Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Consummate guitarist, composer and musical interpreter Bill Frisell is set for a slew of promotional activities in December to promote the release of his highly praised new project All We Are Saying — his exploration of the songs of John Lennon. On December 5, Jazz At Lincoln Center will host a listening party and Q&A with Bill from 7-8pm at the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. Bill will appear at Barnes and Noble in NYC at 86th and Lexington on December 9th at 4pm for a Q&A and performance. On December 16, Frisell will tape a Tiny Desk Concert in the offices of NPR—airdate TBD. All We Are Saying  featuring his trusted ensemble consisting of Jenny Scheinman (violin), Tony Scherr (bass), Greg Leisz (guitars) and Kenny Wollesen (drums) remains firmly ensconced in the Top 20 of Billboard's jazz charts (both Contemporary and Current). In addition, Bill Frisell will perform alongside Jenny Scheinman at the Village Vanguard from December 6 through December 11.

The project has long been in the works—one could go as far back as the first time he heard the Beatles at the age of 13. Fast forward a few decades and Frisell is asked to put together an impromptu set in honor of John Lennon as part of a special event in Paris. The preparation, performances and reception to these compositions was an inspiration nurtured to fruition with this project. The project is already garnering rave reviews from critics and fans alike (Frisell's Facebook page recorded 5000 "Likes" the first day of posting with hundreds of comments accumulating). Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and produced by Lee Townsend, All We Are Saying was released on Savoy Jazz on September 27.

Described by the Wall Street Journal as "the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years" Frisell's artistry has earned across the board praise for his instinctual musicianship—working both within and beyond the parameters of jazz music as he effortlessly incorporates elements of Americana, world, blues, classical, creating a rich and unique aural tapestry. Says Frisell: "John Lennon's music has been with me, the band, everybody, the world...seems like forever. The songs are part of us. In our blood. There was nothing we really needed to do to prepare for this. We've been preparing our whole lives. The songs are there. All we had to do was play them. Everyone involved with this has their own personal, deep, long, relationship to John Lennon's music. It connects us all and brings us together. I feel blessed having the chance to play this music with these people.".


Frank Sinatra Jr.
Planned for this December 11th in Palm Springs, CA, Organizers of A Swingin' Affair have been inundated with calls from performers and Sinatra fans from all over the country. On December 11th, in Palm Springs, CA, ticket holders are guaranteed a night of a lifetime with performers from Phillip Lomax from the X-Factor, and Daniel Joseph Baker from America's Got Talent, to Frank Sinatra Jr., Matt Dusk and Lainie Kazan. Guests will also be treated to a 3-course meal and the Birthday celebration will last into the wee small hours of the morning. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer's Association California Southland Chapter. There are 3 levels of tickets, say Organizers, "We wanted to make this event affordable for everyone." Gala ticket prices are $150, $250, $350 and $450 and the exclusive Sinatra home cocktail party is $350. VIP tickets are $1,000, which give you preferred seating and entry into all of the 3 separate parties that will be going on throughout the day. The event has been branded as more of a Lifestyle Experience due to its uniqueness, and it's far cry from your standard gala.

VIP and Sinatra Cocktail Party ticket holders will get to attend a special cocktail party at Frank Sinatra's former estate, and then be chauffeured via Limousine afterwards to the posh Riviera Palm Springs, where Sinatra himself used to throw some of his most lavish parties. The gala will start with a 3-course meal and then Pamela Anderson, the evening's host, will guide Sinatra fans through a multitude of exciting entertainment. Frank Sinatra Jr. will wrap up the gala by performing with his 20 piece orchestra, and a finale is planned that has been under wraps since the planning of the event.

In true Rat Pack fashion, there is yet one more after party, where Daniel Joseph Baker, a favorite from America's Got Talent and Phillip Lomax, the outgoing Sinatra style singer with the famous smile, will perform along with Luca Ellis who was nominated earlier in the month for an Ovation award for his portrayal of Frank Sinatra in the Broadway show "From Hollywood to Hoboken". Guests will be able to mingle with celebrities and will once again feel the magic of Sinatra.

Morgan Heard and Rick Coronado organized the event due to the severe local and Federal budget cuts. Both Organizers are affected personally by Alzheimer's. Mr. Heard currently takes care of his Mother who has been afflicted with the disease for 6 years now. "It has been totally devastating to me," says Morgan. "My Mother and I have always been very close, and after the diagnosis, I moved her in with me and have been taking care of her ever since." He also added, "Being a huge Sinatra fan, and living in the same town where he lived, I felt we needed to celebrate his Birthday and his impact on not just my life, but the millions of others, and his contribution on the world of music. Not many people knew, but Frank was a very generous man, and helped many people. I thought this would be a perfect way to help the more than 11,000 people locally with Alzheimer's and the more than 25,000 caretakers who take care of them."

The proceeds from this event will benefit the Alzheimer's Association California Southland Chapter, and Organizers hope to make this an annual event. "We want this to be an annual event, and it is up to the people to make sure our first event is a success, so that we may create awareness and celebrate the life and music of Frank Sinatra," says Morgan Heard.

No event of this kind has been created before, and ticket holders will have a chance to spend a day as if they were one of Mr. Sinatra's friends. From the cocktail party at his former estate, and a star studded gala and show at the posh Riviera Palm Springs, to a glitzy after party that lasts into the wee small hours of the morning. Tickets are available by calling 760-561-5561 or by visiting


Ever since the release of his critically acclaimed CD entitled When I Fall In Love back in 2004, Chris Botti has become the largest selling American instrumental artist. His success has crossed over to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his ongoing association with PBS has led to four #1 Jazz Albums, as well as multiple Gold, Platinum & Grammy Awards. Over the past three decades, he has recorded and performed with the best in music including such diverse artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sting, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Andrea Bocelli, Joshua Bell and Aerosmith's own Steven Tyler. He’s been hitting the road for 250 plus days per year, and Chris and his incredible band have performed with many of the finest orchestras, at some of the world's most prestigious venues, including performances at the World Series and Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. His latest release, This Is Chris Botti, is a compilation of tracks featured in recent releases.

This Is Chris Botti Tracklist:
01. Italia (feat. Andrea Bocelli) [05:34]
02. When I Fall In Love [04:21]
03. I've Got You Under My Skin (feat. Katharine Mcphee) [04:16]
04. Someone To Watch Over Me [04:35]
05. Estate [04:06]
06. The Very Thought Of You (feat. Paula Cole) [04:53]
07. No Ordinary Love [06:04]
08. Emmanuel (feat. Lucia Micarelli) [05:55]
09. Hallelujah [03:00]
10. I've Grown Accostumed To Her Face (feat. Dean Martin) [03:10]
11. Nessun Dorma (Turandot) [03:50]
12. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You (feat. Sting And Dominic Miller) [05:31]
13. Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro) [05:12]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A pair of albums from the U.K. scene of the 70s - and first up is Eric Winstone Plays 007 – which includes a batch of James Bond themes handled in a way that's a bit different than usual. Given the early 70s recording time of the record, the approach is nicely changed up from many 60s outings of this nature – production that's often got some nice warm touches, and arrangements that get a bit loose and free with the tunes – not nearly as slavishly tied to the original soundtracks. Winstone brings in some surprising jazzy flourishes to some numbers – and titles include "The Man With The Golden Gun", "Thunderball", "Diamonds Are Forever", "Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", "The James Bond Theme", and "Live & Let Die". Supersonic Sounds is a mixture of early 70s film themes and a few other numbers, put together by Eric Winstone with a vibe that's somewhere in the more easily grooving side of the U.K. sound library scene fo the time – not all-out funky, but with some really impeccable arrangements that set the record way apart from more familiar pop instrumental fare! Titles include "Shaft", "Oasis", "Something", "Good Vibrations", "Playboy", "Hacienda Happenings", and "The Good The Bad & The Ugly".

The James Bond Theme from ‘Dr No' (Norman)
From Russia with Love (Bart)
Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from ‘Thunderball' (Barry; Bricusse)
Goldfinger (Barry; Bricusse; Newley)
Diamonds are Forever (Barry; Black)
Underneath the Mango Tree from ‘Dr No' (Norman)
The Man with the Golden Gun (Winstone; Dale)
Thunderball (Barry; Black)
You Only Live Twice (Barry; Bricusse)
Do You Know How Christmas Trees Grow? from ‘On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (Barry; David)
Live and Let Die (P & L McCartney)
The James Bond Theme reprise (Norman)

'The Godfather' theme (Rota)
'Shaft' theme (Hayes)
The Impossible Dream from the film ‘Man of La Mancha' (Leigh; Darion)
Oasis (Winstone)
Something (Harrison)
Sabre Dance (Khachaturian arr Geldard)
'The Onedin Line' theme (Khachaturian arr Isaac)
Play Boy (Geldard)
Good Vibrations (Wilson)
Tara's Theme from the film ‘Gone with the Wind' (Steiner)
'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' theme (Morricone)
Hacienda Happenings (Walter)


The scope of keyboardist-composer-producer George Duke’s imprint on jazz and pop music over the past forty years is almost impossible to calculate. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent figures in the industry. A producer since the 1980s, he has crafted scores of fine recordings – many of them Grammy winners – for artists representing almost every corner of the contemporary American music landscape.

Duke was born in San Rafael, California, on January 1946. When he was four, his mother took him to a performance by that other Duke of jazz, Duke Ellington. He admits that he doesn’t remember much of the performance, but his mother told him years later that he spent the next several days demanding a piano.Duke began his formal training on the instrument at age seven, his earliest influence being the culturally and historically rich black music of his local Baptist church. By his teen years, his universe of musical influences had expanded to include the more secular sounds of young jazz mavericks like Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Les McCann and Cal Tjader – all of whom inspired him to play in numerous high school jazz groups. After high school, he attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received a bachelors degree in 1967.

But perhaps the most important lessons came when Duke joined Al Jarreau in forming the house band at the Half Note, the popular San Francisco club, in the mid ‘60s. He also played with Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon in other San Francisco clubs around the same time. For the next several years, Duke experimented with jazz and fusion by collaborating and performing with artists as diverse as Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Cobham and Stanley Clarke. He launched his solo recording career at age 19, and shortly thereafter began cutting LPs for the MPS label in the ‘70s. As the decade progressed, he veered more toward fusion, R&B and funk with albums like From Me To You (1976) and Reach For It (1978). During this period he recorded what is possibly his best loved album, Brazilian Love Affair. Released in 1980, the album included vocals by Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento, and percussion by Airto Moreira. Love Affair stood in marked contrast to the other jazz/funk styled albums he was cutting at the time.

Duke’s reputation as a skilled producer was also gathering steam. By the end of the ‘80s, he had made his mark as a versatile producer by helping to craft recordings by a broad cross section of jazz, R&B and pop artists: Miles Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Taste of Honey, Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Melissa Manchester, Al Jarreau, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, Take 6, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker, Lyle Lovett, Sarah Vaughn, Rachelle Ferrell, Natalie Cole, Dianne Reeves and many others. Several of these projects scored Grammy Awards. Duke also scored a top 10 song, "Sweet Baby" with musical compadre Stanley Clarke, to date they have recorded three albums together known as the Clarke/Duke Project.

During this time, Duke was just as busy outside the studio as inside. He worked as musical director for numerous large-scale events, including the Nelson Mandela tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988. The following year, along with Marcus Miller, he served as musical director of NBC’s acclaimed late-night music performance program, Sunday Night. The ‘90s were no less hectic. He toured Europe and Japan with Dianne Reeves and Najee in 1991, and joined the Warner Brothers label the following year with the release of Snapshot, an album that stayed at the top of the jazz charts for five weeks and generated the top 10 R&B single, “No Rhyme, No Reason.” Other noteworthy albums in the ‘90s included the orchestral tour de force Muir Woods Suite (1993) and the eclectic Illusions (1995), in addition to the numerous records Duke produced for a variety of other artists: Najee, George Howard, the Winans, Smokie Norful and Natalie Cole (Duke produced 1/3 of the material on Cole’s Grammy winning 1996 release, Stardust).

In 2000, Duke severed his ties with Warner Records and launched his own record label, BPM (Big Piano Music). “I spent thirty years at other labels as a recording artist,” he says. “I felt it was time for me to step up to the next level of challenge and form a company that would give me and other artists the opportunity to create quality music and push back the musical restraints that dominate most record labels these days.” But even with the new responsibilities and challenges associated with running a record label, Duke has continued to juggle the multiple career tracks of recording solo albums, international touring and producing records for other artists. In addition to his own Face the Music (2002), he also produced recent tracks for Wayman Tisdale, Dianne Reeves, Kelly Price, Regina Belle and Marilyn Scott.

For the better part of 25 years, Duke has also composed and recorded numerous scores for film and television. In addition to nine years as the musical director for the Soul Train Music Awards and the Soul Train TV show, he also wrote music – either individual songs or entire soundtracks – for a number of films, including The Five Heartbeats, Karate Kid III, Leap of Faith, Good Fences, Never Die Alone and Meteor Man.

With more than thirty solo recordings in his canon and a resume that spans more than 40 years, Duke joined forces with the Heads Up label with the August 26, 2008, release of Dukey Treats, a return to the old-school funk sensibilities of icons like James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament/Funkadelic. A careful balance of rhythmic energy and simmering balladry, Dukey Treats recalls the golden age of funk and soul, while at the same time maintaining a fresh sound and addressing issues that are relevant to the global culture of the 21st century. This idea continued with the 2010 release of his latest CD Deja Vu.

“I feel a responsibility to carry positive messages in my music,” says Duke. “I think music is meant to lift people up. I don’t think you can push things under the rug and not address them. Those who have the ability and the opportunity to let people know what’s going on musically and socially should not be afraid to say it and do it and play about it and sing about it.”


Billie Holiday - Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia - 1933 - 1944 is the most complete package to date of Billie Holiday Columbia Albums. Included are 153 masters, 35 were first released only in 2001, and each individual album is packaged in a replica mini-LP sleeve reproducing that album’s original cover art. Although her career extended to her untimely death in 1959, the reputation, legend and legacy of Billie Holiday would be secure if we had only these sublime recordings to sustain us. It can be easily argued that her work for Columbia and its various subsidiaries of the time captured Holiday at her peak -- her voice in top shape, her phrasing at its most inventive and her accompanists the best she would ever have.

Holiday is simply dazzling on scores of popular songs, both imperishable standards and ephemeral pop ditties that we wouldn’t know without her imprint having legitimized them. Whether applying her vocal magic to “Pennies From Heaven,” “A Fine Romance,” “I Cried For You,” or “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” to pick a random handful from this treasure trove of 230 tracks, Holiday is, well, Holiday. No one has yet to approach her unique way with a song, her lack of vocal technique fully compensated by her inventive manipulation of rhythm, her melodic improvising, and her complete emotional attentiveness.

But Holiday, no matter her brilliance, isn’t the whole show here. Attention must be paid to the supporting musicians, including such jazz geniuses as pianist Teddy Wilson, trumpeters Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge and Bunny Berigan, drummer Jo Jones and saxophonists Chu Berry and Johnny Hodges, among the cream of the swing era big bands who were honored to be in the studio with Holiday. Chief among them was tenor saxophonist Lester Young, whose musical union with Holiday is the stuff of legend. Their weave of voice and horn on “Me, Myself and I,” “When You’re Smiling,” "He's Funny That Way," and "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" is a case of sheer artistic telepathy.

Among the highlights of this deluxe set are revealing alternate takes and recordings of live performances, including those from Holiday’s short-lived stint with the Count Basie band. Of the 153 masters collected here, 35 were first released only in 2001. Everything, it hardly needs to be said, is essential listening.


The Mahavishnu Orchestra, in its original incarnation, lasted just four years, but in that brief time, the pioneering quintet set both the template and the high-water mark for fusion music. No band ever rocked as hard in a jazzy place as guitarist John McLaughlin’s charging ensemble. McLaughlin had already built a firm reputation in his native England as a keen improviser with blues and rock leanings when he was invited by drummer Tony Williams in early 1969 to join him in New York. Almost immediately, McLaughlin was swept up into the very epicenter of the burgeoning fusion movement, appearing on – in 1969 alone – three of the genre’s most significant recordings: Emergency! (by the newly-formed Tony Williams Lifetime) and In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, the epochal Miles Davis albums that kick started fusion. When it was time for McLaughlin -- who, in his initial New York stay, had quickly developed from a gifted player to a brilliant one -- to form his own band, he brought together musicians who could apply full-force rock energy to improvisatory jazz skill. Keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman, and drummer Billy Cobham were each extravagant virtuosos eager to match McLaughlin at his own game; bassist Rick Laird contained the passion with his steady bass lines. Dubbed the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the new band released its debut recording, The Inner Mounting Flame in August of 1971: fusion as we know it was now fully born. Younger listeners raised on rock responded to the band's vitality and extraordinary musicianship; before long The Mahavishnu Orchestra was appearing with the likes of The Byrds and Aerosmith. Subsequent hit albums built on The Inner Mounting Flame’s innovations; Hammer added synthesizers to his arsenal, developing a keyboard style nearly as influential as that of McLaughlin’s frenetic guitar work and Cobham’s rumbling percussive attack. But it was nearly inevitable that the life span of such a dynamic ensemble would be brief. The Mahavishnu Orchestra threw down the gauntlet; fusioneers who followed have been trying to catch up ever since.

• 2011 marks the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the band and its signing to Columbia Records.

• Features the original classic line-up of the band led by John McLaughlin -- and including Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and Rick Laird.

• Smash hit albums The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire are here, along with the band’s only live album Between Nothingness And Eternity, plus the rare The Lost Trident Sessions.

• Also contains the very rare bonus track, a 15 minute live version of “Noonward Race” from the Mar Y Sol Festival in 1972 in Puerto Rico.

Albums included:
1. The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
2. Birds Of Fire (1973)
3. The Lost Trident Sessions (1973)
4. Between Nothingness and Eternity (1974)
5. Bonus Disc: Between Nothingness And Eternity [Disc 2] All tracks previously unreleased

Friday, November 25, 2011


Roberta Flack the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist is back with a new song and forthcoming album, Let It Be Roberta - Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles — a collection of Beatles song interpretations. The first single "We Can Work It Out" has been chosen as Amazon's "Song of the Day" for November 27th. The single will be highlighted as one of the best current singles on Amazon's MP3 Pages and will be specially priced at 89 cents until December 4th. Roberta Flack has long been known as an unparalleled musician who effortlessly inhabits the worlds of pop, soul, R&B, jazz and folk. From her very first recording , "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" which hit #1 in the U.S across all charts, Flack has created strong emotional bonds with her listeners through her poignant musicality and unerring stylizations while also shining an uncompromising light onto the culture and politics of the times. Flack is putting the finishing touches on her new album—her first in over 8 years. Newly signed to a partnership of 429 Records, Sony ATV Music Publishing and Flack's RAS Records, the album which was produced by Sherrod Barnes, who has also produced Beyonce' and Angie Stone, with contributing producers Jerry Barnes and Barry Miles, is slated for release on February 7th worldwide (Sony Music will release the album in Japan).

Since bursting onto the scene in 1969 with the blockbuster album First Take (produced by the legendary Joel Dorn), she's followed her fiercely uncompromising lyrical and musical muses earning her a place alongside pioneering artists such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Nina Simone. A multiple Grammy winner, she is the only artist along with U2 to win "Record of the Year" in consecutive years (for "The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Killing Me Softly"). Although she's taken some time between recordings, she's never stopped performing having constantly toured worldwide. Flack, a national treasure gives her time freely to a host of charitable and humanitarian causes--among them, the ASPCA (spokesperson of the year for 2011) and the Roberta Flack School of Music in Bronx, NY (which she founded in 2006). Says Roberta: "My passion for this project comes from the magical genius of the greatest songwriters of all time. Love, inspiration, friendship and my own life's lessons come together when I sing the songs they created. I am honored to be a part of the fabulous legacy of the Beatles."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Levy’s fans have been long waiting for this album for nearly 17 years. His new album, It's About Time, is full of heavy hitters such as Snoop Dogg, Damien Marley, Jada Kiss, Busta Rhymes just to name a few. The album is releasing under Barrington’s Entertainment company, “Black Roses Entertainment.” The company is a music and video digital distribution company and also produces content in the motion picture industry, broadcast and online media markets. The lead single, Love Me Like This was recorded in California in 2010 where when both icons came together to make this reggae tune. The song speaks of a girl's love, with Barrington Levy's strong vocals resounding off the soothing reggae rhythm. Combined with the late and iconic Heavy D vocals, the two artists have created a true recipe for a hit track. With Heavy D's recent passing, Barrington Levy sends his condolences to the family, as he wishes to show his respect by sharing the work that they did together and the magic they created with the rest of the world.

Caesar Augustus, creative director at Augustus Films & Aura Media Group is producing Barrington’s music video entitled “Healthy,” featuring Damien Marley. Augustus also also directed Barrington’s last video “No War”, featuring Konvict’s artist Kardinal Offishall in early February in Philadelphia, Pa. “Healthy” goes into production mid January 2012 and is set to be his first single of his new Album. The music video will be filmed near Levy’s hometown in Jamaica. “A raw, original reggae look is what I am looking for and Jamaica can give us the look we need. I have two legendary reggae artists involved so it has to be authentic and represent the culture to the fullest,” states director Caesar Augustus. The video is set to release on MTV & VeVo in February. In February of 2012, Black Roses Ent. & Aura Media Group begin production on Levy’s documentary entitled “Barrington”. The 90 minute documentary features an exclusive invitation into the history and making of legendary reggae artist. Cameras will follow Barrington worldwide during his European tour promoting his new album.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Fantastic stuff – and a record that may well be the greatest ever from the mighty Serge Gainsbourg – high praise indeed, considering the greatness of Gainsbourg's other music! The album is one long suite built around a spare, electric bass-driven theme – a slow funk riff that's been sampled countless times over the years, and which has gotten the album continuous play on both sides of the Atlantic for many many years. The mighty Jean-Claude Vannier handles the arrangements, and Serge mutters the lyrics over the top, in a raspy loud whisper – while the funky rhythms dart in and out of odd washes of sound, and unusual eerie sounds. There's a very strong soundtrack feel to the album, as waves of music envelop the lyrics – tripped out in funky beats that have become legendary over the years, thanks to some very famous samples! Titles include "En Melody", "Cargo Culte", "Ballade De Melody Nelson", "Valse De Melody", "Ah! Melody", and "L'Hotel Particulier". Amazing box set version features the whole record on CD and LP, plus a full bonus CD and LP of alternate takes from the album – a real treasure trove of grooves – plus both vocal and instrumental versions of "Melody Lit Babar"! DVD features the original album 5.1 mix – and a 40 minute documentary on the making of the album, with optional English subtitles. Also features an oversized hardcover book – filled with notes in English and French, translations of the tunes, and even rare photos too! (DVD is NTSC coded, All Region). Source: Dusty Groove


Columbia Records is releasing the debut album from Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., this year's "America's Got Talent" winner, on November 21, 2011. Landau's emotional American's Got Talent triumph on September 14 was seen by more than 14 million viewers. And his thrilling renditions of Frank Sinatra classics like "My Way," "Fly Me To The Moon," and "Under My Skin" won him a legion of supporters who were wowed by his poise-under-pressure and unassuming charm. For his debut album, That's Life, Landau will collaborate with Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Tyrell on a songbook of Rat Pack hits from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

Admired by his fans as much for his down-to-earth nature as for his incredible talent, Landau is a 37-year-old father of four who has supported his family by working at a car wash ("I'm a new car detailer," he explained to the AGT judges) for the past 10 years. His prize for winning the four-month-long talent search: $1 million and a contract to headline at the Colosseum Theater at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. However, Landau says his real prize has been the support and love of the family members and friends who encouraged him to take a chance and enter the contest. When Landau first auditioned on NBC's "America's Got Talent" in June 2011, he said simply, "I am here to show America I can sing." And when he did sing, he gave the audience in New York's Radio City Music Hall a moment of astonishment. Landau's version of "Under My Skin" brought the audience – and even the judging panel - to their feet. "I was thinking that you'd be a total train-wreck," admitted judge Piers Morgan. "I couldn't believe what I was hearing!" Added judge Howie Mandel: "Your life will never be the same."

As the competition went on, Landau revealed more about himself – including some aspects of a painful past. "I've had a lot of low points in my life," he said, including one period of homelessness when he was 19. As he grew older and put his life in order, Landau made it a goal to help those less fortunate. He has performed in several benefits for West Virginia children's charities in recent years. After Landau's landslide win on "America's Got Talent," the singer's tiny hometown of Logan, West Virginia, threw a parade and welcome home celebration in his honor. The event filled the local fieldhouse to overflow capacity and included a visit from state Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who awarded Landau with The Distinguished West Virginian award. Other awards and tributes flowed in from state and local officials and a local street was even named "Landau Lane" in honor of the singer. Now the underdog has become top dog - and can't believe his good fortune. Landau noted, "This would be meaningless if it wasn't for my wife and children and the rest of my family. I wanted to win for them, not just for the money, but so that they could feel proud of me. I wake up in the morning and I can't believe how much my life has changed."

Landau and Steve Tyrell are working on the new album and songs titles include: "My Way," "Witchcraft," "Night and Day," "Fly Me To The Moon," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "Something Stupid (featuring Judith Hill)," "Ain't That A Kick In The Head?," "That's Life," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "I've Got The World On A String," and "Baby It's Cold Outside (featuring Judith Hill)." During his storied 40-year music career, Tyrell has scored movies (That Thing You Do, Father of the Bride), produced albums for dozens of top singers (Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, Mary J Blige, Chris Botti, Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder among them) and recorded his own albums.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Legacy Recordings has announced the release of Now, Then & Forever, the ultimate single-disc celebration of Earth, Wind & Fire, the iconic American soul-funk-fusion powerhouse which Rolling Stone said "changed the sound of black pop." EWF has been getting parties started across the planet since the group's Chicago inception in 1969 and 2012 promises to be another banner year for the band, beginning with the release of Now, Then & Forever on Tuesday, January 31. More than simply a new career-spanning best-of compilation, Now, Then & Forever centers around favorite tracks hand-picked by A-list celebrity friends and fans of the band including world-class musicians whose work has been influenced or inspired by EWF's groundbreaking catalog. Celebrity curators who've picked their favorite EWF songs for the Now, Then & Forever collection include Andre 3000, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell, Raphael Saadiq, and David Foster, among others. Now, Then & Forever will premiere "Guiding Light," an avidly awaited brand-new EWF song, as well as a new remix by "Guiding Light" provides a hint of things to come from Earth, Wind & Fire, who're preparing a full-on new studio album for summer 2012. Inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Earth, Wind & Fire has earned six Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards alongside numerous other accolades, not least of which is--with more than 90 million albums sold worldwide--EWF's standing as America's seventh top-selling musical group of all-time. Earth, Wind & Fire will be presented with the prestigious Legend Award at the 2011 Soul Train awards, airing November 27.


Robert Glasper has long kept one foot planted firmly in jazz and the other in hip hop. The Los Angeles Times once wrote that "it's a short list of jazz pianists who have the wherewithal to drop a J Dilla reference into a
Thelonious Monk cover, but not many jazz pianists are Robert Glasper," adding that "he's equally comfortable in the worlds of hip-hop and jazz," and praising the organic way in which he "builds a bridge between his two musical touchstones." On February, 28, 2012, Robert Glasper Experiment will release Black Radio, a future landmark album that boldly stakes out new musical territory and transcends any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip hop, R&B and rock, but refusing to be pinned down by any one tag. The first full-length album from the Grammy-nominated keyboardist's electric Experiment band—vocoderist/saxist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave—Black Radio also features many of Glasper's famous friends from the spectrum of urban music, seamlessly incorporating appearances from a  jaw-dropping roll call of special guests including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Stokley Williams (Mint Condition). Throughout the Experiment wears its eclecticism on its
sleeve, presenting new collaborative originals and surprising cover songs. They transform the Afro-Cuban standard "Afro Blue" with Badu, Sade's "Cherish The Day" with Hathaway, David Bowie's "Letter to Hermione" with Bilal, and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with Benjamin's vocoder ocal.

Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio
1. Lift Off/Mic Check (featuring Shafiq Husayn)
2. Afro Blue (featuring Erykah Badu)
3. Cherish The Day (featuring Lalah Hathaway)
4. Always Shine (featuring Lupe Fiasco & Bilal)
5. Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.) (featuring Ledisi)
6. Move Love (featuring KING)
7. Ah Yeah (featuring Musiq Soulchild & Chrisette Michele)
8. Consequence Of Jealousy (featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)
9. Why Do We Try (featuring Stokley Williams)
10. Black Radio (featuring Mos Def)
11. Letter to Hermoine (featuring Bilal)
12. Smells Like Teen Spirit


Part one (of three) of a great new project from Will Downing – a set in which he deals with the past, present, and future of soul music. This set's about the past, in case you can't guess from the title – and has Downing doing some wonderfully sweet takes on soul classics from years back – four solid smokers from the 60s and 70s, all given that incredibly warm, soulful Will Downing approach! There's a slight touch of jazz in the backings, and all the sophistication in the vocals that have always made Will so great – and titles include "La La Means I Love You", "Send For Me", "This Time I'll Be Sweeter", and "Ooh Baby Baby".  Will Downing’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow represents the artist’s first independent release and will fittingly be delivered in a revived format of yesterday, the EP. So named for its Extended Play, the EP is more than a single but less than a full album and in this case will represent three brilliant four-song releases that will be delivered over the course of a year.

Music lovers left hungry for something grown and sexy should rejoice over these bite-sized creations. As the name suggests, the first EP, Yesterday, will be the appetizer, focusing on some of Will Downing’s favorite re-makes or as he refers to them, “interpretations”, of songs of yesterday , delivered seamlessly with both his signature stylings and a deep respect for the original. The listener will be treated to an absolute classic Quiet Storm R&B set as Downing puts his stamp on The Delfonics’ – "La La Means I Love You", Smokey Robinson’s – "Ooh Baby Baby", Angela Bofill’s – "This Time I’ll Be Sweeter" and the project’s first single, the Atlantic Starr signature slow jam – "Send For Me". In hand-picking these selections, Downing insightfully notes that “each song interprets love from a different point of view”.

The next release, Today, will arrive around Valentine’s Day 2012, and will showcase Will Downing’s well earned status as the Prince of Sophisticated Soul. Dessert gets served in the form of the projected Summer 2012 release of Tomorrow, which will feature Downing venturing slightly outside of the box in which some might expect him to remain. The musical trilogy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow represents a rare display of an artist in complete touch with his craft, his audience and the changing times that currently influence both. For the consumer, the uniquely staggered time-release schedule will keep the fresh product coming while offering the experience of focusing more deeply on fewer songs at a reduced cost to acquire. This time around, the anticipated song creations that will serve to complete the trilogy are part of the intrigue and mystique of the release. However, given the considerable quality of the body of work that is Will Downing’s “yesterday”, there is little reason to expect anything less, today, tomorrow or ever!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Not only masterpieces spark new work. Piazzolla in Brooklyn, the new recording by Argentine-born, Brooklyn-based bassist, bandleader, and producer Pablo Aslan, was inspired by a dreadful album. Take Me Dancing, a 1959 jazz tango recording by New Tango master Astor Piazzolla, was dreadful. Piazzolla said so. Recorded in Buenos Aires with a group of musically bilingual Argentine players, including Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla, the maestro´s grandson, on drums, Piazzolla in Brooklyn updates Takes Me Dancing into state-of-the-art jazz tango. “I was attracted by the idea of recreating this damned Piazzolla album, through the optic of jazz tango, something that I had spent many years developing for myself,” he says. “I felt there were many places where the music could be opened up and developed further. I began to imagine which aspects of the pieces could use a more extended formal treatment, which ideas just went by too fast and could stand further elaboration, and where the solo sections could occur. That was the eureka moment, when I realized that the material in this record had a potential that just needed to be unleashed.”

Aslan has been working on jazz tango for the past 20 years. He grew up in Buenos Aires in the 1960’s and 70’s, but moved to the United States to study music. After graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz, and attending Cal Arts, and UCLA, he headed to New York City in 1990. By then he had rediscovered tango and had become “the tango guy.” He played traditional gigs, for dancers. For years he was a regular feature in milongas (tango dance halls) around the United States and in concert performances with Raul Jaurena, Pablo Ziegler, and Yo Yo Ma’s Soul of the Tango. But he also started to probe the possibilities of jazz tango. Early on he formed a trio with the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin and pianist Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus), “without really knowing what I was doing. I just formed this band,” he says. “ I put some charts together where everybody could solo and improvise. Interesting stuff would happen, but I couldn’t necessarily say that it was real tango, which is what I was trying to do.”

But the hard work paid off in recordings such as Avantango (2004), Buenos Aires Tango Standards (2007) and, most notably, Tango Grill (2009) an album that earned Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations. As he began planning the follow up to Tango Grill, Piazzolla’s Take Me Dancing was just a curiosity. “I had heard all the infamous stories about this recording, so when I saw Take Me Dancing in a record shop in Buenos Aires, I snatched a copy,” he recalls. “And it played exactly as I expected: it was awful. It was just as Piazzolla had presented it.” There was very little jazz and a simplified, clunky Piazzolla played to a guiro-and-bongo beat. How much of this was due to artistic ideas, commercial considerations or some mix of both is open to discussion.

In 1959, Piazzolla was back in New York, where he had spent most of his childhood, looking for a fresh new start for a sputtering career. Take Me Dancing was his most ambitious gambit. It was a recording of originals and standards interpreted, by an ad-hoc Jazz Tango Quintet, comprising electric, guitar, vibes, piano and bass, plus small percussion. (One of the percussionists was Dominican bandleader, musician, and producer Johnny Pacheco, who would go on to develop salsa and co-found the influential Fania Records.)
Piazzolla had high hopes for the record — but it sank without a trace. Artistic experiment or commercial ploy, at the time Piazzolla thought of Take Me Dancing as “marvelous.” For the rest of his life, he denounced it as “an artistic sin” and worse. But when Aslan read a critical reevaluation of Piazzolla’s career (Diego Fischerman and Abel Gilbert’s study Piazzolla El Mal Entendido, Piazzolla The Misunderstood) and the comments about Take Me Dancing he was intrigued into giving it a second listening.

“And I really liked what I heard,” sounding still surprised. “In a way, it sounded to me like it was undiscovered Piazzolla. The rhythmic approach obscured the writing. The themes and ideas were actually very strong and original, but the percussion made it sound monotonous. And while this was called a jazz tango album, frankly there is virtually no improvisation in it, and what improvisation there is, it occurs in some isolated moments, generally against a written out background, and very briefly.” What Aslan also heard in Take Me Dancing was a challenge and an opportunity. He went back to Buenos Aires and called on Gustavo Bergalli, trumpet, Nicolas Enrich, bandoneón, Abel Rogantini, piano, and “Pipi” Piazzolla, drums, players as knowledgeable and comfortable with the vocabulary, syntax, and rhythms of tango as they are with jazz.

“I needed these players for a recording like this,” explains Aslan. “Piazzolla in Brooklyn is about taking chances, dynamics, interaction, spontaneity, even some messiness,” he says. “It’s a personal view, and it’s spontaneous, created by the musicians in the moment.” The transcriptions by Aslan, Enrich, and Rogantini of the original arrangements by Piazzolla for nine of the pieces in Take Me Dancing became the road map for Piazzolla in Brooklyn. “La Calle 92,” which opens the record like a scene setter, is the only track here that is not from Take Me Dancing. It’s a piece by Piazzolla titled after the New York City street where he and his family lived during this period.

Two of the tracks are jazz standards, “Laura,” and George Shearing’s classic “Lullaby of Birdland.” The rest of the pieces are a mix of original compositions that would never become part of Piazzolla’s repertoire, older songs in a new guise and also hints at the Piazzolla to come. “Counterpoint,” with its fugal structure, later developed fully in pieces such as “Fuga y Misterio;” “Dedita,” a piece written for his then-wife Odette ‘Dedé’ Wolff; “Show Off,” a new spin of “Para Lucirse,” a tango he had already arranged for tango master Anibal Troilo’s orchestra. And then there’s “Triunfal,” the piece that, in Piazzolla’s lore, he showed to fabled teacher Nadia Boulanger who then, impressed, encouraged him to continue writing tangos. Ironically, Aslan points out, the piece here becomes “almost hard bop.”

“I did not set out to re-harmonize or change his writing at all, or to add any of my ideas,” he explains. “That was a self-imposed limitation — but also I did not need to. The objective was to reformulate the arrangements so that the individual contributions of each musician were allowed to flourish.” For Aslan, Piazzolla in Brooklyn was a chance to finally address Piazzolla in his own terms. “He was a model and an inspiration for my work,” he says. “But I also systematically avoided his music. I always felt that it was too strong and defined, and that his own interpretations very rarely have been surpassed. In Piazzolla in Brooklyn I found my own way into Piazzolla’s music, a place where I could create my own world and actually interact with him.”


iClips and Tedeschi Trucks Band have joined forces to offer fans across the globe the band's first ever live broadcast on November 18, 2011. The 11-member ensemble will perform at the Fillmore auditorium in Denver, a city that has shown great support for both Tedeschi and Trucks over the years. will offer the concert live and for a limited time the following week. A dramatic leap forward for two of the music world's most dynamic performers, singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitarist Derek Trucks introduced Tedeschi Trucks Band to rave reviews earlier this spring in advance of their first full CD release together. In June, Tedeschi Trucks Band debuted big with Revelator (Sony MASTERWORKS), breaking into the Billboard Top 200 Chart at #12, bringing both artists to their highest first week sales and charting of their careers.
Praised as a 4 Star "masterpiece" by Rolling Stone and simply "Outstanding" by USA Today, Revelator is filled with smoky, blues-dipped rockers and heart-stilling ballads that show off, respectively, the gutsier and softer side of Tedeschi's vocal ability, plus a series of emotive, story-telling solos shaped by Trucks's uncanny agility on slide-guitar. Tedeschi Trucks Band celebrated the release of Revelator with a soulful and anthemic performance of the album's first single, "Learn How To Love" on both The Tonight Show and Conan. The recently released third single from the album "Come See About Me" is another demonstration of the prolific musical ability of Tedeschi and Trucks and quickly gaining momentum.

Recognized for their outstanding live performances, Tedeschi Trucks Band's concert in Denver comes after a year of headlining shows in the U.S., Australia and Europe this year. In recent concert reviews, the Charleston City Paper described them as "staggering, uplifting, and damn near soul-saving," while the Boston Globe declared the "show a triumph as band hits stride." The all-star lineup features brothers Oteil Burbridge (noted for his years as bassist with the Allman Brothers Band) and Kofi Burbridge (longtime keyboardist/flutist with The Derek Trucks Band), harmony singers Mike Mattison (vocalist with Derek Trucks Band) and Mark Rivers, with drummers J. J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell, trumpeter Maurice Brown, tenor saxophonist Kebbi Williams and trombonist Saunders Sermons.

Upcoming shows:
11/18 Denver, CO Fillmore
11/19 Phoenix, AZ JW Desert Ridge Blues Festival
12/28 Jacksonville, FL Florida Theatre
12/29 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/31 San Francisco, CA Warfield


Oscar® and Grammy® Award-winning French composer Michel Legrand has teamed up with an eclectic and critically acclaimed group of artists from around the world for his new studio album Noel! Noel!! Noel!!! set for release on December 6th through Verve. For this project, Legrand called on a glittering array of recording artists from around the world who jumped at the chance to work with the globally acclaimed songwriter and composer on his new studio album.

This diverse group of artists includes the Grammy® Award-nominated, jazz-pop singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum; the multi-faceted singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright; the eclectic pop styling of MIKA; acclaimed singer and composer Teddy Thompson; folk-soul chanteuse Ayo; noted French singer Carla Bruni, and punk pioneer Iggy Pop. All gathered together for the recording of this unique holiday collection while recalling the melodies that lit up the Christmas of their own childhood. Iggy Pop remarked, "Gee. Wow. Michel Legrand. No kidding? Yeah, I'd love to do it. So that's kind of how the phone call went when I heard about this record. I was just really, really happy to be included, and to be present in a small way for Joyeux Noel En France 2011. Everybody singing on this is really bloody good. I envy Rufus, his beautiful French as well as his talent, and the three ladies on 'Noel d'espoir,' each one, are nothing short of bewitching. I guess now I'm cool with Santa Claus. By the way, when I was a boy, I too played the drums. Many thanks to Michel for the beautiful tracks and for allowing me to be a guest."

Michel Legrand and his team, comprising of the Big Band Jazz featuring 50 musicians including an orchestra of 34, and renowned sound engineer Lawrence Manchester, who has worked with Diana Krall, Regina Spektor, the Coen brothers on the True Grit soundtrack as well as Scorsese's The Departed, plus Spiderman, flew to New York for the recording of Noel! Noel!! Noel!!! Included are Christmas classics such as "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Santa Baby," as well as the exclusive Legrand–penned song "Hope Christmas," written and recorded specifically for this album. Said Jamie Cullum, "Over the years of committing songs to memory I kept coming across songs and arrangements I loved. So often the name Michel Legrand turned up. I'm honored to be included on this collection created by Monsieur Legrand in some seriously auspicious company as well. This is not your typical Christmas album! God bless it for that!"

Tearing down the barriers between jazz, classical music and pop, Michel Legrand is at home in any musical situation and has worked with the likes of Orson Welles, Marcel Carne, Clint Eastwood, Norman Jewison, Louis Malle, Andrzej Wajda, Richard Lester and Claude Lelouch, to name just a few. His instrumental LP I Love Paris topped the U.S. album charts and was the first in a string of Legrand's hit records, including Holiday In Rome which reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200; the top 10 album Castles In Spain; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg which achieved massive worldwide success; the Thomas Crown Affair featuring the hit "The Windmills of Your Mind"; and the 1972 hit song "Brian's Song (The Hands Of Time)."

1.Jamie Cullum – "Let It Snow"
2.Teddy Thompson/Rufus Wainwright – "White Christmas"
3. Madeleine Peyroux – "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
4.Madeleine Peyroux, Emilie Simon, Carla Bruni, Rufus Wainwright, Iggy Pop – "Noel d'Espoir"
5.MIKA – "Vive le Vent"
6.Emilie Simon – "Santa Baby"
7.Carla Bruni – "Jolis Sapins"
8.Iggy Pop – "The Little Drummer Boy"
9.Ayo – "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
10.Imelda May – "Silent Night"

Monday, November 14, 2011


Blue Bassoon offers up thirteen solid tracks of bebop, post-bop and blues standards and gives each respective composition a workout. The sound of the bassoon is entirely different than other traditional jazz instruments and the jazz standards presented on the recording take on a new look and sound that is both refreshing and inviting. Smith is joined by outstanding backing musicians such as Martin Bejerano (piano), Edward Perez (bass), Ludwig Afonso (drums) and Larry Campbell (guitar). Each player reaches the necessary level of competence to match the featured artist note for note. Recorded in NYC with an all-star band including Martin Bejerano on piano, Edward Perez on bass, and Ludwig Afonso on drums, the album also features Bob Dylan's guitarist Larry Campbell as special guest artist on two early-blues selections (*).

The New York Daily News says that Daniel Smith is the greatest bassoon player of his generation. That says it all coming from a publication in a city that serves as the hotbed of jazz for a worldwide audience. With his many critically acclaimed award-winning recordings and live performances, Daniel Smith is the most recorded bassoon soloist in the world, with a repertoire spanning music from jazz to classical and crossover. As the only bassoonist performing and recording in both jazz and classical, his unique career has been profiled in numerous publications throughout the world; described by critics as the 'Gerry Mulligan of the Bassoon' in the world of jazz and the 'Rampal of the Bassoon' in the world of classical music.

In the world of classical music, Daniel Smith's historic box set of the complete 37 Vivaldi bassoon concertos was chosen as 'Best Concerto Recording of the Year' by the Music Industry Association. His highly acclaimed jazz albums Bebop Bassoon and The Swingin' Bassoon (Zah Zah) were followed by Blue Bassoon and Bassoon Goes Latin Jazz! (Summit). Other recordings of Daniel Smith can be found on Vox, MHS, KemDisc, Pearl, Spectrum, Cambria, Regis, Crystal and Forum.

Noteworthy performances include premieres of Gunther Schuller's 'Concerto for Contrabassoon and Orchestra', Steve Gray's 'Jazz Suite for Bassoon and Orchestra' and Robert Farnon's jazz-oriented 'Bassoon Concerto'. Smith has presented solo concerts at New York's Lincoln Center and the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen. His many recordings are heard throughout the world on jazz and classical radio stations, National Public Radio in the USA and on major airlines for in-flight listening. Daniel is also featured with leading book and record clubs and the Muzak network.

Daniel Smith was voted a 'Rising Star' by the Downbeat critics poll and nominated twice by the Jazz Journalists Association as finalist for their 'Player of the Year' award in the category of 'Instruments Rare in Jazz'. He had earlier been chosen as 'Ambassador for the Bassoon' in Great Britain.

In 2012, Universal Music will be re-releasing his classical and crossover albums on digital for downloading on the Internet. Daniel Smith will also premiere Brazilian composer Joao MacDowell's 'Brazilian Jazz Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra'.

Blue Bassoon Track List:
1. The Jody Grind (Horace Silver)
2. The Double Up (Lee Morgan)
3. Sack O' Woe (Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley)
4. Things Ain't What They Used to Be (Mercer Ellington)
5. My Baby's Gone (B B King) *
6. Billie's Bounce (Charlie Parker)
7. Nostalgia in Times Square (Charles Mingus)
8. Equinox (John Coltrane)
9. Scotch and Water (Joe Zawinul)
10. From Four Till Late (Robert Johnson) *
11. Break Out The Blues (George Shearing)
12. Footprints (Wayne Shorter)
13. Solid (Sonny Rollins)
* Special guest artist Larry Campbell on guitar


Mike Clark’s most recent album Carnival of Soul (from 2010) is described as a propulsive, joyful collection of jazz/funk tracks that pays homage to one of Clark's beloved genres, the B3 Organ Trio. He comments: "In my early twenties I had my own organ trio gig in a jazz club for half a dozen years. I always loved playing the music because the B3 is such a strong instrument with a big sound--it frees the drums to just play all out. I also did a lot of organ gigs when I first came to New York in the 80s. It's not the setting where I've done most of my jazz playing but I wanted to record an homage to this unique genre that I love so much. I got together some truly fantastic musicians--most of us go way back--and we just had a whole lot of fun."

Born in Sacramento, CA, while growing up Mike had the benefit of traveling around the country with his father, a union man for the railroad. He was also a drummer at one time and had a keen ear, a killing record collection, and a great appreciation for music. This allowed the younger Clark to soak up the diverse regional music of the United States, which he credits as providing an invaluable education. Clark was a prodigy as well, picking up his first sticks at the tender age of five and sitting in--and getting “house” --with bands in Texas and New Orleans when he was as young as 7 and 8. He continued to play in a variety of blues, R&B, organ trios, and jazz bands, settling in Oakland, CA, until his introduction to Herbie Hancock and his recruitment into the Headhunters in 1973. At the tail end of the 70‘s and in 1980, shortly before moving to New York City, Mike did a short but remarkable stint with Brand X, the acclaimed British fusion band founded by Phil Collins, doing two tours and recording their seminal Do They Hurt? and Product.

Next to James Brown's drummer Clyde Stubblefield, Mike's beats with The Headhunters (most notably on "God Make Me Funky") are some of the most sampled in hip hop. Featured in Downbeat, Musician, International Musician & Recording World, Modern Drummer, Jazz Times, Guitar Player, Jazz Is and numerous jazz history and method books, Mike is a former faculty member of Drummers Collective, and is a popular and busy clinician around the country. His book Funk Drumming: Innovative Grooves & Advanced Concepts was published last year by Hal Leonard and is a best seller.

His numerous recording credits include albums with Herbie Hancock, the Headhunters, Brand X, Eddie Henderson, Jack Wilkins, Mark Puricelli, Mike Wolff, and Alien Army, a group led by guitar great Jack Wilkins. As a bandleader, his release Give The Drummer Some was very enthusiastically received, earning a rare four and a half stars in Downbeat, as was The Funk Stops Here, a joint effort with Hancock alumni Paul Jackson. In 2001, his solo CD, Actual Proof met with critical acclaim, as did the 2003 acoustic jazz release, Summertime, featuring Chris Potter and Billy Childs, which spent many weeks in the top ten charts.

Other efforts included a compilation of his legendary, innovative funk beat samples, Mike Clark—The Headhunter, a re-release of the widely acclaimed Thrust album, and, in 1998, The Return Of The Headhunters, featuring Herbie Hancock. Next came Herbie Hancock’s Box Set, featuring Headhunters classics “Actual Proof” and “Butterfly,” from Thrust, a few choice cuts from Manchild, and also some historical tracks from the classic Flood, previously only available in Japan. The Headhunters’ newest effort, Evolution/Revolution, released in 2003, featured the latest Headhunter configuration, with original founding members Mike, Bill Summers and Paul Jackson, joined by Donald Harrison, Victor Atkins (Los Hombres Caliente), and Nicholas Payton.

His 2009 release Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. I produced by Talking House Productions, which featured Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Patrice Rushen, Jed Levy and Christian Scott, was received with critical acclaim and named one of the best recordings of the decade by Downbeat. Clark signed to Al Hall's Owl Studios back in 2009, and Carnival of Soul marks his debut release on the label. In addition to Clark on drums, the album features Jerry Z, Delbert Bump and Jeff Pittson on Organ, Steve Homan and Rez Abbasi on guitar, Delbert McClinton on vocals, Tim Ouimette on trumpet, Lenny White on drums, Kevin McKendree on piano, Owl Studios artist Rob Dixon on tenor sax and others.

Clark regularly tours the U.S., Europe and Asia, heading up his organ trio, and/or performing as a sideman.
Upcoming appearances include:

November 25-26, 2011
Wolff and Clark Expedition with Michael Wolff, piano, Mike Clark, drums and Chris Severin on bass
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro New Orleans, LA

January 4-9, 2012
Richie Goods Band
16th festival internacional del jazz de punta des este
Uruguay, South America


Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill, Jazz, etc. in Bel Air, CA is changing pitch. Recognized as the number one jazz grill in Los Angeles, Vibrato has a new chef, Wilks Medley. Wilks, trained by celebrity chef Todd English, is serving American grill classics from Kobe burgers, to veal chops, chilled oysters and crab cakes, farm-fresh salads and vegetarian quinoa risotto. Herb Alpert, jazz musician and owner, says, "The musicians play at a certain noise level, so jazz creeps into guests while dining. This is background jazz, not fusion jazz."

"The concept of Vibrato was to have jazz survive. At first, it was to be a great jazz club with food. Now, it is a great restaurant with great jazz," notes Alpert. At Vibrato, the high-end food goes perfectly with high-end jazz. A unique environment in Los Angeles, Vibrato boasts perfect acoustics with impeccable food. "My ambition is to have a club where you feel comfortable, where great musicians can play and appreciate sound and feeling - a venue for jazz players to perform," he says.

The interior design of Vibrato was created by artist Herb Alpert and decorator Clodagh. Vibrato has a hundred seats around the stage, a bar designed like a piano, and a balcony with seating overlooking the club. "The acoustics are a key component of the design," says Alpert, whose art hangs in the club. "Wood and music create good sound. I used the A&M recording studio designer to make sure that the acoustics were right. The mushroom-like globes act as acoustical clouds," says Alpert, who occasionally plays at Vibrato with his wife the famous Brasil 66 singer, Lani Hall. Among the artists who have performed at Vibrato are: The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Steve Tyrell, Seth MacFarlane, Clayton-Hamilton Big Band, Diane Reeves, Houston Person and Bobby Hutcherson.

Zagat Guide reviews of Vibrato run from: "Perfectly prepared steaks" and "first rate jazz" prove "the perfect combination" at this "sophisticated" Bel Air "supper club" co-owned by trumpeter Herb Alpert, to "A beautiful restaurant. The acoustics are perfect for the performers and there is not a bad seat in the house. Well done!"

Adam Robert (now at the Food Network) wrote of Vibrato: "Although Alpert is best known for his music, he added restaurateur to his credits when he opened Vibrato. A grill and jazz club at the top of Beverly Glen." Alpert told Robert: "Food at jazz clubs has always been a kind of second-class citizen. It's the music first, and then let's throw something together." Now Alpert, who once hoped to open a place with his buddy Stan Getz, has an upscale jazz club with food to match. "I was involved in everything," Alpert says, "the look, the feeling of the place, the music, the food. I paid a lot of attention to make the accoustics beautiful."

Steve Oney, Los Angeles Magazine, May 2011 said: "Vibrato, with its cozy wooden interiors, perfect sight lines from every seat, and state-of-the-art acoustics, has drawn performers ranging from Toots Thielemans and Dave Brubeck to Bobby Hutcherson and Chuck Mangione. Which is exactly what Herb Alpert had in mind when he started it. 'There are so many great musicians in L.A.,' he says, 'I run the place so they'll have somewhere to play.'"

On KJAZZ Radio, "The sound at Vibrato is exquisite. The idea was to have a special place for all the jazz musicians and all the young musicians to perform."

Future Jazz performers at Vibrato are: November 15th - Carol Welsman, November 16th - Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, November - 20th Misha Piatigorsky performing with the Sketchy Black Dog, November 22 - Barbara Morrison, and December 3 - Gilbert Castellanos.

Vibrato guests include: Billy Dee Williams, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Valli, Tom Jones, Michael Buble, James Caan, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Chubby Checker, Michael Bolton, James Worthy, Natalie Cole, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson and Vidal and Ronnie Sassoon.

Vibrato Grill, Jazz, Etc. is a Herb Alpert restaurant in partnership with Gregg and Bob Smith of Smith Brothers restaurants.


This 28 year-old London vocalist has made a string of impressive appearances with musicians such as Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name a few. McFarlane’s appearance on the latter’s 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour. All of these experiences have furthered the growth of Zara McFarlane as an artist in the most complete sense of the term and the singer made good on her potential when she issued her self-produced EP, Until Tomorrow in 2010. The 6 track mini-album was evenly split between original compositions such as Captured and standards like the perennial jazz favourite On Green Dolphin Street. There was enormous poise in the way that McFarlane handled the melodic line and chord changes of a piece but what was arguably as impressive was the fact that she asserted herself as a thoughtful lyric writer. Now that EP has evolved into a full-length album, Until Tomorrow, and it marks Zara McFarlane’s debut for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings.

Backed by a brilliant aggregation of musicians that includes pianist Peter Edwards, double bassist Nick Walsh, drummer Andy Chapman and saxophonists Binker Goldings, Camilla George and Zem Adu, McFarlane comes into her own on an engrossing set that includes more originals such as Chiaroscuro, Blossom Tree and More Than Mine. “Most of this album was recorded before I even met Gilles,” Zara explains “I did 5 new songs this year in January. Pete [Edwards] wrote arrangements and things just fell into place. I suppose that I was really trying to bring a contemporary feel to old music. I think anyone can listen to jazz but it’s up to us to make it fresh so that anyone can relate to it.”

All of the finesse in Zara McFarlane’s delivery stems from both a natural gift and years of formal study at a very high standard. In 2001 she studied popular music performance at Thames Valley University and then went on to complete a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at the Guildhall School of Music in 2009. As her education suggests, McFarlane is as drawn to popular culture as she is high art, and her work to date wholeheartedly shows that she is comfortable in a wide variety of contexts. She has thus collaborated with the acclaimed house producer Bopstar, contributed one of her original compositions to the contemporary soul compilation Basement Soul and also done gigs with South African icon Hugh Masekela and the gifted British pianist and arranger Alex Wilson.

The creative spark for Until Tomorrow was lit a long time ago.“Some of the songs on the album go back some time,” she notes. “I’ve wanted to make an album for years, probably about 10 years or so, and now this definitely feels like the right time for me.” One of the curveballs that McFarlane throws on Until Tomorrow is her rendition of The Children And The Warlock and Thoughts. These two superb tracks are by pianist and composer Harry Whittaker, a relatively unheralded figure in the jazz world who is nonetheless respected for his work with Roy Ayers, Carmen Lundy and his own Black Renaissance project. “Gilles [Peterson] introduced me to Harry Whittaker’s trio album, Thoughts Past And Present,” Zara says “There were a couple of tracks that I chose from there. His writing reminded me of Pete’s [Edwards] in a way. It was really melodic, spacious and very emotive. That’s what I try to have in my music. It’s more of an emotional journey as opposed to a just piece for the sake of writing a piece.”

The arrangements for Until Tomorrow have a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, yet as steeped as Zara McFarlane is in the jazz tradition, she has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and it is entirely possible that she could appeal to audiences weaned as much on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Blessed with a fine voice and a strength of character that has led her towards thought-provoking, if not challenging lyrics, Zara McFarlane has with Until Tomorrow taken a giant step down the road to what is surely a long, illustrious career.


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