Thursday, February 25, 2016


With hits like “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain,” Ronnie Spector ruled the pop charts worldwide as lead singer of the archetypal 1960s girl group, the Ronettes. Now the iconic vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has signed with 429 Records and is set to release ENGLISH HEART – her first album of new material since 2006 – on April 8, 2016.  The Wall Street Journal premiered the first single “I’d Much Rather Be With the Girls” today.  Check it out here:

Produced and mixed by Grammy Award–winning producer, songwriter, and musician Scott Jacoby (Vampire Weekend, Sia, Coldplay), ENGLISH HEART is Ronnie’s personal love letter to 1960s Britain – where she toured with the Ronettes in 1964-1966, supported by the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton) among other acts. The eleven tracks of ENGLISH HEART comprise a collection of Ronnie’s hand–picked favorites including songs recorded by the Kinks (“Tired of Waiting”), the Animals (“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”), the Beatles (“I’ll Follow the Sun”), and Gerry & the Pacemakers (“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”).

Leading up to the April 8 release of ENGLISH HEART, the first single serviced to radio will be the Rolling Stones rarity “I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys,” written by Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham in 1964 but with the song’s title now changed to “I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls.” Ronnie will support the new album with performances in the U.S., Great Britain, and Europe.

“Be My Baby” was approaching the peak of the UK charts in January 1964 when Ronnie Spector stepped onto the tarmac at London’s Heathrow Airport to begin the Ronettes’ first British tour. With her inimitable voice, distinctive style, and exciting live performances, Ronnie soon found herself welcomed into the inner circle of British pop royalty.

“I’ll never forget my very first impressions of England in that winter of ‘64,” Ronnie recalls. “I’d never traveled outside the US before. To arrive at Heathrow and be welcomed by those kids was an amazing feeling. We’d never had fans waiting at an airport to greet us.”

ENGISH HEART is a musical homage to that magical time and an expression of Ronnie’s desire to sing from the most honest and intimate part of herself: Her performance is so raw and so real that the listener may seem to hear Ronnie’s life story in her interpretations of these songs. Scott Jacoby has preserved the timeless spirit of the material while bringing a distinctly con­temporary yet subtle touch.

This is the Ronnie Spector whose indomitable spirit and singular talent have inspired the admi­ration of countless peers including Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Joey Ramone, and Amy Winehouse. This is the REAL Ronnie Spector!
ENGLISH HEART Track Listing:

Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby)
I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Tired Of Waiting
Tell Her No
I’ll Follow The Sun
You’ve Got Your Troubles
Girl Don’t come
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart


David Krakauer is considered to be one of the most singular clarinet virtuosos on the planet. But beyond that he brings a point of view to the table that is uniquely his own. Continuing on a path of constant self discovery, Krakauer introduces the music of his latest CD Checkpoint (Table Pounding Records), on two consecutive nights, April 7 and 8, at Brooklyn's newest hot spot, National Sawdust.

Krakauer, a category-defying instrumentalist, uses his cultural heritage as a powerful inspiration for his music, informing and enabling his stylistically compelling projects. His is a singular vision, encompassing the diverse worlds of classical, klezmer, avant jazz, funk and electronica.

For the past 25 years Krakauer has been on a musical journey tracing his Eastern European roots. This voyage has found him revisiting his "ancestral homeland," from where his Russian/Polish grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated at the end of the 19th century. Traveling east through Berlin before the Wall came down, the checkpoint experiences became momentous creative touchstones for Krakauer.

Like a travel guide on a literal and metaphorical search, on Checkpoint he bears witness to the deep, joyous, human encounters he experienced. With his long-time band members of Ancestral Groove, he reveals the next step in his musical evolution - sharing with us all stories about the human condition.

Ancestral Groove, with Sheryl Bailey on electric guitar, Jerome Harris on electric bass, Michael Sarin on drums/percussion, and Keepalive on electronics, creates a bridge between Krakauer's singular take on jazz and world music, and guides us to another musical adventure. His threespecial guests on the CD Rob Curto, John Medeski and Marc Ribot add their own signatures to the mix.

Here's Krakauer remixing Krakauer, hitting the road with his unmistakable sound, new arrangements and an electrifying 4-piece band.

Born and raised in New York City, Krakauer experienced early exposure to diverse cultural influences. He earned his reputation as a Klezmer specialist, then showcased his formidable talents in other musical arenas, such as classical music, electronica and jazz. He has shared stages as a group member and soloist with a wide array of artists, string quartets,chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras - among them, the Klezmatics, John Zorn, Fred Wesley, Dawn Upshaw, Itzhak Perlman, Osvaldo Golijov, Eiko and Koma, Leonard Slatkin, Iva Bitova, Kronos Quartet, Tokyo, the Emerson Quartet, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Madrid, the Phoenix Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Dresdener Philharmonie and the Detroit Symphony.

1. Kickin' It For You, 5:33
2. Krakowsky Boulevard, 5:00
3. Tribe Number Thirteen, 5:37
4. Checkpoint Lounge, 5:42
5. Elijah Walks In, 5:37
6. Moldavian Voyage, 4:42
7. Synagogue Wail, 3:30
8. Border Town Pinball Machine, 4:10
9. Tandal, 5:23
10. Tribe Number Thirteen, 5:12


Grammy® Award-Winner Bill Charlap Debuts on impulse! Records with Notes From New York

Playing a melody is an art in itself, one that necessitates experience, intuition and humility. In the jazz capitol of the world, New York City, Bill Charlap is considered one of the great interpreters of melodies, songs written for musicals, and Broadway shows or films that when moved from their original source, become the standards that jazz artists make their own.

For his debut impulse! recording, Notes From New York, Charlap has defined and refined his position in the pantheon of New York piano stylists, whose highly influential jazz piano icons include Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, and Jimmy Rowles. Tony Bennett, with whom Charlap has recently collaborated with on the Grammy® Award-winning album The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern, effuses further that "in the tradition of Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, George Shearing, Count Basie and Duke Ellington - Bill Charlap joins them as one of the greatest American musicians of our time."

Charlap has hundreds of songs at his fingertips and he does justice to each one. He is capable of highlighting the subtlety of a phrase, mining the depth of a harmony, while allowing the meaning of the lyric to come through, even in an instrumental context. His touch has a rare elegance, and in this respect he is one of the heirs to a jazz piano tradition whose essential figures include the aforementioned, Jones, Flanagan and Shirley Horn - whom Charlap has known personally - as well as Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans and Sonny Clark.

The nine tracks of Notes from New York present the longstanding Bill Charlap Trio (featuring Kenny Washingon and Peter Washington) in peak performance, recorded immediately following a two-week run at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. The opener is the familiar "I'll Remember April," featuring the spirited brushwork of Kenny Washington, and the closer is a transcendent, solo ballad interpretation of the well-known, "On the Sunny Side of the Street."

The remainder of the album is comprised of standards that are rarely performed, some of them truly hidden treasures. For example, "Make Me Rainbows" is from the original soundtrack of the 1967 film Fitzwilly, which was written by John Williams a few years before he made his name alongside Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The depth of the groove on this track is a testament to how these three musicians swing as one. "Not a Care in the World," written by Vernon Duke, was a staple of Bobby Short's repertoire at the Café Carlyle. Charlap plays a dancing solo that doubles in intensity when Kenny Washington picks up his sticks. The sublime, "There Is No Music" develops with a poetic sense of space as Charlap expresses a full range of tonal colors. With "A Sleepin' Bee," Charlap delivers a solo that is filled with humor and, it seems, all the unpredictable character of a bumblebee in flight.

Charlap first discovered "Little Rascal on a Rock" on the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis album, New Life. Years later, he received a copy of the piece from Thad's older brother, Hank. On this track, the trio swings with elasticity and precision. The most interior track of the album is the haunting "Too Late Now" by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, with Peter Washington's poignant bass solo being a highlight. Written by guitarist Tiny Grimes and made immortal by Charlie Parker, "Tiny's Tempo," reminds us that bebop is an integral part of the trio's musical world.

Charlap has drawn material from the American Popular Songbook for many of his recordings, including albums devoted to the music of George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Cole Porter. He continues to celebrate his love of song, while leading the trio he formed in 1997, with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. The trio has a peerless understanding of the major figures of their respective instruments, and the chemistry between them stands as one of the great rhythm sections of our time. Their integrity is unwavering, and they project an effortless virtuosity. The experience of hearing the Bill Charlap Trio live is electrifying.

Early in his career, Charlap was championed by two saxophone giants - Gerry Mulligan and Phil Woods - who appreciated his talent, his assurance as an accompanist, the finesse of his playing, and his unfailing sense of swing. Charlap's connection to standards is in his blood: his father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, and his mother, Sandy Stewart, is a Grammy® Award-nominated singer who toured with Benny Goodman.

Composers and lyricists including Yip Harburg, Charles Strouse, and Alan and Marilyn Bergman would often visit Charlap's family home, and yet that context only partly explains the intimate nature of the relationship that the pianist shares with this repertoire. Charlap also learned from his experiences playing with such elder masters as Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Jim Hall, Dick Hyman, Eddie Locke and Frank Wess who further taught him how to reveal the riches that exist in this music.

From the Village Vanguard to the Café Carlyle, Bradley's, The Knickerbocker, High School for the Performing Arts, The 92nd St Y, Lincoln Center, The Hit Factory, Nola Studios, Carnegie Hall, The Village Gate, Town Hall, The Algonquin, and The Apollo Theatre, Bill Charlap is the sound of his city. Notes from New York is confirmation that the Bill Charlap Trio has arrived at its destination.

Bill Charlap · Notes From New York
impulse! Records · Release Date: April 1, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016



Nancy Wilson is one of the finest vocalists to emerge in the post-war era to take over the mantle of great jazz, cabaret and pop singers such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee, and compete with them on their own terms. Achieving her early recognition in the era when the long-playing stereo album was becoming a universal format, she was always primarily an album artist, especially with her focus being as much on jazz and easy listening as the pure pop market, although she had chart success in the pop, R&B and adult contemporary markets from the '60s through to the '90s. This collection takes a thorough look at the formative years of her career, comprising as it does her complete performances on five LPs - Like In Love, recorded in 1956 when she was just 19, Something Wonderful, The Swinging's Mutual with jazz pianist George Shearing, the equally jazz-oriented Nancy Wilson With Cannonball Adderley, and Hello Young Lovers. In addition, it includes an early single with R&B artist Rusty Bryant, two of her singles from 1960 and a couple of very jazzy 'live' performances from 1961. It showcases the breadth and distinctiveness of her talent, and her sophisticated artistry even in these early days, as she delivers material across the jazz, blues and pop spectrum.


The Ludwigshafen Experience allows further insight into the artistic inner life of Jone's superb and uncommonly vital orchestra. The team consisted of a number of young luminaries of the time: trumpeters such as Freddie Hubbard and Benny Bailey, saxophonists such as Sahib Shihab. The program included evergreens like Summertime and compositions like Stolen Moments that were to become such. The mood on stage was relaxed, if only because the orchestra was hailed in Europe as a groundbreaking big band. There are experts who believe that this short phase was for Quincy Jones his best as a jazz musician. The Ludwigshafen Experience only lends support to this judgement.


By September of 1978 Weather Report's headlining status afforded them the opportunity to play a very long set amounting to two hours in length. Given the previous year's success with the poll winning Heavy Weather album one might have expected them to concentrate on this more or less exclusively, but instead, fans were treated to material from right across the bands career and solo spots by everybody. Black Market opens this concert and straight away it's apparent that the energy level is high and the relaxed pace of the studio version has been superseded by a slightly faster tempo. An explosive tenor and drum duet by Shorter and Erskine also forms part of this and must have surely put an end to the feeling in some quarters at the time that the saxophonist was no longer at his best. Also on board were flamboyant electric bassist Jaco Pastorius, a genuine innovator, and newly arrived drummer Peter Erskine a master technician brought into the group to add more of a jazz feel. Joe Zawinul was keen to stress that Weather Reports music was their music, a product of the group's identity, and not simply jazz-rock akin to that of many bands of the time. Although he was known for his strong opinions it's clear that no other group mixed improvisation, formal structures and electronics quite like them. One night in Germany is clear proof of this.



Many know New York City as the Mecca of jazz. Very few recall the illustrious players hailing from just across the Hudson in New Jersey. Many of the greatest jazz names hailed from the Garden State, including Wayne Shorter, Count Basie, James Moody and trumpeter Woody Shaw. It is to correct this oversight that the fantastic trumpeter Freddie Hendrix presents his new recording Jersey Cat, a wide ranging collection that represents the unique swagger and groove of the Jersey jazz musician.

Growing up in Teaneck, Hendrix was originally attracted to music by the way of doo-wop and R&B, most notably that of local legends, the Isley Brothers. His initial foray into playing was on the guitar, a struggle that led him to trumpet and junior high band. It was under the tutelage of teachers like Dave Brown, Dave Rogers, Robert Hankle and his church organist Dr. Maredia Warren that Hendrix s love of jazz blossomed. A failed audition for a Teaneck area big band led to a renewed commitment to his studies, which finally led to Bachelor s and Master s degrees in Music Performance and, ultimately, to performing for two United States Presidents.

Out of school, Hendrix hit the ground running, playing with pop groups and jazz luminaries, including Christian McBride, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Heath and Wynton Marsalis. It was his work with the Count Basie Orchestra and Teaneck resident Rufus Reid that led to his first forays outside of the States, influencing much of his writing for Jersey Cat. But it was his relationships in his home state that really made the recording possible.

The members of the ensemble that Hendrix assembled were friends and regulars at drummer Cecil Brooks III s beloved, but now closed, Cecil s Jazz Club, in West Orange. Brooks not only plays on Jersey Cat , but also produced the recording. The rest of the cast includes all former or current New Jersey residents, including saxophonists Bruce Williams and Abraham Burton and pianist Brandon McCune, along with Manhattan resident trombonist David Gibson and the lone Brooklynite, bassist Corcoran Holt. The ensemble is talented and flexible, as Hendrix provides compositions for amalgamations of all sizes, including a octet that allowed him to use his arranging and part writing skills in an Art Blakey Jazz Messenger vein.

For the album, Hendrix wanted to provide a mix of original compositions and standard pieces that represented the strongest material in his book. He also wanted to make sure to represent the spirit of New Jersey, a more relaxed vibe that can jump off at any moment. The way he did this was to incorporate influences outside of jazz, namely R&B and hip-hop, into his music, creating music that grooves but also swings and is simultaneously current and retro.



Contemporary jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, Peter Horvath has been perfecting his craft since the age of 6 when he began taking classical piano lessons. Born in Budapest, Hungary, he attended the Bela Bartok Conservatory of Music. At age 17, he won the National Jazz Combo Competition in Gyor, Hungary and two years later moved to Austria to attend the Vienna Conservatory of Music. In 1983, Peter moved to the United States, where he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has since performed, recorded and toured nationally and worldwide with a long line of world-class artist, including jazz greats Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Richie Cole, Ernie Watts, Eddie Henderson, Charles McPherson, Benny Maupin, the Victor Bailey Group, Lenny White, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Marcus Miller, Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly, Bob Mintzer, Bob Sheppard, Craig Handy, Tiger Okoshi, Lalah Hathaway, Melba Moore, Ledisi, Keith Washington, Rosie Gaines, Ray Obiedo, Pete Escovedo and the Oakland Symphony. Peter composed for and performed with David Garibaldi for his critically acclaimed Warner Brothers video/CD series and recorded the tracks for Aretha Franklin's performance of the National Anthem at the 1993 World Series. His new album, Absolute Reality has been in the making for some time now and it's featuring some of the greatest names in jazz, like Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Victor Bailey, Lenny White, Dean Brown, the late Ricky Lawson, Ray Obiedo, Larry Kimpel, Walfredo Reyes,Jr, Karl Perazzo, Peter Michael Escovedo, etc... All original compositions, the music fuses a variety of elements from hard hitting funk jazz with horns, to pieces with latin and straight ahead jazz influences, along with some beautiful mid tempo tunes and ballads, even a solo piano performance to close the album with. The sound represents the musical diversity of the Bay Area along with the influence of years of touring and recording with some of the greats in jazz and beyond. ~ Amazon


Any chance that one has to hear a master musician in his or her preferred setting is a gift. For all the one-offs and ensemble by committee type of gigs that spring up, it is the reunion with familiar collaborators for a stint of a few nights that really becomes integral for the best performances. On his new recording, At This Time, pianist Steve Kuhn found himself just in the right time and place to record a trio record that feels timeless and truly inspired. The ensemble, which features legendary bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron, was happy to find itself in an extended engagement at Birdland Jazz Club in New York in September 2015 and found time to get into the recording studio before heading to Europe on tour. Of course, Kuhn has been one of jazz s foremost pianists for over half a century. He has been fortunate to accompany some of the most important voices of his generation, including John Coltrane, Sheila Jordan and Kenny Dorham, but it is his work in the trio setting that has been where he has made his name. Kuhn s current trio features a contemporary, and an important innovator of a later generation. Steve Swallow has been at the forefront of contemporary music for decades. Whether performing alongside Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley or Carla Bley, Swallow has been one of the most important figures on both the acoustic and electric bass. Though twenty years younger than Kuhn and Swallow, drummer Joey Baron has cemented himself as one of the most well rounded musicians, at home in the most classic of jazz ensembles and in the most raucous of the avant-garde. ~ Amazon


Chris Standring offers his tenth solo recording with a dazzling soul infused groove-laden jazz set. Digging even deeper into creative territory, Standring continues to stand out from the herd and blaze new trails in the contemporary jazz world. Celebrating the remarkable milestone of album number Ten, an ever evolving catalog that includes the 2011 re-issue of his 1989 first indie recording Main Course (The Early Tapes) - he's still got the cool, trippy sonics happening via a colorful fusing of live instrument and DJ sounds. But this time, while keeping his melodies, rhythms and arrangements as infectious as ever, the British born, L.A. based hit maker fashions them as the vehicle for him to unleash his deeper chops as a powerhouse jazz player and improviser. Soloing with a wild abandon he's been holding back way too long, the longtime Benedetto endorsee introduces us to the latest love of his musical life, his new, gorgeous white Bambino archtop jazz guitar. Perfect combination? Sounds like a perfect Ten. ~ Amazon

Verve Records Celebrates 60 Years, Label will Celebrate Landmark Anniversary with Releases Throughout the Year

One of the most prestigious labels in the history of jazz, Verve Records will celebrate its 60th anniversary throughout 2016 with a trove of historic reissues and stunning new collections from its legendary archives. The release schedule constitutes a who's-who of jazz legends, including such pioneers as Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, and the label's heart and soul, Ella Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald will be honored with the release of Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set, a new compilation bringing together all of her Jazz at the Philharmonic performances previously issued by Verve on various albums, on a single collection for the first time ever. The collection-which includes concerts from 1949, 1953 and 1954 and features appearances by Parker, Lester Young, and Hank Jones among others-will feature newly re-mastered music and an essay by author Will Friedwald.

The first set of releases, due out in March 2016, is also highlighted by the new digital collection Verve 60, featuring 60 stellar tracks by 60 different artists from throughout the label's history, spanning from Ella and Oscar through Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock to Diana Krall and Christian McBride. In addition, five favorites from the Verve catalogue will be reissued on vinyl, including Ella & Louis, the first pairing for the label of Fitzgerald and Armstrong; Billie Holiday's Lady Sings the Blues; Charlie "Bird" Parker's innovative Charlie Parker with Strings; Oscar Peterson's Night Train; and Count Basie's April in Paris.

Several classics will also make their debuts in HD digital audio and iTunes, including titles by Fitzgerald, Evans, Parker, Wynton Kelly, and Stan Getz. Organ master Jimmy Smith's classic singles for the label will be compiled into a digital box set.

The release schedule continues in May and June with more vinyl and digital reissues, including Getz/Gilberto and albums by Wes Montgomery, Blossom Dearie, Coleman Hawkins, and Anita O'Day. A new CD collection will compile unreleased music by Charlie Parker, while Louis Armstrong's complete studio recordings for the label will be collected onto one multi-disc set.

Verve was founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, the forward-thinking impresario responsible for the hugely popular Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, which brought the music to new audiences and garnered jazz an unprecedented level of respect in the popular culture. Granz also managed Ella Fitzgerald and launched the label in large part to create new opportunities worthy of the singer's immense talent, including her landmark series of Songbook recordings.

Under the visionary leadership of Granz and later Creed Taylor (after MGM purchased the imprint in 1961), Verve continued to set new trends. The label sparked the Bossa Nova craze with the 1964 release of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Getz/Gilberto and brought a lush, elegant new sound to jazz with the arrangements of Claus Ogerman and Oliver Nelson. Its focus also encompassed groundbreaking comedy, and later widened to embrace folk and rock recordings, including now-iconic releases by The Velvet Underground, Richie Havens, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and Janis Ian.

It was its jazz legacy that cemented Verve's place in the popular imagination however, and after a fallow period in the '70s and '80s Verve was revived in the mid-1990s, again signing many of the biggest names in the music: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Jeff Lorber, Chris Botti and Incognito all recorded for Verve during this period. Its diverse and distinguished lineage continues today through the work of artists like Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan and Third Story.

Over the course of its six-decade history, Verve has become synonymous with the very best in jazz, venerating the music while charting its course and helping to break down racial and stylistic barriers. There's no better way to celebrate that legacy than with the music itself, and 2016 will allow listeners to revisit the breathtaking sounds of Verve in new and exhilarating ways.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Frank Sinatra Classics Presented On 180-Gram Vinyl LPs

The worldwide centennial celebration for entertainment legend Frank Sinatra continues with FSE/UMe's release of six more classic Sinatra albums on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl LPs with faithfully replicated album art. 
Available now on 180g vinyl, Songs For Swingin' Lovers! celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame in 2000, the acclaimed album was originally released in March 1956 by Capitol Records and was the first release to top the UK album chart when it debuted.
Ring-A-Ding Ding!, Sinatra's first release on his own Reprise Records label in 1961, and 1966's That's Life, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, are both available for preorder for 180g vinyl release on February 26.
Sinatra's All The Way album, originally released in 1961 by Capitol, will be released on 180g vinyl on April 15. The Billboard Top 5 album features the Oscar®-winning title track, which reached No. 2 on Billboard's singles chart.
On May 6, two Reprise classics will be released on 180g vinyl:  The 1962 Billboard Top 5 Sinatra–Basie: An Historic Musical First and, also featuring Count Basie and his orchestra, the Top 10 1966 double album Sinatra At The Sands. Conducted and arranged by Quincy Jones, Sinatra's first commercially released concert album celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
All of these vinyl LPs and a variety of other Frank Sinatra music and merchandise items are available at the SINATRA 100 shop:

Throughout his six-decade career, Frank Sinatra performed on more than 1,400 recordings and was awarded 31 gold, nine platinum, three double platinum and one triple platinum album by the Recording Industry Association of America. Sinatra demonstrated a remarkable ability to appeal to every generation and continues to do so; his artistry still influences many of today's music superstars. The Oscar® winner also appeared in more than 60 films and produced eight motion pictures. 
Sinatra was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Recording Academy, The Screen Actors Guild and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Today, he remains a legend and an inspiration around the world for his contributions to culture and the arts.
For more information about Frank Sinatra, visit

Star-Studded Lineup Hits The Stage For The 11th Annual Jazz In The Gardens From Usher to Aretha Franklin, Babyface to Janelle Monae - Jazz in the Gardens hits all the right notes

The City of Miami Gardens has announced the complete lineup of the 11th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival (JITG) taking place on March 19th – 20th, 2016, at Sun Life Stadium (347 Don Shula Dr, Miami Gardens, FL 33056). 
This year's lineup features Usher, Aretha Franklin, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Janelle Monae, Brian Culbertson, Michael McDonald, Kool and The Gang, Fred Hammond, The Average White Band, and The Jazz in the Gardens All-Stars featuring Regina Belle, Najee & Alex Bugnon, along with local artists CriStyle Renae, April Raquel and Kouture Band, and LaVie.  Returning to the stage as host is comedian and nationally-syndicated radio personality Rickey Smiley.                  

"This is our signature annual event that people from all over the world look forward to attending every year," said City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. "Last year's event took Jazz in the Gardens to the next level, and with this year's lineup of top-notch musical talent, we expect this year will continue the trend," he continued.                  

Last year's 10th Annual JITG broke box office records with more than 73,000 people attending. Approximately 42,000 festival-goers attended Saturday's show, the first sold-out day in the history of the event. Fans from all across the nation and abroad enjoyed performances from Maxwell, Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Toni Braxton, Run D.M.C., and Brian Culbertson, just to name a few. Comedians and nationally-syndicated radio personalities D.L. Hugley and Rickey Smiley co-hosted the festival. Last year's JITG event also drew surprise celebrities including actors Bryshere Y. Gray and Jussie Smollett, who star as Hakeem and Jamal, respectively, on the red-hot, Fox television series "Empire."                  

For more information about 2016's 11th annual Jazz in the Gardens, visit




An excellent set from Tom Lellis – a jazz vocalist we've been digging since the 70s – as part of an elite group of really special singers that might include Mark Murphy or Kurt Elling – able to work in a jazzy style that's far more than just delivery of a lyric, with a sense of individuality that's always compelling! This album has Lellis in wonderful form – at a level that rivals all the greatness of his classic records, with a similar commitment to excellent material, and sublime small group presentation of the music – with instrumental energy that really matches his vocal phrasing of the words. Tom plays piano, keyboards, vibes, and guitar – and other musicians include Orlando Valle on flute, Toninho Horta on guitar, Dave Kikoski on piano, and Gary Fisher on piano and keyboards. Titles include a great blending of "Berimbau/Pomba Gira" – plus "Love Comes & Goes", "Tones For Joan's Bones", "Can It Be Done", "Waiting The Day", "Sea Aura", and "The Flow". ~ Dusty Groove 

An incredible meeting of these two legendary artists – both musicians who transformed the sound of Brazil from the 60s onward – and who've also been a hell of an inspiration to many of us up in North America too! The passage of time hasn't dimmed the genius of Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil at all – and, if anything, it's only given the singers more live experience and sensitivity to put into their music – qualities that really come through here, as Caetano and Gilberto work in an intimate duo setting – with just their vocals and acoustic guitar to carry the set – but with amazing power throughout! Older tunes are reworked wonderfully by the pair – including a sublime take on "Nine Out Of Ten", a Veloso classic that perfectly sums up the life in exile that both musicians experienced in the early 70s. Other titles include "Marginalia II", "Back In Bahia", "As Maelias Do", "Tropicalia", "Eu Vim Da Bahia", "Expresso 2222", "Drao", "Tres Palabras", "Desde Que O Samba E Samba", "Nossa Gente", "Andar Come Fe", "Sampa", and "Coracao Vagabundo". ~ Dusty Groove


A wonderful title for this killer from trumpeter Dave Douglas – as the record's one of the boldest, most on-target sets he's had in years – a record that takes us back to his roots, as Douglas works with a quintet of well-chosen younger players. The lineup features Jon Irabgon on tenor, Linda Oh on bass, Rudy Royston on drums, and Matt Mitchell on piano – players who move soulfully with Dave's trumpet in an almost effortless way – embracing his sense of soundshaping and rhythmic progressions, but also finding plenty of space for their own individual contributions too. Most tunes are Douglas originals, and brilliantly written – and titles include "Brazen Heart", "Hawaiian Punch", "Inure Phase", "Lone Wolf", "Ocean Spray", and "Pyrrhic Apology". ~ Dusty Groove

Friday, February 19, 2016

Available Now via Onyx Music & Truth Revolution Records: Drummer Ralph Peterson Makes Triumphant Return to Trio Format with TriAngular III, Featuring Zaccai and Luques Curtis

A great sequel is a rarity worth waiting for. Drummer/composer Ralph Peterson returns to the trio format for only the third time in 30 years on TriAngular III, due out April 8 via Peterson's own Onyx Music label and Truth Revolution Records. This time out he's joined by brothers Zaccai and Luques Curtis on piano and bass, adding a new incarnation to the prestigious TriAngular lineage.

Recorded live at New Haven's Firehouse 12, TriAngular III provides not only a showcase for Peterson's boundless energy and imagination, but also a testament to the healing power of music. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered as Peterson was being diagnosed and treated for colorectal cancer, becoming a sterling symbol of his successful battle against the disease.

"Early on I thought that if this is my time, I've got to get this music finished and out because I'm real comfortable with this being my swan song," Peterson says. "If it's not, I still wanted to get it out because I'm really excited about this music that we put together."

Cancer is not the only health challenge that music has helped to usher Peterson through. TriAngular III will be released just days before the drummer marks a landmark 20 years drink and drug free. "I'm now approaching the balance where I've been clean longer than I ever used," he says, "and that's a powerful example of what is possible through faith. It shows the restorative and healing power of the music to move you through situations in life that can be challenging."

Given the evidence of the music contained herein, which bristles with electric interplay and abundant joy, Ralph Peterson has plenty of life and music left in him. The album is a fitting successor to its two predecessors: 1988's Triangular with Geri Allen and Essiet Essiet, and 2000's Triangular 2 with David Kikoski and Gerald Cannon.

"The trio is one of the purest vehicles for expression in this music," Peterson says. "With the right players you can sound like an orchestra."

Peterson is particularly proud of the line-up for this outing, as Luques Curtis was a student of the drummer's at Berklee College of Music and he's therefore known both brothers for nearly half their lives. "Our families have adopted each other," he says. "The fact that they're brothers makes them seem telepathic at times, and I think of them as my brothers. These two guys never rest on their laurels. They're always pushing the music forward, they're always trying to get something different out of it, and that's good for me as I get older."

So enamored with the Curtis brothers is Peterson that he's releasing TriAngular III as a co-production between his Onyx Music imprint and their Truth Revolution Records label. And unlike the previous one-off TriAngular line-ups, he foresees this one continuing on for the foreseeable future. "In these times of guerrilla entrepreneurship, I think it may be a smart maneuver for artists to work together to expand each other's audiences," he says. "I'm impressed by their business acumen and their willingness to have a vision that's not myopic. I think this particular version of TriAngular will hold together for a number of years." 

TriAngular III is also the unofficial third entry in another trio; although it's not titled ALIVE 3, it marks the third recording that Peterson has made at Firehouse 12, which he praises as "an extremely intimate space. The fact that it was a firehouse that became a recording studio that became a tapas bar that decided to use their studio space to present live music is a rather unique evolution. It's not a gig you do to retire on; it's a gig that you do to share your music with a particularly appreciative musical community. And the Curtis Brothers are from Connecticut, so it's always a homecoming celebration."

Peterson brings his career full circle on TriAngular III by including three compositions by the late pianist Walter Davis, Jr., the drummer's earliest mentor and employer. "Uranus" kicks off the album with enthusiastic precision, "Backgammon" is brisk and playful, while the cautiously hopeful "400 Years Ago Tomorrow," introduced by a compelling Luques solo and containing a jaw-dropping spotlight for the leader, unfolds with sweeping drama and a gospel accent.

"If we forget where we come from, we lose track of where we're going," Peterson says of Davis. "I'm of the age now that Walter was when I met him, and it is important for me to express my gratitude by doing for young musicians what Walter did for me. That's simply to try to inspire them, not in spite of but because of what I'm going through."

Saxophone legend Joe Henderson is another longtime inspiration paid homage, through a relaxed take on Sam Rivers' "Beatrice," a tune strongly associated with Henderson, and a unique Afro-Cuban arrangement of the saxophonist's trademark, "Inner Urge." The repertoire also includes the classic standard "Skylark," an opportunity for the trio to show off its tender side.

The album is rounded out by several originals: the Curtis brothers contribute the brooding "Manifest Destiny" and the gorgeously airy "Moments," a song that Peterson calls, "amazingly delicate and nuanced and sensual, the kind of song that ends up in my head for the rest of the day." The leader himself reprises his steely "The Art of War" and closes the album with "Blues for Chooch," titled after his own childhood nickname. "I used to be embarrassed when my parents would yell that across the club at Sweet Basil to get my attention, but eventually you become comfortable with all aspects of who you are."

If Peterson's job is, as he puts it, "to protect this national treasure we call jazz," he's in a unique position to do just that. At 53, he can look back on legendary mentors like Art Blakey and Elvin Jones as well as fruitful collaborations with greats like Terence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, David Murray, Roy Hargrove, Michael Brecker and Betty Carter, not to mention a notable career as a respected educator. While his health challenges are no doubt formidable, a friend summed it up well when Peterson remarked that he wasn't quite out of the woods yet. "Maybe not," he replied, "but it looks like you're holding the axe."

Ralph Peterson's Upcoming Performances:

April 8 / An Die Muzik / Baltimore, MD
April 9 / Nighttown / Cleveland, OH
April 10 / The Ethical Society / Philadelphia, PA
April 26-27 / Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola / New York, NY
April 28 / Sculler's / Boston, MA
April 29 / The Ninth Note / Stamford, CT 

Ralph Peterson · TriAngular III
Onyx Music & Truth Revolution Records · Release Date: April 8, 2016

Oporto Soul Sister Marta Ren & The Groovelvets "Stop Look Listen" Channels 60s Soul Music

After three years of waiting since her seminal Sister funk hit single 2 Kinds Of Men, Record Kicks finally presents "Stop Look Listen" the debut album from the new Oporto soul diva Marta Ren & The Groovelvets.

Anticipated from the first single "I'm Not A Regular Woman", which is getting airwaves all over Europe (including BBC 6, Rai Radio 1, LeMouv / Radio France), produced and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by New Max from Portuguese funk combo Expensive Soul and mastered in NYC by Andy Vandette, Stop Look Listen is pure dynamite and follows the best tradition of the Soul Sisters of the 60s. Marta Ren, not surprisingly described as the new Marva Whitney, brilliantly supported by her super tight 8-piece rhythm & soul combo The Groovelvets, serves you 11 tracks of pure fire and takes-no-prisoners. From the floorshakin' opening track Don't Look to the mellow feel-good anthems Smiling Faces, So Long and the afrotastic Be Ma Fela, the Portuguese combo deliver a visceral deep funk album, proving that they're the new 'real deal'.

Marta Ren is not a newcomer as she has been around in the Portuguese scene since the mid 90s lending her deep and powerful voice, amongst others, to break-beat outfit The Bombazines, recording two albums and establishing her unique talent at clubs and festivals all around Portugal. But Marta's passion has always been for the deepest funk and rawest soul of the sixties, and now the time has come for her to show the world her immense talent. With a powerful voice that would make the founding soul sisters proud, Marta Ren is looking to rule the world and make herself a household name. Fans of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings get on it!


Eliane Elias’ Made in Brazil marks a musical homecoming for the multi-GRAMMY®-nominated pianist, keyboardist, singer, and composer. In her three-decade long career as a solo artist, Made in Brazil results from the first time she’s recorded a disc in her native Brazil since moving to the United States in 1981. (International release dates may vary)

Elias wears many hats on this project as producer, composer, lyricist, arranger, pianist and vocalist. "I am completely immersed and involved in every single detail of the music and the recording process, from the birth of an idea until its completion through every aspect of the production until it reaches the public,” she explains.

Along with co-producers, Steve Rodby and Marc Johnson, her bass playing musical partner, Elias ventured ‘home’ and recruited a splendid cast of Brazilian musicians that include electric bassist Marcelo Mariano; guitarists Marcus Teixeira and Roberto Menescal; drummers Edu Ribeiro and Rafael Barata; and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Marivaldo dos Santos.

Elias peppered the sessions with delightful special guest performances from Mark Kibble and the multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel vocal group Take 6; her singer/songwriter-daughter Amanda Brecker; one of Brazil’s most celebrated R&B stars, Ed Motta; and the distinguished bossa nova composer Roberto Menescal.

Elias also invited Rob Mathes to handle orchestral arrangements on seven of the 12 tracks, which were recorded in London at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. "It’s so touching to hear the music unfold,” she says of the orchestral arrangements after they were overdubbed onto the São Paulo sessions. "You can see the musical notes on paper, but it’s something else to hear them realized and performed by members of theLondon Symphonic Orchestra.”

In terms of material, Made in Brazil contains six Elias originals plus two Ary Barroso standards, two Roberto Menescal chestnuts, and two Antônio Carlos Jobim world-renowned gems. Elias, who did all the arrangements for the basic tracks, said that she purposely wanted Made in Brazil to incorporate three generations of Brazilian composers. "But it’s not a retro record,” she clarifies. "It’s very contemporary yet with the tradition and authenticity of Brazil; it’s music of the world with Brazilian DNA.”

Indeed, Made in Brazil’s pulsating bossa nova and samba rhythms, transfixing harmonies and sensual lyrics, accentuated by Elias’ own captivating vocals and incredible pianistic acumen, will surely become a 21st-century Brazilian classic. Elias frames the disc with two Barroso gems – "Brasil (Aquarela do Brasil)” and "No Tabuleiro da Baiana.”

"Brasil,” penned in 1939, "is a Brazilian anthem,” enthuses Elias. "It’s reported to be the most preferred Brazilian song of the last 100 years. It’s about the beautiful things of our country, the Brazilian Brazil; its natural beauty, mixed ethnic cultures and the samba.” Here she accentuates the composition with a suspenseful diaphanous string arrangement, whereas Elias and the band concoct an intoxicating, lithe groove. Atop of the infectious samba rhythm, Elias graces the proceeding with a glowing Fender Rhodes accompaniment, which later unfolds into a joyous and rhythmic solo.

Barroso wrote "No Tabuleiro da Baiana,” in 1936, which was made famous by singer Carmen Miranda. Through the song’s theme about a tabuleiro, a tray filled with edible treats typical of Bahia, Elias says that her rendition allows her to share her affection for that particular Brazilian state. "I love the culture; I love the people; I love the music; and I love the food,” Elias says.” I’ve been in love with Bahia all my life.” On her delightful rendition, Elias hammers the samba with harder, percussive accents via her vivacious piano playing inside some hip-swerving inducing accompaniment while her dexterous vocal rides and swings on top.

On "Você” and "Rio,” Elias invites the songs’ composer, Roberto Menescal, to accompany on guitar. On "Você,” the two sound like lovebirds on the 1963 bossa nova hit as they croon the romantic lyrics while the string arrangement sweeps them afloat. Elias’ impeccable piano accompaniment and sparkling improvisation provide the perfect musical trimming.

On "Rio,” which also dates back to 1963, Elias retains the same lineup as she sings the song’s elegant lyrics about the beauty of a seaside landscape while creating beautiful modulations and colors through her harmonies. "It was special to have the composer be a guest,” Elias says of her collaboration with Menescal. "We shared some very tender moments.”

As a bonus track, Elias delivers a rapturous makeover of Menescal’s most beloved composition, "Little Boat (O Barquinho),” yet another aquatic-themed showcase for Elias’ incredible musical rapport with Johnson and Barata. Elias’ ingenious arrangement at times evokes the motion of a boat floating and moving through waves.

Regarding Jobim, Elias performs his epochal "Águas de Março (Waters of March),” which she notes is the most covered Brazilian tune in the world.” Through the song’s picturesque, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, Elias puts a new spin on the song’s allure with her R&B-inflected mid-tempo arrangement, and by inviting Take 6 to sing with her. Elias’ arrangement is a completely fresh take on the song, and her vocals combined with Take 6 are splendid.  "Ironically, when Jobim wrote this song in 1972, he thought he had reached the end of his career,” Elias explains. "The lyrics talk about being at the end of the road, about being alone, but the song’s message ultimately is optimistic and carries hope.”

Elias’ other revisit of Jobim’s music on Made in Brazil illustrates her capricious yet musical ingenuity. She delivers a sublime mashup of Jobim’s "Este Seu Olhar” and "Promessas.” Accompanied by Johnson, Teixeira and Ribeiro, this elegant rendition works splendidly as Elias delivers a heartfelt interpretation of the songs. Elias notes that the chord sequence of both compositions is the same and both melodies can be sung together simultaneously.

Whereas the aforementioned compositions display Elias’ mastery at arranging and interpreting Brazilian standards, other songs on Made in Brazil show her deft musicianship as a composer and lyricist. Draped with a gorgeous string arrangement, the yearning "Searching” puts Elias’ enchanting singing and piano playing squarely in the center as she coos the romantic lyrics about the affairs of the heart.  This song evokes the timeless quality of a Frank Sinatra standard.

Elias picks up the tempo slightly on the effervescent "Some Enchanted Place,” which contains poetic, optimistic lyrics and features guest vocals from her daughter Amanda Brecker.

Vocalist Mark Kibble, Take 6’s main arranger, sings with Elias on "Incendiando” and "Driving Ambition.”  On "Incendiando” the stellar performances of Elias and Kibble heighten the romantic and sexual tension revealed in the song.

"Driving Ambition” equally simmers with an erotic charge, thanks to the song’s titillating automobile metaphors and the sauntering bossa nova/Latin blend of rhythms. Kibble’s background vocals are sonic brush strokes of imagery perfectly complementing the seductive vocals by Elias.

The poetic pop/R&B ballad "Vida” features the prominent Brazilian R&B singer Ed Motta. Elias and Motta portray characters in a musical drama. Elias’ character describes what a woman wants in a romantic partner and Motta responds to her as the man she is looking for.

Amidst a magnificent string arrangement, Elias’ gorgeous composition "A Sorte do Amor (The Luck of Love)” is a comely piano and bass duet between her and Johnson that belies an empathic relationship built upon years spent together. Elias explains, "The lyrics are a bit ironic. They describe a love so incredibly intense, it takes away one’s sleep and peace of mind.”

Elias’ songs and lyrics on Made in Brazil  reveal the skills of a great songwriter. The intelligent, sensitive lyrics, beautiful melodies and rich, touching harmonies evoke some of the great songs of the 20th century and give continuity to the line of famous Brazilian composers. This album establishes Elias once and for all as one of Brazil’s most eminent musical artists.

"When I write lyrics, I am inclined to talk about feelings, wishes of the heart and life situations,” Elias says. "Aspects of love – being in a relationship; the search for the right person; the search for happiness; romance; and the desires of our hearts, while I amplify these ideas and bring another depth to the message with the melodies and harmonies.”
Listening to Made in Brazil and diving into Elias’ originals and fetching interpretations of Brazilian classics will surely delight and fill your heart and ears with soul-stirring joy.

Son & Bomba, Return with New Album Bambulaye Los Hacheros, NYC Torchbearers of Salsa, Charanga

Brooklyn’s Los Hacheros, modern-day torchbearers of the Golden Age of Latin music, recorded their sophomore album Bambulaye (February 26 / Chulo  / Daptone Records) live to vintage analog tape, giving the music a raw, but warm and open sound similar to the Latin legends that have inspired them.

Their debut album Pilon was a well-received introduction to the band and received critical praise from tastemakers including Wax Poetics, Vibe Magazine, and The Washington City Paper, amongst others. Wax Poetics states, “The groove to this music is deep,” while The City Paperboasts, “…its solid arrangements and lively original songs have impressed old-school salseros and young music fans alike.”

“Bambulaye was recorded to be gritty, driving, and infectious, with the goal to get you up and dancing from first listen.” says producer / guitarist Jacob Plasse, also founder of the Daptone-distributed Latin revival label, Chulo Records.   “I wanted this record to feel and sound the way it does when we play our final sets at 3am, exhausted in East Harlem dives.  Suddenly the band comes to life and all the old dancers are at it like it was 1970 again.  In those moments, we feel like we could play all night.”

Los Hacheros revives folkloric styles like son montuno, guaracha and salsa, and often combine them with Bomba, a fiery rhythm from the mountains of Puerto Rico.  “Los Hacheros has the magic of group improvisation,” adds bassist William Ash.  “We play in a style that is swing oriented and emphasizes the Cuban clave like great ones of old:  Arsenio, Reve, Ritmo…”

A band of only 5 musicians, Los Hacheros can sound like a conjunto of 12. Eddie Venegas (Marc Anthony, Orquestra Broadway), who plays violin and sings chorus, improvises mambos on the trombone, Itai Kriss

(Edmar Castaneda, Grupo Latin Vibe) sings, plays flute, campana, and guiro, while Papote Jimenez is in charge of lead vocals, soulful soneos (improvised verses) and congas. William Ash (Alfredo de la Fe, Brenda K Starr) holds down the tumbaos on baby bass while Jacob Plasse plays the tres, a guitar-like instrument originating from the Oriente Province in Cuba.

“There are a million tiny cues on Bambulaye that let you know it is a live band,” describes Plasse.  “It feels like it could both fall apart and explode at any moment.”


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