Monday, July 24, 2017

Legacy Recordings To Continue Historic Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project with Deluxe Music and Film Releases, Definitive Library Collections, Previously Unreleased/Newly Discovered Live and Studio Recordings and More

Sony Music Entertainment and Experience Hendrix L.L.C. have agreed to renew their historic licensing partnership--first announced in 2009--which covers the ongoing curation and distribution of the Jimi Hendrix catalog and archives, making the artist's music and film materials available to fans around the world across all media formats and platforms.

The Jimi Hendrix catalog and archives encompass the recordings made by the guitarist/singer/composer during the meteoric 4-year period (c. 1966-1970) across which the artist evolved from a little known itinerant sideman to such R&B legends as Little Richard & the Isley Brothers into an international icon and archetypal pop-rock superstar, a visionary genius and force of nature whose effect on music, fashion and culture is still palpable fifty years after Are You Experienced changed how the world hears music.

In addition to the groundbreaking albums and singles released during his lifetime the Jimi Hendrix catalog has since been expanded to include definitive presentations of legendary live performances at such historic events as the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, recordings made for the BBC, and the many extraordinary studio recordings he made at Electric Lady Studios, his state of the art Greenwich Village recording facility.  Led by Experience Hendrix L.L.C. President/CEO and Catalog Director/Producer John McDermott, audio-visual titles such as the Grammy Award winning Band Of Gypsys and the acclaimed 2014 Emmy Award winning PBS American Masters documentary, "Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A-Comin'" have helped broaden the global appreciation and understanding of Hendrix's success and continuing appeal.

Since the beginning of the partnership, Legacy Recordings, SME's catalog division, and Experience Hendrix have released a range of essential Hendrix titles including definitive editions of the Jimi Hendrix Experience canon, Valleys of Neptune (2010, 12 previously unreleased studio recordings, debuted at #4 on Billboard 200, #1 Top Hard Rock Albums, #1 Top Rock Albums, #1 Top Tastemaker Albums and earned Top Ten ranking in fifteen countries around the world), West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology, Winterland (live performances from the legendary San Francisco venue), People, Hell and Angels (2013, debuted at #2 on Billboard 200, contains 12 previously unreleased studio and featured "Somewhere"—Jimi Hendrix's first #1 Billboard single and revelatory live recordings including Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival (recorded July 4, 1970 in front of Jimi's largest-ever U.S. audience, a DVD/Blu-ray edition of the performance was released as Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Church and aired on Showtime and other broadcast outlets throughout the world) as well as the debut performance of Hendrix's fabled Band Of Gypsys trio via Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69.

Dagger Records, Experience Hendrix's "official bootleg" division, now in its nineteenth year, will continue to offer recordings of great historical significance for deep Jimi Hendrix fans. The company continues to celebrate Hendrix's multi-generational appeal by way of their celebrated Experience Hendrix Tour.  These tours that have showcased contemporary artists performing the music of Jimi Hendrix in concert to underscore the never ending vitality and inspiration of Hendrix's music. Participating artists on these tours have included, Carlos Santana, Paul Rodgers, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Beth Hart, members of Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, the Doors, Los Lobos and many others.

The renewal of the SME/Legacy Recordings/Experience Hendrix partnership will provide additional support for the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation, which will allow the Foundation to continue its commitment to cultural diversity and the legacy of Jimi Hendrix and his music. The Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

"Jimi's life and legacy are precious to us and, quite naturally, we could only entrust it into the hands of those who share our love and enthusiasm for his amazing work. Sony, through Legacy Recordings, has proven their dedication to preserving Jimi's life work with integrity.  Being with Sony is like being at home with family.  We are comfortable with our partnership and excited about the future of Jimi's catalog," said Janie Hendrix, CEO/President, Experience Hendrix L.L.C.

"As a musical, social and cultural icon, Jimi Hendrix is among the most profoundly influential and important artists in the history of recorded music," said Adam Block, President, Legacy Recordings. "Sony Music and Legacy Recordings are proud and honored to continue working with Experience Hendrix to bring the sounds of Jimi Hendrix to future generations of musicians and fans. Over the course of his all-too-brief career, Jimi Hendrix altered the DNA of popular music and the effects of his presence can still be felt in the recordings he left behind. We are lucky to be able to hear and experience the power of Jimi Hendrix and his music."

Multi-Grammy Winning Producer, Composer And Arranger Quincy Jones Announces Qwest TV

Multi-Grammy winning producer, composer and arranger Quincy Jones, in collaboration with jazz impresario and television producer Reza Ackbaraly, has announced the formation of Qwest TV, the world's first subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform dedicated to jazz and jazz-inspired music forms.

Debuting fall 2017, subscribers to Qwest TV will choose when and where to watch a personalized, hand-picked selection of exclusive, original content including concerts, documentaries, interviews and archival footage on their mobile devices and computers in HD or 4K for a monthly fee starting at $7.49.

Pre-launch subscriptions to Qwest TV will be available starting September 6 via Kickstarter.  The first 1,500 "co-founding subscribers" will have the privilege of helping develop Qwest TV before the roll out of the service in the fall.  Co-founding subscribers will receive a full year of Qwest TV Premium, VIP access to the Qwest TV team for sharing feedback and feature requests, and other special benefits available only during the pre-launch campaign on Kickstarter, including collectible t-shirts, posters, headphones, concert tickets, and gold, platinum and vinyl records signed by Quincy Jones himself.

Commented Jones, "The dream of Qwest TV is to let jazz and music lovers everywhere experience these incredibly rich and diverse musical traditions in a whole new way.  At my core, I am a bebopper, and over the course of my seventy-year career in music I have witnessed firsthand the power of jazz – and all of its off-spring from the blues and R&B to pop, rock and hip-hop, to tear down walls and bring the world together.  I believe that a hundred years from now, when people look back at the 20th century, they will view Bird, Miles and Dizzy, as our Mozarts, Bachs, Chopins and Tchaikovskys, and it is my hope that Qwest TV will serve to carry forth and build on the great legacy that is jazz for many generations to come."

Commented Qwest TV co-founder Reza Ackbaraly, "By bringing Qwest TV to the general public and to universities everywhere, we seek to promote the values inherent to jazz: hard work, diversity, openness towards others, mutual respect and consideration, cooperation, and improvisation.  Jazz touches people across all national, social and cultural boundaries.  Qwest TV is of course about extending that reach, but it is also about bringing exciting music from around the world back to jazz and music lovers who have yet to discover it.  Quincy and I plan to build a community where the love goes both ways."

Qwest TV aligns the booming subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market with the increasing popularity of jazz, highlighting its influence on other types of music from hip-hop to electro, and bringing to light its major role in the evolution of society.  Supported by its international network of artists, producers, and venues, Qwest TV has already secured international rights to over 400 titles and plans to acquire an additional 600 titles within its first three years.

From Billie Holiday to Esperanza Spalding, Sun Ra to Kamasi Washington, Bill Evans to Flying Lotus, and Ravi Shankar's soaring sitar solos to the traditions of Cuban Santería; Qwest TV will reflect a live music video collection never before available on one platform.  Qwest TV will serve not only as a treasure trove of the jazz tradition but also as a trailblazing springboard for new talent.  Furthermore, Qwest TV will share its extensive catalog with a worldwide network of universities and other premier educational institutions.

D'Angelo's Neo-Soul Masterpiece, 'Brown Sugar,' Remastered and Expanded for New Deluxe Edition

D'Angelo's platinum-certified debut, 1995's neo-soul masterpiece Brown Sugar, is newly remastered and expanded for a 2CD and digital Deluxe Edition to be released August 25 by Virgin/UMe. Remastered by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Russell Elevado, Brown Sugar's Deluxe Edition adds 21 rare tracks, including remixes by CJ Mackintosh, Dallas Austin, King Tech, Erick Sermon and Incognito, as well as instrumentals and a cappella versions. Of the 21 newly added tracks, 15 were previously available only on vinyl and seven will make their commercial release debuts on the new edition.

Brown Sugar's 2CD Deluxe Edition is presented in a digipak with a 20-page booklet featuring an essay by noted author and filmmaker Nelson George, rare photographs, and lyrics for the album's 10 original tracks. Preorder Brown Sugar (Deluxe Edition) here:

Released July 4, 1995, D'Angelo's Brown Sugar album heralded a new direction for soul music, bridging tradition and innovation. D'Angelo, then 21 years old, wrote, arranged, performed and produced most of the album himself, inspired by classic jazz, gospel, soul, and hip-hop and using a mix of vintage and new equipment to realize his creative vision.

In the Deluxe Edition booklet, D'Angelo's Brown Sugar co-producer Bob Power writes: "D was one of those artists that came not just fully formed, but truly genre-bending; genre-creating is really more like it."

D'Angelo's Brown Sugar collaborators also included A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad for the title track and Raphael Saadiq for "Lady." The first album to be dubbed "neo-soul," Brown Sugar spent 65 weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart and drew praise from music critics around the world. In his four-star album review for Rolling Stone, Cheo Hodari Coker wrote, "Brown Sugar is a reminder of where R&B has been and, if the genre is to resurrect its creative relevance like a phoenix rising from the ashes, where it needs to go."

"Young D'Angelo was duly anointed the new musical messiah, charged with leading the culture into a new promised land," writes Nelson George in his Deluxe Edition essay.

Brown Sugar received four GRAMMY Award® nominations. The groundbreaking album is featured in Mojo's list of 100 Modern Classics and in Rolling Stone's Essential Recordings of the '90s.

D'Angelo:  Brown Sugar (Deluxe Edition) [2CD, digital]

CD 1 (Remastered album, plus bonus tracks)
1.   Brown Sugar
2.   Alright
3.   Jonz In My Bonz
4.   Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine
5.   Sh*t, Damn, Motherf*cker
6.   Smooth
7.   Cruisin'
8.   When We Get By
9.   Lady
10. Higher
Bonus Tracks
11. Brown Sugar A Cappella (released on 12" single)
12. Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine A Cappella (released on promotional 12" single)
13. Brown Sugar Instrumental (released on 12" single)
14. Lady Just Tha Beat Mix Instrumental w/Chorus (Mixed by DJ Premier; released on CD Maxi-Single)
15. Brown Sugar Alternate Version (released on 12" single)

CD 2 (More Sugar)
1.   Brown Sugar King Tech Remix feat. Kool G. Rap (released on 12" promotional single)
2.   Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine Def Squad Remix feat. Redman (Remixed by Erick Sermon for Funk Lord Productions; released on 12" single)
3.   Cruisin' Cut The Sax Remix (Remix by King Tech; Released on 12" single)
4.   Lady Just Tha Beat Mix/featuring AZ (Remixed by DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Inc.; released on CD Maxi-Single)
5.   Brown Sugar Soul Inside 808 Mix (Mix by DJ Dodge; released on U.K. 12" single)
6.   Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine Two Way Street Mix (Remixed by DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Inc.; released on promotional 12" single)
7.   Cruisin' Dallas Austin Remix (released on 12" single)
8.   Lady 2B3 Shake Dat Ass Mix (Remix produced by Neville Thomas and Pule Pheto for 2B3 Productions; released on U.K. CD Maxi-Single)
9.   Brown Sugar Incognito Molasses Remix (released on "She's Always In My Hair" promotional 12" single)
10. Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine Dreamy Remix (Remixed by Erick Sermon for Funk Lord Productions; released on promotional 12" single)
11. Cruisin' Wet Remix (released on CD single)
12. Brown Sugar Dollar Bag Mix (released on U.K. 12" single)
13. Cruisin' God Made Me Funky Remix (released on promotional 12" single)
14. Brown Sugar CJ Mackintosh Remix (Additional production and Remix by CJ Mackintosh; released on the various artists CD collection Nu Classic Soul)
15. Lady CJ Mackintosh Mix Radio Edit (Additional production and Remix by CJ Mackintosh; released on U.K. CD Maxi-Single)
16. Cruisin' Who's Fooling Who Mix (released on promotional 12" single)


Ethnomusicologist Amanda Villepastour and Cuban producer (Sendero Music) Luis Bran have teamed up to tell the unlikely story of the spirit of music in a small Cuban town through the heartbeat of a set of multi-generational religious drums named Ilú Keké. The 21-track album, titled Transmisión en la Eritá Meta, is available now digitally worldwide under exclusive license to Music Works NYC.

When the late Justiliano Pelladito visited the small Cuban town of Cidra in the 1950s as a teenage drumming apprentice, he was awestruck by three sacred batá drums hanging on a wall. In this tradition, batá drums are not merely musical instruments but are sacred vessels that host the deity of drumming called Añá within Santería, an Afrocuban spiritual tradition which developed in slave communities. Inspired by hearing Pelladito reminisce about his elders’ pilgrimages to see the drums sixty years earlier, ethnomusicologist Amanda Villepastour and local ritual musician and producer Luis Bran teamed up to excavate the old man’s memories from the Cidra community. On their first journey to the town in 2012, it emerged that another drummer in the car, Idalberto Berriel Pérez “Puchito”, was caretaking and playing the drums in Matanzas yet knew little of their deep history. Known as Ilú Keké, these drums endured a perilous, unwritten history and are likely one of the oldest remaining sets in the Matanzas region and are among Cuba’s most archaic batá.

The surviving Matanzas drummers who played Ilú Keké in the 1950s insist that the drums were carved and consecrated during slavery times in one of the sugar mills on the outskirts of Cidra, yet following two generations of neglect these batá had virtually disappeared into obscurity. The three elderly brothers in Cidra, who had inherited Ilú Keké from their father, were neither drummers nor Santería devotees and in the early 2000s were on the verge of removing the drums from the wall and souveniring one each. For believers batá drums are ritually birthed and humanized, and this brutal separation would signal death. As the uncles discussed tearing apart the family of drums, one of their nephews was troubled by dreams about his grandfather’s drums and would be woken in the small hours by their thunderous sound. After seeking divination, several nephews rescued the decaying relics and sought help from some drummer-priests who knew how to restore them. Ilú Keké was reborn in the hands of Puchito and some of the fiercest young drummers in Matanzas, yet the musicians were unaware of their profound history before the 2012 research.

Bran and Villepastour assembled three generations of musicians around Pelladito sixty years after his initial encounters with the Cidra drums. Drifting between gritty field recordings and pristine studio production, Ilú Keké’s deep-rooted spiritual meaning is captured through powerful drumming, heart-felt utterances, detailed liner notes, and evocative photographs. This transmission of sacred knowledge and beauty from the elders to following generations has ensured that Ilú Keké takes its rightful place in Cuba’s history of batá drumming.

Roy Ayers Ubiquity 'Lifeline' Jazz-Funk Classic To Be Reissued On Vinyl On August 18 In Honor Of Album's 40th Anniversary

Lifeline, Roy Ayers Ubiquity's inimitable, influential 1977 fusion of jazz, pop, funk, and disco, will be reissued on vinyl on August 18 via Polydor/UMe in honor of the album's 40th anniversary. The LP, pressed on standard weight black vinyl, is available for pre-order now:

Originally released on Polydor, Lifeline was among the most popular of the prolific vibraphonist-keyboardist-composer-vocalist Ayers' 20 albums for the label; the record is best known for containing one of the jazz-funk pioneer's most popular tracks and biggest singles, "Running Away," which peaked at No. 19 on the R&B chart and became a massive club hit with its irresistible disco-funk groove. Other compelling tracks on the set include the compulsively rhythmic "Cincinnati Growl," the euphoric, horn-laded "Sanctified Feeling," the lush ballad "Gotta Find a Lover," and the jubilant acid jazz closer "Together."

The LP found the well-traveled performer forging deeper into contemporary soul terrain; heavily influenced by the work of Marvin Gaye, he was abetted vocally by such gifted collaborators as label mate Edwin Birdsong (who co-produced the collection with Ayers and bassist William Allen) and Grammy-winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater.

After establishing himself as a full-time bandleader in 1971, Ayers fabricated upbeat dance grooves and silky balladry that became beloved by crate-digging DJs and had a pronounced impact on hip-hop and rap. As he noted accurately in a 2004 interview with Wax Poetics magazine, "Well, I have more sampled hits than anybody. I might not have more samples than James Brown, but I've had more sampled hits. Oh man, and there's a few I don't know about."

The languid groove of Ayers' 1976 track "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" has been sampled more than 100 times, by such R&B and rap heavies as Mary J. Blige, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Mos Def, and Ice Cube. "Running Away" propelled A Tribe Called Quest's 1989 opus "Description of a Fool." Kendrick Lamar has name checked Ayers among his favorites. The vibist has collaborated in the studio with many rap notables, lending his distinctive talents to such albums as Guru's Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 and Tyler, the Creator's Cherry Bomb. Pharrell Williams cites Ayers as one of his musical heroes.

Ayers already had a decade of jazz experience behind him by the time he ascended to stardom in his own right. After debuting on record with hard bop tenor saxophonist Curtis Amy's group in 1962, he settled in for a five-year run with jazz flutist Herbie Mann's soulful band of the late '60s; he moved on to work with David "Fathead" Newman, the tenor mainstay of Ray Charles' great '60s orchestra. His own work made him a ubiquitous presence in black music.

At the age of 76, Ayers remains a vital force in music and continues to tour widely; this past weekend he performed at Summerstage in New York's Central Park alongside Fela Kuti's son, Seun Kuti, and Egypt 80 as part of a tribute to Fela, one of his many collaborators. Ayers is now headed to Europe where he will bring his universal music to France, Croatia, U.K, Norway and Finland. A coveted act for festivals, he will perform at the Joy Of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa in September. In June, he appeared alongside such acts as Tom Petty, the Shins, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley, and William Bell at the eclectic Arroyo Seco Festival in Los Angeles.


Side 1
1. This Side Of Sunshine
2. Running Away
3. Gotta Find A Lover
4. I Still Love You
5. Lifeline

Side 2
1. Cincinnati Growl
2. Fruit
3. Sanctified Feeling
4. Stranded In The Jungle
5. Together

Jazz-Fusion Legends Weather Report's Classic Album Heavy Weather To Be Released On Limited Edition Hybrid SACD

Jazz aficionados rejoice! Mrshall Blonstein's Audio Fidelity is releasing pioneering jazz-rock fusion legends Weather Report's classic album Heavy Weather on Limited Edition Hybrid SACD! Heavy Weather remains the touchstone - and easily the best-selling album by Weather Report. Formed in 1971 and continuing until 1986, the group's creative axis was keyboardist/composer Joe Zawinul and saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter.

Borrowing tinges of earthtones from Cannonball Adderley's sanctified small groups of the 1960s and watercolors from the 1969 Miles Davis album In A Silent Way, Weather Report's musical palette could be as unpredictable and changeable as a New England spring, and as electrifying as a sudden thunderstorm

“An all-time classic...Zawinul, Pastorius and Shorter at their zenith!”

Recorded in 1977, Heavy Weather added dramatic new tonal colors, from Zawinul's electronics to the innovative fretless electric bass pulsations of Jaco Pastorius. The recording featured more concise arrangements, shorter selections and more tuneful melodies that reflected the times and the band's growing exposure to the pop and rock worlds. The album produced melodies that, while true to the band's signature sound and attitude, now included refrains, new approaches to call-and-response, obvious choruses, beginnings, middles and ends. As had always been the case, the writing was shared, giving the band a kind of democratic vibe. The music ranged from Zawinul's catchy crossover hit single “Birdland” to his haunting tone poem “A Remark You Made,” and from Shorter's stately “Harlequin” to the rocking undertow of Pastorius' “Teen Town.”

1. Birdland
2. A Remark You Made
3. Teen Town
4. Harlequin
5. Rumba Mamá
6. Palladíum
7. The Juggler
8. Havona

Producer/Orchestrator: Joe Zawinul
Co-Producer: Jaco Pastorius

Thursday, July 13, 2017



Jazz guitar isn't normally a mode you'd expect to be linked with dancers – but this great album from Russell Malone has a very rhythmic core that makes things pretty darn groovy overall! Drummer Willie Jones III is part of the group – and we always love his work – and bassist Luke Sellick really rounds out the sound in a great way too, providing depth even in the more gentle moments – which also seem to be some of the times when pianist Rick Germanson is at his most lyrical. Malone is always great, no matter what the setting – we've always loved his round, warm tones – and this album really lives up to our faith in his music. Apart from the few mellow cuts, it's the upbeat numbers that really grab us here – on titles that include "Time For The Dancers", "Leave It To Lonnie", "Pocket Watch", and really great takes on "Chico & The Man" and "Little B's Poem".  ~ Dusty Groove


Triangulum – a great title for the wonderful energy of this group – which swings perfectly between the three sharp points of Nick Mazzarella on alto, Matt Ulery on bass, and Jeremy Cunningham on drums! These guys are freewheeling, but always soulful – not just because of Nick's well-shaped sense of tone – which can be arch-modern, yet with a surprisingly warm core – but also because the bass of Ulery has this completely rapt (wrapped?) approach – almost like some deep force watching over the whole proceedings, which then seems to set Cunningham free on drums. The group represents an amazing third (or fourth?) wave in the contemporary avant scene in Chicago – the kind of joyous expression that continues to make us proud to live in a city that can create music this wonderful. Titles include "Ringdown", "Reminiscing", "Witch Hazel", "Rhododendron", "Strange", and "Inflection Point".  ~ Dusty Groove


An incredible solo record from Rob Mazurek – a wonderful change from some of his larger group and collaborative projects – even though we love those a heck of a lot too! This set's a great reminder of the core improvisational genius that Rob's always had, but which sometimes is overshadowed by the group activity on his other records. Here, Mazurek blows cornet alone, and also plays both standard and prepared piano – and colors things with just a dash of his great electronics – often used in more sparing and subtle ways than some of his group efforts. A really beautiful set from a musician who continues to reward us over the years – with titles that include "Twombly At New Church", "Gazing Through Walls", "King Of Rome", and "Sweet Life In Disrepair".  ~ Dusty Groove


Saxophonist Maceo Parker Promises to Make It Funky at the Newport Jazz Festival on Friday, August 4

What does it mean when the master of funk, the legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker and his impeccably tight band take over the Fort Stage at the Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management on Friday August 4? It means Newport will definitely get funked up.

Festival goers, Fort Adams and perhaps all of Newport Harbor will erupt with the rhythms that Parker is known to lay down during his electric-fueled concerts. After all, Maceo is the man both the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and pop idol Prince famously instructed to "BLOW."

Parker's prolific career began in Kinston, North Carolina, where he still lives when not on tour. Now 74, he started playing in local clubs with his brothers at age six, and joined James Brown on tour in the 1960s. It was in Brown's early hit, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," that the famous command to "blow" was first heard. In the 1970s Parker hooked up with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic and explored a range of genres from soul to funk and R&B. By the 1990s, Parker was ready to lead his own band with whom he released the masterful album "Roots Revisited." It spent weeks at the top of Billboard's Jazz charts and is on track to be re-released soon. The veteran horn man also toured with Prince and the New Power Generation and appeared as a sideman alongside scores of artists from Ani DeFranco to Keith Richards.

Blowing may be Maceo's thing, but he is also a fine singer (check out his vocal prowess on "Sing a Simple Song") and a dynamic showman.

Festival Founder George Wein is a fan. An admirer of Parker's showmanship, Wein said, "This veteran will bring memories of the indomitable funk of James Brown. Maceo always kicks hard and creates an exciting audience response."

Newport Jazz continues to highlight the leading artists of the day. Parker is no exception, although he hasn't played Newport since 1992. He is also one of the most sampled musicians in the world in every genre. He continues to reach new audiences through touring and social media.

"Maceo is one of my 10 biggest musical heroes ever," said the Festival's Artistic Director Christian McBride. "Much of what I play and improvise, certainly the way I phrase, comes from Maceo. He is the closest person I can think of who has been able to capture the same energy, soul and spirit of James Brown and he does all that through his horn."

Festival attendees will no doubt be glad that Parker's message to his fans follows the advice of one of his best songs - "Make it Funky!"

Joining Maceo Parker in Newport will be Greg Boyer, trombone; Will Boulware, keyboards; Bruno Speight, guitar; Rodney "Skeet" Curtis, bass; Pete Maclean, drums; Darliene Parker, vocals; and Corey Parker, vocals.

The 2017 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management takes place August 4 - 6 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include The Roots; Béla Fleck & The Flecktones; Snarky Puppy; Andra Day; Leslie Odom, Jr.; Branford Marsalis Quartet; Christian McBride Big Band with Special Guests; Cécile McLorin Salvant; Maria Schneider Orchestra; Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski & John Scofield; Trombone Shorty, Rhiannon Giddens; Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith and many more. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Heads Up set to release Trip on September 8, 2017

On July 3, 2016, the world changed forever for Mike Stern. The multiple Grammy-nominated guitarist, a former member of Miles Davis’ band during the early 1980s and subsequent member of Steps Ahead, Jaco Pastorius’ Word of Mouth and The Brecker Brothers, was hailing a cab outside his apartment in Manhattan when he tripped over some hidden construction debris left in the street. He broke both his arms in the fall and the cab he was hailing ended up taking him to the hospital. This horrific accident happened on the day he was supposed to leave town for a European tour, which was promptly cancelled. Not only did Stern fracture both humerus bones (the long bones that run from the shoulder to the elbow), he was left with significant nerve damage in his right hand that prevented him from doing the simplest tasks, including holding a pick. Following his initial surgery, Stern was back on scene in late October, guesting with Chick Corea in a celebration of Miles Davis’ music during Corea’s two-month residency at the Blue Note in Manhattan. For that gig, he had to play seated while wearing a black glove outfitted with velcro to help him hold onto his velcro-fitted pick. In November, Stern hit the road for a European tour, co-leading a band with longtime friend and collaborator, drummer Dave Weckl.

Following a second surgery, the guitarist gained more control of his nerve-damaged picking hand and subsequently devised a scheme where he literally glues his right-hand fingers to the pick, which strengthened his grip, allowing him to more fully realize his signature speed, precision and fluidity informed mainly by bebop and the blues. Feeling sufficiently fortified, Stern and his stellar crew of sidemen — many of whom go back with him to the ‘80s — went into Spin Studio in Long Island City between January and March of 2017 to record his 17th album as a leader. The guitarist’s sly, self-deprecating sense of humor comes across in the title of the album, Trip, as well as on individual tracks like “Screws” (he initially had 11 screws put into his arm following his first surgery) and “Scotch Tape and Glue” (his current method for holding onto the pick).

A powerhouse outing, Trip, set for release on September 8, 2017 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, features such longstanding colleagues as trumpeters Randy Brecker and Wallace Roney, saxophonists Bob Franceschini and Bill Evans, the latter a bandmate in Miles Davis’ ‘comeback band’ of 1981, bassists Victor Wooten and Tom Kennedy and drummers Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers and Lenny White. Produced by pianist-keyboardist Jim Beard, Stern’s frequent producer going back to 1991’s Odds or Evens, Trip is a brilliant showcase of what the acclaimed guitarist does best — riffing on post-Miles funk-fusion (“Trip,” “Screws,” “Watchacallit”), urgent swingers (“Half Crazy,” “Scotch Tape and Glue,” “B Train”) and lyrical ballads (“Emilia,” “I Believe You”). His wife Leni Stern guests on two tracks, playing the n’goni (a three-stringed African instrument) on the buoyant “Emilia,” which also features Gio Moratti on backup vocals, and the uplifting ballad “I Believe You.” Other  performers on Trip include percussionists Arto Tuncboyaciyan and Elhadji Alioune Faye, Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun and bassists Teymur Phell and Edmond Gilmore, both of whom currently work with Stern on his regular Monday and Wednesday night residency at the 55 Bar in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Says Stern of the whole arduous journey that led to this triumphant comeback album: “Sometimes you have some bad stuff that’ll happen to you, but you kind of get through it and you realize that everybody has this stuff — good trips and bad trips. But you just gotta keep trying, you gotta get up and keep going as soon as you can, which I was able to do. I had to figure out a way to play. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t play music. If you really want something bad enough, sometimes you have to fight for it; you find a way to make it happen. And now I have friends who I trust who tell me that they wouldn’t have noticed any difference in my playing if I hadn’t told them what happened to me.”

Indeed. From his scorched-earth distortion laced licks on “Trip” and “Screws” to his fleet-fingered burn on the three swingers paced by Lenny White — the Rhythm Changes number “Half Crazy,” “Scotch Tape and Glue” (based on the changes to “On Green Dolphin Street”) and “B Train” (his quirky contrafact on “Take the A Train”), Stern’s celebrated chops are intact on Trip. Elsewhere on this all-star outing, he shows rare sensitivity on his tender nylon string acoustic ballad “Gone” and on “Emilia,” which marks his second appearance on record as a vocalist (his first was on the lyrical tune “Wishing Well” from Electric, his 2014 collaboration with fellow guitar hero Eric Johnson). “Singing is kind of second nature for me,” says Stern. “I sometimes sing the melody when I’m writing a tune. I’ll be playing chords on the guitar and I’ll start singing a melody and then write it down. I got the nerve to do it from that record I did with Eric Johnson and I’m doing it more on the gig too. And it’s cool because I’ve always tried to get that more vocal sound on the electric guitar. So the two go hand-in-hand.”

Whether he’s throwing down some burning, high velocity lines on “Trip,” “Screws” or “Scotch Tape and Glue,” or conjuring up a more buoyant vibe, as on “Hope for That” or the uplifting “I Believe You,” Stern is definitely back on top of his game after months of struggle and uncertainty. And in typically humble fashion, he defers to his bandmates on this all-star session. “Everybody played their asses off on this record,” he says of Trip. “I was really happy with how it came out, because everybody just put so much love and energy into it. When I get to play with the caliber of musicians on this recording, I'm just glad to be part of the band.”

Dangerous Dames, Dark Alleys, and Smoke-Filled Gin Joints Inspire Guitarist/Composer Brent Laidler’s Cinematic Tale No Matter Where Noir

You know these rain-slicked streets, these shadow-shrouded alleyways, all-night diners streaked by flickering neon and basement bars hazy with cumulous clouds of exhaled smoke. Close your eyes and you can hear the plaintive saxophone, the insinuating bass line, the brushes caressing the snare drum as a jazz combo supplies the score for a harrowing journey into the dark urban underbelly. For Indiana guitarist Brent Laidler, the voluptuous imagery and convoluted plotlines of film noir served as a seductive muse, inspiring the sensuously cinematic concept album No Matter Where Noir. Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2017 release, the album delivers a lyrically charged sojourn into a realm populated by femmes fatales, tough guy private eyes and shady characters looking for an edge.

Featuring a septet made up of some of the finest players in the Indianapolis area, Laidler’s band interprets his finely wrought tunes with poise and swinging authority. Possessing an enviably warm and pliable tone, the guitarist says the album’s storyline flowed out of a rueful noir ballad that became the project’s title track.
Laidler isn’t writing programmatic material. Each song stands confidently on its own. But there’s an irrepressible narrative flow, from the joint-is-jumping swing of “Jamie’s Joynt” and the Blue Note swagger of “Sixth Sense” (a fedora hat tip to the great Lee Morgan) to the suave, killer groove of “Heavy Memphis Jones” (with the sly quote from “Have You Met Miss Jones”) and the existential kiss off “Keep Me In Mind.”

Part of what gives the ensemble its distinctive sound is Mitch Shiner’s vibes, which adds a bright timbre on unison lines with the horns. Ned Boyd’s cool-toned alto, lithe, sinewy and rhythmically supple, blends beautifully with Mark Buselli’s burnished trumpet and flugelhorn. Propelled by the crisp rhythm section featuring ace bassist Scott Pazera, top-shelf pianist Jamie Newman, and either Richard “Sleepy” Floyd or Kenny Phelps on drums, Laidler’s band brings just the right emotional pitch to the noir material, deadly serious and seriously playful!

Always game for new musical adventures, Laidler takes a thrilling trip down a dark alley with No Matter Where Noir, an album that makes an incontrovertible case for the enduring allure of the dark side.

Scores of jazz fans planning a summer fling in Cancun for star-studded lineup

With more than a decade of planning music vacation experiences in alluring locales on land and at sea around the world, it should come as no surprise that in his second full year at the helm, Warren Hill has already doubled the number of festivalgoers preparing to end summer with a trek to his Cancun Jazz Festival at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico over Labor Day Weekend (August 31-September 3, 2017).

The chart-topping saxophonist knows that his crowd covets value and all-inclusive packages just as much as they value the names on the marquee, that the location really does matter, that posh accommodations and amenities are a must, that most of the performers should be jazz artists if you bill the event as a jazz festival, and that sound, lighting and production values are not to be skimped upon.

The star power Hill has assembled to perform at this year’s Cancun Jazz Festival rivals or eclipses the lineup at any event on land or at sea and is comprised of smooth and contemporary jazz legends and royalty - from the seminal George Benson and Kenny G to charismatic crossover artist Chris Botti. Smooth R&B singer-songwriter Brian McKnight will be featured along with instrumental luminaries Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Jesse Cook, Candy Dulfer, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove, Keiko Matsui, Paul Taylor and Peter White. Fan favorites Eric Darius, Michael Lington, Brian Simpson and Elliott Yamin complete the bill.        
“I really wanted to keep the artists close to the format. I believe that if you are a core fan of smooth and/or contemporary jazz, this is the festival for you. I even feel that Brian McKnight has a tremendous amount of jazz influences in his music. He can riff and improvise as well as any jazz musician I have ever heard. And for those who want to stretch their musical boundaries even further, we have virtuosos such as Chris Botti, Jesse Cook and Keiko Matsui to keep you on the edge of your seat,” said Hill.

Along with the four-night festival package, new for 2017 is the seven-night Stay & Play option. In addition to four nights of concerts, Stay & Play (August 28-30) adds three days of excursions to Cozumel, Tulum Mayan ruins, Cenotes cave pools and shopping in Playa del Carmen along with a Cirque du Soleil performance to the front end of the vacation. Both packages are all-inclusive and cover reserved concert seating, casual meals and a la carte dining, beverages (including alcohol), access to all festival events and after parties, and resort credits that can be applied to a variety of amenities such as golf, spa treatments and tours.

“The best part of this event is that you have an all-inclusive package. Your wallet never has to leave your room. And there is a very relaxed atmosphere. You have the days to spend at your own leisure - either exploring Mexico or just chilling on the private white sand beach,” said Hill, who co-promotes Rock Getaway at the same location October 26-November 1 headlining Don Henley, Santana, Steve Miller Band, Roger Daltrey, Bad Company, Foreigner,  REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Cheap Trick and many more.  

In addition to his award-winning recording career, Hill has been producing first-class music vacation experiences ever since he launched the first smooth jazz cruise in 2004. “There weren’t very many options for musical vacations back then. Now there are multiple cruises and destinations. But I feel the Cancun Jazz Festival overshadows all the other options in terms of the experience. The festival is growing every year as people begin to understand the incredible value that the event has to offer.”

As a world-class performer himself, Hill understands the importance of presenting the talent in the finest settings with premier production values. “Our production quality is second to none. Staging, sound, lights and venues are all top notch. Even though the festival takes place south of the border, we procure some of the best production on the continent. As an artist who has performed in every type of venue - from small clubs to The Hollywood Bowl - this is as good as it gets. And why stop at just great production? Last year’s closing ceremony featured Mayan dancers and fireworks. We put the ‘Can’ in Cancun, baby!”

Jan Daley’s Smooth Jazz album “The Way of A Woman” has hit the Top 10 on 2 Billboard Album

-  “Hot Shot Debut” in #6 position on the Billboard Jazz album chart
-   Entered Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Album chart at #5

Standing between Jan and the #1 chart positions are less than 5 other artists’ releases, most notably Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Thelonious Monk and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  This is quite an accomplishment and a well deserved one at that; for this Independent Artist whose career has spanned over 5 decades. She started off as the “singing canary” in her early twenties on Bob Hope’s USO Tour and has performed with countless huge names in both the acting and singing world.  Additionally, she also wore the crown as Miss California (yes, it was “Miss” back then!) while attending college.

Greatness can be defined many ways but with Jan Daley you easily define it as the mastery of dynamic vocal range. Jan delivers the songwriter's lyrics in crisp, clear tones while moving along the scales with the utmost of ease. You do not listen to a Jan Daley song, she expresses it in such a manner that you feel the message that the song writer wishes to convey. There are many renditions of great songs but rarely does one come across a marriage of orchestration and vocal delivery matched with perfect phrasing so much so that it stops you in your tracks.

"The Way Of A Woman" is such a release. The title track is a perfect example of a highly sought after collaborative effort. You feel the song as the story line is presented in a delicate, fragile manner that is expressing the intimate, personal life of two people. The lyrics are touching and I am rather certain that only Jan Daley could bring this track to such masterful heights.

Truly, the story comes to life as the listener is swept up in anticipation as Jan fully embraces each note and the listener embarks on the heart touching journey with her. Bravo Ms. Daley! I might add that it's even harder to envision someone loving a song so much so that when they perform a well known pop song such as "God Bless The Child" it's as if it is brand new all over again. But Jan does just that on the entire album.

There are eleven tracks on this new release and while the strings, the brass, and the rhythm section are present they never over power the artist. Michael has added just enough presence to augment the right places, places within each tune that allow your mind to capture Jan's marvelous vocals and never once does the orchestration pull you away from the songwriter's central theme. In closing, six of the eleven songs on this compilation are songs that Jan personally wrote. They are noted below with an asterisk beside each title. Overall, "The Way Of A Woman" is a marvelous new release that listeners are sure to enjoy over and over again.



At The Movies celebrates five decades of Hollywood classics, including hits from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Love Actually, Toy Story, Saturday Night Fever and Jungle Book. Dipping into jazz, bossa nova, pop and swing there are four lesser known gems from Elvis Presley movies and original takes on standards from Joni Mitchell, Fred Astaire and The Bee Gees. Hot on the heals of last year’s Christmas album Big Band Wonderland, AT THE MOVIES features some of the UK’s finest musicians: Matt Regan (piano), Joe Pettitt (bass) and Elliot Henshaw (drums) with original arrangements from Phil Steel, Paul Campbell and New York’s Caleb Collins. Marking a departure for Gary, who made his name singing the songs of Frank Sinatra, you'll hear hints of Michael Franks, Nora Jones and Michael Bublé on this contemporary classic. Gary made his name as a soloist with big bands and concert orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Ireland’s RTE and the Lahti Sinfonia Finland. He’s performed for The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, the LA Jazz Institute and Ronnie Scott’s. As a broadcaster he’s presented for BBC Radio 2, Jazz FM and The Wireless. Playbill called his book ‘Cabaret Secrets’ “an invaluable guide”. He’s recorded 15 albums, including 3 at Abbey Road and a Jazz FM album of the week.


A nicely fresh setting for pianist Stanley Cowell – a record that moves past his more frequent trio format, to feature the longstanding genius in a quartet with Bruce Williams on alto and flute! Williams has a laidback, lyrical tone that seems to bring out a different side in Cowell's music – especially as the album mostly features the pianist's own compositions – a way of building up his sound slowly, with a more quiet-burning version of the spiritual energy of Stanley's youth – yet still with end results that are equally redemptive, and very beautiful overall. The rest of the group features Jay Anderson on bass and Billy Drummond on drums – and Cowell also plays a bit of thumb piano and kyma too. Titles include "Celestial Women", "No Illusions", "Miss TE & O", "Sunlight Shifting", "B Minor Folksong", and "Nostalgia For Homelands". ~ Dusty Groove


A fantastic full album from this ultra-cool group – a funky combo from contemporary Estonia – with ties to the Misha Panfilov Sound Combo that you might know from a sweet selection of recent 45s! Misha's in this group on bass, and also produced the record – with a raw sound that makes the whole thing a fantastic criss-crossing of deep funk and some freer jazz energy – all at a level that makes the whole thing completely fresh, and one of the hippest underground records we've heard in a while! These guys aren't really spiritual jazz, but they clearly get that energy – and although they play hard, they're not straight funk either – as they spin out on longer tracks and really know how to take solos – serving up excellent sounds on flute, tenor, alto, and a range of great keyboards – all set to nicely heavy drums, on titles that include "Nite City", "Envelope", "Garden Of Pleasures", "Queens", and "Troubled Mind". (Limited edition of 500!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Well known around Texas for his contributions with the award-winning group The Effinays and funk-disco up-and-comer Ronnie Heart, multi-talented instrumentalist, composer, and producer Valenti Funk is determined to introduce his unparalleled brand of funk-fusion to the masses. Valenti, whose name is inspired by his Valentine’s Day birthday, has released newly remastered physical copies of Valenti on his own record label, Clear Zebra.

The June 7th release date was decided in honor of the birthday of the late Prince, who Valenti recognizes as a major influence, even going as far as getting “The Love Symbol” tattooed on his body. Having already performed alongside industry legends Snoop Dogg (Lion), Grupo Fantasma and Ozomatli during his time with the Effinays, Valenti Funk shows himself as a fully-capable one-man rhythm section in his solo-debut, Valenti. Funk’s techniques (including the ability to play drums and keys at the same time) and arrangements lay the perfect foundation for the inclusion of equally impressive guest features. Album features include the likes of Effinays front man Big Spook, the soulful voice of LaLa Johnson, a dose of introspective lyricism of Zach Pohl, Kevin Snearley, Keyln Crapp, Aisha Mars, and the hip-hop delivery of Versatile.

The elegantly titled Valenti was recorded at various studios around the DFW Metroplex as far back as 2010. Coordinating recording schedules between juggling touring gigs across the nation induced a slow-but-steady approach to crafting the finished product. Studios used include Session Work Studios (Hurst, TX), The Track Studio (Plano, TX) with the bulk of the work being done by longtime Effinays producer Rev. Rudd at The House of Rudd in Euless, TX, providing a well-developed chemistry.

The genre-bending album brings something for everyone to appreciate while gravitating around a consistently funky backbone. “Irving/Bear Creek, Texas,” an instrumental homage to his hometown sets the tone for the entire album. “Party Fiesta” delivers go-go music to the spotlight with vocal support from Effinays bandmate Big Spook. “More Light” gives a smooth walking bassline to a conscious reggae theme. “Some Mo” combines soul and disco with a modern club feel composition. “Side to Side” brings a taste of dance-friendly chillwave, while “Stank” adds a blusey rock edge to the album. Valenti is capped off with “Chill On the Couch,” a track destined for romantic date-night playlists, and “Parking Spot,” a shout out to car enthusiasts everywhere that creates a hip-hop changeup to the album.

With the release of Valenti, Funk steps out from his usual role of drums and keys into the spotlight as a proficient, well-rounded composer ready to make an impact on the world. Complex rhythmic play and soulful melodies shine over the persistent pocket of Valenti Funk. Top-tier musicianship combined with a little help from his friends should put Valenti’s arrangements on the radar of vocalists nationwide. 

Cécile McLorin Salvant Announces Third Album, Dreams And Daggers, 2-CD Set, Deluxe 3-LP 180 Gram Vinyl Set

GRAMMY® Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant has had a remarkable rise to stardom in her professional career, and she's taking another big leap forward with Dreams and Daggers, her third album for Mack Avenue Records. More information on the release, which will be available September 29th, is forthcoming.

McLorin Salvant first made waves in the jazz world when, at the urging of her mother, she entered the most prestigious jazz vocal competition in the world. Having nearly missed the submission deadline, she made it to the finals as their youngest performer and was selected by an illustrious panel of judges -- Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Patti Austin, and Al Jarreau -- as the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition winner. While she had bypassed the traditional U.S. conservatories and jazz schools, McLorin Salvant studied at France's Aix-en-Provence before returning for the competition's semi-finals, the judges noted her remarkable voice and striking ability to inhabit the emotional space of every song she heard and turn it into a compelling statement.

In 2013, McLorin Salvant made her Mack Avenue Records debut with WomanChild, garnering a GRAMMY® Award-nomination, NPR Music's pick for "Best Jazz Vocal Album of the Year," and three placements in DownBeat's critic's poll as "Jazz Album of the Year," "Top Female Vocalist," and "Best Female Jazz Up and Coming Artist of the Year," among many other accolades. Her 2015 follow up release, For One To Love, won the GRAMMY® Award for "Best Jazz Vocal Album."

McLorin Salvant's music has been featured in multiple Chanel "Chance" campaigns and is included in the soundtrack for HBO's acclaimed film, Bessie. New York Times Magazine included her recording of "Trolley Song" as one of "25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going," The New Yorker profiled her at age 27, Vanity Fair featured her in their "Millennials That Are Shaking Up The Jazz World" piece, Essence Magazine noted her as one of "13 Emerging Black Women in Music," and Gilles Peterson included her as an "Artist to Watch" in The Atlantic. Learn more about McLorin Salvant on NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Fresh Air," New York Times' "Close at Hand," or watch her perform on BBC's "Later... with Jools Holland" and PBS' "The Tavis Smiley Show."
Cécile McLorin Salvant  ·  Dreams and Daggers
Mack Avenue Records  ·  Release Date: September 29, 2017


Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition has been hailed by The New York Times as
"a trio equally grounded in folk tradition and jazz improvisation, propos[ing] a social pact as well as a musical ideal."  The ensemble's three formidable talents – Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, Rez Abbasi on guitar, and Dan Weiss on tabla – first documented their group conception in 2008 with Apti, which won praise from The Guardian for its "irresistible urgency."

Agrima, the long-awaited follow-up, finds Mahanthappa and the group expanding aesthetic horizons: adding a modified drumset, incorporating effects and electronics, and working with a broader audio canvas overall. The core of the band's sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place.

According to Mahanthappa, "Agrima" in Sanskrit simply means "next" or "following." It comes at a propitious time for all three members: Mahanthappa has enjoyed great success with his Bird Calls quintet and recently became Director of Jazz Studies at Princeton University. Abbasi, born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in California, has revealed a rare mastery of guitar in a range of settings including his own RAAQ acoustic quartet and his heavily electric project, Junction. Weiss, a voraciously eclectic drummer with interests ranging from classical tabla performance to metal, has garnered acclaim for his work ranging from solo drums to trio to large ensemble.

"I wanted everyone to think about Agrima as if we were making a rock album," Mahanthappa declares. "Apti is almost 10 years old and I think the way that the three of us conceive of non-Western or Indian music sonically and technically has really evolved. So I didn't want us to be concerned with having an overt Indian sound. I wanted to highlight our interactions, which we've developed since 2005 when the band premiered at New York City's Joe's Pub."

From all three instruments we hear a heightening of expressive nuance and possibility. Mahanthappa's alto is transformed in places by software-driven effects to create strange processed timbres, echoes, decays and soundscapes. "Working with electronics is like learning a new instrument," Mahanthappa says. "It takes a bit of thought to figure out how to have a voice in that realm. I ended up doing some work with Neil Leonard [from the Berklee College of Music's program in Electronic Production and Design]. He's also an alto player. He wrote a piece for the two of us, just two altos and our laptops, and he made all these patches for me, allowing me to use them however I wanted. I was always interested in electronics but my initial foray was not until Samdhi, (2011). That was really kind of a more instinctive approach but in the end it turned out really cool and I got what I wanted. Electronics was something I always wanted to get back to."

Abbasi's guitar, clean-toned and fluid (at times even acoustic) on Apti, becomes something bigger and more foreboding on Agrima: there's an edge and growl to the tone, a looming presence and sustain in the low notes, and more atmosphere thanks to an array of pedal effects that complement Mahanthappa's electronics at every turn. But perhaps the most pronounced shift from the previous record is Weiss's hybrid setup, melding tabla with drum set. "A while back we had a gig coming up in Montreal," Mahanthappa recalls, "and Dan asked what I thought about having him still be seated playing tabla but also with pieces of the drum set around him. We didn't even rehearse it, we just got to that sound check a half-hour early and Dan threw this thing together that ended up being amazing. That's how we've played ever since. On some tunes Dan only plays drum set, in fact. It all stems from our shared experience and our relationship to Indian music and jazz, which transcends the instrumentation."

In January 2017 the Indo-Pak Coalition premiered the new set of music that would become Agrima at globalFEST in New York. The energy of that encounter carried forward into the studio, from the eerie rubato incantation of "Alap" to the spiky lines and bracing tempo of "Snap," from the looping synthesized patterns, fractured beats and sunny temperament of "Agrima" to the simpler, moodier medium groove of "Showcase." The band is in peak form, executing tough thematic material, attending to fine dynamic contrasts, shifting tempos with spellbinding ease, and of course improvising with depth and ferocity.

There are riveting musical stories to be heard within "Rasikapriya" and "Revati," ambitious works with ever-shifting rhythmic foundations, gamboling between hyper-precision and pure abstraction. Between the slow and measured legato of "Can-Did" and the agitated esprit of "Take-Turns" we hear the play of extremes, of the unexpected, a many-sided adventurousness that is the Indo-Pak Coalition's reason for being. Inimitably rendered by three of the most mature and compelling players of our time, Agrima is an album likely to resonate through the years.

Few musicians share the ability of alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa's own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American.

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing "a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation," Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year for six of seven years running in Downbeat Magazine's International Critics' Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2017), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists' Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2016 JazzTimes Magazine Critics' Poll. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow. In 2016, he was named the Director of Jazz and the Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University.

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Cleveland’s own Odyssey and Company are riding high on the radio airwaves

Cleveland’s own Odyssey and Company has been impressing music lovers for over 26 years with their soulful approach to Rhythm and Blues and Jazz.

Mike Harris, Randall Priest, Randell McShepard and Anthony Rice are responsible for the electrifying vocals that the group is known for at their live performances. Tight harmonies, skillful choreography and debonair stage apparel has been a signature of the group since its inception in the 1980’s as a high school doo-wop quartet. The group’s professionalism and solid reputation as a “show band” over the years has led to many opportunities to open for major recording artists including Levert, After 7, Take Six, The Manhattans, Troop and The SOS Band, to name a few.

The group has released many singles that received significant airplay in several cities throughout the Midwest, the East Coast and the South, including “Young Girl”, “She’s Perfect”, and “A Whisper Away” (Produced by William Howard of the Dramatics). In the mid 1990’s, the group recorded an album under the tutelage of the O’Jays’ lead producer, Dwayne Mitchell. Each of the vocalists has also recorded extensively with other groups and on other projects.

Another claim to fame for the group has been its extensive travel and ability to win over fans in cities including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Yokohama, Japan; Toronto, Canada, New York City and throughout the State of Ohio. The group also performed on the national talent search television show, Big Break, which was hosted by Natalie Cole. The NBC show was televised in 120 U.S. cities.

The group attributes its longevity and staying power to a “deep respect for the history of Rhythm and Blues and Jazz and the entertainers of yesteryear.” The group believes that crooning, choreography and showmanship is a dying art that needs to be highlighted and celebrated for current and future generations.

Odyssey and Company is currently working on a recording project while continuing to perform at live concerts in the Cleveland area and beyond. The project’s first two singles, “Tune It Out,” and “Would You? Could You?” were released in 2016 and received favorable national airplay. Their latest single, “Wait Until Tonight” was released in May of 2017 and is receiving rave reviews for its captivating sound and addictive chorus.

The group is excited to be making quality music again and continuing to satisfy its large following of fans and supporters.


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