Thursday, January 30, 2014



The Queen Of Soul creates a rich musical portrait of Franklin s incomparable run at Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1976. Packed with 87 songs arranged chronologically, the set opens with generous selections from the first five studio albums she recorded for the label I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, and Soul 69. Recorded between 1967 and 1968, all five of the albums topped the R&B charts and gave the world classics like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," and the #1 smash "Respect." The set also mixes in several rare outtakes of songs like "It Was You" from Aretha Arrives and "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" from Soul 69. The collection also spotlights the great music Franklin recorded in the 1970s, including the two albums she released to open the decade This Girl s in Love with You and Spirit in the Dark. The former boasted an electrifying version of the Band s "The Weight" with Duane Allman on slide guitar, while the latter featured the hit "Don t Play That Song." Along with several singles from this era ("Spanish Harlem" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), The Queen Of Soul also gathers up several live performances with "Spirit in the Dark" (Reprise with Ray Charles) from Aretha Live at the Fillmore West (1971), plus several songs from her live album Amazing Grace (1972). The latter recording won the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1973 and remains Franklin s best-selling album to date. ~amazon


Hexaphone is a cosmology of improvisation. These are the coordinates provided by the title of the new multi-form work published by Rudi Records. A multimedia project led by Austrian singer Katja Cruz. The "Hexaphone" music is the real-time interpretation of graphic scores based on the geometry  of the platonic bodies. Furthermore  the complex geometry of the " flower of life" and the "hexagram" appear as a source of inspiration for the music comprised in "Hexaphone." Special guest of the project: the great saxophonist Oliver Lake, major founder of the historic "Black Artists Group" from St. Louis and of legendary World Saxophone Quartet. Completing the quintet, Andrea Massaria (guitar ) Howard Curtis (drums) Patrick Dunst (bass clarinet , flute , sax ) and Patrik Lechner (electronics and visuals.) Dense and imaginative music produced by the magical interplay between the musicians, sound and image. An effect perfectly captured through audio (CD) and video (DVD). ~


Not really the Bahama sounds you'd guess from the group's name, nor the Cuban ones in the title – but a really cool combination of a range of older musical elements, re-forged into a new sort of 21st Century groove! The record's got the feel of some of the best playful projects on Irma Records from years back – a blend of live instrumentation and programmed bits, plus some occasional samples that help flesh out the sound with a nice degree of depth. Keyboards – piano, organ, and electric piano – really make the live bits sparkle – and titles include "Broken Piano", "Cuervo Gold", "Tiki Suite", "Moaners", "I Warned You Baby", "Grinning In Your Face", and "That's What We Need". ~ Dusty Groove


Angelique Kidjo, the Benin born, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter is celebrating her #1 chart position worldwide for the release of her extraordinary new album Eve, a vibrant collection of songs dedicated to the power of African womanhood, particularly those women she grew up with in her native Benin, which was released this week on 429 Records. Eve hit #1 on the World Music charts around the world in markets including the U.S., UK, Canada and Germany. The album has garnered a staggering amount of press, including an interview on NPR's "All Things Considered" which aired this past weekend (link below), an NPR "First Listen" album stream, interviews in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Sunday Times (UK), New York Times and many more. In addition, Angelique will embark on a tour of the United States beginning in February. Angelique Kidjo's Eve was made available worldwide on 429 Records January 28th.
Says Kidjo: "The response to Eve has been so wonderful. It reinforces my belief that it is time now for Africa and especially for African women to shine!" Angelique Kidjo is currently promoting the release of her autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, available now through Harper Collins.

Eve track listing:
M'Baamba (Kenyan Song) / Shango Wa / Eva (featuring ASA) / Interlude: Agbade / Bomba (featuring Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend) / Hello (featuring Trio Teriba) / Blewu / Kamoushou / Kulumbu (featuring Dr. John) / Interlude: Kletedjan / Ebile (featuring Kronos Quartet) / Awalole (featuring the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg) / Bana (featuring Yvonne Kidjo) / Orisha / Interlude: Wayi / Coari

Upcoming U.S. Tour Dates:
Feb 5 / Durham, NC /  Hayti Heritage Center
Feb7 / Atlanta, GA / Variety Playhouse
Feb 8 / Charlotte, NC / McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square
Feb 9 / Charleston, WV / Mountain Stage, Creative Arts Center
Feb 11 / Chicago, IL / City Winery
Feb 13 / Oberlin, OH / Oberlin College-Finney Chapel
Feb 14 / Buffalo, NY / Buffalo State College PAC
Feb 15 / New York, NY / Town Hall
Feb 16 / Washington, DC / GWU Lisner Auditorium
Feb 18 / Philadelphia, PA / Prince Music Theatre
Feb 19 / Bethlehem, PA / Musikfest Cafe, Arts Center @ Steel Stacks
Feb 20 / Ridgefield, CT / The Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb 22 / Sherbrooke, Quebec / Theatre Granada
Feb 23 / Somerville, MA / Somerville Theater

Wednesday, January 29, 2014



Blue Note Records will release the debut solo album from Benmont Tench, You Should Be So Lucky, on February 18, 2014. Produced by legendary producer Glyn Johns, the album was recorded to tape at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles and features Tench handling lead vocals, piano and organs, joined by a team of collaborators including a core band of Don Was, Ethan Johns, Blake Mills and Jeremy Stacey and contributions by Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Joel Jerome, Tom Petty and Ringo Starr. The vinyl edition was mastered from the original analog tapes and includes two extra tracks not available on the CD and digital versions of the album. ~ bluenote


Convergence is the new album from Malia & Boris Blank, Convergence, is available now digitally. While Malia considers herself a spiritual Jazz and Blues singer she's decided to venture out by working with Boris Blank to create a sound she calls: Electronic Gospel ... it's spiritual and emotional... Tracks include: Embraceable Moon; Feel It Like You; Touching Ghosts; Claire Cadillac; Raising Venus; Fever; Shouldering Ashes; Mageticlies; Tears Run Dry; and Turner’s Ship.


Ascendant trumpeter Takuya Kuroda makes his Blue Note debut with the February 18 release of Rising Son, produced by José James.  Kuroda, who is best known for his inspired presence in James' band, steps forth here to helm that remarkable band (keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Solomon Dorsey, drummer Nate Smith, trombonist Corey King) plus vocal contributions from James ("Everybody Loves The Sunshine") & a guest appearance from imaginative guitarist Lionel Loueke ("Afro Blues"). Listen to the track premiere of "Afro Blues" via The Revivalist. Rising Son is available for pre-order on ~ bluenote


Boston-based saxophonist/composer Ken Field has drawn deeply from the wellspring of the New Orleans brass band tradition since forming his Revolutionary Snake Ensemble in 1990. Using the boisterous rhythms of that tradition as a launching pad for unbridled improvisations on both original and traditional material, the band has emerged as a singular force in the music. Their third CD, Live Snakes, set for March 11 release by Accurate Records, captures their distinctive sound in all its expressive glory.

Recorded in 2011 and 2013 in Boston, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, Live Snakes documents four editions of the highly mutable ensemble, with two sonically inventive remixes by Field thrown in for good measure. Adding to the deep pool of Boston talent that has sustained the RSE for more than two decades, Live Snakes features an extended family of players, including New York masters Matt Darriau (tenor sax and flute), Josh Roseman (trombone), and Kenny Wollesen (drums and percussion), and New Orleans tenor saxophone great Charles Neville.
A good deal of Live Snakes' emotional punch stems from the fact that Field's wife, the renowned filmmaker and animator Karen Aqua who often collaborated with the RSE, lost her battle against cancer just one week after the album's earliest session in 2011.

"The whole New Orleans concept of a jazz funeral, where it's very somber and moving at the beginning and then you break into celebratory uptempo grooves afterwards, really helped shape this album," Field says. "After playing in churches and at Karen's memorial it really brought home again that that's the script for how music should be. You're mourning and you're celebrating. The music encompasses these really conflicting emotions, joy and sadness at the same time."

The heart of Live Snakes is the aching dirge "For Karen," a stunning group improvisation from the 2011 session at Brooklyn's 58 Northsix Media Labs. The lamentation segues into a lugubrious rendition of the spiritual "I'll Fly Away" recorded by a full eight-piece band two years later at Cambridge's Regattabar, a performance that ends uptempo as a high-stepping celebration. The entire album's sequencing follows this kind of emotional logic, imbuing Live Snakes with the feel of a cathartic odyssey.

Marked by bawdy humor, seat-of-the-pants arrangements, and a love of unabashedly beautiful melodies, the band is equally effective interpreting hymns, like "Rock of Ages," and jazz standards, such as "Caravan." Field closes the album with an atmospheric remix of "Cassandra 4," a tune originally commissioned by Bridgeman/Packer Dance, and a newly constructed piece "Breakdown Part One" that can best be described as Miles Runs the Voodoo Down to Basin Street. In a typically Fieldian move, he turns a live album into an opportunity for further investigation into form and texture.

"I'm a firm believer in experimentation: I don't like doing the same thing twice or repeating what other people have done," Field says. "But at the same time I like the idea of maintaining some continuity with what listeners expect, so when we're rhythmically complex sometimes we'll be harmonically simpler. I play a melodic instrument, so we're always going to be focusing on melodically based music."

The band's acclaimed debut album, 2003's Year of the Snake (Innova Recordings), brought national attention. The following year the RSE began playing at Mardi Gras and has regularly marched with the all-women Krewe of Muses, an experience that "legitimized the band to me," Field says.

With its second album, 2008's Forked Tongue (Cuneiform), the RSE continued to expand its already far-flung repertoire, ranging from hymns and spirituals to traditional New Orleans parade anthems and tunes by everyone from Billy Idol to Ornette Coleman.

 Ken Field In addition to his work with RSE, Ken Field (left) continues to perform and record with Birdsongs of Mesozoic, a new music/chamber rock ensemble that spun off from the storied band Mission of Burma. He also maintains a busy solo career as a player and composer with five solo releases, including Subterranea (O.O. Discs), Pictures of Motion (sFz), Tokyo in F (Sublingual), Under the Skin (Innova), and Sensorium: Music for Dance & Film (Innova). Field has written scores for animation, film, modern dance, and television, including music for Sesame Street.

Founded in 1990 as an improvisational horn and percussion group for a pagan women's ritual celebration and evolving for more than 20 years to its present-day incarnation as costumed funk/street beat improvisational brass band, the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble has continued to captivate audiences. The RSE was nominated as Jazz Act of the Year in the New England Music Awards (winners to be announced 2/22) and will be marking the release of Live Snakes with a 3/4 performance at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. Also scheduled is a 3/22 appearance at Barbes in Brooklyn, as well as a return engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on 3/23.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


On her own - without the muscle of a promotional or publicity campaign - Nigerian-American singer-songwriter-poet Offiong Bassey let her captivating self-titled debut album trickle out earlier this year.

Last month, the Boston Globe ran a full-page color feature that helped Bassey sellout her first concert at her hometown’s famed Scullers Jazz Club. The Boston Strong Nigerian’s Moonlit Media Group label will give the cross-cultural cornucopia of Afro-Peruvian, Nigerian Ekombi, R&B, jazz, gospel, funk, soul and hip hop songs that she wrote and co-produced an official release date – February 4th – that will be boosted by a marketing campaign.      

Bassey, whose name means “God’s moon,” shines by writing lyrical poetry of inspiration, social commentary and empowerment set to rousing rhythms, lilting harmonies and soulful grooves. Alternately singing or rapping in English, her native Efik or Nigerian Pidgin English, the topical storyteller sometimes utilizes the pageantry of festive global beats to transcend language barriers. Bassey was joined in the studio by producer Blethy Emmanuel Tiegnon of the Ivory Coast along with an international cast of musicians and percussionists.

As seen in the first video from the disc, “Edidem,” a song inspired by a traditional Efik prayer as passed down by her grandmother, Bassey not only incorporates authentic cultural elements from her Nigerian-born parents and grandparents into her colorfully textured aural mosaics, she also invites family into the experience. Her brother, percussionist Eniang Bassey, performs on one track on the album.

The radio campaign to support “Offiong Bassey” will be spearheaded by a two-prong attack. “Legitimate Child” is a spiritually-inspired affirmation surfing an invigorating Calypso workout aided by Calabar-style Nigerian drumming while bombastic Afrobeats, blaring horns and funk guitar riffs spark the celebratory “Conclusion.”            

“The album was inspired by my varied experiences with people and the ways in which we respond to triumph, challenge and nuance as we move through the human experience. As such, whether utilizing African, soul or gospel undertones, I write music that speaks to the spirit. I decided to self-title the album because it is such a pure and holistic representation of who I am as an individual and who I am as an artist,” said Bassey, who elaborates in detail on the origins and meanings of each song in her EPK (

Presently booking a slate of first quarter 2014 concert dates to perform with her nine-piece band, Bassey, a Yale graduate, plans to record an unplugged session in the spring comprised of new material and cuts from “Offiong Bassey.” For more information, please visit

The songs contained on “Offiong Bassey” are:

“Legitimate Child”
“Full Moon”
“Mistaking Chivalry for Chauvinism”
“Chasing After the Wind”
“Owo Iba Me Ita”
“Wild Oats”
“It Might Be Hard”
“Efik Praise Medley”
“Edidem (Traditional Mix)”



Philip Hamilton is one of the most captivating voices in music today. The New York Times calls this inventive vocalist and composer “contemporary and cutting-edge” for his explosive recordings and performances. Hamilton has a voice that displays a combination of majesty, power and intimacy like Nina Simone and Bob Marley. His music is a funky layered blend of rock, jazz and blues with global grooves and sensibilities that is reminiscent of Massive Attack, Sting and Stevie Wonder. Hamilton has brought his distinctive sound to many of the world’s leading concert halls and music festivals, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Indonesia’s Java Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Kaunas Jazz in Lithuania and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.  He has performed and recorded with many notable artists from various genres including Jazz (Mike Stern, the Pat Metheny Group, Ronny Jordan), World Music (Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins, Sara Tavares), Rock (Donald Fagan/Steely Dan, Vernon Reid), Dance (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico) Classical (John Cage, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tobias String Quartet) and the Jam Band scene (John Medeski, Billy Martin, Medeski, Martin & Wood). He has also been the featured vocalist for several prominent jazz fusion groups throughout his career including Spyro Gyra, Steps Ahead, Special EFX, Sixun and Full Circle.


One of the deeper albums we've heard from Plunky in awhile – a set that's still got some of the smoother jazzy styles of his past decade or two, but one that also seems to offer a lot of input from a younger, fresher generation too! The "Oneness" on the cover is well-put – as the whole thing almost seems to be a Neo Soul reworking of his older Oneness Of Juju material from the late 70s/early 80s – that point when Plunky took his spiritual jazz modes, and forged them with a bit more of a dancefloor groove – a style that echoes all the older Oneness elements, but with a more contemporary vibe overall. Titles include the original numbers "Be About The Future", "Never Too Late", "A New Fantasy", "Space Jungle Love", "Sax Afrique", "Tableau Noir", and "Tribal Vibe". ~ Dusty Groove


John Zorn really takes off here with some amazing sounds on the organ of St Paul's Chapel – an exploration of the large pipe organ variant of the instrument, really pushed to the limits in a way that recalls Zorn's early experiments on alto sax! Despite the "hermetic" in the title, which might make you think of some private proceedings, or stowaway sounds – the album's got this very spacious, room-widening sort of feel – as Zorn really reaches forth with new sonic possibilities and very dark tones – of the sort that hardly befit the usual uses of a chapel of that nature. There's lots of very deep, bass-heavy notes in the mix – and titles include "Ascent Into the Maelstrom", "Prayer", "In Gloria Dei", "Battle Of The Angels", and "Holy Spirit" – all improvised by Zorn. ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, January 27, 2014



The roots of Dusty Springfield – all the great American soul songs that inspired her own UK grooves over the years – served up here in the original recordings that often pack a lot more punch than Dusty's later versions! Most of the set stands strongly as a collection of great 60s soul singles from the US – with just a few later numbers mixed in towards the end – and together, the cuts really illuminate the roots that Dusty Springfield drew from the American scene, and show the singer as one with a much deeper commitment to soul music than some of her contemporaries. And while we'll be the first to admit that we're huge Dusty Springfield fans, and really love her own records – we're also pleased as punch to have a set like this to enjoy! Titles include "Nothing In the World" by Marie Knight, "Packin Up" by Margie Hendrix, "Needle In A Haystack" by The Velvelettes, "Girls It Ain't Easy" by The Honey Cone, "No Stranger Am I" by Norma Tanega, "That Old Sweet Roll" by The City, "Every Ounce Of Strength" by Carla Thomas, "You Can Do It" by Evie Sands, "Crumbs Off The Table" by The Glass House, "Am I The Same Girl" by Barbara Acklin, and "Doodlin" by Baby Washington. ~ Dusty Groove


One of the few full albums ever cut by the great Sharon Ridley – a hell of a great singer from the east coast scene, and one with the fullness of the best club divas of the time – but an approach that goes way way deeper overall! There's a sexy slink to the album that echoes Ridley's previous gem for Sussex – but the style's a bit more modern soul, with some sweet arrangements co-penned by Jerry Peters – who works with Sharon here to really push the envelope of her sound! Sharon sings with a bit of jazz at times – in ways that almost echo the best work of Marlena Shaw – and the set really shows a presence that goes way beyond most of Ridley's contemporaries. Titles include "Changin", "Just You and Me", "Full Moon", "Guess I'm Gonna Have to Say Goodbye", and "Nothing Else Means More To Me Than Our Love" – and a remake of "You Beat Me To The Punch". Great package – with heavy book-like cover, new liner notes, and bonus tracks that include "Changin (edit)" and "Changin (hot tracks rmx)".  ~ Dusty Groove


Hardly the kind of music you'd want to keep in the basement – as the set's overflowing with classic soul from the 60s – especially the kind of underground nuggets we love so much! If we had to pick a style, we might say that the collection's heavy on Northern Soul rompers from the American indie scene way beyond Detroit – but there's also lots of other tasty flavors on here too, including some special west coast numbers and early funk tracks that really give the whole thing a great sense of variety – while still keeping to the upbeat, lively rhythms that make the set so great! Every track's a winner – and although most of these tracks never charted at the time, most have gone onto win big fame through constant circulation between DJs and collectors over the past few decades. Titles include "Sock It To Em Soul Brother" by Bill Moss, "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles, "Sign On The Dotted Line" by Gene Latter, "Peaches N Cream" by The Ikettes, "Tramp" by Lowell Fulsom, "I'll Never Forget You" by Marke & Chris Jackson, "Take It Baby" by The Showmen, "Ooh Wee Baby I Love You" by Fred Jackson, "Giving Up" by The Ad Libs, "With This Ring" by The Platters, "One Eye Open" by Maskman & The Agents, "Baby Please Come Back Home" by JJ Barnes, "Gotta Give Her Love" by The Volumes, and "Believe In Me Baby (part 1)" by Jesse James & The Dynamic Four. ~ Dusty Groove


On January 28th, Metronomy will release their superb new single, "Love Letters", from their upcoming album of the same name. Generating genuine excitement already, the new single was BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe's 'Hottest record in the world' last night and will be played on Fearne Cotton's Radio 1 show this morning. Metronomy's previous single indicating their return, "I'm Aquarius", received critical acclaim and was BBC 6Music's most played track in December. The band were one of the first to be announced to play Reading & Leeds festival this year and are due to headline Field Day festival this June. Last night, Mount confirmed that the Oscar winning Director, Michel Gondry, will be directing the video for "Love Letters".

Over the past 18 months, singer and producer Joe Mount has been listening to a lot of classic 60s records -- seminal funk and soul artists like Sly and The Family Stone, Love, The Byrds, The Zombies were being discovered and loved, and this is evident on this huge, larger-than-life single 'Love Letters' which gives more than a nod to sounds of the 70s era -- a gigantic chorus using classic 70s four-to-the-floor rhythm, it's their biggest single to date.

Two years have passed since the public heard any new music, and now Joseph Mount is back. His 2011 album The English Riviera (a love note to England's south coast where Joe grew up) was lauded by the critics, evolving into a sleeper hit that elevated Metronomy to the upper echelons of the UK's musical elite. Joe Mount quietly became a creative force to be reckoned with around the world and one of the must-see live acts with a legion of devoted fans. Subsequently, The English Riviera was Mercury prize nominated, selling a quarter of a million records worldwide and Metronomy found themselves on front covers, playing huge sell out shows globally and a one off show at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

Fast forward to the present day, Love Letters, which is out on March 11th (Because Music / Elektra Records) is Metronomy's masterpiece. Not losing any of the glowing warmth and ear worm melodies that makes Metronomy's sound so distinct, Love Letters is more developed, further evolved -- Joe Mount excels in his lyrics and song writing delivering what sounds like a truly classic record. Pre-order the album now via iTunes.

Metronomy will play a special SOLD OUT show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York City on February 5th presented by Brooklyn Vegan.

Metronomy is the sole creation of singer, writer and producer and expert musician Joseph Mount. His band are: Oscar Cash (keys, sax, vox), Anna Prior (drums, vox), Gbenga Adelekan (vox, guitar).

For more, please visit:


Patti LaBelle
With thousands of old school and new school R&B and contemporary jazz fans from across the U.S. flocking to Phoenix twice a year for the Arizona Jazz Festival, promoter will present a captivating crop of Grammy winners, hall of fame legends and current chart-toppers at the spring edition taking place March 7-9, 2014 at the luxurious Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. Tickets are available now as three-day or single-day concerts through the Arizona Jazz Festival website ( or by calling 602.244.8444 with prices ranging from $50-$750.

Grammy winner Ne-Yo serves as opening night headliner in what promises to be an elaborately choreographed production showcasing R&B-pop hits from the singer-songwriter-producer accompanied by a splashy army of dancers and backing musicians. Opening the evening, eight-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Ledisi offers a smooth blend of sophisticated soul brushed with elements of jazz.

The Saturday schedule gets underway with a pair of soul-jazz saxophonists, Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor, performing as a dynamic duo. Hitmen Euge Groove, Peter White and Rick Braun unite as Jazz Attack for an energetic set from the instrumental fan favorites. In advance of a national concert trek, a unified collective of R&B vocalists and contemporary jazz musicians will debut as the
Norman Brown
Hypnotic Groove Tour. Crooner Jeffrey Osborne, Grammy winner Faith Evans, Grammy nominee Maysa, singer-songwriter Rahsaan Patterson, neo soul trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and saxmen Eric Darius, Michael Lington and Dominic Amato will mix and match in a variety of intriguing combos. Next, Motown legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson will cruise through a collection of his sparkling-eyed classics. Considered the Godmother of Soul, Grammy winner Patti LaBelle will unleash her force of nature voice into the desert night to close the bill.

Ron & Ernie Isley
Opening the final day is Michelle Williams, a Grammy winner as a member of Destiny’s Child who has also achieved award-winning solo success as a gospel and R&B vocalist and on Broadway as an actress. Leela James, a gritty-voiced new school singer heavily influenced by iconic old school vocalists, will belt out a soul-stirring set of R&B, hip hop and blues joints. An international trio composed of Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown, South African singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler and Swiss-born pianist Alex Bugnon infuse global sounds into a multicultural mosaic of jazz, R&B and pop. The Empress of Soul, seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight brings an air of class to the festival along with decades of crossover hits. Grammy-nominated chart-topper Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns with Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright conjure fun memories as the all-star sax quartet rips through horn-powered hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s packed with funk, R&B and jazz. In the festival’s closing spot, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and 2014 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners Ronald Isley and Ernie Isley aka The Isley Brothers bring a wide-ranging songbook of soul, R&B, funk, rock and street corner doo-wop hits that dates back to 1959.                   

A host of the festival’s artists will participate in the All-Star Jam after the Saturday program concludes and some will perform at The Sunday Brunch with seating beginning for the buffet and inspirational concert at 9 AM. Separate tickets are required for these events and are available for $25 and $39.50 respectively.

Taking place in March and October, the Arizona Jazz Festival is a music and lifestyle experience held at a plush first-class resort attracting a diverse adult audience from all over the nation. Attendees often make a vacation out of it by immersing themselves in the music while taking advantage of the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa’s extensive offerings such as the all-suite hotel’s 18-hole golf course, water park, athletic club, full-service spa and salon, and six on-site restaurants. Ticket and hotel packages are available at   

Friday, January 24, 2014


With 14 million albums sold, a pair of Juno Awards and two Grammy nominations, Loreena McKennitt is celebrating the 30th anniversary of her singular career as an artist known for her groundbreaking blend of Celtic sounds and World Beat. This career is now documented on Universal Music Enterprises’ The Journey So Far—The Best of Loreena McKennitt. Out March 4, the comprehensive set comes in CD, digital and vinyl versions, with a deluxe edition including a second disc, A Midsummer Night’s Tour. This disc features highlights from the live performance recorded at the Zitadelle in Mainz, Germany, in July of 2012—a return to the city in which the 2013 Grammy nominated Troubadours on the Rhine was recorded.

“When I look back on the road from where I have come, the people I’ve met, the places and experiences which have informed the music, or even where we created or recorded the music, I marvel at how rich my journey has been”
“When I look back on the road from where I have come, the people I’ve met, the places and experiences which have informed the music, or even where we created or recorded the music, I marvel at how rich my journey has been,” says McKennitt. “I recognize that many people will be hoping for a new recording and I am delighted to say that the process of researching a new recording has begun. At the same time we’ve learned that for one reason or another, certain parts of the world have only had limited access to my catalogue and this 30th Anniversary is an opportunity for us to introduce them to some of the musical highlights over these 30 years.”

A successful self-managed maverick since her early days busking on the streets of Toronto, McKennitt established her own Quinlan Road label and publishing company and has produced albums in various locales—including a barn in Southern Ontario, a Benedictine monastery in Ireland and Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio in England, where she recorded four of her albums. Her releases include seven studio recordings, three seasonal recordings, and a live in-concert DVD from the Alhambra in Spain. She garnered double-platinum honors for 1997’s The Book of Secrets and its Top 20 crossover radio hit, “The Mummers’ Dance.”

Ms. McKennitt’s extensive traveling in pursuit of the history of the Celts, from Mongolia and China to Turkey and Siberia, has shaped her distinctive eclectic Celtic sound, which marries Eastern, Middle Eastern and Celtic musical traditions with her own lyrics and those by great poets like Shakespeare, W.B. Yeats and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The Journey So Far—The Best of Loreena McKennitt features a selection of 12 fan favorites curated by McKennitt herself, including “The Mummers’ Dance” and “Bonny Portmore,” a traditional Irish folk song included on the soundtrack to Highlander III—The Sorcerer, as well as “Dante’s Prayer,” which led to her citation in Dan Brown’s best-selling Inferno. The set also includes “The Mystic’s Dream,” which was used extensively in The Mists of Avalon, a critically acclaimed mini-series starring Anjelica Huston.

Her appearances have taken McKennitt to concert halls and historical venues around the world, and have included performances for dignitaries including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, heads of state, as well as at the 2013 fantastical wedding of Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas in Big Sur, California.

In addition to her musical career, McKennitt has been recognized for a number of noteworthy philanthropic initiatives. In 1998 she founded the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety and she was instrumental in the transformation of a 1929 neo-Gothic school into the Falstaff Family Centre, a charitable organization focused on families and children.

In 2004 she was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest individual civilian honor that can be bestowed in her country, was appointed Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France in 2013, and she was also made an Honorary Colonel the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2006. As a privacy advocate she won a landmark privacy case in the UK. She has been awarded four honorary degrees for her non-musical endeavors.


Rufus Wainwright recorded a private concert in an historic Greenwich Village church. On March 4, Wainwright’s inspired performance, which was filmed and recorded for PBS’ “Live from the Artists Den,” will be released on CD, digital album, and Blu-ray video by Artists Den Records/UMe. The 69-minute Rufus Wainwright: Live from the Artists Den concert release includes five songs that were not included in the broadcast, and the Blu-ray features an additional 50 minutes of behind-the-scenes bonus material.

“Candles” is the closing song on Wainwright’s acclaimed 2012 album, Out of the Game, but it was the perfect a cappella opener for his “Live from the Artists Den” performance at the magnificent Church of the Ascension, on Manhattan’s lower Fifth Avenue. Built in 1841, the National Historic Landmark church was a breathtaking backdrop for the gorgeous tale of searching for a place to light a memorial for his late mother, singer Kate McGarrigle.

Resplendent in tails and gold sequined pants, Wainwright performed 16 songs, paying tribute to Kate during the set with an emotional, solo piano rendition of her “On My Way to Town,” before bringing out super-producer Mark Ronson, who worked with Wainwright on Out of the Game. Wainwright and his band, with Ronson on guitar, close the show with the rousing, disco-flavored “Bitter Tears.”

The Blu-ray’s bonus materials include an exclusive, extended interview with Wainwright, an additional interview with the Church of Ascension’s since-retired rector, Father Andrew, “Inside the Den,” a behind-the-scenes look at the concert shoot and location, and a “Night in Pictures” slideshow.

“I’ve found that the venue essentially dictates everything,” Wainwright says in the filmed program. “For someone who is pretty focused on the capabilities of the voice, as I am, churches are our friends.”

Mark Lieberman, “Live from the Artists Den” creator and executive producer, says, “Rufus Wainwright is amongst the finest performers of our time. His ‘Artists Den’ secret show at the Church of the Ascension is still one of my favorite nights, a rare moment in the illustrious career of this incredible musician.”

Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright will also be released on March 4 by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). The new collection’s single-disc and digital edition features 17 standout songs that define one of modern music’s most innovative talents, as well as a brand new recording, “Me and Liza.” A 2CD and digital deluxe edition adds 16 rare live and studio tracks.

Wainwright will tour Europe in March, and he has confirmed five U.S. theater concerts in April to support the release of Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright. Tickets for the U.S. concerts are on-sale now at

April 15 - New York, NY / Town Hall 
April 16 - Washington, DC / Lincoln Theatre 
April 18 - Los Angeles, CA / Orpheum Theatre 
April 19 - San Francisco, CA / Palace of Fine Arts 
April 20 - San Francisco, CA / Palace of Fine Arts 

Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of his generation’s great male vocalists and songwriters. The New York-born, Montreal-bred singer/songwriter has released seven acclaimed studio albums and two live albums, including his acclaimed GRAMMY® nominated Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall.

Wainwright has also collaborated with many artists, including, most recently, Robbie Williams, co-writing and dueting on the title track of his Swing Both Ways album. He has also worked with the Pet Shop Boys, Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Antony, David Byrne, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wilson, Lou Reed, Boy George, and Mark Ronson.

In 2009 his first opera, “Prima Donna,” premiered at the Manchester International Festival, followed by a run at Sadler’s Wells in 2010 and an American premiere for New York City Opera in February 2012 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Wainwright has just been commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company to write his second opera, based on the story of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Antinoos. The new opera will premiere in Toronto in October 2018.

Wainwright’s tours with and without a band are equally acclaimed. From Glastonbury to the Royal Opera House via Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl, Rufus Wainwright has proven himself to be quite the showman. He has also performed many notable shows with some of the world’s best orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, playing a selection of his own songs and his Shakespearean Sonnets.

Rufus Wainwright: Live from the Artists Den [CD; digital; Blu-ray]
* song not included in broadcast
1. Candles           
2. Rashida     
3. Song of You     
4. Barbara *     
5. Welcome to the Ball *     
6. The One You Love    
7. Respectable Dive       
8. Jericho     
9. Out of the Game
10. One Man Guy*
11. Going to a Town
12. Montauk
13. 14th Street*
15. On My Way to Town
16. Bitter Tears



Two-time Grammy Award Nominee and international renowned jazz saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger, Najee, received his nomination by the NAACP Image Awards for “Outstanding Jazz Album” for his new album The Morning After – A Musical Love Journey released by Shanachie Entertainment on October 22, 2013, which debuted #1 Contemporary Jazz Album on the Billboard charts. The album is produced by Demonte Posey and features special appearances by R&B vocalist Meli’sa Morgan and jazz bassist Brian Bromberg. Considered a diverse contemporary jazz project by the legendary saxophonist, “The Morning After” has given fans an insight into Najee’s journey and global experiences in music. The 45th Annual NAACP Image awards celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
As one of the top-selling jazz saxophonist of our generation, Najee continues to demonstrate his consistency to connect with various audiences throughout the world. Creating music at this level in his career is still exhilarating, as he states, “I am always evolving. As a musician the love of performing for people whether in-studio or live, is still a gratifying experience.” These experiences is what has catapulted him to craft an album that represents a traditional jazz impression along with encompassing the standard “smooth jazz” feel. The full title, The Morning After - A Musical Love Journey (in short “The Morning After”) showcases an array of compositions including the hit single Champs Élysées, which is currently in heavy radio rotation around the world. This song is an up-tempo composition with a mixture of harmonic phrases that creates a storyline for his admiration for Paris. Another popular tune from the album is R&B hit In The Mood To Take It Slow, a sultry duet with vocalist Meli’sa Morgan. Najee along with his brother Fareed first worked with Meli’sa on tour with Chaka Khan. Najee later recorded the duet “Do You Still Love Me” with Meli’sa on her debut album in 1985. Najee declares, “I believe Meli'sa is one of our R&B treasures and I am grateful for our reunion on this project.”  In addition, the album would be remiss without Najee paying homage to colleague and friend, the late George Duke. Najee wrote Shinjuku (a popular area in Tokyo) in honor of his friend; which tells the story of their previous tours in Asia together. “The Morning After” features musicians: Bill Sharpe on bass, Ray Fuller on guitar, Daniel Powell on drums, Brian Bromberg on acoustic bass and producer Demonte Posey on piano. The album is currently available on Najee’s website:, iTunes and

Winners for this year’s 45th Annual NAACP Image Awards will be voted by NAACP members and announced when the envelopes are opened on Friday, February 21st, during the Awards Ceremony for non-televised categories. The remaining categories will be announced live on stage during the two-hour show and will be nationally televised on TV One, Saturday, February 22nd, (9:00 p.m. ET/PT tape-delayed). For more information about the award show, please visit:  


Jon Irabagon and Barry Altschul continue their musical partnership, this time behind eight of Irabagon's brand new originals, featuring Altschul's longtime rhythm teammate and bass virtuoso Mark Helias. It Takes All Kinds was recorded live at the Peitz Festival in Germany in June 2013 and will be released via a partnership between Irabagon's new Irabbagast Records and Germany's Jazzwerkstatt label.

Irabagon and Altschul's recorded work started with one of 2010's most celebrated recordings, Foxy (Hot Cup), and recently continued with Altschul's TUM Records release The 3Dom Factor. Altschul states, "The Foxy project was about keeping up an constant energy flow, in and out of defined time. With this new project, I'm freer and able to be more conceptual, catapulted by the directions of the compositions. I feel I use the entirety of my musical vocabulary, as do Jon and Mark. It's very liberating."

"Barry has been an inspiration to me ever since I bought Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds back in high school," Irabagon says. "His complete integration of the drum set and percussion instruments was a revelation, and for this record I wanted to make sure that some of his percussion options were available." The quicksilver interaction between that percussion and saxophone is on full display on tunes like Wherewithal and Vestiges, while the trio's ability to move like-mindedly and shift gears between uptempo swing and open, free time can be found on songs like Quintessential Kitten and Cutting Corners. All of these new compositions were written with Altschul and Helias in mind and provide open-ended jumping off points for group improvisation. Both the opener, Wherewithal, and the closer, Pause and Flip, feature compositional sections that blend seamlessly into open improvisations. Wherewithal draws from 20th century minimalism-the main improvisation section features an open Altschul solo over minutely shifting repeated lines from sax and bass.

This marriage of composition and improvisation is a top priority in this trio. "If Conference of the Birds was a catalyst for the open-minded music I would gravitate towards starting in high school, Mark Helias' record New School really keyed me in on the level of subtle interaction a consistently working trio can achieve. Seeing this growth in my own music on gigs and tours has been incredible."  The group's empathetic interaction is evident in the opening solo of Vestiges, where Irabagon and Altschul dovetail in and out of short solo phrases.  On Quintessential Kitten, bass wizard Helias and Irabagon trade open-ended phrases before Irabagon takes off on a stunning, spur-of-the-moment circular-breathing sixteenth note barrage.

Altschul and Helias have been a solid rhythm team since the late '70s, when they released several records as part of the Barry Altschul Trio. "Though I came to their music separately, I knew Barry and Mark have played together a lot, and I wanted to be in the middle of that interaction," Irabagon says. Altschul adds, "Playing with Mark is easy for me. We are able to move and change directions easily due to Mark being very flexible with a very large musical vocabulary and musical taste, as well as having the technique to play whatever he hears. Most importantly, whatever style of music is being played, Mark swings." This swagger is found in the Arabic-fueled Unconditional (where Altschul takes an open drum intro that references the entire history of the drums' role in jazz and improvised music), the medium bounce of Cutting Corners, the odd-metered Elusive and the understated, wide interval and chord extension-utilizing accompaniment of Sunrise.

Helias has plenty of room to showcase his diverse array of expression-various articulations, wide range slides, high and low extended techniques, masterful bow work and in-depth 20th century classical music and counterpoint knowledge-throughout the record, but nowhere more than on his two features, Elusive and Sunrise. On Cutting Corners, Helias gracefully pulls the kinetic energy that Irabagon leaves at the end of his solo down, while he prods both Irabagon and Altschul on the program closer Pause and Flip during the extended solo sections, drawing unique group improvisations from them. Irabagon states, "Many of the magical moments here were completely unplanned and have never happened before or since." The impromptu jump swing section in Wherewithal, the simultaneous high harmonics in the bass and melodic sax multiphonics in Elusive and the use of almost four octaves on sax on Cutting Corners are all unique moments from this concert from an 800 year old castle in rural Germany.

On this record, the third release on Irabbagast Records and the first collaboration with Jazzwerkstatt, Irabagon continues his search for all-inclusive, boundary-stretching improvisation, bringing together this coveted rhythm team for the first time on record in over twenty years.

Winner of the Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition and recently named Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist in DownBeat Magazine, Jon Irabagon launched his own record label, Irabbagast Records, in November 2012, releasing Outright! Unhinged and I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 2 simultaneously to rave reviews.  He was recently named one of New York City's 25 Jazz Icons by Time Out NY, and has recently been touring with the Dave Douglas Quintet, the Mary Halvorson Quintet and Mostly Other People Do the Killing.

Mark Helias is a renowned bassist and composer who has performed throughout the world for more than three decades. A prolific composer, Helias has written music for two feature films as well as chamber pieces and works for large ensemble and big band. He has over 12 albums as a leader to his credit. His trio, Open Loose with Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey, has become an archetypal improvising ensemble on the New York scene. He continues performing and recording with BassDrumBone, a three-decade-long collaboration with Gerry Hemingway and Ray Anderson. Mr. Helias performs solo bass concerts and can also be heard in the innovative bass duo, "The Marks Brothers," with fellow bassist Mark Dresser.

Barry Altschul has been a force in the creative music scene for over five decades. His initial work with the Paul Bley Trio led to his involvement with Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton and Dave Holland in the legendary group Circle, which released several albums on ECM. Also a part of the ARC trio, the Dave Holland Quartet, Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Sam Rivers Trio, Altschul effortlessly draws from all genres of the creative music spectrum, calling to mind Beaver Harris' phrase "from ragtime to no time." Altschul released his first album as a leader last year on TUM Records, with two more on the way.


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