Friday, January 27, 2017



Unlike Jose Mauro, whose biography is almost completely shrouded in mystery, Victor Assis Brasil’s tragically short life is a better known story. He passed away aged just thirty-five, but by this point his status was already cemented as one of Brazil’s top players. Gifted his first saxophone by his aunt at the age of fourteen, his debut LP was recorded just four years later, alongside some mercurial greats of Brazilian jazz, Tenorio Jr and Edson Lobo. Following the release of his first two albums, Victor was granted a place to study at Berklee College of Music, and it was during this period he recorded toca antonio carlos jobim upon returning to Brazil in the summer of 1970. At a time in Brazil when the smooth n’ easy groove of the bossa beat no longer reflected the inflamed politics of a nation under the cosh of military dictatorship, Victor Assis Brasil morphed Jobim’s soothing originals into raw, deep jazz cuts, with the help of Brazilian legends Edison Lobo, Helio Delmiro and Edison Machado. The album’s influences spans both American continents, finding a meeting point for Latin jazz and North American post-bop, with Roberto Quartin’s perfectionist approach to sound elevating the already incandescent music to divine new heights. Includes: Só Tinha De Ser Com Você;  Wave; Bonita; and Dindi.


An excellent edition of this long-running series – one that's put together by the folks at Expansion Records – who've given us years of fantastic soul music – both in the world of reissues, and in the contemporary underground! This package brings together both – with a heavy focus on the label's great ear for the best of the best in the Neo Soul generation – underground artists who are making some excellent music that never gets any radio play or big label release, but which tops most of the mainstream soul on the market. And there's also some classic cuts, pulled from Expansion reissues – nicely balancing out the new work with some 70s soul. 3CD set features 35 tracks in all – and titles include "I Can't Forget About You" by Mather, "Your Love Is All I Need" by Alton McClain, "It's A Beautiful Day " by Fe Fea White with Jimi Morris, "All I Need Is You (5AM Jazzy Jam rework)" by Tom Glide, "I Need Your Love (Drizabone rmx)" by Sargent Tucker with Drizabone, "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover" by Soulutions, "I Need You For Love" by Kim Tibbs, "Give Of Love" by Breakwater, "That's Love (Joey Nelson mix)" by Hannah White, "Moving On" by Faye B, "Let's Have A Good Time" by Andy Stokes, "Groove With You" by Lovell, "Asking Eyes (Phil Asher's west ten mix)" by Da Lata, "Wish You Mine (Ed The Red's funk soul mix)" by Ed The Red, "Now" by Camera Soul, "Take U Back (DJ mix)" by Joyce Irby, "Why Can't We Be Lovers" by Brandi Wells, "It's Your Love" by Ethel Beatty, "I Want You" by Rose Royce, and "Can't We Just Get Long" by Kashif. ~ Dusty Groove 


A set that's mostly hip hop, with lots of jazzy instrumentation – but a package that also includes some great jazz tracks too – which allows it to effortlessly draw a line back and forth between older nuggets and the best of the contemporary underground! There's a crisp, hip vibe to the whole thing – as despite the Tribe Called Quest reference in the title, most of the work here is from the farther side of the spectrum of all styles included – the kind of well-chosen cuts that we'd expect from the folks at P-Vine, who put this whole thing together. Titles include "Clouds" by Gigi Masin, "Good Times" by Pat D, "Hip Hop First Of All" by Guts, "Humpty Dumpty" by Placebo, "Never Left" by Illa J, "In All The Wrong Places" by Kero One, "Six Aces" by Takuya Kuroda, "Get Away" by Think Twice & David Ryshpan, "One Day" by DJ Alibi, "Clin D'Oiel" by Jazz Liberatorz, "My Tunes" by Specifics, "Tohu Bohu 1" by Marc Moulin, "The Blessing Song" by Build An Ark, "Carry On" by King, "Appertif" by Green Butter, and "Warm Thoughts" by Flume. ~ Dusty Groove

Clint Holmes has an intimate “Rendezvous” with a star-studded jazz collective

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Ledisi, Joey DeFrancesco, Dave Koz, Patti Austin and The Count Basie Orchestra help bring the veteran crooner’s story to life on the album due February 24.

A song that singer-songwriter Clint Holmes wrote fondly recalling the Sunday afternoons he used to spend with his father at the historic Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo in upstate New York where he was first exposed to jazz serves as the centerpiece of “Rendezvous,” his new album slated for release on February 24 from LL Music.

“I was twelve and it was a true coming of age moment for me. I had never seen my dad in his world. He worked three jobs and never seemed happy until I saw him in this element. I fell in love with jazz and how cool it felt to interact with the ‘cats’ the way my dad did,” said Holmes, the son of an African-American father and a white British mother who was a classically-trained opera singer.

With jazz timing and phrasing informing his velvety tenor croon on eleven cuts, including three new songs that he co-wrote, Holmes surrounded himself with a royal herd of jazz “cats” on the collection that was produced by two-time Grammy winner Gregg Field. The sophisticated session offers a diverse play list that reinterprets modern day and classic pop hits, soulful R&B, theatrical tunes and numbers culled from the Great American Songbook. Field placed Holmes’ voice front and center amidst live instrumentation, sweeping strings and orchestra accompaniment, and sparse piano and vocal settings. The first single shipped to radio stations for airplay is “Say Something,” a duet between Holmes and multi-time Grammy nominee Ledisi. Grammy winner Patti Austin sang, conducted and arranged the background vocals on the track that will also be remixed for dance floors and serviced to club DJs.          

Class and elegance reign on a cunning big band mashup of “I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” pairing Holmes and Grammy-winning chanteuse Dee Dee Bridgewater backed by The Count Basie Orchestra. Holmes will join Bridgewater and the famed orchestra on stage at the legendary Blue Note in New York City on February 4 and 5 to perform the showstopper arranged by four-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin.   

Stellar contributions proliferate “Rendezvous.” Holmes and Grammy winner Jane Monheit break hearts on a sublime rendition of Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Swinging jazz and blues mingle “At The Rendezvous,” which is illuminated by a storming Hammond B-3 solo from Grammy-nominated organist Joey DeFrancesco. Closing the record with poignancy, Holmes penned lyrics to the sweetly melodic “What You Leave Behind,” composed by contemporary jazz luminary Dave Koz, who embellished the acoustic guitar and vocal track with a gracefully emoting sax solo.          

“Every track does come from a personal place for me and this CD is a ‘rendezvous’ in every sense of the word – a coming together of great and generous artists. The material I selected for the album is specific and biographical while being universal at the same time,” Holmes concluded.  

Holmes burst onto the pop landscape nearly 45 years ago with the million-selling smash “Playground in My Mind.” His enduring and accomplished career as a recording artist, multidimensional showman and consummate entertainer includes tenure as Joan Rivers’ sidekick on her late night television program, a stint as musical feature and event correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” and his own Emmy-winning talk/variety show. Along with appearing in marquee musicals across the country, he has written the book, music and lyrics to original shows and cabaret acts. A critically-acclaimed draw in Las Vegas and New York City in recent decades, Holmes concluded an extended run at the Palazzo a short time ago and soon expects to announce a new Vegas residency with a production inspired by “Rendezvous.” For more information, please visit

“Rendezvous” contains the following songs:

“Stop This Train”
“At The Rendezvous” featuring Joey DeFrancesco
“I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater and The Count Basie Orchestra
“Every Time We Say Goodbye” featuring Jane Monheit
“All Of Me”
“Say Something” featuring Ledisi
“The Perfect Trance”
“My Way”
“What You Leave Behind” featuring Dave Koz

Thursday, January 26, 2017



Beautiful harmony soul from The Manhattans! This excellent 2CD set pulls together a bunch of the greatest songs they recorded for Columbia in the 70s & 80s, with all of their classic singles – hits, comparably overlooked gems, and B-sides alike – plus key album tracks from a nearly 15 year run. Already group soul veterans by the time they began recording for Columbia, The Manhattans are one of those rare groups who managed to get better and better over the years, really hitting their peak in the 70s and riding high for years to come, well into the 1980s! Disc 1 features a perfectly chosen selection of material from the prime years of the 70s, including "There's No Me Without You", "You'd Better Believe It", "Wish That You Were Mine", "Summertime In The City", "Hurt", "Gypsy Man", "Love Talk", "Am I Losing You", "Here Comes The Hurt Again" and many more. Disc 2 focuses on material from their surprisingly wonderful 80s years – carrying classic soul ballad tradition pretty deep into the new decade – a really remarkable achievement given the rapidly changing sounds and styles of that decade! Titles include "Shining Star", "Girl Of My Dream", "Just One Moment Away", "Crazy", "Forever By Your Side", "Where Did We Go Wrong?" with Regina Belle, "All I Need", "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)" and more. 35 tracks on 2CDs! ~ Dusty Groove


That's Thelonious Monk on the cover, getting an egg yolk removed from his head – and while that image may seem a bit sacrilegious, it's also a great way to portray the sound of this unusual Japanese group! Wonk have a sound that's begun in jazz, but quickly taken to much farther-out territory – maybe part of the funk, cosmic, and soulful currents you'll know in the music of Robert Glasper in recent years – but with even trippier, more abstract moments at times – as acoustic instrumentation comes into play with some hip hop-styled production, but always with a warmly beating heart that really holds the record together! The core group features keyboards, bass, and drums – plus vocals from Kento Nagatsuka on some tracks – and the album also features guest appearances by a few MCs, who further help extend the righteous vibe of the music. Wonderfully fresh, and with a sense of variety that really rewards deeper listening – on titles that include "RdNet", "Savior", "DOF", "Minton", "1914", "Glory", and "Emly".  ~ Dusty Groove


That's the middle finger of David Boykin on the front cover – bidding a bold farewell to the year of 2016 – with a record that offers up some of the most soul-nourishing sounds we've ever heard from the reedman! The album's got a sharper, almost funkier sound than some of Boykin's other work – a double-length performance that features David on tenor, in a group that also has James Baker on a piano that sounds electric, and which is often played in these blocky chords that fit well with the bass of Alex Wing and drums of Isaiah Spencer – all working as a cohesive trio unity, while Boykin takes off with these searing, searching solos! The mix of spiritual reeds and chunkier rhythms is almost a bit like some of the early "funk" work of Joe McPhee – but Boykin's clearly got his own agenda in the music, and comes off with a mindblowing positive sound. All tracks are long, and titles include "Coronal Mass Ejection", "Wherever You At", "Make It Count", "You Know Who You Are", and "Jaglavac". ~ Dusty Groove

Steve McQuarry's Mandala Nonet & Orchestra To Perform the Music of Gil Evans Saturday, March 4 At the SFJAZZ Center's Miner Auditorium

Oakland-based keyboardist-composer Steve McQuarry has long been in love with the unique music of Gil Evans, the late, largely-self-taught Toronto-born composer, arranger, and keyboardist best remembered for his numerous collaborations with Miles Davis.

"The whole way he thought about orchestrating using instruments and also pushing those instruments in different ranges is really fascinating," McQuarry says of Evans. "I remember talking with Maria Schneider about this. She said he would write the trombone parts really high and things like that, which academically trained arrangers are told not to do, and how that changed a lot of textures and tone quality in the sound."

For a program of a dozen Evans arrangements drawn from his early days with the Claude Thornhill big band through his later work with Davis, Kenny Burrell, and his own ensembles, McQuarry has expanded his 19-member Mandala Orchestra to 25 pieces to accommodate instruments Evans sometimes used to enrich his voicings, including French horn, English horn, oboe, bassoon, and cello, as well as downsized it to nine to play three pieces from Davis's legendary 1949-1950 "Birth of the Cool" sessions.

McQuarry's Evans concert will take place on Saturday, March 4, at the SFJAZZ Center's Miner Auditorium, the scene of his highly successful tribute to Carla Bley in June of last year.

No transcriptions from recordings will be performed. The musicians will instead play from original Evans scores -- some written in pencil by the composer himself -- supplied by composer Ryan Truesdell. An associate of Maria Schneider, Truesdell had gathered arrangements from Evans's family, musicians who had worked with him, and from the archives of bandleaders for whom he had worked, among other sources, and recorded 10 of them for his critically acclaimed 2012 CD Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans.

The earliest Evans composition on the program is "The Troubadour," first recorded by the Thornhill orchestra in 1947. Another Evans composition in the set is "Dancing on a Great Big Rainbow," written for Thornhill in 1950 by not recorded until 2012 by Truesdell. The Mandala Orchestra will also perform "Blues for Pablo" and "The Maids of Cadiz" (both from Davis's 1957 album Miles Ahead) and "Greensleeves" (from the 1964 Kenny Burrell album Guitar Forms), as well as "St. Louis Blues," "La Nevada Blues," "Punjab," and "Eleven," all from various albums made by Evans's own bands. And the Nonet will play "Budo," "Israel," and "Boplicity" from Birth of the Cool.

Although born in Canada, on May 13, 1912, Gil Evans resided in the United States from the time he was a boy. He became enamored of the music of Louis Armstrong and other early jazz greats while living in Berkeley in the mid-1920s and formed a nine-piece swing band in Stockton a few years later. He spent most of the 1940s as a staff arranger for the Thornhill band, whose distinctive style greatly influenced that of the Miles Davis Nonet that made the sessions that became known as Birth of the Cool. He recorded in subsequent years with various vocalists and instrumentalists and with bands of his own, but it is the four classic Columbia albums he made with Davis -- Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (1959), Sketches of Spain (1960), and Quiet Nights (1963) -- that Evans's reputation most strongly sits in the minds of many. He died on March 20, 1988.

 Steve McQuarrySteve McQuarry, who was born in Denver on August 17, 1959, took his first arranging class at age 17 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, with Oakland-born composer and arranger Russell Garcia, renowned for his work Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton, and many others. McQuarry also studied at the University of Colorado at Denver, Berklee College of Music, UC San Diego, and Alexander University. An Oakland resident for the past decade, he has performed as a pianist at Yoshi's San Francisco with his own trio and with flutist Gerald Beckett's quartet and has broadcast with his chamber octet Resonance over KPFA in Berkeley and KKUP in Cupertino. He currently records for his own label, Mandala Records, with his piano jazz trio and the jazz ensembles Resonance, Steve McQuarry Organ Trio, Art-Jazz-Rock group, Echelon; Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz band, Tribu the electronica group Synsor; and the new age group Agharta.

"I named my record label, the octet, and the orchestra Mandala after meeting the Dalai Lama and some Tibetan monks drawing mandalas on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley some years ago," he says.

The Mandala Orchestra members are pianists Steve McQuarry and Laura Klein; trumpeters Justin Smith, John Worley, Niel Levonius, and Henry Hung; trombonists Keith Yee, Tim Phelan, Joshua Sankara, and Christian Manzana; French hornist Winston Macaraeg; tuba player Portia Njoku; flutist Gerald Beckett; saxophonists Ruben Salcido, Amelia Catalano, Corey Wright, Georgianna Krieger, and Hermann Lara; oboe and English horn player Glenda Bates; bassoonist Wendell Hanna; cellist Nancy Bien; guitarist Mason Razavi; double bassist Ted Burik; drummer Greg German: and tabla player Jim Santi Owens.

Steve McQuarry Presents Mandala Nonet & Orchestra
Performing the Music of Gil Evans
Saturday, March 4, 8:00 p.m.
SFJAZZ Center, Miner Auditorium
201 Franklin Street, San Francisco

Wednesday, January 25, 2017



Ronnie Baker Brooks, son of blues great Lonnie Brooks, releases his "Times Have Changed", first album in 10 years on Provogue on January 20, 2017. In early 2013 Ronnie Baker Brooks traveled to the late Willie Mitchell's fabled Royal Studios in Memphis. There he recorded a clutch of new songs with producer/drummer Steve Jordan (Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robert Cray), the Memphis Horns, and the mighty Hi Rhythm section. The sessions also featured performances by musical friends like Angie Stone, Al Kapone, Big Head Todd and the legendary Bobby “Blue” Bland. Features: Show Me (feat. Steve Cropper); Doing Too Much (feat. 'Big Head' Todd Mohr); Twine Time (feat. Lonnie Brooks); Times Have Changed (feat. Al Kapone); Long Story Short; Give Me Your Love (Love Song) [feat. Angie Stone]; Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants (feat. 'Big Head' Todd Mohr & Eddie Willis); Old Love (feat. Bobby "Blue" Bland); Come On Up (feat. Felix Cavaliere & Lee Roy Parnell); Wham Bam Thank You Sam; and When I Was We.


Superstar keyboardist, writer, producer Jeff Lorber is renowned as a pioneer in the Jazz-Fusion movement. Scoring #1 radio hits with Jeff Lorber Fusion and as a founding member of Smooth Jazz super-group Jazz Funk Soul, Lorber performs constantly before his dedicated fans from coast to coast!! Tracks include: Hyperdrive, Prototype, Test Drive, What's the Deal, Vienna, The Badness, Hidden Agenda, Gucci, Park West, and River Song. Set for release in March.


A great little set from pianist Sophia Domancich – one that's got maybe even more powerful contributions from the group's two horn players – trombonist Ray Anderson, and alto saxophonist Geraldine Laurent! Anderson is great – blowing with the best kind of angular, well-conceived lines that made his early albums so wonderful – and Laurent is a player that we don't really know at all, but who has this soulful power here that's really amazing – one that brings a richer spirit to the music, as she almost blows like she's holding a tenor at times. The rhythms are nicely unified, and well-placed – thanks to the work of Helene Labarriere on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums – and as the set moves on, Domancich gets more time in the spotlight, with these haunting, ringing tones that are very beautiful. Titles include "Alice's Evidence", "Vestiges", "Pool Of Tears", "A Mad Tea Party", and "Down The Rabbit Hole". ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, January 24, 2017



Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph returns with his new album, Got Soul. The album reaffirms that Randolph and his Family Band have truly evolved into one of the most exciting and innovative outfits in contemporary music. Got Soul takes stock of Randolph's past as a church musician as it pushes the band forward into new places. There is no shortage of originality on the album with songs that run the gamut from gospel numbers to deep, funky grooves to incendiary rock-and-soul jams. The hauntingly exquisite "Heaven's Calling" features Randolph on solo steel while guest vocalists Darius Rucker and Anthony Hamilton lend their golden voices to "Love Do What It Do" and "She Got Soul" respectively. "I Thank You," the 60s Sam & Dave R&B smash, is completely re-imagined in the hands of the Family Band and Snarky Puppy's very on Cory Henry.


Charlie Sepúlveda is trumpeter of power and nuance. On this new recording, Sepúlveda takes on the challenge of preserving culture without being trapped by it. He can take a tried-and-true classic like "Besamé Mucho," and instead of falling into the routine he completely modernizes it, stripping the tune of his sometime over-emphasized bolero rhythm and makes something completely new and communicative. Here paying tribute to his former boss, Eddie Palmieri, Sepúlveda brings his distinctive style to eight imaginative tracks with Palmieri delivering two solo tracks. This isn't salsa and it isn't jazz, and it's not exactly a fusion of the two but an exciting and imaginative place between them.


Triple threat: truly excellent compositions, arrangements, and world class playing.
Acclaimed guitarist John Stein expands his already impressive sonic palette on his new recording, Color Tones. The new album, created with his ever-intriguing core rhythm section—longtime drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario and renown bass player John Lockwood—has also added the voices of two hyper-original soloists, Fernando  Brandão  on  flutes or well-regarded trumpeter Phil Grenadier out of Boston. All of Stein’s accompanists here expertly carve out their territory. Songs like the concise “Neck Road,” perhaps the best example of how this collective functions, features all five instrumentalists intertwining in respectful but bristling ways. And in true Stein fashion, the musicians here complement their bandleader tastily, providing a firm and steady foundation for all the fun that happens on top. Stein’s colleagues also recognize and appreciate the freedom that goes along with playing in an open-minded setting. Stein creates with both composition and structure, and he can color in the details of those structures artfully. But even though the format feels traditional on the surface, there are still surprises hiding underneath. In fact, Color Tones is a true delight, with excellent compositions, sublime arrangements and enthralling musicianship. Isn’t that all we require from a jazz recording? Tracks include: The Commons. Angel Eyes, New Shoes, Five Weeks, Jo Ann, Neck Road, Labor Of Love, Ebb And Flow, Four Corners, Salt Marsh Dawn, and Wall Stones.




Philippe is the son of Brazilian musical legend Baden Powell de Aquino, and is reinventing Brazilian jazz in the lineage of his father’s generation. Balancing the classical with the spiritual, the cinematic with the introspective, and sensitivity with a distinctly Brazilian groove, Notes Over Poetry calls upon the inspiration of the many musical and artistic greats Baden Powell has been surrounded by throughout his life. “The great Brazilian poet and old family friend, Vinicius de Moraes used to say that ‘life is the art of encounter’, and that is what this album is about.” A nomadic upbringing - moving between Rio, Paris and the coincidentally named German city of Baden-Baden, as well as touring internationally alongside his father and brother, provided boundless encounters with inspirational figures. Touring also gave Philippe Baden Powell his first taste of life in the spotlight: recorded when he was just thirteen, a sold out show alongside his father and brother at Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio De Janeiro, would become the 1996 album Baden Powell & Filhos. To his father, Philippe attributes key characteristics which have enriched and guided him in his professional life: “He transmitted to me the passion and commitment indispensable to any artist.” With his father he also shares an innate pull towards collaboration as key to the creative process. “I can’t remember a time making music just by myself, I’ve always felt like a kid with toys waiting for friends to come and play.” Credit is indeed due to the musicians on the album, many of whom are legendary artists in their own right: French jazz drummer André Ceccarelli, who has worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Michel Legrande; prolific Belgian jazz vocalist David Linx; and Afro-Brazilian percussion master Ruca Rebordão.


A totally wonderful setting for the tenor genius of Eric Alexander – a freewheeling trio, which is a format we're not sure we've ever heard him in before – really stretching out in an amazing way, with the sense of of imagination that we've always loved in his music, but with a depth that takes him farther than most of his usual recordings too! We're not sure what happened, but there's a new sort of edge in Eric's horn – one that might well come from the sublime work of Dezron Douglas on bass and Neal Smith on drums – but which might just be Alexander deciding to take off and really blow us away – which he does throughout the set, with a sense of spirituality that we haven't heard from him before. The whole thing's amazing – and titles include "Wise One", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "You Say You Care", "Beautiful Love", "Bessie's Blues", "Russian Lullaby", and "We've Only Just Begun".  ~ Dusty Groove


A fantastic album of keyboard funk instrumentals – a set that starts somewhere in a late 70s soul fusion vibe, then makes a move through some of the more broken, cosmic territory of the European scene in recent years! On some of the straighter tracks, there's Fender Rhodes, at a level that recalls the best work of musicians like Bobby Lyle or Ramsey Lewis during their 70s jazz funk years – while other tracks get a bit more abstract, with complicated rhythms that change things up nicely, while still keeping things in soulful territory. There's a bit of muted vocals at spots – but really layered down in the rhythm section, with a more instrumental vibe to the record overall. Titles include "Warm Day", "Illusion", "Flying Fantasy", "O Alivio Das Ferias", and "Disco Song For My Son".  ~ Dusty Groove

PIANIST DAVID BERKMAN Reconvenes "Old Friends and New Friends" Band with Special Guests for Three Night Engagement @ SMOKE JAZZ & SUPPER CLUB February 3rd, 4th & 5th

Pianist, composer, and educator David Berkman has been a vitally important figure on the NYC jazz scene since the mid 1980s.  He has appeared in the bands of countless leaders, including Cecil McBee, Tom Harrell, The Vanguard Orchestra and has worked with a wide array of jazz luminaries including Sonny Stitt, Joe Lovano, Steve Wilson, Chris Potter, Ray Drummond, Lenny White, Scott Colley, Billy Hart, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade and many, many others.  In recent years he has appeared as a leader/co-leader, at the helm of the critically acclaimed New York Standards Quartet, with Tim Armacost, Ugonna Okegwo and Gene Jackson (the band just celebrated their 10-year anniversary with the release of "Power of 10" and will be marching into the next decade with the Spring 2017 release of their sixth album, "Sleight Of Hand"). He has also published three books (with Sher Music Publishing) on jazz theory and practice that have become "must-haves", "The Jazz Musician's Guide to Creative Practicing" (2007), "The Jazz Singer's Guidebook" (2009) and "The Jazz Harmony Book" (2014). 

During this time Berkman also released an album that is quickly becoming a classic, "Old Friends and New Friends", featuring Billy Drewes, Adam Kolker and Brian Blade (old friends) and Dayna Stephens and Linda Oh (new friends). This February 3rd, 4th & 5th, at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club, Berkman happily reunites members of that band with special guests Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jochen Rueckert and Jonathan Blake, splitting the drum duties. The band will be playing material from this album (produced by Matt Balitsaris and released on Palmetto Records in 2015) released to great critical acclaim, plus new music from the mind and pen of Berkman. "For this weekend at Smoke, we're doing some music from 'Old Friends and New Friends' but I'm also looking forward to premiering some new compositions that we'll be recording on our next CD. This ensemble is a ball to write for because there are three woodwind virtuosos in it, who together will be playing seven different instruments. But the main thing is that all the members of the group are monstrous musicians and improvisors who shape these compositions in unique ways. I think the audience will enjoy hearing all of these individual voices and how much we all enjoy playing this music together" explained Berkman.

Don't miss this three night engagement at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club, February 3rd, 4th and 5th with sets @ 7, 9 & 10:30 PM

Other musicians: 
David Berkman (piano & compositions)
Dayna Stephens (saxophone & EWI)
Adam Kolker (saxophones & clarinets)
Billy Drewes (saxophones)
Ugonna Okegwo (bass)
Jochen Rueckert (drums on 2/3)
Jonathan Blake (drums on 2/4 & 2/5)


Nerve Dance - saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and conceptualist Michaël Attias' sixth album (available on Clean Feed Records, March 10, 2017), which deals with the aesthetics of spontaneity, the theory of elasticity and the concept of equality in music, is an expansive, spirited debut from Michaël Attias' new Quartet, featuring Aruán Ortiz (piano), John Hébert (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums). On Nerve Dance, we are regaled with hearing four hearts, minds and bodies hooking up at an extremely high level on nine Attias compositions, and two from Hébert. Each piece exercises a different set of muscles and faculties for the band and every member of the Quartet carries within them the historical knowledge and a fluency in the multitude of dialects of this music; consequently we hear them free within the compositions, deep into the zone of this collective creation, transcending their respective instruments and completely surrendering to the music.
Attias has been influenced by literature, film, painting, extensive travel, life in general, and of course, a wide spectrum of music, ranging from Moroccan Gnawa rhythms to Renaissance Polyphony, Ligeti, Debussy and the 2nd Viennese School; the AACM, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Steve Lacy, also Andrew Hill, Paul Motian, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, plus the first and lasting loves, Ellington, Coltrane, Monk, Miles and Bird. Attias' music, while dedicated to "creation" rather than "re-creation", remains firmly rooted in the avant-garde, conceptualized as the true tradition of this music from its earliest recordings onward. Attias asserts that the revolutionary, adventurous spirit of the major figures of jazz, including his aforementioned influences, made bold strokes of genius that only seem inevitable in retrospect, and have paved the way for the audacious improvisers of today who remain singular and fearless in the face of mass conformity. There exists an instinctual, visceral need in Attias and his cohorts to play music that is honest, that rejects inertness and fully embraces the meaning of creativity and evolution. This music is found on Nerve Dance.     

Attias, a quietly fierce, improvising force on the international scene, has worked with Anthony Braxton and Paul Motian, and is a frequent collaborator/sideman for Kris Davis, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Oliver Lake, Anthony Coleman (and many others), and also leads three bands, his new Quartet, Renku (featuring John Hébert and Satoshi Takeishi), and Spun Tree (featuring Ralph Alessi, Matt Mitchell, Sean Conly and Tom Rainey). He has also composed for theatre, film, big band, and orchestra. So why this new Quartet, and why Ortiz, Hébert and Waits? "There was a particular chemistry I was looking for and a kinship of approach that I can only describe as a fiery mathematics whose combustion is in the blowing itself, a group identity so strong that it becomes the overriding composition. This band is big fun to play with. Everyone has in common a deep lyricism and a very personal way of bringing design to the turbulence and turbulence to the design. We all share a fearless commitment to every moment of the music, to making it breathe and dance - balancing the yins and yangs, fire and receptivity, mystery and clarity... Hébert, Nasheet and I have played together in countless situations over the last fifteen years, and, of course, those two for years played together with Andrew Hill whose music is a big inspiration to us all. They bring a deeply singing quality and dance to everything they do. Aruán is the new agent in this chemistry; he has all the qualities I've mentioned and a kind of visionary approach to sound and time, order and chaos that I really appreciate. Music demands of us, as players and listeners, that we put our emotions, minds, bodies, and nervous systems on the line and give it some attention, but the reward is that we can all share in the dance", explained Attias.

Dark Net is the most recorded piece of Attias'. Previously on Renku (2005), Renku in Greenwich Village (2016) and on Eric Revis' Parallax (2013) with Jason Moran, Ken Vandermark, and Nasheet Waits. "Hearing Eric's version prompted me to revisit the piece both on the last Renku album and on Nerve Dance. It's in 3/4, 24 bars. The melody and bass line are two snakes coiling and uncoiling around a 6-beat phrase inspired by Elvin Jones. Intervals and durations are twinned."

Nerve & Limbo is a diptych - two radically different approaches to the same harmonic material, which are woven back into the structure of the album later as Le Pèse-Nerfs and Ombilique. "The 'active' Nerve section articulates a metric-intervallic structure of variable length and transposition, the 'passive' Limbo is a listening to the accumulation of its overtones, inspired by the piano sound of dear departed friend Masabumi Kikuchi."

Scribble Job Yin Yang - "Another in the series of tunes I've written on the NY subway. They're all definitely New York City tunes. The title echoes the underlying rhythmic chant of 6 against 8. The scribble of the melody is a type of cadence inspired by Charlie Parker."

Boca de Luna - This track features Attias, solo. "It's me playing both saxophone (left hand) and piano (right hand) - laying out the harmonic canvas to Moonmouth . . . with erasures . . ."

Moonmouth - "The melody is Ariadne's thread through the maze of a fully notated piano part in 17/8. The harmony explores a sequence of superimposed triadic inversions. It establishes the strictest grid on the album."

La Part Maudite - Written when Attias was 20. "I had forgotten about writing this until I found the chart in a box when moving Uptown in the summer of 2015. The melody is written across a 6 bar additive cycle (4/4, 2/4, 5/4, 3/4, 6/4, 4/4). The title is lifted from Georges Bataille's book of economics (translated as 'the Accursed Share') - in which he says: "The sexual act is to Time what the tiger is to Space." That line could be the epigraph to the whole album.

Le Pèse-Nerfs - Title of Antonin Artaud's 1927 collection of poems, journal fragments and essays. It can be roughly translated as "the Nerve-Scale." "Artaud's idea of the poet-artist-actor playing on his/her nervous system, breath, physiology as on an instrument to register and express thought, vision, extreme states of being, is a big influence for me . . . This revisits the material from the 'Nerve' section of Nerve and Limbo.

Rodger Lodge - "A beautiful tune by John Hébert, one of my favorite composers of today . . . shades of Mingus ballads, serpentine form and melody."

Dream in a Mirror - "I was in a recording studio the day Ornette Coleman died. I have loved and revered Ornette since I was fourteen years old. All I could do when I heard the news was to play his 'Clergyman's Dream' over and over. This 'Dream' is its reflection in minor."

Ombilique - Revisits the material from the "Limbo" section of Nerve & Limbo.

Nasheet "is a tribute in 3/4 to our great drummer by John Hébert. It explores a similar rhythmic terrain and serpentine counterpoint to 'Dark Net', which opens the album. I feel a deep kinship to John's playing and writing, and we all love Nasheet!

Petros Klampanis Blends the Colors of Emotion and Experience into a Rich Portrait of Humanity on his first Large Ensemble Album, Chroma

Bassist and composer Petros Klampanis has absorbed a vibrant palette of colors over the course of a varied musical life journey, including Mediterranean and Balkan folk music of his native Greece, classical colorings of studies in Athens, Amsterdam and New York City, and vibrant splashes of musical pigment developed on the diverse NYC jazz scene through collaborations with such innovators as Greg Osby, Jean-Michel Pilc, Shai Maestro, Oded Tzur, Antonio Sanchez and Ari Hoenig.

On Chroma, his third album as a leader and Motéma Music debut, Klampanis explores the colors of human character, inspired by world events and personal experience. Chroma, the Greek word for "color," masterfully employs a full spectrum of sonic colors to paint an introspective and emotionally daring artistic statement. His first large ensemble project melds the animated expressions of the composer's jazz quintet (piano, bass, drums, guitar and percussion) complemented by lush, classically-arranged strings to create a near symphonic work of modern jazz.

"This project arose from a question," Klampanis explains. "What are the elements that compose each one of us, our personal characters, our individuality? The first answer that came to my mind is that character is composed of all the emotions, the thoughts and ideas, the fantasies and experiences that we have in our lifetimes. If we were to assign each of these elements a single color, then every one of us could be seen as a unique composition of colors, the mix of which results in our own, very personal shade."

Klampanis' personal shade is a rich blend of colors whose expressive highlights have shined especially brightly during the making of this album. He explains that Chroma was born of a period of personal turmoil and self-examination. The end of a romantic relationship coincided with a number of other changes in the bassist's life and in the world at large, leading, he says, to "an introspective period where I was spending time and energy thinking of the reasons that lead me, and other people, to make certain decisions, to think of what we think and to be who we are."

Given his origins, Klampanis was also influenced by the turbulent events roiling the world, from economic stresses that hit particularly close to home in his native Greece, to his immigrant's natural empathy for the refugee crises in Syria and across the Middle East. Processing these global events, Klampanis' views on the human experience came into extreme clarity and were translated into Chroma as a riveting, synesthetic experience for listeners.

"We need to look inside and see what is really important for us and for the world around us," Klampanis urges. "We happen to live during a strange time for humanity. Musicians and artists in general have historically been the 'outsiders' in most societies, and our time makes no exception. But art carries qualities that are essential for our development, individually and socially. We need more 'color' in our life: more love, more compassion, respect, and imagination."

To achieve the striking tones on Chroma, Klampanis gathered a group of master musicians, each adding their own distinctive tint to the composer's panorama: guitarist Gilad Hekselman and pianist Shai Maestro (both originally from Israel), drummer John Hadfield (a native of Missouri), and Japanese-born percussionist Keita Ogawa make up the core group, which is joined by an accomplished eight-piece string ensemble.

Chroma was recorded and filmed live before an intimate audience at New York's Onassis Cultural Center. The Onassis Foundation USA, which is dedicated to exploring and promoting Greek culture from antiquity to today, provided a generous grant to support Klampanis' work, which he developed over a series of live presentations in 2014 and 2015. "I thought that it was best to record to capture the energy that this band carries in front of an audience," Klampanis explains, and indeed, the live setting is ideal for this well-honed ensemble, whose spontaneous interactions thrill, while never sacrificing the evocative sensitivity of Klampanis' writing and arranging.

"I have invested a lot of energy, love and time for the creation of Chroma. I can confidently say that I am really satisfied with the way everything came together. I am also happy about my first collaboration with Motéma, a label which I admire and respect".

About The Compositions
The slow dawning of the title track provides a moving illustration of the concept of the album as a whole.  A radiant image gradually comes into focus, beginning with the dream-like twinkling of Maestro's piano, then the shimmering strings, then a gently assertive melody.

The brooding, noir-lit "Tough Decisions (Are Always Dark Green)" offers a hint of Klampanis' particular brand of synesthesia, brought on by his recent break-up. While the bassist doesn't actually see colors from music, he does associate emotions and experience with different hues. A personal crisis and its associated olive-green tones inspired this piece, while the wonderment of growing up in a small community and dreaming of bigger things (as Klampanis did on the Greek island of Zakynthos) is spotlighted on the azure-splashed "Little Blue Sun."

A nebulous, mesmerizing intro leads into Hekselman's "Cosmic Patience," a piece that, for Klampanis, conjures not colors but an interstellar landscape. "Shadows," written by his countryman, pianist Spyros Manesis, fits more easily into the overall concept, its overcast shades of gray expressing humanity's struggle with our darker side. Klampanis reveals that interior dilemma through his tender, wordless vocals, achingly singing the melody accompanied by Hekselman's piercing guitar. The album closes on a more optimistic note with the joyous, celebratory "Shades of Magenta," its buoyant rhythms playfully countering the excited stabbing of the strings.

About Petros Klampanis
Born in Zakynthos, Greece, Petros Klampanis initially headed for a degree in mechanical engineering, dropped out of the Polytechnic School in Athens to pursue his musical passions, and in 2005 began double bass performance studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 2008, he completed his formal studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York, where he quickly began collaborating with some of the city's most renowned jazz musicians. In addition to his extensive list of appearances as a leader locally, including the storied venues of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, he has performed at the internationally acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival and the Palatia Jazz Festival in Germany.

Klampanis' collaborations with saxophonist Greg Osby led to the release of his first two acclaimed albums, Contextual and Minor Dispute, on the saxophonist's Inner Circle Music label. Fellow bassist Drew Gress has praised Klampanis' "aggressive melodicism, beautiful intonation, and uniquely personal string writing." In 2012, Klampanis was invited by the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts throughout Latvia, while his arrangement of the Greek folk song "Thalassaki" was performed by the Greek Public Symphonic Orchestra in Athens. Also an in-demand educator, Klampanis has given workshops internationally and serves as a guest lecturer at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and the Ionian Academy of Music in Greece.

March 11 - Loft - Koeln, Germany
March 12 - Vortex - London, UK
March 18 - Jazz Station - Brussels, Belgium
March 22 - Philly Joe's - Tallinn, Estonia
May 3 - Thessaloniki, Greece
May 4 - Athens, Greece
May 5 - XJAZZ Festival - Berlin, Germany
May 6 - Duc des Lombards - Paris, France

Guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time”

Award-winning world music guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time,” the first cut taken from his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which was released last Friday (January 20) by Infinita Records. Radio programmers at influential national outlets, including SiriusXM’s Watercolors and Broadcast Architecture, have made the seductive waltz paced by Rollins’ beguiling fingerstyle nylon guitar come-ons one of the “most added” and “most played” new singles on the first two charts published in 2017. Another composition appearing on the multicultural and multi-genre collection written by Rollins, the mystical meditation “Eternal,” began receiving airplay last month on the nationally-syndicated public radio program Echoes. “3 Minutes to Midnight” wasted no time climbing into the top 20 of the iTunes world music album sales chart.         

Adopting a “Brevity is the soul of wit” mantra while crafting the twelve tunes that form “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Rollins opted to communicate with a sense of urgency, immediacy and poignancy perhaps to contrast the clutter and clamor incessantly assaulting our senses and shrinking bandwidths. He eschewed his long-held penchant for sprawling compositions and opulently-layered audioscapes in favor of clear and concise constructs - all in the three-minute range – with a pared down sonic aesthetic. Producing the session with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella, Rollins’ new set evokes a full gamut of moods and emotions ranging from passion, energetic and excitement to brooding, melancholic and pensive.    

In the March issue of Guitar Player that is slated to hit magazine racks early next month, Rollins, whose virtuosic classical guitar technique has amassed over 10 million YouTube views, discusses “3 Minutes to Midnight” as well as nabbing his first film score. In a feature story that serves as the cover to the magazine’s “Frets” section, he talks about composing the music and serving as the music supervisor and executive producer of “Golden,” a movie described as a modern day psychological morality thriller currently in post-production. 

“The soundtrack is going to be all original material from me on acoustic, electric, slide and Spanish guitars, backed by two-time Grammy-winning Danish violinist Mads Tolling, Native American master flute player Guillermo Martinez (of the Tarascan tribe) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Duros. It's going to be a haunting soundtrack of acoustic Americana guitar motifs, blues-based electric guitar playing, violin fiddling, and Native American flute and drumming fused with some contemporary synthesizer and percussive elements,” said Rollins, a San Francisco-based artist whose authentic world beat sound and earthy ethereal recordings foretold eventual work in cinema.

Along with garnering robust radio play and early chart action, “3 Minutes to Midnight” is being well received by critics. Below is a sampling of the initial reviews:

“If your ears are thirsting for swirling guitar work that will thrill your heart and bring you up out of whatever funky mood you’re in – Lawson’s new (January 20th, 2017) release is just perfect for doing that.” – Improvijazzation Nation

“Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey…A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins' exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that ‘3 Minutes to Midnight’ is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.” – Exclusive Magazine

“This American artist is one of the most creative world music and fusion guitarists in the world.” – Keys & Chords

“As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite a while ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, ‘3 Minutes to Midnight.’…these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“Classic, acoustic guitar jazz with a hint of the exotic.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

“Firmly staking out his territory as a world beat guitarist par excellence…A tasty treat throughout.” – Midwest Record

“’3 Minutes to Midnight’ is dazzling, pertinent and explosive.” – To view the “Golden” trailer, go to

Monday, January 23, 2017

Multi GRAMMY Winner, Albita Rodriguez to release new Big Band album, self-titled, ALBITA

Multi GRAMMY Winner, Albita Rodriguez announces her highly anticipated new Big Band album, self-titled, ALBITA, set for release worldwide February 3 via InnerCat Music Group.  The album was produced by Paris Cabezas, Albita Rodriguez, Yorgis Goiricelaya and Livan Mesa at Live House Recording Studios (Miami) under the technical direction of Paris Cabezas.

The ALBITA album experience faithfully captures the sound and essence of the Cuban Big Bands of the 1950s. The repertoire, dynamic brass and arrangements are reminiscent of the golden age of Benny More and Machito. The LP also features duets with Ana Gabriel (“Perdon”), Alexandre Pires (“Pais Tropical”), Ednita Nazario (“Loca”) and Rafael “Pollo” Brito (“La Vaca Mariposa”)

“Albita meticulously studied the old big band arrangements to gain the spirit of the 1950s, then transferred it to this project and gave it a modern feel. ALBITA is her 14th full-length album and the recording and mixing process was intentionally kept analog. Although, digital technology has simplified the studio workflow a great deal, I'm still attached to the analogue world, so this LP was recorded on a 2-inch MTR-90 tape machine, together with an array of vintage microphones and custom tube gear that was expressly built for this project. There were no overdubbing edits or artificial corrections during the recording and mixing processes. In my opinion, the synthesis of the old and the new, analogue and digital, is the secret sauce for great sounding records.”, explains Cabezas.

Special D2C packages of ALBITA will also be available to fans, which includes an exclusive vinyl boxset containing an LP, an autographed booklet and other collector items.

ALBITA Tracklisting:

1. Quién Pero Quién
2. País Tropical (duet with Alexandre Pires)
3. Medley de Benny More
4. Medley de Cumbias
5. L-O-V-E
6. Perdón (duet with Ana Gabriel)
7. Angelitos Negros
8. Loca (duet with Ednita Nazario)
9. Medley de Boleros
10. La Vaca Mariposa (duet with Rafael “Pollo” Brito)
11. No te Metas Con Mi Conga

Honored with highest award given to selected artists in Cuba, the “Orden por la Cultura Nacional de Cuba”, winner of two GRAMMYS, two EMMYS and 11 GRAMMY Nominations, Albita is the most authentic Cuban singer hailing from Havana that has been able to move the world through her music. Albita is “the reincarnation of a 1930's European chanteuse, a Berlin Cabaret singer transfused with Latin blood" says Los Angeles Times. As a young singer through her authentic roots, she made herself noticed by her dynamic contribution to the renovation of traditional Cuban music and adding a very personal style to her compositions, musical arrangements and singing.

Since arriving in Miami, FL in 1993, her electrifying and mesmerizing performance of contagious Cuban music has elevated her career to an international level, performing all throughout Europe, Latin America, Australia, Africa and Malaysia, where she has shared the stage with such great artists as the late Celia Cruz, Tito Puentes, Oscar de Leon, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Tito Nieves, Daniela Mercury, Miriam Makeeba, Phil Collins, Melissa Ethredge, and Tony Bennett.

Albita has recorded 12 albums in the US, earning her 11 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS. In the year 2004, she created her own independent record label, Angels’ Dawn Records, where she recorded and released the album titled “ALBITA LLEGO” which won two GRAMMY awards in the category of "Best Contemporary Tropical Album of the Year".

Legacy Recordings Celebrates Harry Belafonte's 90th Birthday with Release of When Colors Come Together... The Legacy of Harry Belafonte

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is celebrating the 90th birthday of the iconic American singer, songwriter, actor, social activist and cultural ambassador Harry Belafonte (born March 1, 1927) with the release of When Colors Come Together... The Legacy of Harry Belafonte on Friday, February 24, 2017. 

Harry Belafonte broke into both mainstream success and musical immortality in 1956 when his breakout LP--Calypso--became the first album ever, by any artist of any race or gender, to sell more than a million copies while his signature "Day-O" (from "Banana Boat") became one of the most instantly recognized melodic phrases in the world. Belafonte's sound signified an international island dance party, Belafonte was an inspirational and motivating force in the American Civil Rights movement. Throughout his career, Belafonte has brought a high degree of social consciousness to everything he does, merging the activist with the artist in the flow of his music.

An essential single-disc anthology of Belafonte's biggest hits and timeless classics, When Colors Come Together... The Legacy of Harry Belafonte premieres a new recording of "When Colors Come Together (Our Island In The Sun)," performed by a children's choir. The original recording of the song (co-written by Belafonte and Irving Burgie) served as the title music for the highly successful and at-the-time controversial 1957 film, "Island In The Sun," which starred Belafonte, James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Joan Collins and Dorothy Dandridge. One of the great pop standards in the Belafonte catalog, "Island In The Sun" has been covered more than 40 times since becoming a hit in the 1950s and was referenced in the 1992 film "The Muppet Christmas Carol."

The film, "Island In The Sun" explored themes of racial tension and interracial romance in an explosive drama based on Alec Waugh's 1955 novel. "With the myriad of problems facing the world today, none embody the passion and life's work of Belafonte more than the issue of race. Coming from a background of diversity he evolved into a performing artist with a deep, lifelong commitment to social activism. In the spirit of that commitment and at the forefront of this important effort is a re-imagining of one of Harry's classic recordings that took the world by storm," wrote David Belafonte in his liner notes to the album. "We are proud to present 'When Colors Come Together (Our Island In The Sun)': re-interpreted for children; and re-recorded by children. We hasten to make the case that the concept of race is not a trait with which one is born, but instead an acquired disease that festers with age. As such, we looked to these young children as the voice of this expression through this reimagined song, dance, and art."

With each track handpicked by Harry Belafonte, When Colors Come Together... The Legacy of Harry Belafonte provides an essential overview of the artist's career, bringing together his biggest hits and most socially conscious performances alongside songs that are simply near and dear to his heart.

Belafonte has campaigned for social justice and equality throughout his career, while his transcendent timeless music continues to bring people of all races, creeds and colors together to celebrate and share the beauty of the world, the glory of our creator and the love of life and others.

In October 2016, in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta,, the organization founded by Belafonte in 2013, hosted the inaugural two-day Many Rivers to Cross Festival. Belafonte sang live for the first time in 12 years performing a powerful version of Pete Seeger's "Those Three on My Mind" (which he'd recorded for his 1967 album Belafonte on Campus) dedicated to slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The historical musical moment was part of the grand finale musical presentation called "Stir it Up," curated by Belafonte and produced by

With the causes championed by Harry Belafonte in the news every day and the healing communal power of music more necessary than ever, now is the time to celebrate the powerful and diverse musical and cultural contributions of this iconic performer.

Harry Belafonte
When Colors Come Together... The Legacy of Harry Belafonte

1) When Colors Come Together (Our Island In The Sun) (newly recorded for this album)
2) Jump In The Line (1961 - Jump Up Calypso)
3) Banana Boat (Day-O) (1956 - Calypso)
4) All My Trials (1959 - Love is a Gentle Thing)
5) Empty Chairs (1973 - Play Me)
6) Matilda (1956 - Belafonte)
7) Angelina (1961 - Jump Up Calypso)
8) Turn The World Around (1977 - Turn The World Around)
9) Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair) (1956 - Belafonte)
10) Abraham, Martin and John (1970 - Belafonte By Request)
11) On Top of Old Smokey (1962 - The Midnight Special)
12) Jamaica Farewell (1956 - Calypso)
13) Brown Skin Girl (1956 - Calypso)
14) Island In The Sun (From "Island In The Sun") (1957 - Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean)
15) Those Three Are On My Mind (1967 - Belafonte On Campus)
16) Try To Remember (1966 - In My Quiet Room)
17) Mary's Boy Child (1956 - An Evening with Belafonte)
18) Look Over Yonder/Be My Woman, Gal (Live) (1972 - Harry Belafonte...Live!)
19 ) Pastures of Plenty (Live) (1972 - Harry Belafonte...Live!)

Born Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. in New York City's Harlem on March 1, 1927, Harry Belafonte has achieved worldwide success acclaim as a recording artist, performer, singer, songwriter, actor and activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte brought Caribbean party music to an international audience by popularizing Caribbean party music with his breakthrough album Calypso (1956). Perhaps best-known for his signature track "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)," Belafonte's catalog encompasses the music of many genres including pop, blues, folk, gospel, reggae, show tunes and American standards. In addition to his stand-out performance in "Island in the Sun" (1957), Belafonte has starred in several films including Otto Preminger's hit musical "Carmen Jones" (1954) and Robert Wise's "Odds Against Tomorrow" (1959).

An early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, Belafonte was among Martin Luther King, Jr.'s close circle. Throughout his career he has advocated for political and humanitarian causes including the anti-apartheid movement and USA for Africa. Since 1987, Belafonte has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and currently acts as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues.

Belafonte has won three Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In 1989 he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. In 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy's 6th Annual Governors Awards. In March 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

In 2013 Belafonte founded, which has been building a platform where influential artists and grassroots leaders can work collaboratively to speak out against human rights abuse and injustice. Recently partnered with Blackout for Human Rights on the successful "Justice For Flint" benefit concert, and worked with Usher on his groundbreaking "Chains" music video and racial justice campaign. Proceeds for the festival will assist with partner grassroots organizations across the country.


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