Saturday, 07 May 2011 11:40 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

downOver the past few weeks a certain little modern soul tune has been working its way into the consciousness of discerning soul collectors. Tune in question is 'Hanging On' by a Liverpool-based outfit called DOWN TO US. The cut is sweet and summery with a rhythm pattern that recalls DRIZABONE and a vocal that evokes JAMIROQUAI. One of the brains behind the single is GEORGE McSHANE who also works with a band called JUDDERBASS. You may recall their excellent 'Everybody Knows' track which was a high spot on the second SOUL UNSIGNED compilation. Confused? Well, we were... so we hooked up with GEORGE to find out what was going on. We wanted to know where JUDDERBASS ends and DOWN TO US begins; we wanted to know how they manage to create such catchy soul songs... but first we wanted some personal details. You know, name and number and so on.....

My name is GEORGE MARTIN MCSHANE and I was born in Liverpool in 1968. My father died when I was 8 years old. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother and I was brought up on a councill estate on the Wirral (just over the Mersey from Liverpool). There was a lot of love and creativity in the family (my mother is a fantastic artist (of the painting kind) you know! My mother also made sure we all have good values and principles. I'm now happily married to my gorgeous wife from the Czech Republic - Andre, and we have a beautiful baby daughter Lucie. I live in liverpool and I am currently employed as a Mental Health Social Worker. I have in the past tried to combine my interests in music with my work as a means to engage with people with severe and enduring mental illness by setting up and running a music group ... this resulted in a CD being recorded; some of the other people involved are now in a band themselves .  

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 July 2011 12:02



Thursday, 05 May 2011 07:15 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Marcus_TutuAfter a 30-year association with Columbia Records – which had begun with 'Round About Midnight' way back in 1956 – MILES DAVIS decided to sever ties with his old company and jump ship to Warner Bros. That was in 1986 and although a large amount of money helped facilitate his move, the iconic jazz trumpeter was in search of fresh musical inspiration. He found it in an unlikely source – MARCUS MILLER, a 25-year-old Big Apple bass player who had first played with the 'Dark Magus' on his 1981 comeback album, 'The Man With The Horn.' As Davis discovered, Miller was much more than a mere bassist – he was a gifted multi-instrumentalist who could write, arrange and produce (he also had a parallel career in the R&B world as Luther Vandross's collaborator). Miller came up with 'Tutu,' which with its reliance on synthesizers, drum machines and inclusion of pop elements and funky bass lines horrified many jazz critics. But it was an influential album and took Miles' music to a new generation of listeners....

Last Updated on Friday, 06 May 2011 10:49



Monday, 02 May 2011 08:49 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

ambroseakinmusire1SJF's Charles Waring talks to jazz's hottest new property about his life, music and Blue Note debut album, 'When The Heart Emerges Glistening.'

"This is a very clichéd thing to say," explains genial horn man, AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE, from his home in Oakland, California "but I never really had a period of just checking out trumpet players. In fact, I don't like the trumpet." Realising the absurdity of this statement – given that he's a trumpet player and one that jazz critics have been recently raving about - he laughs: gently at first, but then uproariously. For a man that makes intensely serious music, Ambrose Akinmusire is almost crying with laughter. "Look, I listen to trumpet players but not exclusively," he corrects himself, his laughter subsiding, replaced by a more sober tone. "But I've always checked out other people – like Coltrane and Herbie (Hancock), Ahmad Jamal - because I feel that a lot of jazz musicians get caught up in their instruments and they only check out people on their instrument." ...



Last Updated on Monday, 02 May 2011 09:00



Friday, 22 April 2011 07:59 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

Promo_1Genial Chicagoan WARD BROWN is best known for fronting BROWN'S BAG. The outfit released two mighty fine modern soul albums – 'Labour Of Love' and 'Soul Satisfied' and both were acclaimed by the soul cognoscenti . For the past few years WARD'S been working on a major solo project. Working with RAYMOND EARL (of INSTANT FUNK), the set – 'Where I Should Be' - is almost set for release and those who've enjoyed a sneak preview concur that the LP will finish as one of 2011's very best soul albums. caught up with WARD to find out more about the exciting project, but first, for those unfamiliar with him and his work we wanted some personal background...... 

I'm WARD BROWN; my first release was 'Labour of Love' and following that album I released 'Soul Satisfied'. They were credited to BROWN'S BAG. I was born in Chicago and still reside there. I grew up living next door to MUDDY WATERS and after hearing him and his band rehearse when they were in town and watching guys like JAMES COTTON, PAUL BUTTERFIELD and all the blues guys, I caught a music bug that I just could not get rid of. I started playing drums with bands throughout Chicago at a very young age, which led to writing songs and working with several record companies around town. Somehow that blossomed into singing and playing guitar, owning a recording studio and eventually here we are with 'Where I Should Be' – an apt title ... don't you think?

Tell us a little about your music background .... who were the soul artists who influenced and inspired you?

I was born into a family of musicians. My oldest brother played keyboards and sang, the second oldest was an incredible bass player and singer and during that time I was one of the better drummers in the area. I really don't know how it happened, but we always played music. My early ambition was to make it to the cover of Modern Drummer magazine, then I started following the careers of guys like NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN and seeing that a lot of drummers were actual producers too. Somewhere during that time TSOP, MFSB, INSTANT FUNK and the Philadelphia sound really grabbed me and I found myself listening to the big production soul sound...Philly International, BARRY WHITE, etc.



Sunday, 06 March 2011 13:04 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

waltNew Yorker Walter Christopher is a new name to most UK and European soul fans though inveterate seekers of quality soul will be aware that WALTER already has two albums under his belt. The boy from Harlem is now set to issue his third long player, 'It's All About Love Vol 2' and long before release – one track, 'There You Go Again' made the Starpoint Top 20 songs of 2010 chart.Stateside, the lead single – 'So Amazing' (no, not the LUTHER VANDROSS song) has won a place on countless radio station playlists. Clearly MR. C is destined for big things, so we needed to know more. We caught WALTER at his Harlem home and began by asking for a brief personal run down..... 

My name is Walter Christopher. I was born in North Carolina but relocated to Harlem, N.Y. as a child. As a child I liked to play basketball and eventually did gymnastics. I also studied some martial arts.

Tell us a little about your music background ... why did you get involved in music in the first place... who were the artists who influenced and inspired you......

My interest in music was originally sparked as a child listening to my mother's vinyl records. She played artists like ARETHA FRANKLIN, AL GREEN, GLADYS KNIGHT, THE SPINNERS, and THE TEMPTATIONS just to name a few. I also watched a lot of the TV show 'Soul Train'. As a teenager I sang in the church choir and that experience really fanned the flame of my desire to be a performer.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2011 11:04


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