Wednesday, April 30, 2014

JONATHAN BUTLER - LIVING MY DREAM

It took a while for Jonathan Butler to feel comfortable saying it, but the South African singer-songwriter-guitarist’s confidence has grown as he celebrates what he calls “the season of me” and finally admitting that he is living his dream. He tells the story of his life and loves in the eleven original songs that “came from the heart” on his forthcoming Artistry Music album, “Living My Dream,” which will be released June 24.

Like Butler’s best material from a diverse, award-winning and chart-topping career that’s spanned R&B, jazz, pop and gospel, “Living My Dream” provides an honest and revealing soulful songbook probing the artist’s passions: God, family and his homeland. He has been taking care of others ever since he was seven years-old when he became a child star and was the first black artist played on white radio stations while growing up under Apartheid. Writing and producing gold-selling albums and international hit singles, the two-time Grammy-nominee’s entire life has unfolded in the public eye. Enduring recent struggles forced him to do a lot of reflection and ponder the type of man he wanted to be. He decided that he was finally in a place where it was time to celebrate his own extraordinary life and accomplishments.

With a much needed push from his daughter, singer-songwriter Jodie Butler, and guitarist-songwriter Dennis Dodd Jr., he wrote music every day before heading into the House of Blues recording studio in Los Angeles to record the material in a live setting “like records used to be made.” Bassist-songwriter-producer Marcus Miller co-wrote “Let There Be Light” with Butler and played on that track as well as on “Be Still,” which Butler wrote with George Duke during a 5-hour visit to the late legend’s wine cellar. Saxophonist Elan Trotman also appears on “Let There Be Light.”

“It’s one of those albums that I really didn’t think I had in me. I had been struggling, going through this emotional period. Last year was a transitional period. Once I got my wind and got back to a place of focus, it turned out to be the best experience for me. I had to be vulnerable to the songs,” said Butler about the essence of “Living My Dream.” “It’s the story of my life and the newness of discovery. These really are the best years of my life.”

Butler wrote or co-wrote ten songs for “Living My Dream,” which is a balanced blend of contemporary jazz instrumentals and R&B vocal tunes. The first radio single, “African Breeze,” is a reboot of an instrumental that he wrote 30 years ago for “The Jewel of the Nile” motion picture soundtrack. It is a brisk, energetic African-hued dancer on which Butler plucks the festive melody on nylon string guitar.

A captivating and impassioned performer, Butler will help launch “Living My Dream” during a summer concert tour at which he will share the spotlight with Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown.

Butler takes you into the recording studio and talks about recording “Living My Dream” in his EPK, which can be viewed at http://youtu.be/UFFmGWfsKkk. For more information, please visit www.JonathanButler.com.

“Living My Dream” contains the following songs:
“African Breeze”
“Living My Dream”
“Be Still”
“Let There Be Light”
“Heart and Soul”
“Song For You”
“Catembe”
“Night To Remember”
“All About Love”
“Sweet Serenade”
“A Prayer”

 

MARGIE BAKER SINGS WITH SO MANY STARS

Margie Baker Sings with So Many StarsMargie Baker's storied career as a jazz and blues vocalist started late, when she was 39, but was long encouraged by her mentor Dizzy Gillespie and eventually took her to the world stage. Though the 80-year-old Baker came even later to recording, she's on a roll now, affiliated with longtime Gillespie pianist Mike Longo's Consolidated Artists Productions (CAP) label. Her 4th CD, and third for CAP, is Margie Baker Sings with So Many Stars, and is due for release on May 20.
  
So Many Stars is a two-disc set on which Baker surrounds herself with some of the most gifted instrumentalists in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Her relaxed and swinging phrasing, warm tone, and precise enunciation inform every number, including songs by Ellington ("Come Sunday," "In a Mellow Tone," "I'm Just a Lucky So and So"), Monk ("'Round Midnight"), and Horace Silver ("Señor Blues"), as well as standards like "You've Changed," "Deed I Do," and "Lazy Afternoon."

Among her accompanists, whom she calls "Margie's musical galaxy," are pianist Shota Osabe, guitarist Rodney Jones, saxophonists Jules Broussard and Melecio Magdaluyo, bassists Harley White and Chuck Bennett, and percussionist John Santos, a sixth-grade student of Baker's when she taught in the San Francisco Unified School District.

"This is a tribute to them," says Baker of the players on the CD. "These are not egocentric, big-time musicians, but they're wonderful musicians. We work so much and so well together."

 Margie BakerMargie Baker was born October 11, 1933 "in a shack in the sticks" near Center, Texas, in Shelby County. "Black people were extremely deprived back there in those sticks," she says. "That's where I was born -- from dirt-poor, beautiful, spiritual people."

After her parents divorced, mother and daughter relocated to San Francisco at the onset of World War II. Her mother found work as a riveter at shipyards in San Francisco and Oakland, and the two lived at first in a cold-water flat in San Francisco's overwhelmingly African-American Fillmore District.

Upon graduating with honors from Girls High School at age 15, Baker a received a scholarship to the University of California Berkeley, where she spent two years before transferring to San Francisco State College and earned both bachelor's and master's degrees. Years later, she used earnings from her part-time singing career to enroll at the University of San Francisco, from which she received a Ph.D in Education. Baker moved from the classroom into school district headquarters as Director of Compensatory Education, where she oversaw the distribution of federal funds to help low-income children in reading and math.

When Dizzy Gillespie, her friend since she was a 17-year-old fashion model and a sophomore at UC Berkeley, finally heard her sing, he offered to take her on the road, but her responsibilities as a teacher, and eventually as an administrator, came first. She would, however, go on to sit in with his band when their paths crossed in Tokyo, New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco. She retired in 2004, after 48 years of service as an educator.

Baker had done very little singing in public before the guitarist at Henri's Room at the Top on the 46th floor of the San Francisco Hilton Hotel coaxed her to sit in one night. She sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Hotel magnates Conrad and Barron Hilton were in attendance and offered her a job, which she accepted. She spent the next 18 years singing at Henri's -- two nights a week during the school year, five in the summer -- as well as for special affairs at the Las Vegas Hilton, where such celebrities at Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor heard her sing. She also became a regular performer at the Monterey Jazz Festival and traveled the world with the festival's touring shows that included such jazz greats as James Moody and Richie Cole. For the past decade, Baker has sung during brunch every Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco International Airport, as well as at other hotels, clubs, and churches.

As the 20 tracks on the new CD indicate, Margie Baker remains a song stylist of the first order. The only thing that has really changed is, she jokingly admits, "I don't shake my booty as much."

Baker will be appearing 6/1 at the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel/San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, 5:00-10:00 pm, with many of the musicians heard on So Many Stars; and 6/14 at the Mildred Owens Concert Hall in Pacifica, 7:30 pm, with Keith Williams, piano; Jim Nichols, guitar; Michael O'Neill, tenor saxophone; Chuck Bennett, bass; and Jerry Pannone, drums. 


NEW RELEASES: STEVE OLIVER - THE BEST OF SO FAR; ABDULLAH IBRAHIM - MUKASHI: ONCE UPON A TIME; THE REVELATIONS - COST OF LIVING

STEVE OLIVER - THE BEST OF SO FAR

Celebrate a milestone in the musical career of Steve Oliver. With eight albums over the last 15 years, Steve's 'Best Of so far' gathers multiple #1 Billboard hits and fan favorites including 2 brand new songs. From 1999's First View, Oliver recaptures the magic of that first album by re-recording 'West End' and 'I Know' for this compilation. Concert and radio favorites like 'High Noon', 'Chips and Salsa' and 'Fun in the Sun' will keep listeners on their feet. 'Calling You' and 'Hello Mornin' are wonderful new songs that feel right at home among this collection of hits. The title suggests these are the best so far, and as a collection, it definitely reflects the consistent energy and great songwriting skills that has kept Steve Oliver a chart topping name, a great guitarist/vocalist and producer. Here's to the next 15 Steve! ~ Amazon

ABDULLAH IBRAHIM - MUKASHI: ONCE UPON A TIME

One of the most enigmatic albums we've ever heard from the legendary Abdullah Ibrahim – a set that not only features beautiful work on piano, but some flute and voice as well! The style is quite different than some of Ibrahim's better-known records – as the music has this really gentle, organic quality – very different than the rhythmic pulsations of 70s or 80s classics, but equally sublime in its own sort of way! Cleave Guyton provides spare accompaniment on either flute, clarinet, or tenor – depending on the moment of his appearance – and the set also features two cellists as well, but not used until later in the record – which leaves most of the focus on the piano of the leader, often in this style that's contemplative, but extremely lyrical too. Titles include "Peace", "Root", "Cara Mia", "Dream Time", "The Stars Will Remember", "Devotion", "In The Evening", and "The Balance". ~ Dusty Groove

THE REVELATIONS - COST OF LIVING

Tight funky soul from The Revelations – one of the few contemporary funk groups who also know how to harmonize with their groove! The Revelations boast a great lead singer in the form of Rell Gaddis, but most of the group members also join in on the chorus bits too – and really help inflect the funky rhythms with a great old school vibe – a sense of energy that's especially great on the more upbeat tunes on the set! These guys could well be the next great crossover funky soul act – and have enough of a balance to mix their vintage leanings with just the sort of contemporary touches to show that they're way more than just another retro 60s outfit. Titles include "Why When Love Is Gone", "Higher", "It's Okay", "Money Makes The World Go Round", "The Game Of Love", and "I've Got To Use My Imagination". ~ Dusty Groove




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NEW RELEASES: SORCERESS - DOSE; COOKIN' ON 3 BURNERS - MIND MADE UP; STEVE KUHN - PROMISES KEPT

SORCERESS - DOSE


Sorceress (formerly known as Funkommunity) is a 5-piece band from New Zealand. Their 2011 debut album Chequered Thoughts received worldwide acclaim and saw the band tour Europe and Japan the following year. Fast forward to 2014, and the band announced a new name: Sorceress and a new studio album: Dose. While previous works were influenced by J Dilla-inspired future soul and R&B, the new album sees their sound evolve, fusing elements of Deep Electronic Soul, Afrobeat, and Dance Music. Dose retains their distinctive sonic texture, but also projects more movement while going deeper into the source of the music. Experienced in headphones or a club/festival context, Sorceress traverses the boundaries between audio intimacy and the bass driven rhythms of the dancefloor. The creative duo at the core of Sorceress is producer/band leader Isaac Aesili and vocalist Rachel Fraser. Isaac Aesili's production provides a diverse and sonically rich soundscape from which the charismatic vocals of Rachel Fraser weave through both light and dark lyrical themes. Crafted over the period of a year, the album includes collaboration with Sorceress' guitarist Daniel Ryland. Other musicians involved in the sessions include fellow Kiwis Julien Dyne, Marika Hodgson, Tom Broome, Jonathan Crayford, Steph Brown and Cam Allen.

COOKIN' ON 3 BURNERS - MIND MADE UP

A double a side single that features Kylie Auldist on 'Mind Made Up' and chart topping, award winning Aussie singer Daniel Merriweather on 'Losin' Streak. Both tracks on this double A-side single are taken from their forthcoming album Blind Bet, and they are both outstanding examples of beautiful modern soul and funk. On Mind Made Up, Kylie Auldist demonstrates, if any one had any doubt, that she is one of the premier contemporary soul vocalists working today. The snappy drums, crisp guitar and Jake Mason’s organ work all compliment the vocals, whilst lush horns and strings lift this catchy track into future classic status! Award winning Aussie singer Daniel Merriweather, is the featured vocalist on Losin' Streak, a heavy, deeply bluesy funk track that's dance floor dynamite. The new album will be available on May 19, 2014.

STEVE KUHN - PROMISES KEPT

One of the darkest Steve Kuhn albums we've ever heard – a record of introspective piano lines, set amidst contemplative orchestrations from Carlos Franzetti! The style is incredibly moving – bringing a depth to Kuhn's work that we haven't heard in years – an approach that has him acting more like a painter in sound than the highly rhythmic pianist of earlier records. There's a quality here that's almost soundtrack-oriented at times, and Kuhn's dark tones are the highlight of the set – moving slowly in space to really find their own kind of sound – as Franzetti is very careful never to overdo things with the arrangements. Titles include "Adagio", "Promises Kept", "Life's Backward Glance", "Trance", "Morning Day", and "Pastorale". (SHMCD pressing.)  ~ Dusty Groove



NEW RELEASES: WAYNE COCHRAN - GOIN' BACK TO MIAMI: THE SOUL SIDES 1965-1970; MANNY JAMES - GOOD COMPANY; ALEXEY KRUGLOV - STRUCTURE #54

WAYNE COCHRAN - GOIN' BACK TO MIAMI: THE SOUL SIDES 1965-1970

Hey, don't hold Wayne Cochran's hair against him – because he's one massively soulful dude, despite a high white pompadour – and really knew how to rock the clubs back in the 60s! Cochran's a really unique figure – working with a look that was whiter-than-white, but coming across with a groove that was right up there in the best funky soul mode of the time! Wayne played for the same sort of crowds that went to see Baby Huey & The Babysitters – blending together soul and R&B influences with a really party-oriented groove laid down by his legendary CC Riders backup group – and crossing countless borders along the way, all in pursuit of a socking soul sound! This wonderful set is the best we've ever seen on his music – and features tracks pulled from his sessions for King, Chess, and Mercury – plus a full never-issued live album for King, titled The Wayne Cochran Show. There's more than a few covers here of other 60s soul tunes, but Wayne somehow manages to make most of them sound even better than the originals – bringing in funky arrangements that weren't even used on the hits, and making us wish we'd had a chance to catch his cooking show back in the day. 38 tracks in all – with titles that include "Dance To The Music", "Hold On I'm Coming", "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)", "I Can't Turn You Loose", "Hard To Handle", "Chopper 70", "Everybody", "Let Me Come With You", "My Machine", "Get Ready", "Which One Should I Choose", "I'm In Trouble", "The Peak Of Love", "Somebody Please", "I'm Leaving It Up To You", and "Big City Woman". ~ Dusty Groove

MANNY JAMES - GOOD COMPANY

Manny James' voice has been described as "timeless, soulful and raw", influenced by greats such as Curtis Mayfeild, Sam Cooke, and Marvin Gaye, Manny James delivers on the same level of vocal intensity and realness as his predecessors. Manny James stands 6' 3' with booming voice and looming physical presence that commands attention from all baring witness to his live performances. Manny James' approach is slightly more laid back and guilty of dripping with sex on his lead off single "Good Company" as he speaks to some sourly needed decompression time with a female counter part as the weekend draws near. The track bounces along with a retro 60s 2 step beat and Motown rich harmonic feel. Manny James is the voice of "So Incredible", the track produced and composed by Fred (FS) Sargolini for the NFL/VISA campaign #MyFootballFantasy starring Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons.The TV spot featuring "So Incredible" aired nationally and has gone viral with over 4.5 million views. VISA has also released the full length song with the proceeds going to charity.  

ALEXEY KRUGLOV - STRUCTURE #54

“Structure # 54” is another step on the way of this Siberia-Moscow quartet, a phase containing a unique improvisational line of a compositional structure. We wanted to create a metaphor through embodying paints, images, conditions, which might no longer exist. The figure 54 is very symbolic here. After the Novosibirsk region code was changed from 54 to 154, the special quality, certain state of being could leave Novosibirsk, or could transform to something completely different – this is what we try to show here with the help of hints and allusions. Fantasies and transiencу – recorded as sounds and well structured – reveal not just some statement of a specific period of time, but also the reflection of personal attitude of musicians to these local changes, which, however, do not affect or change the essence of the attitude to the Siberian world. The world with its immense space, bringing up the image of infinity in each Siberian soul.

 

Monday, April 28, 2014

NEW RELEASES: TIM GARLAND - SONGS TO THE NORTH SKY; SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA; LALO SHIFRIN - NO ONE HOME


TIM GARLAND - SONGS TO THE NORTH SKY

British jazz saxophonist, composer and band-leader. He is also known for his innovative bass clarinet playing and for his prolific output as composer, blurring the boundaries between modern jazz and classical concert music.Songs to the North Sky is Tim Garland's new double album which will delight existing fans, and serve as an ideal primer for those yet to be acquainted with one of the most remarkable British musicians of his generation. Featuring the incredible line-up of  Tim Garland, John Patitucci, Jason Rebello, John Turville, Geoffrey Keezer, Asaf Sirkis, Ant Law, Kevin Glasgow, The Royal Northern Sinfonia, Neil Percy, and Magdalena Filipczak.

SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA

Slowly Rolling Camera is a new project that teams pianist-composer Dave Stapleton, producer Deri Roberts, vocalist-lyricist Dionne Bennett and drummer Elliot Bennett. It is proof positive that some of the most interesting work arises from a meeting of many minds. The result is music that has distinct echoes of the ‘invisible soundtracks’ of UK progressives Cinematic Orchestra and 4 Hero as well as the polychrome textures of maverick Scandinavian artists like Sigor Rós. Slowly Rolling Camera are purveyors of mysterious audio vignettes, moulded by a structural sophistication plugged straight into the vibrant emotional current of pop culture.


LALO SHIFRIN - NO ONE HOME (INCLUDES BONUS TRACKS)

A sweet set of fusiony soul from Lalo Schifrin – actually better than most of his other late 70s efforts, including some of his soundtrack work! The album's in the same territory that Quincy Jones was hitting at the time – at its core, a set of funky electric jazz – but done with an expansive approach that also brings in soulful vocals on most tracks, really hitting some nice R&B-styled fusion grooves! Sylvia Smith is the lead singer on most of the vocal tunes, and other players include west coast soul jazzers like Ndugu Chancler, Oscar Brashear, Paul Jackson, Ronnie Foster, and Patrice Rushen. Titles include "Memory Of Love", "Middle Of The Night", "No One Home", "Enchanted Flame", and "Oh Darlin Life Goes On". ~ Dusty Groove


PACIFIKA ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM AMOR PLANETA TO BE RELEASED ON MAY 6, 2014 ON SIX DEGREES RECORDS

Timing is everything. When you’re in no hurry, with no expectations or outside pressure, the process of creation seems natural. This was the case in the making of global fusion outfit Pacifika’s third album, Amor Planeta. The Vancouver-based trio of vocalist Silvana Kane, guitarist Adam Popowitz and bassist Toby Peter has never sounded more at home with the world.

“This record is much like the title of the album, which means Love Planet,” says Kane, a native Peruvian. “It’s love in its various forms: love of nature, love of another, love that is lost, love that is eternal—basically all that makes us what we are as humans.”

Entering the studio with a new frame of mind following the success of 2008’s Asuncion and 2010’s Supermagique, as well as Kane’s 2012 solo album, La Jardinera, Pacifika tried out a new process of songwriting and recording. “In the past the three of us would sit together and jam ideas,” says Peter. “This time Adam and I built a track, then Silvana would come in and vibe off of it.”

The addition of trumpet player Malcolm Aiken as well as a more organic approach to recording—less electronica, more live performance—kept things fresh for the band. Whereas before the songs would often be built around Kane’s poetic lyricism, Amor Planeta offers lush textures and guitar-driven ambient soundscapes, not to mention a harder edge keeping a nice balance between both.

Pacifika burst onto the global music scene in 2008 with their critically acclaimed debut album Asuncion that was praised by The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, KCRW, and NPR amongst others, and led to high profile shows alongside Feist and Sharon Jones at The Hollywood Bowl.  Supermagique was the iTunes editor’s pick for “Best World Music Album of the Year” in 2010 and a Juno nominee for “Best World Music Album,” which catapulted the band from Latin Alternative darlings to a broader audience worldwide.  Amor Planeta continues to see the band evolve, in a natural organic way.


Perhaps the key to understanding Pacifika’s music is as simple as three friends living out their dreams on one stage. In a society that seems to be getting speedier by the day, the relaxed environment created by this trio’s songs offers a robust antidote to the hectic nature of daily life. Charming and charmed, we’d all be better suited on a planet as full of love as this one.


PHRONESIS - LIFE TO EVERYTHING

Life to Everything is the new live album by Anglo/Scandinavian trio Phronesis, recorded over three shows ‘in the round’ at The Cockpit, London as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November 2013.

Since the success of their fourth album ‘Walking Dark’ two years ago, the trio have been on a meteoric rise, gaining acclaim from fans over two tours of the USA and Canada and a tour of Australia, whilst also rising to the forefront of the European club and festival scene. With so much time spent on the road and a reputation for spell-binding roller-coaster live performances, (which led to Jazzwise once describing them as one of the most exciting bands on the planet), it was natural for the band to want to record their fifth album in front of a live audience. In Høiby’s words – ‘performing live has been the strength of this trio from the start – it sparks an extra focus, excitement and joy. As the album title suggests – it’s where everything comes to life’.

With a highly developed musical understanding between them, onstage these three strong individual personalities are very much a collective, demonstrating an uncanny empathy and a telepathic singular sound like the synaptic firings of one mind. With totally balanced contributions by each band member, the warmth and intensity of the trio’s magical interaction is captured perfectly on Life to Everything, enhanced by the ‘in the round’ set-up of the recording, which as Høiby explains, was a deliberate choice ‘to provide perfect sightlines and an invisible thread of energy between us’.

Over the nine tracks, each member takes a writing credit for three compositions, yet the undeniable trademark Phronesis sound of catchy hooks, complex changes, crackling rhythms and heady grooves is present throughout – a testament to their skills as individual composers.

From the ‘big commanding tone and skittering composure’ (New York Times) of Høiby’s bass at the start of Eger’s Urban Control, layered by Neame’s inventive melodic piano lines and Eger’s relentless creative countercurrents, the sound is instantly recognisable as Phronesis.


Life to Everything has the irresistible excitement, skillful flair and expansive compositional craft that result in undoubtably Phronesis’s most accomplished artistic statement to date.


MESCHELL NDEGEOCELLO TO PREVIEW NEW ALBUM - COMET, COME TO ME - AT (LE) POISSON ROUGE

Mercurial and masterful, Meshell Ndegeocello has survived the best and worst of what a career in music has to offer. She has eschewed genre for originality, celebrity for longevity, and musicals trends for musical truths. She has lived through the boom and bust of the industry and emerged just as she entered - unequivocally herself. Fans have come to expect the unexpected from Meshell, and faithfully followed her on sojourns into soul, spoken word, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, rock, all bound by a lyrical, spiritual search for love, justice, respect, resolution, and happiness.
Groove driven, infectiously melodic and lyrically meditative, Meshell’s latest album, Comet, Come To Me, finds her returning to the same well of creativity that launched her career. 

Her 11th release, it is possibly a culmination of all previous work: lush, vocal, seeking, wise, collaborative, and driven by the signature bounce and precise pocket of Ndegeocello on bass. The album features special guests Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Doyle Bramhall, along with long-time collaborators Christopher Bruce (guitar) and Jebin Bruni (keys), and Earl Harvin on drums. Assured of her place as an authentic musical thinker and an uncompromising artist, Comet continues to discover, examine, and explore all that music has to offer her and how she can return the gift.

“Comet, Come To Me was a little labor but a lot of love. It was made with my favorite collaborators, and it felt good to channel the sounds in my mind after having Nina in residence for a while,” says Meshell, referencing her last album, a tribute to Nina Simone. The collaborative process that comes with making an album especially inspires her. “When I’m writing songs and recording the demos, I’m having my own awesome experience in my attic, or on a plane, or in a hotel room, just making my beats on my laptop. Then I get together with these people that I have an intimate musical relationship with, and we bring the songs to life.”

In addition to the twelve new tracks on Comet, Come to Me (15 including the bonus tracks available on her website), fans of Meshell’s will no doubt be intrigued by her cover of Whodini’s “Friends”, a seminal hip-hop track originally released in 1984. Commenting on her inspiration for choosing this song, Meshell explains: “I play with a lot of people who play improvisational music and jazz, and I thought it would be fun to take something that they might think of as easy or straight-forward, and do something different with it. I also like how language is morphing, and 'friends' is such a malleable word, I don't even know what it means anymore.”

In addition to her own recording, Meshell has been expanding her repertoire as a producer, producing three albums in the past year: British/Trinidadian poet and musician Anthony Joseph's new album, Time; Jason Moran's Fats Waller Tribute, All Rise: A Joyful Elegy For Fats Waller (due Sept 2014); and a new album by Grammy-nominated Ruthie Foster, also set for release this fall.

On Tuesday June 3, 2014 Ndegeocello will prestent An Evening with Meshell Ndegeocello (Album Release Party!) featuring songs from her new album, Comet, Come to Me
w/ a special opening set of Songs from Plantation Lullabies, Peace Beyond Passion, Bitter and Cookie at (Le) Poisson Rouge; 158 Bleecker Street, New York City.


MIKE CLARK AND BILL SUMMER 'THE HEADHUNTERS' TO PLAY WEST COAST CONCERTS

The Headhunters have redefined modern funk, world music, and jazz as one of the most innovative groups in history. They recorded for several years with legendary pianist Herbie Hancock, representing a major turning point for Hancock with the formation of this popular band in 1973. The Columbia album Head Hunters became extremely popular, fusing jazz with funk and rock, the album sold over a million copies and attracted many R&B and rock fans, even out-selling Miles Davis' popular Bitches Brew. The Headhunters have recently released some new material and will be on US Tour. Co-leaders Mike Clark & Bill Summers will be joined by some of the nation’s best talent and are currently booking for early 2014.

Mike Clark a seasoned and versatile musician, began playing in Oakland, CA where he was instrumental in creating the "East Bay Funk" sound. His groundbreaking work with Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters album “Thrust” drew attention to his innovative style, elevating him to international cult status. Clark has performed and recorded with a diverse range of artists including Wayne Shorter, Charlie Hunter, Chet Baker, Gil Evans, Joe Henderson, Tony Bennett, and Mose Allison. Clarke released ‘Carnival of the Soul in 2010 and most recently in 2011 a new Headhunters album ‘Platinum’ with guest artists: Snoop Dogg, Killah Priest & George Clinton

Bill Summers a highly accomplished musician, percussionist, and ethnomusicologist, Bill Summers has performed and recorded with Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Michael Jackson, Dianne Reeves, Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder, George Benson and many more, in addition to his various solo projects. He maintains a deep commitment to world music through his personal study with ethnic masters, as demonstrated through his deft ability on a variety of instruments. Summers' awareness of African heritage is evident in his work with Quincy Jones on the musical score for Roots and the soundtrack for The Color Purple. He formed the fantastic Latin/jazz hybrid Los Hombres Calientes in 1998 in New Orleans who have recorded five albums, toured the World They won Billboards “Latin Jazz Album of the Year Award” and were Grammy Nominated.

Also featuring:
Donald Harrison a talented post-bop alto saxophonist with a definitive style, Donald Harrison, Jr. came to fame with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1982-1984 after attending the Berklee College of Music. Harrison landed a deal with Impulse recording his critically acclaimed Nouveau Swing in 1997 and Free to Be in 1998, fusing modern jazz with elements of funk and reggae. His most recent release, Spirits of Congo Square, furthers his exploration and innovation of his father's Mardi Gras Indian legacy. (Donald performs on shows May 10-15)

Chris Severin has been playing Bass in New Orleans for over 30 years. He has recorded & toured with some of the best including: Diane Reeves, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Ellis Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard, Allen Toussaint, Lou Rawls, Bonnie Rae, Nicholas Payton, and the Neville Brothers. Chris worked on the movie soundtracks of “Barbershop” and “The Next Friday”. He also serves on the faculty of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

Stephen Gordon who at the age of 17, was selected as finalist for The Brubeck Institute quintet. He attended Shenendoah Conservatory for Jazz & Classical Piano. He then went on to play with some of the biggest names in jazz including: Ellis Marsalis, Jason & Delfeayo Marsalis, Christian Scott, Steve Turre, Shannon Powell, Irvin Mayfield Jr., Cyrus Chestnut, Fred Wesley (James Brown), Ivan Hampton (Janet Jackson), Oteil Burbage (The Allman Brothers). Recently he was the Music director for the off-broadway production of "Miles and Coltrane: The Blue Sessions"

On Sweetwater Music Hall show in Mill Valley CA – May 9th
Charles McNeal (Alto, Tenor, Soprano Saxophones) Studied extensively in Denver Co. privately and at the college level with teachers that include: WaltFowler, Willie Hill, Rich Charluce, Keith Oxman, Ron Miles, Javon Jackson, Nelson Rangell, Brad Leali, Walter Barr. Has been a featured performer at many national and international festivals including: Monterey JazzFestival (CA), San Jose Jazz Festival (CA), San Francisco Jazz Festival (CA), Playboy Jazz Festival(CA), Telluride Jazz Festival (CO), Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), Porretta Soul Festival (Italy). Performed, recorded and/or toured with: Jimmy Scott, Charlie Mussellwhite, Keb Mo, John Faddis,Wynton Marsalis, Leslie Drayton, McCoy Tyner, Ray Obiedo, Dave Garabaldi, RAD, Brenda Boykin, Claire Dee, Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Barbara Morrison, Barbara Dennerlein, Jr. Mance, Bruce Forman, Mark Elf, Roberta Flack, The Temptations, Ollie Woodson, Norman Conners, Jean Carne, Curtis Olson, Peter Horvath, Jaz Sawyer, Boz Scaggs, Nicolas Bearde...

The Headhunters tour dates:
Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley CA, on 5/9
Arcata Theater in Humboldt County CA on 5/10
Jazz Alley in Seattle on 5/13 & 14
Headhunters at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland on 5/15


JOHN ELLIS & ANDY BRAGEN - MOBRO

Saxophonist/composer John Ellis is proud to announce the release of Mobro, Ellis' and librettist/playwright Andy Bragen's seventy-five-minute through-composed piece, for nine musicians and four singers, which was commissioned and created at one of NYC finest jazz venues, The Jazz Gallery, in April 2011. Mobro marks Ellis and Bragen's third collaboration (the others being Dreamscapes and The Ice Siren, commissioned by the Gallery in 2007 and 2008, respectively). 

Mobro was inspired by the intriguing 1987 journey of a garbage barge of the same name that became a national news headline, sparking intense interest in, and action on, a multitude of environmental issues. Ellis and Bragen composed, work-shopped, rehearsed and performed Mobro at the Jazz Gallery in April 2011 (to sold out audiences), making use of the space on a prolonged basis, not only for the performance, but also as an integral part of their creative process. The work was commissioned by The Jazz Gallery as part of its 2011 Residency Commissioning Series, which was supported by grants from the Jerome Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. It was developed with additional support from The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, MN in partnership with the Network for Ensemble Theaters. This epic work enjoyed a second staging at The Jazz Gallery over four nights in December of 2011.

Ellis and Bragen's Mobro uses the historical journey of the Mobro 4000 as a thematic launching point, examining issues of what we consume, what we waste, and what we reject. However, the environmental issues are primarily secondary; the historical journey of the Mobro is used as metaphor: this is an epic quest told through the eyes of the garbage - a story of yearning, of escalating rejections, of self-knowledge, and ultimately of redemption.

fter receiving the commission, Ellis and Bragen spent several months researching the historical journey and drafting a twelve part narrative super-structure that provided the framework for the piece.  Ellis selected musicians for their gifts at communicating the widest range of emotion, and then wrote with their individual temperaments in mind.  Conceived of as one continuous seventy-five minute work, the transitions are of critical importance; events flow into each other in surprising ways and the widest palate of color and tension is used to pull the listener into another world.  In order to appreciate the vision as intended, MOBRO should ideally be listened to in one uninterrupted sitting.

More on Mobro: The Mobro 4000 was carrying the trash no one wanted; refuse from an overflowing city that sailed the seas for five months and 6,000 miles. Denied port repeatedly, the barge's contents were viewed as hazardous and infectious. This "Flying Dutchman" of garbage barges returned home close to twenty five years ago, but the questions it raises about what we consume, what we waste, and what we reject are still urgent and relevant. The odyssey of our trash may also serve as a metaphorical microcosm for western society, with a particular focus on those that we expel or deny.

Ellis and Bragen use as a thematic launching point the journey of the infamous New York garbage barge which hauled over 3,000 tons of trash from Islip, New York to North Carolina in March 1987, then down to New Orleans, Mexico, Belize and ultimately back to Brooklyn where the trash was finally incinerated and hauled back, as ash, to where it started: Islip. This new work is a narrative chamber piece with song, jazz compositions and jazz improvisation. The musical ensemble consists of nine musicians and four singers. The piece also features sound design by Roberto Carlos Lange.

Bragen explains further: "There is a strong story behind this piece: the journey of the Mobro 4000. We've taken the real story, and re-imagined it as a kind of ODYSSEY type voyage, far out into the world, and ultimately back home, to be burned. We gave the trash a voice, and in a way, the trash stands in for all that we throw away and reject, all that we look past. The piece has a great emotional scope, and there's something about a long sea journey that allowed us to find the epic nature of it all."

Ellis adds: "I think it has the potential to resonate on a lot of different levels, including a global warming/consciousness of waste level.  It's a pretty intense rejection story, but it also has some comic relief.  It really does feel like an amazingly satisfying ride."

John Ellis is widely recognized as one of New York's premiere tenor saxophone voices. A sideman to artists as diverse as bass icon John Patitucci, organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenon, John has performed extensively around the world for the last 20 years. With more than 100 album credits as a sideman, John can be heard with artists as wide ranging as Charlie Hunter, Robert Glasper, Darcy James Argue, Edward Simon, and Sting. John was the 2nd place winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition in 2002, was the recipient of three composition grants through The Jazz Gallery for the creation of new work ("Dreamscapes", "The Ice Siren", and "MOBRO") and was selected as the 2014 Make Jazz Fellow by the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. John has released seven albums as a leader, two of those featuring his wildly popular New Orleans-centered band Double-Wide, which has toured extensively and was featured on the Main Stage of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. For more information: www.johnaxsonellis.com

Andy Bragen's honors include a Workspace Residency and a Process Space Residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, and a Jerome Fellowship.  His play for one actor This is My Office was produced off-Broadway this past autumn by The Play Company.  Other plays and translations have been seen and heard at numerous theatres, including PS122, Queens Theatre in the Park, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, and Soho Rep. He has an MFA from Brown University and is a member of New Dramatists. For more information: www.andybragen.com


MELISSA ALDANA & CRASH TRIO TO RELEASE SELF-TITLED CONCORD JAZZ DEBUT JUNE 17, 2014

Jazz saxophonist Melissa Aldana is set to release her first record for Concord Music Group on June 17, 2014. (International release dates may vary) The self-titled album Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio is the first recording of the three band mates together - Aldana, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela. Recorded at Sear Sound Recording Studio in New York, the album consists of originals written by all three band members and includes two covers - the Harry Warren classic “You’re My Everything” and Thelonious Monk’s “Ask Me Now.”

Speaking on this new album Aldana says, "Pablo Menares & Francisco Mela both help bring a unique perspective to playing in the saxophone trio format. Our approach is very much coming from the core of the Jazz Tradition, not least from contemporary musicians such as Kurt Rosenwinkel & Mark Turner, but with Mela being from Cuba and Pablo and I both from Chile, there is no question there is a flavor of that as well.”

In September 2013, Melissa became the first female instrumentalist and first South American ever to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.  Judges for the competition included Jane Ira Bloom, Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson. In addition to a scholarship to the Monk Institute, Melissa won a recording contract with Concord Music Group.

Born in 1988, Aldana began to play the saxophone as soon as she was able. She was taught by her father Marcos Aldana, who was also a renowned jazz saxophonist and sought out teacher in their hometown of Santiago, Chile. By age 13, Melissa was frequenting the jazz clubs in Santiago with her father and by 16 was headlining the Club de Jazz de Santiago, which, at the time, was the center of the Chilean jazz community.  In 2005, with help from Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Pérez, she procured auditions at the Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory. She was accepted into both and chose to attend Berklee, from which she graduated in 2009.

After graduating, Melissa immediately moved to New York. With the help of mentor, the legendary George Coleman, and former teacher Greg Osby, among many others, Melissa recorded two albums Free Fall (2010) and Second Cycle (2012) for Osby’s Inner Circle Music label, and quickly became a vital part of the New York jazz scene. She has since performed in such prestigious venues as the Blue Note, Lincoln Center and Smalls. After a 2013 performance at the Jazz Gallery, The New York Times touted, “…she moved toward a kind of music (including ‘First Cycle,’ from her new record) that really felt like the current moment in jazz…Ms. Aldana worked over short motifs, using the full range of her instrument, articulating long and fast lines. But she also condensed her phrases into great wipes of sound up and down the horn, and clamped into the rhythm…She wasn’t just exhibiting her own voice but embodying it…”

Pablo Menares is one of the most important bass players in Chile.  His bass playing is considered to be elegant, musical and lyric, while firmly rooted in swing and polyrhythmic concepts. Menares has performed and/or recorded with all the leading jazz musicians in Chile and has also performed at major jazz festivals all over South America. Since moving to New York City in 2009 he has become a sought after bass player for both Jazz and Latin music. He has performed in many of NYC's most notable jazz clubs including Lincoln Center, Jazz Gallery, Smoke, Smalls Jazz Club, Fat Cat, 55 Bar and world famous venue Carnegie Hall. He has performed with such jazz luminaries as Sam Yahel, Arturo O’Farrill, Randy Brecker, Aaron Goldberg, Greg Hutchinson, Claudia Acuña, among others; and has toured throughout North America, becoming an increasingly important presence in the jazz and Latin music scene.

Francisco Mela is a favorite among jazz’s elite instrumentalist, including Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron and McCoy Tuner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer. Born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba, Mela moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree from Berklee College of Music. Since then, he’s made quite a name for himself by becoming an integral part of Joe Lovano’s quartet, joining McCoy Tyner’s trio and developing himself as a band leader. Mela has released three albums, all receiving compelling critical acclaim. His latest project, Cuban Safari, is an amalgamation of his favorite bands that inspired him to become a drummer – Miles Davis’ fusion group featuring Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, and the Latin- jazz super group Irakere.


CHICK COREA - SOLO PIANO: PORTRAITS

Solo Piano: Portraits features Corea classics, music from Thelonious Monk, Stevie Wonder, Béla Bartók and much more, as well as improvisations that paint musical "portraits" of audience members from around the world

Solo Piano: Portraits, set for international release May 6, 2014, is an extraordinary audio document, a rare opportunity to hear Chick Corea, one of the most legendary jazz artists of his generation, in a compelling, insightful overview – spoken and played – of the intimate aspects of his art. (International release dates may vary)

When Chick recorded Piano Improvisations on the ECM label in 1971, he was one of the first jazz pianists of his era to release such a recording. The groundbreaking album literally opened the floodgates to a new genre of solo piano that continues strong today.

In 2014, Chick will be releasing this new solo CD set and embarking upon a world tour with a presentation that is as fresh and innovative as ever. With a perfect balance of in-the-moment improvisation, Corea classics, jazz standards, classical renderings and the inimitable Children’s Songs, it is a must-see concert if there ever was one.

The roots of the album trace to the warm interaction Chick has always had with his concert audiences.  Thus the title of the CD set.

“I've always found it difficult,” he says, “to just walk on stage, sit down at the piano and just play, without talking to the audience.  Maybe I should try that some time, but I don't know how to do it yet.  What I really do is try to create kind of a living room atmosphere in the concert hall itself.”

In his desire to enhance that environment, he began to invite audience members on stage and offer to do individual musical portraits of each.

“We place a chair beside the piano,” Chick recalls, “and a volunteer comes up, not exactly knowing what's going to happen, I watch the way they walk, how they're dressed, etcetera, I ask their name and then try to define who they are in an improvised solo.”

On the new album, Chick begins to take a similar path in the first disc with “Chick Talks: About Solo Piano,” a thoughtful spoken narrative about the unique and special qualities of solo jazz piano playing.  He follows his remarks with an in-performance presentation of those qualities via his version of the standard “How Deep Is the Ocean?”

Having expressed his own illuminating view of the inventive potentials of solo piano jazz, Chick digs deeply into Portraits with a series of paired tracks, recorded in various cities around the world.  With each, he discusses his views regarding the work of a group of legendary jazz figures, followed by his own solo excursions through some of their familiar originals and interpretations.

However, the Portraits of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Steve Wonder, Bud Powell etc. were not, according to Chick, created as portraits comparable to those he creates with audience members.

“I see the Bill Evans, Monk, etc. pieces,” he says, “as something more than portraits.  They're really more like interpretations of their music.”

The initial “interpretation” opens with “Chick Talks: About Bill Evans,” in which Chick's spoken thoughts about the much honored Evans are linked to the next track, showcasing his unique version of Evans' “Waltz for Debby.”  Eleven years older than Chick, Evans had a powerful impact upon the pianists of the post WWII generation of jazz artists. More than most, Chick – born in 1941 – has transformed that impact into his desire to honor Evans' music while finding his own jazz pathways through the ever-complex world of jazz.

The second Portrait takes a different slant, as “Chick Talks: About Stevie Wonder,” recalling his early interest in the soul and R&B sounds of Stevie Wonder, followed by his own version of Wonder's “Pastime Paradise” from the hugely successful album Songs in the Key of Life.

The range of expressive creativity between the first two Portraits – Bill Evans and Stevie Wonder – continues to be handled brilliantly by Chick as he goes on to explore new Portraits over the course of the album's remaining tracks.

The next Portrait focuses on the incomparable Thelonious Monk. The linkages between Chick and Monk may seem unexpectedly wide, but Chick's creative imagination has always been receptive to an extraordinarily far-ranging array of ideas.  And, as Chick notes in “Chick Talks: About Thelonious Monk,” he found some compelling aspects among Monk's many eccentric musical qualities.  Many of those qualities are fully present in Chick's versions of “'Round Midnight” (the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician) and “Pannonica” (inspired by the British jazz supporter, Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter).

The fourth Portrait explores the music of legendary bop pianist Bud Powell.  Chick begins with his “Chick Talks: About Bud Powell,” in which he tells of the impact Powell had upon his early development.  Fully illustrating that impact, Chick follows his “Talks” with his richly communicative renderings of Powell's “Dusk in Sandi” and “Oblivion” from Powell's album Bud Powell's Moods.''

Disc 1 of Solo Piano: Portraits closes with a musical change of pace, devoting the final track to the flamenco music of Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucía.  The choice isn't surprising, given Chick's affection for Latin music of all sorts.  After his “Chick Talks: About Paco de Lucía,” he wraps the first disc with a rhythmically dynamic version of de Lucía's “The Yellow Nimbus,” (first recorded by Chick on his 1982 album Touchstone).

Disc 2 of Solo Piano: Portraits continues with a very different collection of musical illustrations.  But this time Chick begins with classical music and children's songs before climaxing with his impressionistic jazz piano views of memorable locations around the world

The first track features Chick's spoken thoughts about the melodic lyricism and the lush harmonies of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, whom Chick describes as a powerful influence.  Fully expressing the significance of that influence, he interprets Scriabin's Preludes #2 and #4 from the unique perspective of his ever-exploratory solo piano playing.

Chick's classical episode continues with one of his favorite composers, Béla Bartók.  Opening the segment with “Chick Talks: About Bartók” he notes that “Béla Bartók was the first classical composer that really caught my attention when I was in high school, a long time ago.”  He then underscores his narrative with a dynamic performance of the arching, Hungarian-tinged phrases of Bartók's colorful Bagatelles #1 through #4.

The program shifts into a different direction next, via Chick's fascination with music for children.  After opening with his narrative about children's songs, he plays a sequence of nine original Children's Songs. Each overflows with luscious melodies and the tangy dissonance of child-like rhythms.

Disc 2 comes to an enlightening geographical close with yet another collection of Corea originals, this time applying his compositional and improvisational talents to illustrate what he calls “A journey through some of my favorite landscapes, and some unknown ones, too.”  The “favorite landscapes” are gifted with Chick's finest impressionistic playing, creating convincing musical views of Krakow (Poland), Casablanca (Morocco), Easton (Maryland) and Vilnius (Lithuania).  Each is a spontaneous portrait of an audience member in those geographical locations who came on stage to experience Chick's musical artistry.


And it's no exaggeration to describe the “favorite landscapes” on the second disc of Solo Piano: Portraits as appropriate, climactic final acts in what will surely be recognized as one of Chick Corea's most creatively mesmerizing performances.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AL JARREAU & GEORGE DUKE TRIO "ROOF GARDEN" LIVE AT JAVA JAZZ FESTIVAL

NEW RELEASES: JUNE ROCHELLE - OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY; RORY MORE - LOOKING FOR LAZLO; RUDY ROYSTON - 303

JUNE ROCHELLE - OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

June Rochelle is a humanitarin,songstress, professional songwriter, television show producer, director, media content editor, graphic artist, animator and overall making this world a better place. On her soulful and sexy new single, June Rochelle offers an empowering message for those who think perhaps that hope has abandoned them for good -- a compelling R&B, urban and jazz styled reminder that while it may hide as we experience life’s darker moments. The power of “Love Is Here To Stay” and the resulting collaboration between June and Michael Houston is all the more incredible considering that they have only been working together since they reconnected last November. The two have a music chemistry that is undeniable and the lyrics and the music to “Love is Here to Stay” is masterfully written, produced and arranged by Rochelle and Houston. He also added his stellar, jazzy piano work to complement the emotion of her vocals. Tony Cummings of the UK’s Cross Rhythm Magazine called her “one of the classiest new soul divas to emerge in recent times,.” and Clarence Waldron, former Senior Editor of JET Magazine wrote during her inspirational music days, “June Rochelle is helping make gospel music last.”

RORY MORE - LOOKING FOR LAZLO

Electric organist Rory More is still the one-stop shop for melody-intense grooves, dusty oscillations and liltingly hip lounge pop vocal excursions. It began with the über organtastic loungsters Les Hommes - the retro moderne jazz exotica trio who swung their way around much of Europe in the early 2000s. Still ensconced within a uniquely niched jazz pop panoramica, and after a decade of solidly collectible 12s and 45s, Rory More's curiously seductive and unapologetically magical mondo moods have maintained his profile at medium-cool status. Rory More's new long player Looking for Lazlo is a concept album of sorts with motifs recurring and ebbing, plundering a lush dynamic array of tonalities and mood vibrations, taking the electric organist out from behind his console to incorporate sweeping soulful strings, rare electronica, orchestral tempos, the pop-noir tones of Gemma Ray and the arcadian lyricism of Brit folk discovery Anna Sheard. From the soaring swing of the Main Title, the harmony-laden lament of Lost To The Blue, the other-worldly exotica of Misty Atoll to the out-there harp of Free At Last... Lazlo, whoever he thinks himself to be, is fearlessly adrift amongst it all. Available as limited edition vinyl and download.

RUDY ROYSTON - 303

The first album as a leader from drummer Rudy Royston – a player we've enjoyed for years in the company of others, and one who emerges here with a really fresh voice of his own! Rudy's drums are bold, but also have this way of opening up and allowing magical interplay between all the other members of the group – a warm combo that features Jon Irabagon on saxes, Nadja Noordhuis on trumpet, Nir Felder on guitar, Sam Harris on piano, and either Mimi Jones or Yasushi Nakamura on bass. The guitar and piano combo is wonderful – ringing with these compelling chromes, especially on the tracks that feature Jones' wonderfully soulful work on bass. Most tracks are originals by Rudy – furthering the personal voice of the record – and titles include "Mimi Sunrise", "Play On Words", "Miles To Go", "Gangs Of New York", "High & Dry", and "Bownze". ~ Dusty Groove


PAULO NUTINI - IRON SKY EP; CAUSTIC LOVE ALBUM

Atlantic recording artist Paolo Nutini has announced an array of activity surrounding the recent release of his long awaited new EP. "Iron Sky" -- the Scottish singer/songwriter's first new release in over five years -- is available now on the iTunes Store and at other digital retailers.

"Iron Sky" heralds Nutini's extraordinary new album, "Caustic Love," which is slated for US release later this year. The album is already proving a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, where it scored the biggest first day and first week sales of the year thus far and the first to sell a six-figure total with 109,000 copies, debuting at #1 on the UK Album Chart. In addition, "Caustic Love" has ruled the iTunes Store's "Top Albums" chart in a stunning range of countries, with #1 sales in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia, Bahrain, and the Netherlands, as well as top 3 success in Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bermuda, South Africa, Germany, Norway, Poland, Taiwan, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and the Cayman Islands.

"Caustic Love" has earned Nutini the most glowing accolades of his already acclaimed career. "The 27-year-old and his whisky-soaked words writhe their way around a multitude of Motown-inflected could-be singles," noted The Guardian, "paying homage to Prince, Marvin Gaye, Echo & The Bunnymen, the Beach Boys, and D'Angelo along the way." The Observer praised Nutini for exhibiting "real grit and passion," while The Scotsman hailed "Caustic Love" as "another leap forward for the restless musician after the infectious mixtape approach of 'Sunny Side Up.'" "What's he been doing (for the past five years)?" wondered The Sunday Times before answering, "Writing the best songs of his career." The Independent's Andy Gill summed it up, declaring "Caustic Love" to be "an unqualified success... the best UK R&B album since the 1970s blue-eyed-soul heyday of Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker."

Nutini will celebrate the stunning popularity of "Caustic Love" with an epic world tour, featuring festival sets, European headline concerts, and an eagerly awaited series of North American live dates. Highlights include an exclusive New York City headline show, slated for June 12th at Webster Hall -- tickets will go on sale beginning Friday, April 25th (check local listings) -- as well as an appearance at San Francisco's Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, set for August 8th - 10th in Golden Gate Park. A full scale North American headline tour will be unveiled soon. 

"Iron Sky" is highlighted by the gospel-flavored title track as well as an exclusive acoustic rendition of the new album's "Better Man." The EP has already won over such fans as the one and only Adele, who recently praised Nutini's "Abbey Road Live Session" version of "Iron Sky" (steaming now at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELKbtFljucQ&list=PLG-6sLnL75vYnl5_f9qk0jJi11tZV3cuy) as "one of the best things I've ever seen in my life hands down."

Produced by Nutini and Dani Castelar (Snow Patrol, R.E.M.), "Caustic Love" pushes at the boundaries of modern pop to create something soulful, funky, and distinctly original. Songs such as "Scream (Funk My Life Up)" and "Fashion (Feat. Janelle Monaé)" showcase the gifted tunesmith's mastery of memorable melody and insightful lyric, all given brilliant life by Paolo's gritty and unpredictable vocal stylings. Other highlights include "One Day," which The Sun declared "the most infectious song Nutini has made" to date.

Signed by none other than legendary Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun when he was just 18, Paolo Nutini made an impressive debut with 2007's "Theses Streets," earning the Paisley, Scotland-born troubadour a plethora of critical praise and worldwide sales in excess of 2 million. A uniquely talented live performer, Nutini toured nearly non-stop following the album's release, headlining countless shows and appearing at some of the world's biggest festivals, including the Isle of Wight Festival 2007 which saw him singing "Love In Vain" alongside Mick Jagger during The Rolling Stones' festival-closing set. Nutini served as sole support at Led Zeppelin's now-legendary 2007 reunion show at London's O2 Arena, benefiting the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. He has since shared stages with a variety of other musical icons, including a 2008 soul spectacular at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl which saw Paolo more than holding his own alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Etta James and Solomon Burke.

"Sunny Side Up" arrived in 2009 and confirmed the Scottish troubadour was officially here to stay. Fueled by hit singles like "Candy," the album debuted at #1 in the UK upon its initial release on its way to 3x platinum certification, a BRIT Awards nomination as "Best British Album," and a prestigious Ivor Novello Award honoring excellence in songwriting and composition. As ever, Nutini and his crack band spent considerable time on the road, including a memorable performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Concert at Hyde Park.




NEW RELEASES: JEF GILSON AND MALAGASY; JOE HENDERSON - THE STANDARD JOE; KELIS - FOOD

JEF GILSON AND MALAGASY - GILSON ET MALAGASY


Think Mulatu and Ethiopea, Fela Kuti and Nigeria - now think Malagasy and Madagascar! Over recent years,  Jazzman Records have delved deep in into the life and work of the late French jazz pioneer Jef Gilson. The outcome has been two double albums featuring the best of his life's work, and has included many previously unreleased tracks. As well as spending his days (and nights) composing, recording, producing, arranging and performing, part of Gilson's life involved the study and exploration of music, and in the late 1960s his curiosity led him to the ex-French colony of Madagascar, the island just off the south eastern coast of Africa. Indeed, Gilson was fascinated by all kinds of music, not just jazz, and his thirst for musical knowledge led him to make several trips to Madagascar not only to study the indigenous music, but also to spread his passion for jazz. His absorption ofMalagasyculture and the strength of his personality would eventually result in the release of 3 exceptional albums ofMalagasyjazz, as well as a string ofMalagasyconcerts, events and radio shows performed across France. This new release is the entirety all 3 of these albums, as well as 2 further albums of previously unreleasedMalagasymaterial, in an attempt to address the profound contribution that Gilson and Malagasyhave made to world jazz.

JOE HENDERSON - THE STANDARD JOE

There's nothing standard about this set – as Joe Henderson always brings something special to a recording session – especially at this point in his career! The album has a wonderful format – Joe's unique tenor tone set up beautifully alongside the bass of Rufus Reid and drums of Al Foster – no piano or other horns at all, just an open, swinging combo with a really great sense of energy! Joe's bold lead really sets the tone for most numbers – and a few tracks are compositions that Henderson recorded famously early in his career, recast here with a whole new sound and heightened sense of maturity. Titles include "Blues In F (aka In N Out)", "Blue Bossa", "Inner Urge", "Body & Soul", and "Take The A Train". Also features a bonus alternate of "Body & Soul". ~ Dusty Groove

KELIS - FOOD

The never predictable, always endearing spacey pop soul chanteuse Kelis's debut for Ninja Tune – working with producer Dave Sitek – and it's her best record in years! We've loved Kelis from get-to around here, going back to when her vocal presence grounded the spacier sounds of the young Neptunes production style in genuine soul, and she's doing that again here with Sitek in the production booth. As you'd guess from the album and song titles, it's got a foodie theme, but it's loose one, and the songs stand strongly on their own. The surprising thing is how rooted in timeless soul it is; if you thought the move to Ninja Tune would beget a farther trip to the dancefloor cosmos, think again. Keep on defying expectations, Kelis. It's just one of the reasons we've always loved ya! Includes "Breakfast", "Jerk Ribs", "Forever Be", "Floyd", "Runnin'" Hooch". "Cobbler", "Bless The Telephone", "Friday Fish Fry", "Change", "Rumble", "Biscuits N' Gravy" and "Dreamer". Bonus CD edition includes a disc with remixes by Mount Kimbie, Machinedrum, Will Saul & Komon, Ben Pierce and more!  ~ Dusty Groove



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