Monday, November 30, 2015

Grammy® Award Artist Gregory Porter to Headline Blue Note "Jazz at Sea" Transatlantic Crossing October 25, 2016

On the heels of Queen Mary 2's first-ever "Jazz at Sea" Transatlantic Crossing with Blue Note Records, Cunard has announced that Grammy® Award-winning singer and songwriter, Gregory Porter, will be headlining the third Blue Note jazz-themed Transatlantic Crossing on October 25, 2016. Porter delighted fans with his powerhouse performances in the Royal Court Theatre during the first, October 29 Jazz at Sea Crossing. During the voyage, Porter spoke about Queen Mary 2's intimate venues and about how the rhythm of water inspires his music.

Described by The New York Times as "a jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift," Porter signed to Blue Note Records in 2013 and recently took home his second Jazz FM award for "International Jazz Artist of the Year." Porter is widely known for his third studio album, Liquid Spirit, which won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and reached top 10 on the UK album chart.

"Having sailed across the Atlantic with Cunard for the first time, I realize what a unique and exciting travel experience the transatlantic crossing was and I'm thrilled to headline one of the Jazz at Sea voyages next year," said Gregory Porter. "It was inspiring to be on board Queen Mary 2 with some of the greatest minds and musicians in jazz and to meet music fans from around the world."

Cunard and Blue Note Records' first "Jazz at Sea" Transatlantic Crossing included intimate performances by a star-studded roster of fellow Blue Note musicians, featuring: Grammy® Award-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper, acclaimed trumpet player Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott.

"The Jazz at Sea experience was one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Don Was, president, Blue Note Records. "Matching up Blue Note Records and Cunard was a stroke of genius. Market research shows that both brands are continually recognized for excellence and integrity, and the Blue Note brand offers a 'cool' vibe as well."

During the first-ever Blue Note "Jazz at Sea" Transatlantic Crossing, lounges and public spaces were transformed to jazz destinations in the evenings where Blue Note artists were met to packed houses in the Chart Room, G32 and Illuminations. Q&A sessions provided a more intimate and informal setting for guests to learn more about the artists, their influences and backgrounds, and where Porter demonstrated the words that moved him in impromptu a capella performances.

"We are delighted that Gregory Porter will join us again in 2016," said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. "Cunard and Blue Note Records share a deep connection with over 200 combined years of experience in our respective industries, and we are excited to continue to deliver stimulating, celebrated and significant entertainment for our guests."

This special Transatlantic Crossing will also feature other noteworthy jazz musicians that will soon be announced.

Sunday, November 29, 2015



Sweet Hammond grooves from a combo led by drummer Jim Viner – a player you may know from the Diplomats Of Solid Sound, some of whom join Jim on the set! As you'd guess from the group's name, the record's awash in sounds from the legendary B3 – shimmering organ lines that are somewhere between deep funk and soul jazz – served up in an all-instrumental mode that lets the Hammond have plenty of "voice" throughout! The vibe is somewhere between 60s Stax and Prestige Records – with a feel that's similar to early work from Sugarman Three – and titles include "Comango", "Forty Twenty", "Azucar Blanco", "Smokey Johnson", "Cutlass Supreme", "Chicken Tickin", "Borracho No No", and "California Don".  Dusty Groove


Ask The Ages - The classic definer. Guitarist Sonny Sharrock wasn't just ahead of his time, like a freight train roaring through a darkened station, not just hours but weeks ahead of schedule. Channeling the energy and spirit of John Coltrane...with the support of two undisputed icons of free jazz and the avant-garde, legendary Coltrane-drummer Elvin Jones and saxophonist Pharoah Sanders with Charnett Moffett on bass. Absolutely an exploration of the stratosphere and beyond. Enhanced and re-mastered from the original. Produced by Bill Laswell - who upon emerging from the downtown NYC scene as a producer and bassist to be reckoned with, made it one of his first priorities to find Sharrock who he first heard at age fourteen...Ask The Ages.


A unique fusion of classic opera mixed with contemporary dub set in a progressive, futuristic, rhythmic environment. Masahiro Shimba is a leading Japanese opera singer, based in Milano and Tokyo. The tenor is the first Japanese artist to receive the "Maria Callas Award" from the International Maria Callas Foundation. He is highly evaluated by the Italian classical/opera world, has performed as a soloist at the Royal Opera Canada, Teramo City Theater, Lincoln Center (NY), Dal Verme Theater (Milano), Verdi Conservatory Puccini Hall (Milano), St. Paul's Outside the Walls (Vatican City/Rome) with Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini conducted by Daniele Agiman and more.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nat King Cole: Stardust—The Rare Television Performances. (2CD Set)

Was there ever a performer in the history of American popular music who produced such a diverse body of work, over such an extended period of time, as Nat King Cole? In a career that spanned nearly 30 years—despite his untimely death in 1965 at age 45—Nat sang and played just about everything at one time or another, from jazz and pop to country and spirituals and all else in between. To this day, his music—all of it—endures. In late 1956, at a time when Cole was arguably the most successful entertainer on the planet, he began a 13-month run as host of his own NBC television show, The Nat King Cole Show. Over the years, bits and pieces of music and footage from the show have surfaced, mostly on unauthorized bootlegs. This new collection from Real Gone Music includes more than two dozen of the rarest and choicest performances from The Nat King Cole Show, coupled with nearly 30 minutes of additional music from a 1963 appearance on Australian television being released for the very first time in America. On display, particularly in the material from his own show, is Nat’s willingness to tackle a variety of material and genres rather than simply trotting out renditions of his most familiar and successful records. Appearing in this 2-disc set are many songs that Cole never recorded commercially or even sang again in public, with arrangements by such giants as Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Gordon Jenkins. And when he does sing one of his hits (like “Mona Lisa,” “Too Young,” or “Ramblin’ Rose”), they often scarcely resemble the studio recordings. Remastered by Mike Milchner—who engineered Real Gone’s acclaimed set of Peggy Lee radio performances—and offering liner notes by Cole expert Jordan Taylor festooned with photos taken from the Nat King Cole estate archives, Stardust—The Rare Television Performances represents a major addition to the Nat King Cole discography. It also reminds us what a fantastic entertainer and visionary artist he truly was.  SONGS:  Disc 11. Button Up Your Overcoat2. It's Not For Me To Say3. Sweet Lorraine 4. April Love5. I Am in Love6. C'est Si Bon7. Passing By8. A Blossom Fell9. Maybe It's Because I Love You Too Much10. Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)11. With You On My Mind12. My One Sin13. When Rock And Roll Come to Trinidad14. Once In A While 15. I'm in the Mood For Love16. I Thought About Marie17. My Heart Stood Still18. St. Louis Blues        
 Disc 21. Love Is Sweeping the Country2. It's All in the Game 3. Life is Just A Bowl of Cherries   4. Rosetta5. The Nearness of You6. Careless Love7. My Personal Possession8. Stardust9. The Way You Look Tonight10. When I Fall in Love11. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself a Letter12. Mona Lisa13. Too Young14. Where or When15. Dear Lonely Hearts16. I Love A Piano17. Ramblin' Rose

Friday, November 27, 2015

Svetlana & The Delancey Five Energize the Connection Between Band and Audience with Vintage-Inspired Swing on Debut Album Night at the Speakeasy

The sounds of hot jazz and swing conjure images of a long-lost world of back-alley speakeasies, frenetic dancers, bathtub gin and tommy gun-toting gangsters. Monday night regulars at New York's Back Room, where Svetlana & The Delancey Five have held swinging court for more than three years, know that the world isn't quite as lost as it may seem (minus the gangsters and with booze made in more sanitary conditions).

With the release of Night at the Speakeasy, produced by Grammy® Award-winner Guy Eckstine and co-produced by drummer Rob Garcia, the rest of us finally have the chance to revel in the sounds of the Delancey Five and their Moscow-born chanteuse, Svetlana Shmulyian (Eckstine called her "Astrid Gilberto via Moscow"). This is no strict throwback band, however; the repertoire on their debut album combines swing-era classics with modern pop songs by the Beatles and the Beach Boys, and original tunes from the pen of Svetlana and her bandmates, who are also noted for their work in the straightahead and modern jazz worlds. There's even a tune by the Russian-German trumpeter/composer Eddie Rosner sung by Svetlana in her native tongue.

"No other band on the hot jazz and swing scene would do a song in Russian," says Svetlana with considerable understatement. "I'm interested in songs in any genre. I wanted to write and record songs that you could dance to but that you could also listen to on the radio, in the car, or wherever. It's music that makes you smile."

Indeed, it's hard to suppress a grin when Svetlana's sweet, winsome tones intertwine with the warm, gravelly voice of legendary trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Over the years that Svetlana has been performing on the New York jazz scene, Gordon has become a mentor and collaborator, contributing several arrangements to Night at the Speakeasy along with singing and playing on the album. "Wycliffe has a natural chemistry with the band," Svetlana says. "He's truly one of the most professional, supportive musicians and band members that I know. He behaves like a soldier in an army that I lead, and then when he steps out the whole room lights up in a different color."

Gordon joins an all-star band that includes drummer Rob Garcia, a bandleader on the modern Brooklyn scene as well as an in-demand sideman (Wynton Marsalis, Anat Cohen, Woody Allen, Vince Giordano, Dianna Krall); Australian-born reeds player Adrian Cunningham, (lead alto saxophone for Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Wycliffe Gordon, Professor Cunningham and His Old School); trumpeter Charlie Caranicas (Independence Hall Jazz Band, the Karrin Allyson Group, Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra); master ragtime and stride pianist Dalton Ridenhour (Bria Skomberg, Vince Giordano); bassist George Delancey (Winard Harper, Christian Howes, Richard Galliano, Aaron Diehl); and guitarist Vinny Raniolo (longtime collaborator with Frank Vignola).

Every Monday the band plays for a packed crowd combining swing dancers, jazz aficionados, and those Svetlana refers to as "jazz curious" at the Back Room, one of only two speakeasies from the days of Prohibition still operating today. Located behind Ratner's Deli on Delancey Street (hence the name of the band), the clandestine bar was purportedly the haunt of such underworld notables as Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano.

Since forming in the spring of 2012, Svetlana & The Delancey Five have gone on to consistently sell out a number of renowned New York jazz venues including the Blue Note, B.B. King's, Ginny's Supper Club, Zinc Bar, City Winery, and Kitano while maintaining their home base at the Back Room. The band has also become one of the most in-demand features at the numerous sold out hot jazz and swing events (Prohibition Production, Gemeni & Scorpio, Times Square flashmobs which consistently draw hundreds of attendants) - as well as secured residencies in popular Brooklyn spots whereby seamlessly integrating into the thriving Brooklyn music scene. It's an interesting culmination of the story of a Russian girl who grew up singing, studying piano and classical vocal, singing in traditional Russian choirs - but, at insistence of her family of engineers, studied a more practical subject of mathematics.

It's not an immigrant story that begins in hardship, however. "I had a fabulous, happy childhood in the dark concrete buildings of Moscow," Svetlana recalls. "I have a great family and I guess that's where it starts and ends - it doesn't matter where you are or how long you have to stand in line to get bread and butter. I come from a family of nerds and engineers and the reality of becoming a full-time artist seemed really far-fetched, but in my heart of hearts I always knew I was an artist." 

However after completing her mathematics degree with high honors in Moscow - Svetlana enrolled in Moscow College of Improvised Music and Jazz. Still the scholarship landed her in New York - where she arrived with one suitcase and a guitar on a crisp autumn day.  Soon thereafter she was playing occasional gigs by night. It wasn't until the late 2000's that she turned her full attention to being a musician, after forming a band for a summer music festival. "I was immediately hooked," she says. "We do this because we couldn't imagine our lives without it. The exhilaration of coming together with other musicians and producing this most abstract work of art, there one minute and gone the next, keeps you wanting to go back so badly."

After a few years singing in a variety of contexts and languages, Svetlana fell into the hot jazz and swing circuit, finding the exhilaration in singing songs she listened to on old LPs since she was a kid and feeling highly energized by singing for mixed audiences of listeners and dancers. In a way that style harkened back to her earliest jazz experience, when she took her school lunch allowance to a Moscow department store determined to buy the album with the highest number of songs, whatever it was. That ended up being 30 By Ella, Ella Fitzgerald's 1968 recording of a half-dozen medleys arranged by Benny Carter.

Through the auspices of the Back Room, Svetlana formed the Delancey Five in 2012. She began writing her own songs at Wycliffe Gordon's behest, and in 2013 enrolled at the one of the most prestigious and demanding graduate jazz vocal performance programs, the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied vocal performance with Theo Bleckmann, Gretchen Parlato, and Kate McGarry, and composition and arranging with Jim McNeely and Phil Markowitz. The band regularly joins forces with a DJ collective for an electro-swing series, The Speakeasy Sessions for large-scale vintage-inspired soirees in warehouse-style venues of the Lower East Side and Brooklyn.  Svetlana is also a frequent featured vocalist of several New York based big bands (George Gee, Seth Weaver, etc).  Svetlana's vintage-inspired swing appeals strongly to both dancers and listeners - be that at a high brow jazz club or an underground Brooklyn speakeasy.  The band's "magnificent energy" (noted by the collaborator, Wycliffe Gordon) reflects the magic of "social music" which goes to the very root of how swing became popular in 1920s and why it is on the uprise again today - in that every live performance creates a strong connection between the band and it's audience that consumes the music with their minds, their hearts, and their whole bodies.  As Will Friedwald states in the record's liner notes, this may be the reason why "Svetlana will be singing it and leading one of the major bands in the idiom for some time to come".
Upcoming Svetlana & The Delancey Five Performances:
Jan. 15 / BBKings / New York, NY
Nov. 20 / Shapeshifter Lab / Brooklyn, NY
Dec. 15 / MTA Subway Swing Party / New York, NY
Dec. 25 / Zinc Bar / New York, NY
Jan. 11 / Mezzrow Jazz Club / New York, NY
Jan 13. / Urbo Gotham Club / New York, NY

Svetlana & The Delancey Five Weekly Residences:
Monday / Back Room / New York, NY
Wednesday / Bedford Hall / Brooklyn, NY

Svetlana & The Delancey Five · Night at the Speakeasy

Origin / OA2 Records · Release Date: January 15, 2015  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Guitar Virtuoso Micha Schellhaas To Release Full-Length Debut Album Featuring Supertramp's Carl Verheyen and Drum Legend Chad Wakerman

Much to the excitement of guitarists worldwide, guitar virtuoso Micha Schellhaas will be releasing his full-length debut album “Double Take” on December 1st. The album features Supertramp guitar legend Carl Verheyen and drummer Chad Wakerman, who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa and Allan Holdsworth.

Says Micha, “ 'Double Take', my first full length release, reflects my relationship with the US and my journey to come and in the end live here. After I was already established in Europe with steady gigs and my own recording studio, the artist in me was still not happy and I needed to go and check out the source and birthplaces of the music and 'sound' I was most inspired by: Jazz, Blues and Rock. My first trip was a 3 month driving loop starting and ending in NYC all the way through New Orleans, Austin, LA, San Francisco and back. Songs like 'Travel Song' and 'Texaleans' reflect that time. Later I lived in Austin/Texas for a while and you can hear that 'Stevie Ray' sound in my songs 'Ford F-150’ and ‘Your Turn’ that also features a blazing solo by Carl Verheyen. Now living in LA more fusion influences came back to my writing in compositions like 'Velocity' and '5&6'.”

“Micha Schellhaas has a unique touch on the guitar that sets him apart from everyone playing the instrument today. That feel, in combination with his beautiful composing is what makes him a joy to listen to.” - Carl Verheyen

Micha Schellhaas is an LA-based guitarist living his dream and fulfilling his mission to make music as a solo artist, accompanist and composer. In 2013, he released his first EP, “Wings of Fire”, recorded at the renowned Sunset Studios in Hollywood. “Wings of Fire” was produced by Carl Verheyen (Supertramp) who also performed on the tracks, and featuring several other industry veterans (Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa), Dave Marotta (Manhattan Transfer, Burt Bacharach), Jim Cox (Mark Knopfler, Robben Ford). The EP is an exciting prelude to the full-length album due for release in 2015.

Heavily influenced by classic rock, blues and jazz, Micha has been playing guitar since he was 9 years old. Born in Germany, his musical career began in Europe where he gained a Master's degree in jazz guitar from the prestigious Dutch ARTEZ conservatory, and produced music from his former recording studio, TRINIX Studio, in the Netherlands. Having performed and toured in numerous European countries, he took on the U.S. for the first time in 2008, to explore the home of original blues and rock 'n' roll music and the main inspiration for his artistic journey. Coast-to-coast travels included an extended stint in Austin, Texas, where he was actively involved in the local jazz and blues scene, and enjoyed the opportunity to perform at the renowned SXSWfestival with his improvised street band, the “Rebel Street Show”. Micha is keeping his bonds with Austin strong, visiting on a regular basis and constantly exchanging with Texan and local Austin artists.

Micha settled in California in 2013, where his musical career has gone from strength to strength, operating from his private recording studio in Venice Beach. With a top selection of classic vintage instruments, amplifiers and state of the art recording equipment, the MichaMusic Studio is a home base for recording guitars on his own projects, collaborations and hired recording work. Micha is recording instruction videos and gear demos from his studio as well, most notable is his recent work for the top class, southern California boutique guitar builder Ian A. Guitars and Electric Alchemist Pickups.

Says Micha, “Carl Verheyen produced the album. He is a guitar legend, and brought all his guitar wisdom and experience with him in the studio. He is also a vintage guitar expert and has countless hours of experience recording great guitar sounds with vintage gear. His own albums set standards in guitar music today.

“Chad Wackerman played the drums. He started his career when he was only 17 years old and played alongside Steve Vai in Frank Zappa's band. He is to this day one of the top drummers in the world. His organic playing is just as much supporting as it is exciting and really defined the sound of this album. Chad caught on the unique details of each tune and groove immediately, and really made everything shine. He was my number one drummer in the world for the record, since I knew he can play a swing, a texas blues, a tune with brushes and a heavy riff odd meter tune all on one record and make it fit together perfectly.

“Jim Cox played Hammond B-3, Grand Piano and Fender Rhodes. He is touring with Mark Knopfler and Robben Ford regularly. Jim has a fantastic way of playing that is colorful and strong, always supporting the song and never in the way of the guitars. He can pick up a solo in any style right away and plays great chords to support the melody. He is one of the finest Organ players around and we made sure we had a B3 at the studio.

“Dave Marotta played bass. He also played on several of Carl's albums and is well known for his work with Gino Vannelli and Burt Bacharach. He, Carl and Chad have been playing together for a long time and it was great to have a well working rhythm section for the recordings right from the start. Dave's super solid playing and quick communication with Chad solidified the vibe of a great band just having fun in the studio and recording a record full of interesting grooves and great arrangements.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Joe Cocker's Legacy Celebrated With Two-CD The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits 1968-2013

It's almost one year ago since Joe Cocker died at his home, Mad Dog Ranch, on the 22nd December, 2014, aged 70. The iconic British rock star has been much missed. He was undoubtedly one of the pre-eminent rock musicians of his generation, releasing 22 studio albums, 10 live albums, 68 singles, and numerous compilations during his lifetime.

Universal Music Enterprises is honoring the memory of Joe Cocker with the release of the two-CD collection, The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits 1968-2013, a 36-track compilation which comes out December 11. The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits 1968-2013 is the first comprehensive double album with all the hits and highlights of his career, the definitive 'Best Of' of all time, encapsulating Cocker's entire musical history, delivered in his signature husky blues voice. The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits 1968-2013 offers a career retrospective, with tracks from his 1969 A&M Records debut, With a Little Help From My Friends, which included the title song – a UK No. 1 in 1968 – his first single  "Marjorine," which Joe penned, and his cover of Traffic's "Feelin' Alright"; his self-titled sophomore album (featuring his covers of the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," George Harrison's "Something," Leon Russell's "Delta Lady" and the Lovin' Spoonful's "Darling Be Home Soon") and, of course, "Up Where We Belong," his hit with Jennifer Warnes, to the title track of his final studio album, Fire It Up, and a live version of "You Are So Beautiful," recorded in Cologne, Germany, in February, 2013, with both never available in the U.S.

Two additional Joe Cocker titles have also been made available on CD including two of his final three album releases. Hymn For My Soul, his 20th studio album was first released in 2007. Produced by Ethan Johns, who plays several instruments on the album, the songs include his signature covers of George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness," Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells," John Fogerty's "Long As I Can See The Light," The Meters' "Love Is For Me," Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'" and a Cocker favorite, Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation." Guest musicians on the album include Benmont Tench from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, guitar legend Albert Lee, drum icons Jim Keltner and James Gadson, and horn players Greg Adams (Tower of Power) and Tom Scott. The disc's spiritual theme put the record in the top 10 of the Christian Album chart.   

Fire It Up was Cocker's 22nd and final studio album. A hit across Europe when first issued in 2012, reaching the Top 5 in several countries, going platinum in Germany, the album is now receiving its first-ever U.S. release. Produced by Matt Serletic, known for his work with Matchbox Twenty and many other artists, the album features songs by Keith Urban, Joss Stone, Marc Cohen and Marc Broussard, and includes three bonus tracks including Serletic's "The Last Road," Marc Cohn's "Walk Through the World With Me" and "Let Love Decide."

Cocker always gave his carefully curated songs his unmistakable trademark regardless of genre from Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer In The City" to Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross," with his own signature stamp, an incomparable interpretation, often and publically endorsed by the original writers. Paul McCartney was quoted:  "He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people, I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover 'With A Little Help From My Friends' and I remember him and Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that."

Joe Cocker was born in Sheffield on 20th May, 1944 to Harold and Madge, into a working-class background. Cocker crafted his performance in inner city pubs and clubs, even supporting The Rolling Stones in November, 1963 at Sheffield City Home under the name Vance Arnold And The Avengers.  But Cocker finally came to the forefront of the musical landscape when he delivered a historic performance at Woodstock on Sunday 17th August, 1969. That iconic moment led to The Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour in 1970, and he remained relevant through five decades, constantly delivering music and emotions to audiences around the world.   

Cocker's final and official posthumous album The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits 1968-2013 is a collection of outstanding songs over two CDs; an essential album for every music collection, the final curtain call for an artist loved and missed. These three releases offer a fitting retrospective on one of the most remarkable musical careers in rock history.

Kendrick Scott's World Culture Music To Release LOTUS From Guitarist MIKE MORENO Featuring Aaron Parks, Doug Weiss & Eric Harland

Kendrick Scott's World Culture Music is set to release Lotus, the much-anticipated fifth album (& third self-produced project) from guitarist/composer Mike Moreno. Moreno is a musician who has established himself on the global jazz scene in a profound way, garnering high praise from critics, fans, colleagues, and from none other than Pat Metheny and Mike Stern. As a leader, Lotus brings Moreno's creative output to five recordings, and one could argue that they should be considered must-have recordings for any serious collection.  

Lotus, featuring musicians that Moreno has a long and happy history with, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Eric Harland, is a documentation of Moreno's most honest music to date.  "This is Aaron's fourth record with me," Moreno explains, "and it sort of continues what we started on Aaron's Blue Note Records debut Invisible Cinema, which featured both myself and Eric Harland. That was a defining record for both Aaron and I, and everywhere I go, that's the most talked-about record of my career to date. So in a way, this is part two of Invisible Cinema. It certainly has the same appeal, a great band with a set of melodic songs and the always strong rhythmic concept from Eric Harland." "Eric, from Houston, like myself, also attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, and we began playing on his visits back to Houston after he moved to NYC. He was the first great drummer I played with. I still remember feeling that force coming from the drums for the first time. It was incredible. Lotus marks the first time Eric has recorded with me on one of my own projects. It was long overdue." "Doug Weiss has been a part of my band almost from the beginning, starting when he was one of my teachers at the New School. I loved his playing and asked him to do some gigs with me when I started to work with my own band. He ended up playing on my first two records, and is just one of most solid bassists out there, always playing beautiful supportive notes and exactly what is needed."

Lotus is comprised of all original Mike Moreno compositions. Some were composed during an artist residence that Moreno took part in at the Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit Gardens, in Pocantico Hills, NY ("The Hills Of Kykuit" and "The Empress"). The guitarist/composer explained, "The more I compose the simpler my music gets and the more it sounds like me, rather than a mix of my influences." "Can We Stay Forever?" is a ballad that didn't make the cut for Moreno's previous release, Another Way, but fit very nicely in the set for this record. The rest of the recording was written in the years since Another Way was released in 2012. The most recent composition is "Epilogue-The Rise", which was finished just a week before the record date, and composed by Moreno specifically for this band.

Moreno wants Lotus to be a recording that people from all walks of life can listen to and enjoy over and over again. "This is meant to be a record you can listen to like any other genre of music, whether your a jazz fan or musician, a lawyer, whatever. It is an album of which I'm extremely proud, and I hope that when the listener walks away from their computer, stereo, car, iPod, etc., that these melodies stick with them, even after the first listen."

Originally from Houston, Texas, Mike Moreno began studying music formally at the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a school renowned for its musical alumni, which includes such luminaries as Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Brian Michael Cox, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Kendrick Scott, and Beyoncé. After graduating he moved to NYC with a scholarship to attend the New School University. While still in school he began getting calls to perform and tour with some of the most venerable names in the jazz world, as well as rising stars firmly en route to establishing their careers.

Recognized as one of the leading voices in the jazz guitar world, Moreno has toured and recorded extensively as a leader, playing original music to high critical acclaim. As Nate Chinen describes in his column in JazzTimes Magazine ("The Gig"), "There are many other guitarists out there pushing towards a modern ideal, but none with the precise coordinates that Mike Moreno has charted."

Over the years, Moreno has performed and/or recorded with numerous major artists, both inside and outside of the jazz genre, including Claudia Acuña, Bilal, Terence Blanchard, Ralph Bowen, Leonardo Cioglia, John Ellis, Kenny Garret, Robert Glasper, Jimmy Greene, Stefon Harris, Frank Locrasto, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jason Moran, Me'Shell N'Degeocello, Greg Osby 4, Gretchen Parlato, Aaron Parks, Nicholas Payton Quartet, Jeremy Pelt, The Joshua Redman Elastic Band, Bob Reynolds, Kendrick Scott, Marcus Strickland, Yosvany Terry, Myron Walden, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Lizz Wright Band, Sam Yahel, and others.

Additionally, Moreno has appeared on three Grammy-nominated recordings. In 2010 both Q-Tip's "The Renaissance" and Geoffrey Keezzer's "Aurea" were nominated for Best Album in their categories, as well in 2008, Eldar's "Re-Imagination" received the same nomination in the Jazz Category.

In 2007, Moreno released his debut CD on the World Culture Music label, Between The Lines, which Chinen featured in The New York Times as one of his top 10 jazz albums of 2007. He recorded his second and third albums, Third Wish (2008) and First In Mind (2011), for the European jazz label, Criss-Cross Records. His most recent album, Another Way, was recently released by World Culture Music, and was named one of the 25 "Best of 2012" Jazz Releases on iTunes. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015



Vocalist Cyrille Aimée was primarily raised in France by a French father and Dominican mother. As a curious child in Samois-sur-Seine, she would sneak out of her bedroom window to wander into the nearby gypsy encampments filled with those attending the annual Django Reinhardt Festival. She quickly fell in love with gypsy music and way of life; years later she would sing on street corners with friends while traveling across Europe. While in the midst of one such odyssey, she found herself at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where she won first prize in the vocal competition - which included the financing of her first self-produced album. In her second Mack Avenue Records recording, the groove-spirited Let’s Get Lost, rising-star vocalist and bandleader Cyrille Aimée wonderfully displays her versatility as a sweet-sounding jazz songbird with a catchy repertoire—from new takes on old-time standards to crowd-pleasing originals and even a hip singer-songwriter tune that closes the 12-song collection. 


The latest edition in the Brazilika series played host to our innovative DJ friend Spiritual South's stonking mix of firmly floor-focused Brazilian reworks. Now, for the first time, every single track from Spiritual South's mix is available individually, or as a complete set. The wealth of previously unreleased tracks on Brazilika Unmixed includes seven scorching remixes from Spiritual South himself, Daniel Maunick remixing the legendary Azymuth in his Dokta Venom guise, the head-spinning fusion of Latin and footwork from TS Repman (one of the many alias’ of UK dance trailblazer IG Culture) and the heady ambience of left-field hip-hop maestro Paul White’s remix of The Ipanemas’ ‘Seu Dario’. Also included is a track from Ashley Beedle's hotly-tipped new 12" release, the samba-soaked cosmic house remix of Sabrina Malheiros' 'Opara'. All this without even mentioning the timeless cuts from true dance music trailblazers such as Theo Parrish, 4Hero, Mark Pritchard and Jazzanova.


William Kurk's always given us plenty of great music on his own – but this time around, he pays tribute to a host of classic talents in soul music – with performances of tracks by artists who include Harvey Mason, Leon Ware, Donald Fagan, Michael Jackson, Chick Corea, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, and Herbie Hancock! The sound is great overall – much richer than you might expect from the 8-bit videogame parody image on the cover – and, if anything, Kurk's even further developed his musical style out of respect for the legends on the record – working here with lots of great jazzy currents that really fit the tunes. Titles include "Lazy Nina", "Movin Out", "Secret Life Of Plants", "All The Same Tonight", "Your Eyes", "Love's Holiday", "Breakout", "Spiraling Prism", "Cool & Caressing", "Come Live With Me Angel", and "Through The Fire".  ~ Dusty Groove

Pianist Lisa Hilton Explores a Night of Personal Emotion on Latest Album, Nocturnal - Featuring Performances by J.D. Allen, Terell Stafford, Gregg August and Antonio Sánchez

Composer, pianist, and band-leader Lisa Hilton has completed her 18th release, Nocturnal, with her most impressive band to date featuring tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, trumpeter Terell Stafford, bassist Gregg August and drummer Antonio Sánchez. The 11-track album shows remarkable emotional depth and clarity from all band members, exploring the reactive emotions that follow an ill-fated night of events. "It comes from having something not go your way, and what that means to you as you explore the natural reactions to an event in your own personal manner," explains Hilton. Personal is the key, as Hilton hopes to use musical exploration and improvisation to connect with the listener on a person-to-person basis. "We were trying to explore the multiple layers of human emotions musically."

These emotions - anger, confusion, love, desire, hope and sadness - are extensively explored throughout the album, reflective in the titles of each song. The feelings demand certain questions to be asked - Where is my mind? Am I going crazy? Is there hope? - with each composition offering a deeply profound answer to life's greatest dilemmas.

For lovers of tradition, the title track "Nocturnal," "Whirlwind," and the classic "Willow Weep for Me," allow for Stafford's fluid trumpet and flugelhorn as well as Allen's deep tenor tone to shine. The Latin flavored, "A Spark in the Night," showcases Sánchez and August's extensive Latin backgrounds in a catchy and appealing manner, while "Twilight" is impressionistic.

A surprise choice is a cover of The Pixies' "Where is My Mind" which is so simply stated in true form and turns in another direction by the finale. It's on the bluesy "Seduction" and the tender "An August Remembered" that Hilton's flowing lines and melodic ideas are highlighted. "Midnight Sonata," written for a trio consisting of piano, bass and drums,merges the classical form with the freedom of American jazz and blues in a trans-genre style. Inspired by iconic American composers such as George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck - who also composed in classical forms - Hilton lands on a composition that is appealing to both jazz and classical fans alike. "Midnight Sonata" was also written to communicate an emotional depth not normally found in sonatas. While the sonata form is intact, Hilton and her trio use improvisation, blues, modal washes, shifting key centers, free jazz, impressionism and extended technique to create a refreshing yet familiar vibe.

As a distinctive and thought provoking composer/pianist, Hilton creates compositions that draw on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists, and the avant-garde as much as they look back to icons of American jazz and blues. Hilton's post bop style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters, minimalists like Steve Reich, current rockers Green Day and The Black Keys or modernists Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok.

Originally from a small town on California's central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso. In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the program, she became a music school drop out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art instead. "I approach music as art now," Hilton explains; "I build the composition with musical elements then 'paint' texture and color through improvisation and other concepts."

Hilton has produced a total of 18 albums to date, representing over 200 compositions to her name.  She has worked with many of this era's jazz luminaries, notably Christian McBride, Nasheet Waits, Steve Wilson, Jeremy Pelt, Lewis Nash, Billy Hart, Bobby Militello, Larry Grenadier, and Marcus Gilmore among others.  Her releases regularly appear on radio charts.

Committed to helping students who are often overlooked, Hilton regularly spends time to help young blind musicians at the historic Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, The Junior Blind of America in Los Angeles, Camp Bloomfield for the Blind in Malibu, California, or with The Berklee College of Music in Boston and their adaptive music lab for visually impaired musicians.  "I enjoy extending help to those with physical disabilities - music should be for everyone," Hilton explains.

Upcoming Lisa Hilton Performances:

* January 17 / Weill Hall At Carnegie Hall / New York, NY
March 4 / Smothers Hall Pepperdine University / Malibu, CA
March 10 / Junior Blind of America / Los Angeles, CA
March 12 / Classic Pianos / Portland, OR
March 24 / SFJazz / San Francisco, CA
April 13 / Chicago Lighthouse / Chicago, IL

* Album Release featuring J.D. Allen, Ingrid Jensen, Ben Williams and Rudy Royston

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cult funk ensemble Brooklyn Funk Essentials release Funk Ain't Ova

The cult funk ensemble Brooklyn Funk Essentials has released its fifth studio album, Funk Ain’t Ova, worldwide today. It coincides with the 20th anniversary of the celebrated debut album, Cool & Steady & Easy, and offers a collection of eclectic songs using BFE’s signature melange of funk, disco, jazz, ska, latin and house flavors. The album sees BFE go back to their roots, bringing together many of the original members and reuniting with original label Dorado Records, who first signed the band back in 1994.

Iconic producer Arthur Baker and bassist/musical director Lati Kronlund founded Brooklyn Funk Essentials in 1993. Band members came from New York’s buzzing hip hop-jazz and slam poetry scenes and soon formed into a 12-piece live outfit, rotating some of the city’s finest young musicians, DJs, poets, rappers and singers.

Lead single “Blast It!” is an all-star funk jam featuring the soulful voices of Stephanie McKay, Desmond Foster and Papa Dee along with Everton Sylvester’s dub poetry. Other standout album tracks include the deeply funky “I’m Gonna Find Me A Woman,” a re-working of an unreleased track written in the nineties with the late, great Isaac Hayes. The disco jam “Dance Or Die” sees the return of Joi Cardwell on lead vocals, who also appears on “Gabriel,” a ska/boogaloo re-imagining of the Roy Davis Jr. and Peven Everett seminal club hit. Stephanie McKay sings lead on the anthemic “Prepare,” which was co-written by legendary house diva Crystal Waters who also provides background vocals, and “Unique,” co-written by Carlton McCarthy, which features the vibraphones of Bill Ware, who returns for the first time since Cool & Steady & Easy.

The horn section, led by Iwan VanHetten (trumpet and keys) and Anna Brooks (saxes) also includes cameos from founding members Josh Roseman (trombone), Bob Brockmann (trumpet), and Paul Shapiro (sax and flute). Hux Nettermalm and Yancy Drew play drums with Danny Sadownick on percussion and Desmond Foster and Masa Shimizu on guitars.

Drummer Robby Ameen Breaks Beyond Preconceived Genres on Latest Release Days in the Night

Cutting Edge Mixture of High-Energy Afro-Cuban, Funk & Post-Bop Jazz Elevates Reinvents Traditions

Grammy® Award-winning drummer Robby Ameen's latest release, Days in the Night features his all-star working band, tenor saxophonists Troy Roberts and Bob Franceschini, trombonist Conrad Herwig, pianist Manuel Valera and bassists Lincoln Goines and Yunior Terry. On
Days in the Night the band lays down a mixture of high-energy, cutting-edge Afro-Cuban, funk and post-bop jazz that smoothly blends together to create a unique and eclectic sound.  Even with these varying genres wrapped into one, the band never looses its roots in preserving the tradition of Afro-Cuban and Latin music - consistently paying homage to the rhythms that have shaped its history.

 Also participating as an invited guest is Ameen's longtime employer, Ruben Blades, taking us on a journey of guaguanco, salsa and timba jazz. The band's lengthy and wide history of playing together allows them to move and react through a variety of genres while still retaining the focus and understanding of a group sound. The cohesiveness of the band is one to marvel considering the polyrhythmic tendencies of each player with every musician contributing brilliantly to the overall tight sound. Most of the repertoire consists of Ameen's original compositions and arrangements, incorporating the many styles and influences he has absorbed as a sideman for such diverse artists as Ruben Blades, Jack Bruce, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Valentin, Paul Simon and Eddie Palmieri. Meanwhile he has grown as a composer and arranger through the experience of leading his own bands over the last fifteen years.

The album also includes several duets between Robby and Troy Roberts exploring the freedom in the pairing of sax and drums while playing over interesting form-based arrangements. Days in the Night is a record that lives up to the realization that progressive jazz can go into so many different directions as long as the integrity of its roots are still respected, that categories are less relevant than ever before, and that one can be free to use all of one's listening and playing experiences to go beyond preconceived labels.

Ameen will be performing music from Days in the Night at Club Bonafide on Saturday, December 12. Ameen will be joined by the same band that appears on the album for two sets at 8:00 and 10:30pm.

Robby Ameen has lived in New York City since the early '80s and has established a recording career stretching from Dizzy Gillespie to Paul Simon, while maintaining a more than 20-year relationship with Latin icon Ruben Blades as a member of Seis del Solar. Although he is of Lebanese origin, Ameen is best known for the unique and powerful Afro-Cuban jazz style he has developed. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, Ameen was able to take advantage of his proximity to New York City by going to clubs and hearing many of the great jazz masters at a very young age. At the same time, he was involved in the local jazz and Latin scene, as well as later attending Yale University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in literature. His jazz roots were strongly influenced by his studies with the great Ed Blackwell in high school, while in college he studied classical percussion with the renowned Fred Hinger. As a leader, Ameen wrote, arranged, and produced the album Days in the Life, and as a co-leader has recorded three records with the "El Negro and Robby Band" alongside drummer Horacio "el Negro" Hernandez. He helped found the Latin-jazz power trio "Overproof," and also made two latin-jazz records with Seis del Solar.

BOOM Collective and Winter Jazzfest Founder and Le Poisson Rouge Music Director Brice Rosenbloom Named Winner of Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award, Presented by the Jazz Connect Conference

Trumpeter and Bandleader Steven Bernstein to Introduce Rosenbloom During Keynote Session on January 14, 2016
at Jazz Connect Conference at Saint Peter's Church in NYC

The Jazz Connect Conference has announced the second recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award, created in 2014 in honor of the esteemed jazz record executive who was a champion and advocate for so many jazz artists over the last four decades. The annual award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and vision in expanding the audience for jazz and who has made a real difference for the artists, the music and the audience. The award's first recipient was SFJAZZ founder and executive director Randall Kline, based not only on his long career as a jazz presenter and champion, but also on the herculean task of establishing the SFJAZZ Center in 2013.

Brice Rosenbloom, founder of the BOOM Collective and organizer of Winter Jazzfest, the Undead Music Festival, the BRIC Jazz Festival and other innovative live events, as well as music director of Le Poisson Rouge, will receive the award on the opening day of the Jazz Connect Conference on Thursday, January 14, 2016, as part of the keynote session.

Rosenbloom, a graduate of Northwestern University, worked with SF Jazz, Central Park SummerStage, Jazz at Lincoln Center, MAKOR/92nd Street Y, and the Knitting Factory before launching BOOM Collective (formerly boomBOOM Presents) in the fall of 2006. The organization brings a broad array of live music to thousands of New Yorkers every year around the city. BOOM Collective has been instrumental in programming concerts at various venues and festivals around the city including NYC Winter Jazzfest, Undead Music Festival, Jazz & Colors at The Met, Jazz & Colors Central Park, BRIC Jazzfest, Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Stuytown Music On The Oval Summer Concert Series, The Town Hall, The Apollo Theater, Celebrate Brooklyn, Central Park SummerStage, Merkin Concert Hall, Red Bull Music Academy, Hammerstein Ballroom, Travel+Leisure's Global Bazaar, Drom, The Bell House, Littlefield and at other NYC venues. In 2008, Rosenbloom was appointed the Music Director at Le Poisson Rouge and helped launch the programming vision for the new West Village venue at the site of the former Village Gate. Rosenbloom and BOOM Collective continue to curate a broad musical vision on additional stages around the city and beyond.

Peter Gordon, of the Jazz Forward Coalition and one the event's organizers, said that Rosenbloom's unique approach to presenting jazz made him an obvious choice for the award. "Brice is the embodiment of a free thinker who takes action," said Gordon. "The extraordinary success of Winter Jazzfest has shined a fresh light on the spirit and vigor of jazz and its reflections cast a glow on the jazz community as a whole."

Fellow conference organizer and JazzTimes publisher Lee Mergner added that, "Brice has managed to do what other jazz presenters have talked about doing for the last 25 years--bring a younger audience to the music without sacrificing its integrity."

Trumpeter and bandleader Steven Bernstein will introduce Rosenbloom during the keynote session at the Jazz Connect Conference. Bernstein has known Rosenbloom since he first came on the NYC live music scene in 2006. "Brice is what I call a true believer," said Bernstein. "I don't know why else he would be doing what he's doing. His Winter Jazzfest has become a NYC jazz institution--important socially, musically and economically. What I really like about him is that I can be brutally honest with him, and we can still create art and business together. That's the kind of mensch that I'm always happy to see."

For his part, Rosenbloom says about the award: "It is an absolute honor to be recognized by my peers, friends and colleagues for doing what I love by supporting this music. The music has always been an inspiration for my work, and the musicians that dedicate their lives to creating and performing are my constant motivation and driving force. I am humbled to receive an award named after a true champion of this music, Bruce Lundvall. Like Bruce, I hope to continue to support the music, its audience and its future."

The Jazz Connect Conference, organized by JazzTimes and the Jazz Forward Coalition, will be held January 14-15, 2016 at Saint Peter's Church in New York City and will lead into the annual APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Conference as well as Winter Jazzfest. Now in its fourth year, the conference will continue to focus on vital issues affecting the jazz community, with a theme of "Fresh Horizons."

Pre-Registration for the Jazz Connect Conference is only $125, with additional discounts offered to members of various organizations, such as APAP, JJA, JazzWeek, SESAC, ASCAP, BMI and CMA. Panel and workshop topics include: social media, jazz in the mainstream media, booking & touring strategies, streaming and downloading issues, the role of education for artists & organizations and many other engaging subjects. The lineup of moderators, panelists and speakers features an impressive cross-section of artists and professionals from around the world.

To pre-register for the conference, go to the event page. For more information about the Jazz Connect Conference, you can call (617) 315-9158, e-mail or go to the conference website.

Pianist Laurence Hobgood Steps into the Spotlight with New Heavy Hitting Trio on Honor Thy Fathers - Trio Features John Patitucci and Kendrick Scott

With Honor Thy Fathers, Laurence Hobgood embarks on a striking new chapter in what has already been a storied career. Hobgood's 18-year tenure as musical director for singer Kurt Elling drew to a close in late 2013, leading to a long-overdue step into the spotlight for the renowned virtuoso pianist, composer and arranger. He seizes that opportunity with a bold and original trio outing that pays homage to a selection of personal mentors, influences and father figures.

Hobgood's incredibly fruitful collaboration with Elling garnered Grammy® nominations for each of the ten albums on which they collaborated, two for Hobgood's arrangements, and a win for Hobgood as producer of 2009's Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane and Hartman. The same qualities that earned such high praise are brilliantly displayed here: finely crafted compositions, inventive arrangements, and deeply soulful expression.

There may be no greater testament to the esteem in which Hobgood is held among his peers than his collaborators on Honor Thy Fathers: bassist John Patitucci and drummer Kendrick Scott. The pianist isn't exaggerating when he refers to the pair as "two of the world's greatest musicians," but only modesty would exclude him from the same estimation. Hobgood originally worked with both under Elling's auspices - Patitucci on The Gate (2011) and Scott on its follow-up, 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project (2012) - but this recording session marked the first time all three had played together. Their sensitivity and profoundly intuitive interplay belies that fact, however, sounding more cohesive and empathetic than many a long-established trio.

While Hobgood has released several albums in the past, both solo and with jazz greats like Charlie Haden, Honor Thy Fathers marks a new beginning for the pianist, one in which he finally plays the lead role. "I'm in a unique position because I'm well known in the jazz world but I'm not known as a leader," he admits. "I've toured all over the world, played in the best situations alongside top acts, and worked with some of the greatest people in the record business. In the course of having those kinds of experiences you learn a lot about what goes into making a great record."

Honor Thy Fathers­ begins with its most obvious honoree: Burnet Hobgood, the pianist's father, who passed away in December 2000. "Sanctuary" movingly projects the sense of "quiet strength" that Hobgood always associated with his father, a theater artist and devoted family man. "He was very loving and brilliant but quietly so," Hobgood remembers. "For me, the ideal of manhood is a quiet, giving, loving strength and support. And that's who he was. Hence the statement about how he was my sanctuary for 41 years."

Another integral figure in Hobgood's early development was his teacher at the University of Illinois, the Sicilian-born classical composer Salvatore Martirano. He's memorialized with the elegant sweep of "Triptych;" intricate yet melodically lyrical, this piece exemplifies the "left turn," Martirano's cherished concept of the unexpected moment that makes harmonious sense. "It's the perfect thing to come right now, but the last thing you would have expected," Hobgood explains. "Sal and I both liked risk. I like to hear people painting themselves into corners and I want to find out how they'll get themselves out. Sal embodied what I think of as the big lessons of music."

Most of the tributes on Honor Thy Fathers pay respect to musical rather than personal influences. That begins with "Straighten Up and Fly Right," a cannily harmonized reinvention of Nat King Cole's signature tune. Buoyed by a sleek groove--and a smartly re-cast in 7/4 times--the piece is a raucous and rollicking take on the classic song, maintaining the sly humor of the original lyrics. Hobgood sums up the legendary pianist's legacy succinctly in the liner notes, writing, "Nat Cole is one of the most underrated jazz pianists who ever lived. Period."

"Give Me the Simple Life" and "The Waltz" celebrate Hobgood's two earliest piano heroes: the former is the first track on the first jazz record that young Hobgood ever owned, Oscar Peterson's "Tracks;" while the latter is an original penned in tribute to Bill Evans. Hobgood's own approach to the keyboard may show the more obvious influence of Evans' hushed genius, but the traces of what he calls Peterson's "ebullient, virtuosic artistry" remain as well. The album's closer, "Shirákumo No Michi (White Cloud Way)," salutes Wayne Shorter by drawing on The Way of the White Clouds, an inspirational book about a German-born man who became a Lama in Tibet - an apt parallel for the mystically-minded Shorter, who Hobgood calls "the paramount Bodhisattva of modern jazz music."

Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic," from the classic Songs in the Key of Life shows off Hobgood's deft ability to both interpret popular song and to wholly re-imagine his material. Originally a wistful ballad, which Wonder sang to the accompaniment of a classical harp, Hobgood's rendition is a spry, up-tempo burner. Finally, with "The Road Home" Hobgood memorializes Charlie Haden, the influential bassist who passed away last year. The two played together on Hobgood's 2013 release When the Heart Dances, which proved to be a momentous occasion for the pianist.

"With 'The Road Home,' I set out to capture the combination of Charlie's soulfulness with his incredible intelligence, something that Charlie and I had in common," reflects Hobgood. "We both had family-based roots in southern traditional music - in his case, the folk music of the Ozark mountains, for me my parents' ties to Kentucky and the Appalachian traditional music of the Pine Mountain region. Getting to make a duet recording with Charlie was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. His sound was so huge because his spirit was so huge."

On Honor Thy Fathers, Hobgood's tips of the hat to these mentors come across not only through the pieces' literal dedications and choice of material. Perhaps the most important tribute he pays is by playing in the expressive, distinctive voice that each of them has played a part in forging.

Laurence Hobgood · Honor Thy Fathers
Release Date: February 12, 2016 

Friday, November 13, 2015


From humble beginnings touring American churches in her father’s caravan, Aretha Franklin has since been crowned the ‘Queen of Soul’ and is not only the definitive female soul singer of the Sixties, but also one of the most influential and important voices in pop history. Franklin fused the gospel music she grew up on with the sensuality of R&B, the innovation of jazz, and the precision of pop. After she hit her artistic and commercial stride in 1967, she made more than a dozen million-selling singles including "Respect," "Freeway of Love" and "I Say a Little Prayer", and since then has recorded 20 Number One R&B hits. Over her vast career, she has accumulated eighteen Grammy Awards, and become the most charted female artist in history. Unsurprisingly, she is regarded as being one of the best singers of the modern era, which paved her way into being the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. ‘The Atlantic Albums Collection’ houses 16 incredible Aretha Franklin albums in a beautiful 19CD clamshell box, each CD sleeve a replica of the original artwork in the unforgettable Atlantic branding. This boxset showcases some of the Queen of Soul’s incredible work including the phenomenal, ‘Lady Soul’, ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You’, ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ and the Deluxe version of ‘Live At The Fillmore West’ show. People Get Ready to Respect the Queen of Soul.

Includes the albums:
• I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
• Aretha Arrives
• Aretha Now
• Lady Soul
• Aretha In Paris
• Soul ’69
• This Girl’s In Love With You
• Spirit In The Dark
• Live At Fillmore West [Deluxe]
• Young, Gifted And Black
• Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings
• Let Me In Your Life
• Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky)
• Sparkle
• Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul

• Oh Me Oh My: Aretha Live In Philly, 1972


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...