Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Billy Childs Reaffirms His Piano Mastery and Reconnects with Musical Beginnings on Rebirth + Album Assembles All-Star Ensemble

Since his first recordings of the 1980s, Billy Childs has developed into one of the most distinctive and distinguished composers of our time. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has also amassed a career's worth of jazz originals that can swing hard, dazzle with intricacy, touch you with direct simplicity, or mesmerize with crystalline lyricism.

On his new Mack Avenue debut album Rebirth, Childs reaches back to the start of his almost astoundingly varied musical experience-leading a small jazz band of state-of-the-art musicians with his piano playing.

At his musical core, Childs is an improvising pianist. He has the ability to equally distill the harmonic and rhythmic languages of classical music and jazz into his playing. The wide-ranging vocabulary on the taut track "Tightrope" begs the question of Childs' love of classical music; "I'm not just jazz," he stresses. His insistent pulse and melodically probing introduction to song is a key to the Childs' musical identity: open to extended harmonic possibilities as they come along, taking a flexible approach to time and leaving an open door for input from his bandmates.

A Los Angeles native, Childs grew up in a home hearing his parents' musical tastes: Bach, Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Swingle Singers. As Childs developed, he was deeply touched by the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the Modern Jazz Quartet and Laura Nyro, among other contemporary musicians.

Childs aficionados will recognize three tunes from his Windham Hill tenure of the 1980s: "Stay," "Backwards Bop" and "Starry Night." They're recast to reflect his subsequent artistic growth, yet with an acknowledgement of their import; Take For Example, This... (1988) was the first Childs release on a major label. "I did all of those albums on Windham Hill," he points out, "and now all of those recordings belong to Sony. None of it is available on iTunes. That's a shame because those were very important years for me."

As a young player, Childs took his bandstand boot camp in the bands of trombonist J.J. Johnson and trumpet titan Freddie Hubbard. While his compositions and orchestrations have taken Childs into a realm that transcends jazz venues, the fact remains that the improvising pianist is largely the product of his tenures as band pianist with those two late masters.

The percussive electricity of "Backwards Bop" and "Dance of Shiva" taps into that part of his development. "J.J. and Freddie are responsible for the jazz part of my pedigree," Childs asserts. When Eric Harland's drums not only push the ensemble along but fire back at the players in challenging ways, it's not hard to imagine the creative tension of the Hubbard and Johnson performances.

"I learned about comping from Freddie," Childs points out, "in practical application. That's where I learned to expand accompanying into creating environments for the soloists. Sometimes it was like: 'I'll be green; you be blue.' You couldn't listen to him and not know what to play." Accordingly, the piano accompaniment to the vocal on "Stay" is a sublime model of well-placed color and sly musical commentary.

Saxophonist Steve Wilson is central to Rebirth. "I met Steve in 1995," Childs explains, "when we played a tour of Japan with bassist Buster Williams. I didn't even like the alto at that time but on the first song where Steve played, I said, 'Who is this guy? I don't know what they're calling modern jazz these days but this is modern jazz!' I knew I wanted to work with Steve on one of my own projects."

Vocalist Claudia Acuña, who co-composed the title tune, is another of the album's stalwarts. Childs produced her 2002 Rhythm of Life album, arranged and orchestrated, and played piano on it. "She went out on a limb and entrusted me to produce that album," he says. "My mother was dying and it was an emotional time for me. I did a lot of writing at her deathbed; it was therapeutic. So Claudia and I just decided to call the song 'Rebirth.'"

Singer Alicia Olatuja sings on the soulful, minor key ballad "Stay." "Dianne Reeves told me about her," Childs says. "She sang on my Laura Nyro project and I knew she'd be perfect for the angular melody of 'Stay.'"

Hans Glawischnig takes the nimble pizzicato bass solo on "Tightrope;" drummer Antonio Sanchez referred him to Childs. "A lot of drummers really like to play with me," Billy notes with pride. "I jump in there with the drums. I really like to write the rhythmic concept and find the people who can make it sing."

Rebirth touches the combustible intimacy that Childs knew in the Hubbard and Johnson bands, and has instilled it into his own ensembles. So is Childs returning to an instrumental posture that he once knew or is he coming to the small ensemble with new perspectives? "A little of both, actually," he offers. "I'm revisiting some familiar ground with different musical eyes. My playing is more evolved now-influenced by newer musical trends."

"You're hearing something on this album that I love doing but that I haven't done a lot of lately: having musical conversations as a member of a group. That's what I love."
Four-time Grammy® Award-winner Billy Childs remains one of the most diversely prolific and acclaimed artists working in music today. Childs' canon of original compositions and arrangements has garnered him an additional 10 Grammy Award nominations, the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009).

Childs released his first solo album, Take For Example, This... in 1988, on Windham Hill Jazz Records. It was the first of four critically acclaimed albums on the imprint, culminating with the celebrated Portrait Of A Player, in 1993. Childs' multiple musical interests also include collaborations, arrangements, and productions for other world-renowned artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, The Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Chris Botti, and Leonard Slatkin, among others. He has received orchestral commissions from The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and The Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. In 2013 he premiered "Enlightened Souls," a commission from Duke University featuring Dianne Reeves and the Ying Quartet, to commemorate fifty years of African-American students attending the school. In 2014 Childs released Map To The Treasure - Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony Masterworks), which was produced by Larry Klein and features Reneé Fleming, Esperanza Spalding, Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Rickie Lee Jones, Becca Stevens, Ledisi, Chris Botti, Yo-Yo Ma and Susan Tedeschi.
Billy Childs · Rebirth
Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: March 24, 2017


Infinitude - the concept of boundless possibility - is at the center of the music of Ingrid and Christine Jensen. Over the past twenty years or so, as trumpeter and saxophonist respectively, the West Canadian sisters have each shaped prolific careers in contemporary jazz, collaborating with influential names such as Clark Terry, Maria Schneider and Terry Lynn Carrington, working with large and small ensembles, and responding brilliantly to various commissions to compose for jazz orchestras around the globe.

For their Whirlwind Recordings debut, Infinitude, available on January 27, 2017, the Jensens have realized a long-held ambition - to write for and perform in the more intimate setting of a quintet, combining their intuitive, sibling trust with the creativity of renowned guitarist Ben Monder, and the foundational artistry of bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Jon Wikan. The particular rapport within this grouping is expressed by Christine (composer of half of this album's material), describing the environment as being less about soloing, and with an emphasis on the question, "how are we going to dive into this pool and swim together?" The resulting immersion, recorded at Studio Pierre Marchand in Montreal over two days, sounds both live and organic, with Ingrid confirming her close relationship with her sister: "It doesn't actually feel like we're producing. We already have this flow which continues as we perform together - we can find space, and craziness, and find our way in and out of it, as well." 

The conversational feel which pervades this album's sixty- eight minutes is illustrated in opening track, "Blue Yonder" (Christine Jensen), where Ingrid's mellifluous trumpet technique (sounded through her custom-created flugel-cupped mouthpiece and 'flumpet' bell) melds with Christine's warm, legato alto to conjure the aura of a wordless vocal. Such grace is echoed by the often understated, though lynchpin presence, of Ben Monder (whose effect is explained by Christine as, "something which is intimate, yet full of the future"); and that same quiet fire is evident in the grittier, rock-tinged "Swirlaround" (Christine Jensen), and a freewheeling, even punkish interpretation of Kenny Wheeler's "Old Time".

The soft, melodic beauty of "Hopes Trail" (Ingrid Jensen) transcends its underlying inspiration of political disillusionment, reinforcing our need to, at least, musically rise above (accentuated by ascending, chromatic soprano); and written for a kindred spirit of Christine's, the chirpy mobility of "Octofolk" (Christine Jensen) features especially connected trumpet and alto adventures, all underpinned by Ben Monder's textures and the spirited rhythm team of Hollins and Wikan. Extended lines in the elegant "Dots and Braids" (Ingrid Jensen) - which reflect Christine's lyrical saxophone persona - are contrasted with shorter statements (also informally referencing Canadian pianist/composer David Braid), while the increasing fullness of buoyant, bossa-infused "Echolalia" (Ben Monder) hints at the sisters' expertise in an orchestral jazz setting. 

"Duo Space" (Ingrid Jensen) and "Trio: Garden Hour" (Christine Jensen) provide a different perspective, their reduced instrumentations and improvisations offering further insight into the deep-seated need of these imaginative musicians to express themselves and search out new sounds in an arena which welcomes such freedom. Describing the experience, Ingrid says: "I need that interaction and empathetic experience which comes from playing good gigs with good people; a creative outpouring of my soul. With this line-up and these compositions, it's really easy to channel the freer ideas that are still in the context of the music, but which provide us with the ability to go to that place where we all feel like we're most ourselves - and that truly is a gift." As Christine concludes: "What Ingrid and I have worked on together for so long has now finally been documented in a special way that includes some surprises, especially with our choice of the wonderful Ben Monder - when he says, 'I'm gonna play'... you just know that it's going to be something real special and meaningful. For us, with Infinitude, this is just the beginning."

Friday, December 16, 2016



Rare soul from the Scepter label – the famous home to the early work of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, but a very hip record company with a strong commitment to underground soul in the 60s! The best of that stretch is presented here – in a really well-done collection that's filled with obscure tracks that only every appeared as 45s, including some obscure cuts by bigger names, including a few that might surprise you! There's also a few blue-eyed soul tracks here too – titles that might seem a bit surprising on paper, but really fit the groove of the collection. Titles include "Work Song" by Tommy Hunt, "Dearly Beloved" by Jack Montgomery, "Just One More Time" by JJ Barnes, "The Change" by Ernestine Eady, "I'm Stepping Out Of The Picture" by Johnny Maestro & The Crests, "Out In The Streets Again" by Candy & The Kisses, "Lost Love" by Irma & The Fascinators, "Hey Watcha Doin" by Jerry Tiffe, "Marching" by The Camp, "Groovy Guy" by The Shirelles, "Tonight's The Night" by Candy & The Kisses, and "Ain't No Soul Left In These Old Shoes" by Ronnie Milsap. (Colored vinyl pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove


The cover makes the record look like one of Harvey Mandel's classic albums from the early 70s – and the sound within is very much in the same spirit too – a noisy, gritty set that really returns the guitar legend to the brilliance of his younger career! The set's awash in the kind of fuzzy, freaky sounds that Mandel could do so well – especially when working with producer Abe Voco Kesh – and the record's got the same sort of trippy, echoey sound as their early collaborations – but is maybe even more amazing, given that the whole thing was recorded live in the studio, without any overdubs or added production tricks! All tracks are instrumental – and there's a super-sweet combo, the band of Ryley Walker, that gives Harvey some tasty funk at the bottom – and is perfect for his guitar that was raised on blues, and schooled in psych. Titles include "Snake Pit", "Space Monkeys"," Nightingail", "Buckaroo", "Jackhammer", and a great new take on the Larry Frazier tune "Before Six". ~ Dusty Groove


Jimi Tenor looks shrunken in size on the cover, but that certainly hasn't happened to his music – which just seems bigger and more expansive on this wonderful release! The set's still very much in the spiritual jazz mode that Tenor's been touching for the past decade or so – but it also showcases some of the soulful strands that have always been in his music, as Jimi finds a way to bring the cosmos down to earth with some really wonderful tunes that mix up a variety of different rhythmic and instrumental modes! The lineup shifts a bit on each track – and includes a great guest appearance from Tony Allen – but most cuts focus on core energy from Tenor, who not only plays tenor, percussion, keyboards, flute, moog, and more – but also sings with a style that's wonderfully soulful, and really holds the whole thing together. We always love Jimi's music, but this set's got a really special "something extra" – and a much deeper sound than you'd expect from the cover. Titles include "Magick Of Choice", "Polygonal", "Peaceful Maelstrom", "Four Corners Of The Earth", "Cap De Creus", "Vortex", "My Baby Is Coming", "Ursa Major", and "Baby Pharoah".  ~ Dusty Groove


Stax Records, a division of Concord Bicycle Music, is proud to announce the remastering and reissue of 12 seminal titles by soul music icon Isaac Hayes. The collection, which includes Hayes’ best-loved studio albums, soundtracks and live recordings, spanning 1969 – 1976, was remastered entirely from the original analog tapes. 11 of these albums, including Shaft, Black Moses and Hot Buttered Soul, are now available in 192/24 and 96/24 hi resolution audio formats, while all 12 of the titles have been Mastered For iTunes, and can be found on Isaac Hayes’ new iTunes artist page. Hi-res formats will be available on HDTracks. 

Award-winning engineer Dave Cooley (M83, J-Dilla, Madlib, Serge Gainsbourg, Jimmy Eat World) was commissioned to take on the project at his Los Angeles-based studio,
Elysian Masters. Cooley explains, “Every effort was undertaken to retain both the original production team’s intent, and the most natural and truthful spatial imaging of Isaac’s voice and instrumentation.” He adds, “For the first time you can plainly hear details as small as the subtle coloration variations between the original studio setups and tape formulations from album to album.  

There’s renewed resolution around instruments.  But you can also dive into the zoned-out atmospherics, and listen comfortably for hours as an entire body of work.” Cooley’s meticulous work has breathed new life into these classic tracks; his enthusiasm for the project palpable. He recalls, “There was an immense pressure to get it right.  Having grown up transcribing the very piano licks and grooves that were sampled by such hip hop luminaries as
Public Enemy and others, I was well acquainted with Isaac’s legacy as a revolutionary enigma spanning multiple generations.  Remastering the catalog was a call to re-ignite that with even more transparency and a deeper pulse for the next group of listeners.”

GRAMMY® and Academy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and actor Isaac Hayes (1942-2008) revolutionized soul music, experimenting with extended cuts, orchestration and concept albums during the era of 3-minute, radio-driven tracks. Hayes began his career as a songwriter and producer at Stax Records, working with partner David Porter on such iconic hits as Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” and “Hold On! I’m Comin’.” 

In 1968, Hayes branched out on his own with Presenting Isaac Hayes, but it wasn’t until his follow-up a year later, Hot Buttered Soul, that the artist became a genuine star in his own right, breaking ground with his deep baritone vocals and signature sonic explorations that could take up the entire side of a record. 

In 1971, Hayes scored Blaxploitation film Shaft; the title theme of which went number one the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and earned the artist an Academy Award and multiple GRAMMY® awards. Later that year, he released his critically-acclaimed double album, Black Moses. 

Hayes continued to write and record throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, scoring several more films, and continuing to push himself artistically. In 1997, the artist gained a new generation of fans as he voiced the character of Chef on the long-running cartoon series South Park.

Nearly a decade after his death, Isaac Hayes' legacy as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, writer, and artist continues to inspire and influence new listeners.

In addition to the digital rollout of these remastered albums, a year-long schedule of releases will celebrate the groundbreaking output of Hayes, including 180-gram vinyl reissues and a retrospective box set. More information will be announced in early 2017.
Remastered titles are below. All albums are available in available in 192/24 and 96/24 hi-res audio, as well as Mastered For iTunes formats (except where noted):
Hot Buttered Soul, 1969
The Isaac Hayes Movement, 1970 
…To Be Continued, 1970
Black Moses, 1971
Shaft (Music From The Soundtrack), 1971
Joy, 1973
Live At The Sahara Tahoe, 1973
Truck Turner (Original Soundtrack), 1974
Tough Guys (Original Soundtrack), 1974 (already available)
Chocolate Chip, 1975
Groove-A-Thon, 1976
Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak), 1976 *only available in MFiT


Tuesday, December 13, 2016



Real Gone Music presents what is probably the rarest album in the voluminous Duke Ellington discography, his 1963 date with Swedish singer Alice Babs, Serenade to Sweden. That year, Ellington was hired by the Reprise label as an A&R man, free to sign any artist he wanted and to record them. His first choice was Babs, who, in Ellington’s words, was “the most unique artist I know…She sings opera, she sings lieder, she sings what we call jazz and blues, she sings like an instrument, she even yodels, and she can read any and all of it!” For her part, Babs (born Hildur Alice Nilson) had a hit in Sweden when was only 15 (“Swing It Teacher”), and was an iconic figure in her homeland, appearing in 14 Swedish films from 1938 to 1959. The result of this meeting of legendary musical minds was a sublime cool jazz masterpiece that, sadly, never received a proper release in the U.S. and appears to be the only Ellington album never to be reissued on CD or even digitally, having eluded even the most comprehensive compilers. Needless to say, original copies go for big Swedish krona online, and not just because it’s rare; Babs’ wordless vocals and scat singing on “The Boy in My Dreams,” “Strange Visitor,” and “Babsie” are positively Ella-worthy, and Ellington’s masterful arrangements—at times filigreed with a French horn section—provide the perfect accompaniment. We’ve added liner notes by Scott Yanow, while the album boasts remastering by Aaron Kannowski. Fascinating for any jazz fan—essential for Ellington enthusiasts! Includes: Serenade to Sweden; The Boy in My Dreams; Stoona; La De Doody Doo; Strange Visitor; Azure; Come Sunday; "C" Jam Blues; C Jam Blues; I Didn't Know About You;.Satin Doll;.Take Love Easy; Babsie; (I Want) Something to Live For; I'm Beginning to See the Light; and Untitled Lullaby.


A fantastic take on the music of Marisa Monte – one that takes the Brazilian singers best songs, and recasts them in a style that's beautifully soulful! Silva handles most of the instrumentation himself, along with the vocals – and the set is heavy on Fender Rhodes and other keyboards, which are used with a gentle flow over well-crafted rhythms – in a mode that's very different than some of Monte's original readings – but in a really great way! The whole thing almost feels like a Neo Soul set at times, but has more edge too – and Marisa herself guests on a reading of "Noturna" – alongside other titles that include "Ainda Lembro", "Beija Eu", "Na Estrada", "Nao Va Embora", "O Bonde Do Dom", "Pecado E Lhe Deixar De Molho", and "Infinito Particular". ~ Dusty Groove


Fantastic solo sounds from guitarist Jeff Parker – a set of recordings that were all done live, with no overdubs at all – but which really show a complex approach to his overall sound! Parker's almost in some of the more abstract territory here as on some of his Chicago Underground Duo recordings – but he's also maybe a bit more tuneful, while also more introspective – showing us a personal, human side of his music that's extremely moving – and which really comes as quite a surprise, compared to some of his other records. Some numbers almost have a Jim Hall-like fragility, while other points are more creatively textural – and the whole thing is really wonderful, and represents a whole new step for Parker – a musician who's already been blowing our mind for about 20 years. Titles include "Super Rich Kids", "Slight Freedom", "Mainz", and a beautiful take on "Lush Life". ~ Dusty Groove

Featured This Week On The Jazz Network Worldwide: Vocalist, Daina Shukis EP 'Dance of the Muse' Plays Impressionist Pieces On Piano

The Jazz Network Worldwide features Daina Shukis’s ‘Romance of the Muse’, a classic blend of genres with an impressionist-avant garde progressive feel condusive to spiritual and emotional healing using ones imagination creating a peaceful place to relax and contemplate.

“Daina Shukis has seen it all.  Collaborated with some eccentrically gifted masters of their art.  Combined with the accents of her whimsically creative offerings, you get a piece of art that is timeless in its signature.  The myriad of colors of Daina’s personality exudes itself in these selections showing that musical conversation can be had with integrations that bring story-telling left to ones imagination of life and all its imagery’s” says Jaijai Jackson of The Jazz Network Worldwide.

“As I have enjoyed playing impressionist pieces with their emphasis on instrumental timbres which create an interplay of shimmering colors evoking symbolic ideas such as a walk in the forest or carriage ride up a steep hill.  I hope you are inspired by this collection including free improvisations, to create your own atmospheric mental images allowing your body to absorb the healing vibrations of sound”, says Daina.

The three masters include: Claude Debussy who was a child prodigy who became one of the most important and influential French composers of all time.  Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include melodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music.  Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin,[was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as a leading musician of his era, whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.” (wikipedia)

Shukis revels in the heartwarming feeling that this musical moment in time sits close to her heart where she played synthesizer, was not only impeccable musical exchanges but grew the personal friendships with Jeremy Steig on flute, Eddie Gomez on double bass and Ray Mantilla on percussion.

Daina is excited to share her views of how artists are experimenting with new presentations of genre integrations and seeks radio interviews to share its musical history from her vantage point.

Pianist and vocalist Daniela Schächter explores the Jimmy Van Heusen Songbook on her 4th CD

A gifted composer in addition to being an expressive vocalist and pianist, Daniela Schächter focuses her attention on a single songwriter for the first time in her career on her fourth album, Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen (out September 9). The album features 11 tunes from the pen of Van Heusen, one of the most prolific and celebrated songwriters of the 20th century, along with the title track, written as a tribute by Schächter.

Born in 1913, Jimmy Van Heusen wrote dozens of songs that have become timeless standards, several of which are included herein - including "All the Way," "Darn That Dream," "Here's That Rainy Day," and "Come Fly With Me." He was best known for his long association with Frank Sinatra (he rushed Ol' Blue Eyes to the hospital after Sinatra's failed suicide attempt in the aftermath of his split with Ava Gardner), his collaborations with lyricist Sammy Cahn providing the titles for several of Sinatra's classic albums from the late 1950s. But he composed hundreds of songs over the course of his long career, writing for film, television and theater and garnering an Emmy and four Academy Awards.

On Vanheusenism, these songs are reinvigorated by a skilled and deftly communicative band, all longtime associates of Schächter's. Both tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker and drummer Mark Walker are frequent collaborators in the singer/pianist's adopted hometown of Boston, where she teaches at Berklee College of Music. Bassist Michael O'Brien, who engages Schächter in a playful, spirited duo version of "Call Me Irresponsible," enjoyed a lengthy trio stint with her during a residency at the New York City club The Garage.

Born in Sicily, Schächter studied at Berklee College of Music and the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA. She went on to win Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead Competition in 2002 and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition in 2005, and has performed with influential artists including the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Terri Lyne Carrington, Patti Austin, Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Kevin Mahogany, Christian McBride, Tiger Okoshi and Shirley Horn, among others. She has also performed under the baton of such notable jazz and classical conductors as Quincy Jones, Patrick Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Clayton Jr., Elmer Bernstein, Bob Brookmeyer, Justin DiCioccio and Phil Wilson.

While she'd performed many of Van Heusen's songs during her career, Schächter hadn't looked closely into his repertoire until she was interviewed for Jim Burns' documentary on the songwriter, Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin; with Frank & Bing. "Since then I've been exploring his music more in-depth," Schächter says. "His songs have both clever lyrics and intriguing harmonic progressions: appealing to the new generation and the old generation as well."

Throughout Vanheusenism, Schächter puts her own unique and elegant spin on Van Heusen's classic songs, often reimagining the songs' harmonic texture or rhythmic sensibility to make them her own. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," for instance, typically rendered as a winsome ballad, takes on a bright mid-tempo pace in Schächter's version, her harmonic changes capturing the sense of wonder and discovery in the lyrics. Similarly, "Darn That Dream" captures the mystified consternation of the lyrics, Schächter vividly rendering the groggy frustration as dream dissipates into lovelorn wakefulness.

There's a hint of bossa bounce to "The Second Time Around," a danger-courting freneticism in "It Could Happen To You," a simmering pop cool on "But Beautiful," and a bluesy swing to the album-closing, unaccompanied "I Thought About You." Knowing when not to mess with perfection, Schächter maintains the breezy, jet-setting spirit of "Come Fly With Me" and the yearning wistfulness of "All the Way."

Schächter combines "Like Someone in Love" and "Imagination" into a medley, a recognition of the kinds of harmonic patterns that recurred frequently in Van Heusen's work, making such pairings natural. "Once I started researching, I could see how similar some of his tunes were to one another," Schächter says. "But at the same time, every tune was completely different. Melodically he could really develop the ideas in different ways, with very interesting musical details, despite the similarities between some of the tunes."

She added a new intro and outro to "Here's That Rainy Day," which opens the album, and contributed a brand new song in the composer's recognizable style. "Vanheusenism" combines several elements gleaned from Van Heusen's oeuvre (check the motif that the bass and sax play in unison, for instance) into a new love song featuring a romantic solo by Tucker.

While Vanheusenism marks Schächter's first foray into Songbook territory, it follows her previous releases in building an album around a unifying central concept. Her last release, Purple Butterfly, focused on the feeling of loneliness and yearning through changing seasons, moving thematically
through nearly a full calendar year; its predecessor, I Colori Del Mare, was centered on her Sicilian motherland.

 "I like to make an album sound connected, with a definite direction, so a listener understands immediately what I'm trying to deliver," Schächter explains. "In this case, Vanheusenism is my way of representing an expression that comes from listening to and playing his tunes all the time."

It's also a way of looking back at a bygone era, when singers and songwriters were two different creatures, each an expert in their own unique form. "Now we have songwriters who do everything: they sing, they compose, they write lyrics," says Schächter, who can certainly count herself in that category. "Back then how music was made was so different. The result is that the songs are amazingly written and are still played after so many years. The ideas are still so strong and the melodies are still so interesting. I'd like to keep that tradition alive and perform those tunes in a way that might interest a new generation."

LESLEY GORE LOVE ME BY NAME (EXPANDED EDITION): Album Sessions Reunited Lesley with Producer Quincy Jones

Having filled a major gap in the late, great Lesley Gore’s discography with its release of her Motown album Someplace Else Now, Real Gone Music now turns its attention to the other major missing piece of her catalog, the 1976 album she recorded for A&M Records. Love Me by Name not only reunited Lesley with producer Quincy Jones from her hit-making ‘60s days, but brought her into together with a truly staggering array of talent, including Herbie Hancock, Toots Thielemans, Harvey Mason, Jim Keltner, Dave Grusin and just about every other studio superstar you could name, even the Partridge Family! Love Me by Name features compositions written by Gore and her songwriting partner Ellen Weston, most notably the title track, which was later covered by Dusty Springfield, Patti Austin, and Jennifer Holiday among others. The album also gave a nod to the disco and funk trends that were so prominent in pop music at the time, particularly on the lead-off track, “Sometimes,” which paired her unmistakable pipes with the Brothers Johnson. Our Real Gone reissue marks the worldwide debut of this album on CD, and adds two rare single versions as well as liner notes by Joe Marchese that explore the life and times of this remarkable lady. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision and featuring rare photos, this Expanded Edition of Love Me by Name is the one release that Lesley Gore fans worldwide have been waiting for. 

1. Sometimes
2. Paranoia
3. Love Me by Name
4. Immortality
5. Can't Seem to Live Our Good Times Down
6. Don't Stop Me
7. Other Lady
8. Along the Way
9. Give It to Me Sweet Thing
10. Reprise: Love Me by Name
11. Immortality
12. Give It to Me Sweet Thing

Friday, December 09, 2016



A treasure trove of work from Deniece Williams – one of the coolest, classiest soul singers to hit the mainstream at the end of the 70s! Williams has roots that go deep in the Chicago scene – including young work under the name of Deniece Chandler – but this set picks off from the time when she hit Columbia Records as a full-formed adult soul singer – one of the freshest talents of her generation – with an ability to hit some of the spiritual currents of Minnie Riperton, and some of the grooves you might expect from Cheryl Lynn! Both those sides and many more are featured here – in a 35 track set that's overflowing with gems, produced by soul music legends who include Maurice White, Charles Stepney, Thom Bell, Ray Parker Jr, George Duke, Jeff Lorber, and others. Titles include "Baby Baby My Love's All For You", "What Two Can Do", "I Can't Wait", "I'm So Proud", "Black Butterfly", "Silly", "God Is Amazing", "Free", "Healing", "All I Need", "Waiting By The Hotline", "Let's Hear It For The Boy (12" version)", "Do What You Feel (single version)", "When Love Comes Calling", "I've Got The Next Dance (12" version)", "That's What Friends Are For", and "It's Gonna Take A Miracle". Also features duets with Johnny Mathis on "Without Us", "Love Won't Let Me Wait", "Too Much Too Little Too Late", and "You're All I Need To Get By". ~ Dusty Groove


This album features Little Richard and his band with incredible songs from the mid-1970s. We all know about the iconic songs like "Good Golly Ms Molly," "Tutti Frutti," and many more, but this new album is a departure from that sound with elements of jazz, blues and funk. Producer Keith Winslow brought this project to life with a focus on the amazing band Little Richard was working with in 1970s. It features Johnny "Guitar" Watson, San Francisco Sound, Tower Of Power (horn section), Eddie Cornelius, Duane Winslow, Larry Williams, Ernie Watts, Tony Matthews, Jessie Boyce, Freeman Brown, Bobby "Youngblood" Forte, Melvin Wonder, Blood Sweat and Tears, and more.


One of the most hard-hitting albums we've ever heard from pianist Roberto Fonseca – a set that deeply digs back into an older Afro-Cuban sound – as you might guess from the title's backward-spelling of Cuba! The music here is surprisingly rich and full – not just Cuban flavoring on jazz piano lines, but a well-conceived, fully-formed approach that mixes Roberto's fierce piano lines with larger percussion and horns, and some very strong acoustic bass from Yandy Martinez – which really drives the harder-grooving songs in a great way! We're often a bit suspicious of projects like this, but we're totally in love with this record – as there's a vibe that's at once respectful of the classics, but totally brand-new – and produced to perfection, without any fakeness or gimmicks at all. Titles include "Soul Guardians", "Sagrado Corazon", "Family", "Tierra Santa", "Tumbao De La Unidad", "Afro Mambo", and "Asere Monina Bonco". ~ Dusty Groove

12th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival Announces 2017 Lineup ~ Jill Scott, LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-TRIP Also Performing: Common, The Roots, Esperanza Spalding, Andra Day, Morris Day & The Time, Herbie Hancock, Smokie Norful, Jazz All-Stars featuring Chante Moore, Will Downing & Marion Meadows on March 18th and 19th, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

As the fastest growing jazz & R&B festival in America moves to celebrate its twelfth successful year, the City of Miami Gardens is excited to announce the lineup for the Annual Jazz in the Gardens (JITG) Music Festival, taking place on March 18th and March 19th, 2017 at the newly named Hard Rock Stadium (347 Don Shula Drive, Miami Gardens, FL 33056). Tickets are on sale now at www.jazzinthegardens.com

This year's performances will feature three-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott, legendary hip hop artist LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-TRIP, socially conscious rap pioneer Common, smooth crooner Robin Thicke, hip hop legends The Roots, up and coming soul singer Andra Day, jazz royalty Herbie Hancock, sultry bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, funk music innovator Morris Day & The Time, the JITG All-Stars Chante Moore, Will Downing & Marion Meadows and gospel sensation Smokie Norful! Once again, JITG will be hosted by the hilarious radio personality Ricky Smiley, host of the popular nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

"The Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival is coming back to Miami Gardens with a bang!  We're excited to bring some of the hottest, most talented performers in music, such as Jill Scott and Common, and welcome hip-hop performers who are heavily influenced by jazz, like The Roots and LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-TRIP," said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. "In our twelfth year, we feel positioned to evolve and reach across generations and genres to take Jazz in the Gardens to the next level."

Boasting an annual attendance of over 70,000 music fanatics from all over the United States and the Caribbean Islands, the City's signature event will also showcase local artists along with an array of tropical food vendors and a buzzing Marketplace. On both Saturday and Sunday, doors to the Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival will open at 3 p.m. and the show will start at 4 p.m.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

“Wrap This!” delivers a Grammy nomination to 4-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin

The big band leader will celebrate the season and his 21st Grammy nomination by performing with his Big Phat Band at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood on Monday, December 12.

 Gordon Goodwin, the most decorated big band leader in the 21st century, asked “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and on Tuesday, NARAS voters answered affirmatively by bestowing another Grammy nomination upon the four-time Grammy winner. The 21st Grammy nomination of his distinguished career, Goodwin, who also has three Emmy wins, received the nod in the Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals category for his crafty work on the time-honored Christmas classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?” that features guest vocals from ten-time Grammy winners Take 6. The track appears on Goodwin’s Big Phat Band’s “A Big Phat Christmas - Wrap This!” album, which was released on the Music of Content label.

To celebrate the holiday season, Goodwin will lead his 18-piece Big Phat Band into Hollywood for a festive-themed concert showcasing music from “A Big Phat Christmas – Wrap This!” at Catalina Bar & Grill on Monday, December 12 at 8:30pm. On December 22, Goodwin will join trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval for a special appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall where they will perform some of Goodwin’s arrangements from “A Big Phat Christmas: Wrap This!”  

It’s been a prolific year for Goodwin, a busy film and television composer and orchestrater who released the Christmas album as well as “An Elusive Man,” the debut disc by his Little Phat Band, a slimmed-down 8-piece jazz ensemble. In addition to producing “An Elusive Man,” Goodwin penned eight original compositions and re-envisioned a pair of standards that spotlight his animated piano and chatty tenor sax trading boisterous barbs and banter with seven members of the Big Phat Band. The musicians relished the liberating freedom to improvise and explore other dimensions of jazz that are not possible to invoke in tightly-scripted big band settings. The versatile, critically-hailed collection swings through tracks of jazz, funk, be-bop, soul and Latin rhythms.
Goodwin’s 2017 is already taking shape with the premiere of a new Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, which he composed for trumpet virtuoso James Morrison. The concerto will debut in Australia on April 30 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. A second orchestra piece, Fantasia for Soprano Sax and Orchestra, will premiere May 7 in Los Angeles. The soloist will be his Big and Little Phat Band colleague saxophonist Eric Marienthal, who will be accompanied by the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. A second performance is slated to take place in July in Prague with the Czech National Symphony.   

Goodwin, who is profiled in the winter issue of Jazziz magazine arriving on newsstands nationally this month, hosts “Phat Tracks with Gordon Goodwin,” which airs Saturdays from 12-2pm PT on KJAZZ, America’s jazz and blues station. The Los Angeles-based artist will find out on February 12, 2017 if he’ll be adding a fifth Grammy statue to his trophy case. For more information, please visit www.GordonGoodwin.com.

Below are excerpts from some of the Little Phat Band’s “An Elusive Man” album reviews:

“Lighter, quicker and with more pep, as most people are after dropping a few, this band is a nice break, and shows a different side of Goodwin’s skills.” – Jazz Weekly

“Goodwin once again shows why he can lay claim to being the hardest working man in jazz (if he wanted to make that claim) with this mostly original set that takes mainstream jazz to high and mighty places. Killer stuff throughout for anyone that wants to hear grand playing that just makes them feel good, you can expect Goodwin to set the world on fire once again with this smoking set.” – Midwest Record

“The entire recording presents the compositional integrity of Gordon Goodwin and his ability to lead smaller bands with the same finesse as his Big Phat Band…This one should definitely be in your jazz collection.” – Sounds of Timeless Jazz

“Goodwin has built a larger-than-life reputation throughout the music industry for his composing, arranging and playing skills. Here on ‘An Elusive Man,’ he showcases them all and along with his Little Phat Band.” – Exclusive Magazine

“Gordon Goodwin is one of America's most garlanded jazz men.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk



The best-ever collection we've ever seen to focus on the work of Linda Jones – one of our favorite female soul singers of the late 60s, but an artist who never fully hit the fame she deserved! Linda's got a hell of a voice – a sense of positive power that really stands out, right from the start – and even on the earliest material here, she's singing in a deep soul style that's stronger than most of her contemporaries – a mode that she'd only inflect with more emotion and sophistication as the 70s approached – where she cut some stunning sides for the Turbo/All-Platinum label! Those great cuts are here, alongside other gems from the Neptune, Cub, Blue Cat, Atco, and Loma labels – in a set that blows away some of the shoddier, cheaper collections of Jones material – especially the early 70s tracks. There's lots of material on here that wasn't on the Atco/Loma collection by Real Gone – only 7 of these 24 tracks are from that time – and titles include "That's When I'll Stop Loving You", "Stay With Me Forever", "Behold", "If Only We Had Met Sooner", "I Do", "Lonely Teardrops", "Your Precious Love", "Not On The Outside", "I Can't Make It Alone", "Can You Blame Me", "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow", "Ooh Baby You Move Me", and "I'm So Glad I Found You" – which is a duet with The Whatnauts!  ~ Dusty Groove.


Vinyl Me, Please is releasing Nina Simone Sings The Blues as their December Record of the Month. This exclusive release, which has been remastered by Ryan Smith over at Sterling Sound, is pressed on 180-gram blue vinyl and features a gatefold jacket with an 8 page full-color booklet of archival photos. Sign up before December 15th to receive the special edition of Nina Simone Sings The Blues. "Pouring out through a voice as rich as fertile earth itself, the 12 songs on Nina Simone Sings the Blues feel like they weren't created, but rather have always existed, incubating beneath layers of soil until Simone decided she'd harvest them to share with the world. Maybe it's hard to conceptualize the fruition of these songs because the blues-as a sound, as a genre, as a feeling-are absorbing; they embody complex histories and an encompassing emotional state that spans generations of human conditions. Maybe it's difficult to imagine the creation of these songs because most of us have never known a world without this momentous 1967 album." - Vinyl Me, Please


Italian-born pianist and composer Maria Chiara Argirò is the author of some truly visionary contemporary jazz music, and her new album, The Fall Dance, takes the listener on a journey through her musical world. Maria frequently encounters nocturnal musical dreams, which form a substantial part of her inspiration. The songs on this disc draw us in to her musical world, allowing us to explore her night-time visions, as well as the dream-like interpretations of her real-life experiences. Each score has a story behind it, with musical boundaries being stretched through Maria’s collaboration with some outstanding musicians, including the Maria Chiara Argirò Group as heard on this disc – a London-based sextet which brings together fresh young talent from the international music scene with an original repertoire of new compositions, characterised by their unique lyrical and rhythmic identity. Working and touring with these musicians further inspired the compositions heard on this disc, which came to fruition in between tours. Collaborating with so many different types of artist acted as a driving force that compelled Maria to explore her own vision of music on this album. Blending classical music and folk traditions with her own approach to harmony and melody, the compositions call strongly upon the sounds and aesthetics of contemporary jazz. Performing with UK-based artists such as Coco Mbassi (BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards Nomination) and Barns Courtney (BBC Music Introducing), Maria has recorded at Abbey Road and BBC Studios Maida Vale, and has also toured alongside These New Puritans at festivals in Asia, the USA, Mexico, Europe, and at the Hollywood Bowl supporting Björk in Los Angeles, as well as at the Barbican in London. Watch The Fall Dance, thetrailer.

Lyric Fury, The Adventurous Octet Led by Pianist/Composer Cynthia Hilts, Debuts on Record January 13

Twenty years ago, Brooklyn-based pianist/composer Cynthia Hilts was seeking to form a band "that sounds like a celestial collision of Mingus and Debussy" as a vehicle for her brisk, striking originals. Her avant-meets-mainstream writing, as the band name Lyric Fury suggests, is demanding and defined by powerful contrasts.

Hilts and her octet have been honing a sound and a vision ever since, and their brilliant efforts are captured on their first recording together -- the like-named Lyric Fury -- set for January 13 release by Hilts's Blond Coyote imprint.

Lyric Fury boasts a lineup of top-drawer players with highly distinctive "A" games of their own. They include trumpet great and onetime Mingusite Jack Walrath, saxophonists Lisa Parrott and Lily White (who co-produced the album with Hilts), trombonist Deborah Weisz, cellist Marika Hughes, bassist Ratzo Harris, and drummer Scott Neumann.

The infectious opening track, "Those Basinites," was inspired by the quirky residents of Basin, Montana, where Hilts did several residencies. But much of Hilts's music, for which she writes her own poetic lyrics, responds to situations and events. "Previously a Thing," a brash invocation that turns Horace Silver-style hard bop on its ear (dig White's passionate tenor solo), was written after a breakup. The free-gliding "Blues for the Bronchs," featuring out-of-sorts voicings and a ripping, hard-edged solo by Walrath, had its genesis in an unshakable case of bronchitis.

A seasoned peace activist, Hilts composed the album's most lyrical and deeply affecting work, "Peace Now," following the outbreak of the Iraq War. Her vocal -- part scat, part chant, part heartfelt plea -- is framed by the dark tones of Parrott's baritone and Hughes's cello and carried by bright rhythms. "Teacher," with its delicate piano introduction and South African lilt, is a prayer for a spiritual leader.

Forming the octet proved a dream achievement in many ways. "I have always been a loner," Hilts says. "I didn't understand the value of community. But I certainly do now, having benefited so much from the openness and contributions of these musicians. When I bring in a new piece, they understand not to try and do something new with it right away, even in cases where I haven't written something right. They sublimate their individuality for a moment or two. And during performances of the music, they're always coming up with surprises. But it all works out in the end."

Cynthia Hilts Born and raised in Tucson, Cynthia Hilts grew up in a musical family. She went on to study jazz composition and arranging at Berklee College of Music with, among others, the late trumpeter and big band leader Herb Pomeroy, who also taught the likes of Gary Burton, Gary McFarland, and Toshiko Akiyoshi. "I was so excited to be there," she says. "Herb taught harmonic subtleties with great precision and humor, for instance in his class 'Writing in the Style of Duke Ellington.'"

Hilts moved to New York City in the early '90s. After appearing on a free jazz album, Invite the Unexpected, with Mike Ellis, George Garzone, Graham Haynes, and Cecil McBee, she wrote and recorded her first album, Stars Down to the Ground, in Montana. Featuring local players, the 2000 release was commissioned by the Montana Artists Refuge -- "the first time I'd been treated as a royal composer," Hilts jokes.

Her self-produced second album, Second Story Breeze (2008), showcased her distinctive singing, soulful postbop piano playing, and sometimes daring arranging in a heady trio setting featuring bassist Ron McClure and drummer Jeff Williams.

After her time at Berklee, Hilts gained valuable experience in such places as San Francisco, Florida, Sweden, and France. She has performed in a variety of settings, including reggae and calypso bands (hear the reggae-fied "Jam & Toast" on the new album). She has contributed to film documentaries and has served as musical director for theater productions. She's also an active visual artist.

Hilts is most at home, however, in Lyric Fury -- the name of which came to her without any brainstorming or fanfare. "The group only expands my version of what the music should be, of who I am musically as a person," she says. "It's a real labor of love."

Cynthia Hilts and Lyric Fury will celebrate the release of their new CD with a performance at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn on Thursday 1/12. Looking ahead, the band is also booked at New York's Baha'i Center, part of the Jazz Tuesdays series, on 4/18; and at the Jazz on the Lake Festival in Lake George, NY 9/16-17.



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