Friday, February 27, 2015

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Debuts @ #3 On Billboard Blues Chart With “So Delicious"!

So Delicious, the seventh studio album from renowned Blues/Rock outfit Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band blew out of the gate and already is making its mark on the blues world, debuting this week at a lofty #3 spot on the Billboard blues chart.  With strong support from independent retail—including release week in-stores at legendary locations like Landlocked, Indy CD & Vinyl, Culture Clash, Shake It, Grimey’s and Vintage Vinyl—So Delicious continues a string of critically and commercially acclaimed releases from The Rev and his unique musical crew.  Now in the midst of a flurry of tour dates which span both the U.S. and around the globe, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are setting themselves up for an even greater level of success and notoriety as a group that is truly keeping the blues alive and well. 


The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is something of a phenomenon in today’s music scene.  Amidst a bevy of so-called “roots” artists, the Rev. and crew truly embody the roots of American music.  Citing legends like Charlie Patton and Muddy Waters as influences, the Big Damn Band’s music exhibits a more genuine homage to the early blues greats than almost anything produced today, all delivered with a ferocious energy.  In light of the authenticity of their sound and vibe, legendary Shanachie Blues imprint Yazoo Records is the perfect match for The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.


VOCALIST KENYA SET TO RELEASE ECLECTIC SOULFUL ALBUM "MY OWN SKIN"

Kenya (whose full name is Kenya McGuire Johnson) has been singing since the age of 8. Raised in Denver, CO she was active in citywide choirs, jazz bands, show choirs, musical theater, jazz ensembles and gospel choirs. While in college at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Kenya performed in the renowned Howard Gospel Choir and opened for artists such as Yolanda Adams and Bebe & Cece Winans. Upon graduating from Howard University with a degree in physical therapy, Kenya became a clinician, educator, clinical instructor and administrator in higher education.  After years of being away from music, she took a massive leap of faith and made the decision to leave her academic career and follow her passion!             

Kenya has performed at a variety of leading venues across the nation and has opened for such recording artists as Grammy Award winning recording artist Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, and Stokley Williams of the acclaimed R&B group Mint Condition.  She has shared venue bills with neo-soul artist Algebra Blessett and recording jazz artist Raul Midon.  Venues include a sold out audience at Washington, D.C.’s legendary Blues Alley, Chicago’s House of Blues, Billie's Black in Harlem, The Biltmore and Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles, Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver, CO, Cullen's Live in Houston, TX and The Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, NY.  Kenya has headlined at the Soul Mountain Music Festival in Beaver Creek, CO, the infamous Pine Grill Jazz Festival in Buffalo, NY and The Africana Music Festival in Virginia Beach, VA.


Kenya’s first release from her forthcoming debut LP/album My Own Skin titled “Be Here” featuring the soulful recording duo Kloud 9 peaked at #28 on the US R&B Billboards and #2 on the UK Soul Chart.  Her second release from the same album “Wednesday Girl” is a stirring neo-soul/jazz groove that also peaked at #2 on the UK Soul Chart.  My Own Skin is an eclectic soulful album that will be released in Europe by Expansion Records March 2015.  Early reviews of the album describe it as being filled with “scorchers” and being “very sophisticated and diverse.”  ~ kenyamjmusic.com


Vocalist Paul Jost Releases BREAKING THROUGH; First Solo CD of Jazz Standards

“Breaking Through” is the first solo CD of the multi-talented musician and vocalist and arranger, Paul Jost. With this release, Paul breaks through traditional boundaries and conventions by producing a unique and innovative recording. While the majority of songs are jazz standards, there is nothing standard about them.

Paul has been heard on countless recordings over the years but on “Breaking Through”, this multi-faceted artist, who plays drums, guitar, harmonica and piano, merges his experiences into another musical dimension – his voice. Music critic Buster Maxwell said, “Paul nearly single-handedly reclaims the male voice as a valid and critically important jazz instrument, and it’s simply thrilling to hear him.”

One of the highlights of this recording is Paul’s original song, “Book Faded Brown.” This tender and compelling composition has been recorded by such legends as The Band, Rick Danko and Carl Perkins. Slightly altered, he presents it here very much in keeping with how these great artists first heard the tune. Jost said, “It’s such an honor to have had these incredible artists perform my music.” The late Rick Danko said, “’Book Faded Brown’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard or done.”

Whether scatting, incorporating body percussion or arranging the song in a unique way, “Breaking Through” demonstrates Paul’s eclectic talent. The first song, “Singing in the Rain,” begins with an atmosphere so tangible the listener feels transported and part of the journey. In “The Days of Wine and Roses” (with flutist Mark Adler), the backdrop is set against the ambience of a city park teeming with life and as a chance meeting place for two musicians who share a common language. Paul consistently presents the music so that each song contains surprising, intriguing elements.

Most recently, Paul has collaborated with outstanding musicians on several projects. Serving as vocalist and arranger in The Jost Project, Paul joined forces with vibraphonist Tony Miceli, bassist Kevin MacConnell and drummer Charlie Patierno to produce “Can’t Find My Way Home” on Dot Time Records. This recording interprets classic rock in a jazz format with the goal of reaching new fans of jazz, and they have cultivated fans around the world. When the recording was reviewed in Jazz in Europe, Johan van Deeg wrote, “I just love this CD. The Jost Project is without a doubt one of the most creative bands I have heard in years and vocalist Paul Jost one of the best male jazz vocalists that I have heard since Mark Murphy.” Among Paul’s other music collaborations, he sings with the Diane Monroe Quintet, performs duos with pianist Frank Strauss, with flutist Mark Adler and with bassist Tim Lekan. He and Lekan are also members of Antfarm Quartet with pianist Jim Ridl and drummer Bob Shomo.

Commercially, Paul’s voice can be heard on national jingles for Johnson & Johnson, Sears, Timberland, Anheuser Busch and others. As a prolific composer, Paul has written over 40 CD’s for major music libraries that are heard daily in over 750 markets throughout the United States and is a four-category, blue ribbon Billboard Song Contest winner. He has composed for both Canon Pictures and for N.B.C. including their Emmy Award Winning series, “Special Treat”.


NEW RELEASES: STONE ALLIANCE – STONE ALLIANCE; STONE ALLIANCE – HEADS UP; ELVIN JONES IS ON THE MOUNTAIN

STONE ALLIANCE – STONE ALLIANCE

An amazing little group – and one of the real standouts in indie jazz during the 70s! Stone Alliance are a killer power trio made up of players who'd previously worked for Elvin Jones – and all three of them have inherited a frenzied sense of rhythm from Jones – and that great sharp edge he brought to his initial early recordings in the post-Coltrane years! But there's also a deeper sound going on here, too – a bit of funk, and definitely a bit of Latin in the percussion and basslines – which makes for these grooves that are as complicated as they are infectious – often given some sweet spiritual tones from the reeds on top! The lineup features Steve Grossman on tenor and soprano sax, Gene Perla on bass, and Don Alias on drums and percussion – all working together with tremendous energy, but a great focus too – always soulful, and never too jamming at all. Titles include the insane break track "Sweetie Pie", plus Stevie Wonder's "Creepin", "Duet", "King Tut", "Samba De Negro" and "Vaya Mulatto". ~ Dusty Groove

STONE ALLIANCE – HEADS UP

Stone Alliance plays with an expanded lineup on this LP, perhaps to account for the missing Steve Grossman, who's no longer with the group at this point. Don Alias and Gene Perla are joined by Dave Liebman, Alex Acuna, Michael Brecker, and Kenny Kirkland, and the track list includes "Trampoline", "Aunt Remus", "Tribute To Afreeka", and "Uncle Jemima". Perhaps not as full on funky as the group's first few powerhouse albums, but still a great little record with a hard jazzy edge!  ~ Dusty Groove





ELVIN JONES - ELVIN JONES IS ON THE MOUNTAIN WITH JAN HAMMER & GENE PERLA

An overlooked gem from Elvin's mid 70s years – and a sweet fusion jammer that has the best kick of the classics on the PM label! Elvin may be the leader of the set, but the real strength of the album belongs to the record's tight bass work by the great Gene Perla – strong-voiced and soulful, and doing a good job here of keeping both Elvin and Jan focused on the groove of the tunes – as Hammer's keyboards spin out with lots of sweet cosmic touches! Titles include "Namuh", "On The Mountain", "Smoke In The Sun", "Destiny", and "London Air".  ~ Dusty Groove

 




NEW RELEASES: CHARLES EARLAND – BACK TALK!; MACEO PARKER – US; THE OHIO PLAYERS – OBSERVATIONS IN TIME

CHARLES EARLAND – BACK TALK!

A pivotal album in the development of the use of the Hammond organ in jazz – and Charles Earland's first exposure to a large audience! During the 60s, Charles was bumping around the Philly scene quite a bit – and recorded some small group indie sides that first gave a glimpse of his unique sound on the organ. But with this record, Earland really broke out wide – and hit a huge audience that made him one of the most in-demand players of the early 70s! The Earland touch is summed up perfectly here – a really fluid approach to the keys that shakes loose the clunkier styles of older Hammond players, and goes for a tightened-up groove that puts equal emphasis on rhythm and melodic improvisation – in a way that's always made Charles' records some of the best jazz dancers to come out of Prestige. Earland has an amazing way of completely transforming a tune – taking a familiar melody, but riffing on it extensively – slowly expanding it through almost modal progressions – until the tune opens up into a long extended jazzy groove! Proof of this is the album's sublime 11 minute version of "More Today Than Yesterday" – a solid stepper that never gets old – and other tunes include "Black Talk", "The Mighty Burner", "Here Comes Charlie", and "Aquarius". Oh, and players include Virgil Jones, Houston Person, Melvin Sparks, and Idris Muhammed – an all-star lineup, but tightly guided by Charles as if they were his own working group!  ~ Dusty Groove

MACEO PARKER – US

A killer-diller bit of essential funk – the only full album cut by Maceo with James Brown production! The set's got Maceo coming back strongly into the JB fold, with a fierce array of funky cuts that kick it every bit as hard as the best JBs work of the time. No surprise, the JBs are working with Maceo on the arrangements and backing – letting his funky horn take the lead, but coming up on their own with the impeccably tight rhythms that have forever made them the blueprint for funk forever! Features the great tracks "Soul Power 74" and "Parrty", which you may have on compilations, but also the great album tracks "I Can Play For (Just You and Me)" and "Soul of a Black Man", a 10 minute long, slow soul groove, with vocals by James Brown.  ~ Dusty Groove

THE OHIO PLAYERS – OBSERVATIONS IN TIME

Wild! This early Ohio Players album is a masterpiece of 60s soul, and has a great group sound unlike any of their Westbound albums. The band is tight and funky, but in a sort of deep soul 60s way, with arrangements and playing that have a hard edge, and with nice guitar rhythm tracks. There's a lot of originals, like "Bad Bargain", "Lonely Street", and "Street Party", plus very cool covers of cuts like "Summertime" and "Mother In Law". Great trippy cover, too. Also includes 'Here Today & Gone Tomorrow", "Stop Lying To Yourself", "Over The Rainbow", "Find Someone To Love","Cold Cold World" and "The Man That I Am".  ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: THE MIGHTY SCEPTRES! – ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY SCEPTRES!; BABA COMMANDANT & THE MANDINGO BAND - JUGUYA; THE RONGETZ FOUNDATION - KISS KISS DOUBLE JAB

THE MIGHTY SCEPTRES! – ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY SCEPTRES!

A brilliant take on vintage sounds by Cornwall combo The Mighty Sceptres – seamlessly mixing vintage funky group soul styles! As much as we dug their earlier 7-inch on Ubiquity, we're pretty much floored by how much deeper this excellent full length cuts! Singer Angeline Morrison has a way of bringing in a soulful warmth with laidback charm – and the band brings a lot of different styles into play, without going too far out of the old school comfort zone. Drums, Rhodes and horns are prominent, but there's some more orchestral string touches, glockenspiel, harmonica and other elements that really take it to another level. All Hail, indeed! Includes "Siren Call", "I Found The Letter", "Just Didn't Mean It", "Sting Like A Bee", "Nothing Seems To Work Right", "Land Of Green Ginger", "We Got A Problem", "Gentle Refrain", "Nothing But A Pack Of Cards", "Krazy Kat" with guest vocals by Ian Dunlop, "That Ol' Feelin'" and more. 13 tracks in all.  ~ Dusty Groove

BABA COMMANDANT & THE MANDINGO BAND - JUGUYA

One of the most solid albums we've ever heard on the Sublime Frequencies label – a studio recording by a group with a really great approach to their music – a style that mixes classic Afro Funk elements with rootsier elements on the instrumentation! The grooves are tight, but the sound has some nice earthy qualities at times – especially in Baba Commandant's use of ngoni, which rings out in a way that's both melodic and rhythmic at the same time – echoing an older mandingo tradition, but coming across with a lot of punch! Other instrumentation includes lots of percussion, fuzzy guitars, and balafon too – and most of the vocals have a call/response style, in which other singers call out alongside Baba's lead. Really great stuff – with titles that include "Tile", "Folon", "Wasso", "Juguya", "Siguisso", and "Ntijiguimorola".  ~ Dusty Groove

THE RONGETZ FOUNDATION - KISS KISS DOUBLE JAB

An even hipper album than the first Rongetz Foundation outing – which we totally loved – thanks to work from classic musicians who include Gary Bartz on alto, Steve Turre on trombone, and Monnette Sudler on guitar! The music is a great blend of bass-heavy rhythms (acoustic bass, that is), jazzy flourishes, and these excellent vocals from Lilli Cooper – an artist we don't know at all, but who brings a real underground soul vibe to the whole thing – with an old school approach that really lives up to the instrumentation! The album already won us over by including one of our favorite Charles Earland tunes ever – the sublime "Murilley", a lost gem from his late 70s years, given a great vocal reading for the set – and other titles are all original, and include "Cab Samba", "Kiss Kiss Double Jab", "Marshmallow Throne", "Such A Morning Person", and "Sonia Poem", which features a recitation from Sonia Sanchez.  ~ Dusty Groove


GRAMMY® Award winning vocalist and producer Steve Tyrell celebrates the chart success of his new album, THAT LOVIN' FEELING, which entered the Billboard Jazz Chart at #5

"I am thrilled to learn I have another Top 5 record! These sessions took me back to a lot of special moments in my life," said Tyrell. 

Tyrell invited his legendary songwriter and artist friends to a heartfelt celebration of THAT LOVIN' FEELING. The renowned singer's ode to what he calls "The Great American Songbook 2" features classics by Carole King, Leiber and Stoller, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Burt Bacharach and Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich – and guest appearances by Dave Koz, Neil Sedaka, B.J. Thomas, Bill Medley, Judith Hill, and Chuck Leavell.

Though the singer has ventured beyond the classic Sinatra era at times to bring his charismatic gravelly charm to projects celebrating the music of Disney and Burt Bacharach, THAT LOVIN' FEELING is a unique, highly personal project. The generous 15-track set is an intimate, decidedly jazzy, window into Tyrell's storied roots in the music business, dating back to the 60's when the Houston native, still in his late teens, moved to New York and began working in multiple capacities (A&R, promotions man, artist producer) at Florence Greenberg's Scepter Records.

During that era, Tyrell worked with and/or became close friends with the already established hit-making team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, as well as upstarts cramped in tight Brill Building spaces whose songs came to define a generation: Carole King/Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and Neil Sedaka. Putting his own natural, charismatic flair on some of their best loved works, Tyrell – who produced the collection with Jon Allen, with stunning arrangements by co-producer Bob Mann - pays homage to all of them in fresh ways, including, on certain tracks, asking them to participate in the recording itself.

THAT LOVIN' FEELING Track Listing:

1.Jazzman [feat. Dave Koz]   
2.Up On The Roof
3.You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' [feat. Bill Medley]
4.There Goes My Baby          
5.Be My Baby
6.Good Good Lovin' [feat. Judith Hill]
7.Laughter In The Rain [feat. Neil Sedaka]   
8.Groovy Kind Of Love          
9.Rock And Roll Lullaby [feat. B.J. Thomas]              
10.Chapel Of Love [feat. Lauryn Tyrell]        
11.Just A Little Lovin' (Early In The Morning)
12.On Broadway [feat. Barry Mann] 
13.Any Day Now        
14.Stand By Me         
15.Hound Dog [feat. Chuck Leavell]

Tyrell has enjoyed a multi-faceted five decade career that has included producing everyone from B.J. Thomas, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and Bonnie Raitt to Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, James Ingram, Dolly Parton, Chris Botti, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles; working as a music supervisor for films by Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer; penning the #1 pop hit "How Do You Talk To An Angel"; and performing with symphony orchestras all across America. This year also marked the 10th anniversary to his taking over the Holiday Season at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City for the late legend Bobby Short.  


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saxophonist Kyle Nasser Releases Debut Album "Restive Soul" On March 24, 2015

Saxophonist Kyle Nasser was a student of Economics and Political Philosophy at Harvard University when his life was changed by an encounter with Hank Jones. The legendary pianist, then in his late 80s, visited Cambridge to teach and play a concert with the Harvard Jazz Band, making a profound impact on the young saxophonist. "Seeing him in peak form and expressing joy through music at such an advanced age was really deep," Nasser recalls. "We took him out to dinner, ended up playing a three-hour session, and then he asked us to take him home so that he could get in some practicing before bed. That left a huge impression and reinforced that I should do this. I didn't have any old investment banker friends that seemed very happy."

Nasser graduated from Harvard and switched paths, leading him to another revered institution: Berklee College of Music. He's now reaching another landmark along that path with his striking debut, Restive Soul, out March 24, 2015.  A trace of the saxophonist's former pursuit remains in the title, which was drawn from a quote by French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville ascribing his pursuit of politics to his own "restive and insatiable soul." The album displays the keen intellect that landed Nasser at one of America's most hallowed schools, along with the passion that steered him away from a potentially lucrative career in business to pursue his lifelong love of music.

The compositions that comprise Restive Soul combine fervent jazz playing by Nasser's quintet - Jeff Miles (guitar), Dov Manski (piano), Chris Van Voorst (bass), and Devin Drobka (drums) - with elements from Nasser's intensive study of western classical music. But this is no Third Stream hybrid, wearing its "classical" inspirations on its sleeve; instead, Nasser seamlessly assimilates counterpoint and long-form harmonic development into electrifying modern jazz pieces. Those concepts were then workshopped on the bandstand over the course of several years during the band's regular Tuesday-night gigs at Brooklyn bar The Fifth Estate.

"I became obsessed with counterpoint at Berklee," Nasser says. "You have to take traditional counterpoint courses, and it hit me that this is what I had been looking for and missing in a lot of the jazz that I'd been listening to and playing. I got the impression that a lot of people were writing tunes because they wanted to blow over them as opposed to having a conscious compositional direction to the piece. I wanted to make a quintet sound like an orchestra."

The album opens with "For Rick B.," a theme-and-variations tribute to Nasser's most important teacher, New Bedford-area saxophonist and pianist Rick Britto, who passed away while Nasser was in the midst of writing the piece. No mournful elegy, the piece instead builds from a piquant sax-and-guitar melody over a surging rhythm. It's followed by the floating, dream-like "Angelique," a shimmering showcase for the rhythm section.

The title track illustrates that restlessness of spirit that drives an artist like Nasser with its persistent rock groove, driven by Miles' serrated guitar. The dark-tinged cinematic feeling of "Shadow Army" is captured in its evocative title, while "Gyorgi Goose" refers to both avant-garde classical composer György Ligeti and a stuffed animal that Nasser received from his mother - twin inspirations evoked by the tune's simultaneous dissonance and playfulness. The melody of "Radiator Lady" hints at the song hauntingly crooned by one of the memorable oddities in David Lynch's Eraserhead,

"Trip To Lester's" is an homage to Harvard professor emeritus and marijuana activist Lester Grinspoon, who would hold court for graduates at his home. Nasser's piece conjures the atmosphere of those sessions and their crisscrossing, disjointed but stimulating conversations. "Whitestone" and "Ecstatic Repose" are impressionistic pieces, the former an attempt to capture the sunset vista of New York City as seen from the Whitestone Bridge, the latter a depiction of how the mind can be frenetic while the body is at rest. The album draws to a hopeful close with the folk-like melody of "Rise."

While it wasn't until the end of his tenure at Harvard that Nasser determined to pursue jazz as a career, his love for it began at the age of six. Kyle's parents frequented a local restaurant in his native New Bedford, Massachusetts, that featured a live jazz band. He was immediately enthralled by the saxophone player,  who ended up becoming his first teacher. Too small at the time to hold the saxophone, he started out on the clarinet, leading initially to a more classical education before he joined his junior high jazz band.
After graduating from Harvard and Berklee, Nasser moved to New York City in 2010. He has shared the stage with jazz luminaries such as Jim Hall, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Ben Monder, among others. He's also toured the U.S. and South America with his own music and with the collective quartet Beekman, which recently released its own debut album.




    

NEW RELEASES: BOB CREWE - THE COMPLETE ELEKTRA RECORDINGS; JACKY TERRASSON - TAKE THIS; JAKOB BRO - GEFION

BOB CREWE - THE COMPLETE ELEKTRA RECORDINGS

What do “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Jenny, Take a Ride” and “Lady Marmalade” all have in common?  Each one of those songs came from the pen from Bob Crewe.  A songwriter, producer, singer, entrepreneur, artist and candidate for the title of “Fifth Season,” Crewe was one of music’s true renaissance men.  With Bob Gaudio, he co-wrote and produced most of the Four Seasons’ greatest hits, and he also guided the careers of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Oliver, and many others.  Yet one period of his extraordinary career has been long overlooked…until now.  During 1976 and 1977, Crewe was signed to Elektra Records, where he released two remarkably diverse albums.  1976’s Street Talk resurrected The Bob Crewe Generation, best-known for the swinging bachelor pad classic “Music to Watch Girls By,” for the disco age.  As a “disco-rock ballet” concept album aimed at Broadway, Street Talk reflected the exuberant, uninhibited and provocative spirit of the era with its lush, orchestral disco style.  The following year, Crewe emerged as a singer-songwriter with the solo Motivation.  Helmed by legendary rock producer Jerry Wexler and famed Muscle Shoals musician Barry Beckett, Motivation was inspired by Carole King’s Tapestry and remains a passionate, spiritual and raw pop statement from an artist who had plenty to say.  Real Gone Music’s Bob Crewe – The Complete Elektra Recordings, the inaugural release from the label’s new Second Disc Records imprint, brings these two, long-unavailable hidden gems to CD in the United States for the very first time.  And that’s not all.  A host of never-on-CD bonus tracks have been added to each title including rare singles and remixes!  The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese provides the new liner notes for this newly-remastered collection.  Take one listen, and you’ll agree: Crewe’s pulse-pounding, emotionally-charged Elektra recordings deserve a place alongside his undisputed classics…and offer a timely tribute to this late, great pop music giant. ~ Real Gone

JACKY TERRASSON - TAKE THIS

Pianist/composer Jacky Terrasson makes his Impulse! label debut with Take This, a sparkling new disc that captures the quintessence of his multifaceted musical makeup, which often draws upon modern post-bop, pop, hip-hop, European classical, and African and Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies. On Take This, Terrasson convenes a truly international band featuring American bassist Burniss Travis, Cuban-born drummer Lukmil Perez, Malian percussionist Adama Diarra, and Afro-French vocalist and human beatbox virtuoso Sly Johnson, forming a hip cosmopolitan combo that represents jazz s expansive global mindedness while still affirming its African-American roots. ~ Amazon


JAKOB BRO - GEFION

Gefion is Danish guitarist Jakob Bro's first ECM album as leader, following recordings for the label as sideman with Paul Motian and Tomasz Stanko. Like the work of those masters Bro s balladeering distils a sense of jazz history in its specific and highly personal atmospheres. The open forms of Bro s compositions leave plenty of space for his companions drum legend Jon Christensen and creative bassist-of-the-moment Thomas Morgan - to make their statements, interactively and in parallel. And there is space too for the listener s imagination to follow the flow and the delicate melodic tracery of Bro s electric guitar in this thoughtful and poetic album. Gefion was recorded in Oslo s Rainbow Studio in November 2013 and produced by Manfred Eicher. ~ Amazon


NEW RELEASES: HAINO KEIJI / PETER BROTZMANN / JIM O'ROURKE - TWO CITY BLUES; KONSTRUKT & WILIAM PARKER - LIVE AT NHKM; KING TUBBY - SURROUNDED BY THE DREADS

HAINO KEIJI / PETER BROTZMANN / JIM O'ROURKE - TWO CITY BLUES

Three legendary improvisers, working here at the height of their powers – in a set that really shows that when greats like this come together, the overall sound is way more than the sum of its parts! Keiji Haino sounds especially great here – still raw and bold, both on guitar and vocals (plus a bit of shamisen as well) – but finding this deeper, more rooted quality next to the saxophone work of Peter Brotzmann, which oddly acts as this core anchor to the performance – while still finding space to reach freedoms of his own. Jim O'Rourke reminds us that his command of guitar sounds is still incredible after all these years – trained in the avant underground for years, given a bit of focus in some more mainstream lights – but still extremely inventive and completely mindblowing. CD features the very long "Two City Blues", and the shorter "One Fine Day".  ~ Dusty Groove

KONSTRUKT & WILIAM PARKER - LIVE AT NHKM

Legendary bassist William Parker joins Turkish combo Konstrukt – bringing an extra spiritual undercurrent to their already-great sound! The music here builds slowly at first – with strong respect for Parker's bass – then things really let loose after an initial more contemplative stretch, with some really hard burning work on alto, tenor, and soprano sax from Korhan Futaci – alongside other bass, drums, percussion, guitar, and even a bit of moog! Parker also plays a gralla – a Spanish double reed instrument – and the 2LPs feature one long performance. ~ Dusty Groove

KING TUBBY - SURROUNDED BY THE DREADS AT THE NATIONAL ARENA SEPTEMBER 26TH, 1975

Wild dubs from the legendary King Tubby – not really a proper live record, but rather an amazing batch of studio extrapolations that Tubby let loose at a famous concert with The Wailers – reworked beautifully in the studio with some really incredible sounds! Heavy, hypnotic rhythms that pull you and don't let up – plus a few soulful, rootsy vocal numbers, too – and the titles include "I Am, I Am The King", "Most High In Dub", "Coxsone Down Beat", "Come On Little Girl, Come On", "Second Cut", "Ethiopia Land Of My Father" and more.  ~ Dusty Groove


 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New concerts added to the program of the 36th edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival

More names are being added to the incredible program of the 36th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, from June 26 to July 5, 2015. 

A Filetta with Paolo Fresu and Daniele Di Bonaventura, Mistico Mediterraneo. Opening act: Paolo Fresu – Gianluca Petrella duo — June 26, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique — This fabulous Mediterranean-accented evening brings together trumpeter Paolo Fresu, bandoneonist Daniele di Bonaventura and the magical voices of the A Filetta ensemble, standard-bearers for the Corsican polyphonic vocal tradition. On the program: the album Mistico Mediterraneo, released on ECM, hailed for its fascinating melding of wind instruments and vocals, between jazz and ancient music. Opening the evening, Paolo Fresu starts with a musical dialogue with another major horn player on the Italian scene, trombonist Gianluca Petrella.

An Evening with Chris Botti — June 27, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique — A trumpet superstar on the American music scene, Chris Botti has built his reputation for his subtle, sumptuous and elegant playing, making his mark alongside such pop luminaries as Sting, Michael Bublé and Paul Simon, and hitting the top of the jazz charts. Now here he is at the head of a phenomenal evening based on his latest album, Impressions, named best pop instrumental album of 2013, wherein he soars through his romantic melodies… An evening for lovers…

Steve Miller Band. Opening act: Garland Jeffreys — June 26, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA — Almost fifty years into a career with over 40 million albums sold, the legendary ’70s American band flies back like an eagle into the Festival program! Five years after their only appearance here, we’re delighted to welcome back a legendary blues-rock group boasting 15 albums and such memorable hits as The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle. Opening the evening: Brooklyn soul-rocker Garland Jeffreys, back with his latest album, Truth Serum.

Rodrigo y Gabriela — June 30, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA — Heavy metal meets flamenco? Why not! That’s the unlikely and brilliant 15-year musical fusion served up by Rodrigo and Gabriela. Originally from Mexico, the duo is unparalleled when it comes to fiery acoustic guitar skills and cutting-edge flamenco rhythms. They return 8 years after their last Festival appearance with 9 Dead Alive.

Al Di Meola, Elegant Gypsy & More Electric Tour 2015 — June 26, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA — He’s a legendary guitarist hailed to the moon and back for his flamboyant style and impeccable technique: Al Di Meola is equally famed for his jazz fusion and acoustic playing. Launched into the musical firmament in Return to Forever with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, a former member of the greatest-ever guitar trio with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía, Di Meola stops by the Festival as part of his electric tour, Elegant Gypsy & More, in the latest live incarnation of his incredible talent.

Huey Lewis and the News — July 1, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA — They fueled the soundtrack of the ’80s with an irresistible array of hits including The Power of Love, Back in Time (in Back to the Future), Heart of Rock & Roll, Stuck With You, and I Want A New Drug. After almost 40 years of rock’n’roll, Huey Lewis finally brings the News in for its first ever visit to the Festival, ready to get the party going. Going back to the future never sounded so good.

Bobby Bazini with his special guest Booker T. Jones — July 2, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA — When two soul generations meet, the music makes its own moment: that’s what happens when master keyboardist Booker T. Jones, the man behind the immortal Green Onions, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and winner of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, opens for our own Bobby Bazini, with his dangerously soulful voice. Expect R&B, expect soul, blues and funk… expect everything!

Madeleine Peyroux — July 2, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA — Madeleine Peyroux and the Festival audience have enjoyed a 20-year love story that only gets better with every visit. The Franco-American singer, who has made her mark at the crossroads of blues, country, jazz and pop, returns to Théâtre Maisonneuve with her rich and eclectic musical palette, recently immortalized in the album Keep Me In Your Heart For A While.

Abdullah Ibrahim solo — July 2, 6 p.m., Gesù — This most renowned of South African pianists offers us the musical delights of three concerts in the intimate confines of the Gesù. To open the prestigious Invitation series, the musical pioneer unveils a solo showcase of the immense range of his talent, unfurling his signature fusion of modern jazz, African tribal music and blues. It’s an essential rendezvous with the dense, subtle and immensely expressive music of the artist formerly known as Dollar Brand.

Abdullah Ibrahim Mukashi trio — July 3, 6 p.m., Gesù — For his second Festival performance in as many evenings, the legendary Abdullah Ibrahim enfolds his audience in the spellbinding sounds of his latest album, Mukashi. The title of the album, meaning “Once Upon A Time” in Japanese, sets the tone: a window on another world, a musical adventure at the crossroads of South Africa and Japan, all of it orchestrated in a magisterial dialogue between piano, flute and cello bonded by serene sensuality and floating melodies.

Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya — July 4, 6 p.m., Gesù — For this final show of the series, Abdullah Ibrahim reconnects with his longstanding project, Ekaya, first launched in 1983: a septet dominated by a magnificent dialogue of wind instruments and elegant melodies circulating like a breeze, all of it linked by the expert playing of an octogenarian artist at the height of his powers. It’s an encounter between both instruments and cultures, between the oral musical tradition of South Africa and the vibrant legacies of Duke Ellington and Thelonius Monk.

Beth Hart — June 26, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis — One of the most captivating contemporary American blues-rock voices, Beth Hart continues to conquer the North American audience—and how! She’s won the respect of ace guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Jeff Beck, two of her most illustrious collaborators, and after her blistering show during last year’s Festival, she returns with the songs from Better Than Home, dominated by her powerful voice and flair for composing genuinely moving songs.

Pokey Lafarge — July 4, 6 p.m., Club Soda — He’s an American country singer from another era: Pokey LaFarge shakes up a timeless blend of dusty-road U.S. music. The singer-guitarist from St. Louis, Missouri, unfurls a creative blend of early jazz, ragtime, country blues and swing, which he lays down on the road during 200 concerts every year on 5 continents… and on his 7 albums, including this year’s Something in the Water. Get ready to discover something special.

An additional Steven Wilson show
  
Steven Wilson — June 28, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis — Tickets for this guitar virtuoso’s show went so fast that we had no choice but to book him for a second evening! Twenty years into his career, the versatile and prolific Steven Wilson ranks among the most fascinating artists on the British rock scene. While multitasking as leader of a series of equally cutting-edge groups—Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield and Bass Communion—the many-headed musician makes his Festival entrance with his new album, Hand. Cannot. Erase., a gem of progressive rock delivering mind-blowing rhythms and soaring melodies in the Pink Floyd tradition.

JOHN BROWN’S BODY RETURNS WITH KINGS AND QUEENS IN DUB // DUB RELEASE FEATURES COLLABORATIONS WITH TICKLAH, DUBMATIX, AND MORE

Almost two years to the day after releasing the beloved Kings And Queens - which topped the Billboard Reggae Chart and reconfirmed John Brown’s Body’s status as one of the most influential American reggae bands - JBB returns with KINGS AND QUEENS IN DUB. Taking inspiration from landmark dub albums by Burning Spear, Aswad, and others, the new release features the entire sequence from Kings And Queens mixed by a who’s who of dub champions including Ticklah, Dubmatix, Dubfader (of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant), UK legend Dennis Bovell, Yesking, Michael G (of Easy Star All-Stars), Lord Echo (of The Black Seeds), and more.

While the band has been working on new material for an upcoming release loosely scheduled for this fall, saxophonist Drew Sayers worked closely with Easy Star Records founders Eric Smith and Lem Oppenheimer to put together this album. John Brown’s Body had previously released the 2012 EP JBB IN DUB and had a number of great instrumental dub tracks in their catalog, but this release marks the first time the band has attempted to do a complete dub version of one of their full existing albums.

The dub collaborators give a good sense of the currently growing global dub scene, hailing from areas of the world including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA. Ticklah, Dubmatix, Michael G and Dubfader are good representatives of the current vanguard from North America, each with past collaborations with JBB in their history. Dennis Bovell and Yesking both represent the UK, Bovell of course as one of the most influential dub artists ever, having started his career with Matumbi, and eventually producing much of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s output, along with helping to define the sound of UK lovers rock in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

A first track from the record, “Pulsing Dub,” which was mixed by Yesking, is being premiered by Boomshots on February 25th, and the track will be made available to fans via John Brown’s Body’s SoundCloud page, which has over 2 million followers. The album itself will be available via pre-order at iTunes, including two tracks instantly available to anyone who pre-orders.

John Brown’s Body has a handful of major tour dates coming up, including an appearance at California Roots Festival in Monterey, CA, which has become one of the biggest events in the US reggae calendar each year, as well as a record release show at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY, which will also include a DJ set from Ticklah.

TOUR DATES
4/20 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl (with Ticklah)
5/23 Monterey, CA – California Roots Music and Art Festival

7/17 Trumansburg, NY – Finger Lakes Grass Roots Festival of Music and Dance


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NEW RELEASES: MAR-V-LUS RECORDS: THE ONE-DERFUL! COLLECTION; JOHN CARPENTER – LOST THEMES; JOHN ZORN / JAY CAMPBELL – HEN TO PAN

MAR-V-LUS RECORDS: THE ONE-DERFUL! COLLECTION (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

One of the coolest labels on the Chicago soul scene of the 60s – part of the larger One-Der-Ful family of imprints, and equally important as the flagship company! Mar-V-Lus cut some of the hippest work in the Windy City at the time – deeply soulful singles that were really at the cusp of the scene, and which also had a fair bit of funk in the mix as well – the grittier side of Chicago soul that really represented the true sound of the underground! And although some of the Mar-V-Lus label material has been reissued over the years, this package uncovers 10 never-issued tracks, and mixes them with 15 more gems that only ever came out as rare indie singles – making for over two dozen Chicago soul treasures, packaged here with a very detailed set of notes. The package is another great step in this six-volume series – and completely essential listening, even to long-trained Chicago soul ears like ours! Unreleased tracks include "For You My Love" by Josephine Taylor, "Sad Souvenirs" by The Ulti-mations, "I Feel Good All Over" by Baby Miracles, "I Want A Man" by Josephine Taylor, "If You Need Me" by The Du-Ettes, "Sweatin" by Alvin Cash, "Stop Call The Cop" by The Du-Ettes, and "Your Love Picks Me Up" by Josephine Taylor – and other titles include "Love Is A Good Thing Goin" by The Blenders, "Don't Turn Your Back On Me" by Johnny Sayles, "I Still Can't Get You" by Joseph Moore, "Joey" by The Young Folk, "Philly Freeze" by Alvin Cash, "You're Gonna Be Sorry" by Cicero Blake, "Would I Do It Over" by The Ulti-mations, "Lonely Girl" by Miss Madeline, and "Whole Lot Of Lovin" by Johnny Sayles. (Includes download!)  ~ Dusty Groove

JOHN CARPENTER – LOST THEMES

The first-ever non-soundtrack album from director/composer John Carpenter – but a record that also draws strongly from all his many years in movies! All the classic Carpenter elements are firmly in place – cool keyboards, compressed guitar parts, and this spacious style of building up the tunes that really creates a create edge – that moody mode that John would use in vintage horror soundtracks, used here in service of a number of great instrumental tracks that are slightly more developed as fuller songs. The whole thing's great – an album we'd easily stand right next to Carpenter's work for Halloween and other films – and titles include "Vortex", "Obsidian", "Wraith", "Purgatory", "Night", and "Abyss".  ~ Dusty Groove

JOHN ZORN / JAY CAMPBELL – HEN TO PAN

A set that draws inspiration and compositions from John Zorn, but which is really the brainchild of cellist Jay Campbell – who works here with a mindblowing approach to the music! The cello has never sounded so bold and powerful before – arguably as free and frenetic as Zorn's alto during it's glory days – and Campbell also works with an additional cello and violin, plus drums from Tyshawn Sorey, and a bit of piano from Stephen Gosling. The CD features three different readings of Zorn's "Ouroboros", plus the canonic "Occam's Razor" – and the additional "Aristos", which is billed as "ten metaphysical ambiguities for violin, cello, and piano".  ~ Dusty Groove



NEW RELEASE: CARMEN RODGERS – STARGAZER; THE MIGHTY MOCAMBOS - SHOWDOWN; MATANA ROBERTS - COIN COIN CHAPTER THREE RIVER RUN THEE

CARMEN RODGERS – STARGAZER

It's been way way too long since we last heard from Carmen Rodgers (her debut was over a decade ago) – but it's really great to have her back, and sounding better than ever! Carmen's really grown up a lot over the past few years – and she's got this tight, sophisticated groove that holds onto all the best elements of her roots, but also gives the music a jazzy flourish that's right on the money – this cool, calculated vibe that's often augmented by just the right sort of keyboard touches – not throwaway riffs, but warm lines that flow beautifully alongside her sublime vocals! Anthony David makes a guest appearance on the set, but Carmen's the clear star all the way through – brilliantly back in the spotlight with tracks that include "Make A Way", "Camille Leon", "Beyond The Stage", "Stargazing", "Heartless", "Stay", and "Not Sure".  ~ Dusty Groove

THE MIGHTY MOCAMBOS - SHOWDOWN

The Mighty Mocambos' new album "Showdown" sets another cornerstone in their prolific career as a globally active instrumental funk outfit. While maintaining their organic approach of recording real musicians live on tape, the group has refined their trademark sound with a dramatic edge, a hard hitting production and ventures into less obvious musical territories.  While highly enjoying themselves as the tight unit they are, The Mighty Mocambos invited an exciting list of guests to contribute to their musical "Showdown": German film composer icon Peter Thomas, hip hop godfather Afrika Bambaataa, rap legends Charlie Funk aka Afrika Islam (member of Rocksteady Crew) and Donald D (of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate), plus Nichola Richards, Shawn Lee, DeRobert from peer label GED Soul in Nashville, Zulu Nation MCs Deejay Snoop & DJ Hektek and organ genius Guillaume Metenier. With two highly successful albums under their belt as The Mighty Mocambos and a plethora of singles and music releases under different monikers such as the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, this new full-length is by no means the final battle, indeed the show has just begun. The album shows a group who is prepared to stand up to anyone in the game. Their guns are heavy beats, epic horns, dual guitars and outstanding compositions – and they are locked and loaded!


MATANA ROBERTS - COIN COIN CHAPTER THREE RIVER RUN THEE

Maybe the most dense, most complex work we've heard from Matana Roberts to date – a unusual effort that blends together her own instrumental passages with sound samples recorded during a wintertime ramble through the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana! Roberts moves away from her previous group efforts, to hit even more experimental sounds here – which include her own alto saxophone lines, plus work on a Korg Monotron, an early 1900s upright piano, and even a bit of vocalizations too – all taken at a level that's way beyond jazz, and which has elements of found sound mixing with processed instrumental passages, and even some odd snippets of classic American songs. The effort comes off sounding as if an avant jazz album were recorded with an older 4AD aesthetic – with all the dense sonic structures that might imply – and the whole thing's definitely one more reason to keep your eyes focused on Roberts' genius in years to come! ~ Dusty Groove


New Recording from Drummer E.J. STRICKLAND - THE UNDYING SPIRIT

The Undying Spirit lives up to its name as the sophomore release from drummer & composer E.J. Strickland.  On this album we are witness to the evolving sound of his quintet - with more spirit, more groove, and more spotlight on its leader.  The Undying Spirit features a familiar quintet - E.J. Strickland on drums, Jaleel Shaw on alto sax, Marcus Strickland on tenor & soprano saxes, Luis Perdomo on piano, and new addition to the group, Linda Oh on bass. 

The very first note of this musical journey is the captivating start of E.J.'s explorative solo on the tune "Ride". With his gripping opening statement, the drummer sets the tone for the first track and ultimately for the entire album.  "Ride" continues with a playful theme beautifully executed by Marcus Strickland & Jaleel Shaw, with a joyful and articulate piano solo by Luis Perdomo, containing many rhythmic gems. Also on "Ride", bassist Linda Oh effortlessly maintains the shape of the ostinato while demonstrating great interplay with E.J., as if she has been a member of the quintet for years. Tunes like "Ride" and the album's closer "Impromptivity" display the group's innate ability to build a story on top of a groove; bouncing off one another's phrases while maintaining the overall sway throughout.  

A strong characteristic of Strickland's compositions is the re-introduction of themes and melodies thatlead to multiple atmospheres for improvisation throughout any particular tune.  For example, on "For My Home Folks", the group demonstrates their ability to capture the sentiment of a song, as heard through the soulful cries of Marcus & Shaw's horns followed by E.J.'s emotional drum solo.  This ability is also showcased on "Ballad For All Mankind" which features a beautifully lyricized bass solo by Oh which flows into a contemplative exchange between Marcus & Shaw. Also on this track, Marcus' award-winning playing sings alluringly over its theme. Although ballads are a rare platform for a drum solo, E.J. masterfully constructs a moving piece over the softness of the rhythm section.  "Transcendence" shows off the band's sophistication as they weave in and out of the tune's 3-bar 5/4 structure with great ease and expression.  In addition to E.J.'s compelling original compositions, the quintet takes on the great Cedar Walton's "Hindsight", which also serves as a feature for the leader.  

Throughout the various time feels on this album the band displays true versatility. With their lively swing feel on "Hindsight", they offer a refreshing contrast.  On "Bomba For Leel & Max" a weaving horn line flies over a complex basso continuo in the rhythm section with a brisk-paced Latin groove.  Both of the horn players, whose nicknames are mentioned in the song's title, get a very intense sax exchange feature over a vamp following Perdomo's energetic solo.  The most quiet and subtle moments of the album can be found on "Midnight's Clearing" which starts out almost free of time but, never without pulse as Oh plays it's eerie bass line that starts off dark and drifts into a more upbeat tone.  The saxophonists blend and compliment each other gorgeously as they explore their counter-melodies, as they also do on "A Dance For Mojo's Return", which is set-up beautifully by Perdomo's opening cadenza.  On this composition the group makes a meal of the different time feels - a driving force on all four beats, and a half-time backbeat lilt.  This all gives way to an astonishing drum shout section on which E.J. improvises.  "Tune For S.C." is a simple and pretty melody overlaying a magical upbeat bass line and features very endearing solos by Marcus and Perdomo. 

With this recording, one of E.J.'s goals was to provide an album that would prove to be uplifting to the listener, as it's title, The Undying Spirit, suggests.  The drummer/composer also wanted to capture the quintet's growth, the refinement in his composing, and his ever-evolving ability to standout as a leader; mission accomplished! 

E.J. Strickland Quintet - Upcoming CD RELEASE CELEBRATIONS:

February 27th @ The Side Door, Old Lyme, CT
E.J. Strickland - drums, Jaleel Shaw - alto sax, Marcus Strickland - tenor & soprano saxes, Victor Gould - piano, Linda Oh - bass

February 28th @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
E.J. Strickland - drums, Jaleel Shaw - alto sax, Marcus Strickland - tenor & soprano saxes, Victor Gould - piano, Linda Oh - bass

March 29th @ Falcon Theatre, Marlboro, NY
E.J. Strickland - drums, Jaleel Shaw - alto sax, Marcus Strickland - tenor & soprano saxes, Victor Gould - piano, Linda Oh - bass

March 31st @ The Jazz Standard, New York, NY
E.J. Strickland - drums, Jaleel Shaw - alto sax, Marcus Strickland - tenor & soprano saxes, Luis Perdomo - piano, Linda Oh - bass


Friday, February 20, 2015

Drum Legend Billy Cobham To Release Two Live Albums From 1992 Tokyo Concert


Much to the excitement of drummers and jazz aficionados worldwide, drum legend Billy Cobham will be releasing two live albums on Cleopatra Records. The first is 'Mirror's Image' on February 17 (CD & VINYL), follwed by 'Reflected Journey' on April 28 (CD). The albums are 2 parts of the same show recorded in Tokyo on February 15, 1992

What an amazing career Billy Cobham has had. From his auspicious start in the late '60s touring and recording with the great Miles Davis to his groundbreaking work with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early '70s, Cobham built a reputation for complex and soulful drumming. But it wasn't until 1973 and the release of his first solo album 'Spectrum' that he took the title of jazz fusion's preeminent drummer with a style and technique all his own, one that has been a major influence on drummers worldwide ever since.

A stream of further albums would follow, both under his own name and in partnership with a host of allies. And each one pushed towards fresh frontiers as Cobham marched on through the 1970s and 1980s. He played with Jack Bruce, Mark-Almond, a revived Mahavishnu, Bob Weir and the Grateful Dead, and was even behind a Dead tribute band, Jazz is Dead, realigning the sound of the Dead for a whole new audience. Cobham's own band, Glass Menagerie, cut two truly luminous albums, and as a new decade, the 1990s, dawned, the drummer was as busy as he had ever been.

In 1992, working under the auspices of UNICEF, Cobham set out for Brazil, where he would be working with autistic outpatients and street children in Santos, a suburb of Sao Paulo. “The street children fell into my realm of operations almost by chance, as it was not part of my original mandate,” he explained. “But due to the unavoidable specter and shadow cast by so many little personalities with big hearts and so much time to ponder life without parental direction, it was inevitable that I would find myself working with them… some of the brightest minds harboring raw talent that I have ever witnessed to date. The shame of it all was that many would never have the opportunity to use their gift.”

A new project came into being, a band in which the voices and talents of the street children would be harnessed alongside the talents of Cobham's latest combo, the visionary trio that he put together with the then all-but unknown Ira Coleman on double bass; and Australian Joe Chindamo on piano. This was the grouping captured together on 1993's so-acclaimed 'Traveler' album. But another song informed by the Brazilian sojourn, “Street Urchin,” found its way onto 1992's 'By Design', and it was with that album fresh on the shelves that the trio set out on tour.

February 1992 saw Cobham, Coleman and Chindamo arrive in Japan, and it was there, in Tokyo on February 15, that they performed the breathtaking show from which these two albums have been drawn. Japanese audiences, says Cobham, are among his favorite in the world, and the feeling was clearly mutual. The audience's enthusiasm never lapses, and he rewarded them with a selection of songs that traveled back across his entire career - “Crescent Sun,” reaching all the way back to 1974's sophomore effort, 'Total Eclipse'; “Shabazz,” from the 1975 album of the same name.

The evening also looked towards the future - “Reflected Journey,” a magnificent piece that would later title one of Chindamo’s own solo albums; “Prime Time,” “Key Jane”…. And all of them reworked and rearranged for the demands of the night, and the skills of the three piece. On record, Cobham habitually introduced fresh players, fresh instrumentation, and allowed their interpretations to flavor the individual compositions. In concert, whole new rearrangements were called for, and it was a mark of the talents with which he surrounded himself that every fresh revision felt somehow definitive; every one opened new doors through which the improvisations could stroll. Tonight in Tokyo, those doors were open as wide as they have ever been.

Cobham remembers the night, hot and tight before one of his favorite audiences in the world. His latest album, 'By Design', was still fresh on the shelves and of course it would dominate the show, the epic “Mirror's Image,” the raucous “Street Urchin” and the playful “Kinky Dee” taking off from the CD for fresh destinations unknown. On record, Ernie Watts' sax was an integral part of the show; on stage, the trio moved in fresh directions and the music soared accordingly.

MIRROR'S IMAGE
1. Mirror's Image
2. Street Urchin
3. Kinky Dee
4. Leeward Winds
5. Mirror Crack'd [CD ONLY]
6. Layed Back Lifestyle [CD ONLY]

REFLECTED JOURNEY
1. Prime Time
2. Key Jane
3. Reflected Journey
4. Crescent Sun
5. Shabazz
6. Improvisation

Billy Cobham's official website: http://www.billycobham.com




BILLIE HOLIDAY - THE CENTENNIAL COLLECTION

Billie Holiday's distinctive and groundbreaking vocal approach changed the face of jazz, soul and pop music in the 20th century. Now, on the eve of her 100th birthday (April 7, 1915), Billie Holiday: The Centennial Collection will offer the definitive single-disc chronicle of her career. In her brief but pivotal career, Holiday changed the landscape of jazz vocals by breaking free of the standard "reading" of the songs she would perform on stage and in studio. "I don't think I'm singing," she once said of her delivery. "I feel like I'm playing a horn...What comes out is what I feel." Her unique, emotive voice and idiosyncratic delivery which often altered the familiar rhythm and meter of the standards she sang early in her career planted the seeds for virtually every major female popular singer of the 20th century and beyond. 

A fixture of the New York nightclub scene throughout the 1930s, Holiday would collaborate with such luminaries of jazz as Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Lester Young (who would bestow upon Holiday her famous nickname, "Lady Day"). Her irascible, unpredictable style and fiery offstage rapport with musicians and bandleaders meant she rarely stayed in one place twice, cutting singles for Columbia, Brunswick and Vocalion including "What A Little Moonlight Can Do," "Billie's Blues," "The Very Thought Of You" and her own composition "God Bless The Child." Her signature song, however, may have been her most controversial: "Strange Fruit," a gripping tale of racial injustice deemed too controversial for Columbia at the time but a generous seller for Commodore Records in the late 1930s. Billie Holiday: The Centennial Collection, featuring 20 tracks recorded over her entire career, is the perfect tribute to this legendary performer. ~ Amazon


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