Saturday, February 24, 2007


Toni Braxton’s The Essential Toni Braxton has been released on the LaFace/Legacy label. It’s a two-CD collection of her work……….Eagle Vision has released a DVD of Barry White entitled, Let The Music Play: The Barry White Story, which includes interviews with White, his ex-wife, his children, Smokey Robinson, Ray Parker Jr., Nathan East and the Black Eyes Peas’ Taboo……….Multi-Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt will headline the New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival in Christchurch in April. Raitt has released 18 albums over a 30-year career and has won nine Grammy Awards, and her 1991 Luck Of The Draw album, featuring the hit single, Something To Talk About, went seven-times platinum. Raitt’s Christchurch concert on April 13 is part of her international Souls Alike tour……….The Neville Brothers will perform their legendary combination of rhythm and blues, soul and jazz as one of the headliners of this year’s MacDowell Mountain Music Festival in Scottsdale, Arizona. Other national acts will also appear at this event scheduled for April 27-28, 2007……….GMG Radio has recruited Magic FM’s Graham Dene to host the morning show on its soon to be relaunched London station Smooth. GMG has lined up Dene as part of Smooth’s change in format from a jazz and soul station to an easy listening station targeting an over 50 audience. The change is set for Monday, March 26, with the station’s name changing from 102.2 Smooth FM to Smooth Radio. On the same day as the London station’s rebranding, GMG’s 104.4 Smooth FM station in North West England and its three Saga Radio stations in the East and West Midlands and West Central Scotland will also become Smooth Radio stations………..Jazz legends Cleo Lane and John Dankworth are set for the Bexhill Festival (England) in July. The 10-day music festival is the first in what is hoped to he an annual event featuring top international and local talent……….Saxophonist Tim Cunningham’s new release is the soulful and sexy Machester Rd. The album kicks off with the grooving title-track that serves as a testament to the saxman’s ability to burn up the keys on the horn, while songs like Sadie and Heart, Mind & Soul show a level of emotional maturity that can only be gained by paying dues on the bandstand. All twelve songs on Manchester Rd. were written and arranged by Cunningham and produced by Daron Stewart……….Thanks to the recent broadcast of the Grammy Awards and to Valentine’s Day, CD sales are on the upswing stateside – especially on the chill grooves and smooth jazz formats. Here’s a peek of what happened according to the Nielsen SoundScan reports: Norah Jones’ Not Too Late (Blue Note) sold 405,000 copies when it debuted two weeks ago, and this past week, the album moved 211,000 in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan, sliding up 2-1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart despite an 11% sales drop. Late R&B singer Gerald Levert’s In My Songs (Atlantic) bows at No. 2 with 165,000, his highest charting album ever and his best sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Like Jones, Levert’s sales were likely fueled in part by Valentine’s Day gift purchases. Also, Grammy performer and nominee Corinne Bailey Rae’s self-titled Capitol debut ascends 9-4 on the chart with 120,000 and a 132% increase; John Mayer’s Continuum (29-10, 80,000, 182% increase); John Legend’s Once Again (51-23, 138%), Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics (58-41, 66%), and Tony Bennett’s Duets: An American Classic (95-45, 147%). The new Van Morrison release, Van Morrison at the Movies (EMI), debuts at No. 35 with 29,000 copies sold. By the way if you missed the Grammy’s then you missed Christina Aguilera’s amazing tribute performance of James Brown’s It’s A Man’s World where she stole the entire show!.…….Introducing Joss Stone, the new album from Joss Stone, comes out March 20 on Virgin. Stone is currently on a European tour promoting the new album……….Paul Anka is completing work on a new album for Decca called My Way – Swings & Strings. The set is due May 1 and features a blend of new recordings of Anka’s own hits and pop/adult contemporary staples. Tracks include Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, Billy Joel’s I Go to Extremes and a duet with the late Sammy Davis Jr. on I Am Not Anyone, which Anka originally penned for Davis in 1973. Other guests on the collection include Andrea Bocelli and Michael Buble……….Al Green is at work on his next Blue Note studio album with the Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson in the producer’s chair. The as-yet-untitled disc has been in the works for two years already and is set for completion in September. Thompson hopes to recapture the sound of a 1974 Al Green on this one……….George Duke performs at Yoshi’s Jazz Club at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA from February 22-25. He performed a live set (from Yoshi’s) on the afternoon of February 22 that was broadcast on San Francisco’s Smooth Jazz KKSF.……….Linda Ronstadt will perform the following concerts: April 21 at the Fox Theater in Hutchinson, Kansas and May 5 at the Peppermill Casino in West Wendover, Nevada……….Brazilian Girls and Kruder & Dorfmeister will headline the Ultra Music Festival, which is set for the weekend of March 23-24 in Miami……….Steely Dan are hitting the road and will perform the following concerts: May 6 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, LA; May 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL; May 12 at the Hard Rock Live Orlando in Orlando, FL; May 17 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT; May 18 at the Chevrolet Theatre in Wallingford, CT; May 24 at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, PA; and June 2 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY……….James Taylor has added a series of UK concerts to his 2007 tour schedule as follows: April 6 at Civic Hall in Wolverhampton UK, April 8-9 at Symphony Hall in Birmingham UK, April 12 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, UK; April 14-15 at the Carling Apollo Manchester in Manchester, UK; April 18 at the Brighton Dome in Brighton, UK; April 19 at Colston Hall in Bristol, UK; April 21 at City Hall in Sheffield, UK; April 23-24 at Carling Apollo Hammersmith in London, UK; April 26 at the Opera House in Blackpool, UK; April 27 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester, UK; April 29 at Newcastle City Hall in Newcastle, UK; April 30 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow UK; and then back in the states on August 24 at the Tanglewood in Lenox, MA……….Amy Winehouse will perform the following concerts: February 23 at Carling Liverpool Academy in Liverpool,UK; February 25 at Manchester Academy in Manchester, UK; February 26 at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK; February 27 at Carling Glasgow Academy in Glasgow, UK; March 1 at Ulster Hall in Belfast, UK; March 2 at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin, Ireland; March 3 at Octagon Centre in Sheffield, UK; March 5 at Rock City in Nottingham, UK; March 6 at Cardiff University in Cardiff, UK; March 8-9 at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, UK; March 13 at Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY; March 15 at Universal Republic Showcase/Eternal/SxSW in Austin, TX; March 16 at Island UK BBQ/SxSW in Austin, TX; March 19 at the Roxy in Los Angeles, CA; March 20 at Spaceland in Los Angeles, CA; March 23 at Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, ON; April 27 at Coachella in Indio, CA; May 3 at Schubas in Chicago, IL; and July 8 at T in the Park in Kinross, UK.

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