Friday, July 11, 2014

New Releases: Meklit - We Are Alive; Renegade Brass Band - Rhymes, Beats & Brass; Stockton Helbing Quartet - Handrints


Born in Ethiopia, based in San Francisco for the past nine years , singer, composer and cultural activist Meklit became a sensation with the release of her debut 'On a Day Like This'; in April, 2010. NPR called her sound, 'a unique blend of jazz, Ethiopia, the San Francisco art scene and visceral poetry ; it paints pictures in your head as you listen.' PBS said 'You'll hear hints of Billie Holliday , Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell in her music but Meklit is her own unique creation.' The San Francisco Chronicle called Meklit ' artistic giant in the early stages . She is stunning.' She continues to break down genres, whether covering indie pop-rock hits and making them her own , adapting traditional or popular Ethiopian songs , or collaborating on a hip-hop space opera or in her own exquisite and original solo work. In any case, as SFJAZZ says 'Meklit has truly established herself as a modern queen of soul'. Her lastest release, We Are Alive , was produced by Eli Crews (tUnEyArDs, Geographer, Deerhoof). ~ Amazon


Combining 8 horns with 2 percussionists, scrat DJ and live MC, Renegade Brass Band (RBB) mix funk, hip-hop and jazz with a raw brass sound and high energy live show.  The band's debut album, "RBB: Rhymes, Beats & Brass"’sees them further develop their hard-edged brass sound – combining raw brass funk with the vocals of MC V3xation and scratch DJ Zxodiac. RBB have already established a big live reputation as a headline act, and have played packed-out shows at venues around the UK and Europe. In the last year, they have appeared alongside acts including Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Xavier Rudd, The Apples, Quantic, Craig Charles, Rodney P & Skitz, Ms. Dynamite and more. A hit with crowds across Europe, the band have played at festivals including Secret Garden Party, Sea Sessions Ireland, Kendal Calling, and several times at Soundwave Croatia, warming up for artists such as DJ Shadow and DJ Yoda.


Brand new album from drummer and composer Stockton Helbing. Features David Lown on tenor and soprano saxophone, David Braid on piano, and James Driscoll on bass. Helbing is one of the most diverse drummers in the world. He is not only a drummer, but a composer, arranger, producer, band leader, educator, music director, author, and entrepreneur. Since 2004, Stockton has fronted his own band, the Stockton Helbing Quintet, with whom he has toured and performed with around the United States. He has released four albums to date: Lodestar, For Nothing is Secret, Battlestations & Escape Plans, and, his most recent, Crazy Aquarius. Each album showcases not only Stockton’s drumming abilities, but his composing, arranging, and producing skills as well. Stockton maintains a busy schedule of performing, recording, and teaching around North America. He is a frequent guest artist at colleges and high schools largely due to his hefty resume of past performances ranging from jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson to Hip-hop artist Erika Badu to the big band jazz icon Doc Severinsen to jazz pianist David Braid to Broadway diva Jennifer Holiday. ~ CD Baby

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