Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest


Tuesday, 13 October 2015 20:51 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

tom-van-mainWhat is being described as "the UK's Biggest Celebration Of Blues, Roots, Soul and R&B" takes place at London's O2 between November 6th - 8th.

The Prudential BluesFest 2015 is set to present some big, big names at the key ticketed concerts while fringe events will feature over 30 free shows.

Amongst the major artists listed for the festival are Grammy-winning blues-rock group Tedeschi Trucks Band, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, the Dave Matthews Band, Georgie Fame, Bernie Marsden, Chris Farlowe and Dr Feelgood.

Also just announced is "The ABC Of Blues & Soul", a celebration of legendary female blues and soul vocalists, which will open the festival at indigO2 on the evening of Friday November 6th. This is a ticketed show and will feature Mica Paris, Lisa Stansfield, and Imelda May backed by a full orchestra and performing classic hits from the likes of Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.

The festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2015 having gone from strength to strength since launching in 2011 with concerts at a range of small London venues including the 100 Club, Union Chapel and The Jazz Cafe.

Find out more @

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 20:59



Tuesday, 13 October 2015 20:46 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

jrJIMMY WEBB'S UK tour earlier this year re-opened the debate about just who recorded the original version of his classic 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix'. In an anecdote packed show Jimmy revealed that the original recording was by JOHNNY RIVERS.

New York-born Rivers began his musical career in the late 50s as a rocker banging out covers of contemporary hits. In the 60s he morphed into a fine blue eyed soulster and ran his own Soul City label which helped launch the Fifth Dimension and amongst its backroom staff at various times were Willie Hutch and a certain Jimmy Webb. Logically, then, Rivers got first choice of Webb's early work – most notably 'Phoenix'.

Rivers' version of the tear-jerker appeared on his 1966 LP, 'Changes' and though some collectors have had trouble locating it, the album was reissued as "twofer" by BGO some years ago, and the good new is that it's still available. On the reissue, 'Changes' is paired with '65's 'In Action' making a formidable 24 tracker. The gem is, of, course, 'Phoenix' but you can also enjoy Johnny's version s of stuff like Chuck Berry's 'The Promised Land', Sam Cooke's 'Cupid' and his biggest ever hit 'Poor Side Of Town' which was covered by another Soul City artist, Al Wilson. Find out more about the release @

'By The Time I Get To Phoenix' was later "discovered" by Glen Campbell and the rest, of course, is history. By the way, in concert Jimmy Webb tells of how a geography geek once told him it was impossible to drive from LA to Phoenix in the timescale of the song! Webb's reply was the typically Webb-vague: "The song is actually a kind of fantasy about something I wish I would have done, and it sort of takes place in a twilight zone of reality." OK ...we understand now.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 21:00



Monday, 12 October 2015 15:50 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

larry-rosen-billboard-650Influential jazz producer and music biz entrepreneur, LARRY ROSEN died on Friday 9th October. His publicist said that Larry died at home in Park Ridge, New Jersey aged 75. He had been battling brain cancer.

Born in the Bronx in 1940, his greatest achievement will be seen as the creation of GRP Records. He officially set up the label in 1982 with pianist Dave Grusin – hence "GRP" – Grusin/Rosen Productions... though the pair preferred the nickname "great records: period". Rosen, a trained drummer, had gotten to know Grusin when they were both in Andy Williams' band and their business partnership was seen as a logical outcome to their friendship. Prior to the official birth of GRP the pair had acted as independent producers – leasing GRP material to labels like RCA, Blue Note and CTI

GRP was set up against the advice of their financial advisers and lawyers and Rosen and Grusin mortgaged their homes to borrow money to launch GRP. "It was two musicians who just believed in the music and merging technology with quality product. We wanted to see if audiences would like it and they did", said Rosen

GRP championed jazz-fusion and smooth jazz and enjoyed much crossover success. It was voted Billboard's No. 1 contemporary jazz label for five consecutive years and won 33 Grammys. Its catalogue included albums by people like Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Diana Krall, Tom Browne, Will Downing, George Benson, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Dr. John, Ramsey Lewis and Grusin himself. On the technological side, GRP was noteworthy as the first record label to use digital recording technology for all its releases and issue every release in the new CD format.

GRP was eventually sold to MCA Records in a multimillion-dollar deal, with Rosen remaining as president and CEO of the label until 1995.

Rosen then went on to found N2K - one of the first online music sites. For television, Rosen created and produced a series 'Legends of Jazz' with pianist Ramsey Lewis in 2006. He also established the annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2012 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre in Newark. More recently, Rosen's main focus was on producing jazz concerts.


Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2015 15:56



Sunday, 11 October 2015 18:29 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

curtis_blandonUS soul web sites are reporting the recent death of singer/songwriter CURTIS BLANDON. Northern soul fans will have fond memories of Curtis' best-known tune, 'In the Long Run' which was a club favourite for many years.

Blandon, born in Birmingham, Alabama, came from a musical family and his school pals included Eddie Kendricks and Shorty Long. His first musical foray was with a group called The Dubs, formed with his brother Richard. Moving to New York via Chicago, Blandon found a job with the Vocaleers before striking out as a solo singer.

After a spell in the army, he recorded for Buddah, and then reformed the Dubs before signing with Wand in 1972, where he scored his biggest success ... the lovely, optimistic 'In The Long Run'. The soundscape of the cut is very similar to the sound of Gene Chandler... hardly surprising since the Chicago soul legend produced it!

The song failed to break nationally, (though it became a big European Northern fave) and a disappointed Blandon moved into song writing enjoying most success with Gloria Gaynor. In 2007 Blandon released some new material under the heading "Northern Soul Legend" but it failed to make any impact!


Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2015 15:56



Sunday, 11 October 2015 18:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

daughetsrFancy supporting some real soul talent? Then log onto PledgeMusic - a community of artists and fans that believe in a better way to make and buy music....

Their latest project involves a truly soulful ensemble ... THE DAUGHTERS OF SOUL: - Lalah Hathaway, Lisa Simone, Indira Khan, Kori Withers, Syleena Johnson and Sylvette 'Phunne' Stone who are seeking web support to take their project to the next level. The ladies – all daughters of bona fide soul legends – have worked together for some years and are now working on new mutual ideas and projects.... notably new recordings, live concerts and a movie documentary.

By pledging support fans become eligible for

* A VIP Wine & Women upgrade passes to have after show drinks with the Daughters of Soul

* A day in the studio, in Los Angeles, for the making of the soundtrack

* A Daughters of Soul VIP concert experience in LA or London, with sound check and backstage access, (travel and lodging not included)

* A Lalah Hathaway VIP concert experience, worldwide (travel and lodging not included)

* A documentary screening party in LA or Amsterdam, (travel and lodging not included)

Find out more via the above web site.....

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 October 2015 18:36




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