Monday, June 30, 2014

Veteran L.A.-Based Jazz Songstress Cheryl Barnes Makes It Exciting to 'Listen to This,' Her Eclectic New Indie Album Whose Singles 'Come to Me' and 'Come in From the Cold' Are Catching Fire in Different Radio Formats

A rapidly emerging, fresh and powerful voice on the contemporary jazz scene, Cheryl Barnes ( has only one request to make when people get ahold of her new multi-faceted independent full-length album: Listen to This.

Jazz and Triple AAA fans across the country are listening and loving it. Radio programmers in these formats are already over the moon over the classically trained jazz singer's vibe. Though Barnes has never considered herself a smooth jazz performer, her mystical soul-jazz ballad "Come With Me," whose intro features her dynamic scatting ability, is already receiving spins on over 60 terrestrial and internet stations in that format.
She recently released a video for the track on YouTube ( featuring her singing in many of Los Angeles' most iconic and sunny locations; the clip was directed by award-winning videographer David West, who has worked with the National Geographic Channel. It is being featured on Global Radio and SmoothTravel Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Barnes' multi-format appeal has also earned her significant Triple AAA airplay for her heartfelt, jazzy rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Come In From The Cold." Over 25 non-jazz stations throughout Canada and the U.S. are playing tracks from Listen To This, including the tastemaker KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif.

The album was produced by Rahn Coleman, whose resume of legends includes Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Barry White, Ray Charles, Freda Payne, Patti Labelle, Marvin Gaye and Tom Jones. 

While headlining once at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, she was invited to sing at a pregame concert at the Louisiana Superdome before a Saints-Bills football game. She's shared the stage with Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Lou Rawls, J.J. Johnson and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., who managed Barnes when she first moved to Los Angeles from Denver, where she performed as a singer, dancer and actor after graduating from the University of Denver. She also performed with symphony orchestras in Colorado, Wisconsin and Florida, and hosted the variety show "The Other Side" with radio personality Bubba Jackson.



The 40th Anniversary of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – but celebrated by a wonderfully fresh version of the group! The lineup here features the solid, soulful percussion of Kahil El Zabar – who also wrote and arranged all the music too – plus the great Ernest Dawkins on reeds and the bold Corey Wilkes on trumpet! The mixture of trumpet and saxophone is sublime – stretching out over Kahil's spacious percussion at a level that unlocks a spiritual sound that the AACM never even expressed this strongly back in the 70s – a nicely open vibe that stretches out, but still hangs inside at most moments too – a bit like some of El Zabar's famous collaborations with David Murray, but with the addition of trumpet in the mix. Titles include "The Awakening Of 2012", "Creole Peppa Stew", "Walk The Talk", "Can You Find A Place", "Black Is Back", and "Be Bop".  ~ Dusty Groove


Music inspired by the works of Thomas Pynchon – served up in a special blend of jazz and avant composition by reed player Kyle Bruckmann! The work was supported by Chamber Music America – and although the lineup features many avant jazz players from Bruckmann's scene, the overall presentation also shows some deeper inspirations from 20th Century avant classical – not in a way that holds back the fiery free moments from Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Darren Johnston on trumpet, or Tim Daisy on drums – but just at a level that works their individual energy into long pieces influenced by the books The Crying Of Lot 49 and Gravity's Rainbow. Quite a great step forward in the mix of composition and freedom in the scene today – and also featuring Jen Clare Paulson on viola and Anton Hatwich on bass. (Packaged in a great letterpress sleeve, too!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Some of the greatest work we've heard so far from alto saxophonist Aram Shelton – a player who's really coming into his own these days, and whose penned some fantastic original tracks for his Ton Trio project! The group features Aram spinning out these bold, soulful lines with Scott Brown on bass and Alex Vittum on drums – picking up on the sax trio format first explored by Sonny Rollins in his bold late 50s years – but taken to new heights here by Shelton's deft work on his instrument! The tunes are wonderful – filled with dark shadows and expressive passages – already captivating even before the individual players break out with bolder energy – and the record's one that will definitely have us keeping an even greater ear out for Shelton than ever before. Titles include "On & On", "We Were Told", "Let's All Go", "Layover", "Findings", "Turncoats", and "This Reminds Me".  ~ Dusty Groove



A beautiful set that delivers exactly what it promises in the title – a wonderful criss-crossing of Brazilian and Moroccan modes – all with a vibe that's quite different than previous records from pianist Benjamim Taubkin! Many tracks are long, and flow with a wonderful blend – Taubkin's piano, with warm jazzy currents – mixed with oud, gimbri, accordion, bass, and percussion – often with a modal feel in the rhythms, and qualities that take us back to some of the hippest 60s experiments in crossing western jazz with eastern styles! Titles include "O Deserto E Aqui", "Hijaz", "Quilombo", "Salsabile", and "Hamdouchia".  ~ Dusty Groove


One of Nancy Wilson's hippest albums from the 70s – a great record of smooth mellow tracks produced by Eugene McDaniels, handled with some nice jazzy flourishes, and a warm soulful sound that brings out the best in Nancy's vocals! If you've dug her vocals on the Life, Love, & Harmony album, you'll find that this one's pretty similar – with some great easily grooving tunes that well mark her move into modern soul – and a sophistication that goes way beyond her work of the 60s! Titles include "China", "I Don't Want A Sometimes Man", "From You To Me To You", "Stay Tuned", "When We Were One", and "Now".  ~ Dusty Groove


Singer Kellylee Evans works here with the great Eric Legnini – the European keyboardist whose own records are always a delight, and who brings a sharp sense of funky soul to this vocal outing! Kellylee has a style that's rooted in jazz, but expressed in more contemporary soulful modes – which works perfectly for Legnini's strong sense of rhythm – especially on the original tunes that the pair co-created together! Most numbers feature a small combo, often with a romping vibe that's a nice change from the usual neo soul set – and in addition to the originals "Only You", "I Remember When", "One More Lover", "Built To Fly", and "Jungle" – the set also features remakes of "Amazing", "If I Was Your Woman", and "Lose Yourself".  ~ Dusty Groove

Saturday, June 28, 2014


(June 27, 2014) We are extremely sad to report that legendary singer and songwriter Bobby Womack has died after a lengthy series of illnesses. One of the most enigmatic and talented Soul men of all time,  Womack was a sort of Soul Forrest Gump, serving as a link from 50s Gospel to 60s Soul to 70s Rock and to some of the greatest musicians in each genre. Born in an extremely devout religious family, he was singing Gospel with his brothers Cecil, Friendly, Harry and Curtis as the Womack Brothers while he was still a child. The talented group was discovered by Gospel/Soul legend Sam Cooke, who redubbed them the Valentinos and transformed them into a teenage secular vocal group.

By the early 60s the Valentino's were touring with James Brown and scoring on the R&B charts with their first hit, "Lookin' For A Love." Cooke's death in 1964 sent the group on a spiral from which it would never recover. Also, Womack encountered some public fallout when married Cooke's widow less than a year later (even more ironic was that brother Cecil ultimately married Cooke's daughter, Linda, who became his partner in the popular writing/singing group Womack & Womack).

Without their mentor, the Valentinos faded, and Womack became principally a writer and guitarist for an A-list of 60s Soul and Rock stars, including Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones, Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin and others. Interestingly, while he had established himself as a top notch songwriter, it took a 1968 cover of the pop standard "Fly Me to the Moon" to jump start his solo career, hitting the Soul Top 20. Over the next 4 years, he alternated original compositions ("What Is This," "More Than I Can Stand") and pop covers ("I Left My Heart In San Francisco," "Sweet Caroline") to stay a middling Soul charter. However, from 1972-76, a series of his own excellent compositions propelled him to the top of the Soul charts. Songs like "That's the Way I Feel About Cha," "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Harry Hippie," "Check It Out" and "Daylight" provided a Southern soulfulness that more resembled the gritty Memphis and Alabama sounds of Aretha and Sam and Dave than the silky sounds emanating from Detroit and Philadelphia. During this period Womack also hit the Pop Top 10 for the first and only time with a cover of the old Valentino's song, "Lookin For A Love." He also issued some of the great Soul albums of this period, a few of which (Communication and Understanding) are revered by a generation of Soul music lovers.

Personal problems and his inability to adjust to the changing music scene (particularly the rise of disco) left Womack virtually irrelevant in the late 70s, and by 1980 it appeared he was headed for the oldies circuit. However, he signed with the fledgling Beverly Glen label and released 1982's The Poet, a surprise #1 album and Womack's best LP in years. By that time, disco had alienated Soul Music lovers, and they found solace in Womack's seven minute masterpiece, "If You Think You're Lonely Now" and the follow-up single, "Where Do We Go From Here." Unfortunately, a fallout with Beverly Glen led to a two year delay before he released The Poet II on MCA. While not as strong as the predecessor album, Poet II included a great duet with Patti LaBelle, "Love Has Finally Come At Last," which hit Soul #3. Womack scored again the next year with the excellent So Many Rivers and its haunting hit single, "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much."

Womack continued to record sporadically over the next decade, releasing fairly good material through the mid-90s. Then, after nearly a half decade break, in 1999 Womack cut two discs, a Christmas CD called Traditions and  his first Gospel CD, the critically acclaimed Back to My Roots. 

Womack's career was immortalized in a 2012 edition of TV One's Unsung.  However, he also suffered health setbacks in 2012, first being diagnosed with colon cancer and, devastatingly, later in the year was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. But in the midst of these tragedies, he released the critically acclaimed, very modern, The Bravest Man In the Universe, an album that reached a new generation and was on many "best of" lists for the year.

It is a shame that Bobby Womack never achieved the across-the-board acclaim that his talent deserved. While revered by both Rock and Soul musicians, his popular appeal was generally limited to Soul audiences and to two periods (1972-76 and 1982-85). However the quality of his songwriting and the singularity of his emotive, soulful voice make him one of the most important Soul performers of all time. Younger music fans should seek out his extensive recorded work as representative of the best Soul music has to offer.

It would be an understatement to say that Bobby Womack will be missed. But his unquestioned influence on the development of both rock and R&B music will continue well on into the future. Rest in peace, Bobby.

By Chris Rizik

Friday, June 27, 2014


Sherie Julianne's path to singing Brazilian music took many unexpected turns -- from a musical childhood in Miami to studying and teaching dance in San Francisco to working over the last decade with her mentor Marcos Silva at the Jazzschool in Berkeley. Silva, a native of Rio de Janeiro, is also Julianne's collaborator on the singer's ravishing debut, 10 Degrees South. The CD will be released by her Azul do Mar label on July 29.
"I can't explain exactly what it was but I fell completely, totally, and utterly in love with Brazilian music and started listening to it all the time," Julianne says. "I'm American, not Brazilian, and I wanted to find music that fits my personality, that speaks to my American roots, while being immersed in Brazilian rhythms."
Julianne possesses a translucent honey-amber voice ideally suited for the lithe and flowing melodies that distinguish so many Brazilian standards. Her supple sense of time and her facility at brisk tempos makes her a double threat, emotionally incisive on ballads and fearless on breakneck arrangements. She's joined by a superlative cast of musicians, including master pianist/arranger Marcos Silva, who's worked extensively with a long list of Brazilian and American jazz musicians, Leny Andrade and Flora Purim and Airto among them; veteran saxophonist/flutist Mary Fettig; and the dynamic rhythm section tandem of drummer Phil Thompson and bassist Scott Thompson (no relation). Ace guitarist Jeff Buenz, who has performed and recorded with the great Brazilian jazz vocalist Claudia Villela, rounds out the ensemble.

Beyond introducing a fresh and vital new voice, 10 Degrees South stands out as an unusually well informed program. Julianne's exquisite taste and persistent curiosity has led her to captivating material that has eluded other American singers of a similar bent. The album opens with João Donato and Gilberto Gil's surging "Bananeira," from Donato's 1975 album Lugar Comum. She puts her stamp on Jobim's ballad "Bonita" as well as the bossa classics "O Pato" and "O Barquinho."

At the center of the album Julianne ventures far off the beaten path, starting with "Brasil Nativo," a startlingly beautiful song by Paulo César Pinheiro and Danilo Caymmi that appears on Jobim's 1987 masterpiece Passarim. Digging into the circular melody of "Encontro," she's possibly the first American vocalist to record a piece by guitarist Chico Pinheiro, one of the most inventive composers on the Brazilian scene. Marcos Silva contributes one of his own superbly crafted songs, the deliciously aching ballad "Painting" (with a lyric translated from the Portuguese by Heather Davis). 
Born and raised in Miami, Sherie Julianne grew up in a close-knit family where her father's experiences soaking up jazz and Latin music in New York City reverberated through the years. She studied violin and played in various ensembles through college, and sang in her middle school and high school choruses. But by high school her primary creative outlet was modern dance. Julianne led a dance company while earning a fine arts degree from the University of Florida, and moved to the Bay Area in the late 1980s to pursue her love of dance.
While studying at the Oberlin Dance Collective Julianne often found herself in classes accompanied by percussionists, an experience that forged her powerful rhythmic sensibility. "It helped so much with Brazilian music," she says. "In dance, feeling the music inside yourself is essential. Your body is the art form, and the rhythm moves in you and through you."

Julianne continued to study and teach dance for many years but eventually decided that she wasn't going to attain the level she sought. Her focus turned back to singing, and she began taking lessons with the respected Bay Area jazz singer Daria. Before long she discovered Berkeley's Jazzschool (now the California Jazz Conservatory), where her studies with vocalist Stephanie Bruce soon led to Marcos Silva.

Sherie Julianne While she had less singing experience than most of the people in Silva's class, he immediately noticed that Julianne possessed excellent time and intonation. Performing regularly in class with the class band (Silva, Phil Thompson, and Scott Thompson), she gradually built up a repertoire. Attending Dennis Broughton's Brazil Camp in Cazadero, she deepened her knowledge and experience, while befriending celebrated artists like Guinga and Chico Pinheiro.

"One great thing about the Jazzschool program is that it forces you to be a performer," says Julianne, who started gigging around San Francisco with Silva and the Thompsons in Sol do Brasil. (Scott Thompson is Chico Pinheiro's touring bassist.)

Lately she's been working under her own name, and is looking forward to performing with Silva, Mary Fettig, and the Thompsons at her CD release show 11/15, at the California Jazz Conservatory.

"It's been an honor and privilege to work with these musicians, and a joy for me to share this beautiful music," says Julianne. "Through the work in developing the material for this album, I had the chance to dive deep into the music. It's a rare opportunity for many artists to devote themselves to a vision and see it through. I am extremely inspired now and am already working on another performance concept delving into the music of one Brazilian composer. I want to try something a little more unplugged with soft percussion, cello perhaps, and Marcos on piano, of course. That's what happens, I believe. You go down the path and, through the act of doing, all kinds of creative ideas and inspiration start to flow. It's exciting!"  


Acclaimed pianist Jason Moran has announced a September 16 release date for All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller, a collaboration with the vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello that recasts the music of the legendary jazz entertainer Fats Waller as a modern dance party. The album—which was produced by Ndegeocello and Blue Note Records president Don Was—is the ninth in a formidable catalog that Moran has been building on Blue Note since 1999.

“Fats Waller is a special kind of provocateur,” says Moran. “It stems mainly from the fact that he was a singer as well as a pianist. Sometimes he was like an MC.  It has always amazed me that a pianist whose playing was so deep could sing and keep a running commentary of what was going on around him all at the same time.”

All Rise features Moran hosting a changeable cast of musicians that includes vocalists Ndegeocello and Lisa E. Harris, his longtime trio The Bandwagon featuring bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, and a funky horn-inflected ensemble anchored by drummer Charles Haynes that features trumpeter Leron Thomas and trombonist Josh Roseman, as well as guest saxophonist Steve Lehman. The album was recorded and mixed by Bob Power, known for honing the sound on classic hip hop records by A Tribe Called Quest, Common and The Roots.

All Rise is the studio culmination of a project that was born onstage in Harlem as the Fats Waller Dance Party. In 2011—nearly a year after Moran had been named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “genius” fellow and around the time he was named Artistic Advisor for Jazz at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC—the NYC performing arts venue Harlem Stage Gatehouse commissioned Moran, a longtime resident of Upper Manhattan, to create a tribute to the Harlem stride master as part of its “Harlem Jazz Shrines” series.

"My wife Alicia had the idea that it should be a dance party, and I decided to jump at the task," says the Houston, Texas-reared pianist. “If you think about Fats, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines—all of them were making the popular sounds of their era: dance music. Unlike today, where jazz audiences generally remain seated, dancing was expected when Fats showed up to a gig.”

“The objective was to construct an evening-length performance in a space that lent itself to dancing,” explains Moran. “I asked myself what could be the extra layer, or the extra couple of layers, we might add to Fats' music to provide a number of different ways for audiences to enjoy it? That's when I reached out to Meshell. I wanted someone who could not only sing Fats' lyrics, but be free with them, and also a musician more accustomed than I am to dealing with a crowd that's on its feet. She was my only choice.”

From the propulsive afrobeat groove of “Yacht Club Swing” to the simmering slow jam reinvention of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” Moran and Ndegeocello radically recast Waller’s repertoire for our times.In concert Moran also adds a layer of performance art by donning a larger-than-life papier-mâché mask of Waller’s head created for him by the Haitian artist Didier Civil.

The same spirit of radical reinvention can be found on Ndegeocello’s 2012 dedication to Nina Simone, Pour une âme souveraine, and her presence on All Rise guaranteed that the album would be infused with the contemporary kineticism of R&B and hip-hop. “I suggested the drummer, Charles Haynes,” Ndegeocello remembers, “because he has facility and his pocket is one you cannot hear and stand still. The dance aspect of what Jason proposed really excited me.”

The track listing for All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller is as follows:
1.Put Your Hands On It
2.Ain’t Misbehavin’
3.Yacht Club Swing
4.Lulu’s Back In Town
5.Two Sleepy People
6.The Joint Is Jumpin’
7.Honeysuckle Rose
8.Ain't Nobody's Business
9.Fats Elegy
10.Handful Of Keys
11.Jitterbug Waltz
12.Sheik Of Araby /  I Found a New Baby



Drummer Otis Brown III – an invaluable sideman with the likes of Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Terence Blanchard, Oliver Lake, Somi, and others – has announced the release of his debut album The Thought of You, which will arrive August 26 via Revive/Blue Note, a new partnership between Revive Music and Blue Note Records. Brown’s maiden voyage features an impressive roll call of artists including a core band consisting of pianist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, saxophonist John Ellis, and bassist Ben Williams, with organist Shedrick Mitchell and guitarist Nir Felder making special appearances. Singers Bilal, Gretchen Parlato, and Nikki Ross contribute standout performances that underscore the sentiments of the album’s co-producer, Derrick Hodge, who says, “Otis has become one of those drummers who once you hear him play, his experience becomes your experience in the moment.”


South African singer/model Lira is a platinum-selling star in Africa and like Sade before her, blends R&B, Jazz and African elements into a sensual, appealing pop music sound with global appeal. Lira has appeared on more than 20 magazine covers in Africa and Europe and has been a spokesperson for such brands as Audi. She has won numerous SAMA awards, the South African equivalent of a Grammy. Essence Magazine named her one of “five unique artists to change music.” Rise Again, her U.S. debut, is a wide-ranging collection of her best work to date, including the smash hit title track, which shows off her soulful, jazzy and African-oriented sides. Included is a version of “Something Inside So Strong,” which she performed at ceremonies honoring Nelson Mandela.


Sandra St. Victor is a powerful R&B/Soul/Rock singer and songwriter who has sung and toured with Chaka Khan, Roy Ayers, Freddie Jackson and others. As lead vocalist of critically acclaimed Funk/Soul/Rock band The Family Stand, which scored a #3 R&B hit with “Ghetto Heaven,” Sandra won a fervent fan base. Her songs have been recorded by Prince, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner. In September of 2013, Sandra St. Victor released Oya’s Daughter, a tour-de-force produced by cult favorite DJ/re-mixer/producer Mark de Clive-Lowe, who has done work for Lauryn Hill, Jody Watley, Omar and many more.  Now, in June of 2014, SSV is back with Eternally (Oya's Daughter Remixes). Pairing up with some of the freshest DJs/Remixers on the scene today - DJ Spinna, Nicolay, Ty Macklin and QB Smith, Sandra St. Victor has crafted an energetic, creative reboot to Oya's Daughter.



This guitar player definitely wears acoustic blinders. Single note lines and riffs similar to early James Brown recordings, executed with amazing perfection – one can’t imagine a more stoic performance, especially considering what’s happening at the same time: Blazing horns in unison and a slightly awry choir come together, work in opposite directions, completing a true rhythmically woven carpet with the tight rhythm section’s network: multi-layered, close-knitted and nearly impenetrable. You can’t escape from those tunes! Arms, legs and hips have to follow the pulse: one moment light-footed, the next heavy and uncompromising, fitting the distinct messages, criticizing worldwide “social absurdities” (JariBu).

The eight Japanese Musicians led by Masamichi Ishikawa play more Funk and Jazz than the Nigerian Afrobeat originals Fela Kuti and Tony Allen did: a swift flute, a blazing trumpet playing and extensive solos from the very beginning – just check out the opener, it runs more than nine minutes! Occasionally there’s a nasty fuzz guitar which reminds one of the 1970ies, accompanied by tape hiss and amp noise. You’ve gotta love it!

Since 2009 there have been four long players by JariBu Afrobeat Arkestra. However the new “JariBu” is, similar to “Mediacracy” (Tramp Records 2012) the Tokyoites’ second Record, distributed internationally. But they have been more than well received in the past few years – the Japanese Afrobeat word has been spread in the past and will be spread even more in the future! (words by Martin Buerkl – Basement Jazz Radio Show, Munich)

“A wonderful LP, from the beginning to the end!” – The Flying Carpet radio show, Spain

“Another piece of eclectic Afro tunage from JariBu Afrobeat Arkestra well worth the wait people!” – Anthony “Aja” Allsop

01. Devil (Pt.1&2)
02. One By One
03. KEW
04. Wild Pansy
05. Afro Rodeo
06. Witness
07. Unrevealed Truth
08. Yellow Joint
09. Dancers In The Darkness
10. BOMB

The album JariBu Afrobeat Arkestra “JariBu” (Tramp Records) is going to be released June 27, 2014. ~ Groove Attack



Making an explosive re-emergence onto the contemporary urban jazz scene, Scott Wilkie is truly All In, melodic and funky as ever on his highly-anticipated new album, which marks his first full ensemble recording in over ten years. It's a dynamic and diverse collection featuring his own longtime live band which plays regularly throughout his home base of Southern California - and a true dream list of all-star guests and friends: Jay Beckenstein, Jimmy Haslip, Jeff Lorber, Jay Graydon, Paul Jackson Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Sprague and Jeff Kashiwa.  Includes Summer Song, Canyon Song,  Blues Cruise,  Beach Hut,. Put It Where You Want It, Emma's Groove, America the Beautiful,  Isn't She Lovely, and  The One


A stunning large ensemble set from trombonist Michael Dease – the first we've ever heard from him in this format, and a record that brings us back to some of the most inventive bigger bands of the late 60s – such as groups by Duke Pearson, or the team of Thad Jones & Mel Lewis! No surprise, Dease starts out with a great version of Pearson's "Is That So" for the record – really grabbing us right away with his deft intepretation of the soulful classic, which is presented in newly shimmering tones by his own arrangement. Michael then continues to wow us with his work on all other tracks as well – a mix of his own compositions, and a few newly-remade classics – featuring solo work from Greg Gisbert on trumpet, Todd Bashore on alto, Diego Rivera on tenor, Miki Hayama on piano, Etienne Charles on trumpet, Sharel Cassity on tenor, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, and the leader's own instrument on a few key solo moments as well. Titles include "Is That So", "Force", "Relentless", "The Takeover", "Little Lucas", and "Roppongi".  ~ Dusty Groove


An excellent session from trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, with trombone and electronics by George Lewis, and alto sax by John Zorn! It's got the jagged, freely experimental vibe you'd expect from such a trio, but it moves with a deliberate sonic flow, hence the title, albeit with some sharp edges. Plenty of muscular interplay amongst the trio, with Lewis's occasional electronic flourishes serving as an exciting wild card element, but there's a roominess and an overall sense of restraint here that works really well. Great stuff! Includes "Cecil Taylor", "The Art Of Counterpoint", "North", "South", "East", "West", "Screaming Grass" and "The Culture Of Gun Violence In The US". ~ Duty Groove




Truth B Told is the brand new funky set from guitarist and double Grammy winner, Paul Brown. Truth B Told is a bold new record that pushes the envelope forward as contemporary jazz continues to evolve with the times, but is still unmistakably Paul Brown.....and man with the Midas touch who has earned over 60 # 1 hits as an artist and producer. The guest artist roster for the album reads like a virtual Who’s Who in music, and includes guitarist Larry Carlton, saxophonists Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove and Darren Rahn, amazing flute from Najee, B3 organ master - the other Paul Brown (Memphis), vocalist Wendy Moten, the Greg Adams horns, and two tracks with legendary drummer Ricky Lawson. Tracklisting: Sunrise On Sunset, Truth B Told, Take It From Me,  Love N Trust, Casablanca,  Home Sweet Home,  Stay Sly, Till the Mornin' Comes, Avalon Nights, and Purple Shoes. Set for release on August 5, 2014. 


The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of MIDNIGHT BLUE includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal. Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Rudy Van Gelder (1998, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey). This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. From the first sight of Reid Miles' brilliant typography on the cover you know what you are getting. Smooth smootchy jazz guitar played at the pace of a slow loris--quite magnificent in its sparing qualities. Burrell, together with Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, defined this style. "Chitlins Con Carne" is a late-night feast while "Midnight Blue" is smokey and soulful, and yes, Van Morrison did borrow the intro for "Moondance." Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 21, 1967. Originally released on Blue Note (4123). Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather and Bob Blumenthal. Personnel: Kenny Burrell (guitar); Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone); Major Holley, Jr. (bass); Bill English (drums); Ray Barretto (congas). Producer: Alfred Lion. Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna. ~ CD Universe


This album is Tak's second solo project released in the US. Tak is no stranger to the smooth jazz genre. Tak's 2012 release "Strings of my Soul" spent 3 months on the BDS/Billboard Smooth Jazz Radio Top 30. "New Horizon" composed of most instrumental tracks, features Grammy winning producer Paul Brown and Contemporary, R&B, & Jazz vocalist Wendy Moten on "Feel Like A Woman Tonight". Tracks include: Take 5, New Horison, Fee Like A Woman, Rodeo Blues, Island Of Peace, That's Cool, Shattered Glass, Light Of The Moon, Reason To Be..., Black Jack, Once Upon A Love, and Rain.  ~ CD Universe 

Legendary Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White's Newly Relaunched Label Kalimba Music Gets More Great News: Greg Manning's 'Cruisin' Down The Road' Is #1 Most Added, and EWF's 'Never' Holds Steady on Numerous Smooth Jazz Airplay Charts

The great news continues this week Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White's newly relaunched Kalimba Music label (, with their new artist, composer/keyboardist Greg Manning, making a powerful debut on smooth jazz radio while EWF's single "Never" -- the lead single from the re-mastered collector's edition of the hit album The Promise -- makes its debut on the New & Active portion of the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart.

Manning's "Cruisin' Down The Road," featuring chart-topping saxophonist Vincent Ingala, is the #1 Most Added track on the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart, the chart recap and Spincreased list and the Radio Wave Internet Airplay chart.

On the Billboard chart, Manning's song tops a list that includes fellow emerging artists like Jeanette Harris and Bennett B. as well as genre superstar Brian Culbertson. The chart includes another veteran star, saxophonist Richard Elliot. In addition to numerous terrestrial and internet stations throughout the U.S., the track is receiving spins on Sirius XM Satellite Radio's "Watercolors" channel.

"Cruisin' Down the Road" joins Manning's previous hit singles "Dance With You" -- which reached #1 on the taste-making chart, The Smooth Jazz Top 20 with Allen Kepler -- and "Groove Me" (featuring saxman Elan Trotman) on his new 11-track collection Dance With You, which will be released by Kalimba Music on July 8.

This week, EWF's "Never" -- which was released to smooth jazz radio May 19 -- also remains in the Top 50 of the chart and the Top 25 on the chart.

White, who originally established Kalimba Music in 2003 as a vehicle to promote Earth, Wind & Fire as well as up and coming performers, decided to re-launch based on his passion and love for music and worthy artists. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Jazz label Concord Records is celebrating Black Music 24/7, 365 and June is a special month though and to mark the occasion, as they are proud to share a complimentary annual Black Music Month album. There truly is some special music included on this year's compilation. Whether it's Cannonball Adderley serenading all the "Gemini's" or Kris Bowers "Waking the Neighbors," they cover the spectrum of Black Music with sound, style and of course.. SOUL! The artist lineup includes tracks from: N’Dambi, Mindi Abair featuring Trombone Shorty, Isaac Hayes, Kris Bowers, Lonnie Jordan, Dianne Reeves featuring Gregory Porter, Al Jarreau featuring Kelly Price, Harvey Mason featuring Christian Scott & Corey “CK” King, Pleasure, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot, Kenny Wayne Shepherd featuring Keb’ Mo & Rebith Brass Band, Billy Porter, Cannonball Adderly, Nat Adderly & Yusef Lateef, and Mel & Kim. Here is the link for the FREE DOWNLOAD:

Concord Records is a family of labels that includes several key partnership and imprints, Concord has amassed a catalog of over 1,000 albums and 10,000 recordings of individual songs from an expanding roster of world-class vocal and instrumental artists. In 1999, entertainment veterans Norman Lear and Hal Gaba purchased the label, helping the company to attract such artists as Barry Manilow, Peter Cincotti, Ozomatli, Ray Charles, and Maurice White. 

In 2004 Concord Records acquired Fantasy, Inc., owner of Prestige, Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside, Specialty and Stax Records. Concord then combined with Fantasy to form the independent Concord Music Group. That same year, Concord first partnered with Starbucks to release Ray Charles’s Genius Loves Company – which won 8 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2005, the company acquired the classics and jazz label Telarc International. On December 18, 2006, Concord announced the re-launch of the soul label Stax.

In 2007, Concord Music Group and Starbucks jointly founded the Hear Music label.  Hear Music’s initial release, Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full, was released in June of ‘07.  Hear Music has since released albums by artists that include Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, John Mellencamp and more. In 2008, Village Roadshow Pictures Group (VRPG) and Concord completed their merger resulting in the creation of the new diversified entertainment group, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.

 In April 2010 it was announced Paul McCartney has transferred distribution rights to his post-Beatles output to Concord from EMI. Concord purchased Rounder Records in 2010. Distribution is mainly handled by Universal Music Group. In smaller markets, such as those in Africa and Eastern Europe, local independent labels that represent Universal license the catalogue. Since 2010, Concord Music Group is divided into 3 umbrellas: Concord Records Group, Fantasy Records Group & Telarc Records Group. It is now the 5th largest record group in the world.



Deep deep work from an under-tapped reservoir of soul – the legendary Sounds Of Memphis label – a key contemporary of Stax Records, but one with a huge amount of material that never got issued at the time! This excellent set corrects that fact, by bringing forth a batch of material that's almost all fresh here for the first time ever – and mixed with just a few rare SOM singles that were issued in the early 70s – all cuts that really show the righteous power of this tiny little label! There's a fair bit of artists here who touched the scene with work in other ways, and others we're really hearing for the first time ever in their company – an amazing picture into the mighty Memphis scene at the time, in a treasure trove of southern soul, deep ballads, and even a few funky numbers too. 22 tracks in all – and titles include "You're Using Me" by Rudolph Taylor, "You Don't Love Me" by Tommy Raye, "A Great Big Thing" by Carroll Lloyd, "Tempted" by Marjorie Ingram, "Hold On Hold Out" by George Jackson, "That's Why I Keep Her" by William Bollinger, "Since My Baby Left Me" by Dan Greer, and "Lost In A Dream" by Vision. ~ Dusty Groove


Ann Nesby is known as the Queen of Inspirational Soul. The former lead singer for Sounds of Blackness has a notable solo career in her own right with six (6) Grammy nominations to her name. With Living My Life Ann joins ranks with Arrow Records to expand the message of 'music that pierces the heart' with a diverse collection of songs containing a common thread her uplifting songs and her one of a kind voice. American Idol's Randy Jackson called her one of the best singers in the known world and it holds true today. Tracks include: Living My Life, Remember, Through With You, Point Of View, This Is The Love, Cannonball, Higher, Alright, In The Morning, I See Beyond, and Living My Life (Terry Hunter’s Bang Sunday Remix).


Jazz musician Larry Munoz. created the Laz Jazz project because he wanted to provide music that is both unique and appealing to those who enjoy contemporary jazz. His primary influences are David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, and The Rippingtons. Munoz plays Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxes, and also Clarinet. Playing alongside Munoz is a line-up of outstanding musicians who helped him nail down the 5 tracks, along with the sound engineer (John Wroble) who recorded, mixed, and mastered them: Nicole Pesce on Piano and Keybaord is a monumentally talented and versatile pianist/keyboardist who has performed for Muhammed Ali, Ricky Martin, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lewis, and George Bush, Sr, to name a few. Mel Brown on Bass who has toured with  jazz saxophonist, Eric Marienthal, for 2 years, is a two-time Grammy Award winner, played on 10 number one singles and 6 number one albums.Perry Senn on Drums and Percussion is an excellent, highly energetic and well-rounded drummer, endorsed by Rob Chiarelli, David Garfield, and Chris Colangelo. Also appearing on the album are Lisa Munoz and Dan Reed. Tracklist: The Journey Begins, Funk Latte, Dad's Blues, Doom Sammich, and Just Before (Something Happens).       




The Next Chapter presents Braxton at his best from up-tempo grooves to reflective ballads. When listening to the record, it's easy to feel the love, joy, and positive energy. Tom is showcased on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, as well as flute and keyboards. Braxton served as producer, writer and arranger on most of the material. However, he did have production assistance from the ""drummer to the stars,"" the late Ricky Lawson. The Next Chapter combines lyrical melodies with invigorating rhythms from a variety of genres including dance music, sambas, soul and contemporary jazz. The title track, written by Braxton and pianist Jay Rowe, kicks off the CD with a ""hooky melody"" and a ""killer glide to the groove."" Lawson's energy is evident on ""New Horizons"" which features a fresh ""house beat"" that accentuates Braxton's exciting tenor. Tom and Bob James take it ""south of the border"" and have some fun on ""Nuevo,"" a bossa ­tinged party for piano and tenor. Peter White joins Braxton for a beautiful rendition of Bread's classic, ""Make It With You."" White's guitar and Tom's soprano are a match made in heaven! Braxton's lively tenor is featured on the Spinners favorite, ""I'll Be Around"" which showcases background vocals from Grammy winner Arthur Dyer. Braxton has been on the road with Grammy winner Earl Klugh, and they are mesmerizing in the sophisticated but simplistic ""Contemplation."" ""Sunrise in Malawi"" inspired by a trip to Africa with Klugh, is an energizing song that will get your juices flowing. The legendary guitarist adds his signature sound to this early morning dance. The light and airy ""Tuesday Morning"" will have you singing all the way to work. Ricky Lawson interjected some old school into the project with the O'Jay's hit ""I Love Music"" Lawson and Sean Dancy got the ball rolling and Braxton added his signature sax and horn arrangement to help get you up on your feet! Finally, Braxton displays his arranging skills with the classic hymn, ""It Is Well ~


Venturing across the pond once again with this fourth and latest installment in his series of solo records is fan fave, keyboardist, and producer Oli Silk with 'Razor Sharp Brit' a freewheeling engaging assemblage of sides full of spunk , vigor and sophistication presented with his own unique European flair. Having established himself as a first call player /producer in his motherland of England, sharing the stage with virtually all of the smooth jazz luminaries and hopping the pond over the last 5 yrs bringing his talents and sharp wit to the American audience has serve Silk well in helping him establish an active and rabid fan base. Razor Sharp Brit is sure to keep the movement afloat and momentum building as he again serves up a feast of fresh and vibrant new flavors. Some of Silk's closest CJ contemporaries join the fray, with bassist and label mate Julian Vaughn featured on the lead radio single 'At Your Service' , spins musical webs with guitarists Paul Brown and Chuck Loeb and brings up and coming sax man Elan Trotman along for the ride. While Silk's music is always easy on the ear, it is the fact that he keeps things fresh, progressive and is not afraid to dance around the edges that gives his music wide appeal and keeps it from blending into the contemporary jazz landscape. 'Brit' stays with that formula as the young man with the memorable name, dishes up a menu of memorable tunes that will beckon you to not just merely nibble but to feast upon. ~


Ragan began her musical journey at the very early age of 5. She played the piano, drums, and the violin, but found her true love in playing the flute. Ragan’s passion for music lead her to realize another new love: Songwriting and Arranging. After winning numerous competitions in both performance and music composition she decided to further her music studies and attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Harid Conservatory, where she earned a Bachelor of Music-Performance degree in Classical music. After graduating, Ragan returned to New York to begin her career as a professional musician and immersed her composition abilities within the genres of Jazz, Funk, and R&B. After winning the Capital Jazz New Artist Competition, she released her debut album, Class Axe in 2007. Since her debut album, this award winning artist developed a heightened focus in the writing, producing, and editing process of her sophomore release, Evolve. Evolve showcases not only her melodious musicianship as a flutist, but her sultry vocals and soulful compositions.  In July 2014, Ragan returns with her 3rd studio album, Quantum Drive, further pushing the boundaries of Contemporary/Urban Jazz and R&B. Guest artists on this highly anticipated album include Bob Baldwin, Frank McComb, Althea Rene, and Patrice Rushen. ~




Flying Buddha announces the release of Definitely NOW – the debut album from UK soul/rock singer Liam Bailey. The album will be available on August 19th 2014 and supported by a U.S. tour which kicks off on August 10th at New York's Central Park Summerstage.Liam Bailey's sonic stew contains a rich broth of ingredients. He sings with a raw expressiveness that has been compared to Bob Marley and Sam Cooke, yet his songwriting style is liable to reference post Punk bands like The Smiths and Oasis. Everything is woven together by a lean guitar-driven instrumental sound, perfectly framing Liam's lyrical and vocal passions. The Nottingham, England native got his initial introduction to the music business via his friend, producer Salaam Remi. Remi introduced Bailey to the late Amy Winehouse, who was so impressed with his music that she signed Bailey to her Lioness Records imprint and recorded 2 EP's with him – So Down Cold and 2AM Rough Tracks. Bailey has collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Rita Ora, Tom Odell and Shy FX. He co-wrote the Chase & Status hit "Blind Faith" which debuted in the top 5 of the UK Singles Chart. Definitely NOW was recorded in New York, Miami and London. It was co-written and produced by Bailey, and Executive Produced by Flying Buddha label head and Executive VP of A&R Salaam Remi.


The Impellers get some heavy help from Clair Witcher – whose vocals come to the forefront on just about every number on the set, and bring a nice deep soul quality to the record! Clair's got a style that's a bit different than other female funk divas in recent years – phrasing that's very much her own, and which helps the record avoid any easy 60s soul cliches – which is a good thing, given the razor-sharp instrumentation from the whole Impellers combo! Titles include "Veeber", "My Certainty", "Can't Change Me", "Another Day", "Last Dance Of The Moai", "Ray McKay", "You Did It", and "Put The Man In Egomaniac". ~ Dusty Groove


Quantic goes back to the old school with this sweet little set – and by that, we mean his own old school – from the years when he was mixing a lot more electric elements in his music! The record takes all the great Quantic sounds in recent years – his experiments with deep funk, Latin, and other global styles – and brings them back to that crispy production sound of the earliest Quantic records for Tru Thoughts – albums we really loved, but which also never had the sort of depth of this one either! The colors, flavors, sounds, and styles are stunning – definitely that rich tapestry that Quantic's come to express over the past decade – and if anything, the album's even more striking in the way he brings it all together with his magical touch. Guests include Alice Russell, Shinehead, Pongo Love, and Nidia Gongora – and titles include "La Planta", "Soul Clap", "Magnetica", "You Will Return", "Painting Silhouettes", "Aguas De Sorongo", and "La Callejera". ~ Dusty Groove


New Orleans musical giant pays tribute to fellow Crescent City legend Louis Armstrong with star-studded, divinely-inspired new tribute disc         

For Immediate Release – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time GRAMMY®-winner Dr. John is New Orleans' most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment of his hometown's freewheeling creative spirit and multiple musical traditions, he's built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that's deeply rooted in the Crescent City's myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock 'n' roll traditions.

So it's fitting that Dr. John's August 19, 2014 (international release dates may vary) debut on Concord Records, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch, pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, whose musical innovations created the template for 20th-century jazz, and whose playful attitude and life-embracing spirit made him a beloved figure whose worldwide appeal transcended music.

"He's the most famous guy that ever came out of my neighborhood," notes Dr. John. "He became a legend all over, for his trumpet playin' and everything else, and he was the United States' ambassador to the world."

Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch honors Armstrong's musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 quintessential numbers drawn from various phases of Armstrong's five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast that manages to update the material while maintaining the music's timeless emotional appeal.

The subtitle The Spirit Of Satch is particularly appropriate given the album's birth cycle, which Dr. John says was set into motion when the late Armstrong—whom he'd only met once during his lifetime, in the office of their mutual manager Joe Glaser—came to him in a dream.

"Louis' spirit came to me and told me to do something, that's how this whole thing started," says Dr. John, who's previously released tribute albums to musical giants Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer. "Louis told me, 'Take my music and do it your way.'  It was the most unexpectable thing in the world to me, to have Louis' spirit show up like that, but he gave me a concept of where to roll with it that was spiritually correct. That made me feel very open to try some different things, because I felt was that his spirit had ok'd this record."

Prior to making the album, Dr. John honored Satchmo on stage, presenting rapturously received tribute concerts, dubbed "Props to Pops," at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2012 and at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2013.

In addition to Dr. John's trademark vocals and piano, and backup from some of New Orleans' finest musicians, Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch features a stellar assortment of guest singers and players. Bonnie Raitt shares the spotlight on a swinging reading of "I've Got the World on a String," Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters lend gospel authority to "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," Anthony Hamilton is featured on a mournful "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," Shemekia Copeland trades verses with Dr. John on a playful reworking on "Sweet Hunk O' Trash," and the Blind Boys of Alabama lend their powerful voices to "What a Wonderful World" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams."

Since Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch is a tribute to the man who popularized the trumpet for a worldwide audience, it's fitting that the project should feature some of today's greatest trumpeters, namely Nicholas Payton (on "What a Wonderful World" and "Gut Bucket Blues"), Terence Blanchard ("Mack the Knife," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"), Arturo Sandoval ("Tight Like This," "Memories of You"), Wendell Brunious ("Thats My Home") and James Andrews ("Dippermouth Blues"), along with New Orleans' legendary horn ensemble the Dirty Dozen Brass Band ("When You're Smiling").

"The whole thing felt pretty special, and I desitively was in a different zone for this record," says Dr. John, who co-produced the album with his longtime trombonist Sarah Morrow, who also arranged the album. "I wanted to pull together some of his hits and some of the songs he wasn't as well known for, and make them feel fresh and different. Sarah wrote some slammin' charts that kept everything spacious and hip. And everybody played and sang great, and gave it their own spirit."

Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch is the latest achievement in a singular musical history that stretches back to the 1950s, when Dr. John—then still known by his given name, Mac Rebennack—emerged as an in-demand producer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter on New Orleans' studio scene, working for such local labels as Ace, Ron and Ric, collaborating with the likes of James Booker, Earl King, Professor Longhair, Art Neville and Frankie Ford, and scoring the regional solo hit "Storm Warning."

In the early '60s, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he played on countless sessions before debuting his flamboyant new musical persona, "Dr. John, The Night Tripper," with his first solo album, 1968's Gris-Gris, which introduced the world to his uniquely eclectic voodoo-funk. In the years since, he has remained a distinctly prolific and powerful force, releasing more than 30 albums of his own while collaborating with a broad array of acts including the Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, B.B. King and Christina Aguilera. He also performed in such films as The Last Waltz and Blues Brothers 2000, and pursued a successful two-decade songwriting partnership with legendary tunesmith Doc Pomus.

Dr. John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and won the most recent of his six GRAMMY® Awards in 2013 when Locked Down was voted that year's Best Blues Album.



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