Archive for June 7th, 2011

Michael Franks – Time Together

Michael Franks, the ever-artful singer-songwriter and harvester of the most delectable musical passion fruit known to distingué lovers, has returned with his 18th offering, Time Together, his first for Shanachie, to be released June 14, 2011, and his first since 2006’s Rendezvous in Rio.

Like James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon, Michael Franks possesses a unique gift for dreaming up eloquent literary imagery and combining it with the right musical accents to create timeless masterpieces. With his signature laidback vocalizing and sexy/witty/cool songwriting, Michael Franks is a musician’s musician whose music has been covered by everyone from Ringo Starr, Patti LaBelle, and Carmen McCrae to Natalie Cole and Diana Krall.

Suitably inspired and languorous, the 11-song Time Together unfolds like a grown folks summer vacation – worldly word travels from New York to Paris and Egypt via Samba Air…without leaving your Adirondack lounge chair. Production/Arranging duties were split between past collaborators Charles Blenzig (Franks’ Musical Director and keyboardist on the road), Gil Goldstein, Chuck Loeb, and Scott Petito, plus one from fretless bassist Mark Egan. With a choice cast of players that includes: guitarist David Spinozza, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, saxophonist Eric Marienthal (whom adds a mellifluous solo to the first single “Now That The Summer’s Here”), brass men Till Bronner (from Germany) and Alex Sipiagin (from Russia), drummer Billy Kilson, guitarist Romero Lubambo (from Brazil), and his faithful singer from the road Veronica Nunn (who recorded an entire album of his work last year titled The Art of Michael Franks), the soulfully singular jazz artisan shares another thoughtful collection of penetrating poetry and groove guaranteed to arouse and soothe.

Thematically, Time Together is part travelogue and part autobiography with a taste of socio-political observation. “Summer In New York,” is a musical travel brochure, setting up a hip east coast swing itinerary to the modern pulse of a lounge club mix tape, while “Samba Blue,” is a sexy-sax-and-guitar-kissed reminiscence of a “foreign affair” (with his wife, Claudia) in Paris.

Similarly, “I’d Rather Be Happy Than Right,” is sage advice set to a soundtrack like Wes Montgomery meets Tom Jobim, while “My Heart Said Wow” is a short but sweet shing-a-ling swing lover’s treat. The dreamy summer’s end meditation “If I Could Make September Stay,” with adoring bows to ornithology and a piano-shadowing-guitar intro that brings to mind early Joni Mitchell, will keep enchanted fans mooning in front of their picture windows for several rounds on repeat. And those are just the lighter tunes.

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Lin Rountree – Soul-Tree

Soul-Trumpeter Lin Rountree continues to push boundaries with his most audacious project to date: Soul-Tree, The Soul-Jazz Experience. This R&B/Soul based jazz project is written and produced by Rountree along with Dana Davis, Jeff Canady, Tony Gordon and Monica Marie Jones.

The first single is a rockin’ version of Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World.” All of the songs on Soul-Tree represent a new direction in instrumental soul and as a driving force in the new generation of instrumental soloists and polished recording artist; Lin Rountree creates music that will move your soul.

Soul-Tree  is available at CDUniverse.