Tuesday, April 30, 2013



A sweet set of grooves from this cool Italian combo – served up with just the sort of retro style you'd guess from the cover! There's a strong influence here from older soundtrack modes – particularly Italian ones – no surprise, given that the album's on the film score reissue Cinedelic label, and really fits in with some of their classic work! The group take on a few older Italian soundtrack themes, and add in their own songs too – and they definitely have some of the Brazilian elements promised by their name, but in addition to bossa and samba, this also means some fuzzy psych as well – some of the heavier modes of the 70s generation, touched with a bit of cop/crime funk from the Italian scene of that era too. Vocals are in English and Italian – and titles include great remakes of "Metti Una Sera A Cena", "Femina Ridens", and "Goodby My Friend" – plus "Doping 2000", "La Donna Dei Miei Guai", "Gira Gira", "Clavinet Et Chase", "Drugs & Violence", and "Deep Throat". (Super-heavy vinyl pressing – with a great cover too!) ~ Dusty Groove


Maybe the best record we've ever heard from Cosmic mainman Daniele Baldelli – and definitely a set that really lives up to the funky side promised in the title! Baldelli's got a much deeper groove here than ever before – a great ear for tight elements on the basslines, mixed with jazzy work on keyboards and guitar – all woven into a groove that's every bit as club-worth as his other music, yet a lot more warm and soulful overall! It's almost like Daniele's going back to discover a disco generation he might have missed the first time around – with a retro style that's hard to distinguish from the original, a lot like Joey Negro and some of his Sunshine Band work. Titles include "Mellow Game", "Good Day", "What Da Funk", "Voltage Groove", "Synthesized Honey", "Break Loose", "Drive Me Crazy", and "Fontainebleau". ~ Dusty Groove


Wonderful work from the overlooked JP Robinson – a killer soul singer on the Miami scene at the end of the 60s – finally given his due in this overstuffed set! Robinson's got a voice that's quite compelling – still in the deep soul mode you might expect, but with this slightly fragile quality that comes through especially when he's trying to hold a note or emotion – a really great aspect that almost makes you feel like JP's going to break down right in the course of a tune, even when he's getting a bit of support from female backup singers! And speaking of backup, the rhythms here are all pretty great – as tunes were recorded at Muscle Shoals, Criteria, and the TK Studios – with the kind of top-shelf talent that really helped knock all these singles out of the park. Material was originally issued on the Atlantic and TK family of labels – and titles include "You Can Be A Lady", "Doggone It", "George Jackson", "Our Day Is Here", "Keep Me Satisfied", "Only Be True To Me", "Love Is Not A Stranger", "I've Got A Long Way To Go", "Say It", "Hot Love", "You Got Your Thing On A String", and "Wall To Wall Love". 20 tracks in all! ~ Dusty Groove


Critically-acclaimed Manhattan-based saxophonist Daniel Bennett has made waves as both a prolific composer and bandleader, and a very active woodwind doubler in the New York theater scene. The Daniel Bennett Group has recently shared concert billings with artists like Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, Greg Osby, James Carter, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Steve Kuhn, Jerry Bergonzi, and David Fiuczynski. The Village Voice raves, "saxophonist Daniel Bennett makes hay with an airy approach that's buoyant enough to conjure notions of East African guitar riffs and Steve Reich's pastoral repetition." The Boston Herald described Bennett's music as "exploratory folk-jazz hybrid."

Daniel Bennett graduated from the prestigious New England Conservatory in 2004 with a Masters Degree in saxophone performance. The Daniel Bennett Group released The Legend of Bear Thompson in the spring of 2008. Metronome Magazine ranked the album in their top five picks of the month, declaring, "the trio is so in sync with each other that it's downright mystical." In 2009, the Daniel Bennett Group released Live at the Theatre, a groundbreaking album that was recorded live during a double bill performance with the Charlie Hunter Trio. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured on popular radio programs like Harvard University’s Jazz Spectrum (WHRB 95.3FM), WICN's Jazz Matinee (NPR in southern New England), and the very popular Dreamfarm Cafe radio show, hosted by Julie Lavender. The group has also made television appearances on Bandwidth TV, The Music Closet, and Style Boston.

Daniel Bennett’s quirky music has found a broad fan base that is unusual for a modern jazz outfit. Insite Magazine called Daniel Bennett’s music, “refreshingly capricious and trippy.” Time Out New York described the music as, "hypnotic." In January of 2011, the Daniel Bennett Group released their latest album, Peace and Stability Among Bears. The disc was recently voted as a "Top Album Pick" for 2011 by writers at All About Jazz and theJazz Police. The Daniel Bennett Group is currently the weekly house band at the four diamond Liberty Hotel. The band also has regular performance "residencies" at Tomi Jazz in midtown Manhattan, Cellar 58 in the East Village, and the New Leaf Restaurant in Upper Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park.

Daniel Bennett is also known as an innovative producer and promoter in New York. The Daniel Bennett Group hosts and currates the ongoing "Jazz at the Triad" concert series at the Triad Theatre on Manhattan's upper west side. The series features the Daniel Bennett Group performing double bill concerts with fellow artists. Recent guests have included guitarist Charlie Hunter, pianist Steve Kuhn, and saxophonist Greg Osby. Prior to this endeavor, Bennett produced a similar concert series in Boston at the Cambridge YMCA Theatre. Prominent guests on the Boston series included guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist James Carter, and drummer Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood).

In addition to a rigorous performing schedule as a bandleader, Daniel Bennett also performs a wide array of concerts as a sideman and woodwind doubler. He recently toured Italy and Switzerland with renowned world music ensemble, Musaner. Daniel Bennett recently performed in concert with the classic Billboard chart-topping Doo-wop group, the Duprees. Bennett also performs regularly as a woodwind doubler with dozens of musical theater companies in New York. Recent New York City performances include the Theater for the New City, Hudson Guild Theatre, People's Improv Theater, Westchester Sandbox Theatre, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and the Secret Theatre. Bennett recently completed a very succesful performance run with the off-Broadway musical, Crab House (www.crabhousethemusical.com).


The title track of Matt Holman's debut recording, "When Flooded", is a nod to Holman's home state of Arizona, and a common road sign there that warns, "Do Not Enter When Flooded". He explains, "it refers to the summer flash floods so common in the area. The first three words had faded on this particular sign, leaving open a world of interpretive possibility. I thought of what a flood can mean in a desert landscape like Arizona, and how much this idea is reflective of the creative process. I also thought about how the effects of a flood can be felt for so long after the waters have receded, something which became painfully affirmed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. For this piece, I had a great flowing of counterpoint ideas. It is highly organized with short bursts of intense improvisation that reflects the desire we all have at times to break out from systemization into a world of free expression."

The Brooklyn, New York based trumpeter/composer/educator Matt Holman is an artist that has found his world of free expression and creativity, and has been recognized by his peers by being a prized sideman for the likes of Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling, Darcy James Argue (featured on Argue's most recent recording, Brooklyn Babylon), Jon Gordon, Kate McGarry, Matt Ulery, Bob Newhart, Los Amigos Invisibles and The Gregory Brothers. He has also earned national and international performance awards from DownBeat Magazine, the International Trumpet Guild's Jazz Improvisation Competition, the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the National Trumpet Competition. As a member of The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, Holman most recently won the 13th annual BMI Foundation's Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, and will compose a new work for the Manny Albam Commission in June 2013. Taking inspiration from such diverse influences as Wayne Shorter, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Sigur Ros, Holman has composed works for Marvin Stamm, Ed Soph, David Baker, Marie Speziale, and The National Conservatory of Costa Rica, and was a 2009 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's Competition winner.

In addition to Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Holman is an integral part of many of NYC's finest large ensembles/big bands, a genre that is seeing a strong resurgence of late. He is featured on composer Asuka Kakitani's new recording, Bloom (19/8 Records), and also performs with Andrew Rathburn's Large Ensemble, JC Sanford Orchestra, Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble and the Noriko Ueda Jazz Orchestra (coincidentally, Darcy, Asuka, Nathan, and Noriko are all previous winners of the BMI Composer's Award). Holman is the artistic director of the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band.

While Holman performs and records with plenty of small groups, his new album, When Flooded (available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on March 19), showcases the trumpeter/composer utilizing the compositional influence and instrumental colors from his large ensemble experience, tailor-made and fine-tuned for his spry and nimble chamber-jazz group, featuring Mike McGinnis on clarinet & bass clarinet (The Four Bags, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Lonnie Plaxico), Christopher Hoffman on cello (Marc Ribot,Henry Threadgill, John Ellis, Harry Eisenstadt, Devotchka), Nate Radley on guitar (Loren Stillman, Alan Ferber, Ted Poor, Adam Nussbaum) and Ziv Ravitz on drums and percussion (Lee Konitz, Shai Maestro, Omer Avital, Avishai Cohen). One may take notice that each of the instrument families is represented on this recording: brass, strings, percussion, woodwinds and electronics.

Although Matt Holman is well versed in the standard jazz repertoire, most of his creative endeavors revolve around his original music and music composed by his peers. When Flooded features nine of Holman's gems that are overflowing with harmonic/melodic sophistication and beauty, abundant rhythmic variety, collective improvisation, and a high level of imaginative extemporization from all of the musicians. When Flooded is an auspicious debut, it is an album of such depth that it warrants numerous listens, and it brings to our attention an artist that has all of the attributes of a musician destined for an illustrious career.



A naturally gifted musician, San Diego born bassist Darryl Williams began playing bass at the young age of 13. Within two years he was playing at local clubs and events around the San Diego area, which includes opening up for smash RnB group Lakeside. He also played with Gospel Legend Shirley Caesar at age 16. After graduating from high school, Williams did a four-month tour of Japan with other young talented musicians, which he states as being "unforgettable". Upon returning to the States, that same band did a three-month tour opening for soul legend Al Green. After that tour, Darryl enrolled in the Jazz Program at San Diego State University and studied with San Diego legends Gunner Biggs and Rick Helzer. With a hunger to grow musically, he sought out other teachers as well which includes former Miles Davis and John Coltrane bassist Marshall Hawkins, Sarah Vaughn bassist Bob Magnusson, great San Diego bassist Cecil Mcbee Jr. and San Diego sax icon Hollis Gentry III.

By age 21, Williams was a regular on the San Diego music scene performing regularly with artist like Hollis Gentry, Evan Marks and Patrick Yandall to name a few. In 1997, Williams moved to Las Vegas and performed regularly at all the prestigious Hotels and Casinos working with headliners and recording artist. One of the artist Williams performed regularly with was Las Vegas Hall Fame inductee Clint Holmes. Williams has performed or toured with several of the top Contemporary Jazz Artist of today. Some notable names include Euge Groove, Mindi Abair, Jeff Lorber, Peter White, Brenda Russell, Jeff Golub, Paul Brown, Darren Rahn, Jessy J, EveretteHarp, Jeff Kashiwa, Eric Darius, "Queen Of Disco" Gloria Gaynor and many more. Williams continues to record today with several artists and can be heard on Jonathan Fritzen's upcoming release "Magical" as well as working on his second release, which he intends to release in January 2013. He is also the current touring bassist for the "White Hot Summer Groove Tour" which features artists Peter White and Euge Groove as well as Euge Groove’s regular touring bassist.

Source: Visit THE JAZZ NETWORK WORLDWIDE "A GREAT PLACE TO HANG" at: http://www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network


Booker T. Jones will follow back-to-back GRAMMY wins for his previous two albums with ‘Sound The Alarm’ out June 25th on Stax/Concord Music Group. This marks Booker’s return to Stax, a label revered for the gritty soul sound he helped create with Memphis’ first integrated band in the early ‘60s, and features collaborations with some of the finest talents in modern soul and R&B including Mayer Hawthorne, Anthony Hamilton, Vintage Trouble, Estelle, Gary Clark, Jr., Luke James and more.

‘Sound The Alarm’ is a celebration of the past, present and future of R&B with flares of hip-hop bravado on the title track with Mayer Hawthorne and “Gently” with Anthony Hamilton, plus an explosive performance from Vintage Trouble’s Ty Taylor on “Your Love Is No Love.” Booker’s B3 is front and center, especially on instrumentals “Feel Good,” “Austin City Blues” with Gary Clark, Jr. and “Fun,” a joyous, pulsing jam. “Watch You Sleeping” features Bill Withers’ daughter Kori on a vocal duet with Booker, and an instrumental with his son Ted on guitar on “Father Son Blues” closes the album.

Booker T wrote or co-wrote all twelve songs on ‘Sound The Alarm.’ He co-produced the album with brothers Bobby Ross and Issiah “IZ” Avila, who have worked with Usher and Mary J. Blige. The Avila brothers also play in the rhythm section on most of the tracks.

Booker T has won 4 GRAMMY Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a producer, he has helmed sessions for million sellers including Bill Withers’ debut album ‘Just As I Am,’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Stardust.’ He’s written and/or played on some of the most enduring songs of all time including “Green Onions,” “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” and “Born Under A Bad Sign.”

‘Sound The Alarm’ tracklist:
1. Sound The Alarm – featuring Mayer Hawthorne
2. All Over The Place – featuring Luke James
3. Fun
4. Broken Heart – featuring Jay James
5. Feel Good
6. Gently – featuring Anthony Hamilton
7. Austin City Blues – featuring Gary Clark, Jr.
8. Can't Wait - featuring Estelle
9. 66 Impala - featuring Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E.
10. Watch You Sleeping - featuring Kori Withers
11. Your Love Is No Love - featuring Vintage Trouble
12. Father Son Blues - featuring Ted Jones


Friday, April 26, 2013


After four years of touring and developing “An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole,” the legendary George Benson makes his most inspired album: Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole. Set for release June 4, 2013, this recording is one of the most meaningful of Benson’s career and is a testament to the spirit of Cole’s timeless body of work. Benson’s heartfelt renditions of some of Cole’s greatest songs with Nelson Riddle arrangements and the 42-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra are complemented by duets with Tony Award winner Idina Menzel and rising star Judith Hill, along with a special collaboration with multi-GRAMMY and Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

Speaking on recording the album Benson says, “I felt every moment of it. You can’t put together a record like this without putting your heart into it. I got that from Nat King Cole. He put his heart into everything he did.”

The careers of Benson and Cole share a similar arc, both establishing themselves first as highly respected instrumentalists before skyrocketing to crossover success once they began sharing their unforgettable voices with the world. Better known as a jazz pianist first, Nat King Cole’s major breakthrough came in 1943 when he added his melting baritone voice to “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” coincidentally the same year of George Benson’s birth. Benson, who had a well-established career as one of the world’s top jazz guitarists, made his major break in the pop world by singing “This Masquerade” and subsequently had the first jazz album to go platinum with Breezin. Yet, both of these remarkable artists remained true to their jazz roots as this album revels with 12 covers of Cole’s most endearing repertoire.

As a dream project for Benson, this album is a love letter to Cole and a tribute in gratitude for his deep musical inspiration. It also demonstrates how uniquely suited Benson is to recreate and interpret these timeless treasures. Highlights on the album include an adaptation of Nelson Riddle’s arrangement of “Just One of Those Things,” with a signature Benson vocal/guitar scat solo, and Benson’s reading of the original chart of “Nature Boy,” which he previously interpreted and made and a pop hit in the late 70’s. The album also contains stunning duets with Idina Menzel on “When I Fall In Love,” and Judith Hill on “Too Young,” as well the incomparable trumpet work of Wynton Marsalis on a fresh new arrangement of “Unforgettable.”

The album begins with a rare recording of “Little Georgie Benson” (age 8) singing “Mona Lisa” which stemmed from a singing contest Benson won and the award was the opportunity to record a song at a recording studio. Benson began singing Nat King Cole songs as a child in Pittsburgh and this recording not only shows his incredible range and musicality at the time but also the depth of admiration Benson has had for Cole from such a young age.

Perhaps best know for his contemporary popular music – in multiple genres, Benson has become as iconic in music history as his musical hero Nat King Cole. Creating more than 30 recordings as a leader, winning ten10 Grammy Awards as well as becoming a NEA Jazz Master, George Benson has used his jazz roots as the foundation for an engaging mix of pop, R&B and other shades that add up to a style that appeals to a broad mainstream audience. Along the way, he has also established himself as a formidable singer – one whose biggest career hits have showcased his vocals as well as his guitar chops. Benson continues to astound and engage audiences taking his creative expression to new heights. A soulful interpretation, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole is an exemplary work of art, giving reverence to the legacy of jazz and a fitting tribute to an American icon.

Complete Track Listing:
1. Mona Lisa (Little GB)
2. Just One of Those Things
3. Unforgettable
4. Walkin’ My Baby
5. When I Fall In Love
6. Route 66
7. Nature Boy
8. Ballerina
9. Smile
10. Straighten Up and Fly Right
11. Too Young
12. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
13. Mona Lisa

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The most awarded a capella vocal group in history, Take 6, are celebrating their 25th Anniversary! The multi-platinum recording group, made up of Claude McKnight , Mark Kibble , Joel Kibble , Dave Thomas , Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley , have thus far earned 10 Grammy Awards with 24 nominations, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award, 2 NAACP Image Awards, and more. They are kicking off their 25th year of recording and performing on May 6 in New York, where they will be performing at the Blue Note from May 7-12. This is the beginning of the American leg of a year-long world tour that takes them to Germany, England, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Japan, Australia, Norway, eastern Europe and South America.

With recognition in musical genres from gospel, jazz and R&B to pop, the sextet is recognized as the pre-eminent a capella group in the world, and have earned praise from such luminaries as Stevie Wonder , Brian Wilson , and Quincy Jones , who calls them the "baddest vocal cats on the planet!'.

A group that knows no musical bounds, Take 6 has come a long way from their days at Huntsville, Alabama's Oakwood College where McKnight formed the group as The Gentleman's Estate Quartet in 1980. When they signed their first record deal eight years later, with Reprise Records/Warner Bros., they became Take 6. Their self-titled debut CD won over jazz and pop critics and the public alike, scored two 1988 Grammy Awards, landed in the Top 10 Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts, and they've never slowed down. Their 15 subsequent albums received the same warm reception and sales success.

The members of Take 6 are not only men whose tenets include faith, friendship, respect, and love of music, they put their support and energy behind their beliefs. They are advocates for music education, supporting the efforts of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and others on that mission.


This compilation is John Morales third for BBE. Few can match his contributions to the world of Dance Music be it soul, funk, disco to today’s house music.

John Morales is considered one of the true legends of the mix. And his work some thirty years later continues to be cutting edge and inspiring. Although familiar with John’s work – his epic mix of Universal Robot Bands boogie anthem “Barely Breakin Even” is the source from which BBE Records got its name.

No attempt had ever been made to summarise the pinnacle of Johns work. This third release on BBE continues that history lesson that John has forged in dance music. He formed The M+M Mix with his late partner Sergio Munzibai, in 1982 till 1990 whose output of over 650 mixes will be unmatched today. John continues The M+M legacy.

From the Rolling Stones to Gloria Estefan, The Temptations, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Hall & Oates, Teena Marie, Aretha Franklin to BBE – we have all been molded by Johns everlasting mix influence, love for his work and his Music..

This superb triple CD presents some of John's finest works, and takes the M+M Mix legacy to yet a higher level. CD1 & 2 feature some of the greatest tracks of all time from the Start of CD 1 and Barry White’s “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up” , to the classic rework of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” which closes out CD2, there are no sleepers here. CD3 also features some of the best from the vaults of the Salsoul and West End labels, anthems like Loleatta Holloway’s – “Hit & Run” to legendary Paradise Garage favorite Loose Joints “Is It All Over My Face?”.

This is the legacy of the M+M mixes.

~ bbemusic.com



DJ Muro's digging James Brown – and we're digging the massive way he mixes together the music! The set's way more than another James Brown compilation – and instead, it feels more like a love letter to The Godfather – served up in music made by James himself, and some of his key sidemen too – all mixed together by Muro in these short blasts of funk and soul that bristle with energy throughout! The whole thing's got way more care than the usual mixtape – as Muro's been training his ears on JB nuggets for years, so knows just the right makes to cut and make a change – managing to get through bits of 43 tracks in just the course of 73 minutes. Includes work from "The Boss", "Down & Out In New York City", "Baby Here I Come", "Blues & Pants", "Nose Job", "A Talk With The News", "Funky Drummer", "Hot Pants Road", "Can Mind", "I Got Ants In My Pants", "The Drunk", "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose", and "Funky President". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautiful album of baroque soul from Verdelle Smith – a singer who was destined to score big in the mid 60s, but somehow only managed to cut a handful of records before dropping out of secular music forever! Verdelle's got an unusual style that's halfway between Dionne Warwick and Nancy Wilson – sharing the sophistication of both, but also coming across with a fragile quality at times – one that's almost a maturation of the girl group ethos, turned onto a more adult world of pop. The approach is a bit similar to the changes going on in the Walker Brothers near the end of the trio's time together – and it's no surprise that Scott Walker did a tremendous version of the tune "Alone In My Room" himself. But we love Verdelle's original take on the track – a sad and dreamy little tune that makes wonderful use of organ and creates one of the saddest moments in 60s pop that we can think of! This beautiful CD features that great cut, plus 21 more numbers that represent everything that Verdelle recorded apart from gospel – mostly titles done for Capitol, plus a few Columbia singles as well. Titles include "Walk Tall", "Sexy", "A Piece Of The Sky", "Catch A Falling Star", "In My Room", "Autumn Leaves", "Carnaby's Gone Away", "Baby Baby", "There Is So Much Love Around Me", "Juanito", and "You Only See Her". ~ Dusty Groove


A sublime trio set from Strata East mainman Stanley Cowell – a set cut later than his run at that famous label, and in a mode that's a bit more straightforward too – but still equally soulful, and handled with a conception that's far above most of his contemporaries! The group is perfectly balanced – Cowell on acoustic piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums – all players that have strong melodic impulses, which really bring a sense of lyricality to the music. There's a majestic flow to most numbers – different than the modal impulses of Stanley's music a decade before, but still quite powerful, even at mellow moments. The set features a great remake of "Equipoise", plus the tracks "Lady Blue", "Musa & Maimoun", "Dr Jackle", "November Mood", and "Dave's Chant". ~ Dusty Groove


If Valerie June had been a roots artist in America 80 years ago, and she often sings as if she was, she might have been a principle influence on today’s myriad retro troubadours, hers a stunningly emotive amalgamation of blues, folk, gospel, soul, Appalachian and bluegrass (including irresistible banjo). She exists, however, today, an artist as modern as an iPod Shuffle, a musician for the generation which carries the entire history of recorded music so casually inside its phone.

Like a potent distillation bubbling on a Prohibition-era porch, Valerie June makes self-styled “organic moonshine roots music”, music for the porch parties of today, a party where she strums her guitar, plucks her banjo, opens her mouth and delta-blues-country stridently sashays out, a stunning peal somewhere between Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday. Or is it more Wanda Jackson and Shirley Goodman, you know, from Shirley & Co, who sang Shame Shame Shame so disco friskily in 1974? Valerie June does this to you: reaches inside your musical brain and shakes it, unleashing ghosts, emotions and memories, all fluttering like countless musical flakes inside the snowglobe of your mind.

A self-taught musician, singer and song-writer from small-town Humboldt, Tennessee (population 8,000), she honed her astonishing sound in the vibrant Memphis atmosphere, her spectrum of influences the history of music itself: Elizabeth Cotten, Leadbelly, The Carter Family, Whitney Houston, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, Roscoe Holcomb, Woody Guthrie, Nico, Junior Kimbrough, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Tracey Chapman, Billie Holiday, The Rolling Stones, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch, Townes Van Zandt, Elmore James, Skip James, Blind Willie McTell, Memphis Minnie…

“Being from Jackson and Humboldt, Tennessee, I was raised one hour from Memphis and two hours from Nashville,” lilts Valerie June, in her sing-song, southern belle way. “It was and still is hard to go anywhere without hearing

country and blues music. It always reminds me of home. It’s the place in art where the colour lines of the South seem to blend.”Her debut album, though, is that most rare of contemporary concepts: unique.

Pushin’ Against A Stone, released on Rob da Bank’s stellar boutique label Sunday Best, was mostly recorded at The Black Key’s Easy Eye studio in Nashville. Produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Kevin Augunas (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Florence & The Machine) it’s a sonic postcard from the universe, where the atoms of history live.

“I just love old records,” she smiles, a beautiful woman with old-school dreadlocks spiraling out towards freedom. “I like the crackle, the gritty sound. So do a lotta other people! I think we just wanna hear real music. Alongside the modern beat-machine music. For a while it was only moving in a new direction and people started missing the old stuff. I think it’s something people long for.”

The debut single, Workin’ Woman Blues, is a riot, a brand new bona-fide blues-pop anthem, as if Bobbie Gentry fronted a Stax soul-revue, those mesmerising vocals telling it how it is: “I ain’t fit to be no mother, I ain’t fit to be no wife, yeah, I been workin’ like a man, y’all, I’ve been working all my life.” Elsewhere, there’s the delicate yet rousing triumph of Somebody To Love (featuring the iconic Booker T. Jones), the traditional folk-gospel charm of Trials, Troubles, Tribulations, the spectral, swampy wooziness of Pushin’ Against A Stone (The Specials meets Phil Spector) and the dizzy, harmonised, Shangri-La sashay of Wanna Be On Your Mind, Valerie June’s voice sounding, somehow, both as old and wise as mother nature and as playfully naïve as a schoolgirl skipping home. Staggeringly, she’d never worked with a producer before, the experience opening her up to infinite new atmospheric possibilities.

“It was different,” she says. “ I’d been holding on to a particular image of what I wanted to be as a folk musician, a country musician, a southern roots musician. But when I heard the producers’ ideas I thought, ‘think bigger’. I looked at the careers of Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Joan Baez and they’ve put out all kinds of

music over the course of their careers so far. If I wanna put out a punk rock record next week, that’s me. It’s all coming from me. Even if I have to continue juggling jobs, I am a career artist.”

We don’t hear so much, these days, from the old-school working class girls, the ones who can’t afford the freedom to pursue their most daring dreams. Valerie June, the eldest girl of five kids (who’d often pretend to be the Jackson Five), first learned to sing in church, both a black church and later, a white church, when her family moved to the country. People sang in church, “even when they couldn’t sing” and she’d mimic them all, “from homeless people to wealthy people until my own voice just started coming out, a mixture of everyone”. She had her first jobs as a teen, helping her dad, both a promoter for local gospel singers and in the construction business (she’d hang posters in town and then head to the demolition sites). Soon she was constantly singing, writing songs, a freedom-seeking spirit who went travelling as a wandering songbird up and down the American west coast, then the east coast, a gypsy nightingale and holistic craftswoman who’d sing for tips in subway stations and sell her own handmade soap. By the time she moved back to Memphis in 2000, she had a plethora of songs written and finally taught herself guitar and banjo, as neighbourhood eyes were raised. “Black people aren’t supposed to play the banjo,” she laughs, “it’s seen as country and bluegrass but it’s an African instrument. I love it.” Soon, she was testing out her tentative musical skills in Memphis bars and restaurants, “which was more teaching myself in front of people,” she notes. “Memphis is a good town for being born as an artist. If you make a mistake people are like, ‘we heard the good part’. They nurture you. You can take your time.”

With a dream to make a studio album and no cash to fund it, “it’s hard to think about making a record when you’ve gotta pay rent”, she went to work full-time, now tunneling her way to freedom like Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption through daily, determined graft. She took on numerous service jobs: housekeeper, dog-walker, babysitter, vegetarian meal cooker, house sitter and personal assistant to the wealthy. And that was just the morning. “In the

afternoon, I’d work in a herb shop, Maggie’s Pharm. Then I would go play a gig, just me and my guitar.”

She began to musically emerge, playing the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival, the International Folk Alliance Conference, the Cooper-Young Festival, the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR, finally making enough money for three lo-fi recordings which she sold as CDs on tour: the raw, acoustic The Way Of The Weeping Willow (recorded in an 1800s farmhouse), the vocally mesmerising Mountain Of Rose Quartz and the haunting Valerie June And The Tennessee Express, a collaboration with Nashville bluegrass troupe The Old Crow Medicine Show (who’ve toured with Mumford & Sons). “They’re very successful at what they do, they loved my music and said ‘hey, don’t worry about money just come and record a few songs with us’.”

In 2009 she was a featured artist on MTV’s online series $5 Cover (following the lives of Memphis musicians attempting to make ends meet) and eventually raised $15,000 through crowd-funding website Kickstarter to record a debut album proper. Then, the universe intervened: through word-of-mouth, the manager for producer Kevin Augunas heard Valerie’s music, sent it to Augunas, who loved it so much he flew into Memphis the following day. He asked who she’d like to write with and she suggested Dan Auerbach, whose solo work she’d loved (and who had recently moved to Nashville). Valerie, deliberately, had never signed to a record label before, although there had been no shortage of offers from both major and independent US-based labels, and was spotted playing in France by Sunday Best’s label partner Sarah Bolshi. “I never signed a label deal because it didn’t feel right,” she says. “I need to be with people who not only like this record but my stripped down stuff too. People will tell you, ‘you can do whatever you wanna do with our label’. I didn’t trust anybody telling me that until I met Sarah! And it’s more me, a speciality label.”

Pushin’ Against A Stone is so-called because that’s the story of her life – and the story of her forebears, too. “I feel I’ve spent my life pushing against a stone,” she says. “And the jobs I’ve had have been fitting for getting a true feel for how

the traditional artists I loved came home after a hard day to sit on the porch and play tunes until bedtime. That’s one reason why they were older before anybody cared. When I first started playing instruments I thought, OK, I’m probably not gonna be the next Beyonce, this is not gonna happen for me until I’m very very old. Like…Seasick Steve! Who I love. And then maybe somebody will come see me play in my shack in Mississippi. That’s kinda how it is for many artists who make roots music. So I’m just really happy it’s happening now and I’m not up there with my cane.”

Good things come to those who wait and Valerie June’s time is now, the last year bringing rave reviews at SXSW, a collaboration with Grammy-nominated Fugees producer John Forte (on the hip-hop-blues song Give Me Water) as the word-of-mouth whisper has gradually grown into a collective global holler. This September, one of her friends sent her a Facebook message saying she’d seen a video of her glorious Bestival Performance. “And she said, ‘you’re gonna be a huge star’,” smiles the captivating Valerie June. “A while ago I would’ve been like, I dunno about being a huge star. But now I’m like, you know what? If I can get a break? I will take it. I deserve it. I have paid my dues! I can’t work on Maggie’s Pharm no more. If you wanna bring me a coffee, yeah, I’ll let you bring it. Because I have been the person bringing the coffee. I don’t need any more experience in that. Now, being a queen? M’Kay! I think I can use a little spoiling. Bring it on.”

~ Concord Music

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Much buzzed about singer-songwriter Beth Hart , known for her raw and powerful blues-rock sound, and guitarist Joe Bonamassa , one of the best guitarists of his generation, will release their sophomore album of classic soul covers Seesaw on May 21, 2013 via J&R Adventures (and May 20 in Europe). Produced by Kevin Shirley ( Joe Bonamassa , Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes), the album features Hart's scorching interpretations of eleven songs, with Bonamassa on guitar and an all-star band filling out the tracks. It was recorded in January 2013 at Revolver Studios in Thousand Oaks, CA and The Cave in Malibu, CA. The duo will play a select run of live shows in Europe in June, with two Amsterdam dates at Carre Theatre being filmed for a future DVD release.

A force of nature with powerhouse vocals, Hart has been in the spotlight since her show-stopping set with Jeff Beck on the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors to pay tribute to blues legend Buddy Guy . The duo received a rare, non-honoree standing ovation when they played "I'd Rather Go Blind" – a song she and Bonamassa originally covered together on Don't Explain – which the Baltimore Sun called a "soul-searing performance." Hart reunited with Beck onstage at last week's Eric Clapton 's Crossroads Guitar Festival, which featured blues and guitar greats like Albert Lee , Taj Mahal , B.B. King , Sonny Landreth , Keith Urban , Keb' Mo', and John Mayer . Together they performed Howlin' Wolf's "I Ain't Superstitious" and the Beck/Stevie Ray Vaughan-penned "Goin' Down."

Seesaw is the follow up to 2011's Don't Explain, on which Slant called Hart "a simply peerless frontwoman;" AllMusic.com said "Bonamassa and band accent her every phrase with requisite rowdiness, sting and grit." About.com called the duo "a match made in heaven" and MOJO praised their "potent musical chemistry." The album was nominated for a 2012 Blues Music Award.

Seesaw opens with a joyous horn reveille to kick off "Them There Eyes," made famous in 1939 by Billie Holiday —one of Hart's biggest inspirations. "My mother turned me on to this song when I was a kid," says Beth. "I love the bubbliness. It's sexy, it's fun, and it has a great swing to it." On the track "Nutbush City Limits," Hart wails with an intensity that would make Tina Turner proud, and her slow and soulful burn on "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" pairs dramatically with Bonamassa's smoking guitar. The tempo kicks up several notches with Hart's tight, rocking vocals on "Can't Let Go," from Lucinda Williams ' Grammy-winning 1998 album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. It's followed by her fierce cover of " Miss Lady ," the Buddy Miles song that was originally produced by Jimi Hendrix . Hart revisits Melody Gardot's songbook to deliver a sultry, jazzy rendition of "If I Tell You I Love You." "See Saw," is a Don Covay / Steve Cropper composition from Aretha Franklin 's 1968 album Aretha Now. The album closes with Hart's haunting and atmospheric version of "Strange Fruit," a song that began as a poem about American racism—and lynching—by Abel Meeropol .

To back Hart up, Bonamassa assembled the band that was heard on his #1 Blues album The Ballad of John Henry (2009) and on Don't Explain: Anton Fig (drums, percussion), Blondie Chaplin (guitar), and Carmine Rojas (bass), as well as Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards). Lenny Castro plays percussion and Michael Rhodes plays bass on the track "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." Collectively, they have performed with hundreds of artists including The Beach Boys, David Bowie , Elton John , Stevie Wonder , Rod Stewart , Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiss, and the CBS Orchestra on Late Night with David Letterman .

On April 2, Hart released her first U.S. album in a decade, Bang Bang Boom Boom, to stellar reviews. Bonamassa released his first live acoustic CD/DVD/Blu-ray, An Acoustic Evening At The Vienna Opera House, on March 26 to enthusiastic reviews. With Vienna, Bonamassa became the first artist to tally 10 No. 1s on Billboard's Blues Albums chart, passing B.B. King (nine) for the most No. 1s. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble have seven, followed by Eric Clapton with six.

Seesaw Track Listing:
1. Them There Eyes 2:31
2. Close To My Fire 5:12
3. Nutbush City Limits 3:34
4. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know 7:03
5. Can't Let Go 4:00
6. Miss Lady 4:54
7. If I Tell You I Love You 3:36
8. Rhymes 5:03
9. Sunday Kind Of Love 3:55
10. See Saw 3:25
11. Strange Fruit 5:45



Hitmaker and beloved crooner, Steve Tyrell is set to release a bewitching new album titled It’s Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn on May 14, 2013. The album pays tribute to the incredible work of Sammy Cahn whose songs are firmly embedded in the Great American Songbook and during the early 60s defined a generation, giving life to the Rat Pack’s repertoire (international release dates may vary).

The album coincides with Tyrell’s newly extended contract with Café Carlyle to continue his seasonal residency through 2014. Tyrell succeeded the legendary Bobby Short who played Café Carlyle for more than three decades before his passing in 2005.

Complemented with longtime collaborators, Tyrell explores 13 of his favorite Cahn songs, illustrating their everlasting vitality. The musicians include guitarist Bob Mann, pianists Alan Broadbent and Quinn Johnson, bassists Ed Howard and David Finck, drummers Kevin Winard and Jim Sapporito, and feature soloist David Mann on saxophone, and Lew Soloff on trumpet. The arrangements are provided by a legendary group that include Alan Broadbendt, Don Sebesky, John Oddo, and Bob Mann, and is produced by Steve Tyrell and Jon Allen

During the late 50s and early 60s there was a shift in the American lifestyle. Among the political and cultural shift was an underlying new sex appeal, “There was a period in American pop culture where the old-world thinking ran into the sexual revolution. That’s around 1958. Before that, everybody was ‘goody two-shoes,’ sleeping in twin beds on TV. Then all of sudden, there was the Rat Pack, Las Vegas, James Bond, and Playboy magazine. Things started getting sexy,” Tyrell explains.

The idea to record a Cahn songbook project first came to Tyrell last year, after he performed “It’s Crazy,” at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. (right outside of Washington, D.C.). It was one of the last tunes Cahn penned in collaboration with Tyrell’s friend Artie Butler, “It was a song that slipped through the cracks, Artie told me, so I thought it would be great to try a Sammy Cahn song that no one knew. We played it that night and everybody went crazy,” Tyrell remembers, “It was like finding a buried treasure.” Underscored with an after-hours blues feel, and graced with a sultry trumpet solo from Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears), the song will undoubtedly be inducted into the big leagues of other Cahn classics.

Cahn was an excellent collaborator and one of his most famous partnerships was with Jimmy Van Heusen. Some of the other Cahn-Van Heusen covers featured on the album include such iconic material as “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” along with opener “Come Fly with Me,” a classic made famous by Frank Sinatra (who recorded 87 of Cahn’s songs), a dramatic reading of the amorous cautionary tale “The Tender Trap,” which was the soundtrack title song of the 1955 movie starring Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds; a stirring retooling of “All the Way,” another Sinatra-related classic, written for the 1957 drama, The Joker is Wild; the gorgeous, string-laden ballad “The Second Time Around; and the comely “Call Me Irresponsible,” an ambitious five-syllable word ballad that Cahn originally wrote for 1963 movie, Papa’s Delicate Condition, with hopes that the movie’s original star, Fred Astaire would sing it. Instead it sat on the shelf for seven years until the movie was finally made, starring Jackie Gleason, winning Cahn his final Oscar.

It’s Magic also toasts Cahn’s other main songwriting partner, Julie Styne, with the inclusion of the gentle makeover of the title-track, a song made famous by Doris Day; the torch-song classic “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out the Dry,” written for the obscure 1944 stage production, Glad to See You; a titillating version of “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” an anthem that celebrated the return of American soldiers from World War II; the snazzy “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week), a tongue-in-cheek gem written from a hard-working musician’s perspective who’s reveling in spending Saturday night with a paramour; and the disc’s misty closer, “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” written for the 1945 comedy flick, Anchors Aweigh.

Gene De Paul, another Cahn collaborator, is represented on the disc with the sumptuous reading of “Teach Me Tonight,” another chestnut associated with Sinatra.

Even though Tyrell’s a five-decade veteran songwriter, producer and music supervisor, who has worked with an illustrious and diverse array of artists (Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, James Ingram, Diana Ross Ray Charles, and more), he’s dedicated his solo recording career solely to the Great American Songbook, starting off with his 1999 recording debut, A New Standard (Atlantic Records) and was the first in a new wave of contemporary artists recording the standards. Of Tyrell’s previous 9 albums, 7 have made the top 5, and 1 the top 10 in Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart.

Tyrell is also a two time Emmy nominee, and has worked with some of the most iconic directors in film and television such as Nancy Meyers, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Steven Soderbergh, Charles Shyer, and Hugh Wilson.



The long-overdue return of Coultrain – an artist we've been digging right from the start, when he dropped off a pile of handmade CDs as freebies to give away in our store! Since that time, Coultrain has emerged to become one of the freshest talents of the underground – through work with the Platinum Pied Pipers and Hawthorn Headhunters, and work on other projects as well. But we've always loved the man himself out front of the spotlight – sharing his really unique vision of cosmic soul music – a sublime blend of inventive sounds, creative beats, and songwriting that will take you way way way past the usual! This album's been well worth the wait, and shows that our faith in Coultrain has certainly been well-placed – a beautiful set that features the tracks "A Gem Iza Jewel", "Gazelle's Dance", "Y Not", Deception", "Sassyphrass", "Wanted", and "Asherah Le Chameleon".  ~ Dusty Groove


Amazing work from one of Chicago's best indie labels of the 60s – a wealth of wonderful soul that easily ranks with some of the best work at Chess or Vee Jay at the time! USA's a label that's also known for work in the rock and blues field, but the company had a marvelous ear for soul back in the day – and was often able to grab key Windy City talents before they broke big – or others who were already great, but finally found the right sort of treatment they needed at USA – a care with production and presentation that often rivals some of the beautiful presentation that Curtis Mayfield was bringing to his Impressions recordings or work with other artists – lots of deep soul roots, but also the tightness and sophistication that made Chicago so great at the time. The package features 36 rock-solid tracks – and titles include "Hot Spring Water" by Billy The Kid Emerson, "Come On In" by Detroit Jr, "A Lonely Boy" by Lee Wilson, "Step It Up" by Al Perkins, "I'll Wait For You" by LC Cooke, "No Appreciation" by Tut Sutton, "Taunting Love" by Frankie Newsom, "Just Being Careful" by Baby Huey & The Baby Sitters, "What You Don't Know" by Oscar & Anita, "Sweet Little Woman" by McKinley Sandifer, and "You Gotta Pay Dues" by Chris Campbell. ~ Dusty Groove


An excellent 80s set from one of the greatest voices in 70s soul – the sublime Billy Paul, sounding great here with a bit of electro groove in the rhythms! The album's approach is a bit different than Billy on Philly International – but the strength of Paul's presence is still very much in place – reshaped a bit like some of Marvin Gaye's later modes on Columbia Records – referenced possibly in the album's sweet slinky "Sexual Therapy" number. Titles include a wonderful remake of The Flamingos classic "I Only Have Eyes For You" – plus "On A Clear Day", "Let Me In", "Fire In Her Love", "Sexual Therapy", "Me & You", and "Hot Date". CD features a bonus single version of "Sexual Therapy".  ~ Dusty Groove


A trio of amazing albums – all of which really live up to the legend of Kim Fowley! First up is the well-titled Outrageous – one of the wildest albums ever from LA scenester Fowley – done in a very weird, very messed-up style that sort of sounds like The Stooges meet The Modern Lovers meet Alice Cooper! Fowley's fantastic on vocals – which are sort of of screeched and screamed, with revolutionary Riot On Sunset Strip-type lyrics, fused with a bit of Jim Morrison stoner spiritualism – a lot more compelling than you'd expect, and really mindblowing all the way through! The album's a perfect illustration of the genius that made Kim legendary, even when he wasn't having much of an impact on the mainstream – and titles include the incredible "Animal Man", plus "Hide & Seek", "Chinese Water Torture", "Bubble Gum", "Inner Space Discovery", and "Caught In The Middle".

Next is Born To Be Wild – mindblowing organ work from the mighty Kim Fowley – a rare instrumental set that has Kim carving out amazing sounds on the organ that really match is vocal force on other records of the time! The set's a bit more soulful than usual for Fowley – a record that almost pushes a soul instrumental sound more strongly than Kim's usual Sunset Strip sleaze – although there is a nice fuzzy undercurrent to the record at times too! The set burns like some lost Tower Records soundtrack – and titles include "Born To Be Wild", "Soul Limbo", "Space Odyssey", "I Can't Stop Dancing", "Savage In The Sun", "Fresno1963", and "Pictures of Matchstick Men".

Good Clean Fun is filled with awesome work from madman Kim Fowley – an album that offers hard rockers, some nice groovers, and even some trippier tracks that feature spoken or performed bits! The record's got a really wonderful approach that's a look at the lost genius of the LA scene of the late 60s – emphasized by an appearance on the record by Rodney Bingeheimer, the mayor of Sunset Strip, plus work by Motorcycle John and the Frog Prince! If you've ever heard about Fowley, but never found the record to truly convey his insanity on record, this is the one to check out – as it's as brilliant as it is insane! Titles include "Energy", "Baby Rocked Her Dolly", "Motorcycle", "One Man Band", "Good Clean Fun", "Search For A Teenage Woman", "I'm Not Young Anymore", "Lights The Blind & Lame Can See", and "Kangaroo". ~ Dusty Groove

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Fantastic French funk – a record that's unlike any other deep funk combo we can think of – because Caroline Lacaze sings in her native language instead of English! The grooves are stepped in the best funky 45 styles of the late 60s, but the vocals also echo the more soulful sound of the French pop of the time as well – making the record a sweet hybrid that really stands out from the pack – and which will certainly help freshen up any collection of contemporary funk! Caroline's sung before on projects with the Mighty Mocambos, and she gets strong support from them on this debut set of her own – a stone smoker that include "Soultempo", "Je Reste", "Toujours Lui", "Laisse Tomber", "Ici", "Minutes D'Insouciance", and "En Route Madame". ~ Dusty Groove
A totally great little set from Sign Of Four – a project of Miles Newbold from the Natural Yogurt Band – served up with an approach to exotic jazz funk that's even trippier than his previous work! Miles plays a load of live instruments here – vibes, flute, guitar, percussion, and keyboards – all sifted and filtered together with some cool studio work to sound very vintage, and very offbeat – like some weird Eastern take on American soul jazz of the 60s, or like a garage band trying their best to sound like Sun Ra! The music is some of the best new work we've ever heard on the Jazzman label – and really feels a lot more like some lost exotic record from years back – with titles that include "Samba Moderno", "Morocco", "Topsy Turvy", "Mirage", "Morphine", "Fruit Juice For Everyone", and "Sun Suite Humulus Lupulus". (Totally great package – two 10" LPs, in a wraparound silkscreen sleeve!) ~ Dusty Groove
A heavy record with a heavy pedigree – a smoking set of funky instrumentals, all recorded directly to tape, then pressed directly on heavy colored wax! The trio has a hard-burning sound that takes us back to the Prestige records jazz funk sound of the early 70s – the sort of groove you might have heard from Leon Spencer or Melvin Sparks – with Mike Flanigin on sweet Hammond, Jake Langley on smoking guitar, and Kyle Thompson driving the whole thing with some mighty fierce drums! Titles are mostly originals – and include "The Turtle", "Malibu Classic", "KC", "Moto Guzzi", and "Leon's Thing". (Includes download card too!) ~ Dusty Groove


Relatively recent soul tracks, but mostly with a classic feel – given that many of the tracks on the set were cut by artists who broke big in the 60s and 70s! The package is a really unique collection – titles from the past decade or two, recorded by older soul artists in a mode that mixes vintage styles with more contemporary production – yet all in ways that are light years from the mainstream R&B you'd hear on the charts! The set's great proof that a great voice never dies, and it also includes a few younger artists who definitely draw inspiration from the older crowd too – and many of the cuts are from the recent Motorcity recordings, showing a real UK love of classic Detroit styles. Titles include "Soul Searching" by Barbara Randolph, "Don't Wait Around" by The Elgins, "No Need To Explain" by GC Cameron, "Back In Circulation (metropolitan soul mix)" by Sweet James Epps, "Crying Shame" by Lynda Laurence, "Love Still Lives In My Heart" by The Originals, "Prime Time Lover" by Linda Griner, "Too Great A Price To Pay" by Bettye Lavette, "My World Will Never Be The Same" by Gina Foster, "Got To Win You Back" by The Contours, "I've Seen The Light" by JJ Barnes, and "Hurt The One You Love" by David Ruffin. ~ Dusty Groove
Sublime soul all the way through – really tremendous little tracks that are just waiting to be discovered – and none of them the kind of mainstream grooves you might expect from the "crossover" in the title! Instead, these tracks have a power that really helps shift perception of a genre – almost a bridge between upbeat 60s Northern Soul and smoother 70s modern – with a warmth that's undeniable, and a groove that never lets up! The vocals are sublime, and the production is perfect – totally tight, but never slick at all – just perfect for the arrangements that really help these tunes soar! The set features a whopping two dozen tracks in all – and in addition to some real gems by lesser-knowns, there's also some great overlooked tracks by bigger names too – titles that include "I'm Not Ready" by Ujima, "The Common Broken Heart" by Lou Courtney, "Let's Try It Over Again" by Willie Hutch, "Midnight Sunshine" by The Soul Children, "It's Gonna Be Alright" by Maxine Brown, "One Step Ahead" by Aretha Franklin, "Fool's Hall Of Fame" by Ike Lovely, "Wait Till I Give The Signal" by The Shirelles, "Sweeping Your Dirt Under My Rug" by Ann Bailey, "Main Squeeze" by Syl Johnson, "Satisfactorise Your Mind" by Africano, "Trapped In A Love" by Barrino Brothers, and "I Gotta Keep My Bluff In" by Freddie Hughes. ~ Dusty Groove
Here's some chillout music we can really get behind – mellow soul tracks with a beautifully gentle groove – all cut back in the days when an artist could relax a bit without ever losing their cool! The set's heavy on mellow modern soul numbers – all hand-picked by Expansion Records frontman Ralph Tee – who's shown us for decades that he's really got a golden ear when it comes to music like this! There's loads of great gentle steppers on the package, sung by some of the best voices of the mainstream soul scene at the end of the 70s – cuts that include "We Need Love" by Chapter 8, "Be My Girl" by Michael Henderson, "We Found Love" by The Dynamics, "Gonna Make Changes" by Phyllis Hyman, "No Love Nowhere Without You" by Linda Williams, "Ain't That Love Baby" by Lou Rawls, "Brother Brother" by Esther Phillips, "What Do You Want Me To Do" by Lou Courtney, "Stay" by Glenn Jones, "We Never Said Goodbye" by Dionne Warwick, and "Paintings Of Love" by Keni Burke. ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Matt Parker's debut recording, Worlds Put Together, provides a bracing introduction to the prodigious talents of the Brooklyn-based tenor saxophonist and composer. Scheduled for release on May 22 by Parker's BYNK label ("Because You Never Know"), the CD assembles a cast of musicians who are leaders in their own right and with whom the saxophonist enjoys deep history on the stage and in the studio.

Among his Worlds collaborators are pianist Jesse Elder, a co-leader with Parker of the Candy Shop Boys; alto saxophonist Julio Monterrey, a musical associate since teenage years with whom he co-leads the jazz band 2s and 4s; drummer Reggie Quinerly, on whose Music Inspired by Freedmantown the saxophonist played; guitarist Josh Mease, a longtime musical partner;and bassist Alan Hampton, who co-produced the CD with Parker. It's a group that navigates Parker's classic-cum-modern style exceptionally well.

"As a sideman, I'm used to playing what somebody else wants to hear," Parker told CD annotator Jay Ruttenberg. "This record was the first time I was forced to play how I wanted to sound. And I surprised myself. I thought I was going to play these songs as I would on my gigs, playing the melody with a nice, pure tone. Instead, I ended up screaming through my instrument. The emotion and playing on the album doesn't feel neat. I don't sound calm. I sound like I have an army of people chasing me, and I'm running for my life."

Starting, for instance, with the Hurricane Andrew-inspired "Eye of Rico" (as a native Floridian, Parker knows from hurricanes). Each of the songs is meant to evoke a scene from an imaginary movie -- one with equal parts action and atmosphere; and with the exception of the 10-minute-long "Full Sun," inspired by Benny Golson and Curtis Fuller, each clocks in at well under five minutes. "Like old 78s," says Parker.

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Matt Parker, 33, was exposed to little jazz. He started out on alto saxophone in the school band, but only because his first choices, drums and trumpet, were already taken. He developed his own system of playing and is very much self-directed.

At 14, Matt attended his first jazz concert, by Maynard Ferguson (in whose band Parker would later play), and was indelibly impressed by the trumpeter's lyrical playing. Soon thereafter Parker made his club debut playing with local saxophone legend Jimmy Cavallo, and started playing regularly on a scene presided over by Ira Sullivan, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richie Cole, and Melton Mustafa. The players of Parker's generation who were making a name in the area included the Strickland twins, saxophonist Marcus and drummer E.J.

In 1999, Parker successfully auditioned at the New School, and he made the move to New York. He spent two years with Maynard Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band, performing more than 400 shows while touring in the U.S. and abroad. Matt can be heard on the band's M.F. Horn VI: Live at Ronnie Scott's.

The one standard on Worlds Put Together, Matt's striking, refracted take on "Darn That Dream," is included as a tribute to Ferguson. "Almost every day, Maynard would warm up with this song," he says. "I'd stand in the hallway and listen, enamored of it. I still hear him playing it."

Parker admits to always having had "a connection to the avant aspect of expression. My problem was when people said I sounded like I listened to [Roland] Kirk, or Wayne Shorter, I felt like what I had been doing was invalidated. The first time I heard Wayne, I was afraid people would think I was imitating him. I felt like I had to play differently, so I went back to Lester [Young] and Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon. It was a while before I felt confident enough to go back to being myself."

Matt Parker will appear at Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, on Wednesday, 5/22, 8:30 pm, in support of his new CD. His band is comprised of Julio Monterrey, alto saxophone; Jesse Elder, piano; Josh Mease, guitar; Alan Hampton, bass; and Reggie Quinerly, drums, with a special appearance by tap dancer Jimmy Sutherland, who's featured on the CD track "WPT."




A hugely expanded version of this legendary album – one that features loads of unreleased tracks that show the whole thing coming together in the studio! The set's filled with soaring work from the legendary John Coltrane Quartet – a session that was incredibly far-reaching for the time, and which originally was unissued until after the time of Coltrane's death! The record's got the group really pushing forward strongly – hitting a Love Supreme mode, but also showing even some of the sharper edges that John would explore with the group after this one – a beautiful swan song to the lineup of McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Things soar with a hell of a lot of spirituality, yet never get too overindulgent to lose their groove – and titles include "Amen", "Dearly Beloved", "Ascent", "Attaining", and "Sun Ship". CD features complete takes of some tracks that were cut off on the original LP release, plus other versions that show a strong development of the music! ~ Dusty Groove


Damn great work from the Greyboy Allstars – a record that's deeper, hipper, and more rewarding than we ever remember from the group – a rich blend of jazz and funk, without any tricks or gimmicks at all! The playing of the members has really deepened a lot since the last album – and there's a soulful sensibility here that may finally rank them right up there with the 70s legends who inspired their sound – especially in the case of Karl Denson's work on sax and flute, and Robert Walter's keyboards! There's also some occasional vocals on the record, but often pressed down into the grooves, in this cool electric way – and which also still leaves most of the focus on the instrumentation. Surprisingly great – with titles that include "Profundo Grosso", "Old Crow", "Bomb Pop", "Inland Emperor", "Diminishing Blackness", "Trashtruck", "Better Get A Jump On It", and "Bitch Inside Me". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautiful contemporary project from these two British jazz legends – one that definitely lives up to all their genius from earlier years – while finding a whole new level of expression! The album was done in collaboration with the London Vocal Project – a large group who are used here in a manner that's similar to some of the Donald Byrd "with voices" albums on Blue Note, or some of the Max Roach choral projects of the 60s. Winstone comes forth as the key soloist on some tracks – singing lyrics with this amazing quality that hasn't dimmed at all, with all the darkness we've always loved in her approach – and on other numbers the full chorus rises with the rhythms, propelling things forward alongside Wheeler's lines on flugelhorn – and the work of Mark Lockheart on saxes and Nikki Iles on piano. A stone classic, and a real surprise – with tracks that include "Black March", "The Hat", "The Broken Heart", "Breughel", and "The Lover Mourns".  ~ Dusty Groove


A treasure trove of rare funk – a massive package that not only includes the legendary Inspiration Information album by Shuggie Otis, but which also adds in four bonus tracks to that classic – plus a full other album of unreleased vintage work! Shuggie Otis is the son of Johnny Otis – the LA R&B maestro who was moving heavily into funk at the end of the 60s – and he has this tripped out, super-dope guitar style that he played to strong effect on Johnny's albums of the late 60s and early 70s, and on his first two solo albums, which were kind of bluesy in tone. But for Inspiration Information, he shocked the world by moving into a stripped-down mode that pairs his guitar with spare drum machine rhythms, flanged-out deeply soulful vocals, and one of the most laidback conceptions of funk you'll ever hear. The album's a landmark – one of those gems that's unlike anything else you can think of, but which will redefine your concept of what you want in a record for years to come. Every track's a winner – and the whole thing's a perfectly unified batch of tunes that includes instant classics like "Inspiration Information", "Island Letter", "Aht Uh Mi Hed", "XL 30", and "Rainy Day" – plus unreleased bonus tracks "Miss Pretty", "Magic", "Things We Like To Do", and "Castle Top Jam".

Then – as if that's not enough – the set features incredible rare material from Shuggie – 14 more tracks as the Wings Of Love album, mostly recorded in the late 70s post-Inspiration years, plus a few tracks from later vintage too! The sound is great – the kind of extra bits we've been wanting to hear from Otis for many many years – finally unleashed from the vaults, and showing a style that really echoes the groove that others had copied from him – like The Brothers Johnson and some later contemporaries. There's plenty of great lost nuggets on Wings – and titles include "Trying To Get Close To You", "Give Me Something Good", "Wings Of Love", "Give Me A Chance", "Fireball Of Love", "Fawn", "If You'd Be Mine", "Black Belt Sheriff", and "Destination You". ~ Dusty Groove


Are you having any fun? When Alex Pangman is singing, a resounding 'yes' is the only possible answer to that query posed by the Sammy Fain/Jack Yellen classic. With legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli on board for Pangman's latest, the merriment comes all the easier.

Have a Little Fun (Justin Time) finds the young Toronto chanteuse doing just that on a baker's dozen of swing era standards and originals penned in the same vintage style. Along with Pizzarelli, a seven-decade veteran who's played with Les Paul, Benny Goodman, and Stephane Grappelli, Pangman is joined by her long-running band, The Alleycats.

Since her teens, Pangman has earned a devoted following in her native Canada, garnering three National Jazz Award nominations, twice as "Jazz Vocalist of the Year" and once for "Best Original Song," and she has performed three showcases at the renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

The carefree attitude expressed in that title has been earned in part through Pangman's lifelong struggle with lung disease, which culminated in a successful double lung transplant in 2008. "I was born with lung disease so I've always had that perspective," she says, "but it's been freshly reinvigorated. Life is precious, and if you sit around with your gut in a twist, it's really not worth it."

Have a Little Fun came together quickly, when Pangman learned that Pizzarelli would be performing in her hometown of Toronto. Despite a half-century's difference in their ages, the two quickly bonded over their shared love of 1930s song. "He's in his eighties and I'm in my thirties," Pangman says, "but we quickly became friends because we both love these melodies and these songs. That lineage is what binds us together. I was a little intimidated at first, but he's laid-back and always has a twinkle in his eye. He tells stories about his grandchildren, but then he can tell stories about Frank Sinatra."

That comfort and easy camaraderie resulted in seven songs recorded during a breezy three-hour studio session, a behind-the-scenes snapshot of which closes the album. The pair is joined by violinist Drew Jurecka, and devised arrangements on the fly. They chose standards like "I'm Confessin", "Out of Nowhere", and "Stardust", while Pizzarelli was also attracted to some of Pangman's original tunes. He plays on her noirish "Melancholy Lullaby," originally written for Torso, a film about infamous Canadian murderer Evelyn Dick, who achieved legendary status akin to Lizzy Borden in the States. The song earned her a "Best Original Song" nomination from the National Jazz Awards in 2001.

The remainder of the album features Pangman's band The Alleycats, which she's performed with in one form or another for more than a dozen years. The band, highlighted by Ross Wooldridge's tenor and clarinet, Laurie Bower's trombone, and Brigham Phillips' trumpet, captures the frantic essence of Fats Wallers' "The Panic Is On," the sultry exotic allure of "Shanghai Lil," and the lively swing of "Undecided."

The Alleycats also prove an ideal foil for Pangman's considerable compositional skills, with Bower's melancholy moaning on the mournful "Fog Song," and the raucous interplay of "Topsy Turvy," a novelty number about the dizzying effects of romance. They also made the unfaithful lover's lament "It Felt So Good To Be So Bad" so convincing that Pangman's husband wondered if he had cause for worry. ("Just One More Chance" follows as a tender apology.)

Born in 1976, Pangman is several generations removed from the musical era of Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong, but she never felt drawn to the sounds of her own time. "The music my friends were listening to when I was in high school was the antithesis of this music that I love so much now," she says. "You've got three minutes on one side of a 78 with no overdubbing, no auto-tune, just really good music and beautiful lyrics. I wasn't hearing that in the music I grew up with. I didn't want to hear Paula Abdul, so I started flipping around the dial."

She first discovered country music, which shares a penchant for melody and storytelling with the swing era songs she soon discovered. An avid equestrian, Pangman met her first mentor at the stables where she rode as a teenager. "As it turns out, he was a guitar player in a traditional jazz band and was very generous with lending me records and exposing me to this music that not a lot of other sixteen-year-olds were listening to. It was through his kindness that I was exposed to a landslide of wonderful, vibrant, alive music."

Pangman quickly became a passionate record collector herself, garnering an impressive collection of wax from the 1920s and '30s. Her gorgeous voice and deft song styling soon caught the ear of the late guitar great Jeff Healey, who produced Pangman's first two albums. It wasn't long before she was christened "Canada's Sweetheart of Swing," a title threatened when her cystic fibrosis began to compromise her ability to sing. A donor was fortuitously located, and she came back from her double lung transplant with her 2011 disc 33.

"In the months before the surgery, it was like I'd been singing through a straw," she recalls. "Then all of a sudden it was as if somebody handed me a bullhorn, like going from a tricycle to a Ferrari. Replace those lungs, and I could sing the lines and emote the way I was hearing it in my head and in my heart."

She has since become a tireless advocate for organ and tissue donation in Canada, recently writing the song "Breathe In" and donating the proceeds from its sale to the Ontario Lung Association.

Since the surgery, Pangman says, Have a Little Fun has taken hold as "my mantra in life. You can have a million smackers and a fancy car, but if you're not having any fun, what's the point? You're not here forever, so try to enjoy yourself."

Have a Little Fun Track Listing:
1. Some of These Days (Shelton Brooks / Paul Rardin)
2. Are You Having Any Fun (Sammy Fain / Jack Yellen)
3. The Fog Song (Alex Pangman)
4. The Panic Is On (Thomas Waller / Bert Clarke / George Clark / Winston Collins Tharp)
5. I'm Confessin' (Doc Daugherty / Al J. Neiburg / Ellis Reynolds)
6. It Felt So Good To Be So Bad (Alex Pangman)
7. Just One More Chance (Sam Coslow / Arthur Johnston)
8. Shanghai Lil (Al Dubin / Harry Warren)
9. Out of Nowhere (John W. Green / Edward Heyman)
10. Stardust (Hoagy Charmichael / Mitchell Parish)
11. Melancholy Lullaby (Alex Pangman)
12. Topsy Turvy (Alex Pangman)
13. Undecided (Sydney Robin / Charles Shavers)
14. Intro: Some of These days (Shelton Brooks / Paul Rardin)

Have a Little Fun will be released on June 11, 2013.

Monday, April 15, 2013



Nothing fatal about these guys – given the really life-affirming quality of the music on the set! The group features a compelling blend of reeds, trombone, and drums – often used in these really evocative ways that mix the rhythmic with the lyrical! The trombone does a great job of bridging the space between rhythm and melody – played here by Francois Lemonnier, who's got a really compelling touch on his instrument – sometimes swinging, sometimes a bit more sonic overall. Biggi Vinkeloe handles the flute and alto sax on the record, and drums are by Peeter Uuskyla – on titles that include "Singing Softly", "Nordic Waves", "Escargoiseau Blues", "The Wind Is Dancing Over The Hills", and "Space Way Messenger". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautiful tribute to the genius of trombonist/arranger Melba Liston – and a set that doesn't just copy her music, but really opens up a whole new spirit from its inspiration! Reedman Geof Bradfield composed all the tracks in the set, and puts things together with a spirit that's not unlike some of Melba's best arrangements for middle-sized groups – that way she had of making things tight, and rhythmically soulful – yet still allowing plenty of room for improvisation and individuality amidst the fuller picture of the tunes. Bradfield gets in plenty of great moments on tenor, soprano sax, and bass clarinet – and the rest of the group features Victor Garcia on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joel Adams on trombone, Jeff Parker on guitar, Ryan Cohan on piano, Clark Sommers on bass, and George Fludas on drums. Titles include "Central Avenue", "Dizzy Gillespie", "Detroit/Kingston", "Randy Weston", and "Homecoming" – and the set ends with vocals by Maggie Burrell on the tune "Let Me Not Lose My Dream". ~ Dusty Groove


Some of the sweetest work we've heard so far from Spinnerty – an EP that really just features three versions each of two tracks, but served up in ways that work together like a mini-suite of sound! "53 Pickup" has some great live drums – which really crackle alongside the beats and keyboards, and give the whole thing a great sort of energy – skittish in the main mix, spacier in a "lil Dave rmx", and then breaking like some old school funk record on the "drumapella"! "Noel's Dream" follows in a similar spirit – with great drum breaks next to the Fender Rhodes, giving things a funky feel as the keys spin out in space. There's also another funky "drumapella" version of that tune – and a more upbeat remix from J Boogie! ~ Dusty Groove


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