Friday, June 28, 2013

NEW COMPILATION COLLECTIONS - COTILLION RECORDS SOUL 45'S BOX SET, THE R&B SINGLES COLLECTION, SWEET DREAMS: WHERE COUNTRY MEETS SOUL

COTILLION RECORDS SOUL 45'S BOX SET - 1968 - 1970 (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

A killer collection of singles from the legendary Cotillion arm of Atlantic Records – all presented as individual 7" records with original labels, served up in a hip limited edition package! The work here would already be great as a CD compilation – but it's extra special when served up in this stunning format – like finding a pile of rare soul singles in the back of a rack in an overlooked record store – still in great shape, and ready to explode anew on your turntable! The music is very well-chosen – and includes cuts by some key artists who only worked briefly for Cotillion, and never cut a full album for the label – such as Baby Washington, Otis Clay, or Walter Jackson. Other artists are ones who really hit their height at Cotillion, but still remain relatively obscure – and the singles here easily represent some of their best work ever. All cuts are right from the hippest tail end of the 60s – and titles include "Do Right Woman" and "That Kind Of Lovin" by Otis Clay, "Keep On Striving" and "Come On Let Me Love You" by Moses Smith, "Night After Night" and "The Love That I Needed" by The Blendells, "The Love Of My Woman" and "I Wanna Go Home" by Darrell Banks, "I've Fallen In Love" and "You Are The Circus" by C & The Shells, "Any Way That You Want Me" and "Life Has Its Ups & Downs" by Walter Jackson, "I Gotta Get Back To Lovin You" and "LA/USA" by Hollywood Spectrum, "I Don't Know" and "I Can't Afford To Lose Him" by Baby Washington, "Don't Play That Song" and "People In Love" by Lou Johnson, and "Ain't No Sun" and "Murder IN The First Degree" by The Dynamics. (Limited edition of 2500 copies. Includes download for all tracks – plus a 45 record adaptor, a booklet, and stickers too!) ~ Dusty Groove

OUTTA SIGHT - THE R&B SINGLES COLLECTION (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

R&B singles, but plenty of soul as well – all pulled from that crucial point when the 50s was giving way to the 60s, and the older bluesy styles were changing into the socking soul of the new generation! Some tunes here have a harder groove that echoes the R&B style of the previous decade, but others soar forth in ways that clearly light the fuse for Northern Soul and other styles to come – all served up in a rich batch of rare singles that mixes some classic numbers with more obscure and expensive gems! Titles include "Just A Little Bit" by Tiny Topsy, "Chills & Fever" by Johnny Love, "Sugar In My Tea" by Piney Brown & His Blues Toppers, "Flaming Mamie" by Billy Hambric, "I'm Gonna Leave You Baby" by Willie Wright, "I'm Gonna Whale On You" by Little Arthur Mathews, "Undivided Love" by Eskew Reeder, "Come Here You" by Al Tamms, "Ammerette" by Benny Spellman, and "Honkey Tonk Woman" by Fabulous Playboys. ~ Dusty Groove

SWEET DREAMS - WHERE COUNTRY MEETS SOUL (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

Great sounds from a very special place – that magical meeting point where country meets soul – a spot that was crossed surprisingly often in the southern soul scene of the 60s and 70s! The set's a great follow-up to the excellent first volume – and really does a wonderful job of showing the way that a country ethos could work equally well in soul music – with results that will definitely have you re-thinking your ideas of cultural separation in the south. Much of the work is from that great late 60s/early 70s point when the country soul genre was really maturing – moving past the earlier moments of Ray Charles or Brook Benton, and using the style to express a new level of lyrical sophistication – especially in songs of love lost. Titles include "Sweet Music Man" by Millie Jackson, "Don't You Ever Get Tired" by Bettye Swann, "I Hate You" by Bobby Bland, "Statue Of A Fool" by David Ruffin, "Tennessee Waltz" by Otis Redding, "Bad News" by Clarence Carter, "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Hank Ballard, "But You Know I Love You" by Sweet Inspirations, "Please Help Me I'm Falling" by William Bell, "Sometimes" by Facts Of Life, "I'll Release You" by Ted Taylor, and "All I Have To Offer" by Eddie James. ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - HERBIE MANN, CHARLES JACKSON, SERGIO MENDES TRIO

HERBIE MANN - MY KINDA GROOVE

Herbie Mann's groove is mighty darn great here – a rich refinement of his earlier flute jazz styles, into the tighter sound that really sparkled with soul during the Atlantic Records years of the 60s! Most cuts mix Latin rhythms with some very soulful inflections in the overall instrumentation – with arrangements from Herbie, Oliver Nelson, and Rene Hernandez that really make the whole thing shine – and instrumentation from a tight group of hip players that features Dave Pike on vibes, Don Friedman on piano, Atilla Zoller on guitar, and added percussion by Willie Bobo and Patato Valdez! Titles include "Vikki", "Blues In The Closet", "Saudade De Bahia", "Spanish Grits", "Mushi Mushi", and "Soul Guajira". ~ Dusty Groove


CHARLES JACKSON -PASSIONATE BREEZES / GONNA GETCHA LOVE

A pair of Capitol classics from Charles Jackson – back to back on a single CD! First up is Passionate Breezes – a smoking solo debut from Chicago's Charles Jackson – a hell of a great singer, songwriter, and producer – who'd already had great fame in the Independents, and was working hard at Capitol records with Marvin Yancey to help shape the early years of Natalie Cole! During that time, Jackson stepped into the studio, and really stunned us with this sublime set of his own – a wonderfully mature batch of soul tunes that really reflects the great changes for male singers in the 70s – a mode that was particularly helped along by Windy City contemporaries Jerry Butler and Walter Jackson. Yet Charles has a warmth here that's all his own – gently stepping along grooves arranged by Mark Davis and Gene Barge – the latter of whom helped co-produce the record with Yancey. Yancey also wrote most of the cuts with Jackson – and titles include "Love Of You", "I Really Want You", "The Train", "Get On Down", "Passionate Breezes", and a remake of "Ooh Child". Gonna Getcha Love is great modern soul from Charles Jackson – stepping out here in his role as a solo artist after early fame with The Independents! Although Jackson himself was becoming a key force in production and songwriting for other Capitol artists (most notably Natalie Cole), this second set for the label has Chuck working with Gavin Christopher in a warm west coast groove. Christopher produced and wrote a good number of the tracks on the set – and Jackson's style here is a bit more bouncy and buoyant than before – not really 80s groove, but sliding into a slightly more uptempo mode. Titles include "At The Party", "I'm Gonna Get Your Love", "I Finally Found My Love", "I'm Through With You", "I Love You Only", and "Just For Your Lovin". ~ Dusty Groove

BRASIL '65 - INTRODUCING THE VOICE OF WANDA DE SAH FEATURING THE SERGIO MENDES TRIO

That's Brasil 65, not Brasil 66 – a distinction that marks a key early stage for the great Sergio Mendes – heard here on one of his first albums to mix together bossa jazz and vocals! The approach here is a bit more like vintage bossa dates from Brazil – or a bit like some of the Verve bossa records too – as Sergio's core trio is at the heart of every tune, playing with a great jazzy approach – then augmented in different ways by alto and flute from Bud Shank, guitar from Rosinha De Valenca, and vocals from the lovely Wanda De Sah! Production is perfect – really in a classic Elenco Records mode – and titles include "Let Me", "Consolacao", "Tristeza Em Mim", "Muito A Vontade", "Reza", "Berimbau", and "Aquarius". ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - FABIANO ORCHESTRA, DON CHERRY, BARNEY KESSEL

FABIANO ORCHESTRA - BUTTERFLY ISLAND

A rare gem from percussionist JF Fabiano – a really unique little set of jazzy grooves that was recorded in Martinique, and features musicians both from the European and American scenes of the 70s! There's some mighty great horn work on the set – thanks to work from guests Clifford Jordan on flute, Marvin Peterson on trumpet, and Carter Jefferson on soprano sax and tenor – but the real strength of the album comes from the rhythms – which are a complicated blend of Fabiano's work on drums, gong, kalimba, and other percussion – then augmented by other percussionists, and electrified with some sweet work on Fender Rhodes, clavinet, mini moog, and guitar! The result is a record that's got the sharpness of a fusion outing, but the organic touches of a spiritual jazz set – all crafted in a space that's far away from the influence of mainstream studios of the time. Bunny Brisset-Fabiano sings on a few tracks, but most of the set is instrumental – and titles include "Half Moon Bay", "West Indian Meditation", "Butterfly Island", "Pointe Des Chateaux", "Creole", and "For Ca Change". (Beautiful vinyl pressing – super-heavy cover and vinyl, with bonus insert too!) ~ Dusty Groove


DON CHERRY - RELATIVELY SUITE   One of Don Cherry's most spiritual, far-reaching projects – a wonderful record that builds both on his key avant work of the 60s, and some of the globally-inspired sounds he was cutting overseas! This date was done in close collaboration with the New York underground of the time – and the large group features work from a rich array of great musicians – including Charles Brackeen on soprano and alto sax, Carlos Ward on alto, Frank Lowe and Dewey Redman on tenors, Charlie Haden on bass, Carla Bley on piano, and Ed Blackwell on drums – working with additional string and percussion players in a sound that's completely sublime! There's a great ear here for unusual sonic twists and turns, yet these are mixed with some deeper organic tones, and some freer jazz passages – all to really ignite a great fire as the set rolls on. Titles include "March Of The Hobbits", "Tantra", "Desireless", "Infinite Gentleness", and "Trans-Love Airways". ~ Dusty Groove
BARNEY KESSEL - HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL

A sweet sweet groover from Barney Kessel – his own hip take on the soundtrack for Hair – all those wonderful songs originally penned by the great Galt MacDermot! Barney's got an extra-trippy feel on some of the best cuts – a wider sound on his guitar, which rings out nicely alongside some sweet Hammond lines and electric bass, plus a bit of added rhythm guitar from Ike Issacs – who helps underscore the groove on the set. Unlike other Hair re-works, the instrumentation here is pretty spare overall – mostly in a small combo mode – and titles include "Frank Mills", "Walking in Space", "Be-In", "Good Morning Sunshine", and "Easy to be Hard". ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - PEVEN EVERETT, SETENTA, LAMP

PEVEN EVERETT - KING OF HEARTS

We haven't heard from Peven Everett in quite some time – and the respite's been a great one, because it seems that Peven's really regrouped, found new strengths, and has come out with his best record in years! The whole thing's one of the best produced, packaged, and put-together sets we've ever heard from this legendary soul singer from the underground – and one of the few that really live up to the genius we've seen in his great performances on local stages here in the Windy City! Grooves are upbeat, yet warmer than house or dance – and Peven's vocals seem to have really matured a lot, and find a range of tones that's even greater than before – bringing new expression in at a level we hardly would have expected. The keyboards are great, too – skipping along strongly with the rhythms, and showing Peven's roots in jazz – and titles include "Taking Me Back", "Baby Momma With Sense", "Don't You Want To Funk", "I Just Wanna Make You Happy", "I Can Be Your Boyfriend", and "One Way Ticket". ~ Dusty Groove

SETENTA - LATIN PIECE OF SOUL

One of the coolest Latin combos cooking today – a group who are heavily influenced by the funky Latin
sound of the 70s, and who work here in a Parisian studio playing only on vintage instruments! If that sounds like too much hype, don't worry – because it's really just our way of laying out the wonderful groove of the record – a quality that really appears to our ears trained on classic styles, but which also comes across with the fresh, young energy of some of the best deep funk combos as well! Setenta do a great job of mixing up these modes – using lots of tight percussion, plenty of Fender Rhodes, and a great mix of horns – on titles that include "Colorblind", "No Te Creo", "Ijo Soul", "Yalale", "We Never Know", "Nuevayorkino", "Tira", "Mambo Machine", and a surprisingly great Latin remake of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Dusty Groove

LAMP - SHADES OF GREEN

A sweet collaboration from Lamp – a duo that features Andy Compton of The Rurals, and singer Ladybird – who's worked before with Soldiers Of Twilight and Llorca! Ladybird's got this sweetly slinky style of singing – and Compton's grooves here are a bit more laidback than with The Rurals – less house in the rhythms at times, and a bit more jazz funk – but of the smooth variety that really works perfectly with the lyrics! Some of The Rurals join in for backing, giving the record a solid groove that definitely holds up to the Compton legacy – and titles include "My People", "Love The Love", "Only You Know", "Fly Baby Fly", "Sun & The Moon", "Springtime", and "Your Fortune".  ~ Dusty Groove

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NEW RELEASES - BARBARA EUGENIA, QUADRON, DUB CLUB

BARBARA EUGENIA - E O TEMOS

A beautiful debut from singer Barbara Eugenia – a contemporary Brazilian singer, but one who really seems to find a way to let classic modes ripple through her music – a style that really takes us back to some of our favorite female singers of the 60s – yet served up with an approach that's also completely grounded in the 21st Century! The backings are often a bit airy – maybe even trippy – and although Eugenia's vocals are processed a bit around the edges, they have this force that comes through very strongly – in ways that are different than some of her gentler contemporaries, but which are also free of some too-emotive modes that might sound false. The whole thing's almost a return to that great moment when Brazilian music first fell in love with the legacy of The Beatles – yet also has a definite modern twist too – and titles include "O Peso Dos Erros", "Roupa Suja", "Coracao", "Porque Brigamos", "Ugabuga Feelings", and "You Wish You Get It". ~ Dusty Groove

QUADRON - AVALANCHE

Quadron steps up the bigs with Avalanche – an impeccable second album and first to be co-released Epic Records – and as much as we appreciated their earlier album on Plug Research, this really is an epic-level creative leap forward for the duo! They're still working mix of electro and hip hop soul steeped production by Robin Hannibal, fronted beautifully by the soulful vocals of Coco O, and last, but not least, and great jointly-written songs. It's just bigger and better now. You can hear innovative pop soul influences from the 80s onward in their style, but they put it together in way that's all their own. We'd love it if they took over the mainstream with this record. It's that good! Titles include "LFT", "Favorite Star", "Hey Love", "Crush", "Befriend", "Neverland", "It's Gonna Get You", "Better Off" with Kendrick Lamar, "Sea Salt" and "Avalanche". ~ Dusty Groove

DUB CLUB - BUBBLE DUB

Classic-style dubwise recordings – spearheaded by Dub Club DJ Tom Chasteen and Jamaica's Tippa Lee – each dub featuring dancehall icons who have taken the stage over the years at Dub Club events in LA! Dub Club has been championing classic and contemporary dub, dancehall and reggae for years on the west coast club scene, but the Foundation Dub vinyl sets don't set out to replicate a Dub Club live show or DJ nights as much as it serves as a fresh tribute – and also a creative and original piece of work. Jointly produced by Chasteen and Lee and recorded over a few years period in both LA and Jamaica. A hand-picked group of LA reggae musicians laid down the instrumentation, including Ras Benjy, Eddie Ruscha, Freddie Flint, Mark Lightcap, Kofi, Roger Rivas and Bongo Herman. Vol 2 includes "Gimme Dub", "Bring The Dub Again", "Mystic Dub", "Covenant In Dub", "Hart Time Dub", "Ain't Too Proud To Dub", "Every Dub Is A Star" and more. ~

NEW RELEASES - WILSON SIMONINHA, MARTINHO DA VILA, ROBERTO MENESCAL

WILSON SIMONINHA - ALTA FIDELIDADE

It's been way too long since we've last heard from Wilson Simoninha – and this sweet soulful set is a great reminder of just how much we love his music! The style is definitely strongly Brazilian, but also carries plenty of echoes from the samba soul generation of Wilson Simonal Sr – yet served up in a contemporary mode that mixes together funk and Neo Soul influences in a very nice way! Wilson's vocals are instantly compelling, even if you can't understand the language of the lyrics – and the tunes have lots of jazzy touches around the edges that keep things nice and warm, and plenty soulful. If the album was in English, it would be huge here – so don't let the barrier of a different language keep you from loving the whole thing. Titles include "Quando", "Versos Faceis", "Morena Rara", "Quebra", "Falso Amor", "Distraido", and "Pois E Poeira". ~ Dusty Groove

MARTINHO DA VILA & OTHERS - SAMBA BOOK VOLUMES 1 AND 2

The music of Martinho Da Vila – served up here with the help of a huge amount of contemporaries and admirers – including Joao Bosco, Joao Donato, Ana Costa, Elza Soares, Paulinho Da Viola, Paula Lima, Ne Matogrosso, Leci Brandao, Fernanda Abreu, and many others – plus some work by Martinho himself! Backings are in a classic samba mode, yet sometimes augmented by fuller orchestrations – yet never in a way that's too lush or commercial – just the sort of warm balance to capture all the charm in Martinho's 70s music. Titles include "Pra Tudo Se Acabar Na Quarta Feira", "Meu Off Rio", "Roda Ciranda", "Segure Todo", "Ex Amor", "Casa Da Bamba", "Quem E Do Mar Nao Enjoa", "Odile Odila", and "Filosofia De Vida". ~ Dusty Groove

ROBERTO MENESCAL & OTHERS - ELAS CANTAM MENESCAL

A host of female singers take on the music of Roberto Menescal – in a sweet little set that also features arrangements, production, and instrumentation from Menescal himself! The mode here is similar to that great update of his bossa styles that Roberto crafted in recent years with Wanda Sa – yet this time around, the singers are Cely Curado, Mracia Tauil, Nathalia Lima, and Sandra Dualibe – who each get a chance to shine in the lyrical spotlight. Menescal also sings a bit – and titles include "Me Diz", "Voce", "Clube Da Bossa", "3 x 4", "Eu E A Musica", and "O Brasil Precisa Balancar". ~

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JEFF RICHMAN - BIG WHEEL

Contemporary jazz guitarist Jeff Richman and Nefer Records announce the release of their latest CD, Big Wheel. This release is Richman’s 17th solo project and features Jeff Lorber on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums and Jimmy Haslip on bass guitar. The new CD is also produced by Jimmy Haslip and distributed by City Hall Records. All songs are available online at iTunes, Amazon and other music websites.

Winner of Jazziz magazine’s Critic Choice in 2011, Big Wheel is Richman’s follow up consisting of 10 new tracks further expanding on what Richman has sought to achieve with every new effort. Recognized as a guitarist and composer not afraid of exploring into the unknown, Richman’s latest release is an in-depth conversation of storytelling through song. Each musician is given the opportunity to express their own account of the story and their unique voices ring through on all of the tracks.

Big Wheel opens with the funky groove, “Hell If I Know” that sets the tone and pace for the remaining nine tracks. “Happy Medium” has a great island vibe that seems to have always been hidden in Richman’s playing before but really stands out this time around. Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” is one of two covers that appear on the release.

Alongside Richman, Lorber, Gadd, and Haslip; additional musicians appearing on the release include George Whitty, Alasn Pasqua and Dean Taba. Big Wheel is engineered by Lorber at JHL Sound, mixed by Paul Tavenner at Big City Records and mastered by Rich Breen at Dogmatic.

Jeff Richman is a professional guitarist with a 37 year career in performance guitar, composing, arranging and recording. He has produced 17 solo albums and toured worldwide. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he also studied privately with Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick and William Levitt. After graduating, he lived and performed in New York City and by 1979, moved to Los Angeles. The L.A. scene provided him the opportunity to play and record alongside the industry’s most talented artists, write and produce hundreds of library music cuts for television and participate on a multitude of film score projects. As producer, arranger and performing artist, Jeff recorded and released six CD projects paying tribute to Carlos Santana, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, Jeff Beck and John Coltrane for the Tone Center record label. In addition to his musical career, Jeff conducts the Fusion Ensemble at Musicians Institute. www.jeffrichman.net


Jeff Richman’s Big Wheel track listing:
Hell If I Know (6:17)
Big Deal (4:29)
That Girl (4:55)
The Last Notch (6:35)
Happy Medium (4:49)
Keep It Light (5:07)
12 Steps to the Bar (4:52)
Long Distance Love (3:42)
The Inside Scoop (4:40)
One Stone (5:32)

NEW RELEASES - GERARDO FRISINA & MAURIZIO BONIZZONI, ROSCOE MITCHELL QUARTET, BOBBY WOMACK

GERARDO FRISINA & MAURIZIO BONIZZONI - VOICES OF THE JUNGLE / ORIENT

“Voices of the Jungle” is the result of the collaboration between Gerardo Frisina and Maurizio Bonizzoni, better known as Dj Skizo. It’s the story of an encounter between two jazz lovers and record collectors, two producers whose approach to music creation couldn’t have been more different: hailing from a tremendous hip hop background (he was one of the first turntablist and hip hop culture purveyor in Italy) and highly respected for his refined technique, Skizo is an important figure of italian underground music. Gerardo, whose contributions to italian jazz scene went far beyond Italy’s border, needs no introduction to Schema’s fans. The two producers met on the shared love for jazz and “real” music. Respecting this vision, the music we present here represents the producers’ ideal blend of electronic, music played by real musicians and a refined used of samples. After a prolific studio session where they started working on some ideas, the EP had been mixed and mastered at Schema’s Blue Spirit studio. “Voices Of The Jungle” recalls Gerardo’s trademark sound, a perfect mix of Afro-Cuban influences and 4/4 House rhythm ideally set in a true jungle where percussions, vocals and piano make you lose direction. “Orient” reflects a taste for exotic atmospheres, mystery and adventure. The mood is slightly melancholic and evocative, with a catchy groove.  ~ decks.de

ROSCOE MITCHELL QUARTET - LIVE AT "A SPACE" 1975

One of Roscoe Mitchell's greatest albums from the 70s – a record that easily matches, if not beats, his classic recordings for Delmark and Nessa! Like those sets, there's a perfect sense of clarity here – the best essence of the AACM scene, taken to its most adventurous level by Roscoe – who's working way beyond music here, and is into a rich array of tones, textures, and sonic shapes – really amazing elements to come from a familiar alto, soprano, or tenor saxophone! He's got some great creative help on the project too – Muhal Richard Abrams on piano, George Lewis on trombone, and Spencer Barefield on guitar – the last of whom is darker here than on most of his later recordings. Obviously, the sensitivity that Lewis and Abrams bring to the record is a perfect match for Mitchell's direction – and the long tracks draw much from the spontaneous interplay between the three players. Titles include "Tnoona", "Music For Trombone & B Flat Soprano", "Cards", and "Olobo". Plus, this amazing new version features 4 great unissued tracks – including a beautiful version of "Naima", plus "Prelude To Naima", "Dastura", and "Nonaah". ~ Dusty Groove

BOBBY WOMACK - EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE ALRIGHT: THE AMERICAN SINGLES 1767-76

2013 two CD collection from the legendary R&B singer/songwriter. After years of ill health, 2012 saw Bobby Womack enjoy a remarkable career renaissance. Encouraged by his daughter he accepted Damon Albarn's invitation to provide vocals on several tracks for the Gorillaz 2011 album. This collaboration proved so popular that Albarn then produced Bobby's first new recordings for some years. The resulting album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, brought Bobby Womack back into the spotlight. Charly Records are proud to present this unique compilation which collates every single A and B -side Womack released on the Minit, Liberty and United Artists labels between 1967 and 1976. Filled with classics of the genre, this anthology examines one of the most talented singer/songwriters, guitarists and producers to grace the Soul spectrum. Presenting a unique look at Womack's career, this collection is perfect for collectors and newcomers alike. ~ amazon.com

NEW RELEASES - NATHALIE COLE, MARY STALLINGS, LTJ EXPERIENCE

Natalie Cole takes a page from the book of father Nat – and serves up a whole set of songs in Spanish – with just the same sort of charm we loved in the elder Cole's Spanish albums for Capitol! The approach has Natalie working in a mode that's even more jazz-based than usual – in a blend of Latin instrumentation and fuller orchestrations arranged by Gary Lindsay and Rudy Perez – and while the whole concept echoes Nat's earlier projects, Natalie's presentation of the material is really quite different – certainly more contemporary, and arguably warmer as well. Titles include "Frenesi", "Oye Como Va", "Yo Lo Amo", "El Dia Que Me Quieras", "Bachata Rosa", and "Manana De Carnaval" – and the album features guest appearances by Andrea Boccelli, Chris Botti, and Juan Luis Guerra. ~ Dusty Groove



MARY STALLINGS FEATURING ERIC REED - BUT BEAUTIFUL

Beautiful vocals from the great Mary Stallings – a singer who languished in relative obscurity on the west coast for decades, then finally sprang into wider view in more recent years! The set's got Mary working again with pianist and arranger Eric Reed – who brings a sharp sensibility to the record, and really helps Stallings find a space that's comfortable, yet challenging as well. Mary's got a richness to her vocals that's really wonderful, especially on the ballads – yet she also retains that crisp charm that always made her stand out – a quality that puts her in a class with legends like Shirley Horn or Lorez Alexandria. The album features some nice touches of saxophone at times – alto from Danny Janklow and tenor from Brian Clancy – and Eric Reed plays piano throughout, and on one track works without any other instrumentation alongside the vocals. Titles include "Some Other Spring", "Time On My Hands", "I Thought About You", "Dedicated To You", and "The Lamp Is Low".~ Dusty Groove

LTJ EXPERIENCE - AIN'T NOTHING BUT A GROOVE

A great return to form for the LTJ Experience – exactly the kind of tight grooves and soulful sounds that made Luca Trevisi such a standout in earlier years of the Italian club scene! The style here is really back to basics – somewhere between the spareness of the post-disco years and the fuller soulful styles when house started coming into play – always pretty funky in the rhythms, but with a forward-moving focus that's quite different than straight instrumental funk too. Titles include "Funk Is On", "Disco-Ver Me", "What I Feel", "Linear Funk", "Vuoto Beat", and "Get Down". ~ Dusty Groove

NEW RELEASES - NICOLE CONTE PRESENTS VIAGEM 5, SHAKE-A-LEG CLUB NIGHT COMPILATION, KRATOS HIMSELF

NICOLA CONTE PRESENTS VIAGEM 5 - LOST BOSSA AND SAMBA CLASSICS FROM THE SWINGING BRAZILIAN '60S

The Brazilophile is back! Italian jazz don, Nicola Conte (Blue Note, Universal, Schema) returns from another voyage in time with Viagem 5, a collection of 17 sizzling tracks recorded during Brazil’s troublesome yet prolific decade of 1960s and beyond. Sunny samba jazz, breezy bossa and all around wonderful rare grooves from Brazil – treasures from the heart of the 60s, compiled by Italian jazz guru Nicola Conte! Conte is not only one of the most affectionately groovy jazz players on the contemporary global landscape, he's also a selector with impeccable taste. Just on the basis of the Viagem series, the man would get our nomination for sainthood. This is the fifth time he's drawn from his deep well of rare 60s records from Brazil, and it keeps getting better and better. The tunes are rooted in a small combo jazzy vibe, most with easygoing MPB vocals. It's the love of jazz-centric, but still profoundly Brazilian sounds that makes the Viagem series stand out so strongly. Features tunes by Quarteto 004, Neyde Fraga, Samba 5, Edith Vega, Marilia Medalha, Grupo Arembepe, Papudinho and many more – and titles include "Vou Te Contar" by Quarteto 004, "Onda Quebrando" by Neyde Fraga, "Berimbau" by Samba 5, "Vim De Santana" by Theo, "Ye Meme" by Papudinho, "Quintessencia" by Zumba Five, "Matando Miseria A Pau" by Edith Vega, "Zana" by Marilia Medalha, "Iaia" by Grupo Arembepe, "Neurotico" by Pedrinho Mattar Trio and more. ~ Dusty Groove


SHAKE-A-LEG VOLUME 2 - CLUB NIGHT COMPILATION

A fresh and funky second Shake-A-Leg compilation from Perfect Toy – chronicling the styles spun at the Shake-A-Leg DJ nights, which shake up the Munich club scene on a monthly basis – and it's also a nicely curated set of vintage and contemporary jazzy funk, Afro Beat and deep soul! You know you're in good DJ hands when the setlist plays like a 40 something year history of globetrotting, dancefloor ready jazz and funky soul – spanning the old(er) school styles of Charles Earland, Willis Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers and more, plus contemporary torch carriers such as The Qualitons, Cesar's Salad and Deep Jazz. Compiled by Jerker Kluge and Tobias Kirmayer. Includes a deep funk revisit of "Zulu Walk" by Mighty Mocambos with Afrika Bambaataa, Charlie Funk & King Kamonzi, "The Mighty Burner" by Charles Earland, "Jive Samba" by Willis Jackson", "Coincidence Of Circumstance" by Deep Jazz, "Sunny" by Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers, "Presentations' by Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra, "Unicorn" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Branded" by CJ Leach and more. 15 in all. ~ Dusty Groove

KRATOS HIMSELF - A TOWN CALLED IMAGINARIUM

Kratos Himself is from the Netherlands. A Town Called Imaginarium is his new EP on Jus Like Music Records that he states is dedicated to the imagination of whoever is listening. It's a downtempo instrumental EP featuring additional instrumentation from bass player Marc Machielse, plus singers Ditte de Muynck and K.J.B. Blending the organic with the electronic, A Town Called Imaginarium is a beautiful EP that straddles a line between soundscape and song, with ethereal melodies and tight jazz breaks, that has also been compared to Portico Quartet. A relative newcomer to the scene, Kratos Himself - AKA Jethro Hopmans is currently working on new material with Jesse Futerman. A Town Called Imaginarium is certain to turn a lot of heads, and to turn a lot of people on to the man Kratos Himself - a name you're sure to be hearing a lot more from now on. ~ Just Like Music Records Records

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

KEIKO MATSUI - SOUL QUEST FEATURING NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN, CHUCK LOEB, MARCUS MILLER, KIRK WHALUM AND OTHERS

“Creating this album was like going on a soul quest, as I tried to figure out how to express the things I was thinking and experiencing during this past year,” confides pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui (pronounced Kay-Koe, meaning ‘happy, celebratory child’ in Japanese). “This music energizes me and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I listen to it. I hope people will allow themselves to go inside the music and become a part of my journey,” says the stunning, profound pianist and world citizen who is celebrating a triumphant 25 years of recording in the US. In the words of Duke Ellington, Keiko Matsui is ‘beyond category.’

The courageous, spiritually-driven and consummate artist who enjoyed the distinction of being an invited guest and performer at the second International Jazz Day, sponsored by UNESCO and held in Istanbul in April 2013, transcends boundary. Her unique melting pot of musical influences have garnered her a devout international following. The eloquent and soft-spoken but yet deliberate musician tours relentlessly and seeks to make a genuine connection with her audience. “Everybody has so many things going on in their lives but my concerts are special for me. The music creates a oneness. The exchange I share with my audience is the root of my energy. It’s like my mission.” Matsui has worked alongside the best including Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela and Bob James.

A true humanitarian, Keiko has lent her voice to raise awareness for such causes as The Daniel Pearl Foundation, The United Nations World Food Programme, Be The Match Marrow Registry and The National Donor Program and Marrow Foundation. She has also lent her efforts to the continued revitalization and healing of Japan in the wake of the recent Tsunami and Fukushima disasters. “I still have these images of kindergarten teachers holding their kids in order to protect them. I also think about all of the older people who did not make it and the children who lost parents,” reflects Keiko, the first Japanese musician to top the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. “But when I think about the people who did survive, I think that they may be the strongest souls there are. Out of this pain, I have found the greatest strength from these individuals.” Keiko Matsui’s new recording Soul Quest, is a riveting new collection of songs that unfold like an epic journey. With an all-star cast that includes such heavyweights as producer and drummer Narada Michael Walden, guitarist Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and bassist Marcus Miller, among others, Keiko explores themes of love, loss, spirituality and environmental consciousness.

“I become very serious when I am recording a new album. I carry a notebook around with me and take notes as ideas come to me,” confesses Keiko. “These notes focus my vision. Each recording is like my baby, so I feel such obligation. When I am gone these songs will still be here.” Reflecting Keiko’s universal approach to her life and music, Soul Quest was recorded and conceptualized on several corners of the globe– New York, Japan, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Eastern Europe.



Soul Quest opens with the transcendental and majestic “Dream Seeker,” a melodic prayer that Keiko holds for all mankind. “I want everyone to have a dream and to seek it.” She co-wrote the song with guitarist and producer Chuck Loeb and it features the flamenco-like and ethereal guitar of Loeb along with the soaring soprano saxophone of Andy Snitzer. Soul Quest’s first single “Black Lion,” was inspired during a rigorous Eastern European tour in which Keiko and her band played an exhausting five countries in five weeks. They were even detained at one point due to problems with travel visas. However, the courageous and optimistic pianist drew inspiration from happier times during her tour.

“I was in Georgia and after the concert we all went to a restaurant called ‘Black Lion,’ where I saw this painting that caught my eye. The owner explained it was by a famous Georgian painter named Niko Pirosmani who was suffering from a broken heart after a failed romance.” Inspired by the sadness of this painting Keiko manages to uplift us with the searching and soaring notes of her piano. “Black Lion” and the title track were produced by Derek Nakamoto, who Keiko has known her entire career and who also worked with her on her previous album. “A Night With Cha Cha,” is another remnant from Keiko’s Eastern European crusade and is dedicated to a liquor she was introduced to in Georgia. The track features celebrated saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who makes a return appearance after recording with Keiko on the acclaimed CD, The Road…

Soul Quest finds Keiko Matsui doing several firsts, including recording with Chart-topping producers Chuck Loeb and Narada Michael Walden. She recorded with Loeb at his home studio outside of New York. The guitarist produced five of the album’s tracks and together with Keiko he co-wrote three songs. “Chuck is a great producer and such a sweet human being. I got to spend time with his family and they are all beautiful, including his dog Annie and cat, Kit Kat,” recalls Keiko laughing. “I never had that kind of peaceful environment during a recording.” Keiko and Chuck join forces on the catchy “Top Secret,” with its bluesy undercurrent, percolating rhythmic pulse and the muted trumpet of Giulio Carmassi. The two also collaborate on the Keiko written “A Night With Cha Cha” and Loeb’s Quiet Storm inspired “Proof.” The duo also penned together the tunes “Two Hearts” and “Dream Seeker.”

“I first met Narada Michael Walden in 2006 at a Grammy party,” shares Keiko. “I knew his work well as a producer and I was very surprised when he told me he loved my piano playing.” Narada and Keiko had plans to record one song together but after they discovered their great synergy together in the studio, they collaborated on a total of three songs – “Moving Mountain,” “Antarctica – A Call To Action” and “Stingo.” The process of recording with Walden was atypical for Keiko. She explains, “Usually before I go into the studio I spend a great deal of time preparing arrangements and production. This time I flew to San Francisco to meet Narada and we got started right on the spot. It was very challenging but at the same time I was able to be myself. It was a real adventure. Their song “Moving Mountain,” is an improvisatory piece that was done in one take. Keiko recalls “When we finished recording, I really felt like we moved a mountain!” Narada and Keiko also join forces for the pianist’s sublime and lilting waltz “Antarctica A Call to Action,” which opens with primordial rhythms and addresses the fact that Antarctica is melting and it is affecting all the animals and entire planet. I hope the music can send a message to the world.” If you listen carefully to the song’s quiet moments, you can hear authentic whale sounds! Keiko is also joined for the first time on record by bassist Marcus Miller. “Marcus made such a great track he made me cry. The conversation we have together where the song transitions is powerful. He pulled out everything and made it such a great experience.” Soul Quest also finds Keiko and Narada Michael Walden paying tribute to Keiko’s all-time favorite musician - Sting. The joy they have creating this song is evident as they both pay homage to the iconic rocker with “Stingo,” a nickname Narada coined for his close friend.

In April 2013, Keiko Matsui had the distinction of participating in the second International Jazz Day celebrated around the globe and held in Istanbul. She performed at the star studded event that included luminaries Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter Hugh Masakela, George Duke and countless others. Keiko who performed with Rubén Blades states, “It was special for me and wonderful to be with so many musicians I respect. The day was dedicated to world peace and it was great that the event united us all beyond our culture and differences.”

The devastating effects of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and Tsunami left close to 30,000 innocent victims dead or missing. Lives were changed forever not only in Japan but the world. Keiko who was in Japan at the time of the earthquake states, “I felt like my life was going to end that day. In the Northern part everything was shaking. Luckily my family was fine but I had family in Sendai who were unreachable for ten days.” She goes on to explain that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster went on to cause further destruction but that progress is slowly occurring.

“There is still lots of recovery needed and so much loss. It has really made a big impact on all of us. Living with less light in these times has reminded us how to live and how much energy it takes to live. I have been dedicating all of my shows to this and making sure to share our story. I am so grateful for all the prayers, emails and support that people have shown me.”

Keiko Matsui made her US recording debut in 1987 with the recording A Drop of Water. Under Northern Lights followed in 1989 and her subsequent albums of note include No Borders (1990), Night Waltz (1991), Cherry Blossom (1992), Doll (1994), Sapphire (1995) and Dream Walk (1996), which remained on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 15 months and further cemented her reputation as a force to reckon with. In 1997, she launched a tour dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer, and released a four-song CD entitled A Gift of Hope that benefitted the Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization. Her music was prominently featured in Say It, Fight It, Cure It, a Lifetime special profiling several courageous women battling breast cancer. “My fans come from all backgrounds and I have been approached by various foundations to join in their efforts. When I hear of a cause that resonates with me that I can dedicate my music to then I am always willing. It is my way to show gratitude and give back,” states Keiko Matsui.

In 1999, the pianist performed at "A Golden Moment," a skating concert featuring Olympic figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Katarina Witt, which benefitted the Susan G. Komen Foundation. 1998 saw the release of her album Full Moon And The Shrine, which was accompanied by the acclaimed PBS-TV special Keiko Matsui: Light Above The Trees. In 2000, the special earned Keiko a National Smooth Jazz Award for “Best Long-Form Video Achievement” and she was honored with an award for “Best Female Artist.” She claimed the award again in 2001. In 2002, she released the poignant recording The Ring, which was meant to communicate a message of peace, compassion, and humanity to listeners around the world.

Keiko Matsui’s CD Deep Blue (2001) topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts for three consecutive weeks. Keiko is the first Japanese artist to achieve this honor. In 2003 she enjoyed success with her recording The Piano, which featured reinventions of some of her most loved original works. In 2004 the title track of Keiko’s Wildflower was used to support the United Nations World Food Programme’s efforts in Africa. "I decided I wanted to support the WFP after learning about the tremendous problems in Africa and how humanitarian assistance can change people’s lives for the better," shares the activist." Keiko has also collaborated with A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches) in numerous charity concerts. In addition proceeds from her 2001 mini-CD, A Gift of Life, went to The National Donor Program and Marrow Foundation in support of A3M. In December 2009, the highly sought-after pianist was asked to put together a Christmas show at the Blue Note club in Tokyo, which was a major success and in November 2010 she made her highly anticipated debut at the Blue Note in NY, which was sold out. In 2011 Keiko recorded with fellow pianist Bob James on a four hand piano project called Altair & Vega. Keiko’s depth as a composer has also allowed her to contribute music to soundtracks in Japan, the U.S. and Russia. She also released her critically heralded Top 5 Billboard Recording The Road… which featured Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona and saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Jackiem Joyner among others.

“I always want to dedicate my music to world peace and to use my music to give back to the planet,” declares Keiko Matsui. With the release of Soul Quest, her mission is complete and the results promise to be long lasting.

Keiko Matsui Tour Dates
Aug 17 – Livermore, CA @ Bankhead Theater
Aug 19 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
Aug 20 – San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 21 – Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 22 – Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s
Aug 23 – Petaluma, CA @ Mystic Theatre
Aug 24 – Las Vegas, NV @ Santa Fe Station
Aug 29 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Aug 30 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Aug 31 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Sep 01 – Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
Sep 22-29 – Italy*Greece*Sicily (Dave Koz & Friends At Sea)
Oct 11 – Newport Beach, CA @ Hyatt Newport Beach
Oct 13 – Temecula, CA @ Thorton Winery
Oct 18 – Rehoboth Beach, DE @ Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest
Oct 19 – Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
Oct 20 – Austin, TX @ One World Theatre
Oct 21 – The Woodlands, TX @ Dosey Doe
Jan 12-19 – Caribbean (Smooth Jazz Cruise)

Keiko Matsui - Soul Quest
1. Dream Seeker (ft. Chuck Loeb)
2. Black Lion
3. Top Secret (ft. Chuck Loeb)
4. A Night With Cha Cha (ft. Kirk Whalum)
5. Moving Mountain (ft. Narada Michael Walden)
6. Antarctica - A Call To Action (ft. Marcus Miller & Kirk Whalum)
7. Soul Quest
8. Proof (ft. Chuck Loeb)
9. Two Hearts (ft. Chuck Loeb)
10. Stingo (ft. Narada Michael Walden)

EARTH, WIND & FIRE TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM - NOW, THEN & FOREVER

Legacy Recordings has announced the release of Now, Then & Forever by the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire. This marks the group's first new studio album in eight years. Now, Then & Forever, will be available everywhere on Tuesday, September 10.

Earth, Wind & Fire's first album of new studio material since 2005, Now, Then & Forever is also their first album for Legacy which isn't a compilation or a live collection.

For a limited time, fans will be able to pre-order Now, Then & Forever at www.NowThenandForever.com. A pre-order of the album allows the fans to have their personal names printed in the album's final CD package. The band's site will also feature the premiere of their new single, "My Promise."

"The Now, Then & Forever album is really about the legacy of Earth, Wind & Fire," said co-founder Philip Bailey. "The spirit of the band has always been about uplifting the consciousness of humanity. There's a hope that this Earth, Wind & Fire music will go on forever."

"The album gave us the opportunity to tie everything together musically and culturally," said EWF's co-founder Verdine White. "Without the support of the fans around the world, the Earth, Wind & Fire journey would not have been possible. We dedicate this album, Now, Then & Forever, to all the fans."

Now, Then & Forever - track listing
1.Sign On
2.Love Is Law
3.My Promise
4.Guiding Lights
5.Got To Be Love
6.Belo Horizonte
7.Dance Floor
8.Splashes
9.Night Of My Life
10.The Rush

The release of Now, Then & Forever, the ultimate celebration of Earth, Wind & Fire, ignites an exciting new phase for the iconic American soul-funk-fusion powerhouse Rolling Stone said "changed the sound of pop."

Earth, Wind & Fire, the groundbreaking funk-rock-soul-jazz ensemble who've been laying down their signature grooves for more than 40 years, will be bringing the sounds of Now, Then & Forever to concert audiences across the country this fall. The brainchild of music legend Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire is to this day one of the top touring groups of all time with founding members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson performing to sold-audiences around the world.

Earth, Wind & Fire US Tour dates:
September 6 - San Diego, CA - San Diego Civic Theatre
September 8 - San Jose, CA - San Jose Civic Auditorium
September 11 - San Francisco, CA
September 13 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
September 14 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
September 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
September 18 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 20 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
September 21 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
September 22 - Cincinnati, OH - Horseshoe Cincinnati
October 1 - Fayetteville, NC - Cumberland Country Auditorium
October 6 - Dallas, TX - Verizon Wireless Theatre
November 1 - Knoxville, TN - Tennessee Theatre

America's seventh top-selling musical group of all-time, Earth, Wind & Fire was born in Chicago in 1969 and is still going strong in its fifth decade, making music that crosses years and decades and now connects the 20th and 21st centuries. Inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Earth, Wind & Fire has earned eight Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards alongside numerous other accolades including the prestigious Soul Train Legend Award. EWF has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide and is consistently one of the world's top touring bands.

PIANIST ROBERTO FONSECA REACHES BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF JAZZ TO EXPLORE THE MUSIC OF THE INNER SELF


In the span of less than fifteen years and numerous solo and collaborative recordings, Cuban-born pianist and composer Roberto Fonseca has established himself as one of the most innovative and charismatic musicians of his generation by blending the diverse sounds of Latin and American jazz, Afro-pop, hip-hop, soul and numerous other shades of music from all corners of the world.

Touring with the Buena Vista Social Club™, the legendary GRAMMY® Award-winning Cuban collective, proved a fertile training ground for Fonseca’s early career. In the years since, thanks to an innovative artistic sense that has never shied away from eclecticism and multiculturalism, Fonseca and his music have become the bridge between the traditional sounds and the new voice of Cuban music.

His new album, Yo – which translates to “I” or “me” in his native Spanish – is Fonseca’s most daring recording to date. Recorded in a single week in Paris, Yo is a finely crafted blend of traditional acoustic instruments with elements of cutting-edge electronica – a mesmerizing musical alchemy that pays homage to Cuba’s African roots while at the same time updating the country’s rich musical lineage. Yo is set for release on Concord Jazz on August 27, 2013.

“This album unveils the beginning of a new phase more than the closure of an old one,” says Fonseca. “On Yo, I want to delve deep into my roots in light of my experiences and show the diversity of my musical universe, all these ideas which I had put aside, unable to use until now.”

He gets plenty of assistance in this exploratory process, from a crew whose origins span two hemispheres. Percussionist Baba Sissoko, bassist Étienne M’Bappé, guitarist Munir Hossni, and Sekou Kouyate on kora make up the African contingent. Their Cuban counterparts include percussionist Joel Hierrezuelo, drummer Ramsés Rodríguez, and double bassist Felipe Cabrera.

In addition, Yo includes vocal collaborations from Faudel, Fatoumata Diawara, Assane Mboup and spoke-word artist Mike Ladd. The album is co-produced by Fonseca and his manager, Daniel Florestano, but additional production credit goes to Gilles Peterson, who co-produced two tracks, and Count (DJ Shadow, Radiohead, The Rolling Stones), the American producer who mastered the album.

Yo opens in full party mode, not unlike the groove that characterizes the closing of Fonseca’s live performances. Perhaps one of the most powerful songs on the album, “80s” is a celebration of an era in Cuba when people danced without giving much thought to musical labels and categories.

From there we are immediately transported to Africa with the help of “Bibisa,” a track by Baba Sissoko that positions Fonseca’s piano alongside Fatoumata Diawara’s voice and a duo of African strings performed by Sissoko and Sekou Kouyate. “It’s an organic and spiritual theme, which imagines a small group of people gathered underneath a tree to talk,” says Fonseca. “The clave – the rhythmic pattern on which Cuban popular music is organized – is there from the beginning, and the whole piece plays on this contrast between this Cuban leitmotiv and the noticeably African elements. This is the objective of the album: to touch the African roots without forgetting where I came from, without forgetting Cuba.”

“Mi Negra Ave Maria” is a piano/bass/drums composition that gains an added layer of vitality from the improvised poem by Mike Ladd. “Honestly, I thought the piece was already rich enough in its instrumental version and that a voice was not necessary. I did not imagine the joy that Mike was going to achieve as he recited the text little by little. My English is not very good, and I did not understand at all what he was saying, but it was evident that his words were elevating the spiritual dimension.”

Further in, “Gnawa Stop” demonstrates the similarity between Gnawa and Afro-Cuban rhythms. In the song’s first stage, the instruments find their place. In the second, they establish a common tempo, until the song eventually settles into a groove that leaves the impression that it can last all night and perhaps never stop.

“El Mayor” is a brief interlude that pays tribute to Luis Jesús Valdés Cortés, Fonseca’s older brother and the person primarily responsible for Fonseca’s passion for American funk. The sounds of a crackling radio are superimposed on the lines of a piano to recreate the bygone era when Luis Jesús worked on his piano technique amid the radio music that brought new music to Cuba.

In the home stretch, “Quien soy yo” is a powerful cross-cultural composition. The theme draws from different styles of Cuban music to deconstruct and recompose the elements of a unique structure. To this already rich arrangement comes the vocal power of Assane Mboup and the Brazilian riffs of guitarist Munir Hossni.

“Rachel” composed by Ramsés Rodríguez, is named for one of Rodríguez’s daughters. “Ramsés had recorded an earlier version in a Cuban vein,” says Fonseca, “but after listening to the piece, I immediately thought that it could be adapted to this legendary style.” Fonseca combines a triumvirate of keyboard sounds – Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes and Moog synthesizer – in a jazz-funk hymn driven by the rhythm section of Rodríguez, Étienne M’Bappé and Joel Hierrezuelo.

From start to finish, the multi-layered and highly textured beauty of Yo has already resonated in Europe, where the album was released in 2012. The Sunday Times (London) listed it among their top 10 albums of the year, while it made the 2012 Critics Choice list in Le Monde. France’s Vibrations chose it as Album of the Year. The album also won two 2013 Cubadisco Awards (the Cuban equivalent of the Grammys in the U.S.), one for Best Fusion Album and the other for Best Recording.

To those few who may still be wondering who Roberto Fonseca is, and to the many who thought they knew him, the pianist replies: Yo. It is an epic work at the crossroads of jazz, traditional music and soul – one that spans oceans and continents to present a new artist, not because he has changed, but because his art still holds many surprises.

NEW RELEASES - INDIA.ARIE, FEMI KUTI, BEACH DIGGIN' VOLUME 1

INDIA.ARIE - SONGVERSATION

Feels like forever since we've last heard from India Arie – and damn if we didn't miss her! And this time around, she sounds better than ever before – stepping out with this proud, righteous groove right from the start – the kind of music that, from the very first notes, show why India Arie's way more than most of the pretenders who've tried to cop her act in recent years – but can never touch the genius of the lady at her finest! Most tracks here were done in collaboration with Shannon Sanders, who electrifies the music without making it too commercial or beat-heavy at all – and, if anything, the whole record has this amazing quality in which the vocals seem to embody the rhythms on their own – working with a flow that's really tremendous, and still retaining some of the acoustic soul of the early years. Titles include "Flowers", "Nothing That I Love More", "Cocoa Butter", "Just Do You", "Break The Shell", "This Love", "Thy Will Be Done", and "Brother's Keeper" – plus some cool "Soulbird" interludes. Cool deluxe package has an oversized card-style cover – and features four bonus tracks too – "Soulbird Reprise Ney", "Thank You", "6th Avenue", and "Strange Fruit". ~ Dusty Groove


FEMI KUTI - NO PLACE FOR MY DREAM

The Fela Kuti legacy is alive and well – in this smoking set from Femi Kuti, with superb backings from the Positive Force ensemble! The album really has the younger Kuti coming into his own – moving with a righteous message that's stronger than anything he's ever given us – and which seems increasingly important in times like these! The group's led by guitarist Opeyemi Awomolo, who's got a way of echoing the elder Kuti's sharp rhythms and key use of jazzy changes – yet also manages to come up with something fresh as well – a different combination of familiar instruments, and rhythms which have a tight focus along the politics of the lyrics. And this time around, politics may well be stronger for Femi than ever before – an aspect you'd definitely guess from the album's cover, but which is stated even more forcefully on tunes that include "No Place For My Dream", "No Work No Job No Money", "Politics Na Big Business", "We Our Money", "Action Time", "Carry On Pushing On", and "The World Is Changing".  Dusty Groove

BEACH DIGGIN' VOLUME 1 - THE PERFECT SOUNDTRACK TO CHILL ON THE BEACH HANDPICKED BY GUTS & MAMBO

A way deeper collection that you might expect – hardly the usual mainstream grooves normally associated with "beach" titled compilations – and instead a batch of rare tracks from the 60s and 70s – brought together in a beautiful blend of bossa, funk, Latin, and more! There's a sunny feel to the grooves that does live up to the title – but given the range of records from which the work was pulled together, the overall sound has a much wider-ranging global groove – that magical criss-crossing of styles you get when Brazilian musicians play funk, when Americans sing bossa, and when European artists try on the best sounds from the US! The set's overflowing with goodness – and titles include "Midnight" by Willie Lindo, "Olha O Menino" by Caetano Veloso, "Instant Funk" by Merchant, "Guayabas" by Agustin Pereya Lucena, "Esperar Pra Ver" by Evinha, "Rastaman Rock" by Fabiano Orchestra, "Onda" by Cassiano, "Acapulco Dos De La Tarde" by The Coppers, "Cuando Calienta El Sol" by Tayla Ferro, "Travelin Man" by Stanley Cowell, "Usisilike" by Abeti, "Gimme Love" by Nelson Family, and "Love Song" by Joe Cruz & The Cruzettes. ~ Dusty Groove

Saturday, June 22, 2013

DONN BYNUM - MY FAVORITE SONGS

Sizzling with grooves, “My Favorite Songs” by funk saxophonist Donn Bynum will be something you’ll definitely want to add to your summer cool. Carefully crafted by seasoned and professional musicians, guest appearances include guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., bassist Sekou Bunch and drummer Lyndon Rochelle. Vocals include Dee Cole on “Come with Me” and Donn’s own soulful singing on five songs. Co-producers include gospel recording artist Kynne Smith (“Right Now Right Now” and “There Goes My Heart”) and highly sought after producer Lew Laing for ten other tracks.

A treasure chest of musicality, there is so much talent packed into the 12 tracks that you may find yourself having difficulty choosing a favorite song. For instance, you’ll hear a touch of old-school Motown in Donn’s voice when the CD kicks off with the catchy “My Favorite Song,” while you may find yourself dancing in your living room to “Just Have A Good Time.” The craftsmanship of this incredible collection of musicians stands out in “Fly By Night,” while the party groove will be set to maximum in “Move Around” with lyrics teasing the listener to remember that “You ain’t dead, yet!” Gospel jazz fans will be pulled in immediately by “Nobody Greater.” If you love a good groove laid down by a seasoned rhythm section with a master of sax, then “Warm It Up” will be a treat. However, “Wonderful Thing” is surely to be the anniversary anthem song of the year. ~ donnbynum.webs.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

YES! NEW ALBUM FROM BOSTON-BASED JAZZ VOCALIST, AGACHIKO

Agachiko has been turning heads since 2008, when the septet led by Kenyan-born, Boston-based vocalist Gabrielle Agachiko was formed. On her debut album Yes!, to be released July 9 by Accurate Records, she brings an international sensibility to the incantatory spirit of Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln.

Whether gracefully delivering a pointed political message on "Words," soulfully crooning Buddy Johnson's love-struck blues ballad "Since I Fell for You" (complete with the rarely sung verse), investing Nina Simone's "Four Women" with empathy and anger, or adding lyrics to a new piece by Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke at his invitation, Agachiko is first and foremost a master storyteller.

"I've loved these songs and styles since I was in my 20s, for their emotional depth and musical complexity," says the vocalist, who had a long and fruitful career in indie rock and Off-Broadway musical theater before circling back to jazz. "However, at 20-something, I didn't feel I had the life experience needed to truly convey the meaning. Like any important conversation, jazz must be engaged in at length in order to be well understood. Now, it seems the conversation of life has enabled me to fill these songs with what they deserve."

By the album's title track closer, a wary but insistently upbeat affirmation, Agachiko leaves no doubt about her prowess as a jazz musician, her skills as a songwriter, and her vision as a bandleader who knows how to bring out the best in her collaborators. "I'm always listening to these guys having a conversation," she says. "When you add vocals, you have to make the words count. It has to be about something -- love, loss, pain, sorrow, or joy."

Agachiko the band features guitarist Sam Davis, bassist Blake Newman of the Lizard Lounge poetry band, and drummer Phil Neighbors, as well as an unusual flute-trumpet-sax configuration comprised of Revolutionary Snake Ensemble flutist Ken Field, trumpeter Scott Getchell, and Either/Orchestra tenor saxophonist and founder Russ Gershon, who also wrote most of the album's arrangements.

"Gabrielle holds a universe of sound in her voice," Gershon says. "It's so rich and subtle and controlled. Her voice will just do anything, and she knows a gazillion songs. As an arranger who's very concerned with timbre, voicings, and the emotional content of intervals, I appreciate that she hears it all and can wrap around a chord sequence. It's very different from writing for a blues shouter who wants a lot of punch and Basie flourishes."

Born in Nakuru, Kenya in 1958 to a Kenyan father and African-American mother from Georgia via New York City, Gabrielle Agachiko spent her childhood in East Africa and experienced the rush of optimism and energy following Kenya's independence in 1963. She grew up hearing her father play percussion along with Max Roach albums and her mother blast James Brown on the hi-fi, and felt called to the stage as a performer. At the age of 12 she moved to England to study, but spent several summers and two intermittent years in the U.S., culminating with a move to New York City at 17.

Agachiko completed her studies at Juilliard as a voice student, and had the opportunity to spend several weeks singing with Steve Lacy in Paris. She found herself drawn to musical theater, realizing that acting helped her find her voice as a singer. In the early 1990s, while working with the Boston rock band Atom Said, she got to know Gershon, who was also active on the Boston rock scene. In fact, he didn't realize she had deep jazz roots until almost two decades later, when she resurfaced in Boston after several years away. Greatly impressed by the first incarnation of the band Agachiko, which was primarily a Nina Simone project, he realized that "she's not a jazz singer in the daughters-of-Ella mainstream. She wasn't singing the same 50 tunes as so many jazz vocalists. She's not working out of the same playbook."

In celebration of Yes!, Agachiko brings her vibrant music to the stage this summer with performances at Accurate Records, Somerville MA (7/13) and Somethin' Jazz, New York City (8/10), and other dates to be announced.

www.agachiko.com
www.accuraterecords.com
www.allegro-music.com

NEW RELEASES - BATIDA DE COLONIA, YELLOWJACKETS, JOHN SCOFIELD

BATIDA DE COLONIA - BATIDA DE COLONIA

Samba, bossa nova, mambo, there is hardly a genre of Latin American music which Batida de Colonia doesn‘t process in it´s sound. Deeply inspired by the great Latino musicians of yesteryear such as Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Marcos Valle, Astrud Gilberto and Jorge Ben the Cologne artists create their very own music, where everything is allowed that is fun. Why not sing a mambo alla Tito Puente in German? Or who says that The Cure and The Smith wouldn‘t also function as a Brazilian samba?
Leading the project is Thomas Berghaus, who already released three albums under the alias "Shareholder Tom‘ and at his side is the Cologne guitarist and singer Anna Gaden, who works alongside her musical activity as an actress. The recordings of the debut album emerged between Berghaus jobs as a music producer and graphic designer for commercials and film and theater engagements that Anna Gaden pursued. Therefore, it took a while until the album was recorded. There was time to rethink the things again and again and walking paths, which no one had gone before Batida de Colónia. There are repeatedly breaks in their music, you might almost think you hear German pop music of the 60s. In the next line of text though it becomes directly clear what this is all about: an honest deep homage to the music culture of Latin America of the 50s, 60s and 70s. ~batida-de-colonia.de

YELLOWJACKETS - A RISE IN THE ROAD

On this record, the 22nd of their career, they are joined by their newest member, bassist Felix Pastorius, son of the legendary Jaco Pastorius. "He had the personality that fit well," remarked Bob Mintzer. "We welcome Felix to the fray. It was mainly just the four of us playing live. We accomplished a big, big sound. It sounds pretty wide for just four guys!.” Produced by Ferrante, Mintzer and Kennedy, the album features a guest apearance by young trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. A Rise In The Road also marks the first time in nearly 30-years that Jaco’s bass was played on a new recording. As for the album's title, Russell Ferrante explains, “It’s about the challenges that people face in their lives and whatever path they are on: It’s not always smooth sailing, it’s not always a level road. Things come to an end, and you have to meet the challenge and keep going forward.”

JOHN SCOFIELD - UBERJAM DEUX

John Scofield is an artist who is almost impossible to pigeonhole. Such is his mastery of the guitar that he is comfortable in any setting whether it be jazz, blues, rock or just about any other genre; including some genres, as he demonstrates on his latest EmArcy release, Uberjam Deux, which have yet to be defined.
Uberjam Deux, has been a decade in the gestation, following in direct line of descent from 2002s Grammy nominated Uberjam; not that Scofield has been inactive in the interim, far from it. There have been seven John Scofield albums in the intervening years, as well as five others on which he is a co-leader on the project. His last Emarcy release was A Moments Peace (2011), a luxurious album of ballads ¬ the polar opposite of Uberjam Deux. Its rare for an artist to be able to play more than one style of music with true fluency, virtuosity and sincerity John Scofield is one such artist. Those who loved the original Uberjam will not be disappointed by Uberjam Deux and yet Scofields new album is arguably even more of its time than his earlier record. According to Sco, We used all kinds of different grooves for this record, but they are all basically dance grooves. Some might say they are from the African diaspora; theres Rhythm and Blues, Afro-beat, reggae and house, but whatever they are they are all funky. We used all these amazing world-grooves to blow over. Certain songs have been evolving over the ten years since Uberjam; Avi Bortnick had been working on some of these groove ideas and we took them and developed them into what you hear on our new record. ~ amazon.com

MACK AVENUE SUPERBAND LIVE FROM THE 33RD ANNUAL DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL

Mack Avenue Records has announced the scintillating debut release by the Mack Avenue SuperBand, an all-star ensemble comprising many of the label's most acclaimed artists. Live From The Detroit Jazz Festival - 2012, set for September 3 release, documents the SuperBand's unveiling at the 33rd annual edition of the Motor City label's hometown jazz festival last Labor Day weekend. The SuperBand will reassemble at the upcoming 34th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival on Labor Day weekend.

The brainchild of Mack Avenue president Denny Stilwell, the SuperBand is a fiery, celebratory conglomeration, the sort of chemistry experiment whose success is predicated on its combustibility. The group brings together legends and label mainstays including vibraphonist Gary Burton, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, alto saxophonist Tia Fuller, trumpeter Sean Jones, and guitarist Evan Perri, with rising stars like pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. The band is anchored by the house rhythm section of pianist Aaron Diehl, drummer Carl Allen, and bassist Rodney Whitaker (who also serves as musical director).

Al Pryor, Mack Avenue EVP of A&R and the record's producer, acknowledges the challenge inherent in bringing such a loaded roster together on one stage, calling the impressive result "a team effort." Emphasizing the tight-knit dynamic and Detroit pride of the Mack Avenue team and the experience of the Detroit Jazz Festival's skilled crew, Pryor says that the concert's ultimate success was due to the musicians' passion. "The artists were all enthusiastic when we first approached them," he says, "and all brought something special to the table."

The repertoire for the Saturday night performance at Detroit's Hart Plaza consisted of original tunes and favorite standards contributed by the SuperBand's members. The proceedings kick off with Sean Jones' "Liberty Avenue Stroll," a tribute to another thoroughfare, this one in the trumpeter's native Pittsburgh. The new piece, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, depicts a lively and colorful jaunt, fueling robust solo turns by Fuller and the composer, as well as the members of the house rhythm section. The same line-up tears through Tia Fuller's ferocious "Breakthrough," which initially appeared on her second Mack Avenue release, Healing Space.

The Miles Davis classic "All Blues" offers a spotlight for Gary Burton, who premiered his New Quartet on Common Ground in 2011, and Kevin Eubanks, who made his Mack Avenue debut in 2010 with Zen Food, his first release following his departure from his longtime gig at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Quincy Jones has called Alfredo Rodríguez, whose debut album, Sounds of Space, was released last year, "one of the most prolific and gifted pianists of the 21st century." The inventive Cuban-born pianist's radical solo reworking of "Guantanamera," a stunningly original transformation of the familiar chestnut, is strong evidence of exactly what Jones was talking about.

The band co-led by longtime musical partners Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker made their Mack Avenue debut with 2007's Get Ready, while Aaron Diehl's first label release came just this year, with the critically acclaimed The Bespoke Man's Narrative. But the threesome work cohesively together throughout this record as if they'd been gigging for years. They support Hot Club of Detroit guitarist Evan Perri's expansive, soulful rendition of the Django Reinhardt masterpiece "Nuages" as skillfully as they do singer Cécile McLorin Salvant on the woman-scorned belter "Oh Daddy Blues," originally recorded by Bessie Smith over a century ago. Salvant's recently released Mack Avenue debut, WomanChild, has revealed her as the heir apparent to Smith and other legendary vocalists, a verdict amply seconded by her performance here.

Most of the instrumentalists, along with tenor saxophonist Diego Rivera, reconvene at show's end for the Wild Bill Doggett rave-up "Honky Tonk," featuring blistering blues fretwork by Perri and gutbucket testifying from the soloists. The tune is a tribute to the SuperBand's label mate, Detroit's 'Gentleman of the Blues' Johnnie Bassett, who passed away while the group was in rehearsals. Far from mournful, Bassett's boisterous spirit pervades the rousing homage.

The diversity of the material reflects the equally wide-ranging Mack Avenue roster, but this cohesive and captivating live recording is representative of the label's ambitions, the vitality of its artists, and the electricity of one September evening in Detroit.

Upcoming Mack Avenue SuperBand Performances:
September 1 / Detroit Jazz Festival / Detroit, MI
Mack Avenue SuperBand· Live From The Detroit Jazz Festival - 2012 / Release Date: September 3, 2013.

NEW RELEASES - PERSONAL LIFE, AM & SHAWN LEE, HENRY MANCINI

PERSONAL LIFE - MORNING LIGHT

‘Personal Life’ is a London based jazzy soul collective formed by Robert Strauss, featuring the classic sounding voice of Stuart Lisbie plus core members of Amy Winehouse’s touring band. The vision for this project is to bring back into popular consciousness the sound, production, songwriting & musicality dating back to the glory days of the music industry, when commercial pop also meant culturally significant, sophisticated and catchy music made with integrity for people of all ages to enjoy. “We believe in a movement of real music, hand made to last the test of time. Reflecting the sounds and values of people during an incredibly inspiring, honest and spiritually elevated period in popular music history.”  Tracks inclde: Morning Light; Classic Lady; Distance Can Be So Sweet; Give Into The Night; Bring It Back; One Step Closer; I Remember; It Is What It Is; Rainy Day In London; and There's A Time For Everything. ~ tokyodawn.net

AM & SHAWN LEE - LA MUSIQUE NUMERIQUE

Loads of great electro sounds here – bassy keyboards, splashy beats, and some cool moogy moments – all wrapped up in the kind of heavy funk we've always loved from Shawn Lee! This cool collaboration with AM furthers the pair's step into the best sounds of the 80s – modes that almost feel like digging up the most underground funk of the generation at points, but which also get some pretty tuneful songwriting at others – great vocals that themselves are pretty electronic, and often echo that great moment in the years past punk and disco – when genres broke down for a bit, and music got especially wonderful! The set isn't totally retro – leave it to the pair to bring in some of their own voice as well – and titles include "Good Blood", "Suffer Like Me", "Replay", "In The Aftermath", "Two Times", "Louna", "Iron Leaf", and "Special Disco". ~ Dusty Groove

HENRY MANCINI - DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES

One of the greatest Henry Mancini soundtracks of the 60s – and a record that showed the world that he could do a lot more than just crime jazz and groovy tunes! The title track is a well-known gem from the Mancini songbook – perfect for the bittersweet, melancholy of the film – and a great start for Mancini's music – which first shows some of the joy of the couple in the narrative, then moves into much bluer, deeper territory. There's an undercurrent of sadness that haunts even the more sprightly numbers – and some of the best instrumentation is handled by west coast jazzmen who include Pete Candoli and Don Fagerquist on trumpet, Harry Klee and Ted Nash on reeds, Bob Bain on guitar, and Larry Bunker on percussion. The music was never properly issued on record at the time – and this CD features very detailed notes, lots of images, and 27 tracks that include "Cocktail Hour", "No Guts", "A Sad Pop", "I Want To Go Home", "Man Meets Girl", and "Hi Fi". ~ Dusty Groove

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