Wednesday, March 27, 2013


A funky keyboard treasure – a smoking organ and Fender Rhodes session that is one of the greatest Blue Note albums by Ronnie Foster! Foster plays organ on the set, next to electric piano by Ernie Hayes – and the pair stir up the sound wonderfully as they glide over grooves, soaring on twin keyboard lines that really make for a magical sound! A few tracks get hard and funky, and others have that superdope laidback feel that made all of Foster's early work so great – especially for the Quest-era sample crowd. The album's got some really great 70s soul covers, mixed with a few tasty originals – and titles include "Backstabbers", "Lisa's Love", "Superwoman", "Alone Again (Naturally)", "Sweet Revival", "Some Neck", "Inot", and "It's Just Gotta Be That Way". ~ Dusty Groove

A sweet little collection that goes way beyond basic bossa nova – as it offers up tunes from a host of different vintages, in different styles of the genre – including some surprising gems from recent years too! Vintage material is blended nicely with cuts from Far Out and a few other current labels – and together, the tracks show the strong evolution of bossa nova into the 21st Century – way past the basic sounds at the start. There's a number of tracks on here we've never heard before – and titles include "The Girl From Ipanema" by Paula Santoro, "O Nosso Amor" by Vanja Orico, "Agua De Beber" by Xavier Osmir, "Meu Samba Torto" by Clara Moreno, "How Insensitive" by Simao Morto, "Rio Bahia" by Joyce, "Wave" by Victor Assis Brasil, "Mas Que Nada" by Rio Combo, "Dindi" by Paula Santoro with Hugh Burns, "So Danco Samba" by Gustavo Marques, and "Salve Dom" by Armando Marcal. 32 tracks on 2CDs – quite a deal! ~ Dusty Groove

No need for a leap of faith where Bluey's concerned – as we've been loving his music with Incognito for many many years, and we're more than happy to hear the man on his own! The vibe here is every bit as soulful and righteous as the best Incognito work – but there's also a more personal sound, too – especially since Bluey's on lead vocals on every track – quite a change from before, as he often lets other singers take the lead! Turns out, Bluey's a hell of a lead singer on his own – with this warm and slightly raspy style that really fits in wonderfully with the grooves – which are heavy on Bluey's own guitar, plus keyboards and other instrumentation from Ski Oakenfull and Richard Bull. If you like Incognito as much as us, there's plenty to love here – and titles include "Stronger", "Leap Of Faith", "Sky", "Keep Myself Together", "Ain't Nobody's Business", "Got To Let My Feelings Show", and "Live Like A Millionaire".  ~ Dusty Groove


Female singers who manage to stir a whole genre are seldom found. Diana Krall and Norah Jones are such outstanding talents who gave vocal jazz a whole new colour, and Korean singer Youn Sun Nah has been equally phenomenal. In the last few years she has conquered the music world with her albums Voyage (2009) and Same Girl (2010) released on ACT Music."
A miracle," "a great piece of art," "enchanting," "a world-class singer" - just some of the overwhelmingly positive responses from the press to these albums. Within two years Nah had received her fourth "Korean Music Award," the BMW World Jazz Award and the ECHO Jazz Award for best international female singer whilst in France, her second home, Same Girl was the best-selling jazz album of the year in 2011, Nah received the "Prix Mimi Perrin du Jazz Vocal" as female vocalist of the year, the leading magazine "Jazzman" awarded her with "Choc de l'annee 2012" as artist of the year and she was granted the title of nobility "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" by the culture secretary, putting her in the prominent company of such stars as David Bowie, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dustin Hoffman.
What is the secret of her remarkable success? Her new album Lento gives an explanation by combining Nah's unique qualities. One of them is the blending of different cultural and musical sources, in a respectful yet unconventional manner. Besides jazz and related styles, she draws on chanson, pop and folk music, and in addition to compositions by herself and her band members, there is the extremely light version of the Korean folk song "Arirang" as well as "Hurt" by the alternative rock band Nine Inch Nails, and Stan Jones' "Ghost Riders In The Sky," a classic country song made famous by Johnny Cash.
For the first time Nah also calls upon European classical music: Alexander Scriabin's "Prelude op. 16 No. 4 in E minor" with its tempo indication "Lento" was a source of inspiration for the album's title, and it also sets up an intimate, atmospheric and harmonious musical world. Nah unfolds her expressive power especially in the peaceful and slow-paced moments - on the fragile chanson "Full Circle," with heartbreaking grievance on "Lament" or artistic unison singing on "Momento Magico."
On Lento it becomes more apparent that Nah's voice ties the songs together. It is the precision of her intonation and phrasing, great timing and crystal voice that enable her to turn minimalistic forms into powerful emotions, pure elegance and magic. All this requires extremely subtle and considerate co-musicians, therefore the successful lineup from Same Girl was the first choice for Lento as well: Nah's longstanding duet partner Ulf Wakenius on guitar, Lars Danielsson on bass and Xavier Desandre-Navarre on percussion. The fourth member of the band is new - the French accordion magician Vincent Peirani. Two pieces on "Lento" were written by him and, similarly to Youn Sun Nah, his variations and ideas seem to emerge from an inner voice, which is one of the reasons why there is perfect interaction between the two musicians.
With her universal yet individual style Youn Sun Nah gives traditional vocal jazz a new flavor, while unconventionally and effortlessly exploring new exciting spaces. She is one of the most outstanding representatives of vocal jazz that includes the whole spectrum of contemporary music.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Billy Stewart's second album, 1966's Unbelievable, and the posthumous, 1974 odds-and-ends collection Cross My Heart are combined onto one CD for this 79-minute compilation. It's not apt to satisfy non-completists as it's not a best-of, missing the majority of his chart hits and including just one big smash, "Summertime." For those looking for supplements to his most popular songs, however, it's not a bad deal, and includes quite a few tracks not likely to be found on other compilations.

The centerpiece is the Unbelievable album which, in keeping with his unexpectedly successful, exuberantly stuttering update of "Summertime," is comprised entirely of pop standards given a soul treatment. "Summertime" is still far and away the standout of that LP's dozen tracks, in part because some of the others have more middle of the road, pop-jazz-oriented arrangements. Nonetheless, if you want to hear him tackle like-minded material like "Moon River," "My Funny Valentine," "Over the Rainbow," "That Old Black Magic," "Misty," and a couple more by "Summertime" composers George & Ira Gershwin, this is your chance. The most liberal interpretations that make the most of his freewheeling trademark scat-stutter style, like "Moon River," "That Old Black Magic," and "Canadian Sunset," are more enjoyable by far than his more straightforward ballad readings.

The 12 tracks from Cross My Heart were taken from various 1964-1969 singles, with the exception of one of the better cuts, "Fat Boy's Boogaloo," a 1967 James Brown-flavored Stewart original that made its first appearance on that 1974 LP. Generally, these aren't as striking as his best hits, with some exceptions like 1964's "Tell It Like It Is," which puts his fully developed, odd vocalizations to infectious, upbeat, mid-'60s soul without a hint of influence from the pop standards. The rest is good to acceptable '60s Chess soul fare, though, Stewart proving himself capable of writing a good straightforward soul-pop ballad on "How Nice It Is" and "Why Am I Lonely." Some of the late-'60s tracks get slicker and more faceless from both the production and songwriting viewpoints, though the cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" works better than you might expect. The Shout label does a good job with the packaging of this rather awkward match of vintage albums, adding historical liner notes and sequencing the Cross My Heart tracks so they're heard in chronological order rather than the scattershot sequencing used on the original LP. ~ Richie Unterberger

Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of albums from the R&B vocalist on one disc. Billy Stewart is best known for his distinctive and iconic version of 'Summertime', George Gershwin's standard from Porgy & Bess. 'Summertime', a U.S. Top 10 Pop and R&B hit in the summer of 1966 was the lead track on Billy's Unbelievable' album on Chess, and it is fascinating to hear 'Summertime' in context. Stewart developed his own idiosyncratic 'word-doubling' vocal delivery, and was supported by brassy arrangements combining the best elements of Soul and Big Band Jazz. Also included as bonus tracks are a collection of Billy's Chess recordings from across the 1960s; once released by Chess in 1974 as a compilation called Cross My Heart, which features many Northern Soul favorites. Shout.2011. Audio Remasterer: Simon Murphy. Liner Note Author: Clive Robertson. ~ CD Universe


The Robert Glasper Experiment significantly altered the way in which R&B fans heard jazz and vice versa with 2012's Black Radio. In 2013, Louie Vega and Elements of Life's Eclipse may be the record that enlightens views about dance music's ability to bridge (not water down) many musical genres with its sophisticated meld of live music and DJ culture's aesthetics. Vega's EOL is the first signing of a new artist by the legendary Fania Records in decades. While Latin rhythms and Nuyorican soul sounds are among those heard here, they are only elements in EOL's attack, which includes African and Brazilian rhythms, jazz, soul, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Eclipse is exceptionally consistent over 17 tracks and 78 minutes. It's there in poet Ursula Rucker's reading of her "Balance in All Things" and the Afro-Cuban grooves in the killer "Canto Para Ochosi," where an Afro-Cuban chant sung by Nina Rodríguez is backed by a cooking percussion, brass, and string orchestra, which spirals it out into progressive big-band soul. Soulful house vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter Josh Milan is important in these proceedings; he and Vega co-wrote about half the album together, and his vocals grace numerous tracks including the the bluesy Latin soul-rocker "Children of the World," with smoking guitar by Sherrod Barnes. Anané (globally renowned DJ, singer -- and Vega's spouse) and vocalist Lisa Fischer lead the stellar "Most Beautiful," where jazz, soul, merengue, and funky house grooves mingle. Raul Midón's George Benson-esque guitar playing and scatting push the track from the dancefloor into the heart. "I'm a Woman, I'm a Queen" offers a gospel intro that shifts into high disco gear with Cindy Mizelle and Fischer singing. They also deliver the soulful house burner "I Believe in Miracles" with an urban gospel backing chorus.

There are a number of excellent covers on the set, too. These include a globalized reading of Webster Lewis and Barbara Ingram's "Barbara Ann," sung by Fischer and Mizelle. It seamlessly weds salsa, disco, jazz, and funk. Fela Kuti's "Overtake Don Overtake Overtake" features vocals by Sheyi Olagunju. Anané offers a moving reading of Cape Verdean legend Armando Zeferino Soares' iconic "Sodade." Milan leads a spirited reading of the Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes samba standard "Berimbau," as well as a salsa-meets-jazz-funk version of Larry Mizell's "Harlem River Drive" (with beautiful flute work by Monday Michiru). The closer finds Anané taking the lead on Roy Ayers' "You Came into My Life." Simply put, there isn't another album like Eclipse. On it, Vega and EOL reach far beyond their earlier efforts in combining excellent songcraft and interpretive skills, with stellar musicianship, canny production, and a philosophical attitude that affirms dignity and humanity as logical extensions of music. [Eclipse also contains a bonus disc that features a 33-minute Vega mix of legendary Fania jams and originals, bonus cuts, and alternate mixes.] ~ Thom Jurek Audio Mixer: Yas Inoue. Recording information: Daddy's Workshop, NJ. Photographer: Karl Giant. Arranger: Louie Vega. ~ CD Universe

Thursday, March 21, 2013


OKeh will release GRAMMY®, Emmy®, and Latin GRAMMY® Award winning pianist and composer Michel Camilo's new album, What's Up?, on May 14, 2013. The project is the Dominican Republic-born musician's debut for the label and is OKeh's second overall release as part of the new re-launch initiative via Sony Classical, which focuses on documenting "Global Expressions in Jazz."

Produced by Camilo and recorded by GRAMMY® Award winning engineer Phil Magnotti at The Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Connecticut on February 14-15, 2013, the 11 tracks on What's Up? provide a stunning demonstration of the pianist's originality, spotlighting seven original compositions and four uniquely re-arranged jazz and Latin standards. Compositions include an intimate rendition of the quintessential "Alone Together", an exploration of Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" and a deep soulful re-discovery of Compay Segundo's "Chan Chan"; as well as in Camilo's own words, "my take on the perpetual polyrhythmic intricacies of 'Take Five' - as a personal nod of admiration and awe to the legacy of legendary master Dave Brubeck."

"I had lots of fun making this new album but it also has been quite an endeavor to take, since one of the biggest challenges for any jazz pianist is to be able to contribute to the rich tradition of solo piano styles," reflects Camilo, whose last solo piano project was released in 2005. "This recording expresses my desire to explore the contrasts of color, harmonic texture, rhythm and nuances in jazz piano playing. Here is my love for the many musical influences I have been exposed to over the years."

While What's Up? is Camilo's first OKeh release, it does signify his return to the Sony Music Entertainment family, having recorded for Portrait, Epic and Columbia at various points throughout his career that has spanned over three decades (including his 1988 self-titled project on Portrait, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart).

"I am delighted to come back to the Sony Music family where I feel we have done so many wonderful projects together," says Camilo. "And now with this solo piano album we are adding a new chapter from my 'open book of possibilities' to our long time creative collaboration."

A pianist with a brilliant technique and a composer that flavors his tunes with Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Michel Camilo's musical language is an expressive combination of his Dominican Republic musical heritage and a rich, intelligent use of jazz harmonies and textures. His compositions have been performed by some of the top jazz and Latin jazz artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to The Manhattan Transfer, from Paquito D'Rivera and flamenco guitarist Tomatito to Classical pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, having performed with many of these artists as well. He was featured in the award winning Latin jazz documentary film Calle 54 and has recorded for various film soundtracks. Additionally, he has developed a reputation as one who enjoys breaking barriers, as evidenced by his extensive discography featuring albums in Duo, Trio, Sextet, Big Band, and as guest soloist with some of the world's leading symphony orchestras.

Upcoming Michel Camilo Appearances
* Michel Camilo Trio + = Michel Camilo Solo
^ Michel Camilo & Tomatito **= Michel Camilo Sextet
*April 12 - April 13 / The Regattabar / Cambridge, MA
*April 30 - May 5 / The Blue Note / New York, NY
*May 10 - May 11 / Ronnie Scott's / London, UK
*May 12 - May 13 / Copenhagen Jazz House / Copenhagen, Denmark
^ May 16 / Is Sanat Hall / Istanbul, Turkey
+ May 18 / Ahmed Adnan Saygun Cultural Center / Izmir, Turkey
+ May 25 / International Bern Jazz Festival / Bern, Switzerland
*June 20 / National Philharmonic Hall / Vilnius, Lithuania
+ June 22 / Klavier Festival Ruhr / Hattingen, Germany
^ July 11 / Umbria Jazz Festival / Perugia, Italy
^ July 13 / North Sea Jazz Festival / Rotterdam, The Netherlands
* July 20 / Malta Jazz Festival / Valetta, Malta
**August 3 / Newport Jazz Festival / Newport, RI

What's Up? Tracklisting:
1. What's Up? (Michel Camilo)
2. A Place In Time (Michel Camilo)
3. Take Five (Paul Desmond)
4. Sandra's Serenade (Michel Camilo)
5. Island Beat (Michel Camilo)
6. Alone Together (Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz)
7. Paprika (Michel Camilo)
8. Love For Sale (Cole Porter)
9. Chan Chan (Compay Segundo)
10. On Fire (Michel Camilo)
11. At Dawn (Michel Camilo)


There’s no question about it: pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias is amazingly versatile. On May 28, 2013, Concord Jazz presents Elias’ I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker), an album that offers her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition (international release dates may vary). It fully demonstrates the range of interests that Elias’ art now boasts, and arrives with a statement of purpose: jazz repertoire can sound totally fresh when delivered with ingenuity and passion.

Long known for her native feel of Brazilian music, this new disc truly demonstrates Elias' expertise in yet another realm: an interpreter of American standards. An expressive, swinging singer and insightful instrumentalist and arranger, on I Thought About You she thoughtfully switches the size and approach of her impressive ensemble from track to track, yielding to each tune’s inner logic.

Her choice of musicians underscores her decision to have her music move in various ways. Along with guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, drummer Rafael Barata and percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos unite with Elias and husband, esteemed bassist Marc Johnson, for a few of the Brazil-slanted tracks. The other core band members are the always impressive guitarist Steve Cardenas and the exquisite drummer Victor Lewis. If you hear a deep chemistry between the bass and drums, remind yourself that Johnson and Lewis were once part of Stan Getz’s most limber rhythm section. At various points, Elias’ former husband Randy Brecker drops in to add some of his incisive brass magic to the mix.

By and large, Elias has turned to pieces from the Great American Songbook that have been associated with Baker. Some are swaggering and bluesy, some are poignant and graceful, some are intimate and bittersweet – each is addressed like the jewel that it is.

“When selecting the repertoire, I chose songs that portrayed a wide spectrum of Chet’s work,” she says, “not only the ballads for which he was best known, but also the mid tempo and up tempo pieces he performed with such fluidity and inventiveness throughout his career.”

Jazz fans know that Chesney Henry Baker, Jr, the esteemed West Coast trumpeter who made his initial mark with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, had plenty of the ingenuity and passion mentioned above in his own work. A celebrated improviser who played with everyone from Charlie Parker to Stan Getz, Baker helped establish the lithe swing associated with the mid-’50s sound of West Coast cool. His charisma was unmistakable – he brought an unmistakable charm to any tune he addressed. With a lilt in his voice and a casual sense of rhythm, his influence made a mark on many musicians, including important Brazilian artists.

“Chet and the cool jazz movement were influential to the bossa nova artists in the 1950s,” explains Elias. “Joao Gilberto, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim are just a few who have spoken to this influence. Chet sang and played with a purity of sound, and had a way of phrasing without much affectation, floating over the bar line, an approach which is immediately recognizable in the delivery of some of the great bossa nova artists, like Joao Gilberto.”

Elias makes sure the influence of cool jazz on the bossa nova is represented on several of the 14 tracks. “There Will Never Be Another You” features an ingenious arrangement, interposing Brazilian rhythms and straight-ahead jazz feel. “Embraceable You” is intoxicating, with a bluesy bossa personality rendered eloquently by her beautiful voice and piano supported by her brilliant Brazilian rhythm section. The stylistic blend continues on “Let’s Get Lost,” where Elias’ seductive coo is just as enticing as the instrumentalists’ work. “These three songs were very natural to me to place in a Brazilian groove,” she says, “and I easily relate to romantic lyrics.”

As a singer, Elias’s emotional candor and deep sense of time are part of I Thought About You’s main attractions. The title track has a vocal style that's just as reminiscent of prime Frank Sinatra as it is Baker. Elias’ charm, swing and charisma are right up front, and united with her incisive piano playing, they make a peerless package.

The trio rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” arrives with a shadowy mood that borders on cinematic. The hush of her piano mixed with Johnson’s glowing bottom and Lewis’ whispering brushes provides an eerie backdrop for lines like “You don’t know how lips hurt/until you’ve kissed and had to pay the cost.” Elias embodies the ache like a master. Intimacy is a crucial element in several of these tunes, and she uses quiet as yet another instrument.

Her agility as a singer is set in full relief on the opening of “Blue Room,” as well. In a duet, she and Johnson sway around each other, equal parts playful and imposing. “In 2008, Marc and I were at a live interview at a radio station in Paris,” says Elias. “Our host surprised us with a recording of Chet singing ‘Blue Room’ a cappella, which has the lyric ‘and every day’s a holiday because you’re married to me.” At that point in time not many people knew we were married, and it was very touching to us. Since then, this song was always on the ‘to do’ list for this project.”

Like six other tracks on the album, “Blue Room” is presented without a drummer – another way to create an intimate feel. “There’s something about the space that not having drums provides,” explains Elias. “It can bring the listener closer into the music. Through much of his career, Chet performed in sparse, drummerless settings. There’s an interesting quote from him that speaks to this: ‘It takes a hell of drummer to be better than no drummer at all.’

Lack of percussion doesn’t slow down the action on quicker pieces. The tempo of “Just In Time” is blistering, and the virtuosity of Elias’ piano is an adrenaline rush. “Marc drives that beat,” she continues, “and what about the Brazilian singer chewing all those words in English? Ha! This was a lot of fun.”

A nod to the superb brass player would be lacking without a horn in the mix, and the brilliant trumpeter Randy Brecker brings his horn prowess front and center on several songs. Want to talk refined lyricism? His solo on “That Old Feeling” darts around the melody with an authoritative élan. And the flugelhorn work on “Just Friends” finds a way to goose the action while still feeling quite dapper. “Randy killed,” reports Elias. “He always plays beautifully but he outdid himself this time. During the years we were together, we often heard Chet’s recordings in the house.”

This isn’t Elias’ first dive into a master’s songbook. She’s essayed the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Bill Evans previously. But this nod to Baker has been on her mind for a while. In 2010 when she was signed by Concord, this project was to be her first for the esteemed label. Because of the sequence of her output to that point, she opted to first record a Brazilian themed album, which became the critically and publicly acclaimed Light My Fire.

I Thought About You was well worth the wait, of course. It’s one of Elias’ most thoughtfully constructed albums, and a date that shows just how adroitly she moves around the bossa-jazz-blues nexus. She truly is an artist beyond category.

Elias closes the album with its most tender moment, “I Get Along Without You Very Well.” On the original, Baker starts the track with only a celeste behind him. Elias stuck to her piano to get the job done on her update of this heartbreaking farewell, and it’s a chilling interpretation. Her voice is mix of pride and vulnerability, and her touch on the keys make the chord changes drop into place like dusk descending.

From buoyant swing to luminous bossa nova to jaunty blues, I Thought About You achieves Elias’ initial goal: creating a well-rounded portrait of a master. “I chose each of these songs to speak about various feelings and aspects of love,” she concludes, “but I wouldn’t feel that I’d done a true tribute to Chet if I hadn’t addressed some other dimensions of his work as a singer/instrumentalist.”


Marc Cary has gained a reputation as one of the most creative pianists of our time, a bandleader with musical interests that encompass jazz, go-go, hip-hop, electronic music, Indian classical music and more. But Cary is also an incisive and sought-after accompanist, a fact famously borne out by his 12-year tenure (beginning in 1994) with the great vocalist, songwriter and jazz icon Abbey Lincoln.

For the Love of Abbey, Cary's first solo piano recording, is the most personal and heartfelt of tributes, shedding light on Lincoln's remarkable body of work and honoring her extraordinary gift for melody and songcraft.

"Abbey's compositions are worthy of an instrumental approach because they're so rich and lend themselves to be interpreted as instrumentals," Cary told journalist Willard Jenkins, who wrote the liner notes to For the Love of Abbey. "Abbey has been a beacon for me," Cary continued, "and because of my love for her I wanted to share my expression of her music."

Lincoln came to know Cary while he was a member of Taylor's Wailers, led by legendary drummer Arthur Taylor - who happened to be Lincoln's next-door neighbor in Harlem. "When we got finished rehearsing with A.T., Abbey would come over," Cary recalls. "I became a part of the family. She got to check me out for a long time. She knew my character. I think she always knew that I would fit."

Cary's tenure with Lincoln was longer than that of any other pianist. And Cary was following in the footsteps of the very best: Mal Waldron, Hank Jones, Wynton Kelly and Kenny Barron, among others. "I try not to freak myself out by saying, 'Wow, now I'm the one,'" Cary reflects. "It made me feel good but it didn't influence me in any way, because Abbey wanted something new, something in the moment."

Lincoln left us in August 2010. There are moments during Cary's poetic recital when one can almost hear her voice, sculpting each melodic phrase and flourish. "The Music is the Magic," one of her signature numbers, is represented here, as is the majestic "Another World," leading off the set in an inspired out-of-tempo treatment.

Cary also chose to revisit "My Love Is You" and "Throw It Away," both of which he's recorded as a leader in markedly different contexts (on Listen, Trillium and Focus Trio Live 2009). Duke Ellington's "Melancholia," which appeared on Cary's 1998 release The Antidote, is also included, for reasons Cary explains: "Abbey loved to hear me play this piece. It accentuates the feelings I have about her passing into the next realm."

In the dark minor tonalities of "Down Here Below" and "Should've Been," the hovering uncertainty of "Who Used to Dance," and the poignant balladry of "When I'm Called Home," Cary evokes memories and life lessons that transcend music. "I've carried Abbey Lincoln into a hospital in my arms, when she twisted her ankle," Cary recalls. "I picked her up in my arms. It was more than just playing with somebody. I drove to her house and learned the songs from her playing the piano. She'd voice it so simply. I learned a lot of simplicity with her - how to make that a beautiful thing. I learned how to create high energy in one chord: when you play it, how you play it, which one you choose, at what time."

Born in New York in January 1967, Cary was raised in Washington, DC and became an important figure in the city's burgeoning go-go scene. He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and upon relocating to New York in 1988, began his rise as an eclectic jazz piano modernist. In addition to Abbey Lincoln, he has worked with such masters as Betty Carter, Arthur Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach and Shirley Horn. He has earned Grammy nominations for his work with Lincoln, Carter, Roy Hargrove and Stefon Harris's Blackout. His talent has elevated the music of everyone from Russell Gunn and Marcus Printup to Q-Tip (Cary's production work for Q-Tip's 2009 album, The Renaissance, helped earn the disc a GRAMMY® nomination) Meshell Ndegeocello and Ani DiFranco.

Cary debuted as a leader in 1995 with Cary On. His electronica odyssey Rhodes Ahead Vol. 1 won him the first annual Billboard/BET Best New Jazz Artist Award in 2000. With 2006's Focus, Cary debuted on the Motéma label, and the "Focus Trio" has endured as one of his main working units: Focus Trio Live 2009 and the digital release Live 2008 further revealed the trio's exploratory approach.

Later this year Motéma will offer Focus Trio 2013, featuring longtime Focus drummer Sameer Gupta as well as bassists Burniss Travis and Rashaan Carter. The trio's objective, as Cary stated in his first Focus liner note, is "to bring indigenous rhythms together with American jazz to create new palettes of sound."

Another vehicle in this quest is Cary's band Indigenous People, which mines the rich history of African diasporic music - from African folk melodies, Brazilian and Caribbean grooves to jazz, funk and go-go rhythms. The band documented its sound on the albums Captured Live in Brazil (1999), Unite (2001) and N.G.G.R. Please (2003). Cary has now rebilled the group as "Cosmic Indigenous" and has a forthcoming release in the works. Meanwhile, he continues to work as a producer and collaborator on countless projects.

Even when paring down to solo piano on For the Love of Abbey, Cary makes music of great orchestrational variety and depth. Still, he heeds the wisdom of Lincoln herself, who would often admonish him with the words: "It's a simple song." As Cary says, "With Abbey I had to play differently than I did. It changed my whole perspective. I learned how to deconstruct myself."

Asked for the single most valuable lesson he got from Abbey Lincoln, Cary responds: "Learning how to shed things you don't need, and claim what is yours."

Upcoming Marc Cary Appearances:
April 23 / Philadelphia Science Festival (with Will Calhoun) / Philadelphia, PA
May 9 / Harlem Stage - Abbey Lincoln Tribute Trio / New York, NY
** May 10 / Harlem Stage - Abbey Lincoln Tribute / New York, NY
May 16 / Jazz at Lincoln Center - w/ Burnt Sugar & Indigenous People / New York, NY
May 17-19 / Blue Note - Will Calhoun Record Release / New York, NY
May 20 / Kennedy Center - w/ Burnt Sugar & Indigenous People / Washington, DC
June 5 / DC Jazz Festival - Abbey Lincoln Tribute / Washington, DC
June 7 / DC Jazz Festival - w/ Blackout Group / Washington, DC

** w/ Keith Ailer, Maggie Brown, Pyeng Threadgill and Imani Uzuri

For the Love of Abbey - Track Listing
1. Music is the Magic
2. Down Here Below
3. Melancholia
4. For Moseka
5. Who Used to Dance
6. Should've Been
7. My Love is You
8. Love Evolves
9. Throw It Away
10. Another World
11. When I'm Called Home
12. Conversation with a Baby
13. Transmutate
14. Down Here Below the Horizon

Marc Cary · For the Love of Abbey // Motéma Music · Release Date: June 11, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Five years after their critically acclaimed debut release, Ceramic Dog, the power trio featuring Marc Ribot (guitar), Shahzad Ismaily (bass/electronics) and Ches Smith (drums), is back with the hard-hitting tour de force Your Turn (Northern Spy, April 30, 2013). Time Out New York called Ceramic Dog Ribot’s “rawest band in ages” while the New York Times wrote, “The musicianship is intense regardless of the subtext, with all three players hurling themselves into their effort.” Singer/actress Eszter Balint guest appears on the album, as does experimental music guru Arto Lindsay.

Your Turn features 13 tracks, several written solely by Ribot (Cubanos Postizos, John Zorn, Tom Waits) and one by Smith. Others are group efforts by Ribot, Ismaily (Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Jolie Holland, Yoko Ono) and Smith (Xiu Xiu, Good for Cows, Secret Chiefs 3), two of the best young players on the New York/California underground improv/experimental rock scene. One track, “Bread and Roses,” is based on a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim. Perhaps the oddest but most fascinating track is the trio’s enlightening re-imagination of the Paul Desmond-written Dave Brubeck jazz classic “Take Five.”

Ribot, who describes Ceramic Dog as a “free/punk/funk/experimental/psychedelic/post electronica collective,” says that Your Turn was two years in the making. “Second records are notoriously hard to nail down,” he explains. “We tried to make it a few times. Finally we got it right — meaning, we got it to sound wrong, exactly like us.”

In Ismaily and Smith, Ribot has found ideally simpatico compadres. All Music Guide, in its review of the trio’s 2008 debut Party Intellectuals, said, “Shazhad Ismaily and Ches Smith are able to give Ribot just what the songs need whether it’s hazy atmospherics or ferocious rocking and have no problem heading down whichever musical path Ribot chooses.”

Where some bands flounder on their sophomore release, Ceramic Dog coalesces into an even tighter unit on Your Turn. In the years since they first played together, Ribot, Shahzad and Smith have each been down many divergent roads artistically, and when they met up again to record this new set they found they had a renewed purpose and a fine-tuned focus.

“If you listen closely, you can hear the rage, hope, disappointment, ritual excess, love and anarchy that were in our personal and collective airspace during those years,” says Ribot. “There were (and, we hope, will continue to be) several kinds of riots going on (‘Lies My Body Told Me,’ ‘Bread and Roses’). And yes, the CD is ‘political’ (‘Avanti Popolo,’ ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Them Turn Us ‘Round’). But what fun is raging against the machine if you can’t also rage against the bar line and the tonal system (‘Take Five,’ ‘Ritual Slaughter,’ the title track)?”

Adds Shahzad, “I love the songs on this record. Pain is an inevitable part of life. It follows us grimly and attaches. I’m fighting its ability to consume, and making this record was one way of doing that. Listening to it is the other.”

From the opening track, “Lies My Body Told Me,” through the closer, Smith’s “Special Snowflake,” all three perform with a rare intensity and telepathy — with plenty of fuel to power them. In “Masters of the Internet,” Ceramic Dog rails against those who feel entitled to free music, perfectly willing to screw the artists they claim to love: “The masters must be entertained/they hunger for digital content/we must labor night and day for the glory of the masses and the masters of the internet.” And in “The Kid is Back,” love was never quite as brutal as this: “I love you like old Nixon loved his Pat/love you like ol’ Hitler loved his pretty little Eva/I love you like a beater loves his bat/love you like the beast in the jungle loves his fever/c’mon baby let’s just pop the cork.”

One of the indisputable highlights is “Bread and Roses,” which was released last fall to commemorate the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “‘Bread and Roses’ is an old labor song,” comments Ribot, “associated with the IWW Lawrence Massachusetts textile worker’s strike of 1912. The lyrics are based on a poem written by James Oppenheimer. We changed the music, and a few of the lyrics (we figured anarcho/syndicalists wouldn’t mind), but the sentiments are the same.”

Recorded at three different New York-area studios, Your Turn was produced and mixed by Greg Saunier, the drummer of buzzy indie band Deerhoof; Smith suggested that he should produce the record. “I’ve known him and his music since our time in the same Bay Area scene in the late ’90s/early ’00s,” says the drummer. “I was always impressed with his unique approach to composition and recording — how he combines the two — and with his crazy-ass drumming. He’s also a longtime fan of Marc, so he has a valuable vantage point in terms of understanding where Marc’s music had been and where it could go. As far as mixing, I fully agree with Greg’s aesthetic. He has mixed several albums I have played on and written for, and I have always been a fan of his band Deerhoof. This album sounds and feels real to me.”

As it undoubtedly will to anyone fortunate enough to bathe in its glorious racket. “Those searching for rigorously applied formal constraints may have to wait,” says Ribot, and then he channels a bit of Cyndi Lauper: “Ceramic Dogs just wanna have fun.”

Ceramic Dog will appear at le poisson rouge @ 158 Bleecker Street, NYC, 212.505.FISH on May 5th for a CD release party. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Target® and three-time GRAMMY® award-winning singer and songwriter Michael Bublé are pairing up again for an exclusive deluxe edition of Bublé’s highly anticipated sixth studio album, “To Be Loved.” Available only from Target beginning April 23, the exclusive version of the album includes three bonus tracks and is available now for pre-order at

“Teaming up with Target again on a deluxe edition of the album gives me the opportunity to offer my devoted fans a little extra – three bonus tracks that I enjoyed recording while making the album.”

.Bonus songs on Target’s exclusive edition of the album include “Melancholy Baby,” a new, original track from Bublé, a swing-style mix of the album’s hit first single “It’s a Beautiful Day,” and a cover of the classic “Be My Baby.”

“This is the third time Target has partnered with Michael Bublé to bring exclusive music to his widespread fan following,” said Anne Stanchfield, divisional merchandise manager of entertainment, Target. “’To Be Loved’ is bound to be a must-have album and fans can once again look to Target for more of their favorite music from such a talented musician.”

“A lot of the material on ‘To Be Loved’ was inspired by my personal life, and it includes some tracks that are edgier for me,” said Michael Bublé. “Teaming up with Target again on a deluxe edition of the album gives me the opportunity to offer my devoted fans a little extra – three bonus tracks that I enjoyed recording while making the album.”

“To Be Loved” features a mix of original songs, co-written by Bublé, and standards from artists including the Bee Gees, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley. Produced by Bublé’s longtime collaborator Bob Rock, the album is a follow up to the 2011 release “Christmas,” which sold seven million copies internationally and was the number two selling album of 2011. Later this year, Bublé is scheduled to perform 10 sellout shows at London’s 02 Arena beginning June 30.


The ‘Summer Ball’ will be the most spectacular event of 2013 and considering there are 4 artists performing, including two full live band performances, the price is unbelievable value for money! Already confirmed are Full live band performances by Rose Royce and Crown Heights Affiar two of the most successful & legendary groups ever, plus Sugarhill Gang and Fonda Rae. The Street Sounds 30th Anniversary extravaganza was a resounding success, even beyond their wildest dreams!

The Street Sounds Summer Ball will feature the very best music of the 80’s. The main room will have the headline artists & DJs performances and be hosted by Andy Smith, Peter P & Morgan Khan. Everyone who made it to the 30th Anniversary and listeners of the Street Sounds Radio Show on Solar Radio knows and loves the energy, atmosphere and hilarious banter between the hosts; the Summer Ball promises to take this to another level with not only the best music but also fun and surprises all night long.

The other three rooms will have some of the best DJs playing some incredible sets across all the genres of music from the Street Sounds years including Soul, Funk, Old Skool Hip Hop, Electro, Jazz-Funk, Rare Grooves, Boogie, Disco and House. Wow, 4 rooms of heaven!

ROSE ROYCE - ‘One of the greatest Soul, Funk and Disco bands EVER!’ with 80+ Minutes Full Live Band Concert - (first European performance since 2007) -  “Magic Touch”, “Car Wash”, “Is It Love That Your After”, “Wishing On A Star”, “Do Your Dance”, “I Wanna Get Next To You”, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, “Still In Love” …

CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR - ‘At the forefront of 70’s & 80’s Disco/Funk!’ This will be the band’s ‘Legacy Concert’ with 60+ Minutes Full Live Band Concert - (first European performance since 1998) -
“Galaxy Of Love”, “Dreaming A Dream”, “Say A Prayer For Two”, “You Gave Me Love”, “I’m Gonna Love You Forever”, “Far Out”, “Dancin’”, “Every Beat Of My Heart” …

Also performances by 2 iconic artists!
SUGARHILL GANG - ‘The pioneers of Hip Hop!’ - “Rappers Delight”, “8th Wonder”, “Apache”, “Jump On It” …

FONDA RAE - ‘80's Diva!’ - As well as having her own hit records, Fonda has worked with worked with Don Armando and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Fonda also collaborated with more mainstream artists such as Taka Boom, The Fat Boys and Debbie Harry - “Touch Me”, “Over Like A Fat Rat”…


When Cécile McLorin Salvant arrived at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to compete in the finals of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, she was not only the youngest finalist, but also a mystery woman with the most unusual background of any of the participants. When she walked away with first place in the jazz world's most prestigious contest, the buzz began almost immediately. If anything, it has intensified in the months leading up to the launch of her Mack Avenue Records debut, WomanChild.
"She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace," Wynton Marsalis asserts. "I've never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles," remarks pianist Aaron Diehl. "She radiates authority," critic Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in response to one of her post-competition performances, and a few weeks later his colleague Stephen Holden announced that "Ms. McLorin Salvant has it all.... If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three-Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald-it is this 23-year-old virtuoso."

Yet at almost every step of the way, McLorin Salvant has followed a different path from her peers. Born in Miami to a French mother and Haitian father, McLorin Salvant's first language was French. She immersed herself in the classical music tradition, long before she turned to jazz - starting on piano at age five and joining the Miami Choral Society at age eight. When it came time for college, McLorin Salvant bypassed all the US conservatories and jazz schools, heading instead to Aix-en-Provence in France, where she continued to develop as a singer, but with an emphasis on classical and baroque vocal music before exploring jazz.

There, thousands of miles away from jazz's land of origin, McLorin Salvant entered into a fruitful partnership with reed player and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, first as a student and soon as a performer. Before returning to the US, she gave concerts in Paris, recorded with Bonnel's quintet, and immersed herself in the early jazz and blues vocal tradition. By the time she returned to her home country to take the stage in the Monk Competition, she had developed a set of formative experiences to express a uniquely personal style of jazz singing.

In the aftermath of McLorin Salvant's triumph at the Monk Competition, the jazz world eagerly awaited the winner's first US recording. Answering that call with WomanChild, McLorin Salvant draws on songs spanning three centuries of American music. "I like to choose songs that are a little unknown or have been recorded very few times," McLorin Salvant notes. "While these songs aren't recognized as standards, many should be because they are so beautifully crafted."

On the album, her repertoire ranges from the 19th century ballad "John Henry," refreshed in a spirited up-to-date arrangement, to McLorin Salvant's own 21st century waltz "Le Front Caché Sur Tes Genoux" which draws on a poem by Haitian writer Ida Salomon Faubert for its lyric. She is joined by a world class band who share her concern for creating jazz of today by drawing on vibrant traditions of the past: pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Rodney Whitaker (both of whom are Mack Avenue label mates), guitarist James Chirillo and master drummer Herlin Riley.

The old and new rub shoulders throughout this album, but this singer's attitude is neither beholden to the past nor trying to anticipate the trends of the future. Her captivating singing is immersed in the immediacy of the present moment. So much so, that those who have seen McLorin Salvant in concert marvel at how she radiates the confidence and poise of a mature artist even though she is just at the dawn of her own career.

McLorin Salvant may have the deepest roots of any singer of her generation. She knows the sounds and styles of modern jazz but also possesses complete command of the classic blues and early American vocal tradition. She has studied the entire recorded legacy of the great Bessie Smith (1894-1937), often called the Empress of the Blues, and also has deep familiarity with Valaida Snow, Bert Williams and other early masters of American music. For her, these musicians are exponents of living traditions that she has drawn into the orbit of her own work.

However, McLorin Salvant can't be pinned down as a jazz traditionalist. Alongside fellow Monk Competition winner Jacky Terrasson, she has recorded works by John Lennon/Yoko Ono and Erik Satie, and can sing in French, Spanish or English as the mood and situation warrant. Knowledgeable jazz fans will identify the influence and inspiration from some of the most distinctive modern jazz stylists, such as Betty Carter, Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln. She is also continuing her studies of the classical and baroque tradition. In short, McLorin Salvant is a seeker and a creative spirit who is determined to push ahead, even while she shows an extraordinary command of the tradition that has preceded her.

In his article in The New York Times, critic Stephen Holden listed some of the virtues of McLorin Salvant's singing: "perfect pitch and enunciation, a playful sense of humor, a rich and varied tonal palette, a supple sense of swing, exquisite taste in songs and phrasing, and a deep connection to lyrics." Her musical skills are considerable, but they are matched by an interpretive ability that is almost more akin to an actor's than a singer's. She draws out the story hidden inside the song, and can draw on the elements of her own personality and a full gamut of emotional stances-from the darkly troubling to the richly comic-in bringing lyrics to life.

"I want to get as close to the center of the song as I can," McLorin Salvant explains. "When I find something beautiful and touching, I try to get close to it and share that with the audience."

On WomanChild, McLorin Salvant gives music lovers the chance to hear why the illustrious judges at the Monk Competition gave her top honors. McLorin Salvant is still a bit of a mystery, but she will hardly be a secret any longer.

Upcoming Cécile McLorin Salvant as a Leader Appearances:
featuring the Aaron Diehl Trio unless otherwise noted

March 18 / Theater National / Bern, Switzerland
May 25 / Atlanta Jazz Festival - Piedmont Park / Atlanta, GA
June 19 / SFJazz Center / San Francisco, CA
July 2 / Café de La Danse / Paris, France
July 5 / Monsegur Jazz Festival / Monsegur, France
July 6 / Le parc du Château Laurens / Agde, France
July 9 / Club de Minuit / Vienne, France
July 12 / Gent Jazz Festival / Gent, Belgium
August 2 & 3 / Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival (duo w/ Aaron Diehl) / Davenport, IA
August 24 / Charlie Parker Festival - Marcus Garvey Park / Harlem, NY
October 5 / Angra Festival / Angra, Portugal
October 19 / Jazz Series at Princeton's Berlind Theatre / Princeton, NJ
October 26 / Sixth & I Synagogue / Washington, DC
December 29 - January 1 / Umbria Jazz Festival / Orvieto, Italy

Additional Cécile McLorin Salvant Appearances:
* April 7 / Cully Jazz Festival / Cully, Switzerland
* April 8 / Le Trianon de Paris / Paris, France
April 23 / Tri-C Jazz Fest (with Dominick Farinacci) / Cleveland, OH
April 30 / Jazz Cat (with Dave Blenkhorn) / Ascona, Switzerland
* May 9 / Festival de Jazz - Saint Gaudens / Paris, France
** June 14 / CNCDC Chateâuvallon / Chateâuvallon, France
July 4 / Jazz a Vienne (with Fred Nardin) / Vienne, France
* July 4 / Jazz a Vienne / Vienne, France
* July 12 / Gent Jazz Festival / Gent, Belgium
* July 18 / Vittoria Jazz Festival / Vittoria, Spain
July 24 / Jazz a Vannes (with Keystone Big Band) / Vannes, France
August 5-10 / Arts Camp in Tannersville (master class - Catskill Jazz Factory Band ead by Aaron Diehl) / Tannersville, NY
August 10 / Arts Camp in Tannersville (w/ Catskill Jazz Factory Band ead by Aaron Diehl) / Tannersville, NY
October 31 - November 3 / Whitley Bay Jazz Festival (with Whitley Bay band) / Newcastle, UK
November 16 / Koerner Hall @ Royal Conservatory (with Ramsey Lewis) / Toronto, Canada

* with Jacky Terrasson
** with Archie Shepp

Other Special Projects:
Jazz at Lincoln Center Holiday Tour (December 2013)

WomanChild - Track Listing
1. St. Louis Gal (J. Russel Robinson)
2. I Didn't Know What Time It Was (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
3. Nobody (Bert Williams, Alex Rogers)
4. WomanChild (Cécile McLorin Salvant)
5. LeFront Cache Sur Tes Genoux (Cécile McLorin Salvant, Ida Faubert)
6. There's A Lull In My Life (Mack Gordon, Harry Revel) - Prelude by Aaron Diehl
7. You Bring Out The Savage In Me (Sam Coslow)
8. Baby Have Pity On Me (Clarence Williams, Billy Mol)
9. John Henry (Traditional/Folk)
10. Jitterbug Waltz (Fats Waller, Richard Maltby Jr.)
11. What A Little Moonlight Can Do (Harry M. Woods)
12. Deep Dark Blue (Cécile McLorin Salvant)

Cécile McLorin Salvant· WomanChild  - Release Date May 28, 2013


Albert Einstein once said “We all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” For multi-talented saxophonist and consummate creative spirit Marion Meadows, the allure of music was never too far. The charismatic, strikingly handsome, eloquent and debonair musician, who happens to moonlight as a brilliant digital designer/photographer, and semi-professional cyclist originally had aspirations to become a veterinarian. “Reaching people through music has always been rewarding for me. Expressing yourself through an instrument and having listeners run through so many emotions is an artistic impression like no other,” says Marion. With a clear trajectory in sight, the stars aligned for Meadows one evening at Grand Central Station, when his saxophone was mysteriously overheard reverberating through the Big Apple’s oldest railway. Emmy-winning TV composer Jay Chattaway (Star Trek fame) was so enchanted that he introduced Marion Meadows to Grammy-winning pianist, producer and label owner Bob James, who helped Meadows to launch his career as a solo artist.

Close to 25 years later, scores of sold out shows, twelve critically heralded albums, a string of radio hits and collaborations with luminaries like Stevie Wonder, Eartha Kitt, The Temptations, George Benson and Norman Connors, Meadows is not through yet. “I have immersed myself in so many styles, from old school funk, jazz, rock and pop that a great tune is a great tune and I draw inspirations from all styles of music, but it is also from the outdoors and the beauty the world has to offer that inspire me each day” states Marion.

On February 26, 2013, Shanachie Entertainment, in conjunction with Listen 2 Entertainment Group, released Whisper, Marion Meadows’ label debut. Featuring mostly originals, Meadows dances a delicate balance between soul and fire, intellect and emotion, and sensitivity and brawn, making Whisper, an exhilarating musical foray into one of contemporary jazz’s most brilliant minds and recognized soprano saxophonists.

A musician unafraid to boldly fuse diverse influences, Marion Meadows sculpts a borderless musical tapestry on Whisper. “I came up listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington but at the same time musicians like Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Chicago and Parliament Funkadelic,” confesses Meadows who early on cut his teeth playing in Avant-Garde jazz groups alongside heavyweights Rashied Ali and James Blood Ulmer. Whisper, Marion Meadows’ first new recording in four years, features the saxophonist’s agile and ethereal soprano styling’s and some robust tenor work. It opens with the majestic, intoxicating and rhythmic driven “The Visitor,” which segues into the melodious and scintillating title track, co-written by keyboardist and long-time collaborator Michael Broening.

Meadows produced Whisper along with Carlos Pennisi, Bob Baldwin, Rahni Song and Broening. The album’s first single is the enticing, funky and hypnotic “Black Pearl.” Just like its namesake and gemstone, Meadows’ Pearl is multi-layered, producing a beautiful interior within each shimmering chorus. Keyboardist Carlos Pennisi co-authored the song and helped Marion to compose five songs on the album. “Carlos helped me really try different musical ideas on Whisper. He is an amazing composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Italy with a great sense of using colors in his productions. As an artist I’m searching to try new ideas, and he definitely brought that to the table.” “Timeless,” is an evocative and tender impressionistic ballad, co-written with keyboardist Rahni Song, who joins Meadow on the track along with Pennisi and harmonica player Julian Davis. “Curves,” is an uplifting get-on-the-dance-floor anthem that serves up the right combination of grit and soul, while “Magic Life” and “Golden Curtin,” showcase Marion Meadows’ knack for crafting unforgettable melodies that magically have a way of transporting you. Meadows breathes new life into two jazz classics on Whisper, borrowing from the Freddie Hubbard and Dave Grusin songbooks. Freddie Hubbard’s 1970s landmark CTI classic “Sky Dive,” soars with Meadows’ own buttery soul rendition featuring his tenor and soprano alongside trumpeter Joey Sommerville. Dave Grusin’s 1980’s chestnut “Marcosinho,” gets revitalized with Meadows’ sparkling new take.

Recording Whisper for Meadows was truly a labor of love and part of that process was the joy of collaborating with friends. Longtime associate and keyboardist Bob Baldwin joins Marion on two of the album’s tracks, “Bottoms Up” and “Turn Up The Quiet.” Meadows says of his friend, “Bob always delivers!” Turn Up The Quiet” marks one of the high points on the project, as the duo score a home run.

Marion’s tender soprano gracefully teases and caresses the seductive melody as Baldwin finds all the accents to drive the song home. Flautist Ragan Whiteside joins Meadows on the show-stopping number, “Bottoms Up.” Marion calls Whiteside and Althea Rene (who is featured on “Golden Curtain,”) “two of the greatest flautists I know.” Not afraid to get loose and turn up the heat Marion Meadows serves up a scorcher on “Wild Thing,” a James Brown inspired romp that escalates things to a sweat inducing fevered pitch.

Hailing from West Virginia and raised in Stamford, CT, Marion Meadows began his musical endeavors at age eight, studying clarinet. At age 15, after hearing iconic saxophone masters like Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Stanley Turrentine, Marion Meadows’ switch to saxophone was imminent. During high school, he earned a coveted spot in the All-State Orchestra and Jazz Band and was afforded the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. His experiences during this time made him reconsider his ambitions for medical school and a career as a veterinarian. Upon graduation, Meadows attended the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, later transferring to SUNY Purchase School of the Arts. While still a student, the ambitious saxophonist worked steadily as a sideman. He jokes that he “got a graduate degree playing clubs.” He was also fortunate to study with the best including Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman and Eddie Daniels.

While at Berklee, Marion Meadows had another serendipitous encounter, this time with drummer producer extraordinaire Norman Connors, who was then playing with legendary saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders. Meadows says, “Norman Connors was really the guy who discovered me as an artist. The man who gave me my first shot.” Connors’ recorded Marion’s song “Invitation” and later extended an invitation to Marion to join his band. Connors, who collaborated with many of R&B and jazz’s greatest singers, afforded Marion the opportunity to work alongside such dynamic voices as Jean Carne, Phyllis Hyman, Glenn Jones, Angela Bofill, and many others. “That was a nice graduate school, sort of speak”, laughs Meadows. After graduating with honors from Connors’ University, the well-rounded saxophonist spent time honing his chops on the avant-garde circuit in the ensemble "Aboriginal Music Society," which featured guitarist James Blood Ulmur, percussionist Juma Sutan and pianist Kasa Allah.

In 1990 Marion Meadows made his recording debut, For Lover's Only featuring Eliot Lewis, Porter Carroll, Brian Keane and Average White Band alumnus Alan Gorrie. Two years later he joined forces with Will Downing, Bob Baldwin, Angela Bofill and Norman Connors for his sophomore recording Keep It Right There. Further solidifying his rightful place in the pantheon of great saxophonists, Meadows released Forbidden Fruit in 1994. He was joined by an eclectic all-star cast that included Eric Benet, SWV, Don Grusin and Dori Caymmi, among others. Body Rhythm came in 1996 and Pleasure, the following year. Around this time Marion Meadows relocated from Connecticut to the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix, AZ. He also settled at a new recording home, Heads Up International, where he released his sixth album, Another Side of Midnight in 1999, calling on a little help from some friends Bob Baldwin, Omar Hakim and Norman Brown followed by Next To You in 2000 and In Deep in 2002. Player’s Club in 2004 spawned two hit singles “Suede” and “Sweet Grapes,” and have gone on to be Marion’s signature songs. Dressed To Chill (2006) included memorable renditions of hits by R Kelly and Luther Vandross and joined Meadows with Chuck Loeb and his longtime touring keyboardist and vocalist Will Brock, among others. Secrets and its title track in 2009 advanced to the top of smooth jazz radio charts. During this time Meadows also relocated to Hawaii and has spent the past several years living in both locations. In addition to touring steadily on his own, Marion Meadows is also a member of the highly sought after Sax And the City Tour fronting the band with fellow reedman Paul Taylor, with additional guests Jessy J, young saxophone sensation Vincent Ingala and pianist vocalist extraordinaire Joe McBride.

The Maestro Duke Ellington once said “My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never!” Like the maestro, Marion Meadows, is never content to rest on his laurels. With a four-year intermission between recordings, Marion Meadows is back with Whisper and ready to share his gift with the world. “Shhhhhhhhh, the show is about to begin.”

APR 07 – Las Vegas, NV @ Thomas & Mack Center (Soul Festival)
APR 20 – Cleveland, OH @ State Theatre (Tri-C JazzFest)
APR 27 – New Haven, CT @ Jay Rowe Jazz for Scholars
MAY 11 – Cincinnati, OH @ Atrium Hotel
JUN 08 – Atlanta, GA @ Mable House Amphitheatre
JUN 14 – Gahanna, OH @ Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest
JUN 15 – Rosemont, IL @ InterContinental Hotel (Montrose Room)
JUN 21 – Charlotte, NC @ Uptown Charlotte Jazz Fest (*SATC)
JUL 12 – Upper Marlboro, MD @ Martin’s Camelot (Lake Arbor Jazz Fest)
SEP 07 – Austin, TX @ The Paramount Theatre
SEP 27 – New Haven, CT @ John Lyman Center at SCSU (*SATC)
OCT 11 – Catalina Island, CA @ Catalina JazzTrax Fest (*SATC)

*Sax And The City (SATC) Tour Features Saxophonists Marion Meadows, Vincent Ingala and Paul Taylor with Joe McBride and Will Brock on Vocals and Keyboards, “Chocolate” Chip Shearin on Bass and Jabari on Drums (“Black Pearl” Radio Edit)


The pianist and keyboarder Xaver Fischer founded a trio in 1997 together with Hannes Vesper (bass) and Eric Harings (drums). This trio took up the challenge to transform then up-to-date club music like lounge, house and drum’n'bass into their very own composition by playing the music with “real instruments” and adding a little jazz here and there.

Even though it seemed indispensable to work with Djs, Samples, drum loops and other electronic elements at the time, the band chose not to use any of these tools for their music, instead they played everything live, on stage as well as in the studio; classic jazz combo-style. The very distinctive sound of the Xaver Fischer Trio became popular pretty quickly in the club scene and it opened many doors to do some extensive touring around Europe.

Between 1999 and 2005 four albums have been released on Unique Records, some even hit the German jazz charts. At the same time countless compilations that featured the trio’s music have been released. After the preliminary last album, which was called “Visit from a Goddess”, Xaver Fischer went on parental leave and treated himself with a timeout. During that timeout he worked as a studio and session musician for other artists (Sarah Connor, Gunter Gabriel, Joy Denalane, Tom Gaebel, Rea Garvey, amongst others), and additionally he taught music at a University.

Now, 2012, the Xaver Fischer Trio returns with a new cast and a bang. Xaver Fischer, bass player Krischan Frehse who is part of the TV Total Studio band Heavytones and Roachford’s drummer Hendrik Smock, went to the Maarwegstudio in Cologne with basically no precise ideas for songs. The songs essentially developed from spontaneous jam sessions. After two (!) incredibly creative days the band wrapped up their sessions with eleven brand new tracks. While recording they followed their own set of rules:

No Sequencing
No Quantize
No Loops – No Overdubs
No More Than Three Takes
No Digital Editing
No Clicktrack
No Recording Of Things You Can’t Perform Live

The glorious result is an album that shows the typical Xaver Fischer Trio sound topped with an unmistakably fresh new breeze. The Trio worked with elements of Afro beat, jazz-rock and even the current dance music of a David Guetta found its way onto the album.



Vines Importing has released a new line of signature wines bearing his name across the United States. The Rock and Roll and Blues Hall of Famer will debut the B.B. King Signature Collection in the strategic markets of Memphis and Nashville with roll-out planned to the B.B. King’s Blues Clubs and in retail stores, wine bars and music clubs throughout the country.

Exemplifying the grace and elegance of the blues, the B.B. King Signature Collection represents the tradition, quality and excellence of B.B. King and his music. At 87 years old, B.B. King has won over 15 Grammy awards, has performed in 88 countries and still frequently tours all over the world. With hundreds of performances throughout Europe under his belt, the emerging region of Spain was selected as the source for this signature collection. A fitting choice for the wines of one of the most-beloved musicians of all time, Spain was also the host of the original all-star “Guitar Legends” concert series, which in 1991 gathered and celebrated 27 of the world’s best guitarists, including B.B. King, over 5 days of completely sold out shows.

The B.B. King Signature Collection will be comprised of a red wine and a white wine for music fans and wine lovers alike. Both wines are sourced from the award winning Bodega Santa Cruz Winery, which has been producing wine for over 60 years and is located in the up-and-coming D.O. wine region of Almansa, Spain. B.B. King Signature Collection Red 2010 is a Crianza blend made from Garnacha, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and B.B. King Signature Collection White 2011 is comprised of 100% Verdejo grapes. Both wines are food friendly and meant to be enjoyed as everyday drinking wines.

The wines will first launch in Memphis and Nashville, and soon thereafter the B.B. King Signature Collection will be available through select national, regional, local and online outlets. The suggested retail price of the wines is $13.99.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over 50 albums, many of them classics. Over the years, B.B. King has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 50 years and has developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles, which earned him a #3 spot on Rolling Stone’s Top Guitarists of All Time list. B.B. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He has received more than 15 Grammy awards and was awarded with NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987. Today, at 87 years old, King continues to tour extensively and averages 250 concerts per year around the world. 


April in Paris is an irresistible time of love and wonderment, but in 2013 a special celebration will heighten the city's magic... Marking the release of C'est Si Bon, Sylvia Bennett's new album, the American diva will enchant audiences with a concert at the Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero Hotel on April 15th, beginning at 9:00 p.m. A cash bar will be available. The concert, which is part of the hotel's RLife Live Event series, will include songs from her new all-French-language CD as well as selections from Sentimental Journey, the Grammy-nominated album she recorded with her mentor, the late Lionel Hampton. This tribute to the legendary artist commemorates what would have been his 105th birthday on April 20th.

With such songs as "C'est Magnifique," "Un Homme et Une Femme," and "La Vie En Rose," the CD C'est Si Bon is the stuff of which dreams are made, delivering promises of thrills and romance in Paris, the very mecca of seduction. Sylvia has never sounded better, crooning these timeless classics in a voice like velvet, textured with emotion, and flawlessly enunciated. The inspired musical arrangements can be credited to Producer Hal S. Batt, who has worked with some of the world's foremost artists, including Julio Iglesias and Chayenne. C'est Si Bon will be available on,, iTunes, and your favorite digital download store, as well as


Sublime grooves from Allspice—a group who only gave the world this one and only 1977 album (released on the At-Home label), but who sparkle strongly throughout—thanks to help from ‘70s maestro Wayne Henderson! Henderson produces the group in a tight blend of soul, funk, and jazz—similar to his more famous productions for Side Effect and Pleasure—but with an even deeper sound overall. The vocals are sublime, a great mix of male and female leads laced with warm harmonies, backed by the impeccable instrumentation that is characteristic of a Henderson production. Liner notes by Bill Dahl examine the career and work of this one-off. Tracks include: Love Fire; Destiny; She's A Lady; Slipped Away; Give It Time; Hungry For Your Love; I Don't Know; and Get Up Off Your Lovin'. ~ Real Gone Music


A sweet collection of grooves from the legendary Salsoul label – easily one of the hippest imprints on the New York scene of the 70s! Salsoul's grooves go way beyond the usual disco – crafted with roots that go back to soul and salsa of the earlier part of the decade – and often mixed to perfection with a sound that holds up strongly, even on a crowded dancefloor! This package features ten of the best-remembered gems from the label – most in long mixes that echo their strong popularity as 12" single – titles that include "Doctor Love" by First Choice, "Runaway" by The Salsoul Orchestra with Loleatta Holloway, "Jingo" by Candido, "Dreamin" by Loleatta Holloway, "By The Way You Dance" by Bunny Sigler, "Love Is You" by Carol Williams, "Dance A Little Bit Closer" by Charo, "I Love New York" by Metropolis, and "Rio De Janeiro" by Gary Criss. ~ Dusty Groove


A tremendous little album from reedman Darryl Reeves – jazz at the core, but served up with plenty of cosmic soulful touches too – thanks to help from a great lineup of guest singers! Darryl's work on alto sax is more than enough to make us fall in love with the album – especially when it's lined up here with 70s-styled spacey keyboards, and given some crisp 21st Century funky production – but the addition of voice to the mix really helps push the whole thing even further, and give the record a glowing sort of warmth that comes from all the collaborative efforts on the tunes! Guests include Carmen Rodgers, Valencia Robinson, Rasheeda Ali, Gwen Bunn, and Ingride Sibley – and titles include "Coldstone", "Southern Lights", "Everytime I See You", "Peach Lady", "Mercenaries", "The Messenger", and "Star Of Detroit". ~ Dusty Groove



A lost treasure from R&B pioneer Larry Williams—the only album he ever issued in the 70s, recorded a few years before his untimely and mysterious death! The 1978 Fantasy set's got a heavy funk feel on most numbers—a great reworking of Williams' earlier groove, set to backings that feature Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker on horny horns, plus Rudy Copeland on keyboards! The approach is similar to the 70s grooves used by Larry's west coast contemporary Johnny Guitar Watson—although sadly, this album never brought Williams the same sort of comeback fame. Gene Sculatti contributes liner notes that delve into Williams’ curious career. ~ Real Gone Music


Two lost smokers from the man Lionel Hampton called “The greatest vibes player in the world,” Johnny Lytle—both very different from anything else he ever recorded! 1971’s The Soulful Rebel has a great blend of Hammond and Fender Rhodes along with the vibes—soaring out in a massively funky sextet with bass from Ron Carter and congas from Ray Barretto—both of whom take Johnny's earlier groove into a 70s jazz funk mode. 1972’s People & Love is even more impressive—and has Lytle's vibes working with impressionistic larger arrangements—in a style that's like Bobby Hutcherson on mid-‘70s Blue Note, or Milt Jackson on CTI. Notes by Scott Yanow explore the recordings and career of this unsung jazz giant. ~ Real Gone Music


Sea Level started as an Allman Brothers offshoot, boasting three members (keyboardist Chuck Leavell, percussionist Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and bassist Lamar Williams) from the mid-‘70s edition of the band, but became a major act in its own right with its tasty blend of jazz, blues and Southern rock (in other words, they would have fit nicely into today’s jam band scene). These two albums both came out in 1978 but chart major changes in the group; Cats on the Coast saw the addition of guitarist David Causey, percussionist George Weaver and multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett to the line-up, while Jaimoe and Weaver left and drummer Joe English joined for On the Edge. Despite the changing line-ups, these two records are remarkably consistent affairs featuring such signature Sea Level songs as “That’s Your Secret” and “A Lotta Colada;” they have, however, both been out of print for about a decade and command big bucks online. This Real Gone reissue offers both records on a single, 70 minutes-plus CD, with notes by Scott Schinder…rediscover one of the most underrated outfits of the ‘70s! ~ Real Gone Music


It's well known that throughout the 20th century, fed up with poor working conditions and racism in their home country, many American jazz musicians chose to leave the US in order to live and work in Europe. What's less well known is how their music developed and evolved during their time on the continent, and how the experience of being a musician in Europe was to shape their respective lives.

Over the years countless jazz concerts, festivals and recordings featuring American jazz musicians have taken place all over Europe, yet it's remarkable how few of these musical artifacts have been evaluated by the jazz community.

Radical new jazz sounds created as renowned ex-pat American jazzmen mingled with the creme de la creme of their European counterparts. Early developments in world music inspired by trans-global cultural excursions to Asia, Africa and beyond. Exchanges of ideas and a cultural meeting of minds as revolutionary jazz festivals took place behind the Iron Curtain. Advances in rhythm and sound where modal jazz and the prophetic music of John Coltrane merged with European folk traditions. This is Spiritual Jazz - as played by Americans in Europe.

Includes tracks by Pierre Cavalli, Clarence Peters, Billy Gault, Sun Ra, Lee Konitz, Eric Dolphy and others.


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