Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Releases: Lalomie Washburn - My Music Is Hot; Vito Lalinga (Vi Mode Inc. Project) - Afrodisiac Part II; MelBreeze - Animazonia


Lalomie Washburn - My Music Is Hot (with bonus tracks)

The freaky hair on the cover might be a tipoff to the sound of the set – but the great Lalomie Washburn also has a depth to her music that you might not expect! The album is Washburn's only full set as a lead act – but one that comes after a good stretch of the 60s and 70s working in other groups, and contributing some key songs to Chaka Khan & Rufus – a legacy that has Lalomie emerging here as a fully-formed soul singer who should have been huge! Washburn's look on the cover recalls another funky female talent – the great Maxayn, who was a friend and supporter of Lalomie – and in some way, the groove here is a bit like that on Maxayn's albums from the decade – although with a warmer, tighter, more soul-focused sound – thanks to great instrumental backings from maestro Gene Page! Things are still plenty funky throughout, although sometimes in a clubbier way too – and titles include the badass "Man Power", plus "Freaky Strangeness", "Give Me Love With The Music", "What's Love", and "My Love Is Hot (Caliente)". Bonus tracks include "Two Sides (stereo)", "My Love Is Hot (7" version 1)", "My Love Is Hot (7" version 2)", "Man Power (ext 12" version)", "Double Funkin (7" mix)", "Give Me Loev With The Music (7" version)", and "Man Power (rough mix)". ~ Dusty Groove

Vito Lalinga (Vi Mode Inc. Project) - Afrodisiac Part II

Italian producer Vito Lalinga (VI Mode inc Project) is back with his second edition of Afrodisiac Part II. The release style is all about afro funk vibes combined with modern broken breaks & four on the floor beats. In this second volume we have four new tracks in a variety from mid tempo to uptempo grooves, full percussive, melodic and organic with afrofunk style guitars, heavy brass section, afro voices samples and warm melodic keys. All tracks were carefully chosen and added in this second volume as a sequel of the first volume that took great attention from this new project. Audiophile Analog Mastering: Angelos Timewarp Stoumpos at Timewarp Mastering. Vito Lalinga (Vi Mode Inc. Project) - Afrodisiac Part II will be available on July 13 for sale in special edition CDR and digital downloads.

MelBreeze - Animazonia

Turkish vocalist and visionary MelBreeze’s album titled “Animazonia” is a collection of Brazilian flavored jazz composition’s produced by Jimmy Haslip (YellowJackets) and Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech/Joe Zawinul). MelBreeze delivers a breath of fresh air to the Brazilian songbook with her unique vocal stylings. Featuring: Melbreeze (vocals), Jimmy Haslip, Hadrien Feraud, Selcuk Karaman (bass), Scott Kinsey (keys), Cyril Atef, Gergö Borlai, Gary Novak (drums), Larry Koonse, Jeff Richman (guitar), Brad Dutz (percussion), Bob Reynolds (sax), Uday Kumar Nari (Tabla), Knand Kumar (sitar), Selim Bolukbasi (Tulum), Artyom Manukyan (cello) and Scott Kinsey (mix/master).



Urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker releases “Redemption”


One of the first songs that urban-jazz saxophonist Sam Rucker recorded for his third album, “Redemption,” was the soothing “Overcomer,” on which he emotes intimately on soprano sax during an uplifting exchange with a guitar duo comprised of his nephew, Justin Taylor, and John Calisto. Tragically, both guitarists passed away unexpectedly three days apart and the tune Rucker wrote to comfort and inspire others became his own healing grace. It is a focal point of the rousing eleven-track set penned and produced by Rucker that drops August 24 from Favor Productions. 

Rucker’s life and his musical journey have evolved in recent years, growing from a gritty hip hop producer into a soul-baring R&B-contemporary jazz instrumentalist, yet his faith has never wavered. He is on a mission as an empowering evangelic emissary, using his tenor, alto and soprano sax on “Redemption” to deliver heartening orations that commiserate and console as much as persevere and conquer. His writing, production and sax play reflect a more refined, mature and sophisticated auteur who retained just enough of the raw urban grit from his edgy past to ensure that his recordings are genuine. Despite enduring pain, struggle and suffering, Rucker never loses sight of the Divine hand orchestrating it all – the victories and the losses – purposely placing his focus on the abundance of blessings and the love that cushions his every fall. 

“‘Redemption’ is a feel-good album designed to touch the inner soul, to encourage and inspire the listener. It is about perseverance, keeping the faith, overcoming some of the worst that life has to offer and coming out better on the other side. Redemption of everything that was lost: the naysayers and doubters, the narrowly missed opportunities, the emotional scars and the sore spiritual muscles from years of exercised faith. Staying steadfast and seeing the gracious hand of God redeem all and make our former days greater than the latter. It's also about making someone nod their head to the beat when they feel like hanging it during a tough time,” said Rucker.

Listeners will soon be nodding their head to the first radio single, “True Love,” when it goes for playlist adds on July 16. Rucker’s fat tenor sax packs a powerful punch on the sensually steamy mid-tempo groove graced by Calisto’s sultry nylon guitar and a celestial, gospel chorus-like affirmation that embodies the album’s message: “Take one look, and you will see, what true love has done for me, take one look and you will see, what true love has done in me.”
  
“First and foremost, the song is about the fact that despite all the mistakes I've made and how undeserving I am, God still loves me enough to redeem me and bless me with as much as he has. For the listener, ‘True Love’ could be about life with a special someone. For me, it is really about the love of God, the only true love that holds no records of wrongs and never fails. If you look at your life, you'll see evidence of His love in what He has done for you. But, when you really get it and realize that it’s Him and really receive His love, then there is a change in you that people will see. Hence the song’s lyrics.”

The Williamsburg, Virginia native debuted in 2011 with “Heat from the Heavens,” introducing his formula of hip hop beats, improv jazz and stirring inspirational messages. Three years later, “Tell You Something,” upped the ante by offering collaborations with urban stalwarts Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Tom Browne and Alyson Williams, boosting Rucker’s appeal at radio. His eyes averted the camera on the first album cover and were hidden behind dark glasses on the second. “Redemption” depicts a happier, lighter Rucker looking directly into the camera, eager to face and embrace what lays ahead of him with gratitude.     
  
“When I released the last album (“Tell You Something”), it was a difficult time for me personally,” admitted Rucker. “In the last five years, my life has done a complete 180. With the release of ‘Redemption,’ I feel spiritually, physically, emotionally and materially redeemed. On this album, there are no covers, no guest producers and no big-time superstar performers. Just pure, raw and real me and those closest to me.” 
  
“Redemption” contains the following songs:
“Down on the Inside” (intro)
“Down on the Inside”
“True Love”
“Overcomer”
“Nothing’s Too Hard”
“Redemption”
“Forever Forgiven”
“Follow Me”
“I Am with You”
“Throwback”
“Please Child”


DRUMMER YUSSEF DAYES RELEASES COLLABORATIVE NEW SINGLE “LOVE IS THE MESSAGE”


Stepping out into his own as a solo artist, London-based drummer Yussef Dayes (formerly of celebrated jazz-funk duo Yussef Kamaal) begins a new chapter at this stage in his musical journey with two new releases, “Love Is The Message” and “Blacked Out.” Both of which are in collaboration with Alfa Mist. They represent not only a new beginning but what comes out of being able to live your own vision as a musician.

“Love Is The Message,” the first out of the two releases, was the product of a jam session with producer and composer Alfa Mist. After being made in one take, Yussef quickly saw how Alfa’s approach to composing worked in unison. The drums combined with Alfa’s strings and synths connects the pathway of a sound that began in West Africa but found its way to Brazil and London. “Being in Brazil with the colours, people and life then coming back to London in the winter, I was just trying to keep that energy going,” he says. The song also sees some scorching riffs from rising guitarist Mansur Brown. Mansur’s guitar work can be heard in the closing minutes of song adding some needed firepower to an already transcendent tune. 

Drawing heavy inspirations from a recent trip to São Paulo and Salvador in Brazil, Yussef Dayes’ solo releases are a timely and welcome addition to the mix of jazz coming out of London. “It was inspiring to be out in Brazil, sitting in treehouses and playing drums. Music and spirituality are linked and have a strong bond, it has a healing power,” Yussef says of his trip. Seeing his own music as a channel for expressive talking, even when it’s just through drums, Yussef has always sought to channel that same energy.

One of the UK’s most accomplished young drummers, Yussef Dayes first came to notoriety alongside his brothers Ahmad & Kareem in the Afrobeat-influenced jazz group United Vibrations. As one half of Yussef Kamaal, Yussef’s rhythmic work was put on full display and the Black Focus album ended up becoming one of the most heralded jazz records to emerge from the new London scene. While the band in its original form might be changing, the electric presence of Yussef Dayes remains. Yussef’s work with YK and United Vibrations has elevated the drums for a younger generation of jazz fans, showing their true potential and power. “Love Is The Message” is the first of more powerful new work from the London drummer and cements him as a solo artist to keep an eye on over the coming months.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Soft Machine Announce New Album Hidden Details & World Tour Dates, with First North American Dates Since 1974


In support of their forthcoming new album, British music legends Soft Machine will embark on their first North American tour since 1974 in October 2018, followed by the second North-American leg of the tour in January and February 2019. In concert, their set list will include material from all parts of the band's repertoire from 1970 onwards, but this is emphatically not a nostalgia act resting on its laurels. Last weekend Soft Machine played their first two shows in North America since 1974 (it was in 1974 they toured USA and Canada during the Bundles/Allan Holdsworth era). Both shows, at the Montreal Jazz Festival and Quebec City, were exceptionally well received by the enthusiastic audience and local press.

Hidden Details is a new studio album of Soft Machine, recorded at the late great Jon Hiseman's Temple Studio in Surrey, England, last December 2017, and it will be released in September 2018 on MoonJune Records (North America; on CD and HD Download), on John Etheridge's Dyan Records (UK/Europe on CD, and iTunes), and on Vivid Records (Japan), exactly 50 years since the release of the band's 1968 debut album The Soft Machine. Limited and highly collectible vinyl edition of only 200 coloured vinyl (orange, blue and tour edition orange & blue marbled) will be released on the Dutch label Tonefloat, on September 8, 2018.

“'Hidden Details' is very much the product of an active, contemporary sounding outfit striking out with its own agenda. Though informed by the past, the music here is neither weighed down nor beholden to it. Animated with the same ineffable and inquisitive spirit that has always made this group throughout its fifty years such a compelling experience, it’' good to have a new Soft Machine with us in 2018. The yearning tenderness of 'Heart Off Guard' and the come-down reveries of 'Broken Hill' and 'Drifting White' showcase the more intimate aspects of Soft Machine's personality while in contrast, 'One Glove' gives the more pugilistic side of John Etheridge's playing an outing. The terse angularities of the title track and 'Life on Bridges' highlight a fearless disposition, as does the buzzsaw interplay heard during 'Ground Lift' and 'Flight of the Jett,' both featuring Roy Babbington's decisive interventions. The surging lyricism of 'Fourteen Hour Dream' flirts with an almost popish sensibility, underscoring the sense that this is a quartet that is fundamentally at ease with itself. The return of what some older fans of the band have called 'cosmic tinkles’'– the appearance of layers of cyclical electric piano motifs – is especially welcome. Their brief manifestation on 'The Man Who Waved at Trains' and Third-era, 'Out-Bloody-Rageous,' both stone-cold Mike Ratledge-composed classics, adds an extra spacey dimension to the overall sound. Travis' use of looping technology with his flutes creates its own beguiling world and can be heard to powerful effect on the beautiful and enigmatic 'Breathe,' where his hovering notes are underpinned by Marshall's oblique yet atmospheric percussion.” - Sid Smith

Soft Machine:
JOHN ETHERIDGE - guitar
THEO TRAVIS - sax, flute, Fender Rhodes
ROY BABBINGTON - bass guitar
JOHN MARSHALL - drums
with special guest GARY HUSBAND drums on selected dates

2018 North American Tour Dates:
October 6 - Orion Studios - Baltimore, MD, USA [John Marshall on drums]
October 7 - Theater Of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 9 - Roxy's & Duke - Dunellen, NJ, USA
October 10 - Darryl's House - Pawling, NY, USA
October 12 - The Iridium - NYC, NY, USA
October 13 - The Iridium - NYC, NY, USA
October 14 - The Iridium - NYC, NY, USA
October 16 - Mod's Club - Toronto, ON, Canada [Gary Husband on drums]
October 17 - The Tralf - Buffalo, NY, USA [Gary Husband on drums]
October 18 - Beachland Music Hall - Cleveland, OH, USA [Gary Husband on drums]
October 19 - The Irving Theater - Indianapolis, IN, USA  [Gary Husband on drums]
October 21 - Progtober Festival - Reggie's - Chicago, IL, USA [Gary Husband on drums]
October 22 - Shank Hall - Milwaukee, WI, USA [Gary Husband on drums]

2019 North American Tour Dates:
January 24 - Freight & Salvage - Berkeley, CA, USA
January 25 - Flynn's - Santa Cruz, CA, USA
January 27 - Alberta Rose Theater - Portland, OR, USA
January 28 - Triple Door - Seattle, WA, USA
January 29 - Triple Door - Seattle, WA, USA
January 31 - The Baked Potato (2 shows) - Los Angeles, CA, USA
February 1 - The Baked Potato (2 shows) - Los Angeles, CA, USA
February 2 - Scottsdale Performing Arts Center - Scottsdale, AZ, USA
February 4-9 - Cruise To The Edge - Key West, FL / Cozumel, Mexico

2018 confirmed shows in Japan & Europe:
July 7 - Montreal Jazz Festival - Monument National - Ludger Duvernay - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
July 8 - Salle Jean-Paul Tardif - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
July 28 - Billboard Live Tokyo - Tokyo, Japan (2 shows) [special guest Gary Husband, keyboards]
July 29 - Billboard Live Tokyo - Tokyo, Japan (2 shows) [special guest Gary Husband, keyboards]
July 30 - Billboard Live Osaka - Osaka, Japan (2 shows) [special guest Gary Husband, keyboards]
September 6 - Cosmopolite - Oslo, Norway
September 8 - De Boerderij - Zoetemeer, The Netherlands
September 9 - Musikbunker - Aachen, Germany
September 10 - Franzis - Wetzlar, Germany
September 12 - Muhle Hunziken - Rubigen, Switzerland
September 13 - La Casa Di Alex - Milano, Italy
September 14 - Club Il Giardino - Verona, Italy
September 16 - Porgy & Bess - Vienna, Austria
September 17 - Museum - Bratislava, Slovakia
September 18 - Akropolis - Prague, Czech Republic
September 19 - Kulturbanhof - Jena, Germany
November 3 - Marlow Theater - Canterbury, UK
November 6 - Sage - Gateshead, UK
November 8 - Green Hotel - Kinross, Scotland, UK
November 9 - Hebden Bridge Townhall - Hebden, UK
November 10 - The Trade's Club - Howden, UK
November 16 - Borderline - London, UK
November 17 - West End Center - Aldershot, UK
November 18 - Lews Con Club - Lewes, UK
November 20 - Epic Studios - Norwich, UK
November 22 - Trading Boundaries - Fletching, UK
November 25 - Talking Heads - Southampton, UK
December 15 - Peppel - Zeist, The Netherlands
December 16 - Harmonie - Bonn, Germany

Soft Machine is a legend and an institution of British music, a band who included Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers, Andy Summers (later of The Police), Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean, Roy Babbington, John Marshall, Karl Jenkins, Allan Holdsworth, John Etheridge, Percy Jones, Rick Sanders, Dave McRae and Jack Bruce among others (Jimi Hendrix briefly jammed with the band in 1968!). Since its creation in 1966, this band pioneered Psychedelic and Progressive Rock, led the 'Canterbury' trend, pioneered jazz-rock, and then guitar-led fusion (launching the guitar god Allan Holdsworth in 1974), influenced generations of musicians. Disbanded in 1978, recreated in few occasions in 1981 and 1984, the band resurfaces in 1999 under the name of Soft Ware. Much was said about this band with a very complex intriguing history of constant personal changes during the 1966-1978 period. The band resurrected in 1999 under the name of Soft Ware, then as Soft Works 2002-2004 and Soft Machine Legacy 2004-2015. In December 2015, it was confirmed that the band had dropped the “Legacy” tag from their name, as the band featured three of the group's 1970s era members –  guitarist John Etheridge, drummer John Marshall and bassist Roy Babbington (from the seminal 1976's album Softs), in addition to flute and sax player Theo Travis – returning to the original name from 2015, and performing numerous concerts all around Europe, South America and Japan.


Cookin' On 3 Burners Organist Jake Mason Debuts New Trio With Soulful Sounds of the '60s on The Stranger in the Mirror

The Stranger in the Mirror (available now via Soul Messin' Records) is the debut album from the Jake Mason Trio. Stepping out from the drivers seat of Cookin’ On 3 Burners, Mason dives firmly into the '60s organ trio sound making a record that is both delicate and fiery.

Featuring guitarist James Sherlock and drummer Danny Fischer, the trio weave their way through bluesy soul-jazz, blazing vigour and soundtrack-esque territory. “I love the place where jazz and soul meet” says Mason. “It has a simplicity that is so warm and welcoming combined with a complexity that is exciting and makes you move”

Recorded on the east side of Melbourne, the trio captured the moment in the tradition of the classic jazz recordings on labels such as Prestige Records and Blue Note Records playing live in the room, using vintage recording techniques and adding a pinch of modern inspiration. The result is a dynamic sound that has space and transparency but with just the right amount of grit and crunch. While this is the first official recording of the trio, Mason, Sherlock and Fischer are no strangers, having played together for over 20 years in many guises; Melbourne -- a melting pot for great music and culture.

Best known for his work with Cookin’ On 3 Burners, Mason is a multi-instrumentalist and prolific songwriter who has released twelve albums, gained multi-platinum sales worldwide and established his own label and production house. The Stranger in the Mirror boasts ten elegantly crafted original compositions including co-writes with Eric McCusker (Mondo Rock) and Ben Grayson. Mason is a stylistic chameleon who has been nominated for multiple APRA Awards and the coveted ARIA Music Award for Song of the Year. He co-wrote and co-produced Kungs vs Cookin’ On 3 Burners chart topper "This Girl," hitting the #1 spot in 10 countries and reaching the Top 10 in 37 territories. "This Girl" was also the #1 Shazammed dance song of 2016 worldwide.


New Releases: Chante Cann – Journey To Golden; Jay Phelps – Free As The Birds; Chicago – Chicago II Live At Soundstage


Chante Cann – Journey To Golden

Chante Cann really blew us away with her debut – and she seems to sound even better here – working with a new level of complexity in her music, while still coming across with all the soulful richness of the previous set! Acoustic piano features strongly in the sound – balancing out the lighter, raspier style of Cann's vocals with this deep-ringing tone that's really beautiful – almost an echoey vibe that unlocks all these great colors throughout the album's passage – a lyrical, poetic instrumental aspect that's definitely picked up by Chante with her lyrics. Snarky Puppy guest on two tracks, and pianist Jamie Portee sings on one number with Cann – on titles that include "Da Da'N Da", "Beauty Speaks", "Waterfall", "The Journey Continues", "iChange", "Free Your Dreams", and "For The Children". ~ Dusty Groove

Jay Phelps – Free As The Birds

Genius work from Jay Phelps – a jazz trumpeter, but also a soulful singer – yet working here in a mode that's a completely fresh fusion of both of his talents! There's a crispness to the record right from the very first note – like you've just stepped into a cool club from a back alley entrance, and chanced upon the next generation at work – while Phelps effortlessly shifts between his voice and his horn, in a musical setting that's equally effortless in its shift between acoustic and electric elements – which seem to include a fair bit of Fender Rhodes next to round acoustic basslines and percussion – peppered with guest work from a lineup that includes David Binney on alto sax, Stacy Dillard on tenor and soprano, and even some vocal contributions from Cecilia Stalin, Martina Dasilva, and Emilia Martensson. Titles include "Chaos Or Commerce", "LSG", "Amphitrite's Bounty", "Everyone's Ethnic", "Angel", "Flash", "Free As The Birds", and "Chomtalay Chill". ~  Dusty Groove

Chicago – Chicago II Live At Soundstage

Chicago went home to its namesake city last year to record a live version of the band’s multi-platinum second album, Chicago II, for the PBS Soundstage series. That energetic performance is now available as a single-CD and a CD/DVD set that includes video of the program and a 5.1 audio mix. Originally released in January 1970 as Chicago (and later dubbed Chicago II), the album was a major breakthrough for the band and features some of the group’s biggest hits, including the Top 10 singles: “25 Or 6 To 4,” “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World.”

The Braxton Brothers return with “Higher” set for release on Aug 24


There is a reason why the bass and saxophone melodies Nelson and Wayne Braxton aka The Braxton Brothers write are so lyrical. They compose by writing lyrics first, a unique twist for an R&B-jazz instrumental twosome that uses vocals on only two of the twelve new songs they wrote and produced for their sixth album, “Higher,” which drops August 24 from Braxton Productions.  
  
“Yes, it is a different way of writing for instrumentalists, but for us, first and foremost, we never want to be background music. The purpose of our music is bigger. We feel that we have a higher responsibility. New music and new melodies move through us, giving people a reason to feel joy, have a good time, free them from stress, anxiety and problems; and show the listener love,” said Nelson Braxton, who worked on the album during his global travels while taking in views of the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, The English Channel, The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Focused on their penchant for crafting irresistible melodies, The Braxton Brothers’ message is a higher love. Preceding the album release is the high-energy, feel-good first single, “The Only Woman In The World,” which ships to radio and goes for radio playlist adds in late July. Nelson, a bassist, wrote the exuberant song around 3am on a guitar during a Minnesota blizzard while on a tour bus passing the hours before he could call his wife back home. Such stories are typical of The Braxton Brothers’ inspirations. They describe their recordings as “photos that document our lives.” Nelson’s supple basslines and Wayne’s gregarious tenor and alto sax share euphonic, evocative tales of elated reunion (“Back In My Arms”); inner beauty vs. outer facades (“Beauty”); pursuing goals with faith (“Where I Wanna Be”); finding satisfaction in being loved (“Just To Be Loved”); the encouragement to look up when you’re down in a dark place (“What Would I Do”); and the comforting reassurance of having a loved one close and present (“I’ll Be Here”).    

The Braxton Brothers hitch their rich, indelible harmonies to funky R&B grooves, dynamic pop-rock rhythms, sensually soulful urban beats and breezy reggae vibes. Nelson, a longtime touring member of Michael Bolton’s band, flexes his dexterous multi-instrumental prowess on “Higher” via bass (rhythm and lead), keyboards, percussion, drum programming, electric and acoustic guitar. Wayne, who has a history of working with Sheila E., handles saxophones, drum programming and background vocals. Chris Camozzi, Errol Cooney, Kay-Ta Matsuno, Ryan Parrino and Andy Quinn spike the tracks with electric and acoustic guitar.
  
“Higher” is a return to the smooth and contemporary jazz sandbox The Braxton Brothers are best known for playing in. Their last such outing was 2004’s “Rollin’,” which cemented their presence as genre staples on radio playlists, national charts and concert stages. The duo that debuted with 1996’s “Steppin’ Out” explored a decidedly different path on their last offering, the jazzy acoustic R&B set “True Love” (2013). They are currently planning an album release concert celebration around their September birthday in San Diego where they are based. Along with designing a show they describe as “new level,” they’re lensing videos for selections from the new album.      

“Shooting videos allows us to share more about ourselves and allows people to connect with the music more deeply,” said Wayne Braxton. “After growing, maturing and preparing, we reconnect with our roots on ‘Higher.’ Our songs are about the melody, not just a vibe, and this album is full of fun, memorable melodies. A vital aspect of our music has always been about the ability to move and impact people, to touch them…touch their hearts. We are conduits for the music. It’s not for us to figure out the meaning of it. That’s up to each listener.  ‘Higher’ is about love on a higher level. Can we love on a higher level?”
  
The Braxton Brothers’ “Higher” contains the following songs:
“The Only Woman In The World”
“You Care About Me”
"Back In My Arms”
“Higher”
“Something In My Heart”
“Because Of You”
“A Stronger Love”
“Beauty”
“Where I Wanna Be”
“Just To Be Loved”
“What Would I Do”
“I’ll Be Here”

 





For more information, please visit https://www.thebraxtonbrothers.com.



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Peace, love, hope & joy,

George Clinton Brings the Funk to Newport Jazz Festival on Sunday, August 5


On Sunday, August 5, a Mothership commander will land on the Fort Adams stage when the 76-year old vocalist, songwriter, producer, bandleader, icon and Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame Inductee George Clinton and his supergroup, the Grammy Award winning Parliament Funkadelic, perform for the first time at the Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Investment Managers. In support of his latest CD, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, and part of a landmark, worldwide tour that will end with his retirement from touring in 2019, Clinton is sure to bring the funk and more to Narragansett Bay.

"I had to get this music out there," Clinton said in an interview posted on the website www.consequenceofsound.net. "I felt real creative urgency to give the world this, right now."

Simply put: With the exception of James Brown, Clinton has done more than anyone to elevate and expand the African-American music genre known as funk, first with his R&B vocal group, The Parliaments with their 1967 hit, "(I Wanna) Testify." In the next decade, Clinton - who first formed the band as a doo-wop group in his hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey where he worked in a barbershop - expanded the group, moved to Detroit, where he briefly worked for Motown and with some independent local labels. As a songwriter, he augmented the group's music, with a funkier edge, drawing from Brown and Sly Stone, with touches of Afro-psychedelic, talismanic iconography. Parliament featured colorful characters like the square, non-dancing Sir Nose D'Voidaffunk, who was the nemesis of Starchild, his polar opposite who always knew where "The One" was. And, there was the Mothership - an Afro-American version of the Apollo Moon Module that literally landed onstage, where Clinton as "Dr. Funkenstein" would emerge from the ship, exhorting his funketeers to "give up the funk."

Throughout the 70s, Parliament produced a number of R&B hits, including "Up for the Downstroke," "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off The Sucker)," "Aquaboogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)" and "Flash Light," from their equally impactful albums including Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Mothership Connection, and The Motor-Booty Affair. With the jazzy horn lines supplied by saxophonist Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis and trombonist Fred Wesley - all from James Brown's groups - Parliament set the bar high as one of the most influential ensembles in 20th century music.

As Parliament was to funk, Clinton's other equally influential ensemble Funkadelic was the Black answer to rock. The group's roots go back to 1964, when it was a touring band created to back The Parliaments. The band, which was named by the group's original bassist Billy Bass Nelson, came into its own as a distinct entity from Parliament, even though there was some overlap and interchange between groups with the same musicians. And though both groups were next to none in terms of dance grooves, Funkadelic was more guitar-oriented, abstract, and daringly political.

Its classic albums including Maggot Brain, America Eats Its Young, Hardcore Jollies, Uncle Jam Wants You, and One Nation Under a Groove, yielded several singles including "(Not Just) Knee Deep," "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On," "Comin' Round the Mountain," and "Cosmic Slop." Guitarists Garry Shider and Glenn Goins, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and vocalists Walter "Junie" Morrison (who also played keyboards) and Philippé Wynne of The Spinners, were some of the stars that made Funkadelic the premier band that it was. With Clinton at the helm, his groups sang and riffed on a number of subjects that included extraterrestrial life, The Bermuda Triangle, Egyptology, drugs, Atlantis and the inner city, drawing from any musical source he deemed worthy.

"I'd bite off the Beatles, or anybody else," Clinton told Rolling Stone. "It's all one world, one planet and one groove."

Parliament and Funkadelic were but two of Clinton's ever-growing cadre of groups, which included Maceo Parker Horny Horns, the all-female outfits Parlet and the Brides of Funkentstein, bassist Bootsy Collins and his Rubber Band and The P-Funk All-Stars. In the early 80s, after long, legal battles with record companies, Clinton became a solo artist, with his most successful single, "Atomic Dog" becoming one of the most iconic videos of all time. Clinton was also a force beyond touring and recording. He wrote the theme song to The Tracey Ullman Show, hosted the HBO series Cosmic Slop, and he appeared in several films including Prince's Graffiti Bridge, and House Party. Clinton's influence on pop music and hip-hop is massive. Prince, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and Digital Underground have sampled, and have been inspired by his music, and Clinton was a major influence on the rock group, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Brit-rocker Thomas Dolby, among many others. Clinton also guest stars on the track, "Wesley's Theory," from Kendrick Lamar's rap masterpiece, To Pimp a Butterfly, and in 2014 published his memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?

When Clinton steps on the Newport stage, he'll do so, with six decades of funk and Black rock under his belt, with a new generation of funkateers, poised to carry "The One" onward and upward. "This is to let them know that "Atomic Dog" and "Mothership Connection" are not the end of the story, Clinton told Consequence of Sound. "So when you see Medicaid Fraud Dogg, you'll see Sir Nose is still out there ... and Dr. Funkenstein is out here inoculating people with the funk." Newport, get ready.

The 2018 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Investment Managers takes place August 3 - 5 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include Charles Lloyd's 80th Birthday Celebration with three different bands; Pat Metheny with Antonio Sanchez, Linda May Han Oh, & Gwilym Simcock; Andra Day; George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic; Jon Batiste; R+R=NOW; Alicia Olatuja; Michel Camilo; Grace Kelly; Laurie Anderson & Christian McBride Improvisations with special guest Rubin Kodheli; and Roy Hargrove.



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Philippe Petit Trio - A Beautiful Friendship


Born in Bordeaux, France, Philippe Petit established himself in Paris in 1977 and worked for the Barclay Studios (now Universal) as a pianist and composer. In 1980, he met the saxophonist Francis Bourrec with whom he played until 1987 in clubs and festivals (Jazz aux Ulis, Printemps de Bourges and Salon de la Musique amongst others.)

A sought-after accompanist, Philippe performed with various singers both in France and abroad, and was a special guest at the Memphis in May Festival in Memphis, Tennessee (USA). He has also accompanied respected American soloists such as Arnett Cobb, Bud Shank, Benny Bailey and French artists such as Sylvain Beuf and Jean- Claude Fohrenbach.

In the 90’s, Philippe Petit developed an interest in the Hammond Organ, and was initially influenced by musicians such as Jimmy Smith and Mel Rhyne (organist of guitarist Wes Montgomery). The discovery of an instrument with so many stylistic possibilities allowed Philippe to explore a huge range of styles, from traditional swing and bebop, to blues, rock and jazz fusion. Sharing the stage with varied artists such as Scott Hamilton, Eric Alexander, Houston Person, Sophia Nelson, Hervé Meschinet, André Villeger, Christian Escoude, Marc Fosset, Marcel Azzola, Rhoda Scott and Dany Doriz, Philippe has developed his own personal style and is now considered one of the top specialists of the Hammond Organ in France.

Having a penchant for combining adventure and music, Philippe has toured extensively throughout Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. His passion for sharing music has led him to far off places such as the Himalayas and the Amazonian forest. In 2012, he was featured in the documentary “Venez Jouer Là” which followed the Venezuelan tour of the “Equatorial Jazz Groove” group, The Jazz Runners.

Over the years, Philippe has collaborated on numerous projects and recordings, both as sideman, composer and arranger. He currently tours with renowned vibraphonist Dany Doriz, (also owner of the famous Parisian jazz club Le Caveau de La Huchette, featured in the 2016 film La La Land)

Other organ projects include the “Men in Bop” Quartet with Olivier Defays (sax tenor), Philippe Chagne (tenor sax) and Yves Nahon (drums), the LSP Trio with Sylvain Sourdeix (soprano sax) and Jean-Luc Lopez (drums).

Recent recordings find Philippe back on the piano with long-time comrades Eric Dervieu (drums) and Pierre Maingourd (double bass), and include a collaboration with Australian singer & tap dancer Wendy Lee Taylor: “Remembering Fred Astaire” as well as “A beautiful Friendship” (Release June 2018), an album resulting in the trio’s spontaneous decision to go into the recording studio after more than 25 years of live performance together.

Philippe Petit is one of France’s most respected masters of the Hammond organ & pianist. First influenced by organists Jimmy Smith and Mel Rhyne, who played with Wes Montgomery, he progressively developed his own funky and jazzy style and a unique sound: rich, percussive, fast, accurate and always full of energy and swing.


Saxophonist Jeff Ryan's debut single, “Up and Up,” from his upcoming debut album, “Embrace,” flies to No. 1


Saxman Jeff Ryan is excited and for good reason. The contemporary pop instrumentalist’s debut single, “Up and Up,” flew to No.1 on the Billboard chart as well as on three other charts in the US and UK. Even before his debut album, “Embrace,” drops Friday (July 13) on Woodward Avenue Records, the buzz surrounding Ryan helped him score the final performance spot in the all-star lineup for the venerable Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, a confirmation that the Bay Area native is the genre’s breakout new artist at the midyear point. 

Ryan’s producer and writing partner on “Embrace” is noted keyboardist and chart-topper Greg Manning. One of the saxophonist’s primary goals is connecting through music and performance, and “Up and Up” is an upbeat tune celebrating the winning chemistry and connection he shares with Manning.

“‘Up and Up’ is the first song we wrote together. It’s a relevant track that captures our great connection. It was two positive people, and the music flowed naturally and easily,” said Ryan about the single that also vaulted into the No. 1 position on the Mediabase, Smooth Jazz Network and British Smooth Jazz charts.
  
“Embrace” is a magnetic ten-tracker – nine Ryan originals and a honeyed reading of Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor” – bonding lustrous and lyrical pop harmonies to meaty urban beats, refined contemporary jazz vamps and soul grooves. Joining Ryan and Manning are two first-call sidemen who have transitioned in recent years into hit-making solo artists: guitarist Adam Hawley and drummer Eric Valentine. A pair of veteran guitarists add significant contributions as well. Darrell Crooks dispenses slick and soulful R&B licks throughout the session while Terry Wollman strums temperate acoustic guitar melodies on the set’s gentle closer, “Tenderly.”

Music has been Ryan’s voice ever since he began playing the sax when he was ten and it’s what he turns to when life gets difficult. It’s his chosen form of communication and connectivity, thus it’s important that his music be honest and relatable.

“Music is so personal to me. It’s important to me to connect with people beyond just superficial playing. Music is the only thing that ever spoke to me on a deeper level and I want to give listeners that experience. I’d love for my music to resonate in a meaningful way with people. Even if you don’t like jazz, I hope that the audience listens, takes it in and finds it relevant to them,” said Ryan, who primarily plays tenor sax on “Embrace.” “An album is a snapshot of who an artist is at a particular time. I’m pleased with where ‘Embrace’ went. It became really special as it emerged from my soul as I tried to be as sincere and genuine as possible.”
  
According to Ryan, the album is only half the story. The breakthrough artist who will take the stage at Sax on the River in Sacramento on October 13 before making his Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival premiere on October 21 said, “The performances are where you get the full message of this music and what I’m bringing to the genre. It’s really about the music and the soul of what’s being expressed up there.” 

“Embrace” contains the following songs:
“Up and Up”
“Blue Wave”
“Dusk to Dawn”
“Sweet Spot”
“Versace on the Floor”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“J-Factor” featuring Greg Manning
“Embrace”
“Matter of Fact”
“Tenderly”



Friday, June 29, 2018

Bob Marley & The Wailers 'Kaya' New Full-Album Mix By Stephen Marley


On August 24, The Marley Family, Island Records, and UMe will collectively proclaim the sun is shining in celebration of 40 years of Kaya, Bob Marley & The Wailers’ historic March 1978 release. This most special anniversary edition will feature Stephen “Ragga” Marley’s exciting and vibrant new “Kaya 40” mixes of all ten tracks from the original album alongside its original mixes in 2CD and 180-gram 2LP configurations.

 Recorded in London concurrently with the material that ultimately comprised 1977's Exodus — a record proclaimed by Time Magazine in 1999 to be the Best Album of the 20th Century — Kaya is the perfect sonic-sibling bookend that shares all the joy, spirit, and literal DNA of some of Marley's most groundbreaking material. Kaya contains a number of the most enduring, heartfelt songs in the entire Marley canon, including "Is This Love," "Easy Skanking," and "Sun Is Shining."

Kaya was initially released just one month ahead of Bob Marley & The Wailers headlining the legendary One Love Peace Concert at The National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on April 22, 1978, an event that featured 16 of reggae's biggest acts. One Love Peace was heralded as Marley's triumphant return to his native soil, following his long exile in London after having fled the country as a result of a December 1976 assassination attempt at his Kingston homestead.

The album was recorded with the then-new configuration of The Wailers that comprised brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett on drums and bass, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on percussion, and the I Threes — Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt — on backing vocals, along with newest member Julian (Junior) Marvin on guitar. Two of Kaya's songs had previously appeared in different arrangements on 1971's Soul Revolution — the title track, and "Sun Is Shining."

Stephen's goal in mixing Kaya 40 was to create a balance that drew heavily from the original versions. Using Bob's vocals from demos from original Kaya sessions that were recorded at different tempos, Stephen synched the vocals with alternate takes and layered it over different instrumental arrangements. Stephen tried to keep the flavor as authentic as possible. To mix the album, he used a similar minimal approach, basing his version heavily off the classic analog concepts they used in the 1970s. 

Bob Marley's artistic legacy forever endures, and the 40th anniversary edition of Kaya only serves to reinforce just how much we all share the shelter of this special music.

Bob Marley & The Wailers KAYA 40 [2CD & 2LP & Digital**]
1.Easy Skanking
2.Kaya
3.Is This Love
4.Sun Is Shining
5.Satisfy My Soul
6.She's Gone
7.Misty Morning
8.Crisis
9.Running Away
10.Time Will Tell
11.Easy Skanking (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
12.Kaya (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
13.Is This Love (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
14.Sun Is Shining (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
15.Satisfy My Soul (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
16.She's Gone (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
17.Misty Morning (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
18.Crisis (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
19.Running Away (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)
20.Time Will Tell (Stephen Marley "Kaya 40" Mix)


GUITARIST GILAD HEKSELMAN DEBUTS TWO TRIO LINEUPS ON THE ROUSING, MELODIC AND COMPLEX ASK FOR CHAOS


With Ask for Chaos, acclaimed guitarist Gilad Hekselman (who claimed the #1 spot in the Rising Star-Guitar Category in the 2017 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll) takes a bold new turn, inspired by two new and quite disparate trio configurations. "The album title is not necessarily a description of the music," he says, "but the environment in which the music was made. In these bands we don't look for one way to do something, we always look for new ways. We like the instability and chaotic feeling of that. Also, with my becoming a father in 2017, it's affected my music and life in very intense ways. And of course politically, what's going on right now is chaotic. Ask for Chaos says that from chaos can come new things, in music and in life. You ask for chaos in order to make progress."

From the dawn of his career, Hekselman has nourished deep relationships with bandmates and strived to keep his music fresh and unexpected. His long-running work with bassist Joe Martin, from his debut SplitLife to his output with Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore on Words Unspoken, Hearts Wide Open, This Just In and most recently Homes (2015), revealed a guitarist with tremendous facility, a rich sound and boundless imagination as a composer. The New York Times hailed him as an artist "who favors clarity of tone and purpose, and who surrounds himself with strong talent."

Ask for Chaos
is the first release from the guitarist's new label, Hexophonic Music, in collaboration with Motema Music. "I look at my favorite artists from the '60s and '70s and see how many records they made," Hekselman marvels. "Having my own outlet for recordings couldn't be more liberating. I've always had more ideas than time and means to put them on records. This move will allow me to dream beyond the limitation of what I am expected to do, and when I am expected to do it." 
  
Hekselman sequenced the new album with the two trios interspersed, resulting in sonic surprise but also a seamless aesthetic unity. Of the gHex Trio, with Rick Rosato on bass and Jonathan Pinson on drums, Hekselman says: "Rick and Jonathan are giving a whole new dimension to my music. I tell them they have to keep me on my toes. I don't want to find a way to play a tune - to me, the way to play a tune is to not have a way, to find a new one every time. They're amazing at that and they love it too."

About ZuperOctave, featuring pianist/keyboardist Aaron Parks and drummer Kush Abadey in a charged, edgy electric setting, the guitarist remarks: "I've played in a lot of bands without bass and I've noticed that it has become a part of my sound that I still haven't documented under my own name. When I got a grant from the Jazz Gallery, I wrote a bunch of music for that instrumentation. I wanted Aaron because he understood that I wasn't trying to do a fusion band, I didn't want something too rigid. I wanted it to go places. Kush was very open to that as well and they both bring a lot of openness and breath into the music"

Ask for Chaos marks Hekselman's first use of piano on record, and Parks' vibrant mix of acoustic, electric and synthesizer makes for an uncommonly textured and adventurous result. "Aaron and I share the bass duties," he points out. "It's either nobody plays bass, or I have this octave pedal, the Boss OC3 Super Octave, that I use behind Parks' solos, and he has keyboards that he uses to play bass lines." Abadey's blend of drum kit and electronic pads also gives ZuperOctave a thoroughly modern sound, perfectly suited to the complex and rhythmically cutting-edge music Hekselman brings to the table.

Following an ethereal and effects-heavy guitar "Prologu00001101" we hear ZuperOctave launch into "VBlues," with its asymmetrical rhythms and McCoy Tyner-esque modern blues harmony. Parks, with a distorted Fender Rhodes sound, stretches over the form before yielding to Hekselman's heated yet lyrical turn. ZuperOctave returns on four additional tracks: "Tokyo Cookie," in deeply grooving 5/4, with involved melodic parts that take time to unfold, intersect and combine; "Stumble," a dreamy even-eighth piece based on Wayne Shorter's "Fall"; "Home to You," with solos trading back and forth in a dazzling spiral between guitar and piano; and the vivacious "Clap Clap," spurred by Hekselman's desire "to write something with two claps like those summer hits on the radio."

The gHex Trio appears on four tracks, beginning with "It Will Get Better," a slightly sad theme with folk-like harmonies and a pure, lilting melody. "It was written when my wife was still pregnant with our son," Hekselman says. "The thought of bringing a child into the world at the time of Trump's inauguration was heavy on me. The title is a promise I don't know if I have the power to fulfill, but part of my duty as a musician is to help things go in that direction. I wrote this to express my wish for what the world could be."

The bright, Brazilian-influenced "Milton" reflects Hekselman's deep appreciation for Milton Nascimento, while the brief yet impactful "Little Song for You" has a loosely phrased melodic construction reminiscent of Ornette Coleman. "Do Re Mi Fa Sol," which Hekselman calls "a love song to music," closes the album in a lyrical, almost country-ish vein, with a whistled refrain and a sumptuous overdubbed string arrangement performed by Duncan Wickeland arranged by Petros Klampanis.

With Ask for Chaos, Hekselman makes radical departures while holding true to the core of the sound he's been refining for years. Exhibiting his "unusual command of touch and dynamics" and his fluency "in a diverse, enthralling jazz vocabulary" (JazzTimes), he juxtaposes two trios with starkly contrasting tonal characters and derives from them a unity of artistic purpose.


ON TOUR

gHex Trio 
(feat. Rick Rosato, Jonathan Pinson)

JULY 2 @ Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, QB, Canada (feat. Mark Turner)
JULY 8 @ Brosella Jazz Festival, Brussels, Belgium
JULY 10 @ Sunside, Paris, France (USE DISCOUNT CODE: 20GH107)
JULY 11 @ Sunside, Paris, France (USE DISCOUNT CODE: 20GH117)
JULY 13 @ North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
JULY 14 @ Cowbell Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Valby, Denmark
JULY 15 @ Aarhus Jazz Festival, Aarhus, Denmark
JULY 17 @ Chiostro San Francesco, Andria, Italy
JULY 18 @ Peperoncino Jazz Festival, Castrovillari, Italy
JULY 19 @ Canaria Islands Festilal, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
JULY 20 @ Canaria Islands Festival, Arrecife, Spain
JULY 21 @ Canaira Islands Festival, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
AUG 4 @ Jazz at the Maverick, Woodstock, NY duet with Fred Hersch USA
AUG 20 @ Smalls, New York, USA
AUG 21@ Smalls, New York, USA

ZuperOctave
*** (feat. Aaron Parks & Kendrick Scott) 

SEPT 11 @ Budapest Jazz Club, Budapest, Hungary ***
SEPT 12 @ Berlin Berlin-Friedrichshain, 16, Germany ***
SEPT 13 @ Jazz Dock, Prague, Czech Republic ***
SEPT 14 @ Dexter Jazz Club, Odense, Denmark ***
SEPT 16 @ Unity Jazz, Gothenburg, Sweden ***
SEPT 17 @ Unity Jazz, Gothenburg, Sweden *** 
SEPT 18 @ Fasching Jazz Club, Stockholm, Sweden ***
SEPT 19 @ Concert House, Fosnavag, Norway ***
SEPT 20 @ Victoria Nasjonal, Oslo, 12, Norway ***
SEPT 21 @ Paradox Jazz, Tilburg, Netherlands ***
SEPT 22 @ Jazz in Wageningen, Wageningen, Netherlands ***
NOV 13 @ Le Petit Faucheux, Tours-sur-Marne, France ***
NOV 14 @ Tonnère de Jazz, Pau, France ***
NOV 16 @ Lugo Jazz Festival, Lugo, Spain ***
NOV 17 @ Lleido Jazz Festival, Lleida, Spain ***
NOV 19 @ Stage Club, Hamburg-Nord, Germany ***
NOV 20 @ Stage Club, Hamburg-Nord, Germany ***
NOV 21 @ Clamores Jazz Club, Madrid, Spain ***
NOV 22 @ Zaragoza Jazz Festival, Zaragoza, Spain ***
NOV 23 @ Domicil, Dortmund, Germany ***
NOV 24 @ 12on14, Warsaw, Poland ***
NOV 25 @ Stadtgarden, Cologne, Germany ***
NOV 26 @ Royal Welsch College of Music & Drama, Cardiff, UK ***
NOV 28 @ Vortex, London, UK ***


You Funky Devil: GRAMMY-winning drummer Henry Cole’s Bomba-Powered Reinvention of Salsa Classic, “El Diablo”


Exuberantly inventive drummer Henry Cole was listening to a favorite album one day, when a whole new arrangement for a classic song leaped into his head. The result was “El Diablo (Espiritu Burlon),” the first song from SIMPLE, the long-awaited follow up his 2012 debut, Roots Before Branches.

The new song, like a lost Latin track off Maggot Brain, embraces Cole’s vision for 21st-century Puerto Rican music, encompassing a wide range of global influences from folkloric rhythms to jazz, rock, and funk. These influences are second nature to Cole, who’s played with jazz (luminaries Miguel Zenón, Ben Wendel, and Gary Burton, as well as Chambao, Residente/Calle 13, and Draco Rosa.

“El Diablo” was written by the iconic Puerto Rican songwriter Rafael Hernández nearly 80 years ago and was made famous by legendary percussionist Ray Barretto on his 1973 Fania Records album Indestructible. Singer Tito Allen was the lead singer in Barretto’s band at the time, and he repeats that role here, despite declaring he would never do another version. Some songs find the perfect recorded form, something so good it makes covers feel impossible. That’s what Tito Allen felt about “El Diablo,” and he swore was the only version the world needed.

Cole’s arrangement swayed him in the end. “I did that song with Ray and it made no sense to do it again without him, though lots of people asked,” says Allen. “Then Henry told me he wanted to record it. The group he had was so different. I was still thinking I might want to turn it down but then I heard the tunes a couple of times, and heard a lot of different stuff here. So I said yes. We did it and whoa, it sounded good. The guys he had were amazing, I felt so good there with them.”

The track shows how firmly Cole is pushing Puerto Rican forms forward. “‘El Diablo’ was purposely chosen as the first song I wanted people to hear from this new project,“ says Cole, who was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. “Rafael Hernández is the most beloved songwriter ever to emerge from Puerto Rico, and Ray Barretto is easily one of the greatest Latin jazz and salsa percussionists of all time. These are my roots, my heroes. So ‘El Diablo’ is my tribute to them.” Cole had a chance to play with Barretto several years ago as part of a jazz project Barretto spearheaded.

Cole burrows into the heart and pulse of the folkloric Puerto Rican bomba rhythm and rebuilds the track from there. Cole and his band Villa Locura freely wed a deeply churning polyrhythmic base to big band horns, rock guitars, electric piano and chanted call-and-response choruses. Tito Allen’s singing rides over all of it like a wicked master of ceremonies, egging the musicians on.

“Having Tito Allen on this song was a dream come true,” says Cole. “He told me that he’d turned down all requests since 1973 to re-record the song because the original was the unbeatable standard, but he thought my arrangement was different, so he agreed to join us.”

The musicians on El Diablo are a veritable who’s who of international artists who either call New York City home or are part of the constant Nuyorican/Puerto Rican back and forth. Bassist Panagiotis Andreou was born in Greece while guitarist Guilherme Monteiro hails from Brazil and pianist Luis Perdomo from Venezuela. Percussionist Mauricio Herrara is from Cuba, while Obanilu Allende, Beto Torrens, and Bryant Huffman are from Puerto Rico, as are the singers joining Allen on vocals, Jeremy Bosch and Cheito Quinõnes. Rounding out the band are American trumpeter Jonathan Powell, guitarist Adam Rogers, and saxophonists Chris Creek and Mario Castro (also from Puerto Rico).

“El Diablo and all the songs I wrote for SIMPLE are inspired by my land and the things I miss when I’m away from my roots, away from the coast of Puerto Rico, the feeling of not having to rush and not feeling stress at all, just joy,” says Cole. “I wanted to keep it simple. My focus was on feeling good, on how the musical parts worked together, and how I danced to it. I wanted people to enjoy it and make them feel like dancing and I wanted musicians in the band to enjoy themselves playing it.”

What critics, scholars, and Puerto Rican master musicians are saying about “El Diablo:”

“By removing ‘El Diablo’ from the Cuban Son Montuno, also known as ‘Salsa,’ and placing it on top of one of the many variations of the old Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba rhythm, Cole open his mind to a whole new world of possibilities and he goes to them without fear. You get strong sound of the “Bomba Barriles” ( Puerto Rico’s version, if you will, of the congas, but with a much bigger and richer sound, used to play bomba rhythms.), full rock and jazz sounding guitars, full brass section playing counterpoint and rhythmic melodies and of course, there’s Cole’s beautiful drumming driving the whole band. This is a definitely new look to Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms. You will dig this!” --Gary Nunez, founder of GRAMMY-winning ensemble Plena Libre.

 


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