Wednesday, February 29, 2012


In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has distinctively bridged the worlds of jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica. With over 70 albums to his name, Alexander is celebrating his 50th year in music with an ambitious, two-week engagement at New York's Blue Note, which began on Monday, February 20 through Sunday, March 4. Alexander is presenting the engagement in two parts: Part 1 - The Full Monty: 50 Years in Music! (February 23 - 28) and Part 2 - Jamaica Meets Jazz - A One Love Celebration (February 29 - March 4). The featured body of work and lineup will vary throughout the engagement, with each evening focusing on a project from Alexander's extensive career (six projects total will be presented throughout the engagement). Special guests throughout the two weeks include Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Pat Martino, Freddie Cole, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ernest Ranglin, John Clayton & Jeff Hamilton, and Robbie Shakespeare & Sly Dunbar, among others.

"I derive great personal joy and satisfaction from being able to present music that can bring out people of all persuasions and life styles," says Alexander, "from Kingston, Jamaica to New York and the rest of the world - that's my Harlem-Kingston Express train. That is what this Blue Note booking is all about."

Part 1 of the engagement kicked off on February 20 with a performance by one of Alexander's working ensembles, Harlem-Kingston Express, featuring special guest, guitarist Ernest Ranglin. They will perform music from their GRAMMY® nominated debut, Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! (Motéma Music - released in June 2011).

On February 21 & 22, Alexander brought back his long-standing Triple Treat project. Originally consisting of guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown (a group that toured and recorded together throughout much of the 80's), Alexander will reinvigorate the trio in a program titled "Triple Treat Revisited," featuring one of the "living descendants" of Brown, bassist Christian McBride, as well as guitarist Russell Malone, who appeared on Brown's last recording, along with Alexander.

Alexander's Uplift! trio project (stemming from the March 2011 Jazz Legacy Productions release of the same name) was performed on February 23 & 24, featuring organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and guitarist Pat Martino respectively. On February 25 he showcased Ivory & Steel, a project that reflects the music of Trinidad and the steel drum tradition (much like the Iron & Steel group Alexander led in the 70's and 80's).

"Uplift! is a name that came to me and represents how I feel within myself when I play. It seems that when I play, many others also share this experience," says the pianist. "I wanted to have a straight trio record of mine out there, doing what I do the way I do it when I play live concerts - that old classic setting. And we have a ball doing it. The trio is my own personal big band/orchestra."

With "A Night at Jilly's" on February 26, Alexander honored the first jazz club he performed in when he arrived to New York City from Jamaica in 1963 - Jilly's. It was here that Alexander began to establish himself on the U.S. scene. During his three year's at the club, he had the privilege of accompany the great Frank Sinatra. Special guests for the evening will include vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Freddie Cole.

Closing out Part 1 of Alexander's engagement is "The Montreux Alexander '76 Trio Reunion" on February 27 & 28, dedicated to one of the pianist's most celebrated albums, Montreux Alexander: The Monty Alexander Trio Live! at the Montreux Festival. The show featured the original trio, with bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton.

"Ray [Brown] used to frequently say to me 'you should form a trio with younger musicians' and in 1969 he introduced me to a young bass player named John Clayton, who I stayed in touch with," explains Alexander. "In 1975 my regular bass player suffered a physical ailment and John Clayton came and played with me in Annapolis, MD (on drums was Louis Hayes) and for the second week of that same booking he suggested his good friend from music school, Jeff Hamilton on drums. This unit stuck together for about two and a half years, playing consistently all year round. Montreux in 1976 was one of the nights where this trio was captured and to this date it still is one of my most popular recordings. This was a very well oiled combo."

Alexander goes directly to his Jamaican roots with Part 2 of the engagement. On February 29-March 2, Alexander will present "Monty meets Sly & Robbie," performances with drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare. Sly & Robbie are two of reggae's most recognized trailblazers and collaborated with Alexander on his album, Monty Meets Sly & Robbie. The pianist will conclude the engagement by bringing back his Harlem-Kingston Express group for two final nights on March 3 & 4. Special guests for these performance dates are TBA.

Alexander has been on the express track his whole life and now, in this 50th year of phenomenal musicianship, he shows no sign of slowing down. In 1961, the urban sophistication of jazz and the American songbook, and an invitation to accompany none other than Frank Sinatra, lured the teen prodigy Alexander away from Jamaica and the art form most associated with that nation. The move led to an extraordinary career in jazz, reggae and popular song including collaboration with greats such as Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby and Bobby McFerrin.

Source: Motema Music


Elio Villafranca and Arturo Stable, two Cuban-born maestros of jazz and world music, unveil Dos y Mas, the debut recording of their exquisite new piano and percussion collaboration, which was released on Motéma Music this past January. Villafranca's virtuosic and multifaceted pianism engages Stable's poly-rhythmic percussion genius on ten original compositions that pay tribute to the spiritual, classical and traditional legacies of Cuba, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Spain.

The intimate musical journey of Dos y Mas was sparked nine years ago when Villafranca and Stable met for the first time in rehearsals for Jane Bunnett's band The Spirits of Havana. Their collaboration in that setting was so satisfying that it led Stable to suggest they develop their original works together and record a duet album. Over the years, the project grew and took shape, expanding into a cultural exploration much greater than the two of them could have anticipated, hence the moniker, Dos y Mas. (Two and More.)

Steinway artist Elio Villafranca and Ritmo artist Arturo Stable were both classically trained at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, and are now at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban artists making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz.

Their rich Dos y Mas recording gracefully interchanges jazz and world elements: the rhythmic "Saghezi" percolates with Middle Eastern flavor, as Stable's ripe tapping of the Daf drum dances with Villafranca's emotionally gripping keyboard work. The gentle and romantic "Alla" conveys a sunlit sensibility, with the soft sounds of running water trickling in the background. According to Arturo, the song is meant to "evoke the things in life that you see from the distance and you would like to get closer to."

Most steeped in the duo's shared Cuban history is the captivating, "Arara," in which the pair recreates the ancient melody of Ojún Degara, one of the oldest Arara folkloric groups living in Cuba. Taking it one step further, the beautiful melody is paired with a traditional rhythm from Danzòn, the official dance of Cuba. The evocative "Vertiente," inspired by the flamenco traditions of Southern Spain, blends the "Buleria" rhythm with Afro-Cuban and jazz inflections. Of the songs written in the Afro-Cuban tradition, including "En La Colonia," Stable comments, "I got inspired by the many traditional chants from the Yoruba religion that I listened when I was growing up in Cuba."

Growing up in Cuba and then relocating to the United States had a huge impact on both artists musically. Villafranca notes, "In the streets of my hometown, San Luis in the province of Pinar del Rio, I was exposed at a very early age to Tambor Yuka, a musical form rooted in Congolese traditions. In Cuba I was not only exposed to the rich Diaspora of Afro-Cuban music as well as the various genres of popular Cuban music, but I also received a top quality education in European classical music. When I moved to the U.S. and studied jazz, this and other forms of music--South American, Middle Eastern, and other Caribbean genres--helped to shape my musical language. The music I wrote for this album is the result of all of the musical journeys I've traveled for many years, investigating different musical propositions."

The Dos y Mas journey comes to a wistful close with "Cuba Linda." Written by Villafranca, the song is Villafranca's and Stable's first recording of a Coro de Clave y guaguancó composition. Originating from the tradition of choral singing in Barcelona, Spain in 1845, "Cuba Linda" expresses the duo's nostalgia for their homeland. Guest vocalist Igor Arias sings, "Cuba Linda, como te extraño" or "Beautiful Cuba, how much I miss you,"on the nearly eight minute-long heartfelt tribute.

Because percussionist Stable initially trained as a pianist, and Villafranca began his studies as a percussionist, the two have an extraordinarily deep understanding of both instruments and of each another's natural instincts. The result is a glorious musical conversation that is articulate, romantic and emotive. Says Stable, "Working with Elio is a very rewarding experience. He is always open to new ideas and to taking risks, musically speaking. I love that because it means the music can always take a new direction. We share similar backgrounds culturally and musically, so the connection between us was there since the beginning. I always feel I learn something new when we perform together."

Villafranca agrees, "Arturo's musicality and ability to play many different hand drum instruments with facility, elevated my playing and my interpretation of his playing. Together we have arrived a new musical dimension."

Together and separately, Villafranca and Stable have developed loyal followings both as leaders and for their work with many of the world's top musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Johnny Pacheco, John Faddis, Billy Harper, Esperanza Spalding, Lionel Loueke, and Paquito d'Rivera.

Both artists are avid and creative educators who are as in demand as lecturers at universities as they are as performers at festivals, clubs and cultural centers. Villafranca is a resident professor at Temple University, while Stable teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he designed their unique Hand Percussion.

Villafranca's 2003 release, Incantation/Encantaciones, featuring Terell Stafford, Jane Bunnett and Pat Martino, quickly established the young pianist as an important new artist on the scene, and earned him a spot in Jazz Times magazine's 2003 Critics Poll for the Top 50 Best Jazz Albums. In 2010, Villafranca received praise for his exceptional work as the pianist, composer and co-producer of Latin percussionist Chembo Corniel's CD, Things I Wanted To Do, which was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year in the 53rd Annual Grammy awards.

Dos y Mas marks the Motéma music debut for both leaders, who add some Cuban flavor to the strong and growing roster of world-jazz artists on the label which include: NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston and his African Rhythms, Jamaican jazz/reggae legend Monty Alexander and his Harlem Kingston Express, and the recently acclaimed Brazillian/Israeli duo Roni Ben-Hur and Nilson Matta.

Source: Motema Music


On March 27, Blue Note Records will release O Que Você Quer Saber De Verdade (“What You Really Want To Know”), the long-awaited new album from Brazilian superstar Marisa Monte. O Que Você Quer Saber De Verdade is the celebrated singer and songwriter’s first new album in six years since the release of her twin albums Universo Ao Meu Redor and Infinto Particular, the latter of which Jon Pareles named one of his Top 10 albums of 2006 in The New York Times.

O Que Você Quer Saber De Verdade was produced by Monte with co-producer Dadi and recorded in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and New York. The album features musicians such as the Oscar-winning multi-instrumentalist Gustavo Santaolalla, the Brazilian power trio Nação Zumbi, Argentinean tango group Café de los Maestros, a duet with Rodrigo Amarante of the Brazilian-American super group Little Joy, and a string ensemble performing arrangements by the American maestros Greg Cohen and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.

The album features songs penned by Monte along with long-time musical partners Arnaldo Antunes, Carlinhos Brown and Dadi. Monte also covers some of her favorite artists including Jorge Ben (“Descalço no Parque”) and a version of the classic tango “Lencinho Querido” by Juan de Dios Filiberto and Gabino Coria Penaloza.

Marisa Monte - O Que Voce Quer Saber De Verdade Tracklist:
1. O que você quer saber de verdade
2. Descalço no parque
3. Depois
4. Amar alguém
5. O que se quer
6. Nada tudo
7. Verdade, uma ilusão
8. Lencinho querido (el panuelito)
9. Ainda Bem
10. Aquela velha canção
11. Era óbvio
12. Hoje eu não saio não
13. Seja feliz
14. Bem aqui

Source: Blue Note Records

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Bassist Andrea Veneziani followed his musical dreams from Rome to New York in the summer of 2009, and those dreams are made manifest with the release on March 13 of his ravishing debut CD Oltreoceano (Overseas). A trio session with pianist Kenny Werner and drummer Ross Pederson, the disc is a striking introduction to the gifts of this Tuscan-born bassist and composer.

“Kenny is one of the major pianists who operates in trio settings today,” says Veneziani of Werner, who was an instructor in the bassist’s NYU Master’s program. “I like his playing, very sensitive and creative, a true improviser.” Pederson, a rising young drummer on the New York scene, “knows how to shape the music, which was essential for me, because of the nature of my compositions.”

Those compositions include two (“Night Flight,” “In Viaggio con Te”) inspired by his travels, which included a July 2010 tour of Costa Rica; “Traffico,” for which Veneziani composed only the melody, with the remainder of the performance free-form; and the minor-key “Mark Rothko,” for the late American abstract painter. Three short interludes—“Free Episode #1,” “Free Episode #2,” and “Free Episode #3”—were improvised in the studio by Veneziani, Werner, and Pederson without advance planning, other than the moods requested by the bassist beforehand.

The nonoriginals are from the oeuvres of three jazz icons: Charlie Parker (“Segment”), Thelonious Monk (“Pannonica”), and Bill Evans (“Time Remembered”). Evans’s influence can be felt in the effortlessly floating interaction between Veneziani, Werner, and Pederson, not just during “Time Remembered,” but throughout Oltreoceano.

“It’s really about interplay,” the bassist says. “I had listened to a lot of Bill Evans’s piano trio recordings during my years of studies. Bassists in those kinds of groups have more space—Scott LaFaro, Marc Johnson, all the bass players who played with Bill Evans always had the chance to play longer solos and counterpoint lines. You have more space and you can also break a bit the typical role of the instrument. I was always attracted to that.”

Andrea Veneziani was born April 21, 1977, in Pescia, Italy, a small town in Tuscany. At 15 he moved with his family to Rome and by 19 had taken up electric bass, initially inspired by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other funk bass players. He gradually developed an interest in jazz and began studying acoustic double bass, “transfer[ring] all the technique I already had from the electric to the double bass.”

Veneziani studied at jazz clinics like Siena Jazz and at the Conservatory of Music Licino Refice in Frosinone, Italy, where he was awarded an Advanced Academic Diploma in 2007. From 2004 until leaving Italy in 2009, Veneziani performed at jazz festivals all over Italy, and was also active as a composer and arranger in many different settings, from jazz to theater and film.

The bassist arrived in New York in the summer of 2009 on a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange between Italy and the United States. He was enrolled at New York University’s Steinhardt Department of Music and performing Arts Professions, from which he graduated in May 2011 with a Masters of Music Degree in Performance with a Concentration in Jazz. His teachers at NYU included Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, John Scofield, and Kenny Werner, his trio-mate on Oltreoceano.

Veneziani is in the process of planning a fall 2012 tour of Italy with an American trio. Meanwhile, the Harlem resident stays busy with teaching (private students as well as at the New York Jazz Workshop) and performing engagements with various bands, including his own trio. “I’m playing a lot here,” he says of New York, “and better, because the level is higher. You can always play with good musicians. You can always meet new musicians from all over the world. Music here is really alive.”


Um Dia – 20 De Julho De 1979 (Montreux Jazz Festival – plus bonus tracks)

One of the last great recordings from Elis Regina – expanded here with a range of never-heard bonus tracks! The 2-CD set offers up all the amazing sides recorded by Regina at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979 – originally issued as a single album in the 80s, but even more incredible here in its expanded scope! The set marks the last time that Regina really hit a groove – that sublime blend of jazz, samba, and Brazilian modes that marked some of her best late 60s recordings – spun out here with incredible live energy in two different performances. As you'd guess from the title, all music is from one day – but from two different concerts – one in the afternoon, one at night – with variations in track listings, jazz instrumentation, and especially Regina's approach to the lyrics. The set also features a few tracks with Hermeto Pascoal on piano – and titles include "Triste", "Cobra Criada", "Agora Ta", "Onze Fitas", "Corrida De Jangada", "Mancada", "Amor Ate O Fim", "Samba Dobrado", "Na Baixa Do Sapateiro", "Maria Maria", "Upa Neguinho", "Corcovado", "Asa Branca", and "Garota Da Impanema".

Elis Anos 60 (12 CD set)

The birth of a legend – all the original 60s Philips albums from Elis Regina, packaged together in one set, and combined with 2-CDs' worth of bonus rare material too! The music is amazing – and starts with a more familiar bossa/samba mode, but quickly stretches out into the richer, more expressive sound that Regina really helped pioneer in Brazilian music – a careful balance of emotion and feeling, yet one that always manages to swing with a bit of soul as well! Arrangements are sublime throughout – some small combo jazz, some larger charts by Roberto Menescal, and some nice live moments too – even some collaborations with Jair Rodrigues, The Jongo Trio, Zimbo Trio, and Toots Thielemans too! Includes individual albums Samba Eu Canto Assim, 2 Na Bossa, O Fino Do Fino, Dois Na Bossa No 2, Elis 1966, Dois Na Bossa No 3, Elis Especial 1968, Elis & Toots, Elis Como & Porque, and Elis Regina In London – plus the CDs Perolas Raras and Esse Mundo E Meu – both compilations of rare singles, EP tracks, and other hard to find gems!

Elis Anos 70 (13-CD set)

Completely sublime music from the legendary Elis Regina – really standard-setting recordings that helped push Brazilian music into a whole new range of sounds and styles! The 70s saw Elis Regina really opening up her sound – digging deep into the expressive modes she first unleashed in the 60s – hitting these incredibly rich vocal styles that perfectly fit the mature vocals and arrangements used for the songs. There's a breadth of feeling here that's wonderful – and yet, at the same time, Regina has this unique way of never being too over-emotive either – a fresh face for female vocals in Brazil, and one that set the tone for countless generations to come! Albums include Elis No Teatro Da Praia, Em Pleno Verao, Ela, Elis 1972, Elis 1973, Elis & Tom, Elis 1974, Falso Brilhante, Elis 1977, Transversal Do Tempo, and Elis Especial – plus a whole bonus 2-CD set of rare material from the 70s – No Ceu Da Vibracao – filled with b-sides, single tracks, and other hard-to-find songs!

Source: Dusty Groove


Chart topping jazz artist U-Nam (best known for his #1 hit “Street Life") is currently in the process of wrapping up production of his next project. Paying tribute to his hero and favorite artist George Benson, U-Nam will be releasing the album Week End in L.A. (A George Benson Tribute ) as U-Nam & Friends.

I just had the opportunity to listen to a sneak preview of U-Nam’s version of Benson's "Love X Love" from the forthcoming album due out this spring, and all I can say is WOW what a really cool track! I can’t wait to listen to the whole album when it’s released. Week End In LA (A Tribute To George Benson) also features: George Duke, Phil Perry, Ronnie Foster, Patrice Rushen, Tim TiO Owens,Paul Jackson Jr, Mike White, Smitty Smith, Eric Valentine, Kamil Rustam, Andreas Oberg, Franck Sitbon, Denis Benarrosh, Raymond Gimenes, Dio Saucedo, Jeff Lacey, Matt Rohde, Bill Steinway, Shannon Kennedy and many others.

According to U-Nam, with this new project, one can, “Expect the Unexpected!!!" U-Nam also mentionned that this will be the “Best, Biggest, Most Exciting and Intimidating project of his life." He also added, “before I even started to record any music on this project, my first thought was to call George [Benson], let him know about the project and ask for his blessing. I got more than I expected when he told me this, ‘Man, for sure you have my blessing and anyway whatever you’re gonna do it’s gonna sounds fantastic.’ After that I felt relieved and incredibly motivated to do a great hommage to GB!" The album is going to follow in the footsteps of “GB"; a mix of Jazz, R’n’B, Pop, Soul and full of innovation.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Joyce’s seventh original recording for Far Out – Rio – combines Joyce’s Brazilian rhythms (partido alto to samba), jazz and bossa harmonies and intelligent lyrics through her beautifully expressive voice on special original compositions and unique versions of classic Brazilian songs.

“In the summer of 2010, I was invited by the city of Rio to present a solo show on Ipanema beach. It was intended as a sort of luau for people leaving the beach, with just voice and guitar. I threw a sundress over my swimsuit, flip-flops on my feet, coconut water within easy reach, and there I was.

The sea of people, both locals and tourists, on the sand; the presence of friends who, like me, grew up on that stretch of beach; giving joy to so many made the show one of the happiest I’d ever given. Seeing all those people singing with me the city’s anthem, “Cidade Maravilhosa,” was priceless. This CD was born when the sun sank behind the Dois Irmãos hill, and the crowd applauded as we had done so many years ago. A crowd that applauds a simple sunset must be very good folk. Rio—the mountain, the sun and the sea—where I make my samba simply.”

Joyce - Rio Tracklist:
1. Adeus America
2. O Mar
3. Manha No Posto Seis
4. Vela No Breu
5. Puro Ouro
6. Desde Que O Samba E Samba
7. Valsa De Uma Cidade
8. As Mariposas/Com Que Roupa
9. Fitio de Oracao
10. Rio Meu
11. Viva Meu Samba
12. Mascarada
13. Samba Do Carioca
14. Cidade Maravilhosa
15. Tardes Cariocas / See You In Rio



A sweetly soulful surprise from Andy Compton of The Rurals – a set that's even more profoundly steeped in deep soul atmosphere – with Compton collaborating with seductive female vocalists for one of the sultriest underground soul sets we've heard in a while! This is one of those records that you'd expect to good, given Andy's previous work – and it's actually a knockout! It's elegant and slow cooking, but, it's to hypnotic and intoxicating to call it laidback. The backdrop smoulders with keys, beats and bass with some jazzy soul flourishes. 9 of the 13 tracks are sung by Jaidene Veda, with some great spoken passages, too. Other vocalists include Diviniti, Kafele and Ladybird – and the singers write their own lyrics, given the album a nice collabortive vibe. Includes "And It Rains", "Bluenotes", "Believing", "Imagined", "Where Do We Go", "Record By Record", "Tomorrow", "Oh Love I", "7 Days", "Soon" and "No Limits". Source: Dusty Groove


Mark De Clive-Lowe is back, and more brilliant than ever – working here on a set that's overflowing with superstar talent, and which cooks even more than some of his previous albums! All the grooves we've always loved from Mark are firmly in place – the wicked beats, cosmic rhythms, and spacious keyboards – but there's also a nice new focus too, one that brings in a lot deeper soul to most tunes – thanks in part to vocals from an array of guests who include Omar, Nia Andrews, Tawiah, Ovasoul7, Bembe Segue, Sheila E, and Sandra Nkake! The album's stuffed with tuneful numbers – more great singles than most other artists would hope for in a single album – and Mark still keeps things a bit cosmic at points too, with some great space jazz keyboards. Titles include "Get Started", "Under Orders", "The Why", "Everything", "Emergency", "Alabi", "Push", and "Hooligan". Source: Dusty Groove

The third remix single taken from Azymuth’s acclaimed 2011 studio album Aurora is Ta Nessa Ainda Bicho. Following monster mixes on 12” of Azymuth’s In My Treehouse (LTJ Xperience – JD19) and Meu Mengo (Mark E – JD 21) comes this highly limited heavyweight 12” from influential UK garage, break beat garage, broken beat and dubstep pioneer producer Zed Bias and the alias Maddslinky.


Blues Babe/Warner Bros. recording artist Jill Scott's new single "So Blessed" was released to Urban Adult Contemporary radio on Monday, February 27th. The new record off the #1 critically acclaimed album The Light Of The Sun follows Jill's resounding performance of "So Blessed" at the 43rd Annual NAACP Image Awards, which also garnered her the award for Outstanding Female Artist, besting Beyonce and Mary J. Blige (See Video Link below). After headlining VH1 Divas and performing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert most recently, the win adds additional accolades to her album, which also scored two Soul Train Awards for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and Best Female R&B Soul Album.

"So Blessed" takes Jill back to the hit making producers Vidal and Dre (Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys), who she previously worked with on her Grammy winning debut album Who Is Jill Scott?Vol.1. The mid tempo funky soul record inspires all listeners to wake up every morning and realize the blessings around them. "This record spoke to me as an inspiration for myself and for others to remember to count your personal blessings every day. The money, cars, trophies, can all disappear immediately... it's about what's happening in your life like your family, friends and health," comments Jill.
The record follows the success of her debut #1 record "So In Love" ft. Anthony Hamilton, which stood atop the radio charts for an astounding 18 weeks and tying the all time BDS record with Maxwell's "Lifetime" record at 17 weeks. Jill then proceeded to follow up with her next single "So Gone(What My Mind Says)" which was a top 10 record peaking at #7 atop the charts as well.

Reigning supreme, three time Grammy Award winner Jill Scott secured the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for the first time in her career with the release of The Light Of The Sun. With sales of over 135,000 units in her first week Scott beat out Bon Iver and Adele for the week's top selling album across all genres. The album scored rave reviews across the board from Wall Street Journal calling it "one of the superior albums of the year" to NPR Music naming it "Best of 2011," all the way across the likes of The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and People Magazine. Scott's successful return additionally came with a string of firsts, gracing her first Billboard Magazine cover, as well as her first solo performance at the 2011 BET Awards, which The Washington Post named as one of the night's greatest performances.

The Jill Scott Live Experience lived supreme throughout the summer as her "Summer Block Party Tour" garnered rave reviews across the country. Publications such as New York Magazine, Newsweek, People, and Time Out NY amongst others gave her outstanding reviews for her live performance. Boston Globe remarked "Jill does not waste her breath or time..." while the Washington Post remarked "a romantic journey from pleasure, to pain, to confusion and finally to acceptance, with enough rest stops for fun and laughter as balance."

In addition, Jill dominated television, having appearances on The Today Show, Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Live! With Jimmy Kimmel outdoor series, and Live! With Regis & Kelly. Not to be topped by her performance this year at The White House for the American Poetry Workshop as well as President Obama and his family.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Ennio Morricone is an Italian composer and conductor, who wrote music for more than 500 motion pictures and television series, in a career lasting over 50 years. His scores have been included in over 20 award-winning films as well as several symphonic and choral pieces. Morricone is most famous for his work in the Spaghetti Westerns directed by his friend Sergio Leone, including A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).

This new collection includes an incredible amount of classic and obscure film music, original compositions, orchestral arrangements and more from the himself – an incredible 15-CD retrospective, and at a stunningly affordable price – selected by Morricone himself. This collection is by far the most encompassing set we've ever seen for him.

Of course he's most famous for his international film score work, from cult horror to classic Hollywood – so 9 of the 15 discs are film themes and score material, selected by Morricone and sequenced chronology on discs 1-9, selections including the themes or other bits from Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo, Escalation, Galileo, Gli Intoccabili, Slalom, Svegliati E Uccidi, Metti Una Sera A Cena, Veruschka, La Donna Della Domenica, Copkiller, Malena, and so much more! Discs 10 & 11 cover his best work for television, disc 12 is a set of Ennio's contemporary classical compositions, disc 13 features favorite original songs he composed for a wide range of international artists, disc 14 includes favorite orchestral arrangements, and disc 15 features arrangements he did for hit songs by artists such as Gino Paoli, Donatella Moretti, Paul Anka, Jimmy Fontana and others.


Marchio Bossa is a jazz band founded by Piero and Pippo Lombardo in 2001, and their primary objective was to produce what they consider to be the best blend of bossa nova and samba jazz possible. In doing so, they utilized elements from the bossa nova sound of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sergio Mendes, etc., and to mixed it up with other jazz and funk elements from the likes of Al Jarreau, Earth Wind & Fire, and Pat Metheny, among others. Overtime, Marchio Bossa have matured to an elegant and refined act, both live and on recordings, boasting some of the most talented Italian musicians.

Their latest album, Italian Bossa Bar, reflects the new-euro bossa groove that they have so well perfected.  To date Marchio Bossa have released four albums (plus compilations), each of which achieved both critical and sales successes worldwide: Italian Lounge Music (2003, Azzurra Music); No Bossa No Party (2004, Azzurra Music); Fantasy – The Best Of Lounge (2006, Azzurra Music); Colorando (2008); and The Very Best Of Italian Lounge Music (2009).

Francesca Leone - vocals; Pippo Lombardo - piano and keyboards; Guido Di Leone - guitars; Pierluigi Balducci – bass; Mimmo Scialpi - drums.

Guest Musicians:
Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet), Daniele Scannapieco (tenor) sax, Gilson Silveira (percussions), Gaetano Partipilo (contralto sax), Rocco Zifarelli (guitar), Marco Tamburini (trumpet), Leo Gadaleta (strings), Bruno Tassone (baritone sax), Fabio Lepore (vocals), Tommy Gargano (vocals).

Marchio Bossa - Italian Bossa Bar Tracklist:
1. E Questo Samba Va
2. Your Smile
3. Goodbye My Friend
4. Ama
5. Windmills Of Your Mind
6. Morena
7. Cafè Bossa
8. Uma Batida De Amor
9. Case Vuote
10. Vorrei
11. Suoni D'acqua
12. Nascita Di Un Nuovo Amore


Soul Is Heavy is the new album from award winning Nigerian singer/songwriter, Nneka. An effortlessly balanced combination of hip hop beats, reggae grooves, brass riffs and African-pop is the canvas for its motif of love, pain, politics and God. Featuring guest collaborations with The Roots' Black Thought ("God Knows Why") and Ms. Dynamite ("Sleep"), Soul Is Heavy further affirms her credentials as a fast-rising star of black-consciousness music.

Nneka's natural energy channels hope and optimism throughout her writing ("Shining Star"), but her signature steeliness and stark life observations are maintained ("No Doubt"). This isn't an album that has to be pretentious to stand out. It is real, honest, true to itself and bursting with feeling.

Soul Is Heavy is both affirming and compelling by addressing the tough realities and uncomfortable truths of modern politics - both personal ("Stay") and international ("Soul is Heavy") - adding credence to her comparisons with Lauryn Hill / Erykah Badu.

A majority of the album has once again been produced by close friend and co-writer DJ Farhot, and mixed by Tom Elmhirst and Philippe Weiss whose recent credits include Amy Winehouse, Adele, Cee Lo Green and Wyclef Jean.

Nneka kicks off her North American tour on March 6th in Vancouver with dates following in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin for SXSW, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and others.

Tour Dates
3/6: Vancouver @The Biltmore Cabaret
3/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
3/8: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
3/10: San Francisco, CA @ Red Devil Lounge
3/11: West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour
3/13 – 3/17: Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/18: Houston, TX @ House Of Blues Bronze Peacock
3/21: Chicago, IL @ Double Door
3/23: Toronto @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club "Canadian Music Week"
3/24: Montreal @ Cabaret du Mile End
3/26: Cambridge, MA @ T.T. The Bear's
3/27: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
3/28: Philadelpha, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
3/29: Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java Music Club & Cafe
3/31: Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl


The open road, the bohemian atmosphere, the existential mythology of travel—these were the visions in young Brazilian singer Céu’s mind while creating her latest album. One of the most sonically adventurous artists in her country today, numerous road trips from her São Paulo home to Brazil’s Northeast proved to be the perfect inspiration for this newest sonic adventure.

“All the files were sitting in a big folder on my computer under a very boring name: Studies on the Road,” says a reflective Céu. “So I decided to mix the title of one song with a word found in the lyrics of another. Then I added ‘Caravan’ in front of the sentence. In the end it made a lot of sense, as the album was created in partnership with a lot of other people.”

The result, Caravana Sereia Bloom (Six Degrees Records), is her boldest work to date. Today, the Grammy/Latin Grammy – nominated singer seems to have more in common with the psychedelic oeuvres of early Tropicalia artists and Os Mutantes than the restrained musings of Jobim, eschewing much of the laid-back bossa nova and samba that caused Starbucks to make her self-titled debut the first international release in its Hear Music™ Debut series.

This can quickly be heard on the ska-based, carnival-esque “Asfalto e Sal.” Like the greats mentioned above, Céu uses airy guitar riffs and lazy drum rhythms so prominent in Caribbean music to seduce your ears. Once you’re nodding along, her poetry sets in. This particular track looks at sociological behaviors in urban environments. “Our sense of ‘progress’ that pushes us to continuously grow, ends up dominating and polluting our culture,” she says. “The character in ‘Asfalto e Sal’ goes on the road in order to jump out of this kind of life.”

Ironically, São Paulo may be the safest place to escapes such “progress.” Since 2007, the world’s fourth-largest city has completely banned outdoor advertising—no billboards, no ads on the sides of buses or kiosks, no Times Square lighting displays. Nevertheless, no land is an Eden. With a sense of escape gnawing inside of her, Céu derived these Kerouacian fantasies from a piece of Brazilian cinematic history.

“The record as a whole was a way to pay tribute to ‘Caravan Holiday’ from the movie Bye Bye Brasil,” she says. The movie tells the story of a trickster magician, Gypsy Lord, and his Caravana Rolidei. A local accordion player falls in love with the notion of life on the road (as well as Lord’s precious dancer, Salomé), and jumps on board with his own pregnant wife, Dasdô. The movie takes many twists and turns, reminding us that it is the journey and not the destination that counts.

You can immediately hear how much Céu is enjoying her own journey on this 35-minute gem. Producer Gui Amabis does a fantastic job of allowing stripped down guitars to convey a constant sense of momentum. Pieces of popular Brazilian Music from the Northeast are embedded in lush reggae grooves. A lifelong fan of Bob Marley and all things Jamaican, Céu stretched her musical vocabulary to draw inspiration for each song, exploring a multitude of Latin American sounds: cumbia, lambadas, carímbos, bregas and guitarradas.

“Basically this entire album is a collection of short tales revolving around the chaos of a road trip,” she says. “In each song I put myself in a different character’s place. In ‘Palhaço’ I am working in a circus and have to convince the clown to go back on stage. And then in ‘Amor de Antigos,’ I have to convince an old lady to remember her true love.”

“Retrovisor,” the album’s first single, is set in a dark bar near the end of a night of Karaoke. The last performer sings about heartbreak to a disgruntled crowd of waiters and truck drivers. Keeping true to the record’s theme, Céu and crew took their own road trip to Recife’s Vila Velha to film the video.

Then there’s the dripping, sensuous rhythm of “Streets Bloom,” one of the few songs that Céu has ever sung in English. Wanting to collaborate with friends, she called experimental vocalist Lucas Santtana, whose recent album Sem Nostalgia has received numerous accolades in Brazil and America. “The idea was to create a Brazilian road trip with a Wild West flavor,” she says.

“He liked the idea and came back with beautiful lyrics, as if I were telling people my impressions of a such a trip.”

The brooding, ambient nature of this latest release is intentional. While updating bossa nova and samba put Céu on the global map, she chose to travel to Brazil’s Northeast for the heaviest dose of musical inspiration. Utilizing the post-psychedelia synthesizers and guitar effects of the typical sounds of Brazil’s popular music from the Northeast, she also pays tribute to modern innovators, all the while evolving her own unique and personal sound. Céu’s sound is as relevant to Brazil today as her legendary forebears two generations ago. Caravana Sereia Bloom is this girl from São Paulo’s finest moment in a career that shows no sign of slowing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Barbra Streisand will remain on Columbia Records, the Sony Music-owned label has announced. Streisand has sold over 71 million albums in the U.S. including her most recent Grammy nominated album, What Matters Most, which was her 31st to reach the Top Ten. The Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer and actress has been with the label for 50 years, having originally signed in the early 1960s. She released her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album, in 1963. Only crooner Tony Bennett has been on the label longer.

Streisand is one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers in modern entertainment history, with more than 71.5 million albums shipped in the United States and 140 million albums sold worldwide. She is the best-selling female artist on the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Top Selling Artists list, the only female recording artist in the top ten, and the only artist outside of the rock and roll genre.

According to the RIAA, Streisand holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963. Streisand has the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist. With her 2009 album, Love Is the Answer, she became one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades. According to the RIAA, she has released 51 Gold albums, 30 Platinum albums, and 13 Multi-Platinum albums in the United States.

Columbia will also release a 12-set DVD featuring unprecedented access into Streisand's professional and personal life. The DVD set will consist of never before seen footage directly from Barbra’s archives.


If you shiver everytime you hear a Hammond organ twirl, possibly played by Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Larry Young or Booker T., then you’re not one to miss the latest album entitled Another Steppin’ Soul from Hammond Express. It’s a timeless homage to classic organ soul from Italy's Hammond Express – paying tribute to Booker T & The MGs, The Tams, Groove Holmes, John Barry, Brian Auger, Curtis Mayfield and others!

Their debut album, Rendez-Vous (2003) was a new-lounge compilation (released by the Italian label Scenario Music), was a futuristic trip into dance jazz, through spy-movie soundtracks (“Modern City Blues”), sci-fi atmospheres (“Space”), ‘70’s bossa nova (“Bossa Rouge – Vibrato Mix”) and easy-listening evergreens, like the Carpenters “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Not the usual Hammond combo, but something modern for a “future lounge” party with a psychedelic touch.

Now producer and keyboardist Francesco Gazzara infuses soul with the sweet sound of the 60s. Singer Lily Latuheru joins Gazzara, bass player Massimo Sanna, drummer Juliano Ferrarri, percussionist Mirtao and flute & horns player Dario Cecchini. The set opens & closes with solid originals, but the focus is choice covers. 14 tracks in all. "The Glorious Revolution", "Never For Me", "I Can't Help Myself", "Diamonds Are Forever", "Nobody Does It Better", "Move On Up", "Inner City Blues". "Mercy", "What", "Goldfinger", "Stadium", "The House In The Clouds" and more. Francesco Gazzara by the way is already well known as the leader of his own group GAZZARA, as well as being the author of the book “Lounge Music: Il Blues Dell’Uomo Bianco.”

Hammond Express - Another Steppin' Soul Tracklist:
1. The Glorious Revolution
2. Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy
3. Never For Me
4. I Can't Help Myself
5. Diamonds Are Forever
6. Nobody Does It Better
7. Move On Up
8. Inner City Blues
9. Mercy
10. What
11. Goldfinger
12. Stadium
13. You Can't Hurry Love
14. The House In The Clouds
15. Batucada Express
16. Ass Enchillada


Casino Royale is back yet again – and this time it’s a 45th Anniversary edition that includes a slipcased 2-CD set with two booklets, one of which is 64 pages in length with notes by Bond musician historian Gergely Hubai. Hubai discusses the film’s troubled production history, and analyzes Bacharach’s music via track-by-track notes, while the book is illustrated with rare stills, poster artwork and other memorabilia. The 45th Anniversary Edition of Casino Royale is limited to 1,500 copies and is due to ship late this month. It can be pre-ordered now from both Screen Archives Entertainment and Quartet Records.

Burt Bacharach, Casino Royale: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
CD 1: The Complete Original Soundtrack
1. Main Titles (2:36) – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
2. Opening Cars Converging / To the Bond Chateau (1:54)
3. The Black Rose (0:33)
4. Pipe Lament / James Bond in Scotland (1:14)
5. Cock O’ the North (1:52)
6. The Widow Duty of Lady Fiona / Wassail (3:41)
7. Agent Mimi Locked in Her Room (1:35)
8. Grouse Shoot (0:33)
9. Mimi’s Lament (1:29)
10. Little French Boy (Drink a Pint of Milk a Day) (2:08)
11. Money Penny’s Bedroom (1:36)
12. Gymnasium Training (1:48)
13. Buckingham Club (1:19)
14. The Look of Love (3:46) – Dusty Springfield
15. Proposals, Super 8 and Costumes (1:35)
16. Sir James’ Trip to Find Mata / Temple Dance (3:14)
17. Sitar Background / Back to London (2:54)
18. Arrival in Berlin (1:03)
19. Old Berlin House / Mata-Hari School for Spies (2:43)
20. Escape from the Berlin House (1:19)
21. Bond Arrival in France (0:39)
22. Vesper in the Shower (0:42)
23. Hi There Miss Goodthighs (1:15)
24. Dream On James, You’re Winning (1:17) – Mike Redway
25. Le Chiffre’s Magic Act / My Name is Bond, James Bond (1:14)
26. Vesper’s Kidnapping (0:44)
27. Torture Sequence (0:29)
28. Mata’s Kidnapping / Flying Saucer (1:05)
29. Sister McTarry (0:36)
30. Fight in Casino Manager’s Office / Dr. Noah’s Headquarters (2:09)
31. The LSD Room (0:34)
32. The Big Fight at Casino Royale (4:30)
33. Seven Bonds in Heaven / End Title (2:25) – Mike Redway

CD 2: The Soundtrack Album
1. Casino Royale Theme (Main Title) (2:36) – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
2. The Look of Love (4:09) – Dusty Springfield
3. Money Penny Goes for Broke (1:38)
4. Le Chiffre’s Torture of the Mind (2:10)
5. Home James, Don’t Spare the Horses (1:31)
6. Sir James’ Trip to Find Mata (3:48)
7. The Look of Love (Instrumental) (2:46)
8. Hi There Miss Goodthighs (1:14)
9. Little French Boy (2:21)
10. Flying Saucer / First Stop Berlin (2:52)
11. The Venerable Sir James Bond (2:30)
12. Dream on James, You’re Winning (1:18)
13. The Big Cowboys and Indians Fight at Casino Royale / Casino Royale Theme (Reprise) (4:57) – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass


Congratulations to George Benson and all involved in the making of Guitar Man. It was announced that Guitar Man has won the award for Outstanding Jazz Album at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards.

On Guitar Man, Benson’s mastery of the guitar is demonstrated in a variety of styles and settings, all with legendary jazz roots. The opening track “Tenderly” is a solo guitar track that serves as a reminder that Benson is one guitar man with sufficient technical and interpretive skills to be a band unto himself. The second song is an intriguing rendition of Lennon and McCartney’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Along with Benson on nylon-string guitar and Garfield on piano are guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Ray Fuller; bassist Freddie Washington; drummer Oscar Seaton, Jr. (who regularly tours with Benson); violinist Charlie Bisharat; and flutist/clarinetist Dan Higgins. All come together to create a fully orchestrated sound that casts one of the most simplistic of the Beatles’ early love ballads into something full-bodied and engaging.

The remainder of the set consists of either solo guitar tracks or Benson backed by the aforementioned five-man team, which lays down an easygoing rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” Benson delivers the lyrics in his own engaging vocal style that includes a healthy dose of his trademark scatting guitar accompaniment.

Other highlights include a rollicking version of the Champs’ 1958 instrumental hit, “Tequila,” followed a couple tracks later by “My One and Only Love,” which opens with a 16-bar solo jazz guitar intro that segues into a sweet vocal ballad. Benson delivers a playful straightahead rendition of “Paper Moon” with the quartet, followed by a solo guitar rendition of “Danny Boy” (one of the few times, if ever, that a guitar sounds like bagpipes). In the final stretch, Benson and Garfield set up a lush guitar-and-piano arrangement of the smoky standard, “Since I Fell For You,” with Benson once again stepping up to the mic for an emotional delivery of the song’s impassioned lyrics.

Upcoming George Benson tour dates:
March 24 @ Sovereign Performing Arts, Reading, PA
March 25 @ Knight Theater, Charlotte, NC
June 2 @ Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
June 23 @ Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Canada
June 24 @ Royal Theatre, Victoria, Canada
June 26 @ Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto, Canada
September 1 @ Imperiale Palace Hotel, Portofino, Italy
September 20 @ Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie, WA
September 22 @ Johnson’s Beach & Resort, Guerneville, CA
January 17-18, 2013 @ Smooth Jazz Cruise, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
January 24-25, 2013 @ Smooth Jazz Cruise, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


2012 marks Manhattan live music landmark S.O.B.s’ (Sounds of Brazil) thirtieth year in existence and to celebrate, they have partnered up with their talent booking and marketing team, Noizy Cricket!!, and world-renowned International Creative Management (ICM) as well as OGPR Marketing & Public Relations to provide an all star anniversary concert at this year’s SXSW, on Wednesday, March 14th. The show is to be held at 6th Street’s Malaia World Lounge.

The performance line-up, meant to showcase S.O.B’s commitment to musical diversity, includes acts like Miguel, Machine Gun Kelly, and 2 Chainz, as well as rap supergroup Slaughterhouse [Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9, Crooked I], Elle Varner, Nikki Jean, Maya Azuceña, Airplane Boys & Hoodie Allen. Opening honors will be performed by warm-up alumn, Anthm. AllHipHop, who have supported S.O.B.’s with on-the-scene media coverage for the past decade, is the event’s media partner. YouHeardThatNew’s infamous founder, Low Key, will host the evening with 2DopeBoyz’s DJ Meka providing the musical backdrop in-between sets.

Founded in June of 1982 by owner and director, Larry Gold, on what was then a barren stretch of land at the corners of Varick and Houston Streets, to expose the musical heritage of the Afro-Latino Diaspora, S.O.B.’s has gone on to become renowned as the premier venue for not only World Music, but all genres, in New York City and the world over. The list of music legends to have graced the stage in the past thirty years is too extensive to list but the venue’s contributions to connecting music to fans doesn’t stop there. S.O.B.’s has also developed a reputation in the industry as a breeding ground for up-and-coming artists and trends. A show at S.O.B.’s can be a springboard for emerging artists, garnering them press from mainstream local, national and even international media as well as attracting attention from music industry professionals. This has been the case with uncounted artists including John Legend, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Common, Drake and Ryan Leslie. In fact, the venue spawned the long-standing Breeding Ground feature on AllHipHop, on which the site has highlighted its picks from the crop of Hip Hop hopefuls over the years.

The partnership between S.O.B.’s and International Creative Management to present the venue’s thirtieth anniversary made perfect sense as the two, working closely with Noizy Cricket!!, have collaborated for many years to provide amazing live entertainment to New York audiences.

“We could have provided an entire month’s worth of concerts with all of the talent that has stepped on to the S.O.B’s stage over the past thirty years.” shares Noizy Cricket!! founder, le’Roy Benros. “We’ve gathered some of the freshest talent out today who've put on legendary performances here in New York and brought them to SXSW for a night to remember!"

“After 30 years of building S.O.B's into one of the elite music venues in NYC we are honored to finally be showcasing some of the best of Urban Music at SXSW.” adds owner, Larry Gold.
“We have been working with Larry and the S.O.B.’s family for many years and this will be a great way to celebrate their 30th anniversary,” says ICM Agent, Zach Iser. “Our clients are proud to be a part of this special evening of live music.”

Media is encouraged to attend this momentous occasion in New York City’s music history at one of the nation’s biggest and best music festivals, SXSW. Attendance is free to all on a first come, first served basis with SXSW wristbands and select media will be given access to talent for interview purposes.


Exactly one year after its release, Adele's 21 experienced its biggest sales week ever with over 730,000 copies sold. This astounding number follows Adele's Grammy sweep and her first public performance since undergoing vocal surgery in November, a riveting rendition of her hit "Rolling in the Deep." Honored with 6 Grammy Awards, Adele has tied the record held by Beyonce for most Grammys won by a female artist in a single year, as well as Eric Clapton's record for most Grammys won by a British artist in one night. Furthermore, Adele is only the second artist in Grammy History, after Christopher Cross in 1981, to have won The Recording Academy's top three categories - "Record of the Year," "Album of the Year" and "Song of the Year"- while also possessing a "Best New Artist" Grammy.

The album, which won Adele this "Best New Artist" distinction in 2009, 19, is also experiencing a sales boost. Four years after its release, it has sold nearly 2 million copies. Adele has two albums occupying the top 5 slots on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart this week, with 19 selling an impressive 87,000 copies.

Adele's Grammy-winning album 21 surpassed 2 million downloads on the iTunes Store in the U.S. within a year of its release, making her the first artist to go double platinum on iTunes.

Now in its 21st non-consecutive week at #1 on The Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, 21 is the longest running #1 by a woman in Billboard's nearly 56 year history. The album has been certified 7x Platinum in the U.S. and has sold over 18 million copies worldwide. 21 has additionally spawned over 16 million singles sold in the U.S. alone, including 7x Platinum certified "Rolling in the Deep," 4x Platinum certified "Someone Like You," 2x Platinum certified "Set Fire to the Rain" and Gold certified "Rumour Has It."


The 13th Cape Town International Jazz Festival line-up has been bolstered by the addition of three exciting internationally acclaimed artists. Master vocalist, poet and actress Jill Scott's (USA) exciting repertoire is expected to bring the house down as she joins the other greats on the festival's Kippies stage.

In 2000 Scott released her much anticipated debut record Who is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol.1. This double platinum selling album earned Scott several Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. Two more critically acclaimed albums followed; Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds, Vol. 2 and The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3. Both garnered two more Grammy Awards and spawned multiple worldwide tours.

Most recently Scott was cast as the lead character in The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, a HBO/BBC mini-series filmed on location in Botswana and currently being broadcast in South Africa. Prior to that she starred alongside Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson in the movie series Why Did I Get Married?. This Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best-selling poet and critically acclaimed actress joins the bill as one of the headline acts.

Texas-born jazz vocalist and popular standard singer Steve Tyrell (USA) also joins the bill. He is known for the self-produced and critically acclaimed album A New Standard, released by Atlantic in 1999. In 1986 Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram recorded Tyrell's Somewhere Out There which won two Grammys (including Song of the Year) and received an Oscar nomination. Three years later, Ronstadt recorded Tyrell's Don't Know Much featuring Aaron Neville which earned both her and Neville a Grammy win for Best Vocal Performance.

Hip Hop artist Pharoahe Monch (USA), completes the line-up bringing the total number of performing artists to 41. Known for his popular hit Simon Says, the New York native was originally part of Organized Confusion with partner Prince Poetry. Today the former visual artist works on his own, recently having released W.A.R. (We are Renegades). The music video for the new single off the album, Still Standing, was released on February 5 and features fellow Jazz Festival performer Jill Scott.

These three acclaimed performers join an already star-studded line-up of artists, with this year’s headliners reflecting the festival's philosophy of broadening audience's perspectives of what is understood as 'jazz'.

As previously announced, the rest of the line-up for 2012 is completed by the following artists: James Ingram (USA), Dave Koz with special guest Patti Austin (USA), Mike Stern with special guest Dave Weckl (USA), Virtual Jazz Reality (SA), Brubecks play Brubeck (USA/SA), Ron Carter, Donald Harrison and Lenny White (USA), Andre Petersen Quintet (SA), Atmosphere (USA), Jean Grae (USA), Goodluck (SA), Zamajobe (SA), Zahara (SA), The Jason Reolon Trio (SA), David Sanchez with special guest Lionel Loueke (Puerto Rico/Benin), The Moreira Project (Mozambique) and Alexander Sinton High School Jazz Band (SA). Zakes Bantwini (SA); Unathi (SA); Lindiwe Suttle (SA); Sophia Foster, (SA); Hassan'adas (SA); Victor Kula (SA); Adam Glasser (SA); Herbie Tsoaeli (SA); Steve Dyer (SA)' Ill Literate Skill (SA); Hip Hop Pantsula (SA); Dorothy Masuka (SA); Hugh Masekela with Special Guest ‘' Tribute to Mama Afrika''' Gabriel Tchiema (Angola); Allen Stone (USA); Nouvelle Vague (France); Xia Jia (China); Alfredo Rodriguez (Cuba); Kevin Mahogany (USA); The Patti Austin Trio (USA); Marcus Miller (USA) and Third World (USA).

This year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival will take place on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 March. In its 13th year, the festival continues to titillate South African audiences with the finest in local and international performers at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Celebrating not only musical creativity, but visual creativity too, The Duotone Photographic Exhibition is an annual fixture of the festival. Every year it commemorates prolific jazz photography to educate people about the power of art & photography, how one image can be timeless and to expose other forms of art , culture and heritage as it is all one form of expression and enjoyment. This year it showcases the works of Nuno Martins (Angola); Sipho Maluka (SA) and Shelley Christians (SA).

One of the most exciting elements to the festival is the annual free Community Concert which brings thousands together in the centre of Cape Town on Green Market Square. This year the concert will take place on March 28th, the Wednesday preceding the festival. The line-up is usually a teaser of some of the local and international acts that will feature at the festival.

The gold sponsors for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2012 is the Department of Arts and Culture and the SABC. Other sponsors include Provincial Government of the Western Cape, The City of Cape Town, Oude Meester, Hansa Pilsner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Cape Town Partnership and the Western Cape Education Department.

For more information visit


Kate McGarry, one of her generation's most individual and influential singers, has earned acclaim for blending her love of folk and pop music with jazz fluency and improvisation. As the Nashville Scene said, the sweet-toned, Grammy Award-nominated vocalist "embraces jazz's freedom yet points the genre toward a future that's as fresh and thrilling as its past." With Girl Talk - her fifth Palmetto Records album, to be released April 10 - McGarry pays homage to her role models among the great women of the jazz vocal tradition, from Betty Carter to Sheila Jordan to Carmen McRae. Accompanied by an intimately swinging jazz combo, McGarry puts her own inimitable spin on such classic songs as "We Kiss in a Shadow," "The Man I Love," the winking title track and, as a dream duet with Kurt Elling, the Brazilian "O Cantador." McGarry, although inspired by tradition, makes the album's songs feel utterly contemporary, not only through her distinctly 21st-century musical personality but through the personal emotions and sexual politics at play.

"Starry-eyed admiration and gratitude for our strong lineage of visionary jazz women is what fueled the making of Girl Talk, my first straight-ahead recording in many years," McGarry explains. "As part of my research for the album, I listened to hours of interviews with some of my favorite jazz singers - Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Anita O'Day, Shirley Horn, Nina Simone, Elis Regina, Sheila Jordan, Irene Kral, Abbey Lincoln. There's something so compelling about hearing their speaking voices detailing the struggles and triumphs of their daily lives and journeys - my kind of `girl talk.' These icons were co-creators of the great art of jazz singing at a time in our nation's history when women's voices and dreams were so easily silenced or devalued."

The title track of Girl Talk, a "Mad Men"-era number by Bobby Troup and Neal Hefti, reflects the days when women were supposed to know their place rather than have their own voice. "The lyrics of that song are patronizing, of course," McGarry says. "But I learned it from the LP Betty Carter, Finally, where Betty pretty much obliterates the original lyrical intent and gives the tune a whole new feeling. Her version was a beacon for me. I love how the great women jazz singers didn't allow the songs of the time to define or reduce them - they redefined and expanded the meanings of the songs with their bold storytelling. In doing so, they gave themselves and other women a bigger space to live in."

With "The Man I Love" by the Gershwins, McGarry felt it as "such a sad song, with this idea that you couldn't be complete as a person without finding a man," she says. "We re-set the tune, removing some of the chords, changing some. We slowed it down, made it feel starker. And instead of concentrating on all this man's wonderful qualities, we focused on the words `I'm waiting.' It became more explicitly a cautionary tale." McGarry was moved to arrange the opening number, "We Kiss in a Shadow" (from The King and I), after she read a story about the New Jersey student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 after being outed, cruelly, as gay. "To me, it became a song about civil rights," she says. "It's sad, but hopeful. It's written in anticipation of a time, hopefully soon, when people are free to legally love and marry whomever they choose - without having to suffer the discrimination and violence that come from ignorance and fear."

The challenge and opportunity in this album was for McGarry to "honor the tradition these women developed but also allow the music to reflect life today - my life today," she says. "Singing these songs can't be like putting on a costume. I didn't grow up in the ‘30s or ‘40s or ‘50s, and I wouldn't consider myself a traditional jazz singer per se. As someone who has covered everything from Björk to Sting to the Cars, I definitely have my own influences musically, just as I've lived in a world that's so different in terms of media and society. But the elements of harmonic and rhythmic improvisation, of swing, of storytelling - these are where those classic jazz singers and I connect. I see this album as a bridge between the contemporary things I do and the jazz tradition I learned so much from."

McGarry's previous Palmetto release was the Grammy-nominated If Less Is More, Nothing Is Everything of 2008, an album The New York Times called "astute and sensitive" and that impressed author Ted Gioia as "absolutely heartrending." The Boston Phoenix went further, saying: "If you want to know why there's no greater influence on the young generation of post-Joni female jazz singer-songwriters than Kate McGarry, check out her cover of the Cars' `Just What I Needed' - slow, mournful, with spare backing of ghostly organ, brushed drums, acoustic guitar and bass. McGarry is as beholden to folk and pop as to the tradition of Ella-Sarah-Betty, which she also happens to know cold."

Along with guitarist Keith Ganz, McGarry's husband and co-arranger/producer, the band on Girl Talk features musicians who have become like a family for the singer: keyboardist Gary Versace, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Clarence Penn. The arrangements range from quartet to trio to duo, with the haunted Jimmy Rowles ballad "Looking Back" featuring the singer with only Ganz's shadowing accompaniment on electric guitar (plus a beautiful acoustic solo).

In the years since the release of her previous album, McGarry and Ganz experienced multiple losses, with the passing of parents and McGarry's beloved singing teacher (Dr. Horace Boyer, a gospel music scholar). Adding to the life changes, the couple relocated to the quieter, more spacious environs of Durham, N.C., after many years of living in New York. Summing up this period and its scene-setting for Girl Talk, McGarry says, "Inevitably, this has been a time of reflection, and the new album represents a celebration of mentors and parental figures of all kinds in my life."

Singer Kate McGarry grew up in Hyannis, Mass., as one of 10 children in a musical family that spent many nights singing. At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she earned a degree in African-American music and jazz; she began developing her organic vocal style through early training in jazz performance with iconic saxophonist Archie Shepp, and her experiences studying at a meditation ashram and exploring Celtic, Brazilian and Indian music also contributed to her widescreen vision as a vocalist and composer. After years in Los Angeles, McGarry moved to New York in the late ‘90s; her independently produced sophomore album, Show Me, was picked up by Palmetto Records, making her the first vocalist ever on the label's roster. Jazziz magazine declared about McGarry upon that first Palmetto release, "With this near-flawless album, she has arrived."

In 2005, McGarry's Mercy Streets album - which ranged characteristically from the Peter Gabriel title track to songs by Björk, Joni Mitchell and Irving Berlin - was called "one of the most important vocal albums of the year" by All About Jazz. Featuring originals alongside tunes by Sting and Bill Evans/Miles Davis, her album The Target was named one of the best jazz vocal albums of 2007 by Downbeat. The Downbeat reviewer called the recording "a milestone of maturity," adding: "No matter how many liberties she takes with meter and interpretation, she exercises a fidelity to the meaning of the song. McGarry has the pure untrammeled voice of an ingénue who finds wonder in the simplest of things." Her 2008 album, If Less Is More, Nothing Is Everything, was nominated for a Grammy Award, with The Wall Street Journal calling it "an exceptionally appealing blend of folk and jazz" for its mix of originals, standards, Brazilian tunes and songs by the likes of Bob Dylan. National Public Radio said: "Kate McGarry is called a jazz vocalist, but she's hard to pin down. She draws on the music of her youth to inspire her - from the Irish tunes of her family's roots to musical theater to pop songs."

McGarry has performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages, from Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Birdland to the Berlin Jazz Fest, San Sebastian Jazz Fest and Jazz Baltica. The singer has recorded and toured with such jazz luminaries as Hank Jones, Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling and Maria Schneider. And she has toured Eastern Europe, South America and China on behalf of the U.S. State Department.


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