Interviews

DIAMOND GEEZER part 2.....

Friday, 07 October 2011 09:43 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

jimdAs reported in both our news pages and reviews section, Scottish singer JIM DIAMOND has just released a brand new album – 'City Of Soul'. The set is a collection of some of JIM'S favourite soul songs and the covers give new insight into stuff like 'Since I Lost My Baby' and 'I'm Your Puppet'. More importantly however is the fact that all the money raised from the album will go to charity – more specifically SIR TOM HUNTER'S CASH FOR KIDS organization. With such a good cause benefiting we decided to find out more. Catching up with JIM, we asked him to tell us a little about CASH FOR KIDS ...

The CASH FOR KIDS CHARITY is one of Scotland's main charities for underprivileged children. To tell you the scope of the work it does would be almost impossible, but any child in Scotland who is in need for any reason will benefit from it. SIR TOM HUNTER, STV, and Radio Clyde in Glasgow are the main participants, and through them literally millions of pounds have been raised. I'm very proud to be even a very small part of it.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2011 09:49

 

“CALL ME THE CHAMELEON” - HARVEY MASON SPEAKS

Thursday, 22 September 2011 20:20 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

harvey-mason4One of the most respected and prolific drummers in the neighbouring worlds of jazz, soul and funk music, New Jersey native HARVEY MASON (who was born and raised in Atlantic City) began his career forty years ago in the early 1970s.

He had a tough upbringing in an impoverished family but imbued with a strong work ethic he was fiercely determined, ambitious and aspired to self-improvement. A productive stint at college studying music led to Mason playing percussion, vibraphone and eventually drums in several jazz bands before his found his vocation - making a living as a session drummer on America's west coast. He played on Donald Byrd's seminal fusion bestseller for Blue Note, 'Black Byrd,' in 1972 and appeared on all the trumpeter's sessions helmed by the Mizell brothers, Larry and Fonce. In '74, he was asked by keyboard maven, Herbie Hancock, to join his new band, with which he aimed to fuse jazz with funk and reach a larger audience. What resulted was another bestselling jazz crossover album, 'Head Hunters.'

To his amazement, the modest Mason was offered a solo deal by Arista boss, Clive Davis, during a Brecker Brothers' session in 1975 and over the next several years the drum maestro served up five, very varied, albums for the label (while still working long hours as a session drummer). Now, in 2011, his vintage Arista titles 'Marching In The Street,' 'Earthmover,' 'Funk In A Mason Jar,' 'Groovin' You,' and 'M.V.P.' have all just been reissued for the first time via Soulmusic.com and in an exclusive and revealing in-depth interview with SJF's Charles Waring, the Fourplay co-founder and sticks man talks about his solo albums as well as other fascinating aspects of his long career...

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 September 2011 21:19

 

STILL LIGHTING FIRES - ELIANE ELIAS CHATS TO SJF

Friday, 26 August 2011 18:52 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

EL_1_-_Eliane_Elias_Photo_By_Bob_Wolfenson_depth1It's hard to comprehend that almost thirty years have elapsed since Eliane Elias first took to the world stage. A child piano prodigy hooked on playing jazz from an early age, she ventured from her native São Paulo in Brazil to the USA in 1983 at the age of 22 and immediately made a striking impression in the jazz world with her dextrous and passionate piano playing in the group, Steps Ahead, alongside luminaries Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine. Mike Manieri and Eddie Gomez. Inevitably, given her prodigious talent, a solo career followed soon afterwards. Initially Eliane's albums were mainly instrumental affairs and focused on her considerable keyboard skills in a musical context that married straight ahead bebop jazz with her Brazilian heritage. By the end of the 1990s, though, her delicate and haunting vocals were beginning to feature more strongly. After a long and fertile spell with the legendary jazz label, Blue Note, that began in the late-'80s, Eliane inked a deal with BMG's Bluebird imprint in 2002 and widened her artistic scope with the albums 'Kissed By Nature,' and 'Dreamer,' which spotlighted her sultry vocals as well as her jazz piano chops. Keen to broaden her stylistic palette and expand her audience, 2006's pop-inflected 'Around The City' was even more of a musical departure for Eliane and moved her closer to the mainstream with its club-oriented dance grooves and jazzed-up cover of Bob Marley's 'Jammin'.' Eliane returned to Blue Note in 2008 for the critically-acclaimed 'Bossa Nova Stories,' a lush homage to the classic songs of her homeland, and the 2009 Bill Evans' tribute album, 'Something For You.'

Today, in 2011, Eliane is as busy as ever in regard to touring, recording and writing music. She's still seeking new musical challenges and a freshly-inked deal with the Concord label has just yielded a brand new album, 'Light My Fire,' which has been hailed by some commentators as her best album yet. Eliane recently stopped off in London on her way back from a gig in Europe and took time out to speak to SJF's Charles Waring about her new project as well as discussing other aspects of her music and career...

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 17:28

 

SUN RA & ME: saxophonist Knoel Scott tells SJF about his time with the legendary bandleader.

Friday, 26 August 2011 17:53 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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There have been many great bandleaders in the world of jazz – think Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and Quincy Jones to name but a few – but none as unique and indeed, controversial, as pianist/composer/arranger, SUN RA (1914-1993). Born Herman Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, he acquired the nickname Sonny as a child, and when he was in his twenties he reported that he had experienced a cosmic epiphany when he had a vision of being transported to the planet Saturn. That had a profound effect on his life and music and after working as a jobbing pianist in the 1940s and early '50s he legally changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra and began his own big band, the Arkestra, in Chicago. By the late '50s he was embodying black self-determinism by running his own independent record company and issuing a myriad of albums, including the recently reissued 'Jazz In Silhouette' (now acknowledged as a jazz classic). He was also beginning to wear outlandish, science-fiction style clothes with exotic head Egyptian-like headdresses which underscored his unique beliefs and philosophy about man's place in the cosmos. As well as this, Sun Ra pioneered the use of electronic instruments in jazz and his legendary Arkestra (which manifested itself in many different incarnations over the years) continued making records through the '60s, '70s, '80s and early '90s. The group has reconvened several times since Ra's death in 1993, their most recent concert being at the June 2011 Melbourne Jazz Festival (amazingly, they've some concerts pencilled in for the UK in December at a Butlin's holiday camp in Minehead, Somerset). 55-year-old Baltimore saxophonist, KNOEL SCOTT, played with Sun Ra's Arkestra in the late '70s and early '80s and tells SJF's John Wisniewski about his experiences with jazz's favourite space cadet....

 

 

EMPIRE BUILDING....part 2: the interview

Monday, 25 July 2011 11:41 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

empireLast month we brought to your attention the wonderful 'Baby Your Lovin'' by Australian trio ELECTRIC EMPIRE. Since then the band have wowed the crowds at Glastonbury and seen their debut album acclaimed throughout the soul press and by taste making DJs. The band - DENNIS DOWLUT (guitar), JASON HEERAH (drums) and AARON MENDOZA (keys) are delighted by the response and during their stay in the UK AARON spoke to us @ SJF to tell us more about how the band developed their unique soul style. But first we wanted to know how the group was born and where they got their name from....

It started in London in 2009. DENNIS and I decided to catch up again with each other (we were old friends) and as an exercise we decided to try and write old classic sounding songs....the way they used to be back in the 60s/70s ... you know .... strong melody/arrangements etc. We always had JASON in mind to be a part of the project too. Naturally, it all happened once we got back to Australia. We started jammin' and the 1st song written was 'Baby Your Lovin'. Our name came about from DENNIS' brother (DARREN) who sadly died only a year before me and DENNIS hooked up in London. He (DARREN) wrote a song based on heaven called 'Love Electric'. The word Empire came from the idea of Unity. Together: ELECTRIC EMPIRE.

 

 

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