Soul singer-songwriter Tess Henley began Suzuki piano training at age three, and by age five was dissecting harmonies that even her mother – a singer by trade – found difficult. Multi-Grammy winning producer Don Was (Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Bonnie Raitt) recently selected Henley from over 10,000 performers as the winner of Guitar Center’s National Artist Discovery Program. “She’s unlike any artist that’s out there now, a world class singer with a true gift” says Was. Billboard describes her music as a classy brand of soulful R&B that could hold up in any era of Was’ storied career. Was produced Henley’s latest EP, “Wonderland”, tracked at Hollywood’s Henson Recording Studios (birthplace of celebrated projects like Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue). Acclaimed musicians included drummer James Gadson (Beck, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers), James Hutchinson on bass (Bonnie Raitt, BB King), guitarist Mark Goldenberg (Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt), Mike Finnigan on Hammond Organ (Jimi Hendrix, Michael McDonald), percussionist Michito Sanchez (Train, Aretha Franklin), string arranger Davide Rossi (Ed Sheeran, Coldplay) and Henley on keyboards, vocals and background vocals. As Was describes the project, “Sometimes magic just happens, you can’t really legislate that. There’s no producer in the world who can make that happen. All you can do is try to set up a situation where if lightning strikes the room, you’ve got the tape rolling. And lightning struck. It was a really charmed session, and Tess was amazing, didn’t miss a note all day.” Henley honed her live performance by opening for folks like Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton, while continuing to build her profile as a songwriter. She got to display those skills during her first national television performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in February where she performed a pair of songs from her EP, “Wonderland.” www.tessheley.com.
TERENCE BLANCHARD FEATURING THE E COLLECTIVE - BREATHLESS
Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective set off on a new musical journey with his new album Breathless. An innovative and electric exploration into the fusion of jazz, funk, R&B and blues featuring Oscar Seaton on drums, Donald Ramsey on bass, Charles Altura on guitar and Fabian Almazan on keyboard/piano/synths. Produced by Blanchard and his manager Robin Burgess and executive produced by Blue Note president Don Was, the adventurous 13-tune recording zeroes in on several Blanchard originals, an epic-length piece by Almazan and a scattering of covers, sung by soothing and soulful vocalist P.J. Morton (a member of the band Maroon 5). Includes: Compared to What; See Me As I Am; Everglades; Breathless; Confident Selflessness; Shutting Down; Soldiers; Samadhi; Talk to Me; Tom & Jerry; I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time; Cosmic Warrior; and Midnight. ~ Amazon
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – POWER IN THE BLOOD
The iconic songwriter has written standards, social-justice anthems and Oscar-winning ballads, but never because it was what the industry expected from her. One of the most original and important voices of our time. Equal parts activist, educator, songwriter, performer and visual artist, Buffy Sainte-Marie has throughout her life been an untiring champion for indigenous people and the environment, through her music, art, education projects, and by taking direct political action. She is one of the most enduring and popular Native American performers, her music having touched millions of people around the world. From her start in New York City s Greenwich Village in the early to 1960s alongside Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Buffy made a name for herself as a gifted songwriter, writing hits for Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. Her most well know song is the Oscar winning Up Where We Belong from An Officer and Gentlemen. But Buffy is most acclaimed for her song Universal Soldier that became one of the first anti-Vietnam war anthems to inspire a generation to protest. Power in the Blood her first new album in 6 years, includes odes to the sanctity of life, the splendor of Mother Nature, and scything political and social commentary on songs like the title track, a collaboration with British electronic group Alabama 3, as well as the tracks Uranium War and Generation. The album was recorded in Toronto with three different producers, Michael Philip Wojewoda (Barenaked Ladies, Jeff Healey), Chris Birkett (Sinéad O Connor, Bob Geldof) and Jon Levine (Melissa Etheridge, Serena Ryder). ~ Amazon