records like Prefab Sprout’s Steve McQueen and Radiohead’s Kid A.

To record Ellington in Anticipation, Lockheart selected a star-studded group including his Polar Bear bandmates bassist Tom Herbert and drummer Seb Rochford plus piano ace Liam Noble.

Alongside Lockheart are Finn Peters on alto sax and flute, clarinettist James Allsopp and violinist Emma Smith. That instrumentation gave Lockheart a versatile palette which he’s exploited to produce a rich variety of moods and textures. The album’s 11 tracks include such well-loved Duke Ellington pieces as Mood Indigo and Creole Love Call alongside four Lockheart originals which borrow from and pay homage to Ellington.

Though Lockheart has been an Ellington fan for 40 years, this is not a tribute album of faithful recreations. Each piece has been rethought and radically remodelled to create vibrant new music. The end results are Ellington for the 21st century. So, the version of Take the A Train only includes an impressionistic reading of its distinctive horn riff. This piece is used as the basis for a loose, free-flowing improvisation with notable contributions from piano, drums and all three reeds.

In contrast, Lockheart’s My Caravan begins loosely as a percussion-driven improvisation which evolves gradually until closing with a full-blooded rendition of the refrain from Ellington’s own Caravan. Above all, Lockheart is a first-rate composer and arranger, with Ellington’s knack of deploying individual players to give pieces distinctive characters. His full-bodied tenor playing impresses throughout, both as a soloist and in conjunction with Finn and Allsopp.

Noble’s piano playing repeatedly commands attention, notably on Beautiful Man where he is joined by Smith’s violin to create an appealingly meditative mood, and solo on the hauntingly beautiful closing track Indian Summer. Ellington in Anticipation seems sure to appeal equally to fans of Polar Bear, Lockheart and the Duke.

~ John Eyles / BBC

CLINTON FEARON - HEART AND SOUL

During the roots reggae heyday of the 1970s, several noteworthy groups made it onto the roster of major labels. The Gladiators were one of the greatest reggae harmony trios to be signed to Virgin Records. Their signing may have come about partly because lead singer Albert Griffiths had a similar tenor range to Bob Marley’s, but regardless of the particulars, The Gladiators crafted many fine albums during their tenure at Virgin.

Bassist/guitarist Clinton Fearon was the perfect foil to Griffiths, his rich baritone a superb counterpart to his bandmate's high tenor. Fearon’s work in The Gladiators can be likened to that of Jerry Butler’s in The Impressions, or Mick Jones’ in The Clash – he did not sing lead very often, but when he did, both his lyrics and vocal delivery really stood out.

Fearon moved to Seattle during the 1980s, and launched his solo career there. Yet he has managed to retain the same level of authenticity on his newer albums as heard of his Jamaican works, and this is true of Heart and Soul. This album follows his unplugged touring in the US and Europe. His association with Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith’s Inna Di Yard project has proved invaluable in shaping Heart and Soul, which recasts great Gladiators tracks in a solo acoustic setting.

Let Jah Be Praised retains its power to move. In fact, with only a few guitar chords to frame it, the lyrics penetrate the listener on an even deeper level. Likewise, Chatty Chatty Mouth, which was aimed at a particular Jamaican politician, conveys a heavy message in a deceptively simple form. Untrue Girl and Jah Almighty simply sound glorious, as does the rest of the disc.

This UK edition has a couple of bonus tracks as well, not present on a slightly earlier French release, which only add to this already excellent album’s appeal. With exceptional live performances complementing this studio output, it’s clear Fearon’s lost none of his magic. 

~ David Katz / BBC

JOE COCKER- FIRE IT UP

Fire It Up finds Joe Cocker continuing the commercially rewarding partnership he struck up with producer Matt Serletic on 2010’s Hard Knocks. And as with its predecessor, Serletic’s highly selective production ensures everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be. The redemptive swell of Hammond organ, a sweet soothing trill from backing vocalists, snap-crack snare drums, rootsy guitar breaks and, on occasion, jabs of well-drilled brass are all present and correct.

In opting for such a clean and tidy approach, and doing away with any potentially unsightly loose ends, Serletic’s formulaic plan ensures there’s nothing in the way of surprises, fireworks or serendipity – the very elements which were such a distinctive hallmark of Cocker’s earliest successes. Not being a renowned songwriter himself, Cocker is largely defined by the songs he sings, and as such is necessarily judged by company he keeps in the present rather than the laurels of the past.

Fire It Up is uncontentious stuff whose anodyne drift is exemplified in the by-the-numbers air-punch of Eye on the Prize. It’s not so much a song as a catchy chorus waiting for the movie sync rights to be optioned. Perhaps the best of the 11 slender songs that comprise Fire It Up is I Come in Peace, blessed as it is with a driving bluesy bounce and useful groove, atop which Cocker deploys his strangulated growl with something approaching passion.

Yet for much of the record, he seems content to be merely skim over exquisitely manicured settings without ever digging in to find anything that feels like home. Whilst this is undoubtedly an accessible set, the price for Cocker sounding so innocuous is to end up being something of a tourist on his own record.

~ Sid Smith / BBC

NEW RELEASES - ESTEREO, LISA TAYLOR, NANCY WILSON


BOMBA ESTEREO - ELEGANCIA TROPICAL

The best album so far from this up-and-coming Colombian group – a great mix of rootsy elements and more electronic production – served up in the forward-reaching style we've come to love in recent projects from the Soundway label! Bomba Estereo are easily one of the most contemporary groups to hit the imprint of late – and they've got no trouble at all moving between upbeat, soulful styles and more earthy levels of instrumentation – all fused together with the kind of warmth and joy we might expect in some of the older productions from Luaka Bop, but with a bit more edge too. Titles include "Bosque", "Bailar Conmigo", "Pa Respirar", "Mozo", "Pajaros", "Pure Love", and "Caribbean Power". ~ Dusty Groove

LISA TAYLOR - LET LOVE SHINE

From the Big Island of Hawaii, Lisa Lehua Taylor has been singing her entire life. Growing up in a household where she was exposed to Theatre at a very young age and her parents played everything from Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, she was always encouraged to pursue her love of music. Lisa finally started performing at the age of 10 and hasn't stopped since! After years of making a living as a Vocalist in her home state, and performing with some of the best musicians the State has to offer, she's also performed in Japan, Korea and Singapore. Since moving to Santa Cruz, California 8 years ago, Lisa has quickly built a name for herself on the Central Coast and Bay Area. On top of all of the performing, She has lent her vocal talent to many recording projects and completed her debut album "LT" in 2010. Her highly anticipated album "Let Love Shine" was released February 1, 2013. Lisa's main musical influence is, Prince. Other artists that she's inspired by are Kimbra, Andy Allo, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Justin Timberlake, The Fleet Foxes, Grace Potter, A Perfect Circle.


NANCY WILSON - HELLO YOUR LOVERS

Signed by Capitol in 1960, Nancy Wilson enjoyed her first hit with Guess Who I Saw Today, a single that would prove to be the first of several major hits for the singer. By 1962 Nancy was rightfully regarded as one of the best female singers around, mixing Dinah Washington's jazz stylings with Sarah Vaughan's jazz tone, a mix that proved irresistible on Nancy's collaborative album with Cannonball Adderley. Later the same year Nancy released Hello Young Lovers, her fourth album for Capitol. With arrangements by George Shearing, the album continued her hot streak, hitting #49 on the Billboard chart and earning her a number of monikers, of which Fancy Miss Nancy would appear to be the most apt. ~ CD Universe

ANDREA PIZZICONI AND THE ORIENTE LOPEZ JAZZ ENSEMBLE - LEARNING TO LIVE

It all started with a bet. Andrea Pizziconi has been a long admirer of Big Picture Learning and their pioneering work to sustain innovative schools that foster real-world learning environments for economically challenged youth around the world. Last fall over lunch, friend and co-founder of Big Picture Elliot Washor said, "Record a jazz album for us, and I'll put together the team to create our first arts-oriented charter school in Harlem, New York." It was an offer Andrea couldn't refuse. From there, Andrea had the great fortune of enlisting Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer Oriente Lopez and his fabulous musical colleagues -- Julio Botti (saxophone), Itaiguara Brandi£o (bass), and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums)-- to lend their talents to an album and a concert, suddenly: SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!

This album was put together to support a deep passion we all share to create schools where performance is a measure of not just what you know, but also where you have been and who you are. As you listen, you will hear musicians who have worked thousands of hours to achieve their sense of self, and who have become accountable to themselves and their community. The great jazz composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis said, "When you get to the top, don't forget to send the elevator back down." The musicians performing on this album "send the elevator back down" by helping our young people understand just how much dedication and mentoring it takes to really master something. The songs chosen for this album are a tribute to great jazz musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Phyllis Hyman, who spent decades crafting their musicality even as they continued to share their talent with the public to great esteem. Like the students in our Big Picture Schools, they spent their entire careers being mentored by the great musicians who came before them. Eventually they become the mentors and masters, and sustain the next generation. Big Picture students learn in the same way and are also assessed by what they can do in real-world contexts. They are learning to live. The proceeds of this album support a new Big Picture School in Harlem, where each student will be mentored to pursue personal interests and achieve life goals. Connecting jazz and real-world learning underscores Big Picture Learning's philosophy-marrying inspiration and impact. Enjoy! ~ CD Universe

MICHAEL BUBLE TO RELEASE NEW CD - TO BE LOVED

Michael Bublé's highly anticipated new studio album "To Be Loved" is scheduled to be released on April 23rd in the US (April 15th internationally). The first single, "It's A Beautiful Day," co-written by Bublé, is scheduled to be released February 25th. "To Be Loved," Bublé's sixth studio album, follows his "Christmas" CD which sold seven million copies internationally and was the number two biggest selling album of 2011 (after Adele).

"To Be Loved," produced by Bob Rock, was recorded in Vancouver and Los Angeles and includes a mix of standards as well as four original songs all co-written by Bublé. "After All," one of the four originals, was co-written and performed by fellow Canadian Bryan Adams. The new album also includes hits previously recorded by some of Bublé's musical heroes including the Bee Gees hit "To Love Somebody," Dean Martin's "Nevertheless (I'm In Love With You)", the Jackson 5 early '70s smash "Who's Loving You," Jackie Wilson's "To Be Loved" and the Elvis Presley classic "Have I Told You Lately." Bublé is joined by actress Reese Witherspoon on the classic Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet "Something Stupid."

"My new record is about love, happiness, fun and yummy things. Getting to work with my friend and longtime collaborator Bob Rock ('Call Me Irresponsible,' 'Crazy Love' and 'Christmas') who produced the entire album was very exciting. We're a good team. I love the songs we selected this time out. It was also terrific working once again with my songwriting partners," commented Bublé. Later this year, Bublé is scheduled to perform 10 sellout shows at London's O2 Arena beginning June 30th.

WOBEONFEST AUSTIN WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL TO FEATURE ANGELIQUE KIDJO, FATOUMATA DIAWARA, COLLIE BUDDZ AND OTHERS

Several more stars have joined the lineup for WobeonFest, a two-day international music celebration taking place in Downtown Austin on April 6 and 7, 2013.

Fatoumata Diawara, recently cited by NPR as one of the breakout stars of NYC's globalFEST, has been gaining buzz for her crackling performances and socially-conscious lyrics. From civil-war torn Mali, her music is representative of the modern African musician.

"We're incredibly excited," says WobeonFest founder Jakes Srinivasan. "Malian music has influenced so much of the world’s modern music – including blues and jazz. Fatoumata Diawara is such a powerful voice for women, for musicians, for human rights,… and she’s just riveting to watch live."

Bomba Estéreo is a Colombian band who gained favor with Austinites during their electric South by Southwest® (SXSW®) festival showcases in 2009 and 2010, and the Austin City Limits® (ACL) festival in 2011. Organized by Simon Mejía and fronted by Liliana Saumet, their music is a joyful, frenetic mash-up of electronic dub and hip-hop, and is known for drawing tremendous crowds.

Also joining the roster are La Santa Cecilia, a vibrant, modern-day hybrid of Latin culture, Rock and World music (from Los Angeles, who recently also performed at globalFEST); Mohammed Alidu, an acclaimed musician from Ghana who leads his band through heart-pumping grooves with his spiritual voice and talking drum; and Colombian singing sensation Duina del Mar who is teaming up with Austin-based Brazilian-Rock-Fusion band Suns Of Orpheus.

Wobeon®Fest - co-hosted by the United Way for Greater Austin who will receive a portion of the proceeds - will be held in Downtown Austin at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Angelique Kidjo (Afropop; from Benin) is the April 6 headliner, while Collie Buddz (Reggae; from Bermuda) will headline April 7. Other performers announced previously and confirmed to date include Dubtonic Kru (Reggae; from Jamaica), MAKU SoundSystem (Afro-Colombian; from Colombia/NYC), and Atash (Middle-Eastern; from Austin).

THE LIONS - THIS GENERATION

Inspired by reggae, sound system culture and the myriad of musical styles influenced by Jamaican music old and new, The Lions’ sound is firmly placed in soul music.

“All the guys in The Lions grew up on classic Jamaican records so since we began we have wanted to give our records that same edge and roughness that we grew up hearing on LPs by The Upsetters, Soul Syndicate, The Rockers Band and Roots Radics. The rhythm section was all recorded to tape, the Hammond buzzed a little, fuses blew and good mistakes were left in. We basically made the dusty reggae soul LP WE have been wanting to hear for years.” – Dan Ubick (producer)

The band draws together a dozen or so of LA’s elite reggae and soul forerunners who loosely coalesced as The Lions in 2007. Members of the legendary ska band Hepcat, Deston Berry and Alex Désert, form half of the vocal team, and the latter also has a successful career on screen, including roles in the films Swingers and High Fidelity. The other half is the sweet falsetto of Malik Moore and DJ stylings of Black Shakespeare, the charismatic cousin of Robbie Shakespeare (of Sly & Robbie fame) and co-runner of the i&i Sound System, a customised ice cream van bringing bass to the streets of the west coast and featured on the cover of both Saul Williams’ self-titled album and an issue of XLR8R Magazine.

Other members include guitarist Dan Ubick, formerly of Breakestra, Macy Gray co-writer and collaborator Dave Wilder on bass, plus musicians who have played with the likes of De La Soul, Barrington Levy, Beck, Raphael Saadiq, Big Daddy Kane and Black Eyed Peas.

"Like Daniel, I would step into The Lions’ den for this sound! Yes they are fierce – the kings of the jungle” – Jeremy Sole, KCRW

The album The Lions “This Generation” (Stones Throw) is going to be released March 1, 2013.

~ grooveattack.com

NEW RELEASES - ELVIN JONES, CHICO HAMILTON, EDDIE HENDERSON

ELVIN JONES - MR. JONES

A overlooked gem in Elvin Jones' Blue Note career – and an album that's virtually the blueprint for the Stone Alliance sound forged later in the decade by bassist Gene Perla and reedman Steve Grossman! Both players are working to full effect on this smoking little set – mixing some of the more spiritual modes of other group members with their own sharper-edged, funky-leaning styles – all held together perfectly by both Jones' tight work on drums, and his expansive musical vision! Other players are great too – and include Pepper Adams on baritone sax, David Liebman on flute and tenor, and Jan Hammer on acoustic piano – an instrument he handles with surprising subtlety and soul. Many cuts have a hard, choppy groove – and titles include a remake of "Gee Gee", plus "One's Native Place", "Mr Jones", and "What's Up – That's It". ~ Dusty Groove

CHICO HAMILTON - CHICO HAMILTON & THE PLAYERS

Chico Hamilton in the 70s just can't miss – he's really changed loads from his mellow 50s work in LA, and has a tendency to go for a hard grooving sound – but also one that's slightly left of center than the work of most other 70s jazz drummers – and we mean that in a good way! This cooking set for Blue Note is a great example of that offbeat approach – a tight set of fusion tracks with a warm finish and an edgey approach to the rhythms – awash with some really compelling numbers that will have you hunting down the rest of Chico's work from the decade! The group's got a great mix of acoustic and electric musicians – including Steve Turre on electric bass, Arthur Blythe on alto, Rodney Jones on guitar, and Abdullah on congas – and titles include the massive groover "Abdullah's Delight", plus the cuts "Ode to Miles", "Sex Is A Cymbal", "Mr Sweets", "First Light", and "Adair". ~ Dusty Groove

EDDIE HENDERSON - SUNBURST

Funky fusion doesn't get any funkier than this – and the album's one of the greatest 70s recordings by jazz funk trumpeter Eddie Henderson! The album's got a harder edge than a lot of Eddie's other records of the decade – razor sharp rhythms crackling away underneath a sublime space-heavy mix of keyboards, bass, saxes, and Eddie's funky trumpet. The group includes work by Bennie Maupin on reeds, George Duke on keyboards, Julian Priester on trombone, and Harvey Mason on drums – and the great Skip Drinkwater is at the production chair, cutting the grooves here with a lot more fire than in some of his later work! The whole thing's great – and titles include "Galaxy", "Kumquat Kids", "Involuntary Bliss", and "Explodition". ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - BOBBY HUTCHERSON / CARMEN MCRAE / EARL KLUGH, BLUE NOTE NOW, HORACE SILVER

BOBBY HUTCHERSON / CARMEN MCRAE / EARL KLUGH - BLUE NOTE MEETS THE L.A. PHILHARMONIC

An oft-overlooked gem from 70s Blue Note – and a great little record that's especially nice for the Bobby Hutcherson material! As you'd guess from the title, there's a larger orchestra working with the artists here – and in Hutcherson's case, this creates the same sort of soulful, sophisticated feel as his excellent Conception The Gift Of Love album – vibes mixed with strings, underscored by hip rhythms, and coming off as a wonderful extension of Bobby's earlier 70s work. His group features Manny Boyd on tenor and soprano, and George Cables on piano – and arrangements are by Dale Oehler, on tracks that include "Now", "Slow Change", and "Hello To The Wind" – all numbers co-penned with Eugene McDaniels, but done here as instrumentals. Carmen McRae sounds great in the setting too – similar to her other excellent Blue Note sides of the mid 70s – with Bill Holman arrangements on tunes that include "With One More Look At You", "Star Eyes", "The Man I Love", and "Sunday". Earl Klugh rounds things out with his own sweet guitar, plus keyboards from Onaje Allen Gumbs – set to Dick Hazard arrangements of "Angelina", "The Shadow Of Your Smile", and "Cabo Frio". ~ Dusty Groove

BLUE NOTE NOW - VARIOUS ARTISTS

Blue Note Now – and Blue Note Then – a cool little set that mixes contemporary grooves from the Blue Note catalog with some of the older gems that made the label great back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s! In truth, some of the contemporary cuts go back more than a few years – but come together nicely on CD1, to show the way the label's really grown in the past decade or two – moving into great soulful territory with tracks like "Little B's Poem" by Quasimode, "Freedom Dance" by Lionel Loueke, "It's All Over Your Body" by Jose James, "Black Radio" by Robert Glasper Experiment, "Soin Something" by Soulive, and "Time After Time" by Cassandra Wilson. CD2 features loads of older killers – including "Feel Like Makin Love" by Marlena Shaw, "Harlem River Drive" by Bobbi Humphrey, "Kathy" by Horace Silver, "Adams Apple" by Wayne Shorter, "Afrodisia" by Kenny Dorham, "Black Byrd" by Donald Byrd, and "Speedball" by Lee Morgan. ~ Dusty Groove

HORACE SILVER - SILVER 'N' PERCUSSION

An excellent 70s album from Horace Silver – one that's often overlooked, but which yields of listening joy, once you open it up! The set's got some wonderful modal/spiritual numbers – in a mode that would make the record highly prized if it were issued on Strata East, and which is pretty darn great for Blue Note at the time – easily one of Silver's most righteous moments of the late 70s! The percussion promised in the title really stands out – and helps shape the rhythms with an even more exotic feel than usual – but the set also cooks with some great horn solos too – trumpet by Tom Harrell and tenor by Larry Schneider – both players whose arcing lines really help add a lot of color to the grooves. The whole thing's great – proof that Silver never stopped growing as an artist – and titles include "The Aztec Sun God", "The Mohican & The Great Spirit", "The Gods Of The Yoruba", and "The Spirit Of The Zulu". ~ Dusty Groove

Thursday, February 21, 2013

ROBERT HURST - BoB: A PALINDROME

Bassist Robert Hurst is an M.V.P. -- a long-standing member of Diana Krall's and Chris Botti's touring bands, an esteemed colleague of jazz stars like Branford Marsalis and Robert Glasper, and most recently a key player on Sir Paul McCartney's Grammy-winning Kisses on the Bottom. But Hurst's own recordings, with his compositions and his bands front and center, are especially welcome events in the jazz world. On March 12, BoB: A Palindrome, an all-star Hurst date and the fourth release on his Bebob label, will be released after an unusually lengthy gestation.

Recorded in October 2001, the CD features a stellar lineup including Marsalis and Glasper as well as Bennie Maupin and Marcus Belgrave (Detroiters like Hurst), Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Adam Rudolph. It immediately follows a pair of simultaneously released, critically praised 2011 albums: Unrehurst, Volume 2, an electrifying live piano trio date recorded in 2007 featuring Robert Glasper and Chris Dave (Unrehurst, Volume 1, featuring Glasper and Damian Reed, came out in 2004), and Bob Ya Head, a politically tinged, radio-friendly studio work that delves into Afro-pop and electronica.

In 2004, Hurst became an Associate Professor of Music, now tenured, at the University of Michigan. It was a positive development that required a reordering of his career priorities. He had hoped to release BoB: A Palindrome by then, but in the days following 9/11, it was difficult to find time to put all of its pieces together. Between flying back and forth between Los Angeles (where he was a member of the Tonight Show band) and Michigan, and recording and touring with Diana Krall and Chris Botti, he also needed more time to complete Bob Ya Head, which he began working on during 2007.

With originals written as far back as 1985, BoB: A Palindrome draws warm inspiration from people who have played important roles in Hurst's life, and the sessions proved to be an exercise in spiritual healing. The jaunty and elegant "3 for Lawrence," which begs for a big band treatment, pays tribute to Lawrence Williams, a drummer and composer from Detroit who set an important example for Hurst before his untimely death. The patiently unfolding, powerfully climactic "Big Queen" and sweetly reflective "Little Queen" were written for Hurst's wife (and manager) Jill and daughter Jillian. "Tigers on Venus" commemorates a day on which Tiger Woods and Venus Williams both triumphed, a doubly proud moment for African Americans.

Then there's "Middle Passage Suite," a lyrical, three-part meditation on black history inspired in part by Charles Johnson's prize-winning novel, Middle Passage. And the Headhunter-like "Jamming (Ichabad)," a fusion-y workout that, as literary sleuths can deduce from the parenthetical reference, has no head.

Robert Hurst was born in Detroit and took up bass as a young boy after seeing the Modern Jazz Quartet perform and meeting Percy Heath. Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, a Detroit icon, was an early mentor for Hurst, who began working professionally with Belgrave at 15. After meeting drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts on a gig, Hurst was recommended by Tain to his boss, Wynton Marsalis, whose group the bassist joined after college at the University of Indiana and with whom he recorded seven albums for Columbia.

In 1985, the year he made his recording debut on Out of the Blue, a Blue Note Records project featuring a group of young lions including Kenny Garrett and Ralph Peterson, Hurst began touring with Marsalis. He stayed with the band (which initially included brother Branford and pianist Marcus Roberts) for three years, appearing on such classics as Live from Blues Alley and J Mood. "That was when I started to take myself seriously as a jazz musician and began feeling a real sense of pride in being one," he recalls.

In 1989, Hurst began working with Branford Marsalis and remained for five years, again recording for Columbia. Hurst continued on with Branford to California to begin work on The Tonight Show. When Marsalis left leadership of the show's band in 1994, Hurst stayed on for another six years.

The bassist debuted on record as a leader in 1993 with Robert Hurst Presents: Robert Hurst (DIW/Columbia), featuring Kenny Kirkland, Branford Marsalis, Marcus Belgrave, Ralph Jones, and Jeff "Tain" Watts. Most of the music on the disc was specifically written with this exact personnel in mind. The following year, Hurst released a trio session, One for Namesake (DIW/Columbia), with Kirkland and Elvin Jones.

In support of BoB: A Palindrome, the Robert Hurst Ensemble will be appearing Fri. 4/5 as part of the Detroit Chamber Winds' Nightnotes Series, at Hagopian Carpets in Birmingham, MI; and Fri. 5/3 in the WEMU/Sesi Motor 501 Series at the Ravens Club in Ann Arbor. Hurst is also scheduled to headline the Detroit Jazz Festival on Labor Day weekend. More dates are in the works.

HERBIE HANCOCK, AL JARREAU, WAYNE SHORTER, GEORGE DUKE AND OTHERS HEADLINE ALL-STAR CONCERT IN ISTANBUL


Herbie Hancock
 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue Herbie Hancock, Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu and its Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ömer Çelik, have announces that the main event for the second annual International Jazz Day will be hosted by Turkey in the city of Istanbul.
Held every year on the 3th of April, International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools and groups from across the world to celebrate jazz, learn about its roots and highlight its important role as a form of communication that transcends differences.

This year, the main concert for International Jazz Day will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova, stated, "I am delighted to announce that Istanbul will serve as the Host City for the 2013 International Jazz Day celebration on 30thApril. A meeting place of global cultures, Istanbul is an ideal location to highlight the extensive influence of jazz. Official celebrations, concerts and educational programs will take place in Istanbul and around the globe, expanding on the tremendous success of last year's inaugural International Jazz Day."
Al Jarreau
 Taken forward in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day was adopted by UNESCO Member States on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, in order to encourage and highlight jazz's unique power for advancing intercultural dialogue and understanding across the world. International Jazz Day is recognized on the official calendars of UNESCO and the United Nations. Its programs and events will be coordinated with all 195 Member States of UNESCO.

"International Jazz Day is a means to highlight, support, and leverage the unifying attributes of music through worldwide celebratory events and activities on 30thApril each year," said Herbie Hancock. "On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents."

Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu and its Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ömer Çelik, stated: "Turkey welcomes the opportunity to host UNESCO's International Jazz Day on 29-30 April, 2013, in Istanbul. On this occasion we shall celebrate jazz music not only as a global language of the human soul, but also as that of more inclusive societies, mutually enhancing civilizations and UNESCO ideals."

George Duke
Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, "The Institute is pleased to partner with UNESCO and the Republic of Turkey to present the second annual International Jazz Day. Last year's celebration reached more than one billion people through educational programs, performances and media coverage. This is a phenomenal figure that we believe will be surpassed in 2013."

Celebrations in Istanbul will kick off with a special early morning performance for high school students conducted by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. The evening concert at Istanbul's famed Hagia Irene will feature performances by stellar musicians from around the world, including pianists John Beasley, George Duke, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Abdullah Ibrahim, Keiko Matsui and Eddie Palmieri; vocalists Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento and Dianne Reeves; trumpeters Hugh Masekela, Imer Demirer and Christian Scott; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller, and Ben Williams; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Vinnie Colaiuta; guitarists Bilal Karaman, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour and Joe Louis Walker; saxophonists Dale Barlow, Igor Butman, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and Liu Yuan; clarinetists Anat Cohen and Husnu Senlendirici; violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; Pedro Martinez on percussion and other special guests to be announced in the weeks ahead. John Beasley will be the event's musical director.

Dating back to the 4th century, the Hagia Irene, located in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is regarded as an international treasure for music lovers because of its brilliant atmosphere and enchanting acoustics. The concert will be streamed live on the internet via the UNESCO, U.S. State Department and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites, and will be taped for future broadcast on public television stations around the world.

Wayne Shorter
In addition, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will work with UNESCO and its 195 Member States, national commissions, UNESCO networks, UNESCO Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio, public television, and NGOs to organize and promote Jazz Day events worldwide. Libraries, schools, performing arts centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines throughout the world will be encouraged to celebrate the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused activities.

To date, nearly 80 events have been organized in more than 30 countries, including Argentina, Australia, the Republic of Korea, France, Gabon, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago. In Armenia, the Municipality of Yerevan is organizing an open-air concert and will introduce jazz history and jazz performance in several schools around Yerevan. In Mexico, more than ten jazz concerts are scheduled throughout the country. Denmark will host "Jazz as a Verb" in Copenhagen, a day seminar and evening concert for both Danish and international musicians. In India, Jazz Goa in will celebrate the Day with a mega event featuring jazz artists from all over the world. In Swaziland, a special program "Jazz across Borders and Cultures" will include workshops, jam sessions, and concerts over three days. Additional events are being confirmed each day.

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