Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Legacy Recordings Commemorates Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday with…Frank Sinatra: A Voice On Air (1935-1955)

A new 4-CD collection featuring 100 rare Sinatra tracks including 91 previously unreleased live performances

In a matter befitting the 100th birthday of an American icon, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings announces the November 20th, 2015 release of Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955), a historic 100+ track, 4-CD deluxe box set culled from an invaluable collection of rare radio broadcasts and rehearsals – immaculately restored from the original recording masters for unprecedented high-fidelity sound. 

Luxuriously packaged with a 60-page book, Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955) is an essential addition to Sinatra's voluminous discography, offering a unique glimpse into the formative period of America's first teen idol: Frank Sinatra, the man who became known the world over as "The Voice." Included in the book are an introductory essay by renowned singer, pianist and archivist Michael Feinstein; a personal remembrance by Frank's eldest daughter Nancy Sinatra and detailed essay by foremost Sinatra historian, author and box set producer Charles L. Granata. The package was designed by noted Art Director Maria Marulanda, who created the landmark 2007 Columbia/Legacy box set Frank Sinatra: A Voice in Time.

In assembling this groundbreaking box set marking the first official release anthologizing Frank Sinatra's seminal radio performances, the producers have mined treasures from their own extensive Sinatra broadcast transcription collections and the world's most prestigious archives and sound recording repositories including The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Paley Center for Media, the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative archive and The University of Colorado's Glenn Miller Archive. Included are dozens of rare photographs and recording artifacts that help to illustrate the scope of Sinatra's incredible radio career.

Meticulously restored and remastered in high-resolution from the original glass and aluminum radio transcription discs and magnetic tape masters by three-time Grammy winning recording engineer Andreas Meyer and Sinatra producer Charles L. Granata, these vintage, historic recordings – most of them unheard since their original broadcast in the 1940s and 1950s – sound more rich and vibrant than ever before. All of the warmth and vibrancy that are hallmarks of Frank Sinatra's vocal brilliance have been preserved, and showcased with unprecedented fidelity.

This breathtaking overview charts Frank Sinatra's evolution as a vocalist, and includes samples of his radio work from the first twenty years of his amazing career, from his first radio performance in 1935 (singing "S-H-I-N-E" with the Hoboken Four) to his last weekly series in 1955 (The Frank Sinatra Show, featuring ultra-rare performances with an in-studio quintet). From beginning to end, Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955) envelops the listener in the atmosphere surrounding the creation of these masterful radio performances in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

This box set holds special significance – both in Frank Sinatra's body of work, and as a special 100th Birthday tribute – as it includes dozens of songs that were never officially recorded by Frank Sinatra, and dozens of unusual (and unrecorded) arrangements of Sinatra's most prized songs. Among the treasures included on the collection are Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In," Frank Loesser's "I Wish I Didn't Love You So," Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin's "Long Ago and Far Away," Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Aren't You Glad You're You" and Richard Whiting, Leo Robin and Newell Chase's "My Ideal" – all important classics from the Great American Songbook that Sinatra never recorded.

Then, there are priceless duets with Nat 'King' Cole ("Exactly Like You"), Benny Goodman ("I Only Have Eyes for You"), Peggy Lee ("You Brought A New Kind of Love to Me"), Metropolitan Opera star Dorothy Kirsten ("A Fine Romance"), Doris Day ("Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" and Milton Berle ("It's De-Lovely") – as well as songwriters Irving Berlin ("Alexander's Ragtime Band"), Johnny Mercer ("Ac-Cen-Tchu-Ate the Positive") and Louisiana Governor Jimmy Davis ("You Are My Sunshine"). Also included are seldom-heard program openings, closings, announcements and commercials – PLUS twelve surprise bonus tracks that are sure to delight even the die-hard Sinatra fan!

Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air (1935-1955) was produced by Charles L. Granata, Didier C. Deutsch, Michael Feinstein and Andreas Meyer in cooperation with Legacy Recordings, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and the Smithsonian Institution. Executive Producers for the project are Nancy Sinatra, Adam Block and John Jackson. Editing, restoration and mastering are by Andreas Meyer and Charles L. Granata.

Befitting the historical importance of these irreplaceable American musical treasures, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings has partnered with The Smithsonian Institution to create a single CD consisting of an additional 26 rare, previously unreleased radio recordings (not available on the box set) to be offered exclusively at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and through their website. Visit for information regarding this companion release.

Throughout his nine-decade career, Frank Sinatra performed on more than 1,400 recordings and was awarded 31 gold, nine platinum, three double platinum and one triple platinum album by the Recording Industry Association of America. He extends his record to 57 for the most top 40 albums on the Billboard 200 with this year's new Ultimate Sinatra release. Sinatra has had Top 40 hits on the charts for eight decades which is as long as the Billboard charts have existed. He received nine GRAMMY Awards over the course of his career, including three for the prestigious Album Of The Year, and an Oscar. Sinatra demonstrated a remarkable ability to appeal to every generation and continues to do so; his artistry still influences many of today's music superstars. He also appeared in more than 60 films and produced eight motion pictures. 

Sinatra was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Recording Academy, The Screen Actors Guild and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Today, he remains a legend and an inspiration around the world for his contributions to culture and the arts.

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, NJ on December 12, 1915.  A series of Sinatra 100 events will be rolling out throughout this year including the new Ultimate Sinatra CD.  Following its highly acclaimed debut in New York in March, the multimedia Sinatra: An American Icon exhibit exploring  Frank Sinatra's life and career and will get its Los Angeles premiere at the GRAMMY Museum on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.


Stax/Concord Music Group will release the first-ever comprehensive, career-spanning overview of The Staple Singers, one of the most important American musical acts of the 20th century. Due out November 13, this limited edition 4-CD box set--titled Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976--also includes a very special bonus: the earliest known recording of the gospel, soul and R&B group, housed on a 7” vinyl record, marking the first time that this track has been available in any format since the Staples’ self-released edition of 500. The box set is available now to pre-order on Amazon in the following formats: Deluxe Box Set (4CD + 7” vinyl) and digitally.

Housed in a deluxe, old-school “45-folio” package, the accompanying book features new liner notes by Mavis Staples, James Miller, Opal Louis Nations and compilation producer Joe McEwen, as well as rarely seen photos of the family band taken over the course of their career.

The long-lost recordings embodied on the 7” record, “Faith and Grace” and “These Are They,” are the earliest known recordings of The Staple Singers and were made in a friend of Pops Staples’ basement in Chicago in 1953. These have never before been commercially available in any format except the 500 or so copies the Staples pressed themselves on 78 RPM records. The box set also contains the live recording: “Medley: Too Close/I’m On My Way Home/I’m Coming Home/He’s Alright (Live).” This live performance from 1960 Clarksdale, Mississippi has never before been available in its entirety.

The music of the Staple Singers--best known for their 1970s hits "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)," and "Let's Do It Again"--is richly embedded into American history and culture. As James Miller writes in the liner notes:

“The Staple Singers are American originals. Like Elvis Presley in the fifties, they took the country gospel sounds of the Mississippi Delta and turned them into a brand new kind of music, a fusion of blues form and raw feeling that was sui generis. Like Bob Dylan in the sixties, they created their own kind of folk music, in part to hymn the progress of the civil rights movement in America. Like Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin, they took the music of the black church and made that soulful sound matter to anybody with ears and an open mind in a series of exceptionally popular recordings that made them well-known to a wide audience. And afterwards, even after their belated moment of fame in the early 1970s, their principal members survived into a dignified old age, becoming venerated solo troubadours, performing vernacular American music that sounds as fresh today as it did a half-century ago…The consistency with which this family made rapturous music–as documented on this box set–becomes ever more impressive with the passage of time.”

Explaining The Staple Singers’ special dynamic, notes Miller, “The group had two primary leads: Pops, a tenor, and Mavis, a skinny girl with a thundering voice. When the Staples harmonized, their blend was high and keening, with Pops singing falsetto alongside his daughter Cleotha, a soprano, and Pervis, a high tenor like his dad, making them sound more like the Carter Family than a conventional black gospel group. Equally unusual was the instrumentation; instead of performing a capella or with keyboard accompaniment, the Staples featured the electric guitar playing of Pops. That’s the first thing you hear on their classic early recordings: finger-picked arpeggios, amplified in a wash of reverb and tremolo, anchoring the bottom of the sound. (‘Pop Staples and his nervous guitar,’ quipped rivals on the gospel circuit.)”

The box set is aptly titled Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 as these qualities are hallmarks of The Staple Singers. Their music remains soul-stirring and relevant – these songs bring hope in uncertain times. As always, The Staple Singers take us there.
Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976

Track listing:
 Disc 1
 1. It Rained Children
 2. I Just Can’t Keep It To Myself
 3. Each Day
 4. God’s Wonderful Love
 5. If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
 6. I’ve Got A New Home
 7. Uncloudy Day
 8. Come On Up In Glory
 9. I Know I Got Religion
 10. Swing Down Chariot (Let Me Ride)
 11. I Had A Dream
 12. Help Me Jesus
 13. Low Is The Way
 14. This May Be The Last Time [Alternate Take]
 15. So Soon
 16. I’m So Glad
 17. Pray On
 18. Good News
 19. Downward Road
 20. Don’t Drive Me Away
Disc 2
1. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
2. Don’t Knock
3. Medley: Too Close/I’m On My Way Home/I’m Coming Home/He’s Alright [Live]
4. Swing Low
5. Calling Me
6. Stand By Me
7. Hammer And Nails
8. Gloryland
9. Hear My Call, Here
10. Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
11. New-Born Soul
12. Dying Man’s Plea
13. Great Day
14. There Was A Star
15. Use What You Got
16. Let That Liar Alone
17. I Can’t Help From Cryin' Sometime
18. Blowin’ In The Wind
19. This Land Is Your Land
20. I Know I’ve Been Changed

Disc 3
1. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
2. Masters Of War
3. What Are They Doing (In Heaven Today)
4. Wish I Had Answered [Live At Newport]
5. I’ll Fly Away
6. Tell Him What You Want [Stapleton Singers]
7. Be Careful Of The Stones You Throw
8. Samson & Delilah
9. As An Eagle Stirreth Her Nest
10. Freedom Highway
11. Why (Am I Treated So Bad)
12. John Brown
13. Waiting For My Child
14. It’s Been A Change
15. For What It’s Worth
16. Let’s Get Together
17. Crying In The Chapel [Mavis Staples With The Staple Singers]
18. Long Walk To D.C.
19. Got To Be Some Changes
20. Slow Train

Disc 4
1. I See It
2. The Ghetto
3. When Will We Be Paid
4. God Bless The Children
5. The Challenge
6. Brand New Day [Theme From The Motion Picture The Landlord]
7. Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)
8. I Like The Things About You
9. You’re Gonna Make Me Cry
10. Respect Yourself
11. I’ll Take You There
12. This World
13. I’m Just Another Soldier
14. Are You Sure
15. If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)
16. Touch A Hand, Make A Friend
17. Back Road Into Town
18. Let’s Do It Again
19. The Weight [The Band feat. Staple Singers]
20. Respect Yourself [Demo]

7” track listing:
Side A
Faith and Grace

Side B
These Are They

Tuesday, September 29, 2015



A continuous flow of over 16 minutes, broken into seven individual, connected pieces. Dub, ambient and experimental electric basses are the focus... arranged and assembled by bassist / producer, Bill Laswell and featuring funk icon William Bootsy Collins (James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band), Robbie Shakespeare - one half of the mighty Jamaica rhythm / bass matrix - Sly & Robbie..., UK bass legend, Jah Wobble (P.I.L.) and Gabe Katz - bassist with the extreme dub / metal assault team - Blind Idiot God... Diverse and intense directions from the low end universe. Features: Silent Warfare (Bill Laswell); The Deep (Jah Wobble, Gabe Katz, Bill Laswell); The Thunder Lizard (Robbie Shakespeare); Jungle Overload (Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell); World As Will (Jah Wobble, Bill Laswell); Starship Burning (Bootsy Collins); and Babylon Space Draft (Bill Laswell).


Jean Touitou has a long-time history of writing and producing music at the brand's home studio in Paris. Samba de Merda is no exception: recorded in-house with a little help from friends Bill Laswell, Noam Levy and French band H.D.R., it reflects on the aftermath of the January Paris attacks. Pivotal to the song is the question of relentless exile, expressed in the most cryptic form of Portuguese. Although it is arbitrarily named "Samba", this song is structured like a bossa nova, complete with gentle guitar chords, playful piano and saxophone. Samba de Merda came about as Jean was learning the chords of Bobby Helm's Jingle Bell Rock, which are reproduced in the beginning of the song. They serve as an innocent counterpoint to the chaotic dub finale, courtesy of Mr. Laswell. Musicians: Jean Touitou - music, lyrics, vocals; H.D.R. - piano, synthesizer, drums, guitars, effects; Bill Laswell - bass, vibes; and Noam Levy – Saxophone.


Constantinople, the ancient melting pot mecca intersecting  Europe, India, Middle East and Africa, serves as the inspiration for the adventurous sonic explorations of “One World,” the ninth studio album from world music guitarist Jesse Cook. Joining primal instrumentation from all over the globe with rhythmic loops, textured audioscapes and technological experimentation, Cook’s One World will receive it’s official U.S. release on October 2.Cook composed and produced “One World,” an aural journey showcasing the Paris-born, Toronto-reared artist’s cultured cornucopia of rumba, flamenco, jazz, gypsy, pop and classical guitar parlance, rife with runs and riffs demonstrating dazzlingly dexterity. Strumming and plucking mystic melodies, evocative harmonies and contemplative meditations, Cook places his guitar on “One World” amidst carefully-crafted instrumental beds that just may be the most experimental of his career. He incorporated more modern technology to create interesting beats and inventive sounds, placing them side by side with traditional instruments that have been around for centuries. “One could imagine musicians from all over the world meeting in a marketplace in Constantinople and the mad, beautiful music that would have ensued. What would that have sounded like?” Cook pondered. “I didn’t want my crossroads to be limited to only traditional instruments; I wanted music from different time periods represented as well. Now you have ancient instruments like the Armenian duduk or the Arabic oud (the ancestor to the guitar), meeting record scratching, industrial textures, sample and loop technology. That is the world I wanted my guitar to venture through. I’ve always been interested in music technology, but on this record I gave it a wider scope.”



Celebration of Soul is Maxey's first release on Miles High Records and his tenth release in a series of recordings created n a 3 year-period. Guitarist Maxey brings the listener back to the primal element of soul with an ensemble featuring Brian Charette on the organ, special guest Rodney Jones on jazz guitar, the saxophone playing of Chase Baird and Jeremy Noller's interpretation of each song at the rhythmic core of the album. Three more musicians join the project on Brooklyn Sunrise and Colorado Sunset: Dave Parnell on acoustic guitar, Brett Parnell on lap steel guitar and Michael Cioffero on slide guitar.  


Quality is laced throughout It s Never Too Late, the first regular studio album featuring Emmanuel completely solo without guests since 2000. A friend and follower of the late Chet Atkins who christened Emmanuel a Certified Guitar Player, making him one of only five musicians to receive the C.G.P. distinction from the master Emmanuel easily skates between musical styles, playing with blues in One Mint Julep, infusing Spanish tradition in El Vaquero and exploring folk in The Duke. An accomplished fingerstyle player, Emmanuel frequently threads three different parts simultaneously into his material, operating as a one-man band who handles the melody, the supporting chords and the bass all at once. That expert layering is evident in It s Never Too Late on the quixotic Only Elliott, the calming title track and the gorgeous Hellos And Goodbyes. ~ Amazon


Liz Vice is from Portland, Oregon. With a love of storytelling, she has found herself transitioning from behind-the-scenes in the film and video world to behind the mic. The songs from There s A Light feature dynamic, soulful vocals, with classically influenced, timeless lyrics that reference her deep-rooted spirituality. Vice grew up as the middle of five children. She was raised by her mother, and when she was a little girl, she would hide in the basement dancing and lip-synching to songs from the radio and soundtracks from her favorite films. Ms. Vice has overcome many obstacles to get to where she is today. She credits her adventurous life to dealing with things as they come, never forcing anything, and taking risks. It s all about risk, and taking risks is never regretful...well, most of the time. ~ Amazon

French jazz violinist Scott Tixier at Club Bonafide in New York City

"I have heard Scott's recordings, seen his live performances and I think that he stands above the crowd of current jazz violinists around the world." Jean-Luc Ponty

"[Scott] has found a place for himself within the elite community of New York jazz musicians, no small feat." Pat Methany

Scott Tixier is appearing on October 1 at Club Bonafide in New York City. He’s currently touring with Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life Tour, award-winning French jazz violinist and recording artist Scott Tixier has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of artists, including: Christina Aguilera, Josh Groban, Gladys Knight,  Natalie Cole,  Doug E. Fresh, The Isley Brothers, Maceo Parker, and Clifford Adams (Kool & the Gang). He has played at NYC's top venues like Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and The Apollo Theate and has also appeared on America's Got Talent on NBC and the David Letterman Late Show on CBS.

Club Bonafide, located at 212 East 52nd Street, is bringing music back to 52nd Street with the same open, embracing attitude. Co-owner Richard Bona views Club Bonafide, as a vehicle for reigniting an openness within venues both by doing away with exclusivity clauses and by looking to instill a more genre-blind booking. In this way, Bona hopes to encourage a celebration of live music and an environment of collaboration that he views as crucial to building a scene. “Charlie Parker was performing on 52nd Street every night,” he notes. “And that’s part of what made him great. The artists have to be able to perform, and it helps no one if a great musician can only play in New York at a major club maybe three times a year.”

Grammy® Award-winning Gregory Porter to Join Star-Studded Roster for First Ever Blue Note "Jazz at Sea" on board Queen Mary 2

Grammy® Award-winning singer and songwriter, Gregory Porter, will be performing on board Queen Mary 2 during the first-ever Blue Note jazz themed cruise, which will debut 29 October 2015.  Porter, described by The New York Times as "a jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift," will be joining the star-studded roster of fellow Blue Note musicians, featuring: Grammy® Award-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper, acclaimed trumpet player Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott. "We are so very pleased to include Gregory Porter in what is an all-star list of venerable jazz musicians and world-class entertainers," states Richard Meadows, President, Cunard, North America. "This collaboration with Blue Note will be truly memorable for our guests and will give them a preview of more to come with Blue Note in 2016." Porter, who signed with Blue Note Records in 2013, recently took home his second Jazz FM award for "International Jazz Artist of the Year", and is most known for his third album, Liquid Spirit, which won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and reached top 10 on the UK album chart. This special Transatlantic Crossing will also feature several other accomplished jazz musicians including: Alan Hampton, Fredrico Pena, EJ Strickland, Mark Colenburg, Michael Aaberg, and Michal Moreno. In addition to these celebrated musicians, Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, who himself is a celebrated musician and Grammy® Award winning producer, will conduct special "Behind the Music" interviews and Q&As for guests traveling on this special Transatlantic Crossing. Natalie Cole, who was previously scheduled to perform, has had to cancel due to personal reasons.

Amy Winehouse - The Collection Limited edition vinyl box set features three studio albums, live recordings, and rarities

Island Records will release an 8 disc, limited edition vinyl box set comprising Amy Winehouse's three studio albums, live recordings from Amy's 2007 Shepherd's Bush shows, including tracks available for the first time on vinyl, and an album's worth of 'Rarities' featuring live session tracks dating back to 2003. Amy Winehouse - The Collection box set, to be released on December 11th, is a lovingly assembled and beautifully packaged collection. Each LP will be pressed onto 180-gram vinyl and the box will also include a bespoke litho print and an exclusive set of photographs taken from the commissioned photo sessions for Frank and Back To Black.

The full track listing is as follows:

Intro / Stronger Than Me
You Sent Me Flying / Cherry
Know You Now
F*** Me Pumps
I Heard Love Is Blind
Moody's Mood For Love / Teo L
(There Is) No Greater Love
In My Bed
Take The Box
October Song
What Is It About Men
Amy Amy Amy / Outro
Mr Magic (Through The Smoke)

Back To Black 
You Know I'm No Good
Me & Mrs Jones
Just Friends
Back To Black
Love Is A Losing Game
Tears Dry On Their Own
Wake Up Alone
Some Unholy War
He Can Only Hold Her

Lioness: Hidden Treasures 
Our Day Will Come
Between The Cheats
Tears Dry On Their Own
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Like Smoke
The Girl From Ipanema
Half Time
Wake Up Alone
Best Friends, Right?
Body And Soul
A Song For You

Live In London /  Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 2007
Just Friends
Back to Black
Wake Up Alone
Tears Dry On Their Own
He Can Only Hold Her / Doo Wop (That Thing)
F*** Me Pumps
Some Unholy War
Love Is a Losing Game
Hey Little Rich Girl ft Zalon and Ade
You Know I'm No Good
Me and Mr Jones
Monkey Man

(There Is) No Greater Love (BBC Session Janice Long '03)
I Heard Love Is Blind (BBC Session Stables '04)
Stronger Than Me (BBC Session Janice Long '03)
Know You Now (BBC Session Leicester '04)
F*** Me Pumps (BBC Session T In The Park '04)
In My Bed (BBC Session T In The Park)
You Know I'm No Good (Acoustic version for Napster)
Rehab (BBC Session Pete Mitchell '06)
Love Is A Losing Game (Live at iTunes Festival '07)
Me & Mr Jones (Live at iTunes Festival '07)
Back To Black (Live at iTunes Festival '07)
Tears Dry (Live at iTunes Festival '07)




A stunning little set – one we fell in love with from the very first note! The collection is wonderful – some of the freshest underground soul we've heard in years – almost a re-lighting of the UK fire that burned so strongly a few years ago – but with a very vibrant new sound as well! The music is very warm, but not in a contemporary soul sort of way – and indeed, maybe even deeper than most underground tracks too – as there's a lot of jazz in the instrumentation, and even the electric touches are more geared towards slightly cosmic elements, but without ever hitting a dancefloor mode. The whole thing's a great reminder that there's still folks out there making positive, forward-thinking soul – and our hat's off to compiler Toni Minvielle for doing such a great job. Titles include "Distance Can Be Sweet" by Personal Life, "Distractions" by Liz Elensky, "Miss Purty" by Cory Henry, "Let The Music Play" by Collective Peace, "Sea Snake" by Carl Hudson, "Two Sides" by Pat Van Dyke, "You Go To My Head" by Lauren Desberg with Gretchen Parlato, "Electric Ladyland" by Jesse Fischer, "Music Power" by Tommaso Cappellato & Astral Travel, and "Todos Os Santo" by Mauricio Maestro with Nana Vasconcelos. ~ Dusty Groove


An excellent live set from the mighty Lisa Stansfield – recorded recently, but with all the classic soul we've always loved in her music! The live setting is maybe even warmer and more organic than some of Lisa's studio work – with backings by a funky jazz combo that's right on the money all the way through, almost bringing an Incognito sort of warm to the whole thing – even on the passages which are touched with a bit of warmer strings – which create this cool, classy 70s sort of vibe! Titles include "Picket Fence", "People Hold On", "Stupid Heart", "Can't Dance", "Set Your Loving Free", "Conversation", "There Goes My Heart", "Someday", "The Real Thing", and lots more! ~ Dusty Groove


The strongest album to date from Chicago saxophonist Nick Mazzarella – a trio set that has the leader's alto blazing out in brilliantly soulful spirit, alongside robust bass from Anton Hatwich and magical drums from Frank Rosaly! The group have a cohesion that we might not have expected from the players a handful of years before – a sense of unity that's extremely dramatic, and which grabs our ears right from the start of the record – insisting that we listen with rapt attention, almost as if they're announcing the set as a new classic in jazz. All compositions are by Mazzarella, and although there's a lot of freedom in the playing, there's also an adhesion to his musical vision too – that wonderful balance of structure and openness that can really separate a record like this from the rest of the pack. Titles include "Neutron Star", "Luminous Dials", "Ultraviolet", "Fossil", and "Outlier". ~ Dusty Groove



A hell of a run of music from legendary drummer Billy Cobham – records so strong, they're maybe almost a genre unto themselves! Billy had already made something of a mark as a sideman before these albums, but right from the start, he brought something completely different to the table – a genre-stepping mix of jazz, funk, and soul influences that are as forward-moving for Cobham's instrument as Stanley Clarke's similar span of records in the 70s were for the bass – and, like Clarke's, these records have appeal that stretches way past conventional jazz, or even conventional funky jazz too. Yet there's also none of Cobham's more rockish-fusion on these records either – which makes for a wonderfully soulful span of records throughout – as Billy tries on so many different modes, and gets all of them pretty darn right! Some records have bonus tracks, too – and the set features the complete albums Spectrum, Crosswinds, Total Eclipse, Shabazz, Funky Thide Of Sings, Life & Times, Live On Tour In Europe, and Inner Conflicts – plus bonus tracks "Natural Essence", "Neu Rock & Roll (outtake)", "Stratus (single mix parts 1 & 2)", "All 4 One (outtake)", "Le Lis", "Crosswind (single mix)", "Moon Germs", "Hip Pockets (single mix)", and "Do What Cha Wanna (single mix)". ~ Dusty Groove


A stunning little set – one we fell in love with from the very first note! The collection is wonderful – some of the freshest underground soul we've heard in years – almost a re-lighting of the UK fire that burned so strongly a few years ago – but with a very vibrant new sound as well! The music is very warm, but not in a contemporary soul sort of way – and indeed, maybe even deeper than most underground tracks too – as there's a lot of jazz in the instrumentation, and even the electric touches are more geared towards slightly cosmic elements, but without ever hitting a dancefloor mode. The whole thing's a great reminder that there's still folks out there making positive, forward-thinking soul – and our hat's off to compiler Toni Minvielle for doing such a great job. Titles include "Distance Can Be Sweet" by Personal Life, "Distractions" by Liz Elensky, "Miss Purty" by Cory Henry, "Let The Music Play" by Collective Peace, "Sea Snake" by Carl Hudson, "Two Sides" by Pat Van Dyke, "You Go To My Head" by Lauren Desberg with Gretchen Parlato, "Electric Ladyland" by Jesse Fischer, "Music Power" by Tommaso Cappellato & Astral Travel, and "Todos Os Santo" by Mauricio Maestro with Nana Vasconcelos. ~ Dusty Groove


Really beautiful work from Brazilian singer Paula Santoro – a voice we've never heard before, but which really grabs us right away! Paula's face in water on the cover almost takes us back to a classic Gal Costa album with a similar image on the front – and there's a spirit here that recalls that point when Gal moved into warmer, jazzier material – but which still always had this pointed sharpness, thanks to her brilliant vocal presentation. Santoro's got a similar balance here – working with these warm currents in the music that mix together keyboards with rootsier acoustic elements – both guitar and percussion – and singing with this rasp in her voice that's very captivating, and conveys a sense of meaning far beyond the boundaries of language – a rare sort of magnetism we'd ascribe to a rare few Brazilian singers, like Joyce or Tania Maria. Titles include "Homem Ao Mar", "Flor", "Mar Deserto", "Guanabara", and "Alegria". ~ Dusty Groove



Legendary sounds from the great Augustus Pablo – the Rockers International selection of some of his best music from his too-short career – both instrumental tracks that feature his own haunting melodica solos, plus other performances with key vocal collaborators at the time! Pablo helms the music throughout – sometimes with the spooky, eerie quality of his own records – sometimes with a bit more of a roots style, but one that's always filled with great little twists and turns – if not melodica, then Augustus on organ or keyboards too. There's a huge amount of tracks on this 2CD set – and titles include "The People Of This World" by Sister Jam, "El Rockers Chapter Four" by Rockers All Stars, "El Rockers Chapter One" by Jay Iny, "Three Men In A Truck Back" by Delroy Williams, "Protect Them" by Norris Reid, "Away With You Fussing & Fighting" by Junior Delgado, "False Rasta" by Jacob Miller, "Black force" by Norris Reid, "1 Rutland Close" by Pablo All Stars, "Changing World" by Earl Sixteen Daley, "Zion A Fe Lion" by Jah Levi, and the tracks "King David's Melody", "El Rockers Chapter Three", "Cool Melody", "Destiny", "Cassava Piece", and "555 Crown Street" – all by Pablo himself! ~ Dusty Groove


A contemporary group from the Truth & Soul universe, but one who work in the best classic style we love from the label – although at a level that takes us back to 70s reggae, not funk or soul! The album's presented in glorious mono, which really goes well with the old school Kingston-style production – no tricks, gimmicks, or contemporary efforts to make things too overly complicated – just core instrumentation from a really great combo behind the vocals of Junior Thomas – who's got this soulful vocal approach that takes us back to Studio One legends like Jackie Opel or Alton Ellis! In fact, the label could have easily presented this as a lost classic, or unreleased tapes – and our hats are off to them for doing to Jamaican sounds what they've been doing for years to American funk and soul. Titles include "Get A Hold Of You", "Love Remedy", "Stop", "Breaking Up", "Embraceable", "Burning Fire", "Bumps In The Night", "Terrorize It", and "Color Me Blue".  ~ Dusty Groove


These guys just keep getting better and better with each new release – really finding a way to draw on all the individual growth of their all-star members, while also finding this fresh way to keep moving forward! There's a joyous, soaring sort of vibe to the music that we sometimes don't hear in the solo release by some of the individual players – a way of coming together that seems to set each member on fire in the company of the other, as they hone a groove so unified, it's hard to believe they don't work together all the time. Seamus Blake provides tremendous tenor, and Alex Sipiagin is wonderful as always on trumpet and flugelhorn – but extra thanks may well be due to the rhythm section, who really set the whole thing spinning – mighty work from David Kikoski on piano and Fender Rhodes, Boris Kozlov on bass, and Donald Edwards on drums. All group members contribute strong original tracks for the date – and titles include "Silver Pockets", "Tickle", "Murzake", "Crack To The Crevice", and "Five Corners". ~ Dusty Groove



A great new showcase for the music of Alex Puddu – the contemporary groover who's given us some wonderful music over the years – including his famous Golden Age Of Danish Pornography sets! This album's more of a back-to-basics affair for Puddu – recorded with a tight combo, and a very classic approach to mod jazz and funk – performed by a group that's very heavy on keyboards alongside sweet riffing guitar from Alex! The sound is tight, but never too smooth – and there's a few additional horns thrown into the mix, to augment the top end alongside the guitar, clavinet, Hammond, and Fender Rhodes – all with a sweet blend that's almost got a 70s blacksploitation vibe at times, but a bit looser and more spontaneous too. Puddu wrote, arranged, and produced – and most cuts are instrumental, but a few feature vocals from singer Duane Hobson. Titles include "Sexy Lady", "You Got Me Funky", "Such A Bad Girl", "Black Sugar", "Love Rollercoaster", "Losing My Mind", and "Feel The Heat". ~ Dusty Groove


A tremendous trio outing, and a record that really illustrates the newfound strength we've heard from drummer Barry Altschul in recent years – music so great, it's almost as if he's taken a time machine back to the groundbreaking days of his youth! The play on "freedom" in the trio's name is no joke – as a good part of the album features improvised compositions, mixed with very freewheeling takes on a few other jazz numbers – balanced beautifully between melodic elements and rhythmic progressions, served up very equally from Barry on drums and percussion, Joe Fonda on bass, and the mighty Jon Irabagon on tenor, soprano, sopranino sax, and flute! Fonda's presence is especially great – as he plays here with a really soulful, deep-toned quality that holds things together even at their most dynamic, individual moments – and titles include "As The Tale Begins", "Annette's Tale Of Miracles", "And The Tale Ends", and "A Drummer's Tale".  ~ Dusty Groove


Tenorist Doug Webb jumps into the fray right from the very first note on this excellent set – a further continuation of his recent development as both a soloist and writer! Webb's got a style that's deeply classic, yet very personal too – not just a rehash of older tenor modes, but a way of drawing on their depth, and refocusing it into these surprisingly nimble lines – beautifully rhythmic passages that have the tonal colors really lighting up along the way – as Doug's horn resonates strongly with the piano lines from Peter Zak, over the more than able rhythms from Ben Wolfe on bass and Rudy Royston on drums! The whole record's got a simple, understated power that comes across very well on first listen – and only seems to delight more and more upon repeated spins – and titles include the Webb originals "Back East", "Sally's Song", "RDW Esq", "Stanley", "Mr Green", and "Snicker's Lament". ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, September 28, 2015


The genesis of Peter Kogan's Some Monsterful Wonderthing was, of all things, the frustrating 2012 lockout of the Minnestota Orchestra. This was Kogan's day gig, and although the timpanist had high hopes for a reasonably quick settlement, he also took this golden opportunity to record his first studio album as leader - Cornucopia - released in 2013.  As the orchestra stalemate dragged into its 16th month, Kogan began thinking about a follow up disc which would utilize a septet, some new tunes that reflected on the labor struggle he was involved in, and the strong community support that the orchestra musicians received.  Some musical ideas were completely new, and others were fresh takes on older material from Kogan's New York City days. This became Some Monsterful Wonderthing and was finished six months after the orchestra lockout ended. The final mixes and mastering for the recording were completed by the Grammy Award winning engineer Preston Smith. 

SOS Sambadenotes "Save Our Symphony Minnesota," and is dedicated to the Minnesota community that was so supportive of the players during the lockout. The track begins with a samba percussion motif parading from a distance with Kogan playing an SOS Morse Code rhythm 3 times to signal in the band. With the melody introduced by the piano, then flugelhorn, there is a joyous percussion exchange heard between Rogerio Boccato and Kogan to bring back the melody.

Track 2 is LOMoMO Mojo Jump. LOMoMO is the acronym for "Locked Out Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra" and is dedicated to Kogan's colleagues. A throwback to Duke Ellington's earliest recorded music with the Cotton Club band, the track starts with a Jimmy Blanton tribute played by bassist Brian Courage, beautifully restated by Scott Agster using a plunger-fitted trombone.  Kogan's temple blocks are reminiscent of Ellington's long time drummer Sonny Greer. Each soloist on this track plays a different groove to celebrate Ellington's broad range of styles.

The title track - Some Monsterful Wonderthing  - is a play on words referring to the Rogers and Hammerstein song  "Something Wonderful" from The King and I. An exorcism and a savage tribute to that tune in reverse, the track contains some searing solos by Cory Wong on guitar, Pete Whitman on soprano sax and Sean Turner on piano.

Kogan wrote Nola Joe imagining what it might be like if Joe Sample had been raised in New Orleans. The whole band gets to have their say on this one.

Gospel Tune is just that. A sweet song that lets the listener imagine their own "Good Book."

McKinley Morganfield's Forever is undoubtedly a tribute to the great Muddy Waters featuring Cory Wong with  Scott Agster standing in for Muddy's voice. The tune's backbeat feel eventually morphs into a bluesy shuffle.

Live to Learn and Love Another Day is a ballad beautifully played by Charles Lazarus on flugelhorn.

Inspired by the guy in the little red wagon,  Question Monk? appropriately challenges the listener to find the beat amidst all the soloing in the tune's 6/4 time.

ZAC GREENBERG'S Jazz-Fusion Album ‘UNEXPECTED JOURNEY’ Inspired by Cancer

For an album about cancer, Zac Greenberg’s “Unexpected Journey” is unexpectedly upbeat.

Certainly, some parts are slow and somber; others are intense and unnerving. After all, the project was inspired by a disease that terrifies, leaving survivors in a state of perpetual uncertainty, wondering if and when it will return. But overall, this jazz-fusion concerto is captivating, ambitious and optimistic.

“This album tells a story that most patients can relate to, in terms of what they go through, with diagnosis and treatment,” Greenberg said.

The idea for “Unexpected Journey” grew out of Greenberg’s personal experience. His grandmother, Joyce Elkus, lost her husband, Dr. Fred Elkus, and later, her companion, Dr. Stanley Kaplan, to cancer. Greenberg was close to both men, who were prominent in the Cincinnati medical community. At his grandmother’s suggestion, Greenberg composed “Unexpected Journey” in their memory, and to raise money for charity. A portion of the proceeds from digital downloads will support cancer-related organizations.

“Unexpected Journey” consists of four movements: “Life,” “Diagnosis,” “Treatment” and “Beyond,” each evoking a different mood. “Life” begins peacefully, with positive energy and a sense of predictability. “Diagnosis” comes crashing in with shrieking electric guitars and tenor saxophone, thumping bass and thunderous drums. It is meant to be shocking. “Treatment” begins with a rhythm that suggests the monotony of chemical drips and radiation, eventually increasing in tempo, as if to suggest an urgent desire to hurry up and finish the unpleasant medical procedures. Finally, “Beyond” represents the completion of treatment and the uneasy, but hopeful wait-and-see period that follows. It is intentionally anti-climactic, leaving the listener contemplating the future. (Part of “Unexpected Journey” can be seen here:

Before writing “Unexpected Journey,” Greenberg spent time interviewing doctors, social workers and cancer patients, to better understand their experiences and thought processes.
“One of the things I heard echoing through all of my cancer research was how quickly and unexpectedly patients’ lives change, once they are diagnosed,” Greenberg said. “This music is a study into the human reaction in the face of unexpected unknowns and mortality.”

Greenberg’s musicians on “Unexpected Journey” are superb, and although relatively young, bring impressive experience to the table. Saxophonist Dave Engelhard has toured with the Zac Brown Band, and has performed on stage with the likes of Gregg Allman, Tom Scott, Shelly Berg, John Mayer, Grace Potter, Scott Weiland and others. Guitarist Amos Rose is a New York-based performer, teacher, recording engineer and producer. He has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Brazil, China, France and Qatar. Guitarist Kevin Wunderlich began studying with renowned session musician Joe Beck while in high school, before moving to New York City to study in New York University’s jazz program. He has since become a fixture on the NYC experimental and avant-heavy music scene, performing and recording regularly with experimental artists Epistasis, Voice Coils and Couch Slut. Drummer Bennett Eiferman studied with legendary musicians in New York including Joe Lovano, Ari Hoenig, Jean Michel Pilc, Steffon Harris, Dafnis Prieto and more.

Greenberg, meanwhile, studied music at Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, New York University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He has studied under many established artists, including Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Fareed Haque, Stanley Clarke, Dave Pietro, Rich Shermaria, Drew Gress and more.


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