Wednesday, October 22, 2014



One of the greatest soundtracks ever from the legendary Ennio Morricone – a real standard-setting record that's one of the top choices we go to again and again to illustrate the genius of his music! The score is a fantastic mix of the two best sides of Morricone's work – the kind of light, lilting melodies that are schooled in bossa, but turned loose on their own devices – and the darker, more atonal passages that would come to play more strongly during the 70s. The light wins over the darkness in most of the record – especially the tracks that feature the sublime wordless vocals of Edda Dell'Orso, which swell and fall with the movement of the strings and keyboards. The whole thing's wonderful – and titles include "Le Foto Proibite", "Nel Vuoto", "Intermezzino Pop", "Amor Come Dolore", and "Quelle Foto". (Limited to 500 copies.) ~ Dusty Groove, Inc.


An overlooked Serge Gainsbourg soundtrack from the 80s – surprisingly well-done, and at a level that both reflects Serge's earlier styles and a much deeper ear for film scoring! There's a main theme that's delivered with this beautifully echoey piano line – sometimes playful, sometimes somber – almost like a melody from a Francis Lai film score – and balanced with some more stylized 80s elements that reflect the instrumental sounds in Gainsbourg's own records of the time – almost a reworking of older 70s trash modes, but towards more comedic ends for the film. The piano passages are especially wonderful – and a real revelation, as they show an emotive quality we don't normally associate with Serge – and titles include "Travelo", "Traverse", "Traveste", "Trave", "Travaux", "Traviolta One", "Travelling", and "Travers". CD also features 6 rare bonus cuts too!  ~ Dusty Groove


Few folks could do a sexy soundtrack better than Nico Fidenco in the 70s – and this rare gem features the maestro opening up in some slightly different styles than you'll hear in his famous film scores for the Emannuelle films! The movie's got a few key themes, which are often done in variations – so that there might be a jazz take, an orchestral one, or a mellower cut with a solo instrument in the lead – all tunes that work together to create a nicely unified version of the soundtrack – one that almost works more as a suite of themes than some of Nico's usual material. Mircha Carven sings the lead track in English – and the CD features 16 tracks from the film.  ~ Dusty Groove


A darker groove than usual from this hip European combo – a record that still has their commitment to global sounds at its core, but which also comes across with these great 70s electric modes too – almost echoes of Dark Magus Miles Davis and Sextant Herbie Hancock – thanks to loads of cool keyboards and fuzzed-out production! The acoustic elements resonate wonderfully with the electric ones – so that percussion, bass, horns, and strings add a rich organic level next to the guitar, Fender Rhodes, and Wurlitzer – blending beautifully with a musical vision that really surprises us, given the earlier work from this group – a much richer sound, and one that's got us loving them way more than before. Titles include "Kagemusha", "Rituel", "Pulsion", "Complot", "Shaman", "Drama", "En Sursis", "Code Panthera", "French Connexion", "Homo Analog", and "Resurrection".  ~ Dusty Groove


An overlooked Dave Brubeck from the 60s – and one of his most striking sessions at the time! The album steps a bit into the Blues Roots promised in the title – but overall, it's more of a unique meeting between Brubeck's piano and the baritone sax of Gerry Mulligan – coming together here in warm, open quartet company – with a sound that's quite different than some of the Brubeck/Paul Desmond sessions of the time! Dave really sets the tone on piano – and is maybe a bit less concerned with overall jazz concepts than just laying down some expressive solo passages – and the group also features Jack Six on both acoustic and electric bass, and Alan Dawson on drums. Mulligan is as fluid as ever – and has that great sound he was bringing to his own small group sessions of the time – a mode that burns a gentle fire on titles that include "Broke Blues", "Journey", "Cross Ties", "Blues Roots", and "Moving Out". ~ Dusty Groove


Groovy guitar work from Yoshiaki Masuo – working here in a sweetly chromatic style with hip small combo backing! Yoshiaki's got echoes of 60s work from George Benson or Wes Montgomery – a sound that's clean, but which has great colors billowing out nicely from the edges – a slight rasp at times, in a way that creates a warmly soulful undercurrent. Other instrumentation includes vibes, organ, flute, and additional guitar – used sparingly, but wonderfully alongside Yoshi's great lead. Titles include "One For Wes", "Winds Of Barcelona", "What The World Needs Now Is Love", "I Say A Little Prayer", and "Gary's Tune".  ~ Dusty Groove

CREAM 1966-1972 — Vinyl Boxed Set of British Rock Trio’s Studio and Live Recordings Set for Release

Universal Music Enterprises is proud to present Cream: 1966 – 1972, Cream’s six studio and live LPs brought together in a boxed set for the first time. Set for November 24, 2014 release, each LP will have exact reproductions of original artwork to retain authenticity, and will be pressed in 180-gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl and contained in a rigid slipcase box.

The British rock supergroup was formed in 1966, and consisted of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterized by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and burgeoning psychedelic rock, combining imaginative lyrics, often written by poet Pete Brown, Eric Clapton’s innovative blues guitar playing, Jack Bruce’s operatic voice and fluid bass playing, and Ginger Baker’s jazz-influenced drumming.

The group soon evolved further creating a trademark approach built around each musician’s virtuoso playing. Their live performances soon became renowned for lengthy improvisational pieces based on traditional blues structures such as ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Spoonful,’ modern blues such as ‘Born Under A Bad Sign,’ and their own songs such as ‘White Room’ and Ginger Baker’s powerhouse showcase ‘Toad.’

Following their first pop hit single ‘I Feel Free’ in January 1967, Cream’s debut, Fresh Cream, set the tone for group’s inventive mix of blues standards and more eccentric original material and reached No. 6 in the UK album charts. It offered a unique blend of blues — Robert Johnson’s ‘Four Until Late’ and Skip James’ ‘I’m So Glad’ — inventive originals such as ‘Dreaming’ and the showcase, near-instrumental ‘Cat’s Squirrel.’

Before the end of the year, Cream released the follow-up Disraeli Gears, its distinctive Day-Glo psychedelic cover designed by underground illustrator Martin Sharp. Recorded in May in New York during their first American tour, it includes landmark songs such as ‘Strange Brew,’ the melodic but heavy-riffing ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ and more surrealistic, wah-wah drenched ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’; in all a brilliant, textured, multi-dubbed sound that went beyond blues.

Non-stop touring soon saw Cream break through in America where Wheels of Fire, released in August 1968, topped the US charts for a month and was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. It comprised one album ‘in the studio’ — including the Jack Bruce and Pete Brown penned classics ‘White Room’ and ‘Politician’ — while the other side was recorded at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, highlighted by expansive readings of ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Spoonful.’

By the end of 1968, however, Cream had disbanded after less than two and a half years during which time they set new standards in rock musicianship and generally raised the bar for rock music as a credible and critical form. Cream bowed out with dates at Madison Square Gardens in New York and at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November 1968.

The group’s post-breakup farewell album, Goodbye, released the following March, again mixed live and studio recordings including the single ‘Badge’ written by Clapton and George Harrison, who played rhythm guitar under the name L’Angelo Misterioso.

Two further live albums Live Cream and Live Cream Volume 2 followed in 1970 and 1972, both recorded on tour in America during 1967 and 1968. Live Cream also included the unreleased studio cut ‘Lawdy Mama’ recorded in May 1967 during the Disraeli Gears sessions.

In 2006, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to, and influence, on, modern music, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Their worldwide album sales are estimated at 17 million.

LP1: Fresh Cream (1966)
A1 N.S.U.
A2 Sleepy Time Time
A3 Dreaming
A4 Sweet Wine
A5 Spoonful
B1 Cat’s Squirrel
B2 Four Until Late
B3 Rollin’ And Tumblin’
B4 I’m So Glad
B5 Toad

LP2: Disraeli Gears (1967)
A1 Strange Brew
A2 Sunshine Of Your Love
A3 World Of Pain
A4 Dance The Night Away
A5 Blue Condition
B1 Tales Of Brave Ulysses
B3 We’re Going Wrong
B4 Outside Woman Blues
B5 Take It Back
B6 Mother’s Lament

LP3: Wheels Of Fire (1968)
A1 White Room
A2 Sitting On Top Of The World
A3 Passing The Time
A4 As You Said
B1 Pressed Rat And Warthog
B2 Politician
B3 Those Were The Days
B4 Born Under A Bad Sign
B5 Deserted Cities Of The Heart
C1 Crossroads – Live At The Fillmore
C2 Spoonful – Live At The Fillmore
D1 Traintime – Live At The Fillmore
D2 Toad – Live At The Fillmore

LP4: Goodbye (1969)
A1 I’m So Glad
A2 Politician
B1 Sitting On Top Of The World
B2 Badge
B3 Doing That Scrapyard Thing
B4 What A Bringdown
LP5: Live Cream (1970)
A1 N.S.U.
A2 Sleepy Time Time
A3 Lawdy Mama
B1 Sweet Wine
B2 Rollin’ And Tumblin’

LP6: Live Cream Volume II (1972)
A1 Deserted Cities Of The Heart
A2 White Room
A3 Politician
A4 Tales Of Brave Ulysses
B1 Sunshine Of Your Love
B2 Steppin’ Out


MORE THAN A HANDFUL OF SOUL… James Brown Classics Now Available Worldwide for Digital Purchase and Streaming

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) has fans of the Godfather of Soul covered for digital audio immersion. Seventeen remastered James Brown albums and a digital box set, James Brown Live At The Apollo, Vols. I-IV, featuring the previously unreleased fourth volume, are now available for the first time for digital download purchase from all major digital service providers worldwide. In addition, a playlist of James Brown songs featured in ‘Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,’ a new documentary about the soul superstar directed by Oscar® winner Alex Gibney, has launched exclusively on Spotify ahead of the film’s October 27 premiere on HBO.

The previously out-of-print James Brown titles, including rare, influential instrumental albums long sought after by fans, have never before been available for download purchase and streaming. These vaulted treasures from Soul Brother No. 1 include the 1962 timepiece Good, Good Twistin' with James Brown (later re-released as Shout and Shimmy); his 1964 releases for Smash Records, Showtime and Grits and Soul, experiments in big-band and soul-jazz sounds that James Brown favored; additional rare Smash albums Handful of Soul and James Brown Plays James Brown Today and Yesterday; and the 1960s King sets Mighty Instrumentals, Plays Nothing But Soul, the tribute album Thinking About Little Willie John and A Few Nice Things and the sample-friendly Sho Is Funky Down Here. James Brown’s latter-day albums from the late 1970s and early 1980s are also now available digitally, including Hot, Everybody’s Doin’ The Hustle and Dead on the Double Bump, Take A Look At Those Cakes, The Original Disco Man, Jam 1980s, People and Nonstop!

Also available is a digital box set, James Brown Live At The Apollo Vols. 1-IV. The newly-compiled digital set features Brown’s three best-selling live albums – Live At The Apollo 1962, Live At The Apollo Vol. II, Revolution Of The Mind: Live At The Apollo Vol. III – as well as a previously unreleased fourth Apollo recording, Get Down With James Brown Live at the Apollo Vol. IV, featuring two performances from Brown plus unreleased tracks by his band The J.B.’s and Revue members Lyn Collins and Bobby Byrd. Vol. IV makes its worldwide debut within the set.

UMe has also released several James Brown albums on vinyl: GET ON UP: The James Brown Story (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), featuring songs heard in the Universal Pictures feature film, including two previously unreleased, scorching live performances, and the best-seller 20 All-Time Greatest Hits!, each making their vinyl debuts as newly mastered 2-LP sets. The Payback, a classic double-LP from 1974 featuring the No. 1 hit title song; In The Jungle Groove, the original 2-LP compilation from 1986 featuring extended versions of the foundations of hip-hop, including “Soul Power,” “Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothing,” “Funky Drummer” and more; and Motherlode, a 1988 collection of rarities and unreleased sides, have been newly reissued on vinyl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Vancouver soul dynamo Dawn Pemberton has a deep musical foundation rooted in tradition. Spending her formative years surrounded by a family of multi-instrumentalists she developed a true love of music from the very beginning. A staple of the West Coast music scene, she can be found tearing it up as a vocalist, arranger, and go-to for live performances and studio sessions.

The secret weapon of funk and soul groups all over Western Canada, she has shared the stage with the likes of Maceo Parker, Linda Tillery, John Lee Sanders, The Sojourners, John Boutte, and Dutch Robinson. Her gifts have been featured in the music of future jazz group 1Luv (Sonar Kollektiv) and the blues duo The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer.

Heavily influenced by rhythm, she is drawn to the percolating under current of soul-jazz and funk which is infused in everything that she does. "I've got a rhythmic stream running through me at all times," says Pemberton. "It's all about the groove for me." Joining her in studio for the recording of the album are Johnny Andrews on Drums, Scott Tucker on Bass, Gavin Youngash on Guitar, Max Zipursky playing Keys, Raphael Geronimo with Percussion, Colin Maskell on Saxophone, and Kristian Naso on Trumpet. On leadoff single "Deeper" soulful grooves meet swirling organs, punchy horns, and tight drum breaks that pay homage to Pemberton's roots in gospel but update the sound with a feel all her own. Her creative voice has been bubbling to the surface for the better part of a decade. With a proven track record as a singer and performer it is undeniably the time for her to come forward and express her own vision. "I enjoyed helping others bring their projects to life and after a while I wanted to experience the process for myself, from beginning to end. It was important to be in full control of the musical choices so that they truly reflected my personality and vibe."

New Releases: KAT EDONSON - The Big Picture; ALICE COLTRANE - A Monastic Trio; DARIUS JONES - The Oversoul Manual


Kat Edmonson announces October tour dates in support of her third album, The Big Picture out September 30 via Sony Music Masterworks. A full tour will follow in early 2015.  The album is her label debut and was recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Mitchell Froom (Paul McCartney) in his Los Angeles studio. Of the album, Edmonson states, "There's no particular theme, but there are some commonalities, one of which is my ever-underlying influence from motion pictures and film scores. I have always felt that music and film go hand in hand, because that was how I was first exposed to music-from old movies and musicals-and to me there wasn't a separation between an actor acting, dancing and singing." See full tour dates below. This album follows her 2012 release, Way Down Low, her first collection that included original material. The New York Times hailed the album as "fresh as a spring bouquet," and The Boston Globe called it "one of the greatest vocal albums I've ever heard." Edmonson performed on Austin City Limits made her Prairie Home Companion debut, and was featured on NPR an impressive five times that same year. The songstress also found herself touring with several well-established acts such as Chris Isaak, Gary Clark Jr. and Michael Kiwanuka.


Early work by Alice Coltrane – somewhat under the shadow of her late husband, as you'd guess from the use of his name on the front cover – but really stepping out here with a voice of her own! The Monastic Trio of the set features Alice on harp and piano – alongside bass from Jimmy Garrison and drums by either Ben Riley or Rashied Ali – both really fluid players who open up nicely in this way that's never to far out, at least in the way that John Coltrane was using rhythms at the time – but which allow Alice to really take the lead as a bold musical visionary of her own! Perhaps most exciting, Pharoah Sanders sits in on one of the album's longest tracks – blowing tenor with a force that's enough to bring back The Great One – but the real charm of the set is Alice's piano work, bubbling out here with a sensitivity that we never would have expected from the harder-edge sessions cut with Coltrane – that new level of spirituality she instantly brought to her own solo sessions. Titles include "Ohnedaruth", "Lovely Sky Boat", and "Atomic Peace".  ~ Dusty Groove


One of the most unusual projects we've ever heard from Darius Jones – so much so that the record doesn't feature the instrumentalist at all – just his own ideas and compositions performed by a very unique vocal quartet! The album is dedicated to all the singers who've influenced Jones over the years – from Nina Simone to Leontyne Price, Andy Bey, and Betty Carter – but the compositions are way different than any of those references might make you expect, and are based around a created language for spiritual rituals from the planet Or'gen – with word shapes instead of actual lyrics, performed by a quartet of female singers with a very enigmatic sound! The work is far more experimental than straight jazz vocals, but still has a very haunting, captivating feel – and the 15 tracks on the album are all listed with a variety of different symbols in the notes.  ~ Dusty Groove


Quincy Jones' Jazz Foundation of America to Honor Herbie Hancock at the 13th Annual 'A Great Night in Harlem' on Friday, October 24, at the Apollo Theater

The Jazz Foundation of America presents the 13th annual 'A Great Night in Harlem' gala concert to benefit their Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund. Scheduled performers and presenters include Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Bruce Willis, Chaka Khan, Jorge Luis Pacheco, The Heath Brothers (Jimmy & Tootie Heath), Matthew Whitaker, Charles Bradley, Verdine White, Questlove, Paul Shaffer, Buster Williams, Wallace Roney, Steve Jordan, Billy Hart, Ray Parker Jr., Susan Tedeschi, Joey Alexander and more.

'A Great Night in Harlem' will raise funds to assist countless elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis across the country, artists who have spent their lives making ours richer with their music. Held at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, the concert is the Foundation's way of reminding everyone, through this historical shared experience, how rich these musicians have made us feel with their music.

This year, The Jazz Foundation will honor Herbie Hancock with their Lifetime Achievement Award from Quincy Jones. Hancock will lead an all-star tribute to beloved trumpeter Clark Terry. Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan will pay homage to Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire with help from special guests.

The event is at the Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, New York, NY (between 7th & 8th Ave.), on Friday, October 24. 5:00 p.m. Media Check-in / 6:00 p.m. Red Carpet Arrivals / 8:30 p.m. Concert / 10:30 p.m. VIP After-Party.

For 25 years the JAZZ FOUNDATION OF AMERICA has been dedicated to saving the homes and lives of elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis. We now assist in over 5,000 cases a year, including hundreds of musicians and their families affected by Hurricane Sandy in the New York region as well as those still recovering from Katrina in New Orleans.


NEW RELEASES - HOUSTON PERSON -The Melody Lingers On; ERIC ALEXANDER QUARTET - Recado Bossa Nova; TRU THOUGHTS -15th Anniversary


Soulful sounds from legendary tenorist Houston Person – working here with a hip group that makes the album way more than just another batch of late nite ballads! Houston's tenor is well-rounded and laidback, but it's got some fresh company in a quintet that includes the vibes of Steve Nelson, piano of Lafayette Harris, bass of Ray Drummond, and drums of Lewis Nash – none of whom are newcomers to jazz, but who definitely represent a more youthful approach that makes itself especially known in the rhythms – which breathe new life into tunes that include "Only Trust Your Heart", "Bewitched", "You're Nearer", "Gone Again", "Try A Little Tenderness", and "They All Laughed".  ~ Dusty Groove


A whole new setting for tenorist Eric Alexander – and a great one too! The album's got Alexander in a bossa-styled mode – but less like the facile bossa jazz projects of the 60s than some of the harder-edged ones you'd get from players like Ike Quebec or Charlie Rouse! The sharpness of the rhythms have a good deal to do with the strength of the record – played by familiar Alexander associates Harold Mabern on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums – but at a level that's very different than their usual accompaniment, which really shows their diversity. Titles include "Recado Bossa Nova", "Corcovado", "Manteca", "Journey", "So In Love", and "Mambo Inn". (Expensive – but super-heavy vinyl and cover – very beautifully pressed!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Great sounds from a great label – a company we've trusted for groundbreaking music for many years – celebrating their 15th anniversary with this specially-priced 2CD set! The package offers up loads of key musical moments from the history of Tru Thoughts – and shows a great evolution in styles, towards a point where the company is even more deeply soulful now than at their start – quite a change from other imprints who usually head in a much more commercial direction over the years. The package features 30 tracks in all – and titles include "Dust" by Hidden Orchestra, "Look Around The Corner" by Quantic & Alice Russell, "Lapwing" by Werkha, "Pushin On (situation edit)" by Quantic Soul Orchestra with Alice Russell, "Money Mad (Drumagick jungle rmx)" by London Posse, "Knock Knock" by Ty, "Badungdeng" by Sleepin Giants, "Dinosaurs" by Bonobo, "I Don't Wanna Stop (Marc Mac grown soul mix)" by The Bamboos, "Wasted Time" by Belleruche, "Steamin Blues" by Hot 8 Brass Band, "For A While" by Alice Russell, "Dancing" by Omar & Zed Bias, and "The Why" by Mark De Clive Lowe. ~ Dusty Groove

Friday, October 17, 2014



A pivotal record in the career of this brilliant Japanese saxophonist – a set recorded in New York with a trio players from the American scene – done in a style that's even more freewheeling than most of Sadao Watanabe's previous work! Watanabe had always worked with unusual tones and phrasing from the start – but this album has him really stretching out on long long tracks – working on both soprano sax and flute, with Chick Corea on acoustic and electric piano, Miroslav Vitous on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums! The title track is an open-ended jam that takes up all of side one – and Watanabe balances things out with a bit of lyricism from time to time, showing him to be as rich in conception as the regular sort of reed players who might have worked with a trio like this. Titles include "Round Trip – Going & Coming", "Sao Paolo", and "Pastoral".  ~ Dusty Groove


Great Hammond work from Brian Charette – served up in a style that's a bit different than most contemporary organ jazz sessions! The tracks here are sometimes short – like the old soul jazz organ singles back in the 60s – and Charette mixes things up nicely with a few great covers of soundtrack and pop moments – a bit like some Jimmy McGriff album on Sue Records! Yet Charette's also got a much wider range of sounds than McGriff ever did – a knowledge of the Hammond that embraces all the changes from Larry Young forward – worked out with a sweet trio that includes either Avi Rothbard or Yotam Silberstein on guitar, and Mark Ferber or Jordan Young on drums. Joe Sucato guests on tenor on the album's one long track – and titles include "The Kicker", "Good Tipper", "Another Quarter", "Standing Still", "You Only Live Twice", "Up Up & Away", and "Time Of The Season".  ~ Dusty Groove


Only the second album as a leader from altoist Kenny Shanker – and already a great leap forward! The record features all original material penned by Shanker – really wonderful tunes that bring a freshness to the album right from the get-go, and which hold up strongly throughout! Instrumentation is from a core quintet – with Mike Eckroth on piano and Daisuke Abe on guitar – but some numbers have added percussion, which helps create a rhythmic complexity that really matches Kenny's fluid colors and tones on the alto! The leadoff track features Peyman Samghabadi on trombone – and titles include "Times Square", "Another Morning", "Action City", "Punch", "Shadow Dance", "Midnight", "Marble Hill", and "Riverbank At Dawn".  ~ Dusty Groove




The second studio album by Sara Lugo appears on Oneness Records / Soulfire Artists. As Featured guests this time are the Jamaican artists of the day, Protoje and Kabaka Pyramid, as well as Ras Muhamad from Indonesia with it. The album was produced by Jamaican producer Altafaan, Umberto Echo, who also mixed the album, Giuseppe Coppola (Gentleman, Evolution), Lionel Wharton Jamaram and Onedropband. Stylistically, Sara continues to move between reggae and soul, while in "Soldier Of Love" and "I Wish" much more pop accents than before. However, the roots lovers just their money and are likely to titles like "Learn & Grow" and the Combi partying with Protoje "I Really Like You". Who Sara's debut album, "What About Love" has fallen, is of "Hit Me With Music" not be disappointed. ~ Groove Attack


The beautifully-orchestrated set is helmed by the legendary Jamaican multi-instrumentalist and producer Clive Hunt, whose credits include Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff and many more. Clive arranged an all-star team of the island’s musicians to contribute to the set – including himself, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Grub Cooper, Handel Tucker, and Dean Fraser. The Jamaican singer-songwriter’s melodic power blended with Clive’s rich arrangements sets this album apart as one of the best throughout her stellar career. Etana carries the torch as reggae’s leading lady with this classic collection of love ballads and roots anthems. With her poised assurance and newfound strength, she evolves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and musically. Whether she is shedding light on the harsh ghetto realities on “Trigger,” “Ward 21 (Stenna’s Song)” and “How Long,” conveying romantic longings on “Richest Girl,” “Love Song,” and “By Your Side” or expressing her deep-rooted spirituality on the exquisite Bob Marley remake of “Selassie Is The Chapel,” the Marcia Griffith’s cover of “Stepping Out Of Babylon,” “Emancipation,” and “On My Way” – each of the album’s tracks is delivered with her soulful conviction. ~ Groove Attack


A nice selection of 70s recordings that feature legendary Skatalite and ska music pioneer Jackie Mittoo on keys – playing his soulful organ lines over some stellar rhythms! Mittoo can embellish or otherwise add dimensions to some steady rhythms or fully make a tune his own, and he does both on this sweet little set! Includes "Jah Hah Harmony", "Natty Congo Rides On", "Jumping Up", "Pray To Play", "Too Bad Bull", "No Get Dub Over", "Nanny Skank", "Freedom Smile", "Taking You Somewhere", "Look At Life" and more.  ~ Dusty Groove

THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: Our Family Portrait/Stairsteps (Expanded Twofer Edition)

Formed in Chicago in 1965 and known initially as “The First Family Of Soul,” The Five Stairsteps consisted of Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis and Kenneth (‘Keni’) Burke, and were managed by their father Clarence Sr., who also played bass behind them and co-wrote some of their material.   After winning a talent contest at the famed Regal Theater, the group was introduced to the legendary Curtis Mayfield by Fred Cash of The Impressions, which led to their first recording contract with Mayfield’s Windy C label.  Between 1966 and 1968, The Five Stairsteps had six pop and R&B charted singles, the most successful of which was “World of Fantasy.” 

After Windy C folded, the group continued their association with Curtom Records, distributed at the time by Buddah Records; in total, The Five Stairsteps cut two albums under Mayfield’s wing before switching to Buddah in 1968 for their first LP for the label, Our Family Portrait, with lead singer/primary composer Clarence Jr. and his father as co-producers.  The album included two charted singles, “Something’s Missing” (R&B #17, Pop #88) and a cover of the doo-wop classic, “A Million to One” (R&B #28, Pop #68), a song written by Righteous Brother Bill Medley.  Each member of the group took turns singing lead on various tunes, including the Burkes’ youngest son, Cubie (then just five years old).  Released as “The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie,” the LP reached No. 20 on the R&B Albums chart and No. 195 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

In 1970, the group (minus Cubie) began working with producer/arranger Stan Vincent on the album Stairsteps. In addition to further Burke originals, there were two Beatles covers, “It’s Getting Better” and “Dear Prudence,” but it was the song originally issued as the flipside of the latter’s release as a single that would ensure the group’s place in music history.  The bright and upbeat anthem “O-o-h Child” sold over a million copies, was certified gold and reached No. 8 on the Hot 100 and No. 14 on the R&B charts.  The LP became a best-seller, No. 12 on the R&B Albums chart and No. 83 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart

Now reissued for the first time in their original form, these two classic soul albums appear together on this great release from Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records along with three non-album singles: “Madame Mary” (a 1968 track produced and written by Curtis Mayfield and arranged by Donny Hathaway), “The Shadow of Your Love” from the Family Portrait sessions, and “America/Standing,” a Hot 100 charting single (#83) in 1970.  Liner notes by renowned writer and soul music expert Kevin Goins include quotes from Keni Burke, producer Vincent and music industry veterans Cecil Holmes of Buddah Records and Curtom label co-founder Eddie Thomas. Remastered at Sony’s own Battery Studios in NYC.

Our Family Portrait
1. A Million to One
2. You Make Me So Mad
3. Something’s Missing
4. The Look of Love
5. New Dance Craze
6. Windows of the World
7. Bad News
8. Tell Me Who
9. Under the Spell
10. Find Me
11. I Remember You

12. Getting Better
13. Dear Prudence
14. Sweet as a Peach
15. Vice the Lights
16. O-o-h Child
17. Because I Love You
18. What About Your Wife
19. Up & Down
20. Who Do You Belong To

Bonus Tracks
21. Madame Mary
22. The Shadow of Your Love
23. America Standing

~ Real Gone Music

LINDA JONES: The Complete Atco-Loma-Warner Brothers Recordings

Although her recording career only spanned just eight years, Newark, New Jersey-born Linda Jones left an indelible mark on the world of soul music thanks to her distinctive melismatic vocal style.  Her phrasing and approach were so unique that, 42 years after her untimely passing in March 1972 (the result of a diabetes-induced coma), Linda is still hailed by soul music aficionados and other recording artists (such as the late Teena Marie, who considered her a prime musical influence) as one of the genre’s greatest singers.

Starting out as a member of a family gospel group, Linda made her first secular recording in 1963 (under the name “Linda Lane”); however, it was after she was introduced to producer/songwriter George Kerr (briefly a member of Little Anthony & The Imperials) that her recording career took off.  With Kerr, she recorded two singles – one for Atco and one for Blue Cat – before she cut the song “Hypnotized,” a song written by the Poindexter Brothers, in April 1967.

Kerr found a home for the now-classic and timeless track at Loma Records, the R&B arm of Warner Brothers Records at the time, and within two months of its release, “Hypnotized” had reached No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B chart and No. 21 on the Hot 100.  An entire album named after Linda’s biggest hit was cut in the summer of 1967 with renowned keyboardist Richard Tee providing the arrangements.  From those sessions came “What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad),” issued in October ’67 and another Top 10 R&B hit.  The LP also included a third single, “Give My Love a Try,” and a version of The Soul Sisters’ “I Can’t Stand It.” On the strength of the success of the hit title track, the Hypnotized album made it to the R&B Top 30.

Subsequent recordings included  “My Heart Needs a Break,” issued as a single in the spring of ’68 and peaking at No. 50 on the R&B, and a version of The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” both making their CD debut with this superb compilation from Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records.

Also included are tracks from Linda’s final sessions for Warner Brothers including a brilliant version of “I Who Have Nothing,” 1969’s “It Won’t Take Much (to Bring Me Back)” and the single, “I Just Can’t Live My Life” b/w  “My Heart (Will Understand),” with the latter three songs appearing for the first time on CD and rounding out this wonderful tribute to a one-of-a-kind soul singer.  Liner notes by founder David Nathan include quotes from producer George Kerr.  Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. 

1. Take the Boy Out of the Country
2. I’m Taking Back My Love
3. Hypnotized
4. I Can’t Stop Lovin’ My Baby
5. What’ve I Done (to Make You Mad)
6. Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby, Please)
7. Give My Love a Try
8. You Can’t Take It
9. A Last Minute Miracle
10. If Only (We Had Met Sooner)
11. The Things I’ve Been Through (Loving You)
12. Seeing Is Believing
13. I Can’t Stand It
14. Fugitive from Love
15. My Heart Needs a Break
16. What Can I Do (Without You)
17. Yesterday
18. My Heart (Will Understand)
 19. It Won’t Take Much (to Bring Me Back)
 20. I Who Have Nothing
 21. I Just Can’t Live My Life

~ Real Gone Music

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicago Born Grammy Award Winning Modern Jazz Trumpeter Maurice Brown: 3-Night Residency, Andy's Jazz Club Oct 16 -18, 2014

"Essentially, Brown and his quintet have found the place where jazz, soul and pop converge, shortchanging none of these languages but drawing eloquently from each of them."
- Chicago Tribune

"Hearing Maurice Brown play lets me know that jazz is in good hands going forward. He plays with a love of the history of jazz but he's also determined to add a new chapter to the story."
- Marcus Miller

"Maurice has taken a solid foundation of jazz and blues and turned it into a modern sound that is uniquely his own. He has the power to rise above an 11 piece band and raise the energy of every show."
- Derek Trucks

"Brown's next stop was New York City, where he produced, arranged and performed with acts such as The Roots and P. Diddy. He immersed himself in hip-hop and then brought what he learned back to jazz" - NPR, Morning Edition

"Think Louis Armstrong and his trumpet uploaded for the 21st century to a hip hop beat, and you begin to understand who this young genius is."

Grammy award winning trumpeter Maurice "Mobetta" Brown and his stellar NYC Band are gonna hold a three-night residency at Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago Thursday Oct 16th - Saturday Oct 18th.

Maurice Brown is a classically-trained Jazzman mentored and supported by the iconic Wynton Marsalis and the legendary Ramsey Lewis. But "Mobetta" is also a Hip-Hop head for life, and that journey on this planet rock literally parallels the history and evolution of rap. Little wonder that Maurice not only blows the roof off God's sky with his horn, but he also spits lyrics the way Satchmo spit his own brand of vocalese back in the day. Yup, Mobetta is a horn-playing-rhyme-spraying-dancing machine that Jazz-Hip-Hop collaborators like Donald Byrd and Gang Starr's Guru, or Ron Carter and A Tribe Called Quest fantasized about in the early 1990s. No need to cram to make that Jazz/Hip-Hop experiment happen in these times because Maurice Brown is the living and breathing embodiment of it all, a one-stop shop destined to be this era's Quincy Jones. And then some!

Fresh off tour with the Grammy award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band (Maurice is the horn arranger for the 11-piece ensemble), Maurice Brown's latest release, 'Maurice vs Mobetta', does a great job of showcasing Maurice's Jazz side versus his Hip-Hop persona. And Maurice "Mobetta" Brown is just getting warmed up...

Showtimes: Thursday October 16 - Saturday October 18, 2014


What began as an experiment and then exploded into an Internet phenomenon has now evolved into an incredible success story. The Piano Guys, four talented dads from Utah, released their fourth studio album entitled Wonders (Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks) on October 7th. In an incredibly competitive week of major music releases, the album makes its chart debut at an impressive #12 on the Billboard Top 200. This marks The Piano Guys' highest debut and biggest opening sales week of their career.

Wonders is also #1 on the Classical, Classical Crossover and New Age Current Billboard charts. Additionally, The Piano Guys continue their long-running #1 spot on Amazon's Classical Chart with four additional albums appearing in their Top 10.  On iTunes, The Piano Guys occupy the top 3 album spots on the Classical Chart. Their previous albums – The Piano Guys and The Piano Guys 2 – continue to claim the top positions on Billboard's Classical and New Age album charts since their release.

The campaign for Wonders kicked off with a star-making performance on the TODAY show and a New York Times profile, which underscored the incredible appeal that has garnered them nearly 500 million views on YouTube.

Wonders features successful single/video releases from the past year such as, "Let It Go," "Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends," "Don't You Worry Child," and "Story of my Life." It also includes new songs with strong familiarity – "Batman Evolution" (The Piano Guys' take on various Batman themes over the years), a mash-up that incorporates melodies from Dave Matthews Band's huge hit "Ants Marching / Beethoven Ode to Joy," and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" – as well some original compositions by The Piano Guys.   

The Piano Guys - Steven Sharp Nelson, Jon Schmidt, Al Van der Beek and Paul Anderson – are an American musical group who became an online sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos. They've made over 50 music videos since early 2011, including their breakout hit, an innovative multi-handed version of One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" and a gorgeous reinvention of the hit song "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. To date, the Utah-based classical-pop group has released three major label albums on Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks: The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, and the holiday album A Family Christmas.


The 12th Annual Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines is set to commence Wednesday, February 18 through Sunday, March 1 with a record number of 30 headline concerts at venues throughout the Portland metro region. The festival was co-founded in 2004 with Travel Portland to establish a cultural tourism initiative in the metro Portland area, and to celebrate Black History Month through education and outreach programming.

[Photo Top: Christian McBride, Lucky Peterson; Bottom: Kurt Elling, Nicholas Payton]

This year's 12-day celebration will also boast the first annual Jazz Forward Competition, a high school competition drawing students from throughout the western region. In partnership with Portland State University, the JFC was created to establish a scholarship program in the tradition of other prestigious regional events held in Reno, Nevada, Monterey, California and Moscow, Idaho. Finalists will compete in five categories, with the winners receiving main stage exposure.

An astounding array of nine singers will headline shows throughout the festival. Kurt Elling and the Art Abrams Big Band are paying tribute to the seminal early '60s period that focused on three Sinatra/Basie collaborations in a For Portland Only program, which features original arrangements by Quincy Jones, titled Elling Swings Sinatra. Bay Area singer Jackie Ryan debuts in honor of 2015 Portland Jazz Master, Wayne Thompson. This special program will highlight the music of Michel Legrand with music director Randy Porter.

Bebel Gilberto, the daughter of the legendary Joao Gilberto appears for the first time since 2010 in support of her latest album, Tudo. Karla Harris, a Portland favorite, will join Luis Conte to cook with the Bobby Torres Full Ensemble; and Joe McBride makes his debut festival appearance digging Ray Charles with the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Band. NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan debuts, joined by her longstanding bassist Cameron Brown. Becca Stevens, who is breaking out all over the New York region, and making her Portland debut, will hit three ways - she'll accompany Taylor Eigsti, perform in solo, and cover the captivating music of Laura Nyro. 

Label sponsor Mack Avenue Records recently released albums from two stunning vocalists who are set to perform. Vocalist Freda Payne will make her Portland debut with the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group, and offer up a sultry mix of jazz and R&B, all the while recalling her Motown roots, while label-mate Cyrille Aimée returns to PDX with an expanded ensemble since performing her Django to Jobim tribute in 2012. Adrien Moignard and Guilherme Monteiro, two French guitarists in the style of Reinhardt, will also join Aimée.

Moignard and Monteiro aren't the only guitarists slated to perform. Joel Harrison debuts at the festival with his long anticipated Free Country Ensemble (their 2002 release featured Norah Jones), while Russell Malone will back the legendary Ron Carter. Portland's Dan Balmer and John Stowell revisit the subtle genius of Jim Hall, and Balmer will also join Trio Subtonic and Frank Catalano. Julian Lage brings in jazz heavyweights Scott Colley and Eric Harland in an exciting new trio, and legendary blues guitarist Lucky Peterson will conclude the festival with what is guaranteed to be a smokin' affair.

Three soulful saxophonists, Von Freeman, Eddie Harris and Gene Ammons, will be fondly remembered on Blowin' in From Chicago: For Vonski, Jug and Eddie Who? Frank Catalano, who holds court weekly at the famed Green Mill, will be joined by native Chicagoans Clark Sommers and Mike Raynor with B-3 and piano support from George Colligan and guitarist Dan Balmer.

A handful of celebrated piano trios are scheduled to perform: Bill Charlap makes his first festival appearance since 2009, and also celebrates Sinatra on, In the Wee Small Hours, a For Portland Only instrumental program with the focus on Sinatra's early to mid and late '50s Capitol Records material; he'll be accompanied by Peter and Kenny Washington. Benny Green, who last appeared in 2004 as a sideman on a tribute to Ray Brown, will feature his long standing trio; while ECM artist Vijay Iyer debuts his classic trio with Stephan Crumb and Marcus Gilmore. Taylor Eigsti will make his festival debut in three diverse settings: solo piano, trio with Becca Stevens, and the Free Country Ensemble. Classic Pianos will boast five intimate shows: Eigsti, Stevens, Marc Cary's For the Love of Abbey, former Kurt Elling Music Director Laurence Hobgood, and Portland's number one piano son, Tony Pacini.

"There's a wealth of critically acclaimed artists in Portland, and what better way to showcase them than in the Festival," states Managing Director Don Lucoff. "Just on the headline shows alone, not counting the free gigs around town, we'll have over 50 Portland musicians playing in leader and sideman roles." Bobby Torres, Mel Brown and Hailey Niswanger will lead their respective bands at Jimmy Mak's, the venerable jazz club that is home base to PDX Jazz where upwards of 15 shows a year are presented outside the annual Festival.

Two new initiatives put the spotlight on local artists: The NYC to PDX Project, an assembly of transplanted New Yorkers, directed by Darrell Grant, playing in a manner of configurations not seen before in PDX; and Young Lions Revisited, co-led by Chris Brown and Devin Phillips welcoming an original young lion, Ralph Bowen and special guest Kamasi Washington (a Billy Higgins World Stage disciple and Gerald Wilson Big Band alumni). The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Showcase also returns with three bands in support of new albums under the direction of Ryan Meagher.

Ron Carter
Additional headline shows at P5 (Newmark and Winningstad Theatres) pair Lou Donaldson, who last appeared at the festival in 2009, and Grammy® Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, who is making his trio debut with American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellow, finalist Christian Sands and Ulysses Owens, Jr. Billy Childs, the longtime pianist for Freddie Hubbard and Chris Botti, introduces a bold project: Mapping the Treasure: A Tribute to Laura Nyro. Appearing on the same show is adventuresome trumpeter, pianist, and vocalist Nicholas Payton with Bill Stewart and Vicente Archer. Lee Konitz makes his festival debut with Dan Tepfer, Alan Jones, and Tom Wakeling, and the iconic Ron Carter will make a rare Portland appearance on a double bill with Benny Green to conclude the festivities at the Newmark Theatre.

Lucoff concludes, "This year's line-up will certainly appeal to a broad demographic of music fans with an ample amount of free music all over the Portland metro area. We are presenting music for the first time in the First Congregational Church and return to the Aladdin Theatre and The Old Church. We look forward to nine exciting shows at Jimmy Mak's, the most we have ever produced during the Festival, our ongoing programming at Classic Pianos, and the Newmark and Winningstad Theatre shows complimented by free Jazz Conversations, music in the Art Bar Atrium of P5, and various hotels throughout the downtown corridor."

Bassist/Composer OMER AVITAL Delves Into The Culture of His Homeland Through Jazz On His New CD, NEW SONG

Bassist/composer Omer Avital, one of the most celebrated and revered musicians on the global jazz scene, offers his current creative tour-de-force, New Song, to be released on Motema Music on November 4, 2014. New Song, the follow up recording to Suite of The East, signifies a giant leap in Avital's quest to "mine the deep interconnections between jazz and the music of the Middle East and North Africa." (Jeff Potter, DownBeat Magazine, July 2013).

Upon Avital's arrival in New York City in 1992, the rapid growth of Israeli jazz was set in motion in a profound way. Avital quickly forged an indelible mark on the scene, mainly through his legendary performances at Smalls, where he lead one of the most celebrated groups of the time, a sextet with a front line onslaught of four saxophones (an early gem from this time in Avital's early days is the tune "Kentucky Girl", featured on the compilation, Jazz Underground: Live at Smalls,on Impulse!)."Years from now, when folks are remembering the early days of the West Village jazz haunt Smalls, bassist Omer Avital's name will be as synonymous with the club as Bill Evan's is with the Village Vanguard, and Thelonious Monk's is with the original Five Spot Café." - Time Out New York. 

Avital went on to cast a wide net of influence in NYC and beyond with a consistently creative and prolific output (releasing nine albums of original music since 2001, and at least eight others as a co-leader), and a steady stream of influential live performances at the finest jazz venues and festivals around the world. Avital also recorded and toured with Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Roy Haynes and many others. Avital has since been hailed by The Los Angeles Times as, "a pioneer in combining jazz with myriad world music elements," with The New York Times adding that, "Mr. Avital and his group are producing some of the most original music being heard in New York," and that, "outside Charles Mingus and the free-jazz bassist William Parker, such dramatic violence on the instrument is hard to come by." 

In 2002, around the ten year anniversary of moving to New York, Avital returned to his native Israel, where he was the co-founder and musical director of the highly unique and successful group, Yemen Blues, as well as the New Jerusalem Orchestra, and involved in Israel's "piyut" scene (often collaborating with some of the legends of this genre, including Haim Louke, Aharom Amram, and others), to study classical European composition and Middle Eastern and North African Music. The bassist spent three years studying folk songs, dance rhythms and rituals, and these invigorated his imagination in the same way that jazz had sparked his passion before. He now looks to the East as well as to New York, toward the West as much as toward the Arab world, toward the solitude of the desert as much as the urban mêlée. The latest result of this extensive study is Avital's ambitious new recording, New Song, an electrifying, highly creative next step after the release of his previous recording, Suite of The East (released in April 2012 on Anzic Records). 

The band on New Song is exemplary, and one that Avital has led for many years, featuring trumpeter Avishai Cohen ("I've been playing constantly with Avishai since 1999. We co-lead some groups together for a decade, and he has played in most of my bands and on most of my albums. Our musical chemistry was there from the first notes we ever played"); saxophonist Joel Frahm ("I've known Joel from my first days in NYC in the early '90s. We nicknamed him 'Soul Frahm' because he has such a warm, soulful sound. I absolutely love what he brings to my music"); pianist Yonathan Avishai ("there's no doubt that Yonathan is not only one of my favorite musicians, but someone who has been a great influence to me in recent years. He understands my compositions and his input elevates everything we play"); and drummer Daniel Freedman ("I've known Daniel for over twenty years. We became rhythm section mates and friends during the important early days of Smalls in the '90s, and shared the bandstand playing with the Jason Lindner Big Band and many others. His understanding of Middle Eastern and North African rhythms make it easier for me to bring my musical vision to life.") The esteemed journalist Peter Margasak said of the band (of their performance on Suite of The East) in The Chicago Reader, that, "They bring a plangent eloquence and easy rapport to the seven pieces, which alternate between delicate, soulful ballads and soaring, high-energy anthems and whose thick ensemble arrangements ratchet up the intensity with every chorus."

For Omer Avital, jazz is a music, and a medium, which has allowed him to honor his roots and delve into the culture of his homeland without limitations. With New Song, Avital, a true citizen of the jazz diaspora, makes his homeland resonate through his voice - a voice that no one could mistake for any other. His songs speak to us about his true self, and about the world of music in which he lives, and that is but one of their many glorious virtues. 

Omer Avital - New Song

All compositions by Omer Avital (published by Abutbul Music, ASCAP)

1. Hafla, 2. New Song, 3. Tsafdin, 4. Avishkes, 5. Sabah El-Kheir (Good Morning), 6. New Middle East, 7. Maroc, 8. Ballad For a Friend, 9. Bedouin Roots, 10. Yemen Suite, 11. Small Time Shit

Omer Avital - bass/compositions, Avishai Cohen - trumpet, Joel Frahm - tenor saxophone, Yonathan Avishai - piano, Daniel Freedman - drums


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