Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NEW RELEASES: JUNE ROCHELLE - OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY; RORY MORE - LOOKING FOR LAZLO; RUDY ROYSTON - 303

JUNE ROCHELLE - OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

June Rochelle is a humanitarin,songstress, professional songwriter, television show producer, director, media content editor, graphic artist, animator and overall making this world a better place. On her soulful and sexy new single, June Rochelle offers an empowering message for those who think perhaps that hope has abandoned them for good -- a compelling R&B, urban and jazz styled reminder that while it may hide as we experience life’s darker moments. The power of “Love Is Here To Stay” and the resulting collaboration between June and Michael Houston is all the more incredible considering that they have only been working together since they reconnected last November. The two have a music chemistry that is undeniable and the lyrics and the music to “Love is Here to Stay” is masterfully written, produced and arranged by Rochelle and Houston. He also added his stellar, jazzy piano work to complement the emotion of her vocals. Tony Cummings of the UK’s Cross Rhythm Magazine called her “one of the classiest new soul divas to emerge in recent times,.” and Clarence Waldron, former Senior Editor of JET Magazine wrote during her inspirational music days, “June Rochelle is helping make gospel music last.”

RORY MORE - LOOKING FOR LAZLO

Electric organist Rory More is still the one-stop shop for melody-intense grooves, dusty oscillations and liltingly hip lounge pop vocal excursions. It began with the über organtastic loungsters Les Hommes - the retro moderne jazz exotica trio who swung their way around much of Europe in the early 2000s. Still ensconced within a uniquely niched jazz pop panoramica, and after a decade of solidly collectible 12s and 45s, Rory More's curiously seductive and unapologetically magical mondo moods have maintained his profile at medium-cool status. Rory More's new long player Looking for Lazlo is a concept album of sorts with motifs recurring and ebbing, plundering a lush dynamic array of tonalities and mood vibrations, taking the electric organist out from behind his console to incorporate sweeping soulful strings, rare electronica, orchestral tempos, the pop-noir tones of Gemma Ray and the arcadian lyricism of Brit folk discovery Anna Sheard. From the soaring swing of the Main Title, the harmony-laden lament of Lost To The Blue, the other-worldly exotica of Misty Atoll to the out-there harp of Free At Last... Lazlo, whoever he thinks himself to be, is fearlessly adrift amongst it all. Available as limited edition vinyl and download.

RUDY ROYSTON - 303

The first album as a leader from drummer Rudy Royston – a player we've enjoyed for years in the company of others, and one who emerges here with a really fresh voice of his own! Rudy's drums are bold, but also have this way of opening up and allowing magical interplay between all the other members of the group – a warm combo that features Jon Irabagon on saxes, Nadja Noordhuis on trumpet, Nir Felder on guitar, Sam Harris on piano, and either Mimi Jones or Yasushi Nakamura on bass. The guitar and piano combo is wonderful – ringing with these compelling chromes, especially on the tracks that feature Jones' wonderfully soulful work on bass. Most tracks are originals by Rudy – furthering the personal voice of the record – and titles include "Mimi Sunrise", "Play On Words", "Miles To Go", "Gangs Of New York", "High & Dry", and "Bownze". ~ Dusty Groove


PAULO NUTINI - IRON SKY EP; CAUSTIC LOVE ALBUM

Atlantic recording artist Paolo Nutini has announced an array of activity surrounding the recent release of his long awaited new EP. "Iron Sky" -- the Scottish singer/songwriter's first new release in over five years -- is available now on the iTunes Store and at other digital retailers.

"Iron Sky" heralds Nutini's extraordinary new album, "Caustic Love," which is slated for US release later this year. The album is already proving a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, where it scored the biggest first day and first week sales of the year thus far and the first to sell a six-figure total with 109,000 copies, debuting at #1 on the UK Album Chart. In addition, "Caustic Love" has ruled the iTunes Store's "Top Albums" chart in a stunning range of countries, with #1 sales in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia, Bahrain, and the Netherlands, as well as top 3 success in Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bermuda, South Africa, Germany, Norway, Poland, Taiwan, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and the Cayman Islands.

"Caustic Love" has earned Nutini the most glowing accolades of his already acclaimed career. "The 27-year-old and his whisky-soaked words writhe their way around a multitude of Motown-inflected could-be singles," noted The Guardian, "paying homage to Prince, Marvin Gaye, Echo & The Bunnymen, the Beach Boys, and D'Angelo along the way." The Observer praised Nutini for exhibiting "real grit and passion," while The Scotsman hailed "Caustic Love" as "another leap forward for the restless musician after the infectious mixtape approach of 'Sunny Side Up.'" "What's he been doing (for the past five years)?" wondered The Sunday Times before answering, "Writing the best songs of his career." The Independent's Andy Gill summed it up, declaring "Caustic Love" to be "an unqualified success... the best UK R&B album since the 1970s blue-eyed-soul heyday of Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker."

Nutini will celebrate the stunning popularity of "Caustic Love" with an epic world tour, featuring festival sets, European headline concerts, and an eagerly awaited series of North American live dates. Highlights include an exclusive New York City headline show, slated for June 12th at Webster Hall -- tickets will go on sale beginning Friday, April 25th (check local listings) -- as well as an appearance at San Francisco's Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, set for August 8th - 10th in Golden Gate Park. A full scale North American headline tour will be unveiled soon. 

"Iron Sky" is highlighted by the gospel-flavored title track as well as an exclusive acoustic rendition of the new album's "Better Man." The EP has already won over such fans as the one and only Adele, who recently praised Nutini's "Abbey Road Live Session" version of "Iron Sky" (steaming now at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELKbtFljucQ&list=PLG-6sLnL75vYnl5_f9qk0jJi11tZV3cuy) as "one of the best things I've ever seen in my life hands down."

Produced by Nutini and Dani Castelar (Snow Patrol, R.E.M.), "Caustic Love" pushes at the boundaries of modern pop to create something soulful, funky, and distinctly original. Songs such as "Scream (Funk My Life Up)" and "Fashion (Feat. Janelle Monaé)" showcase the gifted tunesmith's mastery of memorable melody and insightful lyric, all given brilliant life by Paolo's gritty and unpredictable vocal stylings. Other highlights include "One Day," which The Sun declared "the most infectious song Nutini has made" to date.

Signed by none other than legendary Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun when he was just 18, Paolo Nutini made an impressive debut with 2007's "Theses Streets," earning the Paisley, Scotland-born troubadour a plethora of critical praise and worldwide sales in excess of 2 million. A uniquely talented live performer, Nutini toured nearly non-stop following the album's release, headlining countless shows and appearing at some of the world's biggest festivals, including the Isle of Wight Festival 2007 which saw him singing "Love In Vain" alongside Mick Jagger during The Rolling Stones' festival-closing set. Nutini served as sole support at Led Zeppelin's now-legendary 2007 reunion show at London's O2 Arena, benefiting the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. He has since shared stages with a variety of other musical icons, including a 2008 soul spectacular at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl which saw Paolo more than holding his own alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Etta James and Solomon Burke.

"Sunny Side Up" arrived in 2009 and confirmed the Scottish troubadour was officially here to stay. Fueled by hit singles like "Candy," the album debuted at #1 in the UK upon its initial release on its way to 3x platinum certification, a BRIT Awards nomination as "Best British Album," and a prestigious Ivor Novello Award honoring excellence in songwriting and composition. As ever, Nutini and his crack band spent considerable time on the road, including a memorable performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Concert at Hyde Park.




NEW RELEASES: JEF GILSON AND MALAGASY; JOE HENDERSON - THE STANDARD JOE; KELIS - FOOD

JEF GILSON AND MALAGASY - GILSON ET MALAGASY


Think Mulatu and Ethiopea, Fela Kuti and Nigeria - now think Malagasy and Madagascar! Over recent years,  Jazzman Records have delved deep in into the life and work of the late French jazz pioneer Jef Gilson. The outcome has been two double albums featuring the best of his life's work, and has included many previously unreleased tracks. As well as spending his days (and nights) composing, recording, producing, arranging and performing, part of Gilson's life involved the study and exploration of music, and in the late 1960s his curiosity led him to the ex-French colony of Madagascar, the island just off the south eastern coast of Africa. Indeed, Gilson was fascinated by all kinds of music, not just jazz, and his thirst for musical knowledge led him to make several trips to Madagascar not only to study the indigenous music, but also to spread his passion for jazz. His absorption ofMalagasyculture and the strength of his personality would eventually result in the release of 3 exceptional albums ofMalagasyjazz, as well as a string ofMalagasyconcerts, events and radio shows performed across France. This new release is the entirety all 3 of these albums, as well as 2 further albums of previously unreleasedMalagasymaterial, in an attempt to address the profound contribution that Gilson and Malagasyhave made to world jazz.

JOE HENDERSON - THE STANDARD JOE

There's nothing standard about this set – as Joe Henderson always brings something special to a recording session – especially at this point in his career! The album has a wonderful format – Joe's unique tenor tone set up beautifully alongside the bass of Rufus Reid and drums of Al Foster – no piano or other horns at all, just an open, swinging combo with a really great sense of energy! Joe's bold lead really sets the tone for most numbers – and a few tracks are compositions that Henderson recorded famously early in his career, recast here with a whole new sound and heightened sense of maturity. Titles include "Blues In F (aka In N Out)", "Blue Bossa", "Inner Urge", "Body & Soul", and "Take The A Train". Also features a bonus alternate of "Body & Soul". ~ Dusty Groove

KELIS - FOOD

The never predictable, always endearing spacey pop soul chanteuse Kelis's debut for Ninja Tune – working with producer Dave Sitek – and it's her best record in years! We've loved Kelis from get-to around here, going back to when her vocal presence grounded the spacier sounds of the young Neptunes production style in genuine soul, and she's doing that again here with Sitek in the production booth. As you'd guess from the album and song titles, it's got a foodie theme, but it's loose one, and the songs stand strongly on their own. The surprising thing is how rooted in timeless soul it is; if you thought the move to Ninja Tune would beget a farther trip to the dancefloor cosmos, think again. Keep on defying expectations, Kelis. It's just one of the reasons we've always loved ya! Includes "Breakfast", "Jerk Ribs", "Forever Be", "Floyd", "Runnin'" Hooch". "Cobbler", "Bless The Telephone", "Friday Fish Fry", "Change", "Rumble", "Biscuits N' Gravy" and "Dreamer". Bonus CD edition includes a disc with remixes by Mount Kimbie, Machinedrum, Will Saul & Komon, Ben Pierce and more!  ~ Dusty Groove



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NEW RELEASES: JARED GOLD - JG3+3; THE FAR OUT MONSTER DISCO ORCHESTRA; MOONCHILD - PLEASE REVIEW

JARED GOLD - JG3+3

Jared Gold's Hammond trio is nicely augmented here by three other horn players – as you might guess from the album's title! Gold's Hammond is one of the best things going for the Posi-Tone label these days – and a perfect fit for their old school style of recording – a mode that's expanded even more strongly with the presence of Patrick Cornelius on alto, Jason Marshall on baritone, and Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet! The added players soar strongly alongside the electric lines from Gold and guitarist Dave Stryker – in a formation that's definitely got some contemporary sense of structure, delivered with a classic sense of soul. Titles include "Cubano Chant", "Charcoal Blues", "Shower The People", "Sermonette", "Spirits", and "Pendulum". ~ Dusty Groove

THE FAR OUT MONSTER DISCO  ORCHESTRA - A 20TH YEAR CELEBRATION RECORDING

A really wonderful project that was years in the making – a mix of American club and Brazilian elements – put together by a group that includes members of Azymuth and Banda Black Rio, as well as the legendary Arthur Verocai! Jose Roberto Bertrami's the strongest contributor here – and the music really echoes that great late 70s/early 80s point when the Azymuth fusion groove crossed over into tighter, funkier territory – coming off here with a sound that's got really universal appeal and a wickedly classic vibe overall – like some unusual cross-breeding of Brazilian grooves and Salsoul Records! Vocals are by Mia Mendes and Marcina Arnold, but the instrumentation is even better than the lyrics – filled with jazzy touches, blended with bits of strings, and perfectly produced all the way through. Really tremendous stuff – one of the freshest records we've heard from Far Out in years – with titles that include "Mystery", "Keep Believing", "Dead Dance", "The Last Carnival", "A Disco Supreme", "Vendetta", and "Don't Cha Know He's Alright". ~ Dusty Groove


MOONCHILD - PLEASE REVIEW

Really really wonderful work from Moonchild – even better than we remember from the first time around! The group have this perfect balance of vocals and jazzy instrumentation – played by a trio who handle all the instruments themselves, then produce the whole set – in support of vocalist Amber Navran, who also plays tenor on the record! Rhythms are spare and crackling – never overdone, and just the right sort of laidback funk for Navran's wonderful vocals – sliding out in this smooth, slinky way that has plenty of jazz undercurrents, and no sort of commercial styles at all. A decade ago, these guys might have been headed towards major label stardom – but it's the indie, underground nature of the record that's going to keep them strong for years – as you'll hear on cuts that include "The Truth", "Nobody", "More Than Ever", "Winter Breeze", "Just A Minute", "Moonlight", and "I'll Make It Easy". ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: JERRY BERGONZI - INTERSECTING LINES; JD ALLEN - BLOOM; AJ AND THE JIGGAWATTS



The title's a great one for this album – not just because tenorist Jerry Bergonzi always seems to have this forward-thinking, linear quality about his work – but also because his talents here intersect strongly with the alto sax of Dick Oatts! The pair really create some magic here – a balance between Bergonzi's bold tone and that raspier, more personal sound of Oatts – wrapped up beautifully with bass from Dave Santoro and drums from Andrea Michelutti – no piano at all, which only seems to further the fluid quality of the saxophones! There's a loose, free swing to the record – a quality that's still quite rhythmic, but which opens up without the piano and lets the saxophonists get very expressive – sparking stunning lines on original Bergonzi tracks that include "Creature Feature", "Tanzania", "Dig Oatts", "Itchy", "Arbonius Unt", and "Horton's Lament". ~ Dusty Groove

JD ALLEN - BLOOM

JD Allen just gets more and more deft with each new release – able to craft these sharp, angular lines on tenor sax that seem to spill effortlessly out of his horn – yet all with this wonderfully spontaneous quality too! Allen's lead is a great match for the album's piano work from Orrin Evans – which is blocky and bold, but in a way that's very different than JD's horn – both players rising together with a sense of pride and majesty, creating rich textures throughout! The quartet also features bassist Alexander Claffy and drummer Jonathan Barber – the latter of whom has this crashing energy that really drives things forward – almost this sense of surprise and excitement at the creations of Evans and Allen, which then explodes to set new fire to their leads. Titles include "The Rule Of Thirds", "The Dreamer", "The Secret Lives Of Guest Workers", "Jack's Glass", and "Bloom". ~ Dusty Groove


AJ AND THE JIGGAWATTS - AJ AND THE JIGGAWATTS

The first-ever full length we've ever heard from AJ & The Jiggawatts – and a record that really lives up to the promise of their work on funky 45! These guys are a deep funk combo, but one with a difference – energy that's a bit more raw and rough around the edges, in the best possible way – so that sometimes it feels like the vocals or instrumentation are ready to burst right out of the speakers! The lyrics often have this slight distortion that really reflects the feeling AJ puts into his expression – and the group more than keeps pace alongside, sometimes at a mighty fast clip. The whole thing's a great antidote to too-slick, too-polished funk records – and titles include "98 Degrees", "Pushin Forward", "Throw A Fit", "Get Wild", "Back Alley Beale Street", "Brown Bottle Fever", and "Typical Feeling". ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: PETER BRENDLER - OUTSIDE THE LINE; ORRIN EVANS' CAPTAIN BLACK BIG HAND - MOTHER'S TOUCH; RALPH BOWEN - STANDARD DEVIATION

PETER BRENDLER - OUTSIDE THE LINE

Bassist Peter Brendler is at the helm of the set, but we're especially enamored of the trumpet work here – played by Peter Evans on both standard and piccolo trumpet – the latter of which has this wonderfully personal sound! Almost all tunes are originals from Brendler, who turns out to be a pretty great writer – and sets up these strong showcases for Evans' trumpet lines, which seem to leap right out front even before his solos – when he's still sharing the lead with tenorist Rich Perry. Perry's pretty great, too – but there's a freshness to Evans' phrasing that's really great – bold at some minutes, with lots of offbeat twists and turns – and more fragile and honest on the piccolo trumpet tunes. Drummer Vinnie Sperrazza completes the group – and titles include "Blackout Reunion", "Drop The Mittens", "The Darkness", "Blanket Statement", "Lawn Darts", and a surprisingly nice cover of "Walk On The Wild Side". Dusty Groove

ORRIN EVANS' CAPTAIN BLACK BIG HAND - MOTHER'S TOUCH

We've really grown to love pianist Orrin Evans in a trio setting, but he's a surprisingly strong talent at the helm of this large group too – an ensemble with a rich sound and a sense of feeling that really matches Evans' own piano! There's a boldness to the music that really brings out a whole new side of Evans – this sense of majesty that's always lurking in the way he approaches the keyboard in a smaller group, but which takes off here with work from a larger group of saxophones, trumpets, and trombones. Evans gets in many great solos – and other key moments come from Marcus Strickland on tenor or soprano sax, Stacy Dillard on tenor, Todd Bashore on alto, Conrad Herwig on trombone, Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, and Ralph Peterson on drums. Titles include the originals "In My Soul", "Explain It To Me", "Dita", "Prayer For Columbine", and "Mother's Touch (parts 1 & 2)". ~ Dusty Groove

RALPH BOWEN - STANDARD DEVIATION

Tenorist Ralph Bowen blows some strong magic here – the kind of tone and timing that really transforms the more familiar numbers chosen for the set – so that older standards are turned inside out and opened up as new vehicles for expression – yet all while still managing to swing! The rhythm trio is tight, but fluid – and features Bill O'Connell on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, and Donald Edwards on drums – yet to our ears, Bowen's the main star on the record – and we've never heard him sounding so powerfully creative! Most tracks have a strong focus from start to finish, but cover a surprising amount of ground – and titles include "Yesterdays", "No Moon At All", "Isn't It Romantic", "Dream Dancing", "By Myself", and "You Stepped Out Of A Dream". ~ Dusty Groove



NEW RELEASES: KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE - ABSTRACT JAZZ JOURNEY; TRI 4TH - FIVE COLOR ELEMENTS; ROOT SOUL - DESTINY REPLAYED

KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE - ABSTRACT JAZZ JOURNEY

Kyoto Jazz Massive take us on an abstract jazz journey – in a style that echoes the same energy of the other volumes in this series from King Street – but with the greater sense of depth that we'd expect from KJM! The music here is often in the best spirit of the group's own work – upbeat, joyous, and with this really positive vibe – a contemporary club approach that still has very open ears for all the best sounds of the classics, yet which is always willing to move things forward as well! Tracks were selected and mixed by Shuya Okino and Yoshiiro Okino – and titles include "Dreams (exclusive version)" by Lady Alma Project, "A Wonderful Place (KJM recreated)" by Blaze presents UDAUFL with Ultra Nte, "Beautiful Life (Jose Carretas Son Liva voc rmx)" by Stephanie Cooke & Diephuis, "Pick It Up (Sean McCabe club voc mix)" by Carolyn Harding, "Afrik Bounce (orig)" by Groove Assassin, "Lost Without You (orig)" by Bah Samba with Anna Cavasos, and "Look Ahead (KJM recreated)" by Shuya Okino with N'Dea Davenport. ~ Dusty Groove

TRI 4TH - FIVE COLOR ELEMENTS

A cool combo from the Japanese club jazz scene – but one who's even more acoustic and classic-sounding than most of their contemporaries! The vibe here is right up there with the best groups we love on the Ricky Tick label – an acoustic quintet that's heavy on trumpet and tenor, laid out over soaring rhythms from piano, bass, and drums – all pure jazz all the way through, with a definite 60s sort of vibe – and a very strong focus on upbeat numbers and groovers! The trumpeter, Yusuke Orita, is especially strong – and blow these brilliantly bold lines on flugelhorn as well – and drummer Takao Ito has this romping quality to his kit that really keeps the whole album moving along strongly. Pianist Daisuke Takeuchi adds in some nice lyrical touches – and titles include "Harvest", "Everybody Knows That", "Flash By Flashback", "Hope For World Peace", "Session A", and "Last Dancer".  © 1996-2014, Dusty Groove, Inc.


ROOT SOUL - DESTINY REPLAYED BY ROOT SOUL - SHUYA OKINO (KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE)

A wonderful reworking of a wonderful record – as Root Soul take on all the tracks from Shuya Okino's Destiny record – and delivery them with an old school funky club sound! The instrumentation is great – live and very spontaneous, with an energy that takes us back to vintage Salsoul or some of the best Philly club work of the 70s – or a bit like Brand New Heavies at times, especially on the tracks that feature N'Dea Davenport on vocals! That great singer appears on three of the album's excellent tracks – alongside other work from Navasha Daya, Diviniti, and Pete Simpson – who each get a few tracks too. Titles include "Destiny", "Still In Love", "Look Ahead", "Let Nothing Change You", "Deep Into Sunshine", "Give Your Love A Chance", "Just Do It", "Take A Look At Yourself", and "Sun Will Rise". ~ Dusty Groove


Monday, April 21, 2014

SMOOTH JAZZ NEW YORK ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR SMOOTH CRUISE SERIES

Smooth Jazz New York is pleased to announce a star-studded line up for the All New Smooth Cruise series, now in its 17th year. The 2014 season marks a change to a new boat, The Hornblower Infinity, a luxurious 210-foot luxury yacht.

The cruises set sail Thursday evenings, June 12 through August 28. The summer’s roster includes 11 nights featuring 19 of the world’s greatest contemporary jazz acts in a superb, intimate setting with shows at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. The Smooth Cruises depart from Pier 40, located at Houston Street at the West Side Highway and cruise down the Hudson, not only offering exceptional music but breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline.

“We’re very excited about our new cruise night and new boat. The Hornblower Infinity is a much larger ship than past years, offering our guests improved sightlines to view an amazing array of acts. It’s a fresh twist to our annual tradition of presenting the world’s best contemporary jazz out on scenic Hudson harbor,” notes Bill Zafiros, co-founder of Smooth Jazz New York.

The 2014 Smooth Cruise Schedule:
June 12: Jazz Attack feat. Peter White, Euge Groove, & Rick Braun
June 26: Patti Austin and Marion Meadows
July 3: Pieces of a Dream
July 10: Najee
July 17: David Sanborn
July 24: Will Downing with special guest talent
July 31: Love & Soul Tour feat. Jonathan Butler, Norman Brown, & Alex Bugnon
August 7: Maysa
August 14: Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns Tour with special guests Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot, & Mindi Abair
August 21: Rachelle Ferrell
August 28: Boney James

Recently remodeled with a bold design, the Hornblower Infinity matches the uniqueness of New York — and the Smooth Cruises. The open bow, covered sky deck, and over-sized windows provide endless opportunities to enjoy the countless sites in NY Harbor as guests kick back with the best jazz artists in the business. Smooth Cruise attendees will enjoy the world’s finest contemporary jazz on climate controlled interior decks with multiple dance floors, and can take in the sights outdoors on spacious exterior sundecks.

The Smooth Cruises offer food and beverage service at an additional charge. A buffet dinner may be purchased for an additional $25, cash bar. Limited Deluxe Packages are available featuring a separate boarding line, a premium buffet on a private dining deck, and a premium open bar.

For information and to purchase tickets, visit SmoothJazzNewYork.com. Tickets are on sale now online at Ticketweb.com and by phone at 1-866-468-7619. Ticket prices range from $45 to $65. See individual show pages on the Smooth Jazz New York web site for ticket details, package pricing, and available limited time discounts. It is recommended that tickets be purchased early because the Smooth Cruises sell out quickly.


Friday, April 18, 2014

NEW RELEASES: MARK EGAN - ABOUT NOW; HANK MOBLEY - THE CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COLLECTION 1955-1961; JACKIE MCLEAN - 4, 5 AND 6

MARK EGAN - ABOUT NOW

Contemporary jazz bassist and composer Mark Egan has released his seventh recording as a leader on Wavetone Records in a super trio setting featuring master drummer Danny Gottlieb and brilliant keyboardist Mitch Forman. Mark Egan is considered to be one of the most respected and in-demand electric bassists on the music scene today. His unique fretless bass sound and style is both distinctive and versatile and his musical contributions incomparable. With three platinum & three gold albums to his credit, Mark has recorded with the likes of the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Arcadia, Roger Daltry and Joan Osborne; performed with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Marianne Faithful, David Sanborn, John McGlaughlin and Sophie B. Hawkins. Includes: Sailing, Slinky See, About Now, Cabarete, Graceful Branch,  McKenzie Portage, Little Pagoda, Tea In Tiananmen Square, and  Puerto Plata.

HANK MOBLEY - THE CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COLLECTION 1955-1961

With his exceptional chord changes, Hank Mobley is widely recognized as one of the great composers of originals in the hard-bop era. This compilation covers Mobley's 'Golden Age', the albums he recorded for Blue Note Records between 1955 and 1961. The five disc set includes 10 full albums which the great man released during the finest era for Jazz music that the world has ever witnessed. Includes 43 tracks in all, including the following songs: Love For Sale, Just Coolin’, Touch And Go, Double Whammy, Mobley Mania, My Sin, Reunion, Funk In Deep Freeze, Fit For A Hanker, Bag's Groove, and Double Exposure.

JACKIE MCLEAN - 4, 5 AND 6 

In 1956 Jackie McLean was only beginning to assert himself as a true individualist on the alto saxophone, exploring the lime-flavored microtones of his instrument that purists or the misinformed perceived as being off-key or out of tune. 4, 5 and 6 presents McLean's quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track -- thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean's notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time. The quartet versions of "Sentimental Journey," "Why Was I Born?," and "When I Fall in Love" range from totally bluesy, to hard bop ribald, to pensive and hopeful, respectively. These are three great examples of McLean attempting to make the tunes his own, adding a flattened, self-effaced, almost grainy-faced texture to the music without concern for the perfectness of the melody. Donald Byrd joins the fray on his easygoing bopper "Contour," where complex is made simple and enjoyable, while Hank Mobley puts his tenor sax to the test on the lone and lengthy sextet track, a rousing version of Charlie Parker's risk-laden "Confirmation." It's Waldron's haunting ballad "Abstraction," with Byrd and McLean's quick replies, faint and dour, that somewhat illuminates the darker side. As a stand-alone recording, 4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world. ~ Michael G. Nastos


RAMSEY LEWIS - COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1957-1960

The albums on this four-disc set represent the first recordings by pianist Ramsey Lewis as a leader or in a featured-artist capacity. All but one originally appeared on Argo. There are eight complete albums in this slipcase box, beginning with Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-Men of Swing and Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-Men of Jazz, Volume 2 albums (aka the earliest Ramsey Lewis Trio sides with Eldee Young and Redd Holt), both on disc one. 

Disc two collects the stellar The Colorful Strings of Jimmy Woode and Max Roach's Max. Trumpeter Lem Winchester's date with the trio and the group's own Down to Earth -- as well as the first two cuts from vocalist Lorez Alexandria's collaboration with the group, Early in the Morning -- take up disc three. The remaining eight cuts from Early in the Morning commence disc four, rounded out by An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio (their lone album for Mercury). 

The good news is that this set is almost unbelievably inexpensive. The bad news is twofold. Enlightenment is a U.K. label and therefore not required to pay copyright fees on material at least 50 years old. It also means that they didn't have to use master tapes as their source material -- it's highly debatable as to whether these recordings were actually taken from tapes rather than vinyl LPs. You get what you pay for. The stars are for the music, not the package. ~ Thom Jurek This compilation features Ramsey Lewis' complete recorded output from his first album, 1956's Ramsey Lewis & His Gentle-men of Swing, through to 1960's An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. The selection here includes 8 complete LP's released through this golden age for Jazz, and Ramsey Lewis in particular, including as it does collaborations with other jazz giants such as Jimmy Woods and Max Roach ~ cduniverse


Thursday, April 17, 2014

JACQUES LOUSSIER RELEASES TWO 2-DISC RETROSPECTIVE COLLECTIONS

In a career that spans more than a half century, pianist and composer Jacques Loussier has built an enormous body of work by blurring the lines between classical and jazz. Beginning in 1959 with his Play Bach Trio, and later with alternate lineups that explored numerous other classical artists, Loussier and his various collaborators forced musicians and audiences of both jazz and classical music to re-evaluate the boundaries – and indeed the similarities – between their respective genres. Along the way, he has sold more than six million albums worldwide.

Fifty five years after those bold first steps with Play Bach Trio, Telarc celebrates Loussier’s upcoming 80th birthday in October 2014 with the release of two collections that provide a cross section of his masterful fusion of classical tradition with the jazz idiom. My Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach and Beyond Bach: Other Composers I Adore – two specially priced 2-CD sets, each with tracks chosen by Loussier as personal favorites – are scheduled for a May 27, 2014, release on Telarc International, a subsidiary of Concord Music.
  
Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach:
The Bach collection principally features the trio that Loussier formed in 1985. “His personal selection of pieces from his Bach repertoire looks back on the one hand to his earliest triumphs, but also shows how the trio has developed and responded to the music over time,” says jazz  historian Alyn Shipton, author of the liner notes for both collections. “So, while the opening ‘Air on a G String’ is clearly recognizable as having affinities with his original recording from the Play Bach era, as the improvisation develops, there is a conversation between Vincent Charbonnier’s bass and the piano that would not have been part of the 1959 trio’s remit.”

“My interpretation of ‘Air on a G String’ was featured  in many Benson & Hedges cigar commercials on television between 1964 and 1999,” Loussier recalls, “and my music was suddenly exposed to millions of listeners. There were nearly 100 TV spots in all. They were very funny, especially the last one, which most people will remember.”

The collection also includes some noteworthy “firsts” in Loussier’s career with the Play Bach Trio. Prelude No. 1 in C Major from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” is the first Bach piece he ever arranged in a jazz context. Bach’s Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor, meanwhile, was the piece the trio debuted in Paris in 1959.

In “Pastorale in C Minor,” piano and bass double and then alternate the lead before going into a jazz passage where the bass takes on a walking role beneath the piano. Loussier’s choices on the CD, says Shipton, are an interesting mix of oft-requested Bach favorites and the composer’s own preference for slightly lesser-known music where the players bring their own personalities into the recipe.

“Italian Concerto” mixes a variety of elements in a way that never loses sight of Bach’s original, but which includes many original touches. “These include the sense of more than one tempo in the opening movement, for example, or the dramatic bleakness of the central Andante, with bass pedal notes and atmospheric drums creating a landscape that goes a great distance beyond Bach’s,” says Shipton. “The joyous conclusion is everything that its fans love about the trio: precision, delicacy, and hard-hitting swing, yet in a context of familiarity for the classical audience, and with moments of departure into a more abstract style.”

The collection also includes pieces that reflect the most contrasting moods from Loussier’s ambitious Goldberg Variations album. After the opening aria comes the impressionist treatment of Variation 2, and the uptempo Number 5. “It all comes together in the longer exploration of Variation 25,” says Shipton, “which as well as showing how the trio can be loyal to Bach while traveling a long way from its original, it can create a musical scene that is entirely its own, and testament to the creativity of its founder.”
   
My Favorite Composers:
The Vivaldi concerto here – the second of the Four Seasons quartet – demonstrates how successfully Loussier applied his jazz approach to a classical composer. Instead of the strong harmonic development of J.S. Bach, with its affinities to jazz structure, Vivaldi deals in songlike melodies.

“Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was our first CD after a long series of Play Bach recordings,” says Loussier. “It was quite different from what I’d been doing, and I wondered if it would be possible to make Vivaldi swing in the same way I had done with Bach, who is an interesting composer but not easy to improvise. After making that album, I decided I could do anything with any other composer.”

“There’s a direct connection between the summery feeling Loussier was aiming for in the opening of the Vivaldi and the laid-back calm of Gymnopedie No. 1 by Eric Satie,” Shipton explains. “Gnossiene No. 1 is more rhythmic, but overall in these pieces, Loussier uses the originals as an opportunity to add his own compositional touches, altering a harmony here, adding a subtle melodic flourish there.”

“I chose to record Satie’s Gymnopedie’s because this is already a swinging piece – like Bach is, but in a different way,” says Loussier. “But I felt very much at home with this unique piece of harmonistic and relaxing music.”

The baroque adventures in music by Handel and Scarlatti on these CDs sit closer to Jacques’ original experiments with Bach. Indeed, the Scarlatti has great affinities to the work of his first trio. And so, too, does the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major.

The remaining pieces on the album are a testament to the variety of material that Jacques has explored. The charming simplicity of Schumann’s songs leads to a catchy inevitability about the arrangement of ‘Of Foreign Lands and People,’ whereas the selections from Chopin’s Nocturnes reveal Loussier’s skill as a solo unaccompanied musician.”

For years, Loussier has been consistently celebrated for his versions of Ravel and Debussy, both of which are included here. “I was fascinated by the avant garde minimalism of ‘Bolero de Ravel,’” says Loussier. “The constant crescendo, a repetitive and insistent theme in the orchestral version of the piece, created a new challenge when reinterpreting the piece for only three instruments!”


The Debussy album, meanwhile, remains “the masterpiece of the latter-day trio,” says Shipton. “Listen to ‘Clair de Lune,’ and revel in its liquid beauty as you join Jacques in celebrating his 80th birthday.”


VIKKI CARR - THE FIRST TIME EVER (I SAW YOUR FACE) EXPANDED EDITION / LOVE AGAIN: THE LOST COLUMBIA MASTERS

VIKKI CARR - THE FIRST TIME EVER (I SAW YOUR FACE)

She was born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, Texas, but the world would know her better as Vikki Carr, the four-time Grammy-winner whom no less an authority than Dean Martin once called “The best girl singer in the business” and Ethel Merman singled out as being “more impressed with her performance than by any young singer.”

Sentimental, vivacious and stunningly dramatic, the voice of Vikki Carr is one of American pop music’s most versatile, too.  During her long, glittering career, she has tackled jazz, pop, blues and country with equal aplomb. In addition to her extraordinary American pop music career of the 1960s and early ‘70s, punctuated by such signature hits as “It Must Be Him,” “The Lesson,” “With Pen in Hand” and “Eternity,” Carr has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful Spanish-language singers in the world, a pioneer predating Linda Ronstadt and an acolyte of Eydie Gorme’s and Connie Francis’ beloved international music tradition.

Real Gone Music have added Vikki to their artist roster with The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition), a first time ever reissue of her classic 1972 album produced by Snuff Garrett and arranged by Al Capps. The release features no less than eleven bonus tracks (seven singles, two unreleased sides and a pair of holiday favorites) highlighted by Vikki’s long-unavailable hit version of “The Big Hurt” and captivating covers of numerous ‘70s smashes, with notes by David St. Mark drawn from an extensive interview with the artist herself as well as her colleagues.   Mastered at Sony’s own Battery Studios in NYC and featuring copious rare photos—one of this year’s big pop vocal finds!

Tracklisting: 1. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face / 2. (Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All / 3.Theme from Summer of '42 / 4. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves / 5. Without You / 6. Song Sung Blue / 7. Love Theme from The Godfather / 8. Cabaret / 9. Help Me Make It Through The Night / 10. Brian's Song / 11. The Way of Love / Bonus Tracks:12. Spending All My Time Now Lovin' You (previously unreleased) / 13. I Can't Let My Heaven Walk Away (previously unreleased) / 14. Call My Heart Your Home / 15. The Big Hurt / 16. Let The Band Play On / 17. Reflections / 18. Borrowed Time / 19. Puttin' Myself In Your Hands / 20. I Don't Want A Sometimes Man / 21. What Child Is This / 22. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

VIKKI CARR - LOVE AGAIN: THE LOST COLUMBIA MASTERS

Love Again—The Lost Columbia Masters, which offers no less than 17 unreleased sides including a complete unissued 1975 album plus scintillating versions of such country-tinged pop tunes as “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and “The End of the World” as well as such Spanish-language tunes as “Chicano” and “Che Sara.” The release features notes by David St. Mark drawn from an extensive interview with the artist herself as well as her colleagues.   Mastered at Sony’s own Battery Studios in NYC and featuring copious rare photos—one of this year’s big pop vocal finds!

Tracks: 1. Lyin' In My Arms / 2. I Finally Got It Right This Time / 3. Who In The World / 4. A Thing Called Sadness / 5. Prettiest Face / 6. Ain't It Worth The Price You Pay / 7. It's Me and You / 8. I Didn't Get To Stay / 9. The Night Life / 10. Will We Ever Make Love Again / 11. Chicano / 12. Che Sara / 13. I Believe In You / 14. If You Could Only Wait For Me / 15. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore / 16. Loving In My Soul / 17. The End of the World


THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS - THE COMPLETE ATLANTIC SINGLES

Initially created from the ranks of a group of ‘60s female background session singers that at one time included Dionne Warwick, her sister Dee Dee, adopted sister Judy Clay and “Just One Look” singer Doris Troy, The Sweet Inspirations became an official Atlantic recording artist after being the label’s go-to studio backup vocal group for many of the label’s primary artists including Aretha Franklin (with whom they toured in 1967 and 1968), Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, The Drifters and Esther Phillips among others.

Consisting of Emily “Cissy” Houston (who took Dee Dee Warwick’s place when she launched her own solo career in 1965), Sylvia Shemwell (sister of Judy Clay), and gospel singers Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith (who knew Dionne and Dee Dee during their teen years at New Hope Baptist Church), The Sweet Inspirations enjoyed their first hit single in 1967 with their interpretation of The Staples Singers’ “Why (Am I Treated So Bad).” The song was written for them by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, who played on a number of the group’s Memphis sessions.

In 1969, the group was hired by Elvis Presley as his vocal backup group and spent a number of years on the road with him. Cissy Houston left the group in 1970 to pursue a solo career; Estelle, Sylvia and Myrna continued recording as a trio with Stax Records and RSO Records. 


Now, Real Gone Music/SoulMusic Records is proud to present The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus, the largest collection of the work of The Sweet Inspirations ever compiled, drawn from their tenure with Atlantic Records from 1967 to 1971.  Included in the 37 tracks are the A and B sides of the group’s 18 singles (with the 1970 hit, “(Gotta Find) A Brand New Lover,” originally released as Pt. 1 & 2, combined into one track), one cut unearthed from the Atlantic vaults in 2004 and previously only available on an out-of-print US compilation, and three previously unreleased sides (including a six-minute-plus medley of “Little Green Apples,” Aretha Franklin’s “Think” and The Beatles’ “Something”). The 2-CD set includes photos and notes by SoulMusic Records’ David Nathan, with remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision. With all the recent (and long overdue) attention paid backup singers via 20 Feet from Stardom, this release—which features quite possibly the greatest backup vocal group of them all—is timely indeed. ~ Real Gone Music


RECORD STORE DAY VINYL RELEASES: RICK JAMES & TEENA MARIE, SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS, SAM COOKE

RICK JAMES - YOU AND I (EXTENDED M+M MIX) / / RICK JAMES + TENNA MARIE - FIRE AND DESIRE (LIVE)

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is releasing an exclusive and limited release of Rick James classics on vinyl.  From the Motown vaults, two tracks released for the first time: an extended, nearly 10-minute version of Rick James's first hit from 1978, mixed by John Morales of "M+M Mix" fame. The flip side is the long lost but now found live duet with Teena Marie, "Fire and Desire." Their epic, 20-minute rendition was recorded live In Long Beach, CA, July 1981, and is also mixed by John Morales Only 2,500 numbered copies will be available. Side A: You And I (Extended M+M Mix) (9:40) / Side B: Fire And Desire (Live) with Teena Marie (19:50), Live In Long Beach, CA July 30, 1981. Both mixed by John Morales for M+M Productions on 12” vinyl.

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS - DAP-DIPPIN' WITH...SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS

A stunner – the first full album by deep funk singer Sharon Jones, and an instant soul masterpiece! The album's right up there with the best work by James Brown divas like Marva Whitney, Vicki Anderson, and Lyn Collins – and overall, we might dare say that the album's even better than any of theirs, as it's an all-solid, all-funky effort all the way through! Backings are by the Dap-Kings – grooving hard in a sock-soul funky 45 mode that never lets up – and we can't think of a better album of funky female soul to recommend this year, or maybe even this decade. Just when you thought you'd be saying "they don't make soul music like this anymore" – here it comes to whomp you on the head! Titles include "Got A Thing On My Mind", "Make It Good To Me", "Casella Walk", "Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut", "Give Me A Chance", "The Dap Dip", "What Have You Done For Me Lately", and "Got To Be The Way It Is". ~ Dusty Groove


SAM COOKE - AIN'T THAT GOOD NEWS

Good news galore from the great Sam Cooke – maybe THE album in which he fully shows off his unique contribution to soul music in the 60s – that mix of raw and sweet, easygoing and progressive – a mode that had a huge impact at the time, and went onto become a strong influence for years to come! Key proof of this approach is the landmark track "A Change is Gonna Come" – a slyly righteous track that became a huge Civil Rights anthem and has continued to have social power for many years. And even the more mundane titles have a fresh approach too – like the hit "Another Saturday Night", and a host of other gems that include "Home", "No Second Time", "The Riddle Song", "Good Times", "Meet Me At Mary's Place", and "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day". ~ Dusty Groove


RECORD STORE DAY VINYL RELEASES - NICOLA CONTE, THE JBs, OTIS REDDING

NICOLA CONTE PRESENTS VIAGEM 4 - LOST BOSSA AND SAMBA JAZZ CLASSICS FROM THE SWINGING 60s

A fresh, breezy and brilliant compilation of rare Brazil – wonderful material from the early 60s through the end of the decade – the fourth in the Viagem series compiled by Nicola Conte, and it's the best yet! Viagem celebrates the jazzier side of 60s Brazil – bossa, samba and rawly rhythmic Afro-Brazilian grooves inspired by the best and freshest jazz of the US and European scenes. It's deep stuff, too – with a lot of great material we're hearing for the first time! We always expect the moon from Nicola Conte – whether it's his own modern, though classic jazz-inspired grooves – or in his role as a masterful, generous compiler. The man delivers every damn time! Includes "So Balanco" by 7 De Ouros, "Consolacao" by Myrzo Barroso, "Outra Vez" by Bossa Jazz 3, "Balumba" by Anilza Leoni, "Cute" by Bwana Trio, "Ponto De Vista" by As Compositoras, "Batucada Surgiu" by Marcos Moran, "Saudade Vem Correndo" by Bossa Nova + 5, "Te Quero Assim" by Rosana Tapajos, "Gusto Do Que E Bom" by Shirley E O Tuca Trio, "Pandeiro Triste" by Betinho Do Vibraphone and more. 17 tracks in all. ~ Dusty Groove

THE JB's - FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The classic first album by The JBs – James Brown's Fred Wesley-led backing band, and the force behind most of his greatest records of the early 70s! The set collects some of the group's best early singles, and includes all of the short little funky cuts that made them a legend right out of the box – "Pass the Peas", "The Grunt", "These Are The JBs", "Hot Pants Road", "Wine Spot", "To My Brother", "Blessed Blackness", "Theme From King Heroin", "Escapism (parts 1 & 2), and "Gimme Some More" – all together here in one tight little album of massive funky hard beats and breaks! ~ Dusty Groove


OTIS REDDING - PAIN IN MY HEART

One of Otis Redding's greatest LPs! Unlike some of his others – which either had some filler, some gimmicks, or were collections of material released after his death – this one is a totally solid batch of southern soul tracks that ranks with some of the best work to come out of Memphis during the 60s. The record features some real gems – originals by Redding like "Hey Hey Baby", "Security", "These Arms Of Mine", "Something Is Worrying Me", and "That's What My Heart Needs" – plus some great covers, like "The Dog", "Pain In My Heart", and "I Need Your Lovin". ~ Dusty Groove


RECORD STORE DAY VINYL RELEASES: CHOCOLATE MILK, LALO SHIFRIN BULLITT SOUNDTRACK, BIG MAMA THORNTON

CHOCOLATE MILK - ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS

A killer album of 70s New Orleans funk! Chocolate Milk were an amazing funk group in their best moments – and this album is certainly one of those moments – a blistering batch of tracks that set a whole new style for the Crescent City scene, and which showed that producers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn could easily hit the hipper notes of the 70s! There's a tight rhythmic sound at the core of most numbers, but expanded instrumentation over the top – bits of spacey electrics or jazzier electronics that never would have shown up in Sansu records of years back, but which show that with the right group, New Orleans funk could easily take on the hippest styles going down on both coasts! The title cut, "Action Speaks Louder Than Words", is a slow funk classic – and the record also includes the incredible electronic-tinged "Time Machine", a perpetual favorite these days. Other nice tracks include "Pretty Pimpin' Willie" and "Ain't Nothin' But a Thing". Arguably the band's best album ever! ~ Dusty Groove

LALO SHIFRIN - BULLITT ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

Fantastic stuff! In case you don't know it, this is one of Lalo Schifrin's most incredible soundtracks, and it's a stunning mix of jazz, bossa, and groovy grooves. There's lots of cool bubbling electric bass, lilting keyboards, and moody breezy rhythms. Nearly every cut's a winner, and if you like his stuff, we can bet that this will become one of your favorites. The record's darn tough to find, and this reissue is a real treat to have around! Cuts include "Bullitt", "Room 26", "On the Way To San Mateo", and "Shifting Gears". 2014 vinyl version from Aleph Records includes cues never before released on vinyl! ~ Dusty Groove


BIG MAMA THORNTON - SASSY MAMA!

70's release that has this classic shoutin' blues singer paired with a small combo of modern blues and soul studio players, like Cornell Dupree, Paul Griffin, Wilbur Bascomb, and Buddy Lucas. Like a lot of stuff on Vanguard, the sound's still pretty rootsy, and Big Mama blasts it out on tracks like "Lost City", "Mr. Cool", "Private Number", and "Everybody's Happy (But Me)". ` Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: CROWD COMPANY - NOW OR NEVER; RAY LUGO & THE BOOGALOO DESTROYERS - ¡QUE CHEVERE!; ALLIE WEBB - A LARK

CROWD COMPANY – NOW OR NEVER

Crowd Company rose from the ranks of London’s burgeoning funk/soul scene to assert themselves as an act to watch out for, with engaging live performances and a finely tuned sound based on retro grooves with a soulful edge and a modern twist. After playing in venues such as The 100 Club and Band On The Wall, and sharing stages with artists such as George Porter Jr of The Meters, this 8 piece is now ready to reveal itself to the world with its debut full-length release, “Now Or Never” which sees the participation of Joe Tatton from The New Mastersounds and Alan Evans from Soulive. From fast-paced, modern soul opener “Are You Feeling It” to mid-tempo burner “Turn It Loose feat. Alan Evans”, from the latin-tinged rhythms of “It’ll Work Out Fine”  to the cosmic jazz-funk of “Electrify feat. Alan Evans”, new album “Now Or Never” packs a solid punch when it comes to the grooves it provides. Get hooked to the hard-hitting drums of the titletrack‘s feel-good funk, or to the infectious vibes of stand-out number “All I Can Do feat Joe Tatton & Alan Evans”, a hypnotic slab of early 70s psych-funk with a contemporary edge. To best capture the band’s bristling live energy the album was recorded entirely to tape at Cowshed Studio, London, and later mixed by Alan Evans and mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering in Brooklyn. With groovin Hammond organ, virtuoso horn section, tight beats and soulful vocals this release sees Crowd Company provide a unique blend of catchy modern funk & soul tunes with and jazzy inflections. Time to get down to Crowd Company, it’s “Now Or Never”!


RAY LUGO & THE BOOGALOO DESTROYERS - ¡QUE CHEVERE!

Ray Lugo's mind is very fertile, and he's been rather prolific over the last decade, putting out a variety of groovy sounds ranging from organic to electronic, afrobeat to soul, Latin to Brazilian and many different sorts of mashup/fusions in between. But, just because he is creatively fecund doesn't mean the quality suffers - each album is hand-crafted and Ray takes his time to shape and mold it to just the right proportions. ¡Que Chevere! was his second Latin soul record with the Boogaloo Destroyers, and destroy the dance floor is just what they will do when you put this record on the Hi-Fi. The title of the album translates loosely as "how groovy!" and it's a very apt one. The Boogaloo Destroyers' sound is inspired by the warmth, diversity, and youthful spirit of classic New York Latin Boogaloo of the 1960s, yet at the same time, as composer and lead vocalist, Ray feels he is bringing some of his afrobeat sensibilities and vocal personality to the proceedings, to make it fresh for today's audiences.  - DJ Bongohead

ALLIE WEBB - A LARK

On her just released EP, "A Lark," Allie Webb delivers a wonderful jazz vocal performance backed by equally talented players. With a warm and inviting tone reminiscent of Sara Gazarek, Webb welcomes listeners into her songs and serenades them with her soothing voice. Webb’s effortless vocal control, akin to Tierney Sutton, is showcased marvelously on every track of this release, and is best exemplified on the track “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” These enticing songs will relax and free you from the stresses of your day-to-day routine as Webb expresses both the joy and sorrow she found while away from home.A Lark was recorded and mixed by Jim Watson at Sonic Blender Studio in Venice, CA. Webb states, “I made this EP ‘on a lark’ with close friends of mine. These arrangements came out of a period of longing that I experienced. I hope I captured some of the beauty and heartache of that on the recording.” Webb masterfully encapsulates these sentiments in her music and shares them in such an intimate fashion that it seems as if she is singing directly to individual listeners. The musicians on A Lark excellently compliment Webb’s musical prowess, while demonstrating the individual talents that they possess.


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