Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Releases: Sheila E - Icon; Nicola Conte - Free Souls; The Omar Hakim Experience - We Are One


World-class drummer and percussionist Sheila Escovedo is scheduled to release her first solo album in twelve years, "Icon," on March 25 as part of the celebration of her 40th anniversary in the music business. According to her Manager Gilbert Davison. "We are excited about the release, particularly of the multi-genre format that reflects Sheila E.'s broad artistry and experience," Davison expresses. All songs on the album were written and composed by  Sheila E., unless otherwise noted, while "Leader of the Band" was co-written by Prince. "I can't believe it's been 40 years since I began my career in the music business. I have been blessed to make music with some of the most incredible artists in the world," stated Sheila. "The past year has been very introspective for me. I have a book coming out in September, 'The Beat Of My Own Drum' and while writing it I was inspired to begin work on what has become 'Icon.' This album represents my musical journey and the different paths I have been blessed to travel. I'm excited and proud of this music." Tracklist: Butterfly (Interlude); Mona Lisa ft. Gisa Vatcky and Lucia Parker; Lovely Day; I'll Give You That; Rockstar ft. Bobby G.; Samba (Interlude); Nasty Thang ft. MC Lyte; Leader of The Band ft. The E. Family, Prince; Turn It Around (Interlude); Girl Like Me ft. Ledisi; Who Am I?; Old Skool ft. Eddie M, J.A.i.’ Tha Profit; and Now Is The Hour (Interlude) ft. Moms Escovedo. 


A brilliantly soulful set from Nicola Conte – a record that's got all the tight jazzy instrumentation we love in his other records, but one that's also got some wonderful vocal work as well! Singers are a perfectly-chosen batch of the best of the underground – and include Jose James, Marvin Parks, Bridgette Amofa, Melanie Charles, Tasha's World, and others – all of whom really help give the record a sense of variety and voice that goes way beyond any of Conte's other records! And the vocals are hardly a commercializing element, either – as the whole thing's got that full, rich, stone classic sound that we can always trust from Conte – a deeply jazzy approach that's rooted in older modal and spiritual jazz styles. Till Bronner plays guest trumpet on one track – and titles include "Shades Of Joy", "Ahmad's Blues", "Soul Revelation", "Baltimore Oriole", "Astral Rivers", "Uhuru", "Sunrise", "A Prayer For Yusef", and "Goddess Of The Sea". (SHM CD pressing.)  ~  Dusty Groove


Produced, Arranged and Engineered by Omar in his OZmosis recording studios, each song is meticulously crafted and engineered to create deep sonic landscapes that lend a panoramic and cinematic quality to the listening experience. All the while, this musical journey through Hakim's mind and heart, soothes the soul while rocking your body with exploratory funk, rock and jazz, world and odd time rhythms...Textural & Colorful…"We Are One" is on the cusp of innovations in electronic music sound design and mixing possibilities. Omar's self-engineered CD is aurally infused with the entire musical color wheel! Hakim successfully travels through a pastel palette of sonic landscapes and sing-able pastoral and expressive melodies, which create cascading 3D sonic ear candy. This innocently prepares the listener for the inevitable hi energy outbursts of fiery fuchsia infused burning jams! 8 years in the making, the album features passionate performances by a supportive cast of long time friends and musical collaborators... Jerry Brooks, Scott Tibbs, Chieli Minucci, Abdul Zuhri, Bobby Francheschini, Gregoire Maret, Angel Rogers, Jimi Tunnell and Rachel Z. "With Omar composing all the tunes as well as arranging and playing on every track, and also engineering a bulk of the album, We Are One stands as the great drummer’s magnum opus in a long and illustrious career." ~ Bill Milkowski

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