Monday, July 24, 2023

Ian Shaw | "Greek Street Friday"

Multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Ian Shaw announces the release of his new studio album ‘Greek Street Friday’ and shares the first single ‘To Be Held’ with its accompanying video. The album will be released on CD and digital on September 1st via Ian’s own label Silent Wish Records, with the vinyl to follow in the autumn.

Soulful, funky and bold, these new songs draw inspiration from Shaw’s early musical and lyrical influences — Bowie, Steely Dan, Al Jarreau, early Elton John, Billy Joel – to create 11 autobiographical portraits of people and places: 1980s London, New York, loving and losing, basement bars, poets, friendships, lovers, near-escapes and far-away places.

‘Greek Street Friday’ will see its inaugural performances at four shows over two days on Thursday 31st August and Friday 1st September 2023, at Ronnie Scott’s in London.

As an “utterly brilliant” (Time Out) mainstay of the British music and comedy circuit, Ian has never been one to conceal an often-outspoken view on injustice and equality and details his personal experiences for audiences to share. ‘Greek Street Friday’ sees him do so with typical poetic frankness, as well as pay homage to friends and icons, and muse on our place in a complicated world. Whilst the album’s main focus is a collection of partially autobiographical vignettes, Ian has also chosen to include a new take on a favourite song from one of his musical idols, ‘Blinded By The Hunt’ by Rickie Lee Jones.

The first single, ‘To Be Held,’ has its title inspired by a Truman Capote interview with Dick Cavett, and which later expands into a beautiful tribute to lost friends, the power of connections, imperfections and navigating the strangeness and beauty of being alive on what Ian describes as “this beaten-up planet of ours”.

Expanding his jazz foundations to the realms of blues-rock and pop, ‘Greek Street Friday’ brings to mind shades of classic 21st century songwriters such as Little Feat, Steely Dan, Randy Newman, and of course Rickie Lee Jones. Co-written and produced with Jamie Safir (Kylie, Birdy, Will Young), and recorded at Livingston and Cowshed Studios, the album features an all-star band of session players, including drummer Ian Thomas (George Michael, Van Morrison, Céline Dion), guitarist David Preston (Melody Gardot, Curtis Stigers) and saxophonist Iain Ballamy (Everything But The Girl, Hermeto Pascoal, Loose Tubes).

Ian’s “smart and soulful show” featuring “the quirks and character tics of everyday living” (The Guardian) will be out in full force at one of London’s most iconic venues on August 31st and September 1st. Taking Ronnie Scott’s stage for a series of matinee and evening performances, these unmissable shows will be packed with witty anecdotes and stories, as Ian performs the record with his full band of seasoned musicians.

Kavita Shah | "Cape Verdean Blues"

Award-winning vocalist, composer, and educator Kavita Shah’s latest album, Cape Verdean Blues, a cul- mination of a diasporic quest to find a spiritual home, will be released September 15, 2023 on the new global music label Folkalist Records. The carefully curated album of traditional Cape Verdean mornas and co- ladeiras is also a tribute to the charismatic and unapologetically individual Cape Verdean vocalist Cesária Évora, and a love letter to her breathtaking archipelago and its welcoming people. Resonating with the music’s language of loss, Shah, herself the daughter of immigrants, spent several years conducting ethno- graphic research on the island of São Vicente. On Cape Verdean Blues, Shah’s collaboration with Évora’s longtime bandmates (including master guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Bau), and her bold self-possession have enabled her to achieve a rare feat: creating a world music album that feels like home.

At the heart of the 12-song album is “sodade,” an idiomatic word that doesn’t have a strict English definition, but connotes a melancholy sense of transience that permeates Cape Verde, its music, and its free-spirited island population. “In this paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I found a sense of home that has eluded me for much of my 37 years,” Shah says. She continues: “When I look back, I realize that upon hear- ing Cesária’s voice nearly a decade ago, she was summoning me down a path I must continue walking in search of sodade.”

Shah is a global citizen and cultural interlocutor whose work involves deep engagement with the jazz tradi- tion, while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. She is a lifelong New Yorker of Indian origin hailed for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR). Shah speaks 9 languages—in- cluding Portuguese and Cape Verdean Kriol—and incorporates ethnographic research into her original mu- sic. She has researched traditional music practices in Brazil, West Africa, East Africa, Turkey, and India. To support her work, Shah has earned grants from the Jerome Foundation, Chamber Music America, Asian Cultural Council, and New Music USA. Shah holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Harvard, and a Master’s in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music.

To date, Shah’s projects include Visions (2014), co-produced by Lionel Loueke; Folk Songs of Naboréa, which premiered at the Park Avenue Armory in 2017; and Interplay in duo with François Moutin, which was nominated in 2018 for France’s Victoires de la Musique for Jazz Album of the Year. Shah regularly performs her music at major concert halls, festivals, and clubs on six continents.

Shah first heard the voice of Cesária Évora as a 20-year-old college student in Cambridge, MA. Her father had died unexpectedly two years earlier, and three of her four grandparents had passed since his death. As an only child, these losses left her with very few tangible ties to her native culture. Months later, she was conducting ethnomusicology research on Afro-Brazilian music in Salvador, Brazil, where she began to see how marginalized people looked outside their environment to find connection. “They found solidarity with Black people’s plight during the American civil rights movement and liberation movements across the African continent,” Shah says. “As a member of a diaspora, I related to that. I began to seek to elevate my con- sciousness through connecting outside my immediate surroundings.”

While living in Brazil, Shah had the opportunity to hear Cesária perform live. #What struck me about her was that she was wholly herself. She was barefoot, smoking, drinking, she wasn!t overly smiling or entertaining— she was just delivering the songs,” Shah recalls. “As a person of color, to see a black woman whose main power was her authenticity was transformative. She changed my life.”

Shah ended up visiting Cape Verde in 2016—after Cesária’s death—and it would be a trip brimming with serendipitous events. Through mystical coincidence, she ended up befriending Cesária’s musical director and guitarist Bau. The pair instantly discovered an intuitive musical chemistry, and informal jam sessions led to live performances. In 2018, Shah returned to Cape Verde after being awarded a grant by the Jerome Foundation to formally research and study its music and culture. During this time, she deepened her friend- ship with Cape Verde’s legendary classical composer Vasco Martins who penned the Cape Verdean Blues compositions “Um Porta Aberte” and “Situações Triangulares.”

Cape Verdean Blues organically grew organically out of Shah and Bau’s casual studio sessions originally intended to document their repertoire. The album features members of Cesária’s band, including percussion- ist Miroca Paris, and Cesária’s mentee and acclaimed vocalist Fantcha. It was recorded in Mindelo, Lisbon, and New York, and includes traditional repertoire in Cape Verdean Kriol, a newly-penned original written to lyrics by another legend, Morgadinho, a Brazilian classic, and an Indian folk song in Gujarati, Shah’s moth- er tongue.

Shah painstakingly studied the repertoire’s distinctive phrasing, but she also invigorates the program of songs with fresh individuality. Trained as a jazz singer, Shah elegantly expands the songs with sensual vocal improvisations. She weaves in vocal textures, and mouth percussion creating lush, enchanting soundscapes with almost minimal orchestration. On the album’s title track— written by hard bop jazz pianist and composer Horace Silver (“Cape Verdean Blues”), whose dad was born on Cape Verde—she vocalizes the song’s instrumental parts.

Freddie Bryant | "Upper West Side Love Story"

With a beautiful new music video (combining nostalgic images with modern-day in-studio performance footage,) an expansive interview feature and more media coverage on the way, composer, lyricist and guitarist Freddie Bryant continues to lay the groundwork for the recent release of his ambitious double CD ‘Upper West Side Love Story’.

Inspired by Bryant’s first-hand experiences as he witnessed the the gentrification of the Upper West Side, Bryant has crafted a confident and profound work of art - deep, textured and resonant - written from the perspective of someone, from childhood to adulthood, navigating the simple joys, increasing confusion, and, ultimately, the simmering resentments of growing up in a neighborhood that is changing before his very eyes.

At times a wistful valentine and at others a melancholy break-up note, the song cycle is ultimately a complicated love letter to the home Bryant lived in for fifty-four years, from birth until 2019, when he moved to the Bronx.

Bryant’s new single, ‘His Bed is a Box’, out today, is a haiku which reflects on the sad reality of homelessness. In his song notes, Bryant comments: The dark side…coincided with a crisis of homelessness which we seem to still be dealing with amongst the new and incomprehensible wealth that defines gentrification today. It’s dedicated to our neighbors that we see, or try not to, as we go about our daily life.

How did it come into being? Thank you! There were a few stages: 2019 a Grant from Chamber Music America, 2020-2021 writing the lyrics and music during the Covid quarantine, 2021-2022 rehearsing and premiering the music in concerts in the Northeast, finishing the studio recording and 2023 finally releasing the music to the world! In terms of the idea and concept the impetus came from being forced out of our family apartment we lived in for 54 years. It was a struggle that got me thinking about my life, family, friends, upbringing, playgrounds, music and then also the bigger picture of the history and culture of the neighborhood and how it has changed over the years. For me the creative process in music, with lyrics and without, always comes from feelings and emotion and this project had so much to inspire me. I started with the words and three months later after the lyrics were finished came the music – that took a year. I let it grow organically and in the end it took shape in a 16 song suite in two parts – a double CD with 92 minutes of music, like a show, musical or mini-opera. What I’m really happy about is that it works as individual songs in any order and it can also take you through an engaging story from start to finish.

Musicians Featured:

  • Carla Cook - vocals
  • Regina Carter - violin
  • Gwen Laster - viola
  • Akua Dixon - cello
  • Steve Wilson - alto/soprano sax and alto/concert flutes
  • Donny McCaslin - tenor/soprano sax
  • John Benitez - bass
  • Alvester Garnett - drums
  • Freddie Bryant - guitars and vocals

Friday, July 21, 2023

New Music Releases from Buddy Rich, George Freeman, Tyshawn Sorey and Jeff Bradshaw

Buddy Rich’s “Birdland” LP To Be Re-Released On Limited Edition Translucent Red Vinyl 

Lightyear Entertainment and Lobitos Creek Ranch, in association with Scabeba Entertainment and the Buddy Rich Estate, have announced the release of a special limited-edition version of the best-selling live album “Birdland” featuring Buddy Rich and his Killer Force Band at the peak of their performing years. The new release will be a 180-gram audiophile translucent red vinyl collector’s edition. It will be released July 21 through Virgin/Universal Music Group and will temporarily replace the original black vinyl version, which has sold out after multiple re-pressings. The “Birdland” album was seen in the Academy Award winning film “Whiplash,” in the hands of the young star Miles Teller, who played an extraordinary drummer who idolizes Buddy Rich. Cathy Rich, CEO of Scabeba Entertainment and Buddy’s daughter, was a consultant on the “Whiplash” film. She is currently on tour with her Buddy Rich Big Band Machine, featuring drummer Gregg Potter.  The original black vinyl version of “Birdland” was released in 2015.

George Freeman  Good Life

Guitarist George Freeman has given his music to the world for many decades – a fantastic live player who still makes magic on the Chicago scene, and a recording artist who's gotten the chance to cut plenty of records over the years, but rarely in a top-shelf setting like this! The lineup is an all-star one – with Joey DeFrancesco on organ, Christian McBride on bass, and either Carl Allen or Lewis Nash on drums – great players, but who also have the maturity to really give George the space to open up and do his thing – especially important now that, in his later years, Freeman is less of a sonic monster than he was in the 70s, yet maybe even more of a sensitive soloist overall. Titles include a remake of his classic "Lowe Groovin" – plus "Mr D", "Up & Down", "The Good Life", and "Sister Tankersley". Dusty Groove

Tyshawn Sorey – Continuing

A really moody album from drummer Tyshawn Sorey – one that features a straightish jazz approach, but on really long songs that take a form that's all their own! The set's a trio date – recorded with Aaron Diehl on piano and Matt Brewer on bass – but the music is hardly standard piano trio fare, as there's a sense of pacing and spacing that really gives the record a unique vibe – something that's maybe not that much of a surprise, given how unique Sorey's music can be! Titles include "Reincarnation Blues", "Angel Eyes", "Seleritus", and a great reading of "In What Direction Are You Headed" – which was penned by Harold Mabern, and initially done on Lee Morgan's last album. Dusty Groove

Jeff Bradshaw – 20

One of the most soul-based records we've ever heard from trombonist Jeff Bradshaw, and one of the best as well – a rock-solid set that really draws on all his many years of making music, and one that's put together with that effortless blend of jazz and soul that makes Bradshaw so unique! At some level, it's almost as if Jeff has perfectly adopted the mantle of jazzy soul from Wayne Henderson during that late 70s moment when Henderson was both working in The Crusaders and doing so much production work as well. But at another, Jeff's a clearly contemporary artist, and really speaks strongly to the best aspect of the neo soul scene – enforced here on collaborations with Eric Roberson, Raheem DeVaughn, Liz Vaughn, Mike Burton, and others. Titles include "How You Gonna Act Like That", "Make Some Time", "Carrie's Bread Pudding", "Young Broke & Brave", "Don't Wanna Wait", "The Maintenance Man", "Destiny", and "Dubai Voices". Dusty Groove

Hilario Durán and His Latin Jazz Big Band Presents Cry Me A River

Hilario Durán brings the full scope of his artistry, the depth of knowledge of musical genres in the perfect storm of big artistry on Cry Me A River. The nine works on this recording are born of Durán’s Afro-Caribbean cultural topography but are also informed by his gifts for bending tradition and infusing his arrangements with unfettered improvisation.

Through the course of the album the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning Durán actively throws overboard melodic, harmonic, and structural hooks that have become expressively blunted through overuse, building big band charts that bloom in color and texture and atmospheric beauty.

“I have waited almost twenty years to record another big band album,” Durán says. “But there was plenty of preparation for this moment,” Durán reveals. He refers to the four radio broadcasts of his compositions and arrangements with the great WDR Big Band in Koln, Germany. “It was great to showcase my music and to ‘workshop’ some new arrangements... aspects of the craft I learned working with the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna in Habana which I inherited from Chucho Valdés… So much to be grateful for the gift of music… it seemed that the time is right for this new album, Cry Me A River,” Durán muses.

Durán integrates a myriad of genres into his singular style on the album – traversing innovations that have made his music uniquely breathtaking. He points to "Claudia," a song he arranged while he was touring as musical director with Valdés, and features Paquito D’Rivera on alto saxophone, as Dizzy Gillespie’s "Night in Tunisia." "Fantasia Impromptu" is a kind of jazz-meets classical, via Brazil and Cuba, featuring D’Rivera on clarinet. “It is our way of honoring the classics – in this case, Chopin,” Durán says.

Of the title song, "Cry Me A River" Durán says: “Elizabeth Rodríguez is just fantastic on violin. In her solo she plays deep in the Cuban tradition and follows that with an incredible improvisation!” he says. “'Pacá por Juanito' is a tribute to Juanito Márquez,” Durán explains, “He was one of the greatest musicians of Cuba the conductor of Orquesta de la Radio y Televisión in the '60s. I learned how to arrange for big band, by studying his scores for that orchestra.” Another original is "Mambo y Tumbao." “Here, I highlight both traditional forms (mambo) and the revolutionary innovators of Cuban music – the great Bebo Valdés, who invented the ‘batanga’ rhythm, and the influential bandleader Pérez Prado. And of course, 'I Remember Mingus' is a tribute to Charles Mingus, the great composer, bassist, and bandleader. Check out Marc Rogers’ solo here,” Durán says enthusiastically.

One name missing from the performance credits is Yailin Durán, the bandleader’s daughter. “She taught me all about hand-movements… everything I know about conducting,” Durán explains. “I owe the deepest gratitude to her for all my big band music… for Cry Me A River.”

Jason Jackson | "All In"

It’s been a whirlwind from the U.S. Navy to the Billboard top twenty for R&B/jazz saxophonist Jason Jackson. When it comes to music, he’s been all in from the go, inspiring the title of his first album, “All In,” which was released last fall. The second single from the set produced by twelve-time Billboard chart-topper Adam Hawley, “Through The Night,” began collecting playlist adds on Monday.  

Jackson spent ten years performing all over the world as a member of the Navy’s band, playing prestigious venues in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia and Japan. Just prior to completing his service in 2021, he reached out to Hawley, sending him a demo. Upon hearing it, Hawley agreed to produce and write with the sax player who had opened for Brian McKnight, Morris Day and the Time, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Michael McDonald while he was a teenager under the tutelage of longtime James Brown saxophonist Leroy Harper Jr.

Hawley produced Jackson’s 2021 debut EP, “Movin’ On,” that showcased the saxman alongside prominent duet partners Julian Vaughn and Tim Bowman. Last November, Jackson realized a dream when he released his first full-length album, “All In.” “Through The Night” is the latest offering from the Hawley-produced collection.

A soulful midtempo groove written by Jackson, Hawley and keyboardist Caleb Middleton, “Through The Night” is a sophisticated urban-jazz track lit by Jackson’s yearning saxes that portray a fiery sense of urgency and desire.

“When Adam and I set out to write ‘Through The Night,’ we were looking to create something with a sultry R&B groove that would really help the tone of the sax melodies shine. Imagine sitting outside, perhaps by a fire or on the beach, on a warm but crisp summer night. You’ve got a glass of wine in your hand and the love of your life sitting beside you. What would be the perfect soundtrack for that night? How could we put into music what you were feeling in that moment as well as the possibilities of the moments to come? That’s a snapshot of the vibe we were trying to capture,” said Jackson, a Wilmington, NC native who now calls Chesapeake, VA home.   

“Through The Night” follows “Workin’ It Out,” the first single from “All In” featuring keyboardist Gino Rosaria that hit Billboard/Mediabase’s top forty. Other noteworthy musicians who play alongside Jackson on the album are Jonathan Fritzén, Chieli Minucci and Mr. Talkbox. However, the sentimental favorite is a special guest appearance by six-time Grammy nominated saxophonist Eric Marienthal, one of Jackson’s mentors.

“I studied with Eric for many years before making my own records. It was so cool to finally get to collaborate with him on ‘On The Move,’ one of the songs from the ‘All In’ project. It was a really cool student-teacher moment,” shared Jackson who is excited about what he’s accomplished in two short years since transitioning from military life to life as a civilian musician. 

“My last month in the Navy was May of 2021. I got out of the military and around two months later, I was breaking into the top twenty on the Billboard chart with the single ‘All The Way’ featuring Julian Vaughn, which came out a month before I left the Navy. Pretty cool transition. No looking back since then!”

BT ALC Band - Hearing The Truth

It’s a powerful sight seldom seen on stage anymore and the sound is larger than life. Thirteen horn players and a five-piece rhythm section fill up the bandstand when BT ALC Big Band takes the stage. Stirring up a soul-powered force of get-down-tonight funk, improvisational jazz, deep-fried R&B grooves and a splash of hip-hop, the mighty and muscular outfit rips through their meticulous charts with passion and precision. Capturing that awesome firepower, mesmerizing magic and imaginative vision on their newly released fifth album, “Hearing The Truth,” is a triumphant accomplishment bolstered by a bevy of guest stars that illumined the nine-track set written, produced and arranged by band leaders Brian Thomas (trombone) and Alex Lee-Clark (trumpet).   

BT ALC Big Band’s lineup includes Grammy-winning trumpeter Bijon Watson, tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker (Arturo Sandoval), guitarist Jeffrey Lockhart (Berklee College of Music), and drummer Dean Johnston (Neighbor, Club D'elf).

It was a packed house when the Boston-based big band recently played their album release concert at SoundCheck Studios. The crowd was on their feet dancing the entire time to the retro soul sounds of vintage jazz-funk that mimicked the swinging 1940s, sounded like the 1970s, and felt like the present day by confronting the societal and political issues of today head on – from media misinformation to civil unrest, from national division to out-of-control inflation and rising homelessness.

“Hearing The Truth” was several years in the making. The inherent difficulties of gathering a big band during a pandemic should be obvious, what with social distancing mandates and all those wind instruments. Yet Thomas and Lee-Clark found a way to lay tracks, first remotely and then in small groups. Eventually, when restrictions eased and the full big band was permitted to get together to unleash their vim and vigor, guest stars were added to the tracks. G. Love (G. Love & Special Sauce), John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood), Alan Evans (Soulive), Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, The Greyboy Allstars), two-time Grammy winner Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall (Lettuce) and Eric "Benny" Bloom guest on the project.

It is rare to hear a band capable of channeling James Brown & The J.B.’s, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Wu-Tang Clan on one record while infusing their own distinctive brand of jazz-funk. BT ALC Big Band pulls it off with aplomb on “Hearing The Truth.”

Cuts from the collection were quickly added to Spotify and radio playlists at home and abroad – from the BBC Radio 6 Music to Takoma, Maryland’s WOWD. Locally, the Boston Globe selected the track “What Will You Do?,” featuring Medeski’s dazzling keyboard artistry, as one of the 50 standout songs of 2023.   

BT ALC Big Band consistently maintains a busy concert calendar throughout New England. Audiences are treated to the full throttle, high-voltage experience, a taste of which can be gleaned from these videos from the “Hearing The Truth” album release concert for the songs “Egyptian Secrets” ( and “That Sound” ( At over eight minutes per cut, BT ALC Big Band takes full advantage of the opportunity to take their time, improvise and vibe off each other like a seasoned jam band. 

The truth is that there’s nothing like experiencing a big band live or on record. They’ll be back at SoundCheck Studios on September 29 to play a show with special guest trombonist Fred Wesley (James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic) sitting in with the band. BT ALC Big Band reignites the grandeur of the artform, making it relevant in the technological age while fostering dynamic new possibilities for its evolution. If you’re ready to hear the truth, visit for more information.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...