Archive for November 28th, 2009

Karen Briggs – Soulchestral Groove

Soulchestral Groove is Karen Briggs’ first, long awaited independent release since the grand exposure of PBS Special, Yanni: Live At The Acropolis! Sum up the equation of soul plus orchestral plus groove and this CD exudes it all!

The opening Title Track, Soulchestral Groove delivers an obvious orchestral connection with a ‘sure-to-make-your head-bop’ groove. Arranged by neo-soul crooner/keyboardist extraordinaire, Frank McComb, this track is sure to grab the listener. Acropolis fans will not be disappointed as Triumph and Scheherazade’s Groove (Tracks 8 & 9) remenisce the fire-driven violin ‘soul-o’s’ that the violinist is most recognized for.

Little Sunflower (Track 2) pays homage to late-great artists Freddie Hubbard and Curtis Mayfield, by elegantly joining the late trumpeter‘s Little Sunflower melody with the groove of Curtis Mayfield’s I’m Your Pusherman. Minnie Riperton’s popular classic, Loving You (Track 5) sounds like a natural vehicle for violin.

The Lady in Red has recorded extensively as featured soloist with a host of notable artists, including Ledisi (Lost & Found), Stanley Clarke (Vertu/Sony 550, Night School DVD), Hidden Beach’s Unwrapped Volumes 1-5, Wu Tang Clan (Reunited), Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin & Donnie McClurkin (Hopeville DVD). The music also exposes heart generated emotion through a soulful fiddler whose unique, melissmatic tonal expressions are likened to ‘violin ear candy!’ She improvises through the colors with pizzicato, harmonics, orchestral layers and fire with a ‘funky’ elegance and an exotic attitude. Her violin distinction flows throughout each genre, as Karen’s writer/arranger skills are uniquely tailored to her violin gifts on this easy to listen to CD.

Other standouts participants include Cameroonian bassist, composer and producer, André Manga (Manu DiBango, Josh Groban, Angelique Kidjo) and keyboardist/arranger, Brandon Coleman among the excellent accompaniment.

Enjoy this expression of improvised soul, attitude, culture and passion in Karen Briggs’s newest endeavor now available at CDBaby.

Lawson Rollins – Espirito

With a vibrant Hispanic community of more than 5 million people, the city of Los Angeles boasts many ways to celebrate Latin American music. No wonder that San Francisco based Lawson Rollins is infected by this type of music. He consequently started his career last year with the Latin guitar fusion album Infinita.

His sophomore album Espirito he produced with Shahin Shahida (of the Persian-American World Music group Shahin & Sepehr) and Dominic Camardella (3rd Force, Ottmar Liebert). Lawson is supported by singer Flora Purim, percussionist Airto Moreira, violinist Charlie Bisharat, Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan (harmonium), Jeff Elliot (trumpet), Randy Tico (bass), and Dave Bryant (drums, percussion).

“I love the hybrid quality of World Music and how it allows for cross-cultural communication and exchange. The Spanish guitar is a true manifestation of the commingling of cultures with its ties to the Arabic oud, the Persian tar, even the Indian sitar, so drawing on those connections seems natural to me,” Rollins explains his new album. “We took a far-ranging musical journey with the players on Espirito. Near the end (of the record), we slide into the ether. The notes slow down and evaporate into silence, a prayerful conclusion to the album, a moment of thankfulness for the alchemy that took place between the musicians.”

On Rumba del Sol Lawson Rollins and Charlie Bisharat fight a strong Flamenco battle. I will never find out who is playing the notes quicker, anyway really impressing. Moonlight Samba presents a modest attitude and let the lovely melody flow. Flora Purim and Flora’s daughter Diana Booker refine the song with breathed words, although Lawson’s powerful acoustic guitar takes the lead.

Continue reading Lawson Rollins – Espirito

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