Posts Tagged ‘ Soul ’

Chicago Soul Jazz Collective – On the Way to Be Free

ChicagoSoulJazzCollective_OnTheWaytoBeFreecoverThe name of this band tells you what you need to know about its purpose and history. Chicago, where Louis Armstrong moved to make his first records, is also the birthplace of gospel music, which gave rise to its secular cousin, soul; and few cities grooved harder to the post-bop soul-jazz revolution of the 1950s and ‘60s than Chicago. Decades later, here comes the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, co-led by saxophonist John Fournier and trumpeter Marques Carroll, doubling down on this storied jazz idiom and hitting pay dirt for a new century.

For their CSJC’s third album, On the Way to Be Free, the group raises the ante by inviting Dee Alexander to join in. Chicago’s grand dame of jazz vocals (as well as a syndicated broadcaster), the internationally acclaimed Alexander elevates every project she undertakes. She’s a shape-shifter who ranges far and wide, from her groundbreaking work with Chicago’s famed AACM, to her own strikingly original compositions, to her celebrations of the music’s great divas, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holiday (as on Alexander’s guest appearance with the Metropolitan Jazz Octet on its 2019 album, It’s Too Hot for Words). And as she proves here, she can sass and strut with the best. Just listen as she levitates the bandstand on the fiery protest “The Man Is Coming Back,” and then she settles into the soulful ballad “So Alive” and drapes it in all the plummy finery it deserves.

The CSJC repertoire effortlessly captures the early funk of such pioneers as Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley, but also encompasses rhythm-and-blues, classic ‘60s soul, and even neo soul, which Alexander also handles with experiential aplomb. All but one of the new album’s nine tracks were written by Fournier, whose songwriting has evolved to include evocative lyrics and memorable narratives – without abandoning the irresistible swagger that characterized the soul jazz heyday, neatly encompassed in “Behind the Crusaders.” (The title nods to one of the idiom’s most popular bands). Continue reading

Threestyle – Better Days

277805841_5351966804827953_6186758290255677640_nAlthough at home in Munich Threestyle has meanwhile the status of an International formation. Formed by saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova and guitarist Robert Fertl this musical diamond is worth listening to in any case.

For the new project both could win the following musicians: James L. Manning (bass), Lew Laing (keyboards), Gabriela Konrad (drums, percussion), Damon Dae (vocals), Tim Owens (vocals), Latonya Black Gilliard (vocals), DW3 (vocals), Ashley Sankey (vocals),  Elvis Stanic (guitar) and Robert Vally (bass). From the lineup, it’s easy to see that this album has its focus in the vocal realm.

The team has made a point of working out the pieces with the musicians involved. The album opens with Living In This House presenting singer Damon Dae. Dae is the featured vocalist on a total of six tracks, so it’s fair to think of him as the main performer on this album. His smoky tenor voice is distinct and puts the album’s emphasis on soul and R&B.

Read more …

Thomas Motter – Time

timeGerman keyboard genius Thomas Motter has made the music world blissful with the albums No Return (2005), Nite Angel (2006), High (2012), Lost & Loved (2013) and Somewhere Out There (2016). After personal strokes of fate, he has again found the strength for a new album in pandemic. His answer is Time (2021).

For Thomas, time is one of the most precious resources because it is limited and melts away so quickly. Conceptually, Thomas emphasizes many vocal contributions, juxtaposing singers with different timbres and performance styles. All tracks are written by Thomas often in cooperation with the relevant interpret.

The album opens with Closer 2U featuring highly expressive singer/songwriter LeNora Jaye. The energetic piece is powerfully supported by a strong brass trio consisting of Arno Haas (sax), Fred Birt (trombone) and Igor Rudytskyy (trumpet). Thomas Motter underlines everything with brilliant keyboard runs.

Read more …

Soul Hunters – Soul Hunters

a3959328140_16Released on digital and vinyl on Soul Hunters is an album of Neo-Soul and Soul-Jazz created by some of Italy’s foremost Jazz musicians and producers. With all tracks composed and arranged by renowned Jazz guitarist and composer Alberto Parmegiani and co-produced with A.MA Records head Antonio Martino and the label’s sound engineer supreme Tullio Ciriello, Soul Hunters is soul music for the present and reflects a love for Black music and the culture from where that music comes.

Soul Hunters combines both vocal and instrumental tracks on an album of 8 tracks which was released on the 8th of January 2021.  This recommendable album is available on bandcamp.

Michael Mayo – Bones

BonesBorn and raised in L.A., but a diehard New Yorker for the past five years (drawn by “the music, art and energy, its motivating factor”), 28-year-old Michael Mayo finished work on his debut solo album Bones, on the Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, just before COVID hit. The tracks were cut live with his band — keyboardist Andrew Freedman, bassist Nick Campbell and drummer Robin Baytas, all of whom he’s played with since high school or college — at Figure8 Recordings in Brooklyn. Eli Wolf, a veteran Grammy®-winning producer of albums by Al Green, Norah Jones and The Roots, did the honors behind the board. “Being from L.A., I really know how to chill, but coming to New York has really kicked me into gear,” says Mayo.

The son of “first-call” session and touring musicians, Michael’s dad Scott Mayo was a saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, among many others, and is currently the musical director for Sergio Mendes, while his mom Valerie Pinkston, now a back-up vocalist for Diana Ross, also sang with Beyoncé, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and even alt icon Morrissey.

Bones is Mayo’s first full-length album under his own name after studying at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute — now named after Herbie Hancock, who mentored Mayo, helping him discover the link between sound and technology through a looper pedal, and showcased him as a featured vocalist on a tour of South America in 2018. Continue reading

Gil – Sometimes A Man

Sometimes+a+man+-+cover+5Still a car business man Gil has now decided to start his musical career. His impetus is to listen to his own voice on the car radio. Gil’s debut album features the radio singles “Wishful Thinking”, Gil’s lyrical interpretation of the classic Earl Klugh song, and “Keep On Walking”, a cover of the Gino Vannelli hit along with six other tracks recorded with an all-star cast of musicians including Tom Braxton, David Lee Spradley, Ron Otis, Al Turner, Randy Bowland, Al Duncan and more is now available.

Get your signed CD here.

PrivatProjekt – Welcome

PrivatProjekt is a German band hailing from Hamburg. Founder of the formation is keyboardist Michel Reckhard. Comparable to the British group Incognito, initiated by Bluey, Michel is the creative free spirit who gathers professional musicians around him from the local music scene.  Thus, for his projects, changing line-ups can be found, which transform his sparkling ideas into inspiring music.

On his new album Welcome (2020) he performs drums, percussion, keys, synthesizer and backing vocals. He is joined by Jens Salsa (bass, guitar, keys, sythesizer, backing vocals), Alexander Precht (keys, synthesizer, backing vocals), Andrea Weiß, Bonny Ferrer, LayG, Stefanie Schandt, Eniola Falase (vocals), Gina Taperla Weppler and ForYourSoul (backing vocals), Michael Albers (guitar), Sven “Rolli Rhdes” Klemme (keys), and Nigel Lowis (guitar).

With about fifteen tracks you get much music for your money. The band describes their music as neo-soul, funk and philly. If comparisons are allowed, then the music of the British band Incognito or the Dutch group Tristan comes to mind most readily. The album starts immediately with the title song featuring vocalist Bonny Ferrer.  More tolerance, understanding and respect, no distance, contempt and incorrectness, these are the main concerns of this formation, which also see themselves as a mediator of a political approach.

Read more …

Vanessa Collier – Heart on the Line

Fresh off winning a 2020 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Instrumentalist – Horn Player of the Year for the second year in a row (2020 & 2019), Vanessa Collier is releasing her highly anticipated and self-produced fourth album, Heart on the Line. As a multi award-winning songwriter, master musician, and multi-instrumentalist, Vanessa shares a new album that weaves together funk, soul, rock, and blues. In her trademark style, Vanessa seamlessly blends musical styles, all while delivering soulful vocals and searing saxophone solos and demonstrating witty and impressive songwriting skills.

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to meet Vanessa Collier and witness one of her head turning, fiery, and passionate performances, you should definitely make sure you do. A 2013 graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Vanessa has toured extensively, both nationally and Internationally, and has released three critically acclaimed albums prior to 2020’s Heart on the Line (2014’s Heart, Soul & Saxophone; 2017’s Meeting My Shadow; and 2018’s Honey Up). Honey Up spent 9 weeks on the Top 15 Billboard Charts, three months on the Living Blues Report, and is currently spinning on Sirius XM in regular rotation.

Drawing once again on her music production and engineering degree from Berklee, Vanessa’s self-produced Heart on the Line includes eight new original songs, all written by Vanessa, as well as three re-imagined covers. Vanessa’s stories are delivered with incredible musicianship, gorgeous horn arrangements, and with engineering and production detail that is second to none. We hope you will enjoy Vanessa Collier’s Heart on the Line!

Buy the album at bandcamp.

Anastasio – Through The Sky

Flutist and saxophonist Enzo Anastasio graduated in saxophone at the conservatory Guiseppe Martucci in Salerno, where he got a degree of second level with the best grade. With the Neapolitan band Midi Funk he published the album Finalmente Funky (2005). In November 2015 he released his debut solo album Che Soddisfazione. His second album is Through The Sky, released on AlfaMusic in 2018.

This album features Vincenzo Anastasio on sax, Gregg Bissonnette on drums, Jimmy Earl on bass and David Garfield on piano and keyboard furthermore guitarist Federico Luongo, pianist and keyboardist Mario Nappi, trumpeter Gianfranco Campagnoli, keyboardist and synthbassist Paolo Sessa, trombonist Alessandro Tedesco and vocalists Cheryl Porter, Kalind Haynes and Kaita Kerr.

The cartoonistic design of the record cover promises cheerful and relaxed music. The opener Cycling in Venice Beach can be understood in the literal sense. The driving of the bicycle pedals are the first acoustic sounds that make it clear that your music system is still working. But then orderly saxophone harmonies announce the coming happiness.

Read more …

Bahama Soul Club – Bohemia After Dawn

Central element of the music of Bahama Soul Club is the percussion. This is no coincidence, because this formation was founded by Oliver Belz, a dedicated percussionist. Second in the group is keyboardist André Neundorf.

Together they released Rhythm Is What Makes Jazz Jazz (2008), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky (2010), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky Remixed (2013), The Cuban Tapes (2013), and Havana ’58 (2016). This year they are back with Bohemia After Dawn.

Additional artists on this edition are York (sax, flutes), Ralli King (guitar), Holger Stonjek (bass), Lars Lehmann (bass), Maike Jacobs (vocals), Claus Hartisch (guitar, bass), and Bela Heine (guitar). All tracks are written and performed by Oliver Belz and André Neundorf.

Read more …