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FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE UK - THE NYO JAZZ ENSEMBLE HEAD FOR EUROPE

Thursday, 21 June 2018 06:55 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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Carnegie Hall's newly-formed National Youth Jazz Orchestra - or NYO Jazz for short - are preparing for their first European sojourn during their foundation year.

The 22-member ensemble, comprising the cream of the USA's young jazz musicians (whose ages span 16-19), were put together earlier this year and after acclaimed US shows are looking forward to showcasing their talentS on an international stage.  They'll be landing in the United Kingdom on 31st July when they are due to perform at The Apex in Bury St. Edmonds. That's followed by a concert at Cadogan Hall in London on 1st August and four days later, on August 5th, they journey north to Scotland, where  they will appear Usher Hall, Edinburgh, as part of the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival.

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As a bonus, the NYO will have two special and highly experienced musicians with them - noted trumpeter SEAN JONES will lead the group and be its main soloist while multi-Grammy winning singer, DIANNE REEVES, will feature as a special guest.

Said Sean Jones ahead of the tour: “I look forward to sharing a truly unique educational and cultural experience with the students who will come together this summer to create NYO Jazz, as well as inspiring audiences with memorable performances that place the spotlight on our gifted youth…NYO Jazz will demonstrate that the Big Band is the perfect vehicle to reveal the diversity, scope, and profound ability of jazz music to express the vast dynamics within American music.”

Dianne Reeves is also excited by the prospect of playing with the young group. "It is a joy and an honour to tour with the brilliant young musicians of Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jaz," she said. "What a wonderful opportunity to share ideas, and aspirations. I know I’ll be inspired and I hope to be a source of the same as we share this musical journey."

More info here: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Education/Young-Musicians/NYO-Jazz

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2018 07:03

 

MUCH CLOSER TO STARDOM - RISING SINGER/SONGWRITER JUDITH HILL TALKS

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:21 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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Judith Hill is talking to me from Nashville, the iconic capital of country music. It's not a place you would imagine her to be, or, perhaps, have an affinity with - after all, she's a Los Angeles-raised R&B and funk singer with gospel music roots, but the 34-year-old confesses that being in the iconic Tennessee metropolis ignites her imagination.  "It's really, really, inspiring to be here in this city," she enthuses. "It's fun because I love any kind of bluegrass and roots guitar playing." That statement is not one you would perhaps expect to hear from someone who's worked closely with Michael Jackson and Prince but it's insightful because it reveals that Judith Hill is refreshingly different and doesn't think in terms of genres - to her, then, music is music: it's a universal language and a unifying force that all can share despite their ethnic and cultural diversity.

It's a viewpoint that fits in with the theme of the singer's latest single, 'The Pepper Club,' an addictive chunk of horn-laden funk with an infectious chorus. It offers a taste of her forthcoming second, story-driven, concept album, 'Golden Child.' "'The Pepper Club is the place where everybody comes together and celebrates culture and diversity," explains Judith. "I picture it as a cultural Mecca - a place that people can come and have a good time and enjoy themselves and celebrate life, regardless of who they are and what their background is."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:44

 

COMING THIS FRIDAY - KAMASI WASHINGTON'S KEENLY-AWAITED SECOND ALBUM

Saturday, 16 June 2018 11:16 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                              altTenor saxophonist and composer, KAMASI WASHINGTON, made jazz sexy and cool again in the eyes of mainstream audiences with 'The Epic,' his critically-acclaimed  triple album from 2015, which appealed as much to pop and rock fans as well as jazz's hardcore devotees. The secret to the 37-year-old's success  wasn't just down to visual presentation - Washington looks like a Biblical prophet leading a band of rock stars - but his music, with its big, uplifting melodies, sumptuous arrangements, high energy, and positive vibes,  gave the world something fresh and different. What's unique about him is that he's simultaneously groundbreaking and accessible.

Washington's popularity has also been fuelled by all the different festivals he and his band, The Next Step, have played over the last three years around the world, which has widened not only his own audience, but has seemingly given the general public a new appetite for contemporary jazz.

Following in the wake of last year's superb EP, 'Harmony Of Difference,' 'Heaven & Earth' is a 16-track concept album that will be available on double CD and vinyl. Washington is joined by his band, The Next Step - including singer, Patrice Quinn, pianist Cameron Graves, keyboardist Brandon Coleman, trombonist Ryan Porter, bassist Miles Mosley, and drummer Tony Austin - along with several members of The West Coast Get Down, a loose aggregation of Los Angeles musicians that includes Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner, his brother, drummer, Ronald Bruner, and Terrace Martin. Noted jazz singer, Dwight Tribble, features on the album's first single, 'Fists Of Fury.'

'Heaven & Earth' is available (on CD, LP, download, and to stream) via the Young Turks record label on Friday 22nd June.

   Look for a detailed review soon at SJF

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 June 2018 14:22

 

VERSATILE SOUL....

Friday, 15 June 2018 17:41 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAL LINDSEY is a veteran US soul man who, though born down in Virginia, actually began his singing career in Detroit where his family relocated to. By 14 he was singing lead in his local church choir and by 16 he was hitting the Motor City's night clubs.

He eventually hooked up with Lawrence Payton Jr (son of Four Tops, Lawrence Payton Snr and now a Top himself) before deciding to take the solo route. One of Al's first recordings 'Always On My Mind' became a cult Northern soul classic while a trio of albums gained a measure of success.

Al has just self-released his fourth long player – the ten tracker that is 'Versatility', and it's shaping up to be his most successful to date, being, well, "versatile". There's plenty for the dancers, different shadings of soul, heartfelt ballads and even a dash of reggae.

The cut garnering all the plaudits right now is the opening track 'Cotton Candy' – a tight, proper soul groove with a touch of toughness - perfect for the modern soul scene. Repeat plays of the album though allow the ballads to shine. Two of the best are 'Midsummer Dream' and 'Heavenly Thoughts' while the album's title cut attracts with its mix of lush orchestration, heartfelt vocals and meaningful, "social awareness" style lyrics. It's preceded by a monologue that adds a little more magic.

The album's lush soundscape in some ways reminds me of vintage Whispers sets, though elsewhere I can hear shades of Isaac Hayes. In truth Al's vocals go a little awry in places but in fact that only adds to the authentic, old school sound... certainly charming.

Al Lindsey's 'Versatility' is out now

Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2018 17:48

 

WE NEVER SAW THIS COMING!

Friday, 15 June 2018 15:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFor the past several years the enigmatic MAXWELL has been working on his BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT trilogy and, I think, we're still waiting for volume III. Well, it might be with us very soon. Today Maxwell has released a new single – the first track from the project. It's a very sombre, yes, mournful piece 'We Never Saw It Coming'... the production is sparse and heads are already being scratched wondering what the parent album will offer.

 

    

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