Thursday, January 31, 2013

GRACE KELLY - SWEET SWEET BABY

After wowing the straight-ahead jazz world and garnering worldwide acclaim, 20-year-old wunderkind Grace Kelly has set her sights upon winning hearts in the mainstream with an infectious crossover confection that will be delivered on Valentine’s Day. Putting the saxophone aside to charm with her enchanting voice, the lilting stomp and clap single, “Sweet Sweet Baby,” will be released by Woodward Avenue Records accompanied by a bouncy, colorful video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaHYISe-0_0). Kelly penned the joyous celebration of love certain to appeal to people of all ages that she produced with Alain Mallet. The single has already been officially added to Sirius XM’s Watercolors playlist.

“This song is inspired by the feeling of falling in love with love. It’s a song that captures that special time when someone is totally infatuated - whether it is with a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, child, grandchild, pet or musical instrument. It celebrates euphoria and joy. But most of all, it’s a song that celebrates love,” said Kelly, who solos on her trademark alto sax on the frolicking, candy-coated track sweetened with morsels of jazz amidst a playful pop panorama.

With eight albums already to her credit – one per year since she was twelve – Kelly’s prodigious skills have won the Boston native who graduated the prestigious Berklee College of Music at age 19 numerous awards, extensive media coverage that spans CNN, magazine covers, features and rave reviews in the pages of Glamour, Downbeat, JazzTimes, and the Los Angeles Times, and glowing praise from jazz titans including Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker and Jimmy Heath. Her mentors include alto sax greats Lee Konitz and Phil Woods, both of with whom she has recorded duet albums. Kelly’s busy touring schedule is chocked full of gigs around the globe at which she leads her own band or performs with luminaries such as Chris Botti, Harry Connick Jr., David Sanborn, Dave Brubeck, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding and Jamie Cullum. Marsalis was so impressed that he invited the then sweet 16-year-old musician to perform at President Barack Obama’s first Inauguration Celebration. Her burgeoning trophy case displays five ASCAP Foundation’s Young Jazz Composers Awards and a pair of Boston Music Awards. Kelly was the youngest person ever named in the Downbeat Critics Poll after being selected as one of the magazine’s Alto Saxophone Rising Stars each year from 2009-2012 and she also has the distinction of being voted Boston’s Best Jazz Act in four consecutive years by the Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll.

Currently on a U.S. concert trek that includes a two-night stand in New York City on March 5 & 6 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Kelly will lead her band at Spaghettini’s near Los Angeles on March 23rd in support of “Sweet Sweet Baby,” which is available on iTunes.

www.gracekellymusic.com.

ANGELINE MORRISON - THE FEELING SUBLIME EP

Already familiar to fans of Freestyle Records acts Frootful and Lack Of Afro after supplying her memorable voice to tracks by both, as well as working with masters of the mellow; The Ambassadors Of Sorrow, Angeline Morrison's ability to craft subtle, yet very catchy melodies infused with folk, bossa nova, R&B and jazz rhythms and textures ensures her music sounds fresh, engaging and highly original.

Now signed to Freestyle Records as a solo artist in her own right, the music that Angeline creates has an ethereal, other worldly quality, due in no small part to the wide ranging styles and influences that inform her highly individual, quirky, song writing and vocal abilities. Stir in elements of 60s torch song style, hypnotic, exotic and eclectic melodies, and you begin to understand the myriad of musical textures Angeline blends into a homogenous soundscape.

As a taster of what's to come from her forthcoming album 'Are You Ready Cat?', this 4-track EP displays her eclectic and skilful style. The Feeling Sublime is simply a lush, exotic, hip swinging bossa nova number, Fool's Gold hits the soulful, bluesy groove that's tailor made for dance floors, Perhaps In A Little While is a touching and introspective piece that drips heartache and pathos, and Are You Ready Cat? is a toe tapping, 60s style pop-soul groover with swinging strings, sax and some indispensable glockenspiel!

"Angeline Morrison returns to show off a different side of her vocal talent. Together with her work with the Ambassadors of Sorrow and Frootful, you get the feeling it is simply a matter of time before she breaks through to a bigger audience" - tokyojazznotes.com

"Angeline Morrison, a tall, willowy and alluring singer who definitely should be a household name" - Blues & Soul magazine

"Ever wondered what Bebel Gilberto would sound like if she sang in English? Now's your chance to find out!" - monkeyboxing.com

FEATURED RELEASES - LAURA VANE & THE VIPERTONES, NORAH JONES, THE STARK REALITY

LAURA VANE & THE VIPERTONES - SUGAR FIX

This is the sugar fix you can’t afford to miss! Drawn together from both sides of the North Sea, Laura Vane & The Vipertones are an eight-piece band assembled from various Dutch & UK projects, pooling their respective skills together for a remarkable funk & soul mission. Since their debut release early 2009 the group has continued to electrify fans, deejays, radio stations, critics, record collectors and bloggers all over the world with their authentic yet modern and raw sound. “Sugar Fix” is a feast for the listener, laying down a rich variety of styles and inspirations, and is a vibrant progression from the first album. Laura’s voice and songwriting has never been stronger. Such personal lyrics combined with The Vipertones’ instrumental elegance results in a record loaded with strong and catchy songs. This record will evoke a strong reaction, whether it be dancing, dreaming or crying, their music will take you there. Laura is the chocolate, the Vipertones are the cream, this is the sugar fix you can’t afford to miss! ~ grooveattack.com

NORAH JONES - COVERS

Covers is an exclusive compilation of ten rare and unreleased tracks recorded over the first decade of Jones’ career. Included are interpretations of songs from some of Norah’s favorite artists: from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to Tom Waits, Wilco and Horace Silver. The first track, "Sleepless Nights," is a gorgeous Bouldleaux Bryan/Felice Bryant composition made famous by the Everly Brothers, Norah first performed this song as a duet with Beck at a KCRW benefit show in 2002 and it became a staple on her 2003/2004 tours. This version is a studio version out-take from the sessions of Jones’ second album "Feels Like Home" and originally released only on a limited edition deluxe edition of that album in 2004. The second track is a cover of Bob Dylan's song, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," it was recorded in the initial 2001 sessions for Jones’ debut album Come Away With Me. Norah took to covering the Wilco favorite "Jesus Etc." Norah has lended vocals to live Wilco performances in the past and collaborated with them recently on the soundtrack for, This Is 40.The Johnny Cash cover "Cry Cry Cry" was a live favorite from Jones’ 2009/2010 tour. ~ giantstep.net

THE STARK REALITY - ACTING THINKING FEELING

Amazing sounds from The Stark Reality – an obscure group from the early 70s, but one who've really risen to fame over the years – thanks to their groundbreaking ear for new music, and their freewheeling way with a funky groove! This package brings together all the incredible work recorded by the group in the late 60s and early 70s – a mindblowing assortment of funky and fuzzy jazz tracks – almost all of which are graced by the offbeat vibes work of Monty Stark! Stark often adds a bit of distortion into his instrument, which makes for a very tripped-out approach to vibes – one that blends perfectly with the heavy funk of some of the rhythms, and the freaky guitar lines added to most tracks by a young John Abercrombie. Yet at other times, things are very laidback and chilled-out – balanced beautifully from track to track, in a way that illustrates the larger picture the group were always going for in their music. This massive package brings together everything Stark Reality ever recorded – their famous Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop album, the Acting Thinking Feeling live performance, the Roller Coaster Ride/1969 album, and lots of rare singles too – more than enough music to please any fan of the group, and blow the minds of anyone who's just getting a first taste. Titles include "Roller Coaster Ride", "On Being Black", "New World Generation", "Theme To Say Brother", "Dreams", "Clouds", "All You Need To Make Music", "Rocket Ship", "Cooking", "The Old Prospector", and "Junkman's Song". Great package too – with two LP-styled CD sleeves inside a larger case, plus a big booklet of notes and photos! ~ Dusty Groove

THE SOUL SNATCHERS - SCRATCH MY ITCH

Real soul music never dies. That’s what the insatiable musicians of the Dutch band The Soul Snatchers prove every time they treat a swinging crowd to their timeless, down to earth funk and soul tunes that find their roots in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century. Taking pure soul music right across the bridge into the new century, The Soul Snatchers combine unknown classics and original compositions into a show that not only appeals to connoisseurs, but equally to bigger more mainstream-oriented audiences. The Soul Snatchers don’t claim to have invented soul music, neither do they pretend to re-invent it. They just HAVE it! And they love to share it with Rhythm & Blues-lovers in every corner of the globe.

Founded rock solid on the well oiled rhythm section of clean drums and thumping bass, the dangerously growling Hammond organ and the reverbing guitar sounds find their way into your soul blindly. Add to that the three-headed copper section The Dynamite Horns and the charismatic performances of singer Curtis T. and special guest vocalist Jimi Bellmartin, and all ingredients for a real soul party are present.

Now it’s time to announce the long awaited second full album by the band: “Scratch My Itch”. The album is once again a feast for the listener containing lots of 70′s funk grooves, soulful vocals, powerful horns and a grindin’ Hammond organ, this all served with some ‘swampy’ New Orleans flavor. You will have yourself an album which brings you the best of The Soul Snatchers. Following their successful album release “Sniffin’ & Snatchin’” (2007) which received rave reviews from DJs, press and audiences all over the world, The Soul Snatchers are now ready for their next ride! ~ grooveattack.com

BERES HAMMOND - ONE LOVE, ONE LIFE

It was a four year wait since the last album and One Love, One Life is worth the wait, it’s another five star set, this time with two CDs: disc one showcasing Beres in a mellow mood (hit picks include “In My Arms” & “No Candle Light”) with a second CD displaying a more conscious vibe (“You Stand Alone”, “Still Searching”). Realised with a legion of top musicians, and all tracks produced with highest quality control by Beres Hammond, except “No Candle Light” co-produced with Donovan Germain, “In My Arms” co-produced with Colin ‘Bulby’ York, “Keep Me Warm” and “More Time” co-produced with Michael Fletcher. The title cut on “One Love, One Life” adapts a reworking of Studio One’s immortal mid-60s “Love Me Forever” riddim to a synopsis of Beres’ career: “The journey’s been rough sometimes choices are not there then comes the day when I’m down to I don’t care/the heavens declare and all my fears just disappear and I am singing again”.

Each of the album’s 20 tracks is quintessentially Beres Hammomd: his vocals, as rich and flavorfully bittersweet as dark chocolate, embody the spiritual fervor heard in the secular ballads of Sam Cooke, the laid back cool/political consciousness of 1970s Marvin Gaye and the gritty “Pain In My Heart” passion of Otis Redding. The aforementioned soul icons profoundly influenced the development of Beres’ style, as did Jamaican greats including Leroy Sibbles, lead singer of the Heptones, velvety crooner Ken Boothe and the legendary vocalist Alton Ellis, one of the pioneers of rock steady, reggae’s direct forerunner. ~ grooveattack.com

WILL DOWNING - SILVER

Rewind to 1988, CDs outsold vinyl for the first time while a little known singer from Brooklyn released a self-titled debut on Island Records called Will Downing. Fast-forward to 2013, CDs have taken a backseat to MP3s but that singer from Brooklyn has withstood the test of time. Today, Downing, the Grammy® nominated reigning “Prince of Sophisticated Soul”, celebrates an incredible 25 years of recording excellence with his16th album, Silver. Silver is not a “Best of” or “Greatest Hits” collection. Silver is a personal invitation from Will Downing to his fans to jointly celebrate a quarter-century of giving his heart and soul through every song, concert and note. For loyalists that have been there from day one, it’s their Silver Anniversary. Fittingly, Silver is a sweet combination of something “old”, something “new” and something “borrowed” – nothing “blue.” Starting with the “new,” this collection includes four fresh tracks, written by Downing and Chris “Big Dog” Davis with additional contributions from Tony Tolbert (Prof-T from LoKey?) and Gary Taylor (Anita Baker, The Whispers).

The lead single, “Stuff That I Like” – full of fun and flirty food metaphors and a beat that Steppers will find irresistible – has already been serviced to radio to great support and reviews. “What Would You Do?” rides a bouncy Caribbean feel to ask a pretty heavy question: “If you knew today was your last day…what would you do with it?” “You Were Meant Just For Me” is a sizzling duet of undeniably powerful musical chemistry with rising star Avery Sunshine, lamenting the mutual discovery of a perfect partner at a not so perfect time. “Never Find Another Love” has Downing singing through the footsteps of a man whose inner struggles force him to walk painfully yet mercifully away from an otherwise perfect relationship. Unlike 1988, songs these days rarely come from such emotional places…

Something “borrowed” comes from Downing’s self-released trilogy of 4-song EPs Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Today’s challenge for classic artists releasing albums independently is employing a marketing and distribution strategy that keeps your message and product in front of fans. Will hand-picked seven of those songs for Silver including “The Michael Baisden Show“ – driven hit “One Step Closer” and “The Blessing” – voted Song of the Year in the Soul Tracks 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Something “old” (i.e. classic) on Silver is an exclusive “live” rehearsal recording of Will and his band performing a medley of his cover classic hits “I Go Crazy” / “Wishing on a Star” / “I Try”. Capriciously offering up playful banter and hidden flubs on this one, Will still audibly derives great pleasure from his craft.

Dreams have been fulfilled…so Happy Silver Anniversary to the “Prince of Sophisticated Soul” – WILL DOWNING!

SILVER – CD & Digital Album [WD18608] in stores February 12th.
Available on Amazon.com l CD Baby l Itunes l and indie retailers across the U.S.
Facebook: willdowning@facebook.comwilldowningsinger@facebook.com
Twitter: @willdowning3

NICOLAS BEARDE - VISIONS

One of today's premier male jazz vocalists, Nicolas Bearde returns to the studio for his fourth album release, Visions. Produced by long-time collaborator, grammy musical director, and songwriting partner Larry Batiste, Nicolas hits the jazz trail with this largely up tempo offering of jazz classics, sweetened with a touch of late night R&B.


Visions features a large and varied roster of all-star musicians, including renowned bassist Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report), pianist David Garfield (George Benson), drummer Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets) and sax man Gary Meek (Airto). Along with Jon Lucien’s samba gem “You’re Sensational”, produced by bass legend Alphonso Johnson and popular jazz standards such as Errol Garner’s classic “Misty”, given a hip shaking swing infusion here with David K. Mathews’ (Etta James, Santana) gritty and growling B3 accompaniment,

Nicolas gets his groove on with a funky, horn-driven arrangement of Gene McDaniels’ legendary composition, “Compared to What”. Bringing different shadings to his work, Nicolas tests the waters in new approaches to the jazz music that has intrigued and inspired him since he first fell under the spell of jazz greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The Doug Carn straight ahead arrangement of Maurice and Verdine White’s inspirational piece “Mighty, Mighty” simply smokes with Marcus Shelby’s churning bass line, drummer Deszon Claiborne’s rapid-fire stick work and Glen Pearson’s fiery piano. The set is topped off with the title track, Stevie Wonders plaintive plea for understanding “Visions”, featuring the elegant guitar stylings of Bay Area staple, John Hoy.

Release Date: February 5, 2013
1. Falling In Love Again 4:16
2. You’re Sensational 4:31
3. Misty 4:58
4. Everything Must change 5:11
5. The Best Things in Life are Free 2:14
6. (And) It All Goes 'Round And ‘Round 5:34
7. If You Were Mine 4:22
8. Never Let Me Go 4:32
9. Mighty, Mighty 5:23
10. You Better Go 3:25
11. Compared Tto What 5:07
12. Visions 5:26

Tour dates are planned for the East Coast, Europe, Croatia and Russia beginning June 2013, and radio play has already begun in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Australia and Canada, as well as in many parts of the US - http://smoothjazz.com/jazzblast/GreenStream/nicolas_bearde.htm

Video: http://www.youtube.com/nicolasbearde



CHUCK OWEN & THE JAZZ SURGE - RIVER RUNS

The sun dappling the surface of the water, the roar of a waterfall, the heart-quickening rush of a stretch of rapids - riding a river can be both relaxing and exhilarating, an escape from stress and a thrill ride. Composer and bandleader Chuck Owen captures the beauty and excitement of a day on the river with his latest album, River Runs, which combines his long-running big band the Jazz Surge with a full orchestra for a gorgeous symphonic hybrid.


The Distinguished University Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of South Florida, Owen founded the 17-piece Jazz Surge in 1995. Since then it has been a vehicle for his own compositions and his arrangements of work by the likes of Michael Brecker, who was the subject of Owen's acclaimed 2009 album, A Comet's Tail, which featured guest appearances by Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. JazzTimes wrote that "while the individual solos are quite impressive, it is the ensemble playing and spirit of the full ensemble that really stands out."

That spirit is vividly amplified with the addition of an orchestra comprising some of South Florida's finest classical musicians on River Runs. The project was facilitated by a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship; while Owen has undertaken commissions for the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra and began his career writing for the Cincinnatti Symphony Orchestra under the baton of famed conductor Erich Kunzel, the Guggenheim afforded him the freedom to follow his own muse into the orchestral realm for the first time. Longtime Surge members tenor saxophonist Jack Wilkins, guitarist LaRue Nickelson, and violinist Rob Thomas are the featured voices on River Runs, bringing the ensemble's unique voice to the orchestral setting.

"I love the coloristic and dramatic opportunities that an orchestra provides," Owen says. "This project, thanks to the artistic freedom presented by virtue of the Guggenheim Fellowship, was a wonderful opportunity to pursue a vision that from its inception was uniquely mine without having to limit its parameters or compromise on its characteristics."

Dave Liebman calls River Runs "Copland-esque in scope, suitable as a score for an epic Hollywood movie," adding, "Chuck Owen has created an incredibly colorful portrait of a part of America's natural beauty." Randy Brecker writes that the album is "deep, free-flowing into cross-currents, but always moving forward towards it's destination, which is an ocean of melody, sound and soul."

In the end, each movement of the hour-long piece is tied to a specific river, or more accurately, to an emotion tied in Owen's mind to that river. Following a moody, mysterious prologue that suggests the anticipation of setting out at dawn under still-dark skies, the first movement, "Bound Away," recalls a trip Owen made as a Boy Scout on West Virginia's Greenbrier and New Rivers. The piece moves from the peaceful optimism of the early part of the journey to the tension and heady rush of a plunge into the rapids.

"Dark Waters, Slow Waters," with its brooding, cinematic atmosphere, depicts the waterways that snake through the dense foliage and dark swamps of the Everglades and, in particular, Florida's Hillsborough River. "Chutes and Wave Trains" is a giddy ride on rushing rapids, inspired by the Chatuga River, which straddles the border of South Carolina and Georgia and was prominently used in the filming of Deliverance, while "A Ridge Away" draws upon two trips that Owen made with his children. Finally, "Perhaps the Better Claim" braves the treacherous waters of the Salmon River, aka "The River of No Return," and echoes Robert Frost's famous poem "A Road Not Taken," a constant source of inspiration for Owen.

"There's often a luxurious sense of peace, calm, and freedom when you're paddling downriver." Owen says of his love of riding the rivers. "But it can be quite deceptive. For as soon as you turn the corner - boom! - here comes a set of rapids or there's a log blocking the river. In addition to the excitement, however, there's also a sense of play and close camaraderie with your fellow adventurers that I greatly value. In short, rivers and nature in general has a profoundly positive effect on me."

It has not, however, always been a source of such direct inspiration. While Owen writes with a natural sweep that evokes pastoral landscapes and bustling scenes, he typically writes from a purely musical, not programmatic, sensibility. But when setting out to compose the music that became River Runs, the concept of his encounters with these rivers and the bonds they formed - whether with his own children or with his father, who passed away during the composition of the music - provided a strong thematic undercurrent for the piece.

"I'm a real believer in having a concept that unites a piece," Owen explains. "That concept can be simply musical, but a lot of times it can be extra-musical, too. And In working with a piece that I knew was going to be this large, I felt that the conceptual aspect was more important than ever, to find something that could help re-focus the piece whenever my imagination wandered too far afield."

The project started out as a double concerto for orchestra and a few guest soloists, but soon expanded in Owen's mind to encompass the whole of the Jazz Surge. "My focus was on trying to write a piece for orchestra that seamlessly attempted to blend jazz elements - improvisation, strong rhythmic grooves - with a symphony orchestra," he says. "I very quickly realized I was going to need to involve at least bass and drums to be able to provide the atmosphere I wanted, to avoid the sort of rigid division between orchestra and jazz musicians that I really dislike. I wanted to create something that felt very natural and organic and I thought the members of the Surge would add to that." On its four prior recordings, the Jazz Surge has invited masters like Benny Golson, Nat Adderley, John Abercrombie, Tim Hagans, Ingrid Jensen, and Gary Versace into its fold, along with the aforementioned Brecker, Stern, Liebman and Lovano.

A respected and esteemed educator for more than 30 years, Owen also founded and serves as artistic director for the USF Center for Jazz Composition. In 2012, he chaired the Pulitzer Prize in Music committee and has also served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education and as governor for the Florida Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship he has received the prestigious 2000 IAJE/ASCAP commission in honor of Louis Armstrong and three Florida DCA Individual Artist Fellowships.

With his latest project, Owen combines that wealth of professional experience with inspiration from some of his most personally fulfilling moments. River Runs uses the jazz big band and the symphony orchestra as the colors in a bold landscape that is his finest and most ambitious work to date.

Chuck Owen· River Runs / /  MAMA Records· Release Date: April 9, 2013

www.chuckowen.com

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NEW RELEASES - MICHAEL WALKER, THE ARUAN ORTIZ AND MICHAEL JANISCH QUINTET, RODRIGO COTELO

MICHAEL WALKER - A SMOOTHER YOU

The CD is co-produced and written by wunderkind Quentin Moore of Dallas, Texas, and exhibits a style that infuses Smooth Jazz and “Southern Soul”. Walker (b. Newport, Arkansas - November 19, 1959), began as a Blues guitarist influenced by the legendary B.B. King. In the year 2000, Michael became leader of the cover band “Chill Factor”of Dallas, Texas. After 12 years with the group, he turned his interests towards Smooth Jazz leaving the band to create the “A Smoother You” project. After sending a few tracks to Producer/Guitarist Paul Brown (who gave his blessing), Michael forged ahead with his project and was signed by Spectra Jazz Records. In addition to his guitar skills, Michael enlists Drummer Kenny Washington II, Quentin Moore (Keyboards, Wah Wah guitar, Bass & Vocals), John Robinson (Bass), Vandell Andrew (Alto Sax), Dunye Nasuhoglu (Congas, Percussion), Karen Bernod (Chaka Khan and Erykah Badu) (Vocals) and Spectra Jazz artist Earl “Tee” Harris of the group“3rd Scenario” (Vocals). The album was released on December 11, 2012 on iTunes and Amazon, and a physical CD release planned for Spring of 2013.

THE ARUAN ORTIZ AND MICHAEL JANISCH QUINTET - BANNED IN LONDON

The Aruán Ortiz & Michael Janisch Quintet is a new international musical collaboration of the highest order. Both leaders have performed at the forefront of contemporary jazz during the last decade with some of the world's greatest artists, such as Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Wallace Roney, Don Byron and Terry Lyne Carrington. For their new quintet, Ortiz and Janisch have assembled one of the most exciting casts of recent years, calling on one of the world's most prominent and pioneering artists, saxophonist and featured special guest, Greg Osby, first-call NYC drummer Rudy Royston and perennial award-winning Spanish trumpeter Raynald Colom (Perico Sambeat, Robin Eubanks). 'Banned in London,' the group's debut captures the onslaught of soundscapes, moods, and explorations, which will prove that this is a potent mixture of world class improvising musicians with a sincere empathy for creating improvised music of the now.

RODRIGO COTELO - SER SONIDO (BEING SOUND)

Covering a wide variety of genres and multiple styles, guitarist Rodrigo Cotelo hass been performing professionally for over 20 years. Not necessarily a virtuoso but with a refined taste and tone, he embraces musicality with unparalleled ease and sensitivity. Raised in Maldonado, Uruguay, Cotelo was always in contact with music during his childhood as he was born son of a drummer and a dance teacher. He started to study music (Keyboards and Piano) at age 7 and then continued his development at Schubert Conservatory until he was 15 when his interest in guitar was discovered. His first solo album “Vieja Mochila” (Old Backpack) was released in 2001. Over the years he has produced and recorded for Uruguayan artists such as: Abel Garcia, Walter Cambon, Electric Kool-Aid, Monalisa, Jardin Primitivo, Musiclú and Aida Martinez among others.

MARIO BIONDI - SUN


After two years of work in Milan, Los Angeles, New York and London, Mario Biondi’s new album, Sun, was released to stores on January 29. The album has an international flavor, being produced by Biondi and Jean Paul Maunick (aka Bluey), leader of Incognito. the historic British jazz band. Sun is an album characterized by important collaborations, like the one with the great American artist Chaka Khan, who, with Biondi and Incognito, interprets in a unique manner the song "Lowdown" by Boz Scaggs. Sun also features songs such as the first single from the album "Shine On", written by Mario Biondi, Massimo Greco and Jan Kincaid, drummer and keyboardist for the London-based group Brand New Heavies. The gripping arrangements are assigned to one of the most famous musicians and composers today, Simon Hale, also collaborator of Jamiroquai. ~9colonne.it

Mario Biondi is a singer and composer, born in Catania, Italy on January 28,1971. His father Stefano Biondi was also a singer. Mario's passion for music began at the early age of twelve when he sang in his church choir . His many musical experiences over time in Italy saw him develop more and more into an artist whose scope was destined to be of an international level. For a while he worked as a session singer - then in 1988 he had an important opportunity as support act to Ray Chales' Italian dates. His love for soul music helped shape his particular vocal styling that takes its cue from great vocalists like Lou Rawls, Al Jarreau and Isacc Hayes. His first big break came in 2004 with the release of the single "This Is What You Are". Originally planned for release only in Japan, the cool and irresistible song gets noticed by European radio. A well-known DJ, Norman Jay begins to feature the song on his BBC1 show playlist and Mario's incredible voice crosses the European continent ahead of the artist himself. The British Consulate honors him with an award during the ceremony for Best Artist representing the Uk-Italy Business Association.

In 2006 Mario released his debut album Handful Of Soul, recorded with the High Five Quintet. In less than three months it goes platinum. That same year Mario records "L'Amore Ha Sempre Fame" for the tribute cd, Alex, Tributo ad Alex Baroni dedicated to the memory of singer, Alex Baroni. In 2007, at the San Remo festival Mario guests on a duet with Amalia Grè to sing "Amami Per Sempre", a song written by Grè in collaboration with Michele Ranauro and Paola Palma. 2007 also sees the release of the single "No Matter" teamed-up with famed Italian DJ Mario Fargetta. During this time, Mario also records some inspired covers like Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are". In November 2007 Mario released a double album with the Duke Orchestra, called I Love You More recorded entirely live at the Smeraldo Theatre in Milano.

In 2009 Mario is once again on the San Remo Festival stage duetting with Karima Ammar in the song "Come In Ogni Ora". The song's producer and co-writer, none other than Burt Bacharach was also on stage conducting the orchestra and playing piano. Mario went on to yet another magical duet performance with premier Italian artist Renato Zero on "Non Smettere Più" included in Renato's album Presente. In November 2009 Mario Biondi released "If" and the first single "Be Lonely" on the Tattica label. The album shot up the charts and went triple platinum. With a voice that references greats like Barry White, Issac Hayes and Lou Rawls while at the same time giving his own spin to the soul and jazz genres, Mario makes music passionately while at the same time, lighthearted and ironic. ~ fanclub.mariobiondi.com

NEW RELEASES - LEON THOMAS, HUBERT LAWS, FRESH STEPS

LEON THOMAS - THE CREATOR 1969-1973: THE BEST OF THE FLYING DUTCHMAN MASTERS

Leon Thomas became a star on the back of his original cut of 'The Creator Had A Master Plan' recorded with Pharaoh Sanders. This success was consolidated with four studio albums and several live sessions recorded for Flying Dutchman. A year as a member of Santana brought him to the attention of an even wider audience. His yodelling style allied with deep blues roots has influenced several generations of jazz singers, most recently the Grammy Award-winning jazz star of 2012, Gregory Porter. ~ CD Universe


HUBERT LAWS - LAND OF PASSION

When Columbia released Land of Passion in 1979, the album received scathing reviews from jazz critics. They knew Hubert Laws for his work as a jazz instrumentalist, and for the most part, Land of Passion isn't instrumental jazz -- it isn't hard bop, post-bop, or even fusion. The main focus of this LP is mellow, mildly jazzy R&B/pop (with the occasional instrumental). So serious jazz standards shouldn't be applied. Unfortunately, the critics who trashed Land of Passion did apply serious jazz standards, which is sort of like a food critic lambasting an Italian restaurant because it doesn't provide Vietnamese or Cambodian cuisine. Land of Passion needs to be judged by R&B/pop and quiet storm standards, and when those standards are applied, one has to say that this record is likable but not mind-blowing. Laws was obviously going after the quiet storm crowd when he recorded gentle tunes like "Music Forever" and "We're in Ecstasy." Arguably, quiet storm music falls into two main categories: R&B/pop vocals (Luther Vandross, Phyllis Hyman, Anita Baker) and R&B-minded crossover jazz (Grover Washington, Jr., David Sanborn, Lonnie Liston Smith). For the most part, this LP (which had yet to be reissued on CD when the 21st century arrived) falls into the former category, although it does contain two gently funky instrumentals: "We Will Be" and "Heartbeats." Neither are masterpieces, but they have a lot more substance and integrity than the sort of elevator Muzak that Kenny G and Richard Elliot were known for in the 1980s and 1990s. Not one of Laws' essential releases, Land of Passion must be taken for what it is: a pleasant but unremarkable collection of mood music. ~ Alex Henderson


FRESH STEPS - THE SOUND OF URBAN SOUL-JAZZ

Fresh Steps are a collective of musicians/writers and producers from the south coast based in and around Brighton,Eastbourne and Hastings. The collective includes the production team Blackfly, singer Laura Holding and Jazz musician Oli Briant and a number of others. Fresh Steps have cut their teeth in various bands, playing at and running some of the coolest clubnights on the south coast As the Fresh Steps collective, The Sound of Urban Soul/Jazz Vol. 1 is their first official project together and takes contemporary tracks from the likes of Rihanna, Jessie J, Lady Antebellum, Pink, Alisha Keys, Lady Gaga and tears up the rule book, delivering a number of excellent soul-jazz renditions. ~ CD Universe

NEW RELEASES - ERIC GALE, MARION MEADOWS, AMANDA BRECKER

ERIC GALE - GINSENG WOMAN / MULTIPLICATION

When it comes to smothering a recording with over-production or being much too slick for his own good, keyboardist Bob James is an expert. In the 1970s, James lent his "expertise" to Eric Gale's albums Ginseng Woman and Multiplication (which were united on a single CD in 1991). To be sure, James' arranging is excessive. But the damage isn't as severe as one might imagine, and the ubiquitous jazz/R&B/pop guitarist actually has enough room to stretch out at times -- as does Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax). Far from exceptional but generally decent and enjoyable, these albums make it clear that Gale could be a very appealing and tasteful soloist when given room to breathe. ~ Alex Henderson

MARION MEADOWS - WHISPER

Soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows plays what has to be called smooth jazz, but he stretches the template a bit by incorporating subtly nuanced Latin, Eastern, and African touches into his style. Whisper is Meadows' first new studio album since 2009's Secrets, and in many ways it works as a sort of follow-up bookend to that earlier project, and while it doesn't really ruffle any feathers, or even try to, it does generate a nice little smooth and rhythmic breeze. ~ CD Universe / /  This album will be released on February 26, 2013.

 

AMANDA BRECKER - BLOSSOM

The daughter of the Brazilian pianist/singer Eliane Elias and trumpeter Randy Brecker, singer/songwriter Amanda Brecker had already released two noteworthy albums in Japan in 2008 and 2009. 2012's Blossom is her first album released in the U.S. on the Emarcy label. Brecker reinterprets 11 classic songs that were written mainly by singer/songwriter Carole King. King's soft rock and soul classics are a perfect vehicle for the singer's crossover jazz arrangements, especially on "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman," "You've Got a Friend," "So Far Away," "Will You Love me Tomorrow," and "It's Too Late." Grammy-winning songwriter Jesse Harris produced the session and, in keeping with the album's theme, employed drummer Russ Kunkel and bassist Lee Sklar, who played on the original Tapestry recording sessions. The release of Blossom also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Tapestry's release. ~ Al Campbell

BLACK MOTOR FEATURING VERNERI POHJOLA - RUBIDIUM

Rubidium is the new release of acclaimed Finnish trumpeter Veneri Pohjola along with Finland's leading trio of improvisers - Black Motor.  Together they deliver an album that is bold, innovative and expressive.

Trumpeter Verneri Pohjola has risen to the elite of Finnish jazz in the last few years. He first became known particularly through the Ilmiliekki Quartet and its well-received albums - March of the Alpha Males and Take It With Me as well as Vi sålde våra hemman together with vocalist Emma Salokoski), but has also performed with many other groups, including his ever-changing Aurora ensemble (Aurora), Michelin Star together with Joonas Riippa (Michelin Star) and the Verneri Pohjola Quartet (Ancient History). Pohjola has also been featured as a soloist with the UMO Jazz Orchestra (Agatha) and Orkestrova and performed with the Meta4 string quartet.

Black Motor is an improvisational trio from Tampere in Central Finland that has been performing for almost eight years and has already released seven albums of its own. The group  consists of Sami Sippola on tenor and soprano saxophones; Ville Rauhala on double bass; and Simo Laihonen on drums and together they play uncompromising free jazz in the spirit of their early idols, Albert Ayler, Peter Brötzmann and Rashied Ali, combined with more traditional forms of jazz expression. The trio has also been influenced by other forms of rhythm music from just about the entirety of the music´s hundred-year history. Cooperation with various special guests has been an essential part of Black Motor's operation, including not only musicians but also poets, dancers and performance and circus artists.

Both Verneri Pohjola and Black Motor are known for being adept in melodically rich and expressive improvised music. The group has labored itself into a veritable jazz phenomenon simply by playing their own vigorous and inspirational music and by largely creating their own performance opportunities, for example, by organizing club nights in Tampere's Telakka Restaurant together with special guests like saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen, guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim, guitarist Jukka Orma, hip-hop artists Hannibal - and Verneri Pohjola. The work is actually bearing fruit as the trio recently performed again at the Tampere Jazz Happening - now with saxophonist Mikko Innanen - also playing at the London Jazz Festival. Rubidium is the first joint project that Black Motor has recorded.

One of the most innovative tracks on the album has to be the title first song 'Waltz Unknown" in which both Verneri Pohjola (trumpet) and Sami Sippola (saxophone) interplay their horns to create a collective texture of beautiful harmonies. Rubidium also includes "Song of India," "Old Papa's Blues," "Sax-O-Phun," and the title track "Rubidium."

NEW RELEASES - HERB ALPERT, THOMAS CHAPIN, KAREN SOUZA

HERB ALPERT - FANDANGO

Digitally remastered edition of this 1982 album from the Jazz/Pop icon. After a meteoric rise to fame as the leader of the Tijuana Brass, one of the most successful groups of the '60s, Herb Alpert focused on running A&M Records, the indie powerhouse he had founded with partner Jerry Moss. His second artistic journey began with the release of Rise, which climbed to #1 on the Billboard chart. His acclaimed album, Fandango, found Alpert returning to Mexican and Latin American sounds and rhythms, but with a modern sound. The result was one of the most acclaimed albums of his career, remaining on the Billboard Top Albums chart for half a year, and featuring the Top 40 hit 'Route 101.' ~ Amazon.com

THOMAS CHAPIN - NEVER LET ME GO

Never Let Me Go: Quartets '95 & '96 is a new three-disc set featuring two late-career performances by saxophonist/composer Thomas Chapin, including his final New York concert before succumbing to leukemia in 1998 at age 40. Discs one and two capture Chapin's working quartet of the time, with pianist Peter Madsen, bassist Kiyoto Fujiwara and drummer Reggie Nicholson, performing at Flushing Town Hall in Queens on November 10th, 1995. The group played two selections from You Don't Know Me (Arabesque Records), as well as a wide variety of other material, including Artie Shaw's Moonray, Thelonious Monk's Ugly Beauty, Charlie Parker's Red Cross and Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman. In contrast, the third disc captures the first and only concert ever played by a later quartet featuring Madsen, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Matt Wilson at The Knitting Factory on December 19th, 1996. For what turned out to be his final performance in New York, this ensemble presented extended readings of three new pieces written specifically for its all-star lineup, as well as a version of his well-known composition Sky Piece and an arrangement of Roland Kirk's Lovellevellilloqui. ~ Amazon.com

KAREN SOUZA - HOTEL SOUZA

There is no doubt that Karen Souza is poised to become recognized as one of the great new voices of jazz today. After the success of her remarkable debut album, Essentials, Karen decided to embark on a songwriting journey that took almost two years and led her far from her home in Buenos Aires to Los Angeles, where she joined with U.S. producer Joel McNeely. Famous for his work with immortal artists such as Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Al Green and Jaco Pastorius, McNeely has provided the arrangements with a sound that is both classic and modern a combination that is highly valued in this day and age. Karen´s voice, intimate and sensuous as always, floats between clouds of strings and winds and creates an atmosphere that can only be described as vintage. One of the few versions found on this artist album is a very special rendition of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" where Karen had the great fortune of performing with several musicians from Marvin's original band. Recorded at The Factory and on in the Century 21 studios in LA, this is an album that showcases Karen as an multifaceted artist about to embark on an exciting career. Hotel Souza is one of the most anticipated albums of the season. ~ Amazon.com

NEW RELEASES - BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO LATIN JAZZ, THE DAP-KINGS FEATURING RICKY CALLOWAY, JEREMY PELT

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO LATIN JAZZ (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

Not so much an introduction to Latin jazz, as it a wonderful collection of Latin-tinged tunes from the mighty catalog of Blue Note Records – and not just New York and Cuban Latin grooves, but also a fair bit of bossa nova and Brazilian sounds too! The 3CD package is overflowing with goodness – and titles include a range of killer Blue Note gems from the 60s – plus related cuts from labels like Capitol, Liberty, and World Pacific. The groove changes nicely throughout the set, and the instrumentation is superb – as you'll hear on cuts that include "Sandalia Dela" by Duke Pearson, "Chitlins Con Carne" by Kenny Burrell, "Loie" by Ike Quebec, "Samba De Orfeu" by Charlie Rouse, "Bossa For Baby" by Hank Mobley, "South Of The Border" by Lou Donaldson, "Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso" by Sabu Martinez, "Minors Holiday" by Kenny Dorham, "Congalere" by Horace Parlan, "Ghana" by Donald Byrd, "Latin Fever" by Jack Costanzo, "No Problem" by Jerome Richardson, "Girl From Ipanema" by Lou Rawls, "Rojo" by Bobby Hutcherson, and "Thousand Finger Man" by Candido. 38 tracks in all! ~ Dusty Groove.

THE DAP-KINGS FEATURING RICKY CALLOWAT - STAY IN THE GROOVE (PARTS 1&2) / / I'M IN LOVE (PARTS 3&4) (2x7 SINGLES)
An amazing pairing of talents! Funk vocal giant Ricky Calloway works here with backing from The Dap Kings – recording in the Daptone studios, with production from Kenny Dope! All the cooks on board definitely don't spoil the broth – and instead, the cut may well be the sort of number we've been waiting to hear for years from Ricky! "I'm In Love" is presented here with parts 3 and 4 – which we don't think were on any previous singles – and is a stone monster too! ~ Dusty Groove

     
JEREMY PELT - WATER AND EARTH

A gem of a record from trumpeter Jeremy Pelt – and like some of his other brilliant albums, a set that really has him sparkling alongside some sweet Fender Rhodes! Pelt's trumpet has always been great – but here, in the company of keyboardist David Bryant, it really seems to find some rich new colors – almost as if the keys open up a layer of Pelt that's been hiding for years – set free to really soar and flow here. Bryant also plays some Hammond and clavinet as well, and other Fender Rhodes and keyboard work is by Frank LoCrasto – and the group also features Roxy Cross on soprano and tenor, Burniss Earl Travis on bass, Dana Hawkins on drums, and Jeffrey Haynes on percussion. Both Ra Re Valverde and Angela Roberts each sing on a track – and titles include "Reimagine The World", "Boom Bishop", "Butterfly Dreams", "Pieces Of A Dream", "Meditations On A Conversation We Had", and "Mystique". ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BRAD GOODE - CHICAGO RED

For innovative trumpeter Brad Goode, jazz has been a means for him to develop and express his own improvisational voice, without limiting himself to a single sound or style. On his new album, Chicago Red, Goode and a like-minded group of adventurous world-class musicians stretch out on eight Goode compositions -- as well as "St. Louis Blues" and "Vesta La Giubba" from I Pagliacci -- with strikingly original results. The CD, his second for Origin and 13th as a leader, will be released February 19.

Goode has been working on what he calls his Polytonal System of Harmony, which involves improvising over streams of simultaneous chord sequences, for the last 20 years.The music thrives on the pleasing dissonance created by, say, the guitarist playing chords at odds with the chords being played by the bassist. "It's almost like two songs operating simultaneously," says Goode. "The lower chords provide the basic progression, but there is also a logic in the way the upper structure chords relate and resolve to each other."

Or, in the case of Goode's coolly seductive use of polychords on W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," create their own sonic mood. "These chords aren't what we've come to expect in jazz," he says, "but after listening a while, the music makes sense, if the right people are playing it."

The "right people" is how Goode would describe his ethnically diverse band on Chicago Red: Guitarist Bill Kopper and keyboardist Jeff Jenkins are back from Polytonal Dance Party, the 2008 Origin album on which Goode formally introduced the Polytonal System, to take their first-rate contributions a step further. They are joined by Brazilian bassist Bijoux Barbosa, whose mastery of Latin, jazz, and classical forms is right at home in this music; the remarkable Ghanaian drummer Paa Kow, who Goode says "plays the perfect groove"; and hand drummer Rony Barrak, from Beirut, Lebanon, who has revolutionized the tabla-like Darbouka, introducing the Arabic drum to Latin music as well as jazz, pop, and western classical.

"I was never thinking in terms of world music when I put the band together," said the trumpeter. "I was drawn to each of these players because of their phenomenal talent. They nailed each song in one take."

In his booklet notes, Goode discusses the "collaborative nature of the improvising" as something that differentiates jazz from most other art forms. "A musician may spend a great deal of time in preparation for the group experience," he writes, " . . . but this work can't anticipate the surprise of the sound and feeling that will happen when a group is assembled. . . . My goal is to approach each performance without an agenda, reacting to the sound and ideas of the band, hoping that my own training will have prepared me to express something that is meaningful and musical within that specific moment." The band on Chicago Red met those challenges -- and then some.

Born and raised in Chicago, Brad Goode studied trumpet at the University of Kentucky, returning to Chicago to get his master's degree in string bass from DePaul University and quickly becoming a regular on the club scene. From 1986 to 1997 he led his own group in Chicago, its members including saxophonists Lin Halliday and Ron Blake, pianists Jodie Christian and Ron Perrillo, guitarist Fareed Haque, trombonist Paul McKee, and drummer Dana Hall. The group often was augmented by Von Freeman and Ira Sullivan, and for 11 years appeared weekly at the Green Mill. Goode also toured with the bands of Jack DeJohnette, Curtis Fuller, Eddie Harris, and Ira Sullivan and with the Woody Herman Orchestra.

The trumpeter accepted a professorship at the University of Cincinnati in 1997 and moved to Boulder in 2004 to teach at the University of Colorado. In the tradition of his mentor Von Freeman, Goode leads weekly jam sessions for young musicians looking to learn their craft. Denver/Boulder has provided new musical directions and opportunities, from highlife to salsa, contemporary classical to jam bands. His reputation as a virtuoso trumpeter and as an educator keeps him quite active. Today, he is most often heard as a first trumpeter in big bands and symphony orchestras, and small group jazz appearances are rare. He is planning a series of dates in support of Chicago Red, including a CD release show at Dazzle, Denver, 3/22. Goode will also appear with his Quartet at the Green Mill in Chicago, 3/8-9.

NICOLE HENRY - SO GOOD, SO RIGHT: NICOLE HENRY LIVE

Since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has captivated audiences while establishing herself as one of the jazz world's most acclaimed vocalists. Her expressive, soulful voice and uplifting energy has earned her three top 10 albums along with international accolades from Moscow to Madrid. Adding to her vocal talents, Nicole’s beauty and on-stage rapport, combining confidence, sincerity and a touch of sass, have beguiled fans in over 15 countries.
On her sixth album So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live, Henry demonstrates her gift for sublime interpretation as well as her love for the emotionally tinged soul, pop and rock songs that were staples of the 1970’s. The 13-track live album, which was recorded at Henry’s sold-out performances at Feinstein’s in NYC in May 2012, showcases her soulful, inspired interpretations of some of her favorite classic hits of the decade from iconic artists including Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight.

“I really connected with the music of the 70’s-all those incredible grooves and great lyrics that conveyed hope and love and being free,” comments Henry. “Growing up I can remember my parents listening to lots of soul and pop music, and so many of those songs just gave me a great feeling of happiness. The artists of that time were true craftsmen and their music had such a broad sound, accessible by people of all races- that’s the kind of music I loved-no definitions! I wanted to revisit that time and those emotions and share them with my fans.”

Featured tracks on the album include the title track, Brenda Russell’s ‘So Good, So Right,’ which Henry loves for the “simplicity of the adjectives Good and Right and how, in this song, "SO" completely explains that feeling of inexplicable perfection of that moment. It just IS.” Henry grew up on Aretha Franklin’s music so when album producer Matt Pierson recommended to her the song ‘Spirit in the Dark,’ from Franklin’s 1970 album, she knew she had to cover it. “I grew up listening to Aretha's 1972 live gospel album Amazing Grace- as far as I'm concerned, everything Aretha sings is gospel,” says Henry. “This song reminds people to be free, look within themselves, and lose control when you need to – a revival of spirit.” Other tracks include the great Bill Withers 1972 classic ‘Use Me,’ which Henry says “shows just how funky he was, and the lyrics show how direct his writing could be. The song’s meaning is obvious…GOOD LOVING goes a long way!”

Henry also shines on tracks such as Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ where, as Henry explains, “Joni Mitchell's whimsical melody, combined with her sad lyrics, always throws me for a curve on the last verse,” and Stealers Wheel’s raucous ‘Stuck in the Middle,’ where Henry showcases her signature attitude. So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live closes with Fleetwood Mac’s iconic ‘Landslide,’ a beautiful song Henry interprets to be about “learning to love, growing up, accepting one's past sacrifices, and making decisions about where you’re going.”

Growing up in a musical family in Bucks County, PA, Henry immersed herself in the arts early on, singing in school and churh, and studying cello and ballet. After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theatre, Henry launched a successful acting career, appearing in commercial roles as well as a series of voiceover assignments. But she directed her strongest passion toward the development of her full-time singing career which was quickly rewarded in her present hometown, when the Miami New Times named Henry “Best Solo Musician 2002.”

Henry’s 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the U.S. and in Japan, where they named Henry Best New Jazz Artist of 2004. The following year, Henry’s Teach Me Tonight reached #1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005. 2008's The Very Thought of You substantially expanded her American audience, reaching #7 on Billboard's jazz chart. 2011’s Embraceable, a slight departure from her prior recording, reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth jazz radio charts and was a creative triumph for Henry, increasing her repertoire of originals, and further established her as a peerless interpreter of jazz, and pop standards, transcending genre boundaries.

www.nicolehenry.com

BARBRA STREISAND - CLASSICAL BARBRA; NEWLY REMASTERED EDITION WITH UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS DUE FEB. 5

Though best known as one of the preeminent pop singers of our time, Barbra Streisand made a powerful statement in the classical music realm when she recorded Classical Barbra in 1973. Originally released in 1976, the album gained Streisand a raft of admirers in the classical music world. Glenn Gould called her voice "one of the natural wonders of the age, an instrument of infinite diversity and timbral resource." Classical Barbra was one of the first and is still one of the greatest records in the category we know today as "classical crossover" and is available February 5th, 2013 from Sony Masterworks.

Of the reissue, Ms. Streisand says, "I have always had a special affection for Classical Barbra. I loved the process of developing and making the recording, and I was gratified by the success it had when it was originally released and, what a thrill it was to receive a Grammy nomination in the Classical division...Now it is back in a new expanded edition, beautifully remastered and sounding better than it has since the LP release. I'm also pleased that we could include two bonus tracks that have never before been available. They remind me again how rewarding this whole project was."

Fifteen-time Grammy-winning producer Steven Epstein has remastered the original recording for this new release, the first reissue of the now-classic album since it became available on CD a quarter of a century ago. In addition to the original 10 songs, it now includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded during the original sessions. Both new tracks are two songs composed by Franz Schubert – "An Sylvia" and "Auf dem wasser zu singen" – which offer the unique opportunity to hear Streisand's amazing voice with a piano as its only accompaniment.

Comprised of art songs and arias by a range of European composers, from George Frideric Handel and Robert Schumann to Claude Debussy and Gabriel Faure , Classical Barbra rose to No. 46 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in 1976 and is certified gold in the U.S. Accompanied by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claus Ogerman, Streisand sings in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and (in Joseph Canteloube's "Brezairola") in a European provincial dialect called Occitan. Other gems include Faure's Pavane, songs that include Debussy's " Beau Soir " and Robert Schumann 's "Mondnacht," as well as the arias "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Handel's opera Rinaldo, and "In Trutina" from Carl Orff 's Carmina Burana .

In the original liner notes Leonard Bernstein wrote, "Barbra Streisand's natural ability to make music takes her over to the classical field with extraordinary ease. It's clear that she loves these songs. In her sensitive, straightforward and enormously appealing performance, she has given us a very special musical experience."

More recently, New York Times classical music critic Anthony Tommasini said of Streisand that "her ability to shape a phrase with velvety legato and find the right expressive coloring for each note and each word is the epitome of cultured vocalism."

SKYDOG: THE DUANE ALLMAN RETROSPECTIVE CHRONICLES GROUNDBREAKING GUITARIST’S CAREER, FROM GARAGE BANDS AND R&B SESSION WORK TO THE ALLMAN BROTHERS

Seven CD set, due out March 5 on Rounder Records, includes rare recordings by Allman’s early bands: the Escorts, Allman Joys, the 31st of February, and the Bleus. Extensive liner notes are accompanied by a tribute from Allman’s daughter.

Even if he’d never formed the Allman Brothers Band, Duane Allman would be a major figure in American popular music. Long before his name became known to mainstream audiences, he had already established his credentials as a once-in-a-lifetime guitar visionary, leaving his unmistakable stamp on a broad array of recordings. On March 5, 2013, Rounder Records, a division of Concord Music Group, will release the most ambitious retrospective of Allman’s short but influential career titled Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective.

The deluxe seven-disc collection, carrying a list price of $139.98, contains the guitarist’s best-known and most commercially successful recordings with the Allman Brothers Band and Derek & the Dominos, as well as session work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs, Clarence Carter, King Curtis, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Ronnie Hawkins, Otis Rush, Laura Nyro, Lulu, the Sweet Inspirations, Laura Lee, Spencer Wiggins, Arthur Conley, Willie Walker, the Lovelles, the Soul Survivors, Johnny Jenkins, John Hammond, Doris Duke, Eric Quincy Tate, Herbie Mann and more.

The set was produced by Galadrielle Allman (Duane’s daughter) and two-time Grammy® winning producer Bill Levenson. Rounder Records’ Scott Billington served as executive producer. Scott Schinder contributed comprehensive historical liner notes, complemented by additional notes by Galadrielle Allman.

In her recollection of her father, who died when she was a young child, Galadrielle writes, “I am very lucky that my father is Duane Allman, an artist who left behind a wealth of incredible music . . . Working on this retrospective, I have gotten closer than I ever have been to understanding my father’s development as a musician and a man.”

Duane Allman, known to his bandmates as Skydog, was born in Nashville in 1946. With Gregg, his only sibling, Duane had his first moment of musical revelation upon witnessing a late ’50s R&B bill that featured B.B. King and Jackie Wilson. By 1960, both Duane and Gregg owned guitars and played in a series of neighborhood garage bands in Tennessee and Florida. Continuing their interest in blues and R&B in the shadow of blues radio station WLAC-AM’s continent-spanning signal, as well as absorbing the influence of the British Invasion, the brothers launched the Escorts in 1965 and the Allman Joys, who recorded a handful of sides in Bradley’s Barn in Nashville in 1966. By 1967, Duane and Gregg signed to Liberty as the Hour Glass and recorded two albums in Nashville and Los Angeles. When the band sought to defy the label and spread its musical wings, they were dropped. The brothers returned to Florida, hooked up with drummer Butch Trucks, and recorded two sides as the 31st of February, and later at Ardent Studio in Memphis as the Bleus.

By this time Duane had developed a reputation as a leading session guitarist. He was on Fame Studio’s A list, his guitar licks coloring hits by Wilson Pickett. Atlantic Records producer and executive Jerry Wexler took note and hired him to perform on Atlantic sessions by King Curtis, Otis Rush, Arthur Conley, the Soul Survivors and Sweet Inspirations. Wexler signed him to a solo Atlantic deal, resulting in a session that contained the raucous original “Happily Married Man” and more. The session, contained on the Skydog set, was abandoned mid-stream. But by then Capricorn Records’ Phil Walden had noticed the rumblings from Muscle Shoals. Duane gathered up brother Gregg, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Jai Johanny Johanson and others and the Allman Brothers Band was born.

According to reissue annotator Schinder, “The [Allman Brothers Band’s] music was complex and adventurous, yet unfailingly accessible. The subtle and harmonic interplay between Duane and Dickey’s dual lead guitars was matched by the three-man rhythm section’s surging, swinging cross-rhythms, with Gregg’s massively expressive singing and organ playing keeping the music firmly grounded in human emotion.” The band’s profile grew with each release — the self-titled debut, Idlewild South and eventually the band’s breakthrough, At Fillmore East.

Testament to his energy and ambition, Duane still found time for side projects. When bandmates would hole up at home after tours, Duane joined fellow world-class guitarist Eric Clapton on Derek & the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. While not an official member, he quickly emerged as a major contributor to the classic album, his twin guitar interplay with Clapton shaping the hits “Layla” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad.” He also worked with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends and Laura Nyro between Allman Brothers Band projects.

By then acknowledged as one of rock’s premier guitarists, Duane and the Allman Brothers Band began recording their follow-up to At Fillmore East — Eat a Peach. Tom Dowd, another legendary Atlantic house producer, oversaw sessions at Criteria Studios. Then on October 29, 1971, four days after Fillmore had been certified gold, Duane was riding his motorcycle and swerved to avoid hitting a truck. He crashed and died of internal injuries. He was 24 years old.

 The band forged ahead as a quintet on Eat a Peach, which became one of their best selling albums. The Allman Brothers, led by Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks, continue to perform to this day.

Schinder notes, “More than four decades after his death, Duane Allman remains a towering figure whose stature has only increased in his absence. His influence lives on, not only in the multiple generations of guitarists who have been motivated by his input, but also in the legions of listeners who have continued to find inspiration in his vibrant vision of American music, which remains as fresh and truthful today as when it was created.”

“When a musician of my father’s caliber dies, every note he ever recorded becomes even more precious,” writes Galadrielle. “Each song is pressed into the service of telling his story. The longer Duane is gone, the clearer it becomes that there will never be another like him.”

Over seven discs, Skydog tells the Duane Allman story with rare and never-before-heard gems alongside smash hits.

“I hope the celebration of Duane’s life inspires you to live fearlessly and enjoy life,” Galadrielle concludes. “I know that would have made him proud.”

Disc One
1 THE ESCORTS Turn On Your Love Light 2:33
2 THE ESCORTS No Name Instrumental 3:13
3 THE ESCORTS What’d I Say 4:04
4 THE ALLMAN JOYS Spoonful 2:27
5 THE ALLMAN JOYS Gotta Get Away 2:38
6 THE ALLMAN JOYS Shapes Of Things 2:47
7 THE ALLMAN JOYS Crossroads 3:32
8 THE ALLMAN JOYS Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I 4:45
9 THE ALLMAN JOYS Lost Woman 5:23
10 HOUR GLASS Cast Off All My Fears 3:31
11 HOUR GLASS I’ve Been Trying 2:39
12 HOUR GLASS Nothing But Tears 2:29
13 HOUR GLASS Power Of Love 2:51
14 HOUR GLASS Down In Texas 3:08
15 HOUR GLASS Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 3:01
16 HOUR GLASS B.B. King Medley 7:07
17 HOUR GLASS Been Gone Too Long 3:03
18 HOUR GLASS Ain’t No Good To Cry 3:08
19 31ST OF FEBRUARY Morning Dew 3:46
20 31ST OF FEBRUARY Melissa 3:12
21 THE BLEUS Milk And Honey 2:34
22 THE BLEUS Leavin’ Lisa 2:43
23 THE BLEUS Julianna’s Gone 2:59

Disc Two
1 CLARENCE CARTER The Road Of Love 2:54
2 CLARENCE CARTER Light My Fire 2:49
3 WILSON PICKETT Hey Jude 4:06
4 WILSON PICKETT Toe Hold 2:49
5 WILSON PICKETT My Own Style Of Loving 2:41
6 WILSON PICKETT Born to Be Wild 2:45
7 LAURA LEE It’s How You Make It Good 2:32
8 LAURA LEE It Ain’t What You Do (But How You Do It) 2:05
9 SPENCER WIGGINS I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You) 3:01
10 ARTHUR CONLEY Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 3:00
11 ARTHUR CONLEY Stuff You Gotta Watch 2:15
12 ARTHUR CONLEY Speak Her Name 2:39
13 ARTHUR CONLEY That Can't Be My Baby 2:22
14 WILLIE WALKER A Lucky Loser 2:20
15 THE LOVELLES I'm Coming Today 2:59
16 THE LOVELLES Pretending Dear 2:38
17 ARETHA FRANKLIN The Weight 2:53
18 ARETHA FRANKLIN It Ain't Fair 3:22
19 SOUL SURVIVORS Darkness 2:56
20 SOUL SURVIVORS Tell Daddy 2:30
21 SOUL SURVIVORS Got Down On Saturday 3:10
22 KING CURTIS Hey Joe 2:56
23 KING CURTIS Foot Pattin' 4:49
24 KING CURTIS Games People Play 2:46
25 KING CURTIS The Weight 2:47
26 THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS Get A Little Order 2:06

Disc Three
1 THE BARRY GOLDBERG BLUES BAND Twice A Man 4:26
2 DUANE ALLMAN Goin' Down Slow 8:44
3 DUANE ALLMAN No Money Down 3:25
4 DUANE ALLMAN Happily Married Man 2:40
5 OTIS RUSH Me 2:55
6 OTIS RUSH Reap What You Sow 4:53
7 OTIS RUSH It Takes Time 3:25
8 THE DUCK & THE BEAR Going Up The Country 2:34
9 THE DUCK & THE BEAR Hand Jive 2:41
10 BOZ SCAGGS Finding Her 4:10
11 BOZ SCAGGS Look What I Got 4:13
12 BOZ SCAGGS Waiting For A Train 2:41
13 BOZ SCAGGS Loan Me A Dime 13:01
14 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Don't Want You No More 2:26
15 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND It's Not My Cross To Bear 5:01
16 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Black Hearted Woman 5:07
17 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Trouble No More 3:45

Disc Four
1 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Every Hungry Woman 4:13
2 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Dreams 7:16
3 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Whipping Post 5:16
4 RONNIE HAWKINS One More Night 2:22
5 RONNIE HAWKINS Will The Circle Be Unbroken 2:50
6 RONNIE HAWKINS Matchbox 3:05
7 RONNIE HAWKINS Down In The Alley 5:08
8 RONNIE HAWKINS Who Do You Love 2:13
9 LULU Marley Purt Drive 3:21
10 LULU Dirty Old Man 2:20
11 LULU Mr. Bojangles 3:08
12 LULU Sweep Around Your Own Back Door 2:40
13 JOHNNY JENKINS I Walk On Gilded Splinters 5:16
14 JOHNNY JENKINS Rollin’ Stone 4:56
15 JOHNNY JENKINS Down Along The Cove 3:02
16 JOHNNY JENKINS Voodoo In You 4:50
17 JOHN HAMMOND Shake For Me 2:42
18 JOHN HAMMOND Cryin’ For My Baby 2:39
19 JOHN HAMMOND I’m Leavin’ You 3:20
20 JOHN HAMMOND You’ll Be Mine 2:42
21 DORIS DUKE Ghost Of Myself 3:06

Disc Five
1 ERIC QUINCY TATE Comin’ Down (demo version) 2:52
2 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Hoochie Coochie Man (live) 5:00
3 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Midnight Rider 2:58
4 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Dimples (live) 4:59
5 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (live) 9:21
6 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Soul Shake 3:06
7 LAURA NYRO Beads Of Sweat 4:47
8 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ 3:28
9 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Living On The Open Road 3:03
10 ELLA BROWN A Woman Left Lonely 3:23
11 ELLA BROWN Touch Me 2:59
12 BOBBY LANCE More Than Enough Rain 5:51
13 DEREK & THE DOMINOS I Am Yours 3:34
14 DEREK & THE DOMINOS Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? 4:41
15 DEREK & THE DOMINOS Have You Ever Loved A Woman 6:52
16 DEREK & THE DOMINOS Layla 7:03
17 ERIC CLAPTON & DUANE ALLMAN Mean Old World 3:48

Disc Six
1 SAM SAMUDIO Me And Bobby McGee 3:31
2 SAM SAMUDIO Relativity 3:14
3 SAM SAMUDIO Goin' Upstairs 5:06
4 RONNIE HAWKINS Don't Tell Me Your Troubles 2:13
5 RONNIE HAWKINS Sick And Tired 2:45
6 RONNIE HAWKINS Odessa 3:19
7 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Gift Of Love 2:09
8 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Sing My Way Home 4:02
9 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Statesboro Blues (live) 4:17
10 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (live) 13:04
11 GRATEFUL DEAD Sugar Magnolia (live) 7:20
12 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND One Way Out (live) 4:57
13 HERBIE MANN Push Push 10:03
14 HERBIE MANN Spirit In The Dark 7:59
15 HERBIE MANN What’d I Say 4:57

Disc Seven
1 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Come On In My Kitchen (live) 3:42
2 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Going Down The Road Feeling Bad (live) 4:03
3 DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS Poor Elijah / Tribute To Johnson (Medley) (live) 4:54
4 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND You Don't Love Me / Soul Serenade (live) 19:25
5 COWBOY Please Be With Me 3:41
6 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Stand Back 3:24
7 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Blue Sky 5:09
8 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Blue Sky (live) 11:24
9 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Dreams (live) 17:56
10 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND Little Martha 2:07

THE GRAHAM BOND ORGANIZATION - WADE IN THE WATER: CLASSICS, ORIGINS & ODDITIES (4-CD SET)

An amazing collection of work from the legendary Graham Bond – a 60s Hammond player who was incredibly important to the London scene during the best mod years of the decade! Bond was way more than just a jazz musician – and like George Fame, Zoot Money, and a few of his other contemporaries – he had a way of mixing together jazz and soul with a strong touch of blues – almost a new British version of soul jazz, similar to the way that some of the bigger English rock groups were drawing from American R&B! Graham sings on most tracks – with these raspy vocals that are incredibly charming, and downright soulful – and in addition to his own work on organ, instrumentation features lots of pre-Cream work from Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on bass – plus plenty of tenor from Dick Heckstall-Smith too. If you dig the mod work of Georgie Fame, you'll find plenty to love here too – but Bond also really helps point the way towards more progressive jazz-rock experiments of the future – although this set features mostly tracks from 1966 and before, without any of Graham's later trippier music. The 4CD package is the best collection we've ever seen of Bond's music from these years – and includes rare singles, unreleased cuts, and even some side projects with Ernest Ranglin and Duffy Power too. 98 tracks in all, with a great booklet as well – and titles that include "Cabbage Greens", "Harmonica", "Tammy", "Early In The Morning", "Honey Bee", "Long Tall Shorty", "Soul Tango", "Down In The Valley", "Waltz For A Pig", "Like A Baby", "Please Don't Say", "Walking In The Park", "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf", "Dick's Instrumental", and lots lots more. ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, January 28, 2013

NEW RELEASES - CHARLIE WILSON, MARY WELLS, AL GREEN

CHARLIE WILSON - LOVE, CHARLIE

Charlie Wilson's fourth album in eight years -- his fourth consecutive release to feature his first name in the title -- is his most modest and low-key set. Some listeners might bemoan the increasingly reserved nature of Wilson's releases since the singer's unexpected 2000s resurgence, but the direction is natural. It would make little sense for him to continue teaming with songwriters and producers accustomed to working with pop-oriented R&B artists less than half his age. Besides, these love songs -- all of which were co-written beside wife Mahin Wilson and an assortment of others -- are not lacking in energy and spirit. For someone who has been through as much as Wilson, who beat prostate cancer, seemingly basic sentiments expressed in "If I Believe" and "I Still Have You" ring clearly and loudly with conviction and vigor. ... Full Description While it does not feature as many standouts as the three previous "Charlie" albums, Love, Charlie is another enjoyable and genuine addition to the catalog of a funk heavyweight. ~ Andy Kellman.

MARY WELLS - ONE WHO REALLY LOVES YOU

Mary Wells place as the First Lady of Motown was well and truly confirmed in 1962, thanks in large part to the runaway success of the singles The One Who Really Loves You and You Beat Me To The Punch, b oth of which hit the Top Ten of the pop chart. Both were written by Smokey Robinson, the second in conjunction with fellow Miracle Ronnie White, and feature The Love-Tones, a male group who briefly offered the same kind of vocal accompaniment that The Andantes would later provide. Although there is no producer credit on the resulting album, it has the stamp of Smokey running all the way through like a stick of rock. Together, Mary and Smokey were a winning combination, one which would reach its peak with My Guy, but much of this album is of the same kind of calibre. ~ CD Universe

AL GREEN - THE LOVE SONGS COLLECTION

Recorded between 1972 & 2002. Includes liner notes by Colin Escott. If there's ever been a soul singer who deserves to be called on to provide mood music for romantic interludes, it's Al Green. With his ringing falsetto, impassioned phrasing, and killer arrangements by famed Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell, Green's Love Songs Collection merits a special place on your shelf. All the great songs are here: the simmering "Call Me (Come Back Home)," cool and loose "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," yearning "Let's Stay Together," and sassy "Love And Happiness." Although most of these songs were either written or co-written by Green, there's also a number of notable covers including a restrained interpretation of Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times" and a version of the Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" that aches with hurt. Personnel includes: Al Green, Ann Nesby (vocals). Compilation producers: Bryan Kelley, Shannon Ward. Rolling Stone (2/6/03, p.65) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Green has plenty of greatest-hits collections, but this is as fine a place as any to start..."  ~ CD Universe

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