Monday, May 30, 2022

Elektric Voodoo | "Telescope"

During the time of a massive pandemic, global warming awareness, and rampant school shootings comes an album with a glimmer of hope. Elektric Voodoo presents their newest album Telescope due out August 20th. The new album is an eclectic mix of driving rhythmic textures and influences that create modern global soundscapes set against thought provoking lyricism. 

Elektric Voodoo is comprised of an all-star ensemble with songwriter, guitarist and band leader Scott Tournet, Matt Bozzone (drums/percussion, vocals), Ty Kiernan (congas, timbales, percussion), Travis Klein (tenor sax, keyboards, guitar, percussion, vocals), Brad Nash (baritone sax, keyboards, percussion, vocals), and Luke Henning (bass, vocals, percussion). Each player is immersed in a particular discipline; jazz, classical, Latin, indie, reggae, world, New Orleans music and other global influences. Building upon this, they have created a rhythmic foundation that requires human beings interacting, not technology and mechanics to fuse perfectly into what Tournet refers to as an “imperfectly perfect human band." Elektric Voodoo has created a true analog sound hailed by Relix as, “intriguing, enticing and engaging all at the same time— evidence of Elektric Voodoo’s ability to cast a hypnotic spell.”

Created and crafted with intent, Telescope is a concept album that presents a conscious shift from internal to external, and intended to be listened straight through. Telescope is 9-songs deep that tunes-in the listener to the main character who goes through a journey of self-reflection, evaluation of mortality, confrontation of death and eventually dawns a new perspective. Written over the course of six months, Scott Tournet reflects, “The first 6 songs were initially inspired by my own issues with addiction, anxiety, and depression as well as a search for meaning. That being said, they were also inspired by other people who I know who were struggling with the same issues.” He continues, “One day I was hitting a wall and I took a break and started watching a show called “One Strange Rock.” The first episode told the stories of 5 or 6 different astronauts and the “overview effect syndrome”. Overview effect syndrome can happen when an astronaut looks back at Earth and is blown away by seeing our planet from up above. This had a profound effect on me and the concept of rising up above one’s self and seeing the world from a fresh perspective with more clarity and a wider view inspired me creatively and personally.”

Tournet continues, “The record is about being jolted into seeing the world from a fresh perspective. It’s also about how you can be doing endless self-analysis but that often the thing you’re looking for lies outside of yourself.”

The new album compels the listener’s attention all the way through with many standouts to be released as singles including, “Wake Up” set to be released on May 21st. The track sets the stage with afrobeat guitars, blissed out synths, heavy percussion and presents a song about addiction and realizing one needs to reach out for help. Tournet comments, “It’s a pop song craft and production dealing with a heavy topic, yet an ultimately optimistic message. At first the refrain ‘can’t let go’ is referring to their addiction but by the last chorus ‘can’t let go’ is referring to this new, healthier path that they have found. Funky verses, soaring choruses, and a bridge that sounds like Quentin Tarantino made a movie somewhere in the Middle East.”

Another advance single and music video will be the title track, “Telescope.” The title track hits at the heart of the story, and it jolts the main character into a fresh perspective as heard in the lyrics” I’ve been peering through a Telescope…looking at the world up close…but never opening up both eyes.” Scott says, “these lyrics from the title track summarize the plight of the main character through the first half of the record. On top of a heavy afrobeat groove, this song stacks analog keyboards and delayed guitars that drift along with a song that could work in a stripped down singer-songwriter setting. An amalgamation of genres and elements that are disparate but blend in a natural way.”

The new album closes out with “Children Are The Revolution” in which the narrator focuses on the next generation and through the searching and spiritual questioning concludes, “Love shines through it all.” Tournet recalls, “I was inspired by how the children from Stoneman Douglas High School responded by taking political action after the “Parkland school shooting.” It’s further inspired by Greta Thunberg and thousands of other kids who are trying to make the world a better place.”

The band rehearsed the new album for three months 3-4 hours a night. They worked and re- worked new rhythms, wrote horn lines, rearranged parts, sped up and slowed down tempos. Scott comments, “Our percussionists like to get creative in utilizing unique sounds. In addition to a smorgasbord of percussion, they recorded a jawbone and a turtle shell. In addition to analog synths, rare organs, vintage drums, guitars, and amps, there was Baritone Sax, Tenor Sax, Flute, Bass Clarinet. Beyond that, the majority of the songs were written on a Wurlitzer Electric Piano that used to be in Waylon Jenning’s band.”

Reflecting back Scott says, “We kind of took a reverse technological approach. I started by writing to a rhythm that inspires me. Next, I jumped on Waylon’s Wurlitzer and found some chords that seemed to fit. I’d hum some sounds that felt rhythmically fitting and would come up with a section of a song. I’d play the songs for the guys and they would pick out the ones they liked the best.”

They recorded at Studio West in San Diego as it can accommodate the large band with added musicians in the live room to capture the excitement of a real “performance”. Tournet comments, “This is the most collaborative record we have made to date. It is also the first time we’ve recorded as a full band. The first record I recorded the instruments one at a time. The second record, we recorded bass, drums, guitar, and percussion first and then added horns, vocals and keyboards later. Since we had been touring, rehearsing, and playing together so much we really wanted to capture the energy and the spirit of the band, together in a room, performing the songs. Sonically, it’s a couple levels up than anything we’ve done.” Collin Dupuis (Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Dr. John), a Grammy award winning engineer, mixed the new record at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, TN. Dave Cooley (Tame Impala, J Dilla, Spoon, Animal Collective, Dr. Dog) mastered the record.

Elektric Voodoo first came together in 2016 around the time Tournet left the band he had built up for 12 years with Grace Potter and Nocturnals. Together they took a leap of faith to create something new. Tournet says, “We share a common creative vision and a true bond has been formed through many many hours together…on the road, in the rehearsal room, on endless phone calls during this crazy year of the pandemic. I think it can’t be stressed enough that we’ve really done this thing the old fashioned way and all of that heart is in the music. The music is pure in that way.”

He concludes, “Whatever The Voice or American Idol is, we are the opposite of that.”

Art Pepper | "Unreleased Art Pepper Volume Eleven: Atlanta,"

On a 1980 tour that he undertook with his working quartet, Art Pepper spent the evening of May 17 electrifying the audience at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. The tour was a quickie affair—his wife and manager, Laurie, barely even noted it on her calendar. She did roll tape, however, and for her efforts, posterity can enjoy his thrilling performance with the band on the double-disc Unreleased Art Pepper Volume Eleven: Atlanta, released on Laurie Pepper’s Widow’s Taste label. 

Art was at the cusp of what would be the last of many career comebacks that spring. (He died in July 1982.) This one was built on the foundation of Straight Life, his seminal memoir (written with Laurie), which had hit shelves in December 1979. Its harrowing, honest portrayal of Art’s bouts with addiction and incarceration (“It tells all,” he promises the Atlanta audience in a plug for the book) had achieved rave reviews and impressive sales. “Art’s career and fame were suddenly greater than ever before,” notes Laurie in the CD’s liner notes. “Internationally. And he was able to tour with his own band for the first time in his life.”

Yet before the summer and fall triumphs in Europe and Japan (heard on Unreleased Art volumes VI and VII, respectively), before the majesty of the beloved Winter Moon session in September, there was this small, ad hoc tour through Boston, Houston, and Atlanta in April and May. Laurie was accompanying Art as his road manager, accountant, agent, band boss, and general factotum: “the jobs he didn’t want.” To those tasks, the saxophonist added a new one: He asked Laurie to buy a portable tape deck and microphone and start recording his performances.

To that request, and to Laurie’s determination to make him happy, we owe the hair-raising document that now comes before us. From the panache of “Blues for Blanche” and propulsion of “Mambo Koyama” to the rush of “Straight Life” and masterful balance of restraint and relish on “Song for Richard,” it’s clear that Art’s adventures and misadventures hadn’t depleted his artistry a bit—if anything, it added a new sense of urgency and purpose. The audience’s rapturous reception of his every tune confirms this.

Then again, his bandmates were earning their share of the rapture too. Brilliant musicians thrive in the company of their peers; Art may have been their better in terms of name recognition, but in terms of musicianship pianist Milcho Leviev, bassist Bob Magnusson, and drummer Carl Burnett more than hold their own. All four players’ skills and mutual respect come into focus on the second set’s opening blues “Untitled #34,” with Magnusson’s tour-de-force bass solo followed by a cutthroat three-way battle between Pepper, Leviev, and Burnett. Though we can’t hear it happening, we can safely assume that the band rattled the windows in the place. 

The lack of window-rattling evidence is not due to any shortcomings in the sound. Laurie’s equipment was remarkably sharp in capturing all the sonic nuances in Art and the band’s music; recording engineer Wayne Peet breathes new life into them with his painstaking mastering. 

Art’s banter between the songs is mumbly—more a defect of the saxophonist than of the audio—but it also adds scope and dimension to both artist and art. “I’ve retained more onstage talk on this album than on any other I’ve released,” Laurie Pepper muses in her notes, “because I find it funny and revealing.” Coming in the wake of the Straight Life book, as this concert did, it’s only fitting that Laurie allows Art to tell his own story here. 

Perry Smith | "Peace"

For guitarist, composer, bandleader, and educator Perry Smith, standards are an integral part of his life as a musician, accompanying him on the ups and downs of life, providing a landscape for him to explore, and improvise on, from his heart. Smith elaborates, “I had been interested in recording a trio album of standards to really draw the listener in through classic melodies, dynamics and the natural sound of my Gibson ES-175. Using a traditional archtop hollow body, my style of jazz guitar can really work with a sensitive and swinging rhythm section like Schnelle and Minaie. I chose to record a variety of standards that have meant a lot to me over the years, and what I discovered is that as my own life experiences have unfolded, my connection to these songs, and what I have to offer them musically has only gotten deeper. It leaves me with an immense amount of gratitude for these standards.” 

The genesis of Peace materialized in November of 2019 when Smith found himself on the road with two old friends and great musicians, Los Angeles drummer Dan Schnelle and NYC bassist Sam Minaie. Musically, and personally, this trio is thick as thieves, having all coming up together in Southern California about two decades ago, and creating music together for many years. The trio recorded the album on a day off in LA. After the initial trio recording Smith returned to LA in February, 2020 to mix the album and record three solo guitar tracks (“A Child Is Born”, “I Remember You” and “Alone Together”). “I wanted to close out the album in a more intimate way and provide some contrast to the trio. Solo jazz guitar has always been a big part of my artistic path. I view the guitar as an orchestra and each string a separate voice. Playing solo gives me an opportunity to shape the song exactly as I’m hearing it in the moment. Solo guitar is kind of like walking on a tight rope, if you’re centered and in the zone, it feels so natural,” says Smith. 

The standards of the jazz tradition are a very rich and valued trove of music that can accompany you through joy, lamentation, celebration and sorrow. Whether it’s a song by Jimmy Van Heusen or Sam Rivers, these compositions have stood the test of time, and have provided countless generations of listeners and musicians with a foundation on which to build, on which to express oneself; a vast source of solace, entertainment delight, triggering/making memories, serving as the “cornerstone of the jazz repertoire” (Ted Gioia, The Jazz Standards), and providing the soundtrack to many of our lives. 

“In these trying times where all our lives and careers have been upended by a pandemic, I offer this album as a soothing escape from the daily headlines. We could all use a little more Peace in our lives and I hope this album provides listeners some comfort through these turbulent times,” says Smith. 

Recorded and mixed by Justin Stanley in Los Angeles, CA Mastered by Fred Kevorkian in Brooklyn, NY *tracks 7,8,9 are solo guitar performances.

Guitarist Perry Smith combines the tradition of Jazz with broad influences from contemporary music to create his signature style. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith is now based in Brooklyn where he is an educator and performs as a bandleader and a sideman for local and touring artists. Smith’s extensive performance resume includes notable venues and festivals such as the Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC & Tokyo), Smalls Jazz Club (NYC), Dizzy's Club Coca Cola (NYC), Montreal Jazz Festival, Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Jazz a la Calle (Uruguay), Rochester Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, Yoshi's Jazz Club (Bay Area), The Blue Whale (LA), Philippine International Jazz Festival, The Healdsburg Guitar Festival and SFJazz. 

As a bandleader Smith has now released 5 full-length albums with his most recent being Peace on Smith Tone Records. As an active player in the NYC jazz scene, Smith hosted a weekly series in Brooklyn called The Soda Session every Wednesday from 2015-2019. Each week he performed with a different group of NYC's finest jazz artists while hosting an open session for NYC's international jazz community. The Soda Session was generously supported by a grant from in conjunction with the Jazz Foundation of America. Smith built the session from scratch along with bassist Matt Aronoff. His album Live in Brooklyn, featuring saxophonist Melissa Aldana, was captured from one of their final performances hosting the series. 

In addition to leading his own projects and working as a sideman, Smith is a founding member of the critically acclaimed New West Guitar Group. Based in Los Angeles featuring guitarists John Storie and Will Brahm, NWGG has been performing internationally since 2005 and they are recognized as one of the premier jazz guitar ensembles in the country. Currently they are hosting a poplar podcast series all about guitar called High Action!

In 2005, Smith received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he studied jazz guitar legend Joe Diorio. In 2011 he completed his Masters in Music at New York University studying with the great modern jazz guitarist John Scofield and was named the “Outstanding Graduate” for the NYU Jazz Department.

Sunday, May 29, 2022


Mexican-American percussionist and former member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Francisco Mora Catlett originally recorded and released his debut solo LP as a private press in 1987, but the sequel he recorded over the course of the next few years with an expanded Detroit jazz brass section was shelved for decades to follow. A pan-American melting pot of hypnotic afro-cuban rhythms, frenetic batucadas and fiery sambas, Mora I & II are holy grails of latin jazz, masterminded by an unsung hero of the genre. 

Born in Washington DC, 1947, Francisco Mora Jr is the eldest child of two highly prominent Mexican artists, Francisco Mora Sr and Elizabeth Catlett, to whom this project was dedicated. Being born into a mixed heritage bohemian family provided Mora Jr with what he called a “creative, progressive, and healthy arts environment”, building the foundations for a fascinating career journey ahead. Mora grew up in Mexico City where he began working as a session musician for Capitol Records in 1968, before moving to study at Berklee Music College in Boston, MA in 1970. Once he’d completed his studies in 1973, he very briefly returned to Mexico City with the best intentions of cultivating an avant-garde movement in the city, but when the Sun Ra Arkestra came to perform, Mora ended up leaving with the band to tour the world for the next seven years, a decent innings within a group famous for its constantly evolving line up. 

Settling in Detroit after his years with the Arkestra, Francisco set to work on his self-titled debut, gathering an ensemble of musicians that included keyboardist Kenny Cox, founder of the legendary Strata Records, esteemed bassist Rodney Whitaker of the Roy Hargrove Quintet and percussionists Jerome Le Duff, Alberto Nacif, and Emile Borde. The album openly embraces and unites the broad spectrum of improvisation, rhythm, and jazz that has thrived throughout the American continents for centuries. In Mora’s own words the album intended to “manifest the African heritage presence in the American continent.” Epitomising this outlook, album opener ‘Afra Jum’ deploys a melody based on Haitian, African and Native American motifs, which is expanded upon by the soulful excellence of the Detroit veterans Cox and Whitaker, amidst a backdrop of afro-cuban inspired percussion. 

The sequel Mora II was recorded shortly after with an expanded line up that included trumpet legend Marcus Belgrave, famed for his work with Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, Eddie Russ and Wendell Harrison. Continuing the concept of the first album, the follow up moves deeper into South America with the samba jazz dance belter ‘Amazona’, led by the rich vocals of Francisco’s wife Teresa Mora. This follow up album remained shelved until 2005, when Mora put it out as a now obscure CD titled River Drum, but only now has it been given the high quality vinyl treatment it so deserves, presented as the sequel to Mora! as originally intended.

Through the 90s and into the the 21st century Mora would continue his Pan-American explorations, moving toward a more electronic afro-futurist direction as part of Detroit techno pioneer Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra. Mora also worked with Carl Craig, moog synth wizard Craig Taborn, and his former Arkestra colleague, the legendary Marshall Allen, to form the Innerzone Orchestra spin-off Outerzone, released in 2007 on Premier Cru Records.

Gabriel Bolaños / Frank Carlberg | "Charity And Love"

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records has released Charity and Love from pianist/composer Frank Carlberg and electronic music composer Gabriel Bolaños. According to Frank and Gabriel, “the music on Charity and Love draws inspiration from Mary Lou Williams; her music, her voice, her commitment, her courage. The title track incorporates her voice slowly emerging with a message of love as the piano and the electronic processing weave ever-evolving textures. Many of the other tracks such as Mary Lou, Mary Blue, Zodiac Impressions and Mary’s Aries include fragments and cells from her Zodiac Suite as the electronics and the piano converse in real time. This project is not meant as a tribute to Mary Lou Williams, but rather a celebration of her groundbreaking career, her forward looking work, and her fearlessness.”

Gabriel José Bolaños (born in Bogotá, Colombia) is a Nicaraguan-American composer of solo, chamber, orchestral and electronic music. He frequently collaborates closely with performers and writes music that explores unusual structures and timbres. He is interested in computer-assisted-composition, auditory perception and linguistics. His recent music engages with theories of ecological listening: how our sense of hearing evolved primarily to interpret our environment. He enjoys listening to music by Harvey, Furrer, Ligeti, Grisey, Cerha, Romitelli, Messiaen, Os Mutantes, Simon Diaz, Sabicas and Bach.

 The Finland-native, Brooklyn-based Frank Carlberg has an extensive catalogue of compositions including pieces for small jazz and improvisational groups, big band, orchestra, music for dance companies, and over 150 songs with settings of contemporary American poetry. He has over twenty recordings to his name as a leader and countless others as a sideman, and has worked with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Steve Lacy and Bob Brookmeyer. He owns and operates Red Piano Records.   

Mark Lewis | "Naked Animals"

Alto saxophonist/flutist Mark Lewis revisits a chapter from his own musical history on Naked Animals, set for an April 2 release on the Audio Daddio label. Recorded in 1990, the album features eight original compositions performed by Lewis’s Dutch quartet, the working unit he maintained through most of his 14-year residency in Rotterdam: pianist Willem Kühne, bassist James Long, and drummer Frans van Grinsven. 

A native of Washington State, Lewis was all of 20 years old when he settled in the Netherlands in 1978. Shortly thereafter he formed the quartet to focus on his original compositions; with the above lineup locked in by the early 1980s, the band gradually built a popular following across Holland. “These musicians were and are a high point in my endeavors,” says Lewis today. “My one regret with this band is that we didn’t record more.” Indeed, Lewis only recorded the Dutch quartet twice, with Naked Animals coming near the band’s final days.

Yet despite its being more than 30 years old, Naked Animals is no historical curio. It is a vital, hard-swinging piece of music that sounds as fresh and exciting as if it was recorded yesterday. The rhythmic tensions of “Mercurian Rendezvous,” “Naked Animals,” and “City Slicker” are remarkably contemporary post-bop, whereas the refined ballad “A Dance with Monique” and the blues-redolent “The Seven Angels” draw on the classic, foundational elements of the art form. Hipness, Lewis and the band suggest, knows neither geographical nor temporal boundaries. 

Naked Animals is also timely in a more roundabout, coincidental sense. It was recorded thirty years, almost to the day, before Lewis’s last pre-pandemic performance. Combined with the ageless character of the music, it serves as a stark link not only to past triumphs but to future possibilities for—as van Grinsven succinctly puts it in the album’s notes—“Adventurous, surprising and creative art!”

Mark Lewis was born January 26, 1958 in Tacoma, Washington, and grew up outside nearby Gig Harbor. Profoundly visually impaired, he made sense of the world through music—especially the jazz records in his parents’ sizable collection. At the age of nine he began playing music himself, starting on his grandfather’s C melody saxophone and switching to his uncle’s old alto a year later. 

Starting his first band while still in middle school, Lewis was leading several by the time he finished high school (in addition to playing in the school’s stage and concert band and performing music for school plays). He studied composition, flute, piano, and electronic music at Western Washington University and at Seattle’s Cornish Institute of Allied Arts. 

Even big-city Seattle could not keep him, however, and in 1978, at 20 years old, Lewis flew to Europe. He made a home in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he made himself a force on the local, national, and international jazz scene. He led three working bands—an organ trio, a world-jazz quintet, and the progressive quartet heard on Naked Animals—as well as creating a highly regarded record label, Audio Daddio, with Lewis himself as the house producer. 

At the same time, Lewis made frequent trips back to the United States, continuing to work in Seattle and also establishing himself firmly on the Bay Area jazz scene, where he settled after returning to North America for good in the mid-1990s. He worked with the likes of Randy Brecker, Donald Bailey, Ted Gioia, Mark Levine, Bobby Hutcherson, and Larry Grenadier before returning to Washington to be closer to his family. 

Lewis is a dizzyingly prolific musician, with more than 30 albums and an astounding 1,700 plus compositions to his name. His most recent document of his work, 2017’s The New York Session, was an acclaimed album featuring the all-star rhythm section of pianist George Cables, bassist Essiet Essiet, and Victor Lewis. Naked Animals, however, is an important (and heretofore dormant) installment in Lewis’s career, showing that he has long been able to hold his own with artists of such high caliber. It is a testament to what he is able to achieve when surrounded by “great musicians who loved the music. It’s not always easy to find musicians who really dedicate themselves to your music.”

Saturday, May 28, 2022

International Reggae Band Dub Inc Announces Their Debut West Coast Tour

The prominent international reggae band, Dub Inc. is excited to announce their 2022 Spring West Coast U.S.A. tour! It has been over 10 years since the French superstars have been in the United States and they are beyond excited to return once again. Kicking off in May at the 11th edition of California Roots Festival, Dub Inc will embark on their debut West Coast tour with Hawaii’s own Mike Love! 

In 2011 Dub Inc first came to the United States for their debut East Coast tour where they dazzled audiences with their unique blend of reggae, dancehall and world music stylings. It was a major milestone and dream for the seven piece band who began in high school in 1998. They are fronted by the singers Bouchkour and Komlan whose vocals and lyrical prowess embody the band's diverse but complementary influences. Embodying a universal message whether the song is French, English or Kabyle (an Algerian language), their music is influenced by their diverse backgrounds and they are upfront with topical issues like how important acknowledging mixed race and mixing of styles are to honoring one's heritage. 

With over 22 years together the band has impressively stayed intact. Based in Saint-Etienne, France the band is comprised of: Hakim "Bouchkour" Meridja (Singer), Aurélien "Komlan" Zohou (Singer), Jérémie Gregeois (Guitar), Grégory "Zigo"Mavridorakis (Drums), Frédéric Peyron (Keyboard), Idir Derdiche (Keyboard), Moritz Von Korff (Bass), and Benjamin Jouve (Sound engineer). 

With their largest audiences in Europe, Africa and Latin America, Dub Inc is an international sensation selling out concert halls and headline festivals. They typically perform for audiences in the tens of thousands all over the world and are looking forward to growing the U.S. fan base. The idea of the U.S. tour first came about with their collaboration with the renowned band Stick Figure. Dub Inc had invited Stick Figure to join them on a European tour. The fantastic pairing yielded an amazing line-up which won the hearts of fans and critics alike. It was there that the U.S. tour was seeded, Stick Figure invited Dub Inc to come to his home state California and beyond for a West Coast run. Once connected with Stick Figure’s team at Ineffable Music Group, the plan for their US return was laid. Thomas Cussins, head of Ineffable comments, "Dub Inc is one of the greatest reggae bands in the world. Their incredibly tight sound is captivating, regardless of language there is no barrier to enjoyment and the beats are sure to keep everyone dancing. I am looking forward to seeing Dub Inc take over in the U.S. and I will certainly be at many shows to enjoy the music!" 

The band will be performing in support of the iconic reggae artist Mike Love. Dub Inc bonded with Mike Love while on tour in France in December 2019, both sharing similar passion for positive and powerful messages. The band is delighted to reconnect with Mike Love in California commenting, "Dub Inc is one of the most passionate and energetic live bands I’ve ever seen. Their show is very fluid and dynamic, with powerful grooves and intimate ballads. American audiences are gonna go nuts for it. I can’t wait to  be there!” 

Dub Inc shows will feature a blend of classic hits and new material. They will be touring with the full band and audiences will be able to hear and enjoy the songs as intended. The tour starts at Cali Roots on May 28th, from there they head to Oregon and Washington with performances in Seattle, Portland and Tacoma. Then back to Nor Cal for a show at the Cornerstone in Berkeley and Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, before they head to So. Cal to hit L.A. and San Diego. 

With a catalog of over 9 records, three of which went Gold, and a handful of riddims, fans will be captivated and moved by Dub Inc’s range. Most recently the band released “Resist and Fight” riddim produced by Collie Buddz that appeared on Cali Roots Riddim 2020, and also their critically acclaimed political album Millions (2019) that confronts current cultural themes of borders, critical thinking, and political authenticity. 

Reflecting on their journey the band commented, “We’re really happy to go on this tour, it’s a dream come true. We’ve been waiting for it since 2020 (it was postponed twice). We’re particularly excited because we love to surprise people with our performances and having new audiences discover our music. It’s a real pleasure to go back to the basics and to have to win over an audience that doesn’t know us.” 

They continue, “We’re really looking forward to finally meeting the Californian audience! New York ten years ago was a real success and we’re more than excited to come back to the United States!”

Tour Dates:

05/28 - CaliRoots Fest / Monterey, CA

05/31 - Arcata Theatre / Arcata, CA

06/01 - WOW Hall / Eugene, OR

06/02 - Star Theater / Portland, OR

06/03 - The Crocodile / Seattle, WA

06/04 - Airport Tavern / Tacoma, WA

06/07 - Felton Music Hall / Felton, CA

06/08 - Mystic Theatre / Petaluma, CA

06/09 - Cornerstone / Berkeley, CA

06/10 - Ventura Music Hall / Ventura, CA

06/11 - Observatory / Santa Ana, CA

06/12 - Belly Up / Solana beach, CA

Dopolarians | "The Bond"

Once upon a time, three musicians, who came of age together during the last century's thriving free jazz scene in Memphis, joined forces in far off Little Rock. And they were gifted, and it was good. Alto saxophonist Chad Fowler and pianist Christopher Parker were experimenters going back to the 1990s, hovering in the orbit of the famed University of Memphis jazz department, two Arkansas jammers sharing a house in the Bluff City. They did one-off sessions with the likes of Frank Lowe or George Cartwright, or in combos with local luminaries. Ultimately Fowler introduced Parker to a Memphis singer named Kelley Hurt. The years rolled on. 

Cut ahead a quarter century, and the three were living in Arkansas again, with Parker and Hurt now married, and all of them still committed to finding something fresh in jazz. When the couple was commissioned to write music in honor of the Little Rock Nine, the students who marched into Central High School in defiance of local segregationists in 1957, they recruited Fowler and another comrade from their Memphis years, trumpeter Marc Franklin, now an arranger and side man extraordinaire for the likes of Grammy-nominee Don Bryant. Parker and Hurt's creation would become the No Tears Suite, premiered in 2017 with much acclaim on the grounds of Central High itself; and it was for that project that the beat stepped in. And the beat came in the form of Brian Blade. 

Adding the magic of rhythm to the mix, the group coalesced into something great, something resembling Dopolarians. Blade left his native Shreveport at 18 to learn from the many jazz masters of New Orleans, then applied that experience to found the Fellowship Band. Along the way, he drummed for even more legends, from Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Beyond his drumming, he distinguished himself as a composer and songwriter in his own right. 

While Blade's participation in No Tears Suite galvanized the group, and led to a stellar album of the same name, they weren't yet the Dopolarians. That group identity came about when other players were added to the combo, as Blade went on to his many other commitments.  

The experience of bringing Parker and Hurt's composition to life left the core trio hungry for more creation. Working with Blade led them to set their sights high, and by the spring of 2018 they'd recruited two stellar players, well versed in the intricacies of free jazz. Bassist William Parker, who first came to prominence in his native New York with Cecil Taylor, was a perfect addition to set their course for free horizons, having developed a deeply philosophical approach to music over the course of two books, even as he pursued his playing beyond conventional jazz bass, developing a refined bowing technique and impressive skills on the West African kora.  

And with drummer Alvin Fielder, Jr., the newly formed group found a kind of shaman, a mentor to help set the tone for all that would follow. Having left his native Meridian, Mississippi to study phamacology, he nurtured his drumming with a passion, finally ending up in Chicago, where he played with Sun Ra, ca. 1960. From there, he became a charter member of the paradigm-shifting Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). This pillar of experimental jazz thus brought a wealth of experience to the group from Little Rock, and, as they prepared for their first recording session in New Orleans, adding the fabled saxophonist Kidd Jordan to the mix, they became Dopolarians. 

Their debut album, aptly titled Garden Party, was redolent of all the intimacy, beauty and wildness of a soiree in a Crescent City courtyard. And yet, to the players' great sorrow, it served as Fielder's swan song. He passed away in January, 2019, but his fellow Dopolarians, inspired by his memory, lived on.

Which brings us to The Bond, the group's latest offering to the gods of free expression and lyrical beauty, once again under the Mahakala Music imprint. With Fielder, their most inspiring force, having moved on, it was only fitting that they return to the beat that unlocked their potential in the first place: Brian Blade. And in this free context, Blade reveals his creative depths as never before, applying his acuity in the fleeting moments of creation, composer indeed. 

Also returning to the Dopolarians' fold is trumpeter Marc Franklin, filling Jordan's slot with brassier tones. In November of 2020, on the very day that the world breathed a collective sigh of relief over the defeat of a racist presidential incumbent, the group convened once again in Marigny Recording Studio, the very site of their initial sessions with Fielder. And what transpired was truly phenomenal, an achievement of musical telepathy and empathy equal to any in the free jazz tradition. In three extended pieces, “The Bond,” “The Emergence,” and “The Release,” the collective hive-mind of Brian Blade, Chad Fowler, Marc Franklin, Kelley Hurt, Christopher Parker, and William Parker conjures up a dream, an ineffable narrative, springing from the unconscious, and flying free in directions both gripping and glorious. 

Detroit Jazz Festival Presented by Rocket Mortgage Announces 2022 Lineup

The Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage, the world’s largest (and best) free jazz festival in the world, tonight announced its lineup for Labor Day weekend during a livestream preview event that included a live performance from the 2022 Artist-in-Residence Chucho Valdés. The Festival is expected to be back live, in-person in downtown Detroit.

The Detroit Jazz Festival Livestream Preview Event was held with a limited audience at the future home of the Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State University, in Midtown Detroit. The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center is scheduled to open Fall 2023.

The Festival lineup announcement also coincided with International Jazz Day, a global celebration to raise awareness about the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.

“It’s extremely befitting we announce the 2022 Festival lineup on what is considered a global day of unity in the jazz community,” said Chris Collins, president and artistic director, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “As we look forward to pivoting back to an in-person format, this year’s lineup reflects our renewed mission to feature legacy artists, propagate and nurture the next generation of jazz performers and audiences, and showcase the diverse tapestry of jazz in one festival.”

“We are proud to present the Detroit Jazz Festival, a marquee event that celebrates jazz’s rich history in our hometown of Detroit,” said Laura Grannemann, the Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund. “This event is more than a festival, it’s a community that comes together to celebrate music, our city and each other.”

Here’s a partial listing of this year’s Festival lineup: 

Friday, Sept. 2

Chucho Valdés “The Creation” with the Yoruban Orchestra, Hilario Duràn & John Beasley, Musical Directors, The extraordinary summation of an extraordinary career

The Soul Rebels 

Saturday, Sept. 3

The New Orleans Groove Masters with Herlin Riley, Jason Marsalis & Shannon Powell

Roosevelt Collier

Julian Lage

Harriet Tubman featuring Brandon Ross, Melvin Gibbs & JT Lewis

Donny McCaslin

Ranky Tanky with very special guest Ms. Lisa Fischer

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

Vijay Iyer Trio

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya

Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band with special guest Marquis Hill

Sunday, Sept. 4

Bill Frisell Trio featuring Thomas Morgan & Rudy Royston

José James presents Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday

Georgia Anne Muldrow

Antonio Sánchez & Bad Hombre with Thana Alexa, BIGYUKI & Lex Sadler

Nubya Garcia

Tottori Jazz Generation Band

Charles McPherson Quintet featuring Brian Lynch

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Roberto Fonseca YESUN

The Lighthouse Project

Duets – Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés & Joe Lovano

 Monday, Sept. 5

Theo Croker – LOVE QUANTUM featuring Gary Bartz

Ethan Iverson Trio (with Larry Grenadier and Nasheet Waits)

Dianne Reeves

Artemis featuring Renee Rosnes, Ingrid Jensen, Nicole Glover, Alexa Tarantino, Noriko Ueda & Allison Miller

Emmet Cohen Trio

John Scofield’s “Yankee Go Home” featuring Vicente Archer, Jon Cowherd & Josh Dion

JD Allen Trio

Chucho Valdés Quartet

 The full Festival schedule will be available as the event nears.

Friday, May 27, 2022

New Releases: STR4TA, Kyoto Jazz Sextet with Takeo Moriyama, Nduduzo Makhathini, Jonathan Fritzén

STR4TA - When You Call Me

STR4TA unveil a refreshing neoteric layer on this latest offering. Led by broadcaster/ DJ Gilles Peterson and musician/producer Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick. In a natural departure from their intoxicating signature new-wave-jazz-funk sound, reverberating with the essence of electro-street-soul in the UK. This is the first taste of things to come on their second album following their 2021 debut album ‘Aspects’ with standout tracks "We Like It" achieving over 1 million streams on Spotify, ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ exceeding 12 weeks on Jazz FM’s playlist, and a remix EP featuring Melé, Dave Lee, Greg Wilson, Dave Aju & more released at the end of 2021. Heavily supported by BBC 6Music, The Guardian, Wax Poetics, The Vinyl Factory, CLASH, Télérama (FR), Radio Nova (FR), Rolling Stones Italy & Japan. Now out on digital on Brownswood Recordings. You can catch STR4TA at one of their upcoming concerts: Wed, June 8 - Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain; and Fri, June 10 - Jazz Cafe, London UK.

Kyoto Jazz Sextet with Takeo Moriyama - Succession

Legendary drummer Takeo Moriyama joins the Kyoto Jazz Sextet here – and helps find a sound that's even stronger than their previous album for Blue Note! It's been many years since Shuya Okino first started giving us grooves under the Kyoto Jazz banner – and this sextet project is maybe one of his greatest efforts of the bunch – a searing jazz session that not only takes us back to the strength of Takeo's classic albums of the 70s, but which also makes the album more than worthy of inclusion in the legendary catalog of Blue Note! The rest of the lineup features Shinpei Ruike on trumpet, Takeshi Kurihara on tenor, Yusuke Hirado on piano, and Yoshihito Koizumi on bass – and titles include versions of the classic Fumio Itabashi titles "Watarase" and "Sunrise" – plus the tracks "Father Forest", "Miagete Goran Yoruno Hoshido", "Kaze", and "No More Apple".~ Dusty Groove

Nduduzo Makhathini - In The Spirit Of Ntu

An even more powerful set than the Blue Note debut of South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini – a set delivered in response to all the recent struggles in his nation, and put together with all the righteous energy of similar projects from the 70s! Makhathini is way more than a pianist here – as although his instrument is important to the sound, his overall vision is more so – directing a lineup of players that includes Linda Sikhakhane on tenor and soprano, Dylan Tabisher on vibes, Robin Fassie Kock on trumpet, and Gontse Makhene on percussion – working in this sense of flow that swings between rhythmic and melodic, intense and more speculative passages. Omagugu sings on one track – the beautiful "Mama" – and other titles include "Nyoni Le", "Re-Amathambo", "Abantwana Belanga", "Sense Nina", "Omnyama", and "Ntu". ~ Dusty Groove

Jonathan Fritzén - Piano Tales

It was in 2008 that Billboard and chart-topping pianist Jonathan Fritzén burst onto the scene with his debut recording Love Birds which at the time was described as reaching the very core of what great Smooth Jazz is all about. Now, six hit albums later Fritzén is back with the highly anticipated Piano Tales. As well as producing, recording and mixing throughout Jonathan also writes all ten choice tunes. The title of each track is linked in some way to the piano.  The album's first single, "Keys To Paradise," peaked at #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart and the second single, "Hammers Of Love" also found its way into the Top 10! Quite simply Fritzén remains one of the hottest composers, producers and pianists in the world, in what is already a storied career, it seems likely that there are still many tales to tell. ~

Maajo | “Better Days (feat. Gilbert K & Waina)”

Finnish-African group Maajo makes their debut on Brooklyn’s Wonderwheel Recordings with “Better Days,” an old school, upbeat disco cut with nods to balearic, reggae and funk. Featuring the soulful voices of two new band members, Mauritian drummer-vocalist Gilbert K and Zambian singer Waina, “Better Days” pays homage to 70s African and Caribbean Disco. Fusing a dance-floor-ready beat with live horn arrangements and uplifting vocals, the track is both ready for the club or a Sunday morning session.In addition to English, the lyrics are sung in the vocalists’ native Creole and Nyanja; the “Kumba” chant pleads for the strength to get through the bad times.

Hailing from Finland, Maajo is a tropical breeze from the cold north; their musical explorations lead from equatorial soundscapes to the woods and moods of their native Scandinavia. African influences, electronic beats and organic rhythms, ethereality and the sounds of nature all make up the patchwork sound of Maajo. Not only is Maajo’s music a way of traveling to faraway places, the songs themselves have traveled all over the globe.

Maajo has evolved from a sample-based electronic music project to a full-sized band, including African vocalists and musicians. The group has put out two full-length albums and three EP’s on Queen Nanny records, in addition to releases on German label Permanent Vacation. Additionally, Maajo has received the remix treatment from artists such as Luke Vibert and Call Super, and toured festivals and clubs around the world. The band has built a dedicated international following, and has been championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson (Worldwide FM), Tom Ravenscroft (BBC Radio 6), and Tim Sweeney (Beats In Space) amd featured by KEXP (Song of the Day), Resident Advisor, Ransom Note, and Pan-African Music.

“Better Days” is out on Brooklyn’s Wonderwheel Recordings May 20th, with an album due Fall, 2022.

Chastity Brown | "Sing To The Walls"

As the daughter of a blues musician, Chastity Brown was born with an innate ability to channel complex circumstances into beautiful, uplifting songs. But after surviving the isolation of the early pandemic and witnessing the global racial reckoning that manifested itself in the riots mere blocks from her South Minneapolis home, even she is surprised to hear the way her new album Sing To The Walls turned out. 

“It’s a love album, in a way I didn’t plan on,” Chastity says.  

Like so many artists who endured the uncertainty of the 2020 lockdown, Chastity’s instinct was to turn inward, at first out of self-preservation, and then because the new songs kept coming and coming. Since finishing her last album, 2017’s Silhouette Of Sirens, she estimates she’s written nearly 100 new songs, 10 of which found their way onto Sing To The Walls.

These songs unfold with Chastity’s expressive voice and expansive melodies, leading the listener through intertwining tendrils of atmospheric sounds. Even the titles hint at the album’s sense of optimistic yearning, from the dreamy opening track “Wonderment,” to her ode to healing a broken heart post-breakup “Curiosity,” to the pulsing promise of “Hope.”

 With the exception of “Golden,” a searing indictment of white complacency and a cathartic release of post-uprising rage that comes halfway through the album (and was released in an earlier form in mid-2020), Sing To The Walls is ultimately an album about hope, connection, and love; an ode to the sweetness of life, even amidst a pandemic, even in a city that’s experienced so much pain. 

“I think it’s an audacious response,” says Chastity. “Like how funk music came after Malcolm, Martin, and everybody got murdered in the ‘60s. Then the ‘70s popped off, and there was funk! This isn’t funk, but it’s rooted in that same kind of response. I just want to feel good. Straight up.”  

The album was started in Stockholm, Sweden with revered session drummer and producer Brady Blade and completed at Chastity’s own home studio with her longtime drummer Greg Schutte. Additional production and mixing was done by Chris Bell in Austin, Texas.

For the first time, Chastity also served as the lead producer on some of the tracks, and co-producer on all of them. “I just was like, ‘why can't I do it?’ It maybe meant that some things took longer, but it was like, ‘Where am I going now anyway?’ The way I've worked since the pandemic began, as far as songwriting and arranging and composing, I've never been so productive. Whatever touring life becomes going forward, I want to always carve out writing time. I'm addicted to it. And it's such a cool high,” she says.

Sing To The Walls is a sonically expansive album; it mines the roots of Americana, folk, and soul music, but Chastity’s stories are delivered in a style that feels remarkably timely, modern, and forward-thinking. "I celebrate the emotional richness in the tradition, but in my music I’ve committed myself to moving forward and reflecting the experiences of those overlooked by tradition." 

In the same way, her lyrics seek to reach across a great divide. “I will sing to those walls, hope it gets through / And I will sing to your scars, they need healing too,” Chastity sings on the album’s title track, a pandemic love song about breaking through the physical, emotional, and social barriers that have been constructed around all of us in recent years. By the next track, “Like the Sun,” she breaks through into a melody that rises like a wide-open prairie sunrise—a heart-rending moment that demonstrates her talent for expressing big, beautiful ideas in her music, and to create songs that radiate bliss.

Even amid the chaos, while delivering the release-valve verses of “Golden,” she remains steadfast. “I’ve got joy even when I’m a target, if you think that’s political don’t get me started,” Chastity sings, demanding to know: “Why have I got to be angry?” 

Between writing sessions she’s been vibing to chilled out, forward thinking artists like Leon Bridges, H.E.R., SZA, and Daniel Caesar, taking their cue to expand beyond genre and her folk/roots history to encompass her appreciation of all Black American musical art forms. “I also want to poke at what the blues is,” Chastity reflects. “It has a lot of stereotypes, like it’s mostly only played by blue-eyed white guys now. But what about Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey? I feel so closely connected, in a pure, undeviating lineage, to the heritage of being a Black, queer blues woman. I want to share this music with them, to say that I’ve listened, and I’ve done something new.”

“This album does not serve sorrow,” Chastity says bluntly. “And in that way, it’s my trying to emulate Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God—seeking personal spiritual fulfillment while rejecting expectations. What matters to me is my survival—and for my survival, it’s been necessary to try to embrace some joy.”

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Contemporary Jazz Flute Phenomenon Ragan Whiteside Premieres New Video ‘Thrill Ride"

Flute-playing soul-jazz phenomenon Ragan Whiteside premieres her brand-new video, “Thrill Ride,” the title track from her forthcoming album, on her label, Randis Music. Written and produced by Dennis Johnson, Bob Baldwin, and Whiteside, the single is available on all digital download and streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and more. To view the video, click

“Thrill Ride” takes you on an energetic, musical adventure with melodic twists and turns skillfully navigated by Ragan on flute. The music video has a light-hearted, comical storyline, following Ragan on her impromptu stroll before her show. After getting dolled up by her glam squad, Ragan takes advantage of some downtime and ends up engaging in various thrill rides, skydiving, and a scooter sojourns around neighborhood. Ragan returns to the show venue a little worse for wear – much to the chagrin of her glam squad.

“I am a complete goofball at heart, and I wanted that silliness to be a part of the video,” says the native New Yorker, who now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. “If I can perform music that makes you nod your head and make you laugh, then mission accomplished.”

Composer, producer, and music partner Dennis Johnson adds, “I felt my heart racing while composing the framework of the song. I pictured rollercoasters and race cars; hence ‘Thrill Ride’ was born. The video has the perfect blend of music and comedy that complements our quirky personalities and thrill-seeker tendencies.”

This summer and fall, the classically trained flutist has a series of upcoming concert dates including Marcus Anderson’s Jazz and Coffee Escape in Asheville, NC (Saturday, August 6); Ferrario Elmira Jazz Festival in Elmira, NY (Saturday, August 13); Jazz in the Park in Huntsville, AL (September 4) with additional dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, as the host of her four-hour Saturday morning radio show on Atlanta’s NPR affiliate radio station Jazz 91.9 WCLK, Ragan Whiteside’s show is growing exponentially with an increase of listeners and supporters internationally.

With a streak of seven career records on Billboard’s Top 10, which includes “JJ’s Strut,” “Reminiscing,” “Jam It,” “Early Arrival,” “See You At The Get Down,” and “Off The Cuff” and the Billboard No. 1 song, “Corey’s Bop.” Whiteside was also a featured artist on two Billboard No. 1 hits, “I’m Every Woman,” and Willie Bradley’s “It's On Now.” Whiteside has released five albums to her repertoire including the 2020 five-track EP Five Up Top, 2017’s Treblemaker, 2014’s Quantum Drive, 2012’s Evolve, and 2007’s Class Axe. The instrumentalist, composer, and vocalist was also a finalist for the Smooth Jazz Network’s Artist of the Year, and for two consecutive years, she remained in the Top 5 in Billboard’s Top Smooth Jazz Songs Year-End chart issue – the only woman to rise into the year-end Top 5 in the male-dominated world of jazz.

Originally from Mt. Vernon, New York, Whiteside was mentored during high school by members of the National Association of Negro Musicians, participated, and ultimately won Silver at the NAACP’s ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competitions for young people. She continued her education at the Cleveland Institute of Music before transferring to the highly competitive HARID Conservatory in Florida. After graduation, she attended a show at a local jazz club and met keyboardist and producer Bob Baldwin, who encouraged her to pursue a career as a contemporary instrumentalist.

Robert Minott | “I Want To Know What Love Is”

This classic remake by Foreigner still propels one to think about the journey that love will take us on, how we are still all figuring out that all though it is a simple four-letter word, it is still yet a big mystery that is worth finding out all about, the beautiful complexities of love. One of Roberts favorite verses of the song is “ I can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far’.

Robert Minott is a Jamaican recording artist/songwriter/producer. His songs “Yuk Mek Me Feel good”, “Can’t Hold Back featuring Mr. lexx” and “You Are” were successful Euro Indie and the World Indie Charts.  “You Are”, was number one for two weeks on both the Euro and Indie Charts, Top Ten US, and various charts In the US. “I Want To Know What Love Is” is off his fourth coming album  BIG Things”.

As an artist Robert has performed alongside the likes of Maxie Priest, Ziggy Marley Damian, Jr Marley, Jefferey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Regina Bell, Howard Hewitt, Yellow man, Chaka Khan, Toots and the Maytals, Steven Marley, Dorian Paul and Ziggy Marly.

An imaginative singer, he is always in pursuit of excellence in his music. Among his releases are “ We don’t want no troubles”, “Makes ends meet”, an exceptional recording that brings nostalgic flashes …….

Nephew of the late Sugar Minott born and raised in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Robert migrated to the US in 1974 and released his first album titled “Love Struck” in 1991. As a recording artist, he has performed alongside the likes of some of reggae’s biggest names including Burning Spear, Shaggy, Maxi Priest, and Ziggy Marley, to name a few. An imaginative singer, he is always in pursuit of excellence in his music. Among his releases are “We Don’t Want No Troubles”, “Make Ends Meet”, an exceptional recording that brings nostalgic flashes of Dennis Brown of whom Robert is often compared to especially whenever he performs.

He released his debut album in 1991 which featured the single, “Irie”, featuring legendary artiste, Bunny Rugs from Third World, and Marlon “Ultimate” Greenwood (Jamaican born professional NFL football player – formerly Miami Dolphins; now playing for the Texans), received substantial radio play in Canada and Jamaica.

In 2007 he collaborated with dancehall artiste Elephant Man on the track Roll It. It was accompanied by a video which was directed by Nordia Rose. A former concert promoter, Robert topped the charts in Jamaica in 2011 with the reggae single “Right Man Fi Yuh”. The single also made strides on the New York and South Florida Reggae charts. He later followed up with a cover of “Silver Words” which featured rapper Kirkie KBZ. “Silver Words” hit the charts in Jamaica and opened up new doors for the singer.

Seth MacFarlane | "Blue Skies"

Multi-Grammy nominated singer, Seth MacFarlane, announces his 7th studio album, Blue Skies (Verve/Republic) set for release on May 20th. The 14-track collection of swinging tunes showcases acclaimed arranger and conductor Andrew Cottee’s deft take on an uptempo album full of modern big band jazz orchestrations. The first track off the upbeat set is the classic jazz standard, “No Moon At All.” 

Recorded at the celebrated Abbey Road studios, Blue Skies features an all-star group of musicians enlisted by MacFarlane including Chuck Berghofer (Bass), Peter Erskine (Drums), Larry Koonse (Guitar), Dan Higgins (Alto Sax), and Tom Ranier (piano). Together, with longtime friend, collaborator, and producer, Joel McNeely, and superb engineer, Rich Breen, the album covers compositions by musical writing luminaries that include Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Edward Heyman and Frank Loesser.

Track listing: 1. It's You or No One / 2. No Moon At All / 3. You'll Get Yours /4. A Hundred Years From Today / 5. If I Were A Bell / 6. Out of Nowhere / 7. On Green Dolphin Street /8. That Old Feeling / 9. Blue Skies / 10. It Could Happen to You / 11. I Didn't Know About You / 12. You Turned The Tables On Me / 13. Never In A Million Years / 14. Unless I Do It All With You

MacFarlane has released six studio albums: Music Is Better Than Words, Holiday For Swing, No One Ever Tells You, In Full Swing, Once In A While and Great Songs From Stage & Screen. Critically lauded, these albums garnered MacFarlane several No. 1 debuts on the iTunes Jazz Charts and a total of six Grammy nominations. MacFarlane has also performed with the legendary composer John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, duetted with Barbra Streisand and joined numerous celebrated symphonies including Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Liza Minnelli's Landmark "Live in New York 1979" Released as an Ultimate 3-CD Edition, 2-LP Set

Start spreading the news: Liza Minnelli's long-lost live album recorded in the very heart of New York, New York is getting the deluxe vinyl and even more deluxe CD treatment from Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records! When the Oscar, Emmy, and Tony-winning superstar (and future Grammy Legend) took the stage at the legendary Carnegie Hall on September 4, 1979, the concert was already a hotly-anticipated event. It would be the first of eleven consecutive shows through September 14 - the longest run in the Hall's history. Not only that, but every show in the five-level, 2,804-seat venue was sold out. Liza had the foresight to record three nights of concerts; two years later, in 1981, she began selling the limited release on vinyl at her live dates. 

The Live at Carnegie Hall double album preserved Liza's electrifying, roof-raising evening from start to finish, including definitive versions of familiar showstoppers such as John Kander and Fred Ebb’s "Cabaret," "But the World Goes 'Round," and "Theme From 'New York, New York'" But, deprived of proper retail distribution, the album never reached a wide audience...until now! It even gets better, though: Liza kept those pristine multitrack tapes of the three nights recorded at Carnegie Hall. The tapes revealed a treasure trove of performances not included on the original double album including James Taylor's "Everybody Has the Blues," Kander and Ebb's "Arthur in the Afternoon" and "Mr. Cellophane" (the latter sung by future Dreamgirls star Obba Babatunde), a Minnelli/Babatunde duet of Cole Porter's "You Do Something to Me," the funky disco jam "Dance Across the Floor," and even a beautiful nod from Liza to her mother, Judy Garland, with a verse of "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe." These tapes have been painstakingly restored and beautifully mixed by acclaimed engineer Ted Carfrae (Doris Day, Cilla Black) for this first-ever COMPLETE presentation of Liza's Carnegie Hall show from curtain up to curtain down. 

Live in New York 1979: The Ultimate Edition is available on 3 CDs, all of which overflow with showbiz sizzle: one disc with Mike Milchner's remastered version of the original vinyl release, which premieres on CD, and two discs with the never-before-released complete show. This deluxe edition also features an expanded booklet with new introductions by both Ms. Minnelli and Great American Songbook champion Michael Feinstein, both of whom served as executive producers for this release, plus photos of the artist and liner notes from reissue producers Joe Marchese and Charles L. Granata, and exclusive tributes from Liza's friends and collaborators inside a gorgeous, 8-panel digipak boasting the Warhol portrait. Again, NONE of this material has ever been available at music retail...this is indeed the ultimate Liza package!

CD 1: The Original Album / 1. How Long Has This Been Going On/It's a Miracle / 2. My Ship/The Man I Love / 3. Some People / 4. Come In from the Rain / 5. London Town / 6. New York Medley / 7. Someone to Watch Over Me / 8. Twelve Fellas / 9. The Marriage: You and I/The Honeymoon Is Over/Happy Anniversary / 10. City Lights / 11. Cabaret / 12. Shine On Harvest Moon / 13. But the World Goes Round / 14. Bows

CD 2: The Complete Concert - Act One / 1. On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe (A  Cappella Introduction) /2. How Long Has This Been Going On/It's a Miracle / 3. Everybody Gets the Blues / 4. My Ship/The Man I Love / 5. Some People / 6. London Town / 7. Come In from the Rain / 8. Arthur in the Afternoon / 9. Mr. Cellophane - Obba Babatunde / 10. You Do Something to Me - with Obba Babatunde / 11. New York Medley

CD 3: The Complete Concert - Act Two / 1. Jam/Dance Across the Floor / 2. Someone to Watch Over Me / 3. Twelve Fellas / 4. The Marriage: You and I/The Honeymoon Is Over/Happy Anniversary / 5. City Lights / 6. Cabaret / 7. Shine On Harvest Moon/Bows / 8. But the World Goes Round / 9. Bows

New Releases: William Bell, Ruben Blades & Boca Livre, Phil Dawson Quintet, Dusty Springfield

William Bell - Never Like This Before: The Complete 'Blue' Stax Singles 1961 to 1968

William Bell was one of the first great soul singers to record for the legendary Stax Records in Memphis – an artist who really helped set the tone for deep soul singles to come from the likes of Otis Redding and Johnnie Taylor – and one whose early work is still some of the best he ever gave us! This well-done package brings together all of Bell's first 14 singles for the label, both a-sides and b-sides – standing together as a testament to all the greatness the singer brought to the fray right from the start – as Stax not only found a way to record him so much differently than he would have been handled in other spots, but also matured along with Bell to keep on creating fresh magic as the 60s moved on! As always with Ace/Kent, the presentation is wonderful – a detailed set of notes that matches the wonderful set list – which includes "Formula Of Love", "Just As I Thought", "Whatcha Gonna Do", "I Told You So", "Don't Stop Now", "Crying All By Myself", "I'll Show You", "Monkeying Around", "Ain't Got No Girl", "Every Man Oughta Have A Woman", "Never Like This Before", "Marching Off To War", "Soldier's Goodbye", "One Plus One", "Eloise", "You're Such A Sweet Thing", "Don't Make Something Out Of Nothing", and his great farewell to Otis Redding, "Tribute To A King". ~ Dusty Groove

Ruben Blades & Boca Livre - Parceiros

Ruben Blades is way more than just a superstar in Latin music – over the decades, he's become a key global figure, and one with much diversity in his work – as you'll hear on this great collaboration with the Brazilian quartet Boca Livre! Boca Livre have a warm harmony vocal style that goes back to bossa groups of the 60s, but which is served up with a more contemporary vibe – and the mix of their sound and Ruben's strong lead is really wonderful here – on a set of tracks that even includes a number of Portuguese tunes next to the Spanish language numbers you'd expect! Titles include "Sin Tu Carino", "Juana Mayo", "Pedro Navaja", "Vida", "Caminando", "Buscando Guayaba", and "Dime" – some of which are titles on the related Pasieros album, but done in a different language here! ~ Dusty Groove

Phil Dawson Quintet - It's Time

London guitarist Phil Dawson has a strong legacy of work with global heavyweights – artists who include Hugh Masekela, Tony Allen, and Mulatu – but the vibe here is much more jazz-based overall – as Dawson plays both guitar and Fender Rhodes in a group that has a great sense of flow! A great part of the record's sound is the work of flute player Rowland Sutherland – whose sweet lines are as much of a delight as Phil's guitar – and the rest of the group is heavy on percussion, but used in a lean way that moves along nicely, and never gets caught in any sort of bombast – maybe more Brazilian in inspiration, if that makes sense. Khadijatou Doyneh of The Heliocentrics makes an appearance at once point – and the tracks are reworks of a few different themes, but coming across in nicely different versions. Titles include "It's Time (fully spoken)", "Gnostic Hilife Nag Hammadi re-edit)", "It's Time (instrumental)", "Gnostic Hilife (flute edit)", and "Gnostic Hilife (original edit)". ~ Dusty Groove

Dusty Springfield - Dusty Sings Soul

A long-overdue look at the soul-based side of the work of Dusty Springfield – maybe the most important side of her music, really – given how many times we find her Atlantic Records material in collections next to Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin! Yet although Dusty soon recorded for Atlantic – in Memphis and other American cities – the singer had a strong ear for soul music right from the start – spurred on, no doubt, by raging interest in the sounds on her own British scene – and carried forth by Springfield in a range of debut solo recordings that were completely different than the folk-based material she was cutting in a group just a few years before! Dusty's got a voice that still knocks it out of the park, listen after listen – a quality that you'll know from big hits, and will discover even more fully here in a great package that comes with detailed notes on all the music – alongside two dozen tracks that include "Bring Him Back", "Can I Get A Witness", "Long After Tonight Is All Over", "Welcome Home", "All Cried Out", "Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone", "Every Day I Have To Cry", "Love Power", "Oh No Not My Baby", "Nothing", "Every Ounce Of Strength", "Ain't No Sun Since You've Gone", "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", "Am I The Same Girl", "What's It Gonna Be", and "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream". ~ Dusty Groove

Full Circle Release Their Newest Album Which Ignites Fires In The Soul

Full Circle is a collection of talented musicians all of whom have individually been playing music for the last 20 years. These diversely experienced extremely enigmatic musicians have come together to produce music that speaks to each of them and the world at large. It is the sheer genius of these minds that helps produce music that speaks to all audiences with relatability and empathy.

The soothing, relentless symphony of the jazz tunes that are played helps transport listeners to their happy places, making their worries melt away for the moment, the music taking over and relinquishing the burdens of everyday life. The melodies serve to relax the audience just as a vacation, a trip to the beach, or a hang out with friends would. The album is the perfect pit-stop for an out.

The multiple different experiences of the listeners help amalgamate several different cultural influences and musical genres that give the music produced an undeniable universal character. Firm believers in God, the band members want their art to serve as a guiding light to those that feel inexplicably stuck in a cruel and unyielding world.

Some of the inspiring musicians in the band include Herman Outar the bassist and songwriter, Danne Sheet Jr. the Drummer, Edwin Marrero the guitarist, Pedro Marrero the percussionist, and David Autman IV. The saxophonist. Collectively the aspiring musicians wish to simply create some sort of a positive influence in the lives of individuals and to spread love and community with the art that they produce.

Full Circle’s wish to write compelling music shows their characterization of their craft as something that transcends beyond them and serves as a connector with the masses. The band hopes to attain as many musical gigs as possible for performances and is currently working on songs for their next EP.

Stream the inspiring artist’s music on YouTube as well as on Spotify at the following link Follow the artist’s official social media page on Instagram for updates on newer music.


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