Friday, August 29, 2014

Barry White’s 70th Birthday Commemorated with New Boxed Collection, ‘Barry White: 5 Classic Albums,’ to Be Released September 30

September 12 marks what would have been the 70th birthday of the late soul / R&B legend Barry White. To commemorate the anniversary and to salute White’s enduring influence on contemporary music, Mercury/UMe will release a new 5-CD boxed collection of five of his most essential 1970s albums on September 30. Barry White: 5 Classic Albums features four of the GRAMMY® winner’s No. 1 Billboard R&B albums: ‘I've Got So Much To Give’ (1973), ‘Stone Gon'’ (1973), ‘Can't Get Enough’ (1974, also No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart), and ‘Just Another Way To Say I Love You’ (1975), and his Top 10 R&B album, ‘Let The Music Play’ (1976).

Barry White: 5 Classic Albums is brimming with many of White’s timeless hits, including his first No. 1 R&B single, 1973’s “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby,” the R&B and Hot 100 chart-topping “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe,” the R&B and Disco chart-topping “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything,” and the R&B No. 1 “What Am I Gonna Do With You.” Several of White’s Top 5 R&B hits are also featured, including “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up,” “I’ve Got So Much To Give,” “I’ll Do For You Anything You Want Me To,” as well as the single version, instrumental B-side version, alternate version, M+M Throwback Mix, and Funkstar’s Club Deluxe Mix of “Let The Music Play.”

Celebrated around the world for his sultry, silken baritone, Barry White achieved iconic success during his more than 40-year recording career, with global album sales topping 100 million copies. In the U.S., White’s RIAA-certified sales achievements include 41 Platinum albums, 106 Gold albums, 10 Platinum singles, and 20 Gold singles.

Barry White’s legacy continues to resonate through his music. At this year’s BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards on August 22, he was posthumously honored with a Most Performed Song Award for "TKO" by Justin Timberlake, which includes a sample of White’s song, "Somebody's Gonna Off the Man" (co-written by Jerome Harmon). White’s music is also heard in several blockbuster films, including 2013’s Despicable Me 2 and 2012’s Dark Shadows. In 2013, White was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This year, the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles saluted White with a custom exhibit; the museum will unveil another display in his honor in September.

Barry White: 5 Classic Albums
Disc 1: I've Got So Much To Give (1973)
1. Standing In The Shadows of Love
2. Bring Back My Yesterday
3. I've Found Someone
4. I've Got So Much To Give
5. I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby
6. Just A Little More Baby (Instrumental)
7. I've Got So Much To Give (Instrumental)

Disc 2: Stone Gon' (1973)
1. Girl It's True, Yes I'll Always Love You
2. Honey Please, Can't Ya See
3. You're My Baby
4. Hard To Believe That I Found You
5. Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up

Disc 3: Can't Get Enough (1974)
1. Mellow Mood, Pt. 1
2. You're The First, The Last, My Everything
3. I Can't Believe You Love Me
4. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe
5. Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It
6. I Love You More Than Anything (In This World Girl)
7. Mellow Mood, Pt. 2

Disc 4: Just Another Way To Say I Love You (1975)
1. Heavenly, That's What You Are To Me
2. I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To
3. All Because Of You
4. Love Serenade
5. What Am I Gonna Do With You
6. Let Me Live My Life Lovin' You Babe
7. Love Serenade, Pt. 2

Disc 5: Let The Music Play (1976)
1. Don't Know Where Love Has Gone
2. If You Know, Won't You Tell Me
3. I'm So Blue And You Are Too
4. Baby, We Better Try To Get It Together
5. You See The Trouble With Me
6. Let The Music Play
7. Let The Music Play [Single Version]
8. Let The Music Play [Instrumental B-Side Version]
9. Let The Music Play [M+M Throwback Mix]
10. Let The Music Play [Funkstar's Club Deluxe Mix]
11. Let The Music Play [Alternate Version]




Etta James has sung plenty of styles over the years – R&B in the 50s, soul in the 60s, even a touch of jazz during her years at Chess – but this smoking set has Etta singing funk in a mighty bold way – turning her hard soul style towards some super-sharp grooves! The album's a treasure in the best funky blues tradition of late 60s Chess work by artists like Muddy Waters or Howlin Wolf – and the session was unusually recorded in LA, with arrangements by Gene Barge and Rene Hall – who balance out the sound nicely. Etta's vocals are right up top the whole way through – and there's a few mellower ballads that have a hard-burning, deep soul feel. Titles include "The Man I Love", "Sound Of Love", "Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing", "Your Replacement", and "Tighten Up Your Own Thing".  ~ Dusty Groove


There's nobody like Billy Stewart at all – one of the first big overweight lovers in soul music, and still one of the best – and a godlike talent who was blessed with a voice that can still send us into raptures so many years later! Billy passed way to early to leave his mark in the wider annals of soul – but a record like this is more than enough of a legacy – as it's filled with just the sort of tunes that made Stewart so unique – especially the kind of slow-stepping ballads that still managed to come off with a really hard edge. The vocals are sublime – with the same reach as in his "Summertime" hit, but turned towards some more personal original material – including classics like "Sitting In The Park", "I Do Love You", "Fat Boy", "Fat Boy Can Cry", and "Strange Feeling". A treasure!  ~ Dusty Groove


Drummer Roy Haynes works here with an ensemble that's definitely as hip as the title promises – a really righteous group that makes the album one of Roy's most spiritual records ever! Haynes was always a drummer who was really a cut above, even back at the start – but here, he really steps out strongly with a new musical vision for the 70s – working with a lineup that includes George Adams on tenor and flute and Marvin Hannibal Peterson on trumpet – but players who give the music a really bold feel, right from the start! The rest of the lineup is wonderful, too – as Carl Schroeder plays Fender Rhodes with this flowing vibe that's plenty soulful – alongside bass from Terud Nakamura and Mervin Bronson, conga from Lawrence Kilian, bongo from Elwood Johnson, and more drums from Haynes himself. Titles include a sublime reading of Stanley Cowell's "Equipoise" – plus "Tangiers", "You Name It", and "Satan's Mysterious Feeling". ~ Dusty Groove



One of the greatest moments ever from guitarist Phil Upchurch – and one of the best from legendary arranger Charles Stepney too – a set that uses Upchurch's guitar in the same way that Stepney was using the piano of Ramsey Lewis in the late 60s! The record has full arrangements that are in the best late 60s Chess/Cadet style – rich, but never sleepy – with undercurrents of funk down at the bottom, and sweet backing vocals from a small group that includes Cash McCall and Kitty Haywood. But the real difference is Phil's guitar – which has some fuzzier, trippier elements – which make for a nice contrast with the smoothness of the Stepney backings, at a level that creates one of the most compelling Chess albums of the time! Titles include "Elektrik Head", "Peter Peter", "Way I Feel", "Bacn' Chips", and "You Don't Have To Know". ~ Dusty Groove


Set for release on September 22 is the new single from Lack of Afro on Freestyle Records.  The new single, Freedom, features vocals from Jack Tyson-Charles and includes a remix from The Gene Dudley Group. The 7-inch vinyl version of the single includes an exclusive track; Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances. The single is taken from the latest Lack of Afro album; Music For Adverts Music For Adverts has been one of the best received Lack of Afro albums of Adam Gibbons' entire career. One of the many stand out moments, without doubt is Freedom (feat. Jack Tyson-Charles) and now its horn heavy, driving and cinematic funk heads up this six track download package of totally exclusive instrumentals and remixes. Wah Wah 45's rising stars The Gene Dudley Group focus their remixing attention upon this amazing track firstly on the vocal version and then the instrumental. Bundle that all up along with the previously unreleased instrumentals of hip hop banger Here We Go Again and you've got a fantastic, five track feast of Lack of Afro goodness! The release will be available on a two-track 45 featuring the original, plus the exclusive cut; Cleaning Living Under Difficult Circumstances. And the digital version will contain all the tracks within this package, minus the aforementioned vinyl exclusive track.


Rashell is the new sound of R&B/Soul - a sound that is distinguished with vocal range and control. Her music appeals to younger and older crowds alike with bold lyrics written from experience and angelic vocal arrangements she delivers a powerful presence.Rashell's bold yet smooth lyrical expression will grab your attention. Her music is presented with pure passion. She is currently working on her second album which is scheduled to be released soon. Her first album EP titled "Rashell" and many other singles can be found on several public/media sites. Rashell released her official music video focused on Domestic Violence Awareness 2012 titled “Dry Ur Eyez” which is currently available on Itunes and streaming worldwide. Rashell was also nominated for Best R&B/Soul Artist this year for the 2013 Sammy Music Awards. 


“Soul To Soul,” a passionate new song cycle from vocalist, songwriter, producer and musician Carmen Lundy, is set for release September 23rd, 2014 via Afrasia Productions.  “Soul To Soul”, Lundy’s 14th album, is the next chapter in her critically-acclaimed career as both a musical artist and a visual artist; a return to her roots but also an exploration of these roots -- and the journey that those roots can take you on.  The release of “Soul To Soul” will be accompanied by tour dates both in the U.S. and overseas.

Carmen Lundy began working on “Soul To Soul” well over a year ago in a very hands-on manner – literally composing, co-composing and arranging eleven of the thirteen tracks and then playing and recording all the instruments - including bass, drums, piano, guitar and percussion - in her home studio to get a working “feel” for how the music might sound. She then “sweetened” the songs by adding string sounds and other software instruments to elaborate and experiment with the aural mood of each track, interpreting and identifying with each track’s sound individually as well as part of the overall song sequence.  On the final CD, Lundy plays guitar on all tracks, piano and Rhodes on many tracks, and drums on two. 

“I wrote the music with specific players in mind for each respective instrument,” says Lundy.  “My producer and label co-owner Elisabeth Oei encouraged me to reach out to those musicians whose music I have loved and have been inspired by; some of whom I had worked with but never recorded with. I consider these artists specialists on their instruments.  These are players who bring a distinctive sound to everything they play and
add another layer of individuality to my original music.”

Patrice Rushen, for example, is featured on nearly every track on “Soul To Soul” because of the deep musical connection Carmen felt with her.  “I could hear her sound in my music,” says Lundy, “Patrice creates these beautiful sonic palettes from which I could soar freely through the music.  This project would not be as special to me if it were not for her incredible contribution.”

Featuring the stellar talents of guest artists Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Mayra Casales, Simphiwe Dana, Bennie Maupin, Carol Robbins, Ada Rovatti, and Warren Wolf along with Carmen’s core rhythm section members Darryl Hall and Jamison Ross, “Soul To Soul” invites the listener on an intriguing journey. Whether the source of inspiration comes from time spent in Sardinia, Italy (“Soul To Soul” and “Sardegna”) or from her hometown of Miami in the songs “Kindred Spirits” and “Grateful” – “It’s important to acknowledge and remember where you come from and all those who provide unwavering moral support” says Lundy; from the beauty of Mary Lou Williams’ “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory” - “Geri Allen and I have spent many years performing the works of this great pianist,” Lundy remarks, “I could not miss the chance to have yet another of the great pianists/composers of our time be a part of this musical journey”; to the sexy bossa nova beat of “Everything I Need”, the moods and moments of  “Soul To Soul” are genre-bending and traverse many borders, both literally and figuratively.

Of special note is the story of the track “Grace,” the result of a meeting with South African vocalist Simphiwe Dana.  At the time of the meeting – which coincided with tour dates Lundy and Dana had in Johannesburg and Los Angeles – Lundy was in the process of writing the song on guitar and had been haunted by it for months.  She then played the track for Dana who immediately began to sing the melody in her native tongue, and whose contribution to the track on the CD adds yet another dimension to the journey of “Soul To Soul.”

Added Lundy, “It is an honor to have these players joining in this majestic musical adventure.  I hope listeners – both new and established - enjoy the voyage.”

Carmen Lundy is also a celebrated mixed media artist and painter, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, CA

Kindred Spirits  (Carmen Lundy)
Life Is A Song In Me  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
Soul To Soul  (Carmen Lundy)
When Will They Learn  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
Daybreak  (Carmen Lundy)
Between Darkness and Dawn  (Carmen Lundy, Julie Raynor)
Grace  (Carmen Lundy, Simphiwe Dana)
Grateful Pt. 1  (Carmen Lundy)
Grateful Pt. 2  (Carmen Lundy)
 Everything I Need  (Carmen Lundy)
 Don’t You Know How I Feel  (Marilyn Castilaw)
 Sardegna  (Carmen Lundy, Deborah Ash)
 What’s Your Story, Morning Glory  (Mary Lou Williams)                   

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ORBERT DAVIS' - CHICAGO JAZZ PHILHARMONIC RELEASES 'SKETCHES OF SPAIN [REVISITED]' New Rendition of the 1960 Miles Davis and Gil Evans Classic Recording

The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, celebrating its upcoming tenth anniversary year, releases its second full-length album, Sketches Of Spain [Revisited], an orchestral transformation of the 1960 iconic original by Miles Davis and Gil Evans. 

For this reinterpretation of the 1960 classic recording, CJP artistic director and composer Orbert Davis created two new compositions, incorporated traditional African and Middle Eastern instruments, and made numerous modifications in ensemble orchestration.  The result is an intimate yet powerful performance that transports the listener to a different world.
"If you're going to reconceptualize a work as iconic as Sketches Of Spain - daring to change the original instrumentation, and even to replace some movements with new compositions - you'd better do one spectacular job of it. Orbert Davis has dared, and succeeded."  Neil Tesser, Grammy-Award Winning Jazz Journalist.

Davis' involvement with Sketches Of Spain began in the 1990's when, as a trumpeter in Bill Russo's Chicago Jazz Ensemble, he was asked to perform the solo trumpet part originally played by Miles Davis (no relation). A particular challenge was to disregard the expectations of some purists that the original performance would be re-created.  "However," Orbert notes, "What Miles played is not intended to be duplicated. Miles reached past the technical aspects of his instrument and played from the depths of his soul.  I took that approach to freely create during the improvised sections." 
Orbert Davis' version of the classic work developed over many subsequent performances and years of studying the original recording, as well as Spanish music and culture. From the first performance with his own Chicago Jazz Philharmonic in 2011, Orbert introduced new elements to reflect the Moorish influences on Spanish culture, introduces new infectious jazz grooves, and highlights the unique talents of individual musicians in his ensemble.
"One has to think that Miles Davis would have been intrigued, given his own history of ignoring rules and continuously reinventing his music." Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

Working together, the musicians have created a sound based on Spanish culture that is a blend of classical aesthetic and jazz sensibility, revealing an emotional depth that is universally recognizable. "I hope that the listener will be able to identify with the passion and emotion expressed in this work", says Davis.  "There is a story behind the music, and each person needs to interpret that story for themselves."

The theme of creatively reinterpreting a classic is carried out on the album's cover, which features original artwork created as part of a CD Cover Art Contest held by CJP in the spring of 2014. The contest required Chicago area students to interpret different visual aspects of Spanish culture: a matador, a flamenco dancer, and a mountain village scene.  The winning entry was submitted by Jaylyn Scott, a 14-year-old student at Orland Junior High School.  As the contest winner, Jaylyn earned a prize fee and will receive royalties on the sale of all related merchandise like posters, mugs or t-shirts. The multi-talented Jaylyn is also a student in the CJP Summer Jazz Academy where she studies the saxophone.


Café Noctambulo at Pangea, the premier supper, jazz and cabaret club that’s bringing back a taste of the cool, classic heyday of NYC nightlife of the 60’s and 70’s to  Manhattan’s East Village, is excited to announce famed baritone jazz vocalist and pianist Andy Bey as its debut headlining artist.

​Celebrating the release of his latest album Pages From an Imaginary Life, the multi-talented performer takes the stage on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays, September 12-13 and 19-20 with two shows nightly at 8 and 10 p.m.

Bey will be playing the venue’s rebuilt and reconditioned 1960s era Baldwin Grand Piano that the club’s Artistic Director Christopher Gines says they got “for a song.”

​After a long absence from recording, Bey - once a regular presence in The Village, whom Aretha Franklin once called “a jazz original…brilliant and precious” – returned to the studio for his HighNote debut in 2013 with The World According to Andy Bey. The acclaimed album won a prestigious Academie Charles Cros Coups de Coeur Jazz Award and was a Grammy finalist.

Bey’s combination of enormous vocal range and communicative piano playing with a distinct focus on atmosphere has long transported audiences to a “Lotus-Eater Land” where listeners are asked to meet his unique renditions on their own terms as they seemingly erase from memory all previous versions. 

There will be a $30 music charge in addition to a $20 food/beverage minimum per person for all of Bey’s highly anticipated performances.

The cozy, 50-60 seat club’s still growing entertainment element currently features singer/pianist Eric Comstock every Tuesday night from 8 p.m. to midnight and will begin hosting renowned jazz singer Hilary Kole on Wednesday nights starting September 10 from 7 – 11 p.m.

Returning to his piano bar roots, Comstock – who has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and virtually every important nightclub in NYC and across the country – has been hailed as “the heir to the cabaret throne” by Stephen Holden of the New York Times.

Kole, who has performed in NYC everywhere from Birdland, The Blue Note, Iridium and Jazz at Lincoln Center, has recorded and/or performed with numerous icons, including Oscar Peterson, Michel Legrand, John Pizzarelli, Monty Alexander, Michael Feinstein and Dave Brubeck. On her new independent full-length album, the world reknowned vocalist and musician paints A Self Portrait with illuminating stylistic brushstrokes and an expansive repertoire that takes her far beyond her storied roots as a purveyor of the Great American Songbook.

There is a $20 cover charge and a $20 minimum for all performances by Comstock and Kole.

Occupying what was previously a popular party space at the back of Pangea, a casual Mediterranean-Italian restaurant and mainstay in the East Village with a colorful 30 year history in this location, Café Noctambulo is the vision of Christopher Gines, who has spent more than two decades as a crooner of classic American Songbook and jazz standards and has toured the U.S. and internationally for many years.

“I wanted to create a special place that was affordable and fun and not pretentious and stuffy, a great spot to hang out with friends and enjoy sensational food and a wide array of music and entertainment by world class performers in a fun, relaxed and informal setting,” he says. “For me, Café Noctambulo is the realization of an idea I have wanted to do for a long time – and it’s a true joy to have the opportunity to give this kind of home to artists I enjoy while helping create a spot that people from all over the city and beyond can call home as well.”    



Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters take to the road in the live double album Flood, recorded and released only in Japan. Contrary to the impression left by his American releases at this time, Hancock was still very much attached to the acoustic piano, as his erudite opening workout on "Maiden Voyage/Actual Proof" with his funk rhythm section makes clear. The electric keyboards, mostly Rhodes piano and clavinet, make their first appearances on side two, where Hancock now becomes more of a funky adjunct to the rhythm section, bumping along with a superb feeling for the groove while Bennie Maupin takes the high road above on a panoply of winds. Except for "Voyage," the tunes come from the Head Hunters, Thrust, and Man-Child albums (another reason why this was not released in the U.S.). "Chameleon" comes with a lengthy outbreak of machine pink noise that attests to Hancock's wide-eyed love of gadgetry. In all, this was a great funk band, not all that danceable because of the rapid complexities of Mike Clark's drumming, and quite often, full of harmonic depth and adventure. ~ Richard S. Ginell. ~ CD Universe

Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by Ron McMaster. The AFTER MIDNIGHT sessions were Nat "King" Cole's attempt in 1956 to get a little more in touch with his jazz roots, once again accompanying himself on piano--at one time Cole was considered the heir to Teddy Wilson--and playing with a small combo that included Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, Juan Tizol on trombone, and Ray Nance on violin. As such it was a highly succesful date for Cole and Co. and it stands up more than 50 years later. This was no mere jam session but a chance to hear Cole vocalizing in a non-orchestral setting, just like his early trio but this time singing full-fledged standards like "What Is There To Say?" and the beautifully rendered "You're Looking At Me," not just the familiar Cole trio novelties. THE COMPLETE AFTER MIDNIGHT SESSIONS gathers the 21 master takes that were recorded at the time, three more than the previous "complete" edition on Capitol. LP VINYL EDITION 180 GRAM, DIRECT METAL MASTERING, 2 BONUS TRACK, ALL MUSIC GUIDE. Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California between August 15 & September 24, 1956. Includes liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason and Michael Cuscuna. Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna. Personnel: Nat "King" Cole (vocals, piano); Willie Smith (alto saxophone); Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet); Juan Tizol (valve trombone); Stuff Smith (violin); John Collins (guitar); Charlie Harris (bass); Lee Young (drums); Jack Costanzo (congas, bongos). Producer: Lee Gillette. JazzTimes (3/97, p. 99) - "... this is classy music for mellow hours, before or after midnight." ~ CD Universe


Imelda May's fourth studio album, 2014's Tribal, finds the Irish chanteuse balancing an '80s-influenced new wave rockabilly energy with a few of old-school '50s ballads and a bit of country twang. Produced by Mike Crossey, who previously helmed projects by Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, and others, Tribal features all of the elements that have made May such a breakthrough artist since her 2003 debut, No Turning Back. Here we get her bright, puckered vocal attack showcased on a bevy of instantly infectious cuts. As with her past albums, Tribal is split down the middle between songs written by May and songs penned by her husband and longtime creative partner, guitarist Darrel Higham. There is also one track, the lyrical, '50s-inspired lullaby "Little Pixie," co-written by May and her brother Fintan Clabby. From the opening title track, which hints at Bow Wow Wow's Burundi beat style, to the fiery Cramps-meets-B-52s-sounding "Wild Woman," May digs deep into the kind of wide-eyed '80s punk-does-'50s-rock & roll that bands like Restless and the Escalators championed in the early part of the '80s. Elsewhere, she delivers a handful of equally compelling songs, including the jaunty country-swing of "It's Good to Be Alive," the yearning and moody "Gypsy in Me," and the cavernous and bluesy "Wicked Way." Ultimately, May has always been a Celtic rockabilly goddess, armed with her trademark front-rolled pompadour and Irish bodhrán drum. Tribal is her call to arms; her statement of purpose. As she sings on the title track," When you look in the mirror, tell me what do you see/Someone new or your ancestry?/You're a king, you're a queen, you're a wizard, a fool/Or if you're me, then rockabilly rules." Whether it's an ancient Celtic tribe or a tribe of leather-jacketed rockers, May and her fans belong. ~ Matt Collar Recording information: Livingstone Studios, London. Photographer: Barry McCall. Personnel: Imelda May (vocals, bodhran); Darrel Higham (guitar); Dave Priseman (trumpet, percussion); Al Gare (upright bass, bass guitar); Steve Rushton (drums, percussion); Mike Crossey (programming). Audio Mixers: Mike Crossey; Imelda May. ~ CD Universe


The holidays have always been about bringing close friends together and celebrating the season with good times and great music. Saxophonist Dave Koz has been doing it every year for nearly two decades with talented friends and collaborators on a tour that brings the yuletide spirit to devoted audiences from one coast to the other.

Koz brings that same collaborative spirit to his new holiday recording, The 25th of December, scheduled for release on September 30, 2014 on Concord Records.  The album features duets with some of the most prominent pop and jazz artists of the last several decades, including Johnny Mathis, Eric Benét, Gloria Estefan, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Kenny G, BeBe Winans, India.Arie, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Butler, Fantasia and Stevie Wonder.

“Christmas songs already have, inherently, in their DNA, all the things you want in a piece of music,” says Koz. “Why do we want to hear these same songs year after year? Because they’re more than just lyrics or notes on a page. They’re touchstones. They are musical doorways that enable us to go back and visit times in our lives that were much simpler and much more innocent.”

The challenge for Koz and his guests was how to mix it up on The 25th of December and provide something for everyone. “We wanted to have a good chunk of traditional Christmas songs that everybody knows,” he says, “and then a handful of newer Christmas songs that maybe not everybody knows, but have become popular in the last few years. And then it was important to me as an artist to say, ‘Here are a couple songs that you’ve never heard before that we’re going to throw into the mix.’”

The result is a diverse and satisfying holiday set, beginning with the very first notes of a fully orchestrated instrumental rendition of “The First Noel,” a song that Koz had never recorded for any previous holiday album, but one that he considers a personal favorite. “In my mind, it was a way to get the party started with something that everybody knows. It’s a beautiful arrangement by Lenny Wee.”

The follow-up track features the legendary Johnny Mathis in an upbeat interpretation of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” one of his signature holiday tunes. “Johnny’s original version of the song is iconic,” says Koz. “So I was a little concerned about going to him and saying, ‘Would you mind recreating a song that you’ve already made famous the world over?’ And he said, ‘I’d love to.’ Being in the studio with him that day was one of the greatest days of my career. It all came together organically. We did it with Billy Childs on piano, Chuck Berghofer on bass and Clayton Cameron on drums. I played, Johnny sang, and there it was.”

Things take a slow, sultry turn with “This Christmas,” the R&B holiday classic delivered here by vocalist Eric Benét. “I’ve known Eric for more than 20 years. He’s one of my favorite singers. We had this idea of taking this great Christmas song by Donny Hathaway and really taking the tempo down to make it a slow jam. I knew when Eric was in the studio that he would want to make it a sexy Christmas song. The groove is deep, and I put a little alto saxophone in there. It’s pretty romantic. You know exactly what’s on the singer’s mind when Eric delivers this song.”

Gloria Estefan steps in for a rhythmic reading of “Do you Hear What I Hear?” “Rickey Minor, our producer, said, “Why don’t we give it this beat with a lot of drums?’” recalls Koz. “I think he was tapping into what we all know Gloria does best. We got her the arrangement, she loved it, and she turned in a fabulous vocal.”

“My Grown Up Christmas List” is especially meaningful for Tony Award-winning vocalist Heather Headley, who recorded the track when she was eight months pregnant. “This is one of the songs that’s not as well known as some of the more traditional Christmas songs on the album,” says Koz. “It was written several years ago by David Foster and Linda Thompson. I’d never cut it, but I loved the message of it. We sent it to Heather, and she said, ‘I’m on this. And by the way, I’m pregnant, so this is something I can really relate to. This song is about my wishes for the world that my baby will grow up in.’”

The poignant “Another Silent Night,” featuring Richard Marx (who also co-wrote the song with Koz and Trey Bruce and arranged the track), is one of two new songs written for this album. “Richard has that pure, crystal-clear voice,” says Koz. “I can really relate to that song, because it’s about a guy who’s not at home with his family during the holidays, but he really wants to be there.”

The fully orchestrated “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” is a sax summit that features Kenny G, no stranger to successful holiday recordings. “Kenny is a good friend, and we’ve known each other for many years, but we’d never recorded together,” says Koz. “So this track is something of a musical moment – a coming together of two people who have played the saxophone for a very long time. This was an opportunity for each of our musical identities to be well represented – soprano sax for him, tenor sax for me – and yet we could meet in the middle and play off each other. Kenny was very open to the concept of doing a big band arrangement with a killer rhythm section and it was really fun.”

The title track, written and sung by BeBe Winans, is the second of two songs written especially for this album. “I think this is an absolutely gorgeous piece of music,” he says. “The first time I heard the demo – just BeBe and piano – I thought, ‘Oh my God, I know this song!’ It sounded like a classic that we already knew. BeBe is a very devout man, and that comes across in the song.”

India.Arie sets up an old-school groove on “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” sung in the spirit of Ella Fitzgerald, who had a hit with the same song decades ago. “This is a classic, but it hasn’t been recorded all that often,” says Koz. “India was really excited about doing an Ella Fitzgerald song. We put this very retro track together, and I think she turned in one of her greatest vocal performances ever.”

Part of the song’s success stems from the groove set up by Koz on tenor sax in tandem with Troy Andrews, the New Orleans native better known as Trombone Shorty. “Ricky and I were thinking it would be great if we did this song this way, with trombone and tenor,” says Koz. “So I texted Troy to see if he’d be willing to do it. The next day, he texted me back and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it. Send me the track and the chart and I’ll play it, and do a solo.’ The next day after that, I got it back and there it was. I played to what he did, and then India sang to that. I think she was inspired by the sound, and I love her performance on it.”

The stirring “O Holy Night” is a nod to the annual Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour. The track features Jonathan Butler, a regular fixture on tour who consistently brings the house to its feet with his delivery of this song. “There’s such a poignancy when this man delivers this very pure, very transparent song,” says Koz. “But up until now, that arrangement had never been recorded. So I went to Jonathan and said, ‘I really want you to be on this album. I think it’s very important that we do this song, and I think it’s extra important that you do the exact arrangement that we do in our show.’ He came into the studio with his guitar, the band was all there, we cut it live and what you hear on the album is his first take. This man owns this song.”

Fantasia steps up for a high-energy, gospel-style medley that includes “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” “We wanted to do something that was just go-get-em,” says Koz. “Jason White, who is one of the keyboard players on this record but also a great arranger, is the music director of the West Angeles Church, one of the most popular gospel churches in Los Angeles. Fantasia just catapults it to another place through sheer energy and emotion.”

Everyone returns for the final track, a rousing version of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love,” a song with a message especially resonant during the holidays. Leading the charge is Stevie Wonder, who brings his trademark spontaneity and positive energy to the track. “With Stevie, you never know what’s going to happen,” says Koz. “He plays harmonica, and then he ends up singing the whole back half of the song. There are very few people in life who can take the message of this song and deliver on it, and he’s one of them.

Many of the songs on The 25th of December will be a part of 2014 edition of the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour, which will be announced shortly. Much like the holiday tour – and the season itself – the album is a communal experience, a moment in time when we reconnect with those people in our lives whom we care about most.

"I wanted this album to be like the best holiday party, to make listeners feel like they had been invited to my house, along with all these phenomenally talented artists," Koz says. "I pictured us all retiring to the living room after dinner, where there's a big grand piano, and everybody got up and did a song, and I played a little bit of saxophone with them.  With this album, I wanted to reaffirm the ties that bind us all."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Epic Records and Legacy Recordings Celebrate Stevie Ray Vaughan's 60th Birthday Year with Release of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection

A definitive career-encompassing 12 disc library, The Complete Epic Recordings Collection brings together, for the first time, the entirety of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's official studio and live album canon including the inaugural commercial release of A Legend In The Making, a highly collectible (formerly) promotional only recording of SRV & DT's incendiary performance at Toronto's El Mocambo club in 1983.

In addition, The Complete Epic Recordings Collection features two discs compiling rare and hard-to-find archival tracks.

On April 26, 2014, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble among the artists to be inducted into the newly created Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, launched in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the PBS televised concert series.  The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on PBS in October 2014.

Stephen Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas on October 3, 1954, the same year the Fender Stratocaster went into production.  Stevie Ray picked up his first six-string at the age of 7, dropped out of high school in 1971 and moved to Austin in '72, going on to become one of the most influential and electrifying blues guitarists ever.  After honing his chops in a variety of bands throughout the '70s, Stevie Ray formed his own group, SRV & Double Trouble, in 1978.  Hellbent and intent on revitalizing the blues for contemporary audiences, Stevie Ray served as the power trio's charismatic frontman and evangelical electric guitarist, driven and underscored by drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon.

Stevie Ray and Double Trouble's reputation as a transcendent live experience gained considerable traction following a watershed performance at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in 1982 (included in The Complete Epic Recordings Collection).  Recommended to the label by A&R giant John Hammond, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble recorded the band's studio debut, Texas Flood, for Epic Records in 1983.  Going on to achieve RIAA double platinum status, Texas Flood opened the gates for a flow of gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, an unprecedented achievement for any blues act.

Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, following an awe-inspiring performance with Double Trouble and Eric Clapton at the Alpine Valley Resort in Wisconsin.  Though his mainstream career lasted a mere seven years, Stevie Ray Vaughan's enduring contribution to the blues can be heard in the work of younger players including John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was the recipient of numerous musical awards, during his lifetime and posthumously.   In 1983, readers of Guitar Player voted him as Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player. In 1984, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, and in 1987 Performance Magazine honored him with Rhythm and Blues Act of the Year. Earning six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014. Rolling Stone ranked Vaughan as the twelfth greatest guitarist of all time.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection
Disc 1: In The Beginning (KLBJ-FM radio broadcast produced by Wayne Bell
Recorded April 1, 1980; Austin, Texas)
In The Open
Slide Thing
They Call Me Guitar Hurricane
All Your Love I Miss Loving
Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place In Town)
Love Struck Baby
Tell Me
Shake For Me
Live Another Day

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Jackie Newhouse--bass; Chris Layton--drums
Originally released as Epic 53168, 1992 / Peak chart position: #58

Disc 2: Live At Montreux 1982 (July 17, 1982; Montreux International Jazz Festival)
Hide Away
Rude Mood
Pride And Joy
Texas Flood
Love Struck Baby
Dirty Pool
Give Me Back My Wig
Collins Shuffle

Originally released as Epic/Legacy 86151, 2001 / Peak chart position: #178

Disc 3: Live At Montreux 1985 (July 15, 1985; Montreux International Jazz Festival)
Scuttle Buttin'
Say What!
Ain't Gone 'N' Give Up On Love
Pride And Joy
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place In Town)
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Texas Flood
Life Without You
Gone Home
Couldn't Stand The Weather

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris Layton--drums; Reese Wynans--organ; Johnny Copeland --vocals, guitar (Track 6) / Originally released as Epic/Legacy 86151, 2001 / Peak chart position: #178

Disc 4: Texas Flood
Love Struck Baby
Pride And Joy
Texas Flood
Tell Me
Rude Mood
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Dirty Pool
I'm Cryin'

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris "Whipper" Layton--drums
Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Richard Mullen and Double Trouble / Executive Producer: John Hammond / Originally released as Epic 38734, 1983 / Peak chart position: #38

Disc 5: A Legend In The Making—Live At The El Mocambo (recorded Toronto, Canada, July 20, 1983, originally released for radio broadcast only)
So Excited
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Pride And Joy
Tell Me
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Texas Flood
Love Struck Baby
You'll Be Mine
Hug You, Squeeze You
Little Wing/Third Stone From The Sun
Rude Mood

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris Layton--drums

Disc 6: Couldn't Stand The Weather (1984)
Scuttle Buttin'
Couldn't Stand The Weather
The Things (That) I Used To Do
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Cold Shot
Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place In Town)
Honey Bee
Stang's Swang

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris "Whipper" Layton--drums; Jimmie Vaughan--guitar (Tracks 2, 3); Fran Christina--drums Track 8); Stan Harrison--tenor saxophone (Track 8) / Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Richard Mullen, and Jim Capfer / Executive Producer: John Hammond / Originally released as Epic 39304, 1984 / Peak chart position: #31

Disc 7: Live At Carnegie Hall (Recorded October 4, 1984; New York City)
Intro--Ken Dashow/John Hammond
Scuttle Buttin'
Love Struck Baby
Honey Bee
Cold Shot
Letter To My Girlfriend
Dirty Pool
Pride And Joy
The Things That I Used To Do
Iced Over
Rude Mood

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris Layton--drums; Jimmie Vaughan--guitar; Dr. John--keyboards; George Rains--drums; The Roomful Of Blues Horn Section: Bob Enos--trumpet; Porky Cohen--trombone; Rich Lataille--alto saxophone; Greg Piccolo--tenor saxophone; Doug James--baritone saxophone; and Angela Strehli--vocals (Track 11) / Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan / Originally released as Epic 68163, 1997
Peak chart position: #40 

Disc 8: Soul To Soul (1985)
Say What!
Lookin' Out The Window
Look At Little Sister
Ain't Gone 'N' Give Up On Love
Gone Home
Change It
You'll Be Mine
Empty Arms
Come On (Part III)
Life Without You

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris "Whipper" Layton--drums; Reese Wynans--keyboards; Joe Sublett--saxophone / Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Double Trouble and Richard Mullen / Executive Producer: John Hammond / Originally released as Epic 40036, 1985 / Peak chart position: #34

Disc 9: Live Alive (Recorded July 16, 1985, Montreux International Jazz Festival; July 17-18, 1986, Austin, Texas; July 19, 1986, Dallas, Texas)
Say What!
Ain't Gone 'N' Give Up On Love
Pride And Joy
Mary Had A Little Lamb
I'm Leaving You (Commit A Crime)
Cold Shot
Willie The Wimp
Look At Little Sister
Texas Flood
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Love Struck Baby
Change It
Life Without You

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris "Whipper" Layton--drums; Reese Wynans--keyboards; Jimmie Vaughan--guitar or six string bass (Tracks 8, 9, 12, 13) /
Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble / Originally released as Epic 40511, 1986 / Peak chart position: #52

Disc 10: In Step (1989)
The House Is Rockin'
Let Me Love You Baby
Leave My Girl Alone
Travis Walk
Wall Of Denial
Love Me Darlin'
Riviera Paradise

Stevie Ray Vaughan--guitar, vocals; Tommy Shannon--bass; Chris Layton--drums; Reese Wynans--keyboards; Joe Sublett, Darrell Leonard--horns (Tracks 2, 9) / Produced by Jim Gaines & Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble / Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee and Los Angeles, California / Originally released as Epic 45024, 1989 / Peak chart position: #33

Disc 11: Archives/Disc One
Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place In Town)
Empty Arms
Come On (Part III)
Look At Little Sister
The Sky Is Crying
Hide Away
Give Me Back My Wig
Boot Hill
Close To You
Little Wing
Stang's Swang

Disc 12: Archives/Disc Two
May I Have A Talk With You
The Sky Is Crying
Shake And Bake
So Excited
Slip Slidin' Slim
Chitlins Con Carne
Little Wing/Third Stone From The Sun
Boot Hill
Life By The Drop

Archives/Disc One, Track 1 produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Richard Mullen and Double Trouble; Executive Producer: John Hammond / Archives/Disc One, Tracks 2-12 produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Richard Mullen, and Jim Capfer; Executive Producer: John Hammond / Archives/Disc Two, Tracks 1-8 produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Double Trouble and Richard Mullen; Executive Producer: John Hammond
Archives/Disc Two, Track 9 produced by Jim Gaines & Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble / Archives/Disc Two, Track 10 produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jim Gaines

Brazilian-Tinged Jazz and Funk from Guitarist PIERRE CAVALLI - Uma Vitamina Faz Favor

Brazilian-tinged jazz and funk from Switzerland/ Italy 1972-75, recorded by European guitar legend Pierre Cavalli with the ensembles of music masters Angel Pocho Gatti and Bruno Spoerri – all original material, previously unreleased. Library- and Soundtrack-like album full of bossa breakbeat tunes, scat funk, jazz fusion and trippy interludes – with acoustic or spacey electric guitars, latin flutes, vibes, fender rhodes plus occasional vocals. 14 lost tracks transferred from a test pressing and tapes found in the archives of Nanda Cavalli and Bruno Spoerri, also featuring Renato Anselmi and Fernando Vicencio, remastered in 2014 for 6-page-dgipak-CD and limited vinyl LP.

Vitamina De Brasil: The Brazilian “Tristeza” has already infected Europe in the early 60s, with the film “Orfeu Negro” and a commercialization of Bossa Nova. At the end of the decade Brazilian artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil created Tropicalia, a synthesis of pop, rock, jazz and Brazilian music. Composer, guitarist and bassist Pierre Cavalli from Zurich traveled to Brazil in 1968 and stayed there for a whole year. Upon his return to Switzerland, he worked on recordings that should convey his musical impressions of Brazil. In 1971 Cavalli produced and played music in his hometown, mostly with his own small ensembles and as a studio musician. Some Brazilian-inspired instrumental and vocal tracks were recorded spontaneously with the excellent ensembles of Angel Pocho Gatti (Italy/ Argentina) and Bruno Spoerri (Switzerland), in various studios and for advertising purposes only. Some of the recorded music was used in local TV advertising or appeared on a vinyl LP for the promotion of an airline, while the remaining tunes were put in the vault immediately after production. The final result is this “lost” and newly mastered album by Pierre Cavalli, released here for the first time ever.

“Uma Vitamina Faz Favor” is a journey of sound, infiltrated by music from South America and in a style of the best Italian film soundtracks of that time. With the acoustic or trippy electric guitar in the center of attention, Cavalli and his musicians developed a complex range of sounds, a mixture of funk, dreamy bossa nova, jazz fusion, Latin blues and references to film music. The album generates a high degree of intimacy, with Latin flutes and percussion, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone, analog synthesizers and wind or vocal inserts, often psychedelic tinged and sometimes even framed by imitations of nature sounds from Brazil. The jazz fusion piece “Caçador” (in a later version included on the Spoerri LP “Container”, entitled “Brain Hunter”) and the bossa breakbeat tune “Passarinhos” are funk gems and take the listener to the Brazilian rain forest with their electronic effects. The worldless vocal work in “Possarinhos” or “Lembrança do Santos” is reminiscent of scat legends like Edda Dell`Orso or the best De Wolfe Library LPs by Barbara Moore. Driven by Cavalli’s catchy uptempo guitar lines, the sounds of “Alegria” and “Cachaça” come out of the speakers with South American joie de vivre. Laid back tracks like “Transmissão mutàvel”, “Tranquilamente” or “Tecidos” are full of fine melodies and Cavalli’s spacey guitar licks, clearly referring to the Brazilian hippies and their psychedelic nonchalance. “Uma vitamina faz favor” and the love declaration “Therezinha Meu Amor”, even sung by Cavalli himself (probably unique in his recording career), are breezy bossa novas and the only songs with lyrics.

Six sought after tracks hail from an impossible to find one-sided testpressing from 1972, an unreleased promotional album for the airline “Swissair” entitled “Rio De Janeiro”. It comes from the vaults of Pierre Cavalli and was recently discovered by his wife Nanda Cavalli. All music is played by “Pierre Cavalli et son ensemble” with “paroles et musiques de Pierre Cavalli et vocalises de Merry Francen”. The ensemble is led by Argentinean born soundtrack master Angel “Pocho” Gatti who conducted the best Italian Big Band during the 1970s. These recordings were produced by Cavalli and remain as the only source of collaboration between Cavalli and Gatti. The other eight tracks were rediscovered by Bruno Spoerri, who started to record some Brazilian-tinged compositions with his favourite guitarist Cavalli in various places at the same time. Some of the best Swiss jazz musicians like pianist Renato Anselmi, flutist Fernando Vicencio, bassist Heinz Pfenninger or drummer Curt Treier belonged to their frequently changing ensemble, in which Spoerri led the production and used to play various synthesizers. Thanks to the efforts of Nanda Cavalli and Bruno Spoerri, “Uma Vitamina Faz Favor” is a mind-blowing record and a truly great find.

Pierre Cavalli (1928-1985) played various guitar styles on innumerable European album productions from the 1950s to the 1970s. Already in the 1940s he had become a friend of Django Reinhardt and attended his performances in Paris. He performed with well known jazz artists like Art Simmons, Hans Koller, Peter Trunk, Daniel Humair or Wolfgang Dauner and made excellent commercial productions for music libraries. Cavalli became employed by Friedrich Gulda as his first big band guitar player, joined the “Swiss All Stars” and performed with the excellent but short-lived fusion bands “Oimels” (MPS) and “Emphasis” (Pick). He was well known throughout the studio scene, played in several orchestras, appeared at galas, composed music for French tv-serials and belonged more to the showiz than to the “serious” jazz scene. His impressive discography lists over 500 titles.

Bruno Spoerri (*1935) earned his degree in Applied Psychology in 1958, after he had already played saxophone in various bands as a student (including the Modern Jazz Group Freiburg). From 1957 to 1975 he belonged to the Zurich “Metronome Quintet” with which he toured internationally and recorded several Albums and EPs. In the 1970s Spoerri became musical director of the jazz festival Zurich several times and has performed with many international jazz greats. Back in 1967, he began to experiment with electrified saxophone, effect units and Ondes Martenot, and went deeper into the electronic music scene through the purchase of an EMS VCS3 synthesizer. To date he still works as a freelance composer, sound engineer and author (editor of “Jazz in Switzerland”/ Chronos Publishing). At present, Spoerri deals primarily with the interactive potential of electronic music equipment.

Angel “Pocho” Gatti (1930-2000) from Buenos Aires was an outstanding pianist, arranger, conductor and composer. He worked mainly in Italy during the 1960s and early 70s. With his orchestras, that included Italian jazz masters like Gianni Basso, Giorgio Gaslini or Oscar Valdambrini as soloists, he accompanied American stars like Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan or Johnnie Ray. Already during the 1950s Pocho Gatti frequently played at the “Bop Club Argentino” in Buenos Aires with world reknowned musicians like Lalo Schifrin, “Chivo” Borraro or Gato Barbieri. Later on he recorded with Giorgio Azzolini in Italy. At the end of the 1960s his Milan Big Band, the “big orchestra Angel Pocho Gatti”, belonged to the most famous European ensembles. Subsequent productions of the 1970s include prestigious work for Quincy Jones and collaborations with Gerry Mulligan and Astor Piazzolla.


01. Possarinhos
02. Tempo in tempo
03. Uma vitamina faz favor
04. Cachaca
05. Violao em foco
06. Pao de acucar
07. Transmissao mutavel
08. Cacador
09. Lembranca do Santos
10. Tecidos
11. Terezinha meu amor
12. Tranquilamente
13. Alegria
14. Meninas na praia


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