Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Releases: Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble - Where Future Unfolds; Marlene Rosenberg - MLK Convergence; Candace Woodson – Desire

Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble - Where Future Unfolds

An amazing record from Chicago musician/artist Damon Locks – maybe the album he's been waiting his entire life to make – and the first to really bring together the mighty sum of his many talents! The material was recorded live in performance at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory – at an event that also included a group of singers and dancers to augment the musical performance – in a setting that gives Damon's majestic vision the proper setting it really deserves! Locks himself moves between electronics and vocal performances – in a core instrumental group that's heavy on drums and percussion from Dana Hall, clarinets from Angel Bat Dawid, and more percussion from Arif Smith – making music that's even more beautiful when the singers come into the mix, and take the energy to the sky with a very cosmic, righteous vibe. Locks has given us a glimpse of his vision in artwork, music, and writings over the years – but this time around, it feels like we're seeing the full scope at once – with more power and meaning than ever before. Titles include "Solar Power", "Rebuild A Nation", "Which I Believe It Will", "The Colors That You Bring", "The Future", "From A Spark To A Fire", "Black Monument Theme", and "Sounds Like Now". ~ Dusty Groove

Marlene Rosenberg - MLK Convergence

Bassist Marlene Rosenberg leads a hell of a trio here – one that features Kenny Barron on piano and Lewis Nash on drums – both tremendous players who sound even better in the round, rich company of Rosenberg's bass! Most titles are trio numbers, but driven as much by the bass as by the always-wonderful work of Barron – and the tunes include many originals by Marlene – instrumentals, but with a current of the more righteous energy promised by the title. One exception is the great "Not The Song I Wanna Sing" – a number that has Rosenberg on vocals while Christian McBride handles the bass – alongside other vocal contributions from Thomas Burrell and Robert Irving III – which help make the song the most political number on the set. Titles include "The Line Between", "American Violet", "Togetherness", "And Still we Rise", "Visions", "The Barron", "Rain", "Love's In Need Of Love Today", and "Not The Song I Wanna Sing".  ~ Dusty Groove

Candace Woodson – Desire

Twenty-eight days after her 2014 breast cancer surgery, Candace Woodson was back to business as usual performing at the wedding of one of John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s daughters. This is a testament to Candace Woodson’s lifelong passion for performing and a talent for resilience she calls “stick to it-ness”. A survivor since 2014, she wrote the UK Soul Chart hit “Free,” a funky old school dance anthem that conveys hope and positivity in the wake of adversity. This is a message she conveys stemming from her own experience and feeling after receiving her last cancer treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina. This success laid the foundation for a handful of other chart topping singles, including “The Answer Is No”, a defiant female empowerment ballad produced by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Glide. “The Answer Is No” hit #1 on the UK Soul Chart Top 30 and has continued to receive airplay on Smooth Jazz Radio. Woodson received Billboard’s “Most Added” designation and a Best International Artist nominee. Her highly anticipated full-length debut album “Desire” includes her UK hits as well as new tracks produced by hit smooth jazz guitarist/producer Nils and Lew Laing (Paul Brown, Richard Elliot, Stephanie K) and others helmed by the singer herself.

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