Friday, November 21, 2014



Really stunning stuff – a never-heard live performance from early 70s London – one that features Gilberto Gil in exile, working alongside the great Gal Costa! The album's got a lean, stripped-down feel – similar acoustic instrumentation to both Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso's London recordings – a mode that's an especially great change from some of Costa's more produced albums of the period – at a level that really lets us hear how warmly collaborative and high spirited she could be! Both Gal and Gilberto play guitar – and backing is by a group of bass, percussion, and drums – the last of which are played by Tutty Moreno – and the performance has the singers working solo and in duet – the latter of which is especially great! The set includes a few English language numbers – "Brand New Dream" and "One O'Clock Last Morning 20th April 1970" – plus versions of "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Up From The Skies". And other titles include "Sai Do Sereno", "Coracao Vagabundo", "Procissao", "Acaua", "Chuva Suor E Cerveja", "Viramundo", "Como Dois E Dois", and "Maria Bethania/Bota A Mao Nas Cadeiras".  ~ Dusty Groove

A mighty record from the great Tom Ze – every bit as creative and experimental as ever, and maybe sounding better here than he has on the past few studio albums – even though we liked those releases an awful lot too! The record is heavy on vocal interplay – both Ze with himself, but also alongside contributions from Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, and others – voices that are often set to relatively spare instrumentation that's quite rhythmic, but without any sort of obvious beats or drum parts either – usually more unusual grooves that are matched with creative elements on guitar, both acoustic and electric, and some sweet reed parts too – which almost have a bit of a Hermeto Pascoal quality. The whole thing's a great reminder that the passage of years has done nothing to dim the vitality of Tom Ze – and titles include "Mamon", "Banca De Jornal", "A Quantas Anda Voce", "Geracao Y", "Irara Ira La", "Papa Perdoa Tom Ze", and "A Boca Da Cabeca". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautiful record that's exactly what's promised in the group's name – a samba trio that's heavy on cello – played by the great Jaques Morelenbaum, who we know from so many other great records! The style's a bit bossa jazz, but has a very different feel – as the use of the cello really brings out the bluer, more melancholy moments in the tunes – as Jacques bows his instrument with a great sense of expressiveness alongside acoustic guitar and percussion. Titles include "Eu Vim Da Bahia", "Coracoa Vagabundo", "Outra Vez", "Ar Livre", "Voce E Eu", "Maracatuesday", and "Tim Tim Por Tim Tim". ~ Dusty Groove



Japanese free jazz icon Akira Sakata in collaboration with the legendary Pete Cosey (Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf), drummer Hamid Drake and bassist Bill Laswell. A remix of a track from the album fisherman' released in 2001, it offers traditional Japanese folk art meets funk and free improvisation. Mix-construction by Bill Laswell. Track: 1. Kaigarabushi Return  (11:44). Available December 2, 2104.


Taken from the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch's newest film "Only Lovers Left Alive." Bilmawn captures the strong raw rhythmic elements of Morroccan music (trance and spirit). Track: 1. Little Village (5:19). Available December 2, 2014.from M.O.D. - A futuristic hybrid of music exploration - dub, dub step, reggae, world, africa,,drum'n'bass,,mutant hip hop,,avant metal,experimental, vocal music, instrumental, DJ culture and much more. M.O.D. resumes and continues the legacy of AXIOM, the timeless imprint established in 1989 by Bill Laswell with Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.


A hell of a debut from Portia Monique – a singer who gets very strong support here from Reel People – who are very much at the top of their game too! The record's a bit like a Reel People album, but a lot more soulful up top – as Portia's vocals have this rich, righteous feel that really pushes the cosmic energy of the record forward – a bit like some of the best work we were hearing from the UK a decade ago, but a lot more fresh and individual as well! A great return to form for the kind of music we've always loved from Reel People – but with echoes of the more dynamic 4Hero side of the spectrum too. Titles include "Cloud IX", "Ain't Scared Of You", "Ecstasy", "My Love", "Grace", "Nobody", and "Never Give You Up". ~ Dusty Groove

Vocalist Allan Harris Set to Release Black Bar Jukebox, New Album Inspired by Music Emanating from Jukeboxes in African-American Culture in the '70s

Ever since he burst on the jazz scene in the latter part of the twentieth century, The Brooklyn-born, Harlem-based vocalist/guitarist/bandleader/composer Allan Harris has reigned supreme as one of the most accomplished and exceptional singers of his generation. Aptly described by the Miami Herald as an artist blessed with, "the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat 'King' Cole," the ample and aural evidence of Harris' multifaceted talent can be heard on his ten recordings as a leader; his far-flung and critically-acclaimed concerts around the world, from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and Washington DC's Kennedy Center, to the 2012 London Olympics, and a number of prestigious bookings in Europe, The Middle East and Asia, and his numerous awards, which include the New York Nightlife Award for "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist" - which he won three times - the Backstage Bistro Award for "Ongoing Achievement in Jazz," and the Harlem Speaks "Jazz Museum of Harlem Award."

Harris' new album, Black Bar Jukebox, produced by Grammy® Award-winning producer Brian Bacchus (Norah Jones, Gregory Porter), is his most compelling and comprehensive recording to date. "Believe me, what Brian brought to the table was wonderful," Harris says, "not only because of his music, but also because of the vision, and the way he hears things. I'm enamored with the sound I got." Inspired by the jazz, R&B, soul, country and Latin sounds that emanated from jukeboxes in African-American barbershops, clubs, bars, and restaurants, from the mid to late twentieth century, the album - which features Harris' accomplished band of three years: drummer Jake Goldbas, bassist Leon Boykins, and pianist/keyboardist Pascal Le Boeuf; with special guests, percussionist Samuel Torres and guitarist Yotam Silberstein - also marks his moving and momentous return to his jazz-centered, Harlem roots, where he heard all those aforementioned styles, genres and grooves in the Golden Age of the seventies. "Growing up, I heard the sound of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Nat King Cole," Harris says, "I was always cognizant of jazz."

Black Bar Jukebox features thirteen selections that include several popular standards and originals penned by Harris. His soulful, silken bari-tenor voice dances and trances throughout an eclectic spectrum of moods and grooves: from the moving, mid-tempo, 4/4 swing of "You Make Me Feel So Young," "A Little Bit Scared" and the Count Basie-ish, "Jumping at the Woodside" vibe of 'I Got The Blues," to the Ahmad Jamal, "Poinciana"-pulsed "Miami," the Latin-tinged "Catfish," "Take Me To The Pilot," which can be compared to Les McCann's soulful grooves, and an ebullient cover of pop singer John Mayer's "Daughters," which features Harris' spare and syncopated guitar strains.

Allan Harris' soulful sound on Black Bar Jukebox comes from his rich musical home life, which extended deep into the artistic world of Harlem. Harris' mother, Johanna Chemina Ingram-Harris, was a concert pianist, and was a graduate of the first class of New York's legendary High School for the Performing Arts. Growing up, Harris went to Apollo Sunday afternoon matinees, and he visited his aunt Kate Ingram's famous soul food restaurant, Kate's Home Cooking; located behind the Apollo Theater, which was featured on the cover of organist Jimmy Smith's 1960 Blue Note LP, Home Cookin'.

In this soulful setting, Harris would meet many jazz and R&B stars who worked at the Apollo and came by the restaurant to eat and hang out. Another aunt, Theodosia Ingram, won the Apollo Theater's Amateur Night Competition and performed at a number of Manhattan clubs, including The Lenox Lounge under her stage name, "Phoebe." It was through her, that Harris would meet and be mentored by a seminal jazz figure, Clarence Williams. "We used to go to his record store, and he'd come into our house on Lincoln Avenue," explains Harris. "At the time I was a child ... I just thought that was just a part of my life. And later, I understood the gravity of the depth of his history. Yes: Clarence Williams opened up a lot of doors for me, to really get me into this genre called jazz." It was Williams who brought Louis Armstrong to the Harris home, and babysat the future crooner, who was frightened by Satchmo's gravelly, "frog like voice."

Harris is a first call vocalist (especially back in Harlem), as evidenced by his potpourri of engagements, including an impressive run as a featured soloist and producer of Sotheby's three-year jazz series. His commitment to education is as equally impressive as his recordings and engagements. A Gibson guitarist, Harris is a long-time supporter of the St. Mary's Children's Hospital and donates a performance every year to Challenge Aspen/America, along with Vince Gill and Amy Grant.

All of which brings us to Black Bar Jukebox: a diverse and dynamic disc that showcases Allan Harris at the zenith of his all-encompassing artistry. "I'm a storyteller through the genre of jazz," concludes Harris.
Upcoming Allan Harris Performances:

December 6 / Kennedy Center (w/ Chicago Jazz Orchestra) / Washington, DC
December 7 / Kennedy Center Awards Gala w/ Chicago Jazz Orchestra) / Washington, DC
December 16 - January 4 / Cafe Society Swing @ 59 E. 59th St. Theatre / New York, NY
January 8 / Smoke Jazz Club / New York, NY
January 16 - 17 / Art Deco Festival / Miami, FL
January 18 / Arts Garage / Delray Beach, FL
January 25 / Tucson Jazz Festival / Tucson, AZ
February 9 / Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola / New York, NY
February 14 / Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival / Rockport, MD
February 27 / Scullers / Boston, MA

12th Annual Panama Jazz Festival Led by Artistic Director Danilo Pérez Announces 2015 Lineup

Uniting internationally acclaimed jazz artists, renowned educators and jazz fans from around the globe, the 12th Annual Panama Jazz Festival will be held January 12-17, 2015 at The City of Knowledge in Panama City and the recently founded Danilo's Jazz Club located at the American Trade Hotel in the Old Quarter of Panama City. The festival honors multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, whose father was Panamanian.

Among the headliners for this year's festival is Founder and Artistic Director Danilo Pérez and his recently assembled Children of The Light Trio, featuring bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, who is also the first Resident Artist of the Festival.

Additional headliners include jazz legend Benny Golson Quartet, Ruben Blades, Miguel Zenón, Pedrito Martinez, Latin pop singer and songwriter Omar Alfanno, Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band, Chilean saxophonist Patricia Zarate with her band MapuJazz and special guest singer Claudia Acuña, and Phil Ranelin and Matt Marvuglio giving a special tribute to Eric Dolphy.

German duo Uwe Kropinski (guitar) & Michael Heupel (flute) will be featured, as well as international artists and clinicians such as Richie Barshay (USA), Ehud Ettud (Israel), Tom Patitucci (USA), Jorge Perez (Peru), Kevin Harris (USA), Marco Pignataro (Italy), Ricardo del Fra (France), Orion Lion (Chile), Shea Welsh (USA), Sissy Castrogiovanni (Italy) among many others.

Furthermore, the festival will host the 3rd Latin American Music Therapy Symposium, bringing music therapists from the Chile, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica (among other Latin American countries) and the United States together to present on the therapeutic effects of music.

Since its inception in 2003, the Panama Jazz Festival has attracted over 220,000 jazz fans worldwide, has raised over 1 million dollars, and has announced over 3.5 million dollars in scholarships on an international level. Last year, the festival welcomed 2,000 students from around the world who participated in the educational events.

Participating educational institutions include Boston-based institutions, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, which will be holding auditions for admission and scholarships. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute will hold master classes, perform social work with Panamanian youth and perform in various settings throughout the festival. Berklee will repeat last years innovative program where students will earn college performance credit for the college. In addition to these various universities, Paris Conservatory (France) and Crossroads High School (Los Angeles, CA) will be participating in this year's events.

Pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time.

Born in Panama in 1965, Pérez started his musical studies when he was three years old with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama. After receiving his bachelor's degree in electronics in Panama, he studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. From 1985-88, while still a student, he performed with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D'Rivera. Quickly established as a young master, he soon toured and/or recorded with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie (with the trumpeter's United Nations Orchestra, 1989-1992), Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, John Patitucci, Tom Harrell, Gary Burton, and Roy Haynes.

In 1993, Pérez turned his focus to his own ensembles and recording projects, releasing eight albums as a leader, earning Grammy® and Latin Grammy® nominations for Central Avenue (1989), Motherland (2000) and Across The Crystal Sea (2008). Additionally, Pérez released Providencia, his debut for Mack Avenue Records, in August of 2010. The album was also nominated for a 2011 Grammy® Award in the category of "Best Instrumental Jazz Album." His latest album in Panama 500 released in 2014 by Mack Avenue Records.

Pérez, who served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, has received a variety of awards for his musical achievements, activism and social work efforts. He currently serves as UNESCO Artist for Peace, Founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston's Berklee, During the Gala of the jazz festival on January 14th, 2015 he will be appointed Cultural Ambassador of the Republic of Panama serving his second term as such. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Formed in Cardiff in 2013 Slowly Rolling Cameraa brought together four wildly talented musicians from diverse backgrounds. The result was a captivating hybrid of these influences: trip hop, jazz, soul, electronic music fused into a new and unique soundscape. The product was their eponymous album, released on Edition Records in February 2014 and received ecstatically by press (including UK’s Guardian and Germany’s Stern Magazine) and audiences alike.

Live, they’ve proved a phenomenon, wowing audiences from Cardiff to Hamburg and at high profile festivals including Umea Jazz Festival (SE), Love Supreme (UK), London Jazz Festival (UK) and Reeperbahn Festival (DE).

SRC have spent 2014 honing their music on the road and have recently returned to the studio to record a bold and striking four track EP, Into The Shadow, for release on 26th January 2015. Into The Shadow is more cohesive and sees the band further develop their sound, integrating lush electronic soundscapes, emotive melodies, shifts in dynamic and pace. With Elliot Bennett’s virtuosic, robust groove and Robert’s exemplary production techniques, it provides the perfect setting for the captivating, soulful voice of Dionne Bennett to impressively mould he lyrics around the musical arrangement.

In order to capture the spirit and energy of the band the EP was written and recorded in only three months. Employing the creative spirit and boundless energies of Mancunian master guitarist Stuart McCallum (Cinematic Orchestra), Bristol based Ben Waghorn on sax and Aidan Thorne, Cardiff’s top double bassist, Slowly Rolling Camera’s new recording has a big sound and big ambitions to match.

The suite-like opener River’s End, a song about asking for forgiveness, introduces a powerful and emotive ambience from the off. The title track, with its gloriously empowering crescendo and sweet sound of Dave Stapleton’s string arrangements, remarks on how the power of love can transform loneliness. Anne leads us through hope to regret with a beautifully raw and emotive stripped down arrangement featuring Fender Rhodes and Bennett’s intimate vocal set against a wall of strings and choral voices. The final track, Riga, forms a satisfying conclusion, its odd time signatures, shifting patterns, beats, grooves and moods defining everything that’s great about this band: bold, brave, experimental but with deep soul.

These four tracks confirm that SRC’s promise is no transient thing and indicates progression on a steep curve. ‘Into The Shadow’ continues to push the musical boundaries and there can only be excitement at where this young, immensely talented outfit can go next. But they remain rooted, however vaunting the ambition. As the band say: “If it moves you, it’s just good music”.

Finnish trumpeter/composer, Verneri Pohjola, releases "Bullhorn"

Bullhorn is the new album by Finnish trumpeter/composer, Verneri Pohjola, his third as leader. Based in Helsinki, the thirty-six year old has been in the international spotlight for the past few years and is acknowledged as a jazz star in the making. His distinctive tone, with its deeply affecting purity and lyricism, and highly melodic improvising is embedded in self-penned compositions marked by memorable and imaginative themes that steer clear of any hackneyed notion of ‘Nordic’ jazz.

Bullhorn is a key album in Pohjola’s career, marking the shift from a rising start to an artist of real substance with a powerful, unique sound and a sense of deepening maturity and clarity of vision. Bullhorn is the album that finally realises Verneri’s enormous creative potential.

Featuring his long term associates and friends: pianist Aki Rissanen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Teppo Mäkynen, Bullhorn undertakes a panoramic overview of Verneri’s wide-ranging, evocative yet energetic approach to music-making, anchored in his strong, personal sound. As Pohjola explains: ‘It has the intimate sounds and lyricism in improvised passages that I love, but also the rough energy and emphasis on the compositions – everything I want to express in my music’.

In addition, Pohjola has set out on Bullhorn to capture the joy and spontaneity that occur in performance between these four like-minded individuals; the vital element of music making and ‘jazz’ that makes each performance a unique and personal statement.

A truly progressive artist with a firm understanding of popular culture providing the foundation of his art, Verneri Pohjola is on the brink of becoming one of the most exciting and original musicians of his generation. In fact, he’s almost ready to blow his own bullhorn.



Monday Michiru returns to one of our favorite modes from her early years – collaborative grooves cut with some of the best talents of the underground – all of whom breathe incredible new life into her Brasilified album! We loved that record to death – and so did most of you – but the work here is almost even better – as it brings Monday's soulful vocals back to the sort of grooves that first won her fame on the international scene – as the jazz and Brazilian elements of the core record are still held intact, but the rhythms are wonderfully varied, and move seamlessly into a clubby vibe too – thanks to work by Little Louie Vega, Yukihiro Fukutomi, Steal Vibe, Black Edition, Zero DB, and others! Yet there's also a surprisingly unified feel to the record too – no jumps in spirit and sound from track to track – and we attribute that not just to the work of the remixers, but also to their respect of Michiru's music too. Titles include "Brasilified (Yukihiro Fukutomi rmx)", "Bossamore (Zero DB rmx)", "Zanzibar (Louie Vega EOL mix)", "New Morning (Black Edition rmx)", "Sunrise (Steal Vybe's journey into the sun rmx)", and "Celebrate (Blk Mrks main room navigation mix)".  ~ Dusty Groove


One of the greatest records we've heard so far from this ultra-hip ensemble – the group's own version of the classic Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue – played in track by track sequence, but with a lot of the group's own flavors on the solos! The tracks are all long and wonderful – and done in a style that's quite faithful to the original, but as a way of showing these guys' continuing commitment to working jazz roots into their freely expressive music – a path that's taken them through a run of music from Ornette Coleman to trad jazz, before landing them here at Miles Davis! Peter Evans handles trumpet – quite a heady role, but done well – and Jon Irabagon blows both the alto and tenor sax parts, alongside Ron Stabinsky on piano, Moppa Elliott on bass, and Kevin Shea on drums. Titles include – of course – "So What", "Freddie Freeloader", "All Blues", "Blue In Green", and "Flamenco Sketches".  ~ Dusty Groove


Twin pianos come together wonderfully here in a tribute to the late Eric Dolphy – as Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase play together on the instrument, and lead a larger ensemble that includes Karl Berger on vibes, Axel Dorner on trumpet, Nils Wogram on trombone, Tobias Delius on tenor, and Han Bennink on drums! The tunes are all classic Dolphy compositions – and are given very inventive reworkings here by the larger group – with shifting focus between group horn passages, solo lines, and very bold piano work – all with an angular, exploratory style that Eric would have loved. Titles include "Hat & Beard", "Out To Lunch", "Serene", "Miss Ann", "Les", and "Something Sweet Something Tender".  ~ Dusty Groove

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



No one had a better understanding of the melding of jazz polyrhythms with rocks pulsating beat than drummer Alphonse Mouzon is one of the originators of jazz-rock. With his furious propulsive style, he was welcome in both camps. Weather Report founders Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and Miroslav Vitous brought him into the premier edition of the band. And as he had shown with Weather Report, he demonstrates on his 1977 album In Search of a Dream how well he could integrate acoustic bass into a jazz-rock concept. In duo with Mouzon, Vitous bows the deep tones on his composition The Light; he grabs the electric bass on the other compositions. Vitous as well as saxophonist Bob Malik and keyboard player Stan Goldberg were all part of the 1977 version of Mouzons touring band. Pianist/keyboarder Joachim Kühn and guitarist Philip Catherine joined the troupe for the recording of In Search of a Dream. Thus, the session was a sort of summit meeting of the jazz-rock elite of that time. ~ Amazon


The late, much beloved pianist Cedar Walton was a major influence to generations of jazz musicians and especially pianists. None, however, was a greater student of his work - playing and composing - than David Hazeltine. Over the years Hazeltine not only studied, inhabited and incorporated Cedar into his own jazz conception but became a friend as well. This heartfelt tribute to the great man contains some of his finest compositions - Holy Land, Clockwise, and Turquoise Twice - performed by Hazeltine, Cedar's longtime bassist David Williams, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. A session highlight is Hazeltine's solo performance of Cedar's favorite solo piece, Over The Rainbow. The great master is no longer with us - long may his music live! ~ Amazon


Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum (New York Hieroglyphics) introduces the debut track by his newest band, Sparkler. Co-produced by Apfelbaum and Aaron Johnston (Brazilian Girls), featuring Natalie Cressman (vocals, trombone) and Jill Ryan (vocals, alto sax) I Colored it in for You is a multidimensional electronic world music track with lyrics as Apfelbaum explains, "about the act of creating art, and the desire to give it away." Also included with I Colored it in for You Pts 1 & 2 is a Mix Translation (dub remix) of Pt. 1 by Bill Laswell.



By now, It's pretty safe to say that Karen Souza is the great new voice of today's Jazz. After the success of her previous albums "Essentials" and "Hotel Souza", Karen presents now "Essentials II", a carefully selected collection of hit songs from all eras; in exquisite Jazz versions where her unique voice draws us into her intimate and sensual world. This time, the album's production has been helmed by legendary producer and entrepreneur Richard Gottehrer, famous for his work (and guiding the careers) with artists such as Blondie, The Go-Go's, Dr. Feelgood, Richard Hell and The Bongos to name just a few. Recorded at the The Orchard Studios in NYC, 'Essentials II' will allow you to hear Karen's voice like never before. Without a doubt, this is one of the most anticipated releases of the Holiday season. Produced by: Richard Gottehrer, Alonzo Vargas and Guillermo Porro with additional production by: Guillermo Porro and Edu Giardina. Recorded by: Guillermo Porro and Alonzo Vargas. ~ Amazon


The follow up to Hoodoo Man Blues (DMK 612), this classic Chicago blues album is now re-issued in an expanded digipak Deluxe Edition containing unissued performances and a 16-page booklet with many never-before-seen photos. The Godfather of Blues, Junior Wells is accompanied by Buddy Guy and Louis Myers, guitar; Otis Spann, piano; Earnest Johnson, bass; Fred below, drums. Recorded December 30, 1969 and January 8, 1970, the five extra performances include Rock Me Baby, an alternate take of I Could Have Had Religion, Junior's In Charge, an eight-minute improvisational studio jam with lots of Otis Spann, and more, 73 minutes. With new notes by producer Bob Koester. A must for blues lovers. ~ Amazon


Gutsy tenor saxophonist Sax Gordon has recorded and toured with Luther 'Guitar Junior' Johnson, Duke Robillard, Matt 'Guitar' Murphy and Kim Wilson, and is featured on recordings by Pinetop Perkins, Champion Jack Dupree, Billy Boy Arnold, and most recently Mississippi Heat (Warning Shot, DMK 838). Now with 4 solo albums and his own show, he brings rocking sax around the globe. But while gaining recognition as a blues and R&B player, Gordon continued playing soulful, straight-ahead jazz. On In The Wee Small Hours, his first jazz release, Gordon goes back to the classic organ combo sound and a relaxed session of jazz standards with a deep and soulful sound. ~ Amazon

Cellist/Composer/Arranger Akua Dixon To Release Her Second CD as a Leader, "Akua Dixon"

Akua Dixon Jazz string pioneer Akua Dixon entered a new creative phase with the sleek 2011 quartet session Moving On, her first album under her own name. Her new album, Akua Dixon, is a dazzling string conclave that surveys the cellist/composer/ arranger's expansive stylistic reach. Dixon's label, Akua's Music, will release the disc on January 13, 2015.
The project showcases Dixon as a powerfully emotive improviser and dauntingly creative arranger exploring sumptuous American Songbook ballads, a suave Afro-Cuban standard, erotically charged nuevo tango, and a rootsy Ellingtonian opus. "When I look back at my history I've written for all different sizes of string ensembles, from duos and trios to orchestras," Dixon says. "But the string quartet is the easiest unit to keep together and keep working, and it's the situation I've written for the most." 

The eponymous CD features Dixon's working string quartet (Patrisa Tomassini, first violin; Gwen Laster or Chala Yancy, second violin; and Ina Paris, viola) plus special guests like bassist Kenny Davis, violin star Regina Carter, and violin master John Blake Jr. (in one of his final recordings before his passing last August). 

Also featured, on one track apiece, are Dixon's children -- drummer Orion Turre, heard on the album opener "Haitian Fight Song," and vocalist Andromeda Turre, who contributes a swooning version of "Lush Life." "They got exposed to a lot of different music growing up and both became wonderful musicians," says their proud mother. "Making music for me has always been a family affair."

Born and raised in New York City, Akua Dixon grew up in a family suffused with music. She started playing with her sister, the late violinist Gayle Dixon, shortly after the cello came into her life in the 4th grade. 

After graduating from the prestigious "Fame" High School of the Performing Arts, Dixon studied at the Manhattan School of Music at a time when the only track available focused on European classical music. She describes her post-graduation gig in the pit band at the Apollo Theater as an essential proving ground. Backing a disparate array of stars from Rev. James Cleveland and Barry White to James Brown and Dionne Warwick, she developed a vast idiomatic repertoire. 

With the doors of most symphony orchestras closed to African-American musicians (to say nothing of women), Dixon found a home in the Symphony of the New World, which is where she experienced the Ellingtonian epiphany that led her to jazz. "I started immersing myself in jazz and spirituals, and became determined to learn the secrets of improvising," she says. 

Akua Dixon It's hard to overstate the centrality of Dixon's contribution to the rise of visibility of bowed strings in jazz. In the early 1970s the New York scene was exploding with creatively ambitious and talented string players, many of whom gathered in the String Reunion, a 30-piece orchestra founded by Noel Pointer. Dixon served as the ensemble's director of new music, supplying the group with a steady stream of original compositions and arrangements. At the same time, she launched her own string quartet, Quartette Indigo, which made its big-league debut at the Village Gate with her sister Gayle Dixon, Maxine Roach, and John Blake Jr.
Dixon collaborated closely with another jazz giant in the early 1980s as a founding member of the Max Roach Double Quartet. She had honed her rhythmic drive backing the likes of James Brown, but learning to phrase bebop with one of the idiom's founding fathers was an invaluable experience.
After years of lending her skills to recordings by masters such as Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Buster Williams, Carmen McRae, Dizzy Gillespie, Abbey Lincoln, Tom Harrell, and her former husband Steve Turre, Dixon made a bold statement of her own with 1994's Quartette Indigo (Landmark), a classic album featuring violist Ron Lawrence and violinists Gayle Dixon and John Blake Jr. (reissued by 32 Jazz). Supported by a grant from the NEA to compose the music, she delivered a brilliant second album in 1997 with Afrika! Afrika! (Savant) with Lawrence, and violinists Regina Carter and Marlene Rice.

She spent much of the next decade immersed in education, teaching at various institutions and conducting dozens of performances through the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series. With the release of Akua Dixon, however, Dixon has refocused her priorities and put her own music on the front burner. 

In support of the new CD, Dixon will be appearing with her string quartet 1/18 at the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church, 122nd Street and Fifth Avenue, NYC (the church she attended growing up was in this facility). Other CD release shows include: 1/30 Trumpets, Montclair, NJ; 4/18 Sistas' Place Coffee House, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; 4/30 Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, NYC.

Catherine Russell Returns to New York City in 2014-15 Following Release of Bring It Back

Capping off a stellar year, vocalist Catherine Russell returns to the New York City area in December to finish out 2014 in a flourish. Performing in a variety of settings, Catherine swings into the New Year with seasonal fare and classics of blues, swing, and jazz from her latest highly acclaimed album, Bring It Back (Jazz Village).

Saturday, December 6: Russell reunites with Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks for the annual Chazen Jazz Concert at Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Center in Suffern, New York.

Monday, December 8: Russell leads her sextet as the featured entertainment for the Louis Armstrong House Museum's annual GALA at Capitale in Manhattan with a program that will explore varied and sometimes overlooked chestnuts from Satchmo's vast repertoire, from New Orleans to Swing to The Great American Songbook.

Thursday, December 11: Russell and her quartet celebrate the Holidays with a free to the public, noon concert, in downtown NYC at The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, performing seasonal tunes from favorites to the less well known.

Saturday, December 13: Ladies Sing The Blues (with Catherine Russell and Charenee Wade fronting a 7 piece band) visits McCarter Theater's Berlind Theatre in Princeton, NJ, for an evening paying homage to '20s and '30s female blues singers like Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, and Ethel Waters, with arrangements based on the original recordings.

Tuesday, December 23: Russell makes her debut appearance at Jazz Standard as featured vocalist with Andy Farber's After Midnight Orchestra, the wonderful 18-piece band that recently wowed Broadway audiences. Leader, saxophonist, and arranger Andy Farber wrote arrangements and played on Catherine's two most recent albums, Bring It Back and Strictly Romancin', and will delve into that catalogue as well as unveiling new big band arrangements.

Saturday, December 27: Russell and her trio venture to New England for a first ever visit to The Side Door, a wonderful new jazz venue in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Wednesday, December 31: Russell and her trio ring in the New Year with a New Year's Eve show at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, New Jersey for the 4th consecutive year.
Looking back at 2014, the highlights are bountiful. Russell's fifth album, Bring It Back, was released worldwide in February on Harmonia Mundi's Jazz Village imprint, and quickly garnered a rare 5 star review in Downbeat Magazine, whose writer Allen Morrison said, "By not trying to be modern, she has paradoxically created something new, retooling vintage tracks with soulful vocals and striking new arrangements that burnish the blues and swing feeling that is the bedrock of jazz." Bring It Back was also embraced by radio, spending five months at #1 on Roots Music Report's Jazz Album Chart, while also reaching #1 on CMJ's Jazz Chart, #1 on the European QOBUZ Jazz Chart, and #2 on JazzWeek.

Russell's Bring It Back tour commenced with sold-out Valentine's Day shows at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston, broadcast live on WGBH. Of her New York City album release concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, DownBeat Magazine raved: "What really makes her special, however, is not so much her technical gifts-it's her innate sense of swing, mastery of phrasing and her actor's ability to fully inhabit a song's lyrics."

Additional 2014 touring brought Russell from coast to coast in the U.S., and to Europe and Asia, including her first ever five city sold out visit to Israel. Festival appearances included Savannah Music Festival, Greensboro North Carolina's 17 Days Festival, Manhattan's New York Hot Jazz, Rochester International Jazz Festival, San Jose Summer Fest in California, Jazz at Roland Garros (broadcast "live" on TSF Jazz Radio) and Nancy Jazz Pulsations in France, and SibeJazz in Novosibirsk, Russia, among others. "Catherine Russell ruled the roost, delivering a typical revelatory set", wrote Andrew Gilbert in JazzTimes reviewing San Jose Summer Fest. And after witnessing Russell's return to the Rochester Jazz Festival for a fifth year, the Democrat and Chronicle's Jack Garner noted, "Fest favorite Catherine Russell brought her typical fun-loving stage presence, a rare and deep understanding of the jazz and blues traditions, and a wonderful robust voice."
Touring continues into 2015 with select Catherine Russell appearances as follows: 

Friday, January 9 / City Winery (APAP showcase) / New York, NY
Saturday, January 17 / Jazz on the Mountain at Mohonk Mountain House
(w/ Carolyn Leonhart, LaTanya Hall) / New Paltz, NY
Saturday, February 14 / WP Presents at the Shea
Performing Arts Center (Valentines Day Concert) / Wayne, NJ
Thursday, February 19 / Tribeca Performing Arts Center
(Highlights in Jazz 42nd Anniversary) / New York, NY
Sunday, February 22 / NJPAC - Dorthaan's Place Jazz Brunch / Newark, NJ

Kassé Mady Diabaté – Kiriké Out in the US on January 6, 2015 on Six Degrees Records

For almost half a century Kassé Mady Diabaté has been recognized as one of West Africa’s finest singers. He is a descendant of the most distinguished griot family of the ancient Manding Empire, the Diabatés of Kéla, and his name, alongside other griot legends Toumani Diabaté and Bassékou Kouyaté, is equivalent to musical royalty in Mali. The Manding Empire was founded in the 13th Century by the emperor Sunjata. It swept from one end of West Africa to the other, from Casamance on the Atlantic coast all the way to Burkina Faso, thousands of miles to the east. Sunjata used a hitherto unheard of weapon to bind all his disparate peoples together: music.

Music became a formidable political tool and turned the hereditary Manding musicians or djelis (griots) into a powerful caste. Today, having survived centuries of change and turmoil, that caste is still flourishing. Drawing on themes as old as the empire itself and melodies learned in childhood, the modern griots still mediate for social order. It explains how an artist such as Kassé Mady Diabate can rise to such a degree of excellence and become a national treasure in Mali.

Kassé Mady was born in 1949 in the village Kéla. His aunt was the great griotte Siramori Diabaté, while his grandfather was known as ‘Jeli Fama’, which means ‘The Great Griot’, thanks to the gripping quality of his voice. When Kassé Mady was 7 years old (a significant age in Manding culture), the elders of the family, including Siramori, realized that he had inherited his grandfather’s vocal genius. They schooled him and encouraged him, until he was able to launch his own career. He would go on to play a role in the most innovative moments in Malian music over the next five decades, first in his own country and later with landmark international collaborations.

In 1970 he became lead singer of the Orchestre Régional Super Mandé de Kangaba. With Kassé Mady’s remarkable singing the group won the nationwide Biennale music competition in the Malian capital Bamako. The festival had been set up by the government, as part of a Cultural Authenticity initiative across all of the newly independent West African states, encouraging musicians to return to their own cultural heritage. At the Biennale Kassé Mady caught the attention of Las Maravillas de Mali, a group of musicians who had studied music in Cuba, and returned to Mali to perform their interpretations of Cuban classics. The Government was putting pressure on the group to incorporate a more Malian repertoire and so they invited Kassé Mady to join them as lead singer. With their young vocalist at the helm, the Maravillas, later known as Badema National, achieved huge success throughout West Africa, with songs sung in a Cuban style, but with a new Manding touch.

In 1988 Kassé Mady left Mali and the Badema National behind and moved to Paris, where he recorded his first solo album for the Senegalese record producer Ibrahima Sylla. He spent the next ten years in Paris, recording Fode, then Kéla Tradition, an acoustic album of Kéla jeli songs. Moving back to Mali in the late 1990s, several collaborations followed, many of which have become landmark recordings: Songhai 2, the album he made with the flamenco group Ketama and Toumani Diabaté, and Koulandjan, on which he collaborated with Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabaté, an album which was famously cited by Barack Obama as one of his favorite albums of all time. Collaborations with Toumani continued and he starred in the Symmetric Orchestra and Afrocubism projects, both recorded by World Circuit.

Solo projects during the past decade have included the acoustic album Kassi Kassé, produced in 2002 by Lucy Duran, and Manden Djeli Kan, released on Universal France in 2009 and garnering 4 and 5 star reviews: ‘the star is always the brilliant vocalist’, said The Times reviewer, while the 5 star review in the Financial Times said simply ‘Time stops still’.

The new album Kiriké (out in the US on January 6, 2015 on Six Degrees Records) has provided a platform for Kassé Mady to celebrate his position as one of Mali’s greatest voices in distinguished company. The album is the third in a series born out of the friendship between the young Malian kora maestro Ballaké Sissoko and the iconoclastic French cellist Vincent Segal. Already this friendship has resulted in two beautiful albums, Chamber Music (2009) and its follow-up At Peace (2012), both released on Six Degrees Records in the US. Kirike, like the other two albums in the series, exemplifies a more intimate musical current that has been emerging in Bamako, one that’s closer to the acoustic sound of tradition.

Having long been admirers of Kassé Mady, Ballaké and Vincent dreamt of assembling a royal ‘cast’ around him and making an album worthy of his extraordinary voice. So it was that three virtuoso soloists came together, childhood friends, one-time members of the National Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, and scions of Mali’s great griot dynasties. Ballaké Sissoko is the son of Djelimady Sissoko, the musical giant who recorded the album Ancient Strings, a cornerstone of modern kora music. Balafon player Lansiné Kouyaté is the son of Siramori Diabaté. (and so related to Kassé Mady). And ngoni player Makan Tounkara, aka ‘Badié’, grew up in the heart of the Instrumental Ensemble, his father being one of its directors.

The centerpiece is Kassé Mady’s voice. He sings in Bambara, the dominant language of southern Mali, and in doing so ‘the man with the voice of velvet’ reveals an altogether different personality: an old man of the soil grumbling at the margins of his field in a language infinitely rootsier and more flavorsome than the grand Malinké of the classic griot praise-songs. A fifty-year long career hasn’t blunted his high-notes, but rather added richness to the astonishing gentleness of his baritone, making his voice better suited to this ‘chamber music’ than to the brilliant sheen of fusionistic pop.  It is a sound attuned to the modern ear, a consecration of one of Mali’s greatest voices.

Meanwhile the trio represent three major elements in Manding music: the kora music of Casamance, the balafon of the central zone and the more bitter sounding ngoni, so reminiscent of the northern deserts of Mali. And the music on Kiriké keeps faith with that contemporary acoustic Bamako sound; the subtlety and simplicity of Vincent Segal’s approach allows the musicians to pour out their art with liberated ease, and show new facets of their talent. The ngoni, at once melodic and percussive, takes pole position, its stunning improvisations (‘Douba Diabira’) promising to dazzle amateurs of both Bach and jazz, of the gnaoua of Morocco and the trance music of Madagascar. The balafon and the kora conjure up novel moods, as in the liquid accompaniment they provide on the song ‘Sadjo’. And drawing all the sounds together is the stunning voice of Kassé Mady, dazzling with its range and power.

A griot to the core, Kassé Mady expresses himself almost entirely through his music, transcribing all of the nuances of the human soul into song. He is not especially at ease with the spoken word, and is known to all who come across him for his modest and peaceful character. But when he sings, his delivery embodies the power of his message it is this that cements his position as “the greatest singer in Mali”, as described by fellow countryman Salif Keita.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



Richly soulful vocals and gritty funk backdrops from singer Emma Donovan and the funky Putbacks band – an great little set from the Australian funk scene! We had a pretty good idea of how strong the Putbacks are, thanks to stellar couple of singles – but their stylistic breadth comes into full display here, in backing an excellent singer. Emma is an indigenous Australian with a voice that can pull off gritty psych funk jams and more gentle, if still nicely raw soul with equal skill – and as the primary songwriter here, she shows us just how strong she his as both a singer and songwriter. Strong work all around! Includes "Black Woman", "My Goodness", "Dawn", "Mother", "Daddy", "Keep Me In Your Reach", "Come Back To Me", "Voodoo" and "Over Under Away". ~ Dusty Groove


Strong work from GC Cameron – really making a bold mark here on his own – working in a smooth, rich, masculine style that's a bit like some of the best early 70s material from Eddie Kendricks! Arrangements are by James Carmichael, Paul Riser, Wade Marcus, Gene Page, and other smooth soul talents – and GC's got this edgey vocal approach that strikes out from the backings very strongly, with a hip dope sound on the best cuts, almost in a blacksploitation soundtrack mode – with a sharper edge than on his previous group recordings. Titles include a great version of "If I Ever Lose This Heaven", plus the cuts "Me & My Life", "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday", "Strong Love", "Share Your Life", "Truly Blue", and "Don't Want To Give It Up". ~ Dusty Groove


A great Canadian soul singer – and one that we'd rank right up there with the contemporary best from the American underground! Dawn Pemberton's got a great approach here – sliding into the record in a very personal, subtle way (without any sort of "intro" track either – thank you!) – and things really open up wonderfully as the whole thing rolls along, with one of the most well-conceived, well-executed soul debuts we've heard in years! Dawn can get funky, but isn't a funk singer at all – and she can hit mellow modes, but never spends too much time on ballads – and instead has this way of coming out with proud, righteous energy you might never have expected from a soul singer north of the border. Fender Rhodes sets the tone on most tracks, but the album's also got much richer instrumentation than the usual beats-n-Rhodes sort of set – given Dawn's richer conception of a song. Titles include "Freedom Time", "Say Somethin", "Deeper", "Inside & Out", "What I Got", "Hello Love", and a nice cover of "I Can't Go For That".  ~ Dusty Groove



A tremendous tribute to 100 years of Dorival Caymmi – the legendary Brazilian singer/songwriter who helped pave the way for bossa nova, Tropicalia, and so many other sounds to come! Unlike the beautiful 90th birthday album for Caymmi, in which he was still alive and able to participate – this set features other artists, including key family members, coming together in rich reworkings of his best compositions – done in a sophisticated blend of older Brazilian modes that's similar to some of the best Biscoito Fino projects in recent years. Mario Adnet put the album together with Dori Caymmi – and the set features performances by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Nana Caymmi, and Danilo Caymmi – as well as Adnet and Dori – on titles that include "O Que E Que A Baiana Tem", "Saudade Da Bahia", "Sargaco Nar", "Dora", "Vatapa", "Nem Eu", "Samba Da Minha Terra", "A Vizinha Do Lado", and "Cancao Da Partida".   Dusty Groove


Really beautiful sounds – and a record that's far more haunting than you might expect! The record's not just piano notes alongside sci fi sound effects – and instead has this really subtle use of theremin, so that the instrument almost comes across more like a cello, or acoustic bass – with these wonderfully rich tones that are used in a very organic way next to the piano. There's an extremely thoughtful approach to the whole record, never a sense of gimmick – and overall, the record really brings the theremin strongly into legitimate instrumental territory. Titles include "Deep In The Earth", "Quiet Snowfall", "Earth & Sky", "10,000 Bells", "Somber Waking Up", and "A Whale In Love". ~ Dusty Groove


Heady heady work from John Zorn – part of his Moonchild series of projects, and done with the same great group as the album In Sacred Blood! Like that set, there's a weird blend of jazz and spiritual modes going on here – a sound that's more forward-moving than some of Zorn's more meditative projects in recent years, but still filled with a soaringly mystic sensibility – one that comes through especially strong in the organ lines from John Medeski, who's light years beyond (or behind, in an ancient sort of style) his famous work with MMW! Mike Patton delivers some vocal passages at points – either singing in some ancient spiritual mode, or speaking with a whisper-like sensibility – but the core of the album seems hinged on the instrumentation, and Medeski is even more set free than before – alongside bass from Trevor Dunn and drums from Joey Baron. Zorn composed and produced – and titles include "Incant", "Sleepy Hollow", "Tria Prima", "Trinity", "Resurrection", and "Le Tombeau De Jacques De Molay". ~ Dusty Groove



DJ Spinna takes on the sound of Motown, with wonderful results – and a groove that's quite different than any other project we've heard from him! If you only know Spinna as a talent in a contemporary mode, you'll really be surprised at his love and understanding of classic Motown – as he mixes together 22 vintage tracks from the legendary soul label, all in a non-stop groove that features some great Spinna twists and turns as the music comes together! There's a few tracks that are all new Spinna edits of classics, and others have little touches here and there as they move on – a thoughtful way of mixing that really makes all the cuts resonate strongly together. Titles include "Date With The Rain (DJ Spinna refreak)" by Eddie Kendricks, "Brothers Gonna Work It Out (DJ Spinna refreak)" by Willie Hutch, "Bernadette" by Four Tops, "Malinda" by Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, "Do It Baby" by The Miracles, "The Love You Save" by Jackson 5, "Love's Gone Bad" by Chris Clark, "I'm A Sucker For Your Love" by Teena Marie, "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" by Barbara McNair, and "Honey Chile" by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.  ~ Dusty Groove


There's no reverend here – despite the name of the group – but the set is one smokingly righteous set of funky instrumentals – more than enough to send us to the heavens with its stunning sense of spirit! The group's a lean one, with an especially strong focus on Hammond and guitar – an approach we've come to really love on their 45s for the Tramp label, and which holds together very well over the extended course of this full length set! There's no vocals, no horns, just wicked small combo instrumentation – with a focus on organ and guitar that's neither 60s soul jazz, nor just another Booker T ripoff – and instead a very unique approach by this up-and-coming group. Titles include "Soul Saviour Stew", "Paper Cut", "Who's In Here", "Brain Damage", "No Bones", "Hash Cake", and "2lbs Of Funk In a 1lb Bag" – a title that may well sum up the whole record! (Includes download!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Warm love and plenty of soul from Jesse Bokyins – an artist who keeps on perfecting his craft more and more with each new record – to create a special place in soul that's very much his own! The grooves are heavy on keyboards, but with these very trippy touches – and the whole thing has a unique, handcrafted feel that almost makes Boykins a kind of Shuggie Otis figure for the 21st Century – a supreme master of mellow soul, able to wrap together voice and instrument with this incredible sense of flow! Bass and beats can sometimes be heavy, but always with a slow, crispy vibe that resonates strongly with the more cosmic elements of the music – on titles that include "Show Me Who You Are", "Create Beauty", "Make Believe", "4Ever No More", "Matter Of The Heart", "GreyScale", and "I Wish". (Comes with a bonus download for 8 extra tracks!)  ~ Dusty Groove

Family of Bob Marley and Privateer Holdings Unveil World’s First Global Cannabis Brand – Marley Natural

Today Privateer Holdings announced the creation of Marley Natural, the world’s first global cannabis brand. Privateer Holdings is the world’s first private equity firm investing exclusively in the legal cannabis industry. Marley Natural will offer premium cannabis products that honor the life and legacy of Bob Marley as well as his belief in the benefits of cannabis.

“and he felt it was important to the world. He looked forward to this day.”
“We are joining with Privateer Holdings because they understand and respect our father’s legacy,” said Rohan Marley, Bob’s son.

Starting in late 2015 in certain jurisdictions where regulations permit, Marley Natural will begin offering heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains inspired by those Bob Marley enjoyed. In addition to cannabis, Marley Natural will offer cannabis- and hemp-infused topicals, including sun repair creams and lotions containing Jamaican botanicals such as aloe and coconut, as well as accessories, including limited edition products based on those that Bob preferred. As a brand with a strong social conscience, Marley Natural’s business model and philanthropic initiatives will be built to ensure that families and communities who have been harmed by prohibition have the opportunity to benefit from the new, legal cannabis economy.

Bob Marley, a Jamaican-born musician, became a global superstar and advocated for peace, unity, social justice and personal freedom through his music. His greatest hits compilation, Legend, is the world’s best-selling reggae album, with more than 27 million copies sold worldwide. Marley was also a well-known advocate for “the herb,” as he called cannabis, which he said brought him inner peace and furthered his creativity. “When you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself,” Marley said.

Privateer Holdings and the Marley family began discussing the possibility of working together in early 2013 and quickly realized their common values – social change, environmental sustainability and building a professional, responsible and legal cannabis industry. Privateer Holdings is committed to ending the social harms caused by prohibition, just as the Marley family carries on Bob’s vision of social justice through their charitable and business ventures. The Marley family’s strong commitment to sustainability will be carried forward by Marley Natural’s use of organic growing mediums and fertilizers.

“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” said Cedella Marley, Bob’s daughter. “He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity. Marley Natural is an authentic way to honor his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition.”

“Marley Natural is a partnership between two cannabis pioneers,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings. “The Marley family has been an admired voice in the cannabis movement for more than 50 years and Privateer Holdings is the leader in building professional, mainstream cannabis brands. We’ve learned a lot over the past year about Bob’s views towards cannabis and how he viewed the herb differently. We are honored to work with the Marley family to bring his voice to a professional, authentic and modern brand that will be a defining first in the cannabis industry.”

“My husband believed ‘the herb’ was a natural and positive part of life,” said Rita Marley, Bob’s wife, “and he felt it was important to the world. He looked forward to this day.”

About Marley Natural 
Marley Natural is a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy of Bob Marley offering heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains, cannabis- and hemp-infused topical products, and accessories. To learn more about Marley Natural, visit or follow the conversation on social media using #MarleyNatural.

About Privateer Holdings
Privateer Holdings is the cannabis industry’s first private equity firm. Through strategic investments in the emerging legal cannabis industry, Privateer Holdings is building a portfolio of mainstream companies that elevate the conversation about cannabis. The company aims to change past perceptions of the marketplace by building brands set apart by their professionalism and operational excellence. For more information, visit Privateer Holdings’ other companies include:

•Tilray: a leading premium medical cannabis company, offering unparalleled quality and consistency. Tilray began shipping medical cannabis to Canadian patients from its $20 million production facility in April 2014 and has a pending application for a federal production license in Uruguay.

•Leafly: the leading online cannabis information resource, with more than four million visitors per month and the world’s largest database of user-generated reviews of cannabis strains, dispensaries and retail stores.


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