Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NEW RELEASES: LEROY HUTSON -ANTHOLOGY: 1972-1984; HOUSTON PERSON - RAIN OR SHINE; DJ ANDY SMITH PRESENTS REACH UP – DISCO WONDERLAND

LEROY HUTSON -ANTHOLOGY: 1972-1984

Acid Jazz are pleased to present the definitive Leroy Hutson compilation – Anthology : 1972-1984 A legend to soul fans, his catalogue has been increasingly sought after by collectors and producers since the last time it was widely available nearly 20 years ago. College friends and early collaborator with Donny Hathaway then hand-picked as Curtis Mayfield’s replacement in The Impressions, his solo career resulted in 7 albums for Mayfield’s Curtom label. They are considered some of the greatest of the era and the very best music from them is collected here. Licensed from Mr Hutson himself, this represents his first approved Anthology, and comes in a beautiful package with an essay by soul expert and Mojo Award winning writer Tony Rounce and memorabilia and photos from Mr. Hutson’s own personal archive.

HOUSTON PERSON - RAIN OR SHINE

The soulfully expressive tenor saxophonist, Houston Person learned his craft in the 1950s, a time when some of the earliest pioneers of jazz saxophone -- Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster -- were playing. Like Sonny Rollins and a handful of others, Person is an eloquent messenger who is rooted in traditional blues, church music, Broadway love songs and the mimicking of a singer's tonal palette and phrasing. His blues feel led to a renaissance among acid-jazz clubbers years later, and his sound has become uniquely characterful: an idiosyncratic edit of all he has learned, expressed in shrugging hoots, briefly cantering bop sprints, spacious and softly blown ballads. With his long-time friend and colleague, cornetist Warren Vaché and guitarist Rodney Jones, Person's burnished sophistication, assured elegance and poise are again on display giving listeners an object lesson in unfussy, no-gimmicks music-making.

DJ ANDY SMITH PRESENTS REACH UP – DISCO WONDERLAND (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

Best known to most people for his early work as a Portishead collaborator and International tour DJ, Andy Smith earned his ‘Legendary’ title among crate diggers in 1998 when he released seminal mix album ‘The Document’. In the years since, Andy has continued to live up to his reputation as one of the finest and most creative DJs on the planet, tirelessly digging in the crates and emerging with pure gold. Following in the footsteps of his 2006 exploration of Trojan’s mighty reggae vaults and his two compilations exploring funk music from New Orleans and Jamaica, Andy turns his attention to disco and boogie for the very first time. The concept for ‘Reach Up – Disco Wonderland’ was born from ’Reach Up’, a DJ collective founded by Andy in 2012 to reflect the spirit of legendary NYC clubs such as Paradise Garage and Studio 54. ‘Reach Up’ showcases 80s boogie, disco and proto house; the foundations upon which dance music culture was built.


NEW RELEASES: JAMES HUNTER SIX - WHATEVER IT TAKES; ANDY LAVERNE - FAITH; HAROLD DANKO – TRIPLE PLAY

JAMES HUNTER SIX - WHATEVER IT TAKES

On February 2nd, 2018, Daptone Records will release Whatever It Takes, the sixth album by The James Hunter Six. Hunter had already established himself as a permanent fixture in the world of Rhythm and Soul with his five previous albums, each more poignant and well-executed than the last. However, this record has buried them all. His voice has never been more compelling, his songs never more elegantly crafted. Recorded to tape at Daptone's Penrose Studios in Riverside, California, Bosco Mann's production elevates Hunter's arrangements to the altitude they deserve.

ANDY LAVERNE - FAITH

Pianist Andy Laverne is really showing us all sides of his talents here – not just his wonderful skills on the keys of the piano, but also his strong ear for fresh compositions as well! All the tracks here are originals by Andy, and they're beautiful tracks that sparkle nicely with dark colors and tones – elements underscored strongly not just by Laverne's work on piano, but also by the album's sparkling contributions from Alex Sipiagin on both trumpet and flugelhorn! The pair together are a delight throughout – balanced out with a depth that seems so much more than just the sum of their parts – given a strongly soulful rhythm current by Mike Richmond on bass and Jason Tiemann on drums – the latter of whom has this snap to his work on the kit that moves along tunes that might have otherwise got lost in a moody morass. The whole thing is great – maybe one of the best sessions we've ever heard from Laverne – and titles include "Enigma", "Faith", "Touch Sensitive", "All Things Considered", "Paramour No More", and "Double Down". ~ Dusty Groove

HAROLD DANKO – TRIPLE PLAY

Harold Danko sounds wonderful here with his long-established trio – a group so well-matched, most of the songs on this set arose from collective improvisations during the recording sessions! Yet these aren't outside, avant tunes – in which all players roam freely in space – and instead, they're melodic, rhythmic, very tuneful extrapolations that are often based on older standards – but which are so transformed, you can't really hear any roots of the originals – as the players take flight in that magical collaborative creation that marks jazz at its best! Danko plays piano, Jay Anderson is on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield is on drums – and titles include "Sky Blues", "Stream Of Tears", "Shallow Waters", "Mademoiselle Dreamy", "Total Obsession", and "Ancient & Distant". ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: HERB ALPERT – THE CHRISTMAS WISH; MAKAYA MCCRAVEN - HIGHLY RARE; TONY BURKILL – WORK MONEY DEATH

HERB ALPERT – THE CHRISTMAS WISH

Nine time Grammy winning trumpet legend Herb Alpert continues a prolific recent run of recording and performing, with The Christmas Wish, his first holiday album in nearly 5 decades! Harkening back beautifully to the golden age of Christmas music, the versatile horn man – backed by a 45-piece orchestra, 30-member choir and 10-piece rhythm section – darts, dashes and breezes through the colorful, often Latin tinged arrangements of Chris Walden. Highlights include a graceful arrangement of a Carpenters classic and the lush vocals of Alpert’s wife and longtime musical collaborator Lani Hall on the hopeful title track. The most wonderful time of the year just got more wonderful with the addition of The Christmas Wish, oh what fun! ~ smoothjazz.com

MAKAYA MCCRAVEN - HIGHLY RARE

Raw sounds from the Chicago scene – a mighty nice performance from the group of drummer Makaya McCraven – captured on four track cassette at the tiny Danny's Tavern! The setting and recording style really works with the approach of the group – as Makaya's drums are nice and loud – beat-y and splashy – maybe more funky than on any othe records under his name, and fitted with fantastically bold work from Junius Paul on bass, Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, and the great Nick Mazzarella on alto sax! There's also some turntables from Lefto – but used musically, and not in the kind of heavy-handed way that used to ruin a jazz session a decade or so back – and the group perform titles that include "The Locator", "Above & Beyond", "Venus Rising", "Icy Lightning", "Left Fields", "RFJ III", and "Early Bird Once Again".  ~ Dusty Groove

TONY BURKILL – WORK MONEY DEATH

Tony Burkill might be making a goofy face on the cover, but the album's a dead-serious effort from a saxophonist we hope to hear more from in years to come! The style here is a solid, soulful mode that really hearkens back to the best modal moments of the late 60s and early 70s – rhythms that seem to borrow an influence from African styles, but fused into a jazz mode that's got the soaring spirit of the post-Coltrane generation – very specifically like the hippest work on the Milestone or Black Jazz labels in the early 70s – work that would be a flawless match for Burkill's style here! Tony's got a really rich tone on the tenor – raspy and full at the same time, and really diving to the depths as he expresses himself on his solos – driven strongly by the bass of Neil Innes, who also co-wrote all the tunes with Burkill – with drums from Sam Hobbs, piano and organ from George Cooper, and percussion from Pete Williams. The whole thing's amazing – rock-solid, no-nonsense, and filled with soul and spirit. Titles include "At Odds With the World", "Out Of A Shooting Star", "Beginning & End", "Work Money Death", and "Third Of All Numbers".  ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: NORTHERN SOUL’S CLASSIEST RARITIES – VOLUME 6; KEV BEADLE PRIVATE COLLECTION – VOLUME 3; i2 LOVE MUSIC VOLUME 1

NORTHERN SOUL’S CLASSIEST RARITIES – VOLUME 6 (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

It’s nearly three years since Kent released the last volume in this respected series; here’s another package full of ultra-rarities, collector’s pieces, unissued gems and classic dancers. The eye-opener will be the previously unissued version of I Only Cry Once A Day Now, a superb Gene Page arrangement known and treasured as being by the Puffs but performed here by the mighty Fidels. Fellow Los Angeles vocal group the Hyperions contribute the intensely catchy and exciting Why Do You Wanna Treat Me Like You Do, while the very rare single Dream Girl by the Lon Genes gives further kudos to that city’s soul reputation. Difosco aka Dee Ervin recorded the ebullient Sunshine Love for another Los Angeles imprint, Earthquake, and its standing among collectors continues to grow. Here we finally put out the correct brass-filled version of Peggy Woods great Modern Records tape not properly heard since its mid-80s discovery. That much-travelled ambassador of soul, Sidney Barnes, has licensed to Kent not only his early super-rare NYC song and production on Little Nicky Soul, I Wanted To Tell You, but also two of his later under the radar creations on Andre Scott and Jean Carter. Sid’s Detroit production partner and later superstar George Clinton has one of his earliest works from his New Jersey days, Tamala Lewis You Won’t Say Nothing, an established Northern Soul classic in Jackie Day’s Naughty Boy, Johnnie Taylor’s Friday Night and Betty Turner’s The Winds Kept Laughing. An even more established oldie is given an interesting new twist with an earlier session of Maxine Brown’s One In A Million, a precursor to the released version that is so loved; the subtle differences make it an aural thrill. Jack Ashford’s Just Productions tapes have turned up an earlier version of his Fly To My Loving Arms, simply called I Can Fly. The great male vocal group sound of the Magnificents are first rate on this fabulous song. A Detroit Emeralds LP-only track called Long Live The King has found favour with soul fans recently and sounds vibrant here. The distinctive vocals of O.C. Tolbert give Dave Hamilton’s Marriage Is Only A State Of Mind a soulful twist on a recent tape discovery, and a pretty Carla Thomas recording (unreleased until 1992) called Little Boy is the perfect ender to this collection of treasures. There are two majestic big beat ballads from Jack Nitzsche’s Los Angeles vaults. The Nooney Ricket track is unissued and the terrific Daniel A Stone take on Young Boy Blues has only been heard on an Ace CD before. Jock Mitchell’s moody and mysterious Nomad Woman fits snugly between the pair. Finally, Kent have two excellent early Chicago soul rarities from the Vows and the Kittens who were stalwarts of that soulful city.

KEV BEADLE PRIVATE COLLECTION – VOLUME 3 (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

Beadle returns to BBE with a 3rd volume of his much lauded ‘Private Collection’ album series. Taking in a wide range of obscure jazz with a distinct nod to the dance-foor, the frst two ‘Private Collections’ are already considered classics by the jazz-dance community. Once again presenting a wealth of ultrarare sounds previously only available to record collectors with very deep pockets, Vol.3 sees Kev inviting us to travel even deeper into the vinyl vaults. Quite a lot has happened in the 3 years since ‘Private Collection Vol.2’ was released, not least Kev’s announcement last year that he was hanging up his headphones. We hope, selfshly, that his retirement won’t last, but either way, the news has given this compilation some added signifcance for us. A founder of London’s legendary Dingwalls and former Wag club resident, Kev has been at the very centre of the UK’s jazz-dance scene for decades, locked in (friendly) competition with the likes of Gilles Peterson, Patrick Forge, Bob Jones and many others on a never-ending quest for that perfect track. As you might expect, ‘Private Collection Vol.3’ contains its fair share of frenetic, syncopated musical workouts to test the stamina of even the most dedicated dancers, but the album also provides some moments of calm, some smooth Latin grooves like Louis Hayes version of the Freddie Hubbard classic ‘Little Sunfower’ as well as very rare, sought after recordings by Belair, Lee Willhite and the Webster Lewis that have changed hands for big money in recent times amongst the collectors. Whether you are a record collector or a jazz club regular, this compilation represents a chance to fnally own more than a few ‘holy grail’ tunes without breaking the bank and a chance to relive those special moments on the dance-foor. For the rest of us, this is simply a glorious concoction of 70s and 80s jazz, rescued from relative obscurity, painstakingly assembled and presented with a great deal of love.

i2 LOVE MUSIC VOLUME 1 (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

i2 proudly presents Love Music, Vol.1 – featuring stellar performances from established legends like Shalamar’s Howard Hewett with a brand new song ‘Because You’, Atlanta based soul star Carmichael MusicLover and from the UK, The Sound Principle. Added to this eclectic blend of talented vocalists are up and coming future stars like Everett, who delivers soul hits ‘First Night’ and ‘Your Side of Love’, UK R&B stalwarts Qanah and Chris Ballin. Hailing from Kansas City, USA: Le Velle delivers a compelling call to action with his blockbusting soul classic, ‘Bring Back The Love’ and another storming track ‘It Was Me’. For lovers of soul jazz music JFly hits you with his seminal track ‘Love Song’. Soul music of such consistently high quality is hard to come by, but i2 have united the best of British with excellent offerings from the United States to create an album full of pure gems. Live strings on ‘First Night’, ‘Because You Love Me’ (featuring Phillippia) and ‘I Need Your Loving’ are testament to the top-level production values on display throughout this outstanding compilation.




AVANT-GARDE JAZZ DRUMMER PAUL TILLMAN SMITH RELEASES "A BEAUTIFUL HEART"

Having basically started my music career as a starving avant-garde jazz drummer, 19 and almost penniless on the streets of New York’s Lower East Side in 1967. Jazz drummer Norman Connors and I were best friends and roommates for a while, the difference being he could run home to his momma in Philly to eat and my momma was way in California. Rent was like 40 dollars a month, and I was lucky if I had that. Kenny Dorham and Cecil McBee whenever I would see them on the streets always bought me food. Playing the angry experimental jazz of that era mainly with saxophonist Sonny Simmons, Pharaoh Sanders and Albert Ayler was definitely economically dangerous.

I left Oakland with bassist/percussionist Juma Sultan and first lived in the basement of singer Richie Havens house and there were cockroaches as big as my kneecap running around. Juma and I played with many of New York’s cutting edge Jazz kats including saxophonist Jackie McClean who asked me to join his band but I was beat down and ready to go home by then. I saw too many musicians doing bad and too many drugs around. Soon after I left Juma became Jimi Hendrix’s musical Guru helping Jimi to change the direction of his music. I was back home by then licking my wounds at my momma’s house. At Juma’s insistence Jimi bought me a plane ticket to come to Woodstock to play with his new band but I never caught the plane because I was afraid of Jimi’s music, a right decision at the time but a big mistake historically.

I soon recognized that I needed to figure out a better way to make more money if I was going to stay a musician, so I began writing music with lyrics, something I had started when I was 15 and stopped when I got out of high school. After high school I began playing drums in a hippy band called the “Second Coming”. Rock legend Steve Miller was also in the band and it was soon after that I switched to jazz. Thank goodness I learned a little piano when I was young. People still can’t figure out how a jazz drummer writes pop and funk tunes. The jazz community won’t own me and the funk community won’t own me. I’m caught in the middle somewhere. My jazz chops are up, however.

A couple of these songs represent some of my late ‘80s to middle ‘90s musical productions, updated where I had a chance to work with the late pianist-vocalist Bonnie Boyer and vocalist-pianist Rosie Gaines who both toured with Prince. I also recorded Sheila E when she was 15 and you can find that record in Japan somewhere.

Vocalist Skyler Jett, who also showed up at my house ambitious at age 15 continues to have an illustrious career and also took Lionel Richie’s place for a few gigs with the Commodores. Skyler is featured with Bonnie on a duet called “The Newsroom”, and that’s me doing the news broadcast on the tune. I had to get in where I could fit in. KCSM disc jockey and TV personality Sonny Buxton was paid to do the original news broadcast, my friend who never invited me to be in his Bay Area jazz picture that hangs at San Francisco’s main library. Everybody I ever played with was in it. I did enjoy playing at his Milestone’s Jazz club many times in a band with John Handy and pianist Bill Bell. God knows how many thousands of hours I spent playing in San Francisco jazz clubs many with Bobby Hutcherson, Merl Saunders, Woody Shaw, Alice Coltrane, Harold Land and Eddie Henderson, the list goes on. My voice over on “Newsroom” turned out pretty good. Anyway, Skyler Jett currently has a new single out entitled “Eternally” featuring him and soprano sax icon Kenny G that is real cool. —

Also, third-year “American Idol” finalist LaToya London — who everyone from the Bay thought should have won the damn thang — sings two cuts and is also featured on the title track along with Donnie, Bonnie and Rosie, called “A Beautiful Heart”. The song also features another Prince bandmate, Levi Seacer Jr., on guitar, Nelson Braxton of the Braxton Brother’s who currently is in Michael Bolton’s band is on bass, and Michael Jackson’s last guitarist, Tommy Oregon, is the groove master on the track. The late Donald Tavie who was “lakesides” pianist is playing the keys, plus Lori Taylor, who is now sadly in a permanent coma suffered during childbirth, sings on the hook. Former Qwest recording artist and Wynton Marsalis bandmate Robert Stewart takes a mean sax solo.

I am also showcasing what I believe to be Rosie’s first professional recording from 1981, a song titled “Summer Sky.” The song sounds like it could have been a hit back when I cut it. I should have put it on the market way back then. (No wonder I’m broke!) Rosie’s song is the bonus track at the end of the record and features Ray Obiedo on guitar.

Of course, the greatest unsung vocal hero of the Bay area, third-year “American Idol” finalist Donnie Williams, is the main featured vocalist on seven of the 14 tracks. This is my fourth musical collaboration with him.

“Precious Song” is the only Gospel song on my record. It is sung and arranged by church pianist Robert Collier, with added vocals by Donnie Williams. Sax man Vincent Lars, who plays unbelievably on the song, should have been famous a long time ago. The song was inspired and is dedicated to Reverend Jay Matthews who is currently the presiding Rector at the “Cathedral of Christ the Light” Oakland Ca.

Lastly would like to thank my Godson Derick Hughes a member of my seventies Bang CBS recording group “Bridge” for his great vocal arrangement of “ Sweet and Wonderful” a song he co-wrote with Bridge keyboardist Michael (Spiderman) Robinson while both were members of the Bridge band. Derick is currently the lead male vocalist with Roberta Flack and also spent time recording with Motown & Prince in the 80’s. Spiderman is now one of the most sought after keyboardist in the bay area.


I love these songs. Some are freshly cut and others are old tracks that were updated and newly arranged by two Bay Area musical geniuses Bassist Nelson Braxton and Guitarist Levi Seacer Jr. I am so proud to be able to put my name on such a lovely work o art. My daddy would be proud of me.


Monday, November 20, 2017

NEW RELEASES: MUDDY WATERS – ELECTRIC MUD; NICOLA CONTE & GIANLUCA PETRELLA – AFRICAN SPIRITS / NEW WORLD SHUFFLE; COJ & SECOND TIME - SOUND OF AFRICA

MUDDY WATERS – ELECTRIC MUD

The funk-tinged, pyschedelic soul album from Muddy Waters – one that irritated many a blues purist in its day – but it's finally reaching its earned status as a leftfield gem! You know, in the immediate years after this one (and similar funky blues albums on Chess/Cadet) was released, it was downplayed as a cheap attempt to sell out Muddy's classic blues sound. These days, it's treasured by many of us as a unique funky session that merged the best of Chicago's funk, soul, and blues worlds – taking Muddy's sound way past earlier records and into uncharted waters. It's similar to some of the work on Chess at the time by Bo Diddley and Etta James – and it includes lots of nice updated groovers like "I'm A Man", "I Just Want To Make Love to You", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Same Thing", "She's All Right", and "Tom Cat". Arrangements are by Charles Stepney, too! (In a gatefold sleeve with poster!)  ~Dusty Groove

NICOLA CONTE & GIANLUCA PETRELLA – AFRICAN SPIRITS / NEW WORLD SHUFFLE

A record that's way more than just the 12" single you might guess from the format – as it's a wonderfully deep collaboration between Nicola Conte and trombonist Gianluca Petrella – done at a level that's maybe more like a spiritual jazz record overall! "African Spirits" definitely has a groove – the sort you'll know from other Conte records – but it's less bossa and more tribal, with lots of percussion layered in the mix, as well as rising voices that feel borrowed from other records – all blended with a righteous energy that's more in Osunlade territory than usual for Schema! The tune's got a very powerful set of solos – strong tenor, and even bolder trombone from Petrella – and "New World Shuffle" is even rawer at the core, but features strongly soulful vocals from Bridgette Amofah, and some great keyboards too! Both tracks are nice and long, too.  ~ Dusty Groove

COJ & SECOND TIME - SOUND OF AFRICA

An Italian group, but one who play here with a style that draws strongly from the long tradition of South African jazz – on an album recorded as part of a protest against that nation's recent massacre in Marikana! The vibe here is great – and the whole thing almost feels like a lost 70s classic from the Johannesburg scene, or some of the overlooked soulful sets recorded later on the Sheer label – with a lineup that includes Claudio Cojaniz on piano, Alessandro Turchet on bass, Luca Colussi on drums, and Luca Grizzo on percussion and just a bit of vocals. The music is often quite rhythmic – flowing out in those long-spun cycles that Dollar Brand brought to jazz many years ago – but there's also some more lyrical, sensitive moments too – on titles that include "Lion's Trip", "Dadaab", "Ugarit", "Four Little Boys In Capetown/Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika", "Marikana", and "Blue Dance".  ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE - BOOK OF SOUND; S-TONE INC – ONDA; SYLVIA BENNETT – BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE FEATURING PAUL BROWN

HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE - BOOK OF SOUND

Beautiful sounds from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – a group who've matured tremendously in the time that they've been giving us music – and who almost seem ready here to take on the legacy of their musical father – the late Kelan Phil Cohran! There's a complexity to the horn work here that's even deeper than before – amazing tones and textures from trumpets, trombones, euphonium, and sousaphone – all balanced with these sonic currents on guitar, bass, and electronics – instruments used in subtle ways, but to strongly shape the brass elements with maybe more spiritual overtones than in previous years – almost as if the group is growing, and getting even more serious about their message – with echoes that stretch back to the work of Cohran, and maybe Sun Ra's Arkestra, the world of Strata East, and even the tonal colors of Oliver Nelson at his best. Titles include "Heaven & Earth", "Midnight", "Now", "Morning Prayer", "Purple Afternoon", "Lead The Way", "Synapsis", "Royalty", "Solstice", and "Sri Neroti".  ~ Dusty Groove

S-TONE INC – ONDA

A beautifully collaborative project from S-Tone – aka Stefano Tirone – done in a way that makes his already warm grooves sound even better than usual! The album's got a blend of modern production and older Brazilian music references – not the more mainstream bossa remix style, but instead a very careful consideration and re-fusion of just the right sort of rhythms and instrumentation – which are then warmed up by vocals from a shifting range of singers who really help bring a great sense of spirit to the album. All tracks are original – and the modes run from samba soul to funky Brazilian jazz, to maybe even a bit of more straightforward MPB – yet almost always mixed with a nicely soulful spirit too. Labelmate Toco is on a number of tracks here – and titles include "Superbacana", "Zona Norte", "Zuzu", "Estrada Real", "Luz Da Joaca", "Vale Do Misterio", "I Can't Keep Up With Your Love", and "Vontade De Viver".  ~ Dusty Groove.
  
SYLVIA BENNETT – BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE FEATURING PAUL BROWN

It may be getting colder outside, but it's definitely getting warmer on the radio as we enter the season to be jolly! Our favorite jazz singer teams with double Grammy winner Paul Brown and critically-acclaimed Miami producer Hal S. Batt for a tour de force, musical holiday surprise, a sophisticated, charismatic cover of "Baby, It’s Cold Outside," featuring PB on vocals, guitar and drums… A sweet blending of soulful and rugged with Sylvia's flawless, velvety delivery! With a smile, smirk and classic sex appeal Bennett thwarts Brown's characterization of the tune's relentless and compelling argument for staying snuggly indoors! A fun, festive arrangement featuring bouncy horns a plenty, and the duos irresistible, albeit confounding chemistry, makes it impossible to listen once... the video is even more addictive! Don’t hold out, check out this year’s favorite holiday hit! ~ smoothjazz.com


A Special, Swinging Night in Michigan Is Captured in Trombonist/Composer Delfeayo Marsalis' First-Ever Live Album

While the recording studio offers an ideal, controlled environment for audio fidelity and perfectionist tinkering, the bandstand is where any musician's mettle is tested - live, in the moment, under the scrutinizing gaze of a rapt audience. On Kalamazoo, trombonist/composer Delfeayo Marsalis (pronounced Del-fee-oh) places his gift for entertaining a crowd under the spotlight, vividly capturing not only the buoyant, lively chemistry that he shares with a stellar quartet, but also his engaging rapport with an audience, and his playful sense of humor.

Kalamazoo, out now via Marsalis' own Troubadour Jass Records, documents a single performance, recorded in the midst of a seven-day tour supporting Marsalis' The Last Southern Gentlemen CD. As on that album, the trombonist is joined by his legendary father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, along with a newly assembled rhythm section consisting of bassist Reginald Veal and the mighty Ralph Peterson on drums. The recording is in one sense a snapshot of a single, once-in-a- lifetime evening, the first night this particular quartet had ever shared the stage and full of spontaneous, unrehearsed moments that will never be repeated. At the same time it's a representative portrait of a typical Delfeayo Marsalis performance, each one unique but ensuring the same timeless, swinging thrills.

"Live recordings are important because they truly capture the essence of who you are as a person and how you play as a musician," Marsalis says. "Different artists create their definitive live recordings at different points in their career. For example, my brother Branford was 31 when he recorded Bloomington. Wynton was 42 when he was finally captured on Live at the House of Tribes. This is my equivalent to those recordings; it gives the listener a true understanding of who I am, how my shows are structured."

While a single night with a single band can't hope to represent the full range of Marsalis' musical vision - his last release was the big-band protest date Make America Great Again! and his more modern compositional side is showcased on albums like Pontius Pilate's Decision - Kalamazoo instead reveals the many sides of the trombonist's personality over the course of the evening. From elegant balladry to down and dirty blues, the celebratory gusto of his native New Orleans to the sophisticated swing of an Ellington classic, fiery passion to educational torch-passing, Marsalis' exhaustive knowledge of the jazz tradition and commitment to its future are evident throughout.

"In the jazz world these days, there's a lot of attention being paid to more introverted ways of playing," Marsalis explains. "We need more leaders like Count Basie or Louis Armstrong. Not that we have to imitate those older styles, but we have to provide the foundations of entertainment and swing in jazz performance. That, to me, is the importance of this album: it's inside, it's in the pocket, it's soulful, and you can feel the audience engagement. Yes, I think we have an obligation to represent the entire history of American music whenever possible because, one, we've studied it and two, it allows the younger musicians the opportunity to play more avant-garde. Someone has to hold down the fort!"

That's especially true on the concert's most surprising number, the theme from Sesame Street, which Marsalis reveals to be a blues before a ripple of astonished recognition spreads audibly through the crowd. He also skillfully draws them in with one of his specialties, a composition created on the spot - this time with the added wrinkle of a pair of Western Michigan University students brave enough to join the band. Singer Christian O'Neill Diaz and drummer Madison George acquit themselves admirably through the trial by fire that became "Blue Kalamazoo."

"Part of maturing is being able to not only assist, but to also challenge the younger generation," Marsalis says. "If we had performed a song that Christian sings all the time, he would have probably sung in auto- pilot mode. Creating a song together spontaneously forces you to reach deep inside and stay committed to the moment. It's an African tradition. After an hour of music, the audience had developed a rapport with the quartet, so when the students joined in everyone was basically thinking, 'All right, let's see what y'all got.' Because they were definitely underdogs in the situation, everyone was cheering for them to succeed. It was a beautiful moment in time and a great representation of the democratic process."

Democracy is also in action on the bandstand, as when the trombonist pauses to ask the senior Marsalis whether he wants to play the standard "If I Were a Bell" or "Emily" for a trio outing; the choice of "Bell" takes the program in a more upbeat direction. Playing with his formidable father, Delfeayo says, offers both an inspiring pressure and an ideal foil. "We make the perfect duo. My dad is pretty stoic and I tend to approach the music more from the standpoint of entertainment. I guess you could say we both keep each other honest! That's the great part of playing with older and younger musicians: the exchange of ideas and energy based on varying levels of experience."

The bulk of the evening consists of well-known standards called off the cuff, including such favorites as "My Funny Valentine," "Autumn Leaves," and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Marsalis' sultry, swaying "The Secret Love Affair" is reprised from The Last Southern Gentlemen, while the show closes, appropriately enough, with "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," an ode to the city with which the Marsalis clan is synonymous. In the end, the chosen material is perfectly suited, as it sets the stage for such a high-caliber band to stretch out and invent together.

"Sharing the bandstand with musicians at the top level allows you to express your musical ideas freely," Marsalis concludes. "You've got to be at the top of your game 100% of the time. All of our life experiences prepare us for today and now, and a great occasion was well-documented in Kalamazoo."

Internationally acclaimed trombonist, producer and educator Delfeayo Marsalis was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2011. In his native New Orleans, he founded the Uptown Music Theatre to provide professional dramatic arts training and encourage community unity in young people. Marsalis has produced over 120 jazz CDs and released seven albums as a leader - including the politically charged Make America Great Again! with his 15-piece Uptown Jazz Orchestra. He has composed 18 children's musicals and is the author of the award-winning children's book No Cell Phone Day.




LATIN GRAMMY AWARD-WINNER VICTOR RICE’S FIRST ALBUM IN NEARLY 15 YEARS: SMOKE, A FINE BLEND OF SAMBA AND ROCKSTEADY

Latin GRAMMY Award-winning engineer, producer, and musician Victor Rice is gearing up to release his first solo album in almost 15 years. The subtly-complex elegance of Smoke provides a rich smoothness made available through tastemaker label Easy Star Records on November 3rd. Smoke takes Rice’s knowledge from experience across a realm of genres and cultures and rolls it all into a consistent line of thought, resulting in a fusion Rice identifies as “samba rocksteady,” or SRS. Victor stated his goal for the album “was about finding a way to fuse two different styles of music and dance from the 1960’s, Brazilian samba-rock and Jamaican rocksteady.”

Smoke is filled with a classic warmth which presents a serene mood, contrasted by an edginess veiled in the details throughout. Inspired by relaxed and quiet surroundings and a team of great musicians, Rice began conceptualizing his goal of fusing the two distinct styles, creating something that felt new while drawing previously unclear lines of commonalities. Being honored as a guest in Belgium at the home studio of collaborator Nico Leonard opened up time and allowed Rice’s muse to visit.

A well-respected contributor to legendary bands such as The Slackers, Easy Star All-Stars, Bixiga70, and The Skatalites, Rice has also received top recognition for his mixing and engineering capabilities during his immersive stay in Brazil, which helped him bring home two Latin GRAMMYs (2015, 2016) and become further knowledgeable in the depths of underappreciated Brazilian music. The results of this blend of styles are at first glance very easy to listen to with a sense of stability, but upon further evaluation, intricate details emerge around the solid core, as Rice adroitly explains that “music systems all over the world are founded on the physical laws of earthly acoustics, without option. This line of thinking led me to create a series of simple ‘tonal motion’ studies - creating a harmonic environment within the laws of western counterpoint around a fixed movement by one voice.” Or, as he figuratively puts it “…a musical study of molecular behavior.”

A taste of Victor’s signature blend is most evident in songs like “Fumaça,” “Lou,” “Turn,” and “Motion II.” In Europe with plenty of time on his hands, Rice took a deep dive into applying music theory in unique ways, as showcased by the auditory illusion of modulation in “The Dream” and studies in interval motions in “Motion Study I” and “Motion Study II.” Varying time signatures prove no obstacle for the musical agility of Rice with tracks like “Turn” and “Bermuda Triangle,” while more personal stories are embedded into tracks like “Mr. Brooks,” an homage to an esteemed colleague, the late, great Cedric IM Brooks.

Smoke is a remarkable effort from a man whose contributions have made ripples around the globe. A pleasant ambience mixed with a virtuosic soul make Smoke an album worthy of appreciation. 

Tracklist:
Lou
Tema
Turn
Bermuda Triangle
Motion Study I
Mr. Brooks
Fumaça
Party Line
The Dream
Motion Study II

 

NEW RELEASES: EBAN BROWN – SUMMERTIME IN TOKYO; ED TAYLOR – IT’S COMPLICATED; URBAN JAZZ COALITION - XXII

EBAN BROWN – SUMMERTIME IN TOKYO

In his stints with classic R&B groups, The Manhattans, The Sylistics, The Delfonics, as well as others, Eban Brown’s sparkling electric guitar work often took a backseat to his great vocal talent. As on his previous solo recordings, Brown’s silky, light funk driven new album Summertime In Tokyo showcases his crisp, buoyant electric melodies while featuring fresh and engaging vocal textures. He compliments the collection’s well-rendered cover tunes with a batch of dynamic originals, including a thoughtful George Duke tribute on which Brown approximates Duke’s high register vocals. Summertime In Tokyo will warm up the entire year! ~ smoothjazz.com

ED TAYLOR – IT’S COMPLICATED

Ed Taylor may call his dynamic new album It’s Complicated, but the Smooth Jazz and R&B influenced guitarist and vocalist’s mission as a composer and artist is fairly simple and straightforward, “I want to play and write creative music that can uplift the lives of everyday people.” A onetime Motown session player, Taylor has been a popular draw in his longtime home of Tacoma, Washington as the leader of the band Usual Suspect. Stepping out as a solo artist, he incorporates reggae and tropical flavors amidst the crisply played in the pocket, contemporary jazz gems. If you’re looking for an easy out, here's your musical escape, nothing complicated about it! ~ smoothjazz.com

URBAN JAZZ COALITION - XXII

The title of Urban Jazz Coalition’s new album, XXII, represents an extraordinary achievement for the Columbus, Ohio based six piece powerhouse ensemble founded by the visionary bassist Phil Raney. The group celebrates 22 years of performing regionally and at some of America’s hottest jazz festivals, as well as backing Smooth Jazz greats like Peter White, Jeff Lorber and Nick Colionne. XXII, their 11th album, is the most accessible Smooth Jazz Project they’ve ever done and we expect big things from it. It’s a tight, soulful, in the pocket masterwork showcasing the edgy solo virtuosity of - and blazing interaction between - saxophonist Richard Randolph, guitarist Duane Tribune and keyboardist Brandon Howard, and the driving rhythm section of Raney and drummer Rich "Rico" Adams and percussionist Hector Maldonado. You’ll want to hang around for UJC’s next XXII years! ~ smoothjazz.com


NEW RELEASES: BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – THE LEGEND LIVE IN SANTA BARBARA; MAVIS STAPLES – IF ALL I WAS WAS BLACK; PHIILIP BRANDON - THE STORY BEGINS

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – THE LEGEND LIVE IN SANTA BARBARA

One of the last Bob Marley live performances committed to film before his untimely death in May 1981, ‘The Legend Live’ features the Tuff Gong in his full pomp, performing 21 of his most popular works at the Santa Barbara County Bowl on the 25th of November 1979. Now widely considered an equal of the now legendary ‘Live at the Rainbow’ show from 1977, the concert includes superb versions of such major hits as ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, ‘One Drop’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Jamming’, ‘Is This Love’, ‘Stir It Up’ and the anthemic ‘Get Up Stand Up’. The concert footage on the DVD runs for approximately 90 minutes, with the disc also featuring the 51 minute documentary ‘Prophecies and Messages’, which includes half an hour of interview footage with Bob Marley and the Wailers’ keyboard player, Tyrone Downie. The audio disc comprises the very best of the band’s performances from the night, most of which have never previously been released on CD.

MAVIS STAPLES – IF ALL I WAS WAS BLACK

Mavis Staples is an American music legend. She was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, as singer for the legendary gospel group, the Staple Singers. Mavis, along with her father, Pops, and siblings marched and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on the fight for equality in this country. Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy got together and wrote Mavis’ new album, If All I Was Was Black, which Jeff also produced. The new album is a perfect message for our time and is by far Mavis’ best work to date



PHIILIP BRANDON - THE STORY BEGINS

On his stylistically expansive, trailblazing debut The Story Begins, vocalist and songwriter Phillip Brandon mines a wide range of soul inspiration - from Gregory Porter and Stevie Wonder to Luther Vandross and James Brown - to create an old-school meets contemporary, soul-jazz extravaganza for the ages. A global musical theatre veteran, Brandon tells his richly textured musical stories with an artful balance of dramatic emotional power and graceful restraint. The set includes a dreamy duet with his mom Brenda, a former Raelettes backup singer for the legendary Ray Charles. Make The Story Begins part of your life story! ~ smoothjazz.com


Barbra Streisand To Release Concert Album : The Music…The Mem'ries…The Magic!

Columbia Records has announced the upcoming release of Barbra Streisand's The Music…The Mem'ries…the Magic! album to debut on December 8th. Fans can pre-order the new album today HERE. On November 22, Netflix will premiere Barbra: The Music…The Mem'ries…the Magic!  The special was filmed on the last stop of the iconic superstar's 13-city 2016 tour, showcasing a career-crowning array of legendary songs also featured on the eagerly anticipated album. 
  
The album is available in two versions (track listings below): A single disc, 19-song album of memorable concert highlights, and a Deluxe 2 disc set featuring the entire concert performance. Streisand takes us behind-the- scenes while recording her recent #1 album: ENCORE Movie Partners Sing Broadway.  (Barbra is the only recording artist in history to achieve a # 1 Album in six consecutive decades.) The internationally renowned lineup of artists on ENCORE, released prior to the last leg of the 2016 tour includes Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Jamie Foxx, Melissa McCarthy, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, and others.

The 13 city tour received rave reviews and played to record-breaking sold-out audiences. The Netflix concert TV special, Barbra: The Music…The Mem'ries…the Magic! was directed by Jim Gable and Barbra Streisand and written by Barbra with Jay Landers and Richard Jay-Alexander.  The special begins streaming on Netflix at 12:01 AM on November 22. 

Barbra Streisand has recorded 52 gold, 31 platinum and 13 multi-platinum albums in her career. She is the only woman to make the All-Time Top 10 Best Selling Artists list. Streisand has had 34 albums make the Top 10 on the US charts, the only female artist to have achieved this milestone, tying her with Frank Sinatra. She is also the female artist with the most number one albums in Billboard's history. Widely recognized as an icon in multiple entertainment fields, she has attained unprecedented achievements as a recording artist, actor, concert performer, producer, director, author and songwriter; awarded two Oscars, five Emmys, ten Golden Globes and eight Grammys plus two special Grammys, among other numerous awards, Barbra Streisand belongs to a select multi-hyphenated "EGOT" club for artists who have received the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards.

TRACK LISTING
STANDARD CD PACKAGE
1.People Overture (Entrance)
2.The Way We Were
3.Everything
4.Being At War With Each Other
5.No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
6.Evergreen 
7.You Don't Bring Me Flowers
8.Being Alive
9.Papa, Can You Hear Me?
10.Pure Imagination
11.Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) with Anthony Newley
12.Losing My Mind
13.Isn't This Better
14.How Lucky Can You Get
15.Don't Rain On My Parade
16.People
17.Climb Ev'ry Mountain with Jamie Foxx
18.Happy Days Are Here Again
19.I Didn't Know What Time It Was

TRACK LISTING
DELUXE CD PACKAGE

DISC 1:
ACT I
1.People Overture (Entrance)
2.The Way We Were
3.Introductory Remarks 
4.Everything
5.Being At War With Each Other
6.No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
7.Evergreen 
8.You Don't Bring Me Flowers
9.Being Alive
10.Directing Movies 
11.Papa, Can You Hear Me?

DISC 2:
ACT II
1.Pure Imagination
2.Making Encore (with Seth MacFarlane, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Jamie Foxx,    Antonio Banderas, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Wilson, Melissa McCarthy, Daisy Ridley)
3.Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) with Anthony Newley
4.Losing My Mind
5.Isn't This Better
6.How Lucky Can You Get
7.Don't Rain On My Parade
8.People
9.Climb Ev'ry Mountain with Jamie Foxx
10.Happy Days Are Here Again
11.Jingle Bells?
12.With One More Look At You
13.I Didn't Know What Time It Was

BONUS TRACKS
   14.   By The Way
   15.   Children Will Listen
   16.   Everything Must Change


Capitol Records Continues Celebration Of 75th Anniversary With Second Installment Of Holiday And Seasonal Classics, "A Capitol Christmas Volume 2"

Capitol Records’ celebration of its 75th anniversary continues with the release of "A Capitol Christmas Volume 2," a collection of 24 timeless holiday and seasonal classics sung by the label’s unmatched list of legends. Available now digitally and on 2CD, and December 1 as a double LP in gatefold cover, the album brings together some of pop music’s most iconic holiday songs with extremely rare recordings originally issued in very limited release.

Tonight, the historic Capitol Records Tree atop the iconic Capitol Records building will be lit at sundown for the 59th time, ushering in the holiday season in Hollywood. Designed by Ollsen Lighting and featuring more than 4,373 bulbs, the tree has been a part of the Los Angeles skyline each December since 1958.

A fitting companion to last year's timeless collection, A Capitol Christmas Volume 2 continues to mine Capitol's deep reservoir of holiday and seasonal standards sung by millions of celebrants each winter. The album features Wayne Newton's jubilant takes on the rockabilly Christmas classic "Jingle Bell Rock" and perennial favorite "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," both originally released in 1966 on his first holiday album, Songs For A Merry Christmas, three years after his debut record on Capitol. Glen Campbell was one of Capitol's most iconic stars of the '60s and '70s, recording a remarkable 40 albums for the label. In 1968, on the heels of a string of hit albums – the Grammy Award-winning By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Gentle On My Mind and the #1 record Wichita Lineman – Campbell teamed back up with Capitol's in-house producer and arranger Al De Lory for That Christmas Feeling. The album is showcased here with Campbell's exquisite rendition of the Elvis Presley-immortalized "Blue Christmas" and the lesser known "Old Toy Trains," which was written by his good friend Roger Miller and shows off a different side of the singer. Second only to the Beatles, The Beach Boys were Capitol's most popular recording act from the '60s until the end of the decade. For their fifth Capitol release, Brian Wilson turned his attention to the holidays, asking Four Freshmen's arranger, Dick Reynolds, to write the charts for a 40-piece orchestra. The result was 1964's The Beach Boys' Christmas Album which featured their sunny take on "Frosty the Snowman" and Wilson's original "Christmas Day," which marked rhythm guitarist Al Jardine's debut as a lead singer, both included here. 

The album spotlights some of the best of Capitol's Christmas recordings from the 1940s, '50 and '60s and transports listeners to a simpler time. Take thirteen-year-old Molly Bee's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," which caused a stir in 1952 when the song's lyrics were condemned by the Catholic Church of Boston, but has survived to become a modern holiday classic, as easily recognizable as more traditional fare like "White Christmas." Irving Berlin's iconic song is represented here with a tranquil guitar and vocal-driven version by six-string legend Les Paul and his foil Mary Ford. Other chestnuts include crooner Al Martino's lush, orchestral "Silver Bells" and Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians instrumental "Auld Lang Syne," a song so ubiquitous it's the soundtrack to New Year's Eve around the world.

In addition to the beloved seasonal standards, the holiday compilation also features rare and interesting takes throughout like Nancy Wilson's perfect interpretation of Frank Sinatra's "The Christmas Waltz," a true rarity that only appeared on a December 1968 limited-press promotional LP, The Capitol Disc Jockey Album. The incomparable Dinah Shore's delivers a lightly swinging rendition of "Jingle Bells" originally issued on an unknown number of complimentary vinyl discs that were distributed as Christmas cards in Chevrolet dealerships around the country. Accomplished recording artist and movie star Lena Horne is spotlighted with the joyous "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and the beautiful, pensive "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" That song was a rare non-musical theater entry by Frank Loesser, composer of "Guys & Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." In Horne's hands, the song becomes an alluring jazz ballad. And "Away in a Manger" in the hands of Charlie and Ira Louvin is nothing short of miraculous, full of raw emotion and the unrelenting shadow of sin the Louvins were so great at conveying.

In the true spirit of the holidays, A Capitol Christmas Volume 2 collects two dozen magical recordings that have helped to make the season bright for generations, bringing joy to the hearts and ears.

A CAPITOL CHRISTMAS CD/DIGITAL TRACK LISTING
1.Jingle Bell Rock – Wayne Newton
2.Blue Christmas – Glen Campbell
3.The Christmas Waltz – Nancy Wilson
4.Frosty The Snowman – The Beach Boys
5.Christmas All Alone – The Lettermen
6.Jingle Bells – Dinah Shore
7.I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Molly Bee
8.A Marshmallow World – Ray Anthony and his Orchestra
9.Winter Wonderland – Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers
10.I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm – The Starlighters
11.Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Lena Horne
12.Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer – Wayne Newton
13.Christmas Day – The Beach Boys
14.Old Toy Trains – Glen Campbell
15.Away in a Manger – The Louvin Brothers
16.Silver Bells – Al Martino
17.I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians
18.What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? – Lena Horne
19.Do You Hear What I Hear? – Sonny James
20.Song of the Sleigh Bells – June Hutton & Axel Stordahl
21.Love Turns Winter to Spring – The Four Freshmen
22.White Christmas – Les Paul & Mary Ford
23.Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) – Gordon MacRae
24.Auld Lang Syne – Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians

A CAPITOL CHRISTMAS VOL. 2 LP TRACK LISTING

SIDE A
1.Jingle Bell Rock – Wayne Newton
2.Blue Christmas – Glen Campbell
3.The Christmas Waltz – Nancy Wilson
4.Frosty The Snowman – The Beach Boys
5.Christmas All Alone – The Lettermen
6.Jingle Bells – Dinah Shore

SIDE B
1.I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Molly Bee
2.A Marshmallow World – Ray Anthony and his Orchestra
3.Winter Wonderland – Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers
4.I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm – The Starlighters
5.Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Lena Horne
6.Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer – Wayne Newton

SIDE C
1.Christmas Day – The Beach Boys
2.Old Toy Trains – Glen Campbell
3.Away in a Manger – The Louvin Brothers
4.Silver Bells – Al Martino
5.I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians
6.What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? – Lena Horne

SIDE D
1.Do You Hear What I Hear? – Sonny James
2.Song of the Sleigh Bells – June Hutton & Axel Stordahl
3.Love Turns Winter to Spring – The Four Freshmen
4.White Christmas – Les Paul & Mary Ford
5.Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) – Gordon MacRae
6.Auld Lang Syne – Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians


 

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